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in different parts of the world, that were used in religious worship. The sun was worshipped at Emesa in Syria by the name of Elagabalus, and under the form of a black conical stone, which, as universally believed, had fallen from heaven on that sacred place. A large stone, worshipped by the Pessenuntians, a people of Phrygia, under the name of Idæa mater, was, upon a solemn embassy to that people, brought to Rome: it being contained in the Sybilline books, that unless the Romans got possession of that goddess, they never would prevail over Hannibal. And Pausanias mentions many stones in Greece, dedicated to different divinities; particularly thirty square stones in Achaia, on which were engraved the names of as many gods. In another place, he mentions a very ancient statue of Venus in the island Delos, which, instead of feet, had only a square stone. This may appear a puzzling circumstance in the history of Greece, considering that all the Grecian gods
"that the children of the north hereafter may behold the "place where their fathers fought;" p. 78.-Earth here in"closes the loveliest pair on the hill: grass grows between "the stones of the tomb;" page 208.-In the same poems we find stones made instruments of worship. The spirit of Loda is introduced threatening Fingal. "Fly to thy land,
replied the form; receive the wind and fly. The blasts are "in the hollow of my hand; the course of the storm is "mine. The king of Sora is my son; he bends at the stone " of my power;" p. 200.
were originally mortals, whom it was easy to represent by statues: but in that early period, the Greeks knew no more of statuary than the most barbarous nations. It is perhaps not easy to gather the meaning of savages, with respect to such stones: the most natural conjecture is, that a great stone, dedicated to the worship of a certain deity, was considered as belonging to him. This notion of property had a double effect: the worshippers, by connection of ideas, were led from the stone to the deity; and the stone tended to fix their wandering thoughts. It was probably imagined, over and above, that some latent virtue communicated to the stone, made it holy or sacred. Even among enlightened people, a sort of virtue or sanctity is conceived to reside in the place of worship: why not also in a stone dedicated to a deity? The ancient Ethiopians, in their worship, introduced the figure of a serpent as a symbol of the deity: two sticks laid cross represented Castor and Pollux, Roman divinities: a javelin represented their god Mars; and in Tartary formerly, the god of war was worshipped under the symbol of an old rusty sabre, The ancient Persians used consecrated fire as an emblem of the great God. Though the negroes of Congo and Angola have images without number, they are not however idolaters in any proper sense; their belief is, that these images are only organs by which the deities signify their will to their votaries,
If the use that was made of stones and of other symbols in religious worship be fairly represented, it may appear strange, that the ingenious Greeks sunk down into idolatry, at the very time they were making a rapid progress in the fine arts. Their improvements in statuary, one of these arts, was the cause. They began with attempting to carve heads of men and women, representing their deified heroes; which were placed upon the stonesdedicated to these herces. In the progress of the art, statues were executed complete in every member; and at last, statues of the gods were made, expressing such dignity and majesty, as insensibly to draw from beholders a degree of devotion to the statues themselves. Hear Quinctilian upon that subject. "At quæ Polycleto defuerunt, Phidia atque Alcameni dantur. Phidias tamen diis quàm hominibus efficiendis melior artifex tra"ditur in ebore vero, longè citra æmulum, vel "si nihil nisi Minervam Athenis aut Olympium "in Elide Jovem fecisset, cujus pulchritudo adje"cisse aliquid etiam receptæ religioni videtur; "adeo majestas operis deum æquavit*." Here
* "The deficiencies of Polycletus were made up in Phidias " and Alcamenes. Phidias is reckoned to have had more "skill in forming the statues of gods than of men. In works "of ivory he was unrivalled, although there had been no "other proofs of his excellence than the statue of Minerva at
Athens, and the Jupiter Olympius in Ellis.. Of the latter,
is laid a foundation for idolatry: let us trace its progress. Such statues as are represented by Quinctilian, serve greatly to inflame devotion; and during a warm fit of the religious passion, the representation is lost, and the statue becomes a deity; precisely as where King Lear is represented by Garrick the actor vanishes; and, behold! the King himself. This is not singular. Anger occasions a metamorphosis still more extraordinary: if I happen to strike my gouty toe against a stone, the violence of the pain converts the stone for a moment into a voluntary agent; and I wreak my resentment on it, as if it really were so. It is true, the image is only conceived to be a deity during the fervour of devotion; and when that subsides, the image falls back to its original representative state. But frequent instances of that kind, have at last the effect among illiterate people, to convert the image into a sort of permanent deity: what such people see, makes a deep impression; what they see not, very little. There is another thing that concurs with eye-sight, to promote this delusion devotion, being a vigorous principle in the human breast, will exert itself upon the meanest object, when none more noble is in view.
The ancient Persians held the consecrated fire to be an emblem only of the great God: but such
"so transcendent was the beauty, that it heightened every sen"timent of the received religion; the majesty of the image ap
pearing to rival that of the god himself."
veneration was paid to that emblem, and with sơ great ceremony was it treated, that the vulgar came at last to worship it as a sort of deity. The priests of the Gaures watch the consecrated fire day and night: they keep it alive with the purest wood, without bark: they touch it not with sword nor knife: they blow it not with bellows, nor with the mouth even the priest is prohibited to approach it, till his mouth be covered with fine linen, lest it be polluted with his breath: if it happen to go out, it must be rekindled by striking fire from flint, or by a burning-glass.
The progress of idolatry will more clearly ap pear, from attending to the religion of the Greeks and Romans. The Greeks, as mentioned above, made use of stones in divine worship, long before idolatry was introduced and we learn from Varro, that for a hundred and seventy years after Numa, the Romans had no statues nor images in their temples. After statues of the gods became fashionable, they acquired by degrees more and more respect. The Greek and Roman writers talk of divine virtue being communicated to statues; and some Roman writers talk familiarly, of the numèn of a deity residing in his statue. Arnobius, in his book against the Gentiles, introduces a Gentile delivering the following opinion. "We do not be
lieve, that the metal which composes a statue, "whether gold, or silver, or brass, is a god. But "we believe, that a solemn dedication brings down