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monad and triad system. But, it is remarkable that this Ionism, the second corruption of patriarchal religion is said to have been begun by Serug ;-we are also told in the Bible that Nahor and Terah, the immediate ancestors of Abraham, were worshippers of idols ;-and ancient history informs us that the Dove (Ionah,) was the standard of the Assyrians. From all these we think the conclusion is inevitable, that Scuthism, and the mythic system of the elemental monad and triad, were identical, and that this was the first corruption of the patriarchal religion, and prevailed chiefly in the Hametic and Japhetian races of mankind: and also, that Ionism, or Hellenism, (the worship of the Dove, and of the Arkite or Noachim family, combined with the worship of fire, Elain, whence the term Hellenism,) was the second corruption, and was almost peculiar to the Shemitic race, of which the Assyrian was the chief nation, as the Egyptian and the Hindu were all the Hametic and the Japhetian races.
Even the dates of these corruptions may be very nearly ascertained. The foundation of the Babylonian monarchy by Nimrod, 2233 B. C., may be assumed as the origin of Scuthism, at least in its completed form. The æras of China, 2207, and of India, 2204, would seem to indicate that these nations had followed the direction of Noah, and gone to their respective territories without delay, and before any further corruption of religion had taken place. In them accordingly, we find the system of Scuthism in its greatest simplicity. The birth of Serug, and the æra of the Assyrian monarchy are almost exactly synchronous, and both are connected with the second corruption, Ionism, the date of which, therefore, we may assume to be 2185 B. C., or 48 years subsequent to the Scuthic heresy. It can scarcely be doubted that wars would very speedily ensue between the adherents of these hostile creeds, if, indeed, the very building of Babel itself was not the first act of hostility directed by the Scuthic leader, Nimrod, against the Patriarchs; and in this we might find the true history of what is known in classic mythology as “the war of the Titans," waged against Chronus, or Noah, and his sons. The exact date of this event cannot, however, be fixed, except that it probably occurred between the periods of the building of Babel and the foundation of the Assyrian empire, within a range of
The first Chaldæan, or rather Babylonian dynasty, founded by Nimrod, is stated by Syncellus to have lasted 225 years, and to have been succeeded by an Arabian dynasty. The designation, Arabian, is manifestly erroneous, as there could have been no such nation at that time in existence. The overthrowers of the Nimrodean dynasty were more probably Assyrians, and to this war the classic fable of "the war of the giants” may most likely refer. Abydenus places Ninus, the founder of the Assyrian empire, sixth in descent from Belus, its nominal founder, and within eight years of the assumed Arabian dynasty of Babylon. This seems to confirm the conjecture that the new dynasty was, indeed, Assyrian in its origin, though Babylon may have been governed by satraps, while Nineveh remained the seat of empire. But what is most deserving of notice is, that this change of dynasty in Babylon, by the overthrow of Nimrod's successors, occurred in the year 2008 B. C.; and that the invasion of Egypt by the Hyksos occurred in 2002, as has been ascertained from the monuments.
The Egyptian records respecting the Hyksos are sufficiently confused, still we may learn from them that the invaders assailed them from the eastern shores of the Red Sea,—that they were hostile to image worship, and were in truth, worshippers of the sun, or of fire. In these respects they completely harmonize with the characteristics of the expelled followers of Nimrod, whose Scuthism had by this time, declined into Zabaism, or the worship of the heavenly bodies, and especially the sun, and his symol, fire.
The period of six years from their expulsion out of Babylon till their arrival in Egypt, is not too much for them to have expended in traveling through Arabia, or rather round it, following the course of the sea-coast till they turned the point of the Red Sea, and seized upon the fertile regions of the Delta.
It may be added, that this expulsion of the first Babylonian dynasty synchronizes very nearly also, with the Hindu æra of the first Buddha, who introduced a more refined materialism into India, hostile to their original system, and leading to infidelity. This also agrees with the Egyptian accusation against the Hyksos, that they were "contemners of the gods."
We have thus obtained somewhat of an historical account of the rise and progress of the different perversions and corruptions of the patriarchal religion, with a series of dates which are at least, a close approximation to the truth; by the use of which we are persuaded that it is perfectly possible to lay hold on any system of heathen mythology, and trace it to its origin in the corruption and misconception of some still more ancient and divinely revealed truth; by seizing upon which, and reversing the process, correcting the mythic legend at every step, the whole may be exploded, and the true system of divinely revealed religion established upon its ruins. The pure, patriarchal religion, as held by Noah, was corrupted into Scuthism, or the mythic theory of a monad producing a triad, themselves merely the elemental powers of the material universe, by Cush, or Nimrod, about 2233 B. C. This system was embraced chiefly by the Hametic and Japhetian races; the Hametic however, sinking towards a grosser materialism, and to idolatry, while the Japhetian pursued a more intellectual process, hovering between pantheism, or infidelity, and the worship of the sun, or of fire. The Shemetic race adopted a different perversion of patriarchal religion, termed Ionism, the characteristic tendency of which was hero worship, (at first that of the Noachian family,) and idolatry; the date of which cannot be later than 2185 B. C. The expulsion of the first Babylonian dynasty by the Assyrians caused an infusion of the purest Scuthism into Egypt with the Hyksos, and into India, where it was known as the earliest appearance of Buddhism. All the corruptions of the patriarchal, the true revealed religion, were thus thrown into such juxtaposition with each other, as to produce a universal idolatry, of which the forms were considerably different, but the leading tenets the same, and all having for their basis a confused notion of a monad producing a triad.
We have shown abundant proof of the universal belief in the doctrine of a Trinity, or at least of a Triad, with some obscure notions of an Avatar or Incarnation, among the Gentile nations, from the earliest times, long previous to the æra of the Mosaic dispensation, and therefore not derived from that source; this can be accounted for only by the supposition, that this doctrine, together with that of the Incarnation, formed the chief tenets of the ancient patriarchal religion, held and taught while mankind constituted but one family, or one community, and carried with the various branches as they separated from the parent stem. But we have traced, also, the very early corruptions of patriarchal religion, till it became wholly obscured by mythic fables, or perverted into gross idolatry. Let it be noted, that as successive migrations took place, and tribes wandered to a distance from the chief seat of the nation, they necessarily sunk into greater degrees of barbarism, and their religion became more and more corrupt. The simplest and purest forms, therefore, are to be found in the central seats of each main branch
of the human family in Persia, India, and Egypt. When these simplest forms are found in remote countries, the inference is, either that a considerable settlement must have taken place from the central seat, the latter opinion being rendered absolutely certain when the simpler tenets of antiquity are found to be superinduced upon a more degenerate system.
By attending to this view, much light would be thrown both upon the religious history of man, and upon the migrations of various races. Let it also be marked, that when the patriarchal religion had been thus corrupted, and the allwise God was pleased to communicate a new revelation to man, while the first chapters of the book of Genesis contained a re-statement of the history of the creation, as it had been known to the patriarchs, the law did not expressly contain a re-statement of the doctrine of the Trinity. This essential doctrine was, indeed, contained in the Mosaic dispensation, and the successive revelations which God made to his chosen people; but it was so concealed under types, and symbols, and in predictions, that the spiritually enlightened alone discerned it, and thus it was effectually preserved from being again corrupted by the materializing process natural to the darkened mind of fallen man. The sublime doctrine of the Unity of the only living and true God was thus maintained, the Jews kept from lapsing into idolatry, and the false worship of heathen nations kept in check, while reforming influences were from time to time infused into the heart and mind of the world, preparatory for the full and clear manifestation of Divine truth in the pure system of christianity, so far as to the weak and finite mind of man the infinitely mysterious, yet infinitely true doctrine of TRINITY IN UNITY AND UNITY IN TRINITY, can be manifested.
The names under which the Hyksos or Shepherd-King Dynasty in Egypt, says Mr. Poole, (Horæ Aegyptiacæ, pp. 204 and 206,) "as found on the monuments of Egypt, worshipped the sun, are ‘Aten-ra,' or the solar disk, that is, the visible sun; 'Muce-ra,' the brightness, or rays, of the sun; and 'Ra,' the power supposed to reside in the sun. We find the names of their God enclosed in two royal rings, shewing that they ascribed to him a regal character. The names thus enclosed read 'Ra' of the two solar abodes, who rejoices in the solar abode in his name Muce-ra, who is in Aten-ra."
Zoroaster and his followers (I do not mean those holding the opinions of the Zend-Avesta,) generally speak of but one deity, though it is evident that they worshipped a triad or triads, just as the sculptures of the sun-worshippers in Egypt uniformly represented but one object of adoration, although that people, also, evidently worshipped a kind of triad. It appears to me from the different names given to the god of the sunworshippers that they adored one god whom they supposed to be resident in the sun, and operating through its rays, and yet that they worshipped this god through the medium of the sun and its rays. These evidently correspond to the fire, the sun, or light, and the Ether of the Zoroastrian triad originating from a monad. The only one of these correspondences that appears at first sight strained, is that of Ether in the Zoroastrian triad, with the god supposed to reside in the sun by the sun-worshippers in Egypt; but the objection is removed when we remember that the Ether of Zoroaster corresponds to the soul or spirit of the universe of some of the ancient theologists and some of the philosophers. How interesting is it to see in the earliest monuments of Asiatic nations of which the date is proved, the first records of that religion, which so widely prevailed in Asia, for so many ages, and which is not yet extinct.*
“Nothing, perhaps,” says Mr. Cory, in his very learned work, (Ancient Fragments, page 354,) "is more uniformly insisted on among the heathens, than that their Trinity was a Triad Subordinate to a Monad; which Monad was clearly one of those two independent principles, which were conceived to have existed before the formation of the world, and was the Etherial Intellectual principle of the Universe, which was in a manner superseded by the Triad. The Triad is likewise maintained to be Phanes or Eros, the Sun, the Soul and Ruler of the World.
To ascertain the person of this triad, then, I shall merely place the most ancient speculations upon the subject under one another; but at the same time I would observe, that it is one of those questions, which, for want of sufficient evidence, is incapable of being brought to the test of absolute demonstration.
From the different Orphic fragments we find that the Orphic
Ether. *See Voltaire's Analysis of the Platonic Trinity in Hey's Lectures on Divinity, vol. i., pp. 488, 2 vol., ed. W.