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it has been gradually changed since the time, when Armenia ceased to be a province of Irán: the letters, in which it now appears, are allowed to be comparatively modern; and, though the learned editor of the tract by CARPANIUS on the literature of Ava, compares them with the Páli characters, yet, if they be not, as I should rather imagine, derived from the Pablavi, they are probably an invention of some learned Armenian in the middle of the fifth century. Moses of Khoren, than whom no man was more able to elucidate the subject, has inserted in his historical work a disquisition on the language of Armenia, from which we might collect some curious information, if the present occasion required it ; but to all the races of men, who inhabit the branches of Caucasus and the northern limits of Irán, I apply the remark, before announced generally, that ferocious and hardy tribes, who retire for the sake of liberty to mountainous regions, and form by degrees a separate nation, must also form in the end a feparate language by agreeing on new words to express new ideas ; provided that the language, which they carried with them, was not fixed by writing and sufficiently copious. The Armenian damsels are said by STRABO to have sacrificed in the temple of the goddess ANAITIS, whom we know, from other authorities, to be the NA'HID, or Venus, of the old Persians; and it is for many reasons highly probable, that one and the fame religion prevailed through the whole empire of CYRUS.
Having travelled round the continent, and among the islands, of Asia, we come again to the coast of the Mediterranean ; and the principal nations of antiquity, who first demand our attention, are the Greeks and Phrygians, who, though differing fomewhat in manners, and perhaps in dialect, had an apparent affinity in religion as well as in language: the Dorian, Ionian, and Eolian families having emigrated from Europe, to which it is universally agreed that they first passed from Egypt, I can add nothing to what has been advanced concerning them in former discourses; and, no written monuments of old Phrygia being extant, I shall only observe, on the authority of the Greeks, that the grand object of mysterious worship in that country was the Mother of the Gods, or Nature personified, as we see her among the Indians in a thousand forms and under a thousand names. She was called in the Phrygian dialect MA', and represented in a car drawn by lions, with a drum in her hand, and a towered coronet on her head : her myiteries (which seem to be alluded to in the Mofaick law) are folemnized at the autumnal equinox in these provinces, where she is named, in one of her characters, MA', is adored, in all of them, as the great Mother, is figured fitting on a lion, and appears in some of her temples with a diadem or mitre of turrets: a drum is called dindima both in Sanscrit and Phrygian; and the title of Dindymene seems rather derived from that word, than from the name of a mountain. The Diana of Epbesus was manifestly the same goddess in the character of productive Nature; and the AsTARTE of the Syrians and Phenicians (to whom we now return) was, I doubt not, the same in another form: I may on the whole assure you, that the learned works of Selden and JABLONSKI, on the Gods of Syria and Egypt, would receive more illustration from the little Sanscrit book, entitled Chandi, than from all thefragments of oriental mythology, that are dispersed in the whole compass of Grecian, Roman, and Hebrew literature. We are told, that the Pbenicians, like the Hindus, adored the Sun, and asserted water to be the first of created things ; nor can we doubt, that Syria, Samaria, and Phenice, or the long strip of land on the shore of the Mediterranean, were anciently peopled by a branch of the Indian stock, but were afterwards inhabited by that race, which for the present we call Arabian: in all three the oldest religion was the Allyrian, as it is called by Selden, and the Samaritan letters appear to have been the same at first with those of Phenice; but the Syriack language, of which ample remains are preserved, and the Punick, of which we have a clear specimen in Plautus and on monuments lately brought to light, were indisputably of a Chaldaick, or Arabick, origin.
The seat of the first Phenicians having extended to Idume, with which we began, we have now completed the circuit of Asia; but we must not pass over in silence a most extraordinary people, who escaped the attention, as BARROW obferves more than once, of the diligent and inquisitive HERODOTUS: I mean the people of Judea, whose language demonstrates their affinity with the Arabs, but whose manners, literature, and history are wonderfully distinguished from the rest of mankind. BARROW loads them with the fevere, but just, epithets of malignant, unsocial, obstinate, distrustful, fordid, changeable, turbulent; and describes them as furiously zealous in succouring their own countrymen, but implacably hostile to other nations ; yet, with all the fottish perverseness, the stupid arrogance, and the brutal atrocity of their character, they had. the peculiar merit, among all races of men under heaven, of preserving a rational and pure fyslem of devotion in the midst of wild polytheisin, inhuman or obscene rites, and a dark labyrinth
of errours, produced by ignorance and supported by interested fraud. Theological inquiries are no part of my present subject; but I cannot refrain from adding, that the collection of tracts, which we call from their excellence the Scrip tures, contain, independently of a divine origin, more true fublimity, more exquisite beauty, purer morality, more important history, and finer strains both of poetry and eloquence, than could be collected within the same compass
, from all other books, that were ever composed in any age or in any idiom. The two parts, of which the Scriptures consist, are connected by a chain of compositions, which bear no resemblance in form or style to any that can be produced from the stores of Grecian, Indian, Perfi:n, or even Arabian, learning: the antiquity of those compositions no man doubts ; and the unstrained application of them to events long subsequent to their publication is a solid ground of belief, that they were genuine predictions, and consequently inspired; but, if any thing be the absolute exclusive property of each individual , it is his belief; and, I hope, I should be one of the last men living, who could harbour a thought of obtruding my own belief on the free minds of others. I mean only to assume, what, I trust, will be readily conceded, that the first Hebrew historian must be entitled, merely as such, to an