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than her courage and her arms ?' So saying, he urged forward his impetuous steed, and buried himself in the abyss. His grateful countrymen admired bis fortitude, and attributed the increasing splendour of their state to the sacrifice he made.Animated by this example, Decius, in the war between Rome and Latium, having solemnly offered himself as an expiatory sacrifice, rushed single into the thickest ranks of the astonished Latins, that by his death he might appease the anger of the gods, transfer their indignation to the enemy, and secure the victory to Rome. Conspectus ab utroque acie aliquanto, augustior humano visu, sicut Cælo missus piaculum omnis deorum iræ, qui pestem ab suis aversam in hostes ferret.
Here we see distinctly marked the notion of vicarious suffering, and the opinion, that the punishment of guilt may be transferred from the guilty to the innocent. The gods call for sacrifice: the victim bleeds: atonement is made: and the wrath of the infernal powers falls in its full force upon the enemy. Thus while Themistocles at Salamine was offering sacrifice, three captives, the sons of Sandance, and nephews to Xerxes, all distinguished for their beauty, elegantly dressed and decked, as became their birth, with ornaments of gold, being brought on board his galley, the augur Euphrantides observing at the very instant a bright flame ascending from the altar, whilst one was sneezing on the right, which he regarded as a propitious omen, he seized the hand of Themistocles, and commanded that they should all be sacrificed to Bacchus, (cruel and relentless Bacchus ! Homer has the same expression) predicting on this condition, safety, and conquest to the greeks. Immediately the multitude with united voices called on the god, and led the captive princes to the altar, and compelled Themistocles to sacrifice them.
So when Æneas was to perform the last kind office for his friend Pallas, he sacrificed, (besides numerors oxen, sheep and swine,) eight captives to the infernal gods. In this he followed the example of Achilles, who had caused twelve Trojans, of high birth, to bleed by the sacerdotal knife, over the ashes of his friend Patroclus,
A hundred feet in length, a hundred wide,
The last of all, and horrible to tell,
Pope's Homer, ll. xxiii. ver. 203.
How much was it to be lamented, that even civilized nations should forget the intention for which sacrifices were originally instituted ! The bad effects, however, would not have been either so extensive or so great, had they not wholly lost the knowledge of Jehovah ; and taken, as the object of their fear, that evil and apostate spirit, whose name, with the utmost propriety, is called Appolyon, or the destroyer; and whose worship las been universally diffused at different periods among all the nations of the earth,
The practice of shedding human blood, before the altars of their gods, was not peculiar to the Trojans and the Greeks; the Romans followed their example. In the first ages of their republic, they sacrificed children to the goddess Mania ; in later periods, numerous gladiators bled at the tombs of the Patricians, to appease the manes of the deceased. And it is particularly noticed of Augustus, that, after the taking of Perusia, he sacrificed, on the ides of March, three hundred senators and knights to the divinity of Julius Cæsar.
The Carthaginians, as Diodorus Siculus informs us, bound themselves by a solemn vow to Chronus, that they would sacrifice to him children selected from the offspring of their nobles but in process of time they substituted for these the children of their slaves, which practice they continued, till, being defeated by Agathocles, tyrant of Sicily ; and, attributing their disgrace to the anger of the god, they offered two hundred children, taken from the most distinguished families in Carthage ; besides which, three hundred citizens presented themselves, that, by their voluntary death, they might render the deity propitious to their country. The mode of sacrificing these children was horrid in the extreme ; for they were cast into the arms of a brazen statue, and from thence dropped into a furnace, as was practised amongst the first inhabitants of Latium. It was probably in this manner the Ammonites offered up their children to Moloch. The Pelasgi at one time sacrificed a tenth part of all their children, an obedience to an oracle.
The Egyptians, in Heliopolis, sacrificed three men every day to Juno. The Spartans and Arcadians scourged to death young women ; the latter to appease the wrath of Bacchus, the fora
mer to gratify Diana. The Sabian idolaters in Persia oflered human victims to Mithras ; the Cretans, to Jupiter ; the Lacedemonian and Lusitanians, to Mars : the Lesbians, to Bacchus ; the Phocians, to Diana ; the Thessalians, to Chiron.
The Gauls, equally cruel in their worship, sacrificed men, originally, to Eso and Teutate ; but latterly to Mercury, Apollo, Mars, Jupiter, and Minerva. Cæsar informs us, that whenever they thought themselves in danger, whether from sickness, or after any considerable defeat in war, being persuaded that, unless life be given for life, the anger of the gods can never be appeased ; they constructed wicker images of enormous bulk, which they filled with men, who were first suffocated with smoke, and then consumed by fire. For this purpose they prefered criminals ; but when a sufficient number of these could not be found, they supplied the deficiency from the community at large.
The Germans are said to have differed from the Gauls, in having no Druids, and in being little addicted to the service of the altar. Their only gods were the Sun, Vulcan, and the Moon; yet, among the objects of their worship, was Tuisco their pro genitor, and Woden, the hero of the north. It is true, that neither Cæsar nor Tacitus says any thing of their shedding blood in sacrifice; yet the probability is, that, like the Saxons, and other northern nations, they not only offered blood, but took their choicest victims from the human race.
In Sweden, the altars of Woden smoked incessantly with blood : this flowed most abundantly at the solemn festivals celebrated every ninth year at Upsal. Then the king, attended by the senate, and by all the great officers about his court, entered the temple, which glittered on all sides with gold, and conducted to the altar nine slaves, or in time of war nine captives.These met the caresses of the multitude, as being about to avert from them the displeasure of the gods, and then submitted to their fate : but in times of distress, more noble victims bled ; and it stands upon record, that when Aune their king was ill, he offered up to Woden his nine sons, to obtain the prolongation of his life.
The Danes had precisely the same abominable customs. Erery ninth year, in the month of January, they sacrificed ninetynine men, with as many horses, dogs, and cocks : and Hacon, king of Norway, offered his own son to obtain from Woden the victory over Harold ; with whom he was at war.
In Russia, the Slavi worshipped a multitude of gods, and erected to them innumerable altars. Of these deities Peroun, that is, the Thunderer, was the supreme; and before his image many of their prisoners bled. Their god of physic, who also
presided over the sacred fires, shared with him; and the great rivers, considered as gods, bad their portion of human vicums, whom they covered with their inexorable waves. But Suetovid, the god of war, was the God in whom ihey must delighted : to bim they presented annually, as a burnt offering, tbree hundred prisoners, each on his horse ; and, when the whole was consum
; ed by fire, the priests and people sat down to eat and drink, till they were drunk. It is worthy of remark, that the residence of Suetovid was supposed to be in the sun.
To this luminary the Peruvians, before they were restrained by their Incas, sacrificed their children.
Among the sacred books of the Hindoos, the Ramayua demands particular attention, because of its antiquity, the extent of country through which it revered, and the view which it exhibits of the religion, doctrine, mythology, customs, and manners of their remote progenitors.
In this we have a golden age of short duration, succeeded by a state of universal wickedness and violence, which continued till the Deity, incarnate, slew the oppressors of the human race, and thus restored the reign of piety and virtue.
This poem contains a description of the Ushwamedha, or most solemn sacrifice of the white horse, instituted by Swuymbhoo, that is, by the Self-existent. At the celebration of this festival, the monarch, as the representative of the whole nation, acknowledged his transgressions; and when the offerings were consumed by the sacrificia fire, he was considered as perfectly absolved from his offences. Then follows a pariicular account of a human sacrifice, in which the victim, distinguished for filial piety, for resignation to his father's will, and for purity of heart, was hund by the king himself, and delivered to the priest; but, at the very instant when his blood was to have been shed, this illustrious youth was, by miracle delivered; and the monarch, as the reward of bis intended sacrifice, received virtue, prosperity and fame.
It is well known that the Brahmins bave, in all ages, had their human victims, and that, even in our days, thousands have voluntarily perished under the wheels of their god Jagheruaut.”
WORKS OF GOD DISPLAYED.
THE INDIAN ICHNEUMAN.
The Indian Ichneuman is a small creature, whose appearance is not unlike a weasel. It is of infinite use to the natives, from