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gives her for not complying with her request is remarkable. She had entered, she said, into an ancient league with Venus, which she could not violate *. By which is intimated, that all the Mysteries had one and the same end. And Psyche, she said, had reason to thank her that she did not seize on her and detain her prisoner t; alluding to the obligation that all were under to bring to punishment the violators of the Mysteries.

Juno excuses herself, from imparting any assistance, "out of reverence to the Laws, which forbid any one to entertain another's runaway servant." For those who had violated the Mysteries of one God could not be admitted to those of another.

In this distress PSYCHE resolves at last to render herself to the offended Parties, and implore their pardon. Venus imposes on her a long and severe penance; in which the author seems to have shadowed out the trials and labours undergone by the aspirants to the Mysteries, and the more severe in proportion to the delinquencies of the aspirants, intimated in the words of Venus to her-Sed jam nunc ego sedulo periclitabor an oppido forti animo, singularique prudentia sis prædita §.

During the course of these trials, PSYCHE falls once more into distress by her rash curiosity ||, and would be undone but for the divine assistance, which

cum qua etiam antiquum foedus amicitiæ colo. P. 111. + quod a me retenta custoditaque non fueris optimi consule. P. 112.

I tunc etiam Legibus, quæ servos alienos profugos, invitis Dominis, vetant suscipi, prohibeor, P. 112.

§ P. 118.

Mente capitur TEMERARIA CURIOSITATE, P. 123.


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all along supports and aids her in her difficulties, In which the Author hints at the promises made to the aspirants on these occasions:- Nec Providentiæ bonæ graves oculos innocentis anima latuit ærumna. In her greatest distress, in the repetition of her first capital fault, she is relieved by Cupid himself; intimating, that nothing but the divine aid can overcome human weakness; as appears from these words of Cupid to his spouse-Et ecce, inquit, rursum perieras misella simili curiositate. Sed interim quidem tu provinciam, quæ tibi matris meæ precepto mandata est, exequere gnaviter : cetera egomet videro*. When in these trials the aspirant had done his best, the Gods would help out the rest.

With this assistance, she performs her penance, is pardoned, and restored to favour: put again into possession of DIVINE LOVE, and rewarded with IMMORTALITY, the declared end of all the MYSTERIES.

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There are many other circumstances in this fine Allegory equally serving to support the system here explained as there are others which allude to divers beautiful Platonic notions, foreign to the presént discourse. It is enough that we have pointed to its chief, and peculiar purpose; which it was impossible to see while the nature and design of the whole Fable lay undiscovered.

But now perhaps it may be said, "That all this is very well. An Allegory is here found for the GOLDEN ASS, which, it must be owned, fits the Fable. But still it may be asked, Was it indeed made for it? Did the Author write the tale for the moral; or did the Critic find the moral for the tale? For an Allegory

P. 123


may be drawn from almost any story: and they have been often made for Authors who never thought of them. Nay, when a rage of allegorizing happens to prevail, as it did a century or two ago, the Author himself will be either tempted or obliged, without thẹ Commentator, to encourage this delusion. Ariosto and Tasso, writers of the highest reputation, one of whom wrote after the Gothic Romances, as the other after the Classic Fables, without ever concerning themselves about any other moral than what the natural circumstances of the story conveyed; yet, to secure the success of their poems, they submitted, in compliance to fashion and false taste, to the ridiculous drudgery of inventing a kind of posthumous Allegory, and sometimes more than one; that the reader himself might season their Fables to his own taste." As this has been the case, To shew that I neither impose upon myself nor others, I have reserved the Author's own declaration of his having an Allegoric meaning, for the last confirmation of my system. It is in these words,

At ego tibi sermone isto Milesio

Varias Fabulas conseram, auresque tuas
Benevolas lepido susurro permulceam;


A direct insinuation of its being replete with the profound Egyptian wisdom; of which, that Nation, by the invention of the MYSTERIES, had conveyed so considerable a part to the Greeks.

* In init. Fab.


Before I totally dismiss this matter it may not be improper to observe, that both VIRGIL and APULEIUS have represented the genuine MYSTERIES, as Rites of perfect sanctity and purity; and recommended only such to their Countrymen; while they expose impure and impious Rites to the public execration; for it was their purpose to stigmatize the reigning corruptions, and to recommend the ancient sanctity. On the other hand, a man attached by his office to the recommendation of the Mysteries, as then practised, was to do the best he could, when deprived of the benefit of this distinction; and was to endeavour to give fair colours to the foulest things. This was the case of JAMBLICHUS. His friend Porphyry had some scruples on this head, He doubts whether those Rites could come from the Gods, which admitted such a mixture of lewdness and impurity. Such a mixture Jamblichus confesses; but, at the same time, endeavours to account for their divine original, by shewing, that they are only the emblems of natural Truths; or a kind of moral purgation of the inordinate passions*. You will say, he might have given a better answer; That they were modern abuses and corruptions. He asks your pardon for that. Such a confession would have been condemning his own Platonic fanaticism; that very fanaticism which had brought in these abominations. He was reduced therefore to the necessity of admitting that they were no after-corruptions, but coeval with the Rites themselves. And this admission of so learned a Hierophant, is, as far as I am able to collect, the only support which any one can now have for saying, that the Mysteries were impure and abominable, even from their first Institution.


De Mysteriis, Sect. i. cap. xi.


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Hitherto we have considered the Legislator's care in perpetuating the doctrine of a FUTURE STATE. And if I have been longer than ordinary on this head, my excuse is, that the topic was new *, and the doctrine. itself, which is the main subject of the present inquiry, much interested in it.

A very remarkable circumstance (for which we are indebted to the observation of modern travellers) may convince us, that Rulers and Governors cultivated the belief of this doctrine with a more than common assiduity. Many barbarous nations have been discovered in these later times, on the coasts of Africa, which, in the distractions of Government, and transmigrations of People, have, it is probable, fallen from a civilized to a savage state of life. These are found to have little or no knowledge of a God, or observance of Religion. And yet, which is a surprising paradox, they still retain the settled belief and expectation of a FUTURE STATE. A wonder to be accounted for no other way than by what hath been said above of the Legislator's principal concern for the support of this

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* A well-known writer, Mr. Jackson (not to speak at present of Others of a later date) who had long and scurrilously railed at the author of the D.L. in a number of miserable pamphlets, hath at length thought fit in a Thing, called Chronological Antiquities, to borrow from this book, without any acknowledgment, all he had to give the public concerning the pagan MYSTERIES; and much, concerning the HIEROGLYPHICS and origin of idolatry. But this is the common practice of such sort of writers: and is only mentioned here to shew the reader to what class they belong. The treatment these volumes have met with from some of the most worthless of my Countrymen, made me think it expedient to contrast their behaviour with that of the most learned and respectable foreign Divines and Critics of France, Germany, and Holland, in their animadversions on this Work, occasionally inserted in the notes.




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