« PreviousContinue »
SECT. VI. The last instance of the magistrate's care for
DIVINE LEGATION OF MOSES
HE NEXT step the Legislator took, was to sup port and affirm the general doctrine of a PROVIDENCE, which he had delivered in his laws, by a very circumstantial and popular method of inculcating the belief of a future state of rewards and punish
This was by the institution of the MYSTERIES, the most sacred part of pagan Religion; and artfully framed to strike deeply and forcibly into the minds and imaginations of the people.
I propose, therefore, to give a full and distinct account of this whole matter: and the rather, because it is a thing little known or attended to: the Ancients, who wrote expressly on the Mysteries, such as Melanthius, Menander, Hicesius, Sotades, and others, not being come down to us. So that the modern writers on this subject are altogether in the dark concerning VOL. II.
their origine and end; not excepting Meursius himself: to whom, however, I am much indebted, for abridging my labour in the search of those passages of antiquity, which make mention of the ELEUSINIAN Mysteries, and for bringing the greater part of them together under one view*.
To avoid ambiguity, it will be proper to explain Each of the pagan Gods had (besides the publick and open) a secret worship† paid unto him : to which none were admitted but those who had been selected by preparatory ceremonies, called INITIATION. This secret worship was termed the MYSTERIES.
But though every God had, besides his open worship, the secret likewise; yet this latter did not every where attend the former; but only there, where he was the patron God, or in principal esteem. Thus, when in consequence of that intercommunity of paganism, which will be explained hereafter, one nation adopted the Gods of another, they did not always take in at the same time, the secret worship or Mysteries of that God: so, in Rome, the publick and open worship of Bacchus was in use long before his Mysteries were admitted. But, on the other hand again, the worship of the strange God was sometimes introduced only for the sake of his Mysteries: as, in the same city, that of Isis and Osiris. Thus stood the case in general; the particular exceptions to it, will be seen in the sequel of this dissertation.
Eleusinia: sive de Cereris Eleusina sacro.
+ Strabo, in his tenth book of his Geography, p. 716, Gron. ed. writes thus: Κοινὸν δὴ τῦτο, καὶ τῶν Ἑλλήνων καὶ τῶν βαρβάρων ἐπὶ, τὸ τὰς ἱεροποιΐας μετὰ ἀνέσεως ἑορίαςικῆς ποιεῖσθαι, τὰς μὲν σὺν ἐνθεσιασμῷ, τὰς δὲ χωρίς· καὶ ταῖς μὲν μιλά μυσικῆς, τὰς δὲ μή· ΚΑΙ ΤΑΣ ΜΕΝ ΜΥΣΤΙΚΩΣ, ΤΑΣ ΔΕ ΕΝ ΦΑΝΕΡΩι· καὶ τῦθ ̓ ἡ φύσις ὅπως ὑπαγορεύει.