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Black Sea, it is justly entitled to be considered as one of the wonders of antiquity.' "*"The altar," says Cooke, "is a blue, coarse, and firm marble, and designed to resist fire; it is placed a little above the focus of the upper end of the ellipsis." According to Dr. Stukeley, the ancient name of Stonehenge, namely, Choir Gaur, might be rendered, grand choir, or great church. As a Hebraism, it would signify the circular high place for the convocation or assembly of the people; and thus correspond with that of Gilgal, on the east of the Jordan, where Samuel went yearly, and where Saul was crowned king of the Hebrews. The temple of Aubery seems remarkable as well on account of the etymon of the name, Abiri, signifying the MIGHTY ONES, as its singular form, which allies it with some Egyptian hieroglyphic figures, conjoining the serpent and the circle. According to Dr. Stukeley, the figure of the temple at Aubery is that of a winged serpent. The outer part of the grand circle is a vast vallum or mound, with a very deep ditch in the inside. It is forty-five cubits (about eighty feet) broad: its diameter is seven hundred and fifty cubits: its circumference two thousand two hundred and fifty cubits; and the enclosed area comprises twenty-two acres. Within this was formed another circle of one hundred enormous stones, set upright, fifteen to seventeen feet high, and nearly as much broad; within this great circle were two minor ones, each composed of two concentric circles, each circle further included several upright stones, &c. Immense avenues of upright stones conducted to the head of the serpent, and in an opposite direction terminated in the supposed tail;-the via sacra, which led to the two concentric circles, forming the head, of rude stones, extended more than a mile, and was formed of similar upright stones. An avenue composed of two rows of upright stones also represented the tail. The entire number of stones originally employed in this stupendous work has been computed at six hundred and fifty-two; and each rude
* Turner's England and Wales: No. 7.
mass of rock was truly colossal in its dimensions. Dr. Stukeley mentions one of these stones, which when broken to pieces, "supplied twenty good loads." That these were Druidical temples there does not seem the least reason to doubt. On opening some of the neighbouring burrows, cells have been found wherewith the Archdruid cut down the mistletoe of the oak. The association of the oak with the mysteries of Druidical religion is very remarkable. The Supreme Being appeared to the patriarch Abraham by the oak of Moreh; Jacob buried Rebecca's nurse beneath an oak; and Joshua raised a stone pillar under an oak that was by the sanctuary. From hence the oak entered into heathen mysteries, and was consecrated to Jupiter: Homer celebrates the oaks of Dodona. Thus, too, grove worship had a place in patriarchal times: "Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the LORD, THE EVERLASTING GOD." In consecrated groves, and open temples, did the patriarchs worship the SUPREME BEING, whom "the heaven of heavens cannot contain." In the deep solemnities of adoration, under such circumstances, there is something awful and sublime-with no roof save the vault of heaven, "a building not made with hands"-the mind would be deeply impressed; and, perhaps, king Solomon had an allusion to this worship, in the sublime prayer he offered up at the dedication of the temple. Amid the deep recesses of the grove, the soul would feel, as it were, overshadowed by the more immediate presence of the Deity, and be led to exclaim with the patriarch at Bethel: "How dreadful is this place! This is none other than the house of GOD, and this is the gate of heaven."* Grove worship, and that "on high places," there is sufficient evidence to prove, was practised by the Druids: Lucan in reference to them, expressly says,
66. Nemora alta remotis
Though imperfectly acquainted with the worship of the
* Genesis, xxviii. 17.
Druids, we can trace many circumstances connected with it, which refer distinctly to patriarchal timesno doubt mingled with heathen superstitions and idolatries. It seems to have been so peculiar that Cæsar, in his Commentaries, particularly stigmatizes it on this very account.
The Druids, according to Cæsar, presided in matters of religion, had the care of public and private sacrifices, and interpreted the will of the gods. They had the direction and education of the youth, by whom they were held in great honour; and being supreme judges, their decision was final in all controversies. He also states, that they were all under the control of an Arch-druid, never took up arms, were exempt from taxes, and military service; and enjoyed all manner of immunities. "It is one of their principal maxims, that the soul never dies; but after death passes from one body to another; which, they think, contributes greatly to exalt men's courage, by disarming death of its terrors. They teach many things relating to the stars and their motions, the magnitude of the world and our earth, the nature of things, and the power and prerogatives of the immortal gods. Cæsar expressly states that they immolated human victims; and that when criminals were wanting, the innocent were sacrificed. The most interesting remark in the Commentaries of Cæsar, includes a belief, attributed to the Druids, that nothing can atone for the life of man but the life of man. "Pro vita hominis nisi vita hominis reddatur, non posse aliter Deorum immortalium numen placari, arbitrantur." Cæsar also observes, " they compute the time by nights, not by days; and in the observance of birth-days, new moons, and the beginning of the year, always commence the celebration from the preceding night." Thus, according to Cæsar, the Druids exercised supreme jurisdiction in all matters, both civil and ecclesiastical. The computation of time from evening to evening is the order of creation, (" and the evening and the morning"): and it is thus that the modern Jew calculates his new moons and his sabbaths-from sunset
to sunset. The sixth of the Noachida expressly enjoins the administration of justice. Tacitus, in his Annals," says, in reference to the Druids, on the invasion of Britain by the Romans, "a garrison was thereafter established over the vanquished, and the groves cut down by them, dedicated to sanguinary and detestable superstitions: for there they sacrificed captives, and upon their altars, as an oblation, spilled human blood. There, in order to discover the will of the gods, they consulted the entrails of men: practices of cruelty accounted holy by them." With the authorities of Cæsar and Tacitus we cannot rescue these aborigines of Britain from the charge of offering up human sacrifices, though some have endeavoured to exculpate them. In this respect there is, we fear, too close a resemblance to similar horrid practices in Ancient Mexico. We shudder at the terrific idols of the Aztecks, the gods of Montezuma : well, indeed, might a moloch, that required such holocausts of human victims, be called Tetzahuitl, or the terrific. The Budhist demon that haunted the tombs, and lived upon the dead, seems the very zero of ferocity compared with this personification of horror. Compared, indeed, with the ferocity of the ancient priests of Mexico, that of the tiger and the condor seems gentle and merciful. Grove worship is, as we have stated, attributed to the Druids by Lucan; and Tacitus tells us that the groves were cut down. We examined a place of this kind, near Penrith; and the gigantic pillars in its enclosure clearly determined, in our opinion, the use to which it had once been appropriated. Successive ages had witnessed the repeated fall of the hamadryads of the forest; but their scions had perpetuated their woodland ancestry. Whether Druidical worship was connected with pyrolatry, we have no datum to determine: that it embraced Tsabaism, or the worship of the host of heaven, seems clear from Cæsar and in the Volume of Truth we find how : men were "to depart from the living God," to worship the Tsebaoth, instead of HIM who made them,-The JEHOVAH TSEBAOTH,—“ The Lord of Hosts." This
idolatry is described in a way sufficiently clear in the vision of one of the prophets : "Between the porch and the altar were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east."* Taking the Commentaries of Cæsar as our guide in this investigation, the Druids seem to have believed in the doctrine of the metempsychosis. This and the form of the temple at Aubery, seem to connect them with Egyptian mythology; but from the absence of hieroglyphic symbols, and covered temples, it seems sufficiently evident that priority must be conceded to the Druidical religion. We have already adverted to the sick Singalese and his adoration of the Baali, or host of heaven. The following injunction seems to involve this as being an early idolatrous practice: "Thou shalt call ME no more Baali."+ The mythology of the east, and that of the Druids, it is evident, sprung from one source. It is not improbable that sacrifices were offered up, or fires kindled on eminences at stated times, as on new moons or other high festivals; and the cairns scattered here and there may attest the chosen spot. Numerous have been the opinions advanced on the subject of vitrified forts: their antiquity, however, is lost in the darkness of ages; but our opinion inclines very much to the supposition, that they were connected with the mythology of the Druids. We have particularly investigated one of these at Craig Phadrick, near Inverness. Intense, indeed, seems to have been the heat to which these vitrified masses were once subjected. Perhaps on these spots, holocausts of human victims were offered up to the moloch of the Druids, as was the case in the seven times heated furnace, on the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. In both cases, vitrified masses still attest the horrid sacrifice. Without entering further into the question of Druidical worship, we think that it bears sufficient evidence of a patriarchal origin, in which its elements may be recog† Hosea ii. 16.
* Ezek. viii. 16.