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Reade, Winwood - The Veil of Isis

Reade, Winwood - The Veil of Isis



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Published by: mackdude4703 on Dec 29, 2008
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"By the bright circle of the golden sun,By the bright courses of the errant moon,By the dread potency of every star,In the mysterious Zodiac's burning girth,By each and all of these supernal signs,We do adjure thee, with this trusty bladeTo guard yon central oak, whose holy stem,Involves the spirit of high Taranis:Be this thy charge."-MASON
TO EMILY***.As those presents are always the most fashionable, and sometimes the mostvalued, which cannot be used, I give you this book, which you will not be ableto read, but which, perhaps, you will kindly preserve in memory of its writer.An author can pay no higher compliment to a friend than to dedicate to her awork upon which he has spent much labor and anxiety. This effort of a youngman to redeem a mistake, perhaps a fault, in his literary life, deserves to besealed with your name, for it is you who have repeatedly urged him to the task,and presided over it like a guardian angel, with kind and consoling words.
IV.-DescriptionBOOK THE THIRD.THE DRUIDS.I.-OriginII.-PowerIII.-The Derwydd, or PhilosophersIV.-The Bardd, or MusiciansV.-The Ovades, or NoviciatesVI.-Rites and CeremoniesVII. -PriestessesBOOK THE FOURTH.THE DESTRUCTION OF THE DRUIDS.BOOK THE FIFTH.VESTIGES OF DRUIDISM.I.-In the Ceremonies of the Church of RomeII.-In the Emblems of FreemasonryIII.-In Rustic Folk-LoreAPPENDIX.
THERE is no study so saddening, and none so sublime as that of the earlyreligions of mankind. To trace back the worship of God to its simple origin,and to mark the gradual process of those degrading superstitions, andunhallowed rites which darkened, and finally extinguished His presence in theancient world.At first men enjoyed the blessings of nature as children do, without inquiringinto causes. It was sufficient for them that the earth gave them herbs, that the
trees bore them fruit, that the stream quenched their thirst. They were happy,and every moment though unconsciously they offered a prayer of gratitude toHim whom as yet they did not know.And then a system of theology arose amongst them vague and indefinite, asthe waters of the boundless sea. They taught each other that the sun, and theearth, the moon, and the stars were moved and illumined by a Great Soulwhich was the source of all life, which caused the birds to sing, the brooks tomurmur, and the sea to heave. It was a sacred Fire which shone in thefirmament, and in mighty flames. It was a strange Being which animated the,souls of men, and which when the bodies died, returned to itself again.They silently adored this Great Soul in the beginning, and spoke of Him withreverence, and sometimes raised their eyes timidly to His glittering dwelling-place on high.And soon they learned to pray. When those whom they loved lay dying, theyuttered wild lamentations, and flung their arms despairingly towards themysterious Soul; for in times of trouble the human mind so imbecile, sohelpless, clings to something that is stronger than itself.As yet they worshipped only the sun, the moon, and the stars-and not as Godsbut as visions of that Divine Essence, which alone ruled and pervaded theearth, the sky, and the sea.They adored Him kneeling, with their hands clasped, and their eyes raised.They offered Him no sacrifices, they built Him no temples; they were contentto offer Him their hearts which were full of awe, in His own temple which wasfull of grandeur. And it is said that there are yet some barbarous islands wheremen have no churches nor ceremonies, and where they worship God, reflectedin the work of His thousand hands.But they were not long content with this simple service. Prayer which had firstbeen an inspiration fell into a system, and men already grown wicked prayedthe Deity to give them abundance of wild beast's skins, and to destroy theirenemies.They ascended eminences, as if hoping that thus being nearer God, He wouldprefer their prayers to those of their rivals. Such is the origin of thatsuperstitious reverence for high places which was universal throughout thewhole of the heathen world.Then Orpheus was born. And he invented instruments which to his touch andto his lips, gave forth notes of surpassing sweetness, and with these melodieshe enticed the wondering savages into the recesses of the forest, and theretaught them precepts of obedience to the great Soul, and of loving-kindnesstowards each other in harmonious words.So they devoted groves and forests to the worship of the Deity.There were men who had watched Orpheus, and who had seen and envied hispower over the herd who surrounded him. They resolved to imitate him, andhaving studied these barbarians, they banded together, and called themselves

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