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whose meaning it is difficult to express in common words, and which the dreamer himself is seldom able to unriddle; on which account it was customary in ancient times, and particularly in the Temples, to have interpreters of dreams. From this arose the science of expounding dreams (oneirocritica, oneiroscopia). It is, however, the language of poets and prophets; that is, the object and the image are one; and it seems that the primitive language and the language of God to man was symbolic. The language of dreams is the same in the most dissimilar men and nations; the prophet and the seer, the true poet, the magnetic clairvoyant, and the prophetic dreamer, more commonly use this language than that of common intercourse. In it lies such a fulness of meaning, and combination of times and objects, that the most comprehensive prose is unable to give its full expression. As the instinctive life of the feelings was of old much more common than at present, when the outward senses are more distracted with occupations of the mind, so do we find that symbols and hieroglyphics were more common; as among the Indian seers, the Israelitish prophets, the Greek oracles, and in the old picture-writing of the Egyptians, and the votive tablets of the Temples. It is similarly connected
This was also symbolic in its architecture; for art is but the expression of the inner genius which inspires the soul of the artist, or the imagination of a people, and is intimately connected with religious feelings. The expression of art is, therefore, but the true language of the seer, and therefore mostly as symbolic. in meaning; as, for instance, the Ark of the Covenant, which arose by divine inspiration, and then expanded into the Temple of Solomon; till at length Christian architecture, in universal freedom and purity, as it were, cast off all the oppressive weight of earthy matter, and with its pointed arches, vaulted roofs, and towering spires, strives upwards towards heaven, as if to receive the glorious power descending from above.
As the language of symbols is natural to the human mind, so is nature a collection of symbols, and an open, significant book, from which man may read; for nature speaks through the elements, powers, and creations, as a divine revelation,-a living language full of meaning; and nature at first was placed in perfect harmony with the mind
At first she surrounded man with a significant power;
the human mind was guided by a sure and governing inclination, and was not as now left to deceitful and easily misled reflection. Religious perception was not at first the result of reflection on the being and all-presence of the Almighty, who did not appear to man in the plenitude of wisdom and love, of power and holiness in ideal attributes ; but as the Lord, having power over all things. The close, intimate relation with the Divinity and nature, was, therefore, calculated to produce a common language, and therefore this language must, according to the constitution of nature and the soul, have been a symbolic language of pictures. All things were reflected upon man as upon a mirror, and man explained to himself their meaning. "The first human beings," says Jacob Böhme, “ found everything easy; the mysteries of nature were not so hidden from them as from us, as fewer sins were upon the earth. It was from this cause that Adam, who had passed from the wonders of Paradise to the wonders of this world, was originally the centre of all worldly things ; who not only knew the natures, properties, and species of all animals, but also of all plants and metals, and therefore gave names to all things—to each one according to its properties, as if he had formed a part of all things and had proved their powers.”
The desires grew as the senses were led astray by outward excitements, and the inner silent communion with nature was gradually extinguished : in regarding the outward flowers, and in tasting the fruit of the tree of knowledge, the inner eye became blind to the symbols and mysteries of nature, and the divine and symbolic language faded from the memory of man, as the former paradisaical nature now only bore thorns and thistles : that is, instead of regarding the inner life of the kernel, he now only saw the rough outward shell; and as nature and the divine voice grew silent, so did his ear become deaf and his eye blind. "Every act of nature,” says Hamann, was to the first men a word, the sign, emblem, and pledge of a new, secret, inexpressible, but at the same time closer union and community with the divine energy and idea. With this word present in the mouth and heart, language was as natural and easy as life itself. God therefore instructed man in bis speech,—the one origi
nal language.” Although it does not come within our province to enter here into the religious question of the Fall, yet no one can readily deny that in the primeval state man stood in direct connection with nature, which to a certain extent may be likened to that in which the soul now stands to the body; no one can doubt that the earth was then moved by a much more energetic life than now, and that man was more strictly in communion with it than at present; that he was simple, and less separated in body and spirit, and possessed a more comprehensive and reflecting mind than the present seeking, but everywhere confined and faulty intellect: it is from this that we must draw the above conclusions, and that we are also able to regard the ancient mythologies in a true light : hence it may not be out of place to make some further observations as to the systems of magic, and their mysterious character may be by that means more easily explained.
If originally mankind was more allied to nature and the Divinity, language must necessarily have been more simple and expressive; there must have been “one tongue" among races living together under the same influences. With time and increase wants were created ; men were scattered mentally as well as locally, and became strangers to each other in their habitations and strivings; and those who felt themselves spiritually attracted, for this very reason, associated the more intimately together. It was therefore probable that men were impelled by their natural instincts to take possession of those countries which were most adapted to their natures and inclinations. It is remarkable that according to history there were three principal directions in which the descendants of Noah dispersed, and in perfect accordance with the characters and inclinations of his three sons. The descendants of Shem retained Asia; those of Japhet scattered themselves over the north and west; and southward the children of Ham. As the community of interests was thereby scattered, was also language, and mental adaptation for religion. Although Noah had possessed the original faith to a great degree, yet his sons were of lesser capacity to receive it; and how much would not these divine feelings be scattered and changed as their descendants became modified by the various
influences of the earth. The descendants of Shem remained in their chosen habitations in Asia, their manners and forms of government were less changed, and, therefore, more of the wisdom of their ancestors was retained by them than by the world-wide scattered children of Japhet, or by those of Ham, who have been followed even to the present day by Noah's curse, that “they should be servants of servants unto their brethren.” In those words used by Noah, “Blessed be the Lord God of Shem, and Canaan shall be his servant; God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem, and Canaan shall be his servant,” will be found the whole course of the future history of the human race.
“Shem's form,” says Jacob Böhme, transmitted to Abraham and Israel, when the word of the covenant was revealed. Japhet's form was perpetuated by the wisdom of nature, and from it descended the heathens. As Shem's descen nts looked upon the light of the covenant, Japhet's descendants therefore lived in the habitations of Shem, as the light of nature is comprehended in the laws of grace. Ham's progeny became animal man, on whom was the curse, and from whom the Sodomites and other perfectly animal nations arose, who neither regarded the light of nature nor the light of grace in the covenant.” These remarkable words are prophetic of the true course of history. Shem's children retained the word of the Spirit in their minds and language more perfectly than the others, and the mysteries then founded in the whole of Asia retained their power and vitality for thousands of years. But when these gradually lost their pristine purity through the want of mutual intercourse and encouragement, and by the always increasing adherence to the earthly element of the unchanged habitations, when the true perception of the glory and majesty of God gradually faded away and was transmuted into the heathenish spirit of star-worship, it was then that God singled out the race of Abraham from this people, who was destined to preserve and transmit the true knowledge and love of God to all times and peoples, through his children, who should multiply like the sea
sands. “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice," said the Lord, who had rescued him from the oppressive influence of heathenish practices
to make him by continued wanderings a stranger in the earth which should offer him no resting place but the grave. In the nation chosen through Abraham, the true unity of religion, faith, and the true worship, were transmitted and retained, amid the surrounding disbelief of the other pagan nations. The true revelation of a reconciliation with God, and the reattainment of the original power of representing the Almighty, first in laws and mysteries, and lastly by direct communication from the lips to the heart, took place by this selection of the seed of Shem through Abraham, through the children of Jacob, through the prophets; and lastly, in the radiance of the living word through our Lord Jesus Christ.
If the Shemitic races had already lost the inner communion with nature, and the susceptibility to all higher spiritual impressions, how much more must this have been the case among the descendants of Japhet. In accordance with their naturally impulsive feelings and unstable character, they always made, during their extension over the earth, nature and its appearances, rather than the Divine Spirit, the object of their strivings; their instinct explored every nook and hidden valley of the many countries lying beyond the rivers and mountains ; but they had lost the recollection of the Almighty, or at most retained but a faint reflection of the divine power which, like their mind, was deeply imbued with the material ; for the divine light was no longer able to reflect itself in the dimmed and confused surface of their inner being. However, these children of Japhet did not all sink into the darkness of a perfectly spiritless world of matter; some of them, as the Greeks, the Germans, carried with them the idea of God, and the presentiment of a connection with a higher and more spiritual world than this earth, but which they were unable to discover with their outward senses, however acute and educated they might be. The Greeks regarded the Divinity in a multiplicity of forms, but in highly ideal shapes; and their sages, as for instance Socrates and Plato, had often the most just conceptions of the Divine Being. Among the Germanic tribes the idea of an all-powerful Godhead, even monotheistic, had never been