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entirely lost, although possibly viewed with less acuteness, but still felt with greater reverence and power than in any other people.
As regards the magic powers in particular, the Japhetic nations distinguished themselves by the open use of them, and as it were changed the actual world into one of magic; from which idea the enlightened Japhetic mind has even now scarcely freed itself.
The children of Ham, lastly, who inherited the impure mind of their father, and, leaving their brethren, settled down in a part of the earth where they degenerated under the baneful influence of the climate, are those savage nations who have sunk into the most abject fetichism and the lowest form of worship. This mental density, savage nature, and entire disregard to religion, cannot be anywhere met with so completely as among the black African races, and
the rude nations who, it is supposed, have been offshoots from them to the South American and Australian continents.
In a work entitled “God, and his Revelation in Nature and History," by Julius Hamberger, but which for its merits is far too little known, he says,- “ The countenance of the Lord was hidden from them; even the majority of the nations of Shemitic origin were without a perception of the divine power and attributes : and
this want is without doubt to be regarded as the real night of Heathenism. The divinity of nature was the origin and end of their mythology, with an occasional appeal to a dark, blind fate,-a sad incorruptible necessity, from whose power even the gods themselves were not always enabled to withdraw themselves. However rich and magnificent their mythologies may have been, the heathen religions were yet earthly, and may be well compared to the waters of creation, the light and spiritual particles of which are said to have floated upwards to form the sky, whilst the coarser and more fruitful portions sank downwards to form the earth. The character of these religions must therefore have been, a want of vitality. For as the heathen enjoyed the belief in the immediate presence of a populous mythology, so did the chosen people of God firmly hold the expectation of a future revelation of the Lord, in the spiritual unity and singleness of His nature :
in this they formed a striking contrast, as the representatives of the true inner humanity, to the surrounding and unbelieving nations.
“ Although the nations were gradually retreating from the knowledge of their connection with nature and the Almighty, till at length the true goal was almost lost to view, yet this separation of the various nations, and this straying from the path, was not destined to be lasting. No one people of the earth has probably ever been entirely forgetful of God; and as firmly as religious feeling is rooted in humanity, so certainly are also the traces to be discovered of a remembrance of former higher spiritual relations, although they may be merely as fleeting dreams or intangible visions. Neither did these scattered nations always remain so separated or entirely isolated, that they were unable mutually to influence each other, which influence is always spiritual. As in religion, so did the nations also separate in language: but in a gradual manner : that which is once known cannot be so easily forgotten, even when the power and vitality have decreased; for as natural forces influence each other at a distance, so does mind influence mind much more directly. As the natural powers were at least guided by instinct, although by no means as powerfully as at first, so was man, as the last and most perfect creation, certainly never so far abandoned by his Maker, that every bond between humanity and God was severed. Although, as were, man was unable to perceive the Almighty from the depths of misery into which he had fallen, yet God, in the fulness of his love, descended to him, and gave him the assistance of a father, to raise him to the ethereal regions by counsels sent to him through the Prophets. We therefore find among all nations traditions, recollections, and views pointing to the same origin, and in many particulars strikingly similar; and there are but few where the same conclusions may not be arrived at from such traditions. Wherever the separation threatened to be destructive, there the divine hand has guided the falling people. We must therefore regard all national migrations as resulting from higher causes, and consider that, like thunder-storms, they clear the atmosphere, and prepare the ground for a new fruitfulness where the former
nations were no longer filled with an active vitality: they rouse sleeping germs and reunite severed branches.
Regarded from another point of view, the divine doctrines of virtue and the true spiritual direction of man, owe their preservation from inimical influences to their seclusion among the Jews, by whom, surrounded by mysteries, they were transmitted pure down to that time when that which was hidden was placed in the broad light of day, that the whole world should perceive and understand that God is the Father of all men, and that all are to be gathered together under our Lord Jesus Christ. This had been long foretold in the early world: The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness does not comprehend it.' And the beginning of this great work has assuredly commenced; for as men, when left to nature and their own folly, did not at once degenerate into the most complete demoralisation, so could the newly kindled light only illuminate the pagan darkness, and restore them gradually to the former elevation, from which they would be enabled to perceive the true God, and to adore him in humility and love."
On this subject Hamberger remarks, after explaining that Ham (the impulsive) represents the fratricide Cain,
-Shem (the generic word for man), whose descendants were priests, represents the pious Abel,—and Japhet (the expansive), who was also beloved by God, but had more inclination for the outward and worldly, steps into the place of Seth :-“It is, however, not to be disputed that, far from venerating mere nature, the heathens ħad in view a divine idea. It was, therefore, not the stones or elements which they worshipped, but rather the spirit with which they, as it were, stood in connection through material nature; and therefore, though approaching the truth, they never were able to behold the real unclouded attributes of the Almighty. The Japhetites were unable to retain the abstract idea of God; and, as they were engrossed in a great measure by the world and its occupations, they looked upon the visible works of God as the divine idea. The Shemites were the bearers of the knowledge of the unity of God as it is preserved in the profound religion of the Old Testament. The children of Ham receded far, and sank below the histori
cal horizon, as they fell away from God, and debased themselves by the most barbarous nature-worship,---or rather the senseless and stupid fetichism. Some nations, however, of Hamitic origin-as, for instance, the Egyptians, who were inclined, and therefore capable of a higher cultivation, by their neighbourhood to the Shemitic races-not only were preserved from sinking deeper into a savage nature, but actually reached a high state of civilization and knowledge of God,—or rather a perception of the divine nature and its multitudinous powers and manifestations. If we deny that the mythologies of the ancients contain any but material parts, we must also divest them of every sentiment of religion. But this we do when we maintain that they only adored natural objects,—as the stars or elements.
The nations of antiquity were, however, as history proves, possessed of such an enlightened and acute spirit that a religion entirely devoted to the senses could not by any possibility have obtained credence among them, much less have maintained its ground for thousands of years. Even among the children of Israel, some men, highly esteemed for their wisdom—as in the case of Solomon-were inclined to heathenism, which could not have been the case if the heathen religion had been wanting in every foundation of truth. With what earnestness the heathens devoted themselves to their gods, and founded the most magnificent temples, and even excavated whole mountains to do them homage! Even at the present day, a spirit raised far above everything of mere earthly nature speaks to us from the remains of Grecian mythology. That states cannot exist without a religious conviction, history but too clearly shows us; and yet all heathen creeds are said to have been empty phantoms. Even the Mosaic writings admit a certain reality for the gods of the Gentiles: for instance, 2 Mos. 15, 11.
The longing for knowledge, according to Fr. v. Schlegel, is the beginning and root of every higher knowledge and all divine aspirations ; patience in the search, in faith, and in the battle of life, is half way: the end is, however, never more to us below than the hoped-for goal. The necessary epochs of preparation and of gradual progress cannot be overstepped or put aside in this the noblest striving of humanity. The nations mutually assisted and influenced each other in fixing and maintaining their religious consciousness, even after their dispersion ; and it was, without doubt, through the Shemites, who were capable by their constitution of receiving a higher degree of divine grace, that the Japhetites were sustained and preserved from straying: Through the exertions of these nations a divine service and a certain religious system were formed, through which not only was the connection between their gods to be sustained, but still more intimate relations were to be produced. The pious heathen did not alone care for a merely idle acknowledgment of his gods or an outlet for his fancy, but was rather deeply imbued with the desire of drawing still nearer to them, and of, as it were, being incorporated with them. It was on this account that such a power and activity lay in the means which the heathens made use of for this
purpose. The Almighty does not abandon his children, though they may endeavour to approach Him by circuitous ways, but manifests Himself to them by whatever way they seek or call on Him. The heathens were not capable of a spiritual intercourse with the Almighty God, therefore, communicated with them through oracles, through their religious rites, prayers, and offerings, which were not merely produced by chance, but were the results of higher and vital laws. Through this, and particularly through the mysteries in which, as it were, the gods were divested of everything but the purest spirit, a rich and powerful influence spread itself over the heathen countries, and from it sprang security, respect for their rulers and the laws, and, in fact, the noblest virtues and capabilities of the human mind.
The descendants of Abraham, as is well known, were led by the hand of God into pagan Egypt, where they increased to a great people. Through the pressure of servitude, an apostacy from the God of their fathers was to be feared, which in several cases actually took place. Their faith, however, was to receive a determined form for future ages, and to unfold in a rich and glorious manner. For this
purpose, God raised in Moses a great preserver and leader to Israel, and endowed him with wonderful powers and profound wisdom. The laws of nature were therefore subject to him ; and the miracles which the Lord wrought through him must have been glorious and immense compared with those of the