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was usually described by the early patriarchs. Some remarkable specimens of this style are found in our sacred writings. Balaam describes him under the title of A Star ;* David calls him A Sun ;f and so does Malachi.J If then Noah, or the Great Father was worshipped as the Sun, his consort and the rest of the Ogdoad would be assimilated with the Seven Planets, of which the Moon was the chief.
Not a few of these nations unite in blending the Creation and Deluge so intimately, that the fable will aptly apply to either event; and it is probable that from this confusion has arisen the various applicatious which have been emblematically made to the mundane Egg, which, as an universal symbol, is another great and unerring testimony to the fact of a common origination. The figurative meaning of this expressive emblem may be traced to the creation of the world; for the Spirit of God is truly represented at that period as hovering over the face of the waters, in the same manner as a bird broods or flutters over her eggs; an idea which is most beautifully expressed by Milton.
-with mighty wings outspread,
Dove-like sat'st brooding o'er the vast abyss, *
And mad'st it pregnant."'
This truth was conveyed thro' the antediluvian world, and introduced by Noah and his family amongst the new race of men who peopled the earth after the flood, amongst whom the Egg soo«; became a significant and universal symbol. Thus in the Ordinances of Menu, the origin of all things is ascribed to an Egg. "He (the Creator) having willed to produce various beings from his own. divine substance; first, with a thought created the waters, and placed in them a productive seed; that seed became an Egg as bright as gold, blazing like the luminary with a thousand beams; and in that Egg he was born himself, in the form of Brahma, the great forefather of all spirits."' In China it is believed that Puoncu, the first man, was born out of an Egg, The heavens were formed from the shell, the atmosphere from the white, and the earth from the yolk.
* Numb. xxiv. Ir. tPsalmlxxxiv.ll. t Mai. iv. 2.
§ Par. Lost. b. i. 1. 20.
In the Orphic Mysteries, the doctrine was promulgated that the Sun was produced from an Egg, which, floating on the ocean, was tossed about by the waves, until he burst forth in full splendour, endowed with power to triplicate himself by his own unassisted energies. Here is a direct reference to Noah and his three sons; as well as to the three appearances of the Sun, in his rising, southing, and setting. In the Hymns attributed to Orpheus, at one time Venus, the universal parent of gods and men, is said to have been born from an Egg;f and at another Cupid is produced from the same Symbol): In both these instances, the Egg represents the Ark of Noah, which, while floating on the abyss,
• Sir W. Jones's Works, vol. iii. p. 66. t Hymn 2. + Hymn 5.
contained every living creature, and was, in effect, a world in itself. And this reference was not attended with any violent or improbable stretch of conjecture, for it was a tenet even to the Jewish creed that the earth was founded on the floods,' and as it was known to the gentile world that the Ark had floated on the waters of the deluge, the Earth and the Ark were frequently mistaken for each other, and the Egg was a symbol common to both. To corrobate this explanation; in one system, Cupid, thus said to be born of an Egg, is represented as seated on a Rainbow; and in another, the Dove, the bird of Venus, is seated on an Egg.f
Thus it appears that with the migrating descendants of Noah, the Egg had an undoubted reference to the Ark; and in this acceptation it bore a prominent feature in all the diluvian mysteries; for the Ark when floating on the waters was a world in miniature; as it not only contained all living creatures, but was the sole visible substance remaining of the terrestrial creation. Hence if Brahma, or Bacchus, or the corresponding god of any other nation was fabled to be born of an Egg, the symbol applied to the Ark of Noah. In truth, the Egg was the foundation of all- the symbolical machinery of idolatry. The world was formed from an Egg; it was subsequently destroyed; and as destruction was considered but as a prelude to reproduction, the same symbol was again resorted to as an emblem of a new creation. For it was an universal belief, that at the conclusion of certain stated periods, the world was to be destroyed either by fire or water, or both; that the same progenitors appeared on the stage in each successive creation; and that the same race of men, were re-born and acted the same parts on the great theatre of the world, as they had before done in a former state.' And from this belief doubtless originated the doctrine of the Metempsychosis.
* Psalm Tlj.lv. 2. f Arapel. c. 2.
It remains that I elucidate the Symbols attached to this subject; which will bring the whole matter to a conclusion. These are the Ark and Anchor; the Dove and Olive Branch; and the Rainbow.
The Ark and Anchor are emblems of a wellgrounded hope and a well spent life. They are emblematical of that divine Ark which triumphantly bears us over this tempestuous sea of troubles; and that Anchor which shall safely moor us in a peaceful harbour, where the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest.f
The Dove with an Olive Branch in its mouth is an emblem of peace, and in connection with the Rainbow, points out to desponding mortals that divine justice is satisfied, and mercy extends her golden sceptre to a guilty world. The Dove when liberated by Noah, brought back in its mouth, say the Jewish Rabbins, a Branch of Olive plucked
• Desatir. Book of Abad. . t Star in the East. p. 135.
from the Groves of Eden, near which the Ark most probably rested. Thus the Dove and Olive Branch became a premanent symbol of peace; and implied the removal of a calamity and the substitution of a benefit. In remembrance of this wonderful escape, the token of union on the plains of Shinar, was, a broad Banner, on which a Dove bearing the Branch of Olive in its mouth, encircled by a Rainbow, were curiously embroidered. Dr. Owen, in his natural history of Serpents,* says that " Semiramis, being conquered by Staurobates, antiquity feigned she was changed by the gods into a Dove, the bird of Venus, which is the reason why the Dove was worshipped by the Babylonians, and why they gave it in their Mnsign." This is erroneous, for the Banner doubtless proceeded from a recollection of the benefits derived from Noah's Dove; and it was actually used by Semiramis herself before and during her unfortunate expedition into India; for the Dove was the favourite bird of this empress, and hence she was figuratively said to have been nourished in her infancy by doves in the wilderness.f
This bird being universally held in high veneration, was said to have conveyed the Mysteries to many different nations. From the information which it gave to Noah while he was confined within the gloomy recesses of the ark, it was accounted an interpreter of the divine will; and hence the
* p. 3. <;. vj. t Diod, Sic. Bibi. I, u. c, I.