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of Teas leay at etaresent 

“Till i 


Theology Library 


From the library of 


Who they were; 


How they came to Ferusalem. 

Maer BY 
Na hare (cae 
{* a OCI 

FRANCIS W. UPHAM, LL.D. | §1‘7- /89F 

Behold, there came Wise Men from the East to Jerusalem, saying, Where is He 
that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his Star. 

NeBeLys OON &= Pei iT iF PS: 



ION II IN Sareea" 
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1873, by 

in the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington. 




CONTE Nee Se. 2 


Import of the word Magi and History of its Use—Its two senses, an 
earlier and a later—The earlier, Persian, Oriental sense, honorable; the 
later, Roman, Occidental sense, dishonorable-——-EKvidence of this from 
Philo-Judzeus—Argument in proof that St. Matthew used it in its 
EL OUSIAMT SEUNG teleisi c'acclete o/c) jee cle civ s\tese7arerarretolers" sata e- ..-.Pages 1-20 


Geographical Import of these and similar Terms—Reason why one 
-of these Terms must have a definite Geographical sense in the second 
chapter of St. Matthew—Description of the Regions east of Palestine— 
Use of the phrase, the East, by the Hebrews in the successive Periods 
of their History—Description of the Southern Plain of the Huphrates 
known to St. Matthew and the Syrian Jews of his time as the Hast— 
Why with them this was then its most appropriate and its only Name— 
St. Matthew’s use of the Far East for Persia........... Sooo oK 23-58 

Characteristics of the People of Persia— Sketch of their History— 
Antiquity of the Monuments of their Religion—The Zendavesta— 
Zoroaster Spitama—The*Creed of the Medes and Persians—The Par- 
sees; their Catechism—Explanation, in part, of the Worship of Christ 
by the Magi in Bethlehem—The Zoroastrian belief in a Redeemer to 
come..... Abo ondolALooonns Ud Eob OA pkOAOUIUyOCDOOrS cosoes 59-94 


Their History imperfect—Testimonials to their Character—Their An- 
tiquity—Origin of the Name—Their Office, Science, and Art—Hxanui- 
nation of the charge brought against them of originating Magic—The 
distinguishing characteristic of the Order..........2+-seseee6 95-106 



Acquaintance of the Persians with Asiatic Nations west of them— 
Those Ancient Sacred Records preserved in Genesis known to Abra- 
ham in Chaldea—The learned Order of Chaldeans—Effect of the Con- 
quests of Cyrus the Great upon the Magi, and of their contact with 
the Chaldeans and with the Hebrews. ................ Pages 107-118 


The Decree of Cyrus for rebuilding the Temple—This Decree evidence 
of the History of the Prophet Daniel—Evidence that the Magi knew of 
Hebrew Scripture, and acknowledged it as Divine—Reasons why they 
felt an interest in the Prophecies of Daniel, and for believing they pre- 
served them in their own Sacred Books—EHvidence that his Prophecy 
of the Messiah was known to the Magi who mace the Pilgrimage to 
Bethlehem—The Zoroastrian belief in a Redeemer to come.... 119-138 

Defence of the evidence of this in the Latin writers Tacitus and Sue- 

tonius—The Magi from the Far East within the circle of this expecta- 
tion when they camerintothe Bast. ss. .s.0cc' celle mieten 139-144 


The New Star of 1604 appears at a time of remarkable Planetary 
Phenomena—Kepler’s bold conjecture, and his brilliant discovery of 
similar Planetary Phenomena near the time when Christ was born— 
The use to be made of Kepler’s Discovery—The way in which the 
Magi identified the New Star as the Star of our Lord........ 145-165 


Consequences of laying down the rule that the Lord can hold no com- 
munion with souls in which there are vain aspirations and thoughts 
that err—Astrology a bleuding of truth with error........... 166-173 



Inspiration an Element of Certainty—Correspondencies in Scripture a 

means of arriving at truth—Bearing of these facts on the preceding _ 
CUISRUUTORS SF Wd cites tala oi CINE eee ES IR TCI ERO oa er ote ne re 175-185 

With additional confirmations of it to the Christian mind—The 
strangers from afar worshiping Christ Jesus in Bethlehem, types and 

prophecies of many to come after them—Witnesses of the grace of 
sod as given not to the Jews only but to all nations.......... 186-195 

“General view of the relation of the Religion of the Hebrews to the 
Universal, Primeval Religion—Three conjectures as to the relations of 

the Persian and Hebrew Religions—The Bible not a Hebrew Book— 
Our Religion older than Abraham’s day, and coeval with man.. .196-220 

One PaE WAST AND! THEM HAR-IAST sy cclele s e'e)s\0\e'o'a\c's slalsle'o areivicicis 221-243 



THERE is a spirit that believes, and yet inquires. 
In this spirit let us inquire, Who were those Pilgrims, 
who, when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in 
the days of Herod the King, came to Jerusalem, saying, 
Where is He that is born King of the Jews, for we have 
seen his Star in the East? And how were they moved 
by a Star to undertake their long pilgrimage? — a pil- 
grimage no less instructive, if its causes were better 

St. Matthew calls them Magi.! The English transla- 
tion of the Bible, by substituting for this title Wise 
Men, leaves their secret untold. For by their title 
St. Matthew tells who those strangers were. 

If, in some historical memoir, we find it written, 
that in the reign of George III. there came to Lon- 
don, Brahmins, —we know their country and_ their 
character ; we know they were natives of India, and of 

1 The Vulgate wisely keeps the word, 



its sacred caste; know their complexion, dress, and 
manners, their religious opinions and customs. Of such 
effect is St. Matthew’s note of the pilgrims to the Holy 

He opens their story with a brief introduction, where 
one great fact— even the birth of Jesus —is stated 
in fewest words, where some historical and geographi- 
cal knowledge is taken for granted; and it is in keep- 
ing that in this, his description of the strangers is by 
their title, only. This, too, is brief; but portraiture in 
the flowing style of romance, or with the minuteness of 
a child’s history book, would be out of place in a gos- 
pel. Atitle is, more or less, a description. To call men 
Mandarins, is to describe them ; and thus the title Magi 
here stands for pages, in more diffuse and less suggestive 
writers ; for when St. Matthew calls these foreigners 
Magi, he tells their nation, and their character. “Their 
title introduces them as Persians of the sacred or priestly 
order of Persia. 

In the first Christian century, the title Magi, in its 
oldest sense, was thus distinctive and honorable. But, 
besides this, in the Roman Empire the word had an- 
other meaning. ‘This was, in part, consequent upon 
historical changes running through several centuries ; 
but these may be stated in a few words. Before the 

‘rise of the Roman power, in the days of the old Per- 
sian Empire (B.C. 558-331), the Greeks knew the 
‘Magi well, as the imperial - priesthood of what was 

then the great Empire of the earth. After that Empire 
was destroyed by Alexander the Great, they continued 


to know them well, so long as they themselves ruled 
over Persia. This lasted but about @ century; and, 
like the English in India, the Greeks in Persia at- 
tempted no radical changes in réligion. Like the Eng- 
lishin India, the Greeks in “Pasi were an army of 
occupation, ruling through great families and tribes, 
and disturbing as little as might be social and religious 
institutions. Hence, relatively to the Persian people, 
the Magi, under the Greek rule, were much as they 
were before—as now the Brahmins in India under 
British rule; and they were so under the subsequent 
Parthian rule in Persia, that began about one hundred 
and fifty years before the Christian era, and lasted for 
a little more than two hundred years after it. Under 
the Parthians, as under the Greeks, the Magi were 
degraded from that high, preéminent place, conspic- 
uous throughout the world, which they held in the old 
Persian Empire; yet they must have been treated with 

consideration by the Parthian dynasty, for otherwise ° 

it could not have retained its power so long. This also 
appears from the fact, that when the Persians regained 
their independence (A. D. 226), the Magi, strong in 
‘numbers and in the veneration of their countrymen, at 
once took the same place in the later Persian Kingdom 
they held in the old Persian Empire. The Magi, then, 
were really the sacerdotal ordér in Persia from the fall 

of its Empire (B. C. 331) onward to and after the 
Christian era. * 

But this was not well known in the Roman Empire, 
within which Persia was never included. The Par- 




thians were jealous, and their realm was almost im- 
penetrable by foreigners. For more than a century 
before the Christian era, the world beyond the Tigris 
was ever becoming less known to the Greeks; and it 
was never well known to the Romans. Incessant war 
restricted their armies to the Euphrates, or to the 
Tigris. Their legions never climbed the mountain 
ranges that defend the western frontier of Persia. 
From the heights of the Zagros, the Roman Eagles 

jnever looked eastward over the old Persian realm. A 

cloud of Parthian arrows hid Iran from the West. 
Hence, in the time of the Parthians, there could have 
been but little popular knowledge of the internal polity 
of Persia among the Greeks or the Romans;! and by 

1 How ignorant even a learned Roman might be, on such 
subjects, comes out in the strange fables Tacitus recites as to 
the origin, morals, and usages of the Jews, — as when he 
says their rites were impure, and that an image of an ass 
was set upin the Temple. Hist., lib. v. 2-5. Yet the He- 
brew Scriptures were accessible to him in a Greek transla- 
tion, and he was narrating one of the greatest events of his 
time — a war with the Jews, memorable even in the annals of 
Rome. If such was the ignorance of this historian as to this 
Eastern people, whose territory had been a part of the Em- 
pire for four generations, what may not be presumed to have 
been the popular ignorance of the internal polity of a peo- 
ple much farther eastward, and on whose original territory 
no Roman soldier ever set foot. 

Diodorus Siculus, a Greek of the time of Cesar Augus- 
tus, who used diligence and travelled far to collect a mass of 
materials for a Universal History, in a fragment of its 34th 
Book, shows a like strange ignorance of the morals and 
usages of the Jews. 


‘them the Magi almost wholly ceased to be known as 
an existing priesthood. . 

In the Roman World it was thé common opinion, 

that, in very ancient times, magic originated with the 

priests of the Persians;! and in the Roman World, 
those who practised magic assumed the name of Magi; 
the adepts in the black arts shrewdly seeking to impress 
the popular imagination by taking to themselves the 
countenance of the name of an order, that, at the 
height of its glory, but in a time long past, had been 
widely honored.” Thus, in the two prevailing lancuages 
of the Roman Empire, in the Greek, the language of 
letters, and in the Latin, the language of the laws, 
the word Magi came into common use in a sense that 
was related to the distinctive name of the Persian priest- 

There were Greek colonies that long held their own be- — 

yond the Euphrates, in the time of the Parthians, but their 
relations with Greece were very different from those of the 
Jews of those regions with Judea. They were estranged 
from their kinsmen in Greece by the time of several genera- 
tions, as well as by a very great distance, and there could 
have been but very little intercourse between them. 

1 More exactly — with Zoroaster, the reputed founder of 
the Persian religion. Of him Justin says, lib. 1, sec. 1, 
‘‘ Dicitur artes magicas invenisse” — He is said to have 
found out magic. Pliny says the same. See hereafter, page 

2 For the popular Latin use of the term, see Tacitus, An- 
nals, ii. 27-31, for an abstract of which, see, hereafter, p. 12 ; 
xii. 22, where an Empress, on the charge of interrogating 
Magi, and other misdeeds, was banished, unheard, by the 
Senate; vi. 29; xii. 59. 




hood, much as the English word magician is. The 
new sense of the word differed, in all important re- 
spects, from its original meaning. It indicated no 
priestly function, no sacredness of character, little or 
nothing as to nationality ; and the term that best repre- 
sents it is, sorcerer.1 Those whom the word in its new 
sense designated, were numerous in the old heathen Em- 
pire of Rome, especially in the Eastern Provinces, and 
in the Capital. ~/They were persons of impure lives and 
criminal practices. Such were the Magi, popularly 
known to the Romans and to the later Greeks of the 
West, whose writers had little occasion to use the term, 
save in this sense. 

This popular evil sense of the term is sharply felt in 
the words that Arnobius,?a Christian writer (A. D. 303), 
puts into the mouth ‘of a heathen, who scornfully says 
of Christ, so like what the Jews said to Him, “ A Ma- 
gus was He; He did all things through unlawful arts.” 
St. Jerome,’ near the close of the fourth century, says, 
* Common custom and common speech treat the Magi 
as malefactors.” And most of the fathers, very natu- 
rally, attached to the word in St. Matthew the signifi- 
cance it had in the world around them.* Living in the 

1 It is thus rendered in thé English Bible. Acts xiii. 6. 8. 

2 Adversus Gentes, lib. iii. sec. 43: ** Macus fuit: clan- 
destinis artibus omnia illa perfecit.”__ 

8 Dan. ii. **Consuetudo et sermo communis Magos pro 
maleficis accepit;” but in the same place he refers to the 
use of the word in a better sense. 

* St. Ignatius, near the end of the second century, Epis- 
le to the Ephesians, chap. iv. 13, says, “‘ By the Star all 


midst of an encompassing blackness of heathenism, and 
abhorring the sight of its dark and cruel rites, they were 
readily inclined to see in the pilgrimage to Bethlehem 
the triumph of the Kingdom of Light over the foul 
superstitions and black arts of the Kingdom of Dark- 
ness —an idea in which there unquestionably was an 
element of truth, but carried to the extreme, in con- 
sequence of their confounding those Magi with the 
sorcerers of the guilty heathen world around them. 

Thus, alike from heathen and from Christian writers, 
the term Magi, in this sense, was handed down to the 
ecclesiastical schools of the Dark and of the Middle | 
Ages. ‘i 

That such was its meaning in St. Matthew, was also 
authoritatively suggested, and seemingly confirmed, by 
the fact that St. Luke used the term in its later signifi- 
cance. Thus various causes long combined to de- 
termine the meaning of the word in St. Matthew to this 

Such having been the causes of this ancient and 
abiding interpretation, we need not be surprised at its 
existence, or at its continuance. Perhaps the discern- 
ment that there must be in it somewhat of error, which 

magic art was dissolved, and every bond of wickedness 
disappeared.” St. Augustine (Serm. 200), referring to the 
Magi who came to Bethlehem, says, ‘* Praevalet — im- 
pietas in sacrilegiis Magorum ;” which may be freely trans- 
lated as, — Impiety- characterized the sacrilegious rites of 
the Magi. . 

1 Abelard, in the twelfth century, says: Is there indeed one 


appears in the English version, and in various ways in’ 
modern comment, is the more surprising ; for this modern 
divergence from the old interpretation does not justify 
itself by going far enough in the right direction to reach 
any solid ground to stand upon. 

It still remains to prove, — what, as yet, I have but 
asserted, — if proved it can be, that the ancient opinion 
as to the significance of the word in St. Matthew is 
wrong, and that he used it in its original sense. If 
this can be done, the nationality of the pilgrims is 
known, and there is some hope of throwing clear his- 
torical light on their pilgrimage to Jerusalem. 

The fact that St. Luke used the term in its later 
sense, seems a strong argument against this; and it is 
a correct general principle, that, if one Evangelist uses 
a word in a certain sense, it is to be presumed that 
another Evangelist uses it in‘the same. But the word 
in question is not of those religious terms that have 
one unvarying significance. It is a descriptive, histori- 
cal epithet, which has two meanings, that are quite 
distinct ;1 and St. Luke may have used it in one, and St. 

who is ignorant that the Magi are so detestable that by law 
not only they, but all who incline towards them, are put to 
death? Quis enim Magos in tantum detestandos esse igno- 
ret, ut non solum ipsos, sed .etiam quemlibet ad eos decli- 
nantem, lex interfici jubeat? — In Epiph. Dom. Serm. 4. 

1 Some surmise that the good character of the word Magi, 
as that of some other words has done, ran down into a 
bad one, and that, in St. Matthew’s time, it was in a state 
of transition; others, that it was then a general name for 
men of science; and, that so, perchance, the Evangelist 


: if 
7 \ Bs 


: eee ty 
Matthew in the other. /St. Luke4 though born in Syria, 

was probably a Greek. He was a man of letters, and 
had travelled far and wide in the West. In the Acts of 
the Apostles/ he addressed the Roman World, and 
naturally used this word in its common Roman sense. 
St. Matth fer a Hebrew of Galilee, on the eastern edge 
of the Empire, who, probably, had not been out of 
Palestine, and who wrote with immediate reference to 
his countrymen, may as naturally have used this word 

in its Persian meaning, which we shall find reason to 

think was its common meaning with the Jews of Pales- 

tine. Besides this, the facts are these: to a sorcerer 

did not use it in an evil sense. These are only surmises. 
Others surmise that he added to it “from the East,” to 
avoid the evil sense in the word. This phrase, as will be 
shown in Chapter II., is one of the proofs that he used it in 
its Persian sense. ’ 

The critical insight of the modern age sees that the in- 
terpretation by former ages of the term Magi is not in har- 
mony with the spirit of the narrative. Yet the almost 
unanimous voice of its comment is, that who they were that 
came to Jerusalem, or whence they came, cannot be de- 
termined. It is not worth while even to make a selection 
from the interminable list of those whose writings prove 
this, or to attempt to specify the few partial exceptions. 
One very brief citation sums up too general a feeling — “ It 
matters little who they were.” But it is fair to suppose 
that those who have tried to expound even one book of 
Scripture have found the field too extensive to allow of the 
patient research required for the solution of these questions, 
and, without much thought about the matter, have had ta 
be content to echo on the current opinion, which, on the face 
of it, seemed probably correct. 


St. Luke applies the term; but, as if aware that the 
word might have a national sense, he adds, the man was 
a Jew, and, as if aware that it might have an honor- 
able sense, that he was a false prophet.! 

St. Luke’s use of the term, then, does not decide 
that St. Matthew did not use it in its national sense ; 
and that he did can be decisively proved. 

The presumption is very strong, that the term Magi 
is used in its Persian sense, when, in the first century, 
a Hebrew writes to Hebrews of Palestine. They were 
much nearer to the Persians than were the Romans, or 
the Greeks. In a former day, the Persians had de- 
livered them from bondage and exile—a deliverance 
recorded in their sacred books, and commemorated by a 
yearly festival.? Their acquaintance with the Persians, 
thus begun, was never afterwards wholly discontinued. 

' Acts xiii. 6. ‘They found a certain Magus,” — Eng- 
lish translation ‘* sorcerer.”” Here he guards his use of the 
word as stated above. He uses it the second time in verse 8, 
where he explains that it is his translation of the Arabic 
word Elymas, a name commonly given the man, or assumed 
by him ; and said to be expressive of wisdom, as the English 
word wizard (wise-ard), etymologically considered, is also 
said to be. So, too, the idea of wisdom in a dark and evil 
sense, attached to the later meaning of the-tifle Magus. In 
speaking of .Simon-the-Wizard (Acts Vili -N), St. Luke 
uses terms related to the word Magus in its/evil sehse, though 
he does not give him the title. , 

? The teast of Purim commemoratedthe deliverance re- 
zorded in the Book of Esther; but, as the Passover recalled 
all the relations of the Hebrews with Egypt, so the Purim 
all their relations with Persia. 

x7 ¢ f\ \ \ y 
\- i ery \ | | y ‘ a ke / 
W if ae 


The Parthian jealousy of strangers did not exclude from 
Persia the Jews, settled there before their rule began, 
—of whom were the Parthians and Medes, who came 
to the Pentecost. There were great numbers of He- 
brews in Babylonia, which adjoined Persia, and was 
then a province of the Parthian empire; and those 
eastern Jews kept up with their kinsmen in Palestine 
an annual intercourse, fostered by commerce and re- 
ligion. Thus the Hebrews in Palestine, then, had much 
the same knowledge of the Persians as those earlier 
Greeks had, — Herodotus and Xenophon, for exam- 
ple, —who used the term Magi only in its national 
sense. ; 

St. Matthew had been an officer of the customs in a 
town situated on “ the way of the sea”? of Galilee, one 
of the roads over which the trade of Persia reached the 
Mediterranean. Himself the earliest of the Evangel- 
ists, he gave the title Magi ho men who lived in the 
generation before him. fhe had not used this title in 
ts Persian n sense, | he would have said so, or it would 
be implied, or be plain from the context. 

Tn its popular sense in the Roman empire, the term 
was: as dishonorable. St. Matthew uses it in no such way. 

1 The word is used as a term of reproach by Sophocles, 
who died B. C. 405. It is applied by him to a Greek 
soothsayer, as an epithet of anger, the use of which is to be 
traced to the feeling of bitterness towards the Persians, 
growing out of their wars against the Greeks. — Cidipus 
Tyrannus, 387. 

2 Isaiah ix. 1; Matt. iv. 15. 



The English version substitutes for it the honorable term 
* Wise Men.” This agrees with the tenor of the narra- 
tive. In the brief style of St. Matthew, everything is 
significant. The impression given by this great master 
of history, i is the very truth he designed to, give. His 
emphatic “ Behold! there came,”’ the sain it made, 
and all else, give the impression, that the coming of 
these pilgrims was honorable to the Lord. Can he, 
“then, at the very outset, have given them a bad name? 
Can he have pointed them out as of the crew of jugglers, 
fortune-tellers, charmers, diviners, who, throughout the 
Roman World, assumed the ancient name of the priests 
of Persia but to disgrace it; who professed to invoke 
demons, to call out responses from the dead; whe 
joined to the practice of the black art the craft of 
poisoners, and pandered to the fiercest and the lowest 
passions of those two great classes — the credulous 
and the corrupt; impostors of a vile and dangerous 
kind, not less detested in Antioch, in Alexandria, or in 
Jerusalem, than when in Rome, calling themselves by 
a once untarnished name, these unhallowed wretches 
drew down upon them the vengeance of the laws? 

To prove that I have correctly stated the character 
and reputation of this class of persons, I call two 
| witnesses of the time — Tacitus and Philo Judzus. 
“There is a story told by the Latin historian that 
well illustrates the Latin use of the term Magi, and 
the character of that class of persons who were called 
so in Rome. For Tacitus, the story is very fully told ; 
and I abbreviate the facts of a writer whose words it 

plied the trade of an informer, coveted the estates of 

of Libo, a rich young nobleman, related to the family ~ 

of Augustus Cesar; and, seeing that he was weakly 
credulous and rashly ambitious, .e allured him to the 
predictions of the Chaldeans, and Magorum sacra, — 
the mysterious rites of the Magi. His slaves were 
bribed to watch him, and — ut infernas uwmbras car- 
minibus eliceret, as he was about to invoke the dead — 
he was arrested and hurried before the Senate, where 
the Emperor Tiberius presided in person.1 The un- 
finished trial was adjourned over, and that night Libo 
took his own life. But the prosecution did not stop 
with his death. His estates were divided among the 
informers, and two of his accomplices in unhallowed 
practices were executed. One was thrown down the 
Tarpeian Rock, the other was scourged to death. The 
Senate then (A. D. 16)passed a decree —De Mathe- 
maticts Magisque — concerning the Mathematici? and 
the Magi, banishing them from Italy. The weight of 
this piece of evidence is not in the use of the word 
Magi by Tacitus, but in its use in this decree of the 
Roman Senate. ‘There can be no better testimony as 


1 Through the evidence of his dealing in magic arts, the 
suspicion of a wish to conspire against Tiberius was insinu- 
ated. In this was the venom of the accusation. The scene 
reminds a little of Scene iv. Act 3, Richard III. 

2 These were astrologers, often called Chaldeans. Aulus 
Gellius, i. 9, says, ‘* Vulgus, quos gentilitio vocabulo Chal- 
deos dicere oportet Mathematicos dicit,’”’ — Those who ought 
to be called Chaldeans the people call Mathematici. 


to the Latin use of the term Magi, than the testimony 
of the Senators of Rome embodied in this law, and this 
law goes far to determine the character and reputation 
of these Magi, not only in Italy, but throughout the 
Roman World. 

The testimony of Philo supplements this, where it is 
deficient on the last point ; and is even more important 
than that which Tacitus preserves, as it -differentiates 
these Magi from the Magi of Persia. Philo, called Ju- 
deus, was a learned Jew, of a noble family; Hiss lived at 
Alexandria in Egypt, one of the great seats of Jewish | 
learning. He was the chief of an embassy, sent by 
his countrymen in Judea to the Emperor Caligula, at 
Rome; and his son married Berenice, a daughter of 
King Agrippa. The,year of his birth, and the'year of 
his death, are unknown; but he lived in the time of 
Christ ; for,he was a vigorous old man about the year 
‘41. Hewrote in Greek, and most of his voluminous 
writings are extant. Providentially there is in them a 
passage, that enables us to understand the self-styled 
Magi, and to compare them with those whose name 
they assumed. To receive its full force, we must con- 
sider it in its connection. Philo treats of the law con- 
cerning murder, as laid down by Moses, — explaining 
and justifying it. After a page or two on the crime of 
murder, he says, that Moses commands that poisoners 
and magicians! should not be allowed to live one day, 

1 of udyol xoe paguaxevtar, These xovyjodrato., persons of 
the greatest wickedness, form with him but one class in fact. 


or even one hour;1 and then to give a clear idea of 
the class of persons whom the Mosaic law was so swift 
to punish, he describes, as just like them, a class of 
magicians of his own time; but first, he carefully dis- 
tinguishes their magic, from magic of quite another 
sort. He says, “ The true magical art, being a science 
that contemplates and beholds the books of nature with 
more acute and clear perception than usual; and ap- 
pearing to be adignified and desirable branch of knowl- 

1 These are laws that Philo seems to refer to. I give 
them from the Greek translation, known as that of the 
LXX, or the Septuagint, which Philo used. The reader can 
readily compare them with the English version, Deuteron- 
omy xviii. 9-14. ‘* When thou shalt have entered into the 
land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thon shalt not 
learn to do according to the abominations of those nations. 
There shall not be found in thee one . . . who uses divi- 
nation, who deals with omens, and augury; one who has 
in him a divining spirit, an observer of signs, questioning 
the dead. For every one that does these things is an abomi- 
nation to the Lord thy God; for because of these abomina- 
tions the Lord will destroy them from before thy face.” 

Leviticus xix. 80-31. Ye shall keep my Sabbath, and 
reverence my sanctuaries; I am the Lord. Ye shall not 
attend to those who have in them divining spirits, nor at- 
tach yourselves to enchauters, to pollute yourselves with 
them; Iam the Lord your God. xx. 6. The soul that 
shall follow those who have in them divining spirits, or en- 
chanters, I will set my face against that soul, and will de- 
stroy it from among the people. Exodus xxii. 18. Ye shall 
not save the lives of socerers. Leviticus xx. 27. As for a 
man or woman, whosoever of them shall have in them a 
divining spirit, or be an enchanter, let them both die the 
death. Ye shall stone them wich stones ; they are guilty.” 

NGA ee) ee 


edge, is studied by kings, and thd eles of ae 
and especially by the Persian Monarchs; and they say, 
among that people, no one can possibly succeed to the 
kingdom, if he had not been previously initiated into 
the mysteries of the Magi.”? 

Philo’s testimony to the worth of the science of the 
true Magi, asa kind of natural philosophy, is important ; 
and still more so his recognition of the order, as then ex- 
isting in Persia, and intrusted with the education of 
its Monarch. In continuation of the passage cited 
above, Philo goes on to say: “But there is a certain 
adulterous species of this science, more properly called 
wicked imposture, which quacks, and cheats, and buf- 
foons pursue, and the v vilest of women and_slayes. 
Professing to understand all kinds of incantations and 
purifications, and promising to change the dispositions 
of those on whom they operate, so as to turn those who 
love to unalterable enmity, and those who hate to the 
most excessive affection, by certain charms and incan- 

1 In what he says here, there seems to be something of 
Oriental extravagance. By kings, he may have meant those 
petty princes, of whom there were so many throughout 
Asia; as in Palestine, for instance, Herod the Tetrarch of 
Galilee, whose Court was at Tiberias, and Philip, whose 
Court was but a few miles off, at Caesarea Philippi. For 
Persian, must be understood Parthian, and by the greatest 
of Kings, Parthian Monarchs. The legend on some of the 
coins of the Parthian Kings in the British Museum is King 
of Kings. Apart from this testimony of Philo, it is very 
probable in itself, that the Parthian Princes, like their Per- 
sian predecessors, were educated by the Magi. 


tations, they deceive and gain influence over men of 
‘unsuspicious and innocent dispositions, and so they fall 
into the greatest calamities. I imagine that the Law- 
giver, having in mind such things, would not suffer the 
punishment due to poisoners to be postponed.” 

Then, having illustrated the law, and having justified 
its swiftness, by pointing out, in his own day, a class 
of persons resembling that against which Moses pro- 
ceeded with sudden severity, he ends with this venomous 
comparison: “If we only see snakes or other venomous 
animals, we kill them without a moment’s delay, before 
they can bite, or wound, or attack us at all; taking care 
not to expose ourselves to any injury from them, by rea- 
son of our knowledge of the mischief inherent in them ; 
in like manner, it is right promptly to punish these 
men, who, of deliberate purpose, change their nature 
into the ferocity of untamable beasts,.and look on the 
doing injury to as many people as they can, to be their 
greatest pleasure.” ? 

As we reflect upon this chapter, written by a He- 
brew, near the time St. Matthew wrote, and mark the 
magicians he thinks worthy of instant death, while he 
commends the Persian Magi, can we doubt to which of 

1 In the Greek and in the Latin there is no single passage 
more important than this of Philo, On Special Laws, Sects. 
17-18, in determining how St. Matthew used the title Magi. 
Ido not know that its bearing on this question has been 
noted before. This is not so strange as it might seem. The 
voluminous writings of Philo are so exclusively allegorical, 
mystical, and didactic, that there seems to be nothing else 


these two classes St. Matthew would have us think the 
pilgrims to Jerusalem belonged ? 
Such unhonored Magi as Philo describes would no 

where have received the honors these pilgrims received 
in Jerusalem. Such wandering Magi, telling the tale 

/ they told in Jerusalem, would have been strangled by 


order of Herod, without formality or delay. St. Mat- 
thew, then, must have used the title in an honorable 
sense; and, if so, then in its national sense; for it is 
not possible to separate the two. 

That St. Matthew did use the title Magi in its hon- 
orable, national sense, is established beyond all doubt 

\by King Herod’s reception of these foreigners. This 

old, suspicious politician, half crazy, and half dead, 
admitted these strangers to private audience; and, for 
them he summoned together the Sanhedrim, the grand 
council of his kingdom. These Magi, then, must have 
been nobles —and this might almost be presumed from 
the costly presents they offered to the King in Bethle- 
hem — nobles,, in the Oriental sense of the term, 
nobility, — persons in royal service, familiar with dig- 
nitaries, men of high consideration. In Persia, at the 
Court of the Parthian kings, the chief Magi were so, 

in them at all: and there is very little. So that few have 
searched them through for the grain or two of historic gold 
that might be hidden in the mass; and, perhaps, no one be- 
fore having in mind the first verse of the second chapter of 
St. Matthew. : 

Philois the most redundant of writers. I therefore abridge 
what I quote from him, by leaving out needless repetitions. 



av] there only. Their standing thus with the Parthians, ' 
who were then, next to the Romans, the haughtiest mili- 
_tary ‘power in the world, is the only possible historical. 

explanation of Herod’s reception of these foreigners. 

“Age, infirmities, and the long exercise of jeanne! : 
power, had exasperated his naturally strong will and“-“< 

high spirit into a moody, ungovernable temper, that 

was jealous, suspicious, and irritable, almost, if not, at // 
times, quite to madness; and the Magi, making the’ ~ 

inquiry they did, were in greater danger from it than 
probably they were aware of: but they were compara- 
tively safe, if they came under the safe-conduct of gen- 
erals commanding the Parthian armies on the Tigris or 
the Euphrates ; not even the Romans, being more feared 
by Herod than the Parthians, who, in a raid into Ju- 
dea, had once driven him from his Capital, in such de- 
spair, that he attempted to take his own life.' 

No writer stamps on the soul a more clear and deep 
impression of the reality of what he describes than St. 
Se atthew;/yet in his way of doing it, he is by no 
f : ‘$0 circumstantial as St. Mark; and for him, his 
narrative of this pilgrimage is uncommonly full and 
minute. , he number and character of the facts stated 
in it, show that his s knowledge of these Persians was 
“very “complete. Thus, he gives their feelings at one 
interesting moment, the manner of King Herod in their 
private audience; he names the gifts they offered, and 

he recites their words. It is natural to think that he / 

who kyows so much else about them, must have known 

Sam Antiq., lib. xiv. chap. xiii. 7, 8. 


to what country they belonged. It is hardly credible 
_ he should not have known this, when, scarce fifty years 
before, all Jerusalem had known so well who those 
princely foreigners were, to answer whose inquiry, its 
haughty king Herod, summoned the council of his 
realm, its nobles, scholars, and priests. If he had not 
known who they were, he would have said so. If he 
did know who they were, he would tell this. If he 
styles them Magi in the national sense of this title, he 
does tell this exactly; and in a brief, yet satisfactory 
way, that is just like himself. 

That St. Matthew did know the country of the pil- 
grims, is certain from his last words about them, — “ they 
did not return to Herod, but departed into their own — 
country another way: ”—not the usual road to Persia 
through Damascus, but probably some southern way 

/ from the not far distant city of Petra. If their histo- 
/ rian had not known their country, he would have said, 
“they did not return to Herod, but departed from his 
kingdom.” The phrase he uses, closing, as it does, the 
history of the Wise Men, implies that he knew their 
route to Jerusalem, and knew they went home by 
another; that he knew their country, and had said 
\. what country it was. 

There is other evidence of it to be stated hereafter ; 
but the evidence already adduced is sufficient to prove, 
that when St. Matthew styled the pilgrims to the Holy 
City Magi, he meant to say, and did say, they were 
Persians of the priestly order of Persia. 



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Sr. Marrnew defined his use of the word Magi, 
by adding to it, “from the Far East.” But the same 
ill fortune has followed both title and phrase. The 
geographical, like the historical term, is commonly 
thought to be general and vague; yet the national sense 
of the one has been, and it may be that the definite 
meaning of the other can be, proved. 

In the Latin and in the English Versions, it is said 
the Magi were “from the East,” and in the same sen- 
tence it is said they saw the Star Fin the East.” In 
this there seems to be somewhat a needless repetition. 
This i is not_so in ‘the original Giéek. The word for the 
East is twice there, but the second time its form is 
changed, and this change in its form changes its sense. ° 
When used together geographically, the first of these 
two forms must point to some country more distant than 
the second does; and the one should be translated the 
Far East, the other the East. Therefore, in English, 
the verses should run thus: “ When Jesus was born in 
Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the King, 
behold, there came to Jerusalem, Magi from the Far 
East, saying, Where is He that is born King of the Jews ? 


for we have seen his Star in the East, and are come to 

worship him.” ? 

«¢ The East,” and the “ Far East,” then, are St. Mat- 
thew’s terms; and cannot geography and history, in 
terrogated together, answer the question, What did 
the East and the Far East mean, in the first century, 
in Palestine? They can; and their answers are addi- 
tional proof that the Wise Men were Persians — a fact 
so important as to justify all patience in trying to estab- 
lish it. They also tell where the Wise Men were when 

1 TOY ds ’Incot yevrynOévtog év ByOlesu ryg Iovdalacg éy 
fuuégarg “Hewdov tot Baoews, Wor, Mdyour and °Avatodoy 
mugéyevovto elg “Iegoodhupe Aéyovtes, Jlod sot 6 teyels 
Baoeds tov Iovdaiwy ; &dousy yao adrot 10y dotéga éy tH 
Avatoli, xvi iMousy meocxurycoar aire, 

Anatole, which literally means the rising, as of the sun, is 
the common Greek word for the Eastern quarter of the world, 
whether of the earth or of the heavens. In classical Greek 
it is used ini this sense only in the plural, and without the 
article. This is the first form of the word in Matt. ii. 1, 2, 
twice rendpred, in the Latin and in the English Version, 
the East. When _used in the original She second time the 
abitetivont is euicien to ahow even to those fair only 
with the English language, that, as here used in a geograph- 
ical sense, and used together, the last form of the word must 
have the more restricted significance, and that they should 
be translated the Far East, and the East. The Greek 
word is here exactly conformed —as I suppose, by a local 
usage peculiar to the Hebraized, colloquial Greek of the Jews 
of Judea —to the two Hebrew words Mizrach and Kedem ; 
which, when used together in a geographical sense, have 
just these meanings. For a more full examination of this 
usage, see Appendix, I. 


they saw the Star — a new fact, that throws some light 
on the hitherto unknown of their pilgrimage. 

It is true, that European scholars have trusted so 
confidently to the feeling that St. Matthew’s words, on 
_ the face of them, are vague, that they have not seriously 
set themselves to consider whether the fact might not be 
otherwise. But, of this, there seems to be an explana- 
tion. The geographical use of the phrases the East, the 
West, the North, and the South, is especially Asiatic and 
American ; that is, the vast areas of those two continents, 
and the monotony of their geographical features, fitting 
them for dominions more extensive than those of the 
smaller area of Europe, diversified, as it is, by seas 
and gulfs and mountains, compel in them a resort to 
these terms, used in a geographical sense.’ In Euro- 
pean kingdoms, where they are less needed, and seldom 
heard, it may seem they can have no well-established, 
exact, geographical significance; but their daily and 
hourly use in the United States so proves they can, and 
so elucidates the use of St. Matthew’s terms, that some 
reference to it is a fitting preface to an inquiry into their 
true meaning. 

These phrases are very sure to come into use, as 
names for great areas, distinguished by few natural or 

1 Thus, *‘ the Persian word Room, — the West, — may al- 
ways be considered as a general or indefinite name, by which 
Persian authors describe the provinces west of the Euphrates, 
to the shores of the Euxine and the Mediterranean.” — His- 
tory of Persia by Sir John Malcolm, Minister to the Court 
of Persia. London, 1815, vol. i. ch. iv. p. 56, n. 


civic features. Thus they are applied to unsettled 
prairies, or the wilderness, where territorial lines are not 
fixed by ranges of hills or the course of streams, but are 
run with compass and chain. As the territory they de- 
signate becomes settled, and the region beyond is better 
known, they journey on with the pioneers. In less than 
a hundred years the West has migrated from Western 
New York to Michigan, to Illinois, to Wisconsin; and, 
while the West has been the settled country, the Far 
West, ever moving on, has marked the parts beyond. 

These phrases are apt to become popular names for 
large regions having many subdivisions, as seen in the 
phrase —“the South.” Usually they point out some 
locality more remote than that adjoining the one in 
which they are used. | They exclude, as well as include. 
The West and the Far West do not cross the Rocky 
Mountains. California and Oregon are known by their 
proper names. 

The locality they describe need not be exactly in the 
line the word points out. In the same place their mean- 
ing often differs in different periods of time; and it 
differs in places not very remote. In the city of New 
York, the East means the eastern part of New England. 
In Boston and its vicinity “ Down East” is the familiar, 
colloquial name for the State of Maine; yet east of 
Massachusetts is the ocean, and Maine, with its vast 
area of thirty thousand square miles, lies to the north- 
east. As the road from Judea to the East at first ran 
due north, shunning the Desert on its right, so does the 
toad from Massachusetts to the Hast, avoiding the sea. 


It traverses part of the State of New Hampshire ; but to 
this, the name of the Hast is never given; and the name 
never crosses the line of the British Provinces, eastward 
of Maine. Throughout a territory large as that of 
Judea, and coptaining as-large a population, it is the 
local, idiomatic, common name for a restricted, definite, 
yet extensive region; and, in this, it is precisely like 
St. Matthew’s term — the East. 

These are phrases of the air, rather than of the earth ; 
yet they are ever used much in the same way. Once 
the East of the Romans was Asia Minor, with its many 
provinces. As their dominion widened, it journeyed 
with it. In the Augustan age, the Kast was used in a 
restricted, definite sense, as the Latin name for Syria: 
Then it came to point, at times, to Parthia; but, un 
less the known world to the eastward was manifestly 
meant, it excluded India; and the countries it denoted, 
at different times, all lay to the south-east of Rome. 

As bearing on the Hebraic use of such phrases, the 
main fact noted is this: —though in the same place 
their meaning may differ in different periods, they may 
have as definite a geographical meaning as any names 
can have, and, when we put ourselves in the circum- 
stances of those using them, their use seems natural, 
their meaning sure. The conclusion, then, is, that St. 
Matthew’s terms can have a restricted, definite geo- 
graphical meaning. 

That they do not, is a notion upheld by the conjecture, 
that he chose a term which left the country of the pilgrims 

in doubt, because he did not know what country it was. 


But the conjecture, here, should be the exact opposite of 
this; for, most assuredly, the fact, supposed unknown 
to St. Matthew, was, at the time of the pilgrimage, so 
well known to all Jerusalem, it was a fact of so much 
interest, so easy tu remember and so hard to forget, 
that there is every reason to think it must have been a 
part of the history, from whatever source it eame to the 

More than this. To be complete, this explanation 
of St. Matthew’s terms must include the words he puts 
into the lips of the Magi; but, then, part of their lan- 
guage becomes inexplicable. Thev say, the Star was 
seen by them when they were in the East. Now, they 
could not have forgotten where they first saw the Star, 
and itis not possible to give any reason why they should 
have wished to conceal this in vague language. In what 
particular city, or town, or village they were, when the 
Star first shone, was of no consequence. If they stated 
this, it may not have reached their historian, or might not 

reappear in his condensed statement; but the name 
they gave to the country where they were when they 
saw it — assuredly, this was a definite name. 

At the outset in this inquiry, then, these facts are es- 
tablished ; — the two Geographical terms in the narrative 
may have a restricted, definite meaning — one, probably, 
the other, certainly, has; and it will hereafter appear, 
that, if the meaning of the latter is determined, the 
meaning of the former at once becomes definite and 

‘St. Matthew’s words are of the place; and he whu 


would know what they mean, must look for the East and 
the Far East with the eye of a Hebrew in Palestine. 
The country east of Palestine lies more than a thousand 
leagues away; but its great features are so simple and 
unvarying in their vastness, that it is possible to bring 
them before the mind’s eye, with a clearness sufficient 
for this purpose, even without the aid of the map. Be- 
yond the Jordan there is a high ridge of land that forms 
the(purple background of every eastern prospect from 
Jerusalem, and, indeed, from all of Western Palestine.! 
Everywhere of much the same height, running north 
and south, parallel with the Jordan and with the sea of 
Sodom, it is one and the same range, whether known as 

the heights of Moab, of Ammon, or of Gilead. Let us 

suppose ourselves standing anywhere upon these hills, 

1“ Who that has ever travelled in Palestine has not 
longed to cross the Jordan valley to those mysterious hills, 
which close every eastward view with their long horizontal 
outline, their overshadowing height, their deep purple shade?” 
—Stanley’s Egypt and Palestine, chap. viii. sec. 1. 

‘¢ The view looking back on Bethlehem, as you ascend the 
northern hills, is exceedingly beautiful; to the east it is 
bounded by the long, unbroken ridge of the mountains of 
Moab.” — Lord Lindsay, letter ili. p. 242. 

‘© As seen from Mount Olivet, the eastern mountains 
stretch off in a long, even ridge, apparently unbroken. ‘They 
present to the view no single peak or separate summit.” 
— Robinson, vol. i. sec. 6, p. 236. 

Stanley says, ‘“‘I was not prepared for their constant 
intermingling with the views of Jerusalem itself. From al- 
most every point there was visible that long, purple wall, rise 
ing out of its unfathomable depths.” — Chap. iii. sec. 3, p. 166. 


and gazing towards where the sun rises. As, from 
some headland, we look out far over the sea, till the 
level line of the waters is lost in the horizon, so here, 
we look out upon an expanse, undulating only as the 
sea when the winds sleep. For six hundred miles to 
the eastward it is one unbroken level, —even from. 
these Syrian hills to the Persian hills. But, in this vast 
plain, there is. a division that is to be remarked and re- 
membered. ‘That part of it farthest from us is fertilized 
by two rivers; that part before us is a waterless desert. 

Of the Great Sand Ocean of the world, known in 
Africa as the Zahara, in Asia as Arabia, through which 
the Nile marks a line of green, out of which the pin- 
nacles of Sinai rise, and into which the high land of 
Palestine sinks down on the South and on the East, 
the expanse before us is the north-eastern Gulf. To the 
north-east of us, this sandy waste narrows to a point 
between the continuance of the ridge we stand upon and 
the upper waters of the Euphrates; which river, from 
that point, puts a limit to this desert country. From 
the adjacent Syria, the region before us, and, especially, — 
more to the north-east, where it terminates ina grassy 
plain, is sometimes called the Syrian Desert; but all 
geographers hold it to be an offshoot of Arabia.t And 

1 « A line drawn from the head of the Persian Gulf to the 
head of the Arabian Gulf would seem the natural boundary 
of Arabia were it not for the vast desert which stretches to 
the northward, and is of a character so decidedly Arabian, 
that it has always been referred to that part of Asia... . 

“The remainder of Arabia consists of that outer portion, 


it is the very Arabia of our imagination. Nowhere are 
the strange features of that peculiar country better seen. 
There sunburnt Arabs only roam. In that great and 
terrible wilderness the sand-storm rises, the deadly si- 
moom blows.! No road ever did or ever will cross its 
shifting sands. The only traveller that ever passed 
through it was Nebuchadnezzar, who, hearing in Pales- 
tine that his father was dead in Babylon, and fearing 
what might chance were he long absent from his capital, 
sent his captives and his army north, to shun this desert 
on their right, and thence circuitously home; while, 
with a few guards, Arab guides, and swift dromedaries, 

he struck straight across this pathless desert.” 

which, in the form of a triangle, extends along the border 
of Palestine and Syria, and the course of the Euphrates. In 
its central parts, this is the most completely desert tract of 
all Arabia.” — Murray’s Encyclopedia of Geography, part 
iow relia Cheelita sec. I: 

1 Tn this desert ‘‘ sand-storms are frequent, and, at times, 
the baleful simoom sweeps across the entire tract, destroying 
with its pestilential breath both men and animals.” —Raw- 
linson’s Five Monarchies, vol. i. ch. i. p. 32. 

2 « Having committed to certain of his friends the con- 
veyance to Babylon of the captive Jews, Phoenicians, and 
those of the Egyptian nations, together with the bulk of his 
army, its ammunitions and provisions, he went himself 
hastily, accompanied with a few others, over the desert, and 
came to Babylon.” — Part of a fragment of the Chaldean 
History of Berosus, preserved in Josephus, Antiq. b. x. 
ch. xi. 1. The whole reads somewhat like a summary of 
the exploits of Nebuchadnezzar; and it is placed by 
Josephus after his own mention of the life and death of 
that monarch. 


There are few contrasts on the earth’s surface more 
striking than that between this sandy waste and the 
fertile land beyond —a contrast owing to the absence 
of the water element from the one, and its presence in 
the other, where the broad flowing Euphrates furrows 
the plain, and the swift Tigris’ hurries on to mingle its 
waters with those of the Euphrates. Flowing from 
fountains near together in Armenia far to the north- 
east of us, these rivers seek, at first, the Mediterranean 
and Caspian Seas, but checked by mountain ranges in 
their westward and eastward windings, they bend south- 
ward, pour their life-giving waters through the eastern 
part of this flat country between Syria and Persia, and 
make that portion of it almost as fertile as the land of 

The Plain of the Two Rivers begins at the base of the 
Armenian highlands, and runs from thence south-east- 
ward, nearly seven hundred miles, to the Persian Gulf. 
The northern half of it is a fine tract of land, though 
some small part of it is sterile, if not desert.? Its 
north-western section is diversified by spurs from the 
mountains; and a little below its centre, it is almost 
crossed, east and west, by a low, narrow, steep lime- 
stone ridge, called the Sinjar Hills. The Highlands, 

* Philo Judzus has this curious remark: ‘ The Tigris is 
a very cruel and mischievous river; and so the Magi bear 
witness, who have found it to be of a character quite different 
from the nature of other rivers.” — Questions and Answers, 
No. 13. 

* Hence Xenophon called this part of it Arabia, —“ a plain 


together with a part of the Plain,! were known to an- 
cient geographers, as Mesopotamia.? 

The southern half of the Plain is about three hun- 
dred miles in length, with an average breadth of about 
one hundred miles. Its level surface is broken only by 
frequent mounds that mark where temples or cities 
stood. {ts alluvial soil is of inexhaustible fertility. 
This southern half of the Plain was known as Baby- 
ionia. It lies due east from the Holy Land. 

Beyond the Tigris soon rise the ranges of the Zagros 
of old, now of Kurdistan — the first mountains east- 
ward of us. These are the outposts of the elevated 
Plateau of ancient Persia, that stretches far towards 
the rising sun. Eastward of us, then, there are three 
well defined regions —the Desert, the Southern Plain 
of the two rivers, and Persia. So little of the world 
beyond these was known to the Hebrews, that we have 
only these three to consider in determining what region 
they called the East, and what the Far East. 

One fact, very important to our inquiry, clearly ap- 

even as the sea, and full of wormwood; if any other kind 
of shrubs or reeds grow there, they all had an aromatic 
smell, but no trees were seen.” — Anabasis, b. i. 5. 

1 Whose southern limit may be said to have been where a 
rampart, called the Median Wall, crossed nearly from river 
to river, from about 34° north latitude on the Tigris, to 33° - 
30’, on the Euphrates. 

2 The literal meaning of Mesopotamia is, ‘‘ between the 
rivers.” Rawlinson, in his Five Monarchies, vol. i. ch. i., 
gives to the word this vast compass. So too in Smith’s 
Dict., Art. ‘‘ Mesopotamia,” if we look to the name, he 


pears from the Scriptures of the Hebrews. They were 
always familiar with the use of the phrase “the Kast ” in 
a restricted, definite, geographical sense. The geo- 
graphical meaning of the term very naturally differed 
in different periods of their long life of fifteen hundred 
years in Palestine. To trace out these differences, may 
be neither useless nor uninteresting to those who would 
intelligently read the ancient records of our holy re- 

The Israelite named the four quarters of the world 
from their position relative to himself, as he stood facing 
eastward. ‘These names are all found in this verse of 

says, * We must regard Mesopotamia as the entire coun- 
try between the rivers.” He describes all this, but then 
says, ‘‘it seems proper to append a more particular ac- 
count of that region which bears the name, par excellence, 
both in Scripture and in classical writers.” Of this he makes 
the Sinjar Hills the southern limits; and refers to Ptolem. 
Geograph., v. 18; Strabo, ii. 1, 29; Arrian, iii. 7. 

To Aram-naharim, which is Mesopotamia in the Greek 
translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, he has to give ‘the 
same vast compass. But the literal meaning of this is “ the 
highlands of the rivers;” and all the places located in this 
tract were iu the uplands. Gen. xxiv. 10; Deut. xxiii. 4; 
Judges iii, 8-10. With time, it no doubt lost its descrip- 
tive meaning, and was used as a proper name}; but there is 
no probability that it was ever extended clear down to the 
gulf, a distance of seven hundred miles from the highlands. 
As the mountaineers came to possess some portion of the 
plain, the name given to their country would embrace such 
a section of it; and this would explain the rendering it in 
Greek by Mesopotamia. 


the book of Job:! “I go forward, — (Kedem, before 
— to the East), but he is not there; and backward (to 
the West), but I cannot perceive Him; on the left 
hand (to the North), where he doth work, but I cannot 
behold Him; He hideth himself on the right hand io 
the South), that I cannot see Him.” 

It was almost inevitable, that at first the Israelite 
should give the name Kedem (before), the East, to 
the vast area of the desert, which, undiversified by 
ranges of hills, or the course of streams, lay before 
him as he looked eastward from the heights beyond the 
River Jordan. This broad region had no civic or nat- 
ural features from which to name it; and Kedem, the 
East, became its name, even in the days of the patri- 
archs. Abraham sent the sons of his concubines 
‘eastward into the east country ; ”? that is, far into the 

The East was, then, the country of wandering Arabs ; 
and, in times earlier than the civic splendors beyond the 
Euphrates, the Arabs were found on the farther side of 
that river.- Those irrepressible wanderers of the desert 
would get out of their bounds. With their hand 
against every man, they ever loved to make raids to the 
west, over the Jordan, into the green plain of Esdra- 
elon; and to make raids to the east, over the Euphrates, 
into the garden beyond. ‘They did so when the coun- 
try on either side of their sands was thinly peopled ; 

1 Job xxiii. 8, 9. 2 Gen. xxv. 6.., 


and they do so now, when the strength of Syria and of 
Assyria is alike decayed. ‘The depth of the solitude 
that was to be in Babylon was painted by this touch, — 
“the Arabian shall not pitch his tent there;”*even the 
wild-eyed Bedouins, who, unhindered and unharmed, 
will cross the Euphrates, shall shun the haunted mound 
of Babylon. 

The country of wandering tribes being then the 
Kast, with them the phrase, at times, crossed the Eu- 
phrates. Hence the kinsmen of Abraham, who seem 
to have dwelt permanently on the farther side of that 
river in tents, are called “children of the East.” ? 

The use in Jacob’s family of the Hast, for the desert, 
continued in the land of Egypt, because the Arabian 
desert, that bordered Canaan on the east and on the 
south, also bordered Egypt on the east. Thus the 
Israelites carried down with them into Egypt the name 
of the East for the desert, kept it while there, and 
brought it back with them. Alike in Goshen, and in 
Canaan, this name for the desert answered to various 
conditions in which phrases taken from the quarters of 
the horizon are used geographically. It was one vast, 
monotonous expanse in which there were no cities, no 

1 Tsaiah xiii. 20. 

? Gen. xxix. 1; English version — people. Balaam, also, 
standing on the hill of Moab, says he came there from the 
mountains of the east. Pethor, Balaam’s town, was by the 
Euphrates; but he may have used the term so casually, 
that no geographical usage can be inferred from it. Num. 
xxiii. 7; xxii. 5; Deut. xxiii. 4. 


hills, no rivers. It had divisions well known within the 
black hair-tents of the Arabs; but to the land-tilling 
Israelites, they had as little of difference as their tribes, 
whom they grouped together as “children of the 
Kast.”* The Israelites dwelt for a long time in the 
land of Egypt; for the time of one generation they 
wandered in the desert to the east of Egypt, and south 
of Canaan; and when they came up out of it into 
Canaan, they could have had little knowledge of the 
same desert, as it stretched far eastward of the Holy 
Land. But two tribes and a half loved the free life of 
herdsmen better than fenced cities or ploughed fields, 
and would dwell beyond Jordan in tents.2 Under the 
grand old oaks of that high table land, and over its rich 
pastures, fed their “very great multitude of cattle,” ® 
and down its eastern slope into the plain, till the pas- 
ture dried up into the wiiderness. The two tribes and 
a half soon knew the desert before them; for between 
them and their Arab kinsmen there was no great un- 

, likeness of manners or of language. 

1 Judges vi. 7,8, 33; vii. 12. In the wandering, the Is- 
raelites became well acquainted with the Amalekites and 
the Midianites; and, hence, the sacred writers, though once 
(Judges viii. 10) calling them children of the East, give 
them their own names — illustrating how general are super- 
seded by proper names. 

2 Joshua xxii. 7, 8. 

3 Num. xxxii. 1. 

4 Gideon’s venturing by night in among the host “of the 
Midianites, and the Amalekites, and all the children of the 
East,” to “hear what they say,” seems to prove that the 


In after years, when the galleys of King Solomon 
had rowed down the Red Sea into the Indian Ocean 
and up the Persian Gulf, the whole of the great Ara- 
bian Desert was known to the children of Israel. We 
have seen that imperfect knowledge of a country is 
usually one of the conditions of the geographical use 
of the phrases, the Kast, the West, the North, and the 
South; and, as knowledge of the country to which 
such a name is given increases, this general name often 
gives place to a more specific one. It is in harmony 
with this that, when the desert became known to 
Israel in all its length and breadth, it received a proper 
name. In the book of the Kings it is called Arabia,? 
—a name unknown to earlier Scripture, and perhaps 
coming from the people beyond the Euphrates; and 
it is called so by Isaiah,” Ezekiel,*? Jeremiah,* and 
Nehemiah ;° in the book of Chronicles ; 6 in the books of 
the Maccabees,’ and in the New Testament.® 

The old name gave place to the new for these reasons 
also: all Arabia is so like itself, and so unlike any 
other country; the Axabs, so like themselves and so 
unlike any other people, that Arabia can have but one 
name with those acquainted with it. When looked 
at as a whole, it seems to lie to the south of Palestine; 

Israelites then could understand the speech of the desert- 
tribes. — Judges vii. 9-15. 

11 Kings x. 15. 5 Neh. iv. %: 
2 Isa. xxi. 13. 6 2 Chron. ix. 14. 
8 Ezek. xxvii. 21. 72 Mace. xii. 2. 

S Jerse 8 Acts il. 11. 


in St. Matthew’s Gospel, the Queen of Sheba is the 
Queen of the South !— and this complete view of it for- 
bade calling part of it the East. 

Thus, the old name for the desert would not long 

dwell side by side with its new name;? and about the 
time of this change, new relations began between the 
Hebrews and nations rising to power beyond the desert, 
which make it probable that the name “thé East” would 
journey farther onwards, and cross the Euphrates into 

As said before, it is natural for Asiatics to use “ the 
East,” and its kindred phrases, geographically, and, 
though the territory of the Hebrews was small, and 
on the edge of Asia, their Scriptures abundantly illus- 

1 Matt. xii. 42. 

?It might for a time. See Isaiah xi. 14; Jeremiah 
xlix. 28. 

5 As I end this inquiry as to the oldest Hebrew use of the 
phrase ‘“‘ the East,” I would note a fact that bears upon 
the authenticity of the books of Moses. Gen. x. 26-30, 
gives the lineage and locality of some of the chief tribes of 
Arabia. The dwelling-place of Sheba, Havilah, Ophir, aud 
others, is ‘* from Mesha,” —near the present Mocha, — “ as 
thou goest unto Sepha, a mount of the East,” — highlands 
running from near Mecca and Medina across the peninsula. 
Now “the East” would not have been used in that way by 
one writing in Palestine. It might have been by one in 
the desert south of it. And the whole passage seems to 
hint at ‘‘the wisdom of the Egyptians,” or at a knowledge 
of the Arabian peninsula gained from the Arabs of Midian. 

In this place alone the article is prefixed to Kedem — the 
East —just as it is to the second form of Anatole, in the 
Hebraized Greek of St. Matthew, ch. ii. 2. 


trate and confirm this. While they were comparatively 
isolated from the rest of the world this appears, and 
still more clearly afterwards. As the exile drew nigh, 
Assyria became “the North,” and upon this, Babylonia 
would very naturally become “the East.” 

Assyria lay not so far north as east, and the latitude 
of the phrase is such that it might have been called the 
East; but the Hebrew prophets looked upon it as a 
northern power. Its direction admitted of this; and 
the first appearing of the Assyrian in Palestine was 
always from that quarter. He never invaded Judea 
directly from the east, because on that side it was 
protected by the desert. To avoid this, he crossed over 
to Damascus —as did the Chaldean after him. Thence 
he came down the upper valley of the Jordan, and, as 
he marched southwards, kept that river on his left. 
Had he moved down on the east bank of the river, 
when he came to a point on a line with Jerusalem, 
there would have been in front of him, as he faced 
towards the city, the wide valley of the Jordan sunk 
below the level of the ocean, and, in a military point 
of view, a sort of natural fosse, that made Judea almost 
unassailable from that quarter. Hence the prophets 
looked to the northern hills of their own land when 
they saw the war-storm rolling down on Zion. In 
Isaiah’s vision of the approach of the army of Sen- 
nacherib, those hills are nigh to the Holy City. Over 
the heights and through the strong passes of warlike 
Benjamin the heathen comes, until his last stand is on 


the Mount of Olives, whence he “shakes his hand 
against the mount of the daughter of Zion, the hill of 

Jerusalem.” } 

So, too, in the clarion-call of the prophet 
Jeremiah to the most valiant of the tribes: *O, ye 
children of Benjamin, gather yourselves to flee out of 
the midst of Jerusalem, and blow the trumpet in Tekoa, 
and set up a sign of fire in Beth-haccerem, for evil ap- 
peareth out of the North.” ? 

Besides this, the invader could not threaten Py 
till he had first reduced the kingdoms northward of it 
to his imperial rule; and the armies of his subject allies 
» marched with his, when 
‘‘ The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold, 

And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold, 

And the sheen of his spears was like stars on the sea, 
_ When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.” 

* Assur came out of the mountains from the North; he 
came with ten thousands of his army; the multitude 
whereof stopped the torrents, and their horsemen have 
covered the hills.”? Of the Assyrian Empire, as em- 
bodied in its:vast and varied host, the later prophets and 
writers of Israel spake, even as they did when they said 
of the seat of its dominion, the Lord “will stretch 
out his hand against the North and destroy Assyria, 
and make Nineveh a desolation.”* But, when a still 
more awful storm of war gathered far off in the same 

ee ee a 
1 See Robinson, vol. i. sec. 9, p. 463. Stanley, ch. iv, 
sec. 1. Isaiah x. 32. 
* Jer. vi. 1. 3 Judith xvi. 4. * Zeph. ii. 13. 


quarter of the horizon, but to the South of the seat of 
the Assyrian power, the Country whence its overshad- 
owing arose, darkening ail the west, must have been 
known as the East.+ 

1 Jt is closely to be considered when, where, by whom, 
and for whom, such phrases are used. Not only the As- 
syrian Empire, but the Babylonian also, is spoken of by the 
prophets as the North, —as in Jer. i. 18, 14, 15; vi. 22; x. 
22; Isaiah xiv. 13,— and it is not always easy to tell to 
which the term refers. The latter usage had its root in the 
former, and did not conflict with the use of ‘‘ the East” for 
Babylonia. It is the Babylonian Empire that absorbed into 
itself the Assyrian, which is pictured as a northern power}; 
and the explanations given of this usage as to Assyria, ex- 
cept the first, apply here, especially the allusion in the term 
to those kingdoms to the northward of Palestine, that were 
subject to the Empire of the Chaldees, — as appears from 
these Scriptures: ‘¢ I will send and take all the families of the 
North, saith the Lord, and Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Bab- 
ylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and 
against the inhabitants thereof;”—Jer. xxv. 9. ‘ Nebu- 
chadnezzar, King of Babylon, and all his army, and all the 
kingdoms of the earth of his dominion, and all the people, 
fought against Jerusalem ;”— Jer. xxxiv. 1.¢ ‘Behold, 
I will bring upon Tyrus, Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, 
a king of kings, from the North, with horses and chariots, 
and with horsemen and companies, and much people.” — 
Ezekiel xxvi. 7. Here, as before, the seat of his dominion 
is namea, and then the words ‘‘from the North” point to his 
war-path, when, with his northern allies, he comes down 
upon Tyre. 

Jeremiah (ch. xlvi. 20, 24), addressing Egypt, calls the 
Babylonian Empire, as if seen from her stand-point, the 
North, and with allusion also to the coming down of its army 
through Syria. He also speaks of the defeat of the Egyp- 


‘ Thus, as the roll of ancient Scripture was closing, 
Babylon “of the Chaldees,”!—“ that bitter and hasty 
nation... their horses swifter than the leopards, and more 
fierce than the evening wolves,”?— became the terror 
of the world; and the East, ceasing to be the name for 
the Desert, came to mean the new and terrible Dominion 
beyond the “Great River.” Ezekiel, prophesying the 
ruin of the Ammonites, in more ancient Scripture them- 
selves “the children of the East,” says they shall be 
destroyed by “the children of the East” — meaning the 
Chaldeans.’ Isaiah, referring to the superstitions and 
sins of Babylonish heathenism, reproaches “the house 
of Jacob” with being full of the sorceries of “the 

tians at Carchemish, on the Euphrates, as in the North 
country, which it might be called, as looked upon either 
from Memphis or Jerusalem. Memphis, N. lat. 29° 56’; 
Jerusalem, 31° 49’; Carchemish, 35° 15’. 

_ There are several other applications of this phrase. ‘ The 
princes of the North,” Ezekiel xxxii. 20, must be the 
Tyrians, as they are named with the Sidonians, and the 
ground of this usage is plain from the map. In Jeremiah, 
ch. 1. 2, 3, 9, 41, the people who are to come from the 
North against Babylon, are the Medes, part of whose terri- 
tory lay to the northward of that city. 

1 Tsaiah xiii. 19. 

ahah. 1. 0,8. 

3 Ezek. xxv. 8, 4, 5, 10. This prophecy is one of a 
series that includes ali the Arab tribes who rejoiced in the 
run of the Hebrew nation, and its fulfilment, in part at 
least, is recorded by Josephus, when he says, “‘ In the fifth 
year after the destruction of Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar 
made war against the Ammonites and the Moabites, and 

brought those nations into subjection.” — Antiq. x. eatin 


East.”! To these evidences of this usage may be added 
this verse: “Solomon’s wisdom exceeded the wisdom 
of all the children of the East Country, and all the wis- 
dom of Egypt.”? To refer this, as many have done, to 
the wisdom of the desert, is unsatisfactory indeed ; for 
no especial wisdom can be attributed to the Arabs m or 
before Solomon’s time, and none in their own country 
at any time. Besides this, the numerous preceding 
allusions in Scripture to the Arabs, give them the char- 
acter of wild marauders, dreaded by their more eivilized 
neighbors, the Israelites; so that the :ll-considered 
notion, that this passage refers to them, is as repugnant 
to Hebraic, as to general history. This interpretation 
then being rejected, it is plain, that, as in the verses 
of Isaiah and Ezekiel just referred to, so here, “the 
children of the East” mean the Babylonians. This 
interpretation gives the two clauses of the verse a well- 
balanced significance, pronouncing the wisdom of Sol- 
omon superior to that of the two great countries from 
immemorial time renowned for learning.® 

1 Tsaiah‘ii. 6. 2 1 Kings iv. 30. 

8 The astronomical records of the Babylonians were of 
great antiquity — evidence enough of their early eminence 
in learning. See, hereafter, page 110. The Hebrew annals 
are silent as to the cities and kingdoms on the Euphrates and 
Tigris, — save notices in the book of Genesis, — until near 
the close of the period of the Kings of Israel; but this is 
no sufficient evidence that, till then, the Israelites knew noth- 
ing of them. The fact must have been otherwisc, and there 
are indications of this in the prophets. In the long com- 
mercial reign of Solomon, the Israelites must have gained 


Of the East as the phrase was thus used, on three 
sides, the natural boundaries were well defined.1 On 
the south it reached the Persian Gulf. The Euphrates 
marked its nearer limit, and more effectually because it 
was reached through a waterless desert. On its farther 
side, were the mountains along the left bank of the Tigris. 

some knowledge of the East; and there seems to be no good 
reason why this verse might not have been written at the 
close of Solomon’s reign. This would carry much farther 
back a’ usage found in Isaiah, but only to a period in which 
it might have naturally originated. Besides this, the book 
of the Kings is thought by some to have been compiled by 
Jeremiah, who lived a little later than Isaiah. 

In the interpretation, the choice is between the Arabs and 
the Babylonians. The general sense of the ‘* wisdom of the 
eastern world” is forbidden by the restricting form of the 

The LXX. refer it to the 4gzaitov &»Ogo701 — the wisdom of 
the men of old, of the wise of ancient days, evidently from 
the fact that Kedem, — which, primarily and literally, means 
before, may have a time-sense, or a space-sense. The 
rendering is ingenious, and its sense is grand; but it pre- 
supposes a late origin for the wisdom of Egypt, which was 
hoary with age in Abraham’s day ; and it has found no favor 
with modern scholars. Still, this far-fetched interpretation 
has this value. It shows the LXX. thought the phrase 
could not here point to the Arabs, as it often does in older 

1 Tn fact, on the north also the boundary was well defined. 
The section of the Plain of the Two Rivers south of the 
Median Wall (see note 1, p. 33), is alluvial, differing in this 
from that north of it, which, also, is somewhat more elevated. 
Below the wall, canals crossed from river to river, irrigating 
the plain between them. 


A fitting theatre for great events! Here, the Tower 
of Babel rose, and here, in after times, was Baby- 
lon. In this Jand of Shinar was the first gathering- 
place of the sons of men. It was the oldest haunt 
of Empire, and long the coveted prize of power. It 
was the battle-plain of nations. Here the Assyrian 
fought; here the Chaldean, the Mede, the Greek, the 
Parthian, the Roman. But it was not the abiding 
dwelling-place appointed to any one people. It had no 
natural centre. It had no lines of defence that could 
be permanently held against the tribes of the mountains 
and the desert. Its hot climate was so enervating, that 
its abounding wealth became the booty of hardier races. 
Nowhere were seen splendor and havoc in more vivid 
change. Yet it was long the mart of the commerce of 
Central and Western Asia, the commerce that built 
up Palmyra in the Waste, and Baalbec between the 
ridges of Lebanon, a commerce, one of whose outlets 
to the Mediterranean was along “the Way of the Sea”? 
of Galilee, on whose busy western shore, which, in the 
first century, was almost a continuous line of ci ies, 
towns, and villages, St. Matthew must have often :een 
the long, overladen files of the slow moving cara\ ans 
coming from “the East.” 

Before the Exile, the Jews had begun to call the 
world-historic Babylonian Plain “the East;” and St. 
Matthew’s term might, perhaps, be sufficiently ex- 
plained as a lingering reminiscence of ancient usage ; }wut 
SE PERE E ennnnnan ems Lis Le Wh as) 

1 Esa. ix. 1; Matt. iv. 15. 


' there is reason to think that, after the Exile, this use of 
the East” continued while the Jews lived in Palestine. 
To estimate the probability of this, we must free our- 
selves of the feeling we unconsciously attribute to 
them, that all there was of interest in that country 
centred in Babylon. As Babylon the Great is strange- 
ly, and even mysteriously, withdrawn from our eyes, 
the Plain, that was resplendent with the light of its 
glory, seems all at once to become that darkened and 
solitary waste that now answers “so eloquently well” to 

_the prophecies of ancient days: “I will render to Baby-- 

lon, and to all the inhabitants of Chaldea, all their evil 
that they have done in Zion:”! “Babylon shall be- 
come heaps, ... an astonishment, .. , without an in- 

habitant: ”? “her cities a desolation, ...aland where 

no man dwelleth : ”? “I will also make it a, possession for 
- the bittern and pools of water; and I will sweep it with 
. thetbesom of destruction, saith the Lord of hosts.” # 
But, with the Lord, a thousand years are as one day ; 
and centuries passed before the desolations his proph- 
ets foresaw in vision, were seen by the eyes of men. 
Zion was a ploughed field and Judea a waste, while 
Babylonia continued to be populous and great. Even 
with the sure decay of its mighty city, that coun- 
try lost but little of its importance to the Jews. The 
Persian, while he was the sovereign of Palestine, held 
Babylon as one of his capitals. When his dominion 
passed away, the noble city of Seleucia, at a distance 

1 Jer. li. 24. 3 Jer. li. 43. 
ae iern lisa. # Ysa. xiv. 23: 



of only forty-five miles from the site of Babylon, rose 
in its stead. It was one of the thirty-five great cities 
built by Seleucus, who became, after Alexander, the 
Greek lord of Central Asia, and also ruled over Pal- 
estine ; and it was the capital of the eastern part of his 
wide dominions. ‘Seleucia contained a numerous Jew- 
ish population, on whom Seleucus bestowed privileges 
equal to those granted to his own countrymen.”* After 
the Greek dominion in Asia had passed away, Seleucia, 
girt with its strong walls, continued even into the sec- 
ond century, in spite of the Parthian power, a free city, 
with its own senate of three hundred members, ruling 
over its six hundred thousand citizens.? Ctesiphon, also 
a vast city, and one of the capitals of the Parthian Em- 
pire, was built close to it. As under the Persians, so 
under the Greeks, down to the re-establishment of the 
independence of the Hebrews by the Maccabees, it con- 
tinued to be one of the chief seats of that royal author- 
ity, which the Jews of Palestine obeyed. And it ever 
had this of interest to them: it was the dwelling-place 
of many of their countrymen, as many probably as the 
population of Judea itself, for but a small part of the 
Judean captives came back from thence to Palestine. 
The larger part remained in the land of their exile, and 

* Post-Biblical History of the Jews, vol. i. ch. iii. p. 110. 
I would earnestly commend to all Christian scholars this 
admirable treatise by the very learned Rabbi, the late Dr. 
Raphall, as, in some respects, the best in our language, 

? Gibbon, ch. viii. sec. 2. 


~greatly increased in numbers there. These Jews kept 
up an annual intercourse with Palestine; and messen- 
gers were sent from Jerusalem into their country every 
year to collect silver and gold for the temple.’ 

1 The language of Josephus is very strong —“ The entire 
body of the people of Israel remained.” — Antiq. lib. x. 
5,2. Of the Jews of his own time, he says, ‘‘ Not a few 
ten thousands dwelt in Babylonia.” — Antiq. lib. xv. ili. 1. 

As to the question, Whether Babylon was inhabited in the 
first century? — from general considerations it seems to me 
that it was. The Persians cherished the city. The Greeks 
and the Parthians had no reason to destroy it, and there is no 
evidence that they did. It was a great city, and it perished 
not by the violence-of man, but, as it was fitting, by the vis- 
itation of God, dying a lingering death. The idea that 
Seleucia was known as Babylon is in itself improbable, and 
Plutarch names them together. — Life of Crassus. 

The evidence of Josephus to the fact that Babylon was a 
city in the time of Herod, is as strong as it canbe. He says 
that, early in his reign, Hyrcanus, the high priest, was taken 
captive by the Parthians, and that Phraates, the Parthian king, 
“gave him a habitation at Babylon, where there were Jews in 
great numbers.” — Antiq. lib. xv. ii. 2. Also, that Herod 
sent for Ananelus, an obscure priest of Babylon, and bestowed 
on him the high priesthood. — Antiq. lib. xv. ii. 4. 

2 «6 Vast numbers of the Jews were scattered over every 
city of Asia and Syria.” — Philo, Ad Caium, sec. 33. See 
also, Contra Flaceum, sec. 7. He says, ‘* Babylon, and the 
satrapies of the rich, adjacent districts have many Jewish 
inhabitants,” and that yearly, messengers were sent there to 
collect silver and gold for the temple. — Ad Caium, see. 31. 
In Yonge’s excellent version of Philo, in this passage, Philo’s 
language is that of St. Matthew: ‘‘ Babylon and many 
other satrapies of the East ;” but on comparing this with 


Ever after the Exile the Jews of Palestine well knew 
the country called by their prophets “the East ;” and so 
one of the causes from which such usage is apt to pre- 
vail, did not exist; but there were others that did. 
Geographically, that country is one; and at the Christian 
era, it was under one Parthian rule; yet then, as now, 
under one Turkish rule, it had many districts and many 
petty rulers; and these were then, as now, ever chan- 
ging. And at the Christian era, the proper names that 
had in former ages pertained to it, were out of date. 
It had been called the land of Shinar,! but that was 
before the nations were. It had been called the land 
of the Chaldeans,’ but their dominion had long passed 
away. Babylon, eclipsed for centuries by the impe-_ 
rial cities in its vicinity, could then have hardly given 
its name to the province in that familiar speech, that so 
readily reflects the changes of Empire. It is not prob- 
able, then, that at the Christian era its common ‘name in 
Palestine was any one of its historical names of older and 
different times. There is nothing to show that any 
later historical name had arisen; and, from all the 
circumstances, it is not probable ® — even as none has 
arisen since; yet among the Jews of Palestine, it must 
then have had some colloquial name. 


the original, it will be found that the words ‘‘ of the East”’ 
are supplied by the translator. 

tren. &. 10% xi, Ds 

2 Isa. xxiii. 13. Jer. xxv. 12. 

* The peculiar fact, that the once imperial, and still very 
great city of Seleucia, was independent of the Parthians, 
must have stood in the way of this, 


The caravan that journeyed from the land of Shinar 
to the Holy Land, bearing with it the golden vessels of 
the Temple, that was to rise anew on the mountain of 
Moriah, was made up of Israelites born in the great 
Plain of the Euphrates. They reached the desolated 
site of the city they were to build again, by a circui- 
tous route, coming down upon it — as the Assyrian and 
the Chaldean before — fromthe North. But they well 
knew that the land of their youthful memories lay 

Right against the eastern gate, 
Where the great sun begins his state. 

Their country was long governed from thence; and 
when this bond between it and them was broken, still 
the children of the kinsmen they left behind came up 
from thence to worship in Jerusalem, and whatever his- 
torical names it may have had with them, it is very nat- 
ural to suppose that in familiar household converse, this 
land so often thought of, so often spoken of, was known 
to them, as it was to their fathers in the generation pre- 
ceding the Exile, by the local, idiomatic name of the 

1The resemblance between this Hebrew usage, and the 
use of the name “the East,” as the popular name in 
Massachusetts for the State of Maine, has been referred to 
on p. 26. Down to the year 1820, Maine was united to 
‘Massachusetts, and its legal title was the District of Maine; 
—a name not satisfactory, and not easy to speak. The 
people are quick to catch up a new name, when one they 
often use does not easily melt into the flow of speech. 
Maine was settled in part from Massachusetts. Boston was 


Writers trained in the artificial rhetoric of the 
schools, are inclined to reject colloquial phrases, as be- 
neath the dignity of a learned style; but the untram- 
melled genius of St. Matthew was not thus hindered 
from using household words—as when he wrote the 
Holy City, for Jerusalem. St. Matthew chose words 
most definite to himself and wrote naturally. Thus he 

gave to Babylonia the name he was accustomed to give 
to it in familiar converse, and which pointed it out 
exactly to his countrymen. He might have used one 
of its old scriptural names; but, when he was intro- 

its commercial and political capital. Hence the phrase — so 
commor in such cases —up to Boston; and the peculiar, 
invariable form of the phrase — ‘‘ down Fast.” 

My first faint impression that St. Matthew’s term was a 
local idiom, with a restricted and definite geographical 
meaning, may unconsciously have come from this usage; 
for I was familiar with it in my youth, hearing it ten 
times where I heard the word Maine once. Thus, —** the 
family has moved down Kast,” or, ‘ he lives,” or ‘* has gone 
down East.”’ So, too, the first railroad from Massachusetts 
to Maine was ‘‘ the Eastern Railroad;” while it was the 
second that was cailed ‘‘ the Boston and Maine.” 

As bearing on a line of thought in the Appendix to this 
chapter, it may be well to add, that although this usage, 
having been long established, is generally understood in the 
United States, it is strictly a local idiom of a section, only, 
of New England. 

1 Had he called it the land of the Chaldeans, it would 
have tended to confound the Magi with a learned class 
addicted to astrology, and known as Chaldeans; and this 
name was obsolete in his time. St. Stephen used it (Acts 
vii. 4), but as both Philo, De Abrah., sec. 17, and Josephus, 


ducing the pilgrim strangers as Persians, he did not 
desire to recall any of the historical reminiscences asso- 
ciated with them; and so, the name he did use —the 
East —- was in every way suited to his purpose. 

This term,—the East, —then, is not general or 
vague. It means that country which in the common 
speech of man, will be ever known as Babylonia; 
for, by every geographical and historical consideration, 
in the first century, this country answers, beyond all 
reasonable doubt, to the name — the East — on the lips 
of a Hebrew in Palestine. Thus, the Magi tell us, 
that the Star of the Lord was first known by human 
eyes in the land of Shinar, where its earliest beams 
shone serenely down on the vanishing splendors of the 
mighty and mystic Babylon. 

Having determined what is meant in St. Matthew by 
the East, it will not be difficult, nor detain us long, to 
determine what is meant by the Far East. For, how- _ 
ever vacue this term may seem in itself, by its relation 
here to the term — the East — its meaning was clear to 
the Jews of Palestine, through their acquaintance with 
the eastern world; and it becomes so to all, on looking 
at the map of Western Asia. 

Again, let us stand on the highlands beyond the 
Jordan, and look out over the Great Plain, in part a 
desert, in part the garden of Asia. As these highlands 

Antiq. i. vii. 1, contrast the wisdom of Abraham with the 
philosophy of the Chaldeans, the same thought may have 
led to his allusion to Abraham as dwelling in the land of 
the Chaldeans, and the antiquated name was in keeping 
with his biblical argument. 


overlook this Plain on this side, so, on the other, do 
the mountains that rise from the High Plateau of Persia 
beyond, which must be the Far East of the Evangelist. 
It lies very directly in the line indicated, not widening 
much to the south, because of the Persian Gulf and 
the Indian Ocean; nor to the north, because of the 
Caspian Sea and its inhospitable eastern shore. The 
separation between it and the Hast is clearly defined. 
And the term cannot point farther on, for it must reach 
its limit before it can pass the barren mountains and 
trackless deserts in which Persia loses itself in that 
direction, an almost impassable country, little known 
in ancient or in modern days. 7 

But the question here comes up, Why did not St. 
Matthew use the proper geographical name, and say 
Magi from Persia? No geographical name would have 
pointed out to those for whom he wrote, the “coun- 
try of the Magi,” more clearly than his familiar name, 
the Far East — especially as here used in connection 
with the East; and it was the best name he could use. 
That Aryan race of Persians and Medes, known to us 
by the name of the former only, who, in all historic 
time, have constituted the great majority of the people 
of that country known to us as Persia, have always 
called that country Iran, that is the Aryan land.! 

1 The appellation of Persia is unknown to its inhabit 
ants, by whom that region of Asia is named Iran.” — 
Historical and Descriptive Account of Persia, by J. B. 
Fraser, ch. i. p. 1. ‘‘ Iran, which Europeans eall Persia. 
» . - Iran has from the most ancient times to the present 


Through all its dynasties, Assyrian, Median, Persian, 
Greek, Parthian, and Moslem, this name is appropriate 
to it. Not so the name Persia, given to that country 
by the Greeks, from the tribe ruling there when first 
they became acquainted with it. The Persian sov- 
ereignty over it ceased three hundred years and more 
before St. Matthew’s time; and, for two hundred years 
and more, it had been ruled by the Parthians. The 
Jews of Palestine were so familiar with these political 
changes that, probably, the name for that country in 
classical Greek was not much used in their Oriental, 
Hebraized dialect of that language, and may have meant 
that part of it occupied by the Persians, Media being 
joined with it to designate the whole country: 

But, could he not have said — Magi of the Persians? 
No; for, of the Aryan race, in the Aryan land, there 
were two great families, the Medes and the Persians.’ 

day been the term by which the Persians call their country.” 
— Malcolm, vol. i. p. 1,n. Compare Herodotus, ch. vil. 62. 
*¢ Anciently the Medes were called, by all nations, Aryans.” 
This word is sometimes written ‘‘ Arians,” as by Rawlinson ; 
but its use in that form in ecclesiastical history makes the 
form here given preferable. 

1 This was sometimes the case in the Old Testament, as 
in Esther i. 8, 14; Dan. viii. 20. It is so also in the 
Greek of the Apocrypha, as in 1 Esdras iii. 1, — ‘the 
princes of Media and Persia.” See note 2, p. 56. 

2 Parthia was but a district of Iran; the Parthians were 
rather barbarous and few, compared with the rest of its 
population, and they did not impress their name on the 
Aryan land. Thus, Josephus speaks of the Parthians and 
of the King of the Parthians, not of Parthia. See Antiq,, - 


On the tomb of Darius the Great is written, “I am an 
Aryan, of Aryan descent; a Persian, the son of a Per- 


sian. In Syria, in the Evangelist’s time, the distinc- 

tion was still kept up;? and he would have had to use 

lib. xiii. ch. viii. 4; ch. xiv. 3; lib. xiv. ch. xiii., passim 5 
ch: vis. 23 ch. wit. 13 ib. xv. (eho i 2 ene tons ee 
the Evangelist called the strangers Parthians, he would have 
obscured the very relations he wished to point out, by con- 
necting them with a race with whom their relations were 
those of government, and not of history or lineage. 

1 Journal of the Asiatic Society, vol. xi. 291-313; vol. 
xii. App. xix.—xxi. 

2 Looking at this Aryan race from a stand-point far off, alike 
in space and in time, we blend completely into one its two 
great families, and call them Persians, as we call those 
who fell at Thermopyle and those Macedonians who fol- 
lowed Alexander, alike, Greeks. But the Jews recognized 
the difference. In their Scriptures, as in general history, 
first, the Medes appear. Israel is captive in ‘‘ the cities of 
the Medes.” —2 Kings xvii. 6. In the prophets it is the 
Medes, with whose name alone they were then acquainted, that 
are first seen: ‘*’The Lord hath raised up the spirit of the 
kings of the Medes” against Babylon. —Jer. li. 11, and 
Isaiah xiii. 17. At length the other great family comes in 
sight, and ‘‘ the kingdom of Persia.” —2 Chron. xxxvi. 20. 
But the distinction is not lost sight of. Darius is ‘ the 
Median,” Cyrus “the Persian.” — Daniel v. 31; vi. 28. 
There are ‘“ the laws of the Persians aud Medes,’ Es- 
ther i. 195. ‘‘the seven princes of Persia and Media,” i. 14 ; 
and ‘+ the province of the Medes,” Ezravi.2. The Persians 
often gave their own name to the whole people and territory in 
the days of their Empire ; but afterwards, as the Medes were 
the most numerous and their territory the largest, they must 
have become at the last, as at the first, the more prominent 
of the two. Generally, in the Apocrypha, the terms are’ 


the word Persians in the narrower sense that King 
Darius did, as excluding the Medes. This may have 
been what he did not mean to do; for the little evidence 
there is on the subject goes to prove that the Order of 
the Magi belonged rather to the Median than to the 
Persian branch of this Aryan family.) It is probable 
St. Matthew did not know whether the strangers be- 
longed to the Median or the Persian branch ; and it was 
quite immaterial. What he wished to do, was to point 
out that they belonged to that Aryan race, of old the 
benefactor of Israel. 

In the Hebrew Scriptures the Far East twice means 
Persia. There, Cyrus is “the Man from the Far East,” ? 
and the Persian Eagle is “ the eagle from the Far East.” ? 

used as in the Scriptures. In the book of Tobit, it is all 
Media; in the book of Judith, it is said, ‘‘ the Persians 
quaked atvher boldness, and the Medes were daunted by her 
hardihood (xvi. 10); and it looks very much like confirma- 
tion of what has just been said, when, in 2 Esdras i. 3, one is 
spoken of as ‘a captive in the land of the Medes, in the 
reign of Artaxerxes, King of the Persians.” It accords with 
this and shows how familiar, even to the last, the Jews in 
Palestine were with the state of things in Persia, that, in 
Acts ii. 9, where we might expect the name of the Persians, 
St. Peter speaks of the *‘ Parthians and the Medes.” 

’ Herodotus, ch. i. 101, says the Magi were a tribe of the 

‘isa. xli2: 

3Tsa. xlvi. 11;—‘‘a ravenous bird.” The eagle was 
the emblem of Persia. — Auschylus, Pers, 205-210. Xene- 
phon says ‘‘the ensign of Cyrus was a golden eagle held 
upon the top of a long lance. This remains the ensign of 
the Persian king to this day.” — Cyrop., vii. 1. 


This was in passages that brought vividly to mind the 
relations of old between the Holy City and those kings 
of Iran, who ordered the temple to be rebuilt at their 
own cost, and prayers there to be said for the king and 
the people of Persia forever,’ — relations the Evangelist 
might well recall, as he told of the coming of Magi from 

Persia to Jerusalem. 

‘ Josephus, Antiq., lib. xi. ch. 2.3; ch. 4. 9.; ch. 5, 1, 



SINCE these things are so, light may be shed on this 
Persian pilgrimage from the Character and Religion of 
the Persians of old. But a common knowledge of these 
— if I may judge by my own, when some years since I 
began this inquiry —can hardly be assumed; and an 
explanation of this pilgrimage must sketch them, in out- 
line, at least. 

Hven this is not so easy. The time isfar back. The 
country faraway. Its few ruinous monuments are like 
rocks that, rising out of the sea, doubtfully point to the 
bearing of mountain ranges, and the configuration of 
lands sunk in the waters. The light is obscure. The 
guides not over trustworthy. I dare not despise aught 
that may help me in trying to draw, as well as Ican, 
the portrait of the Persian of old. I will fill out my 
conception of what the Persian was, from what he is 
now. ‘This I mayrightly do; for, in all the vicissitudes 
of his history, he has had much the same characteristics. 

The Persian is of the Caucasian type. His com- 
plexion is rather dark ; his face oval; his abundant hair 

black, and fine of texture; his forehead high; eyebrows 


arching and connected; eyes large, brilliant, and dark 3 
his features regular, serious, and calm; lips thin; chin 
narrow; beard flowing; his chest broad; limbs well- 
proportioned; hands and feet well-shaped; his gait 
erect and fine; his walk graceful. Of old, as now, he 
was fond of dress: —“the long and carefully curled 
hair of the Persians is conspicuous on the sculptures of 
Persepolis.”? Of old, as now, the Persian was fond 
of show; yet high-spirited and brave. Of old, as now, 
he was luxurious in his feelings, and a lover of wine; 
yet hardy in his training, temperate in his food, patient 
under privation, much in the open air, a horseman, and 
given to sports of the field. Of old, as now, the Per- 
sian was courtly, lively, quick-witted. He was social, 

1“ The Persians are more than good-looking, they are a 
handsome race” (Malcolm’s Sketches of Persia, ch. xii. 
p- 126); “and fond of decorating their persons” (ch. xvii. 
p- 229). But most of the people of the northern prov- 
inces of Persia are of Tartar origin. Of such are the Persian 
merchants seen in the bazaars of Constantinople. Of such 
‘are most of the ruling class and the reigning family ; but in- 
termarriage with Persians has bettered the physical pecu- 
liarities of the Tartar race. Lady Shiel, wife of a British 
minister at Teheran, the capital of Persia, in ‘* Glimpses of 
Life in Persia,” says of one of the royal family, ‘She was 

: really lovely ; fair, with indescribable eyes, and a figure only 
equalled by the chefs-d’ceuvre of Italian art.” The same 
beauty of form that now marks the pure Persian race is seen 
on the old sculptures of Persepolis. 

” Rawlinson’s Herodotus, vol. iii. p. 424. The Persians 
wore long hair. — Herodotus, book vi. sec. 19. 


convivial, pleased with himself, proud of his country,! 
—the Frenchman of the East.? 

On his lips, the poetry and extravagance of the East ; 
yet sometimes with a simple grandeur of word. On 
his tomb at Pasargadew, the founder of the Persian em- 
pire recalls the founder of his family; of his own deeds 
he says nothing, —his name will call them up;—“I 
am Cyrus, the King, the Achemenian.” 

Of old, with an immortal instinct that led him to keep 
records and set up monuments, Cyrus the Great made 
a decree; the fourth king after him was petitioned 
that search might be made for this; and search was 
made in “the house of rolls,” and the “roll” of the 

1 « The Persians look upon themselves as greatly superior 
to the rest of mankind.” — Herodotus, book i. sec. 134. 

2 «¢T accord to the Persian all the politeness of manners, 
and all the readiness and vivacity of wit that are wanting to 
the Osmanli.” — Vamberry’s Travels in Central Asia, book 
i. p. 22. Bishop Southgate contrasts their affability with 
the reserve of the Turks (Tour in Armenia and Persia, 
vel: ti. ch.-i. p. 9, 10), and says, ‘‘the Persians are 
certainly among the most accessible and polite people on 
earth” (ch. ii. p. 18). Their resemblance to Frenchmen 
strikes all travellers in Persia. It is, at least, curious that 
this likeness reaches to skill in cookery —an art in which 
Persian princesses are proud to display their success; and 
to a distaste for a seafaring life. Malcolm says, ‘‘ The 
natives of this place” — a small port on the Persian Gulf — 
‘are almost all of the Arab race, and fond of the sea ; a pro- 
pensity the more remarkable, as it is in such strong contrast 
with the disposition of the Persians, of whom all classes have 
an unconquerable antipathy to that element.” — Sketches, 
ch. iii. p. 33: 


decree was found.!. A steep rock, seventeen hundred 
feet high, overhangs the thoroughfare between Baby- 
lonia and Persia. On the smooth face of this rock- 
tablet, three hundred feet above the ground, Darius the 
Great ordered an image of himself to be sculptured, 
erect, holding his bow, two of his officers of state be- 
bind him, a rebel under his feet, nine others in bonds 
before him, and, beneath, a record of the first five years 
of his reign to be carved in three languages, —and 
there the traveller beholds it now.? 

The palace of the Persian of old was the noblest pile, 
his palace-hall, the largest ever built by regal policy 
or pride, ®— fitting the state of the sovereign, whom the 
- Greeks ever called “the Great King.” The court of 
the Persian of old was sublime, —shadowing forth his . 
conception of the court on high. 

1 Bzra v. 6-17; vi. 1-18. 

2 This long rock-inscription at Behistun is in the Persian, 
Babylonian, and Scythian languages. It was executed 
(B.C. 515) by the command of Darius Hystaspes, fourth 
monarch of the empire. A translation of it is ren in 
Rawlinson’s Herodotus, vol. ii. p. 590, ete. 

® The idea of the magnificence of the palaces of the Per- 
sian kings given by the book of Esther, ch. i. 5, 6, is con- 
firmed by the ruins of Persepolis. Ferguson, in a Treatise 
on the Palaces of Nineveh and Persepolis, describing the 
ruin now called the Hall of Xerxes, makes these state- 
ments: ‘‘The central hall alone covered more than forty 
thousand square feet, or, with its walls, fifty-five thousand 
seven hundred; its three porticos add forty-two thousand 
five hundred feet to this, and, including the guard-rooms 
(six thousand eight hundred), it makes a rectangle of about 


With something of Asiatic indifference to the worth 
-of human life, the Persians of old were not cruel by na- 
ture. With something of Oriental sensuality, they 

three hundred feet by three hundred and fifty, or one hundred 
and five thousand square feet. The great Hall of Karnac, 
in Egypt, the most stupendous building of antiquity, covers, 
internally, but fifty-eight thousand three hundred feet, and 
with its walls and porticos only eighty-eight thousand eight 
hundred. No cathedral in England, nor, indeed, in France 
or Germany, covers so much ground; that of Cologne comes 
nearest to it— eighty-one thousand five hundred feet. Mi- 
lan cathedral covers one hundred and seven thousand eight 
hundred feet. He finds, or fancies some resemblance be- 
tween this building and the Hall of Xerxes, in the general 
character of the effect it must have prodiced upon the 
spectator, and.says, ‘Neither is quite satisfactory; yet 
the most rigid critic eannot deny that they produce a sensa- 
tion of bewilderment and beauty which it is impossible to 
resist, and, to most minds, they seem, and must have always 
appeared to be among the noblest creations of human intel- 
lect and human power.” — Part i. sec. i. pp. 171-2. 

He says, ‘“‘I cannot conceive anything more gorgeous, 
or, perhaps, much more beautiful, than such a bnilding as 
this must have appeared in the clear sunshine of a Persian 
climate, if ornamented and colored as I conceive it to have 
been in the days of its pristine magnificence.” —Part 1 
sec. i. p. 155. : 

Of the Colossal Bulls, fifteen feet in height, which adorned 
the Propylea of this edifice, he says, ** There is a massive- 
ness in the muscular development, and a rugged solidity 
about the joints, which give to these animals a character of 
gigantic force unmatched, so far as I know, in animal sculp- 
ture, but analogous to what the Greeks attained in their 
representation of Hercules.” — Part i. sec. 1 LOOn ata 
Persian architecture, as compared with Grecian, he says, 



were distinguished ky moral sensibility. “They hold 

it,” says Herodotus, “ unlawful to talk of anything it is 

unlawful to do.!_ Lying, they think, is most disgraceful ; 

and, next to this, to be in debt. This, for several 

reasons, but especially because they think that one who 

is in debt, must of necessity tell lies.”? One of their 
names for God was, “The Father of | Truth. ” 

The Persian now is speculative ai and fond of the mys- 
terious, but not fanatical. The Persian of old was 
imaginative, earnestly inquisitive, generously apprecia- 
tive. He easily adopted foreign customs ;—- “no na- 
tion,” says Herodotus, “more readily ;”*— yet he was 
tenacious of his own ideas. The law of the Medes and 
Persians altered not. Their ancient religion sometimes 
attracted and allied thoughts and usages of other na- 
tions, yet ever kept its own.‘ 

‘‘The comparison is more favorable to Persia than one 
might at first be led to expect; and her Art, when we accus- 
tom ourselves to its unfamiliar forms, has an elegance and 
grace, as well as an appropriateness, that renders it well 
worthy of study and attention.” — Part i. sec. i. p. 87, 88, 89. 

1 Herodotus, book i. sec. 138. 

* Book i. sec. 138. They teach their sons three things ; 
to_ride, to use the bow, and | to speak the t truth. — Book i. 
sec. 136. In Persia, Malcolm sa says, ‘* nobody walks.” In the 
sadddle the Persians handle the matchlock as adroitly as of 
old the bow. But all travellers report that, as to truthful- 
ness, they have degenerated. 

3 Herodotus, book i. sec. 135. 

* Of the Parsees, as the small remnaut of believers in 
the old Persian religion in Persia and India are called, con- 
verts to Christianity there are few or none. 


In energy, the Persians, of all Asiatics, are most like 
Europeans. This energy is due in part to the bounds 
appointed them. A country central in Asia; low, 
sandy, hot coasts along the gulf; elsewhere, an upland 
of cool and bracing air; mountain ridges in all direc- 
tions; vales and plains of verdure; vast salt deserts — 
on the whole a poor country,! uninviting to strangers,” 
yet loved with passion by the Persians, whose thousand 
poets,” in strains awaking the envy of other countries, 
sing the land of the rose and the nightingale. 

1 Yet the Persians may well boast of their fruits. In the 
hot, sandy tract, the date, the fig, the pomegranate, the 
lemon, the orange, come to perfection; and the grapes of 
Shiraz are good as its wine. The peach tree is said to be 
a native of Persia, and there grow all the fruits of the 
temperate zone. 

2? Yet a most interesting country, as presenting divers 
forms of life, that for European races live only in history 
and romance. The Persians, listening to bards reciting from 
the Shahnameh, recall the Greeks, who, in like manner 
and with like emotion, knew the songs of Homer. The 
wild clans of the mountains, with their fealty to their chiefs, 
their fastnesses among the hills, their raids on the flocks and 
herds of the lowiands, are the Highlanders in the novels of 
Scott. The lords of Persia in their strongholds, with armed 
retainers around, are the great nobles of the Feudal age in 
Europe; their power, their state, their high heroic qualities 
the same; their passions, too, the same; the same their 
Jawlessness, their craft, their cruelty. 

8 Literally so, if we count in the number the bards, who, 
_in every village, and to the tribes of the mountains at night- 
fall, to impassioned listeners crowding round, recite heroic 
stanzas from ihe Shahnameh, or sing the odes of Hafiz, or 


The historic period of Persia began in the seventh 
century before Christ (B. C. 658), when Achemenes — 
a leader whose name the Persian monarchs loved to re- 
call — led an emigration into a narrow territory, along 
the northern shore of the Persian Gulf. There he founded 
a kingdom ; and there were the ancient Persian capitals, 
Pasargade and Persepolis. When the Persians thus 
came into Persia Proper, their kinsmen, the Medes, 
who appear earlier in history, dwelt in the region ad- 
joining it on the north. A century later, these kin- 
dred tribes, coming under one government, ruled from 
the highlands east of the Tigris to the highlands west 
of the Indus, and from the Caspian Sea and the River 
Oxus to the Persian Gulf. The Persian Empire, thus 
founded in the sixth century before Christ (B. C. 558) 
by Cyrus the Great, besides Persia or Iran, embraced, 
at one time or another, Assyria, Syria, Asia Minor, 
islands of the Agean, Egypt, parts of Arabia, of 
Scythia, and of India. In the fourth century before 
Christ (B. C. 331) Persia was conquered by the 
Greeks. In the third century before Christ the Par- 
thians — a tribe that had been subject to the Persians 
— rose up against the successors of Alexander, and at 
length founded the Parthian Empire. In the third 
century after Christ (A. D. 226) the Persians re- 
established their own kingdom. In the seventh century 
(A. D. 651) the Arabs converted the Persians to Mo- 
hammedanism by the sword. ‘The cruelty of their 


of Saadi. Persia is just at that stage of culture when poetry 
is the passion of all classes. 


conquest, while it explains their success, shows the 
Persians tenacious of their religion. Its success is also 
explained by the fact, that the religion of the Persians 
and of Mohammed had points of contact in the idea of 
one God, in detestation of idols, and in some common 
traditions. In some Moslem sects in Persia, and in 
Persian poetry, an influence from the old religion may: 
be discerned; but so thorough was the conquest, that 
only a few who clung to the old religion remained in 
Persia; only a few escaped into India. “In Persia this 
remnant are called Guebres — Fire Worshippers. In 
India they are called Parsees — that is, Persians. Most 
of their merchants live in the city of Bombay. For 
their numbers, the Parsees are the wealthiest race under 
British dominion in India, and the most intelligent and 
charitable. Throughout the commercial world their 
merchants have a high character for energy and honor. 

In*the seventh century before Christ the historic 
period of Persia began; but some of the monuments 
of its religion are of much older date. They are as old 
as any of the monuments of the religion of India, if 
they do not, in fact, transcend them all in antiquity, and 
reach near to the age of the primeval kingdoms of 
Egypt and Babylon. The Zend, the sacred language 
of Persia, and the most ancient dialect of the Sanscrit, 
the sacred language of India, are the same language." 

1 Of Zend, Dr. Haug states, ‘‘ Its relation to the most 
ancient Sanscrit, the so-called Vedic dialect, is as close as 
that of the different dialects of the Grecian language, 
Holic, Ionic, Doric, and Attic, to each other.” — Essays on 


The language and traditions of these two countries — 
prove, that at some very remote epoch there was, in 

a people of the same language, a division, caused in a — 

measure by a divergence in religion,’ and resulting in 
the formation of two peoples. One part of this 
ancient community kept more pure the truth revealed to 

the Sacred Language, Writings, and Religion of the Pars) 

sees, by Martin Haug, Dr. Phil., late of the Universities of . 

Tiibingen, Gottingen, and Bonn; Superintendent of San- 

scrit Studies, and Professor of Sauscrit in the Poona College, 
Bombay. 1862, part ii. p. 117. Dr. Haug states that the 
Brahmins, who are perfectly acquainted with the classi- 
cal Sanscrit, as he calls it, are unable to explain the more 
ancient parts of the Vedas; and that ‘there is no doubt 
the classical Sanscrit was formed long after the separation of 
the Iranians from the Hindus.” — Part ii. pp. 117,118. The 
Zend, he calls ‘‘ the elder sister of the Sanscrit.”” — Part i. 
p- 17. Hardwick calls it ** second, if not the eldest of the 
sister tongwes which form the Indo-European family.” He 
says, Purely philological reasons leave no doubt of the “ pro- 
tracted intercourse of Persians and Hindus, who clung to- 
gether as a great community ages after the migrations of the 
Celt, the Teuton, and the Sclave across the bounds of East- 
ern Europe.” — Christ and other Masters, by Charles Hard- 
wick, Cambridge, England, 1862. Part iv. chap. iii. p. 147. 

' The evidence of this is in facts, of which the following 
are specimens: ‘In all the Vedas, and in Brahminic litera- 
ture, Deva is the name of the gods who are objects of 
worship to thisday. Inthe Zendavesta, from its earliest to its 
latest parts, and even in modern Persian literature, deva — 
modern Persian. div — is the general name of an evil spirit or 
devil.” — Dr. Haug, part iv. p. 225. In the Vedas, Indra is 
the highest of the gods, and a benevolent deity; with the 
Persians he is degraded in rank, and malevolent in character. 


Vieistie Oe cai The line of this division 
was the River Indus, and the Persians and the Hindoos 
‘ A-ite monuments. 

This division was the final breaking up of that pri- 
: -meval family or tribe in Asia, from out of which, 
3 before this, had been the, migrations of those, who, 
BS within the bounds of enna: were to become the 
Greeks, the Romans, the Celts, the Teutons, and the 

 Sclaves; in a word, the nations of Europe, in their 


long succession and varied development — migrations 
not within any historic period, but attested to have been 
out of the bosom of the same family by resemblances 
_in their languages, through which the languages of 
Persia, of India, and of Europe have been classed 
together as one grand division of human speech, and 
called the Indo-Germanic, or Indo-European, or Aryan, 
or Japhetan languages — names, each of which strives 
to grasp and express the unity and diversity of this 
wonderful phenomenon; as in like manner, and with 
like cause, the languages of the Arabs, the Syrians, 
the Pheenicians, and the Hebrews are called Shemitic 

In a time, then, far beyond the reach of the usual 
appliances of human history, in a region somewhere in 
the heart of Asia, there appears the early vision of a 
family from which go forth, towards the east, the lords 
of India, and towards the west, the successive races 
that peopled Europe, and are now spreading over the 
Americas, and the expectant islands of the deep. I 


know of no such far-reaching prospect in human his-< 
tory, of no higher summit of mortal vision, from which 
to survey the procession of the nations, the onwindings 
of the oceanic stream of life. This affiliation of nations, 
so far severed in space and time, so different in their 
tongues to the common ear, and so distinct in their 
histories, this affiliation that connects them into one 
division of the human race and disconnects them from 
the others, is a grand fact, that kindles the soul to 
thought. What was the religion of this family, before 
it broke up, to find such different destinies? Whatwas | 
its religion far away back in that early day, when the 
fathers of these unborn nations spoke one language? 
There is something in all the mythologies of this great , 
family of the human race, suggesting that its religion, 
then, was the worship of God. Over all its idolatry 
broods the dim presence of some One higher and soli- 
tary Power; and to the ages gone, as to a fount of 
wiser inspiration, all these varied nations have looked 
back with dim, regretful memories. As their tradi- 
tions are traced farther backwards, they more and more 
approximate towards the primeval facts recorded in the 
annals of our ancient and holy religion, and ever more 
and more appear the. tokens of some early revelation of 
the one only living and true God. Many and varied 
are the lines of evidence that point to this conclusion; 
but I find the decisive proof of the fact in the ancient 
religious monuments of the Persians, as connected: with 
that struggle against idolatry which resulted in their 
existence as a people. 


Zendavesta! is the name given to what remains of the 
religious records of the ancient Medes and Persians. 
It consists of a few hymns and prayers, and of one 
only of twenty-one books that contained their religious 
and scientific ideas. The Zendavesta, though but a 
fragment of an extensive literature, contains those parts 
of it most important for understanding the rise, genius, 
and history of the Persian religion. .A few of its 
hymns and prayers are written in a dialect much older 
than the rest of it, and such changes appear in its lan- 
guage, and so many centuries were required for the 
formation of the literature to which it belonged, that 
the most ancient of its hymns were probably written at 
a time not much later than that of Moses. Some of the ‘i 
oldest of these hymns were composed by Zoroaster, 
and their age determines the period in whichKe lived. 

This sage, whom Iran reyered-ay-her prophet, in the 
Zendavesta is styled Zérathrustra, =: a word changed 
by the Romans into’-Zoroaster.2. The Greeks and 
Romans took this for-a=proper name. It was the title of 
the High Priest of Iran. The Zoroaster of world-wide 
fame is distinguished in the Zendavesta by his family 
name, Spitama. His successors in office were thought 
to commune with God, as the Persians believed Zoro- 
aster did ; their sayings and doings were confounded by 
foreigners with his; and hence the uncertainty as to the 

1 This name indicates that the Book consists of a Text 

(Avesta), and a comment upon it (Zend). 
2 By the Greeks into Zarastrades and Zoroastres ; by the 

Parsees into Zerdosht. 



age in which he lived, and whether there were one, two, | 
three, or more of the same name — questions long dis- 
cussed among the learned.' 

In forming a conception of any old religion, we al- 
most, of necessity, conceive of it as it may have been at 
some one period, and so include in our conception of it 
features it may have had earlier or later. All the re- 
ligions of old had changes from without and from within ;, 
but there were peculiar and great features of the Persian. 
religion that were always the same. The Persians of. 
old were not idolaters. _ They t believed i in a self-existent 
Creator of all good. His name _was. “Abura-Mazda, 
‘thought to mean the Living Creator of all— a name, in 
iater ‘Persian, contracted into Ormazd. The Persians 
coneeteal of another being, also elie xistent, who was 
the creator of evil. His name was Angromainyus, 
in later Persian, Ahriman. Such a creed, strictly con- 
strued, held to two eternal powers; but, happily, it. 
was inconsistent with its first principles. The good 
being was mightier than the evil being, and, in the end, 
was to destroy him. 

Having a revelation “of the spirituality of God, the 
Persian reared to him no temple, fashioned of him n¢ 
image. He worshipped him before a flame of fire. 
Herodotus says, “the Persians held Fire to be a god 3”? 
but this was not the belief of Iran. These words are 
from the oldest recorded utterance of her ancient faith, 

1 Haug, part ili. sec. 27, p. 181; comp. 139. 
2 Herodotus, book iii. sec, 16. 


from a creed, or prayer, or hymn—it is all three in 
one — of Zoroaster himself: “ Blessed is he, blessed are 
all men, to whom the living, wise God, of his own 
command, should grant those two everlasting powers, 
— health of the soul, and immortality. For this very 
good, I beseech Thee, Ahira-Mazda, mayest thou, 
through thy angel of piety, give me happiness, the true 
good things, and the possession of the good mind. I 
believe Thee to be the best being of all; the source of 
Light for the world. Everybody shall choose Thee as the 
source of Light; Thee, holiest spirit. Thou createst all 
good things. . . . I will believe Thee to be powerful, 
holy. For thou givest, with thy hand filled with helps, 
good to the pious man, as well as to the impious, by 
means of the warmth of the fire strengthening the good 

The Median usage of worshipping before a flame of 
fire may have, in part, originated in, and certainly in 
part is to be explained by, the Oriental, ancient idea of 
the element, Light. Of this essence, that which we 
eall Light, was to the Persian but one of the various 
manifestations ; Heat was another; and both were com- 
bined in the blaze of the fire. The invisible, universal, 
manifold element itself, he thought, in some way, per- 
tained to God. Among the sayings ascribed by the 
Greeks to the Persians, it was said of God, “his body 
resembles Light, as his spirit resembles Truth.” This 

reminds of what is written in the Divine Oracles: 

1 Gatha Ustavaiti, i. 1, 2,4. Haug, p. 147. 


God “covereth himself with light, as with a garmeit;”? 
* Ee dwelleth in light, which no man can approach unto.’ 
The Persian thought this divine element was the media . 
of creative energy. -Ahura-Mazda created, “through 
his inborn lustre, the multitude of the celestial lumi- 

”4 Tt was the media of his omnipresent agency, 

—“by the warmth of the fire strengthening the good 
things” he had created. : 

Of this divine element, the gross, material fire on the 
Median altars was a symbol. To form this altar-fire, 
fires from sixteen places were brought together in one; 
fire generated by the rubbing together of two sticks of 
wood, fire from the kitchen, firé from steel-workers, 
glass-makers, potters, dyers, all the mechanics, and fire 
from a funeral pile. The corpse was pollution to a 
Mede or a Persian ;° yet the fire, in which a dead body 
had been burned, was the most indispensable of all to 
the symbolical flame on the altar, for it was thought to 
hhave absorbed the fire in the human frame. Four was 
a perfect number, and the square of four filled out to 
perfection the fulness of the representative idea in the 
fire gathered from sixteen fires. This collective fire 

1 Psalms civ. 2. 2.1 Tia. vee, 

3 Gatha Ustavaiti, i. 1, 2,4. Haug, p. 147. 

* I use the plural intentionally, in view of the manifold- 
ness of the element, — Light. Mark the expression, ‘‘ Father 
of Lights.” — James i. 17. 

5 The Vendidad, Fargard, v.—viii., contains minute direc- 
tions forthe treatment of a dead body. Running through 
these all is the idea of its utter impurity. 

° The Vendidad, Fargard, viii. 73-96, contains directions 


represented that element which is the unseen cause of ali 
seeing, and of the heat, through which is the growth 
of the vegetable and animal worlds. The visible fire 
on the altar was a symbol of the invisible fire that per- 
vaded and vivified all things, and was the life in nature. 
It represented a great and universal mystery, behind 
which was the mystery of’ mysteries; for that invisible 
fire was the Shekinah itself. Hence; the collective, 
mystic flame, purified by prayers said over it to God, 
was so sacred that it became impure if the direct rays, 
even of the sun, fell upon it.? 

‘The Mede and the Persian thought that, through this 

for the preparation of the sacred Fire. The Parsees observe 
them at this day. The reason for the number is a conjec- 
ture of mine. ‘Traces of a lost science or art of numbers, 
seem to run through Oriental, ancient thinking. Some of 
these appear in Holy Writ, alike in the books of Moses, 
learned in the wisdom of Egypt, and of Daniel, learned in 
the wisdom of Chaldea. Some of the thought of this lost 
art may be gathered here andthere. Philo Judzeus preserves 
something of this, as to the first seven numbers. Four, he 
says, is ‘‘a perfect number,” and ‘ preéminent in nature.” 
He preposed to show its mystic powers, in full, in a 
special treatise. —On the World, secs. xiv. xv. xvi. XVii. 
Seneca tells how certain of the Magi, who chanced to be at 
Athens, where Plato died on his eighty-first birthday, were 
so struck with his perfect time-cycle, nine, the most perfect 
of numbers, multiplied into itself, or the square of nine, that 
they paid honors to him, as to one more than a mortal. — 
Ep. 58. 

1 Their Atish-khudars, houses for the sacred fire, are so 
constructed now by the Parsees, that the sun-rays cannot 

fall on the sacred fire. 


sacred flame, God might reveal his truth to his true 
worshippers. Zoroaster said, “ Standing at thy fire, 
among thy worshippers who pray to thee, I will be 
mindful of the truth;”+ and he exhorted his disciples 
“to contemplate the beams of the fire with a most pious 
mind.”? Standing thus himself, musing, praying, wor- 
shipping, his burning thoughts seemed to him kindled 
from the altar-blaze. “I will now tell you,” he says, 
“vou, who are assembled here, the wise sayings of the 
Most Wise, the praises of the Living God, and the © 
songs of the good Spirit, the sublime truth which I see 

73 ‘This eustom of 

arising out of these sacred flames. 
worshipping before a flame was older than the time of 
Zoroaster. I think it may have originated in some old 
tradition of a revelation of God through a flame of fire, 
like to that Moses beheld in Midian.* 

Ormazd said, “My light is concealed under all that 

”5 and hence the Persian, as he revered’ the 

shines ; 
sacred fire, revered also the sun, the moon, and every 
shining thing. This reverence, easily mistaken for 
idolatry, no doubt often became idolatrous. No doubt 
the Persians often confounded the media of the power 
of the omnipresent God —his symbols — with God 

It being a dogma of the Persian religion, that all the 

’ Gatha Ustavaiti, i.9. Haug, p. 148. 

* Gatha Ahunavaiti, iii. 2. Haug, p. 141. 

8 The same, sec. i. 4 Exodus iii. 1-6. 

> Cited by Malcolm, as from the Zendavesta. Hist. of 
-Persia, vol, i. ch. yn. 


evil in the world was created by an evil being, all that 
was good was representative of the power and the glory 
of the good Being; and, through such things, the 
Creator might be worshipped. 

The idea of the representative glory of God shining 
through what he had made, comes out in the Persian 
idea of a king. “I am,” says Jamschid, in the Shah- 
nameh, “by the divine favor, both sovereign and 
priest.” The Persian monarch was pontiff, as well as 
king. His palace was, in some sort, a temple; his 
court, a.copy of that of Ormazd. In number, the, great 
officers around his throne corresponded to the archan- 
gels in the courts on high. The King, exalted by the 
divine will to the dazzling preéminence of temporal 
and spiritual lord of the Persians, was to them an image 
of the power and glory of God. Something of this idea 
may be seen in the decree of Darius, that, for thirty 
days, no one should offer any petition to God or man, 
save to himself ;1 in the rule that no one, not even the 
Queen, might come before the King, in his palace, un- 
bidden, and live, unless he held out the golden sceptre ; ” 
and, in this, that the laws of the King, like the laws of 
God, altered not. In the Persian sense of the word, 
the King was worshipped. Plutarch, in his life of The- 
mistocles, says, “None durst appear before the King, 
without prostrating themselves on the ground.” Nor did 
they exact this only from their own vassals, but also 
from foreign ministers and ambassadors ; the captain of 

1 Daniel vi. 4-9. 2 Esther iv. 10, 11. 


the guard being charged to inquire of those who asked 
admittance to the king, whether they were ready to 
adore him. This is explained by what Artabanus said 
to Themistocles: “ Among the many excellent laws of 
ours, the most excellent is this, that the king is to be 
honored and worshipped religiously, as the image of 
that God which conserveth all things.” 

According to the Persian creed, Ormazd was the 
creator of light, Ahriman of darkness; and the never- 
ceasing war of light and darkness, the true image of the 
conflict between them. To take part in this conflict, 
Ormazd created six archangels, Ahriman, six demons ; 
the oie, legions of messengers of light, the other, of 
em] Karies) \of darkness. 

i/The Befrsian religion discerned the superhuman origin 
6f+the’evil there is inthe world; and that God wages 
against it real, unceasing, and at last, victorious war. 

It predicted _that_in_the-end~a Redeemer would ¢ome— 
‘ away...withdeath, and_to.raise_thedead.—It— 
taught the Persian, that if he approved himself on the 
side of the Good Being, by good thoughts, good words, 
and good deeds, he himself, both body and soul, should 
share in his triumphs. 

In proof of some of these statements as to the re- 
ligion of the Persians, I cite Scripture, whose date is 
prior to the birth of the founder of the Persian empire. 
“TI am God, and there is none else; I am God, and 
there is uone like me; declaring the end from the be- 
ginning, end from ancient times the things that are not 
yet dons, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do 


all My pleasure: calling a ravenous bird! from ‘the 
East, the man? that executeth my counsel from a far 
country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to 
pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.”? 

“T am the Lord that maketh all things; that stretch- 
eth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the 
earth by myself; . . . that saith of Cyrus, He is my 
shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even say- 
ing to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the tem- 
ple, Thy foundation shall be laid.” 

© Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose 
right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before 
him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open be- 
fore him the two-leaved gates, and the gates shall not 
be shut ;. I will go before thee, and make the crooked 
places straight; I will break in piecés the gates of 
brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron; and I will 
give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches 
of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the 
Lord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of 
Israel. For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine 
elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have 
surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me. IT am 
the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside 
me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: 
that they may know from the rising of the sun, and from 
the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, 

and there is none else. I form the light, and create 
1 The Persian eagle. See note on p. 57 
* Cyrus. 8 Isa, xlvi. 9, 10, 11. 4TIsa. xliv. 24, 28. 


darkness ; I make peace, and create evil. I, the Lord, 
do all these things.” + 

These words prove Bohlesels assertion, that in the 
Bible the Persians are not classed with heathen na- 
tions. For Cyrus is called the Lord’s “ shepherd ” and 
the Lord’s “ anointed,” which is evidence that he was a 
worshipper of God; and this is certain, when it is said 
the Lord will strengthen the right hand of his anointed 
to subdue the “nations;” for the term rendered “ na- 
tions” means the heathen, or worshippers of idols, in 
strict opposition to the Israelites. 

Yet the Lord said to Cyrus,“ Thou hast not known 
me;” from which it is to be inferred, that although 
Cyrus ‘was no idol-worshipper, his idea of God was im- 
perfect, erroneous, or contradictory; and as the words 
following —“I am the Lord, and there is none else ; 

there is no God beside me,” taken as 

referring to those that precede, there is in them evidence 
of the divinity of Ahriman in the Persian creed. When 
this is said again, it is followed by words manifestly 
pointed against this doctrine of the Persian religion: 
“JT form the light, and create the darkness. I make 
peace, and create evil. I, the Lord, do all these 

The fact so strongly inferred from Scripture, that the 
Persian religion held to two Creators, is clearly proved 
by the first two of the five small collections of hymns 
in the Zendavesta, called Gathas. These were written 

Psa. xlve le 


by Zoroaster. He says, “In the beginning, there 
were a pair of twins; two spirits, each with a peculiar 
activity : these are the good and the base, in thought, 
word, and deed. And these two spirits created mate- 
rial things; the ‘one the reality, the other the non- 
reality. Of these two spirits, you must choose the 
one, either the evil, the originator of the worst actions, 
or the true, holy spirit.”1 Here, the idea of two Crea- 
tors, each the antithesis of the other, is expressed 
with a clearness beyond contradiction. In the last 
three Gathas the idea is different. This inquiry is 
addressed to God: “Art Thou not He in whom is 
hidden the last cause of both intellects, good and base?” 
—and the Creator of good and evil is said to be one 
and the same. 

These words may have come from Zoroaster’s dis- 
ciples; their first, but not their last, attempt to reduce 
his systema to pure Monotheism. If from the sage him- 
self, they prove that his thoughts were inconsistent ; 
that in vain attempts to change faith into philosophy, 
to solve the problem of evil, whose solution is beyond 
the powers of man, and which God hath not revealed, 
he became bewildered, and contradicted himself. Or, it 
may. be these darkened utterances repeat but what he had 
heard. It may be he did not originate that Dualism, 
which was the greatest error in the creed of Iran, but he 
did sanction it; and his creed, if judged only by this 
dogma, must be condemned as worse than that of the 


1Gatha Ahunavait, ili. 8,4. Haug, p. 142. 


heathen. But the religion of the intellect and of the 
heart are not just the same. The heart of Zoroaster 
forbade him to follow out his creed to its consequences ; 
and he seemed to have given to the spirit, from whom 
he believed that evil originated, divine attributes, with- 
out clearly seeing they were such. For, in his say- 
ings, — and so, too, in the Zoroastrian religion, — Ahri- 
man is really an inferior power. He says, “ Wisdom is 
the shelter from lies, the annihilation of the destroyer,” 
— that is, of the evil spirit. His allusions to Ahriman 
are chiefly in exhortations to withstand his assaults: 
* ‘Those who are opposed in their thoughts, words, and 
actions to the wicked, and think. only of the welfare of 
creation, their efforts will be crowned with success 
through the mercy of Ahura-Mazda.”? 

It would seem that the fearful dogma of an evil 
being, ever creating evil, would have made the religion 
of the Persians gloomy and despairing. It might have 
been so in the forests of Scandinavia, but it was not 
beneath the brilliant sky of Iran. It might have been 
so among some races, but by nature “the Persians are 
the most cheerful people in the world.” 

Something of this must be ascribed to the piety of 
Zoroaster. The dogma of an evil creator was so dis- 
armed of its overshadowing terror by his trust in God, 
that although it ever remained an article in the creed 
of the religion which revered him as its prophet, that 
religion was of good cheer, and alone, of the religions 

* Gatha Ahunavaiti, iii. 10. Haug, p. 143. 
* Gatha Ahunavaiti, iv. 332. Haug, p. 145. 


of the world, looked forward with hope. Zoroaster’s 
words are the accents of a soul inquiring after God, 
elevated, strengthened, purified by contemplation of 
Him, and by the assurance of immortal righteousness. 
They show him to have been a child-like lover of God, 
whom he calls “the living, the faithful, the generous, 
the holy.” 

“That will I ask of Thee, tell it me right, Thou 
living God! who was, in the beginning, the Father and 
Creator of truth. Who made of the sun and stars the 
way? Who causes the moon to increase and wane if 
not Thou? This I wish to know, except what I already 

“That will I ask of Thee, tell it me right, Thou 
living God! who is holding the earth and the skies 
above it? Who made the waters, and the trees of the 
field? Who is in the wind and storms that they so 
quickly run? Who is the creator of the good-minded 
beings, Thou Wise? 

* That will I ask Thee, tell it me right, Thou Living 
God. Who made the lights of good effect, and the 
darkness? Who made the sleep of good effect, and the 
activity? Who made morning, noon, and night, re- 
minding always the priest of his duties ? 

* When my eyes beheld Thee, the Essence of Truth, 
the Creator of Life, who manifests his life in his works, 
then I knew Thee to be the primeval spirit— Thou 
Wise, so high in mind as to create the world, and the 
father of the good mind, 

“TI believe in Thee as the Holy God, Thou living 


Wise! because I beheld Thee to be the primeval cause 
of life in the creation. For Thou hast made holy 
customs and words. Thou hast given emptiness to the 
base, and good to the good man. I will believe in 
Thee, Thou glorious God! in the last period of crea- 

He met in this world the: treatment given to all of 
whom the world is not worthy : “To what country shall 
I go? Where shall I take my refuge? What country 
is sheltering the master and his companion? None of — 
the servants pay reverence to me, nor the wicked rulers 
of the country. How shall I worship Thee further, 
Living Wise? 

“JT know that I am helpless. Look at me being 
amongst few men, for I have but few men, I implore 
Thee, weeping, Thou Living God, who grantest happi- 
ness as a friend gives a present to a friend. The good 
of the good mind is in Thy own possession, Thou 
‘ene. 2 

These few broken words shadow forth much of the 
unknown of his history. These reveal the hope that 
cheered him. “Let us be such as help the life of the 
future... . Zhe prudent man wishes only to be there, 
where wisdom is at home. . . All perfect things are 
garnered up in the splendid residence of the Angel of 

‘These are sentences from the first two Gathas — choice 
sentences, that give much too high an idea of the general 
character of the Zendavesta. 

* Gatha Ustavaiti, iv. 1, 2. 


Righteousness, the Angel of Wisdom, the Angel of 
aii et 

In the fragments of the sayings of Zoroaster there is 
no clear trace of the doctrine of the resurrection of the 
dead; yet the Persians seem to have found there its 
germ, at least; for they gave, as a name to the renova- 
tion of all things, in which they believed the dead would 
arise, a phrase of Zoroaster’s —“ the perpetuation of life.” 

In the Zendavesta it is foretold that Sosiosh, a great 
prophet, commissioned by Ahura-Mazda to restore and 
make all things new, “shall slay death,”? and that “in 
his time the dead will rise.” ? 

The angels of Zoroaster are personifications of the 
divine attributes rather than real beings, with the ex- 
ception of Serosh, the angel of the religion of Iran. In 
after times, each abstraction of the mind, each faculty 
of the soul, each animate and inanimate thing, was 
thought to have its spirit or genius, and each human 
being his angel. The old Persian walked, attended by 
a multitude of spirits of light or of spirits of darkness. 
To good spirits, veneration was given; many of them 
were invoked with prayer; and some angels. of high 
_ rank were so invested with titles and honors of gods of 
other nations, as to give rise to the assertion, that the 
Persians had adopted them. 

As the mysterious element, Light, pervaded every- 

thing in the good creation, every such thing might be 

? Gatha Ahunavaiti, iii. 9, 10. 
? Vendidad. Fargard, xix. 5 Zemyad yasht. 



an object of reverence, and reverence was especially 
given to the four elements, to the sun, to the moon, and 
every shining thing. This recondite idea, together with 
the belief that everything in the good creation had its 
genius or angel, which might be invoked with prayer, 
often made their religion unintelligible to the heathen of 
old, who interpreted its creed by their own. 

Gibbon says, “The theology of Zoroaster was dark- 
ly comprehended by foreigners; . . . but the most care- 
less observers were struck with the philosophic simplici- 
ty of the Persian worship. ‘That people,’ says Herodo- 
tus, ‘rejects the use of temples, of altars, and of statues, 
and smiles at the folly of those nations who imagine that 
the gods are sprung from, or bear any affinity with, the 
human nature. The tops of the highest mountains are 
the places chosen for sacrifices. Hymns and prayers 
are the principal worship; the Supreme God, who fills 
the wide circle of heaven, is the object to whom they are 
addressed.’ Yet, at the same time, in the true spirit 
of a Polytheist, he accuses them of adoring earth, water, 
fire, the winds, and the sun and moun. But Persians 
of every age have denied the charge, and explained the 
equivocal conduct which might appear to give a color 
to it. The elements, and more particularly the sun, 
whom they called Mithra, were the objects of their re- 
ligious reverence, because they considered them as the 
purest symbols, the noblest productions, and the most 
powerful agents of the Divine Power and nature.” ?} 

* Gibbon’s History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman 
Empire, ch. viii. 


Missionaries bring the same charge against the Par- 
sees now; and it is answered by them in the same way. 
The Parsees revere Zoroaster as their prophet; they 
receive the Zendavesta as their sacred book; their rites 
are those of their ancestors; their creed expresses the 
Persian religion of old, in its purest form; therefore 
I cite part of a Catechism appended to the Book of 
Prayer, now used by the Parsees in India. 

“We believe in only one God; and do not believe in 
any beside him. Questvon. Who is that one God? 
Answer. The God who created the heavens and the 
earth, the angels, the stars, the sun, the moon, the fire, 
the water, or all the four elements, and all things in the 
two worlds: that God we believe in; Him we invoke, 
and Him we adore. Ques. What is the form of our 
God? Ans. Our God has neither face, nor form, color, 
nor shape, nor fixed place. There is no other like Him. 
He is himself singly, such a glory that we cannot de- 
scribe Him, nor our mind comprehend Him. Ques. 
What is our religion? -Ans. Our religion is the wor- 
ship of God. Ques. Whence did we receive our 
religion? Ans. From God’s true prophet, the true 
Zoroaster. He brought our religion for us from God. 
Ques. Where should I turn my face when worshipping 
the holy Ormazd. Ans. We should worship the holy, 
just Ormazd, with our face toward some of his creations 
of light, glory, and brightness. Ques. What are those 
things? -Ans. Such as the sun, the moon, the stars, 
the fire, water, and such things of glory. To such 
things we should turn our face, because God has he- 


stowed upon them a small spark of His true glory ; and 
they are, therefore, more exalted in the creation, and 
fit to represent to us this power and glory. Ques. 
Among the creation of Ormazd, which is the most 
exalted? Ans. The great prophet is the most exalted ; 
and that prophet is the excellent Zoroaster; none is 
higher than he; the height of dignity culminates in him, 
because he is the most honored and beloved of God. 
Ques. If we commit any sin, will our prophet save us? 
Ans. Never commit any sin under that faith; because 
our prophet, our guide, has distinctly commanded you 
shall receive according to what you do. If you do vir- 
tuous and pious actions, your reward shall be heaven. 
If you sin, and do wicked things, your reward shall be 
hell. There is none save God, that can save you from 
the consequences of yoursins. If you repent of your 
sins and reform, and the Great Judge consider you 
worthy of pardon, or would be merciful to you, He 
alone can and will save you. Ques. What are those 
things by which man is blessed and benefited. Ans. 
To do virtuous deeds, to give in charity, to be kind, to 
be humble, to speak the truth, to suppress anger, to be 
patient and contented, to be friendly, to feel shame, to 
pay due respect to the old and young, to be pious, to 
respect our parents and teachers. Ques. What are 
those things by which man is lost or degraded? Ans. 
To tell untruths, to steal, to gamble, to commit treachery, 
to abuse, to be angry, to wish ill to another, to be proud, 
to mock, to be idle, to slander, to be avaricious, to take 
what is another's property, to be revengeful, unclean, 


- envious, to be superstitious, and to do any other wicked 

The religion of the Parsees seems to be an imperfect, 
rather. than an untrue religion. It is a relic of the re- 
‘ligion of the primeval age, essentially the same as that 
of the book of Job. From it we see, that for more 
than three thousand years there has been no enlarge- 
ment or development of religious truth, save in the line 
of the prophecies fulfilled in the coming of the Lord, 
and in the truth by him revealed. 

Missionaries allege that in the Parsee religion Bae” 
there is an intermixture of superstition and idolatry ; and 
certainly there was in the religion of the Persians of 
old. This is proved by the vision of Ezekiel, near the 
time of Cyrus the Great, when the Persian religion was 
less corrupt than it was afterwards. The prophet be- 
held, in the Lord’s house in Jerusalem, “creeping things 
and abominable beasts” — the gods of the Egyptians ; 
he beheld Hebrew “women weeping for Tammuz” — 
the Pheenician worship of Adonis; and, “in the inner 
court of the Lord’s house, between the porch and the 
altar,” priests, with their backs towards the temple of 
the Lord, and their faces towards the east,” and “they 

” after the manner of the Magi. 

worshipped the sun, 
This fixes the brand of idol-worship on the Magi, leav- 
ing no doubt that in their religion, even as in that of 
the Hebrews in Ezekiel’s time, there was a fearful in- 
termixture of idolatry with the worship of the God of 


1 Ezekiel, ch. vill. 

May 3 

Vn the Persian religion there is some confirmation of 
the fact, that the Pilgrims to Jerusalem were Persians ; 
for the religious veneration of the Persians for their King 
is the starting-point in the full explanation of their wor- 
ship of the Young Child. In the Old Testament, wor- 
ship often means respect paid by an inferior person to a 
superior, in the Oriental fashion of bowing or falling to 
the ground; but in the New Testament, with hardly 
an exception, it means honor due only to God. Thus, 
when Cornelius would have worshipped St. Peter in 
this fashion, he restrained him, saying, “I am myself 
a Man.”! In a likecase, the angel said to St. John, 
Worship God.”? “The four and twenty elders fell down 
and worshipped Him that liveth forever and ever.”? 
When Satan said, “If thou wilt fall down and worship 
me,” our Lord answered, “It is written, Thou shalt wor- 
ship the Lord thy God.”* And in St. Matthew this 
word must have this meaning, for it is the word he uses, 
when he says, that after the Resurrection the disciples 
worshipped Jesus, when he “came and spake unto them, 
saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in 
earth; go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing 
them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of 
the Holy Ghost.” 

As to the worship the Magi paid to Christ, this great 
difficulty arises: it is very strange they should receive a 
truth received with difficulty, even by the disciples of 

*VActs x. 25, 26, + Rev. SK a0. 
3 Rey. v. 14. 4 Matt. iv. 9, 10. 
5 Matt. xxviii. 19, 20. 


‘the Master, at a late day, and after many proofs of his 
divinity. The explanation of the marvel is, 7n part, 
given in what has been said of the Persian idea of a 
King. To a Persian, his king was so representative of 
God, that to his Oriental imagination, he seemed the 
brightness of his glory and the image of his person. 
The Persian Pilgrims brought with them to Bethlehem 
something of this idea of a King. This would have led 
them to worship, in the Persian sense of the word, the 
King they sought and found; but their pure belief in 
him as a spiritual Lord, and the new Star, the sign of 
his super-terrestrial glory, that led to his presence, raised 
their idea of him high above that of a king of the earth, 
and prepared them to recognize his true, essential 
- divinity. 

Their divinely-appointed recognition of the divinity 
of the Lord, made before the time, and producing on 
the instant only a religious awe and wonder in those 
who heard of it, and made outside of the house of 
Israel, corresponds to earlier revelations of the same fact 
made within the house of Israel by the prophets, which 
so rise above the idea of the Messiah that prevailed in 
Israel. at his birth. In either case, it was the sun 
shining for an instant through clouds it was not till long 
after to dispel from the face of heaven. 

It having been proved that the Pilgrims to Jerusalem 
were Persians, an inquiry as to that Pilgrimage is an 
inquiry as to an event in the lives of the wisest and 
best of the disciples of Zoroaster ; therefore I have 

painted the Zoroastrian religion in the brightest colors 


it would bear; but however much the shadows in the 
picture may be darkened, it will still be more credible 
that the Pilgrims St. Matthew describes were believers 
in that than in any other religion. For the great truth, 
that God is.waging a real and universal war. with-bvil,_ 
inclined its pious believers to watch earnestly to discern, 
any rwhere and everywhere, signs of his presence and _ 
manifestations of his power... And, besides this, — the 
central idea, the animating principle of this religion, — 
there was a belief, also, peculiar to it, that looks like 
one of the links of the chain we are trying to lay hold 
of and to trace. It has often been said that_all nations _ 
looked back to a golden age, but none, save the He- 
brews, looked —a most instructive | 
word; but to it the Persians are the exception. 
They believed that in the final triumph of the Good 
Being the earth would be redeemed. In the Zenda- 
vesta there is a fragment of avery old epic song, in 
which it is foretold to Ahriman, that for the destruction 
of idol-worshippers, Sosiosh shall be born out of the 
. water Kacoya, in the east country.1_ This seems to be 
a reference to one well known, rather than an announce- 
ment of one unheard of before. In another place it is 
said, this “hero will arise-out.of the number of the 

99 ee 

prophets ;” “a mighty brightness,” peculiar to Iranian 
worthies of oldest time, “will shine around him,” 

a mighty brightness, created by Ahura-Mazda in the 
beginning, and the instrument by which Sosiosh would 

accomplish his mission. This mission would be to 

? Vendidad. Fargard, xix. 

© 4 

make “Life everlasting, undecaying, imperishable, in- 
corruptible, forever existing, forever vigorous,.at the 
time when the dead shall rise again.” Then, it is salu, 
“imperishableness of life will exist; and all the world 
will remain for eternity in a state of purity.”? 

The germ of the religion of the Lord Jesus Christ is 
the promise his mercy gave to the mother of all human 
kind. Are these words of the Persian religion a far-off 
echo of that promise? They are not among the very 
oldest utterances of that religion. But of those, only 
broken voices are now heard ; and whence came the Per- 
sian worship of one God? No people ever became idol- 
ait) and of tere own Bon came back to his wor-, 
down ee ak Noe ‘Bat, as they. 
kept the truth of the Unity of God, transmitted to them 

from before the Flood, why not some reminiscence of 

the promise of a Redeemer? It is possible their hope 
originated i in the belief in the Messiah, preserved by the 
Hebrews; it is possible it originated in some earnest 
soul, kindling to ecstasy as it mused on the war of 
Ormazd with Ahriman. It is possible both may have 
concurred in giving outline and color to some faint anu 
far reminiscence, till it reached its final, definite, and 
grand form; and such, it seems to me probable, was the 
genesis and growth of this Persian oracle; for, when 
it is remembered that the appearance of the Persians, 
as a people, was consequent upon their clinging to old 
truth from which others were falling away ; that their 

1 Zemyad Yasht. 





sacred traditions resemble the facts recorded in Genesis 
more than do those of any other people; that parts of 
their sacred writings may be as old as the age of 
Moses, and that, in them, they look back to a sacred 
antiquity ; there seems much wisdom in the opinion of 
the learned Hyde, that the Persians “semper ab ipso 
diluvio veri Dei cultum tenuisse” —ever kept, even 
from the flood, the worship of the true God. 

i In searching for a cause of a pilgrimage of Magi to 
Jerusalem, it is encouraging to find in their sacred 
books a prediction of a Redeemer to come. We must 
inquire farther why they gave to such a hope a local 
habitation outside of the land and the race of Iran; but, 
if there was some relation between the Iranian hope and 
the first promise to man, there was a divine appropriate- 
“ness in the fulfilling of that promise, when Magi, whose 
symbol of the Evil One was a serpent, fell down and 
worshipped “the Seed of the Woman.” 



Wir the fact that the Pilgrims to Bethlehem were 
Persians, the religion of Persia agrees better than 
would that of any other ancient country — Rome, 
Greece, or Egypt, for instance —with the notion that 
they came from thence; and so, too, the character of 
the Magi agrees better with the fact that these Pilgrims 
were Magi, than would the character of any other 
ancient priesthood with the notion that they belonged 
to them. 

The history of the Magi is very imperfect, but the 
testimony to their character, given in many brief ref- 
erences to them, is so much in their favor, as to make 
up on this point for the loss of the classical treatises 
that spake at length, or especially, concerning them.’ 
Thus, Philo Judzeus “deplores the deficiency of wisdom 

1 The writers of these were Ctesias (B. C. 400), physician 
to King Artaxerxes; Deinon (B. C. 340) ; Theopompus of 
Chios (B. C. 350), who, in the eighth book of his History of 
Philip of Macedon, treat2d of the Magi; and Hermippos 
(B. C. 350), who also wrote of them. References to, and frag- 
ments of their works, are to be found in Plutarch, Diogenes 
Laertius, and Pliny. Haug thinks Hermippos had read the 
books of the Magi. 


in the human race, the slackness in the pursuit of those 
objects to which we ought to hasten eagerly, the indo- 
lence through which the seeds of virtue perish; while 
for those things which we ought to forego, we show 
an insatiate longing; whence it is that the earth is full 
of men who indulge in all kinds of pleasure, while the 
number of the prudent and just is small;” and then 
says, “still, there are some virtuous and honorable 
men: of such, among the Persians, are the Magi; who, 
investigating the works of nature for the purpose of be- 
coming acquainted with the truth, become initiated them- 
selves, and initiate others in the divine virtues.”! Thus, 
in the Wisdom of Solomon, it seems to be said of the 
Magi, “ They seek for God; being conversant in His 
works, they search for Him diligently.” ? 

1 Philo. Quod omnis probus liber; sec. xi. 

2 Chap. xiii. 7. Here might be cited Justin Martyr, who 
says of the priests of Mithra,"— Mithraism was a late and 
corrupt phase of the Zoroastrian religion, — ‘* They teach 
the practice of what is- just and right” (Dialogue with 
Trypho, sec. lxx.), though with the zeal of a new convert, and 
uttering the Christian opinion of his time, he refers this to 
the subtilty of evil spirits, who, in this and like cases, he 
thinks, counterfeited the good that really was in the true 
religion alone. 

Of heathen writers, Plato, in the passage referred to in 
note on p. 98, leaves on the mind a good impression as to 
the Magi. Diogenes Laertius, in his History, if so it may 
be called, of Ancient Philosophy, says, ‘‘ The Magi dis- 
course to the people concerning justice.” i. 6. So, too, 
Dion Chrysostom, Oratio Borysthenica. Apuleius says, 
‘* The religion of the Magi is acceptable to the immortal 

THE MAGI. - | 

ee. 7. \ 
The nan 1¢ Magi-eomes from a word found in one of 
the-most~ancient hymns of the Zendavesta. “Kava 

Vistaspa ” — the royal friend of Zoroaster — “ obtained, 
through the possession of the spiritual power (Maga), 
and through the verses which the good mind had re- 
vealed, that knowledge which the Living Wise, himself 
the cause of truth, had invented.”1 The same word, 
also, appears in a name given in the Zendavesta to the 
earliest disciples of Zoroaster. ‘“ Zarathustra assigned 
in times of yore to the Magavash Paradise.”? Hence, 
not inappropriately, was the name Magi given by the 
Greeks to those who, from immemorial time, had been 
priests of the Persians.’ Like the names Persia and 
Zoroaster, it originated in a Persian word; but, like 
them, it is a European name. 

Among the Persians there could be no religious 

gods, pious undoubtedly, and divinely wise.” Of much the 
same import-is what is said of the Persian Magi by the Greek 
grammarians, Hesychius and Suidas, who define them much 
in the same way, the last as ‘‘ lovers of wisdom and servants 
of God.” 

1 Gatha, iii. 51, 16. 2? The same, 15. 

8 Prof. Plumptre, article Magi, Smith’s Dictionary, says, 
“The word Magi does not appear in the Zendavesta.” This 
should be compared with the citations above. Westergaard 
says, ‘‘ Their name occurs twice only in all the extant Zend 
texts.” Haug, b. iii. sec. 8, p. 160, in a note on +‘ Maga- 
vash,” see above, says, ‘‘ This is the original form of Magi. 
Its form in the cuneiform inscriptions is Magush. Accord- 
ing to this verse, it seems to have denoted the followers of 
Zoroaster.” In the Zendavesta, the word for priests is 
Atharvan, guardians of the fire. 




service without the presence of one of the Magi.’ The 
learned heads of the order had the charge of the edu- 
cation of the monarch. They were judges and coun- 
sellors of state. The Magi were diviners, astrologers, 
and interpreters of dreams.? They searched into the 
secrets of future time. They professed to utter the 
will of God. The order was to Persia, what Delphos 
was to Greece. It was the Persian oracle. 

1 Without one of the Magi, it is not lawful for the Per- 
sians to sacrifice. — Herodotus, i.132. The Magi are em- 
ployed in worshipping the gods by prayers and sacrifices, as 
if their worship alone would be accepted. — Diogenes Laer- 
tius, i. 6. According to this writer, their dress was white, 
their habits ascetic, and they lived on a vegetable diet. 

? Plato states, that the education of the Persian prince was 
intrusted to the four of the Persians who severally excelled 
in wisdom, justice, temperance, and fortitude. The first of. 
these taught him the mageia of Zoroaster, by which is meant 
the worship of the gods, and likewise the art of kingly 
government. The second taught him to be true in word and 
deed through his whole life. The third to govern his appe- 
tites instead of being their slave. The fourth taught him 
to be fearless and brave, since he who fears is a slave. 
— Alcibiades, 37. 

®° Herodotus relates several instances of this. One is as fol- 
lows: A vision appeared to Xerxes in his sleep, which the 
Magi, when they heard it, interpreted to relate to the whole 
world, and to signify that all mankind should serve him. 
The vision was as follows: Xerxes imagined that he was 
crowned with the sprig of an olive tree, and that branches 
from this olive covered the whole earth; and that after- 
wards the crown that was placed on his head disappeared. 
—vii. 19. : 


In the loss of all-but one of the books of the Zenda- 
vesta,' it is impossible to form a full and clear idea of 
science.of the Magi. But the art of the Persians, as 
shown in architecture, sculpture, gem-engraving, coins, 
and utensils, seems not to have fallen short of that of 
the Assyrians, the Babylonians, or the Egyptians; and 
their leading scientific ideas, no doubt, were those essen- 
tially common to the scientific thought of the earliest 
cycle of civilization. If so, they held that the forms 
of all material things are but the protean changes in 
one and the same primordial substance, produced by 

1 Tn its largest compass of meaning, the word Zendavesta 
denotes a priestly literature that was the growth of centu- 
ries. It resembled the Talmud of the Jews. Its twenty-one’ 
books, or nosks, set forth the religious traditions, opinions, 
rites, and ceremonies of the Medes and Persians, and also 
their philosophical and scientific notions. The table of its 
contents is still extant, and is as follows: B. I. Praise 
and Worship of the Angels. II. Prayers and Instructions 
as to good actions, chiefly those to induce one to assist a 
fellow-man. III. On Abstinence, Piety, Religion, the 
qualities of Zoroaster. IV. An Explanation of Religious 
Duties. On the Orders and on Commandments of God. 
Obedience in Man. How to guard against Hell, and how to 
reach Heaven. V. On the Knowledge of this and the other 
Life. Qualities of the Inhabitants of the other Worlds. Reve- 
lations as to Heaven, Earth, Water, Trees, Fire, Men 
and Beasts. On the Resurrection of the Dead, and the 
crossing chinvat (i. e. the bridge over which the soul passed 
into heaven). VI. On Astronomy, Geography, Astrology. 
VII. On the Reward in the next World for observing the 
two chief Festivals. VIII. Of Kings, High-priests. What 
Fishes are Ormazd’s and what Ahriman’s. A Geographical 

100 THE MAGI. 

the play of one and the same force; and their aim was 
to-p'erce through the forms to the substance, and in its 
changes, to grasp that mysterious principle that ever 
eluded them in its rapid transformations. Hence their 
science dealt with the occult, the magical, or, at least, 
the mysterious ; yet, its main ideas were those to which 
the inductive science of the modern world seems to be 
slowly working its cautious and toilsome way, to prove 
which seems now the far-off goal of its farthest aspira- 
tion; and Sir Walter Raleigh may have been right 
_ when he said, “A magician, according to the Persian 

Section. IX. A Code for Kings and Governors. On 
Workmanship of various Kinds. On the Sin of Lying. X. 
‘On Metaphysics, Natural Philosophy, Divinity. XI. On 
the Reign of Gustasp, his Conversion to Religion, and its 
Propagation by him throughout the World. XII. The Na- 
ture of the Divine Being. The Zoroastrian Faith ; Duties 
enjoined by it. On Obedience due to the King. On Re- 
wards for good Actions in the other World, and how to be 
saved from Hell. The Structure of the World, Agricul- 
ture, Botany. On the Classes of the Nation, Rulers, War- 
riors, Agriculturists, Traders, and Workmen. XIII. On 
the Miracles of Zoroaster. XIV. On Human Life, from its 
Birth up to its End, and to the Day of Resurrection. On the 
Causes of Man’s Birth ; why some are born in Wealth, others 
in Poverty. XV. The Praise of angel-like Men. XVI. 
Code of Laws, what is allowed and what prohibited. XVII. 
Medicine, Astronomy, Midwifery. XVIII. On Marriage 
between near Relatives, Zodlogy and Treatment of Animals. 
XIX. Civil and Criminal Laws, Boundaries of Cow tries. 
On the Resurrection. XX. On the Removal of Unclean- 
ness, from which great Defects arise in the World. XXI. 
Un the Creation; its Wonders and Structures. 

THE MAGI. 101 

word, is no other than Divinorum cultor et interpres, a 
studious observer and expounder of divine things, and 
that art itself (I mean the art of natural magic) no other 
quam naturalis philosophic absoluta consummatio, 
than the absolute perfection of natural philosophy.” 

The word Magic, common to many languages, is 
curious evidence that the Magi sometimes abused their 
propensity to search into mysterious things. Pliny 
says, “Beyond all doubt in Persia, from Zoroaster, as 
all authors agree, arose magic — fraudulentissima 
artium — the most delusive of arts.~ But he admits 
that it was born of the medical art, and made its way 
velut altiorem sanctioremque medicinam —“as a 
very high and sacred art of healing;” and that it 
blended with it “natural philosophy and religion, and 
so bound men in a triple chain.” ? 

Magic arts are as old as superstition. Where the 
one was in the ancient world — and it was everywhere 
— there was the other. The Magi were from imme- 
morial time. Their rites were conversant with the 
pecvets of nature, and with spirits, genii, and angels. 
Hence magic was thought to have originated with 
them. But assuredly they did not originate the magic 
of Egypt, or of India. Their invocations of the ele- 
ments, of the, powers of nature, of beneficent spirits, 
genii, or angels, was white magic, resorted to to counter- 
act the power of demons. Black magic — evil spells, 
wicked enchantments, invocation of devils, marked the 

A en eAEETENERMeaN asmeemiars! 

1 See Pliny’s Nat. Hist., lib. xxx. 

102 THE MAGI. 

followers of Ahriman, and were forbidden in the Zen- 
The moral pre-eminence of the Magi above the 
a ancient heathen. priesthoods | was chiefly | owing to. the 
spirituality of the Zoroastrian religion. Into its other 
causes it is in vain to inquire minutely. Something of 
it must have been due to the providential ordering of 
events in the unknown of their history; something to 
earnest and good men, whose record on earth has 
perished ; and it may have been in part owing to the 
fact that, unlike the other ancient nations, the Medes 
and Persians had no grand and imposing system of tem- 
ple-worship. For, like the castles of the nobles in the 
Dark Ages, the temples of the heathen priesthoods were 
the strongholds by means of which they gained and 
kept much of their power. The shrine, hallowed by 
the present god, lent them something of its awe-in- 
spiring power, and this power they were tempted to 
maintain and augment by artifice and trick. Herodotus 
says the Persians had no temples.1 This has been de- 
nied, but from his point’ of view he was right. He 
was thinking of shrines enriched with the gifts of kings, 
the wealth of nations, with choirs of ministering priests, 
and throngs of devotees ; of vast edifices, such as he had 
seen in all his travels in Greece, Asia Minor, Egypt, 
and Babylon ; ; — a fire-chapel, with no images, no array 
of robed priests, no crowd of worshippers, no imposing 
ceremonial, he did not think a Temple.? 

1 Herodotus, book i, 131. 
* This idea is very well illustrated, as well as confirmed 

THE MAGI. 103 

The high religious function of the Persian monarch, 
and the free genius of the people -— of all Asiatics the 
least likely to become the slaves of their priests — re- 
pressed in the Magi that insatiate lust for power which 
led the priesthood in some ancient nations to attempt to 
overawe the throne, and to enslave the popular mind.? 
The Magi had no element of power for personal ends 
like the shrine of Delphos, or of Thebes. Like the 
Jews, at times, they were infected with idolatry; they 
were guilty of some dark and cruel deeds; their re- 
ligion had a tinge of element worship, a taint of poly- 
theism; yet from superstitious and idolatrous practices, 
they could draw little power compared with the priests 
of other nations. Their temptations were less, their 
faith was more spiritual. 

As there is in the character of each nation something, 
often very undefinable, that differentiates it from that 
of every other nation, so there is in the great religious 
orders of the ancient world, —as there is in those of 
Christendom. ‘This may be owing to an evident excess 
or deficiency in some common element, to some well- 
known national trait, or to something peculiar in origin, 

by this sentence from Fraser’s History of Persia, ch. iv. 
“The Parsees have no temples. The Atish-Khudars are 
merely edifices for guarding the sacred fire from defilement 
or pollution.” 

1 Under Smerdis the Magi seem to have made one grand 
effort in that direction, and aferwards to have rested in 
their appropriate calling. 

104 THE MAGI. 

history, or aim, and so at once be clear to the mind ; 
but oftentimes this element of difference is an intangi- 
ble, an almost inexpressible, thing, for our first clear 
perception of which we may be as much indebted to 
chance, as to patience of thought, —as we sometimes 
mark what we are looking to find, by a glance of the 
eye in the midst of diligent searching. It may be felt 
rather than known, but a difference there always is; 
no two are just alike; and this distinguishing differ- 
ence is usually their most valuable or interesting charac- 
teristic. What, then, was the distinguishing character- 
istic of the Magi? 

In all the religious orders of the ancient heathen 
world, there was somewhat of a scientific and of a 
philosophic spirit. Their temples were colleges, as well 
as shrines. The Magi, also, were learned; but their 
spirit was not distinctively the scientific. They were 
philosophers ; but their spirit was not distinctively the 
philosophical. Science seeks fur law in natural phe- 
nomena, and, finding this, seeks no further. Philoso- 
phy seeks for abstract truth, a mere notion of the 
mind. There is a spirit that avails itself of science 
and philosophy for an end beyond either; a spirit 
that would pierce into the secrets of the Being who is 
above nature, and who gives to truth, reality. Some- 
thing of this spirit was. the distinguishing character- 
istic of the Magi. In nature they ever sought for 
revelations of the supernatural; in human affairs, of 
the superhuman. 

THE MAGI. 105 

Now this spirit may be in alliance with that fear of 
the. Lord which is the beginning of wisdom, or with 
unhallowed presumption. It may seek for God in the 
spirit of Babel or of Bethel, of Balaam or of Elijah. 
There is no sufficient evidence of holiness of heart in 
thoughts that “wander through eternity,” aspiring to 
the highest mysteries. They are evidence only of a 
sensitiveness to spiritual impressions. They are the 
outworkings of a temperament that may determine 
either to superstition or to reverence, that may belong 
to a wizard, or to a prophet. And no doubt, there 
would be abounding evidence of this in the history of 
the order of the Magi, were it as complete as it is, and 
ever must be, imperfect. 

The Magi were priests of the most philosophical and 
profound of the religions of the world; yet from the 
first, and at their best estate, there must have been two 
tendencies at work in them, — for such is the nature of 
man — one towards the earthly, one towards the spir- 
itual. During their comparative depression, while the 
Persians were ruled by alien tribes, and their religion 
was losing much of its simplicity and purity, both may 
have grown intense; so that when the coming of the 
Redeemer drew nigh, as among the Jews, so among 
the Magi, the few may have grown more spiritual, as 
the many grew more earthly. 

But there were then on earth, none, from whom so 
appropriately might have come the witnesses of the 
grace of God to all the earth. As there was an ele- 

106 THE MAGI. 

ment of faith in the religion and science of the Magi, 
as in the realms of matter and of spirit they sought 
for the divine, as some of them aimed at dominion 
over nature, though with impossible aspirations, yet 
with good ends, it accords with the harmonies of the 
Kingdom of Grace, that God led Magi to raz True 



THouen Asia is distinguished from Europe by en- 
thusiasm, though it has ever been a land of seers and 
prophets, true or false, a land of vows, and shrines and 
pilgrimages ; though the long sanctity of Jerusalem made 
it —longe clarissima urbium Orientis, non Judece 
modo — by farthe most illustrious city, not of Judea 
only, but of all Syria; yet a Persian pilgrimage to Jeru- 
salem would be wanting in historic credibility, if the 
Persians knew nothing of the Hebrews: on the other 
hand, if they knew them well, or even nations well 
acquainted with them, then, in view of the Hebrew pre- 
vision of the Messiah, such a pilgrimage is possible. 

Of the countries west of the Euphrates neither the 
Persians nor the Medes could.have had much, if any, 
personal knowledge, before the wars that resulted in the 
Persian Empire. ‘These opened the Magian mind to 
foreign influences, and enlarged its circle of thought. 
They brought the Magi in contact with races, among 
whom there were sacred traditions of high antiquity ; 
and a word or two, as to some facts of this k'nd, may 

1 Pliny, Nat. Hist. lib. v. 15. 


well introduce what I have to say of their acquaintance 
with the Hebrews. 

The earlier conquests of the Medes, and afterwards 
of the Persians, led them into the Great Plain of the 
Tigris and the Euphrates, One of the earliest perma- 
nent settlements of the human race was in that ever- 
afterwards historic Plain; and somewhere between those 
Rivers was the cradle of the Hebrew race :—as lan- 
guage witnesses, — for one of the languages of that 
region, the Aramaic, was like that of the Hebrews, and, 
in the time of their Captivity, it became the. language 
spoken by them. ‘There the sacred traditions that 
crossed the Flood, came down in an unbroken line to 
their great Ancestor; and there “in Mesopotamia, in 
the land of the Chaldeans, the God of glory appeared 
unto Abraham.” } 

As the sacred memories known to him — the same 
written in the early chapters of Genesis — were not lost 
in his family in its long sojourn in Kgypt, why should 
they have been wholly lost, for a long time, in Chaldea? 
Abraham’s father, ‘Terah, and brother, Nachor, “ served 
other gods;”? but this is not altogether inconsistent 
with their retaining much of primal tradition; and the 
notion that they were utterly given over to idolatry, 
agrees not with Abraham’s saying, in his old age, to 
“the eldest servant of his house, go unto my country 
and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.” 


1 See Acts vii. 2, 4. 2 Joshua xxiv. 2. 
8 Gen. xxiv. 2, 4. 


Isaac, too, in his old age, sent Jacob to the forefathers’ 
land; and there, all the Fathers of the Twelve Tribes 
‘save one, were born. 

The children of Abraham dwelt far westward of “ the 
land of their kindred;” and, for a long time, it is seen 
no more on the sacred page; but when seen again, it is 
instructive to mark the appearing of something hinting 
affinity between the people by the rivers of Mesopota- 
mia, and the Hebrews. To a man of Gath-hepher, 
of the tribe of Zebulon, a dweller-by what was after- 
wards called the Sea of Galilee, came the word of the 
Lord, Go and warn the people of Nineveh. That this 
command seemed strange to a Hebrew, may well be 
inferred from Jonah’s flight from the presence of the 
Lord; but far more strange it would have been, had 
there not been something in the history of his people 
tending to explain it; and such appears, if, as there is 
every reason to believe and none to doubt, the wonders 
of their story, which now reverberate through all the 
world, rolled in ancient times through all the Hast. 
This, in part, explains the sending of Jonah to the 
men of Nineveh, and the power of his warnings. 
Their fathers had told them of him who went forth out 
of Mesopotamia, and of the wondrous fortunes of his 
race; they had listened long for some voice to speak to 
them from those high places, where this mysterious 
people worshipped; and when, at last, a Hebrew, 
marshalled by no array of miracles, but mighty in the 
traditional glory of his lineage, preached to them re- 

pentance, Nineveh believed God. 


The fact that Babylon was in that part of the world 
frem whence their sacred traditions came to the He- 
br2ws, together with that of the extreme antiquity of 
the city, becomes of some interest to us, when the 

“wise men” of 

Magi become acquainted with those 
Babylon, called Chaldeans, alike in sacred and in pro- 
fane history.!_ Though it is, only a little while before 
the Captivity that in the Scriptures Babylon is “the 
beauty of the Chaldee’s excellency,”? it is also named 
as a City in the third generation after the Patriarch 
‘Noah ; * and it was received as a fact among the Greeks, 
that for 1903 years before its conquest by Alexander 
the Great (B. C. 331), astronomical observations had ~ 

been made and recorded in that city. This seems to 

1 ‘Who the Chaldean people were, and whether they found- 
ed Babylon, or possessed it by conquest, are questions more 
or less in doubt; but it seems certain that they adopted the 
language of the Babylonian region, and that ‘*‘ the tongue of 
the Chaldeans * (Dan. 1. 4), like the Latin language in the 
Middle Ages, at length became the exclusive possession of 
the learned class, {rom this fact called Chaldeans. 

olga xy. 1s 

5 Gen. x. 10. 

* It is at least remarkable that these two dates give the 
year B. C. 2234, which the Chaldean Berosus fixes upon as 
the commencement of the Chaldean Dynasty in Babylon. 
See Rawlinson, Herodotus, vol. i. Essay vi. Grote (History 
of Greece, part ii. ch. xix.), in a valuable note, says, 
‘s The earliest Chaldean astronomical observation known to 
the astronomer Ptolemy, both precise and of ascertained 
date to a degree sufficient for scientific use, was a lunar 
eclipse of the 19th of March, 721 B.C, ... That the 



prove, there must have ever been in that ancient city a 
learned class with an unbroken succession; and — 
whether the learned “ Chaldeans” were coeval with the 
city or not—2in ancient times the learned and the 
priestly class were the same, and as the Chaldeans pre- 
served the scientific, so they must have preserved, also, 
the sacred traditions of Babylon and the region round 
about; and thus their sacred traditions must have, 
more or less, resembled those that came down through 
the Patriarchs to the Hebrews. 

By the Greeks, the Chaldeans were sometimes spoken 

Chaldeans had been, long before this period, in the habit of 
observing the heavens, there is no reason to doubt; and the 
exactness of those observations cited by Ptolemy implied 
(according to the judgment of Ideler) long previous practice. 
. .. There seem to have been Chaldean observations, both 
made and recorded, of much greater antiquity than 721 
B. C., though we cannot lay much stress on the date_of 1903 
anterior to Alexander the Great, which is mentioned by 
Simplicius (ad Aristot. de Coelo, p. 123) as being the earliest 
period of the Chaldean observations sent from Babylon by 
Callisthenes to Aristotle. Ideler thinks that the Chaldean 
observations, anterior to 721 B. C., were useless to astrono- 
mers from the want of some fixed era, or definite cycle, to 
identify the date of each of them... . It is to be noted 
that Ptolemy always cited the Chaldean observations as 
made by ‘the Chaldeans, never, naming any individual ; 
though, in all the other observations to which he alludes, he 
is very scrupulous in particularizing the name of the ob- 
server. Doubtless he found the Chaldean observations 
registered in just this manner.” 


of asa kind of Magi,’ from some general resemblance 
as diviners; and the Greek translation of the Hebrew 
Bible, in rendering the terms that in the Book of 
Daniel denote the classes of the Wise Men of Babylon, 
uses the term Magi.” There is nothing in the Hebrew 
that authorizes this, and it may have come from the 
difficulty of finding in the Greek, words answering to 
the five distinctions in the Hebrew text. No doubt this 
use of the word for persons living in the East, was one 
of the reasons why St. Matthew, when he used the title 
Magi, added to it “from the Far East.” ? 

till, in itself, it is probable that, long before the time 
of Cyrus, there were some of the true Magi in multi- 
tudinous Babylon. For Magian rites were known as 
far west as Jerusalem before the captivity;* and 

1 So Hesychius. In the Greek version of Gen. xli. 8, by 
Symmachus, the word Magi is found where the LXX. read 
interpreters ; and the English version reads, Pharaoh ‘‘ called 
for all the magicians of Egypt, and all the wise men thereof.” 

The evidence tending to prove the learned Chaldeans a 
species of Magi, is in resemblances that prove nothing, and 
in the fact that when “ the king of Jerusalem and his men 
of war fled forth out of the city,” and ‘all the princes of 
the king of Babylon came and sat in the middle gate,” with 
them came one, styled Rab-mag, a title in which the Persian 
word for priest is thought to appear, though this is very 
doubtful. Jer. xxxix. 3, 4. 

2 Dan. 1: 20; 11. 2, 273 iv. 4. 

% The Septuagint seems to have been in common use 
with the Palestinian Jews, as well as with those of other 

* See ch. ili. pp. 88, 89. 



throughout Western Asia, even in times almost beyond 
the reach of history, there seems to have been a degree 
of intercourse and of mutual influence ; social, political, 
and religious resemblances; and wars, conquests, and 
dynasties, whose memory has nearly or quite perished.* 

The order of the Chaldeans continued under the 
Persians; for when Alexander made his entry into 
Babylon, part of its citizens, says Quintus Curtius, 
crowded together on the wall, eager to see the new 
monarch, and a still greater multitude went forth to 
meet him; of these were the Magi — suo more patrium 
carmen canentes — “according to their custom singing 
their ancient hymns ;” after whom the Chaldeans, with 
their instruments of music, came. He describes these 
as priests of the Babylonians, and savans, who taught 
the times and motions of the stars.” 

When Alexander entered Babylon, he doubtless felt 
as we all feel, that then he was monarch of the Kast — 
so much by far the greatest city of the Persian Empire 
was Babylon. Even under the Persians, the Chaldeans 
there could not have been much inferior to the Magi; 
and Cyrus and his successors, no doubt, gave the 
learned and religious order of the Imperial City * some- 

1 Chedorlaomer’s expedition fromm beyond the Tigris to 
the Dead Sea, illustrates this, (Gen. xiv. 1-5); and the 
statement of Berosus, that the first Dynasty in Babylon, was 
Median. i 

2 Historia Alexandri Magni, lib. v. 1. Chaldzi, Baby- 
loniorumque non vates modo, sed etiam artifices . . . side- 
rum motus et status temporum vices ostendere. 

8 It was the residence of the Persian court for part of the 


thing of the consideration they gave the learned and 
religious order of their empire.' 

The traditions of the Chaldeans were more like those 
of the Hebrews than were those of any people except 
the Persians —a fact not inconsistent with their gross 
idolatry. With-a corrupt worship, much historical re- 
ligious truth may long be preserved. In the ancient 
nations much of true religion survived, side by side 
with false religion; but the imposing ceremonial and 
enduring monuments of the corrupt, popular worship 
receive a larger place in history, than the less imposing 
truth, which they now overshadow historically, as once 
they did really, and in every way tend to efface from 
the human memory. 

Whatever the relations of Magi and Chaldeans be- 
fore the Persian conquest, after that epoch, in spite of 
the rivalry, jealousy, and contention there must have 
been between them, they more or less fraternized in 
Babylon; for in those days, the wise sought knowl- 
edge, not so much from books, as in the truer mode of 
intercourse with the wise; and the fragments of Chal- 
dean philosophy show a likeness to that of the Magi 
caused by, or the cause of, much intercourse between © 

This is the more probable when we consider the ef- 
fect on the Magi of the change relatively to the civiliza- 
tions of the world, wrought for them by the wars that 

* Under the Greeks the Chaldeans, like the Magi, lost 
caste; and in the Western world, their name also was at 
length assumed by those who made it a reproach. 



-began with Cyrus. The day of Persian glory, ushered 
in by his martial genius, was full of rousing events. 
If now the Persians were to come forth from their high- 
lands, possess again the Plain of the Tigris and the 
Euphrates, seize Damascus, Beyroot, and Jerusalem ; 
hold Alexandria, the Suez Canal and the valley of the 
Nile, it would electrify the world; yet it would not 
equal the exploits of Cyrus and Cambyses. ‘The cities 
they stormed and took were greater, they overran 
countries more thickly peopled, the civilizations they 
beheld were more gorgeous, the shock of ideas greater. 
But for the fable of India, and for Athens, the Persian 
Empire embraced all there was of civilization. For 
one brilliant moment the Persian, like the Greek after- 
wards, and the Roman, at a still later day, ‘was the 
central man of the world. It is not given us to call 
up with equal vividness his elder empire; yet the Per- 
sian, though as the elder his civilization was _ less 
varied, is not less worthy of study than the Greek or 
the Roman; and, in influence on the course of human 
events, is. next to the Hebrew. 

That early cycle of civilization, which included Egypt, 
Assyria,. Babylonia, and Persia, was characterized by 
power. All its monuments are colossal. In Titanic 
strength the Persian was not equal to the Egyptian, or 
to the Chaldean; in intellect he was their superior. 
The Magian religion is a more wonderful fact than the 
wall of -Babylon. It is a monument to the Magian 
intellect, lasting as the Pyramids ; and we may be sure 
the men who wrought out this religion, felt the mental 


excitement of the stirring period of the Persian Empire, 
may be sure, their quick, inquisitive, appreciating eyes 
marked the confluence of streams of truth in Babylon, 
the meeting there of agreeing lines of old-world tra- 
ditions, and earnestly searched into their resemblances 
and differences. “ 

The king of Babylon made a Hebrew, the President 
of the Chaldeans. The Chaldee passed, the Persian 
came. The Magi took the place of the Chaldeans, as 
the imperial order; the new monarch raised the same 
Hebrew to a rank above both; and these learned and 
religious orders were brought together, in the metropo- 
lis of the world, under the same illustrious foreigner. 
Then to the Magi, who brought with them the traditions 
of Bactria, far in the East, were brought the traditions 
of Judea, far in the West; and, at this epoch in its 
history, this order embodied the wisdom of the East 
— Bactrian, Median, Persian, Chaldean, Aramean, and 

The thought we have given to the relations of the 
Magi with the Chaldeans, recalls how much of truth 
must have survived in Western Asia in the day of 
Cyrus ; how events then liberalized the .Magian mind, 
and opened it to quick and deep impressions ; but these 
things have for us only a general interest. No doubt 
the Magi compared their own religion, even as their 
science and art, with that of the Babylonians; but their 
own reminiscences of the truth were more truthful, 
and their religion more pure; yet these researches may 


have fitted some of them to mark and appreciate the 
fact that this was reversed, when they came to search 
into the faith of the race of Abraham. 

In the historic cycles of the ancient world, wherever 
the centre of power is, there the Hebrew is sure to be, 
and sure to draw to himself the chief interest. So it 
is on the shores of the Nile, by the rivers of Babylon, 
and in the palace of the Great King in Shushan. With 
this people the true interest of history begins; and 
it seems ordained that it shall never afterwards be ~ 
wholly separate from them. The predestined end of 
the culture of the Greeks, was reached when Hebrew 
Evangelists and Apostles made their language imperish- 
able; and the most interesting ruin in Rome is the 
arch commemorating the ruin of Jerusalem, so closely 
connected with its own. Is Babylon, then, the centre 
and height of dominion? the Hebrew will be there. 
Is another world-power rising on its ruin? there he 
will be also. 

The king of Assyria, who carried away the Ten 
Tribes as captives? into the East (B. C. 721), colonized 
‘some of them in towns of his subjects, the Medes. 
A little more than a century afterwards the king of 
Babylon led away captive the people of Judea.? “By 
the rivers of Babylon there they sat down, yea, they 
wept when they remembered Zion.” In that same 
hour, beyond the eastern mountains that looked down 

1 2 Kings xvii. 6. 2 9 Kings xxv. 8, 11. 


on the scene of their exile, the Lord was preparing the 
humiliation of their oppressors, and their restoration to 
the Holy City by him, whom in a preceding genera- 
tion he had foretold by name —“ Cyrus, the Man from 
the Far East.” 



Cyrus made a royal decree that the Temple of God 
in Jerusalem should be rebuilt. Few facts in history 
are more certain and less likely than this... For the 
country of the Jews was far off and small. Their num- 
bers were inconsiderable. Their language was unintel- 
ligible to Cyrus. He knew them only as slaves of 
those he himself had enslaved. 

Palestine, a high entrenched fort on the borders of the 
Great Western Sea, commanding the approaches to and 
from Egypt, was invaluable to the security of their Em- 
pire, if garrisoned by a people bound to the Persians by 
- strong ties of gratitude ; but this did not appear until wars 
and reverses later than the reign of Cyrus. His decree 
was for the rebuilding of the Temple only. It was not 
until the fourth reign afterwards that Persia suffered the 
Jews to inclose the strong site of Jerusalem with a wall. 
Until this was done neither the Temple, nor the small . 
population that gathered round it, was safe from ene- 
mies round about,— from the Samaritan, and from 
the Ammonite, from the Philistine and from the Arab.} 

1 Neh. iv. 7. 


‘Not until they had once more a stronghold could the 
Jews, or their enemies, feel they were again a people. 
Hence the bitter wrath of their foes at the building of 
the Wall, and the haste of the work “ when the build- 
ers, every one, had his sword girded by his side,” and 
half ‘of the men “labored in the work, and half of them 
held the spears, from the rising of the morning ,till the 
stars appeared.1” In those days, there could no more be 
a city without walls than without people; and the time 
of the building of the wall was the date of the renewal 
of Jerusalem. Not, therefore, from the decree for the 
rebuilding of the Temple, but from the time of the 
decree for the rebuilding of the Wall, through which Je- 
rusalem became once more a capital, and the Jews a 
nation, the “seven and three score and two weeks” of 
the Great Prophecy measured to “the Messiah, the 
Prince.?” In that prophecy it was revealed to Daniel 
that the Wall should be rebuilt, “even in troublous 
times,” and it was rebuilt in times that were so, not only 
for the Jews, but for Persia as well. For the decree, 
that Jerusalem should be a City, seems to have grown 
out of the facts that the Persians had not only lost, as 
subjects, all the Greek sailors of the coast of Asia Minor 
and the adjacent islands, but had agreed not to come 
within three days’ journey of the sea; and, therefore, 
strong reasons of state policy dictated their permission 
to fortify their almost impregnable, inland site of Jeru- 
salem. Until these disasters, the state policy of Persia 

1 Neh. iv. 18, 21. 2 Dan. ix. 25. 


was rather regardless of the Jews, as a people of small 
account, if not distgustful of them. It was not until, 
in a measure, compelled by circumstances, that they 
were willing to trust them with power, and to assent to ~ 
their having a Capital of their own —a trust of which 
the Jews proved themselves worthy. The two edicts 
—the one for the building of the Temple, the other for 
the building of the Wall of Jerusalem 
fused together; but they were separated by the time of 

are often con- 

more than half a century; the latter grew out of politi- 
cal changes that were subsequent to the former, and 
was dictated by military considerations ; while there 
seems to have been no military, and no political, reason 
of much weight, that could have moved to the other. 

It may, perhaps, be surmised that the former decree 
may have been a boon, purchased from Cyrus with a 
bribe — to which Asiatic kings have usually been acces- 
sible; but, apart from the sublime terms of the decree 
itself, such an idea fits only the late degenerate stages 
of the Persian Empire, and does not accord with the 
hardihood and temperance of its uncorrupt youth, nor 
with aught known of its heroic founder. 

His religion bore some resemblance to the Hebrew ; 
but this alone would not have made a king, who wor- 
shipped Ormazd in the temple of the firmament, and 
whose altars were the “earth o’er gazing mountains” 
of Iran, build for Jehovah a house in far Judea, 
when such a purpose was likely to provoke the scorn, and 
to kindle against him the religious zeal of those Persians, 
who destroyed temples of the Greeks and the gods of 


For the remarkable decree of Cyrus, then, there must 
have been a cause as remarkable. --From the terms of 
the decree itself it appears that this was a command of 
God, — undoubtedly that revealed, before ‘Cyrus was 
born, to the Hebrew prophet, Isaiah. It was, then, 
divinely ordained and divinely foretold; but the super- 
natural, as revealed, is ever so harmoniously blended 
with the natural, in a course of events where the two 
are seen together, that the better the natural, in such a 
case, is understood, the more the supernatural is credi- 
ble. Besides the fact of this revelation, the decree 
seems to require for its explanation the presence, at 
the Persian court, of some Hebrew, familiar with 
palaces and clothed in power. For, between this com- 
‘mand, ‘hidden in a foreign language and in the books of 
slaves, and its fulfilment by the King, there is a gulf, 
which even the imagination can hardly bridge over. 
That gulf is bridged over by the preternatural history _ 
of a man made for the time, by the fact that there 
was near that Persian monarch a Hebrew, accredited by 
miracles and strong in wisdom, honored alike by the 
Chaldeans, Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar, and by 
Darius the Mede, Daniel the prophet and the sage, that 
imperial man, himself the harmony of many diversities, 
whose strange, unique history, even to the Assyrian 
coloring and Babylonian grandeur of his visions, is so 
consistent with itself, and with the world-wide changes 
and wonders among which he lived. 

It is not written in the Scriptures that Daniel had 
aught to do with the decree ‘of Cyrus; but there is no 


full history, either of the decree, or of Daniel. We 
know him well. After Moses, he is the grandest and 
the most life-like man in the Hebrew annals, — which 
is to say, in the annals of mankind; yet we havé only 
his visions framed in a slight sketch of his life. As 
would be natural to an aged man, a chapter is given to 
his youth ; and this is so masterly, so luminous a piece of 
self-portraiture, that it supplies all that is needed of his 
biography, and of the times and circumstances in which 
he lived, when it is supplemented by the few facts he 
afterwards relates of himself, and by the brief historical 
references interspersed among those visions and revela- 
tions, to preserve which, is the aim of this memoir. Al] 
that is written by him is written to the glory of God, 
and not of himselfs It is for this he records his own 
safety in the den of lions; for he also records, so na- 
turally, how the three companions of his boyhood were 
safe in the furnace of fire. All this unique memoir — 
if such it may be called —with the exception of its 
opening page, recites open interventions of God, with 
interpretations of them, or visions to him revealed ; and 
it is not altogether within its scope to relate the part he 
may have had in obtaining the decree of Cyrus. Yet 
there may be an allusion to it; and, if there is so, 
though very slight, it is characteristic of the heart 
of the man. The first chapter, which seems to him suf- 
ficiently to introduce those events in his life that he 
feels he must put on record forever, ends with saying, — 
“this Daniel continued ¢2/l the first year of Cyrus the 

Persian.” This seems to me like the pointing of his 


hand to some event in that year; for, one of the reve- 
lations to him is dated in that king’s third year; and, 
again, at the close of the chapter describing his deliver- 
ance from the lions, it is added, “this Daniel prospered 
in the reign of Darius and of Cyrus the Persian.” 
Now, tt was in that first year of his reign that Cyrus 
sent forth his decree to rebuild the Temple. 

Whether this be, or not, the meaning of his pointing 
thus to that ever memorable year, I cannot but think 
that one of the latest, one of the noblest and most 
characteristic of all his achievements, was his gaining 
from Cyrus this grand decree. For here the known of 
the history of Daniel points straight to the unknown. 
He seems born for this; and there was no Hebrew, who 
would have dared, or been suffered by his people, to 
take his place in this matter, or, to whom, in his stead, 
the King would have listened, as an interpreter of 
Hebrew prophecy. The presence, then, of Daniel with 
Cyrus, no doubt, is the missing link between the pro- 
phecy and its fulfilment; and thus the decree itself, 
without him almost incredible, is one of the facts in the 
history of the time, that confirms the history of the 
prophet. ; 

Vainly the Genius of Painting tries to shadow forth 
the mystery of the last night of Babylon. When Bel- 
shazzar feasted high his thousand lords, and they drank 
their wine from the vessels of the Temple of God, and 
praised their images of gold and of stone, and the 
fingers of a man’s hand came forth and wrote on the 
wall, how well it suits the spiritual meaning of the sign, 


that none but a Hebrew can read the writing! How 
well the ordering of invisible powers is known, when the 
last word of Babylon does honor toa Hebrew! The his- 
tory of the world is a drama performed in the presence 
of invisible spectators ; and the actors do not understand 
what they are representing. Belshazzar, proclaiming 
the prophet third ruler in his realm, shows, in the last of 
its kings, the high spirit of the founders of his empire ; 
yet in that hour the greatness of Daniel dwarfs the 
pillared glories of his capital, and overmatches all the 
Sods and all the men of Babylon; while the whole scene 
is the everlasting symbol of the world’s glory and the 
world’s ruin. 

But, in moral grandeur, it equals not that left untold, 
when, in the palace-temple of the Great King, in the 
presence of his officers of state, who, in number and 
rank, made his court seem to Persia a semblance of the 
court on high, and to God’s representative on earth, 
Daniel interpreted the command of the Almighty, say- 
ing to the Conqueror, by name, “I the Lord, who will 
go before thee to open the gates of brass, to break in 
pieces the bars of iron, to subdue the nations before thee, 
I charge thee to rebuild my house in Jerusalem ;” and 
when the Master of the World believed the word of the 
Lord, and, with the assent of the religious powers of 
his realm, sent forth that decree, on which, to human 
eyes, hung all the future the Prophet saw in vision. 

The grand modesty of his silence seems to me rather 
to prove, than to disprove, that the chief actor in that 
surpassing hour was Daniel. But, whether so or not, 


that decree is of deepest interest to our inquiries. As the 
Persian kings were Pontiffs, the proclamation of Cyrus, 
the Persian, “the Lord God of Heaven hath given me 
all the kingdoms of the earth, and He hath charged me 


to build for Him a house in Jerusalem ;” and the pre- 
vious proclamation of the Median, Darius, “unto all 
people, nations, and languages, I make a decree, that, 
in every dominion of my kingdom, men fear and tremble 
before the God of Daniel, for He is the living God,” 
were authoritative recognitions of Jehovah, as the same 
with Ormazd, the God of the Persians; and, as Cyrus, 
no doubt, consulted the Chief Magi before he made his 
decree, at least this great historical fact inevitably fol- 
lows, that part of Hebrew Scripture was interpreted 
to them, and, by them, most solemnly acknowledged 
and acted upon as divine. . 

Even if the reverence of the Magi for the command 
of Jehovah concerning his Temple in Jerusalem was not 
owing to Daniel, it would still be true that the imagina- 
tion can hardly frame acourse of events that would have 
given a stranger, greater influence with the Magi, 
than that recorded of him. In the East, royal favor 
makes dignitaries with a swiftness and completeness so 
impressive to Orientals, that they conceive it hath in it 
a divine quality, and listen, as to God, when commanded 
to bow down before the slave, or the stranger, whom 
kings delight to honor. Familiar with the sudden ruin 
of favorites, the honor of Daniel, continuing through 
changes of dynasties and a succession of rulers, must 
have greatly impressed the Magi, and, together with the 


natural and supernatural wisdom to which it was due, 
must have given him a grand entrance into their reli- 
giously sensitive minds. His prevision of the kingdom 
of the Lord was so much in harmony with the great hope 
of their religion, of the triumph of the kingdom of Light, 
that it is in vain to look to any other ancient religion for 
a similar point of contact between it and the sublime 
visions of Hebrew Prophecy; and even more so, for 
such another, as the Persian expectation of a Redeemer 
to come, in the likeness of man. 

But the explanations and confirmations of the Pil- 
grimage of the Wise Men are not thus exhausted, for 
from the Scriptures it seems to appear, how through 
the working ~-together of Hebrew truths, and of their 
own ideas, the Magi connected the birth of a predicted 
Redeemer, and an appearing Star. The Evangelist 
records a part only of the facts, but in the Bible voice 
answers unto voice. . 

Daniel, one of the children, “ understanding science, 
having ability to stand in the King’s palace, and to 
whom might be taught the learning and the tongue of 
the Chaldeans,” was familiar with the religions of those 
nations among whom his lot was cast. His training 
makes this certain; and without this knowledge, he 
would not have been called to the offices he held. Such, 
too, the spirit of the man, and such the circumstances 
in which he was placed, that he must have felt intense 
interest in prophecies of the Messiah, not of a Hebrew 
origin; and must have made use of such to enkindle, 
among’ the Wise of the. East, an expectation of the 


Messiah. With what is known of his history, there is 
needed no further evidence that these things were so. 
The oracle of Balaam was such a prophecy — and he 
must have made this use of it, not only for the general 
reason that it was not a Hebrew prophecy, but for the 
particular reason that Balaam was of Mesopotamia. 
This was a more interesting fact to Chaldeans than to 
Magians ; but in their relations with Daniel, the learned 
in Babylon were one class; and the fame of Balaam 
was great enough to transcend national lines. If his 
fame did not, the remoteness of his age would; for he 
lived in a time, that, in the reign of Cyrus, was hoary 
antiquity. His voice then reached the Magi from the 
height of a thousand years. Of personages like Ba- 
laam, the tradition lives on; age repeats it to listening 
youth, by them to be repeated in their age, and even 
the far-off echo retains something of the power of the 
voie. In Chaldea, there may have been oracles of Ba- 
laam preserved in writing ; but whether or not preserved 
in writing, or by tradition, Daniel could point to one 
oracle of his in the books of the Hebrews. There it was 
written, “ Balaam, the son of Beor, ... he hath said, 
which heard the words of God and knew the knowledge 
of the Most High, which saw the vision of the Almighty, 
falling into a trance, but having his eyes open, I shall 
see Him, but not now; I shall behold Him, but not 
nigh. There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and 
a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel.”1 The words, 

1 Numbers xxiv. 15, 16, 17. 


“there shall come a Star out of Jacob,” must have 
struck the imagination of astrologers, —and such the 
Magi were. With their notions, they could not but 
think this saying meant that, in some future age, a Star 
would usher in the dominion of some Great Personage 
in Judea. This was, naturally, inevitably their inter- 
pretation of the oracle. And the wonderful purpose 
of their own Pontiff king, moved to it by the command 
of God to restore the enslaved and exiled children of 
Israel to their own country, must have intensified their 
wonder at this very ancient prophecy of one not of the 
Hebrew race. This strange thing which they them- 
selves had witnessed, and in which they themselves had 
borne a part, must have seemed to them in mysterious ® 
harmony with the word of the ancient seer, in presag- 
ing something marvellous in the future of Israel. 

Data, from which the time of the Messiah might be 
computed, were revealed to Daniel. There is reason to 
think the Magi knew this, for Hebrew prophecy was 
no secret thing. The revelations of the prophets were 
published to their own countrymen, and the books that 
contained them were not hidden from strangers. It is 
evidence of this that, before the Christian era, the Jews 
translated them all into the Greek, then the common 
language of a great part of the world. If the revela- 
tion as to the time of the Messiah was in any way 
made known to the Magi of the reign of Cyrus, 
whether by Daniel himself or not, their high venera- 
tion for the prophet, and the religious interest of the 

oracle, could not but have fixed their attention earnestly 


upon it. Even the fact that it was mystical in its lan- 
guage, and difficult of interpretation, appealed to the 
professional honor of men trained to look into the mean- 
ing of dark sayings, and versed in the harmonies of 
numbers ; and they must have tried to search out its true 
import and determine the time. Tor the aspiration to 
pierce into the secrets of the future, then unchilled by 
disappointments and unsatiated, as now, by the fulness 
of knowledge revealed, was so eager and intense as to 
absorb into itself a large part of the activity of the 
human intellect, hardly less active then, than now. 
Now, a great earnestnesss to search into the secret 
things of the worlds in space, has taken the place of 
‘the old longing to search into the secret things of the 
worlds in time, and the present intensity of the one 
measures the ancient intensity of the other. 

The date the Magi fixed upon as the end of the seven 
and three score and two weeks of the oracle may have 
closely approximated to the truth. This date, and the 
ancient prediction of a Star at the birth of the Great 
Personage whose time was thus foretold, —a_ predic- 
tion in harmony with their modes of thought as astrolo- 
gers, and, in itself, simple and striking, — these were 
not likely to be forgotten in the unbroken succession of 
these conservators of traditions. 

But in reflecting upon the probability of some rela- 
tion between the revelation of the Lord to Daniel and 
the pilgrimage of Magi to Jerusalem, seeking for Him, 
three more or less difficult questions arise. ‘The seven, 

and the three score and two weeks measure not to the 


year of the Messiah’s birth, but to the fulness of his 
life: — How then could the Magi have identified the 
Star of His Birth? The answer to this question in- 
volves the consideration of certain astronomical facts, 
and must be deferred to a subsequent chapter. 

The second question is, How could revelations of 
Daniel to the Magi have been remembered five hundred 
years and more? This would be a great difficulty if 
they were entrusted to tradition. Even then their 
memory might have thus lasted, and could, at any time, 
have been reinvigorated from the sacred books of the 
Hebrews, who, from the time of Cyrus onwards, dwelt 
in considerable numbers in the capitals of the Persians, 
or of the Parthians. But some revelations to Daniel 
may have been preserved by the Magi in writing, as all 
of them were by the Jews through this very period. 
For the Magi had a literature; and this was growing 
for some centuries before the time of Daniel, and, on- 
wards, to the time of the conquest of Alexander (B. C. 
331) ; and, after thousands of years, some parts of this 
are still preserved by yet existing Magi, that is by the 
priests of the Parsees, who are lineal and spiritual suc- 
cessors of the Magi of the reign of Cyrus, inheriting 
their blood, observing the same religious rites, revering 
the same books, and honoring Zoroaster. 

About the year B. C. 464, Themistocles, flying from 
Greece, found, for a time, honor with the Great King. 
Had the royal archives of Media and Persia survived, 
no doubt there would be found in them some note of 
this, and some memoranda as to the policy he advised 


towards the Greeks. At the earnest persuasion of the 
king himself, the honor of an initiation into the Order 
of the Magi was conferred on this illustrious foreigner. 
Had this unspiritual man been a diviner and seer, might 
not oracles of his have been remembered by the Magi? 
and were their entire literature now extant, might they 
not reasonably be looked for thére? Save that he 
lived a century earlier, this would be more probable in 
the case of Daniel. His supernatural wisdom, his 
official position as chief of the wise men of Babylon, 
his eminence above all the learned orders of the Per- 
sian Empire, make it almost certain that there was 
some record of him in the books of the Magi. 

In the period from the conquest of Alexander, to the 
reéstablishment of the Persian Kingdom (A.D. 226), 
much the largest part of this Magian literature perished ; 
but what part of it was in existence at the Christian era, 
or what that part contained, is unknown ; and it is quite 
possible that, in it, there may then have been that reve- 
lation to Daniel, which was then, as it is now, and ever 
will be, of world-wide interest. 

The third question is this: As the Persians believed 
that Sosiosh, whose coming was to bring about the 
renovation of all things, would be born of the family 
of Zoroaster, could they have received, as true, a revela- 
tion that this high honor would be given to a land and 
race that was once subject to them, and which, in the 
various ways known to national egotism and pride, they 
thought inferior to their own? As the difficulty here 
need not be extended to the whole of the Magi, as it 


reaches only to those who went to Jerusalem, it might 
‘suffice to say, that, in the minds of a few, this might be 
accounted for by the authority of the prophet Daniel, 
and by the fact that, in other nations, a few grand souls 
have risen above the prejudices of their race and time ; 
but some direct light may be thrown upon this diffi- 
culty. If the Magian pilgrims to Jerusalem sought 
for ‘the Sosiosh, who, according to the Persian belief, 
was to put an end to death, to raise the dead, and to 
-make all things new, then it must be supposed that a 
very great victory was gained by them over their na- 
tional feelings. This would not be incredible to those 
who believe that God is able to guide to all truth, and 
to exalt to all nobility; but in showing the possibility 
of a Hebrew historical statement regarded strictly as 
such, the line of thought must be limited to purely his- 
torical considerations. 

The Magian belief in the Sosiosh, in its earliest 
form, seems to have known of one, but in a later form, 
it held that three Prophets were to arise, of whom the 
Greatest would be the Last. Now, in the revelation 
to Daniel, the coming foretold seems not to be of that 
absolutely final effect, attributed, by the Persians, to the 
last of the mighty Three. It is not so incredible, then, 
as irrespective of this it might be, that certain of the 
Magi believed that one of these might be born in the 
Hebrew land, and of the Hebrew race; or, their belief 
may have been wholly distinct from their own Median 
traditions, save as they prepared them to accredit the 
oracle of the prophet, as being in harmony with 


their main features. And here the fact should be re- 
called, that the religion of the Hebrews and of the Magi 
were not alien religions; that their Pontiff kings had 
solemnly acknowledged that the God of the Hebrews 
was the same God of heaven whom the Persians wor- 
shipped ; and that the Temple in Jerusalem was, in some 
true sense, a Persian Temple, as its rebuilding was 
ordered by edicts of Persian kings. In all the earth, 
the Persians and the Hebrews stood alone in their ad- 
herence to the primeval revelation of the unity of God, 
and out of this, in part, there had grown, for a time, 
close relations between them. Beside this, the Persian 
was, by nature, generously appreciative. His zeal for 
the faith made him intolerant of the idolatry of other 
nations, but he was not narrow-minded as the Jews — 
quite erroneously — are often said to have been. Thus, 
a variety of considerations tend to make it credible that, 
the minds of some of the Magi might have been open 
to accredit the fact revealed to Daniel, that a great 
Deliverer would be born of a race, which, though alien 
from their own in blood, was kindred in worship. 

Even had Daniel not lived, the Magian pilgrimage to 
Jerusalem might be explained by the public, and long- 

cherished Jewish expectation of a Messiah, a knowl- 
edge of which was widely spread abroad. Such an 
expectation made known to some of the Magi of the 
Far East, and received by them as accounting for a 
new phenomenon in the heavens, might, with a few 
Asiatics who were enthusiasts, astrologers, and members 
of an order whose characteristic it was ever to be watch- 


ing for the signs and wonders of the intervention of 
Ormazd in the affairs of men, might, in that age have 
led to such a pilgrimage. But the Magian pilgrimage 
is not so bare as this of known antecedent facts that 
give to it credibility. It is hardly possible to take what 
is recorded of Daniel and place it side by side with the 
Magian pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and not to believe 
they are related as cause and effect. The explanation 
of that pilgrimage, thus suggested, — so far as it goes, 
—is so natural and so perfect, that only the fanati- 
cism of unbelief will refuse to admit its probability ; 
and to establish it, requires only a very little direct 
evidence. , 

I find this in the inquiry which the Magi made in 
Jerusalem. The form of this is remarkable. They 
inquire for the King of the Jews. This sounds both 
strange and dangerous. It was strange, for Herod had 
been king for more than thirty years, and all his chil- 
dren were grown up; and all Jerusalem felt it was 
dangerous, as the Jews had perverted their belief in 
a Messiah from a spiritual to a political Redeemer. 
But certainly they were not understood to inquire for 
a temporal prince by Herod, who, meaning to delude 
them, promised when they found Him they sought, he 
himself would worship Him; and, no doubt, the Magi 
were understood, by all to inquire for a spiritual Lord. 
No doubt they explained that this was their meaning ; 
for the words ascribed to them are only a part of what 
they said, though preserving the main features in their 

inquiry, and its very remarkable form. 


From whence could have come the very peculiar 
form of their inquiry? The words used in the revela- 
tion to Daniel explain what is else inexplicable. That 
revelation foretold —‘“a Messiah, a Prince” — as the 
words are rendered in the English version. The first 
word —transferred, unchanged from the Hebrew into 
the English — means “the. anointed.” The second 
means a leader, a ruler, and, as leadership and rule per- 
tain to those of royal blood, its meaning tends towards 
the idea of a King. Even if the word be taken in the 
sense of a leader merely, it is associated with the word 
anointed, and anointing was part of the ceremony in 
coronation, and was not even for princes, but for kings, 
only. On putting the terms together —an anointed 
chief — then, the idea of a King comes out unmistaka- 
ble and clear. Translations of the Bible into other 
tongues keep near as may be to the literal sense, but in 
a free translation, seeking only to express the thought, 
the natural rendering here would be, a King; and it is 
most likely a Hebrew would have used this term in 
translating these words to a foreigner, though from 
motives of prudence, the Jews under Herod preferred to 
use among themselves the term Messiah, in which the 
idea of kingship was less dangerously prominent; and 
certainly the word King would be the one that would 
most naturally occur to foreigners, as the best interpre- 
tation of the fulness of the thought of the prophet. 
It is clear, then, why the Magi made their inquiry in 
the form they did, “ Where is he that is born the King 
of the Jews.” They thought the term King, as used 


by them, would be understood in a spiritual sense; 
they thought there was a peculiar propriety in the form 
of their inquiry, because it showed the motive to their 
pilgrimage was a prophecy of Daniel, who, though a 
Flebrew, was a Magian, held in honor by their re- 
nowned sovereigns of old, and whose bones were in the 
land of the Medes. This was what the form of their 
inquiry meant. This the Evangelist meant to indicate 
by preserving that form. And this would ever have 
been clear to the readers of the English version had it 
rendered the words in the prophecy of Daniel, as the 
ancient Syriac version did render them, “the anointed 
one, THE KING.” : 

As the fact of the continuing presence of Hebrews 
in the land of the Medes and Persians is more or less 
important in the explanation of the Magian pilgrimage, 
I repeat that, from the time of Cyrus to the conquest 
of Alexander, Judea was a part of the Persian Em- 
pire; that, in the Persian, and subsequently in the 
Parthian capitals, there were multitudes of Jews; and 
that the Star was first seen by the Magi in Baby- 
lonia, one of the great settlements of the Jews of the 
Dispersion. A little later than the Christian era, it 
was the seat of one of the schools of Jewish learning, 
and in the “days of Herod the King,” Hillel, whom for 
his wisdom and piety, the Rabbins venerate next to 
Ezra, came up from thence to Jerusalem. From its 
learning, that country had strong attractions for the 
Magi, to whom all religious learning was attractive. 
When they saw the Star, they were sojourning, or 


perhaps dwelling in that country. Either would be 
natural enough, for it was adjacent to Persia. Like 
Persia it was then under the Parthian rule. There was 
Ctesiphon one of the Parthian capitals; and, from - 
their reception by King Herod, it is plain they were 
no strangers to the palaces of kings. 

This fact. that the Star was seen by them, not in 
Persia, but in Babylonia, not in the Far East but in 
the East, may go some ways towards explaining their 
Pilgrimage, as shown in the next chapter. 



WHEN the Magi from distant Bactria, or Parthia, 
or Persia Proper, or any other district of the Far East, 
came into the East, they had accomplished one geo- 
graphical stage of their long journey to Jerusalem, 
though they knew it not; and they had accomplished 
one historical stage of it also, for they had come fully 
within the circle of a wide-spread expectation, at that 
very time, of the Birth of some great personage in Judea. 

This expectation ‘is witnessed to by one Hebrew and 
by two Latin writers, — all in whose writings we should 
expect to find it, —though their testimony is by no 
means all the evidence of the fact. Josephus, writing 
of the Fall of Jerusalem, says, “ What chiefly incited 
the Jews to the war, was an ambiguous prophecy, found 
in their sacred writings, that about that time, one from 
their country should obtain the Empire of the World. 
. . . This oracle in reality denoted the elevation of 
Vespasian, he having been proclaimed Emperor in 
Judea.”! ‘Tacitus, having chronicled the signs and 

wonders foretokening the fall of the city, says, “ Quee 

1 Bel. Jud. vi. 5, 4. 


pauci in metum trahebant ; pluribus persuasio inerat, an- 
tiquis sacerdotum literis contineri, eo ipso tempore fore 
ut valesceret Oriens profectique Judea rerum potirentur 5 
que ambages Vespasianum ac Titum predixerat. Sed 
vulgus, more humane cupidinis, sibi tantam fatorum 
magnitudinem interpretati, ne adversis quidem ad verum 
mutabantur :”!— Because of these the few feared, but 
the many believed that it was written in the ancient 
books of the priests, that at that very time the Orient 
—i.e. Syria — should prevail; and that those going 
forth out of Judea should obtain the Empire of the 
World. These ambiguous oracles predicted Vespasian 
and Titus. But the people, as is the way with men led 
by their wishes, interpreted in their own behalf this 
destined greatness, and were not converted to the truth 
even by calamities. 

- Suetonius says, “Percrebuerat Oriente toto vetus 
et constans opinio, esse in fatis, ut eo tempore Judea 
profecti rerum potirentur. Id de Imperatore Romano, 
quantum eventu postea paruit, predictum Judei ad se tra- 
hentes rebellarunt :” 7— An ancient and abiding belief 
greatly prevailed throughout all the Orient, that fate had 
decreed, that at that very time those going forth out of 
Judea should obtain the empire of the world. This pre 
diction of the Roman Emperor, as afterwards appeared 
by the event, the Jews, taking to themselves, rebelled. 

The concurrence of an ancient, wide-spread presenti- 
ment springing out of the oracles of the Jews, with the 

4 Tac.5 Helisti ives. ? Suet., Vita Vespas., iv. 


appearing of one who answered to it, yet in a way 
beyond ali the imaginings of men, is a fact equally 
hard for infidels to explain or todeny. In this dilemma, 
they try to weaken the evidence for a fact whose im- 
portance they cannot hide, and claim that the testimony 
of the two Romans must be ruled out because they 
copied Josephus. Some Christian critics, conceding this 
claim, countenance the assumption concealed in it, that 
the fact rests on the word of Josephus only. This 
assumption is an error, and the evidence of this ex- 
pectation is so vital to our argument, and in many ways 
is so important, that it should here be stated. 

Without the testimony of any historian, the prophe- 
cies, beginning with Genesis, and especially those in the 
book of Daniel, are such that there must have been in 
Palestine, early in the first century, a lively hope of the 
appearing of some great personage. That such an ex- 
pectation did, then and there, prevail, if not stated 
expressly in the Gospels, is inwrought with the whole 
course of the events they describe. The wars of the 
Jews with the Romans at the time of the fall of Jerusa- 
lem, and under Hadrian, accord in general features and 
in particular facts with such an expectation. And there 
is the testimony of Josephus. Such is the general 
evidence of this expectation apart from the two Roman 
writers. Josephus wrote his history, in part, to screen 
-his unhappy countrymen from the jealousy of the Ro- 
mans; and, Hebrew at heart, though an apostate, he 
would not have named it at all, had it not been too well 
known for him to pass it over. The fact was of such a 


kind that it must have been well known to the Romans. 
The prophecies of the Jews had long been accessible to 
them in a Greek translation, and were, probably, better 
known to Roman statesmen‘and soldiers than to Roman 
scholars. For Palestine had long been held by Roman 
garrisons; and the sagacious officers of Rome, with 
whom the art of governing subject races was alinost in- 
stinctive, and who were trained in the school of experi- 
ence to know the power of religious ideas and predictions 
in war, would have been quick to mark such a belief, 
and to foresee all that might, and that did, result from 
it. The bloody siege of Jerusalem, connected as it was 
with the assumption of the purple by the Flavian dy- 
nasty, fastened on itself the steady gaze of Rome. The 
fall of Jerusalem was to the Romans a signal, perchance 
even a solemn event; and all the peculiar elements of 
its destiny must have been carefully noted by those 
watchful observers of political events. 

There is, then, no antecedent likelihood in the notion, 
that both Tacitus and Suetonius knew of the expectation 
of the Jews only from Josephus. They had other au- 
thority than his for the Jewish war; and this fact was 
as likely as any, and more likely than most, to have 
come to them from other sources. They had read Jo- 
sephus, no doubt; it is quite certain that Tacitus had ; 
and yet it is clear that their statements are independent 

-of his. They enlarge both the prophecy and the expec- 
tation. Tacitus says the oracle was that Syria should 
wax mighty; Suetonius makes all Syria expectant; 
while Josephus limits everything to Judea, both pro- 


phecy and expectation. | All three describe it as com- 
mon, but the Latins in a wider field; and their terms, 
describing how generally it was talked about, are 
stronger than the Jew cared to use. : 

As to the breadth of this expectation, the Latin 
writers give the true impression. The Orientals are 
quick to receive such impressions to a degree a Euro-_ 
pean, in this age, can hardly comprehend. It could not 
have been the expectation of the Jews in Palestine, and 
not of the Jews in all Syria. Through Syrian Jews 
it must have pervaded the whole Syrian mind; and the 
Syrian Jews being in constant intercourse with their 
kinsmen “ beyond the Euphrates,” it must have pervaded 
the Hebrew mind in that region also. 
~ Some writers, hesitating between their dislike to ad- 
mit the fact and a sense of what is due to their critical 
honor, admit the Latin testimony; but try to weaken 
its force, by saying that such an expectation, at the 
time of the Fall of Jerusalem, does not prove its exist- 
ence at the Nativity, seventy years before. The gospels 
prove its existence then; but, limiting the argument to 
the Latin evidence, it is enough to say, that a belief, 
spread throughout all Syria, presupposes a growth and 
development ; and the words of Suetonius are, “in Syria 
it was an ancient, abiding belief.” 

It was the expectation of the few, before it was of 
the many. It was known to the more spiritual in Israel 
—the wisest and quickest to discern the truth revealed 
as to the time of the Lord’s appearing, as well as its 

mysterious spiritual import; and then in grosser forms 


it became, at length, the common expectation of the 
Jews. E 

Every stage of this belief was reflected in the great 
Jewish settlement “beyond the Euphrates.” When the 
priests determined in Jerusalem the instant of the new 
moon, whose rising fixed the time of the sacred feasts, 
beacons blazed from height to.height along the Syrian 
highlands, north and eastward, until they gave the sig- 
nal to the expectant millions of the Dispersion beyond 
the Great River; and, with almost equal celerity, every 
thought and feeling of the Holy City was transmitted to 
the Hebrews beyond the Euphrates. : 

At the time of the Incarnation of our Lord, an elect 
few in Jerusalem were awaiting his coming; and there 
must have been a like expectation among some of their 
spiritual brethren beyond the Euphrates. When the 
Magi came from the Far East into the East, they came 
fully within the circle of this expectance, whether then 
as general as afterwards or not. Being men of spirit- 
ual desires, and guided by divine grace, the thought is 
irresistible, that their ancient belief there received new 
life; that, in the very land of the Seer, they heard from 
Hebrews, as their fathers from a Hebrew, of the Star — 
by them faithfully remembered — of the King of the 
Jews ; and not, as their fathers heard, of a Star which 
was to gild the heavens of a future age, but as then 
avout to shine. If, at such at a time, these astron- 
omers beheld what science tells us has sometimes been, 
the outshining of a new Star, we have, at once, the 
immediate moving cause of their Pilgrimage. 



CuRISTIANITY is often said to be a system of truths; 
but even its most mysterious truths are facts. Chris- 
tianity, then, is a system of facts; and the evidence for 
it, the evidence that proves facts. The weight of such 
evidence, unlike that which proves mathematical prob- 
lems, varies in different minds, and it varies in different 
ages. Questions, touching the validity of this evidence, 
unthought of by one generation, perplex another; and, 
while inquiry is thus constantly stimulated in this ever- 
varying field, God ever grants fresh confirmations of the 
reality of Christianity to meet the varying phases of 
the human mind. 

Kepler, the most illustrious of astronomers, observed 
a new star, in the constellation Serpentarius, on the 
night of the 17th of October, in the year of our Lord 
1604. His master, Tycho Brahe, had observed a sim- 
ilar wonder in the constellation Cassiopeia, on the night 
of the 11th of October, in the year 1572. These were 
not luminous bodies within our atmosphere; were not 
within, or near, the solar system; they were in the region 
of the fixed stars. Each grew more and more brilliant, 
till it shone like a planet. Then its lustre waned until 



it ceased to be visible, —the onein March, 1574, the 
other in February, 1606. Their light was white, then 
yellow, then red, then dull, and so went out. 

The star of 1572 appeared in a solitary quarter of the 
heavens; the star of 1604 took its stand near the path 
of the sun, as if, said Kepler, it would receive the salu- 
tations of all the planets.!' It shone out in a wonderful 
astrological year. In the December before, all astron- 
omers had been greatly excited by a conjunction of the 
planets Jupiter and Saturn, that is, their drawing so 
near together as to form a rare fact in Astronomy, a 
notable sign in Astrology, — then not wholly fallen into 
disrepute. In March, 1604, there was a still greater 
astrological wonder. ‘These two planets were again in 
conjunction, together with the planet Mars. To the 
astronomers of that time, in whose thoughts there was 

‘Illa enim extra limites Zodiaci fulsit, in sidere Cassio- 
peiz, loco cceli infrequenti, nec ullis planetarum accessionibus 
nobilitato ; haee stationem sibi elegit- proxime viam regiam 
solis, lune, ceterorumque planetarum; sic ut ab omnibus 
planetis saluteretur. That star (of 1572) shone without the 
bounds of the Zodiac, in the constellation Cassiopeia, an un- 
frequented place in the heavens, not ennobled by the ap- 
proach of any of the planets; this star (of 1604) chose for 
itself a place near the royal way of the sun, the moon, and 
the planets; as if it would receive the salutations of the 
planets. — Kepler, De Stella Nova. 

? The year, says Sir David Brewster, “ of the fiery trigon, 
or that in which Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars are in the fiery 
signs, Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius, an event which occurs _ 
only every eight hundred years. — Life of Kepler, ch. i. 
This is especially noted by Kepler. 


much of astrological speculation, these repeated and 
accumulative portents seemed a forewarning that some- 
thing wonderful was about to come to pass in the celes- 
tial or terrestrial spaces. This seemed to them fulfilled, 
when, in the autumn of that year, in the very quarter of 
the heavens where two of these planets were still to- 
gether, this strange star, as Kepler said, — vero vulgo 
expectata a longo tempore cum multa solemnitate et 
triumphali pompa ad diem constitutum est ingressa ; 
more prepotentis alicujus monarchie, qui metropolim 
regni invisurus, premissis longe antea metatoribus, 
loca comitatui designat, — far, and wide, and long ex- 
pected, with much of preparation, and in triumphal 
pomp, came on the day ordained, like some all-powerful . 
monarch, who, being about to look upon the metropolis 
of his realm, through officers sent long before, designates 
to his court their places. 

The analogical genius of Kepler, ever watching for 
celestial resemblances, through whose intimations he 
might divine the laws established in the heavens, was 
especially excited by the coincidence between the going 
before of these planetary signs, and the apparition of the 
star ; and he conceived that the Star, seen by the Magi, 
might have been foretokened and marshalled in by the 
same train of phenomena he had observed in these 

1 In eum precise cceli locum, ad quem: omninm astrolo- 
gorum oculi congressum Jovis et Martis expectantes diri- 
gebantur. Just in that part of the sky to which the eyes of 
all astrologers were turned, watching the conjunction of Ju 
piter and Mars. — Kepler, De Stella Nova. 


three planets. He, therefore, traced their orbits back- 
wards for sixteen hundred years, and made the remark- 
able discovery, that the planets Jupiter and Saturn were 
in conjunction in the Year of Rome 747, and, again, 
together with Mars, in 748. The Time of our Lord’s 
Birth can hardly have been earlier. Its true date may 
be one, and probably is the last, of these years.! 

Kepler thought his discovery determined the Year of 
our Lord. It comes not within my plan to consider this 
opinion ; and, lest the mention of this strangely interest- 
ing discovery should awaken expectation but to dis- 
appoint it, I will here say, that I shall not use it as 
direct or positive evidence of a new Star at the Nativity ; 
but shall, by and by, try to show that it makes the pil- 
grimage of the Magi more intelligible. 

For two hundred years, this discovery, made by the 
Prince of Astronomers, was little heeded. In this cen- 
tury, it has. been more thought of ;? but there seems, as 
yet, to be no general acquiescence in any opinion as to 
its bearing on the first verse of the second chapter of 
St. Matthew. _ 

One theory, however, has grown out of it that should 
here be considered. This theory looks solely to the 

* The Christian Era is coincident with 754; but from an 
eclipse in the Year of Herod’s death, it is known that he 
died early in 750. 

? In 1827, attention to it was reawakened by Bishop 
Munter of Copenhagen. It was discussed by the astrono- 
mer Schubert, of St. Petersburg, and by Dr. Ideler, of 
Berlin. xe 


celestial phenomena of the year of Rome 747. Al- 
ford’s adinirably clear presentment of it isin these words : 
“In the year of Rome 747, on the 29th of May, there 
was a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, in the twentieth 
degree of the constellation Pisces, close to the first point 
of Aries, which was the part of the heavens noted, in 
astrological science, as that in which the signs denoted 
the greatest and noblest events. On the 29th of Sep- 
tember, in the same year, another conjunction of the 
same planets took place, in the sixteenth degree of 
Pisces; and, on the 5th of December, a third, in the 
fifteenth degree of the same sign. On these two last oc- 
casions, the two planets were so near, that an ordinary 
eye would regard them as one star of surpassing 
brightness.1 Supposing the Magi to have seen the 
first of these conjunctions, they saw it actually ‘in the 
East ;’ for, on the 29th of May, it would rise three 
and a half hours before sunrise. If they then took their 
journey, and arrived at Jerusalem in a little more than 
five months (the journey from Babylon took Ezra four 
months; see Ezra vii. 9); if they performed the route 
from Jerusalem to Bethlehem in the evening, as is 
implied, —the December conjunction, in the fifteenth 
degree of Pisces, would be before them in the direction 
of Bethlehem. . . . Abarbanel, the Jew, who knew 

1 This sentence, from the first edition of Alford’s Commen- 
tary on the New Testament, is omitted in its subsequent 
editions. I retain it, that the recent inquiries on this sub- 
ject may be more fully appreciated, as will appear as we 


nothing of this conjunction, relates it as a tradition, that 
no conjunction could be of mightier import than that 
of Jupiter and Saturn, which planets were in conjunc- 
tion, A. M. 2365, before the birth of Moses, in the 
sion of Pisces; and thence remarks, that that sign was 
the most significant one for the Jews. From this con- 
sideration he concludes, that the conjunction of these 
planets, in that sign, in his own time (A. D. 1463), be- 
tokened the near approach of the Messiah. And, as the 
Jews did not invent Astrology, but learnt it from the 
Chaldeans, this idea, that a conjunction in Pisces be- 
tokened some great event in Judea, must have prevailed 
among the Chaldean astrologers.” 

Alford thinks, that, the word Star being taken in 
what he calls “its wider astrological meaning,” “ these 
circumstances form a remarkable coincidence with the 
history ” in St. “Matthew; and that “the very slight 
apparent inconsistencies with the above explanation are 
no more than the report of the Magi themselves, and 
the general belief of the age, would render unavoidable.” 

A friend,! who read this book in manuscript, sug- 
gested, “that the Magi, taking the time-data furnished . 
by the prophet Daniel, ascertained the year of the Na- 
tivity, and, erecting a horoscope, predetermined the 
positions of the planets in the fated year ;. that the plan- 
etary sign, thus foreknown to the Wise Men of the 
East, received among them the name of the Star of the 
King of the Jews; that this prediction, at once religious 

' The late Rev. J. McCarty, tector of Christ’s Chureh, 


and scientific, and so of peculiar interest to them, was 
treasured up among the wisdom kept from common eyes, 
and, where it was verified by the result, the pilgrimage 
is explained.” Long previous to the time of Cyrus, the 
Chaldeans had calculated eclipses ;+ but whether there 
could have been, with any of the Magi, the science re- 
quisite to form such a calculation as this, is very doubt- 
ful. Still, there may have been, in the unknown of the 
history of the Magi, the fact supposed; and this. bril- 
liant suggestion has, at least, this value: it shows that 
the pilgrimage of the Magi might at once be explained, 
were our general knowledge of all that is related to it 
more perfect. It makes the theory advocated by Alford 
more complete; but, against each, there are these de- 
cisive objections. 

In the second chapter of St. Matthew, the word Star 
cannot mean a conjunction of planets. Had the Magi, 
alone, used the word, it is conceivable that it might have 
this meaning. It was so easy for them to have used 
some more fitting word or phrase, and the jargon of 
Astrology so clove to adepts in the art, and was so com- 
mon, that this is not likely; still, it is possible, and, in 
the Magi, it was admissible. But the Evangelist makes 
the word his own; and such a use of it, though proper 
for them, was not so for him. 

For the language of Scripture, on natural subjects, 
has absolute truth. The common idea, that it is less 
accurate than scientific language, comes from not distin- 

1 See note on p. 111. 


guishing between two kinds of language. The language 
of the Scriptures on natural subjects is the language of 
the human family. Its aim is to describe natural phenom- 
ena, as they appear. ‘The aim of scientific language is to ~ 
express facts lying back of the appearance, and to ap- 
proximate, more and more, to the ultimate cause. Tested 
by their aims, the common language is perfect, the scien- 
tific imperfect. The one is perfect at once, the other 
never. The one is ever the same, the other is ever chang- 
ing. Scripture reveals scientific truths, but never uses sci- 
entific language ; if so, it would commit itself to variable 
ideas. While stating truths in nature, to which, of itself, 
science could never attain, it still adheres to that com- 
mon language, that is the same for all, and changes not.' 
_It thus pictures the genesis of the earth and all that it 
inhabit. Science may translate what it thus reveals into 
scientific language, but Scripture describes the events in 
the beginning, as they would have appeared to the senses. 
Hence, Scripture would not set forth a scientific eoncep- 
tion in words accommodated to the popular mind. This 
would be neither scientific, or scriptural, language. The 
Magi might have done this, not the Evangelist. 

Those who hold that the Star of the Magi was a con- 
junction of the planets, have to do away with the miracle 
of its guiding. This it is not possible todo. The words 
are, “Lo, the Star went before them, till it came and 
stood over where the Young Child was.” The wording 

‘See “* The Six Days of Creation,” by Dr. Tayler Lewis, 

ch. iil., on Phenomenal Language. 


of a legal document is not more precise ; nor can any one, 
by taking time and pains, frame any form of words, that 
would better express the Star’s guiding. 

The bold, ingenious theory, that what the Magi saw 
was but a conjunction of certain planets, being, then, 
contrary to Scripture, might here be dismissed; yet, 
the whole history of Kepler’s discovery, and of the dis- 
cussions that have arisen out of it, is so interesting a 
chapter, both of scientific and religious inquiry, that I 
give the results arrived at, in a recent investigation, by 
Rev. Charles. Pritchard, Hon. Secretary of the Royal 
Astronomical Society,’ made with the intent of testing 
the theory just considered. This confirms the fact, that 
there were three conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn in 
the year of Rome 747. “Similar results also have been 
obtained by Encke, and the December conjunction has 
been verified by the Astronomer Royal.? No celestial 
phenomena, therefore, of ancient date, are so certainly 
ascertained, as the conjunctions in question.” But “the 
planets, instead of seeming like one star, were, at no 
time, nearer than the very considerable distance of 


double the moon’s apparent diameter. He pictures, 

1 Smith’s Dict. of the Bible, Art., Star of the Wise Men. 

2 He also refers to Dr: Ideler’s calculation, as ‘* worked 
out with great care and no very great inaccuracy.” This 
gave the same year and the following days: May 20, October 
27, November 12. His are May 29, September 27, Decem- 
ber 5. In his later editions, Alford gives both, but seems 
to accredit the latter. i 

3 As mentioned before, in his first edition, Alford, misled, 
apparently, by some exaggeration or error of Dr. Ideler’s, 


clearly, the celestial phenomena of that year, —“a date 
assuredly not very distant from the time of our Sa- 
viour’s birth;” and then tries to determine “how far 
they fulfil, or fail to fulfil, the conditions required by the 
narrative in St. Matthew.” 

After the conjunction in the: month of May, the 
planets separated slowly “until the end of July, 
when, their motions becoming retrograde, they again 
came into conjunction, by the end of September. At 
that time, there can be no doubt that Jupiter would pre- 
sent to astronomers a magnificent spectacle. It was then 
at its most brilliant apparition, for it was at its nearest 
approach both to the sun and to the earth. Not far 
from it would be seen its duller and much less conspicu- 
ous companion, Saturn. This glorious spectacle con- 
tinued almost unaltered for several days, when the 
planets again slowly separated, then came to a halt; 
when, by reassuming a direct motion, Jupiter again 
approached to a conjunction, for the third time, with 
Saturn, just as the Magi may be supposed to have entered 
tl Holy City. And, to complete the fascination of the 
tale, about an hour and a half after sunset, the two 
planets might be seen from Jerusalem, hanging, as it 
were, in the meridian, and suspended over Bethlehem in 
the distance. These celestial phenomena, thus described, 

stated, that the planets seemed one star. This he has cor- 
rected; but, adhering to his theory, says, ‘‘ The conjunction 
of the two planets, complete or incomplete, would be that 
which would bear astrological significance ; not their looking 
like one star.” 


are, it will be seen, beyond the reach of question; and, 
at the first impression, they assuredly appear to fulfil 
the conditions of the Star of the Magi. 

But, even supposing the Magi did undertake the jour- 
ney, at the time in question, it seems improbable that. 
the conjunction of December can, on any reasonable 
grounds, be considered as fulfilling the conditions in 
Matthew ii. 9.. The circumstances, are as follows: 
On December 4, the sun set at Jerusalem at 5 P. M. 
Supposing the Magi to have then commenced their 
journey to Jerusalem, they would first. see Jupiter, and 
his dull, and somewhat distant, companion, one and a half 
hour distant from the meridian, in a south-east direction, 
and decidedly to the east of Bethlehem. By the time 
they came to Rachael’s tomb (see Robinson’s Biblical 
Researches, xi. 568), the planets would be due south of 
them, on the meridian, and no longer over the hill of 
Bethlehem (see the maps of Vandervelde and of Tobler) ; 
for that village (see Robinson, as above) bears from 
Rachael’s tomb, South 5° East + 8° declension = 
South, 13° East. The road then takes a turn to the 
East, and ascends the hill near to its western extremity ; 
the planets, would, therefore, be now on their right 
hand, and a little behind them: “the Star,” therefore, 
ceased altogether to go “before them,” as a guide. Ar- 
rived on the hill, and in the village, it became: physi- 
eally impossible for the Star to stand over any house 
whatever close to them, seeing that it was now visible 
far away beyond the hill, to the West, and far off in the 

heavens, at an altitude of 57°. As they advanced, the 


Star would, of necessity, recede; and under no circum- 
stances could it be said to stand “over” any house, 
unless at the distance of miles from the place where they 
were... A star, if vertical, would appear to stand 
over any house or object to which a spectator might 
chance to be near; but a star at an altitude of 57°, 
could appear to stand over no house or object in the 
immediate neighborhood of the observer. It is scarcely 
necessary to add, that, if the Magi had left the Jaffa 
gate before sunset, they would not have seen the planets 
at the outset; and if they had left Jerusalem later, 
“the Star” would have been a more useless guide than 
before. Thus, “the beautiful phantasm of Kepler and 
Ideler, which has fascinated so many writers, vanishes 
before the more perfect daylight of investigation.” 

Grateful for this minute and difficult investigation, I 
almost distrust its accuracy, from the carelessness of its 
allusion to Kepler. The phantasy, that the Star of the 
Magi was a conjunction of planets, may “vanish before 
the more perfect daylight of investigation,” but it never 
deluded him. The celestial foretokenings —as they 
seemed to Kepler — in the year 747, he thought of, as 
continuing into the year 748, and as reaching the cul- 
mination of their promise only when the three planets 
met together. To him, that golden circle of auspicious 
fire was but the herald of the New Star — even as John 
was but the herald of Christ. It was not that Light, 
but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 

Since the New Star was the immediate cause that 
moved the Magi to undertake their Pilgrimage, the con- 


iunctions of the planets, in 747 and 748, may seem to be 
so disjoined from it, as in no way to aid ‘in explaining 
it. Not so, however. As history before, so science 
now, enables us to answer difficult questions that have 
been pressed against the narrative. Strauss demands, 
How could the Magi, from a Star, have known the birth 
of the Ming of the Jews ? — a thing, he would, perchance, 
have said credible, only in credulous ages, with deluded 
votaries of exploded art. Once, it would have sufficed 
to have said, The Lord may have told them. It would 
now and ever suffice, were it not that there is no inti- 
mation of this in their inspired history ; and had it been 
the fact, the Magi would have been quick to- declare, 
the Evangelist to record it. It is, therefore, to be sup- 
posed they were led to their conclusion, as men are 
usually guided to truth, not, indeed, without divine 
grace, yet, in the course of events. The grace of God 
is not thus lessened, and the faith of man is exalted. 

A course of preceding events, such as might have led 
the Wise Men to Jerusalem, may be pointed out, by con- 
necting together circumstances that are, all of them, 
either credible or certain. They had faith in ancient tra- 
ditions. This is the inner key to the secret of their 
Pilgrimage ; which is explained on the supposition that 
their own traditions, the belief, at that time, of the near 
appearing of some Great Person in Judea, their astro- 
logical notions, and the planetary signs, were the 
antecedent, related causes of that faith in the significance 
of the New Star which did send them to Jerusalem. 

The expectant wonder of Kepler, and of all the as- 


trologers of his time, as they watched the planetary 
signs at the close of the year 1603, and in the following 
spring, well illustrates the feelings with which we may 
suppose those ancient astrologers, on the night of the 
29th of May, in the year of Rome 747, to have wit- 
nessed, in the cloudless sky of the East, the greeting of 
the planets Jupiter and Saturn. With mingling feelings 
of human curiosity and religious wonder, these devout 
astrologers gaze on this planetary omen, believed by 
them to be a sign for Judea. The thought, that this 
portent might foretell that the birth of its long-expected 
King was, at least, nigh, takes quick possession of their 
souls, as they inquire within themselves, What can, 
what does this mean? What great thing has come, or is 
about to come, to pass in the land of Judea? In the 
month of September, this marvel renewed, kindles their . 
hearts to yet greater earnestness of inquiring hope. And, 
when, in December, the mystic sign, for the third -time, 
is repeated, and when, in the following spring, these 
celestial foretokenings reach the fulness of the perfect 
number of four, and yet another planet joins in this 
greeting and language of the spheres, their faith rises 
near to the height of certainty ; and when, at last, the 
New Star appears, these unsleeping watchers of the 
prophesying heavens instantly connect all these con- 
tinuous signs and wonders in the firmament, and feel, 
with an assurance to which an audible voice from the 
skies would have added not, that the Star, so gloriously 
marshalled by attesting planets to its place on high, is, 
indeed, the long-predicted Star of the King of the Jews, 


and that He is born. The apparition of His Star is 
to them what St. Augustine calls it— lingua celi — 
a word from heaven. 

An explanation, then, of their Pilgrimage is given; 
an explanation that consists of facts. Thus, it is a fact 
that there was an oracle that, in ancient times, was un- 
derstood to foretell that the Birth of One, afterwards 
known as the Messiah, would be announced by a star: 
it is a fact that this oracle was known to Daniel; that 
the Time of the Messiah was revealed to him; that he 
had great authority with the Magi; that his prevision 
of the Messiah was in harmony with their belief, that 
prophets would be sent on earth by Ormazd. It is a 
fact, that, at the time of their Pilgrimage, there was a 
wide-spread expectation that this oracle and this pro- 
phecy were about to be fulfiled; it is a fact, that, about 
that time, there were signs in the planets, astrologically 
in harmony with that belief; and it is also a fact, that, 
about that time, a New Star did appear. 

Yet, from the very nature of the case, an explanation 
of a very extraordinary event, — and such the Pilgrimage 
of the Magi was, —an explanation reaching to causes 
lying far back, where history is imperfect, must, in a 
measure, be conjectural ; and it would not be reasonable 
to hold, for a certainty, that, between the Magian Pil- 
grimage and each and all of the facts of which this ex- 
planation consists, there was the direct relation of effect 
and cause. As to some of them, that relation is a 
matter of conjecture only ; but, still, it is by no means 
such to all of them. As to some of them —the 


expectation among the Jews, for instance — there is 
only a strong probability of this relation; but, as to 
others, there is direct evidence of it. Thus, there is 
evidence in the words of the Magi, that _Daniel’s pro- 
phecy, and_the oracle_of the Star, were among the 
causes of their Pilgrimage. And it should be added, that, 
even if they knew nothing of- the Hebrew expectation in 
their time, they might have arrived at the same feeling, 
from the time-data in that prophecy. ‘There is no direct. 
evidence that the conjunctions of the planets were ob- 
served by them; yet they were astrologers, and those 
celestial phenomena were so marked and repeated, that the 
intrinsic probability of this is scarcely less than certainty. 

Undoubtedly this explanation does not—Jit is not 
possible that it should — include some, perchance many, 
peculiar, indispensable, providential occurrences in the 
lives of these Pilgrims, or in the tinies before them, 
that directly and powerfully tended towards this mem- 
orable Pilgrimage. ‘These will be known only in 
the time of the resurrection of the just, when all 
the wonders of God’s grace and man’s fidelity shall 
stand revealed. But, on the other hand, there is 
such fulness in this explanation, that some parts of it 
might be varied, and yet detract little from its coherence, 
or omitted, and detract little from its validity. Wher- 
ever there is a fact to be explained, — and the Pilgrimage 
of Magi to Jerusalem is a fact, —- an explanation of it, 
that is clear and perfect, has in itself some evidence of 
correctness. The explanation, then, given of this Pil- 
grimage, being made up of facts, and the relations 



between it and them being either matters of direct 
~ evidence or of strong probability, is such as, in a 
purely historical inquiry, involving no religious ques- 
tions, and provoking no hostile feelings and prejudices, 
would be accepted as so consistent, probable, and 
complete, as to be beyond reasonabie doubt; and an 
explanation might fall short of this, and yet be a 
sufficient answer to all who, on historic grounds, have 
decried this Pilgrimage to Jerusalem as incredible. 

The latter part of this explanation, alone, would suf- 
fice for this, so far as they are offended at what they 
term the astrological cause of the Pilgrimage — that is, 
the appearing of a Star in the Year of our Lord’s Birth. 
The New Star of the Annus Domini is witnessed to by 
astronomers of yesterday, as the New Star of 1604 is 
witnessed to by Kepler and other astronomers of to-day. 
These late astronomers also attest, that, near the 
time of our Lord’s Birth, there were four conjunctions 
of planets, believed by astrologers to be significant of 
great events in Judea. This scientific fact, taken in © 
connection with the other, is a suffieient answer to 
those who, for the reason assigned, have decried this 
Pilgrimage as a thing incredible; is sufficient to ex- 
plain what Infidelity has challenged the Church to tell __ 

how, from a Star, the Magi Birth-of the 
King of the Jews. 

-~—This very challenge shows that lack of imagination 
characteristic of all schools of infidelity, under whatever 
name disguised. Of learning, in the sense of mere 
heaps of facts, some of them have more than they know 


how to use; but not in the sense of having power to dis< 
cern the spiritual laws expressed, or intimated, in facts. 
No great learning, even in the lowest sense of the word, 
was required in professed critics, to know that the as- 
trological map of the heavens corresponded with the 
map of the earth; and it should not have been difficult 
for them to have made the easy supposition, that the 
new Star shone in what was astrologically held to be the 
Judean quarter of the sky, and there, from its position 
or time with respect to the planets, indicated, according 
to the notions of the art, some great event; and that, 
through the time-data given by the prophet Daniel, or 
through the wide-spread belief of the time, the Magi 
readily interpreted this Judean sign to mean the Coming 
of some mysterious Person in that country. The most 
recondite and questionable thing in this supposition, 
sixteen centuries subsequent to the event, was discovered, 
by a devout astronomer, to have been the fact. 

That God ordained Kepler should discover this, is 
very remarkable; for, if ever, in these latter days, 
there has been a Magian born, it was Kepler.  Dili- 
gently to search in nature for intimations of God was 
the characteristic of the Magi; and this was the breath 
of life to him, who, through his intuition of relation and 
harmony pervading all space and time, through his 
reverential trust in God’s word, and through his study 
of the records of the skies, found the lost fact completing 
the series of facts that elucidate and confirm the honor- 
able history of his brethren. Thus, as inspired sages 
wrought more harmoniously together than they were 


aware, so the sages who walk with the Lord m the 
realm of nature are unconsciously harmonious in the 
results of their divinely-guided lives. 

Throughout these inquiries, I have folded the wing 
of the imagination, and chosen to dwell in the sober 
precincts of the logical reason; to dream no dreams, 
though, hereafter, I might wake to find them true; that, 
on every page, J might command a calm, intelligent 
‘assent ; yet, here, I cannot but point out to the imagi- 
nation a correspondence that would have charmed the 
the soul of Kepler. In the astronomical facts redis- 
covered by him, when viewed in their relation to the 
Pilgrimage of the Magi, there is that beautiful sym- 
bolism that runs through all the ways of grace, and is 
the sacred poetry both of nature and of life. The rays 
of the three planets, near, yet distinct, correspond to 
the light of nature, of primitive religion, and of Hebraic 
revelation, blending their influences in the souls of the 
Wise; and the new Star corresponds to the Greater 

Up to the moment when the Star of the Lord shone 
in the heavens, there seems, in the antecedent events 
related to the Coming of the Wise Men, nothing, in the 
strict sense divine, save what was due to the primeval 
religion, and to the oracles. in the sacred books of the 
Hebrews; and a similar origin of the wide-spread belief 
of the Orient, that, at that time, a Ruler would go forth 
from Judea, did not secure, for that belief, d¢rect men- 
tion on the sacred page. All that prepared the Magi 
to recognize the Star was bound together by a thread 


of divine weaving; but, in it, there was no immediate 
supernatural intervention. It is not strange, then, that 
St. Matthew, even if he knew of them, did not record 
the planetary conjunctions. They were facts of nature, 
left to be made known to the Church, when most needful 
to it, by one solemnly elected of God to publish the 
laws and harmonies of the material universe: that, | 
coeval with the Advent of the Lord of the Heavens to 
the earth, a new Star shone, heralding this through all 
the worlds, and dating it through all time; that when 
He by Whom all things were made, and without 
Whom, there was not anything, lay in the manger 
in Bethlehem, the apparent sign of the glory He 
had before He made the worlds was seen in the 
Heavens — this, the inspired Evangelist records alike 
for itself, and for the miracle of its Guiding to its Lord, 
in virtue of both of which it holds high place on the 
eternal page. 

Not, then, of those planetary phenomena that Kepler 
rediscovered, but of a new Star, the Magi speak, when 
they say, they beheld the Star of the King. This har- 
monizes, exactly and decisively, with their Coming. 
Their Pilgrimage might have followed upon the con- 
junction of the planets; yet the faith that braved the 
toils and dangers of their long road is so high-toned, 
that it requires that decisive intimation. This accom- 
plished what all else prepared for. It sent them to 
Jerusalem. History and science elucidate the sublime 
lesson of the power, the wisdom, and the reward of Faith 
in the Coming of the Wise Men to the Lord; yet . 


the Gospel alone gives, what the records of history 
and the researches of science, though tending that way, 
lack, the full explanation, on its human side, of 
that abounding and unshaken confidence with which 
these Magi proclaimed, in astonished, affrighted, unbe- 
lieving Jerusalem, the Birth of its King. 



Tuer Story of the Wise Men is so fraught with wis- 
dom above the thoughts of men, is so suited to wants 
and wishes of the soul, that, were it only a tradition, 
the Christian would feel, and wisely feel, that it must 
be true. Yet moral, historical, and scientific arguments 
have been arrayed against it. 

The scientific, attempt to oppose to it, especially to 
what is said of the Star’s Guiding, the authority of the 
science, fondly and admiringly thought most exact and 
complete ; until, a little time ago, the storm of meteors 
disturbed the calm of the heavens, and the dream of 
the perfection of Astronomy. 

The historical, bear against an event, referred to by 
no Evangelist or Apostle, save St. Matthew, and with 
not a line in the writings of its century, as they now 
exist, that alludes to it. Without formally so doing, L 
have answered the greater historical arguments against 
the narrative; and, in another book —on the religious 
Truth it reveals —I hope so to answer the astronomical, 
as to illustrate the fact, that, so far from the attempt to 
make: any Scripture seem more credible, by arbitrarily 
lessening the supernatural element in it, ever succeeding, 


the more fearlessly that is set forth in its real grandeur, 
the more it has power over the reason. 

The moral argument against the narrative is this: 
the outshining of a new Star at the Birth of Jesus, the 
coincidence of its appearing with the expectation awak- 
ened by prophecy, and the Star’s Guiding believers in 
starry influences, countenanced and strengthened the 
pretended Art of Astrology, which was all delusion and 

The ready horror at everything that even seems to 
accredit superstitious or unscientific notions, and, so, 
might turn us back towards the Dark Ages, is such, 
that it may be well to give a thought to the extent of 
this alleged strengthening of Astrology. For ages 
before, and after, St. Matthew’s Gospel was written, 
belief in Astrology was so entire, that it could have 
received no strength from it. If ever it gave it any, 
it was at the very time when Astrology fell into dis- 
credit, because that, through the teachings of Chris- 
tianity, man began to attain to humility in the study of 
nature. If the signs and wonders revealed, as to the 
Star of the Lord, then made an impression somewhat 
favorable to Astrology, this was of small account, as 
Christianity was to put an end to it. The prevailing 
magic was somewhat confirmed by the wonders wrought 
by the Apostles; the truths they preached were followed 
by perversions that, without those truths, had never 
been; Christianity gave, for the instant, some new — 
strength to superstition; but, what argument against it 
are these errors, when the fulness of its light was to dis- 


pel them forever? Shall the mistakes consequent upon 
the manifestation of his glory, be charged against the 
Lord? or shall His works of majesty and grace be 
barred by human perversions of them? He set the 
stars in the firmament, with their changes and seasons — 
the Art of Astrology followed: He set his own Star in 
the firmament, and some confirmation of the Art fol- 
lowed. For such things as these, was He to stay his 
hand in Heaven? 

But the real strength of the argument against the 
facts, that the Lord used the astral lore of the Magi as 
a medium of communication with them, and led them 
in ways familiar to their thoughts as astrologers, lies 
not in the harm that followed these things, be that more, 
or less, or none, but in the idea that they were wrong. 
This we meet, in part, by being more just to the astrol- 
ogy of the Magi, than when we seemed to concede it 
was all error and mischief. The germ of oldest science 
was the divination of a preéstablished resemblance or 
harmony between the spiritual and material worlds— the 
grand thought, that all the creation of the one God must 
be one whole. From this, as from the idea of one God, 
out of which sprung the idea of one universe, the soul 
rapidly fell off into low notions of the creation, and of 
the Creator; but each left its uneffaceable traces on the 
science and on the religion of the earliest ages. As- 
trology was one form of the aspiration to verify the 
oldest, the most religious, of scientific ideas. It held 
that there is a correspondence and a sympathy between 
the material and the spiritual worlds, and, hence, it 


looked for coincidences between the phenomena in the 
skies, and the fates of men. The thought is grandly 
true; but cannot be applied with the minuteness with 
which astrology claimed to apply it, because the limited 
faculties of man cannot grasp all those harmonies that 
make all spirits and all worlds one sentient whole. 

Fools mock at the contrasted hope and failure of the 
astrologer; but high aims, though seldom eatirely suc- 
cessful, are as seldom entirely fruitless. All that man 
accomplishes springs from them. Without the vain 
aspirations of the youth, would never be achieved the 
little of the man, that forms so humble a contrast to the 
visions of the boy; and what is true of the individual 
is true of the race. ; 

Astrology was not for naught. As Chemistry of 
Alchemy, so Astronomy was born of Astrology. As- 
trology was not useless. It is something, that it proved 
that what it aimed at was impossible, so that, with 
humbler hope, man might seek the attainable. Next to 
him who shows that the difficult is possible, is’ he who 
shows that it is impossible. Each serves the Lord: 
the one, by opening a path where none seemed to be; 
the other, by closing up the road of delusion. 

The first chemical experiments were made by Al- 
chemists ; the first maps of the heavens, by Astrologers. 
The art of Astrology, like every human art and every 
human science, was blended truth and error; and if 
the Lord could not have conversed with Astrologers, 
then he cannot converse with men of science at all, in 
and through their pursuits; and there are no limits to 


the exclusion of the Spirit of God from the soul of man 
that logically follows ; for all human conceptions, alike 
of things material and of things spiritual, have in them 
some quality of error. If the Lord cannot commune 
with souls in which vain aspirations are, and thoughts 
that err, he cannot commune with man. It were better 
to adore, than to cavil at the self-devotion of his Spirit, - 
who, unrepelled, even by guilt, mercifully follows men, 
as they wander away from Him, down into the drear 
wastes of error and sin. 

The Wise Men were not only different from those 
self-styled Magians who disgraced the honor of the 
name, but were the few, in whom whatever was most 
spiritual in their order found its most perfect expression. 
The errors of the Zoroastrian religion, and the darker 
aspects of their order, have as little to do with our con- 
ception of these men, as “the vain traditions” of the 
Jews, or the cruelty of the Pharisees, with our concep- 
tion of the believing souls in Jerusalem. These were 
the elect few of the Jews; those, of the Magi. 

Their religion fostered, in the more spiritual of the 
Magi, a reverential, believing spirit, that looked, in 
nature and in life, for the presence and purpose of God. 
In virtue of this God-seeking spirit, the Wise Men, as 
reverently they watched the stars in,their courses, made 
the sublimest discovery in the heavens ever made by 
man. Who will restore to Astronomy this lost glory? 
When will the Magian be born, who, amid the glitter- 
ing hosts on high, will point out, again, the Star of 
Bethlehem ? 


These Magians very truthfully conceived that the God 
of Heaven was waging real war with sin, and that his 
triumph over Ahriman would be wrought out, not 
through the foolishness of culture, philosophy, or science, 
but by prophets sent from God, of whom the last, 
mighty to save, as aman, would conquer the Evil One. 
In spiritual souls, this truth was persuasive to a living 
faith in God, that waited and watched for His redemp- 
tion. The God of Heaven honored this spirit in the 
Wise Men. ‘These Magians watched, without ceasing, 
in the material and spiritual worlds, for the Divine; 
and it was divinely appropriate that they should be 
led to find Him, in whom met Heaven and Earth, Hu- 
manity and Divinity. 

All the supernatural in the Story of the Wise Men is 
self-proved: the narrative of their presence with the 
Lord is self-authenticating throughout, when the natural, 
in their history, is understood, For the spirit of these 
men having been such as it was, the Lord must have 
brought them as near to himself as it was then possible 
for them to come, and in ways fitted to their religiously 
scientific spirit. 

Wise through faith beyond their knowledge, their 
hearts were so in sympathy with the purpose of God to 
“send his own Son into the world, not to condemn the 
world, but that, through Him, the world might be 
saved,” that they believed in a sacred promise of a Re- 
deemer to come; and when these astronomers locked 
unto the heavens, to behold there the predicted sign of 
His coming on the earth, the Lord set His bright and 



morning Star before them; and when, through Faith, 
they came to His own city, found there no knowledge 
of the discovery they made afar off, went out from 
thence, waited on by no Pharisee, no scribe, no priest, 
strangers in the Holy Land, seeking, unaided of men, 
its Lord, the rays of His Star led them, until the attest- 
ing splendor stood over where the Lord lay. - Science 
has no story like this, of recognition from the Eternal 
mind! Religion, few more touching words than these 
of God’s kindness to men in darkness, seeking for the 
Light ; in the night of heathenism, for the Star of Jacob ! 

Great their Faith ; great its reward! The roll of the 
men of old time who obtained a good report through 
Faith is written in the Epistle to the Hebrews; the 
roll of honor of the new time opens with the Wise Men. 
They preach forever, that to Faith wisdom is given. 
By Faith they crossed plains, deserts, mountains, and 
journeyed far to the Holy City. The capital knew not 
its King. In little Bethlehem they found only a maiden 
mother tending an infant; yet, with undaunted Faith, 
“when they saw the Young Child and His mother, 
they fell down and worshipped Him ;” and, setting forth 
truths greater than they knew, they offered, to the Son 
of Man and Son of God, myrrh, hinting at the resur- 
rection of the dead; the royal gold; and frankincense 
that breathes of prayer, —“ myrrh to a mortal, gold to 
a king, frankincense to God.” ! 

* This mystic significance of the gifts is marked by all the 
earlier Christians who refer to them. The learned Arch- 


The Medieval Age, with passion, cried, these men 
were Kings! Let us catch the thought, roll on the 
-ery. Indeed, they were Kings — of God anointed ! — 

Sovereigns in the realm of truth ! : 

On the bank of the Rhine the zeal of toiling centu- 
ries strove to build, to their praise, the noblest fabric of 
medizval art; its skyward-pointing spires are yet rising 
higher and higher toward the heavens; and so the 
honor that should be given them among men is yet an 
unfinished thing. 

‘bishop Trench says, ‘‘ The earliest writer, I believe, who 
makes this application, at least of those who have come 
down to us, is Ireneus.” — Star of the Wise Men. 




Tue words of St. Matthew have here been inter- 
preted in the clear light of the idea that they were 
selected with a thoughtfulness of wisdom. This idea is 
not altogether in harmony with the notion that the 
Gospels are rude chronicles, whose power is manifestly 
divine, because of their humility of style. But it isin © 
harmony with the fact. All’Scripture shows that inspi- 
ration was given to fitting recipients; and that this 
fitness depended on mental, no less certainly than on 

moral, endowments; on qualities of the head, as surely 
“as on those of the heart. 

St. Matthew has not the precision of a diffuse style, — 
if, indeed, such a style ever is precise, — but of a style 
that, saying little, means much; where every line and 
word can be justified; and where precision ever is, 
though, to the superficial eye, it may not seem to. be 
there. Thus, by their title, he exactly describes those 
who came to Jerusalem, and his geographical phrases 
are definite. 

But, it will be said, this finds too much in his words ; 
all versions of the Gospel overlook his distinction be- 
tween the East and the Far. East; and the general 


comment says, these terms signify only that the Wise 
Men came from one of the four winds. ‘This is true; 
and because it is so, there is some reason to have charity 
for those who, in consequence of this failure in inter- 
pretation, pronounce their history a fable; and the more 
reason, as this low interpretation of the Evangelist’s 
words, at the beginning, running through the narrative, 
debases it into an incongruous legend, where the Magi 
are dishonored into fortune-tellers, and the Star of the 
Lord into a Jack-o’-lantern. 

But, even with this low notion as to St. Matthew’s 
words, our conclusions can be maintained. Thus far 
St. Matthew has been vindicated, as any other historian 
might have been; but the erroneous notions as to the 
force of some of his words require that the true inter- 
pretation of them should be strengthened by conclusions 
drawn from the fact, that St. Matthew was not a his- 
torian merely, but also an Evangelist ; from the fact, 
that the inspired writers sometimes uttered truths, the 
significance and the relations of which they knew but in 
part, yet whose expression, having in it a divine element 
of ‘perfection, has, in time, conveyed to the Church 
more full and precise ideas than to them. 

When, to the high historic qualities of the Evangelists, 
there was superadded the enlightening, restraining, and 
guiding of the Spirit of all Wisdom, there was a Gos- 
pel, fourfold in form, yet one in spirit ; reproducing a 
Life so mysterious, that, to reproduce it in such per- 
fection, surpassed the human genius. To believe this, is 
no disparagement of their natural gifts; and their genius 


should not be depreciated to honor their inspiration. 
This honors neither. Those who appreciate them as 
historians will not doubt their inspiration. 

All that sense and genius could, they gave their gos- 
pels. Each imparted to his something of his own soul. 
Beyond this, Divine Wisdom gave to each of the gos- 
pels, and to the Gospel as a whole, what human genius 
was not competent to give —a fulness and _ precision 
of wisdom in every line and word. It watched over 
thoughts, words, images; so adjusting the relations 
of these, that Scripture is one Scripture. It made it 
vital with one life, breathing through all its forms, 
whether history, or biography, or ‘precept, or doctrine ; 
whether proverb, or parable, or song, or prophecy, 
or epistle. Not nicer the adjustments of the human 
frame, not more wonderful the unity of the world, than 
the unity of this creation. Hence, in its study, adjust- 
ment, relation, harmony should be looked for, as in the 
study of nature. As there, one thing throws light upon 
another; as there, analogy, proportion, or resemblance 
is the great instrument of discovery, whose power is 
inexhaustible, whose results are so certain, — so it is in 
the Scriptures: in neither is mechanical cohesion; in 
each is the unity of Life, and from the same Life- 
giving Word. 

As correspondences in. nature are sought for with 
wide observation and the microscopic eye, so they should 
be sought for in Scripture; and, as there is no doubt 
of their reality when once they are seen in nature, how- 

ever minute or far-severed in space or time, so should 


there be higher conviction, even, were it possible, of 
the reality of the like in this higher world. ‘All Scrip- 
ture, then, —especially that of the Evangelists, its 
heart, whence flows the blood, in which is the life, and 
whither it reflows,— all Scripture, and, most of all, 
that which reproduces the Life of the Lord, is ever to 
be studied with inquiry into its relations to all other 

f- Something of the undoubting faith in analogy, resem- 
blance, harmony, proportion, and law, that guides 
science, has quickened the Church in its researches in 
the world of. Scripture, as to doctrine; but less so, as to 
that wonderful apparatus of personal feelings and inci- 
dents, and of great national events of biography and 
history, through which and in which the doctrines are, 
in a great measure, reyealed and taught. The historical 
element is the chief element, so far as form goes, in the 
Scriptures ; and there should be the same faith in the 
precision of its teaching, and the perfection of its rela- 

, tions, that there is in those of purely didactic Scripture. 

In all Scripture there is a divine element of certainty ; 
and, for the full understanding of Scripture, it is neces- 
sary to compare one part of it with another, in a way 
that has no parallel in human writings. Hence, in 
Scripture, words and phrases may have an exactness, a 
depth or breadth of meaning, and relations to other 
Scripture, even beyond what they had in the thoughts 
of the writer. The meaning of the words cannot be 
changed ; but the conception of the writer may receive 
greater precision, greater depth or breadth of signifi. 

‘ ; 

cance, while it remains essentially the same; as, in 
science, a law may have greater exactness, wider com- 
pass, and suggest to one mind more relations than to 
another, and yet be expressed in the same words. The 
language of Scripture is a fountain, not a reservoir. 

St. Matthew wrote his gospel with such accuracy as 
his best efforts could secure; and, beyond this, with a 
wisdom that gave to it perfection, alike in itself, and in 
its relations to other Scripture. If, then, his language 
has guided us to conclusions, the only objection to which 
seems to be that they are too exact, and, at the same 
time, too far-reaching, to be gathered from what many 
take to be very indefinite words, these things may be 
referred to his inspiration, as well as to his genius; his 
inspiration authorizing the giving to terms in his gospel, 
as part of the whole of Scripture, a precision and a rich- 
néss of meaning not to be given to independent words. 

Thus, the phrases, the East and the Far East, if 
indefinite in themselves, may “become definite, through 
their use in more ancient Scripture, for Babylonia and 
Persia. His knowledge of the scriptural relations of 
what he recorded must have been imperfect. The Lord 
himself, alone, knoweth them all. No perfect knowl- 
edge of them can be predicated, even of the Evangelist. 
The workmanship was divine, the workman was human. 
‘But to overlook relations is not to deny them; and, if 
he did not know all the relations of what he recorded of 
the Wise Men to other Scripture, it does not prove that 
they did not exist. 

I would not be misunderstood, as if applying this to 


the words before considered. I think it is clear, beyond 
reasonable doubt, that his own insight into the relations 
of what he was narrating may have guided, and did 
guide him to them; that he chose a popular phrase — 
“from the Far East ”— to describe whence the Pilgrims 
were, not only because it was such, but also because 
its use in the Old Testament made it so peculiarly sig- 
nificant in pointing out those relations, that he would . 
have been justified in this, had it not been in popular 
use at all; and also that he added it to the title Magi, 
to describe them beyond all mistake, because, in the 
Septuagint, persons so called had been located in Baby- 
lonia, that is, in ‘‘the East;” and again, that there 
were other relations he did not point out in terms, — 
for instance, that between the Oracle of Balaam and the 
Coming of the Magi, intimated in their own words, — 
because he thought it needless; and it should be need- 
less. The history of Balaam is one leaf, the history 
of the Wise Men is another, from the great, marvel- 
lous book of God alone — the true history of the 
world’s religion, ef which so little is, or can be, known 
by man; and no one, who has any idea of the unity of . 
Scripture, will doubt the relation between these two 
leaves of the unrevealed history of the Gentiles, 
transcribed into the revealed history of the Son of 
God. The Story of Balaam and of the Wise Men are 
correlative ; they illustrate the whole Gentile religion, 
revealing that, everywhere, the Spirit strove with men, 
showing the triumph of grace resisted or obeyed, and 
the contrast of the results of each in the fates of men. 


Correspondences like these are so characteristic of 
the Bible, that he who does not understand something 
of them, does not understand the Bible at all. By 
itself, each might seem a thing of chance; yet the many 
can have come only from uniform design. Each may 
be a thread so fine as scarcely to be seen; the many 
form massive cords, holding the whole of the sacred 
volume firmly together. Correspondences like these, 
in a measure, produce that sense of unity often so 
deeply felt, rather than clearly seen, in the Bible. It is 
a unity, in a multitude of incidents, described by men 
to whom only a part thereof was known ; unity in truths 
hinted at by one, partially disclosed by another, revealed 
by a third, or made clear in the course of events. It is 
a unity as to truths —some deeper than the intuitions 
of man, others beyond his experience ; a unity in writers 
thousands of years apart, writing in different countries, 
and in different languages; a unity that can be ex- 
plained only by the fact that God was with them. 

In the fact that St. Matthew’s narrative is a divine 
record of events especially within a divine economy, 
there is, also, an independent verification of the conclu- 
sion drawn from it as history — that the Pilgrims to 
Bethlehem were Persians. If the term that points this 
out be thought somewhat indecisive, it becomes decisive 
through the consideration, that what the words suggest, 
at least, as possible, is required by the harmonies of the 
kingdom of grace; inspiration being supposed, in this, 
as in so many places, to have guided the writer to a 
phrase, that was to become more definite to the Church 
than to him. 


For there is a kingdom of grace, having its harmonies, 
even*as the kingdom of nature hath. To those who 
have no hearts to feel them, they are as if they were not. 
Their notions as to this kingdom are as blank as those 
of a blind man as to the kingdom of Light. A man 
without eyes might grope about, with a tape-measure, 
among the houses in Jerusalem, and his measurements 
somewhat avail; of such value are the researches of 
men like Strauss in the spiritual Jerusalem. As to 
some things of an unspiritual kind, their fingers may 
avail something; but the soul-inspiring harmonies of 
the kingdom of grace, such cannot know. Can men, 
born deaf, know the symphonies of Beethoven? Such 
critics of harmonies, poring over the printed notes of 
“The Creation,” and measuring, with scale and dividers, 
here and there, on the silent page, may detect typo- 
graphical errors, make some shrewd and more absurd 
remarks on the number, arrangement, and proportion 
of the dots, be witty and wise over those who see what 
they cannot see, feel what they cannot feel, in the mys- 
terious scroll; but, though the mighty master of the 
organ unroll, in volumes of majestic sound, the music 
expressed in those mystic characters, all is a blank to 
them, save what they glean from the mute symbols of 
a melody they have no faculty to hear. Our knowledge 
is not to be called in question, because darkened souls, 
like Renan’s, know it not. A world of sight and sound 
is not less sure, because such men have no hearing and 
no sight. The spiritual world, with its truths and har- 
monies, is none the less a world, because they 


are dead. Its truths and harmonies are the only 
realities. . 

The harmonies of the kingdom of the Lord require 
that the witnesses of his grace to all nations should have 
come from the nation that had profited most by his 
grace. The Lord honors those worthy of honor; and 
the honor of witnessing first of the nations to his Coming 
on the Earth could have been won only by the most 
deserving of the nations of old. That this was the Per- 
sian, is known from Scripture. With this, all else that 
is known of them accords. Viewing it in the light of 
human passions, their preéminence might be denied: 
it might be said, the state of the Great King was 
less than that of Augustus; the glory of Cyrus is pale 
before that of Alexander; the philosophy of the Greeks 
outvies that of the Magi; the beauty of Grecian art 
makes comparison with it idle. But the worth of a 
people is not to be determined by splendor of palaces, 
though the earth has known of regal state nothing more 
sublime than the court of the Great King; nor by 
armies, though the Persian swept “from India to Ethio- 
pia.” It is the religious element in the national char- 
acter, whose presence in one people, more than in an- 
other, makes that people more in favor with God, and 
should make them higher in honor with man. The 
Athenians worshipped the cunning work of the mortal 
hand of Phidias; the Romans, a deified Emperor; Per- 
sia, the God of Heaven; and the God of Heaven ap- 
pointed the Persian, who built no altars to the starry 
hosts, no temple to gods of gold or stone, to build for 


Him his own house in Jerusalem. When, therefore, 
his Evangelist describes the Witnesses of the Nations to 
the Advent of the Lord of the Nations by a term that 
is the distinctive title of the Sacred Order of the Per- 
sians, though sometimes used in another sense, it is not 
to be doubted that the Pilgrims, thus divinely described, 
were Persians, since, thus, there is found, in their Wit- 
ness to the Lord, the perfection belonging to the har- 
monies of the Kingdom of Grace. 

The fact, that the Persians rejected Christ, might 
lead us to doubt whether the Wise Men were Persians, 
were it not for the more strange and mournful fact, that 
the most faithful and the most favored of the nations, 
the chosen and peculiar people, rejected the Master, in 
Person. Each has been severely punished. But the 
finger of the Lord traced for the Persians the bounds of 
their habitation. He has preserved their race; and, in 
spite of long centuries of demoralization, they are, to- 
day, the finest people of Asia. 

Of the Shemitic family of nations, only the Hebrews 
of old, of the Aryan family, only the Persian, can be 
said to have kept the faith. The Persians restored the 
Hebrews to their own country; and, in the fulness of 
time, Hebrew Apostles, going out from thence, taught 
the truth anew to the Aryan nations, who then received 
again the priceless inheritance they had wasted in riotous 
living, and more than they had before. The Jew and 
the Persian —let him that thinketh he standeth take 
heed lest he fall—rejected the Word made flesh, who 
- js the brightness of the Father’s glory, and the express 



image of his Person; yet the Jew and the Persian abide 
the time, when the nations that are now, in their stead, 
the worshippers of God, —for no man cometh to the 
Father but by the Son, — shall return to them all they 
received from them, and more. ‘The set time cometh 
when the great cyele of the mercy of God to these 
nations will be rounded into its predicted fulness of 
completion. The set time cometh when Jerusalem shall 
no longer be trodden down of the Gentiles, and when 

the Persians will follow their Wise Men of -old. 



THis explanation of the Pilgrimage to Jerusalem 
has, here and there, “something of the manner of a 
defence of the evangelical narrative. It has been con- 
strained to this by the tone of faith within the Church, 
lowered by the too prevailing unbelief of the world — 
the reflex of an effect on the world produced by some 
lack of fulness of faith within the Church itself, as cold- 
ness in the extremities of the body is caused by feeble 
pulsations of the heart, and then this coldness reacts 
on the heart. 

With some, the guarded movement of such argument 
may chill the glow of feeling; with some, the first 
knowledge of a doubt may be given in the answer to it: 
yet something of this manner seems to be required by 
the peculiarities of an age whose spirit summons before 
it all times, all institutions, all theories of morals, of 
society, of government, of art—all science and all 
creeds; and, with somewhat of keener intuition and a 
larger experience than former ages, would weigh all 
‘that has been, and is, and is to be, in its scanty and ill- 
adjusted balance. To call it an age of unbelief is rather. 
extreme; but it is not an age of faith, though abounding 

SUMMARY. . mA | 187 

in credulity. It is an age of inquiry, when “ many run 
to and fro, and knowledge is increased.” 

In the presence of its restless propensity to search 
into everything, the Church, for her own sake, and for 
that of the world, may well mark the deep foundations 
of her walls, and tell her battlements; she may well 
survey, in accordance with the canons of modern his- 
torical criticism, as by her adapted to her own field, 
her treasures of history ; she may well strive to commend 
her sacred records, and all that in them is, to her own 
critical reason; with greater zeal than ever before, may 
well endeavor to clear up the obscure, to harmonize 
seeming contradictions, and to confirm the truth of the 
Scriptures, in ways that the spiritual wants of other 
times did not so urgently require. 

It is well the infidel should see that the faith of the 
Church is as intelligent as it is to him mysterious. To 
let him see less than this, is to give him over to unbe- 
lief. But the heart determines the intellect. Truth 
not felt by the heart cannot be known as truth by the 
mind. Except a man be born again, he cannot see the 
kingdom of God. The most, then, that can be done, 
is to strengthen in the Church her own perceptions of 
her own truths, that from her there may be more and 
more breathed into the world a feeling, that there is a 
known world above its knowing; that even as one born 
blind longs to see the blue heavens on high, and the firm 

earth, he is convinced are, but beholds not, so man may 
yearn for a heart that may see God. 

Historical evidence cannot exorcise the demon of un- 


belief. Historical evidence addresses the mind: he 
lodges in the heart, whose subtle influences’ sway the 
intellect. But the Christian may have less or more of 
his own light, perceptions less or more clear, truths less 
or more perceived in their harmonies; and in proportion 
as his-own knowledge of his own realm of knowledge is 
increased, his soul will haye more of strength: the 
world will, more and more, be constrained to feel the 
inferiority of her knowledge; and thus the Church will, 
at length, regain in herself, and establish in the world, 
the full conviction of her intellectual supremacy. 

The argument, then, in this inquiry, is addressed to 
Christians. If it quicken their faith, it will, at length, 
through them, reach the unbeliever, so far as he has the 
capacity to be reached by it. As free citizens, then, of 
the City of God, with the ideas and prepossessions be- 
longing to such, knowing that the thoughts of the 
Divine Spirit run through the Ages, and that slight 
indications in Scripture point to His far-continuing 
purposes and distant but foreseen ends, let us recall the 
argument that has passed before us. First: It has 
been seen that the Magi believed that the God of Heaven 
intervened in the affairs of men, and that Ormazd, in 
his appointed times, would send on earth prophets, who 
would work wonders for the Kingdom of Light, and t're 
last and greatest of whom would utterly destroy the 
Kingdom of Darkness. Second: That there was with 
the Magi a Hebrew prophet, who foreknew the Coming 
of the Lord, and the Time thereof, having power and 
opportunity to impress these facts on them ; and wha 

SUMMARY. is 189 


could point, in confirmation of what he revealed, to an 
oracle not from Hebrew lips, in which it was foretold 
that a Star would be the Sign of His appearing. 
Third: ‘That there were data from which ‘the Magi 
might have computed the time of this prediction, and, 
consequently, of the starry omen; that this prophecy 
and calculation might have been preserved in writing by 
them, and were not likely to have been lost in an order 
professionally conservative of sacred records, traditions, 
and mystic lore; and that the expectation of some spir- 
itual Ruler to be born in the. house of Jacob, thus 
enkindled among the Magi, might have been kept from 
dying out, by the presence of Hebrews in Persia. 
Fourth: That certain of the Magi were dwelling or 
sojourning in the country between the Tigris and the 
Euphrates, at a time when the expectation was deeply 
inwrought into the minds of some of the multitude of 
Hebrews living in that region, that the appointed hour 
of the Birth of their Messiah in Judea was nigh; and 
that, about that time, there were displayed, in the 
heavens, signs in the planets, believed by these Magi, 
as astrologers, to portend that some great event had 
come, or was about to come to pass in Judea — signs 
awakening them to diligent watch for the predicted Star. 
Fifth: That these Magi journeyed from Babylonia on a 
Pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and proclaimed in that City, 
in the very terms of the Hebrew Prophet, and with a_ 
clear reference to the ancient, extra-Judean oracle, that 
they had seen the Star of the King of the Jews. Thus 
what St. Matthew records is, to this extent, explained, 


190 | SUMMARY. 

and so: confirmed. The Pilgrimage itself makes it 
probable that certain other events took place; and these 
probable events, taken together with other known events, 
explain the Pilgrimage. It thus ceases to be an isolated 
thing, pressing on belief with the heavy weight of any- 
thing, however well attested, that cannot be connected 
to aught previous as its intelligible reason, and so 
seeming an effect without a cause; and it is, at once, 
placed in a line with other facts; for all history is a 
chain of recorded and inferred events. From facts that, 
appearing of record, are supposed to be known, other 
facts, not of record, are inferred; and this must be ac- 
cepted as history, or there can be no history. A prob- 
ability that things were so is all that can be attained 
to, as to the greater part of human affairs; and this of 
things in the immediate present, as well as in the remote 
past. Such a reasonable probability is all that can be 
attained to as to the course of events preceding the out- 
shining of the Star, that, in connection with it, led the 
Magi to Jerusalem ; and this is. all that the wants of 
Faith require. For it is enough to say to those who 
assume that there can be no explanation of such a Pil- 
grimage, it might have been in this way; while it is 
freely and gladly admitted, that this touching lesson of 
the condescending mercy of God, this high example 
of faith in man, must forever depend on the sole and 
sufficient witness of one, who was not only a truthful 
historian, but also a divinely-inspired Evangelist. 
Thus far, purely historical or scientific confirmations 
of it have been marked in this review of trains of events 


that seem related to the Pilgrimage to Jerusalem; but, 
to the Christian mind, there is evidence for it of a some- 
what different kind. The Christian Church, like the 
‘Hebrews of old, has ever held that Balaam . prophesied 
of the Messiah. “There shall come a Star out of Jacob 
and a Sceptre shall rise out of ‘Tsrael,”1 — according to 
the ideas of him who spake, and those who heard it — 
foretold a King, of whom a Star in heaven would be the 
sign ; and, as this was the only way in which this oracle 
could be understood by them, it is the only way in 
which it should be interpreted; and it was thus inter- 
preted by the Jews. The attestation is correspondent 
with the prediction. Both alike — prophecy and wit- 
ness — are from out the Gentile world. ach is a 
testimony to the Lord of the nations from without the 
elect nation; and this correspondence is the more com- 
plete, as each testimony comes from those whom the 
world believed to have mystic power to read in the 
book of God’s secrecy. : 

The prophecy was uttered to kings; militant against 
the people of God, in their pride of place and power, 
as, in arms, they stood to bar the way of Israel into 
the Land of Promise and of rest. Its fulfilment was 
uttered to Herod, the friend of Cesar, and so to powers 
of the world, in whose hearts was the intent to bar the 
way of the Lord to his rightful kingdom over all the 

It is most reasonable to suppose, that, if a {tar was 

1 Numbers xxiv. 17. 


foretold, its appearing would be told to Jerusalem, and 
to all the world; that when the sign was visible to hu- 
man eyes, there would be something providential that 
would call to it the attention of the Jews, and ever 
afterward fasten upon it the thought and the memory 
of man. This — wanting which the annals of our Faith 
had seemed manifestly imperfect — the narrative in St. 
Matthew supplies; and it agrees with what the harmo- 
nies of a plan predetermined, from the first, in the 
thought of God, would seem to human intellects to re- 
quire, —judging, as such can only wisely judge, of the 
thoughts of God after the event; for though to fore. 
know the ways of God is given only to inspired souls, 
yet to see the fitness of beauty in His work, once visibly 
wrought out, whether in nature, or, more marvellous 
still, in'the realm of life, is the appropriate office of 
the God-given intellect of man. 

Again: in these few strangers in Bethlehem, the 
Church sees the prophetic types and prophecy of the 
many, who, after them, were to come from every 
nation under heaven; and, thus viewed, their presence 
is a sign, that, disclosing its significance afterwards, 
authenticates that presence, by proving there was in it 
something divine. What is written of these strangers 
at the cradle of the Lord is a parable of prophetic mean- 
ing, reaching far onward, and reciting the future of 
His kingdom. Events in the lives of men are often 
ordered with a dramatic propriety, that reveals to the 
believing spirit the intervention of higher powers in the 
concerns of mortals; and if ever this is manifest, we 

SUMMARY. one 193 

may well believe it was so in that Life for whose mani- 
festation the Life of man was made. ‘The illumined 
sages of the dark heathen world seek the shrine of truth, 
and the place where the Lord was to be born, pointed 
out to them by its priests, but, without their further 
aid, come to the cradle of the Messiah. No long pro- 
cession of priests, no Sanhedrim, marshals these Pil- 
grims to the shrine. Mysterious picture of what is to 
be —the Jews not there, yet there the Representatives 
of the Nations of the Earth ! 

Again: in the strangers who came and worshipped 
the Infant Lord, the Church, in virtue of that vision 
which belongs to her because she is the Church, recog- 
nizes the Witnesses of the Grace of the Universal Lord 
to all nations —the Representatives of the Wise and 
Good of the World. Thus viewing them, the main fact 
in their history authenticates itself. The Reason de- 
mands it; the soul is evidence for it: for if, as many 
insist, — perchance seeking thus to convict the Scrip- 
ture of narrowness and partiality, —the Universal Lord, 
pitying all nations, denied grace to none, He must have 
determined the course of nations, other than the He- 
brew, with reference to His Coming; and all reason 
salls aloud for some recognition of this by those nations ; 
for the soul of man catches something of the thought 
of God, awakens to some foresight of what He is bring- 
ing to pass in the earth, when events of a world-wide 
concern,-ordered from afar, converge to His aim, and 
His preparation points to His intent. Thus, in the 
sacred Kclogue of Virgil, that illustrates the affinity 



of prophet and bard, the glowing presentiment of an 
auspicious dominion awoke. Thus it was, that, near 
the Christian era, old Hebrew prophecy, foretelling that 
dominion, so began to harmonize with the presentience 
of man, that it was commonly talked of through all the 
East. But since “the end and aim of all human his- 
tory was to prepare the way for Christ’s appearing,” 
the Reason, unsatisfied even with these intimations of a 
prescience in man of the kingdom of Heaven, demands 
from out the heart of the expectant world a more 
marked recognition of the Coming of the Lord; expects 
of his providence something, in the Israel outside of 
Israel, more distinctly corresponding to the revelation 
made to Simeon, that he should not see death before 
he had seen the Lord’s Christ, and to the shepherds, 
to whom the angel told, “unto you is born this day a 
Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” By its answer to 
these requirements, the Story of the Wise Men lays 
strong hold on the reason of the Church: it lays strong 
hold, too, on the heart of the Church; for in the Com- 
ing of the Wise Men she finds the assurance of her 
earnest, pleasing hope — that all who sought for Him 
were guided of the Lord. In them, her oft-recurring 
question, as she muses on the Grace of other days, — 
How near to the Lord did the nearest to Him of the 
heathen come ?— is answered, when the Representatives 
of the Wise and Good of the world “saw the Young 
Child.” ; 

As nothing comes by chance in the kingdom of. Na- 
ture, so nothing comes by chance in the kingdom of 

SUMMARY. i 195 

Grace. As the West did not keep the tradition-of a 
Saviour to come so well as did the East, it is in ac- 
cordance with the law uttered by the Messiah, —“ to 
him that hath shall be given,”— that Magi from the 
Far East were the first-fruits of the heathen. 

Thus the Law, under which Truth is revealed and 
Grace is given, thus the presentiments of the soul, 
harmonize with the statement of St. Matthew — that, 
from the people who had most faithfully kept the Truth 
revealed to the Fathers of mankind, from an order of 
Sages over whom Daniel presided, from that country 
where Esther reigned a Queen, came the Witnesses of 

the Nations to the cradle of the Lord. 




Tue knowledge of the truth revealed at the begin- 
ning, and thence onward to the time when the family 
-of the Patriarch Noah was the Human Race, was saved 
in one nation from its degeneracy in every other, by 
an inspiration through which that Truth was preserved 
without+corruption. All other nations tried to do this, 
but made the Word of God of none effect through vain 

These human trials prove the human need; these 
human failures, the divine success. Had not God, with 
one people, thus kept pure the knowledge of His Truth, 
it would not have continued free from error; for else- 
where it did not. Had He not revealed His guidance 
of this people, it could not have been clearly known. 
In the other ancient nations, error and sin hide His 
Truth and His Grace; in some nations less, in others 
more; with all so much, that the history of their Reli- 
gion can only be imperfectly written; nor would this 
have been otherwise, had the most ample material for 
it, of a merely human kind, survived. 


The Religion of the Hebrews was holy: they them- 
selves were so unholy, that it might be said, their 
religion never was their religion. With histories of 
them such as those of other nations are, it would not be 
possible to do justice to their religion ; nor would their 
religion, if thus known, present the contrast it does to 
those of other ancient nations — thoughts that might be 
expanded into an argument for the Inspiration of their 
Sacred Books. 

The other nations went more on their own way. 
Some were, at times, recalled towards the Lord; and 
the illumination of His nearer presence, as in the earlier, - 
better days of the virtue of Rome, was followed by an 
outshining of civilization, sooner or later darkening, as 
again they went farther from the Light of the World. 
Some were held by Him stationary on the same plane, 
—as the Chinese, — or were suffered to sink from it by 
searcely perceptible degradation. Others were left to 
wander farther and farther from the eastern morning 
light, until the moral and spiritual distinctions between 
them are lost in the undistinguishing darkness of bar- 

These things seem to have been permitted, that, as 
the individual learns by his errors what he would learn 
in no other way, so a warning experience might be 
wrought into the being of the human race. It seems 
a part of the divine plan for the Redemption of Man, 
to suffer many forms of departure from God, that the 
nations may learn that each aberration from Him is an 


advance towards ruin. This seems to be the continuing 
history of man, which, changing its form, keeps its 
spirit, as heathenism changes to what is called Chris- 
tianity. Yet, while He “turneth man to destruction,” 
by giving him up to his own will, God ever saith, with 
even greater power of persuasion, “Return, ye children 
of men!” ; 

It is written, The wrath of man shall praise Him, 
and the remainder He will restrain. This divine suffer-. 
ance and restraint of Evil are parts of one plan, whose 
relations to each other are none the less certain, because 
it is impossible fully to learn how they unite in one 
result. If, then, the error that has usurped the place 
of Truth in the religions of men has been the occasion 
ef good, much more must good have abounded from 
that indestructible and undestroyed Truth in them, 
which, m the beginning, was the gift, and afterwards 
the medium, of the mercy of God ; — that Truth which, 
quickening the moral sense, and thus giving for a time 
a purity to the intellect, and a nobleness of purpose, 
was the hidden but potent cause of civilizations of old, 
such as that of Greece, from which ennobling influences 
still continue. 

In trying to learn something of the religions of the 
world, the Bible aids us by revealing that the mercy of 
the Lord is over all His works; that He made of one 
blood all the nations of men, and détermined the bounds 
of their habitation, that they should seek the Lord; 
and that in every nation, whosoever feared God, and 


worked righteousness, was accepted with Him; through 
its outline of the early history of mankind, and through 
allusions to peoples other than the Hebrew: though, as 
to these, little is told; for the Word never speaks to 
gratify the pride of the human intellect. 

All preceding antiquity has been very much hidden 
by classical antiquity, as more distant are hidden by 
nearer mountains. ‘This ill-proportioned view of anti- 
quity, which was practically restricted to Italy and 
Greece, is opening into a larger and wiser vision; and 
this is well; for classical antiquity is of modern date 
‘compared with primeval antiquity, and the reminis- 
cences of revealed truth with the Romans and the 
Greeks were faint and few, compared with those of 
older Eastern nations. 

In the primeval revelation, and so in revelation even 
when complete, there are only a few great truths, a few 
great facts, a few precepts. All the Law and the 
Prophets are in the two commands, “Thou shalt love 
the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and thy neighbor 
as thyself.” Sublime truths! holy precepts ! — precepts 
of endless adaptations, and the germs of whole codes 
of customs and laws; truths of endless self-revealing, 
yet in number few. Were thought more turned. to 
the presence of these in the religion of the classic 
nations, and their origin and preservation more intel- 
ligently referred to the grace of the Lord, more of the 
affinity of all Truth would be discerned, through a 
clearer perception of its community of Divine Origin. 

But in Asia, rather than in Europe, the truest idea 


of the religion of man is attainable. It is there history 
‘most fully bears witness to the fact revealed — that God 
gave to the whole human family, in its beginning, the 
heritage of the Truth. 

Freed from. their accretions of error, all the ancient 
religions are thus far the same. In them all are these 
three elements: Truth Revealed, Truth discerned by 
the Moral Reason, and the Grace of the Lord. To 
understand something of the Relations of the various 
forms of Religion to each other, and to Christianity, 
is pre-requisite to any clear idea of the history of the 
Redemption of man — that great purpose of God, the 
central truth of all history, and without which there 
could be no history. I propose to consider that Rela- 
tion between the Persian and the Hebrew Religion, sug- 
gested by the Pilgrimage of Magi to Jerusalem. 

As to this Relation, there have been three conjectures : 
first, that Zoroaster was taught by Hebrew Prophets; 
second, that several Leading Ideas of the Religion 
of the Hebrews, which have since become Christian 
doctrines, had their origin with the Persians; third, 
that neither religion was in any way affected by the 

Dr. Hyde, appointed Professor of Hebrew at Oxford, 
in 1697, maintained, with learning and zeal, the an- 
tiquity and purity of the Persian Religion; but in his 
time, the means for investigating the history of Zoro- 
aster were inadequate; and he fell into the error of 
giving some credence to the fable, that he was a servant 
of one of the Hebrew Prophets. He was exposed to 


this error, because he fixed the time of Zoroaster in the 

reign of Darius, B. C. 521-486, —the fourth Persian 
monarch, the same against whose Generals the Athe- 
nians fought at Marathon. 

In 1770, Anquetil Du Perron published a translation 
of the Zendavesta, made from manuscripts found by 
him in India. His brilliant discovery of these threw 
new light upon the Zoroastrian religion; but so great 
was the difficulty of accurately and thoroughly trans- 
lating its old-time documents, that not until within a 
very few years can this be said to have been accom- 
plished. Dr. Martin Haug, who, following Du Perron’s 
track, went out to India, seeking the aid of the Parsees 
in the study of their religion, in 1862 so far completed 
the zealous inquiries began by other scholars, that the 
facts as to the Zoroastrian religion are probably, in the 
‘main, as definitely ascertained now as they ever will 
be; and it only remains to determine its true signifi- 
cance and relation to other religions of the world. 

Dr. Hyde, like some other scholars since his time, 
was misled as to the Age of Zoroaster by some of the 
Greek writers, who confounded the name of Darius 
Hystaspes with that of a king or chief of a different 
epoch, who was the friend of Zoroaster. The precise 
date of this far earlier King, Vistaspa, cannot be ascer- 
tained; but it must have been before the conquest of all 
Iran by the Assyrians, which was not far from twelve 
hundred years before Christ. Professor Whitney places 
the Age of Zoroaster at least one thousand years, 
Spiegel two thousand years, Dr. Haug not less than 


r —— 

a thousand, and probably more ‘than fifteen hundred, 
years before the Christian Era. 

Zoroaster no more originated the religion associated 
with his name, than Confucius did that of the Chinese, 
or Elijah that of the Hebrews. He battled against 
idolatrous tendencies, and confirmed the belief of his 
people in one God. He was the Reformer, not the 
“Author of their faith.1 He was one of a succession of 
priests, who, like him, ministered before a flame of fire 5 
and he speaks of ancient customs and words. These 
facts come out clearly in the few words that are indis- 
putably his; and from them, and from the age in 
which he lived, it is certain that his religion can be 
traced back to within a few centuries of the Flood. 
The scene of his life was in Bactria, in the eastern part 
of Iran; and that he knew anything of Abraham, is in 
the last degree improbable; that he knew anything of 
Moses, is imoredible: and that he was taught by one 
of the later Hebrew Prophets, is impossible. Yet such 
notions might be maintained with some plausibility,” 

so long as it was unknown that the word Zoroaster, 

1 Dr. Haug thinks the. struggle ‘‘may have lasted centu- 
ries before Zoroaster Spitama struck a death-blow at idol- 
atry, and banished it from his native soil of Iran.” 

? Some of the Mohammedan writers report that the Magi 
traced their books to Abraham, whom they regarded as their 
prophet. The Parsee priests invented this fable to escape 
persecution, as only those religions were tolerated by the 
Mohammedans, whose sacred books connected them with 
Jewish Prophets acknowledged by Mohammed. 


though thought by the Greeks to be the name of an 
individual, was a title, like that of Pope, and denoted 
the head of the spiritual community among the Medes 
and Persians. 

The second opinion is as much an error as the first. 
The germs of all those religious ideas of the Hebrews, 
which have been developed into Christian doctrines, are 
found in their scriptures long before. they knew the 
Persians. Such little resemblance as there may be 
between those ideas of the Hebrews and ideas of the 
Persians, is hardly more than would naturally follow 
from the influence of primal revelation in both nations, 
and from the common element of the moral Reason. 
None of those religious ideas of the Hebrew people 
came through their acquaintance with any other people, 
though the development of some of them may have 
been quickened through their intercourse with other 
nations, and especially with the Medes and the Persians. 
This is probable; but even of this there is no direct 
historical evidence. 

A searching criticism would show that the seeming 
resemblance between the Hebrew and the Persian reli- 
gions is sometimes superficial, sometimes deceptive, and 
sometimes illusive. ‘Thus the Monotheism which, in 
a large and charitable construction of it, must be as- 
cribed to the religion of the Persians, in its creed is 
marred by the prime error of dividing the work of 
creation: between Ahriman and Ormazd; and subse- 
quently by the worship of Mithra, the Sun, which is 

recognized in inscriptions of their Pontiff Kings, and 


even in the Zendavesta itself, in its later, degenerate 
teachings. The resemblance between the Hebrew and 
the Persian idea of the Evil Spirit is deceptive. They 
were fadically different. The plausible conjecture, 
acceded to by Milman, — that the figurative language 
of the New Testament referring to the element Light, 
is borrowed from the Zoroastrian religion, — is illusive. 

The root of this instructive and remarkable imagery 
is in the sublime chapter that opens the revelation of 
God. There, Light is the medium through which the 
glory of God is revealed in the work of Creation. It is 
in a forming world a form-giving element. According to 
the Hebrew Scriptures, this element is in nature what 
it isin the Temple — the Shekinah of the Divine Pres- 
ence. It is the mantle of the Deity. The Almighty 
challenges man to pierce through its mystery. Thus 
inspiration, giving to the Hebrews of old all, and more 
than all, the fulness of the modern thought, of one force 
in nature,! made this inscrutable and universal element 
the very breath of the presence of Him in whom all 
things live and move and have their being. This mys- 
terious element is the symbol of the Creating Word of 
God, who, incarnate in the form of man, is the bright- 
ness of the Father’s glory; that which is revealed of 
the presence and work of this element in the material 

1 See The Church and Science, or the Ancient Hebraic 
Idea of Creation. Part II. Chap. ii., The First Cycle in 
Creation ; Chap. viii., Light representing the One Force in 
the Inorganic World. Andover, 1860. 


ereation, making it the most fitting image of Christ the 
Lord in the spiritual creation. When it is said in the 
New Testament, “In Him was Life, and the Life was 
the Light of men,” it is in a revelation which commences” 
in the very words that begin the Old, which throughout 
pointedly refers to the record of the Creation, and bor- 
rows this figure from it; and all the frequent language 
in the New Testament is conformed to this image. It 
is the recurrence of very similar language in the Old, — 
as any reader of the Bible, with merely the aid of a 
Concordance, can prove for himself. Does St. John 
speak of walking in the light? Isaiah had said, “Come, 
lét us walk in the light of the Lord.” Does St. James 
speak of God as “the Father of Lights”? It was writ- 
ten of old, “ God said, Let there be light, and there was 
light.” Does St. Paul say, “God dwelleth in light un- 
approachable”? It was written of old, “He covereth 
Himself with light as with a garment;” and, “He 
dwelleth in light.” Did Christ say, “I am the Light 
of the world”? It was said of Him of old, “I will 
give Thee for a light to the Gentiles: The people that 
sat in darkness saw a great light: The Lord shall be 
thy everlasting light.” 

In the first frenzy of discovery in Egyptian arche- 
ology, there was a strong disposition in some, more 
learned than wise, to refer the origin of many of the 
religious ideas of the Hebrews, and most of their usages, 
to the Egyptians. Gradually this notion has faded out. 
It may now and then revisit the glimpses of the moon, 

-when some garrulous man, or silly woman, maunders 


in the tombs of Egypt; but what the traveller’s dilated 
eyes seem to see, is the sickly ghost of an error that 
is dead and buried in a grave deep and secure, and 
where there are few mourners. So it will be with the 
perverse and reckless assertion of the Persian origin of 
any of the truths of the Christian religion. 

On this subject the opinion of Dr. Haug is good 
authority." He says, “The Zoroastrian religion ex- 
hibits even a close affinity to, or rather identity with, 
several important doctrines of the Mosaic religion and 
Christianity, such as the personality and attributes of 
the Devil, and the resurrection of the dead, which are 
both ascribed to the religion of the Magi, and are really 
to be found in the present scriptures of the Parsees. 
It is not to be ascertained whether these doctrines were 
borrowed by the Parsees from the Jews, or by the Jews 
from the Parsees: very likely neither is the case, and 
in both religions they seem to have sprung up inde- 



* Bunsen, in ‘God in History,” Book III. chap. vi. p. 292, 
speaks of the ‘‘ important discoveries of this distinguished 
scholar.” Bunsen himself says, in the same work, p. 284, 
‘The myth invented by German scholars of the purely Per- 
sian origin of the Hebrew traditions, belongs to the infancy 
and nonage of research into the Book of Genesis —a mis- 
leading hypothesis, which ought not ip decency to be men- 
tioned, at this time of day, by any scientific man.” 

* Essays, pages 2,8. He adds: ‘“‘In the Zendavesta we 
meet with only two words which may be traced to the Semitic 
languages, neither of them referring to religious subjects. 
In the later books of the Old Testament we find several Per- 


The fact is, that when the Christian mind comes to 
the study of the monuments of the Persian religion, it 
is at first struck with its seeming or real resemblance to 
the Hebraic and Christian systems, and the same is the 
case, in some measure, with other religions; but the 
more it compares them, the more it sees and feels their 
difference, until nearly all feeling or sense of the like- 
ness is wisely lost in that of the diversity. In the study 
of the one there is an ever growing perception of the 
errors of men; in the other, of the wisdom of God. 

The extreme of opinion in one direction is apt to 
beget an extreme of error in an opposite direction. 
Such may be the case with some, who, in opposition to 
the second, hold to the last of the three opinions before 
stated. This opinion grows out of the feeling that the 
religion of the chosen and peculiar people could not 
have owed anything to that of any other people; and 
surely, even the Persians, though not to be confounded 
with the heathen, were not as the Israelites, “to whom 
pertained the adoption, . . . and of whom, as concerning 
the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, God blessed 
forever.” But as the Drama of the World unfolds ir. 
accordance with the determinate counsel of God, it can 
hardly be that He could have brought two nations, so 
highly favored of Him, into such close relations, and 

sian words, and many names; but these have nothing to do 
with religion. The most famous of these Persian words in 
the Old Testament, now spread throughout the world, is the 
word Paradise, which meant originally a park, a beautiful 
garden fenced in.” 


they not have put forth upon each other more or less of 
mutual religious influence. 

The Egyptian, Assyrian, Greek and Roman, oppressed 
the people of Israel. In this they accomplished the 
will of God, but did so unwittingly and unwillingly. 
The Persian was the intelligent and willing servant 
of God in saving the people of Israel from destruc- 
tion. He broke in pieces their chains; he restored 
them to Jerusalem. Well might Israel sing, “ When 
the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were 
like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled 
with laughter, and our tongue with. singing. Then 
said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done 
great things for them.” Dream-like, indeed, the swift 
transition from their slavery, in the last night of Baby- 
lon, to the morning, when, bearing with it the golden 
vessels of the Temple, the caravan of home-returning 
exiles moved from the Plain of Shinar to the heights of 
Jerusalem! If God, “for his servant Jacob’s sake,” 
raising the Persians to the height of dominion, thus per- 
mitted them to minister to Israel in things temporal, is it 
inconceivable, that He may have ordained they should 
also minister to Israel in things that were spiritual ? 

It is an unquestioned opinion, that in one respect 
they did. The chastening of their exile brought the 
children of Israel nearer to their God: their restoration 
to Zion made them grateful to Him, and the fear and 
love thus strengthened in their souls tended to keep 
them from the apostasy of other days. But this is 
to be attributed, in some d2gree, to their witness of 


the fact, that the people who had cast down the “Might 
of the Heathen, worshipped the God of Heaven. 

The lesson of Persian monotheism, dominant over the 
World, concurring with the Divine monitions of their 
history, goes far to explain why the Hebrews, after 
their Captivity, though the living voice of prophecy was 
dying away, were more firm in their faith than when 
Elijah confounded the priests of Baal. 

If it be conceded that the belief of the Hebrews in 
one God was strengthened by their knowledge of the 
Persian religion, why must the effect of that religion 
upon them for good be restricted to this one doctrine? 
Surely, none was greater; and as to this very doctrine, 
the Persian religion was darkly in error. If it be said 
that there is no direct evidence of any influence as to 
“any other doctrine, it is equally true as to this. There 
is a strong probability that it was so; and there is the 
same as to their belief in the Devil, in the Angelic 
World, and in the Resurrection. The first fact in the 
case is, that there was a great development of each of 
these doctrines in the Hebrew mind, in the five hundred 
years between the close of the Old Testament and the 
time of the New. The question is, Did their knowledge 
of the Persians contribute to this? 

The germ of the whole Christian doctrine is in the 
third chapter of Genesis; and if so, of course, of its 
doctrine of an Evil Being, who is the Adversary of 
man. That chapter is in sharp contrast to the spirit 
and genius of the Persian idea of the creation of the 
world, in which was inyolved his idea of the origin of 



evil. It follows the grandly and purely monotheistic 
opening of the book of Genesis, where each thing in 
Heaven and in Earth is the creation of one God, and 
each and all, again and again, is pronounced good. 
Into this good world evil enters in the guise of a ser- 
pent. In what follows, God will not even name the 
Tempter. His words, at first, seem only to and of the 
Serpent; and the personality of the Spirit, who through 
this medium wrought the Fall of man, is manifest only 
in the darkly luminous prophecy of enmity between his 
seed and the seed of the woman, and of his future 
destruction. Compare this with Zoroaster’s conception 
of twin Spirits —each of them eternal, each a Creator ; 
one of whom creates the good, and the other the evil, 
of the world; which is essentially the same heresy that, 
in a later age, God reproved in the Persian Cyrus, say- 
ing, “I am the Lord, and there is none else. I form 
the light, and create darkness. I make peace, and 
create evil. I, the Lord, do all these things.” 

_ Or compare this chapter of Genesis with the state- 
ment of Theopompus of Chios, B. C. 300, preserved by 
Plutarch, that, according to the Magi, two hostile Gods 
ruled the earth for successive periods, each of three 
thousand years — a statement that substantially appears 
in the “Bundehesh,”-an authoritative collection of 
Zoroastrian traditions made subsequent to A. D. 226, 
the date of the later kingdom of the Persians, and of a 
concurrent revival of their nationality and religion. It 
will thus be seen, there was a sharp and clear difference 
and opposition of ideas, as to the Evil Spirit, in the 


Hebrew and the Persian creeds, ever? from the earliest 
to the latest hour of the Zoroastrian religion. 

It may be said, if the Persian idea of the Evil Spirit 
was so different from the Hebrew, and so great an 
error, it could not have had an influence for good on the 
Hebrew belief. But error is often the occasion of the 
development of Truth; and it is easy to see how it may 
have been in this case. A mysterious allusion there 
was to a Deliverer to come, in words of God, spoken 
not to man, but in the hearing of man, in the hour of 
his ruin, enkindling a great and sure hope, yet without 
distinctness of form; words of might, since spoken by 
the Almighty, but rather to be cherished in the musing 
and believing heart, than clear to the intellect. _What- 
ever the reason why the knowledge of a Redeemer to 
come was veiled in the enigma of the words in which 
it was breathed into the soul of the Father of mankind, 
since this was so, there would have been no wisdom in 
the bringing out more clearly the existence of the Evil 
Spirit, the effect of whose Tempting was an ever-present 
evidence of his being and power. It is evidence of this, 
that, almost everywhere throughout the primeval world, 
there was a worship that is best accounted for by assum- 
ing that it grew out of a perverted reminiscence, even 
of this wisely reticent and guarded revelation — the ~ 
worship of the Snake, the low medium of the Dark 
Spirit. Nor would it have become the tender mercy 
and loving-kindness of the Lord to the children of the 
dust, to have terrified them by a revelation of-all that 
might have been made known of the power an1 might 


of the Adversary’ of the Human Soul, so long as the 
Being who was to destroy him could not be made mani- 
fest. But the reasons for this reserve ceased when the 
tendency to idolatry was dead in the Hebrew mind, and 
was dying out in many of the nations, and the hearts of 
the pious in Israel were quickened to a strong and clear 
belief in a spiritual Redeemer, whose coming drew nigh. 

In the earliest human hour, two Antagonists, whose 
field is the world, whose prize the Human Race, are 
darkly manifest. When in the fulness of time all that 
was then shadowed forth, and all the truths related to 
it, were brought to light, there were seen mighty and 
all-pervading influences in the Human World proceed- 
ing from beings not of flesh and blood; and Christ the 
Lord directing those influences of good, overruling those 
of evil; while, at the head of an opposing host, Satan 
contends, with ever less and less of consequence, against 
Him. The human history and the soul attest to these 
facts as revealed. But alike in the limitations of the 
knowledge of Truth, and in the guarded, gradual un- 
folding of it, the wisdom of God is only less adorable 
than in the making it known. Much of this glory, and 
therefore of this darkness, was hidden of old. The 
wisdom and mercy of God would not permit that the 
dominion of the Prince of this World, of the Prince of 
the Power of the Air, should be fully manifest, until the 
time of the manifestation of Him who came to destroy 
the works of the Devil. 

The dark eminence of the Evil Spirit, in the creed 
of that great People with whom the relations of the 



Hebrews had been so providential, was well fitted, as 
the right time approached for the full unfolding of the 
true doctrine from its germ in the third chapter of 
Genesis, to compel the Hebrews to search out more 
earnestly than ever before, and to appreciate the truth, 
as it was, in that ancient oracle. 

Angels are known to the records of the Hebrew 
religion from early time; but there is a reticence as to 
them, like that marked before, and, it may be, having 
a like cause. What the Israelites had, first of all, to 
learn for all nations, was the truth, that the Lord God 
was one Lord. ‘Too early a development among them 
of the knowledge of the existence of malignant beings 
not of flesh and blood, would have been followed by a 
superstitious and idolatrous worship of them, that would 
have come between God and his people, even more 
fatally than that which they borrowed from the nations 
around them. 

The reserve as to the Evil Spirit may have a relation 
to this reserve as to angelic beings. If the origin and 
much of the presence of Evil in the earth be attributed 
to one Being, it is difficult not to clothe him with some- 
thing like ubiquity and omnipresence, and so to make 
of him a god — the heresy of the Persian creed. There 
is something of safeguard against this in the idea of a 
host of evil spirits, to one of whom, as their chief, all 
that is done by them all is attributed; as all that was 
done by his million of soldiers in France, in Italy, in 
Egypt, in Spain, or Russia, is ascribed to Napoleon. 
Thus it may have been that both of these doctrines 
were held back, and both brought forward together. 


The idea of angels, dimly conceived of by Zoro- 
aster, was rapidly and fully developed in the Zoroastrian 
system — perhaps, in the providence of God, as some 
counteractive to its great central error; and it is very 
probable that, through the influence of that system, the 
Hebrew idea of angelic worlds, which, however, was by 
no means identical with the Persian, reached its fulness. 
This idea attains almost to certainty, when, in the Vis- 
ions of Daniel, angels appear with names, — though 
these are pure Hebrew, — and with gradations of rank, 
and the nations are under their watch and ward. 

The doctrine of the Resurrection had its germ in the 
third chapter of Genesis; for Death to the soul and 
the body having followed the coming of the mysterious 
Adversary of man, life to both will assuredly follow the 
coming of the mysterious Friend of man. This hope 
arose in the mind of the pious Israelite, as, believing to 
the fullest in the word and power of God, he mused on 
His darkly-clear language of old; and it was confirmed 
to him by the translation of Enoch in bodily form into 
the heavens, and by the like translation of the prophet 
Elijah. But it was a hope that had no definiteness of 
time or form. The Persian boldly and erroneously 
enlarged the primeval doctrine. He first conceived of 
equal gods; but, happily inconsistent in error, made 
one of them completely triumphant over the other, and 
so rushed on to the belief in his complete victory over 
the Grave. Little indeed he knew through Whom that 
victory would be won, and how! Still there was some- 
thing that was right and true in his thought; and here, 


as before, it is very suggestive of an influence of the 
Persian upon the Hebrew mind, that the first clear 
revelation of the Resurrection, although there are some 
intimations of it in other of the Prophets, is made by 
the Prophet Daniel. 

That he taught the Persians,’ is proved by the Pil- 

1 The belief of the Persians in the Resurrection was known 
to the Greeks, B.C. 800. Itis in the Zendavesta. It is 
a logical sequence of its leading thoughts; and there was a 
sign of this truth in the primeval world. There seems, then, 
no reason for referring its origin or development among 
them to the Hebrews. Not so with their idea of the So- 
siosh. (See page 92.) This may have had its source far 
back in the primeval faith. But in the first brief allusion to 
him, he is born out of the water Kacoya, and so seems a 
spirit or god; in the second, he isa man. ‘This is remark- 
able, as the legend-forming current runs the other way. 
Thus, in the earliest part of the Zendavesta, — which, on this 
very account, is to be received as historical, — Zoroaster is 
a teacher, with nothing legendary about him. Before the 
end of the growth of the Zendavesta, he becomes almost a 
god; and many are the strange legends told of him by later 
Parsees — such as, after their conversion by the Arabs, the 
Persians told of Mahomet. A similar development would 
be the natural one of their idea of the Sosiosh, which, as 
first obscurely uttered, tends that way. Probably the change 
in it was wrought by the influence of Daniel, and some slight 
trace of a likeness to the doctrine of the Messiah thus grafted 
into the Zendavesta. Some of the few, who can decipher 
that book think it older than the reign of Cyrus, judging 
from the language of the Achawemenian ‘inscriptions. ‘This 
must be accepted for the present. But the Magian Litera- 
ture grew till Alexander’s time; and sections may have 
been added to this book under the Achemenian kings, though 


erimage of Magi to Jerusalem. He may have learned 
from them. If they had any reminiscences or intuitions 
of truth that were more full and clear than they were, 
at that time, among his own people, this would have 
been discerned by the “man of Desires.”? His the 
mind to understand, his the heart to appreciate, what- 
ever there was of truth in the religion of Ormazd. 
That religion had its origin in the primeval revelation. 
In it there were gleams of orient light, though inter- 
mingled with gross darkness. Veins of pure water 
were there, though bubbling up in the wide and stag- 
‘nant morass, They had no unintermitting source, no 
channel to keep them clean and clear of the marsh, no 
onward, purifying motion, like the River “the streams 
whereof make glad the City of God ;” yet the Prophet’s 
’ wand may have called forth from the morass waters to 
swell that River. He who saw so clearly the truth of 
God afar off in the ages to come, may have seen it very 
nigh in the souls of those among whom his lot was cast. 
Such truth, accredited to him by the Divine Spirit, and 
by it freed from all human error, he may have com- 
mended to his own people, and have made it part of the 
everlasting oracle of man. 

the opinion above be in the main correct. After all, the idea 
of the Sosiosh is so little like the clear, consistent Prophetic 
prevision of the Christ, that the matter is of little importance. 

? Daniel ix. 23; .x. 11. ‘* Thou-art a man of Desires,” 
are the words of the angel to Daniel, according to the Mar- 
ginal Reading in the English Bible. So, too, the Vulgate: 
‘¢ Vir desideriorum es.” The idea seems to be —a man de- 
sirous to know all truth. 


Whether he did so or not is a question of fact, to be 
settled, if it can be settled at all, by its appropriate 
evidence. As to the effect of that evidence, different 
minds may come to different conclusions; but the no-= 
tion that it was impossible, because it would derogate 
from Christianity, comes from too narrow an idea of 
the genesis and history of our Religion. 

The religion that was before the Hebrews were — 
that is our religion. Great truths and facts, such as 
the Being and Spirituality of God; such as His Crea- 
tion, of the Heavens and the Earth; the unity of the 
Human Race; the temptation by the Evil One, and 
the Fall of Man; the Redeemer to come; the institu- 
tion of Sacrifice, with all that is implied therein; truths 
and facts of higher moment than the illustrations or 
confirmations of them in the providence of God towards 
- the Hebrews, and which may be viewed apart from 
them ;— these truths and facts are the. substance and 
soul of our ancient religion, and all these were “ before _ 
Abraham was.” 

So, too, were many holiest men. The Priest of the 
Most High God, the mysterious Melchizedec, to whom 
Abraham paid tithes, was not a Hebrew ; nor was Noah, 
who brought the records of the church across the dis- 
severing Flood; nor Enoch, whose translation into the 
Heavens intimated to the early church that the body 
might share in the immortality of the soul; nor Abel, 
whose sacrifice prefigured the sacrifice of the Lord; nor 
Adam, who held converse with Gop. 

The Religion which built the first altar to the Living 


and only Gop, and offered the first sacrifice after the 
Flood, embraced all then on the earth, and from them 
all now on the earth have sprung.. That religion every- 
where had an ally in the conscience; and doubtless in 
every nation it had allies in some who listened to the 
divine and the human oracle. Though perverted, cor- 
rupted, and partially forgotten, yet it may be discerned 
as an element in the religion of all nations —in some 
that have ceased to be, and in those that are: nowhere 
have its traces been wholly obliterated. 

The Hebrews received this universal, primeval reli- 
gion through Abraham. Among them it was fostered by 
rites and ceremonies that made them a peculiar people, 
even as they were, in some periods of their history, 
a solitary people. It was preached among them by 
inspired prophets and teachers. The Lord himself 
perfected this religion, which, before Abraham’s day, 
he had instituted among men. He did away with 
all that in it was local; made that which in it was 
partial, complete; established that which in it was uni- 
versal and everlasting ; and commissioned all His peo- 
ple everywhere to preach throughout all the world, that 
this fulness of Truth by Him revealed was, and was to 
be forever, the Religion of mankind. 

The Hebrews were chosen of Gop, as a people, to 
keep for us the Truth that was of old. They were 
chosen, that through them might be revealed the provi- > 
dence and government of the Lord in the earth, and 
their history become a parable of instruction to all na« 
tions through all time. The line of Abraham and the 


house of David were chosen, that there might be~pre- 
pared a family where the Holy Child, predicted from 
the beginning, might grow in wisdom and stature, and 
in favor with God and man, when unto us was born 
the Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. 

The truth which the Hebrews kept for us, they 
regarded as truth that was of old, and as truth that 
was for all. They alone, of all the ancient nations, 
faithfully remembered the three great, inseparable truths 
— the Unity of Gop, the Unity of the World, and the 
Unity of the Human Race. They faithfully registered 
the chronicle of the Dispersion of the Nations. The 
genealogy of their family was a branch of the gene- 
alogy of the family of man. They felt themselves at 
one with all the people of God, in all the ages be- 
fore they were a people. The words of Moses, as his 
thoughts ran far back of Abraham’s day, and past even 
the Flood, till they lost themselves in the Everlasting 
Days of the Beginning, are, “Lord, thou hast been 
our dwelling-place in all generations.” 

The Hebrews recognized inspiration in Job; they 
recognized inspiration even in Balaam. The narrow- 
ness that would not recognize it anywhere was no part 
of the character of the Hebrews, and was abhorrent to 
the spirit of their religion. The First Temple was built 
with the friendly aid of Pheenician Tyre: at its dedica- 
tion Solomon prayed for the stranger. The Second 
Temple was built with Persian aid: in that Temple 
Simeon spoke of the Lord, not only as “the glory of 


Israel,” but as “a light to lighten the Gentiles,” and 



of His “salvation,” as “ prepared for all people.” St. 
Paul recognized an element of truth in the religion 
of Athens, and made the words of one of the Poets 
of Greece part of the Divine Oracle. St. Matthew 
recorded the homage to the infant Redeemer, of Sages 
from a foreign land. The Lord Himself said, He had 
sheep not of the Hebrew fold. 

Down to Abraham’s day, the truth in the Bible was 
not of Jewish origin on its human side; it was not 
wholly so afterwards. Job, in whose thoughts and 
words there is not a trace of the Law given on Mount 
Sinai, was not a Jew. 

The Bible is not a Hebrew Book. The Bible is the 
Book of Man. It is a divine record of Truth revealed 
before Abraham’s day — Truth which it pleased God to 
preserve, through the children of Abraham, free from all 
taint of their sins and errors, yet made more clear and 
impressive by those sins and errors. It is no less 
glorious, if, on its human side, this Truth be in part 
Chaldean, or Egyptian, or Persian; while it is of no 
consequence as to its authority, since it reaches us 
through inspired men, free from its corruptions on other 
lips, and pure as it breathed from on high. 




In Chapter II., the meaning of these terms, as used 
by St. Matthew, is determined by geographical and 
historical considerations. As that Chapter, in its pres- 
ent form, sufficiently accomplishes its immediate pur- 
pose, and the longer consideration of its subject there, 
would break in too much on the unity of the book, I 
have transferred to this place an important part of it, 
as originally written. It points out a relation be- 
tween the two Greek terms used by St. Matthew and 
two corresponding words in the Hebrew, that justi- 
fies the explanation of his use of the former, so far as 
it depends upon antecedent Hebraic usage; and it an- 
swers objections that may be brought against the posi- 
tions taken in that Chapter. 

In descriptive terms the Hebrew language was very 
rich.t Jt had five names for the West, and seven for 
the South. For the East it had two, Keprm and 

1% No less than four different Hebrew words are ren- 
dered in English by the term valley.” — Robinson’s Physical 

Geography of the Holy Land, See. II. p. 70. 


Mizracu. Mizrach meant the rising, i. e., of the sun.? 
Kedem meant before. 

It was indifferent whether Kedem or Mizrach was 
used, when direction merely was meant. In other 
cases, there was a difference in their expression of their 
common idea. The more poetical and imaginative 
Mizrach had the wider meaning. Hach carried_the_ 
pe in an easterly direction ;_ but_ Mizrach farth farther than 
-/ Kedem ; 3, as in these sentences, where they are used to- 


: “gether: “ on the east side eastwards, eastwards to- 

wards the sun-rising.” Mizrach is used when the East 
is the antithesis of the West, as in this line, “as far 
as the East is from the West;”? or of any other quar- 
ter of the globe; or where it is intended to make the 
impression of distance strong.* But when the four quar- 
ters of the globe are designated, Kedem, the more def- 
inite of the two words, is used: as in this sentence: 
“Thou shalt spread abroad to the West and to the Kast, 
and to the North and to the South.” ® 

1 This is sometimes joined with it. — Deut. iv. 41. 47; 
Jud. xi, 183 oT xlin25. 

+ Ex. xxvii, 135 Josh. sax, 22. 

® Ps. cili. 12; Ps.1.1.3 exiii. 3; Josh. xi.35 Zach. viii. 7. 
_* Dan. viii. 9; xi. 44; Amos viii, 12; Ps. evii. 3; Is. 
xiii. 5. 

® Gen, xxvili. 14, and in Gen. xiii, 14; Job xxiii. 8, 9; 
Ezek. xlvii. 17, 18, 19, 20.' See, in Smith’s Dictionary of 
the Bible, the admirable Article on the East, whose value is 
out of all proportion to its brevity, by W. L. Bevan, the first 
to note the distinction between the two forms of Anatole in 
Matthew ii., and their relations to the two Hebrew words 
Mizrach and Kedem. 


Each has, at times, a geographical sense; Mizrach 
rarely, Kedem frequently. This sense corresponds to 
their respective compass. Thus, Mizrach, used with a 
geographical significance, twice denotes Persia ;! while 
Kedem never crosses the eastern line of the Plain of 
the Euphrates and the Tigris. Usually the geograph- 
ical sense of Mizrach.w was not definite in itself, but from 
the context. Kedem, % as has been shown in Chapter 
II., though its application differed in different ages, was 
used as a geographical name, whose well-established and 
well-defined meaning was clear and sure in itself. 

After the Captivity, the Jews of Palestine spoke ag 
their native tongue a local dialect of that wide-spread 
Shemitic language known as the Syro-Chaldaic, or the 
Aramean, —a language closely allied to the Hebrew. 
At the Christian era, they also spoke an Oriental and 
Hebraized dialect of the Greek language. The correct- 
ness of these two propositions is here assumed without 
argument, save the remark that there is evidence of the 
latter in the following narrative, taken from the twenty- 
first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles : — 

*'The Jews which were of Asia, when they saw Paul 
in the Temple, stirred up all the people, and laid 
hands on him, crying out, Men of Israel, help. This 
is the man that teacheth all men everywhere against the 
people, and the law, and this place. . . . And all the 
city was moved, and the people ran together: and 
they took Paul, and drew him out of the Temple. And 
forthwith the doors were shut. And as they went about 

Mises xhijc2¢-xlviidl, 


to kill him, tidings came unto the chief captain of the 
band, that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. Who im- 
mediately took soldiers and centurions, and ran down 
unto them; and when they saw the chief captain and 
the soldiers, they left beating of Paul. Then the chief 
captain came near, and took him, and commanded him 
to be bound with two chains, and demanded who he 
was, and what he had done. And some cried one 
thing, some another among the multitude; and when 
he could not know the certainty for the tumult, he com- 
manded him to be carried into the castle. And when 
he came upon the stairs, so it was, that he was borne 
of the soldiers for the violence of the people. For the 
multitude of the people followed after, crying, away 
with him.” 

In this graphic picture, it is seen that the whole city 
was drawn together, and not merely the Greek-speaking 
Jews of Asia, who at the first “st¢rred up ail the 
people.” Paul then besought of the captain of the 
guard that he might speak to them. “And when he 
had given him license, Paul stood on the stairs and 
beckoned with the hand unto the people. And when 
there was made a great silence, he spake unto them in 
the Hebrew tongue, saying, Men, brethren, and fathers, 
hear ye my defence which I make now unto you.” 

This note of the language that he chose to use makes 
it sure that he had the choice of another language, which 
the people would have understood, and were accustomed 
to hear. It is clear that this is so, even without the 
remark which St. Luke interposes between these words 


and the speech that followed, —“ and when they heard 
that he spoke in the Hebrew tongue to them, they kept 
the more silence.” St. Paul here showed the same 
address as when he spake on Mars’ Hill to the men of 
Athens; and somewhat conciliated the people because 
he appealed to their national feelings by speaking to 
them in their native tongue, and not in the Greek, 
which he might have used. 

As these two languages had then for a long time 
been in common use among the Jews of Palestine, their 
flexible Greek dialect must have been somewhat modi- 
fied by their more rigid native dialect; and there is 
this direct evidence that the word Anatole did undergo 
some change of form in the local Greek of Palestine. In 
classical Greek, as used for the East, it is in the plural, 
and without the article, but in the Greek of Josephus 
it is to be found in the singular and with the article.* 
This fact will hereafter serve another important pur- 
pose; here, it is used only as proof that Anatole was 
somewhat altered, as to its form, in Palestinian Greek. 
For Josephus prided himself on his Greek, and so it is 
clear that in his departures, as to this word, from clas- 
sical usage, he unwittingly followed the usage of the 

1 Antiq. I. i. 3. 290s tiv avatody God planted a Paradise in 
the Hast. De Bell: Jud.-1l0 x2 2); "Hil. i935 V. iv. 2., 
xii. 2. In these places it does not have the article. He 
uses it in the singular with the article. Antiq. VIII. iii. 2, 
6; 7100¢ ty avarolfy. Proem De Bell. Jud. Il. xvi. 4; IV. 
x.v; VI. vi. 1. He also used it in the plural, both without 
the article and with it. Antigq. V.i. 22; VIII. v. 3. 


Greek he was accustomed to speak as a Jew of Pal- 

It is so natural, that it may almost, or quite, be taken 
for certain, that the native dialect of the Hebrews con- 
formed to itself some of the more common descriptive 
terms in the flexible Greek dialect, when each had been 
spoken for some considerable time by that people; and 
it is so reasonable to suppose that the Hebrew terms 
Mizrach and Kedem thus came to have equivalents in 
Palestinian colloquial Greek, that a very little direct 
evidence would establish it as a fact.'| The usage of 
St. Matthew is such evidence. For this theory clearly 
and satisfactorily explains his usage, and the meanings 
given to his terms, in conformity with it, are upheld by 
such a variety of historical and geographical facts, and 
by such general considerations, all harmonizing in one 
result, that there is no reason to doubt that thus his 
terms are correctly interpreted. 

It is true that no trace of his usage is to be found in 
the Septuagint. But should it be looked for there? 
The scholars, who made this translation of the Hebrew 

? As to the presence in the Aramean language, as spoken 
by the Jews in Palestine, of terms substantially like those of 
the Hebrew, — which is all that the argument requires, — it 
may be said, both were such terms that this could hardly 
have been otherwise; and Kedem as a proper name would 
certainly keep some place when the kindred Aramean was 
substituted for the Hebrew. ‘The Hebrew was a cultivated 
dialect of the Aramean, the original language. Now, Miz- 
rach and Kedem are found+in the very oldest Hebrew, in 
the familiar converse of the Patriarchs. 


Bible, conformed its Greek, so far so they well could, 
to classical usage. They do not attempt to cive exact 
equivalents for Mizrach and Kedem. They do not try 
to discriminate between them. They render both by 
the plural of Anatole without the article. Their trans- 
lation was made long before the time of St. Matthew’s 
Gospel. It was made outside of Palestine; and it is 
not probable that the Greek spoken by the LXX. was 
much, if any, modified by a Hebrew dialect spoken at the 
same time with it;1 while the explanation of the two 
forms of Anatole in St. Matthew is based upon the 
facts that for a long time two dialects had been spoken 
by the Jews in Palestine, and that Bot usage was local 
and colloquial. 

It may be inquired, whether the true answer to the 
earnestly-debated question, Did St. Matthew write 
his Gospel in Aramean or in Greek? together with that 
of the questions connected with it, would confirm or 
invalidate the opinion here maintained? However that 
problem may be settled, its decision would not affect it 
much, if at all. That question has usually been dis- 
cussed as if the supposition must be, that he wrote it 
only in one language. - But he may have composed his 
Gospel in one of the two dialects which he spake, and 
then have turned it into the other; have first written 
it in his native tongue, and then have re-written it in 

1 It is worthy of note in this connection, that Philo- 
Judzeus, one of the most learned of the Alexandrian Jews, 
of the first century, seems to have been ignorant of aie 
Hebrew language. 


that Greek with which he and his countrymen were so 
familiar. This he could easily and quickly have done, © 
as the manuscript is so brief; and it would seem that he 
could hardly have done otherwise. By this natural and 
probable supposition various difficulties may be easily 
solved, and all the facts in the case readily harmonized 
into a consistent whole. If he did so, how very natural 
it would be for him to give the equivalents in the Greek 
dialect for the two words in his native tongue; and he 
would do this if he composed his Gospel in the Greek 
only. : 

Against the whole argument in Chapter II. — of which 
this Appendix is to be taken as a part— to prove that 
in St. Matthew, 17 dvaroiq, the Hast, means Babylonia, 
and dvarolwy, the Far East, means Persia, there are 
some facts that might be alleged. 

1. No parallel usage is to be found in the whole 
compass of the Hebraic-Greek literature from the time 
of the close of the Canon of the Old Testament to that 
of the final ruin of the Jewish nation, about fifty years 
after the Fall of Jerusalem, in the reign of the Emperor 
Adrian (A. D. 120), when the Jews were utterly 
driven out of Judea.? 

Before attempting to reply to the argument embodied 
in this statement, it may be well to restate the propo- 
sition against which it may be alleged, viz.: That in 
his Gospel, St. Matthew used the same local, popular 

* See Translation of Miinter’s Jewish War, by W. W. 
Turner, in the Bibliotheca Sacra, No. IIl., 1843. 


names for Babylonia and Persia that he would have used 
in common conversation; and to call to mind that with 
other evidence for this proposition, there were these 
facts, that he was an unlettered man, and wrote prima- 
rily and peculiarly for his countrymen.? 

The argument before stated, as one that might be 
brought against this proposition, has much of seeming 
force, but there are several considerations, some of 
which singly, and certainly all of them collectively, 
seem to be a sufficient answer to it. First. The veri- 
fication and illustration from general miscellaneous 
literature of any historical or gecgraphical phrase is 
quite a thing of chance. That it is possible to trace so 
clearly and fully in the literature of the Hebrews the 
use of the term, the East, with its different meanings, 
in different circumstances and times, is remarkable. 
It is a fair illustration of the wonderful clearness with 
which the whole life of the Hebrews of old, their man- 
ners, customs, modes of speech and forms of thought, 
their country and themselves, are mirrored in their 
Scripture —a minuteness, a fulness, a faithfulness of 
national self-portraiture, that makes their literature such 

1 It would strengthen the argument that follows, here to 
add— in Judea: and, from an inquiry made as to the 
date, the plan of his Gospel, and the circumstances in which 
it was written, it seems to me that there are very strong rea- 
sons to think that it would thus imore exactly state the fact. 
But to draw out the evidence of this would lead far away, 
and the statement made in the text, the correctness of which 
will be generally conceded, so far suffices for my purpose, 
that this may be dispensed with. 


as it should be, since it is that of the people and the 
land that are the centre of all human memory. 

Second. The clear and thorough understanding of the 
position, against which this argument may be alleged, 
goes far to answer it. For the usage in question is not 
that of a man of the schools, writing in the artificial 
style of rhetoricians, but of a man of the people, who 
in this case chose to use local and colloquial terms, 
idioms of the popular speech. If so, the probability is 
strong indeed that general literature will not illustrate 
and verify his usage and meaning. Thus, in this 
country, some years since, a series of political letters 
were published in a volume called “Letters from Down 
East.” All understood by this phrase, the State of 
Maine ; but if, some thousands of years hence, this book, 
by some strange chance, shall have survived the mu- 
tations of states and of language, it is quite possible that 
all the learned geographies and histories of this time 
and nation, then extant, might then be searched in vain 
to find out what was meant by a phrase now so familiar 
to the lips of a part of our people, and through them 
known to the whole. 

Third. The literature referred to, as now extant, is 
by no means large. It may be said to consist of the 
Apocrypha, the New Testament, the writings of Philo 
and Josephus, and perhaps some small part of the 
Apocryphal Gospels.1_ Now, surely, it would not be 

* These would not come within the later of the termini 
before assigned to this literature, but it is hardly certain 
that any part of them belongs to it, and in other respects 


strange if the writings of a single English author should 
not furnish any illustration of some peculiar English 
phrase, yet there are English authors whose writings 
exceed in compass the whole of this literature. More 
than half of it is so purely of a didactic, moral, and 
religious kind, that it must in a great measure be laid 
out of the account. Almost all of it was written outside 
of Palestine, so that a local Palestinian usage, even were 
it more than a colloquial and popular expression, would 
not be found or referred to in it, except by rarest acci- 
dent, the merest chance. Thus, for these reasons, it is 
not to be looked for in the writings of Philo, nor in 
parts of the Apocrypha ascribed to Alexandrian Jews. 
It is also to be remembered that in most of the lands in 
which the Jews were found, St. Matthew’s names for 
Babylonia and Persia would not have been locally appro- 
priate ; and, that a Jew of Palestine could have found, 
in the Greek, names he might think more fitting, as 
more generally intelligible. 

In the New Testament there is but one place where to 
look for this usage; and that is in the enumeration by 
St. Peter of the countries from which there were Jews 
present in Jerusalem at the feast of Pentecost.1 Even. 
then as he was speaking to an assembly largely made 
up of men from foreign parts, it is by no means certain 
that he would use a local phrase, or, if he did, St. 
Luke may have translated this into the common speech: 

that date is so satisfactory, that it would be hypercritical 
to object to it on this account. 
t-Acts ii, 9, 10, 11. 


of the world. But the Apostle’s enumeration, though 
comprehensive, is not exhaustive. He neither mentions 
Babylonia, nor the great Jewish settlement beyond the 
Tigris, in Adiabene, the seat of the old Assyrian king- 
dom, to which King Agrippa said the Jews of Palestine 
looked so earnestly for aid in their great war with Rome. 
Perhaps, this was in both cases because the fact was so 
well known and apparent; for he mentions some coun- 
tries, the representatives from which must have been 
few indeed. He names Parthians and Medes from be- 
yond the Tigris; Elamites from near the southern part 
of the Country of the Two Rivers; dwellers in Meso- 
potamia, its northern part; but those of its great central 
region are not spoken of. Nor is there any mention of 
the country of Babylonia in the New Testament, save 
that of St. Matthew; though the name of the City of 
Babylon occurs in the Apocalypse, and in the First 
Epistle of St. Peter. 

The volumes of Josephus are freighted with mis- 
cellaneous lore, but the second proposition stated above 
almost forbids any hope of finding in them the popular, 
colloquial phrase of St. Matthew. And more than this, 
he could not have used it, for this decisive reason, which 
applies with equal force to Philo-Judeus: Jn their 
writings that have come down to us, they addressed 
the Roman world; and, in their time, with the Greeks 
and the fomans the Hast was the name for Syria. 

The conclusion, then, is, that the argument against 
the interpretation that has been given to St. Matthew’s 
terms, from the absence of similar usage in the Hebraic-- 


Greek literature referred to, is found, on examination, 
to have little or no appreciable weight. 

2. Next, let us consider the argument against this 
interpretation, in the fact that ancient tradition makes 
the Wise Men Arabs. In the second century, Jus- 
tin Martyr speaks of them as from Arabia.! Justin was 
born at Shechem, in Samaria, which might seem to give 
very especial weight to his opinion. ‘But, in history, 
language, and origin, the people of Samaria were dis- 
tinct from the Jews of Judea and Galilee, and the 
reasons given for St. Matthew’s usage by no means 
apply with the same force to the Samaritans.? 

1 Oj &0? AgaBiag Mayou..— Dial. cum. Tryph. Sec. 78, 102. 

2 Though not strictly in place here, the following note is 
too important to be omitted. Some may think, that if the 
explanation of St. Matthew’s terms herein maintained be 
correct, there would necessarily be evidence of this in the 

; Syriac Testament, because of the likeness of its language to 
that of the Palestinian Jews of the first century. If so, they 
do not clearly mark how strictly this theory is limited to the 
Jews of Judea and Galilee. The theory is, that the usage, 
which was coming in just before the exile, became an idiom 
of theirs after their return from the country of their exile, in 
consequence of all their relations with it. 

Of the area of such phrases the limits sometimes. are wide 
and vague; sometimes small and sharply defined. ‘The use 
of the East, for the State of Maine, with good reason so often 
referred to, aptly illustrates this also. It is colloquial in 
about two thirds of Massachusetts —a State somewhat 
smaller than Palestine — and in half of New Hampshire ; 
while in the Western parts of those states it is not common, 
Though at first the cause of this is not very apparent, some- 
what of geographical and historical explanation might be 
given of it; but the point here is the limitation only. 



More than this;— Justin was a Greek, the son of 
Priscus, the grandson of Bacchius, one of a colony 
planted in Samaria by the Emperor Vespasian; and his 
parentage makes it probable that he knew no language 
but his native Greek. If so, the mere fact that he was 
born in Samaria 

it is not certain that he grew up there, 
and he seems to have lived in Italy — hardly makes him 
a more decisive authority as to the meaning of a local 
phrase of Hebraic origin in the popular speech of Judean 
and Galilean Jews, than if he had been born in Athens, 
or in Ephesus, where he held his Dialogue with 

The Jew who furnished Celsus, in the second cen- 
tury, with some of his arguments against Christianity, 
calls the Wise Men, Chaldeans. “The Apocryphal Gos- 
pel of the Infancy speaks of them as foretold by Zo- 
roaster." These facts are, in themselves, of slight con- 
sequence, though they point in the right direction; and 

are mentioned here only as indications that from a 

* Evangelium Infantie, Chap. VII. Et factum cum natus 
esset Dominus Jesus Bethlehemi urbe Judex, tempore Hero- 
dis Regis; ecce, magi venerunt ex Oriente Hierosolymas, 
quemadmodum predixerat Zoradascht. And it came to 
pass when the Lord Jesus was born at Bethlehem, a city of 
Judea, in the time of Herod the King, Magi came from the 
East to Jerusalem according to the prophecy of Zoradascht 
(Zoroaster). See Jones on the Canon, Oxford, 1718, vol. 
ii, p. 172. The date of this Apocryphal Gospel is very 
uncertain. Some parts of it may be as old as the second 

century, others are thought to be. interpolations of a much 
later date. 


very early period there was that uncertainty as to what 
St. Matthew meant, which might well have arisen from 
his use of a local idiom, whose significance was clear 
and exact only to the Jews of Palestine, —an uncer- 
tainty easily accounted for by the fact that with the Fall 
of Jerusalem there began to open a wide and deep gulf 
of separation, dividing both Christians and Jews from 
the Holy Land. 

Some of the Fathers — Tertullian, Cyprian, Hilary, . 
Epishanius — thought, as Justin did, that the Wise 
Men were Arabians. But in this case, their authority 
is fairly counterpoised, and more, by the higher authority 
and very significant language of Chrysostom; who, in 
his comment on Matthew ii., though he could not have 
been ignorant of this tradition, again and again assumes 
the fact that the Wise Men were Persians, and as if it 
were a thing certain beyond all doubt; as when he says, 
“The Jews hear first from the language of Persia, what 
they would not hear from their own prophets ;” and 
again, “ Wherefore this double flight? that of the Wise 
Men to Persia? that of the Child to Egypt?” 

The former opinion may have arisen from the old use, 
so frequent in the Hebrew Scriptures, of the name, the 
East, for the Desert. This usage, though obsolete in 
St. Matthew’s time, was quite likely to mislead men, 
not natives of Palestine, and deeply wise, rather than 
critically learned, in the Scriptures. It might have 
originated, in those uncritical ages, even from the gifts 
of the Magi, as they were all products of Arabia. But 
they were not exclusively such; and they were all port- 


able articles of merchandise. Gold was a common gift, 
and frankincense was much used in Persia. “ Arabia 
was required to furnish annually to the Persian crown 
a thousand talents weight of frankincense; and there 
is reason to believe that this rare spice was largely 
employed about the Court, since the walls of Persepo- 
lis have several representations of censers, which are 
sometimes carried in the hand of an attendant, while 
sometimes they stand on the ground immediately in 
front of the king.”? Without a present, no Asiatic 
king, no satrap, no sheik even, is approached. Those 
gifts the Magi brought were such as any persons might 
have brought who sought kingly audience; and though 
they may point a conjecture, they determine nothing as 
to the country of the Wise Men. 

As Arabia was adjacent to Judea, this opinion may 
seem to have some countenance, from the fact, that to 
many the words of St. Matthew have seemed to imply 
that the Wise Men came very soon after the Nativity. 
Whether they do imply it, is very questionable. But, 
however this may be, the date of the Mystery of the 
Incarnation, and of the outshining of the Star, may 
have been that of the Annunciation. 

It may be thought, that both of the families of Abra- 
ham, the children of Ishmael as well as the children of 
Jacob, would have paid early homage to his Son; but 
while thé world-embracing symbolism of the worship of 
the Child thus shrinks into a family significance, it seams 


* Rawlinson’s Five Great Monarchies, Vol. LV. chap iii. 
page 164. 


inconsistent with the laws of the Kingdom of Grace, that 
this homage should have been paid by degenerate Arabs, 
who had departed farther from the Truth than some not 

of the blood of Abraham. . 

“ The Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the 
brightness of thy rising. . . . All they from Sheba shall 
come, they shall bring gold and incense.”* “The kings 
of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. . . . And he shall 
live, and to him shall be given of the gold of Sheba.” 
Some of the Fathers thought that these prophecies fore- 
told the Wise Men. If this were so, they must have 
been Arabians. Now, in a certain sense, to apply these 
prophecies to the Wise Men may be right. Men of 
high rank they were —forerunners and prophetic types 
of kings to come after them; in them the prophecy 
“kings shall come,” began to have its germinant fulfil- - 
ling ; and the words “he shall live” may be a prophetic 
allusion to Herod’s attempt to murder Jesus, as well as 
to his resurrection from the dead ; but the Wise Men 
were not kings; and there is one decisive reason why 
they could not have been those who were to come from 
Sheba with gold and incense, for in this very Gospel of 
St. Matthew our Lord speaks of Sheba as the South,? 
and his Evangelist says, the Wise Men were from the 
Far East. 

3. From the very old opinion that the Wise Men 
were Arabians, let us now turn to a very new notion, 
unknown to all antiquity — that the word in the second 
and ninth verses rendered the East, has there no local 

1 Isaiah lx. 8, 6; Psalm Ixxii. 10, 15. 2 Matt. xii. 42. 


significance whatever, and means the rising. “ Where 
is He that is born, for we have seen His Star in its 
rising ?” 

I premise its examination by saying, that if its cor- 
rectness could be conceded, the argument in Chapter 
First of this book, proving that the Wise Men were 
Persians, would remain just as before. Its demonstra- 
tion of that fact is not touched at all by this inter- 

But its correctness, or even its plausibility, cannot 
be conceded. It were to be wished, that those who in- 
vented it had carefully. considered and plainly told what 
this strange rendering means. They may suppose some 
astronomical significance in the term, as the rising of a 
planet or of a constellation before the sun, was a nota- 
ble fact in the ancient science of the stars. If such were 
the meaning, then there must have been a star known 
to these Persians as the Star of the King of the Jews 
and, some reason why an especial significance attached 
to its heliacal rising in that year: either of which con- 
sequences, if this be the notion, are sufficient to dis- 
credit it. 

It is more probable to suppose that they would have 
the Star’s “rising” taken as equivalent to its outshining. , 
Against this there are several reasons. 

First. If such be the meaning of the Greek, the 
way it is expressed is awkward and odd. 

Second. It has been the concurring opinion of all 
Christian ages that the words of the Wise Men express 
a sudden outshining of the Star, and this while the 


term Anatole, as used by them, has always been 
taken as having a local significance. — In the novel 
sense sought to be fixed upon it, the word, then, is 
superfluous ; and if so, it is the only superfluous word 
in St. Matthew. 

Third. If it means the rising, “we should expect 
to find aérov, if not here,” that is, in verse second, “ cer- 
tainly in verse ninth.” — Alford. 

Fourth. Because the antithesis between the . East 
and the place where the Child was born, “obviously 
bring out a local difference.” — Meyer. 

Fifth. Because this rendering “is in opposition to 
the apparently unanimous opinion of the Vulgate, Syriac, 
Coptic, and other ancient versions.” — Bishop Ellicott, 
Life of Christ, p. 79, n. If it be said, the theory 
that the word in question was a local name for Baby- 
lonia is also opposed to the ancient versions, it is to be 
said, in reply, the cases are neither the same, nor simi- 
lar. The strange rendering is diverse from the old, 
and cannot be harmonized with it. In all the old ver- - 
sions, some locality is denoted by their literal render- 
ing of the phrase, and the interpretation that marks a 
difference in the form of Anatole the second time it is 
used, unexpressed in those versions, gives it, in that 
case, no sense radically different from that of the ver- 
sions, or from its previous use, but only one that is 
more definite. 

Sixth. This strange rendering seems to have come 
wholly from the usage as to this term in classical Greek ; 
referring to which, it is said, “the phrase, in the 


East, would require the plural.” — Lange. This is the 
sole argument in its favor, and it seems a strong one 
until it is found that as to this term the usage in the 
Hebraized Greek dialect of Palestine was different from 
that of classical Greek. The word repeatedly occurs in 
the singular, with a local sense, in the Hebraized Greek 
of Josephus. His usage effectually disposes of this 
allegation, changing it from an argument into an erro- 
neous assertion. This rendering is in fact a rash, 
unwise innovation, with nothing to commend or de- 
fend it. 

In conclusion. If the interpretation herein main- 
tained be rejected, there is no interpretation of Anatole, 
as found in the second and in the ninth verses; that is, 
none of the difference in the significance of the word 
which the Evangelist. indicates by there changing its 
form. Each of the two forms points in the same 
direction, and to some region eastward of Palestine. 
The English, Latin, and other versions, express some- 
what of this sameness of meaning by rendering each in 
the same way, that is, as if the word had the same form 
in each place; and thus do not interpret the difference 
between its two forms at all. The interpretation herein 
set forth expresses their sameness and difference, gives 
to each an exact meaning, and explains the change in the 
form, and its significance. If it be rejected, then, of 
that which is characteristic of the form in the second 
and ninth verses, of its peculiar, especial meaning, there 
is no interpretation; there it stands as inexplicable as 
the words on the palace-wall to Belshazzar. 


It may be said, it is a solitary instance of such an 
idiom; but what does that really amount to, in this 
case, where we are as sure of the meaning as if there 
were twenty other examples of it. This may be illus- 
-trated by Genesis xiii. 1, where it is said, “ Abraham - 
went up out of Egypt into the South,” which seems 
very much like saying, he went up out of the South 
into the South. As he was journeying horthwards, 
some might conjecture that “the South” should be 
erased, and, the North inserted in its stead. Others 
might search through the Hebrew Lexicon for a word 
that would reconcile the seeming contradiction, and 
whose letters are so nearly like those. of the word for 
the South, that a careless copyist might have written 
one for the other—and what other critical devices 
might be thought of, it were hard to tell., And so, 
when the geography of Palestine was less minutely 
known than now, the matter must have rested. But 
when it is known that at the foot of the hill-country of 
Judea, between it and the desert, there is a strip of level 
and fertile land which is good pasture for flocks and 
herds when the uplands are brown and dry, it is at 
once probable that the herdsmen, whose homes were on 
the northern hills above it, gave to this plain the name 
of the South. Then it would be called so though ap- 
proached from the opposite quarter ; and by this natural 
hypothesis the usage is so well explained, that it is the 
accepted interpretation of it, and would be, were there 
no other verse in Hebrew Scripture to confirm it. 

Why not accept a similar course of reasoning as to 


St. Matthew’s phrases, which undoubtedly have some 
geographical sense, even though his usage stood alone? 
But it does not really stand alone. It does so, in the 
very scanty remains of Palestinian, Hebraic Greek, 
but it is a usage whose main features all appear in the. 
‘Hebrew Scriptures—in the writings of Isaiah, of 
Ezekiel, and in the Book of the Kings. 



Abarbanel the Jew. Born in Lisbon A. D. 1437; states that the con- 
junction of Jupiter and Saturn was the astrological sign for the 
Jews, 149. 

Abraham. In Chaldea, in the line of the ancient records preserved in 
his family, and in the Book of Genesis, 108. 

Alexander the Great. His entry into Babylon, 113. 

Alford. His theory as to the Star, 149, 150. 

Arabia. Use of the word in Hebrew Scripture, 38. 

Aramean. A name for the Hebrew dialect spoken by Syrian Jews after 
the Exile, 201. 

Aryan Race. Overspreads part of Asia, Europe, and America, 69, 70. 

Assyria. Sometimes known in Scripture as the North, 40-43. 

Astronomy of the Chaldeans. Its antiquity, 110, 111. 

Astrological Element in the Narrative, 166. 

Anatole. Its meaning; its two the Palestinian Greek of St. 
Matthew, 24; correspond to Mizrach, tlre Far-Hast, and Kedem, the 
Kast, in Hebrew, 221-226; and to their equivalents in later Hebrew 
or Aramean. See 226,note. Anatole in the singular with the article is 
translated in the rising by Wieseler, Ebrard, Hammond, Lange; and W. 
L. Alexander, Editor of Kitto Revised, says, by the latest critics. 
This innovation defends itself by the usage of classic writers, and the 
argument from thence is set aside by the references to the Hebraized 
Greek of Josephus in note, p. 225. Argument against it, with 
Meyer and Alford’s reasons for rejecting it, and Hllicott’s, based on 
the ancient versions, 237-240. Corresponding geographical use in 
Genesis of Kedem with the article, 39, note. St. Matthew’s use of. An- 
atole is like that of Anatolia in modern Greece for Asia Minor. Ac- 
cording to my theory, the use of Anatole in the singular for Babylonia 
was strictly limited to Jews of Galilee and Judea, 233 note. Reasons 
why it is now to be found only in St. Matthew, 226-233. For re 
mark as to Syriac Version see note, p 233. 

Babylon. Its antiquity, 110. Inhabited in the first Christian century, 49 


Babylonian Plain. Retains its importance after the decay of Babylon, 4% 
This, owing to the cities Seleucia and Ctesiphon, 48. The residence 
in St. Matthew’s time of multitudes of Jews, 49. Boundaries and 
description, 45, 46. Called The East, by the Jews, before the Hxile, 
39-44, Why this usage continued afterward, 47-51. Special reason, 
Seleucia. See p. 50, n. 

Balaam. His oracle of the Star Chaldean, aud so of special interest to 
the Magi, 128. 

Behistun. Rock—inscription of, 62. 

Berosus. His date of the Chaldean Dynasty in Babylon, 110. State- 
meut as to the crossing of the Syrian Desert by Nebuchadnezzar, 31. 

Bevan, W. L. The first to note the two forms of Anatole and their. 
relations to the Hebrew Mizrach and Kedem, 222. 

Cathedral of Cologne, 173. 

Classic ignorance, in the first century, of the Persians and Jews, 4, 5. 

Christianity. A system of facts, 145. 

Conjunction of Planets. Meaning of the Paes 146. Precedes the 
new Star, A. D. 1604; effect of this on the Astrologers at that day, 146, 
147. Kepler's Discovery of the Conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn, 
and of Mars, near the time of our Lord’s birth, 147,148. Sucha con- 
junction held by Astrologers a sign of great events in Judea, 150. 
Kepler’s Discovery little heeded for two centuries, 148. These con- 
junctions verified byyIdeler, by Schubert, 148, by Encke, and at the 
Royal Observatory of Greenwich, 153. Mistaken by Bishop Munter 
of Copenhagen (A. D. 1827) and others after him, for the Star of our 
Lord, 148, 149. Pritchard’s astronomical refutation of this error, 
153-156. Not held by Kepler, 156. The true use of his wonderful 
discovery, 157, 159. How, by means of these conjunctions, the Magi 
identified the Star of the King of tie Jews, 156-165. 

Correspondences in Scripture, 181. 

Cyrus. Foretold by name in the prophecy of Isaiah, 79. Date of his em- 
pire, 66. His Decree for the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem, 
119-126. See also p. 58. Epitaph on his tomb at Pasargade, 61. 

Daniel. The Decree of Cyrus historically impossible without him, 119- 
124 Intimation of his part in the procuring of this Decree, 123, 124. 
Reasons why not fully stated, 122. Sce also 125. Impression n ade 
upon the Magi by his character and fortune, 126. Were his prophe- 
cies preserved by them? 129-132. Magian belief in Sosiosh; wag 
this related to his prophecy of the Messiah? 125; see also 215. 
The words of the Magi in Jerusalem referred to the prophecy of 
Daniel, 135-137. Confirmation of this idea from the Syriac ver- 
sion, 137. 


Desert. West and South of Palestine, 29, 32. | 

Hagle. According to Zenophon the ensign of Persia, 57. Referred to 
by Isaiah, 57. 

Kast. Geographical use of the East, West, North, and South, 25-27; 
especially Asiatic and American, 25. Persian use of the West. 25. 
Roman use of the East for Syria, 27, 140, 232. The State of Maine 
called the Hast, 26, 51, 230, 233. Hebrews: how they named the 
four quarters of the world, 34, 35; familiar with tle use of the Nast 
as a geographical term, 34. The Patriarchs use it for the Syrian 
Desert, 35, 36; also for a region across the Great River, 36. Use of 
the term by the Israelites in Egypt, 36. All Arabia becomes known 
to them, 38; consequent change in the meaning of the East, 38; it 
comes to mean the Plain of the Euphrates and Tigris, 39. Reasons 
for this, 39, 40. Proof of this from Isaiab, Ezekiel, and Book of 
Kings, 43, 44. Description of the Great Plain known as the Kast, 
45,46. Reasons why the Jews continued to call it the Hast after 
the Mxile, 47-51; Babylon ceased to give its name to that region, 
50; no proper name for it in St. Matthew’s time, 50; special reason 
for this, the city of Seleucia. St. Matthew used its popular name, 
52. His terms the East, and the Far Hast, correspond to the Hebrew 
Mizrach and Kedem, 221-223. W. IL. Bevan the first to note this, 
222. The Greek and the Aramaic languages both spoken in Pales- 
tine, 223-225. The argument as good for the Aramaic as the Hebrew, 
226. This use of the East strictly limited to Palestinian Jews, 233. 
Why not found in the Septuagint, 226; in other Hebraic Greek liter- 
ature, 228-233; and especially not in Philo, or in Josephus, 232. 
Bearings of question, Did St. Matthew write his Gospel in Greek, 227 
Tradition that the Magi came from Arabia, 233; first mentioned by 
Justin Martyr; his opinion considered, 233-237. St. Chrysostom’s 
opinion that they came from Persia, 235. Use of the South for 
Arabia, in St. Matthew’s Gospel, 237. 

Far-Kast. Use of the phrase explained, 53, 54. Why St. Matthew 
could not say Magi of Persia, ‘54, nor of the Persians, 55, 56. Cyrus 
called by Isaiah “the Man from the Far-Hast,” 57, and the Persian 
eagle, ‘the ravenous bird” of the Far-Hast. 

Kuphrates and Tigris, 32. 

Enquiry of the Magi for the King of the Jews. Its peculiar form, 135; 
points to Daniel’s Great Prophecy of the ‘‘ Anointed Prince,” 136; of 
this the popular, ‘free translation would be the King, 136, 137. Con- 
firmation of this discovered in the Syriac version, 137. 

Faith, as intelligent as it is to the unbeliever, mvsterious, 187. 

Gcnesis. The third chapter of, the germ of the Christian doctrine. 209 


Gibbon. Quoted for his translation of words of Herodotus, so transla- 
ted by Rawlinson as to countenance his crochet that Magianism was 
of Seythie origin, 86. 

Harmonies of the Kingdom of Grace, 182. 

Hope of the Messiah in Syria and the East, Book VI. Importance of this 
expectation, 141. Testimony of Tacitus and Suetonius, 140. Proof 
that Giesseler, Neander, Ellicott concede too much in saying these 
Latin writers may have merely imitated Josephus, 141-143. Proof of 
this expectation from general. reasons, 141. Common to Assyrian as 
well as Syrian Jews, 144. Mode of communication between these by 
fire-signals, 144; see also 49. In Babylonia the Magi fully within 
the circle of this expectancy, 139, 144. 

Haug. His opinion as to the affinity of Sanscrit and Zend, 67; that the 
Zend is older than the Sanscrit, 68; that the struggle with idolatry in 
Iran may have lasted for centuries before the time of Zoroaster Spita- 
ma, 202; that certain religious ideas of the Jews were not borrowed 
from the Persians, 206; as to some Persian words in later Hebrew 
Scripture, 206. Bunsen’s opinion as to Dr.’ Haug’s researches in 
India, 206. 

Inscription. On the Rock of Behistun, 62. On the Tomb of Cyrus the 
Great, 61. On Parthian coins in the British Museum, 16. 

Inspiration of St. Matthew, Book X. The preceding argument as to his 
Historical and Geographical terms the same as if they had been found 
in Herodotus or Livy, 176. Inspiration an element of accuracy, 
178; bearing of thisupon the argument,-179; also, of the correspond- 
ences of the Kingdom of Grace, 181-184. 

Intercourse throughout Western Asia at an early day shown by the 
raid of Chedorlaomer, 113; see also Gen. xxxvi, 37, where ‘the 
river” is the Euphrates, Gen. xxiv, 10; xxviii, 5; Numbers xxii, 5; 
xxiii, 7. : 

Israelites. Always familiar with the use of the Hast as a geographical 
term, 34. Richness of their language in such descriptive terms, 221. 
How they named the four quarters of the world, 34. Changes in 
their use of the phrase the East, 33-51. 

Jews. Their intimate, continued knowledge of Persia and of Babylonia, 
10, 11, 56. Their great numbers in the first century in Babylonia, 
and constant religious and commercial intercourse with their country- 
men in Judea, 47-49. : 

Jonah. Of the same lineage with the people of Nineveh, 109. 

Josephus. References to, 19, 31, 43, 49, 53, 55, 58, 139, 141, 225, 

Kedem and Mizrach. Hebrew words for the East and the Far-EHast, 24. 
Their difference of meaning, and their usage, 221-223; found in the 


oldest Hebrew, 226; reason for thinking their equivalents were in 
the later Hebrew or Aramaic, 226; also in colloquial, Palestinian 
Greek, 226. Reason why this usage is not now to be found else- 
where than in St. Matthew, 226-232. Use of Kedem with the article” 
in Gen. x, 30, in a strictly geographical sense, 39. j 

Kepler. His genius for analogy, 147, and reverential spirit, 163. Dis- 
covers, October 17, A. D. 1604, a new Star; this Star preceded by 
conjunctions of planets; Kepler divines that the Star of our Lord 
might have been preceded in like manner, and rediscovers that Jupiter 
and Saturn, and also Mars, were in conjunction near the time of our 
Lord’s Birth, 146, 148. See Conjunction of Planets. 

Light. Ancient, oriental idea of this Klement, 73, 74. The manifoldness 
of this element revealed, 74. Symbolic use of this element, Light, ia 
the New Testament not, as Milman intimates, borrowed from the 
Zoroastrian religion, but originating in the first of Genesis and other 
Hebrew Scriptures, 204, 205; these anticipate the scientific discovery 
of the unity of forces in nature, 204. 

Magi. Their history imperfect, 95. Lost classic treatises as to them, 
list of these, 95. Lost twenty books of the Zendavesta, 99. Theit 
table of contents, 99, 100. With the one now extant, prayers and 
hymns combined, the Zoroastrian liturgy, giving the means of un- 
derstanding this ancient religion, 71. Rawlinson’s opinion, that 
Magianism was of Scythic origin and a late interpolation into the 
Persian creed, may have come from the word Magi not being in 
the Zendavesta; his only shadow of an argument for this notion, 
for which there is no shred of classic or oriental authority, is 
the usurpation of Smerdis, his confounding of the Persian doctrine 
and usages as to the element light with Scythic element worship, and his 
misunderstanding of Herodotus, as to which see Gibbon. The name 
Magi, like Persia, is a Greek, not a Persian name, and yet originated 
in a word found in the Zendayesta, 97. Explanation of the revolt of 
Smerdis, 103. Fire, as a religious symbol, known to Zoroaster 
Spitama, 76; who refers to ancient customs and words, 202, and 
lived at least five centuries before Cyrus, the Persian, 201. Office of 
the Magi, 97,98; their Culture and Art, 98,99. Testimony to their 
character, from Philo, 16, 95. Wisdom of Solomon, (this seems to re- 
fer to the Magi, but there may be doubt as to this,) Justin Martyr, 
Plato, Diogenes Laertius, Dion Chrysostom, and others, 96, 97. 
Distinguishing characteristic of the Magi, 103, 104. See also 170. 
Causes of their moral eminence, 102. Use of the term by Sophocles, 
11. Anecdote told by Seneca as to Magi in Athens, 75—this 
may give something of his idea of Magi, but he lived too long 


after Plato to be even good second-hand authority in this matter. 
Magic charged against the Magi, Pliny’s statement, 100, 101. Sir 
Walter Raleigh’s opinion as to this charge, 100. See alsol01. Their 
astrological ideas, 167-170. Magian rites early known as far West as 
Jerusalem, 112. Their intercourse with the learned Chaldeans, 
113-114. The Magian mind liberalized by the conquests of Cyrus, 
1.5, 116. They approve his Decree for the rebuilding of the Tem- 
ple, 126. Their reverence for Daniel, and knowledge of his proph- 
ecies, 126-134. The greatest astronomical discovery made by Magi, 
170. The inquiry of Magi for the King of the Jews, evidence 
of their knowledge of the prophecy of Daniel, 135-i37. The Magian 
Symbol of the Evil One, a Serpent, 94. The Magi in Bethlehem, pro- 
phetic types; and representatives of the Wise and Good of the 
World, 192-194. - 

Later different and disreputable use of the name Magi in the Roman world. 
Historical explanation of this, 2-6; illustrations of it from Arnobius, 
Ignatius, Augustine, Abelard, 6, 7. Character of those who assumed 
this name, 5, 6. Shown from Philo Judeus, 14-18; from Tacitus, 
12-14. St. Luke’s use of the word in this sense, 8-10. St. Matthew’s 
use of the word illustrated by the terms Brahmin and Mandarin, 1, 2. 
The word mistranslated in the English version, and correctly retained 
in the Vulgate, 1. Argument to prove St. Matthew used the word 
Magi in its true, ancient, honorable, Persian sense, Book I. 

Matthew, St. Not like St. Luke familiar with the Roman world, 9. 
Wrote with immediate reference to Palestinian Jews, 229 n. His 
Gospel written in both Hebrew and Greek, 227. His use of house- 
hold words, 52. See also 46. 

Medes. The oldest known and largest branch of the people known to 
us as Persians, 56. The distinction between them known to the Jews 
and marked in their writings, 56, 57, referred to in the epitaph of 
Darius, 56. Statement of Herodotus that anciently the Medes were 
called Aryans, 55, that ‘the Magi’?’—like the Levites in the twelve 
tribes of Israel—were one of the six tribes of the Medes, 57. The 
ten tribes of Israel colonized iu cities of the Medes, 117. 

Mesopotamia. Extent of the term, 33. 

Messiah. See Hope of, in Syria and the Hast. 

Mystic significance of the gifts of the Magi, 172. 

Nebuchadnezzar. His crossing the Syrian Desert noted by Berosus, 31. 

Nothing comes by chance in the Kingdom of Grace, 194. 

Ormazd. The Persian name for the Creator, its meaning, 72. Fire, his 
creative agent, 73, 74. See also 82-85. 

Palestine. Its military importance to the Persian’ Empire, 119. 


Parsees. The modern disciples of Zoroaster in India; their history and 
high character, 67. Tenacious of their religion, 64. Why they 
ascribed their sacred books to Abraham, 202. 

Parthians. They did not give their name to Iran, 55. Under the Par- 
thians the Magi retained their rank, 3. See also16n. In the first cen- 
tury the haughtiest military power in the world next to the Romans, 
19. Legend on their coins, 16. Herod’s great fear of the Parthians, 
and his danger from them in his youth, 19. The Magi, as men of 
rank, among the Parthians, safe in Jerusalem, 19. 

Persia. The Greek and European name for the country, always callod 
by its inhabitants Iran, the Aryan land, 54. Statement of Herodotus 
that anciently the Medes were called by all nations Aryans, 55. No 
appropriate name in Greek for Iran in St. Matthew’s time, 54, 55. 
Sketch of Persian history, 66, 67. 

Persian Religion, The Persians not classed in Scripture with the 
heathen, 80. Schlegel’s opinion, 80; yet their religion imperfect, 89, 
and containing an element of error, 80. Evidence of their belief ina 
Creator of darkness in distinction from the Creator of Light in words 
in Isaiah, 78-80, in words of Zoroaster, 81. Dr. Haug, who states his 
reasons for what he asserts with such candor as to give proper means 
for judging of them, thinks that Dualism was not an article of the 
Zoroastrian creed; but it seems clear in these words frem the Zen- 
davesta as translated by him. Yet, though Ahriman, Creator of Evil, 
seems the equal of Ormazd, Creator of Good, in the Zoroastrian creed, 
in the religion he seems in fact inferior; proof of this, 82. Persian 
idea of the element Light, and explanation of their worship before the 
fire, 72-76. How this fire was prepared, 74. Every good thing rep- 
resentative of the divine glory, 76, 77. The Monarch, Pontiff, and 
Representative of the Divine Ruler, 77. This im part the explanation 
of the worship of the Wise Men in Bethlehem, 77, 90, 91. Intermix- 
ture of idolatry in the Persian Religion, 89. Doctrine as to angels, 
78, 85, 214. Redeemer to corne. See Sosiosh. The Zoroastrians 
looked forward to a golden age, while others, except the Hebrews, 
only looked back to one, 92. 

Persians’ Character, 59-65. Their cheerfulness, 82. Their records, 61, 
62, and rock-inscription at Behistuu, 61, 62. Art, Architecture, and 
Science, 62, 63, 99. Their King-worship explained, 77. 

Philo Judeeus. Sketch of his life, 14. His testimony to the Persian 
Magi, 15, 16, 95, 96. Contrast of these with the impostors known in 
the Roman Empire as Magi, 14-17, see especially note on this page; 
other references, 49, 50, 52, 227, 232. 

Plain of the Euphrates and Tigris. foe ae 45, 46. 



Pritchard, secretary of the Royal Astronomical Society. His astronome 
ical refutation of the theory that the Star of our Lord was a conjunc- 
tion of Planets, 153. 

Rab-Mag. The title of a Chaldean official present at the capture of 
Jerusalem. Sir Henry Rawlinson doubts if there be any reference in 
this to the Magi, 112. 

Relation of Hebrew and Persian Religions. Three opinions as to this: 
first, 200-203; second, 203-2017 ; third, 237-245. Dr. Haug’s opinion, 
206. Bunsen’s, 206. Persian. words in Hebrew Scripture, 206. 
Zoroastrianism not the source of the New Testament imagery drawn 
from the element Light, 204, 205. Persian and Hebrew idea of the 
Evil One compared, 209-213. Of Angels, 213-215. Of the Resur- 
rection, 214, 213. 

Raphall, Dr. His admirable history of the Jews, 48. 

Raleigh, Sir Walter. His opinion of the science of the Magi, 100. 

Seleucia. Bearing of the independence of this Greek city on the use by 
St. Matthew of the name, the Kast, for the Plain of the Huphrates, 50. 

Shinar.. The oldest name for the Southern Plain of the Euphrates, 
the oldest gathering place of men, the site of the Tower of Babel and 
of Babylon, 108, 46, 50. The Star of our Lord there first seen by 
human eyes, 53. 

Sosiosh. The name of the Redeemer looked for by the Persians. An- 
tiquity of this beiief, 92. Light the instrument of his mission, 92, 93. 
To bring in “life everlasting,” 93. Possibly a reminiscence of the 
promise recorded in Gen. iii, 93, 94. To be born in the family of 
Zoroaster, 132. Three Prophets to come, of whom he would be the 
last, 133. Remarkable change in the course of time in this belief, 215. 

Star of Our Lord. Preceded by three Conjunctions—see this Title—of 
the planets Jupiter, and Saturn, and also a fourth together with 
Mars, 145-148. Astrological belief that the conjunction of Jupiter 
and Saturn was a sign portending great events in Judea, and most 
of all when occurring, as did these, in the Fiery Trigon—see that 
Title—which happens only once in 800 years, 149, 150; see also 146, 
note 2. By these planetary sigus the Magi identified the new Star as 
that of the King of the Jews, 157-165. Their words refer to Daniel's 
prophecy of a King, as it is rendered in the Syriac version, 135-137. 
Their belief in such a Star originated in the Chaldean prophecy of 
Balaam, 128. 

Syriac Version. Its rendering of Daniel’s Great Prophecy, 137. 

Tacitus. His ignorance as to the origin, morals, and usages of the Jews, 
4, His statement that an Empres# was banished from Rome on the 
charge of interrogating Magi. 5. His record of the trial of Libo, 


(A. D. 14,) for the same crime, 12-14. His testimony to the Jewish © 
presentiment of the Messiah, 139-143. 

Temple. Decree for the rebuilding of, 119-126. Prayers there to be 
said for the King and people of Persia forever, 58. Collections taken 
up annually among the Jews of Babylonia for the temple-service, 49: 
Explanation and defence of the statement of Herodotus, denied by 
Rawlinson, that the Persians had no temples, 102. Thus illustrated 
and confirmed by similar language of Fraser as to the Parsees, 102-3 

Ten Tribes. Oolonized in towns of the Medes, 117. 

Themistocles. Initiated into the order of the Magi, 131. 

Tigris. Curious remark of the Magi as to this river, 32. 

Trigon. The note 146, should thus continue. Astrologers divided the 
Zodiac into sections called the fiery, earthly, aerial, aqueous Trigons. 
1. Aries, Leo, Sagittarius. 

2. Taurus, Virgo, Capricornus. 

3. Gemini, Libra, Aquarius. 

4, Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces. 

Saturn may be in Conjunction—see that Titlhe—with Jupiter every 
twenty years or so, butin the Fiery Trigon, astrologically the great one, 
only after periods of 800 years, for it rounds its course in about that 
time. The four Conjunctions took place as Saturn was about entering 
the Fiery Trigon, and were near the time of our Lord’s birth, 148. In 
the coincidence of these events is the explanation of how the Magi knew 
his Star. There was no miracle in that; none is named; none was 
needed. Comparing the planetary wonders before the new Star he 
himself beheld with those earlier ones, and pronouncing those the 
greater, Kepler had no doubt the planets and the Star warned the 
Magi “ex ipsorum regulis hodie extantibus de maxinus rebus et totius 
mundi renovatione universale ” according to rules of theirs existing to 
this day, of the universal renovation of the world. Joannis Kepleri, 
Astronomi Opera Omnia, Frankfort, 1863. De Nova Stella, chap. 
XXVi, p. 13d. 

Zendavesta. Meaning of the term, 71 and note. Its antiquity, 201. 
See also 131. Its discovery by Anquetil Du Perron, 261. 

Zend Language. Older than the Sanscrit, 68. 

Zenophon. His use of the word Arabia, 32. 

©ke Wise Men: 




WE place at the head of our notice of this book, by the 
request of the writer, this opinion of his late brother, 

the eminent metaphysician, well known to the Christian 

“This book throws much and satisfactory light upon a 
hitherto obscure and unsettled subject. The title, however, 
fails to give an adequate idea of the richness and extent of its 
contents. Its careful reader, especially one who takes an in- 
terest in the origins of human thought and belief, will not fail 
to find himself rewarded with instruction of a very rare kind.” 

We also call attention to these words of 
ABEL STEVENS, D.D., LL.D., the Historian of Methodism. 

“Tt shows thorough historical knowledge of the period and 
localities of its theme, and extraordinary critical power, with 
equal candor in the treatment of the difficulties of the subject. 
None of these are evaded. This unusually interesting and im- 
portant book, though suited to the highest critical demands, is 

well adapted to the popular mind, and should be in our 
Sunday-school libraries and families, It proves that the faith 
of the Church is as intelligent as it is, to the unbeliever, 
mysterious; ” 

¥. P. THOMPSON, D.D., LL.D., the Learned Egyptologist. 

“The author has exhausted the historical and scientific learn- 
ing upon his subject. His book establishes the historical 
reality of what many regard as only a poetic legend; ” 

And to this frankly honorable and noteworthy statement 
of Dr. DeEms, in his admirable ‘‘ Lire or Jesus :” 

“This book is the first successful attempt that I have seen 
to clear up this pilgrimage ; after reading it I canceled what 
I had before written on the subject.’’—Wote on page 46. 

A Readable Book for All. 

The Publishers believe that learned books need not, neces- 
sarily, be dull or obscure. It is trne that common readers 
generally turn from sucly books; but it is because so many of 
them are written as if they were meant only for scholars. We 
think the time has come when the historical and doctrinal 
questions touching Christianity ought to be, and can be, so 
treated that the people can pass upon them intelligently; 
and that it would help the truth, and make scholars more 
thoughtful and more wise in their thinking, if they more felt 
they were addressing the sober sense of the people. The writer 
of this hook has steadily kept in view ‘ the silent yet ever in- 
quiring common mind;” and has tried to put all his readers 
in a position to judge of what he says. Any person of or- 
dinary intelligence can understand ‘his book; and if ow 
ministers will give the assurance that it is not beyond the 
common capacity, they will find that it will be read, and read 
with interest and with profit. The way to shut out bad books 
is to encourage the reading of those that are good, 

Difficulties as to the Second Chapter of St. Matthew. 

How did the Magi know the star was the star of the King of 
the Jews? A great astronomer opened the way to answer this 
question more than two hundred years ago, and at last the 
answer has been clearly drawn out. How came the tyrant to 
give such honor to strangers asking a question so provoking 
his wrath ? By pointing to the adjacent Parthian Power, by 
briefly proving that under its rule in Persia the Magi held on 
to their old rank, and by laying his finger on a fact in the 
youth of Herod before unnoted in this connection, Dr. Upham 
gives a well-proven answer to this difficulty. So also to the 
caviling of Strauss and others at this chapter, as countenancing 
astrology, or divination by the stars. But while these and 
other questions were not fully and clearly answered, many 
came to regard this chapter as the first Legend of Christianity ; 
and the venerable Dr. Tholuck well said, of “The Wise Men:” 
“This book ought long since to have been written.” The 
Duke of Somerset, in a recent book republished in this country, 
which professes to give ‘the opinions now prevalent among 
the cultivated classes” in England, says, they “feel themselves 
justified in discarding this portion of the Gospel from authentic 
history.” Stanley, Dean of Westminster, in a paper read be- 
fore an association of clergymen, gives it as his opinion “ that 
the truth of the Gospel History is now more widely doubted 
in Europe than at any time since the conversion of Constan- 
tine.” In view of such facts, the clearing up of this chapter is 
more important than the finding of the Moabite stone. 

Dr. Norton’s Rejection of this Chapter from the Gospel. 

In the Unitarian controversy, by the side of Dr. Channing 
stood Dr. Norton, Professor of Sacred Literature in Harvard 
University, a man whose rare scholarship was acknowledged 
by the critics of both hemispheres. Dr. Norton, though of a 
school of criticism then regarded by its orthodox opponents ag 

destructive, was of a reverential spirit, and his opposition to 
the Transcendental Infidelity is to be held in remembrance. 
Yet in his work on the Genuineness of the Gospels, Dr. 
Norton spoke of this chapter as “a strange mixture of 
astrology and miracle;” and in his Translation of the Gos- 
pels, published in two octavos at Boston, 1862, he degraded 
this chapter from its place in the Gospel into an Appen- 
dix to the Notes in his second volume. This was Dr. 
Norton’s dying challenge to the Orthodox. Translating its 
twenty-first verse, his pen stopped forever; the other two 
verses were translated by another. To this challenge the 
theological schools of Princeton, Yale, and Andover, with 
whom much of his life was a conflict, ventured no reply. 
England and Germany gave them no real help, and they 
answered not a word. 

During that long controversy we, as a Church, had no 
trouble with that Rationalism, or spirit of unbelief, which is 
now very common; nor have we ever suffered from it at any 
time hitherto, nor do we suffer now; and yet we are firmly 
persuaded that in the future we can only be secure from it by - 
great earnestness in Christian work. While some Christians 
crowd on the walls to gaze on the new engines brought for the 
destruction of Zion with an eagerness of curiosity that looks, 
‘to her assailants, like applause, and tends neither to quench 
their conceit nor cool their zeal, it the more becomes our 
Church to welcome every thing that defends the Bible and 
opens more of the wisdom of the Word of God. In this spirit 
we have acceded to the wish of some of our ministers and 
laymen, that we should bring out an edition of this book, to- 
gether with another by the same writer, ee we earnestly 
commend them to all Christians, 

805 Broadway, New York. 



I have no hesitation in saying, of “The Wise Men,” it is a remark- 
able production—of remarkable excellence, I mean. It is learned, 
original, instructive, and most suggestive. The dissertation on the 
East and the Far East is important, clear, and,I think, accurate. The 
chapter on the Persians must have the highest interest for readers of every 
class ; and the application of it at the end, in the argument respecting 
the worship the Magi paid to Christ, is to my mind triumphant and 
conclusive. The chapters on the connection between the Magi and the 
Chaldeans, and the Magi and Daniel, open evidence for the inspiration 
of the Scriptures which is ina great measure new. * * * The 
book exhibits not only learning and talent, but that higher thing, genius. 
There is hardly a page on which we are not startled by something strikingly 
original, while at the same time leaving wpon the mind an impression of its 
profound truth. Scriptural ideas are set in a new light. Passages in the 
Gospels, which have been passed over as having little interest, as well 
as many similar parts of the Old Testament, are presented in sucha 
way, and in such connections, as to give them a power and a freshness 
unpercewwed before. Whoever reads this book must acquire a new interest in 
the study of Scripture. 

The subject discussed presents a field on which few have ventured, 
and to a certain class of minds there may be suggested the question: 
How is the essential Christian truth concerned with our knowing who 
the Wise Men were? The reading of the book at once supplies the 
answer. There is a deep interest in connecting the Messianic idea with 
nations other than the Jewish; in showing that primitive revelation, 
though specially preserved in the religious history of one people, sent its 
early rays far beyond their narrow bounds, and that the advent of a re- 
deeming Messiah, was in fact a world idea. It is this especially that gives 
to the third chapter, in connection with that on the relation of the 
Persian to the Jewish religion, a transcending importance for all who 
believe in a true historical kingdom of God on earth. 



Mzssrs. Epirors: Will you allow me to call attention to a little book 
entitled “‘ The Wise Men,” by Dr. F. W. Upham. Not only is the subject 
oriental, but the book-is also, to a singular degree, in its substance, breadth, and 
spirit, an oriental product. I know not that Dr. Upham has ever even trav- 
eled in the Hast, but his book leaves the impression of its having been written 

by one who has resided there. This Magian aroma doubtless results from 
his thorough study of the subject, and from a consequent nice and 
delicate apprehension of things very remote in time and place from all 
our common spheres of thought. The subject itself, in its relations to 
Christ in history, is interesting and important. Who were the Magi? 
If we consider them as belonging to the class so strongly condemned 
by Philo and by Roman writers, the whole scene, as narrated by Mat- 
thew, is incomprehensible. If, on the other hand, as Dr. Upham en- 
deavors to show, they were Persians, then the scene is harmonious, 
credible, and beautiful. It shows that in those distant regions and 
ancient times, and outside of Israel, Christ was the true light that 
lighteth every man that cometh into the world. The sixth chapter gives 
a new interest to the remarkable life and history of the prophet Daniel. 
* * * Tt is a work of Biblical literature in its true and best sense; 
and every minister, or intelligent layman, who loves the study of the 
Scriptures, will find a rich reward in its careful perusal—™. Y. 


We wish to express our sense of refreshment at the appearance of a 
little book written by a scholar and profound thinker. It is modest and 
condensed in style, but full of information and suggestion. * * * 
The author reduces the expressions (in the narrative of Matthew) for 
the ‘‘ East” from a vague to a specific import. In a very masterly and 
convincing manner he shows that the plural and singular avataAdv 
and dvatod7 are not used in an indiscriminate way, but conform to the 
Hebrew Mizrach and Kedem, and are the Far East and the East, and 
that these were to the Jews of Matthew’s day geographical designations, 
the Far East representing the Medo-Persian country beyond the 
Zagros mountains, and the East, Babylonia. * * * Apart from the 
main argument, we prize the volume for its healthy tone, its common 
sense, its true manliness as it deals incidentally with the questions of 
inspiration and interpretation. There has been such a confined atmos- 
phere of pseudo-philosophy around us of late on these matters, the car- 
bonic acid of diseased breathings and sulphuretted hydrogen of undi- 
gested learning, that it is a great relief to reach the oxygen again. 

We commend Professor Upham’s chapter, on ‘“‘ The Relation of the 
Persian and Hebrew Religions,” to that profound historian, Agassiz. It 
may lead him to be a little more modest in his statements as to Jewish 
traditions.*—W. Y. Evangelist, Jan. 20, 1872. 

* Undoubtedly the Chancellor refers to-words in the oration, a few weeks be- 
fore, at the Humboldt Centennial at Boston. This was widely read, the eulo 


Among religious American works we can recall but few which, while 
preserving the severity of their scholarship and the solidity of their 
thought, are adapted to the intelligent reading public; such, for ex- 
ample, as ‘‘ The Interior Life,” by Professor Thomas C. Upham, a book 
which obtained a wide circulation in our own denomination some years 
ago, and still finds place between the Bible and the 4 Kempis of many a 
devout Methodist. 

A monograph from the pen of Dr. Francis W. Upham, a younger 
brother of the above-mentioned venerable scholar, deserves to take 
rank among the very best of the class of books to which we have just 
alluded. Its topic is religious; the inquiry evinces protracted study and 
profound learning ; yet it isso far a popular book that no intelligently 
religious person can fail to read it with delight. We know of a young 
lady, claiming no more than an average capacity for reflection, who 
affirms that, to her surprise, her attention did not flag through the 
earlier chapters—in which the argument is developed—and that she 
fairly held her breath for interest as she read the concluding pages. On 
account of this rare adaptation, and of other combinations of merit, 
some of them equally rare, this treatise deserves a place in our standard 
religious literature ; and as the works of the senior Upham were widely 
read by our Church people, we could wish that this production of his 
drother may also receive a welcome proportioned to its excellence. The 
latter possesses the simplicity, the luminousness of the former, and an 
endowment of genius distinctively his own. His book, though by no 
means voluminous, evinces a freshness and wealth of thought suggest- 
ive of a well-nigh exhaustless mental reservoir, and a tendency of its 
thought-currents to flow out in self-discovered channels. * * * 

Throughout this inquiry we are conscious of being led by a guide 
endowed with rare spiritual illumination, discernment into the Script- 
ure, and a skill of collation and interpretation of its texts such as no 
writer has possessed —none that we can now recall—since Robertson 
of Brighton left us his wonderful sermons. * * * Thoroughly evan- 
gelical, it is thus mentioned in a Review by Professor Brigham, one 
of the most learned of Unitarian scholars: “‘ Even to those whose 
faith is different, the reading of a treatise so reverent, so wise, and so 
gentle in its spirit, cannot be without profit.”—Christian Advocate. 

gist being as well knownas him heeulogized. After stating what Humboldt did 
for science, he tried to shield his friend from the charge of Atheism. Pressed 
by the difficulty of this, he seems to have forgotten the many learned clergy 
who were there to show their appreciation of science, and did not expect such 
stuff as this: Humboldt ‘had too much regard for truth, and knew too well the 
Arian origin of the traditions collected by the Jews, to give his countenance to 
any creed based on them.” 

REV. C. H. BRIGHAM, (Unitarian,) 

* * ® The union of the critical faculty with a devout im- 
agination is not common in our time. Yet occasionally we meet with 
writers in whom the critical faculty is aided rather than hindered by the 
imagination, and whose sight is made insight by the soaring of their 
thought. This possible union of devout imagination with scientific 
analysis, without injury to critical candor, is proved very strikingly in a 
small book just published on “‘ The Wise Men of the East.” 

* * %* The legal training of the author shows itself in the 
clearness of statement, the arrangement of the argument, the steady 
logical progress, the accurate references which give chapter and verse 
for every citation, and the judicial calmness with which the work goes 
on. In this respect the book resembles the famous book of Dupin, on 
“The Trial of Christ.” Every thing here is well considered. There is 
not 2 rash or random word. With a wealth of research, with notes as 
full and as rich in variety as the text is close to the subject, the im- 
pression is always of sincere work; that all is for the illustration of the 
subject, and nothing from the vanity of authorship. 

The second chapter of the volume is an exceedingly close and ingen 
ious discussion of the meaning of the word dvatoAév by which Matthew 
characterizes the place from which the Magi came. * * * If 
patient pleading and the collation of historic and archeological facts can 
establish so nice a proposition, an excellent prima facie case has 
‘certainly been made out. The argument, too, is justified by the use of 
language in prophecies of the Hebrew Bible. * * * 

The orthodoxy of the writer does not, that we can see, prevent his 
impartial examination of the story, his appreciation of its difficulties, or 
his admission of the objections against it. He could not treat a classic 
myth more fairly. * * * 

This volume will be, to all who read it in sympathy with its faith, 
most interesting and fascinating. It belongs to a class of which we have 
too few specimens in our life of sensation and intellectual conceit.— 
Christian Examiner, No. cclxxvi, pp. 259-270. 

From an Editorial in ‘‘ Zion’s Herald.’’ 


Under this title, Professor Francis W. Upham, LL.D., of New York, 
has recently issued a little volume of more than ordinary fascination. 
Its key-note is struck in its opening sentence: ‘There is a spirit that 
believes, and yet inquires.” It is devoted to an investigation of the visit 
of the Wise Men to Jerusalem in search of the King of the Jews,. The 

author well says that this wonderful pilgrimage will be none the less in- 
structive for being better understood. Even the most elaborate Life of 
Christ, or most extended commentary, can scarcely more than hint at 
the varied proofs of the historical character of the Magian story. Only 
in a special monograph, like the present, can the event be considered 
in all its bearings, and the ages, and languages, and literatures be 
made to give in their strangely confluent testimonies. 

Professor Upham is the youngest brother of Dr. Thomas ©. Upham, so 
well known as the author of a system of Mental Philosophy, and other 
works. His father was for several years a member of Congress from 
New Hampshire. A brother, of note as a judge in the same State, died 
last year. He was himself educated for the legal profession. His legal 
training has admirably fitted him for the task of weighing evidence, har- 
monizing discrepancies, and summing up opposing arguments. * * * 

From a Critique in the Christian Intelligencer. 

Ancient tradition makes the wise men Arabs. And Dr. Lange, in his 
great Commentary—the most recent exegesis of the Bible—says: “‘ The 
particular part of the East from which they came cannot be deter- 
mined.” Dr. Upham has satisfactorily demonstrated their nationality, 
and the geographical region from which they came. * * * 

As a whole, the work in style, method, and interest, ranks among the 
finest productions of English classical literature. It is a model for in- 
vestigations of the kind. No one can read it without feeling a new in- 
terest in the Bible and the Saviour it reveals. 

The Watchman and Reflector. 

The first question, of course, is that which the title indicates, Who 
were these men? The answer is decisive, emphatic, and proven: 
Magi from Persia. The reasons for the answer are drawn out with 
wonderful clearness. So far the simple words lead the way. But in 
order that such a visit from Persian Magi should seem credible, it was 
necessary to go farther yet. Accordingly the character and religion of 
the Persians are briefly but graphically portrayed. Here the author 
shows a research and power of analysis unsurpassed by any of the 
scholars of the Old World. * * * No one who takes it up will 
willingly lay it down till he has seen the end. Z. 

The Evening Post. 

It exhibits a scholarship elegant, searching, profound. It evinces the 
rare quality of an acute analytic power allied with the imagination, Its 

style, is flowing, elegant, musical. The subject is treated from a 
position of “orthodoxy ;” but mild, gracious, not forbidding, character- 
ized by the spirit of untrammeled inquiry, and the enthusiasm of belief ; 
by power and freshness of thought, and by adoration. 

The Hartford Post. 

If a pot of old coin is dug up in the ruins of some forsaken city, the 
telegraphic wires quiver round the world, announcing the great discovery. 
But here is a discovery of quite another kind !—the solution of a historic- 
al and religious mystery. It is armounced so quietly that we do not 
realize what a great fact this is. * * * This book meets the 
enemy in the gate. We recall our childish impressions of this Pil- 
grimage—our more mature ideas were not much better. We recall 
our very picture of the Magi; of the bowed forms of three giant-like old 
men; men-of little account ; a sort of Fakirs or fortune-tellers wander- 
ing from avery great but indefinite distance, lonely, humble, tattered, and 
forlorn, in their long, dusty, graceless and travel-stained gowns, turbaned 
and sandaled ; wandering, they know not whither, to find the King of the 
Jews. Who were they? Whence came they? How could they learn 
of the King of the Jews by a star? and what was the King of the 
Jews to them? What the book seeks to prove comes out point by 
point, till nothing is left to ask for. This old story of the Magi is made 
alive again, as with felicitous touch, and in brilliant coloring, Dr. 
Upham paints for us picture after picture, till we feel that these 
grand old Persians stand before us, and that the manners, religion, and 
h’story of the East are in harmony with this pilgrimage. * * * J¢ds 
seldom that learned people take the trouble to bring things within the 
comprehension of the common people, but this is a book for the people, and 
they feel it magnetically. Its sentences are like new coins, just struck 
from the mint, the lines well cut, clear, and distinct. Any one can see 
the thought, yet it is often so deep that the longer it is looked into the 
deeper it seems—as this, ‘“ Christianity is often said to be a system of 
truths, but even its most mysterious truths are facts.” A third or fourth 
reading yet brings out something new. As with the flight of a Parthian 
arrow, it takes us into the East. The interest deepens from chapter to 
chapter, and the last, “‘On the Hebrew Religion,” is the best of all. 
The style has passages of wonderful eloquence. It flows like a swift 
river, deep and full, yet clear as crystal. * .* * 

In the light of this unique book we read the thrilling story of the 
coming of the Wise Men as we never read it before; and in the still 
night we look with new wonder and awe into the blue depths above, and 
wish we knew which of all these glittering orbs was the one created to 

“herald through all worlds, and date through all time,” the advent of 
Him who was the Maker of all the worlds. 

The Catholic World. Z 

A book written with sound and solid learning, and originality of 

Congregational Quarterly. 

The book is a model of its kind. While it explains a mystery, it does 
so in so pleasing a manner as to captivate the reader. 

Methodist Quarterly Review. 

Professor Upham has been singularly felicitous in concentrating a 
large amount of new knowledge and fresh criticism upona very old and 
difficult question. This little monograph is not only an original contri- 
bution to Biblical literature, but a fascinating book for the inquiring 

The Examiner. 

The book holds the reader with a wonder that so much solid and 
varied information can be gathered about a single fact of the record. Jts 
conclusive answer of one difficulty shows how a great number of objections 
now urged against the sacred narrative may, by deeper study, become 
strong defenses. 

Letter to the Author from tlic late 

#irofessor Morse. 

My Derar Sir: 

I cannot refrain from expressing to you my great gratification in 
the perusal of your profound, yet clear, investigation of that most 
interesting event in Scripture history, the visit of the Wise Men 
ofthe East to the infant Saviour. The narrative by the Evangelist 
Matthew doubtless suggests to many minds certain difficulties, perplex- 
ing especially to astronomers, in regard to the new and peculiar star ; 
but these difficulties, I have no doubt, are perfectly solvable, and cer- 
tainly in regard to the country whence the Magi came, and why they 
were directed to come to Jerusalem, and how they came, your masterly 
research on these points leaves nothing further to be desired. Accept 
my warmest congratulations. 

With sincere respect, 
Your obed’t serv’t, 
Sam. F. B. Morse. 


Lurrer from a mother in Israel to a lady-relative who had 
sent her “The Wise Men,” and with whose permission it is 
published. It seems to have been jotted down from day to 
day. Some paragraphs are omitted, but no word changed. 
As a life-picture of Christian old age, of a type that is passing 
away, it is worth preserving. 

Dear L.: When I took up my pencil to write, came this thought—the 
bush burning but not consumed may illustrate the afflictions of the 
Church in the world, and of individual Christians. I am now past 
seventy. How have I been cheered and sustained in my varied life by 
events explained by Providence! So my soul was joyful in her King. 

I have read ‘“‘The Wise Men” once. I am now reading it again with 
the notes. Thzs book will live. I have just closed the chapter—Kep- 
ler’s Discovery. My soul is full of wonder, is oppressed with emotions 
{ cannot utter! Ah, I havea poor head! The Wise Men, I had thought 
of them with pain, that such characters—sort of wizards—should come 
to worship; now these Magi have become brethren to my soul, like 
Simeon and Anna. 

Surely if I understand the times, loving Bible-Christians are few com- 
pared with the numbers who are Church-members. They have forsaken 
the fountain of living waters. The Bible is a dusty book in parlor and 
hovel. I find myself often saying, Christ has a Church, and will keep it 
to the end. The chapter on Inspiration is so comforting. I take true 
delight in the thoughts of that book. Truly ‘the Scripture is a fount- 
ain, not areservoir.” Each reading I find something new ; a few pages 
day by day. I want to see that book in every family. I am going to 
send for six copies. I have a few poor friends I would like to send it to. 
I keep it here with Bible on my table. JI never saw the care God has 
taken of his Church, ner felt the ages that have passed, as in reading this 

{ enjoy much the quiet of my own room, toward the rising sun, 
Boston’s book on Providence, with Doddridge, Baxter, and Bunyan; so 
you seeI am not alone. May you be greatly blessed on every side, and 
at peace, waiting the call of Christ our Lord ! 

Yours lovingly, C.M. 


BT315 .U63 7 
Upham, Francis William, 1817-1895. 
The Wise Men ; who they were, and how t r 


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