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INSTRUMENTS OF ARTIFICIAL DIVINATION.,
more minutely laid down and recognized. The method of artificial divination, indeed, as being inductive and experimental, had some pretensions to correctness; for its laws developed from the embryo of hypothesis and conjecture; and as they had been painfully elaborated by its founders, so they had to be patiently acquired by its students. It was rather the faculty of observation that was primarily vicious and defective. The falsehood lurked in the postulates of the science. Its divarication from truth was at the outset; and no after decorum of pace could suffice to give propriety to the direction.
The instruments of artificial divination were as numerous as the productions of nature. Observations were made, inter alia, on the heavenly bodies, and on the various meteorological phenomena; on the cries and the flight of birds; on trees, plants, beans, flour, and vegetables generally; on rain and bodies of water; on goats, rats, and other quadrupeds ; on cocks, eggs, and cheese ; on numbers, dice, staves or wands, mirrors, stones, tablets, and knuckle-bones ; on paroxysmal affections, as sneezing and laughing, and on involuntary motions of the body; on the body itself, and its parts, as the entrails of men and of other animals, the hair, the skull, the eyes, the forehead and physiognomy, the lines of the hand, the blood, and the liver; on men and women, boys and virgins, on the name and on the nativity of the consulter; and on the clefts, cracks, and projections of the earth's surface. Divination was further practised by means of libations of wine; the summoning of the dead, and the evoking of demons; the description of circles ; the consultation of the poets, chiefly of Homer, Virgil, and the Sibylline verses; and again, by means of fire, shadows, ashes on the hearth, and the fumes of incense. Of the innumerable branches of divination with which the Druids alone were acquainted, no fewer than thirty-three have been tabulated. In fact, there was scarcely anything visible, tangible, sensible, or thinkable, that might not be made subservient to the purposes of the monopolists of the knowledge of the rules of interpretation. And to this day, so strong are
the affinities of human nature with stupidity and superstition, that the belief in the efficacy of many of these old-world modes of divination—not to mention that an inventive ingenuity has not been idle—is by no means universally exploded. Even when that shall happen, it will be difficult to calculate how many centuries must elapse before the tendency to mysterious consultations is eradicated.*
Natural divination was conversant about“presentiments of future events, not proceeding by reason or conjecture, nor on the observation and consideration of particular signs; but yielding to some excitement of mind, or to some unknown influence subject to no precise rules or restraint, -as is often
* There is so much flavour and heartiness in the late Professor Ferrier's denunciations of the modern developments and caricatures of divination, that they are worthy of transcription in a footnote. “The supposed visibility of ghosts helps it (the materialistic conception of mind) on considerably; and it is still further reinforced by some of the fashionable deliraments of the day, such as clairvoyance and (even A.D. 1854, credite posteri !) spirit-rapping. These, however, are not to be set down-at least so it is to be hoped -among the normal and catholic superstitions incident to humanity. They are much worse than the worst form of the doctrine of materiality. These aberrations betoken a perverse and prurient play of the abnormal fancy-groping for the very holy of holies in kennels running with the most senseless and God-aban. doned abominations. Our natural superstitions are bad enough ; but thus to make a systematic business of fatuity, imposture, and profanity, and to imagine, all the while, that we are touching on the precincts of God's spiritual kingdom, is unspeakably shocking. The horror and dis. grace of such proceedings were never even approached in the darkest days of heathendom and idolatry. Ye who make shattered nerves and depraved sensations the interpreters of truth, the keys which shall un. lock the gates of heaven, and open the secrets of futurity,-ye who in. augurate disease as the prophet of all wisdom, thus making sin, death, and the devil the lords paramount of creation,-have ye bethought your. selves of the backward and downward course which ye are running into the pit of the bestial and the abhorred? Oh, ye miserable mystics ! when will ye know that all God's truths and all man's blessings lie in the broad health, in the trodden ways, and in the laughing sunshine of the universe, and that all intellect, all genius, is merely the power of seeing wonders in common things!"—Institutes of Metaplusins.
the case with men who dream, sometimes with those who deliver predictions in a frenzied manner, as Bacis of Boeotia, Epimenides the Cretan, and the Erythræan Sibyl. And under this head we ought to rank oracles,-not those which are drawn by lot, but those which are uttered under the influence of some divine instinct and inspiration."*
Epicurus, as was necessary to his consistency, đenied tho worth of either species of Divination. The Stoics, on the other hand, where inclined to look favourably on both kinds, believing that the being of a God and the manifestation of his will were inseparable in thought. The Peripatetics, rejecting the artificial as the suspicious handiwork of augurs and systematic interpreters, recognized the validity of oracular and dream revelations. It is much to say in favour of these last philosophers that the position of Scripture is broadly and essentially the same as theirs. Artificial divination is, in the Bible, everywhere reprehended; whilst natural divination is, perhaps, mostly, not only held in honour, but announced as à frequent and valuable vehicle of divine revelation. The rejection and the recognition of the Peripatetics were severally ratified by Cratippus, who is praised in Cicero's treatise as a man of remarkable sagacity, and who defended his belief in the trustworthiness of natural divination on such grounds as the following :-“That there is in the exterior world a sort of divine soul, whence the human soul is derived ; and that that portion of the human soul which is the fountain of sensation, motion, and appetite, is not separate from the action of the body; but that portion which partakes of reason and intelligence is then most energetic when it is most completely abstracted from the body.”+
This fairly, and with considerable prestige, opens up the way
for a consideration of dreams, to the exclusion of those other departments of divination which are not equally above suspicion; and having thus ascertained their place in the economy of divination, we may pursue our investigations, free or not, as suits us, from any reference to that science.
* Cicero, “ De Divinatione." + Ibid.
ON BIBLICAL DREAMS.
It will help to give freedom and simplicity to our after method, if at the outset we discuss shortly and apart those dreams of which our information is furnished by the Scriptures. Of these there are three well-defined kinds :
(1.) Those which were characterized either (a) by a Divine manifestation; or (b) by an angelic visitation of such a nature as to be immediately and necessarily demoustrative of Divine authenticity.
(2.) Those to which the sacred text explicitly refers as being characterized either (a) by angelic agency, which, professing or not to be Divine, was in fact diabolical; or (b) by the invention of some sordid trafficker in dreams, to whom truth and falsehood were alike indifferent, and who cared only to secure so much plausibility and verisimilitude as would suffice to keep together his credit and his clientèle.
(3.) Those which, barely narrated, are to be judged indifferently, and by precisely the same canons as extra-Biblical dreams,—which evidence whatever Divine or anti-Divine commission they may be charged with, only morally; and which postpone the recognition of their claims to significance till future events shall have approved their validity.
The above formed, so to speak, the aristocracy or chivalry of dreams, that either blazoned a motto, claimed a crest, or wore a cognisance. But besides these there were the oi nomoi, the mob of dreams that fell beneath the dignity of classifica
VARIETIES OF SCRIPTURE DREAMS.
tion, that flitted across the brain as traceless and meaningless as the motes across a sunbeam, and that from their utter vanity were pressed into the service of proverb, metaphor, and simile, to point the moral of lightness, worthlessness, and
Thus Zophar, the Naamathite, speaking of the wicked man, says, “He shall fly away as a dream, and shall not be found; yea, he shall be chased away as a vision of the night” (Job xx. 8). In a kindred train of thought, the Psalmist says of the same class of
“ As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when Thou awakest, Thou shalt despise their image” (Ps. lxxiii. 20). And the prophet Isaiah, after denouncing "woe to Ariel, to Ariel, the city where David dwelt!” presently goes on to denounce woe more hopeless against her enemies. The curse of Ariel was to be the scattering of her people like small dust and like chaff; but “the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel, even all that fight against her, and her munition, and that distress her, shall be as a dream of a night vision. It shall even be as when a hungry man dreameth, and, behold, he eateth ; but he awaketh, and his soul is empty: or as when a thirsty man dreameth, and, behold, he drinketh ; but he awaketh, and, behold, he is faint, and his soul hath appetite: so shall the multitude of all the nations be, that fight against Mount Zion ” (Isa. xxix. 7, 8). A propos of such passages, Dr. Lee judiciously observes: “When the sacred writers do not refer to Divine revelation, or to the means by which it was imparted, we observe how carefully they indicate their clear appreciation of the fact that ordinary dreams or visions are altogether valueless."
The distribution we have adopted is an ethical one; but it is evident that possible classifications are as numerous as the points of view from which the dreams of Scripture may be regarded. Moses Amyraldus, vulgariter Moyse Amyraut, who in 1659 published at Saumur a “Discours sur les Songes divins, dont il est parlé dans l'Escriture," a few sentences