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the degeneracy of man, which so rapidly succeeded the Deluge amongst the posterity of Ham. It appears from the testimony of Sanchoniatho, whom Eusebius and Theodoret speak of as an accurate and faithful historian, that in the time of Thoth, the son of Mizraim, an acknowledgment of the power of God in the creation of the world, and of his vengeance against idolatrous pursuits displayed in the universal Deluge, was disallowed and prohibited. In his Cosmogony, which was professedly compiled from the records of the Cabiri, the sons of (Eudėx) Melchizedek or Shem, the production of the world is described as proceeding from a heterogeneous mixture of wind, air and mud, or putrefaction. After a visionary account of the creation, the secretaries of Thoth are wholly silent about the Deluge, which creates a suspicion that their silence is rather the effect of design than ignorance; for they acknowledge that Cronus (Ham) was living after the death of his son Misor (Mizraim); and placed Thoth, the reputed author of these Records, on the throne of his father, in Egypt. Now as Ham was one of those who miraculously escaped the general destruction, it can scarcely be supposed that he would conceal so remarkable an event from Thoth, who was his private and confidential adviser. But as they intended to erect themselves into objects of divine adoration, they erased that great event from their Records,

4 “Cronus begat on Rhea seven sons, the youngest of which was consecrated a god as soon as he was born !”-Sanch. in Euseb. de Præp. 1. 1, c. 10. This infant deity, according to the best authorities, was Muth, whom the Phænicians call Pluto.

lest mankind should be confirmed in their adherence to the true worship, by the recollection of so fearful a display of vengeance inflicted on the human race for idolatrous practices.

The facts of the Creation, and the destruction of mankind by a general Deluge, were however too important to be buried in utter oblivion, even by apostate nations ;' and, therefore, as they were unequivocal testimonies of God's infinite power and justice, they were hid under the impenetrable veil of mystery, which overshadowed the knowledge of the one true God. Thus the elevation of a ship formed a prominent ceremony in these mysteries, which, though not explicitly applied to that event, could have no significant reference to any thing but Noah's salvation in the ark : and to involve the subject still deeper in mystery and darkness, innumerable fables were invented and engrafted on the true account of that memorable occurrence, which perplexed even the Epopte themselves; and by directing their inquiries into a false channel, prevented à discovery of the truth.

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The cosmogony of Hesiod is the most ancient system extant amongst the Greeks. He makes Chaos precede Earth, Tartarus, and Love, and the father of Darkness and Night; who, in like manner, were the progenitors of Day and Ether. But Night was the mother of all obnoxious qualities, as Discord, Old Age, and Death. Then follows a series of complicated theogonies, which it is far from my intention to follow, including numerous allegorical personages, blended with the record of wild adventure; all of which have some remote symbolical reference to the process of creation, as it is described by Moses.

6 " A coin of Philip the elder, which was struck at Apamea,

Thus was the knowledge of this event obscurely transmitted in the heathen world. The Deluge was a circumstance, which, though omitted in the public records of many nations, was never wholly lost.' Their theories were indeed much varied as to the attendant circumstances, but oral tradition

or Cibotus, contained, on its reverse, an epitome of this history. The reverse of most Asiatic coins relates to the religion and mythology of the places they were struck at. On the reverse of this coin is delineated a kind of square machine floating upon water. Through an opening in it are seen two persons, a man and a woman, as low as the breast, and upon the head of the woman is a veil. Over this ark is a triangular kind of pediment, on which there sits a dove ; and below it another, which seems to flutter its wings, and hold in its mouth a small branch of a tree. Before the machine is a man following a woman, who, by their attitude, seem to have just quitted it, and have got upon dry land. Upon the Ark itself, underneath the persons there inclosed, is to be read, in distinct characters, NIE.Bryant's Myth. 7 Thus Berosus says :

Xisuthrus did not disobey the divine command, but built a vessel five furlongs in length, and two furlongs in breadth; and having got all things in readiness, put on board his wife, children, and friends. After the flood was at the height, and began to abate, Xisuthrus let out certain birds (viz., a raven and a dove, Gen. viii., 7, 8), which finding no place to rest on, returned again to the ship (ver. 9). After some days (viz., seven days, ver. 10), he let out the birds again, but they came back to the ship a second time, having their feet daubed with mud (the dove with an olive branch in her mouth, ver. 11); but being let out the third time, they returned no more to the ship (ver. 12), whereby Xisuthrus understood that dry land had appeared (ver. 13). Then he opened the side of the ship, and seeing that it rested on a certain mountain (the summit of Ararat, ver. 4), he went out of it with his wife, and daughter, and Pilot; and after he had worshipped the earth, and built an altar, and sacrificed to the Gods (ver. 18-20), he, and those who went out with him, disappeared."

was sufficient to preserve its memory alive. Not only the Egyptians, with all the caution of their early monarchs to suppress it, and, after them, the Grecians and Romans, and all other nations who adopted their theology; but the Chinese, the Japanese, the Persians, the Hindoos, and even the Indians of North and South America, have abundant theories sufficiently circumstantial to evince that they possess a traditional account of the Deluge of Noah.'

Antediluvian Masonry depending in a great measure upon oral tradition, from the paucity of records ascending to these ages, some degree of conjecture must necessarily be used; but these conjectures, at all times, however distinguishable from fact, being founded on the strongest and most irrefragable supposition, will amount to nearly the same thing as direct proof.

& Lucian is equally explicit. He says—“The rivers swelled and the sea rose to an unusual height, until the whole earth was inundated; and all living things perished, except Deucalion and his friends, who alone were left preserved, on account of his wisdom and piety. His safety was ensured by means of an ark which he built, into which he embarked with his children and their wives. Then there came to him swine, and horses, and lions, and serpents, and other land animals, all in pairs. These remained perfectly innoxious, and great unanimity prevailed among them. So they remained in the ark so long as the water prevailed. After this, the waters subsided into a great chasm in the country of Hierapolis; and there Deucalion built altars, &c."

Their respective theories are too copious to be cited here ; I must therefore refer the curious mason to • Bryant's System of Mythology," “ Perron's Zendavesta,” Nieuhoff's Voyage to Brazil,” Acosta's History of the Indies,” and “Faber's Dissertation on the Mysteries of the Cabiri,” where he will find this subject fully treated on.

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The knowledge of the ancient philosophers was all traditionary. Even Pythagoras and Plato, eminent as they were in those dark ages, can scarcely be said to have broken the trammels, and delivered any thing but what they received on the authority of others; for it was an industrious and indefatigable collection of ancient traditions which distinguished them from the rest of the world.

Tradition ought to be received as genuine, when the parties delivering it are not suspecter of being themselves deceived, or of a wish to deatheir successors. And this may be presumed of the Hebrew Patriarchs, through whom alone Masonry is asserted to have been truly transmitted; for its deterioration and ultimate oblivion amongst idolaters is unequivocally admitted. But if the Patriarchs believed Masonry to contain some truths inseparably connected with their religion, it is scarcely possible to suppose they could be deceived in its application; nor can they be reasonably accused of a desire to deceive posterity in a matter which was dignified with the same high sanctions as their faith and worship. Hence the traditions on this subject were preserved and conveyed the more carefully, because its essentials, even after the invention of letters, could not be committed to writing. The channel being pure, the stream was unadulterated.

“ Ancient traditions have often afforded occasional assistance to history, by stepping in to supply the want of existing monuments and records ; and even at this time, in remote countries, where letters are little, if at all, known, common tradition hands down past events with an artless sincerity, sometimes

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