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imply that a book to which it was given was a history of the ministry of Jesus. But this book is an object of curiosity for another reason. It appears from the single passage of it extant, quoted by Epiphanius, to have been founded on the Egyptian pantheism. Conformably to this, he says, that those who used it believed that "the same soul is dispersed in animals, and insects, and fishes, and serpents, and men, and in herbs and trees and fruits." The passage from the Gospel of Eve is to the following effect: The writer, or the person represented as speaking, says; "I stood on a high mountain, and I saw a man of large stature, and another mutilated; and I heard, as it were, a voice of thunder, and I drew near to hearken, and it spoke to me and said, I am thou, and thou art I; and wherever thou mayest be, there am I; and I am dispersed in all things; and from whatever place thou wouldst collect me, in collecting me, thou art collecting thyself.""
What the two figures were intended to symbolize cannot, I think, be conjectured with any probability. But the words uttered, appear evidently to be an expression of the pantheistic doctrine, according to which all individual
* Ibid. § 9. p. 90.
† Ibid. § 3. p. 84.
beings are but parts of the one, sole, selfsubsistent being, the Universe. There is, perhaps, in the passage, an allusion to the fable of the mutilation of the body of Osiris by Typhon, and the collection of his members by Isis, which, when the absurdities of ancient mythology were transformed by the philosophers of later times into allegories, was mystically explained, as symbolizing the discerption and disappearance of Ideas, the essential forms. of things, the body of Osiris, through the action of the destructive powers of nature, personified as Typhon, and their being collected anew and readapted to their purpose by the receptive and nutritive powers, typified by Isis.* The analogy, also, is striking between the words. said to be uttered and the inscription which Plutarch reports to have been engraved on the temple of Isis at Saïs; "I am all that has been, is, or will be";† Isis being here personified as
* Plutarch De Iside et Osiride, § 53. Moral. Tom. II. pp. 526, 527. Edit. Wyttenbach.
Ibid. § 9. p. 453. Plutarch concludes the inscription thus; "And my veil no mortal has ever lifted." Proclus gives it with a different ending. That it was actually to be found on or in the temple at Saïs is very doubtful. But as regards our present purpose the question is unimportant; since the report of Plutarch sufficiently shows the existence of this conception of Isis long before Epiphanius's notice of the Gospel of Eve. See respect
Universal Nature. It is to be observed, that there is great confusion in the Egyptian mythology, the same attributes being ascribed to different divinities. This confusion probably originated from the fact that one god was the peculiar object of veneration in one place, and another in another, so that the highest at
ing this inscription, Jablonski's Pantheon Egyptiorum, P. I. Lib. I. c. 3. § 7. and Mosheim's notes in his Latin translation of Cudworth's Intellectual System, Tom. I. p. 510, seqq. and p. 522. Edit. secund. In the last note Mosheim gives the correct reading of another remarkable inscription to Isis of similar import, found at Capua, which is to this effect: "Aerrius Balbinus dedicates thee [that is a part of the universe, a stone] to thyself, who art one and all things, the goddess Isis."
It may here be observed, that Cudworth should be read with the notes of Mosheim; unless, indeed, one be so acquainted with the philosophy and religion of the ancients, and so accustomed to reasoning, and to estimating the power and the ambiguity of language, as to be able to correct for himself his deceptive representations. He deserves the highest praise for integrity as a writer; his learning was superabundant, and his intellect vigorous enough to wield it to his purpose. But he transfers his own religious conceptions to the heathen philosophers and religionists, he infuses the sentiments of a modern theist into their words, and he confounds together the doctrines of those who preceded Christianity, and of those who were powerfully acted upon by its influence. He thus spreads a luminous cloud over the ancient heathen theology, which Mosheim has done something to dispel. Mosheim has likewise corrected many of the other errors of fact or mistakes of judgment, which run through the mass of Cudworth's learning; and has added much to illustrate the topics of which he treats.
tributes were in different places ascribed to different gods; but it was at once both solved and aggravated by the mystical theology, which taught, that they were all only manifestations of Universal Nature, each of them but different names for the "One and All," considered under different relations.
From the title of the book mentioned by Epiphanius, that is, from its being called a "gospel," from the circumstance that he ascribes its use to an heretical sect, and from the account given by him of the pantheistic opinions of this sect, we may infer that there were individuals, who blended conceptions borrowed from Christianity with the Egyptian mythology and pantheism, and who have been improperly represented as Christian heretics. PseudoChristians of like character appear to have existed in Egypt at an early period. We have some information, such as it is, concerning this subject in a curious letter of Hadrian, preserved by the Pagan historian Vopiscus.* The Emperor says; "Egypt, my dear Servian, which you recommended to me, I have found to be light, vacillating, and borne about by every Those who worship Serapis are Chris
*In his Life of Saturninus.
tians; and those who call themselves Christian bishops are devoted to Serapis. There is no ruler of a Jewish synagogue, no Samaritan, no Christian priest, who is not an astrologer, a diviner, a leader of a sect.* The Patriarch† himself, when he comes to Egypt, is forced by some to worship Serapis, and by others, Christ." The Emperor may not have had the best opportunities for obtaining information respecting the state of religion among the Egyptians, and he may have trusted too much to the jeers of his courtiers; but, notwithstanding this, and notwithstanding the levity and obvious extravagance of his letter, we cannot suppose that what he says was wholly without foundation.
* "A leader of a sect": The Latin word is aliptes, which means an anointer, one who anoints those who have bathed, or the combatants for the arena. But, as it is not easy to perceive any appropriateness in this meaning, I have ventured to render the word in a sense of the Greek λsírns, which is used metaphorically to signify an inciter or leader. Perhaps the Emperor wrote the word in Greek letters. But after all, in using the expressions which he does, mathematicus, haruspex, aliptes, he may have had in mind a line in Juvenal's description of a needy Greek adventurer (Sat. III. 76.), "Grammaticus, rhetor, geometres, pictor, aliptes"; and may thus, in employing the word aliptes, have intended only an expression of contempt.
The Patriarch of the Jews must be meant; as the title and dignity of Patriarch were not known in the Christian church till long after the time of Hadrian.