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called Bure, and was the father of Bore, who married Beyzla, the daughter of the giant Baldorn. Of that marriage were born three sons-Odin, Vile, and Ve: and it is our belief that this Odin with his brothers ruleth both heaven and earth, and Odin is his true name; and that he is the most powerful of the gods.
“Was there any kind of equality, or any degree of good understanding, between those two different races ?
“Far from it: the sons of Bore slew the giant Ymer; and there ran so much blood from his wounds, that all the families of the giants of the frost were drowned in it, except one single giant, who saved himself with all his household. He is called Bergelmer. He escaped by happening to be aboard his bark ; and in him was preserved the race of the giants of the frost. This is confirmed by the following verses: Many winters before the earth was fashioned was Bergelmer born; and well I know, that this sage giant was saved and preserved on board his bark.'
What then became of the sons of Bore?
• They dragged the body of Ymer into the middle of the abyss, and of it formed the earth. The water and the sea were composed of his blood; the mountains of his bones; the rocks of his teeth; and of his hollow bones, mingled with the blood which ran from his vast wounds, they made the vast ocean, in the midst of which they infixed the earth. Then, having formed the heavens of his skull, they made them resť on all sides upon the earth; they divided them into four quarters, and placed a dwarf at each corner to sustain it. These dwarfs are called East, West, South, and North. After this they went and seized upon fires in Muspelsheim, that flaming world in the south; and placed them in the abyss, in the upper and lower parts of the sky, to enlighten the earth. Every fire had its assigned residence. Hence the days were distinguished, and the years reduced to calculation. For this reason it is said in the poem of the Voluspa, 'Formerly the sun knew not its place, the moon was ignorant of its powers, and the stars knew not the stations which they were to occupy.' The earth is round, and about it is placed the deep sea, the shores of which were given for a dwelling to the giants. But higher up, in a place equally distant on all sides from the sea, the gods built upon the earth a fortress against the giants, the circumference of which surrounds the world. The materials which they employed for this work were the eyebrows of Ymer; and they called the place Midgard, or the Middle Mansion. They
afterward tossed his brains into the air; and they became clouds.
“But whence came the men who at present inhabit the world?
“The sons of Bore, as they were walking one day upon the shore, found two pieces of wood floating on the waves. They took them, and made a man of the one, and a woman of the other. The first gave them life and soul; the second, reason and motion; the third, hearing, sight, speech, garments, and a name. They called the man Aske, and the woman Emla.”—The Edda, Fables i-v.
We could greatly extend these quotations; but it will only be necessary to add two or three from the classic authors of Greece and Rome.
Hesiod, the earliest Greek poet, speaks as follows on this subject:
"First chaos was; next ample-bosom'd carth
Hesiod's Theogony, Elton's translation.
Aristophanes has used language of very similar import in his
“Chaos, and night, and black Erebus, and wide Tartarus, first existed. At that time, there was neither earth, air, nor heaven. But, in the bosom of Erebus, black-winged night produced an
aërial egg; from which, in due season, beautiful Love, decked with golden wings, was born. Out of chaos, in the midst of wide-spreading Tartarus, he begot our race, and called us forth into the light.” (Quoted in Faber's Origin of Pagan Idolatry, , vol. I, p. 255.)
We only add an interesting fragment of Orpheus. The whole passage was supposed to have been written by this poet; but Mr. Cory considers the words printed in Italics as only entitled to this distinction, and regards the remainder as the language of the writer who preserved the passage, and who thus endeavored to explain it on Christian principles :
"From the beginning the ether was manifested in time, evidently having been fabricated by God: and on every side of the ether was chaos; and gloomy night enveloped and obscured all things which were under the ether. By attributing to night a priority, he intimates the explanation to be, that there existed an incomprehensible nature, and a being supreme above all others, and pre-existing, the demiurgus of all things, as well as of the ether itself, and of the night, as of all the creation which existed and was concealed under the ether. Moreover, he says, The earth was invisible on account of the darkness : but the light broke through the ether, and illuminated the earth, and all the material of the creation. . By this power all things were produced, as well incorporeal principles as the sun and moon, and their influences, and all the stars, and the earth, and the sea, and all things that are visible and invisible in them.”—Cory's Frag. ments, p. 298.
It is a well-known fact, that the philosophers of Greece were not agreed on this subject. While Xenophanes, Parmenides, Zeno, Anaxagoras, Democritus, and Aristotle, supposed that matter was eternal; Hesiod, Orpheus, Pythagoras, Plato, and others, not only acknowledged that the order which reigns in the universe was introduced into it by God, but some of them used language which seems to indicate that they had some ideas of the creation of matter, although these are expressed with such obscurity as to render it very probable that they were only intended to apply to a refined pantheism.
Plutarch, when relating the sentiments of Pythagoras and Plato, tells us they believed that God had generated or produced the world, which of itself was corruptible, as being material, and consisting of parts, yet that it should not perish, divine Provi.
dence having thought it worthy of conservation.* Plato distinctly says, “ The exemplar or archetype of the world is eternal; but the world itself, this visible world, had its commencement in time.”—Timæo, tom. iii, p. 38, C. Proclus, in his Theological Institutes, (cap. lxxii, p. 447,) ascribes the same sentiment to Plato; and says himself
, that “matter, which is the substratum of everything, is itself the production of the Creator of all
Ovid has furnished us with a careful collection of the opinions which were regarded as orthodox by the ancient Romans. To give the reader any idea of the sentiments of this writer by a quotation, it would be necessary to copy the first eighty-seven lines of his Metamorphoses. It will, however, be sufficient to observe, that he does not distinctly allude to the creation of matter ; but, beginning his account with the existence of chaos, follows precisely the order of Moses in the entire process of creation, the whole being ascribed to the agency of an intelligent mind, who is called “God” or “Nature."
We have thus given extracts from the records of history with regard to this subject, as ample as our limits will allow; and we now call special attention to the result. It will, in the first place, be observed, that, varied as the several accounts are, there are points of resemblance common to nearly all of them. The primitive chaos is alike recognized by Sanchoniatho, Berosus, the Edda, and Hesiod. The order of creation, as exhibited in the Scriptures, is almost literally copied by Virgil, Hesiod, Sanchoniatho, the Zendavesta, and the Hindoos. The special prominence given to the creation of man in the Mosaic narrative, is echoed by the Chaldean, the Hindoo, and the Roman. These and many other points of coincidence, which will be apparent to every reader, cannot be ascribed to chance. There must be some reasonable cause : what is it? Those who have felt disposed to disparage the Holy Scriptures, have labored to point out the probability that their contents were borrowed from earlier heathen records. It will appear from the most cursory view of the subject, that this is impossible: not to dwell on the well-established
* “Pythagoras et Plato mundum a Deo genitum sive productum esse dixerunt, ac natura quidem suá corruptibilem, cùm corporeus adeoque sensibilis sit ; non esse tamen interiturum, providentia et solicitudine Dei ipsum conservante.”—Plutarchus de Placitis, lib. ii, cap. 4.
† Although the atheistical doctrines of Epicurus had been previously promulged by Democritus, and were afterward sustained by the nervous poetry of Lucretius, they did not obtain general countenance.
fact that none of the records which have come down to us are as ancient as the Bible, it will be seen at once, that, while the narrative of Moses is a clear, simple, common-sense statement, every other is adulterated to a very large extent with fiction and fable. In such circumstances, nothing can be more absurd than to refer the origin of the intelligible consecutive historical account, to information furnished by the fabulous and poetic. Yet this is a fair specimen of the boasted reason of those who deny the authority of the Bible. It must be admitted by all who seek after truth, that there is a much more rational and obvious way of accounting for these remarkable points of agreement. On the presumption that the Scriptural account is correct, it is clear that the sons of Noah must have known the history of creation, and transmitted it to their descendants; and, therefore, while the narrative of Moses, dictated by divine revelation, gives the simple truth, the other accounts, while preserving the principal elements of primitive history, are severally found, according to the common law of all traditionary information, corrupted and disfigured, in agreement with the taste and character of the people among whom they exist.
" It is impossible that mankind should have known nothing of the early history of the world until Moses gave an account of it. And it is utterly incredible that all the early patriarchs, from Adam to Noah, should have been profoundly ignorant of the creation. Moses, therefore, did not now for the first time reveal the origination of the world and its inhabitants. He simply rec. tified the mythological errors which had been superinduced over the primitive account of those great events, as known to Adam, and transmitted by him to his posterity. While others had disfigured the truth by the wildness of philosophical and idolatrous fiction, he was taught by the Holy Spirit of God to give a clear and perfectly unerring recital of early history.”—Faber's Origin of Pagan Idolatry, vol. i, p. 202.
The subject we have thus considered is one of the deepest interest. As far as man is concerned, it is the first chapter of the history of the actions of God. The infinite and eternal Jehovah puts forth his power, and out of empty nothingness builds up the structure of our world ; spreads out the heavens, studded with unnumbered stars; garnishes the earth with unspeakable beauty; and, above all, creates man in his own image, after the model of his own mind. We have not dwelt on this