Page images
PDF
EPUB

Κορης αρπαγη μυθολογειται γενεσθαι, ο δη καθοδος εστι των ψυχων. And as the rape of Proserpine was exhibited in the shows of the mysteries, as is clear from Apuleius, it indisputably follows, that this represented the descent of the soul, and its union with the dark tenement of body. Indeed if the ascent and descent of the soul, and its condition while connected with a material nature, were represented in the shows of the mysteries, it is evident that this was implied by the rape of Proserpine. And the former part of this assertion is manifest from Apuleius, when describing his initiation, he says, in the passage already adduced, “ I approached the confines of death, and treading on the threshold of Proserpine, and being carried through all the elements, I came back again to my pristine situation.And as to the latter part, it has been amply proved, from the highest authority, in the first division of this discourse.

Nor must the reader be disturbed on finding that, according to Porphyry, as cited by Eusebius,' the fable of Proserpine alludes to seed placed in the ground; for this is likewise true of the fable, considered according to its material explanation. But it will be proper on this occasion to rise a little higher, and consider the various species of fables, according to their philosophical distribution; since by this means the present subject will receive an additional elucidation, and the wisdom of the ancient authors of fables will be vindicated from the unjust aspersions of ignorant declaim

I shall present the reader, therefore, with the following interesting division of fablés, from the elegant book of the Platonic philosopher Sallust, on the gods and the universe. “Of fables,” says he, “ some are theological, others physical, others animastic, (or relating to soul) others material, and lastly, others mixed from these.-Fables are theological which employ nothing corporeal, but speculate the very essences of the gods; such as the fable which asserts that Saturn devoured his children: for it insinuates nothing more than the nature of an intellectual god; since every intellect returns into itself. But we speculaté fables physically when we speak concerning the energies of the gods about the world; as when considering Saturn the same as time, and calling the parts of time the children of the universe, we assert that the

Evang. Præpar. lib. 3. cap. 2.
NO. XV.

Pam.
VOL. VIII.

E

ers.

1

children are devoured by their parent. But we employ fables in an animastic mode, when we contemplate the energies of soul; because the intellections of our souls, though by a discursive energy they run into other things, yet abide in their parents. Lastly, fables are material, such as the Egyptians ignorantly employ, considering and calling corporeal natures divinities : such as Iris, earth, Osiris, humidity, Typhon, heat: or, again, denominating Saturn, water, Adonis, fruits, and Bacchus, wine. And, indeed, to assert that these are dedicated to the gods, in the same manner as herbs, stories, and animals, is the part of wise men ; but to call them gods is alone the province of fools and mad men; unless we speak in the same manner as when, from established custom, we call the orb of the sun and its rays the sun itself. But we may perceive the mixed kind of fables, as well in many other particulars, as when they relate, that Discord, at a banquet of the gods, threw a golden apple, and that a dispute about it arising among the goddesses, they were sent by Jupiter to take the judgment of Paris, who, charmed with the beauty of Venus, gave her the apple in preference to the rest. For in this fable the banquet denotes the supermundane powers of the gods; and on this account they subsist in conjunction with each other: but the golden apple denotes the world, which, on account of its composition from contrary natures, is not improperly said to be thrown by Discord, or strife. But again, since different gifts are imparted to the world by different gods, they appear to contest with each other for the apple. And a soul living according to sense, (for this is Paris) not perceiving other powers in the universe, asserts that the apple is alone the beauty of Venus. But of these species of fables, such as are theological belong to philosophers; the physical and animastic to poets; but the mixt to initiatory rites; (Telu} since the intention of all mystic ceremonies is to conjoina us with the world and the gods."

To be concluded in the next No.

A DISCOURSE

!

DELIVERED TO THE

Literary and Sctentific Society

AT JAVA,

ON THE 10th OF SEPTEMBER, 1815.

BY THE

HON. THOMAS STAMFORD RAPPLES,

PRESIDENT.

LONDON.

A DISCOURSE,

&c. &c.

GENTLEMEN,

A series of domestic afflictions, alas! but too well known to you all, have followed in such quick succession the melancholy event which it was long since my duty to communicate, that, until the present hour, I have felt myself every way unequal to the trying task of announcing to you the death of our late noble and enlightened patron, the Earl of Minto; an event so unlooked for and so painfully calamitous in its immediate effects, that, to use the energetic language of Mr. Muntinghe, “ it obliged us, as it were, to close our lips before the Almighty!"

Strong, and extensive in their operation, were the ties which attached that noble person to this colony-to the whole community of Java--and especially to our society! A tender and parental care for the island of Java was publicly declared on different occasions, and proofs of it were received. The European community was saved by his humanity, and on his responsibility ; for the native administration, principles on which the whole of the present structure has been raised, were laid down; and in every instance, the wish was evinced, to employ the successes of war as much in favor of the conquered as of the conqueror.

It would not be proper, on this occasion, to enter into particulars ; but who does not gratefully recollect the general tenor of his Lordship’s conduct and demeanour while in Java, administering assis-. tance with his own hands to the maimed and wounded among the enemy; setting, in the midst of his victories, an example of

[ocr errors]

moderation, and of simplicity of manners; never missing an opportunity of doing even a momentary good; and conciliating, by these means, the mind of the public in such a degree, that enemies were rendered friends, and that the names of conqueror and subduer were lost in those of protector and liberator.

Having paid this humble tribute to the memory of our departed patron, I proceed to notice those scientific and literary acquisition's which have either resulted from the inquiries set on foot by the Society, or have otherwise fallen under its observation, since I had last the honor of publicly addressing you.

BANCA.-At that period, Dr. Horsefield had just commenced, under the instructions of government, his laborious researches in Banca. We have since seen those exertions brought to a close; and I have to report a collection of the most complete information regarding the position, geological structure and natural productions of that important island : the state of society has not been omitted in that investigation; and satisfactory data have been furnished from which to estimate the present condition of its inhabitants, as well as to deduce plans for their progress and advancement in civilization and happiness.

It is only during the late periods of the European establishments, that Banca has attracted notice. The discovery of the tin-mines about the twelfth year of the last century, first gave it celebrity ; but we can only date the commencement of scientific investigation, or European control, from the time of its cession to the British government, in 1812. The Dutch government, it is true, set on foot, at different periods; and some account of the population and produce of the country is contained in the earlier volumes of our transactions; but those views being confined to commercial objects, and the despotic sway of the native government of Palambang still remaining absolute, but little was known of the country, beyond the extent of the produce in tin which it could annually export.

In aid of the geographical description, and to point out the places referred to in the descriptions of the mines, and in the detail of the mineralogical and botanical remarks, Dr. Horsefield has constructed the outlines of a map, on which are laid down the principal rivers, the mountains and ridges of hills, with the settlements of the Malays and Chinese, and the local subdivisions adopted by the original inhabitants.

After completing a detailed geographical account of the island, and furnishing statistic tables of the population and produce, Dr. Horsefield proceeds to a narrative of the mineralogical appearances, as explanatory of the constitution of the mines, and of the geological history of the country.

On the mineralogical constitution of Banca, he observes, that

« PreviousContinue »