Page:An Essay on the Age and Antiquity of the Book of Nabathaean Agriculture.djvu/6

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vi
PREFACE.

highest rank as one of the deepest thinkers and most painstaking critics of the day.

The real Sabians, the as-Sábiún of the Koran, were an Aramaic or Syro-Chaldæan race, on the borders of Persia, inhabiting the banks of the Tigris and the Euphrates. These heathen had El-Hasaih as the founder of their religion. He is the Ἠλχασαί of Hippolytus, the Elkesai of Theodoretus, and the Ἠλξαί or Ἠλξαίος of Epiphanius, and taught the doctrine of two principles in the Creation, a male and a female, active and passive power, mind and matter. Mání was brought up in this creed, but, drawing nearer to the doctrines of Zoroaster or Parsee-ism, preached a second duality, Good and Evil, and thus became the founder of Manichæism, which still lingers amongst the Yesides, and is so graphically portrayed by Mr. Layard. The Sabians derive their name