Page:The Religion of Ancient Egypt.djvu/86

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71
EGYPTIAN CIVILIZATION.

And if it be true that the Preacher in another portion of his work reminds the young man to whom he is addressing himself that for all these things God will bring him into judgment, not less true is it that the Egyptian harper also sang:

"Mind thee of the day when thou too shalt start for the land to which one goeth to return not thence. Good for thee will have been a good life; therefore be just and hate iniquity; for he who loveth what is Right shall triumph."


Moral Code.

The triumph of Right over Wrong, of Right in speech and in action (for the same word signifies both Truth and Justice) is the burden of nine-tenths of the Egyptian texts which have come down to up. Right[1] is represented as a goddess ruling as mistress over heaven and earth and the world beyond the grave. The gods are said to live by it. Although funereal inscriptions are less to be depended upon when they describe the virtues of the deceased than when they give the dates of his birth and death, they may at least be quoted in evidence of the rule of conduct by which actions were estimated. "We are not obliged to believe that this or that man possessed all the virtues

  1. The primitive notion implied by the word maāt seems to be the geometrical one "right," as in "right line," as opposed to χab "bent," "perverse." Maāt as a noun is the "straight rule," "canon."