A Dictionary of All Religions and Religious Denominations/Egyptians
EGYPTIANS, ancient, one of the most renowned of the early nations, who, like the Babylonians, originally worshipped the sun, and afterwards inferiour deities, which they esteemed emanations from it. "They were refined in their superstitions above all nations in the world; and conferred the names and titles of their deities upon vegetables and animals of every species; and not only upon these, but also upon the parts of the human body, and the very passions of the mind. Whatever they deemed salutary, or of great value, they distinguished by the title of sacred, and dedicated it to some god. They had many emblematical personages, set off with the heads of various animals, to represent particular virtues and affections, as well as to denote the various attributes of their gods." Thus they "worshipped the creature more than the Creator;" and were given up to idolatry beyond other countries, becoming the source of superstition to all the eastern nations. They paid particular honours to the serpent and crocodile, and to the Ibis, as a most useful animal. Apis was worshipped in the form of an ox or cow, and Osiris as a goat; and the souls of their superiour deities were supposed to reside in the stars or planets. Some have taken great pains to prove that their idols had originally a reference to the scripture history, and particularly to the patriarch Joseph.
- Bryant's Analysis, vol. i. p. 333.
- Bellamy's Hist. of all Religions, p. 21, &c.