Page:Behemoth 1889.djvu/111

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.


B. I pray you cite me some of the authors and places.

A. First, what were the Druids of old time in Britanny and France? What authority these had you may see in Cæsar, Strabo, and others, and especially in Diodorus Siculus, the greatest antiquary perhaps that ever was; who speaking of the Druids (whom he calls Sarovides) in France, says thus:—“There be also amongst them certain philosophers and theologians, that are exceedingly honoured, whom they also use as prophets. These men, by their skill in augury and inspection into the bowels of beasts sacrificed, foretell what is to come, and have the multitude obedient to them.” And a little after—“It is a custom amongst them, that no man may sacrifice without a philosopher; because (say they) men ought not to present their thanks to the Gods, but by them that know the divine nature, and are as it were of the same language with them; and that all good things ought by such as these to be prayed for.

B. I can hardly believe that those Druids were very skilful, either in natural philosophy, or moral.

A. Nor I; for they held and taught the transmigration of souls from one body to another, as did Pythagoras; which opinion whether they took from him, or he from them, I cannot tell.

What were the Magi in Persia, but philosophers and astrologers? You know how they came to find our Saviour by the conduct of a star, either from Persia itself, or from some country more eastward than Judea. Were not these in great authority in their country? And are they not in most parts of Christendom thought to have been Kings?

Egypt hath been by many thought the most ancient kingdom, and nation of the world; and their priests had the greatest power in civil affairs, that any subjects ever had in any nation. And what were they but philosophers and divines? Concerning whom, the same Diodorus Siculus says thus: “The whole country (of Egypt) being divided into three parts, the body of the priests have one as being of most credit with the people, both for their devotion towards the