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every step in the Inquiry made manifest what many Commentators have before asserted, that the Pagan Divinities were only Personifications of various elementary Powers of Nature, which early Philosophers had described in the bold emblematical Language of the ancient Inbabitants of the East, from whom Greece and Rome derived their various Deities. Jupiter, for example, is a Personification of the combined Atmospherical Power, and thus is, as it were, the King and grand Ruler of the other inferior Gods; thus is he represented riding on the Clouds, hurling the Thunderbolts or Meteorolites, and performing various other Deeds, in which the critical Philosopher sees no other than the commotions which happen in the Atmosphere. Of this identification of Jupiter with the Air we have familiar illustration in Horace, who reminds us— Positas ut glaciet nives, puro numine Jupiter; that is, the pure or clear Air of a frosty Night has the power of arresting the Liquefaction of fallen Snow and of congealing it into Ice. The Nepeanyagıtabeus was afterwards viewed as a Being endowed with an exalted degree of human physical excellence; his Head was designed as an exaggerated Portrait of the best human Form, and, fortified with a Chariot, Sceptres, and Thunderbolts, he became an identical Person, and was so viewed in the Imagination of the Ancients as the Agent of Storms and Hurricanes, owing to a well known association of Ideas, whereby
Aegida concuteret dextra, nimbosque cieret. And of which a thousand more Examples might be adduced.
The Mind, contemplating other minor Powers of a particular Sort, whose Effects were conspicuous in Nature, gave them also personified Agents; and Flora became the Authoress of Buds and Flowers, Venus the
Goddess of Procreation, and so on of numerous others, all of which we have explained in the course of the ensuing Sheets. Indeed so obvious was this origin of the Pagan Divinities, that some Writers have applied it to really existing Personages; and indeed it is very difficult to distinguish, in all Cases, where particular Attributes of the Heathen Gods apply to real and where to fictitious Beings; for certain real Persons renowned among the Ancients seem to have existed, and to have undergone a sort of Deification after Death, not unlike the Canonization of Christian Saints, and like them to have had their Histories mixed up with numerous legendary Fables and Falsehoods; so that the task of pointing out in each History of a Personage of Antiquity, where we may regard him as really having existed as an Object possessing tangible Qualities and a human Forin, and where he is only to be regarded as a form of Identification employed by Language to denote some Power in Nature, becomes a work of no ordinary Labour and Skill, and is often absolutely impracticable. The irreligious frenzy of certain Philosophers who figured in the devastating Scenes of the French Revolution, or who by their Writings supported that Cause, prompted them to extend this mode of explaining History still further : and Dupuis, in his celebrated Origine de tous les Cultes, the Astronomers De La Lande and Bailly, and afterwards the Traveller Volney, in their respective Works, have actually denied the Existence of the principal Persons whose Histories are recorded in the Bible, and made thein out to be personified astronomical Emblems. Sir William Drummond has followed on the same Side in a very learned but fanciful Dissertation on the forty ninth Chapter of Genesis, in his Oedipus Judaicus. After labouring through Volumes of Works of the above Nature, however, we find nothing proved against the actual Existence of the numerous Persons aforesaid, which some Astronomers
have tried to dispossess of their just Places in the Scale of History; and the detailed Accounts of their Lives, to which we have subjoined References under the Days on which many of these Persons were celebrated, form together too consistent and too well corroborated a History, to be refuted by any fancied resemblance between the recorded Deeds of their Lives and the Features of any astronomical Fables whatever.
In giving Sketches of the Lives of the Pagan Divinities we have merely detailed or arranged classical Authorities. In writing Notices of the Saints and Holy Persons of Christendom, we have closely copied, or abstracted, the Accounts of the Fathers of the Church, to be found in the Vitae Sanctorum and in Butler's Lives of the Saints; and we have usually done this verbatim, avoiding all doctrinal Subjects and Disquisitions of our own, being neither qualified for nor ambitious of the task of theological Writing. But we have extracted the pith of a vast body of excellent religious and historical Information which is contained in the Writings of the early Christians, and have formed a series of References to the original Documents arranged under each Day in the Calendar in a manner that we flatter ourselves may prove useful.
While contemplating the Progress of mythological Personification, which the History of the heathen Deities afforded, it occurred to us to make use of their Names as a mode of heading the different scientific Articles in the Calendar, so that each Branch of Natural History and Philosophy should be found under the Name of the Divinity into which it had been personified-a Plan in part adopted before, particularly by Naturalists in their Floras, Faunas, and Pomonas. We found, inoreover, that this mode was of great indicatorial Utility, as a mode of easy
Reference to various Objects which might happen to be treated of in the same Page. Conformably to the
adoption of this Plan, the Reader will find the several Articles of Science by looking under the following Heads respectively :
FLORA will indicate that the Observations in the subjoined Paragraphs relate to Botany and the History of Flowers : in this we closely follow Linnaeus and the Naturalists of the 18th Century. We have endeavoured, under this Head, to give the Times of flowering of the most familiar of our wild and garden Plants arranged under each Day, and have interspersed these Articles with numerous poetical Quotations relating to Botany.
Fauna points out that Observations follow relating to the Country, and to the Animal Kingdom in particular. Here again we have only adopted the Plan of the great Naturalist in his Fauna Suecica.
Pomona at once declares the ensuing Subject to be the consideration of Apples, Pears, and other Fruits.
URANIA, the fabled Daughter of Jove and Mnemosyne, from whom the Science of Astronomy is said first to have emanated, has been adopted to represent the Articles relating to the Starry Heaven and every thing that appertains to that Science. And we have endeavoured to comprehend herein a familiar View of the Celestial Phenomena for each Month, not of a deep and scientific, but of a popular nature, for general Amusement.
COELUM is more properly confined to Observations relating to the Phenomena of our Atmosphere, and the various and brilliant Phenomena which mark the revolving Periods of the Seasons, and the casual Changes of the Weather. Under this Head we have also arranged various meteorological Remarks on the Appearance of the Sky and the State of Temperature, Pressure, and other atmospherical Effects in each Season.
Aeolus represents the Observations relating to the Winds.
Hygeia necessarily implies the medical Articles and the popular Rules of Health for each Season of the Year, many of which, of a very curious kind, we have collected from divers early medical Writers, and have subjoined others founded on the most approved modern Practice. The term Hygeia, as a title to Books on Health, seems first to have been adopted by Dr. Beddoes.
Hecate, who was an imaginary Witch, represents our Articles relating to the Antiquity of Witchcraft, the Physiology of Spectres, Visions, Dreams, and in short of all those Phenomena which emanate from a spellbound, and, to speak in the language of superstition, a bewitched state of the Mind. In these Articles we have been enabled to explain a great number of extraordinary Facts, and to unravel and show the real Origin of numberless Ghost Stories and Tales of Fiction, which have so mightily terrified the mystic and credulous of all Ages, and which bave arisen from a particular disordered State of the Sensorium, whereby the Images of Thought acquire the force of Objects of Perception, so as to deceive the patient as to the Reality of their Existence.
CHRONOLOGY of course relates to certain historical Articles, of which we have inserted a great many, forming a sort of Compendium of Chronology diurnally arranged.
TEMPUS has been sometimes used for the Articles relative to the Dates of certain Inventions; and likewise for certain mathematical Computations concerning the Application of Time.
To these we may add, OPS, ERYNNIS, MUSAE, GRATIAE, and other names easily understood, which we have made subservient to the purpose for which we at first adopted this mode of designating the Subjects, namely, that of pointing out to the Reader, immediately he opens the Page, whereabouts in it each Sort of Subject is to be found, and thus facilitating and extending the