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PHILOLOGICAL, PHILOSOPHICAL, ETHNOLOGICAL,
THE PREHISTORICAL RECORDS
THE CIVILIZED NATIONS OF ANCIENT EUROPE, ESPECIALLY OF
THAT RACE WHICH FIRST OOOUPIED GREAT BRITAIN.
JOHN WILLIAMS, A.M., Oxon.,
ARCHIDEACON OF CARDIGAN;
the Great, &c. &c.
JOHN RUSSELL SMITH,
Having just published a volume of discourses “On the Unity of God's Will as revealed in Scripture; and on the Necessity laid upon all Christian Communities of acknowledging such Will as the only Rule of Life, with special Reference to God's Dealings with Christianized Britain,"? I publish the several papers contained in the present volume, as embodying my views of the non-scriptural evidence of the same truths, as deducible from documents and monuments, both historical and prehistorical, which I have had an opportunity of examining. In the dedication to the Lord Bishop of London of the above-mentioned volume, I have given the following statement of my views upon the subject :
“I hold that the first man, as an intellectual, moral, and spiritual being, had nothing to learn from experience; that, as a labourer in the struggle against matter, he had almost everything to learn ; and that the triumphs of man over the material world, and which are daily in a greater or less degree obtained, will never give him, individually, more intellectual, moral, and spiritual knowledge, than was possessed by the first Adam; that a school opposite to mine expects new teaching to be discovered on this same field from modern experience; and that the spirit of the age is indeed a light
London : Rivingtons, Watcrloo Placc ; 1857.
from heaven, which may be assumed by us as a safe guide, superseding the patriarchs, the prophets, and the apostles, and be proclaimed the gospel of the nineteenth century. The spirit of the age is nevertheless no gospel, but embodies a great truth. Materially we are fulfilling our vocations, and subduing and replenishing the earth; but intellectually, morally, and spiritually speaking, we derive no benefits from the modern triumpbs of art and science. Excitement, encouragement, and enlarged powers for diffusing the blessings of the Revelation in Christ, we undoubtedly do derive; and may God grant us his grace to render our triumphs over matter subservient to the spread of truth, as embodied in the traditions of the patriarchs, typified and declared by Moses and the prophets, and finally developed in the everlasting gospel.”
I also quoted from the works of Plutarch, a passage which proves that the same great truths had been traditionally preserved among the historical heathens down to the time of Christ's first advent:—"For," writes the philosopher, “we must not ascribe the work of creation to certain lifeless particles of matter, as Epicurus has done, nor say, with the Stoics, that one divine foreknowledge binds and fetters all things in one inviolable law of consequences. For it is impossible that there should be any evil, if the Being vested with the fettering foreknowledge should be good, or that there should be any good, should this same principle be evil. Wherefore, that very ancient doctrine which we cannot refer to any author, but of which the belief is strong and ineffaceable, not only in words and expressions, but is developed everywhere, both among Greeks and Barbarians, in their mysterious initiations and sacrifices; that there is more than one principle acting in the government of the universe—in fact, that there are two antagonistic principles, of which one guides man to the right
along the straight road, the other leads him astray into various byways and errors.
He, in a following passage, tells us that there was an equally strong tradition, that “at a destined period the evil principle would either be destroyed or made to disappear ; and that this earth, freed from all incqualities and rugged barrenness, should become the happy residence of innocent beings, all forming one political state, and speaking one language.'
The great truths here recorded will receive further elucidation from several of the papers published in this volume. I refer especially to the papers, “On the Early Intercourse between the Eastern and the Western World,” “On the Connection between Hellas and Britain,” “A few Observations on certain Ancient Traditions,” and “On the Antiquity of Celtic Coins,” a subject which, in the hands of the great continental numismatical writers, has thrown new light upon the secret tenets of the Druidical teachers of the Western world.
I have also held and taught, that "it must have been in consequence of some extraordinary delusion, that so many Christian scholars sought for the origin of Hellenic doctrines in the several details of the Mosaic law, and the revelations subsequent to its establishment. According to my belief, all the doctrines and practices common to the Hellenic and Hebrew nations, are to be traced to a common source—the patriarchal traditions; while the Mosaic dispensation, with its peculiar laws and customs, was a close system divinely provided to keep one people distinct from other nations, by building a wall of separation between them and all with whom they were likely to be brought in contact. And that the great difficulty under this theocratic system was to pre. vent the Israelites from adopting the corrupt traditions of their heathen neighbours, who are never described as in