« PrécédentContinuer »
derived from the same root. S. B. 0., in the Egyptian Coptic, signified erudition. Save, in Coptic, is a sage; (French, Savant.) The Druidical priests were called Sabs. Sabæanism was the religion they taught. The Celtic Sab-aith, was the day on which the Sabs assembled; whence the term Sabbat, an assembly: in modern his. tory, a name confined to the nocturnal assemblies of witches and sorcerers.”
“ The Saba day was, therefore, the day on which the 'grey-headed men,' or 'aged fathers' of a tribe were in the habit of assembling for council or sacrifice. The intervals of their meetings, if hebdomadal—and they would necessarily be so, for the observance of the lunar festivals of India--would be Saba-day periods. Saba, therefore, became a terın of computation, standing for the numeral seven, just in the same way as the moon became identified with the period of a lunation, which we still call a moon or month. The public business transacted, and the religious solemnities observed on the Saba-day, caused that day to be regarded as a more important day than any other, and necessarily gave to the number Saba, or seven, a marked significance, which made it an appropriate name of any thing that was complete or perfect; afterwards, with the assistance of astrological priests, it grew into a fortunate' number and a sacred number."*
This is the most extraordinary passage, to come from one professing to be learned, that we remember to have met with. It violates the soundest and most established principles of interpretation, not only in attempting to ascertain the original meaning of terms in the ancient Hebrew worship, by the significance which they had in the comparatively modern superstition of the Druids, thus making the vitiated speech of superstition and corruption the key to the interpretation of the true and pure religion, but if with any difference, even worse in seeking to establish, upon a remote resemblance in sound, an identity between a comparatively modern term in the Celtic language, and one of the most ancient, certainly the most ancient written terms in the Hebrew language; when nothing is more clearly established, than that these languages are not cognate -the former belonging to the great Indo-Germanic family, and the latter to the Semitic family; the one (the Hebrew) the oldest written language in the literature of the world-spoken, written, and reduced to an accurate grammatical structure, as far back, to say the least, as the times of Moses, and most definitely understood and interpreted, and translated by the students and critics of the Bible; the
* West. Rev., Nov., 1850—p. 81-2.
other, the Celtic, comparatively unknown, we may sny, so far as the terms of the Druidical worship are concerned, totally unknown to the literary world beyond the invasion of Britain by the Romans, under Cæsar, and then existing but to a very limited extent, in a written form, and this in the characters of the Greek alphabet! We are thus dragged across the lapse of nearly 1500 years, from the times of Moses to the invasion of Britain under Julius Cæsar, in search of the meaning of the Hebrew term yav, (seven :) and though we discover through all this period that the term had a most definite meaning, and that the origin of its sacred import is most clearly pointed out and explained in the monumental institutions, both religious and civil, of the Jewish people; yet we are asked to give up all this light, as in fact nothing more than the ignis fatuus of superstition, and to sit down, like children, before the feet of the old Druids, whom the power of the Roman armies drew from their obscurity only about fifty years before the commencement of the Christian era, and there, and from them learn, why it was that Moses used the term you (Shebang) to express the numeral seven, and now (Shabbath) to express the ordinance of the Sabbath! The Druidical priests, we are told, were called Sabs, and the days on which the Sabs assembled, were called Saba-days, or Sab-aith. Now, admitting all this to be so, there is not the shadow of evidence that these Saba-days' were seventh days; and it is certain, that neither Sab, nor Sab-aith, was the Celtic term for seven. The word for seven was secht or saith, which has no resemblance, in sense or in sound, to Sab, or Sab-aith. How, then, can the fact that the Druidical priests were called Sabs, and the days on which they met Sab-aith days, throw any light upon the Hebrew term yav, (Shebang,) seven.
But our author thinks that these Saba.days would necessarily be hebdomadal periods, for the observance of the lunar festivals of India! His is, indeed, a most convenient system of interpretation. He first sweeps over the lapse of near fifteen centuries, from the time of Moses in Asia, to that of the Druids in Britain, to discover that the Druidical priests were called Sabs, and their days of assem. bling Saba-days; and then, with as vigorous a rebound, returns over about an equal period, to the origin of the lunar festivals in India, to prove that these Saba-days were necessarily seventh days! Thus the name of the Druid priests furnishes him with the origin of the term Sabbath, and the lunar festivals of the ancient Indians, with the fact that these Sabbaths were hebdomadal; and from there, two, he draws the satisfactory conclusion, that Moses borrowed from idolatry, not only the division of time into weeks, but the very terms
seven and Sabbath, and, therefore, that these arrangements among the Jews were superstitious, mythological, or any thing but divine ! Of the first of these facts, it is sufficient to say that Moses could not have borrowed his terms from the Druids; and of the second, we have previously shown that the septenary division of time was not, and could not have been employed in the observance of the lunar festivals, since the lunar changes do not recur at intervals of seven days.
It is further asserted by our author, that the Hebrew seven (pav) signifies age; that Sab (av) is grey-headed, and Sabbath (n)v) means old age. These assertions are made to prepare the way for the inference, that, inasmuch as the Druidical priests were called Sabs, and their days of meeting Sab-aith, therefore, the terms seven and Sabbath, even as used by Moses, originated in the titles of the priests, who officiated at the lunar festivals. These assertions involve a simple question of fact. Is it true that the Hebrew term for seven (vaw) signifies age? The decision of this question is to be made by reference to the usage of the Hebrew Bible; and we hesitate not to say, that there is not an instance of its being so used within the lids of the volume-not one! Though it occurs some four or five hun. dred times, it is not in a single place translated age. No matter what the vowel pointing may be, still it is universally true that the radicals (wav) S or Sh B A, or 0, used for seven, are never rendered by the word age. The same is true with respect to the radicals (nav) S, or Sh B Th, used for the word Sabbath ; no matter how pointed, it never means old age in a single case to be found in the Bible. It is, of course, used very often, but never, as asserted, in the sense of old age! As for the assertion that Sab (30) means grey-headed, it is true we have this term occurring once or twice in the Hebrew books in this sense; but this is a different form, and is evidently no way connected with the words seven and Sabbath. It is, besides, a metaphorical, and not the primary meaning of the term, and cannot, therefore, be relied upon as bearing upon the inquiry before us. The common term among the ancient Hebrews for old, aged, an old man, f'c., was p (zah-kehn.) This was also the official title of the elders of Israel; but neither they nor the Jewish priests were ever called Sabs ; on the contrary, their priests were called yno, (kah-hehn,) the primary signification of which is not age, but ministry or service; the verbal form in the infinitive being frequently rendered, “to minister in the priest's office."
How can it be explained, then, that the title of the Druidica] priests, Sab, is identical with a Hebrew term rer ered grey-headed ?
The identity is only a seeming one, arising from the changes which we make in the Hebrew radicals, when expressing them in English equivalents. The superstition of Saboarism, the priests of which religion, our author tells us, were called Sabs, was not originally spelt with an u (S.) but with a 3 (Tz.,) as the initial consonant. The primary idea of 833 (tzah-bah,) from which Tzabaan is derived, is an assemblage or host, and because they worshipped the hosts of heaven, as did the Israelites under their wicked kings, contrary to the express command of Jehovah, they were called Tzabæans, or, as we now write it, Sabeans, or worshippers of the hosts of heaven. Their priests would be called Tzabs-a term different, both in its sense and its etymology, from the Hebrew av (Sab.) Their days of assemblage would be Tzaba-days, or kost-days; and as the worship of the hosts of heaven included, as objects of idolatry, other luminaries besides the moon, it is begging the whole question to say that the Saba, or Tzaba-days, were only at the periods of the lunar festivals. Is it not almost beyond a question, that the Tzaba-days, or host-days, were the religious days of Tzaba-ism, or host-worship, and that they occurred as often as the ceremonies of any of the hosts of heaven--the sun, moon, or stars, were celebrated ? No one has any reason for saying that the term was confined to the ceremonies of the lunar festivals alone.*
We have thus far presented only a negative argument against the conclusions drawn by our author from his verbal criticisms respecting the original terms Savang (yav) and Sabbath (nov:) It is proper that we should, also, point out the true history of these words, as ascertained by a more certain light.
The primary signification of the term seven (35v) in Hebrew, is fulness; and as the terms employed in the earlier stages of all languages are mostly significant of some fact, quality or accident, belonging to, or connected with the thing named, we naturally inquire, what was the peculiarity of this day, which caused it to be
* The reader will perceive that we allow the author the full advantage of his assertion, that the Druidical religiou and Tzaba-ism were the same. But this is far from being generally conceded by the learned; many supposing, and with good show of reason, too, that the Druid's superstition was not transported from the East, but that it was original to Britain. We will not enter upon the discussion of this point, on which, indeed, we could not offer any thing conclusive; but would only suggest, that if this superstition be not derived from the East, and is not, in fact, ancient Saba-ism, then the lunar festivals of India cannot be appealed to in support of the conjecture that Saba-days were at hebdomadal periods. This is the proof and the certainty of scepticism--a proof drawn from assumptions, and a certainty based upon the most doubtful and indeterminate historical conjectures SERIES IV.-Vol. 1.
called seven, or the day of fulness, completeness ? The solution of the question which may be drawn from the writings of Moses, is most reasonable and satisfactory. It was the day when the work of ereation stood forth, frill, perfected, and satisfying to the Divine Author, On this day he could survey all the works of his hands which he had made, and see that every purpose of the universe was provided for, and that all his own designs were accomplished, and, at the same time, feel that the great motive for which he had been induced to create it, was satisfied. Hence, this day was most fitly and siger nificantly called seven, (930,) or the day of creation's fulness. The term was evidently employed, primarily, in this significant sense, and in this sense it is frequently used in the Hebrew Seriptures, Abraham is said to have been gathered to his fathers when “old and full of days;" literally, seven (van) of days;" and the Psalmist sings, “ In thy presence there is fulness of joy ;" literally, (vaw) of joy."
From these facts, we see why it was that seven became a symbolie number, and was employed, by perhaps all the ancient Eastern nations, to indicate perfection, completeness-a satisfying fulness. How much more honorable to man is this solution, gathered from the authentic and most ancient records of Moses, than the conjectures of our author, based upon the vague teachings of tradition, and the far-fetched inferences of a vain and deceitful philosophy.
In his criticisms upon the words seven and Sabbath, it is evident that this writer attempts to refer them both to the same origin; bus in the sacred style, they are not so used. The reason why the seventh day was called Sabbath-day, is distinctly stated : It was because on this day, God rested or ceased from all his works which he had created and made. Gen. ii. 3. The term employed by Moses, as a specific name for the seventh day, was a term which signified the occasion of its consecration. It was hallowed and blessed for a particular reason, and that reason was expressed in the name by which it was designated-Sabbath (nov) means cessation, as from work or labor, rest; and that God ceased from all his works and rested on this day, is the uniform reason assigned, throughout the Old Testament, for its being observed as a day of rest. Other reasons are sometimes superadded, and special providences are urged as arguments addressed to the gratitude of the people, for a faithful observance of an institution which was always regarded as a mark of homage to God; still the fundamental and original idea is that of a monumental rest, typical, also, of that rest which awaits the people of God. The term was so understood by all the paraphrasts and