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salem, have no need of the sun by day or of the moon by night, for their blessed abode is furnished with lights of its own. There the year is one long day. Once every forty years, each human pair is blessed by the birth of a boy and girl; and a similar rule holds good with animals.
There was no death there; and the bird (or perhaps rather seraph) Carshipta published the law. Such was the Var of Jemshid.
All the remaining parts of the Avesta consists of hymns, prayers, and invocations, thinly interspersed with fragments of mythological legends, which, however, have nothing in common with the mythology of Greece. The second book is the VISPERED. It is divided into twenty-seven short sections, and consists entirely of invocations, to be recited during the performance of religious ceremonies. They are little else than repeated catalogues of the objects of devout regard — we cannot properly call it worship, which is rendered to many of them. The comparative lateness of the book is admitted, and is clear from internal evidence. It mentions repeatedly the “ prayers, the texts, and the commentaries,”
,” @1 which must therefore have been known and of established reputation, at the time when it was composed. The YASNA is rather more extensive and important, and is naturally divided into two parts. The first part, consisting of twenty-seven sections, closely resembles the. Vispered. The second part is in a more ancient dialect, is deemed the oldest portion of the Avesta,62 and is the only part composed in verse. It consists of eight hymns, or prayers, called GATHAS, which are probably in part very ancient, and are held by the Parsees to possess extraordinary sanctity and efficacy, Each is distinguished by a particular name, which, like our Te Deum and De profundis, is generally the first words of the hymn. They are repeatedly mentioned in the other parts of the Avesta, both collectively and by name, even in the Vendidad and first part of the Yasna, a sufficient proof of their superior antiquity. Owing to the introduction of great numbers of conceptions which flicker unfixedly between personal spirits and mere abstract ideas; the sudden and seemingly abrupt transitions; the ideas and and modes of thought so foreign to all our mental habits these, and in some degree the imperfection of the text, ren61 Vispered xv., xvi., xvii., &c. 62 Spiegel's Avesta, 1; Einleitung, 13.
der these hymns as obscure as human compositions can well be. We should like to give a specimen, and a single verse might often be well translated; but we should hardly attempt to give an English expression to ten consecutive lines. Even where intelligible, they have little merit as compositions. In justice to them, however, it should be said that they contain nothing to shock or offend. Unlike the ritual of many other ancient nations, they have no connection with sanguinary or obscene rites; and whatever meaning they contain might be expressed in any company without calling forth a blush. Considering what has been in heathen lands, this is in itself no slight praise. Many of the later prayers contain merely a recital of the numerous objects to which reverence is offered. The following is a short and favorable sample from the later prayers — not the Gâthâs :
1. I praise the thoughts, words, and works that are well thought, well spoken, and well performed.
2. I embrace all good thoughts, words and works.
6. With thoughts, words, and works, with heavenly purpose, from my own body and life.63
The three books just named, intermixed and arranged for the purposes of a book of common prayer, from what is called the VENDIDAD-SADE. The remaining pieces are called collectively the YESHTS-SADES, and also the KHORDA AVESTA, or Little Avesta, and consist of the Yeshte proper, the Neaeshes, or supplications, the Patets, or confessions, the Afergans and Afrins, or thanksgivings, and a few other pieces for particular occasions, all of which are prayers, differing little from those already mentioned. They are probably of very various
ages ; and some of them must have been composed as late as the time of the Sassanian kings. The Parsees claim to have several other fragments in their possession, analogous to the Vendidad,64 but we do not know that copies of them have ever been brought to Europe.
Translations of the Zend-avesta into the Huzvaresh were made under the Sassanide dynasty. They are not mere 63 Yasna, xii.
64 Parsees, 244.
translations, but rather paraphrases, and have been much used in determining the sense of the Zend text. There is also the Sanscrit version of Neriosengli, made in the fifteenth century for the use of the Parsees in India,65 which also contributes its share to the elucidation of those obscure documents. The whole, or parts of the Zend-avesta, have been published in Europe at different times, and in a variety of forms, the principal of which, in addition to the works of Anquetil, Kleuker and Burnouf, are the text of the Vendidad by J. Olshausen, published at Hamburg in 1829, the Vendidad Sade with index and glossary by H. Brokhaus, Leipzig, 1850, the first five chapters of the Vendidad by Prof. Lassen of Bonn, 1852, and lastly the text of the whole, edited by Dr. Francis Spiegel, of Erlangen, and issued from the imperial press at Vienna, volume first of which was published in 1852. There is also a corresponding German translation by Spiegel, published simultaneously with the text, of which the first volume, containing the Vendidad, was published in 1852, and the second, comprising the Vispered and Yasna, in 1859. This is the first real translation of the whole of the Zend text into any European language, and our quotations will be taken from that version as far as it has yet been completed.
Some books written after the Zend-avesta, present the Magian religion of their time in a much more intelligible form than do the original documents. Of these, the earliest, and one of the most important, is the ARDAI-VIRAFNAMEH,66 or Revelations of Ardai Virâf. The story told of the origin of the book is this: When Ardeshir Babegan, the restorer of the Persian monarchy, ascended the throne, in his zeal to restore the religion of his ancestors, after the centuries of neglect which it had suffered, he assembled the priests and wise men of the kingdom, to the number of forty thousand, in a grand ecclesiastical council. After several elections, Ardai Virâf was set apart as the most suitable person for the solemn object in view. A cup of medicated wine having been given him, he straightway fell asleep in the presence of seven sages,
and remained entranced seven
65 Spiegel's Avesta, 1; Einleitung, 47.
66 Ardai-Virâf-Nameh, or Revelations of Ardai-Viràf. Translated from the Persian and Gazeratee versions, with notes and illustrations by J. A. Pope. London: 1816.
days. During that time his soul was separated from his body, and conducted by the Ized, or angel Serosh, through all the seven heavens, including the paradise of the blessed, and shown the terrors of hell. This celestial guide explains every thing to him as they go along; and Ormazd commands him to declare all that he had seen and heard to mankind on his return to the earth. On awaking he relates his vision, which is immediately committed to writing. The form of the book, however, and much of its substance, will be better accounted for by the remark, that it is an obvious imitation of three earlier works of Jewish and Christian origin, the Book of Enoch, the fourth Book of Ezra, and the Ascension of Isaiah. All the four are similar in form, and somewhat alike in matter, and obviously because the vision was then in fashion, or, in other words, it was deemed the most effectual way of communicating religious ideas.
The BoundEHESH is a small book of Cosmology, written in the Huzvaresh language, in the seventh century of our era. It professes to be a translation of an original work of Zoroaster; but that claim is deserving of no attention. It is impossible to ascertain precisely how much of the contents is older than the work itself; but we cannot accept as undoubtedly ancient, ideas that are not found in the older parts of the Avesta. The book treats minutely of the creation, the resurrection and last judgment, and other inaccessible subjects, and along with some really fine passages, contains much that is peurile, not to say offensive. Although it is acquainted with the last of the Sassanian kings, and with the Mahometan conquest, and denounces the enemies of Iran, it unaccountably makes no mention of either Alexander or Mahomet. The MINOKHIRED is in the form of a dialogue between a Parsee sage and a celestial being. It is of a polemic character, and exceedingly bitter against other religions, which, however, are not named, but understood to be the Jewish and Christian. The BAHMAN YESHT is the Parsee Apocalypse. It is a prophetic vision of the history and end of the world from the reign of Gustasp, in imitation of the Book of Daniel and the other visions just mentioned. It is also bitterly polemic. The ULEMA-I-ISLAM purports to be the principal parts of a theological discussion, held in the presence of the Caliph Ali between a Parsee
mobed and a Mahommetan doctor. These four date from nearly the same time. There are also quite a number of other and later books and pieces, great and small, composed at various times down to 1848. Among these we will only mention the SAD-DER, or HUNDRED GATES, a system of ethics in verse in a hundred chapters or cantos; the SADDER BOUNDEHESH, which treats both of morals and cosmogony, of angelology, &c.; the KISSAH-I-SANJAN, and the RIVAETS, or Commentaries.
NOTE BY THE EDITOR. - Those of our readers who have the patience to master, and the taste to appreciate the rare specimen of learning and research presented in the foregoing article, on a very important subject, will be pleased to learn that the author has, thus far, merely prepared the ground by passing in review the principal materials to be used. It is his purpose, in a subsequent paper, or papers, to speak of the Zoroastrian doctrines, of their connection with other religious systems, and in particular with the Jewish and Christian, and of the present condition of the Parsee remnant. Familiarity with the vague and often peurile character of the ancient religions, does not a little, by way of contrast, towards aiding one to prize the nobler wisdom coming from the Christian records.
The Development of Language.
Lectures on the English Language. By George P. Marsh. New York: Charles Scribner.
Rambles among Words: their Poetry, History and Wisdom. William Swinton. New York: Charles Scribner.
We propose to take these books as a text from which to write something upon the development of language and the history of words. To trace back a language to its source, to follow it down the stream of generations, to witness its growth and changes, its obscurations and reappearances, to see illustrated its capacities and uses, is a profitable and delightful task. It is walking again over the path ideas have