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In this laconic way the Triads were written.

At what period a plurality of gods was introduced among the Ancient Britons, it is not possible to ascertain ; but it is most probable that this gross innovation was brought in by degrees. They had gods of different kinds; as Teutates, whom they called the Father ; Taranis, the Thunderer; Hu, the Mighty, who conducted the first colony to Britain ; Ceridwen, a goddess, in whose rites the preservation of mankind in the ark was figured ; and Beal or Belinus,- for the Phænicians had introduced the worship of their Baal—a Babylonish title appropriated to the sun, and particularly regarded in Syria and Canaan. The Supreme Being was worshipped by the Gauls and Britons under the name Hesus,—a word expressive of omnipotence. But when a plurality of gods was admitted, Hesus was adored only as a particular divinity, who by his great power, presided over wars and armies, and was the same with Mars. The Germans, Gauls, and Britons, being a warlike people, were great worshippers of Hesus, whose countenance and assistance they endeavoured to gain by cruel and bloody rites.

Suetonius, in his Life of Claudius, charges the Druids with offering to their gods human sacrifices, as Cæsar also does in his Commentaries ; but Diodorus Siculus affirms, that it was but rarely, or only on extraordinary occasions. One article in the Druidical creed was, “ That nothing but the life of man could atone for the life of man.” Whether this was a primitive doctrine, handed down by oral tradition, and thus corrupted, we cannot determine. However, in consequence of this

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maxim, their altars streamed with human blood, great numbers of wretched men falling a sacrifice to this barbarous superstition. Criminals, who had been guilty of robbery and other crimes, were selected in the first instance, as the most acceptable offerings to the Deity; but in case these happened to become scarce, the innocent were forced to supply their places. Cæsar says, that the Druids placed the victims in a sort of hollow frame or wicker case, where, after the same had been set on fire, they were soon suffocated or burnt to death. These dreadful sacrifices were offered by the Druids, on behalf of the public, at the eve of a dangerous war, or in a time of national calamity; also for persons of high rank, when they were afflicted with a dangerous disease. By such acts of cruelty, the ancient Britons endeavoured to avert the displeasure, and procure the approbation of their gods. Augustus and Tiberius, it is said, abolished the said druidical practice in Gaul, and Claudius in Britain. It is stated, that such sacrifices were not offered in Ireland. O'Halloran, in his History of Ireland, says, “ Certain it is, that in the whole Irish history, no instance occurs of the Druids offering up human sacrifices."

The druidical creed contained this article concerning places of Worship, “ That it was unlawful to build temples to the gods, or to worship them within walls, or under roofs.” b Quintus, the brother of M. Tullius Cicero, in his confidential despatches to him, details the mode observed in constructing stone edifices in Britain for sacred use, with as much exactness as if he had been present at their construction ; and describes, with great minuteness, the celebration of a religious ceremony, of which he was an eye-witness.

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a Vol. i. p. 10.

b Tacit. de mor. Germ. c. 9.

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the sun.

From Quintus to M. T. Cicero. “ The temples of the Britons are raised and constructed in a circular form, with obelisks of stone, over which are imposts, all of huge dimensions, untouched by the chisel; a peace-offering to Geranius, or Apollo,

The huge stones,a of which they are composed, lay scattered by the hand of nature on the plain : these, with myriads of labourers, the high-priest caused to be rolled up on the inclined planes of solid earth, which had been formed by the excavation of trenches, until they had attained a height equal to their own altitude ; these pits being dug, they were launched from the terrace, and sunk so as to stand perpendicular, at due and equal distances in the circle, and over these were placed others horizontally. After having completed one circle, they formed another that is concentric at some distance, and towards the extremity of the area of the inner circle, they placed a huge stone for the purpose of religious rites. When the Sun enters into Cancer, is the greatest festival of the god; and on all high mountains and eminences of the country, they light fires at the approach of that day, and make their wives, their children, and their cattle, to pass through the fire, or to present themselves before the fire in honour of the deity. Deep and profound is the silence of the multitude during this ceremony, until the appearance of the sun above the horizon, when, with loud and continued exclamations,

a “ Al Janabius observes, that many of the Arabian idols were no other than large huge stones, the worship of which the posterity of Ishmael first introduced. To us it seems most probable, that these great stones were the first public places of Divine worship amongst the Arabs, on which they poured wine and oil, as Jacob did upon the stones that served him for a pillow, when he saw the vision. Afterwards, they might worship these stones themselves, as the Phænicians in all probability did."-Universal History, vol. xviii. p. 387.

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