The work of Church-Councillor Horst, and the review of its principal contents, leave however one hemisphere at least of the subject of Magic, Theurgy, and Necromancy unnoticed. These arts, or at least the popular belief in them, are much more ancient than any of the forms of Christianity, and were, in fact, a most unlucky legacy bequeathed by Paganism to the creeds which supplanted it. It needs no ghost to tell the reader how firmly the ancients believed in all supernatural influences : how populous, in their conceptions, were the elements with omens, portents, and prodigies; how abject and unreasoning was their credulity; and how dependent both their public and their domestic life upon the exorcisms of the priest and the science of the augur. The Canidias and Ericthos of antiquity were not mere creations of the poets ; the most sober and sceptical of historians does not disdain to relate that, in the house of the dying Germanicus, were found burnt bones and dissevered limbs of dead bodies ; and the most philosophical of the Roman poets recounts with compiacent gravity the charms by which the dead might be evoked, or the faithless lover recalled by his forsaken mistress. Nor did the belief in witches and supernatural agencies decay or decline with the disbelief in the state-religion which marked the latter ages of the Roman Empire. On the contrary, as scepticism increased in one direction, credulity and abject superstition grew and prevailed in another. Neither were these infirmities of the mind by any means confined to the vulgar or the profane. The later Platonists were deeply infected with the malady of superstition, and there are few more curious chapters in the history of human inconsistency, than the lives of many of the philosophers, who argued against the being of a God, and who trembled if a hare crossed their path, at a sinister flight of crows, or at a sudden encounter with a beldame or a blackamoor in the grey of the morning.
The magical art of the ancients, more especially towards the decline of Pagandom, was indeed of an extremely dark and atrocious complexion. Unmindful of the wise and reverent forbearance of the poet of the iEneid-
" Sin has ne possim naturae accedere partes Frigidus obstiterit circurn praecordia sanguis,"- the ancient wizards pried, or affected to pry, into the very " incunabula vit»/? Could we recover a few of those books which the sorcerers at Corinth burned and brought the price of them to St. Paul, we should probably find in their pages, among some curious physical or medical secrets, nearly all the elements of a cruel and obscene superstition.
Rome, we know, was both early and deeply infected with the orgiastic worship of the East, and especially with the impure ceremonies of the priests of Isis. It was of no avail to level to the ground the Isiac chapels, and to banish their ministers. In an age of unbelief there was a passion for the mysteries of darkness ; and although Christianity gradually superseded Paganism in form, the spirit of the latter long survived in the multitude, and especially among the ignorant rural population. James Grimm, in his erudite work upon the e Antiquities of the German Race/ traces with great acuteness the connection between the superstitions of the Dark Ages and the magical formularies of Heathenism. The spells of witches, the abracadabra of quacks, and the loathsome furniture of SidrophePs laboratory are genuine descendants of the impostures and abominations which were practised for ages both in the Roman and Parthian empires.