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Shoulders simply to be scourged, and being struck, He will keep silent, so that perchance none may know who He is, nor from whence He came to converse with those here below; and they will crown Him with a crown of thorns, and give Him gall to eat, and vinegar to drink, and they will show by this meal their overmuch inhumanity. But thou, O people! blinded and foolish; didst not know thy God disguised to human eyes; and thou didst crown Him with thorns, thou gavest Him to drink horrible gall; the veil of the Temple will be rent, and in the middle of the day there will come over a most darksome night that will last three hours, and He will die the death, going to sleep for three days, and after this, returning from Hell, He will come to life. He will be the first to manifest to the chosen the principles of Religion." All this is referred to by St Augustin, also by Father Canisio.

In praise of the Virgin, Our Lady, is quoted the following verses of this Sibyl :

"Cerno Dei matrem, qui se dimisit ab alto,
Ultima felices referent cum tempora soboles,
Hebræa quem Virgo feret de stirpe decora,
In terris multum teneris passurus ab annis,
Magnus erit tamen hic divino carmine vates
Virgine matre fatus, prudenti tempore vexat."

And concerning the adoration of the Kings,

is read these verses :-

"Illi libabunt aurum, mirrhamque; ferentes

Thusque; Sacerdotes, hæc omnia namque patrati."

These and many others are quoted in the work Oracula Sibyllina.

The Roman Senate sent fifteen Ambassadors to the city of Erithrea for the verses of this Sibyl, and they were placed in the Capitol. This Sibyl is painted holding to her breast a lamb, because she spoke of Christ Our Lord under the appellation of the Lamb, for such did St John the Baptist call Him, when he said: Ecce Agnus Dei. She is also represented with a Lamb to denote the innocence of Christ, His meekness, His riches, and the happiness which He promised-all which is symbolised by the lamb.

THE TRUTH OF THE SIBYLS PROVED BY THE TESTIMONY OF PAGAN WRITERS

I WILL commence by Cicero, who was one of the most learned and eloquent of all the Latins, and who lived some seventy years before Christ. I quote what he says of the Sibyls :

*

"Sibyllæ versus observamus, quos illa furens fudisse dicitur; quorum interpres falsa quædam, hominum fama dicturus in Senatum putabatur; eum quem re vero regem habebamus, appellandum quoque esse regem, si salvi esse vellemus. Hoc si est in libris, in quem hominum et in quod tempus est? Callide enim qui illa composuit perfecit, ut quodcumque accidisset prædictum videretur, hominum et hominum et temporum temporum definitione sublata. Adhibuit etiam latebram obscuritatis, ut iidem versus alias in aliam rem posse accommodari viderentur. Non autem esse illud

* Tull. 1. 2. de divinat. e., 110, 111, 112.

carmen furentis, cum ipsum Poema declarat; est enim magis artis et diligentiæ quam incitationes et motus; tam vero ea quæ dicetur, cum deinceps exprimis versus litteris aliquid connectitur, ut in quibusdam Ennianis quæ Ennius fecit. Id certe magis est attenti animi quam furentis. Atque in Sibyllinis ex primo versu cujusque sententiæ, primis litteris, illius sententiæ carmen omne prætexitur. Hoc scriptoris est, non furentis ; adhibentis diligentiam, non insani," etc.

The translation is as follows:

"We preserve the verses of the Sibyl which she spoke, so it is said, when she was beside herself. It is believed that her interpreter during a great noise which prevailed, had said in the full Senate, that if we wished to save Rome we must needs bestow the title of King upon him who should truly fulfil the functions of such amongst us. If this is what these books tell us, to what man or at what time does this prediction refer? The author has been careful in not assigning any time or men, thus adapting the prophecies to every possible event. Moreover, these verses are enveloped in such obscurity that these very verses may receive many appli

cations.

"Nothing, therefore, less resembles the in

[graphic]

30 "AS DAVID AND THE SIBYLS SAY"

spiration of a prophet in a fit of delirium than the art and care which is observable in these oracles, and the form of acrostic, or that attention in making sense with the initial letters of the verses, as is seen in some of the poetry of Ennius. Ennius fecit.

"I perceive in these verses more of study and Nevertheless the Sibylline verses enthusiasm. are thus composed: the first letters of the verses In this is seen of one period forming a motto. the writer and not the prophet, the man who calculates, and not a god insane," etc.

And

he concludes in these terms: "And for this reason is the knowledge of these Sibylline books prohibited to the public, and they are hidden from them; and it is ordered by our ancestors that they be not read unless by an order from the Senate, fearing lest they should tend to destroy rather than to establish religion."

From the Prince of Orators I follow with the Prince of Poets, Virgil, who deserves no less than a historian to be believed, since he speaks of a fact of which he can be a witness, and one who be suspected of collusion with the Christians, as he wrote forty-one years before the coming of Christ, and which bears some idea of predictions, and that the Poets had their

cannot

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