Nar, . . . • . . ARAB. Ignis, LAT.
Mee , Bum. Api , MALAY.
Feu, FR Fuego, SP Feur, GER. Narapu, . . . . TAM.
Ag, Agn, . . . HIND. Nepu, TEL.
Fuoco, IT. Atish, . FERs., TURK.
Fire is frequently mentioned in the writings of ancient and of some modern nations as au object to be worshipped or reverenced. Per haps the chief culture enjoined in the Vedas is that of Agni, the god of Fire, and that of the Sun ; and with the ancient Persians, as with the Parsees of the present day, the wor ship of these two objects formed the principal religious duty. Fire is preserved in Hindu, in P,arsee, and in Buddhist temples, and seems to be the inextinguishable fire alluded to in Leviticus vi. 13, as their lamps are kept perpetually burn ing, according to the injunction to the Hebrew Levites, The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar ; it shall never go out.' • The three fires of the Hindu ritualistic worship are the Garhapatya, or perpetual fire, maintained by a householder ; the Ahavaniya, or consecrated fire, taken from the preceding, and prepared for receiving oblations; and the Dakshinagni fire, taken from either of the former, and placed towards the south. — An Agnihotra Brahman preberves the fire which was kindled at the time of his investiture with the poita, and never suffers it to go out, using the same fire at his wedding, and in all Ma burnt offerings, till at length, after his death, his body s burnt with it. The sacred fire kindled by Montezuma was preserved at Pecos down to our own times. The Retches of N. America pre served a sacred fire, and believed that frightful calamities would ensue if ever the fire were extinguished at both temples at once. Even among Christians of the present day, according to Mr. Robertson, on the eve of the Greek Easter day, the ceremony of receiving the I:gal-at-tic or holy fire is performed in the ehapel at Jerusalem. The fire bursts from the sepulchre, and the pil grims of the Greek communion light their torches at it, believing that they receive it from heaven. The lamps and candles which some Christian sects keep in their churches are remnants of the ancient and modern culture of fire. The Athen ians had a perpetual fire kept by widows; among the Romans it was kept by virgins. The Greeks had one in the temple of Apollo. The Chaldeans adored fire ; and when it went out, it was a presage of all sorts of misfortunes to the state.
In the Hebrew books, the Supremo is men tioned as having appeared in fire or encompassed with this element, as when he showed himself in the burning bush, aud descended on Mount Sinai in the midst of flames, thunder, and lightning (Exodus iii. 2, xix. 18). Fire is also a symbol of the deity (Deuteronomy iv. 24). In this awful manner he showed himself to Isaiah (ch. vi. 4); to Ezekiel (ch. i. 4). The Psalmist describes the chariot of God as composed of flames (Psahn xviii. 12-14). And the second coining of Christ is represented as in the midst of consuming fire (2 Thessalonians i. 8 ; see also Daniel vii. 10). The wrath of God is compared to fire (Psalm xviii. 8); and so are those effects of his displeasure, fainiue, war, and pestilence (Psalm lxvi. 12 ; Jer. xxi. 12). To this element the Lord is compared (Malachi iii. 2), referring to his judgment upon the wicked who are consumed like the dross of metals, and to the effects of his grace refining the righteous like pure gold. The influences of the Holy Ghost are also compared to fire (Matthew iii. 11), in reference to the tongues or flames of fire that rested on the heads of the apostles (Acts ii. 3), and to the work of regeneration on the hiunan soul, illuminating, quickening, purifying, and inflaming with gratitude, love, and zeal. The angels of God are represcntsd under the emblem of fire (Psalm eiv. 4); and a column of flame directed the marches of the Israelitish camp during the night seasons in tho wilderness (Exodus xiii. 21). Fire anciently fell from heaven to consume the victims sacrificed to the Lord, and this was an indication of his regard and approbation. And this is thought t,o be the manner in which Jehovah signified his acceptance of Abel's sacrifice. Fire also fell upon the offer ing made by Moses (Leviticus ix. 24), on those of Manoah (Judges xid. 19, 20), on Solomon's (2 Chronicles vii. 1), and on Elijah's (1 Kings xviii. 38). The fire which descended from heaven, first upon the the altar constructed by Moses in the tabernacle, and again on that erected by Solomon at its consecration, was constantly fed and pre served by tho priests, and was regarded as celes tial or hallowed fire, first kindled by the Lord himself, to instruct mankind that the origin of all spiritual good is from above, and that we aro not to warm ourselves with the sparks of our own kindling.