Egyptian Ideas of the Future Life eBook

E. A. Wallis Budge
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 140 pages of information about Egyptian Ideas of the Future Life.
for an indefinite period.  The Coptic lives of saints and martyrs are full of allusions to the sufferings of the damned, but whether the descriptions of these are due to imaginings of the mind of the Christian Egyptian or to the bias of the scribe’s opinions cannot always be said.  When we consider that the Coptic hell was little more than a modified form of the ancient Egyptian Amenti, or Amentet, it is difficult to believe that it was the name of the Egyptian underworld only which was borrowed, and that the ideas and beliefs concerning it which were held by the ancient Egyptians were not at the same time absorbed.  Some Christian writers are most minute in their classification of the wicked in hell, as we may see from the following extract from the life of Pisentios, [Footnote:  Ed. Amelineau, Paris, 1887, p. 144 f.] Bishop of Keft, in the VIIth century of our era.  The holy man had taken refuge in a tomb wherein a number of mummies had been piled up, and when he had read the list of the names of the people who had been buried there he gave it to his disciple to replace.  Then he addressed his disciple and admonished him to do the work of God with diligence, and warned him that every man must become even as were the mummies which lay before them.  “And some,” said he, “whose sins have been many are now in Amenti, others are in the outer darkness, others are in pits and ditches filled with fire, and others are in the river of fire:  upon these last no one hath bestowed rest.  And others, likewise, are in a place of rest, by reason of their good works.”  When the disciple had departed, the holy man began to talk to one of the mummies who had been a native of the town of Erment, or Armant, and whose father and mother had been called Agricolaos and Eustathia.  He had been a worshipper of Poseidon, and had never heard that Christ had come into the world.  “And,” said he “woe, woe is me because I was born into the world.  Why did not my mother’s womb become my tomb?  When, it became necessary for me to die, the Kosmokrator angels were the first to come round about me, and they told me of all the sins which I had committed, and they said unto me, ’Let him that can save thee from the torments into which thou shalt be cast come hither.’  And they had in their hands iron knives, and pointed goads which were like unto sharp spears, and they drove them into my sides and gnashed upon me with their teeth.  When a little time afterwards my eyes were opened I saw death hovering about in the air in its manifold forms, and at that moment angels who were without pity came and dragged my wretched soul from my body, and having tied it under the form of a black horse they led me away to Amonti.  Woe be unto every sinner like unto myself who hath been born into the world!  O my master and father, I was then delivered into the hands of a multitude of tormentors who were without pity and who had each a different form.  Oh, what a number of wild beasts did I see in the way! 
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Egyptian Ideas of the Future Life from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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