In ancient times, the serpent was an object of adoration in almost all nations. It was, in fact, one of the earliest deviations from the true system, and in almost all the ancient rites we find some allusion to the serpent. It was worshiped in India, Egypt, Phenicia, Babylonia, Greece, and Italy. Indeed, so widely was this worship distributed, presenting everywhere so many similar features, that it is not surprising that it has been regarded by some writers as the primitive religion of man. And so long did it continue, that in the Sect of Ophites--from the Greek word Ophis, meaning a serpent, it became one of the earliest heresies of the church. In some nations, as the Egyptians, the serpent was the representative of the good principle; but in most of them it was the emblem of the evil principle.
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