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Title: Comparative Religion
Author: Carpenter, J. Estlin
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  COMPARATIVE
  RELIGION


  BY

  J. ESTLIN CARPENTER

  D.LITT.

  PRINCIPAL OF MANCHESTER COLLEGE, OXFORD



  NEW YORK
  HENRY HOLT AND COMPANY

  LONDON
  WILLIAMS AND NORGATE



  CONTENTS


  CHAP.

  I  INTRODUCTORY
  II  THE PANORAMA OF RELIGIONS
  III  RELIGION IN THE LOWER CULTURE
  IV  SPIRITS AND GODS
  V  SACRED ACTS
  VI  SACRED PRODUCTS
  VII  RELIGION AND MORALITY
  VIII  PROBLEMS OF LIFE AND DESTINY
  BIBLIOGRAPHY
  INDEX



        "Those first affections,
    Those shadowy recollections,
    Which, be they what they may,
  Are yet the fountain light of all our day,
  Are yet a master light of all our seeing;
    Uphold us, cherish, and have power to make
  Our noisy years seem moments in the being
  Of the eternal Silence."
                              WORDSWORTH.

"To the philosopher the existence of God may seem to rest on a
syllogism; in the eyes of the historian it rests on the whole evolution
of human thought."--MAX MÜLLER.



{7}

COMPARATIVE RELIGION



CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTORY

Over the chancel-arch of the church at South Leigh, a few miles west of
Oxford, is a fresco of the Last Judgment and the Resurrection, of the
type well known in mediæval art.  On the adjoining south wall stands
the stately figure of the archangel Michael.  In his right hand he
holds a pair of scales.  In one scale is the figure of a soul in the
attitude of prayer; beside it is Our Lady carrying a rosary.  The other
contains an ox-headed demon blowing a horn.  This scale rises steadily,
though another demon has climbed to the beam above to weigh it down,
and a third from hell's mouth below endeavours to drag it towards the
abyss.  The same theme recurs in several other English churches; and it
is carved over the portals of many French cathedrals, as at Notre Dame
in Paris.

Unroll a papyrus from an Egyptian tomb of the Eighteenth Dynasty before
the days of Moses, and you will see a somewhat similar {8} scene.  The
just and merciful judge Osiris, "lord of life and king of eternity,"
sits in the Hall of the two goddesses of Truth.  Hither the soul is
brought for the ordeal which will determine his future bliss or woe.
Before forty-two assessors he declares his innocence of various
offences: "I am not a doer of what is wrong; I am not a robber; I am
not a slayer of men; I am not a niggard; I am not a teller of lies; I
am not a monopoliser of food; I am no extortioner; I am not unchaste; I
am not the causer of others' tears...."  Then he is led, sometimes
supported by the two goddesses of Truth, to the actual trial.  Resting
on an upright post is the beam of a balance.  It is guarded by a
dog-headed ape, symbol of Thoth, "lord of the scales."  Thoth has
various functions in the ancient texts, and even rises into a kind of
impersonation of the principle of intelligence in the whole universe.
Here as the computer of time and the inventor of numbers he plays the
part of secretary to Osiris.  In one scale is placed the heart of the
deceased, the organ of conscience.  In the other is sometimes a square
weight, sometimes an ostrich plume, symbol of truth or righteousness.
Thoth stands beside the scales, tablet in hand, to record the issue as
the soul passes to the great award.

The scenes and the persons differ; but the fundamental conception of
judgment is the same, and it is carried out by the same method.  Is
this an accidental coincidence of metaphor?  {9} The figure of the
balance was naturally suggestive for the estimate of worth, and the
Psalmist cried in bitterness of heart--

  Surely men of low degree are vanity,
  And men of high degree are a lie,
  In the balances they will go up;
  They are altogether lighter than vanity.


The mysterious hand wrote upon the wall of Belshazzar's palace the
strange word Tekel, which contained the dreadful sentence, "Thou art
weighed in the balances and art found wanting."  To early Indian
imagination, before the days of the Buddha (500 B.C.), the ordeal of
the balance was part of the outlook into the world beyond.  In the
ancient Persian teaching, Rashnu, the angel of justice, before the
shining "Friend," the mediator Mithra, presided over the weighing of
the spirits at the bridge of destiny, over which they would pass to
heaven or hell.

Is Michael the heir of Thoth or Rashnu?  He passed into the Christian
Church from the Jewish Synagogue, where he was specially connected with
the destinies of the dead.  He guided the souls of the just to the
heavenly world, where he led them into the mystic city, the counterpart
of Jerusalem below; or he stood at the gate as the angel of
righteousness to decide who should be admitted.  So for the Greeks
Hermes was the guardian of the spirits of the departed, whom he
conducted {10} to the judgment in the under-world.  In this respect,
then, Hermes and Michael were akin.  But Hermes also played many other
parts, and the Greeks identified him with the Egyptian Thoth.  When the
destinies of Hector and Achilles were weighed against each other, ere
the last mortal combat, the vase-painter could represent Hermes as
holding the balance in the presence of Zeus, much as Thoth had presided
over it before Osiris.  The Etruscan artists depicted Mercury, the
Italian equivalent of Hermes, fulfilling the same function.  True, the
purport of the test was different.  But the symbol was the same; and
when Hermes gave place to Michael, as Christianity was carried to the
West, the scales passed from the Hellenic to the Jewish Christian
figure, though they had in the one case been used to decide the
allotment of fate, and in the other were employed for judgment.  Why
they remained so long unused in Christian symbolism is obscure.  The
revival of intercourse with the East through the Crusades may have
given new force to the idea as part of the great judgment-process; and
the figure to which it was most natural to assign it was that of
Thoth-Hermes-Michael.


The religion of the ancient Hindus was founded, as every one knows,
upon the venerable hymns collected into one sacred book under the name
of the Rig Veda.  These hymns, 1017 in number, containing over {11}
10,000 verses, are now arranged in ten books, twice the number of the
divisions of the Hebrew Psalter.  Like most of the Psalms they are
traditionally ascribed to different poets, in whose families they were
sung; and their authors were regarded as Rishis, bards, or sages.  Of
their real origin nothing is definitely known; their composition
probably extends over many generations, perhaps over several centuries;
and dim suggestions of their super-earthly origin already appear in
some of the latest poems.  They became the peculiar treasure of the
priestly order; the most laborious efforts were devised for the study
and preservation of the sacred text; the methods of pronunciation, the
rules of grammar, the principles of metre, the derivations of words,
were all elaborated with the utmost minuteness into different branches
of Vedic lore.  Two other smaller Vedas, collections of sacrificial
formulæ and hymns, were very early placed beside the main work, and a
fourth collection gained similar rank much later.  With the development
of the great schools of Hindu philosophy, especially after the decline
of Buddhism, the whole question of authority as the foundation of
belief and reasoning was forced to the front, and this in due time was
applied to the Veda.  Brahmanical speculation had been long concerned
with its divine origin.  It sprang from one of the mysterious figures
in which the ancient theologians expressed their sense of the real {12}
unity of the heavenly powers, Prajāpati, the "lord of creatures,"
through the medium of Vach, or sacred Speech.  As such it was "the
firstborn in the universe."  But as proceeding from Prajāpati it
issued from the world of the _an-anta_, the "un-ending" or "infinite,"
which was likewise the sphere of the _a-mrita_, the "im-mortal" or
"deathless."  So it belonged to the realm of the eternal, where it
could be beheld, not indeed with the eye of sense, but with the higher
discernment of the holy Seer.  The philosophical schools occupied
themselves accordingly with the defence of the eternity and consequent
infallibility of the Veda.  Elaborate arguments were devised to explain
the relation of words to things, and of sound in the abstract to
uttered speech or again to show how behind individuals which had their
origin in time there existed species (even of the gods) which belonged
to the timeless order transcending our experience.  So the conclusion
was reached, in the words of the great philosopher Çankara (A.D.
788-820), that "the authority of the Veda with regard to the matters
stated by it is independent and direct; just as the light of the sun is
the direct means of our knowledge of form and colour."

Just at this era, by a singular coincidence, a remarkable controversy
was raging in the schools of Mohammedan theology.  Mohammed died in
A.D. 632.  He had himself recorded nothing; the traditions about him
are not even {13} agreed whether he could read or write.  His oracles
were taught to his disciples, who began to note down some of them
during the prophet's life; soon after his death the formal collection
of them was undertaken; and under Caliph Othman (651) four copies were
deposited in the cities of Mecca, Cufa, Basra, and Damascus.  We know
the work under the name of the Koran (_Qurān_ = reading), one of the
numerous expressions which Mohammed was said to have coined for the
revelation imparted to him from on high.  Later generations attached
the title exclusively to the utterances fixed in literary form, and
discerned in them a unity designed by the prophet; but it seems more
consonant with his view to regard each of the 114 discourses (_suras_)
as a unit in itself, and the whole as only a fragment of his teaching.
Many passages raise a claim to specific divine origin; others allude to
the uncreated Scripture, _umm-al-kitab_, "the mother of the book."

On such hints was founded the remarkable doctrine that the Koran was
eternal in its essence as the word of God, a necessary attribute of the
Most High.  First formulated in the middle of the eighth century (A.D.
747-748), it roused extraordinary interest outside the theological
schools.  It was fostered by the early Caliphs, for it supported their
political authority, and the emphasis which it placed on the doctrine
of predestination supplied them with a potent weapon.  Opposition {14}
arose on the ground of free will; the passages enforcing the principle
of predestination were evaded by the handy method of allegorical
interpretation, and the revolt of the moral consciousness led, as it
has done elsewhere, to rationalism.  Public debates were held amid
general excitement, when the Caliph Ma'mun (813-833) unexpectedly
espoused the rationalist cause, and issued a decree forbidding the
discussion.  The popular forces, however, were in the long run
triumphant.  In 847 a new Caliph came into power, inclined for
political reasons to the higher doctrine.  Lectures were instituted in
the mosques on the attributes of God, and vast audiences--the
historians report twenty and even thirty thousand hearers--listened
eagerly while the theologians disputed whether God's word could be
conceived distinct from his absolute being.  Faith in the prophet
triumphed; the exaltation of the product reacted on that of the person;
and the Arabian shepherd could be regarded as the inerrant, sinless,
uncreated light, sent forth from Deity himself, who for his sake spread
out the earth and arched the heavens, and proclaimed the great
confession "There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet."


Every great historical religion passes through numerous phases, as it
is brought into contact with different cultures, and evokes various
forms of speculative thought and inward {15} experience.  Buddhism has
been no exception to this rule.  It sprang up in a moral revolt against
the claims of the Brahmanical teachers, and in the midst of the
discussions of the sophists turned its back on metaphysics and sought
to concentrate attention on the Noble Path of the good life.  It
offered a way of deliverance from the weary round of births and deaths
by the victory over ignorance and sin, and sought to overcome
selfishness by eliminating the idea that man has, or is, a Self.
Accordingly it presented its founder Gotama (500 B.C.), as the man who
had attained the Truth, who had by a long series of lives devoted to
the higher righteousness acquired the insight into the causes and
meaning of existence, and imparted it to his followers with
instructions to carry it forth for the welfare of their fellow-men.
For this end he founded a union or order; he instituted a discipline,
and committed his teaching to a body of disciples whose successors
gradually bore it into distant lands.  He himself passed away, leaving
no trace behind.  His memory was cherished with dutiful devotion.
Pilgrimages to the scenes of his birth and Buddhahood, commemorative
festivals and pious rites, kept the image of the Teacher before the
mind of the believer.  But no prayer was offered to him; no worship
created any bond of fellowship between the departed Gotama and the
community which he had left on earth.

{16}

But in the course of several generations remarkable changes took place.
Environed by philosophical speculations, Buddhism could not remain
wholly unaffected by the great ideas of metaphysics.  While one branch,
now surviving in Ceylon, Burma and Siam, remained faithful to the
Founder's exclusion of all such conceptions as being, substance, and
the like, others began to interpret the person of the Buddha in terms
of the Absolute, and identified him with the Eternal and the
Self-Existent, who from time to time for the welfare of the world took
on himself the semblance of humanity, and appeared to be born, to
attain Enlightenment, and die.  The great aim of the deliverance of all
sentient beings from error, suffering, and guilt, expressed itself
further in the association with him of numerous other holy forms
sharing the same purpose of the world's salvation.

Among these was the Buddha Amitâbha, the Buddha of Boundless Light,[1]
who had made a wondrous vow in virtue of which a blessed future of
righteousness and joy in the Western Paradise was secured for all who
put their trust in him.  Carried into China, this devotion acquired
great popularity, and centuries later it passed into Japan.  There,
while Europe was sending its warriors to win back from the Crescent the
city of the Cross, while Bernard and Francis and Dominic were awakening
new enthusiasm for the monastic {17} life, two famous teachers, Honen
(1133-1212) and Shin-ran (1173-1262), developed the doctrine of
"salvation by faith."  Honen was the only son of a military chief who
died of a wound inflicted by an enemy.  On his deathbed he enjoined the
boy never to seek revenge, and bade him become a monk for the spiritual
enlightenment both of his father and his father's foe.  So the lad
passed in due time into one of the great Buddhist monasteries on mount
Hiei.  Long years of laborious study followed, till in 1175 he reached
the conviction that faith in Amida[2] was the true way of salvation.  A
deep sense of human sinfulness and the belief in an All-Merciful
Deliverer were the essential elements of his religion.  Three emperors
became his pupils, and his life, compiled by imperial order after his
death, resembles that of a mediæval Christian saint.  Visions of Amida
and of the holy teachers of the past were vouchsafed to him.  He
preached--like another St. Francis--to the serpents and the birds.  His
person was mysteriously transfigured, and a wondrous light filled his
dwelling.


[1] Also called Amitâyus, the Buddha of Boundless Life.

[2] The Japanese form of the Sanskrit Amitâbha.


His disciple Shin-ran carried the doctrine of his master yet a little
farther.  Filled with adoring gratitude to the Buddha of Boundless
Light, who, as the deliverer, was also the Buddha of Boundless Life, he
argued that infinite mercy and infinite wisdom must belong to him; and
these in their turn implied the {18} power to give effect to his great
purpose.  He passed from village to village through the Eastern
provinces, rousing enthusiasm by the hymns into which he wrought his
new faith.  They are still sung in the temples at the present day.  But
whereas Honen had recognised a value in good works, and had enjoined
the duty of constant repetition of the sacred name of Amida, Shin-ran
insisted that all element of "self-exertion" must be purged away, and
faith in the merits of Amida--"the exertion of another"--should alone
remain.  Some of the conceptions of Western teaching thus present
themselves in Japan in the midst of modes of life and thought of purely
Indian origin.  Christian theologians had debated whether faith was to
be regarded as an _opus_ or a _donum_, a "work" or a "gift," was it
something to be attained by man or was it bestowed by God?  The
Japanese answer was unhesitating.  Faith was not earned by effort, or
achieved by merit, it was granted out of immeasurable love.  "The
Buddha," we read, "confers this heart.  The heart which takes refuge in
his heart is not produced by oneself.  It is produced by the command of
Buddha.  Hence it is called the believing heart by the Power of
Another."  The natural corollary was that in due course this grace
would be bestowed on all.  The Buddha of Boundless Light and Life would
overcome the darkness of ignorance and death; and this type of
Buddhism, now the most active and {19} influential in Japan, preaches
the doctrine of universal salvation.  The student finds here a whole
series of parallels to the Evangelical interpretation of Christianity.
Both schemes are founded on the same essential ideas, man's need of a
deliverer, and the attainment of salvation by no human conduct but by
faith in a divine person.


The foregoing sketches raise many problems.  What are the actual
features in different religions which are susceptible of comparison?
How can we distinguish between resemblances which are deep-seated and
spring from the fundamental principles of two given faiths, and those
which are only on the surface, and probably accidental?  How far can
such parallels be ascribed to suggestion through historical contact,
and, if they lie too far apart for possibilities of any form of mutual
dependence, out of what common types of experience are they derived,
what forces of thought have shaped them, what feelings do they express?

The student of Comparative Religion seeks answers to these and similar
questions.  A vast field of inquiry is at once opened before him.  It
embraces practically every continent, people, and tribe on the face of
the globe.  It begins in the last period of the great ice age, when men
lived in this country in the company of the elephant, the rhinoceros,
and the mammoth, and hunted their game through {20} Germany, Belgium,
and France.  In dim recesses of the caves they painted the deer, the
bison, the antelope and the wild boar, under conditions which imply
some kind of mysterious or holy place.  They buried their dead with
care, and though we can ask them no questions we may infer with much
probability that they celebrated some kind of funeral meal, and
deposited implements and ornaments in the grave for the use of the
departed in the world beyond.  In one case hundreds of shells were
found buried with the skull of a little child.  Similar usages may be
traced through the slow advances of culture to the present day.  Death
is an element of universal experience; and it is not unreasonable to
suppose that if the negroid peoples of Western Europe had worked out
some view of its meaning and consequences, there were other things to
be done or avoided out of fear or reverence for the Unseen.

The first objects of comparison are thus found in the outward acts
which fall more or less clearly within the sphere of religion, the
places where these are performed, the persons who do them, the means
required for them, the occasions to which they are attached.  These all
belong to the external world; they can be observed and recorded, even
though we may not be sure what they mean.  When they are brought
together, a series of gradations of complexity can be established,
while a common purpose may be traced through all.  {21} From the negro
who lays his offering of grain or fruit at the foot of a tree with the
simple utterance, "Thank you, gods," to a great Eucharistic celebration
at St. Peter's, a continuous line of ritual may be followed, in which
the action becomes more elaborate, the functions and character of the
officiating ministers more strictly defined, the accessories of worship
more complicated.  This corresponds to the enrichment and elevation of
the ideas and emotions that animate the act, as that which is at first
performed as part of tribal usage and ancestral custom acquires the
force of divine institution and personal duty.

Behind the external act lies the internal world of thought and feeling.
The social sanction may invest the ceremony itself with so much force
that the worshipper's interest may lie rather in the due performance of
the rite than in the deity to whom it is addressed.  The element of
belief may be relatively vague and indefinite.  But in the more highly
organised religions belief also may externalise itself through hymn and
prayer, through myth and history and prophecy.  When a religion is
strong enough to create a literature, a fresh object of comparison is
presented.  The utterances of poet and sage, of lawgiver and seer, can
be set side by side.  Their conceptions of the Powers towards which
worship is directed can be studied; the characters and functions of the
several deities can be determined.  This {22} is the intellectual
element in religion.  It has often been regarded as the element of most
importance, because it seemed most readily to admit of the test of
truth.  It finds its most formal expression in the articles of a creed,
and has sometimes been erected into the chief ground of the supreme
arbitrament of heaven and hell.

There remains the element of feeling.  This also may be so entangled in
tradition, so enveloped in the pressure of surrounding influences, that
it is at first obscure and indistinct.  But its importance was early
recognised when the origin of religion was ascribed to fear, in the
oft-quoted line of the Roman Satirist Petronius Arbiter at the court of
Nero (who committed suicide A.D. 66)--

  "Primus in orbe deos fecit timor.


In the eighteenth century the genius of Lessing (1729-1781) fastened on
the feeling of the heart as the essential foundation of religion.  No
written record, no historical event, could guarantee its truth; that
lay in the constitution of the human spirit in its interpretation of
its experience.  In his famous drama of "Nathan the Sage" he applied
this to the representatives of three great historical religions which
were thus brought together for comparison: the Christian Templar, the
Mohammedan Saladin, and the Jew Nathan.  Herder (1744-1803) endeavoured
with the {23} materials then at command to trace the origin and
development of religion, starting from the primitive impressions made
upon the mind by the world without, and sought to interpret mythology
as the imaginative utterance of man's consciousness of the power,
light, and life in Nature.  In the next generation Schleiermacher
(1767-1834) placed the essence of religion in the feeling of absolute
dependence, without attempting to define the object towards which it
was directed.  The study of origins has passed out of the hands of the
philosophers and the theologians.  But it cannot dispense with
psychology; and among the factors of early religious life will be found
the beginnings of wonder, reverence and awe.  And this element, often
cruelly twisted into false and degraded forms, and sometimes refined in
the higher types of mysticism into the loftiest spirituality, inheres
in all practice and belief.

What, then, is the basis of comparison among different faiths?  The
student who is engaged in tracing the life-history of any one religion
will naturally start from the field of investigation thus selected.  As
he widens his outlook he will find that a number of illustrative
instances force themselves upon his view.  The people whose
institutions and ideas he is examining are members of a given ethnic
group.  The ancient Hebrews, for instance, belong on the one side to
the life of the desert, and are kin with the nomad Arabs, {24} on the
other they are related to the authors of Babylonian culture.  Or in the
course of events a new religion is brought by missionary impulse into a
less-developed civilisation, as when Buddhism passed from China through
Corea into Japan, and was planted in the midst of a cruder faith.
Widely different modes of thought are thus brought into close
juxtaposition, their relation and interaction can be examined, and the
inner forces of each compared.

That such inquiries must be conducted without prejudice need not now be
enforced.  An eighteenth-century writer might lay it down that "the
first general division of _Religion_ is into _True and False_," and
might draw the conclusion that "the chapter of _False Religions_ is by
much the longest in the History of the religious opinions and practices
of mankind."[3]  Dr. Johnson could sententiously declare that "there
are two objects of curiosity, the Christian world and the Mohammedan
world--all the rest may be considered as barbarous."  A learned Oxford
scholar of the last generation could speak of the "three chief false
religions," Brahmanism, Buddhism, and Mohammedanism.  Missionaries and
travellers of an elder day, who took some form of Christianity as their
foundation, sometimes found the savages among whom they laboured
destitute of religion because they had no Father in heaven {25} and no
everlasting hell.  These attitudes, it is now freely recognised, are
not scientific.  For purposes of comparison no single religion can be
selected as a standard for the whole human race.  Particular products
may be set side by side.  The asceticism of India may be compared with
that of early Christianity.  The ritual of sacrifice may be studied in
the book of Leviticus or the Hindu Brāhmanas.  What are sometimes
called "Ethnic Trinities" may be examined in the light of Alexandrian
theology.  The _suras_ of the Koran may be read after the prophecies of
Isaiah.  The various phases of the Buddhist Order, with its missionary
zeal, its power of adaptability to different cultures, its readiness to
accept new teaching, may be contrasted with the wonderful cohesiveness
and expansion of the Roman Catholic Church.  The ideas of the Hellenic
mystery-religions may be found to throw light on the language of St.
Paul.  Out of the multitudinous phases of human experience all the
world over innumerable resemblances will be discovered.  Each is a fact
for the student, and must be treated on equal terms in the field of
science.  But they will have more or less intrinsic significance in the
scale of values.  Philosophy may attempt to range them in gradations of
worth, in nobility of form, in dignity of expression, in moral purity,
in social effectiveness.  Beneath infinite diversity the mystic will
affirm the unity of the whole, with the poet of the {26} _Masnavi_,
Jalálu-'d-Dïn of Balkh (A.D. 1207-1273)--

  "Because He that is praised is, in fact, only One,
  In this respect all religions are only one religion."


[3] Broughton, _Dictionary of all Religions_, 1745.


The materials of comparison are, of course, of the most varied kind.
The interest of the ancient Greeks was early roused in the diverse
practices which they saw around them, and the observations of Herodotus
concerning the Egyptians, the Persians, the Scythians, and many another
tribe upon the fringe of barbarism, have earned for him the modern
title of the "Father of Anthropology."  Travellers, missionaries,
government officers, men of trade and men of learning, have recorded
the usages of the lower culture all over the world, naturally with
varying accuracy and penetration, and a vast range of facts has been
registered through successive stages of complexity in social and
religious development.  Many of these have their parallel in the
folklore of countries where the uniformity of modern civilisation has
not crushed out all traditional beliefs, while annual customs or even
village games may contain survivals of what were once important
ceremonial rites.  The irruption of the Arab conquerors into Europe
brought Christianity face to face with Mohammedanism and its sacred
book.  In the {27} seventeenth century the Jesuit Fathers in China
first made known the teachings of Kong-fu-tse ("Philosopher Kong") 500
B.C. whose name they Latinised into Confucius.  Towards the end of the
eighteenth century a brilliant little band of English scholars in
Calcutta began to reveal the astounding copiousness of the sacred
literature of India.  During the expedition of Napoleon to Egypt in
1799 the Rosetta Stone (now in the British Museum) yielded the clue to
the hieroglyphics which cover the walls of temple and tomb.  A
generation later a young British officer, Lieutenant Henry Rawlinson,
began in 1835 to copy a triple inscription on a cliff of Mount
Behistun, near Kermanshah in Persia.  The work was dangerous and
difficult, but he was enabled to complete it ten years later.  It
contained an identical record in three languages, Persian, Median, and
Babylonio-Assyrian, and provided the means for deciphering the
cuneiform script of the tablets and cylinders soon recovered from the
mounds of Mesopotamia.

Meanwhile the lovers of the past were at work in many other directions.
The Swedish Lonrott collected the ancient songs of the Finnic people,
under the name of the Kalevala.  Other scholars brought to light the
treasures of Scandinavian mythology in the Icelandic Edda with its two
collections of poetry and prose.  In Wales and Ireland the texts which
enshrined the Celtic faith awoke new interest.  The students of
classical antiquity began to {28} collect inscriptions, and it was soon
realised that the spade might be no less useful in Greece or Asia Minor
than beside the Nile or the Euphrates.

The last century has thus accumulated an immense mass of material in
literature and art.  There are codes of law regulating in the name of
deity the practice of family and social life.  There are hymns of
praise or of penitence, sometimes in strange association with the
spells of magic.  There are books of ritual and sacrifice, of
ceremonial order, of philosophical speculation and moral precept.
There are rules of discipline for religious communities; and there are
pictures of judgment and delineations of the heavenly life.  Sculpture
and painting have been employed to give external form to the objects of
pious reverence; and the architecture of the sanctuary has wrought into
stone the fundamental conceptions of majesty, proportion, and grace.

All this, it is plain, rests upon history.  When Confucius visited the
seat of the imperial dynasty at the court of Chow, he studied with deep
interest the arrangements for the great sacrifices to Heaven and Earth;
he surveyed the ancestral temples in which the emperor offered his
worship; he inspected the Hall of Light whose walls bore paintings of
the sovereigns from the remotest times; and then he turned to his
disciples with the remark: "As we use a glass to examine the forms of
things, so must we study the past to {29} understand the present."
Comparison that confines itself solely to counting up resemblances here
and there will be of small value.  We cannot comprehend the real
meaning of a single religious rite, a single sentence of any scripture,
apart from the context to which it belongs.  Acts and words alike issue
out of experiences that may be hundreds of years old, and sum up
generations, it may be whole ages, of a continuous process.  To trace
the successive forms of these changes, to describe the steps through
which they have passed, is like making a chart of a voyage, and laying
down the lines of continent and ocean, island and cape.  Or just as the
races of man are sorted, and their characteristics are enumerated
without reference to the various causes which have produced their
modifications, so geography and ethnography might companion
_hierography_, the delineation of "the Sacred" in its concrete
manifestations.

But behind the external evolution of a given religion, its modes of
worship, its ministers, its doctrines, lie more complicated questions.
What causes shaped these acts and moulded these beliefs?  What elements
of race are to be discerned in them?  How can we account for the
diversities between the religions of peoples belonging to a common
stock, like those of India and those of ancient Italy?  What have been
the effects of climate, of the struggle with alien peoples and new
environment?  How does the food-supply influence {30} the formation of
religious ideas?  What contacts have been felt with other races, and
what positive loans or more impalpable influences have passed from one
side to the other?  We, find here in _hierology_, the science of "the
Sacred," an analogue to the reasoning which accounts for the
distribution of land and water, the rise of mountain ranges and the
sculpture of valleys and river-beds out of the stratification of the
earth's crust, and builds up a science of geology; or which traces the
results of migration upon peoples, the consequences of inter-marriage
with other tribes, the disastrous issues of war, surveys the immense
variety of causes which have contributed to new developments of racial
energy, and arranges this knowledge in the science of ethnology.

And, lastly, the values of these facts must be estimated.  How far can
they be accepted as expressing the reality of the Unseen Power, and
man's relation to it?  Hierology may explain how men have developed
certain practices or framed certain beliefs; to determine their
reasonableness is the task of the philosophy of religion or
_hierosophy_.[4]


[4] These three terms have been suggested by Count Goblet d'Alviella,
of Brussels.



The study of "Comparative Religion" assumes that religion is already in
existence.  It deals with actual usages, which it places side by side
to see what light they can throw upon each other.  It leaves the task
of {31} formulating definitions to philosophy.  It is not concerned
with origins, and does not project itself into the prehistoric past
where conjecture takes the place of evidence.  An old miracle-play
directed Adam to pass across the stage "going to be created."  Whether
religion first appeared in the cultus of the dead, or only entered the
field after the collapse of a reign of magic which had ceased to
satisfy man's demands for help, or was born of dread and desired to
keep its gods at a distance, only remotely affects the process of
discovering and examining the resemblances of its forms, and
interpreting the forces without and within which have produced them.
The sphere of speculation has its own attractions, but in this little
book an attempt will be made to keep to facts.

Three hundred years ago Edward Herbert,[5] an Oxford scholar who played
many parts and played them well, in deep revolt against the
ecclesiastical doctrine that all the world outside the pale of the
Church was doomed to eternal damnation, devoted himself to the study of
comparative religion.  With the materials which the classics afforded
him, he examined the recorded facts among the Greeks and Romans, the
Carthaginians and Arabs, the Phrygians, the Persians, the Assyrians.
The whole fabric of human experience was built up, he argued, on
certain common knowledges or notions, which could be distinguished by
{32} specific marks, such as priority, independence, universality,
certainty, necessity for man's well-being, and immediacy.  Here were
the bases of law in relation to social order, and of religion in
relation to the Powers above man.  These principles in religion were
five: (1) that there is one supreme God; (2) that he ought to be
worshipped; (3) that virtue and piety are the chief parts of divine
worship; (4) that we ought to be sorry for our sins and repent of them;
(5) that divine goodness doth dispense rewards and punishments both in
this life and after it.  These truths had been implanted by the Creator
in the mind of man, and their subsequent corruption produced the
idolatries of antiquity.


[5] 1583-1648., elder brother of "Holy George Herbert."


The theory held its ground in various forms till its last echoes
appeared in highly theologic guise in the writings of Mr. Gladstone.
He pleaded that there must have been a true religion in the world
before an untrue one began to gather and incrust upon it, and this
religion included three great doctrines--the existence of the Triune
Deity, the advent of a Redeemer, and the power of the Evil One and the
defeat of the rebel angels.  These had formed part of a primeval
revelation.  In the Homeric theology he traced the first in the three
sons of Kronos--Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon.  The second he found in
Apollo, whose mother Leto represented the Woman from whom the Redeemer
should descend.  The rebel angels were equated with the Titans; {33}
the power of temptation was personified in Ate; the rainbow of the
covenant was identified with Iris.  The student of to-day can hardly
believe that this volume could have been published in the same year in
which Darwin and Wallace formulated the new scientific principle of
"natural selection" as the great agent in the formation of species, and
thus laid the foundation of the modern conception of evolution (1858).

It is on this great idea that the whole study of the history of
religion is now firmly established.  At the foundation of all
endeavours to classify the multitudinous facts which it embraces, lies
the conviction that whatever may be the occasional instances of
degeneration or decline, the general movement of human things advances
from the cruder and less complex to the more refined and developed.  In
the range of knowledge, in the sphere of the arts, in the command over
nature, in the stability and expansion of the social order, there are
everywhere signs of growth, even if isolated groups, such as the
Australians, the Todas of India, or the Veddas of Ceylon, seem to be in
the last stages of stagnation or decay.  Religion is one phase of human
culture, it expresses man's attitude to the powers around him and the
events of life.  Its various forms repose upon the unity of the race.
The anthropologist is convinced that if a new tribe is discovered in
some forest in central Africa, whether its stature be large or small,
its {34} persons will contain the same limbs as other men, and will
live by the same physical processes.  The sociologist expects that
their social groups will approximate to other known types of human
relations.  The philologist anticipates that behind the obscurities of
their speech he will find modes of thought which he can match
elsewhere.  The student of religions will in the same way be on the
look-out for customs and usages akin to those which he already knows;
he will assume that under similar conditions experience will be moulded
on similar lines, and the streams of thought and feeling--though small
causes may easily deflect their course--will tend to flow in parallel
channels as they issue from minds of the same order, and traverse
corresponding scenes.

And just as the general theory of evolution includes the unity of
bodily structure and mental faculty, so it will vindicate what may be
called the unity of the religious consciousness.  The old
classifications based on the idea that religions consisted of a body of
doctrines which must be true or false, reached by natural reflection or
imparted by supernatural revelation, disappear before a wider view.
Theologies may be many, but religion is one.  It was after this truth
that the Vedic seers were groping when they cried, "Men call him Indra,
Mitra, Varuna, Agni; sages name variously him who is but one"; or
again, "the sages in their hymns give many forms to him {35} who is but
one."  When the Roman Empire had brought under one rule the
multitudinous peoples of Western Asia, North Africa, and Southern and
Middle Europe, and new worships were carried hither and thither by
priest and missionary, soldier and merchant and slave, the titles and
attributes of the gods were freely blended and exchanged.  Thinkers of
different schools invented various modes of harmonising rival cults.
When "Jupiter best and greatest" was surrounded by a vast crowd of
lesser deities, the philosophic mind discerned a common element running
through all their worship.  "There is one Supreme God," wrote Maximus
of Madaura to Augustine, about A.D. 390, "without natural offspring,
who is, as it were, the God and Mighty Father of all.  The powers of
this Deity, diffused through the universe which he has made, we worship
under many names, as we are all ignorant of his true name.  Thus it
happens that while in diverse supplications we approach separated, as
it were, certain parts of the Divine Being, we are seen in reality to
be the worshippers of him in whom all these parts are one."  Here is
the prayer of a Blackfoot chief of our generation in the great
ceremonial of the Sun-Dance, reported by Mr. McClintock,[6] which
blends the implications of theology with the impulses and emotions of
religion--


[6] _The Old North Trail_, 1910, p. 297.


"Great Sun Power!  I am praying for my people that they may be happy in
the summer {36} and that they may live through the cold of winter.
Many are sick and in want.  Pity them and let them survive.  Grant that
they may live long and have abundance.  May we go through these
ceremonies correctly, as you taught our forefathers to do in the days
that are past.  If we make mistakes, pity us!

"Help us, Mother Earth! for we depend upon your goodness.  Let there be
rain to water the prairies, that the grass may grow long and the
berries be abundant.

"O Morning Star! when you look down upon us, give us peace and
refreshing sleep.

"Great Spirit! bless our children, friends, and visitors through a
happy life.  May our trails lie straight and level before us.  Let us
live to be old.  We are all your children, and ask these things with
good hearts."



{37}

CHAPTER II

THE PANORAMA OF RELIGIONS

Twice in the history of the world has it been possible to survey a wide
panorama of religions, and twice has the interest of travellers, men of
science, and students of philosophy, been attracted by the immense
variety of worships and beliefs.  In the second century of our era the
Roman Empire embraced an extraordinary range of nationalities within
its sway.  In the twentieth the whole history of the human race has
been thrown open to the explorer, and an overwhelming mass of materials
from every land confronts him.  It may be worth while to take a hasty
glance at the chief groups of facts that are thus disclosed, and make a
sort of map of their relations.


I

The scientific curiosity of the ancient Greeks was early awakened, and
Thales of Miletus (624-546 B.C.), chief of the seven "wise men," and
founder of Greek geometry and philosophy, was believed to have studied
under the priests of Egypt, as well as to have {38} visited Asia and
become acquainted with the Chaldean astronomy.  Still more extensive
travel was attributed to his younger contemporary Pythagoras, whose
varied learning was explained in late traditions by his sojourn east
and west, among the Persian Magi, the Indian Brahmans, and the Druids
of Gaul.  The first great record of observations is contained in the
History of Herodotus of Halicarnassus on the coast of Asia Minor.  Born
in 484 B.C., six years after Marathon, and four years old when the
Greeks put Xerxes to flight at Salamis, he devoted his maturity to the
record of the great international struggle.  Hither and thither he
passed, collecting information, an eager student of human things.  In
Egypt he compared the gods with those of Greece, and attempted to
distinguish two sets of elements in Hellenic religion, Egyptian and
Pelasgic.  He left notes on the Babylonians and the Persians, on the
Scythians in the vast tracts east of northern Europe, on the Getæ south
of the Danube.

When the conquests of Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.) threw open the
gates of Asia, a stream of travellers passed into Persia and India,
whose reports were utilised by the geographers of later days.  The
religion of Zoroaster, whose name was already known to Plato, attracted
great attention.  At the court of Chandragupta on the Ganges, at the
opening of the third century B.C., Megasthenes, {39} the ambassador of
Seleucus (who had succeeded to the dominions of Alexander in Asia), set
down brief memoranda on the usages and belief of the Hindus among whom
he resided.  Nearer home the representatives of Mesopotamian and
Egyptian learning commended their national cultures to their
conquerors.  Berosus, priest of Bel in Babylon, translated into Greek a
Babylonian work on astronomy and astrology, and compiled a history of
his country from ancient documents; while his contemporary, Manetho, of
Sebennytus in the Nile Delta, undertook a similar service for his
native land.

Meanwhile the great library and schools at Alexandria had been founded.
Hither came students from many lands; and the Christian fathers
Eusebius and Epiphanius in the fourth century attributed to the
librarian of the royal patron of literature, Ptolemy Philadelphus
(285-247 B.C.), the design of collecting the sacred books of the
Ethiopians, Indians, Persians, Elamites, Babylonians, Assyrians,
Romans, Phœnicians, Syrians, and Greeks.  The Jews had settled in
Alexandria in considerable numbers; they began to translate their
Hebrew Scriptures into Greek, and little by little they planted their
synagogues all round the Eastern Mediterranean, and finally established
their worship in Rome.  The Egyptian deities in their turn went abroad.
The worship of Serapis was introduced at Athens.  Isis, the sister-wife
of {40} Osiris and mother of Horus, goddess of many functions--among
others of protecting sailors--was carried round the Levant to Syria,
Asia Minor, Greece, and as far north as the Hellespont and Thrace.
Westwards she was borne to Sicily and South Italy.  In due time she
entered Rome, and in spite of senatorial orders five times repeated (in
the first century B.C.), to tear down her altars and statues, she
secured her place, and received homage all through the West from the
outskirts of the Sahara to the Roman wall north of our own Tyne.

The introduction of Greek gods had begun centuries before.  As early as
493 B.C., at a time of serious famine, a temple had been built to
Demeter, Dionysus, and Persephonê; many others followed; resemblances
among the native gods quickly led to identifications; and new forms of
worship tended to displace the old.  After another crisis (206 B.C.)
the "Great Mother," Cybelê, the Phrygian goddess of Mount Ida, was
imported.  The black aerolite which was supposed to be her abode, was
presented by King Attalus to the ambassadors of the Roman senate.  The
goddess was solemnly welcomed at the Port of Ostia, and was ultimately
carried by noble Roman ladies on to the Palatine hill.

The history of later days was full of notes upon religion.  Cæsar
interspersed them among the narratives of his campaigns in Gaul;
Tacitus drew on his recollections as {41} an officer in active service
for his description of the Germans.  There was as yet no literature in
Wales or Ireland to embody the Celtic traditions; and the Scandinavian
Saga was unborn.  But the geographers, like Strabo (first century
A.D.), collected a great deal of material that must have been gathered
ultimately from travellers, soldiers, traders, and slaves.  A wise and
gentle philosophic Greek, Plutarch of Chæronea in Bœotia (A.D.
46-120), student at the university of Athens, lecturer on philosophy at
Rome, and finally priest of Pythian Apollo in his native city, is at
home in many religions.  Beside altars to the Greek gods Dionysus,
Herakles, and Artemis, in his own streets, were those of the Egyptian
Isis and Anubis.  The treatise on Isis and Osiris (commonly ascribed to
him) is an early essay in comparative religion.  In the latter half of
the second century the traveller Pausanias passes through Greece,
describing its sacred sites, noting its monuments, recording
mythological traditions, and observing archaic rites.  In this
fascinating guide-book to religious practice are survivals of ancient
savagery, still lingering at country shrines, set down with curious
unconsciousness of their significance.  The historical method is as yet
only in its infancy.  But Pausanias rightly discerned that its first
business is to know the facts.

In Rome, where ritual tradition held its ground with extraordinary
tenacity amid the {42} decay of belief, Marcus Terentius Varro,
renowned for his wide learning (116-28 B.C.), devoted sixteen books of
his great treatise on Antiquities to "Divine Things."  Like so many
other precious works of ancient literature it has disappeared, but its
contents are partly known through its use by St. Augustine in his
famous work on "The City of God."  Following a division of the gods by
the chief pontiff Mucius Scævola, he treated religion under three
heads.  In the form presented by the poets' tales of the gods it was
mythical.  Founded by the philosophers upon nature (_physis_) it was
physical.  As administered by priests and practised in cities it was
civil.  It was an old notion that religion was a legal convention
imposed by authority for purposes of popular control; and Varro does
not disdain to declare it expedient that States should be deceived in
such matters.  This police-notion long regulated public custom, and
tended to render the identification of deities presenting superficial
resemblances all the more easy.

By this time the origin of the term "religion" had begun to excite
interest, as its meaning began slowly to change.  Varro's
contemporaries, Cicero (106-43 B.C.) and Lucretius (about 97-53),
discussed its derivation.  Cicero connected it with the root _legere_,
to "string together," to "arrange"; while Lucretius found its origin in
_ligare_, to "bind."  Philology gives little help when it {43} speaks
with uncertain voice.  More important is the primitive meaning which
Mr. Warde Fowler defines as "the feeling of awe, anxiety, doubt, or
fear, which is aroused in the mind by something that cannot be
explained by a man's experience or by the natural course of cause and
effect, and which is therefore referred to the supernatural."  It has
nothing to do at the outset with any special rites or doctrines.  It is
not concerned with state-usage or with priestly law.  In its adjectival
form "religious days" or "religious places" are not days or places
consecrated by official practice; they are days and places which have
gathered round them man's sentiments of awe and scruple.  The word thus
came to be applied to anything that was in some way a source or
embodiment of mysterious forces.  The naturalist Pliny can even say
that no animal is "more full of religion than the mole," because
strange medicinal powers were supposed to reside in its heart and teeth.

But, on the other hand, a new use of it passes into Roman literature in
the writings of Cicero.  The feeling of awe still lies in the
background, but the word takes on a reference to the acts which it
prompts, and thus comes to denote the whole group of rites performed in
honour of some divine being.  These make up a particular cult or
worship, ordained and sanctioned by authority or tradition.  "Religion"
thus comes to mean a body of religious duties, the entire series of
sacred acts in which {44} the primitive feeling is expressed.  Roman
antiquity conceived these as under the care of priesthoods, legitimated
by the State.  Around them lay a fringe of superstitions, which a
hostile critic like Lucretius could also sum up under the same term.
And thus in an age when philosophy was addressing itself to the whole
question of man's relation to the world and its unseen Rulers, and a
single word was wanted to describe his attitude to the varied
spectacle, "religion" was at hand to fill the place.  It covered the
whole field of human experience, and as different nations presented it
in different forms, it became possible to speak of "religions" in the
sense of separate systems of worship and belief.  The champion of
Christianity naturally distinguished his religion as the true from the
false; and over against the multiformity of polytheism he set the unity
of the faith of the Church.

Of these "religions" history and philosophy sought to give some
account.  As will be seen hereafter (Chap. VI), Babylon and Egypt both
claimed a divine origin for their rites, their arts, and laws.
Plutarch expressly defends the idea of revelation in the cases of Minos
of Crete, the Persian Zoroaster, Zaleucus the shepherd legislator of
the Locrians, Numa of Rome, and others.  Pan was in love with Pindar,
and Æsculapius conversed with Sophocles: if such divine diversions were
allowed, how much more should these greater {45} attempts for human
welfare be prompted from heaven!  Numa had been enabled through Camena
Egeria to regulate the ceremonial law as priest-king, and pontiffs,
augurs, flamens, virgins, received their duties from him with
supernatural sanctions.

Philosophers, on the other hand, discussed the meaning of religion upon
different lines.  A wide-spread view already noted presented it as a
mere instrument of policy, devised to overawe the intractable.  The
diversity of religions seemed to support this view.  Plato's Athenian,
in one of his latest works, the Laws, mentions the teaching of sophists
who averred that the gods existed not by nature but by art, and by the
laws of States which are different in different places, according to
the agreement of those who make them.  In a fragment of a drama on
Sisyphus ascribed to Critias, the friend of Alcibiades, it was alleged
that in the primeval age of disorder and violence laws might strike
crimes committed in open day, but could not touch secret sins, hidden
in the gloomy depths of conscience.  A sage advised that to moralise
men they must be made afraid.  Let them invent gods who could see and
hear all things, cognisant not only of all human actions but also of
men's inmost thoughts and purposes.  They were accordingly connected
with the source of the most terrifying and the most beneficent
phenomena, the sky, home alike of thunder and lightning, of the shining
sun and fertilising {46} rain, seat of divine powers helpful and
hurtful to mankind.  In the discussion on "the Nature of the Gods" (by
Cicero), Cotta, of the Academic school, inquires of his Epicurean
opponent Velleius, "What think you of those who have asserted that the
whole doctrine concerning the immortal gods was the invention of
politicians, whose notion was to govern that part of the community
which reason could not influence, by religion?"

From another point of view, however, the practical universality of
religion was again and again cited in proof of its truth.  Antiquity
was not scientific in its method of treatment, and though it did not
accept all religions as altogether equal, it had no difficulty in
regarding them as substantially homogeneous.  The Egyptian worship of
animals might be lashed with satiric scorn, but the mysteries of its
religion, venerable from an immemorial past, deserved the highest
respect.  The process of identification of the gods of different
religions was always going on as they were carried from land to land.
The Apologist, therefore, like the Cretan Cleinias in Plato's _Laws_
when the Athenian stranger asked him to prove the existence of the
gods, could always appeal to two main arguments--first, the fair order
of the universe and the regularity of the seasons, and secondly, the
common belief of all men, both Hellenes and barbarians.  This common
belief, however, itself required explanation.  Its value {47} really
depended on its origin.  If that ranked no higher than the crouching
impulses of fear, it had little worth.  Even if it was sought in the
sense of dependence, in quiet trust in a sheltering order, or in
intelligent inference based on the demand for a cause, the question
still pressed for an answer, "What made this possible?"  The answer was
given by the doctrine of the _Logos_.

The term _logos_ has played a famous part in philosophical theology.
It appears in our New Testament at the opening of the fourth Gospel,
"In the beginning was the Logos."  Our translators render the Greek
term by the English "Word."  It is derived from the verb _legein_, to
"speak" or "say."  _Logos_ is primarily "what is said," utterance, or
speech.  Speech, however, must mean something.  When we look out upon
the objects of the world around us--rock, river, tree, horse, star--we
learn to separate them into groups, because while some say quite
different things to us, others speak to us, as it were, with nearly the
same meaning.  We recognise a common meaning in various sorts of dogs,
or in still larger classes such as the whole family of birds.  But in
human intercourse what is said has first been thought.  _Logos_ thus
takes on another meaning; it is what thinking says _to itself_, or what
we call "reason."  The processes of science consist in finding out
these meanings or reasons, and getting them into intelligible relations
with each other.  {48} And when the early Greek thinkers had reached
the conception of the unity of the world, here was a term which could
be called in to express it.  The world must have a meaning; it must
express some thought.  And did not thought imply thinking?

The philosophy of Heracleitus "the Obscure" (at Ephesus, 500 B.C.) has
received in modern times widely different interpretations; but whether
or not the Stoics were right in understanding his doctrine of the Logos
to imply the existence of a cosmic reason universally diffused, present
both in nature and man, it is certain that such ideas appear soon
afterwards in Greek literature.  Pindar affirms the derivation of the
soul from the gods.  Plato and Euripides declare the intelligence of
man both in nature and origin to be divine; and Pseudo-Epicharmus lays
it down (in the second half of the fifth century) that "there is in man
understanding, and there is also a divine Logos; but the understanding
of man is born from the divine Logos."  On this basis the Stoics worked
out the conception of a fellowship between man and God which explained
the universality of religion.  Its seat was in human nature.  Every one
shared in the Generative Reason, the Seminal Word (the _Logos
spermatikos_).  In the long course of ages, says Cicero, when the time
arrived for the sowing of the human race, God quickened it with the
gift of souls.  So we possess a certain kinship with the heavenly {49}
Powers; and while among all the kinds of animals Man alone retains any
idea of Deity, among men themselves there is no nation so savage as not
to admit the necessity of believing in a God, however ignorant they may
be what sort of God they ought to believe in.

The part played by this doctrine in the early Church is well known.
When the new faith began to attract the attention of the educated, it
was impossible that the resemblances between Christian and Hellenic
monotheism should be ignored.  Philosophy had reached many of the same
truths, and poets and sages bore the same witness to the unity and
spirituality of God as the prophets and psalmists of Israel.  It was
easy to suggest that the Hebrew seers had been the teachers of the
Greek; might not Plato, for instance, have learned of Jeremiah in
Egypt?  On the other hand, the pleas of chronological and literary
dependence might be insufficient; there were radical differences as
well as resemblances; the Apologist might deride the diversities of
opinion and make merry over the contradictions of the schools.
Nevertheless Christianity was often presented by its defenders as "our
philosophy."  The Latin writer Minucius Felix (in the second century)
is so much struck by the parallels in the higher thought that he boldly
declares, "One might think either that Christians are now philosophers,
or that philosophers were then already Christian."  The martyr Justin
(about {50} A.D. 150) incorporates such teachings into the scheme of
Providence by the aid of the Logos.  For Justin, as for his
co-believers, the popular religion was the work of demons.  But
philosophy had combated them in the past like the new faith.  If
Socrates had striven to deliver men from them, and they had compassed
his death through evil men, it was because the Logos condemned their
doings among the Greeks through him, just as among the barbarians they
were condemned by the Logos in the person of Christ.  The great truths
of God and Providence, of the unity of the moral government of the
world, of the nature and destiny of man, of freedom, virtue, and
retribution, which were to be found in the writings of the wisest of
the past, were the product of "the seed of the Logos implanted in every
race of men."  Those who had lived with the Logos were Christians
before Christ, though men might have called them atheists, like
Heracleitus and Socrates.  All noble utterances in theology or
legislation arose through partial discovery or contemplation of the
Logos, and consequently Justin could boldly claim "whatever things have
been rightly said among all men" as "the property of us Christians."

The cultivated and mystical Clement, who became head of the
catechetical school of Alexandria towards the close of the second
century, enforced the same theme.  An enormous reader, he loved to
compare the {51} truths enunciated by Greek poets and philosophers with
the wisdom of the barbarians.  Philosophy, indeed, was a special
historical manifestation of thought along a peculiar line of
development.  It affected a particular race, it spread over a distinct
area, and appeared in a definite time.  In these respects it resembled
the preparatory work of Israel itself.  It was a discipline of
Providence, so that beside the generalisation of St. Paul that the Law
had been a tutor to bring the Jews to Christ, Clement could set
another, that philosophy had played the same part for the Greeks.  On
the field of common speech Clement's contemporary, the fiery Tertullian
of Carthage, appealed to the worshipper who bore the garland of Ceres
on his brow, or walked in the purple cloak of Saturn, or wore the white
robe of Egyptian Isis--what did he mean by exclaiming "May God repay!"
or "God shall judge between us?"  Here was a recognition of a supreme
authority and power, the "testimony of a soul naturally Christian."

Such comparisons, however, had a very different side.  Greece had long
had its secret mysteries, with their sacred initiations, their rites of
purity and enlightenment, their promises of welfare beyond the grave.
When the new deities from Asia Minor, from Egypt, Syria, and the
further East, were brought to Italy, the resemblances of their practice
to that of the Christian Church excited the {52} believer's alarm, and
roused at once the charge of plagiarism.  There was a congregation of
Mithra at Rome as early as 67 B.C., and towards the end of the first
century of our era his mysteries began to be widely spread.  Here was a
baptism; here was a "sacrament" as the neophyte took the oath on
entering the warfare with evil; here were grades of soldiership and
service; here were oblations of bread and water mingled with wine which
were naturally compared with the Lord's supper; here were doctrines of
deliverance from sin, of judgment after death and ascent to heaven,
which brought the theology and practice of Mithraism very close to that
of the Church.  So Mithra bore the august titles of the holy and
righteous God; or he was the Mediator, author of order in nature and of
victory in life between the ultimate powers of good and evil.

For a time the rivalry was acute, as his worship was carried through
the West as far as York and Chester and the Tyne.  But with the triumph
of Christianity in the fourth century the sounds of conflict die away.
The men of learning, Eusebius of Cæsarea (about A.D. 260-340),
Augustine (A.D. 354-430) bishop of Hippo, surveyed the religions and
philosophies of antiquity as conquerors.  The faiths of Egypt,
Phœnicia, Greece, and Rome, are passed in review.  With a broad
sweep of learning Eusebius comments on the ancient mythologies, the
oracles, the theory of demons, {53} the practice of human sacrifice,
the history of Mosaism.  His treatise on the "Preparation for the
Gospel" is the first great work on comparative religion which issued
out of Christian theology.  With generous recognition of what lay
beyond the Church he taught (in the _Theophania_) that all higher
culture was due to participation in the Logos.  Idolatry might be the
work of demons; the world might be filled with the babblings of
philosophers and the follies of poets; but the Logos had been
continuously present, sowing in the hearts of men the rudiments of the
divine laws, of various orders of teaching, of doctrines of every kind.
Thus ethics, art, science, and the fairest products of human thought,
were genially brought within the scope of Revelation.


II

The panorama of religions unrolled before the student of the present
day is far vaster than that which offered itself to the thinkers of
Greece and Rome, and its meaning is far better understood.  When
Pausanias describes the daily sacrifice to a hero at Tronis in Phocis,
where the blood of the victim was poured down through a hole in the
grave to the dead man within, while the flesh was eaten on the spot, he
notes, like the careful author of a guide-book, a curious local usage,
but he does not know that it belongs to a group of {54} savage
practices that may be traced all round the globe.  On Mount Lycæus in
Arcadia, he tells us, was a spring which flowed with equal quantity in
summer as in winter.  In time of drought the priest of Lycæan Zeus,
after due prayer and sacrifice, would dip an oak-branch into the
surface of the spring, and a mist-like vapour would rise and become a
cloud.  In the midst of Hellenic culture it was still possible, as
among the negroes of West Africa or the Indians of North America, to
make rain.

From continent to continent a multitude of observers have gathered an
immense range of facts, which show that amid numerous differences in
detail the religions of the lower culture may all be ranked together on
the basis of a common interpretation of the surrounding world.
Philosophy suggests that man can only explain nature in terms of his
own experience.  He is encompassed by powers that are continually
acting on him, as he to a much smaller extent can in his turn act on
them.  By various processes of observation and reflection (p. 85), he
comes to the conclusion that within his body lives something which
enables it to move and feel and think and will, until at death it goes
away.  To this mysterious something many names are given, and for
purposes of modern study they are all ranked under the term "spirits."
This explanation is then applied to the behaviour of all kinds of
objects within {55} his view; though it does not at all follow that
this was actually the first explanation.  The animals that are stronger
and more cunning than himself, the trees that move in the wind, the
corn that grows so mysteriously, the bubbling spring, even the things
that he himself has made, his weapons, tools, and jars, all have their
"spirits," so that the entire scene of his existence is pervaded by
them.  To this doctrine, with its many branches of belief and practice,
Sir E. B. Tylor, in his classical work on _Primitive Culture_ (1871),
gave the name of "Animism," and the religions founded upon it are
called "animistic," or sometimes, from the multitude of unorganised
spirits which they recognise, "polydæmonistic" religions.

Such religions belong to no specific ethnic group.  They appear either
in existing practice or in the shape of occasional survivals in all of
the three great racial divisions of mankind--the white or Caucasic, the
yellow or Mongolian, and the black or Negroid.  They are to be found
under the Equator and among the Arctic snows.  They are sometimes
associated with a peculiar form of social structure regulating
inter-tribal relations known as _totemism_.  It was at one time
supposed that this designated a stage of evolution through which all
peoples had passed.  The totem or clan-sign, whether animal or plant,
or more rarely an inanimate object like wind, sun, or star, was
supposed to have {56} become an object of worship, and various theories
were invented to explain the divisions and subdivisions of the clans,
and the selection of their special signs.  Hence, it was argued, came
the cultus of beast and bird and tree; hence the altar and the idol;
hence the animal sacrifice and the sacramental meal.  In clever hands
it supplied a universal key.  The extraordinary intricacy of the
subject, and the widely scattered character of the evidence, prevent
any discussion here.  But the most recent researches have not sustained
these attempts.  Among the Central Australian tribes the totems are not
worshipped, they are in no sense deities, no prayers or sacrifices are
offered to them.  They may be brought into the sphere of religion in
some tribes as part of a social order to which a superhuman origin is
ascribed (p. 171).  But totemism cannot be established as the typical
form of "primitive religion" any more than any other complicated
system.  Its general diffusion is questionable.  At the present day
there are large areas over which no signs of totemic organisation are
found; and many phenomena which were formerly assumed to be proofs of
totemism in the higher religions of antiquity, in Egypt, Greece, and
Italy, now receive other explanations.

The higher forms of animistic religion pass out into polytheisms of
more or less dignity.  They do not succeed in embodying themselves in
permanent literary product, they create no {57} scriptures or sacred
books.  They have their rude chants, their songs for weddings and
funerals, their genealogies and tales of ancient heroes.  Strange
cosmogonies float from island to island in Polynesia.  The Finnic
peoples enshrined their faith in the ballads collected under the name
of the Kalevala.  Among the Indians of North America speculation is
sometimes highly elaborated in mythologic tradition; and out of the
fusion of nationalities in Mexico rose a developed polytheism in which
lofty religious sentiment seems strangely blended with a hideous and
sanguinary ritual.  Peru, no less, presented to the Spanish conquerors
bewildering and incongruous aspects.  In these two cultures native
American civilisation reached its highest forms.  In Mexico the
apparatus of religion was very minutely organised.  There were immense
temples, which required large numbers of priests and servitors.  The
capital alone is said to have contained 2000 sacred buildings, and the
great temple had a staff of 5000 priests.  There were religious orders
and temple-schools; rites of baptism and circumcision; feasts and
sacrifices and sacraments, in which the monkish chroniclers found
strange parallels to their own practice.  The issues of victory were
disastrous.  With the death of the last Aztec emperor (1520) the doom
of the old gods was assured, and the Inquisition (1571) completed what
the sword of Cortes had begun.

{58}

In the old world Asia has been the mother of religions, but various
fates have befallen her offspring.  The ancient cults of Babylonia,
after an existence longer than the period from Moses to the present
day, vanished from the scene.  The teachings of Zoroaster were planted
in China in A.D. 621, and a temple was erected at the capital, Changan;
but the Persian faith could not maintain itself in such a different
culture.  After the Mohammedan conquest in the eighth century it was
finally carried by a little band of exiles into India, and is still
cherished by their descendants who bear the name of Parsees.  The Jew
and the Christian have only a precarious toleration in the land which
was once their home.  In India and in China alone is the religion of
to-day linked in unbroken continuity with the distant past.  Islam may
set itself in lineal succession to the teachers of old, and claim a
place for Mohammed in the sequence of Abraham, Moses, and Christ.  But
it is the youngest, and in some respects the least original, of the
world's great faiths.

India has its own panorama of religions, from the animistic practice of
the tribes of the jungle and the hills, up to the refined pantheism of
the philosophical school.  Diversities of race have been strangely
intermingled, and fifty languages make it impossible to secure any
uniformity of culture.  There are the descendants of the ancient
inhabitants who occupied the country before {59} the Aryan ancestors of
the Hindus settled themselves upon the fertile lands.  They are
represented to-day by the wild tribes of Central India such as the
Bhils and Gonds.  Some ten million probably profess a religion of a
well-marked animistic type.  But this also lies at the base of
wide-spread popular belief and custom, where the propitiation of
spirits, the cultus of Mother Earth, and the veneration of village
deities, engage much more attention than the higher gods of Hinduism.

The literary foundation of the religions of India lies in the ancient
hymns of the Rig Veda, sung by the immigrant Aryans as they entered
from the North-west and gradually established themselves in the Ganges
valley.  These hymns were addressed to gods of earth and air and sky;
they celebrated the glories of dawn and day; they told of the conflict
between sunshine and storm; they praised Agni, the god of fire,
messenger between heaven and earth, himself as agent of the sacrifice a
kind of priest among the gods; they commemorated the dead who passed
into the upper world and adorned the sky with stars.  Already in some
of the later hymns the poet's thought endeavoured to find some
principle or power that should unite these different agencies as
manifestations of one ultimate reality; and philosophic imagination at
length fixed on the conception of Brahman, a term whose original
meaning {60} seems to hover between that of sacred spell and prayer.
Viewed in a personal aspect (Brahma) as a god of popular worship, he
could be described as "Lord of all, the Maker, the Creator, Father of
all that are and are to be."[1]  But behind this sovereign ruler
metaphysical abstraction placed a neuter Brahma, all-embracing, the
ground of all existence, summed up in three terms--Being, Thought, and
Bliss.  Here was the ultimate Self of the whole universe; and to know
the identity of the human self with the Absolute, to be able to repeat
the mysterious words _tat tvam asi_, "that art thou," was the aim of
the forest-sages and the highest attainment of holy insight.


[1] So in the early Buddhist texts describing the popular religion.
Many new forms appear in these documents.


Meantime the social order was acquiring the first forms of caste.  The
priests and the fighting men, the people who settled on the lands for
pasture and tillage, and the tribes of aborigines whom they
dispossessed and subdued, formed the basis of divisions which were
gradually multiplied with extraordinary complexity.  A religious
authority was found for the whole system in the teachings of the Veda,
and to contest its claims was to defy the power which slowly spread
with subtle hold through the whole peninsula.  By its side arose the
doctrine of the Deed (_karma_, p. 217), which explained the varied
conditions of human life by the principle that {61} "a man is born into
the world that he has made."  The lot of each individual had a moral
meaning: it was the result of previous conduct, good or ill.  This is
the conception embodied in the word "transmigration."  It pictures man
as involved in a continuous series of births and deaths, and religion
and philosophy undertook in their several ways to secure him a
favourable destiny hereafter, or by various means of divine grace, or
strenuous self-discipline, or pious contemplation, to extricate him
altogether from the weary round of ignorance and pain.

Out of these elements, a crude and ever-varying animism at the bottom,
a highly refined metaphysical pantheism at the top, figures of
incarnation and deliverance, the cultus of the dead, caste, and
transmigration, the complex strands of modern Hinduism have been woven.
Many have been the growths upon the way.  The early Buddhist texts,
representing the society of the "Middle Country," show already in the
fifth century B.C. a surprising activity of speculation, busily engaged
in questioning every received doctrine of religion and morals.  Some
forms held their ground for a few centuries and then disappeared.  One
religious community of that date alone survives, viz. the Jains, who
still number about a million and a third.  Buddhism, after sending out
its missionaries into Ceylon in the south and China in the north, was
driven from its ancient seats, and {62} only some 300,000 hold its
creed in India itself.  In Burma, however, it numbers between ten and
eleven million lay adherents, and in the adjacent kingdom of Siam it
has 13,000 temples, and more than 93,000 mendicants have taken its vows.

But Hinduism still lives on with a marvellous and self-renewing power.
Two great divine figures have been set beside the original creative
Brahma, representatives of the forces that preserve and destroy, Vishnu
and Çiva (p. 128).  Vishnu succeeded to the place of the Buddha; and
Hindu religion gave prominence in him to the conception of a Divine
Person who out of love for man assumed human shape to conquer evil and
establish truth.  The worship of Çiva has been carried everywhere by
the Brahmans; if he destroys, he also reproduces; he, too, appears to
bless and help, and the Tamil poets of South India in the early Middle
Ages sang his praises in hymns that still feed the piety of the people.
Again and again reforming teachers have initiated movements on behalf
of spiritual religion.  Their followers have multiplied and broken up
into sects, but still remain within the general area of the ancestral
faith, which now embraces considerably more than 200 million souls.
The disciples of Nānak (1469-1538), however, known as Sīkhs,
formed into a semi-military organisation by the Guru Gobind "the Lion"
(1675-1708), retain their religious independence, {63} touching
Hinduism on one side and Mohammedanism on the other.  They number at
the present day more than two millions, and are found almost
exclusively in the Punjab.

China, like India, illustrates the principle of religious continuity.
Its earliest historic date is fixed by an eclipse in 776 B.C.; and the
traditions of its dynasties stretch more than a thousand years beyond.
The ancient religion depicted in the books known as the _Shu_ and the
_Shî Kings_, which Confucius (550-478 B.C.) was supposed to have edited
out of much older documents, rested upon the solemn order of the living
Heaven and Earth, with multitudinous ranks of associated spirits, and
the generations of the dead.  This has remained the formal basis of the
national religion (p. 97).  Meanwhile the ethical sayings of Confucius
acquired extraordinary ascendency.  They formed the chief element in
the national education, and supplied the ideals of popular culture.
Carried into Japan in the sixth century of our era, they filled a gap
in the old Japanese teaching, which we know by the name of Shin-To or
"Spirits' way."  Confucius himself became the object of general
commemorative homage; and annual ceremonies are still celebrated in his
honour with great splendour in the Confucian temples which adorn every
city within the empire above a certain rank.[2]


[2] These are at present in danger, like other public forms of Chinese
State Religion, of being rudely abolished.


{64}

In the popular religion demonology and magic play a constant part, and
numerous growths out of the worship of ancestors provide ever fresh
additions to the higher ranks of spirits.  These are regulated by
decrees of the Board of Rites, one of the most ancient religious
institutions in China.  The spirit of a departed governor, perhaps two
centuries ago, is believed to have appeared in time of flood, and by
his beneficent influence dangers have been averted.  Memorials are sent
up to Peking by the local authorities, and after repeated
manifestations divine honours are awarded.  Beneath these august
personages are the spirits which preside over the trades and
professions, over the parts of a house--the door, the bed, or the
kitchen range--over the breeding of domestic animals, and a large
variety of occupations, to say nothing of medicine and disease, the
limbs of the body, and the stars.  They are analogous to the Kami, the
equivalent powers in Japan (p. 91); and they are not without parallel
in religions further west.

Half a century before Confucius, in 604, was born another sage, known
in history as Lao Tsze.  Fragments of his teaching are embodied in a
small book of aphorisms, concerned with the doctrine of the Tao, the
way, the path, or course.  In nature this corresponded to the ordered
round of the seasons, and the regularities which we call laws.  In man
it might be seen in the line of right {65} conduct, and the inner
principles which pointed to it.  On this conception, which was much
older than Lao Tsze himself, a kind of metaphysical mysticism was
reared by later disciples, not without affinities with some aspects of
the Brahmanical philosophy.  They have been explained by suggestions of
travel and contact which more careful study cannot justify.  The
religion of the Tao (whence the name Taoism) could never have been
popular had it not become strangely entangled with alchemy and
transformed under the influence of its later rival, Buddhism, from
which it derived much both in ritual, in ethics, and in doctrine.

The statements about the appearance of Buddhist teachers and Buddhist
books in China before our era have been much disputed: the first
trustworthy record relates that in the year A.D. 65, a deputation of
eighteen persons was sent to Khotan to make inquiries, and they
returned two years later with books and images and a teacher.  A second
teacher arrived shortly after, a temple was built at the imperial
capital, Lo-Yang, and the laborious work of translation was begun.  A
stream of missionaries, Hindus, Parthians, Huns, slowly flowed into the
Flowery Land, "moved," says the chronicler, "by the desire to convert
the world."  After a while the Chinese students sought the holy places
in India, and learned Sanskrit at the great Buddhist university at
Nalanda, near Buddha {66} Gaya.  Vast collections of sacred literature
were gathered.  The first Chinese catalogue, dated A.D. 520, enumerates
2,213 distinct works.  Twelve successive revisions were made under
imperial order, and to the last, in 1737, the Emperor himself,
following the example of some of his predecessors, contributed a
preface.

Opposed again and again by the Confucian _literati_, its temples
destroyed, its religious houses suppressed, its monks and nuns driven
back into the world, Buddhism has still lived on.  It has created
impressive devotions, and generated numerous sects.  It has spread
through Corea, Mongolia, and Japan; on the west it is planted in Tibet.
It has exercised immense influence on Chinese culture; architecture,
art and letters being all deeply indebted to it.  In numerical
estimates of different religions common in the last century Buddhism
always headed the list, for the whole population of China--vaguely
reckoned at 400,000,000--was included in its fold.  Such estimates are
no longer trustworthy.[3]  The ancestral cultus of the dead under the
shelter of Confucianism, the rites of Taoist and of Buddhist priests,
are strangely blended.  The incidents of life from birth to death are
never completed without help from one or other of the two faiths once
rivals, and now {67} so curiously intertwined.  As early as the sixth
century a famous Buddhist scholar Fu Hhi was asked by the Emperor Wu-ti
if he was a Buddhist, and he pointed to his Taoist cap.  "Are you a
Taoist?" he showed his Confucian shoes.  "Are you a Confucian?" he wore
a Buddhist scarf.  When the Abbé Hue made his famous journey two
generations ago, he observed that when strangers met, politeness
required that each should ask his neighbour, "To what sublime religion
do you belong?"  The first might be a Confucian, the second a Taoist,
the third a disciple of the Buddha.  Each would then begin to commend
the religion not his own, and they would conclude by saying, "Religions
are many, reason is one, we are all brothers."  It was the maxim of Lu
Shun Yang (a distinguished Buddhist) centuries ago that "the teaching
of the sects is not different.  The large-hearted man regards them as
embodying the same truths.  The narrow-minded man observes only their
differences."


[3] The latest official estimate, February 1911, based on a reckoning
of families, gives 312,400,590 for the total Chinese people.


Yet another great religion, the latest born among the higher faiths of
the world, has established itself in both India and China.  The first
Mohammedan invasion of India took place in A.D. 664.  The followers of
the prophet are now reckoned at more than 66 millions.  In 628 Mohammed
himself sent his uncle to China with presents to the Emperor.  He
travelled by sea to Canton, where the first mosque was afterwards
built.  {68} Good observers number the Mohammedans in China to-day at
30 millions, mostly in the north and west; and it is supposed that
there are about as many more in the Malay Archipelago.  In Africa,
especially among the negroes of the west, their numbers have increased
enormously in the last century, and some two-fifths of the
multitudinous peoples of the Dark Continent, 80 millions out of 200,
are believed to live in the obedience of Islam.

Islam, resignation or submission to the will of God, was the name given
to his religion by the prophet himself, who died in A.D. 632.  But in
the hands of his first followers submission was no passive virtue.
Tradition ascribed to him the idea of addressing all known sovereigns,
and promising them safety if they accepted the faith.  His successors,
therefore, conceived that the fulfilment of Allah's will demanded a
resolute effort to make known the new revelation.  A fierce burst of
missionary effort carried the Moslem armies far and wide.  In the year
of Mohammed's death they attacked Persia and Syria; a few years later
they invaded Egypt.  Within the first century they had entered India,
and had swept through north Africa into Spain.  But they had twice been
obliged to retreat from Constantinople, and in 732 they were defeated
on the Loire by Charles Martel near Tours, and forced to retire behind
the Pyrenees.

With the same astonishing energy they {69} created centres of culture
from Baghdad to Cordova.  Through Syriac versions of Aristotle's works
Arabian teachers carried Greek philosophy into Western Europe when the
light of ancient learning had grown dim.  The contact with new thought
stimulated theological discussion, and the Moslem had to justify
himself against the Christian, the Zoroastrian, the Manichæan and the
Buddhist.  Above the simple ritual demands of the prophet, the recital
of the creed--"There is no god but God (Allah), Mohammed is the apostle
of God"--the observance of prayer five times daily, the annual fast in
the month of Ramadhān, the bestowal of alms, and the pilgrimage to
Mecca, arose the debates of the schools and the divisions of sects.
The nature of the divine attributes, and their relation to the being or
essence of the Deity, the problems of predestination and free will, of
reason and revelation, excited eager interest.  Beside the Koran vast
numbers of traditions concerning religious life and practice were
gradually put in circulation, and in the third century after Mohammed's
death they were reduced to writing in six great collections.  To these
sources of truth and rules of conduct the jurists and theologians added
two others: agreement or universal consent, where beliefs and practices
are generally received though not specially sanctioned by the Koran or
tradition; and analogy, by which a doctrine or usage may be accepted as
valid because {70} of its resemblance to something legitimated by
revelation.

Like the higher religions of India, like Judaism in its long and
chequered career whether in Palestine or in the Dispersion, like the
"universal religions" of Buddhism and Christianity, Mohammedanism has
known how to accommodate itself to very different levels of culture.
In the Arabian deserts much of the earlier animism still remains.  It
is not rudely expelled either at the present day as Islam advances
through Africa.  Other impulses have worked in different directions.
There are religious orders and mendicant ascetics.  There are mystical
schools of refined spirituality, to which the influences of
Neo-platonism, of Christianity, and Buddhism, have all contributed.
Sūfiism (as this type of thought is called) was fed from various
sources, and has assumed different forms in different countries, but
its best-known literary products came from the great poets of Persia.

From that subtle race issues the most remarkable movement which modern
Mohammedanism has produced.  In 1844 a young man not twenty-five years
of age, named Ali Mohammed, of Shiraz, appeared under the title of the
"Bab" or Gate.  Disciples gathered round him, and the movement was not
checked by his arrest, his imprisonment for nearly six years, and his
final execution in 1850.  Thirteen years later one of his disciples
named Bahá-ullah, "Splendour of God," announced {71} himself as "He
whom God shall manifest," whose advent the Bab had foretold.  Exiled to
Acre, he died in 1892, and was succeeded in the leadership by his son
Abbas Efendi.  The new faith declared that there was no finality in
revelation, and while recognising the Koran as a product of past
revelation, claimed to embody a new manifestation of the divine Unity.
Carried to Chicago in 1893 by a Bâbî merchant, it succeeded in
establishing itself in the United States; and its missionaries are
winning new adherents in India.  It, too, claims to be a universal
teaching; it has already its noble army of martyrs and its holy books;
has Persia, in the midst of her miseries, given birth to a religion
which will go round the world?



{72}

CHAPTER III

RELIGION IN THE LOWER CULTURE

Religion presents itself in its most obvious form as a mode of
activity.  It is seen in some kind of behaviour; it prompts a
particular sort of conduct.  Behind the customs and rites which are its
visible sign lie certain thoughts and feelings, often dim, indistinct,
obscure.  In the totality of its beliefs, emotions, and institutions,
it is as much the product of the human spirit as poetry, or art,
science, morals, and law.  It will therefore always bear some kind of
relation to the general circumstances of the social development to
which it belongs.  The interpretation of the surrounding scene which is
implied in its intellectual outlook will vary with the elements of the
scene itself.  But the limits of variation are much smaller than might
be expected.  The questions "why" and "how" may be answered very
differently under the Equator and within the Arctic zone, but they are
the same questions, and spring from common impulses of thought.
Moreover, while race, climate, and economic conditions may all vary, it
happens to all men to be born {73} and to die.  The family must be
maintained, children must be reared, food must be procured, the tribal
group must preserve its stability and, if possible, increase.  There
are universal elements in human life all over the globe; and the
manifestations of religion founded upon them exhibit in consequence
marked resemblances from land to land.

Religion always implies some kind of want.  The young husband wants
male children, the hunter game, the warrior victory, the diviner the
knowledge of secrets, the saint holiness.  The wants may be crude or
refined, the satisfaction of a physical appetite, protection against
some anticipated danger, the realisation of an exalted spiritual
fellowship.  But religion suggests that there is some Power capable of
satisfying these wants, and undertakes to provide the means for setting
man in proper relations with it.  All round him are the objects and
forces of the visible world.  He learns by degrees that some help him
to gratify his desires, and others hinder them.  There are many things
that he cannot understand, and some of which he dimly feels that he
must not presume to try: he is only conscious towards them of a strange
wonder and awe; they are uncanny; he cannot bring them into his
experience; he must not meddle with them, he must keep away.  But other
things are more kindly, and fulfil his hopes.

Out of such vague consciousness he gradually frames a working method.
Some sort {74} of theory is at length established after many trials,
concerning what must be done to obtain what he seeks.  The line of his
action is determined in part by the ideas and expectations which have
slowly emerged out of his endeavours to get into fruitful connection
with the powers by which he is encompassed.  This is the element of
belief, which lies behind religion proper, and supplies the soil in
which religious feeling and action germinate and grow.  What, then, is
the kind of belief which, in the sphere of the lower culture, makes
religion possible?

It is plain at once that no records remain of what is still sometimes
called "primitive religion."  Even tribes that seem to be living in the
Stone Age have as long a past behind them as any European of light and
leading.  Whatever the beliefs may be that belong to any given stage of
social culture, they are not new inventions, they depend on immemorial
tradition.  And they are not, as now cherished, the results of
individual research or reflection.  They are held in common by all the
members of the tribe, so that they have a kind of collective force.  No
doubt in the long process of their formation and transmission
modifications may have been introduced, as some elder, shrewder than
his fellows, gave new emphasis to some leading idea, or suggested the
adoption of some fresh action.  Trace them back into the dim realm of
conjecture, and some mind {75} a little more observant or ready than
his comrades must have started the first explanation, some will a
little more adventurous must have made the first experiments in
conduct.  Thoughts do not issue from a "collective consciousness"; they
bear the stamp of personality, they are not begotten by abstractions,
and every fresh development starts from a single brain.  But the
uniformity of experience within the group gives enormous weight to the
wisdom of the past; and constitutes a sanction which only some grave
shock can change or overthrow.

With religion is constantly associated, both in historical record and
in the lower forms of present-day practice, another kind of activity
known as Magic.  The relation between them has been variously
interpreted.  The modern anthropologist, Dr. Frazer, finds himself in
unexpected agreement with the philosopher Hegel in supposing that magic
was the first to appear upon the scene.  It is represented as a kind of
primitive science, founded on certain elementary axioms, such as that
"like produces like," or that things once in contact with each other
will continue to act upon each other when the contact is broken.  The
Central Australian performs elaborate ceremonies to stimulate the
multiplication of the totem which provides the supply of food for his
tribe.  Suppose it is the witchetty grub.  A kind of pantomime is
performed representing the emergence of the {76} fully-developed insect
out of the chrysalis, typified by a long, narrow structure made of
boughs.  The totem men sit inside and chant rude songs, and then crawl
out singing of the insect coming forth.

One of the commonest illustrations is the attempt to compass the death
of an enemy by injuring or destroying an image or figure supposed to
correspond to him.  Such images were made in ancient Babylonia, Egypt,
Greece, and Rome.  One North American Indian will draw a figure of his
adversary in the sand, or in ashes, and prick it with a sharp stick.
Another will make a wooden image, and insert a needle into the head or
the heart.  Clay is used for the purpose by the African Matabele, wax
in Arabia, the guelder rose in Japan, materials of all kinds in India.
In Scotland the _corp chre_, as it was called, was a clay body, which
was stuck full of pins, nails, and broken bits of glass, and set in a
running stream with its head to the current; a modern specimen from
Inverness-shire may be seen in the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford.  Is
all this really as Dr. Frazer supposes, prior to the birth of religion,
and does man only turn to the propitiation of superior powers when he
cannot get what he wants through magic?  Of that process no evidence
can be offered.

The essence of magic lies in some kind of compulsion or constraint.
Through the proper spell, or through the will of the magician, {77} a
control is exerted which produces the desired result.  The power which
is thus claimed implies an attitude wholly unlike that of religion.
Into that attitude there enter elements of wonder and submission in the
presence of energies which man cannot master, though he desires to get
them on his side.  But no observer was at hand to watch the first
processes of feeling and thought which the interaction of man and his
environment produced.  The crudest forms of religion which we actually
know, meet us in tribes which have possessed them from an unknown past.
Here religion has a social character binding the members of a group
together, and tending to maintain certain uniformities of conduct and
character.  Over against it stands the antisocial character of magic,
at any rate when directed against individuals.  Along this line it is
urged that magic and religion have both issued out of common
conditions.  In the world around all sorts of events are continually
happening.  Man, in the midst of them, moves to and fro impulsively
among various objects and agencies.  Out of these arise various
reactions for self-maintenance, for protection and defence.  Certain
acts tend to establish themselves as successful; they make for security
and welfare.  At first man's efforts have no definite direction; but
some are found effective, others are futile, and attention is
concentrated on those that produce satisfactory results.  After {78}
many trials certain beliefs, certain processes, certain persons,
gradually stand out above the rest, and through them relations of
advantage are established with the environing powers.

In such experiences lie the roots of both religion and magic.  In their
earliest forms they may be as difficult to discriminate as the simplest
types of animal and vegetable life.  If it be asked what distinguishes
them outwardly, when both are transmitted by tradition, both rest upon
custom, it may be answered that religion is concerned with what tends
to the stability of the community.  Its interests are those of the
group.  It supplies the bond of united action for clan or tribe or
people.  It is pre-eminently social; it expresses itself in ceremonies,
feasts, and rites in which all can join, or in commands which all can
obey.  Even the Australians, so poor in elements of worship, have
tribal laws which have been imparted to them from on high (Chap. VII).

Over against the community stands the individual, object of all kinds
of jealousies and enmities.  All sorts of antisocial arts may be
practised for his destruction.  The pointing-stick of Australia
provides a common magical weapon.  It is carried away into a lonely
spot in the bush, and the intending user plants it in the ground,
crouches down over it, and mutters a curse against the object of his
hatred: "May your heart be rent asunder, may your backbone be split
open!"  Then {79} one evening, as the men sit round the campfire in the
dark, he creeps up stealthily behind his enemy, stoops down with his
back to the camp, points the stick over his shoulder, and mutters the
curse again.  A little while after, unless saved by a more powerful
magic, the victim sickens and dies.

Of course magic may also be used for the benefit of the individual, and
the practice of exorcism for the cure of diseases caused through
possession by evil spirits long found shelter in some branches of the
Christian Church.  The kinship between Magic and Religion is clearly
marked when the priest takes the place of the devil-dancer or the
medicine man.  Yet they are on different planes; religion is prescribed
and official, and demands specific services; magic falls into the
background, it becomes a secret, perhaps a forbidden, art.
Nevertheless, between religion and antisocial magic lies a large group
of rites, essentially magical in character, like the North American
Indian rain-dances or the totem-ceremonies of the Arunta in Central
Australia, designed for the general welfare.  Even in much higher
cultures the spell frequently mingles with the prayer, and ceremonies
of sacrifice carry with them elements of compulsion or constraint.

What traces, then, do the phases of religion in the lower culture
exhibit of a view of the world and its powers out of which these
diverging lines of practice might emerge?  {80} In widely different
regions of the globe the forces that operate in unexpected ways, or
play through things beyond man's reach, or appear in natural objects of
striking character--an animal, a tree--are summed up in some general
term of mystery and awe.  Such is the Melanesian term _mana_, first
noted by Bishop Codrington, common to a large group of languages.  It
implies some supersensual power or influence; it is not itself
personal, though it may dwell in persons as in things.  It is known by
the results which reveal its working.  You find a stone of an unusual
shape; it may resemble some familiar object like a fruit; you lay it at
the root of the corresponding tree, or you bury it in a yam-patch; an
abundant crop follows; clearly, the stone has _mana_.  It lives in the
song-words of a spell; it secures success in fighting, perhaps through
the tooth of some fierce and powerful animal; it imparts speed to the
canoe, brings fish into the net, enables the arrow to inflict a mortal
wound.  But the word has a yet wider range, in the sense of power,
might, influence.  By it a parent can bring a curse on a disobedient
child, a man who possesses it can work miracles; it even denotes the
divinity of the gods.  And so mysterious is the whole range of the
inner life, that _mana_ covers thought, desire, feeling, and affection;
and in Hawaian it reaches out to spirit, energy of character, majesty.
Here is an immense reserve of potency pervading {81} the world, on
which man may draw for good or ill.

Among the North American Indians similar conceptions may be traced.
The Algonquin _manitou_ represents a subtle property believed to exist
everywhere in nature, though some persons and objects possess more of
it than others.  Among the Sioux the sun, the moon, the stars, thunder,
wind, are all _wakanda_.  So are certain trees and animals, the cedar,
the snake, the grey elephant; and mystery-places like a particular lake
in North Dakota, or some peculiar rocks on the Yellowstone River.  The
term carries with it power and sacredness; it belongs to what is
ancient, grand, and animate.  The Iroquoian tribes designate this
mysterious force _orenda_.  It expresses an incalculable energy,
manifested in rocks and streams and tides; in plants and trees, in
animals and man; it belongs to the earth and its mountains; it breathes
in the winds and is heard in the thunder; the clouds move by it, day
and night follow each other through it; it dwells in sun, moon, and
stars.  The shy bird or quadruped which it is difficult to snare or
kill, possesses it; so does the skilful hunter; it gives victory in
intertribal games of skill, and is the secret force of endurance or
speed of foot.  The prophet or the soothsayer discloses the future by
its aid; and whatever is believed to have been instrumental in
accomplishing some purpose or obtaining some good, finds in _orenda_
the source of its effectiveness.

{82}

Not dissimilar is the conception of _mulungu_ among the Yaos, east of
Lake Nyassa.  The term is wide-spread through the eastern group of
Bantu tongues, and is said to have the meaning of "Old One" or "Great
One"; and in this sense it has been employed as equivalent to God.  But
we are expressly told that in its native use and form it does not imply
personality.  Etymologically it ranks with the leg, arm, heart, head,
of the human frame.  Yet it denotes rather a state or property inhering
in something, like life or health in the body, than any single object.
It indicates a kind of supernormal energy, displayed in actual
experience, but not to be detected by any physical sense.  It is the
agent of wonder and mystery; the rainbow is _mulungu_; and it sums up
at once the creative energy which made the earth and animals and man,
and the powers which operate in human life.  At the foot of a tree in
the village courtyard, where men sit and talk, a small offering of
flour or beer is placed on any distinctive occasion in the communal
life; at a meal, or on a journey at cross roads, a little flour is set
aside.  It is "for Mulungu"; sometimes dimly conceived as a spirit
within; sometimes regarded as a universal agency in nature and affairs,
impalpable, impersonal; sometimes rising into distinctness as God.

Such terms are, of course, generalisations from many separate
experiences.  Out of this sense of mystery grow more definite ideas.
{83} The dark and solemn forest, the rushing river, the precipitous
rock, the lofty cloud-crowned mountain, the winds and storms, all
manifest a common power;[1] it lives in the snake or the bull, in the
tiger or the bear.  This may be conceived in a highly complex and
abstract form.  Thus the Zuñis of Mexico, we are told, suppose the sun
and moon, the stars, the sky, the earth and sea, with all their various
changes, and all inanimate objects, as well as plants, animals, and
men, to belong to one great system of all-conscious and interrelated
life.  One term includes them all: _hâi_, "being" or "life."  With the
prefix _â_, "all," the whole field of nature is summed up as _âhâi_,
"life" or "the Beings."  This comprehensive term includes the objects
of sensible experience regarded as personal existences, and
supersensual beings who are known as "Finishers or Makers of the paths
of life," the most exalted of all being designated "the Holder of the
paths of our lives."  So in Annam life is regarded as a universal
phenomenon.  It belongs not only to men and animals and plants, but to
stones and stars, to earth, fire, and wind.  But it is seen in groups
and kinds rather than individuals, and the limits of its forms are not
sharply drawn; it can pass through many transformations, and possesses
indefinite possibilities of change.  {84} Such conceptions have a long
history behind them.


[1] M. Durkheim has recently applied conceptions of the _mana_ order to
the explanation of totemism.


The poets of the ancient Vedic hymns beheld everything around them full
of energy.  The names by which they designated what they saw all
denoted action or agency.  The swift flow of the stream gained it the
title of the "runner"; as it cut away the banks or furrowed its course
deep between the rocks, it was the "plougher"; when it nourished the
fields it was the "mother"; when it marked off one territory from
another it was the "defender" or "protector."  So the seers addressed
their invocations to the dawn or the sun, to the winds and the fire, to
the river or the mountain, to the earth-mother or the sky-father, as
living powers, capable of responding to the prayers of their
worshippers.  Similar energy dwelt in the horse or the cow, the bird of
omen and the guardian dog.  It was even shared by ritual implements
such as the stones by which the sacred soma-juice was squeezed out, or
by the products of human handiwork, the war-car, the weapon, the drum,
and the peaceful plough.

At the present day the Batak in the north-west of Sumatra interpret the
world about them in terms of a soul-stuff or life-power called _tondi_.
A vast reservoir of this exists in the world above, and flows down upon
men and animals and plants.  The biggest animal, like the tiger, the
most important of plants, like rice (chief source of food), have most
{85} _tondi_, but it is not confined to living things; the smith
attributes it to his iron, the fisherman to his boat, the tiller of the
ground to his hoe, the householder to his hearth and home.  But a
further analysis is beginning.  What is the relation of a man's _tondi_
to himself?  When he dies, it passes into some fresh organism.  But the
rest of him, his shadow, his double, or his self, becomes a _begu_.  In
life, it is the body that thinks and feels, that fears and hopes and
wills, though the presence of the _tondi_ supplies the needful energy.
But the _tondi_ also has the functions of consciousness, for it can go
away in dreams and meet the _begus_ of parents and ancestors.  And the
apprehension that it may depart begets reverence and even offerings to
the _tondi_, rather than to distant gods for whom man can feel neither
fear nor love.

We touch here another root of religious belief, which produces growths
so wide-spreading that some interpreters bring the whole range of
objects of worship within their shade.  How, after all, does man
explain himself to himself?  At first he does not think about thinking.
Such words as he uses are vague and elastic, like the Polynesian
_mana_, which covers a multitude of facts without and within.  Only
through long dim processes does any idea corresponding to our
conception of personality come into his consciousness.  He is as
confused about the objects round him as he is about himself.  {86} Yet
he has some sort of initiative.  Whence comes it?  Little by little a
variety of experiences force on him the belief that beside the body and
its limbs he possesses something which he cannot ordinarily see, but
which is essential to his activity.  He falls asleep, and lies still
upon the ground; he wakes, full of remembrance of adventure, the
localities which he has visited, the animals that he has hunted, the
dead kinsmen whom he has met.  The Australians explain their dreams by
the supposition that the _yambo_, the mūrup, or the _boolabong_, can
quit the body and return.  "I asked one of the Kurnai" (of Gippsland),
relates Mr. Howitt, "whether he really thought his _yambo_ could go out
during sleep."  "It must be so," was the answer, "for when I sleep, I
go to distant places, I see distant people, I even see and speak with
those that are dead."  The great apostle of the East in the sixteenth
century, the devoted Francis Xavier, wrote home from India to the
Society of Jesus in Europe--


"I find that the arguments which are to convince these ignorant people
must be by no means subtle, such as those which are found in the books
of learned schoolmen, but such as their minds can understand.  They
asked me again and again how the soul of a dying person goes out of the
body, how it was, whether it was as happens to us in dreams, when we
seem to be conversing with our {87} friends and acquaintances.  Ah, how
often this happens to me, dearest brethren, when I dream of you!  Was
this because the soul then leaves the body?"


This explanation is found all round the globe.

Many other experiences confirm the impression of some kind of dual
existence.  The shadow or shade which follows a man repeats his
movements, and appears as a sort of double.  It is even widely believed
in the face of the simplest evidence that a dead body casts no shadow
(of course, as it lies upon the ground the shadow may almost
disappear).  Your reflection in river, pool, or lake, actually
reproduces your colour as well as your form: beware lest a crocodile
seizes it and drags you in.  From ancient times down to Shelley and
Walt Whitman, poetry has designated Sleep and Death as "brothers"; in
death that which was temporarily absent in sleep has gone away for
good.  It may have rushed out with the blood from a gaping wound; it
may have quietly departed with the last faint breath.  So it may be
summoned back, as in Chinese custom, on the housetop, in the garden or
the field.  Ghostly sounds may be heard in the forest, among the rocks,
borne along the wind; the clairvoyant may discern dimly strange faces,
vanished forms; the dead can sometimes make themselves seen in their
old haunts; {88} the world is full of unexpected indications of
presences beyond our sense.

Such presences are grouped, for the modern student, under the general
title "spirits."  But the explanations which lead to these beliefs are
not concerned with human beings only.  Animals share in the incidents
of life and death; plants, even, grow and blossom and decay; and
animals, plants, and inanimate objects of all sorts may be seen in
dreams.  Hence the analysis which is applied to man can be readily
extended; and another world is called into existence, strangely blended
with this, a realm of immaterial counterparts and impalpable forces.  A
Fiji native, placed before a mirror, recognising himself and object
after object, whispered softly, "Now I can see into the world of
spirits."

With the help of this elementary philosophy a vast machinery of
causation is always at hand for explaining untoward events.  The
Tshi-speaking negro on the West Coast of Africa has inside him a kind
of life-power named _kra_.  It existed long before his birth, for it
served in the same capacity a whole series of predecessors; and it will
continue its career after his death, when the man himself becomes a
_srahman_ or ghost.  The adjoining Ga-speaking tribes modify the _kra_
into two _kla_, one male and one female, the first of a bad
disposition, the second good, who give advice and prompt to actions
according {89} to their respective characters.  Yet a third inmate
dwells in the neighbouring Yoruba-speaking folk, one in the head, one
in the stomach, and one in the great toe.  Offerings are made to the
first by rubbing fowl's blood and palm oil on the forehead.  The second
needs none, for it shares whatever the stomach receives.  The third is
propitiated as an agent of locomotion before starting on a journey.
But the curious theme of the plurality of souls must not beguile us.

Meantime the original _kra_ is set behind all the activities of nature,
and extended to the whole sphere of material objects.  Each town or
village or district has its own local spirits, rulers of river and
valley, rock and forest and hill.  Sometimes they take human shape, and
colour, white or black, for transformations of all kinds are always
possible.  They are not all of equal rank; the broad lake, the
mountain, the sea where the surf breaks heavily and the frail craft are
upset--the lightning, the storm, and the earthquake--the leopard, the
crocodile, the shark, and the devastating smallpox--such are among the
dreaded manifestations of these dangerous and mysterious powers.  But
the actual dead must not be forgotten; they must be provided with
ghostly counterparts of food and weapons and utensils, with cloth and
gold-dust, just as a departed chief must be accompanied into the next
life by the wives and slaves who adorned his household state in this.

{90}

The ritual of the dead belongs, as we have seen (p. 20), to the
earliest-known activities of European man.  It is found in some form or
other in every country under the sun.  Sometimes it is prompted by
fear, and has for its object to keep the dead imprisoned in the grave,
or to prevent their spirits from returning to their old haunts (p.
228).  Sometimes it is warmed by affection, as the departed are
recalled to the homes where they were loved.  In ancient Egypt it was
developed with the utmost elaboration, and created a literature
describing a kind of "pilgrim's progress" through the scenes of the
next world (p. 237); while in Greece and Rome the cultus of the dead
acquired, as in India and China, immense social significance.  The
question that arises in the study of religion in the lower culture is
concerned with the probable connection between the two groups of
spirits, which may be broadly distinguished as spirits of nature and
spirits of the dead.  That the latter are constantly propitiated in
various forms is well known.  They are to be found everywhere, lurking
in the trees, flying through the air, sojourning in caves, haunting the
promontories on the rivers or hidden in the forest-depths.  With them
lie the causes of disease and madness; they are malevolent and hurtful,
as well as kindly and good.  What differences are to be discerned
between them and the powers of nature?  Are we to suppose, with some
{91} students, that all the higher forms of religion have been
developed out of the worship of the dead, and that for gods we must
everywhere read originally ghosts?

Consider, for example, the ancient religion of Japan, which we know by
an adaptation of two Chinese words as Shin-To, the "spirits' way," or
in its native form _kami-no-michi_.[2]  Who are the _kami_, or
"spirits"?  The title of "religion" has sometimes been denied to their
cultus on the ground that it contains "no set of dogmas, no sacred
book, and no moral code."  Greece and Rome might, on the same plea, be
described as having no religion.  The term _kami_ has for its root-idea
the significance of "that which is above."  It may be applied in the
widest range of relations from the hair which is on the top of the head
to the government which rules the people.  The _kami_ are, as it were,
the "highnesses"; the word is used of big things by land and sea, great
rivers, mighty mountains, roaring winds and rolling thunder; then of
rocks and trees, of animals like the tiger and the wolf, of metals, and
so of innumerable objects in earth and sky.  It is not always clear
whether these were originally conceived as themselves living, or
whether they had been resolved into material body and controlling
spirit.  The {92} functions of the _kami_, however, are extended and
distributed by a kind of fission; the _kami_ of food split into the
produce of trees and the parent of grasses; they preside over guilds
and crafts, the weavers, the potters, the carpenters, the swordsmen,
the boatbuilders; they guide the operations of agriculture; they
superintend the household, and watch over the kitchen range, the
saucepan, the ricepot, the well, the pond, the garden, and the
scarecrow.


[2] Chinese culture has probably exerted considerable influence on the
exponents of the Shinto revival in the eighteenth and nineteenth
centuries.  Very different aspects are reflected in the ancient
chronicles.


But in this vast assembly are included also the spirits of the dead.
They likewise become _kami_ of varying rank and power.  Some dwell in
temples built in their honour; some hover near their tombs; some are
kindly, and some malevolent.  They mingle in the immense multiplicity
of agencies which makes every event in the universe, in the language of
the Shinto writer Motowori (1730-1801), "the act of the Kami."  They
direct the changing seasons, the wind and the rain; and the good and
bad fortunes of individuals, families, and States, are due to them.
From birth to death the entire life of man is encompassed and guided by
the Kami.

Hence came the duty of worship on which Hirata (1776-1843) lays great
stress.  The heaven-descended Ninigi, progenitor of the imperial line,
was taught by his divine forefathers that "everything in the world
depends on the spirits of the _kami_ of heaven and earth, and therefore
the worship of the _kami_ is a {93} matter of primary importance.  The
_kami_ who do harm are to be appeased, so that they may not punish
those who have offended them; and all the _kami_ are to be worshipped
so that they may be induced to increase their favours."  Accordingly
Hirata's morning prayer before the _kami-dana_, the wooden shelf fixed
against the wall in a Shinto home about six feet from the floor,
bearing a small model of a temple or "august spirit-house," ran thus--


"Reverently adoring the great God of the two palaces of Isé (the
Sun-goddess) in the first place, the 800 myriads of celestial _kami_,
the 800 myriads of ancestral _kami_, all the 1500 myriads to whom are
consecrated the great and small temples in all provinces, all islands
and all places in the great land of 8 islands, the 1500 myriads of
_kami_ whom they cause to serve them....  I pray with awe that they
will deign to correct the unwitting faults which, heard and seen by
them, I have committed, and, blessing and favouring me according to the
powers which they severally wield, cause me to follow the divine
example, and to perform good works in the way."


Here, the spirits of the dead are blended with those of nature, without
any definite attempt to assign them to different ranks or functions.
Among the dead themselves there are such distinctions, which do not,
however, concern us here; there are "spirits of crookedness," {94} and
there are spirits of the clans and of the imperial line.  But above the
multitudinous groups of nameless _kami_, whether once human or attached
to the physical scene, rise certain great powers which it seems very
difficult to identify with departed ghosts.  The earliest traditions of
the divine evolution in the ancient chronicles contain no hint pointing
in that direction; and the comparison of the Japanese deities of earth,
fire, wind, sea, and similar great elemental forces elsewhere, is not
favourable to their derivation from the hosts of the dead.

The student of the hymns to Fire in the Rig-Veda (_Agni_ = Latin
_ignis_) cannot fail to notice the emphasis laid upon the birth of the
god out of the wood, as the fire-drill kindles the first sparks, and
the flame leaps forth.  Here is something quick-moving, vital; the fire
is the god; he may rise into cosmic significance as a pervading energy
sustaining the whole world; but he never loses his physical character,
any more than the solid earth or the encompassing sky.  These are again
and again the chief co-ordinating powers of the higher animism.  Their
separation out of the primeval mass of obscure and indiscriminate chaos
has been the theme of myth from Egypt to New Zealand; just as their
"bridal" has served to express the union and co-operation of the forces
of nature all around the world.

Of this the ancient Chinese religion, still the {95} formal basis of
the national worship as performed by the Emperor, supplies perhaps the
best example.  The cultus of the dead is practised in every home, and
around the incidents of life and death have gathered various Buddhist
and Taoist rites.  Moreover, a rampant demonology environs the entire
field of existence; but this disordered multitude of noxious spirits
has no recognition in the imperial homage.  From immemorial generations
the Chinese practice made religion a department of the State, and the
venerable book of the Rites of the great dynasty of Chow requires the
Grand Superior of Sacrifices to superintend the worship due to three
orders of _Shin_ or spirits, celestial, terrestrial, and human.  Under
the sovereignty of the sky the first includes the spirits of the sun,
moon, stars, clouds, wind, rain, thunder, and the changes of the
atmosphere.  In the sphere of earth are reckoned the spirits of the
mountains, rivers, plains, seas, lakes, woods, fields, and grains.

Taken together Heaven and Earth thus include all the energies of the
universe.  The world, as we see it, is, indeed, full of opposing
powers, one group (_yang_) representing light and warmth and life, the
contrary (_yin_) manifesting themselves in cold and darkness and
death.[3]  But these are both encompassed by {96} the "Path" or _Tao_,
the daily course of the universe, the abiding guarantee of justice in
the distribution of good and evil in the human lot.  Heaven and earth
are thus regarded as themselves active or living; they constantly
maintain the order of nature for the welfare of man.  In the ancient
Odes (which Confucius was supposed to have edited) "heaven" is called
great and wide and blue.  This is plainly the visible firmament; it is
addressed as parent, and sky and earth together are father and mother
of the world.  They are not spirits, but are themselves animate.
"Why," laments Dr. Edkins of his Chinese hearers, "they have been often
asked, should you speak of these things which are dead matter,
fashioned from nothing by the hand of God, as living beings?"  "And why
not?" they have replied.  "The sky pours down rain and sunshine, the
earth produces corn and grass, we see them in perpetual movement, and
we therefore say they are living."


[3] The sky is the home of the _yang_; the _yin_ are referred to the
earth; in curious contrast to its powers of production and nourishment.


The Chinese genius was ethical rather than metaphysical.  It was not
concerned with the Infinite, the Eternal, and the Absolute.  But it was
deeply impressed with the moral aspects of the sky, its universality,
its comprehensive embrace of all objects and powers beneath its
far-stretching dome, its all-seeing view, its inflexible impartiality.
Its decrees are steadfast, and proceeded from its sovereign sway; and
in this capacity it bore the {97} august title of Shang Tî, "Supreme
Ruler."  The scholastic philosophers of a later day analysed "Heaven"
in this capacity into the actual sky and its controlling personality,
and Shang Tî became the Moral Governor of the Universe, the equivalent
of the western God.

Beneath the sky lay the earth, receptive of the energies descending
upon it from on high; "Heaven and Earth, Father and Mother," are
conjoined in common speech.  Together they guided the changes of the
year, in steadfast tread along the annual round.  Folded in their wide
compass were the Shin, charged with the regulation of the elemental
powers.  Under Heaven's control were the Shin of sun and moon, planets,
stars, meteors, comets; of clouds and winds, thunder and rain; of the
seasons, months, and days.  Those of the earth were organised in
territorial divisions, representing the dominions of the vassal princes
down to the district areas.  The higher were graded according to the
political rank of the several provinces; beneath them were reckoned the
spirits of the mountains, forests, seas, rivers, and grains.  The
privileges of worship granted to the various officials were part of the
State order, and helped to maintain political and civic stability.

The imperial sacrifices to Heaven and Earth were performed at the
winter and the summer solstices.  The great altar to Heaven {98} stands
in a large park in the southern division of Peking, a vast marble
structure in three stages, the lowest being 210 feet across.  It is the
largest altar in the world.  Its white colour symbolises the light
principle of the Yang.  The upper stage, ninety feet in diameter, has
for its centre a round blue jade stone, the symbol of the vault above.
Here is placed the tablet to Heaven, inscribed "Throne of Sovereign
Heaven," and associated with it are tablets to deceased emperors as
well as to the Sun and Moon, the seven stars of the Great Bear, the
five Planets, the twenty-eight Constellations, and the Stars.  On the
second stage, beneath the richly carved balustrade above, are the
tablets to the Clouds and Rain, to Wind and Thunder.  At the
corresponding altar to the Earth on the north side of the city, square
in shape, and dark-yellow in hue, the imperial worship at the summer
solstice embraces also the five lofty Mountains, the three Hills of
Perpetual Peace, the four Seas, the five celebrated Mountains, and the
four great Rivers.[4]


[4] It is stated by the _North China Herald_ for July 13, that the
present Chinese Government proposes to convert the Temple of Heaven
into a model farm, and the Temple of Earth into a horse-breeding
establishment.


Splendid processions of princes and dignitaries, musicians and singers,
accompany the Emperor to the great ceremonial.  The recent Manchu
sovereigns employed the prayers of the Ming dynasty which preceded
them: here {99} are one or two stanzas of a psalm in which the Emperor
Kia-tsing in the sixteenth century announced to Shang Tî that he would
be addressed as "dwelling in the sovereign heavens":--


"O Tî, when thou hadst separated the Yin and the Yang (_i.e._ the earth
and the sky), thy creative work proceeded.

"Thou didst produce the sun and moon and the five planets, and pure and
beautiful was their light.

"The vault of heaven was spread out like a curtain, and the square
earth supported all upon it, and all things were happy.

"I thy servant venture reverently to thank thee, and while I worship,
present the notice to thee, calling thee Sovereign.

      *      *      *      *      *

"All the numerous tribes of animated beings are indebted to thy favour
for their beginning.

"Men and things are all emparadised in thy love, O Tî.

"All living things are indebted to thy goodness, but who knows from
whom his blessings come to him.

"It is thou alone, O Lord, who art the true parent of all things."


Here the ancient view of the living sky has given place under the
influences of {100} philosophy to a creative monotheism.  No image is
made of Shang Tî.  As he stands at the head of the manifold ranks of
the _Shin_, he represents the last word of animism in providing an
intellectual form for religion.



{101}

CHAPTER IV

SPIRITS AND GODS

Religion in the lower culture takes many forms, but, speaking broadly,
they rest upon a common interpretation of the world.  Man sees around
him all kinds of motion and change.  He finds in everything that
happens some energy or power; and the only kind of power which he knows
is that which he himself exerts.  As long as he is alive he can run and
fight, he can throw the spear or guide the canoe; death comes to the
comrade by his side, and all is still.  So in wind and stream, in beast
and tree, in the stones that fall upon the mountain side, in the stars
that march across the nightly sky, he sees a like power; they, too,
have some sort of life.

Life as an abstract idea, a potency or principle, is but rarely
grasped.  But its manifestations early attract notice, and can be
roughly explained.  They are due to something inside the living body,
which can pass in and out, and can finally leave it altogether.  Here
is an immense store of causality provided, to account for all the
incidents of each day's experience.  Modern language calls {102} such
agents spirits, and recognises in their multitude two mingled groups,
both active: the spirits of the dead on the one hand, and those of
natural objects, the bubbling well, the gloomy forest, the raging
storm, upon the other.

Sometimes these are merged under a common term, like the Japanese
_kami_, sometimes they are separately named.  They bear different
characters of good and evil, as they are ready to help or hurt; and the
same spirit may be now kindly and now hostile, without fixity of
disposition or purpose.  To such spirits the ancient Babylonians gave
the name of _zi_.  Literally, we are told, the word signified "life";
it was indicated in their picture-writing by a flowering plant; the
great gods, and even heaven and earth themselves, all had their _zi_.
The Egyptians, in like manner, ascribed to every object, to human
beings, and to gods, a double or _ka_.  The word seems to be identical
with that for "food"; it was another way of indicating that all visible
things, the peoples of the earth, the dwellers in the realms above and
below, shared a common life.

The history of religion is concerned with the process by which the
great gods rise into clear view above the host of spirits filling the
common scene; with the modes in which the forces of the world may be
grouped under their control; with the manifold combinations which
finally enable one supreme power to {103} absorb all the rest, so that
a god of the sky, like the Greek Zeus, may become a god of rain and
sunshine and atmospheric change, of earth and sea, and of the nether
world; and may thus be presented as the sole and universal energy, not
only of all outward things but also of the inner world of thought.  Of
this immense development language, archæology, literature, the
dedications of worship, the testimonies of the ancient students of
their still more ancient past in ritual and belief, contain the
scattered witness, which the student of to-day laboriously gathers and
interprets.  It is the humbler object of a little manual of Comparative
Religion to set some of the principal issues of such historic evolution
side by side, and show how similar reactions of the mind of man upon
the field of his experience have wrought like results.

As the inquirer casts his eye over the manifold varieties of the
world's faiths, he sees that they are always conditioned by the stage
of social culture out of which they emerge.  The hunter who lives by
the chase, and must range over large areas for means of support; the
pastoral herdsman who has acquired the art of breeding cattle and
sheep, and slowly moves from one set of feeding-grounds to another; the
agriculturist who has learned to rely on the co-operation of earth and
sky in the annual round,--have each their own way of expressing their
view of the Powers on which they depend.

{104}

Little by little they are arranged in groups.  The Celts, for instance,
coming to river after river in their onward march, employed the same
name again and again, "Deuona," divine (still surviving in this country
in different forms, Devon, Dee, etc.), as though all rivers belonged to
one power.  They were the givers of life and health and plenty, to whom
costly sacrifices must be made.  So they might bear the title "Mother,"
and were akin to the powers of fertility living in the soil, the
"Mothers" (_Matres_ or _Matronæ_), cognate with the "Mothers" who
fulfil similar functions in modern India.  The adjacent Teutonic
peoples filled forest and field with wood-sprites and elves, dwellers
in the air and the sunlight.  The springs, the streams, and the lakes,
were the home of the water-sprites or nixes; in the fall of the mighty
torrent, among the rocks on the mountain heights, in the fury of the
storm or the severity of the frost, was the strength of the giants.

Yet further east and north the Finnic races looked out on a land of
forest and waters, of mists and winds.  The spirits were ranged beneath
rulers who were figured in human form.  The huntsman prayed with vow
and sacrifice to the aged Tapio, god of the woods and the wild animals.
Kekri watched over the increase of the herd, while Hillervo protected
them on the summer pastures.  The grains and herbs--of less importance
to tribes {105} only imperfectly agricultural--were ascribed to the
care of Pellervoinen, who falls into the background and receives but
little veneration.  Water, once worshipped as a living element
(_vesi_), is gradually supplanted by a water-god (Ahto) who rules over
the spirits of lakes and rivers, wells and springs.  "Mother-earth"
still designates in the oldest poetry the living energy of the ground,
though she afterwards becomes the "lady of the earth" and consort of
the lord of the sky.  The sky, Jumala, was first of all conceived as
itself living; "Jumala's weather" was like "Zeus's shower" to an
ancient Greek.  And then, under the name Ukko, the sky becomes a
personal ruler, with clouds and rain, thunder and hail, beneath his
sway; who can be addressed as--

  Ukko, thou of gods the highest,
  Ukko, thou our Heavenly Father.


Many causes contribute to the enlargement and stability of such
conceptions.  Tribes of limited local range and a meagre past without
traditions may conceive the world around them on a feeble scale.  But
migration helps to enlarge the outlook.  Local powers cannot accompany
tribes upon the march.  Either they must be left behind and drop out of
remembrance, or they must be identified with new scenes and adapted to
fresh environments.  When the horizon moves ever further forwards with
each advance, earth and sky loom vaster {106} before the imagination,
and sun and moon, the companion of each day or the protector of each
night, gain a more stately predominance.  The ancestors of the Hindus,
the Greeks, the Romans, the Teutons, carried with them the worship of
the sky-god under a common name, derived from the root _div_, to
"shine" (Dyaus = Zeus = Jovis = old High German Tiu, as in Tuesday).
Other names gathered around the person in the actual firmament, such as
the Sanskrit Varuna (still recognised by some scholars as identical
with the Greek Ouranos, heaven), loftiest of all the Vedic gods.  The
Aryan immigrants are already organised under kings, and Varuna sits
enthroned in sovereignty.  His palace is supported by a thousand
pillars, and a thousand doors provide open access for his worshippers.
But he is in some sense omnipresent, and one of the ancient poets sang--


"If a man stands or walks or hides, if he goes to lie down or to get
up, what two people sitting together whisper, King Varuna knows it, he
is there as the third.

"This earth, too, belongs to Varuna, the king, and this wide sky with
its ends far apart.  The two seas (sky and ocean) are Varuna's loins;
he is also contained in this small drop of water.

"He who should flee far beyond the sky, even he would not be rid of
Varuna, the king."


{107}

The supreme power of the universe is here conceived under a political
image.  Conceptions of government and social order supply another line
of advance, parallel with the forces of nature.  On the African Gold
Coast, after eighteen years' observation, Cruickshank ranged the
objects of worship in three ranks: (1) the stone, the tree, the river,
the snake, the alligator, the bundle of rags, which constituted the
private fetish of the individual; (2) the greater family deity whose
aid was sought by all alike, sometimes in a singular act of communion
which involved the swallowing of the god (p. 144); and (3) the deity of
the whole town, to whom the entire people had recourse in times of
calamity and suffering.

The conception of the deity of a tribe or nation may be greatly
developed under the influence of victory.  War becomes a struggle
between rival gods.  Jephthah the Gileadite, after recounting the
triumphs of Israel to the hostile Ammonite king, states the case with
the most naked simplicity: "Yahweh, Israel's god, hath dispossessed the
Amorites from before his people Israel, and shouldest thou possess
them?  Wilt thou not possess that which Chemosh thy god giveth thee to
possess?  So whomsoever Yahweh our god hath dispossessed from before
us, them will we possess" (Judges xi. 23, 24).  The land of Canaan was
the gift of Israel's God, but at first his power was limited by its
boundaries: to be driven from the country was to be {108} alienated
from the right to offer him worship or receive from him protection.  In
the famous battle with the Hittites, celebrated by the court-poet of
Rameses the Great (1300-1234 B.C.), the king, endangered by the flight
of his troops, appeals to the great god Amen, a form of the solar deity
Rê, with confidence of help, "Amen shall bring to nought the ignorers
of God": and the answer comes, "I am with thee, I am thy father, my
hand is with thee, I am more excellent for thee than hundreds of
thousands united in one."  Success thus enhanced the glory of the
victor's gods.  Like the Incas of Peru in later days, the Assyrian
sovereigns confirmed their power by bringing the deities of tributary
peoples in a captive train to their own capital: and the Hebrew prophet
opens his description of the fall of Babylon by depicting the images of
the great gods Bel and Nebo as packed for deportation on the
transport-animals of the conqueror.

Other causes further tended to give distinction to the personality of
deities, and define their spheres.  A promiscuous horde of spirits has
no family relationships.  A god may have a pedigree; a consort is at
his side; and the mysterious divine power reappears in a son.  Instead
of the political analogy of a sovereign and his attendants, the family
conception expresses itself in a divine father, mother and child.  Thus
the Ibani of Southern Nigeria recognised Adum as the father of all
{109} gods except Tamuno the creator, espoused to Okoba the principal
goddess, and mother of Eberebo, represented as a boy, to whom children
were dedicated.  The Egyptian triad, Osiris, Isis and Horus, is well
known; and the divine mother with the babe upon her lap passed into the
Christian Church in the form of the Virgin Mary and her infant son.

The divisions of the universe suggested another grouping.  The Vedic
poets arranged their deities in three zones: the sky above, the
intervening atmosphere, and the earth beneath.  Babylonian cosmology
placed Anu in the heaven, Bel on the earth, and Ea in the great deep,
and these three became the symbols of the order of nature, and the
divine embodiments of physical law.  Homer already divides the world
between the sky-god Zeus, Poseidon of earth and sea, and Hades of the
nether realm: and Rome has its triads, like Jupiter, Mars, and
Quirinus, or again Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva.  Whatever be the origin
of the number three in this connection, it reproduces itself with
strange reiteration in both hemispheres.  Other groups are suggested by
the sun and moon and the five planets, and appear in sets of seven.
Egyptian summaries recognised gods in the sky, on earth, and in the
water; and the theologians of different sanctuaries loved to arrange
them in systems of nine, or three times three.

Out of this vast and motley multitude emerge certain leading types in
correspondence {110} with certain modes of human thought, with certain
hopes and fears arising out of the changes of the human lot.  Curiosity
begins to ask questions about the scene around.  The child, when it has
grasped some simple view of the world, will inquire who made it; and to
the usual answer will by and by rejoin "And who made God?"  Elementary
speculation does not advance so far: it is content to rest if necessary
in darkness and the void, provided there is a power which can light the
sun, and set man on his feet.  But the intellectual range of thought
even in the lower culture is much wider than might have been
anticipated; while the higher religions contain abundant survivals of
the cruder imagination which simply loves a tale.

Sometimes the creative power (especially on the American continent) is
figured as a marvellous animal, a wondrous raven, a bird-serpent, a
great hare, a mighty beaver.  Or the dome of sky suggests an original
world-egg, which has been divided to make heaven and earth.  Even the
Australians, whose characteristics are variously interpreted as
indications of extreme backwardness or of long decline, show figures
which belong to what Mr. Andrew Lang designated the "High Gods of Low
Races."  Among the Narrinyeri in the west Nurrundere was said to have
made all things on the earth; the Wiimbaio told how Nurelli had made
the whole country with the rivers, trees, and animals.  Among the {111}
Western Bantu on the African continent Nzambi (a name with many
variants over a large area) is described as "Maker and Father."  "Our
forefathers told us that name.  Njambi is the One-who-made-us.  He is
our Father, he made these trees, that mountain, this river, these goats
and chickens, and us people."  That is the simple African version of
the "ever-and-beyond."  But as with so many of the chief gods, not only
on the dark continent, but elsewhere, he is regarded as a
non-interfering and therefore negligible deity.

Sometimes speculation takes a higher flight.  The Zuñis of Mexico have
remained in possession of ancient traditions, uninfluenced by any
imported Christianity.  After many years' residence among them Mr.
Cushing was able to gather their ideas of the origin of the world.
Awona-wilona was the Maker and Container of all, the All-Father-Father.
Through the great space of the ages there was nothing else whatever,
only black darkness everywhere.  Then "in the beginning of the
new-made" Awona-wilona conceived within himself, and "thought outward
in space," whereby mists of increase, steams potent of growth, were
evolved and uplifted.  Thus by means of his innate knowledge the
All-Container made himself in the person and form of the sun.  With his
appearance came the brightening of the spaces with light, and with the
brightening of the spaces the great {112} mist-clouds were thickened
together and fell.  Thereby was evolved water in water, yea and the
world-holding sea.  And then came the production of the
Fourfold-Containing Mother-Earth and the All-Covering Father-Sky.

With a yet bolder leap of imagination did a Polynesian poet picture the
great process.  From island to island between Hawaii and New Zealand is
a "high god" known as Taaroa, Tangaloa, Tangaroa, and Kanaroa.  The
Samoans said that he existed in space and wished for some place to
dwell in, so he made the heavens; and then wished to have a place under
the heavens, so he made the earth.  Tahitian mythology declared (the
versions of priests and wise men differed) that he was born of night or
darkness.  Then he embraced a rock, the imagined foundation of all
things, which brought forth earth and sea; the heavens were created
with sun, moon, and stars, clouds, wind, and rain, and the dry land
appeared below.  The whole process was summed up in a hymn--

  "He was: Taaroa was his name.
  He abode in the void; no earth, no sea, no sky.
  Taaroa calls, but nought answers,
  Then, alone existing, he became the universe."


The relations of these creative Powers to man are conceived very
differently.  The {113} Maker of the world may be continually
interested in it, and may continue to administer the processes which he
has begun.  The Akkra negro looks up to the living sky, Nyongmo, as the
author of all things, who is benevolently active day by day: "We see
every day," said a fetish-man, "how the grass, the corn, and the trees,
spring forth through the rain and sunshine sent by Nyongmo [_Nyongmo
ne_ = 'Nyongmo rains'], how should he not be the creator?"  So he is
invoked with prayer and rite.  The great Babylonian god, Marduk, son of
Ea (god of wisdom and spells), alone succeeds in overcoming the might
of Tiamat (the Hebrew _tehôm_ or "deep"), the primeval chaos with her
hideous brood of monsters, and out of her carcass makes the firmament
of heaven.  He arranges the stations of the stars, he founds the earth,
and places man upon it.  "His word is established," cries the poet,
"his command is unchangeable: wide is his heart, broad is his
compassion."  A conqueror so splendid could not relinquish his energy,
or rest on his achievements: he must remain on the throne of the world
to direct and support its ways.  Here is a prayer of Nebuchadrezzar to
this lofty deity--


"O eternal ruler, lord of all being, grant that the name of the king
thou lovest, whose name thou hast proclaimed, may flourish as seems
pleasing to thee.  Lead him in the right {114} way.  I am the prince
that obeys thee, the creature of thy hand.  Thou hast created me, and
hast entrusted to me dominion over mankind.  According to thy mercy, O
lord, which thou bestowest upon all, may thy supreme rule be merciful!
The worship of thy divinity implant within my heart.  Grant me what
seems good to thee, for thou art he that hast fashioned my life."


On the other hand, the "High Gods of Low Races" often seem to fade away
and become inactive, or at least are out of relations to man.  Olorun,
lord of the sky among the African Egbas, also bore the title of Eleda,
"the Creator."  But he was too remote and exalted to be the object of
human worship, and no prayer was offered to him.  Among the southern
Arunta of central Australia, reports Mr. Strehlow, Altjira is believed
to live in the sky.  He is like a strong man save that he has emu feet.
He created the heavenly bodies, sun, moon, and stars.  When rain-clouds
come up, it is Altjira walking through the sky.  Altjira shows himself
to man in the lightning, the thunder is his voice.  But though thus
animate, he is no object of worship.  "Altjira is a good god; he never
punishes man; therefore the blacks do not fear him, and render him
neither prayer nor sacrifice."  In Indian theology the reason for the
discontinuance of homage was thus frankly stated by one of the poets
{115} of the great epic, the Mahābhārata; "Men worship Çiva the
destroyer because they fear him; Vishnu the preserver, because they
hope from him; but who worships Brahman the creator?  _His work is
done._"[1]


[1] Hopkins, _India, Old and New_, p. 113.  Prof. Hopkins adds that in
India to-day there are thousands of temples to Çiva and Vishnu, but
only two to Brahman.


If the deity who has provided the scene of existence thus recedes into
the background, it is otherwise with the powers which maintain and
foster life.  Among the impulses which drive man to action is the need
of food; and the sources of its supply are among the earliest objects
of his regard.  A large group of agencies thus gradually wins
recognition, out of which emerge lofty forms endowed with functions far
transcending the simple energies at first ascribed to them.  Even the
rude tribes of Australia, possessing no definite worship, perform
pantomimic ceremonies of a magical kind, designed to stimulate the food
supply.  The men of the plum-tree totem will pretend to knock down
plums and eat them; in the initiation ceremony of the eagle-hawks two
representatives will imitate the flapping of wings and the movements of
attack, and one will finally wrench a piece of meat out of the other's
mouth.  At a higher stage of animism the Indians of British North
America pray to the spirit of the wild raspberry.  When the young
shoots are six or eight inches high above the ground, a small bundle is
{116} picked by the wife or daughters of the chief and cooked in a new
pot.  The settlement assembles in a great circle, with the presiding
chief and the medicine-man in the midst.  All close their eyes, except
certain assisting elders, while the chief offers a silent prayer that
the spirit of the plants will be propitious to them, and grant them a
good supply of suckers.

Here the whole class of plants is already conceived as under the
control of a single power.  In ruder stages the hunter will address his
petitions to the individual bear, before whose massive stature he feels
a certain awe, entreating him not to be angry or fight, but to take
pity on him.  Pastoral peoples will employ domesticated animals in
sacrifice, while the products of the field occupy a second place; the
cow may become sacred, and the daily work of the dairy may rise, as
among the Todas, to the rank of religious ritual.  Some element of
mysterious energy will even lie in the weapons of the chase, in the net
or the canoe, and may be found still lingering in the implements of
agriculture, such as the plough.

Among settled communities which live by tillage the succession of the
crops from year to year acquires immense importance.  Earth and sky,
the sun, the rain, and time itself in the background, are all
contributory powers, but attention is fastened upon the spirit of the
grains.  The Iroquois look on the spirits of corn, of squashes, and of
beans, as three {117} sisters, who are known collectively as "Our Life"
or "Our Supporters."  In central America each class of food-plants had
its corresponding spirit, which presided over its germination,
nourishment, and growth.  This was called the _mama_ or "mother" of the
plant: in Peru there was a cocoa-mother, a potato-mother, a
maize-mother; just as in India the cotton-spirit is worshipped as
"cotton-mother."  A "maize-mother," made of the finest stalks, was
renewed at each harvest, that the seed might preserve its vitality.
The figure, richly clothed, was ceremoniously installed, and watched
for three nights.  Sacrifice was solemnly offered, and the interpreter
inquired, "Maize-mother, canst thou live till next year?"  If the
spirit answered affirmatively, the figure remained for a twelvemonth;
if no reply was vouchsafed, it was taken away and burnt, and a fresh
one was consecrated.  In Mexico maize was a much more important food
than in Peru, and the maize-deity acquired in consequence a much higher
rank.  She became a great harvest goddess.  Temple and altar were
dedicated to her; spring and summer festivals were celebrated in her
honour; and a youthful victim was slain, whose vitality might enter the
soil, and recruit her exhausted energies.

The ceremonies connected with the cultus of the rice-spirit in the East
Indies still perpetuate in living faith beliefs once vital {118} in the
peasantry of Europe, and surviving to this day (as Mannhardt and Frazer
have shown) in many a usage of the harvest-field.  Out of this group of
ideas arise divine forms which express mysteries of life and time.
What is it that guides the circle of the year?  What power brings forth
the blade out of the ground, and clothes the woods with verdure?  As
the months follow their constant course, are not the seasons the organs
of some sacred force, lovely figures as Greek poets taught, born of
Zeus and Themis (holy law); or angels of the Most High, ruling over
heat and cold, summer and winter, spring and autumn, as the later
Israel conceived the continuance of God's creative work?  And when the
fields are bare and the leaves fall, have not the energies of
vegetation suffered an arrest, to come to life again when the great
quickening of the spring returns?  So while here and there dim
speculations (as in India or Persia or the Orphic hymns of Greece)
hover round Time, the generator of all things, and the recurring
periodicity of the Year, more concrete imagination conceives the
processes of the growth, decay, and revival of vegetation under the
symbols of the life, the death, and resurrection of the deities of corn
and tree.

To such a group belong different forms in Egypt, Syria and Greece,
whose precise origin cannot always be traced amid the bewildering
variety of functions which they came to fulfil.  But they all
illustrate the same general theme.  {119} In the ritual of their
worship similar motives and symbols may be traced; and the incidents of
their life-course were presented in a sort of sacred drama which
reproduced the central mystery.  Such were Osiris in Egypt, Adonis (as
the Greeks called the Syrian form of the ancient Babylonian Tammuz),
Attis of Phrygia in Asia Minor, and in Greece the Thracian Dionysus,
and the divine pair Demeter and her daughter Persephonê blended with
the figure of Korê "the Maid."

The worship of Osiris early spread throughout Egypt, and its various
phases have given rise to many interpretations of his origin and
nature.  Recent studies have converged upon the view that he was
primarily a vegetation deity.  In the festival of sowing, small images
of the god formed out of sand or vegetable earth and corn, with yellow
faces and green cheek-bones, were solemnly buried, those of the
preceding year being removed.  On the temple wall of his chamber at
Philæ stalks of corn were depicted springing from his dead body, while
a priest poured water on them from a pitcher.  This was the mystery of
him "who springs from the returning waters."  The annual inundation
brought quickening to the seed, and in the silence and darkness of the
earth it died to live.

Of this process Osiris became the type for thousands of years.  Already
in the earliest days of the Egyptian monarchy he is presented as the
divine-human king, benevolent, wise, {120} just.  To him in later times
the arts and laws of civilised life could be traced back; he was the
founder of the social order and the worship of the gods.  But the
jealousy of his brother Set brought about his death.  The ancient texts
do not explicitly state what followed.  But his body was cut to pieces
and his limbs were scattered, until his son Horus effected their
reunion.  Restored to life, he ascended to the skies, and became "Chief
of the Powers," so that he could be addressed as the "Great God." There
by his resurrection he became the pledge of immortality.  Each man who
died looked to him for the gift of life.  Mystically identified with
him, the deceased bore the god's name and was thus admitted into
fellowship with him.  Over his body the ceremonies once performed upon
Osiris were repeated, the same formulæ were recited, with the
conviction that "as surely as Osiris lives, so shall he live also." But
magic was early checked by morals, and by the sixth dynasty Osiris had
also become the august and impartial judge (p. 8).

Such might be the splendid evolution of a deity of the grains.  But
food was not, of course, the only need.  The family as well as each
individual must be maintained.  Mysterious powers wrought through sex.
Strange energies pulsed in processes of quickening, and these, too,
were interpreted in terms of divine agency.  They found their parallels
in the operations of nature (like the Yang and {121} Yin of ancient
China), and begot new series of heavenly forms.  The greater gods all
had their consorts.  Birth must be placed under divine protection, just
as the organ of generation might itself be sacred.  The Babylonian
looked to the spouse of Marduk, "creator of all things," to whom as
Zēr-panîtum, "seed-creatress," the processes of generation were
especially referred.  Or with ceremony and incantation the child was
set beneath the care of Ishtar, queen of Nineveh, and goddess of the
planet Venus.  The Greek prayed to Hera, Artemis, or Eileithyia; and
all round the world superhuman powers, for good or ill, gathered round
the infant life, whose aid must be sought, or whose hurt averted.
Dread agencies of disease, like fever, smallpox, or cholera, were in
like manner personalised.  Demonic forces cut short the tale of years.
From the equator to the arctic zone Death is ascribed in the lowest
culture to witchcraft.  Strange stories were told of his intrusion into
the world, commonly through man's transgression of some divine command.
And gradually the other world must be ruled like this; the multitudes
of the dead need a sovereign like the living; and after the fashion of
Osiris the Indian Yama, "first to spy out the path" to the unseen
realm, becomes the "King of Righteousness" before whom all must in due
time give their account (p. 244).

Such deities, however, represent much more than the physical life.
They have a social {122} character, and have become the expression of
organised morality.  On this field another group of divine powers comes
into view, symbols of order in the home or the city, charged with the
maintenance of the family or the State.  Round the hearth-fire gathers
a peculiar sanctity.  There is the common centre of domestic interests;
there, too, the agent by which gifts are conveyed to the spirits of the
dead.  There, then, was a sacred force, dwelling in the hearth itself,
and animating the fire that burned upon it.  The Greek Hestia seems
originally to have been not the goddess who made the hearth holy, nor
the sacrificial fire which it sustained, but the mysterious energy in
the actual stones upholding the consecrated flame.  All kinds of
associations were attached to it; and though her personality remained
somewhat dim and indistinct, and carven forms of her were rare, and her
worship was never sacerdotalised like that of the Latin Vesta, she
nevertheless had the first place in sacrifice and prayer.  She was
worshipped in the city council-hall.  Athenian colonists carried her
sacred fire across the seas.  The poets provided her with a pedigree,
and made her "sister of God most high, and of Hera the partner of his
throne."  The sculptor placed her statue at Athens beside that of
Peace.  The family deity expanded into an emblem of the unity of
government and race.  But the primitive character of the ancient
hearth-power still clung to her.  {123} She never rose into the lofty
functions of guide and protector of moral order like the great
city-gods Zeus, Athena, or Apollo.

In Rome numerous powers were recognised in early days as guardians of
the home and the farm-lands.  Vesta had her seat upon the hearth, which
was the centre of the family worship, and afterwards became the object
of an important city-cult.  The store-chamber behind was the
dwelling-place of the Penates, and with its contents no impure person
might meddle.  Where farm met farm stood the chapel of the local Lares,
and there whole households assembled, masters and slaves together, in
annual rejoicings and good fellowship.  Brought into the home, the Lar
became the symbol of the family life, and the ancestral pieties
gathered round him.  More vague and elastic was the conception of the
Genius, a kind of spiritual double who watched over the fortunes of the
head of the home, and through the marriage-bed provided for the
continuity of descent.  This protecting power could take many forms
with continually expanding jurisdiction.  The city, the colony, the
province, the "land of Britain," Rome, the Emperor himself, were thus
placed under divine care, or rather were viewed as in some way the
organs of superhuman power.  In the energy which built up states and
brought peoples into order lived something that was creative and divine.

From distant times in many forms of society {124} it was felt that
there was something mysterious in sovereignty.  The king (once
connected with the priest) was hedged round with some sort of divinity
which expressed itself in language amazing to the modern mind.  In the
ancient monarchies of Egypt and Babylon the royal deity was the
fundamental assumption of government, and it was represented upon the
monuments beside the Nile with startling realism.  In later days the
Greek title _Theos_ (god) was boldly assumed by the sovereigns of Egypt
and Syria.  It was conferred, with the associated epithet _Sotér_
(Saviour or Preserver), as early as 307 B.C., on Demetrius and his
father Antigonus, who liberated Athens from the tyranny of Cassander.
On the Rosetta stone (in the British Museum) Ptolemy V, 205 B.C.,
claims the same dignity, and is described as "eternal-lived," and "the
living image of Zeus."  Ephesus designated Julius Cæsar as "God
manifest and the common Saviour of human life."

This is something more than the extravagance of court-scribes, or the
fawning adulation of oriental dependents.  In the worship paid to the
Roman Emperor many feelings and associations were involved.  The power
which had brought peace, law, order, into the midst of a multitude of
nations and languages, and subdued to itself the jarring wills of men,
seemed something more than human.  When Tertullian of Carthage coined
the strange word "Romanity," he summed up the infinite {125} variety of
energies which spread one culture from the Persian Gulf to the
Atlantic, from the cataracts of the Nile to the sources of the Tyne.
Of this mysterious force the Emperor was the symbol.  So Augustus was
saluted throughout the East as "Son of God," and in inscriptions
recently discovered in Asia Minor, and referred by the historian
Mommsen to the year 11 or 9 B.C., we read the startling words: "the
birthday of the God is become the beginning of glad tidings
(_evangelia_[2]) through him to the world."  He is described as "the
Saviour of the whole human race"; he is the beginning of life and the
end of sorrow that ever man was born.  An inscription at Philæ on the
Nile equated him with the greatest of Greek deities, for he is "star of
all Greece who has arisen as great Saviour Zeus."


[2] The word which designates our "Gospels."


This is the most highly developed form of the doctrine of the divine
king, which the Far East has retained for the sovereigns of China and
Japan to our own day.  The language and practice of Roman imperialism
called forth the impassioned resistance of the early Christians, and
the clash of opposing religions is nowhere portrayed with more
desperate intensity than in the Book of Revelation at the close of our
New Testament, where Rome and her false worship are identified with the
power of the "Opposer" or Sâtân, and are hurled with all their
trappings of wealth and luxury into the abyss.

{126}

The conception of a god as "saviour" or deliverer is founded on
incidents in personal or national experience, when some unexpected
event opens a way of escape from pressing danger.  When the Gauls were
advancing against Rome in 388 B.C., a strange voice of warning was
heard in the street.  It was neglected, but when they had been
repelled, Camillus erected an altar and temple to the mysterious
"Speaker," Aius Locutius, whose prophetic energy was thus manifested.
In the second Punic war, when the Carthaginian general, Hannibal, was
marching against the city in 211 B.C., he suddenly changed his course
near the Capena gate.  Again the might of an unknown deity was
displayed, and the grateful Romans raised a shrine to him under the
name of Tutanus Rediculus, the god who "protects and turns back."  It
might be the attack of an enemy, it might be the imminence of
shipwreck, it might be a desolating plague, or any one of the
vicissitudes of fortune, the distresses and anxieties of the soul or of
the State, in the power which brought rescue or health or peace to body
or mind, or life hereafter in a better world, the grateful believer
recognised the energy of some superhuman being.  Just as the making of
the world required a creative hand, just as the arts and laws of social
life were the product of some divine initiative (p. 171), just as the
higher virtues belonged to a band of spiritual forces which had a kind
of individuality of their own, {127} so the shaping of affairs bore
witness to the interest and intervention of wills above those of man.
All through the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean the greater
deities, such as Apollo, Artemis, Athena, Æsculapius, Dionysus, Isis,
Zeus, bore the title of "Deliverer."  And in the mysteries which drew
so many worshippers to their rites in the first centuries of our era,
this deliverance took the form of salvation from sin, and carried with
it the promise of re-birth into eternal life.

Similar conceptions are seen in India.  The founder of Buddhism, Gotama
of the Sākyan clan, was believed to have attained the Enlightenment
which enabled him to discern the whole secret of existence.  After a
long series of preparatory labours in previous lives he had appeared as
a man in his last birth, to "lift off from the world the veils of
ignorance and sin."  He had himself repudiated all ontological
conceptions; he had explained the human being without the hypothesis of
a soul or self, and the world without the ideas of substance or God.
But in due time the rejected metaphysics insisted on recognition; and
some three hundred years or more after his death a new interpretation
of his person arose.  Under the stress of pious affection, the
influence of philosophical Brahmanism, and the need of permanent
spiritual help, he was conceived as a manifestation of the Infinite and
Eternal, who for the sake of suffering humanity from time to time {128}
condescended to seem to be born and die, that in the likeness of a man
he might impart the saving truth.  So he was presented as the
Self-Existent, the Father of the world, the Protector of all creatures,
the Healer of men's sicknesses and sins.

Over against this great figure Brahmanism placed another, that of
Vishnu, with his series of "descents," in which the Buddha was formally
incorporated as the ninth.  The most famous of these were the heroes
Rama and Krishna; and Krishna became the subject of the best-known book
of Indian devotion, the Bhagavad-Gita or the "Divine Lay," which has
been sometimes supposed to show traces of the influence of the Gospel
of St. John.  Here was a religion founded on the idea of divine grace
or favour on the one part, and adoring love and devotion on the other.
Krishna, also, taught a way of deliverance from the evils of human
passion and attachment to the world; and Vishnu came to be the
embodiment of divine beneficence, at once the power which maintained
the universe and revealed himself from time to time to man.

Vishnu was an ancient Vedic deity connected with the sun; and by his
side Hindu theology set another god of venerable antiquity, once fierce
and destructive, but now known under the name of Çiva, the
"auspicious."  The great epic entitled the Mahābhārata does not
conceal their rivalry; but with the facility of identification {129}
characteristic of Indian thought, either deity could be interpreted as
a form of the other.  Çiva became the representative of the energies of
dissolution and reproduction; and his worship begot in the hearts of
the mediæval poets an ardent piety, while in other aspects it
degenerated into physical passion on the one side and extreme
asceticism on the other.  But in association with Brahma, Vishnu and
Çiva constituted the Trimurti, or "triple form," embracing the
principles of the creation, preservation, destruction, and renewal of
the world.  Symbolised, like the Christian Trinity, by three heads
growing on one stem,[3] these lofty figures were the personal
manifestations of the Universal Spirit, the Sole Existence, the
ultimate Being, Intelligence, and Bliss.


[3] Some of the Celtic deities are three-faced, or three-headed.


By various paths was the goal of monotheism approached, but popular
practice perpetually clung to lower worships, and philosophy could
often accommodate them with ingenious justifications.  A bold and
decisive judgment like that of the Egyptian Akhnaton might fix on one
of the great powers of nature--the sun--as the most suitable emblem of
Deity to be adored, and forbid all other cults.  Or the various groups
and ranks of divine beings might be addressed in a kind of collective
totality, like the "all-gods" of the Vedic hymns.  At Olympia {130}
there was a common altar for all the gods; and a frequent dedication of
Roman altars in later days consecrated them "to Jupiter Greatest and
Best, and the Other Immortal Gods."  If reflection was sufficiently
advanced to coin abstract terms for deity, like the Babylonian
_'ilûth_, or the Vedic _asuratva_ or _devatva_, some poet might
apprehend the ultimate unity, and lay it down that "the great
_asuratva_ of the _devas_ is one."  Both India and Greece reached the
conception of a unity of energy in diversity of operation; "the One
with many names" was the theme of the ancient Hindu seers long before
Æschylus in almost identical words proclaimed "One form with many
names."  The great sky-god Zeus, whose personality could be almost
completely detached from the visible firmament, brought the whole world
under his sway, and from the fifth century before Christ Greek poetry
abounded in lofty monotheistic language which the early Christian
apologists freely quoted in their own defence.  A philosophic sovereign
like Nezahuatl, lord of Tezcuco, might build a temple to "the Unknown
God, the Cause of Causes," where no idol should be reared for worship,
nor any sacrifice of blood be offered.  But other motives were more
often at work.  Conquest led to the identification of the deities of
the victor and the vanquished; and the importance of military triumph
enhanced the majesty of the successful god.  In his great inscription
{131} on Mount Behistun Darius celebrated the grandeur of Ahura Mazda,
"Lord All-Wise," in language resembling that of a Hebrew psalm, "A
great God is Ahura Mazda, the greatest of the gods."  Under the Roman
Empire the principle of delegated authority could be invoked to explain
the unity of the Godhead above inferior agencies; in the heavenly order
there was but one sovereign, though there were many functionaries.
Even Israel had its hierarchy of ministering spirits, and the Synagogue
found it necessary to forbid pious Jews to pray to Michael or to
Gabriel.

When the unity of the moral order was combined with the unity of
creative might, the transition to monotheism was even more complete.
It could, indeed, be deferred.  In the ancient poems of the great
religious reformer whom the Greeks called Zoroaster, Ahura Mazda is the
supremely Good.  Beside him are the Immortal Holy Ones, Holy Spirit,
Good Mind, Righteous Order, and the rest.  True, in the oppositions of
light and darkness, heat and cold, health and sickness, plenty and
want, life and death, he is for a time hampered by the enmity of "the
Lie"; but the power of evil would be finally destroyed, and the
sovereignty of Ahura established for ever (p. 247).

From another point of view the divine purpose of deliverance must be
conceived upon an equally world-wide scale.  One type of Indian
Buddhism looked to Avalokiteçvara {132} (Chinese Kwanyin, Japanese
Kwannon), who made the famous vow not to enter into final peace until
all beings--even the worst of demons in the lowest hell--should know
the saving truth and be converted.  And in the Far East rises the
figure of the Buddha of Infinite Light, who is also the Buddha of
Infinite Life, whose grace will avail for universal redemption (p. 18).
The motive of creation falls away.  The world is the scene of the moral
forces set in motion under the mysterious power of the Deed.  No praise
rises to Amida for the wonders of the universe or the blessings of
life.  But to no other may worship be offered.  Here is a monotheism
where love reigns supreme, and it is content to trust that Infinite
Mercy will achieve its end.



{133}

CHAPTER V

SACRED ACTS

One morning, Plato tells us, as Socrates was in the Porch of the King
Archon, he met Euthyphro, a learned Athenian soothsayer, on his way to
accuse his father of impiety for having caused the death of a slave.
Socrates, who was also expecting an accusation against himself, engaged
him in a conversation, as his manner was, on the nature of impiety, and
its opposite, piety.  The talk leads Euthyphro to maintain that piety
or holiness consists in learning how to please the gods in word and
deed, by prayers and sacrifices.  "Then," inquires Socrates, "sacrifice
is giving to the gods, and prayer is asking of the gods?" and Euthyphro
is driven to assent to the conclusion that piety is an art which gods
and men have of doing business with one another.  It was a satirical
description of the popular Greek view.

But the argument of Socrates really corresponds to world-wide practice.
However dim and confused the elements of belief may be, every tribe has
some rites and ceremonies which express the desire to get the Powers
{134} which encompass it upon its side.  And when this desire, after
many ineffectual trials, has succeeded in establishing suitable methods
of approach, the endeavours which produce the result tend to become
fixed; they are cherished from generation to generation; they form
solemn customs which must be maintained with strict inviolate order,
even though their original meaning may have been long forgotten.
Belief may fluctuate in a kind of fluid medium of imagination, but
action cannot have this indeterminate and elastic character.  Action is
the mode through which feeling obtains expression, while it helps at
the same time to intensify the emotion which calls it forth.  The rite
must be done or omitted; it cannot trail off into shadow and vagueness.
And it gathers the whole weight of tribal sanction around it; so that
even the simplest elements of common usage are moulded under the
powerful pressure of the "weight of ages."

The active side of religion may be considered under two aspects.  There
is, on the one hand, the effort to enter into helpful relations with
the energies which pervade nature and operate on man.  Such efforts
spring from manifold emotions of hope and fear, of affection and
reverence.  They seek to inaugurate such relations; to maintain them
through the vicissitudes of experience, the phases of life, the
sequences of time; and to renew them when they have suffered sudden
{135} shock or gradual decay.  By such action the original emotion is
reawakened when it has declined, and is raised to greater vividness and
higher tension.  It may be summed up in the term worship, including
sacrifice and prayer, often associated with a wide range of acts
cognate in purpose, as well as with manifold varieties of sacred
persons and sacred products (Chap. VI).

And, secondly, apart from public or private acts of homage,
thanksgiving, submission, propitiation, addressed specifically to the
higher Powers, there are modes of behaviour which are believed to be
pleasing or displeasing to them.  Some things may be done, and others
may not.  Certain acts, or words, or even thoughts, are forbidden;
others are enjoined.  The sphere of daily conduct is thus brought into
connection with what is "above."  "Act," said the Japanese teacher of
Shinto, Hirata, in the last century, "so that you shall not be ashamed
before the Kami" (p. 93).  It was a universal rule.  Morality is thus
placed under the guardianship of religion (Chap. VII).


At the funeral of Lord Palmerston (1865), the chief mourner was
observed to drop several diamond and gold rings upon the coffin as it
was lowered into the grave.  A little child, seeing a steam-tram
advance with irresistible might along the road, offered it her bun.  It
may be surprising to meet with a piece {136} of the primitive ritual of
the dead in the midst of a sophisticated and conventional society; but
when strong feeling is excited something must be done to give it
relief, and in parting with his rings the donor found the outlet for
his emotion as irrationally as the child before the monster which
excited at once her wonder and her impulse of goodwill.  Out of such
impulses of self-expression, it may be suggested, arises the largest
class of sacrifices, when gifts are made in doing various kinds of
"business with the gods."

In its widest use the word covers an extensive range of purposes, and
begets a large variety of questions.  On whose behalf is the offering
made, a single individual, or some social group, his family or clan, a
secret society, a tribe, a nation?  What persons are required for the
due performance of the rite, the head of the family, the village
magistrate, the fetish man, the priest?  A complicated Vedic sacrifice
needed the co-operation of various orders of priests.  What objects are
effected by it, a house or city-gate to be protected, a river to be
crossed, a battle to be won, a covenant or contract to be sealed?  To
what powers does the worshipper address himself, in gratitude, homage,
or submission, seeking renewal of favour, or purging himself of some
sin, or desiring actual fellowship with his god?  Behind these external
features lie more difficult problems in connection especially with
animal sacrifices, concerned {137} with the victim's qualities, and the
appropriation of them by the deity or the worshipper; with the peculiar
sanctity of blood, and the mysterious properties which it can impart;
with the notion of the transmission of the life of which it was the
vehicle; and the whole set of indefinite influences capable of
propagation by contact, like the clean and the unclean, the common and
the holy.  And why, when the victim was offered, was the god supposed
to be satisfied with bones and entrails and a modest piece of meat, all
wrapped in fat?  Greek wonder at so strange a practice could find no
better answer than the tale of how Prometheus once cheated the gods of
their share, and men had ever since followed his example.  These
questions belong to the obscure realm of beginnings, in which various
answers are possible.  All that can be attempted here is to offer a few
illustrations of the different motives that seem to lie behind
different forms of rite.

Offerings to the dead pass through a long series of stages, from the
simple provision for the wants of the dead man in the grave up to his
proper equipment with all that is due to his rank and state in the next
life, or the maintenance of the ties of guardianship and protection
over unborn generations.  The earliest human remains imply some dim
belief that the grave was the dead man's dwelling (p. 20), and there he
must be supplied with the requisites for some kind of continued {138}
existence.  All over the world, food, weapons, ornaments, utensils, are
found deposited in barrow and tomb; and this practice culminates in the
complicated arrangements of an Egyptian sepulchre, where the wealthy
landowner constructed an enduring home for his double, and filled it
with representations and objects which could be magically converted to
his entertainment after death.  When the dead man passes into another
world, and enters a land resembling that which he has left (Chap.
VIII), he may need wives and slaves appropriate to his rank.  From
ancient Japan and still more ancient China all round the globe to
Mexico are traces of such ritual murder.  The widow's self-devotion was
exalted in India to religious duty, and cases still occasionally occur
when (in spite of the British Government) she seeks to mount the pyre
and immolate herself beside her husband's corpse.  In West Africa the
ghastly tale of the Grand Customs of Dahomey in the last century is
well known; and it is supposed that thousands of lives are still
annually sacrificed in the Dark Continent to this belief.  Other
personal needs must be supplied, and on the Gold Coast in the last
century an observer saw fine clothes and gold buried with the chief;
and a flask of rum, his pipe and tobacco, were laid ready to his hand.
Moreover, goods of all kinds can be made over by fire; and in the
funeral rites of a Chinese family a paper house with paper {139}
furniture and large quantities of paper money may be burned for the
endowment of a departed member in his next life.

Or the offering may be made for the cherishing of the dead in their
former home.  The simplest and the most common sacrificial act in
Melanesia, Bishop Codrington tells us, is that of throwing a small
portion of food to the dead.  It may be nothing more than a bit of yam
or a morsel of betel-nut; it is not for food, but for remembrance and
affection.  But sometimes it is for actual nourishment.  The dead in
ancient India who had none to render to them the needful sustenance,
wandered as dismal ghosts round their former dwellings, or haunted the
cross roads, compelled to feed themselves on the garbage of the
streets.  The funeral meals, continued at intervals, were celebrated
for the purpose of providing the departed with new forms, and
converting them into the higher rank of "Fathers."  In many lands, from
Europe to Japan and Central America, an annual feast for the dead has
been maintained in various modes both in classic antiquity and in
modern usage; and the ancient practice still survives in strangely
altered fashion in the cakes and confectionery carried on All Souls'
Day to the graves in the great Parisian cemetery of Père Lachaise.

Such acts of recognition and fellowship pass through very different
stages.  They begin with a desire for self-identification with the
{140} mysterious power which helps or hurts; as the power is conceived
on a greater and more personal scale they turn into tribute and homage.
The West African negro passing a big rock or an unusually large tree
will add a stone or bit of wood or tuft of grass to the little heap of
such trifles at its foot; it is for the Ombwiri, or spirit of the
place.  After the harvest on the plateau of Lake Tanganyika,
pilgrimages are made to the mountain of Fwambo-Liamba; at the top is a
sort of altar of small stones, and there scraps of calico, bits of
wood, flowers, beads, are laid in honour of a vague "High God" called
Lesa.  The nature of such gifts may be traced through all gradations of
economic advance, just as the mode of conveying it passes through
various phases from the coarse to the refined.  The pastoral nomad
brings the firstling of his flocks; the more advanced agriculturist
adds the produce of the ground.  The immigrant Hebrew under Canaanite
tuition adopted the festivals of harvest and vintage, and with
firstlings and tithes wrought his husbandry into his religion when he
went to the sanctuary "to see Yahweh's face."  The daily sacrifice in
the great temple of Marduk at Babylon under Nebuchadrezzar was an
epitome of the whole tillage of the land; the choicest fruits, the
finest produce of the meadow, honey, cream, oil, wine of different
vintages, must be served.  In the early ritual of an Egyptian temple,
when the daily toilet of the god had {141} been performed and he had
been duly robed, painted, and oiled, his table was spread with bread,
goose, beef, wine, and water, and decorated with the flowers needed to
adorn a meal.

In many cases such offerings carried with them the additional purpose
of actually increasing the vigour of the god.  Dim notions of promoting
the divine vitality hovered in the background.  The physical effect
might be reached by divers modes.  Food was at first conveyed by actual
contact; it might be smeared upon the idol's mouth.  Offerings to earth
spirits were buried in the ground.  Water deities received them when
they were thrown into the well, the river, or the lake.  Even in Greece
Poseidon's horses were driven into the sea, just as the horses of the
defeated Mallius were offered by the Gallic victors to the Rhine.
Indian realism provided the Fathers who assembled for the rice-ball
sacrifice with water and tufts of wool to cleanse themselves after the
meal.  In more refined usage fire conveyed the essence of the food to
the upper airs.  At Noah's sacrifice on the subsidence of the flood
Yahweh smelt the sweet savour, and in the corresponding Babylonian
narrative the gods, drawn by the scent, gathered together around the
offerer "like flies."  The American Osages invited the Great Spirit,
Fire, and Earth, to smoke with them at the beginning of a new
enterprise.  The Sioux lighted the pipe of peace and offered it {142}
to the sun, with the invocation, "Smoke, O Sun."

Many and various are the ideals which have gathered round the offering,
as magic and religion have strangely blended.  The sacred tree, whether
among the Celts of the West or the Syrians of the East, is hung with
rags of clothing, sometimes doubtless with the same motive which
prompts similar gifts at the tomb of a Mohammedan saint, for the
transference of diseases from the sick.  The highest value was reached
among the ancient Irish, as among the Semites, in the sacrifice of the
first-born; and the long tale of human victims indicates man's
passionate desire to secure in divers forms supernatural aid.  They
have been slain in crises of national danger by plague or war, in
atonement for sin,[1] or in thanksgiving for victory.  They have been
immured in the foundations of houses or cities that their spirits might
remain as guardians of the gates.  They have been done to death in the
seasons of the agricultural year that their lives might fertilise the
soil and quicken the grain.  They have been forced to yield their
entrails to the diviner that the secrets of the future might be
unveiled.


[1] The sacrifices of purification and atonement are briefly considered
in Chapter VII.


Brahmanical speculation carried the ideas of sympathetic magic in
association with sacrifice to their highest pitch.  The Vedic hymns
early formulated the idea of reciprocal {143} obligation in the crudest
terms: _Dehi me, dadāmi te_--"Give to me, I give to thee."  But this
simple relation was superseded in the priestly ceremonial by elaborate
parallels between the daily order of the ritual and the daily order of
the skies.  The earthly sacrifices were the counterparts of those
offered by celestial priests.  The "Fathers" accomplished the rising of
the sun; and when the heavenly process was imitated in the world below,
the kindling of the sacred fire came to be regarded as the actual
instrument for stimulating and maintaining the activities above.  From
a yet higher point of view the whole world had issued from the
mysterious sacrifice of a cosmic Man (described in one of the latest
hymns of the Rig-Veda), out of whose person the visible universe, the
Veda, and the human race in four castes, had been created.  In the
Brahmanical theology his place was taken by Prajāpati, the "Lord of
Creatures," who underwent repeated offering in every sacrifice.  And
just as the primeval sacrifice effected the generation of the world, so
every fresh oblation was a miniature reproduction of the cosmic event.
The Lord who had been dismembered must be reconstituted that he might
offer himself anew; and thus sacrifice was blended with the course of
Time and the period of the Year, and the perpetual dissolution and
renewal of the life that animated the mighty frame of earth and heaven.
In that upper world, moreover, the sacrificer, {144} through mystical
identification with Prajāpati, was enabled to prepare a new body for
the celestial abode, and out of the altar-ground below to generate his
future divine self in the world above.

Along other lines the conception of fellowship with Deity may be
realised through a common act.  Above the personal fetish of a Gold
Coast negro to which he made offerings of rum and palm-wine, oil, corn,
sheep, goats, stood the patron god of the family.  Before a separation
which would prevent them from ever again worshipping together, they
engaged in a strange kind of communion.  The fetish-priest pounded up
some sacred substance and mixed it with water, which was then drunk by
the whole family in turn.  During the rite the priest enjoined all
present in the name of the deity to abstain from some particular kind
of food, fish, beef, fowl, milk, or other article of diet.  None of the
company tasted it again.  They were united by the deity within them;
and obedience to his command bound them, however far apart, in common
worship.

Sometimes the worshipper sat at the table of the god, who was in some
sense present at the meal celebrated in his honour.  In the usage of
ancient Israel the householder shared with his family, kinsmen,
neighbours, and guests, in the sacred feast "before Yahweh."  How far
the belief in Yahweh's presence was actually cherished by the
participants cannot {145} be definitely affirmed; it does not appear,
for instance, in the Babylonian ritual.  But a corresponding idea may
certainly be traced in Greece and Rome.  From the early cult of the
sacred stone or pillar as the abode of deity, some kind of divine power
inhered in the altar and the image; and when the members of the clan
feasted together on solemn occasions, the clan-god was present with his
worshippers.  The Greek ritual sometimes provided a place for the
table-companions or "parasites," at sacred banquets, such as were held
in the temples of Apollo at Acharnæ or Delos.

An inscription at Magnesia describes a festival of twelve gods, whose
images, adorned with festal array, were carried into the marketplace,
and arranged on three cushions under a canopy.  When sacrifices had
been offered, the priests and people partook of a common meal with the
gods.  The old Latins and other Italians believed the deities of the
house to be present at their meals.  The Penates, Mr. Warde Fowler
tells us, were the spirits of the foods.  Rome celebrated its solemn
feast of Jove in the Capitoline temple every September on full-moon
day, when Jupiter, with his face painted red, Juno, and Minerva, were
present in their statues to share the meal with the magistrates and
Senate of the city.  To "lay a couch for the god" (as we might say "to
lay a table") was a common phrase.  Recently discovered papyri,
illustrating so {146} many aspects of daily life in the Eastern
Mediterranean, show that such hospitalities were of frequent
occurrence, alike in temples and in private houses.  Among the precious
remains from Oxyrhynchus are such notes as this: "Antonius son of
Ptolemæus invites you to dine with him at the table of our Lord Sarapis
in the house of Claudius Sarapion on the 16th at 9 o'clock."

But the worshipper might not only eat with the god, he might more
rarely, and under special circumstances, even eat _him_.  A more
intimate union was thus effected.  When the altar imparted its sanctity
to the victim laid upon it, the holy food distributed to the worshipper
had some kind of divine presence in it, and virtue passed through the
meat into the eater.  The late Prof. Robertson Smith, in his famous
lectures on "the Religion of the Semites," endeavoured to show that
sacrifice originally consisted in slaying the animal of the
totem-group, of which members of the totem-kin partook so that they
received into their own persons the divine power incarnated in the
totem animal.  Further research has failed to confirm this view; but a
similar conception has been illustrated from another side.  The
agricultural usages of which Dr. Frazer has collected so many examples,
show how out of the last sheaf, which had become the home of the
corn-spirit, the grain was baked in human form as its embodiment, and
solemnly eaten.  In the East Indian archipelago, on {147} the island of
Buro, the approaching rice-harvest was welcomed by a tribal meeting
when each man brought some first-fruits from the fields, and the meal
of inauguration was known as "eating the soul of the rice."

Twice a year was the great Mexican deity Huitzilopochtli presented in
the form of dough images to his worshippers, and with elaborate
ceremonies was consumed.  Tezcatlipoca, in like manner, chief god of
the Aztecs, represented by a handsome and noble captive wearing the
divine emblems, was slain on the great altar; the body of the victim
was respectfully carried down into the court below, divided into small
pieces, and distributed among priests and nobles as blessed food.  It
is strange to find such savagery associated with prayers of exalted
fervour and devotion.  But ecstasy is roused by various means, and is
not affronted at the most brutal rites.  There were incidents in the
Orphic cult of the Thracian Dionysus grouped under the name of the
"Omophagy" (literally "raw-eating") of like character.  In frenzied
excitement the devotees flung themselves on bull or goat, rent it
asunder, and devoured the bleeding flesh.  Such was the condition of
securing the actual entry of the god into the believer's person, so
that he became _entheos_, "with the god inside him."  Words have
strange histories, and few now remember, when they describe the welcome
of a monarch by acclaiming crowds, or the excitement roused by a {148}
great orator, what was the earlier meaning of "enthusiasm."


In the "art which gods and men have of doing business with each other,"
Socrates associated sacrifice with prayer (p. 133).  The association is
world-wide, and here religion reaches its utmost inwardness.  The
feeling which expresses itself in action will also prompt gesture and
speech; rude rhythms mould words into chant and song; and even without
a definite object of address some utterance breathes a desire.  "May it
be well with the buffaloes, may they not suffer from disease and die
... may there be water and grass in plenty."  So runs the dairy-ritual
of the Indian Todas, without the direct invocation of any gods.  But
there is no element here of compulsion or constraint.  The distinction
between prayer and spell is clear; the attitude is religious, not
magical.  On the other hand, sacrifices are sometimes offered to a
"High God," as by the Dinkas of the Bahr-el-Ghazal in Central Africa to
Deng-deet, who is described as "Ruler of the universe, Creator of
mankind, the actual Father of human beings"; but, adds Captain Cummins,
imagine it does not occur to them to pray.  Others, by contrast, make
morning and evening prayer part of their daily practice; the Nandi of
East Africa concludes his devotions (addressed to Asista, the ordinary
word for the sun): "I have prayed to thee, thou {149} sleepest and thou
goest, I have prayed to thee, do not say 'I am tired.'"  Sometimes
prayer is offered only to the powers of mischief.  The Lepchas of the
Himalayas told Dr. Hooker that they did not pray to the good spirits.
"Why should we?  They do us no harm; the evil spirits that dwell in
every grove and rock and mountain, to them we must pray, for they hurt
us."  To the Australian it may seem foolishness to address Baiame from
day to day: he knows, why weary him by repetitions, disturbing his rest
after his earthly labours?  But the impulse of prayer does not always
take articulate form, any more than it always seeks a personal object;
and after long residence among the Euahlayi in South East Australia
Mrs. Langloh Parker pleaded that the man who invoked aid in his hour of
danger, or the woman who crooned over her babe an incantation to keep
him honest and true, shared, however dimly, the same spirit of devotion
which elsewhere prompts elaborate litanies.  It is with a pious reserve
that the Khonds of Orissa pray: "We are ignorant of what it is good for
us to ask for.  You know what is good for us; give it to us."

Prayer in the lower culture is rarely individualised.  It is almost
always a social act.  Common prayers for food or rain, for protection
against danger, the removal of pestilence, victory over enemies,
represent the wants of all.  The group may be the family, as in the
evening worship of the {150} Samoan householder, who pours a little of
his cup of ava on the ground, and prays for health, productive
plantations, and plenty of fruit.  On the Lower Niger Major Leonard
found worship offered daily before an image or emblem believed to
contain the spirits of more immediate ancestors: "Preserve our lives, O
Spirit Father, who hast gone before, and make thy house fruitful, so
that we thy children shall increase and multiply and so grow rich and
powerful."

Such prayers may be traced through many expanding phases up to the
higher petitions which seek to place the civic and moral life under the
guidance of the heroic dead.  The element of bargain or contract which
Socrates so sarcastically emphasised, here drops away.  "To what god or
what hero shall we pray," inquired the people of Corcyra, weary of
internal strife, at the oracle of Dodona, "in order to obtain concord,
and to govern our city fairly and well?"  Chinese statecraft well
understood the significance of such worship as a social bond.  The
ancient author of the _Lî Chî_, or "Book of Rites," laid it down that
"the prayers of the principal in the sacrifice to the spirits, and the
benedictions of the representatives of the departed, are carefully
framed.  The object of all ceremonies is to bring down the spirits from
above, even their ancestors; serving also to rectify the relations
between ruler and minister, to maintain the generous feeling between
father {151} and son, and the harmony between elder and younger
brother, to adjust the relations between high and low, and to give
their proper places to husband and wife.  The whole may be said to
secure the blessing of Heaven."

Attention is thus concentrated upon common sentiments and universal
relationships, and prayer acquires a deeper ethical meaning.  It then
comes to rest upon devout experience, which seeks to interpret life in
relation to the permanent forces of justice which are believed to rule
the world.  The hymns of Egypt celebrate in lofty terms the majesty and
beneficence of the gods, and the psalmists of the Nile sang of the
divine love encompassing all lands, setting every man in his place, and
amid diversities of colour and speech supplying all human needs.  The
Babylonian poets addressed Shamash or Sin, sun or moon, as the symbols
of the universal order of nature, the witnesses of thought and deed
over the wide earth, the rulers on whom man could place unchanging
reliance.  The Vedic singer found a similar figure of moral sovereignty
in Varuna (p. 106).  Out of the depths of her distress Hecuba (in the
"Trojan Women") appeals to the mysterious Power whom she can still
glorify in her anguish: "Thou deep base of the world, and thou high
throne above the world, whoe'er thou art, unknown and hard of surmise,
chain of things to be, or reason of our reason, God, to thee I lift my
praise, seeing the silent road {152} that bringeth justice ere the end
be trod to all that breathes and dies."  With a yet firmer confidence
could the Peruvian in the sixteenth century record this prayer to the
"World-animating Spirit": "O Pāchacāmac, thou who hast existed
from the beginning, and shalt exist unto the end, who createst man by
saying "Let man be," who defendest us from evil, and preservest our
life and health, art thou in the sky or in the earth, in the clouds or
in the depths?  Hear the voice of him who implores thee, and grant him
his petitions.  Give us life everlasting; preserve us, and accept this
our sacrifice."

Two or three thousand years before, the pious Egyptian had been bidden
to enter quietly into the sanctuary of God, to whom clamour is
abhorrent.  "Pray to him with a longing heart in which all thy words
are hidden, so will he grant thy request, and hear that which thou
sayest and accept thy offering."  Dear was this silent worship to the
higher teachers.  A hymn to Thoth (p. 8) addresses him as "Thou sweet
spring for the thirsty in the desert," adding, "It is closed for those
who speak there, it is open for those who keep silence there.  When the
silent man cometh, he findeth the spring."

Petitions such as these, rooted in ethical sentiment, demand as their
moral condition purity of heart and concentration of thought.  The
prophets of all ages have protested against formalism and insincerity.
The Japanese {153} god of learning, Temmangu, was once a distinguished
statesman.  But he fell into unmerited disgrace (A.D. 901), and was
banished.  Posthumously vindicated, he was promoted to the rank of
deity, and declared through his oracle, "All ye who come before me
hoping to attain the accomplishment of your desires, pray with hearts
pure from falsehood, clean within and without, reflecting the truth
like a mirror."  The disposition of prayer must be that of life also.
It was with reference to similar slander to that from which Temmangu
had suffered, that Pindar cried, "Never be this mind in me, O Father
Zeus, but to the paths of simplicity let me cleave throughout my life,
that when dead I may set upon my children a name that shall be of no
ill repute."  And Socrates prays, as he and Phædrus rise from the shade
of the plane-tree where they have been talking, "Beloved Pan, and all
ye other gods that haunt this place, give me beauty in the inward soul,
and may the outward and the inward man be at one": to which Phædrus
adds, "Ask the same for me, for friends should have all things in
common."

The need of righteousness begets penitence and confession.  A Buddhist
liturgy issued in China in 1412 with a preface by the Emperor Yung Loh
of the Ming dynasty, after the opening invocations, proceeded thus: "We
and all men from the very first, by reason of the grievous sins we have
committed in {154} thought, word, and deed, have lived in ignorance of
all the Buddhas, and of any way of escape from the consequences of our
conduct.  We have followed only the course of this evil world, nor have
we known aught of Supreme Wisdom, and even now, though enlightened as
to our duty, yet with others we still commit heavy sins, which prevent
us from advancing in true knowledge.  Therefore in the presence of Kwan
Yin [the Chinese form of Avalokiteçvara, p. 131], and the Buddhas of
the ten regions, we would humble ourselves, and repent of our sins....
For the sake of all sentient creatures in whatever capacity they be,
would that all obstacles may be removed, we confess our sins and
repent."

A higher note is sounded here than in the famous penitential psalms of
ancient Babylon, where the poet, smitten with various distresses,
laments the unknown sins which have roused the anger of his god, and
passes into fierce incantations against the demonic powers which are
the instruments of the divine wrath.  Here prayer makes a close
alliance with magic: and its formulæ are always in danger of this
degeneration.  In the old Italian ritual of a guild at Iguvium the
exact titles of the deity must be rehearsed, and the proper words
recited.  The slightest slip invalidated the entire rite, and the
officiating priest was required to repeat the whole over again.  To
this rigid adhesion to consecrated {155} forms we owe the preservation
of antique liturgical expressions left stranded in priestly usage.
Such phrases acquired a semi-magical power.  The Honover (_Ahuna
Vairya_), or most sacred verse of the ancient Persian scriptures,
became a charm against evil in the fight with Ahriman and his hosts.
Passages from the Koran are used by Mohammedans as amulets against
danger.  The Buddhist formula _Om mani padme hum_ is a protection from
mischievous influences, like the Lord's Prayer in the Middle Ages; and
the prayer-wheels and prayer-mills of Mongolia, in endeavouring to
enlist the aid of Nature, and harness wind and water in the service of
religion, have only turned devotion into a mechanical device.

In the long story of Indian religion many notes are struck in the wide
range of human want, of divine grace, and adoring faith.  The Vedic
poets speak with full hearts of the simple joys of earth; the happiness
of home with its passionate desires for children and long life; the
pleasures of wealth in horses and chariots and cows.  Rescue from
poverty or danger, victory over the godless enemy, influence in the
assembly and superiority in debate, these are the gifts which are
sought with the utmost directness of speech: "If I, O Indra, were like
thee, the single sovereign of all wealth, my worshipper should be rich
in kine."  But other tones are not wanting: "Aditi, Mitra, Varuna,
forgive us, however {156} we have sinned against you": "Before this
Varuna (p. 106) may we be sinless, him who shows mercy even to the
sinner."

With the development of Brahmanical speculation prayer rises to more
abstract ideas: "Lead me from darkness to light, from falsehood to
truth, from death to the deathless."  The association of prayer and
magic is seen in the fact that the very term _brahma_ has the double
meaning of prayer and spell, something like the Greek _euchê_ or the
Hebrew "bless," which could imply a curse as well as a prayer.  But in
its higher sense it gave birth to the "Lord of Prayer," Brahmanaspati,
a kind of house-priest of the gods, a heavenly personification of the
priesthood on earth, in whom resided the power of influencing events by
prayer and incantation.  Nay, just as the hymns came to be regarded as
originally existing in the realm of the infinite and the undying (p.
12), so prayer was said to have been born of yore in heaven.  And thus
the Lord of Prayer acquires a more lofty character as its generator and
inspirer; he is even called the "Father of the gods"; and the very
universe depends upon him, for he holds asunder the ends of the earth.
In the shining company of deities, moreover, stand Sacred Speech, and
Devotion, and Lovely Praise, and Holy Thought, with others of the
goodly fellowship of Prayer, to attest its power, and approve its worth.

The subsequent devotion of India aspires {157} by different paths to
reach communion with the Infinite Spirit or Universal Self.  The
supreme reality is presented in the triple aspects of Being, Thought,
and Bliss (_saccidānanda_).  To know him alone as the Self of all
selves, is the goal rather of meditation than of prayer.  Existence,
understanding, and joy, these are the ultimates of all experience, and
he who has attained them prays no more: "Seeking for emancipation I go
for refuge to that God who is the guiding light to the understanding of
all souls."  This is the note of much of the later mystical piety of
Hinduism.  It speaks in the language both of religion and of philosophy.

In the first, the believer looks to his heavenly Lord with adoring
faith (p. 128) and lowly love (_bhakti_), and feels the inflowing of
divine favour or grace (_prasāda_).  The long line of mediæval poets
transmitted from generation to generation passionate impulses of
devotion which expressed themselves again and again in legend and song.
"Search in thy heart," pleaded the weaver Kabir in the fifteenth
century, "search in thy heart of hearts, there is God's place of
abode."  Not, however, without conditions: "Unless you have a forgiving
spirit, you will not see God."  He might describe himself in his
humility as "the worst of men"; that only made the marvel of divine
grace more wonderful: "I am thy son; Thou art my Father; we both live
in the same place."

{158}

On the philosophical side a modern manual of Hindu practice endeavours
to combine religion and metaphysics.  Ere the believer rises from bed
in the morning he should confess his unworthiness: "O Lord of the
universe, O All-Consciousness, presiding Deity of all, Vishnu, at thy
bidding, and to please thee alone, I rise this morning, and enter on
the discharge of my daily duties.  I know what is righteous, yet I feel
no attraction for it; I know what is not righteous, yet I have no
repulsion from it.  O Lord of the senses, O Thou seated in the heart,
may I do thy commands as ordered by thee in my conscience."  But in
order to remind him of his divine origin, in this age of sordid
interests and low ideals, he is enjoined also to look upon himself as
the reflected image of God, the Eternal, the All-Knowing, the All-Glad,
and to recite the ancient verse, "I am divine and not anything else, I
am indeed Brahma above all sorrows, my form is Being, Intelligence, and
Bliss, and eternally free is my nature."


The duties of offering and prayer may be performed from day to day, or
they may be reserved for special occasions of enterprise, danger, and
thanksgiving.  They mark the incidents of the week, the month, the
year; there are sabbaths, new moons, seed-time and harvest, and new
year festivals.  This periodicity affects the whole community together.
But there are also personal events, marking {159} successive stages in
each individual career, which must be placed under the shelter of
religion, and do not all occur at the same time.  From his entry into
the world to his departure from it each person passes at certain crises
out of one condition into another, and the transition requires the
protection of the powers above.  Birth, the attainment of adolescence,
marriage, death, are the chief occasions marked by what M. van Gennep
has called "rites of passage."  They are all connected with mysteries
of life.

For life, in the lower culture, is exposed perpetually to dangers of
all kinds.  Demonic influences continually threaten it; strange
pollutions beset it; the blood in which it is often located has about
it something weird, uncanny, sometimes unclean.  So there are
preliminary rites for bringing in the soul of the child as yet unborn
from its home in the ground, among the flowers and trees, or in wells
and lakes and running streams.  Among tribes which regard the mother as
unclean before birth, the uncleanness is transmitted to the child, and
ceremonies of purification must be performed for both.  The child must
be guarded against the evil eye, perils of infection of various kinds,
or the attacks of hostile demons.  The ritual of cleansing must be
scrupulously performed.  When Apollo and the future Buddha were born,
divine beings received them; Apollo was washed in fair water, and
wondrous {160} streams, warm and cold, descended from the sky for the
Indian babe.  Sometimes there is such haste to place the infant under
divine care that it is borne away at once to the temple, as Turner
noticed among the Nanumangans of Hudson's island, that its first
breathings, when only a few seconds old, may take place in the presence
of the god, and his blessing be invoked on the essentials of its life.

Around the cradle friendly influences must be secured, the child must
be duly incorporated into the circle of the cosmic powers and of human
life.  He is laid upon the ground for contact with the supporting
earth, and presented to the great vivifier, the sun, or held over the
fire.  Out of the bath grew a rite of immersion designed to solemnise
his admission into the guild of mankind, and wash away the strange
element of evil which seemed to inhere in human nature.  In Peru this
was exorcised by the priest, who bade it enter the water, which was
then buried in the ground.  The Aztec ritual of baptism, according to
the native writer Sahagun, began: "O child, receive the water of the
lord of the world which is our life.  It is to wash and purify.  May
these drops remove the sin which was given to thee before the creation
of the world, since all of us are under its power."  This was a real
act of regeneration, for the priest concluded: "Now he liveth anew, and
is born anew, now he is {161} purified and cleansed, now our Mother the
water again bringeth him into the world."

After purification comes the ceremony of giving the name, fittingly
performed in the temple, as in Greece, Rome, or Mexico.  Elements of
personality inhere so strangely in names, that this rite also acquires
great significance.  Perhaps the name of some ancestor is chosen, who
may thus endow the child with some of his qualities, or at least be
invoked for protection and aid.  Divine powers have watched over his
birth (p. 121); others may decide his destiny, like the three Greek
fateful goddesses Klotho, Lachesis, and Atropos, or the venerable
Scandinavian Norns.  Or the aid of the stars must be invoked, and a
horoscope must be prepared by the astrologer.  Sometimes a special
guardian power may be chosen for the infant, sometimes the choice is
reserved for him at a later stage.  Or he may be dedicated from the
outset to some hallowed service, as the child Samuel was given to
Yahweh.

More important even than the rites of birth and infancy are those of
the attainment of adolescence, when the youth is admitted to the
privileges of manhood and instructed in the secrets of the tribe.  All
round the world the lower culture has its ceremonies of initiation,
which have sometimes survived in more refined forms in more highly
organised societies.  They involve seclusion from the common life, for
no woman must be cognisant {162} of what takes place, severe bodily
trials to test the youth's power of endurance--fasts, scourging, loss
of front teeth, tattooing (so that his status may be recognisable at
once) and other forms of personal scarification and pain, under which
the feeble sink, and the happiest are those who die, escaping the
humiliations of the weakling's lot.  Long abstinence in lonely places
begets strange dreams and visions, and raises nervous excitability to
its highest pitch.  Strange forms appear with hideous faces and
mysterious trappings; appalling sounds are heard; and it is only when
the hours of terror are past that the initiated learns that the awful
figures were his own kinsmen in masks and disguises, and the Australian
is told that what he took to be the signal of Daramulun's advent was
produced by the whirling of the bull-roarer.  In the midst of these
pantomimic incidents the novice dies to rise again.  Perhaps he is
buried in the fetish-house; or he passes through the bath into his new
condition; or he is vivified by the sprinkling of blood.  But he awakes
to a fresh life.  He must be utterly forgetful of the old; he must even
sometimes feign ignorance of his parents' home and names.  The elders
then impart to him the customs and traditions of the tribe.  He learns
the rules of conduct, and duties of reverence and obedience to the
aged, who are thus, in tribes without formal government, placed under
the protection of religion.  The {163} strain of prolonged excitement
and attention fixes precept and counsel indelibly upon his memory, and
he knows that the penalty of betrayal will be death.

The ancient Indian ritual was more refined.  The three upper castes,
the Brahman, the noble, and the cultivator of the land, belonged to the
"twice-born."  Only to these was the study of the Veda permitted.  When
the youth was led to his teacher to be invested with the sacred thread,
the symbol of his dignity, blessings were uttered and holy water was
sprinkled on him.  Then for the first time was he permitted to repeat
the sacred verse (known as the Gāyatrī, Rig Veda, iii. 62, 10),
"Let us meditate on that excellent glory of the divine Vivifier, may he
enlighten our understandings," which is still recited daily by millions
of devout Hindus.  One of the later books of the Zoroastrian faith lays
down that "it is necessary for all those of the good religion to
celebrate the ritual and become _navazûd_, newly born," or born again.
The ceremony began with a purification which lasted nine nights, and
included sprinkling with water; the candidate for the priesthood must
be of the age of fifteen; he must confess his sins, endure the scourge;
and might then be regarded as regenerate.

Within the whole group of initiates secret societies were often formed,
bound together by special vows, and using the instrumentality of
religion.  Observers in West Africa and {164} elsewhere (they are also
common in Polynesia and Melanesia) have differed widely as to their
value, some denouncing them for their intolerable tyranny, others
finding them useful agents of police.  They are the forerunners of more
purely religious associations such as may be seen in the mysteries of
Greece.  Here, too, were ceremonies of initiation, here were pantomimic
representations of divine events, secrets of communion with deity, and
promises of life beyond the grave.  Most famous, of course, were the
mysteries of Eleusis, in charge of the great family of the Eumolpids.
Already in the Homeric hymn to Demeter, before the days of Jeremiah and
Ezekiel, all Greece had been bidden to come to Eleusis, and receive
initiation into the rites of the Lady Mother and the Maid.  There were
preliminaries of purification, which a Christian apologist like Clement
of Alexandria could compare with the baptism of the Church.  Cleansed
from the stain of sin, the candidate was required to be devout and
holy.  What was the precise nature of the revelation which he was
permitted to see is uncertain.  The passion-drama of the mother's loss
of her daughter, her search and recovery, may have grown out of some
seasonal vegetation ceremonies.  But they had taken on higher meanings.
The secret might not be divulged in detail; there is, however, a large
amount of testimony that ideas of death and re-birth or resurrection
{165} played a great part in this, as in other mystery-religions; the
Homeric hymn to Demeter holds out intimations of immortality; and by
some kind of communion with the deity the salvation of the believer was
assured.

The rites of the Phrygian Sabazius touch the processes of the lower
culture at more than one point.  In his great oration "on the Crown"
(315 B.C.) Demosthenes twits his opponent Æschines in such terms as
these: "You assisted your mother in the initiations, you read aloud the
books (the ritual prayers), and took part in the rest of the plot.  You
put on (or, you robed the candidates in) fawn-skins; you sprinkled them
with water from the bowl; you purified and rubbed them with clay and
bran, then you raised them from their purification, and bade them say,
'I have fled the bad, and found the better.'"  On the gold Orphic
tablets discovered in South Italy and Crete occur strange phrases: "I,
a kid, fell into the milk," "O blessed and happy one, thou hast put off
thy mortality and hast become divine," which are interpreted with great
probability as references to a ritual of milk-baptism in which the
initiate was born again.

That idea was certain expressed in the mysteries of Isis, which were
widely spread in the Eastern Mediterranean (p. 40).  Here, too, was a
solemn kind of death and re-birth; here, too, lustrations of the purest
water, the priestly declaration of the pardon of the {166} gods, the
mystic revelation of the Goddess, herself identified with all deities
in turn; and here, after the vision, the assurance of a blessed life to
come.  The candidate for initiation into the rites of Mithra must mount
slowly through seven stages.  The details of the ritual of the
successive grades are unknown; but in accordance with ancient Iranian
practice repeated ablutions were imposed till the cleansing waters had
washed away all stains of guilt.  The Mithraic sacraments so closely
resembled Christian usage that they were vehemently denounced by Church
writers as a Satanic parody.  They were certainly supposed to secure
happiness in the world to come.  The believer who had passed through
the blood-bath of the slaughtered bull was said to be "re-born for
ever."

Associated with sacrifice and prayer, and partaking at once of the
characters of magic and mystery, is the sacred dance.  Rhythmic
movement of body and limbs readily becomes the expression of strong
feeling; and the feeling in its turn may be reawakened by the solemn
renewal of the action.  When it imitates the motions of the warrior or
the huntsman it comes to possess a magical value, and the women who
remain at home will dance all day while their husbands are engaged in
battle or the chase.  Does it not quicken their courage or enhance
their skill?  The child in an elementary school now learns {167} his
action-songs, and sows the grain and reaps the harvest.  He does not,
however, suppose that he is promoting nature's work.  But the women
whose social progress has advanced to agriculture, instead of imitating
the gambols of the wolf or bear, will celebrate the operations of the
fields to stimulate their effectiveness, and at a later stage still
will go forth into the vineyards with timbrel and song.  There are
dances for courtship and marriage, dances in initiations and mysteries,
dances even for the funeral.  There are solemn preparations, as in the
snake-dance of the secret order of the Snakes among the Moquis of
Arizona, when the members must not only wash the snakes, but themselves
as well and everything about them (in the same water), and fast for one
day.  Then any one who has been bitten will be healed, and when the
pipe is lit, the clouds from it will rise and form rain-clouds, and the
rain will fall upon the altar and the sacred things.  Or the dance will
serve for the reunion of the tribe, and becomes a great social as well
as a religious institution.  The Sun-dance of the Blackfoot Indians (p.
35) is the supreme expression of their religion, and their great annual
religious gathering.  It must originate in a woman's vow for the
recovery of the sick, and the ceremonies are spread over a considerable
time.  Some come for enjoyment, some to fast and pray.  Some must
discharge their vows for the healing of sick kinsfolk; others pay the
price of deliverance {168} from peril by the infliction of self-torture
in the sun-lodge.

The vow, the fast, and all the varied forms of asceticism which Eastern
religions have so abundantly produced, all involve common elements of
sacrifice and self-subjection.  The vow, indeed, has in part the nature
of a contract.  It is not magic, it is a bargain.  There is no
constraint, the deity may avail himself of what is offered, or may not.
If Yahweh will go with me, says Jacob, and provide me food to eat and
clothes to wear, he shall be my god and get his tithe.  But the vow
involves the surrender of something otherwise desirable.  It is the
same with the ascetic, who gives up food, or clothing, or sleep, or the
bath, or speech, or a fixed home; who sits between four fires under a
blazing sun; who lacerates his back with the scourge or his flesh with
knives; who holds a flower-pot in his hand till the fingers grow round
it immovably; who hangs himself up by hooks in his bare back, or loads
himself from neck to feet with chains.  Men may fast religiously to
overcome bodily desire; or to prepare the higher insight for strange
openings of vision.  "The continually stuffed body," say the Amazulu,
"cannot see secret things."  Lacordaire bade the brethren of his Order
scourge him that he might humble himself, and taste the pain of his
Redeemer.  But the extremer forms of asceticism (especially as a
life-long practice) are always based on the idea that they are in {169}
themselves meritorious; they produce desert and desert leads to reward.
They are a mode of establishing a claim on the future bounty of heaven;
they are, after all, only another form of "doing business with the
gods."



{170}

CHAPTER VI

SACRED PRODUCTS

In the intimate connection of religion with life all primitive
interests are placed under its sanction.  A large portion of time is
occupied with its ceremonials.  The fortunes of the tribe are bound up
with it.  To the bounty of its powers they owe abundant food and safety
or success in war.  Beneath its protection the newly born enter the
world, and to its care the elders are committed when they die.  Its
holy persons rule in their midst; its holy places are all round about
them; its sacred objects are in their homes.  It is not surprising,
therefore, that all the higher possessions of the tribe, its arts and
crafts, its traditions, its customs and laws, its stories of the gods
and their dealings with each other or with man, should be ascribed to
the same origin.  Where individuality is hampered at every turn by
time-honoured conventions, and personal initiative is imperfectly
developed and timidly confined within the narrowest limits, all higher
intellectual products, command over nature, inventions, poetry and
song, the usages of {171} the social order, and the rituals for serving
the gods, carry with them a secret force, a mysterious authority, which
passes the bounds of human wisdom, and has been imparted from some
higher source.  Each man is dimly conscious that his single wit could
not have compassed these things; he does not observe the long processes
and imperceptible stages of advance; he accepts the theory offered to
him by those who should know best, and looks back to the days when
kindly powers took in hand the instruction of men.

Thus at the present day many of the Australian tribes whose condition
has probably changed little since the date of the oldest civilisations
of antiquity, regard their scanty institutions as ordained by beings
above.  Ask the Narrinyeri why they adhere to any custom, the answer is
that Nurrundere commanded it.  Baiame and Bunjil laid down the marriage
laws for their respective tribes; Bunjil, moreover, taught the Kulin
the arts of life; and Daramulun gave the Yuin laws which the old people
handed down from generation to generation.

The elaborate cultures of Babylonia and Egypt claimed similar origins.
In the vast prehistoric period before the Flood the people round the
lower Euphrates had lived without rule or order, like the beasts of the
field, till a wondrous Fish-Man, whom the Greek historian called
Cannes, appeared out of the Persian Gulf with wisdom from the sea.  He
{172} taught them arts and laws, and wrote concerning the generation of
mankind, their different ways of life, and their civil polity.  It was
no other than Ea, god of the encircling Deep, the source of all.
Historic inscriptions told of his "books," which may have included
ancient oracles, and which certainly laid down the duties of a king.
So the famous code of Hammurabi (about 1950 B.C.), recently discovered
at Susa (1901), was handed to him, as the tablet shows, by the great
Sun-god, Shamash.

The Egyptian priests, perhaps as late as the great Nineteenth Dynasty,
before the days of Moses, threw into definite shape the vague
traditions of immemorial antiquity, when men had lived devouring one
another, ignorant how to till the ground.  Osiris (p. 119) taught the
art of tillage, the use of the plough and hoe, how to grow wheat and
barley, and the culture of the vine; and Isis added the domestic arts
of making bread and weaving linen.  Osiris, moreover, appointed the
offerings to the gods, regulated the ceremonies, composed the texts and
melodies of the hymns.  And among his successors was Thoth of
Hermopolis (p. 8), who introduced astronomy and divination, medicine,
arithmetic, and geometry, and whose "books," embracing a kind of
religious encyclopædia, were known to the Christian teacher, Clement of
Alexandria, in the second century of our era.

{173}

So Zeus gave laws to Minos in Crete, and Apollo revealed the Spartan
constitution to Lycurgus; Numa, the traditional founder of the Roman
ceremonial law, received instruction from the nymph Egeria.  The
shepherd slave, Zaleucus (whom Eusebius placed about 660 B.C.), taught
the Locrians what Athena had first taught him, and prefaced his laws by
enjoining them to revere the gods as the real causes of all things fair
and good in life, and keep their hearts pure from all evil, inasmuch as
the gods do not take pleasure in the sacrifices of the wicked, but in
the righteous and fair conduct of the good.

From the New World come a series of similar figures.  Mr. Curtin claims
to show that the vast area of the American continent is pervaded by one
system of thought incalculably old.  In the central group of the most
sacred personages is the Earth with Sky and Sun conceived sometimes as
identical sometimes as distinct.  The Earth-maiden on whom the Sun has
gazed, becomes a mother, and gives birth to a great hero.  He bestows
on men all gifts that support existence, and it is through him that the
race lives and prospers.  To the Algonkins he was Michabo or Manibozho,
the "Great Light," who imparted vision, author of wisdom, arts, and
institutions.  Among the Toltecs at Tulla he was Quetzalcoatl,
virgin-born, founder of civilisation, who organised worship without
human or animal sacrifices, and endured no {174} war.  The Miztecs
called him Votan, prince and legislator of his people, representative
of a higher wisdom, so that he rose to be the mediator between earth
and heaven.  In the plains of Begota the white-bearded Bohica appeared
to the Mozca Indians, taught them how to sow and build, formed them
into communities, contrived an outlet for the waters of their great
lake, and, having settled the government and the ritual, retired into
ascetic penance for two thousand years.  Out of the depths of Lake
Titicaca in Peru there rose one day the son and daughter of the sun and
moon, Manco Capac and Mama Ogllo, sent by their father in compassion
for men's wretched plight.  They taught the ignorant folk agriculture,
the chief trades, the art of building cities, aqueducts, and roads, and
Mama Ogllo showed the women how to spin and weave.  Then when all was
in order, and overseers were appointed to see that each one did his
duty, they went back to the skies.

These stories all belong to the class known as myths.  They are not
accounts of what actually happened, they are the work of religious
imagination operating on a particular group of facts, and endeavouring
to explain them.  The scope of mythology, whatever may be its
particular origins, is of the widest compass.  It embraces the whole
field of nature and life.  It first came into modern view through the
study of classical antiquity {175} in Greece and Rome.  The discovery
of Sanskrit and the investigation of its literature, especially of the
Vedic hymns, concentrated the attention of scholars for a time,
pre-eminently under the genius of Max Müller, on the relations of myth
to language, and the resolution of various deities of India and Greece
into the phenomena of dawn and sunshine, of the thunderstorm or the
moon.

But it was gradually found necessary to abandon one after another of
the philological identifications which had at one time been proposed
with confidence.  New aspects of mythology demanded consideration.  It
was not only concerned with the incidents and powers of nature, or with
the various relations of the gods.  It appeared also in the field of
ritual.  It often contained antique secrets of the meaning of religious
performance.  It was the key to the dramatised representations of the
sacred dance, the ceremonials on which depended the welfare of the
tribe.  And in proportion as action acquired a larger psychological
recognition in shaping the character of religion, and belief receded
into the background, the significance of the development of myths was
changed.

As religion, however, became more self-conscious, the intellectual
element in it gained more force and energy, and the thinkers of the
priestly schools endeavoured to bring the claims of different deities
into some sort of order, and regulate the hierarchy of heaven.  {176}
But they were often confronted with ancient elements of savagery which
could be imperfectly harmonised with the more refined ideas of a
progressive culture.  Thus already in Homer, Zeus, as supreme God,
bears one significant epithet; he is _mêtieta_, full of _mêtis_ or
counsel.  The word is of doubtful derivation, but with the strong
tendency of Greek imagination to turn abstract ideas into persons,
Mêtis is presented by Hesiod (next in literary succession to Homer) as
the daughter of Ocean, the Hellenic equivalent of the Babylonian Deep,
source of all being even for the gods.  Greek thought was not yet ripe
for the ontological conception of wisdom or intelligence as inherent in
the divine nature, so the union of Thought with Zeus is represented
mythologically as a marriage, and Mêtis becomes the bride of the great
"king of gods and men."  The result is conceived in truly savage
fashion.  In order to possess her in the most intimate manner, and
embody her in his own person, Zeus suddenly swallows her.  Mythology,
of course, has to provide a reason; she would bear a son who would
overthrow him.  The poet (or perhaps his editor), desirous of
correcting this brutal selfishness, suggests a further plea; the
goddess should be his perpetual monitor, and warn him inwardly of good
and evil.  The myth is being directly moralised.  Whatever, therefore,
may be the origins of myth, whether in connection with tribal {177}
tradition, in the interpretation of the incidents of nature--as when a
Siberian described to Baron von Wrangell the occultation of one of
Jupiter's moons by saying that the blue star had swallowed another very
small star and soon after vomited it up again--or in endeavours to
picture the characters and relations of the gods, the beginnings of the
world, the birth of man, the entry of evil, sin, and death, or the
condition of those who have already passed away, the myth becomes the
reflex of the culture in the midst of which it rises.  It is the
depository of human experience, of man's criticism of his own life.
And in its representations of a distant age when gods visibly consorted
with men, and deigned to instruct them in the conditions of social
welfare, mythology is the direct product of religion.

When the gods have withdrawn from human fellowship, and no longer
choose their brides from the dwellers upon earth, or even vouchsafe to
appear among them in various forms for temporary help or promise of
blessing, the communications from heaven do not cease altogether.  The
Vedic poet might challenge the existence of Indra, the fool might say
in his heart, "There is no God"; but the Powers above never left
themselves without a witness.  The negro going out of his hut one
morning strikes his foot against a peculiarly shaped stone.  "Art thou
there?" he inquires, and recognises the presence of a guardian and
{178} helper.  The Samoan watches the behaviour of a spinning
cocoa-nut, or the flight of a bird to right or left.  The Central
Asiatic notes the cracks on a tortoise's shell, much as a modern
palmist traces the lines in a human hand.  The liver is selected as the
special seat of the prophetic faculty, and Babylonian and Etruscan
developed a common diagnosis of its marks.  The Celt divined by the
water of wells, or the smoke and flames of ascending fires, and slew
his prisoners that the secrets of destiny might be discovered in their
entrails.  China and Rome made divination the basis of elaborate state
systems.  Rome produced a literature of Augury, with books of
regulations and minutes of procedure, while Plato commended it as "the
art of fellowship between gods and men," and the philosophy of the
Stoics justified it on the ground of a providential harmony between
nature and man, so that divine guidance was vouchsafed to human need.
Did not clouds and stars move by Heaven's great ordinance?

The lot took the responsibility of decision out of the hands of man,
and vested it in the presiding deity.  There is always a mystery in
chance, which could be interpreted as the will of God.  The oath
implied that the heavenly Powers could be at any moment summoned to
attest man's veracity; and the vow must be fulfilled, though it might
cost Jephthah the sacrifice of his daughter.  Perjury and broken vows
were early recognised {179} among the gravest of crimes.  The ordeal
was in like manner the inquisition of a divine judge.  When the Adum
draught was administered to an accused Ashanti upon the Gold Coast, the
god condescended to enter with it; he looked around for the signs of
guilt, and if he found none he returned with the nauseous mixture to
the light of day.  It was a procedure analogous to the ancient rite
embedded in the Levitical Law as the test of a wife's faithlessness
(_cp._ Num. v. 11 _sqq._).

Another mystery lay in dreams, which have been connected with
supersensual powers all the world over.  To the savage who cannot
analyse his experience the dream-world is as real as that of his waking
hours.  The dreams that follow fasts, whether compulsory through
deficient food, or voluntary through preparation for some solemn event,
possess peculiar vividness; and, when attention has been fixed upon
some expected crisis, readily acquire a prophetic significance.  Divine
forms are seen, and strange intimations are conveyed from another
world.  The dream verses of the Icelander brought tidings from those
who had been lost at sea.  To sleep upon the grave of a dead kinsman,
still more of a hero or a seer, was the means of receiving
communications from the wisdom of the dead.  Did not philosophy teach
that in sleep the mind is less hampered by its physical environment,
and attains truth more nearly; {180} and what condition was so
suitable, therefore, for the beneficent revelation of a god?

In Greece, accordingly, the practice of sleeping at the tombs of heroes
or in the temples of gods was regularly organised.  The sanctuaries of
Æsculapius, of which more than two hundred can be traced round the
Eastern Mediterranean and in Italy, were specially frequented by
patients who resorted thither for medical treatment and the advice of
the god.  The sufferer must pass through the preliminary discipline of
the bath, and to his purifications must add the due offering of a
sheep.  The victim's fleece was carried into the holy precincts, and on
it the sick man lay down for the night.  In the visions of the dark
hours the god appeared, and prescribed the mode of cure, or even
condescended to operate himself.  An inscription at Epidaurus records
that the stiffened fingers of a patient were straightened out and
restored for use by the god's own grasp.  Was it surprising that
Æsculapius should become the object of increasing reverence, and in the
second century of our era should be enthroned in the highest as
"Saviour (or Preserver) of the universe"?

Under other conditions the visitation of the god expresses itself in
poetic form.  Among the ruder peoples whose songs are of the
simplest--perhaps the most childish--kind, the faculty of rhythmic
utterance seems superhuman.  Words, lines, stanzas, follow {181} each
other with a spontaneity which seems out of the reach of ordinary
effort.  The chants of worship have been again and again carried back
to divine authorship in a distant past.  The marriage of speech with
music is no art of man.  So the Finnic hero, Wäinamöinen, conceived by
the wind, and born (after seven hundred years in the womb) by the
maiden Dmatar, added to his gifts of fertility and fire the invention
of the harp, and the teaching of wisdom, poetry, and music to man.
Odin was the god of wisdom and poetry for Scandinavia, god also of the
holy draught, which, like the Indian Soma, gave inspiration.  The poet
brewed Odin's mead, bore Odin's cup; and in old Teutonic speech was
_godh-mālugr_, "god-inspired."  Hermes passed in Greece as the
inventor of the lyre, which he gave to Apollo, chief among the deities
who declared to man the unerring counsel of Zeus; and Homer already
counts singer and song as alike divine.

The lovely forms of the Muses, daughters of Zeus and Memory, or with an
alternative mother in Harmony, were endowed with functions of song and
prophecy, and between them and the historic poets stood a group, half
mythical, half human, whose names were attached to actual hymns and
poems.  Such were Orpheus, Musseus, Eumolpus, Thamyris, and Linos.  The
verses ascribed to them tended to acquire an authoritative character;
they were cited as a rule or norm for conduct; {182} they were on the
way to become a Scripture.  Homer and Hesiod were employed in the same
way; and Plato denounces the mendicant prophets who went to rich men's
doors offering to make atonements, and quoting Homer and Hesiod as
religious guides.  Nevertheless, though he proposed to banish from his
ideal State the poets who said unworthy things of the gods, he
elsewhere formulates the highest claim for poetry as a supernatural
product.  The poets are only the interpreters of the gods by whom they
are severally possessed; "God takes away the minds of the poets;" "God
himself is the speaker, through them he is conversing with us."  It is
the lament of the Bantus of South Africa that since the white man came
the springs of music and song have ceased to flow: "The spirits are
angry with their children, and do not teach them any more."

Another mode of converse between deity and man was found in the oracle.
Widespread was the belief that through certain chosen persons or in
certain peculiar spots the gods deigned to communicate with those who
sought their aid.  Such agencies were peculiarly numerous in the
Hellenic world, and the oracle at Delphi acquired supreme importance.
As early as the eighth century B.C., in the days of Amos and Isaiah, it
is rising into prominence as an authority that may take the leading
place in Greek religion.  At one time it almost seemed as if it might
succeed {183} in co-ordinating the separate and often opposing forces
of the City States, and blend them into national unity.  If that hope
was ever cherished by its guardians, they failed to realise it.  The
higher minds discerned in it capacities which were never fulfilled.
They saw it give counsel to rival powers, promote enterprise, and
support plans of colonisation.  They knew that it exercised a
far-reaching moral authority; it compelled reverence for oaths, and
secured respect for the lives of women, suppliants, and slaves; and
again and again in true prophetic spirit it subordinated ritual to
ethical demands.  With the widest outlook over human affairs, Plato
proposes to establish the midpoint of religious legislation in Delphi
at Apollo's shrine: "He is the god who sits in the centre, on the navel
of the earth, and he is the interpreter of religion to all mankind." It
is the note of universalism: had not Jeremiah proclaimed two centuries
before on behalf of Yahweh at Jerusalem: "My house shall be called a
house of prayer for all nations"?

When the Israelites had renewed their temple in the days of Darius, and
the scribes were beginning to busy themselves with the remains of their
national literature, Greek writers also interested themselves in the
collection of the utterances of the past.  About 500 B.C. Onomacritus
gathered together the oracles of Musæus.  It was the first instance of
what became a frequent practice {184} in later days; one of Plato's
disciples, Heracleides of Pontus, undertook a similar task; so did
Chrysippus the Stoic.  A special literature was thus begotten.  The
circumstances which called for the successive oracles were duly
narrated; and had Delphi maintained its early position, here would have
lain the nucleus of a Scripture, which might have developed into a
permanent record of revelation.

Italy, in like manner, had its _libri fatales_, its sacred books of
destiny.  There were Etruscan oracles under the name of the nymph Begoe
or Vegone; there were the Marcian Songs, said to have been adopted as
genuine by the Roman Senate in 213 B.C.  The ancient city of Veii had
its books; Tibur (Tivoli) the "lots" of the nymph Albunea.  Most famous
of all were the Sibylline books, brought (according to later tradition)
from Cumæ to Rome, perhaps in the last days of the monarchy, or a
little later (about 500 B.C.), and placed in the Temple of Jupiter on
the Capitol under the charge of two special guardians.  These were
afterwards increased to ten, and in the year 51 B.C. to fifteen.  The
office remained till the books were destroyed in A.D. 400, when
Christianity had been finally established as the imperial religion.
What they contained is doubtful; how they were consulted is not known.
Their aid was sought after prodigies, pestilence, or disaster had
awakened general alarm; but their actual {185} words were not made
public.  Nevertheless they supplied the basis for important religious
innovations.  The introduction of Greek deities by their sanction
profoundly affected Roman religious ideas, and left deep marks on
literature and art.

In the year 83 B.C. the temple which contained the books was burned.
The greatest anxiety was displayed for their restoration.  Envoys were
sent to Sicily, Greece, and Asia Minor to collect fresh verses; they
were deposited in a new temple, and prophecies were founded on them in
the last days of the Republic.  But it was believed that spurious
verses had got into circulation, and Augustus ordered a rigid
examination.  Some two thousand volumes, it is alleged, were destroyed;
those which were admitted as genuine were removed to a temple of Apollo
which Augustus had himself dedicated on the Palatine hill.  Here are
the characteristics of a Canon.  The books are kept under special
charge in a temple.  Their authority suffices to modify old cults and
introduce new.  When they perish, they must be restored.  The false
must be separated from the true, the genuine eliminated from the
spurious.  The Amoral element in them seems to have been entirely
subordinated to the ritual; but they were believed to express in
seasons of difficulty and danger the demands of the gods.

The transition to what are formally called "Sacred Books" leaves a
considerable {186} literature upon the boundary.  The collection of the
ancient national Finnic songs, made with so much patience by the
Swedish Lonrott, under the name of the Kalevala, presents no claim to
inspiration, but it is the poetical expression of the national
religion.  In the literature of the Eddas, the Volospa (p. 248) is a
product of the prophetic spirit.  After Herodotus remarked that Homer
and Hesiod made the gods of the Greeks, the Homeric poems acquired more
and more authority, until by the usage of centuries they gained a
semi-canonical position.  Lectures were given upon their sacred text,
and the most extravagant methods of interpretation were employed to
reconcile them with the world-view of philosophy.  The ancient Egyptian
accepted the "Book of the Dead" as his guide to the next world.
Chapters of it were inscribed on the walls of his tomb, engraved on his
coffin, or laid inside it with his mummy.  It contained the charms
needful for the preservation of his soul on its journey to the land of
the West.  Its authors were unknown, but it contained the secrets of
the life to come.

The "Bibles of Humanity," as the foundation-books of the great
religions have been called, belong to one continent.  Asia has been the
mother of them all.  The oldest takes shape in India in the Vedic
hymns; and the immense literatures of Brahmanism, early and later
Buddhism, and the Hinduism which {187} finally drove Buddhism off the
field, follow in due course.  Cognate in language with the immigrant
Aryans, the ancient Persians preserved, amid many losses, some of the
compositions of their prophet Zarathustra, mingled with religious
documents of later date, known to modern students by the name Zend
Avesta.  Palestine produces Judaism, with its collection of national
literature embracing law, history, prophecy, poetry, and wisdom.
Judaism gives birth to Christianity, which sets its New Testament
beside the Old; and Judaism and Christianity lie behind Mohammed and
the Koran, where the person and the book blend in the closest union.

In the Far East Chinese culture reposes on the so-called Classics, the
five King and the four Shu, which had a chequered history till they
finally acquired their position as fountains of knowledge and models of
composition.  The ancient odes of the Shî King, the traditions of
rulers and the counsels of statesmen in the Shu King, the collections
of the teaching of Confucius and Mencius, and the remaining works which
need not be mentioned here, raise none of the claims which have been
preferred for the Indian Veda, or the Christian Bible.  Nor does the
singular little book of aphorisms ascribed to Lao-Tsze, which serves as
the starting-point for Taoism (p. 67).  The Shintoist of Japan finds
the earliest records of his religion in the national chronicles known
as the Kojiki and the Nihongi; and the {188} modern believer, who has
been offered an infallible Bible, responds with a profession of faith
in the practical inerrancy of his own traditional books.

Some smaller communities claim a passing word.  The Jains (p. 61), once
the rivals of the Buddhists, possess a sacred literature only less
copious.  Group after group appears in mediæval India singing the hymns
of its founder, such as the Kabir-panthis, till the poet Tulsi-Das
(born 1532) embodies in his version of the ancient Rāmāyana the
essence of Hindu religion for some ninety millions from Bengal to the
Punjab.  The Sikhs (p. 62) stay themselves upon the words of their holy
teachers in the _Ādi-Granth_.  The followers of Mani in the third
century of our era, who threatened the progress of the Christian
Church, and spread all the way from Carthage to Middle Asia, possessed
a gospel and epistles of their Prophet, portions of which were brought
to Berlin a few years ago from Chinese Turkestan.  The Druzes of the
Lebanon, whose origin goes back to the Caliph Hakim at Cairo in the
eleventh century A.D., treasure the documents of the faith in 111
treatises and epistles, starting from Hakim's vizier, Hamza.  And the
hapless prophet of Persia, who designated himself the Bab (p. 70),
composed in the _Beyyan_ (among numerous other works) an exposition of
the Truth for his disciples.  For such small communities a sacred
literature is in fact a necessity.  {189} Without it they have no
adequate cohesion.  It is at least one of the conditions of permanent
resistance to the forces of decay.

Around the Scriptures of the greater religions devout reverence has
gathered with ardent faith.  The Hindu term Veda (meaning literally
"knowledge") has a narrower and a wider sense.  In its limited
application it denotes the four collections of hymns, of ritual
formulæ, and sacrificial songs, of which the Rig-Veda is the most
important (p. 10).  Their history must be inferred from their contents;
of the circumstances of their formation there is no external evidence,
save that the early Buddhist texts show that the fourth or Atharva-Veda
had not acquired canonical value in the days of the Teacher Gotama.
But the term Veda is also extended to include a mass of ceremonial
compositions known as Brāhmanas, attached to one or other of the
ancient collections, and handed down in different religious schools.
These are all included more or less definitely in what a Western
theologian might term "Revelation."  They are technically designated as
_çruti_ or "hearing"; they form the matter of the sacred teaching
transmitted orally, which must be reserved for a special order and not
imparted to the world outside.

The books of household law, on the other hand, prescribing the domestic
ceremonies for birth, marriage, and death, regulating caste-privileges,
and laying down rules for {190} the conduct of life, were open to all.
But just as the Rig-Veda was exalted into a reproduction on earth of
what existed eternally in heaven, so endeavours were made to convert
the legal works current in particular schools into sacred codes of
divine origin.  One was boldly ascribed to Vishnu, who communicated it
to the goddess of the earth.  Another, most famous of all, was attached
to Manu, the eponymous hero of the human race.  "Father Manu" he is
called in the Rig-Veda, and as the sire of mankind he was the founder
of social and moral order.  First king, and Rishi (or seer) privileged
to behold the sacred texts, he was the inventor of rites and author of
the maxims of law.  And yet higher dignity belonged to him, for he
sprang from the Self-Existent and could thus be identified with Brahma
himself; and as Prajāpati (p. 143) he took part in the creation of
the world.  In due course poetry and philosophy had their turn.  The
immense epic known as the Mahābhārata, where tradition and myth
and imaginative speculation are blended in rich confusion, was put in
the scales by the gods against the four Vedas, and its sanctity
outweighed them all.

The Buddhist Scriptures were early grouped in three divisions under the
title of the Three Baskets.  The teachings of the Supremely Enlightened
were of course absolutely true, and his rules for the members of his
Order were of compelling authority.  It was assumed {191} that they
were recited correctly at an assembly held immediately after his
decease.  The "Buddha-Word" thus became the infallible standard of
faith and practice.  There are traces of provision to meet difficulties
in case different elders should believe themselves to possess varying
traditions of the Buddha's commands: but not even the enormous
expansion of the Scriptures of the Great Vehicle, as preserved in China
and Japan, shook the faith of the disciple in the authentic character
of their doctrine.  The higher teaching belonged to the later years of
the Buddha's life, and was transmitted by special channels.  It is much
as if Gnosticism had established itself in the Christian Church of the
second century, and had formed its literature into a Canon beside our
New Testament.  Nepal, according to the testimony of Bryan Hodgson,
raised its sacred books into objects of worship.  Chinese respect was
satisfied when they were issued from time to time (p. 66) with a
preface by the imperial Son of Heaven.

The oldest portion of the sacred literature collected under the name of
the Zend Avesta consists of five hymns (called Gathas), ascribed to
Zarathustra himself.  They bear many marks of high antiquity, and they
acquired a peculiar sanctity, so that the later sacrificial hymns
already regard them as objects of homage to which worship should be
offered.  Above the actual Scriptures rose a radiant figure, in which
the conception of revelation {192} was impersonated.  Iranian thought
was markedly idealist; each earthly object had its spiritual type, its
antecedent or counterpart in the heavenly realm.  The religion and law
of Zarathustra had their representative in Daena, who is already
celebrated with pious praise in the Avesta.  Sacrifice is offered to
her as she dwells in the Heavenly House, the Abode of Song.  Thence
Zarathustra summons her, beseeching her fellowship--she is associated
with Cista, "religious knowledge"--and he asks of her mystic powers and
righteousness in thought and speech and deed.  Later teaching declared
her to be produced by Vohu Mano, the "Good Mind" of Ahura Mazda himself
(p. 131).  As the actual utterance of the Lord Omniscient, the sacred
Law might also be called his _mãthra çpenta_ or "Holy Word."

Jewish theology was not altogether deficient in similar conceptions.
Corresponding to the Torah or Law imparted to Moses, was a heavenly
Torah, infinitely richer in content.  It formed one of a mysterious
group of seven Realities which existed, like the Throne of Glory, Eden,
and Gehenna, before the making of the earth and sky.  It was a kind of
epitome of all possible cosmic relations, so that as an architect
frames his plan for a city, God looked into the Torah when he would
create the world.  Christian theology has never employed this imagery
to express its conception of Revelation.  But it lies at the back of
the curious language of the Koran concerning the "Mother {193} of the
Book" (p. 13).  Mohammedan theologians reckoned no less than ten ways
in which the Prophet received his revelations.  Sometimes the divine
inspiration came in a dream, sometimes like the noise of a bell through
which he recognised the words which Gabriel wished him to understand.
Other books had been given previously to Moses, to David, to Jesus, and
each nation would be summoned to its own book at the judgment.  The
believer in Islam recognised in the "Mother of the Book" the
pre-existent or Eternal Word, which God from time to time "sent down"
to his Prophet.  It had definite size and aspect for Arab imagination.
The commentator Jalâlain described it as existing in the air above the
seventh heaven.  There angel guardians defended it from theft by Satan
or the change of any of its contents.  It was as long as from heaven to
earth, and as broad as from east to west; and its consistency was of
one white pearl.  Was it surprising that Mohammedan faith should
support the utterance of the pious Câdi Iyâd (who died in Morocco, A.D.
1149): "The Koran, as it lies between the two covers is God's own word,
which he imparted by way of inspiration to the Prophet.  Therefore is
it in every way inimitable, and no man can produce anything like it"?

Christian theology has refrained from these physical emblems.  But it
was possible for a scholar of unquestioned learning to declare {194} in
the pulpit of the University of Oxford barely half a century ago (1861)
that "the Bible is none other than the voice of him that sitteth upon
the throne.  Every book of it, every chapter of it, every verse of it,
every word of it, every syllable of it (where are we to stop?), every
letter of it, is the direct utterance of the Most High ... faultless,
unerring, supreme."



{195}

CHAPTER VII

RELIGION AND MORALITY

The expression of religion in action produces the offering and the
prayer: by sacrifice and devotion, with thanksgiving and requests, do
men approach their gods.  But there is another way of entering into
fruitful obedience to them.  Certain kinds of conduct may be acceptable
to them, and others not.  Are these concerned only with ceremonial
acts, or do they include the behaviour of men to each other?  How far
does religion promote or regulate what we call morality?  What are
their relations, and how do they affect one another?  This question has
been discussed in innumerable treatises; attention can only be invited
to it here from the point of view of the historical comparison of
religions, without reference to philosophical definitions.  Every one
admits a connection of some sort, for good or for evil, at some period
in their respective development.  They may not have started hand in
hand.  Their alliance may be disbanded, and morality may claim total
independence.  But at some time on the journey they have marched
together.

{196}

The difficulty of the inquiry arises in part from the variety of views
as to the scope and essence of both morality and religion.  Where do
they begin, and in what do they consist?  The philosopher may demand a
complete recognition of the freedom of the will, and the independent
activity of the conscience, and savages who have no such words are set
down as destitute of morality, just as those who have no Heavenly
Father and no devil, no heaven and no hell, are described as without
religion.  It is obviously impossible to expect to find everywhere our
categories of right and wrong; yet even Lord Avebury lent his high
authority to the statement that there are many savages almost entirely
without moral feeling largely on the ground of the absence of ideas of
sin, remorse, and repentance.  Mr. Huxley in the same way declared it
obvious that the lower religions are entirely unethical.

On the other hand, the idealist strenuously affirms the intimacy of the
connection.  We are assured that the historical beginning of all
morality is to be found in religion; or that in the earliest period of
human history, religion and morality were necessary correlates of each
other; or that all moral commandments have originally the character of
religious commandments.  And the student of comparative religion like
the late Prof. Robertson Smith cautiously affirms that "in ancient
society all morality, _as morality was then understood_, was
consecrated and enforced by religious {197} motives and sanctions." The
words which we have italicised contain exactly the limitation which is
ignored by the philosopher who requires that the gods shall be patterns
of conduct, and administrators of an ethical world-order.  Plainly the
question is settled in different ways according to different standards
of what religion and morality mean.  If we are content to begin low
enough down, we may see reason to believe that in that stage of thought
in which religion, magic, and custom are so strangely intertwined,
morality is also not wanting.  Even the Fijian, who called some of his
gods by hideous names, such as "the Rioter," "the Brain-eater," "the
Murderer," regarded theft, adultery, and such offences, as serious.

The difficulty of broad general statements lies in the imperfection of
our knowledge.  Again and again closer observation has revealed quite
unexpected secrets.  Whole ranges of belief, feeling, action, formerly
concealed from observation, have been brought to light.  Thus about
twenty years ago Major Ellis, writing of the Ewe, Tshi, and Yoruba
peoples on the Gold Coast, laid it down that "religion at the stage of
growth at which we find it among these three groups of tribes, has no
connection with morals, or the relations of men to one another."  But
the German missionary, Jakob Spieth, now tells us (1911) that among the
Ewe-speaking folk not only does Mother Earth punish with death those
who have sworn {198} falsely, but Mawu, God, who knows the thoughts and
hearts of men, who is the giver of everything good upon the earth--very
patient and never angry--will not allow one brother to deceive another,
or suffer the king to judge unrighteously, or permit one to burn
another's house down.  Morality here is more than rudimentary; the
justice of man is put under the guardianship of God, who requires
"truth in the inward parts."  Another West African observer, Major
Leonard, on the Lower Niger, describes religion as intermingled with
the whole social system of the tribes under his view.  It supplies the
principle on which their law is dispensed and morality adjudicated.
The entire organisation of their common life is so interwoven with it
that they cannot get away from it.  Like the Hindus, "they eat
religiously, drink religiously, bathe religiously, dress religiously,
and sin religiously."

The beginnings of morality can no more be discovered historically than
the beginnings of religion.  Language, in various nations, implies that
it springs out of custom.  The foundation of practical ethics, whatever
may be the ultimate interpretation of such terms as duty and conscience
in more advanced cultures, lies in social usage.  When any custom is
established with sufficient strength to serve as a rule demanding
observance, so that its breach evokes some feeling, the seed of morals
is already germinating.  No group however small, no society however
crude, can cohere {199} without some such customs.  They may be formed
in various ways; they are strengthened by habitual repetition; they
acquire the sanction of the past, they are usually referred, when men
have begun to ask how they came into being--just as they ask about
their own origin--to some great First Man, or some superhuman
personality in the realm above (p. 171).  But always there are some
things allowable, and others forbidden: some things may (or even must)
be done, others may not.

When custom has gained this power, it carries with it an element of
control.  Impulse must not be inconsiderately indulged, it must be
governed.  Private interests must be subordinated to a rule, and
conduct conformed to a standard of behaviour.  In the ruder culture,
where the supply of food is of urgent importance, such rules gather
around the produce of the chase or of the ground.  Among the Australian
Kurnai, for example, all game caught by the men, all roots or fruits
collected by the women, must be shared with others according to
definite arrangements.  Methodic distribution is obligatory, and
self-denial in sharing and eating is thus impressed upon the young.
Moreover certain varieties of food are strictly forbidden to women,
children, and boys before initiation.

Prohibitions of this kind, extending over many branches of conduct, are
found all over the world.  They are often designated by a {200} term in
use in Polynesia, taboo (_tabu_ or _tapu_).  Their origin has been much
disputed, owing to the extraordinary complexity of the circumstances
with which they are concerned.  Taboo contains emphatically an element
of mystery.  It comes out of a vague dim background, and implies that
some strange power will be set in perilous operation if a certain thing
is done.  Such a power, obscure, indefinite, not personalised, but
mightier than men, has been recognised at the base of religion under
another term, the Melanesian _mana_ (p. 80).  Taboo has been
accordingly described as a negative _mana_.  It is a prohibition
against calling the weird uncanny force into the open, where it may do
unexpected hurt.

The objects and actions placed under such taboos are various; and it is
for the anthropologist and the psychologist, if they can, to discover
their origin and application in each particular case.  They involve
ideas of purity and defilement, the holy and the common, the clean and
the unclean.  They gather in particular round blood, which rouses in
some animals as in many human beings an instinctive aversion and
disgust, and yet is at the same time sacred as a seat of life.  They
enter at the great crises of existence, birth and death; the mother,
and perhaps also the new-born child, are unclean, and must be purified;
the corpse defiles whoever touches it.  They attend the sexual
processes, which are the occasion of releasing dangerous {201}
energies.  So they affect people as well as things.  The king is
charged with this mysterious force, and is hedged round with taboos
lest it should suddenly burst forth against the intruder on his
sanctity.  The chief, the priest, possess it in less degree.  And it is
transmitted to what belongs to them.  Their weapons, their food and,
above all, their persons, are sacred.  The oft-quoted story of the
Maori may still be repeated here: it is not the only case of the kind.
Strong and stalwart, he found some food beside the path, and ate it.
He learned shortly afterwards that it was the remains of the king's
meal.  He had violated a royal taboo.  The secret power had him in its
grasp: he was speedily seized with cramp in the stomach, and in a few
hours died.

Ritual religions are full of survivals of such taboos.  "O Maker of the
material world," inquires Zarathustra of Ahura Mazda, "can he be clean
again who has eaten of the carcass of a dog, or the corpse of a man?"
In ancient Israel various foods were forbidden by religious law; the
priest might not touch a dead body; when a murder had been committed
and the murderer could not be found, the elders of the city must
solemnly purify the ground which unpunished bloodshed had defiled.
Early Roman religion contained many such prohibitions; from certain
sacrifices women and strangers and fettered criminals must withdraw;
there are traces of taboo on {202} iron and shoe-leather, on burial
grounds and spots where thunder-bolts were supposed to have fallen, and
on certain days, especially those connected with the cult of the dead.
Such taboos still play a great part in savage society, and exert no
little moral force in preserving honesty and order.  In Samoa, observed
Turner, objects placed under taboo are perfectly safe; they are in no
danger of theft.  Primitive morality is thus brought under the sanction
of religion.

All over the world, as we have seen (p. 161), the young receive a very
severe training in preparation for their entry into the full privileges
and duties of the tribe.  They are then instructed in the traditional
rules of conduct, the proper abstinences, the right behaviour of the
sexes.  Such ceremonies are recognised as of great importance in
communities of the simplest form without political control, for it is
through them that the social ties of tribal kinship gain coherence and
strength.  Various observers have testified to the consideration
displayed in Australia, for instance, towards the aged, the sick, and
the infirm.  The blind are often carefully tended, and the best fed.
"As a matter of fact," says Mr. Marett, "the earlier and more
democratic types of primitive society, uncontaminated by our
civilisation, do not present many features to which the modern
conscience can take exception; but display rather the edifying
spectacle of religious {203} brotherhoods encouraging themselves by
mystical communion to common effort."

In West Africa Miss Kingsley noted the close connection in negro
communities between religion and life.  To get through day or night a
man must be right in the religious point of view; he must be on working
terms with the great world of spirits round him.  In spite of much
make-believe the secret societies in which the men are enlisted under
solemn oaths, are recognised as important moral agencies.  The Ukuku,
recently described by Dr. Nassau, could settle tribal quarrels, and
proclaim or enforce peace, when no individual chief or king could end
the strife.  Such organisations regulate marriage laws, the duties of
parents and children, the privileges of eldership, the recognition of
age and worth.  The entry into them lies through the rites of religion.

"I have studied these societies," wrote Miss Kingsley; "I am in
possession of fairly complete knowledge of three of them.  I know men
acquainted with ten other societies, and their information is
practically the same as my own, viz. that those rites consist in a
series of oath-takings as you pass from grade to grade ... Each grade
gives him a certain amount of instruction in the native law.  Each
grade gives him a certain function in carrying out the law.  And
finally, when he has passed through all the grades, which few men do,
when he has sworn the greatest oath {204} of all, when he knows all the
society's heart's secret, that secret is 'I am I,' the one Word.  The
teaching of that Word is law, order, justice, morality.  Why the one
Word teaches it, the man does not know.  But he knows two things: one
that there is a law-god, and the other that, so says the wisdom of our
ancestors, his will must be worked or evil will come.  So in his
generation he works to keep the young people straight."


Taboos may be violated unconsciously, and tribal laws may be
transgressed sometimes intentionally, sometimes by accident.  The
resulting guilt must be removed, if the offender or the community is
not to incur the wrath of the affronted Powers.  Sin, like holiness,
has this peculiar property that it can be communicated by contact.
Savage morality does not always rise above the confusion between the
physical and the mental.  Evil qualities such as uncleanness can be
transferred from persons to things, just as from things to persons.
Pains and diseases can be extracted from the sufferer, and magically
sent into animals or objects which can be driven away or destroyed; and
moral evil can be similarly removed.  When an Atkhan of the Aleutian
Islands had committed a serious offence and desired to unburden
himself, he chose a time when the sun was clear, picked up certain
weeds, and carried them about his person.  After they were thus
sufficiently impregnated by contact {205} with him, he laid them down,
called the sun to witness, cast his sins upon them, and threw them into
the fire.  The consuming flame burned away his guilt.

The Peruvian made his confession to the sun, and then bathed in an
adjoining river.  There he rid himself of his iniquity, saying "O thou
river, receive the sins I have this day confessed to the sun, carry
them down to the sea, and let them never more appear."  The oldest and
the most recent rituals repeat the same idea in various forms.  In one
of the Vedic ceremonials of sacrifice, the sacrificer and his wife
towards the close bathed and washed each other's backs.  Then having
wrapped themselves in fresh garments, they stepped forth, and we read:
"Even as a snake casts its skin, so does he cast away all his sin.
There is in him not so much sin as there is in a toothless child."
Water was likewise employed in Babylonia, where the incantation ran, "I
have washed my hands, I have cleansed my body with pure spring water
which is in the town of Eridu.  All evil, all that is not good, in my
body, my flesh, my limbs, begone!"  Or, "By the wisdom of thy holy name
let the sin and the ban which were created for man's misery be removed,
destroyed, and driven away."

Like physical evil such as disease, so moral evil might be attributed
to the action of spirits, and periodic ceremonies might be performed
for purging the community by driving them {206} out.  Sometimes the
sins were buried in the ground; sometimes they were thrown into the
river; sometimes they were concentrated on a person or an animal; or
were magically expelled under the sanction of religion into some object
which could be destroyed.  In the annual celebration of the Thargelia
at Athens, in the month of May, under the solemn sanction of Apollo,
two "purifying men" were led through the streets to be whipped with
rods, and then driven over the border of the state, bearing the
people's sins.  The Levitical ritual (Lev. xvi) incorporated at a late
date a solemn ceremony on the tenth day of the first month of the
ancient religious year (in September), when an act of atonement was
performed for the whole nation.  Two goats were brought into the
sanctuary, and lots were cast upon them.  One was dedicated to Yahweh,
over the other the high priest confessed the iniquities of the children
of Israel; and by the laying on of hands he transferred them to the
head of the doomed animal, which was then led forth into the wilderness
for a mysterious power of evil, Azazel.  As the temporary adjuncts of
so much guilt, the high priest and the goat-leader were required to
purify themselves afterwards by bathing; the high priest must change
his robes, and the goat-leader wash his clothes.

So in modern times in Nigeria the town sins are annually laid on some
unhappy slave-girl, perhaps selected some time before.  As she {207} is
led through the street the householders come forth and discharge the
year's accumulated evil on her; then she is dragged to the river,
bound, and left to drown.  Japan is satisfied without a life.  The
ancient ritual of purification shows that in the early centuries of the
national history a public ceremony was occasionally performed.  In the
revival of Shinto usage which marked the late reign, it was re-enacted
by imperial decree in 1872 for half-yearly celebration on June 30 and
December 31, at all Shinto shrines.  Four or five days before these
dates the believer was enjoined to procure from his priest a piece of
white paper cut in the shape of a garment.  On this he was to write his
name and sex, with the year and month of his birth; then he must rub it
over his body, and finally breathe on it.  His sins would thus be
transferred to the paper robe, which was to be taken back to the
priest.  Offerings of food and purifying ceremonies would complete the
believer's release.  The paper garments with their load of guilt were
then to be packed in cases which were to be put in boats, rowed out to
sea, and committed to the deep.  There they would be carried to the
great Sea Plain by the Maiden of Descent-into-the-Current, who would
convey them to the Maiden of the Swift Opening, dwelling in the Eight
Hundred Meetings of the Brine of the Eight Brine Currents.  She would
swallow them down with a gurgling sound, and the {208} Lord of the
Breath-blowing Place would finally blow them away into the
Root-Country, the bottom apparently of the under-world!


The relation of morality to religion tends to become more definite
along different lines of thought, which are constantly intertwined, and
of which three are only isolated here for the purpose of the briefest
possible illustration of the forms in which they have appeared
historically.  In the first place, the world may be regarded as a scene
in which rival powers of help and hurt are engaged in constant
conflict; and the physical dualism thus exhibited may be reproduced in
the sphere of morals as a contest between powers of good and evil.
Secondly, the course of nature may be viewed as a world-order, where
seasonal uniformities are the manifestation of a permanent principle of
harmony which is the guide of human conduct, and the vicissitudes of
daily or annual experience are interpreted as the judgments of heaven
on man's doings, national or personal.  And thirdly, the development of
the individual conscience may surmount the confusion which ranks ritual
offences along with moral transgressions, and the ethical life may be
set wholly free from ceremonial bondage, and carried up into the realm
of spirit.

The lower culture all over the world ascribes disease or accident,
madness, calamity, and death, to the agency of hostile powers lying
{209} in wait for man, and breaking in on his security.  The violences
of the elements, the hurricane, the flood, the earthquake, the volcanic
eruption, are in the same way the work of giants towering in might
above the common herd of the demons of air, water, or earth.  The
spirits of the evil dead, especially of powerful magic-men, Shamans,
and the like, of malicious character, are potent for sickness and
disaster.  But in their unorganised ranks there is no controlling or
directing force.  Here and there some figure or group emerges into
prominence.  At the head of the demonic hosts of Babylonian mythology
is a band of seven ruling spirits, perhaps the windy counterparts of
the sun and moon and the five planets.  In Egyptian story Set (or by
his Greek name Typhon) is the evil opposite of the good Osiris whom he
does to death; or it is the sun himself who is attacked in his nightly
journey by the serpent Apap with his monstrous crew.  Scandinavian
mythology was full of these conflicts.  The oppositions of light and
darkness, storm and calm, warmth and cold, were felt with unusual
vehemence.  Over the motley multitude of powers infesting forest and
field, the wind and the water, rose the giants of mountain and
cataract, the furious blast, the curdling frost.  The giants of the
frost were evil powers, like the wolf Fenris, and the serpent Nidhogg,
who lay beneath one of the roots of the mighty cosmic tree (in
Niflheim, {210} a second being among the frost-giants, and a third
among the gods), for ever gnawing till the great world's end.  Above
them rose the dread goddess Hel, the "hollow," once, apparently, the
name of the grave, and then of the power that ruled the gloomy
underworld, the abode of those who had not fallen upon the
battle-field.  She, in her turn, was subordinated to Loki, once
reckoned among the gods, capricious and tricky, who becomes the father
of Hel, the wolf Fenris, and the Midgard snake, and leads the forces of
evil for the destruction of the world.  He compasses the death of
Balder the fair, Odin perishes by the wolf, and Thor by the serpent;
though god and wolf and serpent in their turn sink in common ruin.  But
the powers engaged in the strife are all superhuman; man has no share
in the warfare, save when the warriors pass at death into the abode of
the gods, and take their place beside them in the final conflict.  Loki
is no Devil, he does not tempt, or interfere with the children of
earth; he does not affect their present conduct or future destiny.

The oppositions of light and darkness belong to every zone all round
the world, and were perhaps most strongly felt among the Indo-Iranian
branches of the great Aryan family.  The name _deva_ in ancient Indian
mythology denotes the shining powers of the upper world, the radiant
dwellers in the sky.  In contrast with it stands another, the {211}
_asura_, once a title of high honour, for it clung even to Varuna, but
later degraded to the designation of demonic beings, who appear again
and again in contest with the devas for the precious drink of
immortality.  So the realm of darkness is the realm of evil.  Into the
pit of darkness are the wicked thrust: and when right and wrong are
presented under the forms of truth and falsehood, and untruth is
identified with gloom, the poet reached the natural symbolism--"Light
is heaven, they say, and darkness hell."

It was, however, among the cognate Iranian people that this antithesis
acquired the greatest force, under the influence of the prophet
Zarathustra.  By a curious historic-religious process which cannot here
be traced, the terms of the opposing forces were reversed.  _Ahura_ (=
_asura_) remained the name of the Supreme Power, with the addition of
the term _Mazda_, "all-knowing," and the _daevas_ (= _devas_) became
the evil multitude.  In the oldest part of the Zend Avesta Ahura
appears as the sole Creator, the God of light and purity and truth, who
dwells on high in the Abode of Song.  Beside him is his Good Mind, and
the Holy (or beneficent, gracious) Spirit.  But opposed to him in the
realm of darkness beneath is "the Lie" (_drug_), with its correlates
the Bad Mind and the Evil Spirit (_Añra Mainyu_, not yet a proper
name).  The world between is the scene of continuous struggle, and in
this conflict man is called to take his {212} part.  Ritual purity,
appropriate sacrifice, and personal righteousness in thought, word, and
deed, are his weapons in the fight.  By these he helps to establish the
sovereignty of Ahura, and to curtail the power of "the Lie."  The
earliest representations offer no account of the origin of the Drug any
more than of Ahura himself.  But later speculation, impressed with the
contrasting elements of human life, began to ascribe to him, too, under
the name of Ahriman (Añra Mainyu), creative power; all noxious animals
and plants were due to him; plague and disease came from his hands; all
agencies of cold, darkness, and destruction were his work; he was the
_daeva_ of _daevas_, Lord of death, and author of temptation.  And
finally, in the long process of thought the two powers of good and evil
had both issued from a still higher unity, Zervan Akarana, Time without
bound.  But long ere this the Persian character had responded to
Zarathustra's teaching of warfare against "the Lie"; and Herodotus
bears testimony to their repute for loyalty to truth.  For from the
earliest days the dualism of Zarathustra bound together morality and
religion in the closest alliance.  How the great demand for the
ultimate victory of good was to be justified will be seen hereafter (p.
247).

A second group of figures embodying the same idea of the connection of
morality with religion is found in the various impersonations {213} of
the Order of Nature and its correlate in Law in the world without and
the heart within.  The speculations of the early Greek philosophers in
their attempts to reach an ultimate Unity behind all the diversities of
appearance familiarised the higher minds with the idea of the harmony
of the cosmos.  "Law," sang Pindar, "is king of all, both mortals and
immortals."  And this sovereign order is represented mythologically by
Themis, whom Hesiod exalts to be the daughter of Heaven and Earth, and
bride of Zeus.  Pindar pictured her as borne in a golden car from the
primeval Ocean, the source of all, up to the sacred height of Olympus,
to be the consort of Zeus the Preserver.  But though she is thus the
spouse of the sovereign of the sky, she is in another aspect identified
with Earth, scene of fixed rules both in nature and social life, for
with the cultus of the earth were associated not only the operations of
agriculture, but the rites and duties of marriage, and the maintenance
of the family.  So Themis is the mother of the seasons in the annual
round, and the sequences of blossom and fruit are her work; but among
her daughters are also Fair Order, Justice, and Peace, and the world
and the State thus reflect obedience to a universal Law.

Behind Greece lay Egypt, where tradition said that Thales, first of
Greeks to philosophise, had studied.  When the soul of the dead man was
brought to the test of the balance (p. 8), {214} he was supported by
the goddesses of Maāt or Truth.  Derived from the root _mā_, "to
stretch out," this name covered the ideas of rectitude or right, and
Maāt was the splendid impersonation of order, law, justice, truth,
in both the physical and moral spheres.  She is the daughter--or even
the eye--of the Sun-god Rê.  But she is conceived in still more exalted
fashion as the sovereign of all realms, and is elevated above all
relationships.  She is Lady of heaven, and Queen of earth, and even
Lady of the Land of the West, the mysterious dwellings of the dead.  In
one aspect she serves each of the great gods as her lord and master; in
another she knows no lord or master.  So it is by her that the gods
live; she is, as it were, the law of their being; alike for sun and
moon, for days and hours, in the visible world, and for the divine king
at the head of his people.  She is solemnly offered by the sovereign to
his god, and the deity responds by laying her in the heart of his
worshipper, to manifest her everlastingly before the gods.  Through the
court-phrases gleams the solemn idea that sovereignty on earth is no
law to itself; it must follow the ordinances of heaven.

Chinese insight early reached a similar thought.  Before the days of
Confucius or his elder contemporary Lao-Tsze, the wiser observers had
noted the uniformity of Nature's ways.  Were not Heaven and Earth the
nourishers of all things?  Did not Heaven pour {215} down all kinds of
influences upon the docile and receptive Earth?  Heaven was
all-observing, steadfast, impartial; and its "sincerity," seen in the
regular movements of the sun and moon, or the succession of the
seasons, becomes for the moralist the groundwork of the social order.
This daily course is called Heaven's way or path, the _Tao_ (the
highway as distinguished from by-tracks), which with unvarying energy
maintains the scene of our existence, and provides the norm or pattern
for our conduct.  In the hands of Lao-Tsze this became the symbol of a
great philosophical conception.  Behind the visible path which all
could see lay the hidden Tao, untrodden and enduring.  Here was the
eternal source of all things, for ever streaming forth in orderly
succession, but never vaunting itself or inviting attention by
outbursts of display.  It was the type for man to follow; the sage,
like Heaven, must have no personal ends; he must act, like the great
exemplar, without meddling interference, leaving his nature to fulfil
itself; let him renounce ambition and cultivate humility; only one who
has "forgotten himself" can become identified with Heaven.  "Can
you"--so Lao-Tsze was said to have asked an inquirer six hundred years
before Jesus taught in Galilee--"Can you become a little child?"

The Vedic seers were hardly less impressed with the sense of an orderly
control in contemplating the energies around them.  Four {216} words
are used to denote the institutes or ordinances, the fixed norms or
standards, the solemn laws, and the steadfast path, according to which
the rivers flow, the dawn comes forth after the night, the sun
traverses the sky, and even the storm winds begin to blow.  Of these
the last named, the _Rita_ (with its Zend equivalent _Asha_), the
ordered course along which all things move, presents the least
abstract, the most mythical form.  For here is that which exists before
heaven and earth; they are born of it, or even in it, and its domain is
the wide space.  From it, likewise, the gods proceed, and the lofty
pair, Mitra and Varuna, with Aditi and her train, are its protectors.
But through the mystical identity of the order of nature and the order
of sacrifice (p. 143), the cultus--whether on earth or in heaven--is
also its sphere.  Agni, the sacrificial fire, the dear house-priest, is
Rita-born, and by its aid carries the offerings to heaven.  Such, also,
is the sacred drink, the Soma, which is borne in the Rita's car, and
follows its ways.  And the heavenly sacrificers, the Fathers in the
radiant world above, have grown according to the Rita, for they know
and faithfully obey the law.  Thus it becomes the supreme expression of
morality, and is practically equivalent with _satya_, true (literally,
that which is), or good.  Heaven and Earth are _satya_, veracious, they
can be trusted; they are _ritāvan_, faithful to the Path, steadfast
in the Order.  Not less so is the {217} godly man; he, too, is
_ritāvan_ (Zend _ashavan_), the same word being used to denote
divine holiness and human piety.  And thus the life of gods and men,
the order of nature, the ritual of worship, and daily duty, were all
bound together in one principle.

Rita, however, did not establish itself as a permanent conception in
Indian theology.  Its place was taken by another idea, which still
sways the thought and rules the lives of hundreds of millions of
believers in India and the Far East, _Karma_, or the doctrine of the
Deed.  It is well known that this doctrine does not appear in the Vedic
hymns.  It is first discussed as a great mystery in the forest-sessions
where teachers and students met together, where kings could still
instruct Brahmans, and women might speak in debate.  In the Brahmana of
a Hundred Paths it is summed up in a maxim which was first formulated
in connection with ceremonial obligation, but came to have a much wider
application: "A man is born into the world that he has made"; to which
the Law-books added the warning: "The Deed does not perish."

Man is for ever making his own world.  Each act, each word, even each
thought, adds something to the spiritual fabric which he is perpetually
producing.  He cannot escape the results of his own conduct.  The
values for good or evil mount up from hour to hour, and their issues
must be fulfilled.  When this {218} conception was carried through the
universe, the whole sphere of animated existence was placed under its
sway.  The life of any single person upon earth was only an incident in
a chain of lives, stretching into the distant past as well as into the
immeasurable future.  His condition hereafter would be determined by
what he had done before he entered the state that would match his deed.
Then his condition here was also determined by what he had wrought in a
previous lot.  His personal qualities, his health and sickness, his
caste and rank, his wealth or poverty, all precisely matched some
elements in the moral product of his past.  These were, of course,
never all precisely of one kind.  They were of mingled good and evil,
and each of these would in course of time have its appropriate
consequence of joy and pain.  For every shade of guilt there was a
fitting punishment, exactly adjusted in severity and duration, either
in degradation and suffering upon earth, or in some one of numerous
hells below.  And similarly all good was sure of its reward, as
happiness and prosperity awaited it here, or were allotted in still
richer measure for their due periods in the heavens that rose tier
above tier beyond the sky.

The doctrine of Transmigration has appeared in various forms, in very
different cultures.  But nowhere has it swayed whole civilisations as
it has done in the East.  It has expressed for innumerable multitudes
the {219} essential bond of morals and religion.  There were not
wanting, indeed, teachers who criticised and rejected it when Gotama
the Buddha passed to and fro five hundred years before our era.  But
while he repudiated the authority of the Vedas, the ceremonies of
sacrifice, the claims of the Brahmans, and the immortality of the gods,
he retained the doctrine of Karma at the very core of the system of
ethical culture which he offered as the way out of the weary circle of
re-birth.  The whole meaning of the universe, its cosmic periods of
dissolution and evolution, was still moral; and the scene of our
existence came once more into being that the unexhausted potencies of
countless products of the Deed from the lowest hell to the topmost
heaven might realise their suspended energy.  And when Buddhism became
a religion through the interpretation of the person of its founder in
terms of the Absolute and Eternal, this law of the phenomenal world of
space and time remained beyond even his power to set aside or change.

The ethical element necessarily varies in richness of content and
intensity of feeling in different religions.  In the classifications
which have been from time to time proposed, attention has often been
fixed upon its presence as the marked characteristic of a group.  Thus
Prof. Tiele, of Leiden, proposed to treat the higher religions of
Revelation under two heads: (1) religions embodying a sacred {220} law,
and forming national communities, including Taoism, Confucianism,
Brahmanism, Jainism, Mazdaism, Mosaism, Judaism, and (2) universalistic
communions, Buddhism, Christianity, and to some extent Islam.  Another
writer forms a class of Morality-Religions above the savage
Nature-Religions, and reckons in it the religions of Mexico and Peru,
the earliest Babylonian (often called Akkadian), Egyptian, Chinese,
Hindu, Persian, German, Roman, Greek.  All such classifications are
exposed to many difficulties, but they at least bear witness to the
significance of the place which is occupied by morality in modern
estimates of the worth of great historic faiths.  The aspects of any
particular development are so manifold, that any attempt to establish a
scale of rank at once lays itself open to criticism.  Where, for
example, is Greece in Prof. Tiele's scheme?  It is thrown back into the
group of "half-ethical anthropomorphic polytheisms."  But in the hands
of poets and philosophers, the really shaping powers of Hellenic
culture, polytheism was left far behind, and on the third of the
questions suggested above in considering the relations of morality and
religion (p. 208)--their attitude to ritual obligation--Greek official
teaching sometimes reached the loftiest heights.

For not only did philosophical and religious communities like the
Pythagoreans enunciate such maxims as these: "Purity of soul is the
{221} only divine service," or "God has no place on earth more akin to
his nature than the pure soul," but the oracle of Delphi itself was
supposed to have affirmed the worthlessness of ceremonial cleansing
without corresponding holiness of heart.  Dr. Farnell translates two
utterances ascribed to the Pythia as follows: "O stranger, if holy of
soul, enter the shrine of the holy God, having but touched the lustral
water: lustration is an easy matter for the good; but all ocean with
its streams cannot cleanse the evil man"; and again: "The temples of
the gods are open to all good men, nor is there any need of
purification; no stain can ever cleave to virtue.  But depart,
whosoever is baneful at heart; for thy soul will never be washed by the
cleansing of the body."  Over the sanctuary of Æsculapius at Epidaurus,
where so many sufferers thronged for cure (p. 180), ran the inscription
quoted by Porphyry--

  "Into an odorous temple he who goes
  Should pure and holy be; but to be wise
  In what makes holiness is to be pure."


The religion of Zarathustra, on the other hand, did not maintain its
primitive elevation.  The prophet's Gāthās (p. 191) summoned the
believer to live in the fellowship of the Good Mind and in obedience to
the Most Excellent Order (_Asha vahista_), and the later Avesta seems
sometimes to repeat their high demand: {222} "Purity is for man, next
to life, the greatest good; that purity that is procured by the law of
Mazda to him who cleanses his own self with good thoughts, words, and
deeds."  It is the utterance of Ahura himself.  But purity may be
interpreted in very different ways: the lad who walks about over
fifteen years of age without the sacred girdle and sacred shirt, has no
forgiveness, for he has "power to destroy the world of the holy
spirit"; while, on the other hand, to pull down the scaffold on which
corpses had been deposited (the Persians employed neither burial nor
cremation) was to destroy a centre of impure contagion, and secure
pardon for all sins.

When Moses established the administration of justice at the sanctuary
of Yahweh, he planted a powerful ethical influence in the heart of the
religion of Israel.  No reader of the Old Testament needs to be
reminded of the prophetic rebukes of a monarch's crimes.  Nathan and
David, Elijah and Ahab, have become universal types.  The history of
Hebrew ethics shows how the conception of morality gradually passed
from the regulation of external conduct into the inner sphere of
thought; and the offender was no longer regarded merely as a member of
a tribe or nation on which punishment might alight collectively; he
stood in an immediate relation to his God.  Primitive imagination could
rest content with supposing that sin had first entered the world
through the {223} subtlety of a talking snake.  Later thought found
such a solution inadequate to enlarged moral experience.  In the figure
of the Adversary or the Opposer, the Sâtân, first traceable in Israel's
literature after the Captivity, Judaism admitted a moral dualism
analogous to the opposition between Ahura Mazda and Añra Mainyu.  The
Sâtân had, indeed, no creative power, though hordes of demons were
under his sway in the abyss, and were sent forth to do the desolating
work of madness and disease.  But he was the head of a realm of evil
over against the sovereignty of God; and the intensity of the moral
consciousness of sin was reflected in the mythologic form of his
warfare against the hosts of heaven.

Along a quite different line of thought, which may possibly have been
stimulated from the Greek side, the humanists of later Israel
endeavoured to bring nature and social life under one common conception
of divine Wisdom.  The earlier prophecy had regarded the physical world
as plastic in Yahweh's hands, so that its events--such as drought or
flood, the locust and the blight, could be made the immediate
instruments of Israel's discipline.  A wider culture brought new ideas.
There were statutes and ordinances for the cosmic powers just as there
were for communities of man.  The universe was the product of the
divine thought, and the same agency was seen in the structure and {224}
organisation of human societies.  The order of the visible scene was
due to the presence and control of Wisdom, which from the first had sat
as a kind of assessor by Yahweh's side.  The moral order was no less
her work; she gave the sanction to all authority and rule; "By me kings
reign," cries the poet in her name, "and princes decree justice"; and
the men of humble heart know that their piety, "the fear of the Lord,"
is her gift, and links them in joyous fellowship with the stars on high.

That Mosaism started with a vigorous moral conception of the divine
demands, however limited might be its early scope, is generally
recognised.  The gradual settlement of the immigrant tribes in the land
of Canaan, the appropriation of Canaanite sanctuaries, and the adoption
of their festivals and ritual, brought new influences which threatened
the ancient simplicity.  The voices of Hebrew prophecy rang out at
Jerusalem ere Greek thought had begun to move.  It was a singular
result in Israel's history that the great truths of the unity and
spirituality and holiness of God, which prophecy had won out of
impassioned experience, were confided for their preservation to a code
of Priestly Law which raised the elements of ritual and sacerdotal
caste to their highest significance in the nation's life.  But the law
which declared sacrifice to be legitimate only on one altar, made room
for a new development of Israel's religion.  If {225} the ancient faith
was to be maintained by a race that spread from Babylon to Rome, it
must adapt its worship to new conditions.  There could be but one
temple; but a meeting-house could be built anywhere; and the Synagogue
thus became the birthplace of the congregations of the Christian Church.



{226}

CHAPTER VIII

PROBLEMS OF LIFE AND DESTINY

"If a man die, shall he live again?"  The question is as old as the
Book of Job, but the affirmative answer is much older.  The earliest
human remains in Europe imply some provision for the dead, and it did
not occur to the peoples of the lower culture all over the world to
doubt the reality of some kind of continued existence.  Did not the
living still see them in their dreams (p. 86)?

But this life might be conceived in an infinite variety ol forms.
Where was it passed? under what conditions? what would be its
privileges and its requirements? how long would it last?  To these and
a hundred other questions no uniform answers have been returned; and
numerous as are the stories of visits to the other world, there is
little agreement as to its place, its scenery, its occupations, its
society, its government, its duties, its punishments, or its rewards.
Yet no field of human imagination reflects more clearly the stage of
social and moral development which creates it.  Into his pictures of
the future man has persistently woven his {227} criticism of the
present.  But the tenacity of usage and convention in everything
affecting the dead has sometimes detained belief at a much lower level
than the general progress of ethical feeling might otherwise have
suggested.  Religious thought does not always move forwards with equal
speed over all the relations and possibilities of life.

The logic of the treatment of the dead is full of gaps and
inconsistencies.  The same people will perform rites which rest upon
quite different theories; customs have run together in strange
incoherence.  This may be sometimes due to the necessity for making
provision for different elements in the person which were united while
on earth.  The wealthy Egyptian required an elaborate home in the tomb
for his double or _ka_, while his _ba_ started on its perilous journey
through the mysterious regions of the world of the dead.  From the
ethical point of view, however, which chiefly concerns the student of
comparative religion, the doctrine of the next life falls into two main
divisions, as Burton and Tylor pointed out more than a generation
ago--theories of continuance, and theories of retribution.  They are
connected by many intermediate stages of transition, and they range all
the way from the crudest conceptions of prolonged existence in the
grave, up to exalted solemnities of judgment, of doom, and of the
fellowship of heaven.

When a man dies, where will his spirit dwell?  {228} Perhaps it will
pass into some animal, a bear, a walrus, or a beautiful bird.  Perhaps
it will haunt his old home.  In that case it were well that he should
not die where he has lived; let him be carried into the open air as
death approaches, or laid in the loneliness of the woods.  The Eskimo
of Greenland build a small snow hut, the entrance of which is closed as
death approaches that the inmate may pass away alone.  Dr. Franz Boas
relates that a young girl once sent for him from such a lodging a few
hours before her end, to ask for some tobacco and bread, that she might
take them to her mother who had died only a few weeks before.  Or the
connection between the dead man and his former dwelling may be severed
by burning down the hut and forsaking the locality, even though (as
among the Sakais of the Malay peninsula) the coming crop of tapioca or
sugar-cane should be lost by departure.  Or strong measures may be
taken with the corpse by thrashing it to hasten the ejection of the
soul; the walls of the death-chamber may be beaten with sticks to drive
it away; or a professional functionary may be invoked with his broom to
sweep it out.  And when the body has been carried forth, precautions
must be taken to prevent the spirit from finding its way back, and
barriers erected against its return.  Only occasionally, as in ancient
Athens, was burial permitted in the house, where the venerated dead
could still protect and bless those whom they loved.

{229}

The tomb was sometimes constructed to resemble the home and admit the
members of the family together.  Under the cliffs of Orvieto is an
Etruscan city of the dead, where the stone houses (usually with two
rooms) stand side by side in streets.  The prehistoric gravemounds of
Scandinavia have disclosed sepulchral burial chambers, entered by a
gallery or passage, divided by large slabs of granite into alcoves or
stalls, round which the dead were seated.  Just so does the Eskimo of
the present day arrange his dwelling.  Those who had lived in caves and
left their dead there, retained the usage long after they had learned
to construct tents or build houses for themselves.  The chief was
carried to the hills, as the barrows on our own moors show, or to the
mountain top, where his spirit blended perhaps with the spirit of the
place and lent an additional awe to the heights; or to secure him from
disturbance, as the Spanish observers noted in Columbia (S. America), a
river was diverted from its course, his grave was made in its bed, and
the waters, restored to their former channel, kept the secret safe.

The dream experience only provides the world of the dead with scenery
and occupations resembling those of common life, with more rapidity of
change and mysterious ease of transformation.  But when tribes have
migrated from one locality to another,--and in the vast reaches of
prehistoric time such movements were incessant though {230} slow--the
various forces of association in memory, dreaming, and tradition, would
connect the dead with the places of the past.  Sometimes the course of
travel might have lain through mountain passes, or across a river, or
from beyond the sea.  A journey, or a voyage was thus
suggested--Samoans said of a chief that he had "sailed"; to reach the
abode of the dead might need days of travel; so shoes as well as food
(p. 138) must be provided, and the fires, first kindled for the warmth
of the dweller in the grave below, were continued to light him on his
way.  On solar analogies, such as may be found in both hemispheres, the
homes of the departed were often assigned to the East or West.

The brotherhood of sleep and death has always been recognised, and we
still call our graveyards "cemeteries," or sleeping-places.  The
ancient Israelite said of his dead that he "slept with his fathers."
Earth burial suggested a locality beneath the ground, vast and gloomy
like some huge cave.  The Mesopotamian thought of it as a city, ringed
with seven walls; and even the Hebrew who pictured the underworld,
Sheol, as a gigantic pit, sometimes imagined it to be approached
through gates.  There lay the nerveless feeble forms of the mighty ones
of earth.  The separate nations had their several stations allotted to
them, where ghostly warriors lay dark and silent with their ghostly
swords around the ghostly thrones of ghostly kings.  {231} The entry of
a new comer from Babylon awoke a ghostly wonder, and ghostly voices
greeted him from the dead.  It is a strange contrast with the pageantry
of the skies, where various races, from the Australians to the Hindus
and the Greeks have seen their forefathers looking down on them as
stars.  So inveterate is this belief that it was found necessary to
obtain a certificate from the Astronomer Royal to refute the rumour
that on the night on which Browning died a new star appeared in the
constellation of Orion.  The Milky Way could thus be interpreted as the
path of Souls, and the Aurora Borealis resolved into the Dance of the
Dead.

The transfer of souls through death from one kind of life to another
does not necessarily involve any moral change.  The relations of earth
are resumed in the new scene.  The ancient Celts who placed letters to
their friends on the pyre of a dead relative, or even expected to
receive in the next world the repayment of loans in this, conceived
existence hereafter on the same plane as the present, like the modern
Chinaman who celebrates the wedding of his spirit-son with the
spirit-daughter of a suitable friend, and thus brings peace to a
tormented house.  The spirit-land of Ibo on the lower Niger had its
rivers and forests, its hills, and towns, and roads, below the ground
like those above, only more gloomy.  In Tuonela, the land of the dead,
Finnic imagination pictured rivers of black water, {232} with
boisterous waterfalls and dangerous whirlpools, forests full of wild
beasts, and fields of grain which provided the death-worm with his
teeth; but it is still homely enough for Wainamoinen to find the
daughter of its ruler, Tuoni, god of death, busy with her washing.  The
dead of the Mordvinians, a group of Ural-Altaic origin in the heart of
Russia, are believed to marry and beget children as on earth.  Such
conceptions naturally resulted in a continuity of occupation, rank, and
service.  The Spanish historian, Herrera, relates that in Mexico "every
great man had a priest or chaplain to perform the ceremonies of his
house, and when he died the chaplain was called to serve him in the
same manner, and so were his master of the household, his cup-bearer,
his dwarf, the deformed people he kept, and the brothers that had
served him, for they looked upon it as a piece of grandeur to be served
by them, and said they were going to keep house in the other world."
Yet in Mexico, as will be seen immediately, the differentiation of the
future lot had already begun.

The chief is usually sure of admission into high society in the next
world.  The Maori paradise was a paradise of the aristocracy; heroes
and men of lofty lineage went to the skies.  But common souls, in
passing from one division to another of the New Zealand Hades, lost a
little of their vitality each time, until at last they died outright.
Polynesian fancy {233} sometimes mingled the seen and the unseen in
strange juxtaposition.  The Fijian route to the world beyond, Mbulu,
lay through a real town with ordinary inhabitants.  But it had also an
invisible portion, where dwelt the family of Samuyalo who held inquest
on departed spirits.  If this trial was surmounted, a second judgment
awaited them at the hands of Ndengei, by which they were assigned to
one or other of the divisions of the underworld.  A great chief who had
destroyed many towns and slain many in war, passed to Mburotu, where
amid pleasant glades the occupants lived in families and planted and
fought.  But bachelors, those who had killed no enemy, or would not
have their ears bored, women who refused to be tatooed, and generally
those who had not lived so as to please the gods, were doomed to
various forms of penal suffering and degradation.

Courage and daring are of immense social importance, and are among the
most important elements in primitive virtue.  Strength, valour, skill
in war and hunting, lift men into leadership, and the pre-eminence won
here is retained hereafter.  But these qualities are not limited to
chiefs.  The happy land of the Greenlanders, Torngarsuk, received the
valiant workers, men who had taken many whales and seals, borne much
hardship, and been drowned at sea, and women who had died in
childbirth.  A mild and unwarlike tribe in Guatemala might be persuaded
that to die by any {234} other than a natural death was to forfeit all
hope of life hereafter, the bodies of the slain being left to the
vultures and wild beasts.  On the other hand, the Nicaraguan Aztecs
declared that the shades of those who died in their beds went downwards
till they came to nought; while those who fell in battle for their
country passed to the East, to the rising of the sun.

Such was the destiny, also, of the Mexican warriors, who daily climbed
to the zenith by the sun's side with shouts of joy, and there resigned
their charge to the celestial women, who had given their lives in
childbed.  Merchants, too, were in the procession, who had faced risk
and peril and died upon their journeys.  But this privilege tasted only
four years, when they became birds of beautiful plumage in the
celestial gardens.  In the far East, in the abode of Tlaloc, god of
waters, were those who had died by lightning or at sea, sufferers from
various diseases, and children who had been sacrificed to the
water-deities.  These last, after a happy time, were born again; the
rest passed in due course to the underworld of Mictlan in the far
north, "a most obscure land, where light cometh not, and whence none
can ever return."  There the rich were still rich, and the slaves still
slaves.  But their term was short.  Mictlan had nine divisions, and at
the end of the fourth year the spirit reached the ninth and ceased to
be.

{235}

This curious distribution has little moral significance, save for its
recognition of valour, as in the Teutonic welcome of the warrior into
Valhalla, or of social service, as in the case of those who give their
lives for the community, the merchant like the Greenland whaler, or the
mothers who did not survive their labour.  But the beginnings of
ethical discrimination sometimes present themselves in very much more
simply organised communities.  A rude social justice expresses itself
in the belief of the Kaupuis of Assam that a murdered man shall have
his murderer for his slave in the next life.  The Chippeways predict
that the souls of the wicked will be pursued by phantoms of the persons
they have injured; and horses and dogs which have been ill-treated will
torment their tormentors.  Murder, theft, lying, adultery, draw down a
singular chastisement in the Banks Islands.  The spirits of the dead
assemble on the road to Panoi, when each fresh comer is torn to pieces
and put together again.  Then the injured man has his chance.  He
seizes a part of the dismembered soul, so that it cannot be
reconstructed, or at least suffers permanent mutilation.  No judge
presides over the process, no law regulates it; punishment is still a
private affair.  But the entry into the new life is not unconditional.
The American Choctaws conceived their dead to journey to the east, till
they reached the summit of a hill.  There a long pine-trunk, {236}
smooth and slippery, stretched over the river of death below to the
next hill-top.  The just passed over safely and entered paradise, the
wicked fell off into the stream beneath.  It was a self-acting test,
which needed not the prior ordeal of the Avestan balance under Mithra
and Rashnu at the Chinvat bridge (p. 9).

Sometimes a new religious motive is more or less plainly apparent.
Even the rude Fijian award depended in some way on the satisfaction of
the gods.  The Tonga Islanders were more explicit; neglect of the gods
and failure to present due offerings would involve penalties hereafter.
The sun-worshipping people of Achalaque in Florida placed men of good
life and pious service and charity to the poor in the sky as stars,
while the wicked languished in misery among mountain precipices and
wild beasts.  Two centuries ago Bosnian heard some of the negroes on
the Guinea coast tell of a river in the heart of the land where they
would be asked by the divine judge if they had duly kept the holy days,
abstained from forbidden meats, and maintained their oaths inviolate,
and those who could not answer rightly would be drowned.  Such
anticipations really introduce a fresh principle.  Above the tribal
morality, the custom of the clan, rises an obligation of no obvious and
immediate use; even ritual practice, the observance of special seasons,
or of proper taboos, the offering of prescribed {237} sacrifice, may
create new standards of order in conformity with a higher will.  They
supply the groundwork on which the prophet may build the temple of the
ideal.

The ancient Semitic cultures formulated no general doctrine of
immortality in the higher sense of the word.  Faint traces of a hope of
resurrection appear here and there in Babylonian texts; but there is no
judgment beyond the grave; the chastisements of the gods arrive in this
life; and it is only occasionally that the fellowship of heaven becomes
the privilege of the great.  In Israel the higher prophecy from Amos
onward interprets "Yahweh's day" as a day of doom instead of victory;
but the divine judgment would alight on the whole people, and would be
realised in no future life but in some overwhelming national
catastrophe.  In Egypt the destiny of the dead was already
individualised.  Around it gathered the solemnities of the Osirian
judgment-seat (p. 8); the ritual and the ethical demands of the
forty-two assessors show the moral tests advancing through the
ceremonial.  The believer who passed safely through the ordeal of the
balance and was duly fortified with the proper spells, was mystically
identified with Osiris as the "justified," and different texts present
different types of future bliss.  He might find a home in the fields of
Ialu, where numerous servants answered to his call, and he feasted on
the magic corn.  Or a fresh form might be {238} provided for him, when
he was washed with pure water at the _meshken_ or place of new birth.
Mysterious transformations assimilated him with various gods; or he was
admitted on to the sun-bark among the worshippers of Rê, and fed on his
words.  But the guilty souls were subjected to unspeakable torments;
there were magistrates to measure the duration of those appointed for
extinction, and at the allotted time they were destroyed.

Egypt, thought Herodotus, had been the teacher of immortality to
Greece.  The statement is at least interesting as a sign that in the
traveller's view the Hellenic faith of his day possessed some analogies
with the Egyptian.  The ethical element in it, at any rate, was gaining
more and more force.  In Homer Hades, who is after all another form of
Zeus in the underworld, is sovereign, but not judge, of the nether
realm.  The Erinnyes, who are originally ghosts of the dead, inflict
their punishments mostly in the life of earth; only for broken oaths is
penalty imposed below; and Tartarus, in the lowest deep, is reserved
for the giant Titans who had challenged the majesty of heaven.  In the
stony asphodel meadow Achilles is but a shade among the rest; if
Menelaus is admitted to the Elysian plain, it is no superior valour but
aristocratic connection which wins him his place.  Rare is the allusion
to a judgment; the tribunal of Minos, son of {239} Zeus, may be the
moralising addition of some later bard.

But in the fifth century B.C. fresh influences are at work.  Pythagoras
has founded his communities, half philosophical, half religious.  The
higher thought has become markedly monotheistic, and Orphism with its
rude sacrament (p. 147) has helped to develop conceptions of fellowship
with deity which made new hopes for the future possible.  So Pindar,
nearest of kin among Greek poets to the prophetio voices of Israel,
emphasises the retributive government of God.  Man may be nothing more
than "a dream of a shadow," nevertheless he is not too insignificant to
escape the dooms of heaven upon his guilt, and if there is requital for
evil there are also happy islands for the blest.  The ethical leaven is
already powerfully at work.  The language of Cebes and Simmias in
Plato's dialogue of the _Phædo_ shows, however, that the belief was by
no means universal; and the beautiful sepulchral reliefs at Athens give
no hint of that august tribunal of Minos, Rhadamanthus and Æacus, which
Plato pictures as engaged in judging souls.

But the great mysteries of Eleusis certainly fostered the hope of
immortality.  The conviction grew stronger that the initiated would
have a happier lot in the life to come, so that Diogenes sarcastically
inquired whether an initiated robber would be better off than an
uninitiated honest man.  The inscriptions of {240} the last centuries
before our era show nothing like the consensus of feeling in an
Egyptian cemetery or a modern English graveyard.  The soul is piously
committed to the ether, or, if there be rewards in the realm below, is
confided to Persephonê; or it is reverently placed among the stars, in
the councils of the immortals, or in the home of the gods.  Such were
the popular conventions.  Philosophical speculation gathered round the
idea of transmigration, or pleaded for at least a continuance of
consciousness till the great conflagration which should end the world;
while Orphic religion held out the hope that the soul, entangled in
this earthly scene, might after long discipline rise once more to its
home with God.

The theories of continuance all assume that the world will go upon its
usual way.  Generation will follow generation in this life, but the
lower culture does not ask what will happen in the next.  It cannot
take big time-surveys, like the Egyptian "millions of years" or the
Hebrew "ages of ages."  The future will be like the present, as the
present has been like the past.  Imagination can conceive a beginning,
it does not at first advance to an end.  But the development of
astronomy in Babylonia, with the discovery of regular periodicities in
Nature, seems to have suggested the idea of a great World-Year, an
immense period beginning with creation, which would be brought to an
end by some {241} great catastrophe such as flood or fire.  The flood
had already taken place.  Traditions of it floated to India and Greece;
they were incorporated in ancient Hebrew story.  After another immense
revolution of time would there be a similar close?  There is some
evidence that this was part of Babylonian teaching in the days of
Berosus, in the middle of the third century B.C. (p. 39), but it has
not yet been discovered in the ancient cuneiform texts.  The next
agency of dissolution would be heat.  It was part of early Buddhist
speculation, and lodged itself in Indian thought; and from the days of
Pythagoras, in the sixth century B.C., it formed part of the Greek
philosophical outlook in different schools towards the "last things."
When the next periodic destruction took place, what would happen?
According to one answer the restoration of all things would set in, and
the entire cycle would be repeated over again.  Eudemus, a pupil of
Aristotle, is said to have observed in one of his lectures that if the
Pythagoreans were to be trusted, his audience would have the privilege
of hearing him again: "You will be sitting there in the same way, and I
shall be telling you my story, holding my little stick, and everything
else will go on the same."

This mechanical reproduction of a whole previous age down to its
minutest details did not, however, really engage the higher Greek
thought.  That was chiefly occupied with the {242} abiding contrast
between that which is and that which _appears_; how could the ultimate
Unity present itself in such infinite diversity? what was the relation
of the world of change and succession to the enduring substance that
lay behind?  In such questions man and his destiny had but a small
share.  Pindar might sing how "God accomplisheth all ends according to
his wish; God who overtaketh the winged eagle and outstrippeth the
dolphin of the sea, and layeth low many a mortal in his haughtiness,
while to others he giveth glory unspeakable: if any man expect that in
doing ought he shall be unseen of God, he erreth."  The tragedians
might wrestle with dark problems of crime and fate; and poetry and
philosophy might agree in presenting the world as the scene of a divine
thought, the manifestation of a divine energy.  Regularities, fixities,
invariable successions, pointed to a definite order, divinely
maintained.  But to what did it lead?  What place was there in it for
man?  His future might be moralised; the unethical Hades of Homer might
be replaced by the judgment-scenes of Plato; but no world-process is
suggested for the elimination of evil or the fulfilment of any divine
end.  Plato might throw out the hint that Delphi should become the
interpreter of religion to all mankind; the mysteries might be opened
to slave as well as freeman, and might even admit those who were not of
Hellenic race; but there were no prophet's {243} glimpses of a purpose
leading to some all-embracing goal.  Zeus orders all as he wills.
Individuals are punished, but the misdeeds, like the sufferings or
sorrows of man, are lost in the harmonious majesty of the Whole.

Indian thought, as has been already indicated, worked out a complete
identification of life with the moral order by means of the doctrine of
the Deed (p. 217).  The scheme of transmigration took up the earlier
ideas of the elder thinkers.  The Vedic poets had told of the land of
Yama, who was sometimes presented as the first man to die and enter the
heavenly world.  In one hymn he is associated with Varuna in the
highest heaven, where the pious live from age to age, and are sometimes
identified with the sun's rays or the stars.  There kindred were
gathered, and warriors and poets received their reward, and the devout
realised the object of their prayers; and Yama sat under a tree of
goodly leaves, drinking with the gods the life-giving soma-juice,
father and master of the house, tending the heavenly sires.  Deep below
was the dark pit for those who would not sacrifice to Indra, or
persecuted his worshippers.  There were fiends of various kinds to
torment the wicked, the untruthful, or the seducer.  But there are no
traces of any specific judgment, with definite awards of heaven and
hell.  In the later scheme of life founded on the conception of Karma
such a tribunal might seem unnecessary: the product of the past works
{244} out its own result.  But as Buddhist folklore shows, popular
theology required the pronouncement of a judge, and Yama took his place
as Lord of hell and King of Righteousness.

By what channels the doctrine of successive world-ages entered Hindu
religion cannot be definitely determined.  Early Buddhist teaching
assumes it as familiar, though it is not included in the prior
Brahmanical literature; and minutely describes the great conflagration
which will consume the universe through the heat engendered by the
appearance of seven suns.  Karma, however, could not be destroyed.  No
fire could burn it, nor could the other agencies of dissolution, like
water or wind, drown or disperse it.  It must proceed unerringly to its
results.  These might be for a time suspended, they could not be
frustrated for ever.  Their energies lay latent, waiting their
opportunity.  So a new world would arise to provide the means and the
field for their operation, and from age to age, through seasons of
dissolution and restoration, with intervals of incalculable time, the
endless process would fulfil its round.  This would be no literal
repetition.  The history of a new world-age would be quite fresh, for
the potencies of Karma were of infinite variety, and were for ever
being re-shaped, cancelled, or extended by the action of the new
personalities--divine, human, demonic--(reincarnation might also take
place in animal or plant)--in {245} which they were embodied.  But the
immense series led to nothing.  Buddhist imagination filled the
universe with worlds, each with its own systems of heaven and hell, and
projected æons upon æons into immeasurable time, but the sequence
pointed to no goal, for what could arrest the inexorable succession?
Was there any escape from its law?

To that question different answers were returned by different teachers.
The forest-sages had already pleaded for the recognition of the
identity of the self within the heart with the Universal Self (p. 60).
There was the path by which the phenomenal scene could be transcended,
and the soul brought into its true fellowship with the Infinite Being,
Intelligence, and Joy.  But inasmuch as this deliverance was only
realised by a few, and could not be self-wrought, it must be the result
of a divine election; they only could attain it whom the Self chose as
his own.  With its repudiation of all ontological ideas of soul, or
substance, or universal Self, early Buddhism threw the whole task of
achieving emancipation on the individual, who must himself win the
higher insight and discipline his character with no aid but that of the
Teacher and his example.  The passion for the salvation of the world
might generate an unexampled missionary activity, transcending all
bounds of caste and race.  It might express itself in singularly {246}
comprehensive vows such as these, which were carried from China to
Japan in the seventh century A.D., and are still part of Buddhist
devotion: "There are beings without limit, let me take the vow to take
them all unto the further shore: there are depravities without number,
let me take the vow to extinguish them all: there are truths without
end, let me take the vow to know them all: there is the way of Buddha
without comparison, let me make the vow to accomplish it."  But only
the wisdom of Amida, All-Merciful and All-Potent (p. 17), could avail
to harmonise the issues of Karma with the operations of grace, and
carry the world-process to the goal of universal salvation.

The theologians and philosophers of India might devise various methods
for the believer's escape from the round of re-births; but on the
ecclesiastical side they never surmounted the practical limitation of
nationality, or sought to address themselves to the world at large;
while the mystics who more easily passed the bounds of race usually
lacked the aggressive energy which demanded the conquest and
suppression of evil and the assurance of the victory of good.  It was
reserved for the Persian thinkers, led by Zarathustra, to work out a
scheme for the ultimate overthrow of the power of "the Lie" (p. 211).
Egyptian theology had impersonated the forces of evil in Set.  There
were the constant oppositions of darkness {247} and light, of sickness
and health, of the desert against fertility, of drought against the
Nile, of foreign lands against Egypt.  Mythically, the antagonism
between Set and his brother Osiris was continued by Isis' son Horus.
It was renewed again and again, and Set was for ever defeated, yet
always returned afresh to the strife.  But no demand was raised for his
elimination.  Osiris had passed into the land of Amenti, where Set
could trouble him no more.  And apparently the later identification of
the deceased with Osiris meant that for him, too, the powers of death
and evil were overcome.  But this did not affect Set's activity in the
existing scene, where the strife continued over the survivors day by
day.  The insight of the Iranian prophet could not admit this division
of spheres, and demanded not only new heavens, but also a new earth,
where evil should have no more power, and the Righteous Order, the Good
Mind, the Bounteous Spirit, and the rest of the Immortals, should be
the unchallenged ministers of Ahura's rule.

The history of the world, accordingly, was ultimately arranged in four
periods of three thousand years each.  The life of Zarathustra closed
the third.  At the end of the fourth the great era of the
_Frasho-kereti_, the entry into a new age and a new scene, would
arrive.  It would be preceded at the close of each millennial series by
the advent of a deliverer, wondrously born of Zarathustra's seed.
During {248} the third of these, the last of the whole twelve, the
ancient serpent would be loosed to ravage Ahura Mazda's good creation.
But the _Saoshyant_ or "Saviour," the greatest of the three successors
of the prophet, would bring about the general resurrection.  From the
Home of Song and from the hells of evil thought and word and deed the
spirits of the dead would resume their bodies.  Families would be
reunited in preparation for the last purifying pain.  For a mighty
conflagration would take place; the mountains would be dissolved with
fervent heat, and the whole multitude of the human race would be
overflowed by the molten metal for three days.  The righteous would
pass through it like a bath of milk; the evil would be purged of the
last impulses to sin.  Saoshyant and his helpers would dispense the
drink of immortality, and the final conflict with the powers of evil
would begin.  Añra Mainyu, the great Serpent, with all their satellites
and the multitude of the demonic hosts, should be finally driven into
hell and consumed in the cleansing flame; and hell itself should be
"brought back for the enlargement of the world."

The Iranian Apocalypse is not the only presentation of conflict and
victory in the widespread Indo-Germanic group.  The Old Teutonic
religion produced its Volospa, the seer's high song of creation and the
overthrow of evil.  Here is in brief the story of the {249} great
world-drama, the degeneracy of man, the conflicts of the gods.  The
universe slowly surges to its end; there are portents in the sky,
disorders on the earth, till the whole frame of things dissolves and
all goes up in flame.  But a new vision dawns: "I behold earth rise
again with its evergreen forests out of the deep; the fields shall
yield unsown; all evil shall be amended; Balder shall come back.  I see
a hall, brighter than the sun, shingled with gold, standing on Gem-lea.
The righteous shall dwell therein and live in bliss for ever.  The
Powerful One comes to hold high judgment, the Mighty One from above who
rules over all, and the dark dragon who flies over the earth with
corpses on his wings is driven from the scene and slinks away."  There
are possibly Christian touches here and there, but the substantial
independence of the poet seems assured.

Above the theories of world-continuance and world-cycles must be ranked
those of a world-goal, which imply more or less clearly the conception
of a world-purpose.  The supreme expression of this in religious
literature is found in the Christian Bible.  The prophecy of
Zarathustra belonged to the same high ethical order as that of Israel.
How much the Apocalyptic hopes of the later Judaism were stimulated by
contact with Persian thought cannot be precisely defined: the estimates
of careful scholars differ.  But there is no doubt whatever of the
dependence {250} of Christianity upon Jewish Messianic expectation.
The title of its founder, Christ, is the Greek equivalent of the Jewish
term Messiah, or "Anointed."  Its pictures of human destiny, of
resurrection, of judgment, of one world where the righteous shine like
the sun, and another full of fire that is not quenched, are pictures
drawn by Jewish hands.  Its promises of the Advent of the Son of Man in
clouds of glory from the sky, who shall summon the nations to his great
assize, are couched in the language of earlier Jewish books.  For one
religion builds upon another, and must use the speech of its country
and its time.  Its forms must, therefore, necessarily change from age
to age, as the advance of knowledge and the widening of experience
suggest new problems and call for fresh solutions.  But it will always
embody man's highest thought concerning the mysteries that surround
him, and will express his finest attitude to life.  Its beliefs may be
gradually modified; its specific institutions may lose their power; but
history shows it to be among the most permanent of social forces, and
the most effective agent for the slow elevation of the race.



{251}

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Out of the immense literature produced since Max Müller's _Essay on
Comparative Mythology_ (1856) only a small number of the most important
books can be here named, and the list is limited to works in English.
Superior figures attached to titles indicate the edition.
[Transcriber's note: the superscripted edition numbers have been
replaced with the edition in brackets.]

GENERAL INTRODUCTION.--Tylor, _Primitive Culture_ (4th ed.) (2 vols.
1903); Max Müller, _Introd. to the Science of Religion_ (1873),
_Hibbert Lectures_ (1878), _Gifford Lectures_ (4 vols. 1889-93); W.
Robertson Smith, _Lectures on the Religion of the Semites_ (2nd ed.)
(1902); J. G. Frazer, _The Golden Bough_ (3rd editioin) (now in course
of publication); A. Lang, _Myth, Ritual and Religion_ (2nd ed.) (2
vols. 1899), _The Making of Religion_ (2nd ed.) (1900), _Magic and
Religion_ (1901); Goblet d'Alviella, _Origin and Growth of the
Conception of God_ (Hibbert Lectures, 1892); Tiele, _Elements of the
Science of Religion_ (2 vols. 1897); F. B. Jevons, _Introduction to the
History of Religion_ (2nd ed.) (1902); Crawley, _The Mystic Rose_
(1902), _The Tree of Life_ (1905); Farnell, _The Evolution of Religion_
(1905); Westermaarck, _The Origin and Development of the Moral Ideas_
(1906), 2 vols.; Hobhouse, _Morals in Evolution_ (1906), 2 vols.;
Marett, _The Threshold of Religion_ (1909).

RELIGION IN THE LOWER CULTURE.--Ratzel, _The History of Mankind_, tr.
Butler (1896), 3 vols.; Turner, _Samoa_ (1884); Codrington,
_Melanesians_ (1891); A. B. Ellis, _Ewe-speaking Peoples_ (1890);
_Yoruba-speaking Peoples_ (1894); _Tshi-speaking Peoples_ (1897);
Crooke, _Popular Religion and Folk-lore of Northern India_ (2 vols.
1896); Miss M. H. Kingsley, _Travels in West Africa_ (1898), _West
African Studies_ (1899); Spencer and Gillen, _Native Tribes of Central
Australia_ (1899), _Northern Tribes of Central Australia_ (1904);
Howitt, _Native Tribes of South-eastern Australia_ (1904); Dennett, _At
the Back of the Black Man's Mind_ (1906); Roscoe, _The Baganda, their
Customs and Beliefs_ (1911); Brinton, _Myths of the New World_ (2nd
ed.) (1878); McClintock, _The Old North Trail_ (1910); _Reports of the
Bureau of Ethnology_, Smithsonian Institution, Washington.

{252}

For the higher religions a few of the best English introductions are
here named, in addition to the copious collection of materials in the
_Sacred Books of the East_ (50 vols.).

BABYLONIA: Sayce, _Hibbert Lectures_ (1887), _Religions of Ancient
Egypt and Babylonia_ (1902); Jastrow, _Religion of Babylonia and
Assyria_ (1898), _American Lectures_.

CELTS: Rhys, _Hibbert Lectures_ (1886); Macculloch, _The Religion of
the Ancient Celts_ (1911).

CHINA: Legge, _Chinese Classics_ (2nd ed.) (1893), 5 vols. (in 8
parts); de Groot, _The Religious System of China_ (1892-1910), 6 vols.:
already published, _The Religion of the Chinese_ (1910).

CHRISTIANITY (primitive): Wernle, _Beginnings of Christianity_ (1903),
2 vols.; Pfleiderer, _Primitive Christianity_ (1906), 4 vols.  Fuller
bibliography in _Encycl. Brit._, (11th ed.) by G. W. Knox.

EGYPT: Renouf, _Hibbert Lectures_ (1879); Maspero, _The Dawn of
Civilisation_ (1894); Sayce, _Religions of Ancient Egypt and Babylonia_
(1902); Erman, _Handbook of Egyptian Religion_ (1907); Budge, _Osiris
and the Egyptian Resurrection_ (1911), 2 vols.

GREECE: Farnell, _Cults of the Greek States_ (1896-1909), 5 vols.,
_Greece and Babylon_ (1911), _Higher Aspects of Greek Religion_ (1912);
Miss J. E. Harrison, _Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion_
(1903), _Themis_ (1912); Sir W. M. Ramsay, in Hastings' _Dict. of the
Bible_, extra vol. (1904), "Religion of Greece and Asia Minor."

INDIA: Barth, _Religions of India_ (1882); Hopkins, _Religions of
India_ (1895).  VEDIC: Macdonell, _Vedic Mythology_ (1897) in Bühler's
_Grundriss_; Bloomfield, _Religion of the Veda_ (1909).  For BUDDHISM,
_see_ Mrs. Rhys Davids' vol. in this series.  HINDUISM: Monieu
Williams, _Religious Thought and Life in India_ (1883).

ISRAEL:  Kuenen, _Religion of Israel_ (1874), 3 vols.; Montefiore,
_Hibbert Lectures_ (1892); Kautzsch, in Hastings' _Dict. of the Bible_,
extra vol. (1904), "Religion of Israel."  Kent, _Hist. of the Hebrew
People_, 2 vols. (1890-7); _Hist. of the Jewish People_ (1899); Addis,
_Hebrew Religion_ (1906); Marti, _Religion of the Old Testament_ (1907).

JAINS: Jacobi in _Sacred Books of the East_, vols. xxii (1884) and xlv
(1895); Bühler, _On the Indian Sect of the Jainas_ (1904).

JAPAN: _The Nihongi_, tr. Aston (1896), 2 vols.; Aston, _Shinto_
(1905); papers in the _Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan_;
Griffis, _The Religions of Japan_ (4th ed.) (1904, New York); Knox,
_Development of Religion in Japan_ (1907); Tada Kanai, _The Praises of
Amida_, tr. Lloyd (1907, Tokyo).

{253}

MEXICO AND PERU: Reville, _Hibbert Lectures_ (1884); Payne, _History of
the New World called America_ (1892), 2 vols.

MOHAMMEDANISM: see Prof. Margoliouth's vol. in this series.

PERSIA: Jackson, _Zoroaster, the Prophet of ancient Iran_ (1899);
Sanjana, _Zarathushtra and Zarathushtrianism in the Avesta_ (1906,
Leipzig); Moulton, _Early Religious Poetry of Persia_ (1911).

ROME: W. Warde Fowler, _The Roman Festivals_, 1899, _The Religious
Experience of the Roman People_ (1911); Glover, _Studies in Virgil_,
1904; Dill, _Roman Society from Nero to Marcus Aurelius_ (1904);
Carter, _The Religion of Numa_ (1906), _The Religious Life of Ancient
Rome_ (1912); Cumont, _Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism_ (1911),
_Astrology and Religion among the Greeks and Romans_ (1912).

SIKHS: Macauliffe, _The Sikh Religion_ (1909), 6 vols.

TEUTONS: Vigfusson and Powell, _Corpus Poeticum Boreale_ (1883), 2
vols.; Grimm, tr. Stallybrass, _Teutonic Mythology_ (1900), 4 vols.;
Chantepie de la Saussaye, _Religion of the Teutons_ (1902).

Small popular volumes in the series on "Non-Christian Religious
Systems" (Soc. for Promoting Christian Knowledge), and more recently in
Constable's series, "Religions Ancient and Modern."  Valuable articles
in Hastings' _Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics_, and in
_Encyclopædia Britannica_.



  {253}

  INDEX


  Ādi-Granth, the, 188
  Aditi, 155
  Adonis, 119
  Æschylus, 130
  Æsculapius, 44, 127, 180, 221
  Africa, 111, 113 f., 140, 148, 163, 182, 203
  Agni, 34, 94
  Ahriman (Añra Mainyu), 155, 212, 248
  Ahura Mazda, 131, 211 f., 248
  Aius Locutius, 126
  Akhnaton, 129
  "All-gods," the, 129
  American Indians, North, 57, 81, 110, 173, 235
  Amida (Amitâbha), 16 ff., 132, 246
  Animism, 55, 59
  Annam, 83
  Apollo, 123, 127, 145, 159, 173, 181, 183
  Artemis, 127
  Asceticism, 168
  Asha, 216, 221
  Asista, 148
  Athena, 123, 127, 173
  Athens, 228
  Attis, 119
  Augury, 178
  Augustine, St., 35, 42, 52
  Augustus, 125
  Australia, 33, 75, 78 f., 86, 110, 114 f., 149, 162, 171, 199, 202
  Avalokiteçvara, 131, 154
  Awona-wilona, 111


  Bab, the, 70, 188
  Babylonia, 39, 58, 102, 109, 145, 151, 171, 178, 205, 209, 237, 240
  Baiame, 149, 171
  Balder, 210, 249
  Baptism, rites of, 160
  Berosus, 39, 241
  Bhagavad-Gītā, the, 128
  Bhakti, 157
  Bible, the, 194
  Birth, deities and rites of, 121, 159
  Blackfoot Indians, the, 35, 167
  Book of the Dead, the, 186
  Brahma, 60, 156
  Brahmā, 60, 62, 129, 158
  Brāhmanas, the, 189, 217
  Brahmanaspati, 156
  Brahmanical sacrifice, 143
  Brahmanism, 24, 128
  Buddha, the future, 159.  Cp. Gotama
  Buddhism, 15, 24, 61, 65, 131, 153, 155, 219, 241, 244 f.
  Buddhist Scriptures, 190
  Bjunjil, 171


  Celts, the, 27, 41, 104, 142, 231
  Chemosh, 107
  China, 58, 63, 65, 68, 87, 90, 95, 125, 150, 178, 214, 231
  Chinese Classics, 187
  Christianity, 187, 225, 250
  Chrysippus, 184
  Cicero, 42, 46
  Çiva, 62, 128 f.
  Classification of religions, 220
  Clement of Alexandria, 50 f.
  Confucius, 27 f., 63, 96
  Corea, 66
  Creation-myths, 110
  Cybelê, 40


  Dahomey, 138
  Dance, the sacred, 166
  Daramulun, 162, 171
  Dead, cultus of the, 20, 90, 137 ff.
  Death, 121
  Delphi, 182, 221, 242
  Demeter, 40, 119, 164
  Deng-deet, 148
  Dionysos, 40, 119, 127, 147
  Divination, 178
  Dreams, 86, 179, 229
  Druzes, the, 188


  Ea, 113, 172
  Earth, mother, 59, 95, 97, 173
  Eating the god, 146
  Edda, the, 27, 186
  Egypt, 7, 39, 46, 102, 109, 113, 124, 129, 151 f., 171 f., 209,
      213, 227, 237 f., 246
  Eleusinian Mysteries, 164, 239
  Entheos, 147
  Erinnyes, the, 238
  Eskimo, the, 228 f., 233
  Etruscans, the, 178, 229
  Euahlayi, the, 149
  Euripides, 48, 151
  Eusebius, 39, 52


  Fijians, the, 197, 233
  Finnic peoples, the, 104, 231
  First-borns sacrificed, 142
  Florida, 236
  Food-deities, 115 ff.


  Gabriel, 131
  Gāthās, the, 191, 221
  Genius, the, 123
  Gold Coast negroes, 107, 138, 144, 197
  Gotama, 15, 127, 219
  Greece, 37, 90, 121 f., 145, 161


  Hades, 238
  Hammurabi, 172
  Heaven and Earth, 63, 94 ff., 213 ff.
  Hebrews, the, 140.  _See_ Israel.
  Heracleides, 184
  Heracleitus, 48, 50
  Herbert, Lord, 31
  Hermes, 9 f., 181
  Herodotus, 26, 38, 238
  Hesiod, 182, 186, 213
  Hestia, 122
  Hierography, Hierology, Hierosophy, 29 f.
  Hinduism, 62
  Hirata, 92 f., 135
  Homer, 181 f., 186, 238, 242
  Homeric Hymn, 164
  Huitzilopochtli, 147


  Incubation, 180
  India, 58, 90, 127, 139, 141
  Indra, 34, 155, 177
  Initiation ceremonies, 161 ff.
  Irish sacrificed first-borns, 142
  Isis, 39 ff., 51, 109, 127, 165
  Islam.  _See_ Mohammedanism.
  Israel, 201, 222, 230, 237, 249


  Jacob, 168
  Jains, the, 61, 188
  Japan, 63, 66, 91, 125, 135, 138 f., 152, 246
  Jephthah, 107
  Jeremiah, 182
  Jews, the, 39, 58.  _See_ Israel.
  Judaism, 187, 223, 249
  Judgment after death, 7 ff., 233 ff.
  Jumala, 105
  Juno, 145
  Jupiter, 35, 109, 130, 145
  Justin the Martyr, 49


  Kabir, 157, 188
  Kalevala, the, 27, 57, 186
  Kami, the, 64, 91 ff., 135
  Karma, 60, 217, 219, 243 ff.
  Kings, as divine, 124
  Koran, the, 13, 69, 155, 187, 192 f.
  Krishna, 128
  Kwan-yin, 132, 154


  Lao-Tsze, 64, 214 f.
  Lares, the, 123
  Lesa, 140
  Lessing, 22
  Lî Chî, the, 150
  Life after Death, 226 ff.
  Life, in the universe, 83
  Logos, the, 47 f., 50, 53
  Loki, 210
  Lot, the, 178
  Lucretius, 42, 44
  Lycurgus, 173


  Maāt, 214
  Magic, 75 ff., 120, 142, 148, 154
  Mahābhārata, the, 190
  Mama Ogllo, 174
  Mana, 80, 85, 200
  Manco Capac, 174
  Manetho, 39
  Manitou, 81
  Manu, 190
  Marcian Songs, 184
  Marduk, 113, 140
  Mawu, 198
  Melanesia, 139, 164
  Messiah, the, 250
  Mêtis, 176
  Mexico, 57, 117, 147, 161, 232, 234
  Michabo, 173
  Michael, 7, 9 f., 131
  Migration, 229
  Minerva, 109, 145
  Minos, 44, 173
  Minucius Felix, 49
  Mithra, 9, 52, 166, 236
  Mitra, 34, 155
  Mohammed, 12 f., 67 f., 187, 193
  Mohammedanism, 24, 26, 58, 63, 67, 155
  Morality, 135, 195 ff.
  Moses, 222
  "Mothers," 104
  Motowori, 92
  Mulungu, 82
  Musæus, 181, 183
  Muses, the, 181
  Mysteries, 51, 164 ff., 239
  Mythology, 174 ff.


  Nānak, 62
  New Zealand, 232
  Nezahuatl, 130
  Niger, tribes of Lower, 150, 198, 231
  Noah's sacrifice, 141
  Norns, the, 161
  Numa, 44 f., 173
  Nurrundere, 171
  Nyongmo, 113


  Oannes, 171
  Odin, 181, 210
  Omophagy, 147
  Onomacritus, 183
  Oracles, 182 ff.
  Ordeals, 179
  Orenda, 81
  Orpheus, 181
  Orphism, 147, 165, 239 f.
  Osiris, 8, 109, 119, 172, 209, 237, 247


  Pāchacāmac, 152
  Pan, 44, 153
  "Parasites," 145
  Parsees, the, 58
  Pausanias, 41, 53
  Penates, 123, 145
  Persephonê, 40, 119, 240
  Peru, 57, 108, 117, 174
  Petronius Arbiter, 22
  Pindar, 44, 48, 153, 213, 239, 242
  Plato, 38, 45 f., 48 f., 133, 178, 182, 239, 242
  Plutarch, 41, 44
  Polydæmonistic religions, 55
  Polynesia, 112, 164
  Prajāpati, 12, 143 f.
  Prayer, 35, 133, 148 ff.
  Prometheus, 137
  Pythagoras, 38
  Pythagoreans, 220, 239 f.


  Quetzalcoatl, 173


  Rain-making, 54
  Rameses, 108
  Rashnu, 9, 236
  Religio, 42
  Rig Veda, 10 f., 59.  _See_ Veda.
  Rita, 216
  Rites of passage, 159
  Roman emperor, 124
  Rome, 41, 52, 90, 109, 123, 131, 145, 161, 178, 201


  Sabazius, 165
  Sacred Books, 185 ff.
  Sacrifice, 133, 136 ff.
  Samuel, 161
  Saoshyant, 248
  Sarapis, 39, 146
  Sâtân, the, 223
  Scandinavia, 209, 229
  Scape-goat, in Israel, 206
  Schleiermacher, 23
  Scriptures, 189 ff.
  Self, doctrine of the, 85 ff.
  Self, the Universal, 60, 245
  Semites, the, 142
  Set, 209
  Shamash, 151, 172
  Shang Tî, 97, 100
  Sheol, 230
  Shin, the, 95, 100
  Shinto, 63, 91, 135, 187, 207
  Sibylline books, 184
  Sīkhs, the, 62, 188
  Sin, communicable and removable, 204 ff.
  Sin (moon-god), 151
  Snake-dance, 167
  Socrates, 50, 133, 153
  Sophocles, 44
  Sotêr (saviour, etc.), 124 f., 127
  Spirits, 54, 102
  Stars, the dead as, 231, 240, 243
  Stoics, the, 178
  Sūfiism, 70
  Sun-dance, 34, 167
  Syrians, the, 142


  Taaroa, 112
  Taboo, 200 ff.
  Tammuz, 119
  Tao, the, 215
  Taoism, 65, 67, 187
  Tertullian, 51, 124
  Tezcatlipoca, 147
  Thales, 37, 213
  Thargelia, the, 206
  Themis, 118, 213
  Thor, 210
  Thoth, 8, 152
  Tibet, 66
  Time, 143
  Todas, the, 33, 148
  Totemism, 55
  Transmigration, 61, 218
  Triads, 109
  Trimurti, 129
  Truth, goddesses of, 8
  Tutanus Rediculus, 126


  Ukko, 105
  Universal Religions, 70


  Valhalla, 235
  Varro, 42
  Varuna, 34, 106, 151, 155 f., 211, 243
  Veda, the, 136, 142, 151, 155, 163, 177, 189, 205, 215, 243
  Vegetation-gods, 118 ff.
  Vesta, 122 f.
  Vishnu, 62, 128 f., 158, 190
  Volospa, the, 186, 248
  Votan, 174
  Vows, 168


  Wäinamöinen, 181, 232
  Wakanda, 81
  World-year, 240


  Xavier, Francis, 86


  Yahweh, 107, 144, 161, 168, 222
  Yama, 121, 243 f.
  Yang and Yin, 95, 120 f.


  Zaleucus, 44, 173
  Zarathustra (Zoroaster), 38, 44, 58, 131, 163, 187, 201, 221, 246 f.
  Zend Avesta, the, 187, 191 f., 211
  Zeus, 103, 106, 109, 127, 153, 173, 176, 181, 213, 238, 243
  Zi (Babylonian), 102
  Zuñis, the, 83, 111



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