By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: The Blood Covenant - A Primitive Rite and its Bearings on Scripture
Author: Trumbull, H. Clay (Henry Clay)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Blood Covenant - A Primitive Rite and its Bearings on Scripture" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive)

  Transcriber’s Note:

  Italic text is denoted by _underscores_.
  For more transcriber’s notes, please go to the end of this e-book.



  Author of “Kadesh Barnea.”





It was while engaged in the preparation of a book--still unfinished--on
the Sway of Friendship in the World’s Forces, that I came upon facts
concerning the primitive rite of covenanting by the inter-transfusion
of blood, which induced me to turn aside from my other studies, in
order to pursue investigations in this direction.

Having an engagement to deliver a series of lectures before the Summer
School of Hebrew, under Professor W. R. Harper, of Chicago, at the
buildings of the Episcopal Divinity School, in Philadelphia, I decided
to make this rite and its linkings the theme of that series; and I
delivered three lectures, accordingly, June 16-18, 1885.

The interest manifested in the subject by those who heard the Lectures,
as well as the importance of the theme itself, has seemed sufficient
to warrant its presentation to a larger public. In this publishing,
the form of the original Lectures has, for convenience sake, been
adhered to; although some considerable additions to the text, in the
way of illustrative facts, have been made, since the delivery of the
Lectures; while other similar material is given in an Appendix.

From the very freshness of the subject itself, there was added
difficulty in gathering the material for its illustration and
exposition. So far as I could learn, no one had gone over the ground
before me, in this particular line of research; hence the various items
essential to a fair statement of the case must be searched for through
many diverse volumes of travel and of history and of archæological
compilation, with only here and there an incidental disclosure in
return. Yet, each new discovery opened the way for other discoveries
beyond; and even after the Lectures, in their present form, were
already in type, I gained many fresh facts, which I wish had been
earlier available to me. Indeed, I may say that no portion of the
volume is of more importance than the Appendix; where are added facts
and reasonings bearing directly on well-nigh every main point of the
original Lectures.

There is cause for just surprise that the chief facts of this entire
subject have been so generally overlooked, in all the theological
discussions, and in all the physio-sociological researches, of
the earlier and the later times. Yet this only furnishes another
illustration of the inevitably cramping influence of a pre-conceived
fixed theory,--to which all the ascertained facts must be
conformed,--in any attempt at thorough and impartial scientific
investigation. It would seem to be because of such cramping, that no
one of the modern students of myth and folk-lore, of primitive ideas
and customs, and of man’s origin and history, has brought into their
true prominence, if indeed he has even noticed them in passing, the
universally dominating primitive convictions: that the blood is the
life; that the heart, as the blood-fountain, is the very soul of every
personality; that blood-transfer is soul-transfer; that blood-sharing,
human, or divine-human, secures an inter-union of natures; and that
a union of the human nature with the divine is the highest ultimate
attainment reached out after by the most primitive, as well as by the
most enlightened, mind of humanity.

Certainly, the collation of facts comprised in this volume grew out
of no pre-conceived theory on the part of its author. Whatever theory
shows itself in their present arrangement, is simply that which the
facts themselves have seemed to enforce and establish, in their
consecutive disclosure.

I should have been glad to take much more time for the study of
this theme, and for the re-arranging of its material, before its
presentation to the public; but, with the pressure of other work upon
me, the choice was between hurrying it out in its present shape, and
postponing it indefinitely. All things considered, I chose the former

In the prosecution of my investigations, I acknowledge kindly aid
from Professor Dr. Georg Ebers, Principal Sir William Muir, Dr. Yung
Wing, Dean E. T. Bartlett, Professors Doctors John P. Peters and J. G.
Lansing, the Rev. Dr. M. H. Bixby, Drs. D. G. Brinton and Charles W.
Dulles, the Rev. Messrs. R. M. Luther and Chester Holcombe, and Mr. E.
A. Barber; in addition to constant and valuable assistance from Mr.
John T. Napier, to whom I am particularly indebted for the philological
comparisons in the Oriental field, including the Egyptian, the Arabic,
and the Hebrew.

At the best, my work in this volume is only tentative and suggestive.
Its chief value is likely to be in its stimulating of others to fuller
and more satisfactory research in the field here brought to notice.
Sufficient, however, is certainly shown, to indicate that the realm of
true Biblical theology is as yet by no means thoroughly explored.

                         H. CLAY TRUMBULL.

  PHILADELPHIA, _August 14, 1885_.



  PREFACE                  iii











UNION, 332.








Those who are most familiar with the Bible, and who have already given
most time to its study, have largest desire and largest expectation of
more knowledge through its farther study. And, more and more, Bible
study has come to include very much that is outside of the Bible.

For a long time, the outside study of the Bible was directed chiefly
to the languages in which the Bible was written, and to the archæology
and the manners and customs of what are commonly known as the Lands
of the Bible. Nor are these well-worked fields, by any means, yet
exhausted. More still remains to be gleaned from them, each and all,
than has been gathered thence by all searchers in their varied lore.
But, latterly, it has been realized, that, while the Bible is an
Oriental book, written primarily for Orientals, and therefore to be
understood only through an understanding of Oriental modes of thought
and speech, it is also a record of God’s revelation to the whole human
race; hence, its inspired pages are to receive illumination from all
disclosures of the primitive characteristics and customs of that race,
everywhere. Not alone those who insist on the belief that there was
a gradual development of the race from a barbarous beginning, but
those also who believe that man started on a higher plane, and in his
degradation retained perverted vestiges of God’s original revelation
to him, are finding profit in the study of primitive myths, and of
aboriginal religious rites and ceremonies, all the world over. Here,
also, what has been already gained, is but an earnest of what will yet
be compassed in the realm of truest biblical research.


One of these primitive rites, which is deserving of more attention
than it has yet received, as throwing light on many important phases
of Bible teaching, is the rite of blood-covenanting: a form of mutual
covenanting, by which two persons enter into the closest, the most
enduring, and the most sacred of compacts, as friends and brothers, or
as more than brothers, through the inter-commingling of their blood, by
means of its mutual tasting, or of its inter-transfusion. This rite is
still observed in the unchanging East; and there are historic traces
of it, from time immemorial, in every quarter of the globe; yet it has
been strangely overlooked by biblical critics and biblical commentators
generally, in these later centuries.

In bringing this rite of the covenant of blood into new prominence,
it may be well for me to tell of it as it was described to me by an
intelligent native Syrian, who saw it consummated in a village at the
base of the mountains of Lebanon; and then to add evidences of its
wide-spread existence in the East and elsewhere, in earlier and in
later times.

It was two young men, who were to enter into this covenant. They had
known each other, and had been intimate, for years; but now they were
to become brother-friends, in the covenant of blood. Their relatives
and neighbors were called together, in the open place before the
village fountain, to witness the sealing compact. The young men
publicly announced their purpose, and their reasons for it. Their
declarations were written down, in duplicate,--one paper for each
friend,--and signed by themselves and by several witnesses. One of the
friends took a sharp lancet, and opened a vein in the other’s arm. Into
the opening thus made, he inserted a quill, through which he sucked
the living blood. The lancet-blade was carefully wiped on one of the
duplicate covenant-papers, and then it was taken by the other friend,
who made a like incision in its first user’s arm, and drank his blood
through the quill, wiping the blade on the duplicate covenant-record.
The two friends declared together: “We are brothers in a covenant
made before God: who deceiveth the other, him will God deceive.” Each
blood-marked covenant-record, was then folded carefully, to be sewed
up in a small leathern case, or amulet, about an inch square; to be
worn thenceforward by one of the covenant-brothers, suspended about the
neck, or bound upon the arm, in token of the indissoluble relation.

The compact thus made, is called, _M’âhadat ed-Dam_ (الدم معاهدة),
the “Covenant of Blood.” The two persons thus conjoined, are, _Akhwat
el-M’âhadah_ (المعاهدة اخوة), “Brothers of the Covenant.” The rite
itself is recognized, in Syria, as one of the very old customs of
the land, as _’âdah qadeemeh_ (قديمة عادة) “a primitive rite.” There
are many forms of covenanting in Syria, but this is the extremest
and most sacred of them all. As it is the inter-commingling of very
lives, nothing can transcend it. It forms a tie, or a union, which
cannot be dissolved. In marriage, divorce is a possibility: not so in
the covenant of blood. Although now comparatively rare, in view of
its responsibilities and of its indissolubleness, this covenant is
sometimes entered into by confidential partners in business, or by
fellow-travelers; again, by robbers on the road--who would themselves
rest fearlessly on its obligations, and who could be rested on within
its limits, however untrustworthy they or their fellows might be to any
other compact. Yet, again, it is the chosen compact of loving friends;
of those who are drawn to it only by mutual love and trust.

This covenant is commonly between two persons of the same
religion--Muhammadans, Druzes, or Nazarenes; yet it has been known
between two persons of different religions;[1] and in such a case it
would be held as a closer tie than that of birth[2] or sect. He who has
entered into this compact with another, counts himself the possessor of
a double life; for his friend, whose blood he has shared, is ready to
lay down his life with him, or for him.[3] Hence the leathern case, or
_Bayt hejâb_ (حجاب بيت) “House of the amulet,”[4] containing the record
of the covenant (_’uhdah_, عهدة), is counted a proud badge of honor, by
one who possesses it; and he has an added sense of security, because he
will not be alone when he falleth.[5]

I have received personal testimony from native Syrians, concerning the
observance of this rite in Damascus, in Aleppo, in Hâsbayya, in Abayh,
along the road between Tyre and Sidon, and among the Koords resident
in Salehayyah. All the Syrians who have been my informants, are at one
concerning the traditional extreme antiquity of this rite, and its
exceptional force and sacredness.

In view of the Oriental method of evidencing the closest possible
affection and confidence, by the sucking of the loved one’s blood,
there would seem to be more than a coincidence in the fact, that the
Arabic words for friendship, for affection, for blood, and for leech,
or blood-sucker, are but variations from a common root.[6] _’Alaqa_
(علق) means “to love,” “to adhere,” “to feed.” _’Alaq_ (علق), in the
singular, means “love,” “friendship,” “attachment,” “blood.” As the
plural of _’alaqa_ (علقة), _’alaq_ means “leeches,” or “blood-suckers.”
The truest friend clings like a leech, and draws blood in order to the
sharing thereby of his friend’s life and nature.

A native Syrian, who had traveled extensively in the East, and who
was familiar with the covenant of blood in its more common form, as
already described, told me of a practice somewhat akin to it, whereby
a bandit-chieftain would pledge his men to implicit and unqualified,
life-surrendering fidelity to himself; or, whereby a conspirator
against the government would bind, in advance, to his plans, his fellow
conspirators,--by a ceremony known as _Sharb el-’ahd_ (العهد شرب)
“Drinking the covenant.” The methods of such covenanting are various;
but they are all of the nature of tests of obedience and of endurance.
They sometimes include licking a heated iron with the tongue, or
gashing the tongue, or swallowing pounded glass or other dangerous
potions; but, in all cases, the idea seems to be, that the life of
the one covenanting is, by this covenant, devoted--surrendered as it
were--to the one with whom he covenants; and the rite is uniformly
accompanied with a solemn and an imprecatory appeal to God, as
witnessing and guarding the compact.

Dr. J. G. Wetzstein, a German scholar, diplomat, and traveler, who has
given much study to the peoples east of the Jordan, makes reference
to the binding force and the profound obligation of the covenants
of brotherhood, in that portion of the East; although he gives no
description of the methods of the covenant-rite. Speaking of two
Bed´ween--Habbâs and Hosayn--who had been “brothered” (_verbrüdert_),
he explains by saying: “We must by this [term] understand the Covenant
of Brotherhood[7] (_Chuwwat el-Ahĕd_ [العهد خوة]), which is in use
to-day not only among the Hadari [the Villagers], but also among the
Bed´ween; and is indeed of pre-Muhammadan origin. The brother [in such
a covenant] must guard the [other] brother from treachery, and [must]
succor him in peril. So far as may be necessary, the one must provide
for the wants of the other; and the survivor has weighty obligations
in behalf of the family of the one deceased.” Then, as showing how
completely the idea of a common life in the lives of two friends
thus covenanted--if, indeed, they have become sharers of the same
blood--sways the Oriental mind, Wetzstein adds: “The marriage of a man
and woman between whom this covenant exists, is held to be _incest_.”[8]

There are, indeed, various evidences that the tie of blood-covenanting
is reckoned, in the East, even a closer tie than that of natural
descent; that a “friend” by this tie is nearer and is dearer,
“sticketh closer,” than a “brother” by birth. We, in the West, are
accustomed to say, that “blood is thicker than water”; but the Arabs
have the idea that blood is thicker than milk, than a mother’s milk.
With them, any two children nourished at the same breast are called
“milk-brothers,”[9] or “sucking brothers”;[10] and the tie between
such is very strong. A boy and a girl in this relation cannot marry,
even though by birth they had no family relationship. Among even the
more bigoted of the Druzes, a Druze girl who is a “sucking sister” of
a Nazarene boy is allowed a sister’s privileges with him. He can see
her uncovered face, even to the time of her marriage. But, the Arabs
hold that brothers in the covenant of blood are closer than brothers
at a common breast; that those who have tasted each other’s blood are
in a surer covenant than those who have tasted the same milk together;
that “blood-lickers,”[11] as the blood-brothers are sometimes called,
are more truly one, than “milk-brothers,” or “sucking brothers”; that,
indeed, blood is thicker than milk, as well as thicker than water.

This distinction it is which seems to be referred to in a citation from
the Arabic poet El-A’asha, by the Arabic lexicographer Qamus, which has
been a puzzle to Lane, and Freytag, and others.[12] Lane’s translation
of the passage is: “Two foster-brothers by the sucking of the breast of
one mother, swore together by dark blood, into which they dipped their
hands, that they should not ever become separated.” In other words, two
milk-brothers became blood-brothers, by interlocking their hands under
their own blood, in the covenant of blood-friendship. They had been
closely inter-linked before; now they were as one; for blood is thicker
than milk. The oneness of nature which comes of sharing the same blood,
by its inter-transfusion, is rightly deemed, by the Arabs, completer
than the oneness of nature which comes of sharing the same milk; or
even than that which comes through having blood from a common source,
by natural descent.


Travelers in the heart of Africa, also, report the covenant of
“blood-brotherhood,” or of “strong-friendship,” as in vogue among
various African tribes; although, naturally retaining less of primitive
sacredness there than among Semites. The rite is, in some cases,
observed after the manner of the Syrians, by the contracting parties
tasting each other’s blood; while, in other cases, it is performed by
the inter-transfusion of blood between the two.

The first mention which I find of it, in the writings of modern
travelers in Africa, is by the lamented hero-missionary, Dr.
Livingstone. He calls the rite _Kasendi_. It was in the region of
Lake Dilolo, at the watershed between the Indian Ocean and the
Atlantic, in July, 1854, that he made blood-friendship, vicariously,
with Queen Manenko, of the Balonda tribes.[13] She was represented,
in this ceremony, by her husband, the ebony “Prince Consort”; while
Livingstone’s representative was one of his Makololo attendants.
Woman’s right to rule--when she has the right--seems to be as clearly
recognized in Central Africa, to-day, as it was in Ethiopia in the days
of Candace, or in Sheba in the days of Balkees.

Describing the ceremony, Livingstone says:[14] “It is accomplished
thus: The hands of the parties are joined (in this case Pitsane and
Sambanza were the parties engaged). Small incisions are made on the
clasped hands, on the pits of the stomach of each, and on the right
cheeks and foreheads. A small quantity of blood is taken off from
these points, in both parties, by means of a stalk of grass. The blood
from one person is put into a pot of beer, and that of the second into
another; each then drinks the other’s blood, and they are supposed to
become perpetual friends, or relations. During the drinking of the
beer, some of the party continue beating the ground with short clubs,
and utter sentences by way of ratifying the treaty. The men belonging
to each [principal’s party], then finish the beer. The principals in
the performance of ‘Kasendi’ are henceforth considered blood-relations,
and are bound to disclose to each other any impending evil. If Sekeletu
[chief of Pitsane’s tribe--the Makololo--] should resolve to attack the
Balonda [Sambanza’s--or, more properly, Manenko’s--people], Pitsane
would be under obligation to give Sambanza warning to escape; and
so, on the other side. [The ceremony concluded in this case] they
now presented each other with the most valuable presents they had
to bestow. Sambanza walked off with Pitsane’s suit of green baize
faced with red, which had been made in Loanda; and Pitsane, besides
abundant supplies of food, obtained two shells [of as great value, in
regions far from the sea, ‘as the Lord Mayor’s badge is in London,’]
similar to that [one, which] I had received from Shinte [the uncle of

Of the binding force of this covenant, Livingstone says farther: “On
one occasion I became blood-relation to a young woman by accident. She
had a large cartilaginous tumor between the bones of the forearm, which
as it gradually enlarged, so distended the muscles as to render her
unable to work. She applied to me to excise it. I requested her to
bring her husband, if he were willing to have the operation performed;
and while removing the tumor, one of the small arteries squirted some
blood into my eye. She remarked, when I was wiping the blood out of it,
‘You were a friend before; now you are a blood-relation; and when you
pass this way always send me word, that I may cook food for you.’”[16]

Of the influence of these inter-tribal blood-friendships, in Central
Africa, Dr. Livingstone speaks most favorably. Their primitive
character is made the more probable, in view of the fact that he first
found them existing in a region where, in his opinion, the dress and
household utensils of the people are identical with those which are
represented on the monuments of ancient Egypt.[17] Although it is
within our own generation that this mode of covenanting in the region
referred to, has been made familiar to us, the rite itself is of old,
elsewhere if not, indeed, there; as other travelers following in the
track of Livingstone have noted and reported.

Commander Cameron, who, while in charge of the Livingstone Search
Expedition, was the first European traveler to cross the whole breadth
of the African continent in its central latitudes, gives several
illustrations of the observance of this rite. In June, 1874, at the
westward of Lake Tanganyika, Syde, a guide of Cameron, entered into
this covenant of blood with Pakwanya, a local chief.

“After a certain amount of palaver,” says Cameron, “Syde and Pakwanya
exchanged presents, much to the advantage of the former [for in
the East, the person of higher rank is supposed to give the more
costly gifts in any such exchange]; more especially [in this case]
as he [Syde] borrowed the beads of me and afterward forgot to repay
me. Pakwanya then performed a tune on his harmonium, or whatever
the instrument [which he had] might be called, and the business of
fraternizing was proceeded with. Pakwanya’s head man acted as his
sponsor, and one of my askari assumed the like office for Syde.

“The first operation consisted of making an incision on each of their
right wrists, just sufficient to draw blood; a little of which was
scraped off and smeared on the other’s cut; after which gunpowder
was rubbed in [thereby securing a permanent token on the arm]. The
concluding part of the ceremony was performed by Pakwanya’s sponsor
holding a sword resting on his shoulder, while he who acted [as
sponsor] for Syde went through the motions of sharpening a knife upon
it. Both sponsors meanwhile made a speech, calling down imprecations
on Pakwanya and all his relations, past, present, and future, and
prayed that their graves might be defiled by pigs if he broke the
brotherhood in word, thought, or deed. The same form having been gone
through with, [with] respect to Syde, the sponsors changing duties, the
brother-making was complete.”[18]

Concerning the origin of this rite, in this region, Cameron says: “This
custom of ‘making brothers,’ I believe to be really of Semitic origin,
and to have been introduced into Africa by the heathen Arabs before the
days of Mohammed; and this idea is strengthened by the fact that when
the first traders from Zanzibar crossed the Tanganyika, the ceremony
was unknown [so far as those traders knew] to the westward of that
lake.”[19] Cameron was, of course, unaware of the world-wide prevalence
of this rite; but his suggestion that its particular form just here
had a Semitic origin, receives support in a peculiar difference noted
between the Asiatic and the African ceremonies.

It will be remembered, that, among the Syrians, the blood of the
covenant is taken into the mouth, and the record of the covenant is
bound upon the arm. The Africans, not fully appreciating the force of
a written record, are in the habit of reversing this order, according
to Cameron’s account. Describing the rite as observed between his
men and the natives, on the Luama River, he says: “The brotherhood
business having been completed [by putting the blood from one party on
to the arm of the other], some pen and ink marks were made on a piece
of paper, which, together with a charge of powder, was put into a
kettleful of water. All hands then drank of the decoction, the natives
being told that it was a very great medicine.”[20] That was “drinking
the covenant”[21] with a vengeance; nor is it difficult to see how this
idea originated.

The gallant and adventurous Henry M. Stanley also reports this rite of
“blood-brotherhood,” or of “strong friendship,” in the story of his
romantic experiences in the wilds of Africa. On numerous occasions
the observance of this rite was a means of protection and relief to
Stanley. One of its more notable illustrations was in his compact with
“Mirambo, the warrior chief of Western Unyamwezi;”[22] whose leadership
in warfare Stanley compares to that of both Frederick the Great[23] and

It was during his first journey in pursuit of Livingstone, in 1871,
that Stanley first encountered the forces of Mirambo, and was worsted
in the conflict.[25] Writing of him, after his second expedition,
Stanley describes Mirambo, as “the ‘Mars of Africa,’ who since 1871 has
made his name feared by both native and foreigner from Usui to Urori,
and from Uvinza to Ugogo, a country embracing 90,000 square miles;
who, from the village chieftainship over Uyoweh, has made for himself
a name as well known as that of Mtesa throughout the eastern half of
Equatorial Africa; a household word from Nyangwé to Zanzibar, and the
theme of many a song of the bards of Unyamwezi, Ukimbu, Ukonongo,
Uzinja, and Uvinza.”[26] For a time, during his second exploring
expedition, Stanley was inclined to avoid Mirambo, but becoming
“impressed with his ubiquitous powers,”[27] he decided to meet him,
and if possible make “strong friendship” with him. They came together,
first, at Serombo, April 22, 1876. Mirambo “quite captivated” Stanley.
“He was a thorough African _gentleman_ in appearance.... A handsome,
regular-featured, mild-voiced, soft-spoken man, with what one might
call a ‘meek’ demeanor; very generous and open-handed;” his eyes having
“the steady, calm gaze of a master.”[28]

The African hero and the heroic American agreed to “make strong
friendship” with each other. Stanley thus describes the ceremony:
“Manwa Sera [Stanley’s ‘chief captain’] was requested to seal our
friendship by performing the ceremony of blood-brotherhood between
Mirambo and myself. Having caused us to sit fronting each other on
a straw-carpet, he made an incision in each of our right legs, from
which he extracted blood, and inter-changing it, he exclaimed aloud:
‘If either of you break this brotherhood now established between you,
may the lion devour him, the serpent poison him, bitterness be in his
food, his friends desert him, his gun burst in his hands and wound
him, and everything that is bad do wrong to him until death.’”[29] The
same blood now flowed in the veins of both Stanley and Mirambo. They
were friends and brothers in a sacred covenant; life for life. At the
conclusion of the covenant, they exchanged gifts; as the customary
ratification, or accompaniment, of the compact. They even vied with
each other in proofs of their unselfish fidelity, in this new covenant
of friendship.[30]

Again and again, before and after this incident, Stanley entered into
the covenant of blood-brotherhood with representative Africans; in some
instances by the opening of his own veins; at other times by allowing
one of his personal escort to bleed for him. In January, 1875, a “great
magic doctor of Vinyata” came to Stanley’s tent to pay a friendly
visit, “bringing with him a fine, fat ox as a peace offering.” After
an exchange of gifts, says Stanley, “he entreated me to go through
the process of blood-brotherhood, which I underwent with all the
ceremonious gravity of a pagan.”[31]

Three months later, in April, 1875, when Stanley found himself and his
party in the treacherous toils of Shekka, the King of Bumbireh, he made
several vain attempts to “induce Shekka, with gifts, to go through the
process of blood-brotherhood.” Stanley’s second captain, Safeni, was
the adroit, but unsuccessful, agent in the negotiations. “Go frankly
and smilingly, Safeni, up to Shekka, on the top of that hill,” said
Stanley, “and offer him these three fundo of beads, and ask him to
exchange blood with you.” But the wily king was not to be dissuaded
from his warlike purposes in that way. “Safeni returned. Shekka had
refused the pledge of peace.”[32] His desire was to take blood, if at
all, without any exchange.

After still another three months, in July, 1875, Stanley, at Refuge
Island, reports better success in securing peace and friendship through
blood-giving and blood-receiving. “Through the influence of young
Lukanjah--the cousin of the King of Ukerewé”--he says, “the natives of
the mainland had been induced to exchange their churlish disposition
for one of cordial welcome; and the process of blood-brotherhood had
been formally gone through [with], between Manwa Sera, on my part,
and Kijaju, King of Komeh, and the King of Itawagumba, on the other

It was at “Kampunzu, in the district of Uvinza, where dwell the true
aborigines of the forest country,”--a people whom Stanley afterwards
found to be cannibals--that this rite was once more observed between
the explorers and the natives. “Blood-brotherhood being considered as
a pledge of good-will and peace,” says Stanley, “Frank Pocock [a young
Englishman who was an attendant of Stanley] and the chief [of Kampunzu]
went through the ordeal; and we interchanged presents”--as is the
custom in the observance of this rite.[34]

At the island of Mpika, on the Livingstone River, in December, 1876,
there was another bright episode in Stanley’s course of travel, through
this mode of sealing friendship. Disease had been making sad havoc in
Stanley’s party. He had been compelled to fight his way along through
a region of cannibals. While he was halting for a breakfast on the
river bank over against Mpika, an attack on him was preparing by the
excited inhabitants of the island. Just then his scouts captured a
native trading party of men and women who were returning to Mpika,
from inland; and to them his interpreters made clear his pacific
intentions. “By means of these people,” he says, “we succeeded in
checking the warlike demonstrations of the islanders, and in finally
persuading them to make blood-brotherhood; after which we invited
canoes to come and receive [these hostages] their friends. As they
hesitated to do so, we embarked them in our own boat, and conveyed
them across to the island. The news then spread quickly along the
whole length of the island that we were friends, and as we resumed our
journey, crowds from the shore cried out to us, ‘_Mwendé Ki-vuké-vuké_’
(‘Go in peace!’)”[35]

Once more it was at the conclusion of a bloody conflict, in the
district of Vinya-Njara, just below Mpika Island, that peace was sealed
by blood. When practical victory was on Stanley’s side, at the cost
of four of his men killed, and thirteen more of them wounded, then
he sought this means of amity. “With the aid of our interpreters,”
he says, “we communicated our terms, viz., that we would occupy
Vinya-Njara, and retain all the canoes unless they made peace. We also
informed them that we had one prisoner, who would be surrendered to
them if they availed themselves of our offer of peace: that we had
suffered heavily, and they had also suffered; that war was an evil
which wise men avoided; that if they came with two canoes with their
chiefs, two canoes with our chiefs should meet them in mid-stream,
and make blood-brotherhood; and that on that condition some of their
canoes should be restored, and we would purchase the rest.” The natives
took time for the considering of this proposition, and then accepted
it. “On the 22nd of December, the ceremony of blood-brotherhood
having been formally concluded, in mid-river, between Safeni and the
chief of Vinya-Njara,” continues Stanley, “our captive, and fifteen
canoes, were returned, and twenty-three canoes were retained by
us for a satisfactory equivalent; and thus our desperate struggle

On the Livingstone, just below the Equator, in February, 1877,
Stanley’s party was facing starvation, having been for some time
“unable to purchase food, or indeed [to] approach a settlement for any
amicable purpose.” The explorers came to look at “each other as fated
victims of protracted famine, or [of] the rage of savages, like those
of Mangala.” “We continued our journey,” goes on the record, “though
grievously hungry, past Bwena and Inguba, doing our utmost to induce
the staring fishermen to communicate with us; without any success. They
became at once officiously busy with guns, and dangerously active. We
arrived at Ikengo, and as we were almost despairing, we proceeded to a
small island opposite this settlement, and prepared to encamp. Soon a
canoe with seven men came dashing across, and we prepared our moneys
for exhibition. They unhesitatingly advanced, and ran their canoe
alongside of us. We were rapturously joyful, and returned them a most
cordial welcome, as the act was a most auspicious sign of confidence.
We were liberal, and the natives fearlessly accepted our presents;
and from this giving of gifts we proceeded to seal this incipient
friendship with our blood, with all due ceremony.”[37] And by this
transfusion of blood, the starving were re-vivified, and the despairing
were given hope.

Twice, again, within a few weeks after this experience, there was
a call on Stanley of blood for blood, in friendship’s compact. The
people of Chumbiri welcomed the travelers. “They readily subscribed
to all the requirements of friendship, blood-brotherhood, and an
exchange of a few small gifts.”[38] Itsi, the king of Ntamo, with
several of his elders and a showy escort, came out to meet Stanley;
and there was a friendly greeting on both sides. “They then broached
the subject of blood-brotherhood. We were willing,” says Stanley, “but
they wished to defer the ceremony until they had first shown their
friendly feelings to us.” Thereupon gifts were exchanged, and the
king indicated his preference for a “big goat” of Stanley’s, as his
benefaction--which, after some parleying, was transferred to him. Then
came the covenant-rite. “The treaty with Itsi,” says Stanley, “was
exceedingly ceremonious, and involved the exchange of charms. Itsi
transferred to me for my protection through life, a small gourdful of a
curious powder, which had rather a saline taste; and I delivered over
to him, as the white man’s charm against all evil, a half-ounce vial
of magnesia; further, a small scratch in Frank’s arm, and another in
Itsi’s arm, supplied blood sufficient to unite us in one, and [by an]
indivisible bond of fraternity.”[39]

Four years after this experience of blood-covenanting, by proxy, with
young Itsi, Stanley found himself again at Ntamo, or across the river
from it; this time in the interest of the International Association of
the Congo. Being short of food, he had sent out a party of foragers,
and was waiting their return with interest. “During the absence of
the food-hunters,” he says, “we heard the drums of Ntamo, and [we]
followed with interested eyes the departure of two large canoes from
the landing-place, their ascent to the place opposite, and their final
crossing over towards us. Then we knew that Ngalyema of Ntamo had
condescended to come and visit us. As soon as he arrived I recognized
him as the Itsi with whom, in 1877, I had made blood-brotherhood [by
proxy]. During the four years that had elapsed, he had become a great
man.... He was now about thirty-four years old, of well-built form,
proud in his bearing, covetous and grasping in disposition, and,
like all other lawless barbarians, prone to be cruel and sanguinary
whenever he might safely vent his evil humor. Superstition had found
in him an apt and docile pupil, and fetishism held him as one of its
most abject slaves. This was the man in whose hands the destinies of
the Association Internationale du Congo were held, and upon whose
graciousness depended our only hope of being able to effect a peaceful
lodgment on the Upper Congo.” A pagan African was an African pagan,
even while the blood-brother of a European Christian. Yet, the tie of
blood-covenanting was the strongest tie known in Central Africa. Frank
Pocock, whose covenant-blood flowed in Itsi’s veins, was dead;[40] yet
for his sake his master, Stanley, was welcomed by Itsi as a brother;
and in true Eastern fashion he was invited to prove anew his continuing
faith by a fresh series of love-showing gifts. “My brother being the
supreme lord of Ntamo, as well as the deepest-voiced and most arrogant
rogue among the whole tribe,” says Stanley, “first demanded the two
asses [which Stanley had with him], then a large mirror, which was
succeeded by a splendid gold-embroidered coat, jewelry, glass clasps,
long brass chains, a figured table-cloth, fifteen other pieces of fine
cloth, and a japanned tin box with a ‘Chubb’ lock. Finally, gratified
by such liberality, Ngalyema surrendered to me his sceptre, which
consisted of a long staff, banded profusely with brass, and decorated
with coils of brass wire, which was to be carried by me and shown to
all men that I was the brother of Ngalyema [or, Itsi] of Ntamo!”[41]
Some time after this, when trouble arose between Stanley and Ngalyema,
the former suggested that perhaps it would be better to cancel their
brotherhood. “‘No, no, no,’ cried Ngalyema, anxiously; ‘our brotherhood
cannot be broken; our blood is now one.’” Yet at this time Stanley’s
brotherhood with Ngalyema was only by the blood of his deceased
retainer, Frank Pocock.

More commonly, the rite of blood-friendship among the African tribes
seems to be by the inter-transfusion of blood; but the ancient Syrian
method is by no means unknown on that continent. Stanley tells of
one crisis of hunger, among the cannibals of Rubunga, when the
hostility of the natives on the river bank was averted by a shrewd
display of proffered trinkets from the boats of the expedition. “We
raised our anchor,” he says, “and with two strokes of the oars had
run our boat ashore; and, snatching a string or two of cowries [or
shell-money], I sprang on land, followed by the coxswain Uledi, and
in a second I had seized the skinny hand of the old chief, and was
pressing it hard for joy. Warm-hearted Uledi, who the moment before
was breathing furious hate of all savages, and of the procrastinating
old chief in particular, embraced him with a filial warmth. Young
Saywa, and Murabo, and Shumari, prompt as tinder upon all occasions,
grasped the lesser chiefs’ hands, and devoted themselves with smiles
and jovial frank bearing to conquer the last remnants of savage
sullenness, and succeeded so well that, in an incredible short time,
the blood-brotherhood ceremony between the suddenly formed friends was
solemnly entered into, and the irrevocable pact of peace and good will
had been accomplished.”[42]

Apparently unaware of the method of the ancient Semitic rite, here
found in a degraded form, Stanley seems surprised at the mutual tasting
of blood between the contracting friends, in this instance. He says:
“Blood-brotherhood was a beastly cannibalistic ceremony with these
people, yet much sought after,--whether for the satisfaction of their
thirst for blood, or that it involved an interchange of gifts, of which
they must needs reap the most benefit. After an incision was made
in each arm, both brothers bent their heads, and the aborigine was
observed to suck with the greatest fervor; whether for love of blood or
excess of friendship, it would be difficult to say.”[43]

During his latest visit to Africa, in the Congo region, Stanley
had many another occasion to enter into the covenant of blood with
native chiefs, or to rest on that covenant as before consummated. His
every description of the rite itself has its value, as illustrating
the varying forms and the essential unity of the ceremony of
blood-covenanting, the world over.

A reference has already been made[44] to Stanley’s meeting, on this
expedition, with Ngalyema, who, under the name of Itsi, had entered
into blood-brotherhood with Frank Pocock, four years before. That
brotherhood by proxy had several severe strains, in the progress of
negotiations between Stanley and Ngalyema; and after some eight months
of these varying experiences, it was urgently pressed on Stanley by the
chiefs of Kintamo (which is another name for Ntamo), that he should
personally covenant by blood with Ngalyema, and so put an end to all
danger of conflict between them. To this Stanley assented, and the
record of the transaction is given accordingly, under date of April
9, 1882: “Brotherhood with Ngalyema was performed. We crossed arms;
an incision was made in each arm; some salt was placed on the wound,
and then a mutual rubbing took place, while the great fetish man of
Kintamo pronounced an inconceivable number of curses on my head if ever
I proved false. Susi [Livingstone’s head man, now with Stanley], not
to be outdone by him, solicited the gods to visit unheard-of atrocious
vengeances on Ngalyema if he dared to make the slightest breach in
the sacred brotherhood which made him and Bula Matari[45] one and
indivisible for ever.”[46]

In June, 1883, Stanley visited, by invitation, Mangombo, the chief of
Irebu, on the Upper Congo, and became his blood-brother. Describing
his landing at this “Venice of the Congo,” he says: “Mangombo, with
a curious long staff, a fathom and a half in length, having a small
spade of brass at one end, much resembling a baker’s cake-spade, stood
in front. He was a man probably sixty years old, but active and by no
means aged-looking, and he waited to greet me.... Generally the first
day of acquaintance with the Congo river tribes is devoted to chatting,
sounding one another’s principles, and getting at one another’s ideas.
The chief entertains his guest with gifts of food, goats, beer, fish,
&c.; then, on the next day, commences business and reciprocal exchange
of gifts. So it was at Irebu. Mangombo gave four hairy thin-tailed
sheep, ten glorious bunches of bananas, two great pots of beer,
and the usual accompaniments of small stores. The next day we made
blood-brotherhood. The fetish-man pricked each of our right arms,
pressed the blood out; then, with a pinch of scrapings from my gun
stock, a little salt, a few dusty scrapings from a long pod, dropped
over the wounded arms, ... the black and white arms were mutually
rubbed together [for the inter-transfusion of the flowing blood]. The
fetish-man took the long pod in his hand, and slightly touched our
necks, our heads, our arms, and our legs, muttering rapidly his litany
of incantations. What was left of the medicine Mangombo and I carefully
folded in a banana leaf [Was this the ‘house of the amulet?’[47]], and
we bore it reverently between us to a banana grove close by, and buried
the dust out of sight. Mangombo, now my brother, by solemn interchange
of blood,--consecrated to my service, as I was devoted in the sacred
fetish bond to his service,--revealed his trouble, and implored my

Yet again, Stanley “made friendship” with the Bakuti, at Wangata,
“after the customary forms of blood-brotherhood”;[49] similarly with
two chiefs, Iuka and Mungawa, at Lukolela;[50] with Miyongo of
Usindi;[51] and with the chiefs of Bolombo;[52] of Yambinga,[53] of
Mokulu,[54] of Irungu,[55] of Upoto,[56] of Uranga;[57] and so all
along his course of travel. One of the fullest and most picturesque of
his descriptions of this rite, is in connection with its observance
with a son of the great chief of the Bangala, at Iboko; and the main
details of that description are worthy of reproduction here.

The Bangala, or “the Ashantees of the Livingstone River,” as Stanley
characterizes them, are a strong and a superior people, and they
fought fiercely against Stanley, when he was passing their country
in 1877.[58] “The senior chief, Mata Bwyki (lord of many guns), was
[now, in October, 1883,] an old grey-haired man,” says Stanley,
“of Herculean stature and breadth of shoulder, with a large square
face, and an altogether massive head, out of which his solitary eye
seemed to glare with penetrative power. I should judge him to be
six feet, two inches, in height. He had a strong, sonorous voice,
which, when lifted to speak to his tribe, was heard clearly several
hundred yards off. He was now probably between seventy-five and eighty
years old.... He was not the tallest man, nor the best looking, nor
the sweetest-dispositioned man, I had met in all Africa; but if the
completeness and perfection of the human figure, combining size with
strength, and proportion of body, limbs, and head, with an expression
of power in the face, be considered, he must have been at one time the
grandest type of physical manhood to be found in Equatorial Africa. As
he stood before us on this day, we thought of him as an ancient Milo,
an aged Hercules, an old Samson--a really grand looking old man. At his
side were seven tall sons, by different mothers, and although they were
stalwart men and boys, the whitened crown of Mata Bwyki’s head rose by
a couple of inches above the highest head.”

Nearly two thousand persons assembled, at Iboko, to witness the
“palaver” that must precede a decision to enter into “strong
friendship.” At the place of meeting, “mats of split rattan were
spread in a large semicircle around a row of curved and box stools,
for the principal chiefs. In the centre of the line, opposite this,
was left a space for myself and people,” continues Stanley. “We had
first to undergo the process of steady and silent examination from
nearly two thousand pairs of eyes. Then, after Yumbila, the guide,
had detailed in his own manner, who we were, and what was our mission
up the great river; how we had built towns at many places, and made
blood-brotherhood with the chiefs of great districts, such as Irebu,
Ukuti, Usindi, Ngombé, Lukolela, Bolobo, Mswata, and Kintamo, he urged
upon them the pleasure it would be to me to make a like compact, sealed
with blood, with the great chiefs of populous Iboko. He pictured the
benefits likely to accrue to Iboko, and Mata Bwyki in particular, if
a bond of brotherhood was made between two chiefs like Mata Bwyki and
Tandelay, [Stanley,] or as he was known, Bula Matari.”

There was no prompt response to Stanley’s request for strong friendship
with the Bangala. There were prejudices to be removed, and old memories
to be overborne; and Yumbila’s eloquence and tact were put to their
severest test, in the endeavor to bring about a state of feeling that
would make the covenant of blood a possibility here. But the triumph
was won. “A forked palm branch was brought,” says Stanley. “Kokoro, the
heir [of Mata Bwyki], came forward, seized it, and kneeled before me;
as, drawing out his short falchion, he cried, ‘Hold the other branch,
Bula Matari!’ I obeyed him, and lifting his hand he cleaved the branch
in two. ‘Thus,’ he said, ‘I declare my wish to be your brother.’

“Then a fetish-man came forward with his lancets, long pod, pinch
of salt, and fresh green banana leaf. He held the staff of Kokoro’s
sword-bladed spear, while one of my rifles was brought from the
steamer. The shaft of the spear and the stock of the rifle were then
scraped on the leaf, a pinch of salt was dropped on the wood, and
finally a little dust from the long pod was scraped on the curious
mixture. Then, our arms were crossed,--the white arm over the brown
arm,--and an incision was made in each; and over the blood was dropped
a few grains of the dusty compound; and the white arm was rubbed over
the brown arm [in the intermingling of blood].”

“Now Mata Bwyki lifted his mighty form, and with his long giant’s staff
drove back the compressed crowd, clearing a wide circle, and then
roaring out in his most magnificent style, leonine in its lung-force,
kingly in its effect: ‘People of Iboko! You by the river side, and you
of inland. Men of the Bangala, listen to the words of Mata Bwyki. You
see Tandelay before you. His other name is Bula Matari. He is the man
with the many canoes, and has brought back strange smoke-boats. He has
come to see Mata Bwyki. He has asked Mata Bwyki to be his friend. Mata
Bwyki has taken him by the hand, and has become his blood-brother.
Tandelay belongs to Iboko now. He has become this day one of the
Bangala. O, Iboko! listen to the voice of Mata Bwyki.’ (I thought they
must have been incurably deaf, not to have heard that voice). ‘Bula
Matari and Mata Bwyki are one to-day. We have joined hands. Hurt not
Bula Matari’s people; steal not from them; offend them not. Bring food
and sell to him at a fair price, gently, kindly, and in peace; for he
is my brother. Hear you, ye people of Iboko--you by the river side, and
you of the interior?’

“‘We hear, Mata Bwyki!’ shouted the multitude.”[59] And the ceremony
was ended.

A little later than this, Stanley, or Tandelay, or Bula Matari, as the
natives called him, was at Bumba, and there again he exchanged blood
in friendship. “Myombi, the chief,” he says, “was easily persuaded
by Yumbila to make blood-brotherhood with me; and for the fiftieth
time my poor arm was scarified, and my blood shed for the cause of
civilization. Probably one thousand people of both sexes looked on the
scene, wonderingly and strangely. A young branch of a palm was cut,
twisted, and a knot tied at each end; the knots were dipped in wood
ashes, and then seized and held by each of us, while the medicine-man
practised his blood-letting art, and lanced us both, until Myombi
winced with pain; after which the knotted branch was severed; and,
in some incomprehensible manner, I had become united forever to my
fiftieth brother; to whom I was under the obligation of defending [him]
against all foes until death.”[60]

The blood of a fair proportion of all the first families of Equatorial
Africa now courses in Stanley’s veins; and if ever there was an
American citizen who could appropriate to himself preeminently the
national motto, “E pluribus unum,” Stanley is the man.

The root-idea of this rite of blood-friendship seems to include the
belief, that the blood is the life of a living being; not merely that
the blood is _essential_ to life, but that, in a peculiar sense, it
_is_ life; that it actually vivifies by its presence; and that by its
passing from one organism to another it carries and imparts life.
The inter-commingling of the blood of two organisms is, therefore,
according to this view, equivalent to the inter-commingling of the
lives, of the personalities, of the natures, thus brought together; so
that there is, thereby and thenceforward, one life in the two bodies,
a common life between the two friends: a thought which Aristotle
recognizes in his citation of the ancient “proverb”: “One soul [in two
bodies],”[61] a proverb which has not lost its currency in any of the

That the blood can retain its vivifying power whether passing into
another by way of the lips or by way of the veins, is, on the face of
it, no less plausible, than that the administering of stimulants,
tonics, nutriments, nervines, or anæsthetics, hypodermically, may be
equally potent, in certain cases, with the more common and normal
method of seeking assimilation by the process of digestion. That
the blood of the living has a peculiar vivifying force, in its
transference from one organism to another, is one of the clearly proven
re-disclosures of modern medical science; and this transference of
blood has been made to advantage by way of the veins, of the stomach,
of the intestines, of the tissue, and even of the lungs--through


Different methods of observing this primitive rite of blood-covenanting
are indicated in the legendary lore of the Norseland peoples; and these
methods, in all their variety, give added proof of the ever underlying
idea of an inter-commingling of lives through an inter-commingling
of blood. Odin was the beneficent god of light and knowledge, the
promoter of heroism, and the protector of sacred covenants, in the
mythology of the North. Lôké, or Lok, on the other hand, was the
discordant and corrupting divinity; symbolizing, in his personality,
“sin, shrewdness, deceitfulness, treachery, malice,” and other phases
of evil.[64] In the poetic myths of the Norseland, it is claimed that
at the beginning Odin and Lôké were in close union instead of being
at variance;[65] just as the Egyptian cosmogony made Osiris and Set
in original accord, although in subsequent hostility;[66] and as the
Zoroastrians claimed that Ormuzd and Ahriman were at one, before
they were in conflict.[67] Odin and Lôké are, indeed, said to have
been, at one time, in the close and sacred union of blood-friendship;
having covenanted in that union by mingling their blood in a bowl, and
drinking therefrom together.

The Elder Edda,[68] or the earliest collection of Scandinavian songs,
makes reference to this confraternity of Odin and Lôké. At a banquet of
the gods, Lôké, who had not been invited, found an entrance, and there
reproached his fellow divinities for their hostility to him. Recalling
the indissoluble tie of blood-friendship, he said:

   “Father of Slaughter,[69] Odin, say,
    Rememberest not the former day,
    When ruddy in the goblet stood,
    For mutual drink, our blended blood?
    Rememberest not, thou then didst swear,
    The festive banquet ne’er to share,
    Unless thy brother Lok was there?”

In citing this illustration of the ancient rite, a modern historian
of chivalry has said: “Among barbarous people [the barbarians of
Europe] the fraternity of arms [the sacred brotherhood of heroes] was
established by the horrid custom of the new brothers drinking each
other’s blood; but if this practice was barbarous, nothing was farther
from barbarism than the sentiment which inspired it.”[70]

Another of the methods by which the rite of blood-friendship was
observed in the Norseland, was by causing the blood of the two
covenanting persons to inter-flow from their pierced hands, while they
lay together underneath a lifted sod. The idea involved seems to have
been, the burial of the two individuals, in their separate personal
lives, and the intermingling of those lives--by the intermingling of
their blood--while in their temporary grave; in order to their rising
again with a common life[71]--one life, one soul, in two bodies. Thus
it is told, in one of the Icelandic Sagas, of Thorstein, the heroic son
of Viking, proffering “foster-brotherhood,” or blood-friendship, to the
valiant Angantyr, Jarl of the Orkneys. “Then this was resolved upon,
and secured by firm pledges on both sides. They opened a vein in the
hollow of their hands, crept beneath the sod, and there [with clasped
hands inter-blood-flowing] they solemnly swore that each of them should
avenge the other if any one of them should be slain by weapons.” This
was, in fact, a three-fold covenant of blood; for King Bele, who had
just been in combat with Angantyr, was already in blood-friendship with

The rite of blood-friendship, in one form and another finds frequent
mention in the Norseland Sagas. Thus, in the Saga of Fridthjof the
Bold, the son of Thorstein:

   “Champions twelve, too, had he--gray-haired, and princes in
    Comrades his father had loved, steel-breasted and scarred o’er the
    Last on the champions’ bench, equal-aged with Fridthjof, a stripling
    Sat, like a rose among withered leaves; Bjorn called they the hero--
    Glad as a child, but firm like a man, and yet wise as a graybeard;
    Up with Fridthjof he’d grown; they had mingled blood with each
    Foster-brothers in Northman wise; and they swore to continue
    Steadfast in weal and woe, each other revenging in battle.”[73]

A vestige of this primitive rite, coming down to us through European
channels, is found, as are so many other traces of primitive rites,
in the inherited folk-lore of English-speaking children on both sides
of the Atlantic. An American clergyman’s wife said recently, on this
point: “I remember, that while I was a school-girl, it was the custom,
when one of our companions pricked her finger, so that the blood came,
for one or another of us to say ‘Oh, let me suck the blood; then we
shall be friends.’” And that is but an illustration of the outreaching
after this indissoluble bond, on the part of thirty generations
of children of Norseland and Anglo-Saxon stock, since the days of
Fridthjof and Bjorn; as that same yearning had been felt by those of a
hundred generations before that time.


Concerning traces of the rite of blood-covenanting in China, where
there are to be found fewest resemblances to the primitive customs of
the Asiatic Semites, Dr. Yung Wing, the eminent Chinese educationalist
and diplomat, gives me the following illustration: “In the year 1674,
when Kănhi was Emperor, of the present dynasty, we find that the
Buddhist priests of Shanlin Monastery in Fuhkin Province had rebelled
against the authorities on account of persecution. In their encounters
with the troops, they fought against great odds, and were finally
defeated and scattered in different provinces, where they organized
centres of the Triad Society, which claims an antiquity dated as far
back as the Freemasons of the West. Five of these priests fled to the
province of Hakwong, and there, Chin Kinnan, a member of the Hanlin
College, who was degraded from office by his enemies, joined them; and
it is said that they drank blood, and took the oath of brotherhood, to
stand by each other in life or death.”

Along the southwestern border of the Chinese Empire, in Burmah, this
rite of blood-friendship is still practiced; as may be seen from
illustrations of it, which are given in the Appendix of this work.

In his History of Madagascar, the Rev. William Ellis, tells of this
rite as he observed it in that island, and as he learned of it from
Borneo. He says:

“Another popular engagement in use among the Malagasy is that of
forming brotherhoods, which though not peculiar to them, is one of
the most remarkable usages of the country.... Its object is to cement
two individuals in the bonds of most sacred friendship.... More than
two may thus associate, if they please; but the practice is usually
limited to that number, and rarely embraces more than three or four
individuals. It is called _fatridá_, _i. e._, ‘dead blood,’ either
because the oath is taken over the blood of a fowl killed for the
occasion, or because a small portion of blood is drawn from each
individual, when thus pledging friendship, and drunk by those to
whom friendship is pledged, with execrations of vengeance on each
other in case of violating the sacred oath. To obtain the blood, a
slight incision is made in the skin covering the centre of the bosom,
significantly called _ambavafo_, ‘the mouth of the heart.’ Allusion is
made to this, in the formula of this tragi-comical ceremony.

“When two or more persons have agreed on forming this bond of
fraternity, a suitable place and hour are determined upon, and some
gunpowder and a ball are brought, together with a small quantity of
ginger, a spear, and two particular kinds of grass. A fowl also is
procured; its head is nearly cut off; and it is left in this state to
continue bleeding during the ceremony.[74]

“The parties then pronounce a long form of imprecation, and [a]
mutual vow, to this effect:--‘Should either of us prove disloyal to
the sovereign, or unfaithful to each other,[75] then perish the day,
and perish the night.[76] Awful is that, solemn is that, which we
are now both about to perform! O the mouth of the heart!--this is to
be cut, and we shall drink each other’s blood. O this ball! O this
powder! O this ginger! O this fowl weltering in its blood!--it shall be
killed, it shall be put to excruciating agonies,--it shall be killed
by us, it shall be speared at this corner of the hearth (Alakaforo
or Adimizam, S. W.) And whoever would seek to kill or injure us, to
injure our wives, or our children, to waste our money or our property;
or if either of us should seek to do what would not be approved of
by the king or by the people; should one of us deceive the other by
making that which is unjust appear just; should one accuse the other
falsely; should either of us with our wives and children be lost and
reduced to slavery, (forbid that such should be our lot!)--then, that
good may arise out of evil, we follow this custom of the people; and
we do it for the purpose of assisting one another with our families,
if lost in slavery, by whatever property either of us may possess; for
our wives are as one to us, and each other’s children as his own,[77]
and our riches as common property. O the mouth of the heart! O the
ball! O the powder! O the ginger! O this miserable fowl weltering in
its blood!--thy liver do we eat, thy liver do we eat. And should
either of us retract from the terms of this oath, let him instantly
become a fool, let him instantly become blind, let this covenant
prove a curse to him: let him not be a human being: let there be no
heir to inherit after him, but let him be reduced, and float with the
water never to see its source; let him never obtain; what is out of
doors, may it never enter; and what is within may it never go out;
the little obtained, may he be deprived of it;[78] and let him never
obtain justice from the sovereign nor from the people! But if we keep
and observe this covenant, let these things bear witness.[79] O mouth
of the heart! (repeating as before),--may this cause us to live long
and happy with our wives and our children; may we be approved by the
sovereign, and beloved by the people; may we get money, may we obtain
property, cattle, &c.; may we marry wives, (_vady kely_); may we have
good robes, and wear a good piece of cloth on our bodies;[80] since,
amidst our toils and labor, these are the things we seek after.[81] And
this we do that we may with all fidelity assist each other to the last.’

“The incision is then made, as already mentioned; a small quantity of
blood [is] extracted and drank by the covenanting parties respectively,
[they] saying as they take it, ‘These are our last words, We will
be like rice and water;[82] in town they do not separate, and in
the fields they do not forsake one another; we will be as the right
and left hand of the body; if one be injured, the other necessarily
sympathizes and suffers with it.’”[83]

Speaking of the terms and the influence of this covenant, in
Madagascar, Mr. Ellis says, that while absolute community of all
worldly possessions is not a literal fact on the part of these
blood-friends, “the engagement involves a sort of moral obligation
for one to assist the other in every extremity.” “However devoid of
meaning,” he adds, “some part of the ceremony of forming [this]
brotherhood may appear, and whatever indications of barbarity of
feeling may appear in others, it is less exceptionable than many [of
the rites] that prevail among the people.... So far as those who have
resided in the country have observed its effects, they appear almost
invariably to have been safe to the community, and beneficial to the
individuals by whom the compact was formed.”

Yet again, this covenant of blood-friendship is found in different
parts of Borneo. In the days of Mr. Ellis, the Rev. W. Medhurst,
a missionary of the London Missionary Society, in Java, described
it, in reporting a visit made to the Dayaks of Borneo, by one of
his assistants together with a missionary of the Rhenish Missionary

Telling of the kindly greeting given to these visitors at a place
called Golong, he says that the natives wished “to establish a
fraternal agreement with the missionaries, on condition that the latter
should teach them the ways of God. The travelers replied, that if the
Dayaks became the disciples of Christ, they would be constituted the
brethren of Christ without any formal compact. The Dayaks, however,
insisted that the travelers should enter into a compact [with them],
according to the custom of the country, by means of blood. The
missionaries were startled at this, thinking that the Dayaks meant to
murder them, and committed themselves to their Heavenly Father, praying
that, whether living or dying, they might lie at the feet of their
Saviour. It appears, however, that it is the custom of the Dayaks, when
they enter into a covenant, to draw a little blood from the arms of the
covenanting parties, and, having mixed it with water, each to drink,
in this way, the blood of the other.

“Mr. Barenstein [one of the missionaries] having consented [for both]
to the ceremony, they all took off their coats, and two officers came
forward with small knives, to take a little blood out of the arm of
each of them [the two missionaries and two Dayak chiefs]. This being
mixed together in four glasses of water, they drank, severally, each
from the glass of the other; after which they joined hands and kissed.
The people then came forward, and made obeisance to the missionaries,
as the friends of the Dayak King, crying out with loud voices, ‘Let us
be friends and brethren forever; and may God help the Dayaks to obtain
the knowledge of God from the missionaries!’ The two chiefs then said,
‘Brethren, be not afraid to dwell with us; for we will do you no harm;
and if others wish to hurt you, we will defend you with our life’s
blood, and die ourselves ere you be slain. God be witness, and this
whole assembly be witness, that this is true.’ Whereupon the whole
company shouted, _Balaak!_ or ‘Good,’ ‘Be it so.’”

Yet another method of observing this rite, is reported from among
the Kayans of Borneo; quite a different people from the Dayaks. Its
description is from the narrative of Mr. Spenser St. John, as follows:
“Siñgauding [a Kayan chief] sent on board to request me to become his
brother, by going through the sacred custom of imbibing each other’s
blood. I say imbibing, because it is either mixed with water and drunk,
or else is placed within a native cigar, and drawn in with the smoke. I
agreed to do so, and the following day was fixed for the ceremony. It
is called _Berbiang_ by the Kayans; _Bersabibah_, by the Borneans [the
Dayaks]. I landed with our party of Malays, and after a preliminary
talk, to allow the population to assemble, the affair commenced....
Stripping my left arm, Kum Lia took a small piece of wood, shaped like
a knife-blade, and, slightly piercing the skin, brought blood to the
surface; this he carefully scraped off. Then one of my Malays drew
blood in the same way from Siñgauding; and, a small cigarette being
produced, the blood on the wooden blade was spread on the tobacco. A
chief then arose, and, walking to an open place, looked forth upon the
river, and invoked their god and all the spirits of good and evil to
be witness of this tie of brotherhood. The cigarette [blood-stained]
was then lighted, and each of us took several puffs [receiving each
other’s blood by inhalation], and the ceremony was over.”[85] This
is a new method of smoking the “pipe of peace”--or, the cigarette of
inter-union! Borneo, indeed, furnishes many illustrations of primitive
customs, both social and religious.

One of the latest and most venturesome explorers of North Borneo was
the gallant and lamented Frank Hatton, a son of the widely known
international journalist, Joseph Hatton. In a sketch of his son’s
life-work, the father says[86]: “His was the first white foot in
many of the hitherto unknown villages of Borneo; in him many of the
wild tribes saw the first white man.... Speaking the language of the
natives, and possessing that special faculty of kindly firmness so
necessary to the efficient control of uncivilized peoples, he journeyed
through the strange land not only unmolested, but frequently carrying
away tokens of native affection. Several powerful chiefs made him their
‘blood-brother’; and here and there the tribes prayed to him as if he
were a god.” It would seem from the description of Mr. Hatton, that, in
some instances, in Borneo, the blood-covenanting is by the substitute
blood of a fowl held by the two parties to the covenant, while its head
is cut off by a third person; without any drinking of each other’s
blood by those who enter into the covenant. Yet however this may be,
the other method still prevails there.

Another recent traveler in the Malay Archipelago, who, also, is a
trained and careful observer, tells of this rite, as he found it in
Timor, and other islands of that region, among a people who represent
the Malays, the Papuan, and the Polynesian races. His description is:
“The ceremony of blood-brotherhood, ... or the swearing of eternal
friendship, is of an interesting nature, and is celebrated often by
fearful orgies [excesses of the communion idea], especially when
friendship is being made between families, or tribes, or kingdoms. The
ceremony is the same in substance whether between two individuals, or
[between] large companies. The contracting parties slash their arms,
and collect the blood into a bamboo, into which _kanipa_ (coarse gin)
or _laru_ (palm wine) is poured. Having provided themselves with a
small fig-tree (_halik_) they adjourn to some retired spot, taking with
them the sword and spear from the _Luli_ chamber [the sacred room] of
their own houses if between private individuals, or from the _Uma-Luli_
of their _suku_ [the sacred building of their village] if between large
companies. Planting there the fig-tree, flanked by the sacred sword and
spear, they hang on it a bamboo-receptacle, into which--after pledging
each other in a portion of the mixed blood and gin--the remainder [of
that mixture] is poured. Then each swears, ‘If I be false, and be not a
true friend, may my blood issue from my mouth, ears, nose, as it does
from this bamboo!’--the bottom of the receptacle being pricked at the
same moment, to allow the blood and gin to escape. The [blood-stained]
tree remains and grows as a witness of their contract.”

Of the close and binding nature of this blood-compact, among the
Timorese, the observer goes on to say: “It is one of their most sacred
oaths, and [is] almost never, I am told, violated; at least between
individuals.” As to its limitless force and scope, he adds: “One
brother [one of these brother-friends in the covenant of blood] coming
to another brother’s house, is in every respect regarded as free [to
do as he pleases], and [is] as much at home as its owner. Nothing
is withheld from him; even his friend’s wife is not denied him, and
a child born of such a union would be recognized by the husband as
_his_; [for are not--as _they_ reason--these brother-friends of _one
blood_--of one and the same life?]”[87]

The covenant of blood-friendship has been noted also among the native
races of both North and South America. A writer of three centuries
ago, told of it as among the aborigines of Yucatan. “When the Indians
of Pontonchan,” he said, “receive new friends [covenant in a new
friendship] ... as a proof of [their] friendship, they [mutually,
each], in the sight of the friend, draw some blood ... from the tongue,
hand, or arm, or from some other part [of the body].”[88] And this
ceremony is said to have formed “a compact for life.”[89]

In Brazil, the Indians were said to have a rite of brotherhood so close
and sacred that, as in the case of the Bed´ween beyond the Jordan,[90]
its covenanting parties were counted as of one blood; so that marriage
between those thus linked would be deemed incestuous. “There was a word
in their language to express a friend who was loved like a brother; it
is written _Atourrassap_ [‘erroneously, beyond a doubt,’ adds Southey,
‘because their speech is without the _r_’]. They who called each other
by this name, had all things in common; the tie was held to be as
sacred as that of consanguinity, and one could not marry the daughter
or sister of the other.”[91]

A similar tie of adopted brotherhood, or of close and sacred
friendship, is recognized among the North American Indians. Writing
of the Dakotas, or the Sioux, Dr. Riggs, the veteran missionary and
scholar, says: “Where one Dakota takes another as his _koda_, i. e.,
god, or friend, [Think of that, for sacredness of union--‘god, or
friend’!] they become brothers in each other’s families, and are, as
such, of course unable to intermarry.”[92] And Burton, the famous
traveler, who made this same tribe a study, says of the Dakotas: “They
are fond of adoption, and of making brotherhoods like the Africans
[Burton is familiar with the customs of African tribes]; and so strong
is the tie that marriage with the sister of an adopted brother is
within the prohibited degree.”[93]

Among the people of the Society Islands, and perhaps also among those
of other South Sea Islands, the term _tayo_ is applied to an attached
personal friend, in a peculiar relation of intimacy. The formal
ceremony of brotherhood, whereby one becomes the tayo of another,
in these islands, I have not found described; but the closeness and
sacredness of the relation, as it is held by many of the natives, would
seem to indicate the inter-mingling of blood in the covenanting, now
or in former times. The early missionaries to those islands, speaking
of the prevalent unchastity there, make this exception: “If a person
is a tayo of the husband, he must indulge in no liberties with the
sisters or the daughters, because they are considered as _his own_
sisters or daughters; and incest is held in abhorrence by them; nor
will any temptations engage them to violate this bond of purity. The
wife, however, is excepted, and considered as common property for the
tayo.[94] Lieutenant Corner [a still earlier voyager] also added,
that a tayoship formed between different sexes put the most solemn
barrier against all personal liberties.”[95] Here is evidenced that
same view of the absolute oneness of nature through a oneness of blood,
which shows itself among the Semites of Syria,[96] among the Malays of
Timor,[97] and among the Indians of America.[98]

And so this close and sacred covenant relation, this rite of
blood-friendship, this inter-oneness of life by an inter-oneness
of blood, shows itself in the primitive East, and in the wild and
pre-historic West; in the frozen North, as in the torrid South. Its
traces are everywhere. It is of old, and it is of to-day; as universal
and as full of meaning as life itself.

It will be observed that we have already noted proofs of the
independent existence of this rite of blood-brotherhood, or
blood-friendship, among the three great primitive divisions of the
race--the Semitic, the Hamitic, and the Japhetic; and this in Asia,
Africa, Europe, America, and the Islands of the Sea; again, among the
five modern and more popular divisions of the human family: Caucasian,
Mongolian, Ethiopian, Malay, and American. This fact in itself would
seem to point to a common origin of its various manifestations, in the
early Oriental home of the now scattered peoples of the world. Many
references to this rite, in the pages of classic literature, seem to
have the same indicative bearing, as to its nature and primitive source.


Lucian, the bright Greek thinker, who was born and trained in the East,
writing in the middle of the second century of our era, is explicit
as to the nature and method of this covenant as then practised in the
East. In his “Toxaris or Friendship,”[99] Mnesippus the Greek, and
Toxaris the Scythian, are discussing friendship. Toxaris declares: “It
can easily be shown that Scythian friends are much more faithful than
Greek friends; and that friendship is esteemed more highly among us
than among you.” Then Toxaris goes on to say[100]: “But first I wish
to tell you in what manner we [in Scythia] make friends; not in our
drinking bouts as you do, nor simply because a man is of the same age
[as ourselves], or because he is our neighbor. But, on the contrary,
when we see a good man, and one capable of great deeds, to him we all
hasten, and (as you do in the case of marrying, so we think it right
to do in the case of our friends) we court him, and we [who would be
friends] do all things together, so that we may not offend against
friendship, or seem worthy to be rejected. And whenever one decides to
be a friend, we [who would join in the covenant] make the greatest of
all oaths, to live with one another, and to die, if need be, the one
for the other. And this is the manner of it: Thereupon, cutting our
fingers, all simultaneously, we let the blood drop into a vessel, and
having dipped the points of our swords into it, both [of us] holding
them together,[101] we drink it. There is nothing which can loose us
from one another after that.”

Yet a little earlier than Lucian, Tacitus, foremost among Latin
historians, gives record of this rite of blood-brotherhood as practised
in the East. He is telling, in his Annals, of Rhadamistus, leader of
the Iberians, who pretends to seek a covenant with Mithradates, King of
the Armenians (yet farther east than Scythia), which should make firm
the peace between the two nations, “_diis testibus_,” “the gods being
witnesses.” Here Tacitus makes an explanation:[102] “It is the custom
of [Oriental] kings, as often as they come together to make covenant,
to join right hands, to tie the thumbs together, and to tighten them
with a knot. Then, when the blood is [thus] pressed to the finger tips,
they draw blood by a light stroke, and lick[103] it in turn. This they
regard as a divine[104] covenant, made sacred as it were, by mutual
blood [or blended lives].”

There are several references, by classical writers, to this
blood-friendship, or to this blood-covenanting, in connection with
Catiline’s conspiracy against the Roman Republic. Sallust, the
historian of that conspiracy, says: “There were those at that time
who said that Catiline, at this conference [with his accomplices]
when he inducted them into the oath of partnership in crime, carried
round in goblets human blood, mixed with wine; and that after all
had tasted of it, with an imprecatory oath, as is men’s wont in
solemn rites [in “_Sharb el ’Ahd_,”[105] as the Arabs would say] he
opened to them his plans.”[106] Florus, a later Latin historian,
describing this conspiracy, says: “There was added the pledge of the
league,--human blood,--which they drank as it was borne round to them
in goblets.”[107] And yet later, Tertullian suggests that it was
their own blood, mingled with wine, of which the fellow-conspirators
drank together. “Concerning the eating of blood and other such tragic
dishes,” he says, “you read (I do not know where), that blood drawn
from the arms, and tasted by one another, was the method of making
covenant among certain nations. I know not but that under Catiline such
blood was tasted.”[108]

In the Pitti Palace, in Florence, there is a famous painting of the
conspiracy of Catiline, by Salvator Rosa; it is, indeed, Salvator
Rosa’s masterpiece, in the line of historical painting. This painting
represents the covenanting by blood. Two conspirators stand face
to face, their right hands clasped above a votive altar. The bared
right arm of each is incised, a little below the elbow. The blood is
streaming from the arm of one, into a cup which he holds, with his left
hand, to receive it; while the dripping arm of the other conspirator
shows that his blood has already flowed into the commingling cup.[109]
The uplifted hand of the daysman between the conspirators seems to
indicate the imprecatory vows which the two are assuming, in the
presence of the gods, and of the witnesses who stand about the altar.
This is a clear indication of the traditional form of covenanting
between Catiline and his fellow conspirators.

As far back, even, as the fifth century before Christ, we find an
explicit description of this Oriental rite of blood-covenanting,
in the writings of “the Father of History.” “Now the Scythians,”
says Herodotus,[110] “make covenants in the following manner, with
whomsoever they make them. Having poured out wine into a great earthen
drinking-bowl, they mingle with it the blood of those cutting covenant,
striking the body [of each person having a part in it] with a small
knife, or cutting it slightly with a sword. Thereafter, they dip into
the bowl, sword, arrows, axe, and javelin.[111] But while they are
doing this, they utter many invokings [of curse upon a breach of this
covenant];[112] and, afterwards, not only those who make the covenant,
but those of their followers who are of the highest rank, drink off
[the wine mingled with blood].”

Again Herodotus says of this custom, in his day[113]: “Now the Arabians
reverence in a very high degree pledges between man and man. They make
these pledges in the following way. When they wish to make pledges to
one another, a third man, standing in the midst of the two, cuts with a
sharp stone the inside of the hands along the thumbs of the two making
the pledges. After that, plucking some woolen floss from the garments
of each of the two, he anoints with the blood seven stones [as the
“heap of witness”[114]] which are set in the midst. While he is doing
this he invokes Dionysus and Urania. When this rite is completed, he
that has made the pledges [to one from without] introduces the [former]
stranger to his friends[115]--or the fellow citizen [to his fellows] if
the rite was performed with a fellow-citizen.”

Thus it is clear, that the rite of blood-brotherhood, or of
blood-friendship, which is to-day a revered form of sacred covenanting
in the unchangeable East, was recognized as an established custom
among Oriental peoples twenty-three centuries ago. Its beginning must
certainly have been prior to that time; if not indeed long prior.

An indication of the extreme antiquity of this rite would seem to be
shown in a term employed in its designation by the Romans, early in our
Christian era; when both the meaning and the origin of the term itself
were already lost in the dim past. Festus,[116] a writer, of fifteen
centuries or more ago, concerning Latin antiquities, is reported[117]
as saying, of this drink of the covenant of blood: “A certain kind
of drink, of mingled wine and blood, was called _assiratum_ by the
ancients; for the ancient Latins called blood, _assir_.” Our modern
lexicons give this isolated claim, made by Festus, of the existence
of any such word as “assir” signifying “blood,” in “the ancient Latin
language;”[118] and some of them try to show the possibilities of its
origin;[119] but no convincing proof of any such word and meaning in
the Latin can be found.

Turning, however, to the languages of the East, where the binding vow
of blood-friendship was pledged in the drink of wine and blood, or of
blood alone, from time immemorial, we have no difficulty in finding the
meaning of “assir.” _Asar_ (אָסַר) is a common Hebrew word, signifying
“to bind together”--as in a mutual covenant. _Issar_ (אִסָּר), again,
is a vow of self-renunciation. Thus we have _Asar issar ’al nephesh_
(נֶפֶשׁ עַל אִסָּר אָסַר) “To bind a self-devoting vow upon one’s
life”[120]--upon one’s blood; “for the blood is the life.”[121] In
the Arabic, also, _asara_ (اسر) means “to bind,” or “to tie”; while
_asar_ (اسر) is “a covenant,” or “a compact”; and _aswâr_ (اسوار) is “a
bracelet”; which in itself is “a band,” and may be “a fetter.”[122] So,
again, in the Assyrian, _esiru_ ([Illustration]) is in its root form “to
bind”; and as a substantive it is “a bracelet,” or “a fetter.”[123] The
Syriac gives _esar_ ([Illustration]), “a bond,” or “a belt.”[124] All
these, with the root idea, “to bind”--as a covenant binds. In the light
of these disclosures, it is easy to see how the “issar” or the “assar,”
when it was a covenant of blood, came to be counted by the Latins the
blood which was a covenant.


Just here it may be well to emphasize the fact, that, from time
immemorial, and the world over, the armlet, the bracelet, and the
ring, have been counted the symbols of a boundless bond between
giver and receiver; the tokens of a mutual, unending covenant.
Possibly,--probably, as I think,--this is in consequence of
the primitive custom of binding, as an amulet, the enclosed
record--enclosed in the “house of the amulet”[125]--of the covenant
of blood on the arm of either participant in that rite; possibly,
again, it is an outgrowth of the common root idea of a covenant and a
bracelet, as a binding agency.

Blood-covenanting and bracelet-binding seem--as already shown--to be
intertwined in the _languages_ of the Oriental progenitors of the race.
There are, likewise, indications of this intertwining in the _customs_
of peoples, East and West. For example, in India, where blood-shedding
is peculiarly objectionable, the gift and acceptance of a bracelet is
an ancient covenant-tie, seemingly akin to blood-brotherhood. Of this
custom, an Indian authority says: “Amongst the rajput races of India
the women adopt a brother by the gift of a bracelet. The intrinsic
value of such pledges is never looked to, nor is it necessary that
it should be costly, though it varies with the means and rank of the
donor, and may be of flock silk and spangles, or of gold chains and
gems. The acceptance of the pledge is by the ‘_katchli_’, or corset,
of simple silk or satin, or gold brocade and pearls. Colonel Tod was
the _Rakhi-bund Bhai_ [the Bracelet-bound Brother] of the three queens
of Oodipur, Bundi, and Kotch; as also of Chund-Bai, the maiden sister
of the Rana, and of many ladies of the chieftains of rank. Though the
bracelet may be sent by maidens, it is only on occasions of urgent
necessity and danger. The adopted brother may hazard his life in his
adopted sister’s cause, and yet never receive a mite in reward; for he
cannot even see the fair object; who, as brother of her adoption, has
constituted him her defender.”[126]

“The ... ‘Bracelet-bound Brother,’ feels himself called upon to
espouse the cause of the lady from whom he has received the gift, and
to defend her against all her enemies, whenever she shall demand his
assistance.” Thus, the Great Mogul, Hoomâyoon, father of the yet more
celebrated Akbar, was in his early life bound, and afterwards loyally
recognized his binding, as “the sworn knight of one of the princesses
of Rajasthan, who, according to the custom of her country, secured
the sword of the prince in her service by the gift of a bracelet.”
When he had a throne of his own to care for, this princess, Kurnivati,
being besieged at Cheetore, sent to Hoomâyoon, then prosecuting a
vigorous campaign in Bengal; and he, as in duty bound, “instantly
obeyed the summons”; and although he was not in season to rescue her,
he “evinced his fidelity by avenging the fall of the city.”[127] It
is noteworthy, just here, that the Oriental biographer of the Mogul
Akbar calls attention to the fact, that while the Persians describe
close friendship as chiefly subsisting between men, “in Hindostan it is
celebrated between man and woman”;[128] as indeed, it is among the Arab
tribes East of the Jordan.[129]

In the Norseland, an oath of fidelity was taken on a ring, or a
bracelet, kept in the temple of the gods; and the gift and acceptance
of a bracelet, or a ring, was a common symbol of a covenant of
fidelity. Thus, in “Hávamál,” the high song of Odin, we find:

   “Odin, I believe,
    A ring-oath gave.
    Who, in his faith will trust?”

And in “Viga Glum’s Saga,” it is related: “In the midst of a wedding
party, Glum calls upon Thorarin, his accuser, to hear his oath, and
taking in his hand a silver ring which had been dipped in sacrificial
blood, he cites two witnesses to testify to his oath on the ring, and
to his having appealed to the gods in his denial of the charge made
against him.” In the “Saga of Fridthjof the Bold,” when Fridthjof is
bidding farewell to his beloved Ingeborg, he covenants fidelity to her
by the gift of

                “An _arm-ring_, all over famous;
    Forged by the halting Volund, ’twas,--the old North-story’s
      Vulcan ...
    Heaven was grav’d thereupon, with the twelve immortals’ strong
    Signs of the changing months, but the skald had Sun-houses named

As Fridthjof gave this pledge to Ingeborg, he said:

           “Forget me never; and,
    In sweet remembrance of our youthful love,
    This arm-ring take; a fair Volunder-work,
    With all heaven’s wonders carved i’ th’ shining gold.
    Ah! the best wonder is a faithful heart ...
    How prettily becomes it thy white arm--
    A glow-worm twining round a lily stem.”

And the subsequent story of that covenanting arm-ring, fills thrilling
pages in Norseland lore.[130]

Yet again, in the German cycle of the “Nibelungen Lied,” Gotelind, the
wife of Sir Rudeger, gives bracelets to the warrior-bard Folker, to
bind him as her knightly champion in the court of King Etzel, to which
he goes. Her jewel casket is brought to her.

   “From this she took twelve bracelets, and drew them o’er his hand;
    ‘These you must take, and with you bear hence to Etzel’s land,
    And for the sake of Gotelind the same at court must wear,
    That I may learn, when hither again you all repair,
    What service you have done me in yon assembly bright.’
    The lady’s wish thereafter full well perform’d the knight.”

And when the fight waxed sore at the court of Etzel, the daring
and dying Folker called on Sir Rudeger, to bear witness to his
bracelet-bound fidelity:

   “For me, most noble margrave! you must a message bear;
    These bracelets red were given me late by your lady fair,
    To wear at this high festal before the royal Hun.
    View them thyself, and tell her that I’ve her bidding done.”[131]

It would, indeed, seem, that from this root-idea of the binding force
of an endless covenant, symbolized in the form, and in the primitive
name, of the bracelet, the armlet, the ring,--there has come down to
us the use of the wedding-ring, or the wedding-bracelet, and of the
signet-ring as the seal of the most sacred covenants. The signet-ring
appears in earliest history. When Pharaoh would exalt Joseph over all
the land of Egypt, “Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put
it upon Joseph’s hand.”[132] Similarly with Ahasuerus and Haman: “The
king took his ring from his hand, and gave it unto Haman;” and the
irrevocable decrees when written were “sealed with the king’s ring.”
When again Haman was deposed and Mordecai was exalted, “the king
took off his ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it unto
Mordecai.”[133] The re-instatement of the prodigal son, in the parable,
was by putting “a ring on his hand.”[134] And these illustrations out
of ancient Egypt, Persia, and Syria, indicate a world-wide custom, so
far. One’s signet-ring stood for his very self, and represented, thus,
his blood, as his life.

The use of rings, or bracelets, or armlets, in the covenant of
betrothal, or of marriage, is from of old, and it is of wide-spread
acceptance.[135] References to it are cited from Pliny, Tertullian,
Juvenal, Isidore; and traces of it are found, earlier or later, among
the peoples of Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Islands of the Sea. In
Iceland, the covenanting-ring was large enough for the palm of the hand
to be passed through; so, in betrothal “the bridegroom passed four
fingers and his palm through one of these rings, and in this manner he
received the hand of the bride.” In Ireland, long ago, “a usual gift
from a woman to her betrothed husband was a pair of bracelets made of
her own hair”; as if a portion of her very self--as in the case of
one’s blood--entered into the covenant rite. Again in Ireland, as also
among the old Romans, the wedding-ring was in the form of two hands
clasped (called a “_fede_”) in token of union and fidelity.

Sometimes, in England, the wedding-ring was worn upon the thumb, as
extant portraits illustrate; and as suggested in Butler’s Hudibras:

   “Others were for abolishing
    That tool of matrimony, a ring,
    With which the unsanctify’d bridegroom
    Is marry’d only to a thumb.”

In Southern’s “Maid’s Last Prayer,” the heroine says: “Marry him
I must, and wear my wedding-ring upon my thumb too, that I’m
resolved.”[136] These thumb-weddings were said to be introduced from
the East[137]; and Chardin reports a form of marriage in Ceylon, by the
binding together of the thumbs of the contracting parties;[138] as,
according to the classics, the thumbs were bound together in the rite
of blood-covenanting.[139] Indeed, the selection of the ring-finger
for the wedding-covenant has commonly been attributed to the relation
of that finger to the heart as the blood-centre, and as the seat of
life. “Aulus Gellius tells us, that Appianus asserts, in his Egyptian
books, that a very delicate nerve runs from the fourth finger of the
left hand to the heart, on which account this finger is used for the
marriage-ring.” Macrobius says that in Roman espousals the woman put
the covenant ring “on the third finger of her left hand [not counting
the thumb], because it was believed that a nerve ran from that finger
to the heart.” And as to the significance of this point, it has been
said: “The _fact_ [of the nerve connection with the heart] has nothing
to do with the question: that the ancients _believed_ it, is all we
require to know.”[140]

Among the Copts of Egypt, both the blood and the ring have their part
in the covenant of marriage. Two rings are employed, one for the bride
and one for the bridegroom. At the door of the bridegroom’s house, as
the bride approaches it, a lamb or a sheep is slaughtered; and the
bride must have a care to step over the covenanting-blood as she enters
the door, to join the bridegroom. It is after this ceremony, that the
two contracting parties exchange the rings, which are as the tokens
of the covenant of blood.[141] In Borneo, among the Tring Dayaks,
the marriage ceremony includes the smearing with a bloody sword, the
clasped hands of the bride and groom, in conjunction with an invoking
of the protecting spirits.[142] In this case, the wedding-ring would
seem to be a bond of blood.

Again, in Little Russia, the bride gives to the bridegroom a
covenanting draught in “a cup of wine, in which a ring has been
put”;[143] as if in that case the wine and the blood-bond of the
covenant were commingled in a true _assiratum_.[144] That this latter
custom is an ancient one, would seem to be indicated by the indirect
reference to it in Sir Walter Scott’s ballad of “The Noble Moringer,” a
mediæval lay; where the long absent knight returns from the Holy Land,
just in time to be at the wedding-feast of his enticed wife. He appears
unrecognized at the feast, as a poor palmer. A cup of wine is sent to
him by the bride.

   “It was the noble Moringer that dropped amid the wine
    A bridal ring of burning gold so costly and so fine:
    Now listen, gentles, to my song, it tells you but the sooth,
    ’Twas with that very ring of gold he pledged his bridal truth.”

Clearly this was not the ring he gave at his bridal, but the one which
he accepted, in the covenanting-cup, from his bride. The cup was
carried back from the palmer to the bride, for her drinking.

   “The ring hath caught the Lady’s eye; she views it close and near;
    Then might you hear her shriek aloud, ‘The Moringer is here!’
    Then might you see her start from seat, while tears in torrents
    But whether ’twas from joy or woe, the ladies best can tell.”

To the present day, an important ceremony at the coronation of a
sovereign of Great Britain, is the investiture of the sovereign _per
annulum_, or “by the ring.” The ring is placed on the fourth finger of
the sovereign’s right hand, by the Archbishop of Canterbury; and it is
called “The Wedding Ring of England,” as it symbolizes the covenant
union of the sovereign and his people. A similar practice prevails at
the coronation of European sovereigns generally. It also runs back to
the days of the early Roman emperors, and of Alexander the Great.[145]

That a ring, or a circlet, worn around a thumb, or a finger, or an
arm, in token of an endless covenant between its giver and receiver,
has been looked upon, in all ages, as the symbol of an inter-union
of the lives thereby brought together, is unmistakable; whether the
covenanting life-blood be drawn for such inter-commingling, directly
from the member so encircled, or not. The very covenant itself, or its
binding force, has been sometimes thought to depend on the circlet
representing it; as if the life which was pledged passed into the token
of its pledging. Thus Lord Bacon says: “It is supposed [to be] a help
to the continuance of love, to wear a ring or bracelet of the person
beloved;”[146] and he suggests that “a trial should be made by two
persons, of the effect of compact and agreement; that a ring should
be put on for each other’s sake, to try whether, if one should break
his promise the other would have any feeling of it in his absence.”
In other words, that the test should be made, to see whether the
inter-union of lives symbolized by the covenant-token be a reality.
On this idea it is, that many persons are unwilling to remove the
wedding-ring from the finger, while the compact holds.[147]

It is not improbable, indeed, that the armlets, or bracelets, which
were found on the arms of Oriental kings, and of Oriental divinities
as well, were intended to indicate, or to symbolize, the personal
inter-union claimed to exist between those kings and divinities. Thus
an armlet, worn by Thotmes III., is preserved in the museum at Leyden.
It bears the cartouche of the King, having on it his sacred name, with
its reference to his inter-union with his god. It was much the same in
Nineveh.[148] Lane says, that upon the seal ring commonly worn by the
modern Egyptian “is engraved the wearer’s name,” and that this name
“is usually accompanied by the words ‘His servant’ (signifying ‘the
servant, or worshiper of God’), and often by other words expressive of
the person’s trust in God.”[149]

As the token of the blood-covenant is sometimes fastened about the
_arm_, and sometimes about the _neck_; so the encircling necklace, as
well as the encircling armlet, is sometimes counted the symbol of a
covenant of very life. This is peculiarly the case in India; where the
bracelet-brotherhood has been shown to be an apparent equivalent of
the blood-brotherhood. Among the folk-lore stories of India, it is a
common thing to hear of a necklace which holds the soul of the wearer.
That necklace removed, the wearer dies. That necklace restored, the
wearer lives again. “Sodewa Bai was born with a golden necklace about
her neck, concerning which also her parents consulted astrologers, who
said, ‘This is no common child; the necklace of gold about her neck
contains your daughter’s soul; let it therefore be guarded with the
utmost care; for if it were taken off, and worn by another person, she
would die.’” On that necklace of life, the story hangs. The necklace
was stolen by a servant, and Sodewa Bai died. Being placed in a
canopied tomb, she revived, night by night, when the servant laid off
the stolen necklace which contained the soul of Sodewa Bai. The loss
was at last discovered by her husband; the necklace was restored to
her, and she lived again.[150] And this is but one story of many.

In the Brahman marriage ceremony the bridegroom receives his bride by
binding a covenanting necklace about her neck. “A small ornament of
gold, called _tahly_, which is the sign of their being actually in the
state of marriage, ... is fastened by a short string dyed yellow with
_saffron_.”[151] And a Sanskrit word for “saffron” is also a word for

The importance of this symbolism of the token of the blood-covenant,
in its bearing on the root-idea of an inter-union of natures by an
inter-commingling of blood, will be more clearly shown, by and by.


Going back, now, to the world’s most ancient records, in the
monuments of Egypt, we find evidence of the existence of the covenant
of blood, in those early days. Even then, it seems to have been a
custom to covenant by tasting the blood from another’s arm; and this
inter-transference of blood was supposed to carry an inter-commingling,
or an inter-merging, of natures. So far was this symbolic thought
carried, that the ancient Egyptians spoke of the departed spirit, as
having entered into the nature, and, indeed, into the very being, of
the gods, by the rite of tasting blood from the divine arm.

“The Book of the Dead,” as it is commonly called, or “The Book of
the Going Forth into Day,”--(“The path of the just is as the shining
light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day,”[153])--is
a group, or series, of ancient Egyptian writings, representing the
state and the needs and the progress of the soul after death.[154]
A copy of this Funereal Ritual, as it is sometimes called, “more or
less complete, according to the fortune of the deceased, was deposited
in the case of every mummy.”[155] “As the Book of the Dead is the
most ancient, so it is undoubtedly the most important of the sacred
books of the Egyptians;”[156] it is, in fact, “according to Egyptian
notions, essentially an inspired work;”[157] hence its contents have an
exceptional dogmatic value. In this Book of the Dead, there are several
obvious references to the rite of blood-covenanting. Some of these are
in a chapter of the Ritual which was found transcribed in a coffin of
the Eleventh Dynasty; thus carrying it back to a period prior to the
days of Abraham.[158]

“Give me your arm; I am made as ye,” says the departed soul, speaking
to the gods.[159] Then, in explanation of this statement, the
pre-historic gloss of the Ritual goes on to say: “The blood is that
which proceeds from the member of the Sun, after he goes along cutting
himself;”[160] the covenant blood which unites the soul and the god is
drawn from the flesh of Rā, when he has cut himself in the rite of that
covenant. By this covenant-cutting, the deceased becomes one with the
covenanting gods. Again, the departed soul, speaking as Osiris,--or
as the Osirian, which every mummy represents,[161]--says: “I am the
soul in his two halves.” Once more there follows the explanation:
“The soul in his two halves is the soul of the Sun [of Rā], and the
soul of Osiris [of the deceased].” Here is substantially the proverb
of friendship cited by Aristotle, “One soul in two bodies,” at least
two thousand years before the days of the Greek philosopher. How much
earlier it was recognized, does not yet appear.

Again, when the deceased comes to the gateway of light, he speaks
of himself as linked with the great god Seb; as one “who loves his
arm,”[162] and who is, therefore, sure of admittance to him, within
the gates. By the covenant of the blood-giving arm, “the Osiris opens
the turning door; he has opened the turning door.” Through oneness of
blood, he has come into oneness of life, with the gods; there is no
longer the barrier of a door between them. The separating veil is rent.

An added indication that the covenant of blood-friendship furnished
the ancient Egyptians with their highest conception of a union with
the divine nature through an interflowing of the divine blood--as the
divine life--is found in the amulet of this covenant; corresponding
with the token of the covenant of blood-friendship, which, as fastened
to the arm, or about the neck, is deemed so sacred and so precious,
in the primitive East to-day. The hieroglyphic word, _tat_, _tet_, or
_tot_, ([Illustration]) translated “arm,” is also translated “bracelet,”
or “armlet,” ([Illustration])[163] as if in suggestion of the truth,
already referred to,[164] that the blood-furnishing arm was represented
by the token of the arm-encircling, or of the neck-encircling, bond,
in the covenant of blood. Moreover, a “red talisman,” or red amulet,
stained with “the blood of Isis,” and containing a record of the
covenant, was placed at the neck of the mummy as an assurance of safety
to his soul.[165] “When this book [this amulet-record] has been made,”
says the Ritual, “it causes Isis to protect him [the Osirian], and
Horus he rejoices to see him.” “If this book [this covenant-token] is
known,” says Horus, “he [the deceased] is in the service of Osiris....
His name is like that of the gods.”

There are various other references to this rite, or other indications
of its existence, than those already cited, in the Book of the Dead.
“I have welcomed Thoth (or the king) with blood; taking the gore from
the blessed of Seb,”[166] is one of these gleams. Again, there are
incidental mentions of the tasting of blood, by gods and by men;[167]
and of the proffering, or the uplifting, of the blood-filled arm, in
covenant with the gods.[168]

On a recently deciphered stéle of the days of Rameses IV., of the
Twentieth Dynasty, about twelve centuries before Christ, there is
an apparent reference to this blood-covenanting, and to its amulet
record. The inscription is a specimen of a funereal ritual, not unlike
some portions of the Book of the Dead. The deceased is represented
as saying, according to the translation of Piehl[169]: “I am become
familiar with Thoth, by his writings, on the day when he spat upon his
arm.” The Egyptian word, _khenmes_, here translated “familiar,” means
“united with,” or “joined with.” The word here rendered “writings,” is
_hetepoo_; which, in the singular, _hetep_, in the Book of Dead, stands
for the record of the covenant on the blood-stained amulet.[170] The
word _peqas_ ([Illustration]) rendered “spat,” by Piehl, is an obscure
term, variously rendered “moistened,” “washed,” “wiped,” “healed.”[171]
It is clear therefore that this passage may fairly be read: “I am
become united with Thoth, by the covenant-record, on the day when he
moistened, or healed his arm”; and if the arm were healed, it had
been cut, and so moistened. Indeed it is quite probable that this word
_peqas_ has a root connection with _peq_, _peqa_, _peqau_, “a gap,”
“an opening,” “to divide”; and even with _penqu_, ([Illustration]) “to
bleed.” Apparently, the unfamiliarity of Egyptologists with this rite
of blood-covenanting, by the cutting of the arm, has hindered the
recognition of the full force of many of the terms involved.

Ebers, in his “Uarda,” has incidentally given an illustration of the
custom of blood-covenanting in ancient Egypt. It is when the surgeon
Nebsecht has saved the life of Uarda, and her soldier-father, Kaschta,
would show his gratitude, and would pledge his life-long fidelity in

“‘If at any time thou dost want help, call me, and I will protect thee
against twenty enemies. Thou hast saved my child--good! Life for life.
I sign myself thy blood-ally--there!’

“With these words he drew his poniard, out of his girdle. He scratched
his arm, and let a few drops of his blood run down on a stone at the
feet of Nebsecht.

“‘Look!’ he said. ‘There is my blood! Kaschta has signed himself thine;
and thou canst dispose of my life as of thine own. What I have said, I
have said.’”[172]


In this last cited illustration, from Uarda, there would, at first
glance, seem to be the covenant proffered, rather than the covenant
entered into; the covenant all on one side, instead of the mutual
covenant. But this is, if it were possible, only a more unselfish
and a more trustful mode than the other, of covenanting by blood; of
pledging the life, by pledging the blood, to one who is already trusted
absolutely. And this mode of proffering the covenant of blood, or of
pledging one’s self in devotedness by the giving of one’s blood, is
still a custom in the East; as it has been in both the East and the
West, from time immemorial.

For example, in a series of illustrations of Oriental manners,
prepared under the direction of the French ambassador to Turkey, at
the beginning of the eighteenth century, there appears a Turkish lover
gashing his arm in the presence of his lady-love, as a proof of his
loving attachment to her; and the accompanying statement is made,
that the relative flow of blood thus devoted indicates the measure of
affection--or of affectionate devotedness.[173]

A custom akin to this was found in Otaheite, when the South Sea Islands
were first visited by English missionaries. The measure of love, in
time of joy or in time of grief, was indicated by the measure of blood
drawn from the person of the loving one. Particularly was this the case
with the women; perhaps because they, in Otaheite as elsewhere, are
more loving in their nature, and readier to give of their very life in

“When a woman takes a husband,” says a historian of the first
missionary work in Otaheite, “she immediately provides herself with
a shark’s tooth, which is fixed, with the bread-fruit gum, on an
instrument that leaves about a quarter of an inch of the tooth bare,
for the purpose of wounding the head, like a lancet. Some of these have
two or three teeth, and struck forcibly they bring blood in copious
streams; _according to the love they bear the party_, and the violence
of their grief, _the strokes are repeated on the head_; and this has
been known to bring on fever, and terminate in madness. If any accident
happen to the husband, [to] his relations, or friends, or their child,
the shark’s tooth goes to work; and even if the child only fall down
and hurt itself, the blood and tears mingle together.... They have a
very similar way of expressing their joy as well as sorrow; for whether
a relation dies, or a dear friend returns from a journey, the shark’s
tooth instrument ... is again employed, and the blood streams down....
When a person of eminence dies ... the relatives and friends ...
repeat before it [the corpse] some of the tender scenes which happened
during their life time, and wiping the blood which the shark’s teeth
has drawn, deposit the cloth on the tupapow as the proof of their

In illustration of this custom, the same writer says, in the course of
his narrative: “When we had got within a short mile of the Isthmus,
in passing a few houses, an aged woman, mother to the young man who
carried my linen, met us, and to express her joy at seeing her son,
struck herself several times on the head with a shark’s tooth, till
the blood flowed plentifully down her breast and shoulders, whilst the
son beheld it with entire insensibility [He saw in it only the common
proof of his mother’s devoted love].... The son seeing that I was not
pleased with what was done, observed coolly, that it was the custom of

This custom is again referred to by Mr. Ellis, as observed by him in
the Georgian and the Society Islands, a generation later than the
authority above cited. He speaks of the shark’s tooth blood-letter, as
employed by men, as well as by women; although more commonly by the
latter. He adds another illustration of the truth, that it is _the
blood itself_, and not any suffering caused by its flowing, that is
counted the proof of affection; by its representing the outpoured
life, in pledge of covenant fidelity.

Describing the scenes of blood-giving grief, over the dead bodies
of the mourned loved ones, he says: “The females on these occasions
sometimes put on a kind of short apron, of a particular sort of cloth;
which they held up with one hand, while they cut themselves with the
other. In this apron they caught the blood that flowed from these
grief-inflicted wounds, until it [the apron] was almost saturated.
It was then dried in the sun, and given to the nearest surviving
relatives, as a proof of the affection of the donor, and was preserved
by the bereaved family as a token of the estimation in which the
departed had been held.”[176] There is even more of vividness in this
memorial, than in that suggested by the Psalmist, when he says:

    “Put thou my tears into thy bottle.”[177]

There would seem to be a suggestion of this same idea in one of Grimm’s
folk-lore fairy tales of the North. A queen’s daughter is going away
from her home, attended by a single servant. Her loving mother would
fain watch and guard her in her absence. Accordingly, “as soon as the
hour of departure had arrived, the mother took her daughter into a
chamber, and there, with a knife, she cut her [own] finger with it, so
that it bled. Then, she held her napkin beneath, and let three drops
of blood fall into it; which she gave to her daughter, saying: ‘Dear
child, preserve this well, and it will help you out of trouble.’”[178]
That blood represented the mother’s very life. It was accustomed to
speak out in words of counsel and warning to the daughter. But by and
by the napkin which held it was lost, and then the power of the young
princess over her mother’s servant was gone, and the poor princess was
alone in the wide world, at the mercy of strangers.

Acting on the symbolism of this covenanting with another by the loving
proffer of one’s blood, men have reached out toward God, or toward the
gods, in desire for a covenant of union, and in expression of fidelity
of devotedness, by the giving of their blood God-ward. This, also, has
been in the East and in the West, in ancient days and until to-day.

There was a gleam of this, in the Canaanitish worship of Baal, in the
contest between his priests and the prophet Elijah, before King Ahab,
at Mount Carmel. First, those priests shed the blood of the substitute
bullock, at the altar of their god, and “called on the name of Baal
from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal hear us! But there was no
voice, nor any that answered.” Then they grew more earnest in their
supplications, and more demonstrative in their proofs of devotedness.
“They leaped [or, limped] about the altar which was made.... And they
cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and
lances, till the blood gushed out upon them.”[179] Similar methods of
showing love for God are in vogue among the natives of Armenia, to-day.
Describing a scene of worship by religious devotees in that region,
Dr. Van Lennep says: “One of them cuts his forehead with a sword, so
that ‘the blood gushes out.’ He wears a sheet in front, to protect his
clothes, and his face is covered with clots of blood.”[180] Clearly,
in this case, as in many others elsewhere, it is not as a means of
self-torture, but as a proof of self-devotedness, that the blood is
poured out--the life is proffered--by the devotee, toward God.

Among the primitive peoples of North and of South America, it was the
custom of priests and people, to draw blood from their own bodies, from
their tongues, their ears, their noses, their limbs and members, when
they went into their temples to worship, and to anoint with that blood
the images of their gods.[181] The thorns of the maguey--a species of
aloe--were, in many regions, kept ready at places of sacrifice, for
convenient use in this covenant blood-letting.[182] A careful student
of these early American customs has said of the obvious purpose of this
yielding of one’s blood in worship, that it “might be regarded as an
act of individual devotion, a gift made to the gods by the worshiper
himself, out of his own very substance [of his very life, as in the
blood-covenant].... The priests in particular owed it to their special
character [in their covenant relation to the divinities], to draw their
blood for the benefit of the gods [in renewed pledge to the gods]; and
nothing could be stranger than the refined methods they adopted to
accomplish this end. For instance, they would pass strings or splinters
through their lips or ears, and so draw a little blood. But then a
fresh string, or a fresh splinter, must be added every day, and so it
might go on indefinitely; for the more there were, the more meritorious
was the act;”[183] precisely as is the standard of love-showing by
blood-letting among Turkish lovers and Otaheitan wives and mothers, in
modern times.

A similar giving of blood, in proof of devotedness, and in outreaching
for inter-communion with the gods through blood, is reported in
India, in recent times. Bishop Caldwell, of Madras, referred to it,
a generation ago, in his description of the “Devil Dance” among
the Tinnevelly Shawars.[184] The devotee, in this dance, “cuts and
lacerates himself till the blood flows, lashes himself with a huge
whip, presses a burning torch to his breast, drinks the blood which
flows from his own wounds, or drains the blood of the sacrifice;
putting the throat of a decapitated goat to his mouth.” Hereby he has
given of his own blood to the gods, or to the devils, and has drunk of
the substitute blood of the divinities--in the consecrated sacrifice;
as if in consummation of the blood-covenant with the supernal powers.
“Then as if he had acquired new life [through inter-union with the
object of his worship], he begins to brandish his staff of bells,
and to dance with a quick but wild unsteady step. Suddenly the
afflatus descends; there is no mistaking that glare or those frantic
leaps. He snorts, he swears, he gyrates. The demon has now taken
bodily possession of him. [The twain are one. The two natures are
intermingled].... The devil-dancer is now worshiped as a present deity,
and every bystander consults him respecting his diseases, his wants,
the welfare of his absent relations, the offerings to be made for
the accomplishments of his wishes, and in short everything for which
superhuman knowledge is supposed to be available.” In this instance,
the _mutual_ covenant is represented; the devotee both giving and
receiving blood, as a means of union.

On this idea of giving one’s self to another, by giving of one’s blood,
it is, that the popular tradition was based, that witches and sorcerers
covenanted with Satan by signing a compact in their own blood.
And again it was in recognition of the idea that two natures were
inter-united in such a covenant, that the compact was sometimes said to
be signed in Satan’s blood.

Among the many women charged with witchcraft in England, by the famous
Matthew Hopkins, the “witch-finder” in the middle of the Seventeenth
century, was one, at Yarmouth, of whom it is reported, that her first
temptation came to her when she went home from her place of employment,
discouraged and exasperated by her trials. “That night when she was in
bed, she heard a knock at the door, and going to her window, she saw
(it being moonlight) a tall black man there: and asked what he would
have? He told her that she was discontented, because she could not get
work; and that he would put her into a way that she should never want
anything. On this she let him in, and asked him what he had to say to
her. He told her he must first see her hand; and taking out something
like a penknife, he gave it a little scratch, so that a little blood
followed; a scar being still visible when she told the story. Then he
took some of the blood in a pen, and pulling a book out of his pocket,
bid her write her name; and when she said she could not, he said he
would guide her hand. When this was done, he bid her now ask what she
would have.”[185] In signing with her own blood, she had pledged her
very life to the “tall black man.”

Cotton Mather, in his “Wonders of the Invisible World,” cites a Swedish
trial for witchcraft, where the possessed children, who were witnesses,
said that the witches, at the trysting-place where they were observed,
were compelled “to give themselves unto the devil, and vow that they
would serve him. Hereupon they cut their fingers, and with blood writ
their names in his book.” In some cases “the mark of the cut finger was
[still] to be found.” Moreover the devil gave meat and drink both to
the witches and to the children they brought with them. Again, Mather
cites the testimony of a witness who had been invited to covenant with
the Devil, by signing the Devil’s book. “Once, with the book, there
was a pen offered him, and an inkhorn with liquor in it that looked
like blood.”[186] Another New England writer on witchcraft says that
“the witch as a slave binds herself by vow, to believe in the Devil,
and to give him either body or soul, or both, under his handwriting, or
some part of _his_ blood.”[187]

It is, evidently, on this popular tradition, that Goethe’s Faust
covenants in blood with Mephistopheles.


   “But one thing!--accidents may happen; hence
    A line or two in writing grant, I pray.”


     .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .
   “Spirit of evil! what dost thou require?
    Brass, marble, parchment, paper, dost desire?
    Shall I with chisel, pen, or graver, write?
    Thy choice is free; to me ’tis all the same.”


     .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .
   “A scrap is for our compact good.
    Thou under-signest merely with a drop of blood.”
     .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .
   “Blood is a juice of very special kind.”[188]

Even “within modern memory in Europe,” there have been traces of the
primitive rite of covenanting with God by the proffer of one’s blood.
In the Russian province of Esthonia, he who would observe this rite,
“had to draw drops of blood from his fore finger,” and at the same
time to pledge himself in solemn covenant with God. “I name thee [I
invoke thee] with my blood, and [I] betroth thee [I entrust myself to
thee] with my blood,”--was the form of his covenanting. Then he who had
given of his blood in self-surrendering devotedness, made his confident
supplications to God with whom he had thus covenanted; and his prayer
in behalf of all his possessions was: “Let them be blessed through my
blood and thy might.”[189]

Thus, in ancient Egypt, in ancient Canaan, in ancient Mexico, in modern
Turkey, in modern Russia, in modern India, and in modern Otaheite; in
Africa, in Asia, in America, in Europe, and in Oceanica: Blood-giving
was life-giving. Life-giving was love-showing. Love-showing was a
heart-yearning after union in love and in life and in blood and in very
being. That was the primitive thought in the primitive religions of all
the world.


[1] Of the possibility of a covenant between those of different
religions, Lane says (_Arab.-Eng. Lexicon_, s. v. _’Ahd_): “Hence
عهد ذو (_dho ’ahd_) an appellation given to a Christian and a Jew (and a
Sabean, who is a subject of a Muslim government) meaning one between
whom and the Muslims a compact, or covenant exists, whereby the latter
are responsible for his security and freedom and toleration as long
as he lives agreeably to the compact.” And the Blood Covenant is more
sacred and more binding than any other compact.

[2] Prov. 18 : 24.

[3] John 15 : 13.

[4] See Lane’s _Lex._ s. v. “Hejâb.”

[5] Eccl. 4 : 9, 10.

[6] See Freytag, and Catafago, s. v.

[7] See “Brothers of the Covenant,” p. 6, _supra_.

[8] _Sprachliches aus den Zeltlagern der syrischen Wüste_, p. 37.

[9] See Redhouse’s Turkish and English Dictionary, s. vv. _sood_ and

[10] See Lane, and Freytag, s. vv. _rada’a_, and _thady_.

[11] See reference to Ibn Hishâm, 125, in Prof. W. Robertson Smith’s
_Old Test. in Jewish Church_, Notes to Lect. XII. See, also, p. 59,

[12] See Lane, and Freytag, s. v. _sahama_; also Smith’s _Old Test. in
Jewish Church_, Notes to Lect. XII.

[13] See Livingstone’s _Travels and Res. in So. Africa_, pp. 290-296.

[14] _Ibid._, p. 525.

[15] See Livingstone’s _Travels and Res. in So. Africa_, p. 324 f.

[16] See Livingstone’s _Travels and Res. in So. Africa_, p. 526.

[17] _Ibid._, p. 213.

[18] Cameron’s _Across Africa_, I., 333.

[19] _Ibid._, I., 333 f.

[20] _Across Africa_, I., 369.

[21] See page 9, _supra_.

[22] _Through the Dark Continent_, I., 107, 130 f.

[23] _Ibid._, I., 492.

[24] _Ibid._, I., 52, 492.

[25] _How I found Livingstone_, pp. 267-304.

[26] _Thro. Dark Cont._, I., 489 f.

[27] _Ibid._, I., 130.

[28] _Ibid._, I., 487-492.

[29] _Thro. Dark Cont._, I., 493.

[30] _Ibid._, I., 493 f.

[31] _Thro. Dark Cont._, I., 123.

[32] _Ibid._, I., 227-237.

[33] _Thro. Dark Cont._, I., 268.

[34] _Ibid._, II., 144-146.

[35] _Thro. Dark Cont._, II., 177 f.

[36] _Thro. Dark Cont._, II., 188.

[37] _Thro. Dark Cont._, II., 305 f.

[38] _Ibid._, II., 315.

[39] _Thro. Dark Cont._, II., 330-332.

[40] _Thro. Dark Cont._, II., 402-408.

[41] _The Congo_, I., 304-312.

[42] _Thro. Dark Cont._, II., 281-283.

[43] _Thro. Dark Cont._, II., 286.

[44] See pages 26-28, _supra_.

[45] “Bula Matari,” or “Rock Breaker,” or Road Maker, was a name given
to Stanley by the natives.

[46] _The Congo_, I., 383-385.

[47] See page 7 f., _supra_.

[48] _The Congo_, II., 21-24.

[49] _Ibid._, II., 38.

[50] _The Congo_, II., 48.

[51] _Ibid._, II., 68.

[52] _Ibid._, II., 79.

[53] _Ibid._, II., 109.

[54] _Ibid._, II., 118.

[55] _Ibid._, II., 132.

[56] _Ibid._, II., 171.

[57] _Ibid._, II., 177.

[58] _Thro. Dark Cont._, II., 297-302.

[59] _The Congo_, II., 79-90.

[60] _Ibid._, II., 104 f.

[61] Aristotle’s _Ethics_, IX., 8, 3. This is not made as an original
statement, by Aristotle, but as the citation of one of the well-known
“proverbs” of friendship.

[62] See _Nouveau Dictionnaire de Médecine et de Chirurgie Pratiques_,
(ed. 1884) s. v. “Transfusion.”

[63] See Appendix, _infra_.

[64] See Carlyle’s _Heroes and Hero-Worship_, Lect. I.; also Anderson’s
_Norse Mythology_, pp. 215-220, 371-374.

[65] See Anderson’s _Norse Mythol._, pp. 372, 408 f.

[66] See Wilkinson’s _Ancient Egyptians_, III., 142; Renouf’s _The
Religion of Ancient Egypt_, p. 118 f.; Ebers’s _Picturesque Egypt_, I.,
100 f.

[67] See De Wette’s _Biblische Dogmatik_, § 79.

[68] See Carlyle’s _Hero Worship_, Lect. I.

[69] Odin “is the author of war.” He is called “Valfather (Father of
the slain), because he chooses for his sons all who fall in combat.”
Anderson’s _Norse Mythol._, p. 215 f.

[70] Mills’s _History of Chivalry_, chap. IV.

[71] Rom. 6 : 4-6; Col. 2 : 12.

[72] Anderson’s _Viking Tales of the North_, p. 59.

[73] _Ibid._, p. 191 f.

[74] Apparently these articles form a “heap of witness,” or are
the aggregated symbolic witnesses of the transaction; as something
answering to this usage is found in connection with the rite in various
parts of the world.

[75] He who would be true in friendship must be true in all things. The
good friend is a good citizen. See 1 Peter 2 : 17.

[76] See Job 3 : 2-9.

[77] Here is the idea of an absolute inter-merging of natures, by this

[78] See Matt. 13 : 12; 25 : 29.

[79] Here is an indication of the witness-bearing nature of these
accessories of the rite.

[80] Compare these blessings and cursings with those under the Mosaic
laws: Deut. 27 : 9-26; 28 : 1-68.

[81] See Matt. 6 : 31, 32.

[82] “This is a natural, simple, and beautiful allusion in common use
among the Malagasy, to denote an inseparable association. The rice is
planted in water, grows in water, is boiled in water, and water is the
universal beverage taken with it when eaten.”

[83] Ellis’s _Hist. of Madagascar_, I., 187-190.

[84] Cited in Ellis’s _Hist. of Mad._, I., 191, note.

[85] St. John’s _Life in the Forests of the Far East_, I., 116 f.

[86] In “The Century Magazine” for July, 1885, p. 437.

[87] Forbes’s _A Naturalist’s Wanderings in the Eastern Archipelago_,
p. 452.

[88] Peter Martyr’s _De Rebus Oceanicis et Novo Orbe_, p. 338; cited in
Spencer’s _Des. Soc._, II., 34.

[89] See Bancroft’s _Native Races of the Pacific Coast_, I., 741.

[90] See page 10, _supra_.

[91] Southey’s _Brazil_, I., 240.

[92] Lynd’s _History of the Dakotas_, p. 73, note.

[93] Burton’s _City of the Saints_, p. 117.

[94] See page 54, _supra_.

[95] _Miss. Voyage to So. Pacif. Ocean_, p. 360 f.

[96] See page 10, _supra_.

[97] See page 54, _supra_.

[98] See page 55 f., _supra_.

[99] _Opera_, p. 545.

[100] _Toxaris_, chap. 37.

[101] See references to arms as accessories to the rite, in Africa, and
in Madagascar, and in Timor, at pages 16, 32, 35 f., 45 f., 53, _supra_.

[102] _Annales_, XII., 47.

[103] See page 11, _supra_.

[104] _Arcanum_; literally “mysterious,”--not in the sense of secret,
or occult, but with reference to its sacred and supernatural origin and

[105] See p. 9, _supra_.

[106] _Catilina_, cap. XXII.

[107] _Historiæ_, IV., 1, 4.

[108] _Apologet._, cap. IX.

[109] See stamp on outside cover.

[110] _Hist._, IV., 70.

[111] See note (footnote 101), at page 59, _supra_.

[112] See the references to imprecatory invokings, in connection with
the observance of the rite in Syria, in Central Africa, in Madagascar,
and in Timor, at pages 9, 20, 31, 46 f., 53, _supra_.

[113] _Hist._, III., 8.

[114] See page 45 _supra_, note (footnote 74).

[115] See references to the welcoming of new friends by the natives of
Africa and of Borneo, at the celebration of this rite, at pages 36 f.,
51, _supra_.

[116] Sextus Pompeius Festus, whose chief work, in the third or fourth
Christian century, was an epitome, with added notes and criticisms, of
an unpreserved work of M. Verrius Flaccus, on the Latin language and

[117] See Rosenmüller’s _Scholia in Vet. Test._, apud Psa. 16 : 4.

[118] See Scheller’s, and Harpers’, _Latin Dictionary_, s. v.

[119] See Curtius’s _Griechische Etymologie_, s. v., ἔαρ (_ear_).

[120] See Gesenius, and Fuerst, _s. vv._

[121] Deut. 12 : 23.

[122] See Lane, and Freytag, _s. vv._

[123] See Delitzsch’s _Assyrische Lesestücke_, The Syllabary, p. 20;
and Sayce’s _Assyrian Grammar_, The Syllabary.

[124] See Castellus’s _Lexicon Syriacum_, s. v.

[125] See page 7, _supra_.

[126] Cited from “Tod’s Travels, Journal Indian Archipelago, Vol. V.,
No. 12,” in Balfour’s _Cycl. of India_, s. v., “Brother.”

[127] See Elliott and Roberts’s _Views in India_, II., 64.

[128] _Ayeen Akbery_, II., 453.

[129] See citation from Wetzstein, at page 9 f., _supra_.

[130] See Anderson’s _Norse Mythol._, p. 149; his _Viking Tales_,
pp. 184, 237, 272 f.; Wood’s _Wedding Day in all Ages and Countries_,
p. 139.

[131] Lettsom’s _Nibelungen Lied_, pp. 299, 388.

[132] Gen. 41 : 41, 42.

[133] Esther 3 : 10-12; 8 : 2.

[134] Luke 15 : 22.

[135] See Wood’s _Wedding Day_; also Jones’s _Finger Ring Lore_.

[136] Cited in Jones’s _Finger Ring Lore_, p. 289.

[137] See _Ibid._, pp. 87-90.

[138] _Persian- und Ost-Indische Reise_, II., 196.

[139] See pp. 59 f., 62, _supra_.

[140] See Godwyn’s _Romanæ Historiæ_, p. 69; Brewer’s _Dict. of Phrase
and Fable_, s. vv. “Ring,” “Ring Finger”; Jones’s _Finger Ring Lore_,
p. 275. See also Appendix, _infra_.

[141] Lane’s _Mod. Egypt._, II., 293.

[142] See Bock’s _Head Hunters of Borneo_, p. 221 f.

[143] _Finger Ring Lore_, p. 174.

[144] See page 63 f., _supra_.

[145] See _Finger Ring Lore_, pp. 177-197.

[146] Cited in Jones’s _Credulities Past and Present_, p. 204 f.

[147] See _Appendix_.

[148] See Wilkinson’s _Anc. Egypt._, II., 340-343; Layard’s _Nineveh
and its Remains_, II., 250, 358; also 2 Sam. 1 : 10.

[149] _Modern Egyptians_, I., 39.

[150] Frere’s _Old Deccan Days_, pp. 225-245.

[151] Dubois’s _Des. of Man. and Cust. of India_, Part II., chap. 7.

[152] See p. 194, _supra_.

[153] Prov. 4 : 18.

[154] See Lepsius’s _Todtenbuch_; Bunsen’s _Egypt’s Place in Universal
History_, V., 125-133; Renouf’s _The Religion of Ancient Egypt_, pp.

[155] See Lenormant and Chevallier’s _Ancient History of the East_,
I., 308.

[156] Renouf’s _The Religion of Ancient Egypt_, p. 208.

[157] Bunsen’s _Egypt’s Place_, V., 133.

[158] See _Egypt’s Place_, V., 127.

[159] _Ibid._, V., 174 f.

[160] This is the rendering of Birch. Ebers has looked for an
explanation of this gloss, in the rite of circumcision (_Ægypten u.
d. Bücher Mose’s_, p. 284 f.); but the primary reference to the “arm”
of the god, and to the union secured through the interflowing blood,
point to the blood-covenant as the employed figure of speech; although
circumcision, as will be seen presently, was likewise a symbol of the
blood-covenant--for one’s self and for one’s seed. Brugsch also sees a
similar meaning, to that suggested by Ebers, in this reference to the
blood. His rendering of the original text is: “Reach me your hands. I
have become that which ye are” (_Religion u. Mythol. d. alt. Ægypt._,
I., 219). Le Page Renouf, looking for the symbolisms of _material_
nature in all these statements, would find here “the crimson of a
sunset” in the “blood which flows from the Sun-god Rā, as he hastens
to his suicide” (_Trans. of Soc. of Bib. Arch._, Vol. VIII., Part
2, p. 211). This, however, does not conflict with the _spiritual_
symbolism of oneness of nature through oneness of blood. And no one of
these last three suggested meanings accounts for the oneness with the
gods through blood, which the deceased claims, unless the symbolism
of blood-covenanting be recognized in the terminology. That symbolism
being recognized, the precise source of the flowing blood becomes a
minor matter.

[161] See Wilkinson’s _Anc. Egypt._, III., 473; Renouf’s _Relig. of
Anc. Egypt_, pp. 191-193; Lenormant’s _Chaldean Magic_, p. 88.

[162] See _Todtenbuch_, chap. LXVIII.; _Egypt’s Place_, V., 211.

[163] See Pierret’s _Vocabulaire Hiéroglyphique_, p. 721 f.; also,
Birch’s “Dict. of Hierog.” in _Egypt’s Place_, V., 519.

[164] See page 65 f., _supra_.

[165] See _Todtenbuch_, chap. CLVI.; _Egypt’s Place_, V., 315; _Trans.
of Soc. of Bib. Arch._, VIII., 2, 211.

This amulet is also called _tet_; a word of the same phonetic force as
_tet_, the “arm,” or the “bracelet,” but of different letters. This
word ([Illustration]) seems to have the root-idea of “word;” as if it
were applied to the text of the blood-covenant.

The amulet as constructed for the mummy, was stained with the water or
liquid of the tree called _ankh am_ ([Illustration]). The amulet itself,
according to Brugsch, was also called _ankh merer_ ([Illustration]).
But _ankh_ ([Illustration]) means either to _live_ (the ordinary
meaning), or to _swear_, to _make oath_ (more rarely), and _merer_
([Illustration]) is a reduplicated form of _mer_ ([Illustration]) _to
love_, _love_, _friendship_. The meaning of _ankh merer_, as applied
to the blood-amulet may be, oath, or covenant, or pledge of love or
friendship. The word _merer_, in the compound _ankh merer_, is followed
with the determinative of the flying scarabæus ([Illustration]) which
was commonly placed (_Anc. Egypt._, III., 346) upon the breast, in lieu
of the heart of the dead (_Ibid._, III., 486). See page 100, _infra_.

And here the inquiry is suggested, Was the _ankh am_ the same as the
modern _henneh_? Note the connection of _henneh_ with the marriage
festivities in the East to-day.

   “Paint one hand with henna, mother;
    Paint one hand and leave the other.
    Bracelets on the right with henna;
    On the left give drink to henna.”

          (Jessup’s _Syrian Home Life_, p. 34.)

[166] See _Egypt’s Place_, V., 232.

[167] See _Egypt’s Place_, V., 174, 254, 282.

[168] _Ibid._, V., 323.

[169] See _Zeitschrift für Ægyptische Sprache_, erstes Heft, 1885,
p. 16.

[170] See page 81 f., _supra_.

[171] See Pierret, Brugsch, Birch, _s. v._

[172] _Uarda_, I., 192.

[173] Ferriol’s _Recueil de cent Estampes representant differentes
Nations du Levant_, Carte 43, and Explication, p. 16.

[174] _First Miss. Voyage to the So. Sea Islands_, pp. 352-363.

[175] _Ibid._, p. 196.

[176] Ellis’s _Polynesian Researches_, I., 529.

[177] Psa. 56 : 8.

[178] “The Goose Girl,” in Grimm’s _Household Tales_.

[179] 1 Kings 18 : 26-28.

[180] Van Lennep’s _Bible Lands_, pp. 767-769.

[181] See Herrera’s _Gen. Hist. of Cont. and Isl. of America_, III.,
209, 211, 216, 300 f.; Clavigero’s _Hist. of Mex._, Bk. VI., chaps. 22,
38; Motolinia’s _Hist. Ind. de Nueva España_, p. 22; Landa’s _Relat.
Yucatan_, XXXV.; Ximenez’s _Hist. Ind. Gautem._, pp. 171-181; Palacio’s
_San Salv. and Hond._ (in Squier’s _Coll._, I.) 65 ff., 106, 116;
Simon’s _Ter. Not. Conq. Tier. Firm. en Nue Gran._ (in Kingsborough’s
_Antiq. of Mex._, VIII.) 208, 248; all cited in Spencer’s _Des. Soc._,
II., 20-26, 28, 33. See, also, Bancroft’s _Native Races of Pacif.
Coast_, I., 665, 723; II., 259, 306, 708, 710.

[182] Serving the purpose of the Otaheitan shark’s-teeth. See page
86 f., _supra_.

[183] Réville’s _Native Religions of Mexico and Peru_, p. 84 f.

[184] Cited in Adam’s _Curiosities of Superstition_.

[185] Cited in Benson’s _Remarkable Trials and Notorious Characters_,
p. 11.

[186] Cited in Drake’s _The Witchcraft Delusion in New England_, I.,
187; II., 214.

[187] _Ibid._, I, xviii. See also, Appendix, _infra_.

[188] _Faust_, Swanwick’s translation, Part I., lines 1360-1386.

[189] See Tylor’s _Primitive Culture_, II., 402; citing Boecler’s
_Ehsten Aberglaübische Gebraüche_, 4.






Apart from, and yet linked with, the explicit proofs of the rite of
blood-covenanting throughout the primitive world, there are many
indications of the root-idea of this form of covenanting; in the
popular estimate of blood, and of all the marvelous possibilities
through blood-transference. These indications, also, are of old, and
from everywhere.

To go back again to the earlier written history of the world; it
is evident that the ancient Egyptians recognized blood as in a
peculiar sense life itself; and that they counted the heart,--as the
blood-source and the blood-centre,--the symbol and the substance of
life. In the Book of the Dead, the deceased speaks of his heart,--or
his blood-fountain,--as his life; and as giving him the right to appear
in the presence of the gods: “My heart was my mother; my heart was my
mother; my heart was my being on earth; placed within me; returned to
me by the chief gods, placing me before the gods”[190] [in the presence
of the gods]. In the process of embalming, the heart was always
preserved with jealous care;[191] and sometimes it was embalmed by
itself in a sepulchral vase.[192] It was the heart--as the life, which
is the blood--that seems to have been put into the scales of the divine
Judge for the settling of the soul’s destiny;[193] according to all the
Egyptian pictures of the judgment. Throughout the Book of the Dead, and
in all the sacred teachings and practices of the ancient Egyptians,
with reference to human life and human destiny, the heart is obviously
recognized as the analogon of blood, and blood as the analogon of life.
Moreover, the life, which is represented by the blood and by the heart,
appears to be counted peculiarly the gift and the guarded treasure of
Deity, and as being in itself a resemblance to, if not actually a part
of, the divine nature.[194]

Even of the lower animals, the heart and the heart’s blood were
counted sacred to the gods, and were not to be eaten by the Egyptians;
as if life belonged only to the Giver of life, and, when passing
out from a lower organism, must return, or be returned, only to its
original Source.

When the soul stands before the forty-two judges, in the Hall of the
Two Truths, to give answer concerning its sins, one of its protesting
avowals, as recorded in the Book of the Dead, is: “Oh Glowing Feet,
coming out of the darkness! I have not eaten the heart;”[195] In
my earthly life-course, I have not committed the sacrilege of
heart-eating. Yet, of the sacrificial offering of “a red cow,” as
prescribed in the Book of the Dead, “of the blood squeezed from the
heart, one hundred drops,”[196] make a portion for the gods. In one
of the tombs of Memphis, there is represented a scene of slaughtering
animals. As the heart of an animal is taken out, the butcher who holds
it says,--as shown by the accompanying hieroglyphics,--“Take care of
this heart;”[197] as if that were a portion to be guarded sacredly.
“Keep thy heart with all diligence [or, as the margin has it, “above
all thou guardest”]; for out of it are the issues of life.”[198] It
may, indeed, have been from the lore of Egypt that Solomon obtained
this proverb of the ages, to pass it onward to posterity with his stamp
of inspiration.

It would even seem that the blood of animals was not allowed to be
eaten by the Egyptians; although there has been a question at that
point, among Egyptologists. Wilkinson thinks that they _did_ employ
it in cooking;[199] but this is only his inference from a pictured
representation of the blood being caught in a vessel, when an animal
is slaughtered for the table. On the other hand, that same picture
shows the vessel of blood being borne away, afterwards, on uplifted
hands;[200] as it would have been if it were designed for a sacred
libation. Again, the other picture, reported by Birch, as showing the
butcher’s care of the heart, represents the blood as “collected in a
jar with a long spout”; such as was used for sacred libations.[201] It
is evident that blood was offered to the gods of Egypt in libation,
as was also wine.[202] Indeed the common Egyptian word for blood
([Illustration], _senf_) is regularly followed by the determinative of
outpouring ([Illustration]). The word _tesher_, “red,” is sometimes
used as a synonym for _senf_; in this case (and in this only) the
determinative of outpouring is added to the hieroglyphics for _tesher_.
Moreover, among the forty-two judges, before whom the dead appears,
he who is “Eater of Blood” comes next in order before the “Eater of
Hearts”;[203] as if blood-eating, like heart-eating, were a prerogative
of the gods.

If proof were still wanting that, in ancient Egypt, it was the heart
which was deemed the epitome of life, and that the _heart_ had this
pre-eminence because of its being the fountain of _blood_--which is
life--that proof would be found in “The Tale of the Two Brothers”; a
story that was prepared in its present form by a tutor of the Pharaoh
of the exodus, while the latter was yet heir presumptive to the throne.
This story has been the subject of special study by De Rougé, Chabas,
Maspero, Brugsch, Birch, Goodwin, and Le Page Renouf. It is from the
latter’s translation, that I draw my facts for this reference.[204]

Anpu and Bata were brothers. Bata’s experience with the wife of Anpu
was like that of Joseph in the house of Potiphar. He was true, like
Joseph. Like Joseph, he was falsely accused, his life was sought, and
his innocence was vindicated. Then, for his better protection, Bata
took his _heart_ out from his body, and put that in a safe place, while
he made his home near it. To his brother he had said:

“I shall take my heart, and place it in the top of the flower of the
cedar, and when the cedar is cut down it will fall to the ground. Thou
shalt come to seek it. If thou art seven years in search of it, let not
thy heart be depressed, and when thou hast found it thou shalt place it
in a cup of cold water. Oh, then I shall live (once more).”

After a time the cedar, through the treachery of Bata’s false wife,
was cut down. As it fell, with the heart of Bata, the latter dropped
dead. For more than three years Anpu sought his brother’s heart; then
he found it. “He brought a vessel of cold water, dropped the heart
into it, and sat down according to his daily wont. But when the night
was come, the heart absorbed the water. Bata [whose body seems to have
been preserved--like a mummy--all this time] trembled in all his limbs,
and continued looking at his elder brother, but his heart was faint.
Then Anpu took the vessel of cold water which his brother’s heart was
in. And when the latter [Bata] had drunk it up, his heart rose in its
place; and he became as he had been before. Each embraced the other,
and each one of them held conversation with his companion.”

The revivified Bata was transformed into a sacred bull, an Apis. That
bull, by the treachery, again, of Bata’s wife, was killed. “And as
they were killing him, and he was in the hands of his attendants, he
shook his neck, and two drops of blood fell upon the two door-posts of
His Majesty [in whose keeping was the sacred bull]; one was on the one
side of the great staircase of His Majesty, the other upon the other
side; and they grew up into two mighty persea trees, each of which
stood alone.” Thus the blood was both life and life-giving, and the
heart was as the very soul of its possessor, in the estimation of the
ancient Egyptians.

In primitive America also, as in ancient Egypt, the blood and the
heart, were held pre-eminently sacred. Among the Dakotas, in North
America, the heart of the deer and of other animals killed in
hunting, was offered to the spirits.[205] In Central America and in
South America, it was the blood and the heart of the human victims
offered in sacrifice, which were counted the peculiar portion of the
gods.[206] In description of a human sacrifice among the Nahuas of
Central America,[207] a Mexican historian says: “The high priest then
approached, and with a heavy knife of obsidian cut open the miserable
man’s breast. Then, with a dexterity acquired by long practice, the
sacrificer tore forth the yet palpitating heart, which he first offered
to the sun, and then threw at the feet of the idol. Taking it up, he
again offered it to the god, and afterwards burned it; preserving the
ashes with great care and veneration. Sometimes the heart was placed
in the mouth [of the idol] with a golden spoon. It was customary also
to anoint the lips of the image, and the cornices of the door with the
victim’s blood.”[208]

Of the method among the Maya nations,[209] south of the Gulf of Mexico,
a Spanish historian[210] says: “The bleeding and quivering heart was
held up to the sun, and then thrown into a bowl prepared for its
reception. An assistant priest sucked the blood from the gash in the
chest, through a hollow cane; the end of which he elevated towards
the sun, and then discharged its contents into a plume-bordered cup
held by the captor of the prisoner just slain. This cup was carried
around to all the idols in the temples and chapels, before whom another
blood-filled tube was held up, as if to give them a taste of the
contents. This ceremony performed, the cup was left at the palace.”

Yet another record stands: “The guardian of the temple ... opened
the left breast of the victim, tore out the heart, and handed it to
the high priest, who placed it in a small embroidered purse which he
carried. The four [assisting] priests received the blood of the victim
in four jicaras or bowls, made from the shell of a certain fruit; and
descending, one after the other, to the court yard, [they] sprinkled
the blood with their right hand in the direction of the cardinal points
[of the compass]. If any blood remained over, they returned it to the
high priest, who placed it, with the purse containing the heart, in the
body of the victim, through the wound that had been made; and the body
was interred in the temple.”[211]

Commenting on these customs in Central America, Réville--the
representative comparative-religionist of France--says: “Here you will
recognize that idea, so widely spread in the two Americas, and indeed
almost everywhere amongst uncivilized peoples [nor is it limited to
the uncivilized], that the heart is the epitome, so to speak, of the
individual--his soul in some sense--so that to appropriate his heart is
to appropriate his whole being.”[212] What else than this gave rise to
the thought of preserving the _heart_ of a hero, or of a loved one, as
a symbol of the living presence of the dead? It was by his heart, that
King Robert Bruce was to lead his army to the Holy Land; and how many
times, in history, have men bequeathed their hearts to those dear to
them, as the poet Shelley’s heart was preserved by his friends, and by
them given to Mrs. Shelley.

In the Greek and Roman sacrifices, it was the blood of the victim,
which, as the life of the victim, was poured out unto the gods, as
unto the Author of life.[213] Moreover, there is reason for supposing
that the _heart_ was always given the chief place, as representing
the very life itself, in the examination and in the _tasting_ of the
“entrails” (σπλάγχνα, _splangkhna_) in connection with the sacrifices
of those classic peoples.[214] An indication of this truth is found
in a statement by Cicero, concerning the sacrifices at the time of
the inauguration of Cæsar: “When he [Cæsar] was sacrificing on that
day in which he first sat in the golden chair, and made procession in
the purple garment, there was no _heart_ among the entrails of the
sacrificial ox. (Do you think, therefore, that any animal which has
blood can exist without a heart?) Yet he [Cæsar] was not terrified by
the phenomenal nature of the event, although Spurinna declared, that
it was to be feared that both mind [literally ‘counsel’] and life were
about to fail him [Cæsar]; for both of these [mind and life] do issue
from the heart.”[215]

Similarly it has been, and to the present day it is, with primitive
peoples everywhere. Blood libations were made a prominent feature in
the offerings in ancient Phoenicia,[216] as in Egypt. In India, the
Brahmans have a saying, in illustration of the claim that Vishnu and
Siva are of one and the same nature: “The heart of Vishnu is Sivâ,
and the heart of Sivâ is Vishnu; and those who think they differ,
err.”[217] The Hindoo legends represent the victim’s heart as being
torn out and given to the one whom in life he has wronged.[218] In
China, at the great Temple of Heaven, in Peking, where the emperors of
China are supposed to have conducted worship without material change in
its main features for now nearly three thousand years,[219] the blood
of the animal sacrifice is buried in the earth[220] while the body of
the sacrificial victim is offered as a whole burnt offering.[221]

The blood is the life; the heart as the fountain of blood is the
fountain of life; both blood and heart are sacred to the Author of
life. The possession, or the gift, of the heart or of the blood, is the
possession, or the gift, of the very nature of its primal owner. That
has been the world’s thought in all the ages.


The belief seems to have been universal, not only that the blood is
the life of the organism in which it originally flows, but that in its
transfer from one organism to another the blood retains its life, and
so carries with it a vivifying power. There are traces of this belief
in the earliest legends of the Old World, and of the New; in classic
story; and in medical practices as well, all the world over, from time
immemorial until the present day.

For example, in an inscription from the Egyptian monuments, the
original of which dates back to the early days of Moses, there is a
reference to a then ancient legend of the rebellion of mankind against
the gods; of an edict of destruction against the human race; and of a
divine interposition for the rescue of the doomed peoples.[222] In that
legend, a prominent part is given to human blood, mingled with the
juice of mandrakes[223]--instead of wine--prepared as a drink of the
gods, and afterwards poured out again to overflow and to revivify all
the earth. And the ancient text which records this legend, affirms that
it was in conjunction with these events, that there was the beginning
of sacrifices in the world.

An early American legend has points of remarkable correspondence
with this one from ancient Egypt. It relates, as does that, to a
pre-historic destruction of the race, and to its re-creation, or its
re-vivifying, by means of transferred blood. Every Mexican province
told this story in its own way, says a historian; but the main
features of it are alike in all its versions.

When there were no more men remaining on the earth, some of the gods
desired the re-creation of mankind; and they asked help from the
supreme deities accordingly. They were then told, that if they were to
obtain the bones, or the ashes of the former race, they could revivify
those remains by their own blood. Thereupon Xolotl, one of the gods,
descended to the place of the dead, and obtained a bone (whether a
_rib_, or not, does not appear). Upon that vestige of humanity, the
gods dropped blood drawn from their own bodies; and the result was a
new vivifying of mankind.[224]

An ancient Chaldean legend, as recorded by Berosus, ascribes a new
creation of mankind to the mixture by the gods of the dust of the earth
with the blood that flowed from the severed head of the god Belus.
“On this account it is that men are rational, and partake of divine
knowledge,” says Berosus.[225] The blood of the god gives them the
life and the nature of a god. Yet, again, the early Phœnician, and
the early Greek, theogonies, as recorded by Sanchoniathon[226] and by
Hesiod,[227] ascribe the vivifying of mankind to the outpoured blood
of the gods. It was from the blood of Ouranos, or of Saturn, dripping
into the sea and mingling with its foam, that Venus was formed, to
become the mother of her heroic posterity. “The Orphics, which have
borrowed so largely from the East,” says Lenormant,[228] “said that the
immaterial part of man, his soul [his life], sprang from the blood of
Dionysus Zagreus, whom ... Titans had torn to pieces, partly devouring
his members.”

Homer explicitly recognizes this universal belief in the power of blood
to convey life, and to be a means of revivifying the dead. When Circé
sent Odysseus,

            “To consult
    The Theban seer, Tiresias, in the abode
    Of Pluto and the dreaded Proserpine.”

she directed him, in preparation, to

           “Pour to all the dead
    Libations,--milk and honey first, and next
    Rich wine, and lastly water;”

and after that to slay the sacrificial sheep. But Circé’s caution was:

   “Draw then the sword upon thy thigh, and sit,
    And suffer none of all those airy forms
    To touch the blood, until thou first bespeak
    Tiresias. He will come, and speedily,--
    The leader of the people,--and will tell
    What voyage thou must make.”

Odysseus did as he was directed. The bloodless shades flocked about
him, as he sat there guarding the life-renewing blood; but even those
dearest to him, he forbade to touch that consecrated draught.

   “And then the soul of Anticleia came,--
    My own dead mother, daughter of the king
    Autolycus, large minded. Her I left
    Alive, what time I sailed for Troy, and now
    I wept to see her there, and pitied her,
    And yet forbade her, though with grief, to come
    Near to the blood till I should first accost
    Tiresias. He too came, the Theban seer,
    Tiresias, bearing in his hand a wand
    Of gold; he knew me and bespake me thus:--
    ‘Why, O unhappy mortal, hast thou left
    The light of day to come among the dead,
    And to this joyless land? Go from the trench
    And turn thy sword away, that I may drink
    The blood, and speak the word of prophecy.’
    He spake; withdrawing from the trench, I thrust
    Into its sheath my silver-studded sword,
    And, after drinking of the dark red blood,
    The blameless prophet turned to me and said--”[229]

Then, came the prophecy, from the blood-revivified seer.

The wide-spread popular superstition of the vampire and of the ghoul,
seems to be an outgrowth of this universal belief, that transfused
blood is re-vivification. The bloodless shades, leaving their graves at
night, seek renewed life, by drawing out the blood of those who sleep;
taking of the life of the living, to supply temporary life to the dead.
This idea was prevalent in ancient Babylon and Assyria.[230] It has
shown itself in the Old World and in the New,[231] in all the ages; and
even within a little more than a century, it has caused an epidemic of
fear in Hungary, “resulting in a general disinterment, and the burning
or staking of the suspected bodies.”[232]

An added force is given to all these illustrations of the universal
belief that transferred blood has a vivifying power, by the conclusions
of modern medical science, concerning the possible benefits of
blood-transfusion.[233] On this point, one of the foremost living
authorities in this department of practice, Dr. Roussel, of Geneva,
says: “The great vitality of the blood of a vigorous and healthy man
has the power of improving the quality of the patient’s blood, and can
restore activity to the centres of nervous force, and the organs of
digestion. _It would seem that health itself can be transfused with the
blood of a healthy man_”;[234] death itself being purged out of the
veins by inflowing life. And in view of the possibilities of new life
to a dying one, through new blood from one full of life, this writer
insists, that “every adult and healthy man and woman should be ready to
offer an _arm_, as the natural and mysteriously inexhaustible source of
the wonder-working elixir.”[235] Blood-giving can be life-giving. The
measure of one’s love may, indeed, in _such_ a case, be tested by the
measure of his yielded blood.[236]

Roussel says, that blood transfusion was practised by the Egyptians,
the Hebrews, and the Syrians, in ancient times;[237] and he cites
the legend, that before Naaman came to Elisha to be healed of his
leprosy,[238] his physicians, in their effort at his cure, took the
blood from his veins, and replaced it with other blood. Whatever basis
of truth there may be in this legend, it clearly gained its currency
through the prevailing conviction that new blood is new life. There
certainly is ample evidence that baths of human blood were anciently
prescribed as a cure for the death-representing leprosy; as if in
recognition of this root idea of the re-vivifying power of transferred

Pliny, writing eighteen centuries ago, concerning leprosy, or
elephantiasis, says[239]: “This was the peculiar disease of Egypt;
and when it fell upon princes, woe to the people; for, in the bathing
chambers, tubs were prepared, with human blood, for the cure of it.”
Nor was this mode of life-seeking confined to the Egyptians. It is
said that the Emperor Constantine was restrained from it, only in
consequence of a vision from heaven.[240]

In the early English romance of Amys and Amylion, one of these knightly
brothers-in-arms consents, with his wife’s full approbation, to yield
the lives of his two infant children, in order to supply their blood
for a bath, for the curing of his brother friend’s leprosy.[241] In
this instance, the leprosy is cured, and the children’s lives are
miraculously restored to them; as if in proof of the divine approbation
of the loving sacrifice.

It is shown, indeed, that this belief in the life-bringing power of
baths of blood, to the death-smitten lepers, was continued into the
Middle Ages; and that it finally “received a check from an opinion
gradually gaining ground, that only the blood of those would be
efficacious, who offered themselves freely and voluntarily for a
beloved sufferer.”[242] There is something very suggestive in this
thought of the truest potency of transferred life through transferred
blood! It is this thought which finds expression and illustration in
Longfellow’s Golden Legend. In the castle of Vautsberg on the Rhine,
Prince Henry is sick with a strange and hopeless malady. Lucifer
appears to him in the garb of a traveling physician, and tells him of
the only possible cure for his disease, as prescribed in a venerable

   “‘The only remedy that remains
    Is the blood that flows from a maiden’s veins,
    Who of her own free will shall die,
    And give her life as the price of yours!’
    That is the strangest of all cures,
    And one, I think, you will never try;
    The prescription you may well put by,
    As something impossible to find
    Before the world itself shall end!”

Elsie, the lovely daughter of a peasant in the Odenwald learns of the
Prince’s need, and declares she will give her blood for his cure. In
her chamber by night, her self-surrendering prayer goes up:

   “‘If my feeble prayer can reach thee,
    O my Saviour, I beseech thee,
    Even as thou hast died for me,
    More sincerely
    Let me follow where thou leadest,
    Let me, bleeding as thou bleedest,
    Die, if dying I may give
    Life to one who asks to live,
    And more nearly,
    Dying thus, resemble thee!’”

Her father, Gottlieb, consents to her life-surrender, saying to the

   “‘As Abraham offered, long ago,
    His son unto the Lord, and even
    The Everlasting Father in heaven
    Gave his, as a lamb unto the slaughter,
    So do I offer up my daughter.’”

And Elsie adds:

   “‘My life is little,
    Only a cup of water,
    But pure and limpid.
    Take it, O Prince!
    Let it refresh you,
    Let it restore you.
    It is given willingly
    It is given freely;
    May God bless the gift!’”

The proffered sacrifice is interfered with before its consummation; but
its purposed method shows the estimate which was put, from of old, on
voluntarily yielded life for life.

There is said to be an Eastern legend somewhat like the story of Amys
and Amylion; with a touch of the ancient Egyptian and Mexican legends
already cited. “The Arabian chronicler speaks of a king, who, having
lost a faithful servant by his transformation into stone, is told that
he can call his friend back to life, if he is willing to behead his
two children, and to sprinkle the ossified figure with their blood. He
makes up his mind to the sacrifice; but as he approaches the children
with his drawn sword, the will is accepted by heaven for the deed, and
he suddenly sees the stone restored to animation.”[243] This story,
in substance, (only with the slaying and the resuscitating of the
children, as in the English romance,) appears in Grimm’s folk-lore
tales, under the title of “Faithful John”;[244] but whether its origin
was in the East or in the North, or in both quarters, is not apparent.
Its reappearance East, North, and West, is all the more noteworthy.

In the romances of King Arthur and his knights, there is a story of
a maiden daughter of King Pellinore, a sister of Sir Percivale, who
befriends the noble Sir Galahad, and then accompanies him and his
companions on their way to the castle of Carteloise, and beyond, in
their search for the Holy Grail.

“And again they went on to another castle, from which came a band of
knights, who told them of the custom of the place, that every maiden
who passed by must yield a dish full of her blood. ‘That shall she not
do,’ said Galahad, ‘while I live’; and fierce was the struggle that
followed; and the sword of Galahad, which was the sword of King David,
smote them down on every side, until those who remained alive craved
peace, and bade Galahad and his fellows come into the castle for the
night; ‘and on the morn,’ they said, ‘we dare say ye will be of one
accord with us, when ye know the reason for our custom?’ So awhile they
rested, and the knights told them that in the castle there lay a lady
sick to death, who might never gain back her life, until she should be
anointed with the blood of a pure maiden who was a king’s daughter.
Then said Percivale’s sister, ‘I will yield it, and so shall I get
health to my soul, and there shall be no battle on the morn.’ And even
so was it done; but the blood which she gave was so much that she might
not live; and as her strength passed away, she said to Percivale, ‘I
die, brother, for the healing of this lady.’ ... Thus was the lady of
the castle healed; and the gentle maiden, [Percivale’s sister,] ...

In the old Scandinavian legends, there are indications of the
traditional belief in the power of transferred life through a bath
of blood. Siegfried, or Sigurd, a descendant of Odin, slew Fafner, a
dragon-shaped guardian of ill-gotten treasure. In the hot blood of
that dragon, he bathed himself, and so took on, as it were, an outer
covering of new life, rendering himself sword-proof, save at a single
point where a leaf of the linden-tree fell between his shoulders,
and shielded the flesh from the life-imparting blood.[246] On this
incident it is, that the main tragedy in the Nibelungen Lied pivots;
where Siegfried’s wife, Kriemhild, tells the treacherous Hagan of her
husband’s one vulnerable point:

   “Said she, My husband’s daring, and thereto stout of limb;
    Of old, when on the mountain he slew the dragon grim,
    In its blood he bathed him, and thence no more can feel,
    In his charmed person, the deadly dint of steel.
    .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .
   “As from the dragon’s death-wounds gushed out the crimson gore,
    With the smoking torrent, the warrior washed him o’er.
    A leaf then ’twixt his shoulders fell from the linden bough;
    There, only, steel can harm him; for that I tremble now.”[247]

Even among the blood-reverencing Brahmans of India, there are traces of
this idea, that life is to be guarded by the outpoured blood of others.
In the famous old work, “Kalila wa-Dimna,” there is the story of a
king, named Beladh, who had a vision in the night, which so troubled
him that he sought counsel of the Brahmans. Their advice was, that he
should sacrifice his favorite wife, his best loved son, his nephew,
and his dearest friend, in conjunction with other valued offerings to
the gods. “It will be necessary for you, O King,” they said, “when
you have put to death the persons we have named to you, to fill a
cauldron with their blood, and sit upon it; and when you get up from
the cauldron, we, the Brahmans, assembled from the four quarters of the
kingdom, will walk around you, and pronounce our incantations over you,
and we will spit upon you, and wipe off from you the blood, and will
wash you in water and sweet-oil, and then you may return to the palace,
trusting in the protection of heaven against the danger which threatens

Here, the king’s offering to the gods, was to be of that which was
dearest to him; and the bath of blood was to prove to him a cover of
life. King Beladh wisely said, that if that were the price of his
safety he was ready to die. He would not prolong his life at such a
cost. But the story shows the primitive estimate of the life-giving
power of blood, among the Hindoos.

In China, also, blood has its place as a life-giving agency. A
Chinese woman, on the Kit-ie River, tells a missionary, of her
occasional seasons of frenzy, under the control of spirits, and of
her ministry of blood, at such seasons, for the cure of disease.
“Every year when there is to be a pestilence, or when cholera is to
prevail, she goes into this frenzy, and cuts her tongue with a knife,
letting some drops of her blood fall into a hogshead of water. This
[homœopathically-treated] water, the people drink as a specific against
contagion.” Its sacred blood is counted a shield of life. “With the
rest of the blood, she writes charms, which the people paste [as
words of life] upon their door-posts, or wear upon their persons, as
preventives of evil.”[249]

Receiving new blood as a means of receiving new life, seems to have
been sought interchangeably, in olden time, in various diseases, by
blood lavations, by blood drinking, and by blood transfusion. It is
recorded that, in 1483, King Louis XI., of France, struggled for life
by drinking the blood of young children, as a means of his revivifying.
“Every day he grew worse,” it is said; “and the medicines profited him
nothing, though of a strange character; for he vehemently hoped to
recover by the human blood which he took and swallowed from certain
children.”[250] Again there is a disputed claim, that, in 1492, a
Jewish physician endeavored to save the life of Pope Innocent VIII., by
giving him in transfusion the blood of three young men successively.
The Pope was not recovered, but the three young men lost their lives in
the experiment.[251] Yet blood transfusion as a means of new life to
the dying was not always a failure, even in former centuries; for the
record stands, that “at Frankfort, on the Oder, the surgeons Balthazar,
Kaufman, and Purmann, healed a leper, in 1683, by passing the blood of
a lamb into his veins.”[252]

Even to-day, in South Africa, “when the Zulu King is sick, his
immediate personal attendants, or _valets_, are obliged to allow
themselves to be wounded; that a portion of their blood may be
introduced into the king’s circulation, and a portion of his into
theirs.”[253] In this plan, the idea seems to be, that health may have
power over disease, and that death may be swallowed up in life, by
equalizing the blood of the one who is in danger, and of the many who
are in strength and safety. Moreover among the Kafirs those who are
still in health are sometimes “washed in blood to protect them against
wounds”;[254] as if an outer covering of life could be put on, for the
protection of their life within. Transfused human blood is also said
to be a common prescription of the medicine-men of Tasmania, for the
cure of disease.[255]

And so it would appear, that, whatever may be its basis in
physiological science, the opinion has prevailed, widely and always,
that there is a vivifying power in transferred blood; and that blood
not only represents but carries life.


It was a primeval idea, of universal sway, that the taking in of
another’s blood was the acquiring of another’s life, with all that was
best in that other’s nature. It was not merely that the taking away of
blood was the taking away of life; but that the taking in of blood was
the taking in of life, and of all that that life represented. Here,
again, the heart, as the fountain of blood, and so, as the centre
and source of life, was preeminently the agency of transfer, in the
acquiring of a new nature.

Herodotus tells us of this idea in the far East, twenty-four centuries
ago. When a Scythian, he said, killed his first man in open warfare, he
drank in his blood, as a means of absorbing his fairly acquired life;
and the heads of as many as he slew, the Scythian carried in triumph
to the king;[256] as the American Indian bears away the scalps of his
slain, to-day. Modern historians, indeed, show us other resemblances
than this, between the aboriginal American and the ancient Scythian.

The Jesuit founder of the Huron Mission to the American Indians, “its
truest hero, and its greatest martyr,” was Jean de Brébeuf. After
a heroic life among a savage people, he was subjected to frightful
torture, and to the crudest death. His character had won the admiration
of those who felt that duty to their gods demanded his martyrdom; and
his bearing under torture exalted him in their esteem, as heroic beyond
compare. “He came of a noble race,” says Parkman,[257]--“the same
[race], it is said, from which sprang the English Earls of Arundel; but
never had the mailed barons of his line confronted a fate so appalling,
with so prodigious a constancy. To the last he refused to flinch, and
‘his death was an astonishment to his murderers.’” “We saw no part of
his body,” wrote an eye witness,[258] “from head to foot, which was
not burned [while he was yet living], even to his eyes, in the sockets
of which these wretches had placed live coals.” Such manhood as he
displayed under these tortures, the Indians could appreciate. Such
courage and constancy as his, they longed to possess for themselves.
When, therefore, they perceived that the brave and faithful man of
God was finally sinking into death, they sprang toward him, scalped
him, “laid open his breast, and came in a crowd to drink the blood of
so valiant an enemy; thinking to imbibe with it some portion of his
courage. A chief then tore out his heart, and devoured it.”

Not unlike this has been a common practice among the American Indians,
in the treatment of prisoners of war. “If the victim had shown
courage,” again says Parkman, concerning the Hurons, “the heart was
first roasted, cut into small pieces, and given to the young men
and boys, who devoured it, to increase their own courage.”[259] So,
similarly, with the Iroquois.[260] And Burton says of the Dakotas:[261]
“They are not cannibals, except when a warrior, after slaying a foe,
eats, porcupine-like, the heart or liver, with the idea of increasing
his own courage.” Schomburgk, writing concerning the natives of British
Guiana, says: “In order to increase their courage, and [so their]
contempt of death, the Caribs were wont to cut out the heart of a slain
enemy, dry it on the fire, powder it, and mix the powder in their

The native Australians find, it is said, an inducement to bloodshed,
in their belief--like that of the ancient Scythians--that the life,
or the spirit, of the first man whom one slays, enters into the life
of the slayer, and remains as his helpful possession thereafter.[263]
The Ashantee fetishmen, of West Africa, apparently acting on a kindred
thought, make a mixture of the hearts of enemies, mingled with blood
and consecrated herbs, for the vivifying of the conquerors. “All who
have never before killed an enemy eat of the preparation; it being
believed that if they did not, their energy would be secretly wasted
by the haunting spirits of their deceased foes.”[264] The underlying
motive of the bloody “head-hunting” in Borneo, is the Dayak belief,
that the spirits of those whose heads are taken are to be subject to
him, who does the decapitating. The heads are primarily simply the
proof--like the Indian’s scalps--that their owner has so many lives
absorbed in his own.[265]

A keen observer of Fellâheen life in Palestine has reported:[266]
“There is an ugly expression used among the fellâheen of South
Palestine, in speaking of an enemy slain in war--‘_Dhabbahhtho
bisnâny_’ (‘I slew him with my teeth’)[267]; and it is said that there
have been instances of killing in battle in this fashion by biting at
the throat. In the Nablous district (Samaria), where the people are
much more ferocious, the expression is, ‘I have drunk his blood’; but
that is understood figuratively.”

An ancient Greek version of the story of Jason, telling of that hero’s
treatment of the body of Apsyrtos--whom he had slain--says: “Thrice
he tasted the blood, thrice [he] spat it out between his teeth;” and
a modern collator informs us, that the scholiast here finds “the
description of an archaic custom, popular among murderers.”[268] This
certainly corresponds with the Semitic phrases lingering among the
Fellâheen of Palestine.

In the old German epic, the Nibelungen Lied, it is told of the brave
Burgundians, when they were fighting desperately in the burning hall of
the Huns, that they were given new courage for the hopeless conflict,
by drinking the blood of their fallen comrades; which “quenched their
thirst, and made them fierce.”[269] With their added life, from the
added blood of heroes, they battled as never before.

   “It strung again their sinews, and failing strength renewed.
    This, in her lover’s person, many a fair lady rued.”[270]

Is there not, indeed, a trace of the primitive custom--thus recognized
in all quarters of the globe--of absorbing the life of a slain one by
drinking in his blood, in our common phrase, “blood-thirstiness,” as
descriptive of a life-seeker? That phrase certainly gains added force
and appropriateness, in the light of this universal idea.

It is evident that the wide-spread popular belief in nature-absorption
through blood-appropriation, has included the idea of a _tribal_
absorption of new life in _vicarious_ blood. Alcedo, a Spanish-American
writer, has illustrated this in his description of the native
Araucanians of South America. When they have triumphed in war, they
select a representative prisoner for official and vicarious execution.
After due preparation, they “give him a handful of small sticks and a
sharp stake, with which they oblige him to dig a hole in the ground;
and in this they order him to cast the sticks one by one, repeating the
names of the principal warriors of his country, while at the same time
the surrounding soldiers load these abhorred names with the bitterest
execrations. He is then ordered to cover the hole, as if to bury
therein the reputation and valor of their enemies, whom he has named.
After this ceremony, the toqui, or one of his bravest companions to
whom he relinquishes the honor of the execution, dashes out the brains
of the prisoner with a club. The _heart_ is immediately taken out,
and presented palpitating to the general, who sucks a little of the
_blood_, and passes it to his officers, who repeat in succession the
same ceremony.”[271] And in this way the life of the conquered tribe
passes, symbolically, into the tribal life of the conquerors.

Burckhardt was so surprised at a trace of this idea in Nubia, that he
could hardly credit the information concerning it; “although several
persons asserted it to be a fact,” he says; “and he heard no one
contradict it.”[272] As he learned it: “Among the Hallenga, who draw
their origin from Abyssinia, a horrible custom is said to attend the
revenge of blood. When the slayer has been seized by the relatives of
the deceased, a family feast is proclaimed, at which the murderer is
brought into the midst of them, bound upon an angareyg; and while his
throat is slowly cut with a razor, the blood is caught in a bowl, and
handed round amongst the guests; every one of whom is bound to drink of
it, at the moment the victim breathes his last.” The forfeited life of
the murderer here seems to be surrendered to, and formally appropriated
by, the family, or clan, which he had, to the same extent, depleted of
character and life.

A practice not unlike this is reported of the Australians, in their
avenging the blood of a murdered person. They devour their victims;
who are selected from the tribe of the murderer, although they may be
personally, innocent of the murder. The tribe depleted by the murder,
replaces its loss by blood--which is life--from the tribe of the
murderer. Indeed, “when any one of a tribe [in New South Wales] dies
a natural death, it is usual to avenge [or to cancel] the loss of the
deceased by taking blood from one or other of his friends.”[273] In
this way, the very life and being of those whose blood is taken, go to
restore to the bereaved ones the loss that death has brought to them.

Strange as this idea may seem to us, its root-thought, as a fact, is
still an open question in the realm of physiological science. The
claim is positive, in medical works, that insanity has been cured by
the transfusion of a sane man’s blood;[274] that a normal mind has
been restored, through a normal life gained in new blood. Moreover,
the question, how far the nature, or the characteristics, of an
organism, are affected, in blood transfusion, by the nature, or the
characteristics, of the donor of the transfused blood, is by no means
a settled one among scientists. Referring to a series of questions in
this line, propounded by Robert Boyle, more than two centuries ago,
Roussel has said, within the past decade: “No one has been able to give
any positive answers to them, based upon well-conducted operations”;
and, “they still await solution in 1877, as in 1667.”[275]


Because blood is life, all blood, and any blood, has been looked upon
as a vehicle of transferred life. And because blood is life, and the
heart is a fountain of blood, and so is a fountain of life,--a touch
of blood, or, again, the minutest portion of a vital and vivifying
heart, has been counted capable of transferring life, with all that
life includes and carries; just as the merest cutting of a vine, or the
tiniest seed of the mightiest tree, will suffice as the germ of that
vine or that tree, in a new planting. The blood, or the heart, of the
lower animals, has been deemed the vehicle of life and strength, in
its transference; and a touch from either has been counted potent in
re-vivifying and in improving the receiving organism.

Thus, for example, Stanley, in the interior of Africa, having received
“a fine, fat ox as a peace-offering,” from “the great magic doctor of
Vinyata,” when making a covenant of blood with him,[276] was requested
to return the heart of the ox to the donor; and he acceded to this
request. After this, Stanley’s party was several times assailed by the
Wanyaturu, from the neighborhood of Vinyata. Thereupon his ally Mgongo
Tembo explained, says Stanley: “That we ought not to have bestowed the
_heart_ of the presented ox upon the magic doctor of Vinyata; as by the
loss of that diffuser of blood, the Wanyaturu believed we had left our
own bodies weakened, and would be an easy prey to them.”[277]

Another modern traveler in Equatorial Africa finds fresh bullock’s
blood counted a means of manhood. While the young Masâi man is passing
his novitiate into warrior life, he seeks new strength by taking in
new blood. Having employed medical means to rid his system of the
remains of all other diet, says Thompson, the novice went to a lonely
place with a single attendant; they taking with them a living bullock.
There “they killed the bullock, either with a blow from a rungu, or by
stabbing it in the back of the neck. They then opened a vein and drank
the blood fresh from the animal.” After this, the young man gorged
himself with the bullock’s flesh.[278] And whenever the Masâi warriors
“go off on war-raids they also contrive to eat a bullock [after this
fashion], by way of getting up their courage.”[279]

Again, it is said, that Arab women in North Africa give their
male children a piece of the lion’s heart to eat, to make them
courageous.[280] And an English traveler in South Africa[281]
describing the death of a lion shot by his party, says: “Scarcely was
the breath out of his body than the Caffres rushed up, and each took a
mouthful of the blood that was trickling from the numerous wounds; as
they believe that it is a specific which imparts strength and courage
to those who partake of it.”

That the transference of life, with all that life carries, can be made
by the simplest blood-anointing, as surely as by blood absorption, is
strikingly illustrated by a custom still observed among the Hill Tribes
of India. The Bheels, are a brave and warlike race of mountaineers, of
Hindostan. They claim to have been, formerly, the rulers of all their
region; but, whether by defeat in war, or by voluntary concession, to
have yielded their power to other peoples--whom they now authorize to
rule in their old domain. “The extraordinary custom, common to almost
all the countries [of India] that have been mentioned,” says Sir J.
Malcolm,[282] “of the _tika_, or mark that is put upon the forehead of
the Rajput prince, or chief, when he succeeds to power, being moistened
with blood taken from the toe or thumb of a Bhill, may be received as
one among many proofs of their having been formerly in possession of
the principalities, where this usage prevails.

... The right of giving the blood for this ceremony, is claimed by
particular families; and the belief, that the individual, from whose
veins it is supplied, never lives beyond a twelvemonth, in no degree
operates to repress the zeal of the Bhills to perpetuate an usage,
which the Rajput princes are, without exception, desirous should
cease.” The Bheels claim that the right to rule is vested in their
race; but they transfer that right to the Rajpoot by a transfer of
blood--which is a transfer of life and of nature. Thus the Bheels
continue to rule--in the person of those who have been vivified by
their blood.

So, again, among the ancient Caribs, of South America, “‘as soon as a
male child was brought into the world, he was sprinkled with some drops
of his father’s blood’; the father ‘fondly believing, that the same
degree of courage which he had himself displayed, was by these means
transmitted to his son.’”[283] Here it is evident, that the voluntary
transfusion of blood is deemed more potent to the strengthening of
personal character, than is the transmission of blood by natural

In South Africa, among the Amampondo, one of the Kaffir tribes, it is
customary for the chief, on his accession to authority, “to be washed
in the blood of a near relative, generally a brother, who is put to
death on the occasion, and his skull used as a receptacle for his
blood.”[284] In order to give more life and more character than the
ordinary possession to the newly elevated chieftain, the family blood
is withdrawn from the veins of one having less need of it, that it may
be absorbed by him who can use it more imposingly.

In the Yoruba country, in Central Africa, “when a beast is sacrificed
for a sick man, the blood is sprinkled on the wall, and smeared on the
patient’s forehead, with the idea, it is said, of thus transferring to
him the [divinely] accepted victim’s life.” Life is life, and whether
that life be in the blood of one organism or of another, of man or
of an inferior animal, its transference carries with it all that life
includes. That seems to be the thought in Yoruba; and, as all life is
of supernatural origin and preservation, its transference can be by a
touch as easily as by any other method.[285]


Because blood, as life, belongs to, and, in a peculiar sense,
represents, the Author of life, blood has been counted a means of
inspiration. The blood of the gods, in myth and legend, and again the
blood of divinely accepted sacrifices, human and animal, in ancient and
modern religious rituals, has been relied on as the agency whereby the
Author of life speaks in and through the possessor of that blood.

The inspiring power of blood, is a thought that runs all through the
early Norseland legends. Thus, Kvaser, according to the Scandinavian
mythology, was a being created by the gods with preternatural
intelligence. Kvaser traversed the world, teaching men wisdom; but
he was treacherously murdered by the dwarfs Fjalar and Gala. The
dwarfs let Kvaser’s blood run into two cups and a kettle. “The name
of the kettle is Odrœrer, and the names of the cups are Son and Bodn.
By mixing up his blood with honey, they composed a drink of such
surpassing excellence, that whoever partakes of it acquires the gift of
song.”[286] And that was the origin of poetry in the world; although
there have been a good many imitations of the real article since that

So, again, in the Elder Edda, the hero Sigurd killed Fafner, at the
instigation of Fafner’s brother Regin. Regin cut out the heart of his
brother, and gave it to Sigurd to roast, while he drank the blood of
the murdered one. Touching the bleeding heart with his fingers, and
then putting his fingers into his mouth, Sigurd found that he was now
able to understand the voice of birds; and thenceforward he was a hero
inspired.[287] Afterwards he gave his bride, Gudrun, “to eat of the
remnant of Fafnir’s heart; so _she_ grew wise and great-hearted.”[288]

Down to the present time, there are those in the far East, and in the
far West, who seek inspiration by blood-drinking. All along the North
Pacific coast, the shamanism of the native tribes shows itself in a
craving for blood as a means and as an accompaniment of preternatural
frenzy. The chief sorcerer, or medicine-man, has his seasons of
demoniacal possession, when he can communicate with the powers of the
air. At such times he is accustomed to spring upon the members of his
tribe, and bite out from their necks or bodies the bleeding flesh, as
a help to inspiration and debauch. None would venture to resist these
blood-thirsty assaults; but the scars which result are always borne
with pride.[289]

Another phase of this universal idea is reported by a recent traveler
in the Himalayan districts of India; where, as he thinks, the forms
of religion ante-date in their origin those of Hindooism, or of
Brahmanism, and “have descended from very early ages.” When a favor is
sought from a local divinity, “it is the _chela_ [or primitive seer]
who gasps out the commands of the _deoty_ [the ‘deity’], as he [the
chela] shivers under the divine afflatus, and [under] the vigorous
application of the _soongul_, or iron scourge.” But before the chela
can have “the divine afflatus” he must drink-in living blood. Thus,
this traveler witnessed an appeal to the snake-god, Kailung Nag, for
fine weather for the sowing of the crops. The sacrificial sheep was
procured by the people; the ceremonies of wild worship, including
music, dancing, incense-burning, and bodily flagellations, proceeded.
“At length, all being ready, the head of the victim was struck off with
an axe. The body was then lifted up by several men, and the chela,
seizing upon it like a tiger, drank the blood as it spurted from the
neck. When all the blood had been sucked from the carcass, it was
thrown down upon the ground, amid yells and shouts of ‘_Kailung Maharaj
ki jai!_’ [‘Victory to the great king Kailung’]. The dancing was
then renewed, and became more violent, until after many contortions,
the chela [now blood-filled] gasped out that the deota accepted the
sacrifice, and that the season would be favorable. This was received
with renewed shouts, and the chela sank down upon the ground in a state
of exhaustion.”[290]

In the folk-lore of Scotland, as representing the primitive traditions
of Western Europe, there are illustrations of the idea that the
blood of the gods was communicated to earthly organisms. Thus, a
scientific antiquarian of Scotland records in this line: “There was
a popular saying that the robin”--the robin red-breast--“had a drop
of God’s blood in its veins, and that therefore to kill or hurt
it was a sin, and that some evil would befall any one who did so;
and, conversely, any kindness done to poor robin would be repaid
in some fashion. Boys did not dare to harry a robin’s nest.” On
the other hand, the yellow-hammer and the swallow were said, each
“to have a drop of the Devil’s blood in its veins”; so the one of
these birds--the yellow-hammer--was “remorselessly harried”; and the
other--the swallow--“was feared, and therefore let alone.”[291] A
similar legendary fear of the swallow, and the guarding of his nest,
accordingly, exists in Germany and in China.[292]

Another indication of the belief, that human blood has a vital
connection with its divine source, and is under the peculiar oversight
of its divine Author, is found in the wide-spread opinion that the
blood of a murdered man will bear witness against the murderer, by
flowing afresh at his touch; the living blood crying out from the dead
body, by divine consent, in testimony of crime against the Author of
life. Ancient European literature teems with incidents in the line of
this “ordeal of touch.”

Thus it was, according to the Nibelungen Lied, that Kriemhild fastened
upon Hagan the guilt of murdering her husband Siegfried; when Hagan and
his associates were gathered for the burial of the hero.

   “Firmly they made denial; Kriemhild at once replied,
    ‘Whoe’er in this is guiltless, let him this proof abide.
    In sight of all the people let him approach the bier,
    And so to each beholder shall the plain truth appear.’
    It is a mighty marvel, which oft e’en now we spy,
    That, when the blood-stain’d murderer comes to the murder’d nigh,
    The wounds break out a-bleeding; then too the same befell,
    And thus could each beholder the guilt of Hagan tell.
    The wounds at once burst streaming, fast as they did before;
    Those who then sorrowed deeply, now yet lamented more.”[293]

Under Christian II., of Denmark, the “Nero of the North,” early in the
sixteenth century, there was a notable illustration of this confidence
in the power of blood to speak for itself. A number of gentlemen being
together in a tavern, one evening, they fell to quarreling, and “one
of them was stabbed with a poniard. Now the murderer was unknown, by
reason of the number [present]; although the person stabbed accused a
pursuivant of the king’s who was one of the company. The king, to find
out the homicide, caused them all to come together in the stove [the
tavern], and, standing round the corpse, he commanded that they should,
one after another, lay their right hand on the slain gentleman’s naked
breast, swearing that they had not killed him. The gentlemen did so,
and no sign appeared against them. The pursuivant only remained, who,
condemned before in his own conscience, went first of all and kissed
the dead man’s feet. But, as soon as he had laid his hand upon his
breast, the blood gushed forth in abundance, both out of his wound
and his nostrils; so that, urged by this evident accusation, he
confessed the murder, and was by the king’s own sentence, immediately

A striking example of the high repute in which this ordeal of touch was
formerly held, and of the underlying idea on which its estimate was
based, is reported from the State Trials of Scotland. It was during the
trial of Philip Standsfield, in 1688, for the murder of his father,
Sir James. The testimony was explicit, that when this son touched the
body, the blood flowed afresh, and the son started back in terror,
crying out, “Lord, have mercy upon me!” wiping off the blood, from his
hand, on his clothes. Sir George M’Kenzie, acting for the State, at the
inquest, said concerning this testimony and its teachings: “But they,
fully persuaded that Sir James was murdered by his own son, sent out
[with him] some surgeons and friends, who having raised the body, did
see it bleed miraculously upon his touching it. In which, God Almighty
himself was pleased to bear a share in the testimonies which we
produce: that Divine Power which makes the blood circulate during life,
has oft times, in all nations, opened a passage to it after death upon
such occasions, but most in this case.”[295]

Mr. Henry C. Lea, in his erudite work on Superstition and Force, has
multiplied illustrations of the ordeal of touch, or of “bier-right,”
all along the later centuries.[296] He recalls that “Shakspeare
introduces it, in King Richard III., where Gloster interrupts the
funeral of Henry VI., and Lady Anne exclaims:

   ‘O gentlemen see, see! dead Henry’s wounds
    Open their congealed mouths, and bleed afresh.’”

He refers to the fact that it was an old-time Jewish custom to ask
pardon of a corpse for any offences committed against the living man,
laying hold of the great toe of the corpse while thus asking; and if
the asker had really inflicted any grievous injury on the deceased,
the body was supposed to signify that fact by a copious hemorrhage
from the nose.[297] “This, it will be observed,” he adds, “is almost
identical with the well-known story which relates that, when Richard
Cœur-de-Lion hastened to the funeral of his father, Henry II., and
met the procession at Fontevraud, the blood poured from the nostrils
of the dead king, whose end he had hastened by his disobedience and
rebellion.” Mr. Lea shows that in some instances the bones of a
murdered man are said to have given out fresh blood when handled by a
murderer as long as twenty years, or even fifty, after the murder; and
he gives ample evidence that a belief in this power of blood to speak
for itself against the violator of God’s law, still exists among the
English-speaking people, and that it has manifested itself as a means
of justice-seeking, in the United States, within a few years past.


Beyond the idea of inspiration through an interflow of God-representing
blood, there has been in primitive man’s mind (however it came
there) the thought of a possible inter-communion with God through an
inter-union with God by blood. God is life. All life is from God, and
belongs to God. Blood is life. Blood, therefore, as life, may be a
means of man’s inter-union with God. As the closest and most sacred of
covenants between man and man; as, indeed, an absolute merging of two
human natures into one,--is a possibility through an inter-flowing of a
common blood; so the closest and most sacred of covenants between man
and God; so the inter-union of the human nature with the divine,--has
been looked upon as a possibility, through the proffer and acceptance
of a common life in a common blood-flow.

Whatever has been man’s view of sin and its punishment, and of his
separation from God because of unforgiven sin (I speak now of man
as he is found, without the specific teachings of the Bible on this
subject), he has counted blood--his own blood, in actuality or by
substitute--a means of inter-union with God, or with the gods. Blood is
not death, but life. The shedding of blood, Godward, is not the taking
of life, but the giving of life. The outflowing of blood toward God is
an act of gratitude or of affection, a proof of loving confidence, a
means of inter-union. This seems to have been the universal primitive
conception of the race. And an evidence of man’s trust in the
accomplished fact of his inter-union with God, or with the gods, by
blood, has been the also universal practice of man’s inter-communion
with God, or with the gods, by his sharing, in food-partaking, of the
body of the sacrificial offering, whose blood is the means of the
divine-human inter-union.

Perhaps the most ancient existing form of religious worship, as also
the simplest and most primitive form, is to be found in China, in the
state religion, represented by the Emperor’s worship at the Temple of
Heaven, in Peking. And in that worship, the idea of the worshiper’s
inter-communion with God, through the body and blood of the sacrificial
offering, is disclosed, even if not always recognized, by all the
representative Western authorities on the religions of China.

“The Chinese idea of a sacrifice to the supreme spirit of Heaven and of
Earth is that of a banquet. There is no trace of any other idea,” says
Dr. Edkins.[298] Dr. Legge,[299] citing this statement, expands its
significance by saying: “The notion of the whole service [at the Temple
of Heaven] might be that of a banquet; but a sacrifice and a banquet
are incompatible ideas.”[300] He then shows that the Chinese character
_tsî_, signifying “sacrifice,” “covers a much wider space of meaning
than our term sacrifice [as he seems to view our use of that term].”
Morrison gives as one of the meanings of _tsî_, “That which is the
medium between, or brings together, men and Gods”; and Hsü Shan “says,
that _tsî_ is made up of two ideograms;--one the primitive for spiritual
beings, and the other representing a right hand and a piece of flesh.”
Legge adds: “The most general idea symbolized by it is--an offering
whereby communication and communion with spiritual beings [God, or the
gods] is effected.”[301]

Dr. S. Wells Williams says, that “no religious system has been
found among the Chinese which taught the doctrine of the atonement
by the shedding of blood”; and this he counts “an argument in favor
of their [the Chinese] antiquity”; adding that “the state religion
... has maintained its main features during the past three thousand
years.”[302] Williams here, evidently, refers to an expiatory atonement
for sin; and Legge has a similar view of the facts.[303] The idea of an
approach to God through blood--blood as a means of favor, even if not
blood as a canceling of guilt--is obvious, in the outpouring of blood
by the Emperor when he approaches God for his worship in the Temple
of Heaven. The symbolic sacrifice in that worship, which precedes the
communion, is of a whole “burnt offering, of a bullock, entire and
without blemish”;[304] and the blood of that offering is reverently
poured out into the earth,[305] to be buried there, according to the
thought of man and the teachings of God in all the ages. It is even
claimed that as early as 2697 B. C., it was the blood of the first-born
which must be poured out toward God--as a means of favor--in the
Emperor’s approach for communion with God; “a first-born male,” being
offered up “as a whole burnt sacrifice,” in this worship.[306] Surely,
in this surrender of the first-born, there must have been some idea of
an affectionate offering, in the gift of that which was dearest, even
if there was no idea of substitution by way of expiation; something
in addition to the simple idea of “a banquet”; something which was an
essential preliminary to the banquet.

Access to God being attained by the Emperor, the Emperor enjoys
communion with God in the Temple of Heaven. It is after the outpouring
of blood, and the offering of the holocaust, that--in a lull of the
orchestral music, in the great annual sacrifice--“a single voice is
heard, on the upper terrace of the altar, chanting the words, ‘Give the
cup of blessing, and the meat of blessing.’ In response, the officer in
charge of the cushion advances and kneels, spreading the cushion. Other
officers present the cup of blessing and the meat of blessing [which
have already been presented Godward] to the Emperor, who partakes of
the wine and returns them. The Emperor then again prostrates himself,
and knocks his forehead three times against the ground, and then nine
times more, to represent his thankful reception of the wine and meat
[in communion].”[307]

The evidence is abundant, that the main idea of this primitive and
supreme service in the religions of China, is the inter-communion of
the Emperor with God. And there is no lack of proof that in China,
as elsewhere all the world over, blood--as life--is the means of
covenanting in an indissoluble inter-union; of which inter-union,
inter-communion is a result and a proof.

In China, as also in India,[308] when the sacrifice of human beings
was abolished, it was followed by the sacrifice of the horse. And
the horse-sacrifice is still practised in some parts of the Chinese
Empire, on important occasions. A white horse is brought to the brink
of a stream, or a lake, and there sacrificed, by decapitating it,
“burying its head below low-water mark, but _reserving its carcase for
food_.”[309] In a description of this sacrifice, in honor of a certain
goddess, as witnessed by Archdeacon Gray,[310] it is said: “Its
_blood_ was received in a large earthenware jar, and a portion carried
to the temple of the aforesaid goddess; when all the villagers rushed
tumultuously to secure a sprinkling of blood on the charms which they
had already purchased. The rest of the blood was mingled with sand,”
and taken with various accessories, in a boat. “This boat headed a long
procession of richly carved and gilded boats, in which were priests,
both Buddhist and Taouists, and village warriors discharging matchlocks
to terrify the water-devils; while the men in the first boat sprinkle
the waters, as they advance, with blood-stained sand.”

So, again, it is the blood of a cock,--not the body but the
blood,--which is made the propitiatory offering to the goddess known
as “Loong-moo, or the Dragon’s Mother,” on the river junks of China.
The blood is sprinkled on the deck, near a temporary altar, where
libations of wine have already been poured out by master of this junk,
who is the sacrificer. Afterwards, bits of silver paper are “sprinkled
with the blood, and then fastened to the door-posts and lintels of the
cabin”;[311] as if in token of the blood-covenant between those who
are within those doors and the goddess whose substitute blood is there
affixed. And this precedes the feast of inter-communion.[312]

Nor are indications wanting, that the idea of inter-union with the gods
by blood was originally linked with, if it were not primarily based
upon, the rite of blood-covenanting between two human friends. Thus,
Archdeacon Gray unconsciously discloses traces of this rite, in his
description of the exorcising of demons from the body of a child, by
a Taouist priest, in Canton.[313] Certain preliminary ceremonies were
concluded; which were supposed to drive out the demons. “The priest
then proceeded to uncover his [own] arm, and made an incision with a
lancet in the fleshy part. The blood which flowed from the wound, was
allowed to mingle with a small quantity of water in a cup. The seal
of the temple, the impression of which was the name of the idol, was
then dipped into the blood, and stamped upon the wrists, neck, back and
forehead[314] of the poor heathen child.” By this means, that child was
symbolically sealed in covenant relations with the god of that temple,
by the substitute blood of that god’s representative priest.

Thus, also, Dr. Legge, referring to old-time covenantings in China,
says:[315] “Many covenants were made among the feudal princes,--made
over the blood of a victim, with which each covenanting party smeared
the corners of his mouth [which is one form of tasting];[316] while
an appeal was addressed to the invisible powers to inflict vengeance
on all who should violate the conditions agreed upon [the ordinary
imprecatory prayers in the rite of blood-covenanting].” A symbolic
inter-union of blood is a basis of inter-communion between two human
beings, as also between the human and the divine beings even in
China--where, perhaps, that idea would be least likely to be looked for.

It is a common opinion, that in no part of the world is there a more
general prejudice against blood-shedding, or the taking of animal life,
than in India. And it certainly is a fact, that the great religious
systems, of Brahmanism and of Booddhism, which have controlled the
moral sense of the peoples of India for a score or two of centuries,
have exerted themselves, in the main, to the inculcation of these views
as to the sacredness of blood and of life--or of blood which is life.
Hence, we would naturally look, in India, only for traces, or vestiges,
of the primitive, world-wide idea of inter-communion with God, or with
the gods, through a divine-human inter-union by blood. Nor are such
traces and vestiges lacking in the religious customs of India.

In India, as in China, human sacrifices, especially the sacrifice of
the first-born son, were formerly made freely, as a means of bringing
the offerer into closer relations with the gods, through the outpoured
blood.[317] It was the blood, as the life, which was believed to be
the common possession of gods, men, and beasts; hence the final
substitution, in India, of beasts for men, in the blood-covenanting
with the gods. On this point, the evidence seems clear.

The Vedas, or sacred books of the Brahmans, teach, indeed, that the
gods themselves were mere mortals, until by repeated offerings of
blood in sacrifice, to the Supreme Being, they won immortality from
him; which is only another way of making the claim, put forward by the
immortalized-mortal, in the Book of the Dead, of ancient Egypt, that
the mortal became one with the gods through an interflow of a common
life in the common blood of the two. Mortals gave the blood of their
first-born sons in sacrifice to the Supreme Being. Then the Supreme
Being gave the blood of his first-born male in sacrifice. Thus, the
nature of the favored mortals and the nature of the Supreme Being
became one and the same. Dr. Monier Williams cites freely from the
Vedas in the direction of this great truth; although he does not note
its bearing on the blood-covenant rite. Thus, in “the following free
translation of a passage of the Satapatha-brāhmana:

   ‘The gods lived constantly in dread of Death--
    The mighty Ender--so, with toilsome rites
    They worshiped, and repeated sacrifices,
    Till they became immortal.’”

“And again in the Taittirīya-brāhmana: ‘By means of the sacrifice
the gods obtained heaven.’” In the Tāndya-brāhmanas: “The lord of
creatures offered himself a sacrifice for the gods.” “And again,
in the Satapatha-brāhmana: ‘He who, knowing this, sacrifices with
the _Purusha-medha_, or sacrifice of the primeval male, becomes

That it was the _blood_, which was the chief element in the
covenanting-sacrifice, is evident from all the facts in the case. Thus,
in the Aitareya-brāhmana, it is said: “The gods killed a man for their
victim [of sacrifice]. But from him thus killed, the part which was
fit for a sacrifice went out and entered a horse. Thence, the horse
became an animal fit for being sacrificed. The gods then killed the
horse, but the part of it fit for being sacrificed went out of it and
entered an ox. The gods then killed the ox, but the part of it fit
for being sacrificed went out of it and entered a sheep. Thence it
entered a goat. The sacrificial part remained for the longest time
in the goat; thence it [the goat] became preeminently fit for being
sacrificed!” Indian history shows that this has been the progress of
reform, from the days of human sacrifice downward. “It is remarkable
that in Vedic times, even a cow ... was sometimes killed; and goats, as
is well known, are still sacrificed to the goddess Kālī.”[319] Kalī,
also called Doorgā, is the blood-craving goddess. The blood of one
human victim, it is said, “gives her a gleam of pleasure that endures a
thousand years; and the sacrifice of three men together, would prolong
her ecstacy for a thousand centuries.”[320]

Bishop Heber indicates the “sacrificial part” of the goat as he saw it
offered at a temple of Kālī in Umeer. He was being shown by his guide
through that city, on his first visit there, and the guide proposed a
look at the temple. “He turned short, and led us some little distance
up the citadel, then through a dark, low arch into a small court,
where, to my surprise, the first object which met my eyes was a pool
of blood on the pavement, by which a naked man stood with a bloody
sword in his hand.... The guide ... cautioned me against treading in
the blood, and told me that a goat was sacrificed here every morning.
In fact a second glance showed me the headless body of the poor animal
lying before the steps of a small shrine, apparently of Kali. The
Brahman was officiating and tinkling his bell.... The guide told us,
on our way back, that the tradition was, that, in ancient times a man
was sacrificed here every day; that the custom had been laid aside till
Jye Singh [the builder of Umeer] had a frightful dream, in which the
destroying power appeared to him, and asked why her image was suffered
to be dry [It is _blood_, not _flesh_, that moistens]. The Rajah,
afraid to disobey, and reluctant to fulfil the requisition to its
ancient extent of horror, took counsel and substituted a goat [in which
as well as in man there is blood--which is life--which is the chief
thing in a sacrifice Godward] for the human victim; with which the

    ‘Dark goddess of the azure flood,
      Whose robes are wet with infant tears,
    Skull-chaplet wearer, whom the blood
      Of man delights three thousand years,’

was graciously pleased to be contented.”[321]

“I had always heard, and fully believed till I came to India,” says
Bishop Heber, “that it was a grievous crime, in the opinion of the
Brahmans, to eat the flesh or shed the blood of any living creature
whatever. I have now myself seen Brahmans of the highest caste cut
off the heads of goats, as a sacrifice to Doorga; and I know from
the testimony of Brahmans, as well as from other sources, that not
only hecatombs of animals are often offered in this manner, as a most
meritorious act (a Rajah, about twenty-five years back [say about A. D.
1800], offered sixty thousand in one fortnight); but that any persons,
Brahmans not excepted, eat readily [in inter-communion] of the flesh
which has been offered up to one of their divinities.”[322]

Clearly, the idea of inter-communion with the gods, on the basis of
the inter-flow of blood, exists in many Brahmanic practices of to-day.
It still finds its expression in the occasional “Sacrifice of the
Yajna, at which a ram is immolated.” It is claimed by the Brahmans
that “this sacrifice is the most exalted and the most meritorious
of all that human beings can devise. It is the most grateful to the
gods. It calls down all sorts of temporal blessings, and blots out all
the sins that can have been accumulated for four generations.” The
ram chosen for this sacrifice must be “entirely white, and without
blemish: of about three years old.” Only Brahmans who are free from
physical infirmities and from ceremonial defects can have a part in
its offering, “at which no man of any other caste can be present.”
Because of the Brahmanic horror of the shedding of blood, the victim is
smothered, or “strangled”; after which it is cut in pieces, and burned
as an oblation. “A part, however, is preserved for him who presides
at the sacrifice, and part for him who is at the expense of it. These
share their portions with the Brahmans who are present; amongst whom
a scuffle ensues, each striving for a small bit of the flesh. Such
morsels as they can catch they tear with their hands, and devour as
a sacred viand [the meat of inter-communion with the gods]. This
practice is the more remarkable, as being the only occasion in their
[the Brahmans’] lives when they can venture to touch animal food.”
“This most renowned sacrifice ... is one of the six privileges of the
Brahmans”; and it would seem that its offering may now be directed to
any one of the divinities, at the preference of the offerer. Formerly
there was also the “_Great_ Sacrifice of the Yajna,” which is no longer
in use. “At this sacrifice,” in its day, “every species of victim was
immolated; and it is beyond doubt that human beings even were offered
up; but the horse and the elephant were the most common.”[323] So,
there has never been an entire absence from the Brahmanic practices of
an inter-communion with the gods through an inter-union by blood.

Even more remarkable than this canonical sacrifice of the Yajna, with
its accompanying inter-communion, are some of the occult sacrifices to
the gods of the Hindoo Pantheon, in which all the ordinary barriers
of caste are disregarded, in the un-canonical but greatly prized
services of inter-communion with the gods on the basis of an inter-flow
of blood. The offerings of blood-flowing sacrifices, including even
the cow, are made before the image of Vishnoo; or, more probably of
Krishna as one of the forms of Vishnoo. The spirituous liquors of
the country are also presented as drink-offerings. Then follows the
inter-communion. “He who administers [at the offering to the god]
tastes each species of meat and of liquor; after which he gives
permission to the worshipers to consume the rest. Then may be seen
men and women rushing forward, tearing and devouring. One seizes a
morsel, and while he gnaws it, another snatches it out of his hands,
and thus it passes on from mouth to mouth till it disappears, while
fresh morsels, in succession, are making the same disgusting round.
The meat being greedily eaten up, the strong liquors and the opium
[which have all been offered to the gods] are sent round. All drink out
of the same cup, one draining what another leaves, in spite of their
natural abhorrence of such a practice.... All castes are confounded,
and the Brahman is not above the Pariah.... Brahmans, Sudras, Pariahs,
men and women, swill the arrack which was the offering to the Saktis,
regardless of the same glass being used by them all, which in ordinary
cases would excite abhorrence. Here it is a virtuous act to participate
in the same morsel, and to receive from each other’s mouths the
half-gnawn flesh.”[324]

The fact that this service is of so disgusting a character, does
not lessen its importance as an illustration of a primitive custom
degraded by successive generations of defiling influences. It still
stands as one of the proofs of the universal custom of an attempted
inter-communion with the gods through an inter-union by blood.
Indeed, there are many traces, in India, of the survival of this
primitive idea. Referring to the worship of Krishna, under the form of
Jagan-natha (or Juggernaut, as the name is popularly rendered) a recent
writer on India says: “Before this monstrous shrine, all distinctions
of caste are forgotten, and even a Christian may sit down and eat with
a Brahman. In his work on Orissa, Dr. W. W. Hunter, says, that at the
‘Sacrament of the Holy Food’ he has seen a Puri priest receive his food
from a Christian’s hand.... This rite is evidently also a survival of
Buddhism [It goes a long way back of that]. It is remarkable that at
the shrine of Vyankoba, an obscure form of Siva, at Pandharpur, in the
Southern Maratha country, caste is also in abeyance, all men being
deemed equal in its presence. Food is daily sent as a gift from the god
to persons in all parts of the surrounding country, and the proudest
Brahman gladly will accept and partake of it from the hands of the
Sudra, or Mahar, who is usually its bearer. There are two great annual
festivals in honor of Jagan-natha.... They are held everywhere; but at
Puri they are attended by pilgrims from every part of India, as many as
200,000 often being present. All the ground is holy within twenty miles
of the pagoda, and the establishment of priests amounts to 3000. The
‘Sacrament of the Holy Food’ is celebrated three times a day.”[325]

Thus it is evident that the idea of inter-communion with the gods
has not been lost sight of in India, even through the influence of
Brahmanism and Booddhism against the idea of divine-human inter-union
by blood--which is life. Indeed, this idea so pervades the religious
thought of the Hindoos, that the commands are specific in their sacred
books, that a portion of all food must be offered to the spirits,
before any of it is partaken of by the eater. “It is emphatically
declared that he who partakes of food before it has been offered in
sacrifice as above described, eats but to his own damnation;”[326]
unless he discerns there the principle of divine-human inter-communion,
he eats to his own spiritual destruction.[327]

And just here it is well to notice an incidental item of evidence that
in India, as in the other lands of the East, the sacrifices to the gods
were in some way linked with the primitive rite of human covenanting
by blood. An Oriental scholar has called attention to the origin of
the nose-ring, so commonly worn in India, as described in the Hindoo
Pāga-Vatham.[328] The story runs, that at the incarnation of Vishnoo as
Krishna, the holy child’s life was sought, and his mother exchanged
her infant for the child of another woman, in order to his protection.
In doing so, she “bored a hole in the nose of her infant, and put a
ring into it as an impediment and a sign. The blood which came from
the wound was as a sacrifice to prevent him from falling into the
hand of his enemies.” And, to this day, the nose-ring has two names,
indicative of its two-fold purpose. “The first [name] is _nate-kaddan_,
which signifies ‘the obligation or debt a person is under by a vow’;
the second [name] is _mooka-taddi_, literally ‘nose-impediment or
hindrance,’ that is, to sickness or death.” The child’s blood is
given in covenant obligation to the gods, and the nose-ring is the
token of the covenant-obligation, and a pledge of protected life.
When a Hindoo youth who has worn a nose-ring would remove it, on
the occasion of his marriage, he must do so with formal ceremonies
at the temple, and by the use of a liquid “which represents blood,”
composed of saffron,[329] of lime, and of water. A young tree must also
be planted in connection with this ceremony, as in the ceremony of
blood-covenanting in some portions of the East.[330] These symbolisms
can hardly fail to be recognized as based on the universal primitive
rite of blood-covenanting.[331]

The very earliest records of Babylon and Assyria, indicate the
outreaching of man for an inter-union with God, or with the gods, by
substitute blood, and the confident inter-communion of man with God, or
with the gods, on the strength of this inter-union by blood. There is
an Akkadian poem which clearly “goes back to pre-Semitic times,” with
its later Assyrian translation, concerning the sacrifice to the gods,
of a first-born son.[332] It says distinctly: “His offspring for his
life he gave.” Here is obviously the idea of vicarious substitution,
of life for life, of the blood of the son for the blood of the father,
but this substitution does not necessarily involve the idea of an
_expiatory_ offering for sin; even though it does include the idea of
_propitiation_. Abraham’s surrender of his first-born son to God was
in proof of his loving trust, not of his sense of a penalty due for
sin. Jephthah’s surrender of his daughter was on a vow of devotedness,
not as an exhibit of remorse, or of penitence, for unexpiated guilt.
In each instance, the outpouring of substitute blood was in evidence
of a desire to be in new covenant oneness with God. Thus Queen Manenko
and Dr. Livingstone made a covenant of blood vicariously, by the
substitution of her husband on the one part, and of an attendant of
Livingstone, on the other part.[333] So, also the Akkadian king may
have sought a covenant union with his god--from whom sin had separated
him--by the substitute blood of his first-born and best loved son.

Certain it is, that the early kings of Babylon and Assyria were
accustomed to make their grateful offerings to the gods, and to
share those offerings with the gods, by way of inter-communion with
the gods, apart from any sense of sin and of its merited punishment
which they may have felt.[334] Indeed, it is claimed, with a show of
reason, that the very word (_surqinu_) which was used for “altar” in
the Assyrian, was primarily the word for “table”; that, in fact, what
was later known as the “altar” to the gods, was originally the table
of communion between the gods and their worshipers.[335] There seems
to be a reference to this idea in the interchanged use of the words
“altar” and “table” by the Prophet Malachi: “And ye say, Wherein have
ye despised thy name? Ye offer polluted bread upon mine _altar_? And ye
say, Wherein have ye polluted thee? In that ye say, The _table_ of the
Lord is contemptible.”[336] So again, in Isaiah 65 : 11: “But ye that
forsake the Lord, that forget my holy mountain, that prepare a _table_
for Fortune, and that fill up mingled wine unto Destiny; I will destine
you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter.”

See, in this connection, the Assyrian inscription of Esarhaddon, the
son of Sennacherib,[337] in description of his great palace at Nineveh:
“I filled with beauties the great palace of my empire, and I called it
‘The Palace which Rivals the World.’ Ashur, Ishtar of Nineveh, and the
gods of Assyria, all of them, I feasted within it. Victims precious
and beautiful I sacrificed before them, and I caused them to receive
my gifts. I did for those gods whatever they wished.”[338] It is
even claimed by Assyrian scholars, that in this inter-communion with
the gods, worshipers might partake of the flesh of animals which was
forbidden to them at all other times[339]--as among the Brahmans of
India, to-day.

In farther illustration of the truth, that inter-communion with the
gods was shown in partaking of sacred food with the gods, H. Fox
Talbot, the Assyriologist, says of the ancient Assyrian inscription:
“There is a fine inscription, not yet fully translated, describing
the soul in heaven, clothed in a white radiant garment, seated in the
company of the blessed, and fed by the gods themselves, with celestial

Among the Parsees, or the Zoroastrians, who intervene, as it were,
between the primitive peoples of Assyria and India, and the later
inhabitants of the Persian empire, there prevailed the same idea
of divine-human inter-union through blood, and of divine-human
inter-communion through sharing the flesh of the proffered and accepted
sacrifice, at the altar, or at the table, of the gods, Ormuzd and
Ahriman. The horse was a favorite substitute victim of sacrifice, among
the Parsees; as also among the Hindoos and the Chinese. Its blood was
the means of divine-human inter-union. “The flesh of the victim was
eaten by the priest and the worshipers; the ‘soul’ [the life, the
blood], of it only was enjoyed by Ormazd.”[341] The communion-drink,
in the Parsee sacrament, as still observed, is the juice of the
_haoma_, or _hom_. “Small bread [or wafers] called Darun, of the size
of a dollar, and covered with a piece of meat, incense, and Haoma, or
Hom,” the juice of the plant known in India as Soma, are used in this
sacrament. “The Darun and the Hom [having been presented to the gods]
are afterwards eaten by the priests,” as in communion.[342] This is
sometimes called the “Sacrament of the Haoma.”[343]

In ancient Egypt, it seems to have been much as in China, and India,
and Assyria. Substitute blood was a basis of inter-union between man
and the gods; and a divine-human inter-communion was secured as a proof
and as a result of that inter-union. That it was human blood which was,
of old in Egypt, poured out as a means of this inter-union (in some
cases at least) seems clear. It is declared by Manetho, and Diodorus,
and Athenæus, and Plutarch, and Porphyry.[344] It is recognized as
proven, by Kenrick[345] and Ebers[346] and other Egyptian scholars.
Wilkinson, it is true, was unwilling to accept its reality, because, in
his opinion, “it is quite incompatible with the character of a nation
whose artists thought acts of clemency towards a foe worthy of record,
and whose laws were distinguished by that humanity which punished with
death the murder even of a slave”;[347] and he prefers to rest on “the
improbability of such a custom among a civilized people.” Yet, a single
item of proof from the monuments would seem sufficient to settle this
question, if it were still deemed a question. The ideogram which was
employed on the seal of the priests, authorizing the slaying of an
animal in sacrifice, “bore the figure of a man on his knees, with his
hands tied behind him, and a sword pointed at his throat.”[348]

Herodotus,[349] describing the magnificent festival of Isis, at
Busiris, says that a bull was sacrificed on that occasion; and we know
that in every such sacrifice the blood of the victim was poured out
as an oblation, at the altar.[350] When the duly prepared offering
was consumed upon the altar, those portions of the victim which had
been reserved were eaten by the priest and others.[351] Herodotus
says, moreover, that some of the Greeks who were present at this
festival, were in the habit of causing their own blood to flow during
the consuming of the sacrifice, as if in proof of their desire for
inter-union with the goddess, as precedent to their inter-communion
with her. He says: “But as many of the Karians as are dwelling in
Egypt, do yet more than these [native Egyptians], inasmuch as they
cut their foreheads with swords;[352] and so they are shown to be
foreigners and not Egyptians.”[353]

It would even seem that in Egypt, as in other parts of the primitive
world, the prohibition of the eating of many sacred animals applied to
the eating of them when not offered in sacrifice. Because those animals
became, as it were, on the altar, or on the table, of the gods, a
portion of the gods themselves, they must not be eaten except by those
who discerned in them the body of the gods, and who were entitled to
share them in inter-communion with the gods.[354]

The monumental representations of the other world show the gods sharing
food and drink with the souls of the deceased.[355] And the idea of
a divine-human inter-communion through the partaking by gods and
men of the food provided for, or accepted by, the former, runs all
through the Egyptian record. A remarkable illustration of this idea
is found in an extended inscription from the tomb of Setee I., whose
daughter is supposed to have been the finder of the infant Moses. In
this inscription, which is sometimes called the Book of Hades, or more
properly the Book of Amenti, the Sun-god Rā is represented as passing
through Amenti--or the under world--on his nocturnal circuit, and
speaking words of approval to his disembodied worshipers there.[356]
“These are they who worshiped Rā on the earth, ... who offered their
oblations.... They are [now] masters of their refreshments; they take
their meat; they seize their offerings in the porch of him, whose being
is mysterious.... Rā says to them, Your offerings are yours; take your
refreshment.” Again and again the declaration is made of “the elect,”
of those who are greeted by Rā in Amenti: “Their food is (composed)
of Rā’s bread; their drink [is] of his liquor _tesher_ [a common word
for “red,” often standing for “blood”[357]]”. And yet again: “Their
food is to hear the word of this god.”[358] “Their food is that of the
veridical [the truth-speaking] ones. Offerings are [now] made to them
on earth; because the true word is in them.”[359]

Thus there was inter-communion between man and the gods in ancient
Egypt, on the basis of a blood-made inter-union between man and the
gods; as there was also in primitive Assyria and Babylon, in primitive
India, and in primitive China.

Turning now from the far East to the far West, we find that Central
American and South American history and legends tend to illustrate
the same primitive belief, that inter-communion with the gods was
to be secured by the hearty surrender of self--as evidenced by the
tender of personal, or of substitute _blood_. A Guatemalan legend
has its suggestion of that outreaching of man for fire from heaven,
which is illustrated in the primitive and the classic myths of the
ages.[360] The men of Guatemala were without the heaven-born fire, and
they turned, in their longing, to the Quiché god, Tohil, seeking it
from him, on such terms as he might prescribe. “The condition finally
named by the god was, that they consent to ‘unite themselves to me,
under their armpit, and under their girdle, and that they embrace me,
Tohil’; a condition not very clearly expressed [says a historian], but
which, as is shown by what follows, was an agreement to worship the
Quiché god, and sacrifice to him their _blood_, and, if required, their
_children_. They accepted the condition, and received the fire.”[361]

In the light of the prevailing customs of the world, concerning this
rite of blood-covenanting, the requirements of the Quiché god were
clearly based on the symbolism of that rite; as the historian did
not perceive, from his unfamiliarity with the rite. If men would be
in favor with that god, and would receive his choicest gifts, they
must unite themselves to him; must enter into oneness of nature with
him, by giving of their blood, from “under their armpit, and under
their girdle”; from the source of life, and at the issue of life; for
themselves and for their seed; and they must lovingly embrace their
covenant-god, accordingly. And in the counsel given to those new
worshipers, it was said: “Make first your thanksgiving; prepare the
holes in your ears; [blood was drawn from the ears, as well as from
other parts of the body, in Central American worship; indeed one of
their festivals was ‘the feast of piercing the ears,’ suggesting a
similar religious custom in India;[362]] pierce your elbows; and offer
sacrifice. This will be your act of gratitude before God.”[363]

Among all these aboriginal races of Central America, not only was the
flesh of the sacrificial offerings eaten as in communion with the gods;
but the blood of the offerings, and also the blood of the offerers
themselves, was sometimes sprinkled upon, or commingled with, those
articles of food, which were made a means of spiritual inter-communion
with their deities. Cakes of maize sprinkled with their own blood,
drawn from “under the girdle,” during their religious worship, were
“distributed and eaten as blessed bread.”[364] Moreover, an image of
their god, made with certain seeds from the first fruits of their
temple gardens, with a certain gum, and with the blood of human
sacrifices, was partaken of by them reverently, under the name, “Food
of our soul.”[365] At the conclusion of one of the great feasts of the
year at Cuzco, in Peru, the worshipers “received the loaves of maize
and the sacrificial blood, which they ate as a symbol of brotherhood
with the Ynca”[366]--who claimed to be of divine blood and of divine

Herrera describes one of these ceremonies of inter-communion with the
gods, by means of a blood-moistened representation of a god. “An idol
made of all the varieties of the seeds and grain of the country, was
made, and moistened with the blood of children and virgins. This idol
was broken into small bits, and given by way of communion to men and
women to eat; who, to prepare for that festival, bathed, and dressed
their heads, and scarce slept all the night. They prayed, and as soon
as it was day [they] were all in the temple to receive that communion,
with such singular silence and devotion, that though there was an
infinite multitude, there seemed to be nobody. If any of the idol was
left, the priests ate it.”[367]

So marked, indeed, was the sacramental character of these Peruvian
communion feasts, that a Spanish Jesuit missionary to that country,
three centuries ago, was disposed to see in them an invention of Satan,
rather than a survival of a world-wide primitive custom. He said: “That
which is most admirable in the hatred and presumption of Sathan is,
that he not only counterfeited in idolatry and sacrifices, but also
in certain ceremonies, our sacraments, which Jesus Christ our Lord
instituted, and the Holy Church uses; having, especially, pretended to
imitate, in some sort, the sacrament of the communion, which is the
most high and divine of all others.”[368]

Yet again, a prisoner of war would be selected to represent one
of the gods, and so to be partaken of, in inter-communion through
his blood. He would receive the name of the god; and for a longer
or a shorter time,--“sometimes a year, sometimes six months, and
sometimes less,”--he would be ministered to, and would receive honors
and reverence as a god. Then he would be offered in sacrifice. His
heart would be presented to the god. His blood would be employed
reverently--as was the case with all sacrifices--in token of
covenanting. His flesh would be eaten by the worshipers of the god
whom he represented.[369] This “rite of dressing and worshiping the
sacrifices like the deities themselves, is related as being performed
at the festivals of many gods and goddesses.”[370]

A remarkable illustration of the unity of the race, and of the
universal sweep of these customs in conjunction with the symbolism
of the blood-covenant, is found in the similarity of this last named
Central American practice, with a practice charged upon the Jews by
Apion, as replied to by Josephus. The charge is, that “Antiochus found,
upon entering the temple [at Jerusalem], a man lying upon a bed, with
a table before him, set out with all the delicacies that either sea
or land could afford.” This captive’s story was: “I am a Greek, and
wandering up and down in quest of the means of subsistence, was taken
up by some foreigners, brought to this place, and shut up.... They
gave me to understand, that the Jews had a custom among them, once a
year, upon a certain day prefixed, to seize upon a Grecian stranger,
and when they had kept him fattening one whole year, to take him into
a wood, and offer him up for a sacrifice according to their own form,
_taking a taste of his blood_, with a horrid oath to live and die sworn
enemies to the Greeks.”[371] Baseless as was this charge against the
Jews, its very framing indicates the existence in the East,--possibly
among the Phœnicians,--in days prior to the Christian era, as well
as in pre-historic times in the West, of the custom of seeking
inter-communion with God, or with the gods, by the tasting of the blood
of a substitute human victim, offered in sacrifice to God, or to the

At the two extremes of the world, to-day, among the primitive Bed´ween
of the Desert of Arabia, and among the primitive Indians of the
prairies of North America, there lingers a trace of this world-wide
idea, that the body of an offering covenanted to God by its blood, can
be a means of inter-communion with God in its eating. Both the Bed´ween
and the Indians connect in their minds the fact of sacrificing and of
feasting; and they speak of the two things interchangeably.

An Arab, when he makes a feast, speaks of sacrificing the animal
which is the main feature of that feast. I saw an Arab wedding at
Castle Nakhl, on the Arabian Desert. The bridegroom sacrificed a young
dromedary in honor of the occasion, and to furnish, as it were, the
sacramental feast. The blood of the victim was poured out unto the
Lord, by being buried in the earth--as the Chinese bury the blood of
their sacrifices in the Temple of Heaven. Portions of the dromedary
were eaten by all the guests, and a portion was sent to the stranger
encamping near them. And that is the common method of Arab sacrificing
and feasting.

There is much of similarity in the ways of the Arabs and of the
Indians. The Indian feasts are largely feasts of inter-communion with
the gods. Whether it were the human victim, of former times, whose
blood was drunk and whose heart was eaten, as preliminary to the
feasting on his entire remains;[372] or, whether it be the preserved
hearts and tongues of the buffaloes, which now form the basis of some
of the sacred feasts of the Indians;[373]--the idea of divine-human
inter-communion was and is inseparable from the idea of the feast. The
first portion of the feast is always proffered to the spirits, in order
to make it, in a peculiar sense, a sacred feast. Then, each person
having a part in the feast is expected to eat the full share assigned
to him;[374] unless indeed he be permitted to carry a remainder of it
away “as sacred food” for the benefit of the others.[375]

And so the common root-idea shows itself, in lesser or in larger
degree, all the world over, and in all the ages. It is practically

One of the many proofs that the idea of a blood-covenanting sacrifice
is that of a loving inter-communion between man and God, or the
gods, is the fact that the animals offered in sacrifice are always
those animals which are suitable for eating, whether their eating
is allowed at other times than when sacrificed, or not. “Animals
offered in sacrifice [at the Temple of Heaven, in China],” says Dr.
Edkins, “must be those in use for human food. There is no trace
in China of any distinction between clean and unclean animals, as
furnishing a principle in selecting them for sacrifice. That which
is good for food is good for sacrifice, is the principle guiding in
their selection.”[376] The same _principle_ has been already noted as
prevailing in the sacrifices of India, Assyria, and Egypt; although in
these last named countries many animals which are “good for food” are
not “in use for human food” except as they are served up at the table
of the gods.[377] In the primitive New World it was the same as in
the primitive Old World. Referring to the sacrifices in ancient Peru,
Réville says, “It should be noted that they only sacrificed edible
animals, which [as he would understand it] is a clear proof that the
intention was to feed the gods”;[378] and it certainly seems a clear
proof that the intention was to feed the worshipers who shared the
sacred food.

That this sharing of the proffered and accepted sacrifice, in
divine-human inter-communion, was counted a sharing of the divine
nature, by the communicant, seems evident, as widely as the world-wide
custom extended. The inter-union was wrought by intermingled blood;
the inter-communion gave a common progress to the common nature. The
blood gave common life; the flesh gave common nourishment. “Almost
everywhere,” says Réville,[379] “but especially among the Aztecs, we
find the notion, that the victim devoted to a deity, and therefore
destined to pass into his substance, and to become by assimilation an
integral part of him, is already co-substantial with him, has already
become part of him; so that the worshiper in his turn, by himself
assimilating a part of the victim’s flesh, unites himself in substance
with the divine being. And now observe [continues this student in the
science of comparative religion] that in all religions the longing,
whether grossly or spiritually apprehended, to enter into the closest
possible union with the adored being, is fundamental. This longing is
inseparable from the religious sentiment itself, and becomes imperious
wherever that sentiment is warm; and this consideration is enough to
convince us that it is in harmony with the most exalted tendencies of
our nature, but may likewise, in times of ignorance, give rise to the
most deplorable aberrations.” This observation is the more noteworthy,
in that it is made by so pronounced a rationalist as Réville.

It would even seem to be indicated, by all the trend of historic facts,
that cannibalism--gross, repulsive, inhuman cannibalism--had its basis
in man’s perversion of this outreaching of his nature (whether that
outreaching were first directed by revelation, or by divinely given
innate promptings) after inter-union and inter-communion with God;
after life in God’s life, and after growth through the partaking of
God’s food, or of that food which represents God. The studies of many
observers in widely different fields have led both the rationalistic
and the faith-filled student to conclude, that in _their_ sphere
of observation it was a religious sentiment, and not a mere animal
craving,--either through a scarcity of food, or from a spirit of
malignity,--that was at the bottom of cannibalistic practices there;
even if that field were an exception to the world’s fields generally.
And now we have a glimpse of the nature and workings of that religious
sentiment which prompted cannibalism wherever it has been practised.

Man longed for oneness of life with God. Oneness of life could come
only through oneness of blood. To secure such oneness of life, man
would give of his own blood, or of that substitute blood which could
best represent himself. Counting himself in oneness of life with God,
through the covenant of blood, man has sought for nourishment and
growth through partaking of that food which in a sense was life, and
which in a larger sense gave life, because it was the food of God, and
because it was the food which stood for God. In misdirected pursuance
of this thought, men have given the blood of a consecrated human victim
to bring themselves into union with God; and then they have eaten of
the flesh of that victim which had supplied the blood which made them
one with God. This seems to be the basis of _fact_ in the premises;
whatever may be the understood _philosophy_ of the facts. _Why_ men
reasoned thus, may indeed be in question. _That_ they reasoned thus,
seems evident.

Certain it is, that where cannibalism has been studied in modern times,
it has commonly been found to have had originally, a religious basis;
and the inference is a fair one, that it must have been the same
wherever cannibalism existed in earlier times. Even in some regions
where cannibalism has long since been prohibited, there are traditions
and traces of its former existence as a purely religious rite. Thus,
in India, little images of flour paste or clay, are now made for
decapitation, or other mutilation, in the temples,[380] in avowed
imitation of human beings, who were once offered and eaten there.
Referring to the frequency of human sacrifices in India, in earlier
and in later times, and to these emblematic substitutes for them, now
employed, the Abbé Dubois says:[381] “In the kingdom of Tanjore there
is a village called Tirushankatam Kudi, where a solemn festival is
celebrated every year, at which great multitudes of people assemble,
each votary bringing with him one of those little images of dough,
into the temple, dedicated to Vishnu, and there cutting off the head
in honor of that god. This ceremony, which is annually performed with
great solemnity, was instituted in commemoration of a famous event
which happened in that village.

“Two virtuous persons lived there, Sirutenden and his wife
Vanagata-ananga, whose faith and piety Vishnu was desirous to prove.
He appeared to them, and demanded no other service of them but that
of sacrificing, with their own hands, their only and much beloved son
Siralen, and _serving up his flesh for a repast_. The parents with
heroic courage, surmounting the sentiments and chidings of nature,
obeyed without hesitation, and submitted to the pleasure of the god.
So illustrious an act of devotion is held worthy of this annual
commemoration, at which the sacrifice is emblematically renewed. The
same barbarous custom is preserved in many parts of India; and the
ardor with which the people engage in it leaves room to suspect that
they still regret the times when they would have been at liberty to
offer up to their sanguinary gods, the reality, instead of the symbol.”

Such a legend as this, taken in conjunction with the custom which
perpetuates it, and with all the known history of human sacrifices, in
India and elsewhere, furnishes evidence that cannibalism as a religious
rite was known to the ancestors of the present dwellers in India. And
as it is in the far East, so it is in the far West; and so, also, in

Thus, for example, in the latter field, among the degraded Feejee
Islanders, where one would be least likely to look for the sway of a
religious sentiment in the more barbarous customs of that barbarous
people, this truth has been recognized by Christian missionaries, who
would view the relics of heathenism with no undue favor. The Rev.
Messrs. Williams and Calvert,--the one after thirteen years, and the
other after seventeen years of missionary service there,--said on this
subject: “Cannibalism is a part of the Fijian religion, and the gods
are described as delighting in human flesh.” And again: “Human flesh
is still the most valued offering [to the gods], and their ‘drink
offerings of blood’ are still the most acceptable [offerings to the
gods] in some parts of Fiji.”[382]

It was the same among the several tribes of the North American Indians,
according to the most trustworthy testimony. A Dutch clergyman, Dominie
Megapolensis, writing two centuries ago from near the present site of
Albany, “bears the strongest testimony to the ferocity with which his
friends, the Mohawks treated their prisoners, ... and is very explicit
as to cannibalism. ‘The common people,’ he says ‘eat the arms,
buttocks, and trunk; but the chiefs eat the head and the heart.’ This
feast was of a religious character.”[383] Parkman says, of the “hideous
scene of feasting [which] followed the torture of a prisoner,” “it was,
among the Hurons, partly an act of vengeance, and partly a religious
rite.”[384] He cites evidence, also, that there was cannibalism among
the Miamis, where “the act had somewhat of a religious character [and],
was attended with ceremonial observances.”[385]

Of the religious basis of cannibalism among the primitive peoples
of Central and South America, students seem agreed. Dorman who has
carefully collated important facts on this subject from varied sources,
and has considered them in their scientific bearings, is explicit in
his conclusions at this point. Reviewing all the American field, he
says: “I have dwelt longer upon the painful subject of cannibalism than
might seem desirable, in order to show its religious character and
prevalence everywhere. Instead of being confined to savage peoples,
as is generally supposed, it prevailed to a greater extent and with
more horrible rites among the most civilized. Its religious inception
was the cause of this.”[386] Again, he says, of the peoples of Mexico
and of the countries south of it: “All the Nahua nations practised
this religious cannibalism. That cannibalism as a source of food,
unconnected with religious rites, was ever practised, there is little
evidence. Sahagun and Las Casas regard the cannibalism of the Nahuas
as an abhorrent feature of their religion, and not as an unnatural

Réville, treating of the native religions of Mexico and Peru comes to a
similar conclusion with Dorman; and he argues that the state of things
which was there was the same the world over, so far as it related to
cannibalism. “Cannibalism,” he says,[388] “which is now restricted to a
few of the savage tribes who have remained closest to the animal life,
was once universal to our race. For no one would ever have conceived
the idea of offering to the gods a kind of food which excited nothing
but disgust and horror.” In this suggestion, Réville indicates his
conviction that the primal idea of an altar was a table of blood-bought
communion. “Human sacrifices” however, he goes on to say, “prevailed
in many places when cannibalism had completely disappeared from the
habits and tastes of the population. Thus the Semites of Western Asia,
and the Çivaïte Hindus, the Celts, and some of the populations of
Greece and Italy, long after they had renounced cannibalism, still
continued to sacrifice human beings to their deities.” And he might
have added, that some savage peoples continued cannibalism when the
religious idea of its beginning had been almost swept away entirely
by the brutalism of its inhuman nature and tendencies. Referring to
the date of the conquest of Mexico, he says: “Cannibalism, in ordinary
life, was no longer practised. The city of Mexico underwent all the
horrors of famine during the siege conducted by Fernando Cortes. When
the Spaniards finally entered the city, they found the streets strewn
with corpses, which is a sufficient proof that human flesh was not
eaten even in dire extremities. And, nevertheless, the Aztecs not only
pushed human sacrifices to a frantic extreme, but they were _ritual
cannibals_, that is to say, there were certain occasions on which they
ate the flesh of the human victims they had immolated.”[389]

And as it was in India and in America and in the Islands of the Sea; so
it seems to have been wherever the primitive idea of cannibalism as a
prevalent custom has been intelligently sought out.[390]


As the primitive and more natural method of commingling bloods,
in the blood-covenant, by sucking each other’s veins, or by an
inter-transference of blood from the mutually opened veins, was in
many regions superseded by the symbolic laving, or sprinkling, or
anointing, with blood; and as the blood of the lower animals was often
substituted, vicariously, for human blood;--so the blood and wine which
were commingled for mutual drinking in the covenant-rite, or which
were together poured out in libation, when the covenant was between
man and the Deity, came, it would appear, to be represented, in many
cases, by the wine alone. First, we find men pledging each other in a
sacred covenant, in the inter-drinking of each other’s blood mingled
with wine. They called their covenant-draught, “assiratum,” or “vinum
assiratum”; “wine, covenant-filled.” By and by, apparently, they came
to count simple wine--“the blood of grapes”[391]--as the representative
of blood and wine, in many forms of covenanting.

This mutual drinking, as a covenant-pledge, has been continued as an
element in the marriage ceremony, the world over, down to the present
time. It would even seem that the gradual changes in the methods of
this symbolic rite could be tracked, through its various forms in this
ceremony, in different portions of the world. Among the wide-spreading
’Anazeh Bed´ween, the pouring out of a blood libation is still the mode
of completing the marriage-covenant. “When the marriage day is fixed,”
says Burckhardt,[392] “the bridegroom comes with a lamb in his arms
to the tent of the father of his bride, and then, before witnesses,
he cuts its throat. As soon as the blood falls upon the earth, the
marriage ceremony is regarded as complete.” Among the Bed´ween of
Sinai, as Palmer tells us,[393] the bride is sprinkled with the blood
of the lamb, before she is surrendered to the bridegroom. Lane’s
mention of the prominence of outpoured blood at the weddings of the
Copts in Cairo, has already been cited.[394] Among the Arabs, since
the days of Muhammad, wine has been generally abjured, and coffee now
commonly takes its place as a drink, in all ordinary conferences for

In Borneo, among the Dayaks, the bride and the bridegroom sit side
by side, facing the rising sun. Their parents then besprinkle them
with the blood of some animal, and also with water. “Each being next
presented with a cup of arrack, they mutually pour half into each
other's cup, take a draught, and exchange vessels.”[395] In Burmah,
among the Karens, water is poured upon the bride as she enters the
bridegroom’s house. When she is received by the bridegroom, “each one
then gives the other to drink, and each says to the other, ‘Be faithful
to thy covenant.’ This is the proper marriage ceremony, and the parties
are now married.”[396]

The blood of an ox, or a cow, is caused to flow at the door of
the bride’s house, as a part of the marriage ceremony, in Namaqua
Land.[397] A similar custom prevails among the Kafirs of Natal; and an
observer has said of this blood-flowing, in the covenanting rite: “This
appears to be the fixing point of the ceremony”; this is “the real
matrimonial tie.”[398]

Again it is the sharing from the same dish in drinking, as well as in
eating, that the bride and the bridegroom covenant in marriage, in the
Feejee Islands.[399] The liquor that is made the common draught, as a
substitute for the primitive blood-potion, is commonly the spirituous
drink of the region; whether that drink be wine, or arrack, or whiskey,
or beer. The symbolism is the same in every case.

In the Sanskrit, the word _asrij_ signifies both “blood,” and
“saffron.”[400] In the Hindoo wedding ceremony, in Malabar, “a dish
of a liquid like blood, made of saffron and lime,” is held over the
heads of the bride and groom. When the ceremony is concluded, the
newly married couple sprinkle the spectators with this blood-like
mixture;[401] which seems, indeed, not only here but in many other
cases, in India, to have become a substitute for the covenanting blood.
Reference has already been made to its use in connection with the
covenant of the nose-ring; and the saffron colored cord of the wedding
necklace, among the Brahmans, has also been mentioned.[402]

A still more remarkable illustration of this saffron mixture in lieu of
blood, in formal covenanting, in India, is found in its use in the rite
of “adoption.” In India, as elsewhere throughout the East, the desire
of every parent to have a son is very strong. A son is longed for, to
inherit the parental name and possessions, to perform the funeral rites
and the annual ceremonies in honor of his parents; and, indeed, “it is
said in the Dattaka-Mimansa, ‘Heaven awaits not one who is destitute
of a son.’” When, therefore, parents have not a son of their own, they
often formally adopt one; and, in this ceremony, saffron-water seems to
take the place of blood, in the sacred and indissoluble covenant of
transfer.[403] So prominent indeed is this element of the saffron-water
drinking--as the substitute for blood-drinking--in the covenant of
adoption, that the adopted children of parents are commonly spoken of
as their “water-of-saffron children.” “Is it good to adopt the child,
and give it saffron-water?” is a question that “occurs eight times
in the book of fate called Sagā-thevan-sāsteram.” Formal sacrifices
precede the ceremony of adoption, and mutual feasting follows it. The
natural mother of the child, in his transfer to his new parents by
adoption, hands with him a dish of consecrated saffron-water; and both
the child and the blood-symbol are received by the adopting father,
with his declaration that the son is now to enter into all that belongs
to that father. “Then he and his wife, pouring a little saffron water
into the hollow of their hands, and dropping a little into that of the
adoptive child, pronounce aloud before the assembly: ‘We have acquired
this child to our stem, and we incorporate him into it.’ Upon which
they drink the saffron-water, and rising up, make a profound obeisance
to the assembly; to which the officiating Brahmans reply by the word,

It seems to me in every way probable, that in primitive times the blood
of the child adopted, and of the parents adopting him, was partaken
of by the three parties (as now throughout the East, in the case of
the blood-covenanting of friends), in order that the child and his new
parents might be literally of one blood. But, with the prejudice which
grew up against blood-drinking, in India, the saffron-water came to be
used as a substitute for blood; even as the blood of the grape came to
be used instead of human blood, in many other portions of the world.

In China, an important rite in the marriage ceremony is the drinking
of “the wedding wine,” from “two singularly shaped goblets, sometimes
connected together by a red silk, or red cotton, cord, several feet
long.” After their worship of their ancestral tablets, the bride and
the bridegroom stand face to face. “One of the female assistants takes
the two goblets ... from the table, and having partially filled them
with a mixture of wine and honey, she pours some of their contents from
one [goblet] into the other, back and forth several times. She then
holds one to the mouth of the groom, and the other to the mouth of the
bride; who continue to face each other, and who then sip a little of
the wine. She then changes the goblets, and the bride sips out of the
one just used by the groom, and the groom sips out of the one just used
by the bride, the goblets oftentimes remaining tied together [by the
red cord]. Sometimes she uses one goblet [interchanging its use between
the two parties] in giving the wine.”[405] The Rev. Chester Holcombe,
who has been a missionary in China for a dozen years or more, writes me
explicitly: “I have been told that in ancient times blood was actually
used instead of the wine now used as a substitute,” in this wedding-cup
of covenanting.

Again, Professor Douglas says,[406] that for a thousand years or so,
it has been claimed that, at the birth of each two persons who are to
be married, the red cord invisibly binds their feet together; which is
only another way of saying that their lives are divinely inter-linked,
as by the covenant of blood.

In Central America, among the Chibchas, it was a primitive custom
for the bridegroom to present himself by night, after preliminary
bargainings, at the door of his intended father-in-law’s home, and
there let his presence be known. Then the bride would come out to
him, bringing a large gourd of _chica_, a fermented drink made from
the juice of Indian corn; “and coming close to him, she first tasted
it herself, and then gave it to him. He drank as much as he could;
and thus the marriage was concluded.”[407] Among the Bheels of India,
the drinking of the covenant is between the representatives of the
bridegroom, and the parents of the bride, at the time of the betrothal;
but this is quite consistent with the fact that the bride herself is
not supposed to have a primary part in the covenant.[408] It is much
the same also among the Laplanders.[409]

Among the Georgians and Circassians,[410] and also among the
Russians,[411] the officiating priest, at a marriage ceremony,
drinks from a glass of wine, and then the bride and the groom drink
three times, each, from the same glass. The Galatians wedded, with
a _poculum conjugii_, “a wedding cup.”[412] In Greece, the marriage
ceremony concludes by the bride and the groom “drinking wine out of one
cup.”[413] In Switzerland, formerly, the clergymen “took two glasses of
wine, mixed their contents, and gave one glass to the bride, and the
other to the bridegroom.”[414] Among European Jews in olden time, the
officiating rabbi, having blessed a glass of wine, tasted it himself,
and then gave it first to the one and then to the other of the parties
covenanting in marriage.[415]

This custom of covenanting in the wine-cup, at a wedding, is said to
have come into England from the ancient Goths.[416] Its symbolical
significance and its exceptional importance, seems to have been
generally recognized. Ben Jonson calls the wedding-wine a “knitting
cup”[417]--an inter-binding cup. And a later poet asks, forcefully:

   “What priest can join two lovers’ hands,
    But wine must seal the marriage bands?”[418]

In Ireland, as in Lapland and in India, it was at the betrothal,
instead of at the wedding, that the covenanting-cup--or the “agreement
bottle” as it was called--was shared; and not unnaturally strong
_usquebaugh_, or “water of life,” was there substituted for wine--as
the representative of life-blood.[419]

In Scotland, as in Arabia and in Borneo, the use of blood in
conjunction with the use of a wedding-cup has continued down to recent
times. The “agreement bottle,” or “the bottling,” as it was sometimes
called, preceded the wedding ceremony proper. At the wedding, the
blood of a cock was shed at the covenanting feast. A reference to this
is found in “The Wowing [the Wooing or the Vowing?] of Jok and Jynny,”
among the most ancient remains of Scottish minstrelsy:

   “Jok tuk Jynny be the hand,
      And cryd ane feist, and slew ane cok,
    And maid a brydell up alland;
      Now haif I gottin your Jynny, quoth Jok.”[420]

Among the ancient Romans, as also among the Greeks, the outpouring
of sacrificial blood, and the mutual drinking of wine, were closely
linked, in the marriage ceremony. When the substitute victim was ready
for slaying, “the soothsayer drank wine out of an earthen, or wooden,
chalice, called in Latin, _simpulum_, or _simpuvium_. It was in fashion
much like our ewers, when we pour water into the basin. This chalice
was afterward carried about to all the people, that they also might
_libare_, that is, lightly taste thereof; which rite hath been called
_libation_.” The remainder of the wine from the chalice was poured
on to the victim, which was then slain; its blood being carefully
preserved. And these ceremonies preceded the marriage feast.[421] The
wedding wine-drinking is now, however, all that remains of them.

Indeed, it would seem that the common custom of “drinking healths,”
or of persons “pledging” each other in a glass of wine, is but a
degenerate modification, or a latest vestige, of the primitive rite
of covenanting in a sacred friendship, by means of commingled bloods
shared in a wine-cup. Certainly this custom prevailed among the old
Norsemen, and among the ancient Romans and Greeks. That it originally
included an idea of a possible covenant with Deity, and of a spiritual
fellowship, is indicated in the fact that “the old Northmen drank the
‘minni’ [the loving friendship] of Thor, Odin, and Freya; and of kings,
likewise, at their funerals.” So again there were “such formulas as
‘God’s minnie!’ [and] ‘A bowl to God in heaven!’”[422]

The earlier method of this ceremony of pledging each other in wine,
was by all the participants drinking, in turn, out of a common bowl;
as Catiline and his fellow-conspirators drank their blood and wine
in mutual covenant; and as the Romans drank at a wedding service.
In the Norseland, to-day, this custom is continued by the use of a
drinking-bowl, marked by pegs for the individual potation; each man as
he receives it, on its round, being expected to “drink his peg.” And
even among the English and the Americans, as well as among the Germans,
the touching of two glasses together, in this health-pledging, is a
common custom; as if in symbolism of a community in the contents of the
two cups. As often, then, as we drink each other’s healths, or as we
respond to any call for a common toast-drinking, we do show a vestige
of the primeval and the ever sacred mutual covenanting in blood.


And now that we have before us this extended array of related facts,
concerning the sacred uses and the popular estimates of blood, in all
the ages, it will be well for us to consider what we have learned, in
the line of blood-rights and of blood-customs, and in the direction
of their religious involvings. Especially is it important for us to
see, where and how all this bears on the primitive and the still
extant ceremony of covenanting by blood, with which we started in this

From the beginning, and everywhere, blood seems to have been looked
upon as preeminently the representative of life; as, indeed, in a
peculiar sense, life itself. The transference of blood from one
organism to another, has been counted the transference of life,
with all that life includes. The inter-commingling of blood by
its inter-transference, has been understood as equivalent to an
inter-commingling of natures. Two natures thus inter-commingled,
by the inter-commingling of blood, have been considered as forming,
thenceforward, one blood, one life, one nature, one soul--in two
organisms. The inter-commingling of natures, by the inter-commingling
of blood, has been deemed possible between man and a lower organism;
and between man and a higher organism,--even between man and Deity,
actually or by symbol;--as well as between man and his immediate fellow.

The mode of inter-transference of blood, with all that this carries,
has been deemed practicable, alike by way of the lips, and by way of
the opened and inter-flowing veins. It has been also represented, by
blood-bathing, by blood-anointing, and by blood-sprinkling; or, again,
by the inter-drinking of wine--which was formerly commingled with blood
itself in the drinking. And the yielding of one’s life by the yielding
of one’s blood has often been represented by the yielding of the blood
of a chosen and a suitable substitute. Similarly the blood, or the
nature, of divinities, has been represented, vicariously, in divine
covenanting, by the blood of a devoted and an accepted substitute.
Inter-communion between the parties in a blood-covenant, has been a
recognized privilege, in conjunction with any and every observance of
the rite of blood-covenanting. And the body of the divinely accepted
offering, the blood of which is a means of divine-human inter-union,
has been counted a very part of the divinity; and to partake of that
body as food has been deemed equivalent to being nourished by the very
divinity himself.

Blood, as life, has been looked upon as belonging, in the highest
sense, to the Author of all life. The taking of life has been seen to
be the prerogative of its Author; and only he who is duly empowered,
for a season and for a reason, by that Author, for blood-taking in any
case, has been supposed to have the right to the temporary exercise of
that prerogative. Even then, the blood, as the life, must be employed
under the immediate direction and oversight of its Author. The heart
of any living organism, as the blood-source and the blood-fountain,
has been recognized as the representative of its owner’s highest
personality; and as the diffuser of the issues of his life and nature.

A covenant of blood, a covenant made by the inter-commingling of
blood, has been recognized as the closest, the holiest, and the most
indissoluble, compact conceivable. Such a covenant clearly involves
an absolute surrender of one’s separate self, and an irrevocable
merging of one’s individual nature into the dual, or the multiplied,
personality included in the compact. Man’s highest and noblest
outreachings of soul have, therefore, been for such a union with the
divine nature, as is typified in this human covenant of blood.

How it came to pass, that men everywhere were so generally agreed on
the main symbols of their religious yearnings and their religious
hopes, in this realm of their aspirations, is a question which
obviously admits of two possible answers. A common revelation from God,
may have been given to primitive man; and all these varying yet related
indications of religious strivings and aim, may be but the perverted
remains of the lessons of that misused, or slighted, revelation. On
the other hand, God may originally have implanted the germs of a
common religious thought in the mind of man, and then have adapted
his successive revelations to the outworking of those germs. Which
ever view of the probable origin of these common symbolisms, all the
world over, be adopted by any Christian student, the importance of the
symbolisms themselves, in their relation to the truths of revelation,
is manifestly the same.

On this point, Kurtz has said, forcefully: “A comparison of the
religious symbols of the Old Testament with those of ancient
heathendom, shows that the ground and the starting point of those forms
of religion which found their appropriate expressions in symbols, was
the same in all cases; while the history of civilization proves that
on this point, priority cannot be claimed by the Israelites. But when
instituting such an inquiry, we shall also find that the symbols
which were transferred from the religions of nature to that of the
spirit, first passed through the fire of divine purification, from
which they issued as the distinctive theology of the Jews; the dross
of a pantheistic deification of nature having been consumed.”[423]
And as to even the grosser errors, and the more pitiable perversions
of the right, in the use of these world-wide religious symbolisms,
Kurtz says, again: “Every error, however dangerous, is based on some
truth misunderstood, and ... every aberration, however grievous, has
started from a desire after real good, which had not attained its goal,
because the latter was sought neither in the right way, nor by right
means.”[424] To recognize these truths concerning the outside religions
of the world, gives us an added fitness for the comparison of the
symbolisms we have just been considering, with the teachings of the
sacred pages of revelation, on the specific truths involved.

Proofs of the existence of this rite of blood-covenanting, have been
found among primitive peoples of all quarters of the globe; and its
antiquity is carried back to a date long prior to the days of Abraham.
All this, outside of any indications of the rite in the text of Bible
itself. And now we are in a position to turn intelligently to that text
for fuller light on the subject.


[190] _Egypt’s Place_, V. 188.

[191] This is illustrated by Ebers, in his romance of “Uarda;” where
the surgeon, Nebsecht, finds such difficulty in obtaining a human
heart, in order to its anatomical study. See, also, Birch’s statement,
in _Egypt’s Place_, V., 135, and Pierret’s _Dict. d’Arch. Égypt._,
s. v. “Cœur.”

[192] _Anc. Egypt._, III., 472, note 6.

[193] _Ibid._, III., 466, note 3.

[194] In the Book of the Dead, Chapter xxxvi. tells “How a Person has
his Heart made (or given) to him in the Hades.” And in preparing the
mummy, a scarabæus,--a symbol of the creative or life-giving god--was
put in the place of the heart. (See Rubric, chapter xxx., Book of the
Dead; _Anc. Egypt._, III., 346, 486; also, note in _Uarda_, I., 305 f.).

[195] _Egypt’s Place_, V., 14.

[196] _Ibid._, V., 283.

[197] _Anc. Egypt._, II., 27, note.

[198] Prov. 4 : 23.

[199] _Anc. Egypt._, II., 27, 31; III., 409.

[200] _Ibid._, II., 32, Plate No. 300.

[201] _Ibid._, II., 27 note 1.

[202] Comp. _Ibid._, III., 409, 416 f.

[203] See _Egypt’s Place_, V., 254.

[204] _Rec. of Past_, II., 137-152.

[205] See Lynd’s _Hist. of Dakotas_, p. 73.

[206] See citations from various original sources, in Bancroft’s
_Native Races of Pacific Coast_, II., 306-310, 707-709.

[207] The Nahuas were “skilled ones,” or “experts,” who had emigrated
Northward from the Maya land (Réville’s _Native Religions_, p. 20).

[208] Clavigero’s _Anc. Hist. of Mex._, II., 45-49, cited in Bancroft’s
_Native Races_, II., 307.

[209] The proper centre of the Maya nations lay in Yucatan (Réville’s
_Native Religions of Mexico and Peru_, p. 18).

[210] Gomara, cited in Bancroft’s _Native Races_, II., 310 f.

[211] Herrera, cited in Bancroft’s _Native Races_, II., 706 f.

[212] _Native Religions of Mexico and Peru_ (Hibbert Lectures, 1884),
p. 43 f. See, also, pp. 45, 46, 82, 99.

[213] See Pindar’s _Olympian Odes_, Ode 1, line 146; Sophocles’
_Trachiniæ_, line 766; Virgil’s _Æneid_, Bk. XI., line 81 f.

[214] Homer’s _Odyssey_, Bk. III., lines 11, 12, 461-463; _Iliad_, Bk.
II., lines 427, 428.

[215] Cicero’s _De Divinatione_, Bk. I., chap. 52, § 119.

[216] See Sanchoniathon’s references to blood libations, in Cory’s
_Ancient Fragments_, pp. 7, 11, 16.

[217] See “The Hindu Pantheon,” in Birdwood’s _Indian Arts_, p. 96.

[218] Frere’s _Old Deccan Days_, p. 266.

[219] Williams’s _Middle Kingdom_, I., 194.

[220] Edkins’s _Religion in China_, p. 22.

[221] Williams’s _Mid. King._, I., 76-78.

[222] The inscription was first found, in 1875, in the tomb of Setee
I., the father of Rameses II., the Pharaoh of the oppression. A
translation of it appeared in the _Transactions of the Society of
Biblical Archæology_, Vol. 4, Part I. Again it has been found, in the
tomb of Rameses III. Its earliest and its latest translations were
made by M. Édouard Naville, the eminent Swiss Egyptologist. Meantime,
Brugsch, De Bergmann, Lauth, Lefébure, and others, have aided in its
elucidation (See _Proceed. of Soc. of Bib. Arch._, for March 3, 1885).

Is there not a reference to this legend in the Book of the Dead,
chapter xviii., sixth section?

[223] Mandrakes, or “love-apples,” among the ancient Egyptians, as
also among the Orientals generally, from the days of Jacob (Gen.
30 : 14-17) until to-day, carried the idea of promoting a loving union;
and the Egyptian name for mandrakes--_tetmut_--combined the root-word
_tet_ already referred to as meaning “arm,” or “bracelet,” and
_mut_--with the signification of “attesting,” or “confirming.” Thus the
blood and the mandrake juice would be a true _assiratum_. (See Pierret’s
_Vocabulaire Hiéroglyphique_, p. 723.) “Belief in this plant [the
mandrake] is as old as history.” (Napier’s _Folk-Lore_, p. 90.) See,
also, Lang’s _Custom and Myth_, pp. 143-155.

[224] Mendieta’s _Hist. Eccl. Ind._, 77 ff.; cited in Spencer’s _Des.
Soc._, II., 38; also Brinton’s _Myths of the New World_, p. 258.

[225] See Cory’s _Anc. Frag._, p. 59 f.

[226] _Ibid._, p. 15.

[227] Comp. Fabri’s _Evagatorium_, III., 218.

[228] _Beginnings of History_, p. 52, note.

[229] Bryant’s _Odyssey_, Bks. x. and xi.

[230] See Sayce’s _Anc. Emp. of East_, p. 146.

[231] Among the ancient Peruvians, there was said to be a class of
devil-worshipers, known as _canchus_, or _rumapmicuc_, the members of
which sucked the blood from sleeping youth, to their own nourishing and
to the speedy dying away of the persons thus depleted. (See Arriaga’s
_Extirpacion de la Idolatria del Piru_, p. 21 f.; cited in Spencer’s
_Des. Soc._, II., 48.). See, also, Ralston’s _Russian Folk Tales_, pp.

[232] Farrer’s _Primitive Manners and Customs_, p. 23 f.

[233] The primitive belief seems to have had a sound basis in
scientific fact.

[234] _Transfusion of Human Blood_, pp. 2-4.

[235] _Ibid._, p. 5.

[236] See pages 85-88, _supra_.

[237] _Transf. of Blood_, p. 5.

[238] 2 Kings 5 : 1-14.

[239] _Hist. Nat._ xxvi., 5.

[240] See _Notes and Queries_, for Feb. 28, 1857; with citation from
Soane’s _New Curiosities of Literature_, I., 72.

[241] _Ibid._; also Mills’s _History of Chivalry_, chap. IV., note.

[242] See citation from Soane, in _Notes and Queries_, supra.

[243] Citation from “Saturday Review,” for Feb. 14, 1857, in _Notes and
Queries_, supra.

[244] See Grimm’s _Household Tales_, I., 23-30.

[245] Cox and Jones’s _Popular Romances of the Middle Ages_, pp. 85-87.

[246] Cox and Jones’s _Romances of the Middle Ages_, p. 292.

[247] Lettsom’s _Nibel. Lied_, p. 158.

[248] _Kalila wa-Dimna_, p. 315-319.

[249] Fielde’s _Pagoda Shadows_, p. 88.

[250] _Croniques de France_, 1516, feuillet c c i j, cited from Soane,
in _Notes and Queries_, supra.

[251] Roussel’s _Trans. of Blood_, p. 6. A different version of this
story is given in Bruys’s _Histoire des Papes_, IV., 278; but the
other version is supported by two independent sources, in _Infessuræ
Diarium_, and _Burchardi Diarium_. See _Notes and Queries_, 5th Series,
III., 496, and IV., 38; also Hare’s _Walks in Rome_, p. 590.

[252] _Dict. Méd. et Chirurg. Prat._, Art. “Transfusion.”

[253] Shooter’s _Kafirs of Natal_, p. 117.

[254] _Ibid._, p. 216.

[255] Bonwick’s _Daily Life and Origin of Tasmanians_, p. 89; cited in
Spencer’s _Des. Soc._, III., 43.

[256] _Hist._, IV., 64.

[257] _Jesuits in No. Am. in 17th Cent._, p. 389 f.

[258] Ragueneau; cited by Parkman.

[259] _Jesuits in No. Am._, Introduction, p. xxxix.

[260] _Ibid._, p. 250.

[261] _City of the Saints_, p. 117. See also Appendix.

[262] _Reisen in Brit. Guian._, II., 430; cited in Spencer’s _Des.
Soc._, VI., 36.

[263] _Trans. of Ethn. Soc._ new series, III., 240, cited in Spencer’s
_Des. Soc._, III., 36.

[264] Beecham’s _Ashantee and the Gold Coast_, p. 211; cited in
Spencer’s _Des. Soc._, IV., 33.

[265] See Tylor’s _Primitive Culture_, I., 459; also Bock’s _Head
Hunters of Borneo_, passim.

[266] Mrs. Finn’s “Fellaheen of Palestine” in _Surv. of West. Pal._
“Special Papers,” p. 360.

[267] This is Mrs. Finn’s rendering of it; but it should be “I
_sacrificed_ him with my teeth.” The Arabic word is obviously _dhabaha_
(ذبح), identical with the Hebrew _zabhakh_ (זָבַח) “to sacrifice.”

[268] Lang’s _Custom and Myth_, p. 95 f.; also Grimm’s _Household
Tales_, p. lxviii.

[269] Cox and Jones’s _Pop. Rom. of Mid. Ages_, p. 310.

[270] Lettsom’s _Nibel. Lied_, p. 373.

[271] Thompson’s _Alcedo’s Geog. and Hist. Dict. of America_, I., 408;
cited in Spencer’s _Des. Soc._, VI., 19.

[272] _Travels in Nubia_, p. 356.

[273] _Trans. of Ethn. Soc._ II., 246, and Angas’s _Austr. and New
Zeal._ I., 73, 227, 462, cited in Spencer’s _Des. Soc._, III., 26.

[274] See _Dict. Méd. et Chir. Prat._ Art. “Transfusion”; also
Roussel’s _Transf. of Blood_, pp. 78-88.

[275] _Transf. of Blood_, p. 19.

[276] See page 20, _supra_.

[277] _Thro. Dark Cont._, I., 123-131.

[278] Thompson’s _Thro. Masâi Land_, p. 430.

[279] _Ibid._, p. 452.

[280] Shooter’s _Kafirs of Natal_, notes, p. 399.

[281] H. A. L., in _Sport in Many Lands_.

[282] See _Trans. Royal Asiat. Soc._, I., 69; cited in Spencer’s _Des.
Soc._, V., 26 f.

[283] Edwards’s _Hist. of Brit. West Ind._, I., 47; cited in Spencer’s
_Des. Soc._, VI., 36.

[284] Shooter’s _Kafirs of Natal_, p. 216.

[285] See Tylor’s _Prim. Cult._, II., 382, referring to Bastian’s

[286] See Anderson’s _Norse Mythol._, p. 247.

[287] _Ibid._, p. 380; Lettsom’s _Nibel. Lied_, Preface, p. ix.; Cox
and Jones’s _Pop. Rom. of Mid. Ages_, p. 254 f.

[288] _Pop. Rom. of Mid. Ages_, p. 260; also _Nib. Lied_, p. x.

[289] See Bancroft’s _Native Races_, III., 150; Brinton’s _Myths of New
World_, p. 274 f.; Jackson’s _Alaska_, p. 103 f.

[290] Charles F. Oldham’s “Native Faiths in the Himalayah,” in _The
Contemporary Review_ for April, 1885.

[291] Napier’s _Folk-Lore of the West of Scotland_, p. 111 f.

[292] Farrer’s _Prim. Man. and Cust._, p. 276 f.

[293] Lettsom’s _Nibel. Lied_, p. 183; also Cox and Jones’s _Pop. Rom.
of Mid. Ages_, p. 47 f.

[294] Benson’s _Remarkable Trials_, p. 94, note.

[295] Cobbett’s _State Trials_, XI., 1371; cited in _Anecdotes of Omens
and Superstitions_, p. 47 f.

[296] _Superstition and Force_, pp. 315-323.

[297] Cited from Gamal. ben Pedahzur’s _Book of Jewish Ceremonies_,
p. 11.

[298] _Religion in China_, pp. 23, 32.

[299] _The Religions of China_, p. 55.

[300] Dr. Legge here seems to use the word “sacrifice” in the
light of a single meaning which attaches to it. There is surely
no incompatibility in the terms “banquet” and “sacrifice,” as we
find their two-fold idea in the banquet-sacrifice of the Mosaic
peace-offering (see Lev. 7 : 11-15).

[301] _The Relig. of China_, Notes to Lect. I., p. 66.

[302] _The Mid. King._, II., 194. See also Martin’s _The Chinese_,
p. 258.

[303] _The Relig. of China_, p. 53 f. Gray thinks differently (_China_,
I., 87.)

[304] _The Mid. King._, I., 76-78; _The Chinese_, p. 99; _Relig.
in China_, p. 21; _The Relig. of China_, p. 25; _Confucianism and
Taouism_, p. 87.

[305] _Relig. in China_, p. 22. The same is true in sacrifices to
Confucius (Gray’s _China_, I., 87).

[306] _Chow le_, cited by Douglas in _Confuc. and Taou._, p. 82 f.

[307] Edkins’s _Relig. in China_, p. 27.

[308] See page 156 f., _infra_.

[309] “The flesh of the horse is eaten both by the Chinese and the
Mongolians.” (Gray’s _China_, II., 174.)

[310] See C. F. Gordon Cumming’s article “A Visit to the Temple of
Heaven at Peking,” in _Lond. Quart. Rev._, for July, 1885.

[311] See Exod. 12 : 7-10.

[312] Gray’s _China_, II., 271 f.

[313] Gray’s _China_, I., 102.

[314] See Rev. 7 : 3; 9 : 4; 13 : 16; 14 : 1; 20 : 4; 22 : 4.

[315] _The Relig. of China_, p. 289.

[316] See The Rite in Burmah, in Appendix.

[317] See Dubois’s _Des. Man. and Cust. of People of India_, Part III.,
chap. 7; also Monier Williams’s _Hinduism_, p. 36 f.

[318] Monier Williams’s _Hinduism_, p. 35 f.

[319] _Ibid._, p. 37 f.

[320] Dubois’s _Des. of Man. and Cust. in India_, Part III., chap. vii.

[321] Heber’s _Travels in India_, II., 13 f.

[322] _Ibid._, II., 285.

[323] Dubois’s _Des. of Man. and Cust. of India_, Part II., chap. xxxi.

[324] Dubois’s _Des. of Man. and Cust. of India_, Part II., chap. xi.

[325] “The Hindu Pantheon,” in Birdwood’s _Indian Arts_, p. 76 f.

[326] _Ibid._, p. 42.

[327] 1 Cor. 11 : 29.

[328] See Roberts’s _Oriental Illus. of Scriptures_, pp. 484-489.

[329] See page 77, _supra_.

[330] See page 53, _supra_.

[331] See also page 194 ff., _infra_.

[332] See Sayce’s paper, in _Trans. Soc. Bib. Arch._, Vol. I., Part 1,
pp. 25-31.

[333] See page 13 f., _supra_.

[334] “Whether he has overcome his enemies or the wild beasts, he pours
out a libation from the sacred cup,” says Layard (_Nineveh and its
Remains_, Vol. II., chap. 7) concerning the old-time King of Nineveh.

[335] See H. Fox Talbot’s paper, in _Trans. Soc. Bib. Arch._, Vol. IV.,
Part 1, p. 58 f.

[336] Mal. 1 : 6, 7. See also Isa. 65 : 11.

[337] 2 Kings 19 : 37; Ezra 4 : 2; Isa. 37 : 38. See also
1 Cor. 10 : 21.

[338] _Rec. of Past_, III., 122 f.

[339] Sayce’s _Anc. Emp. of East_, p. 201; also, W. Robertson Smith’s
_Old Test. in Jew. Ch._, notes on Lect. xii.

[340] _Rec. of Past_, III., 135.

[341] Sayce’s _Anc. Emp. of East_, p. 266.

[342] Schaff-Herzog’s _Encyc. of Relig. Knowl._, art. “Parseeism.”

[343] _Anc. Emp. of East_, p. 266.

[344] See Wilkinson’s _Anc. Egypt._, III., 30, 400.

[345] Kenrick’s _Anc. Egypt._, I., 369 ff.

[346] Ebers’s _Ægypt. u. d. Büch. Mose’s_, p. 245 f.

[347] Wilkinson’s _Anc. Egypt._, III., 402.

[348] Cited from Castor, in Plutarch, in Wilkinson’s _Anc. Egypt._,
III., 407. See also Ebers’s _Ægypt. u. d. Büch. Mose’s_, p. 246.

[349] _Hist._, II., 59.

[350] Wilkinson’s _Anc. Egypt._, III., 409. See also page 102, _supra_.

[351] Wilkinson’s _Anc. Egypt._, III., 109; 410; Kenrick’s _Anc.
Egypt._, I., 373. See Herodotus, _Hist._, II., 47.

[352] _Hist._, II., 61.

[353] See references to this custom at page 85 ff., _supra_.

[354] See Wilkinson’s _Anc. Egypt._, III., 404-406.

[355] Renouf’s _The Relig. of Anc. Egypt_, pp. 138-147.

[356] See _Rec. of Past_, X., 79-134.

[357] See page 102 f., _supra_.

[358] “Man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that
proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.” (Deut. 8 : 3.
See, also, Matt. 4 : 4; Job 23 : 12; John 4 : 34.)

[359] See John 8 : 31, 32; 16 : 13; 17 : 19.

[360] See Réville’s _Native Relig. of Mex. and Peru_, pp. 63, 163;
Cory’s _Anc. Frag._, p. 5; Dubois’s _Des. Man. and Cust. of India_,
Part II., chap. 31; Tylor’s _Prim. Cult._, II., 278 ff.; Dorman’s
_Orig. of Prim. Supers._, p. 150; Andersson’s _Lake Ngami_, p. 220.

[361] Bancroft’s _Native Races_, V., 547 f.

[362] Monier Williams’s _Hinduism_, p. 60.

[363] Bancroft’s _Native Races_, V., 548.

[364] Bancroft’s _Native Races_, II., 710.

[365] Mendieta’s _Hist. Eccles. Ind._, p. 108 f.; cited in Spencer’s
_Des. Soc._, II., 20.

[366] Acosta’s _Hist. Nat. Mor. Ind._, Bk. V., chap. 27, cited in
Spencer’s _Des. Soc._, II., 26.

[367] Herrera’s _Gen. Hist. of America_, II., 379; cited in Dorman’s
_Orig. of Prim. Supers._, p. 152 f.

[368] Acosta’s _Hist. Nat. Mor. Ind._, Bk. V., chap. 23; cited in
Prescott’s _Conquest of Peru_, I., 108, note.

[369] Herrera’s _Gen. Hist._, III., 207 f.; cited in Spencer’s _Des.
Soc._, II., 20.

[370] Spencer’s _Des. Soc._, II., 20. See also Southey’s _Hist. of
Brazil_, II., 370.

[371] _Contra Apionem_, II., 7.

[372] See pages 105 f., 132, _supra_.

[373] See Clark’s _Indian Sign Language_, s. v., “Feast.”

[374] “Should he fail [to eat his portion], the host would be outraged,
the community shocked, and the spirits roused to vengeance. Disaster
would befall the nation--death, perhaps, the individual.” “A feaster
unable to do his full part, might, if he could, hire another to aid
him; otherwise he must remain in his place till the work was done.”
(Parkman’s _Jesuits in No. Am._, p. xxxviii.)

[375] “At some feasts guests are permitted to take home some small
portions for their children as sacred food, especially good for them
because it came from a feast.” (Clark’s _Ind. Sign Lang._, p. 168.)

[376] Edkins’s _Relig. in China_, p. 22, note.

[377] See pages 159, 168, 172, _supra_.

[378] Réville’s _Native Relig. of Mex. and Peru_, p. 183.

[379] _Ibid._, p. 76.

[380] See page 176 f., _supra_.

[381] _Des. of Man. and Cust. of India_, Part III., chap. 7.

[382] See William and Calvert’s _Fiji and the Fijians_, pp. 35 f.,
161-166, 181 f.

[383] Cited in Parkman’s _Jesuits in No. Am._, p. 228, note.

[384] _Ibid._, p. xxxix.

[385] _Ibid._, p. xl., note.

[386] _Origin of Prim. Supers._, p. 151 f.

[387] _Origin of Prim. Supers._, p. 150.

[388] _Native Relig. of Mex. and Peru_, p. 75 f.

[389] _Native Relig. of Mex. and Peru_, p. 76.

[390] See references to cannibalism as a religious rite among the
Khonds of Orissa, the people of Sumatra, etc., in Adams’s _Curiosities
of Superstition_.

[391] Gen. 49 : 11; Deut. 32 : 14; Ecclesiasticus 39 : 26; 50 : 15;
1 Macc. 6 : 34.

[392] In _Beduinen und Wahaby_, p. 86 f.

[393] _Desert of the Exodus_, I., 90.

[394] See page 72, _supra_.

[395] Wood’s _Wedding Day_, p. 144.

[396] Mason, in _Journ. of Asiat. Soc. of Bengal_, Vol. XXXV., Part
II., p. 17; cited in Spencer’s _Des. Soc._, V., 9.

[397] Andersson’s _Lake Ngami_, p. 220 f.

[398] Shooter’s _Kafirs of Natal_, p. 77.

[399] Williams and Calvert’s _Fiji and the Fijians_, p. 134.

[400] See Monier Williams’s _Sanskrit Dictionary_, s. v.

[401] See Pike’s _Sub-Tropical Rambles_, p. 198.

[402] See pages 77, 165, _supra_.

[403] This Oriental custom gives an added meaning to the suggestion,
that Christ was sent to bring us to his Father, “that we might receive
the adoption of sons” (Gal. 4 : 5).

[404] The citations above made are from Roberts’s _Oriental
Illustrations of the Scriptures_, p. 574, and from Dubois’s _Des. of
Man. and Cust. of India_, Part II., chap. 22; the latter being from the
Directory or Ritual of the Purohitas.

[405] Doolittle’s _Social Life of the Chinese_, I., 85-87.

[406] _China_, p. 72 f.

[407] Piedrahita’s _Hist. New Granada_, Bk. I., chap. 6; cited in
Spencer’s _Des. Soc._, II., 34.

[408] Malcolm, in _Trans. Royal Asiat. Soc._, I., 83; cited in
Spencer’s _Des. Soc._, V., 8.

[409] Wood’s _Wedding Day_, p. 142.

[410] _Ibid._, p. 66 f.

[411] _Ibid._, p. 124 f.

[412] Rous and Bogan’s _Archæologiæ Atticæ_, p. 167.

[413] Wood’s _Wedding Day_, pp. 36, 39.

[414] Wood’s _Wedding Day_, p. 151.

[415] _Ibid._, pp. 22, 23.

[416] _Ibid._, p. 247.

[417] _Ibid._, p. 247.

[418] _Ibid._, p. 248.

[419] _Ibid._, p. 173.

[420] Ross’s _The Book of Scottish Poems_, I., 218.

[421] Godwyn’s _Rom. Historiæ_, p. 66 f.

[422] Tylor’s _Prim. Cult._, I., 85-97.

[423] Kurtz’s _History of the Old Covenant_, I., 235.

[424] _Ibid._, I., 268.






And now, before entering upon an examination of the Bible text, in
the light of these disclosures of primitive and universal customs, it
may be well for me to say, that I purpose no attempt to include or to
explain all the philosophy of sacrifice, and of the involved atonement.
All my thought is, to ascertain what new meaning, if any, is found in
the Bible teachings concerning the uses and the symbolism of blood,
through our better understanding of the prevailing idea, among the
peoples of the ancient world, that blood represents life; that the
giving of blood represents the giving of life; that the receiving of
blood represents the receiving of life; that the inter-commingling
of blood represents the inter-commingling of natures; and that a
divine-human inter-union through blood is the basis of a divine-human
inter-communion, in the sharing of the flesh of the sacrificial
offering as sacred food. Whatever other Bible teachings there are,
beyond these, as to the meanings of sacrifice, or as to the nature of
the atonement, it is not my purpose, in this investigation, to consider.

In the days of Moses, when the Pentateuch is supposed to have been
prepared, there were--as we have already found--certain well-defined
views, the world over, concerning the sacredness of blood, and
concerning the methods, the involvings, and the symbolisms, of the
covenant of blood. This being so, we are not to look to the Bible
record, as it stands, for the original institution of every rite
and ceremony connected with blood-shedding, blood-guarding, and
blood-using; but we may fairly look at every Bible reference to blood,
in the light of the primitive customs known to have prevailed in the
days of the Bible writing.


The earliest implied reference to blood in the Bible text, is the
record of Abel’s sacrifice. “And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain
was a tiller of the ground. And in process of time it came to pass that
Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And
Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat
thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: but
unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect.”[425] An inspired
comment on this incident is: “By faith Abel offered unto God a more
excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he had witness borne to
him that he was righteous, God bearing witness in respect of [or, over]
his gifts: and through it he [Abel] being dead yet speaketh.”[426]

Now, on the face of it, in the light of all that we know of primitive
customs in this matter of the blood-covenant, and apart from any added
teachings in the Bible concerning the nature and meanings of different
sacrifices, this narrative shows Abel, lovingly and trustfully reaching
out toward God with substitute blood, in order to be in covenant
oneness with God; while Cain merely proffers a gift from his earthly
possessions. Abel so trusts God, that he gives _himself_ to him. Cain
defers to God sufficiently to make a _present_ to him. The one shows
unbounded faith; the other shows a measure of affectionate reverence.
It is the same practical difference as that which distinguished
Ruth from Orpah, when the testing time of their love for their
mother-in-law, Naomi, had come to them alike. “And Orpah kissed her
mother-in-law; but Ruth clave unto her.”[427] No wonder that God
counted Abel’s unstinted proffer of himself, in faith, an acceptable
sacrifice, and received it, as in inter-communion on the basis of
inter-union; while Cain’s paltry gift, without any proffer of himself,
won no approval from the Lord.

Then there followed the unhallowed shedding of Abel’s blood by Cain,
and the crying out, as it were, of the spilled life of Abel unto its
Divine Author.[428] “The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me
from the ground,” said the Lord, to the guilty spiller of blood. “And
now cursed art thou from the ground, which hath opened her mouth to
receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand.” Here, as elsewhere, the
blood is preeminently the life; and even when poured out on the earth,
the blood does not lose its vitality. It still has its intelligent
relations to its Author and Guardian;[429] as the world has been
accustomed to count a possibility, down to modern times.[430]

After the destruction of mankind by the deluge, when God would begin
anew, as it were, by the revivifying of the world, through the vestige
of blood--of life--preserved in the ark,[431] he laid new emphasis on
the sacredness of blood, as the representative of that life which
is the essence of God himself. Noah’s first act, on coming out from
the ark, was to proffer himself and all living flesh, in a fresh
blood-covenant with the Lord. “And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord;
and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered
burnt offerings on the altar.”[432] From all that we know of the method
of the burnt-offering, either from the Bible-text or from outside
sources, it has, from the beginning, included the preliminary offering
of the blood--as the life--to Deity, by its outpouring, around, or
upon, the altar, with or without the accompaniment of libations of
wine; or, again, by its sprinkling upon the altar.[433]

It was then, when the spirit of Noah, in this covenant-seeking by
blood, was recognized approvingly by the Lord, that the Lord smelled
the sweet savor of the proffered offering,--“the savor of satisfaction,
or delectation,”[434] to him, was in it,--and he established a
new covenant with Noah, giving commandment anew concerning the
never-failing sacredness of blood: “Every moving thing that liveth
shall be food for you; as [freely as] the green herb, have I given you
all [flesh]. But flesh with the _life_ thereof, which is the _blood_
thereof [flesh with the blood in it], shall ye not eat. And surely
your blood, the blood of your lives, will I require; at the hand of
every beast will I require it: and at the hand of man, even at the
hand of every man’s brother, will I require the life of man. Whoso
sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image
of God made he man.”[435] Here, the blood of even those animals whose
flesh might be eaten by man, is forbidden for food: because it is
life itself, and therefore sacred to the Author of life.[436] And the
blood of man must not be shed by man,--except where man is made God’s
minister of justice,--because man is formed in the image of God, and
only God has a right to take away--directly or by his minister--the
life, from one bearing God’s likeness.

And this injunction, together with this covenant, preceded the
ceremonial law of Moses; and it survived that law, as well. When the
question came up in the apostolic conference at Jerusalem, on the
occasion of the visit of Paul and Barnabas, concerning the duty of
Gentile Christians to the Mosaic ceremonial law, the decision was
explicit, that while nothing which was of that ritual alone should be
imposed as obligatory on the new believers, those essential elements
of religious observance which were prior to Moses, and which were not
done away with in Christ, should be emphasized in all the extending
domain of Christianity. Spirituality in worship, personal purity, and
the holding sacred to God, all blood--or life--as the gift of God,
and as the means of communion with God, must never be ignored in the
realm of Christian duty. “Write unto them, that they abstain from the
pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from what is strangled,
and from blood,”[437] said the Apostle James, in announcing the
decision of this conference; and the circular letter to the Gentile
churches was framed accordingly. Nor does this commandment seem ever to
have been abrogated, in letter or in spirit. However poorly observed
by Christians, it stands to-day as it stood in the days of Paul, and
in the days of Noah, a perpetual obligation, with all its manifold
teachings of the blessed benefits of the covenant of blood.[438]


Again the Lord made a new beginning for the race, in his start with
Abraham, as the father of a chosen and peculiar people in the world.
And again the covenant of blood, or the covenant of strong-friendship
as it is still called in the East, was the prominent feature in this
beginning. The Apostle James says, that “Abraham ... was called
the friend of God.”[439] God himself, speaking through Isaiah,
refers to Abraham, as “Abraham my friend”;[440] and Jehoshaphat, in
his extremity, calling upon God for help, speaks of “Abraham, thy
friend.”[441] And this application of the term “friend” to any human
being, in his relations to God, is absolutely unique in the case of
Abraham, in all the Old Testament record. Abraham, and only Abraham,
was called “the friend of God.”[442] Yet the immediate narrative of
Abraham’s relations to God, makes no specific mention of this unique
term “friend,” as being then applied to Abraham. It is only as we
recognize the primitive rite of blood-friendship in the incidents of
that narrative, that we perceive clearly why and how God’s covenant
with Abraham was preeminently a covenant of friendship.

“I will make[443] my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply
thee exceedingly,” said the Lord to Abraham.[444] And again, “I will
establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee
throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a
God unto thee; and to thy seed after thee.... And as for thee, thou
shalt keep my covenant, thou, and thy seed after thee throughout their
generations.”[445] And then there came the explanation, how Abraham
was to enter into the covenant of blood-friendship with the Lord; so
that he might be called “the friend of God.” “This is my covenant,
which ye shall keep, between me and you, and thy seed after thee;
every male among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall be circumcised
in the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of a covenant
betwixt me and you.”[446] The blood-covenant of friendship shall
be consummated by your giving to me of your personal blood at the
very source of paternity--“under your girdle”;[447] thereby pledging
yourself to me, and pledging, also, to me, those who shall come after
you in the line of natural descent. “And my covenant [this covenant
of blood-friendship] shall be in your flesh for an everlasting

So, “in the selfsame day was Abraham circumcised,” and thenceforward
he bore in his flesh the evidence that he had entered into the
blood-covenant of friendship with the Lord.[449] To this day,
indeed, Abraham is designated in all the East, as distinctively,
“Khaleel-Allah,” “the Friend of God,” or “Ibrâheem el-Khaleel,”
“Abraham the Friend”[450]--the one Friend, of God.

When a Jewish child is circumcised, it is commonly said of him,
that he is caused “to enter into the covenant of Abraham”; and, his
god-father, or sponsor, is called _Baal-bereeth_,[451] “Master of
the covenant.”[452] Moreover, even down to modern times, the rite of
circumcision has included a recognition, however unconscious, of the
primitive blood-friendship rite, by the custom of the ecclesiastical
operator, as God’s representative, receiving into his mouth, and
thereby being made a partaker of, the blood mingled with wine,
according to the method described among the Orientals, in the rite of
blood-friendship, from the earliest days of history.[453]

It is a peculiarity of the primitive compact of blood-friendship,
that he who would enter into it must be ready to make a complete
surrender of himself, in loving trust, to him with whom he covenants.
He must, in fact, so love and trust, as to be willing to merge his
separate individuality, in the dual personality of which he becomes
an integral part. Only he who believes in another unreservedly and
fearlessly, can take such a step intelligently. The record concerning
Abraham stands: “He believed in the Lord; and He counted it to him
for righteousness.”[454] The Hebrew word, _heëmeen_ (הֶאֱמִין)
here translated “believed in,” carries the idea of an unqualified
committal of self to another. It is from the root _aman_ (אָמַן)
with the two-fold idea of “to be faithful” and “to trust.”[455] Its
correspondent in the Arabic, (_amana_, امن) carries the same double
idea, of a confident and an entire committal of self to another, in
trust and in trustworthiness.[456] Lane’s definition[457] of the
substantive from this root is: “The becoming true to the trust,
with respect to which God has confided in one, by a firm believing
of the heart.”[458] Abraham so trusted the Lord, that he was ready
to commit himself to the Lord, as in the rite of blood-friendship.
Therefore the Lord counted Abraham’s spirit of loving and longing
trust, as the equivalent of a spiritual likeness with himself; and
the Lord received Abraham, by his circumcision, into the covenant of
blood-friendship.[459] Or, as the Apostle James states it: “Abraham
believed [in] God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness;
and he was called the friend of God.”[460] Here is the doctrine of
“imputation,” with real life in it; in lieu of a hard commercial
transaction, as some have viewed it.

The recognition of the covenant of blood in the rite of circumcision,
throws light on an obscure passage in the life of Moses, as recorded in
Exodus 4 : 20-26. Moses, himself a child of the covenant, had neglected
the circumcision of his own first-born; and so he had been unfaithful
to the covenant of Abraham. While on his way from the Wilderness of
Sinai to Egypt, with a message from God to Pharaoh, concerning the
un-covenanted first-born of the Egyptians,[461] Moses was met by a
startling providence, and came face to face with death--possibly with
a bloody death of some sort. “The Lord met him, and sought to kill
him,” it is said. It seems to have been perceived, both by Moses and
his wife, that they were being cut off from a farther share in God’s
covenant-plans for the descendants of Abraham, because of their failure
to conform to their obligations in the covenant of Abraham.

“Then Zipporah took a flint, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and
cast it at [made it touch] his [Moses’] feet; and she said, Surely a
bridegroom of blood [one newly bound through blood], art thou to me. So
He [the Lord] let him [Moses] alone [He spared him, as one newly true
to the covenant of Abraham, and newly safe within its bounds]. Then she
[Zipporah] said [again], A bridegroom of blood art thou, because of the
circumcision;” or, as the margin renders it: “A bridegroom of blood
[art thou] in regard of the circumcision.”[462]

The Hebrew word, _khathan_ (חָתָן), here translated “bridegroom,” has,
as its root idea, the binding through severing, the covenanting by
blood;[463] an idea that is in the marriage-rite, as the Orientals
view it,[464] and that is in the rite of circumcision, also. Indeed,
in the Arabic, the corresponding term (_khatan_, ختن), is applied
interchangeably to one who is a relation by the way of one’s
wife, and to one who is circumcised.[465] Hence, the words of Zipporah
would imply that, by this rite of circumcision, she and her child were
brought into blood-covenant relations with the descendants of Abraham,
and her husband also was now saved to that covenant; whereas before
they were in danger of being covenanted with a bloody death. It is
this idea which seems to be in the Targum of Onkelos, where it renders
Zipporah’s first word: “By the blood of this circumcision, a _khathna_
[a blood-won relation] is given to us;” and her second speech: “If
the blood of this circumcision had not been given [to us; then we had
had] a _khathna_ [a blood-won relation] of slaughter [of death].” It
is as though Zipporah had said: “We are now newly covenanted to each
other, and to God, by blood; whereas, but for this, we should have been
covenanted to slaughter [or death] by blood.”


After the formal covenant of blood had been made between Abraham and
Jehovah, there was a specific testing of Abraham’s fidelity to that
covenant, as if in evidence of the fact that it was no empty ceremony
on his part, whereby he pledged his blood,--his very life, in its
successive generations,--to Jehovah, in the rite of circumcision. The
declaration of his “faith,” and the promise of his faithfulness, were
to be justified, in their manifest sincerity, by his explicit “works”
in their direction.

All the world over, men who were in the covenant of blood-friendship
were ready,--or were supposed to be ready,--to give not only their
lives for each other, but even to give, for each other, that which
was dearer to them than life itself. And, all the world over, men who
pledged their devotedness to their gods were ready to surrender to
their gods that which they held as dearest and most precious--even
to the extent of their life, and of that which was dearer than life.
Would Abraham do as much for his Divine Friend, as men would do for
their human friends? Would Abraham surrender to his God all that the
worshipers of other gods were willing to surrender in proof of their
devotedness? These were questions yet to be answered before the world.

“And it came to pass after these things, that God did prove Abraham
[did put him to the test, or the proof, of his friendship], and said
unto him, Abraham; and he said, Here am I. And he said, Take now thy
son, thine only son, whom thou lovest, even Isaac, and get thee unto
the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt-offering upon one
of the mountains which I will tell thee of.”[466] And Abraham rose up
instantly to respond to the call of his Divine Friend.

Just here it is important to consider two or three points at which the
Western mind has commonly failed to recognize the Oriental thought, in
connection with such a transaction as this.

An Oriental father prizes an only son’s life far more than he prizes
his own. He recognizes it, to be sure, as at his own disposal; but
he would rather surrender any other possession than that. For an
Oriental to die without a son, is a terrible thought.[467] His life
is a failure. His future is blank. But with a son to take his place,
an Oriental is, in a sense, ready to die. When therefore an Oriental
has one son, if the choice must be between the cutting short of
the father’s life, or of the son’s, the former would be the lesser
surrender; the latter would be far greater. Preeminently did this
truth have force in the case of Abraham, whose pilgrim-life had
been wholly with reference to the future; and whose earthly-joy and
earthly-hopes centered in Isaac, the son of his old age. For Abraham
to have surrendered his own toil-worn life, now that a son of promise
was born to him, would have been a minor matter, at the call of God.
But for Abraham to surrender that son, and so to become again a
childless, hopeless old man, was a very different matter. Only a faith
that would neither question nor reason, only a love that would neither
fail nor waver, could meet an issue like that. The surrender of an
only son by an Oriental, was not, therefore, as it is often deemed in
the Western mind, a father’s selfish yielding of a lesser substitute
for himself;[468] but it was the giving of the one thing which he had
power to surrender, which was more precious to him than himself. The
difference here is as great as that between the enforced sending, by
an able-bodied citizen, of a “substitute” defender of the sender’s
country in a war-time draft, and the willing sending to the front, by
an aged father, of his loved and only son, at the first signal of his
country’s danger. The one case has in it more than a suggestion of
cowardly shirking; the other shows only a loyal and self-forgetful love
of country.

Again, we are liable to think of the surrender of a life, as the
dooming to death; and of a sacrificial outpouring of blood, as
necessarily an expiatory offering. In the case of the only son sent
into battle by his patriotic father, death may be an incident to the
transaction; but the gift of the son is the gift of his _life_, whether
he shall live or die. And although the war itself be caused by sin,
and be a result, and so a punishment, of sin, the son is sent into
it, not in order that he may bear punishment, but that he may avert
its disastrous consequences, even at the cost of his life--with the
necessity of his death.

This idea of the surrender of an only son, not in expiation of
guilt, but in proof of unselfish and limitless affection, runs down
through the ages, apart from any apparent trace of connection with
the tradition of Abraham and Isaac. It is seen:--in India, in the
story of the sacrifice of Siralen, the only son of Sirutunden and
Vanagata-ananga, as a simple proof of their loving devotedness to
Vishnoo;[469] in Arabia, in the story of the proffered slaying of the
two only children of a king, in order to restore to life by their
blood, his dearly loved friend and servant, who had been turned to
stone;[470] in the Norseland, in the similar story of the king and
his friend and servant “Faithful John;”[471] in Great Britain, in
the story of Amys and Amylion, the one of these friends sacrificing
his two only children for the purpose of curing the other friend of
the leprosy;[472] and so in many another guise.[473] Whatever other
value attaches to these legends, they show most clearly, that the
conception of such a surrender as that to which Abraham was called in
the sacrifice of Isaac, was not a mere outgrowth of the customs of
human sacrifices to malignant divinities, in Phoenicia and Moab and the
adjoining countries, in the days of Abraham and earlier.[474] There was
a sentiment involved, which is everywhere recognized as the noblest and
purest of which humanity is capable.

If, indeed, there were any reluctance to accept this simple explanation
of an obvious view of the test of friendship to which God subjected
Abraham, because of its possible bearing on the recognized symbolism
of the transaction, then it would be sufficient to remember, that one
view of such a transaction is not necessarily its only view. Whatever
other view be taken of the fact and the symbolism of God’s call on
Abraham, to surrender to him his only son, it is obvious that, as a
fact, God did test, or prove, Abraham his friend, by asking of him the
very evidence of his loving and unselfish devotedness to him, which has
been, everywhere and always, reckoned the highest and surest evidence
possible of the truest and holiest friendship. And this may well be
looked at, also, as a symbol of God’s purpose of surrendering _his_
only Son, in proof of his fidelity to his blood-covenant of friendship
with Abraham and Abraham’s true seed forever.

“Greater love [in friendship] hath no man than this, that a man lay
down his life for his friends;”[475] and no man, as the Oriental mind
views it, can so utterly lay down his life, as when he lays down the
larger life of his only son. Abraham showed himself capable of even
such friendship as this, in his blood-covenant with Jehovah; and when
he had manifested his spirit of devotedness, he was told to stay his
hand and spare his son: the will was accepted for the deed. “Yea,
he that had gladly received the promises, was offering up his only
begotten son; even he of whom it was said, In Isaac shall thy seed be
called: accounting that God is able to raise up even from the dead;
from whence he did also in a parable receive him back.”[476] Then it
was, that “the Angel of the Lord called unto Abraham a second time out
of heaven and said, By myself have I sworn [by my life], saith the
Lord, because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son,
thine only son: that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying
I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand
which is upon the seashore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of
his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be
blessed: because thou hast [even to this extent] obeyed my voice.”[477]
The blood-covenant of friendship between Jehovah and Abraham had more
meaning in it than ever, through its testing and its triumph, in this

And it is on this record, and apparently in this view of the record,
that the Apostle James says: “Was not Abraham our father justified by
works, in that he offered up Isaac his son upon the altar? Thou seest
that faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect
[consummated]; and the Scripture was fulfilled which saith, And Abraham
believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness; and he
was called the friend of God.”[478]


There came, again, a time when the Lord would give fresh evidence
of _his_ fidelity to his covenant of blood-friendship with Abraham.
Again, a new start was to be made in the history of redemption. The
seed of Abraham was in Egypt, and the Lord would bring thence that
seed, for its promised inheritance in Canaan. The Egyptians refused
to let Israel go, at the call of the Lord. The Lord sent a series of
strokes, or “plagues” upon the Egyptians, to enforce their obedience to
his summons. And first, he turned the waters of Egypt into blood; so
that there was nothing for the Egyptians to drink save that which, as
the representative of life, was sacred to their gods, and must not be
tasted.[479] So on, from “plague” to “plague”--from stroke to stroke;
until the Lord’s sentence went forth against all the uncovenanted
first-born of Egypt. Then it was, that the Lord gave another
illustration of the binding force of the unfailing covenant of blood.

In the original covenant of blood-friendship, between Abraham and
the Lord, it was Abraham who gave of his blood in token of the
covenant. Now, the Lord was to give of his blood, by substitution, in
re-affirmation of that covenant, with the seed of Abraham his friend.
So the Lord commanded the choice of a lamb, “without blemish, a male of
the first year”;[480] typical in its qualities, and representative in
its selection. The blood of that lamb was to be put “on the two side
posts and on the lintel” of every house of a descendant of Abraham;
above and along side of every passer through the doorway.[481] “And the
blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are,” said
the Lord to this people: “and when I see the blood [the token of my
blood-covenant with Abraham], I will pass over you, and there shall no
plague be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.”[482]

The flesh of the chosen lamb was to be eaten by the Israelites,
reverently, as an indication of that inter-communion which the
blood-friendship rite secures; and in accordance with a common custom
of the primitive blood-covenant rite, everywhere.

To this day, as I can testify from personal observation, the Samaritans
on Mount Gerizim (where alone in all the world the passover-blood is
now shed, year by year), bring to mind the blood-covenant aspects of
this rite, by their uses of that sacred blood. The spurting life-blood
of the consecrated lambs is caught in basins, as it flows from their
cut throats; and not only are all the tents promptly marked with the
blood as a covenant-token, but every child of the covenant receives
also a blood-mark, on his forehead, between his eyes,[483] in evidence
of his relation to God in the covenant of blood-friendship.

It will be remembered that in the primitive rite of blood-friendship a
blood-stained record of the covenant is preserved in a small leathern
case, to be worn as an amulet upon the arm, or about the neck, by him
who has won a friend forever in this sacred rite.[484] It would even
seem that this was the custom in ancient Egypt, where the red amulet,
which represented the blood of Isis, was worn by those who claimed a
blood-friendship with the gods.[485] It is a noteworthy fact, that
it was in conjunction with the institution of this passover rite of
the Lord’s blood-friendship with Israel, as a permanent ceremonial,
that the Lord declared of this rite and its token: “It shall be for
a sign upon thine hand, and for frontlets between thine eyes.”[486]
And it is on the strength of this injunction, that the Jews have, to
this day, been accustomed to wear upon their foreheads, and again
upon their arm--as a crown and as an armlet--a small leathern case,
as a sacred amulet, or as a “phylactery”; containing a record of
the passover-covenant between the Lord and the seed of Abraham his
friend. Not the law itself, but the substance of the covenant between
the Lawgiver and his people, was the text of this amulet record.
It included Exodus 13 : 3-10, 11-16, with its reference to God’s
deliverance of his people from bondage, to the institution of the
passover feast, and to the consecration of the redeemed first-born;
also Deuteronomy 6 : 4-9, 13-22, with its injunction to entire and
unswerving fidelity, in the covenant thus memorialized.

The incalculable importance of the symbolism of the phylacteries, in
the estimation of the Lord’s people, has been recognized, as a fact, by
both Jewish and Christian scholars, even after their primary meaning
has been lost sight of--through a strange dropping out of sight of the
primitive rite of blood-covenanting, so familiar in the land of Egypt
and in the earlier and later homes of the Hebrews. The Rabbis even held
that God himself, as the other party in this blood-covenant, wore the
phylacteries, as its token and memorial.[487] Among other passages in
support of this, they cited Isaiah 49 : 16: “Behold I have graven thee
upon the palms of my hands”; and Isaiah 62 : 8: “The Lord hath sworn
by his right hand, and by the arm of his strength.” Farrar, referring
to this claim of the Rabbis, says, “it may have had some mystic
meaning”;[488] and certainly the claim corresponds singularly with
the thought and with the customs of the rite of blood-covenanting. To
this day many of the Syrian Arabs swear, as a final and a most sacred
oath, by their own blood--as their own life;[489] and in making the
covenant of blood-friendship they draw the blood from the upper arm,
because, as they explain it, the arm is their strength.[490] The cry of
the Egyptian soul to his god, in his resting on the covenant of blood,
was, “Give me your arm; I am made as ye.”[491] It is not strange,
therefore, that those who had the combined traditions of Egypt and of
Syria, should see a suggestion of the covenant of blood-friendship in
the inspired assurance: “The Lord hath sworn by his right hand, and
by the arm of his strength.” It is by no means improbable, indeed,
that the universal custom of lifting up the arm to God in a solemn
oath[492] was a suggestion of swearing by one’s blood, by proffering
it in its strength, as in the inviolable covenant of sacred friendship
with God. So, again, in the “striking hands” as a form of sacred
covenanting[493]; the clasping of hands, in blood.

The Egyptian amulet of blood-friendship was red, as representing
the blood of the gods. The Egyptian word for “red,” sometimes stood
for “blood.”[494] The sacred directions in the Book of the Dead were
written in red;[495] hence, follows our word “rubrics.” The Rabbis
say, that when persecution forbade the wearing of the phylacteries
with safety, a red thread might be substituted for this token of the
covenant with the Lord.[496] It was a red thread which Joshua gave
to Rahab as a token of her covenant relations with the people of the
Lord.[497] The red thread, in China, to-day, as has been already shown,
binds the double cup, from which the bride and bridegroom drink their
covenant draught of “wedding wine”; as if in symbolism of the covenant
of blood.[498] And it is a red thread which in India, to-day, is used
to bind a sacred amulet around the arm or the neck.[499] Among the
American Indians, “scarlet, or red,” is the color which stands for
sacrifices, or for sacrificial blood, in all their picture painting;
and the shrine, or _tunkan_, which continues to have its devotees, “is
painted red, as a sign of active [or living] worship.”[500] The same is
true of the shrines in India;[501] the color red shows that worship is
still living there; red continues to stand for blood.

The two covenant tokens of blood-friendship with God--circumcision and
the phylacteries--are, by the Rabbis, closely linked in their relative
importance. “Not every Israelite is a Jew,” they say, “except he has
two witnesses--the sign of circumcision and phylacteries”;[502] the
sign given to Abraham, and the sign given to Moses.

In the narration of King Saul’s death, as given in 2 Samuel 1 : 1-16,
the young Amalekite, who reports Saul’s death to David, says: “I took
the crown that was upon his head, and the bracelet that was on his arm
[the emblems of his royalty], and have brought them hither unto my
lord.” The Rabbis, in their paraphrasing of this passage,[503] claim
that it was the phylactery, “the frontlet” (_totephta_) rather than a
“bracelet,” which was on the arm of King Saul; as if the king of the
covenant-people of Jehovah would not fail to be without the token of
Jehovah’s covenant with that people.

So firmly fixed was the idea of the appropriateness and the binding
force of these tokens of the covenant, that their use, in one form or
another, was continued by Christians, until the custom was denounced by
representative theologians and by a Church Council. In the Catacombs
of Rome, there have been found “small caskets of gold, or other metal,
for containing a portion of the Gospels, generally part of the first
chapter of John [with its covenant promises to all who believe on the
true Paschal Lamb], which were worn on the neck,” as in imitation
of the Jewish phylacteries. These covenant tokens were condemned by
Irenæus, Augustine, Chrysostom, and by the Council of Laodicea, as a
relic of heathenism.[504]


When rescued Israel had reached Mount Sinai, and a new era for
the descendants of Abraham was entered upon, by the issue of the
divinely given charter of a separate nationality, the covenant of
blood-friendship between the Lord and the seed of the Lord’s friend,
was once more recognized and celebrated. “And Moses came and told the
people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments: and all the
people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the Lord
hath spoken will we do. And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord, and
rose up early in the morning [or, ‘prepared for a new start’ as that
phrase means],[505] and builded an altar under the mount, and twelve
pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young
men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and
sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the Lord;” not sin-offerings
are named, but burnt-offerings, of consecration, and peace-offerings,
of communion. And now observe the celebration of the symbolic rite
of the blood-covenant between the Lord and the Lord’s people, with
the substitute blood accepted on both sides, and with the covenant
record agreed upon. “And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in
basins; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. And he took
the book [the record] of the covenant, and read in the audience of
the people: and they said, All that the Lord hath spoken will we do,
and be obedient. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the
people [half of it he sprinkled on the Lord’s altar, and half of it
he sprinkled on the Lord’s people. The writer of Hebrews[506] says
that Moses sprinkled blood on the book, also; thus blood-staining the
record of the covenant, according to the custom in the East, to-day],
and [Moses] said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath
made with you concerning all these words [or, as the margin renders
it, ‘upon all these conditions,’ in the written compact]. Then went
up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of
Israel.... And they beheld God, and did eat and drink”;[507] as in
the social inter-communion, which commonly accompanies the rite of

When Abraham was brought into the covenant of blood-friendship with
Jehovah, it was his own blood which Abraham devoted to Jehovah. When
Jehovah recognized anew this covenant of blood-friendship in behalf
of the seed of his friend, Jehovah provided the substitute blood, for
its symbolizing in the passover. When united Israel was to be inducted
into the privileges of this covenant of blood-friendship at Mount
Sinai, half of the blood came from the one party, and half of the blood
came from the other party, to the sacred compact; both portions being
supplied from a common and a mutually accepted symbolic substitute.


With the establishment of the Mosaic law, there was an added emphasis
laid on the sacredness of blood, which had been insisted on in the
Noachic covenant; and many new illustrations were divinely given of
the possibilities of an ultimate union with God through inter-flowing
blood, and of present communion with God through the sharing of the
substitute flesh of a sacrificial victim.

“Ye shall eat no manner of blood, whether it be of fowl or beast, in
any of your dwellings. Whosoever it be that eateth any blood, that
soul shall be cut off from his people.”[508] “Whatsoever man there be
of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among them,
that eateth any manner of blood; I will set my face against that soul
that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people. For
the life [the soul] of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it
to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls: for it is the
blood that maketh atonement by reason of the life [by reason of its
being the life]. Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, No soul
of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that is among you
eat blood.”[509] “For as to the life of all flesh, the blood thereof
is all one with the life thereof; therefore I said unto the children
of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life
of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut

Because of sin, death has passed upon man. Man can have new life
only from the Author of life. A transfusion of life is, as it were, a
transfusion of blood; for, “of all flesh, the blood thereof is all one
with the life thereof.” If, indeed, the death-possessed man could enter
into a blood-covenant with the Author of life,--could share the life of
him who is Life,--then the dead might have new life in a new nature;
and the far separated sinner might be brought into oneness with God;
finding atonement in the cleansing flow of the new blood thus applied.
So it pleased God to appoint substitute blood upon the altar of
witness between the sinner and Himself, as a symbol of that atonement
whereby the sinner might, through faith, become a partaker of the
divine nature. “The wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is
eternal life”[511]--in that foreshadowed divine blood, which the blood
of beasts, offered on the altar, can, for a time, typify. Blood--even
the blood of beasts--thus made sacred, as a holy symbol, must never be
counted as a common thing; but it must be held, ever reverently, as
a token of that life which is the sinner’s need; and which is God’s
grandest gift and God’s highest prerogative.

In the line of this teaching, the command went forth: “What man soever
there be of the house of Israel, that killeth an ox, or lamb, or goat
in the camp, or that killeth it without the camp, and hath not brought
it unto the door of the tent of meeting, to offer it [with its blood]
as an oblation unto the Lord before the tabernacle of the Lord: blood
shall be imputed unto that man; he hath shed blood [improperly]; and
that man shall be cut off from among his people: to the end that the
children of Israel may bring their sacrifices, which they sacrifice
in the open field, even that they may bring them unto the Lord, unto
the door of the tent of meeting, unto the priest, and sacrifice them
for sacrifices of peace-offering unto the Lord. And the priest shall
sprinkle the blood upon the altar of the Lord at the door of the tent
of meeting; and burn the fat for a sweet savour unto the Lord.”[512]
The children of Israel were, at all times and everywhere, to reach out
after communion and union with God, through the surrender of their
personal selves in the surrender of their substitute blood--with its
divinely appointed symbolism of communion and union with God “in the
blood of the eternal covenant” of divine friendship.[513]

And again: “Whatsoever man there be of the children of Israel, or of
the strangers that sojourn among them, which taketh in hunting any
beast or fowl that may be eaten; he shall pour out the blood thereof,
and cover it with the dust.”[514] If he be at a distance from the
tabernacle, so that he cannot bring the blood for an oblation at the
altar, he must, at all events, reverently pour out the blood as unto
God, and cover it as he would a human body in a grave. And to this day
this custom prevails widely throughout the East; not among Jews alone,
but among Christians and Muhammadans, as also among those of other

Under the Mosaic ritual, the forms and the symbolisms of sacrifice were
various. But through them all, where blood was an element,--in the
sin-offering, in the trespass-offering, in the burnt-offering, in the
peace-offering,--blood always represented life, never death. Death was
essential to its securing; but, when secured, blood was life. Death,
as the inevitable wages of sin, had already passed unto all men; and
“death reigned from Adam to Moses”; but, with the full disclosure
of the law, in Moses, which made sin apparent, there came, also, a
disclosure of an atonement for sin, and of a cure for its consequences.
Death was already here; now came the assurance of an attainable life.
The sinner, in the very article of death, was shown that he might turn,
in self-surrender and in loving trust, with a proffer of his own life,
by substitute blood, to God; and that he might reach out hopefully
after inter-union with God, by the sharing of the divine-nature in
the unfailing covenant of divine-human blood-friendship. Thus “not as
the trespass [with its mere justice of punishment; but] so also [and
‘much more,’ of grace alone,] is the free gift [of life to the justly

All the detailed requirements of the Mosaic ritual, and all the
specific teachings of the Rabbis, as well, go to show the preeminence
of the _blood_ in the sacrificial offerings; go to show, that it is
the _life_ (which the blood is), and not the _death_ (which is merely
necessary to the securing of the blood), of the victim, that is the
means of atonement; that gives the hope of a sinner’s new inter-union
with God.

In a commentary on a Talmudic tract, on The Day of Atonement, Rabbi
Obadiah of Barttenora, notes the fact,[517] that in the choice by
lot, of the priests who were to have a part in the daily sacrifice,
the priest _first_ selected “obtained the right [of priority], and
sprinkled the blood upon the altar, after he had received it in the
vessel for the purpose; for he who sprinkled the blood [is the one who
had] received the blood. The _next_ priest to him killed the sacrifice,
and this notwithstanding [the fact] that the slaying preceded the
receiving of the blood; because _the office of sprinkling was higher
than that of slaying_; for the slaying was lawful if done by a
stranger; which was not the case with the sprinkling.” The death of the
victim was a minor matter: it was the victim’s life,--its blood which
was its life,--that had chief value and sacredness.

On this same point Dr. Edersheim says:[518] “The Talmud declares the
offering of birds, so as to secure the blood [so as to secure that
which was preeminently precious] to have been the most difficult part
of a priest’s work. For the _death_ of the [victim of the] sacrifice
was only a means towards an end; that end being the shedding and
sprinkling of the _blood_, by which the atonement was really made. The
Rabbis mention a variety of rules observed by the priest who caught
up the blood--all designed to make the best provision for its proper
sprinkling. Thus, the priest was to catch up the blood in a silver
vessel pointed at the bottom, so that it could not be put down; and to
keep it constantly stirred, to preserve the fluidity of the blood. In
the sacrifice of the red heifer, however, the priest caught the blood
directly in his left hand, and sprinkled it with his right towards the
Holy Place: while in that of the leper, one of the two priests received
the blood in the vessel; the other [received it] in his hand, from
which he anointed the purified leper.”

Recognizing the truth that in the sacrifices of the Mosaic ritual,
“consecration by blood is consecration in a living union with Jehovah,”
Professor W. Robertson Smith observes,[519] that, “in the ordinary
atoning sacrifices, the blood is not applied to the people [it is
merely poured out Godward, as if in sign of life surrender]; but in the
higher forms, as in the sacrifice for the whole congregation (Lev.
4 : 13 _seq._), the priest at least dips his hand in it, and so puts the
bond of blood between himself, as the people’s representative, and the
altar, as the point of contact with God.”[520] And so, on the basis
of the root-idea of the primitive rite of the covenant of blood, an
inter-union is symbolized between the returning sinner and his God.

The aim of all the Mosaic sacrifices was, a restored communion with
God; and the hope which runs through them all is of a divine-human
inter-union through blood. “The one purpose which is given after
every sacrifice in the first chapters of Leviticus,”[521] says
Stanley,[522] “is, that it ‘shall make a sweet savour unto the Lord’.”
And Edersheim says,[523] of all the various sacrifices of the ritual:
“These, were, then, either sacrifices of communion with God, or else
[were] intended to restore that communion when it had been disturbed
or dimmed through sin and trespass: sacrifices _in_ communion, or
[sacrifices] _for_ communion, with God. To the former class belong the
burnt and the peace-offerings; to the latter, the sin and the trespass

The sin-offering, of that ritual, was, in a sense, the basis of
the whole system of sacrifices. The chief feature of that offering,
was the out-flowing of its blood Godward. The offering itself was a
substitute-offering, for an individual or for the entire people. Its
blood was sprinkled upon the horns of the altar of burnt-offering,
or poured out at the base of that altar,[525]--the altar of personal
consecration; or, it was sprinkled within the Holy Place toward the
Most Holy Place,[526]--the symbolic dwelling-place of Jehovah: and
again it was made to touch the horns of the altar of incense, which
sent up its sweet savor to God: in every case, it was the outreaching
of the sinner toward inter-union with God, in a covenant of blood.

The whole burnt-offering, of the Mosaic ritual, symbolised the entire
surrender to God, of the individual or of the congregation, in covenant
faithfulness; the giving of one’s self in unreserved trust to Him
with whom the offerer desired to be in loving oneness. It was an
indication of a readiness to enter fully into that inter-union, which
the blood-covenant brought about between two who had been separated,
but who were henceforth to be as one. This offering also must be
made with blood; for it is blood--which is the life--that gives the
possibility of inter-union. All the outpoured blood of this offering,
however, went directly to the altar upon which the offering itself
was laid;[527] not toward the Most Holy Place, of the Lord’s symbolic
presence. This offering was not, indeed, understood as in itself
compassing inter-union; it indicated rather a desire and a readiness
for inter-union--anew or renewed: so, both the substitute-body and the
substitute-blood were offered at the altar of typical surrender and
consecration. When other sacrifices were brought, the burnt-offering
followed the sin-offering, but preceded the peace-offering;[528]
again, it might be offered by itself. He who was of the blood-covenant
stock of Abraham, thereby sought restoration to the full privileges of
that covenant, to which he had not been wholly true; and even he who
was not of that stock might in this way show his desire to share in
its privileges; “for the burnt offering was the only sacrifice which
non-Israelites were permitted to bring”[529] to the altar of Jehovah.

Following the communion-seeking, or the union-seeking, sin-offering
(with its connected, or related, trespass-offering, or guilt-offering),
and the self-surrendering burnt-offering, there came the joyous
communion-symbolizing peace-offering, with its type of completed
union,[530] in the sharing, by the sinner and his God, of the
flesh of the sacrificial victim at a common feast. And this
banquet-sacrifice[531] corresponds with the feast of inter-communion
which commonly follows the primitive rite of blood-covenanting, and
which marks the completion of the inter-union thereby sought after.

All the other sacrifices of the Mosaic ritual follow in the line of
these three classes. Even those which are in themselves offered without
blood, presuppose the individual’s share in the blood-covenant, by the
rite of circumcision, and through the high priest’s sin-offering for
the entire congregation. “The Rabbis attach ten comparative degrees
of sanctity to sacrifices; and it is interesting to mark, that of
these the first belonged to the blood of the sin-offering; the second
to the burnt-offering; the third to the sin-offering itself; and the
fourth to the trespass-offering.”[532] The blood which is to secure
the covenant-union--anew or renewed--is of preeminent importance.
Then comes the symbol of self-surrendering devotedness. First, the
possibility of inter-union; next, the expression of readiness and
desire for it. After this, the other sacrifices range themselves
according to their signification, until the culmination of the series
is reached in the joyous inter-communion feast of the peace-offering.

But, with all the suggestions of the rite of blood-covenanting, in
the sacrifices of the Mosaic ritual, there were limitations in the
correspondences of that rite in those sacrifices, which mark the
incompleteness of their symbolism, and which point to better things
to come. In the primitive blood-covenant rite itself, both parties
receive, and partake of, the blood which becomes common to the two.
In all the outside religions of the world, where men reach out after
a divine-human inter-union through substitute-blood, the offerer
drinks of the sacrificial blood, or of something which stands for it;
and so he is supposed to share the nature of the God with whom he
thus covenants and inter-unites. In the Mosaic ritual, however, all
drink-offerings of blood were forbidden to him who would enter into
covenant with God; he might not taste of the blood. He might, it is
true, look forward, by faith, to an ultimate sharing of the divine
nature; and in anticipation of that inter-union, he could enjoy a
symbolic inter-communion with God, by partaking of the peace-offerings
at the table of his Lord; but as yet the sacrificial offering which
could supply to his death-smitten nature the vivifying blood of an
everlasting covenant, was not disclosed to him.[533]

Even the substitute blood which he presented at the altar, as he came
with his outreaching after a blood-covenant union with the Lord, did
not secure to him direct personal access to the symbolic earthly
dwelling-place of the Lord. That blood could be poured out at the base
of the altar of consecration, or it could be sprinkled upon its horns.
That blood could, on occasions be sprinkled before the veil of the Most
Holy Place; or could touch the horns of the altar of sweet incense. But
that blood could never pass that veil which guarded the place of the
Lord’s symbolic presence, save once in a year when the high-priest, all
by himself, and that not without a show of his own unfitness for the
mission, went in thither, to sprinkle the substitute blood before the
mercy-seat; “the Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the Holy
Place hath not yet been manifest[534]”; that the substitute “blood of
bulls and of goats”[535] cannot be a means of man’s inter-union with

Lest, indeed, the Israelite should believe that a blood-covenant
union was really secured with God, rather than typified, through these
prescribed symbolic sacrifices and their sharing, he was repeatedly
warned against that fatal error, and was taught that his true
covenanting must be by a faith-filled recognition of the symbolism of
these substitute agencies; and by the implicit surrender of himself,
in loving trust, to Him who had ordained them as symbols. Thus in the

   “Hear, O my people, and I will speak;
    O Israel, and I will testify unto thee:
    I am God, even thy God.
    I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices;
    And thy burnt-offerings are continually before me....
    Will I eat the flesh of bulls,
    Or drink the blood of goats?
    Offer unto God the sacrifice of thanksgiving;
    And pay thy vows unto the Most High:
    And call upon me in the day of trouble;
    I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.

   “But unto the wicked, God saith:
    What hast thou to do to declare my statutes,
    And that thou hast taken my covenant in thy mouth?
    Seeing thou hatest instruction,
    And castest my words behind thee.”[536]

Again, in the prophecy of Isaiah:

   “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me?
    Saith the Lord:
    I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts;
    And I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of
    When ye come to appear before me,
    Who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?
    Bring no more vain oblations;
    Incense is an abomination unto me....
    Wash you, make you clean;
    Put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes;
    Cease to do evil:
    Learn to do well;
    Seek judgment, relieve the oppressed;
    Judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.”[537]

And with this very warning against a false reliance on the symbols
themselves, the same prophet gives assurance of better things in store
for all those who are in true blood-covenant with God; even though they
be not of the peculiar people of Abraham’s natural descent. Foretelling
the future, when the types of the sacrifice shall be realized, he says:

   “And in this mountain shall the Lord of Hosts make unto all peoples
    A feast of fat things,
    A feast of wine on the lees;
    Of fat things full of marrow,
    Of wines on the lees well refined.”[538]

The feast of inter-communion shall be sure, when the blood-covenant of
inter-union is complete.

Again, by Jeremiah:

   “Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel:
    Add your burnt-offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat ye flesh.

[But remember that that is not the completion of a covenant with me].

    For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them,
    In the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt,
    Concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices.

[As if burnt offerings and sacrifices were the all important thing];

    But this thing I commanded them, saying,
    Hearken unto my voice,
    And I will be your God,
    And ye shall be my people;
    And walk ye in all the way that I command you,
    That it may be well with you.”[539]

Once more, by Hosea:

   “O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee?
    O Judah, what shall I do unto thee?
    For your goodness is as a morning cloud,
    And as the dew that goeth early away....
    For I desire mercy and not sacrifice;
    And the knowledge of God more than burnt-offerings.
    But they like Adam have transgressed the covenant:

[or, as the Revisers’ “margin” would render it,

   “But they are as men that have transgressed a covenant”:]
    There have they dealt treacherously against me”[540]

[Therein have they proved unfaithful to the requirements of the
blood-covenant on which they assumed to be resting, in their

And so, all the way along through the prophets, in repeated emphasis
of the incompleteness of the blood-covenanting symbols in the ritual

Concerning the very rite of circumcision, which was the token of
Abraham’s covenant of blood-friendship with the Lord, the Israelites
were taught that its spiritual value was not in the formal surrender of
a bit of flesh, and a few drops of blood, in ceremonial devotedness to
God, but in its symbolism of the implicit surrender of the whole life
and being, in hearty covenant with God. “Behold, unto the Lord thy God
belongeth the heaven, and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all
that therein is. Only the Lord had a delight in thy fathers to love
them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all peoples as
at this day. Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be
no more stiff-necked.”[541] “And it shall come to pass, when all these
things are come upon thee, the blessings and the curse which I have set
before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations,
whither the Lord thy God hath driven thee, and shalt return unto the
Lord thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command
thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with
all thy soul; that then the Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and
have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all
the peoples, whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee.... And the
Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to
love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that
thou mayest live.”[542] And when this has come to pass, the true seed
of Abraham,[543] circumcised in heart,[544] shall be in the covenant of
blood-friendship with God.

So, also, with the phylacteries, as the record of the blood-covenant
of the passover, they had a value only as they represented a
heart-remembrance of that covenant, by their wearers. Says Solomon, in
the guise of Wisdom.

   “My son, forget not my law;
    But let thine heart keep my commandments....
    Let not mercy and truth forsake thee:
    Bind them about thy neck;
    Write them upon the table of thy heart;
    So shalt thou find favor and good understanding
    In the sight of God and man.”[545]

   “Keep my commandments and live;
    And my law as the apple of thine eye.
    Bind them upon thy fingers;
    Write them upon the table of thine heart.”[546]

And the prophet Jeremiah foretells the recognition of this truth in the
coming day of better things:

   “Behold the days come, saith the Lord,
    That I will make a new covenant
    With the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
    Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers
    In the day that I took them by the hand,
    To bring them out of the land of Egypt;

[That covenant was the blood-covenant of the passover; of which the
phylacteries were a token.]

    Which my covenant they brake,
    Although I was an husband unto them [a lord over them] saith
      the Lord;
    But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house
      of Israel,
    After those days, saith the Lord;
    I will put my law in their inward parts,
    And in their heart will I write it:

[Instead of its being written as now, outside of them, on their hand
and on their forehead.]

    And I will be their God,
    And they shall be my people....
    For I will forgive their iniquity,
    And their sin will I remember no more.”[547]

The blood-covenant symbols of the Mosaic law, all pointed to the
possibility of a union of man’s spiritual nature with God; but they
did not in themselves either assure or indicate that union as already
accomplished; nor did they point the way to it, as yet made clear. They
were only “a shadow of the things to come.”[548]

Another gleam of the primitive truth, that blood is life and not
death, and that the transference of blood is the transference of life,
is found in the various Mosaic references to the _goel_ (גֹּאֵל),
the person who is authorized to obtain blood for blood as an act of
justice, in the East. And another proof of the prevailing error in
the Western mind, through confounding blood with death, and justice
with punishment, is the common rendering of the term _goel_, as
“avenger,”[549] or “revenger,”[550] in our English Bible, wherever
that term applies to the balancing of a blood account; although
the same Hebrew word is in other connections commonly translated
“redeemer,”[551] or “ransomer.”[552]

Lexicographers are confused over the original import of the word
_goel_;[553] all the more, because of this confusion in their minds
over the import of blood, in its relation to death and to justice. But
it is agreed on all hands, that, as a term, the word was, in the East,
applied to that kinsman whose duty it was to secure justice to the
injured, and to restore, as it were, a normal balance to the disturbed
family relations. Oehler well defines the goel, as “that particular
relative whose special duty it was to restore the violated family
integrity, who had to redeem not only landed property that had been
alienated from the family (Lev. 25 : 25 ff.), or a member of the family
that [who] had fallen into slavery (Lev. 25 : 47 ff.), but also the
blood that had been taken away from the family by murder.”[554] Hence,
in the event of a depletion of the family by the loss of blood--the
loss of a life--the goel had a responsibility of securing to the family
an equivalent of that loss, by other blood, or by an agreed payment for
its value. His mission was not vengeance, but equity. He was not an
avenger, but a redeemer, a restorer, a balancer. And in that light, and
in that light alone, are all the Oriental customs in connection with
blood-cancelling seen to be consistent.

All through the East, there are regularly fixed tariffs for
blood-cancelling; as if in recognition of the relative loss to a
family, of one or another of its supporting members.[555] This idea, of
the differences in ransoming-value between different members of the
family, is recognized, in the Mosaic standards of ritual-ransom;[556]
although the accepting of a ransom for the blood of a blood-spiller
was specifically forbidden in the Mosaic law.[557] This prohibition,
in itself, however, seems to be a limitation of the privileges of the
goel, as before understood in the East. The Qurân, on the other hand,
formally authorizes the settlement of manslaughter damages by proper

Throughout Arabia, and Syria, and in various parts of Africa,[559] the
first question to be considered in any case of unlawful blood-shedding
is, whether the loss life shall be restored--or balanced--by blood,
or by some equivalent of blood. Von Wrede, says of the custom of the
Arabs, in concluding a peace, after tribal hostilities: “If one party
has more slain than the other, the shaykh on whose side the advantage
lies, says [to the other shaykh]: ‘Choose between blood and milk’
[between life, and the means of sustaining life]; which is as much as
to say, that he may [either] avenge the fallen [take life for life]; or
accept blood-money.”[560] Mrs. Finn says, similarly, of the close of
a combat in Palestine: “A computation is generally made of the losses
on either side by death, wounds, etc., and the balance is paid to the
victors.”[561] Burton describes similarly the custom in Arabia.[562]

It is the same in individual cases, as in tribal conflicts. An
accepted payment for blood fully restores the balance between the
aggrieved parties and the slayer. As Pierotti says: “This charm will
teach the Arab to grasp readily the hands of the slayer of his father
or his son, saying, ‘Such an one has killed my father, but he has paid
me the price of his blood.’”[563] This in itself shows, that it is not
revenge, but restitution, that is sought after by the goel; that he is
not the blood-avenger, but the blood-balancer.

It is true that, still, in some instances, all money payment for blood
is refused; but the avowed motive in such a case is the holding of life
as above price--the very idea which the Mosaic law emphasized. Thus
Burton tells of the excited Bed´ween mother who dashes the proffered
blood-money to the ground, swearing “by Allah, that she will not eat
her son’s blood.”[564] And even where the blood of the slayer is
insisted on, there are often found indications that the purpose of this
choice rests on the primitive belief that the lost life is made good
to the depleted family by the newly received blood.[565] Thus, in the
region of Abyssinia, the blood of the slayer is drunk by the relatives
of the one first slain;[566] and, in Palestine, when the goel has shed
the blood of an unlawful slayer, those who were the losers of blood by
that slayer dip their handkerchiefs in his blood, and so obtain their
portion of his life.[567]

In short, apart from the specific guards thrown around the mission
of the goel, in the interests of justice, by the requirements of the
Mosaic law, it is evident, that the primal idea of the goel’s mission
was to restore life for life, or to secure the adjusted equivalent of
a lost life; not to wreak vengeance, nor yet to mete out punishment.
The calling of the goel, in our English Bible, a “revenger” of blood,
is a result of the wide-spread and deep-rooted error concerning
the primitive and Oriental idea of blood and its value; and that
unfortunate translation tends to the perpetuation of this error.


Because the primitive rite of blood-covenanting was well known in the
Lands of the Bible, at the time of the writing of the Bible, for that
very reason, we are not to look to the Bible for a specific explanation
of the rite itself, even where there are incidental references in the
Bible to the rite and its observances; but, on the other hand, we are
to find an explanation of the biblical illustrations of the primitive
rite, in the understanding of that rite which we gain from outside
sources. In this way, we are enabled to see in the Bible much that
otherwise would be lost sight of.

The word for “covenant,” in the Hebrew, _bereeth_ (בְּרִית), is
commonly so employed, in the sacred text, as to have the apparent
meaning of a thing “cut,” as apart from, or as in addition to, its
primary meaning of a thing “eaten.”[568] This fact has been a source
of confusion to lexicographers.[569] But, when we consider that the
primitive rite of blood-covenanting was by cutting into the flesh
in order to the tasting of the blood, and that a feast was always
an accompaniment of the rite, if, indeed, it were not an integral
portion of it, the two-fold meaning of “cutting” and “eating” attaches
obviously to the term “covenant”; as the terms “carving,” and “giving
to eat,” are often used interchangeably, with reference to dining; or
as we speak of a “cut of beef” as the portion for a table.

The earliest Bible reference to a specific covenant between
individuals, is in the mention, at Genesis 14 : 13, of Mamre, Eshcol,
and Aner, the Amorites, who were in covenant with--literally, were
“masters of the covenant of”--“Abram the Hebrew.” After this, comes
the record of a covenant between Abraham and Abimelech, at the wells
of Beer-sheba. Abimelech sought that covenant; he sought it because of
his faith in Abraham’s God. “God is with thee in all that thou doest,”
he said: “Now, therefore, swear unto me here by God, that thou wilt
not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son’s son:
but according to the kindness that I have done unto thee, thou shalt
do unto me, and to the land wherein thou hast sojourned. And Abraham
said, I will swear.”[570] Then came the giving of gifts by Abraham,
according to the practice which seems universal in connection with
this rite, in our own day.[571] “And Abraham took sheep and oxen, and
gave them unto Abimelech.” And they two “made a covenant,”--or, as the
Hebrew is, “they two cut a covenant.” This covenant, thus cut between
Abraham and Abimelech--patriarchs and sovereigns as they were--was for
themselves and for their posterity. As to the manner of its making,
we have a right to infer, from all that we know of the manner of such
covenant-making among the people of their part of the world, in the
earliest days of recorded history.

Herodotus, who goes back more than two-thirds of the way to Abraham,
says, that when the Arabians would covenant together, a third man,
standing between the two, cuts, with a sharp stone, the inside of the
hands of both, and lets the blood therefrom drop on seven stones which
are between the two parties.[572] Phicol, the captain of Abimelech’s
host, was present, as a third man, when the covenant was cut between
Abimelech and Abraham; at Beer-sheba--the Well of the Seven, or
the Well of the Oath.[573] Instead of seven stones as a “heap of
witness”[574] between the two in this covenanting, “seven ewe lambs”
were set apart by Abraham, that they might “be a witness”[575]--a
symbolic witness to this transaction.

In the primitive rite of blood-covenanting, as it is practised in some
parts of the East, to the present time, in addition to other symbolic
witnesses of the rite, a _tree_ is planted by the covenanting parties,
“which remains and grows as a witness of their contract.”[576] So it
was, in the days of Abraham. “And Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in
Beer-sheba, and called there on the name of the Everlasting God. And
Abraham sojourned [was a sojourner] in the land of the Philistines
many days”[577]--while that tree, doubtless, remained and grew as a
witness of his blood-covenant compact with Abimelech the ruler of the
Philistines.[578] Abimelech was, as it were, the first-fruits of the
“nations”[579] who were to have a blessing through the covenanted
friend of God.

It is a noteworthy fact, that when Herodotus describes the Scythians’
mode of drinking each other’s mingled blood, in their covenanting,
he tells of their “cutting covenant” by “striking the body” of the
covenanting party. In this case, he employs the words _tamnomenon_
(ταμνομένων) “cutting,” and _tupsantes_ (τύψαντες) “striking,” which
are the correspondents, on the one hand of the Hebrew _karath_ (כָּרַת)
“to cut,” and on the other hand of the Latin _ferire_, “to strike;”
as applied to covenant making.[580] And this would seem to make a
tri-lingual “Rosetta Stone” of this statement by Herodotus, as showing
that the Hebrew “cutting” of the covenant, and the Latin “striking”
of the covenant, is the Greek, the Arabian, the Scythian, and the
universal primitive, method of covenanting, by cutting into, or by
striking, the flesh of a person covenanting; in order that another may
become a possessor of his blood, and a partaker of his life.

Yet later, at the same Well of the Seven, another Abimelech came down
from Gerar, with “Ahuzzath his friend, and Phicol the captain of his
host,” and, prompted by faith, sought a renewal of the covenant
with the house of Abraham.[581] It is not specifically declared that
Abimelech and Isaac _cut_ a covenant together; but it is said that
“they did eat and drink” in token of their covenant relations, and that
they “sware one to another.”[582] Apparently they either cut a new
covenant, or they confirmed one which their fathers had cut.

When Jacob and Laban covenanted together, in “the mountain [the
hill-country] of Gilead,” before their final separation, they had
their stone-heap of witness between them; such as Herodotus says
the Arabs were accustomed to anoint with their own blood, in their
covenanting by blood, in his day;[583] for Jacob, perhaps, had more
tolerance than Abraham, for perverted religious symbols.[584] “And
now let us cut a covenant, I and thou,” said Laban; “and let it be
for a witness between me and thee. And Jacob took a stone, and set it
up for a pillar [a pillar instead of a tree]. And Jacob said unto his
brethren, Gather stones; and they took stones, and made an heap: and
they did eat there on the heap [the Revisers have translated this,
_by_ the heap].[585] And Laban called it Jegar-sahadutha: but Jacob
called it Gilead. And Laban said, This heap is witness between me and
thee this day.... God is witness betwixt me and thee.... The God of
Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge betwixt
us. And Jacob sware by the Fear of his father Isaac. And Jacob offered
a sacrifice in the mountain, and called his brethren to eat bread: and
they did eat bread.”[586] Here again, the cutting of the covenant, and
the sharing of a feast in connection with the rite,--the “cutting” and
the “eating”--are in accordance with all that we know of the primitive
rite, of blood-covenanting in the East, in earlier and in later times.

Yet more explicit is the description of the blood-covenanting which
brought into loving unity, David and Jonathan. It was when the
faith-filled heroism of the stripling shepherd-boy was thrilling all
Israel with grateful admiration, that David was brought into the royal
presence of Saul, and of Saul’s more than royal hero-son, Jonathan,
to receive the thanks of the king for the rescue of the tarnished
honor of the Israelitish host. Modestly, David gave answer to the
question of the king. “And it came to pass, when he had made an end
of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the
soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.” “Then Jonathan
and David cut a covenant, because he [Jonathan] loved him [David] as
his own soul [as his own life, his own blood].”[587] Then followed
that gift of raiment and of arms which was a frequent accompaniment
of blood-covenanting.[588] “And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe
that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his apparel, even to his
sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle.”[589] From that hour the
hearts of David and Jonathan were as one. Jonathan could turn away from
father and mother, and could repress all personal ambition, and all
purely selfish longings, in proof of his loving fidelity to him who was
dear to him as his own blood.[590] His love for David was “wonderful,
passing the love of women.”[591]

Nor was this loving compact between Jonathan and David for themselves
alone. It was for their posterity as well.[592] “The Lord be with thee,
as he hath been with my father,” said Jonathan. “And thou shalt not
only while yet I live shew me the kindness of the Lord, that I die not:
but also thou shalt not cut off thy kindness from my house for ever:
no, not [even] when the Lord hath cut off the enemies of David every
one from the face of the earth. So Jonathan cut a covenant with the
house of David, saying [as in the imprecations of a blood-covenant],
And the Lord shall require it [fidelity to this covenant] at the hand
of David’s enemies. And Jonathan caused David to swear again, for the
love he had to him: for he loved him as he loved his own soul [his own
life, his own blood].”[593] And years afterward, when the Lord had
given David rest from all his enemies around about him, the memory of
that blood-covenant pledge came back to him; “and David said, Is there
yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness
for Jonathan’s sake?”[594] The seating of lame Mephibosheth at David’s
royal table,[595] was an illustration of the unfailing obligation of
the primitive covenant of blood; which had bound together David and
Jonathan, for themselves and for theirs forever.


And now from David, to David’s greater Son; from type to anti-type;
from symbol and prophecy, to reality and fruition.

Death had passed upon all men. Yet in the hearts of the death-smitten
there was still a longing for life. Sin-leprous souls yearned for that
in-flow of new being, which could come only through inter-union with
the divine nature, in oneness of life with the Author and Source of
all life. Revelation and prophecy had assured the possibility and the
hope of such inter-union. Rite and ceremony and symbol, the wide-world
over, signified man’s desire, and man’s expectation, of covenanted
access to God, through personal surrender, and through life-giving,
life-representing blood.

But, where men yielded up unauthorized offerings, even of their own
blood, or of the very lives of their first-born, they confessed
themselves unsatisfied with their attitude God-ward; and, where men
followed a divinely prescribed ritual, they were taught by that very
ritual itself, that the outpoured blood and the partaken flesh of
the sacrifices were, at the best, but mere shadows of good things to
come.[596] The whole creation was groaning and travailing in pain
together, until the birth of the world’s promised redemption.[597]

The symbolic covenant of blood-friendship was between God and Abraham’s
seed; and in that seed were all the nations of the earth to have a
blessing. God had called on Abraham to surrender to him his only son,
in proof of his unfailing love; and, when Abraham had stood that test
of his faith, God had spared to him the proffered offering. It now
remained for God to transcend Abraham’s proof of friendship, and to
spare not his own and only Son,[598] but to make him a sacrificial
offering, by means of which the covenant of blood-friendship, between
God and the true seed of Abraham, might become a reality instead of
a symbol. Abraham had given to God of his own blood, by the rite of
circumcision, in token of his desire for inter-union with God. God was
now to give of his blood, in the blood of his Son, for the re-vivifying
of the sons of Abraham in “the blood of the eternal covenant.”[599]

Then, in the fullness of time, there came down into this world He who
from the beginning was one with God, and who now became one with man.
Becoming a sharer of the nature of those who were subject to death, and
who longed for life, Jesus Christ was here among men as the fulfillment
of type and prophecy; to meet and to satisfy the holiest and the
uttermost yearnings of the human soul after eternal life, in communion
and union with God. “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us,
... full of grace and truth.” “In him was life [life that death could
not destroy; life that could destroy death], and the life [which was
in him] was the light [the guide and the hope] of men.” “He came unto
his own, and they that were [called] his own received him not. But
as many as received him [whether, before, they had been called his
own, or not] to them gave he the right to become children of God [by
becoming partakers of his life], even to them that believe on his name:
which were [through faith] begotten, not of bloods [not by ordinary
generation], nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but
of God.”[600] Having in his own blood, the life of God and the life
of man, Jesus Christ could make men sharers of the divine nature, by
making them sharers of his own nature; and this was the truth of truths
which he declared to those whom he instructed.

In the primitive rite of blood-covenanting, men drank of each other’s
blood, in order that they might have a common life; and they ate
together of a mutually prepared feast, in order that they might
evidence and nourish that common life. In the outreaching of men
Godward, for the privileges of a divine-human inter-union, they poured
out the substitute blood of a chosen victim in sacrifice, and they
partook of the flesh of that sacrificial victim, in symbolism of
sharing the life and the nourishment of Deity. This symbolism was made
a reality in Jesus Christ. He was the Seed of Abraham; the fulfillment
of the promise, “In Isaac shall thy Seed be called.”[601] He was the
true Paschal Lamb; the “Lamb without blemish and without spot”;[602]
“the Lamb that hath been slain from the foundation of the world.”[603]
The blood which he yielded, was Life itself. The body which he laid on
the altar was the Peace Offering of Completion.[604]

“Wherefore, when he cometh into the world, he saith:

    Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not,
    But a body didst thou prepare for me;
    In whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hadst no
    Then said I, Lo, I am come
    (In the roll of the book it is written of me)
    To do thy will, O God.

Saying above, [He here says,] Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt
offerings and sacrifices for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst
pleasure therein [as if in themselves sufficient] (the which are
offered according to the Law); then [also] hath he said, Lo I am come
to do thy will. He taketh away the first [the symbolic], that he may
establish the second [the real].”[605]

He was here, in the body of his blood and flesh, for the yielding of
his blood and the sharing of his flesh, in order to make partakers
of his nature, whosoever would seek a divine-human inter-union and a
divine-human inter-communion, through the sacrifice made by him, “once
for all.”

“Jesus therefore said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except
ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, ye have not
life in yourselves. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath
eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is
meat indeed [is true meat], and my blood [my life] is drink indeed [is
true drink]. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood abideth in
me, and I in him [Herein is communion through union]. As the living
Father sent me, and I live because of the Father; so he that eateth me,
he also shall live because of me. This is the bread which came down out
of heaven: not as the fathers did eat, and died: he that eateth this
bread shall live forever.”[606]

“These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in
Capernaum”--toward the close of the second year of his public ministry.
The fact that he did speak thus, so long before he had instituted
the Memorial Supper, has been a puzzle to many commentators who were
unfamiliar with the primitive rite of blood-covenanting, and with the
world-wide series of substitute sacrifices and substitute forms of
communion, which had grown out of the suggestions, and out of the
perversions, of the root symbolisms of that rite. But, in the light
of all these customs, the words of Jesus have a clearer meaning.
It was as though he had said: “Men everywhere long for life. They
seek a share in the life of God. They give of their own blood, or of
substitute blood, and they taste of substitute blood, or they receive
its touch, in evidence of their desire for oneness of nature with
God. They crave communion with God, and they eat of the flesh of
their sacrifices accordingly. All that they thus reach out after, I
supply. In me is life. If they will become partakers of my life, of my
nature, they shall be sharers of the life of God.” Then, he added, in
assurance of the fact, that it was a profound spiritual truth which
he was enunciating: “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh
profiteth nothing: the words that I have spoken unto you are spirit,
and are life.”[607] The divine-human inter-union and the divine-human
inter-communion are spiritual, and they are spiritually wrought; or
they are nothing.

The words of Jesus on this subject, were not understood by those who
heard him. “The Jews therefore strove one with another, saying, How can
this man give us his flesh to eat?”[608] But this was not because the
Jews had never heard of eating the flesh of a sacrificial victim, and
of drinking blood in a sacred covenant: it was, rather, because they
did not realize that Jesus was to be the crowning sacrifice for the
human race; nor did they comprehend his right and power to make those
who were one with him through faith, thereby one with God in spiritual
nature. “Many,” even “of his disciples, when they heard” these words
of his, “said, This is a hard saying; who can hear it?”[609] Nor are
questioners at this point, lacking among his disciples to-day.

Before Jesus Christ was formally made an offering in sacrifice, as a
means of man’s inter-union and inter-communion with God, there were
two illustrations of his mission, in the giving of his blood for
the bringing of man into right relations with God. These were, his
circumcision, and his agony in Gethsemane.

By his circumcision, Jesus brought his humanity into the blood-covenant
which was between God and the seed of God’s friend, Abraham, of whose
nature, according to the flesh, Jesus had become a partaker;[610] Jesus
thereby pledged his own blood in fidelity to that covenant; so that all
who should thereafter become his by their faith, might, through him,
be heirs of faithful Abraham.[611] The sweet singer of the Christian
Year,[612] seems to find this thought, in this incident in the life of
the Holy Child:

    “Like sacrificial wine
      Poured on a victim’s head,
    Are those few precious drops of thine,
      Now first to offering led.

    “They are the pledge and seal
      Of Christ’s unswerving faith,
    Given to his Sire, our souls to heal,
      Although it cost his death.

    “They, to his Church of old,
      To each true Jewish heart,
    In gospel graces manifold,
      Communion blest impart.”

In Gethsemane, the sins and the needs of humanity so pressed upon the
burdened soul of Jesus, that his very life was forced out, as it were,
from his aching, breaking heart, in his boundless sympathy with his
loved ones, and in his infinite longings for their union with God,
through their union with himself, in the covenant of blood he was
consummating in their behalf.[613] “And being in an agony, he prayed
more earnestly: and his sweat became as it were great drops of blood
falling down to the ground.”[614]

Because of his God-ward purpose of bringing men into a loving covenant
with God, Jesus gave of his blood in the covenant-rite of circumcision.
Because of his man-ward sympathy with the needs and the trials of
those whom he had come to save, and because of the crushing burden
of their death-bringing sins, Jesus gave of his blood in an agony of
intercessory suffering. Therefore it is, that the Litany cry of the
ages goes up to him in fulness of meaning: “By the mystery of thy holy
incarnation; by thy holy nativity and circumcision; ... by thine agony
and bloody sweat, ... Good Lord, deliver us.”

In process of time, the hour drew nigh that the true covenant of blood
between God and man should be consummated finally, in its perfectness.
The period chosen was the passover-feast--the feast observed by the
Jews in commemoration of that blood-covenanting occasion in Egypt, when
God evidenced anew his fidelity to his promises to the seed of Abraham,
his blood-covenanted friend. “Now before the feast of the passover,
Jesus knowing that his hour was come that he should depart out of this
world to the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he
loved them unto the end.”[615] “And when the hour was come, he sat
down, and the apostles with him. And he said unto them, With desire
I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer.”[616]
Whether he actually partook of the passover meal at that time, or not
is a point still in dispute;[617] but as to that which follows, there
is no question.

“As they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake
it; and he gave to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my
body.”[618] “This do in remembrance of me. And the cup in like manner
after supper;”[619] “and when he had given thanks, he gave [it] to
them,”[620] “saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the
covenant,”[621] or, as another Evangelist records, “this cup is the
new covenant in my blood,”[622] “which is shed for many unto remission
of sins”[623] [unto the putting away of sins]. “This do, as oft as ye
drink it, in remembrance of me.”[624] “And they all drank of it.”[625]

Here was the covenant of blood; here was the communion feast, in
partaking of the flesh of the fitting and accepted sacrifice;--toward
which all rite and symbol, and all heart yearning and inspired
prophecy, had pointed, in all the ages. Here was the realization of
promise and hope and longing, in man’s possibility of inter-union
with God through a common life--which is oneness of blood; and in
man’s inter-communion with God, through participation in the blessings
of a common table. He who could speak for God, here proffered of
his own blood, to make those whom he loved, of the same nature with
himself, and so of the same nature with his God; to bring them into
blood-friendship with their God; and he proffered of his own body, to
supply them with soul nourishment, in that Bread which came down from

Then it was, while they were there together in that upper room, for
the consummating of that blood-covenant of friendship, that Jesus said
to his disciples: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay
down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do the things
which I command you. No longer do I call you servants; for the servant
knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends [friends
in the covenant of blood-friendship now]; for all things that I heard
from my Father, I have made known unto you.”[626] A common life,
through oneness of blood, secures an absolute unreserve of intimacy; so
that neither friend has aught to conceal from his other self. “Abide
in me, and I in you; ... for apart from me ye can do nothing,” was the
injunction of Jesus to his blood-covenant friends, at this hour of his
covenant pledging. “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask
whatsoever ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”[627]

Then it was, also, that the prayer of Jesus for his new blood-covenant
friends went up: “Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that the
Son may glorify thee: even as thou gavest him authority over all flesh,
that whatsoever [whomsoever] thou hast given him, to them he should
give eternal life [in an eternal covenant of blood]. And this is life
eternal, that they should know thee the only true God, and him whom
thou didst send [as the means of life], even Jesus Christ.... Holy
Father, keep them in thy name which thou hast given me, that they may
be one, even as we are.... Neither for these [here present] only do I
pray, but for them also that believe on me through their word; that
they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee,
that they also may be in us: that the world may believe that thou didst
send me. And the glory which thou hast given me I have given unto them;
that they may be one, even as we are one; I in them, and thou in me,
that they may be perfected into one; that the world may know that thou
didst send me, and lovedst them, even as thou lovedst me.”[628] Here
was declared the scope of this blood-covenant, and here was unfolded
its doctrine.

It was not an utterly new symbolism that Jesus was introducing into
the religious thought of the world: it was rather a new meaning that
he was introducing into, or that he was disclosing in, an already
widely recognized symbolism. The world was familiar with the shadow of
truth; Jesus now made clear to the world, the truth’s substance. Man’s
longing to be a partaker of the divine nature, had manifested itself,
through all the ages and everywhere. Jesus now showed how that longing
of death-smitten man could be realized. “The appearing of our Saviour
Jesus Christ ... abolished death, and brought life and immortality to
light through the gospel”[629] of his blood-covenant.

But a covenant of blood, a covenant to give one’s blood, one’s life,
for the saving of another, cannot be consummated without the death
of the covenanter. “For where [such] a covenant is, there must of
necessity be [be brought] the death of him that made it. For [such] a
covenant is of force [becomes a reality] where there hath been death
[or, over the dead]: for doth it [such a covenant] ever avail [can
it be efficient] while he that made it liveth?”[630] Jesus had said,
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for
his friends.”[631] Of his readiness to show this measure of love for
those who were as the sheep of his fold, he had declared: “I came that
they may have life, and may have it abundantly.... I lay down my life
for the sheep.... Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down
my life, that I may take it again. No one taketh it away from me, but
I lay it down of myself.”[632] And again: “I am the living bread which
came down out of heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live
for ever: yea, and the bread which I will give is my flesh, for the
life of the world.”[633] “For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is
drink indeed.”[634] Such a covenant as this, could be of force only
through the death of him who pledges it.

The promise of the covenanting-cup, at the covenanting-feast, was made
good on Calvary.[635] The pierced hands and feet of the Divine Friend
yielded their life-giving streams. Then, with the final cry, “It is
finished,” the very heart of the self-surrendered sacrificial victim
was broken,[636] and the life of the Son of God and of the Seed of
Abraham, was poured out unto death,[637] in order that all who would,
might become sharers in its re-vivifying and saving power. He who
was without sin, had received the wages of sin; because, that, only
through dying was it possible for him to supply that life which would
redeem from the penalty of sin those who had earned death, as sin’s
wages.[638] He who, in himself, had life, had laid down his life, so
that those who were without life might become its partakers, through
faith, in the bonds and blessings of an everlasting covenant. So, the
long symbolized covenant of blood was made a reality. “And the witness
is this, that God gave unto us eternal life, and this life is in his
Son. He that hath the Son hath the life; he that hath not the Son of
God hath not the life.”[639]


Under the symbolic sacrifices of the Old Covenant, it was the _blood_
which made atonement for the soul. It was not the death of the victim,
nor yet its broken body, but it was the blood, the life, the soul,
that was made the means of a soul’s ransom, of its rescue, of its
redemption. “The life [the soul] of the flesh is in the blood,” said
the Lord: “and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement
[to be a cover, to be a propitiation] for your souls [for your lives]:
for it is the blood that maketh atonement by reason [of its being] the
life [the soul].”[640] “For as to the life [the soul] of all flesh, the
blood thereof is all one with the life [the soul] thereof.”[641] And
so, all through the record of the Old Covenant.

It is the same in the New Covenant, as it was in the Old. Atonement,
salvation, rescue, redemption, is by the blood, the life, of Christ;
not by his death as such; not by his broken body in itself; but by that
blood which was given at the inevitable cost of his broken body and
of his death. The figure of leprosy and its attempted cure by blood,
may tend to make this truth the clearer. In the leper, the very blood
itself--the life--was death smitten. The only hope of a cure was by
purging out the old blood, by means of an inflowing current of new
blood, which was new life.[642] To give this blood, the giver himself
must die; but it was his blood, his life, not his death, which was to
be the means of cure. So, also, with the sin-leprous nature. His old
life must be purged out, by the incoming of a new life; of such a life
as only the Son of God can supply. In order to supply that blood, its
Giver must himself die, and so be a sharer of the punishment of sin,
although he was himself without sin. Thus was the new life made a
possibility to all, by faith.

So it is, that “we have redemption [rescue from death] through
[by means of] his blood”;[643] and that “the blood of Jesus ...
cleanseth us [by its purging inflow] from all sin.”[644] So it is,
that he “loosed us [freed us] from our sins by his [cleansing, his
re-vivifying] blood.”[645] So it is, that “if any man is in Christ [is
one in nature with Christ, through sharing, by faith, the blood of
Christ], he is a new creature [Of course he is]: the old things are
passed away; behold they are become new.”[646] So it is, also, that it
can be said of those whose old lives were purged away by the inflowing
redeeming life of Christ: “Ye died, and your life is hid with Christ in
God.”[647] And “this is the true God and eternal life.”[648]

“These things have I written unto you,” says the best loved of the
disciples of Jesus, “that ye may know that ye have eternal life; even
unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God”;[649] “that ye may
believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that, believing,
ye may have life in his name.”[650] For “God commendeth his own love
toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us
[while we were separated from God by sin, God yielded his only Son, to
give his blood, at the cost of his death, as a means of our inter-union
with God]. Much more then, being now justified by [or, in] his blood
[being brought into inter-union with God by that blood], shall we be
saved from the wrath of God [against sin] through him [in whom we
have life]. For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God
[restored to union with God] through the [blood-giving] death of his
Son, much more, being [thus] reconciled, shall we be saved by [or, in]
his life.”[651]

All who will, may, now, “be partakers of the divine nature,”[652]
through becoming one with Christ, by sharing his blood, and by being
nourished with his body. Entering into the divine-human covenant of
blood-friendship, which Christ’s death has made possible, the believer
can be so incorporated with Christ, by faith, as to identify himself
with the experience and the hopes of the world’s Redeemer; and even
to say, in all confidence: “I have been crucified with Christ; yet
I live; and yet no longer I, but Christ liveth in me; and that life
which I now live in the flesh, I live in faith, the faith which is
in [which centres in] the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself
up for me.”[653] “For as the Father hath life in himself, even so
gave he to the Son also to have life in himself.”[654] And “it was
the good pleasure of the Father that in him [the Son] should all the
fulness dwell; and through him to reconcile all things unto himself,
having made peace [having completed union] through the blood of his
cross”[655]--in the bonds of an everlasting covenant--between those who
before were separated by sin.

“Remember, that aforetime ye, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are
called Uncircumcision by that [people] which is called Circumcision,
in the flesh, made by hands,--that ye were at that time separate from
Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers
from the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God
in the world. But now in Christ Jesus ye that once were far off are
made nigh in the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who made both
[Jew and Gentile] one, and broke down the middle wall of partition,
having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments
contained in ordinances; that he might create in himself of the twain
one new man, so making peace; and might reconcile them both in one
body unto God through the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and
he came and preached peace to you that were far off, and peace to them
that were nigh: for through them we both have our access in one Spirit
unto the Father.”[656] “For in him [Christ] dwelleth all the fulness
of the Godhead bodily, and in him ye are made full, who is the head of
all principality and power: in whom ye were also circumcised with a
circumcision not made with hands, in the putting off of the body of the
flesh, in the circumcision of Christ.”[657] “For ye all are one man in
Christ Jesus. And if ye are Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, heirs
according to promise”[658]--inheritors of the blood-covenant promises
of God to Abraham his friend.

No longer is there a barrier between the yearning, loving, trusting
heart, and the mercy-seat of reconciliation in the very presence of
God. We who share the body and the blood of Christ, by faith, are one
with him in all the privileges of his Sonship. “For by one offering
he hath perfected [hath completed in their right to be sharers with
him] for ever, them that are sanctified [that are devoted, that are
consecrated, to him]. And the Holy Ghost also beareth witness to us:
for after he hath said,

    This is the covenant that I will make with them
    After those days, saith the Lord;
    I will put my laws on their heart,
    And upon their mind also will I write them;

then saith he,

    And their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

Now where remission of these [of sins and iniquities] is, there is no
more offering [no more need of offering] for sin. Having, therefore,
brethren, boldness [the right of boldness] to enter into the Holy
Place [the Holy of Holies] by the blood of Jesus, by the way which he
dedicated for us, a new and living way, through the veil, that is to
say his flesh; and having a Great Priest over the house of God; let
us draw near with a true heart in fulness of faith, having our hearts
sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our body washed, with pure water
[there being no longer need of blood-sprinkling or blood-laving, to
those who are sharers of the divine nature--the divine blood].”[659]

No more an altar of sacrifice, but a table of communion,[660] is where
we share the presence of Him in whom we have life, by the blood of
the everlasting covenant. To question the sufficiency of the “one
sacrifice” which Christ made, “once for all,”[661] of his body and
his blood, as a means of the believer’s inter-union with God, is to
count the blood of the covenant an unholy, or a common, thing, and is
to do despite unto the Spirit of grace.[662] “Wherefore, my beloved,
flee from idolatry. I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say. The
cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a communion of the blood
of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a communion of the
body of Christ?[663] Seeing that we [believers together in Christ],
who are many, are one bread, one body: for we all partake of the one

“Now the God of peace, who brought again from the dead the great
Shepherd of the sheep with [or, by; or, by means of] the blood of the
eternal covenant, even our Lord Jesus, make you perfect [complete]
to do his will, working in us that which is well pleasing in his
sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be the glory for ever and ever.


[425] Gen. 4 : 2-5.

[426] Heb. 11 : 4.

[427] Ruth 1 : 14.

[428] Gen. 4 : 10, 11.

[429] “For it must be observed, that by the outpouring of the blood,
the life which was in it was not destroyed, though it was separated
from the organism which before it had quickened: Gen. 4 : 10; comp.
Heb. 12 : 24 (παρὰ τὸν Ἅβελ); Apoc. 6 : 10” (Westcott’s _Epistles of
St. John_, p. 34).

[430] See pages 143-147, _supra_.

[431] See pages 110-113, _supra_.

[432] Gen. 8 : 20.

[433] Exod. 24 : 5, 6; 29 : 15-25; Lev. 1 : 1-6, 10-12, 14, 15; 8 : 18,
19, etc. See also pages 102, 106-109, _supra_.

[434] See _Speaker’s Commentary_, in loco.

[435] Gen. 9 : 3-6.

[436] “A man might not use another’s life for the support of his
physical life” (Westcott’s _Epistles of St. John_, p. 34).

[437] See Acts 15 : 2-29; also 21 : 18-25.

[438] Those, indeed, who would put the dictum of the Church of Rome
above the explicit commands of the Bible, can claim that that Church
has affirmed the mere temporary nature of this obligation, which the
Bible makes perpetual. But apart from this, there seems to be no show
of justification for the abrogation, or the suspension, of the command.

[439] James 2 : 23.

[440] Isaiah 41 : 8.

[441] 2 Chron. 20 : 7.

[442] The only instance in which it might _seem_ that there was an
exception to this statement, is Exodus 33 : 11, where it is said,
“The Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his
friend.” But here the Hebrew word is _re’a_ (רֵעַ) with the idea of
“a companion,” or “a neighbor”; while the word applied to Abraham is
_ohebh_ (אֹהֵב), “a loving one.”

[443] See Appendix, _infra_, p. 322.

[444] Gen. 17 : 2.

[445] Gen. 17 : 7-9.

[446] Gen. 17 : 10, 11.

[447] See page 174 f., _supra_.

[448] Gen. 17 : 13.

[449] Bearing in the flesh the marks of one’s devotedness to a
divinity, is a widely observed custom in the East. Burton tells of the
habit, in Mekkeh, of cutting three parallel gashes down the fleshy
cheek of every male child; and of the claim by some that these gashes
“were signs that the scarred [one] was the servant of Allah’s house”
(_Pilgrimage to Mecca and Medinah_, third ed., p. 456). In India, there
are various methods of receiving such flesh-marks of devotedness. “One
of the most common consists in stamping upon the shoulders, chest,
and other parts of the body, with a red-hot iron, certain marks, to
represent the armor [or livery] of their gods; the impressions of which
are never effaced, but are accounted sacred, and are ostentatiously
displayed as marks of distinctions” (Dubois’s _Des. of Man. and Cust.
in India_, Part III., chap. 3). “From henceforth let no man trouble
me,” says Paul: “for I bear branded on my body the marks of Jesus”
(Gal. 6 : 17).

[450] See Price’s _Hist. of Arabia_, p. 56.

[451] It is certainly noteworthy, that the Canaanitish god
“Baal-bereeth” (see Judges 8 : 33; 9 : 4) seems to have had its centre
of worship at, or near, Shechem; and there was where the Canaanites
were induced to seek, by circumcision, a part with the house of Jacob
in the blood-covenant of Abraham (see Gen. 34 : 1-31).

[452] See Godwyn’s _Moses and Aaron_, p. 216 f.

[453] Buxtorf, who is a recognized authority, in the knowledge of
Rabbinical literature and of Jewish customs, says, on this point: “Cum
deinde compater infantulum in sinu habet jacentem, tum Mohel sive
circumcisor eum è fasciis evolvit, pudendum ejus apprehendit, ejusque
anteriorem partem per cuticulam præputii comprehendit, granulumque
pudendi ejus retrorsum premit; quo facto cuticulam præputii fricat, ut
illa per id emortua infantulus cæsuram tanto minus sentiscat. Deinde
cultellum circumcisorium è pueri astantis manu capit, claraque voce,
Benedictus (inquit) esto tu Deus, Domine noster, Rex mundi, qui nos
mandatis tuis sanctificasti, nobisque pactum circumcisionis dedisti.
Interim dum ille loquitur sic, particulam præputii anteriorem usque
eo abscindit, ut capitellum pudendi nudum conspici queat, illamque
festinanter in patellam arena ista plenam conjicit; puero quoque isti,
à quo acceperat, cultellum reddit circumcisorium; ab alio vero poculum
vino rubro (ceu dictum fuit) impletum, capit; haurit ex eo quantum ore
continere potest, quod mox super infantulum expuit, eoque sanguinem
ejus abluit: in faciem quoque infantuli vini aliquid expuit, si eum
viribus defici conspexerit. Mox pudendum puelli ore comprehendit, et
sanguinis ex eodem quantumcunque potest, exugit, ut sanguis idem tanto
citius se sistat; sanguinem exuctum in alterum poculorum vino rubro
refertorum, vel in patellam arena abundantem, expuit.” (_Synagoga
Judaica_, Cap. II.)

[454] Gen. 15 : 6; Rom. 4 : 3; Gal. 3 : 6; James 2 : 23.

[455] See Fuerst’s _Heb. Chald. Lex._, s. v.

[456] See Freytag’s _Lex. Arab. Lat._, s. v.

[457] See Lane’s _Arab.-Eng. Lex._, s. v.

[458] In the Chinese language, likewise, “the word for faithfulness
means both to be trustworthy, and also to trust to, and refers chiefly
to friendship.” (Edkins’s _Relig. in China_, p. 118.)

[459] The Rabbis give a preeminent place to circumcision as the rite
by which Abraham became the Friend of God. They say (see citations
from the Talmud, in _Nethivoth Olam_, p. 367): “Abraham was not
called perfect before he was circumcised; and because of the merit of
circumcision was the covenant made with him concerning the inheritance
of the Land. It [circumcision] also saves from the punishment of hell;
for our sages have said, that Abraham sits at the gates of hell and
suffers no one to enter in there who is circumcised.”

[460] James 2 : 23.

[461] Exod. 4 : 21-23.

[462] Exod. 4 : 25, 26.

[463] See Fuerst’s _Heb. Chald. Lex._, s. v.

[464] See Deut. 22 : 13-21. To this day, in the East, an exhibit of
blood-stains, as the indubitable proof of a consummated covenant of
marriage, is common. See Niebuhr’s _Beschreibung von Arabien_, pp.
35-39; Burckhardt’s _Arabic Proverbs_, p. 140; Lane’s _Mod. Egypt._,
I., 221, note.

[465] See Lane, and Freytag, s. vv., _Khatan_, _Khatana_.

[466] Gen. 22 : 1, 2.

[467] “Heaven awaits not one who is destitute of a son,” say the
Brahmans (See page 194, _supra_). See, also, e. g., Thomson’s _Land
and Book_, I., 177; Roberts’s _Orient. Ill._, p. 53 f., Ginsburg’s
“Illustrations,” in _Bible Educator_, I., 30; Lane’s _Mod. Egypt._,
I., 68. Livingstone’s _Trav. and Res. in So. Af._, p. 140; Pierotti’s
_Cust. and Trad. of Pal._, pp. 177 f., 190 f.

[468] See illustrations of this error in Tylor’s _Prim. Cult._,
II., 403.

[469] See page 185 f., _supra_.

[470] See page 119 f., _supra_.

[471] See page 120, _supra_.

[472] See page 117, _supra_.

[473] See page 118 f., 120 f., _supra_.

[474] See discussions of this point, by Hengstenberg, Kurtz, Oehler,
Ewald, Kuenen, Lange, Keil and Delitzsch, Stanley, Mozeley, etc.

[475] John 15 : 13.

[476] Heb. 11 : 17-19.

[477] Gen. 22 : 15-18.

[478] James 2 : 21-23.

[479] See Exod. 4 : 9; 7 : 17-21.

[480] See Exod. 12 : 1-6.

[481] See a reference to a similar custom in China, at page 153,

[482] Exod. 12 : 7-13.

[483] See, again, at pages 154, _supra_.

[484] See page 7 f., _supra_.

[485] See page 81 f., _supra_. It is, indeed, by no means improbable,
that the Hebrew word tôtaphôth (טוֹטָפוֹת), translated “frontlets,” as
applied to the phylacteries was an Egyptian word. Its etymology has
been a puzzle to the critics.

[486] See Exod. 13 : 11-16.

[487] See references to _Zohar_, Pt. II., Fol. 2, by Farrar, in
Smith-Hackett’s _Bible Dictionary_, Art. “Frontlets.”

[488] Smith-Hackett’s _Bib. Dict._, Art. “Frontlets.”

[489] On this point I have the emphatic testimony of intelligent native
Syrians. “As I live, saith the Lord”--or more literally, “I, living,
saith the Lord.” “For when God made promise to Abraham, since he could
swear by no greater, he sware by himself”--by his life. (Comp.
Isa. 49: 18; Jer. 22 : 24; Ezek. 5 : 11; Heb. 6 : 13.)

[490] This also I am assured of, by native Syrians. One who had resided
in both Syria and Upper Egypt told me, that in Syria, in the rite of
blood-friendship, the blood is taken from the _arm_ as the symbol
of strength; while in portions of Africa where the legs are counted
stronger than the arms, through the training of the people as runners
rather than as burden-bearers, the _leg_ supplies the blood for this
rite (See reference to Stanley and Mirambo’s celebration of this rite
at pages 18-20, _supra_).

[491] See page 79, _supra_.

[492] See e. g. Gen. 14 : 22; Dan. 12 : 7. “It is an interesting fact,
that many of the images of the gods of the heathen have the right hand
lifted up.” (Roberts’s _Orient. Ill. of Scrip._, p. 20.)

[493] See Prov. 6 : 1; 11 : 15 (margin); 22 : 24-26.

[494] See page 47, _supra_.

[495] See Lepsius’s exemplar of the _Todtenbuch_; also Birch, in
Bunsen’s _Egypt’s Place_, V., 125.

[496] See Farrar’s article on “Frontlets,” in Smith-Hackett’s
_Bib. Dic._

[497] Joshua 2 : 18-20.

[498] See pages 93 f., _supra_.

[499] See Roberts’s _Orient. Ill. of Scrip._, p. 20.

[500] Lynd’s _Hist. of Dakotas_, p. 81.

[501] Bayard Taylor’s _India, China, and Japan_, p. 52.

[502] See _Home and Syn. of Mod. Jew_, p. 5.

[503] See Targum, in Buxtorf’s _Biblia Rabbinica_, in loco.

[504] See Jones’s _Credulities Past and Present_, p. 188.

[505] See _Kadesh Barnea_, p. 382, note.

[506] Heb. 9 : 19.

[507] See Exod. 24 : 1-11.

[508] Lev. 7 : 26.

[509] Lev. 17 : 10-12.

[510] Lev. 17 : 14.

[511] Rom. 6 : 23.

[512] Lev. 17 : 3-6.

[513] Comp. Heb. 13 : 20.

[514] Lev. 17 : 13.

[515] A traveler in Mauritius, describing a Hindoo sacrifice there, of
a he-goat, in fulfilment of a vow, says: “It was killed on soft ground,
where the blood would sink into the earth, and leave no trace” (Pike’s
_Sub-Tropical Rambles_, p. 223). See also page 109, _supra_.

[516] Rom. 5 : 12-21.

[517] See _Quarterly Statement_, of Pales. Expl. Fund, for July 1885,
pp. 197-207.

[518] _The Temple, Its Ministry and Services_, p. 88, f.

[519] _The Old Test. in the Jewish Church_, Notes on Lect. XII.

[520] See pages 11, 12, _supra_.

[521] Lev. 1 : 13, 17; 2 : 2, 12; 3 : 8, 26.

[522] _Christian Institutions_, Chap. 4.

[523] _The Temple, Its Min. and Serv._, p. 82.

[524] _The Temple, Its Min. and Serv._, p. 82.

[525] Lev. 4 : 7, 18, 25, 30, 34.

[526] Lev. 4 : 6, 7, 17; 16 : 14, 15.

[527] Lev. 1 : 5, 11, 15.

[528] Lev. 8 : 14-22; 9 : 8-22; 14 : 19, 20; 16 : 3-25.

[529] Edersheim’s _The Temple, Its Min. and Serv._, p. 100.

[530] “From its derivation it might also be rendered, the offering of
completion” (Edersheim’s _The Temple, Its Min. and Serv._, p. 106).

[531] See page 149, _supra_.

[532] Edersheim’s _The Temple, Its Min. and Serv._, p. 86.

[533] Psa. 16 : 4, 5.

[534] Heb. 9 : 8.

[535] Heb. 10 : 4.

[536] Psa. 50 : 7-17.

[537] Isaiah 1 : 11-17.

[538] Isa. 25 : 6.

[539] Jer. 7 : 21-23.

[540] Hosea 6 : 4-7.

[541] Deut. 10 : 14-16.

[542] Deut. 30 : 1-6.

[543] Gal. 3 : 7-9; Rom. 4 : 11, 12.

[544] Rom. 2 : 26-29; Phil. 3 : 3.

[545] Prov. 3 : 1-4.

[546] Prov. 7 : 2, 3.

[547] Jer. 31 : 31-34.

[548] Col. 2 : 17.

[549] Num. 35 : 12; Deut. 19 : 6, 12; Josh. 20 : 3, 5, 9.

[550] Num. 35 : 19, 21, 24, 25, 27; 2 Sam. 14 : 11.

[551] Job 19 : 25; Psa. 19 : 14; 78 : 35; Prov. 23 : 11; Isa. 41 : 14;
43 : 14; 44 : 6, 24; 47 : 4; 48 : 17; 49 : 7, 26; 54 : 5, 8; 59 : 20;
60 : 16; 63 : 16; Jer. 50 : 34.

[552] Comp. Isa. 51 : 10; Jer. 31 : 11.

[553] “A term of which the original import is uncertain. The very
obscurity of its etymology testifies to the antiquity of the office
which it denotes.” (_Speaker’s Com._ at Num. 35 : 12.)

[554] Cited from Herzog’s B. Cycl., in Keil and Delitzsch’s _Bib. Com.
on the Pent._, at Num. 35 : 9-34.

[555] See Niebuhr’s _Beschreibung von Arabien_, p. 32 f.; Burckhardt’s
_Beduinen und Wahaby_, pp. 119-127; Lane’s _Thousand and One Nights_,
I., 431, note; Pierotti’s _Customs and Traditions of Palestine_, pp.
220-227; Mrs. Finn’s “The Fellaheen of Palestine,” in _Surv. of West
Pal._, “Special Papers,” pp. 342-346.

[556] Comp. Exod. 21 : 18-27; 22 : 14-17; Lev. 27 : 1-8.

[557] Num. 36 : 30-34.

[558] Sooras, 2 and 17.

[559] Livingstone and Stanley on several occasions, made payments, or
had them made, to avoid a conflict on a question of blood. See, e. g.
_Trav. and Res. in So. Africa_, pp. 390, 368-370, 482 f., _The Congo_,
I., 520-527.

[560] _Reise in Hadhramaut_, p. 199.

[561] _Surv. of West. Pal._, “Special Papers,” p. 342.

[562] _A Pilgrimage to Mec. and Med._, 357.

[563] _Cust. and Trad. of Pal._, p. 221.

[564] _A Pilgrimage_, p. 367.

[565] See pages 126-133, _supra_.

[566] See page 132 f., _supra_.

[567] Pierotti’s _Cust. and Trad. of Pal._, p. 216.

[568] Comp. Gen. 15 : 18; Jer. 34 : 18; 2 Sam. 12 : 17.

[569] See Gesenius, Fuerst, Cocceius, s. v.

[570] Gen. 21 : 22-24.

[571] See pages 14, 16, 20, 22, 25, 27, etc., _supra_.

[572] See page 47, _supra_.

[573] Gen. 21 : 31.

[574] Comp. Gen. 31 : 44-47.

[575] Gen. 21 : 30.

[576] See page 53, _supra_.

[577] Gen. 21 : 33.

[578] See references to the blood-stained covenant-tree, in Appendix,

[579] Gen. 22 : 18.

[580] See page 61 f., _supra_.

[581] Gen. 26 : 25-29.

[582] Gen. 26 : 30, 31.

[583] See page 62, _supra_.

[584] Comp. Gen. 12 : 6-8; 28 : 18-22; 31 : 19-36.

[585] Mr. Forbes tells of a custom, in Sumatra, of taking a binding
oath, above the grave of the original patriarch of the Passumah. An
animal is sacrificed, cut into small pieces, and cooked in a pot.
“Then he who is to take the oath, holding his hand, or a long kriss
of the finest sort, over the grave-stone, and over the cooked animal,
says: ‘If such and such be not the case, may I be afflicted with the
worst evils.’ The whole of the company then partake of the food” (_A
Naturalist’s Wanderings_, p. 198 f.). This seems to be a vestige of the
primitive custom of eating on the witness-heap of an oath.

[586] Gen. 31 : 44-54.

[587] 1 Sam. 18 : 1-3.

[588] See pages 14, 24, 28, 35 f., 62, _supra_.

[589] 1 Sam. 18 : 4; 20 : 1-13.

[590] 1 Sam. 19 : 1-7.

[591] 2 Sam. 1 : 26.

[592] See pages 10, 53, _supra_.

[593] 1 Sam. 20 : 13-17.

[594] 2 Sam. 7 : 1; 9 : 1.

[595] 2 Sam. 9 : 2-13.

[596] Heb. 10 : 1-4.

[597] Rom. 8 : 22.

[598] Rom. 8 : 32.

[599] Heb. 13 : 20.

[600] Comp. John 1 : 1-14; Heb. 1 : 1-3; 2 : 14-16.

[601] Gen. 21 : 12; Heb. 11 : 18.

[602] 1 Pet. 1 : 20.

[603] Rev. 13 : 8.

[604] See page 250, _supra_, note (footnote 530).

[605] Heb. 10 : 5-9.

[606] John 6 : 53-58.

[607] John 6 : 63.

[608] John 6 : 60.

[609] John 6 : 60.

[610] Heb. 1 : 14-16.

[611] Gal. 3 : 6-9, 16, 29.

[612] Keble.

[613] “In the garden of Gethsemane, Christ endured mental agony so
intense that, had it not been limited by divine interposition, it
would probably have destroyed his life without the aid of any other
sufferings; but having been thus mitigated, its effects were confined
to violent palpitation of the heart accompanied with bloody sweat....
Dr. Millingen’s explanation of bloody sweat ... is judicious. ‘It is
probable,’ says he, ‘that this strange disorder arises from a violent
commotion of the nervous system, turning the streams of blood out of
their natural course, and forcing the red particles into the cutaneous
excretories.’” (Stroud’s _Physical Cause of the Death of Christ_, pp.
74, 380).

[614] Luke 22 : 44.

[615] John 13 : 1.

[616] Luke 22 : 14, 15.

[617] As to the points in this dispute, see Andrews’s _Life of our
Lord_, pp. 425-460, and Farrar’s _Life of Christ_, Excursus X.,

[618] Matt. 26 : 26.

[619] Luke 22 : 19, 20.

[620] Mark 14 : 23.

[621] Matt. 26 : 27, 28.

[622] Luke 22 : 20.

[623] Matt. 26 : 28.

[624] 1 Cor. 11 : 25.

[625] Mark 14 : 23.

[626] John 15 : 13-15.

[627] John 15 : 4-7.

[628] John 17 : 1-24.

[629] 2 Tim. 1 : 10.

[630] Heb. 9 : 16, 17.

[631] John 15 : 13.

[632] John 10 : 10, 18.

[633] John 6 : 51.

[634] John 6 : 55.

[635] See Matt. 27 : 33-54; Mark 15 : 22-39; Luke 23 : 33-47; John 19 :

[636] “He was ultimately ‘slain,’ not by the effects of the anguish
of his corporeal frame, but by the effects of the mightier anguish of
his mind; the fleshy walls of his heart--like the veil, as it were,
in the temple of his human body--becoming rent and riven, as, for us,
‘he poured out his soul unto death.’” (Sir James Y. Simpson, cited in
Appendix to Stroud’s _Physical Cause of Death of Christ_.)

[637] Isa. 53 : 12.

[638] Comp. Rom. 6 : 23; 1 Pet. 3 : 18; Isa. 53 : 4-6.

[639] 1 John 5 : 11, 12.

[640] Lev. 17 : 11.

[641] Lev. 17 : 14.

[642] See pages 116-125.

[643] Eph. 1 : 7.

[644] 1 John 1 : 7.

[645] Rev. 1 : 5.

[646] 2 Cor. 5 : 17.

[647] Col. 3 : 3.

[648] 1 John 5 : 20.

[649] 1 John 5 : 13.

[650] John 20 : 31.

[651] Rom. 5 : 8-12.

[652] 2 Pet. 1 : 4.

[653] Gal. 2 : 20.

[654] John 5 : 26.

[655] Col. 1 : 19, 20.

[656] Eph. 2 : 11-16.

[657] Col. 2 : 9-11.

[658] Gal. 3 : 28, 29.

[659] Heb. 10 : 14-22.

[660] See page 167 ff., _supra_.

[661] Comp. Heb. 9 : 24-28; 10 : 10.

[662] Heb. 10 : 28, 29.

[663] The Covenant of Bread and the Covenant of Blood are two distinct
covenants, in Oriental practice as well as in biblical teaching;
although this difference has been strangely overlooked by biblical
students in the realm of Orientalisms. The Covenant of Bread is
temporary; the Covenant of Blood is permanent. The one secures a
truce; the other secures a vital union. Symbolically, the one gives
nourishment; the other gives life. The Covenant of Bread is an
exhibit and a pledge of hospitality, and it brings one into family or
tribal relations with those proffering it. The Covenant of Blood is
immediately personal and individual. There seems to be an unconscious
trace of this distinction in the refusal of the Romish Church to
include the laity in the symbolizing of the Covenant of Blood, at the
Lord’s table.

[664] 1 Cor. 10 : 14-17.

[665] Heb. 13 : 20, 21.




It seems strange that a primitive rite like the blood-covenant, with
its world-wide sweep, and its manifold applications to the history of
sacrifice, should have received so little attention from students of
the latter theme. Nor has it been entirely ignored by them; although
its illustrations have, in this connection, been drawn almost entirely
from the field of the classic writers, where its religious aspects
have a minor prominence; and, as a result, the suggestion of any real
importance in the religious symbolism of this rite has been, generally,
brushed aside without its receiving due consideration.

Thus, in The Speaker’s Commentary,--which is one of the more recent,
and more valuable, scholarly and sensible compends of sound and
thorough biblical criticism,--there are references to the rite of human
blood-covenanting in its possible bearing on the blood-covenanting
of God with Israel before Mount Sinai,[666] after this sort: “The
instances from classical antiquity, adduced, as parallels to this
sacrifice of Moses, by Bähr, Knobel, and Kalisch, in which animals
were slaughtered on the making of covenants, are either, those in
which the animal was slain to signify the punishment due to the party
that might break the covenant (Hom. _Il._, III., 298; XIX., 252; Liv.
_Hist._, I., 24; XXI., 45); those in which confederates dipped their
hands, or their weapons, in the same blood (Æsch. _Sept. c. Theb._,
43; Xenoph. _Anab._, II., 2, § 9); or those in which the contracting
parties tasted each other’s blood (Herodot. [_Hist._] I., 74; IV., 74;
Tac. _Annal._, XII., 47). All these usages are based upon ideas which
are but very superficially related to the subject; they have indeed no
true connection whatever with the idea of sacrifice as the seal of a
covenant between God and man.”[667]

When the entire history of man’s outreaching after an inter-union of
natures with his fellow-man and with his God, is fairly studied, in the
light thrown on it by the teachings of the divine-human Being, who gave
of his own blood for the consummation of the longed-for divine-human
inter-union, it will be more clearly seen, whether it were the relation
of the primitive rite itself to the idea of sacrifice, or the study of
that relation, which was “very superficial,” as a cause of its popular

The closest and most sacred form of covenant ever known in the
primitive world, was that whereby two persons covenanted to become one,
through being partakers of the same blood. At Sinai, when Jehovah would
covenant with Israel, a common supply of substitute blood--proffered
by Israel and accepted by Jehovah--was taken; and one-half of it was
cast upon the altar, Godward, while the other half of it was cast
Israelward, upon the people.[668] The declaration of Moses to Israel,
then, was: “Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made
with you;” or, as that declaration is repeated, in Hebrews: “This is
the blood of the covenant which God covenanted to you-ward.”[669] And
from that time forward, the most sacred possession of Israel,--above
which hovered the visible sign of the presence of Jehovah,--was the
casket which contained the record of that blood-made covenant; and it
was toward the mercy-seat cover of that Covenant Casket, that House of
the Covenant, that the symbolic blood of atonement through new life
was sprinkled, in the supreme renewals of that covenant by Israel’s
representative year by year.

Even the Speaker’s Commentary says, of this mutual blood-sharing by
Israel and Jehovah at Sinai: “The blood thus divided between the two
parties to the covenant signified the sacramental union between the
Lord and his people.”[670] Of the blood which was to be poured out on
Calvary, Jesus said: “This is my blood of the [new] covenant, which
is shed for many.”[671] And of the sacramental union which could be
secured, between his trustful disciples and himself, by tasting his
blood, and by being nourished on his flesh, he said: “Except ye eat
the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, ye have not life
in yourselves. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath
eternal life.”[672] It really looks as if there were more than a
superficial relation between the fact of an absolute inter-union of
two natures through an inter-flow of a common life, in the rite of
blood-covenanting, and the sacramental union between the Lord and his
people, which was typified in the blood-covenant at Sinai, and which
was consummated in the blood-covenant at Calvary.

Herbert Spencer, indeed, seems to have a clearer conception than the
Speaker’s Commentary, of the relation of human blood-covenanting,
to the inter-union of those in the flesh, with spiritual beings. He
perceives that the primitive offerings of blood over the dead, from
the living person, are, in some cases, “explicable as arising from
the practice of establishing a sacred bond between living persons by
partaking of each other’s blood: the derived conception being, that
those who give some of their blood to the ghost of a man just dead
and lingering near [and of course, the principle is the same when the
offering of blood is to the gods, thereby] effect with it a union,
which on the one side implies submission, and on the other side
friendliness.”[673] This admission by Mr. Spencer covers the essential
point in the argument of this entire volume.


Among all primitive peoples, the blood has been deemed the
representative of life. The giving of blood has been counted the
giving of life. The receiving of blood has been counted the receiving
of life. The sharing of blood has been counted the sharing of life.
Hence, the blood has always been counted the chief thing in any
sacrificial victim proffered to the gods; and whatever was sought
through sacrifice, was to be obtained by means of the blood of the
offering. Even though no specific reference to the blood be found in
the preserved descriptions of one of the earlier sacrifices,--as, for
example, the Akkadian sacrifice of the first-born (page 166, _supra_),
the very fact that the offering made was of a _life_, and that _blood_
was recognized as life, is in itself the proof that it was the blood
which gave the offering its value.

Sir Gardiner Wilkinson, who was thoroughly familiar with both Egyptian
and biblical antiquities, was impressed by the “striking resemblance”
of many of the religious rites of the Jews to those of Egypt,
“particularly the manner in which the sacrifices were performed;”[674]
and he points out the Egyptian method of so slaying the sacrificial
ox, that its blood should be fully discharged from the body; a point
which was deemed of such importance in the Jewish ritual.[675] Of
the illustration of this ceremony given by Wilkinson from an ancient
Egyptian painting,[676] the Speaker’s Commentary says: “There is no
reason to doubt that this picture accurately represents the mode
pursued in the court of the [Jewish] Tabernacle.”[677]

Almost as universal as the recognition of the life in the blood,
has been the identification of the heart as the blood-centre and
the blood-fountain, and so as the epitome of the life itself. Says
Pierret,[678] the French Egyptologist, concerning the preeminence
given to the heart, by the ancient Egyptians: “The heart was embalmed
separately in a vase placed under the guardianship of the genius
Duaoumautew [rather, Tuau-mut-ef, or, Reverencer of his Mother. ‘My
heart was my mother.’ See page 99, _supra_] without doubt because this
organ, indispensable to the resurrection, could not be replaced in the
body of a man, until it had been weighed in the scale of the balance
of the Osirian judgment (_Todtenbuch_, cxxv.); where representing the
acts of the dead, it ought to make equilibrium with the statue of the
goddess Truth [Maat]. (See the framed papyri in the funereal hall
of the Museum of the Louvre.) Indeed the favorable sentence is thus
formulated: ‘It is permitted that his heart be in its place.’ It is
said to Setee I., in the temple of Abydos: ‘I bring thee thy heart to
thy breast; I put it in its place.’ The heart, principle of existence
and of regeneration, was symbolized by the scarabæus: it is for this
reason that the texts relative to the heart were inscribed upon the
funereal scarabæuses, which at a certain epoch were introduced into the
body of the mummy itself, to replace the absent organ.”

The idea that the heart is in itself life, and that it can even live
apart from the body, is found all the world over. References to it in
ancient Egypt, in India, and in primitive America, have already been
pointed out (pages 100-110, _supra_). It shows itself, likewise, in the
folk-lore of the Arctic regions, and of South Africa, as well as of
the Norseland. In a Samoyed tale, “seven brothers are in the habit of
taking out their hearts and sleeping without them. A captive damsel,
whose mother they have killed, receives the extracted hearts, and hangs
them on the tent-pole, where they remain till the following morning.
One night her brother contrives to get the hearts into his possession.
Next morning, he takes them into the tent, where he finds the brothers
at the point of death. In vain do they beg for their hearts, which he
flings on the floor. ‘And as he flings down the hearts, the brothers
die.’”[679] According to a Hottentot story, “the heart of a girl, whom
a lion has killed and eaten, is extracted from the lion, and placed
in a calabash filled with milk [the ‘heart’ and ‘milk’; or blood and
bread, life and its nourishment (See pages 10-12, 261 f., _supra_)].
‘The calabash increased in size; and, in proportion to this, the girl
grew again inside [of] it.’”[680] “In a Norse story, a giant’s heart
lies in an egg, inside a duck, which swims in a well, in a church,
on an island;”[681] and this story is found in variations in other
lands.[682] So, again, in a “Russian story, a prince is grievously
tormented by a witch who has got hold of his heart, and keeps it
perpetually seething in a magic cauldron.”[683]

This same idea is found in the nomenclature of the Bible, and in the
every day speech of the civilized world of the present age. In more
than nine hundred instances, in our common English Bible, the Hebrew or
the Greek word for “heart,” as a physical organ, is applied to man’s
personality; as if it were, in a sense, synonymous with his life, his
self, his soul, his nature. In every phase of man’s character, of
man’s needs, or of man’s experiences, “heart” is employed by us as
significant of his innermost and realest self. He is “hard-hearted,”
“tender-hearted,” “warm-hearted,” “cold-hearted,” “hearty,” or
“heartless.” His words and his conduct are “heart-touching,”
“heart-cheering,” “heart-searching,” “heart-piercing,”
“heart-thrilling,” “heart-soothing,” or “heart-rending;” and they are a
cause, in others, of “heart-burning,” “heart-aching,” “heart-easing,”
or “heart-expanding.” At times, his “heart is set upon” an object of
longing, or again “his heart is in his mouth” because of his excited
anxiety. It may be, that he shows that “his heart is in the right
place,” or that “his heart is at rest” at all times. The truest union
of two young lives, is where “the heart goes with the hand” in the
marriage covenant.

And so, all the world over, from the beginning, primitive man, in the
lowest state of savagery and in the highest stage of civilization,
has been accustomed to recognize the truth, and to employ the
symbolisms of speech, which are in accordance with the latest advances
of physiological and psychological science, and with the highest
spiritual conceptions of biblical truth, in our nineteenth Christian
century, concerning the mental, the moral, and the religious needs and
possibilities of the human race. Man as he is needs a “new heart,” a
new nature, a new life; and that need can be supplied by the Author
of life, through that regeneration which is indicated, and which, in
a sense, is realized in new blood which is pure at the start, and
which purifies by its purging inflow. The recognition of this truth,
and the outreaching of man in its direction, are at the basis of all
forms of sacrifice in all the ages. And this wonderful attainment of
primitive man everywhere, we are asked to accept as man’s mere natural
inheritance from the sensory quiverings of his ancestral tadpole!

“The knowledge of the ancients on the subject [of blood as the synonym
of life] may, indeed, have been based on the mere observation that an
animal loses its life when it loses its blood,” says the Speaker’s
Commentary. But it does seem a little strange, that none of the
ancients ever observed that man is very liable to lose his life when
he loses his _brains_, and that few animals are actively efficient for
practical service without a _head_; whereas both men and the lower
animals do lose _blood_ freely without death resulting.

It is true that in many parts of the world the _liver_ was made
prominent as seemingly a synonym of life; but this was obviously
because of the popular belief that the liver was itself a mass of
coagulated blood. The idea seems to have been that as the heart was
the blood-fountain, the liver was the blood-cistern; and that, as the
source of life (or of blood, which life is,) was at the heart; so,
the great receptacle of life, or of blood, was the liver. Thus, in
the classic myth of Prometheus, the avenging eagle of Jupiter is not
permitted to gnaw upon the life-giving heart itself of the tortured
victim, but upon the compacted body of life in the captive’s liver; the
fountain of life is not to be destroyed, but the cistern of life is
to be emptied daily of all that it had received from the out-flowing
heart during the preceding night. And in the symbolism of these two
organs, the ancients seem to have been agreed, that “The heart is the
seat of the soul [thumos (θυμός) the nobler passions]; the liver [is
the seat] of desire;”[684] or, as again it is phrased, “The seat of
the soul is unquestionably the heart, even as the liver is the seat of

Burton has called attention to the fact that among the Arabs, “the
liver and the spleen are both supposed to be ‘congealed blood,’” and
that the Bed´ween of the Hejaz justify their eating of locusts, which
belong to an “unclean” class of animals, and of liver which represents
forbidden blood, by this couplet:

   “We are allowed two carrions, and two bloods,
    The fish and locust, the liver and the spleen.”[686]

He has also noted that the American Indian partakes of the liver, as
well as of the heart of a fallen enemy, in order to the assimilating of
the enemy’s life;[687] and he finds many correspondences between the
desert dwellers of America and of Arabia. “The [American] ‘brave,’” he
says, “stamps a red hand upon his mouth to show that he has drunk the
blood of a foe. Of the Utaybah ‘Harami,’ it is similarly related, that
after mortal combat, he tastes the dead man’s gore.”[688]

Even in modern English, the word “liver” has been thought by many to
represent “life” or “blood.” Thus, in one of our dictionaries we are
told that the word is derived from the Anglo-Saxon and the Scandinavian
verb “to live,” “because [the liver is] of so great importance to
_life_, or animal vitality.”[689] In another, its derivation is
ascribed to _lopper_, and _lapper_, “to coagulate,” “from its
resemblance to a mass of clotted blood.”[690]

Among the aborigines of America the prominence given to the blood
and to the heart was as great, and as distinctly marked, as among
the peoples of ancient Egypt, or any other portion of the far East.
This truth has been brought out most fully by the valuable personal
researches of Mr. Frank H. Cushing, of the Smithsonian Institution,
into the mythology and sociology of the Zuñis of New Mexico. From his
reports it would appear that, according to the priests of that people,
“all true fetiches [or, material symbols of spiritual existences] are
either actual petrifactions of the animals they represent, or were such
originally”--according as the present form of the fetish is natural,
or is mechanically fashioned. These rude stone images of the animals
of prey, “which are of course mere concretions or strangely eroded
rock forms,” are supposed to be the shriveled and distorted remains of
beings which were long ago turned to stone. Within these fetishes the
_heart_ of the original animal still exists; (“his heart still lives,
even though his person be changed to stone”;) and it needs for its
sustenance the blood, or the “life fluid,” of the game which was, from
the beginning, the ordinary prey of that animal. Hence each fetish is
pleased to hear the prayers and to give success to the hunting of its
present possessor, in order to the obtaining of the life fluid which is
essential to its nourishing.

These prey fetishes of the Zuñis belong to the Prey-God Brotherhood,
and when not in use they are guarded by the “Keeper of the Medicine
of the Deer.” Before they are employed in a hunt, there is an
assembly for their worship; and, after ceremonial prayer to them for
their assistance, they are taken out for service by members of the
Brotherhood to which they belong. “The fetich is then placed in a
little crescent-shaped bag of buckskin which the hunter wears suspended
over the left breast (or, heart) by a buckskin thong, which is tied
above the right shoulder.” When the trail of the animal hunted is
discovered by the hunter, he finds a place where the animal has lain
down, and there he makes an oblation by depositing his offering “in
exactly the spot over which the heart of the animal is supposed to have
rested.” Then he brings out his fetish and with certain ceremonies and
invocations he puts it on the track of the prey.

“As soon as the animal is dead, he [the hunter] lays open its viscera,
cuts through the diaphragm, and makes an incision in the aorta, or in
the sac which incloses the heart. He then takes out [of its bag] the
prey fetich, breathes on it, and addresses it thus: ... ‘Si! My father,
this day of the blood [literally of the ‘life fluid’] of a game-being,
thou shalt drink, ([shalt] water thyself). With it thou shalt enlarge
(add unto) thy heart.’ He then dips the fetich into the blood which the
sac still contains, continuing meanwhile the prayer, as follows: ...
‘Likewise, I, a “done” being [a living human being], with the blood
[the “life-fluid,” which is] the flesh of a raw being (game animal),
shall enlarge (add unto) my heart.’ Which [prayer] finished, he scoops
up, with his hand, some of the blood and sips it; then tearing forth
the _liver_, ravenously devours a part of it [as the blood-flesh, or,
the blood which is the flesh], and exclaims, ‘_É-lah-kwá!_’ (Thanks).”
After all this, he deposits a portion of the clot of blood from within
the heart, commingled with various articles, in a grave digged on the
spot where the animal has died; repeating, as he does this, a prayer
which seems to show his belief that the slain animal still lives in
this buried heart-blood. Again, when the game is at the hunter’s home,
the women “lay on either side of its body, next to the heart, an ear
of corn (significant of renewed life), and say prayers” over it.
Finally “the fetich is returned to the Keeper of the Deer Medicine,
with thanksgiving and a prayer, not unlike that uttered on taking it

In these ceremonies, it is evident that the Zuñis, like the Orientals,
recognize the blood as the life, the heart as the epitome of life, the
liver as a congealed mass of blood, and the transference of blood as
the transference of life. Moreover, there is here a trace of that idea
of the revivifying, by blood-bathing, of a being that had turned into
stone; which is found in the legends of Arabia, and of the Norseland
(See page 119 f., _supra_). Is there not, indeed, a reference to this
world-wide figure of the living stone, in the Apostle’s suggestion,
that those who were counted as worthless stones by an ignorant world
are vivified by the renewing blood of Christ, and so are shown to be
a holy people? “As new born babes [renewed by the blood of Christ],
long for the spiritual milk [the means of sacred nourishment] which
is without guile, that ye may grow thereby unto salvation; if ye
have tasted that the Lord is gracious [if, indeed, ye have been made
alive by the touch of his blood]: unto whom coming, [unto Him who is]
a Living Stone rejected indeed of men, but with God [who knows the
possibilities of that Stone], precious,--ye also, as living stones [as
new blood-vivified petrifactions], are built up a spiritual house, to
be a holy priesthood, to offer up holy sacrifices, acceptable to God
through Jesus Christ.”[692]

There is another gleam of this idea of the stones vivified by blood,
in a custom reported from among the Indians of British Columbia, in
a private letter written by a careful observer of Indian habits and
ceremonies. When the Indian girls arrived at the years of womanhood
they were accustomed, there as in many other parts of the world, to
pass through a formal initiation into a new stage of existence. Going
apart by themselves, at some distance from their settlements, they
would lacerate their bodies, in order that blood might flow freely;
and, laying a series of stones in a row, they would walk over them,
allowing their blood to fall upon them. The young woman who could cover
the largest number of stones with her blood, had the fairest prospect
in life, in the line of a woman’s peculiar mission. This certainly
would be a not unnatural thought as an outgrowth of the belief that
stones anointed with freely surrendered blood, can be made to have
life in themselves.

It is much the same in war as in the hunt, among the Zuñis. “As with
the hunter, so with the warrior; the fetich is fed on the life-blood
of the slain.”[693] And here, again, is a link of connection between
cannibalism and religious worship. Another illustration of the
preeminence given to the heart, as the epitome of the very being
itself, is the fact that the animals pictured on the pottery of these
people, and of neighboring peoples, commonly had the rude conventional
figure of a heart represented in its place on each animal; as if to
show that the animal was living, and that it had a living soul.[694]

At the other side of the world, as it were, in Borneo, there is given
similar preeminence, as among the Zuñis, to the blood as the life,
to the liver as a representative of blood, and to the heart as the
epitome of the life. “The principal sacrifice of the Sakarang Dayaks,”
says Mr. St. John, “is killing a pig and examining its _heart_, which
is supposed to foretell events with the utmost certainty.” This
custom seems to have grown out of the idea that the heart of any God
devoted organism, as the embodiment of its life is closely linked
with the Author of all life; who is the Disposer of all events. A
human heart is naturally deemed preferable to a pig’s; but the latter
is the common substitute for the former. Yet, “not many years ago,”
one of the Sakarang chiefs put to death a lad “of his own race,”
remarking, as he did so: “It has been our custom heretofore to examine
the heart of a pig, but now we will examine a human one.”[695] The
Kayans, again, examine “the _heart_ and _liver_,” as preliminary to
covenant-making.[696] Among the Dayaks, the blood of a fowl sacrificed
by one who is supposed to be in favor with the gods, has peculiar
potency when sprinkled upon “the lintels of the doors.”[697] And a
house will be deserted by its Dayak inhabitants, “if a drop of blood be
seen sprinkled on the floor, unless they can prove whence it came.”[698]

An incidental connection of this recognition of the blood as the
life, with the primitive rite of blood covenanting, is seen in one
form of the marriage rite among the Dayaks.[699]--In the rite of
blood-covenanting itself, as consummated between Mr. St. John and
Siñgauding, a cigarette stained with the blood of the covenanting
parties was smoked by them mutually (See page 51, _supra_). In the
marriage covenant, a cigar and betel leaf prepared with the areca nut
are put first into the mouth of the bride by the bridegroom, and then
into the mouth of the bridegroom by the bride; while two fowls are
waved over their heads by a priest, and then killed; their blood being
“caught in two cups” for examination, instead of for drinking.[700]

So, whether it be the heart as the primal fountain of blood, or
the liver as the great receptacle of blood, or the blood itself in
its supposed outflowing from the heart through the liver, that is
made prominent in the rites and teachings of primitive peoples, the
root-idea is still the same,--that “as to the life of all flesh, the
blood thereof is all one with the life thereof;”[701] and that as a
man is in his blood, so he is in his nature; that his “good blood” or
“his bad blood,” his “hot blood” or his “cold blood,” will be evidenced
in his daily walk; for that which shows out in his outer life is “in
the blood” which is his inner life; and that in order to a change of
his nature there must in some way be a change of his blood. Hence, the
universal outreaching of the race after new blood which is new life.
Hence, the provisions of God for new life through that blood which is
the Life.


A belief in the transmigration of souls, from man to the lower animals,
and _vice versâ_, has been found among various peoples, in all the
historic ages. The origin of this belief has been a puzzling question
to rationalistic myth-students. Starting out, as do most of these
students, with the rigid theory that man worked himself slowly upward
from the lowest savagery, without any external revelation, they are
confronted with primitive customs on every side which go to show a
popular belief in soul-transmigration, and which they must try to
account for within the limits of their unproven theory. The result is,
that they first presuppose some conception in the primitive man’s mind
of spiritual things, and then they conveniently refer all confusing
facts to that presupposed conception. “Animism” is one of the pet
names for this resolvent of grave difficulties. And when “Animism”
is supplemented by “Fetishism,” “Zoolatry,” and “Totemism,” the
requisite number of changes is secured for the meeting of any number of
perplexing facts in the religious belief of primitive man everywhere.

As a matter of simple fact, man’s conception of spiritual existences
is not accounted for by the “scientists.” And the claim that such
a conception was innate in primitive man, or that it was a natural
growth in man’s unaided progress, is at the best but an unproved
theory. In the early part of this century, there were thousands of
deaf-mutes in the United States, who had never been educated by the
system which is now so effective for that class in the community. This
gave a rare opportunity of learning the normal spiritual attainments
of unsophisticated man; of man uninfluenced by external revelation or
traditions. Nor was this opportunity unimproved for a good purpose.
When the Rev. Thomas H. Gallaudet (himself a philosophical scientist)
introduced the system of deaf-mute instruction into this country, he
made a careful examination into the intelligence of all the deaf mutes
brought under his care, on this point of spiritual conceptions. His
declaration was, that he never found a person who, prior to specific
instruction, had any conception of the nature or the existence of God.
A single illustration of Mr. Gallaudet’s experiences in this line will
suffice for the entire series of them. A young girl of sixteen years of
age, or so, who proved to be of far more than ordinary intelligence and
mental capacity, had been brought up in a New England Christian home.
She had been accustomed to bow her head when grace was said at the
daily meals, to kneel in family prayer, and to attend church regularly,
from early childhood; yet she had no idea of God, no thought of
spiritual existences of any sort whatsoever, until she was instructed
in those things, in the line of her new education.[702] A writer on
this subject, who differed with Mr. Gallaudet in his conclusions from
these facts, added: “This testimony is confirmed by that of all the
teachers of the deaf and dumb, and the fact must be admitted.”[703]
Until some human being can be found with a conception of spiritual
existences, without his having received instruction on that point from
those who went before him, the claim--in the face of such facts as
these--that primitive man ever obtained his spiritual knowledge or his
spiritual conceptions from within himself alone, or without an external
revelation to him, is an unscientific assumption, in the investigation
of the origin of religions in the world.

But, with man’s conception of spiritual things, already existing[704]
(however he came by it), and with the existing belief that the blood
is the life, or the soul, or the nature, of an organism, the idea of
the transmigration of souls as identical with the transference of
blood, is a very natural corollary. The blood being the life, or the
soul, of man and of beast, if the blood of man passes into the body
of a beast, or the blood of a beast passes into the body of a man, why
should it not be inferred that the soul of the man, or of the beast,
transmigrated accordingly? If the Hindoo, believing that the blood of
man is the soul of man, sees the blood of a man drunk up by a tiger,
is it strange that he should look upon that tiger as having within him
the soul of the Hindoo, which has been thus appropriated? If the South
African supposes that, by his drinking the blood or eating the heart of
a lion, he appropriates the lion’s courage,[705] is it to be wondered
at that when he sees a lion licking the blood and eating the heart of a
South African, he should infer that the lion is thereby the possessor
of whatever was distinctive in the Zulu, or the Hottentot, personality?

Indeed, as has been already stated, in the body of this work, there
is still a question among physiologists, how far the transference of
_blood_ from one organism to another carries a transmigration of _soul_
(of the _psyche_, not of the _pneuma_).[706] However this may be, the
popular belief in such transmigration is fully accounted for, by the
recognized conviction that the blood is the soul.

In this view of the case, there is an added force in the Mosaic
prohibition--repeated as it is in the Apostolic Encyclical--of the
eating, or drinking, of the blood of the lower animals; with the
possibility of thereby being made a partaker of the lower animal
nature. And what fresh potency is given to Elijah’s prophecy against
Ahab and Jezebel, by this conception of the transference of nature
by the transference of blood! “Thus saith the Lord [to Ahab] Hast
thou killed [Hast thou taken the blood of Naboth?], and also taken
possession [of Naboth’s vineyard]?... Thus saith the Lord, In the place
where dogs licked the blood of Naboth, shall dogs lick thy blood, even
thine.... And of Jezebel also spake the Lord, saying, The dogs shall
eat Jezebel by the ramparts of Jezreel.” The blood, the life, the soul
of royalty, shall become a portion of the very life of the prowling
scavenger dogs of the royal city. And it came to pass accordingly, to
both Ahab and Jezebel.[707]


Mention is made, in the text of this volume,[708] of the fact that
the primitive rite of blood-covenanting is in practice all along the
Chinese border of the Burman Empire. In illustration of this truth, the
following description of the rite and its linkings, is given by the
Rev. R. M. Luther, of Philadelphia, formerly a missionary among the
Karens, in Burmah. This interesting sketch was received, in its present
form, at too late a date for insertion in its place in the text; hence
its appearance here.

“The blood-covenant is well known, and commonly practised among the
Karens of Burmah. There are three methods of making brotherhood, or
truce, between members of one tribe and those of another.

“The first is the common method of eating together. This, however, is
of but little binding force, being a mere agreement to refrain from
hostilities for a limited time, and the truce thus made is liable to be
broken at the briefest notice.

“The second method is that of planting a tree. The parties to this
covenant select a young and vigorous sapling, plant it with certain
ceremonies, and covenant with each other to keep peace so long as the
tree lives. A covenant thus made is regarded as of greater force than
that effected or sealed by the first method.

“The third method is that of the blood-covenant, properly so-called.
In this covenant the chief stands as the representative of the tribe,
if it be a tribal agreement; or, the father as the representative
of the family, if it be a more limited covenant. The ceremonies are
public and solemn. The most important act is, of course, the mingling
of the blood. Blood is drawn from the thigh of each of the covenanting
parties, and mingled together. Then each dips his finger into the blood
and applies it to his lips. In some cases, it is said that the blood
is actually drunk; but the more common method is that of touching the
lips with the blood-stained finger.[709]

“This covenant is of the utmost force. It covers not merely an
agreement of peace, or truce, but also a promise of mutual assistance
in peace and in war. It also conveys to the covenanting parties mutual
tribal rites. If they are chiefs, the covenant embraces their entire
tribes. If one is a private individual, his immediate family and direct
descendants are included in the agreement.

“I never heard of the blood-covenant being broken. I do not remember
to have inquired particularly on this point, because the way in which
the blood-covenant was spoken of, always implied that its rupture was
an unheard-of thing. It is regarded as a perfectly valid excuse for any
amount of reckless devotion, or of unreasoning sacrifice on behalf of
another, for a Karen to say: ‘_Thui p’aw th’coh li_;’ literally, ‘The
blood,--we have drunk it together.’ An appeal for help on the basis of
the blood-covenant is never disregarded.

“A few of our missionaries have entered into the blood-covenant with
Karen tribes; though most have been deterred, either from never having
visited the ‘debatable land’ where the strong arm of British rule does
not reach, or else, as in most instances, from a repugnance to the
act by which the covenant is sealed. In one instance, at least, where
a missionary did enter into covenant with one of these tribes, the
agreement has been interpreted as covering not only his children, but
one who was so happy as to marry his daughter. In an enforced absence
of fifteen years from the scene of his early missionary labors nothing
has been at once so touching and so painful to the writer, as the
frequent messages and letters asking ‘When will you come back to _your
people_?’ Yet, mine is only the inherited right above mentioned.

“The blood-covenant gives even a foreigner every right which he would
have, if born a member of the tribe. As an instance, the writer once
shot a hawk in a Karen village, just as it was swooping down upon
a chicken. He was surprised to find, an half-hour afterward, that
his personal attendant, a straightforward Mountain Karen, had gone
through the village and ‘collected’ a fat hen from each house. When
remonstrated with, the mountaineer replied, ‘Why, Teacher, it is your
right,--that is our custom,--you are one of us. These people wouldn’t
understand it if I did not ask for a chicken from each house, when you
killed the hawk.’

“In the wilder Karen regions, it is almost impossible to travel unless
one is in blood-covenant with the chiefs, while on the other hand one
is perfectly safe, if in that covenant. The disregard of this fact has
cost valuable lives. When a stranger enters Karen territory, the chiefs
order the paths closed. This is done by tying the long elephant grass
across the paths. On reaching such a signal, the usual inquiry in the
traveling party is, ‘Who is in blood-covenant with this tribe?’ If
one is found, even among the lowest servants, his covenant covers the
party, on the way, as far as to the principal village or hill fortress.
The party goes into camp, and sends this man on as an ambassador.
Usually, guides are sent back to conduct the party at once to the
chief’s house. If no one is in covenant with the tribe, and the wisp of
grass is broken and the party passes on, the lives of the trespassers
are forfeited. A sudden attack in some defile, or a night surprise,
scatters the party and drives the survivors back the way they came.
It is said by the Karens that Mr. Cooper, the famous English explorer
of China and Thibet, was killed ‘because he had broken the grass.’ A
day’s delay for the blood-covenant would have saved his life, and given
him time to complete his most important labors. The men who killed him
would have been his devoted body-guard, ready and willing to give their
lives in defence of his. If the Karen account of his death is true, it
is most unfortunate that he entered the Karen country from China (where
the blood-covenant does not now prevail), and so was ignorant of the
fact that by so slight a concession to Karen custom he could obtain a
guarantee of safe conduct for at least a thousand miles.”

Another account of the blood-covenant rite in Burmah is kindly
furnished to me, by the Rev. Dr. M. H. Bixby, of Providence, Rhode
Island; who was also for some years a missionary among the Karens. He

“In my first journey over the mountains of Burmah, into Shanland,
toward Western China, I passed through several tribes of wild Karens
among whom the practice of ‘covenanting by blood’ prevailed.

“‘If you mean what you say,’ said the old chief of the Gecho tribe to
me, referring to my professions of friendship, ‘You will drink truth
with me.’ ‘Well, what is drinking truth?’ I said. In reply, he said:
‘This is our custom. Each chief pierces his arm--draws blood--mingles
it in a vessel with whisky, and drinks of it; both promising to be true
and faithful to each other, down to the seventh generation.’

“After the chiefs had drunk of the mingled blood and whisky, each one
of their followers drunk of it also, and were thereby included in the
covenant of friendship.

“A company of Shans laid a plot to kill me and my company in Shanland,
for the purpose of plunder. They entered into covenant with each other
by drinking the blood of their leader mingled with whisky, or a kind of
beer made from rice.

“Those wild mountain tribes have strange traditions which indicate that
they once had the Old Testament Scriptures, although now they have no
written language. Some of the Karen tribes have a written language,
given them by the missionaries.

“The covenant, also, exists in modified forms, in which the blood is


In various parts of the East, a _tree_ is given prominence in the
rite of blood-covenanting. In Burmah, as above shown, one mode of
covenanting is by the mutual planting of a tree.[710] In Timor, a
newly planted fig-tree is made to bear a portion of the blood of the
covenant, and to remain as a witness to the sacred rite itself.[711] In
one portion of Central Africa, a forked palm branch is held by the two
parties, at their entering into blood-friendship;[712] and, in another
region, the ashes of a burned tree and the blood of the covenanting
brothers are brought into combination, in the use of a knotted palm
branch which the brothers together hold.[713] And, again, in Canaan, in
the days of Abraham, the planting of a tree was an element in covenant
making; as shown in the narrative of the covenant which Abraham cut
with Abimelech, at Beer-sheba.[714]

It may, indeed, be fair to suppose that the trees at Hebron, which
marked the dwelling-place of Abraham were covenant-trees, witnessing
the covenant between Abraham and the three Amorite chiefs; and that
therefore they have prominence in the sacred story. “Now he [Abram]
dwelt by [or, in: Hebrew, _beëlonay_ (בְּאֵלֹנֵי)] the [four] oaks
[or, terebinths], of Mamre, the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother
of Aner; and these [three it was who] were confederate [literally,
were masters of the covenant] with [the fourth one] Abram.”[715]
This rendering certainly gives a reason for the prominent mention
of the trees at Hebron, in conjunction with Abram’s covenant with
Amorite chieftains; and it accords with Oriental customs of former
days, and until to-day. So, also, it would seem that the tree which
witnessed[716] the confirmation, or the recognition, of the covenant
between another Abimelech, and the men of Shechem and the men of
Beth-millo, by the pillar (the symbol of Baal-bereeth)[717] in
Shechem,[718] was a covenant-tree, after the Oriental custom in sacred

There is apparently a trace of the blood-covenanting and tree-planting
rite of primitive times, in the blood-stained “Fiery Cross” of the
Scottish Highlands, with its correspondent Arabian symbol of tribal
covenant-duties in the hour of battle. Von Wrede, describing his
travels in the south-eastern part of Arabia, tells of the use of this
symbol as he saw it employed, as preliminary to a tribal warfare. A
war-council had decided on conflict. Then, “the fire which had burned
in the midst of the circle was newly kindled with a great heap of wood,
and the up-leaping flames were greeted with loud rejoicing. The green
branch of a nŭbk tree [sometimes called the ‘lote-tree,’ and again
known as the ‘dôm,’ although it is not the dôm palm][719] was then
brought, and also a sheep, whose feet were at once tied by the oldest
shaykh. After these preparations, the latter seized the branch, spoke
a prayer over it, and committed it to the flames. As soon as every
trace of green had disappeared, he snatched it from the fire, again
said a short prayer, and cut with his _jembeeyeh_ [his short sword]
the throat of the sheep, with whose blood the yet burning branch was
quenched. He then tore a number of little twigs from the burnt branch,
and gave them to as many Bed´ween, who hastened off with them in
various directions. The black bloody branch was then planted in the
earth.... The little twigs, which the shaykh cut off and gave to the
Bed´ween, serve as alarm signals, with which the messengers hasten from
valley to valley, calling the sons of the tribe to the impending war
[by this blood-stained symbol of the sacred covenant which binds them
in brotherhood]. None dare remain behind, without loss of honor, when
the chosen [covenant] sign appears at his encampment, and the voice
of its bearer calls to the war.... At the conclusion of the war [thus
inaugurated], the shaykhs of the propitiated tribe return the branches
to the fire, and let them burn to ashes.”[720]

How strikingly this parallels the use and the symbolism of the Fiery
Cross, in the Scottish Highlands, as portrayed in The Lady of the Lake.
Sir Roderick Dhu would summon Clan Alpine against the King.

   “A heap of withered boughs was piled,
    Of juniper and rowan wild,
    Mingled with shivers from the oak,
    Rent by the lightning’s recent stroke.
    Brian the Hermit by it stood,
    Barefooted, in his frock and coat.
    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    ’Twas all prepared;--and from the rock
    A goat, the patriarch of the flock,
    Before the kindling fire was laid,
    And pierced by Roderick’s ready blade.
    Patient the sickening victim eyed
    The life-blood ebb in crimson tide
    Down his clogged beard and shaggy limb,
    Till darkness glazed his eyeballs dim.
    The grisly priest, with murmuring prayer,
    A slender crosslet framed with care,
    A cubit’s length in measure due;
    The shaft and limbs were rods of yew,
    Whose parents in Inch-Cailliach wave
    Their shadows o’er Clan Alpine’s grave.”

Lifting up this fragment of the tree from the grave of the patriarch
of the Clan,[721] the old priest sounded anathemas against those who
should be untrue to their covenant obligations as clansmen, when they
recognized this symbol of their common brotherhood.

   “Burst with loud roar their answer hoarse,
          ‘Woe to the traitor, woe!’
    Ben-an’s gray scalps the accents knew,
    The joyous wolf from covert drew,
    The exulting eagle screamed afar,--
    They knew the voice of Alpine’s war.

    “The shout was hushed on lake and fell,
    The monk resumed his muttered spell:
    Dismal and low its accents came,
    The while he scathed the cross with flame.
    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    The crosslet’s points of sparkling wood
    He quenched among the bubbling blood,
    And, as again the sign he reared,
    Hollow and hoarse his voice was heard:
    ‘When flits this cross from man to man,
    Vich-Alpine’s summons to his clan,
    Burst be the ear that fails to heed!
    Palsied the foot that shuns to speed!
    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    Then Roderick with impatient look
    From Brian’s hand the symbol took:
    ‘Speed, Malise, speed!’ he said, and gave
    The crosslet to his henchman brave.
    ‘The muster-place be Lanrick mead--
    Instant the time--Speed, Malise, speed!’”[722]

“At sight of the Fiery Cross,” says Scott, “every man, from sixteen
years old to sixty, capable of bearing arms, was obliged instantly
to repair, in his best arms and accoutrements, to the place of
rendezvous.... During the civil war of 1745-6, the Fiery Cross often
made its circuit; and upon one occasion it passed through the whole
district of Breadalbane, a tract of thirty-two miles, in three


Another item of evidence that the blood-covenant in its primitive form
was a well-known rite in primitive Europe, is a citation by Athenæus
from Poseidonios to this effect: “Concerning the Germans, Poseidonios
says, that they, embracing each other in their banquets, open the
veins upon their foreheads,[724] and mixing the flowing blood with
their drink, they present it to each other; esteeming it the farthest
attainment of friendship, to taste each other’s blood.”[725] As
Poseidonios was earlier than our Christian era, this testimony shows
that the custom with our ancestors was in no sense an outgrowth, nor
yet a perversion, of Christian practices.

In Moore’s Lalla Rookh, the young maiden, Zelica, being induced by
Mokanna, the Veiled Prophet of Khorassan, to accompany him to the
charnel-house, pledged herself to him, body and soul, in a draught of

   “There in that awful place, when each had quaffed
    And pledged in silence such a fearful draught,
    Such--oh! the look and taste of that red bowl
    Will haunt her till she dies--he bound her soul
    By a dark oath, in hell’s own language fram’d.”

It was after this, that he reminded her of the binding force of this

   “That cup--thou shudderest, Lady--was it sweet?
    That cup we pledg’d, the charnel’s choicest wine,
    Hath bound thee--aye--body and soul all mine.”

And her bitter memory of that covenant-scene, in the presence of the
“bloodless ghosts,” was:

   “The dead stood round us, while I spoke that vow,
    Their blue lips echo’d it. I hear them now!
    Their eyes glared on me, while I pledged that bowl,
    ’Twas burning blood--I feel it in my soul!”

Although this is Western poetry, it had a basis of careful Oriental
study in its preparation; and the blood-draught of the covenant is
known to Persian story and tradition.

One of the indications of the world-wide belief in the custom of
covenanting, and again of life seeking, by blood-drinking, is the fact
that both Jews and Christians have often been falsely charged with
drinking the blood of little children, at their religious feasts. This
was one of the frequent accusations against the early Christians (See
Justin Martyr’s _Apol._, I., 26; Tertullian’s _Apol._, VIII., IX.) And
it has been repeated against the Jews, from the days of Apion down
to the present decade. Such a baseless charge could not have gained
credence, but for the traditional understanding that men were wont to
pledge each other to a close covenant by mutual blood-drinking.


It is worthy of note that when the Lord enters into covenant with
Abraham by means of a prescribed sacrifice (Gen. 15 : 7-18), it is
said that the Lord “cut a covenant with Abram”; but when the Lord
calls on Abraham to cut a covenant of blood-friendship, by the rite of
circumcision (Gen. 17 : 1-12), the Lord says, for himself, “I will make
[or I will fix] my covenant between me and thee.” In the one case, the
Hebrew word is _karath_ (כָּרַת) “to cut”; in the other, it is _nathan_
(נָתַן) “to give,” or “to fix.” This change goes to show that the idea
of cutting a covenant includes the act of a cutting--of a cutting of
one’s person or the cutting of the substitute victim--as an integral
part of the covenant itself; that a covenant may be made, or fixed,
without a cutting, but that the term “cutting” involves the act of

Thus, again, in Jeremiah 34 : 18, there is a two-fold reference to
covenant-cutting; where the Lord reproaches his people for their
faithlessness to their covenant. “And I will give [to destruction] the
men that have transgressed my covenant, which have not performed the
words of the covenant which they made [literally, ‘cut’] before me
[in my sight] when they cut the calf in twain, and passed between the
parts thereof.” In this instance, there is in the Hebrew, a pun, as
it were, to give added force to the accusation and reproach. The same
word _’abhar_ (עָבַר) means both “to transgress” and “to pass over”
[or, “between”], so that, freely rendered, the charge here made, is,
that they went through the covenant when they had gone through the
calf; which is another way of saying that they cut their duty when they
claimed to cut a covenant.

The correspondence of cutting the victim of sacrifice, and of cutting
into the flesh of the covenanting parties, in the ceremony of making
blood-brotherhood, or blood-friendship, is well-illustrated in the
interchanging of these methods in the primitive customs of Borneo.[726]
The pig is the more commonly prized victim of sacrifice in Borneo. It
seems, indeed, to be there valued only next after a human victim.
In some cases, blood-brotherhood is made, in Borneo, by “imbibing
each other’s blood.” In other cases, “a pig is brought and placed
between the two [friends] who are to be joined in brotherhood. A
chief addresses an invocation to the gods, and marks with a lighted
brand[727] the pig’s shoulder. The beast is then killed, and after an
exchange of jackets,[728] a sword is thrust into the wound, and the
two [friends] are marked with the blood of the pig.” On one occasion,
when two hostile tribes came together to make a formal covenant of
brotherhood, “the ceremony of killing a pig for each tribe” was the
central feature of the compact; as in the case of two Kayans becoming
one by interchanging their own blood, actually or by a substitute pig.
And it is said of the tribal act of cutting the covenant by cutting the
pig, that “it is thought more fortunate if the animal be severed in two
by one stroke of the parang (half sword, half chopper).” In another
instance, where two tribes entered into a covenant, “a pig was placed
between the representatives of [the] two tribes; who, after calling
down the vengeance of the spirits on those who broke the treaty,
plunged their spears into the animal [‘cutting a covenant’ in that
way], and then exchanged weapons.[729] Drawing their krises, they each
bit the blade of the other [as if ‘drinking the covenant’],[730] and so
completed the affair.” So, again, “if two men who have been at deadly
feud, meet in a house [where the obligations of hospitality restrain
them], they refuse to cast their eyes upon each other till a fowl has
been killed, and the blood sprinkled over them.”

In every case, it is the _blood_ that seals the mutual covenant,
and the “cutting of the covenant” is that cutting which secures the
covenanting, or the inter-uniting, blood. The cutting may be in the
flesh of the covenanting parties; or, again it may be in the flesh of
the substitute victim which is sacrificed.


In the Midrash Rabboth (_Shemoth_, Beth, 92, col. 2.) there is this
comment by the Rabbis, on Exodus 2 : 23: “‘And the king of Egypt died.’
He was smitten with leprosy.... ‘And the children of Israel sighed.’
Wherefore did they sigh? Because the magicians of Egypt said: ‘There is
no healing for thee save by the slaying of the little children of the
Israelites. Slay them in the morning, and slay them in the evening; and
bathe in their blood twice a day.’ As soon as the children of Israel
heard the cruel decree, they poured forth great sighings and wailings.”
That comment gives a new point, in the rabbinical mind, to the first
plague, whereby the waters of the Nile, in which royalty bathed (Exod.
2 : 5), were turned into blood, because of the bondage of the children
of Israel.

A survival of the blood-baths of ancient Egypt, as a means of
re-vivifying the death-smitten, would seem to exist in the medical
practices of the Bechuana tribes of Africa; as so many of the customs
of ancient Egypt still survive among the African races (See page 15,
_supra_). Thus, Moffat reports (_Missionary Labours_, p. 277) a method
employed by native physicians, of killing a goat “over the sick person,
allowing the blood to run down the body.”


Among other Bible indications that the custom of balancing, or
canceling, a blood account by a payment in money, was well known in
ancient Palestine, appears the record of David’s conference with the
Gibeonites, concerning their claim for blood against the house of Saul,
in 2 Samuel 21 : 1-9. When it was found that the famine in Israel
was because of Saul’s having taken blood--or life--unjustly from the
Gibeonites, David essayed to balance that unsettled account. “And the
Gibeonites said unto him, It is no matter of silver or gold between us
and Saul, or his house; neither is it for us to put any man to death
in Israel;” which was equivalent to saying: “Money for blood we will
not take. Blood for blood we have no power to obtain.” Then said David,
“What ye shall say, that will I do for you.” At this, the Gibeonites
demanded, and obtained, the lives of the seven sons of Saul. The blood
account must be balanced. In this case, as by the Mosaic law, it could
only be by life for life.

In some parts of Arabia, if a Muhammadan slays a person of another
religion, the relatives of the latter are not allowed to insist on
blood for blood, but must accept an equivalent in money. The claim
for the spilled blood is recognized, but a Muhammadan’s blood is too
precious for its payment. (See Wellsted’s _Travels in Arabia_, I., 19.)

It is much the same in the far West as in the far East, as to this
canceling of a blood-debt by blood or by other gifts. Parkman (_Jesuits
in No. Am._, pp. lxi.-lxiii.; 354-360) says of the custom among the
Hurons and the Iroquois, that in case of bloodshed the chief effort of
all concerned was to effect a settlement by contributions to the amount
of the regular tariff rates of a human life.

Another indication that the mission of the goel was to cancel the loss
of a life rather than to avenge it, is found in the primitive customs
of the New World. “Even in so rude a tribe as the Brazilian Topanazes,”
the Farrer (citing Eschwege, in _Prim. Man. and Cust._, p. 164), “a
murderer of a fellow tribesman would be conducted by his relations to
those of the deceased, to be by them forthwith strangled and buried
[with his forfeited blood in him], in satisfaction of their rights; the
two families eating together for several days after the event as though
for the purpose of [or, as in evidence of] reconciliation,”--not of
satisfied revenge.

Yet more convincing than all, in the line of such proofs that it is
restitution, and not vengeance, that is sought by the pursuit of blood
in the mission of the goel, is the fact that in various countries,
when a man has died a natural death, it is the custom to seek blood,
or life, from those immediately about him; as if to restore, or to
equalize, the family loss. Thus, in New South Wales, “when any one of
the tribe dies a natural death, it is usual to avenge [not to avenge,
but to meet] the loss of the deceased by taking blood from one or other
of his friends,” and it is said that death sometimes results from this
endeavor (Angas’s _Sav. Life_, II., 227). In this fact, there is added
light on the almost universal custom of blood-giving to, or over, the
dead. (See, _e. g._ Ellis’s _Land of Fetish_, pp. 59, 64; Stanley’s
_The Congo_, II., 180-182; Angas’s _Sav. Life_, I., 98, 331; II., 84,
89 f.; Ellis’s _Polyn. Res._, I., 527-529; Dodge’s _Our Wild Indians_,
p. 172 f.; _First An. Rep. of Bureau of Ethn._, pp. 109, 112, 159 f.,
164, 183, 190.)


It has already been shown, that the blood-stained record of the
covenant of blood, shielded in a leathern case, is proudly worn as
an armlet or as a necklace, by the Oriental who has been fortunate
enough to become a sharer in such a covenant; and that there is reason
for believing that there are traces of this custom, in the necklaces,
the armlets, the rings, and the frontlets, which have been worn as
the tokens of a sacred covenant, in well-nigh all lands, from the
earliest days of Chaldea and Egypt down to the present time. There
is a confirmation of this idea in the primitive customs of the North
American Indians, which ought not to be overlooked.

The distinctive method by which these Indians were accustomed to
confirm and signalize a formal covenant, or a treaty, was the exchange
of belts of wampum; and that these wampum belts were not merely
conventional gifts, but were actual records, tokens, and reminders,
of the covenant itself, there is abundant evidence. In a careful
paper on the “Art in Shell of the Ancient Americans,” in one of the
reports of the Bureau of Ethnology, of the Smithsonian Institution, the
writer[731] says: “One of the most remarkable customs practiced by
the Americans is found in the mnemonic use of wampum.... It does not
seem probable ... that a custom so unique and so widespread could have
grown up within the historic period, nor is it probable that a practice
foreign to the genius of tradition-loving races could have become so
well established and so dear to their hearts in a few generations....
The mnemonic use of wampum is one, which, I imagine, might readily
develop from the practice of gift giving and the exchange of tokens
of friendship, such mementoes being preserved for future reference
as reminders of promises of assistance or protection.... The wampum
records of the Iroquois [and the same is found to be true in many
other tribes] were generally in the form of belts [as an encircling
and binding token of a covenant], the beads being strung or woven
into patterns formed by the use of different colors.” Illustrations,
by the score, of this mnemonic use of the covenant-confirming belts,
or “necklaces,”[732] as they are sometimes called, are given, or are
referred to, in this interesting article.

In the narrative of a council held by the “Five Nations,” at Onondaga,
nearly two hundred years ago, a Seneca sachem is said to have presented
a proposed treaty between the Wagunhas and the Senecas, with the words:
“We come to join the two bodies into one”; and he evidenced his good
faith in this endeavor, by the presentation of the mnemonic belts
of wampum. “The belts were accepted by the Five Nations, and their
acceptance was a ratification of the treaty.”[733] Lafitau, writing of
the Canadian Indians, in the early years of the eighteenth century,
says: “They do not believe that any transaction can be concluded
without these belts;” and he mentions, that according to Indian
custom these belts were to be exchanged in covenant making; “that is
to say, for one belt [received] one must give another [belt].”[734]
And a historian of the Moravian Missions says: “Everything of moment
transacted at solemn councils, either between the Indians themselves,
or with Europeans, is ratified and made valid by strings and belts
of wampum.”[735] “The strings,” according to Lafitau, “are used for
affairs of little consequence, or as a preparation for other more
considerable presents”; but the binding “belts” were as the bond of
the covenant itself.

These covenant belts often bore, interwoven with different colored
wampum beads, symbolic figures, such as two hands clasped in
friendship, or two figures with hands joined. As the belts commonly
signalized tribal covenants, they were not worn by a single individual;
but were sacredly guarded in some tribal depository; yet their form and
their designation indicate the origin of their idea.

There is still preserved, in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania,
the wampum belt which is supposed to have sealed the treaty of peace
and friendship between William Penn and the Indians. It contains
two figures, wrought in dark colored beads, representing “an Indian
grasping with the hand of friendship the hand of a man evidently
intended to be represented in the European costume, wearing a hat.”[736]

Still more explicit in its symbolism, is the royal belt of the
primitive kings of Tahiti. Throughout Polynesia, red feathers, which
had been inclosed in a hollow image of a god, were considered not only
as emblematic of the deities, but as actually representing them in
their personality (Ellis’s _Polyn. Res._, I., 79, 211, 314, 316; II.,
204; _Tour thro’ Hawaii_, p. 121). “The inauguration ceremony [of the
Tahitian king], answering to coronation among other nations, consisted
in girding the king with the _maro ura_, or sacred girdle of red
feathers; which not only raised him to the highest earthly station, but
_identified him with their gods_ [as by oneness of blood]. The _maro_,
or girdle, was made with the beaten fibres of the ava; with these a
number of _ura_, red feathers, taken from the images of their deities
[where they had, seemingly, represented the blood, or the life, of the
image], were interwoven; ... the feathers [as the blood] being supposed
to retain all the dreadful attributes of vengeance which the idols
possessed, and with which it was designed to endow the king.” In lieu
of the king’s own blood, in this symbolic ceremony of inter-union, a
human victim was sacrificed, for the “fastening on of the sacred maro.”
“Sometimes a human victim was offered for every fresh piece added to
the girdle [blood for blood, between the king and the god]; ... and the
girdle was considered as consecrated by the blood of those victims.”
The chief priest of the god Oro formally invested the king with this
“sacred girdle, which, the [blood-representing] feathers from the idol
being interwoven in it, was supposed to impart to the king a power
equal to that possessed by Oro.” After this, the king was supposed to
be a sharer of the divine nature of Oro, with whom he had entered into
a covenant of blood-union (Ellis’s _Polyn. Res._, II., 354-360).

Thus it seems that a band, as a bond, of a sacred covenant is treasured
reverently in the New World; as a similar token, of one kind, or
another, was treasured, for the same reason, in the Old World. Yet,
in the face of such facts as these, one of the notable rationalistic
theological writers on Old Testament manners and customs, in the
latest edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, coolly ascribes the
idea of the Jewish phylacteries to the superstitious idea of a pagan
“amulet.” He might indeed, with good reason, have ascribed the idea of
the pagan amulet itself to a perversion of that common primitive idea
of the binding bond of a sacred covenant, which shows itself in the
blood-friendship record of Syria, in the red covenant-cord of China
and India, in the divine-human covenant token of ancient Egypt, in
the red-feather belt of divine-royal union, in the Pacific Islands,
in the wampum belt of America, and in the evolved wedding-covenant
ring, or amulet, of a large portion of the civilized world. But that
would hardly have been in accordance with the fashionable method of
the modern rationalistic theologian; which is, to fix on some later
heathenish perversion of a primitive sacred rite, and then to ascribe
the origin of all the normal uses of that primitive rite, to its own
later perversions.

Yet another indication that the binding circlet of the covenant-token
stands, among primitive peoples, as also among cultivated ones, as
the representative, or proof, of this very covenant itself, is found
in a method of divorce prevailing among the Balau Dayaks, of Borneo.
It has already been shown (page 73, _supra_) that a ring of blood is
a binding symbol in the marriage covenant in some parts of Borneo. It
seems, also, that when a divorce has been agreed on by a Balau couple,
“it is necessary for the offended husband to send a ring to his wife,
before the marriage can be considered as finally dissolved; without
which, should they marry again, they would be liable to be punished
for infidelity.”[737] This practice seems to have grown out of the old
custom already referred to (page 73 f.), of the bride giving to the
bridegroom a blood-representing ring in the marriage cup. Until that
symbolic ring is returned to her by the bridegroom, it remains as the
proof of her covenant with him.

This connection of the encircling ring with the heart’s blood, is of
very ancient origin, and of general, if not of universal, application.
Wilkinson (_Anc. Egypt._, III., 420) cites Macrobius as saying, that
“those Egyptian priests who were called prophets, when engaged in
the temple near the altars of the gods, moistened [anointed] the
ring-finger of the left hand (which was that next to the smallest)
with various sweet ointments, in the belief that a certain nerve
communicated with it from the heart.” He also says, that among the
Egyptian women, many finger rings were worn, and that “the left was
considered the hand peculiarly privileged to wear these ornaments; and
it is remarkable that its third finger [next to the little finger] was
considered by them, as by us, _par excellence_ the ring finger; though
there is no evidence [to his knowledge] of its having been so honored
at the marriage ceremony.” Birch adds (_Ibid._, II., 340), that “it is
very difficult to distinguish between the ring worn for mere ornament,
and the signet [standing for the wearer’s very life] employed to seal
[and to sign] epistles and other things.” The evidence is, in fact,
ample, that the ring, in ancient Egypt, as elsewhere, was not a mere
ornament, nor yet a superstitious amulet, but represented one’s heart,
or one’s life, as a symbol and pledge of personal fidelity.

In South Australia, the rite of circumcision is one of the steps by
which a lad enters into the sphere of manhood. This involves his
covenanting with his new god-father, and with his new fellows in the
sphere of his entering. In this ceremony, the very ring of flesh itself
is placed “on the third finger of the boy’s left hand” (Angas’s _Sav.
Life_, I., 99). What stronger proof than this could be given, that the
finger-ring is a vestige of the primitive blood-covenant token?

An instance of the use of a large ring, or bracelet, encircling the two
hands of persons joining in the marriage covenant, is reported to me
from the North of Ireland, in the present century. It was in the county
Donegal. The Roman Catholic priest was a French exile. In marrying the
people of the poorer class, who could not afford to purchase a ring, he
“would take the large ring from his old-fashioned double-cased watch,
and hold it on the hands, or the thumbs, of the contracting parties,
while he blessed their union.”

Yet another illustration of the universal symbolism of the ring, as a
token of sacred covenant, is its common use as a pledge of friendship,
even unto death. The ring given by Queen Elizabeth to the unfortunate
Earl of Essex, is an instance in point. Had that covenant-token reached
her, her covenant promises would have been redeemed.

There is an old Scottish ballad, “Hynd Horn,”--perhaps having a
common origin with the Bohemian lay on which Scott based The Noble
Moringer,[738]--which brings out the idea of a covenant-ring having
the power to indicate to its wearer the fidelity of its giver;
corresponding with the popular belief to that effect, suggested by
Bacon.[739] Hynd Horn has won the heart of the king’s daughter, and the
king sends him over the sea, as a means of breaking up the match. As he
sets out Hynd Horn carries with him a symbol of his lady-love’s troth.

   “O his love gave him a gay gold ring,
      With a hey lillelu, and a how lo lan;
    With three shining diamonds set therein,
      And the birk and the broom blooms bonnie.

   “As long as these diamonds keep their hue,
      With a hey lillelu, and a how lo lan,
    Ye’ll know that I’m a lover true,
      And the birk and the broom blooms bonnie.

   “But when your ring turns pale and wan,
      With a hey lillelu, and a how lo lan,
    Then I’m in love with another man,
      And the birk and the broom blooms bonnie.”[740]

Seven years went by, and then the ring-gems grew “pale and wan.” Hynd
Horn hastened back, entered the wedding-hall disguised as a beggar,
sent the covenant-ring to the bride in a glass of wine; and the sequel
was the same as in The Noble Moringer.

At a Brahman wedding, in India, described by Miss H. G. Brittan (in
“The Missionary Link,” for October, 1864; cited in _Women of the
Orient_, pp. 176-179) a silver dish, filled with water, (probably with
water colored with saffron, or with turmeric, according to the common
custom in India,) “also containing a very handsome ruby ring, and a
thin iron bracelet,” was set before the father of the bride, during the
marriage ceremony. At the covenanting of the young couple, “the ring
was given to the groom; the bracelet to the bride; then some of the
[blood-colored?] water was sprinkled on them (See page 194, _supra_),
and some flowers [were] thrown at them.” Here seem to be combined,
the symbolisms of the ring, the bracelet, and the blood, in a sacred


From the very fact that so little attention has been given to the
primitive rite of blood-covenanting, in the studies of modern scholars,
there is reason for supposing that the rite itself has very often
been unnoticed by travelers and missionaries in regions where it was
practiced almost under their eyes. Indeed, there is proof of this to
be obtained, by comparing the facts recorded in this volume with the
writings of visitors to the lands here reported from. Hence, it is
fair to infer, that more or less of the brotherhoods or friendships
noted among primitive peoples, without any description of the methods
of their consummating, are either directly based on the rite of
blood-covenanting, or are outgrowths and variations of that rite; as,
for example, in Borneo, blood-tasting is sometimes deemed essential
to the rite, and again it is omitted. It may be well, therefore, to
look at some of the hints of blood-union among primitive peoples, in
relationships and in customs where not all the facts and processes
involved, are known to us.

Peculiarly is it true, that wherever we find the idea of an absolute
merging of two natures into one, or of an inter-union or an
inter-changing of two personalities in loving relation, there is reason
for suspecting a connection with the primitive rite of inter-union
through a common blood flow. And there are illustrations of this idea
in the Old World and in the New, all along the ages.

It has already been mentioned (page 109, _supra_) that, in India,
the possibility of an inter-union of two natures, and of their
inter-merging into one, is recognized in the statement that “the
heart of Vishnu is Sivâ, and the heart of Sivâ is Vishnu”; and it is
a well-known philosophical fact that man must have an actual basis of
human experience for the symbolic language with which he illustrates
the nature and characteristics of Deity.

In the most ancient portion of the ancient Egyptian Book of the
Dead,[741] there is a description of the inter-union of Osiris and Rā,
not unlike that above quoted concerning Sivâ and Vishnoo. It says,
that “Osiris came to Tattu (Mendes) and found the soul of Rā there;
each embraced the other, and become as one soul in two souls”[742]--as
one life in two lives; or, as it would be phrased concerning two human
beings united in blood-friendship, “one soul in two bodies”; a common
life in two personalities. Again it is said in an Egyptian sacred text,
“Rā is the soul of Osiris, and Osiris is the soul of Rā.”[743]

An exchange of names, as if in exchange of personalities, in connection
with a covenant of friendship, is a custom in widely diverse countries;
and this custom seems to have grown out of the idea of an inter-union
of natures by an inter-union of blood; even if it be not actually an
accompaniment of that rite in every instance. It is common in the
Society Islands,[744] as an element in the adoption of a “tayo,” or a
personal friend and companion (See page 56, _supra_). It is to be found
in various South Sea islands, and on the American continent.

Among the Araucanians, of South America, the custom of making brothers,
or brother-friends, is called _Lacu_. It includes the killing of a lamb
and dividing it--“cutting” it--between the two covenanting parties;
and each party must eat his half of the lamb--either by himself or
by such assistance as he chooses to call in. None of it must be left
uneaten. Gifts also pass between the parties; and the two friends
exchange names. “The giving [the exchanging] of a name [with this
people] establishes between the namesakes a species of relationship
which is considered almost as sacred as that of blood, and obliges them
to render to each other certain services, and that consideration which
naturally belongs to relatives.”[745]

It is related of Tolo, a chief of the Shastika Indians, on the Pacific
coast, that when he made a treaty with Col. McKee, an American soldier,
in 1852, for the cession of certain tribal rights, he was anxious for
some ceremony of brotherhood, that should give binding sacredness to
the mutual covenant. After some parleying, he proposed the formal
exchange of names, and this was agreed to. Thenceforward he desired to
be known as “McKee.” The American colonel was now “Tolo.” But after a
while the Indian found that, as in too many other instances, the terms
of the treaty were not adhered to by the authorities making it. Then he
discarded his new name, “McKee,” and refused to resume his former name,
“Tolo.” He would not answer to either, and to the day of his death he
insisted that his name, his identity, was “lost.”[746]--There is a
profound sentiment underneath such a course, and such a custom, as that.

So fully is the identity of one’s name and one’s life recognized
by primitive peoples, that to call on the name of a dead person is
generally supposed to summon the spirit of that person to the caller’s
service. Hence, among the American Indians, if one calls the dead by
name, he must answer to the dead man’s goel. He must surrender his
own blood, or pay blood-money, in restitution of the life--of the
dead--taken by him. (_First An. Rep. of Bureau of Ethnol._, p. 200.)

Even Herbert Spencer sees the correspondence of the blood-covenant and
the exchange of names. He says: “By absorbing each other’s blood, men
are supposed to establish actual community of nature. Similarly with
the ceremony of exchanging names.... This, which is a widely-diffused
practice, arises from the belief that the name is vitally connected
with its owner.... To exchange names, therefore, is to establish some
participation in one another’s being.”[747] Hence, as we may suppose,
came the well-nigh universal Oriental practice of inter-weaving the
name of one’s Deity with one’s name, as a symbolic evidence of one’s
covenant-union with the Deity. The blood-covenant, or the blood-union,
idea is at the bottom of this.

Another custom, having a peculiar bearing upon this thought of a new
name, or a new identity, through new blood, is the rite of initiation
into manhood, by the native Australians. During childhood the
Australian boys are under the care of their mothers, and they bear
names which designate the place and circumstances of their birth.
But when the time comes for them to put away childish things,[748]
they are subjected to a series of severe and painful tests, to
prove their powers of physical and mental endurance, preparatory to
their reception of a new name, as indicative of a new life. A rite
resembling circumcision is one step in their progress. During these
ceremonies, there is selected for each lad a sponsor (or godfather)
who is a representative of that higher life into which the lad seeks
an entrance. One of the latest steps in the long series of ceremonies,
is the choosing and conferring, by the sponsor, of the lad’s new
name, which he is to retain thenceforward during his life. With a
stone-knife, the sponsor opens a vein in his own arm, and causes the
lad to drink his warm-flowing blood. After this, the lad drops forward
on his hands and knees, and the sponsor’s blood is permitted to form a
pool on his back, and to coagulate there. Then the sponsor cuts, with
his stone-knife, broad gashes in the lad’s back, and pulls open the
gaping wounds with the fingers. The scars of these gashes remain as
permanent signs of the covenant ceremony.[749] And encircling tokens of
the covenant[750] are bound around the neck, each arm, and the waist,
of the young man; who is now reckoned a new creature[751] in the life
represented by that godfather, who has given him his new name, and has
imparted to him of his blood.[752]

That the transfusion of blood in this ceremony is the making of a
covenant between the youth and his sponsor, and not the giving him
blood in vivification, is indicated in another form of the same rite of
manhood-initiation, as practised in New South Wales. There, the youth
is seated upon the shoulders of his sponsor; while one of his teeth
is knocked out. The blood that flows from the boy’s lacerated gum in
this ceremony is not wiped away, but is suffered to run down upon his
breast, and thence upon the head of his sponsor, whose name he takes.
This blood, which secures, by its absorption, a common life between the
two, who have now a common name, is permitted to dry upon the head of
the man and upon the breast of the boy, and to remain there untouched
for several days.

In this New South Wales ceremonial, there is another feature, which
seems to suggest that remarkable connection of life with a stone,
which has been already referred to (page 307, _supra_); and yet again
to suggest the giving of a new name as the token of a new life. A
white stone, or a quartz crystal, called _mundie_, is given to each
novitiate in manhood, at the time he receives his new name. This stone
is counted a gift from deity, and is held peculiarly sacred. A test of
the young man’s moral stamina is made by the old men’s trying, by all
sorts of persuasion, to induce him to surrender this possession, when
first he has received it. This accompaniment of a new name “is worn
concealed in the hair, tied up in a packet, and is never shown to the
women, who are forbidden to look at it under pain of death.” The youths
receiving and retaining these white stones, with their new names, are
termed “_Kebarrah_, from _keba_, a rock, or stone.” (Angas’s _Savage
Life_, II., 221.) That the idea of a sacred covenant, a covenant
of brotherhood and friendship, is underneath these ceremonies, is
indicated by the fact, that when the rites of Kebarrah are celebrated,
even “hostile tribes meet in peace; all animosity between them being
laid aside during the performance of these ceremonies.” “To him that
overcometh, [saith the Spirit,] ... I will give him a white stone, and
upon the stone a new name written, which no one knoweth but he that
receiveth it” (Rev. 2 : 17). The Rabbis recommend the giving secretly
of a new name, as a means of new life, to him who is in danger of
dying. (See _Seph. Hakhkhay._, p. 37 f. and note.)

Again, in a form of marriage ceremony in Tahiti, there is a hint of
this universal idea of inter-union by blood. An observer of this
ceremony, in describing it says: “The female relatives cut their
faces and brows[753] with the instrument set with shark’s teeth,[754]
received the flowing blood on a piece of native cloth, and deposited
the cloth, sprinkled with the mingled blood of _the mothers_ of the
married pair, at the feet of the bride. By the latter parts of the
ceremony, any inferiority of rank that might have existed was removed,
and they were [now] considered as equal. The two families, also, to
which they respectively belonged, were ever afterwards regarded as one
[through this new blood-union].”[755] Had these mothers mingled and
interchanged their own blood before the births of their children, the
children--as children of a common blood--would have been debarred from
marriage; but now that the two children were covenanting to be one,
their mothers might interchange their blood, that the young couple
might have an absolute equality of family nature.

There are frequent references by travelers to the rite of brotherhood,
or of close friendship, in one part of the world or another, with
or without a description of its methods. Thus of one of the tribes
in Central Africa it is said: “The Wanyamuezi have a way of making
brotherhood, similar to that which has already been described, except
that instead of drinking each other’s blood, the newly made brothers
mix it [their blood] with butter on a leaf, and exchange leaves. The
butter is then rubbed into the incisions, so that it acts as a healing
ointment at the same time that blood is exchanged.[756] The ceremony is
concluded by tearing the leaves to pieces and showering the fragments
on the heads of the brothers.”[757] The Australians, again, are said to
have “the custom of making ‘_Kotaiga_,’ or brotherhood, with strangers.
When Europeans visit their districts, and behave as they ought to do,
the natives generally unite themselves in bonds of fellowship with the
strangers; each selecting one of them as his Kotaiga. The new relations
are then considered as having mutual responsibilities, each being bound
to forward the welfare of the other.”[758] Once more, in Feejee, two
warriors sometimes bind themselves to each other by a formal ceremony,
and although its details are not described, a missionary writer says
of it: “The manner in which they do this is singular, and wears the
appearance of a marriage contract; and the two men entering into it are
spoken of as man and wife, to indicate the closeness of their military
union. By this mutual bond, the two men pledge themselves to oneness of
purpose and effort, to stand by each other in every danger, defending
each other to the death, and if needful to die together.”[759]

With the American Indians, there are various traces of the
blood-brotherhood idea. Says Captain Clark, in his work on the Indian
Sign Language: “Among many tribes there are brothers by adoption,
and the tie seems to be held about as sacredly as though created by
nature.”[760] Stephen Powell, writing of the Pacific Coast Indians,
gives this tie of brotherhood-adoption yet more prominence, than does
Clark. He says: “There is an interesting institution found among
the Wyandots, as among some other of our North American tribes,
namely, that of fellowship. Two young men agree to be perpetual
friends to each other, or _more than brothers_. Each reveals to the
other the secrets of his life, and counsels with him on matters of
importance, and defends him from wrong and violence, and at his death
is chief mourner.”[761] This certainly suggests the relation of
blood-brotherhood; whether blood be intermingled in the consummation of
the rite, or not.

Colonel Dodge tells of a ceremony of Indian-brotherhood, which includes
a bloody rite, worthy of notice in this connection. He says: “A strong
flavor of religious superstition attaches to a scalp, and many solemn
contracts and binding obligations can only be made over or by means of
a scalp;” for is it not the representative of a life? In illustration
of this, he gives an incident which followed an Indian battle, in which
the Pawnees had borne a part with the whites against the Northern
Cheyennes. Colonel Dodge was sitting in his tent, when “the acting
head-chief of the Pawnees stalked in gravely, and without a word.”
The Colonel continues: “We had long been friends, and had on several
occasions been in tight places together. He sat down on the side of
my bed, looked at me kindly, but solemnly, and began in a low tone to
mutter in his own language, half chant, half recitative. Knowing that
he was making ‘medicine’ [that he was engaged in a religious exercise]
of some kind, I looked on without comment. After some moments, he stood
erect, and stretched out his hand to me. I gave him my hand. He pulled
me into a standing position, embraced me, passed his hands lightly
over my head, face, arms, body, and legs to my feet, muttering all
the while; embraced me again, then turned his back upon me, and with
his face toward heaven, appeared to make adoration. He then turned
to embrace and manipulate me again. After some five minutes of this
performance, he drew from his wallet a package, and unrolling it,
disclosed a freshly taken [and therefore still bloody] scalp of an
Indian. Touching me with this [blood-vehicle] in various places and
ways, he finally drew out his knife, [and ‘cutting the covenant’ in
this way, he] divided the scalp carefully along the part [the seam]
of the hair, and handing me one half, embraced me again, kissing me
on the forehead. ‘Now,’ said he in English, ‘you are my brother.’
He subsequently informed me that this ceremony could not have been
performed without this scalp.”[762]

Here seems to be an illustration of cutting the covenant of
blood-brotherhood, by sharing the life of a substitute human victim. It
is much the same in the wild West as in the primitive East.

So simple a matter as the clasping of hands in token of covenant
fidelity, is explicable, in its universality, only as a vestige of
the primitive custom of joining pierced hands in the covenant of
blood-friendship. Hand-clasping is not, by any means, a universal, nor
is it even the commonest, mode of friendly and fraternal salutation
among primitive peoples. Prostrations, embracings, kissings,
nose-rubbings, slappings of one’s own body, jumpings up and down,
the snappings of one’s fingers, the blowing of one’s breath, and
even the rolling upon one’s back, are all among the many methods of
primitive man’s salutations and obeisances (See, e. g., Spencer’s
_Principles of Sociology_, II., 16-19). But, even where hand clasping
is unknown in salutation, it is recognized as a symbol of the closest
friendship. Thus, for example, among tribes of North American Indians
where nose-rubbing is the mode of salutation, there is, in their widely
diffused sign language, the sign of clasped, or inter-locked, hands,
as indicative of friendship and union. (_First An. Rep. of Bureau of
Ethnol._, pp. 385 f., 521, 534 f.) So again, similarly, in Australia
(_Ibid._, citation from Smith’s _Aborigines of Victoria_, II., 308). In
the Society Islands, the clasping of hands marks the marriage union,
and marks a loving union between two brothers in arms; although it has
no place in ordinary greetings (Ellis’s _Polyn. Res._, II., 11, 492,
569). And so, again, in other primitive lands.

There seems, indeed, to be a gleam of this thought in Job 17 : 3:

   “Give now a pledge, be surety for me with thyself;
    Who is there that will strike hands with me?”

The Hebrew word _taq’a_[763] (תָּקַע) here translated “strike,” has
also the meaning “to pierce” (Judg. 4 : 21) and “to blow through,” or
“to drive through” (Num. 10 : 3); and Job’s question might be freely
rendered; Who is there that will pierce [or that will clasp pierced]
hands with me, in blood-friendship? Thus, suretyship grew out of

Again, in Zechariah 13 : 6, where the prophet foretells the moral
reformation of Judah, there is a seeming reference to the pierced hands
of blood-friendship. When one is suspected of being a professional
prophet, by certain marks of cuttings between his hands, he declares
that these are marks of his blood-covenant with his friends. “And one
shall say unto him, What are these wounds [these cuttings] between
thine hands? Then he shall answer, [They are] these [cuttings] with
which I was wounded [or stricken, or pierced] in the house of my
friends [in the covenant of friendship].” If, indeed, the translation
of the Revisers, “between thine arms,” were justified, the cuttings
would still seem to be the cuttings of the blood-covenant (See pages
13, 45, _supra_).

It is a noteworthy fact, that among the Jews in Tunis, near the old
Phœnician settlement of Carthage, the sign of a bleeding hand is
still an honored and a sacred symbol, as if in recognition of the
covenant-bond of their brotherhood and friendship. “What struck me most
in all the houses,” says a traveler (Chevalier de Hesse-Wartegg) among
these Jews, “was the impression of an open bleeding hand, on every wall
of each floor. However white the walls, this repulsive [yet suggestive]
sign was to be seen everywhere.”

How many times, in the New Testament epistles, does the idea show
itself, of an inter-union of lives, between Christ and his disciples,
and between these disciples and each other. “We, who are many, are one
body in Christ, and severally members one of another” (Rom. 12 : 5).
“We are members of his body” (Eph. 5 : 30). “We are members one of
another” (Eph. 4 : 25). “Know ye not that your bodies are members of
Christ?” (1 Cor. 6 : 15). “Ye are the body of Christ, and severally
[are] members thereof” (1 Cor. 12 : 27).

It is in this truth of truths, concerning the possibility of an
inter-union of the human life with the divine, through a common
inter-bloodflow, that there is found a satisfying of the noblest heart
yearnings of primitive man everywhere, and of the uttermost spiritual
longings of the most advanced Christian believer, in the highest grade
of intellectual and moral enlightenment. No attainment of evolution,
or of development, has brought man’s latest soul-cry beyond the
intimations of his earliest soul-outreaching.

   “Take, dearest Lord, this crushed and bleeding heart,
    And lay it in thine hand, thy piercèd hand;
    That thine atoning blood may mix with mine,
    _Till I and my Beloved are all one_.”


[666] See pages 238-240, _supra_.

[667] _Speaker’s Comm._, at Exod. 24 : 8.

[668] Exod. 24 : 3-8.

[669] Heb. 9 : 20.

[670] _Speaker’s Com._, at Exod. 24 : 8.

[671] Mark 14 : 24.

[672] John 6 : 53, 54.

[673] _Principles of Sociology_, II., § 364.

[674] _Anc. Egypt._, III., 411.

[675] See pages 245 f., _supra_.

[676] _Anc. Egypt._, II., 32.

[677] Note on Lev. chap. 17.

[678] _Dictionnaire d’Archéologie Égyptienne_, s. v. “Cœur.”

[679] In substance from Castren’s _Ethnologische Vorlesungen über die
Altaischen Völker_, p. 174, as cited in Ralston’s _Russian Folk Tales_,
p. 122.

[680] From Bleek’s _Reynard the Fox in South Africa_, p. 55; as cited
_Ibid._, p. 123, note.

[681] From _Asbjornsen and Moe_, No. 36, Dasent, No. 9, p. 71, as cited
_Ibid._, p. 120.

[682] See references to Köhler’s _Orient und Occident_, II., 99-103,
_Ibid._, p. 123, note.

[683] From Khudyakof, No. 110, as cited _Ibid._, p. 124.

[684] Timæus of Locri, cited in Liddell and Scott’s _Greek Eng. Lex._,
s. v., “Hepar.” See also page 108 f., _supra_.

[685] Pollux’s _Onomasticon_, II., 4, 226.

[686] _Pilgrim. to Mec. and Med._, p. 376.

[687] See page 128, _supra_.

[688] _Pilgrim. to Mec. and Med._, p. 378. See also page 129 f.,

[689] Richardson’s _Eng. Dict._, s. v., “Liver.”

[690] Annandale’s Ogilvie’s _Imperial Dict._, s. v., “Liver.”

[691] See Cushing’s paper on “Zuñi Fetiches,” in _Second Annual Report
of the Bureau of Ethnology_, pp. 3-43.

[692] 1 Peter 2 : 2-5.

[693] Cushing’s “Zuñi Fetiches,” p. 43.

[694] See “Illustrated Catalogue of Collections from Indians of New
Mexico and Arizona,” 1879, in _Second Annual Report of Bureau of
Ethnology_, Figures 361-387; 421-430.

[695] St. John’s _Life in Far East_, I., 74 f.

[696] _Ibid._, I., 115 f.

[697] St. John’s _Life in Far East_, I., 160.

[698] _Ibid._, I., 187.

[699] This is a different form from that reported at page 192 f.,

[700] St. John’s _Life in Far East_, I., 61.

[701] Lev. 17 : 14.

[702] As to this specific instance, I can bear personal testimony,
from my frequent communications on the subject, with the person whose
experience is here recited.

[703] _Am. Annals of Deaf and Dumb_, Vol. VI., p. 134.

[704] Paul’s claim, in Romans 1 : 18-23, is not that man knows God
intuitively; but that, having the knowledge of God, which he does have
by tradition, man ought not to liken God to “four-footed beasts and
creeping things.”

[705] See page 136, _supra_.

[706] See page 133 f., _supra_.

[707] 1 Kings 21 : 17-23; 22 : 35-38; 2 Kings 9 : 30-37.

[708] At page 44, _supra_.

[709] See page 154, _supra_.

[710] See page 313, _supra_.

[711] See page 53, _supra_.

[712] See page 35, _supra_.

[713] See page 37, _supra_.

[714] Gen. 21 : 33.

[715] See Gen. 13 : 18; 14 : 13; 18 : 1.

[716] The covenant was “with” [Hebrew, עִם _’im_, not “with” as an
instrument, but “with” as in the presence of, as accompanied by] the
tree at Shechem.

[717] See page 218, _supra_, note.

[718] Judges 9 : 1-6.

[719] Robinson’s _Biblical Researches_, II., 210 f., note.

[720] Von Wrede’s _Reise in Hadhramaut_, p. 197 f.

[721] See reference (in footnote 585 at page 268 f. _supra_) to the
custom in Sumatra, of taking an oath over the “grave of the original
patriarch of the Passumah.”

[722] _Lady of the Lake_, Canto III.

[723] _Ibid._, note.

[724] See pages 13, 86 f., _supra_.

[725] Athenæus’s _Deipnosophistæ_, II., 24 (45).

[726] St. John’s _Life in Far East_, Comp. I., 38, 46, 56, 74-76, 115,
117, 185.

[727] A trace of the burnt branch of the covenant-tree.

[728] See page 270, _supra_.

[729] See page 270, _supra_.

[730] See pages 9, 154, _supra_.

[731] W. H. Holmes, in _Second Annual Report of Bureau of Ethnol._,
pp. 240-254.

[732] W. H. Holmes, in _Second Annual Report of Bureau of Ethnol._,
p. 243.

[733] _Events in Indian History_, p. 143: cited _Ibid._, p. 242 f.

[734] _Moeurs des Sauvages Ameriq._, tom. II., pp. 502-507; cited
_Ibid._, p. 243 ff.

[735] Loskiel’s _Missions of the United Brethren_, Trans. by La Trobe,
Bk. I., p. 26; cited in _Ibid._, p. 245 f.

[736] _Ibid._, p. 253 f.

[737] St. John’s _Life in the Far East_, I., 67.

[738] See page 73, _supra_.

[739] See page 75, _supra_.

[740] Allingham’s _Ballad Book_, p. 6 f.

[741] _Todtenbuch_, xvii., 42, 43.

[742] Renouf’s _The Relig. of Anc. Egypt_, p. 107.

[743] Renouf’s _The Relig. of Anc. Egypt_, p. 107.

[744] _Miss. Voyage to So. Pacif. Ocean_, p. 65.

[745] See E. R. Smith’s _The Araucanians_, p. 262.

[746] Power’s “Tribes of California,” in _Contrib. to No. Am. Ethnol._,
III., 247.

[747] _Principles of Sociology_, II., 21.

[748] 1 Cor. 13 : 11.

[749] See note at page 218, _supra_.

[750] See pages 65-77, _supra_.

[751] 2 Cor. 5 : 17; Eph. 4 : 24; Col. 3 : 9, 10.

[752] Angas’s _Savage Life_, I., 114-116.

[753] See references to drawing blood from the forehead, at page
86 ff., _supra_.

[754] See pages 85-88, _supra_.

[755] Ellis’s _Polynesian Researches_, II., 569 f.

[756] See Prov. 27 : 9.

[757] Cited from Capt. Grant’s description; in Wood’s _Unciv. Races_,
I., 440.

[758] _Ibid._, II., 81.

[759] Williams and Calvert’s _Fiji and Fijians_, p. 35.

[760] _Indian Sign Language_, s. v. “Brother.”

[761] _Contributions to No. Am. Ethnology_, Vol. III., p. 68.

[762] Dodge’s _Our Wild Indians_, page 514 f.

[763] Is there any correspondence between this word, _taq’a_, and the
Hindoo word _tika_ (the blood-mark on the Rajput chief), referred to at
page 137, _supra_?



  Abel, his blood-giving, 210 ff.

  Abimelech, his covenant:
    with Abraham, 265;
    with Isaac, 267 f.

    The friend of God, 215-221;
    his blood-giving, 217-221;
    his faith-testing, 224-230;
    his covenant with Abimelech, 265 f.

  Adoption, blood used in, 195 f.

  Ahab’s fate, significance of, 312.

  Altar, a table of communion, 167, 292 f.

    house of the, 7, 65, 298;
    of the covenant, 81 f., 83, 232-238.
    See Phylactery: Token of covenant.

  Anointing with blood:
    in Central America, 90 f.;
    in Arabia, 120;
    in the Arthurian romance, 120 f.;
    among the Bheels, 136 f.;
    among the Caribs, 137 f.;
    among the Central Africans, 138;
    among the Chinese, 154;
    among the North American Indians, 306 f.;
    among the Australians, 336 f.

  Antiquity of the blood-covenant, 6, 58 ff., 77 ff., 206, 320.

  Ark, the, covering record of blood covenant, 298.
    See Amulet, house of the.

  Assiratum, its meaning, 63 ff.

  Avenger of blood. See Goel.

    god-father in circumcision, 218;
    god of the covenant, 218, 317.

  Banquet, connection of, with sacrifice:
    in China, 148 ff.;
    in India, 159 ff.;
    in Babylonia and Assyria, 167;
    among the Bed´ween, 179 f.;
    among American Indians, 179 f.

  Bed´ween Brotherhoods, 9 f.
    See also Blood-covenant.

    royal, of Tahiti, 328;
    wampum of American Indian, a covenant record, 326 ff.

    thicker than milk, 10;
    not eaten. See Prohibition of blood.
    Vivifying power of, 110 ff.;
    belongs to God, 204;
    symbolism of, in universal speech, 309 f.;
    life-giving, in:
      Mexican legend, 111 f.;
      Egyptian legend, 111 f.;
      Chaldean legend, 112;
      Phœnician legend, 112;
      Greek legend, 112;
      modern science, 115 f.;
    sacredness of, in:
      Egypt, 99 ff.;
      America, 105 ff.;
      India, 109, 158 ff.;
      China, 109.
    See Offerings of blood.

    in Egypt, 116 f., 324;
    in mediæval Europe, 117 ff.;
    in Scandinavia, 121 f.;
    in India, 122 f.;
    in Bechuana-land, 324.

    defined, 4 f.;
    a primitive rite, 4, 6, 8;
    its sacredness, 6 f.;
    influence of, 15;
    refused, 21;
    recognized, 26 f.;
    in Syria, 5 ff.;
    in Africa, 12-38;
    in Europe, 39-43;
    in China, 43 f.;
    in Burmah, 44, 313 f.;
    in Madagascar, 44 f., 44-49;
    in Borneo, 49-52;
    in Timor, 53 f.;
    in Yucatan, 54 f.;
    in Brazil, 55;
    in Scythia, 58 f., 61 f.;
    in South America, 334;
    in Egypt, 77-84;
    traces of, in China, 153;
    full symbolism of, 202 f.;
    Noah’s, 213;
    at Sinai, 238-240, 298;
    importance commonly undervalued, 297;
    a safeguard in Burmah, 315.

  Blood-lickers, 11, 59.
    See Drinking of Blood.

    in the East, 260 ff.;
    refused by Gibeonites, 324 f.;
      by Arabs, 325;
      by North American Indians, 325.
    See Goel.

  Blood-sucking, 8, 30, 43, 92, 114 f.
    See Drinking of blood.

  Blood-transference. See Blood-covenant; Transfusion of blood.

  Book of the Dead, 78-83.

  Bracelet, as symbol, 65-76.

    of Rā, 173;
    covenant of, 293, 313.

  Breaking the grass, 315.

  Brébeuf, heart of, 127.

  Brotherhoods, blood. See Blood-covenant.

  Bruce, heart of, 107 f.

  Burial in brotherhood, 41.

  Cain, his blood withholding, 210 ff.

  Cameron, Commander, making blood-friendship, 15 ff.

    religious origin of, 183 f., 184;
    in India, 185 f.;
    in Feejee, 187;
    in North America, 187 f., 308;
    in Central and South America, 180 f.;
    in Europe, 189 f.

  Caste-distinctions lost in communion, 161 ff.

  Cataline’s blood-covenant, 60 f.
    (See stamp on outside cover)

  Christ, his blood, fulfillment of human desire, 271-286.

  Christians, charges of cannabalism against, 321.

  Circumcision, a mode of blood-covenanting, 215-223, 237;
    its modern methods, 218 f.

  Clasped hands: a relic of the covenant, 328, 340.
    See Hands.

  Classics, references to blood-covenant in, 58-65, 267, 297, 312.

    through blood, 147 ff.;
    in China, 148 ff.;
    in Assyria, 168 f.;
    divine-human, in Egypt, 172.
    See Altar; Banquet; Union.
    In Christ, foretold, 275-278;
    instituted, 280-284;
    realized, 285 f.

  Covenant, between those of different religions, 7.
    See Blood-covenant.

  Covenant of Bread, its symbolism, 293, 313.

  Cry of blood from the ground, 212.

  Cutting covenant:
    meaning of term, 267 f., 322;
    between Jacob and Laban, 269;
    in one’s own body, 322;
    in substitute victim, 322;
    both methods in Borneo.

  Cuttings in flesh, 218;
    in friendship, in Zechariah, 341.

  David and Jonathan, covenanting, 269 ff.

  Dead, blood-covenant with, 299.

  Discerning the communion-body, 172.

  Drinking of blood:
    in North America, 127;
    in Syria, 6;
    in Central Africa, 13, 28 ff.;
    in Europe, 41, 60 f.;
    in Madagascar, 44, 48;
    in Borneo, 49 f., 52;
    in Timor, 53;
    in Scythia, 59, 62, 126;
    in Egypt, 83;
    in India, 92 f.;
    in China, 123 f.;
    in France, 124;
    in Italy, 124 f.;
    in language of Fellaheen, 130;
    among the Germans, 320;
    in Persia, 321;
    in Australia, 336;
    charge of, against Jews, 179, 321;
    charge of, against Christians, 321.

  Drinking the covenant: 9, 17 f., 60, 191 f.;
    in Borneo, 102;
    in Feejee, 193;
    in China, 196;
    in Central America, 197;
    in Europe, 198 ff.

  Eating together, in covenant, 268 f.

    of gifts, 14, 16, 20 f., 22, 25 f., 27 f., 32;
    of garments, 14, 270;
    of arms, 270.

  Evolution, or deterioration, 4.

  Feathers, red, their significance, 328 f.
    See Red, as a symbol.

  Feeding on the god: 176 f.
    See Communion; Union.

  Fiery cross:
    its significance in Arabia, 317 f.;
    in Scotland, 319 ff.

  Fire, a gift of the gods, 174.

  Firstborn, blood of the, 156.

  ---- sacrifice of:
    in China, 150 f.;
    in pre-Semitic times, 166.

  Food restrictions removed in communion:
    in India, 161 ff.;
    in Assyria, 168.

  Friend, closer than brother, 7 f., 10.

  Friendship, blood. See Blood-covenant.

  Girdle. See Belts.

  Ghouls seeking life in blood, 114 f.

  Giving blood:
    in proof of love, 85-92;
    in worship, 89-93, 96.

  _Goel_, pursuer, not avenger, of blood, 259-263;
    in Brazil, 325;
    in Australia, 325 f.

  Golden legend, Blood transference in, 118 ff.

  Hand, bleeding, in Tunis, 342.

    joined in blood, 12, 41 f., 235 f.;
    clasped, token of, 328, 340 ff.

  Healths, drinking of, relic of blood-drinking, 201 f.

    sacredness of, in Egypt, 99 ff., 300 ff.;
    as life, outside of the body, 103 ff., 301 f.;
    sacredness of, in Greece and Rome, 108 f.;
    epitome of man, 107;
    the symbol of personality, 204;
    new, is new life, 303;
    the seat of the soul, 304;
    living, in petrifactions, 305;
    source of life, 99 ff.;
    of strength, 135;
    of manhood, 135;
    of courage, 136.

    among American Indians, 128;
    in British Guiana, 128;
    in Australia, 129;
    in Africa, 129;
    in Borneo, 129.

  Heathen communions and the Christian sacrament, 177.

  Human sacrifices. See Sacrifices, human.

  Idols, anointed with blood, 176 f., 306 f.

  Illustrations of blood-covenant, in Bible, 264-271.

  Imprecatory oaths, 6, 9, 16, 20, 31, 45 ff., 51, 53, 60 f., 62.

  Imputation, doctrine of, 221.

  Incest, in marriage of blood-friends, 10, 55 f.

  Influence of blood-covenant, 15, 48.

  Inspiration through blood:
    in Homer, 113 ff.;
    in Norseland legends, 119 f.;
    on Pacific coast, 140 f.;
    in India, 141 f.

    his blood proffered, 225-230;
    his covenant with Abimelech, 267 f.

  Isis, blood of, 81 f., 233.

  Jacob, his covenant with Laban, 268 f.

  Jagan-natha, communion of, 163 f.

  Jews, charged with human sacrifices, 178 f., 321.

  Jezebel’s fate, significance of, 312 f.

  Jonathan and David, covenanting, 269 ff.

  Kali, human sacrifices to, 158 f.

  _Khatan_, one bound through bleeding, 222 f.

  Krishna, communion of, 163 f.

    blood baths, for cure of, in Syria, 116;
    in Egypt, 117, 324;
    in mediæval Europe, 117.

  Life: blood is, 38, 57, 79 ff., 88 f., 99, 211-215, 241-263,
    299 ff., 306.

  ---- from divine blood:
    in Egypt, 111 f.;
    in Mexico, 111 f.;
    in Chaldea, 112;
    in Phœnicia, 112;
    in Greece, 112.

  Life-transference in blood-transference, 126 ff.
    See Soul transference; Transfusion of blood.

    a symbol of life, 303 f.;
    proposed derivations of the word, 304 f.;
    symbolism of:
      as a blood-cistern, 303 f.;
      as seat of emotion, 304;
      as congealed blood, 304 f.;
      eaten, like the heart, 306.

  Livingstone, Dr., making blood-friendship, 13 ff.

  Mandrakes, symbolism of, 111.

  Marriage, blood-drinking in, 191 ff., 332.
    See Symbolic substitutes for blood; Wedding, ceremonies of.

  Marriage-covenant, blood in, 192 f.

  Milk-brothers, 11 f.

    his child’s circumcision, 221 ff.;
    his blood-covenant at Sinai, 238 ff.

    a lost, 334;
    the new, 337 f.;
    restitution for calling, of the dead, 335.

  ---- represents the life, 334 f.;
    in the Society Islands, 334;
    among Indians, 334 f.;
    among Australians, 335 f.

  Names, exchange of, 334 ff.

  Nature, transference of, by blood transference: 126 ff.;
    among the Caribs, 137 f.;
    among the Kaffirs, 138;
    among the Yarubas, 138 f.

  Necklace, symbolism of, 76 f.

  New covenant, Christ’s body and blood in, 299.

  Noah’s blood-giving, 212 ff.

  Norseland legends, 41 ff., 88 f.

  Odin and Lôké, in covenant, 39 ff.

  Offerings of blood:
    in Egypt, 102 f.;
    in America, 106 f.;
    in Greece and Rome, 108 f.;
    in Phœnicia, 109:
    in India, 109;
    in China, 109;
    in Arabia, 180.

  One soul in two bodies, 38, 80, 92 f., 334.

  Ordeal of touch:
    in the Nibelungen Lied, 143 f.;
    in Denmark, 144 f.;
    in Scotland, 145;
    in England, 146 f.;
    in America, 147.

  Otaheite. See Tahiti, under Union.

  Passover, substitute blood of, 231 f.

  Phœnicia, blood-giving in, 89 f.

  Phylacteries, the token of blood-covenant, 233-236;
    and amulet, 329.

  Preserving blood, as life, 88 f., 337 f.
    See Life, blood is.

  Prohibition of blood-drinking: 214 f.;
    in the Mosaic law, 240 f.;
    reason for, 312.

  Prophecy, Blood as a means of, 113 ff.

  Quiché god, Tohil, his terms of covenant, 174.

  Rā, communion with, in Amenti, 172, 333 f.

  Ransoming by blood, 324 ff. See Goel.

  Record of the divine blood-covenant, 298;
    of the covenant: among American Indians, 326 ff.

  Red, as a symbol of blood:
    in Egypt, 102 f., 173;
    in China, 196;
    the colour, its symbolism, 236 f.
    See also, Feathers, red.

  Revenger of blood. See Goel.

    symbolism of, 65-76, 330 ff.;
    in Dayak divorce, 330;
    of flesh, 331.

  Rosetta-stone of the covenant, 267.

    customs in, 73;
    blood giving in, 96.

  Sacrament, Christian:
    its relation to heathen communions, 177;
    foreshadowed in the Old Testament, 274 f.;
    instituted by Jesus, 281 ff.;
    not a sacrifice, 292;
    a two-fold covenant, 293.

  ---- of the Holy Food, 164.

  Sacredness of blood:
    in Egypt, 99 ff.;
    in America, 105 ff.;
    in India, 155.
    See Offerings of blood.

    as communion, in China, 149 ff.;
    not necessarily expiatory, 166;
    of Isaac, 224-230.

  Sacrifices; Egyptian and Jewish, their resemblance, 300.

  ---- human:
    among the Nahuas, 105 f.;
    among the Mayas, 106 f.;
    in India, 157 ff., 227;
    in Assyria, 166 f.;
    of children:
      in Guatemala, 174;
      in Arabia, 227;
      in the Norseland, 227;
      in Great Britain, 227 f.

  ---- human and animal, succession of:
    in China, 152;
    in India, 155 f.;
    in the Brahmanical books, 157 f.

  “Sacrificial part,” blood the, 157 f.

  Saffron, symbolism of, 77, 165.

  ---- water:
    in wedding, 332;
    a substitute for blood, 195 f.

  Saul, his phylacteries, 237 f.

  Scarabæus, a symbol of heart, 100, 300.

  Signing with blood, 93 ff.

  Smoking, in inter-union, 51, 309.

  Society Islands, brotherhoods in, 56 f.

  Soul-transference by blood-transference, 312 f.
    See Life-transference; Transfusion of blood.

  Spiritual conceptions not innate, 311.

  Stanley, Henry M., making blood-friendship, 18-38.

  Stone, white, and new name, 337.

  Stones, living, 119 f., 307 f.

    a covenant, 59, 62;
    hands, in covenant, 236, 341 f.

  Substitute-blood offered:
    in Borneo, 52, 73;
    in Egypt, 72;
    in China, 148;
    in South America, 177;
    in Bible times, 211, 213;
    at Sinai, 239-258.
    See Symbolic substitutes.

  Sucking-brothers, 11 f.

  Symbolic substitutes for blood, 191 ff.;
    the assiratum, 63 ff.;
    arrack, 192;
    coffee, 192;
    any ordinary spirituous liquor, 193;
    saffron, 194, 332;
    wine and honey, 196;
    chica, 197;
    wine, 198 ff.;
    whisky, 316.

  Symbols, scriptural and ethnic, their relationship, 206.

    in Assyria, 167;
    in the Old Testament, 167 f.;
    in the New Testament, 292 f.

  Thumbs bound, in covenant, 59, 71, 331.

  Token of passover covenant, 232.
    See Phylacteries, the token of blood-covenant.

  Touch, life by, of blood, 134 ff.

  Transfusion of blood: 38 f.;
    modern scientific, 115 f.;
    among Egyptians, 116 f.;
    among Hebrews, 116;
    among Syrians, 116;
    in Tasmania, 126;
    a cure for insanity, 133 f.

  Transmigration of souls, origin of belief in, 310.

    branch of, in the covenant, 35 ff.;
    of the covenant, 53;
    the fiery cross in Scotland, 317 ff.;
    the war-signal in Arabia, 318.
    See Tree-planting.

  Tree-planting in blood-covenant:
    in Borneo, 53;
    in India, 165;
    in Burmah, 313;
    in Israel, 316;
    traces of, 316 f.

  Trial by blood:
    in the Nibelungen Lied, 143 f.;
    in Denmark, 144 f.;
    in Scotland, 145;
    in England, 146 f.;
    in America, 147.

  Turkey, blood-giving in, 85.

  Types, insufficiency of, 252-258.

  Uarda, citation from, 84.

  Union, (divine) through blood:
    in Egypt, 333 f.;
    in the Norseland, 40 f.

  ---- (divine-human) through blood:
    in Phœnicia, 89;
    in Armenia, 90;
    in India, 92, 156 ff.;
    in Central America, 90 f., 175 f.;
    in Russia, 95;
    in China, 148 f.;
    in Assyria, 167 f.;
    in Persia, 169 f.;
    in Egypt, 170 f.;
    in Guatemala, 174;
    in the Mosaic ritual, 242-248;
    Abel’s outreaching for it, 210 ff.;
    Noah’s outreaching for it, 213 ff.;
    Abraham’s outreaching for it, 217-221;
    universal longing for it, 272;
    realised, through Christ, 273-293, 342.

  ---- (human) through blood:
    in Syria, 5-12;
    in Africa, 12-38;
    in the Norseland, 41 ff.;
    in Madagascar, 44-49;
    in Borneo, 49-52, 73;
    in Timor, 52-54;
    in Yucatan, 54 f.;
    in Brazil, 55;
    in North America, 55 f., 339 f.;
    in the South Sea Islands, 56 f.;
    in Scythia, 59 f., 61 f.;
    in Armenia, 59 f.;
    in Arabia, 62 f.;
    in Egypt, 72, 77-84;
    in India, 156;
    in Tahiti, 338;
    in Central Africa, 338;
    in Burmah, 314 f.

  ---- (Satanic-human) through blood:
    among witches, 93 ff.;
    among wonder-workers, 95.

  Unity of the human race, 57, 96, 178 f.

    seeking life in blood, 114 f.;
    in the Old World and the New, 115.

  Vicarious blood-absorption: 131 f.;
    among the Araucanians, 131;
    among the Abyssinians, 132;
    among the Australians, 133.

  Victim, representing a deity, 177 f., 183 f.

  Vivifying power of blood. See Blood, life-giving.

  Wampum-belts, a covenant record, 326.

  Water-of-saffron children, 195.

  Wedding, ceremonies of, 69-74.

  Wine, symbolism of, 63 ff., 73.

  Witchcraft, blood in, 93 ff.

  Witness-heap, 62, 266.

  Xolotl, rescues a lost race, 112.

  Yajna, great sacrifice of, 161 ff.

  Zipporah, her act of blood-giving, 222 f.

  Zoroastrians, their communion, 169 f.


    TEXT                             PAGE
    4 : 2-5                           211
    4 : 10, 11                        212
    8 : 20                            213
    9 : 3-6                           214
    12 : 6-8                          268
    13 : 18                           317
    14 : 13                      264, 317
    14 : 22                           235
    15 : 6                            220
    15 : 7-18                         322
    15 : 18                           264
    17 : 1-12                         322
    17 : 2, 7-9, 10, 11, 13           217
    18 : 1                            317
    21 : 12                           275
    21 : 22-24                        265
    21 : 30, 31, 33                   266
    21 : 33                           317
    22 : 1, 2                         225
    22 : 15, 18                       230
    22 : 18                           267
    26 : 25-29                        268
    26 : 30, 31                       268
    28 : 18-22                        268
    30 : 14-17                        111
    31 : 19-36                        268
    31 : 44-47                        266
    31 : 44-54                        269
    34 : 1-31                         218
    41 : 41, 42                        70
    49 : 11                           191

    2 : 5                             324
    4 : 9                             231
    4 : 20-26                    221, 222
    7 : 17-21                         231
    12 : 1-6                          231
    12 : 7-10                         153
    12 : 7-13                         232
    13 : 3-10, 11-16                  233
    21 : 18-27                        261
    22 : 14-17                        261
    24 : 1-11                         240
    24 : 3-8                          298
    24 : 8                            299
    24 : 5, 6                         213
    29 : 15-25                        213
    33 : 11                           216

    1 : 1-6                           213
    1 : 5, 11, 15                     249
    1 : 10-12                         213
    1 : 13, 17                         247
    1 : 14, 15                        213
    2 : 2, 12                         247
    3 : 8, 26                         247
    4 : 6, 7, 17, 18, 25, 30, 34      248
    4 : 13, 14                        247
    7 : 26                            241
    8 : 14-22                         249
    8 : 18, 19                        213
    9 : 8-22                          249
    14 : 19, 20                       249
    16 : 3-25                         249
    16 : 14, 15                       248
    17 : 3-6                          243
    17 : 10-12                        241
    17 : 11-14                        287
    17 : 13                           243
    17 : 14                      241, 309
    25 : 25 ff.                       260
    25 : 47 ff.                        260
    27 : 1-8                          261

    35 : 12                           259
    35 : 19, 21, 24, 25, 27           259
    35 : 9-34                         260
    36 : 30-34                        261

    6 : 4-9, 13-22                    234
    8 : 3                             173
    10 : 14-16                        256
    12 : 23                            64
    19 : 6, 12                        259
    22 : 13-21                        223
    27 : 9-26                          47
    28 : 1-68                          47
    30 : 1-6                          257
    32 : 14                           191

    2 : 18-20                         236
    20 : 3, 5, 9                      259

    8 : 33                            218
    9 : 4                             218
    9 : 1-6                           317

    1 : 14                            211

    18 : 1-3                          270
    18 : 4                            270
    19 : 1-7                          270
    20 : 1-13                         270
    20 : 13-17                        271

    1 : 1-16                          237
    1 : 10                             75
    1 : 26                            270
    7 : 1                             271
    9 : 1-13                          271
    12 : 17                           264
    14 : 11                           259
    21 : 1-9                          324

  1 KINGS.
    18 : 26-28                         90
    21 : 17-23                        313
    22 : 35-38                        313

  2 KINGS.
    5 : 1-14                          116
    9 : 30-37                         313
    19 : 37                           168

    20 : 7                            216

    4 : 2                             168

    3 : 10-12                          70
    8 : 2                              70

    3 : 2-9                            46
    19 : 25                           259
    23 : 12                           173

    16 : 4                             63
    16 : 4, 5                         252
    19 : 14                           259
    50 : 7-17                         253
    56 : 8                             81
    78 : 35                           259

    3 : 1-4                           257
    4 : 18                             78
    4 : 23                            101
    6 : 1                             236
    7 : 2, 3                          257
    11 : 15 margin                    236
    18 : 24                             7
    22 : 24-26                        236
    23 : 11                           259
    27 : 9                            338

    4 : 9, 10                           8

    1 : 11-17                         254
    25 : 6                            254
    37 : 38                           168
    41 : 8                            216
    41 : 14                           259
    43 : 14                           259
    44 : 6, 24                        259
    47 : 4                            259
    48 : 17                           259
    49 : 7, 26                        259
    49 : 16                           234
    49 : 18                           235
    51 : 10                           259
    53 : 4-6, 12                      286
    54 : 5, 8                         259
    59 : 20                           259
    60 : 16                           259
    62 : 8                            234
    63 : 16                           259
    65 : 11                           167

    7 : 21-23                         255
    22 : 24                           235
    31 : 11                           259
    31 : 31-34                        258
    34 : 18                      264, 322
    50 : 34                           259

    5 : 11                            235

    12 : 7                            235

    6 : 4-7                           255

    1 : 6, 7                          167

    39 : 26                           191
    50 : 15                           191

    6 : 34                            191

    4 : 4                             173
    6 : 31, 32                         47
    13 : 12                            47
    25 : 29                            47
    26 : 26-28                        281
    27 : 33-54                        285

    14 : 23                           281
    14 : 24                           299
    15 : 22-39                        285

    15 : 22                            70
    22 : 44                           280
    22 : 14, 15, 19, 20               281
    23 : 33-47                        285

    1 : 1-14                          274
    4 : 34                            173
    5 : 26                            290
    6 : 51, 55                        285
    6 : 53, 54                        299
    6 : 53-58                         276
    6 : 60, 63                        277
    6 : 60                            278
    8 : 31, 32                        173
    10 : 10, 18                       285
    13 : 1                            280
    15 : 4-7                          283
    15 : 13                   7, 229, 285
    15 : 13-15                        282
    16 : 13                           173
    17 : 1-24                         284
    17 : 19                           173
    19 : 17-37                        285
    20 : 31                           288

    15 : 2-29                         215
    21 : 18-25                        215

    1 : 18-23                         311
    2 : 26-29                         257
    4 : 3                             220
    4 : 11, 12                        257
    5 : 8-12                          289
    5 : 12-21                         245
    6 : 4-6                            42
    6 : 23                       242, 286
    8 : 22                            272
    8 : 32                            273
    12 : 5                            342

    6 : 15                            342
    10 : 14-17                        293
    10 : 21                           168
    11 : 29                           164
    11 : 25                           281
    12 : 27                           342
    13 : 11                           336

    5 : 17                       288, 336

    2 : 20                            289
    3 : 6                             220
    3 : 6-9, 16, 29                   278
    3 : 7-9                           257
    3 : 28, 29                        291
    4 : 5                             195
    6 : 17                            218

    1 : 7                             288
    2 : 11-16                         290
    4 : 24                            336
    5 : 30                            342

    3 : 3                             257

    1 : 19, 20                        290
    2 : 9-11                          291
    2 : 12                             42
    2 : 17                            258
    3 : 3                             288
    3 : 9, 10                         336

    1 : 10                            284

    1 : 1-3                           274
    1 : 14-16                         278
    2 : 14-16                         274
    6 : 13                            235
    9 : 8                             252
    9 : 16, 17                        284
    9 : 19                            239
    9 : 20                            298
    9 : 24-28                         292
    10 : 1-4                          272
    10 : 4                            252
    10 : 5-9                          275
    10 : 10, 14-22, 28, 29            292
    11 : 4                            211
    11 : 17-19                        229
    11 : 18                           275
    12 : 24                           212
    13 : 20                      243, 273
    13 : 20, 21                       293

    2 : 21-23                         230
    2 : 23                  216, 220, 221

  1 PETER.
    1 : 20                            275
    2 : 2-5                           307
    2 : 17                             45
    3 : 18                            286

  2 PETER.
    1 : 4                             289

  1 JOHN.
    1 : 7                             288
    5 : 11, 12                        286
    5 : 13, 20                        288

    1 : 5                             288
    6 : 10                            212
    7 : 3                             154
    9 : 4                             154
    13 : 8                            275
    13 : 16                           154
    14 : 1                            154
    20 : 4                            154
    22 : 4                            154




  _One volume, 8vo., 478 pages, with two maps and four
  full page illustrations, $5.00._


  FROM _The Athenæum_ (LONDON).

“This book contains a great deal of new information on the topography
of the Holy Land, derived from the latest hieroglyphic documents,
as well as from the accounts of recent travelers.... The wilderness
of Shur (a word meaning a wall) was beyond the Great Wall of Egypt,
and was also, according to the happy conjecture of our author, the
wilderness of Etham. This is an important identification, which will be
a new starting-point for the history of the exodus.”

  FROM _The Academy_ (LONDON).

“This is a truly noteworthy book, and will at once command the
attention of all biblical scholars.”

  FROM THE _London Quarterly Review_.

“This is one of the noblest historical monographs that we have, and in
some respects surpasses all other books of the kind.... The reader will
find this work of our American divine deeply engrossing; combining,
in fact, many kinds of interest not often meeting in one volume. We
have a fine historical insight running through all the ages; a keen
appreciation of the difficulties of the exodus, an intelligent attempt
to settle them; an intense enthusiasm for the biblical history as such,
and the dramatic skill of a modern traveler.... It is a book which our
young Hebraists and students of the Old Testament should read over and
over again.”


“It is one of the most ‘thorough’ books I have ever come across. Among
other points proved by you, your identification of the desert of Shur
is perhaps the neatest and most important.”


“As an apple of Tantalus, your splendid work concerning Kadesh-Barnea
sways above me. I am not yet filled with it; ... but it is unbearable
that I should longer refrain from thanking you.... It is a great
service that you, following the lead of the sainted Palmer, have made
Ên Kudeîs the object of your investigation.... My commentary on Genesis
is out of print.... Would that I could yet once more work over this
commentary.... Then I would have an opportunity to show my thankful
appreciation of your work.”

  SOCIETY) IN THE _Theologische Literatur-Zeitung_, OF LEIPZIG.

“Trumbull appears to me to be specially felicitous in his determination
of the three roads leading out from Egypt to the East, which are of
great importance for the general history of the further East.... The
happy result of his journey is very gratifying, and we have to thank
his diligent studies for a valuable contribution to biblical geography.”

  _The Presbyterian Review_.

“This is the most important work upon the geography of the Holy
Land produced in America since the Biblical Researches of Edward
Robinson.... Dr. Trumbull ... has established the site of Kadesh-Barnea
so thoroughly, and so fortified his conclusions on every hand, that we
believe no one will hereafter think of questioning them.... The book is
written in an interesting and fervent style. The author grapples with
his reader. His enthusiasm is contagious. The critic has to take care
and stand firm lest he be swept off his feet. We thank Dr. Trumbull for
his labor of love and enthusiasm. He has done honor to American pluck
and indefatigable research. We are proud of the book and the man.”

⁂ _For sale by all booksellers, or sent post-paid upon receipt of
price, by_

      Nos. 743 and 745 Broadway, New York.

  Transcriber’s Note:

  Footnotes have been renumbered and repositioned. Where the author has
  cross-referenced a footnote, the footnote number in this text has been
  added to the original reference.

  Two page numbers in the Contents, and one in the Index, have been

  Hieroglyphs and one Syriac word in the original book are represented
  by [Illustration].

  Quotations from other sources, and transliterated materials, have
  been transcribed as they appear in the original book.

  Spelling, grammar, and variation in hyphenation and word usage have
  been retained.

  Punctuation has been changed occasionally where a clear predominance
  of usage could be ascertained.

  Typographical changes have been made as follows:

  p. 31:
  the slighest breach
    changed to
  the slightest breach

  p. 57:
  _Miss. Vogage to So. Pacif. Ocean_
    changed to
  _Miss. Voyage to So. Pacif. Ocean_ (footnote 95)

  p. 77:
  Dubois _Des. of Man. and Cust. of India_
    changed to
  Dubois’s _Des. of Man. and Cust. of India_ (footnote 151)

  p. 90:
  Montolinia’s _Hist. Ind. de Nueva España_
    changed to
  Motolinia’s _Hist. Ind. de Nueva España_ (footnote 181)

  p. 111:
  M. Edouard Naville, the eminent Swiss Egyptologist
    changed to
  M. Édouard Naville, the eminent Swiss Egyptologist (footnote 222)

  p. 125:
  Bruy’s _Histoire des Papes_
    changed to
  Bruys’s _Histoire des Papes_ (footnote 251)

  p. 156:
    changed to

  p. 174:
  Anderson’s _Lake Ngami_
    changed to
  Andersson’s _Lake Ngami_  (footnote 360)

  p. 185:
  the Abbe Dubois
    changed to
  the Abbé Dubois

  p. 189:
  _Native Relig. in Mex. and Peru_
    changed to
  _Native Relig. of Mex. and Peru_ (footnote 388)

  p. 235 and 236:
  Robert’s _Orient. Ill. of Scrip._
    changed to
  Roberts’s _Orient. Ill. of Scrip._ (footnotes 492 and 499)

  p. 200:
  Godwyn’s _Rom. Historiae_
  changed to
  Godwyn’s _Rom. Historiæ_ (footnote 421)

  p. 234:
  in the covenant thus memoralized
    changed to
  in the covenant thus memorialized

  p. 300:
  _Dictionnaire d’Archéologie Égyptienne_, s. v. “Coeur.”
    changed to
  _Dictionnaire d’Archéologie Égyptienne_, s. v. “Cœur.” (footnote 678)

  p. 312:
  and also taken possesion
  changed to
  and also taken possession

  p. 317:
  Mamre, the Amorite, brother of Eschol
  changed to
  Mamre, the Amorite, brother of Eshcol

  p. 332:
  colored with saffron, or with tumeric
  changed to
  colored with saffron, or with turmeric

  p. 346:
  _Goel_, pursuer, not avenger, of blood, 259-563;
  changed to
  _Goel_, pursuer, not avenger, of blood, 259-263;

  p. 347:
  Otaheite, See Tahiti.
  changed to
  Otaheite. See Tahiti, under Union.

  p. 347:
  See Covenant, token of the.
  changed to
  See Phylacteries, the token of blood-covenant.

  p. 348:
  in the Mosaic ritual, 242-2 8;
    changed to
  in the Mosaic ritual, 242-248;

  These were not changed:

   p. 261:
  whether the loss life shall be restored
    might read
  whether the lost life shall be restored

  p. 325:
  “Even in so rude a tribe as the Brazilian Topanazes,” the Farrer
    might read
  “Even in so rude a tribe as the Brazilian Topanazes,” says Farrer

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Blood Covenant - A Primitive Rite and its Bearings on Scripture" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.