It has been said elsewhere that the physical features of Western Australia resemble, in many respects, those of the Holy Land. Both suffer from periodical draughts, and largely depend upon wells for water. Then both have fertile and smiling pastures, side by side with barren sandy wastes. Both have a warm summer, and a pleasant sea-breeze near the coast, and both have largely a limestone foundation. Still more curious to notice is the similarity in some points between the customs of the Aborigines and those of the ancient Jews.
Some of the superstitious rites just referred to remind us of the passage in I. Kings, chap. xviii, verse 28:--"And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them."
Then again, Jeremiah xlvii, 37:--"For every head shall be bald, and every beard clipped: and upon all the hands shall be cuttings," etc. In many parts of Australia the natives cut off portions of their beards at funerals, in addition to the lacerations.
Again, in Deuteronomy xiv, 1, it is written, "Ye shall not cut yourselves, nor make any baldness between
your eyes for the dead." Evidently the prohibition referred to an ancient Jewish, as well as an idolatrous custom. It is also very singular to remark that when the women among the Aborigines do cut and disfigure their faces for the dead, it is always between the eyes, just as was explicitly forbidden by Moses.
Elsewhere the Prophet Isaiah reprehends the custom of remaining among the graves, which is, to this day a prevalent custom among the natives of Western Australia.
"A people which provoke me to anger," etc., "which remain among the graves and lodge in the monuments."
The native form of taking an oath also closely resembles that described in Genesis, where "the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham, his master."
Australian mothers, again, name their children from some circumstance connected with their birth, or early infancy; just as in Genesis xxx, 11, Leah said, "A troop cometh, and she called his name Gad."
I have already referred to the practice of circumcision, which is common in many parts, from St. Vincent's Gulf to the Gulf of Carpentaria.
I have likewise alluded to the interesting coincidences, but make no attempt to draw inferences therefrom. With but meagre data and inadequate knowledge, the subject is unapproachable. If, however, these primitive people should have received from the common Creator certain laws for the guidance of their lives, does it not furnish food for reflection? It is scarcely necessary that I should disclaim any intention of identifying my
aboriginal friends with the Lost Tribes!