Paradise Found, by William F. Warren, , at sacred-texts.com
The more I search into the ancient history of the world, the more I am convinced that the cultivated nations commenced with a purer worship of the Supreme Being; that the magic influence of Nature upon the imaginations of the human race afterward produced polytheism, and at length entirely obscured spiritual conceptions of religion in the belief of the people.A. W. von Schlegel.
La prétendue évolution de la vie sauvage, telle que la décrit lécole naturaliste en la considérant comme le premier degré du développement de lhumanité, a deux grands défauts: elle part de trop bas, et elle sélhve trop haut; car il lui est impossible dexpliquer les progrès quelle constate dans lhumanité, une fois quelle la fait débuter par la bestialité complète.E. de Pressensé.
There is another class of investigations of remarkable present interest,investigations lying partly in the anthropological and partly in the theological field of research,on which the discussions and results of the present treatise have a most important bearing. They are the questions which relate to the Origin, the Primordial Form, and the true History of Religion.
Such light is greatly needed at the present time. As we have seen, all the most ancient traditions of the race represent mankind as having commenced existence in a divine fellowship, and as having lost this holy and blessed estate only through sin. This view of the Origin of Religion has prevailed from the beginning of traceable history among all nations of the earth, varying only to such slight extent as would permit polytheistic peoples to conceive of the
primeval divine fellowship polytheistically, and the monotheistic peoples monotheistically. To a monotheist it is significant that several of the ancient nations, representing widely differing races, as for example the Egyptians, the Persians, and the Chinese, seem to have been more monotheistic in their earliest traceable conceptions of religion than in their later and latest creed and practice. But without dwelling upon this, it may be stated as a broad and impressive fact that, with the exception of a few speculative authors, nearly all of whom have lived since the middle of the last century, the solid traditional belief of the whole human family in every age of the world has been that man began his existence pure and sinless, and in conscious and intelligent divine communion. 1 This is the pan-ethnic no less than the Biblical doctrine of the Origin and First Form of Religion among men.
It was remarked a moment ago that at the present time new light is greatly needed on this question. The need is special for the reason that for about a hundred years past certain speculative minds, oblivious of the early history of mankind, ignoring the sacred books of all nations, despising the consentaneous convictions of all peoples, and more or less ridiculing the very idea on which religion itself is based,namely, the idea of the existence and action of extra-human and super-human personalities,have undertaken to set aside the view which we have above described as the pan-ethnic doctrine of the Origin of Religion, and to substitute
for it some other explanation, so framed as to make it appear that religion originated from man himself, apart from any divine manifestation, or teaching, or impulse whatsoever. The result has been a succession of crude speculations, inadequate in their premises and contradictory in their respective conclusions. Professing unusual philosophic candor, aided by the interest which always attends novel attempts to set aside the beliefs of ages; adapting themselves to every class of readers, and especially to all the successively ruling fashions in non-religious and irreligious current speculation, these writers have at last not only wrought a perfect confusion in this portion of the Philosophy of Religion, but have furthermore so degraded and bestialized their readers conception of primitive humanity, and so outraged all probability in their descriptions of primitive savagery, that even from biological and sociological sides a strong reaction has already set in.
It will be instructive briefly to review the history of these speculations, and to note .the successive stages of ever-deepening error and the mutual contradiction of their much-admired results.
The first of them of any note was David Hume, the English deist and champion of philosophic doubt. In his "Natural History of Religion" (published in 1755), he lays down this as his first and fundamental proposition: "Polytheism was the primary religion of mankind."
His first argument in support of this thesis is an appeal to the evidence of post-christian history. He puts it thus:
"It is a matter of fact, incontestable, that about 1700 years ago all mankind were polytheists. The
doubtful and skeptical principles of a few philosophers, or the theismand that not entirely too pureof one or two nations, form no objection worth regarding. Behold, then, the clear testimony of history. The farther we mount into antiquity the more do we find mankind plunged into polytheism. No marks, no symptoms, of any more perfect religion. The most ancient records of the human race still present us with that system as the popular and established creed. The North, the South, the East, the West, give their unanimous testimony to the same fact. What can be opposed to so full an evidence?"
The force of this passage consists almost exclusively in its cool positiveness of dogmatic assertion. Plainly, the condition of the majority of mankind 1700 years ago affords no just criterion by which to judge of the condition of the race thousands of years before that. Indeed, to any believer in historic evolution of any sort, it would seem antecedently certain that the condition of men several thousand years after the commencement of their existence must be very different indeed from their primitive condition. But, furthermore, he grants that 1700 years ago the prevalence of polytheism was, after all, not universal; there were "one or two nations" of theists, and even philosophers in other nations, who doubted the truth of polytheism. It was absurd, therefore, to talk of "the unanimous testimony" of North and South, East and West.
The second point urged by Hume is the improbability of the supposition that "a barbarous, necessitous animal, such as man is, on the first origin of society," a being "pressed by such numerous wants and passions," should have had either the
disposition, or the capacity, or the leisure, so to study "the order and frame of the universe" as immediately to be led "into the pure principles of theism." He grants that a careful and philosophic consideration of the unity and order of the natural world is sufficient to conduct one to an assured belief in the being of one Supreme and Almighty Creator, but he says, "I can never think that this consideration could have an influence on mankind when they formed their first rude notions of religion." Assuming that the first men must necessarily have been "an ignorant multitude," he says,
"It seems certain that, according to the natural progress of human thought, the ignorant multitude must first entertain some groveling and familiar notion of superior powers before they stretch their conception to that perfect Being who bestowed order on the whole frame of nature."
The force of this argument it is difficult to see. It all rests upon two assumptions: first, the assumption that the first men were the lowest barbarians,to use his own words, "barbarous, necessitous animals;" and, secondly, the assumption that there was, apart from the philosophic study of nature, no other way in which they could have obtained a belief in the existence of the Creator. As no religionist of any age has ever admitted these assumptions, and as Hume adduces no particle of proof for either of them, this part of his argument is surely quite unworthy of a professed philosopher.
His next and last point is the impossibility of the loss of the monotheistic faith if it had once been reached by the earliest men. He says,
"If men were at first led into the belief of one superior Being by reasoning from the frame of nature, they could never possibly leave [have left] that belief in order to embrace polytheism; but the same principles of reason which at first produced and diffused over mankind so magnificent an opinion must be [have been] able, with greater facility, to preserve it. The first invention and proof of any doctrine is much more difficult than the supporting and retaining of it."
Here our author appears to even poorer advantage than in either of his former arguments. In the first place, as before, he ignores the possibility of supposing a knowledge of God by means of a divine self-manifestation, thus covertly misrepresenting or evading the only point in debate. In the second place, the assertion that if the first men had attained to a pure theism they never could have left it and become polytheists should be compared with his own later assertions in Section viii. of the same treatise, where he describes what he himself calls the "Flux and Reflux of Polytheism and Theism." This section opens thus:
"It is remarkable that the principles of religion have a kind of flux and reflux in the human mind, and that men have a natural tendency to rise from idolatry to theism, and to sink again from theism into idolatry."
The author then states his well-known theory of the origin of polytheism as the first form of religion, and his theory of the rise of monotheism out of polytheism. But when a people have thus reached a belief in a God possessed of "the attributes of unity and affinity, simplicity and spirituality," there
comesso he declaresa natural relapse into polytheism. The explanation of this is given in these words:
"Such refined ideas [as those of pure monotheism], being somewhat disproportioned to vulgar comprehension, remain not long in their original purity, but require to be supported by the notion of inferior mediators or subordinate agents, which interpose between mankind and their supreme deity. These demi-gods, or middle beings, partaking more of human nature, and being more familiar to us, become the chief objects of devotion. . . . But as these idolatrous religions fall every day into grosser and more vulgar corruptions, they at last destroy themselves, and by the vile representations which they form of their duties make the tide turn again toward them."
Thus monotheism and polytheism are, to Hume, two opposites, between which the human mind forever oscillates. This being so, it is plain that this oscillation is grounded in reason, or it is not. If it is grounded in reason, then primitive men may have reasoned their way into monotheism as their first religious faith, and still have relapsed into polytheism as the natural and rational reaction. On the other hand, if the oscillation is not grounded in reason, then, as by his own account all later religious states of mankind have been unreasonable, the first may have been altogether different from what Hume would have considered rational; that is, may have been a state of pure monotheism.
Such was Hume's attempted demonstration of the primitiveness of polytheism, and the whole of it.
Five years later, in 1760, De Brosses, one of Voltaire's correspondents, published his crude but noteworthy book on "The Worship of Fetiches; or, Parallel of the Ancient Religion of Egypt with the Present Religion of Nigritia." This was the writer who first gave currency to the word "fetichism," and who first postulated it as the invariable antecedent of polytheism. De Brosses, however, was a professed believer in primeval divine revelation, and he made the Hebrews an exception to his general claim that all ancient nations began with fetichism, rose thence to polytheism, and tended thence toward monotheism. In the early part of the present century, however, Auguste Comte, ignoring any primeval revelation, elevated De Brosses generalization into an absolute law of historic development. He gave the greater plausibility and influence to it by representing this law of theological progress as only part of a yet broader social law, according to which humanity, having traversed this "theological stage" in the manner indicated, passes next through a "metaphysical" one, and finally attains the "scientific" stage of atheistic positivism.
In Germany, in 1995, Hume's opinion found an able representative in G. L. Bauer, of Altdorf, and ten years later we see Meiners, in his "Universal History of Religion," repeating and enforcing the notion of the absolute primitiveness of fetichism. The rationalistic and pantheistic tendencies of German speculation about this time were, of course, favorable to any new theory which discredited the Biblical one, and thus it came to pass that before the middle of the present century the De Brosses theory, in its completer Comtean form, became almost
universally adopted. Speaking of its prevalence, Professor Max Müller says:
"All of us have been brought up on it. I myself certainly held it for a long time, and never doubted it till I became more and more startled by the fact that, while in the earliest accessible documents of religious thought we look in vain for any very clear traces of fetichism, they become more and more frequent everywhere in the latter stages of religious development, and are certainly more visible in the later corruptions of the Indian religion, beginning with the Atharvana, than in the earliest hymns of the Rig Veda." 1
For many years our works on primeval history have been saturated with this idea. Even professedly Christian writers upon the History of Religions, and upon Comparative Theology, have largely fallen in with the prevailing notion. As one has well said, "The very theory has become a kind of scientific fetich, though like most fetiches it seems to owe its existence to ignorance and superstition."
For some time past, however, this long dominant dogma of naturalism has been losing credit with all careful students of the world's religions, and indeed with the more thorough professional ethnologists. In his recent work, "The Hibbert Lectures on the Origin and Growth of Religion," 2 Max Müller, himself for a long time, as we have seen, a believer in the theory, publicly challenges its correctness. In Lecture second, after rapidly sketching the rise and remarkable prevalence of the theory, he exposes,
with much acuteness and with his usual wealth of illustrative facts, the indiscriminateness with which the term fetichism has been currently used, and the worthlessness of evidence upon which Comte and others have relied. He sets forth, respectfully but strongly, the inadequacy of their psychological explanation of the origin of fetichism, and shows that even the West African fetich-worshipers hold at the same time other views properly polytheistic, or, in some cases, even monotheistic. Summing up his own conclusions, he says,
The results at which we have arrived after examining the numerous works on fetichism from the days of De Brosses to our own time may be summed up under four heads:
First. The meaning of the word fetich has remained undefined from its first introduction, and has by most writers been so much extended that it may include almost every symbolical or imitative representation of religious objects.
Second. Among people who have a history we find that everything which falls under the category of fetich points to historical and psychological antecedents. We are therefore not justified in supposing that it has been otherwise among people whose religious development happens to be unknown or inaccessible to us.
Third. There is no religion which has kept itself entirely free from fetichism.
Fourth. There is no religion which consists entirely of fetichism. 1
So able an exposé of the shortcomings of the fetichistic philosophy of the origin of religion, coming
from the pen of a scholar so widely and deservedly revered, cannot fail to produce in the world of general readers and second-hand writers a profound and wholesome impression. Probably the work will fail of becoming "epoch-making" solely in consequence of something for which the author is not responsible, namely, the fact that in discussing to-day this dogma of primitive fetichism one is really dealing with an issue which in advanced circles is already dead. Even Mr. Andrew Lang, perhaps the most antagonistic of all Professor Müller's reviewers, is not himself willing to make fetichism the "first 'moment' in the development of religion." 1 Ten or fifteen years earlier the polemic would have done many times the good it can now. During this period a decided change has taken place. There remained a decade or two ago a further step, and but one further step, for the advocates of the naturalistic view of the origin of religion to take. Hume had made polytheism the primitive faith; Comte thought to go back of this, and to postulate a still more rudimentary form as antedating polytheism. It remained to go back of fetichism, and predicate of the first men absolute atheism. This various recent authors have done, prominent among whom, in England, is Sir John Lubbock. In chapter iv. of his work, miscalled "The Origin of Civilization, and the Primitive Condition of Man," 2 he classifies "the first great stages of religious thought" as follows:
First. Atheism; "understanding by this term not
a denial of the existence of a deity, but an absence of any definite ideas on the subject."
Second. Fetichism. In the state of primeval atheism men were "not without a belief in invisible beings." They especially believed in human shadows, ghosts, and the people seen in dreams, etc., though these spirits were not conceived of as immortal, or as possessing any supernatural powers. They were feared only because they were supposed to have power and disposition to inflict disease, or otherwise to injure men yet in the flesh. Now, inasmuch as it was believed that by means of the fetich these evil spirits could be controlled and coerced to the will of the worshiper, fetichism, viewed in its relation to religious development, is pronounced by Lubbock "a decided step in advance." Viewed in itself, "it is mere witchcraft."
Third. Totemism, or Nature-worship. This our author nowhere clearly distinguishes from fetichism. In this stage of religious progress, "the savage does not abandon his belief in fetichism, from which, indeed, no race of men has yet entirely freed itself, but he superinduces on it a belief in beings of a higher and less material nature. In this stage everything may be worshiped,trees, stones, rivers, mountains, the heavenly bodies, plants, and animals."
Fourth. Shamanism. "As totemism overlies fetichism, so does Shamanism overlie totemism." Here the gods are conceived of as far more "powerful than men," as "of a different nature," as residing far away, and as "accessible only to the Shamans," who are "occasionally honored by the presence of the deities, or are allowed to visit the heavenly
regions." This in its turn is pronounced "a considerable advance" over the preceding stage of religious thought.
Fifth. Idolatry, or Anthropomorphism. Here "the gods take still more completely the nature of men, being, however, more powerful. They are still amenable to persuasion; they are a part of Nature, and not creators. They are represented by images or idols."
Sixth. To the sixth stage no name is given; but it is described as one in which "the deity is regarded as the author, not merely a part, of Nature. He becomes for the first time a really supernatural being."
Seventh. In this last and highest stage, which he also leaves unchristened, morality becomes "for the first time associated with religion." 1
We will not stop to criticise in detail this extremely confused and ill-named classification, or the assumptions on which it rests. Its most characteristic feature is its postulation of universal primitive atheism as antedating every form of religious development in our race. So far as he rested this dogma either upon the affirmed absence of all religious beliefs and usages among the lowest savages of to-day, or upon the principle that the religious conceptions of a people are always in exact proportion to its degree of civilization, his refutation quickly began. The next year after the publication of his work, in a learned treatise on "Primitive Culture," E. B. Tylor challenged several of Lubbock's authorities for the statement that non-religious tribes have been found, while in his new work on "The Human Species,"
[paragraph continues] 1879, the learned and able Professor of Anthropology in the Paris Museum of Natural History, Quatrefages, went yet further, not only maintaining with Tylor that no atheistic tribe of savages has yet been discovered, but also expressly denying the proposition that elevation of religious conceptions invariably corresponds to the elevation of a people in the scale of general civilization or knowledge of the arts. The fact that these objections to the hypothesis of primitive atheism came, not from theologians, but from scientific men,from fellow-students in the fields of anthropology and ethnology,gave them, with many, all the greater weight. 1 The careful reader, however, cannot fail to see that the only difference between Lubbock and some of his critics is merely one of name, and not of thing; that the alleged primitive state which he calls atheistic exactly answers to what Tylor and Darwin would describe as the earliest form of animistic religion, and to what Herbert Spencer would call the first rudimentary beginnings of ghost and ancestor worship. Nor can we fail to see that the consistent Darwinian evolutionist must place the beginnings of human history so near the plane of the brute-life as to make it almost certain that its first stage was truly non-theistic, if not, indeed, altogether non-religious.
Precisely at this point notice should be taken of the elaborate work of Otto Caspari, of Heidelberg, entitled "Die Urgeschichte der Menschheit, mit
[paragraph continues] Rücksicht auf die natürliche Entwickelung des frühesten Geisteslebens" ("The Primitive History of Mankind, with Respect to the Natural Evolution of the Earliest Spiritual Life)." This two-volumed treatise was issued at Leipsic in 1872, and reached a second edition in 1877. A very large portion of it is devoted to the exposition of the author's view of the origin and natural evolution of religion in the early history of the race. This view is characterized by an originality and elaborated with an ingenuity which render the book as fascinating to the student as the most absorbing romance. The author is a pure and professed evolutionist, but instead of attempting to solve his problem with Lyell and Broca from the data of Paleontology, or with Darwin and Häckel from the data of Zoölogy, or with Huxley and Bastian from the data of Biology, or with Müller and Noiré from the data of Philology, or with Prichard and Peschel from the data of Ethnology, or with Tylor and Lubbock from the data of Culture-History, or with Waitz and Topinard from the data of General Anthropology, he approaches it and grapples with it as a problem for that higher and broader science to which all of the above are tributary,the science to which its German originators have given the name Völker-Psychologie (Ethnic or Anthropic Psychology). He cannot consider the problem solved until, beginning with the psychological facts of brute-life, we are able to represent to ourselves the successive steps and stages by which the originally animal mind slowly evolved all the spiritual and religious conceptions, emotions, habits, and ideals of the historic and actual human race. His own attempt to do this is not free from arbitrary
assumptions or inconsistencies, but, as a whole, it is a marvel of subtile analysis and constructive ability. In contrast with it the expositions of Hume and Lubbock appear as clumsy and grotesque as the early theories of geology, described in Goldsmith's "Book of Nature," now look to the modern student.
One of the oldest of the anti-supernaturalist explanations of the origin of religion is that which ascribes it to the ignorant and superstitious fears of earliest men.
wrote Petronius, and Lucretius fuller exposition of the same notion is familiar. No such explanation satisfies Caspari. He cannot conceive how fear could ever become that compound of reverence and love which is of the essence of religion. Fear simply prompts the brute to shun, as far as may be, the object feared. Equally unsatisfactory is the notion that the heavenly bodies and the sublimer phenomena of nature inspired the awe and curious questionings out of which religion could have grown. The primitive man, like the anthropoid brute, took no notice of the remote and lofty. Nothing had interest for him save that which was perceived to be vitally related to him in the struggle for existence. The range of his conceptions and of his sympathies was limited to the objects which were his allies or his enemies in this perpetual battle. Religion, therefore, is not to be traced to any inworking of nature, or of natural objects upon the human mind. It had a deeper and yet more obvious genesis in natural human relationships. The first and root form of all piety was filial piety. The first object of truly religious regard was the parent. This reverential and affectionate
regard of the consciously ignorant, weak, and dependent child for the indefinitely wise, strong, and helpful father or mother is essentially religious. At an extremely early date it must have become extended from the parent to the all-defending and all-regulating tribal chieftain, and to the aged and experienced counselors of the rude primeval communities. The natural tendency of uncivilized men to gesture-language must have produced habitual forms of rendering homage,the germ of which we may observe in the homage paid by the bees to their queen,and thus parents, chieftains, and sages were the first objects of religious reverence and homage among men. As yet men had no conceptions of nature as a whole, no intellectual interest in stars, or trees, or animals, no mental provocation to worship anything else than "the ethically exalted," as it appeared in the narrow circle of the family and tribal life. There was no thought of an unseen world, no idea of souls, no proper conception even of death. The dead man was supposed to be simply asleep, or in a long swoon. Being self-evidently helpless for the present, like a sick member of the family, he called out natural pity and care. Food and drink were placed in readiness against his awakening. If he had to be left behind, he was put in a cave to protect him against wild beasts, and his weapons were left for his use.
On the basis of this naïve conception of things the rise of animal worship first becomes conceivable. The beast which has devoured a man, living or dead, is now as much man as beast. The man has not ceased to be; he has simply blended his life in that of the beast, and become a "man-beast." The ferocity
of the new compound. is easily mistaken for an angry wish on the part of the late man to take vengeance on his relatives or associates for not having more effectually protected him from the devouring animal. But if the "man-beast" is human enough to remember and avenge such real or supposed neglects on the part of his late friends, he must be human enough to recognize and appreciate any well-meant attempts to appease his anger and propitiate his favor. Hence a natural basis, not for universal animal worship, but for the worship of the more common carnivora, and these Caspari endeavors to show were the first that attained such distinction.
Here, also, is found the origin of cannibalism. A man has killed his foe. If he leaves him merely dead he will some time come to life again as bad as ever. If haply before this some wild beast devour him, he will then become a ferocious and malevolent "man-beast,"a worse enemy than before. There is no way of making the victory final and secure, except by eating him up one's self. Then the life and valor of the slain become life and valor to the slayer. Even the eating of others than foes is in this way made intelligible. As the Fan Negroes are said to eat"with a certain tenderness"the bodies of their wives and children, so the primitive man, seeking the safest possible place for the body of his dead friend, may have thought it a far friendlier act to eat him up than to leave him to take his chances at the hand of worms underground, or beasts of prey above it. Between the two motives, the desire to appropriate the vital forces of the foe and the wish to do the best possible thing for the unwakable friend, our author thinks that
anthropophagy became in the first age of the world almost universal. The very piety of the surviving toward the dead contributed to the dissemination of the revolting custom.
Our limits will not permit an equally full account of the remaining stages by which religion grew to be what it has been and is in the world. Suffice to say that possible millenniums from the beginning of human history "toward the end of the Stone Age," there occurred the greatest revolution in human thought and belief and life which the race has yet witnessed. This was brought about by the rise and adoption of the belief that trees and men and beastsin fine, all natural objectsare possessed of invisible, impalpable, vital principles, souls. That which produced and supported this strange, new notion was a discovery which, estimated by the breadth and profoundness of its influence, must be placed at the head of all others,the discovery, namely, of the art of kindling fire. This mysterious and novel power of evoking what seemed a bright and living being from the realm of the invisible, by means of the "fire-drill," half bewildered even the priestly caste, in whose hands the awful secret lay. Their attempts to use it led to Shamanism and a sincere magic. By means of the observed vital heat of living things and the coldness of the dead the new element was quickly identified with the inner essence of life itself, and the new art the more commended to universal attention by means of its beneficent applications in the hands of the Flamens, or Fire-priests, to the purposes of healing. The same identification of heat and life soon associated phallus and fire-drill, and introduced the strange and
apparently monstrous aberration of phallic worship. Under these new ideas it was only natural that sun and star and lightning flash should come to have a new significance for man, and make their impress on religion. Animal worship was profoundly modified in ways ingeniously set forth. The simple oblations of the earlier period give place to sacrifices to fire, and to the heavenly bodies. So strong is the desire to become transformed into white, flaming spirits, and to be joined to the supernal fellowship of such, that men bring themselves as offerings, and seek transfiguration in the holy altar flames. Hence human sacrifices; hence also incremation of the dead. In time, the idea of the soul takes on greater and greater definiteness; so also the idea of the immaterial supersensual gods. The long-continued stimulation of the imagination renders myth-constructions possible. Some of the great priesthoods of history invent hieroglyphic and alphabetic writing, and in time there naturally follow sacred books, cosmogonies, codes of religious laws, etc., etc. The magic wand of the first fire-bringer has at last created a spiritual and unseen counterpart to the world which is seen. In this enchanted world we live to-day; the lowest of us showing our faith by superstitious fetichism, the highest of us by attempts at a purely spiritual worship. That highest Christian conception, "God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all," is simply the culmination of a mode of thinking which started ages ago with the spark which some savage prehistoric flint-chipper struck out of the flinty stone. 1
The brevity of this sketch of Caspari's theory renders it impossible to do full justice to the skill and plausibility with which he has elaborated it. Still less have we space for that detailed review which would be needed were we to undertake a refutation of the scheme in part or whole.
In striking opposition to the theory of Caspari stands that of Jules Baissac, elaborated in his "Origines de la Religion." 1 He, too, begins with primitive animality, and proposes to trace the rise and natural evolution of religion from that far-off starting-point of the human race. But, instead of magnifying the initial influence of a pure domestic life in Caspari's truly German method, Baissacin a manner characteristically French, shall we say?starts with a deification of mere maternity, conceived of as self-originating and self-sufficing. This form of religion prevailed during the remote period anterior to the time when it was discovered that males had any participation in the procreation of the species. The religious symbols of that far-off age were "les élévations et tumescences terrestres, naturelles ou artificielles, et les cavités souterraines; les tumescences comme image du sein maternel en état de pregnation et les profondeurs et cavités comme ventre sacré de la divine mère. De là le culte des ballons ou montagnes à croupe arrondie; de là le symbolisme des tumuli, des pyramides, des grottes, des puits, des labyrinthes, des dolmens." In this period all motherhood is divine, and all life and change in nature are mentally represented as a spontaneous, and exclusively female, conceiving and bringing forth.
In the second period, which is still anterior to the idea of marriage and to the establishment of the idea of personal property or individual rights, the function of the male principle has been discovered; and now Nature, the divine mother, is conceived of as analogous to a woman of the period,a mother fecundated only by male energy, but by male energy from any quarter. To use Baissac's own terms, she is a "prostituée divine, ayant son symbole dans la terre ouverte à tous les germes." 1
In the third period the two principles are brought into a relation of equality, and now the divine becomes hermaphrodite.
In the fourth the male principle is given priority, the religious symbols of maternity give place to the phallic symbols, the institutions of marriage and property arise, the power of atmospheric and celestial divinities begins to supersede that of earth-spirits. The fifth stage is marked by the entire predominance of these celestial divinities and the definite rejection of the ancient chthonian and subterranean powers. In the sixth comes the final separation of the Heaven and the Earth, the idea of creation, and the idea of an almighty and transcendent Creator of all things.
The manner in which the author elaborates this remarkable interpretation of the history and symbolism of religion, through two octavo volumes of 300 pages each, is as ingenious as it is disgusting.
Behold the savory outcome of these successive philosophic and scientific rebellions against history! And whom of all these wise men of the West shall we follow? The first form of religion, says one of
them, was an animal hallucination of the early anthropoids respecting sexual generation. No, says another, it was a genuine worship of invisible gods and goddesses, like the beautiful Olympian divinities of Greece,a religion whose fruits in character and conduct compare most favorably with those of Christian monotheism. 1 Absurd! exclaims a third. "Polytheism" is a very high type of religion; men never could have reached that until after the invention of the fire-drill, nobody knows how many ages from the beginning. Fools all! rejoin the more thorough-going. Know ye not that primitive men were far lower than our lowest modern savages,as incapable of any religious ideas as they were of using the integral calculus?
At the beginning of the exposition of these speculations it was intimated that their contradictory and incredible outcome had already provoked a degree of reaction even from biological and sociological writers. This reaction is too instructive to leave unnoticed. 2 It comes from men who, religiously or theologically speaking, seem in full sympathy with the rejecters of the old Biblical and pan-ethnic faith; but they find they cannot go along with these rejecters without surrendering more than any biologist or sociologist can afford to surrender if he would maintain a credible philosophy of the history of man and of human society. To a simple disciple of history the spectacle of their embarrassment and of their attempts at extrication is in an eminent degree entertaining. Indeed, the best refutation of whatever is wrong in all these new conceptions of
primordial religion will be found, not in a blind and indiscriminate polemic against them en masse, but in showing how every departure from the traditional conception involves the careful thinker in perplexing if not insoluble problems, and how easily all the real facts on which these proposed departures are based can be arrayed in support of the traditional conception. To this task we turn.
First, then, according to Genesis, the earliest representatives of the human race began their existence in Paradise unclad, unhoused, and possessed of none of the outward and visible signs of what is called civilization. Had Mr. Lubbock been permitted at the time to visit the spot, he would have seenso far as Moses suggestsno printing-press, no power-loom, perhaps not even a "fire-drill" or flint "arrow-head." He would have seen no god, no Miltonic guard of angels, no Eden gates, no temple or altar. He would have noticed in the luxuriant tropical landscape simply a wealth of graceful animal forms, rising in manifold gradations, and culminating in two fair human figures. He would doubtless have gone his way, and reported at the next meeting of the Anthropological Society the discovery of a new Otaheite, whose naked and artless inhabitants were evidently at the bottom of the scale as respects "culture," and in the sub-fetichistic "atheistic stage" as respects religion. So doing, he would have committed no greater blunder than many of his favorite reporters have made in describing such people as the Andaman Islanders. 1
According to the old conception, no less than according to the new, the arts were only gradually developed. Men were destitute of the art of metalworking and of all to which that was essential until the days of Tubal Cain. Musical instruments there were none until invented by Jubal. Everything in sacred Scripture indicates the kind of social and industrial progress for which, in connection with the beginnings of human society, one would naturally look.
So far, then, the believer in Sacred History has no occasion whatever to disagree with the believer in Natural History. Häckel and Peschel and Caspari hold, with Moses, to the monogenesis of the race, and even place their imaginary "Lemuria" just under the northern portion of the Indian Ocean, hard by one of the traditional seats of Eden. Their account of man's migrations from that centre, and of his primeval destitution of the arts, conflict with no fact recorded in Holy Scripture. Neither party can tell precisely how long the period antecedent to the rise of the first great historic civilizations of Asia, Egypt, and Greece lasted, and neither can tell how long ago it terminated, so that even in their confessed ignorances both are in accord.
But, secondly, the believer in Sacred History, Hebrew or Ethnic, cannot accept the eagerly advocated notion that the intellectual condition of the earliest men was not higher than that of the lowest savages of to-day. Ignorant of many things those earliest generations must have been, but it is equally certain
that they must have been above the line which separates stationary or retrograding peoples from progressive ones. They were men capable of investigating the powers and laws of nature, of originating arts absolutely new in the history of the world, and of making successive inventions which revolutionized the social state.
With this representation we should expect the Darwinian, on sober second thought, to agree. For it is a well-known fact that our lowest savages are dying out, while the men who peopled the world in accordance with the law of the survival of the fittest, at a period in the earth's history when, in important respects, according to Darwin, the environment was less favorable to the human struggle for existence than now, must have been superior to these degenerating and vanishing tribes. And as all evolutionists, in enumerating the qualities which win in the struggle for existence, lay great stress upon superior intellectual endowments, it is only a natural inference that the native intelligence of the earliest men was at least superior to that of the lowest modern savage. Turning to the writers in question we find our antecedent expectations confirmed. Thus Mr. Herbert Spencer, in one of his maturest works, expresses himself as follows: "There are sundry reasons for suspecting that existing men of the lowest types, forming social groups of the simplest kinds, do not exemplify men as they originally were. Probably most of them, if not all of them, had ancestors in higher states, and among their beliefs remain some which were evolved during those higher states. . . . There is inadequate warrant for the notion that the lowest savagery has
always been as low as it is now. . . . That supplanting of race by race, and thrusting into corners such inferior races as are not exterminated, which is now going on so actively, and which has been going on from the earliest recorded times, must have been ever going on. And the implication is that remnants of inferior races, taking refuge in inclement, barren, and otherwise unfit regions, have retrograded." 1
In like manner Darwin himself conceives of the first men as capable of rising in thought above the knowledge furnished by the senses, as able to represent to themselves the unseen and spiritual. And he expressly calls their mental faculties "high," saying, "The same high mental faculties which first led men to believe in unseen spiritual agencies, then in fetichism, polytheism, and ultimately in monotheism, would infallibly lead him, so long as his reasoning powers remained poorly developed, to various strange superstitions and customs." 2 Thus Darwin justly considers the character of the very aberrations of the human intellect in its infantile stage a striking proof of the loftiness of its powers.
Lubbock ascribes to the earliest men a like ability to conceive of the supersensual and to govern themselves largely by ideals. Though sometimes describing the primitive generations as in a state of "utter barbarism," or as having been "no more advanced than the lowest savages of to-day," this seems to occur only by inadvertence; for in the later editions of his already quoted work, "The Origin of Civilization," page 483, he expressly admits and asserts that he does not regard cannibals as representatives
of the first men. 1 On the same page he says, "It may be as well to state emphatically that all brutal customs are not, in my opinion, primeval. Human sacrifices, for instance, were, I think, certainly not so."
Caspari no less emphatically affirms that the social state of the North American Indians and of the Australians is not primitive, but a result of degeneration. He says, "We know a succession of such tribes, of which, in fact, only ausgeartete verkommene Banden und staatliche Splitter remain in existence, who, wild and savage, wander about in the primitive forests, miserably to perish." 2
Tylor takes the same general ground, maintaining that the best representatives of primitive men are not the lowest but "the higher" of the uncivilized races. Thus he says, "In a study of the nature-myths of the world it is hardly practicable to start from the conceptions of the very lowest human tribes, and to work upward from thence to fictions of higher growth; partly because our information is meagre as to the beliefs of these shy and seldom quite intelligible folk, and partly because the legends they possess have not reached the artistic and systematic shape which they attain to among races next higher in the scale. It therefore answers better
to take as a foundation the mythology of the North American Indians, the South Sea Islanders, and other high savage tribes who best represent in modern times the early mythological period of human history." 1
In chapter ii. of the same work he presents the evidence that many of the very lowest tribes of the modern world have become what they are by degeneration.
But, thirdly, if the best representatives of the first men must be sought, not among the lowest, but rather among the higher, of the uncivilized peoples, then surely we are justified in rejecting the notion of all those writers who, since the time of De Brosses and Comte, have maintained that primitive men personified and vitalized and fetichized all natural objects about them.
On this point the author of the "Outlines of Cosmic Philosophy" is less clear-sighted than his master, Herbert Spencer. Boldly and ably as he criticises Comte in some other particulars, in this Mr. Fiske surrenders to him wholly. He says, "We may safely assert, with Comte, that the earliest attitude assumed by the mind in interpreting nature was a fetichistic attitude." 2 Spencer, however, recognizing the fact that the lower mammals, birds, and even insects are able to distinguish animate from inanimate objects, and that to deny this capacity to the first men would be to make them less and lower than animals, commits himself unreservedly to the view in harmony with that of the Biblical record. Quoting the stock examples of savages who, on
first seeing a watch or a compass, imagined that it was alive, he shows the naturalness of the mistake, and very properly says: "We must exclude these mistakes made in classing things which advanced arts have made to simulate living things, since such things mislead the primitive man in ways unlike those in which he can be misled by the natural objects about him. Limiting ourselves to his conceptions of these natural objects, we cannot but conclude that his classification of them into animate and inanimate is substantially correct. Concluding this, we are obliged to diverge at the outset from certain interpretations currently given of his superstitions. The assumption, tacit or avowed, that the primitive man tends to ascribe life to things which are not living is clearly an untenable assumption. Consciousness of the difference between the two, growing ever more definite as intelligence evolves, must be in him more definite than in all lower creatures. To suppose that without cause he begins to confound them is to suppose the process of evolution inverted." 1
This writer, therefore, whom Darwin in one passage calls "our great philosopher," explicitly rejects the dogma of the primitiveness and universality of animism and fetichism among the earliest men. According to him, animistic and fetichistic beliefs were not "primary beliefs;" they were errors into which "the primitive man was betrayed during his early attempts to understand the surrounding world." "The primitive man no more tends to confound animate with inanimate than inferior creatures do" (p. 146).
Caspari, too, as we have seen, denies to fetichism a primitive character. 1 Ascribing its rise to the new ideas which the discovery of the art of fire-kindling produced, he makes the worship of "the morally exalted" (des sittlich Erhabenen), represented by the personal father, the tribal chieftain, and the deceased ancestor, far older, possibly thousands of years older, than any worship of fetiches. With Lubbock there is no moral element in religion until it reaches its last and highest stage. With Caspari, on the contrary, religion is essentially moral in its first emergence, and has from the first moment of its existence an actual and relatively worthy personal object. This is a prodigious scientific advance from the positions of Hume, Comte, Lubbock, and all their followers, and by postulating a high moral nature and moral life at the very beginnings of human history it renders the Biblical conception of those beginnings not only conceivable, but even antecedently probable.
Fourthly. The Bible and the sacred traditions of nearly all peoples present monogamy as the first form of marriage, ascribing all deviations from it to the ungoverned selfish passions of men. This view, Lubbock and the writers whom he has followed, McLennan and Morgan, emphatically reject. These theorists claim that among the first men the late
[paragraph continues] Oneida Community system of "complex marriage," or, as Lubbock calls it, "communal marriage," universally obtained. The appropriateness of the term marriage is very far from clear. The first communities were mere herds, in which all the women were "wives" to all the men. In McLennan's opinion "the next stage was that form of polyandry in which brothers had their wives in common; afterward came that of the levirate, i.e., the system under which, when an elder brother died, his second brother married the widow, and so on with the others in succession." Thence he considered that some tribes branched off into endogamy, others into exogamy; that is to say, some forbade marriage out of, others within, the tribe. If either of these two systems was older than the other, he held that exogamy must have been the more ancient. Exogamy was based on infanticide, and led to the practice of marriage by capture. Lubbock, on the contrary, believes that the communal marriage, which he assumes to have been the primitive form, "was gradually superseded by individual marriage founded on capture," and that this led, first, to exogamy, and then to female infanticide, thus reversing Mr. McLennan's order of sequence. "Endogamy and regulated polyandry, though frequent," he says, "I regard as exceptional and as not entering into the normal progress of development." 1 Still different is the theory of Bachofen, set forth in his work entitled "Das Mutterrecht." Assuming sexual promiscuity as the primordial state, he considers that under this system the women, instead of being rendered more and
more debauched and corrupted by the practice, as we might suppose, became on the contrary, in process of time, so refined, that after a season they felt shocked and scandalized by the beastly state of things, revolted against it, and established a system of marriage with female supremacy, the husband being subject to the wife, property and descent being required to follow the female line, and women enjoying the principal share of political power.
Gradually, however, the more spiritual ideas associated with fatherhood prevailed over the more material ideas associated with motherhood. The father came to be considered the real author of life to the offspring, the mother a mere nurse; property and descent were traced in the male line, sun-worship superseded moon-worship, men absorbed all political power,in a word, as primitive "Hetairismus" was followed by the "Mother-Law" system, so this now gave way to the modern social state.
The chief evolutionist authorities disagreeing so widely on this point, it is surely proper to look further. So doing, we find a number of at least equally respectable, scientific and speculative representatives of the evolutional school, who expressly question, if they do not openly reject, the dogma of universal sexual promiscuity as the primeval social state. Thus Herbert Spencer argues through many pages of his "Principles of Sociology" against McLennan, claiming that monogamy must be conceived of as going back to the beginning. However unsettled social and sexual relations then were, "promiscuity," he affirms, "was checked by the establishment of individual connections prompted by men's likings, and maintained against other men by force" (p. 665).
[paragraph continues] Again he says, "The impulses which lead primitive men to monopolize other objects of value must lead them to monopolize women" (p. 664). And again, "Monogamy dates back as far as any other marital relation" (p. 698). Darwin takes substantially the same view, positively discrediting the alleged sexual promiscuity of the earliest communities. 1
In like manner another of the latest of English writers on this subject, James A. Farrer, in his book entitled "Primitive Manners and Customs," 2 emphatically rejects the notion that a brutal and forcible bride-capturing was ever universal, and denies that the customs relied upon by McLennan and others to prove its prevalence are to be viewed as a survival of such a custom. As to the absolutely first form of marriage he does not express an opinion, but the theory of primitive monogamy would better agree with his general representation than any other. The same may be said of Caspari, who, though he does not expressly postulate the priority of monogamy, yet ascribes to filial piety a rôle in the first origination of religion which seems to necessitate such a postulate. 3 So Mr. John Fiske's suggestion that the transition from the anthropoid animals to truly human beings was probably effected by the prolongation of infancy and of parental care incident to the slower evolution of a highly complex organism, and by the family life thus necessitated and brought about, is more harmonious with the doctrine of primitive monogamy than with any other. It would not be surprising, therefore, if this class of
considerations, which we meet again in Noiré's theory of the origin of language, should gradually lead to such a reconstruction of Darwinistic sociology as will postulate monogamy as the one and only form of sexual relation by virtue of which man could have arisen out of the lower and preceding animal orders. Mr. Spencer calls Mr. Fiske's suggestion "an important" one, and he explains it in a note appended to a significant declaration respecting the biological and sociological value of monogamy (p. 630). Elsewhere, after stating that "irregular relations of the sexes are at variance with the welfare of the society, of the young and of the adults," and after ascribing the gradual dying out of the Andamanese to their promiscuity of sexual relation, 1he says, "We may infer that the progeny of such unions (as had a degree of exclusiveness and durability) were more likely to be reared and more likely to be vigorous" (p. 669). Again, a page or two later, he uses this language: "As under ordinary conditions the rearing of more numerous and stronger offspring must have been favored by more regular sexual relations, there must on the average have been a tendency for those societies most characterized by promiscuity to disappear before those less characterized by it" (p. 671). But Spencer himself must grant that in the earliest ages, upon the whole, the race multiplied and spread from generation to generation, so that we must at least conclude from his own declaration, that the approximately monogamous societies and
unions were more numerous than the approximately promiscuous ones. Well, therefore, may Mr. Lang, our latest advocate of McLennan's theory, concede the possibility that "man originally lived in the patriarchal or monogamous family," and seek to content his fellow sociologists with the assurance that "if there occurred a fall from the primitive family, and if that fall was extremely general, affecting even the Aryan race, Mr. McLennan's adherents will be amply satisfied." 1
Fifthly. The Bible represents the earliest men as capable of entertaining the conception of a supreme Divine Being, the Maker of the heavens and earth, the Creator and rightful Lord of men. It represents them as capable of realizing the moral obligation of obedience to the Creator, and as possessed of freedom to obey or to disobey. It gives us to understand that, as a matter of fact, a few then as now were faithful to their light and to their convictions of duty, while the greater part lived in conscious violation of the promptings of their own consciences. As a natural consequence immoralities multiplied: these demoralized and brutalized those who practiced them. Then demoralized and brutalized parents were followed by children less well instructed and less well endowed than they themselves had been, and so, despite exceptional men and exceptional families who were more faithful to conscience, the general demoralization went on. The song of Lamech, Gen. iv. 23, 24, is the song of a true savage, though of one who has known the law of right and duty. One can hardly read it without imagining it first sung in a kind of domestic war-dance in the hut of
its polygamous author. He glories in his homicides, and evidently belongs to those who with savage lust and brutality "took them wives of all which they chose." He was a representative of his Cainite kindred. By the mass of these and those who intermarried with them the Father and Lord of all creatures was ignored and gradually misconceived, and at last superseded by creations of man's own disordered mind and heart, until the pure primitive religion of the righteous patriarchs became a false worship as irrational and immoral as the mass of those who gave themselves to its loathsome and cruel practices. With some populations this abnormal and immoral evolution proceeded to thoroughly unnatural and self-destructive results, such as religious prostitution, sodomy, human sacrifices, cannibalism, etc. On the other hand, then as now, fidelity to truth and goodness led its possessor to larger knowledge and to higher spiritual experiences. Then as ever the principle held good, "To him that hath shall be given." Hence alongside and within and above the historic evolution of a large portion of the race from evil to evil there was another evolution of a smaller but more vital portion from good to good. If Satan's kingdom steadily unfolded, so did also the kingdom of God. And while the one was in the direction of spiritual and physical degeneration and death, the other was in the direction of life and ultimate spiritual ascendency. Both of these partial or special evolutions were within and part of the universal evolution of the race under its preëstablished nature and conditions, one of which fundamental conditions is its immanency in the Divine. Such is the picture presented us by all the monotheistic religions
of the world, and it is substantially confirmed by most of the ancient traditions of the human race.
Now in all this there is nothing inconsistent with any well-established facts or principles of science. Some authorities which Lubbock himself quotes prove not only that uncivilized tribes are capable of entertaining the theistic conception of the world, but also that not a few of them when first found actually possessed remarkably high and pure conceptions of the Supreme Spirit and of man's relation to him. Thus he cites Livingstone as saying that "the uncontaminated African believes that the Great Spirit lives above the stars." In trying to prove the absence of prayer among certain savages, he admits witnesses who show that the Esquimos, the North American Indians, and the Caribs believed in the existence of a Supreme Spirit, the "Master of Life." He even quotes the following objection to prayer made by Tomochichi, the chief of the Yamacraws, to General Oglethorpe, to wit: "That the asking of any particular blessing looked to him like directing God; and if so, that it must be a very wicked thing. That for his part he thought everything that happened in the world was as it should be; that God of himself would do for every one what was consistent with the good of the whole; and that our duty to him was to be content with whatever happened in general, and thankful for all the good that happened in particular." What civilized religionist, what purest monotheist, ever apprehended or expressed this theological problem more clearly than did this Indian chief? Lubbock quotes another author as saying that the Caribs considered the Great Spirit as endowed with so great goodness
that he does not take revenge even on his enemies. 1
So Mr. Tylor allows not only that most barbarians are able to conceive of a Creator, but also that they actually believe in one. He says:
"Races of North and South America, of Africa, of Polynesia, recognizing a number of great deities, are usually and reasonably considered polytheists, yet their acknowledgment of a Supreme Creator would entitle them at the same time to the name of monotheists," if belief in a Supreme Deity, held to be the Creator of the world and chief of the spiritual hierarchy, were the sufficient criterion of monotheism. "High above the doctrine of souls, of divine manes, of local nature-spirits, of the great deities of class and element, there are to be discerned in savage theology shadowings, quaint or majestic, of the conception of a Supreme Deity." 2
He illustrates the prevalence of this conception by facts related of barbarous peoples in almost every quarter of the globe. Speaking of the remarkable clearness of this idea and belief among the New Zealanders, the Hawaiians, the Tongans, Samoans, and other representatives of the Polynesian race, he says:
"Students of the science of religion who hold polytheism to be but the misdevelopment of a primal idea of divine unity, which in spite of corruption continues to pervade it, might well choose this South Sea Island divinity as their aptest illustration from the savage world." 3
He quotes Moerenhout as saying:
"Taaroa is their supreme, or rather only, God; for all the others, as in other known polytheisms, seem scarcely more than sensible figures and images of the infinite attributes united in his divine person."
He adds the following sublime native description of this Supreme God:
"He was; Taaroa was his name; he abode in the void. No earth, no sky, no men. Taaroa calls, but naught answers; and alone existing he became the universe" (p. 345).
Though an outspoken opponent of the theory that polytheism arose from moral and spiritual degeneration, his own facts are so strong that for the explanation of some of them he is constrained to resort to it. Speaking of the "conceptions of the Supreme Deity in the savage and barbaric world," he says, "The degeneration theory may claim such beliefs as mutilated and perverted remnants of higher religions, in some instances no doubt with justice."
That a religion originally good and pure may degenerate and become corrupt is conceded even by Lubbock. At the close of his sketch of "the lowest intellectual stages through which religion has passed," he uses this significant language:
"I have stopped short sooner, perhaps, than I should otherwise have done, because the worship of personified principles, such as Fear, Love, Hope, etc., could not have been treated apart from that of the Phallus, or Lingam, with which it was so intimately associated in Greece, India, Mexico, and elsewhere; and which, though at first modest and pure,as all religions are in their origin,led to such
abominable practices that it is one of the most painful chapters in human history." 1
Reading this, the disciple of history simply asks, If men could so corrupt the originally modest and pure worship of Aphrodite, why not also the originally pure worship of El?
Sixthly. The disclosure of the Arctic Eden solves all further difficulties in the Hebrew conception of the religious development of mankind.
This doctrine as to the cradle of the race concedes to the devotee of prehistoric archæology all his claims as to the lowly beginnings of every historic civilization developed in our postdiluvian seats of humanity. It welcomes every revelation which fossil bone, or chipped flint, or lacustrine pile, or sepulchral mound has ever made, finding in it precious illustration of those "times of ignorance" through which our expatriated race has made its passage (Acts xvii. 30; Rom. i. 18-32). It is equally ready for every conclusion of the scientific anthropologist. By his own doctrine of the power of environment, and by his own picture of Mammalian life in Tertiary and Quaternary times, it constrains him to admit that if the Eden of Genesis was at the Pole, the Biblical picture of Antediluvian Man, with his extraordinary vigor and stature and longevity, with his extraordinary defiance of the authority of God, and with his extraordinary persistence in the indulgence of self-centred passions and appetites and ambitions, is credible in the highest degree. And that nothing may be lacking to its perfect confirmation, the comparative mythologist discovers that in this new Eden he is given the master-key to his
own science, and that every great system of ancient mythology and of mythological geography must now be freshly and intelligently interpreted in the light of it. The old, old stories of a Golden Age, of the Hesperidian Gardens, of the Tree of Golden Fruit, of the Hyperborean Macrobii, of the insurrection of the Titans, of the destruction of mankind by a Flood, are history once more. Their authenticity as history is attested by new and unchangeable evidences,by witnesses as unbribable as the axis of the earth and the pole of the heavens. No more can the investigator of the history and philosophy of religion rule out the ancient myths of humanity as senseless, or seek to interpret them as results of an inevitable "disease of language." No more can they be palmed off upon us as capricious variations of that myth of dawn, or of the sun, or of the storm, which we are told that the fancy of "primitive" men is ever weaving. They are simply blurred chapters from the neglected and abused and almost lost Bible of the Gentiles, confirming and establishing the opening chapters of our own.
Summing up, then, we see: 1. That in rejecting the historical conception of the primeval religious belief of mankind Hume took up a position which none of his own successors consider as at all tenable.
2. The further these successors have carried their revolt against history, the more have they become involved in contradiction with each other.
3. The more consistently and radically the dogma of primitive savagery has been carried out, the more inevitably has it landed its advocates in the doctrine of primitive bestiality.
4. In their eagerness to destroy the possibility or credibility of primeval monotheism, these more consistent and radical theorists have inadvertently gone so far as to render a self-consistent evolutional biology or sociology impossible.
5. In consequence hereof the more clear-sighted of the representatives of Darwinism are just now deftly re-approaching the long-scouted historic conception, by representing the first men as superior to the modern savage in intellectual endowment, by calling their powers high, by considering their judgments of natural objects substantially correct, by admitting their knowledge of the true and normal form of the family, by conceding to them a truly human appreciation of ethical excellences and obligations, by allowing to them a capacity to conceive of an almighty Supreme Spirit, the Author and rightful Governor of the world, and by recognizing that nearly all religions present clear traces of corruption. So far as principles are concerned these representations surrender their whole case. With these data Adamic Revelation becomes quite as possible and quite as credible as Abrahamic, or Mosaic, or Christian Revelation.
6. The Anlage for religion is no product of age-long advances in civilization and in the arts. The unclad Adam of the garden was no more incapacitated for the knowledge of his Father than was that naked second Adam, for whose advent Mary provided the swaddling-clothes. If the former seems too undeveloped to be an organ of divine revelation, the latter, the highest of all these organs, the absolute Revelator, began quite as low. If nomad Arabs of to-day can see in storm and stars sublime manifestations
of one almighty personal Power, why could not the nomadic Abel as well? If the Gospel messenger of to-day can cause the rudest Fijian to know God and to experience a sense of divine forgiveness and favor, why may not God's earliest preachers of righteousness have produced a like effect on sincere souls before the discovery of the art of metal-working? Once let the anthropological and sociological postulates demanded even by Herbert Spencer be granted, and the ancient historic conception of Primitive Monotheism becomes both possible and eminently reasonable. As an escape from the conflicting and mutually destructive theories of the naturalistic school in its different departments, it presents, on merely speculative grounds, a positive attractiveness. Its full array of evidences, however, is simply co-extensive and identical with the evidences for the reality of Historic Revelation as a whole. Everything which goes to show that God has intelligibly revealed himself to men at all bears more or less directly upon the credibility of a Revelation "in the beginning."
7. Lastly, the Arctic Eden completes the reconciliation of Biblical and secular learning in their relations to the problem of the primitive religion of men. As we have seen, both science and theology now find in this primeval Bildungsherd at the Pole the one prolific centre whence all the floral and faunal and human life-forms of the whole earth have proceeded. In an "environment" of such creatively potent, world-overflowing nature-forces as were there, any culmination of life's manifestations short of a "Golden Race" of men, kingly in stature, Rishis in intelligence, measuring their Deva-like
lives by centuries, would have been an incongruity. That a loving Creatorcreating because lovingshould have put himself into instant personal communion with these highest of his creatures, moral natures fashioned in his own image and after his likeness, children of his love, is to a theist, even an ethnic theist, the only credible representation. That such a lusty race should have been open to temptation on the line of apparently innocent aspiration after still higher perfections, that they should have desired to "be as gods," that they should have coveted experimental and personal knowledge of evil as well as of good,these are suppositions which no serious anthropologist will pronounce inadmissible. That the actual revolt of such an order of moral agents from the true law and basis of its life should have carried into its subsequent historic developments consequences of profoundest import is as much a necessary implication of the law of heredity and of the established constitution of nature as it is an instinctive inference from the preconceived character of a perfect Moral Governor. Given such antediluvian men, one must pronounce the history of antediluvian religion, as reported in the oldest memories and in the most sacred scriptures of humanity, a self-attesting chronicle.
363:1 Compare Lenormant, Beginnings of History, ch. ii. The Duke of Argyll's Unity of Nature. London, 1884: chapters xi., xii., and xiii.
370:1 Origin and Growth of Religions. London and New York, 1899: p. 58.
370:2 Reviewed by C. P. Tiele, in Theol. Tijdschrift, for May, 1899.
371:1 Origin and Growth of Religions, p. 115.
372:1 Custom and Myth. London, 1884: pp. 212-242.
372:2 The first edition was published in 1870. Later echoes are heard in Mortillet, Le Préhistorique. See the Revue de lHistoire des Religions. Paris, 1883: p. 117.
374:1 Chaps. iv.-vi.
375:1 Professor Roskoff has done Mr. Lubbock the honor to take up every tribe and people, in the extended list which the latter had claimed as non-religious, and to exhibit in every case evidence of their religious character. See his work, Das Religionswesen der rohesten Naturvölker. Leipsic, 1880.
381:1 Very similar to Caspari's view is that set forth by Professor J. Frohschammer in his late work, Die Genesis der Menschheit. München, 1883: pp. 68-381.
382:1 Paris, 2 tomes, 1877. Compare Baring-Gould, Religious Belief. New York, 1870: Part I., pp. 411-414.
383:1 Origines, p. 131.
384:1 Hume's above-cited Essay, closing sections.
384:2 Compare Revue des Deux Mondes, April, 1880, pp. 660-665.
385:1 For the complete vindication of this statement see Sir Henry Sumner Maine, Early Law and Custom, London, 1883, pp. 229-231; Quatrefages, The Human Species, New York, 1879, chap. xxxv.; and p. 386 especially Roskoff, Das Religionswesen der rohesten Naturvölker, Leipsic, 1880, and Réville, Les Religions des Peuples non-civilisés, Paris, 1883, tom. i., ch. i.
388:1 Principles of Sociology, pp. 106-109.
388:2 Descent of Man, vol. i., p. 66.
389:1 Let us hope that it is by a like inadvertence, merely, that Professor Sayce speaks of "the savage tribes of the modern world, and the still more savage tribes among whom the languages of the earth took their start." Introduction to the Science of Language, vol. ii., p. 31. Compare p. 269, where, speaking of the mythopic man, whom he considers a considerable advance on the primitive savage, the professor says, "He had not yet learned to distinguish between the lifeless and the living;" "he had not yet realized that aught existed which his senses could not perceive."
389:2 Vol. i., p. 113.
390:1 Primitive Culture, vol. i., p. 321.
390:2 Vol. i., p. 178, et passim.
391:1 Principles of Sociology, pp. 143, 144.
392:1 Compare the like utterance of Frohshammer: "Mit Fetischismus hat das Gottesbewusstsein und religiöse Cultus nicht begonnen." Die Genesis der Menschheit. München, 1883: p. 71. Also, the recent declaration of a learned Professor of Roman Law: "Die religiöse Anschauung aller Völker ist, denke ich, ausgegangen von dem Glauben an Einen göttlichen Willen, welcher über Allen and zu Oberst waltet." J. E. Kuntze, Prolegomena zur Geschichte Roms. Leipsic, 1882: p. 23.
393:1 Origin of Civilization, pp. 94, 95. Compare D. McLennan, The Patriarchal Theory. London, 1884: p. 355.
395:1 Descent of Man, vol. ii., pp. 362-367.
395:2 London, 1879.
395:3 See vol. i., pp. 322, 358, 367.
396:1 Mr. E. H. Man's recent paper on the Andaman Islanders (The Journal of the Anthropological Institute, vol. xii., i. 69, and ii. 13) denies the alleged sexual promiscuity, and illustrates the worthlessness of much of the evidence on which popular ethnographers rely.
397:1 Custom and Myth. London, 1884: pp. 246-248.
400:1 Origin of Civilization, pp. 374, 375.
400:2 Primitive Culture, vol. ii., p. 332.
400:3 Compare Quatrefages, pp. 486-495.
402:1 Origin of Civilization, p. 350.