« PreviousContinue »
blood the oki or spirit was said to suck from their left breast. The Kayans of Borneo used to offer human sacrifice when a great chief took possession of a newly built house; in one late case, about 1847, a Malay slave girl was bought for the purpose and bled to death, the blood, which alone is efficacious, being sprinkled on the pillars and under the house, and the body being thrown into the river. The same ideas appear among the indigenes of India, alike in North Bengal and in the Deccan, where the blood alone of the sacrificed animal is for the deities, and the votary retains the meat. Thus, in West Africa, the negroes of Benin are described as offering a cock to the idol, but it receives only the blood, for they like the flesh very well themselves ; 4 while in the Yoruba country, 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 victim's life. The Jewish law of sacrifice marks clearly the distinction between shedding the blood as life, and offering it as food. As the Israelites themselves might not eat with the flesh the blood which is the life, but must pour it on the earth as water, so the rule applies to sacrifice. The blood must be sprinkled before the sanctuary, put upon the horns of the altar, and there sprinkled or poured out, but not presented as a drink offering—" their drink-offerings of blood will I not offer." 6
Spirit being considered in the lower animism as somewhat of the ethereal nature of smoke or mist, there is an
i Smith, Virginia,' in Pinkerton, vol. xiii. p. 41 ; see J. G. Müller, p. 143; Waitz, vol. iii. p. 207. Comp. Meiners, vol. ii. p. 89. See also Bollaert in Mem. Anthrop. Soc.' vol. ii. p. 96.
3 Journ. Ind. Archip.' vol. iii. p. 145. See also St. John, “Far East,'vol. i. p. 160.
3 Hodgson, 'Abor. of India,' p. 147 ; Hunter, “Rural Bengal,' p. 181; Forbes Leslie, 'Early Races of Scotland,' vol. ii. p. 458.
Bosman, "Guinea,' letter xxi. ; in 'Pinkerton,' vol. xvi. p. 531. See also Waitz, vol. ii. p. 192.
5 Bastian, Psychologie,' p. 96. 6 Levit. i., etc. ; Deuteron. xii. 23; Psalm xvi. 4.
obvious reasonableness in the idea that offerings reduced to this condition are fit to be consumed by, or transmitted to, spiritual beings towards whom the vapour rises in the air. This idea is well shown in the case of incense, and especially a peculiar kind of incense offered among the native tribes of America. The habit of smoking tobacco is not suggestive of religious rites among ourselves, but in its native country, where it is so widely diffused as to be perhaps the best point assignable in favour of a connexion in the culture of the northern and southern continent, its place in worship is very important. The Osages would begin an undertaking by smoking a pipe, with such a prayer as this : “ Great Spirit, come down to smoke with me as a friend! Fire and Earth, smoke with me and help me to overthrow my foes !” The Sioux in Hennepin's time would look toward the Sun when they smoked, and when the calumet was lighted, they presented it to him, saying: “Smoke, Sun!” The Natchez chief at sunrise smoked first to the east and then to the other quarters; and so on. It is not merely, however, that puffs from the tobacco-pipe are thus offered to deities as drops of drink or morsels of food might be. The calumet is a special gift of the Sun or the Great Spirit, tobacco is a sacred herb, and smoking is an acceptable sacrifice ascending into the air to the abode of gods and spirits. Among the Caribs, the native sorcerer evoking à demon would puff tobacco-smoke into the air as an agreeable perfume to attract the spirit; while among Brazilian tribes the sorcerers smoked round upon the bystanders and on the patient to be cured. How thoroughly incense and burnt-offering are of the same nature, the Zulus well show, burning incense together with the fat of the caul of the slaughtered beast, to give the spirits of the people a sweet
1 Waitz, vol. iii. p. 181. Hennepin, “Voyage,' p. 302. Charlevoix, “Nouvelle France,' vol. v. p. 311, vi. p. 178. Schoolcraft, Ind. Tribes,' part i. p. 49, part ii. p. 127. Catlin, vol. i. pp. 181, 229. Morgan, 'Iroquois,' p. 164. J. G. Müller, p. 58.
Rochefort, 'Iles Antilles,' pp. 418, 507. Lery, “Voy. en Brésil,' p. 268. See also Musters in "Journ. Anthrop. Inst.' vol. i. p. 202 (Patagonians).
savour. As to incense more precisely of the sort we are familiar with, it was in daily use in the temples of Mexico, where among the commonest antiquarian relies are the earthen incense-pots in which “copalli” (whence our word copal) and bitumen were burnt. Though incense was hardly usual in the ancient religion of China, yet in modern Chinese houses and temples the "joss-stick" and censer do honour to all divine beings, from the ancestral manes to the great gods and Heaven and Earth. The history of incense in the religion of Greece and Rome points the contrast between old thrift and new extravagance, where the early fumigations with herbs and chips of fragrant wood are contrasted with the later oriental perfumes, myrrh and cassia and frankincense. In the temples of ancient Egypt, numberless representations of sacrificial ceremony show the burning of the incense-pellets in censers before the images of the gods; and Plutarch speaks of the incense burnt thrice daily to the Sun, resin at his rising, myrrh at his meridian, kuphi at his setting. The ordinance held as prominent a place among the Semitic nations. At the yearly festival of Bel in Babylon, the Chaldæans are declared by Herodotus to have burned a thousand talents of incense on the large altar in the temple where sat his golden image. In the records of ancient Israel, there has come down to us the very recipe for compounding incense after the art of the apothecary. The priests carried every man his censer, and on the altar of incense, overlaid with gold, standing before the vail in the tabernacle, sweet spices
1 Callaway, ‘Religion of Amazulu,' pp. 11, 141, 177. See also Casalis, • Basutos,' p. 258.
2 Clavigero, ‘Messico,' vol. ii. p. 39. See also Piedrahita, part i. lib. i. o. 3 (Muyscas).
,3 Plath, ‘Religion der alten Chinesen,' part ii. p. 31. Doolittle, *Chinese.'
4 Porphyr. de Abstinentia, ii. 5. Arnob. contra Gentes. vii. 26. Meiners, vol. ii. p. 14.
o Wilkinson, ‘Ancient Egyptians,' vol. v. pp. 315, 338. Plutarch. de Is et Osir.
6 Herodot. i. 183.
were burned morn and even, a perpetual incense before the Lord.
The sacrifice by fire is familiar to the religion of North American tribes. Thus the Algonquins knew the practice of casting into the fire the first morsel of the feast; and throwing fat into the flames for the spirits, they would pray to them “make us find food.” Catlin has described and sketched the Mandans dancing round the fire where the first kettleful of the green-corn is being burned, an offering to the Great Spirit before the feast begins. The Peruvians burnt llamas as offerings to the Creator, Sun, Moon, and Thunder, and other lesser deities. As to the operation of sacrifice, an idea of theirs comes well into view in the legend of Manco Ccapac ordering the sacrifice of the most beautiful of his sons, “cutting off his head, and sprinkling the blood over the fire, that the smoke might reach the Maker of heaven and earth.' In Siberia the sacrifices of the Tunguz and Buraets, in the course of which bits of meat and liver and fat are cast into the fire, carry on the same idea. Chinese sacrifices to sun and moon, stars and constellations, show their purpose in most definite fashion ; beasts and even silks and precious stones are burned, that their vapour may ascend to these heavenly spirits. No less significant, though in a different sense, is the Siamese offering to the household deity, incense and arrack and rice steaming hot; he does not eat it all, not always any part of it, it is the fragrant steam which he loves to inhale. Looking now to the records of Aryan sacrifice, views similar to these are not obscurely expressed. When the Brahman burns the offerings on the altar-fire, they are received by
· Exod. xxx., xxxvii. Lev. x. 1, xvi. 12, etc.
2 Smith, Virginia,' in ‘Pinkerton,' vol. xiii. p. 41. Le Jeune in ‘Rel. des Jes.' 1634, p. 16. Catiin, ‘N. A. Ind.' vol. i. p. 189.
3 Rites and Laws of Incas,' p. 16, etc., 79; see 'Ollanta, an ancient Ynca Drama,'tr. by C. R. Markham, p. 81. Garcilaso de la Vega, lib. i. ii. vi.
4 Klemm, 'Cultur-Gesch.' vol. iii. pp. 106,
Agni the divine Fire, mouth of the gods, messenger of the All-knowing, to whom is chanted the Vedic strophe, "Agni! the sacrifice which thou encompassest whole, it goes unto the gods !”] The Homeric poems show the plain meaning of the hecatombs of old barbaric Greece, where the savour of the burnt offering went up in wreathing smoke to heaven, • Κνίσση δ' ουρανόν κεν ελισσομένη περί καπνώ.” 2 Passed into a far other stage of history, men's minds had not lost sight of the archaic thought even in Porphyry's time, for he knows how the demons who desire to be gods rejoice in the libations and fumes of sacrifice, whereby their spiritual and bodily substance fattens, for this lives on the steam and vapours and is strengthened by the fumes of the blood and flesh.s
The view of commentators that sacrifice, as a religious rite of remote antiquity and world-wide prevalence, was adopted, regulated, and sanctioned in the Jewish law, is in agreement with the general ethnography of the subject. Here sacrifice appears not with the lower conception of a gift acceptable and even beneficial to deity, but with the higher significance of devout homage or expiation for sin. As is so usual in the history of religion, the offering consisted in general of food, and the consummation of the sacrifice was by fire. To the ceremonial details of the sacrificial rites of Israel, whether prescribing the burning of the carcases of oxen and sheep or of the bloodless gifts of flour mingled with oil, there is appended again and again the explanation of the intent of the rite; it is "an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord.” The copious records of sacrifice in the Old Testament enable us to follow its expansion from the simple patriarchal forms of a pastoral tribe, to the huge and complex system organized to carry on the ancient service in a now populous and settled kingdom. Among writers on the Jewish religion,
| Rig Veda'i. 1, 4. 2 Homer, II. i. 317. 8 Porphyr. De Abstinentia, ii. 42; see 58.