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serpent's head and body and the rest of him stone. He passes a monotonous existence in his gloomy cavern, feeling no emotion nor sensation, nor any appetite but hunger; he takes no interest in any one but Uto, his attendant, and gives no sign of life beyond eating, answering his priest, and changing his position from one side to the other. No wonder Ndengei is less worshipped than most of the inferior gods. The natives have even made a comic song about him, where he talks with his attendant, Uto, who has been to attend the feast at Rakiraki, where Ndengei has especially his temple and worship.
Ndengei. “ Have you been to the sharing of food to-day?".
shell was shared to us two." Ndengei. “Indeed, Uto! This is very bad. How is it? We made.
them men, placed them on the earth, gave them food, and yet they share to us only the under-shell. Uto, how is this?"
The native religion of Africa, a land pervaded by the doctrines of divine hierarchy and divine supremacy, affords apt evidence for the problem before us. The capacity of the manes-worshipper's scheme to extend in this direction may be judged from the religious speculations of the Zulus, where we may trace the merging of the First Man, the Old-Old-One, Unkulunkulu, into the ideal of the Creator, Thunderer, and Heaven-god. If we examine a collection of documents illustrating the doctrines of the West African races lying between the Hottentots on the south and the Berbers on the north, we may fairly judge their conceptions, influenced as these may have been by foreign intercourse, to be nevertheless for the most part based on native ideas of the personal Heaven. Whether they think of their
i Williams, ‘Fiji,' vol. i. p. 217.
3 See especially Waitz, vol. ii. p. 167, etc.; J. L. Wilson, W. Afr.' pp. 209, 387; Bosman, Mungo Park, etc. Comp. Ellis, Madagascar,' vol. i. p.
supreme deity as actively pervading and governing his universe, or as acting through his divine subordinates, or as retiring from his creation and leaving the lesser spirits to work their will, he is always to their minds the celestial ruler, the Heaven-god. Examples may be cited, each in its way full of instruction. In the mind of the Gold-coast negro, tendencies towards theistic religion seem to have been mainly developed through the idea of Nyongmo, the personal Heaven, or its animating personal deity. Heaven, widearching, rain-giving, light-giving, who has been and is and shall be, is to him the Supreme Deity. The sky is Nyongmo's creature, the clouds are his veil, the stars his face. ornaments. Creator of all things, and of their animating powers whose chief and elder he is, he sits in majestic rest surrounded by his children, the wongs, the spirits of the air who serve him and represent him on earth. Though men's worship is for the most part paid to these, reverence is also given to Nyongmo, the Eldest, the Highest. Every day, said a fetish-man, we see how the grass and corn and trees spring forth by the rain and sunshine that Nyongmo sends, how should he not be the Creator ? Again, the mighty Heaven-god, far removed from man and seldom roused to interfere in earthly interests, is the type on which the Guinea negros may have modelled their thoughts of a Highest Deity who has abandoned the control of his world to lesser and evil spirits. The religion of another district seems to show clearly the train of thought by which such ideas may be worked out. Among the Kimbunda race of Congo, Suku-Vakange is the highest being. He takes little interest in mankind, leaving the real government of the world to the good and evil kilulu or spirits, into whose ranks the souls of men pass at death. Now in that there are more bad spirits who torment, than good who favour living men, human misery would be unbearable, were it not that from
time to time Suku-Vakange, enraged at the wickedness of the evil spirits, terrifies them with thunder, and punishes the more obstinate with his thunderbolts. Then he returns to rest, and lets the kilulu rule again. Who, we may ask, is this divinity, calm and indifferent save when his wrathi bursts forth in storm, but the Heaven himself ? The relation of the Supreme Deity to the lesser gods of polytheism is graphically put in the following passage, where an American missionary among the Yorubas describes the relation of Olorung, the Lord of Heaven, to his lesser deities (orisa), among whom the chief are the androgynous Obatala, representing the reproductive power of nature, and Shango the Thunder-god. “The doctrine of idolatry prevalent in Yoruba appears to be derived by analogy from the form and customs of the civil government. There is but one king in the nation, and one God over the universe. Petitioners to the king approach him through the intervention of his servants, courtiers, and nobles : and the petitioner conciliates the courtier whom he employs by good words and presents. In like manner no man can directly approach God; but the Almighty himself, they say, has appointed various kinds of orisas, who are mediators and intercessors between himself and mankind. No sacrifices are made to God, because he needs nothing ; but the orisas, being much like men, are pleased with offerings of sheep, pigeons, and other things. They conciliate the orisa or mediator that he may bless them, not in his own power, but in the power of God.” 2
Rooted as they are in the depths of nature-worship, the doctrines of the supreme Sun and Heaven both come to the surface again in the native religions of Asia. The divine Sun holds his primacy distinctly enough among the rude indigenous tribes of India. Although one sect of the Khonds of Orissa especially direct their worship to Tari Pennu the Earth-goddess, yet even they agree theoretically with the sect who worship Būra Pennu or Bella Pennu, Light-god or Sun-god, in giving to him supremacy above the manes-gods and nature-gods, and all spiritual powers. Among the Kol tribes of Bengal, the acknowledged primate of all classes of divinities is the beneficent supreme deity, Sing-bonga, Sun-god. Among some Munda tribes his authority is so real that they will appeal to him for help where recourse to minor deities has failed; while among the Santals his cultus has so dwindled away that he receives less practical worship than his malevolent inferiors, and is scarce honoured with more than nominal dignity and an occasional feast. These are rude tribes who, so far as we know, have never been other than rude tribes. The Japanese are a comparatively civilized nation, one of those so instructive to the student of culture from the stubborn conservatism with which they have consecrated by traditional reverence, and kept up by state authority, the religion of their former barbarism. This is the Kami-religion, Spirit-religion, the remotely ancient faith of divine spirits of ancestors, naturespirits, and polytheistic gods, which still holds official place by the side of the imported Buddhism and Confucianism. In this ancient faith the Sun-god is supreme. He is “Amaterasu cho Kami,” the “heaven-enlightening great Spirit.” Below him stand all lesser kamis or spirits, through whom, as mediators, guardians, and protectors, worship is paid by men. The Sun-god's race, as in Peru, is the royal family, and his spirit animates the reigning ruler, the Son of Heaven. Kempfer, in his ‘History of Japan,' written early in the 18th century, showed how absolutely the divine Tensio Dai Sin was looked upon as ruler of the minor powers, by his mention of the Japanese tenth month, called the “godless month," because then the lesser gods are considered to be away from their temples, gone to pay their annual homage to their celestial Dairi. He describes, as it was in his time, the great Japanese place of pilgrimage, Ysse, the home of Tensio Dai Sin. There may be seen the small cavern in a hill near the sea, where he once hid himself, depriving the world, sun, and stars of their light, and thus showing himself to be lord of light and supreme above all gods. Within his small ancient temple hard by, there are to be seen round the walls pieces of cut white paper, symbols of purity, and in the midst nothing but a polished metal mirror, emblem of the all-seeing eye of this great god.?
1 Magyar, “Reisen in Süd-Afrika,' pp. 125, 335.
2 Bowen, Gr. and Dic. of Yoruba,' p. xvi. in ‘Smithsonian Contr.' vol. i.
1 Macpherson, 'India,' p. 84, etc.
Dalton, 'Kols,' in ‘Tr. Eth. Soc.'vol. vi. p. 32. Hunter, 'Rural Bengal,
Over the vast range of the Tatar races, it is the type of the supreme Heaven that comes prominently into view. Nature-worshippers in the extreme sense, these rude tribes conceived their ghosts and elves and demons and great powers of the earth and air to be, like men themselves, within the domain of the divine Heaven, almighty and allencompassing. To trace the Samoyed's thought of Num the personal Sky passing into vague conceptions of pervading deity; to see with the Tunguz how Boa the Heavengod, unseen but all-knowing, kindly but indifferent, has divided the business of his world among such lesser powers as sun and moon, earth and fire; to discern the meaning of the Mongol Tengri, shading from Heaven into Heaven-god, and thence into god or spirit in general ; to follow the records of Heaven-worship among the ancient Turks and Hiong-nu; to compare the supremacy among the Lapps of Tiermes, the Thunderer, with the supremacy among the Finns of Jumala and Ukko, the Heaven-god and heavenly Grandfather—such evidence seems good ground for Castrén's argument, that the doctrine of the divine Sky underlay the first Turanian conceptions, not merely of a Heaven-god, but of a highest deity who in after ages of Christian conversion blended into the Christian God. Here, again, we may have
Siebold, ‘Nippon,' part v. p. 9. Kempfer, ‘Japan,'ch. xi. in Pinkerton, vol. vii. Wuttke, Gesch. d. Heidenthums,' part ii. p. 220.
i Castrén, "Finn. Myth.' p. 1, etc. Klemm, 'Cultur-Gesch.' vol. iii. p. 101. Samoiedia in Pinkerton,' vol. i. p. 531. Georgi, Reise im Russ. Reich.' vol. i. p. 275.