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were polytheists, that is, they believed in guardian angels or spirits, and in a plurality of powerful, but generally evildisposed beings, inhabiting crevices and caverns of rocky mountains, and making temporary abode in hollow trees and solitary valleys : of these a few were supposed to be of great power, while the majority were much of the nature and attributes of the goblins and elves of our native land.” 1 Oldfield writes of the aborigines of Australia, " The number of supernatural beings, feared if not loved, that they acknowledge, is exceedingly great; for not only are the heavens peopled with such, but the whole face of the country swarms with them ; every thicket, most watering-places, and all rocky places abound with evil spirits. In like manner, every natural phenomenon is believed to be the work of demons, none of which seem of a benign nature, one and all apparently striving to do all imaginable mischief to the poor black fellow.”? It must be indeed an unhappy race among whom such a demonology could shape itself, and it is a relief to find that other people of low culture, while recognizing the same spiritual world swarming about them, do not find its main attribute to be spite against themselves. Among the Algonquin Indians of North America, Schoolcraft finds the very groundwork of their religion in the belief “that the whole visible and invisible creation is animated with various orders of malignant or benign spirits, who preside over the daily affairs and over the final destinies of men. Among the Khonds of Orissa, Macpherson describes the greater gods and tribal manes, and below these the order of minor and local deities: “They are the tutelary gods of every spot on earth, having power over the functions of nature which operate there, and over everything relating to human life in it. Their number is
· Bonwick, “Tasmanians,' p. 182.
3 Schoolcraft, ‘Algic Res.' vol. i. p. 41. 'Indian Tribes,' vol. iii. p. 327. Waitz, vol. iii. p. 191. See also J. G. Müller, p. 175. (Antilles Islanders); Brasseur, Mexique,' vol. iii. p. 482
unlimited. They fill all nature, in which no power or object, from the sea to the clods of the field, is without its deity. They are the guardians of hills, groves, streams, fountains, paths, and hamlets, and are cognizant of every human action, want, and interest in the locality, where they preside.”] Describing the animistic mythology of the Turanian tribes of Asia and Europe, Castrén has said that every land, mountain, rock, river, brook, spring, tree, or whatsoever it may be, has a spirit for an inhabitant; the spirits of the trees and stones, of the lakes and brooks, hear with pleasure the wild man's pious prayers and accept his offerings. Such are the conceptions of the Guinea negro, who finds the abodes of his good and evil spirits in great rocks, hollow trees, mountains, deep rivers, dense groves, echoing caverns, and who passing silently by these sacred places leaves some offering, if it be but a leaf or a shell picked up on the beach. Such are examples which not unfairly picture the belief of the lower races in a world of spirits on earth, and such descriptions apply to the state of men's minds along the course of civilization.
The doctrine of ancient philosophers such as Pythagoras* and lamblichus, of spiritual beings swarming through the atmosphere we breathe, was carried on and developed in special directions in the discussions concerning the nature and functions of the world-pervading host of angels and devils, in the writings of the early Christian Fathers. Theologians of modern centuries have for the most part seen reason to reduce within comparatively narrow limits the action ascribed to external spiritual beings on mankind;
· Macpherson, 'India,' p. 90. See also Cross, Karens, in "Journ. Amer. Or. Soc.' vol. iv. p. 315; Williams, ‘Fiji,' vol. i. p. 239.
Castrén, ‘Finn. Myth,' p. 114, 182, etc. 3 J. L. Wilson, W. Afr.'p. 218, 388 ; Waitz, vol. ii. p. 171. * Diog. Laert. Vita Pythagor. 32. 5 lamblichus, ii.
6 Collected passages in Calmet, ‘Diss. sur les Esprits ;' Horst, “ZauberBibliothek,' vol. i. p. 263, etc. ; vol. vi. p. 49, etc. ; see Migne's Dictionaries.
yet there are some who retain to the full the angelology and demonology of Origen and Tertullian. These two views may be well contrasted by setting side by side the judgments of two ecclesiastics of the Roman Church, as to the belief in pervading demons prevalent in uncivilized countries. The celebrated commentator, Dom Calmet, lays down in the most explicit terms the doctrine of angels and demons, as a matter of dogmatic theology. But he is less inclined to receive unquestioned the narratives of particular manifestations in the medieval and modern world. He mentions indeed the testimony of Louis Vivez, that in the newly discovered countries of America, nothing is more common than to see spirits which appear at noonday, not only in the country but in towns and villages, speaking, commanding, sometimes even striking men; and the account by Olaus Magnus of the spectres or spirits seen in Sweden and Norway, Finland and Lapland, which do wonderful things, some even serving men as domestics and driving the cattle out to pasture. But what Calmet remarks on these stories, is that the greater ignorance prevails in a country, the more superstition reigns there. It seems that in our own day, however, the tendency is to encourage less sceptical views. Monsignor Gaume's book on ‘Holy Water,' which not long since received the special and formal approval of Pius IX., appears " at an epoch when the millions of evil angels which surround us are more enterprising than ever;" and here Olaus Magnus' story of the demons infesting Northern Europe is not only cited but corroborated. On the whole, the survey of the doctrine of pervading spirits through all the grades of culture is a remarkable display of intellectual continuity. Most justly does Ellis the missionary, depicting the South Sea Islanders' world crowded with its innumerable pervading spirits, point out the closeness of correspondence here between doctrines of the savage and the
1 Calmet, ‘Dissertation sur les Esprits,' vol. i. ch. xlviii.
civilized animist, expressed as both may be in Milton's familiar lines :
“ Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth,
Unseen, both when we wake, and when we sleep.” 1
As with souls, so with other spirits, man's most distinct and direct intercourse is had where they become actually present to his senses in dreams and visions. The belief that such phantoms are real and personal spirits, suggested and maintained as it is by the direct evidence of the senses of sight, touch, and hearing, is naturally an opinion usual in savage philosophy, and indeed elsewhere, long and obstinately resisting the attacks of the later scientific doctrine. The demon Koin strives to throttle the dreaming Australian; 2 the evil “na” crouches on the stomach of the Karen ;3 the North American Indian, gorged with feasting, is visited by nocturnal spirits ; * the Caribs, subject to hideous dreams, often woke declaring that the demon Maboya had beaten them in their sleep, and they could still feel the pain. These demons are the very elves and nightmares that to this day in benighted districts of Europe ride and throttle the snoring peasant, and whose names, not forgotten among the educated, have only made the transition from belief to jest. A not less distinct product of the savage animistic theory of dreams as real visits from personal spiritual beings, lasted on without a shift or break into the belief of medieval Christendom. This is the doctrine of the incubi and succubi, those male and female nocturnal demons which
1 Ellis, 'Polyn. Res.' vol. i. p. 331.
Mason, 'Karens,' l. c. p. 211.
Rochefort, 'Antilles,' p. 419. 6 Grimm 'D. M.' p. 1193; Hanusch, Slaw. Myth.' p. 332; St. Clair & Brophy, ‘Bulgaria,' p. 59; Wuttke, Volksaberglaube,' p. 122 ; Bastian, * Psychologie,' p. 103 ; Brand, vol. iii. p. 279; The mare in nightmare means spirit, elf, or nymph ; compare Anglo-Sax. wudumare (wood-mare) =echo,
consort sexually with men and women. We
set out with their descriptions among the islanders of the Antilles, where they are the ghosts of the dead, vanishing when clutched ; 1 in New Zealand, where ancestral deities “form attachments with females and pay them repeated visits,” while in the Samoan Islands such intercourse of mischievous inferior gods caused “many supernatural conceptions ;" ? and in Lapland, where details of this last extreme class have also been placed on record. From these lower grades of culture we may follow the idea onward. Formal rites are specified in the Hindu Tantra, which enable a man to obtain a companion-nymph by worshipping her and repeating her name by night in a cemetery. Augustine, in an instructive passage, states the popular notions of the visits of incubi, vouched for, he tells us, by testimony of such quantity and quality that it may seem impudence to deny it; yet he is careful not to commit himself to a positive belief in such spirits. Later theologians were less cautious, and grave argumentation on nocturnal intercourse with incubi and succubi was carried on till, at the height of mediæval civilization, we find it accepted in full belief by ecclesiastics and lawyers. Nor are we to count it as an ugly but harmless superstition, when for example we find it set forth in the Bull of Pope Innocent VIII. in 1484, as an
1. Vita del Amm. Christoforo Colombo,' ch. xiii. ; and Life of Colon in Pinkerton, vol. xii. p. 81.
2 Taylor, ‘New Zealand,' p. 149, 389. Mariner, «Tonga Is.' vol. ii. p. 119.
3 Högström, 'Lapmark,' ch. xi.
4 Ward, 'Hindoos,' vol. ii. p. 151. See also Borri, “Cochin-China,' in Pinkerton, vol. ix. p. 823.
Augustin. *De Civ. Dei,' xv. 23 : “Et quoniam creberrima fama est, multique se expertos, vel ab eis qui experti essent, de quorum fide dubitandum non esset, audisse confirmant, Silvanos et Faunos, quos vulgo incubos vocant, improbos sæpe extitisse mulieribus, et earum appetisse ac peregisse concubitum; et quosdam dæmones, quos Dusios Galli nuncupant, hanc assidue immunditiam et tentare et efficere ; plures talesque asseverant, ut hoc negare impudentiæ videatur ; non hinc aliquid audeo definire, utrum aliqui spiritus . . . possint etiam hanc pati libidinem; ut ... sentientibus feminibus misceantur." See also Grimm, 'D. M.' p. 449, 479; Hanusch, 'Slaw. Myth.' p. 332 ; Cockayne, ‘Leechdoms of Early England,' vol. i. p. xxxviii. vol. ii. p. 345.