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philosopher's fancy of transferred souls offered something like an explanation of the likeness between beast and man. This comes more clearly into view among the more civilized races who have worked out the idea of transmigration into ethical schemes of retribution, where the appropriateness of the creatures chosen is almost as manifest to the modern critic as it could have been to the ancient believer. Perhaps the most graphic restoration of the state of mind in which the theological doctrine of metempsychosis was worked out in long-past ages, may be found in the writings of a modern theologian whose spiritualism often follows to the extreme the intellectual tracks of the lower races. In the spiritual world, says Emanuel Swedenborg, such persons as have opened themselves for the admission of the devil and acquired the nature of beasts, becoming foxes in cunning, &c., appear also at a distance in the proper shape of such beasts as they represent in disposition. Lastly, one of the most notable points about the theory of transmigration is its close bearing upon a thought which lies very deep in the history of philosophy, the development-theory of organic life in successive stages. An elevation from the vegetable to the lower animal life, and thence onward through the higher animals to man, to say nothing of superhuman beings, does not here require even a succession of distinct individuals, but is brought by the theory of metempsychosis within the compass of the successive vegetable and animal lives of a single being.
Here a few words may be said on a subject which cannot be left out of sight, connecting as it does the two great branches of the doctrine of future existence, but which it is difficult to handle in definite terms, and much more to trace historically by comparing the views of lower and higher races. This is the doctrine of a bodily renewal or
Swedenborg, "The True Christian Religion,' 13. Compare the notion attributed to the followers of Basilides the Gnostic, of men whose souls are affected by spirits or dispositions as of wolf, ape, lion, or bear, wherefore their souls bear the properties of these, and imitate their deeds (Clem. Alex. Stromat. ii. c. 20).
resurrection. To the philosophy of the lower races it is by no means necessary that the surviving soul should be provided with a new body, for it seems itself to be of a filmy or vaporous corporeal nature, capable of carrying on an independent existence like other corporeal creatures. Savage descriptions of the next world are often such absolute copies of this, that it is scarcely possible to say whether the dead are or are not thought of as having bodies like the living; and a few pieces of evidence of this class are hardly enough to prove the lower races to hold original and distinct doctrines of corporeal resurrection. Again, attention must be given to the practice, so common among low and high races, of preserving relics of the dead, from mere morsels of bone up to whole mummified bodies. It is well known that the departed soul is often thought apt to revisit the remains of the body, as is seen in the wellknown pictures of the Egyptian funeral ritual. But the preservation of these remains, even where it thus involves a permanent connexion between body and soul, does not necessarily approach more closely to a bodily resurrection.” In discussing the closely allied doctrine of metempsychosis, I have described the theory of the soul's transmigration into a new human body as asserting in fact an earthly resurrection. From the same point of view, a bodily resurrection in Heaven or Hades is technically a transmigration of the soul. This is plain among the higher races, in whose religion these doctrines take at once clearer definition and more practical import. There are some distinct mentions of bodily resurrection in the Rig Veda: the dead is spoken of as glorified, putting on his body (tanu); and it is even promised that the pious man shall be born in the next world with his entire body (sarvatanû). In Brah
i See J. G. Müller, ' Amer. Urrel.' p. 208 (Caribs); but compare Rochefort, p. 429. Steller, 'Kamtschatka,' p. 269 ; Castrén, ‘Finnische Mythologie,'
? For Egyptian evidence see the funeral papyri and translations of the ‘Book of the Dead.' Compare Brinton, 'Myths of New World,' p. 254, &c.
minism and Buddhism, the re-births of souls in bodies to inhabit heavens and hells are simply included as particular cases of transmigration. The doctrine of the resurrection appears far back in the religion of Persia, and is thence supposed to have passed into late Jewish belief. In early Christianity, the conception of bodily resurrection is developed with especial strength and fulness in the Pauline doctrine. For an explicit interpretation of this doctrine, such as commended itself to the minds of later theologians, it is instructive to cite the remarkable passage of Origen, where he speaks of corporeal matter, of which matter, in whatever quality placed, the soul always has use, now indeed carnal, but afterwards indeed subtler and purer, which is called spiritual.'?
Passing from these metaphysical doctrines of civilized theology, we now take up a series of beliefs higher in practical moment, and more clearly conceived in savage thought. There may well have been, and there may still be, low races destitute of any belief in a Future State. Nevertheless, prudent ethnographers must often doubt accounts of such, for this reason, that the savage who declares that the dead live no more, may merely mean to say that they are dead. When the East African is asked what becomes of his buried ancestors, the old people,' he can reply that they are ended, yet at the same time he fully admits that their ghosts survive. In an account of the religious ideas of the Zulus, taken down from a native, it is explicitly stated that Unkulunkulu the Old-Old-One said that people were to die and never rise again, and that he allowed them ‘to die and rise no more.'4 Knowing so thoroughly as we now do the theology of the Zulus, whose ghosts not only survive in the
1 Aryan evidence in ‘Rig-Veda,' x. 14, 8; xi. 1, 8; Manu, xii. 16-22 ; Max Müller, 'Todtenbestattung,' pp. xii. xiv. ; 'Chips, vol. i. p. 47; Muir in ‘Journ. As. Soc. Bengal,' vol. i. 1865, p. 306 ; Spiegel, 'Avesta'; Haug, • Essays on the Parsis.'
2 Origen, De Princip. ii. 3, 2: ‘materiæ corporalis, cujus materiæ anima usum semper habet, in qualibet qualitate positæ, nunc quidem carnali, postmodum vero subtiliori et puriori, quæ spiritalis appellatur.'
3 Burton, Central Africa,' vol. ii. p. 345. * Callaway, “Rel. of Amazulu,' p. 84.
under-world, but are the very deities of the living, we can
He made the sun ;
He made the moon ;
He made the stars ;
He made man ;
comes forth, goes down into the ground, and comes no more.' It is to be remarked, however, that the close neighbours of these Dinka, the Bari, believe that the dead do return to live again on earth, and the question arises whether it is the doctrine of bodily resurrection, or the doctrine of the surviving ghost-soul, that the Dinka poem denies. The missionary Kaufmann says that the Dinka do not believe the immortality of the soul, that they think it but a breath, and with death all is over ; Brun-Rollet’s contrary authority goes to prove that they do believe in another life; both leave it an open question whether they recognize the existence of surviving ghosts.
Looking at the religion of the lower races as a whole, we shall at least not be ill-advised in taking as one of its general and principal elements the doctrine of the soul's Future Life. But here it is needful to explain, to limit, and to reserve, lest modern theological ideas should lead us to misconstrue more primitive beliefs. In such enquiries the
1 Kaufmann, 'Schilderungen aus Centralafrika,' p. 124; G. Lejean in Rev. des Deux Mondes,' Apr. 1, 1860, p. 760; see Brun-Rollet, ‘Nil Blanc,' pp. 100, 234, A dialogue by the missionary Beltrame (1859–60), in Mitterutzner, ‘Dinka-Sprache,' p. 57, ascribes to the Dinkas ideas of heaven and hell, which, however, show Christian influence.
phrase “immortality of the soul' is to be avoided as misleading. It is doubtful how far the lower psychology entertains at all an absolute conception of immortality, for past and future fade soon into utter vagueness as the savage mind quits the present to explore them, the measure of months and years breaks down even within the narrow span of human life, and the survivor's thought of the soul of the departed dwindles and disappears with the personal memory that kept it alive. The doctrine of the surviving soul may indeed be treated as common to all known races, though its acceptance is not unanimous. In savage as in civilized life, dull and careless natures ignore a world to come as too far off, while sceptical intellects are apt to reject its belief as wanting proof. There are even statements on record of whole classes being formally excluded from future life. This may be a matter of social pride. In the Tonga Islands, according to Mariner, it was held that the chiefs and nobles would live hereafter in the happy island of Bolotu, but that the souls of the common people would die with their bodies. So Captain John Smith relates as to the belief of the Virginians, that the chiefs went after death beyond the sunset mountains, there to dance and sing with their predecessors, “but the common people they suppose shall not live after death.” In the record of a missionary examination of the Nicaraguans, they are made to state their belief that if a man lived well, his soul would ascend to dwell among the gods, but if ill it would perish with the body, and there would be an end of it. None of these accounts, however, agree with what is known of the religion of kindred peoples, Polynesian, Algonquin, or Aztec. But granted that the soul survives the death of the body, instance after instance from the records of the lower culture shows this soul to be regarded as a mortal being, liable like the body itself to accident and death. The Greenlanders pitied the poor souls who must pass in winter or in storm the dreadful mountain where
1 Mariner, ‘Tonga Is.' vol. ii. p. 136 ; John Smith, 'Descr. of Virginia,' 33 ; Oviedo, ‘Nicaragua,' p. 50. The reference to the Laos in Meiners, vol. ii. p. 760, is worthless.