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powers becomes a key to the physical and moral nature and course of the universe.1 Among Christian or semi-Christian sects, the Manichseans stand as representatives of dualism pushed to its utmost development. It need scarcely be said, however, that Christian dualism is not bounded by the limits of this or that special sect. In so far as the Evil Being, with his subordinate powers of darkness, is held to exist and act in any degree in independence of the Supreme Deity and his ministering spirits of light, so far theological schools admit, though in widely different grades of importance, a philosophy of nature and of life which has its basis rather in dualism than in monotheism.
We now turn to the last objects of our present survey, those theological beliefs of the lower tribes of mankind which point more or less distinctly toward a doctrine of Monotheism. Here it is by no means proposed to examine savage ideas from the point of view of doctrinal theology, an undertaking which would demand arguments quite beyond the present range. Their treatment is limited to classifying the actual beliefs of the lower races, with some ethnographic considerations as to their origin and their relation to higher religions. For this purpose it is desirable to distinguish the prevalent doctrines of the uncultured world from absolute monotheism. At the outset, care is needed to exclude an ambiguity of which the importance often goes unnoticed. How are the mighty but subordinate divinities, recognized in different religions, to be classed? Beings who in Christian or Moslem theology would be called angels, saints, demons, would under the same definitions be called deities in polytheistic systems. This is obvious, but we may realize it more distinctly from its actually having happened. The Chuwashes, ft race of Turkish affinity, are stated to reverence a god of Death, who takes to himself the souls of the departed, and whom they call Esrel; it is curious that Castren, in mentioning
1 Beausobre, 'Hist, de Manichee,' etc. Neander, 'Hist, of Christian Religion,' vol. ii. p. 157, etc.
this, should fail to point out that this deity is no other than Azrael the angel of death, adopted under Moslem' influence.1 Again, in the mixed Pagan and Christian religion of the Circassians, which at least in its recently prevalent form would be reckoned polytheistic, there stand beneath the Supreme Being a number of mighty subordinate deities, of whom the principal are Iele the Thunder-god, Tleps the Fire-god, Seoseres the god of Wind and Water, Misitcha the Forest-god, and Mariam the Virgin Mar}*.2 If the monotheistic criterion be simply made to consist in the Supreme Deity being held as creator of the universe and chief of the spiritual hierarchy, then its application to savage and barbaric theology will lead to perplexing consequences. Races of North and South America, of Africa, of Polynesia, recognizing a number of great deities, are usually and reasonably considered polytheists, yet under this definition their acknowledgment of a Supreme Creator, of which various cases will here be shown, would entitle them at the same time to the name of monotheists. To mark off the doctrines of the lower races, closer definition is required, assigning the distinctive attributes of deity to none save the Almighty Creator. It may be declared that, in this strict sense, no savage tribe of monotheists has been ever known. Nor are any fair representatives of the lower culture in a strict sense pantheists. The doctrine which they do widely hold, and which opens to them a course tending in one or other of these directions, is polytheism culminating in the rule of one supreme divinity. High above the doctrine of souls, of divine manes, of local naturespirits, 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, henceforth to be traced onward in expanding power and brightening glory along the history of religion. It is no unimportant task, partial as it is, to select and group the typical data
1 Castren, 'Finn, llyth.' p. 155.
3 Klcmm, 'Cultur-Gesch.' vol. vi. p. 85.
which show the nature and position of the doctrine of supremacy, as it comes into view within the lower culture.
On the threshold of the investigation, there meets us the same critical difficulty which obstructs the study of primitive dualism. Among low tribes who have been in contact with Christianity or Mohammedanism, how are we to tell to what extent, under this foreign influence, dim, uncouth ideas of divine supremacy may have been developed into more cultured forms, or wholly foreign ideas implanted? We know how the Jesuit missionaries caught and trained into their own theology the native Canadian thought of a Great Manitu, how they took up the native Brazilian name of the divine Thunder, Tupan, and adapted its meaning to convey in Christian teaching the idea of God. Thus, again, we find most distinctly-marked African ideas of a Supreme Deity in the West, where intercourse with Moslems has actually Islamized or semi-Islamized whole negro nations, and the name of Allah is in all men's mouths. The ethnographer must be ever on the look-out for traces of such foreign influence in the definition of the Supreme Deity acknowledged by any uncultured race, a divinity whose nature and even whose name may betray his adoption from abroad. Thus the supreme Iroquois deity, Neo or Hawaneu, the pre-existent creator, has been triumphantly adduced to show the monotheism underlying the native creeds of America. But Dr. Brinton considers this divinity as derived from Christian instruction, and his very name but a corruption of Dieu, le bon Dieu.1 Among the list of supreme deities of the lower races who are also held to be first ancestors of man, we hear of Louquo, the uncreate first Carib, who descended from the eternal heaven, made the flat earth, and produced man from his own body. He lived long on earth among men, died and came to life again after three days, and returned to heaven.2 It would be hardly reasonable to enumerate, among genuine deities of native
1 Brinton, 'Myths of New World,' p. 53. Schoolcraft, 'Iroquois,' p. 38. *^De la Borde, 'Cnraibes,' p. 524. J. G. Muller, 'Amer. Urrel.' p. 228.
West Indian religion, a being with characteristics thus on the face of them adopted from the religion of the white men. Yet even in such extreme cases, it does not necessarily follow that the definitions of these deities, vitiated as they are for ethnographical use by foreign influence, have not to some extent a native substratum. In criticising details, moreover, it must not be forgotten how largely the similarities in the religions of different races may be of independent origin, and how closely allied are many ideas in the rude native theologies of savages to ideas holding an immemorial place in the religions of their civilized invaders. For the present purpose, however, it is well to dwell especially on such evidence as by characteristic traits or early date is farthest removed from suspicion of being borrowed from a foreign source.
In surveying the peoples of the world, the ethnographer finds some who are not shown to have any definite conception of a supreme deity; and even where such a conception is placed on record, it is sometimes so vaguely asserted, or on such questionable authority, that he can but take note of it and pass on. In numerous cases, however, illustrated by the following collection from different regions, certain leading ideas, singly or blended, may be traced. There are many savage and barbaric religions which solve their highest problem by the simple process of raising to divine primacy one of the gods of polytheism itself. Even the system of the manes-worshipper has been stretched to reach the limit of supreme deity, in the person of the primaeval ancestor. More frequently, it is the nature-worshippers principle which has prevailed, giving to one of the great nature-deities the precedence of the rest. Here, by no recondite speculation, but by the plain teaching of nature, the choice has for the most part lain between two mighty visible divinities, the all-animating Sun and the all-encompassing Heaven. In the study of such schemes, we are on intellectual terra firma. There is among the religions of the lower races another notable group of systems, seemingly
in close connection with the first. These display to us a heavenly pantheon arranged on the model of an earthly political constitution, where the commonalty are crowds of human souls and other tribes of world-pervading spirits, the aristocracy are great polytheistic gods, and the King is the Supreme Deity. To this comparatively intelligible side of the subject, a more perplexed and obscure side stands contrasted. Among men whose theory of the soul animating the body has already led them to suppose a divine spirit animating the huge mass of earth or sky, this idea needs but a last expansion to become a doctrine of the universe as animated by one greatest, all-pervading divinity, the World-Spirit. Moreover, where speculative philosophy, savage or cultured, grapples with the vast fundamental world-problem, the solution is attained by ascending from the Many to the One, by striving to discern through and beyond the Universe a First Cause. Let the basis of such reasoning be laid in theological ground, then the First Cause is realised as the Supreme Deity. In such ways, the result of carrying to their utmost limits the animistic conceptions which pervade the philosophy of religion, alike among low races and high, is to reach an idea of as it were a soul of the world, a shaper, animator, ruler of the universe, a Great Spirit. In no small measure, such definition answers to that of the highest deity adored by the lower races of mankind. As we enter these regions of transcendental theology, however, we are not to wonder that the in distinctness belonging to conceptions of lower spiritual beings here fades away. Human souls, subordinate nature-spirits, and huge polytheistic nature- gods, carry with the defined special functions they perform some defined character and figure, but beyond such limits form and function blend into the infinite and universal in the thought of supreme divinity. To realize this vast idea, two especial ways are open, and both are trodden even by uncultured men. The first way is to fuse the attributes of the great polytheistic powers into more or less of common person