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of some of his multifarious lustrations the Hindu has recourse to the sacred cow, but his more frequent medium of removing uncleanness of body and soul is water, the divine waters to which he prays, “Take away, 0 Waters, whatsoever is wicked in me, what I have done by violence or curse, and untruth!'l The Parsi religion prescribes a system of lustrations which well shows its common origin with that of Hinduism by its similar use of cow's urine and of water. Bathing or sprinkling with water, or applications of ‘nirang' washed off with water, form part of the daily religious rites, as well as of such special ceremonies as the naming of the new-born child, the putting on of the sacred cord, the purification of the mother after childbirth, the purification of him who has touched a corpse, when the unclean demon, driven by sprinkling of the good water from the top of the head and from limb to limb, comes forth at the left toe and departs like a fly to the evil region of the north. It is, perhaps, the influence of this ancestral religion, even more than the actual laws of Islam, that makes the modern Persian so striking an example of the way in which ceremony may override reality. It is rather in form than in fact that his cleanliness is next to godliness. He carries the principle of removing legal uncleanness by ablution so far, that a holy man will wash his eyes when they have been polluted by the sight of an infidel. He will carry about a water-pot with a long spout for his ablutions, yet he depopulates the land by his neglect of the simplest sanitary rules, and he may be seen by the side of the little tank where scores of people have been in before him, obliged to clear with his hand a space in the foul scum on the water, before he plunges in to obtain ceremonial purity.2

1 Ward, 'Hindoos,' vol. ii. pp. 96, 246, 337 ; Colebrooke, 'Essays,' vol. ii. Wuttke, Gesch. des Heidenthums, vol. ii. p. 378. 'Rig Veda,' i. 22, 23.

2 Avesta, Vendidad, V.-xii.; Lord, in Pinkerton, vol. viii. p. 570 ; Naoroji, ‘Parsee Religion’; Polak, ‘Persien,' vol. i. p. 355, &c., vol. ii. p. 271. Meiners, vol. ii. p. 125.


Over against the Aryan rites of lustration in the religions of Asia, may be set the well-known types in the religions of classic Europe. At the Greek amphidromia, when the child was about a week old, the women who had assisted at the birth washed their hands, and afterwards the child was carried round the fire by the nurse, and received its name; the Roman child received its prænomen with a lustration at about the same age, and the custom is recorded of the nurse touching its lips and forehead with spittle. To wash before an act of worship was a ceremony handed down by Greek and Roman ritual through the classic ages: καθαραϊς δε δρόσοις, apvopavajevou otelgete vaoús---eo lavatum, ut sacrificem. The holy-water mingled with salt, the holy-water vessel at the temple entrance, the brush to sprinkle the worshippers, all belong to classic antiquity. Romans, their flocks and herds and their fields, were purified from disease and other ill by lustrations which show perfectly the equivalent nature of water and fire as means of purification; the passing of flocks and shepherds through fires, the sprinkling water with laurel branches, the fumigating with fragrant boughs and herbs and sulphur, formed part of the rustic rites of the Palilia. Bloodshed demanded the lustral ceremony. Hektor fears to pour with unwashen hands the libation of dark wine, nor may he pray bespattered with gore to cloudwrapped Zeus; Æneas may, not touch the household gods till cleansed from slaughter by the living stream. with far changed thought that Ovid wrote his famous reproof of his too-easy countrymen, who fancied that water could indeed wash off the crime of blood :

It was

"Ah nimium faciles, qui tristia crimina cædis

Fluminea tolli posse putetis aqua.'

Thus, too, the mourner must be cleansed by lustration from the contaminating presence of death. At the door of the Greek house of mourning was set the water-vessel, that those who had been within might sprinkle themselves and be clean ; while the mourners returning from a Roman funeral, aspersed with water and stepping over fire, were by this double process made pure.

The ordinances of purification in the Levitical law relate especially to the removal of legal uncleanness connected with childbirth, death, and other pollutions. Washing was prescribed for such purposes, and also sprinkling with water of separation, water mingled with the ashes of the red heifer. Ablution formed part of the consecration of priests, and without it they might not serve at the altar nor enter the tabernacle. In the later times of Jewish national history, perhaps through intercourse with nations whose lustrations entered more into the daily routine of life, ceremonial washings were multiplied. It seems also that in this period must be dated the ceremony which in after ages has held so great a place in the religion of the world, their rite of baptism of proselytes. The Moslem lustrations are ablutions with water, or in default with dust or sand, performed partially before prayer, and totally on special days or to remove special uncleanness. They are strictly religious acts, belonging in principle to prevalent usage of Oriental religion; and their details, whether invented or adopted as they stand in Islam, are not carried down from Judaism or Christianity. The rites of lustration which have held and hold their places within the pale of Christianity are in wellmarked historical connexion with Jewish and Gentile ritual. Purification by fire has only appeared as an actual ceremony


1 Details in Smith’s ‘Dic. of Gr. and Rom. Ant.' and Pauly, 'RealEncyclopedie,' s. v. 'amphidromia,' 'lustratio,' 'sacrificium,' 'funus'; Meiners, ‘Gesch, der Religionen,' book vii. ; Lomeyer, 'De Veterum Gentilium Lustrationibus ;' Montfaucon, 'L'Antiquité Expliquée,' &c. Special passages ; Homer, Il. vi. 266; Eurip. Ion. 96; Theocrit. xxiv. 95 ; Virg. Æn. ii. 719 ; Plaut. Aulular. iii. 6; Pers. Sat. ii. 31 ; Ovid. Fast. i. 669, ii. 45, iv. 727 ; Festus, s.v. “aqua et ignis,' &c. The obscure subject of lustration in the mysteries is here left untouched.

2 Ex, xxix. 4, xxx. 18, xl. 12; Lev. viii. 6, xiv. 8, xv. 5, xxii. 6; Numb. xix. &c. ; Lightfoot in Works,' vol. xi. ; Browne in Smith's 'Dic. of the Bible,' s.v. 'baptism ; ' Calmet, 'Dic.' &c.

3 Reland, ‘De Religione Mohammedanica ;' Lane, ‘Modern Eg.' vol. i.

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p. 98, &c.

among some little-known. Christian sects, and in the European folklore custom of passing children through or over fire, if indeed we can be sure that this rite is lustral and not sacrificial. The usual medium of purification is water. Holy-water is in full use through the Greek and Roman churches. It blesses the worshipper as he enters the temple, it cures disease, it averts sorcery from man and beast, it drives demons from the possessed, it stops the spirit-writer's pen, it drives the spirit-moved table it is sprinkled upon to dash itself frantically against the wall; at least these are among the powers attributed to it, and some of the most striking of them have been lately vouched for by papal sanction. This lustration with holy water so exactly continues the ancient classic rite, that its apologists are apt to explain the correspondence by arguing that Satan stole it for his own wicked ends.? Catholic ritual follows ancient sacrificial usage in the priest's ceremonial washing of hands before mass.

The priest's touching with his spittle the ears and nostrils of the infant or catechumen, saying, 'Ephphatha,' is obviously connected with passages in the Gospels; its adoption as a baptismal ceremony has been compared, perhaps justly, with the classical lustration by spittle.3 Finally, it has but to be said that ceremonial purification as a Christian act centres in baptism by water, that symbol of initiation of the convert which history traces from the Jewish rite to that of John the Baptist, and thence to the Christian ordinance. Through later ages adult baptism carries on the Jewish ceremony of the admission of the proselyte, while infant baptism combines this with the lustration of the new-born infant. Passing through a range of meaning such as separates the sacrament of the Roman


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Bingham, 'Antiquities of Christian Church,' book xi. ch. 2. Grimm, 'Deutsche Mythologie,' p. 592; Leslie, 'Early Races of Scotland,' vol. i. p. 113; Pennant, in Pinkerton, vol. iii. p. 383.

2 Rituale Romanum ; Gaume, 'L'Eau Bénite;' Middleton, ‘Letter from Rome,' &c.

3 Rituale Romanum. Bingham, book x. ch. 2, book xv. ch. 3. See Mark vii. 34, viii. 23 ; John ix. 6.

centurion from the sacrament of the Roman cardinal, becoming to some a solemn symbol of new life and faith, to some an act in itself of supernatural efficacy, the rite of baptism has remained almost throughout the Christian world the outward sign of the Christian profession.

In considering the present group of religious ceremonies, their manifestations in the religions of the higher nations have been but scantily outlined in comparison with their rudimentary forms in the lower culture. Yet this reversal of the proportions due to practical importance in no way invalidates, but rather aids, the ethnographic lessons to be drawn by tracing their course in history. Through their varied phases of survival, modification, and succession, they have each in its own way brought to view the threads of continuity which connect the faiths of the lower with the faiths of the higher world; they have shown how hardly the civilized man can understand the religious rites even of his own land without knowledge of the meaning, often the widely unlike meaning, which they bore to men of distant ages and countries, representatives of grades of culture far different from his.

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