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slain in battle. On the other hand, the thought which shows out in such bold relief in the savage mind, that courage
is virtue, and battle and bloodshed the hero's noblest pursuit, leads naturally to a hope of glory for his soul when his body has been slain in fight. Such expectation was not strange in North America, to that Indian tribe, for instance, who talked of the Great Spirit walking in the moonlight on his island in Lake Superior, whither slain warriors will go to him to take their pleasure in the chace. The Nicaraguans declared that men who died in their houses went underground, but the slain in war went to serve the gods in the east, where the sun comes from. This corresponds in part with a remarkable threefold contrast of the future life among their Aztec kinsfolk. Mictlan, the Hades of the general dead, and Tlalocan, the Earthly Paradise, reached by certain special and acute ways of death, have been mentioned here already. But the souls of warriors slain in battle or sacrificed as captives, and of women who died in child-birth, were transported to the heavenly plains; there the heroes, peeping through the holes in their bucklers pierced by arrows in earthly fight, watched the Sun arise and saluted him with shout and clash of arms, and at noon the mothers received him with music and dance to escort him on his western wayIn such wise, to the old Norseman, to die the 'straw-death' of sickness or old age was to go down into the dismal loathly house of Hela the Deathgoddess; if the warrior's fate on the field of battle were denied him, and death came to fetch him from a peaceful couch, yet at least he could have the scratch of the spear, Odin's mark, and so contrive to go with a blood-stained soul to the glorious Walhalla. Surely then if ever, says a
1 Brebeuf in 'Rel. des Jés.' 1636, p. 104 ; see also Meiners, vol. ii. p. 769; J. G. Müller, pp. 89, 139.
2 Chateaubriand, Voy. en Amérique' (Religion).
3 Oviedo, ‘Nicaragua,' p. 22 ; Torquemada, “Monarquia Indiana,' book xiii. c. 48 ; Sahagun, book iii. app. ch. i.-iii. in Kingsborough, vol. vii. Compare Anderson, 'Exp. to W. Yunnan,' p. 125. (Shans, good men and mothers dying in child-birth to heaven, bad men and those killed by the sword to hell.)
modern writer, the kingdom of heaven suffered violence, and the violent took it by force. Thence we follow the idea onward to the battle-fields of holy war, where the soldier earned with his blood the unfading crown of martyrdom, and Christian and Moslem were urged in mutual onset and upheld in agony by the glimpse of paradise opening to receive the slayer of the infidel.
Such ideas, current among the lower races as to the soul's future happiness or misery, do not seem, setting aside some exceptional points, to be thoughts adopted or degraded from doctrines of cultured nations. They rather belong to the intellectual stratum in which they are found. If so, we must neither ignore nor exaggerate their standing in the lower ethics. 'The good are good warriors and hunters,' said a Pawnee chief; whereupon the author who mentions the saying remarks that this would also be the opinion of a wolf, if he could express it.? Nevertheless, if experience has led societies of savage men to fix on certain qualites, such as courage, skill, and industry, as being virtues, then many moralists will say that such a theory is not only ethical, but lying at the very foundation of ethics. And if these savage societies further conclude that such virtues obtain their reward in another world as in this, then their theories of future happiness and misery, destined for what they call good and bad men, may be looked on in this sense as belonging to morality, though at no high stage of development. But many or most writers, when they mention morality, assume narrower definition of it. This must be borne in mind in appreciating what is meant by the statements of several well-qualified ethnologists, who have, in more or less degree, denied a moral character to the future retribution as conceived in savage religion. Mr. Ellis, describing the Society Islanders, at least gives an explicit definition. When he tried to ascertain whether they connected a person's con
Alger, 'Future Life,' p. 93.
's in their heart led the Sud ms, and at ne dance to esam , the old van
52 f Hela the ield of back im from a ratch of the
blood hen if ever, si
narquia Indias Kingshorongá
, a (Shans
, goats nd those killed
dition in a future state with his disposition and conduct in this, he never could learn that they expected in the world of spirits any difference in the treatment of a kind, generous, peaceful man, and that of a cruel, parsimonious, quarrelsome one. This remark, it seems to me, applies to savage religion far and wide. Dr. Brinton, commenting on the native religions of America, draws his line in a somewhat different place. Nowhere, he says, was any welldefined doctrine that moral turpitude was judged and punished in the next world. No contrast is discoverable between a place of torments and a realm of joy; at the worst but a negative castigation awaited the liar, the coward, or the niggard. Professor J. G. Müller, in his ‘American Religions,' yet more pointedly denies any ‘ethical meaning' in the contrasts of the savage future life, and looks upon what he well calls its “light-side' and 'shadow-side' not as recompensing earthly virtue and vice, but rather as carrying on earthly conditions in a new existence.3
The idea that admission to the happier region depends on the performance of religious rites and the giving of offerings, seems scarcely known to the lowest savages. It is worth while, however, to notice some statements which seem to mark its appearance at the level of high savagery or low barbarism. Thus in the Society Islands, though the destiny of man's spirit to the region of night or to elysium was irrespective of moral character, we hear of neglect of rites and offerings as being visited by the displeasure of deities. In Florida, the belief of the Sunworshipping people of Achalaque was thus described : those who had lived well, and well served the Sun, and given many gifts to the poor in his honour, would be happy after
Ellis, 'Polyn. Res.' vol. i. p. 397; see also Williams, ‘Fiji,' vol. i.
2 Brinton, p. 242, &c.
3 J. G. Müller, ‘Amer. Urrel.' pp. 87, 224. See also the opinions of Meiners, 'Gesch. der Religion,' vol. ii. p. 768; Wuttke, ‘Gesch. des Heiden. thums, vol. i. p. 115.
4 Ellis, 1.c. ; Moerenhout, ‘Voyage,' vol. i. p. 433.
aws his line i e says, was
contrast is in
realm of it ted the liar y
ew existence appier regis tes and the he lowest 97 ome statement level of his
death and be changed into stars, whereas the wicked would - expected to be carried to a destitute and wretched existence among tment of ait mountain precipices, where fierce wild beasts have their a cruel
, pa dens. According to Bosman, the souls of Guinea negroes seems to my reaching the river of death must answer to the divine judge Brinton, Mme
how they have lived; have they religiously observed the holy days dedicated to their god, have they abstained from all forbidden meats and kept their vows inviolate, they are
wafted across to paradise; but if they have sinned against tude was
these laws they are plunged in the river and there drowned for ever. Such statements among peoples at these stages
of culture are not frequent, and perhaps not very valid as iller, in his's accounts of original native doctrine. It is in the elaborate
religious systems of more organized nations, in modern
Brahmanism and Buddhism, and degraded forms of Chrisand 'shalas tianity, that the special adaptation of the doctrine of re
tribution to the purposes of priestcraft and ceremonialism has become a commonplace of missionary reports.
It is well not to speak too positively on a subject so difficult and doubtful as this of the history of the belief in future retribution. Careful criticism of the evidence is above all necessary. For instance, we have to deal with several statements recorded among low races, explicitly assigning reward or punishment to men after death, according as they were good or bad in life. Here the first thing to be done is to clear up, if possible, the question whether the doctrine of retribution may have been borrowed from some more cultured neighbouring religion, as the very details often show to have been the case. Examples of direct adoption of foreign dogmas on this subject are not uncommon in the world. When among the Dayaks of Borneo
it is said that a dead man becomes a spirit and lives in the o Williams Jungle, or haunts the place of burial or burning, or when
some distant mountain-top is pointed to as the abode of
1 Rochefort, ‘Iles Antilles,' p. 378.
ciety and egion of me
g visited by e belief of de thus desember
the Sun, in would be hare
See also the one
ittke, “Gesch, ds
the originality of ideas so characteristically savage. But one of these Dayak tribes, burning the dead, says that as the sinoke of the funeral pile of a good man rises, the soul ascends with it to the sky, and that the smoke from the pile of a wicked man descends, and his soul with it is borne down to the earth, and through it to the regions below.' Did not this exceptional idea come into the Dayak's mind by contact with Hinduism? In Orissa, again, Khond souls have to leap across the black unfathomable river to gain a footing on the slippery Leaping Rock, where Dinga Pennu, the judge of the dead, sits writing his register of all men's daily lives and actions, sending virtuous souls to become blessed spirits, keeping back wicked ones and sending them to suffer their penalties in new births on earth. Here the striking myth of the leaping rock is perfectly savage, but the ideas of a judgment, moral retribution, and transmigration, may have come from the Hindus of the plains, as the accompanying notion of the written book unquestionably did. Dr. Mason is no doubt right in taking as the indigenous doctrine of the Karens their notion of an underworld where the ghosts of the dead live on as here, while he sets down to Hindu influence the idea of Tha-ma, the judge of the dead (the Hindu Yama), as allotting their fate according to their lives, sending those who have done deeds of merit to heaven, those who have done wickedness to hell, and keeping in Hades the neither good nor bad. How the theory of moral retribution may be superposed on more primitive doctrines of the future life, comes remarkably into view in Turanian religion. Among the Lapps, Jabme-Aimo, the subterranean home of the dead' below the earth, where the departed have their cattle and follow their livelihood like Lapps above, though they are a richer, wiser,
1 St. John, “Far East,' vol. i. p. 181; see Mundy, ‘Narrative,' vol. i.
Macpherson, p. 92. Compare Moerenhout, 1.c. (Tahiti). 3 Mason, 1.c. p. 195. See also De Brosses, ‘Nav, aux Terres Australes,' vol. ii. p. 482 (Caroline Is.).