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they were invariably looked up to as advisers.o? In New Caledonia » l'on entreprend jamais une affaire importante, telle qu'une guerre, sans essayer d'en connaître d'avance les résultats; c'est lui (le chef de la religion) qui doit la dévoiler.» 2 Also in Hawaii »war is seldom declared without the approbation of the gods, obtained through the medium of the priests.» 3 Respecting certain Indians on the Amazon, Wallace mentions that their » Pagés» are much consulted and believed in and that an Indian will give almost all he possesses to a Pagé, when he is threatened with any real or imaginary danger. 4 Characterizing the consequence enjoyed by the East African priest-doctors Du Chaillu writes: » His word is potent for life or death. At his command - or rather at his suggestion - the village is removed: men, women, and children are slain or enslaved; wars are begun and ended.» 5 Of the Waganda in Africa, we read that the advice of the wizard-doctor is asked respecting the most varying matters, 6 and similar reports. are given with reference to the shamans of the Koryaks, ? and Lamuts 8 in North-Eastern Siberia.
In short, the ideas, which give the psychological explanation of the origin of priesthood, are of fundamental significance in the mental life of savages. Wild peoples
1 Thomson, The Story of New Zealand, i. 115.
2 Vieillard and Deplanche, 'Nouvelle Calédonie,' in Revue Maritime pt Coloniale, vi. 78.
3 Ellis, Narrative of a Tour through Hawaii, p. 136.
who believe themselves exposed to every kind of influence from the spirits as well as to the secret machinations of their enemies, have only one means of protection from those dangers, and that is in trusting to the cunning of their priests and magicians. The universal belief in spirits and magic has a singular power in ruling the actions of the lower races, and, to quote Sir Richard Burton, when speaking of the inhabitants of Central Africa, »wherever supernaturalisms are in requisition, inen will be found, for a consideration, to supply them.» 1
1 Burton, Lakı Regions, ii. 354.
THE FIRST APPEARANCE OF PRIESTS.
AS the priests, with exclusion of the magicians, are closely associated with the gods, it will be perceived that the origin and developinent of priesthood, in a restricted sense of the word, and the origin and development of the belief in gods run, on the whole, on parallel lines. Different systems of religion have to a certain extent exercised a different influence upon the conditions of priesthood. Thus, ancestor-worship and worship of the gods of nature have in somewhat different ways contributed to the origin of priesthood, and we must therefore say a few words about each of these systems of religion with regard to their relation to priesthood.
Ancestor-worship has been treated of by many writers on religion. It is well known that Spencer even assigns that form of belief as the root of every religion." Lord Avebury, 2 Dr. Tylor 3 and Professor de la Saussaye 4 also give, in their works, numerous instances showing the almost universal occurrence of this form of religion in different stages of the evolution of thought.
1 Spencer, Principles of Sociology, i. 411. – Ancestor-worship is especially dealt with in Part i. Chapters xx and xxv.
? Avebury, Origin of Civilization, pp. 364 – 368.
We have to consider it as a characteristic fact that the worship of deified men is, as a rule, confined to the kindred group, and in the first place to the separate families. In general, ancestral gods are only worshipped by their descendants, as little or no connection is believed to exist between the dead and the living outside the consanguineous group. We are, in some cases, expressly told that usually the benevolence of ancestral gods only comprehends their kindred. Thus we find the belief prevailing among the New Zealanders that the spirits » confine their care almost exclusively to persons among the living with whom they are connected by ties of relationship.» 1 In Hawaii the people imagined that the spirits of the dead chiefs sometimes returned to earth and watched over the welfare of their surviving relatives. The common people, on the other hand, had no support to expect from the spirit-world, as the souls of that class were not supposed to exist after death.2 From Tonga we hear of the same belief. 3 According to the notions of the Cheremisses, wherever the dead may dwell, they never break the ties which connect thein with their relatives. Their influence upon their families even grows more powerful after their death than it was during their lifetime. 4 Of the Selish, an Indian tribe inhabiting the country between the Cascade and the Rocky Mountains, we read that, to their belief, »a familiar spirit is always with them on earth, taking care of them and directing their actions by dreams or presentiments in lifetime, and after death remaining on earth to watch over their nearest friends.» 5 Alike belief in the guardianship of
1 Shortland, Traditions and Superstitions of the New Zealanders, p. 81.
5 Wilson, 'Indian Tribes in the Vicinity of the 49:th Parallel,' in Trans. Ethn. Soc. N. S. iv. 303.
their dead relations is displayed by the Veddahs. »Every near relative,» we are informed respecting these natives, »becomes a spirit after death, who watches over the welfare of those who are left behind. These, which include their ancestors and their children, they term their 'néhya Yakoon', kindred spirits.» 1
Owing to the exclusive character of ancestral gods, as worshipped within separate families, a regular priesthood in the sense of universally acknowledged representatives of the gods hardly occurs on the base of mere family-worship. The authority of that member of the family who conducts the worship for his nearest relatives does not extend beyond the group worshipping the god to whom he is related, i. e. the family itself.
Deification of ancestors, however, is not confined to families. Whole tribes also very frequently worship the spirits of departed men, but it would seem that in this case the ancestral gods tend, in a certain way, to amalgamate with other classes of generally worshipped deities.
Ancestral gods, as worshipped by whole tribes, seem as a rule to have originated in a manner analogous to that of ancestors defied within their own families. As deceased members of families are believed to take special care of their surviving relatives, so persons who have in lifetime distinguished themselves as protectors of their whole people are often supposed to go on guarding their race after death, and thus become deified. In general it seems that men who have in some extraordinary way risen to fame in a community, are likely to be worshipped after their death.
There is every reason to think that ancestors worshipped by their surviving families constitute the original and fundamental type of deified men from which
1 Bailey, 'Wild Tribes of the Veddahs of Ceylon,' in Trans. Ethn. Soc. N. S. ii. 331.