Billeder på siden
[ocr errors]
[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

THE HE various mythological creeds of the ancient world, different as they were in the forms and ceremonies pertaining to each, may all be traced to a common origin in the constitution of the human mind. Natural religion is the manifestation of the sentiments of wonder and veneration, and the powerful manner in which these organs were acted upon in the early ages of the world led, in a manner perfectly natural and easily understood, to the formation of the mythologies which arose on the shores of the Ganges and the Nile, in the sunny vales of Greece, and among the snowy ridges of the Dofrefeld. The mind of man, in these ages, must be regarded as the mind of a child-infantile, undeveloped, untrained, and finding food for its wonder in everything of which it took cognisance, and objects for its veneration in everything which it could not comprehend. The wonders of the starry heavens, the continual succession of day and night, the phenomena of the revolving seasons, eclipses of the sun and moon; all made the same impression upon men's minds in those early ages as they do now upon the ductile and unformed mind of a child. To the first dwellers upon the earth all these things were as novel and as wondrous as they are to the child of two years old who beholds them for the first time, and they were as little able to understand them. Before they could do so in a correct and philosophical manner, mankind had to pass through the same phases of varying belief as the mind of the individual does in its progressive development from infancy to mature age. Those objects which most excited their wonder they soon came to regard No. 73. VOL. X.


« ForrigeFortsæt »