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II. The Tongan theologians recognised several hundred gods; but there was one, already mentioned as their national god, whom they regarded as far greater than any of the others, ' as a great chief from the top of the sky down to the bottom of the earth’ (Mariner, vol. ii. p. 106). He was also god of war, and the tutelar deity of the royal family, whoever happened to be the incumbent of the royal office for the time being. He had no priest except the king himself, and his visits, even to royalty, were few and far between. The name of this supreme deity was Ta'li-y-Tooboo', the literal meaning of which is said to be wait there, Tooboo,' from which it would appear that the peculiar characteristic of Ta'li-y-Tooboo', in the eyes of his worshippers, was persistence or duration. And it is curious to notice, in relation to this circumstance, that many Hebrew philologers have thought the meaning of Jahveh to be best expressed by the word • Eternal.' It would probably be difficult to express the notion of an eternal being, in a dialect so little fitted to convey abstract concep. tions as Tongan, better than by that of one who always waits there.'
The characteristics of the gods in Tongan theology are exactly those of men whose shape they are supposed to possess, only they have more intelligence and greater power. The Tongan belief that, after death, the human Atua more readily distinguishes good from evil, runs parallel with the old Israelitic conception of Elohim expressed in Genesis, “Ye shall be as Elohim knowing good from evil.' They further agreed with the old Israelites, that all rewards for virtue and Vol. XIX.-No. 110
punishments for vice happen to men in this world only, and come immediately from the gods.' (Vol. ii. p. 100.) Moreover, they were of opinion that though the gods approve of some kinds of virtue and are displeased with some kinds of vice, and to a certain extent defend or forsake their worshippers according to their moral conduct, yet neglect to pay due respect to the deities, and forgetfulness to keep them in good humour, might be visited with even worse consequences than moral delinquency. And those who will carefully study the socalled “Mosaic code contained in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, will see that, though Jahveh's prohibitions of certain forms of immorality are strict and sweeping, his wrath is quite as strongly kindled against infractions of ritual ordinances. Accidental homicide may go unpunished, and reparation may be made for wilful theft. On the other hand, Nadab and Abihu, who offered strange fire before Jahvel, which he had not commanded them,' were swiftly devoured by Jahveh's fire; he who sacrificed anywhere except at the allotted place was to be cut off from his people;'so was he who ate blood; and the details of the upholstery of the Tabernacle, of the millinery of the priests' vestments, and of the cabinet work of the ark, can plead direct authority from Jahveh no less than moral commands.
Amongst the Tongans, the sacrifices were regarded as gifts of food and drink offered to the divine Atuas, just as the articles deposited by the graves of the recently dead were meant as food for Atuas of lower rank. A kava root was a constant form of offering all over Polynesia. In the excellent work of the Rev. George Turner, entitled Nineteen Years in Polynesia (p. 241), I find it said of the Samoans (near neighbours of the Tongans) :
The offerings were principally cooked food. As in ancient Greece so in Samoa, the first cup was in honour of the god. It was either poured out on the ground or waved towards the heavens, reminding us again of the Mosaic ceremonies. The chiefs all drank a portion out of the same cup, according to rank ; and after that, the food brought as an offering was divided and eaten there before the Lord.'
In Tonga, when they consulted a god who had a priest, the latter, as representative of the god, had the first cup; but if the god, like Ta'li-y-Tooboo', had no priest, then the chief place was left vacant, and was supposed to be occupied by the god himself. When the first cup of kava was filled, the mataboole who acted as master of the ceremonies said, Give it to your god,' and it was offered, though only as a matter of form. In Tonga and Samoa, there were many sacred places or morais, with houses of the ordinary construction, but which served as temples in consequence of being dedicated to various gods; and there were altars on which the sacrifices were offered; nevertheless there were few or no images. Mariner mentions none in Tonga, and the Samoans seem to have been regarded as no better than atheists by other Polynesians because they had none. It does not appear that either of these peoples had images even of their family or ancestral gods. · In Tahiti and the adjacent islands, Moerenhout (t. i. p. 471) makes the very interesting observation, not only that idols were often absent, but that, where they existed, the images of the gods served merely as depositories for the proper representatives of the divinity. Each of these was called a maro aurou, and was a kind of girdle artistically adorned with red, yellow, blue, and black feathers the red feathers being especially important—which were consecrated and kept as sacred objects within the idols. They were worn by great personages on solemn occasions, and conferred upon their wearers a sacred and almost divine character. There is no distinct evidence that the maro aurou was supposed to have any special efficacy in divination, but one cannot fail to see a certain parallelism between this holy girdle, which endowed its wearer with a particular sanctity, and the ephod. .
According to the Rev. R. Taylor, the New Zealanders formerly used the word karakia (now employed for prayer ') to signify a
spell, charm, or incantation, and the utterance of these karakias constituted the chief part of their cult. In the south, the officiating priest had a small image, about eighteen inches long, resembling a peg with a carved head,' which reminds one of the form commonly attributed to the teraphim.
The priest first bandaged a fillet of red parrot feathers under the god's chin, which was called his pahau or beard; this bandage was made of a certain kind of sennet, which was tied on in a peculiar way. When this was done it was taken possession of by the atua, whose spirit entered it. The priest then either held it in the band and vibrated it in the air, whilst the powerful karakia was repeated, or he tied a piece of string (formed of the centre of a flax leaf) round the neck of the image and stuck it in the ground. He sat at a little distance from it, leaning against a tuahu, a short stone pillar stuck in the ground in a slanting position, and holding the string in his hand, he gave the god a jerk to arrest his attention, lest he should be otherwise engaged, like Baal of old, either hunting, fishing, or sleeping, and therefore must be awaked. ... The god is supposed to make use of the priest's tongue in giving a reply. Image-worship appears to have been confined to one part of the island. The atua was supposed only to enter the image for the occasion. The natives declare they did not worship the image itself, but only the atua it represented, and that the image was merely used as a way of approaching him."
This is the excuse for image-worship which the more intelligent idolaters make all the world over; but it is more interesting to observe that, in the present case, we seem to have the equivalents of divination by teraphim, with the aid of something like an ephod (which however is used to sanctify the image and not the priest) mixed up together. Many Hebrew archæologists have supposed that the term "ephod' is sometimes used for an image (particularly in the case of Gideon's ephod), and the story of Micah in the book of Judges shows that images were, at any rate, employed in close association with the ephod. If the pulling of the string to call the attention of the god seerns as absurd to us as it appears to have done to the worthy missionary, it should be recollected
Te Ika a Maui : New Zealand and its Inhabitants, p. 72.
that the high priest of Jahveh was ordered to wear a garment fringed with golden bells.
And it shall be upon Aaron to minister; and the sound thereof shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy place before Jahveh, and when he cometh out, that he die not. (Exod. xxviii. 35.)
An escape from the obvious conclusion suggested by this passage has been sought in the supposition that these bells rang for the sake of the worshippers, as at the elevation of the host in the Roman Catholic ritual; but then why should the priest be threatened with the well-known penalty for unadvisedly beholding the divinity ?
In truth, the intermediate step between the Maori practice and that of the old Israelites is furnished by the Kami temples in Japan. These are provided with bells which the worshippers who present themselves ring in order to call the attention of the ancestor-god to their presence. Grant the fundamental assumption of the essentially human character of the spirit, whether Atua, Kami, or Elohim, and all these practices are equally rational.
The sacrifices to the gods in Tonga and elsewhere in Polynesia, were ordinarily social gatherings, in which the god, either in his own person or in that of his priestly representative, was supposed to take part. These sacrifices were offered on every occasion of importance, and even the daily meals were prefaced by oblations and libations of food and drink, exactly answering to those offered by the old Romans to their manes, penates, and lares. The sacrifices had no moral significance, but were the necessary result of the theory that the god was either a deified ghost of an ancestor or chief, or, at any rate, a being of like nature to these. If one wanted to get anything out of him, therefore, the first step was to put him in good humour by gifts; and if one desired to escape his wrath, which might be excited by the most trifling neglect or unintentional disrespect, the great thing was to pacify him by costly presents. King Finow appears to have been somewhat of a freethinker (to the great horror of his subjects), and it was only his untimely death which prevented him from dealing with the priest of a god who had not returned a favourable answer to his supplications as Saul dealt with the priests of the sanctuary of Jahveh at Nob. Nevertheless Finow showed his practical belief in the gods during the sickness of a daughter to whom he was fondly attached in a fashion which has a close parallel in the history of Israel.
If the Gods have any resentment against us, let the whole weight of vengeance fall on my head. I fear not their vengeance—but spare my child; and I earnestly entreat you, Toobo Tota'i [the God whom he had invoked] to exert all your influence with the other Gods that I alone may suffer all the punishment they desire to inflict. (Vol. i. p. 354.) So when the king of Israel has sinned by numbering the people,' and they are punished for his fault by a pestilence which slays seventy thousand innocent men, David cries to Jahveh :