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and henotheism are but two phases of the same form of religious faith, the two sides, as it were, of the same prism. It matters little whether a multitude of gods are worshipped together, or whether the worshipper addresses but one of them at the time, making him for the moment the supreme and single object of his religious reverence. In either case we have a plurality of deities, confessed explicitly in polytheism, implied in henotheism. And these deities are necessarily suggested by nature : the variety of nature overpowers in an infantile state of society the unity for which the mind of man is ever yearning. Gradually, however, the attributes applied to the objects and powers of nature take the place of the latter; the sun becomes Apollo, the storm Arês. Deities are multiplied with the multiplication of the epithets which the mythopoic age changes into divinities and demi-gods, and side by side with a developed mythology goes a developed pantheon. The polytheism which the infinite variety of nature made inevitable continues long after the nature-worship that underlay it has grown faint and forgotten. A time at last comes when even abstract names have to submit to the common process; temples are raised to Terror, and Fear, to Love and Reverence; and the doom of the old polytheism of nature is at hand. When once the spirit of divinity has been breathed into abstractions of the hunian mind, it cannot be long before their essential unity is recognized, and they are all summed up under the one higher abstraction of monotheism.
But the gods have first been clothed with human form. The worship of man, with all his crimes and meanness,
by his brother-man, is impossible so long as the element of divinity is not abstracted from the original object of worship. But as soon as polytheism makes it possible to dissociate the god from the image and symbol that enshrine or represent him, there arises the cult of man himself, the apex and crown of created nature. The human attributes with which the gods have been endowed assume concrete shape; Vishnu is provided with arms and legs, Merodach with the form of an armed warrior. At first idealized humanity is supra-human humanity as displayed in Titanic strength or supernatural wisdom ; it is only in the hands of the Greek artist that it becomes idealized human beauty. As the doctrine of force is older than the doctrine of art, the ascription of the attributes of strength, of swiftness or of wisdom to the divine is older than the ascription of beauty. Philip of Krotona was deified by the Greeks of Egesta because of his beauty;' elsewhere it has been other qualities that have gained for men apotheosis or saintship.
In bringing the gods down to earth in the likeness of men it was inevitable that the men should in turn be raised up to heaven in the likeness of gods. Anthropomorphic polytheism is almost invariably accompanied by the deification of men. The relics of ancestor-worship that still survived would at first cause the deification to take place after death, and it is curious to find in the practice of the Roman Church the same echo of the influence once exercised by the worship of the Manes as in the superstition that forbids us to "speak evil of the dead." But in course of time the apotheosis took place
I Ht. v. 47
during a man's life. As might have been expected, this first occurs in the case of the Chaldean and Egyptian monarchs who lived apart from the mass of their subjects, and were to them like invisible and beneficent gods. The apotheosis of the Roman Emperors was due to a variety of mixed causes, and rested primarily on the fact that each was supposed to represent the unity and omnipotence of the State. As Mr. Lyall has pointed out in an interesting article, we can still watch the process of deification among certain of our Indian fellow-subjects. Not long ago, for instance, the Bunjâras turned General Nicholson into a new god, to be added to the many existing soldier-divinities at whose tombs sacrifices and worship were regularly offered. It is clear that deification cannot be without influence upon the mythology in the midst of which it is found. Deified heroes and their deeds will become blended with the heroes and deeds of myth; and the natural course of a myth may thus be interrupted and turned aside. The same disturbing consequences that accompany the localization of an ancient myth, and its attachment to a figure of history, will accompany its intermixture with the name and adventures of a deified English general or a canonized Christian saint.
Like the Zeus of its poets, polytheism gives birth to its own destroyer. The further it is removed from its original basis in outward nature, the more spiritualized and reflective it becomes, the more does it tend to pantheism on the one side and monotheism on the other.
1 “Religion of an Indian Province,” in the “ Fortnightly Review," xi. pp. 121-40 (1872).
Its deities cease to be more than mere abstractions, and these abstractions are soon resolved into a higher unity. Already in the days of the Accadian monarchy the religious hymns of Chaldea speak of "the One God," 1 and even before them the Egyptian priests had been busy in proving that the manifold gods of the people were but manifestations of one and the same Divine Essence. Xenophanes asserts that “God is one, greatest among gods and men, in no wise like unto men in form or thought," and the language of Æschylus is full of the same faith. With Aristotle the Divine becomes vónois vońjews, thought thinking upon itself, that Impersonal Reason which Averrhoes essayed to harmonize with the clearly-cut, sharply-defined God of Mahommed. As the generations pass, our conception of the Godhead becomes more abstract, more worthy'; and though we may not acquiesce in the definition of the modern writer who declares it to be “that stream of destiny whereby things fulfil the law of their being," we may yet learn from the science of religion and the study of comparative philology what strangely different meanings men have read into the terms they use to express the centre of their highest hope and faith, and how, stage by stage, their thoughts “have widened with the process of the suns."
I W. A. I. iv. 16, 1, 7, 8.
Compare “ Prom. Vinct.” 49, 50 ; “Ag.” 160-78 ; 574.
Suppl." CHAPTER X.
THE ORIGIN OF LANGUAGE, AND THE RELATION OF
THE SCIENCE OF LANGUAGE TO ETHNOLOGY,
“ Der Mensch ist nur Mensch durch Sprache ; um aber die Sprache zu erfinden, müsste er schon Mensch sein.”—W. von Humboldt.
“One might be tempted to call language a kind of Picture of the Universe, where the words are as the figures and images of all particulars.”—Harris (“Hermes,” p. 330).
“Es ist ein Factum der Monumente, dass die Sprachen im ungebildeten Zustande der Völker, die sie gesprochen, höchst ausgebildet geworden sind, dass der Verstand sich sinnvoll entwickelnd aus. führlich in diesen theoretischen Boden geworfen hatte.”—Hegel.
“Das Leben eines Volks bringt eine Frucht zur Reife; denn seine Thätigkeit geht dahin, sein Princip zu vollführen." —Hegel.
To understand a thing aright we must know its origin and its history. Thanks to the comparative method of science, we can now trace with tolerable fulness the history and life of language ; will the same method enable us to discover its origin also ? Can we follow language up to its first source, and set before us the processes whereby man acquired the power of articulate speech? No single science, indeed, can reveal the origin of the facts and phænomena upon which it is based ; these it has to take for granted and content itself with discovering the relations they bear one to another, the laws which govern