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Madagascar and Africa on the other, so that there really was no physical impediment that could have prevented the spread of the earliest religion in the same directions. Even Northern Asia, we are told, was in later times touched by Persian influences, and might therefore have been reached by the emissaries of those who had made the first discovery of religion. At all events, no difficulties in the historical spreading of this religion, when once discovered, could compare, according to Professor Gruppe, with the difficulty of accounting for the discovery of something so opposed to all the laws of thought as religion. One man, he thinks, in the whole history of the world, may have committed that logical suicide (p. 277), possibly two, if America could not have been reached from China, but certainly no more. - This is Professor Gruppe's theory, which sounds almost incredible in the nineteenth century after Christ, but which is put forward and defended with so much earnestness and so much learning that it requires and deserves a careful answer. When philosophers had proved, or imagined they had proved, that religion in some form or other was inevitable, and inseparable from human nature, to be told that religion would never have arisen but for the chance discovery of one single individual—and he a foolis startling. When archaeologists had proved, or imagined they had proved, that the images of Egyptian deities went back to 4000. B.C. and that some of the statues of Babylon could not be much more modern 1, to be told that in Babylon everything before the seventh century is nothing but constructive
1 Sayce, Hibbert Lectures, p. 33.
chronology, and that in Egypt all dates before 1000 B.C. are uncertain, was enough to rouse considerable indignation. Still one cannot help respecting the opinions of a man, who, besides being a classical scholar, has made himself master of Hebrew, and has not shrunk from studying Sanskrit, Zend, Hieroglyphics and Cuneiform Inscriptions, before he ventured on bis dangerous voyage of discovery. In spite of all drawbacks, I can strongly recommend his book as containing most useful information. I myself feel most grateful for it, for I am convinced that if my own system can resist so powerful and well delivered an attack as Professor Gruppe’s, it need fear no serious danger in future.
There is another advantage to be derived from the study of Professor Gruppe's work. If other writers tell us the best that can be said of religion, he tells us the worst. Most writers who are honest enough to point out the weak points of religion, and who do not shut their eyes to the infinite mischief that has been wrought in its name, always plead for its purification and reformation, not for its total abolition. They see the rubbish, but they also see the grains of gold even in the most degraded forms of religion. Not so Professor Gruppe. Looking on all religion as an outrage on human reason, he hopes that the time may come when religion will have clean vanished from the earth, and when the world will have become so perfect that no more perfect world could be imagined or desired. It is well that we should see ourselves as we are seen by others, and no one certainly has enabled us to do that better than Professor Gruppe.
We have now finished our historical survey of the most important definitions of religion, though I am well aware that there are others which would have deserved and would have repaid a careful examination. This survey has taken up much of our time, but the advantages which accrue from a careful definition of religion, and of all the words which we use in philosophical discussions, will be perceived again and again at every step of our inquiries.
Universality of Religion. Let us to-day take one instance only. No question has excited so much interest and has produced so much heat and passion as that of the universality of religion. Are there at present any human beings without religion, or does history tell us of any? You may read book after book on the subject, and you will ask how it is possible that on so simple a matter of fact there can be any difference of opinion. But not only is there difference of opinion, but there is flat contradiction. The same tribes who are described by some observers as deeply religious, are described by others as without an idea of anything supernatural. How is this to be accounted for?
Angle of Vision. Some allowance must, no doubt, be made for the angle of vision which varies in every observer. This does not necessarily arise from dishonesty, as is so
Strauss defines religion as a feeling for or touch with the Universe (Gefühl für das Universum); H. Lang as love of the Infinite; Daniel Thompson in his work on The Religious Sentiments of the IIuman Mind, 1888, as the aggregate of those sentiments in the human mind arising in connection with the relations assumed to subsist between the order of nature (inclusive of the observer) and a postulated supernatural.
often supposed, but simply from a weakness inherent in human nature. We all are inclined to see what we expect or wish to see, and if we see what we expect or wish to see, we are naturally less incredulous and less critical than if we see what we did not expect or did not wish for. We are all liable to this, and we have all to learn to be doubly incredulous when we meet with unexpected confirmations of our own favourite theories. I shall give you two illustrations only of what I mean, cases where men, famous for their honesty and their critical disposition, were completely deceived in what they saw and heard.
Darwin on Tierra del Fuego. One is the case of Darwin. We know how from his early youth his mind was dominated by the idea of evolution, and how his researches led him to look everywhere for evidence in support of that theory and for an explanation of its working. He wished to find men as low as animals, or, if possible, even on a slightly lower stage than that reached by some of the higher animals. When he visited the coasts of South America he thought he had found in the inhabitants of Tierra del Fuego what he was looking for, and he accordingly described these people as like the devils which come on the stage in such plays as the Freischütz. “Viewing such men,' he writes,
one can hardly believe that they are fellow-creatures, and inhabitants of the same world. Their language scarcely deserves to be called articulate. Captain Cook compared it to a man clearing his throat ; but certainly no European ever cleared his throat with
EXAMINATION OF DEFINITIONS.
so many hoarse, guttural, and clicking sounds. With regard to the physical features of these Fuegians also Darwin must either have been very unlucky in the specimens he met, or he must even then have used his own somewhat coloured Darwinian spectacles. Captain Snow speaks of exactly the same race, which Darwin describes as hideous devils, as really beautiful representatives of the human race, and Professor Virchow, who exhibited a number of natives from Tierra del Fuego at Berlin, protested warmly against the supposition that they were by nature an inferior race. But more than that. Their very language, which had been described by Captain Cook and by Darwin as worse than the noise of a man clearing his throat, has lately been studied by Giacomo Bovè, who describes it as sweet, pleasing, and full of vowels,' and who states that the number of words forming their dictionary amounts to 32,430. If we remember that Shakespeare could say all he wished to say-and who has poured out a greater wealth of thought and feeling than Shakespeare ?-with about 15,000 words, a race possessed of more than double that number of words can hardly be said to be below the level reached by some of the higher animals. I have quoted this case on several occasions, not in order to question Darwin's honesty, but simply to illustrate one cause of error to which all human observations are liable--a disposition to see what we expect and wish to see. Darwin was honest enough to confess his error, and that is more than can be said of many other observers. And I feel therefore all the more bound to state that there are some dialects spoken in Tierra del Fuego, such as the Alacalu or