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of benevolence, so that we may say that an approach to the high standard of character which appears in the Bible is here found. We do not say where this standard came from, but only state that it was here.
The two sides of the aboriginal religion are in great contrast. The Divine side is always advancing towards a better moral standing, and is full of good. But the human side is always retrograding into a very inhuman and gross superstition.
VI. The closing thought of this paper is the most important. Was there any historic connexion between the aboriginal religions of America and the teaching of the Bible ? On this point we will not give a decisive answer. There are evidences for and against the position. The common opinion or train of thought of American ethnologists is in favour of the autochthonous origin of everything which is native American. Yet there are many things which go to prove the contrary :
1. There are many symbols in America which aro analogous to those in the East; symbols which remind one at once of those mentioned in the Bible. (a) The cross or sacred Tau of Egypt is found in America. It assumed not one form, but many. (6) The serpent is a very common symbol, (c) The tree; this with the serpent reminds us of the Garden of Eden, and of the serpent and tree-worship so widely spread over the world. (d) The symbol of the ark. (e) The symbol of the cloven tongue reminds one of the confusion of tongues. (f) There are towers or pyramids around which traditions hang reminding one of the Tower of Babel.
2. There are customs in America which resemble the common customs recorded in the Bible. (a) Circumcision was practised. (6) There were baptisms and lustrations which remind us of the Scripture rites. (c) There were vestal virgins, and the custom of burying alive those who had violated the vow, reminding one of the custom which was common in Rome.
3. There are many traditions which remind us of those found in the Bible. (a) The tradition of the Creation. (6) The tradition of the Flood. (c) The tradition of the Dispersion of the race. (d) The tradition of the incest of Lot and his daughters, with the reproach upon the origin of the Moabites. These have their correlatives in the mythologies of America. We do not say that they are the same traditions, or that the American tribes derived their ideas from the Bible, or even from any one who was familiar with
the Bible. We only say that these events are recorded in the native traditions of America and in Bible history. The cosmogonies in America are generally local, or associated with local surroundings. The imagery is local, the deluge is also local. There are mountains which have traditions of the Deluge connected with them- American Ararats. But the persons saved were the ancestors of particular tribes. There are also “arks," but they are the big canoes " in which the “ medicine-man came over during the flood. There are traditions of the world being repeopled, but it is repeopled by the ancestors of particular tribes.
The truths which are embodied in the native traditions are very similar to those found in Bible history, proving, perhaps, some common origin long ago, but the imagery is in great contrast. One of the most remarkable coincidences which we have noticed is found in the Tale of Incest, which has just come to light as a tradition of the Navajoes. This story has been published in the American Antiquarian. The story is adapted to the Indian customs in its details, but the general purport of it and the reproach which was brought upon
the Utes as the fruits of the incest remind us of the reproach which the Jews brought upon the Moabites because of the incest of Loç. Dr. Washington Matthews, who has furnished me with a copy of the myth, says there is no doubt of its preColumbian or prehistoric character, and has referred to the remarkable resemblance which exists between it and the story in the Bible. The fashion is to explain away all these resemblances to Bible stories, but they seem to be accumulating more and more; and it is among the possibilities that byand-by the evidence will be so overwhelming that it will convince the most sceptical. For the present we only refer to the general resemblances and the correlation between the facts and truths found in the traditions of America, and those which are so marked in the Bible record, and leave others to decide whether these coincidences could be produced by any law of ethnic development, or by any other cause than that of an historic connexion.
THE PRESIDENT (Professor G. G. Stokes, M.A., D.C.L., P.R.S.).—I have to ask you to accord your thanks to the Author of the paper and also to Dr. Thornton, for having delighted us all by the manner in which he has kindly read it.
Rev. R. THORNTON, D.D., V.P.—I have read Mr. Peet's paper with very great satisfaction, because it is one which asserts most definitely, and proves most convincingly, the great truth that there was a primeval revelation given to our first parents and handed down more or less authoritatively
generally less to all the races of the earth. We hold that that revelation was given, in its perfect and written form, by Moses to the chosen people of God; but we are not, therefore, necessarily to suppose that other peoples and nations were entirely unaware of the existence or the attributes of God. On the contrary, the Great Father of all did not leave them without all knowledge; there was a tradition of some kind, and it is apparent that the remarkable traditions of these North American Indians were simply corruptions of that original revelation. I have said here before that I hold very firmly the doctrine that the primeval tradition was known to the ancestors of that race, and I hold this doctrine none the less firmly because the other day I saw, in a sceptical book which I looked into, the notion of the primeval tradition scouted as one which a sensible man would not entertain : now, when a sceptic, dealing with a proposition he is unable to refute, says
none but an idiot would hold it," that seems to me a very strong argument in favour of its not being capable of refutation. We have, I think, often had pointed out to us here, the wonderful coincidence there is between the recorded tradition, as we have it in the Scriptures, and the form in which the original tradition has been handed down to different peoples in different parts of the world. These are very important facts, and I cannot see how any person before whom they are put can resist the conclusion that there must have been a real reason for the similarity found to exist between superstitions and traditions, such as the author of this paper has dealt with, and our own record. In point of fact I think that with regard to these, and not only these but a number of coincident traditions, one can scarcely resist the conclusion that all the races of man sprang from one family, and from one pair, as recorded in the Mosaic Scriptures, and that they have all retained, in some form or other, that Revelation which the Creator of All originally delivered to them. (Applause.)
The Meeting was then adjourned.
ORDINARY MEETING, FEBRUARY 7, 1887.
PROFESSOR G. G. STOKES, M.A., D.C.L., P.R.S., PRESIDENT,
IN THE CHAIR.
The Minutes of the last Meeting were read and confirmed, and the following Elections were announced :
ASSOCIATES :—Rev. J. Hodgson, M.A., F.S.A., F.G.S., Stourbridge ; Rev. W. F. Stokes, M.A., Ireland.
The following Paper was then read by the Author :
ON THE BEAUTY OF NATURE.
By the Right Hon.
EDMUND LORD GRIMTHORPE, LL.D. Q.C. F.R.A.S.
AVING been asked to contribute a paper to your Trans
actions the one I wrote in 1884, entitled, “How did the World Make Itself?" and I find that I shall be repeating nothing that has been written since, if I extend the few remarks I then made respecting the beauty of nature as a general phenomenon, wholly unexplained by any of the spontaneous evolution theories; whether Darwin's, which started from a few unknown primary living creatures; or Mr. Spencer's, which starts still farther back with what he calls Persistent Force as the origin of all things; as to which I will only refer to my former paper, and the simultaneous Edinburgh Review of "Spencerian_philosophy” in January 1884: to neither of which have I seen any answer, except some insignificant verbal criticism, which signified that the writers could give no real answer.
When I say that the beauty of nature is wholly unaccounted for by those theories, and every materialistic theory, I use those words in the strictly scientific sense.
It is too often forgotten, and always suppressed or ignored by the writers of that school, that no scientific theory can be true which is clearly incapable of explaining all the phenomena which must have the same primary cause, though it appears to explain some, and even many, of them; and no theory of automatic cosmogony does even that. In my little S.P.C.K.
book on the so Origin of the Laws of Nature,” I noticed the very few phenomena of beauty in the world for which any evolutionary theory at all has been invented, and I will say a few words on them presently. If they were ten times as many as they are, and if the evolutionists' explanation of them were ten times more certain than it is, the automatic theory would be no more proved than it is, so long as any considerable number of phenomena obstinately stand out inexplicable by it. In every branch of real science-though apparently not in this sham science that pretends to go behind all others-that rule of reasoning is undisputed, and is recognised universally. Here are two well-known specimens of its recognition. The motions of Uranus, for some years after its discovery by Herschel, were so abnormal as to make some astronomers doubt whether the law of gravity was really as universal at all distances as had been supposed ever since its establishment, by Newton for all the solar system known to him. And if no cause consistent with the universality of that law had been discovered for the irregularity, that conclusion would have had to be adopted, by reason of that one obstinate exception. We know that a cause was afterwards discovered which confirmed the theory of the universality of the law of gravity instead of shaking it—«viz., the existence of a still inore distant and disturbing planet; but that does not affect the former proposition. Take a case the other way. The Newtonian or corpuscular theory of light, making it an emission of some physical particles or vapour, as smells are, accounted for all, or nearly all, the phenomena then known. Gradually some occurred which no doctoring of the emission theory would explain; and so by degrees the undulatory theory was established, which does explain them all.
It seems, however, that when we try to investigate the ultimate cause of all phenomena, we are at once ordered to accept a new form of logic and the dogmas of a new philosophy, that some cause which may serve to explain a few phenomena is therefore to be taken for granted as a sufficient explanation of them all, though it is clearly impossible for some of them. Take their favourite instance with reference to beauty. Bees frequent and fertilise some pretty-coloured flowers, though some of their favourite flowers are still the most colourless. Therefore we are to take for granted that the beauty of all flowers, both in form and colour, has been produced by insects admiring and frequenting them. Then for the next step in this new-fangled logic: flowers are vegetables; therefore, the beauty of all vegetables, up to the oak and the Wellingtonia gigantea and the big trees of Columbia,