Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 14.djvu/32

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

spoken, all exclaim, "The Spirit speaketh true." All which facts make comprehensible that assumption of θεὸς as a title by ancient kings in the East which is to moderns so astonishing.

Descent of this name of honor into ordinary intercourse, though not common, does sometimes occur. After what has been said above, it will not appear strange that it should be applied to deceased persons; as, according to Motolinia, it was by the ancient Mexicans, who "called any of their dead teotl so and so—i. e., this or that god, this or that saint." And prepared by such an instance we shall understand the better its occasional use as a greeting between the living. Colonel Yule says of the Kasias, "The salutation at meeting is singular—'Kublé! O God!' "

 

The connection between "God" as a title and "Father" as a title becomes clear only on going back to those early forms of conception and language in which the two are undifferentiated. The fact that, even in so developed a language as Sanskrit, words which mean "making," "fabricating," "begetting," or "generating," are indiscriminately used for the same purpose, suggests how naturally in the primitive mind the living father, as begetter or visible causer of new beings, becoming at death a causer of new beings who is no longer visible, is associated in word and thought with dead and invisible causers at large, who, some of them acquiring preëminence, come to be regarded as causers in general—makers or creators. When Sir Rutherford Alcock remarks that "a spurious mixture of the theocratic and patriarchal elements forms the bases of all government, both in the Celestial and the Japanese Empires, under emperors who claim not only to be each the patriarch and father of his people, but also divine descent," he adds one to the many misinterpretations produced by descending from our high conceptions, instead of ascending from the low conceptions of the primitive man. For what he thinks a "spurious mixture" of ideas is, in fact, a normal union of ideas; which, in the cases named, has persisted longer than commonly happens in developed societies.

The Zulus show us this union very clearly. They have traditions of Unkulunkulu (literally, the old, old one), "who was the first man," "who came into being and begat man," "who gave origin to man and everything besides" (including the sun, moon, and heavens), and who is inferred to have been a black man because all his descendants are black. The original Unkulunkulu is not worshiped by them because he is supposed to be permanently dead; but instead of him the Unkulunkulus of the various tribes into which his descendants have divided are severally worshiped, and severally called "Father." Here, then, the ideas of a Creator and a Father are directly connected. Equally specific, or even more specific, are the kindred ideas conveyed in the answers which the ancient Nicaraguans gave to the question, "Who made heaven and earth?" After their first answers, "Tamagastad and Çipat-