Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/458

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42 2 Lord Avebury on Marriage,

spirits and other minor beings receive both sacrifice and prayer. My book is full of evidence to this effect, and so is Primitive Culture. " Mr. Lang's theory seems most improb- able," says Lord Avebury, "and can only be supported by the strongest evidence for the facts" (p. i6o). The evidence is good enough for Mr. Tylor, and, if it is not good enough for Lord Avebury, he must criticise the testimony in each case. He says that there is contradiction and inconsistency in the statement that men " believe in a supernatural being but make no attempt to secure his protection and assistance." This is exactly the attitude of a Samoyede quoted by Mr. Abercromby, — " I cannot approach Num, he is too faraway ; if I could reach him I should not beseech thee" (a spirit to whom he is praying), " but should go myself, but I cannot." *^

One main object of my Making of Religion was to show how very common in savage religion is this attitude, — how often we meet the highest, — may I say " god " ? — who is not addressed in prayer. The importance of a religious concep- tion so strange to the European mind is very great, and, as far as I am aware, (except by Mr. Tylor in Primitive Culture), the point had been universally neglected. But new examples of this creed keep pouring in from every quarter, and it is becoming impossible to ignore the evidence.

I am glad to take this opportunity of sheltering myself behind the tower-like shield of the Telemonian Aias, the author of Primitive Culture. My sole difference from him is inability to see that " the Supreme " of many savage religions is "animistic," is spiritual; and in my opinion, (which I think he would not contest), the Theory of Borrow- ing in many cases is ineffectual, — in others there has certainly been borrowing.

Manifestly this controversy is caused, to a great extent, by the variety of definitions of words like "god," "worship," " religion," " creator," and so on. Thus Lord Avebury

  • ^ Tht Pre- and Prbto-historic Finns, vol. i., p. 153.