Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/364

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

354 The Religious Basis of Social Union.

it, for the fathers' graves and the rights of ancestors to honours and offerings, for the tribal welfare, which depended wholly on these conventions. The new Tyrant tried to be all things to all men ; he loved the slaves and the amorphous masses of urban settlers in search of a patron. Usually a noble — for the 'people' have always distrusted delegates from their own class — he was a traitor and a renegade to his order. He had given up his religion and his tabus to eat with loathly outcasts, with publicans and sinners, with sudras and chandalas. He was pursued by the nobles with a deathless hate.

7. Yet this irreligious and secularist government won the day. In default of a common creed the Monarch himself became the focus of worship. From Alexander to the last deified emperor of Rome the prceseus deus was the human king, — charged or ' anointed above his fellows ' with divine inana. Overthrowing all religious ideas and restrictions, he became himself the sole religion. The fearful carnage among the Caesars from Severus H. to Diocletian (235-285) did not seem to disturb the conviction — or was it only a convenient legal fiction ? — that the purple conferred divinity and unlimited power beyond the wildest dreams of the African fetish -worshipper. So inseparable is religion from state-craft. The Socialist must somehow divinize society, Comte, the cosmopolitan, has to offer humanity as the object of a genuine ciilttis, and the Pre- sident of the Board of Education must speak of 'sacred citizenship,' which he dare not call patriotism (Nov. 23,


8. Meantime there entered with the Christian faith a new religious sanction — at least new in the western world. For the first time there was a Hierarchy, united and unsecu- larized by celibacy in the days of its highest power. It will be seen that they claimed the old right of the Elder Brethren, to nominate and invest, to control and guide, the monarch for the time being. They certainly favoured