Page:The History of the American Indians.djvu/130

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1 18 On the defcent of the American Indians from the Jews*

in his religious offerings, according to the circumftances of things ; the

Hebrew laid his hands 'on the head of the clean and tame victim, to load it with his fins, when it was to be killed. The Indian religi- oufly chufes that animal which in America comes nearefl to the divine law of facrifice, according to what God has enabled him -, he moots down .a buck, and facrifices either the whole carcafs, or fome choice part of it, upon a fire of green wood to burn away, and afcend to Toheivah. Then he purifies himfelf in water, and believes himfelf fecure from temporal evils. .Formerly, every hunter obferved the very fame religious ceconomy j but jiow it is practifed only by thofe who are the moft retentive of their old religious myfteries.

The Mufkohge Indians facrifice a piece of every deer they kill at their hunting camps, or near home ; if the latter, they dip their middle finger in the broth, and fprinkle it over the domeftic tombs of their dead, to keep them out of the power of evil fpirits, according to their mythology ; which feems to proceed from a traditional knowledge, though corruption of the Hebrew law of fprinkling and of blood.

The Indians obferve another religious cuftom of the Hebrews, in mak ing a PEACE-OFFERING, or facrifice of gratitude, if the Deity in the fuppofed holy ark is propitious to their campaign againft the enemy, and brings them all fafe home. If they have loft any in war, they always decline it, becaufe they imagine by fome neglect of duty, they are impure : then they only mourn their vicious conduct which defiled the ark, and thereby oc- cafioned the lofs. Like the Ifraelites, they believe their fins are the true caufe of all their evils, and that the divinity in their ark, will always blefs the more religious party with the beft fuccefs. This is their invariable fen- timent, and is the fole reafon of their mortifying themfelves in ib fevere a manner while they are out at war, living very fcantily, even in a buffalo- range, under a ftrict rule, left by luxury their hearts mould grow evil, and give them occafion to mourn. \

The common fort of Indians, in thefe corrupt times, only facrifice a

fmall piece of unfalted fat meat, when they are rejoicing in the divine pre-

fence, finging To To, &c. for their fuccefs and fafety : but, according to

the religious cuftom of the Hebrews 3 who offered facrifices of thankfgiving

i for

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