Page:The History of the American Indians.djvu/188

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176 On tie defcent of the American Indians from the Jews.

their fenfes may be lulled afleep or unfettled, which might otherwifc render them uncapable of receiving the fuppofed divine infpiration. And they endeavour to become thus pofieft before crowds of people with a furious rage, by many frantic and violent motions of body, and changes of pofture, till they have raifed it to the higheft pitch they are capable of, and then fall on the ground altnoft breathlefs -, when they recover them- felves a little, they give out their prophecies, which are deemed ora cular.

Laftantius and others tell us, that the Sibyls were pofieft of the like fury , and moft part of the ancients believed they ought to become furious, the members of the body to make, and the hairs of their head to Hand an end before they could be divinely infpired : which feems plainly to Ihew, that though the ancient heathens mimicked a great deal of the Mo- iaic law,' yet theirs had but a faint glance on the Hebrew manner of confuhing Yohewah ; whereas the Indian Americans invoke the true God, by his favourite eJSential name, in a bowing pofture, on every material occafion, whether civil, martial, or religious, contrary to the ufage of all the 'Old heathen world,

In the year 17 65/311 old phyfician, or prophet, almoft drunk with fpiritu- <ous liquors, came to pay me a friendly vifit : his fituation made him more communicative than he would have been if quite fober. When he came to the door, he bowed himfelf half bent, with his arms extended north and ibuth, continuing fo perhaps for the fpace of a minute. Then raifing him felf erect, with his arms in the fame pofition, he looked in a wild frightful manner, from the fouth-weil toward the north, and fung on a low bafs key To To To To, alrnoil a minute, then He He He He, for perhaps the fame fpace of time, and JVa Wa Wa Wa^ in like manner ; and then tran- pofed, and accented thofe facred notes feveral different ways, in a mod rapid guttural manner. Now and then he looked upwards, with his head confiderably bent backward j his fong continued about a quarter of an .hour. As my door which was then open flood eaft, his face of courfe looked toward the weft j but whether the natives thus ufually invoke the deity, I cannot determine , yet as all their winter houfes have their doors toward the eaft, had he ufed the like folemn invocations there, his face .would have confequently looked the fame way, contrary to the ufage of


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