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The jinns and demons of Semitic creeds received the sanction of the Hebrew and the Christian sacred canons, and were fully recognized by the Rabbinic teaching, which had so vast an influence on the Christian and Mohammedan faith ; and these jinns and demons have become firmly established as the Angels”—“the Messengers”—of the Arch-fiend.
The Titans and Rephaim, the fallen powers of heaven, furnished hierarchs for hell itself and even gave to it a monarch.
The fear engendered by superstition and ignorance : the belief in enchantment, magic, witchcraft, charms and spells: the practical fetishism which gives a spirit to every substance animate or inanimate, with power to fit from body to body,—the secret of demoniacal possession,-lie at the root of all these theories and systems, and have created and handed down all these co-operative and opposing spirits, without which the Devil himself would indeed be but a shadowy entity.
The Law of Evolution-Influence of Surrounding Circumstances
Evolution of Religious Ideals—Animism— Isolated SpiritsSubordination of Spirits—Subjugation of Conquered GodsDegradation of Overpowered Gods—The Golden Age-The Serpent-Earth Worship-Earth and Heaven combinedDegradation of the Earth Gods-Chaldean Generation of the Gods—Hebrew Religion — Fetishism — Slaughtering Gods-The Serpent and Magic — Solar Deities–Rectification of Standards of Morality_Surviving Religions-Survivals in Christianity—Theological Criticism—Some Degraded Deities, Bel, Zeus, Bôg, Loki, Set, Lucifer-Devas and Asuras.
THE fundamental religion of the great Turanian race, which in primeval times overspread the whole habitable world, was a system of animism, varying amongst different tribes and peoples, but exhibiting throughout a belief in all-pervading spiritual existences, which were related either to material bodies, or to physical phenomena, past or
phenomena, past or present. The mode in which this belief may have originated has been discussed in the preceding chapter : it is now proposed to examine how some of these spiritual beings first became elevated into deities, and how in course of time they were degraded, and became demons or devils.
This result is due to a process of evolution, the stages of which can be traced with a fair amount of certainty.
The law of evolution, although but recently recognized and defined, has taken its place amongst the firmly established dogmas of natural science ; in the universality of its application, it ranks with the law of gravitation : it may even claim a wider range, for, whereas gravitation only affects material bodies with a dull, though steady force, evolution has been continuously at work for untold ages, not only upon every material body, but also upon the mental and moral life of man. Not only every thing, but also every idea has had its pedigree, and each link in every pedigree involves some fact of evolution. Although like produces like, likeness never amounts to identity: as circumstances successively change, and change is never absent, so successive individuals change: no son is exactly like his father in mind or body, and the grandson will be still less like his ancestor. No result is spontaneous, every variation is the result of heredity of one kind or another, or of some outside influence : each living organism is perpetually under influences different from those which surrounded its parents, and their offspring is not only their child, but also the child of every surrounding circumstance. The man who changes his abode from town to country, from country to town, from an alluvial plain to a mountainous district, at once exposes his offspring to influences which tend to differentiation, and which bring about clearly discernible modifications in the physical system, modifications which, repeated from generation to generation, will become more and more pronounced and permanent.
Instead of a mere change from town to country life, or some other slight displacement, let us suppose a migration from one country to another, involving a change of climate, food, pursuits, and all other physical circumstances and relations, and we shall see the descendants of the emigrant developing characteristics which no parent or ancestor of theirs ever had, but which are really the offspring of the outside influences newly imported into the race, and which thereupon modify its nature in a manner never before experienced. Every child has three parents, the father, the mother, and the surrounding circumstances.
The Aryas, who invaded India from the north, were a race totally different in features and colour from the Turanian inhabitants of the country whom they conquered : the highest caste of the conquering race, the Brahmans, have always been hedged round by so many barriers against corruption of their blood, as to make it most improbable that they should have crossed their race with that of the dark skinned aborigines : and yet in the south of India, under
the tropical sun, there are Brahmans as black as Pariahs. The Sanskrit name for caste is" varna, colour : this shows that when caste was instituted, a distinction of colour was regarded as sufficient to indicate a distinction of race: but now colour is no longer a criterion, although other features of difference are quite sufficient to attest the distinction of races.' It is not to be supposed for a moment that the blackness of these Brahmans was inherited from any human ancestor, it is not at all probable, nor is it necessary to so conclude: it is a matter of constant observation, that the complexion of Europeans, whose blood certainly remains unmixed with that of the native Indians, after two or three generations of residence in India, will show unmistakeable signs of darkening, and at such a rate, as to make it highly probable that a hundred generations of progress
in the same direction, would find the skin completely black. Now the dark complexion, discernible in these black Brahmans, has been gradually but surely imposed upon their race by the climate and the physical circumstances in which they have been developed, and has become as much incorporated in their nature as any other characteristic passed on from father to son: so that it is impossible to lay down which of the attributes of body or mind are really
1 Max Müller's “ Chips,” ii. 322, 323.