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THE TEACHINGS OF THIS RITE. 203

inter-commingled, by the inter-commingling of blood, have been considered as forming, thenceforward, one blood, one life, one nature, one soul-in two organisms. The inter-commingling of natures by the inter-commingling of blood has been deemed possible between man and a lower organism; and between man and a higher organism,—even between man and Deity, actually or by symbol;-as well as between man and his immediate fellow.

The mode of inter-transference of blood, with all that this carries, has been deemed practicable, alike by way of the lips and by way of the opened and interflowing veins. It has been also represented by bloodbathing, by blood-anointing, and by blood-sprinkling ; or, again, by the inter-drinking of wine-which was formerly commingled with blood itself in the drinking. And the yielding of one's life by the yielding of one's blood has often been represented by the yielding of the blood of a chosen and a suitable substitute. Similarly the blood, or the nature, of divinities, has been represented, vicariously, in divine covenanting, by the blood of a devoted and an accepted substitute. Inter-communion between the parties in a blood-covenant, has been a recognized privilege, in conjunction with any and every observance of the rite of bloodcovenanting. And the body of the divinely accepted offering, the blood of which is a means of divine-hu

man inter-union, has been counted a very part of the divinity; and to partake of that body as food has been deemed equivalent to being nourished by the very divinity himself.

Blood, as life, has been looked upon as belonging, in the highest sense, to the Author of all life. The taking of life has been seen to be the prerogative of its Author; and only he who is duly empowered, for a season and for a reason, by that Author, for bloodtaking in any case, has been supposed to have the right to the temporary exercise of that prerogative. Even then, the blood, as the life, must be employed under the immediate direction and oversight of its Author. The heart of any living organism, as the bloodsource and the blood-fountain, has been recognized as the representative of its owner's highest personality, and as the diffuser of the issues of his life and nature.

A covenant of blood, a covenant made by the intercommingling of blood, has been recognized as the closest, the holiest, and the most indissoluble, compact conceivable. Such a covenant clearly involves an absolute surrender of one's separate self, and an irrevocable merging of one's individual nature into the dual, or the multiplied, personality included in the compact. Man's highest and noblest outreachings of soul have, therefore, been for such a union with the divine nature as is typified in this human covenant of blood.

ORIGIN OF RELIGIOUS SYMBOLS.

205

How it came to pass that men everywhere were so generally agreed on the main symbols of their religious yearnings and their religious hopes, in this realm of their aspirations, is a question which obviously admits of two possible answers. A common revelation from God may have been given to primitive man; and all these varying yet related indications of religious strivings and aim may be but the perverted remains of the lessons of that misused, or slighted, revelation. On the other hand, God may originally have implanted the germs of a common religious thought in the mind of man, and then have adapted his successive revelations to the outworking of those germs. Whichever view of the probable origin of these common symbolisms, all the world over, be adopted by any Christian student, the importance of the symbolisms themselves, in their relation to the truths of revelation, is manifestly the same.

On this point, Kurtz has said, forcefully: "A comparison of the religious symbols of the Old Testament with those of ancient heathendom shows that the ground and the starting point of those forms of religion which found their appropriate expressions in symbols, was the same in all cases; while the history of civilization proves that, on this point, priority cannot be claimed by the Israelites. But when instituting such an inquiry, we shall also find that the symbols

which were transferred from the religions of nature to that of the spirit, first passed through the fire of divine purification, from which they issued as the distinctive theology of the Jews; the dross of a pantheistic deification of nature having been consumed." And as

to even the grosser errors, and the more pitiable perversions of the right, in the use of these world-wide religious symbolisms, Kurtz says, again: "Every error, however dangerous, is based on some truth misunderstood, and . . every aberration, however grievous, has started from a desire after real good, which had not attained its goal, because the latter was sought neither in the right way, nor by right means." To recognize these truths concerning the outside religions of the world gives us an added fitness for the comparison of the symbolisms we have just been considering with the teachings of the sacred pages of revelation on the specific truths involved.

2

Proofs of the existence of this rite of blood-covenanting have been found among primitive peoples of all quarters of the globe; and its antiquity is carried back to a date long prior to the days of Abraham. All this outside of any indications of the rite in the text of the Bible itself. Are we not, then, in a position to turn intelligently to that text for fuller light on the subject? 1 Kurtz's History of the Old Covenant, I., 235. 2 Ibid., I., 268.

LECTURE III.

INDICATIONS OF THE RITE IN THE BIBLE.

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