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amounts to 3000. The 'Sacrament of the Holy Food' is celebrated three times a day."1
Thus it is evident that the idea of inter-communion with the gods has not been lost sight of in India, even through the influence of Brahmanism and Booddhism against the idea of divine-human inter-union by blood— which is life. Indeed, this idea so pervades the religious thought of the Hindoos, that the commands are specific in their sacred books, that a portion of all food must be offered to the spirits, before any of it is partaken of by the eater. "It is emphatically declared that he who partakes of food before it has been offered in sacrifice as above described, eats but to his own damnation;"" unless he discerns there the principle of divine-human inter-communion, he eats to his own spiritual destruction.3
And just here it is well to notice an incidental item of evidence that in India, as in the other lands of the East, the sacrifices to the gods were in some way linked with the primitive rite of human covenanting by blood. An Oriental scholar has called attention to the origin of the nose-ring, so commonly worn in India, as described in the Hindoo Paga-Vatham. The story runs, that at the incarnation of Vishnoo as
1" The Hindu Pantheon," in Birdwood's Indian Arts, p. 76 f.
2 Ibid., p. 42.
* See Roberts's Oriental Illus. of Scriptures, pp. 484–489.
SYMBOLISM OF THE NOSE-RING.
Krishna, the holy child's life was sought, and his mother exchanged her infant for the child of another woman, in order to his protection. In doing so, she "bored a hole in the nose of her infant, and put a ring into it as an impediment and a sign. The blood which came from the wound was as a sacrifice to prevent him from falling into the hand of his enemies." And, to this day, the nose-ring has two names, indicative of its two-fold purpose. "The first [name] is nate-kaddan, which signifies the obligation or debt a person is under by a vow'; the second [name] is mooka-taddi, literally nose-impediment or hindrance,' that is, to sickness or death." The child's blood is given in covenant obligation to the gods, and the nose-ring is the token of the covenant-obligation, and a pledge of protected life. When a Hindoo youth who has worn a nose-ring would remove it, on the occasion of his marriage, he must do so with formal ceremonies at the temple, and by the use of a liquid "which represents blood," composed of saffron,1 of lime, and of water. A young tree must also be planted in connection with this ceremony, as in the ceremony of blood-covenanting in some portions of the East.2 These symbolisms can hardly fail to be recognized as based on the universal primitive rite of blood-covenanting.3
The very earliest records of Babylon and Assyria,
1See page 77, supra. See page 53, supra. See also page 194 ff., infra.
indicate the outreaching of man for an inter-union with God, or with the gods, by substitute blood, and the confident inter-communion of man with God, or with the gods, on the strength of this inter-union by blood. There is an Akkadian poem which clearly "goes back to pre-Semitic times," with its later Assyrian translation, concerning the sacrifice, to the gods, of a first-born son. It says distinctly: "His offspring for his life he gave." Here is obviously the idea of vicarious substitution, of life for life, of the blood of the son for the blood of the father, but this substitution does not necessarily involve the idea of an expiatory offering for sin; even though it does include the idea of propitiation. Abraham's surrender of his first-born son to God was in proof of his loving trust, not of his sense of a penalty due for sin. Jephthah's surrender of his daughter was on a vow of devotedness, not as an exhibit of remorse, or of penitence, for unexpiated guilt. In each instance, the outpouring of substitute blood was in evidence of a desire to be in new covenant oneness with God. Thus Queen Manenko and Dr. Livingstone made a covenant of blood vicariously, by the substitution of her husband on the one part, and of an attendant of Livingstone, on the other part. So also the Akkadian king may have sought
1 See Sayce's paper, in Trans. Soc. Bib. Arch., Vol. I., Part 1, pp. 25-31. 2 See page 13 f., supra.
A TABLE OF COMMUNION.
a covenant union with his god-from whom sin had separated him-by the substitute blood of his firstborn and best loved son.
Certain it is, that the early kings of Babylon and Assyria were accustomed to make their grateful offerings to the gods, and to share those offerings with the gods, by way of inter-communion with the gods, apart from any sense of sin and of its merited punishment which they may have felt.1 Indeed, it is claimed, with a show of reason, that the very word (surqinu) which was used for "altar" in the Assyrian, was primarily the word for "table"; that, in fact, what was later known as the "altar" to the gods, was originally the table of communion between the gods and their worshipers. There seems to be a reference to this idea in the interchanged use of the words "altar" and "table" by the Prophet Malachi: "And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name? Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar. And ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the Lord is contemptible." So again, in Isaiah
1" Whether he has overcome his enemies or the wild beasts, he pours out a libation from the sacred cup," says Layard (Nineveh and its Remains, Vol. II., chap. 7) concerning the old-time King of Nineveh.
2 See H. Fox Talbot's paper, in Trans. Soc. Bib. Arch., Vol, IV, Part 1, p. 58 f.
3 Mal. 1: 6, 7. See also Isa. 65: 11.
65 11: "But ye that forsake the Lord, that forget my holy mountain, that prepare a table for Fortune, and that fill up mingled wine unto Destiny; I will destine you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter."
See, in this connection, the Assyrian inscription of Esarhaddon, the son of Sennacherib,' in description of his great palace at Nineveh: "I filled with beauties the great palace of my empire, and I called it 'The Palace which Rivals the World.' Ashur, Ishtar of Nineveh, and the gods of Assyria, all of them, I feasted within it. Victims precious and beautiful I sacrificed before them, and I caused them to receive my gifts. I did for those gods whatever they wished."2 It is even claimed by Assyrian scholars, that in this inter-communion with the gods, worshipers might partake of the flesh of animals which was forbidden to them at all other times3-as among the Brahmans of India. to-day.
In farther illustration of the truth that inter-communion with the gods was shown in partaking of sacred food with the gods, H. Fox Talbot, the Assyriologist, says of the ancient Assyrian inscription :
1 2 Kings 19: 37; Ezra 4: 2; Isa. 37: 38. See also 1 Cor. 10: 21.
Rec. of Past. III., 122 f.
3 Savce's Anc. Emp. of East, p. 201; also, W. Robertson Smith's Old Test. in Jew. Ch., notes on Lect. xii.