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a perfectly confident belief that their intentions were really and ultimately good. The spirits of the streams and the sea which, under the treatment they received from other peoples, became pixies and water witches, revealed themselves to the Greek-because he was worthy of the revelation--as Oceanides, Naiads, Nereids, Nymphs. Even the Erinyes, dread powers of the Curse, yielded to his invincible friendliness, his persistent urbanity, and admitted in the end that he was in the right, their intentions had been kindly all along; they were, in fact, Eumenides, and only by inisconception Furies. "They were no longer merely blind and ' passionate avengers, but the executors of divine justice,
the guardians of domestic sanctity, bringing to those who 'worshipped them in spirit' and in truth a blessing and 'not a curse' (p. 245).
Thus the Greek in the practice of his religion, in his actual dealings with the supernatural, made a considerable, though unconscious, advance upon the simple Homeric faith that a god, if he will, has the power to save. It is by action as well as in reflexion that the ideal, which directs the conduct of a man or a nation, becomes increasingly more and more manifest. In the first stage of reflexion, the ideal swims into the ken, as a peak of Darien appeared to Cortes's men -as a, perhaps wild, surmise. The formula in which faith in the ideal first expresses itself in words may take the form of a hypothetical rather than a categorical statement. But in the stress of action, the cautious reserve of hypothetical statements or of a mere surmise cannot maintain itself. Acting on an hypothesis is giving a very substantial guarantee of your belief that it is something more than a mere hypothesis. The Greek showed by his action that he regarded the friendliness and trustworthiness of the Unseen as not merely hypothetical. But theory, as is usual, lagged behind practice; the first hypothetical statement of the Greek's faith was not converted into categorical and dogmatic form until it had been acted on for generations and for centuries. This further manifestation of the religious ideal, the conviction of the benevolence, or, if we may coin the word, the omnibenevolence of the Unseen, had to grow up slowly and silently in men's hearts, before it could be formulated explicitly in words, or be recognised as the principle on which they had really been acting all the time. It might, indeed, never have secured formal recognition from the Greek mind had it not, while yet nothing more than a silent implicit conviction, come into
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collision with a conclusion deduced from the same early article of faith as itself.
The Greek, as we have seen, banished evil spirits from the domain of practical religion : he declined to recognise them as factors, either in the physical world or in his spiritual life. The logical result--and the Greek, being eminently logical, eventually reached it—was to leave the gods and man to divide between them the responsibility for everything that happens in the world. The steps by which this conclusion was reached are interesting. Savages, and some civilised men, find in demons a simple and satisfactory cause of all man's woes; there is practical unanimity among them in ascribing disease and death to the action of evil spirits. From this explanation the Greek had cut himself off by ruling evil spirits out, and acting on the principle that all the Unseen powers are good-are gods. The gods had, therefore, to take over the functions which, in other religions, are discharged by evil spirits : Apollo and Artemis sent death and disease on men and on women. They were none the less popular deities, none the less beloved. But every great calamity also had to be ascribed to the gods, for as to their omnipotence there was no doubt: a god has power to save, and to destroy. As to their benevolence, in a general way, there was no doubt either. But their occasional malignity, due to jealousy, was an explanation of undeserved calamity, so obvious, so easily apprehended, and
compatible with a full recognition of their usual benevolence, that it satisfied the mind without offending, as yet, the religious consciousness of the people.
It so happened, however, that by the time the doctrine of malignity took shape, the conviction that the goodness of God is never failing had gathered sufficient strength in religious minds to make the theory of occasional malignity untenable. Already, even in the popular religion of Herodotus's time, the very facts which were supposed to support the theory of malignity were seen, on further reflexion, to tell against it. The envy, Phthonos, of the gods was seen to be really Nemesis, or retribution. The fate of Crosus, on whom a great Nemesis came, because he thought him
self the happiest of men,' was seen to point, not to the danger of prosperity, but to the sinfulness of pride. It is seemly for a man to walk humbly with his God.' This aspect of the religious ideal was revealed still more clearly to Æschylus. Xerxes, whose overthrow was ascribed by the popular traditions preserved in Herodotus to the action of a
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spiteful god, was seen by Æschylus to have brought his fate upon himself because he trusted in his own might. In Sophocles the religious ideal, the divine union of omnipo'tence and benevolence, the conviction that the gods have always the will, as well as the power, to offer salvation, takes still clearer shape and a yet richer content. The theory of Nemesis accounted for the sufferings of the proud and the impious, but not for the sufferings of the innocent. To reconcile those sufferings with the now strong faith in the divine benevolence called for profounder reflexion, and resulted, in Sophocles, in an approach to the doctrine (which the Hebrews learned in their captivity, of the
blessedness of sorrow. Edipus is ruined in this world, but having suffered here for his unconscious crimes, he is accepted of the gods, and after his death becomes a spi
ritual power' (p.281). Thus it became possible, in the end, for Plato to lay it down as a definite theological dogma that whatever sufferings the gods may send on man are expressions of the divine benevolence acting for the good of man. In this dogma Plato was but formulating the faith in wbich Socrates met his death, and that conviction of the essential friendliness of the Unseen, which had-rightly or wronglyanimated, even from pre-historic times, the whole Hellenic race in its dealings with the supernatural.
We have sketched roughly the developement in Greek literature of one aspect of the religious ideal. It was a process of evolution in the sense that it was a developement of the potential into the actual, of the implicit into the explicit, of faith into dogma, of conditional belief (if the * gods are benevolent') into conviction ( the divine benevo
lence never fails). But there are many other aspects of the religious ideal presented in Greek literature. One is the impossibility-exemplified in the transition from the idea of divine envy to the ideal of divine justice, Nemesis-of separating religion from morality. Here, too, the evolution of Greek religion consisted in the developement of a tendency present in it from the beginning, and not in the accretion of elements foreign to it. It is a common but, we must maintain, an ill-sustained assumption in the science of religion, that religion and morality have different sources, start by running in different streams, and meet to flow in the same channel, either late or it may be never. As regards savages, the fact is that initiation ceremonies are commonly the occasion for instructing the neophyte in the principles of right behaviour, and that the tribal god is
f Greek religion it from the best.
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the guardian of the tribal morality. As regards the Greeks, the connexion between morality and religion exists in the earliest age of Greek literature, and in each succeeding stage becomes the subject of more profound and intimate conviction. In Homer the connexion is implicit rather than explicit; a matter of feeling rather than of formulated faith. But already in the “Iliad' «the supreme god is ' revered by those who pray to him as supporting the just 'cause' (p. 72): in the combat between Paris and Menelaus, the Achæans pray that the wrongdoer may fall, and the treachery of Pandarus was greeted as a guarantee that the gods would punish it by giving the Achæans the victory over their treacherous enemies. As for the Odyssey,' the • triumph of Odysseus single-handed, with the aid of Athena, • is the triumph of justice over la wliss insolence. What the poet of the Odyssey 'felt and implied finds direct expression in the words of Hesiod : • Zeus has a virgin daughter, 'Justice, revered by the Olympian gods. When any does ‘ber wrong, she sits by her father Zeus, and tells of it.' With further experience of life, Greek literature attains to a yet clearer conviction of the righteousness of God; Archilochus puts it thus: “O father Zeus, thou rulest the sky,
thou seest what is done, whether villainous or righteous, amongst men, thou carest for the insolence and right conduct even of the lower animals. Herodotus felt no doubt that the bond of society, custom and the law of the State, was of divine sanction. But it is Sophocles who calls forth the religious consciousness to bear witness from its depths to the existence of the Unwritten Laws of God, which every man may read in his own heart, which are made by no man, but are revealed to all and endure from everlasting to everlasting. In later times it was said of the Greeks, * They show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness therewith,'
The refusal of the Greek reason to tolerate the existence of evil spirits had, as one of its results, to leave the gods and man to divide between them the responsibility for everything that happens. The popular superstition of the malignity of the deity was in effect an attempt to divide that responsibility unfairly, and to charge the gods with what was not their doing. The superstition was found, however, to be repugnant to the Greek faith in the friendliness of the Unseen; and the conflict between the two currents of thought led to a further developement of the religious ideal, by bringing into clear consciousness the essential justice and righteousness, as well as the benevolence, of the Unseen. There were, however, other tendencies in the general movement of the religious thought of the time which contributed to this result, and which deserve fuller attention than can be given to them here.
The adjustment of responsibility as between the gods and man, even to the extent effected by the theory of retribution or Nemesis, would have been impossible, had there not been a growing conviction that wrongdoing is an offence not only against man but against the gods, not only against morality but against the religious consciousness. The unfolding of this conviction again was a process of evolution, the rendering explicit of what was potentially present from the beginning, the realisation of a tendency which manifested itself in Homer. In the “Iliad' we have the remorse of Helen and her bitter self-reproaches, and the conscience which makes cowards of us all in the meeting of Paris with Menelaus. The feeling of blood-guiltiness, as it goes back to times long before Homer, so it continued long after his time, finding its expiation in the forms of purification associated with the Delphian worship of Apollo. In the sixth century B.c. the sense of pollution requiring purgation was extended far beyond the particular case of bloodguiltiness. The rapid growth and wide distribution of 'mysteries,' both public and private, is testimony to the fact that the sense of sin was present, in distinct consciousness, to the Greek spirit. It is alleged that the purification was merely ceremonial, and the atonement, consequently, merely formal. If this be so—and, in the absence of evidence as to the exact nature of the experience undergone by the mystä, it is hard to know whether it is so or not-it is sufficient, and it is important, for the historian of religion to note the manifestation, in the religious consciousness of the Greeks, of a need for atonement, and the failure of the Greek spirit to discover a means of permanently satisfying that need.
That adjustment of responsibility, as between the gods and man, which was necessary for the peace of mind of a race so logical and clear-thinking as the Greeks, required the co-operation of another tendency, which was developed by some religions further than, by others not so far as, by the Greek--the tendency to believe in a future life. The punishment in the next world of wrongdoers in this was not absolutely unknown to Homer; but it is not until the sixth century that we find the doctrine of future punish