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to expiate his crime by washing his hands. 'In these offices the water of the sea was preferred to that of the river, and the water of the river to that which was stagnant. But no sacrifice was to accompany the lustration, no penance was to be endured, and no penitence was required. The only punishment of sin was to consist in the slight trouble of the ablution ; and the exclamation of the poet which condemned the easy and unconditional repentance, was poignant as a satire, and rational as a rebuke *.
Through all heathen antiquity these expiations by water prevailed. There is no reason to suppose they were considered as, in any respect, emblematic or typical. They were in themselves perfect, not allusive. The conscience of the sinner and the wrath of the gods were equally to be appeased by the facile purification ; and guilt was spared the more troublesome atonement of repentance and reformation, by the performance of a ceremony, to which ignorance and superstition only could attribute an expiatory influence.
To these lustrations others were added which employed the efficacy of sulphur, of fire, and of air. The last was accomplished by a gentle agitation of the atmosphere round the object to be puri
* Ah! nimium faciles qui tristia crimina cædis
Ovid. Fast. lib. ii. , Achilles was purified by ablution after the murder of the king of the Leleges. Athen. lib. ii. c. 6. And Eneas would not even take charge of his household gods until he bad laved his hands in the stream, after his last combats amid the ruins of Troy.
Tu, genitor, cape sacra manu, patriosque Penates.
Æn. lib. ii. 717.
fied; and all were in constant use, both on occasions of public crime and of private delinquency *. To the slave only they were forbidden. Cities, armies, territories, as well as individuals, were to be purged from their defilements by the admitted efficacy of these uncostly purifications ; but, here also, as the mode was prescribed by the priest with minute and punctilious accuracy, the slightest deviation from the appointed rule, was sufficient to vitiate the whole ceremony, and, consequently, to avert the mercy of the gods. • To these modes of purification were added others equally absurd †; and it would appear from the whole system, that men had hitherto formed no rational conception of the nature of expiatory atonement; that the most insignificant observances, and the most ludicrous forms, were sufficient to satisfy celestial wrath ; and that whole communities were taught to bring down upon themselves the absolving mercies of their deities, far less by the integrity of their councils, than by ceremonies and oblations which cost them nothing, not even an aspiration of piety, or a sentiment of justice.
In this respect, then, the religion of the Roman and the Greek affords no evidence of the legislative wisdom of its founders. There was nothing to improve the heart, much to pervert. He who might avert the punishment of crime by a worthless oblation, was not likely to be impressed with a deep sense of the enormity of sin, or the necessity of reformation. The gods who were to be appeased by ceremonies of no service to piety and virtue, could not be considered as very averse from the crime which they forgave. If a sense of celestial mercy might be indulged, there was no ground for connecting the mercy with the justice and purity of the divine character. The sin for which pardon was sought, might be, at once, redeemed and retained. The hope of a ready absolution was to diminish the fear of an equitable punishment; and the guilt which was expiated was not to be repressed, but encouraged, by the nature of the expiation.
* For the use of sulphur, fire, and water, in purification, see Ovid. Metamorph. vii. 2. Pliny, lib. xxxv. c. 15. Juvenal, Sat. ii. 157
† Aristoph. In Ran. 74, 5. Schol. Euripid. Iphigen. In Taur. *193. Plutarch. In Marcell. Of the modes not here enumerated, the expiation by scattering the ashes of a calf which had been killed in the belly of its mother, was peculiarly cfficacious, and might absolve the crime not merely of offending individuals, but guilty nations. Dionys. Halicarnass. lib. v.
Erpiations of the Hindus - Sacrifice adapted to the temper of the god to be appeased-Cow dung and cusa grass-Draughts of water, sprinkling of the hands, partial or general ablution-- Observances at the hour of death.Penance and pilgrimage-Minute forms essential to the efficacy of the expiation and atonement — The four redeeming probations of the Yogee – The ransoms by bribes, by fasts, by a repetition of holy texts, by swallowing the four things produced by a cow, by paying the price set upon crimes -- Extrategance and mischief of these doctrines.
THE Hindus, like all other people, have uniformly admitted the necessity of some atonement for sin. However imperfect might have been their notions of the divine nature, they were persuaded that guilt would be punished by the wrath, or by the justice, of their deities; and they were, therefore, solicitous to discover some modes of purification or of sacrifice, by which their guilt might be removed, and the gods propitiated. Among the conflicting tenets of truth and falsehood contained in their religion, they could yet discover enough to admonish them of the danger of transgression; and the trials of transmigration which, according to their creed, were to be exactly proportioned to the magnitude of their offences, were sufficiently disclosed to awaken their fears, and to urge them to apply the healing remedies of expiation recommended by their priests. Among these, indisputably, were enumerated penitence and reformation of life; and many beautiful maxims are scattered through their holy books, to instruct them that the sinner must conciliate pardon by tears shed for the errors of the past, and by salutary resolutions of future amendment. But this lesson, so wise and useful, was encumbered' by auxiliary doctrines of easy atonement Superstitious tenets were prodigally mingled with useful precepts. There was a light which might have afforded some guidance to the wanderer on his way, but there were also clouds by which he was encompassed, and which almost wholly intercepted and absorbed the beam. The essential principle was forgotten, and the worthless, and, frequently, the corrupting form was invested, in its place, with expiatory and redeeming efficacy.
All the Hindu gods required sacrifices and offerings of expiation; and the offerings and sacrifices varied, according to the predominant temper or vices of the gods to be appeased. To the deities of a more gentle and gracious character were tendered the oblations of fruits and flowers; to those, and they were the most numerous, whose cruelty and ferocity alarmed the fears of their votaries, was offered the blood of the brute and the human victim. The mild Ganasa demanded the perfume of fragrant blossoms, and the sprinkling of odoriferous oils. The black and savage Cali, the goddess with the collar of golden skulls, delighted in oblations of a different character, and was to be appeased but in proportion to the sanguinary oblations which were laid upon her altar*.
* Matta especially delighted in human sufferings. She might not have required the life-blood of her votary, but she demanded from him a ransom not less hideous. He might approach her altars in vain with fruits and flowers, and the choicest of his flocks; but to tear out his tongue, and lay it bleeding on her shrine, was certain to conciliate the favour of the goddess. She, indeed, was ready to heal the wound; and, frequently, a new tongue, germinating from the roots of the old, restored to the exulting fanatic the power of