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III: Fear

Fear is secondary to hope, if equally fundamental in religion; its true function being to induce a needful caution, though in its craven form it is an enemy to strenuous living. Black magic illustrates this bad side; whereas its good side appears in those disciplinary terrorisms which religion employs in connexion with punishment, whether hereafter or on this earth, or again, with the educational system both at puberty and in later life. Thus fear, giving rise, as it does, to quasi-positive attitudes such as purity and humility, exerts a chastening force directly helpful to the good life.

IN the last lecture we saw how hope marks the positive, or forward, pole of the directional energy manifested in our conscious life, and how therefore its function in religion, which in its emotional aspect is simply intensified life-feeling, is correspondingly universal and supreme. There also exists, however, both in conscious experience as a whole, and in the special form that it assumes under the stimulating influence of religion, a negative pole, which is marked by fear. Thus the function of fear is in its way no less universal or supreme than that of hope; though, even so, hope is of superior importance, since ultimately we fear because we hope, and not vice versa. This priority in respect to value comes out even more clearly as we ascend the scale that leads from instinct up to reason. The brute, having but the dimmest appreciation of ends, moves on mainly because nature steadily applies the lash of fear to its hind-quarters. The man, on the other hand, being more intelligent, gazes on the whole to his front in pursuit of a good which, however fleeting and elusive in reality, at least displays a substantive appearance. By comparison, then, the evil at his back seems shadowy, since at most he but glances at it over his shoulder. From nothingness to something-ness—such is the meaning of the life-process to a man in proportion as he lives purposively. Only a pessimist could afford to dwell on the thought of the reverse step from somethingness to nothingness; and the pessimist is not among those who shall inherit the earth.

Fears, however, are not all of one type, though undoubtedly they are of one parentage, the father and mother of all fears being, biologically speaking, the fear of death. Nevertheless, the specific difference is great between the two main kinds of fear—the kind that is craven and the kind that is simply cautious. The one forces a man to run away blindly from the danger, the other induces him to try to baffle it by putting forth his cunning. Thus, whereas craven fear stands for bare negation, cautious fear is quasi-positive in its bearing on human activity. The former paralyses, the latter instructs. Now there may be good biological excuse for a paralytic attitude on the part of a low organism deficient in mobility or in the power of counter-attack. The only chance in such a case is to avoid detection by lying low. To the animal capable of fighting for its life, however, not to do so is atavistic, a disloyalty to the breed—unless indeed the race as a whole is engaged on the perilous task of organic retrogression. Now man, with his excellent brain and his skilful hands supplemented by all sorts of handy tools, is certainly not anxious to abdicate his present dominance. He will not take to the downward path, if he can help it. Indeed, very few, if any, of our descendants would succeed in getting back to the trees. Hence in the eyes of the anthropologist who tries to look at human life in its full perspective, and can make but scant allowance for exceptional circumstances and temporary conditions, passivity is a policy of the feebleminded—a stage on the road to extinction. There are in odd corners of the world little fading groups of mild savages who, at any rate as viewed through the telescope of a philosopher such as Herbert Spencer, appear quite blameless, although in a strictly negative way. They do nothing wrong, and very little else; and, in the meantime, they are disappearing rapidly. Herbert Spencer indeed is wont to contrast them, by no means to their disadvantage, with those stirring societies, whether militaristic or industrial, which will soon have hustled these amiable if anaemic quietists from off the face of the earth. Now as a man he might deplore their fate, but as the philosopher who was the first to inscribe the word ‘Evolution’ on his banner he was bound to recognize that such a fate was inevitable. If they had been more active, not to say aggressive, in their habits, they would indubitably have improved their chance of survival. It might perhaps be fanciful to credit these laggard folk in general with a fear of life; but their sad example can be cited here as at any rate illustrative of the fact that, for the members of our stock, to be merely content to keep out of harm’s way is of no use, since the harm will surely search out their hiding-place in the end. To judge by its known history, our species owes its prosperity and very existence far more to its positive than to its negative virtues; and, of all the positive virtues, courage is by right of its achievements champion.

Courage, however, it must not be forgotten, can be of the physical, the moral, or the intellectual variety; and it is rare that three such signal perfections should meet in the same man. Our modern world worships physical courage, and offers homage of a more distant kind to moral courage; but on the whole it may be said to pay little heed to intellectual courage, which in the form of a forward-reaching, positive readiness to grapple with the unknown is perhaps chiefly responsible for man’s conquest over the rest of nature. To tackle fire, to go to sea on a log, to ride the wild horse, to fly the Atlantic—these are feats of imagination even more than they are feats of nerve or of patience. The true hero is something of a seer. He is brave to recklessness because he pursues a vision. He puts his trust in an idea which suggests, though by the nature of the case it cannot express, a something good to be gained by closing with the unknown. The hero is just as much of a positivist as the man who says that seeing is believing; only he converts the proposition and holds that believing is seeing ahead.

To apply these considerations to the subject of primitive religion, let us go back to our original assumption that all religion is concerned with living in its fundamental character of a life-and-death struggle. There can be no arguing about the direction; it is given by these cardinal points, life forward, death behind. So too hope and fear, among our emotional promptings, indicate these two main terminals, the positive and the negative, of the force—the potential—that moves and has its being in us. Whichever way we look from our standpoint of the unstable present, the far end is enveloped with the darkness of the unknown. But the horror of the great darkness, for the normal human being, has reference only to the rearward side—the side of death. He shudders at the prospect of such blank nothingness; whereas, though the something that lurks in the other unknown may be anything, he welcomes it as at least holding out to him the promise of more being. Rather than die, he will take life gratefully as it comes. Moreover, so far as we are entitled to speak of a race-consciousness, we have good reason to attribute to it precisely the same sanguine disposition towards the future. No man, no body of men, really fears to live; but they may easily fail to hope and strive enough. All have a certain liking of the road with its one-way traffic; but many are nervous or slumber at the steering-wheel, and these crash.

Now, whereas I am prepared to submit that fear of the craven type cannot enter into religion at all by reason of its essential hopefulness of outlook, I would like to illustrate the effects of such a fear from religion’s disreputable counterpart, namely black magic or sorcery. The sorcerer, though with a different end in view, gets to work on much the same raw material as does the priest. Both of them deal with human nature and, as far as the emotions go, with complexes of these that show the strongest family likeness. Both stir the soul by playing on the life-and-death motif; but, whereas the priest seeks to intensify the life-feeling, the sorcerer’s object is to intensify the death-feeling. Which of the two operates with the more conspicuous success in savage society it is hard to say; for some brands of killing magic would seem to be remarkably sure in their results. Thus Dr. Roth was so impressed by what he saw in Queensland of the complete inhibition of the will to live induced in his native patients by the thought of being under a spell that he coined the word thanatomania in order to do justice to this suicidal fatalism—this unnatural craze for giving up the ghost.

Now of course the most talented exponent of the art of bedevilling his neighbours cannot manufacture this morbid discouragement out of nothing at all. There must be on the part of the victim a certain faint-heartedness, a disposition to believe the worst, such as might be due to individual weakness of character, but is more often a result of the state of the social atmosphere at the moment. Primitive communities easily succumb to a conviction that they are witch-ridden; and indeed it was no other phobia than this which caused christian Europe and America in comparatively recent times to exhibit all the symptoms of temporary insanity. Whereas, however, our witch-burners, with their religion of charity, and with such natural science as they already possessed, had every reason to be ashamed of their hysterical excesses, a horde of savages with nothing but their custom, and a few miles of country, between them and the utterly unknown, might well be more subject to panic than they actually are. Moreover, under very primitive conditions, the crowd can find a way out of the trouble far more easily than the individual. Acting in their collective capacity they can practise rites, they can observe taboos, or at the worst they can clear the air—in other words, rouse their spirits—by means of a public witch-hunt. But the individual who has private reasons for feeling upset—for instance, because an unfriendly person has glared at him, or because he has been visited with a twinge of the rheumatics—can fall back on no such well-established and easily tapped resources. Primitive religion, being almost wholly communal, does not enable the individual to dance himself back into fortitude by means of a pas seul. He has, of course, his amulets, his personal taboos, and so on, to furnish him with a mana of his very own; but, in the case of the average man at any rate, his luck, like his usefulness, amounts to very little apart from the support and co-operation of his fellows. An exceptional man, on the other hand, is likely to be a bit of a sorcerer himself; or at any rate will be ready, if he thinks himself threatened, to start; a vigorous counter-offensive. Thus the self-confident man meets the machinations of hatred with scorn; but curses, undoubtedly, can kill cowards.

Before leaving the subject of craven fear, we should notice how, just as it is courage of the intellectual variety that is largely responsible for human progress, so it is the corresponding kind of fear, an imaginative fear, or fear of the uncanny, which can thus conjure up for the ignorant savage the grim form of the messenger of death. However physically tough, he is mentally tender. The shrewdest blow on his thick pate will hardly make him wince; whereas he is delicately sensitive to the slightest hint of mystery. Let me be pardoned if I recall a trifling incident from my own experience which, though of a kind familiar to every field-worker, will serve to illustrate my point well enough. We were visiting a mixed lot of Australian natives in a reservation. They had evidently made acquaintance with hymn-books and harmoniums; and, altogether, were sophisticated and tame to a fault. There seemed no possible harm, therefore, in persuading one of them, an old man, to sing some corroboree songs which he remembered into the mouth of a phonograph; and presently we treated him to the record of his own voice, expecting at the best delighted admiration, or at the worst unfavourable comment on the quality of our instrument. It turned out, however, that, for the reservation in question, phonographs still were parcels of the dread unknown. When his own voice came back to him out of the machine, the old man changed colour as if his heart had stopped beating. We, had the greatest trouble to reassure him. Luckily the little crowd of natives, women as well as men, was not homogeneous enough to afford sympathetic support to his reaction; and we were thankful to some tittering native girls who decidedly helped to break the spell. At last, a rather laboured explanation that a phonograph was a white man’s message-stick on which one marked down anything that one wanted to repeat seemed to go home to the intelligence of the victim of science; and I trust that he found his personality not seriously diminished by the tax which he had levied upon it. Yet what a frail thing is a human soul—animula vagula blandula—thus to flicker like an uncertain flame at the slightest breath of a suggestion of evil, when the root of the evil is ignorance, a weakness of the inner man! It may even be that the average human being has always been somewhat chicken-hearted in regard to what no plain fellow can be expected to understand. Certainly our anthropological text-books provide us with a vast miscellany of things which some savage at some time has listed under the category of the mysterious, and hence the more or less tabooed. But, on the principle that one hero can make a regiment brave, there have always been adventurous spirits, more far-gazing than the rest, if not necessarily more far-seeing, in respect to their powers of imagination, who steeling their bosoms against doubt, advanced to explore the mystery and, if possible, to find treasure in the heart of it. One must, therefore, not be too hard on that ambiguous character, the reputed sorcerer, even while agreeing that his unsavoury reputation with his comrades is sometimes well deserved. How many a primitive inventor must likewise have had reason to regret his odd proceedings! To find solace for its sense of inferiority in doing a great man to death is a time-honoured expedient with the common herd; and, so long as the difference between a malefactor and a martyr depends on the opinion of a jury of plain men, mistakes will occur such as are only perceptible, if at all, to the historian of the future. At best, then, the crowd is competent to judge in a rough-and-ready way whether the conduct of one who breaks away from custom is, or is not, to its own immediate advantage. Thus the very same dabbler in the occult who may be suspected of black magic will at some other time have to be called in as an exorcist in order to counteract the spells imputed to a rival practitioner; while the measure of his unstable popularity will doubtless be in direct ratio with the number of his cures. Or, again, a man of light and leading, whom it would not do to offend lest he be tempted to employ his art in a private way, may lawfully and with the favour of all let loose his power of blasting and blighting on the public enemy, whether a tribesman who has violated the law, or the unspeakable foreigner who lives across the border. Thus it is easier in theory than in its practical application to draw a distinct line between the spheres of magic and religion, if we try to adjust our standard of scientific judgement to the valuation of the people concerned. They recognize, and rightly, a hateful kind of terrorism based on a criminal exploitation of the strange and dire; and, while for the most part they cannot stand up to it individually at all, but abjectly meet their doom half-way, in their corporate capacity they contrive a counterblast by executing some one who may, possibly, be the guilty party. Side by side, however, with such an illegal form of terrorism, they recognize another kind, which, equally ready as it is to enlist the fear of the unknown in its service, is nevertheless the reputable instrument of law and order. Thus, while the two terrorisms agree closely in method, their motives are as completely divided as is vice from virtue.

At this point we may fitly pass on to consider the function of fear as it enters into religion so as to assist it in its character of a discipline. For religion, although it is instinct with hopefulness and the promise of life, also involves what may truly be termed a terrorism, since it threatens the backslider, the man who will not attend to its call to live intensely, with the merciless alternative, an intensified death, damnation, a death without peace. But its threat is not absolute like that of the sorcerer, who would bring about a craven fear, the utter negation of hope. On the contrary, it is a conditional threat, inducing a fear that is intended to be but precautionary. There must always be some hope left for the repentant, if religion is to fulfil its mission. Otherwise in the extravagance of its comminations it belies its true nature, and as the ally of despair must be reckoned along with sorcery as a morbid development of mind and society. On the other hand, it is a normal requirement of any social institution, or any system of education, that it should use fear as a menace; for human beings will neither strive to co-operate nor to learn unless forcible means are taken to keep them up to the mark. In all such cases there must be a tradition, a set of working rules such as past experience recommends; and the infringement of these rules must be prevented by means of suitable penalties. In short, there must be a law; and a law is no law without a sanction.

In the rest of this lecture, then, let us touch on these three topics in turn, the idea of a hell, the maintenance of society, and the system of moral education, in order to test the quality of the associated fear in each case. By so doing we ought to be able to make out something like an ascending scale of values, as the fear is perceived to display less of the deadliness of the raw article, which is simply a poison, and more of the invigorating and even palatable effects which, when used judiciously as a tonic, it can lend to a draught duly sweetened with hope. For religion needs to institute in its own interest a branch of investigation corresponding to what is known to medical science as Posology, the study of the quantities in which drugs should be administered in order to secure the best results. An overdose of fear in the life-potion which it is the business of religion to supply can in no way make for spiritual health; while it may even persuade stricken folk that unassisted nature is more tolerable than the doctor.

Now to consider in the first place the idea of hell, it is perhaps easier to find reasons why such a notion should have arisen than to account for the opposite belief in a happy hereafter, a heaven. For death encountered in the flesh is not a beautiful but a ghastly sight; nor, on the plane of a merely animal intelligence, is its foulness anything but a warning to the living to keep away, seeing that human beings have not the entrails of hyenas. It was indeed a triumph of the gregarious instinct, not to rate it higher, when it led the lowly savage to open the first chapter of recorded history by laying out his dead in state. By a noble lie they hushed up the truth both about the dead man’s pitiful condition and about their own no less pitiful desolation, disguising the inhospitable tomb as an abode of peace and comfort. Thus they cheated death of its natural right to be the king of terrors; yet possibly not for long. Whether they saw ghosts more frequently than we do, it is hard to be sure; but, as often as it came to them, this experience cannot have been less daunting than it is for the educated man of to-day, while the chances are that it would throw them far more completely off their mental balance. ‘Come back to us if you will in dreams,’ cries the Australian native to his dead kinsman at the final leave-taking, ‘but not as a ghost.’ If then, one’s nearest and dearest were thus unwelcome in a spectral form, what of the far more repellent shapes of murderous foes, of mischievous and malignant wizards, or of hunters untimely slain by wild beasts, and young mothers cut off in childbirth—unhappy wights with a perpetual grievance against their more fortunate brethren. The former might be trusted to leave their own folk alone; unless indeed they received special invitations to attend some feast of All Souls, or else had some definite act of neglect or disrespect on the part of their relatives of which to make complaint. But the latter could be no better than fiends, vampires, ghouls, the miscreants and outcasts of the apparitional world. Hence, as Tylor has so well shown, primitive eschatologies, starting from a view of the hereafter as simply the continuation of this life, pass on readily to a theory of idealized continuation, on the dualistic principle that one’s friends are like to fare better than before, and one’s enemies worse. From this to an embryonic theory of retribution is but a step; for since one’s friends are naturally good and one’s enemies bad, unequal distribution of their future happiness seems to be eminently just. Finally, some sort of last judgement at which each soul must reap reward or punishment according to its personal and particular deserts is clearly conceived—so clearly, in fact, that an obliging savage will sometimes draw a map to show exactly where along the trail of the dead the stern judge stands and the path divides. It is to be noted, too, that such beliefs often occur among peoples of lowly culture amongst whom there is small opportunity for individuality to develop in a general way. Doubtless the explanation is that, as men die one by one, so they are held to be examined one by one. For the rest it need hardly be said that the oddest qualifications are apt to prevail with a savage Rhadamanthus. Thus, a way from the Assam Hills to heaven is open to any gallant who has seven successful love-affairs to his credit. Often, too, the moral value of the claim is not apparent, as when it rests on a handsome funeral, or a well-embroidered suit of tattoo. In such cases, no doubt, the assumption is that consideration will be shown towards persons of quality. Meanwhile, whatever be the way in which some are saved, others are on such a view to all eternity damned. One cannot but detect more kindliness, therefore, in the alternative doctrine of a reincarnation which allows the failures to try again, profiting by an experience of the wages of sin which has perhaps been quickened in some intermediate purgatory. Indeed, even when an implacable hell finds a place in a primitive mythology, no organized attempt is made to bring its horrors home to the imagination, and thereby to tyrannize over the soul, as among advanced peoples who, professedly, have ceased to hate their enemies or at least to torture them. At all events, the refined paganism of a Plato could seriously propose to scrap Styx, Cocytus, Tartarus, and all such bugaboos of the infernalist, on the express ground that to render the hero-temper susceptible to so base a kind of fear is not to strengthen and educate it, but to undermine and destroy its strength.

Turning to the office of religious fear as a supporter of the social authority, this is bound to appear salutary or sinister according as it is associated either with a reasonable form of discipline or with a crushing despotism. Now for the historian of civilization there must be great difficulty at times in deciding whether at a given stage in the development of a large and powerful society the amount of brute force exerted by those in control was justified or not; the test of course being whether the people in question thereafter emerged into freedom, or sank into servility and decay. Happily the anthropologist who restricts himself to the study of savagery or at most of barbarism has small experience of the type of society of which the appropriate blazon would be a bloody sword crossed with a red-hot poker. Perhaps tropical Africa is the only part of his beat where such a phenomenon may be encountered; and even so a close examination usually tends to mitigate the facts reported from a region where undoubtedly life is cheap and punishments are cruel. On the other hand, what is usually described as the lower savagery is in the main remarkably free from the use of the oppressor’s rod; nor can it truly be urged by way of counterclaim that these ungoverned folk are ungovernable in their ways. Though custom is their only king, they are as loyal to it as if it had the executioner at its elbow. Moreover, in its regulative capacity custom is as potent on its negative as on its positive side. ‘Thou shalt not’ is indeed far more conspicuously and categorically enunciated than ‘Thou shalt.’ But the threat which forms the sanction of the typical taboo is largely implicit. The bare suggestion of an indefinite evil attending its violation ensures an unquestioning obedience. There are no sceptics, and therefore there is no hell-fire.

Yet, although wellnigh automatic in its action, taboo none the less inevitably consigns the offender to his just doom. Even when human hands are not available to second the operation of the curse, as when kindred blood has been shed, and the relatives can do nothing because they dare not duplicate the sin, there are Furies in reserve that will harry the outcast as he leaves his home for the outer darkness. Or when society finds itself able to intervene, and the abandoned of heaven is purged out of existence by the agency of the powers on earth, the dominant significance remains that of a sacrifice; so that the fear can mingle with a certain pity for the victim as though at the spectacle of a tragedy—the downfall of a human being who has too rashly wrestled with fate. It may not exactly accord with our notions of political education thus to exalt the majesty of the law in a way so little calculated to bring out its utilitarian function. Yet, thanks to his religion, the savage knows that he must or must not, long before he is capable of learning why. No doubt the result is that primitive codes abound with arbitrary prescriptions, moral and purely ritual requirements being jumbled together in wild confusion; while the sanctity of the whole forbids all rational reformation of the parts. Granting all this, however, the balance of advantage would seem to lie with the theory of a sacred and therefore inviolable law, so long as mankind is devoid of letters and must trust for its traditional rules to mere memory, supplemented by religion in the form of a drill-sergeant. An attention hardly less muscular than mental is needed to enable the body politic to be smart and effective on such an insistent war-service as Hobbes truly represented the state of nature to be. Primitive religion issues its orders with the necessary sharpness, and enforces them by means of the sheer impressiveness of its mien. It may be harsh; it may be even inclined to bully. Yet all, to the latest-joined recruit, are proud of it. It is theirs; it is the Regiment. After all, it intends to make men of them, and it surely will.

To proceed, finally, to the subject of education, it is obvious from what has just been said about the severity of the social drill involved in a régime of sacrosanct custom that, if the adult is beaten with rods, the youth is likely to be beaten with scorpions. The child, indeed, is treated with great indulgence, perhaps because he is regarded as not yet ripe for religion. When puberty comes, however, an initiation has normally to be faced during which a series of most unpleasant experiences, both physical and moral, has to be endured by the candidates for manhood with as much fortitude as they can summon to their aid. No doubt a good deal of positive instruction in regard to their future duties accompanies this organized intimidation. The tribal elders, in fact, to use an agricultural metaphor which they might not understand, are but scarifying the soil in order that it may the better receive the good seed of their counsel. So much indeed is this the case that the simple devices employed to overawe the freshman are blandly revealed to him as soon as he has taken his degree. The weird sound, for instance, which at first he, as also his mother, took to be the voice of Hobgoblin coming to eat him, is duly explained at the end of his trial, when a bull-roarer is put into his hand and he is sent off to scare the women by whirling it round to his heart’s content. Yet it must not be supposed that because a mask is thus removed, a veil lifted, it is implied that the rest of the tribal solemnities are so much empty hocus-pocus. On the contrary, as in the Australian case just noticed, the whole of a man’s life is conceived as a series of initiations into a mystery which deepens as the symbolism becomes more refined—that is, better adapted to the needs of a mature intelligence. The stage at which the material bull-roarer can be used to frighten a boy is done with; but that does not prevent the same boy, when he has become an old man, full of religious wisdom and zeal, from believing that when he goes about ‘singing’ the grass in order to make it grow he is ‘full of churinga’—full of what the churinga or bull-roarer stands for, namely, an inward and spiritual grace, mana. Such a man can, in the consciously or half-consciously metaphorical language of the Arunta, possess within himself an ertnatulunga, a whole storehouse of sacred things, dematerialized yet no less substantially present and sustaining. Despite their short-comings in the way of abstract phraseology, these stone-age folk have managed to make clear to themselves that what is but a toy, if taken literally, can suggest, when taken in its full religious sense, the very inwardness of the tribal mysteries, that power which, according to their own testimony, makes them feel ‘glad’ and ‘good’ and ‘strong’. A man of ripe experience, a tribal elder, who has advanced far enough in his religious development to realize its object so distinctly, may well have put aside fear in its cruder and more childish forms once and for all; even if he still deems it useful as a means of managing children. On the other hand, such a man has in no sense broken with the discipline of taboo, but practices austerities which he freely acknowledges to be necessary if he is to preserve his spiritual health. Already, then, at this low level of a muscular ritualism barely illuminated by a few dim notions, fear has, in the course of a life-long education, not in theology but in the school of religious practice, become sublimated into the fear of defilement, no longer a negative but a quasi-positive feeling. Spiritual purity, like physical cleanliness, is no mere absence of dirt, but something that can be enjoyed for its own sake. Like liberty, another quasi-positive feeling which it closely resembles, it imparts a sense of poise. Being relieved of various contacts and frictions, the inner man has a better chance of finding his feet. Moreover, since as soon as he has found his feet he will assuredly strike out, purity, which is quasi-positive, is half-way to positive power—to the dynamical mood.

It remains to say a word about humility. This essentially religious virtue is also quasi-positive—a conditional clause in a charter conveying a grant. It stands for the fact that all greatness of soul involves an ‘if’. In short, humility is a due sense of the difficulties of the spiritual way of life. There must be enough respect for his adversary in the brave man’s composition to make him train for the fight. Such conditional, precautionary fear, then, simply braces and does not hamper. But humility, like purity, can be overdone. Many types of mind produced by a religious education show signs of overtraining—of overdoing the salutary process of toughening and starving, until a nervous wretch is produced who is permanently incapable of putting forth his inborn maximum effort. Once more, then, we come back to the conclusion that terrorism, the abuse of fear, is always a morbid symptom in religious development, and one that becomes increasingly sinister as religion grows more capable of appealing to a refined intelligence. From its savage days religion has retained a blood-and-thunder style of expression which may still impress the vulgar but can only offend the spiritual susceptibilities of educated men. Our theologians, then, might take a hint from native Australia, and, at any rate when religious initiation has reached a certain stage, should explain away their bull-roarers and hobgoblins as so many rattles and gollywogs, which, though playing their proper part in nursery education, cannot possibly provide the symbolism capable of suggesting to an adult mind the true meaning of the fear of God. Perhaps a study of the natural history of religion may help them in this their task of brave and honest expurgation.