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interest. We are told by the Germans1 that such doctrines as the immortality of the soul and the future retribution of good and evil were among the tenets disseminated by these mysteries, and that to them such poets as Pindar owed a clear vision of these doctrines, which are foreign to Homer and Hesiod. This may be true, and is likely enough in itself, but it is hard to find any explicit authority for it in Greek Literature, and perhaps it should not be set up by its authors as more than an ingenious theory. The Greeks have carefully concealed from us the teaching of these mysteries; they prosecuted for impiety, and punished with death or banishment any man who could be shown to have divulged them. Thus they have concealed from us one of the most interesting points in their religion, and left us to mere conjectures about the exact scope and teaching of these widely-spread and secret religious exercises. It is unnecessary to repeat these conjectures, or add to their number 2, as I am concerned with
1 E. g. O. Müller, Lit. of Anc. Greece, vol. i. p. 76, and Hermann-Stark, Griech. Antiqq. part ii, p. 198, note 12, quoting from Nägelsbach and others.
2 One remark is worth making, in opposition to the Germans and their French followers, who think the influence of the mysteries are most prominently seen in Pindar. It is Eschylus who suggests the first great change in the religious Anschauungsweise of the Greeks. The few additional dogmas alluded to by Pindar in the midst of his old school morals, and his commonplace view of human life and of Divine Providence, are as nothing compared to the totally new and deep aspects which form the main burden of Æschylus' dramas. We should also remember that he (and not Pindar) was distinctly charged with having divulged some of the mysteries in his Eumenides. If all this be true, it points to a speculative, rather than a moral character in these religious exercises; nor is this view really contradicted by Aristotle's remark, which Synesius repeats: that he considers the initiated were not bound to
reproducing actual features in old Greek life; but it seems certain, and beyond mere hazard, that whatever was their scope, they were meant, as their very name of mysteries implies, to satisfy this longing after the perfect, which was inadequately provided for in the clear and human faith of the ordinary priests and their temples. At all events, with this unexplained feature in Greek religion before us, and with the great probability that such was its principal object, we cannot assert the hard contrast between Greek and modern piety which our other sources would warrant. For all we know, justification by faith may have been a standard doctrine in these mysteries, just as atonement by human sacrifice lasted down into historical times, and caused scenes painful and shocking (above p. 225) to such as did not embrace the dogma, and blind their humanity by keeping the eye of faith fixed upon its efficacy.
The remaining contrasts between Greek religiousness and our own are, like the former, partial contrasts only, but still contrasts, at least with the Protestantism of modern Europe; and though Catholicism be in outward form not so contrasted, its whole temper and spirit was so thoroughly anti-Greek, that I can hardly bring myself to take it into account in the present sketch. The first of the points alluded to is the intimate association of art with religion, in the identification
learn anything, but rather to be placed in a peculiar emotional condition' (Tabεîv kaì diaтelñvai). This rather refers to the way of instruction in the mysteries, which were like modern religious revivals, where the new life is attained by a strong physical sympathy, and not by ordinary instruction.
of the beautiful, that is to say the physically beautiful, with the good; in the offering, as the noblest tribute to the blessed gods, the purest and best products which human genius could attain in art. Strangely enough it is in medieval Christianity that we find this feature reproduced. The magnificent cathedrals of Normandy, the divine pictures of the Fra Angelico and of Giotto speak of a religious temper not unlike in manifestation to that which built the Parthenon, and carved the Zeus of Olympia. But since the days. of Protestantism the analogy has vanished, and human art has been thrust into a worldly attitude, nay even into hostility with our stern and gaunt devoutness. It is wellnigh incalculable what we have lost by this disastrous dissociation, how much on the one hand religion has suffered, by abandoning those elements which are its most essential features, and by casting aside the beauty of holiness, in order to proclaim its uncompromising severity. It is equally plain how much mankind has suffered, how artistic and passionate natures have been repelled and disgusted, and have preferred what were branded as the pleasures of sin to the joyless pilgrimage through the dry and stony waste into which the fanatic priest would blight our beautiful world. Had the Greek priests or the Greek oracles ever attempted such a crusade against art, their reign would indeed have melted like winter snow, and one generation would have been sufficient for the disappearance of their inhuman creed.
The remaining feature is again one which we find rather in Catholic than in Protestant Christianity, yet even there the analogy is rather apparent than real. I
allude to the embracing of all the pleasures of human nature within the services performed in honour of the gods. Divine service included the whole range of human enjoyments; there were even in the cult of Aphrodite allowances made for the gratification of the animal nature, and the phallic processions show plainly how the mystery of the origin of life was not excluded from religious services, in spite of the coarse features which it necessarily presented. But more generally, sport and religion were not opposed by the Greeks, but identified. Ye play and keep your feasts,' say the Athenians in Herodotus to the Spartans, and thus betray your allies and the interests of Greece.' have it paralleled in the books of Moses: The people did eat and drink and rose up to play.' What the play included is plain enough from the account of the temptation with which Balaam tempted Israel, and from the story of Phinehas' prompt procedure against some of the celebrants. This feature is really quite ancient, and opposed to any modern cult; and the apparent jollity of Catholic feast-days, is, as I have said, no real analogy. The Catholics are in so far nearer to the Greek standpoint that they do not set their face against human enjoyment on feast-days. They permit relaxation and pleasure at the special seasons set apart for the highest religious ceremonies. But their pleasure on these days is relaxation, and not service; it is a relief after the worship, and not the worship itself. Here is the fundamental difference. The Parisian goes to the theatre on Sunday evening, because it is
1 Cp. Numbers, xxxi. 16, and the references there given to previous passages.
a holy day, and because he is allowed relaxation and amusement after his devotions at High Mass. The old Greek went to the theatre to honour and serve his god; his praise was offered up not before, but in, the performance. To him his pleasure, intellectual and physical, was not a concession made by the jealous Deity to his weakness, but a privilege granted by the gods who sanctioned and encouraged his enjoyment.
The psychological result of this feature in Greek religion was a certain earnestness in Greek pleasure, a certain seriousness in sport, which brings out a curious analogy to the modern nation of all the most widely diverse. The English people possess (I suppose) only two attributes which are also to be found. prominently among the Greeks—an overweening selfconceit and contempt for all outsiders, and this remarkable mixture of seriousness and sport. But in the latter case the result has been reached from opposite points of view. The Greeks made their serious pursuits, especially their religion, sportive—real feasts, in the proper meaning of the term. The English have made their sports serious by making them important ends, and success in them a coveted distinction. This was also done by the Greeks in the case of the public games, but still the first origin, even here, was not amusement, as with us, but religion.
It is indeed true that the Christian Church has talked much of joy and gladness, and has affected to have feasts, like the heathen feasts, in which religion and present pleasure might be combined; but how is it reasonably consistent, how is it possible for a faith which despises the body, which hates and condemns