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of life. She had not even an unqualified prayer for the distribution of daily bread; she had not learned the full sense of the word “our.” Rome had a distinct mission, but it was not a mission of finality ; she must be content to occupy the place and to bear the reputation of a forerunner. Her crowning glory must rest in the fact that she devised a scheme of religious union the largest and the most comprehensive which the ancient world had ever seen, that she made an honest and earnest attempt to carry out that scheme into practical realisation, and that she succeeded in the attempt in a measure far beyond what could have been anticipated from a mechanism which, after all, was constructed of such inadequate materials.
TIIE MESSAGE OF THE TEUTON.
The name “Teuton” is the term under which are comprehended the Scandinavian and German races. Letween both the speech and the mythology of these races there exists a very close affinity. The result is that, notwithstanding the varieties of detail which distinguish the worship of their different nations, there is one common spirit pervading the whole. The contrariety indeed seems to exist in another direction. It does not strike us so much when we survey the aspect of the ancient Teuton nations, as when we compare the ancient aspect with the modern. It seems strange at first sight that the religion of the ancient Teutons should be so different from the spirit of the modern Germans. Between the earliest and the latest forms of most faiths we can detect a strong analogy. China, through all the changes of the centuries, has retained her original
See Jacob Grimm's “Teutonic Mythology,' of which there is an excellent English translation.
bias. India, through the circles of the suns, has preserved her native spirit. Even Rome, amid the complete transformation of her Pagan into her Christian life, has retained certain marked resemblances which indicate to the eye of the observer that be is looking on the same fabric. But when we turn to modern Germany, we seem to find an utter contrast between the past and the present. The lapse of time which intervenes between the life of the ancient and the life of the modern Teuton is not so great as the lapse of time which intervenes between the life of ancient and the life of modern Rome. And yet, in the former case, the gulf is far wider and the hiatus far more marked than in the latter. There is an analogy between the saints of the Roman calendar and the gods of the Roman Pantheon ; but where shall we find an analogy between the speculations of the modern German and the faith of the primitive Teuton? The one is the ancestor of the other, yet the chasm betwixt them appears impassable. Modern Germany is confessedly the sphere of the highest theological culture and of the most abstruse religious thinking; primitive Teutonism is on the surface the most crude of all beliefs and the most childish of all worships. Is there anywhere to be found a bridge that connects them, anywhere a point of union between the dawn and the meridian day?
I think there is. If we look closely and beneath the surface, we shall see that there are features in the Teuton mythology which reveal something behind them. We shall see, above all things, that this mythology does not exhibit a uniform surface; that, however crude it may be, it is at least decreasingly crude. Every mythology exhibits variety; the Teuton mythology reveals progress in its variety. It is here that, I think, the real bridge is to be found between the old faith and the new, between the religion of the primitive Teuton and the religion of the modern German. If we take the Teuton mythology as a whole, and confine ourselves to its distinctive elements, we shall find that its message to the world is summed up in a single worddevelopment. It is here that, in my opinion, the point of difference lies between this mythology and earlier mythologies. It has features in common with the earliest creed of India, with the primitive worship of Greece, and with the original faith of Rome; but it differs from these in the fact that here we have features of development. If it be so, we are ushered into immediate contact with the modern spirit of the Teuton race. The spirit of modern Germany is essentially that of evolution. Even from medieval days it has been the pioneer of human progress, and in the nineteenth century it has led the van. To the German races, in whatever land they have been called to dwell, has been committed the task of revealing the development of humanity. The philosophy of Hegel has traced back that development on the lines of spirit; the philosophy of Darwin has traced it back on the lines of matter; but both have equally had one aim—to exhibit the connection between the future and the past. If the Teuton mythology can be proved, even amidst its crudeness and rudeness, to have evinced a glimmering sense of the unity of history, we shall plant our fect upon the bridge that identifies the old spirit with the new.
Now, there is one element in this Teuton mythology which deserves careful attention. It is the fact that, notwithstanding the fantastic nature of its materials, these materials, when taken together, blend themselves into a system. I waive altogether any reference to its cosmogony, although even there, I think, it would be possible to trace a plan of progressive development. But, dealing as I am with the element of religion itself, I shall here as elsewhere confine myself to the view taken of the heavenly powers. It would not be at all remarkable that the Teuton mythology should describe a progress in the acts of creation. But what strikes me as very remarkable is that this mythology, when taken as a whole, describes a progressive development in the life of the gods themselves. Nowhere does the ancient Teuton mind approach so near to the modern Teuton mind as in the fact here indicated. The peculiarity of German philosophy has not been its