Open main menu

Page:A book of folk-lore (1913).djvu/96

This page needs to be proofread.


the world. Nor is this unfelt by those who practise the rite. They show their consciousness of it in a reluctance to tell of what they have done, and in the secrecy which they observe. This secrecy, and this reluctance to speak freely testify also to the reality of their faith.. .It would be a great mistake to suppose that the persons referred to are the grossly ignorant, and a still greater mistake to suppose that they are irreligious. On the contrary, they are often church-attending, sacrament-observing, and tolerably well-educated people--people, too, who necessarily participate, in all the advantages of the advanced civilisation of theit country."[1]

We have seen that sacrifices are not completely done away with yet in Great Britain; and it is more than possible that a good number still take place without tidings of them reaching our ears.

We will now see what reminiscences yet remain of human sacrifices that took place in, not our lands only, but on the Continent in remote days.

What is common in all such cases, as man becomes more civilised and humane, is to find a substitute for the human victim We see that in the story of Abraham and Isaac,

  1. The Past in the Present. Edinb. 1889. p.146