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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 8, 1897.djvu/376

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340 The Binding of a God.

did what they desired, or if they acted contrary to their wishes, they would disclose the mysteries of Isis, divulge the secrets hidden in the abyss, stop the sacred boat, or scatter before Typho the members of Osiris." ^

This brings me to the question of the binding up of gods which has already been brought before the notice of this Society by Miss C. S. Burne and Miss G. M. Godden.- The subject is so important from the point of view of ancient ritual that I may be permitted to add some further illustrations.

In this series of ritual observances there seem to be com- bined at least two principles — one to prevent the idol from escaping or being removed ; the other, the need of covering up the image, which is tabu, from the sight of its worship- pers, to whom its manifestation might be dangerous.

Before dealing with the practices of savages, let me recall to your memory the account given of the matter by a sceptic, who obviously speaks from the point of view of an advanced monotheism. You will remember the account given of the construction of an idol by the author of the Book of Wis- dom,^ the composition of which is fixed by the best autho- rities about 40 A.D. It is clearly the w^ork of a writer of the school of Philo, but of one w^ell acquainted with the idola- tries of his own day. After describing how the image is made and painted with vermilion, a symbol of the blood sacrifice, he says : " And when he hath made a convenient room for it, set it in a wall and made it fast wath iron : for he provided for it that it might not fall, knowing that it was unable to help itself : for it is an image and hath need of help." This is plainly a skit at the idols of his time, but the idea of binding up the idol widely prevailed. We know

' Wilkinson, Ancient Egyptians, ed. 187S, vol. iii. p. 247 ; for Rome, Mommsen, History, vol. i. p. 177.

" Folk-Lore, vol. iv. pp. 108, 249 ; vol. vi. p. 196. ' xiii. 15, 16.