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Page:History of Architecture in All Countries Vol 1.djvu/108

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Part II.

that ennobled them when they went there, or could enable them now to influence the world again.

In Europe they found the country cleared of Turanians by the earlier Celts; and, mingling their blood with these more nearly allied races, they have raised themselves to a position half way between the two. Where they found the country unoccupied they have remained so pure that, as their number multiplies, they may perhaps regain something of the position they had temporarily abandoned, and something of that science which, it may be fancied, mankind only knew in their primeval seats.


What then was the creed of the primitive Aryans? So far as we can now see, it was the belief in one great ineffable God,—so great that no human intellect could measure his greatness,—so wonderful that no human language could express his qualities,—pervading everything that was made,—ruling all created things,—a spirit, around, beyond the universe, and within every individual particle of it. A creed so ethereal could not long remain the faith of the multitude, and we early find fire,—the most ethereal of the elements,—looked to as an emblem of the Deity. The heavens, too, received a name, and became an entity:—so did our mother earth. To these succeeded the sun, the stars, the elements,—but never among the pure Aryans as gods, or as influencing the destiny of man, but as manifestations of His power, and reverenced because they were visible manifestations of a Being too abstract for an ordinary mind to grasp. Below this the Aryans never seem to have sunk.

With a faith so elevated, of course no temple could be wanted; no human ceremonial could be supposed capable of doing honor to a Deity so conceived; nor any sacrifice acceptable to Him to whom all things belonged. With the Aryans worship was a purely domestic institution; prayer the solitary act of each individual man, standing alone in the presence of an omniscient Deity. All that was required was that man should acknowledge the greatness of God, and his own comparative insignificance; should express his absolute trust and faith in the beneficence and justice of his God, and a hope that he might be enabled to live so pure, and so free from sin, as to deserve such happiness as this world can afford, and be enabled to do as much good to others as it is vouchsafed to man to perform.

A few insignificant formula served to mark the modes in which these subjects should recur. The recitation of a time-honored hymn refreshed the attention of the worshipper, and the reading of a few sacred texts recalled the duties it was expected he should perform. With these simple ceremonies the worship of the Aryans seems to have begun and ended.