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guidance. Only after these disciplines had become thoroughly effective did the Church take refuge in the meekness and piety of which it was supposed to have been exemplary all the time. But there are still a few conditions raucously requiring improvement, especially the attitude toward the utility of religion; as it seems still necessary to offer rich and rare rewards so that anyone will feel justified in any religious faith at all. So that today we find the tutelary gods working overtime trying to satisfy our pious policy of power-a situation to be expected when we understand that predatory preachers of pragmatic religions always flourish in a vulgarian age such as ours and seek new proselytes by shrewd prescriptions to cupidity, fear and prejudice. I cannot see much difference between this practice and that other policy so cleverly affected by the dissolute precisions of Puritan persuasion whose vain formulism, as Macaulay says, “made the most dissolute cavaliers stand aghast." It is indeed fortunate for us that through the endless agitations of modern Erastians the secular power takes care of practically all punishments, the Church only having power to withhold its own institutional sanction on certain forms of conduct the same as it still claims power and authority to withhold the objective benefits of holy communion. On the other hand we can readily see whether it is for the sake of piety or power that the various denominations or sectarian organizations send whole parties, processions and caravans of missionaries into Africa, China, India, Asia Minor and Australia armed with guns and concessionaires, wireless apparatus and surveying instruments, cameras and gaudy presents, while, as though only an afterthought of the enterprise cartloads of Bibles, Psalters, hymnbooks, propaganda and other paraphernalia bring up the rear. Even a numskull heathen can often see that his religion is ridiculed and trampled under foot for the very selfsame reason that his land is exploited and his freedom replaced with mandatory law.
Another phase of the modern fallacy in religious pietism is trying to find its basis in forced readings, in driving hard bargains with Revelation and reward. How much indebted is our own great Scriptural heirloom, the King James Version, to the allegories of Alcuin and the postillations from the schools of Charlemagne? Here were sources for genuine reverence and piety, but their modern imitations in poseur pietism, in the morbid search for signs and wonders, mysteries and hidden meanings, which is the bane of every honest spirituelle and healthy religious interpretation or Bible study, have debauched the whole program of religious outlook and education
With these as the principal purposes of study and interpretation there is no end to the number of doubtful allusions and ambiguities to be read into (rather than out of) the Scriptures and there is always to be found a condition whereby a thousand misunderstandings and controversies may continue to rancor and canker in men's minds and hearts. Any of the world's great Scriptures, without regard to national or racial distinctions, should be first read literally, then interpreted according to the moral figures supplied, and then, if the probable analogy seems to conflict with the social or historical character of the narrative, take pattern from the general spirit of the whole and but few errors of construction will be made.
Practically all the clever assumptions of ambiguity, Cabalistic analyses, and formulistic schemes are false, farfetched, wordstretching efforts to realize verbal symmetry rather than spiritual verity, thus proving themselves particeps in causum to the usual automorphic fallacy behind all eristic theologies. What difference does it make whether our favorite Church be disguised as R. C., C. S., Anglican, Unitarian, Theosophist, Parsee, Presbyterian, Shinto, Moslem or Buddhist so long as we seek piety before power, and not afterwards like the vulgarian? If we pray only for personal rewards and prestige, only for our own reprieves and good fortune, what value except that of mere rhyomism may be read in all our Psalms and ceremonies, however loud and pompous our lip-service? Such intellectual hypocrisy, precian formulism and feigned conformity to a strained doctrine knows little religious truth, for it is vain, a vicious and demoralizing practice ranking alongside the proverbial quackery of doctors, graft by corrupt politicians and chicanery by shyster lawyers. Casuists are invariably set on realizing the common vulgarian passion for ambiguous readings, both a literal and an hermeneutic interpretation somewhere behind whose conflicting meanings they can work their own mischiefs on the world. They are never concerned to understand how discerningly that famous jurist-philosopher Thomasius showed that true pietism consisted in turning from external rituals and institutional authority to the inner soul-life and moral integrity of individual religious experience ; that it is the spiritual devotion to truth and innocense, beauty, wisdom, courage and benevolence, rather than a mere cupidity or forced conformity to some theological prescription, which makes up the religious life, be it Christian, Moslem, Confucian, Buddhist or Tartar in ritual distinction. Neither rubric dogmatism nor ritual empiricism can dissuade true piety from its faith.
BY JULIUS J. PRICE
'HE cock, which customarily serves the orthodox Jew as a sort
of vicarious sacrifice on the day previous to the day of atonement, was regarded in no ordinary light by the nations of antiquity. Although Aristophanes regarded Persia as the original habitat of the cock and Ginzburg credited India as the original home of that fowl, yet a number of authorities are of the opinion that Europe was the original home of this bird. Hyde, however, discussing the subject contends that the cock was originally brought from Europe to Persia while Wilkinson claims that it was later introduced into Asia.
The Cabbalists as well as the Persians attached great importance to the cock inasmuch as it announced the coming of the dawn when man was to arise and pray. “Never sacrifice a white cock," was one of the sayings of Pythagoras, who regarded the bird as sacred to the moon; but some of his fellow countrymen carried this notion still further and regarded all such birds, white or colored as sacred to either the sun or the moon, and laid down the rule, “Rear a cock but do not sacrifice it for it proclaims the hours." It was also thought that the cock was created by God to oppose all the demons. According to Anquetil du Perron the Persians in the Vendidad termed the cock parodarsh (forseer).
The Parthians must have attached special importance to this bird, for one side of the several Partian coins, that have come down to us, is surmounted by a cock. This is also true with regard to the Cretan coinage. The Greeks regarded the cock as sacred because they announced the good or evil or on the other hand the approval or disapproval of the gods. In the Catacombs at Rome, a picture of a cock is found by the side of St. Peter. This is supposed to represent resurrection.
The cock has not lost its significance in modern times. The Chinese still emphasize an oath in three ways, i. e. (a) By breaking a porcelain cup. (b) By burning a piece of paper. (c) By cutting the throat of a pure white cock. If the latter is to be done on board a ship, it is related “The sailors there in time of imminent peril offer a cock to the spirits of the waters. The head of the bird is wrung off and committed to the deep while its warm life blood is sprinkled on the deck, the mast, the anchors and the tackling and some of its feathers stuck up as a i tarm, in convenient places. Various libation with holocausts of tinfoil and gilded paper follow, which duly accompanied with prayers, etc., conclude the strange proceedings."
In Tonquin a child is presented with a cock when it first enters school. The fire worshippers offer up a cock on the Nouz (New Years).
Among the orthodox Jews, the cock still serves as a means of atonement. Gentiles who have dealings with Jews generally know about what time of the year it is to their interest to take their best poultry to the Jewish market for sale. Happy is that poulterer whose fowls are white cocks, for he is sure of a good price for them; and happy is that Jew who can secure a white cock for his Kapparah, for, in that case, though his "sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” Speckled and partly colored fowls have their value all the year around, and are eagerly bought up in honor of the Sabbath, but the value of a white cock for propitiation on the eve of the Day of Atonement is far above rubies. Although the custom of the Kapparah has been strongly opposed by such men as Xahmanides, Solomon ben Adret and Joseph Caro as a Pagan one in conflict with the spirit of Judaism which knows no vicarious sacrifice. It has, however, been approved by such men as Jehiel ben Asher as well as by his son Jacob and by Samson ben Zeadok and others who have followed the authority of Hai Gaon and the other Geonim.
Let us now devote a few words to the ceremony proper among orthodox Jews known as the Kapparah. The ceremony known as Kapparah is a sacrifice not mentioned in Bible nor Talmud. It is doubtless an invention of a type of Oriental mysticism. It is based upon the Hebrew words, “Gever," which words often occurs in Scripture and always in the sense of "man.” In the Talmud, this word occurs only once in the sense of “cock.” This word "Gever" has a two-fold significance, and means both "a man" and "cock."
Tradition has built up the theory of Termurath Gever b' Gever, that is. “the substitution of a cock for a man.” This theory finds expression now as an annual custom, and custom is law to the Jew. The Rabbis taught in the Babylonian Talmud that “a man should not deviate from an established custom." And the Palastenian Talmud says, "Custom sets aside the law." With that in mind, there is no need for wonder that the annual custom of the Kapparah, “The atonement of the cock,” is still in vogue among the orthodox Jews. “None can by any means redeem his brother nor give to God a Kapparah for him, but the Kapparah of a white cock is in all sufficient atonement."
Long before dawn, on the day which precedes the day of atonement, there is a great stir in the Jewish home where there are a number of fowls being bound and got ready for the sacrifice of the atonement. As a rule, a cock is provided for each male and a hen for each female in the family, while a woman who is enceinte brings both a cock and a hen for reasons too obvious to need explanation. The head of the family first makes the atonement for himself because the high priest first atoned for himself and then for his family. He grasps with his right hand the tied legs of the bird, while with his left hand on its head he coaxes it to keep it quiet. He then proceeds to repeat as follows: “The children of men that sit in darkness and the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron, He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their hands in sunder.
“Fools, because of their transgressions, and because of their iniquities are afflicted. Their souls abhorreth all manner of meat; they draw near unto the gates of death. Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble and He saveth them out of their distresses. He sendeth His work, and healeth them and delivereth them from their destructions. Oh, that men would praise the Lord for His goodness. and for His wonderful works to the children of men.”—(Ps. cvii. 10, 14, 17-20). "If there be for him an angel, an intercessor, one among a thousand, to show unto man his uprightness, then He is gracious unto him and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit, I have found a (Kapparah) ransom.”—(Job xxxiii. 23.)
At this point, he lifts up the cock and swings it round and round his head, while he repeats as follows, “this is my substitute, this is my commutation, and this is my atonement. This cock goeth to death, that I may be gathered in and enter upon a long and happy life, and into peace!" After having three times repeated the above formula, and having duly swung the cock round his head for the third and last time, he grasps the bird by the neck, and throws it to