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feasts in Israel; and tell us relative to this peculiar evening feast, that if one family cannot eat all they have prepared, a neighbouring family is invited to partake with them; and if any of it be still left, it must be burned before the next rising sun. None who .read the law of the passover, can doubt the origin of this.
A Christian friend of mine informs me, that he some time since read in a book which he now cannot name, the.account of a man taken at Que"bee, in Montgomery's defeat; of his being carried far to the north-west by Indians; and of a feast which they kept, in which each had his portion in a bowl; that he was charged to be very careful not to injure a bone of it; that each must eat all his bowl full, or must burn what was left on a fire, burning in the midst for this purpose. The object of the feast he knew not.'
The Indians have their feasts of first ripe fruits, or of green corn; and will eat none of their corn till a part is thus given to God. The celebrated Penn, Mr. Adair, and Col. Smith, with others, unite in these testimonies. In these Indian feasts they have their sacred songs and dances; singing Halleluyah, Yohewah, in the syllables which compose the words. What other nation, besides the Hebrews and Indians ever, in this manner, attempted the worship of Jehovah? The author of the "Star in the West" says; "May we not suppose that these Indians formerly understood the psalms and divine hymns? Otherwise, how came it to pass, that some of all the inhabitants of the extensive regions of North and South America have, and retain, these very expressive Hebrew words, and repeat them so distinctly; using them after the manner of the Hebrews, in their religious acclamations?"
The Indian feast of harvest, and annual expiation of sin, is described by these writers; and in a way which enforces the conviction that they derived them from ancient Israel. Details are given in the Star in the West. My limits will permit only to hint at them, .The detailed accounts are worth perusing.
An Indian daily sacrifice is described. They throw a small piece of the fattest of their meat into the fire, before they eat. They draw their newly killed venison through the fire. The blood« they often burn. It is with them a horrid abomination to cat the blood of their game. This was a Hebrew law.
A particular or two of their feasts shall be noted. Doctor Beatty gives an account of what he saw among the Indians north-west of the Ohio. He says; "Before they make use of any of the first fruits of the ground, twelve of their old men meet; when a deer and some of the first fruits are provided. The deer is divided into twelve parts; and the corn beaten in a mortar, and prepared for use by boiling or baking, under the ashes, and of course unleavened. This also is divided into twelve parts. Then these (twelve) men hold up the venision, and fruits and pray, with their faces to the east, acknowledging (as is supposed,) the bounty of God to them. It is then eaten. After this they freely enjoy the fruits of the earth. On the evening of the same day, (the Doctor adds) they have another public feast which looks like the passover. A great quantity of venison is provided, with other things dressed in their usual way, and distributed to all the guests; of which they eat freely that evening. But that which is left is thrown into the fire and burned; as none of it must remain till sun rise the next day; nor must a bone of the venison be broken."
Mr. Boudinot says, " It is fresh in the memory of the old traders, (among the Indians) as we are assured by those who have long lived among them, that formerly none of the numerous nations of Indians would eat, or even handle any part of the new harvest, till some of it had been offered up at the yearly festival by the beloved man (high priest) or those of his appointment at the plantation; even though the light harvest of the past year should almost have forced them to give their women and children of the ripening fruits to sustain life." Who that reads the laws of Moses, can doubt the origin of these Indian traditions?
The Hebrews were commanded to eat their passover with bitter herbs: Exod. xii. 8. The Indians have a notable custom of purifying themselves with bitter herbs and roots. Describing one of their feasts, the writer says, "At the end of the notable dance, the old beloved women return home to hasten the feast. In the mean time every one at the temple drinks plentifully of the Cussena, and other bitter liquids, to cleanse their sinful bodies, as they suppose."
The Indians have their traditionary notion clearly alluding to the death of Abel, by the murderous hand of Cain; as well as one alluding to the longevity of the ancients.
More full accounts are given by some of these authors, of the Archi-magus of the Indians—their high priest. As the high priest in Israel was inducted into office ly various ceremonies, and by anointing; so is the Indian high priest by purification, and by anointing. When the holy garments are put upon him, bear's oil is poured on MP
his head. And it is stated that the high priests have their resemblances of the various ornaments worn by the ancient high priests; and even a resemblance of the breast-plate. These men have been called by the white people, ignorant of Indian customs, jugglers. But they are now ascertained by good witnesses, as a manifest though corrupt succession of the high priesthood in ancient Israel. Bartram says, those, with inferior priests and prophets, have been maintained in most if not all the tribes.
The Indian high priest makes his yearly atonement for sin. He appears at their temple, (such as it is) arrayed in his white deer skin garments, seeming to answer to the ancient ephod. Entering on his duty, the waiter spreads a white seat with a white dressed buckskin, close by the holiest apartment of their temple; and puts on his white beads offered by the people. A variety of curious things are described in this dress, hy Mr. Adair, as pretty evidently designed imitations of the parts of ancient pontifical dress, which it would exceed my limits to describe. This dress is left in the holy place of their temple, till the high priest comes to officiate again. His breastplate is made of a white conch shell, through which two straps of otter skin pass in two perforations: while white buttons of buck's horn are superadded, as though in imitation of the precious stones on the ancient breast-plate. A swan skin wreath adorns his head, instead of the ancient plate of gold. And for the ancient tiara, the Archi-magus, has his tuft of white feathers. His holy fire he obtains by jobbing two sticks together; and his golden Dots and pomegranates are formed of the dried spurs of wild turkies. strung so as to rattle on his fine mocasinst
Mr. Adair assures us, when the Indian Archimagus (high priest) is addressing his people, and enforcing "the divine speech,1' that he calls them "the beloved and holy people," according to the language concerning ancient Israel. He urges them "to imitate their virtuous ancestors," and '' flourishes upon their beloved land, flowing Willi milk and honey."
Mr. Adair describes the Indian feasts, and speaks of them as bearing a very near resemblance of the stated feasts in ancient Israel. He gives accounts that when the Indians are about to engage in war, they have their preparatory sacrifices, purifications, and fastings. He speaks of their daily sacrifice, their ablutions, marriages, divorces, burials, mourning for the dead, separations of women, and punishment of various crimes, as being, in his opinion, manifestly of Hebrew origin.
Their reckonings of time, Mr. Adair viewed as evidently Hebrew. They begin their year, as did Israel, at the first appearance of new moon after the vernal equinox. They reckon by the four seasons, and by the sub-divisions of the moons.
Bartram says, the Indians believe their high priests have intimate communion with the world of spirits; and that no great design is formed by the Indians without his counsel.
The Assinipoils, far to the west, we learn in Capt. Carver's travels among the western Indians, have their high priest, who pretends to great intimacy with the Great Spirit, and to be able to foretel future events; as is the case with the Killistinoes, at the Grand Portage. Certain things he thus found among different Indians,