Benin Religion of

Benin Religion Of The country which bears the name of Benin is a large tract of coast in western Africa, extending upwards of two hundred miles, and presenting a succession of broad estuaries, now discovered to be all branches of the Niger, of which this country forms the delta. It is a country of great, commercial importance. The king is not only an absolute despot, but a fetish or god in the eyes of his subjects; and all offences against him are punished in the most cruel and summary manner, not only as treason, but impiety. It is a crime to believe that he either eats or sleeps, and at his death numerous human victims are sacrificed that they may accompany him to the other world, and wait on him there. Every year three or four human beings are presented as votive offerings at the mouth of the river, with the view of attracting ships and commerce. Fetishism and Devil-worship are the leading forms of religion, although on great occasions they call upon the Supreme Being, whom they address as Canon. They place implicit confidence in fetishes or charms, which they wear about the body or hang from some part of their houses; and they have also their Fetissero, or fetish-man, by whose assistance they consult their fetishes on all important occasions. They worship the spirits of the dead, which they consider as taking a deep interest in all human affairs. They believe that these spirits reside in the woods, and hence when a person is in difficulty or danger he retires to the forest that he may implore the aid of the souls of deceased friends. They make offerings to the evil spirit to appease his wrath and prevent him from inflicting injury. They practice circumcision, and sprinkle the blood of animals on the door-posts of their houses, and upon all places where their fetishes are kept.

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