The land of a god corresponds with the land of his worshipers.
The god can no more exist without his people than the nation without its god.
The dissolution of the nation destroys the national religion, and dethrones the national deity.
The god, it would appear, was frequently thought of as the physical progenitor or first father of his people.
But, strictly speaking, this mythology was no essential part of ancient religion, for it had no sacred sanction and no binding force on the worshippers.
This being so, it follows that mythology ought not to take the prominent place that is too often assigned to it in the scientific study of ancient faiths.
That the God-man died for his people, and that His death is their life, is an idea which was in some degree foreshadowed by the older mystical sacrifices.
In better times the religion of the tribe or state has nothing in common with the private and foreign superstitions or magical rites that savage terror may dictate to the individual.
This, it may be said, is no more than a hypothesis... only of that force of precedent which in all times has been so strong to keep alive religious forms of which the original meaning is lost.
We are so accustomed to think of religion as a thing between individual men and God that we can hardly enter into the idea of a religion in which a whole nation in its national organisation appears as the religious unit.