Oriental Religions and Christianity Part 20


[Footnote 205: _Holy Bible and Sacred Books of the East_, p. 12.]

[Footnote 206: Mohammed was once asked whether he trusted in his own merit or in the mercy of God, and he answered, "The mercy of God." But the whole drift of his teaching belied this one pious utterance.]

[Footnote 207: Of the terrible darkness and bewilderment into which benighted races are often found Schoolcraft furnishes this graphic and painful picture in the condition of the Iroquois:

"Their notions of a deity, founded apparently on some dreamy tradition of original truth, are so subtile and divisible, and establish so heterogeneous a connection between spirit and matter of all imaginable forms, that popular belief seems to have wholly confounded the possible with the impossible, the natural with the supernatural. Action, so far as respects cause and effect, takes the widest and wildest range, through the agency of good or evil influences, which are put in motion alike for noble or ignoble ends--alike by men, beasts, devils, or gods.

Seeing something mysterious and wonderful, he believes all things mysterious and wonderful; and he is afloat without shore or compass, on the wildest sea of superstition and necromancy. He sees a god in every phenomenon, and fears a sorcerer in every enemy. Life, under such a system of polytheism and wild belief, is a constant scene of fears and alarms. Fear is the predominating passion, and he is ready, wherever he goes, to sacrifice at any altar, be the supposed deity ever so grotesque. He relates just what he believes, and unluckily he believes everything that can possibly be told. A beast, or a bird, or a man, or a god, or a devil, a stone, a serpent, or a wizard, a wind, or a sound, or a ray of light--these are so many causes of action, which the meanest and lowest of the series may put in motion, but which shall in his theology and philosophy vibrate along the mysterious chain through the uppermost, and life or death may at any moment be the reward or the penalty."--_Notes on the Iroquois_, p. 263.]

[Footnote 208: _History of Rationalism_.]

[Footnote 209: And even the Buddha had spent six years in self-mortification and in the diligent search for what he regarded as the true wisdom.]

[Footnote 210: Henry Maudsley, in _The Arena_ of April, 1891.]

[Footnote 211: "Barren Mohammedanism has been in all the higher and more tender virtues, because its noble morality and its pure theism have been united with no living example."--Lecky, _History of Morals_, vol. ii., p. 10.]

[Footnote 212: The most intelligent Mohammedans, as we have shown in a former lecture, admit the moral blemishes of his character as compared with the purity of Jesus and only revere him as the instrument of a great Divine purpose. His only element of greatness was success. Even the Koran convicts him of what the world must regard as heinous sin, and presents Jesus as the only sinless prophet.]

[Footnote 213: Douglass, _Confucianism and Taouism_.]

[Footnote 214: The apologists of Buddhism have made much of the story of a distressed young mother who came to the "Master" bearing in her arms the dead body of her first-born--hoping for some comfort or help. He bade her bring him some mustard seed found in a home where no child had died. After a wearisome but vain search he only reminded her of the universality of death. No hope of a future life and a glad recovery of the lost was given. As an illustration of Buddhism the example is a good one.]

[Footnote 215: "Men wanted a Father in heaven, who should take account of their efforts and assure them a recompense. Men wanted a future of righteousness, in which the earth should belong to the feeble and the poor; they wanted the assurance that human suffering is not all loss, but that beyond this sad horizon, dimmed by tears, are happy plains where sorrow shall one day find its consolation."--Renan, _Hibbert Lectures_, p. 42.]

[Footnote 216: See report of Missionary Conference, London, 1888, vol.

i., p. 70.]

[Footnote 217: _St. Paul and Protestantism_, p. 79, quoted by Bishop Carpenter.]

[Footnote 218: It is hardly necessary to remind the reader of the well-known tribute which Napoleon, in his conversations with his friends on the island of St. Helena, paid to the transcendent personality of Christ. He drew a graphic contrast between the so-called glory which had been won by great conquerors like Alexander, Caesar, and himself, and that mysterious and all-mastering power which in all lands and all ages continues to attach itself to the person, the name, the memory of Christ, for whom, after eighteen centuries of time, millions of men would sacrifice their lives.]

[Footnote 219: Augustine appears to have been greatly moved by the life as well as by the writings of Paul. In an account given of his conversion to his friend Romanianus, he says, "So then stumbling, hurrying, hesitating, I seized the apostle Paul, 'for never,' said I, 'could they have wrought such things, or lived as it is plain they did live, if their writings and arguments were opposed to this so high a good.'"--_Confessions_, Bk. vii., xxi., note.]

[Footnote 220: Genesis, xvii. 1.]

[Footnote 221: The doctrine of human merit-making was carried to such an extreme under the Brahmanical system that the gods became afraid of its power. They sometimes found it necessary to send apsaras (nymphs), wives of genii, to tempt the most holy ascetics, lest their austerities and their merit should proceed too far.--_See Article Brahmanism, in the Britannica._]

[Footnote 222: Muller, _Chips from a German Workshop_, vol. i., p. 40.]

[Footnote 223: De Nat. Deorum, iii., 36.]

[Footnote 224: _Chips from a German Workshop_, p. 304.]

[Footnote 225: See Murdock's _Vedic Religion_, p. 57.]

[Footnote 226: _Hindu Philosophy_.]

[Footnote 227: The most sacred of human victims offered by the Aztecs were prepared by a month of unbridled lust. See Prescott's _Conquest_.]

[Footnote 228: _Nineteenth Century_, July, 1888.]

[Footnote 229: Letters of Rev. Pentecost in _The Christian at Work_, 1891.]

[Footnote 230: The same principles are set forth with great emphasis in Isaiah, Chap. iii.]



The books relating directly or indirectly to the wide range of topics discussed in the following lectures are too numerous for citation here; but there are some which are so essential to a thorough knowledge of comparative religion and comparative philosophy, that a special acknowledgment is due.

"The Sacred Books of the East" are indispensable to one who would catch the real spirit of the Oriental religions. The translations from Hindu, Buddhist, Mohammedan, Confucian, and Zoroastrian literatures, by Max Muller, Rhys Davids, Oldenberg, Fausboll, Palmer, Darmesteter, Mills, Legge, Buhler, West, Beal, and other able scholars, are invaluable. The various other works of Max Muller, "The Science of Religion," "Chips from a German Workshop," "The Origin and Growth of Religion," "Physical Religion," etc., fill an important place in all study of these subjects.

"Indian Wisdom," by Sir Monier Williams, is the most comprehensive, and in many ways the best, of all compends of Hindu religion and philosophy.

His abridged work, "Hinduism," and the larger volume entitled "Brahmanism and Hinduism," are also valuable. R.C. Bose has given to the public an able treatise entitled "Hindu Philosophy." Other books on Hinduism to which more or less reference is made, are: "The Vedic Religion," by McDonald; "India and the Indians," by Duff; "The Life and Letters of Colbrooke;" "The Bhagavad Gita," as translated by Chatterji; "The Vishnu Puranas," by Wilson; "The Ramayana," by Griffiths; "Brahmoism," by Bose; "The Oriental Christ," by Mozoomdar; "Christianity and Hindu Philosophy," by Ballantyne.

Among the ablest books on Buddhism are: "Buddhism;" "The Growth of Religion as illustrated by Buddhism," and the able article on the same subject in the "Britannica"--all by Rhys Davids. "Buddha: His Life, Character, and Order," by Professor Oldenberg, is a scarcely less important contribution to Buddhist literature. "The Light of Asia," by Sir Edwin Arnold, has done more than any other work to interest Western nations in the legends of Gautama; perhaps no other Oriental character has been more successfully popularized. Of the many efforts to correct the misleading impressions given by this fanciful but really poetic story, "The Light of Asia and the Light of the World," by Dr. S.H.

Kellogg, is probably the ablest. Dr. Edkins, in "Chinese Buddhism," and Professor Beal, in "Buddhism in China," have very successfully shown the characteristics of the Chinese types of the system. Spence Hardy, in his "Manual of Buddhism," has rendered a similar service in relation to the Buddhism of Ceylon, while Bigandet has set forth that of Burmah, and Alabaster that of Siam. Sir Monier Williams, in his more recent work, "Buddhism," has done much to counteract the fashionable tendency of most Orientalists to idealize the Buddhist system.

Other works relating to Buddhism are, "Mohammed, Buddha, and Christ," by Dodds; "Buddhism (Modern)," by Subhadra; and "Esoteric Buddhism," by Sinnett. Maurice, Bishop Carpenter, Brace, the Bishop of Colombo, Martin, and many others have ably discussed the subject.

Of all works on Mohammedanism, Sale's translation of the Koran, with a "Preliminary Discourse," is the most comprehensive and important.

Sprenger's "Life of Mohammed, from Original Sources," is perhaps next in rank. "Islam and Mahomet," by Samuel Johnson; "Mohammed and Mohammedanism," by E. Bosworth Smith; "Christianity, Islam, and the Negro Race," by E.W. Blyden; and "Leaves from an Egyptian Note-book," by Canon Isaac Taylor, are among the principal apologies for Islam.

Gibbon's fifth volume of the "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" has at least done ample justice to the glory of the Mohammedan conquest.

Of those who have ably controverted the claims of Islam, the late Dr.

Pfander, of Northern India, will perhaps hold the first rank. Of the three Moulvies who were selected to meet him in public discussion, two are said to have been converted to Christianity by his arguments. The concessions of the Koran to the truths of the Old and New Testaments have been ably pointed out by Sir William Muir in "The Koran," and Dr.

E.M. Wherry, in his "Commentary," has established the striking fact, that of all the prophets named in the Koran, including Mohammed, Jesus alone is represented as sinless. The modern apologists of Mohammed and his system have been well answered by Knox in current numbers of the _Church Missionary Intelligencer_. Other works upon the subject are "Islam," by Stobart; "Islam as a Missionary Religion," by Haines; "Essays on Eastern Questions," by Palgrave. Sir William Muir's "History of the Caliphate" is an important and recent work.

Confucianism and Taouism may be fairly understood, even by those who have not the time for a careful study of Legge's translations of the Chinese classics, by reference to the following works: "China and the Chinese," by Medhurst; "The Religions of China," by Legge; "The Chinese," by Martin; "Confucianism and Taouism," by Douglass; "Religion in China," by Edkins. The late Samuel Johnson, in his "Oriental Religions," has devoted a large volume to the religions of China, principally to the ethics and political economy of the Confucian system; and James Freeman Clark has given considerable attention to Confucianism as one of "The Ten Great Religions."

Zoroastrianism is ably treated by Darmesteter in the Introduction to his translation of the "Zend Avesta." Instructive lectures on the religion and literature of Persia may be found in the first volume of Max Muller's "Chips from a German Workshop;" also in "The Religion of the Iranians," found in Ebrard's "Apologetics," vol. ii. West's and Darmesteter's translations of "Pahlavi Texts," in the "Sacred Books of the East," are also suggestive.

In the following discussions, relating broadly to the ancient as well as the modern religions and philosophies of the world, and their contrasts to Christian truth, reference is made directly or indirectly to the following works: "Christ and Other Masters," by Hardwick; "The Ancient World and Christianity," by Edward de Pressense; "The Religions of the World," by Maurice; "The Aryan Witness," by Banergea; "The Unknown God,"

by Brace; "The Permanent Elements in Religion," by Boyd Carpenter; "Oriental and Linguistic Studies," by A.D. Whitney; "The Doomed Religions," by Reid; "The Idea of God," by Fiske; "The Destiny of Man,"

by Fiske; "The Races of Man," by Peschel; "Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion," by Caird; "National Religions and Universal Religions," by Kuenen; "Some Elements of Religion," by Liddon; "Outlines of the History of Ancient Religions," by Tiele; "The Philosophy of Religion," by Pfleiderer; "Our Christian Heritage," by Cardinal Gibbons; "Hulsean Lectures, 1845-6," by Trench; "Hibbert Lectures, 1880," by Renan; "Origins of English History," by Elton; "St. Paul in Britain"

(Druidism), by Morgan; "Fossil Men and their Modern Representatives," by Dawson; "Modern Ideas of Evolution," by Dawson; "Marcus Aurelius," by Renan; "Epictetus," Bonn's Library; "Confessions," by St. Augustine; "History of the Egyptian Religion," by Tiele; "Lucretius," Bonn's Library; "Lives of the Fathers," by Farrar; "The Vikings of Western Christendom," by Keary; "Principles of Sociology," by Spencer; "The Descent of Man," by Darwin; "Evolution and Its Relation to Christian Thought," by Le Conte; "History of European Morals," by Lecky; "The Kojiki" (Sacred Books of Shinto), Chamberlain's translation; "The Witness of History to Christ," by Farrar; "Anti-Theistic Theories," by Flint; "The Human Species," by De Quatrefages.

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