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produced neither in respect of moral or spiritual truth results suitable to the facts of human nature, its dignity and its capacities. They have wandered into Polytheism. "Insufficient for time, and rejecting eternity, their utmost triumph is to live without fear and to die without hope." 1 Their power has steadily declined; and, however Buddhism may with truth boast of its ancient missionary zeal,2 they have long since ceased to extend the area of their and has
beliefs. They have never yet borne the brunt of thead
. ... . . vance ol
advancing civilization. These are the questions know
• * • • ledge,
of fact with Christianity. The religion of Europe has passed through storms of barbarism, persecution, and doubt; while over Asia has brooded an immemorial calm, broken only by tides of military conquest.3 Nor is it any way surprising that the
1 Sir J. E. Tennant, Christianity in Ceylon, p. 227. On this subject see Hardwick, Christ and other Masters, II. 69; Tylor On Primitive Culture, II. 89, 96; B. St. Hilaire, Le Bouddha. "Unquestionably," writes Mr. Farrar, Witness of History to Christ, p. 145, "Confucianism and Buddhism are in their social influence gigantic failures; and in these cases M. Iienan says, 'Success is a decisive criterion.'" Mr. Picton, New Theories and Old Faith, answering a remark of Mr. Armstrong that "the cohesion and endurance of Buddhism mocks and shames Christianity with her many convulsions and her reiterated revolutions," ably replies, "that one might as well say that the cohesion and endurance of China mocks and shames Europe with its convulsions and its reiterated revolutions. The higher the life the more violent often are the crises of growth, and certainly the more extreme is the differentiation of parts."
! Max Miiller, Chips, I. 269.
8 "The popular religions of antiquity answered only for a certain stage of culture. When the nations in the courso of their progress had passed beyond this, the necessary consequence was a dissevering of the faiths of Brahma or of Buddha should linger in the world. "The extinction of a religion," it has been said with truth, "is not the abrupt movement of a day; it is a secular progress of many well-marked stages." 1 The success of Buddhism rested on the assertion of the dogma of the absolute equality of all men; and this in a country which Symptoms for ages had been oppressed with caste.' But its in the continuance, as well as that of Brahmanism, philorehgjons .^^jcaUy consi(3ered, is involved in its representation of an inherent polar opposition to the theology of Christian belief. The doctrine of a transmigration of souls, of a simple "continuance-theory " as to a future state, confronts the teaching of the independent existence of a personal spirit, of a permanent "retribution-theory" of after-being. Materialism, as opposed to Theism, must ever present two alternatives; a doctrine of absorption, ultimately equivalent to Pantheism; or of extinc
spirit from the religious traditions. In the case of the more quiet and equable development of the Oriental mind—so tenacious of the old—the opposition between the mythic religion of the people and the secret theosophic doctrines of a priestly caste, who gave direction to the popular conscience, might exist for centuries without change. But among the more excitable nations of the West, intellectual culture, as soon as it attained to a certain degree of independence, must necessarily fall into collision with the mythic religion handed down from the infancy of the people."—Neander, Church Hist., I. 6, E. T. "Le repos est le supplice de l'Europeen, et ce caractdre contraste merveilleusement avec l'iminobilitd Orientale."—De Maistre, (Euvres, p. 494. "Better," says Tennyson, "fifty years of Europe than a cycle of Cathay."
1 Draper, Hist, of Intellectual Development in Europe, I. 37.
a lb., I. 62. Max MUller, Chips, I. 220, 246.
tion, practically undistinguishable from a declared Atheism.1
5 9. In commencing the argument of these Lec- A practi
t cal stand
tures (which, it will be remembered, is the proof of ard of the truth of Christianity arising from its past con- assumed tinuity and tenacity, and from its indications of argument, ultimate permanence), I assume the existence, from the earliest days of the Church, of a nucleus of belief sufficient to produce practical effects. On the other hand, no consensus or standing uniformity of doctrinal opinion is demanded, such as would be in small accordance with the laws of mental progress in other subjects under the varying stages of early and advanced civilization, and national differences of climate and race. While the original of Christianity can only be accepted as divine, it is no part of Christian philosophy to except the historical development of the faith from such movements of the human mind as are natural to its exercise on any subiect-matter whatsoever. Be- How far
. . . . guaranteed
lievers in the truths of the Christian religion have in the ex
• T • istence of
sometimes been described in terms of disparage- the Holy
1 See Tylor, Prim. Culture, II. 69, and compare Dr. Mozley, Bampton Lect., pp. 187, 368: "The Brahman doctrine of the final state professes some difference from the Buddhist; but both schools maintain in common the characteristic of impersonality as attaching to the final state." See also Fairbairn on Belief in Immortality, pp. 50, 51, 53. Sir H. Maine, Ancient Law, p. 17, observes that "the physical conformation of Asiatic countries had the effect of making individual communities larger and more numerous than in the West; and it is a known social law that the larger the space over which a particular set of institutions is diffused, the greater is its tenacity and vitality."
ment as Bibliolaters,1 the worshippers of a book and of a stereotyped revelation. It is not necessary to consider to what portions of the Church, or to what theory of Christian belief this criticism is most applicable. But it is by no means true that the religion of Christ is contained in the New Testament, only in the same manner as the Mosaic system depended on the Pentateuch, or as Mahommedanism is found in the Koran, or the faith of Vishnu or Buddha in the Vedas or the Sutras. The very power of Christianity lies in this: that preaching the purest morality under the highest sanctions, with the force of a Divine Exemplar, and on the foundation of historic facts, it never sacrifices it to ceremonialism, and is thus superior to the decline of positive forms.2 In written codes
1 "Bibliolatry has been, and is long likely to be, the bane of Protestant Christianity."—Hutton, Essays, I. 142. As with all exaggerations, this contains an element of truth. That " the Bible only is the religion of Protestants," was the dictum of Chillingworth.—(C. iv.) "Protestantism," writes Dr. Dorner (Hist. Prot. Theol., I. 2), "seeks, indeed, its ultimate foundation in the nature of Christianity, as it is handed down to us in a documentary form in the Holy Scriptures." See some good remarks on this subject in Rogers' Essays, II. 334, and Dean Merivale's Lectures on Conversion of the Empire, pp. 140, 141. Christians are known to Mahometans as " the people of the Book." But the vivid language of Napoleon at St. Helena (BerirancFs Memoirs ap. Luthardt Apol., p. 355, E. T.) is here applicable, "The Gospel is no mere book, but a living creature with an agency; a power that conquers all that opposes it."
1 This is the real answer to objections such as those of Mr. Buckle, Hist. Civil., II. 51: "The actions of men are governed not by dogmas, and text-books, and rubrics, but by the opinions and habits of their contemporaries, by the general spirit of their age, and by the character of those classes who are in the ascendant. This seems to be the origin of ceremonial worship and practice, it is difficult to distinguish between principles and details, so overlaid is the spirit by the letter of the particular ordinance. There is a . constant tendency to crystallize into formalism. In these it is almost impossible to see how tradition could long supply the place of an authorized formula. But the faith of Jesus Christ makes, as it requires, no such claim. "The Gospel," it has been truly said,1 "is not a system of theology, nor a syntagma of theoretical propositions and conclusions for the enlargement of speculative knowledge, ethical or metaphysical, but it is a history, a series of facts or events related or announced. These do indeed involve, or rather they at the same time are, most important doctrinal truths, but still facts and declarations of facts."
of that difference between religions theory and religious practice of which theologians greatly complain as a stumbling-block and an evil."—See Tylor, Hist. Prim. Cult., II. 337. Mr. Mackay, Progress of Intellect, I. 17, remarks: "Forms (». e. creeds and ceremonies) are in their nature transitory; for, being destitute of flexibility and power of selfaccommodation to altered circumstances, they become in time unconformable to realities, and stand only as idle landmarks of the past, or like deserted channels requiring to be filled up." On the growth of sacerdotalism in the Vedic religion and in Buddhism, see Mr. Fairbairn's able and learned essay, Cont. Bev., XX. pp. 36-55.
1 S. T. Coleridge, Aids to Reflection, p. 153. "Religions," says Prof. Max Mliller, " have sometimes been divided into national or traditional, as distinguished from individual or statutable religions. The former are like languages, home-grown, autochthonic, without an historical beginning, generally without any recognized founder, or even an authorized code: the latter have been founded by historical persons, generally in antagonism to traditional systems, and they always rest on the authority of a written code." This division Professor Miiller with justice thinks too sharply drawn.—C. R., XIX. 102.