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The question then remains, is there reason to hold its quality to be changed—has it lost its virtue ? Have its principles proved hollow and unsound ? Has it wrought its work, has it impressed its influence through a falsehood ? Such as we have seen it to be, it overcame the world in its fairest and most highly civilized regions. And none but this, we know and are assured, “is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”
B. L., p. 190; who replies that besides the matter-of-fact coincidence between the results and the doctrine, there is the conviction of the agents to the same effect. Would a moral Deism have produced the same consequences? Would Christianity deprived of its revealed ideas exhibit the same fruits ?
THE PERMANENCE OF CHRISTIANITY INFERRED
FROM THE CHARACTER OF ITS INFLUENCE.
“If we are to calculate the probable extension or extinction of Christian opinions, we must consult the evidence of facts on a large scale; and especially must observe what manifestations of intrinsic power they have given on certain peculiar and critical occasions. This is the only course that can be deemed satisfactory, or that is conformed to the procedures of modern science.”—I. Taylor, Nat. Hist. of Enthus., p. 264.
“ Ye are the salt of the earth.”—Matt. 1. 13.
T may seem at first sight unjust to cite Monasti
Monasticism as a specific testimony to a testithe power and character of Christian doctrine, the influwhen its prevalence among earlier religions, as Chris
ianity. that of Buddha, is taken into account. No doubt, sacrifices have been made by other faiths to the principle of Asceticism. All such would by some thinkers be equally and unhesitatingly condemned.
1 Thus M. Littré observes : "Le Christianisme, quelques tempéraments qu'on y ait apportés, est une religion essentiellement ascétique: et comme l'ascétique Buddhisme il avait enfanté le monachisme.”—Les Barbares, p. 115. Some have traced the origin of Christian Monachism to the Palestinian Essenes, represented at Alexandria by the Therapeutæ;' some, on the other hand, to a doctrine of the NeoPlatonists.-Comp. Gieseler, II. i.; Neander, I. 84; Döllinger, Gentile and Jew, II. 311-316. Philo (dle Vit. Contempl., § 3) recognized the tendency as one common to human nature under certain conditions. πολλαχού μεν ουν της οικουμένης τούτο το γένος. "Εδει γαρ αγαθού τελείου μετασχειν και την Ελλάδα και την βάρβαρον. This principle, however, το μόνον είναι προς θεόν, is a different one from the philosophic ascetic spirit which was early remarked in the first Christians, as a reaction on the immorality of the times. Similarly the doctrine of a higher perfection, which arose out of the asceticism of the monastic life, has no necessary connection with its first principles. Comp. De Wette, Gesch, d. Christl. Sittenlehre, I. 340. Chrysostom (a. oppugn. Vit. Mon., c. iii., ap. Robertson, C. H., I. 332) well says, “ All men ought to rise to the same height; and that which ruins the whole world is that we imagine a greater strictness to be necessary for the monk alone ; but that others may lead careless lives.”
Others might be inclined to place them on an equal footing. But, on the other hand, it is not unimportant that the Religion of Christ should not in its past history be without a test of spiritual conviction and personal sacrifice which belongs to other
faiths. And certainly when the genius of Western Analogy Monasticism is contrasted with that of Oriental
Monachism ; and this again with the futile iterations, external rites, and debasing humiliations of the followers of Gotáma,' the faith of Christian Europe will not be found to suffer by the compa
rison. The great work of Monasticism has doubtIts alleged less been to exhibit a high, if one-sided, Christian
ideal, superior to surrounding secular influences, and surpassing the conception of mere moral or political institutions. I cannot see with some that the presence of such an ideal tends to reduce the average standard of religious duty. M. Renan” bas not denied to it a savour of originality, the present loss of which to the human mind he views with a cer
Compare Mr. Hardy's Eastern Monachism, and for the Buddhist monasteries of Thibet at the present time, Mr. Cooper's Pioneer of Commerce. “ Undoubtedly,” says Dr. Mozley (B. L., p. 187), “the doctrines of false religions have extracted remarkable action out of human nature ; especially the doctrines of Oriental religions; e. g. the Hindoo doctrine of Absorption. But of what kind ? Such as is more allied to phrenzy than morals ; gigantic feats of self-torture, and selfstupefaction,” &c. Eastern Christianity had indeed its Bóg ko, 'Akoiμητοι, Δενδρίται, and Στυλίται ; but when at the end of the sixth century it was endeavoured to introduce the last-named extravagance in the neighbourhood of Trèves, the Bishops removed the pillar. -See Greg., Turon., VIII. xv.
2 Sec ap. Montalembert, I. 27.