not in the least affect what we believe; for Christianity is not concerned in justifying our sins, but in condemning them: it does not say that any particular set of men, calling themselves by the Christian name, are better than others; but it says that God will be true, though every man be a liar; that His kingdom will be established whether we who belong to it care that it should be established, or cut ourselves off from it. And the same conscience which tells us of our evil, forces each of us to say: 'This evil comes not from my faith, but from indifference to it. It comes not from my holding too fast by that which is simple and old when I might be seeking for a new and finer Christianity. It comes simply from my forgetting the Creed of my childhood. For if I did believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth, I should be acknowledging that Will which Jews and Mahometans acknowledge as the ground of all things: only I should be confessing it as a loving and fatherly Will. If I did believe in Jesus Christ His only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried, who descended into hell, and rose again the third day from the dead, who ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty, who from thence shall come to judge the quick and dead, I should feel and understand that there is indeed a Man who will reign over the world, and judge it as Jews and Mahometans


teach; but that this Man is the Son of God and the Son of Man; one who before He claimed our homage, submitted to our curse, wrestled with death and overcame; who has already set up His throne in the highest region of all, and calls upon every voluntary creature in his heart and spirit to do him homage. If I did believe in the Holy Ghost, the Holy Catholic Church, the Communion of Saints, the Forgiveness of Sins, the Resurrection of the Body, and the Life Everlasting, I should feel there was a mighty, Divine Power working in us, to make us more completely servants of a human king and of the Divine Will, than Jews and Mahometans have ever dreamed they could be: to make us members of a universal society, as Islamites wish to be; to make our bodies more triumphant over death, more glorious than they have thought possible; but, besides this, to make us sons of God-brethren with Him who is the Son of God - brethren with those who have passed into another world, who are perfectly freed from temptation and sin, who have inherited not a sensual Paradise, but a kingdom of righteousness, and peace, and love.'





The relation between Christianity and Hindooism generally compared. Mistakes concerning it. Investigation of its nature. The twice-born man. The Image of Brahm Incarnations. Sacrifice. Dangers to Christianity from its Hindoo side. How Christianity can and cannot satisfy Hindoos.


HE subject which I propose to consider in my present Lecture, is the relation between Christianity and Hindooism. That such a relation exists has been felt by most persons, different as their theories have been respecting the nature or the cause of it. Christian writers on Hindoo antiquities have spoken of various traditions, which they suppose must have been derived, originally, from Scripture narratives-of various Hindoo doctrines which have an obvious resemblance to some that form part of the orthodox faith of Christendom. Infidel writers have been equally willing to notice these correspondences, and have turned them to their own account. If any part of the Hindoo theories about the origin of the world recalls the Mosaic narrative, this is evidence to them that each was equally the work of some early, imperfect theorist, that neither has any claim to Divine authority. If the similarity is of an historical kind, the notorious confusion of the Hindoo records throws new doubt upon the Jewish. If, again, the likeness be between the great mysteries of the Christian faith, and the


more recondite Hindoo speculations, what, they ask, does this shew but that these mysteries are the results of certain trains of human thought, and have only been attributed to a higher origin, because our forefathers had not the same means as we have of tracing them out in the minds of those whom they considered ignorant and idolatrous as we do?


I do not wish to conceal any of these objections; I am rather anxious to put them forward at the outset of my enquiry, because they concern not so much the conclusions to which it may lead, as the method in which it shall be pursued. It is no doubt true that Christian writers have often caught at external, superficial indications of a resemblance between their own faith and that of other men, and have strained evidence to shew how it must have been produced. And I am satisfied that every such attempt to make out a case by ingenious twisting of words or perversion of facts, is sorely punished. For the impression left upon our minds, supposing the likeness completely established, would be no more than this; that certain opinions of certain people upon matters of history, or upon questions of a very subtle and refined nature, had something to do with opinions existing among ourselves, and might, perhaps, have proceeded from the same source. But the mere theories which we find in the sacred books of different nations, either about the past state of the world, or the system of it now, though they are worthy of our study and reflection, as

hints (not always the most important hints) towards understanding what is the radical principle and belief of the race which adopts them, are not themselves identical with that principle and that belief. Now when this is the case with that to which we compare the Christian doctrines, it is far too likely that we shall begin to think of them in the same way. They will appear to us also notions and opinions about certain great subjects; divine notions and opinions we may call them ; but a mere name will not change their character: we shall not feel that they have to do with our own life and being; we shall regard them as truths which we are to hold, not as truths which are to hold us, which are to give us a standing ground for time and for eternity. I do not wonder, then, nor am I altogether sorry, that those who have put forward this view of the relations between Hindooism and Christianity should have been taught that their own weapons may be used against them. Such discoveries, instead of shaking our faith, may lead us to feel more diligently for the foundation of it; to ask whether other nations have not given evidence that they too need such a foundation; whether they are not craving to be told what it is.

In considering the relations between Mahometanism and Christianity, we did not satisfy ourselves with shewing that certain precepts of the Koran corresponded to certain precepts of the Bible, and that the one was wrong when it had departed from the other. It seemed necessary to

« ForrigeFortsett »