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find that this ancient Revelation which you were going to cast aside as one of the false and wornout systems of the world, supplies that realization and reconciliation-supplies them because it is a revelation,-on that ground, and no other-then be sure that if you do cast it aside, or wish to prove it something else than a revelation, the reason is not that you care for what is expansive and comprehensive, that you hate what is formal and narrow; this is not any longer the ground of your opposition. Will you then with great earnestness ask yourselves, what it is?
VII. Perhaps, however, we have been speaking only of a verbal reconciliation; you want one which shall be practical; one which may bear to be tried on a great scale. Let us see then whether the case of China, a country which you will allow to be practical at least in its aim, to offer quite sufficient room for a large experiment, may not supply what you require. If you did hear of a people which had had for ages the strongest conviction that the authority of the Father was the one foundation of society, but had never been able to connect this conviction with the acknowledgement of anything mysterious and divine; of a society which for ages had not been able to prevent a certain body of its subjects from dreaming that there is a mysterious and divine Word or Reason speaking to the wise man, out of which dream, however, no fruits had proceeded but impostures and delusions; if you were told, that into the heart of this society Buddhism had come, with
THE AUTHORITY OF A FATHER.
its strange testimony of a Spirit in the human race, the ordinary manifestations of which are seen in very ignorant priests, its perfect manifestation often in an infant: if you heard that these doctrines had never been able to combine, and yet that no one could succeed in banishing the other from an empire in which order and unity are prized as the highest blessings of all, nay, that experience had proved to reluctant sages, that none of these elements of discord could safely be extinguished, that each was in some strange way needful to the permanence of that which it seemed to undermine:-and if after this you heard of a faith which assumed that the ground of all things and all men is a Father; that He has spoken and does speak by his Filial Word to the hearts and spirits of men, so making them wise, and separating them from what is base and vain; that this Filial Word has been made flesh and dwelt among men, and has given them power to become sons of God; and that through Him a Spirit is given to dwell with men, to raise up a new spirit in them, to unite them to each other, to make them living portions of a living body; that men are actually admitted by a simple rite into a Name expressive of their adoption by the Father, their separation by the Word, their inspiration by the Spirit; that in this Name stood a universal fellowship, which upheld the authority of earthly fathers upon the ground of the divine relation, which asserted the distinction of wise and foolish, good and evil men, upon the ground of
their following or disobeying the monitions of that filial teacher, from whom all right human instructors derived the power whereby they were able to make good and useful scholars, which maintained the intercourse and communion of human beings upon the ground of their obedience to the Spirit of order and harmony ;-if, I say, these two sets of facts were presented to you side by side, would not you feel there was some strange adaptation in the one to the other; that there was in the last the secret principle and power for which it was evident from the former that China had through centuries been asking in vain?
VIII. But why do I speak thus ? does it not sound like the idlest of all visions to talk of our converting Buddhists, when, judging from various indications, they are far more likely to convert us? I have not disguised from you the Buddhist side of Christianity; I have rejoiced to set it forth, as I rejoiced to set forth the Mahometan and Hindoo sides of it. But, as we saw that either of these elements might in any age become the predominant, almost the exclusive one, it is needful that we should consider well how this third doctrine may in former days have crushed, may crush in our own, every other. Assuredly, there are distinct traces of prevalent triumphant Buddhism in the Christian Church of periods gone by. The history of Orders rising up to reform society, to rebuke organized priesthoods for their self-indulgence, coldness, exclusiveness, to assert the rights of the poor, to maintain that every
member of Christ's flock has a calling to benefit the rest; beginning thus nobly, and then sinking into more intolerable despots than those against whom they protested—self-exalted in their gifts, their knowledge, their ignorance, their poverty; —deceiving, and being deceived; drawing all reverence to themselves on the score of their humility, holding down the poor in slavery, whom they came to deliver; this history contains one class of such phenomena. In the history of Mysticism and Quietism, telling how men beginning to seek God with earnest hearts, to denounce the idolatrous notions others had formed of Him, to retire into the secret chamber that there might be no hinderance from outward things to the clearness of the vision, to mortify their flesh that it might not stand in their way, went on till their hearts grew puffed up and proud, till they began to boast of wonderful discoveries vouchsafed to them alone, till they became the subjects of all nervous impressions, fantasies, disorders, more sensual than those whom they charged with being so; how at last they gazed on vacancy, and felt, if they had not honesty to say, 'The vision is gone, we see nothing:' here we find Christian Buddhism in another manifestation. And the lessons which these two records supply are not obsolete; either of these temptations may assault any of us again; in some form is perhaps assaulting all of us.
IX. But chiefly should we be careful to note what common principle it was which in each of these cases turned so much seeming truth into a curse;
for it is of that we have need to beware in whatever dress it may come, or if our especial work should be to encounter it in its nakedness. Unquestionably the member of the order and the solitary mystic alike yielded to the feeling, 'It is this power in me, this faculty of government, this faculty of vision, which is the great thing of all. How glorious to belong to this great society, for which I am ready to live and die; how glorious to have this capacity of conversing with the Infinite, for the sake of which I have cheerfully resigned all things!' Who could think that the deadliest poison was lurking in such words as these; that there could be the essence of all pride in such self-sacrifice? But what if men should say boldly, 'It is this power in me which is really the great power of all; it is this eye in me which creates the object it seems to behold. I will acknowledge nothing else, worship nothing else.' What if this should be the language which men lisped a few years ago, and now begin to speak distinctly? Then surely there will gradually appear most of the other signs which we have traced in Buddhism, and many which could not appear in it, or in any heathen system. First, the formation of an intellectual priesthood more utterly without the sense of a vocation, more simply glorying in its powers, therefore more intolerant, exclusive, oppressive, than any other with which this earth has ever been cursed. Next, the consciousness in that exclusive priesthood of a want of sympathy with actual men, notwithstanding their