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LESSONS FROM ROMAN HISTORY.
they were no longer protected by Roman arms. I said the example was one which the statesmen of British India would do well to ponder. To abolish human sacrifices is good; but a blank will be left in the nation's heart even by the loss of such practices as these which must be filled up, or we shall impoverish those whom we seek to reform. But there is another, sadder side of this history, one which refers not to the conquered, but to the conquerors. Britain uttered her groan because Rome could no longer send forth her legions. The hundred hands which had been stretched from east to west, from north to south, were palsied; for the giant who moved them had become a child. And whence came this decay of strength? All the signs of it still belonged to Rome. From the city of Jerusalem to the city of York she had traversed the earth with her roads; within her own walls were the mightiest trophies of art over nature. Her history told by what wonderful agencies human and natural, by how evidently divine an ordinance, her glory had been achieved. And to the gloss of civilization had been added the gloss of Christianity. The Emperor had believed when other help was failing, that in the might of the Cross he might still conquer. The sign was indeed there, but it was marked upon the standard, not written upon the hearts, of those rulers of the world. They saw not what it meant; how it interpreted and crowned all that had been great in their history hitherto; how it separated the real great from
the real little; how it sanctified all those feelings of obedience, duty, reverence for unseen law, self-devotion, by which the city had risen from nothing how it poured contempt upon dominion, except as an instrument by which the highest might serve the lowest, upon glory, except as it grew out of humiliation, and was the exaltation of man above himself. The civilized Christian Roman had lost the heart, the reverence, the faith, which belonged to his rude Pagan ancestors; that Christianity and civilization might be victorious, the miserable patrons of both were swept away.
If it is so with us; if our civilization merely consists in those outward conveniences and mechanical inventions which are the fruits of it, assuredly we shall impart but that which we have; we shall communicate only our external polish to the nations which we rule; their inward condition under our hands will become less strong, less sound, than it was before. If our belief in Christianity fibats upon the surface of our minds, just keeps itself alive by a few phrases and conventions in the multitude of our pursuits, if it offers no greater evidence of its vitality than the debates and controversies which it engenders, assuredly we cannot present it to the Hindoo with the slightest hope that he will receive it in exchange for a faith which, be it good or evil, has governed his life. Only if our cultivation be of that kind which is truly human, which delights to discern the essential humanity of each nation, to honour it, to
OUR OWN RECEPTION OF THE GOSPEL. 187
sympathise with it, shall we understand that which is peculiar in our subjects, or reform that which is corrupt in them. Only if we have received the Gospel as the answer from heaven to inward perplexities which we have a thousand times tried to stifle, but could not; only if we have learnt that these perplexities are the groans of the human spirit within us crying for deliverance; can we with honest confidence speak to that spirit in whatever region it dwells, in whatever language, clear or inarticulate, it utters its voice, as one spake to it of old, "Say not, Who shall ascend up into heaven? that is, to bring Christ down; or, Who shall descend into the deep? that is, to bring Christ again from the dead: for lo! the word is nigh thee, in thy mouth and in thy heart, even the word of faith which we preach."
PART II-LECTURE III.
How this relation should be detected. The descent of the Spirit. Relation of the Christian Church to the Jewish. Supposed analogy to the relations of Buddhism with Brahminism. The resemblances and difference between Christianity and Buddhism. The Buddhist side of Christianity threatening its existence. How Christians may speak to Buddhists elsewhere, especially in China.
HAT Buddha and Brahm are words of cognate if not of the same signification; that Buddhism is nevertheless essentially opposed to Brahminism, seeing that it denies the existence of a priestly caste; that the Buddhists are scattered over many lands, and have adopted various forms of belief and opinion; that their universal characteristic is reverence for the human intellect, which they think of as one, though diffused through many persons, and as having its central manifestation in the Lama; that Buddhism exists in China beside two other forms of opinion with which it does not combine-I have explained in my third Lecture of the First Part. It is now our business to enquire whether this system has any or what affinities with Christianity. If the enquiry is conducted fairly, it must satisfy certain conditions. The resemblance which we detect must be not in the superficial accidental parts of either faith, but in their radical and essential characteristics; these must not be assumed by the enquirer on his own authority, but must have some clear voucher that they are
THE DAY OF PENTECOST.
recognized as radical and essential characteristics by Buddhists and Christians respectively; the likeness must not be to that side of Buddhism which coincides with Hindooism-otherwise we shall only be repeating the last Lecture-but to the opposite side.
The festival of Whitsuntide is observed in all parts of Christendom; here in England, among the Protestants in the north of Europe, by the Romanists in the south, by Greeks and Armenians, by the descendants of English, French, and Spanish settlers in North and South America. It is felt by all these to commemorate a great event, the event which marks the establishment of the Christian Church in the world. They derive their notion of this event from the record of it in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. There we are told, that on a certain day which had long been kept as a festival day among the Jews, numbers of them were gathered from various countries of Asia, Africa, and Europe, in the city of Jerusalem. In that city dwelt a body of priests, divinely called, as its inhabitants believed, to this office, members of a priestly family. There were also authorized doctors and interpreters of the law, whose words were received by the great mass of the people as oracles. On the day of Pentecost, says the writer of the Acts, a great body of the inhabitants of the city, and of the strangers from other lands, were drawn to a place near the temple, because they were told that a set of men, not priests, not doctors of the law, but inhabitants of the most despised part of Palestine, themselves