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in sleep; the progression of time forms his footsteps ; all the gods to him are as sparks of fire. To him I bow, I bow."

Hence a return to Brahm, - the silent, the unconscious, the eternal,- becomes the dream and desire of all. Utter absorption is the longing of the Brahmin and the Soudra, the philosopher and the peasant, the saint and the sinner. Through countless migrations from body to body, he hopes at last to reach the abyss.*

In Budhism the idea of the divine seems all but lost; but this, we doubt not, was its original foundation; though now the majority of its votaries deny the existence of an eternal, that is, of a conscious, ever-living God, and long for absolute nigban, annihilation or absorption. Gaudama, or Budh, was once on earth, but passing away has himself reached annihilation, or the Burchan state. Budh, indeed, is properly a generic term, meaning the divinity, while Gaudama (among the Burmans, particularly) is the name of their last Budh, regarded by some of the Hindoos as the ninth incarnation of Vishnu, the same, therefore, as Krishna, who is supposed to have lived about the sixth century before Christ. Among the Burmans and others, he is simply a deified man, who has attained nigban. They expect another Budh many thousand years hence; in the mean while, they worship only images, and literally have no god." Here, then, amid forms and beliefs, which at first sight appear atheistic, we have the indestructible longing after absolute and eternal Being, which, in its reality, is God. The return to the All is but the dim shadow, perhaps the fatal corruption of the sublime idea of the soul's return to the “Father of spirits.” It would seem, indeed, as if the entire Oriental mind revolved around this idea, and longed, blindly and instinctively, for this ineffable result. After all, their Burchan state is not absolute extinction, but impersonal repose in the bosom of God.

* For a brief popular account of the Hindoo religion, see F. D. W. Ward's India and the Hindoos, pp. 267–277. Those who desire more extended information must consult Colebrooke's Essay, Miscellanies, &c., Sir William Jones's Works, Ward's View of the Hindoos, and The Journal of the Asiatic Society. Compare Van Bohlen's Das Alte Indien, and A. W. Schlegel on the Bhagavad Gita.

Another great element of the faith of the Orientals, which we find in many diversified forms, is the possible coming of God to man, as well as the possible return of man to God. The idea of God's becoming man, and man's becoming God, is the mystic circle in which all their thoughts revolve. Nothing is more familiar to their minds than the possibility of divine incarnations, and the consequent possibility of human transformations. Somehow, God and man, the infinite and the finite spirit, must become one.

Malcom's Travels, vol. i. pp. 241-248. Mr. Malcom endeavors to show that Budhism is older than Brahminism. But his arguments are not satisfactory. The probabilities are all in favor of its being the last result of material pantheism. It exists in different forms among the nations of Farther India. The best authorities represent it as a branch or a shoot of Brahminism. Its essential principle, namely, absorption, after endless changes, in Brahm, or the All, is the same. See Ritter, list. of An. Ph. i. p. 93; sec also the second

p part of F. W. Schegel's Language and Wisdom of the Indians ; Icon. Cyclo. vol. iv. p. 233.

Is not this, too, in reality, the basis of all our western religions? Nay, is it not the very essence of all religion, as a spiritual power intended to restore man to the lost image of God, and thus make him one with God ? The western mind indeed clings to the great fact of personality, maintaining not only the personality of the personality of God; but it recognizes the possibility of interior and eternal unity, and consequently easily adopts the doctrine of a divine incarnation, and on the basis of this, the idea of a human transformation. Hence the incarnation” and “the new birth” are the fundamental and most profoundly cherished truths of Chris. tianity.

In a word, from his very nature man longs for some special manifestation of God, in such form as he can appreciate, and on the ground of this, for some sacred and eternal union with the Source

being and happiness. He must have a Redeemer and a heaven; in default of which he

man, but

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invents his Brahmas, his Krishnas and Osirises, his “lords many and gods many," his Nigbans and Burchans, his Mount Merus and Elysian Fields.

This, however, by the way, for our sketch is not yet completed. What remains we reserve for another chapter.




ONE of the most interesting and well-developed religions of the ancient world, the remains of which yet linger in many parts of Asia, especially in Persia, is that of the Zend-Avesta, (Fire-kindler, or Living Word,) the sacred book of the Parsees, or ancient fire-worshippers. Considerable dispute exists as to the primitive form of this religion, and some apparently wellgrounded doubts have been cast upon the genuineness of the Zend-Avesta. Many learned men, however, allow it, in the main, to be the work or compilation of their great religious teacher, Zerdusht, or Zoroaster, who is supposed to have flourished before the time of Cyrus. Still the work is fragmentary, consisting mainly of occasional institutes, prayers, and other liturgical forms. Those most competent to form an opinion say that it has the appearance of a work consisting of some original materials, with successive additions and emendations. It was brought originally from India by Anquetil Du Perron, by whom

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