« PreviousContinue »
philosophical theology, and a sentence which he continually repeated as the foundation of all true wisdom, that Fo, the eternal Reason produced ONE ; one produced two; two produced THREE ; and THREE produced all things. A clearer description of the eternal trinity in unity could not be given by any christian. But his followers, however, have introduced many absurdities altogether inconsistent with the doctrines taught by him. Images have been introduced in their worship, originally intended to signify the good and evil passions, which are now reverenced by the lower orders. This has been a misapplication of that part of scripture, where images of different creatures were shown to the prophet, to signify the affections, and which, without doubt, at that period, viz. in the time of the prophets, found its way into China.
THE RELIGION OF CHINESE TARTARY
Is much the same as that of China.
The emperor, who descended from the Tartars, from motives of state policy resides six months in China, and six months in Tartary, where the court and the nobility also attend. So that the established religion is the same; though different sects are allowed to worship in their own way, provided they do not interfere, with the established order of the government.
In Russian Tartary, they inculcate the doctrine and practice of the Greek church. And the inhabitants of
MOGUL AND INDEPENDENT TARTAPY
Profess the Hindoo, the Mahometan, the Greek, and the Popish religions. In that part of Tartary, called Thibet, a vast extent of country, they have a representative idol called the Grand Lama. But the Schaman professors, whose doctrines are much the same as those of the followers of Confucius in China, are the most nu
THE WORSHIP OF THE PEOPLE OF THOSE COUNTRIES
KNOWN TO US BY THE NAME OF
THE EAST INDIES,
Is of various kinds, but they all agree in this one great truth : that there is one God, who created all things, who rewards the good, and punishes the wicked.
The Indians are descended from a very ancient origin; like their Persian neighbours, they may be traced back to the immediate descendants of Noah; and like them, they had just notions concerning the worship of the God of heaven. This worship was again restored to them, by the descendants of Abraham, and it appears to have been observed among them, until the time of Alexander the Great. A part of the Grecian mythology was ihen introduced, and they worshipped Jupiter, Bacchus, Juno, Neptune, &c. after the manner of the Greeks; yet none were considered to be supreme but Jupiter. They believe in the presence of good and evil genii; which is
consistent with scripture, viz. “ are they not ministering spirits sent forth to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation ?"
The Gentoos, or Hindoos, were the first inhabitants of India, so called from the Hebrew word Goim, i. e. nations, translated Gentiles.
The Brahmans are an order of Hindoo priests and philosophers, who fill the highest offices of state as counsellors, in many kingdoms of the east : they are highly venerated, and learned in the languages and sciences.
The theology of the Brahmans or Hindoos, is divided into two grand sects, viz. that of Veeshnu, and Seeva ; the first, is the Divine Being, in the capacity of his preserving power; the other, the Divine Being, in the exercise of his destroying power; which is consistent with the profession of christians, who believe that God is angry with the wicked, and that he redeems all who obey his commands.
They believe in the incarnation of Veeshnu, who, they say, descended in a human form, to accomplish great things, viz. to confound blaspheming vice—to subvert tyranny-to avenge oppressed innocence—and to abolish superstition.
They teach that man is a fallen creature, and, in hope of making an atonement for their sins, they suffer the most unheard-of and excruciating torments : sometimes, says the author of Indian Antiquities, suspending themselves in cages, upon trees considered sacred, that they may not be infected, by tonching the polluted earth; sometimes thrusting themselves under the wheels of immense machines, that carry about their unconscious gods, where they are instantly crushed to atoms : others hurl themselves from precipices of stupendous height; how standing up to their necks in rivers, till rapacious alligators come and devour them; measuring, with their naked bodies, over burning sands, for leagues, the distance from one pagoda to another ;. or braving with fixed eyes, the ardor of a meridian sun, between the tropics; and all this, in the transporting hope of immediately transmigrating into paradise.
The Brahmans do not teach the transmigration of the soul, from one material body to another material body in this world ; a doctrine they have been charged with by many writers. The design of the metempsychosis was to lead man, who had wandered from the path of virtue, by successive changes of state, in the heart and life, into his original state, in which he was created ; or, agreeably to the apostle, “ from a babe to a young man, and from a young man, to a father in Christ." Some writers have told us, that Pythagoras derived his doctrine of transmigration from the Brahmans, because, in the ancient book Menu, written long before his time, it is said, “ that as the vital souls addicted to sensuality, indulged themselves in forbidden pleasures, even to the same degree shall the acuteness of their senses be raised in their future bodies, that they may suffer analogous pain.” Hence they have supposed, that the future bodies, here mentioned, were bodies in material nature. But such writers forget that the apostle informs us, there are two bodies, viz. “ there is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body, howbeit, that was not first, which is spiritual, but that which is natural." They also should have recollected, that it is said, 6 flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God," and that the apostle says, “ absent from the body, present with the Lord;" consequently, that the future bodies, above-mentioned, in the ancient book of Menu, referred to the self-same body alluded to by the apostle, and not
to material bodies, of different shapes in this world, as of a horse, cow, lion, &c. in which view, those writers who have thus defined the Indian doctrine, have been grossly mistaken. I believe the true understanding of an enlightened Brahman, on this subject, to be consistent with the sacred scriptures, and that it was originally taken from them, where the prophet says, that clean and unclean beasts were figured before him on the wall in the chamber of imagery, to signify to him the good and evil affections of the Jews. By this doctrine, nothing more was meant by Pythagoras and the Brahmans, than that, according to the nature of that life, which man acquires in this world, so that peculiar nature or propensity remains to eternity, which, by its correspondence, might be similar to animals of an innocent, or to those of an evil, nature.
Before the service commences, the Brahman comes to the door of the Pagoda, and gives the Tiluk, or mark on the forehead of the worshippers, by dipping his right thumb in a mixture of vermillion. This is a very ancient custom; it is evidently taken from scripture, and shows, that at this day, they believe in the necessity of a mediator. Ezek. ix. 4. “Go through the city, and set a mark on the foreheads of the men, who sigh for the abominations committed in the midst thereof."-Rey. vii. 3. 5 Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.”—Exod. xxviii. 38..“ And it shall be upon Jaron's forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity, that they may be accepted before the Lord.” When the worship begins, the officiating Brahman rings a bell, and gives the Tiluk on the forehead of the image.
66 Thus does the devout Hindoo pay his worship to the Deity, through the symbols by which they represent him. Such