Puslapio vaizdai

as, if you take hold of glowing charcoal it will burn you; if of cold charcoal it will soil you.

[ocr errors]

"A good action done in this world will receive its reward in the next; even as the water poured at the root of a tree will be seen aloft in the fruit or the branches."

[ocr errors]

Though the good have only a little wealth, like the water of a well it is useful to all; though the bad have much wealth, like the salt water of the sea it is useful to none."

The following are from M. Burnouf's works :

"Bhagavat said there are five things of the Religious that one is never wearied in looking at: they are an elephant, a naga (the snake-king), a king, the ocean, and a high mountain. One is never wearied in beholding Budha who is the best of the Happy." "Brahmah inhabits the houses where the sons reverence their fathers and mothers."

"Men enquire concerning the caste when it is a question of an invitation or a marriage, but not when it is a question of the Law; for it is virtue that makes one accomplish the Law, and the virtues do not belong to caste."

"If a man of high birth is vicious, this man is blamed in the world-how then shall not the virtues which honour the man of base extraction be honoured ?"

[ocr errors]


'Behold the fear of death which could only take from you a single life, prevents you from enjoying agreeable objects made to flatter the heart because terror does not cease to trouble you. pleasure then can the hearts of the Religious find in meats and the other objects of the senses, those who dream of the future terrors of death repeated through many hundreds of existences."

"He whose vast heart has nothing which attaches it (to earth), and whose healthy body is free from sickness, and who disposes at his own will of his own existence; he sees in the world of men a perpetual feast for himself."

"The life of man is short, oh Religious; its term is inevitable; it is necessary to practise virtue, for death is the condition of every thing which is born."

The following may be taken as the motto of the Religious :

[ocr errors]

Commence, go forth; apply yourself to the law of Budha; destroy the army of death as an elephant destroys a garden of roses. He who will march without distraction under the discipline of this law, escaping the birth and the revolution of the world, shall put an end to grief.

As it is one of the peculiarities of Budhism that it represents heaven as won by contemplation (while, if we understand it correctly, Brahminism ascribes the supreme efficacy to prayer, and the Christian faith is to be shown by good works), the value which this Religion (Budhism) possesses is principally to be found in its rules for Meditation :

"At the close of the day, or at the dawn, the priest is to withdraw to a suitable place, and go through five principal modes of Meditation. The First is that of kindness. May all beings be happy; may they be free from sorrow, disease and pain. When the priest finds it difficult to exercise this meditation on an enemy, many rules are laid down to enable him to do so. When other means are ineffectual he must make a present to his enemy."

"The Second is the Meditation of Pity. May the poor be relieved from their indigence and receive abundance.”

"The Third is the Meditation of Joy. May the good fortune of the prosperous never pass away; may each one receive his own appointed reward."

"The Fourth Meditation is that which produces dissatisfaction, aversion, and disgust with the affairs of this life. This is the beginning of the religious life."

"The three reflections on the impermanency of suffering and unreality of the body, are the gates which lead to the city of Nirwana. The body exists only for a moment-it is like lightning passing through the sky; like foam; like a grain of salt thrown into water; the flame in the wind; the dew on the grass. This shows the impermanence of the body.'

[ocr errors]

'By continual repetition of birth and death, man is subject to constant suffering; he is like a worm in the midst of ants; a lizard in the hollow of a bamboo, turning at both ends, &c. These are the

signs connected with suffering."

"The body is unreal as a mirage in the sunshine, or a painted picture, or a mere machine, or food seen in a dream, or lightning dancing in the sky, or the course of an arrow shot from a bow. This is the reflection on the unreality of the body."

"The Fourth mode of Meditation is that in which all sentient beings are regarded alike: one is not loved nor hated more than another; towards all there is indifference. This exercise is superior to the others; it is the meditation of equanimity."

This reflection seems identical with the saying of Goethe, that the wise is he to whom the lowest has risen and the highest descended. The explanations of the NirCHRISTIAN TEACHER.- No. 50. 2 L

[ocr errors]

wana point also to that other saying of Goethe's, that life begins only in self-renunciation; "I am like a servant," said Seriyut, " awaiting the command of his master, ready to obey it, whatever it may be: I await the appointed time for the cessation of existence; I have no wish to live; I have no wish to die; desire is extinct.' "Es irrt das mensh so lung en strebt." Gótama, however, seems to have reached a loftier state than the German poet; since, in the Budhist Scriptures, the state of selfrenunciation is described with so much rapture. "It is," say they, "free from decay, it is not to be waited for, it is pure, tranquil, stable, free from death, its blessedness is great, it is supernatural, free from restraint, from sorrow, and the evils of existence: when that is attained, man ceases his separate life, and perishes in the fruition of his glorious toil."

In the praise we have given of this system we have meant nothing derogatory to Christianity. It is jealousy, not affection, that can see nothing good but in our own system. We believe that there is a light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. No wonder then it shines in various quarters of the world. Even Mr. Hardy cautions his readers from condemning other religions indiscriminately; for there are principles common to all religions in a greater or less degree, without which they would not be received by mankind; and Wordsworth's wisdom must come to mind

"Doomed as we are our native dust

To wet with many a bitter shower,

It ill befits us to disdain

The altar, to deride the fane

Where humble sufferers bend in trust,
To win a happier hour."

We believe the deepest injury now inflicted on Christianity is by those defenders who do not understand it. It is, indeed, the highest development of man; but every mind which is born into the world has to go through the entire development of the race, from the time of creation, before it can become Christian. This we understand in Mathematics. Every child has to begin with the simplest numeration, and by degrees, painful to all, mounts

up to the calculus ;-so it is in Religion. The child begins with being a Nature-Worshipper, and only at length sees the inner light which shines through all the world. Christianity, meaning by that the desire of an active career, doing the work of the Father, is peculiarly the Religion of Manhood. He who never moves, like the recluse, may never fall; but it is evident that he who runs requires a greater skill, lest he strike his foot against a stone. There are (relatively to the numbers respectively engaged in the pursuit), as few good Christians as there are good Mathematicians. We have before intimated our opinion that it takes the devotion of the flower of a man's youth, and the strength of his manhood, to enable him to understand the simple spiritual precepts. There may be some so finely touched by nature that they seem to reach spiritual excellence without an effort; but it is often the weakness, not the vigour, of the plant that makes it flower so early.

It is a proof of the wisdom of the Hindoos, that from of old they have foreseen the gradual decay of the Religion, the duration of which they maintain will be 5,000 years. They allow that it has reached the first period of its decay, since there are none now living who have attained Nirwana. The second period extends to the time when the observances of the priesthood will cease. The third to the period when the understanding of Pali, the language of the Scriptures, will cease. The fourth will continue till the priesthood ceases. The fifth will extend to the entire disappearance of the relics of Budha. The Brahmins and other beings will exclaim :-" The Religion of Budha has passed away; the glory of Budha is defiled; the commands of Budha are neglected; the fame of Budha is overshadowed." Their thoughts will be carried forward to consider how long this darkness will continue, and when Maitri Budha will appear. Thus their lives are enlightened by hope, and to them also the destruction only prepares the renovation of the world.



Hearts in Mortmain, and Cornelia. London: John Chapman. 1850.

THE highest effort of creative genius is the delineation of character. It is the latest success to which each form of imaginative Literature attains, and the point at which it culminates. That of England has no feature in its history which more entitles it to admiration, than the rapidity with which each branch of it has passed through the lower stages and established itself in this highest one. The love of the study of character has become deeply rooted among us, and much writing which has no obvious tendency to minister to this bent, is made interesting to us, less by the sentiments or the descriptions it contains, than by the opportunities it affords us of studying the writer's own mind and character. We require, too, as the taste has become more developed in us, to have the nicer differences discriminated-our portraits must be finished and minute. Types of classes, or even outlines of individuals, have ceased to satisfy us; we wish to have the whole man in his detail put before us, and we especially like to see him as we meet him in every-day life, and to test the accuracy of the Author by the results of our own experience and observation. Whether in this last requirement our taste has taken a direction which can be approved to the extent to which it is now indulged, may admit of question, but no one will be disposed to deny that it has taken this direction. And every form of expression which, either from its own nature or the social conditions under which it is employed, has become inadequate to answer these requisitions, will be in danger of falling out of use. It is probably to this circumstance that we must in great measure attribute the extent to which dramatic poetry has been superseded by narrative prose fiction. Dramatic poetry is the highest form of expression, and can command even the subtlest distinctions of character, but it is excluded from those shades which specially spring from the forms and habits of

« AnkstesnisTęsti »