Pretensions of Missionaries in India and China

Enough! The approbation with which this book was received by the Church, and the peculiar sanctity attributed to it, is sufficient to show the estimation in which veracity was held by its patrons. We may add, in conclusion, that the finest quintessence of Boccaccio's Decameron appears prudery itself by comparison with the filthy realism of the Golden Legend.

We cannot regard with too much astonishment the pretensions of the Catholic Church in seeking to convert Hindus and Buddhists to Christianity. While the "heathen" keeps to the faith of his fathers, he has at least the one redeeming quality — that of not having apostatized for the mere pleasure of exchanging one set of idols for another. There may be for him some novelty in his embracing Protestantism; for in that he gains the advantage, at least, of limiting his religious views to their simplest expression. But when a Buddhist has been enticed into exchanging his Shoe Dagoon for the Slipper of the Vatican, or the eight hairs from the head of Gautama and Buddha's tooth, which work miracles, for the locks of a Christian saint, and a tooth of Jesus, which work far less clever miracles, he has no cause to boast of his choice. In his address to the Literary Society of Java, Sir T. S. Raffles is said to have narrated the following characteristic anecdote: "On visiting the great temple on the hills of Nagasaki, the English commissioner was received with marked regard and respect by the venerable patriarch of the northern provinces, a man eighty years of age, who entertained him most sumptuously. On showing him round the courts of the temple, one of the English officers present heedlessly exclaimed, in surprise, 'Jesus Christus!' The patriarch turning half round, with a placid smile, bowed significantly, with the expression: 'We know your Jasus Christus! Well, don't obtrude him upon us in our temples, and we remain friends.' And so, with a hearty shake of the hands, these two opposites parted."*

There is scarcely a report sent by the missionaries from India, Thibet, and China, but laments the diabolical "obscenity" of the heathen rites, their lamentable impudicity; all of which "are so strongly suggestive of devil-worship," as des Mousseaux tells us. We can scarcely be assured that the morality of the Pagans would be in the least improved were they allowed a free inquiry into the life of say the psalmistking, the author of those sweet Psalms which are so rapturously repeated by Christians. The difference between David performing a phallic dance before the holy ark — emblem of the female principle — and a Hindu Vishnavite bearing the same emblem on his forehead, favors the former only in the eyes of those who have studied neither the ancient faith nor their own. When a religion which compelled David to cut off and deliver two hundred foreskins of his enemies before he could become the king's son-in-law (I Sam. xviii.) is accepted as a standard by Christians, they would do well not to cast into the teeth of heathen the impudicities of their faiths. Remembering the suggestive parable of Jesus, they ought to cast the beam out of their own eye before plucking at

* "The Mythology of the Hindus," by Charles Coleman. Japan.

the mote in their neighbor's. The sexual element is as marked in Christianity as in any one of the "heathen religions." Certainly, nowhere in the Vedas can be found the coarseness and downright immodesty of language, that Hebraists now discover throughout the Mosaic Bible.

It would profit little were we to dwell much upon subjects which have been disposed of in such a masterly way by an anonymous author whose work electrified England and Germany last year;* while as regards the particular topic under notice, we cannot do better than recommend the scholarly writings of Dr. Inman. Albeit one-sided, and in many instances unjust to the ancient heathen, Pagan, and Jewish religions, the facts treated in the Ancient and Pagan Christian Symbolism, are unimpeachable. Neither can we agree with some English critics who charge him with an intent to destroy Christianity. If by Christianity is meant the external religious forms of worship, then he certainly seeks to destroy it, for in his eyes, as well as in those of every truly religious man, who has studied ancient exoteric faiths, and their symbology, Christianity is pure heathenism, and Catholicism, with its fetish-worshipping, is far worse and more pernicious than Hinduism in its most idolatrous aspect. But while denouncing the exoteric forms and unmasking the symbols, it is not the religion of Christ that the author attacks, but the artificial system of theology. We will allow him to illustrate the position in his own language, and quote from his preface:

* "Supernatural Religion."

"When vampires were discovered by the acumen of any observer," he says, "they were, we are told, ignominiously killed, by a stake being driven through the body; but experience showed them to have such tenacity of life that they rose, again and again, notwithstanding renewed impalement, and were not ultimately laid to rest till wholly burned. In like manner, the regenerated heathendom, which dominates over the followers of Jesus of Nazareth, has risen again and again, after being transfixed. Still cherished by the many, it is denounced by the few. Amongst other accusers, I raise my voice against the Paganism which exists so extensively in ecclesiastical Christianity, and will do my utmost to expose the imposture. . . . In a vampire story told in Thalaba, by Southey, the resuscitated being takes the form of a dearly-beloved maiden, and the hero is obliged to kill her with his own hand. He does so; but, whilst he strikes the form of the loved one, he feels sure that he slays only a demon. In like manner, when I endeavor to destroy the current heathenism, which has assumed the garb of Christianity, I do not attack real religion.+ Few would accuse a workman of malignancy, who cleanses from filth the surface of a noble f Neither do we, if by true religion the world shall at last understand the adoration of one Supreme, invisible, and Unknown Deity, by works and acts, not by the profession of vain human dogmas. But our intention is to go farther. We desire to demonstrate that if we exclude ceremonial and fetish worship from being regarded as essential parts of religion, then the true Christ-like principles have been exemplified, and true Christianity practiced since the days of the apostles, exclusively among Buddhists and "heathen."

statue. There may be some who are too nice to touch a nasty subject, yet even they will rejoice when some one else removes the dirt. Such a scavenger is wanted."*

But is it merely Pagans and heathen that the Catholics persecute, and about whom, like Augustine, they cry to the Deity, "Oh, my God! so do I wish Thy enemies to be slain"? Oh, no! their aspirations are more Mosaic and Cain-like than that. It is against their next of kin in faith, against their schismatic brothers that they are now intriguing within the walls which sheltered the murderous Borgias. The larvx of the infanticidal, parricidal, and fratricidal Popes have proved themselves fit counsellors for the Cains of Castelfidardo and Mentana. It is now the turn of the Slavonian Christians, the Oriental Schismatics — the Philistines of the Greek Church!

His Holiness the Pope, after exhausting, in a metaphor of self-laudation, every point of assimilation between the great biblical prophets and himself, has finally and truly compared himself with the Patriarch Jacob "wrestling against his God." He now crowns the edifice of Catholic piety by openly sympathizing with the Turks! The vicegerent of God inaugurates his infallibility by encouraging, in a true Christian spirit, the acts of that Moslem David, the modern Bashi-Bazuk; and it seems as if nothing would more please his Holiness than to be presented by the latter with several thousands of the Bulgarian or Servian "foreskins." True to her policy to be all things to all men to promote her own interests,

* "Ancient Pagan and Modern Christian Symbolism," p. xvi.

the Romish Church is, at this writing (1876), benevolently viewing the Bulgarian and Servian atrocities, and, probably, manreuvring with Turkey against Russia. Better Islam, and the hitherto-hated Crescent over the sepulchre of the Christian god, than the Greek Church established at Constantinople and Jerusalem as the state religion. Like a decrepit and toothless ex-tyrant in exile, the Vatican is eager for any alliance that promises, if not a restoration of its own power, at least the weakening of its rival. The axe its inquisitors once swung, it now toys with in secret, feeling its edge, and waiting, and hoping against hope. In her time, the Popish Church has lain with strange bedfellows, but never before now sunk to the degradation of giving her moral support to those who for over 1200 years spat in her face, called her adherents "infidel dogs," repudiated her teachings, and denied godhood to her God!

0 0

Post a comment