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any details of Buddha's life, and none whatever of those above mentioned peculiarly Christian characteristics. Nearly all the above given legends, which claim to have happened many centuries before Christ, cannot be proved to have been in circulation earlier than the 5th or 6th century after Christ."24
After the death of Gautama, the legends assert that his sayings and teachings were collected and fixed in a triple canon by three of his principle disciples ; but for centuries after there is no proof of the existence of a written canon. The Buddhist dogmas and legends were handed down from mouth to mouth, and from generation to generation. A council was held in Cashmere, under Kanichka, who reigned from 15 B. C. to 45 A. D, ; but the earliest compilation of the modern Buddhist canon, that history can point out, is that of Ceylon, which was compiled and fixed in writing between 412 and 432 of our era.
Buddhist missionaries reached China as early as 250 B. O.; but it was not until 1410 A. D. that the Chinese procured a complete edition of the Buddhist canon ; and the Northern collection was not completed until between the years 15731619 A. D. Buddhism reached Corea in 382 A. D. ; Japan in 552 A. D. ; and in Tibet it was officially recognized in the 8th century. Meanwhile Nestorian missionaries had reached Central Asia ; and true to its eclectic instincts, Buddhism adopted many Christian ideas, traditions and ceremonies, and as many Christian forms as were compatible with Buddhistic orthodoxy. Buddhism in Tibet has its pope, cardinals, bishops, priests, nuns ; its infant baptism, confirmation, mass for the dead, rosaries, chaplets, candles, holy water, processions, and fast-days; and once knowing all these, and the foregoing historical facts, the explanation of the coincidences in the traditions concerning the life of Buddha with the gospel narratives of the life of Christ, becomes at once natural and easy.25
In any event, the alternative is unescapeable. The alore24 Buddhism, an Event in History. Hong Kong. 1878. 25 Huo's Christianity in China; Eitel's Buddhism in History.
said coincidences were derived either from the Jews before Christ, or, at a much later date, from the Christians! At any rate, they are not the true property of Buddhists !
The canon of our Old Testament was completed in the time of Ezra, about 450 B. C. ; and no further additions were made to the canonical books of the New Testament after the close of the 2d century A. D.
possess a MS. of the New Testament, the Codex Vaticanus, which was written in the 4th century — one hundred years before the first edition of the Buddhist scriptures was undertaken — of which not a single ancient MS. has been preserved ! 28
Need more be said ? The whole case as it stands to-day, is before the reader; and the modern pretensions set up for Buddhism are seen to be a monstrous fraud. And yet there is danger that uninformed and unsuspecting people will be sung by the dulcet and eloquent strains of “ The Light of Asia” into conclusions detrimental to Christianity.
The result can only be avoided by press and pulpit spreading broadcast among the people the truth. Buddhism, oriental or occidental cannot be pon-pohed out of existence. Buddhism, in essence, is materialism ; and materialism is the tendency of the present age. Explain it as you will, there is always a tendency among the masses to get as far away from the truth as possible. Let the facts, therefore, with respect to the practical results of Buddhism, be sharply contrasted with the practical results of Christianity. Let the historical facts, with respect to Buddha and Jesus, be brought into the clearest possible light; and, for one, we have no fear of the result. The conclusion, we are confident, will be in effect that of that rare scholar and sceptic, John Stuart Mill :
“And whatever else may be taken from us by rational criticism, Christ is still lett - an unique figure, not more unlike his persecutors than all his followers ; even those who had the direct benefit of his teachings. Who among his disciples, or among the proselytes, was capable of inventing the sayings ascribed to Jesus, of imagining the life and character revealed 26 Buddhism in History.
in the gospel ? Certainly not the fishermen of Galilee ; as certainly not St. Paul, whose character and idiosyncracies were of a totally different sort; still less the early Christian writers, in whom nothing is more evident than that the good that was in them was all derived, as they profess that it was, from a higher source !”
Faith or Faithfulnes8 ?
It has ever seemed strange to the average mind that faith should play such a large part in Christianity. It has been the condition of salvation. Its possession is thought to merit eternal life, its absence to deserve eternal death. Without it we cannot be a Christian, and with it all else good seems to follow. The commission is given by Christ to preach the Gospel, with the assurance that he that believeth shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned. It is more insisted on than any other virtue, and is more discussed in church history than any other subject of theology. It is thought to produce such changes in man that by its very exercise he becomes converted into a new creature, and is, in short, the distinguishing Christian feature, whose loss, whatever else one may retain, leaves him but a sinner. And all this is so, notwithstanding faith (as usually understood) is of no moral worth whatever. Believing or disbelieving does not appear to be a moral act, and has never been thought so outside of Christianity. There is no more virtue in believing one thing than another; and no more virtue in believing than in disbelieving. Belief is a matter of the intellect, and not of the conscience, and follows on a given amount of evidence, no matter what our character is. It does not differ in the good and bad ; and neither good nor bad will usually fail to exercise it at the right time; so that there is no need to command it with such promises, or to forbid its opposite with such pen
alties. Its prominence in Christianity is simply an anomaly that has puzzled the thoughtful in the church as well as in the world.
There have, accordingly, been many efforts made to explain it. For even those who do not accept the miraculous character o. Christ or his apostles, have felt a necessity for explaining so unusual a feature in the system of such evidently sensible men.
Some have sought an explanation in the issues which they suppose hang on this faith, alleging them to be less weighty than are usually supposed — not eternal life or death, but the minor virtues and comforts which naturally arise from accepting the teachings of Christ; as consolation for the poor and miserable. Others have sought an explanation in some new meaning of faith, alleging it to be the assumption of all virtues, or a purpose to practice them, or else a supernatural power imparted by God, altogether unlike belief, which follows from some great or general praiseworthiness on our part. Others again take the term as in contrast to the ceremonies and sacrifices of the heathen and Jewish religions ; meaning in a general way that men are saved by their internal or mental states, and not by outward ceremonies, a meaning similar to that ascribed to faith by the fathers of the Reformation of the sixteenth century in contrast with the churchly works of Roine.
There is no doubt that all these explanations are in part true. The word faith is used in several senses, often as a general or inore inclusive term, and again as a more special or exclusive one; and the advantages secured by it are likewise sometimes of greater and sometimes of less importance. The word is sometimes used to express the Christian teachings, or man's acceptance of their truth, in which sense we do not think that the sacred writings make heaven and hell dependent on it, although without such faith one evidently loses certain of the advantages of Christianity, as its hopes and conso lations, its assemblages and their culture, and many of its virtues. Sometimes it is used to express a personal trust or confidence in God with reference to one's self, by which he
believes that God, in return for some act of the individual, stands in a particular relation to him, as a comforter, or pledged Saviour. In this sense it does not appear to be so very important in determining the eternal destiny of man as do those acts or feelings which bring about this trust, or make it possible to rationally think that God is so disposed to us. And so there are other meanings of faith, which partake more or less of these, and have more or less importance according as they include more or less of those things which make up real merit or worth in character. But there is one meaning of faith which, while not excluding these others altogether, and while not always the same in its inclusion or exclusion of other matters, comes more nearly answering to the great im. portance that is attached to it, as well as to suiting the various passages of Scripture where it is used. We mean the sense of faithfulness.
To have faith, in the most exalted sense of Scripture, is to be faithful; to be true to what is iinposed upon you, to accomplish what is rightfully expected of you. It is to stand at your post, always and surely, so that from a knowledge of your character you may be relied upon. It is to be faithful as a wife is faithful, so that another can have faith in you. It is of less importance, if indeed it be at all necessary, that you have yourself any faith (in the sense of opinion), although that will aid you in your faithfulness. A wife's faithfulness, which is of so much importance iu marriage, and which is to her husband what the Christian's faith is to his God, does not consist in her opinion about her husband, or his conduct, or anything else to any great extent, but in her feelings and conduct, her love and duteousness. The faith in the sense of opinion or confidence) is rather on his part. It is her faithfulness that enables him to have faith in her, and it is that that favorably disposes him toward her, in which her merit lies, and his favor. And yet this disposition or course of conduct in her was anciently called faith, and in the language in which the Scripture was written, and its first theology formų. lated, this was largely the meaning of faith. The ancient