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THEIR MIRACULOUS HISTORY AND LEADING PRINCIPLES
- The advent of each Savior was miraculously foretold by prophets.
- The fallen and degenerate condition of the human race is taught in the religion of each.
- A plan of restoration or salvation is provided for in each case.
- A divine Savior is considered necessary in both cases.
- The necessity of atoning for sin is taught in the religion of each.
- A God, or Son of God, is selected as the victim for the atoning sacrifice in each case.
- This God is sent down from heaven in each case in the form of a man.
- The God or Savior in each case is the second person of the Trinity.
- Chrishna, as well as Christ, was held to be really God incarnate.
- The mission of each Savior is the same.
- There is a resemblance in name — Chrishna and Christ.
- Chrishna, as well as Christ, was incarnated and born of a woman.
- The mother in each case was a holy virgin.
- The same peculiarities of a miraculous conception and birth are related of each.
- Each had an adopted earthly father.
- The father of Chrishna, as well as that of Christ, was a carpenter.
- God is claimed as the real father in both cases.
- A Spirit or Ghost was the author of the conception of each.
- There was rejoicing on earth when each Savior was born.
- There was also joy in heaven at the birth and advent of each.
- Chrishna, as well as Christ, was of royal descent.
- Their mothers were both reputedly pious women.
- The names of two mothers are somewhat similar — Mary and Maia.
- Each had a special female friend — Elizabeth in the one case, and the wife of Nanda in the other.
- Neither Savior was born in a house, but both in obscure situations.
- Both were born on the 25th of December.
- Both, at birth, were visited by wise men and shepherds.
- The visitors were conducted by a star in each case.
- The rite of purification was observed by the mothers of each.
- An angel warns of impending danger in each case.
- The incumbent ruler was hostile in each case.
- A bloody decree in each case for the destruction of the infant Savior.
- A flight of the parents takes place in both cases.
- The parents of one sojourned at Muturea, the other at Mathura.
- Each Savior had a forerunner — John the Baptist in one case, Bali Rama in the other.
- Both were preternaturally smart in childhood.
- Each disputed with and vanquished learned opponents.
- Both became objects of search by their parents.
- And both occasioned anxiety, if not sorrow, to their parents.
- The mother of each had other children — that is children begotten by man as well as God.
- Both Saviors retired to, and spent considerable time in the wilderness.
- The religious rite of “fasting” was practiced by each Savior.
- Each delivered a noteworthy sermon, or series of moral lessons.
- Chrishna, as well as Christ, was called and considered God.
- Each was both God and the Son of God (so regarded).
- “Savior” was one of the divine titles of each.
- Each was designated “the Savior of man,” “the Savior of the world,” &c.
- Both expressed a desire to “save all.”
- Each sustained the character of a Messiah.
- Chrishna, as well as Christ, was a Redeemer.
- Each Savior was called “Shepherd.”
- Both were believed to be the Creator of the world.
- Each is sometimes spoken of, also, as only an agent in the creation.
- Both were the “Light and Life” of men.
- Each “brought life and immortality to light.”
- Both are represented as “the seed of the woman bruising the serpent’s head.”
- Was Christ a “Dispenser of grace,” so was the Hindoo Savior.
- One was “the lion of the tribe of Judah,” the other “the lion of the tribe of Saki.”
- Christ was “the Beginning of the End,” Chrishna “the Beginning, the Middle, and the End.”
- Both proclaimed, “I am the Resurrection.”
- Each was “the way to the Father.”
- Both represented emblematically “the Sun of Righteousness.”
- Each is figuratively represented as being “all in all.”
- Both speak of having existed prior to human birth.
- A dual existence — an existence in both heaven and earth at once — is claimed by or for both.
- Chrishna, as well as Christ, was “without sin.”
- Both assumed the divine prerogative of forgiving sins.
- The mission of each was to deliver from sin.
- Both came to destroy the devil and his works.
- The doctrine of the “atonement” is practically realized in each case.
- Each made a voluntary offering for the sins of the world.
- Both were human as well as divine.
- Chrishna, as well as Christ, was worshiped as God absolute.
- Each was regarded as “the Lord from Heaven.”
- Chrishna, as well as Christ, had applied to him all the attributes of God.
- Was Christ omniscient, so was Chrishna.
- Was one omnipotent, so was the other (so believed).
- And both are represented as being omnipresent.
- Each was believed to be divinely perfect.
- Was one “Lord of lords,” so was the other.
- Each embodied the “power and wisdom of God.”
- All power was committed unto each (so claimed).
- Chrishna performed many miracles as well as did Christ.
- One of the first miracles of each was the cure of a leper.
- Each healed “all manner of diseases.”
- The work of casting out devils constitutes a part of the mission of each.
- Each practically proved his power to raise the dead.
- A miracle appertaining to a tree is related of both.
- Both could read the thoughts of the people.
- The power to detect and eject evil spirits was claimed by both.
- Both had the keys or control of death.
- Each led an extraordinary life.
- Each had a character for supernatural greatness.
- Both possessed or claimed a oneness with the Father.
- A “oneness with his Lord and Master” is claimed, also, for the disciples of each.
- A strong reciprocal affection between Master and disciple in each case.
- Each offers to shoulder the burdens of his disciples.
- A portion of the life of each was spent in preaching.
- Both made converts by their miracles and preaching.
- A numerous retinue of believers springs up in each case.
- Both had commissioned apostles to proclaim their religion.
- Each was an innovator upon the antecedent religion.
- A beautiful reform in religion was inaugurated by each Savior.
- Each opposed the existing popular priesthood.
- Both abolished the law of lineal descent in the ancient priesthood.
- Each was an object of conspiracy by his enemies.
- Humility and external poverty distinguished the life of each.
- Each denounced riches and rich men, and loathed and detested wealth.
- Both had a character for meekness.
- Chastity or unmarried life was a distinguishing characteristic of each.
- Mercy was a noteworthy characteristic of each.
- Both were censured for associating with sinners.
- Each was a special friend to the poor.
- A poor widow woman receives marked attention by each.
- Each encounters a gentile woman at a well.
- Both submitted unresistingly to injuries and insults.
- General practical philanthropy and impartiality marks the life of each Savior.
- Each took more pleasure in repentant sinners than in virtuous saints,
- Both practically disclosed God’s attempt to reconcile the world to himself.
- The closing incidents in the earth-life of each were strikingly similar.
- A memorable last supper marked the closing career of both.
- Both were put to death by “wicked hands.”
- Chrishna, as well as Christ, was crucified.
- Darkness attended the crucifixion of each.
- Both were crucified between two thieves.
- Each is reported to have forgiven his enemies.
- The age of each at death corresponds (being between thirty and thirty-six years).
- Each, after giving up the ghost, descends into hell.
- The resurrection from the dead is a marked period in the history of each.
- Each ascends to heaven after his resurrection.
- Many people are reported to have witnessed the ascension in each case.
- Each is reported as having both descended and ascended.
- The head of each, while living on earth, was anointed with oil.
- There is a similarity in the doctrines of their respective religions.
- The same doctrines are propagated by the disciples of each.
- The doctrine of future rewards and punishments is a part of each system.
- Analogous views of heaven are found in each system.
- A third heaven is spoken of in each system.
- All sin must be punished according to the bible teachings of each.
- Each has a hell provided for the wicked.
- Both teach a hell of darkness and a hell of light.
- An immortal worm finds employment in the hell of each system (“the worm that dieth not.”)
- The arch-demon of the under world uses brimstone for fuel in one case, and oil in the other.
- The motive for future punishment is in both cases the same.
- Each has a purgatory or sort of half-way house.
- Special divine judgments on nations are taught by each.
- A great and final day of judgment is taught by each.
- A general resurrection also is taught in each religion.
- That there is a “Judge of the dead” is a doctrine of each.
- Two witnesses are to report on human actions in the final assizes.
- We are furnished in each case with the dimension of heaven or “the holy city.”
- Man is enjoined to strive against temptation to sin by each.
- And repentance for sin is a doctrine taught by the bible of each.
- Each has a prepared city for a paradise.
- The bibles of both teach that we have no continuing city here.
- Souls are carried to heaven by angels, as in the instance of Lazarus, in each case.
- A belief in angels or spirits is a tenant of each religion.
- The doctrine of fallen or evil angels is found in both system.
- Obsession by wicked or evil spirits is taught by each.
- Both teach that sickness or disease is caused by evil spirits.
- Each has a king-devil or arch-demon with a posse of subalterns or evil spirits.
- Both bibles record the story of a “hellaballoo” or war in heaven.
- Both teach that an evil man can neither do nor speak a good thing.
- Both teach that sin is a disadvantage in the present life as well as in the future.
- The doctrine of free will or free agency is taught by each.
- Predestination seems to be inferentially taught by each.
- In each case man is a prize in a lottery, with God and the devil for ticket-holders.
- Both make the devil (or devils) a scapegoat for sin.
- Both teach that the devil or evil spirits as the primary cause of all evil.
- The destiny of both body and soul is pointed out by each.
- The true believers are known as “saints” under both systems.
- Saints with “white robes” are spoken of by each.
- Both specify “the Word of Logos” as God.
- Wisdom, too, is personified as God by the holy Scriptures of each.
- Both teach that God may be known by his works.
- The doctrine of one supreme God is taught in each bible.
- Light and truth are important words in the religious nomenclature of each.
- Both profess a high veneration for truth.
- “Where the treasure is, there is the heart also,” is taught by each.
- “Seek and ye shall find” is a condition prescribed by each.
- Religious toleration is a virtue professed by both.
- All nations are professedly based on an equality by each.
- Both, however, enjoin partiality to “the household of faith.”
- The doors of salvation are thrown open to high and low, rich and poor, by each.
- Each professes to have “the only true and saving faith.”
- There is a mystery in the mission of each Savior.
- “Rama” is a well known word in the bible of each.
- “The understanding of the wise” is a phrase in each.
- Both speak figuratively of “the blind leading the blind.”
- “A new heaven and a new earth” is spoken of by each.
- The doctrine of a Trinity in the Godhead is taught by each.
- Baptism by water is a tenant and ordinance of each.
- “Living water” is a metaphor found in each.
- Baptism by fire seems also to be recognized by each.
- Fasting is emphatically enjoined by each.
- Sacrifices are of secondary importance in each system, and are partially or wholly abandoned by each.
- The higher law is paramount to ceremonies in each religion.
- The bible of each religion literally condemns idolatry.
- Both also make concessions to idolatry.
- Polygamy is not literally encouraged nor openly condemned by either.
- The power to forgive sins is conferred on the disciples of each.
- The doctrine of blasphemy is recognized by each.
- Pantheism, or the reciprocal ‘in-being’ of God in nature and nature in God, is taught by both.
BIBLES AND HOLY SCRIPTURES
- Each has a bible which is the idolized fountain of all religious teaching.
- Both have an Old Testament and a New Testament, virtually.
- The New Testament inaugurates a new and reform system of religion in each case.
- “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God” is the faith of the disciples of each.
- Each system claimed to have its inspired men to write its scriptures.
- Both hold a spiritual qualification necessary to understand their bibles.
- It is a sin to become “wise beyond what is written” in their respective bibles.
- Both recommend knowing the Scriptures in youth.
- Alteration of their respective bibles is divinely interdicted.
- The bible is an infallible rule of faith and practice in both cases.
- “All scripture is profitable for doctrine” is the faith of each.
- Both explain away the errors of their bibles.
SPIRITUALITY OF THE TWO RELIGIONS
- The religion of Chrishna is pre-eminently spiritual no less than Christ’s.
- Both teach that “to be carnally minded is death.”
- External rites are practically dispensed within each religion.
- The spiritual law written on the heart is recognized by each.
- “God is within you,” Buddhists teach as well as Christians.
- Both recognize an invisible spiritual Savior.
- “God dwells in the heart,” say Hindoo as well as Christians.
- Inward recognition of the divine law is amply seen in both.
- Both confess allegiance to an inward monitor.
- The doctrine of inspiration and internal illumination is found in both.
- The indwelling Comforter is believed in by both.
- Both also teach that religion is an inward work,
- Both speak of being born again — i.e., the second birth.
- A spiritual body is also believed in by both.
- “Spiritual things are incomprehensible to the natural man” say each.
- God’s spiritually sustaining power Buddhists also acknowledge.
- Both give a spiritual interpretation to their bibles.
- Each has a new and more interior law superseding the old law.
- The spiritual cross — self-denial or asceticism — is a prominent feature of each religion.
- The duty of renouncing and abandoning the external world is solemnly enjoined by each.
- Buddhists renounce the world more practically than Christians.
- Withdrawal or seclusion from society is recommended by each.
- Bodily suffering as a benefit to the soul is encouraged by each.
- Voluntary suffering for righteousness’ sake is a virtue with each.
- The cross is a religious emblem in each system.
- Both glory in “the religion of the cross” as better than a religion without suffering.
- Hence both teach “the greater the cross the greater the crown.”
- Earthly pleasures are regarded as evil by both.
- Contempt for the body as an enemy to the soul is visible in both.
- Retirement for religious contemplation is a duty with each.
- The forsaking of relations is also enjoined by each.
- Spiritual relationship is superior to external relationship with both.
- “To die is great gain” we are taught by each.
- A subjugation of the passions is a religious duty with each.
- The road to heaven is a narrow one with each.
- The same state of religious perfection is aspired to by the disciples of each.
THE DOCTRINE OF FAITH OR BELIEF
- Faith is an all-important element and doctrine with each.
- Heresy, or want of faith, is a sin of great magnitude with both.
- Faith in the Savior is a condition to salvation by both.
- Confessing the Savior is also required in both cases.
- “Believe or be damned” is the condition or ‘profess’ to believe the terrible ‘sine qua non’ to salvation by each.
- Skeptics or unbelievers are with both the chief of sinners.
- “Faith can remove mountains,” either with a Buddhist or a Christian.
- Both contrast faith with works.
- Faith without works is dead — so teach both Buddhists and Christians.
THE DOCTRINE AND PRACTICE OF PRAYER
- Prayer is an important rite in each religion.
- Private or secret prayer is recommended by both.
- Each has also a formula of prayer.
- “Pray without ceasing” is a Buddhist as well as a Christian injunction.
- Praying to their respective Saviors in sickness and in health is a custom with both.
- The custom of praying for the dead is recognized in each system.
TREATMENT OF ENEMIES
- It is a Hindoo as well as a Christian injunction to treat enemies kindly.
- Passive submission to injuries and abuse is enjoined by both.
- The holy Scriptures of both require us to pray for enemies, and feed them.
- And even love to enemies is a part of the spirit of each religion.
- Hindoos, like Christians, prophesy of a great millennial era.
- There is a remarkable similarity in their notions with respect to it.
- Both anticipate a second advent or new Savior on the occasion.
- The destruction of the world also is to take place in both cases.
- And an entire renovation and a new order of things are to be established in each case.
- There is almost a constant display of miraculous power in each system.
- The disciples of both are professedly endowed with this power.
- Miraculous cures of the lame, the blind, and the sick are reported in both cases.
- Miracles of handling poisonous reptiles with impunity are reported by both.
- Swallowing deadly poison is enjoined by Christians and practiced by Hindoos.
- Many cases of the miraculous ejection of devils are reported by both.
- The miracle of thought-reading is displayed by both.
- The saints in both cases are reported as raising the dead.
- “The kingdom of heaven” was to be sought first of all things in each case.
- Love to God is a paramount obligation under each system.
- And the worship of God is an essential requisition in each religious polity.
- “Cease to do evil and learn to do well” is virtually enjoined by each.
- All inward knowledge of God is taught as essential by both systems.
- A reliance on works is discouraged by both.
- Purity of heart is inculcated by Hindoos as well as Christians.
- Speak and think evil of no man is a gospel injunction of each.
- A love of all beings is more prominently the spirit of Buddhism than that of Christianity.
- The practice of strict godly virtue is enjoined by both.
- Moderation and temperance are recommended by both.
- Patience is a virtue in each religion.
- The duty of controlling our thoughts is taught by each.
- Charity has a high appreciation by each.
- Both make the poor objects of attention.
- The practice of hospitality is recommended by each.
- Humility is a duty and a virtue under both systems.
- Mirthfulness or light conversation is forbidden by each.
- Purity of life is a duty with Hindoos as well as Christians.
- Chasteness in conversation is inculcated by both.
- “Respect to persons” is a sin in the moral polity of both.
- Alms-giving is religiously enjoined by the holy Scriptures of both.
- Both teach that “it is better to give than to receive.”
- Loyalty to rulers is a moral requisition of each system.
- Honor to father and mother is esteemed a great virtue by both.
- The correct training of children is with each a scriptural duty.
- “Look not upon a woman” is more than hinted by each.
- The reading of the holy Scriptures is enjoined by both.
- Lying or falsehood is with each a sin of great magnitude.
- Swearing is discountenanced by both religions.
- Theft or stealing is specially condemned by both.
- Both deprecate and condemn the practice of war.
- Both discountenance fighting.
- Neither of them professes to believe in slavery.
- Drunkenness and the use of wine are more specifically condemned by the Hindoo religion.
- Adultery and fornication are heinous sins in the eyes of both.
- Both condemn covetousness as a great sin.
- Buddhists more practically condemn anger than Christians do.
- Both have their apocryphal as well as their canonical Scriptures.
- Stories are found in the bible of each which would be rejected if found elsewhere.
- Both make their bible a finality in matters of faith.
- Both have had their councils and commentaries to reveal their bibles over again.
- Numerous schisms, divisions, sects, and creeds have sprung up in each.
- Various religious reforms have sprung up under each.
- Conversion from one religious sect to another is common to both.
- Both religions have been troubled with numerous skeptics or infidels.
- Both have often resorted to new interpretations for their bibles to suit the times.
- The unconverted are stigmatized by each.
- “Knock and it shall be opened” is the invitation of each.
- Public confession of sins in class-meetings is known to each.
- Death-bed repentance often witnessed under both religions systems.
- A belief in haunted houses incident to the religious countries of both.
- A superior respect for woman claimed by each.
- An idolatrous veneration for religious ancestors by each.
- Each sustain a numerous horde of expensive priests.
- A divine call or illumination to preach claimed by each.
- Religious martyrdom the glory of each.
- Both have encountered “perils by sea and land” for their religion.
- He who loseth his life (for his religion) shall find it, say both.
- Both in ancient times suffered much persecution.
- The disciples of both have suffered death without flinching from the faith.
- Each sent numerous missionaries abroad to preach and convert.
- And, finally, each cherished the hope of converting the world to their religion.
The author has in his possession historical quotations to prove the truth of each one of the above parallels. He has all the historical facts on which they were constructed found in and drawn from the sacred books of the Hindoo religion and the works of Christian writers descriptive of their religion. But they would swell the present volume to unwieldy dimensions, and far beyond its proper and prescribed limits, to present them here; they are therefore reserved for the second volume, and may be published in pamphlet form also.
In proof of the correctness of the foregoing comparative analogies, we will now summon the testimony of various authors setting forth the historical character of the Hindoo God Chrishna, and the essential nature of his religion, so far as it approximates in its doctrines and moral teachings to the Christian religion. We will first hear from Colonel Wiseman, for ten years a Christian missionary in India.
“There is one Indian (Hindoo) legend of considerable importance” says this writer. … “This is the story of Chrishna, the Indian Apollo. In native legends he is represented as an Avatar, or incarnation of the Divinity. At his birth, choirs of Devitas (angels) sung hymns of praise, while shepherds surrounded his cradle. It was necessary to conceal his birth from the tyrant ruler, Cansa, to whom it had been foretold that the infant Savior should destroy him. The child escaped with his parents beyond the coast of Lamouna. For a time he lived in obscurity, and then commenced a public life distinguished for prowess and beneficence. He washed the feet of the Brahmins, and preached the most excellent doctrines; but at length the power of his enemies prevailed. … Before dying, he foretold the miseries which would take place in the Caliyuga, or wicked age (Dark Age) of the world.”
“Chrishna (says another writer) taught his followers that they alone were the true believers of the saving faith; throwing down the barriers of caste, and elevating the dogmas of their faith above the sacerdotal class, he admitted every one who felt an inward desire to the ministry to the preaching of their religion. A system thus associating itself with the habits, feelings, and personal advantages of its disciples could not fail to make rapid progress.” (Upham’s History. Doctrines of Buddhism.)
“Buddhism inculcates benevolence, tenderness, forgiveness of injuries, and love of enemies; and forbids sensuality, love of pleasure, and attachment to worldly objects.” (Judson).
“At the moment of his (Chrishna’s) conception a God left heaven to enter the womb of his mother (a virgin). Immediately after his birth he was recognized as a divine personage, and it was predicted that he would surpass all previous divine incarnations in holiness. Every one adored him, saluting him as ‘the God of Gods.’ When twenty years of age he went into a desert, and lived there in the austerest retirement, poverty, simplicity, and virtue, spending his whole time in religious contemplation. He was tempted; in various ways, but his self-denial resisted all the seductive approaches of sin. He declared, ‘Religion is my essence.’ He experienced a lively opposition from the priests attached to the ancient creeds (as Christ subsequently did). But he triumphed over all his enemies after holding a discussion with them (as Christ did with the doctors in the Temple). He revised the existing code of morals and the social law. He reduced the main principles of morality to four, viz: mercy, aversion to cruelty, unbounded sympathy for all animated beings and the strictest adherence to the moral law. He also gave a decalogue of commandments, viz.: 1. Not to kill. 2. Not to steal. 3. To be chaste. 4. Not to testify falsely. 5. Not to lie. 6. Not to swear. 7. To avoid all impure words. 8. To be disinterested. 9. Not to take revenge. 10. And not to be superstitious. This code of morals was firmly established in the hearts of his followers.” (Abridged from Hardy’s Manual of Buddhism.)
“It was prophesied in olden times that a person would arise and redeem Hindostan from ‘the yoke of bondage.’ ‘At midnight, when the birth of Chrishna was taking place, the clouds emitted low music, and poured down a rain of flowers. The celestial child was greeted with hymns by attending spirits.
The room was illuminated by his light, and the countenances of his father and mother emitted rays of glory, and they bowed in worship.’ ‘The people believed he was a God.’ They eagerly caught the words which fell from his lips, which taught his divine mission, and they called him the ‘Holy One,’ and finally the ‘Living God,’ He performed miraculous cures. At his birth a marvelous light illumined the earth. His followers baptized, and performed miraculous cures. And he, when a child, attracted attention by his miracles. While attending the herds with his foster-father a great serpent poisoned the river, which caused the death of cows and shepherd-boys when they drank of it, whom Chrishna restored to life by a look of divine power. His life was devoted to mercy and charity. He left paradise from pure compassion, to die for suffering sinners. He sought to lead men to better paths and lives of virtue and rectitude. He suffered to atone for the sins of the world; and the sinner, through faith in him, can be saved. Christ and Chrishna both taught the equality of man. Prayers addressed to Chrishna were after this fashion: ‘O thou Supreme One! thy essence is inscrutable. Thou art all in all. The understanding of man cannot reach thy Almighty Power. I, who know nothing, fly to thee for protection. Show mercy unto me, and enable me to see and know thee.’ Chrishna replies, ‘Have faith in me. No one who worships me can perish. Address thyself to me as the only asylum. I will deliver thee from sin. I am animated with equal benevolence toward all beings. I know neither hatred nor partiality. Those who adore me devoutly are in me and I in them”‘ — “Christ within you the hope of glory.” (Abridged from Mr. Tuttle.)
“If we consider that Buddhism proclaimed the equality of all men and women in the sight of God, that it denounced the impious pretensions of the most mischievous priesthood the world ever saw, and that it inculcated a pure system of practical morality, we must admit that the innovation was as advantageous as it was extensively spread and adopted.” (Hue’s Journey through China, chap. v.)
“To Chrishna the Hindoos were indebted for a code of pure and practical morality, which inculcated charity and chastity, performance of good works, abstinence from evil, and general kindness to all living things.” (Cunningham.)
“Buddhism never confounds right or wrong, and never excuses any sin” (Catharine Beecher.)
“He (Chrishna) honored humanity by his virtues.” (St. Hilaire.)
“It is probable that every incident in his (Chrisna’s) life is founded in fact, which, if separated from surrounding fable, would afford a history that would scarce have any equal in the importance of the lessons it would teach.” (Hardy’s Manual of Buddhism.)
“He (Chrishna) undertakes and counsels a constant struggle against the body. In his eyes the body is the enemy of man’s soul (as Paul thought when he spoke of ‘our vile bodies.’) He aims to subdue the body and the burning passions which consume it. … He requires humility, disregard of wordily wealth, patience and resignation in adversity, love to enemies, religious tolerance, horror at falsehood, avoidance of frivolous conversation, consideration and esteem for women, sanctity of the marriage relation, non-resistance to evil, confession of sins, and conversion.” (St. Hilaire.)
“Buddhism has been called the Christianity of the East.” (Abel Remuset.)
“The doctrine and practical piety of their bible (the Baghavat Gita) bear a strong resemblance to those of the Holy Scriptures. It has scarcely a precept or principle that is not found in the (Christian) bible. And were the people to live up to its principles of peace and love, oppression and injury would be known no more within their borders … It has no mythology of obscene and ferocious deities, no sanguinary or impure observances, no self- inflicting tortures, no tyrannizing priesthood, no confounding of right and wrong by making certain iniquities laudable in worship. In its moral code, its description of the purity and peace of the first ages, and the shortening of man’s life by sin, it seems to follow genuine traditions. In almost every respect it seems to be the best religion ever invent@d by man.” (Rev. H. Malcom’s Travels in Asia.)
“If the morality of Buddhism be examined, its exhortations to guard the will, to curb the thoughts, to exercise kindness towards others, to abstain from wrong to all, it propounds a very high standard of practice.” (Upham’s Doctrines and History of Buddhism.)
“It seeks the highest triumphants of humanity in the exercise of devotion, self-contemplation, and self-denial.” (Theogony of the Hindoos, by Bjornsjerma.)
“And the doctrines of Buddhism are not alone in the beauty of their sentiments and the excellence of much of their morality. ‘It is not permitted to you to return evil for evil’ is one of the sentiments of Socrates.” (Rev. H.S. Hardy’s Eastern Monarchism.)
“Buddhism insists on the necessity of taking the intellectual faculties for guides in philosophical’ researches.” (Tiberghien.)
“It sought to wean mankind from the pleasures and vanities of life by pointing to the transitoriness of all human enjoyment.” (Smith’s Mongolia.)
“The principal characteristics of Buddhism are the doctrines of mildness and the universal brotherhood of man.” (Ibid.)
“Life is a state of probation and misery, according to Buddhism.” (Upham, chap. vi.)
“The Brahmins found fault with him (Chrishna) for receiving as disciples the outcasts of Hindoo society (as the Jews did Christ for fellow-shipping publicans and sinners). But he (Chrishna) replied, ‘My law is a law of mercy to all.'” (Huc’s Voyages through China.)
“Buddhism attracted and furnished consolation for the poor and unfortunate.” (Ibid.)
“Buddhism is a rationalistic and reform system as compared with Brahminism. Landresse expresses his high admiration of the heroism with which the Buddhist missionaries before Christ crossed streams and seas which had arrested armies, and traversed deserts and mountains upon which no caravans dared to venture, and braved dangers and surmounted obstacles which had defied the omnipotence of the emperors.” (A note on Landresse’s Foe Koui Ki.)
“If we addressed a Mogul or Thibetan this question, Who is Chrishna? the reply was, instantly, ‘The Savior of men.'” (Hue’s Journey through China.)
“Chrishna, the incarnate Deity of the Sanskrit romance continues to this hour the darling God of the women of India … Chrishna was the person of Vishnu (God) himself in the human form.” (Asiat. Researches, 260).
“Respectable natives told me that some of the missionaries had told them that they were even now almost Christians” (owing to the two religions being so nearly alike). (Ibid).
“All that converting the Hindoos to Christianity does for them is to change the object of their worship from Chrishna to Christ.” (Robert Cheyne.)
“Brahminism or Buddhism in some of its forms is said to Constitute the religion of considerably more than half the human race. It teaches the existence of one supreme eternal, and uncreated God, called Brahma, who created the world through Chrishna, the second member of the Trinity.” Paul says, God created the world through Jesus Christ, the second member of the Christian Trinity. (Eph. ill. 9.) How striking the resemblance! “The doctrine of the incarnation, the descent of the Deity upon earth, and his manifestation in a human form for the redemption of mankind, seems to have existed in the shape of prophecy or fact in all ages of the world. Hindooism teaches nine of these incarnations. Furthermore, it teaches the doctrine of the Trinity, the fall and redemption of man, and a state of future rewards and punishments in a future life. … This religion in chief of Asia is traceable to remote ages. The doctrine of the Trinity is represented in the Elephantine cavern, and taught in the Mahabarat, which goes back for its origin nearly two thousand years before Christ.” (New York Sunday Despatch, 1855.)
“In the year 3600, Chrishna descended to the earth for the purpose of defeating the evil machinations of Chivan (the devil), as Christ ‘came to destroy the devil and his works.’ (See John iii. 8.) After a fierce combat with the devil, or serpent, he defeated him by bruising his head — he receiving, during the contest, a wound in the heel. (‘It [the serpent] shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.’ — Gen. iii. 15.) He died at last between two thieves. … He lead a pure and holy life, and was a meek, tender, and benevolent being, and enjoined charity, hospitality, and mercy, and forbade lying, prevarication, hypocrisy, and overreaching in dealing, and pilfering, and theft, and violence toward any being.” (Lecture before the Free Press Association in 1827.)
“The birthplace of the Hindoo hero (Chrishna) is called Mathura, which is easily changed, and by correct translation becomes Maturea, the place where Christ is said to have stopped, between Nazareth and Egypt. To show his humility he washed the feet of the Brahmins (as Christ is said to have washed the feet of the Jews — see John xiii. 14). One day a woman came to him and anointed his hair with oil, in return for which he healed her maladies. One of his first miracles was that of healing a leper, like Christ (See Mark i. 4). Finally, he was crucified, then descended to Hades. (It is said of Christ, ‘his soul was not left in hell.’ — Acts ii. 31.) He (Chrishna) rose from the dead and ascended to Voicontha (heaven.) (Higgins Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 239).
Now, we ask, is it any wonder, in view of the foregoing historical exposition, that Eusebius should exclaim, “The religion of Jesus Christ is neither new nor strange?” (Eccl. Hist. eh. iv.) Truly did St. Augustine say, “This, in our day, is the Christian religion, not as having been unknown in former times, but as having recently received that name.”
Here, then, we pause to ask our good Christian reader, Where is your original Christianity? or what constitutes the revealed religion of Jesus Christ? or where is the evidence that any new religion was revealed by him or preached by him, seeing we have all his religion, as shown by the foregoing historical citations, included in an old heathen system more than a thousand years old when Jesus Christ was born? We find it all here in this old oriental system of Buddhism — every essential part, Particle and principle of it. We find Christianity all here — its Alpha and Omega, its beginning and end. We find it here in all its details, — its root, essence, and entity, — all its “revealed doctrines,” religions ideas, beautiful truths, senseless dogmas and oriental phantoms. Not, a doctrine, principle, or precept of the Christian system, but that is here proclaimed to the world ages before “the angels announced the birth of a divine babe in Bethlehem.” Will you, then, persist in claiming that “truth, life, and immortality came by Jesus Christ,” and that “Christ came to preach a new gospel to the world, and to set forth a new religion never before heard amongst men” (to use the language of Archbishop Tillotson), when the historical facts cited in this work demonstrate a hundred times over that such a position is palpably erroneous? Will you still persist, with all those undeniable facts staring you in the face (proving and reproving, with overwhelming demonstration, that the statement is untrue), in declaring that “the religion of Jesus Christ is the only true and soul-saving religion, and all other systems are mere straw, stubble, tradition, and superstition” (as asserted by a popular Christian writer), when no mathematician ever demonstrated a scientific problem more clearly than we have proved in these pages that all the principle systems of the past, by no means excepting Christianity, are essentially alike in every important particular — all of their cardinal doctrines being the same, differing only in unimportant details?
Seeing, then, that all systems of religion have been found to be essentially alike in spirit and in practice, the all-important question arises here, What is the true cause assignable for this striking resemblance? How is it to be accounted for? Perhaps some of our good Christian readers, unacquainted with history, may cherish the thought that all the oriental systems brought to notice are but imitations of Christianity; that they were reconstructed out of materials obtained from that source; that Christianity is the parent, and they the off-spring. But, alas for their long- cherished idol, those who entertain such forlorn hopes are “sowing to the wind, and are doomed to disappointment.” With the exception of Mahomedanism alone, Christianity is the youngest system in the whole catalogue. The historical facts to prove this statement are voluminous. But as it needs no proof to those who have read religious history, but little space will be occupied with citations for this purpose. With respect to the antiquity of the principal oriental system, we need only to quote the testimony of Sir William Jones, a devout Christian writer, who spent years in India, and whose testimony will be accepted by any person acquainted with his history. He makes the emphatic declaration, “That the name of Chrishna, and the general outline of his history, were long anterior to the birth of our Savior, and probably to the time of Homer (900 B.C.) we know very certainly.” (Asiat. Res. vol. i.p. 254.) No guess-work about it. “We know very certainly.”
And being a scholar, a traveler, and a sojourner among the Hindoos and well versed in their history, no person ever had a better opportunity to know than he. We will hear this renowned author further. “In the Sanskrit dictionary, compiled more than two thousand years ago, we have the whole history of the incarnate deity (Chrishna), born of a virgin, and miraculously escaping in his infancy from the reigning tyrant of his country (Cansa). He passed a life of the most extraordinary and incomprehensible devotion. His birth was concealed from the tyrant Cansa, to whom it had been predicted that one born at that time, and in that family, would destroy him;” i.e., destroy his power. (Asiat. Res. vol. i.p. 273.) This writer also states that the first Christian missionaries who entered India were astonished to find there a religion so near like their own, and could only account for it by supposing that the devil, foreseeing the advent of Christ, originated a system of religion in advance of his, and “just like it.” Stated in other words, he got out the second edition of the gospel plan of salvation before the first edition was published or had an existence. Rather a smart trick this, thus to outwit God Almighty.
With respect to the vast antiquity of the Hindoo oriental religion, which indicates it as being not only the source from which the materials of the Christian religion were drawn, but as being the parent of all the leading systems, with their three thousand subordinate branches which existed at a much earlier period than Christianity, we need only point to the deep chiseled sculptures and imperishable monuments enstamped on their time- honored temples, tombs, altars, vases, columns, pagodas, ruined towers, &c., which, with contemporary inscriptions, warrant us in antedating the religion of the Himmalehs far beyond the authentic records of any other religion that has floated down to us on the stream of time. The numerous images of their crucified Gods, Chrishna and Saki, emblazoned on their old rock temples in various parts of the country, some of which are constructed of clay porphyry, now the very hardest species of rock, with their attendant inscriptions in a language so very ancient as to be lost to the memory of man, vie with the Sanskrit in age, the oldest deciphered language in the world.
All these and a hundred corroboratory historical facts fix on India as being the birthplace of the mother of all religions now existing, or that ever had an existence, while the great workshop in which they were subsequently remodeled was in Alexandria in Egypt, whose theological schools furnished the model for nearly every system now found noticed on the page of history — Christianity of course included. So much for the unrivaled antiquity of the Hindoo religion. Now, the more important query arises, What relationship does ancient heathen or Hindoo Buddhism bear to Christianity? What is the evidence that the latter is an outgrowth of the former? As an answer to this question, the reader will please note the following facts of history:–
- Alexandria, the home of the world’s great conqueror, was at one period of time the great focal center for religious speculation and propagandism, the great emporium for religions dogmas throughout the East, and a place of resort for the disciples of nearly every system of religious faith then existing.
- In this capital city, comprising about five hundred thousand inhabitants, were established a voluminous library, and vast theological schools, in which men of every religious order, and of every phase of faith, met and exchanged religious ideas, and borrowed new doctrines, with which they remodeled their former systems of faith, amounting in some cases to an entire change of their long-established creeds.
- In these theological schools the Jewish sect, which afterward became the founders of Christianity, were extensively represented; for, let it be noted, its first disciples and founders had all been Jews, probably of the Essene sect. “For a long time the Christians were but a Jewish sect,” says M. Reuss’ “History of Christian Theology.” Alexander had, previous to this time (that is, about 330 B.C.), subjected the whole of Western Asia to his dominions, including, of course, “The Holy Land” — Judea.
- By this act a large portion of the Jewish nation were transferred from their own country to Alexandria. And this number was afterward vastly increased by Alexander’s successor, Ptolemy Sotor, who carried off and settled in that credal city one hundred thousand more Jews.
- As the result, in part, of these repeated calamities, the Lord’s chosen people “were literally broken up. They lost their law, lost their leader and lawgiver, lost their language, lost the control of their country, the “Promised Land,” which (they verily believed) the Lord had deeded to them ‘in fee simple,’ and ratified in the high court of heaven, and had declared they should hold and possess forever. And finally they partially lost their nationality, being literally dissolved and broken up; and were finally almost lost to history — the ten tribes disappearing entirely.
- The Jews had ever manifested a proneness for copying after the religious customs of their heathen neighbors, and engrafting their doctrines into their own creeds, as their bible history furnishes ample proof.
- In Alexandria a very superior opportunity was afforded for doing this, excelling in this respect any previous period of their history.
- The shattered condition of their own religion, with all its conventional creeds, customs, and ceremonies, now suspended and literally prostrated, as above shown, vastly augmented the temptation ever rife with them to make another change in their religion, and subject their creed to another installment of new doctrines, by which it became Christianity.
- The liberal character and tolerant spirit of the political and religious institutions of the kingdom of Alexandria, with its vast and attractive library of two hundred thousand volumes, established principally by Ptolemy Philadelphus, with other attractive features already pointed out, furnished great facilities, as well as increased temptations to religious propagandists to absorb new theories, and make new creeds out of the vast medley of religious doctrines and speculative dogmas preached and propagated in that royal city by the disciples and representatives of nearly every religious system then in existence, brought together by the attractions above specified.
- Hence every consideration would lead us to conclude, taken in connection with the facts above stated, and the well-known borrowing proclivity and imitative propensity of the Jews, that they would not, and could not, withstand the overweening and overpowering temptation to make another radical change in their religion by a new draught on the boundless reservoir of speculative ideas, religious tenets, and specious theories then glowing in the popular schools of Alexandria.
- All the facts above enumerated would impel us to the conclusion that the Jews would — and every page of history touching the matter proves they did — make important changes in their religion by this contact with the oriental systems, as they had repeatedly done before. Some of this proof we will here present, to show how they originated Christianity.
- “The schools of Alexandria” says Mr. Enfield, a Christian writer, “by pretending to teach sublime doctrines concerning God and divine things, enticed men of different countries and religions, and among the rest the Jews, to study its mysteries, and incorporate them with their own. … The Jewish faith mixed with the Pythagorean, and afterward with the Egyptian oriental theology” (that is, they became Essenes in the Grecian school of Pythagoras, who taught the doctrines of that religious order, then Buddhists in the Egyptian schools of Alexandria). And finally, with Christ as their leader, who taught the doctrines of both schools (they being essentially alike), they assumed the name of Christian in honor of him, and thus is Christianity from Essene Buddhism.
- Beers, in his “History of the Jews,” sustains the above statement by the declaration that the Essenian Jews “fled to Egypt at the time of the Babylonian captivity, and there became acquainted with the Pythagorean philosophy, and ingrafted it upon the religion of Moses,” which would make them Essenian Buddhists — for Cunningham assures us that “the doctrine of Pythagoras were intenses, Buddhistic.” (Philsa. Topus, chap. x.)
- We will condense a few more historical testimonies relative to the entire change of the Jewish faith, while in Alexandria, as well as on other occasions, to show how easy and natural it was for that portion of the Jews who afterward became the founders of Christianity to slide into and adopt Essenian Buddhism, whose doctrines they took to constitute the Christian religion.
- Mr. Gibbon (chap. xxi.) declares that the theological opinions of the Jews underwent great changes by their contact with the various foreigners they found in Alexandria; Mr. Tytler likewise, in his “Universal History,” assures us that the Jewish religion “became totally changed by the intermixture of heathen doctrines.” Dr. Campbell also testifies that “their views came pretty much to coincide with those of the pagans.” (See his Dissertation, vi.) And the author of “The Expositor for 1854” complains that the pagan “theology stole upon them from every quarter, and mingled in all the views of the then known tribes, so that by the year 150 B.C., it had wrought visible changes in their notions and habits of thought.” (p. 423.) Here we have the proof that the whole Jewish religion underwent a change in Alexandria.
- Now, most certainly a nation or sect professing a religion so easily changed, and possessing a character so fickle, or so impressible as to yield on every slight occasion, and embrace every opportunity to imbibe new religious ideas and doctrines, would easily, if not naturally, slide into the adoption of the religious system then promulgated in Alexandria under the name of Buddhism, and afterward remodeled or transformed, and called Christianity.
- The Jews of the Essenian order, as we have in part shown in a previous chapter, set forth in their creed all the leading doctrines now comprised in the Christian religion hundreds of years before the advent of Christ, not excepting the doctrine of the divine incarnation and its adjuncts, as these concomitants of the present popular faith, we will now prove, were not unknown to the Jewish theology, but constituted a part of the religion of some of the principal Jewish sects. That standard Christian author, Mr. Milman, in his “History of Christianity,” tells us that “the doctrine of the incarnation (‘God manifest in the flesh’) was the doctrine from the Ganges, and even the shores of the Yellow Sea to the Ilissus. It was the fundamental principle of the Indian Buddhist religion and philosophy. It was the basis of Zoroasterism. It was pure Platonism. It was Platonic Judaism in the Alexandrian school.” Here it is positively declared, by a popular Christian writer, whose work is a part of nearly every popular library in Christendom as a standard authority, that the appearance of God amongst men in the human form, by human birth, was a doctrine of the Jewish religion in some of its branches, especially the Essenian branch — further proof that Christianity originated nothing, and gave utterance to no new doctrine or precepts, and performed no new miracles. Where, then, is the claim for its originality? On what ground is it predicated? Please answer us, good Christian brother.
- It is a question of no importance, if it could be settled, whether Christianity is a direct outgrowth from one of the new- fangled sects of Judaism, or whether it derived a portion of its doctrines from this source and the balance from ascetic Buddhism. Yet we regard it as an incontrovertible proposition that it all grew out of Buddhism originally, either director or indirectly.
- Christ may have received his doctrines second-handed, all or a portion from the Essenian Jews; for that sect held all the leading doctrines of Buddhism (as we have shown in a previous chapter), which now goes under the name of the religion of Jesus Christ.
- Or we may indulge the not unreasonable hypothesis that the founders of Christianity, who republished the doctrines of Buddhism and adopted them as their own, received them all direct from the disciples of that religious order; for “they were everywhere,” as one writer (Mr. Taylor) declares, speaking of their extensive travels to propagate their doctrines through the world. And it was about that period, as Mr. Goodrich informs us, they sent out nine hundred missionaries, who made six millions of converts, — a small fraction of their present number (three hundred and eighty millions, as given by some of our geographies), — one third more than the entire census of Christendom, and six tunes the number of believers in the Christian religion, if we omit Greeks and Catholics. “It is,” as a writer remarks, “the oldest and most widely spread religion in the world.” And, whatever hypothesis may be adduced to account for the fact, Christianity is now all Buddhism.
- It is impossible, with the historic darkness which at present environs and beclouds our pathway, to determine at what period or in what manner Christ became an Essene, — whether he was born of Essenian parents, or became a convert to the faith, — because the whole period of his life, with the exception of about three years, is a total blank in history. There is but one incident related of his movements by his bible biographers prior to his twenty-seventh year, leaving more than a quarter of a century of his probably active life unreported — a period that may have witnessed several important changes in his religion. We have not even his ancestry reported in his scriptural biography, in either parental line, unless we assume Joseph to have been his father. The parental lineage of his mother is entirely omitted. Had we his line of ancestry, or could we trace him back to his national or family origin, we doubt not but we should there find a clue to the origin of his religion. We should find his ancestors were Essenian Jews.
- Nor can we fix the date when Essenian Buddhism among the Jews received the name of Christianity for a similar reason. There is a link — a chain of events of four hundred years left out of the bible between Judaism and Christianity — thus lacking four hundred years of connecting the two religions together, or of showing how the latter grew out of the former. Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament, antedates the first events of Christian history four centuries, or twelve generations, thus leaving a wide and dark gap between them. And besides, we cannot find the name of Christ or Christianity mentioned in any of the contemporary histories of that era till one hundred and four years after the time fixed for Christ’s birth by Christendom; Tacitus being the first writer who names either, and this was at that date.
- These facts disclose the whole secret with respect to the mystery and darkness thrown around the origin of the Christian religion — the how, the when, and the where of its origin. That chapter of Christian history is left out of the record. The bible account itself is but fragmentary, as it leaves nine tenths of Christ’s history a blank, — twenty-seven years out of the thirty, — and omits all mention of his ancestors beyond his grandmother, and leaves even the time of his birth a blank. “The researches of the learned,” says Mr. Mosheim (a standard Christian author), “though long and ably conducted, have been unable to fix the time of Christ’s birth with certainty.” (Eccl. Hist. p. 23.) Wonderful admission, truly, as it is an evidence that nothing else can be fixed “with certainty,” with respect to the history of “the man Christ Jesus,” only that his doctrines and precepts were all borrowed perhaps during the twenty-seven dark and mysteries years of his life, if not an Essene by birth.
- There is no escaping the conclusion that Christianity is a borrowed system — an outgrowth and remodeling of Buddhism, with a change of name only. A thousand facts of history prove and proclaim it, and the verdict of posterity will be unanimous in affirming it.
- From the almost endless chain of analogies, exhibiting a striking resemblance even in their minute details of Christianity and Buddhism, we are compelled to conclude that one furnished the materials for the other; that one is the offspring — the legitimate child — of the other. And as it is a settled historical fact that Buddhism is much the older system, there is hence no difficulty in determining which is the parent and which is the child.
- In the Hindoo story of the creation of the human race, we find Adimo and Heva given as the names of the first man and woman answering to our Adam and Eve. And our Shem, Ham, and Japheth are traceable to their Shernia, Hama, and Jiapheta; the difference in the mode of spelling is probably owing to the difference in the languages. And under the new era we have Christ Jesus answering to their Chrishna Zeus, as some writers give the name of the eighth Avatar. And for Maia, a godmother, we have Mary. And other similar analogies might be pointed out besides the long string of strikingly similar events previously presented in the history of the two Saviors (Christ and Chrishna), amounting to hundreds.
- Such an almost countless list of similar and nearly identical incidents bids defiance, and absolutely sets at naught all attempts to account for it as a mere fortuitous accident. There is no other explanation possible but that Christianity is a re-vamp or re-establishment of Buddhism.
- Here let it be noted that Christianity was not the only religion which was rehabilitated in the Alexandrian schools. On the contrary, all the popular oriental systems then in active being had long previously passed through the same representative theological schools and creed-making institutions of that royal and commercial city. All were remodeled in its theological workshops — a fact which accounts most conclusively for the same train of religious ideas and historical incidents being found in the later sacred books of each. And besides, Sir William Jones says, “The disciples of these various systems of religion had intercourse with each other long before the time of Christ, which would necessarily bring about a uniformity in the doctrines and general character of each system.”
- The disciples of all the religious systems cited their initiatory miracles as a proof of being on familiar terms with God Almighty. They all (as is claimed) healed the sick; all restored the deaf, the dumb, and the blind; all cast out devils, and all raised the dead. (See chapter on Parallels.) In fact, all their miracles and legendary marvels run in parallel lines, because all were recast in the same creed-mold in Alexandria. A coincidence is thus beautifully explained, which would otherwise be hard to account for.
- Mr. Gibbon says, “It was in the school of Alexandria that the Christian theology appears to have assumed a regular and scientific form” (Decline, &c., chap. xv.); that is, the regular and scientific form of Buddhism or Essenism.
- Pregnant with meaning is the text, “It was in the city of Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.” (Acts xi. 36.) Here is conclusive proof that the disciples of the Christian faith were not always known by the same name, and were not at first called Christians. Then what were they called during the earlier years of their history? Here is a great and important query, and one involving a momentous problem. Couple the two facts together, that the disciples were first known as Christians at Antioch, and that the Essenian order of believers expired and went out of history about that period, and the question is at once and forever satisfactorily settled. It was not an infrequent act on making important changes in a religion, and adopting some new items of faith to change the title of the system, and give it a new name.
After Alexander Campbell had made some modifications in his previous religious faith, and started a new church, his followers were popularly called Campbellites. Elias Hicks ingrafted some reform ideas into the Quaker faith, and instituted a new society of that order. Hence, and henceforth, his disciples were known as Hicksites. In like manner Jesus Christ having made some innovations in his inherited Jewish faith (which was of the Essene stamp) by ingrafting ‘more of the Buddhist doctrine into it, his followers were henceforth called Christians. How complete the analogy! Here let it be borne in mind, as powerfully confirmatory of this conclusion, that the first Christians were (as history affirms) “merely reformatory Jews.” The twelve chosen were all Jews, probably of the Essene order. According to the Rev. Mr. Prideaux (Jewish History), the Jews of this order were first called Israelites, in common with the other tribes; then Chassidim; and thirdly Essenes. And finally, after the Essenian Jesus Christ, with some new radical ideas, proclaimed “Ye have heard it hath been said by them of old time” thus and so, “but I say unto you” differently. The title was again changed, and they adopted or received the name of Christians — the Essenes going out of history at the very date Christians first appear in history. Put this and that together, and the chain is welded. Thus we can as easily trace the origin of Christianity as we can trace the origin of a root running beneath the soil in the direction of a certain tree. History, then, proclaims that to the honest, pious, deeply-devout, self-denying, yet ignorant, slothful, and filthy Budhistic Essenes must be awarded the honor or dishonor of giving birth to that system of religion now known as Christianity.
CHRISHNA AS A GOD — ADDITIONAL FACTS
The following additional facts relative to the history, character, life, and teachings of Zeus Chrishna, or Jeseus Christna (as styled by one writer) are drawn mostly from the Vedas, Baghavat, Gita (Bible in India).
- His Virgin Mother, her Character. — The holy book declares, that “through her the designs of God were accomplished. She was pure and chaste; no animal food ever touched her lips; honey and milk were her sustenance; her time was spent in solitude, lost in the contemplation of God who showered upon her innumerable blessings; she looked upon death as the birth to a new and better life; when she traveled, a column of fire in the heavens went before her to guide her. One evening, as she was praying, she heard celestial music, and fell into a profound ecstasy, and being overshadowed by the spirit of God, she conceived the God Chrishna.” (Baghavat, Gita).
- Chrishna, his Life and Mission. — This sin-atoning God was about sixteen when he commenced active life. Like Christ, he chose twelve disciples to aid him in propagating his doctrines. “He spent his time working miracles, resuscitating the dead, healing lepers, restoring the deaf and the blind, defending the weak against the strong, and the oppressed against the oppressor, and in proclaiming his divine mission to redeem man from original sin, and banish evil, and restore the reign of good.” (Baghavat, Gita.) It is declared that he came to teach peace, charity, love to man, self- respect, the practice of good for its own sake, and faith in the inexhaustible goodness of the Creator; also to preach the immortality of the soul, and the doctrine of future rewards and punishments, and to vanquish the prince of darkness, Rakshas. It is further declared that “Brahma sent his son (Chrishna) upon the earth to die for the Salvation of man.” “His lofty precepts and the purity of his life spread his fame throughout all India, and finally won for him more than three millions of followers.” “He inculcated the sublimest doctrines, and the purest morals, and the grand principles of charity and self-denial.” “He forbade revenge, and commanded to return good for evil, and consoled the feeble and the unhappy.” “He lived poor, and loved the poor.” “He lived chaste, and enjoined chastity.” “Problems the most lofty, and morals the most pure and sublime, and the future destiny of man, were themes which engaged his most profound attention.”
“Chrishna, we will venture to say (says the Bible in India) was the greatest of philosophers, not only of India, but of the entire world.” “He was the grandest moral figure of ancient times.” (Bible in India.) “Chrishna was a moralist and a philosopher.” “We should admire his moral lessons, so sublime and so pure.” “He was recognized as the ‘Divine Word.”‘ “He received the title of Jeseus, which means pure Essense.” Chrishna signifies the “Promised of God,” the “Messiah.” “When he preached, he often spoke from a mount. He also spoke in parables. ‘Parable plays a great part in the familar instructions of this Hindoo Redeemer.'” He relates a very interesting parable of a fisherman who was much persecuted by his neighbors, but who in the time of a severe famine, when the people were suffering and dying for the want of food, being so noble as to return good for evil, he carried food to these same persecuting enemies, and thus saved them from starvation. “Therefore,” said he “do good to all, both the evil and the good, even your enemies.”
His addresses to the people were simple, but to his disciples they were elevated and philosophical. Such was the wisdom of his sermons and his parables, that the people crowded around him, eager to behold and hear him, “saying, This is indeed the Redeemer promised to our Fathers.” Great multitudes followed him, exclaiming, “This is he who resuscitates the dead, and heals the lame, and the deaf, and the blind.” On one occasion, as he entered Madura (as Christ once entered Jerusalem), “the people came out in flocks to meet him, and strewed branches in his way.” On another occasion two women approached him, anointed him with oil, and worshiped him. When the people murmured at this waste, he replied, “Better is a little given with an humble heart than much given with ostentation.” Such was his sense of decorum, that he admonished some girls he once observed playing in a state of nudity on the bank of a river after bathing. They repented, asked his forgiveness, and reformed. “The followers of Chrishna practiced all the virtues, and observed a complete abnegation of self (self- denial), and lived poor, hoping for a reward in the future life. They occupied all their time in the service of their Divine Master. Pure and majestic was their worship.” Chrishna had a favorite disciple Adjaurna, who sustained to him the relation of John to Christ, while Angada acted the part of Judas by following him to the Ganges and betraying him.
- His last Hours. — “When Chrishna knew his hour had come, forbidding his disciples to follow him, he repaired to the bank of the River Ganges; and having performed three ablutions, he knelt down, and looking up to heaven, he prayed to Brahma.” While nailed to the cross, the tree on which he was suspended became suddenly covered with great red flowers, which diffused their fragrance all around. And it is said he often appeared to his disciples after his death “in all his divine majesty.”
- The second Advent of Chrishna. — “There is not a Hindoo. or a Brahmin who does not look upon the second coming of Chrishna as an established article of faith.” Their holy bibles (the Vedas and Gita) prophesy of him thus: “He shall come crowned with lights; he shall come, and the heavens and the earth shall be joyous; the stars shall pale before his splendor; the earth will be too small to contain him, for he is infinite, he is Almighty, he is Wisdom, he is Beauty, he is all and in all; and all men, all animated beings, beasts, birds, trees, and plants, will chant his praises; he will regenerate all bodies, and purify all souls.” “He will be as sweet as honey and ambrosia, and as pure as the lamb without spot, or as the lips of a virgin. All hearts will be transported with joy. From the rising to the setting of the sun it will be a day of joy and exultation, when this God shall manifest his power and his glory, and reconcile the world unto himself.” Such are a few of the prophetic utterances of his devout and prayerful disciples.
“We find,” says a writer, “in all the theogonies of different countries the hope of the advent of a God (either his first or his second coming) — a hope which sprang from a sense of their own imperfections and sufferings, which naturally induced them to look for a divine Redeemer.”
- Precepts of Chrishna. — Numerous are the prescriptive admonitions found in the holy books which set forth the religion of “this heathen demigod” (so called by Christian professors). They appertain to all the duties of life, but are too numerous to be quoted here. Those appertaining to woman enjoin the most sacred regard for her rights, such as “woman should be protected with tenderness, and shielded with fostering solicitude.” “There is no crime more odious than to persecute woman, or take advantage of her weakness.” “Degrade woman and you degrade man.” For other similar precepts, see Chapter XXXII. The injunctions to read their holy bible (the Vedas, &c.) are quite numerous, such as, “Let him study the holy Scriptures unceasingly.” “Pray night and morning, and in the attitude of devotion.’ And read the holy Scriptures many of them read it through upon their knees. (See Chap. XLIV.) We have not space for a further exposition of this subject here; but it will be found more fully set forth in the pamphlet, “Christ and Chrishna Compared,” which will perhaps, become an Appendix to this work.
It may be objected that there are precepts and stories to be found in the religion of this Hindoo God (Chrishna), which reflect but little credit or honor upon that religion. This is true. And similar reflections would materially damage the religion of Christianity also. The story of Christ beating and maltreating the money-changers in the temple, his cursing an innocent, unoffending, and unconscious fig tree, and his indulgence in profane swearing at his enemies, — “O ye fools and blind, ye generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of hell!” — does not reflect any credit upon his religion, viewed as a system. Defects, then, may be found in both systems. In viewing the analogies of the two religions, it should be noted that the Hindoos claim, with a forcible show of facts and logic, that the religion of Christianity grew out of theirs. It has not been long since a learned Hindoo maintained this position in a public debate with a missionary. If all these facts effect nothing in the way of inducing the Christian clergy to confess the falsity of their position in claiming their religion to be a direct emanation from God, it will be a sad commentary upon either their intelligence or their honesty.
These historical facts, with those set forth in the preceding chapters, prove that the religion called Christianity, instead of being, as Christians claim, “the product of the Divine Mind,” is the product of “heathen” minds; i.e., a spontaneous outgrowth of the moral and religious elements of the human mind. And therefore, for God to have revealed it over again to the founders of Christianity would have been superfluous, and a proof of his ignorance of history.
NOTE. — The author deems it proper to state here, with respect to the comparison between Christ and Chrishna, that some of the doctrines which he has selected as constituting a part of the religion of the Hindoo Savior, are not found in the reported teachings of that deified moralist. But as they appear to breathe forth the same spirit, it is presumed he would have indorsed them, had they come under his notice. As Christians assume the liberty to arrange the doctrines of Paul and Peter under the head of Christianity because claimed to be in consonance with the religion of Christ, though not all taught by him, the author, in like manner, has assumed, that some doctrines taught by other systems and religious teachers of India accord with those taught by Chrishna, and hence has arranged them with his. The author’s purpose is not to set forth the doctrines of any sect, any system, or any religious teacher, but to show that all the doctrines of Christianity are traceable to ancient India. But whether taught by this sect or that sect, it is foreign to our purpose to inquire; and hence, for convenience, he has arranged them all into one system, and designated them Chrishnaanity (borrowing a new term). There can be no more impropriety, he presumes, in arranging the doctrines of the various conflicting sects of India into one system (including even Brahminism and Buddhism), than to arrange, as Christians do, the doctrines taught by the antagonistic system of Catholicism and Protestantism, and their six hundred conflicting sects, under the head of Christianity. Hence, Christians, of course, will not fault the arrangement. The classification above alluded to comprises, in part, the religion of many of the Hindoo sects, but does not set forth all their doctrines, only those analogous to Christianity. Chrishna was a Vishnuite, and not a Brahmin, as some writers assume. He and Christ were both reformers, and departed from the ancient faith. Vishnuism appears to have finally centered in Buddhism.