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of abstract, oft repeated meditation, in the powers of nature and the members of his own body, nothing but illusions. Complete absorption in Brahm, forms the completion of his salvation. Penances and self-torture of the most excruciating character have been practised by the Hindoos from time immemorial, in the firm coniiction that they are absolutely essential to the attainment of holiness.
Another prominent feature in Hindoo religion is, the doctrine of transmigration, as taught in all the philosophic schools of India. According to this belief, the souls of men after death đo not depart to their final resting place, but they assume some other body, generally that of an animal. After having gone through successive metamorphoses, from the stone to the plant, from the plant to the animal, and having discharged the penalty of their sins, they attain to their most perfect state, that is, complete absorptlon in the great soul, Atma, so as to destroy altogether the idea of personality and individual self-consciousness.
The radical error of Brahminism, consists in a defective conception of the two constituent parts of human life, and of the relation they sustain to each other. Of the Unity of body and soul, it had not the smallest notion, but regarded them as occupying a position of mutual repugnancc. According to their view, the body seems to have been an unnecessary and burdensome appendage-the prison house in which the soul was confined and restrained from the enjoyment of its spiritual faculties--the net which encircled the man and prevented him from ascending into the bosom of Brahm. In opposition to this false conception, true religion proposes for its object the gradual purlfication of the body-not its annihilationby means of spiritual influences. The whole person as composed of body and soul, must be subjected to a process of sanctification which will result in the salvation of both.
Against the despotic tendencies of Brahminism which as the exclusively religious caste, was disposed to stretch its authority beyond proper bounds, there arose the system of Buddhism. In the accomplishment of their object. viz: the destruction of the barriers that confined religion to a single caste, the disciples of Gautava introduced preaching into the public service, rejected the use of the obsolete Sancrit, substituted the language of the people, recognized and respected their rights in religious concerns. Though Buddhista aroused for a season to fresh activity the spiritual energies of the
nation, it lacked the moral elements necessary to accomplish a reformation, and never succeeded in obtaining a permanent supremacy in the country. The character of these two conflicting systems and their final tendencies will enable us to form a very correct opinion concerning the prominent features of the Hindoo mind. The history of India warrants the assertion that, in the construction of its society, the principle of individuality—a reflection, as it wereof its geographical diversity-which confined for ever to a particular sphere certain classes of men, gained the preponderance. Buddhism was the application of this principle to religious concernments; inasmuch as it defended the right of private judgment, and affirmed that the relation existing between man and his Maker could not be determined by any body of men who owned no sympathy with his spiritual necessities, but sought rather to oppress him with the tyranny of ecclesiastical bondage. A wildly luxuriant imagination was the ruling faculty of Indian mind. Brahminism, as may easily be gathered from a slight consideration of its ceremonies, and its extravagant myths, did not suppress its activity, but stimulated its exercise by imparting to it a religious character. But the critical, analysing faculty, also, the understanding, asserted its presence in the system of Gantana Boodh, whose better judgment was not easily overpowered by the seductive charms of a distempered fancy. Thus, Brahminism and Buddism may be regarded as complements of each other, and as the best exponents of Hindoo character.
Concluding Remarks. We have had occasion to point out the broad and decided difference between the respective rationalities of India and China. The undoubted facts of history compel us to the conclusion that, in originality and depth of thought, in vigor and beauty of imagination, the Indians far surpassed the Chinese. But why did not a people so richly endowed by nature, attain to a matured developinent of their spiritual faculties, and advance to a superior state of culture ? After having reached a certain point, their civilization remained
• It is very evident that an interesting parallel might be drawn between Brahminism and Roman Catholicism on the one hand, and Buddhism and Protestantism on the other.
stationary. Some of the causes which induced this stagnation have been mentioned in a preceding paragraph ($29). But the chief reason remains to be told. In the evolution of its resources, a nation must ever have reference to some ultimate object which they are to
Whilst its government, its science, its art, each in their own sphere, produce their legitimate results, they must enlist their united energies in one common service; otherwise the benefits they Beverally entailed upon society, standing in no living connection with each other and not directed towards the attainment of some universal end, will terminate with the particular government, science and art which gave them birth. Nor, the activities of a nation in all the departments of human life, must combine themselves in an effort to subordinate the inferior powers of its subjects, which, if allowed to progress unchecked, will draw around it an atmosphere of spiritual darkness, to the dominion of the ennobling faculties of the soul. But in India the order of true culture was reversed; the flesh domineered over the spirit. It is true indeed that its religious system insisted upon a deliverance from the thraldom of the animal propensities; but in the unnatural struggle to destroy that which was created for immortality, they fell more hopelessly and deplorably, under the power of the bodily instincts. In reading their theosophic speculations which abound in grand and noble ideas, and in beholding their self-inflicted tortures, we admire their longing aspirations after deliverance from the bonds of sense, but cannot approve of the method by which they sought to obtain it. From the bosom of Hindoo society, the man could not spring who was to redeem humanity by sanctifying it, and lift it to its appointed moral position by elevating it into union with his own divine nature. “The fullness of the time" had not yet come.
J. S. E.
BROWNSON'S QUARTERLY REVIEW.
We are not among those who consider 0. A. Brownson, Esq., a mere weathercock in religion, whose numerous changes of faith are sufficient of themselves to convict his last position of falsehood and folly. We can see easily enough in all his variations, a principle of steady motion in the same general direction. He started on one extreme, only to be carried over by regular gradation finally to another. Unitarianism and Romanisın are the contrary poles of Christianity, freedom and authority, the liberty of the individual subject and the binding force of the universal object, carried out each, by violent disjunction from the other, into nerveless pantomime and sham. Thus seemingly far apart, however, they are in reality always closely related, just as all extremes, by the force of iheir own falsehood, have an innate tendency to react, pendulum-wise, into the very opposites from which they seem to fly. Hence, the familiar observation, that Romanism in many cases leads to rationalism and infidelity. In bursting the bonds of mere blind authority, a Ronge has no power to stop in true Protestantism, but swings clear over into the dark void of full unbelief. So it is not unnatural, on the other side, that Rationalisın should lead the way occasionally to popery and superstition. This transition we see exemplified in the case of Mr. Brownson. He himself, indeed, speaks of his conversion at times, as if it had come upon him by a sort of miracle, without any such preparation in his previous life. But it is easy enough to see that such was not the case. Forced to feel the hollowness of the ground on wnich he first stood, bis mind had been for years before seeking some better settlement, by a succession of experiments, which, though not, of course, to his own consciousness, yet in truth and in fact, looked all along towards the full spiritual somerset, in which they came at length to an end. That they reached this end finally, instead of stopping in some intermediate position, was owing in his case, not to the levity and inconstancy of his mind, but to its earnestness rather and logical severity. We should be very sorry to consider him here the counterpart simply of the infamous Ronge. As a general thing, we may say, it requires far more earnestness to pass from rationalism to popery, than it does to make a like transition from popery to rationalism; and it must ever argue a most vitiated state of religious feeling, where the second case is regarded with more toleration and respect than the first; where the conversion of a Ronge, VOL. II.-NO. 1.
for instance, is glorified as the triumph of reason and truth, while the conversion of a Brownson is resolved into sheer dishonesty and caprice. Had the last seen proper to bring his wanderings to an end in Orthodox Congregationalism, in Presbyterianism, in old Lutheranism, or in Protestant Episcopacy, his mutability in either case, thus far, would have seemed consistent and rational enough, at least within the bosom of his chosen communion. And yet it was simply because he was more consistent and rational than multitudes in these several positions, that he could not thus pause in his movement, but found it necessary to leave them all behind, and to seek shelter for his wearied spirit in the bosom of Rome. We mean not by this, that others may not occupy in good faith such intermediate ground, without having been brought to surmount in their own minds the inward difficuliy which made this impossible for Mr. Brownson. They may do so, just because they have never come to be sensible at all of the antagonistic powers out of which the difficulty springs. Let the true nature of this antagonism come to be felt, and their position will be found at the same time to involve a contradiction, out of which, with their reigning principle of religion, they can make no rational escape. So it was in the mind of Mr. Brownson. The very principle which led him to renounce Unitarianism, made it impossible for him to stop short of Romanism. With less light in his understanding, or less firmness in his will, ne might have forced it to come to a halt somewhere between. But this would have been for him error only and not truth. The case demanded, for its right solution, a new religious principle and theory altogether. Without this, he felt himself shut up to the alternative already mentioned. He could not be a Congregationalist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, or Episcopalian. He must be either a Rationalist or a Romanist. Had it been possible, he might have liked to be at once both ; but as the case could not allow this, he made up his mind finally to bow as he best could to the authority of the Pope. In all this, as we have said, we find no occasion for disparagemeut or contempt
. Our condemnation, rather, is mingled with respect. We reverence earnesiness and moral courage, wherever they may come in our way; and we know not that they are more entitled to such homage in the form of perpetual stability and sameness, than they are in the form of necessary revolution and change. Calvin and Melancihon are both great, the one in the uniformity, the other in the fluctuations, of his faith. It is neither by moving, nor by standing still, that men prove the worth of their religion. A faith which has never found Occasion to stir an inch from its first moorings, may be of far less