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will be the moral, so to speak, of the present history. The monuments of antiquity have become the ruins of modern times. But the institutions existing in the remotest eras must have been sufficient, for a season, to the assistance and the preservation of the races amongst whom they were founded. As defences against actual evil, they endured until they were set up as barriers against coming good; when their destruction was as Providential as their formation had been. No race of which the memory has been retained upon the earth ever lived for itself alone; nor are the purposes for which one after another was brought into existence to be now fulfilled by our admiration of their greatness or our compassion for their shame. Between India and Egypt, Egypt and Greece, Greece and Rome, or between any nations of any period and those of our own, there was and is the same general connection in all the common attributes and responsibilities of humanity.” “As travellers in a foreign country make every sight a lesson, so ought we,” says Bishop Hall." “in this our pilgrimage.” Nor need we stand here, as from afar, to watch the distant flames; we can go towards them, if we will, to cheer our faith by the light they yet give in our day and generation. It is not merely to seek for things which have been consumed, that we here return. There were “vanities,” as St. Paul declared, at Lystra, of which we may take our account in thankfulness that they are for ever ended; but there are still the “witnesses,” as the same apostle wrote, in which God is yet manifest,’ and by which we may ourselves be strengthened and directed forward.”
5 “The largest portion of that ent; the past had always something history which we commonly call true, and is a precious possession.” ancient is practically modern.”—Ar- Hero Worship, Lect. I. nold, App. I. Thucyd. Mr. Car- 6 Art of Divine Meditation, Ch. lyle says as truly, that “the whole IV. Past is the possession of the Pres.
“What seemed an idol hymn now breathes of Thee!”9
7 Acts, XIV. 15 et seq. Romans, ter VIII. for the conclusion of the I. 19 et seq. preceding statements. 8 The reader is referred to Chap- 9 Keble.
“Humana . . . . . cum vita jaceret
THE first truth for men to recognize, however imperfectly, is their dependence upon a superior Power; a truth as full of terror to the heathen, as of consolation to the Christian. The earth to its early inhabitants seemed infested with mysteries which they could never clearly resolve; in their eyes, the rainbow and the thunder-cloud were equally dreadful; and wherever imagination was most active, the deepest solemnities and the greatest fears existed. Superstitious awe was the dominant principle of life; and so completely was it hindered from relief or tenderness, that its dominion could not but be overpowering and irresistible. The feeling from which it sprung can hardly be called faith; it was rather obedience to dark enigmas and cruel penances that crushed the mind or swayed the body without once reaching to the heart. The knowledge included in a system on this foundation would depend upon its interpreters; and the superiority they acquired in matters of belief would quickly extend itself over all the public and private interests of life. The servants of the deities became the rulers of the worshippers. Their authority, whether equal or unequal among themselves, was one they claimed as their unalienable right; and the government they established was founded on the impotency and the despair of the inferior races of their fellow-beings. The terror arising from a want of knowledge, and increased by a want of vigor amongst mankind, was the foundation of the hierocracy in India," or more particularly in the plain of the Ganges.” It happened there, as in many other places, that the characteristics of nature affected to a great degree the development of man. Bound in by mountain ranges and composed of vast proportions, the land was shaped out for impressions of wonder, magnitude, and repose. A bright and ardent climate, however, while it enervated the hardier qualities, excited the imagination towards infinity, and filled the mind with yearnings to know the powers by which the world was created, and the wills by which it was ruled. The earliest generations were content to hunt through the forest, or drive their herds from field to field; but their descendants were soon inspired by the glowing colors on the ground, the murmuring winds among the trees, or the lofty forms of the mountains, to break through chaotic barbarism.
1 Thus Fr. Schlegel says we son, in his Preface to the Vishnu may seek the origin of all paganism Purana (p. lxvii.), “lies between in India. Philos. of Hist., Lect. W. the Drishadwati and Saraswati riv
2 “The holy land of Menu and ers, the Caggar and Sarsooty of our the Puranas,” says Professor Wil- barbarous maps.”
These longings after a different manner of life were far from being universal; they stole into a few hearts only, and when these were made hopeful, there remained a larger number of the untouched and the hopeless. It was natural that the first to feel the influence should be the first to rule the men around them; though the habits of either class continued to be unformed and their capacities unexercised. It was scarcely necessary to build more than a hut beneath such summer heavens, or cultivate more than a patch of soil upon such fertile lands as belonged to the people of the Ganges. None of the graver cares for sustenance or shelter hindered their reveries in the world of speculation, to which they seemed to transfer the duties of the world wherein they indolently breathed. During this progress, however, from sensibility to contemplation and abstraction, the changes in the history of India may be said to have all occurred. Under the first impulses, the priests” rose up, and led the rest to conquests, af. ter which the first rude laws were framed. Under the last, the meditations and the visions of the same priests, repeated continually, and continually enlarged, became the histories, the legal codes, and the books of faith, on which the past, the present, and
3 And here one word of caution Priest of the Middle Ages. He was
becomes necessary, lest the reader be disposed to compare the ancient priesthoods, so often to be mentioned in this history, with those of modern times. The Priest of Antiquity will be understood by remembering the
not merely the minister of the idol or the deity, but a philosopher, a lawgiver, a prophet, besides being often the business or the professional man, and the soldier.