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men, who at all risks stood in their defence-men who argued and persuaded, who fought hard, and eventually succeeded in convincing millions of their being true. If, therefore, the numerical force of those who believe is to be cited as a valid argument, then, as the first step towards finding our religion, we must look up and down the world, and ransack the pages of history to discover which is now the strongest party, and wbich succeeded with the greatest speed.
Of course it will be very readily conceived that there are insuperable difficulties lying in the way to prevent a correct census from being taken, so that we can only approximate to a correct result, and if we accept the statistics furnisled by some of our Christian priests and missionaries, although we may doubt their correctness, the doubt will not be based upon the idea that the religion of Europe has been unfairly treated, for their figures tell against the supremacy of Christianity, and show that the believers in other religions are more numerous. There can be no reason for refusing to accept their conclusions, but only for questioning if they have not put a better face
upon their own side than the facts will warrant. They acknowledge that there are above 400,000,000 Buddhists in the world, and that the Christians do not number so bigh by above one-balf. They admit that the Buddhists are the most numerous, the followers of Mahomet the next, Christianity standing third upon the list. Consequently, if majorities are to rule, then we should all join the Buddhist Church, wherein, and much to their astonishment, many would discover that the same moral truths are taught as in the Christian, and not merely a few of the spiritual ones. But in making up the Christian statistics it happens most unfortunately that all are reckoned who dwell in Christian lands.' Thus, although it be declared upon high authority, that the working classes of England and other countries have deserted from the faith, and are called infidels, when the statistics of Christianity are supplied, they are all reckoned as true Christians. Moreover, although the Protestants deny that Catholics and Greek Churchmen are Christians, in the proper sense of the term, yet when Christianity is contrasted in point of numbers with the Buddhists, then to swell the total, all these repudiated Churches are reckoned as belonging to the true fold.
If only such were numbered as are Christians indeed, the comparative standard would show most unfavourably for the Creed of Christendom.
Unfortunately for the inquirer our knowledge of the history and peculiarities of Buddhism is not commensurate with its importance. But a few years ago, we positively knew nothing satisfactory of the system or of its Founder. Some vague and romantic stories were circulated about his life and doctrines, in which, according to the usual method of dealing with foreign religions and their founders, he is represented as an imposter, while in others it is set forth that all taught by the Buddhists had been first stolen from our Sacred Books and then rudely disfigured. Thus were men taught, and not encouraged to search for the truth; for it was assumed that we possess all religious truth which is of any practical value, and, consequently, that all such study would be thrown away. Fortunately, however, there have been some who broke through these bonds, and brought to light a rich body of facts connected with this religion ; and, although what we are now in possession of, obtained through their labours, only shows us how much more may be obtained, and how much more carefully we must study these records before the whole truth will be brought out, still we know enough already to qualify us for refuting the old stupid and fulse stories, and to make us certain that in the person of the Founder of Buddhism, a great and noble teacher moved, and taught, and suffered amid the Indian nations.
The modern sources of our knowledge are various. Mr. Hodgson, long a resident in Nepaul, and then in Ceylon, first collected and translated many of their Sacred Books. He gave fifty volumes in Sanscrit and two hundred in Thibetian to various Asiatic Societies. To our London Society, and at various times, he gave, collectively, abovefour hundred of the most valuable volumes, and, with shame be it said not one of them has yet been translated. The French, according to their custom, translated all they received, and then actually sent over to obtain French renderings of our copies, which were permitted, so that every Frenchman can, if he desire it, see what these books contain ; while not a single line was rendered into our own tongue. We talk about the bigotry of Catholic countries, but are too apt in forgetting the equal or greater bigotry at home, which has no parallel save in its own gross injustice, For if party purposes were not to be served they would have been translated. Suppose these volumes had contained any passages which, either directly or indirectly, were susceptible of such distortion as to afford proof of the sanctity of our prevailing Church System. Is there any reasonable man who can suppose such passage would not have been at once translated and trumpeted abroad throughout the land ? Why, then, if truth and knowledge be our object, should passages of an opposite character remain hidden behind an unknown tongue -unknown at least to the great majority of Britons? It is true, indeed, that some parts of the Buddhist books bave been translated by private persons, but these are sold at such an enormous price that, so far as fifty-nine sixtieths of the people are concerned, they may as well have been wholly prohibited. “Upham’s Miahavansi, &c.,” “Hodgson's Buddhism in Ceylon," " Priaulx's
' Questiones Mosaicæ," " Wilson's Lecture on Buddhism," "The Cave In“” "scriptions," " Bhilsa Topes," by Cunningham, “ Prinsep's Journal," “ Maurice on Buddhism,” “Bournouf and Remusat on the same. These are available to the modern reader, and it is such works, coupled with various papers in the “ Bengal and London Asiatic Journals,” that we have to us as guides, and from which we are to draw our papers on Buddhism and its Founder.
But the preliminary question arises as to the period in history at which Buddha taught. Various dates have been assigned, but upon this point no two nations, no two groups of Buddhist Churches, are agreed. The religion extends over China, Tartary, Thibet, Lao, Burmah, Siam, Japan, Ceylon, and many of the islands, all of which have copies of the Sacred Books, wbich agree well enough in
well enough in the matters of doctrine and history, but none agree upon this point, for there is a wide gulf lying between them in relation to all chronological affairs. Of course, much of this depends upon the fact, that every nation likes to locate within its own boundaries its own religious heroes; and, although the Chinese admit that Buddhism was an importation, they seem desirous of conveying the idea that they had had it at a former period—that in China it antedated its reintroduction. Then, too, another reason lies in the fact that Buddha is not a proper name- -is not the name of a man, but is a generic term, signifying 'wisdom,''the wise,' or 'he through wb all is known.' The name of hero was Sakya Muni, and it was only after long years of pain, and teaching, and active labour he attained to the blessed condition of Buddha-hood.
And here, while speaking of names, it will be as well to notice that the princely name of the Founder of this faith was Sibbhartha, or he by whom the
end is accomplished;' his father's name, Suddhodana, means "he whose food is pure ;' and his mother's, Mayadeor, means 'illusion,' • Divine illusion.' Some have assumed from this that the whole narrative is a fabrication, or'a kind of “ Pilgrim's Progress” allegory. Say that this were true, how then
“ are we to account for the coming of the ideas and the doctrines which were allegorized ? They must have been first taught, and hence their teacher must be found. We believe that there were many Buddhas, many who, as wise men, patient and self-sacrificing men, were so called, but that only one succeeded in establishing a system. This, however, is a moot point which is here suggested with due humility.
Many of our Asiatic scholars have fixed the date of his birth as 2056 B.C., but, although it is quite possible to shew that a Buddha then lived, it is equally possible to demonstrate that it was not the Buddha of history. Then comes the year 1040 B.C., which has many supporters, but again they are at fault, for no system has ever been made out as then established. The Abbé Huc fixes his birth at 960 B.C., and, doubtless, a Buddha then existed. Come down, however, to 623 B C., and all agree that the Buddha of history was then in existence, acting as the reformer-teacher of Buddhism as it is now known. Why, then, the controversy? Because, while all agree about the date and actions, they differ regarding his work; some calling him the creator of a new system, and others treating him as only a reformer. One party says that Buddhism proceeded from him, and another, that he only remodelled it. Such are the contradictions given at the very outset of this inquiry, and, painful to say, in a very narrow spirit they are eontinued throughout the whole story.
P. W. P.
SOUTH PLACE CHAPEL SUNDAY EVENING LECTURES.
BY P. W. PERFITT, Ph. D.
(Continued from p. 208.) They relate that with the messengers" she sent five hundred youths dressed like "maidens, and the same number of maidens like young men, with instructions that
they were to behave accordingly in the presence of Solomon. She had also a “thousand carpets prepared, wrought with gold and silver, a crown composed of “the finest pearls and liyacinths, and many loads of musk, amber, and aloes, and "other precious products of South Arabia. To these she added a closed casket; "containing an unperforated pearl, a diamond intricately pierced, and a goblet of “crystal. The letter thus referred to these things :- As a true prophet, thou “ wilt no doubt be able to distinguish the youths from the maidens; to divine the "contents of the enclosed casket; to perforate the pearl; to thread the diamond; ""and to fill the goblet with water that hath not dropped from the clouds, nor 'gushed forth from the earth.'
“When they reached Jerusalem, Solomon told them the contents of the letter " before they presented it, and made light of their mighty problems. He caused " the slaves to wash themselves, and from the manner in which they applied the "water, detected their sex. He directed a young and fiery horse to be ridden “through the camp at the top of its speed, and on its return caused its copious
perspiration to be collected in the goblet. The pearl he perforated by a stone occultly known to him. The threading of the diamond puzzled him for a * moment, but at length he inserted a small worm, which wound its way through,
“ leaving a silken thread behind it. Having done this, he dismissed the ambas“sadors, without accepting their presents.
“This, and the reports her emissaries brought, determined the queen to visit “Jerusalem in person. When she came, Solomon, who had heard a piece of scan“ dal about her -no less than that she had cloven feet-first of all demonstrated
his sagacity by the mode in which he tested this report. He caused her to be “conducted over a crystal floor, below which was real water, with a quantity of “ fish swimming about. Balkis, who had never before seen a crystal floor, supposed “there was water to be passed through, and therefore slightly lifted her robe, "enabling the king to satisfy himself that she had a very neat foot, not at all “cloven.
The account in Kings is not so full in one sense, but much more so in others. The author
says: “And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that " bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones : and when she was come to “Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart. And Solomon told “her all her questions : there was not any thing hid from the king, which he told “her not. And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon's wisdom, and the “house that be had built, and the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, "and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel
, and his cupbearers, and his “ascent by which he went up unto the house of the Lord; there was no more spirit “in her. And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own “ land of thy acts and of thy wisdom. Howbeit, I believed not the words, until I
came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy “wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard. Happy are thy men, happy, are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear " thy wisdom. Blessed be the Lord thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee “on the throne of Israel: because the Lord loved Israel for ever, therefore made “he thee king, to do judgment and justice. And she gave the king an hundred “and twenty talents of gold, and of spices very great store, and precious stones : “there came no more such abundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheba
gave to king Solomon. And the navy also of Hiram, that brought gold from Ophir, brought in from Ophir great plenty of almug trees, and precious stones.”+
It is quite proper to say that there was no queen in existence who had it in her power to make such presents. The gold alone, estimated at £4. per ounce, would be worth £720,000. in modern value, and when the value of spices, and precious stones, and other gifts are estimated, the total value would exceed many millions. And what part of the world could she have come from to be so much astonished at the buildings of Solomon ?. From "Zemen” she came, so it is said, and Zemen (South) is the happy valley of Arabia, the one part where spices, coffee, &c., are obtained in rich abundance. But who imagines that any queen of Zemen could ever be capable of possessing so much wealth? And if she possessed it, do we not know that she must have known of the Egyptian buildings, which as far surpassed the works of Solomon as the architecture of the British Museum surpasses that of Little Zion Chapel in Hog Lane. We cannot deny that which we see, or refuse our assent to a demonstrated proposition, and when told that this queen was astonished at such petty buildings, then our answer is, either she was not what she is said to have been, queen of a people in Arabia or Abyssinia, or the story is totally untrue. All the dresses and religious processions about which she was so much astonished were but poor reproductions of Egyptian splendour—they were imitations, even to the style of dress, the form of the ark, and the order of the march, but came no nearer the original than does the celebratio:1 of High Mass in Balroony to that of St. Peter's at Rome.
The whole narrative is an interpolation. If the reader will read the last three verses of the ninth chapter of the First Book of Kings, and then pass on to the eleventh verse of the tenth chapter, he will not fail to perceive the connes:ion of the two points. Then, in the thirteenth verse, he will find that Solomoa gave the Queen of Sheba what she asked, after which she returned to her own country,
* Kitto's Daily Rible Illus, vol. 4. p. 120, + į Kings x. 2.11.
As the narrative was originally written, it ran on as I have intimated, and contained only this latter notice of the Queen of Sheba, but as time passed on one of the idle stories about her visit was foisted on to the text, literally wedged in, and in such a manner as to destroy the sense. Thus I treat all that earlier part of the tenth chapter (verses 1 to 10) as nothing more than a fiction, which was not even known to the original writer. It was a little story intended to illustrate an allu. sion in the text, and has no more historical value than thousands of a similar character found in the ancient histories.
Solomon was never great as a warrior. His reign was hailed as the reign of peace, but he is represented as multiplying to himself chariots and horses. In one passage* we are informed that he had “ forty thousand stalls of horses for his
chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen.". In another passaget it is said, “Solomon gathered together chariots and horsemen, and he had a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, whom he bestowed “ in the cities for chariots, and with the king at Jerusalem." But in the corresponding chapter in Chroniclest it is said, “ Solomon had four thousand stalls “ for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, whom he bestowed in the “ chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem.”. Evidently these passages are hopelessly corrupt, and remembering what has previously been said of war chariots, as well as what may be gleaned from ancient history, we feel that Solomon could not have become possessed of even the smaller number here stated. In Egypt, where the breeding of horses was carried on upon the most extensive scale, and from whence Solomon was supplied, they did not bring so many into the field. The army of Pharoah, which is supposed to have gone out after Moses is only alleged to have had 600 chariots. The great Shishak, who desolated Jerusalem å few years after the death of Solomon, and who plundered the temple, only brought 1200 chariots up to battle. Sisera, of whom so much was said because of his chariots, had only 900. The Syrians of Mesopotamia had but 700, and the great Hadadazer only 1000. These are all Bible accounts, and when we turn aside to general bistory we find these numbers verified. As, for instance, Xenophon in one of his works, the Expedition of Cyrus, gives the number of cavalry as 120,000, and of chariots 2000. Such facts are powerful as evidences against the story, unless we are prepared to assume, with Bishop Watson, that “in this, as in other “matters, the great increase was the result of the special assistance of God," which, of course, is a form of criticism that gets rid of one difficulty by proposing a greater, where anything like reason is active. Unfortunately, too, for this theory, it is opposed by the command of Moses," that kings were not to mul. “tiply borses," and it is believed by all old writers that the people were dis. pleased with Solomon "for trusting to horses and chariots.”. So that while we doubt the statement made in Kings and Chronicles respecting the numbers, we do not doubt the fact that he had horses, with chariots of war, but as to bow many, how they were fitted up, how distributed, and by whom they were driven, we are unable to give any distinct account.
The story of his wives and concubines is hardly worth relating. It is set forth in the record, that king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the “ daughter of Pharoah, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, “and Hittites; of the nations concerning which the Lord said unto the children of “ Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for
surely, they will turn away your heart after their gods : Solomon clave unto " these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred
concubines : and his wives turned away his beart. For it came to pass, when “Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and “his beart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his « father.”||
The sin here imputed to him lay not in the having so many wives, but in permitting them to turn away his heart from Jehovah." Modern writers who feel themselves called upon to enter the lists in favour of this man, endeavour
* 1 Kings, iv. 26.
+ Ibid. x. 26, § Deuteronomy, xvii. 16.
# 2 Cbrow. ix. 25. !! I Kings, xi. 1.4.