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experimental method by which each subject becomes, what Buddhism merely dreams of,“ a partaker of the divine nature.”
Again, Buddhism rests on a belief of the “infinite capacity of the human intellect ;” a belief which, in its lamanesque development ends in the worship of a man—perhaps a child-as the representative and abode of perfect human wisdom; but which may be better satisfied by the fact of the immortality and infinite progression in knowledge and holiness of the human spirit.
Buddhism requires a visible object of worship, of the same nature with the worshippers, with whom they can be united by sympathy and relationship, and in whom is contained in absolute perfection the excellence after which they are to strive; a demand which is perfectly met in the humanity and spotless purity of the Divine Redeemer.*
In short, it might appear as if Buddhism, wherever it is grasped by a thoughtful and inquiring spirit, might prove the germinating point of an outward faith in Christianity. But this form of heathenism is to be met with in greater proportion and influence in Japan than in any other country to which Protestant missions have yet penetrated. It will not be unreasonable to expect, therefore, that Christianity will meet with a more ready acceptance here, than among the adherents of the grosser and more idolatrous religion of India.
It only remains to add, that the rigid exclusion of foreigners which has now been persisted in for nearly two hundred and fifty years, is wholly due to the policy of the Government founded on its experience of European treachery. The people have nothing of that hatred for “outside barbarians," which characterizes the natives of the adjoining continental Empire. They are as superior to the Chinese in liberality and kindness of disposition, as they are in their physical development. Captain Golownin and others who have suffered the hardships of a captivity in Niphon, testify that the people went as far as they dared in manifesting kindness and sympathy. They are also anxious for the introduction of foreign commerce, and will
• See Maurice on the Religions of the World, where the relation of Christianity to existing and defunct forms of faith, is developed with great acuteness and discri. mination.
engage freely in traffic whenever the restrictions are removed. It is in a high degree likely, that this intelligent and improveable people will be found, before many years, carrying on commerce on their own account, between Japan and the Pacific States of America.
Of the books enumerated at the head of this article we have only a word to say. The last mentioned is merely a collection of tracts, encyclopedic articles and newspaper paragraphs relating to Japan and the Japanese expedition, strung together without any pretence of editorial labor. It embodies, however, a good deal of useful information, and is dedicated by permission, to President Fillmore.
McFarlane's Japan is the work of a clever and veteran littérateur, who, next to having resided in the country, had the best opportunities of becoming acquainted with everything of interest pertaining to it. He enjoyed an intimate acquaintance with a distinguished English gentleman, Mr. Drummond, who passing for a Dutchman, spent several years in Japan, and had collected every work then published, relating to the country. Mr. McFarlane has made up a very pleasant and entertaining volume, containing just the kind of information that is appropriate and desirable at the present juncture. The work is issued in handsome style from the press of Putnam & Co. New York, with neat wood-cuts illustrating scenery, manners and customs, &c.
The history of M. Cretineau-Joly cannot be dismissed in a paragraph. It is a detailed account, drawn from the best sources (for the Jesuits) of all the Order has done and suffered, from its foundation down to the year of publication, 1846. M. Cretineau sets out with very positive assurances of entire impartiality. He is neither of the Jesuits, nor for the Jesuits, nor against the Jesuits. He is simply the historian of the Company. Forgetting his promises, however, as well as his obligations to the prime law of history, he soon degenerates into a mere apologist, and in no part of his work does he labor more zealously in this vocation, than in that relating to the missions in Japan. He will not admit even an indiscretion on the part of the Reverend Fathers. The disaster of the missions was mainly due to the hatred of the “ Calvinists and Anglicans”
against the faith. English and Dutch rapacity and jealousy serves with M. Cretineau for a complete solution of that most disastrous failure ; an influence, which at most, only helped on the ruin which Romish arrogance and indiscretion began. The Jesuits have always dug the grave of their own enterprises.
Recollections of a Journey through Tartary, Thibet and China, dur.
ing the years 1844, 1845 and 1846. By M. Huc, Missionary Priest of the Congregation of St. Lazarus. Two volumes, pp. 245,
248. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1852. Souvenirs d'un Voyage dans la Tartarie, le Thibet, et la China, pen
dant les années 1844, 1845 et 1846, par M. Huc, Prêtre missionaire de la Congrégation de Saint Lazare. Paris.
It is quite indispensable that our friends should read this book. No travellers have ever been over precisely this ground, or if they have, they have not told it to the world. Think of men riding and “tenting” (as they call it at West Point) with the Mongol and Mantchoo and Long Haired Tartars, and becoming as intimate as brothers with crowds of Lamas, and travelling up to Lla-Ssa, (what you call Lassa,) and learning at the sacred capital itself all about the Talé Lama, who is the Grand Lama of all the Grand Lamas !
The translation is by Mrs. Percy Sinnett, and was first issued by Messrs. Longman & Co. The following statement is made in a preface by William Hazlitt to a second translation of the work, published in London. It relates to the companion of M. Huc on his journey. “When M. Gabet was directed by his superiors to proceed to France, and lay a complaint before his Government of the arbitrary treatment which he and his fellow missionary had experienced in the steamer which conveyed him from Hong-Kong to Ceylon, he found Mr. Alexander Johnstone, Secretary to Her Majesty's Plenipotentiary in China ; and this gentleman perceived so much, not merely of entertainment, but of important information in the conversations he had with M. Gabet, that he committed to paper the leading features of the Reverend Missionary's statements, and on his return to his official post, gave his manuscripts to Sir John Davis, who, in his turn, considered their contents so interesting, that he embodied a copy of them in a despatch to Lord Palmerston.”
M. Huc is, of course, our readers understand, a Roman Catholic missionary priest. But the universal impression seems to be that he is trustworthy, like old Herodotus, in what he saw himself, though credulous about the reports of others, and superstitious, even to childishness, in some of his explications of the juggleries he saw. There is, as the translator remarks, something naïve in M. Huc's assertions of the striking resemblance between the forms of Buddhism and those of his own Church. It adds another proof to the many which show Romanism to be baptized heathenism.* But we think scarcely anything more mischievous than the resolute determination of some Protestants to see nothing good, nothing true, in a Roman Catholic. We never have found language strong enough to express our unqualified abhorrence of the system of Popery, but we shall not easily be led to believe, that no Roman Catholic is a good man, or that no priest can, under any circumstances, tell the truth.
Samdadchiemba the camel-driver of MM. Huc and Gabet, fills a large space in the book:
This young man was neither a Chinese, a Tartar, nor a Thibetan, but a little of all three, a Dchiahour. At the first glance it was easy to perceive his Mongol origin; he had a deeply bronzed complexion, a great mouth cut in a straight line, and a large nose insolently turned up, that gave to his whole physiognomy a disdainful aspect. When he looked at you with his little eyes twinkling between lids entirely without eye-lashes, and with the skin of his forehead wrinkled up, the feeling he inspired was something between confidence and fear. His life had been spent in rather a vagabond manner, in rambling, sometimes about the Chinese towns, and sometimes
• It is true that there is, as we have said in the article on Japan and the Jesuits, a resemblance between Buddhism and Christianity itself, which shows that the former retains in its traditions some deep traces of the ancient and common patriarchal faith. But this is the fact with Romanism itself, and indeed in varying degrees, with all religions. But there is a point of divergence between a religion of forms and one of spirituality, where true Protestantism separates entirely from heathenism, Judaism, Popery, Puseyism, et hoc omne genus. It is in this latter respect that Buddhism so resembles Romanism as to show a hideous likeness, and so establish the fact of a common and essential divergence from the true faith.
in the deserts of Tartary-for he had run away at the age of eleven, from a Lama college, to escape the excessive corrections of his master. This mode of life had, of course, not tended much to polish the natural asperity of his character, and his intelligence was entirely uncultivated; but his muscular strength was immense, and he was not a little proud of it. After having been instructed and baptized by M. Gabet, he had wished to attach himself to the service of the missionaries, and the journey we were about to undertake, was precisely in harmony with his rambling and adventurous humor. Vol. i. p. 23.
The number of Lamas is immense. M. Huc estimates them at one-third of the population in Tartary. It is not only one Grand Lama who is worshipped, but each temple has its representative of the living Fo or Buddha. The Lamas live in monasteries containing sometimes several thousands. We give a description of one:
With some rare exceptions, the imperial largesses have little to do with the construction of the Lama convents. These grand and sumptuous monuments, so frequently met with in the desert, are due to the spontaneous zeal of the Mongols. Simple and economical in their dress and manner of living, these people are generous even to prodigality, whenever any expense for religious purposes is in question. Whenever the building of a Buddhist convent, with its attendant conventual erections, is resolved on, the Lama collectors immediately set out, furnished with passports attesting the validity of their mission. They divide the kingdom of Tartary into districts, and go from tent to tent, demanding alms in the aid of Buddha. They have but to announce their object and produce the badir (sacred basin) in which the offerings are deposited, to be received with joy and enthusiasm. None are excused from giving; the rich bestow ingots of gold and silver; those who do not possess any of the precious metals, offer oxen, horses, or camels; the poorer give lumps of butter, skins, and cordage woven from camel and horse-hair. In this manner immense sums are collected; and in these deserts, so poor in appearance, edifices are reared as if by enchantment, whose grandeur and opulence would defy the resources of the wealthiest potentates.
The Lama buildings of Tartary are almost all constructed of bricks or stone; only the very poorest build their habitations of clay; but they are always so well white-washed, that they form no disagreeable contrast with the rest. The temples are very solidly and even elegantly built, but they have a crushed look; they are much too low for their extent. In the environs of the convent, tall, slender towers and pyramids, generally resting on large bases, little in harmony with the meagreness of the edifices they support, are met with in profusion. It would be difficult to say to what order the Buddhist temples can belong. It is a strange system of monstrous canopies, peristyles, twisted columns, and interminable flights of steps. Oppo site the grand entrance is a species of altar of wood or stone, generally in the form of an inverted cone; on this the idols are enthroned, generally seated and cross-legged. These idols are of colossal stature, with fine and regular features, the immeasurable length of the ears excepted. They belong to the Caucasian type, and have nothing of the monstrous and diaboli. cal physiognomy of the Chinese Pou-Ssa.