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And when these evidences shall have been laid before you, you will see reason to think that the time is come for diffusing His religion throughout the world ; you will “ offer gifts” in His name for the promotion of the work; and you will offer up prayers in its behalf, “ that God would be pleased to make his ways “ known upon earth, his saving health unto all “ nations."
In this discourse, we propose to lay be
1st, EVIDENCES existing in the East, of the general truth of the Christian Religion.
2dly, EVIDENCES of the divine power of that religion, exemplified in the East.
1. The general truth of the Christian Religion is illustrated by certain evidences in the East. Of these we shall mention the fol- . lowing.
1. Ancient writings of India, containing particulars of the History of Christ.
2. Certain doctrines of the East, shadowing forth the peculiar doctrines of Christianity, and manifestly derived from a common origin.
3. The state of the Jews in the East, confirming the truth of Ancient prophecy.
4. The state of the Syrian Christians in the East, subsisting for many ages, a separate and distinct people in the midst of the heathen world.
• These subjects, however, we must notice very briefly.
1. Hindoo history illustrates the history of the Gospel. There have lately been discovered in India certain Shanscrit writings, containing testimonies of Christ. They relate to a Prince who reigned about the period of the Christian æra ; and whose history, though mixed with fable, contains particulars which correspond, in a surprising manner, with the advent, birth, miracles, death, and resurrection of our Saviour. Even supposing them to have been derived from the evangelical history, or spurious Gospels, it is remarkable, that they should have been recorded in the sacred language of the Brahmins, and incorporated with their mythology. The event mentioned in the Text is exactly recorded, namely, That certain holy men, directed by a Star, journeyed to. wards the West, where they beheld the incarnation of the Deity.*
These important records have been trans
* This testimony of the Hindoo writer accords with that of the Greek writer Chalcidius, the ancient commentator on Plato, who adds, “ that the infant Majesty being found, the " wise men worshipped, and gave gifts suitable to so great a " God.” It is remarkable, that the History of the wise men, which is recorded by St. Matthew only, should be confirmed by Hindoos and Greeks.
( ceive any
lated by a learned Orientalist,* who has deposited the originals among the archives of the Asiatic Society. From these, and from other documents, he has compiled a work, entitled, “ The History of the Introduction of the “ Christian Religion into India : its progress " and decline.” And, at the Conclusion of the work, he thus expresses himself: “ I have
written this account of Christianity in India, 6 with the impartiality of an Historian ; fully “ persuaded that our holy religion cannot re
additional lustre from it." 2. There are certain doctrines of the East, shadowing forth the doctrines of Christianity.
The peculiar doctrines of the Christian Religion are so strongly represented in certain systems of the East, that we cannot doubt concerning the source whence these systems have been derived. We find in them the doctrines of the Trinity, of the Incarnation of the Deity, of the Atonement for Sin, and of the influence of the Divine Spirit.
First, The doctrine of the Trinity. The Hindoos believe in one God, Brahma, the creator of all things; and yet they represent him as subsisting in three persons; and they worship one or other of these persons throughout every part of India. And what proves that
* Mr. Wilford.
they hold this doctrine distinctly is, that their most ancient representation of the Deity is formed of one body and three faces. Nor are these representations confined in India alone; but they are to be found in other parts of the East.
Whence, then, my brethren, has been derived this idea of a TRIUNE God ? If, as some allege, the doctrine of the Trinity among Christians be of recent origin, whence have the Hindoos de- . rived it? When you shall have read all the volumes of Philosophy on the subject, you will not have obtained a satisfactory answer to this question.
Secondly, The doctrine of the Incarnation of the Deity. The Hindoos believe that one of the persons in their Trinity (and that, too, the second person) was “ manifested in the flesh.' Hence their fables of the Avatars, or incarnations of Vishnoo. And this doctrine of the incarnation of the Deity is found over almost the whole of Asia.
Whence, then, originated this idea, that “ God should become man, and take our na“ ture upon him ?” The Hindoos do not consider that it was an Angcl merely that became man, but God himself. The incarnation of God is a frequent theme of their discourse, We cannot doubt whence this peculiar tenet of religion has been derived. We must believe that all the fabulous incarnations of the Eastern Mythology are derived from the real incarnation of the Son of God, or from the pro. phecies which went before it. Jesus the Mes- . siah is the true AVATAR.
Thirdly, The doctrine of Atonement for Sin, by the shedding of blood. To this day, in Hindoostan, the people bring the Goat or Kid to the Temple, and the Priest sheds the blood of the innocent victim. Nor is this peculiar to Hindoostan. Throughout the whole East, the doctrine of a sacrifice for sin seems to exist in one form or other.
How is it then that some in this country say that there is no Atonement ? For ever since 6 Abel offered unto God a more excellent sa. "crifice than Cain;" ever since Noah, the father of the new world, “ offered burnt offerings “ on the Altar," sacrifices have been offered up in almost every nation; as if for a constant memorial before the world, that, “ without “ shedding of blood, there is no remission of 66 sin.”
Fourthly, The doctrine of the influence of the Spirit of God In the most ancient writings of the Hindoos, some of which have been lately published, it is asserted that the “ Divine “ Spirit, or light of holy knowledge,” influences the minds of men. And the man who is the subject of such influence, is called “ the