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the view of the earlier Christians, to whatever sect they might turn, either for arguments or disciples. They who became converts to Christianity, after they had been imbued with Gentile literature, brought these notions along with them, and beheld Christianity in part through the medium of their former creed. The very terms used in religion being common to their present and their previous belief, blended together in their minds Jehovah, the true and self-existing God, with the universal Pan, the imaginary deity of the wise and the enlightened in countries destitute of revelation. Thus while the superstition of the vulgar replaced and re-consecrated the statues and the images of heathenism, the enthusiasm of philosophy, falsely so called, again, and without laying aside the Christian name, dreamt of freeing itself from the chains of matter, of discovering the Deity by an internal sense, and of rejoining the divine essence from which it sprung, by withdrawing itself from whatever was sensible or corporeal. This philosophy, which prevailed first amongst the Gnostics, and afterwards among the Manicheans, appears more covertly in the writings of several of the earlier Fathers, and shows itself at last without a veil in the verses of Synesius, and in the writings of Dionysius, the pretended Areopagite. II. The east has always been the country where devotional pantheism has most flourished; in the I

west it has rather been introduced as an exotic, and its growth has been always tamer and less luxuriant. But in the east the whole of philosophy, of religion and life, have received the deep stain of its colour. A fragment of the Chaldean philosophy, perhaps one of the most ancient remnants of early speculation that exists, contains these doctrines in their germ. These tenets were more clearly developed in the ancient system of the Persians, and in the sect of the ancient Hushangis, who have re-appeared in the modern Sufis. But, above all, they have reached their utmost height in the Vedas, and other sacred writings of the Hindoos. In the Indian philosophy, the universal Being or Brahm is represented either in a state of repose or of action. Repose is the original and unmodified state of the Deity, resembling the first cause of Jacob Behmen, which is termed the infinite nothing, —where the Godhead is actually nothing, but potentially all things. The Hindoos in this state consider Brahm, or the universe, as divested even of all intelligence, utterly devoid of any thought, or of any attribute, resting in a quietude so deep as to be inconceivable, but which they endeavour to illustrate by comparing it to an ocean without waves, or to a sleep without dreams. But Brahm in action assumes his energy, flows out into creation, and becomes, according to the present system, Brahma, Vishnoo and Seva, the creating, preserving, and destroying powers. Professor Murray, without mentioning upon what authority he proceeds, or whether merely upon an ingenious and probable conjecture, distinguishes the original Triad of the Hindoos from all subsequent ones. Speaking of the supreme Triad of the Hindoos, he says, “ These three are Brahm, the separate incommunicable high Parent of all; Brahma, the Dewtah or object of worship and actual governor of the universe; and the Perm-atma, or universal spirit, flowing through them.” Brahm becomes the whole creation. According to the Vedantu doctrine, “all things, past, present, and to come; all that is in the earth, sky, &c. of every class and description; all this is Brahm, who is the cause of all things, and the things themselves.” “The soul,” as Ward observes, “by these writers is considered as separated from the source of happiness, when it takes mortal birth, and as remaining a miserable wanderer in various births and states, till it regain its place in the divine essence. A devotee sighing for absorption is described as uttering his feelings in words to this purpose, When shall I be delivered from this world, and obtain God?” Chrishnu is represented as teaching that the learned “ behold Brahm alike in the reverend Bramin perfected in knowledge, in the ox, and in the elephant, in dogs, and in him who eateth of the flesh of dogs,” and it is added,—those whose minds are fixed on this equality, gain eternity even in this world. Thus the Hindoo sage, by meditating on the identity of all things with the self-existent, and by performing the no less earnestly enjoined duties of stopping his breathing, and fixing his intent gaze upon the tip of his nose, is freed from the evils of finite existence, and absorbed into the divine essence. Very similar is the creed of the modern Sufis, who, indeed, consider the sages of India as their brethren. These, as Sir William Jones observes, “who profess a belief in the Koran, suppose, with great sublimity, both of thought and diction, an express contract on the day of eternity, without beginning, between the assemblage of created spirits and the supreme soul from which they were detached, when a celestial voice pronounced these words, addressed to each spirit separately, Art thou not with thy Lord? that is, art thou not bound by a solemn contract with him? and all the spirits answered with one voice, Yes. Hence it is that Alist, or art thou not, and Beli, or yes, incessantly occur in the mystical verses of the Persians, and of the Turkish poets who imitate them, as the Romans imitated the Greeks. The Hindoos describe the same covenant under the figurative notion, so finely expressed by Isaiah, of a nuptial contract; for, considering God in the three characters of Creator, Regenerator, and Preserver, and supposing the

power of preservation and benevolence to have become incarnate in the person of Crishnu, they represent him as married to Radha, a word signifying atonement, pacification, or satisfaction, but applied allegorically to the soul of man, or rather to the whole assemblage of created souls.” The above passage is quoted, less as being a correct representation of the notions of the Hindoos, (for it is evidently a little accommodated to our own opinions) than as being in striking accordance with the spirit of mysticism, which, in the most remote and diverse creeds, seeks and finds a reflection of its own sentiments. The mixture of a mystical sense with passages and verses which treat of profane subjects, gives one great peculiarity to the poetry of the east. Several instances of these Sir William Jones gives from the odes of Hafiz. “In eternity without beginning, a ray of thy beauty began to gleam, when love sprang into being, and cast flames over all nature; on that day thy cheeks sparkled even under thy veil, and all this beautiful imagery appeared on the mirror of our fancies.” “From the moment when I heard the divine sentence, I have breathed into man a portion of my spirit, I was assured that we were His and He ours.” The Sufis, according to Sir John Malcolm, maintain doctrines similar to the Bramins with respect to matter. “They term the world a world of delu

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