33 Major Cunningham, Bbilsa Topes, or Buddhist Monuments of Central India, p. 168.
city of peace. On that road you are the guide of all beings. Begin your work and pursue it with fidelity." From that time until the day of his death he preached "the three laws of mortality, misery, and mutability." Every morning he looked through the world to see who should be caught that day in the net of truth, and took his measures accordingly to preach in the hearing of men the truths by which alone they could climb into Nirwana. When he was expiring, invisible gods, with huge and splendid bodies, came and stood, as thick as they could be packed, for a hundred and twenty miles around the banyan tree under which he awaited Nirwana, to gaze on him who had broken the circle of transmigration.34
The system of Gotama distinguishes seven grades of being: six subject to repeated death and birth; one the condition of the rahats and the Buddhaship exempt therefrom. "Who wins this has reached the shore of the stormy ocean of vicissitudes, and is in safety forever." Baur says, "The aim of Buddhism is that all may obtain unity with the original empty Space, so as to unpeople the worlds."35 This end it seeks by purification from all modes of cleaving to existing objects, and by contemplative discrimination, but never by the fanatical and austere methods of Brahmanism. Edward Upham, in his History of Buddhism, declares this earth to be the only ford to Nirwana. Others also make the same representation:
"For all that live and breathe have once been men, And in succession will be such again."
But the Buddhist authors do not always adhere to this statement. We sometimes read of men's entering the paths to Nirwana in some of the heavens, likewise of their entering the final fruition through a decease in a dewa loka. Still, it is the common view that emancipation from all existence can be secured only by a human being on earth. The last birth must be in that form. The emblem of Buddha, engraved on most of his monuments, is a wheel, denoting that he has finished and escaped from the circle of existences. Henceforth he is named Tathagata, he who has gone.
Let us notice a little more minutely what the Buddhists say of Nirwana; for herein to them hides all the power of their philosophy and lies the absorbing charm of their religion.
"The state that is peaceful, free from body, from passion, and from fear, where birth or death is not, that is Nirwana." "Nirwana puts an end to coming and going, and there is no other happiness." "It is a calm wherein no wind blows." "There is no difference in Nirwana." "It is the annihilation of all the principles of existence." "Nirwana is the completion and opposite shore of existence, free from decay, tranquil, knowing no restraint, and of great blessedness." "Nirwana is unmixed satisfaction, entirely free from sorrow." "The wind cannot be squeezed in the hand, nor can its color be told. Yet the wind is. Even so Nirwana is, but its properties cannot be told." "Nirwana, like space, is causeless, does not live nor die, and has no locality. It is the abode of those liberated from existence." "Nirwana is not, except to the being who attains it."36
34 Life of Gotama in Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol. iii.
35 Symbolik and Mythologie, th. ii. abth. 2, s. 407.
36 For these quotations, and others similar, see Hardy's valuable work, "Eastern Monachism," chap. xxii., on "Nirwana, its Paths and Fruition."
Some scholars maintain that the Buddhist Nirwana is nothing but the atheistic Annihilation. The subject is confessedly a most difficult one. But it seems to us that the opinion just stated is the very antithesis of the true interpretation of Nirwana. In the first place, it should be remembered that there are various sects of Buddhists. Now, the word Nirwana may be used in different senses by different schools.37 A few persons a small party, represented perhaps by able writers may believe in annihilation in our sense of the term, just as has happened in Christendom, while the common doctrine of the people is the opposite of that. In the second place, with the Oriental horror of individuated existence, and a highly poetical style of writing, nothing could be more natural, in depicting their ideas of the most desirable state of being, than that they should carry their metaphors expressive of repose, freedom from action and emotion, to a pitch conveying to our cold and literal thought the conceptions of blank unconsciousness and absolute nothingness.
Colebrooke says, "Nirwana is not annihilation, but unceasing apathy. The notion of it as a happy state seems derived from the experience of ecstasies; or else the pleasant, refreshed feeling with which one wakes from profound repose is referred to the period of actual sleep."38 A Buddhist author speculates thus: "That the soul feels not during profound trance, is not for want of sensibility, but for want of sensible objects." Wilson, Hodgson, and Vans Kennedy three able thinkers, as well as scholars, in this field agree that Nirwana is not annihilation as we understand that word. Mr. Hodgson believes that the Buddhists expect to be "conscious in Nirwana of the eternal bliss of rest, as they are in this world of the ceaseless pain of activity." Forbes also argues against the nihilistic explanation of the Buddhist doctrine of futurity, and says he is compelled to conclude that Nirwana denotes imperishable being in a blissful quietude.39 Many additional authorities in favor of this view might be adduced, enough to balance, at least, the names on the other side. Koeppen, in his very fresh, vigorous, and lucid work, just published, entitled "The Religion of Buddha, and its Origin," says, "Nirwana is the blessed Nothing. Buddhism is the Gospel of Annihilation." But he forgets that the motto on the title page of his volume is the following sentence quoted from Sakya Muni himself: "To those who know the concatenation of causes and effects, there is neither being nor nothing." To them Nirwana is. Considering it, then, as an open question, unsettled by any authoritative assertion, we will weigh the probabilities of the case.
No definition of Nirwana is more frequent than the one given by the Kalpa Sutra,40 namely, "cessation from action and freedom from desire." But this, like many of the other representations, such, for instance, as the exclusion of succession, very plainly is not a denial of all being, but only of our present modes of experience. The dying Gotama is said to have "passed through the several states, one after another, until he arrived at the state where there is no pain. He then continued to enter the other higher states, and from the highest entered Nirwana." Can literal annihilation, the naked emptiness of nonentity, be better than
37 Burnouf, Introduction a l'Histoire du Buddhisme Indien, Appendice No. I., Du mot Nirvana.
38 Colebrooke, Essays, vol. i. p. 353.
39 Eleven Years in Ceylon, vol. ii. chap. ix.
40 Tanslation by Dr. Stevenson, p. 23.
the highest state of being? It can be so only when we view Nothing on the positive side as identical with All, make annihilating deprivation equivalent to universal bestowment, regard negation as affirmation, and, in the last synthesis of contradictions, see the abysmal Vacuum as a Plenum of fruition. As Oken says, "The ideal zero is absolute unity; not a singularity, as the number one, but an indivisibility, a numberlessness, a homogeneity, a translucency, a pure identity. It is neither great nor small, quiescent nor moved; but it is, and it is not, all this."41
Furthermore, if some of the Buddhist representations would lead us to believe that Nirwana is utter nothingness, others apparently imply the opposite. "The discourses of Buddha are a charm to cure the poison of evil desire; a succession of fruit bearing trees placed here and there to enable the traveller to cross the desert of existence; a power by which every sorrow may be appeased; a door of entrance to the eternal city of Nirwana." "The mind of the rahat" (one who has obtained assurance of emancipation and is only waiting for it to arrive) "knows no disturbance, because it is filled with the pleasure of Nirwana." "The sight of Nirwana bestows perfect happiness." "The rahat is emancipated from existence in Nirwana, as the lotus is separated from the mud out of which it springs." "Fire may be produced by rubbing together two sticks, though previously it had no locality: it is the same with Nirawna." "Nirwana is free from danger, peaceful, refreshing, happy. When a man who has been broiled before a huge fire is released, and goes quickly into some open space, he feels the most agreeable sensation. All the evils of existence are that fire, and Nirwana is that open space." These passages indicate the cessation in Nirwana of all sufferings, perhaps of all present modes of existence, but not the total end of being. It may be said that these are but figurative expressions. The reply is, so are the contrasted statements metaphors, and it is probable that the expressions which denote the survival of pure being in Nirwana are closer approximations to the intent of their authors than those which hint at an unconscious vacancy. If Nirwana in its original meaning was an utter and infinite blank, then, "out of that very Nothing," as Max Muller says, "human nature made a new paradise."
There is a scheme of doctrine held by some Buddhist philosophers which may be thus stated. There are five constituent elements of sentient existence. They are called khandas, and are as follows: the organized body, sensation, perception, discrimination, and consciousness. Death is the dissolution and entire destruction of these khandas, and apart from them there is no synthetical unit, soul, or personality. Yet in a certain sense death is not the absolute annihilation of a human existence, because it leaves a potentiality inherent in that existence. There is no identical ego to survive and be born again; but karma that is, the sum of a man's action, his entire merit and demerit produces at his death a new being, and so on in continued series until Nirwana is attained. Thus the succession of being is kept up with transmitted responsibility, as a flame is transferred from one wick to another. It is evident enough, as is justly claimed by Hardy and others, that the limitation of existence to the five khandas, excluding the idea of any independent individuality, makes death
41 Elements of Physiophilosophy, Tulk's trans. p. 9.
annihilation, and renders the very conception of a future life for those now living an absurdity. But we are convinced that this view is the speculative peculiarity of a sect, and by no means the common belief of the Buddhist populace or the teaching of Gotama himself. This appears at the outset from the fact that Gotama is represented as having lived through millions of existences, in different states and worlds, with preserved identity and memory. The history of his concatenated advance towards the Buddhaship is the supporting basis and the saturating spirit of documentary Buddhism. And the same idea pervades the whole range of narratives relating to the repeated births and deaths of the innumerable Buddhist heroes and saints who, after so many residences on earth, in the hells, in the dewalokas, have at last reached emancipation. They recollect their adventures; they recount copious portions of their experience stretching through many lives.
Again: the arguments cited from Buddha seem aimed to prove, not that there is absolutely no self in man, but that the five khandas are not the self, that the real self is something distinct from all that is exposed to misery and change, something deep, wondrous, divine, infinite. For instance, the report of a debate on this subject between Buddha and Sachaka closes with these words: "Thus was Sachaka forced to confess that the five khandas are impermanent, connected with sorrow, unreal, not the self.42 These terms appear to imply the reality of a self, only that it is not to be confounded with the apprehensible elements of existence. Besides, the attainment of Nirwana is held up as a prize to be laboriously sought by personal effort. To secure it is a positive triumph quite distinct from the fated dissolution of the khandas in death. Now, if there be in man no personal entity, what is it that with so much joy attains Nirwana? The genuine Buddhist notion, as seems most probable, is that the conscious essence of the rahat, when the exterior elements of existence fall from around him, passes by a transcendent climax and discrete leap beyond the outermost limits of appreciable being, and becomes that INFINITE which knows no changes and is susceptible of no definitions. In the Ka gyur collection of Tibetan sacred books, comprising a hundred volumes, and now belonging to the Cabinet of Manuscripts in the Royal Library of Paris, there are two volumes exclusively occupied by a treatise on Nirwana. It is a significant fact that the title of these volumes is "Nirwana, or Deliverance from Pain." If Nirwana be simply annihilation, why is it not so stated? Why should recourse be had to a phrase partially descriptive of one feature, instead of comprehensively announcing or implying the whole case?
Still further: it deserves notice that, according to the unanimous affirmation of Buddhist authors, if any Buddhist were offered the alternative of an existence as king of a dewa loka, keeping his personality for a hundred million years in the uninterrupted enjoyment of perfect happiness, or of translation into Nirwana, he would spurn the former as defilement, and would with unutterable avidity choose the latter. We must therefore suppose that by Nirwana he understands, not naked destruction, but some mysterious good, too vast for logical comprehension, too obscure to Occidental thought to find expression in Occidental language.
42 Hardy, Manual, p. 427.
At the moment when Gotama entered upon the Buddhaship, like a vessel overflowing with honey, his mind overflowed with the nectar of oral instruction, and he uttered these stanzas:
"Through many different births I have run, vainly seeking The architect of the desire resembling house. Painful are repeated births. O house builder! I have seen thee. Again a house thou canst not build for me. I have broken thy rafters and ridge pole; I have arrived at the extinction of evil desire; My mind is gone to Nirwana."
Hardy, who stoutly maintains that the genuine doctrine of Buddha's philosophy is that there is no transmigrating individuality in man, but that the karma creates a new person on the dissolution of the former one, confesses the difficulties of this dogma to be so great that "it is almost universally repudiated." M. Obry published at Paris, in 1856, a small volume entirely devoted to this subject, under the title of "The Indian Nirwana, or the Enfranchisement of the Soul after Death." His conclusion, after a careful and candid discussion, is, that Nirwana had different meanings to the minds of the ancient Aryan priests, the orthodox Brahmans, the Sankhya Brahmans, and the Buddhists, but had not to any of them, excepting possibly a few atheists, the sense of strict annihilation. He thinks that Burnouf and Barthelemy Saint Hilaire themselves would have accepted this view if they had paid particular attention to the definite inquiry, instead of merely touching upon it in the course of their more comprehensive studies.
What Spinoza declares in the following sentence "God is one, simple, infinite; his modes of being are diverse, complex, finite" strongly resembles what the Buddhists say of Nirwana and the contrasted vicissitudes of existence, and may perhaps throw light on their meaning. The supposition of immaterial, unlimited, absolutely unalterable being the scholastic ens sine qualitate answers to the descriptions of it much more satisfactorily than the idea of unqualified nothingness does. "Nirwana is real; all else is phenomenal." The Sankhyas, who do not hold to the nonentity nor to the annihilation of the soul, but to its eternal identification with the Infinite One, use nevertheless nearly the same phrases in describing it that the Buddhists do. For example, they say, "The soul is neither a production nor productive, neither matter nor form"43 The Vishnu Purana says, "The mundane egg, containing the whole creation, was surrounded by seven envelops, water, air, fire, ether, egotism, intelligence, and finally the indiscrete principle"44 Is not this Indiscrete Principle of the Brahmans the same as the Nirwana of the Buddhists? The latter explicitly claim that "man is capable of enlarging his faculties to infinity."
43 Sankhya Karika, pp. 16-18.
44 Vishnu Purana, p. 19.
Nagasena says to the king of Sagal, "Neither does Nirwana exist previously to its reception, nor is that which was not, brought into existence: still, to the being who attains it, there is Nirwana." According to this statement, taken in connection with the hundreds similar to it, Nirwana seems to be a simple mental perception, most difficult of acquirement, and, when acquired, assimilating the whole conscious being perfectly to itself. The Asangkrata Sutra, as translated by Mr. Hardy, says, "From the joyful exclamations of those who have seen Nirwana, its character may be known by those who have not made the same attainment." The superficial thinker, carelessly scanning the recorded sayings of Gotama and his expositors in relation to Nirwana, is aware only of a confused mass of metaphysical hieroglyphs and poetical metaphors; but the Buddhist sages avow that whoso, by concentrated study and training of his faculties, pursues the inquiry with adequate perseverance, will at last elicit and behold the real meaning of Nirwana, the achieved insight and revelation forming the widest horizon of rapturous truth ever contemplated by the human mind. The memorable remark of Sir William Hamilton, that "capacity of thought is not to be constituted into the measure of existence," should show the error of those who so unjustifiably affirm that, since Nirwana is said to be neither corporeal nor incorporeal, nor at all describable, it is therefore absolutely nothing. A like remark is also to be addressed to those who draw the same unwarrantable conclusion of the nothingness of Nirwana from the fact that it has no locality, or from the fact that it is sometimes said to exclude consciousness. Plato, in the Timaus, stigmatizes as a vulgar error the notion that what is not in any place is a nonentity. Many a weighty philosopher has followed him in this opinion. The denial of place is by no means necessarily the denial of being. So, too, with consciousness. It is conceivable that there is a being superior to all the modes of consciousness now known to us. We are, indeed, unable to define this, yet it may be. The profoundest analysis shows that consciousness consists of co ordinated changes.45 "Consciousness is a succession of changes combined and arranged in special ways." Now, in contrast to the Occidental thinker, who covets alternation because in his cold climate action is the means of enjoyment, the Hindu, in the languid East, where repose is the condition of enjoyment, conceives the highest blessedness to consist in exemption from every disturbance, in an unruffled unity excluding all changes. Therefore, while in some of its forms his dream of Nirwana admits not consciousness, still, it is not inconsistent with a homogeneous state of being, which he, in his metaphysical and theosophie soarings, apprehends as the grandest and most ecstatic of all.
The etymological force of the word Nirwana is extinction, as when the sun has set, a fire has burned out, or a lamp is extinguished. The fair laws of interpretation do not compel us, in cases like this, to receive the severest literal significance of a word as conveying the meaning which a popular doctrine holds in the minds of its believers. There is almost always looseness, vagueness, metaphor, accommodation. But take the term before us in its strictest sense, and mark the result. When a fire is extinguished, it is obvious that, while the flame has disappeared, the substance of the flame, whatever it was, has not ceased to be, has not been
45 Herbert Spencer, Principles of Psychology, ch. xxv.
actually annihilated. It has only ceased to be in a certain visible form in which it existed before; but it still survives under altered conditions. Now, to compare the putting out of a lamp to the death of a man, extinction is not actual destruction, but a transition of the flame into another state of being. That other state, in the case of the soul, is Nirwana.
There is a final consideration, possibly of some worth in dealing with this obscure theme. We will approach it through a preliminary query and quotation. That nothing can extend beyond its limits is an identical proposition. How vast, then, must be the soul of man in form or in power!
"If souls be substances corporeal, Be they as big just as the body is? Or shoot they out to the height ethereal? Doth it not seem the impression of a seal Can be no larger than the wax? The soul with that vast latitude must move Which measures the objects that it doth descry. So must it be upstretch'd unto the sky And rub against the stars."
Cousin asserts that man is conscious of infinity, that "the unconditional, the absolute, the infinite, is immediately known in consciousness by difference, plurality, and relation." Now, does not the consciousness of infinity imply the infinity of consciousness? If not, we are compelled into the contradiction that a certain entity or force reaches outside of its outermost boundary. The Buddhist ideal is not self annihilation, but self universalization. It is not the absorption of a drop into the sea, but the dilatation of a drop to the sea. Each drop swells to the whole ocean, each soul becomes the Boundless One, each rahat is identified with the total Nirwana. The rivers of emancipated men neither disembogue into the ocean of spirit nor evaporate into the abyss of nonentity, but are blended with infinitude as an ontological integer. Nirwana is unexposed and illimitable space. Buddhism is perfect disinterestedness, absolute self surrender. It is the gospel of everlasting emancipation for all. It cannot be that a deliberate suicide of soul is the ideal holding the deepest desire of four hundred millions of people. Nirwana is not negation, but a pure positive without alternation or foil.
Some light may be thrown on the subject by contemplating the successive states through which the dying Gotama passed. Max Muller describes them, after the Buddhist documents, thus: "He enters into the first stage of meditation when he feels freedom from sin, acquires a knowledge of the nature of all things, and has no desire except that of Nirvana. But he still feels pleasure; he even uses his reasoning and discriminating powers. The use of these powers ceases in the second stage of meditation, when nothing remains but a desire after Nirvana, and a general feeling of satisfaction arising from his intellectual perfection. That satisfaction, also, is extinguished in the third stage. Indifference succeeds; yet there is still self consciousness, and a certain amount of physical pleasure. In the fourth stage these last remnants are destroyed; memory fades away, all pleasure and pain are gone, and the doors of Nirvana now open before him. We must soar still higher, and, though we may feel giddy
and disgusted,46 we must sit out the tragedy till the curtain falls. After the four stages of meditation are passed, the Buddha (and every being is to become a Buddha) enters first into the infinity of space, then into the infinity of intelligence, and thence he passes into the third region, the realm of nothing. But even here there is no rest. There is still something left, the idea of the nothing in which he rejoices. That also must be destroyed; and it is destroyed in the fourth and last region, where there is not even the idea of a nothing left, and where there is complete rest, undisturbed by nothing, or what is not nothing."47 Analyze away all particulars until you reach an uncolored boundlessness of pure immateriality, free from every predicament; and that is Nirwana. This is one possible way of conceiving the fate of the soul; and the speculative mind must conceive it in every possible way. However closely the result resembles the vulgar notion of annihilation, the difference in method of approach and the difference to the contemplator's feeling are immense. The Buddhist apprehends Nirwana as infinitude in absolute and eternal equilibrium: the atheist finds Nirwana in a coffin. That is thought of with rapture, this, with horror.
It should be noticed, before we close this chapter, that some of the Hindus give a spiritual interpretation to all the gross physical details of their so highly colored and extravagant mythology. One of their sacred books says, "Pleasure and pain are states of the mind. Heaven is that which delights the mind, hell is that which gives it pain. Hence vice is called hell, and virtue is called heaven." Another author says, "The fire of the angry mind produces the fire of hell, and consumes its possessor. A wicked person causes his evil deeds to impinge upon himself, and that is hell." The various sects of mystics, allied in faith and feeling to the Sufis, which are quite numerous in the East, agree in a deep metaphorical explanation of the vulgar notions pertaining to Deity, judgment, heaven, and hell.
In conclusion, the most remarkable fact in this whole field of inquiry is the contrast of the Eastern horror of individuality and longing for absorption with the Western clinging to personality and abhorrence of dissolution.48 The true Orientalist, whether Brahman, Buddhist, or Sufi, is in love with death. Through this gate he expects to quit his frail and pitiable consciousness, losing himself, with all evil, to be born anew and find himself, with all good, in God. All sense, passion, care, and grief shall cease with deliverance from the spectral semblances of this false life. All pure contemplation, perfect repose, unsullied and unrippled joy shall begin with entrance upon the true life beyond. Thus thinking, he feels that death is the avenue to infinite expansion, freedom, peace, bliss; and he longs for it with an intensity not dreamed of by more frigid natures. He often compares himself, in this world aspiring towards another, to an enamored moth drawn towards the fire, and he exclaims, with a sigh and a thrill,
46 Not disgust, but wonder and awe, fathomless intellectual emotion, at so unparalleled a phenomenon of our miraculous human nature.
47 Buddhism and Buddhist Pilgrims, p. 19.
48 Burnouf, Le Bhagavata Purana, tome i. livre iii. ch. 28: Acquisition de la Delivrance, ch. 31.
Marche de l'ame individuelle. "Highest nature wills the capture; 'Light to light!' the instinct cries; And in agonizing rapture falls the moth, and bravely dies. Think not what thou art, Believer; think but what thou mayst become For the World is thy deceiver, and the Light thy only home." 49
The Western mind approaches the subject of death negatively, stripping off the attributes of finite being; the Eastern mind, positively, putting on the attributes of infinite being. Negative acts, denying function, are antipathetic, and lower the sense of life; positive acts, affirming function, are sympathetic, and raise the sense of life. Therefore the end to which those look, annihilation, is dreaded; that to which these look, Nirwana, is desired. To become nothing, is measureless horror; to become all, is boundless ecstasy.
49 Milnes, Palm Leaves.
PERSIAN DOCTRINE OF A FUTURE LIFE.
THE name of Zoroaster is connected, either as author or as reviser, with that remarkable system of rites and doctrines which constituted the religion of the ancient Iranians, and which yet finds adherents in the Ghebers of Persia and the Parsees of India. Pliny, following the affirmation of Aristotle, asserts that he flourished six thousand years before Plato. Moyle, Gibbon, Volney, Rhode, concur in throwing him back into this vast antiquity. Foucher, Holty, Heeren, Tychsen, Guizot, assign his birth to the beginning of the seventh century before Christ. Hyde, Prideaux, Du Perron, Kleuker, Herder, Klaproth, and others, bring him down to about a hundred and fifty years later. Meanwhile, several weighty names press the scale in favor of the hypothesis of two or three Zoroasters, living at separate epochs. So the learned men differ, and the genuine date in question cannot, at present at least, be decided. It is comparatively certain that, if he was the author of the work attributed to him, he must have flourished as early as the sixth century before Christ. The probabilities seem, upon the whole, that he lived four or five centuries earlier than that, even, "in the pre historic time," as Spiegel says. However, the settlement of the era of Zoroaster is not a necessary condition of discovering the era when the religion commonly traced to him was in full prevalence as the established faith of the Persian empire. The latter may be conclusively fixed without clearing up the former. And it is known, without disputation, that that religion whether it was primarily Persian, Median, Assyrian, or Chaldean was flourishing at Babylon in the maturity of its power in the time of the Hebrew prophets Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Daniel, twenty five hundred years ago.
The celebrated work on the religion of the ancient Medes and Persians by Dr. Hyde, published in 1700, must be followed with much caution and be taken with many qualifications. The author was biassed by unsound theories of the relation of the Hebrew theology to the Persian, and was, of course, ignorant of the most authoritative ancient documents afterwards brought to light. His work, therefore, though learned and valuable, considering the time when it was written, is vitiated by numerous mistakes and defects. In 1762, Anquetil du Perron, returning to France from protracted journeying and abode in the East, brought home, among the fruits of his researches, manuscripts purporting to be parts of the old Persian Bible composed or collected by Zoroaster. It was written in a language hitherto unknown to European scholars, one of the primitive dialects of Persia. This work, of which he soon published a French version at Paris was entitled by him the "Zend Avesta." It confirmed all that was previously known of the Zoroastrian religion, and, by its allusions, statements, and implications, threw great additional light upon the subject.
A furious controversy, stimulated by personal rivalries and national jealousy, immediately arose. Du Perron was denounced as an impostor or an ignoramus, and his publication stigmatized as a wretched forgery of his own, or a gross imposition palmed upon him by some lying pundit. Sir William Jones and John Richardson, both distinguished English Orientalists, and Meiners in Germany, were the chief impugners of the document in hand. Richardson obstinately went beyond his data, and did not live long enough to retract; but Sir William, upon an increase of information, changed his views, and regretted his first inconsiderate zeal and somewhat mistaken championship. The ablest defender of Du Perron was Kleuker, who translated the whole work from French into German, adding many corrections, new arguments, and researches of great ability. His work was printed at Riga, in seven quarto volumes, from 1777 to 1783. The progress and results of the whole discussion are well enough indicated in the various papers which the subject drew forth in the volumes of the "Asiatic Researches" and the numbers of the "Asiatic Journal." The conclusion was that, while Du Perron had indeed betrayed partial ignorance and crudity, and had committed some glaring errors, there was not the least ground for doubt that his asserted discovery was in every essential what it claimed to be. It is a sort of litany; a collection of prayers and of sacred dialogues held between Ormuzd and Zoroaster, from which the Persian system of theology may be inferred and constructed with some approach to completeness.
The assailants of the genuineness of the "Zend Avesta" were effectually silenced when, some thirty years later, Professor Rask, a well known Danish linguist, during his inquiries in the East, found other copies of it, and gave to the world such information and proofs as could not be suspected. He, discovering the close affinities of the Zend with Sanscrit, led the way to the most brilliant triumph yet achieved by comparative philology. Portions of the work in the original character were published in 1829, under the supervision of Burnouf at Paris and of Olshausen at Hamburg. The question of the genuineness of the dialect exhibited in these specimens, once so freely mooted, has been discussed, and definitively settled in the affirmative, by several eminent scholars, among whom may be mentioned Bopp, whose "Comparative Grammar of the Sanscrit, Zend, Greek, Latin, Lithuanian, Gothic, and German Languages" is an astonishing monument of erudition and toil. It is the conviction of Major Rawlinson that the Zoroastrian books of the Parsees were imported to Bombay from Persia in their present state in the seventh century of our era, but that they were written at least twelve centuries earlier.1
But the two scholars whose opinions upon any subject within this department of learning are now the most authoritative are Professor Spiegel of Erlangen, and Professor Westergaard of Copenhagen. Their investigations, still in progress, made with all the aids furnished by their predecessors, and also with the advantage of newly discovered materials and processes, are of course to be relied on in preference to the earlier, and in some respects necessarily cruder, researches. It appears that the proper Zoroastrian Scriptures namely, the Yasna, the Vispered, the Vendidad, the Yashts, the Nyaish, the Afrigans, the Gahs, the Sirozah, and a few other fragments were composed in an ancient Iranian dialect, which may as Professor
W. D. Whitney suggests in his very lucid and able article in vol. v. of the Journal of the American Oriental Society most fitly be called the Avestan dialect. (No other book in this dialect, we believe, is known to be in existence now.) It is difficult to say when these
1 Wilson, Parsi Religion Unfolded, p. 405.
documents were written; but in view of all the relevant information now possessed, including that drawn from the deciphered cuneiform inscriptions, the most probable date is about a thousand years before Christ. Professor R. Roth of Tubingen whose authority herein as an original investigator is perhaps hardly second to any other man's says the books of the Zoroastrian faith were written a considerable time before the rise of the Achamenian dynasty. He is convinced that the whole substantial contents of the Zend Avesta are many centuries older than the Christian era.2 Professor Muller of Oxford also holds the same opinion.3 And even those who set the date of the literary record a few centuries later, as Spiegel does, freely admit the great antiquity of the doctrines and usages then first committed to manuscript. In the fourth century before Christ, Alexander of Macedon overran the Persian empire. With the new rule new influences prevailed, and the old national faith and ritual fell into decay and neglect. Early in the third century of the Christian era, Ardeshir overthrew the Parthian dominion in Persia and established the Sassanian dynasty. One of his first acts was, stimulated doubtless by the surviving Magi and the old piety of the people, to reinaugurate the ancient religion. A fresh zeal of loyalty broke out, and all the prestige and vigor of the long suppressed worship were restored. The Zoroastrian Scriptures were now sought for, whether in manuscript or in the memories of the priests. It would seem that only remnants were found. The collection, such as it was, was in the Avestan dialect, which had grown partially obsolete and unintelligible. The authorities accordingly had a translation of it made in the speech of the time, Pehlevi. This translation most of which has reached us written in with the original, sentence after sentence forms the real Zend language, often confounded by the literary public with Avestan. The translation of the Avestan books, probably made under these circumstances as early as A. D. 350, is called the Huzvaresch. In regard to some of these particulars there are questions still under investigation, but upon which it is not worth our while to pause here. For example, Spiegel thinks the Zend identical with the Pehlevi of the fourth century; Westergaard believes it entirely distinct from Pehlevi, and in truth only a disguised mode of writing Parsee, the oldest form of the modern Persian language.
The source from which the fullest and clearest knowledge of the Zoroastrian faith, as it is now held by the Parsees, is drawn, is the Desatir and the Bundehesh. The former work is the unique vestige of an extinct dialect called the Mahabadian, accompanied by a Persian translation and commentary. It is impossible to ascertain the century when the Mahabadian text was written; but the translation into Persian was, most probably, made in the seventh century of the Christian era.4 Spiegel, in 1847, says there can be no doubt of the spuriousness of the Desatir; but he gives no reasons for the statement, and we do not know that it is based on any other arguments than those which, advanced by De Sacy, were refuted by Von Hammer. The Bundehesh is in the Pehlevi or Zend language, and was written, it is
2 Ueber die Heiligen Schriften der Arier. Jahrbucher fur Deutsche Theologie, 1857, band ii. ss. 146, 147.
3 Essay on the Veda and the Zend Avesta, p. 24. See also Bunsen's Christianity and Mankind, vol. iii. p. 114.
4 Baron von Hammer, in Heidelberger Jabrbucher der Literatur, 1823. Id. in Journal Asiatique, Juillet, 1833. Dabistan, Preliminary Discourse, pp. xix. lxv.
thought, about the seventh century, but was derived, it is claimed, from a more ancient work.5 The book entitled "Revelations of Ardai Viraf" exists in Pehlevi probably of the fourth century, according to Troyer,6 and is believed to have been originally written in the Avestan tongue, though this is extremely doubtful. It gives a detailed narrative of the scenery of heaven and hell, as seen by Ardai Viraf during a visit of a week which his soul leaving his body for that length of time paid to those regions. Many later and enlarged versions of this have appeared. One of them, dating from the sixteenth century, was translated into English by T. A. Pope and published in 1816. Sanscrit translations of several of the before named writings are also in existence. And several other comparatively recent works, scarcely needing mention here, although considered as somewhat authoritative by the modern followers of Zoroaster, are to be found in Guzeratee, the present dialect of the Indian Parsees. A full exposition of the Zoroastrian religion, with satisfactory proofs of its antiquity and documentary genuineness, is presented in the Preliminary Discourse and Notes to the Dabistan. This curious and entertaining work, a fund of strange and valuable lore, is an historico critical view of the principal religions of the world, especially of the Oriental sects, schools, and manners. It was composed in Persian, apparently by Mohsan Fani, about the year 1645. An English translation, with elaborate explanatory matter, by David Shea and Anthony Troyer, was published at London and at Paris in 1843.7
In these records there are obscurities, incongruities, and chasms, as might naturally be anticipated, admitting them to be strictly what they would pass for. These faults may be accounted for in several ways. First, in a rude stage of philosophical culture, incompleteness of theory, inconsistent conceptions in different parts of a system, are not unusual, but are rather to be expected, and are slow to become troublesome to its adherents. Secondly, distinct contemporary thinkers or sects may give expression to their various views in literary productions of the same date and possessing a balanced authority. Or, thirdly, the heterogeneous conceptions in some particulars met with in these scriptures may be a result of the fact that the collection contains writings of distinct ages, when the same problems had been differently approached and had given birth to opposing or divergent speculations. The later works of course cannot have the authority of the earlier in deciding questions of ancient belief: they are to be taken rather as commentaries, interpreting and carrying out in detail many points that lie only in obscure hints and allusions in the primary documents. But it is a significant fact that, in the generic germs of doctrine and custom, in the essential outlines of substance, in rhetorical imagery, in practical morals, the statements of all these books are alike: they only vary in subordinate matters and in degrees of fulness.
The charge has repeatedly been urged that the materials of the more recent of the Parsee Scriptures the Desatir and the Bundehesh were drawn from Christian and Mohammedan sources. No evidence of value for sustaining such assertions has been adduced. Under the circumstances, scarcely any motive for such an imposition appears. In view of the whole case,
5 Dabistan, vol. i. p. 226, note.
6 Ibid. p. 185, note.
7 Reviewed in Asiatic Journal, 1844, pp. 582-595.
the reverse supposition is rather to be credited. In the first place, we have ample evidence for the existence of the general Zoroastrian system long anterior to the rise of Christianity. The testimony of the classic authors to say nothing of the known antiquity of the language in which the system is preserved is demonstrative on this point. Secondly, the striking agreement in regard to fundamental doctrines, pervading spirit, and ritual forms between the accounts in the classics and those in the Avestan books, and of both these with the later writings and traditional practice of the Parsees, furnishes powerful presumption that the religion was a connected development, possessing the same essential features from the time of its national establishment. Thirdly, we have unquestionable proofs that, during the period from the Babylonish captivity to the advent of Christ, the Jews borrowed and adapted a great deal from the Persian theology, but no proof that the Persians took any thing from the Jewish theology. This is abundantly confessed by such scholars as Gesenius, Rosenmuller, Stuart, Lucke, De Wette, Neander; and it will hardly be challenged by any one who has investigated the subject. But the Jewish theology being thus impregnated with germs from the Persian faith, and being in a sense the historic mother of Christian theology, it is far more reasonable, in seeking the origin of dogmas common to Parsees and Christians, to trace them through the Pharisees to Zoroaster, than to imagine them suddenly foisted upon the former by forgery on the part of the latter at a late period. Fourthly, it is notorious that Mohammed, in forming his religion, made wholesale draughts upon previously existing faiths, that their adherents might more readily accept his teachings, finding them largely in unison with their own. It is altogether more likely, aside from historic evidence which we possess, that he drew from the tenets and imagery of the Ghebers, than that they, when subdued by his armies and persecuted by his rule from their native land, introduced new doctrines from the Koran into the ancestral creed which they so revered that neither exile nor death could make them abjure it. For, driven by those fierce proselytes, the victorious Arabs, to the mountains of Kirman and to the Indian coast, they clung with unconquerable tenacity to their religion, still scrupulously practising its rites, proudly mindful of the time when every village, from the shore of the Caspian Sea to the outlet of the Persian Gulf, had its splendid fire temple,
"And Iran like a sunflower turn'd Where'er the eye of Mithra burn'd."
We therefore see no reason for believing that important Christian or Mohammedan ideas have been interpolated into the old Zoroastrian religion. The influence has been in the other direction. Relying then, though with caution, on what Dr. Edward Roth says, that "the certainty of our possessing a correct knowledge of the leading ancient doctrines of the Persians is now beyond all question," we will try to exhibit so much of the system as is necessary for appreciating its doctrine of a future life.
In the deep background of the Magian theology looms, in mysterious obscurity, the belief in an infinite First Principle, Zeruana Akerana. According to most of the scholars who have investigated it, the meaning of this term is "Time without Bounds," or absolute duration. But Bohlen says it signifies the "Untreated Whole;" and Schlegel thinksit denotes the "Indivisible One." The conception seems to have been to the people mostly an unapplied abstraction, too vast and remote to become prominent in their speculation or influential in their faith. Spiegel, indeed, thinks the conception was derived from Babylon, and added to the system at a later period than the other doctrines. The beginning of vital theology, the source of actual ethics to the Zoroastrians, was in the idea of the two antagonist powers, Ormuzd and Ahriman, the first emanations of Zeruana, who divide between them in unresting strife the empire of the universe. The former is the Principle of Good, the perfection of intelligence, beneficence, and light, the source of all reflected excellence. The latter is the Principle of Evil, the contriver of misery and death, the king of darkness, the instigator of all wrong. With sublime beauty the ancient Persian said, "Light is the body of Ormuzd; Darkness is the body of Ahriman." There has been much dispute whether the Persian theology grew out of the idea of an essential and eternal dualism, or was based on the conception of a partial and temporary battle; in other words, whether Ahriman was originally and necessarily evil, or fell from a divine estate.
In the fragmentary documents which have reached us, the whole subject lies in confusion. It is scarcely possible to unravel the tangled mesh. Sometimes it seems to be taught that Ahriman was at first good, an angel of light who, through envy of his great compeer, sank from his primal purity, darkened into hatred, and became the rancorous enemy of truth and love. At other times he appears to be considered as the pure primordial essence of evil. The various views may have prevailed in different ages or in different schools. Upon the whole, however, we hold the opinion that the real Zoroastrian idea of Ahriman was moral and free, not physical and fatal. The whole basis of the universe was good; evil was an after perversion, a foreign interpolation, a battling mixture. First, the perfect Zeruana was once all in all: Ahriman, as well as Ormuzd, proceeded from him; and the inference that he was pure would seem to belong to the idea of his origin. Secondly, so far as the account of Satan given in the book of Job perhaps the earliest appearance of the Persian notion in Jewish literature warrants any inference or supposition at all, it would lead to the image of one who was originally a prince in heaven, and who must have fallen thence to become the builder and potentate of hell. Thirdly, that matter is not an essential core of evil, the utter antagonist of spirit, and that Ahriman is not evil by an intrinsic necessity, will appear from the two conceptions lying at the base and crown of the Persian system: that the creation, as it first came from the hands of Ormuzd, was perfectly good; and that finally the purified material world shall exist again unstained by a breath of evil, Ahriman himself becoming like Ormuzd. He is not, then, aboriginal and indestructible evil in substance. The conflict between Ormuzd and him is the temporary ethical struggle of light and darkness, not the internecine ontological war of spirit and matter. Roth says, "Ahriman was originally good: his fall was a determination of his will, not an inherent necessity of his nature." 8 Whatever other conceptions may be found, whatever inconsistencies or contradictions to this may appear, still, we believe the genuine Zoroastrian view was such as we have now stated. The opposite doctrine arose from the more abstruse lucubrations of a more modern time, and is Manichaan, not Zoroastrian.
8 Zoroastrische Glaubenslehre, ss. 397, 398.
Ormuzd created a resplendent and happy world. Ahriman instantly made deformity, impurity, and gloom, in opposition to it. All beauty, virtue, harmony, truth, blessedness, were the work of the former. All ugliness, vice, discord, falsehood, wretchedness, belonged to the latter. They grappled and mixed in a million hostile shapes. This universal battle is the ground of ethics, the clarion call to marshal out the hostile hosts of good and ill; and all other war is but a result and a symbol of it. The strife thus indicated between a Deity and a Devil, both subordinate to the unmoved ETERNAL, was the Persian solution of the problem of evil, their answer to the staggering question, why pleasure and pain, benevolence and malignity, are so conflictingly mingled in the works of nature and in the soul of man. In the long struggle that ensued, Ormuzd created multitudes of co operant angels to assail his foe, stocking the clean empire of Light with celestial allies of his holy banner, who hang from heaven in great numbers, ready at the prayer of the righteous man to hie to his aid and work him a thousandfold good. Ahriman, likewise, created an equal number of assistant demons, peopling the filthy domain of Darkness with counterbalancing swarms of infernal followers of his pirate flag, who lurk at the summit of hell, watching to snatch every opportunity to ply their vocation of sin and ruin. There are such hosts of these invisible antagonists sown abroad, and incessantly active, that every star is crowded and all space teems with them. Each man has a good and a bad angel, a ferver and a dev, who are endeavoring in every manner to acquire control over his conduct and possession of his soul.
The Persians curiously personified the source of organic life in the world under the emblem of a primeval bull. In this symbolic beast were packed the seeds and germs of all the creatures afterwards to people the earth. Ahriman, to ruin the creation of which this animal was the life medium, sought to kill him. He set upon him two of his devs, who are called "adepts of death." They stung him in the breast, and plagued him until he died of rage. But, as he was dying, from his right shoulder sprang the androgynal Kaiomorts, who was the stock root of humanity. His body was made from fire, air, water, and earth, to which Ormuzd added an immortal soul, and bathed him with an elixir which rendered him fair and glittering as a youth of fifteen, and would have preserved him so perennially had it not been for the assaults of the Evil One.9 Ahriman, the enemy of all life, determined to slay him, and at last accomplished his object; but, as Kaiomorts fell, from his seed, through the power of Ormuzd, originated Meschia and Meschiane, male and female, the first human pair, from whom all our race have descended. They would never have died,10 but Ahriman, in the guise of a serpent, seduced them, and they sinned and fell. This account is partly drawn from that later treatise, the Bundehesh, whose mythological cosmogony reminds us of the Scandinavian Ymer. But we conceive it to be strictly reliable as a representation of the Zoroastrian faith in its essential doctrines; for the earlier documents, the Yasna, the Yeshts, and the Vendidad, contain the same things in obscure and undeveloped expressions. They, too, make repeated mention of the mysterious bull, and of Kaiomorts.11 They invariably represent death as resulting
9 Kleuker, Zend Avesta, band i. anhang 1, s. 263.
10 Ibid. band i. s. 27.
11 Yasna, 24th IIa.
from the hostility of Ahriman. The earliest Avestan account of the earthly condition of men describes them as living in a garden which Yima or Jemschid had enclosed at the command of Ormuzd.12 During the golden age of his reign they were free from heat and cold, sickness and death. "In the garden which Yima made they led a most beautiful life, and they bore none of the marks which Ahriman has since made upon men." But Ahriman's envy and hatred knew no rest until he and his devs had, by their wiles, broken into this paradise, betrayed Yima and his people into falsehood, and so, by introducing corruption into their hearts, put an end to their glorious earthly immortality. This view is set forth in the opening fargards of the Vendidad; and it has been clearly illustrated in an elaborate contribution upon the "Old Iranian Mythology" by Professor Westergaard.13 Death, like all other evils, was an after effect, thrust into the purely good creation of Ormuzd by the cunning malice of Ahriman. The Vendidad, at its commencement, recounts the various products of Ormuzd's beneficent power, and adds, after each particular, "Thereupon Ahriman, who is full of death, made an opposition to the same."
According to the Zoroastrian modes of thought, what would have been the fate of man had Ahriman not existed or not interfered? Plainly, mankind would have lived on forever in innocence and joy. They would have been blessed with all placid delights, exempt from hate, sickness, pain, and every other ill; and, when the earth was full of them, Ormuzd would have taken his sinless subjects to his own realm of light on high. But when they forsook the true service of Ormuzd, falling into deceit and defilement, they became subjects of Ahriman; and he would inflict on them, as the creatures of his hated rival, all the calamities in his power, dissolve the masterly workmanship of their bodies in death, and then take their souls as prisoners into his own dark abode. "Had Meschia continued to bring meet praises, it would have happened that when the time of man, created pure, had come, his soul, created pure and immortal, would immediately have gone to the seat of bliss."14 "Heaven was destined for man upon condition that he was humble of heart, obedient to the law, and pure in thought, word, and deed." But "by believing the lies of Ahriman they became sinners, and their souls must remain in his nether kingdom until the resurrection of their bodies."15 Ahriman's triumph thus culminates in the death of man and that banishment of the disembodied soul into hell which takes the place of its originally intended reception into heaven.
The law of Ormuzd, revealed through Zoroaster, furnishes to all who faithfully observe it in purity of thought, speech, and action, "when body and soul have separated, attainment of paradise in the next world,"16 while the neglecters of it "will pass into the dwelling of the devs,"17 "after death will have no part in paradise, but will occupy the place of darkness
12 Die Sage von Dschemschid. Von Professor R. Roth. In Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgeulandischen Gesellschaft, band iv. ss. 417-431.
13 Weber, Indische Studien, band iii. 8. 411.
14 Yesht LXXXVII. Kleuker, band ii. sect. 211.
15 Bundehesh, ch. xv.
16 Avesta die Heiligen Schriften der Parsen. Von Dr. F. Spiegel, band i. s, 171.
17 Ibid. s. 158.
destined for the wicked."18 The third day after death, the soul advances upon "the way created by Ormuzd for good and bad," to be examined as to its conduct. The pure soul passes up from this evanescent world, over the bridge Chinevad, to the world of Ormuzd, and joins the angels. The sinful soul is bound and led over the way made for the godless, and finds its place at the bottom of gloomy hell.19 An Avestan fragment 20 and the Viraf Nameh give the same account, only with more picturesque fulness. On the soaring bridge the soul meets Rashne rast, the angel of justice, who tries those that present themselves before him. If the merits prevail, a figure of dazzling substance, radiating glory and fragrance, advances and accosts the justified soul, saying, "I am thy good angel: I was pure at the first, but thy good deeds have made me purer;" and the happy one is straightway led to Paradise. But when the vices outweigh the virtues, a dark and frightful image, featured with ugliness and exhaling a noisome smell, meets the condemned soul, and cries, "I am thy evil spirit: bad myself, thy crimes have made me worse." Then the culprit staggers on his uncertain foothold, is hurled from the dizzy causeway, and precipitated into the gulf which yawns horribly below. A sufficient reason for believing these last details no late and foreign interpolation, is that the Vendidad itself contains all that is essential in them, Garotman, the heaven of Ormuzd, open to the pure, Dutsakh, the abode of devs, ready for the wicked, Chinevad, the bridge of ordeal, upon which all must enter.21
Some authors have claimed that the ancient disciples of Zoroaster believed in a purifying, intermediate state for the dead. Passages stating such a doctrine are found in the Yeshts, Sades, and in later Parsee works. But whether the translations we now possess of these passages are accurate, and whether the passages themselves are authoritative to establish the ancient prevalence of such a belief, we have not yet the means for deciding. There was a yearly solemnity, called the "Festival for the Dead," still observed by the Parsees, held at the season when it was thought that that portion of the sinful departed who had ended their penance were raised from Dutsakh to earth, from earth to Garotman. Du Perron says that this took place only during the last five days of the year, when the souls of all the deceased sinners who were undergoing punishment had permission to leave their confinement and visit their relatives; after which, those not yet purified were to return, but those for whom a sufficient atonement had been made were to proceed to Paradise. For proof that this doctrine was held, reference is made to the following passage, with others: "During these five days Ormuzd empties hell. The imprisoned souls shall be freed from Ahriman's plagues when they pay penance and are ashamed of their sins; and they shall receive a heavenly nature; the meritorious deeds of themselves and of their families cause this liberation: all the rest must return to Dutsakh."22 Rhode thinks this was a part of the old Persian faith, and the source of
18 Ibid. s. 127.
19 Ibid. ss. 248-252. Vendidad, Fargard XIX.
20 Kleuker, band i. ss. xxxi. xxxv.
21 Spiegel, Vendidad, ss. 207, 229, 233, 250.
22 Kleuker, band ii. s. 173.
the Roman Catholic doctrine of purgatory.23 But, whether so or not, it is certain that the Zoroastrians regarded the whole residence of the departed souls in hell as temporary.
The duration of the present order of the world was fixed at twelve thousand years, divided into four equal epochs. In the first three thousand years, Ormuzd creates and reigns triumphantly over his empire. Through the next cycle, Ahriman is constructing and carrying on his hostile works. The third epoch is occupied with a drawn battle between the upper and lower kings and their adherents. During the fourth period, Ahriman is to be victorious, and a state of things inconceivably dreadful is to prevail. The brightness of all clear things will be shrouded, the happiness of all joyful creatures be destroyed, innocence disappear, religion be scoffed from the world, and crime, horror, and war be rampant. Famine will spread, pests and plagues stalk over the earth, and showers of black rain fall. But at last Ormuzd will rise in his might and put an end to these awful scenes. He will send on earth a savior. Sosiosch, to deliver mankind, to wind up the final period of time, and to bring the arch enemy to judgment. At the sound of the voice of Sosiosch the dead will come forth. Good, bad, indifferent, all alike will rise, each in his order. Kaiomorts, the original single ancestor of men, will be the firstling. Next, Meschia and Meschiane, the primal parent pair, will appear. And then the whole multitudinous family of mankind will throng up. The genii of the elements will render up the sacred materials intrusted to them, and rebuild the decomposed bodies. Each soul will recognise, and hasten to reoccupy, its old tenement of flesh, now renewed, improved, immortalized. Former acquaintances will then know each other. "Behold, my father! my mother! my brother! my wife! they shall exclaim." 24
In this exposition we have following the guidance of Du Perron, Foucher, Kleuker, J. G. Muller, and other early scholars in this field attributed the doctrine of a general and bodily resurrection of the dead to the ancient Zoroastrians. The subsequent researches of Burnouf, Roth, and others, have shown that several, at least, of the passages which Anquetil supposed to teach such a doctrine were erroneously translated by him, and do not really contain it. And recently the ground has been often assumed that the doctrine of the resurrection does not belong to the Avesta, but is a more modern dogma, derived by the Parsees from the Jews or the Christians, and only forced upon the old text by misinterpretation through the Pehlevi version and the Parsee commentary. A question of so grave importance demands careful examination. In the absence of that reliable translation of the entire original documents, and that thorough elaboration of all the extant materials, which we are awaiting from the hands of Professor Spiegel, whose second volume has long been due, and Professor Westergaard, whose second and third volumes are eagerly looked for, we must make the best use of the resources actually available, and then leave the point in such plausible light as existing testimony and fair reasoning can throw upon it. In the first place, it should be observed that, admitting the doctrine to be nowhere mentioned in the Avesta, still, it does not follow that the belief was not prevalent when the
23 Rhode, Heilige Sage des Zendvolks, s. 410.
24 Bundehesh, ch. xxxi.
Avesta was written. We know that the Christians of the first two centuries believed a great many things of which there is no statement in the New Testament. Spiegel holds that the doctrine in debate is not in the Avesta, the text of which in its present form he thinks was written after the time of Alexander.25 But he confesses that the resurrection theory was in existence long before that time.26 Now, if the Avesta, committed to writing three hundred years before Christ, at a time when the doctrine of the resurrection is known to have been believed, contains no reference to it, the same relation of facts may just as well have existed if we date the record seven centuries earlier. We possess only a small and broken portion of the original Zoroastrian Scriptures; as Roth says, "songs, invocations, prayers, snatches of traditions, parts of a code, the shattered fragments of a once stately building." If we could recover the complete documents in their earliest condition, it might appear that the now lost parts contained the doctrine of the general resurrection fully formed. We have many explicit references to many ancient Zoroastrian books no longer in existence. For example, the Parsees have a very early account that the Avesta at first consisted of twenty one Nosks. Of these but one has been preserved complete, and small parts of three or four others. The rest are utterly wanting. The fifth Nosk, whereof not any portion remains to us, was called the Do az ah Hamast. It contained thirty two chapters, treating, among other things, "of the upper and nether world, of the resurrection, of the bridge Chinevad, and of the fate after death." 27 If this evidence be true, and we know of no reason for not crediting it, it is perfectly decisive. But, at all events, the absence from the extant parts of the Zend Avesta of the doctrine under examination would be no proof that that doctrine was not received when those documents were penned.
Secondly, we have the unequivocal assertion of Theopompus, in the fourth century before Christ, that the Magi taught the doctrine of a general resurrection.28 "At the appointed epoch Ahriman shall be subdued," and "men shall live again and shall be immortal." And Diogenes adds, "Eudemus of Rhodes affirms the same things." Aristotle calls Ormuzd Zeus, and Ahriman Haides, the Greek names respectively of the lord of the starry Olympians above, and the monarch of the Stygian ghosts beneath. Another form also in which the early Greek authors betray their acquaintance with the Persian conception of a conflict between Ormuzd and Ahriman is in the idea expressed by Xenophon in his Cyropadia, in the dialogue between Araspes and Cyrus of two souls in man, one a brilliant efflux of good, the other a dusky emanation of evil, each bearing the likeness of its parent.29 Since we know from Theopompus that certain conceptions, illustrated in the Bundehesh and not contained in the fragmentary Avestan books which have reached us, were actually received Zoroastrian
25 Studien uber das Zend Avesta, in Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenlandischen Gesellschaft, 1855, band ix. s. 192.
26 Spiegel, Avesta, band i. s. 16.
27 Dabistan, vol. i. pp. 272-274.
28 Diogenes Laertius, Lives of the Philosophers, Introduction, sect. vi. Plutarch, concerning Isis and Osiris.
29 Lib. vi. cap. i. sect. 41.
tenets four centuries before Christ, we are strongly supported in giving credence to the doctrinal statements of that book as affording, in spite of its lateness, a correct epitome of the old Persian theology.
Thirdly, we are still further warranted in admitting the antiquity of the Zoroastrian system as including the resurrection theory, when we consider the internal harmony and organic connection of parts in it; how the doctrines all fit together, and imply each other, and could scarcely have existed apart. Men were the creatures of Ormuzd. They should have lived immortally under his favor and in his realm. But Ahriman, by treachery, obtained possession of a large portion of them. Now, when, at the end of the fourth period into which the world course was divided by the Magian theory, as Theopompus testifies, Ormuzd overcomes this arch adversary, will he not rescue his own unfortunate creatures from the realm of darkness in which they have been imprisoned? When a king storms an enemy's castle, he delivers from the dungeons his own soldiers who were taken captives in a former defeat. The expectation of a great prophet, Sosiosch, to come and vanquish Ahriman and his swarms, unquestionably appears in the Avesta itself.30 With this notion, in inseparable union, the Parsee tradition, running continuously back, as is claimed, to a very remote time, joins the doctrine of a general resurrection; a doctrine literally stated in the Vendidad,31 and in many other places in the Avesta,32 where it has not yet been shown to be an interpolation, but only supposed so by very questionable constructive inferences. The consent of intrinsic adjustment and of historic evidence would, therefore, lead to the conclusion that this was an old Zoroastrian dogma. In disproof of this conclusion we believe there is no direct positive evidence whatever, and no inferential argument cogent enough to produce conviction.
There are sufficient reasons for the belief that the doctrine of a resurrection was quite early adopted from the Persians by the Jews, not borrowed at a much later time from the Jews by the Parsees. The conception of Ahriman, the evil serpent, bearing death, (die Schlange Angramainyus der voll Tod ist,) is interwrought from the first throughout the Zoroastrian scheme. In the Hebrew records, on the contrary, such an idea appears but incidentally, briefly, rarely, and only in the later books. The account of the introduction of sin and death by the serpent in the garden of Eden dates from a time subsequent to the commencement of the Captivity. Von Bohlen, in his Introduction to the Book of Genesis, says the narrative was drawn from the Zend Avesta. Rosenmuller, in his commentary on the passage, says the narrator had in view the Zoroastrian notions of the serpent Ahriman and his deeds. Dr. Martin Haug an acute and learned writer, whose opinion is entitled to great weight, as he is the freshest scholar acquainted with this whole field in the light of all that others have done thinks it certain that Zoroaster lived in a remote antiquity, from fifteen hundred to two thousand years before Christ. He says that Judaism after the exile and, through Judaism, Christianity afterwards received an important influence from Zoroastrianism,
30 Spiegel, Avesta, band i. ss. 16, 244.
31 Fargard XVIII, Spiegel's Uebersetzung, s. 236.
32 Kleuker, band ii. ss. 123, 124, 164.
an influence which, in regard to the doctrine of angels, Satan, and the resurrection of the dead, cannot be mistaken.33 The Hebrew theology had no demonology, no Satan, until after the residence at Babylon. This is admitted. Well, is not the resurrection a pendant to the doctrine of Satan? Without the idea of a Satan there would be no idea of a retributive banishment of souls into hell, and of course no occasion for a vindicating restoration of them thence to their former or a superior state.
On this point the theory of Rawlinson is very important. He argues, with various proofs, that the Dualistic doctrine was a heresy which broke out very early among the primitive Aryans, who then were the single ancestry of the subsequent Iranians and Indians. This heresy was forcibly suppressed. Its adherents, driven out of India, went to Persia, and, after severe conflicts and final admixture with the Magians, there established their faith.34 The sole passage in the Old Testament teaching the resurrection is in the so called Book of Daniel, a book full of Chaldean and Persian allusions, written less than two centuries before Christ, long after we know it was a received Zoroastrian tenet, and long after the Hebrews had been exposed to the whole tide and atmosphere of the triumphant Persian power. The unchangeable tenacity of the Medes and Persians is a proverb. How often the Hebrew people lapsed into idolatry, accepting Pagan gods, doctrines, and ritual, is notorious. And, in particular, how completely subject they were to Persian influence appears clearly in large parts of the Biblical history, especially in the Books of Esther and Ezekiel. The origin of the term Beelzebub, too, in the New Testament, is plain. To say that the Persians derived the doctrine of the resurrection from the Jews seems to us as arbitrary as it would be to affirm that they also borrowed from them the custom, mentioned by Ezekiel, of weeping for Tammuz in the gates of the temple.
In view of the whole case as it stands, until further researches either strengthen it or put a different aspect upon it, we feel forced to think that the doctrine of a general resurrection was a component element in the ancient Avestan religion. A further question of considerable interest arises as to the nature of this resurrection, whether it was conceived as physical or as spiritual. We have no data to furnish a determinate answer. Plutarch quotes from Theopompus the opinion of the Magi, that when, at the subdual of Ahriman, men are restored to life, "they will need no nourishment and cast no shadow." It would appear, then, that they must be spirits. The inference is not reliable; for the idea may be that all causes of decay will be removed, so that no food will be necessary to supply the wasting processes which no longer exist; and that the entire creation will be so full of light that a shadow will be impossible. It might be thought that the familiar Persian conception of angels, both good and evil, fervers and devs, and the reception of departed souls into their company, with Ormuzd in Garotman, or with Ahriman in Dutsakh, would exclude the belief in a future bodily resurrection. But Christians and Mohammedans at this day believe in immaterial angels and devils, and in the immediate entrance of disembodied souls upon reward or
33 Die Lehre Zoroasters nach den alten Liedern des Zendavesta. Zeitschrift der Morgenlandischen Gesellschaft, band ix. ss. 286, 683-692.
34 Rawlinson's Herodotus, vol. i. pp. 426-431.
punishment in their society, and still believe in their final return to the earth, and in a restoration to them of their former tabernacles of flesh. Discordant, incoherent, as the two beliefs may be, if their coexistence is a fact with cultivated and reasonable people now, much more was it possible with an undisciplined and credulous populace three thousand years in the past. Again, it has been argued that the indignity with which the ancient Persians treated the dead body, refusing to bury it or to burn it, lest the earth or the fire should be polluted, is incompatible with the supposition that they expected a resurrection of the flesh. In the first place, it is difficult to reason safely to any dogmatic conclusions from the funeral customs of a people. These usages are so much a matter of capricious priestly ritual, ancestral tradition, unreasoning instinct, blind or morbid superstition, that any consistent doctrinal construction is not fairly to be put upon them. Secondly, the Zoroastrians did not express scorn or loathing for the corpse by their manner of disposing of it. The greatest pains were taken to keep it from disgusting decay, by placing it in "the driest, purest, openest place," upon a summit where fresh winds blew, and where certain beasts and birds, accounted most sacred, might eat the corruptible portion: then the clean bones were carefully buried. The dead body had yielded to the hostile working of Ahriman, and become his possession. The priests bore it out on a bed or a carpet, and exposed it to the light of the sun. The demon was thus exorcised; and the body became further purified in being eaten by the sacred animals, and no putrescence was left to contaminate earth, water, or fire.35 Furthermore, it is to be noticed that the modern Parsees dispose of their dead in exactly the same manner depicted in the earliest accounts; yet they zealously hold to a literal resurrection of the body. If the giving of the flesh to the dog and the vulture in their case exists with this belief, it may have done so with their ancestors before Nebuchadnezzar swept the Jews to Babylon. Finally, it is quite reasonable to conclude that the old Persian doctrine of a resurrection did include the physical body, when we recollect that in the Zoroastrian scheme of thought there is no hostility to matter or to earthly life, but all is regarded as pure and good except so far as the serpent Ahriman has introduced evil. The expulsion of this evil with his ultimate overthrow, the restoration of all as it was at first, in purity, gladness, and eternal life, would be the obvious and consistent carrying out of the system. Hatred of earthly life, contempt for the flesh, the notion of an essential and irreconcilable warfare of soul against body, are Brahmanic and Manichaan, not Zoroastrian. Still, the ground plan and style of thought may not have been consistently adhered to. The expectation that the very same body would be restored was known to the Jews a century or two before Christ. One of the martyrs whose history is told in the Second Book of Maccabees, in the agonies of death plucked out his own bowels, and called on the Lord to restore them to him again at the resurrection. Considering the notion of a resurrection of the body as a sensuous burden on the idea of a resurrection of the soul, it may have been a later development originating with the Jews. But it seems to us decidedly more probable that the Magi held it as a part of their creed before they came in contact with the children of Israel. Such an opinion may be modestly held until further information is
35 Spiegel, Avesta, ss. 82, 104, 109, 111, 122.
afforded 36 or some new and fatal objection brought.
After this resurrection a thorough separation will be made of the good from the bad. "Father shall be divided from child, sister from brother, friend from friend. The innocent one shall weep over the guilty one, the guilty one shall weep for himself. Of two sisters one shall be pure, one corrupt: they shall be treated according to their deeds." 37 Those who have not, in the intermediate state, fully expiated their sins, will, in sight of the whole creation, be remanded to the pit of punishment. But the author of evil shall not exult over them forever. Their prison house will soon be thrown open. The pangs of three terrible days and nights, equal to the agonies of nine thousand years, will purify all, even the worst of the demons. The anguished cry of the damned, as they writhe in the lurid caldron of torture, rising to heaven, will find pity in the soul of Ormuzd, and he will release them from their sufferings. A blazing star, the comet Gurtzscher, will fall upon the earth. In the heat of its conflagration, great and small mountains will melt and flow together as liquid metal. Through this glowing flood all human kind must pass. To the righteous it will prove as a pleasant bath, of the temperature of milk; but on the wicked the flame will inflict terrific pain. Ahriman will run up and down Chinevad in the perplexities of anguish and despair. The earth wide stream of fire, flowing on, will cleanse every spot and every thing. Even the loathsome realm of darkness and torment shall be burnished and made a part of the all inclusive Paradise. Ahriman himself, reclaimed to virtue, replenished with primal light, abjuring the memories of his envious ways, and furling thenceforth the sable standard of his rebellion, shall become a ministering spirit of the Most High, and, together with Ormuzd, chant the praises of Time without Bounds. All darkness, falsehood, suffering, shall flee utterly away, and the whole universe be filled by the illumination of good spirits blessed with fruitions of eternal delight. In regard to the fate of man,
Such are the parables Zartushi address'd To Iran's faith, in the ancient Zend Avest.
36 Windischmann has now (1863) fully proved this, in his Zoroastrische Studien. Spiegel frankly avows it: Avesta, band iii., einleitung, s. lxxv.
37 Rhode, Heilige Sage des Zendvolks, s. 467.
HEBREW DOCTRINE OF A FUTURE LIFE.
ON the one extreme, a large majority of Christian scholars have asserted that the doctrine of a retributive immortality is clearly taught throughout the Old Testament. Able writers, like Bishop Warburton, have maintained, on the other extreme, that it says nothing whatever about a future life, but rather implies the total and eternal end of men in death. But the most judicious, trustworthy critics hold an intermediate position, and affirm that the Hebrew Scriptures show a general belief in the separate existence of the spirit, not indeed as experiencing rewards and punishments, but as surviving in the common silence and gloom of the under world, a desolate empire of darkness yawning beneath all graves and peopled with dream like ghosts.1
A number of important passages have been cited from different parts of the Old Testament by the advocates of the view first mentioned above. It will be well for us to notice these and their misuse before proceeding farther.
The translation of Enoch has been regarded as a revelation of the immortality of man. It is singular that Dr. Priestley should suggest, as the probable fact, so sheer and baseless a hypothesis as he does in his notes upon the Book of Genesis. He says, "Enoch was probably a prophet authorized to announce the reality of another life after this; and he might be removed into it without dying, as an evidence of the truth of his doctrine." The gross materialism of this supposition, and the failure of God's design which it implies, are a sufficient refutation of it. And, besides the utter unlikelihood of the thought, it is entirely destitute of support in the premises. One of the most curious of the many strange things to be found in Warburton's argument for the Divine Legation of Moses an argument marked, as is well known, by profound erudition, and, in many respects, by consummate ability is the use he makes of this account to prove that Moses believed the doctrine of immortality, but purposely obscured the fact from which it might be drawn by the people, in order that it might not interfere with his doctrine of the temporal special providence of Jehovah over the Jewish nation. Such a course is inconsistent with sound morality, much more with the character of an inspired prophet of God.
The only history we have of Enoch is in the fifth chapter of the Book of Genesis. The substance of it is as follows: "And Enoch walked with God during his appointed years; and then he was not, for God took him." The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, following the example of those Rabbins who, several centuries before his time, began to give mystical interpretations of the Scriptures, infers from this statement that Enoch was borne into heaven without tasting death. But it is not certainly known who the author of that epistle was; and, whoever he was, his opinion, of course, can have no authority upon a subject of criticism like
1 Boettcher, De Inferis Rebusque post mortem futuris ex Hebraorum et Gracoram Opinionibus.
this. Replying to the supposititious argument furnished by this passage, we say, Take the account as it reads, and it neither asserts nor implies the idea commonly held concerning it. It says nothing about translation or immortality; nor can any thing of the kind be legitimately deduced from it. Its plain meaning is no more nor less than this: Enoch lived three hundred and sixty five years, fearing God and keeping his commandments, and then he died. Many of the Rabbins, fond as they are of finding in the Pentateuch the doctrine of future blessedness for the good, interpret this narrative as only signifying an immature death; for Enoch, it will be recollected, reached but about half the average age of the others whose names are mentioned in the chapter. Had this occurrence been intended as the revelation of a truth, it would have been fully and clearly stated; otherwise it could not answer any purpose. As Le Clerc observes, "If the writer believed so important a fact as that Enoch was immortal, it is wonderful that he relates it as secretly and obscurely as if he wished to hide it." But, finally, even admitting that the account is to be regarded as teaching literally that God took Enoch, it by no means proves a revelation of the doctrine of general immortality. It does not show that anybody else would ever be translated or would in any way enter upon a future state of existence. It is not put forth as a revelation; it says nothing whatever concerning a revelation. It seems to mean either that Enoch suddenly died, or that he disappeared, nobody knew whither. But, if it really means that God took him into heaven, it is more natural to think that that was done as a special favor than as a sign of what awaited others. No general cause is stated, no consequence deduced, no principle laid down, no reflection added. How, then, can it be said that the doctrine of a future life for man is revealed by it or implicated in it?
The removal of Elijah in a chariot of fire, of which we read in the second chapter of the Second Book of Kings, is usually supposed to have served as a miraculous proof of the fact that the faithful servants of Jehovah were to be rewarded with a life in the heavens. The author of this book is not known, and can hardly be guessed at with any degree of plausibility. It was unquestionably written, or rather compiled, a long time probably several hundred years after the prophets whose wonderful adventures it recounts had passed away. The internal evidence is sufficient, both in quality and quantity, to demonstrate that the book is for the most part a collection of traditions. This characteristic applies with particular force to the ascension of Elijah. But grant the literal truth of the account: it will not prove the point in support of which it is advanced, because it does not purport to have been done as a revelation of the doctrine in question, nor did it in any way answer the purpose of such a revelation. So far from this, in fact, it does not seem even to have suggested the bare idea of another state of existence in a single instance. For when Elisha returned without Elijah, and told the sons of the prophets at Jericho that his master had gone up in a chariot of fire, which event they knew beforehand was going to happen, they, instead of asking the particulars or exulting over the revelation of a life in heaven, calmly said to him, "Behold, there be with thy servants fifty sons of strength: let them go, we pray thee, and seek for Elijah, lest peradventure a whirlwind, the blast of the Lord, hath caught him up and cast him upon one of the mountains or into one of the valleys. And he said, Ye shall not send. But when they urged him till he was ashamed, he said, Send." This is all that is told us. Had it occurred as is stated, it would not so easily have passed from notice, but mighty inferences, never to be forgotten, would have been drawn from it at once. The story as it stands reminds one of the closing scene in the career of Romulus, speaking of whom the historians say, "In the thirty seventh year of his reign, while he was reviewing an army, a tempest arose, in the midst of which he was suddenly snatched from the eyes of men. Hence some thought he was killed by the senators, others, that he was borne aloft to the gods."2 If the ascension of Elijah to heaven in a chariot of fire did really take place, and if the books held by the Jews as inspired and sacred contained a history of it at the time of our Savior, it is certainly singular that neither he nor any of the apostles allude to it in connection with the subject of a future life.
The miracles performed by Elijah and by Elisha in restoring the dead children to life related in the seventeenth chapter of the First Book of Kings and in the fourth chapter of the Second Book are often cited in proof of the position that the doctrine of immortality is revealed in the Old Testament. The narration of these events is found in a record of unknown authorship. The mode in which the miracles were effected, if they were miracles, the prophet measuring himself upon the child, his eyes upon his eyes, his mouth upon his mouth, his hands upon his hands, and in one case the child sneezing seven times, looks dubious. The two accounts so closely resemble each other as to cast still greater suspicion upon both. In addition to these considerations, and even fully granting the reality of the miracles, they do not touch the real controversy, namely, whether the Hebrew Scriptures contain the revealed doctrine of a conscious immortality or of a future retribution. The prophet said, "O Lord my God, let this child's soul, I pray thee, come into his inward parts again." "And the Lord heard the voice of Elijah, and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived." Now, the most this can show is that the child's soul was then existing in a separate state. It does not prove that the soul was immortal, nor that it was experiencing retribution, nor even that it was conscious. And we do not deny that the ancient Jews believed that the spirits of the dead retained a nerveless, shadowy being in the solemn vaults of the under world. The Hebrew word rendered soul in the text is susceptible of three meanings: first, the shade, which, upon the dissolution of the body, is gathered to its fathers in the great subterranean congregation; second, the breath of a person, used as synonymous with his life; third, a part of the vital breath of God, which the Hebrews regarded as the source of the life of all creatures, and the withdrawing of which they supposed was the cause of death. It is clear that neither of these meanings can prove any thing in regard to the real point at issue, that is, concerning a future life of rewards and punishments.
One of the strongest arguments brought to support the proposition which we are combating at least, so considered by nearly all the Rabbins, and by not a few modern critics is the account of the vivification of the dead recorded in the thirty seventh chapter of the Book of Ezekiel. The prophet "was carried in the spirit of Jehovah" that is, mentally, in a prophetic ecstasy into a valley full of dry bones. "The bones came together, the flesh
2 Livy, i. 16; Dion. Hal. ii. 56.
grew on them, the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceeding great army." It should first be observed that this account is not given as an actual occurrence, but, after the manner of Ezekiel, as a prophetic vision meant to symbolize something. Now, of what was it intended as the symbol? a doctrine, or a coming event? a general truth to enlighten and guide uncertain men, or an approaching deliverance to console and encourage the desponding Jews? It is fair to let the prophet be his own interpreter, without aid from the glosses of prejudiced theorizers. It must be borne in mind that at this time the prophet and his countrymen were bearing the grievous burden of bondage in a foreign nation. "And Jehovah said to me, Son of man, these bones denote the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost, and we are cut off." This plainly denotes their present suffering in the Babylonish captivity, and their despair of being delivered from it. "Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, O my people, and bring you into the land of Israel." That is, I will rescue you from your slavery and restore you to freedom in your own land. The dry bones and their subsequent vivification, therefore, clearly symbolize the misery of the Israelites and their speedy restoration to happiness. Death is frequently used in a figurative sense to denote misery, and life to signify happiness. But those who maintain that the doctrine of the resurrection is taught as a revealed truth in the Hebrew Scriptures are not willing to let this passage pass so easily. Mr. Barnes says, "The illustration proves that the doctrine was one with which the people were familiar." Jerome states the argument more fully, thus: "A similitude drawn from the resurrection, to foreshadow the restoration of the people of Israel, would never have been employed unless the resurrection itself were believed to be a fact of future occurrence; for no one thinks of confirming what is uncertain by what has no existence."
It is not difficult to reply to these objections with convincing force. First, the vision was not used as proof or confirmation, but as symbol and prophecy. Secondly, the use of any thing as an illustration does by no means imply that it is commonly believed as a fact. For instance, we are told in the ninth chapter of the Book of Judges that Jotham related an allegory to the people as an illustration of their conduct in choosing a king, saying, "The trees once on a time went forth to anoint a king over them; and they said to the olive tree, Come thou and reign over us;" and so on. Does it follow that at that time it was a common belief that the trees actually went forth occasionally to choose them a king? Thirdly, if a given thing is generally believed as a fact, a person who uses it expressly as a symbol, of course does not thereby give his sanction to it as a fact. And if a belief in the resurrection of the dead was generally entertained at the time of the prophet, its origin is not implied, and it does not follow that it was a doctrine of revelation, or even a true doctrine. Finally, there is one consideration which shows conclusively that this vision was never intended to typify the resurrection; namely, that it has nothing corresponding to the most essential part of that doctrine. When the bones have come together and are covered with flesh, God does not call up the departed spirits of these bodies from Sheol, does not bring back the vanished lives to animate their former tabernacles, now miraculously renewed. No: he but breathes on them with his vivifying breath, and straightway they live and move. This is not a resurrection, but a new creation. The common idea of a bodily restoration implies and, that any just retribution be compatible with it, it necessarily implies the vivification of the dead frame, not by the introduction of new life, but by the reinstalment of the very same life or spirit, the identical consciousness that before animated it. Such is not represented as being the case in Ezekiel's vision of the valley of dry bones. That vision had no reference to the future state.
In this connection, the revelation made by the angel in his prophecy, recorded in the twelfth chapter of the Book of Daniel, concerning the things which should happen in the Messianic times, must not be passed without notice. It reads as follows: "And many of the sleepers of the dust of the ground shall awake, those to life everlasting, and these to shame, to contempt everlasting. And they that are wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars for ever and ever." No one can deny that a judgment, in which reward and punishment shall be distributed according to merit, is here clearly foretold. The meaning of the text, taken with the connection, is, that when the Messiah appears and establishes his kingdom the righteous shall enjoy a bodily resurrection upon the earth to honor and happiness, but the wicked shall be left below in darkness and death.3 This seems to imply, fairly enough, that until the advent of the Messiah none of the dead existed consciously in a state of retribution. The doctrine of the passage, as is well known, was held by some of the Jews at the beginning of the Christian era, and, less distinctly, for about two centuries previous. Before that time no traces of it can be found in their history. Now, had a doctrine of such intense interest and of such vast importance as this been a matter of revelation, it seems hardly possible that it should have been confined to one brief and solitary text, that it should have flashed up for a single moment so brilliantly, and then vanished for three or four centuries in utter darkness. Furthermore, nearly one half of the Book of Daniel is written in the Chaldee tongue, and the other half in the Hebrew, indicating that it had two authors, who wrote their respective portions at different periods. Its critical and minute details of events are history rather than prophecy. The greater part of the book was undoubtedly written as late as about a hundred and sixty years before Christ, long after the awful simplicity and solitude of the original Hebrew theology had been marred and corrupted by an intermixture of the doctrines of those heathen nations with whom the Jews had been often brought in contact. Such being the facts in the case, the text is evidently without force to prove a divine revelation of the doctrine it teaches.