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Hinduism

Hinduism

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Published by glennpease
BY REV. J. HILES HITCHENS, D. D.

Preached in Eccleston-square Church on Sunday Evening, January 25.

Jeremiah x, ii. "The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens."
BY REV. J. HILES HITCHENS, D. D.

Preached in Eccleston-square Church on Sunday Evening, January 25.

Jeremiah x, ii. "The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens."

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Published by: glennpease on Feb 15, 2014
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Hinduism
BY REV. J. HILES HITCHENS, D. D. Preached in Eccleston-square Church on Sunday Evening, January 25. Jeremiah x, ii. "The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens." If to-day you could enter the city of Benares you would ask a legion of questions relative to the buildings visible, the habits of the people, and the reasons why the streets are so frequented by mendicants and suffer-ers. Benares is the Hindu capital of Hindostan — the ecclesiastical metropolis of India. Situated upon the banks of the Ganges, in the presidency of Bengal, with a population of over 190,000, it is the resort of pilgrims from all parts of India, Tibet, and Burmah. Passing through the place, stretching nearly four miles along the river banks, you would observe about i,o©o pagodas, 300 mosques, one mosque in particular, which, with its two minarets, forms the principal object of interest in the city, the Hindu Sanskrit College, the chief seat of native learning in India ; and you would be pointed to some of the 12,000 houses occupied by Brahmins who subsist upon the alms and voluntary offerings of the pilgrims. You would be not a little surprised to find in every street swarms of beggars— really ill or feigning illness — and imploring your help in the most piteous manner. But you might be more surprised to see bulls walking lazily about the streets, unattended, or lying indifferently across the public footway, and treated with the
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greatest consideration and kindness by the inhabitants ; or monkeys leaping from point to point of the temple projections, and clinging hither and thither to pagoda roofs. The condition of the city is to be explained by Hinduism. For Benares is regarded as the sacred city — is said to form no part of the terrestrial globe, but to be resting upon the point of Shiva's trident ; to be entirely secure, therefore, from the Hinduism. 109 calamity of an earthquake ; and to be so holy that all who die within the precincts of the city are safe for the eternal world. Benares is, then, the depository of Hindu learning, the seat of Hindu superstition, the center of Hindu influence. What, then, is Hinduism ? It is affirmed that the system of religion known by this name is of very great antiquity ; that, indeed, it can be traced back to days as remote as those of Moses. The earliest of its sacred books, the Rig-Veda, is believed to have been written about 1,200 b. c. Like most other systems, changes have been wrought upon it by the lapse of years, so that the religion of Hinduism, as it to-day exists, differs very considerably from that of its earliest form. As Dr. Williams, an able authority upon this subject, has said : * " Starting from the Veda, Hinduism has ended in embracing something from all religions "and in presenting phases suited to all minds. It is all-tolerant, all compliant,
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all-comprehensive, all-absorbing. It has its material and its spiritual aspect, its esoteric and exoteric, its subjective and objective, its rational and irrational, its pure and its impure. It may be compared to a huge polygon, or irregular multilateral figure. It has one side for the practi-cal, another for the severely moral, another for the devotional and imaginative, another for the sensuous and sensual, and another for the philosophical and speculative. Those who rest in ceremonial observ-ances find it all-sufficient ; those who deny the efficacy of works, and make faith the one requisite, need not wander from its pale ; those who are addicted to sensual objects may have their tastes gratified ; those who delight in meditating on the nature of God and man, the relation of matter and spirit, the mystery of separate existence, and the origin of evil, may here indulge their love of speculation. And this capacity for almost endless expansion causes almost endless sectarian divisions even among the followers of any particular line of doctrine."' It may be well thought that, with such a diversity — and such a comprehensive-ness — it is not possible to give an intelligible and succinct description of Hinduism. But, as Dr. Williams has shown, the Vedas are written in Sanskrit, and that language is regarded by the Hindus as sacred and believed to have been given to men by a direct voice from heaven. It contains all the Hindu literature ; and hence the student of Sanskrit can understand the Hindu's "past and present condition " and " reach the * Hinduism, p. 12. By Monier Williams, C.I.E., D.C.L., &c.
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