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name of his god. I command you to grace with gifts my prophet and minister : for, though I regard not riches myself, I have the highest regard for my prophet. The immense gains, which he thus made, he shared with his associates and instruments, whom he employed in carrying on and supporting his imposture. When any persons, whom he dared not attack by open force, declared themselves to be his enemies, he strove to gain them by blandishments : and, as soon as he got them into his power, he secretly destroyed them. Others he kept in a state of awe and dependence, by retaining in his own hands the written questions which they had proposed to his god respecting public affairs : and, as these persons were generally men of the greatest rank and power, their subserviency to him, thus basely acquired, proved of no little utility in the furtherance of his project. Lastly, in the event of a discovery, he secured to himself a retreat, by persuading, on the strength of an oracle, the Roman general Rutilianus to marry his daughter, whom he pretended to have been born to him from the Moon. This alliance, accordingly, saved him from punishment: for the Roman governor of Bithynia and Pontus excused himself on that account from doing justice upon him, when Lucian and several other persons offered their services as his accusers *
* Lucian. Pseudomant. Varior. p. 762—782. cited by Lord Lyttelton.
(4.) Examples of a similar description might. easily be produced to a considerable extent: but I shall content myself with noticing only a single very remarkable instance, in addition to those which have already been brought forward.
If we peruse the Institutes of Menu and the Puranas of the Brahmenical priesthood, we shall distinctly perceive, that that extraordinary fabrie, the old theology of Hindostan, which still subsists even in the present day, bears on the very face of it the evident marks of deliberate politicosacerdotal imposture. The whole community, as was the case likewise in Egypt and Britain and many other ancient nations, is divided into castes or classes ; of which the priesthood occupies the first rank, and the military nobility the second. These two powerful and coöperating classes keep in their own hands the whole authority of the state: and, while the multitude are condemned to a hopeless degradation from which no talents and no virtues and no exertions can elevate them, the superiority of the Brahmens and the Cshatryas is jealously and most disproportionably guarded by the awful sanctions of religi
A twice-born man, who barely assaults a Brahmen with intention to hurt him, shall be whirled about for a century in hell. He, who through ignorance of the law sheds blood from the body of a Brahmen, shall feel excessive pain in his future life: as many particles of dust as the blood shall roll up from the ground, for so many years shall the shedder of that blood be mangled by other animals in his next birth *. Never shall a king slay a Brahmen, though convicted of all possible crimes. No greater crime is knoron on earth than slaying a Brahmen: the king therefore must not even form in his mind an idea of killing a priest 1. A Brahmen, whether Learned or ignorant, is a powerful divinity I. From his high birth alone, a Brahmen is an object of veneration even to deities g. For killing intentionally a virtuous man of the military class, the penance inust be a fourth part of that ordained for killing a priest ; for killing a Vaisya, only an eighth ; for killing a Sudra who had been constant in discharging his duties, a sixteenth part. For striking a Brahmen even with a blade of grass, or tying him by the neck with a cloth, or overpowering him in argument and adding contemptuous words, the offender must soothe him by falling prostrate. The corporeal frame of a king is composed of particles from the eight guardian deities of the world : he, consequently, surpassés all mortals in glory. Like the sun, he burns eyes and hearts; nor can any human creature on earth even gaze on him. A king, even though a child, must not be treated bightly from an idea that he is a mere mortal : no, he is a powerful divinity, who appears in a human shape ** Brahmens are declared to be the basis, and Cshatryas the summit, of the legal system tt. The military class cannot prosper without
* Institutes of Menu. chap. iv. 165–168. * Ibid. chap. viii. g 380, 381. Ibid. chap. ix. 9:317. Ibid. chap. xi. § 85.
| Ibid. chap. xi. À 127. Ibid. chap. xi. $ 206. ** Ibid. chap. v. $ 96. chap. vii. $ 4-7. tt Ibid. chap. xi. 84.
the sacerdotal, nor can the sacerdotal be raised without the military : both classes, by cordial union, are exalted in this world and in the next *.
2. It is easy to read the characteristics of these various modifications of imposture: they constitute the safe internal evidence, by which a system of interested deception may be traced and detected and known. No such characteristics, however, mark the Christian religion as developed and set forth in the written word of the New Covenant. Honesty and disinterestedness shine conspicuously throughout the entire code. We can discover no base pandering to the evil lusts and passions of our degenerate species; no artful contrivance, by which religion may be turned into gain, by which a false prophet may acquire sovereignty and dominion, by which a venal priesthood may heap up to itself riches and honours and privileges. Lust and murder, persecution and rapine, are not allowed and justified, and sanctified under the name of religion. No compromise is made with unholiness: no bartering is visible between profligacy and ritual observances. The rule is absolute, unbending, universal.
Walk in the Spirit ; and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh, Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these : adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like ; of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they, which do such things, shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance : against such there is no law. And they, that are Christ's, have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit *. Be
* Institutes of Menu. chap. ix. & 322.
ye therefore followers of God, as dear children : and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints ; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient : but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words : for, because of these things, cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things, which are done of them in secret t.
Such is the Christian rule of action : and in strict accordance with it is the disinterestedness of the Gospel
Let the canonical books of the New Dispen
Galat. v. 16, 19–25.
+ Ephes. v. 1-12.