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Monday, August 31, 2015

Dogmatik uncovered: Life Insurance (Pt 4); "the form of a bet"

This continues from Part 3 (see also Part 1) of my series exploring anew the original Christliche Dogmatik of Franz Pieper.
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      Along with Usury, old Missouri addressed the issue of Life Insurance.  Again, the footnote that dealt with these matters in Pieper's German textbook was omitted in the English translation.  Because Pieper's brief words on this subject are to-the-point, I will let him give the "short answer" to the question of "Life Insurance" for Christians:
Translation by BackToLuther. Highlighting is mine. Hyperlinks added for reference to sources. Texts in [] brackets are my additions.
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4.  Also concerning the so-called "Life Insurance" there has been and is much discussion.  The fact that some Christians find their way a bit difficult with respect to this question has its basis, according to our observation, in the fact that they parallelize life insurance and fire insurance.  But on closer inspection the two things do not belong in the same class, but are so different that they can not be compared with each other.  Fire insurance is based on the common carrying of a real suffered loss which is estimated according to its monetary value and explicitly determined.  To our knowledge, there is no fire insurance company that would insure a building whose real value e.g. is only a hundred dollars, to the amount of ten thousand dollars.  With the so-called life insurance, however, it is not asked at all for the financial value of the "insured" object.  A person who is financially perhaps worthless, even represents a financial negative value for his family and for human society, may, depending on the height at which the Company assumes insurance, be "insured"  to $2,000 or $5,000 or $10,000 or even higher.  Hence, the transaction takes the form of a bet for the supposed life span of the insured person.  A detailed explanation of the nature of life insurance, that it namely cannot well be regarded as a compensation contract, can be found in  "Sentences [page 639] Concerning Life Insurance", L.u.W. 54, 241 ff. (Author: Dr. F. Bente) [“Sätze über Lebensversicherung”].  This is also noted in the final thesis (37) [translation here], and why it is sometimes difficult for Christians to recognize what is objectionable in life insurance, and that therefore life insurance is not of itself, if other serious sins are not added,  to be the object of actual church discipline.  It is however added with good reason that the right instruction should not be omitted regarding customary life insurance. —

      Pieper uses Prof. Friedrich Bente's essay from 1908 as a basis for his comments and underscores Bente's persuasive reasoning – the "Life Insurance" therefore
"... takes the form of a bet for the supposed life span of the insured person."
That pretty much simply sums up "Life Insurance"... any child can see through this.  Ah, but the insurance industry does not point out the distinction that Pieper (and Bente) point out, but it rather relies on confusion.  If anyone wants to refute me on the facts of "life insurance", then they would have to talk to all the people who have attempted (some successfully) to sell me Life Insurance during my lifetime.
      Now those involved in the insurance industry might like to point out that Prof. Pieper does not make the issue of "customary life insurance" a matter of church discipline, and he only treats of this subject in a footnote, not in the main body of his textbook.  But they would be trapped by this.  For Pieper essentially calls "life insurance" a sin, albeit a less serious sin.  And he says there is "good reason" for maintaining the right instruction against "life insurance".  Does anyone in today's LC-MS maintain the "right instruction" today?.......  no, I didn't think so.
      That's right Thrivent (formerly Aid Association for Lutherans, AAL), no matter how many people try, even those who would have called themselves "Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod", even though essayists for Concordia Historical Institute Quarterly say otherwise, they cannot make "customary life insurance" something God pleasing. –  How hard it is today to get the "right instruction" on "customary life insurance"!
      In the next Part 5, I want to uncover Pieper's comments on "Sunday" and the marriage bans of Leviticus 18. [2016-12-22; Part 5 has been set aside for a possible future date.  I am satisfied for now with the coverage of Usury and Life Insurance.]

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Dogmatik uncovered topics: Usury-Pt 3, Kolb's distortion of Old Missouri on the "Wucherfrage"

This continues from Part 2 (see also Part 1) of my series exploring anew the original Christliche Dogmatik of Franz Pieper.
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      I asked the question in Part 1 "What good is this Index (of Eckhardt) in the German language for the English-speaking world when one can obtain the more extended Index in the English Volume 4?"
 Answer: Not a lot ... except as I was preparing the text of Eckhardt's Index, by accident I ran across the subject of "Wucher" or Usury.  This surprised me as I had searched in vain for this subject in the English translations of Christian Dogmatics... "Usury" was not to be found there.  It also surprised me because I still consider the English translation to be quite reliable in its rendering of Pieper's original German text. – I have wondered at times why Pieper did not cover certain controversial issues in his Christliche Dogmatik series, issues such as Usury and Life Insurance where old Missouri had published essays.

      Especially the matter of Usury was of interest for me after reading an article by Dr. Robert Kolb in the Concordia Historical Institute Quarterly (CHIQ), Winter 1975, pgs 127-139.  The article was entitled “‘No Christian Would Dare Practice Usury’: A Walther Letter on Charging Interest”.  In Kolb's essay, after giving much information on old Missouri's writings on Usury, he stated the following:
In the early twentieth century the synod’s theologians tacitly rejected the condemnation of usury voiced by its early leadership, and the Synodical stance was accommodated to the American way of doing business. – Robert Kolb (emphasis mine)
In the "early twentieth century" the synod theologian was the President of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis – Prof. Franz Pieper.  Had Pieper "rejected the condemnation of usury voiced by its early leadership"?  Hmmm... it seems Dr. Kolb (then the executive director of the Center for Reformation Research, St. Louis) made quite a statement here... was it true?... did Pieper really reject Walther (and Luther) on Usury? ... Hmmmm...  something did not seem quite right in Kolb's account in CHIQ.
Pieper's Dogmatik, Bande 1, pgs 637-639
(omitted portion from English version)
      Now back to the topics I uncovered in the German version that were omitted in the English translation.  The "Wucher" entry pointed to Volume 1, page 637 which begins the footnote # 1570, a very long footnote spanning 3 pages (to pg 639)...   Here is a picture of the omitted German text ============>>>>>>>
Wow!  It is omitted from Volume 1, page 533 of the English version at the very end of the section #3 – "How the Divine Law is Made Known to Man".  It was quite surprising to me that this very large footnote would be entirely omitted... and it covered several other subjects besides "Usury" that were not mentioned in the English edition. Later posts will present these other uncovered topics...
      Old Missouri's position on these matters are largely scoffed at today.  But old Missouri was about following God's Word wherever it led, not about being popular.   But I wonder that the original translators, Dr. Theodore Engelder, Prof. Walter Albrecht, and Dr. J. T. Mueller somehow felt these controversial topics could safely be dispensed with.  Indeed Walther himself called these topics "secondary non-fundamental" articles, indicating the church did not "stand or fall" on them.  But just as importantly, neither were they indifferent matters which his opponents considered them to be, especially by the Iowa Synod,
      I want to present Franz Pieper's definitive "early twentieth century" comment regarding Usury:

Translation by BackToLuther. Highlighting is mine. Hyperlinks added for reference to sources. Texts in [] brackets are my additions.
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3. Over Usury see the quotations with Baier-Walther III, 358-366.  Furthermore: Theses on usury. With accompanying notes from Luther and other theologians writings. St. L. 1876 (Reprinted from L. u. W. 1866 pgs. 325 ff.). Report of the General Synod in 1869. Chemnitz deals very extensively with Usury in in his Loci, Ed. Wittenberg in 1623, II, 169 sqq, c. VI:.. De Usura [I believe this was omitted in J.A.O. Preus translation - section on "Poverty"]. This appropriate work of Chemnitz is very suitable, a lucid representation, and is communicated in a German translation in L.u W. 10, 171 ff. under the heading: "Martin Chemnitz on Usury".  Also in the Lutheran Church of America detailed proceedings have been carried out over the "usury question" [Wucherfrage]. The understanding was made somewhat difficult by the complicated terminology sometimes used in different senses.  One can read about this e.g. RE.2 XVII, 341 ff. under the title: "Usury, ecclesiastical laws regarding." [Wucher, kirchliche Gesetze darüber]  We have formed the following opinion on the progress of the proceedings within the Lutheran Church in America: That the lending without "rent" or "interest" was to be done for the poor or to those who are in need, was admitted on all sides. A difference emerged in the question of how it is to be held in the lending to the non-poor for the purpose of doing business.  This difference has different answers based solely on a single question. This question can be formulated by Luther’s procedure in the following way: Did the "hundreds" naturally "increase 5 [percent]" or not?  With the answer “No” to this question, Luther judges accordingly, that the a priori determination is to be that "rent" or "interest" is rejected; one must wait and see if and how much "luck" (Luther's expression) have the hundred had during the year.  With the answer “Yes” to this question – that the “hundred” have naturally increased five [percent] – consider it right that a priori five per cent or any particular amount may be required. This position is taken within the Lutheran Church in America, but at the same time explains in most cases that it is demanded by love that the stipulated "rent" or "interest" can not be claimed if the hundred has not actually brought the "five [percent]".  They reveal their fundamental principle of a natural increase of five [percent] and position themselves in practice on Luther’s fundamental principle that the five [percent] does not naturally attach to the hundred. Why Luther's proposition was not approved by this side from the outset is still a logical and psychological mystery with us to this day.  That Luther's statement is correct, each one can plainly be convinced of in this way, that he leaves a hundred for a year and checks on it after a year whether it has increased.  It is also important to note that we did not require the Scriptures for the correct judgement of the usury question in the sense indicated, but only an average use of natural reason that man has remaining, even after the Fall, thank God. —
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I took great care in translating this section of Pieper because I have had correspondence with some who have grappled with the question of Usury today, as even I do.  And Franz Pieper gives the best "short answer" to be found for the Lutheran Church.  Who cannot find in this subject reason to flee to the Saviour for forgiveness of his sins?
      Now, where does this leave me with the comment by Dr. Robert Kolb above?  Kolb said: "In the early twentieth century the synod’s theologians tacitly rejected the condemnation of usury voiced by its early leadership..."  But this isn't true.  Why did Prof. Dr. Robert Kolb make this blatantly false statement?  Perhaps others led him to this conclusion, others like Carl S. Meyer, or someone else at Concordia Historical Institute.  But that is no reason to follow it.  This was not the first time I have found essays in the Concordia Historical Institute Quarterly that misrepresented old Missouri.  In fact, in my early days of scouring everything I could find about and from "old Missouri", I gradually came to the conclusion that this journal was notorious for distorting the spiritual heritage of its "early leadership" and its theologians from the "early twentieth century".  Indeed, I quit reading from CHIQ many years ago because I wanted the true spiritual message, not just facts and earthly history.—  Because of false statements like these, it is well to ignore the writings of Prof. Dr. Robert Kolb if one wants to get the true spiritual, Christian counsel.  Rather one should read from Franz Pieper.  Oh, but Franz Pieper even mildly chastises his own Missouri when he says:
Why Luther's proposition was not approved by this side from the outset is still a logical and psychological mystery with us to this day. – Franz Pieper
... "a logical and psychological mystery"?  Pieper uses two terms in his chastisement: (1)   "logical", or natural human reason, and "psychological", where Pieper's meaning is closer to a spiritual understanding, not the worldly understanding of that term.

Indeed: Luther • Chemnitz • Walther, and now Franz Pieper are the true teachers of the Biblical teaching on Usury... not today's LC-MS.

In the next Part 4, I uncover Pieper's comments on "Life Insurance"... are you listening Thrivent?

Monday, August 24, 2015

Dogmatik Index- Eckhardt’s Foreword - Part 2 (delightful pearls and diamonds)

      This continues from Part 1 regarding Franz Pieper's original German textbook series Christliche Dogmatik and its Index. — Who was Ernst Eckhardt?  He gives us a picture of this work of his in his Foreword.  The dear Eckhardt recognized the greatness of Pieper's work and gives a wonderful account of this.  I have translated it and present it in the following.  Highlightling is mine.
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(by Ernst Eckhardt)
If one wants to go through a commercial building, you usually get a guide. If you want to visit a larger city to some extent, you achieve your goal faster when you have a guide. This book is intended to be a guide, a guide through Dr. F. Pieper’s Christliche Dogmatik.
In our Synod, a large mass books, treatises and writings have been printed since its beginning, but only a few greater works – Dr. Pieper’s Christliche Dogmatik is one most outstanding among them. It is a mature fruit of the life work of the dogmatist of the Missouri Synod.  One  notices on every page of the book how diligently and carefully the author has worked through and tested the rich material, how he controls from all sides the whole dogmatic substance, how carefully he tries to bring the teaching of Scripture to a clear and also intimately warm representation – a gift the author has in particular.  Especially at a time in which a change of language is taking place in our Synod, Dr. Pieper has once again clearly testified to the German identity of the world what the Missouri Synod believes, teaches, and confesses.  It will probably be the last major work of its kind in the German language.  
The author of this triple index has not "studied" Dr. Pieper’s Christliche Dogmatik. This includes at least a full year. There is a difference between studying and indexing.  Whoever makes the object of God's nature a special study, observes every field, every house, every striking tree, every excellent flower; one who merely indexes, flies over it in an airship.  When he puts an index to a dogmatic theology, he is content to find out that on a certain page this or that teaching point has been treated, and can skip scriptural proof, quotes, parables, beautiful pictures etc.  In spite of this brief overview, yet we found on all pages delightful pearls and diamonds which we have tried to express in the Index.  We wondered at the great extent to which the Scripture was cited everywhere as evidence for all teachings, and therefore felt the need to attach a directory of all treated Scripture passages.  We have been surprised at the knowledge of literature by the author of this Dogmatik who is well-informed in all possible writings impacting in this field of the Church Fathers, dogmatists, exegetes and heretics as no one else has in the Synod, so that it became necessary to make a special index on quotations or a name index.  If a pastor wants to know when preparing a sermon or a conference work what Dr. Pieper wrote in his Dogmatics over a certain point of doctrine, or if he is looking for a special quote or an interpretation of a Bible passage to him this book will be for him a roadmap which leads him quickly to the goal.
We cannot yet close without a few words pointing to the difficulty that confronted us in drawing up of such an index, the difficulty of specifying the content of a quotation in as few words as possible and yet to bring expression of the matter clearly and dogmatically correct.  This often requires an acquaintance with the writings of the ancients, with their whole teaching presentation, with the disputes, etc., which we unfortunately do not have.   Perhaps now and then just the words which would be necessary to better understand the matter were omitted.  We feel and sense our weakness and clumsiness. How dissatisfactory, how small and low our work appears to us!  However, we console ourselves with the fact that probably everywhere enough has been given to find a quotation in the Dogmatik, and that our work, in spite of its imperfections, still provides a not insignificant service to the pastors.         E. Eckhardt.
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Again, who was Ernst Eckhardt?  He was better known for his greater work, his "Reallexicon" which was a massive index (8 volumes, Google Books, HathiTrust) of almost all of old Missouri writings and teachings, also for the Synodical Conference.  I still wonder why Concordia Publishing was not the publisher of Eckhardt's greater work (Success Printing, St. Louis??).  Hmmm... Eckhardt's lament of
"How dissatisfactory, how small and low our work appears to us!"
reminds me of the wonderful remark of Pastor Mark Zarling of the Wisconsin Synod who said the following to preface his essay "Stand in Awe of Justification":
"It is not without some trepidation that this paper is presented. I certainly must confess, 'Who is sufficient for these things?"
      Somewhere the later Prof. Theodore Graebner scoffed at Eckhardt's indexing work, but we see now that "Graebner's scorn" becomes Eckhardt's praise.  How so?  Because Eckhardt "found on all pages delightful pearls and diamonds", spiritual gems.  —  In a private response to my blog about 3 years ago, an ELCA pastor called me the derogatory term "Franzie baby"!  May I continue to earn that term from all of "Lutheran" pastors of the ELCA today... just as Ernst Eckhardt earned the scorn of Theodore Graebner because Eckhardt was quite sufficient for his wonderful "roadmap" to old Missouri, and to "the life work of the dogmatist of the Missouri Synod"... Franz Pieper! —
      Now what did I find in Eckhardt's Index of Pieper that was omitted in the English version published in 1957?  See the next Part 3...

Pieper's Christliche Dogmatik-Index with text; Part 1

      I have been spending many days (actually weeks) working to provide not only scanned copies of old Missouri essays and published writings, but now also the actual text files extracted by OCR.  As a result, I have added dozens of links to text document files (in German) to my Convention Essays reference blog post.
      Another goal of mine is to provide the complete text to all 3 of Pieper's original German Christliche Dogmatik volumes.  Recently I finished extracting the text of the easiest volume – "Volume 4", the Index (or "Register") by Ernst Eckhardt.  That is now available in a link in my original posting offering links to scanned copies of all volumes.  It is also available via this link.  It is amazing to me that when one opens this Google Doc file in the Chrome Browser, it offers an immediate English translation that takes about 20 seconds for the whole book (I timed it.) —  I am also providing a text box in this post of this same document for reference.  (Highlighted text is mine):

Who was Ernst Eckhardt?  And what good is his Index in the German language for the English-speaking world when one can obtain the more extended Index in the English Volume 4?  I will cover these topics in this continuing series – Part 2 is next...

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Buddhism contrasted with Christianity-Pt 3 (Monier-Williams over William J. Danker... and David Scaer)

      This concludes from Part 2 adding information and comments on the writing of Monier Monier-Williams on Buddhism vs. Christianity.
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      Anyone who would claim that Monier-Williams was not conversant with the religion of Buddhism or that Buddhism may have changed or have variants since his day would thereby indicate a presumption.  Monier-Williams had extensive first-hand knowledge among the people of India. —  Many today would look to Mahatma Gandhi and his "Gandhism" to understand the Eastern religions.  —
      In my initial blog post on "Pieper's Error", I reported that I was unable to find out from Concordia Publishing House how they discovered "Pieper's Error" to correct it from Max Mueller to Monier-Williams.  Since that time, further research is conclusive that the discovery was made from a 1977 article by Prof. William J. Danker after he (and his more famous brother Frederick W. Danker) had been removed from Concordia Seminary for false teaching.  (Note to CPH editors: you can now add notes to your file for anyone who asks you, that it was Danker's essay that was the impetus to correct "Pieper's error" in Christian Dogmatics, Volume 1, page 15)
      An LC-MS trained liberal "Lutheran" teacher, Prof. William J. Danker († 2001), attempted (in his essay pg 238) to refute Monier-Williams and claimed that a "Pure Land Buddhism" had a "sweeping emphasis on salvation by grace through faith in Amida Buddha".  He even claimed that "ideas of salvation by grace are not unknown in Hinduism" (which Prof. David Scaer of Fort Wayne repeats).  Danker of course gives his interpretation from an erring perspective as he discards Holy Scripture and muddles the teaching on pure gracegrace alone, and Justification.  But most importantly, all Christians can judge Prof. William J. Danker to be utterly foolish in these claims for they know beforehand (a priori) that he was deceived.  How so? Because Holy Scripture says so:
1 Cor. 2:9 – Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him
Danker would have shrugged off this verse just like Hermann Sasse shrugged off Pieper's use of John 10:35 -- "The Scripture cannot be broken."  But dear reader, you may not shrug off Scripture... if you covet your soul's salvation. — Indeed, I claim Danker's refutations as a proof of the trustworthiness of Monier-Williams' account.  Danker may have had experiences in the East (especially Japan), but whatever good was done in his mission work in the East was not from his errors and weaknesses but from whatever truth remained from his schooling at Concordia Seminary.  Unfortunately his "Japan Lutheran Church" is plagued with his unionistic (at times false) teaching. Prof. Scaer calls Danker's writing "a fascinating article" (search "a fascinating article" here), certainly because he follows Danker's false teaching.  And both Danker and Scaer would say they were teachers of the Christian faith. (Note to Japan Lutheran Church: look to Franz Pieper's teaching to find the path to the true Lutheran teaching, the pure teaching of Grace.)  —
     I cringed in places where it seemed that Monier-Williams allowed too much credence to Buddhism and other Eastern religions in this essay.  But these misgivings melted away as Monier-Williams throws all ideas of man-made religions to the ground in relation to the Truth.  And although Pieper erroneously identified his quote to be that of Max Müller, yet Pieper's confirmation of this message is one of the greatest Christian compliments ever pronounced on an Englishman!  The exception to this would be for those Lutherans in England who desperately worked to get the true religion to that country during the Reformation century.
    May the name of Monier-Williams be remembered through Franz Pieper's quote of him and by his wonderful defense of the only true religion.
  • Monier-Williams: "...throughout all the heathen religions there is the one refrain through all: salvation by works. They all say that salvation must be purchased, must be bought with a price, and that the sole price, the sole purchase-money, must be our works and deservings. Our own Holy Bible, our sacred Book of the East, is from beginning to end a protest against this doctrine."
  • Galations 2:16 – Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, ... for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
  • Ephesian 2:8-9 – For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Buddhism contrasted with Christianity-Part 2 of 3 (Monier-Williams)

This continues from Part 1 the chapter from a book by Monier-Williams.  Please note that Part 1 was updated significantly since first published.  It has been republished August 12, 5:30 pm EST.
This text may be followed in Google Books here.
Buddhism contrasted with Christianity.
by Sir Monier Monier-Williams
(Continues and concludes from Part 1)
Still, I seem to hear some admirers of Buddhism...
say: We admit the force of these contrasts, but surely you will allow that in the moral law of Buddha we find precepts identically the same as those of Christianity—precepts which tell a man not to love the world, not to love money, not to hate his enemies, not to do unrighteous acts, not to commit impurities, to overcome evil by good, and to do to others as we would be done by?
Well, I admit all this. Nay, I admit even more than this; for many Buddhist precepts command total abstinence in cases where Christianity demands only temperance and moderation. The great contrast, as I have already explained, between the moral precepts of Buddhism and Christianity, is not so much in the letter of the precepts, as in the power brought to bear in their application.
Buddhism, I repeat, says: Act righteously through your own efforts, and for the final getting rid of all suffering, of all individuality, of all life in yourselves. Christianity says: Be righteous through a power implanted in you from above, through the power of a life-giving principle, freely given to you, and always abiding in you. The Buddha said to his followers: ‘Take nothing from me, trust to yourselves alone.’ Christ said: ‘Take all from Me; trust not to yourselves. I give unto you eternal life, I give unto you the bread of heaven, I give unto you living water.’ Not that these priceless gifts involve any passive condition of inaction. On the contrary, they stir the soul of the recipient with a living energy. They stimulate him to noble deeds, and self-sacrificing efforts. They compel him to act as
the worthy, grateful, and appreciative possessor of so inestimable a treasure.
Still, I seem to hear some one say: We acknowledge this; we admit the truth of what you have stated; nevertheless, for all that, you must allow that Buddhism conferred a great benefit on India by encouraging freedom of thought and by setting at liberty its teeming population, before entangled in the meshes of ceremonial observances and Brahmanical priestcraft.
Yes, I grant this; nay, I grant even more than this.  I admit that Buddhism conferred many other benefits on the millions inhabiting the most populous part of Asia. It introduced education and culture; it encouraged literature and art; it promoted physical, moral, and intellectual progress up to a certain point; it proclaimed peace, good will, and brotherhood among men; it deprecated war between nation and nation, it avowed sympathy with social liberty and freedom; it gave back much independence to women; it preached purity in thought, word, and deed (though only for the accumulation of merit); it taught self-denial without self- torture; it inculcated generosity, charity, tolerance, love, self-sacrifice, and benevolence, even towards the inferior animals; it advocated respect for life and compassion towards all creatures; it forbade avarice and the hoarding of money; and from its declaration that a man’s future depended on his present acts and condition, it did good service for a time in preventing stagnation, stimulating exertion, promoting good works of all kinds, and elevating the character of humanity
Then again, when it spread to outlying countries it
assumed the character of a religion; it taught the existence of unseen worlds; it permitted the offering of prayers to Maitreya and other supposed personal saviours; it inculcated faith and trust in these celestial beings, which operated as good motives in the hearts of many, while the hope of being born in higher conditions of life, and the desire to acquire merit by reverential acts, led to the development of devotional services, which had much in common with those performed in Christian countries. Nay, it must even be admitted that many Buddhists in the present day are deeply imbued with religious feelings, and in no part of the world are the outward manifestations of religion—such as temples and sacred objects of all kinds—so conspicuous as in modem Buddhist countries.
But if, after making all these concessions, I am told that, on my own showing, Buddhism was a kind of introduction to Christianity, or that Christianity is a kind of development of Buddhism, I must ask you to bear with me a little longer, while I point out certain other contrasts, which ought to make it clear to every reasonable man, how vast, how profound, how impassable is the gulf separating the true religion from the false philosophy, and from the later religious systems developed out of it.
And first, observe that Buddhism has never claimed to be an exclusive system. It has never aimed at taking the place of other religions. On the contrary it tolerates all, and a Buddhist considers that he may be at the same time a Hindu, a Confucianist, a Taoist, a Shintoist, and even, strange to say, a Christian.
A Christian, on the other hand, holds as a cardinal doctrine of his religion, that there is only one Name under heaven given among men, whereby any human being can be saved. To be at the same time a believer in Christ and a believer in Buddha implies an utter contradiction in terms.
Then it need scarcely be repeated here that Christ is before all things a majestic example of a great historic personality. Any really historical, matter- of-fact account of the life of Buddha, like that of the life of Christ by the four Evangelists, may be looked for in vain through all the Buddhist scriptures. The Buddha’s biography is mixed up with such monstrous legends, absurd figments, and extravagant fables, that to attempt the sifting out of any really historical element worthy of being compared with the pregnant simplicity—the dignified brevity of the biography of Christ, would be an idle task.
Still we may note two or three obvious points of comparison and contrast.
And perhaps the most important is, that Christ constantly insisted on the fact that He was God-sent, whereas the Buddha always described himself as self sent. How indeed could the Buddha have said ‘the great I AM hath sent me unto you1’ when he had no belief in the eternal existence of any Ego at all? Not even in the reality of his own individuality.
All that he affirmed of himself was that he came into the world to be a teacher of perfect wisdom, by
1 Exodus 3:14.
a force derived from his own acts. By that force alone he had passed through innumerable bodies of gods, demi-gods, demons, men, and animals, until he reached one out of numerous heavens, and thence by his own will descended upon earth and entered the side of his mother in the form of a white elephant (see pp. 23, 477). Let those who speak of his 'virgin-mother’ bear this in mind.
Christ, on the other hand, made known to his disciples, that He was with His Father from everlasting, ‘Before Abraham was, I am.’ Then in the fulness of time, He was sent into the world by His Father, and was born of a pure virgin, through the power of the Holy Spirit, in the likeness and fashion of men.
Next let us note a vast contrast in the fact that Christ was sent from heaven to be born on earth in a poor and humble station, to he reared in a cottage, to be trained to toilsome labour as a working-man; whereas the Buddha came down to be born on earth in a rich and princely family; to be brought up amid luxurious surroundings, and finally to go forth as a mendicant-monk, depending upon others for his daily food and doing nothing for his own support.
Then, again, Christ as He grew up showed no signs of earthly majesty in his external form, whereas the Buddha is described as marked with certain mystic symbols of universal monarchy on his feet and on his hands, and taller and more stately in frame and figure than ordinary human beings (see pp. 476, 501).
Then, when each entered on his ministry as a teacher, Christ was despised and rejected by kings and princes.
and followed by poor and ignorant fishermen, by common people, publicans, and sinners; Buddha was honoured by kings and princes, and followed by rich men and learned disciples.
Then Christ had all the treasures of knowledge hidden in Himself, and made known to His disciples that He was Himself the Way, and the Truth, — Himself their Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification, and Redemption. Buddha declared that all enlightenment and wisdom were to be attained by his disciples, not through him, but through themselves and their own intuitions; and that, too, only after long and painful discipline in countless successive bodily existences.
Then in regard to the miracles which both the Bible and the Tripitaka describe as attestations of the truth of the teaching of each, contrast the simple and dignified statement that ‘the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached unto them 1,' with the following description of the Buddha’s miracles in the Mahā-vagga (1. 20, 24)2: ‘At the command of the Blessed One the five hundred pieces of fire-wood could not be split and were split, the fires could not be lit up and were lit up, could not be extinguished and were extinguished. Besides he  created five hundred vessels with fire. Thus the number of these miracles amounts to three thousand five hundred.’
Then, although each made use of missionary agency,
1 St. Matthew 11:5.      2 Sacred Books of the East, xiii, 133.
the one sent forth his high-born learned monks as missionaries to the world at the commencement of his own career, giving them no divine commission; the other waited till the close of His own ministry, and then said to His low-born, unlearned disciples, ‘As My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you' (St. John 20:21).
Then, when we come to compare the death of each, the contrast reaches its climax; for Christ was put to death violently by wicked men, and died in agony an atoning death, suffering for the sins of the world at the age of thirty-three, leaving behind in Jerusalem about one hundred and twenty disciples after a short ministry of three years. Whereas the Buddha died peacefully among his friends, suffering from an attack of indigestion at the age of eighty, leaving behind many thousands of disciples after forty-five years of teaching and preaching.
And what happened after the death of each? Christ, the Holy One, saw no corruption, but rose again in His present glorified body, and is alive for evermore— nay, has life in Himself ever flowing in life-giving streams towards His people. The Buddha is dead and gone for ever; his body, according to the testimony of his own disciples, was burnt more than 400 years before the Advent of Christ, and its ashes were distributed everywhere as relics.
Even according to the Buddha’s own declaration, he now lives only in the doctrine which he left behind him for the guidance of his followers.
And here again, in regard to the doctrine left behind by each, a vast distinction is to be noted. For the
doctrine delivered by Christ to His disciples is to spread by degrees everywhere until it prevails eternally. Whereas the doctrine left by Buddha, though it advanced rapidly by leaps and bounds, is, according to his own admission, to fade away by degrees, till at the end of 5000 years it has disappeared altogether from the earth, and another Buddha must descend to restore it. (Compare Postscript at end of Preface, p. xiv. )
Then that other Buddha must be followed by countless succeeding Buddhas in succeeding ages, whereas there is only one Christ, who can have no successor, for He is alive for ever and for ever present with His people: ‘Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.' [Matt. 28:20]
Then observe that, although the Buddha’s doctrine was ultimately written down by his disciples in certain collections of books, in the same manner as the doctrine of Christ, a fundamental difference of character— nay, a vast and impassable gulf of difference— separates the Sacred Books of each, the Bible of the Christian and the Bible of the Buddhist.
The characteristic of the Christian’s Bible is that it claims to be a supernatural revelation, yet it attaches no mystical talismanic virtue to the mere sound of its words. On the other hand, the characteristic of the Buddhist Bible is that it utterly repudiates all claim to be a supernatural revelation; yet the very sound of its words is believed to possess a meritorious efficacy capable of elevating any one who hears it to heavenly abodes in future existences. In illustration I may advert to a legend current in Ceylon, that once
on a time 500 bats lived in a cave where two monks daily recited the Buddha’s Law. These bats gained such merit by simply hearing the sound of the words, that, when they died, they were all re-born as men, and ultimately as gods.
Then as to the words themselves, contrast the severely simple and dignified style of the Bible narrative, its brevity, perspicuity, vigour, and sublimity, its trueness to nature and inimitable pathos, with the feeble utterances, the tedious diffuseness, and I might almost say ‘the inane twaddle’ and childish repetitions of the greater portion of the Tripitaka (see note 2, p. 541).
But again, I am sure to hear the admirers of Buddhism say: Is it not the case that the doctrine of Buddha, like the doctrine of Christ, has self-sacrifice as its key-note? Well, be it so. I admit that the Buddha taught a kind of self-sacrifice. I admit that he related of himself that, on a particular occasion in one of his previous births1, he plucked out his own eyes, and, that on another, he cut off his own head as a sacrifice for the good of others; and that again, on a third occasion, he cut his own body to pieces to redeem a dove from a hawk2. Yet note the vast distinction between the self-sacrifice taught by the two systems. Christianity demands the suppression of selfishness; Buddhism demands the suppression of self, with the one object of extinguishing all consciousness of self. In
1 It is necessary to point out that these acts of self-sacrifice took place in former states of existence, for when a man becomes a Buddha he has no need to gain merit by self-sacrifice.

the one, the true self is elevated and intensified. In the other, the true self is annihilated by the practice of a false form: of non-selfishness, which has for its real object, not the good of others, but the annihilation of the Ego, the utter extinction of the illusion of personal individuality.
Furthermore, observe the following contrasts in the doctrines which each bequeathed to his followers: —
According to Christianity: —Fight and overcome the world.
According to Buddhism: —Shun the world, and withdraw from it.
According to Christianity: —Expect a new earth when the present earth is destroyed; a world renewed and perfected; a purified world in which righteousness is to dwell for ever.
According to Buddhism: —Expect a never-ending succession of evil worlds for ever coming into existence, developing, decaying, perishing, and reviving, and all equally full of everlasting misery, disappointment, illusion, change, and transmutation.
According to Christianity, bodily existence is subject to only one transformation.
According to Buddhism, bodily existence is continued in six conditions, through countless bodies of men, animals, demons, ghosts, and dwellers in various hells and heavens; and that, too, without any progressive development, hut in a constant jumble of metamorphoses and transmutations (see p. 122).
Christianity teaches that a life in heaven can never be followed by a fall to a lower state.
Buddhism teaches that a life in a higher heaven may be succeeded by a life in a lower heaven, or even by a life on earth or in one of the hells.
According to Christianity, the body of man may be the abode of the Holy Spirit of God.
According to Buddhism, the body whether of men or of higher beings can never be the abode of anything but evil.
According to Christianity: —Present your bodies as living sacrifices, holy, acceptable to God, and expect a change to glorified bodies hereafter.
According to Buddhism: —Look to final deliverance from all bodily life, present and to come, as the greatest of all blessings, highest of all boons, and loftiest of all aims.
According to Christianity, a man’s body can never be changed into the body of a beast, or bird, or insect, or loathsome vermin.
According to Buddhism, a man, and even a god, may become an animal of any kind, and even the most loathsome vermin may again become a man or a god.
According to Christianity: —Stray not from God’s ways; offend not against His holy laws.
According to Buddhism: —Stray not from the eightfold path of the perfect man, and offend not against yourself and the law of the perfect man.
According to Christianity: —Work the works of God while it is day.
According to Buddhism: —Beware of action, as causing re-birth, and aim at inaction, indifference, and apathy, as the highest of all states.
Then note other contrasts.
According to the Christian Bible: —Regulate and sanctify the heart, desires, and affections.
According to the Buddhist: —Suppress and destroy them utterly, if you wish for true sanctification.
Christianity teaches that in the highest form of life, love is intensified.
Buddhism teaches that in the highest state of existence, all love is extinguished.
According to Christianity: —Go and earn your own bread, support yourself and your family. Marriage, it says, is honourable and undefiled, and married life is a field on which holiness may grow and be developed. Nay, more—Christ Himself honoured a wedding with His presence, and took up little children in His arms and blessed them.
Buddhism, on the other hand, says: —Avoid married life; shun it as if it were ‘a burning pit of live coals’ (p. 88); or, having entered on it, abandon wife, children, and home, and go about as celibate monks, engaging in nothing but in meditation and recitation of the Buddha’s Law—that is to say—if you aim at the highest degree of sanctification.
And then comes the important contrast that in the one system we have a teaching gratifying to the pride of man, and flattering to his intellect; while in the other we have a teaching humbling to his pride, and distasteful to his intellect. For Christianity tells us that we must become as little children, and that when we have done all that we can, we are still unprofitable servants. Whereas Buddhism teaches that
every man is saved by bis own works and by his own merits only.
Fitly, indeed, do the rags worn by the monks of true Buddhism symbolize the miserable patchwork of its own self-righteousness.
Not that Christianity ignores the necessity for good works; on the contrary, no other system insists on a lofty morality so strongly; but never as the meritorious instrument of salvation1—only as a thank-offering, only as the outcome and evidence of faith.
Lastly, we must advert again to the most momentous —the most essential of all the distinctions which separate Christianity from Buddhism. Christianity regards personal life as the most sacred of all possessions. Life, it seems to say, is no dream, no illusion.
‘Life is real, life is earnest.’ Life is the most precious of all God’s gifts. Nay, it affirms of God Himself that He is the highest Example of intense Life—of intense personality, the great ‘I AM that I AM,’ and teaches us that we are to thirst for a continuance of personal life as a gift for Him; nay, more, that we are to thirst for the living God Himself and for conformity
1 A Buddhist writer in a Buddhist magazine, published in Ceylon, has lately taken me to task for asserting in a recent speech that Christianity denies the all-sufficiency of good works as an instrument of salvation. It is easy to quote passages, such as those in the epistle of St. James, in support of his one-sided view of this question, but I need scarcely say that the writer has much to learn as to the true character of our Bible, in which no text has full force without its context, and no part can be taken to establish a doctrine without a comparison with other parts, and without the balancing of apparent contradictions in both Old and New Testaments.
to His likeness; while Buddhism sets forth as the highest of all aims the utter extinction of the illusion of personal identity— the utter annihilation of the Ego —of all existence in any form whatever, and proclaims as the only true creed the ultimate resolution of everything into nothing, of every entity into pure nonentity.
What shall I do to inherit eternal life?—says the Christian. What shall I do to inherit eternal extinction of life?—says the Buddhist.
It seems a mere absurdity to have to ask in concluding these Lectures: —Whom shall we choose as our Guide, our Hope, our Salvation, ‘the Light of Asia,’ or ‘the Light of the World?’ the Buddha or the Christ? It seems a mere mockery to put this final question to rational and thoughtful men in the nineteenth century: Which Book shall we clasp to our hearts in our last hour—the Book that tells us of the dead, the extinct, the death-giving Buddha, or the Book that reveals to us the living, the eternal, the life-giving Christ?
Since the printing of my concluding Lecture, it has occurred to me that I ought to make a few remarks in regard to a very prevalent error—the error that Buddhism still numbers more adherents than any other religion of the world. For these remarks the reader is referred to the Postscript at the end of the Preface (p. xiv).
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This chapter has stirred my faith so much that I am stretching this series out to Part 3 with some additional information and comments.