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The chief and distinguishing doctrines of Scripture may be considered the four following; viz. The Trinity in Unity; the Incarnation of the Deity; a Vicarious Atonement for Sin; and the influence of the Divine Spirit on the mind of man. Now, if we should be able to prove, that all these are represented in the systems of the East, will any man venture to affirm that it happens by chance ?
1. The doctrine of the TRINITY. The Hindoos believe in one God, Brahma; and yet they represent him as subsisting in three persons : and they worship one or other of these persons in every part of India.* And what proves distinctly that they hold this doctrine is, that their most ancient representations of the Deity is formed of one bod, and three faces. The most remarkable of tese is that at the caves of Elephanta, in an island near Bombay. The author visited it in the year 1808 ; nor has he seen any work of art in the East, which he contemplated with greater wonder : whether considered with respect to its colossal size, its great antiquity,
* Le commun des Indiens n'adore qu'une seule de ces trois divinitès : mais quelques Savans addressent encore leurs prieres
aux trois réunis. Il y a même des Temples entierement " consacrés à cette espéce de Trinitè ;" (such as Perpenad in Travancore) Sonnerat, Vol. i. 151.
the beauty of the sculpture, or the excellence of the preservation. From causes which cannot now be known, the Hindoos have long ceased to worship at this Temple. Each of the faces of the Triad is about five feet in length. . The whole of the statue, and the spacious Temple which contains it, is cut out of the solid rock of the mountain. The Hindoos assign to these works an immense antiquity, and attribute the workmanship to the Gods. The Temple of Elephanta is certainly one of the wonders of the world, and is, perhaps, a grander effort of the ingenuity of man, than the Pyramids of Egypt.*
* Extract of a letter from the Author to W. T. Money, Esq. Bombay.
“ Honourable Company's Ship Charlton,
off Goa, Feb. 26, 1808.
« DEAR SIR, " When I visited the Elephanta last week, and compared it with the accounts of former travellers, I perceived that the excavated Temple and figures were in a state of progressive dila. pidation ; and it seems to me probable, that when a few more pillars shall have fallen in, the whole excavation will be overwhelmed in the ruin of the super-incumbent mountain. If I may offer an opinion on the means of preservation which are practicable, I would suggest,
Whence then have the Hindoos derived the idea of a TRIUNE God? It should seem as if
" That the dilapidated pillars be rebuilt entire of hewn stones in three blocks of granite of the mountain, after the original model ; the decayed bases of the columns, still standing, to be strongly cased with the same stone ; and the broken limbs of the figures to be restored, after the authority of the drawings and descriptions of the first travellers. The floor to be cleared of rubbish, which, in some places, is two feet deep, that the continuity of the rock with the bases of the columns, may appear.
« The modern wall inclosing the front, to be taken down, to throw more light on the body of the place, and a slight railing substituted at a greater distance.
Steps to be cut in the rock for easy descent to the cold well of sweet water. The jungle in front of the cave, and about its edges, to be cleared, and the aperture of the mountain, on each side, enlarged, to give more air and light.
« The old ELBPHANT himself on the side of the hill, to be renewed, and a young elephant placed on his back, agreeably to the first drawings. These drawings I can send you from Europe if you cannot procure them in India.
“ And, lastly, an appropriate building to be erected on the sea-side, for the accommodation of visitors. Here may be deposited, for the immediate reference of travellers, those volumes which contain the notices and opinions of the learned concerning Elephanta. This building might be occupied by the military guard, which the Bombay government has recently stationed on the island to preserve the cavern from further injury.
“ Other improvements will suggest themselves to you on the spot. To preserve to future ages this grand monument of ancient sculpture, (the worship of which has been long relin
they had heard of the ELOHIM of revelation in the first chapter of Genesis, “Let US make man.
2. The doctrine of the INCARNATION of the Deity. The Hindoos believe that one of the persons in their Trinity (and that too the second person) was “ manifested in the flesh.” Hence their fables of the Avatars, or Incarnations of Vishnoo. And this doctrine is found over almost the whole of Asia. Whence then originated this idea “ that God should become man,
quished) is, I think, a commendable undertaking. Every Christian traveller can assign a reason for wishing that an emblem of a Trinity in Unity existing in an ancient heathen nation, should remain entire during the ages of the world."
* It certainly cannot be proved that the Triad at Elephenta is older than the Christian era. And if it be older, we are yet to consider that the Mosaic records brought down the notion of a Trinity from the earliest ages. The modern Jews contend against this fact, that they may not seem to countenance an argument for the truth of Christianity but if they will read their own Targum, they will see that their forefathers confessed it; as in the following instance. “ Come and behold the mystery « of the word Elohim. There are three degrees, and each de“gree is SOLE. Notwithstanding they are ONB; and are unis “ ted into one ; nor is one of them divided from another.
« R. SIMEON BEN JOCHAI. " In Zohar ad sext. Levit. sectionem."
and take our nature upon him ?” The Hindoos do not consider that it was an Angel merely that became man" (like some philosophers in Europe) but God himself. Can there be any doubt that the fabulous Incarnations of the eastern mythology are derived from the real Incarnation of the son of God, or from the prophecies that went before it? Jesus the Messiah is the true AVATAR.
8. The doctrine of a vicarous ATONEMENT for sin by `the shedding of blood.- To this day in Hindostan the people bring the goat or kid to the Temple, and the Priest sheds the blood of the innocent victim.* Nor is this peculiar
* The inhabitants of Calcutta have a frequent opportunity of seeing the headless and bloody kid carried on the shoulders of the offerer through the streets after having been sacrificed at the Temple of Kalee, at Kalee Ghaut. Kalee is the goddess of destruction, she is black in visage, and has a necklace composed of the skulls of men. Kalee is the goddess whom the Decoits (professional robbers in India) propitiate by sacrifice and offering, before they go out on their nocturnal depredations.t
It as a custom for the chief magistrate of police, in Cal
† About the year 1799, a handsome sword was presented by the supreme Government in Bengal to Mahmud Nazir, a Da. rogah, in the district of Dinagepore, for his service in ap