I need hardly say, in closing, that it is not necessary to borrow from the heathen systems of to-day as extensively as the Fathers did from the systems of Greece and Rome, and it would be discordant with good taste to illustrate our sermons with quotations from the Hindu poets as lavishly as good Jeremy Taylor graced his discourses with gems from the poets of Greece. But I think that we may so far heed the wise examples furnished by Church history as to face the false systems of our time with a candid and discriminating spirit, and by a more adequate knowledge to disenchant the bugbears with which their apologists would alarm the Church.
We are entering upon the broadest and most momentous struggle with heathen error that the world has ever witnessed. Again, in this later age, philosophy and multiform speculation are becoming the handmaids of Hindu pantheism and Buddhist occultism, as well as of Christian truth. The resources of the East and the West are combined and subsidized by the enemy as well as by the Church. As in old Rome and Alexandria, so now in London and Calcutta all currents of human thought flow together, and truth is in full grapple with error. It is no time to be idle or to take refuge in pious ignorance, much less to fear heathen systems as so many haunted houses which superstitious people dare not enter—as if the Gospel were not as potent a talisman now as it was ages ago. Let us fearlessly enter these abodes of darkness, throw open the shutters, and let in the light of day, and the hobgoblins will flee. Let us explore every dark recess, winnow out the miasma and the mildew with the pure air of heaven, and the Sun of Righteousness shall fill the world.
[Footnote 20: The Norsemen, Maclear.]
[Footnote 21: The Druid bard Taliesen says: “Christ, the Word from the beginning, was from the beginning our teacher, and we never lost His teaching. Christianity was a new thing in Asia, but there never was a time when the Druids of Britain held not its doctrines.”—St. Paul in Britain, p. 86.]
[Footnote 22: Uhlhorn’s Conflict of Christianity with Heathenism.]
[Footnote 23: The same dualism of the male and the female principle is found in the Shinto of Japan. See Chamberlain’s translation of the Kojiki.]
[Footnote 24: The late George Eliot has given expression to this grim solace, and Mr. John Fiske, in his Destiny of Man, claims that the goal of all life, from the first development of the primordial cell, is the perfected future man.]
[Footnote 25: Voltaire found great delight in the so-called Ezour Veda, a work which claimed to be an ancient Veda containing the essential truths of the Bible. The distinguished French infidel was humbled, however, when it turned out that the book was the pious fraud of a Jesuit missionary who has hoped thus to win the Hindus to Christianity.]