The Philosophy of History Part 13

[42] Noah affords another striking example of a wonderful prolongation or delay of time. The first nine Patriarchs of the primitive world propagated their race at the mean or average term of the hundredth year of their lives:--some near that period--others considerably earlier--and others again much later. But in the case of Noah we find that, to the mean term of a hundred years, four hundred were yet added; and that the Patriarch was five hundred years of age when he propagated his race. The high motive of this evidently supernatural delay may be traced to the fact that, although during this long prophetic period of preparation, the holy Seer well foresaw and felt firmly a.s.sured of the judgments impending over a degenerate and corrupt world, it was not equally clear to him that he was destined by G.o.d to be the second progenitor of mankind, and the renovator of the human race. But that great doom of the world, already foretold by Enoch, Noah probably expected to be its last end; and hence perhaps might consider the propagation of his race as not altogether conformable to the divine will, till the hidden decrees of the Eternal were more fully and more clearly revealed to him.

[43] Ent.i.tled Ju-Kiao-li, or the Cousins.

[44] There are some exceptions to the truth of these remarks respecting Chinese symbols. For instance, the idea of "dispersion"

is expressed in the Chinese writing by the sign of _a tower_. What a beautiful and profound allusion to the great events of primitive history!--_Trans._

[45] The author alludes to Sch.e.l.ling's philosophy, which is called sometimes the "Philosophy of Nature," and sometimes the "Philosophy of Ident.i.ty." M. Cuvier in his masterly introduction to his great work on Fossile Remains, mentions some of the extravagant theories broached in the department of geology alone by those German naturalists, who some years ago attempted to apply to natural philosophy, the metaphysical system of Sch.e.l.ling.--_Trans._

[46] M. Abel Remusat.

[47] No Gentile people preserved so long and in such purity the worship of the true G.o.d as the Chinese. This no doubt must be ascribed to the secluded situation of the country--to the great reverence of the Chinese for their ancestors, as well as to the patriarchal mildness of their early governments; and, we must add, to the unpoetical character of the nation itself, which was a safeguard against Idolatry. There is historical evidence that, up to two centuries before the Christian era, idolatry had made little progress among this people. So vivid was their expectation of the Messiah--"the Great Saint who, as Confucius says, was to appear in the West"--so fully sensible were they not only of the place of his birth, but of the time of his coming, that, about 60 years after the birth of our Saviour, they sent their envoys to hail the expected Redeemer. These envoys encountered on their way the Missionaries of Buddhism coming from India--the latter, announcing an incarnate G.o.d, were taken to be the disciples of the true Christ, and were presented as such to their countrymen by the deluded amba.s.sadors.

Thus was this religion introduced into China, and thus did this phantasmagoria of h.e.l.l intercept the light of the gospel. So, not in the internal spirit only, but in the outward history of Buddhism, a demoniacal intent is very visible.--_Trans._

[48] Schlegel here alludes to the celebrated Lessing, who in his work ent.i.tled "The Education of the Human Race," had maintained the doctrine of the Metempsychosis, a doctrine doubly absurd in a Deist, like Lessing, for the metempsychosis was a philosophical, though false, explanation of the primitive and universal dogma of an intermediate or probationary state of souls.--_Trans._

[49] The four secondary faculties of human consciousness are, according to our author, the memory, the conscience, the impulses or pa.s.sions, and the outward senses.--_Trans._

[50] ??us??.

[51] Schlegel here alludes to that sort of intuitive mysticism in matters of religion, which was the boast of the adherents of Sch.e.l.ling's philosophy.--_Trans._

[52] The valuable articles by this great Sanscrit scholar on Hindoo philosophy, have excited a greater sensation in France and Germany, than in his own country. It would be well if the Asiatic Society were to publish those articles in a separate form.--_Trans._

[53] We have transcribed Sir William Jones's own words, as given in his Translation of Sacontala.--_Trans._

[54] See Colebrooke's article on the Vedas, in the 8th volume of Asiatic Researches.

[55] These are usually termed the Indo-Germanic race of languages--_Trans._

[56] Schlegel here supposes that the triplicity of roots in the Semitic languages contains a mystic allusion to the Tri-une G.o.d-head, the root and principle of all existence.

[57] The Aswameda.

[58] The reader may derive both pleasure and instruction from the perusal of a most masterly Treatise on Sacrifices, by the late Count Maistre, inserted at the end of the 2nd volume of his _Soirees de St. Petersbourg_. No where have the learning, the eloquence, the bold and profound philosophy of the n.o.ble author been more strikingly displayed, than in that short but admirable tract.--_Trans._

[59] "And Lamech said to his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice, ye wives of Lamech, hearken to my speech; for I have slain a man to the wounding of myself, and a stripling to my own bruising."--GEN. iv 23.

This obscure text has long perplexed the Commentators:--Schlegel, I think has furnished an explanation as solid as it is ingenious. Thus Lamech to whom the introduction of polygamy is generally ascribed, was probably, also, the founder of human sacrifices. According to our great poet, l.u.s.t sits enthroned hard by hate.--_Trans._

[60] The author alludes to Condorcet.

[61] This is an allusion to the Pantheistic Naturalism of Sch.e.l.ling.--_Trans._

[62] In the German "_Lichtsage_," or Tradition of light.--_Trans._

[63] In the German _Vernunft-staat_, the government of reason.

[64] Perseus.

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