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Oriental Religions and Christianity A Course of Lectures Delivered on the Ely Foundation Before the Students of Union Theological Seminary, New York, 1891   By: (1826-1908)

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ORIENTAL RELIGIONS AND CHRISTIANITY

A COURSE OF LECTURES DELIVERED ON THE ELY FOUNDATION BEFORE THE STUDENTS OF UNION THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, NEW YORK, 1891

BY FRANK F. ELLINWOOD, D.D. SECRETARY OF THE BOARD OF FOREIGN MISSIONS OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH U.S.A.; LECTURER ON COMPARATIVE RELIGION IN THE UNIVERSITY OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK

NEW YORK CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS 1892

PREFACE

The following lectures, prepared amid many cares and duties, have aimed to deal only with practical questions which are demanding attention in our time. They do not claim to constitute a treatise with close connections and a logical order. Each presents a distinct topic, or a particular phase of the present conflict of Christian truth with the errors of the non Christian religions. This independent treatment must constitute my apology for an occasional repetition of important facts or opinions which have a common bearing on different discussions. No claim is made to scholarship in the Oriental languages. The ability to compare original sources and determine dates and intricate meanings of terms, or settle points in dispute by a wide research in Sanscrit or Pali literatures, can only be obtained by those who spend years in study along these special lines. But so many specialists have now made known the results of their prolonged linguistic studies in the form of approved English translations, that, as Professor Max Müller has well said in his introduction to "The Sacred Books of the East," "there is no longer any excuse for ignorance of the rich treasures of Oriental Literature."

Two considerations lend special importance to the topics here discussed. First, that the false systems in question belong not merely to the past, but to our own time. And second, that the increased intercommunication of this age brings us into closer contact with them. They are no longer afar off and unheard of, nor are they any longer lying in passive slumber. Having received quickening influences from our Western civilization, and various degrees of sympathy from certain types of Western thought, they have become aggressive and are at our doors.

On controverted points I have made frequent quotations, for the reason that the testimonies or opinions of writers of acknowledged competency are best given in their own words.

I have labored under a profound conviction that, whatever may be the merit and success of these modest efforts, the general class of subjects treated is destined to receive increased attention in the near future; that the Christian Church will not long be content to miscalculate the great conquest which she is attempting against the heathen systems of the East and their many alliances with the infidelity of the West. And I am cheered with a belief that, in proportion to the intelligent discrimination which shall be exercised in judging of the non Christian religions, and the skill which shall be shown in presenting the immensely superior truths of the Christian faith, will the success of the great work of Missions be increased.

It scarcely needs to be said that I have not even attempted to give anything like a complete view of the various systems of which I have spoken. Only a few salient points have been touched upon, as some practical end has required. But if the mere outline here given shall lead any to a fuller investigation of the subjects discussed, I shall be content. I am satisfied that the more thoroughly the Gospel of Redemption is compared with the futile systems of self righteousness which man has devised, the more wonderful it will appear.

F.F. ELLINWOOD.

NEW YORK, January 20, 1892.

THE ELY LECTURES 1891.

The lectures contained in this volume were delivered to the students of Union Theological Seminary in the year 1891, as one of the courses established in the Seminary by Mr. Zebulon Stiles Ely, in the following terms:

"The undersigned gives the sum of ten thousand dollars to the Union Theological Seminary of the city of New York, to found a lectureship in the same, the title of which shall be 'The Elias P... Continue reading book >>




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