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PUBLISHED FOR THE AUTHOR,
(London : 142 Strand
ENTERED according to Act of Congress, in the year 1852, by
M. EDGEWORTH LAZARUS, M.D.,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern
District of New-York.
E. O. JENKINS, STEREOTYPER AND PRINTER,
114 Nassau Street.
This paper is the first of a series, designed to show the unitary origin and scientific basis of the principal religions of the world, and to furnish a criterion by which we may discover how far they have been truly developed upon their natural type, and how far they have been falsified, as well as what they contain that is essential, and what is merely complementary.
In the first papers, which are historical, the reader will naturally make those deductions which flow from the text.
Amongst other forgotten truths here revived, it will be proved that Religion, as it is now understood, is only a shadow or dream, as compared with the primitive and concrete religions,—an unfortunate shadow wandering over the world in search of its body. It will find this body only by the reunion of worship, and the thanksgiving of a happy, healthy, and joyous life,—with agriculture, or the development and management of all the mineral, vegetable, and animal creations of our planet, according to divine order. It is thus that man co-operates actually with the Infinite and Eternal God, and with the Sun, which to the natural world of our planetary system is his symbol and representative. Passive religion exists in the heart and the disposition of our feelings, and passive worship in our forms of adoration and prayer; but active religion exists only in beneficent productive labor, and active worship, in that spontaneous energy which is inspired by the love of its object, and the consciousness of that divine life whence the love flows, and in which both subject and object are one.
Nothing in the history of religions affords us a purer pleasure than to observe how in all forms of the solar religion, whether of Persia or of Peru, it has consecrated external nature, ennobled the objects on which man is called to exert his energies, by the thought of their source, and endeavored to spiritualize and charm the labors of the poor.
ANTIQUITY shows us few personages as celebrated, and yet as little known with any exactness, as Zoroaster. The countries for which he legislated have, during 2200 years, undergone revolutions which have changed their entire aspect. His doctrines formed many of the ancient philosophers; in the hands of heretics, they have given birth to famous sects, and made schisms in Christianity; yet this doctrine and the books which contain it are still a problem for most of the learned. After so many ages and their varied succession of events, no one expected to see the works of the Persian legislator appear. A people almost unknown, pretend however to possess this treasure, and assure us that the Zend books are from the hand of the Prophet, whose law it follows and has always followed. Whatever the nature of these books, if they are Zoroaster's, there are few monuments of greater interest, as well from their antiquity, as the effects which they have produced. The Parsees, descendants of those who after the death of Iezjerd retired into the mountains of Kirman and into India, attribute the Zend books to Zoroaster, whom they regard as their legislator
Like the Chaldeans, the Parsees receive from their fathers the deposit of science, and religiously transmit it to their posterity as they have received it. The zeal with which they guard this precious treasure, renders them deaf to every proposition of reform. If a learned Destour, such as Darab, wishes to retrench from the Zend text, current among the Parsees of India, repetitions which seem to result from the ignorance of copyists, he meets with unbending opposition from the nation, which allows no change even in translations and commentaries. It is to uninterrupted tradition that we owe the authenticity and integrity of their books, the tradition of men to whom none can refuse the character of good faith, and whose inviolable attachment to the law of their fathers merits the more consideration from the nature of the works, which they regard as their most precious inheritance. It is the voice of an entire people which offers us