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seems to the soul of the faithful one as if it were brought amidst plants and sweet scents ; it seems as if a wind were blowing from the region of the south, a sweet-scented wind, sweeter than any other wind in the world.
18. And it seems to the soul of the faithful one as if he were inhaling that wind with the nostrils, and he thinks, “Whence does that wind blow, the sweetest-scented wind I ever inhaled ?"
'9. And it seems to him as if his own conscience were advancing to him in that wind, in the shape of a maiden, fair, bright, white-armed, strong, beautiful of body, noble, glorious, of the size of a maid in her fifteenth year, as fair as the fairest things in the world.
'10. And the soul of the faithful one addresses her, saying, " What maid art thou, who art the fairest maid I have ever seen ? "
'11. And she, being his own conscience, answers him : “O thou youth of good thoughts, good words, and good deeds, of good religion, I am thine own conscience! Everybody did love thee for that greatness, goodness, fairness, sweet-scentedness, victorious strength, and freedom from sorrow in which thou dost appear to me.
* 12. “And even so thou, O youth of good thoughts, good words, and good deeds, of good religion, didst love me for that greatness, goodness, fairness, sweet-scentedness, victorious strength, and freedom from sorrow in which I appear to thee.
14. "I was lovely, and thou madest me still lovelier ; I was fair, and thou madest me still fairer ; I was desirable, and thou madest me still more desirable ; I was sitting in a forward place, and thou madest me sit in the foremost place ; through this good thought, through this good word, through this good deed of thine ; and so henceforth shall men honour me for having long sacrificed unto and conversed with Ahura Mazda."
'15. The first step that the soul of the faithful man took placed him in the Good-Thought Paradise. The second step that the soul of the faithful man took placed him in the Good-Word Paradise. The third step that the soul of the faithful man took placed him in the Good-Deed Paradise. The fourth step that the soul of the faithful man took placed him in the Endless Lights.
*16. Then one of the faithful, who had departed before him, asked him, saying, "How didst thou depart that other life, thou iholy man? How didst thou come, thou holy man, from the abodes full of cattle, and from the wishes and enjoyments of love, from the material world to the world of the spirit, from the decaying world to the undecaying one? How long did thy felicity last?"
'17. But Ahura Mazda answered: "Ask him not what thou askest him who has just trod the dreary way, full of fear and distress, where the soul and body part.
• 18. “Let him eat of the food brought nigh to him, of the heavenly food of Zaremaya. This is the food for the youth of good thoughts, of good words, of good deeds, of good religion, after he has quitted the mortal life; this is the food for the holy woman, rich in good thoughts, good words, and good deeds, of good principles, and obedient to her husband, after she has quitted her mortal life.”
There is something very touching in the conclusion of this part of the allegory--the interposition of Ahura-Mazda to prevent the wearied spirit from being immediately crossquestioned, even by friendly lips, and bidden instead to eat of the heavenly manna. This imaginary scene may remind us of a real scene in the earthly life of Him who was all the while the Light that lightened these devout Persians, of Him who never left His work unfinished, even to the least detail, and of Whom it is written that when once a weary young spirit had not only 'trod the way, full of fear and distress, where the soul and body
, part,' but at His gracious word had come back again, “He commanded that something should be given her to eat.'
*The Eternity of Conscience' is the title of a striking poem by the Rev. C. W. Stubbs, which appeared some years ago in the Spectator.* The solemn truth which this poem emphasises is brought out in the remaining portion of the above-quoted allegory, describing the passage of the unfaithful soul from this world to meet its doom.
It is evident that, to the believing Zoroastrian, the present life is no time for idle play, but for sternest warfare. He battles for an infinite reward; he must ever be on his guard against the pitfalls that lead to eternal death. The service of Ahura-Mazda, and the path to heavenly bliss, consists in the performance of all pure and beneficent deeds. And not only are positive transgressions and common faults reckoned as sins, which would hinder the soul guilty of them from passing safely over the Judge's Bridge to Paradise, but the sins of omission also
* Now published by F. Verinder, Stoke Newington. d.
are held to be most perilous; to see evil done, and not warn him who does it, to fail to give alms to the needy, to neglect repentance —for all these things there is a reckoning hereafter.
Even the secret thoughts must be carefully governed. What more searching confession could be required of any man than the following: * That which was the wish of Ahura-Mazda, and I ought to have thought, and have not thought ; that which I ought to have spoke, and have not spoken; that which I ought to have done. and have not done-of these sins I repent.'
And when the confession is finished, then the disciple is called upon for new resolutions of virtue of the most earnest spirit: · As long as life endures I will stand fast in good thoughts in my soul, in good words in my speech, in good deeds in my action. With all good am I in agreement ; with all evil am I at variance ; with the punishments of the future life I will be contented. May the power of Ahriman be broken; may the reign of Ahura-Mazda be increased.'
The old rabbins used to declare: Prayers which say nothing about the Kingdom do not deserve the name of prayers. Until a man cares for righteousness for some higher end than his own personal advancement or bliss, he is only in the alphabet of religion. It is only when the soul loves truth and justice for their own sacred worth and authority, and attains a loyalty to the King of Righteousness, in which the thought of his own individual interests sinks out of sight-it is only then that it begins to breathe the true air of religion.
This is one of the noblest traits of the old Zoroastrian faiththat every day the believer prayed for the final triumph of good over evil. “May the power of Ahura-Mazda be increased ; may Ahriman's power be broken.' And whatever he himself could do of benefit to man, or in accordance with purity and truth, he rejoiced in as his contribution to the victory.
Not only the attainment of all personal virtues, but all social obligations and religious rites, were helps to this grand end. Every daily duty thus became sacred to the Zoroastrian. Especial emphasis was put on the duty of tilling the soil. The old motto, * Laborare est orare,' is brought into prominence in this teaching. "He who cultivates barley,' it is said, 'cultivates righteousness, and extends the religion of Ahura Mazda as much as though he resisted a hundred demons, made a thousand offerings, or recited ten thousand prayers. An old Avestan verse celebrates the
' moral and magic power of these agricultural operations :
• The demons hiss when the barley's green;
The demons moan at the threshing's sound ;
The demons roars as the grist is ground;
In the Khordah Avesta, the Parsee catechism, Zoroaster is represented as asking Ahura Mazda what is his best and greatest
And this is the remarkable answer that is given : “My name is He who may be supplicated, the Revealer, the Mighty One, the Holy One, the Giver of happiness. My name is He in whom there is no harm ;* the desirer of good for My creatures ; the faithful Judge; the tormentor of tormentors; He who cannot be deceived. My name is the Unconquerable One, the Creator, the Healer, the All-seeing Lord. ...
'These are my names, 0 Zarathustra. And he who in this material world shall recite and pronounce these names of mine, either by day or by night; he who shall pronounce them when he rises up or when he lays him down; when he binds on the sacred girdle or when he unbinds the sacred girdle ; when he goes out of his dwelling-place or out of his town; or when he goes out of his country, and comes into another country ; he neither in that day nor in that night shall be wounded by the weapons of the foe who rushes fiend-like upon him ; not the knife, not the cross-bow, not the arrow, not the sword, not the club, not the sling-stone shall reach or wound him.
But these names shall prevail to keep him from behind, and to keep him in front ; from the demon unseen, from the Varenya fiend, from the evil-doer bent on mischief, and from that fiend who is all death, Angra Mainyu. It will be as if there were a thousand men watching over one man.'
Mention was made in the last paper of the Persian doctrine of angels, which occupies so prominent a place in this creed. One illustration of this shall be given, in the hymn which commemorates the seven archangels, or, as they should rather be described, the seven personified attributes of the One Supreme :
*We sacrifice unto the awful kingly glory, made by Mazda, that belongs to the Amesha Spentas, the bright ones, whose looks perform their wish, strong, lordly, immortal and holy; who are all seven of one thought, who are all seven of one speech, who are all seven of one deed; whose thought is the same, whose speech is the same, whose deed is the same, whose Father and Commander is the same—the Creator, Ahura Mazda ; who see one another's soul, thinking of good thoughts, thinking of good words, thinking of good deeds; and whose ways are shining as they go down to the libations; who are the makers and governors, the fashioners and overseers, the keepers and preservers of these creations of Ahura-Mazda. It is they who shall restore the world, which will thenceforth never grow old and never die; never decaying and never perishing; ever living and ever increasing, and master of its wish; when the dead shall rise, when life and immortality shall come, and the world shall be restored at its wish ; when the creation shall grow deathless, the blessed creation of the Good Spirit ; and the Evil One shall perish, though he may rush on every side to destroy the holy beings,-he and his hundred-fold brood shall perish, as is the will of Ahura.'
* "No harm from Him can come to me
On ocean or on shore.'—WHITTIER. ;
The benefits that have resulted to multitudes in the past from the teaching of Zoroaster are great and unquestionable. That men should be taught to look for happiness within rather than without; to believe that suffering and sin do not originate from the capricious power of a misconceived deity ; that the good thought and word and deed should be recognised as essential to sanctity, even in the presence of a superstitious ceremonial; that a judgment should have been expected according to the deeds done in the body, and the sentence and fitting destiny be pronounced on itself by the happy or stricken conscience,—these can never be regarded by serious minds as matters of little moment. And if, on the contrary, they are regarded as of great moment, the Zend-Avesta should be honoured by all who value the records of the human race.
More clearly than ever before we have come in these days to recognise that the pain and bane of the world are but the incidents and attendants of its blessings, no more divisible from them here than the shadow from the sunlight in the forest, or the negative from the positive pole in the magnet.
Whatever we may think of the inscrutable mystery of moral evil, physical evil, at least, is but good in the ripening; and all the storms of spring, and heats of midsummer, and frosts of autumn are the conditions which give us at length the mellow and satisfying fruit. Want is the steep, rugged pathway to wealth, suffering to enjoyment, effort to progress.
What we need ever to remember is that we are not yet at the