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GENERAL FORLONG'S “ RIVERS OF LIFE.”
GENERAL FORLONG has now given to the public, in two magnificent quarto volumes and chart, the first instalment of his great work on comparative religion, and on the natural evolution of existing faiths, which has been in preparation for the last seven years.
The importance of this work consists in its being the first to apply the result of modern research and learning to the great subject of Asiatic religions in a thoroughly unbiased manner. No one can read the long list of General Forlong's authorities without seeing that he is well up to date in his reading, although he has also consulted many valuable authorities now rarely read, being contained in ponderous and expensive folios. The works of Max Müller, Rhys Davies, Beal, Cox, Sayce, and many other standard authorities on oriental subjects; of Birch and Brugsch, Renouf and Maspero in Egypt, of Haug West and Darmesteter in Persia, together with the latest accounts of travellers in Palestine, in China, in Africa, and America, have all been ransacked for information. General Forlong is generally able to show how little many writers really know of the meaning of the customs, traditions, symbolisms, and superstitions concerning which they write.
The volumes are accompanied by a large separate Chart (price £2), which will be found very useful for students anxious to obtain a clear idea of the relation and antiquity of the different religious systems, and of the constituents of those systems. The various cults of the Tree, the Serpent and Lingam, the Fire, the Ancestor, and the Sun, with the later more spiritual conceptions of deity as a Father and a Spirit, are distinguished by coloured streams; and the student at a glance can see which of these ideas is embraced by any existing creed.
Many valuable data, chronological and physical, mythological and ethnical, are given on the margin of the chart, and all the great Bibles of Asia, and Africa, and Europe, are shown in relative position.
General Forlong's chief claim to speak on these questions lies in the fact that he is not a mere bookworm or compiler but an active explorer, and a student who has visited the sacred places of which he treats, and has received from the lips of living Brahmans and Bikshus their own interpretation of the symbolism of the ancient Faiths of India. When General Forlong wished to understand Rome or Delphi, Jerusalem or Shechem, he visited those places himself, just as he has visited the famous Indian sites, and as in our own islands, he has studied the ruder stone monuments of England, Scotland, and Ireland on the spot, and by the light of existing remains in India and elsewhere. In cases where he has not so visited the site, he has diligently collected the most recent and authentic information, and with such knowledge of his subjects he combines, as we have seen, a wide reading of the latest and the earliest literature regarding them in some 700 books, many in eight or ten volumes each. The illustrations alone of his work, many of which are admirably bold sketches from the original, are of the greatest value to the student, and his volumes, with their careful indexes, form a storehouse of research and learning, in which future writers might dig long without exhausting material.
Copies may be obtained from the Publisher of the present