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While the remonstrances of orthodox missionaries against the corrupt theology of the Brahmins are thus capable of being retorted, we do not see that their prospects can fail to bc discour. aging. It is in vain to show the Hindoos that they ought to reject their opinions, because incapable of being established by evidence, when they are able to hold the same argument concerning those which are offered them instead. Our views, they will allow, seem self-contradictory, but this is because they are mysterious ; and they are above reason, but they are not therefore inoperative speculations, for they strongly occupy our fancies. To show us then that no argument will sustain them is not to compel us to abandon them, for the same is evident concerning the system which yourselves adopt, and propose to us as a substitute. If we are to abandon our system because it is opposed to common sense and incapable of being sustained by proof, it must be in favour of another of an opposite character. When you offer us such an one, it will be time to consider its claims.
It is only the errors which ignorance and false philosophy bave appended to the pure and reasonable religion of the Gospel, to which such remarks would apply. The faith which Jesus Christ and his apostles preached is liable to none of them. It revealed truths of infinite worth which reason was unable and had failed to discover ; but not a doctrine did it comprise which reason rejects, or which the name of mystery must be employed to protect from the investigation that would expose it. And it is therefore that we long to have pure Christianity preached in lodia, that it may have free course, and be glorified. The orthodox missionaries have made little progress with their mysteries, because that ground was already occupied. That the pure system would not meet with much opposition is more than we expect, but we are sure that it has, and that orthodoxy has not, that characteristic which will make the obstacles to be not insuperable. It is capable of being enforced upon satisfactory testimony. The Hindoos are in bondage to a miserable soper
But they are not the imbecile and ignorant people they have been described. Many of them are inquisitive and thinking men.
Their minds are possessed by many idle and mischievous fancies, but still they are able to apprehend the force of argument. They are withheld by many prejudices and interests from the reception of Christiau truth. Still they are capable of being convinced and persuaded. What can be shown them to be true, they must, like other men, at length receive; and what can be proved to them to be right, they will at length own that they ought to do. This cannot be proved to them concerning New Series Vol. V.
the doctrines of Augustin and Calvin, but it may be concerning the doctrines of uncorrupt Christianity.*
If we may judge without presumption of the indications of providence, a brighter day is dawning upon India. Late events seem to tend to a happy consummation. At least, the experiment, to which we look for a different result from what yet has been witnessed, appears about to be tried under favourable auspices. The sacred volume, to which we shall need to appeal for the proof of our faith, has been widely circulated by the active labours of those, who, as we think, have counteracted their own laburious efforts by their erroneous expositions of its contents. But, though they have failed to reap the harvest, they have bountifully scattered the seed. They have made the scriptures of truth accessible to those whom they are destined at length to enlighten, and thus have supplied all that was wanting except well qualified interpreters.
What till very lately was wanting, we have reason to hope is beginning to be furnished. At this most favourable period since India was known for introducing pure Christianity into it, when the religion of their conquerors has engaged extensively the attention and curiosity of that people, and when the scriptures are provided in their own langnage for all who can be persuaded to appeal to the law and to the testimony,' a competent individ. ual embraces the pure doctrine of the Gospel in a situation and under circumstances for offering it to the heathen under many advantages, and is to be made, we trust, in some measure an instrumei t of that happy event to which we look.
Mr. Adam, the author of the sermon, of which we have prefixed the title to this article, was not indeed the first who had preached the simple doctrines of our religion in [lindostan.
The most discerning of the Hindoos themselves who have read the Bible,' says Brown, say that the Romish religion, is an abuse of the christian name.' It is probable that other forms of orthodoxy appeared to many of them in much the same light.
* «The Missionaries' says a correspondent of the Christian Reformer, who had been long resident in India have ever found the doctrine of the Trinity and the assertion that Christ is God, a stumbling block in their way. The Chinese tell them they see no use in insisting on a new set of gods being introduced in the place of their old ones, The Mohammedans accuse them of blasphemy in making a created man, although a great and blessed prophet, equal with God, and they aceuse them of having falsified the original scripture, and of acting in direct opposition to the preaching of our Saviour, who says, pray to God alone. Unitarian Missionaries would meet with less opposition than those of any other sect, as all appear ready to admit of one great, one sole cause, one God supreme.' I have paid some attention to the subject, and from China to the extent of our Eastern possessions, I have found the aforementioned reasons the only ones of any consequence urged against the Christian religion.'
They so appeared at least, to one obscure, but sensible and virtuous native, William Roberts of Madras, who has collected about him an increasing society of believers, as undistinguished as himself, in the only true 'God, and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent. • There is not,' says this simple-hearted neophyte,
one European or European descendent among us, not one rich man, not one learned man, even not one that can read English well." Yet they have now two schools under their direction, and Ad writes expositions of scripture, and makes translations from English books, which are circulated among them in manuscript. His is, however, a light under a bushel. He is old and infirm ; without rank, education, or resources; and his labours are not so much encouraging on account of any great results to be expected from them, as on account of the indication they give that the soil will yield a rich harvest to a skilful culture, when thus it shoots up in a corner, a spontaneous, though a scanty growth.
The following extract from a letter of Mr. Adam to the se. cretary of the English Unitarian Fund, dated Calcutta, Jan. 28th 1822, explains the circumstances under which that gentleman is before the religious publick.
• I left England as a Missionary under the patronage of the Baptist Society, in the year 1817, and since then have continued to reside in this city. The difficulties I experienced in my labours amongst the natives, on the subject of the Trinity, gradually, although slowly, matured into a conviction that it was contrary, both to scripture and reason, and this conviction compelled me to an open renunciation of it and profession of Unitarianism. I have, in consequence, within a few months past, been excommu." nicated from the religious Society to which I belonged, and with the assistance of a few friends have rented a house in wbich Christian worship is regularly conducted. This, together with a late publication of Rammohun Roy's, whom I am happy to number amongst the
very warmest supporters of our cause, has excited much opposition amongst the Trinitarian denominations, Chorchmen, Independents and Baptists;' and the immediate ob ject which I have in view, in this communication, is to secure that cooperation with Unitarians in England, which is necessary to give efficacy and permanency to our efforts in this country, and which, I believe, it is one object of the Unitarian Fund Society to afford. I am wholly ignorant of the numbers and actual state of Unitarians in England, and of the character which they possess as a denomination, having received all my impressions on these subjects from the writings of their adversaries. I am, therefore, wholly unable to judge whether a proposal to form a. Unitarian Foreign Missionary Society on a scale to embrace the
whole denomination in England, Scotland and Ireland, will meet with your approbation, or the attempt with ultimate success. know that Trinitarians in general represent their opponents as destitute of that deep feeling of the value of true religion, by which some of themselves have been induced to visit foreign and distant countries with a view to communicate to the Heathen a knowledge of the gospel. This, after all, is a merit which they cannot claim universally, for they are not all missionaries; nor can try they claim it exclusively, without forgetting the numerous navigators and travellers who, on purely worldly principles and motives, have dared every difficulty and danger without shrinking. As for myself, I can say, that since I embraced Unitarianism, while I am thankful to my Father in heaven for so enlightening my inind as to perceive the errors of opinion which I formerly entertained, and so strengthening my religious principle as to enable me to avow my convictions, I, at the same time, feel an equally sincere and earnest desire to be instrumental in making known to my fellow-creatures, and especially to the Heathen, the glorious gospel of the blessed God a desire which is abundantly confirmed when I consider that there are so many of my brethren, my kinsmen, according to the flesh,' whom I love and esteein and revere as pious Christians, but who, in principle at least, approach so near to the Heathen.
In a letter to Dr. Channing about the same time Mr. Adam says, • I came to India, as a Missionary from the Baptist Society in England. About three years and a balf after my arrival in this country, that is, about five or six months ago, the convictions of my mind rendered it necessary for me to renounce Trinita. rianism. I found, from that intercourse with the natives which I constantly cultivated, that on the ground of reason, (the only ground which it is possible to assume in propagating any religion,) I could no better maintain a three fold distinction in the divine natare, than the Hindoos could a distinction of many millions. You will not suppose from this, that when a Trinitarian, I made the trinity a frequent subject of discussion with the natives. On the contrary, I, like others, avoided it as much as possible ; but when they brought it forward as an objection, or endeavoured to draw a parallelism on this ground, between their own system and ours, I was compelled to meet the attack. With the assistance of friends, a house has been rented, in which I preach every Sunday, to a small congregation of Europeans, country born, and natives who understand English. The principal of these last, is Rammohun Roy, of whom you have no doubt heard, and whose writings you perhaps have seen. One of his late publications will accompany this, together with a few copies of a sermon which
I lately published. I have in view, to commence a periodical work, which will include both a selection from European and American theological publications, as well as original communications from friends and supporters in this country.'
In Aug. 1822, the same gentleman wrote to a friend of ours; Sincere as I am in the belief of divine revelation, and desirous of universally extending its benign influence, I would rejoice at nothing more than to see respectable and learned Hindoos and Mussulmen fearlessly standing forth to impugn the genuine doctrines of the gospel. In that case, missionaries, instead of wasting their time, talents, and money, in unprofitable schemes, both great and little, in order to substitute for Hindooism aud Islamism, the name, without the power, of godliness, would have an opportunity of proving their religion to be established by the most direct and convincing evidence; to contain the most sublime and important truths ; to unfold the most certain and ennobling hopes ; and thereby to evince that it is indeed a faithful saying, and worthy of universal acceptation. The consequence would be, no doubt, a powerful impression in favour of christianity. Such ever will be the consequence, both among Europeans, and Asiatics, of free public inquiry into the doctrines of the gospel. Since
you left Calcutta I have been excommunicated from the Circular Road Church, for professing that Jesus Christ was nothing more than the son of God. This drove me into an open avowal of Unitarianism. I commenced public worship, which I still continue, and have opened subscriptions for building a chapel. I am supported both by respectable Europeans and natives.
We have also commenced a school in which about fifty native boys are instructed in English, gratis. Divine revelation, in all its parts, is more and more become my darling study; and I am firmly convinced that Unitarianism is the doctrine of the gospel.' Christian Unitarianism I esteem the pearl of great price; and it is that alone that can become an universal religion. Whatever differences of religious opinion may arise, however, it is still my first and most earnest desire to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. Holiness is the great end of all religion; and wherever I see that, I am convinced there can be no fatal
, although there may be hurtful errors.' Mr. Adam is represented as a prudent, well educated and pious man, and since his change of sentiment has been acknow. ledged even by one of his former coadjutors to be in his view, 'as pious and as sincere as at any former period of their acquaintance. His sermon before us, and his preface to that of Dr.