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more improbable, when the duties of that religion are so blended with all the occupations of life, as to ally in the strongest league the immense powers of habit and prejudice. When an individual owes his consequence to the institutions of the faith in which he has been bred, still less likely will he be to renounce it; and the only remaining chance of converting him, seems to be removed, if the practice of those who profess the belief, which he is invited to embrace, is not such as to give a decidedly favourable impression of its power. •Why should I become a christian,' said a well-informed Brahmin to a friend of ours ? " I make conscience of my religion, but most of the christians, whom I see, have so little respect for their sacred day as to employ it in all sorts of vice. To reach the truth, through obstacles like these, is the fortune of no common mind; but to overcome these was the least of the triumphs of the subject of these remarks. He has accomplished the further task of discovering what the christian theology is. He has not been misled as to its nature, 28 any mind but the most sagacious and independent might be expected to have been, by the misrepresentations of those who pretended to teach it; but has searched for it in its authentic records; and the law and the testimony, to which he has appealed from the erroneous exposition, have given him more understanding, than all his teachers.' That not merely a christian convert, but a christian controversialist, fit to be compared with Europeans of the highest name, for learning, penetration, and judg. ment, should appear in a Hindoo Brahmin, is an event, not only without a parallel, but of a truly surprizing and memorable character. It is an equal attestation to the force of truth, and to the discernment and honesty of the mind which could thus discover and embrace it.
But, remarkable man as we conceive Rammohun Roy to be, we do not regard him as a monster. However eminent above his cotemporaries, no man's habits of thought are formed independently of all surrounding influences, or are radically different from those of his associates. When the leading understandings of an age have carried their light the furthest forward into the recesses of wisdom, there have never been wanting others following close enough behind to apprehend the truths which they have discovered. Nay, the praise of distinguished men is for the most part, that they actually perform that of which others, under similar influences, still fall a little short. Even in the most remarkable discoveries and inventions it is reasonable to allow, that tendencies towards them were in operation at once on many minds, and that if the place of the most active that
pressed forward before the rest had been vacant, the object they
accomplished would not bave been long delayed.' Singular as Rammohun Roy may be, therefore, in the natural endowments of his unind, we do not doubt that his writings are to some extent a specimen of the intellectual culture, which is to be found among other Hindoos of his own rank and similar opportunities of education. Others may not have read so much, or reasoned so well; still others read and reason. And from this persuasion we derive great encouragement. Rammohun Roy explicitly states, what in our last number we had occasion to suggest, that it is of no avail to argue with Hindoos on the absurdity of their polytheism, while the Trinity is at the same time represented as a doctrine of the Christian faith, and attempted to be reconciled with the unity of the Godhead on the self-same grounds.
"The Editor denies positively the charge of admitting three Gods, though he is in the practice of worshipping God the Father, God the Son, and Gd the Holy Ghost. I could wish to know what he would say when a Hindoo also would deny polytheism on the same principle. If three separate persons be admitted to make one God, and those that adore them be esteemed as worshippers of one God, what objection could be advanced justly to the oneness of three hundred and thirty-three million of persons in the Deity, and to their worship in different emblems; for, oneness of three or of thirty millions of separate persoas is equally impossible according to human experience, and equally supportable by mystery alone.'
• The Editor expresses his despite of Hindoo polytheism, triumphing in his own pure profession. I wonder how it could escape the notice of the Editor, that the doctrine of plurality in unity maintained by him, and that professed by Hindoos, stand on the same footing; since the Editor, as well as the Hindoos, firmly declares the unity of God, while at the same time both acknowledge the plurality of persons under the same Godhead, although they differ from each other in the exact number.'
Prepossessed by the unanimous testimony of all who had pressed the Christian faith upon them, with the idea that its theology was similar to their own, it is not strange that they should suppose it to stand on no different authority, and see no reason for considering it. They are now told by one of themselves, that this evasion is founded on a faulty exhibition of Christianity, and that this fact is so certain that no one, possessed of merely common sense will fail to find its unscripturality [i. e. the unscripturality of the Trinitarian scheme] after a methodical study of the Old and New Testaments, unless previously impressed in the early part of his life with creeds and forms of speech preparing the way to that doctrine. This is a representation not likely to be wholly overlooked; for it is made to learned men by a man admired for his learning, an accomplished critic, and especially
possessing that skill in the niceties of oriental language, which cannat but entitle to some confidence an interpreter of the writings of Jews. It is made by a severe reasoner to a class of men, which we will hazard a conjecture cannot furnish among all its Pundits so slovenly a logician as the missionary against whom he argues. It is made to them by a person, who had for aversion to Christianity which could influence them; who once entertained prejudices against it as strong as their own; and who closes his extensive search after truth by declaring, that he enjoys the approbation of his conscience in publishing the precepts of this religion as the source of peace and happiness.' We will add, that the truly Christian spirit of benevolence, sincerity and gentleness, which appears in his work, can scarcely fail to excite a prejudice favourable to the faith in defence of
which he argues.
We apprehend, then, that the works of Rammohun Roy are not to be regarded merely as trophies of the power of one uncommon individual mind. They are proof to us that, as far as insight into evidence and the capacity of just reasoning goes, there is in the minds of his countrymen of similar rank and education a degree of preparation for Christianity. He has not forsaken the track in which he was placed by the state of sentiment among them; he has only advanced furthest in it; and others, who bave been formed under the same discipline, we doubt not, are advancing towards the point, where he has now broken down the barrier that might have repelled, or more probably only delayed them. And it is not merely a supposition of ours, that the notice of the reading community of Hindostan is likely to be attracted towards the new view of Christianity which he has presented. This is ascertained by the third work of which we have prefixed the title to these remarks. It is a brief exhortation, in Bengalee and English, to the different classes of religionists to practice a mutual charity. The author is evidently no polytheist, and founds his morality on the golden rule. The following is his allusion to Protestant and Catholic Trinitarians.
Amongst Europeans, those who believe Jesus Christ to be God himself, and conceive him to be possessed of a particular form, and maintain Father, Son, and Holy Ghost to be one God, should not be treated in an unfriendly manner. On the contrary, we should act towards them in the same manner as we act towards those of our countrymen who, without forming any external image, meditate upon Ram and other supposed incarnations, and believe in their unity.
Again, those amongst Europeans who believing Jesus Christ to be the Supreme Being, moreover construct various images of him, New Series-Vol. V.
should not be hated. On the contrary, it becomes us to act towards those Europeans in the same manner as we act towards such as believe Ram, &c. to be incarnations of God, and form external images of them. For, the religious principles of the two last mentiòned sects of foreigners are one and the same with those of the two similar sects among Hindoos, although they are clothed in a different garb.
When any belonging to the second and third classes of Europeans endeavour to make converts of us, the believers in the only living and true God, even then we should feel no resentment to wards them, but rather compassion, on account of their blindness to the errors into which they themselves have fallen. Since it almost impossible, as every day's experience teaches us, for men, when possessed of wealth and power, to perceive their own defects.
This is of course the production of a person who has read and can write; and whenever, in any point of view, Christianity and Christians come thus to be publicly discussed, we cannot but think a hopeful beginning is made. In the course of such speculations, the character and claims of our religion cannot fail to be incidentally canvassed. They will insensibly come to be better understood, and make their impression. Their progress may be circuitous, as well as impeded, but at least an entrance may be thus made for them into the minds of the most averse.
We may seem sanguine on this subject, but it certainly is not from any insensibility to the great difficulties which obstruct the introduction of Christianity into India. We understand too well how far the holy spirit of our religion is in advance of the moral state, not only of the purest human society, but of the most excellent individual character, to suppose that it can harmonize, or that it must not have a long and stubborn contest, with the ignorance and vices of the partially civilized community of Hindostan. We remember too well how soon the Greek schoolmen philosophized, and the northern savages secularized it, not to be aware how it is menaced in such a community by rooted superstitions, and low and interested views.* But, on the other hand,
* The difficulty of teaching one of the lower class of Hindoos even to speak like a Christian, and the danger there is that the Trinitarian missionaries may come to confound their mythology with the heathen, are singularly exemplified in a hymn which was written by Krishnu the most eminent of the Baptist converts, and in a translation, supposed to be made by Mr. Ward, missionary to Bengal, was given out by that gentleman to be sung by a Christian society in England in the year 1820. It reads,
• BRUMHU for thee a body takes,
Thy guilt assumes, thy fetters breaks,' &c. The Christian Reformer well remarks on this; Christians have hitherto indulged the hope, that the name of the One True God would be great among the Gentiles, but here the matter is reversed, and the name of one of the Hindoo lying vanities is to be great among Christians.'
some of the difficulties appear to us to have been overslated. Much bigotry as there is in Hindostan, there is also much inquisitiveness upon topics of religion. No small variety of sects exists. In the Humble Suggestions, &c. four at least are incidentally enumerated, whose members believe in one God only without an equal, and endeavour to regulate their conduct by the following precept;" He who is desirous of eternal happiness should regard another as he regards himself, and the happi. ness and misery of another as his own. We have before us also an authentic account* of a sort of Hindoo Quakers ;-a sect which is said to be numerous in the neighbourhood of Delhi. Such instances, even though they were rarer, certainly indicate a state of the public mind different from the torpid bigotry which bas been supposed universally to prevail.
There is another point on which we would not speak with much confidence, because although, as far as we can see, the facts are in our favour, all authority is, as far as it goes, against
We allude to the difficulty supposed to be presented by the singular Hindoo institution of castes. We have seen no proof that an Indian must needs lose caste, by embracing our religion, provided he will only avoid certain indifferent actions, which, though Christians are in the habit of performing them, are as well avoided as done. Let him but continue to eat rice by
* By W. H. Trant, Esq. a gentleman lately in the Company's service. He says,
The Saadhs utterly reject and abhors all kinds of idolatry; and the Ganges is considered by them with no greater veneration than by Christians. Ornament and gay apparel, of every kind, are strictly prohibited. Their dress is always white. They never make any obeisance or salam. They will not take an oath ; and they are exempted in the courts of justice, their asseveration being considered equivalent. The Saadhs profess to abstain from all luxuries; such as tobacco, pann, opium, and wine. They never have nauches or dancing. All attack on man ar beast is forbidden; but in self-defence resistance is allowed.
• Industry is strongly enjoined. The Saadhs take great care of their poor and infirm people. To receive assistance out of the “punt,” or tribe, would be reckoned disgraceful, and render the offender liable to excommunication,
All parade of worship is forbidden. Secret prayer is commended. Alins should be unostentatious; they are not to be done that they should be seen of men. The due regulation of the tongue is a principal duty.-The chief seats of the Saadh sect are Delhi, Agra, Jypore, and Furrukhabad; but there are several of the sect scattered over the country. An annual meeting takes place at one or other of the cities above-mentioned, at which the concerns of the sect are settled. The magistrate of Furrukhabad informed me, that he had found the Saadhs an orderly and well-conducted people. They are chiefly engaged in trade.
• Bhuwanee Dos was anxious to become acquainted with the Christian religion ; and I gave him some copies of the New Testament in Persian and Hindoostanee, which he said he had read, and shewn to his people, and much approved. I had no copy of the Old Testament in any language which he understood well; but, as he expressed a strong desire to know the account of the creation as given in it, I explained it to him from the Arabic Version, of which he knew a little. I promised to procure him a Persian or Hindoostanee Old Testament, if possible.'