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himself, and, for aught we can find, he may worship and believe as he will, without becoming an outcast, or exposing himself to any inconvenience other than christians are in the habit of encountering, when they happen to profess an unpopular opinion. Abstractly, it would no doubt be more reasonable and agreeable to eat in christian company; but under the circumstances, it would certainly be expedient and right to forego this satisfaction, rather than lose one's standing in society, and thus forfeit the opportunity of influencing others to embrace christian truth. Will it be said that such conduct would be a guilty unfaithfulness to the Gospel, and concession to an idolatrous faith? Doubtless it would be so, if unexplained; but not if such an interpretation of it were expressly disowned. This is actually the case of Rammohun Roy. He abjures and ridicules the popular super: stition. He calls the master of christians his. Saviour and King;' the divine teacher;' &c. and he professes that he has no objection to eat and live like christians,' and only refrains from it in order not to expose himself to the imputation of having changed his religion, for the good things of this world. Still, since he does thus refrain, he does not come under the condemnation of the law; and the Surya whom he meets, as he goes to his devotions in a christian church, prostrates himself before bim as low as ever. As to the ordinances, we are not aware that, in the view of his religion, a Hindoo would contract any ritual stain by receiving christian baptism ; indeed, from the Baptists' record of the manner in which their converts broke caste, we apprehend it would not be so. For European and Hindoo christians to unite in the celebration of the Lord's Supper, would, no doubt, be abstractly more conformable to the spirit of our religion; but there might be reasons to justify the latter in solemnizing it wholly among themselves, and in so doing they would at least not break the unity of the church more than several communities of christians, who, for far less sufficient causes, refuse their fellowship to their fellow believers. In short, though, as we have said, we speak it with diffidence, we have seen nothing to satisfy us, that the adoption, by a Hindoo, of the religious opinions and practices of any sect of christians, involves any civil incapacity ; nor even that a college of Brahmins, if they will but avoid offences of the class of inhaling a fly, or looking behind them when they first awake, may not teach with impunity any opinions, the most opposite to the Brahminical theology, and be aided by the hereditary authority, which their rank confers, in striking away the false foundations on which it rests.
We do not then despond concerning the religious prospects of this interesting country ; not even after seeing the recent state
ment of one, who has laboured there as a missionary more than thirty years ; that, there is not, at present, in the country more than a third of the christians, who were to be found in it eighty years ago ; and this number diminishes every day, by frequent apostacy. We do not know that the work of the Abbé Dubois, in which this is asserted, has yet reached this country. We have seen no more than a few extracts from it in an English newspaper. They express very emphatically his opinion :-first, that under existing circumstances, there is no human possibility of converting the Hindoos to any sect of christianity; and, secondly, that the translation of the Holy Scriptures, circulated among them, so far from conducing to this end, will, on the contrary, increase the prejudices of the natives against the christian religion, and prove in many respects detrimental to it.' We are anxious to learn what his work contains, to substantiate these views ; but we cannot but think that the latter sentiment, at least, is in part to be ascribed to his prejudices as a Catholic ; and aš to the former, we are so far from expecting that Hindoos will be converted to any thing which the Abbé Dubois would call christianity, that we were at some pains in our last number to show, what he affirms, that it is impossible. It is in the very particular, we conceive, which distinguishes all the forms of orthodox from pure christianity, that the insurmountable obstacle lies. But with the example before us, of one learned Hindoo, who has studied his way to christianity without a guide, and with the knowledge that the corrupt form, in which it is commonly exhibited, has been the foundation of the ostensible objections of
many more, we cannot allow that the conversion of Hindoos to our faith is impossible.
It is, at any rate, a striking fact that at this period, when, by the immense labours of several years, the Christian scriptures have been extensively circulated through this great country, there have met in its capital, on the solid ground of the true Christian theology, two men, the one coming from the shadowy region of heathenism, the other,* from that of orthodoxy; the one, combining to a remarkable degree the advantages which give influence over his unbelieving countrymen, with such a knowledge of their character, as acquaints him how to address them with success; the other, possessing such advantages, as may be derived from European birth, and experience of Christian society; one an eminent philosopher, and both firm and upright men, as the price they have paid for their independent pursuit and
* Mr. Adam, the Baptist missionary, of whom we gave some account in our last Number.
maintenance of truth sufficiently evinces. That they are not lukewarm, there is satisfactory evidence before the public; their situation is the most favourable for such attempts as two individuals may make, towards supplanting the prevalent idolatry by that Gospel of Christ, which is the power of God unto salvation;' and it is impossible not to hope that, thus circumstanced, they are designed for instruments of some important good.
With such as believe that in that religion, which is at length to bless all the families of the earth, there is nothing which renders it incommunicable to Hindoos, and that there are already indications of a degree of preparation for receiving it, it cannot but be a question, what may be done to hasten a consummation so devoutly to be wished. It must be owned that the proper way to convert unbelievers to Christianity, is to present its evi. dence fully to their minds; and, prejudiced as they may be supposed to be, this will need to be done with considerable ability, considerable distinctness and force. Again; this evidence will need to be laid before minds so accustomed to reasoning, as to be able to estimate its weight. It is to little purpose to offer it to such as are not prepared to understand it; and still more hopeless does the attempt become, when the subjects of it are in abject bondage to the authority of their superiors' opinions. For these reasons, we think that the missionaries have made an injudicious selection of subjects for their enterprize, when they have addressed themselves to the lower castes of India. These are fastened to their superstitions by their extreme ignorance, and the slavish subjection of their minds. The authority of a Brahmin is infinitely more to them than the most cogent reasons. The Brahmins, on the contrary, can weigh an argument, and, strong opposition as their interests may make, there is no deference for authority to occupy their minds, and incapacitate them for being convinced. The difficulty of making an impressiou on them, would in this main particular be less; and an impression made on them, would be made on the whole people. When the claims of Christianity therefore, are to be presented to adult idolaters of this nation, it is the Brahmins, we think, that ought to be addressed, but not by men so incompetent to plead any cause, as many of the Missionaries who have been sent to India; nor by men who have such a cause to plead, as all of them have hitherto erroneously maintained, instead of Christianity. Monstrous as are the riddles, which the Brahmins uphold for truth, we bave before had occasion to observe, that they are deficient neither in logical shrewdness por practice, and when they seriously undertake to weigh an argument, they know how to sift it scrupulously. If then the evidences of our religion can be
best laid before them by the voice of a living missionary, it must be by one who is master of his subject, and able to exhibit it justly, and maintain it against them on solid grounds of argument. He must have good sense enough, not to offend them by pertinacious importunity, still less by denunciations, which cannot but seem arrogance, except as far as they are sustained by the impression which his reasoning has made. He must also be a man of great resources, and readiness, or his incompetency or hesitation will be construed into an evidence of some flaw in his cause ; of great address and calmness, or he will overlook his opportunities, or be provoked to imprudence; of great energy and zeal, or he will find enough to discourage him. The world does not furnish many such missionaries at a time; but if it did, whether the object could best be attained by such agency, might still be made a question. In these studious times, a speculative community is apt to change its opinions, in consequence rather of what it reads, than what it hears. The press has greatly invaded the province of the tongue, and performs some of its offices better. The knowledge which, of old, a scholar must make a distant voyage to extract from its possessor by personal intercourse, he now collects at leisure from his writings. The difficult affairs of nations are settled more by the correspondence, than the colloquies of those to whom they are entrusted ; and he who wishes to make even his neighbours of his own mind, on a subject of any intricacy, addresses them rather in a pamphlet, than a speech. Those who cannot read, it is true, must needs be addressed by the voice; and therefore, if there were a possibility of evangelizing a barbarous country, such as Caffraria or Greenland, in any other way than by educating its youth, if adult subjects were to be addressed at all, preaching would be, without an alternative, the method of conducting such an attempt. It has also under all circumstances, its distinctive and most important use.
The preaching of the word fills a large space, which there is nothing else to supply, in the instrumental department of our religion.
But we think it will not be found the most convenient vehicle for the exhibition to inquisitive men, of an argument so detailed, extensive, and in some respects complicated, as that which establishes the claims of Christianity. There are points in it, which in order to arrive at the absolute conviction they are able to communicate, an accurate observer will wish often and attentively to consider ; to trace their several evidences, and view them in various aspects and relations; and this a book will aid bim to do better than a preacher, and in some respects better than a companion. A book moreover makes no demand, and so excites no opposition in the proud or disputa
tious. The great demand for a preacher will begin when, acquiescing in the authority of the Christian faith, a person becomes a subject for christian exhortation.
We thi:sk, then, that any important revolution in the religious belief of Hindoos will begin with the Brahmins; that whoever among them shall embrace Christianity will do it because he sees good reasons; and that those reasons will for the most part be best exhibited to them in the writings of sensible and learned Christians, in the original, or in translations. From a volume of Paley in such circulation as might not improbably be found for it in Hindoostan, we confess we should look for a result not unworthy to be compared with that of the exertions of our whole Bombay mission. "We cannot forbear in conclusion to urge the likelihood that the writings of the best Christian apologists and expositors might be so disposed in India as essentially to serve the all-important cause of the diffusion of our faith.
We are not it is true, (like the Bombay society in one of our western counties, which is said to have made a considerable shipment of cotton to that province) to think of assuming the character of givers of alms to men, many of whom with their annual income would double the worth of the most valuable of our libraries. But by the aid of an individual possessing such facilities and so engaged in the object as Mr. Adam, we have no doubt that proper me. thods might be adopted to obtain no inconsiderable currency, for such books as we have described ; and, with a large and well selected library of such at his disposal, we should hope for better results than if every volume were an orthodox missionary.
[The following extract of a Letter from a friend dated London, April 2, 1823, con
tains some interesting particulars relating to the well known philanthropic en
terprize of Mrs. Fry.] A Few days ago I went to Newgate to see Mrs. Fry, and the female prisoners under her care; and never have I been more pleased and affected. What she has accomplished is truly marvellous. I saw forty or fifty of those poor creatures neat, quiet and industrious ; instead of being idle, riotous and filthy. I saw them listening to the Bible read and expounded to them by Mrs. Fry with deeper and more unaffected interest than any congre