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priest-ridden; in none had it to oppose a system of cunning and priestcraft so deeply laid, and so well calculated to baffle all the attempts of that divine religion to gain a solid footing ; but, above all, in no country had it to encounter any difficulty resembling that baneful division of the people into castes, which (whatever may be its advantages in other respects) has always proved, and will ever prove, an insurmountable bar to its progress.” (p. 97.) “Let us also consider the wide difference which exists, in many other respects, between the Hindoos and the other nations of the world, and let this consideration teach us not to be misled in this matter by precedents, or by arguments à pari, or à fortiori.” (p. 98.)
God said to Abraham “ Is any thing too hard for the Lord ?" The Abbé's argument virtually gives a reply--Yes; the conversion of a Hindoo, especially of a Bramin, is a thing too hard for him. The truth is, that if the chains which hold the Hindoos were twice as numerous and as powerful, as in fact they are, the simple principle, that with God all things are possible, renders their conversion practicable; and his blessing on the means appointed by himself, and employed by his servants, is abundantly sufficient to reduce the Hindoos, as well as any other nation in the world, to the “ obedience of faith.”
The author argues, that further efforts to evangelize India should be abandoned, because the time of conversion has passed away, and, under existing circumstances, there remains no possibility to bring it back.” (p. 42.) This argument is now also easily refuted. The ready solution is, that God still exists, and is yet able, by blessing the labours of his servants, to convert the inhabitants of India, whenever he thinks fit so to do.
The author is sceptical whether real success has attended the efforts, not only of Roman Catholic, but of Protestant Missionaries likewise. He says, “Respecting the new Missionaries of several sects, who have of late years made their appearance in the country, you may rest assured, as far as my information on the subject goes, that notwithstanding the pompous reports made by several among them, all their endeavours to make converts have till now proved abortive, and that their successes are only to be seen on paper.” (p. 21.) The Abbé's scepticism may be accounted for, by noticing how much he loses sight of the efficacy of God's grace, and the power of the Almighty to crown the efforts of his servants with success. Scepticism is the necessary result of an abstract meditation on the inability of the merely human agent. The antidote to this suspicion and hesitation, is a firm belief and steady contempla
tion of the power of divine grace on the heart, and the ability of the Lord Jesus Christ to save to the uttermost all who come unto God by him.
The author argues, that because the Roman Catholic Missionaries have failed, therefore all Protestant labourers must, à fortiori, fail likewise. His reasoning is as follows: “If any of the several modes of Christian worship were calculated to make an impression, and gain ground in the country, it is, no doubt, the Catholic form, which you Protestants call an idolatry in disguise : it has a Pooga or sacrifice; (the mass is termed by the Hindoos Pooga, literally, sacrifice;) it has processions, images, statues, tirtan or holy-water, fasts, tittys or feasts, and prayers for the dead, invocation of saints, &c., all which practices bear more or less resemblance to those in use among the Hindoos. Now, if even such a mode of worship is become so objectionable to the natives, can it be reasonably expected that any one of the simple Protestant Sects will ever prosper among them ?" (Page 18.)
The reader, remembering that success entirely hinges upon Divine co-operation, will not deem the failure of such a modification of Christianity, as that above alluded to, a sufficient cause for despair; for who can with truth affirm that he is sure, that even if unadulterated Christianity should be exhibited to the natives of India, God
would nevertheless turn away his face, and withhold his blessing? Protestants, therefore, who obey that commandment, upon which God lays especial stress, namely, " Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image,” need not, it is submitted, despair of the divine favour, nor consequently of success.
The author complains that he himself has failed, after a persevering effort of two and thirty years. This also needs not stagger us, for it does not seem surprising that if a missionary in India should be found looking for success from human policy and power, God should teach him his impotency, and his error, by leaving him to reap disappointment as the issue of his most strenuous exertions. The Abbé, in his Preface, thus gives a brief outline both of his labours and his disappointment.
1,6 The author has endeavoured to state (as well as his very imperfect acquaintance with the English language has enabled him to do) with freedom, candour, and siinplicity, the desperateness of such an attempt. His notions on the subject are derived from an experience of thirty-two years of confidential and quite unrestrained intercourse among the natives of India, of all castes, religions, and ranks ; during which, in order to win their confidence, and remove suspicion, as far as possible, he has constantly lived like them,
embracing their manners, customs, and most of their prejudices, in his dress, his diet, their rules of civility and good breeding, and their mode of intercourse in the world. But the restraints under which he has lived during so long a period of his life, have proved of no advantage to him in promoting the sacred cause in which he was engaged as a religious teacher. During that time he has vainly, in his exertions to promote the cause of Christianity, watered the soil of India with his sweats, and many times with his tears, at the sight of the quite insurmountable obduracy of the people he had to deal with ; ready to water it with his blood, if his doing so had been able to overcome the invincible resistance he had to encounter every where, in his endeavours to disseminate some gleams of the evangelical light. Every where the seeds sown by him have fallen upon a naked rock, and have instantly died away.
“ At length, entirely disgusted at the total inutility of his pursuits, and warned by his
hair that it was full time to think of his own concerns, he has returned to Europe, to pass in retirement the few days he may still have to live, and get ready to give in his account to his Redeemer.” (pp. vi. vii.)
I know not how it may appear to the Reader's mind; I confess it strikes my own, that if the