« السابقةمتابعة »
the Armenian Bible, and employ proper persons from among themselves to superintend the work, and encourage them to disperse their own faithful copy throughout the East.
Let us shew then, that the diffusion of the Scriptures is an undertaking to which we are not indifferent; and, by our example, let us stimulate their zeal, which is very languid. But, however languid their zeal may be, it is certain that they consider the English as being yet more dead to the interests of religion, than themselves. Such a subject as this, indeed every subject which is of great importance to Christianity, is worthy the notice of our Government, as well as of individuals and societies. The printing press, which shall be employed in multiplying copies of the pure Arinenian Bible, will prove a rich and precious fountain for the evangelization of the East; and the Oriental Bible Repository, at Calcutta, will be a central and convenient place for its dispersion.
DOCTRINES OF REVELATION.
In passing through the regions of the East, and surveying the various religious systems which prevail, the mind of the Christian traveller cannot fail to be impressed with the strong resemblance which some of them bear to doctrines which are familiar to him. However varied or disguised they may be, there are yet some strong lines, which constantly recall his thoughts to the doctrines of revelation, and seem to point to a common origin.
The chief and distinguishing doctrines of Scripture may be considered the four following : viz. The Trinity in Unity; the Incarnation of the Deity; a Vicarious Atonement for Sin; and the influence of the Divine Spirit on the mind of man. Now if we should be able to prove, that all these are represented in the
systems of the East, will any man venture to affirm that it happens by chance ?
1. The doctrine of the TRINITY. The Hindoos believe in one God, Brahma; and yet they represent him as subsisting in three persons : and they worship one or other of these persons in every part of India.* And what
proves distinctly that they hold this doctrine is, that their most ancient representations of the Deity is formed of one body, and three faces. The most remarkable of these is that at the caves of Elephanta, in an island near Bombay. The author visited it in the year 1808 ; nor has he seen any work of art in the East, which he contemplated with greater wonder. Whether considered with respect to its colossal size, its great antiquity, the beauty of the sculpture, or the excellence of the preservation. From causes which cannot now be known, the Hindoos have long ceased to worship at this Temple. Each of the faces of the Triad is about five feet in length.
* Le commun des Indiens n'adore qu'une seule de ces trois divinitès : mais quelques Savans addressent encore leurs prieres
aux trois réunis.--Il y a même des Temples entierement “consacrés à cette espéce de Trinite; ". (such as Perpenad in Travancore.) Sonnerat, Vol. 1, 151.
The whole of the statue, and the spacious Temple which contains it, is cut out of the solid rock of the mountain. The Hindoos assign to these works an immense antiquity, and attribute the workmanship to the Gods. The Temple of Elephanta is certainly one of the wonders of the world, and is, perhaps, a grander effort of the ingenuity of man, than the Pyramids of Egypt.*
* Extract of a letter from the author to W. T. Money, Esq. Bombay.
“ Honourable Company's Ship Charlton,
off Goa, Feb. 26, 1808. “ DEAR SIR, * When I visited the Elephanta last week, and compared it with the accounts of former travellers, I perceived that the ex, cavated temple and figures were in a state of progressive dilapidation; and it seems to me probable, that when a few more pillars shall have fallen in, the whole excavation will be overwhelmed in the ruin of the super-incumbent mountain. If I may offer an opinion on the means of preservation which are practicable, I would suggest,
“ That the dilapidated pillars be rebuilt entire of hewn stones in three blocks, of granite of the mountain, after the original model; the decayed bases of the columns, still standing, to be strongly cased with the same stone; and the broken limbs of the figures to be restored, after the authority of the drawings and descriptions of the first travellers. The floor to be cleared
Whence then have the Hindoos derived the idea of a TRIUNE God? It should seem as if
of rubbish, which, in some places, is two foot deep, that the continuity of the rock with the bases of the columns, may appear.
“ The modern wall, inclosing the front,to be taken down, to throw more light on the body of the place, and a slight railing substituted at a greater distance.
Steps to be cut in the rock for easy descent to the cold well of sweet water. The jungle in front of the cave, and about its edges, to be cleared, and the aperture of the mountain, on each side, enlarged, to give more air and light.
“ The old ELEPHANT himself on the side of the hill, to be renewed, and a young elephant placed on his back, agreeably to the first drawings. These drawings I can send you from Europe, if you cannot procure them in India.
“ And, lastly, an appropriate building to be erected on the sea side, for the accommodation of visitors. Here
be de posited, for the immediate reference of travellers, those volumes which contain the notices and opinions of the learned, concerning Elephanta. This building might be occupied by the military guard, which the Bombay government has recently stationed on the island to preserve the cavern from further injury
“ Other improvements will suggest theinselves to you on the spot. To preserve to future ages this grand monument of ancient sculpture, (the worship of which has been long relinquished) is, I think, a commendable undertaking. Every Christian traveller can assign a reason for wishing that an emblem of a Trinity in Unity existing in an ancient beathen nation, should remain entire during the ages of the world."