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Wellesley, to endeavour to lead the attention of the nation to the subject. That publication has now been five years before the public; and many volumes have been written on the various subjects which it contains; but he does not know that any objection has been made to the principle of an Ecclesiastical Establishment for Christians in India. An attempt has been made indeed to divert the attention from the true object, and, instead of considering it as an establishment for Christians, to set it forth as an establishment for instructing the Hindoos. But the instruction of the Hindoos is entirely a distinct consideration, as was carefully noted in the Memoir. At the end of the first part is the following paragraph :
“ It will be remembered, that nothing which “ has been observed is intended to imply that
any peculiar provision should be made immediately for the instruction of the natives.
Any expensive establishment of this kind, " however becoming our national character, or
obligatory' on our principles, cannot possibly « be organized to efficient purpose, without the 66.aid of a local Church. Let us first establish
our own religion amongst ourselves, and our “ Asiatic subjects will soon benefit by it. When “ once our national Church shall have been % confirmed in India, the members of that Church
“ will be the best qualified to advise the state,
as to the means by which, from time to time, " the civilization of the natives may be pro“ moted."*
An Ecclesiastical Establishment would yet be necessary for British India, if there were not a Mahomedan or Hindoo in the land. For, besides the thousands of British Christians, who live and die in that country, there are hundreds of thousands of native Christians, who are at this moment " as sheep without a shepherd;" and who are not insensible to their destitute estate, but supplicate our countenance and protection. Surely the measure cannot be contemplated by the Legislature, for a moment, without perceiving its absolute propriety, on the common principles of justice and humanity.
In regard to the other subject, the instruction of the Hindoos, many different opinions have been delivered in the volumes alluded to, the most prominent of which are the two following: First, that Hinduism is, upon the whole, as good as Christianity, and that therefore conversion to Christianity is not necessary. This deserves no reply. The second opinion is, that it is indeed a
* Memoir, p. 20.
sacred duty to convert the Hindoos, but that we must not do it by force. With this opinion the Author perfectly coincides. To convert men by any other means than those of persuasion, is a practice fit only for the Inquisition, and completely at variance with the tenor of every page which he has written. The means of conversion, which he has recommended, are those which are appointed in the Holy Scriptures, namely, “ Preaching, and the Word of God.” The first and present means are the translation of the word of God into the various languages; and the next are the labours of teachers and preachers.
The Author is not, nor has he ever been, the advocate for force and personal injury toward the Hindoos. No: he pleads the cause of humanity. The object of his work, and of his Researches, has been to deliver the people of Hindoostan from painful and sanguinary rites; to rescue the devoted victim from the wheels of Moloch's Tower ; to snatch the tender infant from the jaws of the alligator; to save the aged parent from premature death in the Ganges; to extinguish the flames of the female sacrifice, and to “cause the widow's heart to sing for joy.”
Another object of his work has been, to shew, that while the feelings of the Christian are pain
fully affected by the exhibition of these sufferings and atrocities, Infidelity, on the other hand, can behold them, and does behold them, with all the coldness and apathy of Voltaire. And this is the great practical triumph of Christianity over philosophical unbelief. While by the former, the best feelings of our nature are meliorated, and improved, and softened, and extended; they become by the influence of the latter, sullen, and cold, and torpid, and dead.
The remaining opinion on this subject, which is worthy of notice, is the following: “The “ conversion of the Hindoos to Christianity is “ indeed a solemn obligation, if practicable : “ but the attempt may possibly displease the
Hindoos, and endanger our Empire.” This fear is grounded solely on an ignorance of facts, and on the remoteness of the scene. Christianity began to be preached to Hindoos by Europeans, 300 years ago, and whole provinces are now covered with Christians. In the present endeavours of Protestant Missionaries, the chief difficulty which they generally experience is to awaken the mind of the torpid Hindoos to the subject. They know that every man may chuse the religion he likes best, and profess it with impunity; that he may lose his cast and buy a cast again, as he buys an article of merchandize. There are a hundred casts of religion in Hindoostan; and there is no common interest about a particular religion. When one native meets another on the road, he seldom expects to find that he is of the same cast with himself. They are a divided people. Hindoostan is like the great world in miniature ; when you pass a great river or lofty mountain, you generally find a new variety. Some persons in Europe think it must be a novelty to the Hindoos to sec a Missionary. There have been for ages past, numerous casts of Missionaries in Hindoostan, Pagan, Mahomedan, and Christian, all-seeking to proselyte individuals to a new religion, or to some new sect of an old one. The difficulty, as the Author has already observed, in regard to the Protestant Teachers, is to awaken attention to their doctrine.*
The general indifference of the natives to
* In fact, there is scarcely one point in their mythological religion that the whole race of Hindus have faith in. There are sectaries and schismatics without end, who will believe only certain points that others abjure : individuals of those sects dissent from the doctrines believed by the majority : other philosophical sceptics will scarcely believe any thing, in opposition to their easy-faithed brethren, who disbelieve othing --Hence may, in part, be discerned the liability under which inquirers labour, of being misled by sectaries into receiving