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Remarks on the Author's denial of the possibility of obtaining real Converts to Christianity among the Natives of India.
THE late publication of the Abbé Dubois against Christian Missions in India, consists, according to the author's advertisement, of some letters, written by himself at different periods, to friends who had requested his opinion on the subjects therein discussed. In the first letter he states his unfavourable impression respecting the efforts made to evangelize the Hindoos, by proposing and answering two inquiries. "First,-Is there," says the Abbé," a possibility of making real converts to Christianity among the natives in India? Secondly, -Are the means employed for that purpose, and above all, the translation of the Holy Scriptures into the idioms of the country, likely to conduce to this desirable object?" (pp. 1, 2.)
The answer given to the first of these questions will be considered in this chapter.
"To both interrogatories," the author says, “I will answer in the negative: it is my decided opinion, first, that under existing circumstances there is no human possibility of converting the Hindoos to any sect of Christianity." (p. 2.)
The Abbé, it appears, replies to the question "in the negative." That is, he denies the possibility of making real converts to Christianity among the natives in India;" asserting, that "there is no human possibility of converting the Hindoos to any sect of Christianity."
This answer, the Christian reader will soon discover, contains in itself the elements of its own refutation. The author refers to human efforts. These may be considered in two points of view. First, such efforts as are unattended by the divine blessing: secondly, such as are accompanied by the influence of heaven.
If the Abbé refer to human efforts, unattended by the blessing of God, then his statement, that there is no human possibility of effecting the conversion of the Hindoos, is perfectly correct. It is a scriptural truth, maintained by the London Missionary Society, and all similar institutions with which I am acquainted. But then the conclusion, that there is no possibility of converting the Hindoos to Christianity, is utterly inadmis
sible, for the obvious reason, that human effort, attended by the gracious co-operation of the Divine Being, is abundantly sufficient to effect their conversion.
If, on the contrary, the author refer to human agency, accompanied by the influences of heaven, his assertion is entirely devoid of truth; for such agency is amply sufficient for the accomplishment of the object in question, and can easily achieve the conversion of the Hindoos.
The Abbé is, therefore, either in his conclusion, or in his premises, obviously and materially incorrect.
If the question be asked, which of the two modifications of human effort the author had in view in his answer as above quoted, I should apprehend he intended that which is unaccompanied by the blessing and co-operation of God. This I presume to be the case; first, because it is not to be supposed that he would have denied, in explicit words, the adequacy of divine grace, conjoined with human effort, to effect the conversion of the Hindoos; and in the next place, because, judging by the general tenor of his book, he appears to be very far from the habit of recognizing or contemplating the concurrence of divine and human agency in the work of evangelizing the heathen.
Whilst the simple proposition, that with God
all things are possible, and that the weapons of the missionary's warfare are mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds, casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God"--whilst this simple proposition is abundantly sufficient to overthrow that part of the author's argument discussed in this chapter, and upon which he appears materially to have relied, it also furnishes a complete refutation of several other statements which he has made, bearing similar marks of having their origin in a forgetfulness of the power and efficacy of divine grace. Some of these will be considered in the succeeding chapter.
Reply to the following representations contained in the Author's Letters; viz. That it is impossible
to convert the Hindoos to Christianity, because of the persecutions to which they would become exposed-because they are a people SUI GENERIS -and because the time for effecting their conversion has passed away.-That the successes reported by Missionaries have not really taken place.-That because the Roman Catholic Missionaries have failed, Protestant Missionaries must necessarily fail likewise, and―That the proposal made by the Rev. Mr. Ward to use means for the instruction of Hindoo Females was absurd.
In the preceding chapter it was intimated, that several representations contained in the Letters under consideration are proved to be incorrect, by the simple truth, that the blessing of heaven accompanying the efforts of Christian Missionaries, is abundantly sufficient to render those efforts successful, however great the difficulties found standing in the way.