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hope neither the Reviewer nor the Editor can be justified in inferring the heathenism of the Compiler, from the facts of his extracting and publishing the moral doctrines of the New Testament, under the title of “ A Guide to Peace and Happiness” -his styling the Precepts of Jesus, a code of religion and morality-bis believing God to be the author and preserver of the universe-or his considering those sayings as adapted to regulate the conduct of the whole human race in the discharge of all the duties required of them.
Neither, I trust, can his separating the moral sayings of Christ from the inysterious dogmas and historical parts of the New Testament, under the impression, that these are liable to the doubts and disputes of freethinkers and anti-christians, with which this part of the world is unfortunately filled; nor his opinion that this simple code of morality would be more likely to attract the notice and respect of such men, and to guide their minds into the paths of peace and happiness, than if presented to them in conjunction with other matter against which their education has taught them to revolt ; justly subject him, in the opinion of the most orthodox Christians, to the epithet applied to him by the Editor. If they do, I cannot see how the same condemnation can be spared to numerous publications of extracts from the Old and the New Testaments, made and sent forth by several Christian authors, under various designations, and for different purposes.
With respect to the latter mode of seeking evidence, however unjustified the Editor may be in coming to such a conclusion, he is safe in ascribing the collection of these Precepts to Rammohun Roy ; who, although he was born a Brahmun, not only renounced idolatry at a very early period of his life, but published at that time a treatise in Arabic and Persian against that system ; and no sooner acquired a tolerable knowledge of English, than he made his desertion of idol worship known to the Christian world by his English publication—a renunciation that, I am sorry to say, brought severe difficulties upon him, by exciting the displeasure of his parents, and subjecting him to the dislike of his near, as well as distant relations, and to the hatred of nearly all his countrymen for several years. I therefore presume, that among his declared enemies, who are aware of those facts, no one who has the least pretension to truth, would venture to apply the designation of heathen to him; but I am sure, that the respect he entertains for the very name of Christianity, which the Editor of the Friend of India seems to profess, will restrain him from retorting on that Editor, although there may be differences of opinion between them, that might be thought sufficient to justify the use towards the Editor of a term no less offensive. The Editor perhaps may consider himself justified by numerous precedents amongst the several partisans of different Christian sects, in applying the name of
heathen to one who takes the Precepts of Jesus as his principal guide in matters of religious and civil duties; as Roman Catholics bestow the appellation of heretics or infidels on all classes of Protestants, and Protestants do not spare the title of idolators to Roman Catholics; Trinitarians deny the name of Christian to Unitarians, while the latter retort by stigmatizing the worshippers of the Son of man as Pagans, who adore a created and dependent Being. Very different conduct is inculcated in the precept of Jesus to John, when complaining of one who performed cures in the name of Jesus, yet refused to follow the apostles :-he gave a rebuke, saying,
“ He that is not against us is on our part :" Mark, ch. ix. ver. 40. The Compiler, having obviously in view at least one object in common with the Reviewer and Editor, that of procuring respect for the precepts of Christ, might have reasonably expected more charity from professed teachers of his doctrines.
The Compiler of the Precepts of Jesus, will, however, I doubt not give preference to the guidance of those Precepts, which justify no retaliation even upon enemies, to the hasty suggestions of human passions, and the example of the Editor of the Friend of India.
2. The Editor of the Friend of India, and the respected Reviewer, both not only disapprove absolutely the plan adopted by the Compiler in separating the moral doctrines of the books of the
New Testament ascribed to the four Evangelists from the mysteries and historical matters therein contained, but even blame him as an injurer of the cause of truth ; and for such disapprobation they assign several reasons: first, The Reviewer says, the supposition of the moral sayings being sufficient for salvation, independent of the dogmas, is, (as he notes in page 27,) radically false ; and that it is presumption of him (the Compiler) to think himself qualified to judge, independently of the Divine Teacher, what sort of instruction is advantageous for the happiness of mankind. If, indeed, the Reviewer understands by the word moral, what relates to conduct only with reference to man, it cannot apply to those precepts of Jesus, that teach the duty of man to God; which, however, the Reviewer will find included in the collection of the Precepts of Jesus by the Compiler : but a slight attention to the scope of the Introduction might have convinced the Reviewer, that the sense in which the word moral is there used, whether rightly or otherwise, is quite general, and applies equally to our conduct in religious as in civil matters. Without attaching this meaning to the term moral doctrines, the whole of the concluding sentence must appear absurd, where it is said, “ This simple code is well fitted to regulate the conduct of the human race in the discharge of their various duties to God, to themselves, and to society.” This assertion is corroborated and supported by a great number of pas
sages in the treatise in question, which point out the appropriate mode of performing our duty to the Almighty Power. It is, however, too true to be denied, that the Compiler of those moral precepts separated them from some of the dogmas and other matters, chiefly under the supposition, that they alone were a sufficient guide to secure peace and happiness to mankind at large—a position that is entirely founded on and supported by the express authorities of Jesus of Nazareth-a denial of which would imply a total disavowal of Christianity. Some of those authorities, as found amongst these precepts, here follow: Matthew, ch. xxii. beginning with ver. 37: “ Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38. This is the first and great commandment. 39. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40. ON THESE TWO COMMANDMENTS HANG ALL THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS." Mark, ch. xii. beginning with ver. 29 : “ And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord. 30. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. This is the first commandment. 31. And the second is LIKE, namely this : Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: there is no other commandment greater than these. . 32. And he said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth ;