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“I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now."
Hindostan is a country, of which nearly 3-5ths of the inhabitants are Hindoos, and 2-5ths Moosulmans. Although the professors of neither of these religions are possessed of such accomplishments as are enjoyed by Europeans in general, yet the latter portion are well known to be firmly devoted to a belief in one God, which has a been instilled into their minds from their infancy. The former (I mean the Hindoos) are, with a few exceptions, immersed in gross idolatry, and in belief of the most extravagant descriptions respecting futurity, antiquity, and the miracles of their deities and saints, as banded down to them and recorded in their ancient books. Weighing these circumstances, and anxious, from his long experience of religious controversy with natives, to avoid further disputation with them, the Compiler selected those precepts of Jesus, the obedience to which he believed most peculiarly required of a Christian, and such as could by no means tend, in doctrine, to excite the religious horror of Mohummedans, or the scoffs of Hindoos. What benefit or peace of mind can we bestow upon a Moosulman, who is an entire stranger to the Christian world, by communicating to hiin without preparatory instruction all the peculiar dogmas of Christianity : such as those contained in ver. 1st, chap. Ist, of St. John, “ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God?” Would they not find them
selves at a loss to reconcile this dogma to their unprepared understandings, viz. A. is B., and A. is also with B.? Although the interpretations given us of such texts by truly learned and candid divines be ever so satisfactory, yet, to those that are strangers to these explanations, they.cannot be intelligible ; nor can it be expected from the order of things, that each can happily find at hand an able interpreter, to whom he can have recourse for an explanation, whenever he may be involved in difficulties or doubts. But as a great number of Missionary gentlemen may perhaps view the matter in a different light, and join the Editor of the Friend of India, in accusing the Compiler as an injurer of the cause of truth, I doubt not that with a view to avoid every possibility of such imputation, and to prevent others from attributing their ill success to his interference with their duties, he would gladly abstain from publishing again on the same subject, if he could see in past experience any thing to justify hopes of their success. From what I have already stated, I hope no one will imfer that I feel ill-disposed towards the Missionary establishments in this country. This is tar from being the case. I pray for their augmentation, and that their members may remain in the happy enjoyment of life in a climate so generally inimical to European constitutions ; for in proportion to the increase of their numbers, sobriety, moderation, temperance, and good behaviour, have been diffused among their neighbours as the necessary consequences
of their company, conversation, and good example.
[7.] The Reviewer charges the Compiler with inconsistency, (p. 27.) because he has termed the precepts collected by him, a code of religion and morality, while, as the Reviewersupposes, they form only a code of morality and not of religion. It is already explained in paragraph 2d, that the Compiler has introduced those precepts of Jesus under the denomination of the moral sayings of the New Testament, taking the word moral in its wide sense, as including our conduct to God, to each other, and to ourselves ; and to avoid the least possibility of misunderstanding the term, he has carefully particularized the sense in which he accepted that word by the latter sentence, “ This simple code of Religion and Morality, (meaning by the former, those precepts which treat of our duty to God, and by the latter, such as relate to our duties to mankind and to ourselves,) is so admirably calculated to elevate men's ideas to high and liberal notions of one God,” &c. “and is also so well fitted to regulate the conduct of the human race in the discharge of their various duties to God, to themselves, and to society," &c. In conforinity to the design thus expressed, he has collected all the sayings that have a tendency to those ends. The Compiler, however, observes with regret, that neither this language nor this fact, has afforded to the Reviewer satistactory evidence of his intention, nor sufficed to save him from the unexpected imputation of inconsistency.
The Reviewer again (page 29.) charges the Compiler with inconsistency, in having introdu
ced some doctrinal passages into his compilation. In reply to which, I again entreat the attention of the respected Reviewer to that passage in the Introduction, in which the Compiler states the motives that have led him to exclude certain parts of the gospels from his publication. He there states, that it is on account of these passages being such as were the ordinary foundation of the arguments of the opponents of Christianity, or the sources of the interminable controversies that have led to heart-burnings and even bloodshed amongst Christians, that they were not included in his selection ; and they were omitted the more readily, as he considered them not essential to religion. But such dogmas, or doctrinal and other passages, as are not exposed to these objections, and are not unfamiliar to the minds of those for whose benefit the compilation was intended, are generally included, in conformity with the avowed plan of the work—particularly such as seem calculated to direct our love and obedience to the beneficent Author of the universe, and to him whom he graciously sent to deliver those Precepts of Religion and Morality, whose tendency is to
, promote universal peace and harmony.
8. In objecting to the assertion made by the Compiler in the Introduction as to a belief in the existence of God prevailing generally, the respected Reviewer advances three arguments :- 1st, That millions of people believe in a plurality of Gods. 2dly, That the majority of those enlightened persons who deny the truth of the Jewish
and Christian Revelation are Atheists. 3dly, That the very system of the Vedant, which denies to God his moral attributes, is a refined and disguised Atheism. I certainly admit that a great number of men, and even men of profound learning and extensive abilities, are, owing to their early education, literally sunk in Polytheism, an absurd and irrational system of religion. But the admission of a plurality of Gods does not amount to the denial of Godhead. A man, for instance, cannot be accused of having no notion of mankind, because he is proved to believe in the existence of a plurality of individuals. The Reviewer ought therefore, to have confined himself to the remark, the truth of which will be readily admitted, that there are millions of people ignorant of the Unity of God; the only doctrine consistent with reason and revelation. The astonishing eagerness of the learned amongst those whose practice and language are polytheistical, to prefer their claim to be considered as Monotheists, is a strong evidence of the consistency of the system of Monotheism with reason. Debased and despicable as is the belief of the Hindoos in three hundred and thirty millions of gods, they pretend to reconcile this persuasion with the doctrine of the Unity of God; alleging that the three hundred and thirty millions of gods, whom they enumerate, are subordinate agents, assuming various offices in preserving the harmony
of the universe under one Godhead, as innumerable rays issue from one sun.
. I am at a loss to trace the origin of this second argument, impua la force