« AnteriorContinuar »
the nature of the Gospel, the plain text of Scripture, the examples of Jesus Christ and his Apostles; and that, so far from being better adapted to the accomplishment of this design than any other means, they are, of all means, the least likely to make True Converts. This I have already done; and, therefore, their failure, instead of setting the matter at rest, and justifying the abandonment of India to its present state of ignorance, superstition, and vice, leads much more obviously to the conclusion, that the Almighty has purposely withheld His blessing from such human devices. And if we are to believe that God is faithful to His promises, to give unto His Son the Heathen for His inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession (Ps. ii. 8.), we must infer, from the failure of the Jesuits, that other means are to be used for the completing of His gracious purposes in the East.
THE NATURE OF THE MEANS WHICH PROTEST.
ANTS USE FOR THE CONVERSION OF THE
The Abbé Dubois admits, that Christianity will prove a great blessing, even where it effects not all the saving benefits which it is calculated and intended to produce (p. 81.) that its mere profession is much better than Idolatry (p. 82.)—and that, notwithstanding the infamous character of the generality of Native Christians (p. 63, &c.), he is “acquainted with many among them who are, in their morals, probity, and general behaviour, irreproachable men, enjoying the confidence even of the Pagans; and into whose hands I should not hesitate,” says he,“ to entrust my own interest:” (p. 83.) Seeing, then, that Christianity (of course he means as professed by Roman Catholics) is capable of operating, and actually has operated, in so beneficial a manner upon the Hindoos who have embraced it, can he have so little love for his Species, as to deny to any portion of them the
blessings which he has the opportunity of dispensing? Indeed, in a happier moment, he can say,
“ As a most sincere, and most undisguised Believer of the Divine Origin of the Christian Religion, and firmly persuaded that this Religion alone can render man happy:in this life and in that to come, my most earnest wishes have always been to see it believed and professed by all mankind, and extend its dominion, its mild and genial influence, all over the World, and among all Nations :” (p. 47.) Why, then, has he forsaken the Missionary Cause in the East, and done his part to deter others from entering upon the same undertaking? He will doubtless reply, as he has already said, because he thinks the Conversion of the Hindoos impracticable. Suppose this were conceded; yet his own admission, just cited, of the effect it is calculated to produce in the World, and which it has already produced in India, condemns his deliberate abandonment of that Idolatrous Land. Allowing, with him, that the Native Roman-Catholics are not True Christians, yet to effect even the minimum of good which he admits that they have derived from Christianity, is worth all the pains and expense bestowed upon them. But Protestant Missionaries, notwithstanding the con
temptuous manner in which M. Dubois speaks of them and their works (pp. 17.-21. 25, 26. 51, 52, &c.) have met with still better success; and I now proceed to explain the nature of the means they have used.
Their main instrument is the Bible. Though the Abbé seems amused at the idea of giving the Scripture to the Hindoos, and thinks it the least likely instrument to effect their Conversion, (pp. 1, 2, &c. &c.) yet I maintain, that it is the most effective that ever was, is, or can be, employed. For this purpose the Evangelists wrote their Gospels, and the Apostles their Epistles. The earliest. Missionaries of the Church of Christ translated the Bible into the languages of the Nations they endeavoured to convert. So far back as the Second Century, we have accounts of the Syriac, the Egyptian, the Ethiopic, and the Old Latin* Versions. In the next Century, Origen, and other Missionaries, translated and dispersed the Scriptures, in various Languages. Indeed, until the Papal Supremacy was established—when means more characteristic of Mahomedanism than Chris. tianity were used to convert Infidel Nations ; when Cardinals and Bishops were seen lead
This Translation is known by the name of “ The Tlalic.".
ing armies to the field, to extend the dominion of Christ by fire and sword-till then, the Translation of the Bible into the language of a country, in order to effect its conversion, was considered a measure of primary importance. And with reason : for that Blessed Book imparts knowledge that is able to make men wise unto salvation, and that in a manner adapted to every capacity. Though it contains Mysteries that are beyond the comprehension of the Learned-much more of the Illiterate-yet is there sufficient, that is calculated, at once to enlighten the understanding, arrest the attention, convict of sin, engage the affections, and, in a word, convert the soul to God: (Ps. xix. 7. Heb. iv. 12.) This then, if any thing, is adapted to rouse the Hindoo from his mental apathy, and quicken him in the paths of life.
When it is considered, also, that the Bible is the only Revelation of the Nature and the Will of God ever vouchsafed to man; that it contains all the information which we have of Him who was sent to be" a Light to lighten the Gentiles;" there can be no question, in the unprejudiced mind, about the necessity, and the duty, of giving the prece dency to this, among the various means used for the Conversion of the Heathen: for the