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those retired spots where there is no need of cooperation, and where the heart must be trained to seek for no support from human sympathy and encouragement. Constantly, too, must they be employed in selfculture ; and when we discern distant and extensive objects, these should not lead us away from the discipline of the heart within. While, however, the altar is raised there, its glowing flames will not dart upwards without diffusing some light and heat to others : and if we possess that knowledge which is 'life eternal', and ourselves know the only true God and him whom he hath sent', it cannot but be our desire that others also may possess those records of divine truth which are able to make them wise unto salvation'.
While many of our christian brethren were contemplating with intense earnestness, and costfully promoting, the efforts made by Missionaries of their own denomination, to spread the Gospel among the Hindoos—as it appeared to us with little success, or, on the system they adopted, well-grounded hope,* the attention of the Unitarians in England and America began to be arrested by the information which came to us from various quarters, that in the British capital of Hindostan a highly-gifted Brahmin had been, for some time, with little knowledge of the Gospel, preparing the way for its divine light by dispersing the debasing darkness of heathen idolatry; and that he had been endeavouring, with much success, to lead his more intelligent countrymen to the ancient and purer forms of their religion. This was RAMMOHUN Roy. We learnt that long before he had attended to the instructions of Christ, he had attained the faith of Abraham, and worshiped and served the one living and true God', without any mixture of idolatry; and that it appeared likely to be his honour to contribute effectually, even if indirectly, to the diffusion of faith in Christ, partly by his personal labours, and partly by his cooperation with others—his countenance and his aid in their exertions. These labours were directed to the exposure of the evils of the prevalent faith of his countrymen ; and particularly to the extension of that knowledge respecting the Supreme and Eternal Creator, which their most ancient “scriptures” taught, in language that is not surpassed, in sublimity and truth, even by that of Moses and the Prophets ; — often blended, however, with much that is mystical ; and with much also that was calculated to lead
* See Appendix (C),
from the truth, or, at least, to furnish a pretext to the groveling soul- in process of time abundantly and banefully employed — to direct its adorations to the manifestations of the attributes of the Supreme Being, and to worship him who is the invisible, eternal, universal, and ever-present Spirit, under numberless forms of created intelligences, or of the beasts of the earth, or of things without intelligence or life.
Several of the Brahmin's productions, with this object in view, principally designed for his own countrymen, came into my hands, now twelve years ago : but at least six or eight years before that period, he had made and extensively circulated translations of the Hindoo sacred writings, and afterwards abridgments of them; and there is no doubt that great and important benefits have arisen from these publications among the cultivated and inquiring part of his countrymen, whose minds, trained by their native learning and knowledge to a great degree of acuteness and refinement, had become disgusted with the degrading nature and influences of the ceremonies and worship of their own people, yet were impressed with strong repugnance at the prevailing representations of christian doctrine, which was increased, there is reason to believe, by the extreme absence, at that period, in British society in general, of the ordinary indications of any deep sense of religion. These publications contain numerous passages
which are well fitted to elevate the sentiments, and to attract those whose hearts were already elevated ; while, in their mode of expression, and in the reverence with which the Hindoos are accustomed to regard these writings, as proceeding from the Deity and themselves in part possessed of deity, they are more fitted than our scriptures, as a whole, for the earliest periods of departure from the popular opinions of the Hindoos.* No doubt, also, it has been a great advantage of the ability to refer to these sacred writings, as containing the oldest and purest faith of their country, that, while censured and opposed as these enlightened Hindoos have been-and, in particular, with incessant revilings and bitterness, that eminent Brahmin, who, though he disclaimed the title, may well be termed the Hindoo Reformer-they could oppose the wretched idolatry of their countrymen without incurring that loss of caste in which the renunciation of their religion would have involved them, and which would have deprived them not only of their property and of all intercourse with their relatives, but, what for the object in view was of infinitely greater moment, of their access to the minds of their less enlightened countrymen.
* See Appendix (D).
The doctrine of the ancient Hindoo scriptures is pure and elevated monotheism. They teach that the Most High, the Supreme Spirit, is eternal, omnipresent, invisible, perfect, residing in the hearts of all his creatures, the cause of all, pervading all, and internally ruling all material things; and that he is indeed one, and without a second. At the end of one his tracts,* the revered Brahmin cites a translation, or rather a paraphrase, of one part of his scriptures, as given by that "illustrious character" Sir William Jones, “whose talents, acquisitions, virtuous life, and impartial research,” he says, “have rendered his memory an object of love and veneration to all." " To connect his name (he continues) and his explanation of the passage, with this humble tract, I take the liberty of quoting it here.” -I will read Sir William Jones's paraphrase, because it will contribute to prove to my hearers, that an immense progress is made towards the knowledge which is life eternal,' when the mind of an intelligent Hindoo is brought from the groveling and debasing belief and worship of his countrymen, to theism so elevated and
" Let us adore the supremacy of that' divine sun,t the godhead 1 who illuminates all, who recreates all, from whom
* Translation of the Veds, p. 117.
| Bhargus, a word consisting of three consonants, derived from bhá, to shine; ram, to delight ; gam, to move.
all proceed, to whom all must return, whom we invoke to direct our understandings aright in our progress toward his holy seat.
“ What the sun and light are to this visible world, that are the Supreme good and truth to the intellectual and invisible universe ; and as our corporeal eyes have a distinct perception of objects enlightened by the sun, thus our souls acquire certain knowledge, by meditating on the light of truth, which emanates from the Being of beings : that is the light by which alone our minds can be directed in the path to beatitude."
The opportunity has been so extensively presented through two of our local journals, to gain a knowledge of the leading particulars respecting the venerated person whose death has filled so many hearts with sorrow, that it would be scarcely right, and it certainly is not necessary, to dwell upon his history in this place.* I shall therefore pass by those details which might otherwise be suitably laid before this audience, respecting his extraordinary acquirements and extensive learning: but I must briefly point out the discipline and guidance early given his mind, preparing him for his subsequent course ;-here, obviously, for important purposes, by the appointment of him whose providence in reality guides all things, who trains up his dutiful children in the most suitable manner, and employs them in the services for which they are best adapted.
The natural disposition of Rammohun Roy, and his early character, furnished a suitable preparation for the
* Reference is here made to a biographical sketch inserted first in the Bristol Gazette, of the 3d of October, and afterwards in the Mercury, of the 5th, which will be found, with some corrections and additions, at the close of the Appendix,