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I think, too hasty to engage themselves in so difficult an undertaking".
Of its difficulty the following passage is a striking illustration: “ About four years ago, the Rev. Mr. Adam, and another Baptist Missionary, the Rev. Mr. Yates, both well reputed for their oriental and classic acquirements, engaged in com-, mon with myself, to translate the New Testament into Bengallee, and we met twice every week, and had for our guidance all the translations of the Bible, by different authors, which we could procure. Notwitstanding our exertions, we were obliged to leave the accurate translation of several phrases to future consideration; and for my own part I felt discontented with the translation adopted of several passages, though I tried frequently, when alone at home, to select more eligible expressions, and applied to native friends for their aid for that purpose. I beg to assure you, that I (though a native of this country) do not recollect having engaged myself once, during my life, in so difficult a task as the translation of the New Testament into Bengallee". Corresp. p. 139.
From Mr. Adam's Replies, also, to Dr. Ware's Questions, it is clear that the course which the Missionaries had so far pursued was in several respects unlikely to accomplish their object. Too much had been attempted in respect to the number of versions ; and some of them were made in circumstances which afforded little prospect of success. number of religious tracts had been distributed ; but says Mr. Adam (p. 15), “ with the exception of such as contain simple scripture language, or a simple statement of scripture facts, my opinion of them is, that they are for the most part either mystical, or puerile, or both”. Too little discretion had been employed in the employment of native sub-Missionaries, by the European Missionaries, "who (says Mr. Adam, p. 83) long before the converts can have freed their minds from the deeply-riveted chains of superstition, far less can have acquired a sufficient knowledge, by ordinary means of the Christian system, so as to
be able to silence the shrewd and designing, and convince the intelligent and conscientious inquirer, introduce them into scenes of angry contest and disputation, in which the personal and devotional virtues, just perhaps beginning to take root, are sacrificed for the sake of a loud voice and a confident manner.” He thinks (p. 39), that the general impression respecting Christianity, left on the mind of an intelligent native by the preaching of the Missionaries is, “ that it is a system friendly to polytheism, but opposed to idolatry ; representing the Deity as partial in his regards to his creatures, but inculcating a purer and stricter morality than his own”; that (p. 38) the exertions of the Missionaries, though very great, not been always steady to their main design, prudent in the formation and execution of their plans, or rational and scriptural in the doctrines which they have taught"; and that “ they do not appear to have been successful in diffusing to any considerable extent a knowledge of Christianity among the unconverted natives."
What greater success the Missionaries may have had since the period of the Correspondence, I have no means of learning with security: but at that period (1823) Mr. Adam stated, (p. 44) as the result of his inquiries, that the number of native converts properly so called, then living in full communion with one or other of the Protestant Missionary Churches did not exceed three hundred.* He adds, however, that in the case of many of them, relations, friends, and acquaintances had been brought, “in a greater or less degree, within the sphere of christian instruction"; and elsewhere
* In the Calcutta edition of the “Queries and Replies”, Mr. Adam gives, in his Appendix (p. 90), extracts from the “Brief View of the various Churches and Stations of the Serampore Mission, dated 21st Jan. 1823"; from which it appears that there were then living “ between four and five hundred, who, once idolaters or Mussulmans, have made a decided profession of Christianity, by being solemnly baptized in the Saviour's name”,
(p. 38), speaking of the gradual diffusion of general information throughout Bengal, particularly among the high and middling class of natives, he says that “the Missionaries have materially contributed to spread it, either by their own labours, or by exciting the efforts of others, or by calling forth the zeal of the natives to acquire and communicate it”. In this way, and by the christian character of their lives, they must have been making great preparation for the reception of the Gospel ; and so far they are at least the pioneers of Christianity.
Before I conclude this part of my Appendix, I must earnestly recommend, to all intelligent and liberal persons to whom the improvement of the native population of Hindostan is an object of desire and exertion, the judicious observations of this friend and fellow-labourer of Rammohun Roy, on that most important means which education presents; and must also present to the reader his view of the course which Missionaries should follow.
“ It is not individuals taken separately, but collectively, that they should seek to enlighten. The former mode will create and encourage imposture, render a most invidious surveillance necessary, and produce frequent disappointments and constant irritation. The latter consists in exhibiting truth, and in leaving it, if slowly, yet steadily, to work its own way; and although there is in this less display, there is equal, if not greater, certainty of ultimate success, and far more satisfaction both to the teachers and the taught. It is the progress of society that Missionaries ought principally to regard, and aim to influence; and success in this endeavour is the highest present reward which they should desire. They should seek to increase the quantity of correct information on every subject; to raise the standard of public morals; to correct the excesses, and to refine and elevate the tone of public feeling on religion; and to pour, in wellchosen portions, amongst the various classes and descriptions of men, the light of truth, the rays of which are too powerful to be long resisted, and too penetrating to be long concealed, even if their immediate effects should not at first be felt or perceived. As sure as light and darkness cannot long subsist together, so sure will be the progress of Christianity in India, if this plan be judiciously and perseveringly executed.”Corresp. pp. 96, 97.
Extracts from the Vedant and the Veds. The following expressions, from the sacred books of the Hindoos, will serve to confirm the statements made in these pages. They are extracted from the collected edition of Rammohun Roy's translations, and other tracts, published by himself in London, 1832.
“ He from whom the universal world proceeds, who is the Lord of the universe, and whose work is the universe, is the Supreme Being”. Translation of the Veds, p. 8.
“ He sees every thing, though never seen; hears every thing, though never distinctly heard of.” Transl. p. 7.
“ The pure Light of all lights is the Lord of all creatures”, Transl. p. 9.
“ God is indeed one, and has no second. There is none but the Supreme Being possessed of universal knowledge”.Transl. p. 10. “ His existence had no cause".--Transl. p.
13. “ God is all-powerful. It is by his supremacy that he is in possession of all powers". Transl. p. 14.
" Adore 'God alone : know God alone. None but the Supreme Being is to be worshiped ". Transl. p. 15.
“ Hence no vision can approach him ; no language can describe him; no intellectual power can compass or determine him”. Transl. p. 47.
“ God is but one; and he has the whole world under his control, for he is the operating soul in all objects". Transl. p. 76.
“ The Supreme Being is one and unchangeable”. Transl.
“ He overspreads all creatures: is merely spirit, without the form either of any minute body, or of an extended one, which is liable to impression or organization: He is pure, perfect, omniscient, the ruler of the intellect, omnipresent, and the self-existent: He has from eternity been assigning to all creatures their respective purposes”. Transl. p. 102.
Extracts from RAMMOHUN Roy's introductions to his
translations, “ The greater part of Brahmins, as well as of other sects of Hindoos, are quite incapable of justifying that idolatry which they continue to practise. When questioned on the subject, in place of adducing reasonable arguments in support of their conduct, they conceive it fully sufficient to quote their ancestors as positive authorities ! And some of them are become very ill-disposed towards me, because I have forsaken idolatry for the worship of the true and eternal God! In order, therefore, to vindicate my own faith, and that of our early forefathers, I have been endeavouring, for some time past, to convince my countrymen of the true meaning of our sacred books; and to prove, that my aberration deserves not the opprobrium which some unreflecting persons have been so ready to throw upon me”.
3. “ An attentive perusal of this, as well as of the remaining books of the Vedantu, will, I trust, convince every unprejudiced mind, that they, with great consistency, inculcate the unity of God; instructing men, at the same time, in the pure mode of adoring him in spirit. It will also appear evident that the Veds, although they tolerate idolatry as the last provision for those who are totally incapable of raising their minds to the contemplation of the invisible God of nature,