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has no existence in the other. It would be an exceptional case where ill instructed children in Christendom are ignorant of this much,—that there is a great and righteous God, the Maker and Judge of all men; and, from Christian truth reflected around them, they have, moreover, learnt something of the true character of God. Though education may be wholly secular, such children are not without some true knowledge of God, and some acquaintance with man's duties to his fellow men. But in India there is no such knowledge. The Hindu youth can acquire nothing from the society in which he lives, nor from his family, which can instruct and raise him morally ; whilst his religion tends only to his debasement.
As an illustration of what we mean, we may refer to Ireland. There, for some years, the Government of England has been endeavouring to carry on a system of secular education, not however without some slight tincture of Christianity. If, how. ever, Ireland had been still a purely heathen country, it would be hard to imagine the possibility of such a system being carried out with the assent and consent of the people of England, or to conceive the advantage of it in a pagan country without counteracting influence. Why that, which would have been an absurdity if enacted at our doors, should be carried on with indifference, if not with applause, because the scene of the experiment is India, and not Ireland, is indeed a mystery difficult to be accounted for on any rational principles.
A purely secular system, therefore, under such circumstances, is not the same in reality as that advocated in our own country, where its teachings can be, and are, supplemented by home instruction, or by direct religious teaching, and where Christianity has shed light on all around. Consequently, if no religious lesson is ever to be given in the government school or college, and the Hindus are to be left in all their native ignorance of God and of His laws, the intellect alone being quickened, India must necessarily become, at no distant day, an immense semi-atheistic community, without one moral principle to guide or influence her sons and daughters. Who can contemplate this issue without anxious forebodings for the people themselves, and for our own rule; and, we may add, without a deep conviction that we shall have failed, grievously failed, in our duty as a Christian nation ?
That such is the view of all intelligent recent observers may be safely asserted. To take one of the latest notices of educated native society in Calcutta, where the government system has long been in existence, and a superior education extensively given. The author of “Greater Britain” thus gives bis view :
“ It is a question whether we are not responsible for the tone which has been taken by civilization' in Calcutta. The old philosophy has gone, and left nothing in its place; we have by moral force destroyed the old religions in Calcutta, but we have set up no new. Whether the character of our Indian Government, at once levelling and paternal, has not much to do with the spread of careless sensuality, is a question before answering wbich it would be well to look to France, where a similar government has for sixteen years prevailed.” (Vol. ii. p. 188.)
The following extract from Dr. Norman Macleod's narrative of his recent visit to India also reveals the same truth, affording a striking practical illustration of the fruits of the Government system in another part of India.
“From the circumstance of our able and distinguished host being the Director of Public Instruction in the Bombay Presidency, and of Poona, containing several important educational institutes, we had the opportunity for the first time of meeting natives who were able to take a prominent part in the work of education as teachers, inspectors, &c. There were present among others a Deputy Inspector; the Principal of the Training College; the Translator of the Arabian Nights'; a Pundit, a College fellow, and a College student. All these were singularly pleasing and intelligent gentlemen. The whole of them had renounced caste, and ate and drank with us, although one of them evidently felt a little awkward in doing so, and was good-naturedly twitted by the others on account of this. None of them, however, professed Christianity. ...” (Good Words, March 1869, page 136.)
We here see men of superior intelligence, and highly educated, indifferent to their hereditary faith, treating it, in fact, with contempt. For, although Hindus, they ate and drank with Europeans; and, as it would seem from Dr. Macleod's statement, renouncing all faiths, for “they did not profess Christianity." They had been educated into complete infidelity ; save perhaps that they held, like the similarly educated Bengalees, some vague deistical notions, to be professed one day and discarded the next. With all their superior acquirements, these men had no true knowledge of God, nor could they recognize the binding obligations of His pure moral laws. They had been brought up in profound ignorance of them. The influence of the Government system had taught them to set no value on the Bible, with its great elementary truths and its moral demands. For without the teaching which emanates from the Bible no pure and sound moral instruction can be imparted, supplying adequate motives to constrain obedience, and education fails in its great end-moral elevation. If, then, we desire to see social progress in India, it seems obvious that some modification of the system in force is indispensable; and that if it is to be extended to all classes, it must be leavened with some moral teaching from the Bible, however elementary. It has been well remarked, that even the Ten Commandments alone
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would be a greater gift in ethics than anything India has ever yet received. And we can see no good reason why they should not be put into the hands of the people, and read in schools with the Divine comment upon them.
We might also ask the supporters of the present secular system-Is it well, if we desire the stability of our rule, to leave the millions of India in ignorance of all those great principles upon which our administration is based ? We administer justice, for example, from north to south of India, upon the one grand principle (and it is a glorious one for England to uphold), that there shall be no distinction of persons : caste or no caste, high or low, are unknown to our courts of justice. And why? Solely because we recognize the Bible truth, as the law of England does, that God is no respecter of persons, and that all men are equal in His sight. Whether, therefore, the Brahmin assault or murder the Outcast, or the Pariah murder the Brahmin, no distinction is made ; both are dealt with alike. It may, then, well be doubted whether real injustice is not done to the people and to ourselves, by keeping them in ignorance of the principle upon which our treatment of them is in this instance based, and of similar great Christian truths connate with the essence of our laws.
From long personal experience we are ourselves convinced that nothing but benefit could flow from educating the popular mind in these great primary truths, and bringing it up so as to be more in harmony with us and with our administration.
Moreover, it is not easy to see—and this we maintain is a special ground of objection to the present Government system how we can qualify the natives, as every well-wisher to India must desire, to take an influential and intelligent part in the government of their own country, if they are never taught those Bible truths, which, as we have observed, lie at the root of so many of our legislative acts, acts which sweep away practices, and even rights, which Christianity has taught us to condemn, but which the people themselves uphold : such as slavery, authorised by the Koran; the cremation of the widow on the funeral pyre of her husband, a Hindu religious rite; female infanticide, and other usages we need not particularize. We should strongly urge, whether we look to the stability or to the harmonious working of our government, that such a system of national education should be established as shall enable all to understand and appreciate the reasons why such acts are prohibited.
Such instruction would moreover go far to remove those popular delusions, which from time to time take possession of native society with irresistible force, and which the disloyal and disaffected use so unscrupulously against us, as in the case of the Mutiny in 1857, for the subversion of our supremacy.
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Those who, like ourselves, regard the continuance of British dominion in India, if rightly exercised, as her greatest blessing, will feel the importance of this great question of right national education. It is our hope, that when public attention is more drawn to the subject, Christian influence may be so brought to bear upon it, that an education worthy of a Christian country may be given to India, and that England will no longer withhold from her own subjects, when bestowing upon them intellectual culture, that moral light, which can be drawn only from the source of all her own superiority — the Word of God.
Whatever system of education we adopt, we necessarily subvert Hinduism, its monstrous idolatry and its impurities, and Mohammedanism, with its degradation of women, and its bitter intolerance. It would seem, then, but reason and justice to prepare the way for a purer and higher faith. In the case of a people, too, so widely different from ourselves, as are the natives of Hindostan, the bond of a common faith is almost the only bond which can unite India to England ; and when we use the term India, what is it which we would imply? Not the many millions alone now dependent upon us, but the generations also which must follow; for, beyond question, the education and civilization now given to India, be it infidel or be it Christian in its tendencies, must leave its mark, not upon India alone, but upon all the surrounding nations.
We cannot close these few detached thoughts without adverting to one important point, the relation which mission work bears to this great question of India's national education. Many might be led, from their knowledge of the extent and success of missionary labours, as the writer himself could testify, to suppose that private Christian effort can effect that which the Government system leaves undone, and can supply that moral light to the mass of the people which the Government withholds. But this would, we believe, be a great error, and an undue estimate of the power and influence of missions. When we contrast the Christian agencies in existence with the magnitude of the field before them, and look at the vast areas they have never touched, we are tempted to adopt the strong imagery of Dr. Duff, in his late address at the Church Missionary House.* “I felt,” he says, “ when in the midst of these mighty systems, and fairly confronted by them, that it was like being called upon to empty the Ganges or the ocean with a cup. A similar sentiment will pervade the minds of all who know India well: therefore it is that we deem it of such vital importance that the Government education, which will reach all classes,
* See Church Missionary Intelligencer, March 1869, p. 82.
and village as well as town, long before missions can approach them, should not be infidel and, in fact, antagonistic to Christianity.
The friends of missions must also bear in mind that, just in proportion as their direct and chief work succeeds, and Christian congregations are formed, in such proportion must they limit their efforts for the education of the heathen, inasmuch as the youth of the Christian families will, in the first instance, require well nigh all their time and labour. We confess, therefore, for ourselves, that highly as we value missions, and all private Christian agencies, and would promote them to the utmost of our power, not only as our duty to our blessed Lord and Saviour, but as essential to the well being of India, yet we are convinced that missions can take but a part, and that in some respects a subordinate part, from insufficient means, in the education and social progress of the country. Missions are now unequal—and looking at the gigantic strides the Government secular system is taking, will prove more and more unequal—to stay that flood of infidelity which has already gone forth over the land.*
There is a further point to which we would direct the attention of our readers, lest they should be, as we think, misled. The advocates of the existing Government action may allege that the education given is not wholly secular in its influence, because it allows some limited admixture, in its teachings and in its books, of some portion of Christian truth. But still even if this could be proved to any appreciable extent, and even if persistent efforts were not being made to get rid of every trace of Christian doctrine,t there remains this broad fact, affirmed by all observers, that whether in Bombay or in Calcutta, and whatever may be the distinctive difference of race, the Government system, even with this admixture, raises up but one class of educated men—the Infidel, the unbeliever in his own or in any other faith. We see in educated native society no other class of power and influence. We may therefore ask, what has been effected by this alleged admission of some better element ?
* I may refer, in proof of this, to the following extract from the work of a highly educated Government scholar, expressing apparently his own views and those of his fellow countrymen educated like himself. He thus writes: “ The Moslem laughed at the Hindu, the Christian now laughs at the Moslem, and the day shall come when the Deist shall laugh at us all."-(The Travels of a Hindu in various parts of Bengal and Upper India. Two vols. By Bholonauth Chunder, Member of the
Asiatic Society of Bengal.) Be it so. And may we not then put these ques. tions to the writer, and to like intelligent minds, Where are the morals of Deism to be found ? From what source is India to draw her moral laws ? And what is their ground of hope for the elevation of women in India, if Christianity be ignored and despised ?
See Calcutta Review, No. xiv. p.32, on “ Abercrombie as a Text Book in the Calcutta Universisy."