« AnteriorContinua »
Review.- Unitarian Controversy at Calcutta.
475 phlets ; and a more interesting and does not bespeak the confidence of acceptable volume this useful society the Missionaries in the strength of never presented to its subscribers and their arguments; but no Unitarian the public. The “ Final Appeal," will lament it. Being the occasion of (No. III. on our list,) has reached the establishment of an “ Unitarian England since the “ Precepts of Je- Press” in India, it will doubtless (as sus” was republished, and this also Mr. Ivimey says of Mr. Adam's dewe trust the Unitarian Society will parture from Írinitarianism and Calcommit to press. It is, in our judg vinism) 'turn out rather for the fur. ment, the most valuable and impor- therance of the gospel.' tant of all the Hindoo Reformer's In a very interesting Preface to the works. Though last in point of time " Final Appeal,” Rammohun Roy of his publications we cannot help appeals to the candour of Indian readreferring to it first of all. It is print. ers on the ground of his being 'ened, the reader will observe, at the gaged in self-defence. He says very “ Unitarian Press.” This is explain. feelingly, ed by the author in a “ Notice" to the reader. All his preceding works
“ I am well aware that this difference
of sentiment has already occasioned much on the subject of Christianity were
coolness towards me in the demeanour printed at the Baptist Mission Press, of some whose friendship I hold very Calcutta, which is, we believe, em dear; and that this protracted controployed in general work for the sake versy has not only prevented me from of profit, in order to serve the mis- rendering my humble services to my sion; but (says Rammohun Roy) countrymen,' by various publications, " the acting proprietor of that press which I had projected in the native lanhaving, since the publication of the guages, but has also diverted iny attenSecond Appeal, declined, although in tion from all other literary pursuits for the politest manner possible, printing three years past. Notwithstanding these any other work that the author might sacrifices, I feel well satisfied with my publish on the same subject, he was
present engagements, and cannot wish
that had pursued a different course ; under the necessity of purchasing a since whatever may be the opinion of the few types for his own use, and of world, my own conscience fully approves depending principally upon native of my past endeavours to defend what I superintendance for the completion of esteem the cause of truth.”—Pref. pp. i. the greater part of this work.” This ii. refusal, however polite in its manner,
He adds, with equal sense and
spirit, England.”# Dr. Marshman has here al.
“ I feel assured that if religious conlowed his zeal to outrun his knowledge. troversy be carried on, with that temper The work quoted by Rammohun Roy is and language which are cousidered by not Archbishop Newcome's translation of wise and pious men, as most consistent the New Testament, which formed the with the solemn and sacred nature of basis of the Improved Version, pub-, religion, and more especially with the lished by the Unitarian Society; but milă spirit of Christianity, the truths of that learned prelate's • Attempt towards it cannot, for any length of time, be kept an Improved Version, &c. of the Twelve concealed, under the imposing veil of Minor Prophets ;' a production well wore high-sounding expressions, calculated to thy of the perusal of every Biblical stu- astouish the imagination and rouse the dent.”- Pp. xviii. xix. Of Dr. Marsh- passions of the people, aud thereby keep man's acumen as a controversialist, we may alive and strengthen the preconceived notake one short specimen from his book. tions, with which such language has in Replying to objections to the worship of their minds been, from infancy, assoChrist, he says, p. 241, " That in the ciated. But I regret that the method state of humiliation in which his infinite which has hitherto been observed in inlove to sinners had placed him, and in quiry after religious truth, by means of which he declared, If I honour myself, large publications, necessarily issued at my honour is nothing,' he should pray to considerable intervals of time, is not, for himself, or formally prescribe this to his several reasons, so well adapted to the disciples, was scarcely to be expected ?"
speedy attainment of the proposed object,
“ Dr. Marshman's Defence, &c.
* Mon. Repos. XVII, 683.
as I, and other friends of true religion, I, in common with other searchers after could wish."-Pref. pp. iii, iv.
trath, expect, and of which it is capable, .
it will be absolutely necessary that noThese reasons he assigns to be, thing be introduced of a personal nature want of leisure in inany, disgust felt or calculated to hurt the feelings of indiby some at injurious insinuations and viduals—that we aroid all offensive expersonalities, and the disheartening, pressions, and such arguments as hare distracting effect of a multiplicity of no immediate connexion with the subject, arguments and various interpretations and can only serve to retard the progress of passages of Scripture. To obviate of discovery; and that we never allow these inconveniences, he makes the ourselves for a moment to forget that we following judicious and laudable pro- tation." - Pref. pp. v.-vii.
are engaged in a solemn religious dispuposal :
“ As Christianity is happily not a sub This is evidently the proposal of a ject resting on vague metaphysical specu- sineere inquirer after truth, who belations, but is founded upon the authority lieves that the object which he seeks of books written in languages which are will be promoted by free discussion. understood and explained according to It is, we hope, by this time carried known and standing rules, I therefore into effect. The energy of Rammohun propose, with a view to the more speedy Roy's mind, his zeal on behalf of to establish a monthly periodical publica- pure Christianity, and the means with tion, commencing from the month of which Providence has blessed him, are April next, to be devoted to Biblical pledges that no measure which he criticism, and to subject Unitarian as
conceives to be serviceable to his counwell as Trinitarian doctrines to the test trymen and fellow-creatures will be of fair argument, if those of the latter neglected by him or lightly abandoned. persuasion will consent thus to submit The Missionaries will, we apprehend, the scriptural grounds on which their excuse themselves from any contributenets concerning the Trivity are built. tion, literary or pecuniary, to such a “ For the sake of method and conve.
work. Rammohun Roy and his assonience, I propose that, beginning with ciates are not the persons to whom the book of Genesis, and taking all the they look for converts. Without them, passages in that portion of Scripture however, such a periodical publication which are thought to countenance the doctrine of the Trinity, we should exa- may be carried on in British India, inine them one by one, and publish our where, we are informed, there is á observations upon them; and that next large proportion of persons, in both month we proceed in the same manner the military and civil service, and with the book of Exodus, and so on with amongst the merchants and traders, all the books of the Old and New Testa. who are disposed to lend an ear to ments, in their regular order.
sound reasoning on behalf of the gos“ If any one of the Missionary gentle- pel, and the more so from their conmen, for himself and in behalf of his viction that the system of “orthofellow.labourers, choose to profit by the doxy" imported from Europe is not opportunity thus afforded them of de the religion that will make its way have undertaken to preach, I request that with either Mahometans or Hindoos. an essay on the book of Genesis, of the Heartily do we wish success to the kind above intimated, may be sent me projected work, from which we shall by the middle of the month, and if con- probably borrow hereafter for the grafined within reasonable limits, not ex. tification of our readers. ceeding a dozen or sixteen pages, I hereby In some remarks introductory to engage to cause it to be printed and the “Final Appeal,” Rammohun Roy circulated at my own charge, should the complains with great reason of the Missionary gentlemen refuse to bestow treatment he has experienced from any part of the funds, intended for the the Missionary Magazine. He pubspread of Christianity, towards this ob- lished the “ ject; and also that a reply (not exceeding
Precepts of Jesus," he the same number of pages) to the argusays, to exhibit the pure and elevated ments adduced, shall be published along morality of the gospel to his countrywith it by the beginning of the ensuing men and others, unaccompanied by month. That this new mode of contro- those mysterious and contradictory versy, by short monthly publications, may doctrines with which the various teachbe attended with all the advantages which ers of Christianity have associated,
Review.- Unitarian Controversy at Calcutta.
and, as he thinks, impaired them. He its most important doctrines more fully was bence charged with omitting the in three or four years than others have only foundation of Christianity, viz. done by most unremitting study in thirty “ the doctrines of the Godhead of or forty.” The doctrine of the 'Trinity apJesus and the Holy Ghost and of the pears to me so obviously unscriptural, that Atonement.” This compelled him,
I am pretty sure, from my own experi. he adds, as a professed believer of sessed of merely common sense will fail
ence and that of others, that no one posone God, to deny for the first time
to find its unscripturality after a methopublicly those doctrines; and now,” dical study of the Old and New Testahe concludes, the Editor “ takes occa
ments, unless previously impressed in the sion to accuse me of presumption in early part of his life with creeds and teaching doctrines which he has him- forms of speech preparing the way to self compelled me to avow.”-P. 5. that doctrine. No pride, therefore, can Rammohun Roy expresses some
be supposed for a moment to have arisen surprise at his antagonist's real or
from commonly attainable success. The pretended ignorance of his opinions : Edi
Editor might be fully convinced of this
fact, were he to engage a few indepen“ The Editor assigns, as a reason for dent" and diligent natives to study attenenteriug on this coutroversy, that, after tively both the Old and New Testaments a review of the ‘Precepts of Jesus and in their original languages, and then to the First Appeal,' he felt some doubt offer their sentiments as to the doctrine whether their author fully believed the of the Trinity being scriptural or a mere deity of Christ,' and consequently he ad. human invention. duced a few passages from the Scriptures
“.To hold up to ridicule my sugges. to confirm this doctrine.' He then adds, tions in the Second Appeal to study first that this Second Appeal to the Christian the books of the Old Testament unbipublic confirms all that he before only assed by ecclesiastic opinions imbibed in feared. (P. 1.) I could have scarcely early life, and then to study the New credited this assertion of the Reviewer's Testament, the Rev. Editor states that unacquaintance with my religious opi- 'could it be relied on indeed,' my comnions, if the allegation had come from pendious method would deserve notice, any other quarter; for both in my con
with a view to Christian education ; as,' versation and correspondence with as on my plan, 'the most certain way of many Missionary gentlemen, old and enabling any one to discover, in a supeyoung, as I have had the honour to know, rior manner, the truths and doctrines of i have never hesitated, when required, tó Christianity is to leave him till the age offer my sentiments candidly, as to the of thirty or forty without any religious unscripturality and unreasonableness of impression.'-(P. 503.) I do not in the the doctrine of the Trinity. On one oc
least wonder at his disapprobation of my casion, particularly when on a visit to suggestion; as the Editor, in common one of the Rev. colleagues of the Editor with other professors of traditional opiat Serampore, long before the time of nions, is sure of supporters of his fa. these publications, I discussed the sub. vourite doctrine, so long as it is inculject with that gentleman at his invita- cated on the minds of youths, and even tion; and then fully manifested my dis- infants ; who, being once thoroughly imbelief of this doctrine, taking the liberty pressed with the name of the Trinity in of examining successively all the argu- Unity and Unity in Trinity, long before ments he, from friendly motives, urged they can think for themselves, must be upon nie in support of it.”—Pp. 5, 6. always inclined, even after their reason
has become matured, to interpret the In our judgment nothing can be sacred books, even those texts which are more satisfactory than the following evidently inconsistent with this doctrine, confutation of the charge of presump- in a manner favourable to their prepostion and vindication of the true me sessed opinion, whether their study be thod of religious research; the extract continued for three, or thirty, or twice is long, but we could not abridge it thirty years. Could Hindooism continue without injury, and we wish our read after the present generation, or bear the ers to see a full-length portrait of the studious examination of a single year, if Indian Reformer.
the belief of their idols being endued
with animation were not carefully im“ In page 503 the Editor insinuates pressed on the young before they come that vanity has led me to presume that to years of understanding ? • freedom from the powerful effects of • Let me here suggest that, in my early religious impressions' has enabled humble opinion, no truly liberal and wise me to discover the truths of Scripture in parent can ever take advantage of the
unsuspecting and confiding credulity of and the more unreasonable are the dochis children to impress them with an im- trines of a religion, the greater pains are plicit belief in any set of abstruse doc- taken by the supporters of them to plant trines, and intolerance of all other opi- them in the readily susceptible minds of nions, the truth or reasonableness of youth. which they are incapable of estimating. “ The Editor has filled a complete Still less would he urge by threats the page in proving that, besides early imdanger of present and eternal punishment pressed prejudices, there are also other for withholding a blind assent to opinions causes of error in judgment--an attempt they are unable to comprehend. Parents which might have been dispensed with: are bound by every moral tie to give for I never limited the sources of mistake their children such an education as way in examining religious matters to early he sufficient to render them capable of impression alone. I attributed only the exercising their reason as rational and prevailing errors in Christianity to tradisocial beings, and of forming their opiniou iional instructions inculcated in childon religious points without ill-will to- hood, as the lauguage of my Second wards others, from a thorough investiga. Appeal will shew : Having derived my tion of the Scriptures, and of the evidence own opinions on this subject entirely from and arguments adduced by teachers of the Scriptures themselves, I may, pero different persuasions. Judgmeuts thus haps, be excused for the confidence with formed have a real claim to respect from which I maintain them against those of those who have not the means of judging so great a majority, who appeal to the for themselves. But of what consequence same authority for theirs ; inasmuch as is it, in a question of truth or error, to I attribute their different views, not to know how the matter at issue has been any inferiority of judgment, compared considered, even for a hundred genera- with my own limited ability, but to the tions, by those who have blindly adopted powerful effects of early religious imthe crced of their fathers ? Surely, the pressions ; for when these are deep, reaunbiassed judgınent of a person who has son is seldom allowed its natural scope proceeded to the study of the Sacred in examining them to the bottom.' (P. Scriptures with an anxious desire to dis- 160.) If the Editor doubt the accuracy cover the truth they contain, even if his of this remark, he might soon satisfy researches were to be continued but for himself of its justice, were he to listen a siugle twelvemonth, ought, as far as to the suggestion offered in the preceding authority goes iu such matters, to out. paragraph, with a view to ascertain wheweigh the opinions of any number who iher the doctrine of the Trinity rests for have either not thought at all for them- its belief on scriptural authorities, or on selves, or have studied after prejudice had early religious impressions. laid hold of their minds. What fair in “ The Editor mentions, ironically, (in quiry respecting the doctrine of the Tri- p. 3,) that my success in scriptural stunity can be expected from one who has dies was such as to prove that the most been on the bosom of his mother con learned and pious in every age of the stantly taught to ask the blessing of God church have been so completely mistaken the Father, God the Son, and God the as to transform the pure religion of Jesus Holy Ghost, and to hear the very name into the most horrible idolatry. In adof Unitarian with horror ? Hare the swer to this, I only beg to ask the Rev. doctrines of the Vedant ever succeeded Editor to let me know first, what a Pro in suppressing Polytheism amongst the testant, in the fifteenth century, could generality of Hindoos brought up with have answered, if he had been thus ques. the notion of the godhead of the sun, of tioned by a Roman Catholic: Is your fire and of water, and of the separate and success, in examining the truths of Scrip. independent existence of the allegorical ture, such as to prove that the most representations of the attributes of God? learned and pious in every age of the Were the sublime works written by the church have been so completely mistaken, learned among the Greeks ever able to as to transform the pure religion of Jesus shake the early acquired superstitious into the most horrible idolatry, by intronotions and polytheistical faith of the ducing the worship of Mary, the mother generality of their countrymen? Nay, of God, and instituting images in churches, even when Christian converts became as well as by acknowledging the Pope, as numerous, did not those who were the head of the church, vested with the brought up in the ancient superstition power of forgiving sins ? Would not his introduce some vestiges of their idolatry answer be this, "My success is, indeed, into their new persuasion? In fact, no so as to prove these doctrines to be unthing can more surely impede the pro. scriptural. As to your inferences they gress of truth than prejudice instilled are no more divine than mine, and though into minds blank to receive impressions; I do not doubt the picty and learning of
Poetry --Paraphrase of Lines from a Tragedy of Seneca's.
many Christians of your church, in every Editor's kind suggestion, in inviting me age, I am persuaded that many corrup to adopt the doctrine of the Holy Trinity; tions, introduced into the Christian reli- but I am sorry to find that I am unable gion by the Roman Heathens, converted to benefit by this advice. After I have in the fourth and fifth centuries, have long relinquished every idea of a plurality been handed down through successive ge- of Gods, or of the persons of the Godnerations, by impressions made in the head, taught under different systems of early part of life, and have taken such modern Hindooism, I cannot conscienroot in the minds of men, that piety and tiously and consistently embrace one of a learning have fallen short of eradicating similar nature, though greatly refined by prejudices nourished by church and state, the religious reformations of modern as well as by the vulgar superstition and times; since whatever arguments can be enthusiasm.' Were this reply justifiable, adduced against a plurality of Gods strike I also might be allowed to offer the fol- with equal force against the doctrine of lowing answer: 'I find not the doctrine a plurality of persons of the Godhead; of the Trinity in the Scriptures; I can- and, on the other hand, whatever excuse not receive any human creed for divine may be pleaded in favour of a plurality truth; but without charging the sup- of persons of the Deity, can be offered porters of this doctrine with impiety or with equal propriety in defence of Polyfraud, humbly attribute their misinter- theism."-P. 378. pretation of the Scriptures to ' early re.
The other is the final paragraph of ligious impressions.'”—Pp. 6-13.
the work, and is peculiarly gratifying Learing the body of the work for to us as Englishmen. Such a testifuture notice, together with the first mony to the English Government is and third articles in the list, we can more sterling praise than is contained now only advert to two paragraphs in in a volume of court addresses. the conclusion, which are the more " I now conclude my essay by offering interesting as being lately written, and up thanks to the Supreme Disposer of containing the author's last recorded the events of this universe, for having feelings The “Final Appeal" came unexpectedly delivered this country from out in February, and the preface is the long-continued tyranny of its former dated “ Calcutta, January 30, 1823"]. rulers, and placed it under the governOne of these is in reply to Dr. Marsh- ment of the English, a nation, who not man's exhortation to him to become only are blessed with the enjoyment of a convert to the creed of the Mission- civil and political liberty, but also intearies, which, notwithstanding Ram- social happiness, as well as free inquiry
rest themselves in promoting liberty, and mohun Roy's mild manner of answer
into literary and religious subjects, among ing it, contains in reality a threatening those nations to which their influence of the loss of salvation, if he should extends.”—Pp. 378, 379. refuse.
(To be continued.)' “I tender my humble thanks for the
“ De Temporum Mutabilitate."
“Omnia tempus edax depascitur, omnia carpit,
Omnia sede movet, nil sinit esse diù.
Subsidunt montes, et juga celsa ruunt.
Ardebit, flammis toto repentè suis.
Hic aliquo mundus nullus erit.”