Imatges de pàgina

phlets; and a more interesting and acceptable volume this useful society never presented to its subscribers and the public. The Final Appeal," (No. III. on our list,) has reached England since the " Precepts of Jesus" was republished, and this also we trust the Unitarian Society will commit to press. It is, in our judgment, the most valuable and important of all the Hindoo Reformer's works. Though last in point of time of his publications we cannot help referring to it first of all. It is printed, the reader will observe, at the "Unitarian Press." This is explained by the author in a "Notice" to the reader. All his preceding works on the subject of Christianity were printed at the Baptist Mission Press, Calcutta, which is, we believe, employed in general work for the sake of profit, in order to serve the mission; but (says Rammohun Roy) "the acting proprietor of that press having, since the publication of the Second Appeal, declined, although in the politest manner possible, printing any other work that the author might publish on the same subject, he was under the necessity of purchasing a few types for his own use, and of depending principally upon native superintendance for the completion of the greater part of this work." This refusal, however polite in its manner,


England."* Dr. Marshman has here allowed his zeal to outrun his knowledge. The work quoted by Rammohun Roy is not Archbishop Newcome's translation of the New Testament, which formed the basis of the Improved Version,' pub-, lished by the Unitarian Society; but that learned prelate's Attempt towards an Improved Version, &c. of the Twelve Minor Prophets;' a production well worthy of the perusal of every Biblical student."-Pp. xviii. xix. Of Dr. Marshman's acumen as a controversialist, we may take one short specimen from his book. Replying to objections to the worship of Christ, he says, p. 241, "That in the state of humiliation in which his infinite love to sinners had placed him, and which he declared, "If I honour myself, my honour is nothing,' he should pray to himself, or formally prescribe this to his disciples, was scarcely to be expected !"

[blocks in formation]

does not bespeak the confidence of the Missionaries in the strength of their arguments; but no Unitarian will lament it. Being the occasion of the establishment of an "Unitarian Press" in India, it will doubtless (as Mr. Ivimey says of Mr. Adam's departure from Trinitarianism and Calvinism) turn out rather for the furtherance of the gospel.'


In a very interesting Preface to the "Final Appeal," Rammohun Roy appeals to the candour of Indian readers on the ground of his being engaged in self-defence. He says very feelingly,


"I am well aware that this difference of sentiment has already occasioned much coolness towards me in the demeanour

of some whose friendship I hold very dear; and that this protracted controversy has not only prevented me from rendering my humble services to my countrymen, by various publications, which I had projected in the native languages, but has also diverted my attention from all other literary pursuits for three years past. Notwithstanding these sacrifices, I feel well satisfied with my present engagements, and cannot wish that I had pursued a different course; world, my own conscience fully approves since whatever may be the opinion of the of my past endeavours to defend what I esteem the cause of truth.”—Pref. pp. i. ii.

He adds, with equal sense and spirit,

"I feel assured that if religious controversy be carried on, with that temper and language which are considered by wise and pious men, as most consistent with the solemn and sacred nature of religion, and more especially with the mild spirit of Christianity, the truths of it cannot, for any length of time, be kept concealed, under the imposing veil of high-sounding expressions, calculated to passions of the people, and thereby keep astonish the imagination and rouse the alive and strengthen the preconceived notions, with which such language has in their minds been, from infancy, associated. But I regret that the method which has hitherto been observed in ininquiry after religious truth, by means of large publications, necessarily issued at considerable intervals of time, is not, for several reasons, so well adapted to the speedy attainment of the proposed object,

* Mon. Repos. XVII. 683.

as I, and other friends of true religion, could wish."-Pref. pp. iii. iv.

These reasons he assigns to be, want of leisure in many, disgust felt by some at injurious insinuations and personalities, and the disheartening, distracting effect of a multiplicity of arguments and various interpretations of passages of Scripture. To obviate these inconveniences, he makes the following judicious and laudable proposal :

"As Christianity is happily not a subject resting on vague metaphysical speculations, but is founded upon the authority of books written in languages which are understood and explained according to known and standing rules, I therefore propose, with a view to the more speedy and certain attainment of religious truth, to establish a monthly periodical publica tion, commencing from the month of April next, to be devoted to Biblical criticism, and to subject Unitarian as well as Trinitarian doctrines to the test of fair argument, if those of the latter persuasion will consent thus to submit the scriptural grounds on which their tenets concerning the Trinity are built.

"For the sake of method and conve nience, I propose that, beginning with the book of Genesis, and taking all the passages in that portion of Scripture which are thought to countenance the doctrine of the Trinity, we should examine them one by one, and publish our observations upon them; and that next month we proceed in the same manner with the book of Exodus, and so on with all the books of the Old and New Testaments, in their regular order.

"If any one of the Missionary gentlemen, for himself and in behalf of his fellow-labourers, choose to profit by the opportunity thus afforded them of defending and diffusing the doctrines they have undertaken to preach, I request that an essay on the book of Genesis, of the kind above intimated, may be sent me by the middle of the month, and if confined within reasonable limits, not exceeding a dozen or sixteen pages, I hereby engage to cause it to be printed and circulated at my own charge, should the Missionary gentlemen refuse to bestow any part of the funds, intended for the spread of Christianity, towards this object; and also that a reply (not exceeding the same number of pages) to the arguments adduced, shall be published along with it by the beginning of the ensuing month. That this new mode of controversy, by short monthly publications, may be attended with all the advantages which

I, in common with other searchers after
truth, expect, and of which it is capable,
thing be introduced of a personal nature
it will be absolutely necessary that no-
or calculated to hurt the feelings of indi-
viduals-that we avoid all offensive ex-
pressions, and such arguments as have
no immediate connexion with the subject,
and can only serve to retard the progress
of discovery; and that we never allow
ourselves for a moment to forget that we
tation."-Pref. pp. v.-vii.
are engaged in a solemn religious dispu-

This is evidently the proposal of a sineere inquirer after truth, who be lieves that the object which he seeks It is, we hope, by this time carried will be promoted by free discussion. into effect. The energy of Rammohun Roy's mind, his zeal on behalf of pure Christianity, and the means with which Providence has blessed him, are pledges that no measure which he conceives to be serviceable to his countrymen and fellow-creatures will be neglected by him or lightly abandoned. The Missionaries will, we apprehend, excuse themselves from any contribution, literary or pecuniary, to such a ciates are not the persons to whom work. Rammohun Roy and his assothey look for converts. Without them, however, such a periodical publication may be carried on in British India, where, we are informed, there is a large proportion of persons, in both the military and civil service, and amongst the merchants and traders, who are disposed to lend an ear to sound reasoning on behalf of the gospel, and the more so from their conviction that the system of "orthodoxy" imported from Europe is not with either Mahometans or Hindoos. the religion that will make its way Heartily do we wish success to the projected work, from which we shall probably borrow hereafter for the gratification of our readers.

In some remarks introductory_to the "Final Appeal," Rammohun Roy complains with great reason of the the Missionary Magazine. He pubtreatment he has experienced from lished the "Precepts of Jesus," he says, to exhibit the pure and elevated morality of the gospel to his countrymen and others, unaccompanied by those mysterious and contradictory doctrines with which the various teachers of Christianity have associated,

and, as he thinks, impaired them. He was hence charged with omitting the only foundation of Christianity, viz. "the doctrines of the Godhead of Jesus and the Holy Ghost and of the Atonement." This compelled him, he adds, "as a professed believer of one God, to deny for the first time publicly those doctrines; and now," he concludes, the Editor "takes occasion to accuse me of presumption in teaching doctrines which he has himself compelled me to avow.”—P. 5.

Rammohun Roy expresses some surprise at his antagonist's real or pretended ignorance of his opinions:


"The Editor assigns, as a reason for entering on this controversy, that, after a review of the Precepts of Jesus and the First Appeal,' he felt some doubt whether their author fully believed the deity of Christ,' and consequently headduced a few passages from the Scriptures to confirm this doctrine.' He then adds, that this Second Appeal to the Christian public confirms all that he before only feared. (P. 1.) I could have scarcely credited this assertion of the Reviewer's unacquaintance with my religious opinions, if the allegation had come from any other quarter; for both in my conversation and correspondence with as many Missionary gentlemen, old and young, as I have had the honour to know, I have never hesitated, when required, to offer my sentiments candidly, as to the unscripturality and unreasonableness of the doctrine of the Trinity. On one occasion, particularly when on a visit to one of the Rev. colleagues of the Editor at Serampore, long before the time of these publications, I discussed the subject with that gentleman at his invitation; and then fully manifested my disbelief of this doctrine, taking the liberty of examining successively all the arguments he, from friendly motives, urged upon me in support of it."-Pp. 5, 6.


In our judgment nothing can be more satisfactory than the following confutation of the charge of presump tion and vindication of the true method of religious research; the extract is long, but we could not abridge without injury, and we wish our readers to see a full-length portrait of the Indian Reformer.


its most important doctrines more fully in three or four years than others have done by most unremitting study in thirty or forty.' The doctrine of the 'Trinity appears to me so obviously unscriptural, that I am pretty sure, from my own experience and that of others, that no one pos

sessed of merely common sense will fail to find its unscripturality after a methodical study of the Old and New Testaments, unless previously impressed in the early part of his life with creeds and forms of speech preparing the way to that doctrine. No pride, therefore, can be supposed for a moment to have arisen from commonly attainable success. The

Editor might be fully convinced of this fact, were he to engage a few independent and diligent natives to study atten tively both the Old and New Testaments in their original languages, and then to offer their sentiments as to the doctrine of the Trinity being scriptural or a mere human invention.

"In page 503 the Editor insinuates that vanity has led me to presume that freedom from the powerful effects of early religious impressions' has enabled me to discover the truths of Scripture in


"To hold up to ridicule my suggestions in the Second Appeal to study first the books of the Old Testament unbiassed by ecclesiastic opinions imbibed in early life, and then to study the New Testament, the Rev. Editor states that 'could it be relied on indeed,' my compendious method would deserve notice, with a view to Christian education; as,' on my plan, the most certain way of enabling any one to discover, in a superior manner, the truths and doctrines of Christianity is to leave him till the age of thirty or forty without any religious impression.'-(P. 503.) I do not in the least wonder at his disapprobation of my suggestion; as the Editor, in common with other professors of traditional opinions, is sure of supporters of his favourite doctrine, so long as it is inculcated on the minds of youths, and even infants; who, being once thoroughly impressed with the name of the Trinity in Unity and Unity in Trinity, long before they can think for themselves, must be always inclined, even after their reason has become matured, to interpret the sacred books, even those texts which are evidently inconsistent with this doctrine, in a manner favourable to their prepossessed opinion, whether their study be continued for three, or thirty, or twice thirty years. Could Hindooism continue after the present generation, or bear the studious examination of a single year, if

the belief of their idols being endued with animation were not carefully impressed on the young before they come to years of understanding?

"Let me here suggest that, in my humble opinion, no truly liberal and wise parent can ever take advantage of the

unsuspecting and confiding credulity of his children to impress them with an implicit belief in any set of abstruse doctrines, and intolerance of all other opinions, the truth or reasonableness of which they are incapable of estimating. Still less would he urge by threats the danger of present and eternal punishment for withholding a blind assent to opinions they are unable to comprehend. Parents are bound by every moral tie to give their children such an education as may be sufficient to render them capable of exercising their reason as rational and social beings, and of forming their opinion on religious points without ill-will towards others, from a thorough investigation of the Scriptures, and of the evidence and arguments adduced by teachers of different persuasions. Judgments thus formed have a real claim to respect from those who have not the means of judging for themselves. But of what consequence is it, in a question of truth or error, to know how the matter at issue has been considered, even for a hundred generations, by those who have blindly adopted the creed of their fathers? Surely, the unbiassed judginent of a person who has proceeded to the study of the Sacred Scriptures with an anxious desire to dis cover the truth they contain, even if his researches were to be continued but for a single twelvemonth, ought, as far as authority goes in such matters, to outweigh the opinions of any number who have either not thought at all for themselves, or have studied after prejudice had laid hold of their minds. What fair inquiry respecting the doctrine of the Trinity can be expected from one who has been on the bosom of his mother coustantly taught to ask the blessing of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, and to hear the very name of Unitarian with horror? Have the doctrines of the Vedant ever succeeded in suppressing Polytheism amongst the generality of Hindoos brought up with the notion of the godhead of the sun, of fire and of water, and of the separate and independent existence of the allegorical representations of the attributes of God? Were the sublime works written by the learned among the Greeks ever able to shake the early acquired superstitious notions and polytheistical faith of the generality of their countrymen? Nay, even when Christian converts became numerous, did not those who were brought up in the ancient superstition introduce some vestiges of their idolatry into their new persuasion? In fact, nothing can more surely impede the progress of truth than prejudice instilled into minds blank to receive impressions;

and the more unreasonable are the doctrines of a religion, the greater pains are taken by the supporters of them to plant them in the readily susceptible minds of youth.

"The Editor has filled a complete page in proving that, besides early impressed prejudices, there are also other causes of error in judgment—an attempt which might have been dispensed with: for I never limited the sources of mistake in examining religious matters to early impression alone. I attributed only the prevailing errors in Christianity to traditional instructions inculcated in_childhood, as the language of my Second Appeal will shew: Having derived my own opinions on this subject entirely from the Scriptures themselves, I may, perhaps, be excused for the confidence with which I maintain them against those of so great a majority, who appeal to the same authority for theirs; inasmuch as I attribute their different views, not to any inferiority of judgment, compared with my own limited ability, but to the powerful effects of early religious impressions; for when these are deep, reason is seldom allowed its natural scope in examining them to the bottom.' (P. 160.) If the Editor doubt the accuracy of this remark, he might soon satisfy himself of its justice, were he to listen to the suggestion offered in the preceding paragraph, with a view to ascertain whether the doctrine of the Trinity rests for its belief on scriptural authorities, or on early religious impressions.


"The Editor mentions, ironically, (in p. 3,) that my success in scriptural studies was such as to prove that the most learned and pious in every age of the church have been so completely mistaken as to transform the pure religion of Jesus into the most horrible idolatry.' In an swer to this, I only beg to ask the Rev. Editor to let me know first, what a Protestant, in the fifteenth century, could have answered, if he had been thus ques. tioned by a Roman Catholic: Is your success, in examining the truths of Scripture, such as to prove that the most learned and pious in every age of the church have been so completely mistaken, as to transform the pure religion of Jesus into the most horrible idolatry, by introducing the worship of Mary, the mother of God, and instituting images in churches, as well as by acknowledging the Pope, as the head of the church, vested with the power of forgiving sins? Would not his answer be this, My success is, indeed, so as to prove these doctrines to be unscriptural. As to your inferences they are no more divine than mine, and though I do not doubt the picty and learning of


many Christians of your church, in every age, I am persuaded that many corruptions, introduced into the Christian religion by the Roman Heathens, converted in the fourth and fifth centuries, have been handed down through successive generations, by impressions made in the early part of life, and have taken such root in the minds of men, that piety and learning have fallen short of eradicating prejudices nourished by church and state, as well as by the vulgar superstition and enthusiasm. Were this reply justifiable, I also might be allowed to offer the following answer: I find not the doctrine of the Trinity in the Scriptures; I cannot receive any human creed for divine truth; but without charging the supporters of this doctrine with impiety or fraud, humbly attribute their misinterpretation of the Scriptures to early religious impressions." "-Pp. 6-13.


Editor's kind suggestion, in inviting me to adopt the doctrine of the Holy Trinity; but I am sorry to find that I am unable to benefit by this advice. After I have long relinquished every idea of a plurality of Gods, or of the persons of the Godhead, taught under different systems of modern Hindooism, I cannot conscientiously and consistently embrace one of a similar nature, though greatly refined by the religious reformations of modern times; since whatever arguments can be adduced against a plurality of Gods strike with equal force against the doctrine of a plurality of persons of the Godhead; and, on the other hand, whatever excuse may be pleaded in favour of a plurality of persons of the Deity, can be offered with equal propriety in defence of Polytheism."-P. 378.

Leaving the body of the work for future notice, together with the first and third articles in the list, we can now only advert to two paragraphs in the conclusion, which are the more interesting as being lately written, and containing the author's last recorded feelings [The " Final Appeal" came out in February, and the preface is dated "Calcutta, January 30, 1823"]. One of these is in reply to Dr. Marshman's exhortation to him to become a convert to the creed of the Missionaries, which, notwithstanding Rammohun Roy's mild manner of answering it, contains in reality a threatening of the loss of salvation, if he should refuse.

"I tender my humble thanks for the

The other is the final paragraph of the work, and is peculiarly gratifying to us as Englishmen. Such a testimony to the English Government is more sterling praise than is contained in a volume of court addresses.

"I now conclude my essay by offering up thanks to the Supreme Disposer of the events of this universe, for having unexpectedly delivered this country from the long-continued tyranny of its former rulers, and placed it under the government of the English, a nation, who not only are blessed with the enjoyment of civil and political liberty, but also intesocial happiness, as well as free inquiry rest themselves in promoting liberty and into literary and religious subjects, among those nations to which their influence extends."-Pp. 378, 379.

(To be continued.)'



Of Lines from a Tragedy of Seneca's.

"De Temporum Mutabilitate." (

"Omnia tempus edax depascitur, omnia carpit,
Omnia sede movet, nil sinit esse diù.
Flumina deficiunt, profugum mare littora siccat,
Subsidunt montes, et juga celsa ruunt.
Quid tam parva loquor? Moles pulcherrima cœli
Ardebit, flammis toto repentè suis.
Omnia mors poscit lex est, non pœna, perire,

Hic aliquo mundus nullus erit."

« AnteriorContinua »