« PreviousContinue »
nor of any other will make their appearance in my remarks.
The Revd. Editor charges me with the arrogance of taking upon myself “ to teach doctrines directly opposed to those held by the mass of real Christians in every age.” To vin icate myfelf from the presumption with which I am here charged, and to shew by what pecessity I have been driven to the publication of opinions unacceptable to many esteemed characters, I beg to call the atiention of the public to the language of the introduction to the “ Precepts of Jesus” compiled by me and which was my first publication connect d with Christianity. They may observe therein that so far from teaching any “ opposite doctrines'' or rejecting the prevailing opinion held by the great body of Christians," I took every precaution against giving the least offence to the prejudices of any one, and consequently limited my labour to what I supposed best calculated for the improvement of those whose received opi. nions are widely different from those of Christians. My words are “I decline entering into any discussion on those points (the dogmas of Christianity) and confine my attention at present to the task of laying before my fellow creatures the words of Christ, with a translation from the English into Sungscrit and the language of Bengal. I feel persuaded that hy separating from the other matters contained in the new Testament the moral precepts found in that book, these will be likely to produce the desirable effects of improving the hearts and minds of men of different persuasions and degrees of understanding.” (Introduction page3). The Precepts of Jesus which I was desirous of teaching were not I hoped "opposed to the doctrines held by the mass of real Christians," nor did my language in the introduction imply the “ rejection of those truths which the great body of the learned and pious have concurred in deeming fully contained in the sacred scriptures"
Notwithstanding all this precaution however I could not evade the reproach and censure of the Editor who not only expressed in " the Friend of India" No. 20 his extreme disapprobation of the compilation in a manner calcula ed more to provoke than lead to search after truth, but also indulged himself in calling me an injurer of the cause of truth. Disappointed as I was, I took refuge in the liberal protection of the public by appealing to them against the unexpected attacks of the Editur. lu that appeal I carefully avoided entering into any discussion as to the doctrines held up as the fundamental principles of Christianity by the Editor. The language of my first appeal is this “. Humble as he (the compiler) is he has therefore adopted those measures which he thought most judicious to spreadthe truth in an acceptable manner; but I am sorry to observe that he (the compiler) has unfortunately and unexpectedly met with opposition from those whom he considered the last persons likely to oppose him on this subject” Page 22. “ Whether or not he (the compiler) haserred in his judgement, that point must be determined by those who will candidly peruse and consider the arguments already advanced on this subject bearing in mind the lesson particularly taught by the saviour himself of adapting his instructions to the susceptibility and capacity of his hearers, John XVI 12 “ I have yet many things to say unto you but ye cannot bear them now” Page 24.
“ What benefit or peace of mind can we bestow upon a Mussulman who is an entire stranger to the Christian word, by communicating to him, without preparatory instruction, all the peculiar dogmas of Christianity" (Page 24). “ The compiler obviously having in view at least one object in common with the Reviewer and Editor, that of prociir. ing respect for the precepts of Christ might have reasonably expected more charity from professed teachers of his doctrine" (Page 5) In reviewing the first appeal the Revd. Editor fully introduced the doctrines of the Godhead of Jesus and the Holy Ghost, and of the Atonenient, as the only foundation of Christia. nity; whereby he compelled me, as a professed believer of one God, to deny for the first time publickly those doctrines; and now he takes occasion to accuse me of presumption in teaching doctrines which he has himself compelled me to avow.
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 he“ adduced a few passages from the scriptures to contirm this doctrine." He then adds that this second appeal to the Christian public confirms all that he before only feared. (Page 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 seutim nts 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 Revd. colleagues of the Editor at Serampore long before the time of these publications, I discnssed 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. Notwithstanning these circumstances, I am inclined to believe from my confidence in the character of the Editor, that either those Missionary gentlemen that were acquainted with my religious sentiments have happened to omit the mention of them to him, or he has forgotten what they had communicated on this subject, when he entered on the review of niy publications on Christianity.
In Page 503 the Editor insinuates that vanity has led me to presume ihat “ freedom from the powerful effects of early religious impressions” has enabled me to discover the truths of Scripture in 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 Trivity ap