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if he did read, he could not understand; how such books should produce a resentment so deep and universal, it is for the Abbé to explain. And it is, at the same time, for the reader to determine how far the Abbé's representations are worthy his regard.
Reply to the Abbé's assertion, that hopes of success, in the project of converting the Hindoos, are founded in ignorance, and vanish upon actual intercourse with the Natives themselves.
THE Abbé expresses his sentiments on the point discussed in this chapter as follows:--"The wellwishers to the cause of Christianity in Europe, who know nothing of the insuperable difficulties to be encountered every where in the dissemination of evangelical truths among the Hindoos of all castes, may indulge on this subject such speculations as they please, and such as their religious zeal may suggest to them. They may exclaim, that the gospel is the true light, that lighteth every man that cometh into the world.' That the truth, in its silent and slow, though steady march, must get the better of error, win the supercilious, soften the obdurate, fix the fickle, and overcome every obstacle that impedes its progress. Such pleasing dreams.
may be indulged within the precincts of a closet; but I would have those well-intentioned persons who entertain them, to exercise my arduous profession only for a period of a few months; when I have no doubt they would become thoroughly convinced of the utter impossibility of carrying into effect their benevolent speculations among a people circumstanced as the Hindoos are." (pp. 90, 91.)
"Warned by long experience, I repeat it, with feelings of the deepest sorrow, that there remain, in the present circumstances, no human means of improving Christian knowledge among the natives of India. The concerns of the Christian religion are in a quite desperate state; from a long period, all missionaries who are come to India for the purpose of making proselytes, have found themselves deceived on their arrival in the country, have experienced nothing but the most distressing disappointments in all their pursuits, and all their labours have terminated in nothing." (p. 133.)
The question now arises, Is the representation true, which is contained in the above paragraphs, namely, that hopes of success among the Hindoos are founded in ignorance, and that such hopes would vanish, and actually do vanish, upon personal intercourse with the natives of India?
I answer in the negative: I conceive myself to be one of the class especially referred to. I
was one of those "well-intentioned persons, indulged within the precincts of a closet," in Europe, the hope that the truth would ultimately prevail among the Hindoos. I actually went to India, and exercised the Abbé's " arduous profession," not only for "a period of a few months, but above six years; and I solemnly declare the result to be a full and entire conviction, founded not merely in the promises of God, but also in the appearances of the people, that the gospel will prevail in India, and that the Hindoos will in due time, and probably sooner than the generality of even friends to the cause expect, be converted to Christianity. This is my deliberate opinion, after all I have seen and heard and done in missionary affairs connected with Hindoostan; and I thus come forward myself, as a refutation of the author's assertion, that if any one would but exercise his, the Abbé's profession, though only for a short period, he would be convinced of the impossibility of his object being accomplished.
If the Abbé should endeavour to evade my testimony, by insinuating doubts whether I have stated the real sentiments of my mind, and to strengthen such doubts should suggest that I had embarked in the work for life, and could not, with credit to myself, either recede or speak ill
of it; I answer, that such a suggestion would not be correct. I embarked in the work but for the limited term of five years, and that by way of experiment: when this term expired, I had an open door of retreat; but the five years' trial has produced in my mind so deliberate and thorough a conviction, both of the importance and practicability of the undertaking upon which I had entered, that I have tendered my services to the London Missionary Society, for a second period of labour among the heathen of India.
I should apologize for so much about myself, but the nature of the Abbé's charge seems to have required it; and I come forward as proof that the Abbe's assertion, that "from a long period, all missionaries, who are come to India for the purpose of making proselytes, have found themselves deceived on their arrival in the country," is untrue.
I would add, that I have had intercourse with various missionaries of different Protestant denominations in Bengal, and never met with one whose sentiments underwent the change which the Abbé has thus untruly asserted.
If he should further attempt to insinuate, that impressions of practicability are first formed in Europe, and then, upon arrival in India, pride and tenacity will not permit the missionaries