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Remarks on the Author's denial of the possibility of obtaining real Converts to Christianity among the Natives of India.
THE late publication of the Abbé Dubois against Christian Missions in India, consists, according to the author's advertisement, of some letters, written by himself at different periods, to friends who had requested his opinion on the subjects therein discussed. In the first letter he states his unfavourable impression respecting the efforts made to evangelize the Hindoos, by proposing and answering two inquiries. "First,-Is there," says the Abbé, "a possibility of making real converts to Christianity among the natives in India? Secondly, Are the means employed for that purpose, and above all, the translation of the Holy Scriptures into the idioms of the country, likely to conduce to this desirable object?" (pp. 1, 2.)
The answer given to the first of these questions will be considered in this chapter.
"To both interrogatories," the author says, "I will answer in the negative: it is my decided opinion, first, that under existing circumstances there is no human possibility of converting the Hindoos to any sect of Christianity." (p. 2.)
The Abbé, it appears, replies to the question "in the negative." That is, he denies the possibility of making real converts to Christianity among the natives in India;" asserting, that "there is no human possibility of converting the Hindoos to any sect of Christianity."
This answer, the Christian reader will soon discover, contains in itself the elements of its own refutation. The author refers to human efforts. These may be considered in two points of view. First, such efforts as are unattended by the divine blessing: secondly, such as are accompanied by the influence of heaven.
If the Abbé refer to human efforts, unattended by the blessing of God, then his statement, that there is no human possibility of effecting the conversion of the Hindoos, is perfectly correct. It is a scriptural truth, maintained by the London Missionary Society, and all similar institutions with which I am acquainted. But then the conclusion, that there is no possibility of converting the Hindoos to Christianity, is utterly inadmis
sible, for the obvious reason, that human effort, attended by the gracious co-operation of the Divine Being, is abundantly sufficient to effect their conversion.
If, on the contrary, the author refer to human agency, accompanied by the influences of heaven, his assertion is entirely devoid of truth; for such agency is amply sufficient for the accomplishment of the object in question, and can easily achieve the conversion of the Hindoos.
The Abbé is, therefore, either in his conclusion, or in his premises, obviously and materially incorrect.
If the question be asked, which of the two modifications of human effort the author had in view in his answer as above quoted, I should apprehend he intended that which is unaccompanied by the blessing and co-operation of God. This I presume to be the case; first, because it is not to be supposed that he would have denied, in explicit words, the adequacy of divine grace, conjoined with human effort, to effect the conversion of the Hindoos; and in the next place, because, judging by the general tenor of his book, he appears to be very far from the habit of recognizing or contemplating the concurrence of divine and human agency in the work of evangelizing the heathen.
Whilst the simple proposition, that with God