« PrécédentContinuer »
which are held most sacred;" I apprehend it cannot, it will not, be assented to by any candid and competent judge.
Take, for instance, the Gospel of St. Matthew : you will find in it, at the fourth verse of the twenty-second chapter, the words of the parable, My oxen and my fatlings are killed." These words, the Abbé would say, are calculated to awaken the violent prejudices of the Hindoos. If this were really the case, and here and there a passage of a similar kind be found, there yet remains the great bulk of the Gospel by Matthew, and, I may add, the great bulk of the New Testament, yea, of the whole Bible, which may be imparted to the Hindoo without the apprehension of any such effect.
In fact, so large a portion of the Bible is totally free from the objection dwelt upon by the Abbé, that the funds at the Missionaries' disposal would be far from sufficient for an adequate distribution of the parts of the Sacred Scriptures unaffected by it. Thus, if the principle on which the author's objection is founded were correct, and the prejudices of the Hindoos ought to be humoured, as he contends, yet his objection would be of no practical force whatever.
But the principle on which the Abbé argues is unsound; for if the Hindoo should not find his difficulties removed to his entire satisfaction, and
should still feel a considerable prejudice remaining, as it respects those points which do not harmonize with his preconceptions, yet he is bound to accept the Bible as the rule of his conduct, because it is most abundantly proved to be a revelation from God to man. It is proved to be so by the miracles wrought on its behalf--by the prophecies fulfilled in its favour--by the holy tendency of its precepts-by the actual effect it has produced in turning men from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God; and by all those various and conclusive arguments which are abundantly sufficient to satisfy every candid inquirer;-proofs which are as the broad seal of heaven on the sacred volume, stamping it as the word of God.
If the Hindoo, therefore, slight or reject the Bible, in so doing he takes upon himself the awful responsibility connected with such a course, Despising the mercy of his Maker, and refusing to build his hopes of heaven on that sole foundation which God has laid in Zion, "He shall die in his iniquity;" but the Missionary has discharged his duty,—has given him full warning, and thus "delivered,” at least, "his own soul."
I trust enough has been said upon the author's hostility to the practice of circulating the Scriptures among the Hindoos, and that every adequate judge will pronounce his objection to have
I trust the reader will be of opinion, that the Bible is a book penned with more wisdom, and better adapted to human nature throughout the earth, than the Abbé seems to suppose that the omniscient God dictated the blessed volume with a reference to the millions of India, as well as of England, or of France : that there is no ground for proclaiming God's word with a faultering tongue, or dispersing it abroad with a tremulous hand: that it will not "increase the prejudices of the natives against the Christian religion, and prove in many respects detrimental to it;" but, on the contrary, tend to abate those prejudices, and help forward the Christian cause; and that the saying shall be fulfilled, which was revealed to the Church of God by Isaiah's pen,-" For as the rain cometh down and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth. It shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."
The Author's objection to the Indian Versions of the Sacred Scriptures, on the ground of their supposed worthlessness, considered.
WE now proceed to the Abbé's second head of objection against the circulation of the Sacred Scriptures in India, on account of the supposed worthlessness of the existing Indian versions.
His censures are in the following strain: "If one of the many proofs of our holy books being of divine origin be derived from their intrinsical worth, from their noble, inimitable, and majestic simplicity, there is, alas! on the other hand, but too much reason to fear, that the Hindoos will form a directly opposite judgment on the subject, when they behold the ludicrous, vulgar, and almost unintelligible style of the versions at present circulated among them; and that even the most reasonable and best disposed, in beholding our Holy Scriptures under such a contemptible shape, so far from looking upon
them as the word of God, will, on the contrary, be strongly impelled to consider them as forgeries of some obscure, ignorant, and illiterate individual, and of course a downright imposture."(p. 210.) This censure is strong, but it is for consideration whether it be deserved.
First of all, an important inquiry presents itself. Is the author possessed of sufficient knowledge of the subject to warrant his thus sitting in judgment upon the various versions of the Sacred Scriptures made in India? In our prosecution of this inquiry, let it be particularly noted, that the Abbé has tacitly, if not explicitly, condemned all the Indian versions of the Sacred Scriptures without reserve. We do not read throughout his book, so far as I have been able to discover, any exception in favour of any one of the versions, or of any part of any one of them. The question necessarily presents itself-Does he possess a sufficient knowledge of these various versions, to justify him in thus filling the censor's chair? I answer the question by saying-No, he does not possess it; for of the large majority of versions which he thus condemns, we are by himself warranted to affirm that he never read them, and is incapable of reading them, for he knows not the languages into which they are translated.
There must be a great deal of delusion hovering over the mind of that individual, who sup