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Moravians) how many converts they have made in India, during a stay of about seventy years, by preaching the gospel in all its naked simplicity." (p. 25.)
How, it may be demanded, can these two statements be reconciled ?-The one representing the Moravian missionaries as not even making an effort to convert the Hindoos; the other exhibiting them as having made the best possible effort to convert them, namely, that of preaching to them the gospel "in all its naked simplicity.'
It now devolves upon the reader, taking into consideration the facts and references contained in this chapter, to pass his judgment, whether the Abbé is borne out in his assertion, that all Protestant missionaries "have experienced nothing but the most distressing disappointments in all their pursuits, and all their labours have terminated in nothing."
Further notice of the Abbe's opinion, That the Hindoos cannot embrace Christianity, because of the persecutions to which they would be exposed. -Also, Remarks on his assertions, that the Hindoos are inaccessible-that they are incapable of acquiring new Ideas—and that they are in a state of Reprobation.
FROM what has been submitted to the reader in the preceding chapters, respecting the actual success attending missionary exertions, the error of several of the sentiments advanced by the author will be rendered manifest.
First, I may refer to his opinion, that the Hindoos can never be induced to embrace Christianity, on account of the persecutions to which they would thereby be exposed.
In a previous chapter it was shewn, that this sentiment, so strenuously maintained by the Abbé, is at perfect variance with the principle, that God's grace is sufficient to enable a believer
in the Lord Jesus Christ to undergo all kinds and degrees of suffering, for righteousness' sake, not excepting death. By subsequent chapters, especially the last, it appears that the sentiment is as much at variance with matter of fact, as it is with scriptural principle; for a great number of Hindoos have renounced their idolatry and caste, and made an open and persevering profession of attachment to the Redeemer's cause; and have endured the persecutions, be they more or be they less, which the Abbé asserts to be an insuperable impediment to the success of the gospel.
I would only add, that owing to the impartial conduct of the British government in India, the sufferings of the native converts, from the persecutions of their countrymen, are very materially mitigated; and this hindrance to the spread of the gospel in India is thus, to a very great extent, removed.
I proceed to notice another sentiment, equally repugnant with the preceding, both to sound principle and positive fact. I refer to the author's assertion, that the Hindoos are inaccessible for the purpose of communicating to them a knowledge of the gospel.-"The crafty Brahmins," he states, "(in order that the system of imposture that establishes their unmolested superiority over the other tribes, and brings the latter under their uncontroled bondage, might in no way be disco
vered or questioned), had the foresight to draw up between the Hindoos and the other nations on earth an impassable, an impregnable line, that defies all attacks from foreigners. There is no opening to approach them, and they themselves are strictly, and under the severest penalties, precluded from access to any body for the purpose of improving themselves, and bettering their actual condition; than which, as they are firmly and universally persuaded, nothing on the earth is more perfect." (p. 100.)
Again, "There is no possibility to have access, either by word or writing, to the refined part of the nation; the line of separation between us and the Brahmins is (as I have just observed) drawn, and the barrier impassable; there is no opening to argument or persuasion: our opponents are strictly bound, by their religious and civil statutes, to shun, to scorn, and hate us. They are obliged to do so from a sense of duty. To listen to us would be in them a crime, and the greatest of all disgraces." (p. 101.)
How much at variance this representation is with the real state of the Hindoos, the reader will perceive, when he recollects, what the author himself admits, that above half a million of the Hindoos have actually professed Christianity. How could this have been the case, if they were perfectly inaccessible?
To shew yet more plainly the incorrectness of the author's representation, more extracts from his book will be produced.
"In my religious controversy," he states, "I never forget the decorum, calmness, forbearance, and mutual regard that ought ever to be observed in such circumstances, carefully avoiding all that could to no good purpose wound the feelings and prejudices of my opponents; and if I reap no other fruit from my trouble, but their reluctant assent to my simple arguments, I can at least pride myself, that on such occasions I get a patient and cheerful hearing, and that both my opponents and myself separate on good terms, satisfied with the mutual respect with which the dispute was carried on." (pp. 16, 17.)
"In discoursing upon the Christian religion with the Hindoos, your hearers will readily agree with you upon all that you say; but they will feel nothing. When you discourse upon such topics, either among the Christians or pagans; your hearers sitting down on their heels, or cross-legged, will patiently, and with frequent assenting nods, listen to you." (p. 68.)
"I never employed informers in my researches and inquiries about the Hindoos, my scanty means not allowing me to keep persons of this description in my service. What I have written on the subject is the result of my personal obser