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CHAPTER XIII.

Inquiry into the truth of the Abbe's representation, that the efforts now making to impart Christian Knowledge in India, are calculated to excite the Hindoos to open Persecution, and likely to issue in a complete Rebellion.

WE have now to enter upon a new and serious charge brought by the Abbé against all who are zealously employed in propagating Christianity in India; the substance of which is, that these efforts have already been sufficient to produce among the Hindoos an inclination to engage in open persecution, and, if persevered in, are likely to issue in a state of complete anarchy and rebellion.

The Abbé's words are as follows:-" It is a certain fact, that since the new reformers have overflowed the country with their Bibles and religious tracts, the Christian religion, and the natives who profess it, have become more odious to the heathen than ever. Formerly the native

Christians, when known, were, it is true, despised and shunned by the pagans; but, on account of their small numbers, they were scarcely noticed. Now the religious tracts, dispersed with profusion in every direction, have brought them into public notice, and rendered them an object of universal opprobrium; and I apprehend that this very cause would already have given rise to an open persecution, were it not for the awe inspired by a government which is well known to extend an equal protection to all religious worship."

"All know that nothing is better calculated to produce irritation, opposition, and resistance, than contradiction; above all, when the contradicted party is the strongest and most obstinate. Now such is precisely the effect produced by the interference of the new reformers with the prejudices of the Hindoos; and I have reason to apprehend that the opposition of the latter will increase in proportion to the extent of the contradictions to which they may be exposed, until it shall finish by some explosion which may make all India a theatre of confusion and anarchy, to which it will be in the power of no government to apply a remedy." (pp. 175-6.)

Let us examine the last part of the Abbé's representation first, as bearing the graver aspect; and I apprehend that the more we investigate,

the more we shall be convinced that (accounting for the statement in the manner most favourable for its author) it is the mere wild reverie of a heated imagination. To put the matter in a clear light, it will be only necessary to describe the part which the missionaries really act, at least those in Bengal, and there is no reason to believe that the mode pursued by those in other parts of India is materially different.

It is in substance as follows:-A missionary hires a piece of ground by the side of some public road or thoroughfare. He builds a bungalow, or hut, on this ground; at certain times he goes into this bungalow, and begins reading a chapter in the Bible, or a part of a tract. From five to fifty natives are induced to enter the bungalow, or to stand at the door of it, and listen to what the missionary reads. When the congregation is sufficiently numerous, he leaves off reading and begins to address them. Whilst he is speaking, some of his hearers, either from not being sufficiently interested, or from not having sufficient leisure, walk out of the bungalow, and go on their way. Fresh persons arrive and supply their places, and the congregation keeps fluctuating, and either increasing or diminishing, according to the abilities of the speaker to excite the interest and attention of his

hearers, and according to the time of the day, the state of the weather, and other incidental circumstances.

Whilst the missionary is speaking, it often happens that some one of the congregation interrupts him by starting an objection to his statements, or proposing some question occurring to his mind. Conversations are thus frequently entered into, in which various points of doctrine or practice are discussed, with more or less good temper and good sense, according to the disposition and abilities of the disputants. The missionary, having truth on his side, in general obtains an easy victory; and, if he conduct himself with wisdom and humility, a large proportion of the congregation will usually be ready to confess that he has overcome; and he has generally reason to believe that many more, though they will not confess it openly, are, in their consciences, convinced that his arguments have been victorious.

Sometimes the missionary, drawn away from a discussion of the simple truths of Christianity, and attacked by some subtle adversary, who has allured him into the mazes of Hindooism, will be entangled and perplexed, and the palm of victory refused him.

Sometimes an individual in the congregation will say something rude and insolent to the missionary: when this happens, the missionary

has an excellent opportunity of raising his cause many degrees in the opinion of his auditory, by meekly brooking the insult, and returning good for evil.

Sometimes a new missionary, from the want of experience, may attack Hindooism in such a manner as to irritate, rather than to conciliate his auditors; but he soon discovers, that by this means he defeats his own end, and finds that his aim is promoted much more effectually by a temperate exhibition or defence of Christianity, and an humble imitation of the meekness and compassion of the Saviour.

The favourable time to expose the folly of Hindooism he discovers to be after the establishment of some important evangelical doctrine, when some Hindoo, by his own hostility and importunity, constrains the missionary to shew him the absurdity of the tenets he maintains. At such a juncture the Hindoos will take, with good humour, and with advantage to themselves, much more from the missionary than they would if he himself spontaneously attacked their idolatrous worship.

If the missionary has inadvertently given offence, such of his congregation as feel displeased, will sometimes call out, Huribol! Huribol! (that is, call upon Huree, one of the names of Krishno) and punish his offence by walking away and

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