« PrécédentContinuer »
the Abbé does, the immense difficulties which stood in the way of female education, and perceiving to how great an extent they had been surmounted*, I could not but consider it as "the finger of God."
But what I am anxious for at this moment is, not to triumph over the Abbé's à priori objection, on the ground of success having followed the adoption of Mr. Ward's proposal, and the fact of seven hundreds of Hindoo females having been actually obtained as scholars; but to triumph over it on the strength of solid principle. The possibility of instructing Hindoo females would have remained the same had the efforts made by Mrs. Wilson failed. Her failure, had it taken place, would only have proved, that God at that time was not pleased to interpose; and such failure, instead of producing despair of ultimate success, should only have been construed into an indication, that faith, patience, and prayer, must be called into further exercise.
The above specimens are, it is presumed, sufficient to shew how much the forgetfulness of an
* Efforts similar to those of Mrs. Wilson have been made by other individuals, connected with different Societies in various parts of Bengal, and with the most encouraging success. So much so, that in the month of November last, above seven hundred Hindoo girls had entered the various schools opened for their instruction, and enrolled their names as scholars.
important principle-a principle established both by scripture and by fact-has impregnated the whole of the author's book with error; and the reader will be prepared to apply the principle, that God's blessing on the labours of his servants is sufficient to render them successful in India as well as elsewhere, to such other parts of the author's work as are in like manner thereby proved to be erroneous.
Review of the Author's objection to the circulation of the Holy Scriptures among the Hindoos.
THE second point of importance to which the Abbé refers, respects the translation of the Holy Scriptures into the different dialects of India. On the question concerning their adaptation to promote the conversion of the natives, he thus states his opinion." The translation of the Holy Scriptures circulated among them, so far from conducing to this end, will, on the contrary, increase the prejudices of the natives against the Christian religion, and prove, in many respects, detrimental to it." (p. 2.)
The grounds of his opposition to the circulation of the Scriptures among the Hindoos appear to be threefold.-He disapproves of the principle itself. He objects to the existing versions as badly executed.-And he asserts that these versions have produced no actual converts.
These objections, being sufficiently distinct, will be considered in separate chapters, assigning the present chapter to the first of them.
Justice to the important subject now under consideration, demands a preliminary reference to the educational and systematic prejudices of the Abbé, arising from his views and feelings as a Roman Catholic. It is well known by Protestants, that the highest authorities of the Church of Rome deny the free and unqualified use of the Scriptures to the laity-that the history of that church is in accordance with those authoritiesand that recent facts have afforded melancholy illustrations of the jealousy of the Papal See in reference to the circulation of the Bible, and of the opposition of modern Roman Catholics to the operations of Bible Societies. Protestants must therefore naturally question the competency of the Abbé to regulate their proceedings respecting the distribution of the word of God.
What is the real state of the case? It is no other than this, that a Roman Catholic writer advises Protestants not to circulate the Holy Scriptures in India. He aims at putting the Bible virtually into the Index Expurgatorius, and altogether hiding it from the eyes of the benighted inhabitants of Hindostan. The bare suggestion of so unscriptural a project must be
revolting to all the better feelings and convictions of an enlightened and reflecting Protestant.
The author, being aware of the unfavourable impression his connexion with the Church of Rome is calculated to produce on the minds of Protestants, naturally endeavours to diminish this impression; but probably the reader will think his apology ill suited to further his design, it not being in harmony with matter of fact.
The author's apology is as follows:-" You would perhaps look upon me as unqualified to give an unbiassed opinion on this topic, if, in common with many misinformed Protestants, you entertain the unfounded idea that the reading of the Holy Scriptures is forbidden to the Catholics. This is one of the many calumnies spread against them to render them odious to the other sects. So far from this being the case, the study of the Holy Writ is strongly recommended, and forms a leading feature of education in every seminary. What is required of the Catholics on the subject is, that they shall not presume to interpret the text of the Scriptures in a sense different from that of the church, or give it a meaning according to their own private judgment." (pp. 27-8.)
Here the author ventures to denominate it calumny to insinuate that the reading of the Holy Scriptures is forbidden to the Catholics;