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Consideration of the Author's objection to the Indian Versions of the Sacred Scriptures, on the supposed ground of their not having effected the Conversion of any of the Hindoos.


THERE is only one more point to be considered, in reference to the circulation of the Holy Scriptures in India; and that is, the Abbé's insinuation to the discredit of the Indian versions, on the ground of their having wrought no conversions. This objection the Abbé brings forward in the following words "Behold the Baptist missionaries at Serampore! Inquire what are their spiritual successes on the shores of the Ganges? Ask them whether they have really the well-founded hope, that their indefatigable labours, in endeavouring to get the Holy Scriptures translated into all the idioms of India, will increase their successes ? Ask them whether those extremely incorrect versions, already obtained at an immense expense, have produced the sincere conversion of

a single pagan? And I am persuaded, that if they are asked an answer upon their honour and conscience, they will all reply in the negative." (p. 26.)

I would say in reply, Let us try the experiment-let us ask Mr. Ward, who, though dead, yet speaketh to us in his Farewell Letters. The words of this highly esteemed and justly lamented labourer, in the Indian field of missions, are as follows: "In Bengal, where the Scriptures have been most read, a considerable portion of knowledge on Christian subjects is found, and much respect for the Bible manifested. It is also a pleasing consideration, that from the perusal of the New Testament alone, several very interesting conversions have taken place. A number of years ago, I left a New Testament at Ramkrishnu-Poor, after preaching in the market-place. From the perusal of this book is to be traced the conversion of Sebukram, now an excellent and successful preacher; of Krishundass, who died happily in his work as a bold and zealous preacher; of Juggunath, and one or two other individuals. Mr. Chamberlain, some years ago, left a New Testament in a village; and by reading this book, a very respectable young man of the writer caste, Tarachund, and his brother Muthoor, embraced the gospel. Of the first, some notice is taken in the preceding letter, and

the latter is employed as Persian interpreter in the Dutch court of justice at Chinsurah.

"I have seen the New Testament lying by the sick bed of the Christian Hindoo as his best companion; and the truths it contains have been the comfort of the afflicted, and the source of strong consolation and firm hope in death to many a dying Hindoo."*

The author's disparagement of the Indian translations of the Sacred Scriptures, on the ground of their having effected no conversions, is thus effectually removed; and an answer is returned to the question he proposed to Serampore, entirely ruinous of his argument.

It seems proper further to intimate, that the utility of the translations of the Sacred Scriptures is not to be estimated by the mere criterion of their effecting actual conversions;-they are of great value as tending to the general diffusion of important truth, and to the removal of darkness from the minds of the pagans, in a manner calculated to pave the way for conversions.

I will state an instance illustrative of the importance of the Indian versions, on the grounds last mentioned. Whilst I was living at Chinsurah, the missionaries there were desirous of introducing the Scriptures into a school of

* Ward's Farewell Letters, pp. 185-6.

Hindoo children, recently opened. They sent for the schoolmaster, and told him that they wished him to teach the Gospels to the children of his school. He said, 'I am a Hindoo, how can I with propriety teach your Gospels?' They replied, 'Have you ever read them?' He answered, 'No.'-' Then how can you be a competent judge of the propriety or impropriety of teaching them? Here, take the Gospels home with you, read them attentively, and then come back and tell us further what you think.'

The schoolmaster accordingly took the books, and some days after returned, saying, 'I have read the Gospels you gave me.'-' Well, and what is your view of them now?' He said, 'There is one feature in them which has much struck me; it is, that whilst in my own Shasters the lives of my gods are marked by a long list of crimes, I read in the history of your Jesus Christ, the life of one who was perfectly free from sin.'-' Have you then any objection to teach so good a book to the children under your charge?' He replied, 'None;' and instructed them in the Gospels from that day forward.

When we see the Scriptures thus taught to Hindoo children in schools, and impressing Hindoo adults in a manner so well calculated to promote the reception and diffusion of Christianity,

I apprehend every candid person will acknowledge that the Indian versions ought not to be decried, even if the triumphant reply from Mr. Ward to the Abbé's hostile interrogatories could not have been given.

There is also a variety of other advantages resulting from the Indian versions, which must readily present themselves to every reflecting mind; such as the furnishing the great weapon of spiritual warfare to the missionary, who otherwise would resemble a soldier without a swordthe furnishing the pagan convert with the great means of full acquaintance with, and establishment in, the truths of the gospel--the enabling the Hindoo enquirer to search into the doctrines, duties, and truth of Sacred Writ, leisurely and fully, at his own abode, prior to making an open profession of Christianity. These, and a multitude of minor and corresponding advantages, all stamp an amazing importance upon the Scriptures in India, as they do upon the Scriptures in England, or other Christian lands.

In the work, therefore, of translating the word of God in due time into every dialect of India, of using vigorous means for improving such translations till they attain perfection, and of distributing this bread of life among the perishing millions of India, I confidently anticipate that a

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