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benevolent and enlightened Christian public will say, Be always abounding in this part of the work of the Lord; and, notwithstanding the opposition and discouragement you may meet with, Go Forward.
The Author's argument against Missions in India, founded on supposed ill success, examined.
IN the preceding chapters, the author's two positions, on the strength of which he commences his attack upon Christian missions in Hindostan, have been considered, and, it is trusted, their want of solidity has been rendered sufficiently apparent. We have now to enter upon a third subject of consideration, which his book suggests;-that relating to the success attending the labours of Missionaries in India.
This subject may be divided into two parts,— the first referring to the argument itself; the second referring to the facts on which the argument is founded. The inquiry into the facts involved in this particular subject,—that is, what actual success has attended the labours of Missionaries in India,-will be entered into in the progress of the reply. It is now proposed to
consider the argument itself; and which, it is apprehended, will, as soon as examined, appear unsound and inconclusive.
Let us then suppose (for it is unfounded in point of fact) that the author be able to prove that no Hindoos have been converted-say, not one Hindoo in all Hindostan : this would in no wise prove the impossibility of the future conversion of the inhabitants of India,-for this plain reason, that God is able to render the efforts of his servants to convert them successful, whenever he sees fit. Let a passage from the author's own book be quoted, in which he points out the conduct proper for unsuccessful missionaries to pursue; namely, that they ought to look up with calmness and resignation to Him who holds in his hands the hearts of men, changes them when he pleases, and is able even of stones to raise up children to Abraham, when the time appointed by him for the purpose arrives."
"In these deplorable times,” adds the author, "in which scepticism and immorality threaten to overwhelm every nation and every condition, it only remains to us to weep between the porch and the altar over the iniquities of the people; to water the sanctuary with our tears; to bewail, like Jeremiah, the general corruption; to edify the people by our lessons and examples; to look to the Father of mercies; to pray to him to bring
about better times, to spare his people, and not to give his heritage to reproach; and if our interposition cannot stem the torrent, and our altars are finally to be overthrown by the sacrilegious hands of modern philosophy, let us have, as our last resource, resolution and fortitude enough to stand by them to the last, and allow ourselves to be crushed down and buried under their ruins." (pp. 84-5.)
It is lamentable to behold the want of harmony between the principles of stedfast perseverance, which the author has here laid down, and the conduct he himself has actually pursued. We now behold him abandoning India, "disgusted" (to use his own expression) with the pursuit in which he was there engaged; and, upon his return to Europe, not contented with his own practical opposition to the principles he advocated as above, but actively exerting himself to induce others to disown them likewise. If his present conduct did not render it very questionable whether, those principles ever really had firm hold of his heart, we could not but say, Quantum mutatus ab illo! "How is the gold become dim! How is the most fine gold changed!"
The reader, it is presumed, will have now fully discerned the fallacy of the principle upon which the author has argued, and have perceived, that if there really had been no converts made from
among the Hindoos, this would form no sufficient reason for quitting the field of missionary enterprise. It would indeed form a sufficient reason for missionaries to scrutinize their methods of procedure with great accuracy, and to apply to their Divine Master, in prayer, for guidance into such a mode of operation as would bring down his blessing, but no sufficient reason for the abandonment of their work.
In the Gospel by St. Matthew an account is given of a difficult case, in which the Apostles themselves were baffled. The conversation which thereupon took place between them and their Divine Teacher, is so full of important instruction, and seems so applicable to the point in hand, that the writer will be pardoned for transcribing it.
"And when they were come to the multitude," (says the Evangelist, speaking of our Lord and his disciples,)" there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is lunatic and sore vexed; for oft times he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water; and I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? Bring him hither to me and Jesus rebuked the devil, and he