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ments of the Brahmins, in defence of their beloved system. Most earnestly do I pray, that the whole ray, sooner or later, prove efficient in producing on the minds of Hindoos in general, a conviction of the rationality of believing in and adoring the Supreme Being only ; together with a complete perception and practice of that grand and comprehensive moral principle-Do unto · others as you would be done by.”
Although he experienced much opposition and discouragement in his work of reformation, he had the gratification of witnessing in many instances the beneficial effects of his labours. " It is with no ordinary feelings of satifaction,” he states in the preface to the Cena Upanishad, “ that I have already seen many respectable persons of my countrymen, to the great disappointment of their spiritual guides, rise superior to their original prejudices, and inquire into the truths of religion.” And again, in his preface to the Kuth Opunishud, he writes, “ The great, body of my countrymen, possessed of good understandings, and not much fettered with prejudices, being perfectly satisfied of the truth of the doctrines contained in this, and in other works already laid by me before them, and of the gross errors of the puerile system of idol worship which they were led to follow, have altered their religious conduct in a manner becoming the dignity of human beings.” “ It seems to me,” he remarks in conclusion, “ that I cannot better employ my time, than in an endeavour to illustrate and maintain truth, and to render service to my fellow-labourers, confiding in the mercy of that Being to whom the motives of our actions, and secrets of our hearts, are well known.”
The liberal views, and the devout and amiable spirit, which are displayed in these extracts, and are, indeed, discernible in the whole of the author's writings, may be well thought to have disposed him to a candid examination of the Christian revelation. From the perusal of the New Testament, in his “ long and uninterrupted researches into religious truth,” he found, he asserts, “ the doctrines of Christ more conducive to moral principles, and better adapted for the use of rational beings, than any other which had come to his knowledge.”* The doctrine of the Trinity, however, which appeared to his mind quite as objectionable as the Polytheism of the Hindoos, presented an insuperable obstacle to his conversion to Christianity, as he found it professed by those with whom he conversed. But as the system so fully approved itself, in other respects, to his reason and his piety, his candour would not, on account of this single difficulty, allow him at once to reject it as false. As the most likely method of acquiring a correct knowledge of its doctrines, he determined upon a careful perusal of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures in their original languages. From this undertaking he arose with a firm persuasion, that the doctrine of the Trinity
* Preface to the London edition of the Translation of the Vedant. Monthly Repository, Vol. XIV. p. 562.
was not inculcated in them, and that the Christian religion was true and divine.
Having now become, upon deliberate and rational conviction, a Christian, he hastened to communicate to his countrymen such a view of the religion of the New Testament as he thought best adapted to impress them with a feeling of its excellence, and to imbue them with its pure and amiable spirit. For this purpose, he compiled the first pamphlet inserted in the present volume, which he intituled, “The Precepts of Jesus the Guide to Peace and Happiness," &c. To this work, which consists entirely of extracts from the moral discourses of our Lord, he prefixed an “ Introduction," in which he stated his reasons for omitting the doctrines and the historical and miraculous relations which accompany them in the writings of the evangelists. Soon after the publication of this tract, there appeared in “ The Friend of India,"* a periodical work under the direction of the Baptist missionaries, an article animadverting upon it, which was signed “A Christian Missionary," but written by the Rev. Mr. Schmidt. To this paper, Dr. Marshman, the editor of the magazine, appended some “ Observations” of his own,t in which he styled the compiler of the “ Precepts," "an intelligent HeATHEN, whose mind is as yet completely opposed to the grand design of the Saviour's becoming incarnate.”
These “ Observations” produced the second of
* No. XX. February, 1820.
the following pamphlets, intitiled, “ An Appeal to the Christian Public in Defence of the Precepts of Jesus, by a Friend to Truth.” The writer is now known to have been Rammohun Roy himself. He complains, in strong terms, of the application to him of the term Heathen, as “a violation of truth, charity, and liberality;" and also controverts some of Dr. Marshman's objections to the compilation and to his reasonings in the introduction. In a subsequent number of the “ Friend of India,"* Dr. Marshman inserted a brief reply to this “ Appeal,” in which he still denied to the author the title of " Christian,” because, he writes, “ we belong to that class who think that no one can be a real Christian without believing the divinity and the atonement of Jesus Christ, and the divine authority of the whole of the Christian Scriptures," disclaiming, however, all intentions of using the term “ Heathen” in an invidious sense.
Dr. Marshman, in his first “ Observations,” had promised to “ take up the subject” of Rammohun Roy's work s more fully in the first number of the Quarterly Series” of The Friend of India, then in preparation. Accordingly, there appeared in that publication some “ Observations on certain ideas contained in the Introduction to the Precepts of Jesus the Guide to Peace and Happiness.”+ In reply to this paper, Rammohun Roy published the last of the following pamphlets, in
* No. XXIII. May, 1820. Dr. Marshman's Papers, London edition, p. 5.
† Idem, p. 17, Friend of India, September, 1820.
tituled, “ A Second Appeal to the Christian Public in Defence of the Precepts of Jesus.” To this tract Dr. Marshman printed an elaborate answer in the fourth number of the Quarterly Series of “ The Friend of India.”* Here the discussion rests, as far as we are at present informed.t
· Dr. Marshman's friends having collected, and printed in England, his papers in this controversy, it was thought by many to be demanded by truth and justice, that Rammohun Roy's pamphlets should also be given to the British public, to enable them to form an accurate judgment of the merits of both the parties in the support of their respective tenets. As there appeared no prospect of the work being undertaken by any bookseller, the Unitarian Society were induced to become the publishers. They are aware that, holding, as they do, the strict and proper humanity of Christ as one of their fundamental tenets, they may possibly be charged with a dereliction of principle in thus circulating, under their authority, a work which maintains his pre-existence, and super-angelic rank and dignity. But they rest their defence upon the peculiar nature of the case, and
. * December, 1821. Dr. Marshman's Tracts, London edition, pp.. 64, &c.
+ The reader may be referred, for some further particulars relating to Rammohun Roy, to the Monthly Repository, vol. XIII. pp. 229, &c.; XIV. pp. 561, &c. ; XV. pp. 1, &c.; XVI. pp. 477, &c. ; XVII. pp. 682, &c.; and to Mr. Belsham's Introduction to William Roberts's (of Madras) First Letter to the Unitarian Society, 1818. i
| The work is intituled, “ A Defence of the Deity and Atonement of Jesus Christ, in Reply to Rammohun Roy, of Calcutta, by Dr. Marshman, of Serampore.” London, 1822.