« AnteriorContinuar »
and arbitrary priestcraft ;-by a religion of usage, not of faith* ;-to seek every reasonable means for conferring the best of blessings upon all; then might we rejoice to see not only two, but twenty lacs of rupees per annum assigned from the Indian revenue to the purposes of education ! The influence of high places and authorities should not be overlooked by our ulers—common sense may have done much, but the countenance of authority has availed not a little to render impotent the petty wailings and railings of the Dhurma Shubah against the glorious abolition of the Suttee.
There is a medium course worth convassing, but to which I do not incline ; disliking all medium measures, when there is one plain beaten track, marked out with the finger of God, who commanded his Apostles to go forth unto all nations to convert them to the Faith of Christ ;-and I see no reason why, trusting to the strength which never faileth those who depend upon it, the application should not be made personal, in the present day, by individuals, by societies, and by governments bearing the name of Christians! Whilst, however, I cannot admit the premises for this medium course, I have not the slightest hesitation in expressing an opinion that its results would be satisfactory; I shall explain the premises in my own way, with some approximation, I suspect, to the real state of the case.
If then, it be maintained that, after the recklessness displayed by the first settlers in British India, for the property personal of the natives, it is incumbent upon the rulers of the present day to maintain any pledges for the protection of their property spiritual, which may have been bartered for an unwilling submission, and that this burthen requires them to cherish, in Sanscrit Colleges, Hindoo learning or Hindoo darkness, to the intent that its deceits may prevail against a brighter light;or if this be the prescriptive right of the natives of India, and its maintenance be needful toleration; the Government institutions might be divided into two departments: one for instruction in Hindooism, pure (?) unsophisticated Hindooism ;-the other for the inculcation openly, and without any equivocation, of the Christian religion, with its sound and unimpeachable morality, together
I owe this remark to the author of “ Saturday Evening," a layman, and I cannot help transcribing a few passages of a local character from his lecture on the “ Expectation of Christians.” Impressed with the prevailing signs of " the latter times,” he observes, “ In truth, it must hardly be said, that there is any thing of religion in China, if we deduct on the one hand what is purely an instrument of civil polity—a pomp of government: and on the other, what is mere domestic usage or immemorial decoration of the home economy. Ages have passed away since mind, or feeling, or passion animated the religion of China. The religion of China is now a thing, not only as absurdly gay, but as dead at heart, as an Egyptian mummy ;-it is fit only to rest where it has lain two thousand years ;-touch it-sbake it-it crumbles to 'dust. Let but the civil institutions of China be broken up, and we might look about in vain for its religion.
“But may not at least the dark and gorgeous superstitions of India boast of undiminished strength, as well as of venerable age ? Antiquated as they are, can we affirm that they totter? Less so, it may be granted, than any other forms of false religion upon earth. They were born for longevity; they are the very beings of the climate; almost as proper to it as its prodigious and venomous reptiles. But can it be said of these illusions, firm as they still seem, that they have not been placed in jeopardy during the last fifty years, and especially of late? Is there not even now, in the fanaticism of India, more of usage than of passion ? And we well know, that the very crisis of a profound religious system, such as Hindooism, such as Romanism, comes on when the enormities which once were cruel and sincere begin to be simply loathsome and farcical. Besides ; does not the strength of the religions of India consist in the credit of the Brahminical order? The beard (qy. thread) of the Brahmin is the secret of its power ; but like the locks of Samson may it not readily be lost ? The credit of the Brahmin rests upon the unnatural partition of the people by caste : and this partition is hastening to decay."
with all useful knowledge, which it has been clearly proved cannot tolerantly, according to prevailing notions of conferred or prescriptive right, be mixed with any scheme for educating Hindoo Youth. Îhen, let every parent make his election, and, for the sake of all, let the working of the system be rigidly watched ! —No Christian can doubt the result of this fair-field encounter of opinion. How bright would be the contrast between the numerous elevated and enlightened, but humble, youths of the latter, and the darkness and utter destitution of intellectual advantages of the overbearing, grovelling few of the former class. The blind and the prejudiced might for a season be withheld by the terrors of priestcraft; but, great is the truth, and it must prevail : the power of the Gospel is manifested in the success against all opposition of our Christian schools.
The present course, as we have observed, deludes the natives into a belief that the English nation cares not for religion. Government works one way; many of its servants and subjects another ;-and inconsistency seems to reign throughout the land. The Hindoo may, and will justly, turn round to his rulers, and say, You have taken religion from my child, and given him nothing in its stead : the reflecting Christian joins in the reproof. But it is rejoined, Has he not knowledge ? Arithmetic, mathematics, geography, astronomy, metaphysics, political economy, jurisprudence ? cum totis aliis? The bigoted Hindoo might retort, We had means of teaching him enough of these for our worldly purposes; our children of the class that obtain admission into your colleges generally acquire sufficient knowledge without them to make their way through the world as respected Hindoos, respected amongst their fellows: whatever you have taught them more, has but sapped the foundations of our religion in their minds, and we see nothing it has given them of equal value. What avails it to us that you teach them geography or any other science, which at once convinces them that Hindooism is folly, if our Brahmins find it impossible to keep them in the path which we revere ? And when we ask them, what religion they have got instead, they tell us, none. The Christian echoes,
But," it is retorted to the Christian, (the Hindoo cannot be supposed to care much about that matter,) “We have given him sound morality, which will make him a good child, a good member of society, and a good subject.” To the first clauses the father's answer is well known. In his opinion he is neither the one nor the other, and ungovernable ;-—and he cares little what the state may find him.
I am one of those who think, in opposition to the father, that the “peace (?) of a family” is not to be put into comparison with the salvation of one of its members, and perhaps, through him, by God's blessing, of all—but I agree with him that without Christianity no good is done. In the latter clause of thequestion, however, I recognize the gist of all political toleration which keeps Christianity out of sight; and in reply I would offer a few more observations.
I will first ask, whether the education of the Hindoo college is not of nearly the same character as that of the greater number of the private Schools in England ? Whether the school-master, at home, is not as much afraid of making methodists for fear of offending fathers, as the Government or Instruction Committee of unmaking Hindoos ? I do not mean that religious instruction is denied : that would never dog-outward respect forbids that,—but it is not an injunction of the father, as it ought to be, to take special care of his son's religious principles, as well as of any other tendency of his mind. If the boy should shew a taste for drawing, cultivate it ; if for music, the same ;-but if perchance he should manifest a decided disposition to religious reflection, I question, whether a vast majority of professing Christians in our native land would not remove such a child from school, and drive him through a course of folly and dissipation, the theatre, routes,
balls, and all other frivolities, in order to “ bring him to his senses.” What is the practical consequence of such opinions upon the national character ? all those frivolities are preferred to religion ; the theatre or ball-room to the house of God! Many go farther from religion than their fathers wish them ; (but alas any distance has THE GULPH between!) from the theatre to the grosser vices, the midnight brawl, the bull-bait, the cock-pit ;-or per. haps morality thus inculcated forms to itself another standard, and men, by this time out of the verge of parental authority, ashamed of such low accomplishments, resort to the more dignified vices of Newmarket, the Red House, Crockford's, and a duel* : or if they cannot rise so high, dignify the meaner gambling-house and the more moderate race-course, or patronize the prize. ring:
This self-styled intellectual, or scientific zest of the polished man of the world, has latterly, it is pleasing to observe, fallen into disuse :--not because educa. tion has refined the public taste, but because the educated, at last, taught the idiots, whom they had trained to delight in battering each other's bodies (in some instances even unto death), to be wise men and rogues;-unless perhaps the roguery was on the side of education ; which is most likely, for the fight. ers alone complain of the dishonesty which has brought boxing into disrepute, and there can be no doubt on which side the pleasure preponderated. The gratification of betting, and joy at “the sport,” must surely have more than counterbalanced the comfort of the paltry sum bestowed upon the suffering, shattered, half-murdered instruments. “I argue however in my adversaries' field. I trust that through God's blessing A SENSE OF INCREASING RELIGION has shamed the spirit which encouraged the boxer and the bull_baiter.
In France, where education is perhaps more enlarged, and where religion is even less attended to, the results are even more grievous: for where, as in England, a remnant is found who have“ not bowed down unto Baal,” respect for their opinion withholds the depraved, and the standard of morality be. yond the pale, is higher. I recollect that not long ago much comment was made in the public prints on the conduct of the sailors who handed on board, in a dying state, Fielding and Sir Walter Scott, the greatest novelists of their respective times. Many were the speculations as to the cause of the good feeling displayed in a respectful silence on the latter occasion, but entirely wanting on the former. Some attributed it to the better education of the sailors of the present day ; others to the greater pomp and circumstance; a carriage and attendants, and the title; but none thought of assigning it to what, in all probability, was the true cause, the exertions of a Seaman's Bible Society, or perhaps the example of even a solitary individual of the crew, to whom every eye might have instinctively turned at this memento
I will endeavour briefly to expose, for the information of sensible Hindoo youths, and the serious consideration of reflecting Englishmen, the real character of these objects of fashionable attainment. Newmarket is the most elevated of horse-racing stations, where men urge willing animals beyond their powers, in order that the initiated may prey upon the unwary :—the Red House at Battersea is the place whither men of note in society resort with the same object, to spend their time in shooting pigeons out of a trap; to see how many will fall at a given number of shots, in a given time, in a certain ring :-Crockford's is the most fashionable gambling house in London, where men of the best education are so infatuated as to lose thousands of pounds in a night to others who habitually resolve to lose no more tban a hundred : and a Duel is a mortal encounter with powder and ball, between two persons ; in which, in the majority of instances (if the appeal have any effect beyond inducing the parties to shake hands with, because they have shot at, each other)—a practised bravado kills or maims an honest man (who perhaps never fired a pistol in his life), for the benefit of society ; according to a system of morality for such cases made and provided, without which, its advocates assert, society could not hold together. This is the march of intellect wiTHOUT RELIGION !
of the certainty of death, and whose single glance would have been sufficient, at such a season, to awe the most profligate and abandoned into respect and reverence.
Deeply to be deplored is that opinion which gives credit to a morality independant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And so far from education elevating the scale of moral obligation, it tends to depress it. If not ;what has led to that code of morality, that law of honor, which bids de. fiance to all the injunctions of the Gospel whenever they militate against the opinion of the world ? and which, whilst it would put out of society the man who shuns to injure or seek the life of his neighbour even in retaliation, admits and cherishes the polished and well-educated duellist or adul. terer ? Compare these effects of education with those of comparative dark. ness in this respect, in our native land. Setting aside any influence of religion, what would be the reception of the breaker of the peace of families at a secluded village. The honest yeomen would not even hear of a fair-stand-up-fight (as they call it), if such a man were to claim it as a privi. lege; he would be pelted and despised, if not excommunicated from the village hearth. In educated society, in the midst of our boasted seats of intelligence, he is emulated, and, if not respected, flattered, and caressed; his sins are foibles, his disgrace is honor,—he rises in estimation as a man of spirit ; and if, perchance, he should combine both characters, and risk bis own life in endeavoring to become the murderer of the man he has injured, as long as he keeps the victim of his vices secluded from the public eye, (for moral-irreligion has not yet attained its climax in England as in
France,) he enjoys the highest reputation, and shines the gaze and admira tion of all aspiring profligates.
In thus tracing the progress of education, without religious foundation, in private and in public society, the casual allusions to France and to our native country will shew the bearing of my argument in a political point of view. Knowledge is power; the power of Christian knowledge ten, twenty, nay a hundred-fold, for it has God's blessing withal. Remove this entirely—the horrors of a French revolution, and anarchy, or the chaos of an unsettled government, distract the nation. Would the rulers of India avoid such a state of disorder, let not an opportunity be lost of inculcating sound religion, in doctrine and in practice, upon native youth. The clouds of ignorance are dispelled day by day, and the trammels which bind it must, consequently, be shaken off to a much greater extent than European observers can, from the secluded character of Hindoo society, discover. Knowledge is gaining strength, above all political knowledge ; which, without Christian subjection, knows no restraint but that of force ;-no power equal to its own, but that to which it is compelled to submit ;-the restraint is irksome, and pride impels it to strive for the mastery. Hence those democratic institutions, which seek only the opportunity of creating disorder; and which bring about one revolution, only to remain in restless anxiety for another; with all the intermediate ramifications of the same spirit in societies subsisting on discontent and abhorrence of “the powers that be," forgetting, or not being taught to acknowledge, that they “are ordained of God!”
I have been led by my ruminations on the restoration of the Burmese image, step by step, to a long, but I trust, not desultory or unwarranted dissertation on the necessity which the reflections it induces impose for national watchfulness; and the consequent inquiry what is and what is not toleration and have endeavored to prove, that the system of education adopted at the present time is inconsistent with the asserted pledges to the natives; and further that, with reference to its analogy with the prevailing practical, though not nominal, systems of England and of France, it is calculated neither for the benefit of the governors nor the governed : neither for the security of the state nor the moral improvement of society ; tending only to supplant eastern with western vices, and an ignorance leading to parasitical submission, by a wisdom the cherisher of refractory pride. A standard of morality is needed ;-a pure and immutable standard is found in the Gospel, yet that standard, resplendent though the structure, will be frittered away to serve the times and purposes of the world, unless it be cemented with Faith and the love of Jesus Christ, through the gift of the Holy Spirit. “ The natural man receiveth not the things which are of God.” I implore all Christians who recognize this scriptural fact, as true patriots, both as Englishmen and dwellers “in the tents of Shem," and above all as disciples of Jesus and well-wishers to the most glorious of all causes, to join in earnest prayer that the veil of mistaken philanthropy may be torn aside, and that the energies of the state both at home and in India may be directed, with absolute toleration, but Christian determination of purpose, to the real conversion of the rising generation of British India.
III.-The Missionary Candidate.
To the Editors of the Calcutta Christian Observer. If the following effusion is in any way worthy of insertion, in your excellent periodical, it is much at your service.
*** “ And the Lord said unto me, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us ?” “ Then said 1, Here am 1, send me.” But my
child, are you willing to go far away among the Gentiles ? are you willing to leave the privileges you now enjoy ?-to give up the comforts you have at present ?-and forsaking father and mother, brothers and sisters, to go into a dry and thirsty land, where are scarcely any refreshing streams ?
Let not my Lord' be angry, and I will speak :—most tenderly do I love my honoured parents; and I feel most affectionately attached to my dear brothers and sisters ; but I think I can say, Í feel more than willing to leave them all for the cause of my
dear Lord. The privileges which I enjoy are indeed great and precious : and with deep humility I acknowledge, that I have not valued them or improved them as I ought :-doubtless I shall feel most keenly the deprivation of these privileges in yonder desert ; but still, my dearest Lord, permit me to leave them for a cause, which is dearer to me than my life. As for the loss of the comforts of
native land, if I have but bread to eat and raiment to put on (and these my Lord has promised to me), I trust I shall be content.
But my child, you are going to a wilderness, where you will not only be deprived of almost every help, in your journey toward your celestial home, but where you will meet with almost every hindrance: are you not afraid to be in such a dangerous situation ?
Indeed, indeed, my Lord, I should be exceedingly afraid ; I should tremble at every step; only that thou hast promised to keep me in this extreme of danger. If now, in the land of light and gospel privileges,—if now, in the very centre of means of grace,