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one of simple honesty, and who has no disposition to faultfinding, requires no comment. Again ;
"As the Compiler, neither in his Introduction to the Precepts of Jesus, nor in his defence of those Precepts, has expressed the least doubt as to the truth of any part of the Gospels, the arguments adduced by the learned Editor to demonstrate the truth and excellence of the authority on which they rest, arc, Iam inclined to think, quite superfluous, and foreign to the matter in question.'—. Besides, in applying the term “ fabricated” to the tales received by the credulous Hindoos, the Compiler clearly evinced the contemptible light in which he viewed those legends ; and in stating that the miracles of the Scriptures were subject to the doubts of “ Freethinkers and Antichristians," it can never fairly be supposed that he meant himself, or any other person laboring in the promulgation of Christianity, to be included in that class.'*
• Disgusted with the puerile and unsociable system of Hindoo idolatry, and dissatisfied with the cruelty allowed by Moossulmanism against Nonmoossulmans, I, on my searching after the truth of Christianity, felt for a length of time very much perplexed with the difference of sentiments found among the followers of Christ, (I mean Trinitarians and Unitarians, the grand divisions of them,) until I met with the explanations of the unity given by the divine Teacher himself as a guide to peace and happiness.' |
• Under these circumstances, and from the experience that nothing but the sublimity of the Precepts of Jesus had at first drawn the attention of the Compiler himself towards Christianity, and excited his veneration for the author of this religion, without aid from miraculous relations, he omitted in his compilation the mention of the miracles performed by Jesus, without meaning to express doubts of their authenticity, or intending to slight them by such an omission.'— The Compiler has never placed the miracles related in the New Testament on a footing with the ex. travagant tales of his countrymen, but distinctly expressed his persuasion that they (Christian miracles) would be apt at best to carry little weight with those whose imaginations had been accustomed to dwell on narrations much more wonderful, and supported by testimony which they have been taught to regard with a reverence that they cannot be expected all at once to bestow on the Apostles.'- But as no other religion can produce any thing that may stand in competition with the Precepts of
* Second Appeal, pp. 146, 147. + ibid. p. 167
Jesus, much less that can be pretended to be superior to them, the Compiler deemed it incumbent upon him to introduce these among his countrymen as a Guide to Peace and Happiness.'*
To pass over several passages, which I intended to have cited, I will bring before the reader only two others, to be found at the close of the volume from which I quote.
• If the Editor consider these quotations from Locke and Newton, really orthodox, referring to citations which Dr Marshman had made from Locke and Newton,]-how inconsistent he must be in condemning those whose sentiments as to the person of Jesus Christ are precisely the same ; to wit, that he is the anointed Lord and King promised and sent from God, is worthy of worship for his mediation and meritorious death, but by no means as a being possessed of a two-fold nature, divine and human, perfect God and perfect man!'
The Editor alludes to the term “antichrists,” found in the Epistle of John ; but I am glad that we most fortunately are furnished with the definition of this term by that inspired writer, which decides at once the question, who are the real subjects of its application. 1 John iv. 3, “Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God; and this is that spirit of antichrist.” We accordingly rejoice to confess that Jesus Christ, who came in the flesh, is OF GOD, and that not only he, but his Apostles were of God; 1 John iv. 6, v. 19; but we feel sincerely for those who violate this standard, either by falling short or by going beyond it, by denying that Jesus Christ is OF GOD, or by affirming that Jesus Christ is God himself; since both these assertions, -to wit "Jesus Christ is NOT of God," and " Jesus Christ is God,”—are equally incompatible with John's proposition, that “Jesus Christ is OF GOD." For example: The prime minister, by the law of the land, is appointed by the king, and consequently is acknowledged to be oF THE KING ; to say, therefore, that he is not of the king, would be to detract from the minister's dignity ; but to say that the prime minister is the king, is not only inconsistent with the assertion that the prime minister is of the king, but would be pronounced higb treason ; in like manner, as deifying the Christ of God, is both an affront to God, and an antichristian doctrine.'t
Here I leave the question is Rammohun Roy a Christian? or, in other words, is he a believer in the divine authority of our Lord ?-But it may also be asked in this connexion, is he not still known in India as a Brahmun? I answer, he is. But is he therefore unworthy of the name of Christian ? ** Second Appeal, pp. 223—226. + Final Appeal, pp. 670, 671.
Rammohun Roy is called even by those in India who view him with the most lynxeyed jealousy, the Great Reformer.' Let it be considered, then, that the loss of caste would be to him the loss of all his property; and, what is more important, of all his influence over his countrymen. Without caste, he would neither be respected, nor heard by Hindoos. But,' while he retains caste, be it known, that he is employing caste, property, influence, and all that he has, to promote, not a merely nominal, but an enlightened belief of Christianity, and an extension of all its salutary influences among the natives of Hindoostan. That profession of Christianity which would be followed by the loss of caste, would identify him in the opinion of Hindoos, not with the respectable and liberal portion of the christian population in Calcutta, but with the low, ignorant, and depraved converts that were formerly made by the Portuguese, and, in the opinion of Moossulmans, with Trinitarians generally, for such the followers of Mahomei suppose all Christians to be. Is it said, that as a Christian, he ought willingly to meet the loss of caste, of property, of influence, and of all apparent means of usefulness, and to believe and trust that God will provide in his own way, for his own cause ? So it will seem to some. But so it will not be thought by others. If, to the Hindoos, he becomes so far a Hindoo as he may without the sacrifice of one christian principle, would Paul, if called to sit in judginent on the case, condemn him? I thipk not.
Let me refer to a single consideration, for I am very desirous to make my views of this subject as summary as I may,
—which I think will go far to justify him, on the supposition that he is a sincere believer in our Lord, in not making that avowal of his faith, which must necessarily be followed by the loss of caste, and consequently by the loss of the means which he now possesses, for advancing the knowledge, and the power of our religion.
Rammohun Roy is surrounded by three great classes of inen; Trinitarian Christians, Hindoos, and Moossulmans. He is also in immediate connexion with a very small society, consisting in part of Europeans, and in part of Hindoos, who are associated as Unitarian Christians. But this small society is to the rest of the population of India, as a bandful of water taken from the Ganges would be to all the drops of the sacred river. Trinitarianism also, as is now well known, in the view of Rammohun Roy, is as much one of the forms of Polytheism, as is Hindoo
ism. No sympathy is therefore felt with him by the Trinitarians who are about him. Nor have the idolatrous Hindoos, who regard him as having already done everything except renouncing his Brahmunical rights to incur the loss of caster any kindlier feelings towards him. And it is so well known 10 Moossulmans how small is his respect for their religion, by the fiee remarks which he has made concerning it and concerning their prophet, that the civil power has alone protected hiin aga jst their resentment. Now suppose himn in these circumstances to break his poita ;* in renounce the rules of caste, and to relinquish his Brahmunical rights. What might be reasonably look for from Trinitarian Christians, from Moossulmans, or from Hindoos ? Or, what consequences would result to the cause of Unitarian Christianity in India ? Is it said he might still reason with his countrymen, or still write for their instruction ? No. He would not only be a beggar, and, except by his few Unitarian friends, an unfriended, an unpitied, and even an abhorred beggar, to be shunned even as a leper, and tormented by all who are able to add any thing to the sum of bis sufferings, but the evil, to himself a far greater evil, would be, that every prejudice, and every feeling of disgust and enmity which would then be excited towards hiinself, would be associated also with Unitarian Christianity. But Unitarian Christianity is the nearest of all the concerns of this world to his soul; therefore he retains his Brahmunical rights, and observes the rules of caste, in neither of which, however, does he any thing which is inconsistent with the most absolute renunciation of idolatry and polytheism, and nothing which he thinks to be inconsistent with the spirit of Christianity, that he may still labor for what he believes to be the truth as it is in Jesus. If, then, he is not completely justified in the course which he has taken, may he not be forgiven? Let him who has done, or who is doing more for the cause of the gospel of Christ, cast the first stone.
J. T. Chelsea, August, 1826.
* The poita is a cord which is suspended from the left shoulder and falls under the right arm. It consists of six or more threads of cotton, and is a distinctive badge of a Brahmun.
CORRESPONDENCE RELATING TO THE EXCOMMUNICATION
OF A UNITARIAN FROM THE METHODIST CHURCH.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE CHRISTIAN EXAMINER. SIR,
I am authorized to communicate to your journal, the following papers, containing, as you will see, a kind of historical account of the influences of Unitarian truth upon a mind of intelligence, sensibility, and piety. The subject of these inAuences is a graduate of Harvard College, and few have left that institution more beloved and respected. The first document is a letter addressed, without the remotest idea of its ever being published, to the writer of this communication, and is presented here nearly entire. Some glimpses of the state of religious things at the south, will also be disclosed by it to your readers.
Yours, A CORRESPONDENT.
Milledgeville, (Geo.) June 13, 1825.
• After the exercise of my best reason, having carefully perused all the works recommended to me on the opposite side, not without prayer to Him, of whom it is said, “if any man lack wisdom, let him ask it of God, who giveth to all liberally, and upbraideth not,” I cannot resist the conviction, that the preponderance of argument is immensely against the trinitarian scheme. Educated, in my earlier years, at Andover, where, every Sabbath, my good old landlady felt herself bound to catechise me and her other little boarders from the Assembly's Shorter Catechism, my prepossessions were altogether enlisted on the side of Orthodoxy. On my occasional visits to Boston, I attended Mr Li's church, without discovering that different views were entertained. It was during my residence in Philadelphia, while attending the Medical Lectures, that I first knowingly visited a Unitarian church. I could not avoid remarking upon the superiority, in a practical point of view, of the discourses there delivered, over those which I heard elsewhere.
• Having no particular predilection for one denomination rather than another, I once went to hear a Mr W. I think, who was celebrated for his oriental learning; and after attending for some time to a discourse, which was mentally contrasted by me, to its own disadvantage, with those of the Unitarian