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THE RAJAH .R AM MoHUN Roy, in the preface to his Translation of one of the Weds, has stated, that he viewed with the strongest feelings of regret the obstinate adherence of his countrymen to their fatal system of idolatry. It was one of the dearest objects of his life, and the principal aim of his writings, to spread among them the knowledge of One True God and a purer system of morality.
He observes, in the introduction to the “Precepts of Jesus,” that “a notion of the existence of a supreme superintending Power, the author and preserver of this harmonious system, who has organized and who regulates such an infinity of celestial and terrestrial objects; and a due estimation of that law which teaches that man should do unto others as he would wish to be done by, reconcile us to human nature, and tend to render our existence agreeable to ourselves and profitable to the rest of mankind. The former of these sources of satisfaction, viz. a belief in God, prevails generally ; being
derived either from tradition and instruction, or from an attentive survey of the wonderful skill and contrivance displayed in the works of nature. The latter, although it is partially taught also in every system of religion with which I am acquainted, is principally inculcated by Christianity.” Induced by these and other considerations, he undertook “the task of laying before his fellow-creatures the words of Christ, with a translation from the English into Sungskrit and the language of Bengal.” He felt “persuaded that, by separating from the other matters contained in the New Testament the moral precepts found in that book, these would be more likely to produce the desirable effect of improving the hearts and minds of men of different persuasions and degrees of understanding.” Accordingly, he published a volume of selections from the New New Testament, under the title of “The Precepts
For the publication of these selections, the Rajah was unexpectedly attacked in the twentieth number of a work called the “Friend of India,” by a person under the signature of “A Christian Missionary.” From the remarks of this writer the Rajah defended himself, in a First “Appeal to the Christian Public,” a pamphlet of about thirty pages. This appeal was noticed in a different style in the first number of the Quarterly Series of the “Friend of India,” wherein the Reverend Editor, in his review of the Rajah’s publications, laboured to establish the insufficiency of the compiled Precepts of Jesus alone to lead to salvation, unless accompanied with the important doctrines of the Godhead of Jesus and his Atonement; and the Rajah then published this admirable Treatise, under the title of “Second Appeal to the Christian Public, in defence of the Precepts of Jesus.”
THE contents of the following Treatise are included under these two propositions:—1st, That the Precepts of Jesus, which teach that love to God is manifested in beneficence towards our fellow-creatures, are a sufficient Guide to Peace and Happiness; and 2ndly, That that omnipresent God, who is the only proper object of religious veneration, is one and undivided in person.
Though these doctrines, as I conceive them to be alike founded on reason and revelation, appear to me to be almost as obvious truths as any abstract axiom, yet they are opposed in fact by a very large body of writers and teachers. I must therefore leave them to be decided upon by those who will be pleased to bestow their candid and liberal atten. tion on the arguments I have used in the succeeding pages;—and on their impartial judgment I confi