« AnteriorContinuar »
Most of our readers are no doubt acquainted with the cele brated Epistle, which our English Unitarians, in the reign of Charles the Second, addressed to "his illustrious Excellency Ruzeth Ben Reneth, Ambassador of the mighty Emperor of Fez and Morrocco”-in which they say, that “God bath raised your Mahomet to defend the faith with a sword, as a scourge against the idolizing Christians"--and in which they openly prefer Mahometanism to orthodox Christianity. Now, we think it impossible to look into the present part which the Unitarians are playing at Calcutta, without being reminded of this celebrated Ěpistle. They republish the works of a Renegado Brahmin with the utmost joy and triumph, merely because he adopts their Unitarian interpretation of the Scriptures ; as if there was any thing wonderful, that a pbilosopbical Pagan should dislike the revealed doctrine of the Trinity, or as if their cause could gain any accession of authority from such an evidence.
Yet to such a pitch of debasement are they sunk as Cbristians, that they are obliged to make an apology for the comparative orthodoxy of their new associate. “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 their circulating ụnder their authority, a work which maintains his pre-existence and superangelic dignity.” Preface, p. xiii. - Truly we pity the situation of “ Thomas Rees, Secretary to the Unitarian Society," who signs this preface, and who is thus obliged to do obeisance to the faith of Rammohun. Yet this is the man who complains of being called a “Socinian;" but perhaps it is for 'the same reason, that the Brabmin would blush to be called a Unitarian.
Truly these are days when the Christian Church" is ont of joint,” or we could scarcely behold such wondrous spectacles. We are clearly of opinion, bowever, that their extravagance will prove their remedy. When madness has arisen to a certain pitch, it generally leads to sudden dissolution.
The first part of this work, as we have already remarked, consists of moral extracts, miscellaneously extracted from the four Evangelists, carefully avoiding any intermixture of doctrinal passages. We need not say, that the effect is dull and heavy in the extreme, and that it bears the same resemblance to the Gospels in their native form as a corpse bears to a living body; or, which is the same thing, as Unitarianism bears to orthodox Christianity.
Yet even with these mutilations, the language cannot be
quite brought down to a mere buman level. Take the following passages-"I am the vine, my Father is the husbandman," &c.-“ As the Father bath loved me, so have I loved you," &c.-“ Herein is my Father glorified,” &c. p. 97. Now, we say, that such passages scarcely convey any meaning if read on the Unitarian hypothesis, and that they can convey little or no definite sense to the readers of “The Precepts of Jesus.”. The same observation will hold good of numberless other passages.
The next Tract consists of " ' a Defence of the former publications against the objections of “Christian Missionaries," It is not destitute of acuteness, bat the most curious passage in it is the following, wbich we recommend to the serious attention of all subscribers to the Bible Society.
“ The compiler, residing in the same spot where European missionary gentlemen and others for a period of upwards of twenty years have been, with a view to promote Christianity, distributing in vain amongst the natives numberless copies of the complete Bible, written in different languages, could not be altogether ignorant of the causes of their disappointment. He, however, never doubted their zeal for the promulgation of Christianity, nor the accuracy of their statement with regard to immense sums of money being annually expended in preparing vast numbers of copies of the Scriptures; but he has seen with regret, that they have completely counteracted their own benevolent efforts, by introducing all the dogmas and mysteries taught in Christian Churches to people by no means prepared to receive them; and that they have been so incautious and inconsiderate in their attempts to enlighten the natives of India, as to address their instructions to them in the same way as if they were reasoning with persons brought up in a Christian country, with those dogmatical notions imbibed from their infancy. The consequence has been, that the natives in general, instead of benefiting by the perusal of the Bible, copies of which they always receive gratuitously, exchange them very often for blank paper; and generally use several of the dogmatical terms in their native language, as a mark of slight in an irreverent mans ner; the mention of which is repugnant to my feelings. Sabat, an eminently learned but grossly unprincipled Arab, whom our divines supposed that they had converted to Christianity, and whom they of course instructed in all the dogmas and doctrines, wrote a few years ago a treatise in Arabic against those very dogmas, and printed himself and published several hundred copies of this work, And another Moosulman, of the name of Ena'et Ahmud, a man of respectable family, who is still alive, speedily returned to Mohum. mudanism from Christianity, pleading that he had not been able to reconcile to his understanding certain dogmas which were imparted to him. It has been owing to their beginning with the introduc
tion of mysterious dogmas, and of relations that at first sight ap pear incredible, that notwithstanding every exertion on the part of our divines, I am not aware that we can find a single respectable Moosulman or Hindoo, who were not in want of the common comforts of life, once glorified with the truth of Christianity, constantly adhering to it. Of the few hundred natives who have been nominally converted to Christianity, and who have been generally of the most ignorant class, there is ground to suspect that the greater bumber have been allured to change their faith by other attractions than by a conviction of the truth and reasonableness of those dogmas; as we find nearly all of them are employed or fed by their spiritual teachers, and in case of neglect åre apt to manifest a rebellious spirit ;--a citcumstanice which is well known to the compiler from several local facts, as well as from the following occurrence. About three years ago, the compiler, on his visit to an English gentleman, who is still residing in the vicinity of Calcutta, saw a great, number of Christian converts with a petition, which they intended to present to the highest ecclesiastical authority, stating, that their teachers, through false promises of advancement, had induced them to give up their ancient religion. The compiler felt indignant at their presumption, and suggested to the gentleman, as a friend, the propriety of not countenancing a set of men who, from their own declaration, seemed so unprincipled. The missionaries themselves are as well aware as the compiler, that those very dogmas are the points which the people always select as the most proper for attack, both in their oral and written controversies with Christian teachers ; all of which, if required, the compiler is prepared to prove by the most unquestionable testimony." '. 117.
This is followed by “a second Defence" against freslå attacks from the same quarter. It consists of a great number of misinterpretations of Scripture, which exhibit much about the same quantity of learning as may be found in the writings of Mr. Belsham. There is a curious admission, p. 203, that the suffering's of Jesus are unaccountable on any principle of human reasoning. The whole argument, if analyzed, is this that no Hindoo can conscientiously prefer the doctrine of a Trinity to Hindooism, ergo, true Christiavity is without this doctrine !
Whoever has looked into the writings of our English Unitarians must have been strack with their pretences to superior wisdom; but to moderate their arrogance, we beg them to turn to Rammokun's chapter on the Atonement and the Impersonality of the Spirit, in which they will find, that the same degrees of learniog may be acquired without any assistance from Mr. Wellbeloved's Seminary at York. We need scarely say, that the cloven foot is hardly concealed, and that a Brahmin who prates about the Council of Nice,
and Mr. Serle's “Horæ Solitariæ,” cannot be quite unacquainted with some Unitarian Missionaries at Calcutta. We wish them joy of this compound of Mahometanismi, Hindooism, and pseudo-Christianity.
We have now arrived at "the final Appeal in defence of the Precepts.” It consists of an attempt to rebut the charge of vanity and presumption in affecting to understand the doctrines of Jesus better than the great majority of the Christian Church, and in a repetition of the former perversions of Scripture. Our readers will excuse us, we are sure, ftom detecting the falsity of chapters which attempt to shew that “ attributes peculiar to God are never ascribed to Jesus," or that “ Jesus was like the sun, an instrument in the bands of God," &c. The following passage, however, deserves insertion, as it testifies the good effects wbich have aocrued to the natives from the English power in the East.
“ I now conclude my Essay by offering up thanks to the Supreme Disposer of the events of this universe, for having unexpectedly delivered this country from the long-continued tyranny its former rulers, and placed it under the government of the Eng, lish,-a nation who not only are blessed with the enjoyment of civil and political liberty, but also interest themselves in promoting Jiberty and social happiness, as well as free inquiry into literary and religious subjects, among those nations to which their influence extends." P. 672.
We cannot finish our notice of this curious work without again remarking on the strange phenomena of bebolding men who call themselves Christians taking part with a man who is evidently nothing more than a philosophical Deist. Rammohun Roy, disgusted with the gross idolatries and super-stitions of his countrymen, was fascinated with the morality of the New Testament. For a while he read and believed in it like the great body of orthodox Christians, but in an evil hour he met with some member of the Unitarian Society at Calcutta. Then he soon found out the method to reconcile the four Evangelists with his love of Monotheism. Pleased with their new associate, the society encouraged him to print and publish, he supplying the Arabic, Sangscrit and Bengalee, and they helping him with the Improved Version, and with the works of Priestley, Belsham, &c. The result of this coalition is bere presented to the public, and if it does not open the eyes of the blind to see the real principles of our English Unitarians, we shall beg the assistance of Prince Hohenlobe to help us in another article.
ART. VI. Memoirs of his Serene Highness Antony.Philip
d'Orleans, Duke of Montpensier, Prince of the Blood. Written by Himself. Translated from the French. 8vo. 264 pp. 9s. Treuttell & Würtz. 1824.
LITTLE is to be said in praise of most of the narratives which have bitberto fallen from the pens of the Bourbons : but this before us, by one of the most gallant and amiable of their family, is an exception from the general bad taste by which they have been marked. The Duke of Montpensier, during a long residence in England, was respected and loved wherever he was known, and the account which is now published of his captivity at Marseilles, as recorded by himself, is by no means likely to diminish the regret which was universally felt for bis early loss.
Antony-Philip d'Orleans, Duke of Montpensier, the second son of Louis Philip Joseph, Duke of Orleans, was born in 1775. In the early period of the Revolution, participating in the sentiments of his family, be entered as sub-lieutenant in the dragoon regiment of his brother, the Duke of Chartres, and distinguished bimself under the command of Gen. Kellermann, at the battles of Valmy and Gemmappes. In the winter of 1792, he passed under the orders of the Duke of Biron; and here his eyes were first opened to the egregious error which had induced him to look for the establishment of rational liberty at the hands of the infuriate faction which was preparing to deluge France with her richest blood. The Duke of Biron was made the involuntary instrument of the young Prince's arrest by order of the Committee of Public Safety. The order was executed with all possible lenity; and hy his permission, and through his advice, two letters were destroyed which might bave been sufficient to ruin the prisoner before the Revolutionary tribunal. They were from the Duke of Chartres, expressing, in strong terms, bis disapprobation of the turn wbich the cause in which they had blindly engaged, was taking, and his earnest wish to detach bimself from it. A few minutes after these were burned, the Commissioners of the Convention arrived. They found nothing of the least importance in their prisoner's possession, but to all they found, even to blank writing paper, they affixed their seals.
The Duke of Biror was a man of loose principles and of profligate habits, closely connected with the still more profligate and unprincipled Duke of Orleans. They had both