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advanced, the Reviewer may perceive the reason why the passages extracted by the Compiler from the Gospel of St. John should be comparatively few. It is from this source that the most difficult to be comprehended of the dogmas of the Christian religion have been principally drawn; and on the foundation of
passages of that writer, the interpretation of which is still a matter of keen discussion amongst the most learned and most pious scholars in Christendom, is erected the mysterious doctrine of three Gods in one Godhead, the origin of Mohummudanism, and the stumbling-block to the conversion of the more enlightened amongst the Hindoos.
To impress more strongly on the minds of those for whom this compilation was intended, the doctrines taught by Jesus, the Compiler thought the varied repetition of them by different but concurring reporters highly advantageous, as showing clearly that those doctrines were neither misrepresented nor misconceived by any of those Evangelists.
6. Nor is the conduct of the Compiler in selecting certain passages of the Scriptures for certain purposes singular ; for we see very often extracts from the Bible, published by the learned men of every sect of Christians, with a view to the maintenance of particular doctrines.
Christian Churches have selected
passages from the Bible, which they conceive particularly excellent, and well adapted for the constant perusal and study of the people of their respective churches ; and besides, it is the continual practice
Christian teacher to choose from the whole Scriptures such texts as he deems most important, for the purposes of illustrating them, and impressing them on the minds of his hearers. Nor will those teachers, if questioned as to their object in such selection, hesitate to assign as their motive the very reason adopted by the Compiler as his—the superior importance of the parts so selected. Whether or not he has erred in his judgment on that point, must be determined by those who will candidly peruse
and consider the arguments already advanced on the subject, always bearing in mind the lesson practically taught by the Saviour himself, of adapting his instructions to the susceptibility and capacity of his hearers. John xvi. 12: “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.”
Hindostan is a country, of which nearly 3-5ths of the inhabitants are Hindoos, and 2-5ths Moosulmans. Although the professors of neither of these religions are possessed of such accomplishments as are enjoyed by Europeans in general, yet the latter portion are well known to be firmly devoted to a belief in one God, which has been instilled into their minds from their infancy. The former (I mean the Hindoos) are, with a few exceptions, immersed in gross idolatry, and in belief of the most extravagant description respecting futurity, antiquity, and the miracles of their deities and saints, as handed down to them and recorded in their ancient books. Weighing these circumstances, and anxious, from his long
experience of religious controversy with natives, to avoid further disputation with them, the Compiler selected those precepts of Jesus, the obedience to which he believed most peculiarly required of a Christian, and such as could by no means tend, in doctrine, to excite the religious horror of Mohummedans, or the scoffs of Hindoos. What benefit or peace of mind can we bestow upon a Moosulman, who is an entire stranger to the Christian world, by communicating to him without preparatory instruction all the peculiar dogmas of Christianity ; such as those contained in ver. 1st, chap. 1st, of St. John, “ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”? Would they not find themselves at a loss to reconcile this dogma to their unprepared understandings, viz. A is B, and A is also with B? Although the interpretations given us of such texts by truly learned and candid divines be ever so satisfactory, yet to those that are strangers to these explanations, they cannot be intelligible; nor can it be expected from the order of things that each can happily find at hand an able interpreter, to whom he can have recourse for an explanation, whenever he may be involved in difficulties or doubts. But as a great number of Missionary gentlemen may perhaps view the matter in a different light, and join the Editor of the Friend of India, in accusing the Compiler as an injurer of the cause of truth, I doubt not that with a view to avoid every possibility of such imputation, and to prevent
others from attributing their ill success to his interference with their duties, he would gladly abstain from publishing again on the same subject, if he could see in past experience any thing to justify hopes of their
From what I have already stated, I hope no one will infer that I feel ill-disposed towards the Missionary establishments in this country. This is far from being the case. I pray for their augmentation, and that their members may remain in the happy enjoyment of life in a climate so generally inimical to European constitutions ; for in proportion to the increase of their number, sobriety, moderation, temperance, and good behaviour, have been diffused among their neighbours as the necessary consequences of their company, conversation, and good example.
[7.] The Reviewer charges the Compiler with inconsistency, (p. 27,) because he has termed the precepts collected by him, a code of religion and morality, while, as the Reviewer supposes, they form only a code of morality and not of religion. It is already explained in paragraph 2d, that the Compiler has introduced those precepts of Jesus under the denomination of the moral sayings of the New Testament, taking the word moral in its wide sense, as including our conduct to God, to each other, and to ourselves ; and to avoid the least possibility of misunderstanding the term, he has carefully particularized the sense in which he accepted that word by the latter sentence, “ This simple code of Religion and Mora
lity, (meaning by the former, those precepts which treat of our duty to God, and by the latter, such as relate to our duties to mankind and to ourselves,) is so admirably calculated to elevate men's ideas to high and liberal notions of one God, &c.” “ and is also so well fitted to regulate the conduct of the human race in the discharge of their various duties to God, to themselves, and to society, &c.” In conformity to the design thus expressed, he has collected all the sayings that have a tendency to those ends. The Compiler, however, observes with regret, that neither this language nor this fact, has afforded to the Reviewer satisfactory evidence of his intention, nor sufficed to save him from the unexpected imputation of inconsistency.
The Reviewer again (page 29) charges the Compiler with inconsistency, in having introduced some doctrinal passages
into his compilation. In reply to which, I again entreat the attention of the respected Reviewer to that passage in the Introduction, in which the Compiler states the motives that have led him to exclude certain parts of the gospels from his publication. He there states, that it is on account of these passages being such as were the ordinary foundation of the arguments of the opponents of Christianity, or the sources of the interminable controversies that have led to heart-burnings and even bloodshed amongst Christians, that they were not included in his selection; and they were omitted the more readily, as he considered them not essential to