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Precepts of Jesus
GUIDE TO PEACE AND HAPPINESS,
EXTRACTED FROM THE
BOOKS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT
ASCRIBED TO THE FOUR EVANGELISTS,
TO WHICH ARE ADDED,
THE FIRST, SECOND, AND FINAL
APPEAL TO THE CHRISTIAN PUBLIC
IN REPLY TO THE
OBSERVATIONS OF DR. MARSHMAN,
By RAMMOHUN ROY.
EMBELLISHED WITH A PORTRAIT OF THE AUTHOR.
CALCUTTA, PRINTED :
REPRINTED BY THE UNITARIAN SOCIETY, AND SOLD BY R. HUNTER,
The works which are here presented to the British public cannot fail to excite much interest from the circumstances and character of the author. He has been for several years well known by name and reputation, both in India and in England; but he has been known only as a learned and philanthropic Brahmin, the expounder of the religion, and the reformer of the institutions of his Hindoo countrymen. He now appears as a Christian professor, advocate, and controversialist.
Rammohun Roy was born about the year 1780, at Bordouan, in the province of Bengal. The first elements of his education he received under his paternal roof, where he also acquired a knowledge of the Persian language. He was afterwards sent to Patna to learn Arabic; and here, through the medium of Arabic translations of Aristotle and Euclid, he studied logic and the mathematics. When he had completed these studies he went to Calcutta, to learn Sanscrit, the sacred language of the Hindoo Scriptures; the knowledge of which was indispensable to his caste and profession as a Brahmin. About the year 1804 or 1805 he became possessed, by the death of his father and of an elder and younger brother, of the whole of the family property, which is understood to have been very considerable. He now quitted Bordouan, and fixed his residence at Mourshedabad, where his ancestors had chiefly lived. Shortly after his settlement at this place he commenced his literary career by the publication of a work in the Persian language, with a preface in Arabic, which he intituled, “ Against the Idolatry of all Religions.” The freedom with which he animadverted on their respective systems, gave great umbrage both to the Mahommedans and the Hindoos, and created him so many enemies, that he found it necessary to remove to Calcutta, where he again took up his residence in the year 1814.
Two years previously to this period, he had begun to study the English language, but he did not then apply to it with much ardour or success. Being some years subsequently appointed Dewan, or chief native officer in the collection of the revenues, and the duties of his office affording him frequent opportunities of mixing with English society, and of reading English documents, he applied to it with increased attention, and very soon qualified himself to speak and write it with considerable facility, correctness, and elegance. He afterwards studied the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew languages: of his proficiency in the two last of these he has given very decisive evidence in the tracts which are here published.
From his first work “ Against the Idolatry of all Nations," it is evident that he had been led at an early period of life to regard with disapprobation the monstrous and debasing system of idolatry which was embraced by his countrymen. A careful study of the Sacred Writings of the Hindoos had also convinced him that the prevailing notions respecting the multiplicity of Deities, and the superstitious devotion to the licentious and inhuman cus. toms connected with them, were grounded upon an utter ignorance, or gross perversion of their religion. These original records appeared to him to inculcate a system of pure Theism, which maintained the existence of one sole God, infinite in his perfections, and eternal in his duration, and that it required from its professors a mental rather than a corporeal