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and in its consequences so disastrous to the temporal and eternal well-being of man*.
But apart altogether from the question of natural right, the two classes above-named must differ widely in their estimate of the good to be lost or gained by a change of religion, and must differ proportionately in their estimate of the nature of the attempt to effect a change. The one class, with their equalizing views on the subject of religion, may easily conclude that it is a piece of useless toil, if not of wanton mischief, "to disturb the peace of families," by any efforts to substitute one form of faith for another that is not allowed to possess higher claims. The other class, with their views of the immeasurable superiority of Christianity, must reject this latitudinarian conclusion with the disinterested zeal of genuine philanthropy. Led to believe that the Christian faith is the only true religion-originally announced
* Lest any misunderstanding should arise, I may here remark that, in a general way, it may be said, that the father has a natural right to teach his child religion. In the same way it may be said, that the father has a natural right to command the bodily services of his child. But in neither case is the right unlimited. Far otherwise. It is subject to a high and solemu responsibility It is necessarily confined to things indifferent, to things agreeable, or, at least, to things not contrary to the will of Godthe Supreme Lawgiver. Thus, should the father command his child to lend him the aid of his bodily services in stealing, robbing, &c., it is plain that he has overstepped his jurisdiction, and even the law of the land would not dismiss the boy as guiltless in such a case, on the ground of his acting under the father's authority. A father has no natural right to issue such a command. And if in his ignorance or folly he has done so, it is clear that the command is nugatory; it is superseded by the contrary command of a higher power. If it were not so, God would be conferring a natural right to violate bis own laws-which is nothing short of blasphemy. In like manner, suppose the father to have a natural right to teach religion to his child; it is plain that so far as the supposed natural right is concerned, it must be expressly confined to the inculcation of what is agreeable, or not contrary to the will of God. Should the father, for instance, teach his child that an idol is God, and that the idol ought to be worshipped as God, it is palpable that he has, in the sight of Heaven, overstepped his jurisdiction. He can claim no natural right to teach that which the Great Creator hath denounced and prohibited. Otherwise, God would be conferring a natural right to teach what he himself has pronounced false, and therefore, subversive of his own authority, and injurious to man. Hence, as I have stated above, if Hindooism be confessedly a system of error, we cannot even imagine such a thing as a natural right to teach it.
This, I may remark, in passing, clearly exposes the fallacy of that sort of argumentum ad hominem which has lately been urged with an air of triumph. It ought rather, I think, to have been introduced and reiterated with a tolerable degree of shame. Its fallacy, and no trifling one it is, consists in assuming the very points that ought to be debated. It assumes, first, that the Hindoo parent has precisely the same right to teach Hindooism that the Christiau parent has to teach Christianity. It assumes, secondly, as the foundation of this proposition, that Hindooism has the same claims to be received as a true revelation from God, that Christianity has. The argument is thus doubly fallacious. And it must remain so until the same overwhelming evidence can be brought forward to prove the truth of Hindooism, that can be adduced to demonstrate the truth of Christianity, i. e. it must ever remain so. Christianity being true, the Christian parent has the sanction and command of the Almighty to teach it: Hindooism being false, the Hindoo parent cannot, without blaspheming, plead the sanction and command of the Almighty to teach it.
[From this and similar passages some have absurdly imagined that I plead for the right of Christians forcibly to inculcate the true religion. Nothing could be more contrary to my intention; and I think that by no fair interpretation can any such notion be extracted from my words. All that I insist on is, that, as the Hindoo parent can appeal to no natural rights to teach what is acknowledged by all enlightened men to be false, it is impossible to charge a Christian, who communicates a knowledge of his own religion to those children to whom he finds access, with a violation of rights which have no existence. The Christian is not to compel the children of heathen parents to come to him for instruction: but if they do voluntarily come to him, he cannot be justly accused of violating either legal or natural rights, should he, by information and argu. ment, lay open to their minds the evidences and doctrines of his own holy faith.]
at the dawn of creation-gradually developed in a magnificent chain of prophecy-and gloriously consummated in the life, sufferings, and death of the Son of God;-that it is the only religion which can sublimate and refine human nature; which can exalt it from earth unto the heaven of heavens, there to behold, as it were, unveiled, the glories of the Great Jehovah; which can cause it to soar aloft without bounds or limits to check its swift and resistless movements, and so advance from one glory to another that rises higher and higher in infinite progression ;-Led, I say, to believe all this, on the ground of overpowering evidence, must they not infer, that to impart a knowledge of this religion is to impart a blessing which no finite mind can fully comprehend,-is to bestow a treasure richer far than all the wealth of " Ormus or of Ind?" Must they not be convinced that, to convey it in obedience to a divine command, is an act of duty to God, paramount to the natural wishes of corrupt nature, and to rights which are the veriest figments of a depraved imagination? Must they not be persuaded that the bestowing of this sublime enriching knowledge is an act of purest, holiest, most godlike benevolence? And must they not, of necessity, conclude that those who actively oppose the communication of it, really and truly oppose the highest good of their fellow-creatures-that all those who have set on foot the unholy crusade, and joined in the insane shout against religious instruction, are, in the sight of heaven, the bitterest, cruelest enemies of the race of man?
Leaving, however, the abstract question, and coming to the practical one, I DENY that, in any sense of the expression, the rights of Hindoo parents have been invaded by the Missionaries. Granting, what it is impos sible to do-still, for the sake of argument,-granting that Hindoo parents have a legal and a natural right to teach their children in the religion in which they themselves believe, I demand of you, Sir, distinctly to explain in what way such supposed rights have actually been invaded. If you could adduce one instance, in which a pledge was given to natives that no religious knowledge would be communicated, and one wherein it appeared that the pledge was afterwards violated, then indeed would you prove not so much that rights were invaded, as that there was a gross breach of faith, a base and dishonorable treachery. But you cannot establish a single instance of this sort. On the contrary, all the natives know, or ought to know, that Christian principles are instilled in Missionary schools, as well as they know that Hindooism is taught in Sanscrit seminaries conducted by learned Brahmuns. They know it from universal report; they know it from perusing newspapers; they know it from inspecting the class-books employed; they know it from interrogating the pupils or masters; they know it from visiting the schools and hearing the classes examined. Still, notwithstanding all this, do parents and guardians spontaneously bring their children and protegés to the superintendents of Missionary schools: they are often importunate in their petitions for the admission of boys: they entreat, they beseech, they implore; and, after all, it not unfrequently happens that numbers of applications are rejected for want of accommodation and other causes. Deny this representation, Sir, if you can or dare; and if you cannot and dare not, I must hold it to be a piece of foul and wanton insult on your part to throw that blame, if blame it really be, on the unoffending Missionaries, - which ought to be charged home directly on the parents and guardians them. selvest.
I have been informed, on the best authority, that the very father of Brijonauth Ghose was present at the last annual examination of the Mirzapore School, on which occasion the Lord Bishop expressly announced that the inculcation of Christian princi. ples was the grand object of the conductors of the school!
[ The force of this reasoning has not been discerned by some, and yet, it seems wonderfully plain. It depends on the simple principle that if men are allowed to possess
You seem to reckon it a grievous offence that "the peace of Hindoo families has often been disturbed by the Missionaries." What a testimony this, if you only knew it, to the successful exertions of these labourers, and that, too, from one who will not be suspected of over-much religious enthusiasm! What a triumphant reply to those blinded men, who slanderously report that nothing has been done in the Missionary field! And the triumph would then only be complete, could you announce that the peace of every family in
certain rights, it is in their power to relinquish these, or delegate them to others. And if there be a voluntary abandonment, a formal or tacit delegation of supposed rights on one side, there can be no illegality in an implied or actual assumption of these on the other.]
[*This passage has been thought by some to be liable to mis-interpretation: it may be, but this is nothing more than can be said of the language of the Redeemer himself. It has actually been misrepresented by others; but this is only what has been done to the words of the Saviour of the world. Viewed fairly and candidly as it ought to be, in connection with the whole context, it is impossible to misunderstand it. Mr. Clarke referred to "the disturbance of the peace of certain Hindoo families" in such a way as to lead one to suppose that he reckoned the circumstance disreputable to the Missionaries. In reply it necessarily devolved on me to shew that such" disturbance of the peace of families" proceeded from no evil design on the part of Missionaries-that it resulted directly from the opposition made by depraved men themselves to the sin-condemning doctrines of the Gospel. These doctrines are neither designed nor fitted to produce such results. To the evil passions of mankind, that war against the salutary restraints of holiness and truth, are these lamenable effects to be attributed. So far then as the spirit of the Gospel itself is concerned, these effects may be truly characterized as "collateral and incidental." But our Saviour em phatically foretold, and all past experience has verified the prophecy, that from the stubborn and prevailing degeneracy of mankind, effects like those already described might in the first instance be exhibited in a greater or less degree, wherever the Gospel was proclaimed. In a country therefore, like Hindoostan, where the opposition to the spread of the Gospel is so inveterate and so universal, its successful issue in the conversion of any member or members of a family might well he expected to be accompanied almost inevitably with the wrath, hatred, and revenge of those bigoted relations and friends from whose opinions and practices they are obliged conscientiously to differ. If there should be no successful issue, the "peace of families" would not certainly be much disturbed. In this view of the subject," the disturbance of the peace of families" occasioned by efforts to propagate the Gospel, and success attending these efforts, might reasonably be considered, so far as the proclamation of the Gospel and the establishment of it in every family are concerned, as a certain indication, however undesirable, not a direct necessary result, of the completeness, or universality of Missionary triumph. Must the prime agents in the movement be, on that account, supposed to rejoice because of the universal disturbance of the peace of families? Malevolence or ignorance may make the supposition, but the principal actors themselves will ever be found bewailing the blindness and depravity that can convert the noblest product of heaven's boundless love into a source of wretchedness to man, and of outrage against Heaven's Lord.
Many may wonder that I have deemed it necessary to enter into so lengthened an explanation of a passage which no unbiassed reader can possibly misunderstand. But I have done so, because it has been either misunderstood or misrepresented by those who must have known better. And while it is pleasing to think that no private individual, who had not some sinister purpose to serve, has ever ventured to distort the plain meaning of my words-it is, if possible, still more gratifying to find that so highly respectable a journal as the John Bull, has gratuitously come forward to vindicate my language from the wilful misrepresentations of a few unhappy men. "Mr. Duff," remarks the Bull of the 24th August, “quoted a passage of Scripture-gave a full, fair, and perfectly lucid explanation of its spirit and meaning. There is no evidence but he did this with a view to show, not only the truth of the passage itself, but also that it might be reasonably expected, that the Gospel, coming into collision with other systems of religion-with the prejudices, passions, and evil propensities of mankind-would be the occasion of setting a son at variance against his father and a daughter against her mother, &c.' And what religion, whose commands require the strictest and most unremitting moral discipline over one's self, which requires perfection, and claims to be exclusive, might not be expected to be the occasion of much variance' in countries, communities, and families? And are we to declaim against Missionaries, because they
Hindoostan had, for like reasons, been disturbed! What! Sir, do you know any thing of human nature—have you ever read your Bible—and have you failed to learn that it is impossible for the sin-condemning doctrines of the Gospel to be promulgated without " disturbing the peace of families," and, it may be, the internal peace of whole kingdoms? What mean these emphatic words" Think not that I am come to send peace on earth; I am not come to send peace, but a sword; to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother?"-Not what some perverse interpreters would have us to believe, that he who uttered them was an incendiary, whose direct design was to put the world in a flame of discord and rebellion ;-the whole strain of prophecies forbids the impious thought: the annunciation of angels at the birth of the Messiah forbids it: the whole life, precepts, and doctrines of the blessed Jesus forbid it; the parting words to his sorrowing disciples forbid it: his very title, and a distinguishing one it is, as "Prince of Peace," forbids it. What then is the meaning of these significant words? They have been, and may be, paraphrased thus: "Do not expect that I shall be quietly owned and submitted to, or that my religion will be readily and peaceably embraced; for if you do, the event will defeat and disappoint your expectations. Though I was sent to refine and civilize mankind, and root out of their nature all sour, unsocial, and mischievous passions, and to make men gentle, affable, and condescending in their behaviour, yet, through the prevailing degeneracy and corruption of the world, I shall prove the occasion of strife and discord, of unnatural heats and animosities, of violent hatreds and bloody massacres; and men will, on the account of my religion, break through the bonds of nature, and the strongest ties of humanity, as if indeed the very end of my coming was, not to give peace, but rather division; to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother." And how fearfully has this solemn forewarning been verified? How often has that very Gospel, which was "Heaven's best gift,” and sent expressly "to bring peace on earth and good-will to the children of men,” been fiercely opposed by the corruption of sinful creatures, who constantly mistake its spirit, misrepresent its nature, and abuse its blessings? Aye, and how often has it been made the innocent occasion of the shedding of rivers of
propagate such a religion by the only possible means in their power? Or because Christianity has been, and still is, the occasion of variance,' are its friends to cease to propagate it, by fair and honourable means, through fear of giving offence; or does it follow, that it is a religion really pernicious to society and detrimental to the best interests of mankind? We do not see this consequence. We see what injunctions it lays on its followers and advocates, and no one can deny that the true Christian is the man of peace, benevolence and love."
The John Bull contains many more remarks equally appropriate and excellent. Space will not allow me to copy all, but the following passage is so truly pointed and unanswerable that I cannot refrain from quoting it: "It is a curious fact, that many who pretend and sometimes profess, to admire the zeal and devotion of Jesus, are found amongst the first to vilify his disciples for their exhibition of the same virtues. He taught in the Synagogues. He offended the prejudices of the Jews. He openly attacked the first orders in the Jewish community. He publicly denounced them as 'a generation of vipers.' He warned them of approaching condemnation. If He had acted as some of our fastidions contemporaries would have Missionaries conduct themselves: if He had trimmed his religious deportment according to the opinions of the times, as the censors of Missionaries would have them carry themselves in the midst of the Hindoo community, we should have heard nothing of the indignation of the rulers of the Synagogues, or of the priests, or of any other hypocritical pretenders to adherence to the law and the prophets: and if Missionaries at the present day were trimmers, and would balance themselves equally between all parties, that is to say, if they would cease to use the only available means in their power to propagate Christianity,-if they would be at the trouble and expense of establishing schools and not teach Christianity,-then would they escape the denunciations of their present enemies."]
drawals from the Hindoo College in consequence of these proceedings? But this, though a satisfactory instance, is not the only one. Causes of a more general and permanent nature are actively at work. A liberal education and pure Hindooism, as it is called, cannot possibly co-exist. This, the principal advocates of "education without religion" must have all along known: the Hindoos, as a body, certainly did not. Accordingly, whenever the latter begin to make the important discovery, many of the more bigoted of them immediately withdraw their children from the Hindoo College and the School Society's Schools:-and the severest censures have been poured on the heads of those who deluded them by the ensnaring profession: "We do not wish to interfere in any degree with your religion." Instances of this description are numerous. But not to go farther; have you not read the statement inserted in the Chundrica, and translated in the Durpun, by your late client, the father of the persecuted boy, Brijonauth Ghose? If not, for your edification, I shall here insert it. It is as follows: "I sent my son to the Hindoo College to study English, and when he had risen to the fourth class, I thought he had made some progress in English knowledge. I therefore forbade his going to the College; for I have heard that the students in the higher classes of the College become Nastiks* (i. e. infidels, or unbelievers in Hindooism)." Now I ask, who are responsible for this system of instruction, which leading, as it does, to the renunciation of Hindooism, induces parents to act like your client, and remove their children from the Hindoo College and School Society's Schools? Plainly, not the Missionaries, but the advocates of "education apart from religion." Now, as the gentlemen of the bar are often celebrated for their subtilty and acuteness, I cannot do better than apply your reasoning against the conduct of the Missionaries to a case exactly parallel. Put into the simple form of a syllogism, it runs thus:
That "conduct" on the part of individuals which leads natives to withdraw their children from certain places of public education must be denounced as dangerous."
The "conduct" of the advocates of "education apart from religion," in encouraging and supporting a system of liberal European instruction, has, in many instances, led to the withdrawal of boys from certain places of public education.
Therefore, the "conduct" of the advocates of "education apart from religion" must be denounced as "dangerous."
This application of legal logic is mine: to you, Sir, belongs the sole credit of its conclusiveness.
I come now to your last and most aggravated charge. You dare, with unblushing effrontery, to stigmatize the conduct of the Missionaries as flagitious." It is well, Sir, for you, that you have limited the application of this term as to the offence, and generalized it as to the offenders, else might you in your turn be summoned to the bar of the Supreme Court for libelt. And even now I know not how far an individual is at liberty to employ a libellous expression, and, when called to task for the use of it, to mince and explain it away to such a degree that it is made to convey a meaning
* It matters little whether this was the true cause of the boy's removal from the College. The point of real importance is that the father here states the prevalent opinion among the Hindoo community-an opinion on which many parents and friends are known to have acted.
I am aware that that is not unusually reckoned libellous which may be written in a private note. But the case is very much different when the expression is written in explanation of words publicly uttered: and still more, when permission is granted to make the explanation public.