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animadverts, contained, indeed, no such charge or insinuation; but it was worthy of a Protestant Dissenter to feel and express anxiety, lest by any misconstruction it should be understood to convey this meaning; and had your correspondent confined himself to this topic, I should not have troubled you with any remarks upon his letter. But whilst he is vindicat ing the Society, of which he is a member, he appears to assume a tone that does not become him in reference to another denomination of Christians, to manifest a want of candour towards the individuals whom he names, and to misrepresent the religious character of the celebrated Hindoo Reformer, Ram Mohun Roy.
Mr. Ivimey speaks of some persons who call themselves Unitarians,' and whom he chooses to denominate Socinians. On what grounds he thinks himself qualified and authorised to dispute the epithet by which they agree to designate themselves, and to substitute another to which he knows they strongly object, and against which they uniformly protest, it is for him to explain. The modern Unitarians are so far from being followers of Socinus, that they universally maintain that practical Socinianism would be Christian idolatry. The Continental, no less than the British Unitarians, refuse to be denominated from that Reformer (excellent as, in many respects, he was): the largest body of them in Europe, those in Transylvania, amounting to upwards of forty thousand, are described in the Imperial Laws, and protected and established, under the name of Unitarians; and Í have seen a recent answer to a letter sent to them from this country, the first paragraph of which contains a complaint of their being addressed as Socinians,' and thereby misrepresented.* Mr. Ivimey is not unacquainted with the power of a nickname, and would instantly check an opponent, who should call his own
"Quæ nominatio" (viz. Unitarius) "Patriæ legibus stabilità, in Transylvania apud quoslibet Religionis asseclas ita in usu est, ut aliter, videlicet Socinianos, Servetianos, &c., compellari nec plaoeat. See the whole letter in Monthly Repository of Theology, &c. for July, Vol. XVII. pp. 437, 438."
denomination Anabaptists; yet there would be just as much truth and liberality, just as mush gentlemanly and Christian feeling, in this term, so applied, as in the term Socinian applied, as it is by him, to the present race of Unitarians.
"Your correspondent says that Ram Mohun Roy is still a Pagan.' The Baptist Missionaries in India might have been expected to save him from this error: perhaps, even now, by a reference to their letters, he may discover his mistake. The truth is, that Ram Mohun Roy's conversion to Christianity, although not to the doctrinal Christianity of the Baptist Missionaries, is matter of notoriety in India, and has been the subject of newspaper discussions. In The Calcutta Journal of August 1, 1821, I find a Trinitarian writing in opposition to Unitarians, under the signature of A Christian,' and making the following statement, which he himself does not appear to have regarded in the light of a concession: • Ram Mohun Roy is a very remarkable person; he has been led by reading and thinking to quit Hindooism in his search after truth, and to embrace Christianity according to the Unitarian scheme. This statement might be justified by many extracts from Ram Mohun Roy's publications, inserted in the same journal; but I deem it sufficient to quote from this periodical work a passage in a letter which the respectable Editor (Mr. Buckingham) communicates in the Number for August 15, 1821, (pledging himself to its authenticity,) from a Native Indian,' Sutyu-Sadhun, who, like his illustrious friend, Ram Mohun Roy, is, I presume, a convert to Unitarian Christianity. This writer says, As to the offence of publishing the sentiments that appear so very ob noxious to the Layman,' (a correspondent in The Calcutta Journal,) ‘↓ may observe, what I believe to be the fact, that Ram Mohun Roy, as a searcher after the truths of Christiries to himself, and contented himself anity, did keep the result of his inquiwith compiling and publishing the pure precepts of Jesus alone, as he thought these were likely to be useful to his countrymen in the present prejudiced state of their minds against Christianity. But on the publication
of these precepts, he was unexpectedly, in some periodical publications, attacked on the subject of the Trinity, and he was consequently obliged to assign reasons for not embracing that doctrine.' The conclusion of SutyuSadhun's letter is an appeal to British liberality, and an instance of the prevalence of free and generous sentiments, founded upon the Scriptures, amongst our Indian fellow-subjects. 'I am not all surprised,' he says, 'at the reference of the Layman to the penal statute against those who deny the divinity of Christ: for when reason and revelation refuse their support, force is the only weapon that can be employed. But I hope the English nation will never exhibit the disgraceful spectacle of endeavouring to repress by such means opinions for the truth of which the authority of the Bible itself is appealed to by my countrymen.'*
"Mr. Ivimey's sarcasm of Pagan Unitarians,' shews, therefore, his ignorance of the real state of things in Calcutta. If it were meant to reflect upon Unitarians at home, it would be enough to remind this Baptist Minister of the indignation and contempt which were generally felt by the Baptists, when, some years ago, one of their Ministers libelled his own denoanination, or, at least, a considerable portion of them, by calling them (in a phrase borrowed from Dr. Young) baptized Infidels,' merely because they differed in opinion and feeling from him on the subject of the French Revolutionary War, and the public conduct of Mr. Pitt. These ill-natured words serve no other purpose than to shew the mind of the speaker or writer. But had Mr. Ivimey been as well-informed as he is ill-informed with respect to the actual faith of the Indian Reformer, it would have been more in character for a Christian Pastor to have expressed warm congratulation rather than a cold sneer, on seeing an idolater of eminence and influence reclaimed to pure Theism.
"Of Mr. Adam I know little. Being sent out to India by the Baptist Missionary Society, as a Trinitarian, and becoming, by whatever means, an Unitarian, the Society is fully justified in withdrawing from him its patronage: but, in my humble opinion, it is not becoming nor consistent with Christian equity for any individual to charge him in a newspaper with undefined aberrations and errors:' he is not at hand to defend himself, nor is he amenable for his faith or conduct to your correspondent, who is probably not better prepared than himself, either by his education or his talents, to judge of the sense of Divine Revelation, or of the duties which it imposes upon those that submit to its authority.
"The reply which Mr. Aspland has given to my letter on the subject of Ram Mohun Roy and the Calcutta Unitarians,' in your paper of yesterday, is written in a spirit which I shall not imitate, and contains some illiberal and personal reflections, which, perhaps, the writer would not attempt to justify. Sober argument disdains such weapons, and that must be a weak cause which they are employed to defend.
"Mr. Aspland is offended that I used the term Socinian, in designating Mr. Adam. But when a person avows his determined opposition to the doctrine of the proper divinity of the Son of God, and denies that his death was an atonement for sin-when he declares that Jesus Christ was a mere man, and that he had no existence before he was born of the Virgin, &c., his creed is so nearly allied to that of Faustus Socinus, that there was no impropriety that I can perceive, when, for the purpose of avoiding circumlocution, I called Mr. Adam by a term which has always been used by Trini
tarians, to describe the professors of that system.
"The employing of the term Soci nian instead of that of Unitarian, was not intended as a cold sneer,' but because I do not consider the latter term as a fair one. I well know the modern Socinians strongly object to it, and have agreed to designate themselves Unitarians, and that simply on account of their worshiping one God; but it is not in that article of their creed that they can be allowed to be distinguished from other professors of Christianity, unless it can be proved that the latter profess to worship a plurality of Gods. Mr. Aspland knows that Trinitarians profess also to be Unitarians; they, in common with their opponents, believe that there is but one God. To give Socinians then this name exclusively, would be to grant them the very point which they seem desirous to assume, that is to say, the point in debate.
"But Mr. Aspland and his friends, forsooth, are not Socinians, because they do not imitate Socinus in paying divine worship to Jesus Christ: to do this, he says, would be Christian idolatry.' It seems, then, that calling them Socinians is to deprive them of the honour of having thus improved upon the system of Socinus, and to give them more credit than they are entitled to. Surely, Mr. Aspland might have forgiven me this wrong!
"If, then, it is in future to be understood, that by Unitarians are meant those professors of Christianity only who consider the worship of Christ to be Christian idolatry, and who are contradistinguished from other Christians, not as to their faith in a plurality of divine persons in the unity of the Godhead, but as to their faith and practice in worshiping Christ as God, I shall have no objection in using the term Unitarian instead of Socinian. The late Rev. Andrew Fuller has fully expressed my sentiments and feelings upon this subject. 'Dr. Toulmin,' said he, complains of my using the term Socinians, as being a term of reproach. For my own part, I would much rather call them by another name, if they would but adopt a fair one. Let them take a name that does not assume the question in dispute, and I would no longer use the term Socinian.'
"I have, too, it appears, been grossly erroneous in saying that Ram Mohun Roy is still a Pagan, and with having violated the consistency of my character as a Christian Pastor, in not expressing warm congratulations on seeing an idolater of eminence and influence reclaimed to pure Theism.
"It is highly probable that I should differ from Mr. Aspland in stating what was essential in order to an idolater's becoming a Christian. To say the least, I ain of opinion that he ought not only to renounce the worship of idols, but that he should declare himself a disciple of Jesus Christ; that he should profess his faith in the divine mission of Christ as a teacher sent from God to declare his Father's will to mankind; that he died, and rose again, and is gone into Heaven; and that he will come again to judge the world in righteousness, &c. &c. Mr. Aspland has produced no evidence that Ram Mohun Roy has avowed his faith even in these doctrines of Christianity. His having published the pure precepts of Jesus alone,' whilst he has reviled the miracles of the gospel, is surely no decisive proof of his Christianity. If it were, the Roman Emperor also was a Christian, because he was so delighted with the gospel precept, 'Therefore, all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them,' as to have had it engraven on the gates of his palace.
"Mr. Aspland asserts, indeed, that Ram Mohun Roy is a 'pure Theist ;' that while his countrymen are worshiping Gods many, and Lords many, he worships one God only. But then the one God whom he professes to worship is not, if I have understood rightly, Jehovah, the God of Israel, the Creator and Governor of the world, but some undefined Being whom the Hindoos call, the Great Spirit, the Soul of the Universe.'
If, then, a man's avowing himself to be a believer in one God, without any reference to that revelation by which only he can be known, or to the state of heart by which it is held, and whilst rejecting Christ as the Saviour of the world, constitutes him a Christian, Mr. Aspland may find others, who have hitherto been considered as beyond the pale of the Christian
Church, to whom he may give the right hand of fellowship with as much propriety as to Ram Mohun Roy. Were not Chubb, Woolston, Tindal, Toland and Paine, pure Theists? Are not Mahomedans pure Theists? Are not Jews pure Theists? But will Mr. Aspland contend that it is illiberal to withhold from the above-mentioned worthies, and from Mahomedans and Jews, the name of Christian? Mahomedans believe the unity of God, and also that Christ was a Divine Messenger; but they reject him as a Saviour. The Jews believe that God is One, but reject Christ as the promised Messiah. Ram Mohun Roy believes that God is One, but has not professed his faith in the divine mission of Christ his Theism, therefore, does not, any more than theirs, entitle him to the character of Christian.
"Nor is the single circumstance of Ram Mahun Roy's professing to believe in the unity of God, sufficient to prove that he has been reclaimed to pure Theism. Mr. Aspland might not probably know that Unitarianism is a doctrine of the Hindoo faith. In the Rev. Mr. Ward's work on the Religion of the Hindoos, he says, 'It is true, indeed, that the Hindoos believe in the unity of God. One Brumhee, without a second,' is a phrase very commonly used by them, when conversing on subjects which relate to the nature of God."*
"Mr. Aspland charges me with being ignorant of the real state of things in Calcutta.' I know, however, enough to inform him, if he is unacquainted with the fact, that Ram Mohun Roy does not defile himself by eating with Europeans, which would be to lose his caste, though in some instances he has entertained them at his house in the most splendid style of Eastern magnificence. Mr. Aspland, too, with all his knowledge of the
find it very difficult, if not impossible, to produce any proof that this Hindoo Reformer has declared himself to be a Christian, or that he is willing to be considered by his countrymen, or by Europeans, under that character.
"Mr. Aspland, will, perhaps, inform the public, should he write again upon this subject, whether, in the event of this celebrated Indian Reformer paying a visit to England, and applying for admission as a member of the religious community at Hackney, of which he is the Christian Pastor, he would be received into full communion, merely on account of his agreeing with them in the doctrine of the Unity of God, notwithstanding he has not in his creed one sentiment peculiar to Christianity?
"I am not aware of having intimated that Mr. Adam was 'amenable for his faith and practice to me;'to his own master he standeth or falleth.' But surely I may be permitted to 'lament his errors and aberrations,' if it were only because he has so awfully disappointed the expectations of the Society by which he was educated and sent to India, for the purpose, not of insulting, but of highly extolling Jesus Christ. Is it not a rational cause for lamentation, when men who were once members of our churches; who were educated for the ministry at our expense; who were introduced to the public as ministers through our influence; who owe every thing they are, as public men, to our friendship towards them; should have imitated the worst part of the worst man's conduct? He that eatheth bread with me, hath lifted up his heel against me!'
"I am, Sir,
"Your obedient servant, 66 JOSEPH IVIMEY."
real state of things at Calcutta, will IV. Mr. Aspland's Second Reply to
"There has been a controversy in India between the Rev. Dr. Marshman, one of the Serampore Missionaries, and Ram Mohun Roy, on the subject of the Trinity. That part of it written by Dr. Marshman is reprinting in London, and will very soon be published; to that work, I therefore take the liberty of referring Mr. Aspland."
"The sense which he represents the Unitarians as putting upon their own name, is not correct. By the term Unitarian,' they do not intend merely the worshiper of one God, as by the term Trinitarian,' they certainly do not understand the worshiper of three Gods: they use the former term to denote the worshiper of one God in one Person, One God the Father; and the latter to signify the worshiper of one God in three Persons, one God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Unitarian is never confounded by their approved writers with Monotheist, nor Trinitarian with Tritheist. Their sense of the two appellations is borne out, I humbly conceive, both by etymology and by historic usage. In describing them, therefore, a candid opponent has no occasion to take up the offensive epithet Socinian,' (offensive because it contains a misrepresentation,) in order to avoid circumlocution although much as your correspondent may dislike this figure of speech, allow me to say that a style, circumlocutory even to tediousness, is far preferable to the most concise and convenient phraseology that violates truth and charity.
Allowing, however, according to your correspondent's objection (but for argument's sake alone) that the term Unitarian seems to assume the
principle in debate between those that take upon them the name and their opponents, it only stands in the same predicament as several other words chosen to distinguish religious sects; amongst which I may point out Mr. Ivimey's own denomination, that of Baptist. This appellation is adopted by such Christians as practise baptism by immersion, on the personal profession of faith of the candidate ; but the majority of the Christian world, who baptize infants by affusion, or sprinkling, might object that for AntiPædo-Baptists to call themselves Baptists is to beg the question; that this term implies that theirs is the only baptism, and that Pædobaptists are in truth as much Baptists as they. This is the same argument as Mr. Ivimey's against the propriety of the name Unitarian; and whatever answer he would give in the one case, I should probably be willing to appropriate in
"The greater part of what Mr. Ivimey says relating to Ram Mohun Roy is mere beating the air.' He understands me to state positively that which I state hypothetically. I claim for the Indian Reformer the character and name of Christian, but I add, that were these not proved to belong to him, a Christian Minister ought, notwithstanding, to rejoice in seeing an idolater reclaimed to pure Theism. Confounding the assertion with the supposition, Mr. Ivimey puts his ingenuity to the stretch, in framing questions on the fitness of admitting Theists to be Christians.
"It is a new thing for a Member and Director of a Missionary Society to be an anti-proselytist: yet your correspondent will not allow Ram Mohun Roy to be a convert to the Christian faith. To his assertions, I might content myself with opposing the quotations before given from the Calcutta Journal; but I have other and better evidence. Mr. Ivimey says, that it will be difficult, if not impossible to produce any proof that this Hindoo Reformer is willing to be considered by his countrymen, or by Europeans, under the Christian character. Now, Sir, there is lying before me a Magazine published by the Baptist Missionaries in Bengal, and printed at the Mission Press, Serampore; viz. The