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The Abbé very well knows, that the natives of India are not composed of such active and irritable materials.
Having thus considered the question in every point of view suggested by the Abbé Dubois' remarks, and endeavoured to put a fair construction upon all his statements, I think the arguments and facts here advanced in reply fully establish the position, that there is “a possibility of making real Converts to Christianity among the natives of India.” Since the Abbé endeavoured to establish the opposite position, by an appeal to the immoral character of the subjects upon whom the experiment is to be made, and to the nature of their superstitions and inveteracy of their prejudices, I have hitherto waved the religious and spiritual consideration of the subject, for the purpose of shewing, upon his own grounds, that the Hindoo's entrenchments are not impassable, nor the moral impediments of his character irremediable; since they are not more vicious than others, and even less culpable in the sight of God than many who have been converted to the Faith of Christ. Hence the possibility of their conversion, also, must be conceded by every ingenuous mind: and while that possibility exists, we have not the shadow of authority
for excluding them from all hope of obtaining the divine mercy provided for apostate but repenting creatures in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
THE NATURE OF THE MEANS EMPLOYED BY THE
ROMAN CATHOLICS FOR THE CONVERSION OF THE HINDOOS; TOGETHER WITH THEIR FAILURE, AND THE CAUSE OF THAT FAILURE.
The Abbé Dubois arrives at his conclusionthat the conversion of the Hindoos is impracticable—from the failure of the means hitherto employed by Roman-Catholic Missionaries; which, he thinks, are better adapted to the purpose than the measures which Protestants adopt. Therefore, before proceeding to establish my position by arguments drawn from the successes which have crowned the labours of Protestant Missionaries, in justice to the Abbé, and to my own argument also, I will endeavour to take an impartial view of the efforts of M. Dubois and his Brethren to evangelize India, and of their result.
One of the most obstinate prejudices of the Hindoos, is that which ascribes to the Brahmin an origin and honours superhuman. This prejudice must be overcome, before the Gospel can obtain any footing in the heart; for Christ cannot be exalted, until Man is humbled to the very dust. How, then, have the Jesuits met this
prejudice? They have adopted the very means that are calculated to strengthen it in the minds of the people, and to foster brahminical pride. “ After announcing themselves as Brahmins, they made it their study to imitate that Tribe: they put on a Hindoo dress of cavy (or yellow colour), the same as that used by the Indian Religious Teachers and Penitents; they made frequent ablutions; whenever they shewed themselves in public, they applied, to their forehead, paste made of sandal-wood, as used by the Brahmins *; they scrupulously abstained from every kind of animal food, as well as from intoxicating liquors, entirely faring, like Brahmins, on vegetables and milk:” (pp. 5, 6.) He proceeds to expatiate on the prudence of this
This mark is worn also by the other castes of Hindoos, and distinguishes the worshippers of their respective gods from each other. The Jesuits, therefore, by adopting this mark, bure the stamp of idolatry on their very front!
mode of proceeding, and attributes thereto the acceptance they met with from the Native Princes.
Some Catholic Friars of other Religious Orders justly complained of these proceedings to the Pope. The Jesuits were charged with “the most culpable indulgence, in tolerating and winking at all kinds of Idolatrous Superstitions among their Proselytés; and with having themselves rather become Converts to the Idolatrous Worship of the Hindoos, by conforming to many of their practices and superstitions, than making Indians Converts to the Christian Religion:” (pp. 7,8.)
When the Pope called them to account for this shameful conduct, they attempted to excuse themselves, by representing the expediency of making this compromise; which, they argued, was only temporary, and was justified by the example of the Apostles. But “all these, and many other like reasons, appeared, to the Holy See, futile, and merely evasive; and the Jesuits were peremptorily ordered to preach the Catholic Religion in all its purity, and altogether suppress the superstitious practices, till then tolerated among the Neophytes:" (pp. 8, 9.)
They did not comply with these orders, without making a further attempt to obtain
the Pope's sanction to their idolatrous proceedings: and when, at length, Benedict XIV. peremptorily commanded them to desist from those practices, and to “ bind themselves, by a solemn oath taken before a Bishop, to conform themselves, without any tergiversation whatever, to the spirit and letter of the decree,” M. Dubois says, that they obeyed, though with reluctance: (pp. 9, 10.) Overawed, perhaps, by the Cardinal de Tournon, the Apostolic Legate at Pondicherry, they might comply at the time; but they soon resumed their Pagan customs and superstitions, and continue them to the present day.
The Abbé attempts to extenuate this policy, by representing the Hindoos as a people “ constituted in such a manner, by their education and customs, that they are quite insensible to all that does not make a strong impression on the senses :” (p. 68.) And hence the necessity, I presume, of disguising the Christian Religion, under images, pictures, processions, &c. &c. resembling, as closely as possible, those of the people we would convert !
When the Abbé sat down to argue thus, did he recollect the words of Jesus Christ? “ God is a Spirit : and they that worship Him, must worship Him in spirit and in truth:”