« PreviousContinue »
on account of this single difficulty, allow him at once to reject it as false. As the most likely method of acquiring a correct knowledge of its doctrines, he determined upon a careful perusal of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures in their original languages. From this undertaking he arose with a firm persuasion, that the doctrine of the Trinity was not inculcated in them, and that the Christian religion was true and divine.
Having now become upon deliberate and rational conviction a Christian, he hastened to communicate to his countrymen such a view of the religion of the New Testament as he thought best adapted to impress them with a feeling of its excellence, and to imbue them with its pure and amiable spirit. For this purpose he compiled the first pamphlet inserted in the present volume, which he intituled, “ The Precepts of Jesus the Guide to Peace and Happiness," &c. To this work, which consists entirely of extracts from the moral discourses of our Lord, he prefixed an “ Introduction," in which he stated his reasons for omitting the doctrines and the historical and miraculous relations which accompany
them in the writings of the Evangelists. Soon after the publication of this tract, there appeared in “ The Friend of India, a periodical work under the direction of the Baptist Missionaries, an article animadverting upon it, which was signed “ A Christian Missionary," but written by the Rev. Mr. Schinidt. To this paper, Dr. Marshman, the editor of the magazine, appended some “ Observations” of his own,t in which he styled the Compiler of the “ Precepts, an intelligent HEATHEN, whose mind is as yet completely opposed to the grand design of the Saviour's becoming incarnate.”
These “ Observations” produced the second of the following pamphlets, intituled “ An Appeal to the Christian Public in Defence of the Precepts of Jesus, by a Friend to Truth.” The writer is now known to have been Rammohun Roy himself. He complains in strong terms, of the application to him of the term Heathen, as “ a violation of truth, charity, and liberality;" and also controverts some of Dr. Marshman's objections to the compilation, and to his reasonings in the Introduction. In a
* No. XX. February 1820.
subsequent number of the “ Friend of India, Dr. Marshman inserted a brief reply to this
Appeal,” in which he still denied to the author the title of 6 Christian," because, he writes, “ we belong to that class who think that no one can be a real Christian without believing the divinity and the atonement of Jesus Christ, and the divine authority of the whole of the Christian Scriptures, disclaiming, however, all intentions of using the term 6 Heathen” in an invidious sense.
Dr. Marshman, in his first “ Observations," had promised to “ take up the subject” of Rammohun Roy's work “more fully in the first number of the Quarterly Series” of The Friend of India, then in preparation. Accordingly, there appeared in that publication some “ Observations on certain ideas contained in the Introduction to The Precepts of Jesus the Guide to Peace and Happiness.”+ In reply to this paper, Rammohun Roy published the last of the following pamphlets, intituled, “ A Second Appeal to the Christian Public in Defence of the Precepts of Jesus.” To this
* No. XXIII. May 1820. Dr. Marshman's Papers, London Edition, p. 5.
+ Idem. p. 17, Friend of India, September 1820,
tract Dr. Marshman printed an elaborate answer in the fourth number of the Quarterly Series of “ The Friend of India.” * Here the discussion rests, as far as we are at present informed.
Dr. Marshman's friends having collected, and printed in England, his Papers in this controversy, I it was thought by many to be demanded by truth and justice, that Rammohun Roy's pamphlets should also be given to the British public, to enable them to form an accurate judgment of the merits of both the parties in the support of their respective tenets. As there appeared no prospect of the work being undertaken by any bookseller, the Unitarian Society were induced to become the publishers. They are aware that, holding as they do the strict and proper humanity of
* December 1821. Dr. Marshman's Tracts, London Edi. tion, pp. 64, &c.
† The reader may be referred for some further particulars relating to Rammohun Roy, to the Monthly Repository, Vol. XIII. pp, 229, &c. ; XIV. pp. 561, &c.; XV. pp. 1, &c.; XVI. pp. 477, &c.; XVII. pp. 632, &c.; and to Mr. Belsham's Introduction to William Roberts's (of Madras) First Letter to the Unitarian Society, 1818.
# The work is intituled, “A Defence of the Deity and Atonement of Jesus Christ, in Reply to Rammohun Roy, of Calcutta, by Dr. Marshman, of Serampore.” London, 1822.
of the case,
Christ as one of their fundamental tenets, they may possibly be charged with a dereliction of principle in thus circulating, under their authority, a work which maintains his pre-existence, and super-angelic rank and dignity. But they rest their defence upon the peculiar nature
upon their anxiety to give every possible publicity to so learned and able a defence of the great doctrine of the proper unity of God from the pen of a Hindoo convert to the Christian faith.
In reprinting the following pamphlets, the Calcutta editions have been strictly followed, except in a few instances, in which some obvious typographical errors have been corrected; and even the principal of these corrections have been inserted in brackets.
It is not intended in this Preface to enter into a review of the controversy. Dr. Marshman has, however, made a remark, which, as it refers to the Unitarian Society, we may be
permitted to notice. In raising an argument for the Deity of Christ, upon the supposed application to him of the term “ fellow” in the English translation of Zechariah xiii. 7, he thus quotes Rammohun Roy's criticism upon that text: 66 Unable to deny this, our author merely hints