Page images

First, I ask, then, in reference to the worship of wicked debtas, such as those whose histories are contained in the Hindoo Shasters are said to have been, Has any person ever heard of a king issuing a circular through his dominions, which absolved his subjects from their allegiance to him; which said that the king no longer required them to honour, reverence, and obey him as their sovereign, unless perfectly convenient to them; but that they might, if they preferred it, respect, reverence, and serve the captains of gangs of thieves, the most notorious adulterers, and other debauched characters, who had made themselves infamous by depredation and every kind of wickedness in his kingdom: and that, if they thus acted, their sovereign would require no more from them; but accept this, though they treated him personally with the utmost contempt and indifference, as a full and satisfactory proof of their loyalty and affection? Were a circular of this nature, professing to have come from the king, to be issued in any country, we may reasonably suppose that the inhabitants would, on account of its absurdity, suppose it to be a fiction, and universally disregard it. In fact, reason and common sense would convince them that it was a forgery; because in every country, the king, his counsellors, and all other persons filling situations of eminence, demand, according to their dignity, respect and honour from their inferiors.

I pass on from this illustration, and with reference to the worship of idols, ask, in the second place, the advocates of this worship, if they think a king would be pleased with his subjects, were they to make a variety of monstrous ugly shapes,-call these their king,-say he resided in them, &c. &c. and instead of honouring and reverencing him only, pay respect to these hideous and fictitious objects which they themselves had made: and if they think the king would not be pleased with his subjects for such conduct as this, how, then, can they suppose that the great King of heaven and earth, the living and the true God, will be pleased with them, when they make a variety of hideous images,-call these God,-say he is in them,

and substitute the worship of these fictitious objects for the worship of him who is a Spirit, and who requires to be worshipped in spirit and in truth?

Now let the reader, who is desirous of distinguishing truth from falsehood, bring these two illustrations to bear upon the subject under investigation ; let him apply them to the contents of the Hindoo Shasters, and compare the accounts of the character and worship of God which is contained in these Shasters, with the more reasonable and just account which is contained on the same subject in the Bible: and if his mind be free from prejudice and misapprehension, he will be surely ready to acknowledge, that the Shaster which commands universal and exclusive honour to be given to God, as Creator, Préserver, and Governor of all men, is true;whilst those which deprive him of this honour, and give it to a variety of fictitious polluted deities and dumb idols, are beyond doubt false, and the productions of men of corrupt and reprobate minds.

The purity and spirituality of worship which the Divine Being requires, is also fully inculcated in the Bible; but it is nowhere to be found in the Shasters of the Hindoos: instead of this, their religious worship is connected with profane songs, obscene ceremonies, indecent dancing, and various other immoral and unnatural practices, which tend to pollute the mind, elicit impure desire, and open the door to every kind of licentiousness*. The Hindoo Shasters, instead of inculcating, like the Bible, universal integrity and benevolence, permit, in certain cases, of prevarication and lies*; and the effect of this permission must be evident to every observer of their moral character. The Shasters may confine this permission to certain cases; but the Hindoos, in their conduct, have extended it alike to all: for it is an evident and painful fact, that they are perhaps the most addicted to falsehood of any people upon the face of the earth; and a man must be an eye witness, before he can believe the audacious and composed manner in which they can lie on the most trifling and ordinary occasionst.

* I only need, for the confirmation of this assertion, to refer the reader to the midnight dance and song before the idol, on the last night of the Doorga Poojah, and to the obscene practices on the boats, when the idol is on the succeeding evening thrown into the river. We may also infer, from the images on the great temple, and several of the inferior cars of Juggernaut, what takes place at the Rhut Jattra. Whilst the story of Sheeb, when Narayon assumed in his presence the form of a beautiful woman, (from which the worship of the Linga originates,) with that of Christno and the milk-maids, and various others of a similar nature which are recorded in the Shasters, have all the same unhallowed tendency of inflaming the passions, and engendering crime.

Examining, therefore, the contents of the Hindoo Shasters according to the principle before laid down, it is evident that they cannot possibly be true. The application of this principle will perhaps be best understood by the following illustration. Suppose a native of Benares is living at Calcutta, and a person brings him a letter, and says it is from the king of Benares. Suppose he has no personal acquaintance with the king, yet knows him to be a very wise, learned, benevolent, and holy man; and that, in consequence of his goodness, united to the high authority which as a king he sustains, he is worthy to be universally loved and obeyed by all his subjects.

In this case he will of course, before he opens the letter, expect to find its contents harmonize with the wisdom, goodness, and authority of its professed author : but if, on examination, he finds it quite the reverse, he will no doubt immediately reject it as an imposition. The king, he knows, is a wise man; but this letter contains the most

* *** faztery Mufto col statu atasateurs atte arte Irrego 11

+ The author lately detected some Hindoos in his employ, of attempting to deceive him. On discovering their fault, he endeavoured to extort confession from them; but this was utterly vain : they unitedly persevered in asserting their innocence, and denying the crime laid to their charge. Being, however, ultimately convicted by facts which were too plain to be withstood, they attempted to apologize for their infamous conduct by saying, that the principal person concerned was a Brahmin, and that they were required by the command of the Shaster to lie, in order to save him from the difficulties into which he might be brought, if his crime was discovered.

childish trifles. The king is a learned man, but this letter manifests the most consummate ignorance, and is full of contradictory statements. The king is a good, and a holy man ; but it contains many impure sentiments, and is filled with a variety of statements, which in their practical tendency lead to every kind of wickedness. Suppose this, I say, to be the character of the letter; and suppose at the same time, that it requires the subject to whom it is addressed no longer to reverence and obey his sovereign, from whom it professes to have come, but absolves him from all further allegiance ; he will of course, in that case, reject it as the attempt of some wicked person to impose upon him : it contradicts both his reason and his antecedent experience of the character of its professed author, and therefore further investigation is unnecessary, to convince him that it is the offspring of fraud and falsehood. But if, on the contrary, this letter harmonize in every part with the wisdom, goodness, purity, greatness, and authority of its professed author, he can in that case have no reasonable ground for rejecting it. And so, according to this rule, whilst the Bible is worthy of all acceptation, the Hindoo Shasters, on account of their being full of inconsistencies similar to what, by way of illustration, I have described in the letter alluded to, must, on the ground of reason and common sense, be rejected as the fruit of imposition and falsehood. Their nature and contents evidently prove them to have originated in the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive. Eph. iv. 14.

CHAPTER II. The Moral Precepts of the Bible, with the Characters

which it is designed to form ; and its Superiority in these and various other Respects, to the Hindoo Shasters.

The Bible contains a perfect system of moral precepts. The duty which men owe to God and to their fellow creatures, in all the different relations of life, it clearly defines, and authoritatively enjoins: it countenances no sin--admits of no licentiousness-it sanctions no austerity-it contains no superstition—it will be satisfied with no partial regards, but requires universal obedience; and plainly declares, that he who offends in one point is guilty of alt. For the confirmation of the truth of this statement, I request the candid reader to peruse the list of passages contained in the following section, which I have selected from it, and which are in entire accordance with the whole of its contents on the subject of personal and practical religion.


Of the Moral Precepts of the Bible. Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord. And thou

shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another, with brotherly love : in honour preferring one another; not slothful in business ; fervent in spirit, serying the Lord: rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer: distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you; bless, and curse not: rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind, one towards another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath. If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers; for there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Render therefore to all their dues ; tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »