« PreviousContinue »
Boldness and rough honesty are broken down into meanness, prevarication, and fraud.
While Mr. Styles is so severe upon the indolence of the Church, he should recollect that his Methodists are the ex-party; that it is not in human nature that any persons who quietly possess power can be as active as those who are pursuing it. The fair way to state the merit of the two parties is, to estimate what the exertions of the lachrymal and suspirious clergy would be, if they stepped into the endowments of their competitors. The moment they ceased to be paid by the groan-the instant that Easter offerings no longer depended upon jumping and convulsions-Mr. Styles may assure himself that the character of his darling preachers would be totally changed ; their bodies would become quiet, and their minds reasonable.
It is not true, as this bad writer is perpetually saying, that the world hates piety. That modest and unobtrusive piety, which fills the heart with all human charities, and makes a man gentle to others and severe to himself, is an object of universal love and veneration. But mankind hate the lust of power when it is veiled under the garb of piety; they hate canting and hypocrisy; they hate advertisers—and quacks in piety; they do not chose to be insulted ; they love to tear folly and impudence from that altar, which should only be a sanctuary for the wretched and the good.
Having concluded his defence of Methodism, this fanatical writer opens upon us his Missionary battery, firing away with the most incessant fury, and calling names, all the time, as loud as lungs accustomed to the eloquence of the tub usually vociferate. In speaking of the cruelties which their religion entails upon the Hindoos, Mr. Styles is peculiarly severe upon us for not being more shocked at their piercing their limbs with kimes. This is rather an unfair mode of alarming his readers with the idea of some unknown instrument. He represents himself as having paid considerable attention to the manners and customs of the Hindoos; and, therefore, the peculiar stress he lays upon this instrument is naturally calculated to produce, in the minds of the humane, a great degree of mysterious terror. A drawing of the kime was imperiously called for; and the want of it is a subtle evasion, for which Mr. Styles is fairly accountable. As he has been silent on this subject, it is for us to explain the plan and nature of this terrible and unknown piece of mechanism. A kime, then, is neither more nor less than a false print in the Edinburgh Review for a knife; and from this blunder of the printer has Mr. Styles manufactured this Dædalean instrument of torture, called a kime! We were at first nearly persuaded by his arguments against kimes; we grew frightened ; we stated to ourselves the horror of not sending missionaries to a nation which used kimes; we were struck with the nice and accurate information of the Tabernacle upon this important subject; but we looked in the errata, and found Mr. Styles to be always Mr. Styles always cut off from every hope of mercy, and remaining for ever himself. Mr. Styles is right in saying we have abolished many practices of the Hindoos since the establishment of our empire; but then we have always consulted the Brahmins, whether or not such practices were conformable with their religion; and it is upon the authority of their condemnation that we have proceeded to abolition.
To the whole of Mr. Styles's observations upon the introduction of Christianity into India, we have one short answer ,-it is not Christianity which is introduced there, but the debased mummery and nonsense of Methodists, which has little more to do with the Christian religion than it has to do with the religion of China. We would as soon consent that Brodum and Solomon should carry the medical art of Europe into India, as that Mr. Styles and his Anabaptists should give to the Eastern World their notions of our religion. We send men of the highest character for the administration of justice and the regulation of trade; nay, we take great pains to impress upon the minds of the natives the highest ideas of our arts and manufactures, by laying before them the finest specimens of our skill and ingenuity-why, then, are common sense and decency to be forgotten in religion alone? and so foolish a set of men allowed to engage themselves in this occupation, that the natives almost instinctively duck and pelt them? But the missionaries, we are told, have mastered the languages of the East. They may also, for aught we know, in the same time, have learnt perspective, astronomy, or anything else. What is all this to us? Our charge is, that they want sense, conduct, and sound religion ; and that, if they are not watched, the throat of every European in India will be cut :—the answer to which is, that their progress in languages is truly astonishing! If they expose us to imminent peril, what matters it if they have every virtue under heaven? We are not writing dissertations upon the intellect of Brother Carey, but stating his character so far as it concerns us, and caring for it no further. But these pious gentlemen care nothing about the loss of the country. The plan, it seems, is this: We are to educate India in Christianity, as a parent does his child; and, when it is perfect in its catechism, then to pack up, quit it entirely, and leave it to its own management. This is the evangelical project for separating a colony from the parent country. They see nothing of the bloodshed, and massacres, and devastations, nor of the speeches in Parliament, squandered millions, fruitless expeditions, jobs, and pensions, with which the loss of our Indian possessions would necessarily be accompanied ; nor will they see that these consequences could arise from the attempt, and not from the completion, of their scheme of conversion. We should be swept from the peninsula by Pagan zealots; and should lose, among other things, all chance of ever really converting them.
What is the use, too, of telling us what these men endure ? Suffering is not a merit, but only useful suffering. Prove to us that they are fit men, doing a fit thing, and we are ready to praise the missionaries; but it gives us no pleasure to hear that a man has walked a thousand miles with peas in his shoes, unless we know why and wherefore, and to what good purpose he has done it.
But these men, it is urged, foolish and extravagant as they are,
useful precursors of the established clergy. This is much as if a regular physician should send a quack doctor before him, and say, Do you go and look after this disease for a day or two, and ply the patient well with your nostrums, and then I will step in and complete the cure ;-a more notable expedient we have seldom heard of. Its patrons forget that these self-ordained ministers, with Mr. John Styles at their head, abominate the established clergy ten thousand times more than they do Pagans, who cut them themselves with cruel kimes. The efforts of these precursors would be directed with infinitely more zeal to make the Hindoos disbelieve in Bishops, than to make them believe in Christ. The darling passion in the soul of every missionary is, not to teach the great leading truths of the Christian faith, but to enforce the little paltry modification and distinction which he first taught from his own tub. And then, what a way of teaching Christianity is this ! There are five sects, if not six, now employed as missionaries, every one instructing the Hindoos in their own particular method of interpreting the Scriptures; and, when these have completely succeeded, the Church of England is to step in, and convert ihem all over again to its own doctrines. There is, indeed, a very fine varnish of probability over this ingenious and plausible scheme. Mr. John Styles, however, would much rather see a kime in the flesh of a Hindoo than the hand of a Bishop on his head.
The missionaries complain of intolerance. A weasel might as well complain of intolerance when he is throttled for sucking eggs. Toleration for their own opinions-toleration for their domestic worship, for their private groans and convulsions—they possess in the fullest extent; but who ever heard of toleration for intolerance? Who ever before heard men cry out that they were persecuted, because they might not insult the religion, shock the feelings, irritate the passions of their fellow-creatures, and throw a whole colony into bloodshed and confusion? We did not say that a man was not an object of pity who tormented himself from a sense of duty, but that he was not so great an object of pity as one equally tormented by the tyranny of another, and without any sense of duty to support him. Let Mr. Styles first inflict forty lashes upon himself
, then let him allow an Edinburgh Reviewer to give him forty more-he will find no comparison between the two flagellations.
These men talk of the loss of our possessions in India, as if it made the argument against them only more or less strong ; whereas, in our estimation, it makes the argument against them conclusive, and shuts up the case. Two men possess a cow, and they quarrel violently how they shall manage this cow. They will surely both of them (if they have a particle of common sense) agree, that there is an absolute necessity for preventing the cow from running away. It is not only the loss of India that is in question--but how will it be lost? By the massacre of ten or twenty thousand English, by the blood of our sons and brothers, who have been toiling so many years to return to their native country. But what is all this to a ferocious Methodist ? What care brothers Barrel and Ringletub for us and our colonies ?
If it were possible to invent a method by which a few men sent from a distant country could hold such masses of people as the Hindoos in subjection, that method would be the institution of castes. There is no institution which can so effectually curb the ambition of genius, reconcile the individual more completely to his station, and reduce the varieties of human character to such a state of insipid and monotonous tameness; and yet the religion which destroys castes is said to render our empire in India more certain ! It may be our duty to make the Hindoos Christians—that is another argument :-but, that we shall by so doing strengthen our empire, we utterly deny. What signifies identity of religion to a question of this kind? Diversity of bodily colour and of language would soon overpower this consideration. Make the Hindoos enterprising, active, and reasonable as yourselves - destroy the eternal track in which shey have moved for ages-and, in a moment, they would sweep you off the face of the earth. Let us ask, too, if the Bible is universally diffused in Hindostan, what must be the astonishment of the natives to find that we are forbidden to rob, murder, and steal ;-we who, in fifty years, have extended our empire from a few acres about Madras, over the whole peninsula, and sixty millions of people, and exemplified in our public conduct every crime of which human nature is capable. What matchless impudence to follow up such practice with such precepts! If we have common prudence, let us keep the gospel at home, and tell them that Machiavel is our prophet, and the god of the Manicheans our god.
There is nothing which disgusts us more than the familiarity which these impious coxcombs affect with the ways and designs of Provi. dence. Every man, now-a-days, is an Amos or a Malachi. One rushes out of his chamber, and tells us we are beaten by the French, because we do not abolish the slave trade. Another assures us that we have no chance of victory till India is evangelized. The new Christians are now come to speak of the ways of their Creator with as much confidence as they would of the plans of an earthly ruler. We remember when the ways of God to man were gazed upon with trembling humility-when they were called inscrutable—when piety looked to another scene of existence for the explanation of this ambiguous and distressing world. We were taught in our childhood that this was true religion ; but it turns out now to be nothing but atheism and infidelity. If anything could surprise us from the pen of a Methodist, we should be truly surprised at the very irreligious and presumptuous answers which Mr. Styles makes to some of our arguments. Our title to one of the anecdotes from the Methodist Magazine is as follows :
A sinner punished-a Bee the instrument;" to which Mr. Styles replies, that we might as well ridicule the Scriptures, by relating their contents in the same ludicrous manner. An interference with respect to a travelling Jew; blindness the consequence. Acts, the ninth chapter, and first nine verses. The account of Paul's conversion, &c. &c. &c. page 38. But does Mr. Styles forget, that the one is a shameless falsehood, introduced to sell a twopenny book, and the other a miracle
recorded by inspired writers? In the same manner, when we express our surprise that sixty millions of Hindoos should be converted by four men and sixteen guineas, he asks what would have become of Christianity if the twelve apostles had argued in the same way? It is impossible to make this infatuated gentleman understand that the lies of the Evangelical Magazine are not the miracles of Scripture; and that the Baptist Missionaries are not the Apostles. He seriously expects that we should speak of Brother Carey as we would speak of St. Paul, and treat with an equal respect the miracles of the Magazine and the Gospel.
Mr. Styles knows very well that we have never said because a nation has present happiness, that it can therefore dispense with immortal happiness; but we have said that, where of two nations both cannot be made Christians, it is more the duty of a missionary to convert the one which is exposed to every evil of barbarism, than the other possessing every blessing of civilization. Our argument is merely comparative : Mr. Styles must have known it to be so :—but who does not love the Tabernacle better than truth? When the tenacity of the Hindoos on the subject of their religion is adduced as a reason against the success of the missions, the friends of this undertaking are always fond of reminding us how patiently the Hindoos submitted to the religious persecution and butchery of Tippoo. The inference from such citations is truly alarming. It is the imperious duty of Government to watch some of these men most narrowly. There is nothing of which they are not capable. And what, after all, did Tippou effect in the way of conversion ? How many Mahometans did he make ? There was all the carnage of Medea's Kettle, and none of the transformation. He deprived multitudes of Hindoos of their castes, indeed, and cut them off from all the benefits of their religion. That he did, and we may do, by violence ; but did he make Mahometans ?-or shall we make Christians? This, however, it seems, is a matter of pleasantry. To make a poor Hindoo hateful to himself and his kindred, and to fix a curse upon him to the end of his days !--we have no doubt but that this is very entertaining ; and particularly to the friends of toleration. But our ideas of comedy have been formed in another school. We are dull enough to think, too, that it is more innocent to exile pigs, than to offend conscience, and destroy human happiness. The scheme of baptizing with beef-broth is about as brutal and preposterous as the assertion that you may vilify the gods and priests of the Hindoos with safety, provided you do not meddle with their turbans and toupees (which are cherished solely on a principle of religion), is silly and contemptible. After all, if the Mahometan did persecute the Hindoo with impunity, is that any precedent of safety to a government that offends every feeling both of Mahometan and Hindoo at the same time? You have a tiger and a buffalo in the same inclosure ; and the tiger drives the buffalo before him ; is it, therefore, prudent in you to do that which will irritate them both, and bring their united strength upon you? In answer to all the low malignity of this author, we have only to