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whose names were avowed, and others more prudently concealed, obtruded on the public, in a large quantity of transitory writing, a systematically supported exhibition of respect for the vilest paganism, and of abusive anger in its defence. It will not be true, if it should be said they made this exhibition only in necessary enforcement of their argument of the impolicy and danger of irritating the minds of our pagan . subjects. They might, as we have said, bave urged that argument to its utmost length, without one word of favour to the heathen superstitions; and, therefore, the favour and defensive partiality shew! 10 those superstitions was the willing and gratuitous tribute of depraved feeling. This direct homage to paganism itself, abstractedly from all consideration of policy in our management of pagans, appears to us the distinguishing circumstance, on account of which, chiefly, the recent paroxysm of enmity to religion merits a more marked record than those ordinary manifestations of it, in which it is perfectly common to misrepresent religion and true policy, as incompatible, and insist that the former must be sacrificed.
This paroxysm being probably not apprehended at the time Mr. Pearson wrote, his work is addressed to the nation in a manner which seems to presume a general assent, or at least a prompt docility, to his reasonings. He charges the nation, indeed, with very criminal neglect; but appears confident it can only need to bave its obligations plainly set be. fore it; little expecting that he was to be personally accused of impertinence in presuming to remind the nation and government of this branch of their duty, and of absurd fanaticism in entertaining such a notion of that duty. It is na-tural for a work thus written in anticipation of general accordance, to expatiate in benevolent sentiment, to be in a mild and amicable language, and to display sometimes the exultation which the Christian philanthropist feels at the view of vast prospects of human amelioration, which he trusts are just about to be realized. In addition to this, our author is a sound reasoner, a perspicuous writer, and a man of extensive knowledge.
The first part of the work is ' a brief historic view of the gospel, in different nations, since its first promulgation,' to the present times, occupying nearly 70 pages. Prefixed to this is an ingenious chart, in which the various nations of the carth are represented by distinct, parallel, horizontal spaces, divided perpendicularly by lines at equal distances to mark the centuries. A dark colour spread over any of the spaces expresses paganism, and gives place to yellow, the expression of Christianity, or red, of Mahometanism, at the periods, and in the complete or partial reception, in which those religions began, and may have continued to exist, in any of the countries. It is a pleasing and useful contrivance; and has only the defect, which the author himself regrets, of not being able to measure the whole relative proportion of extent in which the respective systems prevail, as the horizontal spaces, being all equal, do not express the smaller and greater population of the several countries. The Brief Historic View is written with animation, and with a clearness of order which required much dexterity, amidst such a multiplicity of facts, and so rapid a narration. A few slight errors will detract but little from its general merit. In p. 4 it is said, 'Hitherto Christianity had been preached to the Jews alone; but the time was now arrived for the full discovery of the divine purpose to extend the knowledge of it to the Gentiles. This important event took place at Cæsarea, the residence of the Roman Governor.' Now it may be questioned whether the particular commission to Peter to preach to Cornelius and his family was a full discovery of the divine purpose to extend the knowledge of the gospel to the gentiles.it may be probable that Peter and his brethren discovered from it no more than this, that the gospel was to be preached to such uncircumcised persons as feared God and worked righteousness, i. e. who joined in the worship of the true God in the synagogues, and obeyed the moral law. Of these, a large proportion of the first Christians consisted. We should think, too, that the various reading referred to (Acts xi. 20.) is erroneous, and that it should be 'Elamusas, as in the printed copies. Probably these were proselytes from heathenism to Judaism already, and not idolaters. The first explicit and formal “turning to the gentiles', was at the period mentioned in Acts xiii. 46. In page 6, Mr. P. says that Peter's first epistle was addressed to the dispersed Jews; whereas it is evident that both Peter's epistles were addressed to the strangers, or Gentile Christians. (See 1 Pet. i. 1, and 2. Pet. ii. .) We canno think it safe to assert, as in page 13, the possession of miraculous powers' by certain bishops in the third century; nor do we see reason to believe that either the Goths or Sarmatians received the gospel so early as that period. We think there is not sufficient authority for the assertion (p. 15) that previously to Constantine's embracing Christianity, the Christians were the most powerful party in the Roman empire. The religious zeal of Constantine's sons' is mentioned (p. 16), in a way which might be understood to mean a zeal in favour of Christianity, as opposed to paganism. Much of that zeal, however, was exerted in persecuting orthodox Christians, and exalting the Arians. Those princes assumed ecclesiastical authority, and perpetually interfered with church affairs. In page 22, our author appears to confound Colm, or Columba (as his name was Latinized) with Columbanus, a later missionary from Ireland to Germany. Whọm does he precisely mean by the denomination Sclavonians, (in page 38)?' The Russians, Poles, and Bohemians were, all Sclavonians. In speaking of the Jesuit mission in Ma-, dura, (page 51) Mr. P. says it was formally suppressed in 1744, together with other missions established by the Jesuits in the Carnatic and in Marava (or Travancore). We believe these missions never were formally suppressed; but that their decay and extinction was simply the consequence of the abolition of the order. Our author refers to the Lettres Curieuses et Edifiantes, &c. for a full acconnt of the Madura mission. Those letters relate chiefly to the labours of the French Jesuits in the Carnatic: a full account of the Ma. dura mission is not to be found. The London Missionary Society was not formed solely among various classes of Eng. lish Dissenters' (page 61) ; churchmen and methodists have always formed parts of it. Such mistakes are very insignificant, and were, no doubt, owing to the haste in which the author was under the necessity of composing his work. They make but a trifling deduction from the merit which this useful epitome derives from the combination of labour and skill. It is one part of that merit, that the brevity prescribed to the narration as a whole, is proportionably maintained in the parts, no favourite periods or events being so dilated as to reduce other large portions of the historical series to a mere catalogue of names. Transitions very abrupt, and to very great distances, are inevitable; and in adjusting the order of narratiog disconnected facts, it will not be easy to preserve, better than in this performance, those imperfect relations which may prevent an absolute confusion, even in the must dispersed narration, by still suggesting, at each step, the one fact which, rather than any other one of a multitude that are all to be noticed in their places, should iminediately follow the one last recorded, No reader will expect that in such a brief review there can be room for the discussion of historical difficulties, or for making many reflections. Taken, as it is intended, for an outline of the history of Christianity, it may be very useful, both to those who have read much, and those who have read but little, of that history. On the sum of the account the author concludes by observing,
• that the civilization of the world has kept pace with the progress of w eur divine religion; that Christian nations have in every age considered it VOL. VI.
to be their duty to propagate it in unenlightened regions; that success has, for the most part, attended their endeavours, when the proper means have been taken to secure it ;'and, that the consequences of their exertions, in proportion as they have been successful, have been uniformly beneficial to themselves, and productive of the most important blessings to the favoured objects of their benevolence. p. 67.
"The first part of the Dissertation is on the probable de-, sign of the Divine Providence in subjecting so large a portion of Asia to the British dominiçn.' It begins with some instiuca tive observations on that grand principle in the divine government of the world, by which the prevailing tenor of its dispensations is asserted to be directed to the promotion of true religion, among mankind, with its infallibly attendant itlorals and civilization. Some of the most memorable practical illustrations of this principle are recounted in a pleasing manner; followed however by the admission, that the developement of this fundamental law of the divine government has been hitherto šo partiat, as to leave a most awful mystery still darkering the moral economy. The gloom of this mystery appears to us, on a view of the past and present state of the moral world, still greater than our author's reflections on the subject would seem to allow ; so great, as very much to repress the exultation with which it is desirable to con: template such ipdications as he has specified of the existence of the grand principle in question. He not approaches his subject by referring to the time, about a century since, when the first commercial grant was made to the British merchants trading to India, by a monarch of the country, and then stating the present extent of our empire there. Such an acquisition, made in so short a time, and in defiance of a powerful European competitor, he deems so extraordinary, as to force upon us imperiously the inquiry why we have been suffered and assisted thus to become one of the greatest Asiatic powers. He states scveral advantages, of a subordinate quality, which we, and which the people of India, bave derived from our ascendancy in that country; but insists that the ultimate design of Providence in giving us this
power is the diffusion of Christian knowledge among so many millions of its unenlightened inhabitants, as the means of promoting their temporal and eternal welfare.'
The second and much the longest part of the Dissertation is on the duty, means, and consequences of translating the Scriptures into the oriental languages, and of promoting Christian knowledge in Asia.'--So many pages of our last two volumes have been occupied with this subject, that we think it better to decline attempting any formal analysis of this sensible dissertation. Many of our anthor's statements and ar
guments are'in substance the same as those of other writers whom we have had occasion to notice; but it is not to be for gotten that he was, in the recent discussion, one of the first that employed them. The duty here asserted is proved and enforced in a very satisfactory manner by arguments at once the best and the most obvious,-the benevolent nature and spirit of Christianity-the peculiar advantages and facilities we have obtained for such a work, in acquiring sp vast a power in the East-the wretched moral state of the people, a state, the worst constituent evils of which are, by their nai ture, incapable of being corrected or even modified by any agency but that of religion--and the benefits which would result both to Britain and Asia. He obviates the principal objections to the design, founded on the pretended danger of exciting alarm and hostility by peaceful efforts of instruction, and the pretended impossibility of converting the victims of the Braliminical superstition.
The proposed means are, translations of the Scriptures, an ecclesiastical establishment, missions, and schools. Hé enlarges to a great extent on the first of these means, begin ning with an observation on the contrast between the policy of false religions and of the true, with reference to their most sacred doctrines, and to the oracles on which they re spectively rest their authority.
It has been the general policy of the authors of false religions, to conceal the institutes and mysteries of their pretended revelations from the knowledge of the vulgar; that is, of the great body of the people in every country. This has been effected either by involving them in hieroglyphic symbols, or mysterious rites or observances ; by throwing over them the veil of a sacred language, confined to a particular body of men; or, by prohibiting the perusal of the sacred books by the profane eyes of the multitude. Hence the hieroglyphics of the Egyptians: the mysteries and esoteric doctrines of the Greeks and Romans; the prohibitory laws of the Hindus, and the partial discouragements of the Mohammedans. The grounds of shis disgraceful policy are sufficiently obvious. Igno. rance, while it is justly said to be the parent of a blind and bigoted devotion to error and superstition, invests the supposed sacred object with a niysterious grandeur, which leads its unhappy votary captive, and perpes Luates its wanderings from truth and virtue.' p. 126.
Our author enumerates the principal languages of India, and the other parts of the Asiatic continent, with appropriate remarks on their qualities, and the local extent to which they are spoken. He notices the several translations proceeding or finished at the time of his writing, anticipates great assistance from the college of Fort William, recommends that the translations shali, as much as possible, be made directly from the originals, the translators also availing themselves of the