Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

PREFACE.

[ocr errors]

THE Rajah RAMMOHUN Roy was, in the land of his birth, a man greatly before his age. He was a light shining in thick darkness, -palpable,-impenetrable by its rays ;-its lustre served only to make the surrounding gloom more visible. Hence he was appreciated during his life by very few of his countrymen, and his death appeared at the time to excite but little regret in India. It was

to England that he turned for encouragement, sympathy and help, for Englishmen had shown that they comprehended in some degree the greatness of his spirit, and admired the purity and devotedness of his life. From England, therefore, he sought for help in his efforts to regenerate his country ;-he hoped after visiting her shores, and gathering strength from communion with the wise and good among her citizens, to return to India, armed with fresh power, guided by new light, to accomplish the great purpose of his life.

It was otherwise ordered, for the fit time was not come. His earthly warfare was accomplished ;-he was permitted to retire from the battle of life, and to lie down to rest where all that was mortal of him would be guarded as a sacred deposit, and where the memorials of his spirit would be honoured and cherished. Long years required to roll by, and many changes to take place in India, before his country should be prepared truly to appreciate the great Reformer.

More than a quarter of a century has now passed, and the name of RAMMOHUN Roy begins to be reverenced as it ought to be in his native country. The seed which he sowed was long in germinating, but it never lost its vitality. He who had scattered it with no sparing hand, whether in the highways, in stray places, among thorns and brambles, or in good ground, was not permitted even to see it spring up, but having faithfully done his work, left it in charge of the Great Husbandman. The seed has sprung up and grown, man knoweth not how, “ for the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself, first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear." While but a very few rallied around their great Reformer in his unwearied efforts to draw away his countrymen from idolatry and superstition, and but one temple then rose among the Hindoos dedicated to the pure worship of one only God, -now there are thousands, and perhaps even tens of thousands, who have emancipated themselves from the thraldom of idolatry and

superstition, and in many houses of worship is proclaimed 66 the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man."

The progress of improvement and the chain of events, linked together by the unerring hand of the Supreme Ruler, has led several of RAMMOHUN Roy's countrymen to follow his example and to visit our shores. Recently four young Hindoos have come to England to become acquainted with English men and women in their private and public work, and in their homes,—to study our laws and our institutions,—and thus to qualify themselves on their return to India to transplant there what they have found most deserving of imitation among us. They have desired to collect while in England all the records that remain of their illustrious countryman, with a view to prepare a complete memoir of him on their return to India. It has seemed best, however, to them to

« PoprzedniaDalej »