Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

to forget the insults and vexations to which he was subjected, by that spirit of sectarian bigotry which dwells in the nominally Chtistian body, the worst of demoniacal possessions.

Not for such a man should there be that poor and pitiful, that blind and bitter conflict, to make a party trophy of that which could not, from its very nature, become the prize or the possession of a party. The factions of Jerusalem might as reasonably have battled for the light that used to irradiate their temple. What can matter, whether he said Shibboleth or Sibboleth, or neither? he spake with the tongues of men and angels; for his speech was charity, the true language of heaven, to which the noise of creeds and their partizans is but as the sounding brass, or the tinkling cymbal.

" The Unitarians, who expected (if such there were) that he should only worship in their chapels, and be identified with their affairs--and the Trinitarians, who because he went about the walls of their Zion, to mark its towers and palaces, would incarcerate him within its gates, and claim him for their own,-alike mistook that which became such a man on such a mission. It was in his own free and Catholic spirit, ever ready to ask Are ye not all brethren? why fall ye out by the way ?' that he wended his way, in charity, awhile with each ; nay, that sometimes, with a literal observance of the precept, when some partizan, with rude hand, constrained him to go a mile with him on his rough road, he would, in his oriental courtesy, go with him twain'. But the affectation of a doubt on the doctrinal opinions of a man who has illustrated them with unsurpassed acuteness of criticism, variety of information, and conclusiveness of argument, through a succession of publications, is scarcely

6

more endurable than the bigotry which would append everlasting damnation to his known continued belief in the doctrines so defended, of the proper unity of God, and the forgiveness of sinners, by his unpurchased mercy.

“The testimony which he thus bore against the departure from the worship of the one only God, both by Hindoos and by Christians, has not been borne in vain. Its useful influence has already been made apparent, although it will probably be long before the full extent and power of that influence will be manifested. Thousands of his countrymen have followed his example in the renunciation of idolatry. The philosophical theists

. of India now comprise no inconsiderable portion of whatever is eminent amongst the natives for intelligence and character. In their temple at Calcutta, where his voice has been often heard, and at the mention of which his countenance would glow with devout and benevolent pleasure, no exclusive worship is offered to the Deity, but homage in which the Hindoo and the European, the rationalist and the supernaturalist, the Jew, the Mahometan, and the Christian, may and do unite. Where the votaries of so many creeds must continue to meet and mingle in the midst of an idolatrous multitude, may there long remain, though he shall never return to it, that one spot in which man, unquestioned, may offer the universal prayer to the universal Father. And the flame which he had kindled continued to burn and brighten in his absence! The liberal Hindoos, notwithstanding the power and wrath of the idolatrous priesthood, are growing in strength and influence. To them, apparently, we must look for the carrying on of his work, and the continuation of the process whose consummation will be

R

the disuse of idolatrous ceremony, the extinction of caste, the enlightenment of the people and improvement of their condition, the reception of pure Christianity, and the attainment of political existence and freedom. Then will his name receive its rightful honours, and his country know its benefactor.

*

"We shall see his face no more! His presence has passed away as a poetic image fades from the brain ! But it has left impressions which will long endure; influences of good, wide and deep, here; yet wider and deeper in the distant land of his nativity. And, being dead, he yet speaketh' with a voice to which not only India but Europe and America will listen for generations. A few days of fever have made him dust. It appears that no skill could have saved a life which, as he was probably but in about the fifty-fifth year of his age, seems to us prematurely terminated. Subsequent to all other signs of consciousness, he indicated the yet surviving sense of the kindness of his friends, and, by silent devotion, of the presence of his God. His body will be silently committed to its rest in ground only hallowed by its reception—the noblest of all consecrations. Many will there be whom personal attachment will draw towards that spot, and it should draw them thither; for it is good to weep over the grave of such a man, and makes the heart better. Good will it be for them, there, to adopt as the rule of their own conduct his favourite quotation from the Persian poet, which he often wished. should be inscribed on his tomb--- THE TRUE WAY OF SERVING GOD, IS TO DO GOOD TO MAN.'

"And if we shed at his death no faithless tears,' such is the service which the contemplation of his life will stimulate us to render. God is not served by our forms and ceremonies, our creeds and anathemas, our wild emotions, or our bustling zeal. He will have mercy, and not sacrifice. The garland with which the Hindoo decks his idol is not less worthy heaven than the useless observances and mysterious dogmas, by the faith and practice of which many who are called Christians, have thought to propitiate God. The dissemination of knowledge, the mitigation of suffering, the prevention of oppression, the promotion of improvement, the diffusion of a beneficent piety,—these are God's work, for us, towards others; and they are all reflected upon ourselves in the building up of our own characters to intellectual and moral excellence. Speaking the truth in love,' we shall best bear our own testimony, and prolong theirs who have joined the cloud of witnesses that compass us about, as we run the race set before us, looking unto Jesus.' The voice of duty may not call us to quit either country or kindred; but our souls have their pilgrimage of faith to pursue, through varied trials, to our Father's house, in which there are many mansions, wherein ultimately shall be gathered together the whole family of heaven and earth. Already should our hearts feel the bond of that holy fraternity,—the love which never faileth, which never shall fail, in time or in eternity ; for it is the essence and the influence of God, and "he that loveth dwelleth in God, and God in him.'

" Thus may we anticipate, according to our usefulness and progress, acceptance in degree like that which awaited our departed visitant and friend. For may we not devoutly trust that the Great Master has received him with

6

6

· Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord;' and that patriarchs and prophets, apostles and confessors, philosophers and reformers, the holy and illustrious of all times and countries, gathering round to greet a brother, have responded in gratulation, Amen, even so, Lord Jesus!""

6

[ocr errors]

Here we bring to a conclusion the notices we have been able to collect of the last days in England of the illustrious Hindoo Reformer, the Rajah RAMMOHUN Roy,—a man who, though he was greatly admired and appreciated during his life by those who could discern even a small portion of his greatness, will perhaps be far better comprehended, and therefore exert a far wider influence over his countrymen, now that time has removed some of the barriers which separated him from them during his lifetime. India will doubtless not much longer delay to prepare for him an enduring tribute of reverence and respect, as well as to perpetuate the history of his life for future generations. It is probable that the painting from which the frontispiece is copied is the best representation of his living form that exists ;-while the bust taken after death preserves his actual form, Will the capital of his country long remain without the honour of possessing such a statue of him as may show to future generations the noble benefactor of his country? Ere all have passed away whe

« PoprzedniaDalej »