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except in a very slender degree, I am not acquainted with any other of the Indian dialects.
"There exists two versions of the New Testament in Bengalee; one by Dr. Carey, and the other by the late Mr. Ellerton, of Malda, both of them admirably acquainted with the vernacular idiom of the Hindoos inhabiting Bengal.
"Both of these versions are of great and acknowledged merit, each possessing excellencies peculiar to itself. That by Dr. Carey has more of the attractions resulting from Sanscrit stores, and a learned modification of the sacred page. That by Mr. Ellerton excels in many happy renderings of a familiar and idiomatic kind. Whilst capable of improvement in subsequent editions, they are, in their present state, of incalculable value to the Christian teacher in Bengal. They have been of essential service to myself, and are so to every missionary labouring among the Hindoos of that province. They are perused by many hundreds of Hindoo youths in different schools, and by many adult Hindoos, both converted and unconverted; and they are the means of imparting a variety of important and essential benefits, both temporal and eternal, to Bengal; and if the author should insinuate that they are spurious versions, ludicrous, vulgar, and almost unintelligible,' and looking like forgeries of some obscure, ignorant, and illiterate individual;' I trust that such insinuation will altogether be deemed unwarranted.
"With respect to the various other versions of the Scriptures which have been made in India, I am, as I have already intimated, unable to give any positive opinion. If I were nevertheless required to state what is my ímpression as to the probability of the several versions being adequately executed, I should say, that I apprehend all the versions are not of equal merit. The gradations in the experience and skill of the translators, I presume, will naturally lead to gradations in the excellencies and defects of their respective versions. I would add, that I should presume, that in every version in its first stages, there would probably be found many stiff and unidiomatic expressions, and a multitude of renderings capable of much improvement. In this sentiment I am countenanced by one of the Serampore missionaries, the late Mr. Ward, who does not attempt to represent the numerous versions executed by himself and colleagues as having no or few defects. Every first version of such a book as the Bible,' says Mr. Ward, in any language, will require in future editions many improvements, and all the aids possible to carry those versions to perfection.' I would add, that I apprehend the worst executed version that can be found in India, contains a sufficiency of what is plain and intelligible, to make the Hindoo reader acquainted with the dialect in which it is written, wise unto life eternal. If he be of an humble, teachable disposition, he will, I apprehend, discover enough to guide him to honour, glory, and immortality; and if he be of a proud, supercilious, eavilling turn of mind, then his contempt of an imperfectly executed translation of the word of God, made for his benefit by a benevolent stranger who loves him, and
VOL. XXIII. JANUARY, 1825.
longs for his felicity, is a fault chargeable, not on the version, but on the proud, ungrateful individual who thus spurns it.'
"The Mission College, established by the late Lord Bishop of Calcutta, in the neighbourhood of that metropolis, may be expected to render very considerable aid towards the accomplishment of the important design. That learned and zealous prelate, in laying down the plan of the institution, has particularly specified the translations of the Sacred Scriptures into the languages of Hindostan, as one principal object which the College would embrace. In the third place,' Dr. Middleton states, I would make the Mission College subservient to the purpose of translations. Much has been done, or attempted in this way; but by no means, as I have reason to believe, so much and so well, as to make this department of missionary labour superfluous or unimportant. We still want versions, which, instead of being the work of one or two individuals, should be the joint productions of several, taking their allotted portions of Scripture, submitting their tasks to approved examiners, and sending the whole into the world under the sanction of authority.'
"This intimation is greatly calculated to strengthen the expectation of the Christian public, that in due time the Indian translations of the Holy Scriptures will attain a sufficient degree of accuracy and maturity, to constitute them standard versions of the Sacred Volume."
The last passage is particularly creditable to Mr. Townley's candour; and we trust that such a hint from such a quarter will not be thrown away. A distinguished Baptist missionary looks forward with pleasure to the assistance of Bishop's College in providing standard versions of the Sacred Volume, He admits, therefore, that standards are wanting; that is to say, that existing versions are incorrect. And yet it is for asserting this very fact that he quarrels with the Abbé Dubois. Even before Mr. Hough's admission, the point was as certain as such a point could be. "I hope," says a learned correspondent of our's, speaking of a new translation now in some forwardness, that, unlike many now in India, it will neither offend the learned native by its barbarism, nor the biblical critic by its incorrectness." The Bombay Bible Society," observes another highly esteemed friend, "has assisted the missionaries in translating the Old and New Testament into Guzaratee, and the Gospel into Mahratta. And the fact is remarkable, because the Serampore translators professed to have done the same before. But their translation is almost entirely Sanscrit, and utterly unintelligible to the bulk of the people. If it were otherwise, the Bombay Society would not have been justified in making entirely new translations, without any allusion to those of Serampore." These are the tes
timonies of most respectable men, who can hardly be mistaken upon the subject in dispute; and if they are not enlisted under the banners of the Bible Society, and are for the present without a name, we may refer the reader to an authority not liable to either of these objections, "For my part," says Dr. Henderson, in the very sensible pamphlet which unanswerably established the Mahometanism of the Bible Society's Turkish New Testament, I cannot help expressing it as my conviction, founded on a knowledge of facts, that a surprising degree of credulity has obtained, and still in part obtains, as to the qualifications of those to whom the overwhelming responsibility has been attached, of providing translations and editions of the Sacred Scriptures."
Adding these assertions to that of the Abbé Dubois, and comparing them with Mr. Hough's very qualificd negative, we rejoice with Mr. Townley at the prospect of obtaining standard versions; and let us not forget that it is Bishop's College from which these versions are expected to emanate.
There is one other portion of the controversy between the Abbé and his correspondents to which we must briefly advert, namely, the degree of success which has attended the labours of the Church Missionary Society, and its kindred 'associations. The Abbé asserts that it has been much exaggerated.
"I will now close the discussion I have carried on in this and the foregoing letters. When I commenced them, I did not imagine I should go so far into the question. I was induced to enter into so many details by the consideration that elucidations on this interesting subject, by a person of my profession and experience, might prove of some advantage to the public, among whom, it appears, much ignorance and misapprehension prevails, and whose opinion has been in a high degree misled by imperfect, and, in many instances, erroneous statements, published of late, at home, by persons led astray by a misguided religious zeal, and who took upon themselves to treat of matters with which they were scarcely at all, or but very imperfectly acquainted.
"In fact, on perusing the reports of those gentlemen, persons unacquainted with the subject might be induced to suppose, that the Hindoos are a people quite prepared for a revolution in their religious system, and ready to break to pieces and trample upon their gods of stone and brass. One would think, in hearing them, that these fields" are white already to harvest," and that it is only necessary to come with sickles and baskets to cut down and gather an abundant crop.
"For my part, as an experienced veteran in this kind of sacred militia, engaged for a long period in the same kind of holy warfare, thoroughly acquainted with the character, the dispositions, and resources of the common foe, and with all the difficulties which are to be met with in the contest, I beg to be allowed to entertain the most serious doubts of the truth of those pompous and all-promising reports, until more unbiassed and more impartial evidence shall have removed my scepticism." P. 139.
When we perceived that both Mr. Hough and Mr. Townley had devoted separate chapters to the "Success of the Protestant Missions," we anticipated a triumphant reply to these serious imputations. The following are the most distinct answers we can find:
"But while I thus explain the means which Protestant missionaries employ for the conversion of the natives of Hindostan; and maintain, in opposition to the Abbé Dubois' assertion to the contrary, that they are more likely to accomplish that end than any which the Jesuits have used; I nevertheless beg to state, that, without God's blessing, they do not depend upon any means for success. Fully do I concur in opinion with him, as he restates his position, that, under existing circumstances, there is no human possibility of converting the Hindoos:' (p. 2.) I know the difficulties; have grappled with them as well as he; and again and again have been compelled to stand still. But, praised be God! this has not always been the case; and one instance of success has appeared to me an ample remuneration for the labour expended upon twenty failures. P. 183.
"Here I might speak of a catechist of high caste, who, by eating and drinking in my presence what was handed to him by a pariah servant, gave incontestable proof of his having renounced caste, and all Pagan distinctions, for the sake of Christ. After this, he continued in my service several months; and I had every reason to be satisfied of his sincerity, and to be thankful to God for the success that attended his labours. I might dwell also with satisfaction upon the character of another catechist, whom I employed about four years in a confidential situation. The humility, piety, zeal, and integrity of this man were as evident fruits of the Spirit as I ever remember to have witnessed. To these I might add several private Christians among the Tinnevelly Protestants, who, I had every reason to believe, were sincere converts: also several priests, catechists, and laymen at Madras, Vepery, Tanjore, Tranquebar, and in North India. But my object is, not so much to count the number of converts upon whose sincerity we may rely, as to shew, from my own experience, that the work of conversion is actually begun in India. One instance is sufficient to establish my point, and overturn the whole of the Abbê Dubois' reasoning and conclusions. I have given three cases, at least, of native converts, who have come under my personal observation, and of whose "real" conversion I can speak with some confidence." P. 209.
"But to proceed with the main subject of the chapter. When I left Bengal in the month of November, 1822, there was one Hindoo, concerning whom the missionaries in Calcutta had hopes; that he was really, from upright motives, seeking admission into the Christian church; these hopes have been subsequently strengthened, and he has been actually baptized. Herein there has been a similarity between the first fruit of missionary exertions reaped by the London Society, and that gathered by the Baptist missionaries. The first Hindoo convert, effected by the instrumentality of the missionaries of the Baptist denomination, was won to the cross of Christ after their society had commenced its operations in India about seven years: the London Society in Calcutta have obtained their first convert after about the same lapse of time.
"It may be added, that the Church Society reaped their first fruits at Burdwan also, after having the faith and patience of their missionaries put to the test during a period of about the same; duration." P. 109.
From the caution which they have observed in the works before us, not less than from their general character, these gentlemen are clearly incapable of asserting what they do not suppose to be true. We have no doubt that they believe the reality of the conversion which they report, and we, see no reason to differ from them on the subject; but can they possibly imagine that these timid assertions will suffice to rescue "the pompous and all-promising reports of their societies" from the just indignation of the Abbé? Is there not a remarkable difference between the statements of these: individual gentlemen, for which they pledge their own word, and the emblazoned panegyrics of official reports" (as Dr. Henderson calls them) for which no individual is answerable. The reader will not be able to discover a satisfactory answer to these questions in any of the works under review. The charge is, that the general tenor of the reports, the speeches of certain itinerant orators, and the common language of their party, exaggerate the success of the missionaries. Mr. Hough and Mr. Townley reply, that to the best of their belief, ten or twelve real conversions have taken place. Is this the language of Mr. Townley in the sermons which he delights to preach in all the market towns in the kingdom? Is this the language of Mr. Parson, who has harangued so many church missionary meetings in the course of the last summer, and informed them, we presume, of the respect with which he treated Bishop Middleton, and of the reception which he gave to Bishop Heber? We can only say, that if they are, if these gentlemen have used the moderate and qualified language which distinguishes the answerers of Dubois, their hearers must be deaf or stupid;