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religious rites. In these practices I view with sorrow the moral debasement of a race capable of better things, whose susceptibility, patience, and mildness of character, render them worthy of a happier destiny. Under these impressions, I am impelled to lay before them genuine translations of portions of their own Scriptures, which inculcate not only the enlightened worship of One God, but the purest principles of morality. It seems to me that I cannot better employ my time than in an endeavour to illustrate and maintain truth, and render service to my fellow-creatures; confiding in the mercy of that Being to whom the motives of our actions and the secrets of our hearts are well known."
This attempt to restore the primitive simplicity of the Hindoo religion made Rammohun Roy as unpopular as if he had sought to introduce an entirely new system. But still following the great impulses of his liberal soul, wishing to see all mankind acknowledge themselves children of One Father, he translated an abridgment of the Vedanta into English; in order, as he says in the Preface, to prove to his European friends that the superstitious practioes which deform the Hindoo religion have nothing to do with the pure spirit of its dictates." He says: “By taking the path which conscience and sincerity direct, I, born a Bramin, have exposed myself to the complaints and reproaches even of some of my relations, whose prejudices are strong, and whose temporal advantages depend upon the present system of idolatry. But these, however accumulated, I can tranquilly bear; trusting that a day will arrive when my humble endeavours will be viewed with justice, perhaps acknowledged with gratitude."
He studied the Christian Scriptures with profound attention, and held their maxims in great veneration. But the mischiefs he had seen result from a plurality of gods, led him to reject the doctrine of the Trinity, which he saw would inevitably degenerate into a new form of Polytheism, if received into minds trained like the Hindoos Bat be believed that Christ was preexistent, and of a nature superior to angels, which is extremely analogous to ideas entertained by various Hindoo sects concerning their own saints. He translated into Sanscrit and Bengalee the parables and moral teachings of Christ, entitled “The Precepts of Jesus, the Guide to Peace and Happiness." He omitted the miracles and doctrinal portions of the Gospels. In the Introduction he says: “Belief in a Supreme Superintending Power, the author and preserver of this harmonious system, prevails generally ; being derived either from tradition and instruction, or from an attentive survey of the wonderful skill and contrivance displayed in the works of nature. A due estimation of that law which teaches man to do unto others as he would be done by, is also partially taught .in every system of religion with which I am acquainted; but it is principally inculcated by Christianity. This essential characteristic of the Christian religion I was for a long time unable to distinguish as such, amid the various doctrines I found insisted on in the writings and conversation of Christians. I feel persuaded that the moral precepts of the New Testament, separated from other matters contained in that book, will be more likely to improve the hearts and minds of men of different persuasions and degrees of understanding. The historical, and some other portions, are liable to the doubts and disputes of free-thinkers and anti-Christians; especially the miraculous relations, which are much less wonderful than the fabricated tales handed down to the natives of Asia, and consequently apt at best to carry little weight with them. The Hindoos have records of wonderful iniracles performed by their saints and incarnated gods, in the presence of cotemporary friends and enemies, the wise and the ignorant, the select and the multitude. The orthodox sects can even support them with authorities from their inveterate enemies, the Jains, who acknowledge entirely the truth of these miracles, and only differ in maintaining that the power to perform them was derived from Evil Spirits, while the orthodox believe it was given by the Supreme Deity. But moral doctrines, tending evidently to the peace and harmony of mankind at large, are beyond
the reach of metaphysical perversion, and intelligible alike to learned and unlearned. This simple code of religion and morality is so well fitted to regulate the conduct of the human race, in the discharge of their various duties to God and society; it is so admirably calculated to elevate their minds to high and liberal ideas of One God, who has equally subjected all living creatures to disappointment, pain, and death, without distinction of caste, rank, or wealth, and equally admitted all as partakers of the bountiful mercies he has lavished over nature, that I cannot but hope the best effects from its promulgation in the present form."
Doubtless seed scattered from such friendly motives will produce good fruit in the great harvest-field of the future. But during the life-time of Rammohun Roy his suppression of the miracles, and the reasons assigned for it, involved him in protracted controversies with Christian missionaries, and occasioned, as he says, “much coolness toward him in the demeanour of some whose friendship he held very dear.” At the same time, his high estimate of the Christian religion rendered him an object of persecution to his own countrymen. They instituted legal proceedings to deprive him of caste; but he was enabled to defeat them by his profound knowledge of Hindoo law.
In 1833 he was induced to visit England; and on that distant shore his great soul departed from its earthly habitation. When he found himself dangerously ill, he deemed it prudent to guard against further attacks on his property and the caste of his children. He therefore called his Hindoo servant and charged him to observe well all his words and actions, that on his return to India he might testify he had never changed his religion or forfeited his caste. For the same reasons, he expressed a wish not to be buried in a Christian cemetery. His remains were accordingly placed in a grove belonging to the house where he died.
The followers of the Braminical religion are computed at over one hundred and fifty millions.
88 to own countrendered time, h
"The faculty of reverence is inherent in all men, and its natural exer cise is always to be sympathized with, irrespective of its objects. I did not wait till I went to Egypt, to become aware that every permanent reverential observance has some great idea at the bottom of it; and that it is our business not to deride, or be shocked at the method of manifestation, but to endeavour to apprehend the idea concerned."-H. MARTINEAU.
HISTORY and poetry have preserved traditions of an extraordinary race of men, called Ethiopians. The name is from Greek words signifying burnt faces; and the ancients appear to have applied it to people browned by the sun, whether their complexions were black, or merely dark. According to a map made to represent the ideas of Herodotus concerning the world, as expressed in his History, about four hundred years before our era, there were two nations of Ethiopians; one in Asia, on the banks of the Indus, another in the northern portion of Africa. There is evidence that these people were powerful and illustrious, as far back as the Trojan war, about one thousand one hundred and eighty-four years before our era. Memnon then reigned over them, and it is recorded that he assisted Priam, king of Troy, against the invasion of the Greeks. Homer calls them “the blameless men;" and relates that Jupiter, at certain seasons of the year, left Olympus and went to spend twelve days in that pious and hospitable region. Egyptian annals are full of allusions to them. Persia, and other old Asiatic nations, mingle Ethiopian legends with songs composed in honour of their own heroes. Herodotus says they worshipped the gods with extremnest veneration. The ancient historian, Diodorus Siculus, declares that they were the religious parents
of the Egyptians, the inventors of pompe, sacrifices, and solemn assemblies. The Hebrew poets generally mention Ethiopia in connection with Egypt. Isaiah speaks of the labour of Egypt, and the merchandise of Ethiopia." Jeremiah describes "the mighty men, Ethiopians and Libyans, that handle the shield,” as coming forth with the Egyptians to battle. Ezekiel says: “Great pain shall be in Ethiopia, when the slain shall fall in Egypt.” It is recorded that Meroë was the capital of the ancient Ethiopia in Africa. Current tradition declared that Thoth, whom Greeks called Hermes, founded this state, more than five thousand two hundred years ago; and the date is said to be authenticated by a very old astronomical observation. Traditions handed down by the Egyptian priesthood agreed that in Meroë was laid the foundation of the most ancient states of Egypt. Thebes, the first civilized state of Egypt, is believed to have been founded by a colony from thence. The obscurity which rests on this part of history has been somewhat enlightened within the last century, by the discovery of the site of ancient Meroë, in the country now called Sennaar, and comprised within African Ethiopia on the map marked according to Herodotus. Many small pyramids were found there, which, from their number, are supposed to indicate a burial-place. They are constructed like the Hindoo pyramids, fronting the east, and the four sides facing the four cardinal points. They have external marks of greater age than the huge pyramids at Memphis. Herodotus says: “The only gods worshipped in Meroë are Ammon and Osiris. They have also an oracle of Ammon, and undertake their expeditions when and how the god commands." The temple where these oracles were delivered is recorded to have been in the desert, at a little distance from the city. Modern travellers have discovered the ruins of a temple in the desert, near the collection of small pyramids. Rams' horns are sculptured in many places on the stones; and the ram is well known to have been an emblem sacred to Ammon, and the distinguishing mark of his temples. In the inmost sanctuary of these