[blocks in formation]

notion of happiness, some theory of the Universe, in place of it. Those who feel that they are under the deepest obligation to Mr. Carlyle for the power with which he has brought the truth of this principle to their minds, for the proofs which he has given that, as much in the seventeenth century as in the seventh, it could break down whatever did not pay it homage, cannot be persuaded to look upon any phrases of his which appear to convey an opposite impression, however much they may be quoted, however partial he may seem to them himself, as the most genuine expressions of his mind. They rather recognize in these phrases an attempt, confessedly unsuccessful, to bridge over the chasm which separates, as Mr. Carlyle thinks, the ages in which this faith could be acted out from our own in which it has become only a name. That no phrases or formulas, from whatever period or country they may be borrowed, can accomplish this object, Mr. Carlyle is a sufficient witness; that it must be accomplished in some way, his lamentations over the present state of the world abundantly prove. Those who think that it is the first duty of an author to provide them with sunshine, find these lamentations intolerable; there are some who seem to be pleased with them as they might be b


with any unusually strong exhibition of passion upon the stage. There are others who hear in his wailings the echoes of their own saddest convictions, but who for that reason cannot be content to spend their time merely in listening to them or repeating them. One who desires to lead an honest life, and learns that men in former days were honest, because they believed in a Personal Being, who is, and was, and is to come, must ask himself whether such a belief has become impossible for him. And if we are assured by Mr. Carlyle that under the conditions of Mahometanism or even of Christian Puritanism it is now impossible, then we must again ask, Why so? Is it because the truth which made these faiths so energetic is not what it was, or is it because it dwelt in them apart from other truths, without which in our days, it can scarcely even exist, much less live? These questions may never present themselves to a dilettante admirer of Mr. Carlyle ; those whom his writings have really moved, and who regard him with hearty, though perhaps silent, gratitude and affection, are, I know, haunted by them continually. If these Lectures should lead any one such questioner even to hope for an answer, they will do the work for which I especially designed them.

[blocks in formation]


In illustration of the remark that the Mahometan conquerors were not merely Scourges of God,' however they may have deserved that title, I would suggest to the reader a comparison of their wars with those of Zinghis Khan. May I advise him also to read with some attention the passage in Gibbon (Chap. LXIV. Vol. xi. pp. 391, 392, 8vo. Ed.) on the philosophical religion of that Mogul whom Frederic II., the accomplished Suabian, the enemy of Popes, the suspected infidel, denounced as the common foe of mankind, against whom he invoked a crusade of all princes? Gibbon's panegyric, illustrated as it is by his faithful narrative of the proceedings of Zinghis Khan and his successors in Persia, Russia, Hungary, &c., of their incapacity to preserve a record of their own acts, and of their ultimate conversion by the bigotted Mussulman, is full of the deepest instruction.

In connexion with the remarks upon the constitution of Mahometan Society as exhibited in the Ottoman Empire, I would recommend the study of Ranke's excellent Essay upon that subject in his Fürsten und Volken.

The second Lecture is a collection of hints, which may not, I hope, be quite useless to some whose personal observations of India, or whose

knowledge of its languages may enable them to detect my mistakes, and if they please, to laugh at my ignorance. The scholars of British India and the intelligent natives have good right to despise any one who sets up his own notions in opposition to their testimonies, and who makes these notions an excuse for severe reflections upon a state of society with which he is unacquainted. They may possibly be tolerant of one who by comparing their testimonies, so far as he has been able to gather them, has corrected many crude notions which he had previously entertained, and who desires nothing more than that any sentiments of disgust and contempt which Englishmen in India may conceive for the notions and prac tices which they witness, should rather be counteracted than strengthened by their English education. Professor H. Wilson has undertaken an edition of Mr. Mill's History of British India, in the hope, as he intimates in his preface, of correcting, by the evidence of facts, the harsh judgments of the Hindoos, into which the historian, was led by theory. To the civil and military servants of the Company such a work may be as useful as the design of it is benevolent. But the missionary, though it is to be hoped he will not neglect to profit either by

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

Mr. Mill's labours, or by the experience and oriental wisdom with which Professor Wilson has enriched them, is open to another kind of temptation, which the one will not much increase, nor the other enable him to resist. The actual sight of a country wholly given to idolatry, must be far more startling and appalling to him than any pictures he can have formed of it previously. Not to weaken these impressions, but to prevent them from overwhelming him, and so destroying that sympathy with the victims of idolatry, which is the most necessary qualification for his task, should be the great object of his home instructors. For this end, I think, we should aim, not merely at cultivating Christian love and pity in his heart these will scarcely be kept alive, if there be not also an intellectual discipline, (I call it intellectual, yet it is in the very highest sense a moral discipline,) to shew him what the thoughts and feelings of which Hindooism is the expression, have to do with himself, how they are interpreted by the experience of individuals and the history of the world. I look earnestly to St. Augustine's College, in the hope that it may fulfil both these tasks. Should it do so, it will be indeed worthy of its name; it may be the instrument of restoring faith to England as well as of imparting

« ForrigeFortsett »