India As A Field For Inquiry And Evangelical Labor -- By: H. R. Hoisington
BSac 9:34 (April 1852) p. 237
India As A Field For Inquiry And Evangelical Labor1
In addressing the Society of Inquiry in a Seminary whose sons, at the bidding of their Divine Master, have encircled the world, I need make no apology for calling your attention to India as a field for inquiry and evangelical labor.
The Hindûs, in some of their more important features, are yet to be known. The labors of missionaries and the researches of oriental scholars have, indeed, brought out a valuable collection of facts respecting that peculiar people. Still, those facts are but a part of the whole—in many cases, disjointed particulars, and mixed with many errors.
The system of Hindûism, like many of the temples of India, is of vast extent, and, in its exterior, highly imposing. It is often grotesque in its forms, and grossly absurd, or strangely enigmatical, in its developments. Its interpretation is to be sought within.
If we would know Hindûism, we must trace its historic lines, and study into its mystic science. We must apply to those works which are claimed to belong only to the initiated, to those who have been led into the light of their own divine wisdom. But those more scientific works are not yet available to the mere English student. Though somewhat familiar with the results of oriental researches,
BSac 9:34 (April 1852) p. 238
I could never get a satisfactory view of Hindûism until I was enabled to trace it in Hindû authors, and in their own language. Most of the reputed standard works on the Hindûs, in the English language, oftener lead to error, than to any just view of that people. Even the Purânas, in the best view that can be taken of them, present only the exterior of the system, its more modern and popular form. They leave us uninformed on those fundamental principles which are the life and strength of the whole.
All that I can attempt on the present occasion, will be to cast a hasty glance along the outlines of this interesting field of inquiry.
The origin of the Hindûs lies far within the misty regions of uncertainty. Yet we can catch some glimpses of it. The Hindûs were not the first inhabitants of India. Remnants of the aborigines of the country, are still to be traced in various tribes inhabiting the fastnesses of the hills and forests. They are known under different names. Their several dialects, in most cases allied to each other, have no affinity to the Sanskrit. Never incorporated with their victors, they have maintained their simplicity of manners, and a rude religious creed which bears no resemblance to Hindûism. As succ...
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