[Sidenote: Christ reverenced; Christians disliked.]
In the first part of the nineteenth century, along with the great development of modern missions, and of modern education, we may say that Christ came again to India. The national and anti-British feeling had not then arisen to interpose in His path, but, coming as an alien, His name evoked great hostility. The popular mood was Christianos ad leones, as many incidents and witnesses testify. Now, in spite of the old anti-foreign hostility and the new currents of feeling, a remarkable attitude to Christianity—far short of conversion, no doubt—is almost everywhere manifest. There is a profound homage to its Founder, coupled with that strong resentment towards His Indian disciples. Christ Himself is acknowledged; His church is still foreign and British. Resentfully ruled by a Christian nation, but subdued by Christ Himself, is the state of educated India to-day. In spite of His alien birth and in spite of anti-British bias, Christ has passed within the pale of Indian recognition. Indian eyes, focused at last, are fastened upon Him, and men wonder at His gracious words. Again I direct attention to a significant event in Indian history—the incoming of an influence that will not stale, as mere ideas may. “Is there a single soul in this audience,” said the Brahmo leader, the late Keshub Chunder Sen, to the educated Indians of Calcutta, mostly Hindus, “who would scruple to ascribe extraordinary greatness and supernatural moral heroism to Jesus Christ and Him crucified?”
“That incarnation of the Divine Love, the lowly Son of man,” writes another, even while he is rejoicing over the revival of Hinduism.
JESUS CHRIST THE LODESTONE
“And I, if I be lifted
up from the earth, will draw all men
—ST. JOHN’S GOSPEL, xii. 32.
[Sidenote: Instances of Indian homage to Christ, and dislike of His Church.]
Interesting phases of that divided mind—homage to Christ, resentment towards His disciples—may be found on opposite sides of the great continent of India. In Bengal, a not-infrequent standpoint of Br[=a]hmas in reference to Christ is that they are the true exponents of Christ’s spirit and His teaching. Western Christian teachers, they say, are hidebound by tradition; and the ready-made rigidity of the creeds of the Churches is no doubt a factor in the state of mind we are describing. Looking back as far as to 1820, we see in The Precepts of Jesus, published by the founder of the Br[=a]hma Sam[=a]j, that standpoint of homage to Christ and dissent from accepted views regarding Him. Illustrative of that Br[=a]hma standpoint, we have also the more recent book, The Oriental Christ, by the late