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MISSION CHAPEL AT BOMBAY.
To the Editor of the Panoplist. SIR, I consider it as deserving very serious regret, that the contributions for erecting a Mission Chapel at Bombay have been so very insufficient; and that, for so long a period, that station has been destitute of a place devoted to religious instruction, and the public worsbip of God. I am sure, that if wealthy Christians among us were sufficiently aware of the immense importance of such a place, to the progress of Christianity there, the means for preparing it could not long be wanting; and I am as confident, that if only a considerable part of these means were sent from this country, there are many liberal individuals at Bombay, who would cheerfully mako such contributions, as would supply the deficiency of our liberality.
I am fully persuaded, however numerous may be the able missionaries and the well conducted schools, and however widely circulated may be religious tracts and Bibles, that the Mission at Bombay is exceedingly deficient in its means of propagating and establishing the Gospel, so long as it has no place for public instruction and public Worship.
If it were for nothing else, such a building would be necessary, in a large coinmercial city like Bombay, as a significant mark, which should make known to the city at large, and to the immense number of comers and goers, that there does exist an establishment for the propagation of Christianity;-as a standard erected for the Lord Jesus, visible from all quarters, exciting inquiry in all who see it, and 80 generally known, that the least informed inquirer may readily arrive at the source of the information which he needs.
There is another incidental advantage, worthy of serious consid. eration. There will be, in the eyes of the natives, (who despise no religion, but consider each as suitable and right for those who profess it,) a sacredness, attached to a place devoted to the worship of the Supreme God; which will promote a useful reverence for the missionaries themselves: and it will be difficult to impress them with the truth, that the objects of missionaries are solely religious, in any other way. Under every form of religion, right or wrong, there have always been buildings separated for religious purposes; and there is no way, in which religious instructors can so readily render their designs visible, and their persons revered, as by their ministerial connexion with a place of public worship.
But these reasons, though of very great importance, are quite inferior to another, on which rests the indispensable necessity of the provision in question. The missionaries are very faithful, according to their opportunities, in daily preaching to the natives; but one cannot fail to regret, that their instructions are too casual, and too scattered, to produce so deep and extensive an impression, as they otherwise might produce. In order to turn these casual and scattered instructions to good account, there is needed a place of known public resort, from which none could feel excluded, and to which all might be invited; to which those might go, whose curiosity had been awakened, or whose
consciences had been roused, or whose hearts had been softened, by the more casual instructions of the missionaries. In such a case, they would be brought under the means of grace, and, it might be hoped, would be led to repeat their visits, that they might hear more, and still more, of a doctrine, which presents, the more it is known, additional motives to curiosity, and stronger claims upon the feelings; until the blessing of the Spirit might fall upon them, causing them to renounce their idols, to worship the Supreme Gorl, and believe on his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Not that I would limit the power of that Spirit, or imagine that one incidental hearing of the word may not be made effectual to the salvation of the soul; but that I believe it more consistent with the usual mode of divine operations, to bestow the converting influence of the Spirit, when there has been given the opportunity for a full apprehension, in the understanding, of the preached word. So fully am I persuaded of this, as to believe, that, generally speaking, should the incidental labors of the missionaries, on any occasion, be blessed in awakening the attention of the hearers, the whole advantage might be lost, for want of a suitable place for repeating the impression.
I would not, however, confine the advantages in question to the case of those, who may bave become interested in the instructions of the missionaries. If a course of lectures were delivered on the historical parts of the Bible, combining with it all that can alarm the fears, and animate the hopes of sinful men, I shouid think it highly probable, that great numbers, quite indifferent to the true religion, would occasionally, and frequently, happen in, out of the general desire to hear something new, particularly from the lips of a Sakib. This is the more likely in a warm climate, like that of Bombay, where the whole business would be transacted with open doors, furnishing to all passengers an easy and unobserved ingress and egress.
The erection of a Mission chapel, besides furnishing the most important advantages to the heathen, would enable the missionaries to collect, (as the Baptist missionaries at Calcutta have done,) a regular congregation of half casts, who, besides receiving the blessing of stated religious instruction, would shortly furnish many useful assist. ants to the missionaries in every department of their work.
In a word, the missionaries must have a chapel, or they are but ill provided with the means of carrying on their work. They have been without one several years too long already; and I doubt not, muchi, very much, has been lost for the want of it. I do earnestly intreat all, who have it in their power, to contribute without delay to this great and good object. Let not the central mission of Bombay, the earliest American establishment among the heathen of the East, be any longer without a place devoted to the public service of God, and to the pub. lic instruction of the people. Let the contributions be made with the animating hope, that the walls, which they are designed to raise, will soon enclose attentive crowds of Hindoo hearers, and soon resound with the praises of the heathen to the Savior of the world.
SAMUEL NOTT, jun.
CXXXV. Elements of Geography Ancient and Modern. Wuh an Alias.
By J. E. WORCESTER. Boston: Timothy Swan. 1819. pp. 324.
In our country all literary employments are thrown into the sbade, by the inextinguishable passion for wealth. If any one bas a large
fortune, or the means of acquiring one, it is of small account in the ; general estimate of his character, whether any thing cise can be named in his favor. Of our growing population, the proportion of merchants and traders, exceeds, that found in any other nation; the thirst for rapid gains has explored every corner of the commercial world, and left few articles untouched from which the keen eye of speculation could hope to see a gainful exchange.
Among the articles of such a multifarious traffic, books might be expected to hold a place. Although they are not entirely forgotten, still, that portion of trade which consists in books alone, bas here ; some remarkable features, not seen, we believe, in any other coun
try. If some of the dealers in this article may find a profit in vending new editions of European works, they receive but a faint encour: agement by the demand for native productions. If any thing be written so as to find a market in our nation, it must be either a school book, a newspaper, or something which approaches as nearly to a newspaper as possible. Not that our citizens are really too poor to purchase almost any article they please; so far from this, it is perfectly well known, that all classes of people in the United States,consume a larger quantity, not only of the necessaries, but even of the luxuries of life, than the same classes respectively in any other country on the globe. Instead, therefore, of remaining ignorant through poverty, those composing the middle class, and even the poor, so called, are beyond comparison more able to purchase books, than the mass of any other nation. But notwithstanding the unexampled facilities for learning, we are not a reading people.
In connexion with this subject, there is one consideration which deserves attention. Thouglı we have a wonderful scarcity of thorough scholars, and the great majority of our population read very little, still, in the eastern states, schools are supported by the authority of Jaw. Of consequence, almost every borly learns to read in childhood. So long as early impressions on the mind arc lasting, and so long as the opinions and the conduct mutually influence each other. it remains a question of the ligbest interest, what shall children be taught at school? Where all are taught to read, the man who at his option places before them the stock of knowledge, which shall be obtained by a population of many millions, wields an engine of inconceivable power. The responsibility resting on the man, whose labors have a considerable share in shaping the minds of a numerous population, should never escape his recollection. Although his book, as in the present instance, be not designed to convey moral instruction, still, as atheists have shown themselves able to infuse the poison of infidelity into every department of their works, the friends of Christianity should make it appear, that their regard for its authority, and their adherence to the best interests of man, as an immortal being, are not thrust out of sight, while they call his attention to literature, or the physical sciences. So far as we have observed, there is no reason to charge the writer of the present volume with neglect in this particular. He has lately appeared before the public in two large works of a similar kind, which were reviewed in our pages.* These publications have been well received; at least, so far as the avaricious dispo. sition of the American people would allow them a circulation.
The plan of this little volume is generally well adapted to its object. In its execution, perspicuity is united with brevity. The descriptions are very short; but the learner is made acquainted with those peculiarities of a place, most necessary to be known. Were we required to name the single particular, in which Mr. W.'s book excels most others of the kind, we would specify this close condensation of materials, by which the most essential points of information are brought within a narrow compass.
lv beginning the description of a state or kingdom, the writer first gives a topographical table, showing, at one view, the name of each province, or county; its population, the number of towns such county contains, its chief towns, and the number of their inhabitants. These tables are of considerable use, in as much as they present at a glance, those specific articles of information, for which books of reference are consulted; and which, next to Jocal position, are most necessary to be committed to memory. Other tables show the length of rivers, the distance through which they are navigable, the elevation of the highest mountains, the comparison of agricultural productions in the several states of the union; the advance of spring in different places; the temperature of various situations, as indicated by the mean heat of several years.
In every part of the book the learner is expected to have his maps before him. Instead, therefore, of inserting in a long paragraph, the boundaries of a country, such description is entirely omitted in the volume; the scholar is thus compelled to examine his map, wbich, if correct, is a much better source of instruction than any verbal account. We have known persons who liad, as they termed it, "studied ; Geography” a long time, without being much the wiser for their rcading; from the impinense number of pages which had often passed under their eyes, they appeared to have collected very few ideas: and among those articles of which they knew any thing, the most important points had escaped them.
About 50 pages of this volume are devoted to Ancient Geography. Considering its interest in the mind of a classical student, this is a sinaller space than we could hare wislied to see filled with the subject; but it must be recollected, that the circumscribed limits, within which the author confined himself, allowed no great room for minuteness in this division of his work. At the close of this part of the book, are very useful tables. exhibiting in columns, 1. the ancient names of cities, torons, rivers, islands. mountains. &c. with their pronunciation,-9. the country or province in which they were situated, -and 3. the miod.
* See Pan. vol. xiv, p. 11 and rol. xv. P. 69.
ern name. Such assistance is the more acceptable to the young learner in the science, as the change of names so often met is sufficiently perplexing. It is also convenient to any readers, who have not at command both the ancient and the modern name, or any delineation of the face of a country.
The questions intended as exercises for the pupil while consulting his maps, are in form similar to those in other books of the kind. They may be well enough, but we do not consider them a necessary appendage. If an instructor understands his business, he would be able to propose all the queries of this nature, without referring to the book of his pupil. The directions for solving the problems on the celestial and terrestrial globes, for constructing maps, &c. are easy, and concise, as they should be.
To give any further opinion of this book, after what we have said, is unnecessary. The author bas our best wishes for the extensive circulation of this and his former works, with the hope that in all future editions, he will continue, as bitherto, to deserve encourage. ment of his countrymen, and the approbation of all who are, like him, engaged in promoting the knowledge, and increasing the literary reputation of our rising empire.
We invite the attention of our readers to a few remarks on the greatest question, wbich will probably come before the assembled council of our nation during the present century. The declaration of war, tremendous as that evil is to immense multitudes, and disastrous as its consequences are to the community at large, is yet a very limited and temporary calamity, if compared with any measure which tends to perpetuate slavery, ignorance, and vice, among a large class of our fellow creatures, and countless myriads of their descendants. That the permission of slavery in the new state of Missouri is such a measure, we do not assert, at the commencement of our observations. That this is believed to be its character by many judicious, dispassionate, candid men, wbo have no personal, private, or political interest in the question, is undeniable; and this is sufficient to warrant the discussion. Besides, the subject involves qnestions of national morality;-questions, on which our character as a just, magnanimous, humane, and Christian people, will much depend. On such questions it is the right and the duty of every man to express his tboughts boldly though temperately, and with none but kind feelings towards those, who soberly and conscientiously differ from him.
Let us here say, to those of our southern brethren, who may cast their eyes on these pages, that we would by no means countenance the babit of bringing local prejudices to bear upon discussions like the present. Much less would we tolerate reproachful language, as used against the southern states, on account of the were existence of slavery there. . On the contrary, the whole business ought to be conductod with an enlarged reference to the permanent good of the