Imágenes de páginas

your labours must often be bestowed, for they are an inte gral and essential part of that European and military population for whose immediate benefit you are sent out hither. And, when the many other ways are called to mind, in which a knowledge of the native languages will enable you to forward the cause of Christ; by superintending rsions of the Scriptures and the Common Prayer, by tracts, by schools, and by similar gradual and peaceful methods of acquiring influence over the Indian mind, and diffusing through the warm and ripening mass an unseen leaven of godliness, it will appear that this method of employing a clergyman's few leisure hours, is one of the most effectual means by which those hours may be made a source of blessing,

Thus far, my reverend brethren, I have addressed myself to those of your number who may be regarded in a peculiar degree as the parochial and beneficed clergy of British India : but there are others not comprehended under this description, and it is with no common thankfulness to God, that I see the episcopal chair of Calcutta now first surrounded by those who are missionaries' themselves, as well as by those who are engaged in the important office of educating youth for the future service of missions.

To the importance of that service no Christian can be insensible : and I regard it as one among the most favourable signs of the present times, that, while Providence has, in a manner visible and almost miraculous, prepared a highway in the wilderness of the world for the progress of His truth, and made the ambition, the commerce, the curiosity, and the enterprise of mankind, His implements in opening a more effectual door to His Gospel, the call thus given has been answered by a display of zeal unexampled at any time since the period of the reformation; and America and England have united with Denmark and Germany to send forth a host of valiant and victorious confessors, to bear the banner of the Cross through those regions where darkness and death have hitherto spread their broadest shadows.

Nor can it be a matter of reasonable surprise to any of us, that the exertions of this kind, which the last fifteen years have witnessed, should have excited a mingled feel.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

ing of surprise and displeasure in the minds, not only of those who are strangers to the powerful and peculiar emotions which send forth the missionary to his toil, but of those who, though themselves not idle, could not endure that God should employ other instruments besides; and were ready to speak evil of the work itself, rather than that others who followed not with them should cast out devils in the name of their common Master. To the former of these classes may be referred the loud opposition, the clamours, the expostulation, the alarm, the menace, and ridicule 'which, some few years ago, were systematically and simultaneously levelled at whatever was accomplished or attempted for the illumination of our Indian fellow subjects. We can well remember, most of us, what revolutions and wars were predicted to arise from the most peaceable preaching and argument; what taunts and mockery were directed against scholars who had opened to us the gates of the least accessible oriental dialects; what opprobrious epithets were lavished on men of whom the world was not worthy. We have heard the threats of the mighty; we have heard the hisses of the fool; we have witnessed the terrors of the worldly wise, and the unkind suspicions of those from whom the missionary had most reason to expect encouragement. Those days are, for the present, gone by. Through the Christian prudence, the Christian meekness, the Christian perseverance, and indomitable faith of the friends of our good cause, and through the protection, above all, and the blessing of the Almighty, they are gone by! The angel of the Lord, has for a time, shut the mouths of these fiercer lions, and it is the false brother now, the pretended fellow-soldier in Christ who has lift up his heel against the propagation of the Christian Gospel.

But thus it is that the power of Anti-Christ hath worked hitherto and doth work. Like those spectre forms which the madness of Orestes saw in classical mythology, the spirit of religious party sweeps before us in the garb and with the attributes of pure and evangelical religion. The Cross is on her shoulders, the chalice in her hand, and she is anxiously busied, after her manner, in the service of Him

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

by whose holy name she also is called. But outstrip her in the race, but press her a little too closely, and she turns round on us with all the hideous features of envy and of rage. Her hallowed taper blazes into a sulphurous torch, her hairs bristle into serpents, her face is as the face of them that go down to the pit, and her words are words of blasphemy!

What other spirit could have induced a Christian minister, after himself, as he tells us, long labouring to convert the heathen, to assert that one hundred millions of human beings, a great, a civilized, an understanding and most ancient people, are collectively and individually under the sentence of reprobation from God, and under a moral incapacity of receiving that Gospel, which the God who gave it hath appointed to be made known to all ?

What other spirit could have prompted a member of that Church which professes to hold out the greatest comfort to sinners, to assert of a nation with whom, whatever are their faults, 1, for one, should think it impossible to live long without loving them, that they are not only enslaved to a cruel and degrading superstition, but that the principal persons among them are sold to all manner of wickedness and cruelty; without mercy to the poor; without natural affection for each other; and this with no view to quicken the zeal of Christians to release them from their miserable condition, but that Christians may leave them in that condition still, to the end that they may perish everlastingly.

What other spirit, finally, could have led a Christian missionary, (with a remarkable disregard of truth, the proofs of which are in my hands;) to disparage the success of the different Protestant missions; to detract from the numbers, and vilify the good name of that ancient Syrian Church, whose flame, like the more sacred fire of Horeb, sheds its lonely and awful brightness over the woods and mountains of Malabar, and to assure us, (hear Oh Israel!) in the same treatise, and almost in the same page, that the Christians of India are the most despised and wretched of its inhabitants ; that whoever takes up


cross, the hatred of his own people, the contempt of Europeans, loss of goods, loss of employment, destitution, and often

takes up

strip 2


[ocr errors]

der 1 orali

of the font Tard

o live

she tur beggary; and yet that it is interest, alone, and a love of y and this world, which has induced in any Hindu, even a temis torci porary profession of the Gospel ? e face

And this is the professed apologist of the people of Words India! My brethren, I have known the sharpness of cen

* sure, and I am not altogether without experience in the A mit suffering of undeserved and injurious imputations. And, con let the righteous smite me friendly, I shall receive it (I

trust in God) with gratitude. Let my enemy write a book, so he be my open enemy, I trust (through the same Divine aid) to bear it or to answer it. But whatever reproofs I may deserve, to whatever calumnies I may be subjected, may

the mercy of Heaven defend me from having a false friend for


vindicator! My own experience in India is, I own, as yet but little ; but the conclusions which I have been led to form are of an extremely different character. I have found, or seem

ed to myself to find, a race of men, like other men who slare

are not partakers in the regenerating principle of the Gos-сірі pel, very far gone, indeed, from God and His original anes' righteousness; but exempt perhaps, by the fortunate cir

cumstances of their climate and habits, from some of those more outrageous and appalling vices of which so dreadful a picture is drawn in those nations to whom the apostles preached Christ crucified.

I have found a race of gentle and temperate habits ; with a natural talent and acuteness beyond the ordinary level of mankind, and with a thirst for general knowledge which even the renowned and inquisitive Athenians can hardly have surpassed or equalled. Prejudiced, indeed, they are, in favour of their ancient superstitions; nor should I think, to say the truth, more favourably of the character, or augur more happily of the eventual conver

sion and perseverance of any man or set of men, whom a che

light consideration could stir from their paternal creed, or who received the word of truth without cautious and patient inquiry. But I am

But I am yet to learn, that the idolatry which surrounds us is more enthralling in its influence on the human mind than those beautiful phantoms and honied sorceries which lurked beneath the laurels of Delos and

tura cher

[ocr errors]



. stias

the ces

the jan eb, and 19


[ocr errors]

Daphne, and floated on the clouds of Olympus. I am not yet convinced, that the miserable bondage of castes, and the consequences of breaking that bondage, are more grievous to be endured by the modern Indian than those ghastly and countless shapes of death which beset the path of the Roman convert. And who shall make me believe, that the same word of the Most High, which consigned to the moles and the bats the idols of Chaldee and Babylon, and dragged down the lying father of gods and men from his own Capitol, and the battlements of his “ Eternal City," must yet arrest its victorious wheels on the banks of the Indus or the Ganges, and admit the trident of Siva to share, with the Cross, a divided empire ?

That the missionary to whose work I have referred, may have been, himself, unsuccessful in his labours, I certainly am not called on to deny or question. That those labours were honest and diligent I am extremely ready to believe, both from the acknowledged blamelessness of his life, from the time which he spent in the work, and the reputation which he enjoyed in Southern India. But the unsuccessful labours of one man, however diligent and able, are no argument against the hope that God, who alone giveth the increase, may bestow more abundant blessing on other husbandmen.

And when we recollect that, by the rules of his sect, the author of whom I speak was precluded from the free dispersion, among his hearers and his flock, of those sacred writings to which the first preachers of Christianity appeal on all occasions, or which those preachers themselves left behind for the conversion and confirmation of after-ages ; when we recollect, that no translation of, I will not say the Bible, but of any single Gospel or Epistle, was entrusted, for all that appears, by this missionary to his Indian converts ;-it may occasion the less wonder that they were but lightly affected with a faith whose authentic documents were withheld from them. And since, on his own showing, it was his object, and that of his brethren, to allure the Hindu from his ancient creed, by a display of those gaudy vanities in which the Romish sect most nearly approaches to the religion of Brahma, what

« AnteriorContinuar »