Imágenes de páginas

One monument, however, he has left behind of the zeal which prompted, the wisdom which planned, and the liberality which largely contributed to it, which must long preserve his name in the grateful recollection of the Indian Church, and which bids fair, under the Divine protection, to become eventually a greater blessing to these extensive lands, than any which they have received from their foreign lords, since the gate was first opened by the Portuguese to the commerce and conquest of Asia.

I mean the excellent institution of Bishop's College, which, notwitstanding every disadvantage arising from scanty funds, from unfinished buildings, and the premature and irreparable loss of him whose talents were, of all men's, best adapted to contend with the difficulties which beset his infant establishment, is already, I rejoice to say, made available as a place of education, and already confirms the hopes with which its projector delighted to contemplate it, as the probable future source of sacred learning and religious instruction to the Christian youth, whether of European or native blood, through the whole of this vast empire, and as the instrument, in God's good time, of making plain His way through the wilderness of the heathen world, and giving light to the most remote, the most obscured, and the most hopeless of the nations who sit in darkness.

But to the claims of Bishop's College on the assistance, the liberality, and the prayers, of all who love our English Church, or desire that it may be made an instrument of enlarging the general Church of Christ among mankind; to all which it now does, and the much more which with due support it may accomplish; and to the meritorious labours, I will add, of him who now single-handed supports the whole burden of the establishment, it is my hope, on some future day, more specifically to call your attention.

In the present instance, that attention, I am aware, must be exhausted, from the length of this morning's solemnity,* and I feel myself less able to do justice to a

• The visitation at Calcutta, to which alone these two para. graphs relate, was lengthened by the addition of an ordination

subject of such importance, while I am suffering under the recent loss* of a distinguished and excellent friend; from whose eminent talents, from whose amiable temper, from whose high religious principles, and his repeatedly expressed intention of devoting his ample means and powerful mind to the service of that God from whom he had received them, I had anticipated the most important aids in securing the prosperity of the Indian Church, and furthering the triumphant progress of that Gospel in which his hope and heart were laid up, and in which, while he yet lived, his life was hidden.

A few days only are gone by, since, with animation on his benevolent countenance, he expressed to me his gratitude to the Most High for the many blessings which he had received, and his desire to dedicate to God, through Jesus Christ, an increased proportion of his time, his means, and his influence. A few hours only are past since those good resolutions are gone thither, where they are treasured by a gracious Master whom he had served from his youth, and when his noon of life had scarcely begun to decline, saw fit to call him to his repose and his reward. In him India—in him the Anglo-Indian Churchin him the cause of missions here and throughout the world-in him the poor of every caste and country have lost a fearless, a kind, a bountiful, and unpretending friend; but he will not have died in vain if the consideration of his sudden mortality induces us to ponder the worth of this world in regions where, more remarkably than on any other part of its surface, the present moment is all that we can count on, where the sublimest and most awful phenomena of nature remind us every instant of our uncertain tenure, and the still breath of pestilence, and the

service, that of the native catechist of Schwartz, Christian David, of Tanjore, who is alluded to in the earlier part of the charge.CALCUTTA EDITOR.

• The friend whose sudden loss is thus feelingly alluded to by the Bishop, is the Honourable Sir Christopher Puller, Chief Jus. tice of Bengal, who had but recently arrived in the country, and died, after a short illness, May 25, 1824, but a few hours before the delivery of this charge in Calcutta - Calcutta EDITOR.

louder warnings of thunder, adjure us to apply our hearts to wisdom.

Finally, brethren, farewell! Be patient and watch unto prayer; for your flocks and for yourselves, that ye may be diligent in the discharge of your stewardships, for behold He cometh quickly, and blessed is that servant whom his Lord, when He cometh, shall find so doirg!

And “Oh, Almighty God! who hast built Thy Church on the foundation of the Apostles and the Prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner-stone, grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their doctrine, that we may be made an holy temple acceptable unto Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

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

[Preached at the Cathedral, Calcutta, Dec. 21, 1823.]

Sr. John i. 20.
He confessed and denied not, but confessed I am not the


ABOUT the middle of the long reign of the Roman Emperor Tiberius, when all mankind were in hushed and anxious expectation of that Great Deliverer whom both Jewish and Pagan prephecies had foretold as about this time to make his appearance upon earth; a new and mighty teacher of morality appeared in the wilderness of Judæa. His dress, his voice, his aspect, were the image of austere holiness, and of the then almost forgotten severities of the ancient prophets and penitents. His hair and beard, unshorn, after the pattern of the Nazarites, hung wildly over his breast and shoulders; his half-naked body was macerated with frequent fasting; his raiment was the coarse hair cloth which covered the Arab's tent; his food, the insects of the air and of the field; and his luxury, the honey left by wild bees in the sun-burnt rocks of Arabia Petræa.

He was recognised as John, the son of a Jewish priest, whose birth had, some thirty years before, been announced by repeated miracles; foretold by an angel, preceded by a miraculous dumbness and followed by a miraculous cure; whoše boyhood and youth had, from the first, been strange and solitary, and who had fled from the amusements natural to his age, and the pursuits appropriate to his station, to the dismal and dangerous retreat of the waste and howling wilderness: till now, in the full vigour of his mind, and sublimed and purified by a life of meditation, he took his station at the ford of Bethabara, and, in words full of power and dignity, called on his countrymen to escape

from the wrath to come. The ford of Bethabara, which he selected for this first appearance, was a place of all others best calculated for the double purpose of a popular teacher and a severe and habitual ascetic. Only six miles from Jericho, and in the high road from Jerusalem and the sea coast to the wealthy cities of Gadara and Aræopolis, a celebrated prophet was, in such a situation, seldom likely to want an audience; while the waters of Jordan, its marshes, and the adjacent wilderness, not only suited his mission as a Baptist, but were favourable also to the austerities and occasional se. cessions from the world which became the character of one who mourned for the world's transgressions.

Nor was the ford of Bethabara recommended by such considerations only. With St. John and with the Jews it might, probably, weigh still more, that it was by this very passage, which was regarded as a figurative baptism, that their ancestors under Joshua, (himself, both in name and office, the type of a more illustrious Teacher,) had gone through the stream of Jordan, and, not without a miracle, had entered into their promised Canaan. And, as the scene of Elijah's occasional residence and miracles, as the visible instrument in the cleansing of Naaman, and as the favourite retreat, during the independence of the Israelitish state, of the most popular prophets and their scholars, there is reason to believe that both the river and the lake of Tiberias had acquired a sort of sacred character, and that the pilgrimages which Christians make thither are little more than the relics of a similar practice among the Jews.

The time, moreover, of St. John's appearance was no less favourable to his renown than the station which he had chosen. I have said that all mankind, and not the Jews alone, were at this period in still and anxious expectation

« AnteriorContinuar »