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The Hon. and Rev. GEORGE Neville GRENVILLE, M.A.
Master of MAGDALEN COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE, And a large assemblage of MEMBERS OF THE SOCIETY,
His GRACE THE PRESIDENT, in the Chair: The following VALEDICTORY ADDRESS to the Right Reverend Father in God REGINALD, Lord Bishop of Calcutta, previous to his departure for India, was delivered, on the behalf of the SOCIETY, by the Right Reverend Father in God John, Lord Bishop of Bristoi.
My LORD BISHOP OF CALCUTTA,
Your preparations for the arduous voyage which you are about to undertake, being now so far advanced towards their completion as to preclude the expectation that you will again, at least for a long series of years, be enabled to attend the meetings of this Society, it has been resolved and all must admit the propriety and expediency of the resolution, that a Valedictory Address should be delivered to your Lordship on the present occasion. The highly responsible and honourable situation, which you have been recently appointed to fill, is intimately connected with objects, to which the attention of the Society has, for more than a century, been directed. They would, therefore, subject themselves to a charge—of all others most abhorrent from their real character and feelings-a charge of indifference and inattention to the spiritual welfare of the inhabitants of Hindostan, did they not seize the opportunity, before your departure for those distant regions, of publicly expressing the deep, the intense interest, which they take in the success of your future labours.
But while I acknowledge the peculiar propriety of the resolution, I must be permitted to state my unfeigned regret that its execution has not been entrusted to abler hands. When it was proposed to me to undertake the office of delivering the present address, I was not insensible to the difficulty of the task in which I was about to engage. Every approach which I have since made to the subject, has confirmed me in the conviction of my inability
to do it justice-to produce any thing which should not be alike unworthy of your Lordship’s distinguished reputation, and of the reasonable expectation of the audience by which I am surrounded.
Happily, however, for me it is not requisite that I should enter upon the various important and interesting topics, which the occasion unavoidably suggests. In contemplating your elevation to the episcopal office, it is impossible to separate that event from the influence which it must ne. cessarily have upon the spiritual interests of the subjects of our Indian empire ; of an empire scarcely inferior in extent to that of Rome in the plenitude of her power, and containing millions of our fellow-creatures, who are yet strangers to the saving truths of the Gospel. How grand, how overwhelming a subject is here presented to the contemplation! A subject, in which the most exalted intellect may find a fit opportunity for the display of all its powers; but from which ordinary minds must shrink, oppressed by the humiliating consciousness of their own insufficiency ! Great, therefore, is the relief which I have derived from the reflection, that the design of the present address neither requires, nor even permits, me to expatiate in this ample field. It would be no less presumptuous in me, than foreign from the intention of the Society, were I to occupy your time and that of this meeting in detailing my own opinions respecting the most effectual mode of communicating the blessings of Christianity to the nations of Hindostan, or in offering your Lordship my advice respecting the course which it is expedient for you to pursue in discharging the duties of your high station. - My province is simply to express to you the feelings with which the Society regard your appointment to the superintendence of the Indian Diocese, and to bespeak your protection and support for the efforts which they have long made, and, with the blessing of Providence, shall never cease to make, to diffuse the knowledge of the Gospel throughout that vast continent.
Yet, I trust that you, my Right Reverend Brother, and that the rest of this respectable assembly will not charge me with improperly digressing from the immediate business of the day, if I briefly advert to the change which has been effected in the prospects of the Society, since a similar address was delivered in this place. Strongly as the Society were impressed with the conviction that the formation of a Church Establishment afforded the only secure mode of communicating the blessings of Christianity to our Eastern Empire-firm and deeply-rooted as was their confidence in the zeal, the discretion, the ability of hirn to whom the government of that Establishment was to be committed they were, still, too sensible how short-sighted are the views of man, and how frail the nature of all his expectations, not to feel some anxiety and apprehension respecting the success of the newly-adopted mea
Nine years have now elapsed since your lamented Predecessor entered upon the discharge of his episcopal functions; and that, which then could only afford a subject for conjecture and for hope, has become a matter of retrospect and of certainty. All the accounts which have reached the Society, concur in stating that the new measures have been attended with more complete success than from the shortness of time, during which they have been in operation, the most sanguine could have ventured to anticipate. Many of the impediments which directly or indirectly, retarded the reception of the Gospel, have been removed. The establishment of a visible Church has opened an asylum to the convert from the taunts and injuries of the professors of his former faith. The progressive improvement effected in the lives and conversation of the European settlers has deprived the natives of one of their most powerful arguments against the truth of Christianity. They no longer look upon us as mere conquerors, greedy only of wealth and of dominion; but as a virtuous and religious people, not less superior to them in moral goodness
than in civilization and manners—in justice and benevolence than in arts and arms. Their attachment to their caste, which seemed to present the most formidable obstacle to their conversion, has been overcome. The mists, which enveloped their understandings, are fast dissolving before the irradiating influence of Sacred Truth. The superstitious dread, with which they regarded their deities, is giving place to juster conceptions of the Divine Nature; and the priests of the idol of Juggernaut are compelled to bewail the decreasing numbers and diininished zeal of his votaries..
What a variety of emotions is the cheering prospect which has at length opened upon us, calculated to excite! What gratitude to Almighty God for the blessing which He has been pleased to bestow upon the labours of the infant Church! What reverence for the memory of the distinguished Prelate, whose wisdom and piety have, under the direction of Providence, conducted those labours to so successful an issue! How powerful an encouragement does it hold out, how strict an obligation does it impose, stedfastly to persevere in the prosecution of these holy designs, till the triumph over the powers of darkness in our Indian empire shall be complete, and no other vestige of the ancient idolatry shall remain than the deserted temples of the divinities, who were its objects. Nothing now appears to be wanting but that the number of labourers should bear a due proportion to the abundance of the harvest which is spread before them; and our confidence in the enlightened piety of our rulers forbids the supposition, that this want will long remain unsupplied. But, I must no longer detain you from the immediate business of the day.
My Lord, the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge desire to offer to your Lordship their sincere congratulations upon your elevation to the Episcopal See of Calcutta.
They derive from your appointment to this high office the certain assurance, that all the advantages, which they have anticipated from the formation of a Church Establishment in India, will be realized; and that the various plans for the diffusion of true religion amongst its inhabitants, which have been so wisely laid and so auspiciously commenced by your lamented Predecessor, will, under your superintendence and control, advance with a steady and uninterrupted progress. They ground this assurance upon the rare union of intellectual and moral qualities, which combine to form your character. They ground it upon the stedfastness of purpose, with which, from the period of your admission into the ministry, you have ex
clusively dedicated your time and talents to the peculiar studies of your sacred profession; abandoning that human learning, in which you had already shown that you were capable of attaining the highest excellence, and renouncing the certain prospect of literary fame. But above all, they ground this assurance upon the signal proof of selfdevotion, which you have given by your acceptance of the episcopal office. With respect to any other individual, who had been placed at the head of the Church Establishment in India, a suspicion might have been entertained that some worldly desire, some feeling of ambition mingled itself with the motives by which he was actuated. But in your case such a suspicion would be destitute even of the semblance of truth. Every enjoyment, which a wellregulated mind can derive from the possession of wealth, was placed within your reach. Every avenue to professional distinction and dignity, if they had been the objects of your solicitude, lay open before you. What then was the motive which could incline you to quit your native land? To exchange the delights of home for a tedious voyage to distant regions ? To separate yourself from the friends, with whom you had conversed from your earliest years? What, but an ardent wish to become the instrument of good to others ? A holy zeal in your Master's service? A firm persuasion that it was your bounden duty to submit yourself unreservedly to His disposal-to shrink from no labour which He might impose-to count no sacrifice hard which He might require? Of the benefits which will arise to the Indian Church from a spirit of selfdevotion so pure and so disinterested, the Society feel, that it is impossible to form an exaggerated estimate.
Nor has this act of self-devotion been the result of sudden impulse; it has been performed after serious reflection, and with an accurate knowledge of the difficulties by which your path will be obstructed. You have not engag. ed in this holy warfare without previously counting the cost. So deeply were you impressed with the responsibility, which must attach to the episcopal office in India, that you hesitated to accept it. With that diffidence, which is the surest characteristic of great talents and great virtues, you doubted your own sufficiency. But upon mature