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but zealous missionaries have been sent home, the effects of which were temporary and delusive, must likewise be admitted. The most rational ground of a hope of extending the Gospel to India is by the establishment of a regular permanent church; and it is upon this principle that the Church of England through her Societies, now systematically proceeds.
Every thing is done, therefore, with a view to giving a permanent Episcopal ministry--a permanent establishment of schools-a permanent establishment of masters--permanent instructors of young men (converted natives,) in the requisites for preaching and teaching, and for their permanent support in these important characters.
The establishmenť of the Mission College at Calcutta, under the auspices of Bishop Middleton, the first prelate sent out to India, was a grand step in giving a permanency to the establishment of a Christian Church in that country. So bigbly was it commended by all interested in this great work, that the Church Missionary Society, in 1821, approving of the plan, and reposing a generous confidence in the Incorporated Society, gave a further donation of L.1000 to the College, (having before given L.5000,) adding a confident expectation that the same grant would be annually repeated. In the same excellent spirit, a vote of L.5000 was made by the British and Foreign Bible Society, “in aid of that important branch of the proposed operations of the College, the translation of the Scriptures into the languages of India.” As soon as the buildings were completed, the Incorporated Society sent out a collection of books, to the value of about L.1000, for the use of the College. The annual ex. penditure of the Society, on behalf of the College, is at present above L.4000.
It is most satisfactory to record the following resolution agreed to by the Bombay Committee ; for it gives the opinion of persons who were capable, by their own experience, of estimating the prospects and object of the College :
“ RESOLVED, -That this meeting, being impressed with a high sense of the principles and proceedings of the Society, is further persuaded that Bishop's Mission College, founded by the Society near Calcutta, presents a safe and practicable method of propagating the Gospel among the nations of this country, by the gradual diffusion of knowledge, the superintendence and publication of religious traets, the Liturgy and versions of Scripture, and the education of persons qualified to act as preachers of the Gospel and schoolmasters.”
To shew the effect of a systematic and well organized scheme for planting Christianity under the auspices of an established Episcopal Church, we quote an extract from the farewell speech made in the name of this Society to the lamented Bishop Heber, on his going out to India.
“ 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 were 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 over
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 diminished 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 those 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.”
Every thing from the amiable Heber is interesting. His primary charge to the clergy of the diocese of Calcutta is peculiarly beautiful, and well calculated to excite in the minds of
the most indifferent, an interest on the subject of the establish. ment of Christianity in the East. The following is an extract from his reply to the speech of which the last quotation was a part.
“ Nor, my Lord Archbishop, will I seek to dissemble my conviction, that, slow as the growth of truth must be in soil so strange and hitherto so spiritually barren-distant as the period
may be when any very considerable proportion of the natives of India shall lift up their hands to the Lord of Hosts,yet, in the degree of progress which has been made, enough of promise is given to remove all despondency as to the eventual issue of our labours. When we recollect, that one hundred years have scarcely passed away, since the first Missionaries of this Society essayed, under every imaginable circumstance of difficulty and discouragement, to plant their grain of mustard seed in the Carnatic ; when we look back to those apostolic men, with few resources save what this Society supplied to them, -without encouragement--withoutsupport-compel. led to commit themselves, not to the casual hospitality, but to the systematic and bigoted in hospitality of the natives; seated in the street, because no house would receive them, acquiring a new and difficult language at the doors of the schools, from the children tracing their letters on the sand,-can we refrain not only from admiring the faith and patience of those eminent Saints, but from comparing their situation with the port which Christianity now assumes in the East, and indulging the hope that one century more, and the thousands of converts which our missionaries already number, may be extended into a mighty multitude, who will look back with gratitude to this Society as the first dispenser of those sacred truths which will then be their guide and their consolation ? What would have been the feel. ings of Swartz, (““ clarum et venerabile nomen Gentibus;" to whom even the heathen, whom he failed to convince, looked up as something more than mortal,)—what would have been his feelings had he lived to witness Christianity in India established under the protection of the ruling power, by whom fourfifths of that vast continent is held in willing subjection? What, if he had seen her adorned and strengthened by that primitive and regular form of government which is so essential to her reception and stability among a race like our eastern fellow subjects! What forbids, I ask, that when in one century our little one is become a thousand, in a century more that incipient desertion of the idol shrines, to which the learned Prelate so eloquently alluded, may have become total, and be succeeded by a resort of all ranks and ages to the altars of the Most High; so that a parochial clergy may prosecute the work which the missionary has begun, and the gleaning grapes of Ephraim may be more than the vintage of Abiezer ?
The same Society, in taking leave of the present Bishop of
Calcutta, adverted to that most important part of the system the establishment of Native Schools. The following is an ex. tract from that address :
" But the Society begs leave to draw your attention more particularly to the Native Schools ; a subject indeed which has been already brought under your Lordship's notice by the Ge. neral Committee. Such Schools have long existed as appendages to our missions ; and the faithful servants of God who have laboured in that vineyard, well understood and appreciated their importance. They are now established in the presidencies, and especially in the neighbourhood of Calcutta, on a large scale, and with a fair prospect of success; and are conducted upon that invaluable system of mutual instruction, which was originally discovered and brought into action within the limits of your diocese by a revered individual, to whom the poor of our people and the cause of Christian education are deeply indebted. In these Schools the Scriptures are read as a book of elementary instruction, without opposition from the natives, or any appearance of dislike. Here, it would seem, a great door, and effectual, is opened to the preaching and reception of the Gospel. For it may reasonably be hoped that many, whose minds have been thus seasoned in early life with the words of truth and soberness, will see, when they grow up to manhood, the folly and wickedness of their popular creed and superstitions; will listen with gladness to those messengers of Christ who propound to them the truths, and ply them with the lessons of godliness, to which they had been accustomed in their childhood ; will renounce the errors and idols of their forefathers, and become sincere and willing converts to our pure and holy religion. Under these convictions of their tendency to advance the good work of conversion, a separate fund has been formed for their support. And the Society en. tertains a sanguine hope that, under your protection, they may, through God's blessing upon the instruments which he vouch. safes to employ, serve to promote the knowledge of the Gospel, and to extend the boundaries of the kingdom of heaven."
Upon such exertions, and (by God's blessing) upon such successes of the Society, both at home and abroad, we rest the cause. We could not but remark the apathy existing in our land towards spreading the knowledge and diffusing the benefits of Christianity, and we could not but deplore the neglect of a Society which has such strong claims upon our notice-a neglect which we attribute solely to a want of consideration of the nature of those claims. We have thought it our duty so far to bring forward the subject; for the rest, the Reports of the Society are easily procured, and give information which we think will excite a general interest upon the subject in those who read them with attention. If the views taken in this discourse be correct, to give our aid to such Societies becomes a high and important branch of Christian duty; and our support of the Society for Promoting Christian Know
ledge, is not merely a question of an annual subscription or of attendance to contribute to a collection for its funds--but the question becomes involved with the interests we feel for the spiritual welfare of mankind, the interest we take in the extension of the Redeemer's kingdom, and the desire we have that it may be esablished in every country and in every heart.
Let it be ever remembered, that Christianity is to be considered as a trust deposited with us in behalf of others, on behalf of mankind, as well as for our own instruction. How far the venerable Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge has discharged this trust, its Reports will tes. tify. We should be sorry, however, in stating our preference of this Institution, as at once a Missionary and a Bible Society, to be thought in any way to reflect in an unfriendly manner towards any similar exertions, by whatever sect or whatever party they may be made. We admire their zeal, though we may regret their want of prudence and of judgment, and can rejoice in the success of their endeavours, though differing both on points of doctrine and as to the means made use of to accomplish their purpose. Such is the sanctity of the cause, that it can redeem a thousand errors ; and we pity the hardness of disposition that can sneer at any one who, for such a purpose, leaves his country and his home at an age when associations are formed and ties are multiplied which it is misery to break. We pity the want of feeling which can be indifferent to the labours of those who exchange the comforts of home for the dangers and the fatigues—the vexation and the opposition,—the new and perplexing scenes of missionary labours, and who, in an unhealthy and debilitating climate, part with the comforts of existence for the sake of the cross. Who would censure any Missionary going forth, as he has been feelingly described, “ with the Bible in his hand and his Saviour in his heart,"* to preach the glad tidings of redemption to the heathen world,
Having paid a willing and sincere tribute of Christian charity to other missionary associations, we close this recommendation of the pure and peaceful Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge—an association whose zeal is untainted with bigotry, and whose piety is unalloyed by fanaticism, “ by thanking God for the blessings which has attended its labours, and expressing a hope that such encouraging results will be followed up by increased exertions. An immense field now opens before it, and it is not too much to entertain a humble confidence, that the same Almighty hand which has raised the Church from small beginnings to her present flourishing condition, will in like manner enable the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge to diffuse the principles and enforce the practice of the Gospel, as long as the name of England endures, and as far its empire extends."-Society's Report for 1825.
* Bishop Hurdo