« PreviousContinue »
mirals, both before and after battle, causing the prayers and thanksgivings of the fleet to ascend to the God of heaven.
There still remains one topic more, to which the Author would advert. It may be presumed to be the wish of the major part of this nation, that whenever a Missionary of exemplary character and of respectable recommendation, applies to the East-India Company for a passage to our Eastern shores, his request might be treated with indulgence. In him we export a blessing (as he may prove to be) to thousands of our fellow-creatures, and his example, and instructions, and prayers will do no harm to the ship in which he sails. While the East-India Company retain the sole privilege of conveyance to India, the nation would be pleased to see this condescension shewn to persons in humble circumstances, whose designs are of a public character, and acknowledged by all men to be pious and praise-worthy. The Author will conclude these observations with a paragraph which he has found in a manuscript of the Rev. Mr. Kohloff, of Tanjore, the successor of Mr. Swartz, which has been just transmitted for publication:
“It is a remarkable fact, that since the foundation of our Mission, which is now one hundred years, and during which period upwards of fifty Missionaries have arrived from Europe; among the many ships that have been lost, there never perished one vessel, WHICH HAD A MISSIONARY ON BOARD.”*
The following Letter, written by Dr. WATSON, Bishop of LLANDAFF, on the subject of an Ecclesiastical Establishment for British India, was published in Calcutta, in the year 1807.
MS. materials for the Life of Swarta,
med of the the talents termined to ex
Successfully, prer. If my voice or's Ministers, 1 grud
“Calgarth-Park, Kendale, 14th May, 1806. REVEREND SIR,
“Some weeks ago I received your Memoir of the expediency of an Ecclesiastical Establishment for British India; for which obliging attention I now return you my best thanks. I hesitated for some time whether I ought to interrupt your speculations with my acknowledgments for so valuable a present; but on being informed of the noble Premium, by which you pur. pose to exercise the talents of Graduates in the Uni. versity of Cambridge, I determined to express to you my admiration of your disinterestedness, and zeal in the cause of Christianity.
"Twenty years and more have now elapsed since, in a Sermon, before the House of Lords, I hinted to the then Government, the propriety of paying regard to the propagation of Christianity in India; and I have since then, as fit occasions offered, privately, but unsuccessfully, pressed the matter on the consideration of those in power. If my voice or opinion can, in future, be of any weight with the King's Ministers, I shall be most ready to exert myself, in forwarding any prudent measure for promoting a liberal Ecclesiastical Establishment in British India; it is not without consideration that I say a liberal Establishment, because I heartily wish that every Christian should be at liberty to worship God according to his conscience, and be assisted therein by a Teacher, at the public expense, of his own persuasion.
"The subjects you have proposed for the work which shall obtain your Prize, are all of them judiciously chosen, and if properly treated (as my love for my Alma Mater persuades me they will be) may probably turn the thoughts of the Legislature towards the measure you recommend.
“The Salutaris Lux Evangelii, by Fabricius, published at Hamburgh in 1731, will be of great use to the Candidates for your Prize; and his Index Geographicus EPISCOPATUUM Orbis Christiani, subjoined to that work, might, if accompained with proper Notes, afford a very satisfactory elucidation of your third head.
tian Pt will be attenthink, by few ans and Mahoropagate
"God in his providence, hath so ordered things, that America, which three hundred years ago was peopled by none but Pagans, has now many millions of Christians in it; and will not, probably, three hundred years hence, have a single Pagan in it, but be occupied by more Christians, and more enlightened Christians than now exist in Europe.
“Africa is not now worse fitted for the reception of Christianity than America was, when it was first visited by Europeans; and Asia is much better fitted for it, in as much as Asia enjoys a considerable degree of civilization; and some degree of it is necessary to the successful introduction of Christianity. The commerce and colonization of Christian states have civilized A. merica, and they will, in process of time, civilize and christianize the whole earth. Whether it be a Chris. tian duty to attempt, by lenient methods, to propagate the Christian religion among Pagans and Mahomedans, can be doubted, I think, by few; but whether any attempt will be attended with much success, till Christianity is purified from its corruptions, and the lives of Christians are rendered correspondent to their Christian professioni, may be doubted by many: but there certainly never was a more promising opportunity of try, ing the experiment of subverting Paganism in India, than that which has for some years been offered to the government of Great Britain.
"The morality of our holy religion is so salutary to civil society, its promises of a future state so consolatory to individuals, its precepts so suited to the deductions of the most improved reason, that it must finally prevail throughout the world. Some have thought that Christianity is losing ground in Christendom. I am of a different opinion. Some ascititious doctrines, derived from Rome and Geneva, are losing ground a. mongst learned men; some unchristian practices springing from ignorance, bigotry, intolerance, selfsufficiency of opinion, with uncharitableness of judge ment, are losing ground among all sober-minded men; but a belief in Jesus Christ, as the Savior of the world, as the medium through whoin eternal life will be given to all who obey his Gospel, is more and more confirmed every day in the minds of men of eminence and eru. dition, not only in this, but in every other Christian country. From this praise I am not disposed to ex. clude even France itself, notwithstanding the temporary apostasy of some of its philosophers from every degree of religious faith. I cannot but hope well of that coun. try, when I see its National Institute proposing for public discussion the following subject; “What has been the influence of the Reformation of Luther, on the political situation of the different states of Europe, and on the progress of Knowledge?” especially when I see the subject treated by Mr. Villers, in a manner which would have derived honor to the most liberal Protes. tant in the freest state in Europe.
"It is not to be denied, that the morals of Christians in general fall far short of the standard of Christian perfection, and have ever done so, scarcely excepting the latter end of the first century. Yet, notwithstanding this concession, it is a certain fact, that the Christian religion has always operated to the production of piety, benevolence, self-government, and the love of virtue amongst individuals, in every country where it has been received; and it will every where operate more powerfully, as it is received with more firm assurance of its truth; and it will be every where received with more firm assurance of its truth, as it is better understood; for when it is properly understood, it will be freed from the pollutions of superstition and fanaticism among the hearers, and from ambition, domination, and secularity among the teachers.
“Your publication has given us in England a great insight into the state of Christianity in India, as well as into the general state of Learning amongst you; and it has excited in me the warmest wishes for the prosperity of the College of Fort-William. It is an Institution which would have done honor to the wisdom of Solon or Lycurgus. I have no knowledge personally of the Marquis Wellesley, but I shall think of him and of his coadjutors in this undertaking, with the highest respect and admiration, as long as I live.
"I cannot enter into any particulars relative to an Ecclesiastical Establishment in India; nor would it per. haps, be proper to press Government to take the mat. ter into their consideration, till this country is freed from
the danger which threatens it: but I have that opinion of his Majesty's Ministers, that they will, not only from policy, but from a serious sense of religious duty, be disposed to treat the subject, whenever it comes before them, with great judgment and liberality. May God direct their counsels!
“Our Empire in India,' said Mr. Hastings, ‘has been acquired by the sword, and must be maintained by the sword.' I cannot agree with him in this senti. ment. All Empires have been originally acquired by violence, but they are best established by moderation and justice. There was a time when we shewed ourselves to the inhabitants of India in the character of tyrants and robbers; that time, I trust, is gone for ever. The wisdom of British Policy, the equity of its jurisprudence, the impartiality of its laws, the humanity of its penal code, and above all, the incorrupt administration of public justice, will, when they are well understood, make the Indians our willing subjects, and induce them to adopt a religion attended with such consequences to the dearest interests of the human mind. They will rejoice in having exchanged the tyranny of Pagan superstition, and the despotism of their native princes, for the mild mandates of Christianity, and the stable authority of equitable laws. The difference between such different states of civil society, as to the production of human happiness, is infinite; and the at. tainment of happiness is the ultimate aim of all indivi. duals in all nations. I am, Reverend Sir, your obliged and faithful servant,
R. LLANDAFF." To Rev. Dr. BUCHANAN, Vice-Provost of the
College of Fort-William, Calcutta.
CONCLUSION. In the progress of these Researches the Author has found his mind frequently drawn to consider the extraordinary difference of opinion, which exists among men of learning, in regard to the importance and obligation of communicating religious knowledge to our