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THE MOHAMMEDAN.

169 " In the year 1223 of the Hegira," says he, " there came to this city an Englishman, who taught the religion of Christ with a boldness hitherto unparalleled in Persia, in the midst of much scorn and ill-treatment from our mollahs, as well as the rabble. He was a beardless youth, and evidently enfeebled by disease. I was then a decided enemy to infidels, and visited the teacher of the despised sect with the declared object of treating him with scorn, and exposing his doctrines to contempt. These evil feelings gradually subsided beneath the influence of his gentleness, and just before he quitted Shiraz, I paid him a parting visit. Our conversation the recollection of it will never fade from the tablets of my memory-sealed my conversion. He gave me a book ; it has been my constant companion; the study of it has formed my most delightful occupation.” Upon this, the narrator of this incident brought out a copy of the New Testament in Persia ; on one of the blank leaves was written, “There is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth-Henry Martyn.'

Other versions, in the same family of languages, deserve special attention.

The work of translation in heathen countries may be said to have begun, in modern times, with the arrival of Dr. Carey, at Calcutta, in 1793. Continental Christians had then retired from the work ; but the churches of Britain

Southgate's Narrative of a Tour in Persia, quoted in Bagster.

170

CAREY AT FORT WILLIAM.

and America had awoke to their duty, and were seeking to fulfil it. After seven years of intense labour, (for at that time the Bengali was without grammar or dictionaries,) the New Testament in Bengali was printed, and an edition of two thousand copies left the press ; soon afterwards, Dr. Carey was appointed to the professorship of Bengali, Sanscrit, and Mahratta, in the new college at Fort William. This providential arrangement augmented his means of usefulness, partly by bringing within the circle in which he moved many of the learned natives of the country, and partly by supplying him with ample resources for his work. It may be added, that the whole of the proceeds of his professorship, after deducting a very scanty pittance for his own support, was devoted to Biblical translation, and that he contributed from these resources many thousand pounds to this object. Forty years after the issue of this first version, it was finally revised by the translator; having received • still further revision, it is now one of the best

translations in India. In 1844, an edition was printed with references and marginal readings; the first instance, probably, of the addition in an Indian language of those most useful helps to Scripture interpretation.

The parent of very many of the languages of India is the Sanscrit, one of the most complete and ancient of the languages of the world. Before Europe had emerged from barbarism, Sanscrit was a refined and polished speech.

IMPORTANCE OF THE SANSCRIT. 171 For three thousand years the science and philosophy of the Hindoos, inscribed on the fragile leaves of the palm, have been concealed in this tongue from the inquiries of the west. From the days of sir William Jones, however, these treasures were examined, and the knowledge thus gained was at once applied to the translation of the Bible. Towards the close of the eighteenth century, Dr. Wilkins had cast a fount of Sanscrit type for literary purposes, but it was not turned to any immediate use. A native, who had been in his service, communicated the invention to Dr. Carey and his colleagues, and by his aid, types were cast for printing the Scriptures in twelve of the languages of the east; of these, the Sanscrit was chief. In 1803, the translation of the New Testament was commenced; in 1808 it was completed, and 600 copies were struck off. From that time every other year has witnessed a new version formed by missionaries in India, and every year many editions in different tongues.

This Sanscrit version is of great importance on many grounds. It is in the language of the Brahmins, the learned class of the country, who would certainly refuse to read any professedly sacred writings in another tongue. The language itself is closely akin to the Greek, and the version often answers word for word to the original. Moreover, nearly all the dialects of India are dependent upon it for their abstract and doctrinal terms, and hence it supplies translators with expressions which they require

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in rendering into the vernacular tongues the truths of the Bible. The translation made by Dr. Carey has been repeatedly revised by Dr. Yates and Mr. Wenger, and many thousand copies have been put into circulation.

Perhaps we shall best understand what has been achieved in India, during the last fifty years,

if we state the general results. In 1793, two or three missionaries and a single missionary society were the representa'tives in British India of the Christian world. Forty years later, 1832, 147 missionaries, the representatives of ten societies, were labouring at 106 stations.

Twenty years later still, 1852, there were the agents of 22 missionary societies in that country, employing 443 missionaries, of whom 18 were ordained natives. They were assisted by 698 native preachers and teachers, and proclaimed the word of God at 313 stations and in the districts around. They have founded 331 native churches, containing 18,410 communicants, whose members form the centre of a Christian community, comprising 112,191 individuals. The efforts of these missionaries in the cause of education, now sustain 2,015 schools, in which more than 100,000 children receive instruction. For our own countrymen, moreover, English services are maintained in 71 chapels. * In the last twenty years, therefore, the agency in India has trebled.

* From the Calcutta Review," for October, 1851; corrected by the “ Calcutta Christian Observer,” for February, 1853.

RESULTS IN FIFTY YEARS.

173

In translation, the results are not less cheering. There are now versions of the whole Bible in ten Indian languages : the Hindustani (or Urdu), the Hindi, the Bengali, the Uriya, the Tamul, the Cinghalese, the Canerese, the Malayalim, the Mahratta, the Gujerati, and we may add the Sanscrit, now nearly complete. These are not first attempts by scholars residing at a distance. They are the work of ripe years, by missionaries who have lived in intercourse with the people for whom the versions are intended. The New Testament has been similarly revised and published in five other languages: the Assamese, the Telugu, the Tulu, and in the ancient languages of India, the Sanscrit and the Pali. Separate Gospels have been published in four others: so that the civilized Hindoos and Mussulmans of all India can now read the Scriptures in their own tongue. How many years of thoughtful labour are concentrated in this little library of Bibles! What an accumulation of influence for years and ages to come!

Besides publishing Bibles, thirty, and even seventy tracts have been prepared in these Indian tongues; and as many as five and twenty establishments are engaged in printing them. It is cheering to add, that of the total annual cost of this agency, one-sixth -or £33,500, is contributed by European Christians residing in India.

An examination of the tables will also show that the age which has been thus active in giving the heathen the Bible, has been no less active in giving it to the nations of Europe. Not

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