« EdellinenJatka »
ly 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 assurances 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 know. ledge personally of the marquis Wellesley, but I shall think of him and his coadjutors in this under-taking, 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 perhaps, be proper to press government to take the matter 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 the sentiment. All empires have been originally ac
quired 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 attainment of happiness is the ultimate aim of all individuals in all nations. I am, reverend sir, your obliged and faithful servant, i
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 fellow-creatures. And he has often heard the question asked by others, What can be the cause of this discrepancy of opinion? For that such a difference does exist is most evident; and is exemplified at this moment in some of the most illustri. ous characters for rank and learning, in the nation.
This is a problem of a very interesting character at this day, and worthy of a distinct and ample discussion, particularly at the seats of learning. The problem may be thus expressed: “What power is that, which produces in the minds of some persons a real interest and concern in the welfare of their fellowcreatures; extending not only to the comfort of their existence in this world, but to their felicity hereafter; while other men who are apparently in similar circumstances, as to learning and information, do not feel inclined to move one step for the promotion of such objects?” The latter, it may be, can speculate on the philosophy of the human mind, on its great powers and high dignity, on the sublime virtue of universal benevolence, on the tyranny of superstition, and the slavery of ignorance; and will sometimes quote the verse of the poet,
1. Homo sum: humani nil a mé alienum puto:” but they leave it to others, and generally to the Christians in humble life, to exercise the spirit of that noble verse. This is a very difficult problem; and it has been alleged by some that it cannot be solved on any known principles of philosophy. The following relation will probably lead to principles by which we may arrive at a solution.
There was once a king in the east, whose empire extended over the known world, and his dominion "was to the end of the earth.” During the former part of his reign, his heart was fi}led with pride: he knew not the God of heaven: and he viewed with the utmost indifference the nations over whom he
ruled, worshipping idols of wood and stone. But it & pleased the King of Kings to dethrone this haughty 3 monarch, to cast him down from his high estate and
toʻabase him in the dust. And after he had been for a time in the furnace of affliction, and his proud heart was humbled, God graciously revealed himself to him in his true name and character, and then restored him to his former prosperity and power. The penitent king, thus once more exalted, and filled with admiration at the discovery of the only true God, immediately issued an edict to the whole world, setting forth the greatness of the Most High, asserting his glory, and inviting all nation to “praise and magnify him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting.dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation.” This memorable edict began in these sublime terins:
Nebuchadnezzar the King, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth, Peace, be multiplied unto you. I thought it good to shew the signs and wonders which the most high God hath wrought toward me. How great are his signs! How mighty are his wonders!” Having recounted the judgment and mercy of God to himself, he thus concludes; "Now I Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the king of Heaven, all whose works are truth and his ways judgment; and them that walk in pride he is able to abase."*
Such a proclamation to the nations of the earth was a noble act of a king, and ought to be had in perpetual remembrance. It reminds us of the last charge of HIM "who ascended up on high:” go teach all nations. It discovers to us the new and extended benevolence, greatness of mind, and pure and heavenly charity; which distinguish that man, whose heart has been impressed by the grace of God. How solemn his sense of duty! How ardent to declare the glory of his Savior! His views for the good of men, how disinterested and enlarged! It is but too evident, that all our speculations concerning a divine revelation, and the obligation imposed on us to study it ourselves, or to communicate it to others, are cold and uninteresting and excite not to action, "until, through the tender compassion of God, the day.spring from on high visit us, to give light to them that sit in dark.
• Daniel, 4th chapter,
ness;* to humble our hearts, at the remembrance of our sins against God, and to affect them with a just admiration of his pardoning mercy.
Let Great Britain imitate the example of the Chal. dean king; and send forth to all the world her testimony concerning the true God. She also reigns, over many nations which "worship idols of wood and stone;" and she ought, in like manner, to declare to them “the signs and wonders of the Almighty.” And in this design every individual will concur, of every church, family, and name, whose heart has been penetrated with just apprehensions of the most high God; having known his judgments and experienced his mercy.
Kirby Hall, Boroughbridge,
Feb. 15, 1811.
Luke ii. 70.