Sivut kuvina
[ocr errors]

fcrent character from that of paganism, I mean the darkness of the Romish Superstition in pagan lands. Upwards of two centuries ago, papal Rome established her inquisition in India, and it is still in oper. ation. By this tribunal the power of the Romish church was consolidated in that hemisphere. From Goa, as a centre, issue the orders of the Santa Casa, or holy office, to almost every nation of the east; to the western coast of Africa, where there are many Romish churches; and thence to their settlements along the shores of the continent of Asia, as far as China and the Phillipine isles. Ships of war and ships of commerce have ever been underits command; for the vice-roy of Goa himself, is subject to its jurisdiction; and these ships afford the neans of transmitting orders to all countries, of sending forth priests, and sometimes of bringing back victims.

Besides the spiritual tyranny of the inquisition, there exists in certain provinces, a corruption of Christian doctrines more heinous than can be easily credited. In some places the ceremonies and rites of Moloch are blended with the worship of Christ! This spectacle I myself have witnessed at Aughoor, near Madura, in the south of India. The chief source of the enormity is this: The inquisition would not give the Bible to the people. In some provinces I found that the scriptures were not known to the common people, even by name; and some of the priests themselves assured me that they had nevet seen them.

But the æra of light seems to have arrived, even to this dark region: for a translation of the scriptures has been prepared for it. This version has been recently made by the bishop of the ancient Syrian Christians; and I have the satisfaction to announce to you that a part of it hath been already published. It has been printed at Bombay, by the aid of the funds, to the augmentation of which the Society has recently contributed.


[ocr errors]

This translation is in the Malayalim tongue, some times called the Malabar: which is spoken not only by the Hindoos of Malabar, Travancore and Co. chin; but by upwards of three hundred thousand Christians in these provinces, some of them belonging to the ancient Syrian church, and some of them to the Romish church; and who will all, as we have been informed, gladly receive the word of God, both priests and people.

Another remarkable event hath concurred to favor the design. The Italian bishop of chief eminence in those parts, who presides over the college of Verapoli, which has been established for the students of the Romish church, has denied the authority of the inquisition and has acceded to the design of giving the holy scriptures to the people. I myself received from him the assurance of his deter. inination to this effect, in the presence of the British president in Trevancore. So that the version exe. cuted by the Syrian bishop, whom Rome has ever accounted her enemy in the east, will be given to the Rómish church. Thus, after a strife of three hundred years, doth “the wolf lie down with the lamb;" and the lion, changing his nature, begins to “eat straw like an ox,” Isaiah xi, 7. And it is for the support of this work, in particular, that we would solicit your liberality on this day. It is for the translation of the Bible into a new language, which is not only vernacular to Hindoos and Mahometans, but is the language of a nation of Christians who never saw the Bible; and whose minds are already disposed to read the book which gives an account of their own religion.

Thus much of the darkness which pervades heathen lands. We shall now advert to the means of imparting light to them.

The time seems to have arrived, when more effectual measures ought to be adopted for the promulgation of christianity, than have hitherto been

employed. It is now expedient to open a more direct and regular communication with our missionaries in foreign countries. It is not enough that there be ample contributions at home, and that we meet in large assemblies to hear and to approve; but there must be greater personal activity, and a more frequent intercourse with the scene abroad.

Let ships be prepared to carry the glad tidings of the gospel to remote nations.

The auspicious circumstances of the present time, and the blessing that hath hitherto evidently attended the labors of the general body of missionaries, seem to justify the adoption of these means. There is nothing new in the proposal, if it be not, that it is new to us. You have seen with what facility the Romish church can open a communication with distant nations, by ships of war and commerce. You see with what facility commercial men at home can open a communication with remote regions, at a very small expense, sometimes merely on speculation; and if they do not succeed in one country they go to another. “The children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light." Let us follow their example in conducting the commerce of knowledge. Let societies, let individuals, according to their ability, charter ships for this very purpuse. Much of the expense may be defrayed by judicious plans of commerce. But let the chief and avowed object be, "the merchandize of the gospel."

In support of the perfect expedience of this measure, we shall submit to you the following considerations:

1. A chief obstacle to persons proceeding as missionaries to remote regions, is the want of convey

Were a facility afforded in this respect, many individuals and families would offer themselves for the work, who would not otherwise ever think seriously on the subject. Experience has shewn how slifficult it is to procure a passage, in a commercial

ship, for a religious family of humble condition. Nor is it proper that a family of pure manners, who never heard the holy name of God profaned in their own houses, should be exposed, during some months, to the contaminating influence of that offensive language, which is too often permitted on board ships of war and commerce belonging to the English nation.

2. The success of a mission abroad depends much on frequent correspondence with the patrons at home. By this communication the interest and reputation of the missionaries are better supported, at their respective places of residence. And they always need this support; for, in every place, they are exposed to some degree of persecution.

3. The missionaries need regular supplies, for their comfortable subsistence, and for the prosecution of their work. The want of subsistence is more frequent in certain climates than is generally supposed. And the regular transmission of such supplies as are connected with the prosecution of their proper work is indispensible. The object of the missionaries, in the east in particular, is to print and publish the holy scriptures, and a fresh supply of the several materials, essential to the further prosecution of this purpose, is required every year:

In the first promulgation of the gospel, the preachers were endowed with “the gift of tongue;" and thus they may be said to have carried about with them instruments of conversion. In its present promulgation, the providence of God hath ordained the gift of the scriptures: and the materials for printing these scriptures must be sent out to the preachers. There is likewise this further preparation by the same Providence; that most of the languages of the east have become, in the course of ages, written languages. As the art of printing extended the knowledge of the gospel to our own country, at the reformation; so the art of printing must now convey it to the other nations of the world.

It may be also observed, that, if the means of conveyance were at our command, many works in the eastern languages, might be printed with more expedition, and at less expense, at home, than abroad.

4. A further and a very important consideration is this. It is proper that a missionary should have an opportunity of returning to his native country, when ill health or the affairs of his family may require it. When he goes out as a missionary, we are not to understand that he goes necessarily into a state of banishment. It is proper, indeed, that he should go forth with the spirit of one, who "hath left father and mother for the gospel's sake;" but men in general have duties to discharge to their parents, to their children, and to their relations of consanguinity; duties sometimes of a spiritual nature. We do not read that St. Paul went forth to his work as an exile. On the contrary, we know that he returned home, at least for a time, and kept up a personal correspondence with Jerusalem. In like manner, many of the preachers who are now abroad, suffering in health, and sinking under the pressure of an enervating climate, if they had the means of conveyance, would be glad to revisit their Jerusalem; that they might return again to their labors with renewed strength and spirits. It may

be further observed, that the communications of such persons would be very valuable to the church at home. This may be exemplified in the instance of the worthy clergyman of New South Wales; who lately visited England:* and whose communications were not only serviceable to the general interests of religion; but were, in many respects, very acceptable to the British government.

5. The last advantage which we shall mention, is that of visitation, by men of learning, prudence and piety: who would make a voyage with no intention

The rev, Mr. Marsden.

« EdellinenJatka »