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other question. Has the subject ever been officially inquired into ?
For many years this nation was reproached for tolerating the slave trade. Many books were written on the subject: 'and the attention of the legislature was at length directed to it. Some asserted that the abolition of it was impracticable, and some that it was impolitic; but it was found on an investigation of the traffic, that it was defended because it was lucrative: and a humane nation abolished it. But let us ask, what is there in buying and selling men compared to our permitting thousands of women, our own subjects, to be every ear burned alive, without inquiring into the cause, and without evidence of the necessity? Or what can be compared to the disgrace of regulating by Christian law the bloody and obscene rites of Juggernaut?
The honor of our nation is certainly involved in this matter. But there is no room for the language of crimination or reproach; for it is the sin of ignorance. These facts are not generally known. And they are not known, because there has been no official iriquiry, Could the great council of the nation witness the darkness which I have seen, there would be no dissenting voice as to the duty of giving light.
It is proper I should add, in justice to that honora able body of men who administer our empire in the east, that they are not fully informed as to these facts.*
But there is a two-fold darkness in the east which it is proper to specify. There is the darkness of paganism; and there is the darkness of the Romish superstition in pagan lands.
Christianity, under almost any modification, is
. in regard to the idol-tax, the principle of the enormity, it is said, has never been fully explained to the government at home. It was admitted by the Indian, government many years ago without reference, I believe in the first in-stance, to England; and possibly the reference may now appear in the books under some aspicious or general name, which is not well understood. The honourable the court of directors will feel as indignant, on a full development of the fact, as any public body in the nation.
certainly a benefit to mankind; for it prevents the perpetration of the bloody rites of idolatry. But the corrupted christianity to which we allude has established its inquisition in the east, and has itself shec blood. About the time when the protestant bishops suffered in our own country, the bishops of the ancient Syrian church became martyrs to the same faith in India. From that time to this the mournful bell of the inquisition has been heard in mountains of Hindostan. The inquisitions in Europe have gradually lost their power by the increase of civilization; but this cause has not operated equal. ly in India, which is yet, in many parts, in a state of barbarism. Though the political power of the Romish church has declined, its ecclesiastical power remains in India, and will probably endure for a long period to come.* The inquisition at Goa is still in operation, and has captives in its dungeon.t
A protestant establishment is wanted in our em. pire in the east, not only to do honor to christianity (for in many places in Hindostan the natives ask whether we have a God, and whether we worship in a temple,) but to counteract the influence of the ecclesiastical power of Rome: for in some provinces of Asia, that power is too strong for the religion of protestants, and for the unprotected and defenceless missionaries.
Since the delivery of this discourse I have with pleasure observed, in the roeene treaty between his majesty and the prince regent of Portugal, an article by which that prince engages that the inquisition shall not hereafter be established in the South American doininions. Does not thi, aiïord a reasonable hope that we may ere konz bebold that engine of superstition abolished in Portugal?
+ See Appendix. Inquisition of Goa.
I The influence of the Romish church in India is far greater than is generally imagined; or than our governinent has hitherto had any means of aseertaining. Though the politi«al power is almost extinct, the religion remains in its former vigor. And on this fact is founded a strong argument for the policy of 0moting the Christian instruction of our native subjects. "Although the Portuguese, for instance, possess but little territory in continental India, yet their hold on the native affections is incalculably stronger than that of Britain, though in the zenith of her political power; and were that power to be annihilated, as that of the Portuguese now is, it would scarcely be known, in respect of any hold which Britain has on the native mind, that she had ever set foot in India."
** This impolicy astonishes those who have acted with success on the opposite system. A Roman catholic, high in spiritual authority in India, expressed his utter amazement that the British government should not act on a better policy.
But, besides the tyranny of the inquisition, there is in some of the Romish provinces a corruption of Christian doctrine which is scarcely credible. In certain places the rites and ceremonies of Moloch are blended with the worship of Christ. *
It is surely our duty to use the means we possess of introducing a purer christianity into our empire in the east. I shall mention one circumstance which may well animate our exertions. A large province of Romish Christians in the south of India, who are now our subjects, are willing to receive the Bible; and this too, under the countenance of the Romish Bishop, an Italian, and a man of liberal learning. And Providence hath so ordered it, that a translation of the scriptures hath been just prepared for them. This translation has been made by the bishop of the Syrian church. Yes, my brethren, a bishop of the ancient church of Christ in India, has translated the holy scriptures into a new language. That *venerable man, who did not know, till lately, that * there was a pure church in the western world, is now pressing before many learned men in the west, in promoting the knowledge of the religion of Christ.
We have now taken a review of three Eras of Light in the Christian dispensation.
Do you require further evidence of this being a Third Era? Behold societies forming in every principal city of Great Britain for the purpose of giving the Bible to all nations! Do you ask further proof? Behold the Christian church beginning, after a delay of
and declared, that in consequence of the hold which christianity had obtained through the Roman church on the minds of the patives; there were SEVEN MILLIONS of British subjects in India, with whose sentiments he had the means of becoming perfectly acquainted, and over whose ininds he could exercise a commanding control.
See Tenth annual report of the "Society for missions to Africaand the east," just published: containing the communications of Sir Alexander Johnstone, chief justice or Ceylon. p. 78.
• At Anghoor, near Trichinopoly, and in other places.
+ See in Appendix, Letter of the Bishop of Landall, on the expediency of an Ecelesiastical establishment for British India.
See Appendix, Account of Syrian Christians,
eigirteen centuries, to instruct the Jews, and to attempt the conversion of the ancient people of God. Why did not the church direct her attention sooner to this great undertaking? It was because the Era of Light had not arrived.
This learned body have it in their power greatly to promote the extension of Christianity among the Jews. Men have begun to preach the gospel to that people without giving them the gospel in their own language. A translation of the New Testatament into the Hebrew tongue would be a gift worthy of our university to present to them. It must appear strange to us, on a retrospect of the fact, that during so long a period, Christians should have reproached the Jews for not believing the New Testament, and yet never have put that volume into their hands in their own language, that they might know what they were to believe!* This conduct of Christians might be called an infatuation, were it not prophesied that thus it should be. They did not think of giving the gospel to a people of whom the Prophet had said, "that they should be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth for their hurt, to be a reproach, and a proverb, and a taunt, and a curse,” Jer. xxiv. 9. But we can now "speak comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her that her warfare is accomplished; for it is prophesied again, “That blindness in part is happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in," Rom.
Translations of portions of the New Testament into different dialects of the Hebrew laoguage, have been maile by different persons at different times; but these have been rather intended as exercises for the scholar, or for the use of the learned, than for the use of the Jews. The Romish church printed a version of the gospels in Hebrew, and the whole Syriac New Testament in the Hebrew character; but it would not give the book to that people who could read it. In Spain and Portugal they condeinned the Jews to the flames for professing Judaism, but they would not give them the New Testament that they might learn christianity. The English church, which has succeeded the Romish church as first in infuence and dignity, has not, as yot, given the New Testament to the Jews. The church of Scotland has not given
The chief praise is due to some of the Protestant divines in Universities on the continent, who published some parts of the New Testament in what is called German Hebrew, and dispersed eopies among the Jews, as they had opportunity. It is encouraging to know that even this partial attempt was not witho Sueceys.
xi. 25. By this prophesy we see that the conversion of the Jews is connected with that of the Gen. tiles: and is to be, if not contemporaneous, at least, an immediate consequent. But the conversion of the Gentiles has already commenced; and commence ed with most remarkable success. And now, be hold the preparation for the conversion of the Jews! Add to this, the Jews themselves contemplate some change to be at hand. It is certainly true that both among the Jews in the east and in the west there is, at this time, an expectation of great events in regard to their own nation. It is not unlike that expectation, which pervaded the Roman empire before the coming of the Messiah.
We are now to notice a remarkable peculiarity in all these three Eras of Light.
In the first era, when our Saviour preached his own gospel, and performed wonderful works, there were some who denied that the work was from God; and he was said to be "beside himself; and to Jo these works by the power of the prince of darkness." But our Lord's answer to them was in these words, “The works that I do; bear witness of me, that the father has sent me,” John v, 36. And when the apostle Paul preached the gospel of Christ, he was accounted "a fool for Christ's sake: he was reviled, persecuted, and defamed,” i Cor. iv, 10. But he could appeal to the great work which he performed, "the deliverance of the Gentiles from darkness to light.”
In the second era, at the reformation, Luther and those other great teachers whom God so highly honored, were also called enthusiasts, and were accused of a flagrant and misguided zeal. But "the works which they did” testified that they were sent of God, as ambassadors of Christ, of which the conversion of our own nation is an evidence to this day.
In the third era of light, those eminent persons who were chiefly instrumental in diffusing it, were in