Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

These are sad stories, and in the case of Nusseerabad, I hope, not beyond the reach of remedy.-P. 146.

On Saturday the 9th inst. he confirmed twenty persons, all adults, and almost all of the higher ranks; and on the following Sunday, consecrated the Church, and administered the sacrament to thirty-four or thirty-five, never "having witnessed a congregation more carnestly attentive.” But the melancholy occurrence which detained him at Dacca, and which cast a gloom over his whole journey, must be detailed in his own words. To this affecting event was added disastrous intelligence from his wife, and a severe disappointment in her ability to meet him at the appointed place. How acutely he felt-yet how unaffectedly and powerfully a sense of paramount duty absorbed all consideration of individual sorrows, let his own letters declare.

To Mrs. R. HEBER.

Dacca, July 18, 1824. DEAR, DEAR Wife!-All is over! My poor friend was released a little after twelve last night. The light-headedness, which in dysentery, I find, is always a fatal symptom, increased during the day, though he continued to know me, and to do and take whatever I desired him; between nine and ten he had a severe return of spasm, after which he sunk into a tranquil dose, till he passed off without a groan. I grieve to find by your letter that his sister is set out hither; surely there will yet be time to bring her back again, and spare her some of the horrors of a journey made in doubtful hope, and a return in solitude and misery.

I greatly regret that anything in my letters gave encouragement to her to set off. But I have all along clung, even against hope, to the hope of his recovery.

On the 14th and 15th, he altered much for the worse; and it was on the evening of the latter day that he was first convinced his end was drawing near, and begged me to be with him when the hour came. You will not doubt that I kept my promise, though he was not conscious of my presence. As he was fully sensible of the approach of death, so he was admirably prepared for it. From the very beginning of our journey, we had prayed and read the Scriptures together daily; on the last Sunday which he saw we had received the sacrament together; I trust I shall never forget the deep contrition and humility, the earnest prayer, or the earnest faith in the mercies of Christ, with which he commended himself to God. On Thursday he had an awful mental struggle, but confessed his sins, and cried for mercy to Jesus Christ, with a simplicity, contrition, and humility, which I shall never forget, and I trust always be the better for. By degrees his fears became less, his faith stronger, and his hope more lively; and he told me at many different times in the following thirty-six hours, that God's goodness was making the passage more and more easy to him, and that he felt more and more that Christ had died for sinners. When his strength was gradually wearing away, he said, “ If I lose sight of the Cross, though but for a moment, I am ready to despair; but my blessed Lord makes his mercy and his power more and more plain to me.” The laudanum, which was given him in the course of Friday night, conjured up some evil dreams, of which he complained a good deal. Being very much worn out myself, I had gone to lie down for an hour or two, leaving him asleep, under the care of one of the surgeons. He wakened, however, soon after, and called earnestly for me, and when I came, threw his arms round my neck, and begged me not to leave him. After we had prayed a little together, he said, “ My head is sadly confused with this horrid drug, but I now recollect all which you told me, and which I myself experienced yesterday, of God's goodness in his Son. Do not let them give me any more, for it prevents my praying to God as I could wish to do." He spoke very often of his “poor, poor sister," and said, “God, who is so good to a sinner like me, will not forget her.” He asked, which you will not doubt I promised for us both, that we would be a sister and a brother to her. He said, not long before his light-headedneys came on, Saturday morning, “ Tell Mrs. Heber that I think of her, and pray for her in this hour.” After his hallucination took place, he rambled very much about our voyage, but whenever I spoke to him, it recalled him for the moment, and he listened, and said Amen, to some of the Church prayers for the dying. “ It is very strange," he once said, every thing changes round me. I cannot make out where I am, or what has happened, but your face seems always near me, and I recollect what you have been saying.” The last articulate words he uttered were about his sister. Even in this incoherence, it was comfortable to find that no gloomy ideas intruded, that he kept up some shadow of his hope in God, even when his intellect was most clouded, and that his last day of life was certainly, on the whole, not a day of suffering. After death his countenance was singularly calm and beautiful, and not like a corpse so much as a statue. I myself closed

[ocr errors]

his eyes.

was poor.

[ocr errors]

One lesson has been very deeply imprinted on my heart by these few days. If this man's innocent and useful life (for I have no doubt that the greater part of his life has been both innocent and useful,) offered so many painful recollections, and called forth such deep contrition, when in the hour of death he came to examine every instance of omission or transgression, how careful must we be to improve every hour, and every opportunity of grace, and so to remember God while we live, that we may not be afraid to think of him when dying! And above all, how blessed and necessary is the blood of Christ to us all, which

Stowe's only and effectual comfort! God bless you, dear love, in your approaching voyage. How delighted I should be to meet you at Boglipoor.

REGINALD CALCUTTA. Vol. II. pp. 344-346.

To Mrs. R. Heber.

Furreed poor, July 28, 1824. Alas! alas! my beloved wife, what have you not gone through! Your letter of July 24, has just reached me from Dacca. God's will be done in all things! Your joining me is out of the question. But I need not tell you to spare no expense of sea-voyage, or any other measure, which may tend to restore or preserve our dear children, or yourself, so soon as such a measure may appear desirable for any of you.

On these points I leave you in confidence to the advice of Dr. Abel and Mr. Shaw. I am at this moment strangely tempted to come to you. But I fear it might be a compromise of my duty, and a distrust to God! I feel most grateful indeed to Him for the preservation of our invaluable treasures. I pray God to bless Lady Amherst, and all who are dear to her, and to shew kindness ten-fold to her children, for all the kindness she has shewn ours. I am going on immediately, with a heavy heart indeed, but with trust in His mercies. Farewell!

REGINALD CALCUTTA. Vol. II, pp. 352, 353.

Bereft thus of his attached friend and companion, and with a heart torn by the most painful anxieties concerning those who were dearest to him, the Bishop quitted Dacca on the 25th of July. Scarcely can we repress our inclination to extract the living delineation of the scenery which opened to his view, and the exquisite verses to his beloved wife, at page 182. We must, however, pass at once to his arrival at Boglipoor, 240 miles north by west of Calcutta, where he found, to his great gratification, his friends the Corries, who, equally with himself, experienced the most kind and considerate attention from the Judge and Magistrate, Mr. Chalmers. Indeed, it may be observed, once for all, that from gentlemen of all capacities in India, judicial, civil, and military, the Bishop invariably received, on every occasion, the most prompt and polite attentions, which were not only a tribute of respect to the high office which he sustained, but to that peculiar suavity and courtesy of demeanour which seemed indeed "made to engage all hearts." The people of Boglipoor are called Pubahees, and are a much more intelligent and honourable people than the Hindoos. Their religious opinions are also peculiar. Here is stationed a missionary of the venerable Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, to whose ability and exertions the Bishop bears honourable testimony.

At Monghyr, near Boglipoor, the Bishop received such an account of the spiritual necessities of the residents, that he determined upon remaining over Sunday, and gave notice of his intention to preach. There is a Baptist congregation here, collected under peculiar circumstances, " by Mr. Chamberlain, an excellent man and most active missionary, but of very bitter sectarian principles, and entertaining an enmity to the Church of England almost beyond belief. He used to say, that Martyn, Corrie, and Thomason, were greater enemies to God, and did more harm to his cause than fifty stupid drunken Padres, inasmuch as their virtues and popular method of preaching upheld a system which he regarded as damnable, and which must else soon fall to the ground.” Here is an illustration of the candour and charity of sectarianism, on which the Bishop, with his wonted mildness and forbearance, does not permit himself to remark. But, in truth, no remark is necessary—the fact is the best comment. The successor of this-we know not how to distinguish him by an appropriate titleis a very mild, modest man, of a far better spirit; which indeed he evinced by closing his meeting, and attending the Bishop, both morning and evening, with the greater part of his flock. Out of a congregation of about sixty, there were between twenty and thirty communicants, (would that the same proportion were more frequently witnessed in England !) all deeply impressed and attentive.—It has been said, that the proudest day of the Bishop's life was that on which he bade farewell to the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, in the midst of an assemblage of all that was dignified and venerable in his own church, and when the eloquence even of his beautiful language was forgotten in the pathetic fervour of that pious feeling which it expressed ; but we look with a more lively interest on the head of the Indian Church, acting the part of the zealous yet humble missionary, and collecting around him a small but devout congregation in the centre of a distant land. But " where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."

[ocr errors]

From Monghyr the Bishop proceeded to Patna, where the service was performed in a large and handsome room, at the request of Sir C. Doyley; and the Bishop preached to about fifty, and administered the sacrament to thirty of the upper and middling ranks. At Dinapore the interests of the Church were in a very depressed and discouraging state, “ What I saw and heard at and after Church, made me low and sad.” The heat also was peculiarly oppressive. The Bishop, however, did not find any ground for censure in the conduct of the chaplain, who was suffering from the negligence of his predecessor ; but with that conciliating and persuasive courtesy which none could withstand, he set himself to correct or to mitigate the evil. Who indeed could refuse to concur with such a man ?

During the drive, I endeavoured to put Mr. Northmore in the way of getting some of those aids from the military officers of the cantonment, to which, by the regulations of Government, he is entitled. And afterwards at dinner, where were present most of the officers now in garrison, I succeeded, I hope, in getting the re-establishment of the school, together with the assurance from the colonel of the European regiment, that he would urge his recruits to attend, and promote only those men to be non-commissioned officers who could read and write; a measure which would soon make reading and writing universal. The brigade-major was not present, but I said all I could to the colonel about the lending library, and a more regular attendance of the troops in Church, and was glad to find what I said extremely well taken. The library I think I have secured, since every body present seemed pleased with the idea, when the nature of its contents and the system of circulation were explained. The heat was something which a man who had not been out of Europe would scarcely conceive, and the party, out of etiquette on my account, were all in their cloth uniforms. I soon put them at their ease, however, in this particular, and I am almost inclined to hope that the white jackets, which were immediately sent for, put them in better humour both with me and my suggestions.—Vol. I. P. 248.

On the 26th of August, the Bishop arrived at Buxar, wherė, as he could not remain, without great inconvenience, over Sunday, the Europeans at the station, amounting to 150, thankfully agreed 10 assemble if the Bishop would give them prayers and a sermon at ten the next day, to which of course he gladly consented. The account of the service, which was attended by some natives, is highly interesting. At this place the Church Missionary Society have a school, the children of which were examined, much to his satisfaction, by the Bishop. He preached at Ghazeepoor on the 29th, and administered the sacrament to a small but very attentive congregation, almost exclusively of the higher class, and afterwards examined some children from the regimental school, which appeared well managed. September 5th, the Bishop consecrated the church, confirmed, and administered the sacramant at Secrole—the number of communicants amounted to fifty, and to the natives he gave the communion, with the accompanying words, in their own language. Of the Mission School, containing 140 boys, which he examined the next day, he emphatically says, “ The boys were very fond of the New Testament, and I can answer for

their understanding it. I wish a majority of English school-boys might appear equally well informed.'

At Benares, the Holy City, containing 582,000 inhabitants, about 500 miles from Calcutta, the Bishop continued till the 10th. Our readers will be gratified with a judicious regulation of the Bishop respecting the Church Missionaries, and a brief summary of his labours during his continuance there. Be it remembered, that this labour was in a country where labour is often death.

The custom of street-preaching, of which the Baptist and other dissenting missionaries in Bengal are very fond, has never been resorted to by those employed by the Church Missionary Society, and never shall be as long as I have any influence or authority over them. I plainly see it is not necessary; and I see no less plainly that though it may be safe among the timid Bengalees, it would be very likely to produce mischief here. All which the missionaries do is, to teach schools, to read prayers, and preach in their Churches, and to visit the houses of such persons as wish for information on religious subjects. Poor Amrut Row, the charitable Ex-Peishwa (whose ashes I saw yet smoking on Ali Bhaee's Ghât as I passed it) was I find one of those inquirers. Mr. Morris the missionary had received a message with his Highness's compliments, desiring him to call on him the middle of the week, as he “ was anxious to obtain a further knowledge of Christianity.” It is distressing to think that this message was deferred so long, and that, short as the interval which he had calculated on was, his own time was shorter still. Yet surely one may hope for such a man that his knowledge and faith may have been greater than the world supposed, and that, at all events, the feeling which made him, thus late in life, desirous to hear the truth, would not be lost on Him whose grace may be supposed to have first prompted it.—Pp. 299, 300.

This evening I dined with Mr. Sands, one of the circuit judges, at whose house I had the pleasure to find Mr. Melville, who had just arrived from Ghazepoor. He and Mr. Macleod offered again to take me to Benares, which, as they said, I had only half seen. I was, however, thoroughly tired with the days of bustle I had gone through. On Sunday I had three services; on Monday one, the consecration of the burial ground, besides the school-examination. On Tuesday I had been sight-seeing from five till nearly ten o'clock; to-day I was out an almost equal time, similarly employed, besides a regular evening drive, and receiving and paying visits, while all the intervals between these engagements were occupied with reading and answering a large mass of papers from Bishop's College, Madras, and Calcutta. I therefore begged leave to postpone any further researches till my next visit. To see it as it deserves, indeed, Benares would require a fortnight.-P. 302.

On the 10th of September, the Bishop proceeded to Chunar, a few miles above Benares, where is an establishment of the Church Missionary Society, and a neat and beautiful Church, which, we greatly regret to learn, is now unfit for use, being built on an unfavourable foundation. We cannot do better than close our view of the Bishop's progress, which we hope to resume and finish next month, with the gratifying account of the proceedings at Chunar.

September 12.--This morning I had the agreeable surprise to find that Messrs. Macleod and Frazer had come over from Benares during the night. We went to Church together, where I also found Mr. Morris. I had consequently four Clergymen with me, besides the catechists Bowley and Adlington,-a more numerous body than could, thirty years ago, have been mustered in the whole

[blocks in formation]
« ForrigeFortsæt »