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were but inadequately instructed; and if well-instructed Native Preachers could be had, we should soon see multitudes of converts, and religion in India blossoming as the rose; and holy incense arising from every hut, and village, and town, of this extensive empire, to the glory of our Redeemer.
Rev. C. PIFFARD.-It has often been remarked, and perhaps with some truth, that there has not been much success in the conversion of the heathen, though many Missionaries have been sent to this country. This want of success may, in a great measure, be accounted for, from the fact that many of them have not been engaged in direct Missionary work, and that many have been cut off by death, or had to return home either on account of their health or that of their families. Should not this lead us to educate young men of this country to engage in the work? Though, through the present state of society, we might not easily find young men possessed with as much energy and life as in Europe; yet, as sooner or later this must be done, should we not now endeavour to stir up the Christians of this country to come forward in this all-important work? Many advantages could result from this plan. It would enkindle a Missionary spirit here-we should get Missionaries who could bear the climate, who could speak immediately the language of the natives with propriety and ease, and who, from the natural love of one's own country, would feel greater interest.
Want of much success may also have arisen from not having made a suitable use of the native converts. Had they and their families been suitably trained, we might now have had many suitable and respectable agents.
Many, under-rating the want of success, attribute the failure to the unsuitableness of the measures which Missionaries formerly employed. This I think is incorrect. Many plans may be now formed, which formerly could not. The former Missionaries have paved the way for us. Some, for example, think the Bengálí schools useless. Why? Can the reading and explaining of the Scriptures and Catechism by a pious Missionary be a vain and useless work? Will it not have a material influence in preparing the rising generation to embrace the Gospel? Some would have only English Schools. Then, as only the middle and higher classes of society can attend, it implies that it is right for the follower of the meek and lowly Jesus to despise the vast majority of the poor, who cannot be benefitted by such schools. It appeared to Mr. P. that instead of preferring this plan to that, we should make use of all the means, which can be employed to advance the cause of Christ, remembering that though sciences may be and are useful, after all, the Gospel is the only means of saving a lost and guilty world.
The Rev. D. EWART was unable to say much on this interesting and important question, owing to the short period which he had spent in this country. He thought, however, that were people in Britain, or in any distant country, where the peculiar obstacles opposing the Missionary, in this field of labour, are but partially known, to consider the present state of progress in Missionary operations in Bengal, they might possibly come to the conclusion, that greater success ought to have followed the exertions made. Many in this country might probably come to a different conclusion. The obstacles opposing the propagation of Christian truth were many; and the most formidable of these opposed the Missionary in the very threshold of his enterprize. One of the greatest obstacles was the confirmed prejudices of the Hindus. Experience had proved, that the best way to eradicate these was by giving education to the people. Sound instruction was fast overthrowing the idolatry of the country. Caste too was evidently giving way to more liberal views, and thus a door might
soon be opened to the higher classes. The Hindus could not listen to an appeal made to our Sacred Scriptures, without replying, " That they too had sacred books, rendered venerable by a much higher antiquity than we claimed for ours. If we respected and obeyed ours, had they not much more reason to venerate theirs?" It was well known that, could the science of the Hindus be shown to be incorrect, their confidence in the Shástras must immediately give way. Hence the propriety of doing the very thing to which some of the previous speakers had objected. If education be given at all, those branches ought to be taught which have a direct tendency to remove prejudices, and lay the mind open for the reception of pure religious truth. Instruction in geography and astronomy was therefore of decided importance, as the correct knowledge of these branches of science strikes directly at the root of the Hindu system; and therefore, prepares the native mind for the reception of the Gospel.
Mr. E. farther stated, that though he was still deficient in the necessary qualifications for engaging in the direct Missionary work of preaching to the natives in their own language; yet if spared in health and strength, he hoped one day to be able to do this. But, even now, and by means of the school, he had from the very day of his arrival in Calcutta, access to numbers of the native youth, to whom he had, during a portion of time almost every day, been enabled to communicate Christian truths in a language which they could understand.
One great cause of the failure of Missionary exertions seemed to be the inconsistent conduct of professing European Christians. What could Hindus think of a religion, for which many of those who professed to adhere to it shewed no respect? It therefore seemed justifiable and proper for Missionaries, who lived at remote stations, or at places where no provi sion was made for preaching to Europeans, to endeavour to gather round them congregations of their countrymen, if this could be done without interfering with necessary Missionary work. The good effects of presenting Christianity ostensibly to the natives might reward the additional labour bestowed in this way.
Every one acceded to the necessity of some person giving his time and attention for preparing translations of the Scriptures, and of proper religious books. And preaching was confessed by all to be the direct and great means appointed by God for the conversion of men. Almost every
speaker had allowed the vast importance of raising up native preachers; and none would deny the equal importance of having them respectably educated. Every English school, conducted by Missionaries, ought to aim at that end. The achievement of such a result was one of the great purposes for which the General Assembly's Institution had been established, and for which it is carried on.
Rev. C. C. ARATOON wished to say nothing in addition to what had been already advanced by others.
Rev. T. Boaz felt much pleasure in having proposed the question under discussion, as it had corrected his views. Although success had not been equal to what might have been expected, yet he was now satisfied that it was equal to the amount of labor bestowed. He considered the preaching of the gospel to the heathen in their own tongue, the grand work of the Missionary; and thought that one great cause of comparative little success, was the want of concentration of labourers: strength was divided, and thus little of moment was effected.
Rev. Mr. LACROIX remarked, that being, in his capacity of chairman of the meeting, the last to give his opinion, much which he had intended to say had been already touched upon by former speakers. He would therefore not trouble the meeting with repetition. Mr. L. however, defined his idea of success, and said it was altogether a relative thing; so that what
is success at a certain time and under certain circumstances, would not be so at another time and under other circumstances. The present period is confessedly one of mere preparation,-it is the clearing and sowing time of Missionaries;--and viewed as such, Mr. L. thought, that in the way of preparation for the final reception of the gospel, under the existing difficulties, the success that has been obtained is commensurate with the number of Missionaries employed, and the time they have been engaged in their work.
Mr. L. was further of opinion, that success might have been greater, if Missionary operations had not been conducted in so desultory a way. He recommended therefore, not only concentration as a principle to be acted upon in Missionary enterprise, but also more unity of operation among individual Missionaries, and among the different Societies labouring in this country, which in his opinion were only different corps of the same grand army.
Mr. L. further thought, that the Mission in Bengal had not been strengthened by fresh reinforcements from Europe as it ought to have been; so that the few Missionaries in this country, far from having it in their power to go forward as opportunities presented themselves, were scarcely able to keep the ground already gained. He would therefore recommend that the Societies at home should be earnestly requested to send out more labourers, to enable the Missionaries of greater experience and longer standing to prosecute their labours beyond their present limited sphere.
[At the close of the discussion it was determined to take into consideration at an early Meeting, what new plans, or modifications of old ones, appeared in the general opinion of the brethren worthy of adoption by individual Missionaries, or of recommendation to public Societies; and how far the labours of all the Missionaries assembled could be carried on so as to secure still more unity of design and concentration of effort.
It is not improbable we may be allowed to insert notes of this discussion also in a future No. of the OBSERVER.]
III.-Original Letter from the late Rev. Dr. Carey.
[The following letter was addressed by the late Dr. Carey to one of his sons, when proceeding to Amboyna as Superintendent of the Native Christian schools supported by Government in that and the neighbouring Islands. The letter is highly characteristic of the venerable author, exhibiting at once his love of God and love of nature, and we doubt not will interest and benefit our readers.-ED.]
MY DEAR J.
You are now engaging in a most important undertaking, in which not only you will have my prayers for your success, but those of all who love our Lord Jesus Christ, and know of your engagement. I know a few hints for your future conduct, from a parent who loves you tenderly, will be acceptable, and shall therefore now give you them, assured that they will not be given in vain.
1. Pay the utmost attention at all times to the state of your own mind, both towards God and man; cultivate an intimate acquaintance with your own heart; labour to obtain a deep sense of your depravity; and trust always in Christ. pure in heart, and meditate more upon the pure and holy character of God. Love a life of prayer and devotedness to God. Cherish every amiable and right disposition towards man. Be
mild, gentle, and unassuming, yet firm and manly. As soon as you perceive any thing wrong in your spirit or behaviour, set about correcting it, and never suppose yourself so perfect as to need no correction.
2. You are now a married man. Be not satisfied with conducting yourself towards your wife with propriety, but let love to her be the spring of your conduct towards her. Esteem her highly, and so act, that she may be induced thereby to esteem you highly. The first impressions of love arising from form or beauty will soon wear off, but the esteem arising from excellency of disposition and substance of character will endure and increase. Her honour is now your's, and she cannot be insulted without your being degraded. I hope as soon as you get on board, and are settled in your cabin, you will begin and end each day in uniting together to pray to and praise God. Let religion always have a place in your house. If the Lord bless you with children, bring them up in the fear of God; and be always an example to others of the power of godliness. This advice I give also to Eliza, and, if followed, you will be happy.
3. Behave affably and genteelly to all, but not cringingly or unsteadily towards any; feel that you are a man, and always act with that dignified sincerity and truth which will command the esteem of all: seek not the society of worldly men, but when called to be with them, act and converse with propriety and dignity to do this, labour to gain a good acquaintance with history, geography, men and things. A gentleman is the next best character after a Christian, and the latter includes the former. Money never makes a gentleman, much less does a fine appearance; but an enlarged understanding joined to engaging manners.
4. On your arrival at Amboyna, your first business must be to wait on Mr. Martin. You should first send a note to inform him of your arrival, and know when it will suit him to receive you. Ask his advice upon every occasion of importance, and communicate freely to him all the steps you take.
5. As soon as you are settled, begin your work; get a Malay who can speak a little English, and with him make a tour of the islands, and visit every school: encourage all you see worthy of encouragement, and correct with mildness, yet with firmness. Keep a journal of the transactions of the schools, and enter each one under a distinct head therein. Take account of the number of scholars, the names of the school-masters; compare the progress at stated periods, and, in short, consider this as the work which the Lord has given you to do.
6. Do not, however, consider yourself as a mere superintendant of schools; consider yourself as the spiritual instructor of the people, and devote yourself to their good. God has com
mitted the spiritual interests of these islands, 20,000 men or more, to you; a vast charge, but he can enable you to be faithful to the trust. Revise the Catechisms, Tracts, and School Books used among them, and labour to introduce among them sound doctrine and genuine piety. Pray with them as soon as you can, and labour after a gift to preach to them.
Form them into Gospel churches when you meet with a few who truly fear God; and as soon as you see any fit to preach to others, call them to the Ministry, and settle them with the Churches. You must baptize and administer the Lord's Supper according to your own discretion, when there is a proper occasion for it. Avoid indolence and love of ease, and never attempt to act the part of the great and gay in this world.
7. Labourincessantly to become a perfect master of the Malay language in order to this, associate with the natives; walk out with them; ask the name of every thing you see, and note it down; visit their houses, especially when any of them are sick. Every night arrange the words you get in alphabetical order; try to talk as soon as you get a few words, and be as soon as possible one of them; a course of kind and attentive conduct will gain their esteem and confidence, and give you an opportunity of doing much good.
8. You will soon learn from Mr. Martin the situation and disposition of the Alfoors, or original inhabitants, and will see what can be done for them; do not unnecessarily expose your life, but incessantly contrive some way of giving them the Word of Life.
9. I come now to things of inferior importance, but which I hope you will not neglect. I wish you to learn correctly the number, size, and geography of the islands; the number and description of inhabitants; their customs and manners, and every thing of note relative to them, and regularly communicate these things to me.
10. I wish you to pay the minutest attention to the natural productions of the islands, and regularly to send me all you can. Fishes and large animals must be excepted; but these you must describe. You know how to send birds and insects. Send as many birds of every description alive as you possibly can, and also small quadrupeds, monkeys, &c.; and always send a new supply by every ship.
Shells, including crabs', tortoises', &c. corals, stones of every description may be put in a box; but each should have a label, with the Malay or other country name, the place where found, &c. &c. Rough stones broken from the rock are preferable to such as are worn or washed round by the sea. Beetles,