« ПредишнаНапред »
zing the Hindooş, (even before there were Twinings and Scott Warings so covetous of disgrace as to rant about the danger and intolerance of such an attempt) that a passage to India could not be obtained in an English ship, they must have felt a less degree of zeal than good men are accustomed to feel for a great object, if they could not have resolved to put their undertaking on the ground of committing themselves to a Superior Power, and abiding the consequence. That consequence proved to be, an ultimate necessity of retiring from the British territory; and thus even an enemy might allow, that something like au even balance was struck between the missionaries and the Christian government, which they had so insulted and endangered, by venturing, unauthorised, to touch a corner of its million of square miles, with a view to impart the gospel to some of the miserable pagan inhabitants. Thus they went out unauthorised ; and if it should be admitted, that the refusal of a passage in an English shịp, was really and strictly a prohibition of their entering India, (which however their admission in India proved that it was not) and if it should then be asked, Was not this violating a primary Christian obligation of obedience to govern. incnt? It would become a Christian to answer, that this obligation does not extend to any thing purely religious; for if it did, it would by the same law extend to every thing in religion which it would be possible for a government to force within its cognizance, and would make it a duty to hold the authority of the magistrate more sacred than any other authority in the universe, even were he to forbid a Christian teacher to carry religious instruction into the next parish, or the next village, or the next house, or even avowedly and visibly to give religious instruction to che persons in his own house; and this would be an obligation, which we need yot say that no Christian's conscience was ever yet capable of feeling.
It should however be observed, that Messrs. Carey and Thomas and their friends, did not feel themselyes precisely in such a dilemma. They knew that the refusal of an anthorised passage did not amount to an absolute prohibition of their entering India ; and they kne v besides, that if it had, both our own and all other governments are willing to connive at many things which they do not choose expressly to authorise ; and they trusted that, if once they were in India, the dişinterested purity of their motives, and the peacefulneșs of their conduct, would secure them a silent tolerauion in the prosecution of a work, in which it would be evident it was impossible they could have any political or lucrativa object in view. Such a conniyance they did experience
t'a would have abbey did
considerable time, and were thankful that a purely benevolent and religious design could obtain even thus much indulgence ; while they knew that the purpose of solely making a fortune, would have obtained not tolerance, but a full legal sanction, for the departure from England, and the pursuit: in India.
After fixing their principal residence within the Danish settlement, they thought it right to continue to avail themselves of the privilege of connivance, to itinerate into the British dominións. Nothing was done clandestinely; the government knew that they travelled to various places to preach to the natives, and that they did this without passports ; it knew that they dispersed tracts and testaments; it knew that several missionaries had been gradually added to the number; and knowing all this, the government appointed the chief of these missionaries to a highly respectable station in the college of Fort William, while the principal clergymen of the Bengal establishment, became the zealous friends of the men and of their designs. Now what would have been thought of the sense of Mr, Carey and his associates, if they had been · seized with a violent anxiety to forego their privileges, and to fetter themselves with a law, of which the governing power was content to suspend the operation ?
Some acknowledgement is perhaps due to our author, for relieving the dull depravity of his uniform pages, with here and there an extra piece of folly, so Judicrous as to brisken the desponding reader, and enable him to get on half a sheet further. The best thing of this sort in his last pamphlet, is where he talks of the missionaries being "in open rebellion,” on the occasion of their pleading the rights of Danish sub-, jects, for the two additional ones who were commanded to return to Europe. To talk of nine men, without a pistol, sword, or pike, among them all, being “in open rebellion against the power of a great empire, had been almost sufficiently absurd, even for this unfortunate man and his associates, if these nine men had really been subjects of the British government; but it does sound like a fatuity in which this ill-fated man can have no riyal associates, when it is said of a company of persons who were absolutely the subjects of another government, the former seven by their formally recognised establishment under it for a number of years, and two strangers by their being added to the number, through the conveyance of an American ship cleared for Serampore. It was by sufferance, that they were at any time on British territory; but on the Danish they were by authority. We suppose our aythor, when he was at once an officer and cler.. gyman in India, used to get nito a violent fret when any
soldiers not belonging to the corps under his command hap. pened to be near him, and had not the manners humbly to ask for his orders, and devoutly listen to his reading of prayers. .
. By the way, he piques himself not a little on this exploit of reading prayers, and says, in so many words, he “ thinks he made a much better clergyman than any Calvinistic Methodist or Baptist in India would have made, for protestants of the church of England.” (Reply, p. 41.) Assuredly, had we been of his congregation, we should have endeavoured to comport ourselves in a manner worthy of protestants of the church of England; but yet we cannot help imagining the distress to which we might on some unfortunate occasion have been reduced, by the too possible circumstance of the worthy Major's Prayer-Book being mislaid or wickedly secreted. It would have overwhelmed us with mortification, to hear perhaps some ignorant corporal say to his comrade, that the Prayer-Book, not the man, was the chaplain : nothing indeed could have been more stupid or false, but still we fear we should have had no prayers that day. Or if, to complete the mischief, some layman, just like Mr. Carey, had by ill luck.happened to come among us at this moment of distress and confusion, and had obtained permission this once to pray for us, Major and all, in his devout, affectionate, and rational strain, with his fine fluency of expression, and a happy adaptation to immediate characters and circumstances, we cannot but fear that though we as well as the Major might have remained unshaken, the stupid soldiery might have fancied this a far superior kind of performance to the Major's reading, and might, the next Sunday, have deserted to the methodists by dozens, rank and file. The Major and we, however, should have entertained all due contempt for the taste and opinion of the rabble, the very dregs of the people.
Throughout the Major's pamphlets, especially the two latter ones, there is a most laborious effort to flatter and coax the clergy and other members of the established church, while an equal toil is sustained to bury alive all sectaries, and the missionaries as sectaries, under as large a heap of abuse as 'this man's vulgar malice could accumulate. But really even in this last humble vocation he fails sadly. He is too sterile even to invent or vary terms and phrases of obloquy ; and “nadmen,” and “illiterate bigots," with the addition of “hotheaded Calvinists,” nearly circumscribe the reach and 'resources of his vocabulary. This fact might warn him, that he has now done nearly all he can do, and had better be content without afflicting his faculties with any further trial, since
when a man fails in that thing which he is confessedly able to do best,, it is all over with him as to the matter of talents. And as to the attempt to cajole the members of the established church, 'it will defeat itself, we should think, as all serious persons in that church, who may read the Major's pamphlets, will adopt the memorable words of the antient, "What bad thing have we done, that has obtained us this man's praise ?" But, he will not leave them at a loss; he most fervently extols the church and its clergy for having scarcely ever made an effort to diffuse the gospel into heathen countries'; while the hated sectaries, without the smallest view to their own interest, are forsaking their homes, parting from their friends, surrender. ing for ever, all possibilities of ease, luxury, or wealth, and compassing sea and land to make proselytes.
nThis is the most sagacious artifice by which it was ever attempted to wheedle the members of the establishment, and the choitestribompliment .ever paid to their Obristian principles. But even if those Christian principles were as debased as he assumes, by extolling them on the ground of such merits and such a contrast, he will find that the members of the Church are not so bereft of policy as to thank hinn for his compliments, or allow him to constitute himself their representative They will be aware that nothing under heaven, would have a more powerful and instantaneous effect to multiply dissènten's, by driving conscientious men out of the church, than for the clergy and distinguished members of that church to suffer their principles to be identified, in the view of the public, with those of this unhappy man and his coadjutors: There may be some few clergymen who'would not. abscond) from their congregations and their Christian connexions; from the signominy of having been cited by him as coinciding with his notions and wishes; his friend the bishop of St. Asaph, of whom he asks, with an incomparably ludicrous. simplicity," was he. á bigot or irreligious ?” would no doubt, had he been living, have braved such disgrace; but the great majority of churchmen will feel it necessary to their characters, even if they did not to their consciences, to resist the attempt to brand them with the stigma of an alliance of principle with a man whorabhors nothing on learth so much as the lattempts of Christianity to extirpate the abominations of Paganism'; and some of the more serious of theń will be so confounded, to find that their church' must acknowledge such 'a mán for one of its members, that as the only consolation for belonging to it they will attach themselves wholly to that evangelical section of it which he hateso 121.ago
: '. The 'missionaries are sectaries, and therefore totally unfit and disqualified as a very large portion of these pamphlets is occupied in repeating, to teach Christianity, even if a mission were to be permitted in Hindostan. Now what is the
y are te articles, or members are inand that
mcaving of all this? Does the unfortunate man really mean to say that the established church is infallible, and that too, while it is beforé his face that its members are unable to agree as to the purport of its articles, or the extent of the obligation under which they are to be subscribed, and are indefinitely divided and opposed in their opinions, forming a political compact, for a temporal advantage, of religious parties who are respectively schismatics in each other's estimation? If the infallibility of such a church, or indeed of any church, is an absurdity too gross for even this man to advance, where is the sense or decency of railing against sectaries? If the church may be wrong, the sectaries, or some of them, may be right; the authority for imputing error is perfectly equal on either side, and is to other than freedom of individual judgernent, a freedom, évidently not to be contravened but by demonstrated infallibility or the vilest tyranny. But perhaps the Major, forbearing to make any claim of infallibility for the established church, and any pretence of better natural faculties in the minds of its members than in those of the sectaries, will say however that the religious' iustructions and studies, from which churchmen: form their theological opinions, are infinitely better adapted to give them a true knowledge of Christianity, and to prepare them to impart it to heathens, than those by which such men ás Mr. Carey and his friends are qualified for that important office. How so? The profound and devout study of the Scriptures is confessedly the grand process for understanding religion, and the sedulous, and repeated, and varied explication of them to persons under every diversity of circumstances, is the best imaginable discipline for acquiring the talent of instruction and persuasion; on this ground we inay defy any church in Europe, whether established or schismatical, to supply more accomplished missionaries than Mr. Carey and several of his friends, men whose biblical Jabours are prosecuted with an ardour' which threatens, our pagans at home, and the Brahmins and Bonzes of the East, with a translation of the bible into every language of Asia in the course of a few years, and who at the same titne baye preached more in a twelvemonth than perhaps any of the dignitaries of any establishment in Europe, And pray what does the sapience of our Major imagine it likely that the subscription to 39 articles, and the imposed hand of à prélate, could have added to men like these ; and whicb of the Chris tian Houtrines have they failed to understand or explain, for sant of these momentous pre-requisites ? But it is not the essential endowments of the uren that the Major would care about, if he could permit any mission at all to Hindostan. The only question with himn would be, whether they had passed Hough certain formalities of mere huinan and political. ap.