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accomplished ? Shall we leave this national duty to the casual exertions of individuals, and of private societies? Or is it of no consequence, what kind of Bible is offered to India ? Is it thus that we treat our Christian subjects at home? The State undertakes to supply her children at home with the Holy Scriptures. The State takes charge of the Bible : guards the accuracy of its printing; commits the sale of it to proper authorities, and takes care that the supply shall be always equal to the demand. This is doing honour to the Word of God. But are not these Protestant Christians in the East, the children of the State also ? And does not the sacredness of the Bible extend beyond our own shores? On what principle then is it, that this privilege is to be denied to them ? Has the subject ever been considered ? Ought there not to be some mode of reporting, on the character of the various Translations of the Scriptures which are now in progress within the British dominions, that the translators may have their due reward in the thanks of the nation ; and that the nation may have confidence in the fidelity of the translations ?
There is one principal reason why Parliament should sanction the distribution of the Bible among our Christian subjects: namely, That Governors of districts in India, unless they be men who are friendly to Christianity, will not give themselves any trouble on the subject; and the hostility of a single public officer may stop thedistribution of Bibles, and shut out the heavenly gift from a whole Province.
The Roman Catholics in the South of India, will have no objection to receive the Bible. At present, even their priests are in general destitute of it. Hence it has come to pass, that, under a Christian name, the people are on the brink of Paganism.
A general hope is frequently expressed in England, That the people of India will, in some way or other, attain to civilization, under the auspices of our nation. The Legislature can certainly devise no more efficacious means of accomplishing this hope, than by making provision for the supply of the Holy Scriptures in every Province where they may be wanted. Thus would our Christian nation
the fountain of the waters of life" to the nations of the East.
We observed above, that the Roman Catholic in India has no objection to receive the Bible. There are other Christians who implore it.
Among the Christians in the East. the Syrian
Church of Malay-ala holds a conspicuous place. Had our own Church been accustomed, in time past to extend her boundary, and to look out for fit subjects whom she might unite with hers, self, and cherish with pious nurture and affection, with what lively interest would she have suddenly cast her eyes on the small but ancient Church of the Syrian Christians ! A Church, which can assert an antiquity reaching to the primitive ages, and which has yet preserved its independence unto this ;-a Church, which preserved the Bible and the use of it to the people, when it was shut to our own nation and to all Europe ;-a Church, which retains to this day, in its sacred services, that same language which our blessed Saviour spake in the streets of Jerusalem;
a Church, in fine, which now seeks the alliance of a respectable nation, that it may be defended against the power and solicitation of the Romish communion *.
The certain degeneracy of a Church, in consequence of the loss of the Bible, cannot be more strongly exemplified, than in the case of some of the Syrian Christians, who were proselyted to the Romish communion about three hundred years ago.
“ In passing through the Romish provinces in the East, " though the Author had before heard much of the Papal
corruptions, he certainly did not expect to see Chris“ tianity in the degraded state in which he found it. Of " the priests it may truly be said, that they are, in general, lying on the altar, opened it; but the reader may judge “ of his surprise, when he found it was a Syriac volume, ** and was informed, that the priest himself was a descen“ dant of the Syrian Christians, and belonged to what is now “ called the Syro-Roman Church, the whole service of whick " is in Syriac. Thus, by the intervention of the Papal
It ought not to be objected to such a people, that they do not hold all our Articles. We ought
“ better acquainted with the Veda of Brahmah, than with the
Gospel of Christ. In some places, the doctrines of both “ are blended. At Aughoor, situated between Trichinopoly “ and Madura, he witnessed in October 1806) a tower of “ Juggernaut, which was employed to solemnize Christian « festivals. The old priest, Josephus, accompanied him, “ when he surveyed the idolatrous car and its painted “ figures, and gave him a particular account of the various “ ceremonies which are performed, seemingly unconscious “ himself of any impropriety in them. The Author went. “ afterwards with him into the church, and seeing a book
power, are the ceremonies of Moloch consecrated, in a “ manner, by the sacred Syriac language.”—Christian Re. searches, p. 126. First Edition.
These are the Syrian Christians who are chiefly intended, in an account of the Syrian Church published last year, by “ the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.”
The Syro-Romish Churches are to be found in different districts in the South of India ; some in Malay-ala, and others in the adjoining provinces. They vary much in their appearance and character, according to the circumstances of their situation, since their separation from the ancient Church ; some being very decent in their ritual, and others declining (like those above-mentioned) to the practices of
to reflect, that although they have been subject in the course of ages, once to Nestorian Bishops,
the heathen. So that what is true of the inhabitants of one district, may be just the reverse in regard to those of another.
The Roman Catholics in our sister island
derive a useful lesson, from the above example, of the fatal consequences resulting to a Church, from the loss of the Bible. It is commonly said, among the Romish priesthood of Ireland, “ If the priests have got the Bible, the Church has got " the Bible."_This form of words is well calculated to delude the simple minds of the ignorant people. Whereas the very reverse is the truth ; " When the people have lost “ the Bible, the Church has lost it." This is a practical maxim, fully confirmed by the experience of ages, and illustrated in several countries at this time, and particularly in Ireland. It is a truth, which, we suppose, no intelligent Roman Catholic, of any education (certainly none iņ England) will deny; for “ to confine the Church of God to “ the priests,” is a sentiment which was only worthy of the dark
ages. Had “ the Book containing Divine instruction, intended by God for all mankind," been given to the common people in Ireland, as to those in England, at the era of the Reformation, there would not now be the contest which we see, between Light and Darkness. A nation, which has not the Bible, can never understand or coincide with the principles of a people whose minds have been expanded by the knowledge of the Bible. To allege that they can, is to do very
little honour to the Revelation of God. The chief emancipation which the common people of Ireland need,