Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

The friends of the Bible Society in India, acting upon the same principle, have endeayored to ascertain the order of the respective claims of the various classes of persons in India, claims arising from their relation to us, or their

[blocks in formation]

The European regiments now in the country, having been already supplied with the English Scriptures, it became a duty to consider to whom next they should direct their attention.

This point was soon determined, and they feel no doubt, that the British public in India will entirely agree with them, in considering the state of the native Christians, as requiring immediate attention.

Their present object being of considerable magnitude, they feel themselves justified in requesting assistance; and, from a view of its obvious propriety, they have no hesitation in believing, that their countrymen will cordially co-operate with them in the execution of their plan

Let me be allowed to exhort you to this good work, while I prosecute my subject.

II. We are commanded to do good unto all men, but especially to them who are of the household of faith.

We should indeed be always superior to those petty prejudices and partialities, which confine and cramp the energies of many, and imitate the grace of Him, who causeth his sun

to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

But we shall also be following the method of his grace by doing good, more especially to the household of faith. The Lord is good to all

, and his tender mercies are over all his works; but The Lord loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. And so ought we. The household of faith should be our peculiar care. The consideration of this duty we proposed to make the second part of our subject.

The household of faith means, all those who believe in our Lord Jesus Christ and are baptized in his name. All these are one, united to one another in him, as the Lord hath said, I in them and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one. In this their united capacity, they are often compared to a body, of which Christ is the head; sometimes to a building, of which he is the foundation: but here to a family, of which God is the Father.

The last representation was the most appropriate in this place, for, because we are naturally disposed to benefit our own families, it was proper to remind us that all believers in Christ are a part of the same family as ourselves. The account which we have of this . family in the word of God is, that they were once strangers and foreigners, but are now become the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. They receive the spirit of adoption, and are led by him, and being children they are heirs, heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ.

[ocr errors]

The individuals which compose the family, are connected with one another by bonds more indissoluble far than the tie of consanguinity. In earthly families the father dies, and the children separate, and they are seldom cordially united, though they live together. They neither form one body, nor are animated by one spirit, nor pursue the same ends, nor correspond in taste and inclination, nor serve the same master; but choosing each a different profession, they leave their home as fast as opportunities are afforded them, and at last seem almost to forget that they ever lived under the same roof. Not so the family of faith. There there is one body and one spirit, as they are called also in one hope of their calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in them all. Bound thus together by every tie, are we not affectionately exclaiming with the Psalmist, Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. For my brethren and companions sakes I will now say, Peace be within thce?

We will take it for granted that this is the sentiment of your hearts. Only two things therefore remain to be considered; first, where is this family to be found? and, secondly, what can be done for them? The first question we have already answered; you need not go out of India to look for the family: they dwell in the land, and are natives of it: and the only favor we ask for them is, the present of a Bible.

The native Christians of India may be arranged, according to their languages, in four divisions.

1. The Portuguese, of whom there are about 50,000. On the Malabar coast alone there are 36,000;* at Calcutta 7,000; in Ceylon 5,000. Besides these, there are settlements of Portuguese all along the coast from Madras to Cape Comorin, and families of them are to be found in all the principal towns on the Ganges and Jumna. They are more or less mixed with the natives, and their language has in consequence lost much of its purity; but there is no reason to believe, that the version of the Scriptures, in the pure Portuguese, would not be perfectly intelligible and highly acceptable to them. Copies of the Portuguese Scriptures could be procured immediately from England, and they might be put into circulation without difficulty, because here, as well as in Europe, the Roman Catholic priests are no longer averse to the translation and dispersion of the Scriptures.

2. The next class of Christians to be noticed are those of Tanjore, who were converted to the Christian faith chiefly by the labors of Swartz. They are in number about 12,000 and speak the Tamul. A version of the Scriptures in this language was made long ago by Fabricius, one of the Danish Missionaries, who devoted his whole life to the work.*

* Adams's Religious World displayed, Vol. i, page 211. + Extract of a letter from Dr. John, dated Tranquebar, 15th November, 1809. “The Portuguese Old and New Testament, would be most acceptable and a blessing, not only to Portuguese protestants, but also to many Roman Catholic padres and Christians, at Madras, St. Thome, Sadras, Pondicherry, Cuddalore, Porto Novo, Tranquebar, Tanjore, Manar, Ceylon, and in short at all the other chief places, as far as Goa and Bombay; many of the Roman Catholics are not so averse to the

reading of the Bible as before, and many even request them from us." To which I add, that Antonio, a Roman Catholic Missionary, at Boglepoor, on the Ganges, has trans lated the Gospels and the Acts, into the dialect of the people of that district. Se bastiani, late a missionary in Persia, has almost finished a version of the New Testet ment, in Persian.

These people are all protestants, every one of them can read the Bible,t and their desire to be more fully supplied with the Scriptures, appears from a letter sent by the Missionaries who superintend them.[

Last year, at the present season, these circumstances were stated to you; and, with a

* The excellence of his version, is thus attested:

Extract of a letter from the Reverend Marmaduke Thompson, Madras: “In answer to your question, Did Fabricius translate and print the Old Testament, or any part of it? I am happy to tell you, (considering his universally acknowledged talents, as a Tamul scholar) he translated the whole. The translation was executed with the greatest care. Mr. Fabricius having carefully prepared his translation, sent it sheet by sheet to the Missionaries at Cuddalore, Gericke and Hutteman, for examination and correction; from them it passed to the Danish Missionaries who were then numerous, and of most respectable talents, and from them to the native translator to the Danish government, and then returned with their notes, corrections, &c. to Mr. Fabricius, by whom it was completely revised and sent to Tranquebar to be printed, under the especial care of two Missionaries, of whom Dr. Rotler was one; and they spared,

he tells me, no pains to have it executed most correctly, which it is generally thought to be. Dr. John writes me, the late Mr. Fabricius was in respect of the Tamul language, superior to his cotemporary brethren, especially in writing, in which he was engaged at home, the greatest part of his life. Fabrícius died at the age of 80. + Dr. Buchanan's letters from the coast.

| Extract of a letter from Messrs. Kohloff and Horst, to Mr. Brown. “With the most li emotion of joy and gratitude we adore the loving kindness and mercy of our dear Lord, who hath disposed the respected Bible Society to afford us their benign assistance for diffusing the divine light of the Holy Scriptures, among so many thousand souls, who are perishing for lack of knowledge. May the Lord crown the pious designs of that worthy Society with the most ample success, and themselves with righteousness, life and glory everlasting!"

“We are in the utmost want of Tamul Bibles, and likewise of Portuguese, though Rot to the same extent.”

“The number of native Protestants belonging to the Tanjore Mission alone, including the Tennavelly district, amounts nearly to twelve thousand, none of whom (the native teachers excepted) have any Old Testament, and not one in two or three hundred has even the New Testament. Almost all the men, particularly to the south of Tanjore, know how to read, and are very eager after books."

“If only every tenth person among them had a copy of the Holy Scriptures, we should soon see the word of Christ dwelling in them richly in all wisdom, and his saving knowledge spread among their heathen and popish neighbors.”

Our Portuguese christians are likewise in great want of Bibles." “The Madras edition of the Tamul

New Testament ought to be our standard, it being the work of that unparalleled Tamul scholar and poet, Mr. Fabricius, whose diction is much more classical and elegant than that of the Tranquebar translators, though their translation is faithful enough, Mr. Fabricius was likewise an excel lent Portuguese scholar and poet.

« ПредишнаНапред »