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in the County of Salop, April 20, 1823. By the Rev. Reg. Heber. Second Edition.

4. The Omnipresence of God; a Sermon preached August 5, 1825, on the Consecration of the Church of Secrole, near Benares. By Reginald Lord Bishop of Calcutta. Calcutta. 1826.


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F God has no need of human learning,' retorted South on the Puritans of his day, still less has he need of human ignorance:' and too truly has this been seen in much of the history of the attempts to Christianise the East. A sanguine spirit has gone forth thither, expecting ends without means-hailing the most equivocal symptoms as infallible signs of conversion-prompting replies to the listless heathen, and then recording those parrotwords as spontaneous tokens of grace. To every sentence which one of the missionaries addressed to a man before him, covered with cow-dung, he received as an answer, Nisam! (most certain!) pronounced with great gravity, and accompanied by a sober nod of the head. I was much cheered,' says the worthy teacher, by his approving so cordially the doctrines of salvation:'-and if here the questions had ended, this man would have had as good right to be enrolled amongst the lists of converted heathens as many more; but, unluckily, it was further asked, 'How old are you?' How long have you been Sunyasee?'-to which he replied, with the same emphasis as before, Nisam! Nisam !' The missionary should ever be on his guard against exciting the suspicions of the people of England that his work is hollow and unsound,―he should be slow to claim conquests which cool-headed men at home may think his desultory mode of warfare not likely to achieve. The people of England are not ignorant of the boasts of the Roman Catholic teachers in the same field; as many as they could baptise (and in some countries they are said to have made short work of it, by swinging a besom) were registered as converts, and reported as living proofs of their amazing success. And we all know what has been the consequence. Of late years, however, and especially amongst the Protestant missions of our own church, far greater caution has been observed; and now (except, perhaps, in a few instances where the native catechists recommend to the missionaries candidates for baptism, for whose competency they are themselves the vouchers) a degree of hesitation is felt about admitting to this rite, that some may think, and perhaps justly think, more than even prudence demands. That error, however, if error it be, is on the right side.

Already, by all who do not wish to be blind, some symptoms of progress may be traced. Till within these few years the reluct ance of the Brahmins to communicate the contents of their sacred


books was insuperable; now, every European, who has the curiosity, is permitted to look into those mysteries, and acquaint himself with what a Hindoo professes, which will often furnish not the worst arguments against what he practises. Martyn durst not introduce into his schools his version of the parables, and acquiesced, of necessity, in the use of a Hindoo poem on an avatar of Vishnu, which had no other merit than that of being unintelligible to the children: but at this day the gospels are freely read, as far as the teachers think fit to impart them; boys of all ranks, from the Brahmin to the Soodra, are assembled together, under the same roof; and places are won and lost in the classes without any reference to caste or colour. When one of the church missionaries was first appointed to the school at Burdwan, not a boy would consent to abide on the same premises with him; by degrees they were induced to become more familiar—at length to attend worship-and at last (except during the holidays) to remain with him altogether. At Badagamme, in Ceylon, we are told that the children of different castes may be seen seated on mats, eating and drinking together, with the utmost apparent good will;-a novel spectacle, even in that island of promise. It is not more than five or six years ago since the project for educating females in India was reckoned hopeless; now, upwards of thirty girls' schools are in activity at Calcutta alone. At Mirzapore, where a chapel has been established for Bengalee preaching, the congregation changes several times perhaps during a sermon, as the curiosity or patience of the hearers becomes exhausted; nor is it a symptom of small importance that, whilst few old people are observed there, the young are always to be found in considerable numbers. We are told by Colonel Phipps, (who resided several months near Juggernaut, and was present at the great annual festival,) that the practice which but recently prevailed of enticing pilgrims to cast themselves under the wheels of the car has now ceased; that the disgusting images with which it was decorated have been removed, and that the outer walls of the temple art purged of the like emblems of impurity. Where there is shame,' (says Johnson,) there may in time be virtue.' Again, while Martyn found himself every where regarded with a degree of suspicion and reserve, that almost shook his better purpose, the late Bishop Heber, we understand, discovered his office to be magnified far beyond his hopes or expectations; received a cordial welcome from those who, some few years earlier, would barely have endured his presence; and was solicited to despatch ordained ministers to several stations that had been hitherto neglected, with an earnestness which could not be mistaken. We could adduce many other facts, relating indeed to individuals, but

still above all suspicion, to prove that the mind of the natives is becoming more busy about religious truth-but we abstain, from dislike to a species of argument which is justly listened to with extreme caution, and because we would not, in any degree, contribute to the growth of a spirit which, proclaiming A to be all that could be wished,'-B a pleasing lad, affectionate and serious,' C (who, however, afterwards, poor fellow, trained off) very attentive, and of a dwarfish stature,'-announces, on the other hand, with detestable presumption, that G had been suddenly removed by cholera morbus, just when, in spite of all advice and admonition, he was determined to help a party of Roman Catholics to act a play!

Caste is undoubtedly the great obstacle to the conversion of the East, but it is not an insurmountable obstacle. It existed, with many other Indian peculiarities of the present day, before the age of Arrian; yet Christianity made its way on the coast of Malabar in spite of it. Certain it is, also, that many natives in our own times have actually courted baptism, and thereby broken caste, even where the caste was honourable; and that more have been prevented from taking the same step, by the importunate entreaties of parents and friends, seconded, in some cases, by the disinterested recommendation of the missionaries themselves. It is not, indeed, by any measure which cometh of observation' that a death-blow can be dealt to this deep-rooted institution;—but time and Christianity will do the work in peace. Thus it is that slavery, in almost all Christian countries, has disappeared, no man knowing when or how-not by the triumphant issue of a servile war, not by any sudden measures of legislatorial emancipation,— but through the operation of the eternal laws of social progress fixed by Providence, and especially, as we cannot but believe, by the slow yet sure operation of that very principle which is now beginning to work in India. Thus it is that witchcraft, which so few generations back held firm possession of the faith of our forefathers, and against which even the lofty mind of a Sir Matthew Hale was not proof, has been quietly laid to sleep. What prejudice of caste could be stronger than the principle of religious intolerance in our own country three centuries ago, when even Cranmer could sully his fair fame by one miserable, though, no doubt, most conscientious compliance with it; and what is, perhaps, more remarkable, when, in a subsequent age, and after the tempest of the Reformation had well nigh subsided, even the amiable Bishop Jewell could breathe the temper which spake in James and John at the Samaritan village, in one solitary sentence of his immortal Apology? But years rolled on, and the better spirit was silently prevailing. Through Hooker, who now appeared, its advance may be traced; though his wri

(which, however, are of a defensive rather than an aggressive character) occasionally deal out blows against the captious adversaries of the church which he revered, with an asperity savouring more of the times than the man, yet never would they deliver over an heretical offender to the secular arm; and, in the next century, toleration was openly and professedly abetted in a work, which, as it was the first, so it remains the ablest, vindication of the cause— "The Liberty of Prophesying.'-With these and many more such instances before us, we cannot but look forward to the time when Brahmin and Soodra shall have the relation to each other of gentleman and peasant, and no other-and this the more confidently, because there is good reason to believe that caste is as much a civil as a religious institution,—as much founded upon convenience as upon conscience.

Such a consummation the establishment of a national church among our own countrymen scattered over India was eminently calculated to advance; and in selecting the founder of that church, (a matter of no small importance to its future fortunes,) a most sound judgment was exercised. The hints for his conduct in India, which Dr. Middleton committed to writing whilst on ship-board, and which are given in Archdeacon Bonney's Life of him, are worthy of all praise; and to that spirit of piety which influenced him, both in the acceptance and discharge of his high functions, were added, talents for business, and a practical wisdom, which enabled him to struggle with difficulties that would have overwhelmed a mind of a different construction, and to devise measures and regulations of ecclesiastical polity for the infant church, under which, by God's blessing, it will for ever prosper. Still his firmness (and few men had more) was not unfrequently put to the proof. The appointment of a bishop at all was considered by many a dangerous experiment; and perhaps a jealousy of investing him with too ample powers was the natural consequence. It must, for example, have been vain to expect that a knowledge of Christianity should be diffused on any great scale, without the liberal help of native preachers, over such a country as India-more especially when the civil government cannot, for obvious reasons, give more than their best wishes to the work. The history of our own Reformation (were not the reason of the thing enough) might have established this truth; and whilst Wales, and the Norman Isles, where the new doctrines were taught by ministers of their own, became speedy and sincere converts to those doctrines, Ireland, which was visited by English instructors only,-men whose speech was strange and offensive to the great majority of the inhabitants,-never was made fully acquainted with the reformed faith; and so, that critical day being suffered to pass unimproved,


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proved, has entailed upon the sister-kingdoms, in our own times, a melancholy division of heart. The privilege, nevertheless, of ordaining native Christians was withheld from Dr. Middleton; and though he subsequently sued for it under restrictions, it was still denied to him. On trial, however, it was found that a bishop had not been nearly so mischievous as had been apprehended. No rebellion had followed his appointment; the rupees had continued to drop as fast as before into the Company's treasury: and accordingly, one of the first acts of Dr. Middleton's successor was to ordain a native Christian. Nor was this the only thorn in the side of our first Indian bishop. It may be gathered from his two latter charges, how much he suffered from the divisions which he saw amongst the people, and that the want of unity in church doctrine and discipline afforded him a subject of severe mortification-of mortification proportioned to the strength of his reasonable conviction that every departure from the tenets of the church of England was a departure from sound faith and primitive practice. Baptists, Independents, Wesleyan Methodists and Presbyterians were all struggling for precedence; and the poor heathen lookerson might well be perplexed with unnecessary difficulties when they perceived that the Christian doctors themselves agreed in nothing but in mutual accusations of error. Having borne up, however, against these difficulties as few men could have done; and having wielded the powers of a bishop for nearly nine years, with a wisdom that has procured for him the admiration of all lovers of our church, this excellent man was gathered to his fathers; and was succeeded by one, of whom, if we should now speak somewhat more at large, our excuse must be found in the extraordinary degree of public sympathy with which his recent and untimely death has been regarded, both in England and India.

Reginald Heber was the son of the Rev. Reginald Heber, of Marton, in Yorkshire, and of Mary, daughter of the Rev. Dr. Allanson, of the same county. His father lived just long enough to witness his youthful honours; his mother still survives to lament his early death. He was born April 21st, 1783, at Malpas, in Cheshire, a living at that time held by Mr. Heber, as was shortly afterwards that of Hodnet, in Salop, which, together with the estate, had come into possession of his family by a marriage with an heiress of the ancient and honoured name of Vernon. In his childhood, Reginald Heber was remarkable for the eagerness with which he read the Bible, and the accuracy with which he remembered it; a taste and talent which subsequent acquirements and maturer years only served to strengthen, so that a great portion of his reading was intended, or at least was employed, to illustrate the Scriptures; and perhaps few men of his


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