صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

their support and revival he saw the fairest hope of extending the church of Christ. Never shall I forget the warm expressions of his delight, when, on Easter-day, he gathered them around him as his children, as one family with ourselves, administered to them the body and blood of our common Saviour, and blest them in their native tongue and when, in the evening of that day, he had seen before him not less than 1,300 natives of those districts, rescued from idolatry and superstition, and joining as with one heart and voice in the prayers and praises of our church, I can never forget his exclamation, that he would gladly purchase that day with years of life. "Those of you who heard his parting address on the succeeding day from the grave of Schwartz, will never lose the deep impression of that solemn moment, when (as if he had foreseen that his departure was at hand) he commended you to God and to the word of his grace, charging you by the love of your Saviour and of each other, and animating you by the memory of your departed father, and by the near prospect of your eternal reward, to perseverance, fidelity, and Christian order. Of his last public ministra tions in this place I need not speak to you: the memory of them is fresh in every heart; you treasure them as the last words of a departed friend. You remember well the earnestness and affection of his manner, how he exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, that ye would walk worthy of God who hath called you to his kingdom and glory.' Alas! who could have foreseen, while hanging on those lips, that they would so soon be closed in death; that the voice of your shepherd, whom you had just begun to love, should be heard by you again no more for ever!"

But these apostolical labours were soon to close. The following brief memoranda will shew in what man

ner his last days and hours were occupied :-He arrived at Tanjore on the 25th March, 1826, having preached on the Crucifixion the preceding day, Good Friday, at Combaconum. On the 26th, Easter Sunday, English Divine Service was performed at the mission church in the Little Fort of Tanjore, and his lordship preached an eloquent and impressive sermon on the Resurrection; which, at the request of the native members of the congregation, he promised to have translated into the Tamul language and printed. In concluding the sermon, he, in the most feeling manner, impressed the duty of brotherly love upon all present, without regard to rank or colour. The Lord's Supper was administered to eighty-seven communicants; thirty belonging to the English congregation, and fiftyseven native Christians who understand the English language. Divine service was performed in the evening, at the same place, in the Tamul language. To the agreeable surprise of all present, his lordship pronounced the Apostolic Benediction in the Tamul language. On Easter Monday he held a confirmation. In the evening, Tamul Divine Service was held in the chapel in the mission garden. At the conclusion, the missionaries present received an affectionate and animated address from his lordship; who observed, that it was probably the last time that all present could expect to meet again in this world; and he exhorted them to diligence and perseverance, by the example of Schwartz, near whose remains he was then standing. His address will not soon be forgotten by those who had the privilege of hearing it. On the 28th, attended by his chaplain and several missionaries of the district, he paid a visit of ceremony to his highness the Rajah of Tanjore, under the customary honours. On the 29th and 30th, he visited and inspected the mission schools and premises. On the 31st he proceeded towards Trichinopoly,

where he arrived the following day. On Sunday, the 1st of April, he preached to a crowded audience, and, in the evening, confirmed forty young persons: after which he delivered a most impressive address. The next day, April 2d,was his last in this changeful world. "This morning," says the Rev J. Doran,one of the Church Missionary Society's missionaries," at six o'clock, I accompanied him to Fort Church, where he confirmed eleven native Christians. In going and returning, he was most affectionate in his manner; and talked freely on the glorious dispensation of God in Christ Jesus, and of the necessity which rested on us to propagate the faith throughout this vast country. On his return, he went to the bath, in which he had bathed the two preceding days but his servant, thinking that he remained long, opened the door, and saw him at the bottom of the water, apparently lifeless! The alarm was given-1 hastened to the spot-and, alas! mine was the awful task, together with Mr. Robinson, to drag his mortal remains from the water. All assistance was instantly procured-but in vain! The immortal inhabitant had forsaken its tenement of clay, doubtless to realize before the throne of the Lamb those blessings of which he, yesterday, spoke so emphatically and powerfully."

:

The mortal remains of this eminent man are deposited on the north side of the altar of the church of St. John in Trichinopoly.

It is not compatible with our limits to enumerate the many eulogies and deep regrets which followed upon the intelligence of this afflicting loss. At each of the three presidencies a public meeting was promptly held, and eagerly attended by every class of the population, including several of the chief official persons of each presidency, to consider the best means of evincing the respect and affection so widely cherished towards this excellent prelate.

The various speakers paid the highest tribute to his learning, his talents, his piety, his amiable virtues; and large sums have been subscribed towards erecting a monument at the cathedral of Calcutta, and another at Madras, besides endowing several scholarships in Bishop's College to be called after his lordship's name. We should gladly quote

various passages from the impressive addresses delivered at these meetings, as illustrating still further the Bishop's character; but our limits confining us to a single specimen, we must content ourselves with a paragraph or two from the remarks of the chairman at the Calcutta meeting.

[ocr errors]

"The first point," said Sir Charles Grey, "which I would notice was, that cheerfulness and alacrity of spirit which, though it may seem to be a common quality, is, in some circumstances, of rare value. Disappointments and annoyances came to him as they come to all, but he met and overcame them with a smile; and when he has known a different effect produced on others, it was his usual wish that they were but as happy as himself.' Connected with this alacrity of spirit, and in some degree springing out of it, was his activity: I apprehend that few persons, civil or military, have undergone as much labour, traversed as much country, seen and regulated so much, as he had done, in the small portion of time which had elapsed since he entered on his office; and, if death had not broken his career, his friends know that he contemplated no relaxation of exertions. But this was not a mere restless activity or result of temperament: it was united with a fervent zeal, not fiery nor ostentatious, but steady and composed; which none could appreciate, but those who intimately knew him. I was struck. myself, on the renewal of our acquaintance, by nothing so much as the observation, that, though he talked with animation on all subjects, there was nothing on which

his intellect was bent, no prospect on which his imagination dwelt, no thought which occupied habitually his vacant moments, but the further. ance of that great design of which he had been made the principal instrument in this country. Of the same unobtrusive character was the piety which filled his heart: it is seldom that of so much there is so little ostentation: all here knew his good-natured and unpretending manner; but I have seen unequivocal testimonies, both before and since his death, that, under that cheerful and gay aspect, there were feelings of serious and unremitting devotion, of perfect resignation, of tender kindness for all mankind, which would have done honour to a saint. When to these qualities you add his desire to conciliate, which had everywhere won all hearts-his amiable demeanour, which invited a friendship that was confirmed by the innocence and purity of his manners, which bore the most scrutinizing and severe examination-you will readily admit that there was in him a rare assemblage of all that deserves esteem and admiration."

"I confidently trust that there shall one day be erected in Asia a church, of which the corners shall be the corners of the land, and its foundation the Rock of ages: but, when remote posterity have to examine its structure, and to trace the progress of its formation, I wish that they may not have to record, that it was put together amidst discord and noise and bloodshed and confusion of tongues; but, that it rose in quietness and beauty, like that new temple where 'no hammer, nor axe, nor any tool of iron was heard, while it was in building;' or, in the words of the Bishop himself

No hammer fell, no ponderous axes rung; Like some tall palm the mystic fabric sprung.

That such may be the event, many hands, many spirits, like his, must be engaged in the work: and it is CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 301.

because of my conviction that they are rarely to be found, that I feel justified in affirming his death to have been a loss, not only to his friends, by whom he was loved, or to his family, of whom he was the idol, but to England, to India, and to the world."

Not less deep has been the sympathy, or less cordial the respect, which has been shewn to the memory of Bishop Heber in his native land. In particular, the members of the three great church societies connected with the extension of Christianity in India, the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge, and the Church Missionary Society, held special meetings upon receiving the intelligence of his death, with a view respectively to do honour to his memory, and that in a manner that would have been the most welcome to him while living, especially by endowing scholarships in Bishop's College, Calcutta; and by presenting petitions to the public authorities for increasing the number of bishoprics in India. further particulars on these points, we must refer our readers to our Religious Intelligence; and happy shall we be to learn that the prayer of these societies is complied with; and doubly happy if all who shall hold the high station of a bishop in India, shall be found to tread in the steps of him whose early departure to his high reward we can never cease to lament for the sake of the church of Christ in the East, though to himself it was unspeakable gain.

For

Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer. It is a very common practice, and one from which comparatively few, even of the ministers of Christ themselves, are perfectly exempt, to quote Scripture by ear or by rote, without sufficiently examining whether the passage referred to, C

really bears, in its place in the sacred writings, the meaning which the person quoting it attaches to it. The majority of the texts most currently cited in sermons and religious conversation, are so familiar to the ear of every person conversant with sacred topics, that there is often a danger of using them in a sort of conventional meaning rather than in their precise signification as found in the word of God. Hence arise many, if not most, of the perversions and mal-appropriations which have been so often noticed in your pages. Some persons may indeed quote Scripture with systematic perversion of its meaning; but in general the faults alluded to arise more from ignorance, or inadvertence, than from a direct design to invent false glosses. To remedy this serious evil, I would earnestly recommend to every preacher and theological writer, and as far as possible to every private Christian, to quote no passage of Scripture, either for the purpose of proof or illustration, which he has not at least once in his life fairly examined in its actual position in the word of God. He may not indeed always arrive, after all his efforts, at the real meaning of a passage; and he may even have the mortification of finding that various texts are popularly quoted with a meaning far wide of their genuine import in Scripture, and to prove or illustrate points, which, though true in themselves, are not proved or illustrated by the passages under his investigation: but he will have the satisfaction of knowing that he has been honest in the search of Divine truth; and what he does quote he will quote conscientiously, preferring the sense to the mere sound, and the word of God to the derivative comments of

[blocks in formation]

the sixth vial, in the Christian Observer for November last, p. 653; and in consequence of your doubt respecting the existence at present in this country of such secret associations as I have described, I beg leave to state more fully my meaning in the passage to which you allude. As respects this country, I have the authority of Professor Robison for the fact, that, at the close of the last century, several of the British Masonic associations were infected with the poison of the foreign ones. I have myself likewise, and that very lately, noticed in young men of my acquaintance, not only that they were actuated by curiosity to enter into these secret associations, but still more, by the advantages which they expected from the brethren in travelling abroad. This observation made me tremble for them; for, although the English societies were all uncontaminated, nevertheless they might in their travels be taken in these depths of satan before they were aware. For, even as it is now, the common effect of setting a foot on the continent is to return, if not a sceptic, nevertheless a Liberalist and a Laodicean. The form of scepticism which is imported from the continent may be stated in a few words. When we endeavour to convince our young travellers of the errors which have been instilled into them abroad, the sum and substance of their answers is always to this effect;-"You say they are wrong, and they say you are wrong; and who is to judge which of you is wrong ?" This is the weapon of Infidelity in this age. Reply what you will, the answer constantly is, But they say. The person whom you wish to set right always evades the question proposed to him, But what do you yourself think? And he evades it, by replying, either, I am no judge in such matters, or, I shall be directed altogether by those who are appointed to instruct me; or, by some such answer, that to the discerning mind speaks, that the reason why he does

not inquire diligently into the truth is, that he loves darkness rather than light. And will you not then come out of Babylon, my people? Will you go to the city of confusion, to learn there to confound truth and falsehood, right and wrong?

But to proceed with the danger of secret associations, a warning against them was sounded, in the year 1798, by two unexceptionable witnesses; the Abbé Barruel and Professor Robison. The former wrote to prove that these associations were the cause of the French Revolution; and the latter, that they were the cause of the corruption and apostasy exhibited in Germany at the same time, which rendered the German empire unable to stand against the arms of the flood of lawlessness. When I was at the university of Oxford, about the time of the death of the French king, I was myself invited to join a club of this dangerous nature, and I met the persons who belonged to it. After having heard them harangue upon justice, equality, and liberty, I put the following question to one of them:-Is it just that a man should honour his father more than he honours any indifferent person? The answer was, Certainly not just that he should honour his father more than he honours other persons. The Abbé Barruel alludes to this Oxford club, which, thank God, was soon discovered and suppressed. A friend of mine did attend their meetings, and informed me of what passed there. I have since been assured by an old Mason, a most respectable clergyman, that in his youth, he heard in the lodges commonly the phrases liberty and equality, before the French Revolution taught him the intention of the words. Another friend, high in this society, told me that Professor Robison might have written his book without betraying the secret of Masonry, which he had done.

Shortly after these works appeared, I asked the late Dean of Canterbury, Dr. Andrews, what he thought

of them. His answer was, I have compared Barruel and Robison together, and, by comparing their testimonies, feel certain that it is impossible that they can be false witnesses. The charges of Bishop Horsley and Bishop Pretyman, published in 1800, relating to these works, decidedly confirm them, and might seem even to pour the last vial upon the mystery of iniquity, and to say to darkness, It is done, but that we will decide for ourselves without examining duly questions which can be properly settled only by the closest examination of witnesses. But if these witnesses, Barruel and Robison, be true witnesses, what words can express the importance of the truths which they tell us! In these works we may contemplate the old serpent in all his operations to this hour, from the rising of the day-star of Reformation. It was necessary to oppose light by light; and for this purpose the Jesuits were established. At length the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, that last explosion of papal intolerance, either banished the French Protestants, or compelled them outwardly to conform to papal superstition. These latter, as Voltaire notes in his History of Louis XIV., propagated from father to son a rancorous hatred of the Church of Rome, and of the Bourbons in particular. These persons ceased to be Christians altogether, and by degrees formed those dreadful associations which turned the rivers of France into blood, poured the vial upon her sun, and proclaimed to Pius VI. on his throne, mene, tekel, peres. The Jesuits, in the mean time, being suppressed, joined the infidel associations, and introduced their secret organization into the system.

"The venomous reptile," says Barruel, "is often discovered by the stench of its poison: the beaten and blood-stained track leads to the discovery of the cavern inhabited by brigands. Very few years suffice to extend these tenebrous and myste

« السابقةمتابعة »