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towards Him, and say— Great Spirit, I thank Thee for having preserved me this day: I pray Thee to preserve me during this night,' and then I fall asleep. As soon as I awake in the morning, I again lift my hands towards Him, and say— Great Spirit, I thank Thee for allowing me, once more, to enjoy the light. I pray Thee to preserve me during this day, as Thou hast preserved me during the night.' I then rise and set about my business ; this is all that I know.” Three days after, the same savage fell sick, and having a presentiment of his death, he sent for one of the blackcoats*. “ What is it you wish for?" said the Missionary.“ I have requested you to come to me,” replied the Indian, “ that you might do for me something without which I cannot see the Great Spirit.” • What is that?" asked the Missionary. The invalid, knowing no word in his language by which he could express what he wanted, raised his hand over his head, and by his gestures signified, that he wished to be baptized. “ Do you believe in the Great Spirit ?" asked the Missionary. “ I have believed in Him all my life,” the Indian replied. “Do you believe that nevertheless there is but one Great Spirit.' “ Ah! I know nothing of that; but I believe it, as you tell me. I know that you are His Minister.” The good ecclesiastic, after having given him some instruction, baptized him. Being asked if he felt himself very ill, he said that he would die before morning. He expired during the night. His son, who was with him at the time, was inconsolable ; he often watered his grave with his tears, exclaiming—“We shall all come and settle here; we shall all die like this best, this most beloved of fathers !" —Recueil des Lettres.pp. 436-438
From the Western world let us, however, turn our eyes to the East, for it is to that point that we are particularly anxious to direct the attention of our readers. The French missionaries assure us that in Thibet the people are strongly disposed towards christianity. The inhabitants of Pegu and Corea have frequently solicited that missionaries might be sent amongst them. In Madagascar and Ceylon, religion is making a striking progress. In Persia and Bengal there is a large and daily increasing number of christians. The King of Siam continues towards them the protection and encouragement, which they have enjoyed in his dominions above a century. He is attached to the French Missionaries, and declares that he sees with the greatest pleasure the success of their exertions. He has appointed several of the converts to important employments. Many of the Siamese have abandoned idolatry. The King of Ligor, a sort of satrap under the Siamese monarchy, treats the christians with similar favour. He is a prince of considerable accomplishments, of an engaging presence, remarkably kind to strangers, a strict observer of justice, careful that the labourer shall be fairly remunerated, and that fraud shall be severely punished. He often visits the districts within his jurisdiction, and pays every attention to their improvement. He is popular with his subjects, who are thinly scattered over an extensive territory. He had the greatest regard for a missionary named Pecot, to
* The name familiarly given to the Missionaries.
whom the queen declared that she and her daughter would be the two first christians in the country—a promise, however, which the death of that gentleman prevented from having been realized. The whole family entertain the best dispositions towards Christianity and its ministers.
It is well known that the Emperor of China, and the King of Cochin-China and Tonquin, are by no means favourable to christianity; but they are deterred from openly persecuting it by the belief which generally prevails that persecutors are punished by Heaven. In the province of Su-tchuen alone, more than twentytwo thousand adults, and two hundred thousand children of pagans, have been baptized within the last thirty years. One of the principal obstacles which christianity encounters in China, proceeds from the systematic and interested opposition of the priests of the idols, who lose no opportunity of rooting out the sacred seed sown by the missionaries, in order to perpetuate the evil influence which they have so long possessed. Another impediment proceeds from the extreme literary pride of the Chinese ; in general they dislike the idea of an European instructing a disciple of Confucius upon any subject. The humility of the gospel is a virtue which they cannot comprehend; their great happiness is to draw upon them the eyes of the multitude, by the display of their learning. The honours and privileges, which in that country are bestowed upon knowledge and talents, form the great objects of their ambition ; the hope of obtaining these often supports them through many years of laborious study. It is from amongst them that the Emperor selects his mandarins, to whom he confides the government of the different provinces of his dominions. It is very natural, that when they arrive at these high dignities, they should exercise complete sway over the minds of the people, whom they easily persuade that the Chinese nation is the most enlightened in the universe. Polished and learned, no doubt, it is to a certain extent; but to compare it in these respects with the nations of Europe would be ridiculous. They had no calendar for the true division of time, until they were taught it by the French Missionaries, who rectified their astronomical instruments, and also introduced amongst them the works of the ancient writers.
All these obstacles are, of course, greatly increased, when the Emperor happens to be a man of a despotic and cruel disposition. But notwithstanding these and many other difficulties, the missionaries multiply their numbers and their exertions. Parents, home, friends, they cheerfully abandon ; they remove thousands of miles from their native land, in order to carry the truths of religion to nations, often barbarous, whose complicated language they master, whose costume and manners they adopt, exposing themselves the while to hunger, to misery in all its forms, to the inclemency of seasons, sometimes to frightful tortures, and to death itself. Not unfrequently are members of the female sex, women of mature age,
irreproachable virtue, and of extraordinary piety, to be found engaged in these formidable labours. In China, the children, when indisposed, are kept in the interior apartments, to which women alone have access. In order to accomplish their religious objects, they practise as physicians, and uniformly take medicine with them.' They thus find favourable opportunities for the propagation of the sacred doctrines which they profess. During times of plague, catechists and zealous christians spread themselves over the villages, and continue to baptize great numbers of children who are at the point of dissolution. In some provinces the people are furnished with translations of the Bible, sent from the English societies; but unless the diffusion of that sacred book be followed up by personal instruction in the practical parts of religion, it does more harm than good amongst them. They are apt to interpret it in disconnected passages, and when they find in it sentences forbidding the love of riches, for instance, they exclaim that this cannot be the Bible of the Christians, who are every where notorious, in India at least, for their ardent desire of worldly wealth.
Indeed it would seem that most of the missionaries, dispatched from this country to different parts of Asia, have performed the duties assigned to them in a very ineffectual manner, simply because they appear to have thought that by distributing Bibles in millions among the natives of the east, they have done all that was required of them. The Bible Society of London has been established upwards of twenty years. In England alone six hundred and twenty-nine auxiliary societies were formed, which carry on operations under its direction. Many other similar Protestant societies have been created upon the continent: they are to be found in Paris, Lyons, Toulouse, Strasbourg, Montpellier, Nantz, Montauban, and other parts of France; in the Low Countries, Switzerland, Prussia, throughout all Germany, Sweden, and Denmark. It is calculated that the income of the London Bible Society is seldom less than 80,0001. a-year. In the year 1821 it was nearly 90,0001. It has printed more than twelve million copies of the Bible in one hundred and forty-three languages. Besides the societies for the distribution of the Bible, there are several English Missionary Societies ; England alone boasts of ten, Scotland of three, and America of five. They have all large yearly incomes. In the year 1819, the London Missionary Society received no less a sum than 30,0001. The annual receipts of the other missionary societies in this country do not, one year with another, fall short of 25,0001.
According to published reports, the British societies supported, in different parts of the eastern world, upwards of five hundred missionaries, without counting their wives, the peculiar efficacy of whose labours is sometimes so highly praised. The greater part of these missionaries are, however, men of very limited education. Their vocation most commonly arises from their desire of receiving
a pretty appointment of two or three hundred a-year, in return for which they are only to read and circulate the Bible among the people of India. To men who can with difficulty obtain the means of subsistence at home, what sacrifice is it to embark for a distant country, particularly when they take with them, as they uniformly do, tbeir wives and families? What efforts do they, or can they make? Their first object is to locate themselves as comfortably as possible, but always within the range of the protection of the British guns. They make no attempt to penetrate the remote and uncivilized districts; they dread the plague and the cholera-morbus, to which it can hardly be expected that they will expose their families, or that their families will allow them to sacrifice themselves. One of these missionaries made an attempt to propagate his faith in China ; but he was forth with apprehended and brought before a Mandarin, from whose summary justice he ransomed himself for a considerable suni of money. He was forbidden to preach his religion in the empire; he gave a promise to that effect, which he scrupulously observed. His brethren have prudently abstained from encountering similar dangers. They have no fancy for being martyrs.
There is abundant evidence, that so long as the British missionaries pursue their present system, they must fail in making converts to christianity in India. The manners and prejudices of the people are such, that the mere reading the Bible, without oral instruction, or any commentary to assist their power of interpretation, with the premature knowledge which they thus obtain of the sacred mysteries, rather repels them from, than attracts them towards, the religion of the gospel. The British missionary translations of the Bible into the different Indian dialects, are so ludicrously inaccurate, that they leave upon the minds of the Pagans who read them, even when they are devoid of prejudice, impressions unfavourable to the Holy Scriptures. The success of the agents of the Biblical and Missionary Societies, notwithstanding what sometimes appears in their reports, is, in truth, well understood to be so limited, as to present but a very trifling result, compared with their immense expenditure.
The Divine Founder of Christianity never directed his disciples to go and distribute the Bible all over the world. His command to them was “ to teach all nations”-to teach them the truths which He came to promulgate, and not to leave them to the mere guidance of the law interpreted by themselves. The people of India, and of other semi-barbarous portions of the world,' have notions and manners altogether different from those of ancient Judea, and of ancient and modern Christendom. How, then, is it possible that they can, unless they be properly instructed, understand many of the important passages of the Bible in the same sense that we do? The powers of intellect may be granted, for the sake of argument, to be the same every where ; but it would be
absurd to deny, that the application of those powers to the interpretation of a book, which, in England alone, has given apparent sanction to upwards of a hundred different sects, is influenced to a great extent by education, by national customs, and early mental associations of every description. The standard of Indian beauty differs from ours. Their literary taste is founded upon models, which we think altogether vicious. Their architecture, sculpture, style of painting and decoration, are not consistent with our ideas of gracefulness. They dislike many things to which we give a preference, and prefer many things, which, in our eyes, are abominable. How can it be expected, that in reading such a book as the Bible, the untutored Indian, and the educated Englishman, shall exactly coincide? And if they do not coincide, what is to be the new faith of the former? Is he to be a Protestant, a Catholic, a Calvinist, or Unitarian? Into what Christian church is he to be received ?
What will an Indian, even supposing him to be a person of good education, think, when he finds it narrated in the sacred writings, that when Abraham was visited by the three angels, under a human form, he entertained his heavenly guests with the flesh of a calf, which he had killed for the purpose? The Indians, it is well known, adore the ox and cow, and look upon the slaughter of those animals as a deicide, and an unpardonable crime. When these objects of their worship die a natural death, the parias, the lowest caste among the Indians, are allowed to feed upon the remains. The Indian Bible reader would consequently infer, that Abraham and bis guests were nothing but vile parias, and he would at once throw aside a book containing matter, in his opinion, so sacrilegious.
What would an Indian Brahmin say, when he should read without a note, or commentary, or verbal explanation, the details which are given of the bloody sacrifices prescribed by the Mosaic law, for the worship of the true God ? He would forthwith conclude in his own mind, that a God who delighted in the effusion of the blood of so many victims, immolated in his honour, was indubitably, if we may say so without irreverence, of the same description as the Indian gods of evil, Cahly, Mabry, Darma-Rajah, and other infernal deities, whose auger can only be appeased by human sacrifices.
What would a Brahmin or any other well-born Indian say, when he should read in our scriptures of the immolations of victims, which he looks upon as peculiarly sacred ?— when he should find that the sacrifice of bulls and oxen, forms one of the principal features of the religion of the Israelites, and that the blood of these deified animals flowed almost every day upon the altar of the God whom they adored? What would be his sentiments, when he should learn that Solomon, after building his magnificent temple, at an immense expence, consecrated it by the blood of twenty-two thousand oxen? He would, undoubtedly, shudder at details, which would be to his mind, of so impious a character, and would deem it necessary to