Obrazy na stronie


[ocr errors]

November, 1817.] The two first Sundays in Advení. of heaven shall be quenched in dark- tle assures us were written for our ness, dismay; and sorrow.

learning; to exercise patience, and The desolation of Israel, that pre- to inspire hope. The calling of the monitory warning to all ungrateful Gentiles is the topic upon wlich St. Rations, is yet more fully explained Paul addresses the Romans. In the in the twenty-fourth chapter. The primitive ages of the church, it was stubborn people, and the idolatrous a lively source of consolation to these priest, the luxurious master, and the converts, when labouring under sedishonest servant,--they who broke vere persecution, to know, that their God's laws by usury, and they who renunciation of idolatry, and adopsubmitted to ungodly compacts, shall tion into the Church of God, were all be swept away. Power and wealth plainly declared by those ancient shall be no protection ; poverty or writers who, though Jews themselves, meanness of station no excuse. Even and feeling all the nationality of their the sacerdotal stole shall not cover country, yet predicted the excision of the prophaner of its purity from a that often-pardoned but ever-offend

soul-searching God. “ The earth ing people, and the engrafting of an shall mourn;" it shall be burnt with alien branch on the stock of faith. fire; a remnant shall be left,--a small We, who live in probably the latter gleaning preserved from a devoted ages of Christianity, have our hope harvest. The scattering of the tribes and patience equally exercised by by the Assyrian conqueror, the long the continuance of Israel as a scatdesolation produced by the Roman tered yet distinct people ; and by the invasion, and the closing scenes of unperformed assurance, that before, the universe, all successively pass in the consunimation of all things, the the mind of the prescient seer. When remnant, of which Isaiah spoke in Israel “ wept by the waters of Baby- the afternoon proper lesson, shall be lon," the earth" did not reel to and gathered into the storehouse of divine fro like a drunkard ;" nor was it re- mercy. moved like the cottage or tent of A portrait of the despised Son of a wandering shepherd, when Titus Man, invested in the solemn characstormed the temple at Jerusalem, or ter of judge of men and angels, is Adrian ploughed up the foundations selected for the gospel. Here our of the city where the Lord's anointed Lord describes to his apostles that dehad suffered a inalefactor's death. struetion of the civil and ecclesiasti 66 6. The windows from on high were cal polity of the Jews, which, from its not opened,” nor were « the kings peculiar horror, and the unrelenting and mighty ones of the earth gather- vengeance with which it was inflicted, ed together as prisoners in a pit.” is considered by all Christians, as That day is still to come ;-the day more emblematical of the day of when the Lord shall reign gloriously judgment, than the woes of any other in Jerusalem, in the presence of his nation since the creation of the world. ancient and heavenly hierarchy.“ Jerusalem is still trodden down by Therefore, let the Christian priest the Gentiles.” Only for a short

pes and noble, the trader whose God is riod, since the death of Christ, has gain, and the servant who, either in she been out of the possession of her the multiplicity of worldly care for- enemies; but “when the times of the gets his heavenly Master, or acts dis- Gentiles are fulfilled," direful omens honestly by his earthly,--the tender of another change shall alarm all the and delicate woman, who seems fasti- nations upon earth. Whether these diously to disdain the common earth, signs shall take place in the material -all who pervert justice, and all who heavens ; or whether, by the sun, deny God,-- let them tremble at the moon, and stars, according to the gestill unfulfilled portions of this pro- neral language of prophecy, earthly phecy!

potentates are figuratively personiThe collect prays for a right use of fied, it would be presumptuous to dethose Holy Scriptures which the epis termine. The predictions that are


[ocr errors]

preserved in holy writ were not in the course of a few years, a mighty retended to niake us seers and diviners, volution was effected, by their ministry, but humble observers, deliglıted to

in the religious opinions and practice of trace the hand of God in every event, the dominion of Rome.

the various nations which acknowledged with a conviction that all will ulti

The early predominance of the Faith mately accomplish, first the purifica- in the capital and provinces of that vast tion, and then the preservation, of empire, was naturally, regarded as the his Church. Whether, therefore,

immediate prelude of the happy consum. our Lord described the premonitory phecy, when Christianity should assame

mation presignified in the records of prosigns of his coming in literal or in her legitimate sovereignty, and become prophetical language, the conclusion the religion of the world. The magniis the same. Whether kings and tude of the obstacles already surmounted princes, instead of shedding benign might justify the most sanguine expectainfluence like the heavenly lumina- its infancy the united hostility of human

, ries, scorch and afflict the earth; or wisdom and power, had attained stability the people, no longer fertilizing the and permanence, and was advancing with nations by their industry, realize their progressive rapidity in the career of consymbol of a tempestuous overwhelm- quest. ing ocean by popular contentions and this pleasing speculation, could he return

But the primitive convert who indulged furious insubordination,- be it the from the grave, would behold with surpart of every devout Christian to prise and mortification the disappoint. watch, to pray, and to consider the ment of his fairest hopes. It is, indeed, signs of the times; not as the men of

a distressing reflection, that, after the Athens, who loved to talk of wonders, of our blessed religion is still so feebly

lapse of so many centuries, the influence but as those who “ look for new hea- and imperfectly felt in the most extensive vens and a new earth, wherein dwell- and populous regions of the ancient world; eth righteousness."

that, while the ends of the earth have yielded their treasures and territory to

the avarice or ambition of Europe, they SOCIETY (IN ENGLAND FOR THE PROPAGA- have not received in exchange the inesti

mable truths of the Gospel; that the na. In the last number of the Journal sive submission to the power of Chris

tions of the East, while they bow in pase was given an Abstract of the An- tians, reject the yoke of Christ. nual Report of the Society. The

Yet nothing, on examination, will be following are extracts from the found in the present state of religion in Annual Sermon, which was preach- the world, which is not perfectly consisted by the Lord Bishop of London, ent with the language of ancient prophe(Dr. HowLEY) before the Society, cy,

and the promises of our blessed Lord.

The varied predictions of the Old and on Friday, the 21st of February, New Testaments coincide in describing at the Parish Church of St. Mary a series of conflicts between the gross le Bow, from Matt. xxviii. 18, 19, superstitions and corrupt affections of 20.

mankind on the one hand, and the pure The present limited influence of religion of Christ on the other; till the

warfare shall be finally terminated by the Christianity in the world, is traced extinction of death, and the subjugation by his Lordship in a manner which of every enemy. ought to put to shame all indifference The reasons of this mysterious dispenon the subject, to the want of due

sation are founded in the nature of things. exertions on the part of its professors. sion of the understanding and will to the

Conversion to Christ implies the submis. : Formally invested with authority, and law of holiness; a change of the inward endued with power from on high, the man, not to be effected by violence, but Apostles entered on their office; and, de resulting from the conviction of truth, claring to Jew and to Gentile the terms and the cogency of motives which act by of salvation, repentance from sin and faith a moral efficacy, and not by compulsion, in the crucified Redeemer, experienced on the will. Our Lord has entrusted this the testimony of Christ to the word of his difficult work to the intermediate agency grace, (Acts xiv. 3.) in the unexampled of his servants, with an assurance of ef. triumph of the Gospel over the passions fective assistance, in aid of their faithful and prejudices, the inveterate intellectual endeavours. But he has no where engaged habits and social usages, of mankind. In to exert an irresistible influence in sub.


November, 1817.] Bishop of London's Sermon.

349 duing the perverseness of the infidel, who points, with a combination of force diobstinately rejects the truth ; nor is he rected by a common plan. bound to supply the deficiencies, or pros. In this unity of principle, of action, antl per the endeavours of Christian preach- of object, conspicuous alike in the pracers or communities, when they are negli

tice of individuals and the general pragent or unfaithful in the promulgation of ceedings of the Church, we have, I conhis Law.

ceive, discovered the cause which, under In these arrangements of grace we ob. the guidance, and with the sustaining serve a striking analogy to the ordinary power of Christ, was of most imme. course of nature. It is man who dresses diate efficacy in the early diffusion of the the ground and scatters the seed: it is Gospel. God who blesses the labour of the hus.

In illustration of the truth of this bandman with increase. The genial in. fluences of heaven, the shower, the dew,

observation, his Lordship draws an and the sunshine, are limited in their ef

affecting picture of the Roman Misfects by the quality of the soil, or the sions. measure of industry employed in its cul- To pour the light of the Gospel over tivation. In a similar manner, without the benighted regions of the East, has the slightest impeachment of our Lord's long been a favourite object of pious and fidelity or power, the progress of con- reflecting men, among the two great diviversion will recede or advance, in pro- sions of Christians which share the Westportion to the piety and knowledge of his ern World : and could a project of such servants, their zeal and ability in the

extent and importance have been achieved propagation of truth, and the intellectual

by human policy and power, the exertions and moral capacities of those to whom

of the Roman Church may seem to have the word of salvation is addressech

been adequate to its accomplishment.

The celebrated establishment for the pro, The Bishop adds,

pagation of the faith commands our adIt is the object of the present discourse, miration, by the grandeur and magnific to verify these observations, by reference cence of conception displayed in its plan, to some of the principal missions in dif- and by the energy and judgment which ferent ages of the Church; and if their prepared and directed the arrangement truth is established, we shall at least have and application of its means. Its designs, obtained some direction for our future in their full extent, embraced the converproceedings, in the performance of duties sion of the world ; and, in the different peculiarly incumbent on nation which religious orders prepared to act under its covers the sea with her navies, and ex- direction, it had the disposal of a power, tends her dominion to the ends of the prodigious in force, and proportioned to earth.

the magnitude of the undertaking. These

singular institutions supplied a number His Lordship then depicts the in- of men distinguished by ardour of piety tellectual and moral qualifications of and innocence of life ; accustomed to lathe first Preachers of the Gospel, as bour, to poverty, to the severest priva-. giving them a personal aptitude for tions; inured to implicit obedience; prothe duties of their Ministry ; and ob- and versed in the sciences, the arts, and

ficients in the study of human nature; serves, that those primitive teachers the languages, which could facilitate adpossessed an auxiliary of incalculable mission and intercourse in the several power, in the general conduct and countries assigned for the exertions of character of the whole Church.

their zeal. A regular system of inspec

tion and discipline insured the advanBut zeal (the Bishop adds) in the bo. tages of control and direction, at the som of the primitive Christians, was as- greatest distance from home ; combining sociated with meekness and patience, the movements of the several Missions, with conscientious attachment to order, and exacting the labours of every indivi. and willing conformity to discipline. It dual in his allotted station. was not a wild or impetuous passion, but With such ample provision and skilful a sober and rational principle of conduct; disposition of means, the world was preattentive to the suitableness of its means, pared to expect some extraordinary result and the sufficiency of its power, and anx- from the united efforts of this great com. ious to regulate its movements by the pany of preachers. (Ps, Ixviii. 11.) dictates of prudence, in subordination to But their path was encumbered with legitimate authority. The believers in difficulties. The obstacles opposed to Christ, however widely dispersed through their progress, by the peculiar tenets and the mass of society, were thus united in a manners of the East, were increased in regular body; and, like the several parts a tenfold degree by the degenerate morals of a disciplined army, had the advantage of Christians; and, above all, by the of, acting at once on tlie must distant crimes and cruelties of European advenscorn, of his countrymen? May we nat gence and failings of the professors of to the Gospel and inaptitude for the rea purer faith than that of Rome.

[ocr errors]


turers, which cust a dark shade of suspi. The enterprises of protestant Missionacion on the motives and the views of the ries, more contracted in plan, and less os. Missionary, when he pressed on the na- tentatious in conduct, may perhaps estatives the acceptance of the religion of pu- blish a claim to superior praise, if we com. rity and peace.

pute the amount of success by the numWe are not prepared to assert, that ber of real believers, and allow no other these impediments, however discourag- test of conversion than sincerity and effiing, might not have been gradually sur. cacy of faith. But the hope of an invidimounted by the perseverance and acti- ous triumph must yield to feelings of huvity of the preachers, if the doctrines miliation and shame, when we are comand maxims of their Church had allowed pelled to acknowledge, that the impres. them to teach the truths of the Gospel sion produced on the natives by the unadulterated by erroneous traditions, preachers of our pure religion is almost and to proclaim the sovereignty of Christ as nothing in proportion to the immense without reference to the dominion of population of India, and that, among the Rome. But the disadvantages under Protestant nations which have obtained which they laboured in these respects, power and influence in the East, we have were further aggravated by the craft or little claim to the palm of distinction, in the vanity of individuals, who, in deroga. the comparison of our feeble exertions tion of a primary law, with a view to the with the amplitude and extent of our acquisition of nominal proselytes, pre- means, sumed to conceal or disguise the funda- The cares of one venerable Society mental truths of the Gospel, and to sanc. have, indeed, for more than a century', tion the communion of darkness with light, been directed with parental solicitude to (2 Cor. vi. 14.) by opening the pale of the that interesting quarter of the globe. Church to idolaters, without faith, repent. Among the Missionaries employed in her ance, or knowledge; who were suffered service, are shining examples of zeal and to retain the pollutions of Paganism, devotion, of knowledge and holiness, of whilst they professed the worship of meekness, disinterestedness, and charity, Christ. Nor did the evil terminate here. worthy of the Apostolic age. The vir. The fairest hopes of success were, in some tues of these holy men bave been justly instances, fatally blasted, by mutual como appreciated by the natives, have been repetitions, animosities, and dissentions; warded by the affection of the lower of and, in others completely extinguished ders, and the favour and confidence of by the natural consequences of an ambi. the great. Yet, whilst in the spirit of tious policy, which infected their ranks, primitive Christianity they preached her and subjected alike the guilty and the purest doctrines, whilst they were re. innocent to the suspicion and vengeance spected as sages and revered as saints, of the native Princes.

their instructions were heard with indifFrom the operation of these several ference, and the number of their converts causes, the blood of Martyrs has flowed was small. without the effect of producing, as in To what peculiar combination of cir. happier ages, a new groth of believers :

cumstances must we ascribe the infeli. and, among the descendants of their once city and barrenness of their conscientious numerous converts, the few who still labours ?-to the obstinate prejudices of profess Christianity are sunk in the gros- the natives their vicious habits their sest corruption; without even a shadow indifference to truth !--their aversion to of pretension to the knowledge, the vir- novelty ?--their dislike to the moral re. tue, the constancy of faith, which obtained straints implied in reformation and refor the primitive Christians the respect pentance? The influence of these causes and admiration of mankind.

is great, perhaps insurmountably great, When, to these considerations, we add in the present state of opinions and manthe principle of intolerance and lust of ners among the nations of India. But is exclusive domination, which contemning this the whole of the case ? Is the blame alike the claims of antiquity and the rights of rejecting the offer of salvation exclu. of conscience, invaded the privileges of sively imputable to the natives? Have we the Eastern Bishops and Patriarchs and taken all possible means to dissipate the the liberties of the native Christians, we prejudices and discourage the barbarous shall contemplate, without astonishment, superstitions which shackle their minds and with less proignant regret, the failure and degrade their character ? and have of the Romish Mission,

they not reason to complain, that we have But the Bishop, with a faithful never assured to the convert, protection, hand, applies the view which he has employment, or fayour ; security from taken of the causes of primitive suc

the resentment, or compensation for the cess, in the just rebuke of the negli find an obvious cause of their disregard

ception of its trutiis, in the prevalence of * See the Bishop of Calcutta's admirable of vice, may furnish to indolence or indifCharge, delivered at his Primary Visitation, ference a specious pretext for inaction. 1815, and lately pablished in London:


November, 1817.] Bishop of London's Sermon.

35) sentiments and conduct among the Eu. for the advancement of the Gospel, will ropeans in India, altogether discordant be led by duty and prudence to this high with the pure spirit of evangelical cha- authority, for information, direction, and rity, which united the affections and ef. assistance. By the light of this new star, forts of the Apostolic Church in the pro

the wise and the virtuous, who in singlemotion of the common cause ?

ness of heart engage in the service of The energies of society have never, in Christ, will be abxious to shape their fact, been directed to the work of conver- course : to this point they will look for sion, as an object of general concern; instruction, in the original conception of whilst the truih and dignity of our holy their plans, the preparation of means, religion are, in too many instances, dis. and the choice of instruments: and here credited by the vices of its professor, they will find their best security against their neglect of its sabbaths and sacred the danger of wasting the energies of zeal ordinances, and their contempt of its min and of talent in fruitless exertions, from nisters and doctrines. The future advance. want of concert and regularity in their ment of Christianity in India will, in a proceedings, or of consistency and pregreat measure, depend on the success of cision in their views. To such unity of our endeavours to eradicate the infidelity principle, of action, and of object, we have and correct the morals of the European traced the successes' of the primitive population. Will the native embrace a Church ; and from the return of the same faith which is disgraced or derided by its spirit, we may expect the renewal of professors? Will he admit the necessity those victories which first shook the emof renouncing his vicious practices, when pire of darkness, and the consummation of he discovers no traces of Christian virtue that triumph which shall effect its final in the conduct of Christians by name?

extinction. A reformation of this kind might be justly After a brief recapitulation of his regarded as the dawn of a brighter day argument, his Lordship thus conin the East. In the present state of so. ciety, it were, indeed, absurd to expect

cludes :an immediate and extensive revival of

From this view of the case, we derive the virtues and graces peculiar to the the consolatory assurance, that the obstaearly ages; but much may be gradually cles which have hitherto disappointed effected by the application of existing re- our hopes, may in time be surmounted, sources, in repairing neglects and omis, by a vigorous and honest application of sions, which are generally acknowledged means confessedly within our reach, and and lamented in the present day. And already in partial operation. The path much has already been done. This great which was trodden by the early disciples concern of humanity is no longer regarded is still open : it will still be illumined by with indifference: it has engaged the se- the presence, and smoothed by the power, rious attention of Government, and inter- of the Redeemer. In making our counested the feelings of individuals. The try the centre of action, the source of necessity of extirpating the germ of the light, to the remote dependencies of the evil, by rational and pious education, is empire, and, through them, to the whole universally felt; and, whilst appropriate world, we shall lay the solid foundations instruction at home is secured to the

of success. And hence we perceive the higher ranks, institutions have been es. necessity of redoubled exertion, to root tablished in India, to communicate reli. the love of Religion in the hearts of our gious knowledge to the children of indi. people, and to accustom them from their gent Christians, and by early cultivation infancy to walk as children of light. (Eph. of reason, to prepare the hearts of the na.

V. 8.) By perseverance in this system, tives for the reception of Divine Grace. we may ultimately be enabled to check

In this state of public opinion and feel. the moral infection too widely diffused ing, the formation of an ecclesiastical es

by our countrymen, who are brought, tablishment,* on the genuine model of an- by the calls of professional duty or comtiquity, in the capital of our Eastern do mercial enterprise, into immediate contact minions, is a circumstance of peculiar with the heathen; and to impress on their importance, whether it be considered as mind and their conduct the genuine charestoring to our pure religion her inte

racter of Christianity; so that all who grity of form and legitimate honours, and

see them shall acknowledge them, that they thus promoting the salutary influence of are the seed which the Lord hath blessed. her ministers, and observance of her or- (Isa. Ixi. 9.) dinances; or whether we regard it as a centre of union to men of sober and rea. ing an extensive reform among a descrip:

The supposed impracticability of worksonable piety, who, in the arrangement and tion of men, more particularly exposed to prosecution of their beneficent schemes the evils of ignorance and the seductions

But Charity, sustained and directed by

« PoprzedniaDalej »