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themselves with almost exclusively the very dregs of the people. The proportion of converts made from among the Brahmans, is quite large enough to disprove this ridiculous assertion, so far as India is concerned.' But the literary labours of Dr. Carey and his colleagues, and the educational and other public institutions at Calcutta, in which these same Missionaries are associated both with English gentlemen and with native Hindoos and Mohammedans of the very first respectability in the Presidency, leave the retailer of the calumny without excuse. Did Swartz or Henry Martyn connect himself exclusively with the dregs of the people? And what will this Reviewer say to the proceedings of Missionaries in Taheite, in Hawaii, in Madagascar, where kings and queens and chiefs have, at their preaching, embraced the faith? And with regard to Mr. Judson, it is equally far from the truth, that he connected himself with the dregs of the people : it is very certain, that he not only had access to personages of the first consideration in Birmah, but that many among the higher orders had begun to discover a spirit of religious inquiry ; among whom was the princess who had the direction of the education of the heir apparent. The brother of the reigning monarch had urged Mr. Judson's return to Ava, requesting him to bring with him all the sacred books. Soon after this his second visit to the capital, Mrs. Judson thus writes :
My old friend, the lady of the viceroy of Rangoon, came to see me as soon as she heard of my arrival, and has promised to introduce me at court on the return of the royal family.......... In a day or two after our arrival, Mr. J. introduced me to Prince M. and his Princess: they treated us with the greatest kindness. The Princess took me into her inner appartments, made me a handsome present, and invited me to visit her frequently, and ordered her cart to be prepared to convey me home.
Prince M. is intelligent, desirous to obtain foreign information, and has for some time been examining the Christian religion. Oh! that a merciful God would enlighten his mind, and make him a real disciple of the blessed Redeemer. I hope to gain some influence over the Princess, and induce her to read the New Testament, which is now in her own language.'
* This was in February 1824. Since then, no accounts have, we believe, been received from Dr. and Mrs. Judson; and fears are en. tertained that they may have been sacrificed to the Emperor's resentment against the English. A sepoy who escaped from Ava to the British head-quarters at Prome, stated, however, that all the Europeans were imprisoned and in chains, and wholly dependent on charity for subsistence, but that no executions had taken place up to the time of his leaving the capital ; and that Mrs. Judson was permitted to live at her own house, and to see Dr. Judson every two or three days.
With regard to the humble character' assumed by these teachers of the Gospel,—the strangest reproach that perhaps ever was cast upon any Christian Missionaries by a Christian man,-we shall only remark, that inconsideration or ignorance could alone lead a person to represent that as any obstacle to the success of a mission addressed to the worshippers of Guadama Buddha, whose priests affect no higher character. In Birmah, indeed, the machinery of instruction seems already prepared in the national institutions, and the zayats may hereafter serve the same purpose that the Jewish synagogues
did in the Apostolic age. There, the obstacles to mental and moral improvement are neither so numerous nor so formidable as those which have presented themselves in India, and which are quite sufficient to account for the slow progress which Christianity has hitherto made in that devoted country. Upon this subject, we shall avail ourselves of some very forcible remarks which occur in a paper inserted in a recent Number of the “Friend of India," printed at Serampore.
Among the Chinese, the Burmese, the Persians, and the Arabs, all the treasures of knowledge accumulated by their literati, are indiscriminately open to the great body of the people, without any distinction of rank or birth. But in this country, the case is unhappily different. Those who reared the temple of knowledge, and consecrated it with the relics of their genius, closed its entrance against the great body of the people, admitting done to a participation of its benefits but their own, the sacerdotal class. The body of the community were restrained to the outer court, and every attempt to enter into the temple was resented with great indignation. Motives of personal and family advantage unhappily prevailed in their minds over every sentiment of patriotism. Instead of attempting to raise the nation, they provided only for raising their own class, depositing the product of their labours in a learned language, from the study of which they excluded the shoodra. Thus, to the natural disinclination of the lower orders to mental pursuits, they added the awful sanction of religion, and condemned the shoodra who might be tempted to look into those intellectual treasures from which his country derives so much glory and distinction, to bodily mutilation in this world, and indefinite torment in the next. It was revealed from heaven to the natives of India, that the gods, the guardians of the human race, were desirous that the great bulk of society should continue from age to age in a state of mental darkness. Thus, was established and fortified by whatever is awful and sacred, the most complete system of mental despotism which the ingenuity of man has devised ; and for the first time since the creation, was the privilege of acquiring knowledge ren. dered hereditary. The great bulk of the people were thus from the moment of their birth consigned to hopeless ignorance, with but one chance of improvement, the distant hope of being born Brahmuns in some future birth, and then permitted to look into the mysteries of knowledge. Every aspirant after improvement, (and nature implants
the desire without any regard to the arbitrary institutions of man,) was nipped in.the bud: the barrier between knowledge and ignorance was rendered impassable.
• Hindoo society was thus divided into two distinct classes, the one monopolizing all the learning of the country, the other buried in ig
This state of things produced the result which might have been expected, both among the shoodras and the brahmuns. Darkness begat delusion. Reduced to a state of mental villanage, the great bulk of society plunged themselves into the most dangerous errors, and became an easy prey to the monstrous absurdities which are fostered in a state of intellectual darkness. The separation of the soul from intellect, which the Hindoo philosophers have for ages attempted to established in theory, they practically accomplished in the case of the shoodra. By this institution, which elevated the priests to distinction on the general ruin of the mental faculties of their fellowcountrymen, they gained, it is true, power and wealth, but they lost all ardour for progressive improvement. Having declared their doctrines infallible, and threatened with future punishment all who should suspect them of being wrong, they naturally fell deeper into error themselves. The salutary check of public opinion was removed, and all hope of establishing a better system under the auspices of Hindouism, was frus' trated. The age of degeneracy which they themselves had predicted, was fully realized. The country, though in possession of the Vedas and six systems of philosophy, is not at this moment a whit further advanced in the career of general improvement, than it was two thousand years ago.'
Upon the whole, we are led to think that Buddhism, which, under different names, numbers more votaries than are ranged under any other creed, presents the most hopeful portion of the vast empire of superstition. It is that system which would seem to oppose the fewest political and moral obstacles to the diffusion of pure and undefiled religion. The Quarterly Reviewer, with what precise view it is difficult to conjecture, remarks that, in the more eastern countries of Asia, very little progress was ever made by Christianity. It appears, he says, * to have made some progress at one period on the western
coast of India ;' but' scarcely a trace can be found among • the Boudhists of Ava, Siam, Cochin China, China, and Japan, • of a Christian teacher having ever been among them, notwith
standing the boasted conversions of the Franciscans, Dominicans, and Jesuits.'*
Of these Christian teachers, would to God that no traces and no remembrance in those countries did exist!--The greatest obstacle to the success of a Christian mission in either Siam or Cochin China, would be that which is created by the recollection of the joint enterprise of Louis XIV. and the Jesuits, in alliance with a Greek adventurer, in
* In Cochin China, however, the number of Christians, according to the viceroy and the missionaries, is 70,000.
1685, to convert the Lord of the White Elephant, and lay the foundations of a Gallic-Indian empire at Bankok,-which issued in a revolution and the expulsion of every European.
But as to the knowledge of primitive Christianity in these regions, we take the liberty of remarking, that the Quarterly Reviewer is not in possesion of sufficient information to enable him to say what traces may yet exist. Nor have we any historical data to shew what was the population, political state, and moral condition of these countries in the ages immediately succeeding the Christian era. Their geographical distance might indeed account for their being not so speedily or so generally evangelised. The Reviewer, however, would intimate that they presented other obstacles to the progress of Christianity, though, as to the nature of these obstacles, he is silent. We can tell him of a few. Immense tracts of pestiferous forest and impervious jungle, swamps annually converted into lakes, lofty and inaccessible ridges of barren granite rock, countries habitable only on the margins of the rivers,-present immense obstacles to the propagation of Christianity, and such is the general description of the Indo-Chinese countries. Add to this, that, of the older inhabitants of these regions,-the pastoral tribes of Carayns, the mountain tribes of the interior, the Northern Siamese (T"hay Jhay), and the Laos, little or nothing is known ;-except, indeed, that some of them are not worshippers of Guadama, or believers in metempsychosis. These conntries, moreover, have been from time immemorial the theatre -of invasions and exterminating wars, which have tended to deteriorate their moral condition; and there seems reason to believe, that both the Peguans, or Talliens, and the elder race of Siamese had attained, at one period, a higher degree of civilization than is exhibited by the modern possessors of those territories. Further, where Mohammedism did not extend its conquests, it still had a baleful effect by intercepting the light of Christianity. Thus, Captain Wilford remarks, that : the decline of the Christian religion in India must be attri.buted, in a great measure, to the progress, equally rapid and
astonishing, of Islamism, in Syria, Persia, Egypt and Arabia. · The Christians in those countries, being in a state of distrac
tion, no longer sent pastors to India ; as we are informed in a • letter written in the seventh century, and still extant.* We čan sufficiently account, therefore, for the present religious condition of those countries, without having recourse to the
* See a curious and interesting essay on the Origin and Decline of the Christian Religion in India, in the tenth volume of Asiatic Researches. p. 27.
supposition, that Christianity has suffered a defeat there in former times from any powerful priesthood, or that any political or moral cause has hitherto barred the introduction and resisted the efficacy of Divine truth. The barrier of language, that which seemed the most imperiously to require a miraculous intervention similar to the Pentecostal effusion of the Spirit, is fast giving way. The Birman, which may be considered as the link between the monosyllabic and polysyllabic languages of Eastern Asia, is, to a certain extent, mastered. The Pali, the sacred language of the Budhic world, and the Portuguese, the medium of commercial intercourse, present extensive facilities for the diffusion of Christian and liberal knowledge. The prospect which is opening, might warrant hopes and feelings partaking of enthusiasm ; but we check ourselves. With regard to the stupendous changes which are taking place among the kingdoms of the world, they have a meaning and an end.
God is his own interpreter,
Art. II. Memoirs of Mr. John Chamberlain, late Missionary in India.
By William Yates. 8vo. pp. 476. Price 108. 6d. 1825. BIOGRAPHY must derive its main interest from one of two
sources, the character of the individual, or the circumstances in which he may have been placed ; and the most popular examples of this kind of composition have been those 'n which the latter were favourable to the development of the former. It is this combination of character and circumstance which gives piquancy to the memoirs of Benvenuto Cellini, Vielleville, de Retz, and others of the same hardy and original cast of mind and disposition. There is, however, a class of biographical writings which, partaking more or less of these general qualities, are of still greater importance in a moral, than in an intellectual view. Whatever superiority in point of adventitious attraction may belong to the romance of real life,' it must always yield, in all that is truly valuable, to those illustrations of high principle which will mark every adequate ex. hibition of religious character; and the biographies of Janeway, the Henrys, and other worthies of the Evangelical achool are fraught with statements and lessons of a far deeper interest than any that can be furnished by the great, the learned, or the restless of the world. But there have also been men whose strong
natural powers were under the guidance of Chris. tian principle, and who were thrown upon times which gave full scope to their energy, and called forth the intense exercise