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The same may be said of the other evidences of christianity. His mind is so completely preoccupied with other notions and other feelings than those derived from the christian system of salvation, that there seems no place for the latter.
And not only is his mind thus preoccupied, but it is prejudiced directly against the truth. Every thing in his own religion is congenial with his corrupt heart. He feels that he must do something. Hindooism puts him under a law of works. He knows that he is a sinner and needs righteousness. Hindooism teaches him to get righteousness in a way that pampers his proud heart. For he may now be a very religious man,-a very holy man, and at the same time indulge a corrupt heart without the least restraint. But christianity condemns him,-imposes restraint,rebukes his pride,-scorns his righteousness, and will accept of nothing short of purity of heart. He is offended at the high requisitions of christianity, and having a more liberal system of his own, which is in good repute, he clings to it,—not with the hesitation and misgivings which often disturb the quietude of wicked men in christian lands, when they try to be satisfied with a system of error ; but he clings to it with a satisfaction which is the result of circumstances and education.
The purity, the simplicity, and the uncompromising nature of christianity, are mountainlike obstacles in his way of embracing it. Hence he comes to the argument, with his mind prejudiced against the truth in a much greater degree than is ordinary with common unsanctified men.
A chief difficulty in managing an argument with a Hindoo Brahmin, lies in his entire want of honesty. He argues as if conscious, that he is supporting "a cunningly devised fable," — and that error can only be supported by sophistry. He has no principle, no integrity, no settled creed, but affirms and denies, according as he judges will best suit his present argument; changing his positions just as times, places, persons, circumstances, or caprice may dictate. His principal aim seems to be to show off well in argument,—sometimes to show his own acumen, and at other times to show to the common people the plausibility of the system of error by which he gets his bread.
Another difficulty appears in the want of proper terms by which to express, in a heathen language, many of the most common ideas of christianity. The words, for example, which they use for heaven, hell, the supreme Being, repentance, faith, and the like, are far from expressing the ideas which these terms convey to our minds. Hence, we must in uce foreign words, and by repeated explanation convey to their minds our
ideas of those things; or we must christianize their heathen terms, and, by explanation, make them to mean what we desire. We can do little more than name other and obvious difficulties, leaving our readers to pursue their bearing more in detail.
The labor of acquiring foreign languages, must always be taken into the account in our expectations of success. We must not overlook the fact, that before a man can be an efficient missionary, he must spend from one to three years in the hard study of a foreign tongue. He is by no means useless during this period; but on no principle of christian policy can he be exempted from the task.
The missionary among the heathen is everywhere a foreigner. He is ignorant, to a great extent, of the country, the people,—their manners, customs, climate,—their modes of thinking and reasoning,-their temperament,—and, in a proportionate degree, he is ignorant of everything in which they differ from his own countrymen. He has consequently much to learn besides their “hard speech.”
The want of intercourse between the different parts of a heathen nation, also, presents a serious obstacle to the rapid spread of new opinions. Except through the influence of christian nations, the press is scarcely used as a medium of communication. In India a few newspapers and periodicals are issued in the larger cities. These are read but by a very small minority of the people, so that no general impression can be made through them. The people of a whole province might become christians, and the mass of the people in a province an hundred miles distant, never hear of the change. The facilities for intercourse in reference to roads, public conveyances, &c., are extremely limited.
The encouragement given to idolatry by some christian governments, and the ungodly conduct of many nominal christians who reside in, or visit heathen lands, too, are obstacles of formidable magnitude. Comment on this topic is needless. In closing our article, a reflection or two may not be irrelevant.
1. Christians have not yet engaged in the missionary work with a zeal and enterprise commensurate with the difficulty and magnitude of the undertaking. Few christians have yet given much, or felt much, or prayed much for this cause. Very few have yet educated and set apart their children for this work, or recognized their own responsibility in the cause of missions. Few have yet taken the scripture ground, acknowledged their covenant vows, and regarded the world's conversion as their own appropriate work. They have undertaken to accomplish
a great and difficult work by few men and small funds. The means now employed are not, by any means, proportionate to the end. We should either limit our expectations, or send forth proportionate means. There can be no doubt which we should do.
2. What sort of men are required as missionaries? It is a point fully conceded, that there are stations on Zion's walls, in this country, of peculiar trust and responsibility, which should be occupied by men of peculiar qualifications; while there are other posts that may be intrusted to watchmen of comparatively ordinary qualifications. We all view this adaptation of men to their place and work as a matter of great moment. Neglect this, and disastrous consequences may follow. Why should not the same principle be applied to the whole work of the ministry,—the work at home, and the work abroad? The foreign service is the more responsible and the most difficult service. Hence it should have the best men. They should be picked men,-men thoroughly furnished for their work in any station, -men whom the church can not well spare,—whose going abroad will be felt at home. They should be men who can lead, who can devise, who can stand alone,--men who can accommodate themselves to the extreme circumstances in human life. We need not add, that the men, who, from the circumstances of the case, are more particularly required, and to whom the "Macedonian cry" is more especially directed, and who ought to be the first to obey it, are the men of the most eminent piety, the first rate talents, and the most finished education. These are the men who are needed,—and until the work of foreign missions shall hold so prominent a place in the hearts of God's people, that they shall desire to send such of their sons; and until such men are willing to go, we must not expect to hear of any great, or very general triumphs of the gospel. Not that God cannot as well work by the weakest instruments, but before he works with his people, he requires the manifestation of a certain spirit, which, in this case, scarcely can be shown except by the consecration of our best. Are our churches ready to give the cause of foreign missions such an acknowledgment ?
ART. II.-GOLDSMITH AND HIS WRITINGS.
The Life of Oliver Goldsmith, M. B., from a variety of Ori
ginal Sources : by JAMES PRIOR.
In conversation with a literary friend, some thirty years since, on the subject of English poets and poetry, after descanting on the merits of Pope in particular, he remarked, as if to express a contrast with this celebrated bard, “but after all, Goldsmith touches the heart.” It was a deserved encomium ; and the fact on which it is founded, is a certain criterion of the poet's power. Goldsmith may not take rank, all things considered, with the very highest,—Shakspeare, Milton, Dryden, Pope ; yet he is next to them on the list, and in one respect, perhaps, exceeds them all. Many bards since the period referred to, have lived and sung, and some who belonged to a school which has been supposed to be more true to nature, than that of Pope and his successors; but still the distinction has not served the purpose of promising immortality to their works. It depends not on the school to which a poet belongs, or the form of composition which he adopts, but on the judgment with which he selects his topics, and the taste or power with which he executes them, whether he will be read and admired in after times. Nor is the quantity written, or the length of any single poem, essential in the estimate which the reader passes on the productions of genius. Several of the ancients who have left but few memorials of their poetic power, are still objects of our admiration, and deserve all their celebrity; while, among the moderns, Denham, Parnell, Burns, and others, undistinguished by the bulk of their works, are yet held in estimation. And a single production of very limited extent, such as the "Ode to the Passions," "Elegy written in a Country Churchyard,” and “ The Minstrel,” are sufficient to secure a lasting fame to their authors, had they written much or nothing besides. Goldsmith published but little poetry in amount, and no long poems; yet when will “The Deserted Village," "The Traveler," and " The Hermit," cease to be read and admired? The character of the poetry is the question,-is that sweet, or elegant, or sublime? Does it harmonize with nature, and touch the chord of human sympathies? If this is the proper test, it is time to dismiss the prejudice which has been long indulged, in regard to different schools of poetry, as though, for instance, the smoothness of Pope must necessarily create monotony or dullness; or the unevenness of Cowper is to be identified with variety, liveliness, or vigor. He who writes verses that charm both youth and age, both common people and scholars,—verses that live in the memory of the reader and are quoted in every book, answers the great design of poetry; and the world takes no heed of the arbitrary classification, it may be, to which his name is subjected. The bard must receive his apotheosis from his strains. The “son,” whom “the muse” cannot “defend” by the simple magic of the song with which she has inspired him, will fall a prey, though not to the
"Wild rout that tore the Thracian bard,' yet to oblivion. It is the sweetness, or the majesty of his verse, that must preserve him, if at all, in the memories and in the hearts of men.
We have almost unexpectedly to ourselves, introduced Goldsmith to our readers, as if he were known only by his poetry : but although this is not the case, and his . prose writings are numerous and greatly distinguished on many accounts, yet as he wrote the one chiefly for fame, and the other chiefly for a livelihood, it is due to the high reputation of his verses, to offer a few comments on them first of all, and thus finish what we would say separately, on these efforts of his genius. It was his own opinion, that “the world has a right to know and notice only such of a man's productions, as he wrote for reputation and not for bread.” We do not know why such a claim should be admitted, -nevertheless we will so far admit it in relation to him, as to lay the greater stress on what he produced, with a view to establish his reputation as a writer. It will not be expected here, after the hundredth time, that we shall give any history of his few poems, or unfold their purpose. Their merit simply as poems, and this as they have impressed us upon a fresh perusal, is the only object here aimed at, and to be presented in the briefest terms; inasmuch as some general considerations in regard to the results of his intellectual labors, in the entire mass, will be submitted before we close.
Although Goldsmith's poetic pieces are elaborated with much care, every one notices a perfect ease, plainness, and simplicity about them in their structure, and turn of thought. This is especially the case with “ The Deserted Village.” We read it, without so much as thinking that we are engaged on a fine poem; nor does the knowledge of its celebrity seem to affect our estimate of its beauties. We are carried along with the descriptions and sentiments, and indulge a delicious luxury of feel