Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

"Soft airs and gentle heavinga of the wave Impel the ship whose errand is to save. Let nothing adverse, nothing unforeseen, Impede the bark that plows the deep serene, Charged with a freight transcending in its.wortli The gems of India, nature's rarest birth, That flies like Gabriel on his Lord's commands Ail herald of God's love to pagan lands." In addition to these heartfelt desires the Teachers beg Mr. Pearee's acceptance of the Rev, Hugh Pearson's memoirs of Dr. Buchanan, once a faithful labourer in the same cause. They feel much, while thus expressing their affection for an endeared friend, and direct most ardent wishes to the divine throne that he may (at a far distant period) meet in heaven the subject of these Memoirs, together with those holy men with whom they hope he will shortly be a companion in labour, and every other Missionary who shall have been found "faithful unto death."

Though they expect to see the countenance of their friend no more on earth, they hope in the honoured band of Missionaries to behold it with joy at the resurrection of the just.

Signed on behalf of the Teachers,
EDW. STEANE, ) „ , .
J. W. 8L\rVER,}Secretarte*-

Immediately on his arrival in India, Mr. Pearee proceeded to Serampore, and laboured in connection with Mr. Ward in the Printing office. His progress in the study of the Bengali language was rapid, and his talents and exertions highly valued, and there was every prospect of his being long useful and happy at Serampore. Before one year had elapsed, however, these prospects were beclouded. At this time a difference of opinion had arisen between the senior Missionaries and the Society as to the relation existing between them, and the engagements by which they were bound to each other. On this occasion Mr. P. took part with the Society, and in acting up to what he believed to be right, he had sacrifices to make; he had to give up the brightest prospects of usefulness, to risk the good opinion of those whom he highly esteemed and loved, and to commence operations in Calcutta, under every disadvantage, dependent entirely upon his own energies and the divine blessing.

On his removal to this city he united himself with the junior Missionaries of the Society, and took a most active part in all the measures they adopted for the establishment and extension of the mission. In the printing department he commenced operations on a very limited scale, with only one press, in a contemptible mat hut adjoining the house where he lived. This establishment he continued to enlarge as Providence enlarged his means, and raised it from the most insignificant to one of the most efficient in the city. To the honour of Mr. Pearee it must be said, that this office, belonging as it does entirely to the Society in England, never cost them one farthing, from its commencement to the death of its founder. On the contrary, it every year contributed to the objects they ■were engaged to support. Our friend consented to carry on the arduous duties of the Printing office precisely upon the same principle as the apostle Paul consented to labour in making teats, that he might have the satisfaction of being able to say, "Ye yourselves know that these hands have ministered to my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the 'weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive/'

While conducting the business of the office, he was not unmindful of the state of the Heathen, but was continually planning something for their temporal good, or writing something, for their spiritual instruction, or persuading others to exert themselves on their behalf. In the early part of his course, he often addressed the Bengalis in the different Native Chapels in this city; though his chief exertions were directed to» teaching and preaching in a more private manner.

After Mr. Pearce had laboured assiduously for about five years in Calcutta, his health began to fail, and in 1823 it was found necessary for him to take a short voyage for the recruiting of his health. In this voyage to Penang he was accompanied by his beloved sister, and the charms of her society greatly relieved its tedium. He appears to have felt uncommon delight in the scenery of the Islands as viewed from Government Hill. This hill, independent of the two Bungalows reserved for the use of the Governor, contains a third called the convalescent Bungalow, erected by Government for the temporary accommodation of invalids, to whom the change of climate is generally found to be of essential service. It is 2500 feet above the level of the town. One of the longest pieces of poetry he ever composed, and the best as to description, was penned on this hill, beginning with these lines:

*' Near where the equator parts the torrid zone,
There lies an island called from royal race,
The Prince of Wales's Island; or by those
Who knew it earlier, and whose name survives
The lapse of rolling years, Pulo Penang," &c.

During his stay at Penang he received the greatest attention and kindness from the religious friends he found on the spot; and after enjoying for several months their society and the scenery of the lovely place, he returned to Calcutta with his health greatly improved.

On his return to Calcutta, from the commencement of 1824 to 1829 he was diligently engaged in the duties of his office and in occasional preaching to the natives. Within this period also he began to render valuable assistance in the work of translating the scriptures. He never undertook to translateany part himself, but his assistance was peculiarly valuable in the final correction of the proofs. He had the eye of a Christian, a Critic and a Printer. He could see at once, if passages contained any thing contrary to the analogy of faith—he could perceive, if justice had been done to disputed texts—and no eye was ever quicker than his in discovering a typographical error. These qualifications rendered his aid in the Bengali version of the scriptures invaluable, and those deprived of it feel themselves called to double diligence and care, to supply his lack of service. The two last works on which his heart was set, and which he hoped to see completed, were the Bengali Bible with headings to the chapters and references and renderings at the foot of the page; and a reprint of Martyu's version of the New Testament in Persian; but instead of living to see them finished, he did not live to see the first form of either of them through the press. The Bengali had been kept waiting for him three years, while he was seeking in his Native Isle renovated health to engage in it; and when he had returned with health in some degree restored and fitted for the work, he was removed hefore the first sheet had been struck off. Truly may we say in reference to this event of Providence, "How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!"

In the year 1829, upon Mr. Yates's being called from the Native Church to take the pastoral charge of the English Church in Circular Road, Mr. Pearce was requested by the Native brethren to supply the vacancy. His mind had for several years previously been engaged in reflecting, whether he could not do something more for their spiritual welfare; yet so fearful was he of thrusting himself into the sacred office of Pastor without suitable qualifications, that after receiving a pressing invitation to accept the charge, he first required a year's trial to be given him; and after that, when at the expiration of the year the call was repeated, he required the sanction of all his Missionary brethren and of the English church to which he belonged, before he would accept it. When all had testified they were perfectly satisfied,that he possessed those gifts and graces which eminently fitted him for the office, he consented to undertake it, and was set apart for it in the Circular Road Chapel. The account of his experience and his confession of faith which he read at the service, gave great satisfaction to all who heard them. The ordination prayer was offered by the Rev. J. Hill and the charge given by the Rev. W. Yates from 1 Tim. iv. 6. "Take heed to thyself and to the doctrine," &c. It may be truly said that through his whole pastoral course, a period of about 10 years with one of probation, he acted up to the spirit ofthe charge that was then delivered. His heart was intent upon the instruction and spiritual improvement of those committed to his care. He allowed them access to him at all hours, entered into all their complaints and griefs, and never failed to impart to them the best advice, and to secure for them assistance where it was absolutely needed. His last hour of labour upon earth was in the midst of them, and he may be said to have died seeking the increase and establishment of his beloved Native church. It must not be supposed from the preceding remarks that all his energies were devoted to the welfare of his church, and that he was indifferent to the wants of the heathen. Though through the feebleness of his voice many could not hear him, yet he had the care of several Native preachers, who supplied his deficiency in preaching, and it was his concern to make them scribes well instructed in the kingdom of God, and able to bring out of the divine treasury things new and old ; and in addition to what he did in preparing others to preach the word, he by the use of his pen communicated divine truth to a very great extent. His Satya Ashray or True Refuge, a tract printed in Bengálí, Oriyá, and Hindí, has been circulated and read more extensively than almost any other, and by that, though now dead, he yet continues to speak to the thousands and millions of Bengål and Hindustán. In 1836, after a residence in India of nineteen years, it was judged desirable by Mr. Pearce himself, as well as his friends and medical attendant, that he should be released for a season from his arduous duties to enjoy the benefit of a colder climate. Had it been possible for him to relax his efforts without removing from this climate, it was thought by many that his health would have been improved, but there seemed no possibility of his desisting from strenuous exertion, except by going away altogether from the scene of labour. He left Calcutta on the 1st of January, 1837, in the ship Mount Stuart Elphinstone, and arrived in England May the 4th. In the busy scenes of active benevolence in England, Mr. P. found it as impossible to be quiet as in India. Though he had not strength to stand forth and address large congregations, he soon made himself heard through the medium of the press to a much greater extent. His heart was first set on the words of the Saviour: “The harvest truly is plentedus, but the labourers are few ; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest to send forth labourers into his harvest.” This was his prayer, and his actions corresponded with his prayer. He sat down and composed a powerful appeal to the religious public for ten fresh labourers to be sent forth into the harvest. The appeal was not in vain, the sum required for the purpose was subscribed, and the greater part of the agents speedily engaged. He made a similar appeal to the Tract Society, which was crowned with the like success, so that he had the satisfaction of seeing that his visit to England had not been without benefit to India.

The former appeal, however, with the labour of correspondence and journeying which it involved, was too much for an eastern invalid. The severity of the cold too was more than his weak frame could endure; so ill was he during the last winter of his stay, that but little hope was entertained of his ever being able to return to India. Through the mercy of God however he was restored, and on the 20th of June, 1839, was permitted with four new Missionaries to sail for Calcutta. His health during the passage was somewhat improved, though he never seemed to be perfectly recovered. It had been fondly hoped by his friends here, that after an absence of three years from his office and his church, he would be prepared to resume his labours with fresh vigor, and to carry them on with delight for many years to come. But the Lord had otherwise ordained t before six months had elapsed, he was attacked by a disease which his constitution was unable to sustain, and in less than twenty-four hours removed from his labours to his rest.

It appears that our friend, like his father, had a sort of foreboding as to the kind of death he should die. What his father felt and said of consumption, he felt and said almost verbally of cholera. "Of all the ways of dying that which I most dreaded was by a consumption, in which it is now highly probable my disorder will issue. But, O my dear Lord, if by this death I can most glorify thee, I prefer it to all others, and thank thee that by this means thou art hastening my fuller enjoyment of thee in a purer world." When that which he feared, came upon him, he was enabled to meet the last enemy in his most terrible array without alarm, and to say, "Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy, though I fall, I shall rise, though I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me."

The day before his death was spent just in the manner his friends could have wished it to be spent, had they known it to be the last. He had written to the Society in England, drawn up an appeal to the American and Foreign Bible Society, and conversed with the members of his church. In his appeal, the last thing he wrote, there is one passage truly remarkable. Speaking of his return to India and of others now engaged with him in Missionary labours, he observes," How long we

« AnteriorContinuar »