Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

sceptre of the Gospel, then was there surprise and astonishment. In some of the places there was no thought on the subject at all; and where there was, it was not concerning the peculiar externals of a revival, but concerning the grand realities of salvation.

4.—Different persons, and of different views in religion agree in the peculiarity of this work, as manifested to them and witnessed by them. By all there is shewn a desire to write cautiously, but decidedly as to the facts of the case. The one class ascribe the effects produced to something extraordinary but impalpable ;—the other class at once attribute it to the agency of the Holy Spirit of God, because it corresponds with what is attributed to that agent in scripture. But why multiply considerations to shew what, we trust, few of our readers will feel desirous of doubting—Let us rather improve the tidings which have been related, by a few serious thoughts, that may edify us, in our several spheres of action, as the servants of the Lord.

He that hath sent such a blessing there, is our Master here. He is the same Jesus—the same in remote Britain, and in this India. The trophies won there, He wears here. Our Master is honoured, and that is enough to us;—and if we mourn that he is rejected by the Hindu, let us rejoice that he is accepted by the northern Highlander, although we could desire to include both.

How mighty is the Spirit of God when He comes forth in power! As Sampson rent the lion, so rendethHe a congregation at once. He hath no law of numbers; He doeth as seems good to Him. If there be a semblance of proportion in His operations, it is that He will honour most the agency of those who most honour His ministration. This has been manifest in the agency chiefly employed in the northern revivals—it has ever been distinguished for a distinct, constant, and powerful magnifying of the ministration of the Holy Ghost: alas! how rare a thing!

How unnecessary is the formation of new schemes for the conversion of sinners. The old one is not become feeble with age. The gospel, if preached in the spirit of the gospel, is sufficient in its original form for its original ends. Without any change, save in the purity of its ministration, and in the measure of the Holy Spirit's power accompanying it, the whole world may be converted in a day. No change would be required in its agency, save the multiplication of its messengers. Every minister has in his hand what will one day convert India.

If the time and measure of the effusion of the Spirit, depend

on the will of God, O how careful ought we to be that we displease Him not, seeing that we deprive ourselves and others of a blessing so vast! How often may ministers, bv some besetting sin, quench the Spirit, and make it inconsistent for that holy agent to work by them, until they be purified from their iniquity. Ministers should never forget, that, whilst they are wielding the pure Gospel with all its power, they may be offending in some other form the Holy Spirit with all His power:—and so, all will be in vain, and yet they may wonder " Why." Deep humiliation of soul, and vivid holiness of life, are concomitants of agency in true revival;—and no expence of thought in preaching, no earnestness of effort, will ever bribe the Spirit of Holiness to signalize the ministry of the worldly, the sensual, the vain, the compromising, or the inconsistent. It matters not that their sin may be secret; God will openly act on that which is secretly done. "If I regard iniquity in my heart, my God will not hear me!"

Who can tell when God will work? It may be to-day, or to-morrow or a year hence, or a generation after we are gone. Why then do men reduce the extension of the Gospel to be a matter of numerical calculation? There is no law of increase in the gospel kingdom, that man can apprehend ;—for every conversion is by a direct divine agency. Now, who can calculate when that shall be put forth, or on whom, or on how many? There is a law of operation indeed; but, that is not of increase. One man preaches the gospel for thirty years aud sees but a few conversions ;—in another case, a man preaches one sermon and a hundred are converted unto the Lord, besides some hundreds more awakened. No man could foretell this ;—neither would any one have said that under the former ministry, faithful it may be, conversion would be so rare; yet, so it is—and it is good for us that it should thus be. We cannot endure to hear men talking of rates of conversion, and rates of entrance into the ministry, as they would talk of insurance tables and the rates of national population. This is God's work—and this is better than all our rationalized rates. He that hath his hand on man, and his eye on God, is the true calculator.

How should we be always ready for divine interposition? How should we be as servants that wait for the coming of their master, whilst we are in the church, the chapel, the bungalow, the school, the street, the bazar, or on the river side! Oh what daily supplication, what daily watching, what daily contending, what daily faith, are needed in order to receive the blessing that may be hovering over us, ready to burst on our heads! Are we ready then in spirit? Could we with humility bear "the opening of the windows of heaven?" Would there be no sectarian vaunting—no individual vanity—no invidious comparisons—no love of religious notoriety—no preference of schemes—no impatient urgency—

no claims of priority—no but we cease from the theory —

what is the reality? The writer feels himself to be thus unprepared, and owns it as his sin :—what saith the reader? Look and see !—alas,

"There Is None That Stirreth Himself Up To Take Hold Upon God."

J. M. D.

VIII.—The Missionary Conference.Rejoinder to T. S.

To the Editors of the Calcutta Christian Observer.

Dear Gentlemen,

It may seem uncourteous to allow the respectful notice of my letter taken by T. S. to pass in silence, may I therefore request the insertion of this rejoinder, and with this I make my bow.

T. S. is quite right in saying that he and I have other matters to mind than controvery, at least the remark applies to me. I have no wish to provoke or continue discussion. My remarks on the resolution of the Missionary conference, as expounded by T. S., I consider rather as a testimony against it than any thing else, and here I am willing to leave it, and I do so the more cheerfully as since my remarks were written the review of a work has reached me, though not the work itself, which appears to me to contain a suitable antidote to the above resolution and exposition.

T. S. will I am sure give me credit for being ignorant of the defect in his olfactory nerves, as from his letter I suppose is the case; nor did I object to his scribeship, but simply to incompetence from inexperience to pronounce with so much confidence on the subject in hand; and here I crave the indulgence of extending my remark to his more experienced colleagues. 1 cannot help thinking, that the great words they have employed in the advocacy of a favorite system are calculated to do considerable disservice to the general cause of Missions. It is not necessary to the prosperity of institutions where English is the medium of instruction, to depreciate the clearly divine institution of preaching to the people in their own tongue. The moral of all such ultra representations seems to be, " There is nothing like leather."

How far T. S. may have embodied the views of the Missionary conference I cannot of course decide, but I hope if all who were present "marvellously agree in holding" the views he has put forth, that the attendance was unusually select on that occasion, and that many non. cons, were from some cause or other absent.

Two paragraphs of T. S.'s letter might have been spared. He discovered himself that by clerk 1 did not mean parson, and therefore

VOL. 1. 5 E

any implication that I was averse to an educated ministry should have been cancelled. The last paragraph might have shared the same fate, for though not so clearly expressed as it might have been, yet by the word 'some extent' I meant not the degree of education bat the number of pupils and schools

I see n6 relevancy in the remarks of T. S. about asking me why I do not learn the Chinese language, &c. If Cuttack were inhabited by Chinamen, as Calcutta is by Bengalis, I should think it a very suitable remonstrance. My respected correspondent may see by my first letter that I feel not the least objection to those who cannot or will not learn the native languages teaching in English, the more help the better ; I wish to pour all the light possible by any and every means, into the minds of the people, but I dissent from the doctrine that teaching English is the way to bring truth to bear most effectually on the minds of the Mass of the people. This is the only point about which I am anxious.

I still think T. S. must wait a few years before he criticises the native languages. It would be doing the cause of truth and righteousness good service, if those who have a very superficial kuowledge of the native language would express their opinions less confidently. I make tlm remark in reference to much that has been written lately on this subject. The remarks of T. S. about the time necessary to qualify a man of ordinary ability to preach in the native languages are calculated I think to do harm. Far be it from me to underrate the difficulty of acquiring and speaking an Indian language; or to convey an idea that a man may not be employed in studying it till his death, and then not be perfect, for so he may in Greek. But I can testify from the experience of our own Mission that a much less time than T. S. mentions will suffice to enable a man to make known the Gospel with tolerable clearness and saving effect.

Let a missionary resolutely commence the language in which he expects to labour, during the voyage or on landing; let him work at it every day, and in the evening regularly accompany a missionary brother in his preaching trips to the bazar, villages, or native chapel; as soon as he can, let him take a catechism and read it over with a class of boys, sit down and read a verse in turn or sing a poem with them (he ■will catch many words and sounds from children he will not get from a pandit); let him note new and useful words and make a point of using them in various sentences till he feels their force and extent of application; let him begin to speak at once with any persons with whom he can be familiar; and I will engage that at the close of the first year he will be able to make himself understood on most subjects, and by the close of the second he will feel his ground to go out with a native preacher on a missionary excursion in the country. Let him pursue this plan, reading at the same time missionary journals relating to his field of labour, and he will soon become a workman that need not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of life. I could point to many living illustrations of my advice—nor do I know of an instance where it has been properly tried, and the missionary has failed. T. S. in "Thirdly" of his first communication, furnishes us with a specimen of Ins gift of speedy penmanship, and after having "as clearly established his point as any point can be," viz. that English must be the medium of communication to teachers, he concludes as clearly that the vernacular in general must he the medium of dispensing to the mass. Now this argument appears to me to be nearly suicidal. Are not the teachers of the many to have books through which to teach? and if so the labour of preparation whatever it be, must be endured, and my friend with his ready pen has rattled on to his conclusion rather too rapidly. But for the sentiments which have been so industriously circulated on this subject we should by this time have had a respectable body of Bengali literature; but alas where are the successors of the Pioneers of Missions to India !—Since the death of Pearson and our Serampore Brethren we have scarcely an addition of any importance to our vernacular book-store. Let us hope there are works already prepared which only await a little encouragement to bring them into use.

I have filled my paper: I have no time to notice what remains of the letter of T. S. Whatever force there may be in his method of making ministers I hope will be well employed. I do not love the resolution any better for his sentiments. I must not begin to praise the venerable and Apostolic Church to which I belong, because I should not know where to end, but with every sentiment of respect for T. S. and for yourselves,

I am, Gentlemen, yours obediently,

Cuttack, Nov. \2th, 1840. A. Sutton.

[ocr errors]

1.—Missionary And Ecclesiastical Movements. Since our last, the following Missionaries have arrived. In connexion with the Mission of Mr. Start at Patna: Rev. J. D. Prochnow and wife, Rev. Messrs. E. Sohulze, G. Niebel; Misses Henriette Just, Augusta Winter, Sophia Wernicke, Dorothea Feldner.—The Church Mission has been strengthened by the arrival of following brethren: Rev. Mr. Osborne and Mrs. Osborne, Rev. Mr. Bowman and Mrs. Bowman, Rev. Mr. Wenargerl, and Mrs. Wenargerl, Rev. Mr. Makie, and Rev. Mr. Long.—The Baptist friends in the midst of their losses have received help in the arrival of the Rev. W. W. Evans and Mrs. Evans, Rev. J. Parsons and Mrs. Parsons. Mr. Evans will most probably superintend the Benevolent Institution. We rejoice in the arrival of these good brethren: may they long abide in health and strength, and abound in the work of the Lord.—It is our painful dutv to announce the death of the Rev. G. B. Parsons, late of Monghyr. He died at Calcutta on the 13th of November, on his way to Europe. Though in a very weak state, his end was unexpectedly sudden and yet was it peace. He was but in his prime, 27. He was a generous, lively, and Catholic minister of Jesus Christ, and gave promise of much usefulness. Be ye also ready.—The Rev. Mr. Becher and Mrs. Becher, arrived on the Plantagenet. Mr. B. is a Chaplain, on this establishment.—The Bishop of

[graphic]
« AnteriorContinuar »