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sures of India, by awakening the cupidity, had, for ages, summoned forth the energies of successive nations of the West. As the emporium of commerce was gradually transferred to countries more remote, the difficulties of direct communication, from the trackless deserts and unknown oceans that intervened,-became increasingly multiplied. Then it was that the tide of enthusiasm, which had so long found its proper outlet in crusades and chivalry, was turned into the channels of maritime discovery with a special view to India. Hence the extraordinary series of voyages which terminated in doubling the Cape. Once landed on the longed-for shores, the Europeans soon perceived that in order to secure uninterfuptedly the advantage of Indian commerce, they must become masters of the Indian soil. Hence the unprecedented series of conquests which terminated in the unrivalled supremacy of the British. Possessed of the Indian territory, the British soon found that, in order to retain it, they must conciliate the natives by a due attention to their customs, manners, and laws. Hence the remarkable series of investigations which terminated in unlocking the mysteries of Sanskrit lore.
All things being now ready, there began to spring up in the bosom of the British churches a wide and simultaneous sense of the solemn responsibility under which they had been laid by the events of Providence, to avail themselves of so favourable an opening for the diffusion of the Gospel throughout the Eastern World. Men qualified to undertake the high commission, must be sent across the ocean ;-and have not the toils, and perils, and successes of Vasco De Gama and other navigators opened up a safe and easy passage ? That their labours might pervade the country and strike a deep and permanent root into the soil, they must be delivered from the caprices of savage tyranny and the ebullitions of heathen rage ;-and have not our Clives and our Wellingtons wrested the rod of power from every wilful despot; and our Hastings and Wellesleys thrown the broad shield of British justice and British protection alike over all ? In order that they might the more effectually adapt their communications to the peculiarities of the people, they must become acquainted with the learned language of the country, and through it with the real and original sources of all prevailing opinions and observances, sacred and civil;—and have not our Joneses, and our Colebrookes unfolded the whole, to prove subservient to the cause of the Christian philanthropist? In this way, have not our navigators, our warriors, our statesmen, and our literati, been unconsciously employed, under an overruling Providence, as so many pioneers to prepare the way for our Swartzes, our Buchanans, our Martyns, and our Careys?
Nor is this conclusion in the least degree affected by the consideration, that the sacred cause of Gospel propagation was directly opposed by so many of those who indirectly laboured most to insure its ultimate triumph. The indifference or opposition of individuals or governments, as well as their immediate aid, God has often made instrumental to the advancement of His purposes. How often is it adduced as a powerful argument in defence of Christianity, that it was not espoused, but resisted to the uttermost, by the Jews as a nation? And why? Because, if it had been so espoused, it might be reckoned a fabrication of State policy. The same remark applies in its fullest force to India. Had our merchant princes, or literary savans, or those armed with political and martial power, been seized with a proselyting zeal ;--and had thousands, outwardly at least, been brought to confess the name of Jesus,-then, not only might their motives have been thrown open to suspicion,—but, to the influence of wealth and learning and power, would all the credit and the glory be ascribed :—man alone would be exalted, and the great God concealed from our view. But when the work has been left to humble missionaries of the Cross, who are destitute of wealth and unarmed with power, and who habitually subordinate human learning to the “wisdom of God;"—yea, when the men of wealth and learning and power have been arrayed in fierce and threatening attitude against them ;-then, in the acknowledged weakness of the instrument, is there a mighty demonstration
that success must be the result of a higher agency,-even that of the Almighty Spirit of all grace, whose alone is the excellency of the wisdom and the power.
Let the men of wealth, of learning, and of power, therefore, pursue their own specific ends,—their own darling projects. Let them despise or neglect the only means of effectually ameliorating the millions of India. Let them continue to plead “ the testimony of ancient history, the climate, the usages, the tastes, the religious and political institutions of the Eastern people,”—in order to shelter themselves from the plea of indifference and neglect, on the score that improvement is impracticable. Let them muster, in formidable array, the strong hosts of caste and prejudice, so stoutly opposed to innovation, and so "resolute to maintain what, from age to age, the people have been accustomed to venerate.” Let them not cease to reiterate the conclusion of the celebrated author of the Spirit of Laws, that “ India has always been, and India always will be, what it now is,"—in order to paralyze every attempt to ameliorate its condition; and let them stigmatize those who labour in its behalf as entertaining extravagant ideas, and sanguine theories, and idle imaginations. Let them brand the effort to change the character and habits of the people, and new-model the whole mishapen structure of society" as chimerical,—on the old principle, that “ because an elephant is an elephant, and a Hindu a Hindu, we ought to leave them both on the plains of Hindustan where we found them.” Let them do all this and much more. Their indifference and opposition will only render the final triumphs of Christianity over the idols of heathenism more signally the work of God. For, “the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of man shall be brought low; and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day."
Whatever the views and the conduct of the men of this world may be, we must never forget that, as Christians, the Divine injunction laid upon us is, to do good to all men as we have opportunity! Here, opportunity is made the measure of our expected well-doing. And when, or where has an opportunity of doing good to man, in the highest and noblest sense of that expression, ever been presented to any Christian people, similar to that which British Christians now enjoy, in reference to the millions of India? The facilities now afforded in that distant land for the propagation of Gospel truth on a scale so broad and extensive, have seldom been equalled, never surpassed, in any of the realms of Gentilism. It is this circumstance which, above all others, ought to determine the sphere, and regulate the amount of more immediate duty. Look to other heathen nations. Except China, there is none that remotely approximates to India, either in extent of territory or in denseness of population. But, if China exceed India in both, may it not be thought that it demands the first place in the calculations of the missionary enterprise ? Here, however, other elements must be taken into our reckoning. Mere magnitude, either as to territory or population, is not enough towards the formation of a sound decision. Facility of access and liberty of operation must be held among the conclusive and determining elements in solving the problem of duty. Now, it must be confessed that, notwithstanding certain favourable appearances and over-sanguine expectations, China seems, up to the present time, in regard to direct missionary operations, nearly as much shut against us, as if encompassed with an unscalable wall of brass. The same may be said of Madagascar and other portions of the earth. It is our duty to watch and pray that all impediments may every where be speedily removed ;—for these heathen lands, as much as any other, are included in the inheritance of the Son. But how different at this moment is the condition of India ! There, we are met by no thundering edicts of a Celestial Emperor to scare us away from its shores,—no exterminating decrees of a capricious Madagascar savage to expel us from a territory already partially possessed. Every harbour along its extended coast is thrown open for our reception ;_every province, every city, and every village to its utmost boundaries, prepared to tolerate, if not to welcome, our Gospel ministrations. Over the whole of that region of moral darkness, stable and uncontrollable power presides ;-and that is the power of a Christian monarchy.
There Christian governors legislate ; Christian judges and magistrates decree justice; and Christian captains, wielding the sword of power, guarantee security of person and of property. All, all conspire to open up a free and unfettered course to the herald of the Cross; and serve to throw over him a broad and invulnerable ægis. How are we to interpret the final cause of such a state of things ? Surely, if ever Jehovah spoke by infallible signs through the leadings of His providence, it is here that He has uttered His voice and the announcement of the oracle seems to be :-“ Behold, without anyfore-thought, costor trouble, on your part: behold, the key of Asia is placed in your hands. A door great and effectual hath been opened there for you :-enter ye in, and take possession of the land. If India has been allowed to continue for ages the theatre of one of Satan's mightiest triumphs, it is only that, in these latter days, it may become the theatre of one of his most disastrous defeats. If, in the pride of sinful independence, India has long refused to yield allegiance to Him who, on Zion's holy hill, has been anointed King and Governor of the nations, it is only that, when made captive and willing in the day of His power and merciful visitation,-she may enrich and adorn, with more than the spoils of orient magnificence, the triumphal car of the conquering Immanuel."
In order still farther to exhibit and enforce the duty of the British churches towards India, let us endeavour to illustrate, by analogy, the striking peculiarity of its present position, from its parallelism with the most remarkable epoch in ancient history.
What was the history of the world between the flood and the coming of Christ? Was it not a history of the up-setting and down-putting of kingdoms;—until at length, a power arose, great, and mighty, and terrible, and exceeding strong, which ground into atoms the kingdoms of the earth? After ages of conquest and of bloody strife, the Roman emperor was enabled to proclaim universal peace; and in token thereof shut