« PreviousContinue »
to myself: and the Syriac Letter* which they sent by me to the Church Missionary Society conveys an official and grateful acknowledgment for the many favours they had received.
I was favoured with several interviews with the Syrian Bishop; and can with truth say, that he appeared to be a man of genuine piety, sound judgment, and humility; devoted to his people and his God; and in every respect qualified for the important duties of his station. The Missionaries write of him---" The Metropolitan is a man deserving of all honour; not only from his rank, but from his character: he is a wise man, and an humble man. He is the head, not only of the Syrian Church, but of the Mission. Nothing takes place within the Mission without acquainting him with it; nor is any thing allowed, to which he at all objects.”_"The Metropolitan's affection and respect for us increase. Mar Philoxenust, who lives an hundred miles to the North, ends all his Letters to our friend' Mar Dionysius at Cotym, . Let no abatement of the regard of the Sahibst at Cotym befall us ||.?"
* An English Translation of this Letter was published in the Missionary Register for October 1822. pp. 431, 432. + The retired Syrian Bishop. I Gentlemen.
See XXIII Report of the Church Missionary Society, p.153.
Thus, by the happy combination of wisdom, prudence, and perseverance, the Missionaries have accomplished, in six years, what the duplicity and violence of the Roman-Catholics, though exerted for centuries, could never have effected. They have ingratiated themselves with the Metropolitans, Malpans, Clergy, and the whole body of Syrians. Their conciliatory, 'consistent, and truly Christian conduct has impressed all ranks with the conviction, that they are come amongst them for no other purpose, but to improve their condition, and promote their present and future happiness. Their counsel and example have quickened the long-torpid spirits of many, and called them forth actually to co-operate with them in the prosecution of their work. They have given them several useful and religious works, in their own language; and the Translation of the Scriptures is advancing. They have prevailed upon parents to send their sons to a distance from home (a thing which before they were scarcely known to do), to be educated at the College, under the care of foreigners. They have collected already fifty promising Youths (as many as the College can receive), and are educating them, according to the European mode of instruction, for the Sacred Work
of the Ministry. They have established a System of Education for all ranks, nearly throughout the whole of the Diocese; and even persuaded some of the Syrians, poor and penurious as they found them, to contribute towards the support of the Schools. They have exercised amongst them, and taught them to admire, a purer mode of worship than their own; and that without making one observation, upon the vanity of the superstitions of their Church, that could wound their feelings.
Let this conduct be contrasted with that of the Jesuits towards this interesting people: and let these facts speak in reply to the Abbé Dubois' assertion, that all the success the Missionaries had to boast of among them was, the having prevailed upon many of their Priests to marry.
But he is greatly mistaken, if he think that they “ boast of” even this unexampled success. Promising as appearances are, and happily as every thing concurs to promote their object, they attribute all to the super intending Providence of the Almighty. In their weekly consultations, previous to entering upon business, they unite in prayer to God, for wisdom and direction: in the same spirit of dependence upon Divine Aid, they
prosecute all their labours: and sure I am, that, so far from “boasting of” what they have done, they render the glory to Him, to whom only it is due.
THE DUTY AND POLICY OF PROMOTING CHRIS.
TIANITY IN INDIA ; AND THE NECESSITY OF
It has long been customary, in certain quarters, to decry all Missionaries in the East, and to predict the downfal of our Indian Empire, as the inevitable result of their proceedings. And, though the experience of more than twenty years has proved that such apprehensions are without foundation (the extension and increasing stability of our Eastern Dominion having more than kept pace with the progress of Missionary Exertion), yet even now there are not wanting individuals, who, upon every shadow of a pretext, step forward to repeat assertions, which have been often confuted, and to retail prophecies, which the
actual issue of the measures upon which they are founded have long since proved fallacious.
The Abbé Dubois is one of this number. He also sounds his note of alarm upon the question; though he must know it to be as “stale a subject” as that of burning the Hindoo Widows upon the Funeral Pile.
I also beg leave to sound an alarm-though with a very different trumpet. Instead of predicting the ruin of the Honourable the East-India Company's dominions, as the consequence of Missionary undertakings, I hesitate not to assert, that it were better to abandon all their Eastern acquisitions, than to discourage the propagation of Christianity; or even to stand neuter, and use no means to promote that object, throughout their extensive Empire. A fearful load of responsibility rests upon them! The history of all Nations proves, that every event is under the Almighty's controul. By Him '“ Nations and Empires rise and fall, flourish and decay.” The triumphs and defeats of armies, -unless viewed in connection with the sovereign purposes of God, are of less moment, in His sight, and in that of every wise and good man, than the descent and evaporation of the morning-dew. But when regarded as