ePub 版
[blocks in formation]

a little more particularly to the contributions which have been received for the Scheme committed to their charge, and to the sources from which these contributions have come. The larger portion, of course, bas been derived from congregational collections, which, with contributions from congregational associations, amount to L.4374, 3s. 5d. Though, in the returns laid upon your table some days ago, there are some blanks in the column allotted to India, which your Committee would have gladly seen filled by sums bowever small, yet they are constrained to siy, tbat the result of the first general collection through the Church has exceeded t'e expectations even of the most sanguine among them. And not less gratifying are the contributions wbich they bave received from other quarters. From their friends in Lon. don and other parts of England, wbose support of the India Mission bas, from an early period, been alike liberal and steady, they have received nearly L.600. Nor are there wanting affecting examples of Christian sympathy and liberality awakened by the peculiar circumstances in which your Missionaries were placed, in consequence of adbering to you.

Besides large donations from individuals at home, there have been received, along with expressions of Christian regard, contributions from the British Colonies, from Holland, and from America. Mr Lennox of New York, a gentleman whose name is now as familiar to this Assembly as that of any Christian philanthropist at home, placed L.500, a contribution from himself and bis sisters, at the disposal of Dr Duff, to be employed by bim to meet the emergencies that might arise at Calcutta and the other Presidencies in their altered circumstances, expressing, at the same time, his hope that it might contribute somewhat to Dr Duff's comfurt amidst his trials to know that he was thought of and sympathised with by friends in the far west. And equally cheering to your missionaries, as it ought to be a subject of thankfulness to the Church at home, is the liberality that has been manifested by friends in India itself. The amount of contributions received there, is stated in the Res port of the Board of Missions at L. 6:387, and though this sum includes subscriptions for the erection of churches in connection with the Free Church of Scotland, and must be put down therefore to the Colonial, and not the Mission Scheme, yet ibere is still a very munificent sum contributed to the Missionary cause. Nor is it the mere amount of subscriptions that has most powerfully awakened the gratitude of your missionaries. At earb of the three Presidencies there has been formed a Financial Board, consisting of Christian gentlemen, who have undertaken the management of what may be called the outward or secular concerns of the Mission, and from whose sympathy and co-operation the missionaries have received comfort and encouragement to an extent wbich it were not easy to estimate. It is of course the duty of your committee to acknowledge in your name all such instances of Christian kindness. But they would take the liberty of suggesting that the Assembly itself, in the way that to its wisdom may appear most befitting, should express its sense of the obligation under which these gentlemen have laid the Free Church.

“ And now, Sir, your committee cannot close this Report without again giving utterance to the feeling, which they expressed in commencing it—a feeling of gratitude to God for the tokens of his favour vouchsafed to your missionary enterprize during the past year. And they feel assured that these proofs of the Divine countenance and blessing will prove the most powerful excitement to the friends of missions to renewed exertions, and still larger contributions. The Church cannot dream of resting satisfied with merely providing the means of maintaining in undiminished numbers and strength the agency which was thrown upon her seven months ago. To say nothing of the new station which is about to be occupied in India, the still larger undertaking which she may feel herself called to enter upon by adopting the African Mission of Glasgow, and the addition to European Missionaries which may be required at the old stations,—to say nothing of these demands - demands which she may not be able, without a palpable dereliction of duty, to resist; there is another consideration which will not permit her to sit down contented with doing next year merely what she has done during the last. By the very success which God vouchsafes to ber efforts, he will compel her to make still greater exertions, unless she is prepared deliberately to throw away the very advantages which she has all along looked, and longed, and laboured, and prayed for. The object of her most earnest expectation has been a supply of native agents,-native preachers,—native ministers of the gospel, and these God is promising very speedily to furnish. Already two are labouring with zeal in Bengal, as catechists, with others coming forward to occupy similar situations. Three in Bombay, and the same number at Madras, may at no distant period be ordained to the office of the holy ministry. And is there any exertion which the Church would grudge making to furnish the external equipment of such a band of youthful soldiers of Jesus Christ? For what may not the Church hope for from the labours of such converts-men who have made sacrifices for Christ and the gospel, in a way and to an extent of wbich the ministers and members of the Free Church know nothing. Let the Church but bear these young disciples, soon to be ministers of Christ, on her heart at a throne of grace, and your committee bave no fear that the treasury out of which they are to be sustained will ever be exbausted, or stand long empty. In name and by appointment of committee,

“ Robert GORDON, Convener.” Dr Wilson said,- Moderator, as I stand before you the first representative of the newly formed Presbyteries in India, I shall take the liberty, in the briefest manner, to allude to the peculiar claims which that great country has on our benevolent regard as a missionary field. But before doing this, I cannot refrain from expressing the feelings awakened in my mind by most of the statements contained in the most interesting and spirit-stirring report which has just been read by our venerable and beloved father Dr Gordon. It makes us acquainted with many providential dispensations of a striking character, which it becomes us devoutly to acknowledge and re. view. These dispensations we must recognize in the mercies which bave been received both at home and abroad. Of the former I would notice, in particular, the Christian liberality of the adherents of this Church in Scotland. On this liberality, as I have formerly stated to this Assembly, we did not calculate when we determin. ed to adhere to the Free Church of Scotland. On the contrary, we feared that for a season our resources would be diminished, even though we could not but anticipate an ultimate liberality exceeding what had formerly been realized. We were attracted to the Free Church by simple Christian principle; and, in the view of a temporary depression of our mission in connection with it, we preferred the prayers and the peace of the poor, to the praises and the pounds of the proud. (Hear.) God's goodness, however, bas transcended all our expectations; and anew we see the pro. priety of acting on the maxim of the great Carey, “ Expect great things, and attempt great things.” The Lord's mercy to us in connection with our operations abroad is most conspicuous. He has effected, after the disruption, a re-settlement of our mission, on the banks of the Ganges in particular, in a way demanding our highest praise. Even in reference to the branch stations there, all has gone well. I cannot here refrain from stating, that I feel a particular interest in that which, under the direction of two of the interesting youthful converts, has been formed among the Karta Bhojas, or worshippers of the Creator, as their designation is to be translated. These people, originally a simple Hindu tribe, were formerly idolaters; but by various influences, including those arising from the missionary tours of Carey and his companions, a spirit of reform has appeared among them, to their divorcement from many of the vanities of the heathen. I believe that I am correct in stating that, in connection with the Church Missionary Society, about two or three thousand of them have embraced Christianity. In the west of India we bave also a branch station, that of Judapur, which has not till this evening, I believe, been brought be. fore the notice of this Assembly. A European there labours, under the direction of the excellent Mr Mitchell of Poonah, with a considerable degree of encourage

The people with whom he has to deal are very different from tbe Karta Bhojas of Bengal. They are Marathas, the most spirited and independent people of India, the representatives of that people who first set bounds to the Mussulman empire in India, who recovered a large portion of the country which had been subjected to the Mogul, and who founded an empire of their own. Theirs is the cbief seat of Brahmanical power, and the influence of caste is strong among them. But by caste we are not discouraged. It is sometimes an advantage to us in the prosecution of our labours, as in the case of the interesting conversion of the youth Narayan at Bombay. That event, combined with the efforts of the Brahmans to possess themselves of his little brother, who seemed inclined to follow his footsteps, in consequence of tbe existence of caste attracted an attention which, independent of this institution, it could never have awakened, and forced itself on the notice of the Hindu community for hundreds of miles,-thus showing how God can make the wrath of man to minister to bis praise, and to excite attention to his cause. (Hear.) But with what is before us to.night, I must not proceed with this desultory comment. I notice farther only this gratifying fact, that libraries and apparatus are being provided for the mission at Calcutta, in the room of those which bave been taken from us. And in connection with this, I am happy to be able to mention that Major Jervis of the Bombay engineers, one of the best friends of our mission, is zealously collecting for us books and apparatus in London. (Hear.) I proceed to advert to the claims of India, -the peculiar claims of India as & missionary field. We are accustomed to speak of India as a country; but it is more like a continent than a country. From the mountains of Himalaya, by which it is bounded on the north, to Point de Galle on the south, we have upwards of thirty degrees of latitude; and from the coasts of Katiawar on the west to the contines of China in the east, we have upwards of thirty degrees of longitude. Amidst the lofty mountains, and over the wide-spreading plains of India, we have altogether a population which we have been accustomed to estimate at one hundred and sixty millions of souls. The Swedish ambassador at the Court of London, who has lately published a work entitled " An Account of the English Empire in the East," estimates the population of India at two hundred millions. If we include the countries contiguous to the Indus, -and most certainly they ought to be included in India, wbich derives its name from that very river, - we shall find that the Baron is not incorrect in bis estimate. India, then, is so vast and populous, that, in its beathen state in this the nineteenth century after Christ gave the command, “ Go ye and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Fatber, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost," it cannot be contemplated without the most mournful feelings. Few indeed are the labourers wbich have been sent forth to reap that great barvest, even to throw into the ground the heavenly seed. The mission stations which have been formed in India, are but here and there specks upon its great surface. This is the more to be regretted, that India is not only a vast country, but, through marvellous providences, accessible throughout to the ministers of the Cross. About three hundred years ago, Camoens, the poet of Portugal, wrote his work entitled the Lusiad, in which he represents the hero of his story describing the various countries of Europe to the people of the East. England then was so little known to the nations of the East, that he does not even mention


It was in the year 1600 that we first began to trade with India. The first territory which we there acquired was the Island of Bombay, which was ceded to the English as dowry to the second Charles by the Portuguese. At the conclusion of the seventeenth century, we received from the Great Mogul the grant of two or three insignificant villages on the banks of the Ganges, where Calcutta now stands. About the middle of the last century our political relations with the native princes were first formed, and conquest soon began to follow them. In the year 1793, however, when a charter was granted by Parliament to the East India Company, it was thus expressly declared, tbat " to pursue schemes of conquest and extension in India are measures repuguant to the wish, the honour, and policy of the nation." Notwithstanding, state after state, and nation after nation, has become subject to our sway, so that the whole of India has been placed under the government of England, which is quite able to protect and does now protect, the ministers of the Divine Word. Our acquisition of rule in India, I have no hesitation in saying, is unparalleled in the history of the world. Our conquest of India surpasses that by Cyrus of Babylon, which in magnitude to it bore no proportion. It surpasses the conquest of the hero of Macedon, who overthrew the empire established by Cyrus, -for be established no very stable government in the savage and half-civilized countries through which he marcbed his troops—and he was unable even to enter India

its name.

when he appeared on its borders. It surpasses all that Rome, the mistress of the world; in her proudest days accomplished; for in no such short time as eighty years did she ever subdue a hundred millions of people. It surpasses that of the Saracens, who never subjugated more than sixty millions. It surpasses that of the Mogul, for by slow advances was it accomplished, and altogether it was not so extensive and abiding as our own. And by whom, let me here ask, did we effect our conquest of India, which is thus marvellous ? By the sons of the country itself, who flocked to our standard and fought our battles, and who supported themselves by the peculiar produce of their own land when engaged in our service. Has Provi. dence effected all that we are called to witness in vain, and are we not to co-operate with Providence in striving to make our possession of India a blessing to the country itself ? Our obligations to it, moreover, are not to be summed up by its past doings on our behalf. To India Britain is indebted for its present pre. eminence among the nations. It furnishes honourable and profitable employment to the flower of our British youth. Its commerce is amongst the most profitable with which we areconnected. About six millions sterling annually come from it to this country in the form of pensions to retired officers, dividends on India stock, and commercial proceeds; and there are few in this country who are not in some way or other benefited by the hold wbich we have of its extensive provinces. Now, do not the advantages wbich we derive from India show to us that we owe to it a great debt of gratitude and benevolence, –a debt which we may best discharge by giving to it the greatest blessing which we have to bestow, even the knowledge of the true God, and Jesus Christ, wbom he bath sent ? There is now, we thankfully allow, much Christian influence in India amongst our countrymen; but this very circumstance calls upon us to send missionaries to the country, that that Christian intluence may be directed so as to bear upon the conversion of the people. Every effort should be made to render it available for the good of the Hindus. Such considerations as those to which I now advert are so palpable that they can scarcely escape observation. Let me add to them the notice of the fact which makes a very powerful impression on my own mind. India is either the fatherland or the asylum of the greatest systems of religious error which are to be found, or ever have been found in the world. The Buddhist system, which the Greeks found in India, which prevails in China, and which is now dominant in Tartary, Chinese Tartary, Burinab, Japan, Siam, Nipaul, and Ceylon, originated in India, and has all its sacred books in the sacred tongue of India—the Sanskrit, or in the language from which the Sanskrit is derived by artificial rule. India is viewed as the holy soil that was consecrated by its sages. This system is so ungodly in its character, that, by many able orientalists, it has been characterized as atheistical. Most certainly it does not admit a superintending Providence; and it represents its Adi-Buddha, or original spirit, as existing in a state of absolute unconcern and quiescence. Even the tive heavenly spirits which it feigns to derive from the supreme spirit, it represents also as existing in a state of quiescence. It main. tains that men themselves, through meditation and devotion, can attain to the pro. perties of the heavenly Buddhas ; and the most sacred objects of its worship are the teeth or other relics of the seven earthly Buddhas who are said already to have appeared! This religion is very specious in the eyes of its votaries. The Jainas, one of its sects, who worship twenty-four emancipated mortals, are numerous in Bombay, Katiawar, and the south of India. This woeful system of iniquity may thus be assaulted and destroyed in India. But worse than it, nay, the chief product of the depraved heart of man, under the instigation of Satan. the enemy of souls, is the Brahmanical religion, with which we have most to do. The business of this night forbids me to advert to its peculiarities, which otherwise I should have held myself prepared to attempt to illustrate. Let me say, however, that I fear that its power and its detriment are greatly under-estimated by those who think of it as a mere system of fcolish superstition. It is a system of specious, and plausible, and perfect pantheism. Hear a single sentence from its own sacred books." Heaven is Brabm's head, and the sun and moon are his eyes ; space is his ears ; the celebrated Vedas are his speech; air is his breath; the world is his intellect, and the earth is his feet, for he is the soul o the whole universe. A wise man knowing God forsakes all idea of duality, being eonvinced that there is only one real existence, which is God." The souls of men, and of brutes, and of vegetables,--for they, too, are possessed of souls,-are supposed to be mere emanations from the supreme spirit, which is all in all. The Hindoos, however, while they thus confound God with His works, and support an erroneous idea of philosophical unity, have a practical polytheism of the most extensive kind, recognising every existing object as a development of God, and, consequently, an object of worship, and serving particularly the sun, the moon, and the stars, the glory of which is most conspicuous. They personify the Divine attributes, and giving them their embodiments, worship them, as well as their supposed incarnations. They fashion gods by their hands, too, as well as by their imaginations, and are thus gross idolators. Time would fail me to speak of their morality. Suffice it for me to say, that in many respects it is adverse to all that we consider essential to a holy and becoming practice of life. Their religious services are debasing and degrading; and from them the prince of darkness receives his most numerous and costly sacrifices. Mussulmans abound in India ; but of their peculiarities, as well as those of the Zoro. astrians of Bombay, and the aborigines of the mountains and forests, I cannot now speak. I allude to their case, as well as those the Buddhists and Brahmans, 10 illustrate my position as to the concentration of this great system of error in India. In the view of their existence and operations, we cannot avoid coming to the conclusion, that that country is the chief seat of Satan's empire in this apostate world, the very place in which he reigns with the greatest triumphi,—the very place where he has succeeded in bringing most dishonour on God, and dealing out most ruin among men. If we are indeed zealous for the praise of God, and desirous of the establishment of his kingdom on this earth, we must give our particular, our special attention to India. We must there preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, set at liberty those that are bruised, and preach the acceptable year of the Lord, which has been so long delayed. If we conquer India by the truth of God, the other countries of Asia will fall before us, for it is the key to them all. Ever since the days of Scylax of Caryandra, it has been associated with the romance of the whole of Asia. We have only begun to lay its claims to heart, and feeble, as yet, is our agency within its borders. Let us bear in mind that the strong man will not leave his house without a struggle. Let us meet his power in the strength of the Lord, and with the hosts of his servants, lest for a season we should be discomfited, and the enemy of the Lord triumph. I apologise for these remarks; but I am wishful that India's systems of religious errors should be studied and understovd, that we may have your intelligent counsel and direction in the great enterprise in which we are engaged, and that your anxious prayers should arise on our behalf.

Dr HENRY DUNCAN said, without detaining the Assembly at this advanced hour, I beg to move the adoption of this deeply interesting and important report, and that our warmest thanks be conveyed through the Moderator to Dr Gordon, the excellent convener of the committee on India Missions. (Applause.)

The MODERATOR then addressed Dr Gordon as follows:- Of the several Christian enterprizes of our Church, none is more important or more highly appreciated by us than that which you so largely contribute to conduct, as convener of its committee of management. The subjugation of India to Great Britain, and the permanent annexation of so vast a territory to our little state, little, I mean, in geographical extent,-is a remarkable fact, altogether without parallel in the history of the world. It furnishes a most striking example of the superiority bestowed upon nations by intelligence and art, by industry, commerce, and courage ; above all, by a true system of religion, even where its influence is very partially felt

. For it is Christianity, I am fully persuaded, more than any other cause, that has made Great Britain what it is; and yet it cannot be denied that our conquests in India have borne little im. press of the spirit and benign influence of the gospel. It may well put us to shame to think, that for a lengthened period it was the systematic policy of this country to foster or at least to flatter, the prejudices of our Eastern subjects, to nourish their superstition, and to proclaim aloud that we were never, directly or indirectly, to attempt any change. All endeavours to introduce Christianity were viewed with

« 上一頁繼續 »