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of our holy religion; and they are admirably adapted to stir up in the minds of all who read them, as well as of those who originally heard them, an ardent love to our Saviour, and a holy zeal in his service. But, all things considered, it was hoped, that the interesting accounts which might be furnished by one so nearly related to him, and so competent to the task, would to multitudes, both in India and in England, be a most acceptable Memorial of their departed friend.
The writer of this preface was amongst the earliest friends of Mr. Brown, and is happy in bearing testimony to his exalted piety. Indeed, Mr. Brown, if not actually the founder of all the great Missionary Institutions which have been established of late years, and of the plans which have been carried into effect for translating the Scriptures into all the languages of the East, laboured in this field as much as any who have followed him; and strove to the utmost of his power, to kindle that very flame, which has burned, and is now burning, in almost every quarter of the globe. This will appear from the efforts he used as far back as the year 1787, the very year after he went to Calcutta.
It will be interesting to the Public to know, that at that period, before the great Missionary Societies or the Bible Society had been thought of, this honoured servant of Christ, in conjunction with two other friends in India, who most gladly co-operated with him, drew up "A Proposal for establishing a Protestant Mission in Bengal and Bahar." In this he urges, with great force and energy, the claims of the Natives upon our government, and the duty of imparting to them the privileges which we enjoy, as well in a religious as in a civil point of view. He recommends the measure of translating the Scriptures into the different languages of the East, and the sending forth Missionaries to instruct them, "fit men, of free minds, disinterested, zealous, and patient of labour, who would accept of an invitation, and aspire to the arduous office of a missionary."
In this document he considers-What sort of men are to be chosen? In what manner they are to be supported? and what plan is to be pursued by them?
Under the first of these heads, the description given by Mr. Brown of the persons whom he wanted to fill the situation of Missionaries,
shews exactly what he himself was both in
heart and life. After assigning his reasons for desiring to have young clergymen of the Established Church, he adds, "But genuine piety seems to be the grand requisite in a missionary his work must be his business, his delight and reward. Whoever is greedy of gain, and seeks great things for himself; whoever prefers a life of ease and competence, to a life of toil with an humble subsistence, is not fit for this purpose. But men who are ready to endure hardship, and to suffer the loss of all things; who count not their own lives dear to them, and who are willing to do and suffer for the sake of the Gospel; these are the men who are wanted; these are the true missionaries to instruct the Heathen successfully in the way of salvation.”
In the whole of his plan for the direction and support of the missionaries, there is the most consummate wisdom, combined with the most ardent zeal. He proposes that they should reside in the eight grand divisions of the country, (as it existed at that time) namely, at Calcutta, Moorshedabad, Patna, (or Benares) Monghen, Dinagepore, Dacen, Burdwan, and Ramgur;" and that "at their respective stations they should set up schools, employ catechists,. and establish churches."
To enforce his application to the Honorable East India Company, he sent letters to the then Archbishop of Canterbury, to the late Bishop of Landaff, to that promoter of every good work, Mr. Wilberforce, and to a great number of distinguished characters in this country (copies of all which were sent to me at the time, and are now before me) urging and intreating them all to use their utmost efforts, both in and out of Parliament, to draw the attention of the Public to this good work, and to gain for it the sanction and assistance of the ruling powers.
But the time for Israel's deliverance was
not yet come. Moses must wait yet many years before his desires can be carried into effect. The zeal and earnestness which have since that time been called forth into action, were not yet kindled in the public mind: and all the efforts which Mr. Brown then made, fell to the ground for want of that support which he in vain solicited. Happily, however, he lived to see his wishes, in some measure at least, accomplished, and to be a very principal instrument, in connexion with the British and Foreign Bible Society, to set on foot in India the glorious work of circulating the
Holy Scriptures, in all the different languages of that vast empire.
How elevated his mind was above all the things of time and sense, will appear from the following extract of a letter I received from him in 1789, when he was suffering under the severest affliction, the loss of an only child. "Your heart will be moved to hear, that our dear child, the last that the Lord lent us, died last month under inoculation. This is the second that we have resigned in the same way. We are now childless. But the Lord's mercies are not few. He made this last stroke so soft, that it was no more than a blow from the tenderest father. He healed us both, and enabled us to say, Thy will be done, at the very moment the wound was given. Blessed be the name of the Lord, was the true language of our inmost souls. I was greatly comforted with Mrs. B.'s (his first wife) immediate and entire resignation. We both felt by sensible experience that God is love; and were remarkably filled with con solation. We instantly found a rich overflowing compensation in the sweet smiles of our dear Redeemer. Oh happy change for him we so tenderly loved! Our faith saw him