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Of holy discipline, to glorious war,
Probable consequences, and
How far these arrangements and exertions for evangelising the inhabitants of Hither India may succeed, dependent as the result must be upon a variety of causes, over which human wisdom and power have no controul, and particularly upon the blessing of the Supreme Ruler of all, it becomes not us confidently to predict. But that, if steadily prosecuted, they will, in all probability, produce some happy influence, though perhaps more slowly than we are willing to anticipate, may be concluded from the ordinary course of events, and from the impression which seems already to have been made. When this effect shall have become considerable; when the great mass of the people shall have been detached from their present superstitions, and enlightened in the principles of the Christian faith ; when the spirit of religious inquiry shall have become general, and a considerable body of the natives shall have embraced the new religion, then other measures may be adopted for carrying on and consummating the blessed work of this holy revolution. The rest of the seventh day may be enjoined by public authority, so that at length “ the land may enjoy her Sabbaths.” Either at the expence of government, or by the voluntary contributions of the converts to Christianity, churches may be erected everywhere, according to a regular and approved plan, for the conveniency of social worship. The stated dispensation of public ordinances may be instituted; and the congregations of the faithful organised and affiliated upon the scriptural model *. Thus, as in primitive times, the whole body of the disciples of Jesus in India will, by degrees, assume the appearance of a grand, religious association ; and the magnificence of the result will correspond to the benevolence of the project.
final organisation of the Indian converts.
In the natural order of things, the diffusion of the light of the Gospel amongst the subjects of our own empire, ought to precede, as it will prepare the way for, any attempts to spread the knowledge of the truth among surrounding nations. Hindostan, once evangelised, would afford the model, and the means, of illumination to the East. It would assume a new station in the universe: it would acquire a new species of glory. Always interesting, it would now be surrounded with new and brighter attractions. Having produced, from age to age, a powerful influence upon the affairs of men, it would now give another and bet
* Vide Note FF.
ter impulse to the fate of nations, and the destinies of the human race. Ilaving enriched those who were so fortunate as to enjoy its commerce, by pouring profusely into their bosom the riches of the earth; it would turn, in its career of beneficence, to other objects, and bless those, who peradventure neither needed nor desired its worldly commodities, with incomparably higher benefits, “ the precious things of the heavens.”
And it must be confessed, that Hindostan possesses mighty advantages “ for diffusing the light of the Christian religion throughout the Eastern World.” Situated almost in the centre of Asia, and surrounded by populous empires, to which the access is easy; having alliances with several, and commercial connections with many; holding a commanding attitude amongst all; possessing considerable territories, and some trading stations, beyond the limits of Hindostan; the British government in the East would be wanting to God, to their country, and to the world, if they did not avail themselves of such facilities for spreading the “light of life” among those who are yet “ sitting in the region of darkness and of the shadow of death.” “ How beautiful upon the mountains of Thibet would be the feet of them who," ascending from the plains of India, “ should bring good tidings of good, should publish salvation, and say unto the outcast heathens, dwelling in their vicinity, the great “ God,” the Saviour, “ reigneth !” “ The wilderness and the solitary place would be glad for them, and the desert would rejoice and blossom as the rose, it would blossom abundantly and rejoice even with joy and with singing: the glory of Lebanon would be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they would see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God."
And still it spreads! see 'Hindostan' send forth
Thus our government, in that part of the world, opening the path of “ the day-spring from on high” to visit the benighted regions around, would realise the beautiful delineation of David still more exactly than the benign administration of one man could accomplish, and be “ as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds, as the tender grass springing out of the earth, by clear shining after the rain.”
There are several circumstances which may encourage us to undertake this most honourable enterprise. Among others, two merit particular notice. The character of the superstitions which prevail in many of the regions to the East, is uniform. Throughout the Burman empire, and Siam, the religion of Boodh, which is nearly allied to the religion of Brama, and the doctrine of transmigration, which is the capital tenet of Hindoo superstition, constitute the national faith and worship. The Malays are Mahometans. Now, both these forms of superstition are familiar to the English in the East, and the same education which would fit a person to be a missionary in Bengal, will prepare him for spreading the Gospel through these countries. Besides, the primary languages of the eastern parts of the globe are few, and several of them borrow much from the Shanscrit. By some only five are enumerated, the Hindostanee, Persian, Marrasdæ, Malay, and Chinese. The last but one is spoken extensively, and has been called, from its elegant and melliAuous idiom, the classical Latin and Italian of the East. It is the common tongue of the exterior India, Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Celebez, the Philippine Islands, &c. And the Persian is almost universally understood to the west. That the latter may be perfectly learned in India, where it