James Hough.

The history of Christianity in India : from the commencement of the Christian era : second portion: comprising the history of protestant missions, 1706-1816 / by James Hough (Volume 5) online

. (page 48 of 54)
Online LibraryJames HoughThe history of Christianity in India : from the commencement of the Christian era : second portion: comprising the history of protestant missions, 1706-1816 / by James Hough (Volume 5) → online text (page 48 of 54)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

David, I ordained last year in Calcutta, and there
are several more in training. There are also some
very meritorious missionaries in the island : one of
them is the son of our neighbour, Mr Mayor of
Shawbury, who, together with another Shropshire
man, Mr Ward, has got together a very respectable
congregation of natives, as well as a large school,
and built a pretty church, which I consecrated last
Sunday, in one of the wildest and most beautiful
situations that I ever saw. The effects of these
exertions have been very happy, both among the
Koman Catholic descendants of the Portuguese and
the heathen. I have confirmed, since I came into
the island, three hundred and sixty persons, of
whom only sixty were English ; and, in the great
church at Columbo, I pronounced the blessing in


CHAP, four different languages, — English, Portuguese, Cin-
^I^- galese, and Tamul.

^' Those who are still heathen are professedly
worshippers of Buddhu ; but by far the greater
part reverence nothing except the devil, to whom
they offer sacrifices by night, that he may do them
no harm. Many of the nominal Christians are
infected with the same superstition ; and are, there-
fore, not acknowledged by our missionaries : other-
wise, instead of three hundred to be confirmed, I
might have had several thousand candidates.

'^ On the whole, I rejoice to believe, that, in very
many parts of this great country, the fields are white
already to harvest ; and it is a circumstance of great
comfort to me that, in all the good which is
done, the Church of England seems to take the
lead, — that our liturgy has been translated into
the five languages most used in these parts of the
world,- — and that all Christian sects in the East
seem more and more disposed to hold it in reve-
rence. Still little, very little is done, in compari-
son of all which there is to do."
j^etiirn to 22. Oil the 29th he embarked for Calcutta ; but
owing to the dangerous and tedious passage, he did
not arrive there before the 21st of October, when
he landed after an absence of fourteen months, in
the visitation of three portions of his immense dio-
cese. He had travelled through a greater extent
of country, and had encountered more perils than,
perhaps, had ever fallen to the lot of any other
Christian bishop since the days of the apostles. In
every place he manifested the liveliest zeal for the
missionary cause, gladdened the hearts of the native
Christians, and brought them into close connection
with their Episcopal head. They were taught to
regard him as their chief pastor, and encouraged to
look up to him for protection.

The Bishop found much important business had



accumulated during his long absence from home ;
and as he proposed setting off again in two months
for southern India^ to complete his visitation, he
had no time for relaxation to recruit his exhausted
strength. The first object of his care was Bishop's
College, which institution he regarded as of great
importance in promoting the spread of Christianity
in India. The buildings were not yet completed,
and the subscriptions received for its support had
been found inadequate to the expenditure. Some
alterations also in the original design were consi-
dered necessary, and several additional buildings,
with other improvements about the grounds, were
indispensable. To all these matters he paid imme-
diate attention.

On the 30th of November 1825, he held an Ordi-
nation in the Cathedral, when three missionaries
of the Church Missionary Society, the Rev. Tlieo-
philus Reichardt, who had received his education
at the University and Mission College at Basle, in
Switzerland, and had been ordained in the Lutheran
Church before he left that country ; and the Rev.
W. Bowley and the Rev. Abdool Messeeh, who, as
already recorded,^ some years ago received Lutheran
ordination in India, having found it expedient, from
their connection with the Church of England, to
apply for Episcopal orders, were admitted to the
order of deacons ; and, on December 21, his lord-
ship held a second ordination in the Cathedral,
when Mr John Adlington, who had been prevented
by a serious accident from attending on the pre-
vious occasion, was ordained a deacon, and the be-
fore-mentioned three missionaries were admitted
to the order of priests. ''The well-know^i charac-
ter of all the candidates," Mr Robinson remarks,

* Book xiii. chap. vi. sees. 20, 25.







^^ and the bright prospects of futurity which opened
upon the mind, as the probable result of this day's
services, conspired to make the scene one of deep
and powerful interest."

The lively concern with which the Bishop entered
into the progress of Christianity in his diocese, was
manifest in his frequent mention of the subject in
his pubUc discourses and private conversation, in
his increasing zeal to advance the missions in con-
nection with his own church ; and in the satisfac-
tion with which he regarded the progress of the
cause carried on by missionaries of other denomi-
nations. In January 1826, he visited Chinsurah,
where he found three missionaries from different
societies actively engaged in their common Master's
work ; and he was gratified to learn that they all
lived in harmony and peace, making it their great
object to promote the spread of Christianity, with-
out murmurings or disputings, or the least compro-
mise of principle. The missionaries looked with
equal cordiality upon the Bishop's pious zeal ; and,
on Sunday, when he preached to a numerous con-
gregation, Mr Mundy, of the London Missionary
Society, gave up his own service, and became a
hearer, bringing with him all his flock.

23. The Bishop continued to be occupied almost
without intermission till the end of the month,
when, on the 30th, he left Calcutta for Madras, to
complete his visitation of South India. It was with
no light struggle of domestic feeling that he so soon
tore himself again from the bosom of his family ;
but public duty called for the private sacrifice, and
he did not hesitate to obey. He embarked with
his chaplain at the village of Fultah, February
2d. They were more than three weeks in reaching
Madras, during which time the Bishop laboured
indefatigably to make himself useful to all on board ;
but especially to a company of invaUd soldiers,


whose constitutions and emaciated frames, worn
out by service and, chiefly, by intemperance, but
too plainly told that they had not long to live. He
preached every Sunday, and was pleased to observe
that he was listened to with respectful attention :
and his concern for the people's best interests, to-
gether with his amiable conduct, so endeared him
to them in this short time, that when he left the
vessel, on his arrival at Madras, there was not one
who did not regret his departure.

He landed at Madras on the 25th, and was im-
mediately conducted to a house provided by Go-
vernment for his accommodation, where he was
visited by the public authorities, and many gentle-
men of the first respectability. He entered imme-
diately upon active duty, visiting mission stations,
examining schools, attending committee and public
meetings of religious societies, besides his own pro-
per engagements. On the 8th of March he con-
firmed four hundred and seventy- eight candidates,
and next day about one hundred and twenty, at
Poonamallee, a military station ten miles off. On
the 10th, he held his visitation, when sixteen
clergymen, including the Archdeacon and mission-
aries, were present, to whom he delivered an im-
pressive charge. He was frequently in the pulpit,
and during the fortnight he remained at Madras he
preached no less than eleven times, including his
confirmation and visitation addresses. At his sug-
gestion, a Sunday evening service was estabUshed
at St George's church, he himself preaching on the
first occasion. This was his last sermon at Madras,
and it is described as a powerful appeal to the con-
sciences of his auditors. This, combined with his
other discourses, which were always attended hy a
crowd of attentive listeners, left a solenni impres-
sion on their minds.

He thus notices the Madras mstitutions which


CHAP, he visited : — ^^ There are some noble charities here.
^^^^^- The MiUtary School for Male and Female Orphans,
where Dr Bell first introduced his system, is
superior to anything in Calcutta, except the upper
schools at Kidderpore. The orphan asylums in
the Black Town, though much smaller, put the
management of the Calcutta Free School to shame ;
and at Vepery is the finest Gothic church, and the
best establishment of native schools, both male
and female, which I have yet seen in India."

The Bishop expressed himself highly gratified
with the harmony which prevailed among the
clergy, chaplains, and missionaries, and with the
promising appearances of religious interest, both in
Europeans and natives. Of the Vepery mission,
he especially remarked : — ^' Although I had visited
several native congregations in the north of India
and in Ceylon, I had not met with one which gave
me so much pleasure, or held out so fair a promise
of future good." Yet he candidly remarks : — '' The
native Christians are numerous and increasing ;
but are, unfortunately, a good deal divided about
castes, respecting which I have to make some
regulations, which I have deferred till I have seen
the missions in the south. I have obtained the
appointment of a select committee of the Society
for Promoting Christian Knowledge, to inquire
into the real nature of the claims of caste still
subsisting, and to report to me at my return,
which, with my own inquiries, may perhaps land
us nearer the truth.

'^ I find there is a vast deal to do connected with
the southern missions, and have had many intricate
and important points referred to me, both by the
Committee, Dr Eottler, and Mr Haubroe. My
journey, I foresee, will not be a party of pleasure ;
Proceeds j^^^ I rejoicc that I have not delayed it any longer."
india"^ 24. On the loth, he left Madras for the south.


accompanied by his chaplain and the Rev. J. W.
Do ran, a young missionary, destined for the
Church Missionary Society's College at Cotym.
The travellers arrived on the 18tli at Cuddalore,
the first missionary station, where they remained
over Sunday, and the Bishop preached both morn-
ing and evening. At the request of the Society
for Promoting Christian Knowledge, he examined
particularly into the state of their land and build-
ings at this place, and was grieved to find both
their property and the mission in a neglected
state. For some years past, the Society had not
been able to place a missionary at this station, and
the occasional visit of one from Madras or Tanjore
was not enough to stop the progress of decay.
This the Bishop regretted the more, as he saw
that, under the management of a judicious and
active labourer, there were great facilities here for
missionary operations on an extensive scale. In a
memorandum containing the result of his investi-
gations, he remarked, in reference to the Society's
land : — '' It is not as a source of income, but as
the nucleus of a Christian agricultural population,
that this property appears to me most valuable.
There is no want of colonists of such a description ;
a considerable number from Tranquebar, well re-
commended, have applied for permission to settle
there. The place would afford acconnnodation
and nourishment for sixty flimilies. Give them
the land in small lots, and on easy terms, as
tenants at will ; build a church, and send a mis-
sionary, and what an opening would not this give
to the spread of the Gospel!" The judicious
plans, however, which he devised for the revival
of this mission, once so flourishing under the de-
voted Gericke,^ were destined to remain some }ears

Book viii. chap, ii., 1707-1776.


CHAP, in abeyance^ until a similar labourer could be sent
■^][^* to carry them into effect.

Mayave- 25. They proceeded thence to Mayaveram^ a
^^^- station of the Church Missionary Society, in the

centre of thirty schools, which were under the
superintendence of Rev. G. T. Barenbruck, assisted
by John Devasagayam. The Bishop visited the
mission house and some of the schools ; and though
he found the station in its infancy, having been
recently transferred from Tranquebar, he was grati-
fied to observe such promising indications of ex-
tensive usefulness.
Comba- Arriving at Combaconum on the morning of

conum. Good Friday, they were agreeably surprised to
find that the sub- collector, hearing of their pro-
gress, had made preparations for the performance
of divine service. The Bishop preached to a con-
gregation of about thirty persons, among whom
was Mr Mead, of the London Missionary Society,
who had sent his own desk for the occasion, and,
at the close of the service, gave his Lordship an
account of his labours and success at this place.
Tanjore. 26. Ncxt momiug, he arrived at Tanjore, the
head-quarters of the Christian Knowledge Society'^
South Lidia missions ; and on the followdng day,
Easter Sunday, the 26 th, he preached at the
mission church in the fort. The circumstance of
his being on the spot where the apostolic Swartz
laboured, inspired him with unusual animation,
and considerably mcreased the interest of the ser-
vice. The evening service was performed in Tamul,
when there were not less than thirteen hundred
native Christians present. Mr Barenbruck, who
had followed from Mayaveram, read prayers, as-
sisted by a native priest, and Dr Cameron preached.
The Bishop pronounced the blessing, in Tamul,
''with much solemnity and feeling." His chap-
lain describes it as a scene of mtense interest.


adding — '^ The Bishop's heart was full ; and never
shall I forget the energy of his manner, and the
heavenly expression of his countenance, when he
exclaimed, as I assisted him to take off his robes,
' Gladly would I exchange years of common hfe
for one such day as this !' "

On Monday, he confirmed twelve European and
fifty native candidates, Mr KohlhofF, the senior
missionary, preaching in Tamul on the occasion.
In the evening, the Christians assembled in Swartz's
chapel, outside the fort, when Rev. J. G. P. Spersch-
neider preached in Tamul to a crowded congre-
gation. The Bishop was not prepared for this
service ; but, as there were seven missionaries pre-
sent, he availed himself of the opportunity to make
it his visitation, which he wished to be entirely of
a missionary character. Accordingly, he addressed
these ambassadors to the heathen on the peculiar
nature of their duties, exhorting them ^^ to fidelity
in their high ofiice, — to increasing dihgence and
zeal, — to a more self-denying patience under pri-
vation, neglect, and insult, looking for the final
recompence of reward ; and, lastly, to more earnest
prayer for themselves and the souls committed to
their trust, and for the native prince under whose
mild and equal government they lived. The ad-
dress was short and simple," Mr Robinson remarks,
and, though delivered impromptu, "^ no study could
have improved it. It was the spontaneous language
of his own heart, and appealed at once to the hearts
of all present, making an impression upon them
never to be efiaced."

The Bishop was surprised to hear that the Rajah,
to whom he referred in his charge, had never been
distinctly prayed for in the public service of the
native Christians ; and he immediately couii)osed
an appropriate prayer, which he ordered henceforth
to be used in all their churches. On the 2Sth, he


CHAP, paid the Rajah a visit by appointment^ which the

■ prince returned on the following day/

The Bishop now began to feel the effects of his
exertions for the past few days^ and his friends
endeavoured to prevail upon him to take a little
relaxation. But, whatever repose he consented to
give his body, his mind could not rest. Besides
the extensive correspondence which he continued
to carry on with the Government, individuals, and
societies, in all parts of his vast diocese, and the
difficult cases often submitted for his advice or
decision, he took upon himself the care of all the
native churches, in whose prosperity he felt an
intense interest ; and the few days he spent at
Tanjore were passed in devising plans for their
improvement and extension. But this involved
the necessity of additional labourers. Tanjore had
only two missionaries, and the senior, Mr Kohlhoff,
had for some time begun to bend under the infirmi-
ties of age. The Bishop, therefore, considering the
extent and importance of this mission, expressed
his intention to ordain three more clergjTiien at
his earliest convenience, to be employed at Tanjore
and in different parts of the district. But this,
with all his other wise and useful plans for the
propagation of Christianity in India, he was too
soon to leave for his successors to carry into effect.
Trichino- On the Slst, he left Tanjore for Trichinopoly,
poly. where he arrived next morning, and met, as usual,

with a friendly and hospitable reception. Instead
of resting after the fatigue of his journey, he was
closely occupied all the morning in receiving infor-
mation connected with the schools and the mission.

^ As the ceremonies on this occasion were similar to those
observed in the case of Eishop Middleton, which have been
described above (Book xiii. chap. i. sec. 16) ; they need not be
repeated here.


which he regretted to find in a very poor and
deserted state^ though gradually recovering under
the care of a young missionary, Rev. David Eosen.

27. On Sunday morning, April 2d, the Bishop The
preached in the Government church, and held a deatT^
confirmation in the evening. After which, he de-
livered another discourse, concluding with a solemn
and affecting farewell to the congregation. It was,
indeed, a last farewell ! On Monday morning, at
six o'clock, he visited the native congregation in
the fort, and confirmed eleven candidates. Mr.
Robinson, his chaplain, being confined by sickness
to his couch, the Bishop was accompanied by Mr
Doran, who thus, in a letter to Archdeacon Corrie,
describes his closing scene : —

^' In going and returning, he was most affec-
tionate in his manner, and talked freely on the
glorious dispensation of God in Christ Jesus, and
of the necessity which rested on us to propagate
the faith throughout this vast country. On his
return, he went to the bath, in which he had bathed
the two preceding days : but his servant, thinking
that he remained long, opened the door, and saw
him at the bottom of the water, apparently lifeless !
The alarm was given, — I hastened to the spot, —
and, alas ! mine was the awful task to drag, together
with Mr Robinson, his mortal remains from the
water. All assistance was instantly procured, —
such as bleeding, friction, and infiating the lungs,
— but in vain ! The immortal inhabitant had for-
saken its tenement of clay, doubtless to realize be-
fore the throne of the Lamb those l)lessings of
which he yesterday spoke so emphatically and


'^ A cloud hangs over our horizon ! Tlie disinte-
rested friend, the loving husband and parent, the
beloved and honoured of God, is gone from among
us ! It is a season for prayer, — for deep humilia-


CHAP. tion. May we kiss the rod ! Cease ye from man,

; loliose hreatli is in his nostrils ! Trust ye in the Lord

Jehovah, for in Him, only, is everlasting strength.''

The Archdeacon of Calcutta^ to whom this was
written^ remarked^ in a letter to a friend in Eng-
land — ^^ The event is so overwhelming^ that I know
not what to say — Ihey perish, hut thou remainest !
To whom must we look to repair the breach^ but
to Him who made it ? Men of mere secular am-
bition will be^ in a measure^ deterred from braving
this climate^ by this stroke upon stroke ; and^ in
the ordering of Providence, we may perhaps obtain
men of a right spirit in succession : but the kind-
ness and unmeasured benevolence of Bishop Heber
are of rare occurrence, even in men of piety. I
cannot describe to you how he attracted all hearts.
It seems difficult to believe that he is no longer
with us."

It appeared, on examination, that a blood-vessel
hadburst on his brain, which must have occasioned
instant death. But whatever the immediate cause
of this heart-rending event, the state of mind in
which he stood prepared for his departure hence,
tended greatly to mitigate the sorrow of his friends.
It must have been gratifying indeed to view him,
as it were in the spirit of the family in heaven which
he was so soon to join, assembling around him the
clergy and missionaries of different societies and of
different churches, and leaving to them his dying
counsel to love and to labour as ministers of Him
of whom the whole Family in heaven and eaiih is

Due respect was paid to the mortal remains of
this revered prelate. His interment took place at
sunrise on the 4th. The path to the church, near
a m^'le and a half in length, was lined with troops ;
the pall was borne by the chief civil and military
authorities, and thousands of natives thronged the


road. He was buried on the north side of the
communion table ; the very spot from which he
had blessed the people but twelve hours before his
own happy spirit was admitted to the blessedness
of heaven. The funeral service was closed with
more than usual military honours ; and seldom was
an event known to have caused a more general
consternation throughout the country^ for wherever
he was known he was beloved.

28. As soon as the sad intelligence reached rubiic de-
Madras^ the Governor issued the following order, tions oT'
dated Fort St George, 5th April 1826 :—'' The so«ow.
Hon. the Governor has received, with feelings of
unfeigned regret, the melancholy intelligence of the
demise of the Right Rev. the Lord Bishop of Cal-
cutta, which event occurred at Trichinopoly on the
morning of the 3d instant. A.^ a tribute of respect
to his lordship's memory, his Excellency directs,
that the flag of the garrison be immediately^ hoisted
half-staff high, to continue so during the whole of
the day ; and that forty-six minute guns, corre-
sponding with the age of the deceased, be fired
from the saluting battery."

The testimonies borne, in India, to the character
of the deceased prelate wxre more general than was
even known on any former occasion. Public feeling
seemed to be universally moved : the Governor-
General ; the Governors of Madras, Boml)ay, and
Ceylon ; judicial, civil, and military authorities; Jill
deplored his death more in the language of private
friendship than in official expressions of regret.
Public meetings were held at the presidencies and in
the different provinces of India, and resolutions
passed, expressive of the incalculable loss which
India, and especially the interests of Christianity
in the country, had sustained. Taljlets, with appro-
priate inscriptions, were erected in several of the
principal churches ; while the religious and chari-


CHAP, table societies which had shared his fosterinej care,

' the pulpit^ the public journals^ and Christians of

every denomination^ joined in these universal de-
monstrations of grief. All served^ not to idolize
the man, but to magnify the grace of God in raising
ujD, and so endowing an instrument of good to man-
kind. They furnished also a powerful stimulus to
all public men to follow the example of his wise,
meek, and conciliatory spirit.

^' The Christian dignitary, chaplain, or mis-
sionary, who will tread in the steps of Bishop
Heber, though not gifted as lie was, will secure the
regard and support of men who shew themselves
thus alive to the virtues of the Christian character ;
and who here announce to all who may be appointed
to office and dignity in the Church of India, what
those qualities are and what that course of proceed-
ing, which will commend themselves to enlightened
men well acquainted with the moral and religious
wants of our Indian empire."

Similar demonstrations of general sorrow were
displayed in England on the arrival of the mourn-
ful tidings. The Societies for Promoting Christian

Online LibraryJames HoughThe history of Christianity in India : from the commencement of the Christian era : second portion: comprising the history of protestant missions, 1706-1816 / by James Hough (Volume 5) → online text (page 48 of 54)