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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

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country ; as they will thus know that the cause
for which they are exerting themselves is prosper-
ing ; that their prayers are heard ; and that the
contributions, which they have so liberally supplied,
are answering the end for which they have been
given. "^

23. The progress at these stations appears to Testimony
have been the only thing in the island that gave wor\%f
the Bishop satisfaction. Archdeacon Corrie wrote the

— ^^ He is much out of heart with Ceylon in every-
thing but as respects missionary work ; and he says
that the Church Missionary Society has done, and
is doing enough there, to answer all the expendi-
ture ever incurred by it."^

24. From Jaffna he proceeded to Madras, where Report of
it was remarked that he had suffered considerably s. p.c.k.
from the fatigue he had undergone in the pro- versions,
gress of his visitation, though no danger was ap-
prehended. On the 4th of May he arrived in Cal-
cutta, but in a state of health which then excited

much apprehension among his friends. He ap-
peared to be suffering from some internal disarrange-
ment, which was excited into activity by the fatigue
and heat he had to endure on his visitation. He
was able, how^ever, to pay some attention to busi-
ness, and on the 28th of May he wrote to the
Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, giving
some interesting particulars of his journey, and a
satisfactory account of the progress of the great

1 Church Missionary Society Eeport, 32d ; Missionary Ke-
gister 1831, pp. 401, 407 ; 1832, p. 117.
^ Memoirs of Bishop Corrie, p. 493.




His view
of the
state of

work which, under his auspices, was carrying on
by the society, of furnishing the natives, and espe-
cially the native Christians, with the liturgy of the
Church of England, in their own languages. ^^ In
addition to those already completed," he remarked,
^^ there are now in different degrees of forwardness
new versions into Persian, Arabic, Teluzoo,^ and
Guzerattee, besides the Bengalee, upon which Mr
Morton has been so long engaged. These I hope to
print in succession at the Bishop's College press, as
well as revised editions of the popular versions of
the Hindoostanee, Tamul, and Cingalese."^

25. This was his last communication. He had
other plans in view for the benefit of India, but his
attacks of fever becoming more frequent and more
severe, he was unable to attend to anything ; and a
voyage to Penang was recommended in hope of its
recruiting his strength. He contemplated this re-
moval with a tranquil mind, remarking to Arch-
deacon Corrie, July 2d, that he was going to Pe-
nang, and if he did not recover there as he ex-
pected, should proceed to New South Wales : that
he had now seen enough of the diocese to judge of
the state of religion generally, which he th ught as
favourable as, under present circumstances, he could
well expect : that he judged, too, it would be pro-
gressive : that there was a sad deficiency of clergy,
but that, notwithstanding, many active agents were
at work. He alluded to several laymen, especially
officers, of whom he had spoken, as wisely and dili-
gently attending to schools in different places he
had visited. He then added, that no difficulties
manifested themselves, at present, in the adminis-

^ Qy. Teloogoo.

* Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge Eeport 1832,
pp. 30-32.



tration of ecclesiastical affairs, and that he should
leave India without anxiety.^

26. After this conversation he declined too His 'ii-
rapidly to admit of his removal. Next morning,
being unable to cross the river, as he had intended,
to take the Lord's Supper in Bishop's College
chapel, the Archdeacon administered it to him at
home. Afterwards he remarked, '' How many
blessings have we to be thankful for ! I have often
enjoyed these ordinances in administering them,
but a person must be in my circumstances to feel
the value of them. I have growing evidence that
I know in whom I have trusted :" and then he pro-
ceeded to contrast the uncertainty attending science,
with the increasing confidence which the Christian
feels in Divine truth as he advances in the know-
ledge of it. '' A little knowledge of science," he
said, '' makes us confident ; but as we advance, we
feel less certainty ; whilst the more we advance in
religious knowledge, the greater certainty we at-

This evening he retired early to his room ; on
Monday he took a short airing ; but on Tuesday
was not able to leave his couch. After some con-
versation on domestic and other matters, the Arch-
deacon mentioned this expression of the late Rev.
D. Brown, on his deathbed — '' The Lord's will is
best. His way is best. His time is best." The
Bishop added, that he greatly needed the interces-
sion of his friends, that such might be his state of
mind. His thoughts seemed to be dweUing on the
conversion of the heathen, for he subsequently said,
how happy he should be could he speak to the
natives in their own tongue ; and referred to his
head-bearer. The Archdeacon offered to speak to
the man in Hindoostanee ; but the Bishop said.

3 Memoirs of Eishop Corrie, pp. 497, 498.





'^ Not now, he is fearfully untutored." This con-
versation shewed the pains he had taken to instruct
those about him, and the anxiety he felt for their

Wednesday, July 6th, was a day of intense and
incessant suffering. In the evening he observed to
the Archdeacon, that we do not arrange matters in
religion sufficiently for ourselves. Then, assenting
to the remark, that our mercy consists in that the
covenant is ordered in all things and sure, he said,
"' But to those who are orderly there might be
more of joy and peace." The Archdeacon said,
that, in great bodily distress, there could be little
beside a child-like reliance on a father s care and
love. To which he replied, '^ 1 have an assured
hope :" and added, ^^ We want God to do some
great thing for us, that shall prevent the necessity
of humiliation, and closing with Christ." The
Archdeacon then read two hymns, and offered up
a prayer, to which he added a fervent ^^ Amen."
After a pause, the dying prelate himself broke out
in prayer : ^^0 thou God of all grace, stablish,
strengthen, settle us. Have mercy on all, that
they may come to a knowledge of the truth, and
be saved. There is none other name given by
which they can be saved. Other foundation can
no man lay." The Archdeacon added, '' And this
is a sure foundation ;'' on which his feelings were
much moved ; and the doctor entering, their con-
versation ended.

The Bishop spoke no more after this prayer,
which exj)ressed feelings amongst the most appro-
priate that could have occupied the thoughts of a
dying man. His articulation failed ; he breathed
with difficulty, and could get little repose, or cessa-
tion from suffering. Yet his appearance exhibited
a perfect picture of patient endurance ; and through-
out the whole of his illness the exhibition of Chris-



tian graces was most exemplary ; there was entire
submission to the Divine will, increasing patience
under intense sufferings ; freedom from all earthly
anxieties ; calmness in viemng the dark valley he
was to pass through, and full assurance of those
glories that were shortly to open upon him. The
lingering spirit took its flight at a quarter before
ten on the morning of the 7th of July 1831. Thus
sank another devoted prelate under the overwhelm-
ing burden laid upon him, in little more than a year
and a half, at the age of forty-five. By this, we
may call it, premature death, the Protestant Epis-
copal Church in India was deprived of its earthly
head for the fourth time in the short space of nine
years, nearly the half of which period the see was
in abeyance.

27. The public demonstrations of sorrow at Cal-
cutta on this occasion were similar to those ex-
hibited at the death of Bishop James. Deep
regret was expressed at the other presidencies
also, where the departed prelate had so recently
been. On the Sunday after his decease, the Arch-
deacon preached a funeral sermon at the cathedral,
in which he gave the following brief view of his
character, drawn from an almost brotherly inti-
macy with him, and which corresponded with the
opinion of all who knew him and could appreciate
his character and exertions : — ''We have left us, in
the character of our departed Bishop, an example
of one who sought glory, honour^ and immortality,
by patient continuance in loell- doing. He began
where the Scriptures teach us to begin — with per-
sonal religion. He had low thoughts of himself.
He was seriously aflected with a sense of his
frailties and unworthiness, and rested his hope of

His cha-
drawn by-

1 Memoirs of Bishop Corrie, pp. 497-502 ; Christian Ob-
server 1832 ; Missionary Kegister 1831, p. 552.



CHAP, salvation only on the mercy of God in Jesus Christ.
He had attained in a remarkable degree the spirit
of self-control^ so that he was to a considerable
extent a copy of the great Shepherd and Bishop of
our souls^ whose word is^ Learn of me, for I am
meeh and lowly in heart. He took Bevelation for
his guide ; and whilst the Triune God of the
Bible was the object of his adoration^ the will of
God was the rule of his practice.

^^ In his peculiar office^ he came near to the apos-
tolic standard given in the Epistles to Timothy and
Titus. Of his learning and capacity for perpetuat-
ing an order of ministers in the Churchy it would
require one of a similar measure of learning and
piety to speak ; but all could judge^ that as a
Bishop he was blameless and free from reproach ;
moderate in all his habits and pursuits ; disin-
terested in a high degree, and free from all sus-
picion of the love of money. He was apt to teach ;
a true labourer in the word and doctrine ; sober in
judgment ; wise to solve difficulties ; of a com-
passionate spirit ; and heartily desirous of men's
eternal good. In the pubhc exercise of his oflfice^,
he must unavoidably, whilst human nature is what
it is, have given offence to some. The Hvely sense
he had of his own responsibility, rendered him
more keenly alive to such defects in any of those
under his authority as might hinder their useful-
ness, or do injury to the cause they had solemnly
pledged themselves to serve. He felt himself
bound, therefore, when occasion arose, to reprove
and to rehuke with all authority.''^

The missionaries whom he had visited spoke of
him with peculiar reverence and regard, and stated
that they derived great comfort and instruction

' Missionary Eegister 1832, p. 204.


from his presence^ and his judicious and Scriptural
counsels and directions. At the annual meeting
of the Church Missionary Committee at Calcutta^
held on the 26th of July, W. W. Bird, Esq., bore
similar testimony to the worth of the deceased.
Indeed, such were the sentiments generally ex-
pressed ; and we will conclude this tribute to his
memory in the words of the Archdeacon of Cal-
cutta: — '^ The persuasion that God would carry on
His own work on the earth, and that He could
and would abundantly supply the means of so
doing, left him without a care for this world. He
conversed calmly on the prospects of religion in
this country, and of the support which divine
truth afforded to his own mind under the sinking's
of nature. He seemed like a man who had been
long preparing to take a journey, and now was to
set off. This evidently spoke to all a lesson of the
blessedness of habitual preparation for death ; and
if, like the eminent person deceased, we are found
faithful unto death, we need not fear but that the
Saviour will bestow the promised crown of life J' '^

28. When the news of his death reached Eng- Effect in
land, the general sorrow expressed on the decease oAie"
of his predecessors, seemed to be deepened by this ^^^ of
quick repetition of the blow. It painfully con-
firmed the conviction so long felt of the necessity
of increasing the Bishops in India. The deceased
prelate had himself, in his communications with the
religious societies at home, strongly urged the
indispensable need of at least two new Bishops to
perform a portion of that important w^ork under
which he felt himself rapidly sinking, without be-
ing able to discharge one half of its demands. And

^ Memoirs of Bishop Corrie, pp. 502, 503, Notices of Bishop
Turner in the Christian Observer and Missionary Kegister for


CHAP, now, special meetings were held, at which appropri-
^^' ate resolutions were passed, by the Christian
Knowledge, the Gospel Propagation, the Church
Missionary, and other religious Societies connected
with the Church of England, with a view to bring
the question, with its proper weight, before the
legislative and executive authorities. The subject
was also brought, by John Poynder, Esq., before
the Court of East India Proprietors ; and the ap-
proaching renewal of the Company's charter ren-
dered the time favourable for this general appeal.
The President of the Board of Control, the Right
Hon. Charles Grant, ^ was also friendly to the object,
though it still had many influential opponents.
It were to no purpose here to enter into their
objections, which were httle more than a repetition
of what was urged against the first erection of an
ecclesiastical establishment for India. Suflice it to
say, that by the new charter granted to the East
India Company, in 1833, the object so long and
earnestly desired, with regard to the Indian epis-
copate, was received. Parliament authorised the
erection of two new sees, one at Madras, the other
at Bombay, the Bishops of which were to be sub-
ject to the Bishop of Calcutta,^ who thus became
the metropolitan of India. The advantages anti-
cipated from this enactment to the rising Church
in Hindoostan soon began to be realised ; but we
will leave their record to the future historian, and
close these pages with a brief review of the past
success, and the promise it gave of future abun-

^ Now Lord Glenelg.

^ The clauses in the Act of Parliament by which His Ma-
jesty, William IV. , was enabled to erect these Bishoprics, may
be seen in the Eeport of the Society for Promoting Christian
Knowledge for 1833, pp. 71-74.


29. The result of Bishop Turner s exertions had conciud-
already begun to appear^ and the benefit of some of '^s ^-
his plans continue to this day. Taken in con-
nection with the labours of the three prelates who
preceded him^ those who knew the country before
and compared its former with its present state^
observed the moral and religious reformation which
had taken place in the society of British India.
Not to go back to the times previous to the erec-
tion of the see of Calcutta^ when the number of the
clergy was so small^ that many large stations^ as
we have seen^ were unprovided with religious in-
struction and ordinances, and the Christian Sabbath
was known, even at presidencies, by the hoisting
of the British flag and diversions to which the day
was appropriated, we have only to compare the
opening and closing of this volume to observe the
complete revolution effected within the short space
of fourteen years. We have seen that notwith-
standing the quiet and inoffensive labours of German
missionaries in South India during the past century,
and when Englishmen began to enter the field at
the close of the last and beginning of the present
century, the spirit of opposition rose against them
and their proceedings. Some were sent out of the
country ; others allowed to remain on condition
that they would exchange their spiritual functions
for secular occupations. So bitter was the feehng
against them, that all sense of justice was disre-
garded, and disturbances among the native troops,
known to be occasioned by an attempt on the part
of Government to introduce some obnoxious regu-
lations, were actually attributed to missionaries who
were several hundred miles distant from the scene
of action, and many persons in England and India
were credulous enough to believe the imputation.
In the year 1813, on the renewal of the East India
charter, this hostility was carried beyond all bounds


CHAP, in the endeavour to prevent the establishment of

L Episcopacy in India^ and throwing open the country

to Christian missionaries^ for which the advocates
of Christianity in India contended ; and the victory
they achieved soon began to change the face of
things. It was in fact a new epoch in the history
of British India. Many high in station who had
resisted the appointment of the Bishop^ now that
he had arrived^ paid him the respect they knew to
be due to his office. The number of chaplains was
soon increased ; they were selected with greater
care than before. They were in general men who
entered into the spirit of their sacred duties^ and
under their exertions the increased regard for reli-
gion was soon manifest ; while at stations not yet
supplied with a chaplain^ the residents were glad to
avail themselves of the services of any missionary
who might be in the neighbourhood ; and even
where there was neither chaplain nor missionary,
some civilian or military officer was found willing
to conduct the services of the Lord's day, until,
before long, there were few stations of any size
where the Christian Sabbath was not kept, mis-
sionary schools were established for European
regiments, and Bibles, Prayer-books, and religious
tracts were distributed by officers among the troops.
The improvement in the religious character of
Europeans was followed by attention to the native
inhabitants, and a desire to impart to them the
blessing of religious instruction. As missionaries
became known, their character and object began to
be appreciated. Some of the old alarmists indeed
still looked on with a jealous eye, and ceased not
to prognosticate commotions, and the loss of the
country at no distant period, in consequence of
these proceedings. But as year after year rolled
on, the course of Christianity among Europeans,
and the education of natives increased without the


slightest disturbance to public tranquillity. On
the contrary, the natives began to respect the Eng-
lish, when they saw that they really had a religion
which before they had questioned, and the British
interests increased, their dominion extended, and
their power became more firmly established.^

But we must not forget that, beneficial as was
the alteration which had taken place in the public
mind in India, it is to be attributed to the agency
of that Holy Spirit by whose influence alone such
a change could be accomplished. And seeing what
has been efiected, with the divine blessing, during
the few years that appropriate means had been

^ It is unnecessary to repeat the accounts given in the text of
the great increase of chaplains and missionaries, to whose united
exertions, under God, this improvement is to be attributed.
Testimony on this subject was borne, in 1827, by James M.
Strachan, Esq., who had known India some years before the
arrival of Bishop Middleton, and had watched with lively inte-
rest the progress of Christianity in the country, down to the
abrupt close of the devoted Heber's life. Mr Strachan conti-
nues — " Missionaries then have, in their sphere, contributed to
the improvement of public opinion in India. Chaplains have
done this still more ; but to the bishops who have been appointed
to India belongs the high prerogative of having, by their com-
manding influence, mainly contributed to turn the current of
public opinion altogether on the side of missions. The charac-
ter of Dr Middleton for great talents, with his high and digni-
fied demeanour, constrained the respect of his countrymen, for
whose personal benefit he was zealously and wisely engaged ;
and it was left for his revered successor to convert that senti-
ment of respect into cordial esteem and love. Yet let me not
be misunderstood as saying — would, indeed, that there were
grounds for saying ! — that the British community in India has
acquired a religious character. The improvement in public
opinion, the turning of the tide in favour of religion, does not
include the conversion of Hindoostan ; but who does not see
that public opinion in favour of missions must progressively
tell on the native mind ? But especially is it of importance in
India, as it raises up exertions in favour of the natives." — Mis-
sionary Kegister 1827, pp. 272, 273.


CHAP, diligently used, what may we not expect in future
L from the steady pursuit of the same course ? Al-
ready it could no longer be said, as it was not twenty
years before, that if it should please God to destroy
the British sway in India, scarcely a vestige would
remain to shew to our successors that a Christian
nation had ever held power over the land. Too
many of the inhabitants had received a Christian
education in our schools, — the Scriptures and reli-
gious treatises had been circulated too extensively
in all the languages of the country, — too many
churches had been erected, and congregations of
native Christians formed, not to leave traces of our
rule behind, which, we believe, would have remained
indelible ; and we cannot but think that God would
have carried on his own work of mercy for India
by other instruments, had those employed in its
commencement been removed. How much more,
then, may we hope in His wisdom and power to
complete His gracious purposes for the land, so
long as He shall preserve the British rule, and His
servants continue faithful to their tmst. While,
therefore, we thank him for the past, we will hope
in Him for the future, and from time to time set
up our Ebenezer to His praise, saying, ^^ Hitherto
hath the Lord helped us," 1 Sam. vii. 12.


The following Appendices have been drawn up for the benefit of those
readers who may not possess the former volumes of this history, in order
to put them in possession of the passages referred to in the present
volume. But only a faint outline is given of the great work performed
by those indefatigable men who first broke up the fallow-ground of
heathen India, and, through many trials and difficulties, established the
several Missions whose onward course is herein detailed.



From Book X. Chap. I.

That eminent servant of God, Dr Buchanan, whose exertions to obtain
an Ecclesiastical Establishment for India are wpII known, was removed
to his rest in February 1815, but not before the appointment of the first
Indian Bishop. " The person selected was Archdeacon Middleton, whose
learning and services to the Church, as well as his appropriate address,
delivered in 1813 to M. Jacobi, a missionary of the Christian Knowledge
Society, pointed him out as peculiarly fitted f )r this arduous trust 'Ovei-
powered by the vast magnitude and appalling novelty of such a charge,
Dr Middleton was at first tempted to decline the offer. His maturer
thoughts, however, condemned this determination as unwortliy of a
Christian minister ; and he found no peace of mind until he had recalled
his first decision, and had formed a resolution to brave the difficulties of
the office, and the dangers of a tropical climate, in the service of his
Saviour.' He was consecrated at Lambeth, May 8. 1814. On the 17th
he attended a special meeting of the Society for Promoting Christian
Knowledge, to receive their valedictory address, which was delivered by


the Bishop of Chester. To this address he replied in terras expressive of
diffidence of his capabilities for the arduous duties entrusted to him, and
commended himself to the Society's sympathies and prayers. The
Society placed one thousand pounds at the Bishop's disposal for the
extension of its efforts in the East." He sailed June 8th ; the Arch-
deacon of Calcutta, Rev. Henry Lloyd Loring, and the Archdeacon of
Bombay, Rev. George Barnes, sailed in the same fleet.



From Book XII. Chap. I.

The first English church was built in Bombay in 1718 by the exertions
of the chaplain. Rev. Richard Cobbe. A school was established and
Scriptural instruction given, and many benefits resulted to individuals.

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 53 of 54)