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Title: The Christian Recorder Vol. 2, Issue 4 (1820-June)

Date of first publication: 1820

Author: Various

Date first posted: February 25 2013

Date last updated: February 25 2013

Faded Page eBook #20130229

This eBook was produced by: L. Harrison, Marcia Brooks & the online Distributed Proofreaders Canada team at http://www.pgdpcanada.net





Analysis of Dr. Barrow's four Sermons on Universal Redemption 121
Original Letter of Dean Comber on frequent Communion 130
Comparison between the Moral Philosophy of the Ancients and the Christian Revelation 135
On the effects of the Controversy respecting Regeneration 140
The last hours of Melancthon 144
Biblical Illustrations 151
Letter of the Bishop of Calcutta 155



Vol. II.           JUNE, 1820.          No. 4.



It is reported of Doctor Isaac Barrow, that he was called the unfair preacher, because he said so much on every subject of which he treated, that he left nothing to be said by others. The justice of this remark cannot be proved more strongly, than by a reference to his four sermons on 1 Tim. iv. 10. entitled, "The Doctrine of Universal Redemption asserted and explained." They contain a syllabus of the arguments on this most important doctrine, which are digested in the following analysis.

God is the Saviour of all men, and particularly the Saviour of the faithful.

Forasmuch as to save doth imply the conferring any kind of good, God is the Saviour of all men, because he is the preserver and upholder of all things; because he is the general benefactor, and because he is the common protector and deliverer of all men.

In a higher and more Evangelical sense also, God is the Saviour of all men: 1. Because to save, the Saviour, and Salvation, do mean in apostolical use, the benefits procured and dispensed by our Lord Jesus Christ: 2. Because St. Paul in the text doth mean him to be in this sense the Saviour of the faithful, and consequently in the same sense, though not in the same degree, nor to the same effect, the Saviour of all men: 3. Because such a sense is designed[Pg 122] in other texts parallel to this, and especially in 1 Tim. ii. 4. in which the Saviour of us, seems to denote the Saviour of us as men, in reference to their spiritual and eternal advantage, as willing that all men should embrace the Gospel, and this interpretation is confirmed by the words immediately following, there is one God and one Mediator between God and man: 4. Because according to the tenor of the Scriptures, St. Paul's assertion, thus interpreted, is true: 5. Because the living God may very well be understood and explained to be our Lord Jesus Christ, the word Incarnate, whom St. Paul doth seem commonly to style God our Saviour, and since God in an Evangelical sense, is no otherwise said to save, than in concurrence with what Jesus Christ did undertake and perform; and therefore God's being the Saviour of mankind is either directly or by consequence, the same with Jesus being the Saviour of all men.

That our Lord Jesus Christ is the Saviour of all men, or that the most signal of his saving performances do in their nature and design respect all men, and upon condition of their due concurrence with them are effectively productive of their salvation, is an ancient Catholic doctrine declared in the Nicene Creed, and expressed by our Church in the Catechism, and in the offices of Baptism and the Holy Communion, and proved by many full and clear testimonies of Scripture, and by many reasons grounded upon Scripture.

The immediate testimonies of Scripture are these:—

1. Jesus is called the Saviour of the world, who was sent and came into the world to save the world, and whose chief performances were designed and directed to the salvation of the world. See John i. 10-29. iii. 17. iv. 42. v. 22. vi. 51. 2 Cor. v. 19. 1 John ii. 2. iv. 14. v. 19. Whoever attends to the common use of the words in Scripture, and especially by St. John, must understand the world according to its ordinary acceptation, as signifying the whole community of mankind, comprehending men of all sorts and qualities, good and bad, believers and infidels.

2. The object of our Saviour's undertakings and intentions, is described by qualities and circumstances agreeing unto all men. All men are in a lost condition: Christ came to save what was lost. All have sinned, and Christ came to save sinners. All were weak, wicked, and in a state of alienation and enmity, and it was when we were without strength, when we were enemies, that we were reconciled[Pg 123] to God by the death of his Son. All have souls and lives exposed to misery and sin, and the Son of Man came not to destroy but to save the souls of men.

3. These texts respecting an indefinite object, are explained by others, expressed in terms, than which none can be more general or comprehensive. The Saviour of all men, especially of the faithful, of all men universally, not only of the faithful, though chiefly of them. God would have all men to be saved. Who gave himself a ransom for all men. He tasted death for every man. See also John i. 9. Rom. xi. 32. 2 Cor. v. 14. 19.

4. To exclude any limitation of these general terms, it is declared, that our Saviour's sufferings did respect even those, who by their own default might lose the benefit of them, and who in effect should not be saved. See Rom. xiv. 15. 1 Cor. viii. 11. Heb. x. 29. 2 Pet. ii. 1.

5. The supposition of this truth is a ground of duty, and an aggravation of sin. This truth is set forth in terms very direct and express, nor can any other Christian doctrine allege more ample or more plain testimonies of the Scripture. Many reasons confirming this truth may also be deduced from the Scriptures.

1. The motive of God in sending his Son into the world, was love to mankind, (Tit. iii. 4. John iii. 16. Rom. v. 8. Ephes. ii. 4.) not any particular fondness of affection, but universal goodness, mercy and compassion.

2. God declares himself impartial, that all men in regard to him stand alike related, and are in the same condition; he proceeds with undiscriminating affection, and upon the same terms with all. He is the Lord of all, and there is no respect of persons with God, as to preparing the capacities and means, as to propounding the terms and conditions of salvation; nor is there any difference, except that which is consequent upon compliance or non-compliance with the conditions proposed. Rom. ii. 11. iii. 22, 23, 29. x. 12. Acts x. 34, 35.

3. The performances of our Lord are for extent and nature compared with those of Adam. As Adam, being a representative of mankind, did by his transgression involve all men in guilt, and subject them to condemnation; so was our Lord the proxy of mankind, and by his performances in our behalf did undo for our advantage, what the other did to our prejudice. Rom. v. 18. 1 Cor. xv. 22. See also Rom. iii. 23, 24. 2 Cor. v. 14.

[Pg 124]4. Our Saviour assuming our nature and partaking our flesh, did thereby ally himself, and put on a fraternal relation to all men, and thereby not only became qualified to mediate between God and man, but was in a manner engaged and obliged to do it.

5. Our Lord by his saving performances hath acquired a title of dominion over all men living. As therefore subjection and redemption have one ground, so they are implied to have the same intent. As every one must call Christ Lord, so he may call him Saviour: therefore, his Lord because his Saviour.

6. We are commanded to pray for all men, as for the objects of God's benevolent affection, whom he would have to be saved, and our charity in this respect is to be conformable with the universal goodness of God, which the primitive Fathers maintained to be the motive of universal intercession.

7. Our Saviour's prayer for his murderers implies the possibility of their receiving forgiveness: and such a possibility doth presuppose a disposition in God to grant it, and consequently a satisfaction provided.

8. How can we pray for any blessing for ourselves or others, without supposing God to be our Saviour and theirs, or without being assured that Christ is our Saviour, and that God for Christ's sake, is disposed to grant our requests?

9. Either our Saviour's performances do respect all men, or the far greater part of them do stand upon no other terms than that of the first creation, or rather of the subsequent lapse and condemnation, being subject to an extremely rigorous law, an infallible certain guilt, and inevitable punishment, without capacity of mercy, and having no place of repentance. But God disclaims this rigorous proceeding: he invites men to repent, expostulates with them for not repenting, declares his readiness to accept their repentance, and represents himself as impartial in his judgments and his acceptance of men's persons and performances: the final ruin of men is not imputed to any antecedent defect lying in man's state, or God's will, to any incapacity on the part of man, but wholly to man's blameable neglect or wilful abuse of the means conducive to his salvation. No want of mercy in God or of virtue in the passion of our Lord is to be mentioned, or thought of. Our Lord and his Apostles prove, that all requisite care and provision were made by God for the salvation of men, and they impute the[Pg 125] obstruction solely to their voluntary default of compliance with God in his conduct and management thereof.

10. If our Lord be the Saviour of all those, to whom God's truth is declared, and his mercy offered, or of all the members of the visible Church; particularly if he be the Saviour of those among them, who rejecting the overtures and means of grace, or by disobedience abusing them, shall in the event fail of being saved, then he is the Saviour of all men. But he is the Saviour of such persons, and therefore he is the Saviour of all men. The assumption is confirmed by many express testimonies, and by the general tenor of the Apostolical writings, in which all the visibly faithful are supposed to be related to Christ, as their Saviour, to have an interest in his saving performances, and to be properly denominated saved, quickened, regenerated, justified, &c. The Church has always acted upon this persuasion in the administration of Baptism and the Eucharist, in which it is supposed, that every baptised person hath an interest in our Lord's performances, even when it might be most reasonably doubted, whether all would fulfil their engagements and realize their interest in the covenant.

The conclusion of the first discourse is, that the design of our Saviour's performances did not flow from, and was not grounded upon any special love or any absolute decree concerning those persons, who in event shall be saved, but from God's natural goodness and common kind affection toward mankind, from the compassion of a gracious Creator towards his miserable creatures, and therefore all men are concerned and have an interest in them.


It has been shewn, that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of all men; he is the Saviour of all men in the following respects:—

Generally; Because he hath rendered all men salvatiles, capable of salvation; and salvandos, designed to salvation; by removing all obstacles peremptorily debarring men from salvation, and procuring competent furtherances to their attainment of it. In this respect, he might be truly called a Saviour, although all men do not, even although not one man should receive the benefit proposed. For the estimation and denomination of performances are to be grounded[Pg 126] upon their nature and design, not upon events depending upon the contingent behaviour of men. Thus, in the Scriptures, Christians are called the saved, and Christ he that saveth them; and faith and baptism are said to save, even in respect of some who shall not finally be saved.

More particularly is our Lord the Saviour of all men.

1. Because, through his mediation, Almighty God hath laid aside his wrath towards mankind, and been thoroughly reconciled, and even antecedently to any man's conversion, he hath been appeased, and become favourably disposed towards all men. Rom. v. 20. 2 Cor. v. 19.

2. Because he hath satisfied the divine justice, by making the compensation and undergoing the punishment, which were not in the power of man; without which it did not seem fit that sinful man should be restored to a capacity of mercy and favour; and by which the right of God hath been conspicuously asserted, his love of goodness and dislike of wickedness hath been remarkably demonstrated, and every creature hath been admonished of the duty due to the great Creator, and of the heinous guilt and horrible mischief of offending him.

3. Because in behalf of mankind, he hath ratified the new covenant, by which salvation is made attainable, and is really tendered to all upon reasonable and equitable conditions. By this covenant, God is willing to dispense mercy and pardon to any man sincerely believing and seriously repenting, and he further promiseth inestimable blessings to such as shall continue in an obedience suitable to man's natural infirmity, and proportionable to the assistance afforded. So far is any man from being excluded from this covenant, according to God's intention and desire, that all men are invited, exhorted, and intreated to enter into it, and to partake of its advantages.

4. Because he hath purchased and procured for them competent aids, whereby they are enabled to perform the conditions required of them, in order to their salvation.—Otherwise, the immediate result of our Saviour's transactions for man would signify nothing in regard to him, if through the infirmity of his nature, he were still left under the necessity of sinning, or an inability of performing that which is indispensable to the complete enjoyment of the benefits proposed. Therefore we suppose that a competency of spiritual assistance is, by virtue of our Saviour's performances, really imparted to every man, to guide and[Pg 127] advise us, to incite and encourage us, to relieve and succour us in all our religious service. This is plainly declared in Scripture, concerning the visible members of the Christian Church. (Joel ii. 28. Acts ii. 28. Jer. xxxi. 33. Ezek. xi. 19. 2 Cor. iii. 3, 8. Gal. iii. 14. Heb. vi. 4, 5. viii. 11.) Reception of the Holy Ghost is, in other Scriptures, represented as the consequent or concomitant of baptism: (Acts ii. 38, 39. 1 Cor. iii. 16. xii. 13. Eph. i. 13. Tit. iii. 5.) and it hath been the doctrine constantly, with general consent, delivered in and by the Catholic Church, that to all persons, by the holy mystery of baptism, duly initiated into Christianity, and admitted into the communion of Christ's body, the grace of the Holy Spirit is communicated, enabling them to perform the conditions, which they undertake, and continually watching over them for the accomplishment of those purposes; which Spirit they are admonished not to resist, abase, quench, or grieve, but to use well and improve.

Such are the results of our Saviour's performances in this kind, with reference to the community of Christians. These communications of grace do not flow from any special love or absolute decree concerning men, but from the general kindness and mercy of God, procured by our Lord for mankind. Hence we collect, that whilst this great benefit is more plentifully and more conspicuously dispensed to Christians, there are, besides the principal inference from our Lord's being the Saviour of all men, good reasons to believe, that there have been other communications of grace really imparted, although not so plainly signified or so expressly promised. As (1.) Christians themselves are by previous operations of God's grace, induced to embrace Christianity. (2.) All good men before Christ were thus instructed and enabled to do well. (3.) Before any particular covenant was made, divine grace appears to have been diffused over several nations; and the appropriations of it in later times cannot be supposed to limit the general favour of God. (4.) Abimelech the Philistine, Melchisedeck the Canaanite, Jethro the Midianite, and Job the Arabian, did, by complying with God's grace, evidence the communication of it in several nations, and though we cannot now certify particular instances or effects, it is unreasonable to doubt the operations of the same cause now. (5.) Heathen writers have acknowledged these gifts, and Augustin, who judges most unfavourably concerning them,[Pg 128] allows that their virtuous dispositions and deeds were the gifts of God. (6.) Even if there are no instances of men who have obtained salvation, it doth not therefore follow that grace was wanting, for this may have been neglected as well as other means designed for the instruction of mankind. (7.) Persons may have been undiscernable to common view, who nevertheless, by complying with God's grace, have competently obtained to know God and to reverence him. (8.) The consideration of God's nature and providence will not allow the supposition, that while he is rich in supplying temporal benefits, he is wanting in spiritual things. (9.) The possession of this grace is not inconsistent with the want of faith in Christ, although, as in the case of good men before his coming, and of infants and idiots in the present day, we know not how grace may be communicated, or the merits of Christ avail unto the salvation of ignorant persons; nor doth it become us, by inquiring how grace is imparted, to perplex the plain doctrine, that our Lord is the Saviour of all men, and therefore hath procured grace, capacitating all men to obtain salvation.


Jesus is the Saviour of all men.

5. Because he is the conductor of all men into and through the way of salvation, by direction instructive and exemplary; by his protection and governance, and by subduing all the enemies of salvation, more especially and completely with respect to faithful Christians: in a manner also for and towards all men.

6. Because he hath discovered the way and means of salvation, the whole will of God, and the concernment of man in relation to it; 1st, by his preaching, and 2dly, by the preaching of the Apostles; but it is objected, that the Gospel hath not been preached to the whole world. Answer: (1.) God's intentions are not to be interpreted, nor his performances estimated, by events depending on the contingency of human actions, but by his own declarations and precepts, together with the ordinary provision of competent means, in their own nature sufficient to produce those effects, which he declares himself to intend or to perform. It doth not prejudice the sun, if some will not see the light: the physician, if some will not seek his help; or[Pg 129] the fountain, if some will not quench their thirst. (2.) God doth commonly dispense the revelation of his truth, according to men's disposition to receive it, and doth withhold it from those who are indisposed to admit it, or unfit to profit by it. This was seen in the conduct of our Lord and his Apostles, who addressed themselves to such as Zaccheus, Cornelius, and the Bereans, and withdrew from the contradicting and blaspheming Jews. (3.) We may acknowledge the unsearchableness of God's providence, and therefore, if we cannot resolve the difficulty, we should nevertheless, without distrust, adhere to the positive and plain declarations, in which God represents himself as seriously designing and earnestly desiring, that none should perish; and we should not doubt of the agreement of his secret providence and his declared will, though we cannot now reconcile them.


Jesus is the Saviour of all men.

7. Because his example, not less than his doctrine, doth in the nature and design thereof, respect and appertain to all men, being like the light of heaven, a public guide to lead our steps into the way of peace. If it do not effectually direct all, it is by accident, and beside God's intention: it is by the fault of them who do not set it before them, or who have not eyes to behold it.

Lastly, Because he hath vanquished all the enemies of men's welfare and happiness, disarmed them of their power and force, and enabled us to withstand and overcome them. These enemies are, the devil; the world; the flesh; sin, with its mischievous consequences; the law, with its rigorous exactions; conscience, with its terrors and anguish; divine anger, with its effects, death and hell.

Application, 1. Hence ariseth great matter of glorifying God: for the magnitude of beneficence is to be estimated according to its amplitude of object. To speak of glorifying God for his discriminating grace, is, as if the narrower grace were, the better it were; and to restrain God's benefice is to diminish his glory.

2. It is the obligation of all men to love God, if the benefit in God's design reach to all; otherwise, in reality, it lieth only on few; in practice, it scarce touches any. They who[Pg 130] have not been redeemed, cannot be thankful for what they have not received; neither can they who are not assured both of present salvation and final perseverance.

3. This doctrine is full of consolation to the humble, whom the opposite doctrine will discourage and depress.

4. It is a motive of duty, in gratitude for mercies received, and in hope of final acceptance; but there is neither this gratitude nor this hope, without a belief of universal redemption, or an assurance of particular election.

5. To frustrate the designs and undertakings of Christ, and to reject the overtures of his grace, is a great aggravation of apostacy, infidelity, and disobedience; and by consequence this doctrine deters from these things.

6. To have recourse to the Redeemer, and use his mediation, encourages devotion; and every man must apply himself to God faintly and distrustfully, who doubts whether he hath a Mediator and Redeemer.

7. The relation which thus subsists between all men, as the common objects of the love and mercy of Christ, invigorates the charity which the opposite doctrine weakens and impairs.

8. It should render us zealous in promoting, and cautious of hindering the salvation of others.

9. There is justice in acknowledging the right and interest of every man in his Saviour, and there is injury in excluding any.

The undertaking and performances of our Saviour did respect all men as the common works of nature do, which are not given to any man particularly, but to all, generally; they are indeed mine, but not otherwise than as they belong to all men. They are a gift to all equally, though they may not prove to all a blessing; there is no common gift, which by the ill use of it, may not prove a curse, a savour unto death.


(From the Christian Observer.)

Enclosed is an original letter from the celebrated Dr. Comber, formerly Dean of Durham, and author of "the[Pg 131] Companion to the Temple," "Roman Forgeries," "History of Liturgies," "Companion to the Altar," &c. on a subject by no means uninteresting to the Christian reader, which I request you to insert in the Christian Observer. Appended to the letter is the following note: "The above manuscript is the handwriting of my great grandfather, Thomas Comber, D. D. some time Dean of Durham, whose memoirs I published in 1799. Witness, Thomas Comber, Creech St. Michael, Aug. 26, 1805."

C. T. C.

Copy of a Letter to Dr. Greenvil,[1] respecting weekly

"October 15, 1681.

"I have now perused your friend's books; and as to your inquiry concerning weekly sacraments in cathedral and collegiate churches, I shall first give you my opinion of the thing, and then my sense of Dr. Bury's book. As to the weekly communion in cathedral churches, &c. the rubric is so plain, that none can doubt it is an express command.—'Where there are many priests and deacons, they shall all receive the communion with the priest every Sunday at the least, except they have a reasonable cause to the contrary.' Which last words are put in only to excuse some particular priest or deacon, who by sickness, unavoidable business, or some sudden sin, may be hindered for one time: but these words do suppose there can be no reasonable cause why the priest who is to minister and the rest should not communicate weekly at the least, if not on holidays also. And since all priests have by subscription, &c. declared their assent and consent to this rubric, it is to them express law, and they should rather study how to contrive that they may obey it, than what excuses they can find to colour over the omission. That priests ought to live so as to be always fit to pray with and give the sacrament to the sick, who may suddenly need it, is undoubted; and those weekly sacraments devoutly performed will assist them very much towards this holy life, which is the best preparative. And for the objection, that there will be none of the people to join, it may be[Pg 132] replied, if they were truly informed of their duty of frequent communion and the benefit they may reap thereby, by just, rational, and moving sermons to that purpose, it would bring some of the devouter sort: and such as come monthly it is likely would come weekly, and those who communicate three times a year might be drawn to monthly, which would be a good step. Besides, a large company is rather splendid than necessary to the Lord's Supper: it is more comfortable, but not more beneficial to those few persons who do receive; for every man receives benefit according to his own preparation and dispositions, not according to the number or disposition of others, and Christ hath promised his company to two or three. The truth is, the ill doctrines of the late times representing this sacrament so terrible, with the long omission of it, have brought in a deplorable neglect of this ordinance not easy to be removed at once; and therefore, it is no wonder if hitherto even cathedral churches have been content with once a month, for that was as far as prudence could allow at first after restoring this ordinance: and now that monthly communions are (as I see with you) well frequented, it would not be very difficult to get one point farther, especially if those in power do strictly declare they expect it from all under their power, as vicars, officers, servants, and all their dependencies. These, with those whose piety will bring them voluntarily, may keep the office from contempt. And surely none will say but it will much tend to the honor of God, and the safety of this poor church, and the benefit of particular souls, to have this duty observed. Yet, in your circumstances, you are obliged no farther than to propose it; and if it do not please the major part, you have done what is your duty, and will acquiesce in that satisfaction.

"For though it be a very pious and useful thing to receive the sacrament weekly, yet we must distinguish between the commands of Christ, and those of his Church; for those are absolutely necessary, these admit some latitude: and if others do not, or will not, discern their duty, proceeding from the force of their declared assent, you must not break the power of that church whereof you are the ruler.

"And truly, I am not convinced by any thing in your doctor's book, or by what I have met with elsewhere, that our Lord Jesus or his Apostles have left any certain rule for the frequency of communion. ('Do this') makes it plain we must not omit it, and ('in remembrance of me') lays a[Pg 133] mighty obligation upon our love and gratitude to do it very often; and if our love to Jesus be fervent and sincere, it will secure our frequency rather than any laws. 'Amici ad amicorum cœnam veniunt, etiam non vocati,' is a proverb in Suidas: and for that word ('as oft') which St. Paul, by revelation, adds to the account of the Evangelists concerning the institution, doubtless it implied Christ expected we should do it often: and yet it will scarcely bear so much stress as Dr. Bury lays upon it; namely, to amount to a general command to all churches to do it weekly. For though we grant the Corinthian Church (who had a feast of charity every week, after their Sunday service, in which they had a customary breaking of bread and grace cup) were obliged so oft to celebrate the Lord's Supper, which very probably was taken from that rite, as others before Dr. Bury had observed, yet where there is no such feast of charity, it doth not follow there is the same obligation to weekly communion by that discourse of the Apostle. And, indeed, the early variety in divers churches as to the frequency of communion, persuades me that the first Christian bishops (who were like to know best) did not think the Apostle had left any universal and standing rule for weekly communions; for, if they had they would not have varied from it. Yet it is plain, that not only the Roman Church and Alexandrian, but many others, received the sacrament daily: so, at Carthage, in St. Cyprian's time, 'Eucharistiam quotidie in cibum salutis accepimus.' (De Orat. Domin.) And St. Hierome declares, in his days it was daily celebrated in Spain. (Epist. ad Lucin.) Hierome there calls this daily communicating 'an ecclesiastical tradition, which, since it hurts not faith, may be observed according to the custom of our forefathers, so as not to overthrow the contrary custom of others.' And St. Ambrose intimates that they had daily communion at Milan. (De Sac.) Yet even there he tells us, they received but once a year in the East, (meaning the generality of the people,) or, however, but only on the great festivals, as St. Crysostom tells us, who best knew the customs there. (Chrysost. in Hebr. Hom. xvii. tom. iv. p. 523.) And it is very certain, that at Hippo, in St. Augustine's time, there were daily communions, which the priests, who in that age lived generally with the bishop, were present at daily. (Aug. Ep. 86.) Yet he notes there was variety. 'Alii quotidie communicant corpori et sanguini Domini, alii certis diebus accipiunt; alibi nullus dies intermittitur quo non offeratur, alibi Sabbato[Pg 134] tantum et dominico.' (Ep. 118. ad Janar.) And some passages in St. Chrysostom seem to hint, as if the priests even in the East celebrated daily, though few of the people communicated with them. (Hom. iii. in Ephes. tom. iii. p. 778, vid. Hom. ix. ad Heb.) And as for Justin Martyr's and Socrates' discourses of Sunday communions, that was the solemn time for those in the country who lived far from the bishop, and were busy all the week, to come and receive. But by all this, it is plain that more was expected from the priests; for the apostolic canons do appoint, that the bishops, priests, and deacons, shall never be dispensed with, but must always receive if there be a communion, unless they have a very just excuse; and the capitulars of Charles the Great allow them not to go out at any time. (Lib. i. c. 6.) And at first, the laws were as strict for the laity. (Can. Apostol. 9.) But they began soon to relax that severity as to them, for Zonarus tells us on that canon, 'Tunc temporis a laicis exigebatur ut frequenter communicarent,' but adds, that there was a canon of the Sardican Council, and another of that in Trullo, and another of a council of Antioch: 'That if any were at church three Sundays together, and did not communicate, he should be excommunicated.'—By all this it is plain, the church did not esteem the frequency was determined by Christ or his Apostles; (for in that age, neither Rome nor any other church pretended to dispense with institutions); but they believed it was left to the church's determination, and they did enjoin the people to come as oft as they could, yet so as they were forced to comply with the rareness of approach which they could not rectify in the laity. But I think it very probable, daily communion among the priests, so long as they lived (many of them) in a collegiate way with their bishops, was generally used; and where it could be, the people were enjoined to come weekly. And therefore, if our church hath now set that for the priests' measure, which was of old for the measure of the people, sure we should rather think her indulgent than severe. Indeed, the communion of the priest alone, now daily used in the Roman Church, is a mere contradiction in terminis, and nothing like to antiquity, nor agreeable to the nature of a feast, wherein there must be more than one guest; and, therefore, our church doth not oblige the priest to make a mock communion, when there are no communicants, but where there are priests and deacons enow to make a congregation, her service is fitted for[Pg 135] weekly communion, and supposes there are such in some places, and the expectation of obedience from the dignified priests and those under their care hath made her enjoy it in such places; and it ought to be their endeavour to obey that primitive, reasonable, and pious injunction, if they can possibly bring it to pass. And since cathedrals, &c. are in great towns, where there are many who have leisure enough, the clergy's example may likely bring in many others in time, to this weekly communion; and some of the devouter sex, (and particularly the Duchess of Monmouth,) as I am informed, do use weekly communion already. And if it work but on a few, yet those will be of the best, and so it will be worth the pains for their sakes."[2]


(From the Christian Observer.)

That the ancient philosophers excelled Christians in morality, is an opinion which has been maintained by certain writers, who, if they did not know better, ought not to have written at all, and, if they did, ought to have written more correctly. This opinion is, I fear, too often lightly taken up by the youthful admirer of classical literature, to the great disparagement of our holy religion. The notions on which such an idea is founded are as erroneous in themselves as they are dishonorable to the Christian faith. When we read the writings of those eminent men, who by the light of nature and the use of reason, saw the moral fitness of virtue, and had courage to assert their doctrines in opposition to the corruptions of the times, we naturally feel that respect for their memory which is due to their moral worth. It is by comparing the writings of these men—as, for example, the admirable morals of Seneca, or Marcus Aurelius, with the lives of the generality of professed Christians—that the above[Pg 136] opinion appears to have been adopted. There is, however, an obvious error in the manner of forming this opinion, which necessarily causes an untrue result; namely, by comparing the writings of one class of men with the actions of another; whereas, the only true and fair method of forming an estimate is by comparing the writings of ancient philosophers with the writings of Christians, and the actions of the one with the actions of the other.

In making the latter comparison, the bitterest enemy of the Gospel must at least allow, that in purity of life, in the exercise of the benevolent affections, in self-denial, in courage, and in active and disinterested exertion, the more eminent (I might have said even ordinary) Christians are not excelled by the greatest of the ancient philosophers. This might be a fair comparison, if we possessed sufficient information respecting the public and private character of the subjects of the experiment; but, as comparatively few facts have been transmitted, and still fewer are authenticated, relative to the great heathen moralists, we are unable in this manner to arrive at a fair conclusion. As far, however, as we are acquainted with their actions, and without detracting from their virtues by the admission of those odious vices with which many of them are charged, such individuals as a Paul, or even a Brainerd, and a Howard, (and they are but a few among many) stand unrivalled in zeal, in devotion, and philanthropy in the heathen world.

But we are compelled to turn to the principles contained in their writings, in order fully to appreciate the real excellence and moral tendency of their doctrines. In perusing the works of those philosophers, nothing strikes an intelligent reader more forcibly than their extreme ignorance of some of the fundamental doctrines of moral philosophy.—The immortality of the soul, and the relation of man to his God, were subjects on which few possessed decided opinions. Their constant confusion and numerous absurdities on these subjects evince, if not the absolute natural, yet at least the moral impossibility of discovering by Reason, those truths which Revelation claims as her own—the immortality of the soul, and our accountability for our actions to the "Father of our spirits." The attributes of the Deity, the relation in which we stand to him, and the order of his government, they could arrive at only by the works of creation. Even from these inferior glories might have been clearly seen, as the Apostle argues, "his eternal power and godhead;" but[Pg 137] inductive philosophy was not their wisdom: they preferred the more fascinating charms of hypothesis and speculation, to the slow but surer results of calm investigation and sound reasoning. In proportion as they were deficient in the knowledge of these great truths, must they consequently have been deficient in the principles of morality founded on them. The fitness of virtue might have been demonstrated from its own nature, but unawed by a firm belief in future punishments, and unsolicited by the sure hope of future recompense, they were left to the imposing but unproductive principle, that "virtue is its own reward." If they doubted the truth of this principle, they were left abandoned without a moral guide, to the depraved passions of our fallen nature: honor, fame, or the civil power alone could direct or control them. To these latter motives and restraints it must be allowed, that much which has the appearance of virtue owes its origin even where other principles are acknowledged. It is a painful confession, but truth compels us to make it; for where principles to moral action are few and less easy to be understood, charity itself knows not how to refrain from attributing to inferior motives actions otherwise not to be accounted for.

From the mere consideration of the effects of different actions in relation to each other, men have been at all times able to see the impropriety of a person injuring another without provocation; and though it is far more difficult to perceive the moral beauty of a disinterested kindness, yet even this could philosophy demonstrate, and both these virtues she taught her followers. But to proceed higher in the scale of practical morality, so as to forgive an enemy, was considered, if not absolutely wrong, yet at least as unnecessary; and to return good for evil would have been thought a precept which neither reason could support nor any motive be sufficiently powerful to enforce.

Now, if we turn from the principles of the heathen philosopher to those of the Christian, we are not more struck by the superior beauty, and strength, and number of the latter, than by the distinction in the very nature of those principles; principles as widely separated as is the pride of human philosophy from the meekness of Christian wisdom. The sense of moral weakness, which is felt and acknowledged by the true Christian, naturally leads him to seek for extraneous assistance; and in the exercise of this desire, the mind summons all its principles and motives, which together form its[Pg 138] moral strength. I speak of this strength independently of those Divine influences which are the Christian's peculiar privilege; that is, strictly speaking, the strength arising from the principles[3] themselves, as contrasted with mere philosophy. The effect of the philosopher's principles is very different from the above estimate of the Christian's. In the pride of his own strength, he neither desires assistance, nor believes the possibility of attaining it; and, by resting on his own sufficiency, he loses the advantage which would accrue to a mind desirous of assistance, from the recollection of its acknowledged principles. The principles which spontaneously arise in the mind at the time, from the circumstances of the case, are nearly all that he employs, either as motives to virtuous or restraints to vicious conduct. This is a very marked and considerable inferiority in the moral power of the philosopher's principles; and as moral strength can arise only from the exercise of principles, the deficiency leaves him less encouraged to virtue and more exposed to vice.

The Christian Revelation clearly unfolds the relation in which we stand to God: it brings life and immortality to light, and shows us the sure and undeviating path to future happiness. It is a system complete in itself: it reveals the origin, the laws, and the end of all created things. The more attentively we contemplate the order of nature, and the more intimate knowledge we acquire of the human mind, the more are we struck by their exact conformity with the disclosures of Revelation; and when the inquiring mind seeks for information on subjects not revealed, and of which we are, therefore, necessarily ignorant, the Bible, in compassion to our aspiring infirmities, tells us generally what our Lord told St. Peter, that "what we know not now we shall know hereafter." But while it promises the future explication of mysteries, to which perhaps our present powers[Pg 139] are inadequate, it gives us even now the full and perfect rule of moral action. It enforces virtue on the principle of a command from the Creator to the creature; it confirms its necessity by its indissoluble connexion with happiness; it encourages by the hopes of reward; it supports by a promise of assistance; it constrains by the power of gratitude and love; and it gives birth to and increases a desire for a transformation to the moral image of the all-perfect Creator. Yet even these are not the only moral securities. If the love and mercy of God, with all their attendant blessings, cannot incite to virtue; the wrath of God is declared, in order fully to confirm the consequent misery of sin in another world, the earnest of which is felt even in this.

If it be true, that in a fair and unprejudiced examination truth must ever triumph; it cannot be doubted, that in a legitimate comparison between the moral philosophy of the ancients and the Christian Revelation, the latter will gain that decided superiority of which in this, as in every thing else, it is so eminently worthy. It is only for want of coming to a full examination of their respective merits, that they can ever be allowed to stand in competition.

But there are those who, professing a belief in the Christian faith, and lamenting in their own case how little they have been influenced by its power, feel cause for regret when they try themselves even by the comparatively low standard of ancient philosophy. They compare their conduct with the principles of the heathen moralists, instead of comparing principles with principles; and forgetting that even the purest code of morals is not sufficient to secure a corresponding practice, they distress themselves by looking in their own case for an advance towards perfection, which it is very certain no heathen, whatever he might write, ever practically attained; and which, though far short of the mark at which the Christian is to aim, may be much beyond the ordinary success of human attainment. It is true, that their acknowledged deficiency, in fulfilling even the requisitions of a heathen system, ought to keep them humble and vigilant, and to lead them constantly to the great Sacrifice for pardon of their infirmities; but it ought not to induce them to suspect the truth or excellence of the sacred principles which they profess; principles which, if duly cherished and operating upon a suitable recipient, would effect far more than a heathen could conceive of virtue, and infinitely beyond what would be practicable on any other system.

[Pg 140]But there may be a still greater, and a fundamental defect in such persons; they may not have submitted themselves unreservedly to the government of the Christian faith; they may not earnestly have embraced the doctrines of Christ; they may not unfeignedly love the Saviour, and therefore they neglect to keep his commandments. They prove their insincerity; for though they profess the Gospel, so far from entering into its spirit, they do not raise their standard of action even to that of the ancient philosophers themselves. But surely, if by a comparison of the Christian Revelation with the heathen philosophy, they have become convinced of the decided superiority of the religion they have professed, it becomes them as men and as Christians, to give that attention to its doctrines which in itself it demands, and which they acknowledge it deserves. Then, and not till then, will they be able to give an experimental decision on the power of the Gospel; they will then experience that it is "mighty through God to the pulling down the strong holds" of sin, and to the establishment of their souls in true holiness and obedience to the Divine commands. They will then experience that "God always causeth us to triumph in Christ," and with sincere gratitude will give thanks to him for his "unspeakable Gift;" for they will then, at least in part, be enabled to estimate its value.

W. M.


Whatever disturbs, or threatens to disturb, the peace of the Church, must be considered as a serious evil; and modern times have not witnessed any dispute which has excited more universal attention, or menaced more extensive and permanent separation, than the recent controversy respecting regeneration. The writers on both sides assert their claim to the victory; and whatever effects either party may attribute to the controversy, the conviction of opponents can have no place among their number. The disputants have been strengthened in their various opinions; and arguments which have failed to reach their destined mark have, at least, confirmed and settled the men by whom they were employed. Still, to those who delight in tracing the various[Pg 141] channels through which Providence regularly contrives to bring good out of evil, it may not prove unsatisfactory to reflect upon a few of the consequences which this dispute may be expected to produce.

A fair controversialist is not at liberty to impute motives to his opponent, or to charge him with the substantial maintenance of doctrines, which he literally rejects. But such things, in fact, are almost always done, whether they are or not perceived by the agent. Few persons would be found to impugn the most formidable error, unless it was supposed to arise from a bad principle, or to issue in a dangerous consequence. If it were a mere mistake of the party by whom it is broached, a public exposition of its fallacy would not often be called for. But while charity and courtesy require us to hope that the understanding alone is in fault, we are still frequently compelled to suspect that the error may have a deeper root. And thus the attention is roused and fixed: it becomes proper and necessary to investigate the question; and the causes and the effects of the doctrine are diligently scanned, though we are not at liberty to contend that its authors are actuated by the first, or that they aim at the production of the second. Had this obvious distinction been remembered on all sides, much of the evil resulting from the late controversy would have been mitigated, and some would have been entirely suppressed. The suspicions which naturally suggest themselves would have excited vigilance and care; the far-sighted would have busied themselves in the investigation of remote consequences; but mutual obloquy and recrimination would have been avoided; the mind would have approached with greater coolness to the consideration of the argument, and the truth, if not more cherished, would, at least, have been more obvious.

The constant objection to baptismal regeneration was, that its advocates were disposed to be satisfied with nominal Christianity; and that it virtually compromised the necessity of spiritual assistance. This opinion was repeated from such a variety of quarters, that it may be attributed, without unfairness, to the party at large: and yet it plainly shews that the merit of the immediate subject in dispute was only a secondary consideration with those by whom this opinion was maintained, and thus the force of their arguments is necessarily weakened, and the personal pique of their opponents called into action against them. Nor can it be said, that on the other side sufficient care was taken to avoid[Pg 142] charging men with tenets which they disavowed. Regeneration, as distinct from baptism, was represented as peculiar to the predestinarian system, and, on this account, all its advocates were denominated Calvinists. The Arminian, of course, became deaf to the most overwhelming arguments, as soon as he discovered that they imputed sentiments to him which he never held.

The first consequence, therefore, it may be hoped, of the controversy which has called forth these remarks, will be the adoption, for the future, of an improved method of disputing. One side will endeavour to prove, not that their opponents, generally speaking, are Calvinists, but that, in order to be consistent, they ought to be so. On the other side we shall, perhaps, impose a harder task, by saying that they should confine themselves to shewing the immoral and irreligious tendency of the doctrine of baptismal regeneration. But this, as fair disputants, they are evidently bound to attempt; and when they fail in the undertaking, it will be allowed, without hesitation, that the circumstance is attributable to the weakness of the cause, and not to the awkwardness or deficiency of the advocate. One step towards permanent peace and unfeigned reconciliation is the employment of a more effectual mode either of attack or defence.

Another important benefit resulting from the recent controversy, is the explicit renunciation of Socinianism in all its branches, which has resounded from every quarter. On this subject nothing can be more unquestioned or unquestionable than the orthodoxy of the leading champions of baptismal regeneration. And, as their cause has been espoused by a great majority of their brethren, an explicit declaration of the sentiments of the Church has, in fact, been made, and no one among its various opponents can be justified in charging it with a heresy which it has so solemnly disowned.

Another valuable consequence intimately connected with the preceding one, is the conviction now beginning to be universally felt and acknowledged, that it is proper and necessary to study and teach Christianity as a system. From former negligence on this subject many present evils arose: and it is only from a change of practice that we can expect their cure. Let both parties be required, by every one who has still to choose between them, to unfold their scheme of doctrine fully and fairly. If this is not done in a single treatise,[Pg 143] or by a single author, let many be consulted, till the object of search is found. By these means a habit of investigation and of general reading will be formed, and to their hands we may safely trust the completion of the work. The extent and the cure of man's natural corruption, the nature and efficacy of the Christian sacraments, the origin and tendency of Calvinistic predestination, and the degree of moral renovation which the Gospel offers and requires, these are points upon which the mind must be accurately informed, before the question respecting regeneration, plain as it originally was, can be disentangled from the web of modern controversy. And if every one who feels the necessity of coming to a decision on the subject will consent to take these indispensable preliminary steps, the cause of truth and of learning will be materially promoted. Indeed, the additional value which the latter has recently obtained, deserves to rank among the most undoubted and valuable fruits of the regeneration controversy. One division of the subject hinges upon a point of verbal criticism; and another, perhaps, still larger, upon the use and signification of a particular form of expression among the writers of early ages.—And though many who have hitherto mingled in the fray have been contented to take these authorities at second hand, yet the manifest advantages of drawing from the original well, must gradually cause that practice to prevail more and more, and at last, perhaps, to be universally adopted. In an age of great religious zeal there is nothing more to be desired than diligent religious enquiry. Almost every shade of modern doctrine may be found in the old ecclesiastical writers, and the consequences of each may be traced in ecclesiastical history.

Neither is it easy to overvalue our own standard divines: and though they have been pressed, on the present occasion, without any scruple, into the service of a party to whom they were notoriously adverse, yet the more they are quoted the more they will be read, and the more they are read the more sound and consistent they will appear.—The word regeneration will often, unquestionably, be found in their writings, in a sense which seems to favour those who deny its connection with baptism. But besides the explanation of this circumstance, which has been furnished by Dr. Lawrence, in the concluding chapter of his first able work upon the subject, an intimate acquaintance with the writings by which the Church of England has been defended[Pg 144] and adorned, will shew that its whole system assumes the doctrine of baptismal regeneration and if that system is more clearly developed, and the ancient expositions of it more extensively circulated and read, solid and permanent advantages must accrue.

The last benefit to be noticed at present, as arising from this protracted controversy, is one in which the controversialists on all sides may equally rejoice. It is the sentence of unqualified condemnation which both parties have pronounced upon the nominal professors of our faith. While it is maintained that regeneration is the spiritual grace of baptism, and that it is consequently incorrect to say that the baptized must be born again, it is contended also that renovation is necessary to every one, and that many require a change which may be properly termed conversion. Those who oppose, or who neglect to inculcate this salutary doctrine, are exposed, by universal consent, to the most severe reprehension. No professions are to be admitted as a substitute for holiness; the conditions of the baptismal covenant are to be kept invariably insight; and with these the Church may encounter every description of her opponents, and easily shew that the old doctrine of baptismal regeneration is a surer foundation for every Christian virtue, and a broader channel for every Christian hope, than any of the modern theories which have been put forward as its competitors, and which, stripped violently, but ingeniously, of their predestinarian garb, have been applied with zeal rather than discretion to the improvement of mankind.


Who died 19th April, 1560, aged 63.From the Life of Melancthon, by Francis Augustus Cox, A. M.

His mind was in a very cheerful state, and he often betrayed his characteristic humour. He spoke of death with composure, and of his friend Pomeranus, who had died about two years before. He said, that he dreaded nothing so much as becoming a useless cumberer of the ground, and prayed that if his life were protracted, he might be serviceable[Pg 145] to the youth under his care, and to the Church of Jesus Christ.

On the fifteenth he conversed much with Camerarius on the language of Paul, which he appropriated; "I have a desire to depart, and to be with Christ." He criticised upon the Greek terms, which, he said, ought to be rendered, "Having a desire to remove, pass on, or set about proceeding in the journey;" that is, to go from this life of toil and wretchedness to the blessed rest of heaven.

When Camerarius thought of taking a final leave of him on the sixteenth, he said, "My dear Doctor Joachim, we have been joined in the bond of friendship forty years, a friendship mutually sincere and affectionate. We have been helpers of each other with disinterested kindness in our respective stations and employments as teachers of youth, and I trust our labours have been useful; and though it be the will of God that I die, our friendship shall be perpetuated and cultivated in another world."

Camerarius, however, determined to remain a little longer with his departing friend, and accordingly disregarded, during this interesting interval, the claims both of his public and private affairs. Melancthon continued to manifest great cheerfulness, but if it were at any time disturbed, his distress appeared to arise rather from the sympathy he felt with the suffering Church, whenever its trials were reported to him, than from even the acute paroxysms of his disease.—His friends had conversed with him on this subject during the evening repast, but he afterwards enjoyed a calm night. In his sleep, he said, he had dreamt of the words of Paul, which were forcibly impressed upon his mind, and afforded him much consolation, "If God be for us, who can be against us?"

Early in the morning of the seventeenth, Camerarius took his final leave. Melancthon had finished some letters to the Duke of Prussia and to several friends, which he had been preparing during the whole of his illness, and expressed his intention of writing more, but for the interdiction of his physician. When Camerarius bid him farewell—with a last and affectionate benediction, he replied, "Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who sitteth at the right hand of the Father, and giveth gifts to men, preserve you and yours, and all of us!"

Soon afterwards having received information that the Roman Pontiff was meditating a general council, he said he would rather die than attend it, for it was easy to foresee[Pg 146] both the dissensions it would occasion, and the inutility of its meeting. Feeling the pressure of increasing pain, and infirmity, he said, "O Lord make an end."

On the eighteenth his bed was removed, by his own desire, into the library, which he had continually frequented during his illness, upon which occasion he said with great cheerfulness, as he was placed upon it, "This may be called, I think, my travelling couch—if I should remove in it." While several friends were standing about his bed, he said, "By the blessing of God, I have now no particular domestic anxieties, for with respect to my grand-children, whom I tenderly love, and who are now before my eyes, I am comforted to think they are in the hands of pious and beloved parents, who will be solicitous for their welfare, as much as I could ever be: but I feel for the state of public affairs, especially for the Church of Christ in this cavilling and wicked age. Through the goodness of God, however, our doctrine is made public." A little afterwards, he addressed some present, "God bestows talents on our youth; do you see that they use them aright." In the course of the same day, seeing one of his grand-children near him, "Dear child," said he, "I have loved you most affectionately: see that you reverence your parents, and always endeavour to please them and fear God, who will never forsake you. I pray you may share his constant regard and benediction." He spoke in similar terms of tenderness and piety to all the younger branches of his family, who were deeply sensible of his approaching departure.

On the same day, after discoursing with his son-in-law upon all his private affairs, and having in vain searched for the will he had formerly written, containing an explanation of some of the principal articles of his faith, which he was desirous of transmitting to posterity, he attempted to compose another, which increasing weakness would not allow him to finish. It began thus: "In the year 1560, on the eighteenth day of April, I write this will briefly, according to the best of those remaining abilities which God vouchsafes me in my present illness. I have twice before written the confession of my faith, and gratitude to God and our Lord Jesus Christ, but these papers are missing; nevertheless, I wish my confession to be considered an answer to whatever relates to the Bavarian articles, in opposition to the errors of the Papists, the Anabaptists, the followers of Flacius and others."

[Pg 147]After this he conferred with his son-in-law upon a diversity of subjects relative to the interests of the University, and expressed his wish that Peucer might be his successor in that institution.

Letters having been transmitted to him from Frankfort, relative to the persecutions which at this period raged in France, he declared, "that his bodily disease was not comparable to the grief of his mind, on account of the miseries which the Church of Christ suffered."

The nineteenth of April was the last day of his mortal existence. After the usual medical inquiries of the morning, he adverted again to the calamitous state of the Church of Christ, but intimated his hope that the genuine doctrine of the Gospel would ultimately prevail, exclaiming, "If God be for us, who can be against us?" After this he presented fervent supplications to heaven, mingled with groanings, for the welfare of the Church. In the intervals of sleep, he conversed principally upon this subject with several of his visiting friends, amongst whom were the pastor and other officers of the Church, and the professors of the University.

Soon after eight in the morning, awaking from a tranquil sleep, he distinctly, though with a feeble voice, repeated a form of prayer which he had written for his own daily use, and which was as follows:

"Almighty, omnipotent, everlasting, and true God, Creator of heaven, and of earth, and men, together with thy co-eternal Son our Lord Jesus Christ, who was crucified for us, and rose again, and thy holy, true, living, and pure Spirit; who art wise, good, faithful, merciful, just, the dispenser of life and truth, independent, holy—and our Redeemer; who hast said thou willest not the death of a sinner, but rather that he should return unto thee and live—and hast promised, 'Call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will hear thee.' I confess myself before thy footstool a most miserable sinner, and offender against thee, in a great variety of respects, on which account, I mourn with my very heart, and implore thy mercy for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord, who was crucified, and rose again, seeking the remission of all my sins, and justification before thee, by, and through thy Son Jesus Christ, thy eternal word, and image, wonderful and inexpressible in counsel, infinite in wisdom and goodness; and that thou wouldst sanctify me by thy true, living, pure, and Holy Spirit. May I truly acknowledge[Pg 148] and firmly believe in thee, obey thee, serve thee, and through grace be admitted to thy presence in eternity, the almighty and only true God, Creator of heaven, and earth, and men, the everlasting Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the presence of Jesus Christ thy Son, thy eternal word and image, and the holy, true, living, and pure Spirit, the Comforter. In thee have I hoped, O Lord: let me never be confounded: in thy righteousness deliver me.—Make me righteous, and bring me unto life eternal: thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth. Keep and over-rule our churches, our government, and this academy, and bestow upon us a salutary peace and government. Rule and protect our princes. Cherish thy Church, gather and preserve it in these provinces, sanctify and unite thy people by thy Holy Spirit, that we may be one in thee, in the true knowledge and worship of thy Son Jesus Christ, who was crucified for us, and raised again. Amen.

"Almighty and eternal Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who art the eternal word and image of the eternal Father, our Mediator and Intercessor, crucified for us, and raised again, I give thee most hearty thanks that thou didst assume humanity, and art become my Redeemer, and having suffered and risen again in human nature, dost intercede on my behalf. I beseech thee regard and have mercy on me, for I am poor and defenceless. By thy Holy Spirit increase the light of faith in me, and, weak as I am, sustain, rule, protect, and save me. In thee, O Lord, have I hoped, let me never be confounded.

"Almighty and Holy Spirit, the Comforter, pure, living, true—illuminate, govern, sanctify me, and confirm my heart and mind in the faith, and in all genuine consolation; preserve and rule over me, that dwelling in the house of the Lord all the days of my life to behold the beauty of the Lord, I may be and remain for ever in the temple of God, and praise him with a joyful spirit, and in union with all the heavenly Church. Amen."

An interval of repose having elapsed after repeating this prayer, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and turning to his son-in-law, said, "I have been in the power of death, but the Lord has graciously delivered me." This was supposed to refer to some conflicts of mind, as he repeated the expression to others. When some of the bystanders said, "There is now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus," he soon added, "Christ is made to us wisdom,[Pg 149] righteousness, sanctification, and redemption." "Let him that glorieth glory in the Lord;" and often repeated, "Lord have mercy upon me." After this he took a little refreshment for the last time, and though he attempted to proceed with the testamentary paper he had begun the preceding day, he soon found it impossible to support such an effort, but signified his acquiescence in the divine disposal.

The coldness of death was now creeping over him, but his mental faculties continued unimpaired to the very last breath of mortal existence. Having expressed a wish to hear some passages from the Old and New Testaments, his ministerial attendants read the twenty-fourth, twenty-fifth, and twenty-sixth Psalms, the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, the seventh chapter of John, the fifth of the Romans, and many other passages. The declaration of John respecting the Son of God, he said was perpetually in his mind, "the world knew him not..... but as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name."

In addition to the passages of Scripture already mentioned, he frequently solaced himself with the following; "God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son into the world, that whosoever believeth on him might not perish, but have everlasting life;" "Whoso seeth the Son, and believeth on him, hath eternal life;" "Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ;" and expressed the great consolation they afforded his mind. He earnestly exhorted his son-in-law to the study of peace, and whenever the prevailing religious contentions were mentioned, he would continually reply in the language of the son of Jesse, "Let them curse, but bless thou," and "my soul hath dwelt with them that hateth peace. I am for peace, but when I speak they are for war."

In the afternoon another paper was written to the students by the professors, excusing their non-attendance to the usual duties of the day on account of Melancthon's dangerous situation, with which they deeply sympathised, and entreating their united prayers during the usual hours of study on his behalf; for he considered it impossible he should be able long to struggle with his disease, unless nature were divinely assisted and supported. It may easily be believed that this intimation made a powerful impression throughout the University, and that all the passages leading[Pg 150] to the house of this beloved tutor became crowded with anxious enquirers.

Upon being asked by his son-in-law if he would have any thing else, he replied in these emphatic words, "Aliud nihil—nisi cœlum." i. e. Nothing else—but heaven! and desired that he might not any further be interrupted. Soon afterwards he made a similar request, entreating those around him who were endeavouring, with officious kindness, to adjust his clothes, "not to disturb his delightful repose." After some time his friends united with the minister present in solemn prayer; and several passages of Scripture, in which he was known always to have expressed peculiar pleasure, were read, such as, "Let not your heart be troubled, ye believe in God, believe also in me." "In my father's house are many mansions." "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me;" particularly the fifth of the Romans, and the triumphant close of the eighth chapter, commencing, "If God be for us, who can be against us?" Many other parts of Scripture were recited, and the last word he uttered, was the German particle of affirmation Ia, in reply to Vitus Winshemius, who had inquired if he understood him while reading. The last motion which his friends, who surrounded him to the number of at least twenty, could discern, was a slight motion of the countenance, which was peculiar to him when deeply affected with religious joy!—"Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace."

At length, "in the midst of solemn vows and supplications," at a quarter of an hour before seven o'clock in the evening of the nineteenth of April, one thousand five hundred and sixty, at the age of sixty-three years, two months and three days, he gently breathed his last. No distractions of mind, no foreboding terrors of conscience agitated this attractive scene. His chamber was "privileged beyond the common walks of virtuous life—quite in the verge of heaven"—and he expired like a wave scarcely curling to the evening zephyr of an unclouded summer sky, and gently rippling to the shore. It was a "departure"—a "sleep"—"the earthly house of this tabernacle was dissolved!"

Surely then, "such a pious and tranquil removal from a toilsome and afflictive life, ought to be a subject of joy rather than of lamentation, and each of us should entreat God that in the possession of a similar peace of conscience, firm faith, acknowledgement of the truth, and ardent devotion[Pg 151] of mind, he would conduct us from our present imprisonment to his eternal presence."

Information of this event was immediately transmitted to the Elector, and means were adopted to bury him with suitable circumstances of respect. To gratify the anxious crowds who were desirous of seeing the body of this venerable person, the public were permitted for a day and a half after his decease to inspect his mortal remains; and of the hundreds who availed themselves of the opportunity, none could resist bestowing an abundant tribute of tears upon his beloved memory. Strangers who had never seen him while living, pressed to take a view of the yet undeparted symmetry of his amiable countenance, and all who came were desirous of obtaining a pen, a piece of paper, however small, on which he had written, or, in short, any thing he had used, however insignificant in itself, which was scattered on the floor of the library.

His remains were placed in a leaden coffin, and deposited close to the body of Martin Luther—"lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided." A long Latin inscription was written on the coffin, containing a chronological notice of the principal circumstances of his life. Some of the professors in the University attended in funeral robes to convey the body to the parochial Church, where it was placed before the altar, and after the usual ceremonies and psalms, Doctor Paul Eberus, pastor of the Church at Wittemberg, delivered a funeral discourse; after which, the body being removed into the centre of the Church, Doctor Vitus Winshemius pronounced an oration in Latin. The crowd of students, citizens, strangers, and persons of every class attracted together to witness these solemnities, was never exceeded on any occasion within the memory of the spectators.—Among the rest were several of the professors from the University of Leipsic, and many of the nobility, pastors of churches and others, from a large vicinity.


(From the Christian Remembrancer.)

"And the child grew and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned." Gen. xxi. 8.

[Pg 152]"And she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but will give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head."

"And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and an ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him into the house of the Lord in Shiloh; and the child was young." 1. Sam. i. 11, 24.

Mr. Parker[4] observes, that it was the usage of various nations from time immemorial, solemnly to initiate their children, and especially if it was the first born, and a son, by certain festival rites, soon after they could walk about, and had the use of their tongues, till which time it was not usual to take them from their mother's breast.

"The Mexicans made vows for their children, as well as for themselves, and frequently dedicated them to the service of their Gods in some temple or monastery." Cullen's Mexico. V. I. p. 259.

Morier in his journey through Persia, informs us that the day a male child is weaned they carry him to the mosque, and after having performed certain acts of devotion, return home; then collecting their friends and relations, they give a feast, of which they make the child also partake.

"Mine horn is exalted in the Lord." 1. Sam. ii. 1.

In this, and many other parts of Scripture, we find mention made of the exaltation of the horn. Colonel Light thus describes the dress of the Druses, which tends greatly to explain the meaning. "The females of both Maronites and Druses appear in a coarse blue jacket and petticoat, without stockings, their hair plaited, hanging down in long tails behind. On their heads they wore a tin or silver conical tube about twelve inches long, and perhaps twice the size of a common post horn; over which was thrown a white piece of linen, that completely enveloped their body, and gives a most singular and ghost like appearance. Upon Mount Lebanon the wife of the Emir sometimes made her appearance, in the costume of the country, adorned with a golden horn on her head, enriched with precious stones, instead of the ordinary one of the other women of the country."—Light's Travels, p. 220, 232.

This which was originally an honourable mark, in after ages was converted into a reproach and a scorn. Philip the bold, ordered them to wear a horn upon their hats,[Pg 153] which proved a fatal distinction to many, for by thus distinguishing them from the Christians, they were exposed to the insults of the populace. The hat with a horn in it was ordered for the badge of the men in several places, by one of the early councils, and confirmed by that of Strasburgh, in 1420.

"And there ran a man of Benjamin out of the army, and came to Shiloh the same day with his clothes rent, and with earth upon his head."—1 Sam. iv. 12.

"Watch in the watch tower. Set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth." Isaiah, xxi. 4. 5.

"One post shall run to meet another, and one messenger to meet another, to shew the king of Babylon that his city is taken at one end."—Jeremiah, li. 31.

The following passages tend more or less to illustrate the mode of communicating intelligence by messengers, and the use of the towers alluded to in the above texts.

"The couriers whom the Mexicans frequently employed, made use of different ensigns according to the nature of the intelligence, or affair with which they were charged. If it was the news of the Mexicans having lost a battle, the courier wore his hair loose, and disordered, and without speaking a word to any person went straight to the palace, where kneeling before the king, he related what had happened.

"In order that news might be more speedily conveyed, there were upon all the highways of the kingdom certain little towers, about six miles distant from each other, where couriers were always waiting in readiness to set out with dispatches. As soon as the first courier was sent off, he ran as swiftly as he could to the first tower, where he communicated to another his intelligence, upon the receipt of which the second courier posted without delay to the next stage, and thus by a continued and uninterrupted speed of conveyance, intelligence was rapidly conveyed from place to place." Cullen's Mexico, V. I. 345.

"The first step amongst the South American Indians, when a war is agreed on, is to give notice to the nations for assembling; and this they call to shoot the dart, the summons being sent from village to village with the utmost silence and rapidity. In these notices they specify the night when the irruption is to be made, and the advice of it is sent to the Indians who reside in the Spanish territories.—Nothing transpires; nor is there a single instance among all the Indians that have been taken up on suspicion that one ever made the discovery." Ulloa's Voyage, V. II. 277.

[Pg 154]"In the northern parts of China," says Mr. Bell, "we met with many turrets called post houses, erected at certain distances from one other, with a flagstaff, on which is hoisted the imperial pendant. These places are guarded by a few soldiers who run on foot from one post to another with great speed, carrying letters or dispatches which concern the Emperor. The turrets are so contrived as to be in sight of one another; and by signals they can convey intelligence of any remarkable event. By this means the court is informed in the speediest manner imaginable, of whatever disturbances may happen in the most remote provinces of the empire. The distance of one post house from another is usually five Chinese li, or miles, each li consisting of 500 bowlengths. I compute five of these miles to be about two and a half English." Bell's Travels, V. I. 341.

"On a bluff promontory is a square tower, and three others placed about a league distant from each other, on a range of high hills connected with the promontory. Our Sheik tells me that they were built for watch towers, to give notice of any armed force appearing in sight. In this neighbourhood (i. e. about ten days journey north west of Bagdat) there was once a large city (though I could not learn its name) and many considerable towns and villages. For many miles we discovered many large blocks of alabaster lying on the ground, but no veins of it perceptible. The last three hours of our road this day was E. S. E. over barren ground, much the same as this on which we were encamped. Many little hills are to be seen on which are ruins of buildings. The tents of the Arabs we met with every half hour." Parson's Travels in Asia and Africa, p. 93.

Mr. Walter Scott avails himself of the traditionary mode of communication in the Highlands by the fiery cross—

When flits this cross from man to man,
(Vich Alpine's summons to his clan)
Burst be the ear that fails to heed,
Palsied the foot that shuns to speed——
Fast as the fatal symbol flies,
In arms the huts and hamlets rise;
From winding glen, from upland brown,
They poured each hardy tenant down.
Nor slacked the messenger his pace;
He shewed the sign, he named the place,
And, pressing forward like the wind,
Left clamour and surprise behind.
Lady of the Lake. Canto iii.

[Pg 155]


The good sense, sound discretion, zeal, and piety manifested in the following letter of the Bishop of Calcutta to the Secretary of the Society in England for Propagating the Gospel in Foreign Paris, must, we think, recommend it to the serious attention of all who feel an interest in diffusing the light of the Gospel.

Plan and objects of a Mission College
near Calcutta.

Calcutta, 16th Nov. 1818.
Rev. Sir,

I have received your letter, conveying to me a copy of the proceedings of the Society, in the month of March last, on the subject of Indian Missions; from which it appears, that the Society have placed at my disposal the sum of 5000l. and invite my more particular suggestions as to the most prudent and practical methods of promoting Christianity in this country. The Society may be assured that I have been much gratified by this communication, and that I shall, with the Divine blessing, heartily co-operate with them in an enterprise so honourable to our Established Church, and commenced under auspices which give it the character of a National Effort to disseminate in these regions our Holy Faith in its purest form.

In offering to the Society my opinion as to what may be prudent, with reference to the safety of the measure, I can feel no embarrassment: the danger, generally speaking, of attempting to propagate Christianity in this country, is not the difficulty with which we have to contend: ordinary discretion is all that is required: and every proceeding I should consider to be safe, which did not offer a direct and open affront to the prevailing superstitions. In any attempt to enlighten, to instruct, or to convince, experience has abundantly shown that there is not the smallest ground for alarm: and this, I believe, is now admitted by many, who once regarded such attempts with manifest apprehension. A more remarkable change of sentiment has seldom been effected within so short an interval.

The question, however, what may be practicable, so as most effectually to further the Society's views, is much more comprehensive. Experience does not hold out much encouragement to efforts which rely for their success entirely on the effect to be produced by preaching: they seem rarely to have excited any interest beyond that of a transient curiosity: the minds of the people are not generally in a state to be impressed by the force of argument, and still less to be awakened to reflection by appeals to their feelings and to their fears: and yet preaching must form a part, a prominent part, I apprehend, in any scheme for the conversion of these people: what is further required seems to be a preparation of the Native Mind to comprehend the importance and truth of the doctrines proposed to them: and this must be the effect of education. The Scriptures must also be translated, and other writings conducive to the end in view.

To embrace and combine these objects, therefore, I would have the honour to recommend to the Society the Establishment of a Mission College, in the immediate vicinity of this capital, to be subservient to the several purposes:—

1. Of instructing Native and other Christian Youth in the doctrines and[Pg 156] discipline of the Church, in order to their becoming preachers, catechists and school masters.

2. For teaching the elements of useful knowledge and the English language, to Mussulmans or Hindoos, having no object in such attainments beyond secular advantage.

3. For translating the Scriptures, the Liturgy, and Moral and Religious Tracts.

4. For the reception of English Missionaries to be sent out by the Society, on their first arrival in India.

It may be expected that something should be offered in explanation of my meaning, under each of these heads.

1. One object proposed in this Establishment is the training of Native and Christian youth to be Preachers, School masters, and Catechists. Such, I have no doubt, might be found in sufficient number, when it was understood that they would be fostered in a respectable Establishment, with the assurance of an adequate provision upon leaving it: and I am clearly of opinion, that though Native Teachers by themselves will never effect much, our religion will make little progress in this country without their aid. The native Christian is a necessary link between the European and the Pagan: these two have little in common: they want some point of contact; the European and Native mind seem to be cast in different moulds. If the Hindoo finds it very difficult to argue as we argue, and to view things as we view them, it is scarcely more easy for us to imagine ourselves in his condition, and to enter into the misconceptions and prejudices which obstruct his reception of the truth: the task is much the same as that of a man, who in the full maturity of understanding and knowledge should endeavour to divest himself of these, and to think as a child.

It may have been observed, that I have mentioned the education of Native and other Christian Youth: in which I include a class of persons, who, though born in this country, are to be distinguished from Natives usually so denominated, being the offspring of European Parents: and I had more especially in view the sons of Missionaries, who might be glad to avail themselves of this opportunity to bring up their sons to the same profession. It may not, perhaps, be improper to add, that when I was in the south of India, specific proposals of this kind were made to me by Missionaries of the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge.

2. Another of the objects proposed is, to afford to Native Children instruction in useful knowledge, and especially in the English Language, without any immediate view to their becoming Christians. It seems now to be generally believed, that little effect can be produced by preaching, while superstition and extreme ignorance are the prevailing characteristics of the people. We have not here, indeed, to encounter barbarism: the impediments to conversion are probably much greater than really rude and uncivilized life ever presents: the progress of our religion is here opposed by discipline and system: and by these alone, with the Divine blessing, can it ever make its way: the tenets of superstition are inculcated in early life: the popular writings are general tales familiarizing the mind with the achievements of Hindoo Divinities; and the Brahmin possesses an almost unbounded influence over the people committed to his care. While this state of things prevails, the truths of the Gospel are heard unheeded: they are not perceived to be truths, nor is there much disposition to examine them: they appeal to no recognized principle, and they excite no interest: the Hindoo, if he reflects at all, finds atonement in his sacrifice, and a mediator in his priest.

It is conceived, therefore, that one great instrument of the success of Christianity will be the diffusion to[Pg 157] European Knowledge: it seems almost impossible that they, who in their childhood shall have been accustomed to use their minds, can ever afterwards be capable of adopting the absurdities and reverencing the abominations now proposed to them as truth, and the acceptable worship of God: it is hoped that, by enlarging the sphere of their ideas generally, we shall teach them to inquire at least, upon subjects on which we do not professedly instruct them; and that they, who have been emancipated from superstition, may in time be brought to a knowledge of Christ.

I have, however, laid particular stress upon the teaching of English: if this were generally understood through the country, it would, I doubt not, entirely alter the condition of the people; it would give them access to our literature and habits of thinking; and the familiar use of it would tend very much to dissipate the prejudices and the difference which now stand in the way of conversion. Our language is so unlike every thing Oriental, not merely in its structure, but in the ideas to which it is made subservient, in imagery, in metaphor, and in sentiment, that a competent acquaintance with it seems unavoidably to lead the mind of a Native into a new train of thought, and a wider field of reflection. We, in learning the languages of the East, acquire only a knowledge of words; but the Oriental, in learning our language, extends his knowledge of things.

The introduction of our language, however, into this country, to any great extent, is, in the present state of things, to be wished for rather than to be expected. To the acquisition of it there has not been much inducement. For almost every purpose of intercourse with the Natives, we have learnt their languages, instead of inviting them to learn ours; the effect of which has been, that they have hitherto known little more of our religion, our science, and our institutions, than may have transpired in an intercourse which had other objects in view. Still, however, parents are found, who are anxious that their children should acquire our language, especially in the neighbourhood of the Presidencies; and this disposition is increasing: a knowledge of English is found to facilitate the intercourse of the Natives with the commercial part of the community, especially since the opening of the trade; and it is useful in some of the public offices;—of this disposition we should avail ourselves as far as we can. Neither is there a backwardness to attend Schools for instruction in general knowledge; the only restriction is, that we do not introduce the Scripture, or books directly inculcating our religion; and even that is by no means rigidly enforced.

3. In the third place, I would make the Mission College subservient to the purpose of translations. Much has, indeed, been done or attempted in this way; but by no means, as I have reason to believe, so much and so well, as to make this department of Missionary Labour superfluous or unimportant. We still want Versions, which, instead of being the work of one or two individuals, should be the joint production of several, taking their allotted portions of Scripture, submitting their tasks to approved examiners, and sending the whole into the world under the sanction of authority. Rapidity of execution, and the carrying on of many versions at the same time, should not be among the objects aimed at; it is not to be expected that standard works can be thus produced. To the same department would be committed translations of our Liturgy, that thus copies of the Prayer Book might accompany the Scriptures: hence also might emanate translations of useful Tracts; or original ones better adapted perhaps than any which yet exist, to the use of the Natives: and it would be proper to include under this head what probably[Pg 158] has not yet been attempted; I mean something which might convey to converts an idea of the nature of Christian Society and the constitution of the Church. Success, however, in this department, evidently supposes the College to be well established, and great progress to have been made in the languages by the persons connected with it; and at no period perhaps could it supply the number of labourers required: but it would doubtless receive assistance from without, from persons abundantly competent to afford it, and be a point of union for the exertions of all, who would wish the Native Christianity of India to be that of the Established Church.

4. In the last place, I consider the College as affording great advantages to Missionaries coming from England upon their first arrival: they would here live in the society of persons whose minds were directed to the same pursuits; they would have in the Moonshees attached to the Institution, every facility for acquiring the languages; they would have the use of books; and they would acquire a knowledge of the manners and opinions of the Natives, before they proceeded to their destined scene of duty. Every Missionary must, in fact, have been a year or more in the country, before he can be at all efficient; and no where could he pass this interval so profitably as in such an Establishment.

It is obvious, however, that this plan will require considerable funds. The 5000l. already voted will probably be sufficient to defray the expense of all requisite buildings, including the purchase of land. The annual expense of the Establishment is a subject of separate consideration; in the beginning we should require at least two persons, and afterwards three, to be permanently attached to the Seminary, as Professors or Teachers; and these should be clergymen of the Church of England. The salary of the senior could not be well less than 400 sicca rupees per month, or 600l. per annum; and that of his colleague or colleagues 300 sicca rupees per month, or 450l. per annum; and I should hope, that men well qualified for the work, and really actuated by zeal in such a cause (without which all other qualifications would be useless) might be induced to accept the appointments; in addition to the salary, a residence capable of accommodating a family could be assigned to each. Two Moonshees or Native Teachers, would cost together about 100l. per annum. Ten Students, as above described, might be fed and clothed for about 500l. per annum; and a small establishment of servants would require about 100l. per annum. These different heads of expenditure make up an annual sum of 2100l. supposing three Professors; or 1650l. with two. Besides this, a Printing Establishment would in a few years require to be supported; and Native Schools would also be attended with some expense; about 36l. per annum for every School of one hundred children, besides about 20l. for building a room or shed; but for this I have little doubt that the liberality of the Indian Public would in great measure provide, as has lately been done with respect to the Schools of the Calcutta Diocesan Committee. I do not know of any contingent expenses, except repairs, which in the case of new and substantial buildings, could not amount to any thing considerable for the first twenty years.

But we are to recollect that our institution has for its leading object the education of persons who are afterwards to be maintained as Missionaries, Catechists, and Schoolmasters, and to act under and in concert with Missionaries to be sent out from England. I suppose every Missionary Station to be the residence of an English Missionary (a Clergyman,) and one or two Missionaries educated in the College, and who might perhaps be ordained; or a Missionary and a Catechist, and a Schoolmaster, all from the College. This would be[Pg 159] the state of things, when the system was in full action, and any considerable progress had been made. The English Missionary would be indispensable, to direct the course of proceedings, and to give respectability and energy to the Mission; while the Native Missionaries would be necessary, not only for the tasks assigned them, but to give the English Missionary easier access to the Natives, and to assist him in encountering opinions and habits with which an European must be less conversant. It is difficult to determine, or rather to conjecture, how many Stations thus constituted, the College, with the proposed number of Students, might in any given period supply: much, of course, would depend upon the age of admission and the time required for their studies, according to which the succession would be quicker or slower; but the admission might be so regulated as to supply any demand not beyond its actual power, which demand would be limited by the funds applicable to the support of Missionaries, &c. brought up in the College. Upon any reasonable supposition, however, a College of ten students would very soon supply all that could be required for three Missionary Stations constituted as already described; after which, if necessary, the admissions might be reduced. With respect to the English Missionary, who should be a Clergyman, he would require a salary of 250l. per annum, and his assistants from the College from 150l. to 80l. each, according to the class of persons to which they belonged; or among them 350l. per annum;—and small dwellings, or bungalows, as we call them in this country, should be provided; of which, however, the original cost is little, and it could not frequently recur. Independently of this charge, and of a small Chapel at each station, to be built in due time, which might cost perhaps 500l. we should have three Missionary Stations well provided, at the expense of 600l. each, or 1800l. for the three; and if these should have the blessing of God, and means were found to extend the system, it might be done almost indefinitely with a moderate addition of expense within the College; without any, in fact, till it should be found necessary to increase the number of Students.

But in this detail of annual expenditure, which I should hope does not exceed what may be expected from the public benevolence at home, when appealed to by the highest authorities, and assisted perhaps in India, I should observe, that some time must elapse, even in the most prosperous commencement of the work, before the funds required can be nearly so considerable as I have here supposed. The expense, which is to accrue without the walls of the College, could not arise for some time; and even the whole of the charge for Students would not be immediate, inasmuch as the Professors or Teachers must devote some time after their arrival to the acquisition of the languages, before they could instruct pupils unacquainted with English. The Establishment would at first consist of the two English Professors, perhaps a very few pupils acquainted with our language, two Moonshees, and a few servants. In process of time, indeed, such an Institution might, if blessed by the Almighty, multiply its labours and extend its operations through so wide a field as to baffle all present calculation of its future wants: but the Society, I apprehend, will not consider this remote contingency as an objection to such appropriation of any resources which Providence may place at their disposal.

No funds, however, can ensure a reasonable prospect of success in such an undertaking, unless the persons selected to execute it have the requisite qualifications. The Clergymen, sent out to conduct the labours of the College, must possess considerable endowments; he, of course, especially, who is to be at the head of it. They should be, if[Pg 160] not distinguished for general scholarship, at least respectable divines, acquainted with the Scriptures in the originals; of frugal and laborious habits; and possessing a talent for languages: and without a certain ardour of character, a deep feeling of the importance of the duties committed to them, and a disposition to value success in such an enterprize more than that in any other human pursuit, they would not, I fear, answer the end proposed. The senior should not, I imagine, be more than thirty years of age, and his colleagues might be somewhat younger. With respect both to the Professors and the Missionaries, I would observe, that temper and manner are here of the utmost importance: the Natives require in their teachers great patience and mildness: they do not feel strongly themselves, and they are easily disgusted by any thing like asperity or irritation. I hardly need add, that they should be men of sedate habits and of serious piety: the Natives look for these qualities in all, who seem to them to set up for teachers; though they do not find it, or perhaps expect it in their hereditary priesthood. Vacancies in the Professorships should, I conceive, be filled up from among the Missionaries; not with reference merely to seniority, but to merit and qualifications.

You will observe, that I have supposed the College to be in the immediate vicinity of Calcutta: several considerations make this expedient. The time appears to have arrived when it is desirable that some Missionary Endeavours at least should have a visible connexion with the Church Establishment: the Natives have a preference, all other things being equal, for that which is countenanced by authority; and this seems to point out the propriety of placing this Establishment within the Bishop's reach (I speak for myself and my successors,) that they may in some measure superintend its proceedings, and make it apparent that the propagation of our religion is not a matter of so little interest with us, as to be left entirely to persons whom none of the constituted authorities avow. Supposing the College to be in or near Calcutta, the Bishop might act as Visitor; but he could not otherwise, in any degree which could be of use.

Another circumstance, however, seems to indicate the propriety of the proposed situation. I speak with reference to the literary labours connected with the College. Translations will require a concentration of all the learning which can be brought to bear upon the subject; and here, if any where in India, is this aid to be looked for[Pg 161]: besides that translators will here have access to books, which the College library might not for some time supply. To these considerations I will add what is, indeed, but an indirect advantage, yet ought not to be wholly overlooked—that such an Institution in or near to Calcutta will attract the observation of our countrymen, serving continually to remind them of the great object to which it is directed, and to interest them in promoting it.

Upon the subject of the vote of credit, I ought to observe, that at the present, and I believe the usual rate of exchange, I should draw upon the Society's Treasurer to great disadvantage: at this period the loss would be from 12 to 15 per cent. The most advantageous mode of remittance to India is considered to be by the transmission of dollars, when they do not bear a very high price in London.

I have thus, Sir, complied with the request of the Society, in offering them my sentiments upon the subject of their inquiry. In conclusion, I beg leave to add, that the crisis is such as not to admit of any delay, which can conveniently be avoided. I regret, indeed, exceedingly, that from my ignorance of the Society's further views and future resources, I cannot immediately avail myself of their vote of credit, for the purposes here detailed: a year is of great importance, and yet a year must be lost. It may appear, perhaps, that the plan which I have recommended, is somewhat extensive; no scheme, however, which is narrow in its first conception, or not capable of an almost unlimited expansion, is suited to the temper of the times, or to the circumstances of this country. Our power is now established throughout this vast Peninsula, in a degree which, but a few years since, the most sanguine did not contemplate: civilization and religion may be expected, in the ordinary course of Providence, to follow the successes of a Christian State; and, in every view, religious or political, ought we to desire that the faith adopted, and the opinions imbibed, may attach the people to our National Institutions, and more firmly cement the connexion of India with the British Crown.

I request you, Sir, to assure the Society of my cordial desire to forward their benevolent designs to the utmost of my power, and that I pray the Almighty to direct them in all their deliberations.

I am, Rev. Sir,                                   
Your most obedient and            
faithful Servant,                


[1] Dr. Greenvil was the immediate predecessor of Dr. Thomas Comber, the author of this letter, in the deanery of Durham.—See "Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Thomas Comber, D. D." &c. p. 295.

[2] The remainder of the letter relates merely to Dr. Bury's book, on which the Dean pronounces a severe censure.

[3] In making this remark, I shall not be understood to intimate that the Christian has any moral strength, independently of those divinely imparted influences by which alone we have either the will or power to do actions well pleasing to God. But in showing the comparative strength of the contending principles of heathen philosophy and Christian morality, it is necessary to view them by themselves, and to estimate them on their own merits. And if, even on this lower ground, the Christian code has so greatly the advantage, how much more so, when to this is superadded the great doctrine of the Divine influence to guide the understanding, to regulate the will, and to purify the affections! Indeed, the two systems admit of no comparison, when this important fact is taken into the account.

[4] See his 24th Occas. Annot.

Transcriber's Note

[The end of The Christian Recorder Vol. 2, Issue 4 (1820-June) by Various]