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If one could meet with, or produce a Deism holding these doctrines, it would be a gain indeed upon the Idolatrous or Polytheistic state ; but I believe they are all sadly wanting to the Deism now springing up among those called enlightened Hindoos.
So far from any such Religion attending their professed belief in a God—if they do profess so much, their belief seems the most impractical of all conceivable theories. It not only does not bring God before them as a Judge, a Redeemer, or a Sanctifier, but scarcely as a Person at all ; and leaves them to deem him a Creator, or a general creative power, either, or neither, according to their advancement in the science or theory of causes. If they do not stop short exactly at second causes, they have an n th power cause, either discovered, or to be, mayhap, discovered, for everything. Herein seems their highest wisdom and happiness
“ Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas ;
Atque metus omnes et inexorabile fatum
Virg. Georg. II. pp. 490—492. They are, consequently, eminently un-superstitious, or they profess to be so; they do not believe in many gods, for their idea of one is very vague ; they do not believe in a special providence, for they discover causes; and if there be a God, He must be so far above the things of earth that He cannot be supposed to ñeddle with them. Idolaters may think so, but not I, says the Deist :
credat Judæus Apella,
Tristes ex alto coeli demittere tecto."- Hor. Sat. J. v. 100—103.
“ Religio pedibus subjecta vicissim
Obteritur; nos exæquat victoria coelo.”—I. 80. Or, if they do not run to this length-which, indeed, is rather outright Atheism--they conceive of God as all mercy. A hell, and a judgment to come, they set aside as childish tales and old wives' fables.
“ Esse aliquid Manes et subterranea regna
Juven. Sat. II. 150. There is much reason to fear that very little short of this is (with, of course, some exceptions,) the general character of the Deism now propagated by means of the un-religious education which is being so largely diffused throughout this dark land by the Christian nation into whose hands, for better or worse—and, assuredly, with a day of account to come—God's providence has delivered it.
May it not, furthermore, be fairly asked, what grounds there can be for expecting that the merely intellectual and scientific courses which, without the most powerful and sustained religious accompani
ments, are found to lead Christians anay from 66 the faith as it is in Jesus," that these shall bring Heathens into it? Such admixture as they have of Paley's Moral Philosophy, and the Milton school of theology, can be no antidote to the lust of the eye, so eminently fostered by science and experimental philosophy.
And, after all, is the single point of the abstract belief in One God such a gain as is supposed in Deism ?
There is hardly to be found the form of Heathenism-most certainly it is not Hindooism—which has not in its heart of hearts, as the Athenians had in their city, a nameless altar, “ To the unknown God ;” and so an acknowledgment of Him-a doctrine of sacrifice and expiation, or at least propitiation, and an idea of mediation ; the need, the use, the practice of prayer; a belief, however fantastic, perverted, or obscured, in an unseen world, and in a life to come. And herein, let it be repeated, one has more elements of truth to work upon than in the Deist, who has cast away these things with Heathenism.
Again, the poor, illiterate, often very superstitious kind of Christian lands can be built up in the faith without that sort of enlightenment by which the regeneration of the Heathen is being sought ; and direct Missionary labours on the Heathen peasantry in this land show the same to be feasible with them.
In Christian lands, is not the rude peasant a more hopeful subject than the astute, educated, enlightened mechanic, who is so very coinmonly a free-thinker, as it is called ?
Whatever may be thought of this appeal in our day, it might safely have been made in the fourth century of the Church, when the propagation of the Gospel was surely quite as well understood as it is now. In proof hereof we will draw to a conclusion with the following extract from a writer of that date :
“ When, therefore, the question is raised—What is necessary to be believed as pertaining to religion ?—the nature of things need not be pried into after the fashion of those whom the Greeks call natural philosophers (physicos); nor need one be anxious about a Christian's being ignorant of something about the powers and number of the elements; the motions, order, and eclipses of the heavenly bodies; the shape of the sky; the kinds and natures of animals, shrubs, fountains, rivers, mountains ; the spaces of place and time; the tokens of impending changes of the weather, and approach of different seasons, and six hundred other such things about those matters which those natural philosophers have either discovered, or think themselves to have discovered. For not even have they themselves, excellent as they show themselves in genius, ardent in study, and abounding, as they do, in leisure, discovered all that is to be discovered, by their investigations made upon such conjecture as man is capable of, or by their researches by means of experiment. In what they boast themselves to have ascertained, there is more of mere opinion than of sure knowledge. “It is enough that a Christian believe that the cause of things created, whether celestial or terrestrial, whether visible or invisible, is nothing else than the goodness of the Creator, who is the one and True God, and that there exists nothing which is not either Himself, or from Him; and that this God is a Trinity, namely, the Father, and the Son begotten of the Father, and the Holy Spirit proceeding from the same Father, but equally one and the same Spirit of the Father, and of the Son. By this infinitely, equally, and immutably good Trinity were all things created, and that neither infinitely, nor equally, nor immutably good, yet each in itself good, and all together very good ; for of them all together consisteth the wonderful beauty of the universe ; in which even that which is called bad, when rightly ordered and set in its proper place, maketh what is called good to be seen more clearly to be so, so that good things please more, and are more praiseworthy, when set in contrast with evil things. For God Almighty, as even unbelievers confess Him to be, who hath infinite power over all things, could by no means, seeing that He is infinitely good, allow
any evil to be among His works, except that He were so utterly omnipotent and good as to educe good even out of evil.”St. Augustine, Enchir. de Fide, Spe, et Caritate, cap. ix. x. xi.
With this extract I drop the subject for the present, though fully aware that I have but just opened it, and conscious that the argument may seem to want filling up here and there. Still, I believe it is a sound argument. Let it be examined ; only let none examine it under the idea that it is levelled simply against the extension of education. The argument has to do with un-religious education. What would constitute the religious education of an Idolater, &c., is a further topic to which one need now only point. Let none set the subject aside simply on the ground that the popular voice is so strong in favour of the notion against which these thoughts are directed, as to have exalted it in general esteem to the place of a modern Revelation for the regeneration of fallen man. When the vox populi," on a memorable occasion, said, “ Vox Dei !” it preferred Herod in his pomp to God. Pharaoh hardened his heart by preferring the magicians and their enchantments to the authority of Aaron and Moses, though the latter was also “ learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians.” 25 Jan. 1850.
THE following pages contain the substance of an address recently delivered at a Missionary Meeting in the west of England. They are valuable, as containing the testimony of a layman, speaking from actual experience :
“ Having visited various countries where the energies of godly men are devoted to the work of converting the heathen to Christ, I shall beg permission to say a few words upon the different systems
which I have seen in operation for that end ;—those, namely, of the Church of Rome, of the London Missionary Society, (into which all sects of Dissenters from the Church are admitted,) and of our own Church of England. I will begin by relating what I have seen of the Missionaries of the Romish Church.
1. The field of their labour with which I was best acquainted, was in Upper California, before the cession of that province to the Americans, and, consequently, before the discovery of the great mineral wealth which it has since been found to contain. The Missionaries there were monks of the order of St. Francis ; and they had grants of land in different parts of the country upon which they had large establishments of natives for the purpose of converting them to Christianity, and also of cultivating the soil for the support of the Mission. The house in which the monks lived was well built and spacious, having a separate sleeping-room, or cell
, for each monk, with a large room as their general refectory, or eating-room, and a chapel for the services of their Church attached. The natives were lodged in sheds or hovels hard by; those that were married had separate rooms, and for the unmarried there was one large room for the men, and another for the women, in which they were locked up every evening at sunset, and let out in the morning at daylight, when they went into the neighbouring fields to their appointed work. They were assembled at their meal-times by the sound of the chapel bell, in the court-yard, where they fed themselves with their hands, standing in groups round large bowls, or tubs, full of boiled maize, or a kind of harico bean, called in that country frixoles. The religious training they received was to learn to repeat by rote the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and various prayers to the Virgin, either in Latin, or Spanish, both of which were unknown languages to them, and to attend the numerous religious processions of the monks ; and these seemed to be the only qualifications required to fit them for the privilege of Baptism. It was melancholy to find, that, upon these empty outward observances the natives themselves were encouraged to rest, and did rest, an assured hope of salvation.
It is easy to see that this plan, though based upon a deep-laid system, and carried out by an efficient body of labourers, from the defective principle from which it sprung, reduced the converts almost to the condition of domestic animals, and could not effect that inward change of heart—a right belief, resulting in improved morals and manners which is the only true aim of Missionary exertions.
2. Respecting the second class of systems for conversion of the heathen which I have named, most people have, perhaps, been struck with the accounts that have reached us of the single-handed and selfdenying efforts of the Dissenting Missionaries in the scattered islands of the Pacific Ocean. It has been my lot, also, to live for a considerable period a daily witness of their system and its workings, and to have seen good reason to lament what I must consider to be an entire failure. In the first place, the work itself being an individual work, springing from no plan or settled principle of action, and having no bearing upon any concentrated effort, the results are individual results, must often live and die with the individual Missionary, and can have little, if any, influence in accomplishing the main object,--a general change from heathen lawlessness and division, to the obedience and unity of Christ. Although the Missionaries receive every countenance from native governments, to the extent of protection to their persons, and of making laws against prevailing national crimes, yet, from the impossibility of one man being able to guide a whole district, consisting of some thousands of natives, even those called the Church Members' (being such as are in the highest esteem with the Missionary) retain the same undisciplined and uncivilized mode of life which they led before their conversion. The opportunities I had for witnessing the conduct of the best converts, when removed from under the eye of their Missionary, convinced me that there must be some radical defect in a system, of which it was one apparent result, after a trial of many years, to superadd in many instances hypocrisy to the former vices of the native.
3. I will lastly advert to what I have seen of the working of the Missionary system of our own Church in our Colonies.
During the time I was in New Zealand, in 1846, I had the good fortune to make acquaintance with the Bishop of that Diocese, and to be a witness to his successful efforts in his arduous undertaking. The principle upon which he acts is, that since, in consequence of the small number of labourers in proportion to the extent of territory, communication is so difficult, every Missionary must be left, in a measure, to his own discretion, whenever any difficulty occurs. It becomes (as the Bishop expresses it in his Charge) of the utmost importance that the whole body of the Clergy should agree upon certain general principles, which may be their guide on all occasions when no counsel can be obtained ; so that by acting upon a preconcerted plan under the supervision of one head, each individual Missionary may be certain that all he does is likely to promote the general work, and that no part of his efforts will be lost to the permanent interests of religion. The result, even in the short time for which the system had been then in operation, was plainly observable in the great progress made towards reclaiming the natives from heathenism and barbarism. It was as visible in the cleanliness and comfort of their dwellings, as in their general bearing and conduct towards the colonists and each other.”
DIFFUSION OF MISSIONARY INFORMATION. SIR, -I venture to make a further suggestion in reference to one of the points touched upon in my letter to you, (inserted in the September number,) on the “ Diffusion of Missionary Information."
I refer to the want, so much felt by the Clergy and others who have this object at heart, of books for distribution on Missionary subjects. . It strikes me that we want a very large increase of small