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Metropolis; a Sermon. By the Rev. J. Blackburn.
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SOCIETY FOR THE PROPOGATION OF THE GOSPEL. We mentioned in our Number for February, that the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel had requested the Bishop of Chester to permit the immediate publication of his excellent sermon, preached before the Society, in consequence of its "containing observations which have a direct reference to the present state of the church in India, during the vacancy of the see of
Calcutta." This discourse has been accordingly published, and we may have occasion again to advert to it in a future Number; our limits, in the present, allow ing only of our extracting the chief of his lordship's remarks on the extension of Christianity in India. His description of the two bishops who have filled the see of Calcutta, is as just as it is eloquent. May their newly appointed successor tread in their steps; especially in those (we may say it without invidiousness, as the plans laid down, and partly acted upon by Bishop Middleton, gave Bishop Heber great advantages over his respected precursor) of the last prelate, whose name and works will long be remembered with deep affection and veneration in every part of India.
"I would direct this inquiry, with peculiar earnestness of application, to our relations with that vast empire which has sprung up in the east, like the seed which
is cast into the ground, and springeth and groweth up, men know not how. bent on a Christian country, been adeHas either part of the obligation, incumquately fulfilled; the providing for the spiritual nurture and stedfastness of those who are already believers, or the bringing of the heathen into the fold of Christ?
"It is only of late, that the rulers of that prodigious empire have opened their eyes to the necessity of planting in those regions, where Christianity can afford to dispense with none of her means or aids, a religious establishment, formed after that model which the Apostles themselves stationed in the midst of an unbelieving world. From that moment it may be said of our Indian possessions, that the Lord hath planted a vineyard there, and built a tower, and let it out to husband
men, and at the season he will send his servants to receive the fruit; and, we are persuaded, not in vain."
"Regarding, as I do, with deep and heartfelt veneration, the disinterested zeal and pious resolution of those holy men whose praise is in all the churches, who laboured in the missionary field so many years under every disadvantage, against hope believing in hope; enduring all things, that they might by all means save some; and knowing, as I do, that in the church which they founded, and the flock which is fed by their successors, is still to be found (in the words of Bishop Heber)
the strength of the Christian cause in India;' I may yet venture to say, that Christianity was not likely to make a
252 Relig. IntellSociety for the decided and powerful impression upon the people of that country, till it appeared amongst them in the perfectness and lustre of an Apostolical Church, revered and . obeyed by the conquerors of the eastern world,
"It was the peculiar felicity of that Church,―rather, I should say, it was of God's providential appointment,-that its first rulers and nursing fathers were two men singularly gifted and qualified for the work which it fell to their lot to perform. To the enlarged wisdom, the sagacious discernment, the sound discretion, the 'steady perseverance through evil report and good report,' the uncompromising firmness, the calm and steady piety of him who laid its foundations, and planned its outworks, and delineated, with the eye and the hand of a master, the provinces of its officers, a just and well remembered tribute has been rendered from this place. How little did we think, while listening with mournful interest to that eloquent expression of deep regret and cheering anticipation, that within four short years the melancholy theme was to be resumed, and the second Indian Bishop spoken of as one called to his account. doubtless within the recollection of some Yet it is who now hear me, that when that lamented servant of God addressed his parting words of promise and encouragement to the venerable society which had long watched over and fostered the Protestant Missions in India, a sentiment of forebeding mingled itself in the minds of many with that of rejoicing and hope, lest they should see his face no more. held in him an ardent zeal for God's glory They be and the salvation of men; a spirit of unqualified self-devotion; an unreserved dedication of himself to the holy cause which he had taken in hand; a willing and deliberate sacrifice of personal ease and comfort, both in possession and in prospect; a singleness and fixedness of determination to spend and be spent' for the Gospel; the concentration upon that single object of all the powers and resources of a mind unusually gifted by nature, and perfected by education; an apostolical simplicity of heart and manner and an almost apostoli cal eloquence: all this they saw, and rejoiced in the abundance of those graces which bespoke 'the man of God thorough ly furnished unto all good works.'
"But when they considered that this treasure was in earthen vessels, and that the full and satisfactory discharge of the duties which he had undertaken was beyond and above the scope of individual strength and opportunity, yet not above the enterprise of a spirit like his; and when they remembered how fatal a proof had just been given of the utter disproportion between the labours of the Indian episcopate and the provision inade for their discharge; they felt an irresistible presage of evil.
Propagation of the Gospel. [APRIL, And how have both their hopes and their apprehensions been realized!
rejoiced, and put forth its infant strength "How has the Christian Church in India under his fostering care! How have the ed and executed, as far as time and means great designs of its founder been developpermitted, by his successor! How were the beauty and simplicity of the Gospel enforced by his eloquence, and exemplified in his life! How have the sanctity and the usefulness of his sacred office been demonstrated by many proofs and marks of an apostolical ministry; in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities-in labours, in watchings, in fastings-by pureby love unfeigned; by the word of truth— ness, by knowledge, by long-sufferingby the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left! How lively who were before indifferent, in the success an interest did he excite amongst those of that great object which was his own heart's desire, the conversion of the heathen! How did he bend the eyes and hearts of men towards himself as the chief missionary of the East; a high and venerable designation, which he deserved, and in which he delighted! But as he counted might finish his course with joy, and the not his life dear unto himself, so that he ministry which he had received of the grace of God; so under the labours of Lord Jesus, to testify the Gospel of the that ministry did he sink, and in the discharge of its most solemn and affecting duties was suddenly called to his Lord. 'Blessed is that servant whom his Lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing.'
"And others, no doubt, may be found,
may result from an awakened zeal or an
India, enough, and more than enough, will remain to be attempted in that country by the united endeavours of Christian associations.
"It is not, indeed, in that quarter of the globe alone, that the work of propagating the Gospel must go on; but there, at the present juncture, is the field, to which Providence appears powerfully to direct our labours, by the almost daily enlargement of its boundaries, and by multiplying in all directions the means and opportu nities of conversion."
We inform our readers with much pleasure, that a public meeting of the Society is to be held, in Freemasons' Hall, on Friday, the 25th of May; when the Archbishop of Canterbury is to take the Chair, at one o'clock. We doubt not from the largely increased measure of public attention and regard which the society has of late received, that the meeting will be largely and most respectably attended. It is not announced that ladies will be admitted; but many of the female subscribers, and the wives and daughters of the friends and members of the society, would feel much pleasure in being allowed to be present on the occasion: and we are sure, that it would be a wise and Christian policy in its conductors to interest their female relatives and friends as much as possible in the cause of their society, by allowing them to listen to the details of its achievements. The good effect of this measure has been experienced at the annual meetings of the Clergy Orphan Society, and of all other institutions in which it has been adopted.
CONVERTED JEWS IN CONSTAN-
The Rev. H. D. Leeves has written to the British and Foreign Bible Society, a letter, dated Constantinople, Jan. 5, 1827, in which he gives the following interesting account of the events connected with the Jews, which have recently occurred in that city.
"A Jewish Rabbi and another Jew, both believers in Christ, came to me; and I believe them sincere. I was much pleased with the Rabbi, who said, that for three years he had read the New Testa ment, and believed; that his wife was of the same sentiments with himself; that he read the New Testament to her, and instructed her; and that they conversed much together on the subject. All he does at present is in secret; but 1 think he is almost ready to confess Christ before men, and to suffer death for His name. On the following day the search began for all those who had been denounced to the Jewish Rabbis as having visited Mr. Hartley and myself, and as desiring to become Christians. Two of them were seized, one of them bastinadoed, and both
thrown into the Bagnio, where they still remain in irons. Two or three more, I am told, were also taken up, but released after a short imprisonment. Three others, who were afterwards baptized, found means to secrete themselves; the first, a bookbinder; the second, the Rabbi abovementioned; the third, a youth about sixteen years of age, of respectable family and good expectations. All my preparations having been made for my tour in Romelia, I was obliged to leave Constantinople, and to commit the superintendance of this affair to Mr. Hartley; having previously visited the men in their place of concealment, and found them stedfast in their resolution, and anxious to receive baptism.
"The pursuit after the missing Jews being hot, and the danger of their disco. very great, Mr. Hartley resolved to comply with their earnest request for baptism. The bookbinder was baptized by the name of John Baptist; the Rabbi, of Peter; and the young man, of John. They behaved with great devotion; and, when their critical situation was set before them by Mr. Hartley, declared themselves ready, if necessary, to meet every suffering, even that of death itself, for the name of Christ. Being subsequently removed to another house from the one in which they were first secreted, they were denounced to the Jews through the treachery of an Armenian barber, who had shaved them, and was tempted by a bribe; and the Turkish guard, being called in, seized them, together with the Armenian in whose house they were, and conducted them to the prison of the Porte. This happened on the 1st of December.
"Having thrown off their Jewish dress and put on the European, this circumstance went against them in their trial before the Turkish authorities. It was indeed, their design to escape from Constantinople, and the very next day was fixed for their departure; but Providence, doubtless for wise and good purposes, ordered it otherwise. When brought before the Grand Vesir, the Seraskier Pasha, the Reiss Effendi, and other great officers of the Porte, they boldly declared themselves to be Christians: they said, that the only reason why they were persecuted by their fellow-countrymen was, because they believed that the Messiah was come; and they asked the Turks whether they also did not believe that this was true. They presented their Haratch papers, saying they were faithful subjects of the Sultan, and that their humble desire was to be allowed to live as such, protected by the government from the persecution of the Jews. After their seizure, the Jews had used all their efforts to obtain the execution of one of their number. Sentence of death was passed upon the bookbinder by the grand Rabbi and his
Converted Jews in Constantinople.
three assistants; and a petition was presented to the dragoman of the Porte (himself formerly a Jew), offering him a large reward if he would obtain for them its being put into effect. We demand,' they said, the death of this accursed man, whose blood be on us.' This circumstance is the more remarkable, as the Jews never allow, if it be possible to prevent it, any one of their nation, whoever he may be, or whatever crime he may have been guilty of, to be put to death by the Turks. To prevent this, their national purse is always open, and thousands and thousands of piastres are given on such occasions. Here, however, was a crime similar to that which our Saviour and his Apostles had committed; and they were prepared to avenge it with a similar blindness and obduracy. May the veil, ere long, be taken from their hearts! and I trust in God the time is rapidly approaching!
"The dragoman of the Porte, to his honour, refused to dip his hands in innocent blood, and, in a conversation with Mr. Hartley, compared their conduct to that of their forefathers before Pilate: and all that their interest and money could effect, was to obtain a sentence that they should be sent to the Bagnio, the prison of the Arsenal, for a term of six months. "During this critical interval between the 1st of December, the day of their apprehension, and the 7th, when they were committed to the Bagnio, which they passed at the prison of the Porte, they were cut off as much as possible from all intercourse with their friends, and were assailed by the Jews with every kind of temptation to renounce their faith. A full pardon and immediate deliverance were promised them if they returned to their old religion; and death was held out to them as the consequence of their perseverance. The young man was the principal object of these assaults, whose father and intended father-in-law (for, though so young, he was already affianced in marriage, and the money of the dowry paid), left no means untried to reclaim him. He has however shewn, throughout, an admirable firmness, and a lively faith and zeal; nor does he appear to have had more than one moment of weakness during the whole course of his severe trials: this was shortly after his apprehension, when he was assured, that, if he returned to his parents and old religion, he would not only secure himself from punishment, but that this would be the only means of saving the lives of the Armenian and his two friends;-turning to whom, he said, 'For your sakes I must yield. They, however, exhorted him not to be deceived by the professions of the Jews, but to stand firm; and that, if necessary, they would all die together. His courage was immediately restored;
been the main support and encouragement and he has ever since, by his example, especially, their fortitude was put to the of the little band. On one occasion, test for the Jews, seeing that they could finally announced to them, that their fate not work upon them by promises, had it they would be led to execution. Thus, was sealed, and that the next morning for a whole night, they had the view of death before their eyes; and they spent it in reading the New Testament with weeping and prayer. Two other Jews bookbinder (or, as I should now say, were left in prison with them, whom the John Baptist) reproved for their unbelief in the Messiah, exhorting them to follow the name of Christ. These Jews, untheir example, and become martyrs for moved by their behaviour and exhortations, there was no hope of their ever returning wrote to the Rabbis, to inform them that to the Jewish religion, and that the only put them to death. course to be pursued with them was to
Bagnio consists in being chained, two and "The punishment of prisoners in the two, with heavy chains, and employed in the laborious works of the Arsenal, under the superintendance of Turkish guards, who beat them if they do not perform the task to their liking. There are about 700 persons in this prison; of whom about 300 are Greek slaves, the greater part prisoners taken in the Greek war. circumstances of this affair having proThe duced a general sensation and sympathy throughout the city, had penetrated withprisoners, when brought there, were in the walls of the Arsenal; and the kindly welcomed by the poor Christian slaves, who went in a body to the Agha and officers, to beg they might be kindly consequence of this mediation, they passed treated, and not put to severe labour. In the two first days unmolested; but after this, several Jews came, and among them the father and intended father-in-law of the young man, who, after another fruitless attempt to bring them back to Judaism, money to the officers of the prison to put went and gave a considerable sum of them to hard work, and to beat and torthis persecution for five or six days, until ment them. They suffered severely under ambassador was so kind as to send his the matter coming to our knowledge, our dragoman, and by his representations to procure the cessation of this wanton and cruel treatment, and the weight of their chains was diminished one half; although, being still in the class of chained prisonthe rest. ers, they have continued to labour with A few days ago, two of them ing at a large wheel used for raising the were thrown down and bruised in workmasts and fixing them in the vessels of war, by a similar accident to which two men had been before killed before their
eyes. They are now, however, recovered from their bruises, and will not, I believe, be henceforth employed in similar works, The father of the young man has been indefatigably persevering in his endeavours to recover his son, and has repeatedly come to the prison with his mother and relations, persuading and entreating him with tears to return to them, and promising him every thing he could desire: but he has constantly repulsed them; telling them to lay aside all hope of changing his resolution; that Jesus Christ was now his father and mother; that he preferred his chains with Christ to all they could offer him; and that when they renounced their errors and became Christians, he would then acknowledge them as his relations. Among other encouragements they have had in their trials, have been messages from some of their Jewish friends from without, who partake in their sentiments, exhorting them to stand firm, that they gloried in their fortitude, and that their own hope was in their perse verance. I trust, indeed, I may say with truth, that they have conducted themselves like true Christians; and it has been remarked, that the faith and love to Christ shewn by these new converts may put to shame those who have long borne the Christian name, When in the height of their sufferings, they professed themselves ready to die for the love of Christ; and said, that their Saviour taught them, that if their enemies took away their life, this was all they could do, and that they hoped their souls would be happy with him for ever. Their Christianity is indeed the work of the New Testament; and the members of the Bible Society may rejoice over their conversion, as the fruit, under
God, of their exertions in the circulation of the Scriptures. I have no doubt, at the same time, that they derived great benefit from the instructions of Mr. Hartley, both before and during their concealment, who, a few days after their sentence was passed, took his departure for Malta in consequence of a letter he received from England, and left them to my care. They look up to me indeed as their protector; and I have done and shall do every thing that lies in my power to alleviate their sufferings, and to procure, if possible, the shortening of their term of imprisonment. I am at the same time incurring considerable expense: for the expenses of persons confined in a Turkish prison, where there is much extortion, are very considerable; and although I have received some assistance from friends here, I am already about 1000 piastres out of pocket, and I expect I shall have still to disburse treble that sum before I see them clear of their trials. I should think myself, however, criminal in not doing what I can; and I trust my friends in England will not think me unreasonable in asking them to assist me in fostering this little spark, which may hereafter become a flame*."
The Bible Society cannot subscribe to this object: but any money sent to Mr. Tarn, at the Bible Society's House, will be forwarded to the Rev. Mr. Leeves. It would be superfluous for us to add how powerfully the affecting circumstances of the case call for the sympathy and prompt assistance of those to whom God has given the ability to administer to the relief of those suffering converts to the faith of Christ.
VIEW OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS.
FRANCE. The government have been compelled, by the voice of public opinion, to withdraw the obnoxious law for the restriction of the press, which had already undergone such numerous modifications in its progress through the chamber of peers as to be of comparatively little avail for its intended purposes. Great public rejoicings have taken place on the occasion. But a still more popular subject of interest in France, seems to be the change of the administration in this country. That large portion of the public who opposed the invasion of Spain, the restrictions thrown in the way of general education,
the favour shewn to Jesuitism and ultraMontanism, have hailed the elevation of Mr. Canning as a prelude to a general change in the whole system of European politics. The ultra party, on the other hand, seem perplexed to decide between their approval of Mr. Canning's wish for Catholic emancipation in Ireland, and his supposed liberalism in matters of continental policy. All parties, however, seem to think that Great Britain at this moment holds in her hands the keys of Europe, the present anomalous condition of several parts of which cannot, it is concluded, long remain under the influence of such a man as Mr. Canning, whose zealous promptitude in the affair