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Forgive my fondness, sir, whilst I tell you, when, in the scarcity of bread, my repining heart spoke its fears, how it was reproved and relieved by a little girl, who, with the ingenuousness of youth, called upon me to remember how the young ravens, such as we found in the wood, were fed by God when they cried to him; and how, the next holiday, we saw them bigger, and able to fly, and leave their parents' nest! Now, indeed, they mark their hymns whenever they mention roses and lilies, or woods and streams; and ask, whether they may not look for such when they take their Bibles in the country with them next time.
Another pleasure which I derive is, that I understand our minister better, and feel great delight as I associate with his lively descriptions those days of recreation which pointed out to my view the works of creation; and I hope I do not cease to bless God for permitting us sinners to see the works of his hands, so much more curious, wonderful, and complicated than the works of man, although we execute them with labour; and, at last, are obliged to confess them to be imperfect: but I shall trespass too much; and am, sir, your constant reader.
[From the Christian Observer.]
TO THE EDITOR.
ALLOW me to propose the following subject for discussion in some of your future numbers:
Is it proper that a woman should mark her christian principles by any, and by what particularity in her dress? Is all ornament, or is only a profusion of it forbidden by the gospel? in what measure is it right to endeavour to be fashionable in the article of apparel? And ought any degree of economy which is much more than common to be observed in this respect?
Any of your correspondents who shall offer some familia remarks on this not unimportant topic, will much oblige, sir, your very obedient humble servant,
THE FATHER OF A LARGE FAMILY.
THE IRRELIGIOUS GENTLEMAN!
"IF he can think it possible to be a true gentleman without any sense of true honour or religion; or if he dares call him religious, and thinks him desirous of heaven, who (though
his whole life be little enough to prepare for it) yet grudges to spend one minute of his time to gain it: if he have the charity to account him pious, who suffers his soul to starve for want of spiritual food, and yet can feast and pamper upon his lusts every hour: if he can have a true sense of honour, who can fancy himself happy in Satan's service, and oftener upon his knees to him, than to his God; who makes his soul the very drudge of his body, and his carnal appetite the mistress of his life, and every one of his members the slave of some lust or other: if that man can rationally be thought to set a just estimate upon an honest reputation, who had rather be dabbling in the dirt and wallowing in the mire of sin, than walk in the pleasant paths of holiness, and in the highway to heaven: if to behold God's own peculiar servants and ambassadors lie starving in the streets for want of some few morsels of that bread which they grudge not, by whole loaves, to throw to their dogs: if to sit still all the day idle, and laugh at those who are working in the vineyard: if such be the infallible characters whereby we may know a gentleman, then, indeed, I must of necessity confess, we have yet more than enough such gentlemen in this poor England.”
A NOTORIOUS Swearer, who was a sawyer, being employed in cutting coffin boards, and finding one of the pieces of timber out of which they are cut, harder than usual, said to his companion, "This is a d-d hard piece; it will make somebody a d-d good coffin." He had no sooner uttered these words, than he fell backward, and expired immediately. It is remarkable that his own coffin was made from that very piece of wood of which he had been speaking.
Serious matters, like death, should never be spoken of in a light and jocose, much less in a profane manner.
A scoffing infidel once accosted a poor but pious woman, by saying, So, I find you are one of those fools who believe the Bible!" "Yes," said she, " and with good reason, while so many infidels exist, to prove the truth of its testimony, that, in every age, there will be a generation of fools, like you, to blaspheme it.”
Should there appear to be a degree of tartness in the above reply, the reader will remember that Solomon hath said, it i sometimes necessary to answer a fool according to his folly.
Report of the Directors to the twelfth gene-
THE directors now proceed to give an account of the mission to the island of Ceylon, committed to the superintend. ance of their much valued brother the Rev. Mr. Vos, assisted by Mr. Ehrhardt, and Mr. and Mrs. Palm. They must also include some notice of Mr. William Read, who accompanied them from the Cape of Good Hope, with the approbation of Mr. Vos, and though not yet taken into full connexion with the society, as one of its authorised missionaries, will, they hope, conduct himself so satisfactorily as to induce them in due time to recognise his relation to them. It has been already intimated, that Mr. and Mrs. Vos, and Mr. Ehrhardt proceeded to Tranquebar in the same ship with the brethren Ringletaube, Cran, and Desgranges: from this place, Mr. Vos made an excursion to Negapatnam, where he preached six times both in English and in Dutch to about a hundred people, and administered the Lord's supper to Malabar, Portuguese, and Dutch christians. He felt great pity for these people, some of whom requested him with tears to remain among them. Soon after his return, the providence of God called him to a painful act of submission to his holy and sovereign appointments, by the decease of Mrs. Vos, who died in the faith and hope of the gos pel, in the hospitable house of a friend at Tranquebar. On the 23d Jan. they sailed for Ceylon, and reached Manaar on the 25th, where Mr. Vos preached in a building formerly used for divine worship, to about fifty people. At this place there are about a hundred protestants without either minister or schoolmaster, and many thousand worshippers of Buddah. On the 4th of February, they came to anchor before Columbo, and immediately waited on the honourable and Rev. Mr. Twistleton, who rejoiced at their ar rival, and introduced them directly to his excellency the hon. Frederick North, the governor of the island, to whom they delivered the letters of introduction in their behalf, with which the secretary of state had kindly furnished them; and also that from the directors of this society. In this interview Mr. Vos, very properly, presented the instructions under which he was to act, to his excellency, who was pleased to express his approbation of them, and requested to take a copy thereof. The Directors have lately VOL. II. 3Q
received a letter, which the honourable governor has done them the honour to write, addressed to their treasurer and secretary, the recital of which cannot fail to afford sincere satisfaction to the society, and to be considered as one of the most interesting parts of this report. It is as follows;
"I have received your letter of the 10th Feb. 1804, from the hands of the Rev. Mr. Vos, who arrived here about two months ago, accompanied by Messrs. Ehrhardt and Read. As I had been long seriously afflicted at the gross ignorance of our holy religion, which prevails among the numerous inhabitants of this island, who profess themselves christians, I was sincerely rejoiced at the arrival of those experienced and worthy men, from whose endeavours I expect the greatest advantage. The ordination of Mr. Vos, as a presbyterian minister, has enabled me to place him at Galle, and to give him a legal pastoral authority over the extensive district dependent on that settlement. The inhabitants of the town have already expressed themselves in an address to me as highly grateful for his pious and intelligent care of their spiritual welfare. The two younger gentlemen, his companions, are likewise employed under his direction; Mr. Ehrhardt at Matura, and Mr. Read at Galle, and as they are occupied in acquiring a knowledge of the Cingalese language, I trust they will exercise their duties in a very profitable manner. I beg leave to assure you, gentlemen, that I will not fail to promote as far as I am able, the good intentions of the society, and that I remain, with high esteem, gentlemen, your most obedient humble servant,
(Signed) FREDERICK NORTH."
The society will receive this communication with much satisfaction, and consider it as an intimation of the favourable designs of providence towards this distant settlement, that he has been pleased to place over it a governor, whose enlightened mind discerns so justly the beneficial influence of our holy religion, and prompts him to extend his powerful, and fostering influence, in favour of those who have devoted themselves to its interests. They will also feel suitable gratitude to the honourable and Rev. Mr. Twistleton, for the christian affection, and liberal countenance which he manifests towards our brethren, and which is of so much importance both to their comfort and success.
Not long after these brethren arrived, they were joined by the brother and sister Palm, who were received with equal kindness, and have been appointed to reside at Jaffnapatam. The liberality of government provides in part for the support of each of these missionaries, by which the funds of the society will be relieved. They are actively engaged at these various stations in acquiring the Cingalese language; in preaching to those who understand the Dutch, and in instructing their children. The importance of their labours may be inferred from the following extract from Mr. Vos's letter. "The state of the church in this island is expressed in this one word miserable. One hundred thousand of those who are called christians, because they are bap tized, need not go back to heathenism, for they never have been any thing but worshippers of Buddah. O Lord have mercy on the poor inhabitants of this populous island! You may freely send to me two or three additional missionaries by the first opportunity, and I shall thank you very much for those who have been two full years under the Rev. Mr. Bogue's instruction."
The directors cannot entirely quit the subject of these missionary measures on the continent of India, and in the island of Ceylon, without expressing the gratitude which is due to the providence of God, for the many auspicious circum stances which have attended them, and which they humbly accept as the proof of his gracious approbation, and the pledg es of his future blessing. They contem plate with mingled solemnity and satis faction, those wise and holy appointments, by which fifty millions of heathens have been brought into a direct relation with this christian country; and considering that the universal spread of the kingdom of Christ, is the ultimate end of the divine counsels in the government of the world, and that the operations of his providence bear an immediate or remote relation to that event, it appears to them highly probable, that the chief reason on account of which these extensive acquisitions of heathen territory are permitted to be made, by a nation possessing the pure principles of christianity, is for the introduction of the gospel dispensation into them. On this ground it becomes the especial duty of missionary institutions to follow these footsteps of divine providence; and on the foundation of the British government, to endeavour to superinduce the inestimable privileges of the redeemer's kingdom. These are trea
sures too high and sacred to receive their destination from the plan and determination of man. They are the chief blessings which belong to the administration of our exalted Lord; and it is by attending to the great acts of his providence artong the nations of the earth, that we receive the safest and most valuable intimations for the prosecution of missionary objects
In their last report, the directors an nounced their intention of sending three or four missionaries to the Prince of Wales' island, as a measure preparatory to a mission to some part of the Chinese empire, if the providence of God should hereafter open their way thither. They stated also, their desire to connect with this great object some collateral ones, especially the circulation of religious tracts, and probably a mission to some of the Malay nations. For these purposes, two of their accepted missionaries have been selected, and for some time past have been employed in the study of the language, in which they have till lately been assisted by a native of China, now in London; and as it also appears, that an acquaintance with some branches of the mathematics, and with the medical art, is likely to facilitate their introduction and settlement in that country, they are engaged in these pursuits; and the soci ety are under great obligations to some respectable gentlemen for the advantsges which they enjoy in relation to these studies. Well satisfied as the directors have reason to be with the devotedness, application, and acquisitions of these brethren, yet from the respect which the Chinese nation is known to attach to age, and the contempt which they er press for youth, it has appeared to them very desirable that an elder christian should accompany this mission. Feeling its transcendant importance, their atten tion has been naturally directed towards their highly respected and experienced missionary, the Rev. Dr. Vanderkemp. They have conceived it to be probable that the ample supply which has been sent to Africa, may render it desirable that he should remove to some new station.
This subject they, have therefore recommended to his consideration, and requested him to determine thereon accur ding to his own views of the divine will respecting him. Towards the end of the present year it is probable that those who are to proceed from England, will em. bark for Prince of Wales' Island, where
rior advantages, and executed in a nearer conformity to the genius and spirit of the inspired writings. The brethren will rejoice in being able to assist in any de. gree in so interesting an object, and they will act agreeably to what may hereafter appear to be their duty, when they are more fully acquainted with this subject: In the mean time it is a very satisfactory circumstance, that in the college of Fort William, the means of receiving regular instruction in the Chinese language are to be found, of which our missionaries will be able to avail themselves, should they be disappointed in this respect at Prince of Wales's island.
there is a considerable number of Chinese, and where it is expected that they will find an opportunity of attaining a competent knowledge of the Chinese language, after which it is intended that they shall translate the holy scriptures
The directors have contemplated this as a measure of peculiar importance, and connected with the highest interests of a third part of the human race. They think therefore, that an erroneous or imperfect translation, which might discourage the attempt to produce a more correct one, would be attended with pernicious consequences. It has appeared to them, that in order to accomplish this work in a satisfactory manner, the translators should be well acquainted with the Hebrew and Greek tongues, in which the holy scriptures were principally written; as also with that of the Chinese into which they are to be translated; and lastly, that they should have a judicious and comprehensive view of those great and leading principles, which evangelical christians have generally considered to be derived from the word of God. These are the qualifications which the directors were desirous of combining in the execution of this great work. It has however recently been ascertained, that a version of the scriptures into the Chinese language is now commenced under the patronage of the college of Fort William in Bengal, by means of a native of China, who is a professor of the Chinese language, assisted by a Chinese Moonshee. He is an Armenian christian, and translates from the Armenian bible. Should this be accomplished with fidelity and accuracy, it will of course render another translation superfluous, and the directors will unite with the whole christian world, in a tribute of gratitude to the conductors of that institution for rendering so eminent a service to the cause of Christ. At all events, they are entitled to great commendation for employing the best instruments within their reach in so important
As the Chinese professor is not acquainted with the Hebrew or Greek languages, and may not perhaps have those just views of the evangelical doctrines which to the directors appear so desirable; and as those who patronize the work, it is presumed, are unacquainted with the Chinese tongue, and are therefore incompetent to judge of the fidelity and accuracy of the translation, it must remain for the present doubtful, whether this work will supersede the necessity of another, to be undertaken with supe
MISSION TO THE JEWS. Having stated the transactions of the society in relation to the heathen world, the directors now proceed to give an account of the humble attempt which they have made to introduce the christian ministry among the Jews. This is a measure which was referred to in the last report, and at that time the directors expressed their earnest hope that its prosperity and success might lie with great weight on the hearts of christians. In the month of July last, the Rev. Mr. Frey, who had been three years in the missionary seminary at Gosport, opened his course of lectures to the posterity of Abraham at Jewry street chapel; the Rev. Mr. Ball and congregation having very kindly accommodated the society therewith. These lectures he proposed should consist principally of a statement of christian doctrine; an explanation of the types and ceremonies of the Jewish dispensation; and an exposition of select portions of scripture; and to this plan he has gene. rally adhered: it has also been his custom on these occasions, to read a part of the Old Testament in the Hebrew lan guage, and then pronounce the translation of it in English, sentence by sentence, accompanying the whole with suitable remarks. These lectures have been well attended, and particularly by christians. For a few weeks after their coinmencement, a considerable number of the house of Israel were present. This number afterwards decreased, as might have been expected, from various causes. Some of them had not courage enough to stand against the insults, mocking, and imprecations, to which they were exposed from their brethren who crowded the street; and many were prevented from attending by their superiors and relations. Notwithstanding these discouragements, some few have been always perceived listening to the word of truth, whilst no