« PredošláPokračovať »
before them, with great judgment and liberality. May God direct their counsels !
" "Our Empire in India,' said Mr. Hastings, has peen acquired by the sword, and must be maintained by the sword.' I cannot agree with him in this sentiment. All Empires have been originally acquired by violence, but they are best established by moderation and justice, There was a time when we shewed ourselves to the inhabitants of India in the character of tyrants and robbers; that time, I trust, is gone for ever. The wisdom of British policy, the equity of its jurisprudence, the impartiality of its laws, the humanity of its penal code, and above all, the incorrupt administration of public justice, will, when they are well understood, make the Indians our willing subjects, and induce them to adopt a religion attended with such consequences to the dearest interests of the human mind. They will rejoice in having exchanged the tyranny of Pagan superstition, and the despotism of their native princes, for the mild mandates of Christianity, and the stable authority of equitable laws. The difference between such different states of civil society, as to the production of human happiness, is infinite; and the attainment of happiness is the ultimate aim of all individuals in all nations,
" I am,
« Reverend Sir, “ Your obliged and faithful Servant,
66 R. LLANDAFF. * To Rev. Dr. BUCHANAN,
Vice-Provost of the College of Fort William, Calcutta."
In the progress of these Researches the Author has found his mind frequently drawn to consider the extraordinary difference of opinion, which exists among men of learning, in regard to the importance and obligation of communicating religious knowledge to our fellow-creatures. And he has often heard the question asked by others, What can be the cause of this discrepancy of opinion? For that such a difference does exist is most evident; and is exemplified at this moment in some of the most illustrious characters for rank and learning, in the nation. This is a problem of a very interesting character at this day, and worthy of a distinct and ample discussion, particularly at the seats of learning. The problem may be thus expressed. " What
power is that, which produces in the minds “ of some persons a real interest and concern “ in the welfare of their fellow-creatures ; " extending not only to the comfort of their « existence in this world, but to their felicity “ hereafter; while other men who are apparently " in similar circumstances, as to learning and
“ information, do not feel inclined to move one step for the promotion of such“ objects?" The latter, it may be, can speculate on the philosophy of the human mind, on its great powers and high dignity, on the sublime virtue of universal benevolence, on the tyranny of superstition, and the slavery of ignorance; and will sometimes quote the verse of the poet,
“ Homo sum: humani nîl a me alienum puto :"
but they leave it to others, and generally to the Christian in humble life, to exercise the spirit of that noble verse. This is a very difficult problem; and it has been alleged by some that it cannot be solved on any known principles of philosophy. The following relation will probably lead to principles by which we may arrive at a solution.
There was once a King in the East, whose empire extended over the known world, and his dominion “ was to the end of the earth.” During the former part of his reign, his heart was filled with pride; he knew not the God of heaven; and he viewed with the utmost indifference the nations over whom he ruled, worshipping idols of wood and stone. But it pleased the King of kings to dethrone this haughty mo
narch, to cast him down from his high estate, and to abase him in the dust. And after he had been for a time in the furnace of affliction, and his proud heart was humbled, God graciously revealed himself to him in his true name and character, and then restored him to his former prosperity and power. The penitent king thus once more exalted, and filled with admiration at the discovery of the ONLY TRUE God, immediately issued an edict to the whole world, setting forth the greatness of the Most High, asserting his glory, and inviting all nations to
praise and magnify HIM that liveth for ever, " whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, s and his kingdom is from generation to genera“tion.” This memorable edict began in these sublime terms:
“NEBUCHADNEZZAR THE KING, UNTO ALL PEOPLE, NATIONS, AND LANGUAGES, THAT BWELL IN ALL THE EARTH, Peace be multiplied unto you. I thought it good to shew “ the signs and wonders which the Most High “ God hath wrought toward me. « are his signs! How mighty are his wonDERS!” Having recounted the judgment and mercy of God to himself, he thus concludes; "Now I “ Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honour " the King of Heaven, all whose works are truth,
" and his ways judgment; and them that walk “in pride he is able to abase."*
Şuch a proclamation to the nations of the earth was a noble act of a king, and ought to be had in perpetual remembrance. It reminds us of the last charge of HIM “ who ascended up on high:” Go, TEACH ALL NATIONS. It discovers to us the new and extended benevolence, greatness of mind, and pure and heavenly charity, which distinguish that man, whose heart has been impressed by THE GRACE OF GOD. How solemn his sense of duty ! How ardent to declare the glory of his Saviour! His views for the good of men, how disinterested and enlarged!- It is but too evident, that all our speculations concerning a divine Revelation, and the obligation imposed on us to study it ourselves, or to communicate it to others, are cold and uninteresting, and excite not to action, “ until, through the tender compassion of God, “ the Day-spring from on high visit us, to give
light to them that sit in darkness;”+ to humble our hearts, at the remembrance of our sins against God, and to affect them with a just admiration of his pardoping mercy.
* Daniel, 4th chapter.
+ Luke, ii. 79.