This is the seventh chapter of the above-titled book. The earlier chapters can be found via the categories listing at the end of the post.
CHAPTER 7 – “Up and Down the Shaft.”
WHEN the missionaries had been started, and funds secured for their probable requirements, there came the difficulty of communicating with them, so as to sustain them in their work. They were in need not only of supplies for their maintenance, but of comforting communications to bear them up in the sorrows attendant upon such a life in a strange land Overland routes, telegraphs, and mail-steamers were then utterly unknown. There was only the slow and uncertain communication of the Company’s liners, – more uncertain, ere long, from the fact that French privateers filled the Channel. Amongst the earliest resolutions passed by the committee was one to the effect “that all goods be insured from the sea and the enemy.”
It was not until the 29th of July, 1794, a little over thirteen months after their departure, that the missionaries were heard from. “This day,” writes the secretary, “letters were received from our brethren in India. They had, except ,one perilous night, a good voyage; arrived on November 7, 1793, – less than five months after their departure. Have met with as much success as can at present be expected. Ask for a Polyglott Bible and Malayan Testament.”
It appears to have been thought best to supply the needs of the missionaries by consigning to them packages of stationery and cutlery. It was probably an easy way of increasing the funds of the Society. Accordingly, after the receipt of the above-named letter, goods to the amount of £160, besides the Polyglott Bible and the Malayan Testament, were duly forwarded. Before we see what became of these goods, we may turn to an almost amusing episode in the proceedings of the committee. Letters were received April 7, 1795, informing the Society that Providence had directed them to such means of providing for the support of themselves and families, that at present they stood in no need of further assistance from the Society, but rather wished that what had been applied to their support might be employed in commencing some other mission.
This communication excited the fears of the committee, lest the missionaries should pursue the affairs of the world to the neglect of the mission and the injury of their spiritual state. They accordingly addressed the following letter, in entire ignorance that their supplies had never reached them, and that but for this timely employment they must have starved. The letter appears to have been deemed a most important communication, and to have been signed by the whole of the committee:-
“VERY DEAR BRETHREN, – We hope ere now you have received some accounts from us. Last May, before we heard from you, we sent £50 in goods, at a venture. After hearing from you in August, we voted, in addition to the above, £160, which we committed to Mr. Potts to execute according to your directions. He was hurried by a hope of their going soon, and did not complete the order. What of it was deficient we consider ourselves in your debt. The goods did not go so soon as was expected. After remaining a while in London, they were sent to Copenhagen, to go by Captain Christmas’s ship. Another parcel, containing the books which you had ordered, with letters, &c., went by the Swallow packet; but she was, we hear, a long time detained in port.
“On March 4th we received your letters dated August 7, 1794. A committee meeting was called on the 18th, at Guilsboro’. Their contents produced a mixture of joy and trembling. When we considered the difficulties to which you and your families were subject, the peculiar embarrassments of Mr. Thomas, and the hopeful prospect afforded by your undertakings of not only relieving you under these difficulties, but of affording an asylum for any of the natives who might lose caste for the Gospel, we rejoiced. But when we considered you as involved in affairs of trade, we rejoiced with trembling. It is true our apprehensions do not rise so high as those of our friends in London; owing, perhaps, to our more perfect knowledge of you and great confidence in you: but we ourselves are not without our fears lest your hearts should be overcharged with the cares of this life, and so rendered unfit for the work in which you have engaged. We remember what Brother Carey said in one of his letters last summer, that ‘a man that goes on a mission to India had need to be dead to the world,’ &c.; and what Brother Thomas said to him, in a letter dated from Hempstead, December 22, 1792: ‘There are many ways whereby a missionary might gain a livelihood and a fortune, that would take less of his time and labour than cultivating land; but not less of his heart and affections, which are soon carried off too far to be comfortable to himself or profitable to others, when the getting of money begins.’
“Far be it from us to damp your spirits or cherish an unfeeling temper concerning the distresses of your families, much less to suspect your motives, or to entertain a jealousy of your inclination to neglect the mission for the sake of worldly emolument. But we know that the human mind is incapable of ardently pursuing two objects, of a different tendency, at the same time. We have no jealousy of you more than we should entertain of ourselves in your circumstances. But we know that many worthy men who have stood firm in the day of adversity, have been melted into indifference by the smiles of prosperity. While, therefore, we shall each offer up our supplications to God on your behalf, permit us earnestly to entreat and seriously to caution you that you engage not deeply in affairs of this life. We are more afraid of your having a partnership than merely a part in the employment you mention, as it must more interest yonr hearts; and though it may not wholly divert you from your work, may, nevertheless, damp your ardour in it.
“While· we take the liberty of writing to you in the language of friendly caution, we consider ourselves as called to turn our attention to another mission. We expected to have seen at this meeting a Mr. Boulton, a deacon of a Baptist church in Gloucestershire, who feeling ardently for the good of the mission, and fearing that worldly affairs should engross too large a portion of your attention, had offered to come over and take a part of your burden upon him. He is a single man, about thirty years old, and of an excellent character; but about a week ago, he wrote us that he had a brother lately deceased who had left him executor; and an aged mother, who laid the death of one son and the departure of another so much to heart, that he feared it would be more than she could bear. He, therefore, gives it up for this year: but still hopes to do something for God in India.
“We hope in your next accounts you will give us particulars of your labours. We could be glad to hear something of this in all your communications. Suffer us to suggest another caution, which may be equally necessary for ourselves as you. Be not discouraged if success do not at present attend your labours. Notwithstanding what we have heard of the docile character of the Hindoos, we have no doubt but their hearts, like other sinners, are naturally,at enmity with God, and this enmity will discover itself as they begin to understand the Gospel. It maybe wise in God to withhold His blessing too, for a time, to teach us our entire dependence on Him in the use of means. Some of the greatest trials to the Greenland missionaries were their seeing for so long a time no fruit of their labours. We must pray as well as work. Dearly beloved brethren, farewell. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirits. Signed on behalf of the Society by
Nearly two years after this correspondence, in the month of March, 1796, a letter, somewhat curt, was received from a clerk in a certain Cripplegate warehouse, to the following effect: “There is a large cask in our warehouse directed T. & C., to your care. It has been there ever since 1794. If you do not take it away we shall sell it to pay for warehouse room.” The T. & C. are duly enclosed in the minutebook in a roughly drawn diamond. Some correspondence ensues, but nothing can be ascertained save that the cask has had some mysterious communication with Copenhagen, and has also been to Falmouth. The sequel shall be given in the words of the minute-book: “On April 4, A.F. set off for London, partly to find out what this cask was. On going to Cripplegate he found the cask, and it proved to be the cutlery sent two years ago. Consequently our friends have received no remittance from us, except to the amount of £50 in drugs and stationery, which went in May, 1794, by the Royal Admiral, and of which they have acknowledged the reception. And if they had not engaged in business for their own support, must long ago have perished for want !” How they must have smiled at their roundrobin, with the homily on the dangers of the world! The goods were happily uninjured, and were put on board the trustworthy Royal Admiral, which at that time was fortunately waiting for a cargo.
Amongst the remains of Andrew Fuller is a bulky folio volume, brought by Mr. Ward to England. It contains copies of all the letters which he wrote to the Serampore missionaries. They are transcribed in a clear, bold hand, by a native who was ignorant of the English language. Having been brought to England since the publication of Mr. Fuller’s Memoirs, they are for the most part unknown even to his familiar friends. Some use has been made of parts of them copied from the originals at Serampore, but as a whole they have been as a sealed book during all these years. It has been a most difficult task to glean suitable extracts for this Memoir. They are well worthy of being published unabridged, and would form a volume larger than this. They possess that quality which constitutes the true charm of letters – the play of power. Their affectionate earnestness, their racy commentaries on passing events and home matters, bear the reader from page to page without weariness. Letters in those days had to be newspapers, as well as epistles of friendship; and so at no small pains Mr. Fuller keeps the missionaries informed on public and private affairs. I have ventured to give two or three letters entire, as specimens of the kind of correspondence which passed between the secretary and the brethren, and to cull such extracts as seemed of special interest, duly arranged for the reader’s convenience. The first letter is selected not because it has any particular points of interest, but because it forms a sequel to the one before published, and gives a familiar glimpse of affairs at home.
TO MR. CAREY.
“Kettering, August 9th, 1796.
“My VERY DEAR BROTHER, – I received yours, dated January 12th, 1796, accompanied with another of three sheets to the Society, for all of which I thank you. I am grieved that anything we have written should have grieved you. You complain of my not writing. I think I must have written more than a dozen letters to you, and several of them very long ones. I am glad Brother Morris is ‘copious.’ I will encourage him to be so still, and will do the best I can myself, though I have ten times the writing, I suppose, upon my hands that he has, and not half the capacity to perform it.
“Be assured, my dear brother,we are perfectly satisfied with your conduct. We have no suspicions of your being indolent. Our cautions were not the result of any particular jealousy of you, any more than we should have felt for any other person, and perhaps not so much as in most other cases.
“You are ‘astonished that an indigo manufacturer should be called a merchant.’ You seem to me to be answering Mr. Booth’s letter rather than that of the Society, for I do not find the word merchant in the latter. It is true there is mention made of your engaging in ‘affairs of trade,’ but this merely refers to the supposed share or partnership, and you yourself acknowledge that ‘were you proprietors, the name of merchants might be proper.’ We did not mean, my dear brother, to hurt your mind or grieve you; and we ourselves are grieved that the remittance in cutlery should have been so long detained by the strange mistake of dear Mr. Savage, of which I have this spring sent you a full account; and, had you not been otherwise provided for, we should have felt inexpressibly on account of it. On these considerations we are not only satisfied but thankful that you have engaged in business.
“We never thought of your being unemployed; and so far from thinking the worse of you for your willingness to do something to support yourselves, we are satisfied that it arises from your disinterested regard to your undertaking. It was the kind of employment that excited a degree of fear. And this the Society stated in their letter, in which is a quotation from a letter from Mr. Thomas, sent from Hempstead to you, December 22nd, 1792, stating the comparative influence of trade and husbandry upon the mind. And though we did not mean to censure you for anything, nor shall we think of doing so, if you possess a share in the business, yet you must not wonder that we felt a degree of fear on your account .
“You must also make some allowance for the fears on account of the strong language of the Londoners, by which for a time we were almost overset. But you say we ‘ought to have boldly avowed that we expected you to engage in business of some sort.’ And I answer, so we did. I immediately answered the Walworth opinion upon your conduct in the strongest language I could devise in your favour; proving, by reference to your publications, that this was always your plan, and that the Society agreed with you so to do. This letter had the desired effect; there has never been a word from that quarter nor any other that I know of, since that time, by way of reflection. I believe they were fully convinced by it that they had gone too far. And, lest their opinions should be whispered about to your disadvantage, I introduced the substance of my letter to Walworth into No. 2, Periodical Accounts, page 93, which has afforded universal satisfaction.
“It is true there have been rumours from Tewkesbury to the disadvantage of the mission, owing, it is supposed, to Mr. Thomas’s communications to his sister, in which it has been said he invited his relations to go over, telling them that they might have £1000 a-year when there. Except this, which seemed to imply that he himself was making a fortune, I have heard of no reflection upon either of you since the publication of No. 2, Periodical Accounts. What or whether any occasion was afforded for this by Mr. T., I don’t know; I wrote to him, however, concerning it.
“You may think we have treated the Londoners with too much tenderness; but the longer I live, the more I see the necessity and the justice of setting no man down for an enemy till I have good evidence that he is one. As a proof that Booth and Thomas are cordial friends, I will give you a short anecdote. About half-a-year ago, poor Swain (who is since dead), with some other young ministers in London, made an effort to have an assistant Society in London, and proposed an annual meetin of the Society there. Booth and Thomas opposed it; and gave us their reasons, which were to this effect: ‘If the Londoners form into a Society they will, perhaps, have an ascendancy in the management; you have hitherto conducted the business well, and should it come under other influence?’ We could not but admire this disinterested advice. For my part, as soon as the proposal was made, I saw what would be the consequence if it succeeded, and therefore told Booth, in a letter, to this effect: ‘Though we had no jealousy from the love of power, yet justice to our brethren, who were gone out upon our assurances of never deserting them, required that we should not give up the management nor an ascendancy in it.’ With this Booth and Thomas concurred, and, therefore, opposed the plan. Booth also undertook to conciliate Swain and others, which was happily effected. Even Dore, and Keene, and Giles, notwithstanding they erred that once, have ever since been very friendly, and give us all the help they can. Keene, I think, is not long-lived; and Dore has had something of the apoplectic kind, so as greatly to affect him.
“Some months ago, Brother Sutcliffe and I agreed to send you a quantity of seeds, &c., and accordingly spoke to Maddock, of Walworth, to execute the order, promising him ready money for them; and which we agreed to advance on your account. That order will be completed and go, I expect, this season. So, however, Mr. Maddock assured me it should, when I was at Walworth about six weeks ago. And now as the water has destroyed your indigo plant, and you cannot assure us that Boulton would meet with any employ of a secular kind if he were to come, we conclude it may be the same by Fountain. We, therefore, shall allow the value of the seeds for his support the first year, together with four guineas which Brother Sutcliffe has paid for Parkhurst’s Hebrew and Greek Lexicons, which he has sent you. Or, if he should not need it, apply it in some way for the promotion of the mission, or reserve it for the expense of printing. We expected, according to your last letters, to receive letters for types. Whenever we receive them, I dare say we shall cordially unite with you in that work. I do not fear for want of money. Only take great heed that it be as accurate as possible. It is not for want of money that we cannot send out more missionaries, but of suitable characters. That is a matter of great importance. A Wesleyan mission to the Fowlahs in Africa has failed this last year owing to this. When they came to meet difficulties they refused to go any further. We had better wait than send unsuitable persons. Brother Ryland thinks that the Lama of Thibet and his heathen Popery will be as great a bar to a mission there as can exist in Spain or Portugal: but we may have wrong ideas at this distance.
“I have seen your letter to Brother Morris, from which I learn that you had received another letter from me. You there state a case for the Society to judge. Morris seems greatly puzzled about it, owing, he thinks, to your obscurity in stating it. I will copy his remarks. ‘Brother C. says, in one part of this letter, that the different castes may not eat and drink together’ (your words are speaking of the distinction of the castes: it extends to nothing but eating and smoking tobacco, intermeddling with each other’s employments, and intermarrying one among another), ‘yet that they might partake of the Lord’s Supper, if prepared by a Brahmin.’ Your words are, ‘They can join, in every act of religious worship, except eating the bread at the Lord’s Supper, without losing caste, but cannot eat bread unless prepared by a Brahmin.’ Again,’ What does Brother C. mean by a Brahmin’s preparing the bread? any kind of consecration, or only making bread? If the latter, this is no more than its being made by the tribe of bakers, and can be no objection. If the former, and that consecration be no other than what attends their common meals, the objection is like the former, and should be no hindrance to their using it in the Lord’s Supper. But if the different castes may eat bread together, why does he talk of their being subject to lose caste on that account? Or does he mean that, though the castes may thus eat together, yet none of them may eat with one who is a Hindoo? If so, the question will require further consideration.’ Thus far Brother Morris to me. We cannot at present obtain the judgment of the Society, as we have but lately had a public meeting. I have stated the question, however, to brethren Ryland, Hogg, Sutcliffe, and Pearce. For my own part, I think, with Brother Morris, your statement is very obscure. I am not sure, from your statement, whether the Lord’s Supper might not be eaten by them with bread prepared by a Brahmin. But if not, if there be an impossibility of their eating bread with you, or the different castes among themselves, without losing their caste, according to what at present strikes me you have no right to allow of their neglecting Christ’s institute, seeing this would be dispensing with it. Nevertheless, you may forbear to press it upon them; let them do it voluntarily, if at all. Time may open a way, and sweep away the impediment. If no Christian duty be inconsistent with the caste but eating at the Lord’s Supper, why are they not baptized? What you say about the discontent of the officers, may be a serious matter. Whatever may be said to you and your colleague upon it, or whatever may take place, I beseech you take no part in it. You will find these officers a set of wicked men, and I should fear they would be greater tyrants over the natives than the Company, and you would enjoy less liberty and justice from them than from the other.
“You say Mr. C. loves writing better than you. It is time he wrote Brother Pearce a long letter, which arrived this spring. Except this, we have not received any proof of his delight in writing. We have heard nothing from him by these ships. Give my love to him. You say the ironmongery from Denmark, you understand, is arrived at Calcutta. I am glad to hear it; but you will find it to be the books, which we all along understood were gone by the Swallow, and which Mr. Savage mistook for the ironmongery. The letter also, I hope, will have arrived ere you receive this, as it has gone by the Royal Admiral, last May, to the care of Fulloh & Co.
“Your afflictions of different kinds greatly affect us. Indeed, we cannot but wonder how you are supported, and how you labour as you do, only that we know that your God is all-sufficient, and your work, instead of being a task, is your meat and drink. You have weathered many storms, my dear brother. God is certainly with you, and will not suffer your labours to fall to the ground. It rejoiceth us greatly to hear that the leaven begins to operate. We shall be glad to hear the result of things at Dinagepore, and to know how the young Brahmin, Cassinut Mookhurgee, goes on, and how Moonshee, and Mohun Chund, and Parbotee go on in religion. Tell Mohun Chund we are glad that he talked to the poor people of Dinagepore, and that he must willingly and cheerfully communicate that which he has heard and known of the love of Christ. Tell Cassinut Mookhurgee to write me a letter, and inform me how he came to be a Christian, and what were the workings of his mind. And be you so kind, my dear brother, as to translate it. Present my kind love to him, to Mohun Chund, and Moonshee, and Parbotee, if ever you see them. Tell Podo Loson, who seems to be indifferent about an interest in Christ, that if Christ had been thus cold-hearted towards him, he might have been in hell before now, ‘where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.’ Tell him there are many Christians here who would rejoice to meet him in heaven. Present my love to brethren Thomas, Long, and Powel. I hope Brother Powel will consider the opportunity of communicating the knowledge of Christ to the heathen as a price put into his hand. If you judge proper, present my Christian love, too, to the worthy Mr. Udney. I am sure I feel to love him.
“Leicester church is rather at a stand as to prosperity; Several of their late additions have turned out bad characters, and they have been obliged to exclude them. Some giddy-heads have also run after a man who has been there in the Antinomian way. I hope Cave grows, and will be a useful man. I think him possessed of deep seriousness, only he does not sufficiently know himself. At Sheepshead they are in sad confusion, owing to a Mr Garrot, one of Lady Huntingdon’s men, who is turned Baptist, and has drawn people thereabouts after him. There have been considerable additions this year, of which I think I sent You some account in June. We had about ten or twelve added: Our friends, Mrs. Wallis, Hobsons, Gotches, Timms, Burditts, &c., are all very well, and unite with Mrs. Fuller and self in love. If you should not have sent off the letters for types ere this reaches you, be very particular as to the articles you want, both as to what, and what quantity. Shall you want a printing press? I have heard say it is contrary to our laws to send one out of the land; but if you want it, I hope we shall some way accomplish it. I have received as much as £80 from individuals and missionary societies in Scotland towards the translation. A Paedobaptist mission is about going off to the South Sea Islands. Booth has published a piece lately. There are some things in it which I approve, and others which I do not. I hope he will send you one. I have reminded him to do so. Brother R. can hardly deny himself from coming to join you. I also could cheerfully do so, were it not iny duty to do otherwise. We all admire your disinterested advice to Pearce. – I am, my dear brother, ever yours,
TO MR. J. FOUNTAIN, MUDNABUTTEE.
“Kettering, September 7th, 1797.
“You will excuse me, my dear Brother Fountain, if I do not, write you a long letter. Writing is labour to me, on account of a complaint which perhaps ever will attend my head. I received your letter from Madeira, and two from Mudnabuttee. Be assured they afforded me, and all our brethren, great satisfaction, – not only to hear that you were safely arrived, but to find that your heart was in your work.
“We had no opportunity of proving your ministerial abilities; but from the taste we had of your prayer and conversation, we did not much hesitate on that subject. If your heart be in the work, I doubt not but you will be able to increase in the good knowledge of the Lord, and to communicate that knowledge to the poor heathen.
“All that we felt any hesitation about was your too great edge for politics. The mission has awfully suffered in Africa through that folly. The loss of £300 or £400 is the least thing to be considered; though, considering that as public property, it was grievous that it should be so thrown away. Mr. Grigg asked me; in one letter, what I thought of his conduct; and thus I wrote him: ‘I think it wrong for any individual, in any nation or under any Government, to indulge a restless, discontented, complaining spirit; and still more to be employed in stirring up others to the same things. But if this would be wrong in any man, it must be more so in a Christian minister and a missionary. You should have avoided everything that would impede your main object. If Free Town had been the seat of your labours, you should have avoided these things; much more as it was not, but merely a friendly shelter to you in the rainy season. I do not think that a Christian or a Christian minister forfeits any of his rights as a man or as a citizen; but I think that Christianity teaches in many cases voluntarily to forego the exercise of those rights for the sake of attaining a greater good. What if the benevolent Howard, in exploring the dungeons of the wretched all over Europe, had embroiled himself in every nation in attempting to correct their Governments? Would he not have defeated his end? Could he have had admission into any nation after a single attempt of the kind? Was it not to his honour to forego many of his natural rights, and to submit to the laws, even under despotic Governments, for the sake of doing good to men’s bodies? But if so, would it not be to the honour of a Christian missionary to do as much for the good of men’s souls? Rather, would it not be greatly to his shame if he did otherwise? But all is in vain: he is gone to America, in pursuit of liberty. Well does the apostle charge us which have engaged to be soldiers of Christ, not to entangle ourselves in the affairs of this life.
“It gives us great satisfaction to find that Brother –, whose mind also used to be pretty much engaged in those sort of things, has dropped them for things of greater consequence. May you, my brother, follow his example. We have heard nothing of you at present, except a little too much freedom in speaking on political subjects after your arrival, but what is favourable. We haye not had opportunity of knowing much of you; but it affords us good hope of your being a useful missionary, that you seem to love and revere the counsels of Brother Carey. A humble, careful, circumspect, disinterested, faithful, peaceable, and zealous conduct like his, will render you a blessing to society. Brother C. is greatly respected and beloved by all denominations here. I will tell you what I have forborne to tell him, lest it should hurt his modesty. Good old Mr. Newton, in a letter to Brother Ryland, dated August 8th, 1797, says: ‘Mr. Carey has favoured me with a letter, which, indeed, I accept as a favour, and I mean to thank him for it. I trust my heart as cordially unites with him for the success of his mission as though I were a brother Baptist myself. I look to such a man with reverence. He is more to me than bishop or archbishop: he is an apostle. May the Lord make all who undertake missions like-minded with Brother Carey!’
“You will also see somethings in Brother Thomas worthy of your imitation. He possesses a familiarity and affection in his address which is very desirable, and of which I conceive you are not wholly incapable.
“When I heard, by your letter from Madeira, of the unkind treatment that you met with on board, I felt almost sorry that you went in the steerage. Yet I find the disposal of public money to be a delicate undertaking.
“We have allowed for you £50 per annum for the present, which is rather more than Brother C. asked for. And while you are single, I dare say you will be so considerate and regardful of the undertaking as not to think we slight your services in allowing you no more. If God should provide you with a companion, we shall not be backward to give you every possible encouragement. If Brother C.’s plan, indeed, should be put in execution, you will have all things common. At all events we shall be happy to see you happy, and to contribute anything in our power to render you so. The Lord be with you, my dear brother. – I am, yours very affectionately,
TO MR. WARD.
“Kettering, Augnst 1st, 1801.
“My DEAR BROTHER WARD, – Lastnight, returning from Derby, where Brother Blundell and I have been to the ordination of a Mr. Newell, a member of dear Pearce’s, I found your letter of five sheets; I should have said I saw one from Felix Carey to Mr. Yates as we came through Leicester; and have been weeping for joy over both his and yours. I beseech you do not shorten your journal – your talent is to journalize. I understand more of the mision from those daily statements of things as they occur than by any other means. We think of having, soon, a day of solemn thanksgiving to God for the success which has attended your labours; and which may probably be held at Leicester. Yes, my dear brother, we will join with you in blessing and praising God. Two things have forcibly struck me in reading your letters: 1, That this strong barrier of Satan, the caste, shall not only be made to give way to the Gospel, but prove of singular advantage to Christ’s cause in India. It will be a test of sincerity. The Hindoos are distinguished by their hypocrisy; and if no extraordinary test of their sincerity existed, you could never be satisfied of it. But a willingness to lose caste may be as great a proof of sincerity with you, as anything which our converts can offer can be with us. They may not all be sincere; neither are ours: but I hope some will. 2. That with this test you may safely admit them to baptism without waiting for further proofs. This, I think, is the Scripture plan. The apostles did not hold back the primitive converts; but if they professed faith in Christ, and were willing to forego their former course of life, and to comply with the Christian precepts; they, without further hesitation, baptized them. If, after this, they turned back, they dealt with them accordingly. Whatsoever ye have seen and heard of them, do; and the God of peace will be with you. I think we in England place too much dependence on our good opinion of each other’s piety. A profession of Christ, not contradicted by words or actions, should be our ground of proceeding. We have had many fears about your colony being taken; but the good understanding which subsists between you and Messrs. Brown and Buchanan, and through them with Government, makes us easy. God has given this favour in the eyes of men, no doubt, for gracious purposes. I have a hundred things to rejoice in; among which, the state of things with that dear youth Felix, is not the least; and I hope his brother William will soon follow. 0 my brother, God has honoured you much in making you instrumental to the good of these dear children, as well as in other respects. Praise Him, for His mercy endureth for ever! It appears to me a token for good that what success you have hitherto met with, has appeared to be indirect and preparatory for something future. Brothers C. and T. were looking for Hindoos: God gave them a Fernandez, a Cunningham, &c., by means of whom a kind of establishment is given to the recording of His name in Dinagepore. You were anxious to settle up the country: God impelled you to settle where you are, that the sacred Scriptures might be printed without molestation. You still kept praying for the poor Hindoos: God gave you Felix and William! (This moment a letter is arrived from Brother Ryland, containing Brother Marshman’s journal. I must leave off writing and look it over. 0 blessed for ever be the Lord, and blessed be you! Surely, I never loved you all so well before. To say, Give my love to Brother Marshman, is feeble. If I could send my soul over in a letter, it would come and mingle with your souls, with your labours, your sorrows and your joys!) Well, I have not half read the journal of dear M.; yet I must return to it. 0 how his note to, and conversation with, the sick lady at the hotel endears him to me. There is a fitness in your corresponding with me; Brother M. with Brother Ryland; and Brother B. with Brother Sutcliffe; and I do not wish it otherwise: I love you all, I think, alike. Poor Brother T.! His afflictions, I am inclined to think, account for many of his eccentricities. Those seasons of dejection in which he could do nothing, and which once I thought hard of him for, might be owing to something tending to what has lately taken place. I find I have not got all Brother Mo’s journal – only from September 15th, 1800, to December 10th. The rest Brother Ryland will send soon. By the bye, your letter cost 9s. 2d., and Brother Ryland’s 10s.
“I am now very ill, and obliged to give up a tour through Oxfordshire and Berkshire to collect for the mission. I got £130 in April, in Devonshire, &c.; £70 last month in Norwich; Brother Sutcliffe £320 in London. £100 is just sent from the Glasgow Missionary Society. But doing my own work and that of dear Pearce, is too much.
“Lord’s day, August 2nd. This day I have been so ill as to be unable to preach. Your letters were read instead of sermonls. In printing No. 7, I, by mere oversight, omitted the insertion of Brother Brunsdon’s journal. It lay among some other papers sent by Brother Sutcliffe, till I was too late. On looking them over, I afterwards saw it, and perceived some things which were omitted in the others. I hope he will not be grieved at the omission, or communicate the less in future. All your communications are dear to us, and we see some peculiar talents in each.
“Monday, August 3rd. I am taking medicines to-day. My complaint is a very bad cold, attended with fever. You have had to encounter the heathen doctrine of laying sin at God’s door; which, undoubtedly, is subversive of all religion. But I have been thinking when they come to read such passages as Isaiah xix. 14; Rom. ix. 18, they’ll tell you your Scriptures teach their doctrine; and they will ask (as ver. 19), Why doth He yet find fault? who hath resisted His will? You must beware that in opposing their lie, you do not betray the truth.
“You will now also have a number of cases come before you similar to those in the primitive times, as of unbelieving husbands and wives deserting their companions, &c., &c .. I trust you will be endowed with wisdom from above, according to your wants.
“Well, Brother Sutcliffe has been here and brought dear Brunsdon’s journal; and the rest of Brother Marshman’s is come also. How precious is each! I weep and rejoice with you all. Surely, brethren Powell, Fernandez, and Thomas (if he retain his reason), will form a branch at Dinagepore, and will keep up worship there. You could occasionally visit them. Would not Mr. C. be disposed to visit them? Or has he a caste to lose? Brother S. and I have been talking much about investing moneys in India. If a sufficiency was sent over to support the mission, we are all persuaded it would greatly injure it in the esteem of subscribers. On the other hand it is very desirable that you should have a resort in times of need. We think of dividing the matter, of sending a certain sum, which may serve in part to meet your wants, and the rest you draw for. We hope what was sent last Christmas with Mr. Short, and the 8,000 rupees you have taken up, will meet your wants at present. As you will now have occasion to visit the houses of the converted natives, it may be expected that the malice of the Brahmins will invent something scandalous against you: I am persuaded you will all watch against everything which might furnish them with a handle for reproach.
“I was reading the 25th chapter of Isaiah this morning (August 8):-The spreading of the Gospel feast (ver. 6); the destruction of idolatrous darkness (ver. 7). The conversion of the heathen will be a kind of resurrection, and a glorious one too, accompanied with great happiness and respect to God’s people (ver. 8); this great blessing will come after long waiting for it by the church (ver. 9); and the heathen power shall fall, to rise no more (vers. 10-12).
“August 10.- I am but little better in health; but have just finished the MS. for a sixpenny number of Periodical Accounts, consisting of extracts from your journals and letters. It goes to Morris tomorrow, and he begins next day to print it. Our meeting for thanksgiving is appointed for the 19th inst., at Leicester. 0 my dear Brother Ward, you have an interest in my prayers; and I am persuaded I have in yours. Jesus Christ be with you all! male and female, Europeans and Hindoos. – Ever yours,
LETTER TO NEW CONVERTS.
“To Brother Krishno, Sister Joymonee, and any other who have since joined them in heartily embracing and publicly professing the name of the Lord Jesus.
“DEARLY BELOVED IN OURLORD, – The joy of our hearts’, was great when the news of your conversion reached us. In you we see the first-fruits of Hindostan, the travail of our Redeemer’s soul, and a rich return for our imperfect labours. You know, beloved, that the love of Christ is of a constraining nature. It was this, and only this, that constrained us to meditate the means of your conversion. It was this that constrained our brethren that are with you to leave their country, and all their worldly prospects, and to encounter perils, hardships, and reproaches. If you stand fast in the Lord, and are saved, this is their and our reward.
“We affectionately congratulate you on your having embraced the Gospel, and united with the Church of Christ. To unite with the church below is to be akin to that which is above. ‘Ye are come to the Mount Zion, the city of the living God; to an innumerable company of angels; to the spirits of the just made perfect; to God, the Judge of all; and to Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant.’ The nature of Christianity is to unite those that were divided, that all may be one, as the Father is in Christ, and Christ in the Father; that we may be one in both. Satan wishes to divide men from God and one another; but the Gospel breaks down every middle wall of partition, making us of one heart and, of one soul. Neither distance of situation, difference of customs, language, or colour, shall prevent a union of spirit. We welcome you to the participation of all the privileges and blessings of the Gospel. You were once darkness, but are now made light in the Lord: walk as children of light. You have lived in almost all evil; but now put off these things, and put on the new man, speaking everyone truth t0 his neighbour. Abhor and shun every kind of idolatry; for this God hateth. You have lived without hope and without God in the world; but now ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints and of the household of God. As a virgin you are married to Christ, your bridegroom. Forget, therefore, your own people and your father’s house. He is your Lord, and worship ye Him. But we say the less to you, knowing that our dear brethren who are with you will teach you all things – how ye ought to walk, and to please God. We only add: Lay your account with persecutions for Christ’s sake. This was the lot of the Master; and they that would follow Him must expect to suffer with Him. But if we suffer with Him, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him before men, He will deny us before His Father and the holy angels. We must all be tempted: blessed is the man that endureth temptation; when he is tried he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him.
“Dearly beloved! let your chaste and holy conversation, your meekness, uprightness, gentleness, goodness, and firm adherence to the truth, continue to refresh our bowels in the Lord! Pray for and seek after the salvation of your benighted countrymen. Recommend the Gospel to them by patience and by long-suffering, by kindness, and by love unfeigned. Love and obey those who are set over you in the Lord. In short, as members of civil society, be peaceable and faithful; as heads or branches of families, be kind and orderly; and, as members of the church of God, be holy in all manner of conversation.
“Signed at our committee meeting, held at Leicester, August 19th, 1801.
“J. W. MORRIS.
EXTRACTS FROM LETTERS UPON MISSIONARY AFFAIRS.
A DEBATING COMMITTEE.
“I would in general recommend whoever may succeed us, to beware, 1, Of a speechifying committee. We have never had a speech among us from the beginning. All is prayer and brotherly consultation; and I do not remember a measure carried by a mere majority. We talk over things till we agree. 2. Of a fondness for multiplying rules and resolutions. An excess of legislation, if I may so call it, is perplexing and injurious. We have not imagined ourselves to be legislators, but brethren acting with you in the same object.”
A FAREWELL AT GRAVESEND.
“MY VERY DEAR BRETHREN AND SISTERS, – We set off from London on Lord’s day evening, nine o’clock, and got down to Gravesend a little after one. There we learned that everything was done at Gravesend necessary for sailing, and that the ship was then probably under sail. We therefore immediately took a boat, and came to you about a mile down the river. As we found you under sail, we could only just descend into the cabin, and say farewell. We could have been glad to have sung and prayed with you once more, but that pleasure was denied us. On leaving the ship, we watched her progress two or three miles, and many an affectionate prayer was put up by us on your behalf while you were gradually receding from our view. The following lines are expressive of what were the feelings of one, and I believe of all, at and since that time:-
‘Farewell, beloved friends, once more farewell!
For you our hearts have felt, and still shall feel:
Of late we’ve cared, and some attention given;
Now ‘we must leave you to the care of Heaven.
‘If we should ever wickedly omit
To aid, or offer up our strong desire,
Let our right hands their wonted skill forget,
And all our hopes and joys in death expire!
‘Go then, dear friends, in yourRedeemer’s cause, –
Go plough the briny wave, and brave the deep:
Mercy and truth be with you as, you pass;
Preserve your souls, your lives in safety keep.
‘Go join those much-loved names on yonder shores;
Go share their ardent, honourable toil;
Mingle your tears with theirs – with theirs your joys,
And bear to them the blessings of your native isle.
‘Go teach the nations, sound the Saviour’s name:
As He was sent of God, He doth you send;
His word of promise still remains the same, –
Lo! I am with you always to the end!’ “
LORD WELLESLEY AND THE MISSIONARIES.
“I have said some things to Brothers Carey and Ward, and must repeat to you: that I and some others are under strong apprehensions that the friendship of Dr. Buchanan to you and the mission is purchased too dear, and that you are in great danger of being drawn into his worldly, political religion. Your printed proposals, which must be of his moulding, have sunk you much in the esteem of many. They are unworthy of your names. How can you talk of Hindoos seeking and desiring the Scriptures, in a way as if they were ready to receive them? Gratitude required your acknowledgments to the Marquis W., but not your signatures to a paper which approves and boasts of his wars, which are here generally thought to be nearly as ambitious and unjust as those of Buonaparte. If Dr. B. had not known and felt that you were under his influence, he dared not have altered Brother Carey’s Sanscrit speech, and sent it, interspersed with flattery, to the Governor, without the author’s knowledge. Beware, my brethren, of the counsel of this Mr. Worldly-wise-man. He will draw you off from the simplicity of Christ; and, under the pretence of liberality, &c., you will be shorn, like Samson of his locks. ‘ Beware of the flatterer!’ Mr. Brown is, I trust, a godly man; but he is entangled with a worldly religion. You may be equally in danger from the kindness of the great, as Fountain was oran opposite spirit.”
KING GEORGE AND THE BENGALEE TESTAMENT.
“Mr. Fawcett published apiece on Anger. The king, who is said to be subject to passion, read it with much interest, and sent the author a diploma. Mr. F.’s modesty induced him to decline the use of it; but he declined it in a letter to his Majesty, written in such a manner as to give no offence. His Majesty, in reply, desired him (it is said) to ask any favour of him in future, and he should be happy to oblige him. Last spring, a young man, of Halifax, son to one.of Mr. F.’s friends, a dissenter, was guilty of forgery, and was condemned to death last August. Great was the distress of the family, of course. Mr. F. addressed a letter to the king, stating some extenuating circumstances, and entreating, if it might be, his Majesty’s pardon. It was granted, to the astonishment of the country; since a case of forgery has never been pardoned before during his Majesty’s reign. I forget the young man’s name. The king has several dissenters, I am told, in his family, and is very determined that the other servants do not interrupt them in the enjoyment of their religious privileges. We have presented him with a Bengalee Testament, which he received very graciously. We accompanied it with the following address: ‘The Baptist Missionary Society humbly entreat that this copy of the translation of the New Testament into the Bengalee language may be accepted by your Majesty as a token of their dutiful regard to your person and government; and beg leave to express their desire that your Majesty may live to see the principles it contains universally prevail throughout your Eastern dominions.’ He told Mr. Bowyer, who presented it, that he accepted the book with pleasure, and requested him to return the managers of the Society his best thanks for it.”
DIFFERENT RELIGIOUS SECTS.
“You have introduced your journal with a few friendly remarks on my publications. I thank you. I hope I have not been in any of my writings a Mindoza or an Humphreys; though I am aware there has been a mixture of self-seeking: which has run through this and everything else I have done. There is not the same degree of importance, I allow, in some of my controversies as in others; but they all seemed to me of importance sufficient to require a defence. I see different schemes of religion like different soils and climates. Socinianism and Universalism are the frigid zones of Christianity; now and then a spark of what is apparently practical appears in their lives, and that is all. Socinians and Universalists are men of the world. V — is little short of a blasphemer, and a man, I believe, of no principle. Arianism approaches a little nearer, talks more about Christ; but I see no fruit. I heard a sermon from one of them (who was supposed to be more evangelical than some) as dead as ditchwater, and at an immense remove from the Gospel. Arminianism admits of more fruit, but oh! it is miserably cold. I conversed much in Ireland with one of their ablest men, and all very friendly. Professing myself to be a poor sinful creature every day of my life, he would have persuaded me that I was free from sin! I assured him I was far from it, and I believed those who thought they were, to be deluded and blind to the spirituality of the Divine law. ‘What should you think,’ said he, ‘of a man who assents to the atonement, but never felt the necessity ‘of it?’ ‘I own,’ said I, ‘I should think him wanting in the essentials of religion.’ I presently found this was his own case. (Yet this person was reckoned one of the greatest and best men in the Wesleyan connexion.) He is a considerable writer, though not a preacher, and a very liberal man. He told me his ideas were chiefly directed to the necessity of inward religion. I told him that it was by believing in a Christ without us, that inward religion was best promoted. Sandemanianism, of which I met with plenty in Dublin, is making progress in many places. It is cold as death, in one view, but full of contention; and elated with spiritual pride. It talks much of knowledge and faith,. but it is a stranger to love, except a strong attachment to its own. It is as bitter and censorious and confident as Huntingdon; but not so foul in its diction. It has swept away a promising congregation in Dublin (and Cooper, who was lately famous for preaching to the Jews, at the head of them). Antinomianism is loose, and foul; its congregations have a few individuals whose hearts are right; but the fruit they bring forth in general leadeth unto death. Under the influence of this presumptuous system, our churches in Norfolk, Suffolk, and many other places, are going to ruin. Nowhere does Antinomianism grow more than in London. (There is not a man there who properly lifts up a standard against it. Indeed, they are all disposed to compromise matters with it. It gets into all their churches, committees, &c., &c.) Mr. Booth, though a very good man, yet feels no alarm on that score; all his apprehensions are, the churches will be ruined by American divinity! I think as highly of the integrity and piety of A. Booth as of almost any man I know; but his prejudices are strong, and when once fixed, almost immovable. He and I are nearer together in sentiment by far than he and many others with whom, nevertheless, he is on ‘terms of close friendship; while his conscience has, within a few months, impelled him to publish a book against me! I have no intention to answer it. . . . So you see, I am not quite a “drawcansir” (This word is faithfully transcribed from the copy. Being unable to suggest a substitute, as some unusual word was plainly intended, I must leave the reader to draw on his imagination.) (I think the word is, which tbe reviewers once called me), cutting and wounding every man that stands in my way. Yet, if I can state the truth amidst all these discordant notions, without any direct attack on any of them, it may have its use. Would you think it? Dr. Ryland, you know, is one of the most pacific of men. . . . I am reckoned (from the days of Ward being in the neighbourhood of Birmingham) a man with a sledge hammer in my hand: yet I am always wishing to write no more in a controversial way; and Dr. R. is always pressing me to depict Antinomianism and Sandemanianism in their own colours!
“0 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection! I have felt within the last half-year an increasing attachment to Christ crucified. Have preached ever since about nothing else, in a manner. How sweet is the way of salvation through His name! I feel how much more useful I should be if I were more imbued in this subject. I lately preached from Gal. iv. 19, with much interest.
“My mind is often present with you, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ. If I had the wings of a dove, I would often visit you; I see the work of conversion has a little stopped with you of late. You must expect times of this kind to try you, and much disorder among those who have already believed. A good old deacon once remarked to me, from Gal. vi. 1, there will always be work enough for those who are kept a little more spiritual than their brethren, in lifting up those who are fallen.”
COMMENTS ON PASSING EVENTS.
“Dr. Priestley has this weeksailed for America. I do not blame him. He has printed a farewell sermon, in the preface of which he assigns the reason of his going. Some have accused him of timidity on account of the reasons he gives, but I consider such accusations as brutal and malevolent. It is to the disgrace of England to have driven him away! Such treatment is enough to make a bad cause appear a good one! I am glad he is gone to America. He will have justice done there. There let him write, and if our cause cannot stand in the fair field of argument, let it fall.”
“Public affairs wear a dark aspect to a political eye; but to the eye of faith it is otherwise. In France, the Mountain (or Marat’s) party are uppermost, and have guillotined almost all the rest. Brissot and his party were, twenty-one of them, guillotined together last October. Among them were Rabaut and Lasource, two Protestant ministers, and men whom I always esteemed of great virtue. No, I mistake; Rabaut was executed by himself a while after. The Mountain party are desperate men; but perhaps none but such men could carry things through. Their arms this last summer and winter have been almost everywhere victorious. I reckon there will be no more campaigns worth the name. The combined Powers are about done over. Old Catharine is a baggage. She talked all along, but never meant to do anything. She looked on while Prussia, and Austria, and England were weakening themselves, and has reserved her strength to obtain the Turkish empire without interruption from them, at which her mouth has been watering for years, and against which she is now upon the eve of declaring war. Prussia has had enough with France, and, it is said, has declared off. Austria is poor, and can go on but a little longer.
“We have sent out fleets to take Domingo and the French West India Islands. The Convention, to counteract us, has lately passed a decree utterly abolishing slavery in all their islands; and admitting the blacks to sit in their assembly as representatives of the islands. For all this, I say, Blessed be God! Slavery will soon be abolished! America has resolved to abolish it in less than two years; and if the British Parliament does not unite, the slaves will liberate themselves when liberty comes to be spread all around them. The French, in passing their decree, owned their fault in not having done it before; and declared it to be no favour, but the mere restoring to them of what had been unrighteously taken away.
“The negroes, when liberated, will defend their own islands.
“A dark cloud hangs over us.We expect the French will shortly attempt to invade us. They have been making great preparations for it for several months. Great numbers are going to America. Dr. Priestley and eighty or ninety families are going this month.”
ROBESPIERRE AND DANTON.
“I have heard of scarcely any debates of late in the Convention. I conceive free debate is not admitted there. It is as much as a man’s life is worth to oppose the prevailing party in any way. From such a situation men of independent minds must withdraw, and leave it to those who know how to cringe and tyrannize by turns. Robespierre is about head ‘cock of the walk’ at this time. He is another Dr. Johnson for temper. Thousands court his favour, while he seems to court no man’s; but is more frequently employed, like a bull with his tail, in whisking the flies from off his back. In the Jacobin club many strive to gain his esteem by making violent and sanguinary motions. He tells them to their face that they are villains. In the Convention he cuts up all by turns; and after he speaketh they rise not again!
“Matters with us are going on with great severity; five or six gentlemen, chiefly Scotch, are condemned to transportation to Botany Bay, and are now about setting off, merely for associating in what they imprudently called a convention for the purpose of petitioning for a reform in Parliament. Their names are Muir, Palmer, Margorat, Gerald, &c., and, I think, two or three more.
“Danton, who had vied insanuinary measures with Robespierre, is this week expected to lose his head. The Cordeliers, who now suffer, are charged with a conspiracy. Hebert and Clootz were of that party, and, I suppose, Danton. They are now accused by the Jacobins of Atheism, and persecution of religious worship. Clootz, and some others of the party, it is said, died like Atheists, professing their persuasion that they were going into a state of non-existence!”
PEACE AND WAR.
“We have had many fears for you on account of the war between us and Denmark. A dreadful battle was fought last month by the fleet under Admiral Parker or Lord Nelson, off Copenhagen. There was a truce immediately concluded, which we have no doubt will issue in a peace with the Northern powers. Russia and Prussia, and Sweden and Denmark, had formed a league to resist our claim of searching their ships in time of war for contraband articles. The sudden death of Paul of Russia, and the battle of Copenhagen, seem to have broken the league. We pray you and your colony may be preserved. All the West India Islands of Sweden and Denmark have been taken by the English this spring, besides two or three successful engagements in Egypt. We long for the return of peace, though we are not clamorous after the manner of some, who love it so dearly that they seem to long to wade up to the ankles with blood to obtain it.”
“We are required by the New Testament to pray for all that are in authority; but this we cannot do without mockery; unless we bear good will towards them, and that in their official capacity. It is written, ‘Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler (or rulers) of thy people:’ but to deal in sarcastic reflections upon them is the worst kind of evil speaking, and is utterly inconsistent with the practice of Christ and His apostles. Paul and Peter and Jude never say anything disrespectful of the powers that were, nor allowed it in Christians. On the contrary, they described the ‘liberty’ of that day in a light which should make us tremble how we join with or approve of them in ours. 2 Pet. ii. 10; Jude viii. 9, 10. (You ‘are not ignorant of many in India being dissatisfied with the Company.’ Very likely, and I am not ignorant of many in England who are the same with the Government, and who, I believe, would not only be glad to see things reformed, but utterly overturned; but I never give encouragement to such talk, much less join it.) I am not an old man, but I have lived long enough to perceive that nine out of ten who are clamorous for liberty only wish for a share in the power: and follow them into private life and you will find them tyrants to their wives, children, servants, and neighbours. Now, whatever faults I may see in the Government of my country, I had rather be under it as it is than under such kind of liberty as I should have reason to expect from such characters. I have seen enough of French liberty to be fully convinced that, although there were well-meaning individuals among them, whose object was justice and the melioration of the state of mankind, yet the great body of the leading men, and by whose influence all the rest were led, were unprincipled infidels, whose object was to climb over the throne and get the supreme power, and to root up not merely Popery but the very existence of Christianity. And now they have got the supreme power in France, their object is to extend it over Europe, and even the whole earth.”
“We have been hitherto mercifully preserved as a nation. The ranging Bear is now gone into Germany – has entered Vienna. All Europe is, in a manner, up in arms. We know not what will be the end of these things. On October 21st, a terrible battle was fought at Trafalgar, near Gibraltar, between the British and combined fleets – 27 of the former against 33 (I think) of the latter. Nineteen of the enemy’s ships-of-the-line were taken or destroyed; but Lord Nelson, the commander-in-chief, was shot in the action. Almost all the French and Spanish admirals were taken. Four of the ships which escaped, were met and taken by four British, under Sir Richard Strachan, a few days after. Afterwards we had a day of public thanksgiving, on December 6, on which I preached from Psalm lxv. 5. Awful as these events are, they may contribute to prevent what would be more awful – an invasion.”
NOTE: I will be posting the entirety of this work on both this Blog and my web site at:
You must be logged in to post a comment.