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whelmed a weaker man, and, even to Bishop Middleton, was a constant source of trouble and uneasiness. The reader of Archdeacon Bonney's Memoir will obtain no sufficient knowledge, either of what the Bishop underwent, or of what he achieved; and, in spite of our respect for the worthy memorialist, and our conviction that he intended to do justice to the memory of his friend, we must say that he has not accomplished his purpose, and that the fame of Middleton deserves a better historian.
Still there is much to be expected from the republication of the Sermons and Charges. They have appeared at a favourable season, and may serve to decide the controversy between the Abbé Dubois and his opponents, in a manner of which neither party will altogether approve. We extract a few passages which bear upon this question. The first is taken from "The Manifold Wisdom of God made known by the Church," a sermon preached at the cathedral of Calcutta, in which the Bishop explains his sentiments respecting the conversion of the heathen:
"A zeal, then, for the glory of God, if its lineaments have now been correctly pourtrayed, will be forcibly directed to the state of those nations, in which the Gospel is not merely undervalued, but utterly unknown. Where, for instance, shall its energies be excited, if they are dormant in the land which we now inhabit? In what other region of the known world is the glory of God more effectually obscured, and His truth, to allude to the Apostle's saying, more palpably turned into a lie?' (Rom. i. 25.) The case of ruder nations furnishes no answer to this question: refinement, when corrupted, may be worse than barbarism; and system has a power of evil beyond simplicity. Where else too, we may ask, do we find more evident vestiges of that fall from primeval uprightness, which the Gospel was designed to repair? From the dislocated strata and confused position of heterogeneous substances in the bowels of the earth, the geologist attests the breaking up of the vast deep in times remote, if he yield not implicit faith to the Scriptures: and here, in like manner, does the Christian trace indubitable evidence of that wreck and ruin of the moral world, which the same Scriptures record: the best qualities or tendencies of our nature and their opposite defects are found in immediate contact: the fear without the knowledge of God;-courtesy without brotherly love;-profuseness without public spirit; lowliness without humility;-a consciousness of sin without the want of a Saviour;-fortitude without feeling or resignation; and a contempt of death without a thought of immortality;these are among the inconsistencies and perversions of original goodness, which every day's observation may exhibit to our notice: and who can contemplate these appearances, and not lament them? 6
or who, that laments them, can be backward to employ the remedy? I mean not, of course, in any way but that of affectionate and Christian solicitude, and by teaching and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God."" - P. 118.
The following passages occur in the Bishop's second and third Charges:
"That I may not, however, rest a fact of so much importance upon mere assertion, I will state to you very briefly (for briefly it must be) what appears to have been the method in which Christianity was disseminated in the primitive times. I have remarked that early ecclesiastical history, after the apostolic age, is not, what, according to modern ideas, we might expect to find it, much engaged in the subject of missions. The command of Christ, to baptize all nations,' may be considered as the authority under which Christians are required to be solicitous for the diffusion of the Gospel; the command, however, was given to the eleven, and to those by implication, as well as by the special assurance of divine aid, who might be joined with them, or succeed them in the work; to say nothing of the case of St. Paul, whose commission, though subsequent to that of the twelve, was directly from Christ. By the apostles themselves and their associates, as some have gathered from the apostolic writings, about seventy churches were founded, reaching to Babylon, eastward, and westward, as far as Spain; if indeed St. Paul ever accomplished his meditated journey thither, and if St. Peter, in speaking of the church at Babylon, meant the ancient capital of Chaldea, neither of which seems probable. At any rate, Christianity was planted in the apostolic age in most of the regions subject to the power of Rome, though the converts were alınost every where but a small part of the whole population. It does not, however, appear that any churches were planted except by the apostles, or by persons acting in connexion with them: the work of conversion began in unity, whatever were the divisions which arose afterwards; and these divisions were never so great as to obliterate the effects of the order in which conversion commenced. What then was the course pursued? Of the proceedings of the apostles I need not speak; it is sometimes said that they were missionaries, as the name applies: missionaries they were indeed; going forth in the power and the spirit of Christ, and, as was to be expected, teaching the same doctrines, and establishing churches, the members of which could meet in conscientious communion, knowing of no other separation or distinction than that of place. If the apostles, however, required assistance, as we know that they did, still more would their successors: something analagous to a missionary system was indispensable, and this was supplied, partly by the persons denominated evangelists, and partly by catechists. Evangelists were missionaries in the strictest sense; their business was, as we learn from Eusebius, to preach Christ to those who had not heard of his name, and deliver to them to the Gospels. It is asserted, however, on the same authority, that these men were disciples of the apostles; D
VOL. XXIII. JANUARY, 1825.
that they laboured not merely to found new churches, but to confirm and consolidate those which were already planted; and that even at the time of which the historian is speaking, the reign of Trajan, the Holy Spirit still wrought mighty works by their hands of course they were under His especial guidance, and thus was the original purpose of edification and unity, and a knowledge of the truth, fulfilled; for St. Paul declares, that all offices in the church, including that of evangelists, were designed for the edification (the building up) of the body of Christ, till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God under a perfect man.' These evangelists, therefore, though they seem not to have been confined in their mission to any certain spot longer than the occasion required, were yet recognised members of the church, and amenable to its discipline. Upon this subject Mosheim, a Lutheran, and not a strenuous asserter of episcopacy, has remarked, that in early times it was undoubtedly the custom for such members of any church as might be desirous of imitating the example of the apostles, and propagating the Gospel among the heathen, to apply to the bishop for his license, and to enter on their travels under his sanction.' Order, it seems, was not then thought incompatible with enterprise or with holy influences, but rather, perhaps, to have been among rhe tests and evidences of a commission from God.
"The other provision to which I alluded for the extension of the Gospel, was in the appointment of catechists. As the evangelists were sent among barbarians, to whom possibly the name of Christ was unknown, the catechists were to bring into the fold of Christ the heathen who resided in the neighbourhood of any Christian church: the conversion of these was an object contemplated in every Christian establishment: all who expressed a desire to be acquainted with the doctrines of the Gospel, were considered as standing in a certain relation to the church; not a close one indeed, till they had given evidence of their being in earnest, but yet oue which was publicly avowed: places contiguous to the church were set apart for their instruction; catechisms were compiled for their use; catechumens were allowed to be present in the church during the sermon, and while certain prayers were offered for their illumination, in which they were required to join; and, if I mistake not, even the heathen who had not openly professed a desire to be instructed in our faith, were not altogether excluded.
"These then appear to have been the missionary proceedings of the first ages; but all antiquity abounds with circumstances tending to show, that the propagation of the Gospel was in close connexion with order and discipline. Churches were built under the bishop's sanction, signified by his visiting the spot and affixing a cross; no clergyman could be ordained but with a specific and local charge; a convert could not be admitted to the orders either of priest or deacon, till he had brought over his whole family, whether infidels or heretics, to the catholic church; and one of the canons of the council of Chalcedon provides for the consecration
and subordination of bishops in foreign parts. Regulations such a's these may be thought trivial in the laxity of modern times, still this was the system under which our faith was disseminated, and which had manifestly the blessing of God." P. 216.
"Still it may be asked, is there no way in which the different sects, now unhappily dividing the Christian world, may essentially and unexceptionably contribute to the propagation of the Gospel? I should shrink from such a conclusion, however legitimate were the process, by which it might seem to be deduced: I should hesitate to believe for a moment, that laborious and pious and benevolent men, of any religious denomination, could be altogether disqualified for furthering such a work: if they would turn their attention chiefly to the elementary instruction of youth, to the dissemination of European knowledge and arts,-to the improvement of morals,-to facilitating the acquisition of languages, to bringing us acquainted with the opinions, and habits, and literature of those whom we wish, to convert, and generally to breaking up and preparing the soil for the seed of the Gospel, they would indeed be valuable auxiliaries in the Christian cause; and the most inconsiderable sect might thus attain a degree of usefulness, if not of worldly renown, which the most prominent cannot hope for in the present state of things." P. 221.
"Upon the course of proceeding in this great question in the primitive ages, I took occasion to speak at some length when I last addressed you; and if I mistake not, I showed distinctly that the diffusion of Christianity was not effected so much by independent efforts, and unauthorised experiments, as by the gradual expansion of the Catholic church. It was thus that the work began: As they went through the cities they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders, which were at Jerusalem : and so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.' It may, therefore, be expected that nothing would more effectually contribute to the object in question than a considerable church establishment among us, which should at least make our religion conspicuous and procure for it respect, while it countenanced the operations and gave a character to the labours of those who should be employed in the work of conversion. I am not, I need hardly observe, supposing the regular clergy to be missionaries; they have other duties to perform, and almost every where, if they be performed with diligence, sufficient to occupy their time, though no reason can be given why they should not avail themselves of their Christian opportunities to receive converts within the pale of their respective congregations: nor can there be any thing more Christian in its aspect than the spectacle which, I am told, may be seen, of a number of native converts joining with our own people in the service of the church. Missionaries, therefore, acting under proper authority, and subject to control, as in the pri mitive times, must be employed; and schools in connexion with our missions must be maintained, in which elementary knowledge shall
be taught preparatory to the sowing of the seed of the Gospel. Still the prevailing sentiment among the established clergy, in questions of this kind, will always have great weight: missionaries will effect comparatively little if it be not seen with what they are connected, or whence they are sent; and any enormous disproportion between the provision which may be made for the maintenance of religion among ourselves, and for the teaching of it to the heathen, will carry upon the very face of it a confession, that the subject altogether is of less importance in the judgment of some among us than of others. It is, in truth, a question in which much, in the commencement at least, must depend upon externals: as the minds of these people are constituted, and perhaps most minds not habituated to abstraction, they must see before they can understand, or will even enquire. If we err it should not be on the side of simplicity. In the early times, as we learn from Origen, the heathen would ask the Christians, where were their temples? which were comparatively few and mean. The answer might have been, that the Christians then were poor. Whatever has been done among ourselves in this way, has undoubtedly contributed to the change of sentiment among the heathen; and a proportionate effect may be expected from what may be done hereafter. The Christian measures of Constantine, on his conversion, may be ascribed to the influence of his adviser Eusebius; they were, therefore, such as the judgment and extensive experience of that great man recommended, and they were principally the building of churches, and a provision for the better observance of the Lord's day." P. 242.
Our limits will not suffer us to make any further use of these admirable charges. A careful consideration of them is indispensably necessary to such as would understand the missionary question. Bishop Middleton treats it not as subject for the exercise of mere zeal and good intention, but rather of zeal regulated by learning, and expecting no great results from hasty and unconnected measures. He recommends us to propagate Christianity by extending the church; and he reminds the church that her ancient instruments of conversion must be resorted to, before the days of hér increase can return. These principles are developed both in the works which we have already quoted, and in his lordship's admirable letter to the Society for the propagation of the Gospel, which is reprinted in the present work; and, after looking through a mass of unsubstantiated statements, and inconclusive arguments, it is no slight gratification to meet with Bishop Middleton at the end of our journey. He explains the principal advantages to be derived from Bishop's College, in a note to the sermon from which our first extract was taken; and those portions of it which relate to missionaries, scholarships, translations and schools, cannot be too extensively known: