Page images

others escaped with immense hazard. Permit me to mention an adventure of Ortega. On one of these expeditions, with several neophytes, as the converts were termed, he was caught by a sudden flood between two rivers; soon the whole plain became one immense lake-the storm continued the waters rose-they were obliged to climb the trees A huge serpent came to the tree where the missionary and one companion were hanging. They had no means of defence; but the limb around which the monster coiled broke, and he swam off. Two days they pass ed in this condition.(a) In the middle of the second night, one of the other Indians swam to the tree, guided only by the flashes of lightning, and cried to Ortega, that some of his unbaptized companions were at the point of death, and begged for baptism. Ortega had scarcely found them, and completed the ordinance, when five of them dropped and sunk. The missionary, and the others, for tunately survived the dreadful adventure. But to return. Geography is indebted to missions of later periods. To the devotee, Egede, (b) and to his grandson, (c) we owe the best accounts of Greenland, a country which presents little that can tempt the adventurer to risk the horrors of a shipwreck amidst mountains of ice,--a country of lonely,cold, and sunless winters. The tours of Marsden, in New-Holland and NewZealand, and the voyages of Wilson, in the Pacific, have enlarged our knowledge(d) of the Asiatic isles. The reports of the London Society, and the travels of Campbell, have cast new light upon the dark and desart land of the Bushman and the Hottentot.

The natural sciences are not very intimately connected with the appropriate business of a missionary. Still they are indebted to missions. Even Astronomy is under some ob ligation. Some(a) of the Jesuits made and sent to France regular ob servations of eclipses and other celes tial phenomena. This was no despicable service. It was for the sake of such observations that Dr. Halley (b) in the last century passed a year away from the pleasures of society and home, upon that dreary and insulated rock, where the late devastator of nations, stripped of his crown and his glory, was sent to read the world an impressive lesson upon the littleness of human grandeur, and the weakness of human power. The Jewish missionaries, specially those in America contributed still more to the several branches of natural history. In the documents of later societies, there are notices of animal, vegetable, and mineral productions, which deserve to be embodied in the works of future naturalists. Iceland, which our imagination paints to us as a mountain of fire in that cold and distant sea where it is placed, has lately been explored by the missionary Henderson(c); and he has made various discoveries as to the strata, and the minerals, fossils and petrifactions of that interesting island, besides giving the fullest description the English public has ever received of its simple but intelligent inhabitants, and of their ancient poetry and superstitions. The little work (d) a few years since translated from the German, entitled Letters on the Nicobar Islands, contains many interesting statements respecting their

(a) Particularly Father Bautin at St. Domingo, published in the memoirs of

(a) Quart. Rev. vol. 18, p. 115, and Trevoux, Lett. Ed. vol. 8. Southey's Brazil.

(b) Morse's Geog. vol I, p. 142.

(c) Saabye, missionary to Greenland, afterwards pastor in Denmark. See a Review, very interesting, in Quart. vol. 18, p. 480.

(d) See the Rep. of London Soc. and Wilson's Life. Quart. Rev. vol. 17.

(b) Playfair's Dissertation.

(c) See his Narrative; Rep. of the Bib, Soc. and Quart. Rev. vol 18, p. 299 which states that he has excelled all former trayellers.

(d) Hansel translated by Lathrobe at the request of Wilberforce. See Quart, Rev. vol. 11. p. 71.

natural history They give us no account, it is true, of an anomalous and monstrous species of men, such as the ignorant mariner assured Linnæus that he saw upon those islands, and such as the silly Monboddo supposed all men to have been originally; but in their notices of animals and reptiles, of beautiful shells and fruits, and of those peculiar birds, whose nests are the well known dainty of the Chinese, they present much to gratify a more intelligent curiosity. These letters are the fruits of an unfortunate and unsuccessful mission of the Moravians. Their author was the only missionary who survived the effects of the climate, and he was called to the painful duty of closing the establishment. "Words" says he, "cannot express the sensations, which crowded upon my mind while I was executing this task. When I beheld our burying ground where eleven of my brethren have their resting place, as seed sown in a barren land, I burst into tears. Often have I visited that place and sat down and wept over their graves."

Missions it was said, have made contributions to moral and civil his tory. It is obvious that the missionary has peculiar facilities for investigating those topics. He dwells in the bosom of the people, he is with them from day to day, he sees them in every variety of situation. He must learn their traditions, observe their customs, detect their vices. He may gain access also to the public documents, and written histories, if any exist in the country. Such facilities, the Catholic missionaries enjoyed in China, when from other foreigners every thing was sedulously concealed. To their accounts and to the works which spring out of them, to which I have before alluded, the world was long (a) indebted for most that it knew of the country and the countrymen of Confucius.

It was

from the missionaries also that Spain learned the civil history of her prov(a) I believe until the European embassies were sent to the Chinese Court.

inces in America. One of them wrote a history of the new world,(6) respecting which, Dr. Robertson remarks: "it contains more accurate observations perhaps, and more sound science than are to be found in any description of remote countries, published in that age." Another left(a) a manuscript history of St. Domingo, which was the basis for the work of Charlesvoix. From the writings of these men, the great Scottish historian just named, derived much assistance, and he was indebted even, as he acknowledges(c), to communications received from David Brainerd. Within a few years, still greater additions have been made from missionary sources to this department of knowledge. The works of Heckewelder on the Indians of North America possess at once the purity of a book of devotion, and the charms of a book of romance. The productions of Ward and Dubois, on the manners and customs of the Hindoos, will be consulted by all who wish to understand the character of a people exhibiting as that people does, a most strange amalgamation of savage and civilized society.

Philology has been advanced by the instrumentality of missions. The improvements made in this interesting science during the present age have resulted in a great measure from an increased acquaintance with the languages of uncivilized nations. These present facts which go far to overthrow the favourite theories of the older philologists. Many of them, especially those of some tribes of the American Indians, exhibit a harmony and copiousness and regularity of structure, that are truly surprising. "I am lost in astonishment" says Mr. Duponceau, speaking of this circumstance, "and can only account for it by looking up to the first great cause." The efforts of this gentleman, and of another in

(a) Acasta, Civ. and Nat Hist. Robertson's preface to his America. (b) Lett. Ed. vol. 8.

(c) Preface to his history of America.

a neighboring State, one of the most distinguished scholars of the country, are forming a new era in American philology. But those men, (*) I doubt not, will be the first to speak of their obligations, and the obligations of their favourite science to the humble missionary-to Heckewelder, to Zeisberger, and to the venerable Elliot, whose grammar and translations have preserved to us the language of a nation, that has long since mouldered into dust, and left its lands and streams to be our inheritance. The scholars of Europe have advanced beyond our own in these researches. We only stare with surprise when they speak of twelve hundred(a), different dialects in America, or incredulously ask for the sources of their information. Most of the materials which they have enjoyed were collected by Humboldt, and were to a very great extent(b) drawn from the dictionaries and grainmars of the French, German and Spanish missionaries. Philology has derived inportant benefit from missions to the East. The American missionaries have prepared dictionaries and grammars of several oriental(c) languages. Dr. Carey (d) has published grammars of eight and a dictionary

of one.

Dr. Marshman has thrown a flood of light upon the Chinese. The Catholic missionaries had represented the acquisition of this language as a work of stupendous difficulty. He(e) shows that it may be acquired as easily as the Latin and Greek. He has discovered also, what no one before him had done, that it possesses an alphabet of sounds, an alphabet whose characters are not (*) See Elliot's grammar by Pickering

and memoirs American Acad. vol. 4. p. 358 and transactions of the Hist. and Lit.

Com, of the Am. Phil. Soc. vol. 1.

(a) See the Review of Adelung's Mithridates.

[blocks in formation]

merely directed to the eye, like an Egyptian hieroglyphic (f) or thesigns of the deaf and dumb, but directed to the ear likewise, and capable of conveying sounds to distant regions as easily and acurately as a western alphabet. Dr. Morrison(g) has rendered equal service in completing a work, which is to the Chinese language what the immortal work of Johnson is to the English. He has given to the world the imperial dictionary of China, improved by additions from his own knowledge, from the Jesuit manuscript, from native scholars, and from various Chinese works, and enriched besides by frequent allusions to the sentiments, customs, and institutions of the people.

But it is not oriental philology only that these missionaries have promoted; they have accomplished much for oriental literature in the larger sense. This is the last topic from which I shall attempt to illustrate the subject before us. It has been common to hear the most extravagant praises of oriental literature. Worlds of genius, and taste, and wisdom, have been supposed to lie concealed in the eastern languages. This resulted in a considerable degree from the exaggerated statements of the Jesiuts, which were echoed and re-echoed by the credulous suvans of France. Some of the small pieces, which have been translated into European languages certainly give a very favorable impression. A specimen of the China drama by the Jesuits was the foundation of Voltaire's Orphan of China. An Indian piece (h) by Sir Walter Jones is beautiful. But with few exceptions of this sort, nothing has been found in any measure to justify the high panegyrics so often uttered, and at length

(f) There may be some connection between Marshman's and Champollioin's discoveries.

(g) See Ch. Obs. This is pronounced one of the most acceptable vol's. which the study of Asiatic literature has pro duced, Quart. Rev.

(h) Sacontala.

the expectations from oriental literature have become more rational. The translation of the Zendavesta began to dissipate the prevailing delusion. The translation of Confucius by Dr. Marshman, contributed to the same effect. The Chinese lawgiver seems, as exhibited by the Jesuit, a prodigy of greatness and wisdom, but when raised from a long burial in the darkness of an unknown language, he appears, to say the least, a more indifferent personage. The translation of the Ramàyŭna has done still more to reveal the character of Hindoo literature. This poem is one of the Hindoo sacred books. It promises peace and salvation, yea, all manner of perfections and enjoyments to every one who will read it through. It is indeed esteemed by the inhabit ants of India as the book of books; but is an ocean of the dark and the absurd. It exhibits all the extravagance of the Arabian Nights, with vastly more that is childish, and less that is splendid, while the few portions it has of beauty or pathos are necessarily forgotten in the perpetual recurrence of bombast and obscenity. Now by these and minor translations, and by their other publications, the Baptist Missionaries particularly, have merited the thanks of scholars. They have indeed shown that the literary treasures of the East will prove trifles, generally, rather than gems. But to do this was to increase our knowledge; for their labors they have actually received the acknowledgements of Europeans, although not so generally as they deserve. “Whatever may be the result of their labors in diffusing Christianity," says an English Reviewer, "there can be no question that by their translations they bring important accessions to our stock of Asiatic literature.

[To be concluded.]


ÍI. Tim. iv. 6, 7, 8.—For I am now ready to be offered, and the time


of my departure is at hand. have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also, that love his appearing.

Timothy, the person addressed in this Epistle, was Paul's own son in the faith'-he was converted when a youth by the Apostle's preaching at Derbe and Lystra. This was on the apostle's first tour of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles. On his second journey, when he came again to Derbe and Lystra, he took Timothy, who seems to have been a peculiarly interesting youth, as his companion and fellow labourer. He loved him, as a father does a child, not only because he had been the instrument of his conversion; but because he found him disinterestedly faithful to the cause of Christ, and affectionately fond of him, as his spirIn his letter to the Coritual father. iuthians, the apostle styles Timothy "his beloved son and faithful in the Lord."-To the Philippians he declares, "I have no man like minded, who will naturally care for your state; for all seek their own, not the things that are Jesus Christ's. But ye know the proof of him, that as a son with a father, he hath served with me in the gospel."


Timothy, by being for a long time, a companion and fellow labourer with the apostle, was well acquainted with his labours, sufferings and selfdenial in the cause of Christ. "But thou fully knowest my doctrine," (says the apostle to him, in this same Epistle), manner of life, purpose, faith, long suffering, charity, patience, persecutions, afflictions, which came upon me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra ;-what persecutions I endured." The strength and vigour of his manhood, the apostle had devoted truly to the service of his Lord, but now, he was "such an one as

Paul the aged," and also a prisoner of Jesus Christ. The frost of age had settled upon his brows though it had not chilled his heart. His strength and vigor had been worn out in the service of his master. God had preserved him indeed for many years, while walking in the midst of dan gers and death, but now his work was done, and he was ready, as his last act, to offer up his soul to the same cause, to which he had devoted his life; and to seal with his blood the testimony which he had uniformly borne to the truth of the gospel.

"I am ready to be offered, and when I am gone, take, my son, your spiritual father as an example. You have witnessed my labours and dangers, sufferings and sacrifices, doctrine and manner of life:-follow me, so far as I have followed Christ; and if you have witnessed my trials and sufferings, you have also for your encouragement, witnessed my hopes, my joys and consolations in Christ. I am ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand ;— quicken your dilligence, therefore, that you may supply the place of them that are going before you. I am ready to be offered. I have fought a good fight, I bave finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."

The situation of this great and good man in prison, and ready to be offered, bis reflections and prospects, bis consolations and joys, in the full view of approaching death, form to gether an interesting object of con templation. We are particularly struck by his triumphant feelings, such as nothing but the Christian religion ever inspired in such a situation. and are led to enquire what were the reflections, and what the prospects, which could thus dissipate the gloom of a prison, and deprive the king of terrors of his power. The

apostle is standing on the verge of the eternal world: He casts his eye back over that part of his life which had been devoted to the cause of Christ, and forward to the glories of eternity opening on his view. His hopes of the future are founded on his retrospect of the past. "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge will give me at that day.


Let us for own improvement turn our attention to the particulars, here noticed in this brief review of his christian life.

First, "I have fought a good fight." He had been a good soldier in the cause of Christ. Faithful and zealously devoted to his master, his natural impetuosity, when enlisted in his service, led him to throw himself in the fore front of the hottest battle, and with eager intrepidity to challenge forth the boldest champions in the hosts of infidelity. He hesitated not to declare the honours of his king before the bitterest of his own bigoted countrymen, before the contemptuous philosophers of Greece-before profligate Roman Governers, and before Nero himself; considering it not the least consolation in his imprisonment, that it enabled him, at his trial, to declare the unsearchable riches of Christ to those to whom otherwise he could not have access. He not only faced danger, but also endured hardness as a good soldier of Christ. Fatigues, hardships, famine and sufferings, were his constant companions. Stoned in one city for preaching the gospel, and dragged out for dead, as soon as he was able to rise, it was to preach the gospel again. Thrown into prison, and confined in fetters, the moment he was released, he commenced his warfare anew. Shipwrecked thrice, five times scourged by the Jews, thrice beaten with rods, in perils by sea and land, from his own countrymen, from the heatheu, and from false brethren, in weariness and painfuluess, in watchings

« PreviousContinue »