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reasonably challenge. The greater part of the When Mr. Heber's acceptance of the bishopric year was, however, still spent by him at Hodnet, |of Calcutta was announced to his friends, the inwhere he had now erected a dwelling for his per- telligence was received with surprise by some, and manent residence.
with deep regret by many, whose personal feelings In this manner upwards of fifteen years had were too powerful to be altogether excluded from passed away since he had settled at Hodnet, dur- the question. Satisfied, as they were, that a ing which he was in the enjoyment of all the be- bright career was open for him at home, and not nefits of refined society, and all the blessings of taking the enlarged view of human duty which domestic life, which no one could more highly was familiar to him, they suffered their own selfish appreciate. His income was much more than delight in his society and honours to interfere with competent to all his wants, and his pure and well his ardent desire to do good to all men. Bishop balanced mind was satisfied with his enjoyments. Middleton, too, it was well known, had sunk unHe sought not distinction, but gifted as he was der the heavy duties of the station, joined to the with the means of being useful to mankind, it was debilitating effects of a tropical clime; and to many beyond his power to avoid it. If he had desired of Mr. Heber's friends, it seemed that he was too eminence, the way was plainly open before him, ready to go, crowned indeed with flowers, like a and he had only to put forth those powers with victim to the sacrifice. It was, moreover, believwhich he was so liberally endowed, to reach it. ed, by some of those who would have dissuaded If ambition had been his object, he would have him from the duty, that his character possessed been fully justified in indulging sanguine hopes some points, which, however amiable in themselves, of advancement in England. Among the whole were calculated to prevent that eminent degree of bench of English prelates, if talents and virtues success, which could atone for the sacrifice he was constitute a claim, there was none better entitled to make, and the hazard he was certainly to ento his seat, or more capable of adorning it, than counter. It was thought, too, that the striking Reginald Heber would have been.
simplicity of his taste and manners would be little On the death of Dr. Middleton, the first En- suited to a country where the object chiefly sought glish Bishop of Calcutta, the diocesan charge of was wealth, and where pomp and show were unithe English Churches in India was offered to him. versal idols. There was, too, about him, notwithReluctance to leave his aged mother, and his coun- standing all he had seen and read of human life try, made him at once decline the offer. But its and human character, a prodigality of kindness acceptance was pressed upon him by friends, and confidence in his nature, which would render whose opinions he highly estimated; and after the it very difficult for him, it was supposed, to oppose lapse of a week, spent in devout meditation and himself with sufficient decision to the many obprayer to Him who holds the destinies of man, he stacles which he might meet with, in a course of desired that this station, of which the honour most government, yet barely tried upon those who were certainly, to use the language of Jeremy Taylor, to be the subjects of it, and among whom many would not pay the burthen, if not already disposed conflicting interests were likely to appear. No of, might be entrusted to him. He bent himself misgivings, however, of this kind, ever occurred to holily to that overruling Providence, which, in all his own mind. He knew, and had weighed well the incidents of his life, he never ceased to regard the various difficulties with which Christianity as working all things for good. And when the had to contend in India, and, modest and humble appointment was, at length, given him, a distrust- as he was, he had anxiously studied the quality ful and uneasy sensation, which had distressed his and bent of his own resources in regard to them. mind at the apprehension that he might have The more he thought of the matter in this light, shrunk, in too cowardly a spirit, from the obvious the more strongly was he convinced that India dictates of duty, passed away, and he acquired was the proper field for his Christian labours, and new confidence in himself
, from the conviction that having brought his mind to this result, he deterhe had acted rightly. "I can say with confi- mined that no sense of personal gratification or dence," he wrote to a friend at this time," that I comfort, nor any hope of future dignity, should have acted for the best ; and even now, that the interfere with a conviction, which he deliberately die is cast, I feel no regret at the resolution I have regarded as a voice from heaven, speaking to his taken, nor any distrust of the mercies and good-conscience. ness of Providence, who may protect both me and On Sunday, the twentieth of April, he took mine, and, if he sees best for us, bring us back leave of his congregation, in a discourse which has again, and preserve our excellent friends to wel- been repeatedly published, in the close of which come us."
he bade them farewell, in the following pious,
* In explanation of this expression, it is stated, that in con. and chaplains of the Anglo-Indian Church are allowed to me. sequence of the peculiarity of the service in India, the bishops I turn to England after a certain term of service.
beautiful, and even eloquent expressions, the uni- | pectations) with which my announced departure versal admiration of which has been amply proved has been received by you; in your expressed and by the frequency with which they have appeared repeated wishes for my welfare and my return; in in print:
the munificent token of your regard, with which I "My ministerial labours among you must have have been this morning honoured;* in your nuan end; I must give over into other hands, the merous attendance on the present occasion, and task of watching over your spiritual welfare ; and in those marks of emotion which I witness around many, very many, of those with whom I have me, and in which I am myself well nigh congrown up from childhood, in whose society I have strained to join. For all these accept such thanks passed my happiest days, and to whom it has been, as I can pay-accept my best wishes--accept my during more than fifteen years, my duty and my affectionate regrets_accept the continuance of the delight (with such ability as God has given me) to prayers which I have hitherto offered up for you preach the gospel of Christ, must, in all probabi- daily, and in which, whatever or wherever- my lity, see my face in the flesh no more. Under such sphere of duty may hereafter be, my congregation circumstances, and connected with many who now of Hodnet shall (believe it !) never be forgotten." hear me by the dearest ties of blood, of friendship, His consecration to the office of bishop took and of gratitude, some mixture of regret is excus- place in May, 1823. A few days previous to this able, some degree of sorrow is holy. I can not, event, he wrote to a friend in the country: “My without some anxiety for the future, forsake, for consecration is fixed for next Sunday; and, as the an untried and arduous field of duty, the quiet time draws near, I feel its awfulness very strongly scenes, where, during so much of my past last life, -far more, I think, than the parting which is to I have enjoyed a more than usual share of earthly follow a fortnight after. I could wish to have the comfort and prosperity; I can not bid adieu to prayers of my old congregation, but know not how those with whose idea almost every recollection of to express the wish in conformity with custom, or past happiness is connected, without many earnest without seeming to court notoriety." wishes for their welfare, and (I will confess it) Shortly after his consecration, a special meetwithout some severe self-reproach, that, while it ing of the ancient Society for Promoting Christian was in my power, I have done so much less than I Knowledge, which had for some years been enought to have done, to render that welfare eternal. gaged in active benevolent operations in India, and There are, indeed, those bere who know, and which comprises many of the most eminent memthere is One, above all, who knows better than bers of the Church of England, was called, for the any of you, how earnestly I have desired the peace purpose of giving Bishop Heber a public dismissal and the holiness of his church; how truly I have and farewell. There were present on this occaloved the people of this place; and how warmly sion, the Archbishop of Canterbury, several of the I have hoped to be the means, in his hand, of Bishops, and a large and highly respectable atbringing many among you to glory. But I am at tendance of the fair, the wise, and the pious of the this moment but too painfully sensible, that in realm. The Bishop of Bristol pronounced a vamany things, yea in all, my performance has fallen ledictory address to him in the name of that veneshort of my principles; that neither privately nor rable body, at once dignified, impressive, and publicly have I taught you with so much diligence affectionate. From this address the following as now seems necessary in my eyes: nor has my passage is extracted, and while it does no more example set forth the doctrines in which I have, than justice to the motives of Bishop Heber, it however imperfectly, instructed you; yet, if my will at the same time be gratifying to the reader. zeal has failed in steadiness, it never has been "My Lord— The Society for promoting Chriswanting in sincerity. I have expressed no con- tian Knowledge desire to offer to your Lordship viction which I have not deeply felt; have preach their sincere congratulations upon your elevation ed no doctrine which I have not steadfastly be- to the Episcopal Seo of Calcutta. lieved: however inconsistent my life, its leading “ They derive from your appointment to this object has been your welfare-and I have hoped, high office the certain assurance, that all the adand sorrowed, and studied, and prayed for your vantages which they have anticipated from the instruction, and that you might be saved. For my formation of a Church Establishment in India, will labours, such as they were, I have been indeed be realized; and that the various plans for the toost richly rewarded, in the uniform affection and diffusion of true religion among its inhabitants, respect which I have received from my parishion- which have been so wisely laid and so auspiciously ers; in their regular and increasing attendance in commenced by your lamented predecessor, will, thuis holy place, and at the table of the Lord; in under your superintendence and control, advance the welcome which I have never failed to meet in the houses both of rich and poor; in the regret • A piece of plate had been given Mr. Heber by his pa. (beyond my deserts, and beyond my fullest ex- rishioners.
with a steady and uninterrupted progress. They cuddy daily during the voyage. He read prayers ground this assurance upon the rare union of in- and preached regularly once on each Sunday; and tellectual and moral qualities which combine to on one occasion, having on the previous Sunday form your character. They ground it upon the discoursed to the passengers and crew, in the way steadfastness of purpose, with which, from the pe- of preparation, he administered the Lord's Supper, riod of your admission into the ministry, you have and was highly pleased; having been told to expect exclusively dedicated your time and talents to the only one or two, that he had twenty-six or twentypeculiar studies of your sacred profession; aban- seven participants; and his gratification was much doning that human learning in which you had al- increased when he observed in the course of the ready shown that you were capable of attaining evening of the same day, that “all the young men the highest excellence, and renouncing the certain who had participated, had religious books in their prospect of literary fame. But, above all, they hands, and that they appeared, indeed, much imground this assurance upon the signal proof of self- pressed.” devotion, which you have given by your accept The following incidents are extracted from his ance of the episcopal office. With respect to any journal of the voyage as tending to show the chaother individual, who had been placed at the head racter of his feelings at this interesting crisis. A of the Church Establishment in India, a suspicion few days after they had left land, a vessel passed might have been entertained that some worldly the ship homeward bound. On this event here desire, some feeling of ambition, mingled itself marks,“ my wife's eyes swam with tears as this with the motives by which he was actuated; but, vessel passed us, and there were one or two of the in your case, such a suspicion would be destitute young men who looked wishfully after her. For even of the semblance of truth: every enjoyment my own part, I am well convinced all my firmness which a well regulated mind can derive from the would go, if I allowed myself to look back, even possession of wealth, was placed within your for a moment. Yet, as I did not leave home and reach: every avenue to professional distinction and its blessings without counting the cost, I do not, dignity, if these had been the objects of your soli- and I trust in God, that I shall not, regret the eitude, lay open before you. What then was the choice I have made. But knowing how much motive which could incline you to quit your native others have given up for my sake, should make me land ?—to exchange the delights of home for a te-more studious to make the loss less to them; and dious voyage to distant regions ?—to separate also, and above all, so to discharge my duty, as yourself from the friends with whom you had con- that they may never think that these sacrifices versed from your earliest years? What, but an have been made in vain.” Again; about a month ardent wish to become the instrument of good to after his departure, he writes—" How little did I others—a holy zeal in your Master's service-a dream at this time last year, that I should ever be firm persuasion, that it was your bounden duty to in my present situation! How strange it now submit yourself unreservedly to his disposal; to seems to me to recollect the interest which I used shrink from no labour which he might impose; to to take in all which related to southern seas and count no sacrifice hard which he might require ?" distant regions, to India and its oceans, to Austra
In his reply the Bishop expressed “the settled lasia and Polynesia! I used to fancy I should like purpose of his soul,” to devote his best talents "to to visit them, but that I ever should, or could do the great cause in which all their hearts were en- so, never occurred to me. Now, that I shall see gaged, and for which it was not their duty only many of these countries, if life is spared to me, is but their illustrious privilege to labour," and that not improbable. God grant that my conduct in he looked forward with pleasure to s the time when the scenes to which he has appointed me may be he should be enabled to preach to the natives of such as to conduce to his glory, and to my own India in their own language." About the same salvation through his Son.” Such was the spirit time the University of Oxford conferred on him in which this holy man denied himself, took up his the Degree of Doctor in Divinity, by diploma. cross, and followed Christ.
On the sixteenth of June, he embarked for He arrived at Calcutta early in October, 1823, Calcutta; accompanied to the ship by a large num- and immediately entered upon the duties of his ber of his personal friends, who, as he modestly re- office. That he did so with satisfaction to himself marks in his Journal, were willing to let him see is proved by a letter to Mr. Wynn, his friend and as much of them as possible before his departure. connexion, who had anxiously pressed him to acOne of his first thoughts after the ship had sailed, cept the office, written soon after his arrival. He was to propose daily evening prayers, and he was says, “ you will judge from my description that I gratified at the readiness with which the captain have abundant reason to be satisfied with my preassented to the proposal. He accordingly officiated sent and future prospects; and that in the field as chaplain to the ship, reading prayers in thel which seems opened to me for extensive useful
ness and active employment, I have more and more had most reason to expect encouragement. Those reason to be obliged to the friend who has placed days are, for the present, gone by. Through the me here."
Christian prudence, the Christian meekness, the In the following spring (May, 1824) he collected Christian perseverance, and indomitable faith of around him the Episcopal clergy of the presidency the friends of our good cause, and through the of Calcutta, and held a visitation. The number protection, above all, and the blessing of the Alwas but small, but he experienced much pleasure mighty, they are gone by! The angel of the Lord in bringing them together for mutual acquaint- has, for a time, shut the mouths of these fiercer ance, and in particular, that he might himself be lions, and it is the false brother now, the preenabled to acquire a knowledge of their characters tended fellow-soldier in Christ, who has lift up his and views. At this time he had the pleasure of heel against the propagation of the Christian gosordaining the first native convert who was admit- pel. ted to the ministry of the English Church, "in “But thus it is that the power of antichrist hath the person of Christian David, a black catechist of worked hitherto and doth work. Like those spectre Ceylon, and a pupil of the celebrated Schwartz." forms which the madness of Orestes saw in classiOn this occasion he delivered to the clergy an elo- cal mythology, the spirit of religious party sweeps quent charge, in which he expatiated at large upon before us in the garb and with the attributes of the qualities, principles, and habits, which to him pure and evangelical religion. The cross is on appeared to be necessary to the usefulness of those her shoulders, the chalice is in her hand, and she who should undertake the labours of an Indian is anxiously busied, after her manner, in the sermissionary Delighting, through the whole of the vice of Him by whose holy name she is also called. time he passed in India, to be considered simply as But outstrip her in the race, but press her a little its chief missionary, it may easily be believed that too closely, and she turns round on us with all the he dwelt on those topics con amore. In the fol- hideous features of envy and of rage. Her hallowing passage of that charge, he pours forth his lowed taper blazes into a sulphurous torch, her soal in a strain of awful and indignant rebuke hairs bristle into serpents, her face is as the face of against the Abbe Dubois, and other opposers of them that go down to the pit, and her words are Christian missions, which is scarcely to be paral- words of blasphemy! leled in our language.
“What other spirit could have induced a Chris" Nor can it be a matter of reasonable surprise tian minister, after himself, as he tells us, long lato any of us, that the exertions (missionary) of bouring to convert the heathen, to assert that one this kind, which the last fifteen years have wit- hundred millions of human beings—a great, a civilnessed, should have excited a mingled feeling ofized, an understanding, and most ancient people, surprise and displeasure in the minds, not only of are collectively and individually under the sentence those who are strangers to the powerful and pecu- of reprobation from God, and under a moral inliar emotions which send forth the Missionary to capacity of receiving that gospel which the God bis toil, but of those who, though themselves not who gave it hath appointed to be made known to idle, could not endure that God should employ all ? other instruments besides; and were ready to speak “ What other spirit coulů have prompted a evil of the work itself, rather than that others who member of that church which professes to hold out followed not with them should cast out devils in the greatest comfort to sinners, to assert of a nathe name of their common Master. To the former tion with whom, whatever are their faults, I, for of these classes may be referred the louder opposi-one, should think it impossible to live long withtion, the clamours, the expostulation, the alarm, out loving them, that they are not only enslaved the menace and ridicule which, some few years to a cruel and degrading superstition, but that the ago, were systematically and simultaneously le principal persons among them are sold to all manvelled at whatever was accomplished or attempted ner of wickedness and cruelty; without mercy to for the illumination of our Indian fellow-subjects. the poor; without natural affection for each other; We can well remember, most of us, what revolu- and this with no view to quicken the zeal of Christions and wars were predicted to arise from the tians, to release them from their miserable condimust peaceable preaching and argument; what tion, but that Christians may leave them in that taunts and mockery were directed against scholars condition still, to the end that they may perish who had opened to us the gates of the least acces- everlastingly ? siule oriental dialects; what opprobrious epithets “What other spirit, finally, could have led a were lavished on men of whom the world was not Christian missionary, (with a remarkable disreworthy. We have heard the threats of the mighty; gard of truth, the proofs of which are in my We have heard the hisses of the fool; we bave wit- hands,) to disparage the success of the different Dessed the terrors of the worldly wise, and the un- Protestant missions; to detract from the numkirad suspicions of those from whom the Missionary bers, and vilify the good name of that ancient Sy
rian church, whose flame, like the more sacred finely illustrated in the following passage of the fire of Horeb, sheds its lonely and awful bright- same letter. “One lesson has been very deeply ness over the woods and mountains of Malabar, imprinted on my heart by these few days. If and to assure us, (hear, Oh Israel !) in the same this man's innocent and useful life (for I have no treatise, and almost in the same page, that the doubt that the greater part of his life has been both Christians of India are the most despised and innocent and useful) offered so many painful rewretched of its inhabitants; that whoever takes up collections, and called forth such deep contrition, the cross, takes up the hatred of his own people, when in the hour of death he came to examine the contempt of Europeans, loss of goods, loss of every instance of omission or transgression, how employment, destitution, and often beggary; and careful must we be to improve every hour, and yet that it is interest alone, and a love of this world, every opportunity of grace, and so to remember which has induced, in any Hindu, even a tempo- God while we live, that we may not be afraid to rary profession of the gospel ?
think on him when dying! And, above all, how "And this is the professed apologist of the peo- blessed and necessary is the blood of Christ to us ple of India! My brethren, I have known the all, which was poor Stowe's only and effectual sharpness of censure, and I am not altogether with comfort!” Any man might be proud of such an out experience in the suffering of undeserved and eulogy as he gave to the memory of his friend, injurious imputations. And, let the righteous which, indeed, he dwells upon in successive letters smite me friendly, I shall receive it trust in to Mrs. Heber, as if unable to abandon the subject. God) with gratitude. Let my enemy write a book, This lingering over the recollection of a deserving so he be my open enemy, I trust (through the object evinces the strength of his attachment, and same Divine aid) to bear it or to answer it. But the more powerfully because alluded to incidentwhatever reproofs I may deserve; to whatever cal-ally, and in a way which he could not have sup umnies I may be subjected; may the mercy of posed would meet any other eyes than those for Heaven defend me from having a false friend for whose special perusal the letters were intended.* my vindicator !"
In the same manner did he show the strength of Soon after this he commenced his first visitation, his domestic feelings, when, a few days before the accompanied by his friend and chaplain, the Rev. decease of Stowe, after indulging himself in a deMartin Stowe, who had followed him from En- scription of the beautiful scenery of the river in gland. As it was late in the season before he could his journal, he suddenly, and, as if exultingly, releave his family, which at first he intended should marks—" Today I had the delight of hearing also accompany him, he was obliged to travel by again from my wife, and this is worth all the scenewater in preference to the then hazardous journey ry in the world!" by land. He accordingly left Calcutta in a pin
It was understood between the Bishop and nace for Upper India, and ascended the Ganges Mrs. Heber, that they were to meet at Boglipoor, as high as Allahabad, upwards of six hundred a place on the river some distance above Dacca, miles from Calcutta; stopping at all the principal but the dangerous sick ness of their children complaces, and particularly wherever any official duty pelled Mrs. Heber to remain at Calcutta, and this awaited him, or a congregation of Christians could feeling and sensitive man was doomed to be disapbe collected, however small; and though obliged pointed of the happy meeting he was anticipating, to preach, as was often the case, within the con- and to be deprived of the company of his beloved tracted rooms of a temporary Indian dwelling wife, in a journey which was yet to be extended house. At Dacca, he was called to the painful through a whole year! In a letter to her at this trial, for such his journal proves it to have been, period he says, "your joining me is out of the quesof parting with his friend Stowe; who, from im- tion;" and adds, “I am strangely tempted to come prudent exposure, brought on himself a disease of to you. But I fear it might be a compromise of the climate, which in a few days destroyed his my duty and a distrust of God! I feel most gratelife. Bishop Heber, in giving an account, which ful indeed to him for the preservation of our invais pathetically descriptive of his loss, to Mrs. He-luable treasures." And having said this he went ber, mentions incidentally, what he had not other on his way, in the path to which duty called. wise alluded to, that from the very beginning of From Allahabad he travelled on horseback, the journey they had prayed and read together with, as is usual, and even necessary in that coundaily, and that, on the last Sunday which he saw, try, a considerable suite, to Almorah in the Himathey had received the sacrament together; and Jaya mountains, and from thence across the counadds, “I trust I shall never forget the deep contri- try to Surat, where he embarked for Bombay; at tion and humility, the carnest prayer, or the earnest faith in the mercies of Christ, with which he
His letter to Miss Slowe on the death of her brother is a commended himself to God.” And his pious heart, though wounded, could pour consolation into a bosom
fine specimen of the manner in which a seeling and Christian habit of drawing instruction from every event, is more deeply wounded still.