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enemy. It is not generous to reproach a fallen power; but Llewellin, if the Gospel be, what you say it was in the first ages, that mighty power of God, which overturned idolatry wherever it went, and made the wilderness of evil to bud and blossom like the garden of Paradise ; how can you account for the very feeble impression which it makes amongst the people to whom you have sent it.”
Mr. Llewellin. “Indeed, Sir, Christianity does not require the aid of the civil magistrate to shield her when she is attacked, or avenge her wrongs on those who revile and defame her. She would rather forgive the contumacious offenders, than attempt to subdue their hostility by fines and imprisonment; and when the powers of this world would call down fire from heaven to consume them; or bring up demons from beneath to bear them off, she indignantly says, “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. When her divine origin is doubted or denied, she appeals to the evidences of her celestial descent; and if they fail to produce a plenary conviction on the enquirer, she leaves him to the consequences of his own scepticism; but gives no sanction to the civil magistrate to inflict any corporeal punishment."
“You rather sarcastically admit the triumphs of the Gospel over the idolatry of Greece and of Rome; but intimate that it is now become so enervated and powerless, that it produces but a very feeble impression amongst those to whom we have sent it. If this were the case, it should not excite our surprize; as we have no reason to expect the extraordinary interposition of divine power in attending it with that signal success, which marked its progress when it was first preached. It is now entrusted to agents, who possess no miraculous endowments; and is left to work its way amongst a people by the slow progress of reason and of persuasion; softening down their prejudices, by rendering its truths familiar to them ; and overcoming their hostility by patience and forbearance ; displaying at times all the symptoms of a human scheme, which will inevitably fail in accomplishing its professed design ; and yet at no period in its history has it gained more illustrious triumphs over ignorance, and superstition, and vice, than in modern times. When the Islands of the South Seas were discovered by Captain Cook in the year 1769, the people were sunk into the lowest state of barbarism addicted to every species of wickedness-savage in their manners—the votaries and the victims of a superstition, terrible as death, and insatiable as the grave. In the year 1796, the London Missionary Society was established; and her first Missionaries were sent to these Islands. There they continued year after year, witnessing the degeneracy of the people, without being able to stay its progress ; exposed to their insults and derision; sometimes obliged to remove from one island to another for the preservation of their own lives, while the sceptics of Europe were often holding them and their patrons up to contempt, for the folly and madness of their enterprize. Yes, Sir, the zealous advocates of Christian Missions often saw the finger of scorn pointing to the South, when some of your brethren sarcastically asked, What news? At length the news came, and so well authenticated, that you dare not contradict it. Idolatry is entirely destroyed; and the deities which the poor deluded islanders so long worshipped, are now deposited in our Missionary Museum, for the express purpose, to quote the language of King Pomare, that we may see what foolish gods Tahaite formerly worshipped. They have built chapels, which they have consecrated to the service of the living and the true God, and instituted the observance of the Christian Sabbath ; they have parts of the Scriptures,—and some devotional hymns, - and elementary books of general knowledge translated into their language; they are learning to read and write ; are becoming acquainted with some of the arts and sciences; are building houses, cultivating the soil, engaging in commercial speculations, and introducing a system of jurisprudence, which would not disgrace an European state. Indeed, so completely is the scene changed, that the Captain of a vessel, who had known them when in a state of Pagan superstition, happening to enter one of their harbours on a Sabbath-day, concluded that the whole population of the Island was destroyed, as no canoes put off from the shore, nor were there any natives to be seen on the beach to welcome his arrival.”
shipping the Lord of hosts; and listening to that Gospel which had been the instrumental means of effecting this astonishing moral revolution. — A moral revolution which reflects a greater degree of lustre on Christianity, than she ever acquired in Greece or in Rome ; as it was brought about by the instrumentality of agents, who were endowed with no miraculous powers to demonstrate the divinity of the truth which they proclaimed, or inspire the people with any superstitious veneration for their persons. By men, who were distinguished by ņo vigour of intellect—by no originality of genius—by no powers of eloquence; but who, having felt the renewing influence of the truth on their own heart, preached it in its simplicity and purity; till ignorance and prejudice, and superstition and vice, gave way before its all-subduing power; and now the light of life illumines these Islands, which for ages were enveloped in Pagan darkness; and the sacred stillness of unruffled peace, reigns where the tumult of internal war, once made the hills and the vales resound with its harsh and dissonant sounds."
- Mr. Gordon. “They are gone then, according to your own shewing, from Paganism to fanaticism ; thus one evil is rooted up, and the ground cleared for the purpose of planting another.”
Mr. Llewellin. “I am utterly at a loss to conceive, what you Deists would do for terms of reproach, if you were interdicted the use of the words, fanaticism, and enthusiasm ; but you will permit me to observe, that their introduction on this occasion, is nothing less than à species of artifice, to .get away, if possible, from the biting proof, which this moral revolution supplies in favour of the resistless power, and beneficial tendency of pure and undefiled Christianity. Call it fanaticism, or call it enthusiasm if you please, but still there is the change, from ignorance to kncwledge—from the worship of wood and stone, to the worship of the living and the true God-from vice to virtue—from beastly indolence to an active industry—from the habits of a barbarous and savage state, to those of civilized life-from the horrors of internal war, to the blessings of social peace; presenting a scene to the imagination of a benevolent man no less astonishing than it is captivating and delightful; and which, if not well' attested, we
should all conclude, formed some splendid paragraph in a romance, rather than a part of sober and authentic history."
Mr. Gordon. “There may have been some pecaliarity in the character of these Islanders, which predisposed them for this change ; which when discovered by the Missionaries, was turned to some good account; as I have no doubt they were qualified for their work, though they possessed none of those splendid talents, which a great enterprize required. You have, I believe, Missionaries in other parts of the world, from whom you receive no such fascinating intelligence. They write in rather a desponding strain, if I mistake not. They find the people not quite so pliable, as they are in the South Seas; and the demon of superstition, which vacated his throne in honour of the South Sea Missionaries, obstinately retains it where they are labouring; notwithstanding all the charms which they employ to induce him to leave it."
Mr. Llewellin. “Yes, Sir, we have Missionaries preaching the Gospel in almost every part of the world; and though their success has not equalled the splendid conquests in the South Seas, yet there has been no entire failure of any importance. In Africa, where so many wrongs have been committed, the cause of Missions flourishes; and many of the ferocious wanderers have been reclaimed from their state of barbarism, and are now living in settlements, under the superintendance of our Missionaries. Amongst the slaves also in the West Indies, the Gospel is preached with very considerable effect; and such is its influence over their minds, that it induces a spirit of contentment under their heavy-oppression; and opens to them the prospect of a state of felicity, which no force of language can describe.” : Mr. Gordon." "I certainly should not object to give my mite towards sending any thing that was capable of mitigating the sufferings of the poor enslaved negroes; but still you will allow me to say, that you have succeeded only amongst the ignorant and the debased. In India, where idolatry is reduced to a system; where its powers of defence are marshalled in due order, and the great mass of the people are really and permanently interested in their superstitious belief, you have met with
no success. Indeed, I understand, that one who has been employed there for upwards of thirty years, has thrown up his commission in despair; giving it as his decided opinion, that the conversion of the Hindoos is impracticable. Is this true, Sir?.
Mr. Llewellin. “It is true, Sir, that the Abbe Dubois, a Catholic Missionary, has failed in his attempts to convert the Hindoos to the Catholic faith; but because he failed in his efforts to establish Catholicism in India ; is that any valid argument against the probable success of our attempting to establish Christianity? We may succeed, where he failed; but still as I wish to meet the question at once, I confess that I should despair of ever being able to bring over the Hindoos to a belief, and a reception of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, if the agents who are employed in this great work, were left to do it themselves. But they are not—they make no such pretensions; they admit the fact of their own inability to make any deep and permanent impression on the most tender and pliant mind, as explicitly as they avow their dependance on the co-operation of a supernatural power. They expect to triumph over idolatry and vice; but then they say, before they go into the field of contest, that the weapons of their warfare are "mighty through God;' and when they gain the victory, they exclaim, •Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. Now, Sir, admitting for the sake of the argument, that the Missionaries who go forth to India to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, can rely on the concurrence of a supernatural power over the judgment and passions of the people, to induce them to receive it; would you say, that their conversion is impracticable ?
Mr. Gordon. “ Certainly not; for that would be to invest the demon of superstition with a power to withstand Omnipotence; but have you ever succeeded in your speculations in India ?”
Mr. Llewellin. “Yes, there are some hundreds of Hindoo Pagans and Mahommedans, who have embraced Christianity since the Missionaries, which went from this country, have been settled in India. This is a fact, placed in the records of history, and confirmed by the