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their own individual exertions, and they must have been too often mortified by the conviction, that, as far as respected the advancement of religious knowledge, or the promotion of religious practice in the world, they had almost " laboured in vain, and spent their strength for nought.” And, while the few scattered clergy of that vast territory were thus wearing out their lives to little profit; the Church, of which they were the only representatives, had scarcely a local habitation or a name in India. Its influence over the public mind was absolutely nothing, even among its professed members ; and its existence as a Church was unknown to the natives. The alteration which has already taken place in all these respects, is happily notorious ; and though-the obstacles which yet remain to be surmounted, are such as no mind, less active and energetic than that which has already achieved so much, would venture to encounter ; yet, when we consider what has been already done, and how signally the blessing of Providence has seemed to rest upon the pious work, we are sanguine in our hopes, that, under the same Divine protection, all the benevolent wishes of the excellent Bishop will be realized, and all his plans accomplished.
The Sermon before us is a gratifying proof that, among the clergy over whom he presides, are to be found men, fully able to estimate the peculiar duties of their situation, and fully prepared to discharge them. And it is with unfeigned pleasure that we call the attention of our readers to this, among the other promising first-fruits of Episcopal superintendance in that most important part of the British dominions.
Mr. Robinson has chosen for his text the following very appropriate passage from the Epistle of St. James. Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and the latter rain. Be ye also patient ; stablish your hearts : for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. James v. 7, 8.
After explaining the spirit and purport of the Apostle's language, he observes that, though the Christian Church does not now labour under the pressure of external persecu-, tion, the admonitions of the text can never be unseasonable to its members.
“ The Christian Church must ever be militant upon earth ; for, though it may have triumphed over external opposition, it has other foes to vanquish, and other difficulties to surmount. These trials will vary with the political events of the world, and above all, with the spirit and genius of the age. And, however we may dis
guise the truth from ourselves, the difficulties that assail the Church, even in times of prosperity and peace, are neither few nor trifling." P. 10.
From this general and obvious application of the text, he goes on to point out those circumstances connected with their professional duties in that country, which seem to render the admonition of the Apostle peculiarly appropriate to his bearers.
One of the first discouragements which a clergyman meets with at his entrance upon his duties, is the disinclination of the world around him, to admit the real value of his ministry. Deeply impressed, bimself, with the awful responsibility devolved upon him, by the sacred character which he has undertaken to sustain, of an ambassador of Christ; and of its incalculable importance to society at large, when its duties are properly discbarged, he will naturally be disposed to " magnify his office.” When then the daily intercourse of life convinces him, that few now really esteem the clergy for the sake of their holy function, or allow any authority to their pastoral character, it will require no ordinary portion of steadiness and perseverance, to bear up against such a mortifying conviction, and to go on with equal firmness “through evil report and good report," adopting the sentiments and feelings which induced the great Apostle, to declare to the Corinthians, “ with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment *.” To the clergyman in India, all the discouraging sensations which may be awakened by the indifference, of those among whom his lot is cast, to his professional character, will be increased by various circumstances. He will feel himself almost an insulated being ; and so far removed from all means of communication with his brethren, as to be seldom able to avail himself of their advice or assistance; he will be too probably thrown ainong those, who previously for years together have been unaccustomed to the ordinances of religion; and it is hardly to be expected, that they should at once receive him with that confidence and affection, which it must ever be his interest to inspire : and he will be further disheartened by finding his congregation so small, and in its composition so variable, as to afford him scarcely any scope for exertion, or any hope of being able, even in a few cases, to make full proof of his ministry +.
* 1 Cor. iv. 3.
† 2 Tim. iv. 5.
Another circumstance to which the preacher alludes we shall give in his own words, for the passage is highly creditable to his professional feelings.
“ The last cause of discouragement which I shall mention, is perhaps of all others the most powerful, if not in lessening our actual usefulness, at least in taking away some of the happiest and most characteristic employments of our profession. I mean the absence of the lower orders of society. The cottages of the poor, and the domestic circles of those who are equally removed from affluence and want,-these, if I mistake not, form the happiest scenes for the exercise of our ministry. These look up to us as the natural guardians of their best and dearest interests; for advice in difficulties, for solace in afflictions, for the instruction of their children, and for support and comfort in their dying hour. It is among them chiefly that we are recognized as the Pastors of our flock; among them the primitive feeling of our ancestors still lingers; they esteem us very highly in love for our roork's sake *. Our attention to their temporal wants, opens their hearts to our spiritual instructions : and it is perhaps chiefly by means of this interchange of kindness and respect, that our Lord's words are fulfilled, that to the poor the Gospel is preached. It would awake in many of our hearts, a train of recollections, full of exquisite pleasure not unmixed with pain, to remind us of all the feelings of paternal interest derived from such associations. From these interesting relations we are (generally speaking) excluded, by the very nature of our service; and surely by those who have once felt the powerful advantage they afford, their almost total want must be considered among the chief trials and discouragements of our situation. P. 16.
The following passage will also shew, that if Mr. Robinson is quick in discovering the peculiar difficulties of the station in which he and his fellow labourers are placed, he is not less skilful in suggesting the proper means of meeting and overcoming them.
“ The general and most effectual antidote to all is, to keep alive the recollection of the inestimable value and importance of our office. We have pledged ourselves before the altar of God to be faithful stewards of the mysteries of Christ : that we will consecrate our time, our talents and our influence to the furtherance of one great object. It is not for us to determine where, or under what circumstances, we will serve our Divine Master. Wherever His Providence hath placed us, there must our day of labour be employed. It belongs not to us to calculate the probable usefulness of our labours, or to repine that a more ample and fruitful field is not assigned us. We are placed indeed in a remote part of the sacred vineyard, and most of us separated from the converse and society of our Brethren ; but we are members one of another, and have each a share in the general prosperity of the Church. And assuredly no inconsiderable advantage will result to the interests of the body of the Clergy, if we keep the form and character of the profession distinctly visible in the eyes of all around us.
* 1 Thess. v. 15.
“ Our insulated position renders us the objects of minute and scrupulous attention; and we have it therefore in our power moro materially to advance the honour of religion. We owe it to the Church, which nourishes us in her boson, to secure, by the innocence and sanctity of our lives, the respect and dignity of our order. The dignity which belongs to us is that of character. The Apostolic charge on this subject is addressed, not to the laity, but to ourselves. Let no man despise thee*. Nor can we ever, by a secular deportment, suffer one shade of contempt to fall upon our person or our office, without compromising, in that moment, the best interests of our Establishment.
“ To the lethargy that is apt to steal upon our spirits, from the confined number of our hearers, let us oppose the awful reflection of the inconceivable value even of one immortal soul. Perhaps it is an erroneous calculation to measure the success of our labours by a large population or a crowded audience. It is, at all events, more profitable and more encouraging, to remember that if we shall be made the instrument of turning one from the error of his way, we shall have saved a soul from death, and covered a multitude of sins. Let us strengthen by every means in our power the legitimate influence of the ministerial character. Let us win the confidence of our people by our earnestness and affection. remind them of the real nature of the connexion that subsists between a Minister and his charge; that it depends on nothing earthly; and that, however interrupted by the changes of time and place, it cannot be dissolved even by death itself ; that the fulness of its awful consequences will then only be developed and appreciated, when we, together with them, shall appear before the judgment-seat of Christ. We, to give account of the ministry committed to our trust, and they, of the advantages they have enjoined. Be patient cherefore, Brethren ; stablish your hearts; for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh." P. 18.
In the conclusion of the Sermon, he adverts to the establishment of the Episcopal Mission College at Calcutta, and speaks in terms of becoming admiration and gratitude of the zeal and liberality which projected and promoted this valuable Institution. He has, we trust, rightly termed it a Xelunhov es asi a depository of divine learning, and a centre of
* 1 Tim. iv, 12.
religious knowledge for ages yet unborn. And fervently do we join with him in his supplication to the Great Head of the Church, that he may command his blessing upon its futare Jabours, that it may be the means of perpetuating the purity of our Christian Faith, with the Apostolic simplicity of our Ecclesiastical discipline.
ART. V. Popular Lectures, on the Bible and Liturgy,
By Edward Hawke Locker, Esq. F.R.S. 12mo. pp.
257. Rivingtons. - 1821. It is not perhaps without some sacrifice of professional feeling, that we take up a volume of lectures on religious subjects by a layman: and yet, as we are earnestly desirous by all fit and proper means to promote the knowledge of true religion in the world, we cannot but be gratified by seeing a layman so deeply impressed with its importance, as to make it bis study: and so far advanced in that study as to be able not only to give an answer to any who may inquire of him the reason of the faith he professes, but also to teach others to lay the same foundation on which he bas built.
It may indeed be thought that there is a perceptible distinction between theology and religion. The latter may be styled a matter of common concern, and general practice; a rule of life which all ought to possess, and be able to apply: while the former is a science which may be safely left to those who are professionally engaged to study it, that by its aid they may be empowered to teach religion to others with more correctness and advantage. It may be said, and doubtless in a certain sense with truth, that every man must look upon himself as indispensably obliged to be religious; but that it is not necessary for any but the clergy to be theologians. And yet, the connection between theology and religion is so intimate, and the limits of each are so gradually shaded off into the other, that the precise line of separation is not very easily drawn. A sincerely religious person if he possess an acute mind, and be actuated by a spirit of research, can scarcely fail to become in some degree a theologian : bis thoughts will of necessity be much occupied by a subject which so greatly influences his feelings, and so continually regulates his conduct; and he will be led on step by step,