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I find my heart still hard,-if now continually I am constrained to sigh and say,
“ I would, but cannot sing;"
“I would, but cannot pray;" Oh, how will it be with me, in that dreary desert whither I am going. But, my dearest Lord, I calculate on no delights ;-I expect no special joys ;—but this I do expect (for thou hast promised)—I hang my all upon it ;-I trust to it as to a sheetanchor, namely, thy protecting care.
But if I let thee go, what canst thou do?
My Lord, thy question penetrates my very inmost soul : for deeply do I feel that I can of myself do nothing. Often I fear, that if I go, I shall occupy the sphere of some far more devoted labourer : if so—oh let me stay. But nay, my Lord, I cannot stay. I long to tell in some far distant clime, and in some foreign tongue, that Jesus died to save the chief of sinners. If this be too much to ask, Oh let me go and bear the tracts which thy Missionaries shall distribute : or let me hew their wood and let me draw their water. Oh my dearest Lord, do not deny me: do let me occupy the meanest place, and do the meanest service in my Saviour's cause: let me at least bear the shoes of the servants of my lord. Pardon me, my lord, but I cannot stay, if in the humblest manner I can aid the work.
But my child, you are going where the sun does scorch by day, and by night the damps do chill ; and what if the desire of thine eyes be removed away with a stroke? or what if her little buds should be nipped by the midnight frost ?
Again, my Lord, thy question pierces quite through my heart. Oh what a solitary wanderer I shall be! When dejected, no smile to cheer: and when sorrowful, no bosom where to tell the pangs I feel. And yet, my Lord (Oh let not my Lord be angry at my importuni. ty), I must go, I cannot stay. If sorrow come, my Lord himself does send it, and it shall be a privilege to suffer in his holy cause. If I be bereaved, it is He who sends bereavements, and it shall be my aim to acquiesce, if bereaved in a cause so dear. If I be called to travel solitary and alone, then even while my eyes area fountain of tears, I will sing of the happy morning which hastes to dawn-I will beguile my journey with sweet forethought of the day when friends in Christ shall meet to part no more. I will sing, Oh I will sing of Jesus Christ my Lord, and of the wonders of his grace: and if the short remnant of my days may but be occupied for him, then come sorrow, come anguish, come bereavement: it shall be a privilege to suffer; it shall be a privilege to endure ; a privilege to encounter any thing in the cause of Jesus Christ, -yea every thing and any thing shall be a privilege, if I may but spend and be spent in the cause of Christ among the Gentiles.
Then go, my child; lo I am with you always, even unto the end.
IV.-Memoir of the late Rev. Nathanael Forsyth, Minister
in the Dutch Church, Chinsurah. The word of infallible truth declares, “that the righteous shall be had in everlasting remembrance ;" and we believe our readers will consider this a sufficient apology for introducing, at this late period, a short biographical notice of the exemplary individual whose name stands at the head of this article.
The excellencies of our departed brother were so numerous, his devotedness so remarkable, and his zeal so burning, that we cannot suffer the bright example he exhibited to pass away unnoticed; and though our materials are scanty, and our space brief, we hope to say something of him that will provoke to emulation some of our readers.
The Rev. N. Forsyth was born in the year 1769, at Smalholm Bank, near Lochmaben, Dumfries-shire, North Britain. His parents were pious, and he early became the subject of religious impressions: but of the particular time or means of his conversion, we are ignorant; that it was genuine, its effects most fully prove. Though his parents moved in the humble walks of life, we find that he pursued his studies in the University of Glasgow, from whence he removed, for the prescribed number of years, to the Divinity Hall, under the Rev. Professor G. Lawson of the New Burgher Associate Synod. What his attainments were as a scholar we are quite unable to decide, from a total deficiency of any materials that would enable us to judge; and we are equally at a loss from the same cause, for the particular reasons that moved him to become a preacher of righteousness. It is probable, that the missionary flame that kindled so brightly in England in 1793, and which afterwards spread East and West, North and South, touched his susceptible heart, and induced him to devote his life to the arduous and honorable office of a Christian Missionary ; for in 1797, we find him accepted as a candidate for Missionary labors, in connection with the Rev. J. Edmond, lately deceased, who was afterwards his constant friend and valuable coadjutor. Previous to this he had been engaged as tutor in a respectable academy at Islington, under the Rev. Anthony Crole, and had preached but occasionally. It would doubtless prove interesting to peruse the workings of a mind constituted like Mr. Forsyth's, under the momentous movement his decision for foreign service involved, but we are compelled on this point to remain ungratified. He was, we believe, with Mr. Edmond, selected to accompany Mr. Robert Haldane of Airdrie, and Capt. James Haldane, who had conceived a design of coming out with some Missionaries to the northern quarter of the British territories in India, for the purpose of establishing in some central situation a college, where Missionaries might acquire the Oriental languages, and from whence they might go forth to preach the Gospel to the nations of the East. Their philanthropic plan was however defeated; for, on application to the Honorable the Court of Directors, their request for permission to proceed to India was denied. They had purposed placing themselves under the patronage of the Missionary, now called the London Missionary Society, and Mr. R. Haldane had, in view of the object, nobly sold his estate in Scotland ; but when they found they were prevented from going in union, they decided that Mr. Forsyth should sail alone, in a vessel belonging to a friend, who was about leaving for the Cape of Good Hope, from whence he trusted to obtain, as opportunity offered, a passage to Bengal. At that time no Missionary had human permission to labour in India, but by America or in Danish ships a few dauntless and holy men made their way thither, and succeeded in planting the standard of the cross on its heathen shores. Blessed be God, who has so greatly turned those in authority to favour the efforts made for the evangelization of earth's dark inhabitants, that the heralds of salvation are now permitted to preach the word almost every where, “ no man forbidding them.” Oh may it speedily fly through all lands, in the length and the breadth of them!
Mr. F. finally arrived at Calcutta in December, 1798, and commenced his public ministrations in Dr. Dunwiddee's Lecture Room in the Cossitollah. He was, we believe, the first individual who landed in India, under the patronage of the L. M. S., but it does not appear that he ever engaged in direct Missionary work, nor did he ever receive the smallest emolument from the above Society, except a sum in dollars on leaving England.
In the beginning of 1801, Mr. Edmond arrived, who says, he found Mr. Forsyth going about striving to do good, without any certain dwelling place but a very small boat, in which he went up and down the river, and where he usually reposed, on account of the advantages it allowed him for retirement, in which he seemed to find his chief delight.
His attention having been directed to Chinsurah, where there was no regular clergyman, he sought and obtained permission to officiate in the settlement church there, and while residing about 15 miles from the place, presented a remarkable example of diligent and punctual attention to the duties he had undertaken to fulfil; for though the aforementioned boat was his only conveyance, and wind and tide were not always in his favor, he was seldom known to be beyond his time : it being his practice to walk when he found the current too strong for the boat to proceed.
He was subsequently furnished by J. H. Harington, Esq. with the use of a small Bungalow on the bank of the river above Bandel, about three miles from Chinsurah, from which spot he regularly walked every Sabbath morning to discharge his duties there, and afterwards he not unfrequently proceeded to Calcutta, to preach at the General Hospital, by permission of the Rev. David Brown, then Senior Presidency and Garrison Chaplain.
For this excellent man, he seems to have entertained a peculiar esteem, so that on his death we find him relieving his feelings by writing verses, beautifully expressive of the exalted happiness his friend had attained. He was much in the habit of composing lines (which are always remarkable for their lucid exhibition of evangelical truth, and a spirit of most fervent piety), but our limits do not admit of our inserting any specimens, nor indeed is the poetry any thing above mediocrity.
In the years that followed he was continually and diligently employed, entering with unabating ardour every practicable door of usefulness that opened to his view ; now preaching to the neglected soldiers at the fort, and then hiring a house and officiating at Serampore. Nor were these labours merely occasional, or ephemeral; on the contrary, they were characterized, as was all he undertook, by a spirit of remarkable perseverance, and a resolute defiance of the most appalling difficulties and discouragements. He was never observed to fail in one engagement that he might fulfil another ; but by being instant in season, and out of season, he found time to discharge fully, all the duties of the pastoral office. His attention to the sick and his liberality to the poor were both remarkable, and his self-denial not less so. A trifling circumstance which occurred about this time will be a proof of both. Early one morning, an aged man, of European extraction, who had come from the coast to Bengal in search of employment, entered his Bungalow. As Mr. Forsyth kept no servants, no one was visible, and the poor man paced the room in hope of thus attracting attention. While so doing his eye caught an individual in one of the side rooms, lying on a bed of straw. This was Mr. F. who, perceiving that he had a visitor, rose and came out.
He soon ascertained his wants, and brought for his refreshment all the provision he had, consisting of a little bread and cheese; while the man partook of this, he went to his room, and on coming back again, presented him with half a gold-mohur, saying " Take this, it is all I have.” While we cannot commend his prudence, we must admire his principle, and glorify that grace, the possession of which enabled him so entirely to disregard the things which most men count their highest treasures.
We will here present our readers with a short quotation from a letter to Europe, written by him about this time. It will prove that though he saw it right, on account of the lack of labourers, to devote himself to the service of the professedly Christian part of the population, the interests of the heathen lay very near his heart.
“ In your last letter, I am happy to hear of the coming of Mr. Thom to join with us in the Lord's work in these parts. I hope the friends in Bri. tain will not be backward in sending him ; here is need of many labourers. In the neighbouring settlements, Dutch, French, Portuguese, (Chinsurah, Chandernagore and Bandel,) there are none to preach the gospel of Christ, or to instruct the children, but a poor worm, from weakness and unworthi. ness very unfit : but all our sufficiency is from God. I hope you will never forget these dark places of the earth; their necessities cry aloud, “Come over and help us :" let there be no time lost, no enemy dreaded, no danger or want feared ; let us all join at home and abroad, in love, harmony, and peace, for the glory of God and the good of all. I have written by this feet to my friend the Rev. Sir Harry Moncrief of Edinburgh, to send more laborers to the vineyard. Should they come even at the same time with our brother Thom from Gosport, that need not by any means prevent him, for our Lord wants many laborers here. Let them all come-all will be welcome to him and to me.”
Mr. F. was agreeable in society, but could seldom be induced to enter it, except for the express purpose of reproving, rebuking, or exhorting. He seemed to feel that he had a great work to perform, and that every minute was lost which was not devoted, directly or indirectly, to its fulfilment. The amazing rapidity with which he conveyed himself from place to place, without the assistance of either carriage or palankeen, is one proof of this; and while we cannot in this respect hold him up as a mark for general imitation, for the personal strength of few would allow of such an exercise, (nor do we conceive it right thus to try it in a climate like this, we must again allude to the ennobling source of these extraordinary efforts. That source was not in himself, for it was not human pride or fierce ambition, that goaded him forward ; love to his master and zeal for the salvation of mankind alone prompted his footsteps ; he was, we conceive, second to few but the apostle Paul in entire devotedness of heart and life to the Redeemer.
“Paul's love to Christ, and steadiness unbribed
To bear it, suffer'd shame where'er he went." We are informed by some individuals who then resided at Chinsurah, that his ministrations were greatly blessed of God to the edification of his hearers, and to the promotion of a spirit of piety amongst the people.
His sentimentswith regard to some things, were what the majority of his brethren termed singular; but springing as they did in him, from deep and powerful convictions of their importance, we cannot but admire the consistency with which he constantly exemplified them. Conscientiousness inight well be called his watch-word, of