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whose languages, moreover, it is important to be acquainted with from political considerations, if we expect that our union with these nations should be permanent! The honourable and important office of translating the Scriptures seems to have passed into the hands of private individuals, whose casual piety and learning may enable them to accomplish the task.
Let us, therefore, indulge an anxious hope, that these justly celebrated bodies, which possess the learning and all other means of making accurate translations, and printing new editions of the Scriptures, will duly appreciate the infinite importance of such an undertaking, and that they will consult their reputation in the discharge of it.
Britain has, in particular, a long arrear of duty to discharge to her native subjects in the Western hemisphere. To this day we have not offered a Translation of the Holy Scriptures to our faithful Indians in Canada, or to our Slaves in the West Indies; although both look up to us with a ve
* The field negroes, in general, do not understand Eng→ lish, but speak a dialect compounded of French, African, and English words, though with a great preponderance of the latter." Long's History of Jamaica, Book iii. ch. 3.-The
neration due only to superior beings, and would receive with humility whatever instruction it might please us to impart. And yet, what is the obstacle which prevents our offering them the inestimable gift? There is none. It is only necessary that his Majesty's Government should express their will, and Translations would be prepared in a very short time. We ought to consider, that, until the Bible be translated into the vernacular language of a people, there can be no tracts circulated among that people, inculcating moral duties on Christian principles. Whereas, the translation of the Bible becomes, in various ways, a fountain of instruction. Let the Parables of the Gospels alone be distributed among a barbarous people, and they will arrest their attention in a degree in which the fables of their own superstition never could. Where Christian Preachers do not abound, Tracts, containing extracts from Scripture, or rather, "Portions of Scripture, with a few words of explanation," are the obvious and legitimate means of instructing the people.
Moravians, in their account of the manner of instructing the negroes, which they furnished to the Committee of the Privy Council, represented this dialect as a foreign tongue, which they call the Creole language; and they had found it necessary to translate into it many parts of the Old and New Testament, for the use of the negro converts.-Privy Council Report. Part III. App. No. 2.
But, chiefly in our ample dominions in the East, is an extensive field opened for the translation of the Scriptures. In continental Asia, and in our insular possessions, there are languages of which as yet we scarcely know more than the But Providence hath so ordered it, that, at this day, almost every people, in this part of the world, can read and write (which was not the case in the first ages of the Church), as if to prepare them for receiving the instructions of Christianity.
Extension of the National Church.
The third measure above proposed, as a means of promoting Christianity, was the Extension of the National Church. Episcopal superintendance is required in remote regions, in order to ordain natives on the spot; to dispense the ordinance of Confirmation; to direct the labours of the Missionaries; to form and regulate the growing church; and to preserve the unity of religion, as much as may be, within our own dominions.
How, then, is our National Church to be extended? Is it by sending out a few clergymen to our remote dominions? By no means. A few clergymen in an insulated country, without a Bishop, form either a Presbyterian or an Inde
pendent Church; as is the case in India at this
Besides, how is it possible to extend our church in remote regions of the world, if there be not a power of ordination on the spot? To come, for example, from India for ordination, and to return again, would consume one whole year of a man's life, and perhaps the best part of his property.
For the existing Bishoprics in this kingdom, we are solely indebted to the Romish Church. We preserved the dioceses in most cases, just as we found them. At the period of the Reformation we possessed but our two native islands, and we suddenly adopted nearly fifty bishoprics. Two centuries and upward have revolved, and we have instituted two more; viz. one in Canada, and one in Nova Scotia. During that period, we have added to our territorial dominion the greater part of the West Indies, containing an extent of country and population, of magnitude sufficient to form a kingdom of itself; we have added South Africa and West Africa; and, to say nothing of inferior conquests, we have acquired an Empire in the East, continental and insular, of more than eight or ten times the local extent of Great Britain, and containing more than eight or ten times the number of its inhabitants;
among whom, moreover, are some hundreds of thousands of Protestant Christians;-and yet we have not given to any of these possessions one chief Presbyter to overlook the flock.
While America was our own, we gave her no Bishops; but, after she became independent, and had applied to our Church for Episcopal Consecration, an Act of Parliament was passed, empowering the Archbishop of Canterbury or York, to consecrate to the office of Bishop, persons being subjects or citizens of countries out of "his Majesty's dominions." By virtue of this Act, two Bishops were consecrated for America: and the Episcopal Church in that country had increased, in 1799, to seven Bishops, and two hundred and eleven Presbyters*.
The Romish Church, the Greek Church, and the Armenian Church, have Bishops, in countries in the East, where they have not a foot of land. The English nation has no Bishops, in the same countries where the territory is entirely its own.
This nation having become, by the providence of God, the chief guardian of Christianity in the
* See "Journal of the Proceedings of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Convention in Philadelphia," 1799.