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..."Nine years have now elapsed since your lamented Predecessor entered upon the discharge of his Episcopal functions; and that, which then could only afford a subject for conjecture and for hope, has become a matter of retrospect and of certainty. All the accounts, which have reached the SOCIETY, concur in stating, that the new measures have been attended with more complete success than from the shortness of time, during which they have been in operation, the most sanguine could have ventured to anticipate, Many of the impediments, which directly, or indirectly retarded the reception of the Gospel, have been removed. The establishment of a visible Church has opened an asylum to the convert from the taunts and injuries of the professors of his former faith. The progressive improvement effected in the lives and conversation of the European settlers has deprived the natives of one of their most powerful arguments against the truth of Christianity. They no longer look upon us as mere conquerors, greedy only of wealth and of dominion; but as a virtuous and religious people, not less superior to them in moral goodness than in civilization and manners-in justice and benevolence than in arts and arms. Their attachment to their caste, which seemed to present the most formidable obstacle to their conversion, has been overcome. The mists, which enveloped their understandings, are fast dissolving before th irradiating influence of Sacred Truth. The superstitious dread, with which they regarded their deities, is giving place to juster conceptions of the Divine Nature; and the priests of the idol of Juggernaut are compelled to bewail the decreasing numbers and diminished zeal of his votaries.
"What a variety of emotions is the cheering prospect, which has at length opened upon us, calculated to excite! What gratitude to Almighty God for the blessing, which he has been pleased to bestow upon the labours of the infant Church! What reverence for the memory of the distinguished Prelate, whose wisdom and piety have, under the direction of Providence, conducted those labours to so successful an issue! How powerful an encouragement does it hold out, how strict an obligation does it impose, stedfastly to persevere in the prosecution of those holy designs, till the triumph over the powers of darkness in our Indian empire shall be complete, and no other vestige of the ancient idolatry shall remain than the deserted temples of the divinities, who were its objects. Nothing now appears to be wanting but that the number of labourers should bear a due proportion to the abundance of the harvest which is spread before them; and our confidence in the enlightened piety of our Rulers forbids the supposition, that this want will long remain unsupplied. But, I must no longer detain you from the immediate business of the day.
"MY LORD, the SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE desire to offer to your Lordship their sincere congratulations upon your elevation to the Episcopal See of Calcutta.
"They derive from your appointment to this high office the
certain assurance, that all the advantages, which they have antici pated from the formation of a Church Establishment in India, will be realized; and that the various plans for the diffusion of true religion amongst its inhabitants, which have been so wisely laid and so auspiciously commenced by your lamented Predecessor, will, under your superintendance and control, advance with a steady and uninterrupted progress. They ground this assurance upon the rare union of intellectual and moral qualities, which combine to form your character. They ground it upon the stedfastness of purpose, with which, from the period of your admission into the ministry, you have exclusively dedicated your time and talents to the peculiar studies of your sacred profession; abandoning that human learning, in which you had already shewn that you were capable of attaining the highest excellence, and renouncing the certain prospect of literary fame. But above all, they ground this assurance upon the signal proof of self-devotion, which you have given by your acceptance of the Episcopal office. With respect to any other individual, who had been placed at the head of the Church Establishment in India, a suspicion might have been entertained that some worldly desire, some feeling of ambition mingled itself with the motives, by which he was actuated. But in your case such a suspicion would be destitute even of the semblance of truth. Every enjoyment, which a well-regulated mind can derive from the possession of wealth, was placed within your reach. Every avenue to professional distinction and dignity, if they had been the objects of your solicitude, lay open before you. What then was the motive which could incline you to quit your native land? To exchange the delights of home for a tedious voyage to distant regions? To separate yourself from the friends, with whom you had conversed from your earliest years ? What, but an ardent wish to become the instrument of good to others? An holy zeal in your Master's service? A firm persua sion that it was your bounden duty to submit yourself unreservedly to His disposal-to shrink from no labour which He might impose -to count no sacrifice hard which He might require?
"Of the benefits, which will arise to the Indian Church from a spirit of self-devotion so pure and so disinterested, the SOCIETY feel, that it is impossible to form an exaggerated estimate. Nor has this act of self-devotion been the result of sudden impulse: it has been performed after serious reflection, and with an accurate knowledge of the difficulties, by which your path will be obstructed. You have not engaged in this holy warfare without previously counting the cost. So deeply were you impressed with the responsibility, which must attach to the Episcopal office in India, that you hesitated to accept it. With that diffidence, which is the surest characteristic of great talents and great virtues, you doubted your own sufficiency. But upon maturer deliberation you felt, that a call was made upon you: a call to disobey which would argue a culpable distrust of the protection of Him who made it. You
assured yourself that the requisite strength would be supplied by the same Almighty Power, which imposed the burthen. Amongst the circumstances, which have attended your recent appointment, the SOCIETY dwell upon this with peculiar satisfaction; inasmuch as it forms a striking feature of resemblance between your Lordship and your lamented Predecessor; who, like you, originally felt, and like you, subsequently overcame a reluctance to undertake the administration of the Indian Diocese." Valedictory Address, p. 6.
The Bishop of Calcutta's Reply is at once so appropriate and so eloquent, that we refrain with difficulty from transcribing the whole. The principal parts are contained in the following extract:
"It may be easily supposed that the present is to me a very awful moment-both when I consider the persons, in whose presence I stand; the occasion on which we have been called toge ther; the Charge, which I have just received; and the Society, on whose part those admirable and affectionate counsels have been addressed to me. I cannot recollect without very solemn and mingled feelings of gratitude for the trust, which has been reposed in me, and of alarm for the responsibility, which I have incurred, how much I have been honoured by the kindness and confidence of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, and the renarkable and most honourable interest, which this Society has always evinced in the welfare of the Indian Church. I cannot forget, that it was this Society, which administered the wants, and directed the energies of the first Protestant Missionaries to Hindostan; that, under its auspices, at a later period, Swartz, and Gericke, and Kolhoff, went forth to sow the seeds of light and happiness in that benighted country; and that, still more recently, within these sacred walls (for sacred I will venture to call them, when I consider the purposes, to which they are devoted, and the prayers, by which they are hallowed) Bishop Middleton bade adieu to that country, which he loved, and to that Church, of which he was one of the brightest ornaments. With such examples of learning and holiness around me, with such models of Christian zeal before me, I may well be acquitted of assumed humility, when I profess a deep and painful sense of my own insufficiency; and feel, that where so much has been done, and where so much remains to do, far greater energies and talents than mine will be necessary either to fulfil the reasonable expectations of the Christian world, or to avoid falling short-far short-of the achievements of my admirable Predecessor.
"With such difficulties, and under such a responsibility my hope must be, and is, in the counsels and countenance of your Grace, and of the other distinguished Rulers of the English Church, whom I see around me; and it is, therefore, that I could almost feel disposed to lament as a deficiency in the eloquent and pathetic Address of the Right Reverend Prelate, to whose kind notice of
me I am so deeply indebted, that he has professedly waved all detailed explanation of his ideas respecting that line of conduct, which, in my situation, is most likely to conduce to, and accelerate the triumph of the Gospel among the Heathen. I regret this the more, since, in a recent admirable Sermon by the same distinguished person, he has shewn us, how remarkably he is qualified to offer counsels of such a nature. Most gladly, I am convinced, we should all, and most gladly, above all, should I have become his scholar in the art of feeding the flock of Christ, and teaching and persuading the things, which belong to the kingdom of God. But, though his modesty has withheld him from the task, I will still hope to profit by his assistance in private for the execution of that awful and overpowering enterprize, which, (if I know my own heart) I can truly say, I undertake not in my own strength, but in an humble reliance on the prayers and counsels of the good and the wise, and on that assistance, above all, which, whosoever seeks it faithfully, shall never fail of receiving."-Reply, p. 14. "There was one part of the Speech of my Right Reverend Friend, (if I may be allowed to call him so,) which I cannot abstain, in gratitude, from noticing, though I confess, I allude to it with reluctance ;-I mean, the obliging manner in which he has been pleased to speak of me. There is no man who knows better than myself and this, my Lord, is no time for dissembling-how little these praises are deserved. Yet even these praises, by God's grace, I would hope may not be useless to me. They may teach me what manner of man the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge desires as her agent and correspondent in India; they may teach me what manner of man a Bishop of Calcutta ought to be-what manner of man Bishop Middleton was-and what manner of man, though at a humble distance, I must endeavour, by God's help, to become.
"I can only conclude by expressing, so far as words can express, to your Grace, to the distinguished Prelates around you, and to the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge in general, my gratitude for the private and personal, as well as public kindness and countenance, with which you have honoured me: my gratitude, and that of the Indian Church, for the splendid bounty of which you have made me the dispenser ;-my gratitude for the patience and indulgence with which you have, now heard me ;my gratitude, above all, for those prayers, which you have pro mised to offer up on my behalf to the throne of grace and mercy. Accept, in return, the blessing of a grateful heart;-accept the settled purpose of my mind to devote what little talent I possess, to the great cause in which all our hearts are engaged, and for which it is not our duty only, but our illustrious privilege to labour. Accept the hope, which I would fain express, that I shall not altogether disappoint your expectations, but that I shall learn and labour in the furtherance of that fabric of Christian wisdom
of which the superstructure was so happily commenced by Him, whose loss we deplore! I say the superstructure, not the foundation, for this latter praise the glorified spirit of my revered Predecessor would himself be the first to disclaim. As a wise masterbuilder, he built on that which he found; but other foundation can no man lay'-nor did Bishop Middleton seek to lay any other than that of which the first stone was laid in Golgotha, and the building was complete when the Son of God took his seat in glory on the right hand of his Father.
"I again, my Lord Archbishop, with much real humility, request your blessing, and the prayers of the Society. It is, indeed, a high satisfaction for me to reflect, that I go forth as their agent, and the promoter of their pious designs in the East; and, if e fever the time should arrive when I may be enabled to preach to the natives of India in their own language, I shall then aspire to the still higher distinction of being considered the Missionary of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge."—Reply, p. 18.
This speech will be read with as much approbation as it was originally heard; and if any thing could increase the high reputation which has preceded the Bishop of Calcutta to his diocese, it must be the assurance thus publicly and deliberately given, that he succeeds to the principles as well as the authority of Middleton; and, like him, has devoted first-rate talents and ardent zeal to the cause of propagating Christianity under the auspices of the Church. We say nothing of the Society from which he parted in such an affectionate manner, or of the benefits to be derived from a close and confidential connection with it. These, although important, are secondary considerations. The one paramount object is the preservation of the Indian diocese in strict communion with the Mother Church. While both are animated with the same spirit, and governed upon the same system, they will not fail to prove a source of mutual comfort and strength. And that such will continue to be the case during the episcopate of Bishop Heber is a point which his own declarations have placed beyond dispute.
We can devote little space to the Consecration Sermon ; but, at least, we have room to say that it is worthy of the distinguished individual in whose service it was delivered, and reflects the highest credit upon the piety and talents of the preacher. His summary of the general question respecting the conversion of the Heathen, and his application of it to the peculiar circumstances of the present Bishop of Calcutta, are the parts which we shall extract as a specimen.
"Nationally, then, as well as individually speaking, it may now