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Pekin, to employ persons to go round the city at an early hour, with carts, in order to pick up such dead bodies of infants as n>ay have been thrown out into the streets, in the course of the night. No inquiries are made, but the bodies are carried to a common pit without the city walls, into which all those that may be living, as well as those that are dead, are thrown." It is well said, "the dark places of the earth are habitations of cruelty." If there were no hereafter,—Christianity, even then, from motives of benevolence, ought to be propagated; the Gospel, and the Gospel alone, is the only true panacea for all the evils which afflict and oppress the sons of men. Let the Gospel be made known, and let the nations of the earth become obedient to the faith of Christ, and practice its benevolent and holy precepts,—then all the miseries of man shall vanish, as darkness disappears at the rising of the sun.
It cannot be doubted, that if the heathen world were converted to the profession and practice of Christianity, a most glorious change would be effected in the physical and moral condition of mankind; it may however be questioned, whether it is possible to send the Gospel to all the heathen nations, and whether it is ever likely to prevail over the ignorance, superstition, profligacy and brutality of mankind. These questions are brought under consideration in the work before us, and receive satisfactory answers. In the third chapter the "Practicability of Missions," is argued from "the statements of Scripture." The conversion of the world by the Gospel of Christ,— the universal spread, triumph, and perpetuity of His kingdom are frequently promised by those holy men who wrote and spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. Their testimonies are brought under notice in the work before us, and they stimulate us to increasing and persevering exertions to hasten the happy day when the kingdoms of this world shall all become the kingdom of Christ.
We have not, however, the testimony of Scripture alone to satisfy us as to "The Practicability of Missions," we have the testimony of experience. The power of a preached Gospel to awaken, convert, and save, has been tested, and it has proved itself to be effectual to the conversion of men of every clime, and of every cast. The rude Esquimaux, — the savage New Zealander, — men of literature and science in Hindostan and China — rude barbarians and polished Grecians have alike felt its soul-saving power. "There are none among the heathen too low to be elevated, too stupid to be convinced, too ferocious to be reclaimed, too inert to be interested, or too proud to be abased." Mr. Noel has brought forward a number of important facts illustrative of the success with which persevering Missionary labourers have been crowned. It is true that in several cases Missionaries have had to labour for many years before they have seen the fruit of their labour. In Greenland five years passed without any apparent effect being produced: in Tahiti, sixteen years after the commencement of the Mission, not one heathen had appeared savingly converted to God. What joy must have filled the heart of the Missionary when he overheard a native in secret praying to God. Since then, the work has gloriously extended, and the inhabitants of that island, and many other adjacent nations of idolaters have cast away their idols and turned to the living God. In a great number of the islands of the South Pacific Ocean these glorious efforts have been produced. In New Zealand, in the colony of the Cape of Good Hope, and in many other places, the Gospel to many of the natives, has proved itself to be, the power of God unto salvation.
When we contemplate the amazing extent of the Chinese Empire, with its more than three hundred millions of inhabitants; containing, at least, one third of the human beings dwelling upon the face of the earth, we are not surprised that particular attention should be directed to that empire. Mr. Noel has given much important information' respecting China. He is of opinion, that the Gospel was preached there as early as the seventh century. Whether this was the case or not—it is known that in the middle of the sixteenth century Christianity was introduced into China by Romish Missionaries, and they were for some time tolerated, and succeeded to such an extent, that in 1636, the mother of the emperor, his first wife, and eldest son, were baptized. The success of the Tartar invasion produced an injurious effect upon the affairs of the Mission. In 1692, the Supreme Tribunal of Rites passed a decree allowing of public Christian worship. Numbers of Jesuits now flocked to China; to twenty of whom the emperor granted salaries amounting to more than £9,000 per annum. At the death of the emperor Kang-he, his successor banished many of the Missionaries, allowing only a few to remain, and those only because he wished to avail himself of their knowledge of the arts and sciences; but even as late as the year 1810 the Romish church professed to have in China, "six bishops, twenty-three Missionaries, eighty native teachers, and two hundred and fifteen thousand converts." There is, however, too much reason to believe that the Romish Missionaries corrupted, even, their own corrupt forms of worship, by adopting idolatrous services, in compliance with the idolatrous practices of the Chinese.
During the last thirty years, efforts have been made by several devoted Protestant Missionaries, who have been endeavouring to open the way for the introduction of genuine Christianity into the Chinese empire. The names and labours of Morrison, Milne, Medhurst, Gutzlaff, and others, are well known as connected with this all important work. The accounts given by Mr. Noel of the success of their labours are very interesting and encouraging; as is also the information given respecting the effects produced by the encouragement, bestowed by the English government on the schools which it supports, for communicating instruction in the English language, and in science, and general literature, to the youth of the middling and higher classes of society in India. The Missionaries of various Missionary Societies have also done extensive good by the establishment of schools in India. A considerable number of youths have received an education which has destroyed their confidence in the authority of either the Shasters or the Koran ;—thus Brahminism and Mahomedanism are declining in influence—the barriers of caste are undermined—the repugnance felt by Hindoos to Christianity is wearing away—a native ministry is preparing, and we doubt not, but that, ere long the Gospel will achieve great and glorious triumphs in Hindostan.
The fourth chapter of the work sets forth the " Effects of Missions," as exhibited in the change produced in the physical, social, moral, and religious condition of the heathen who have received the Gospel. This part of the work is particularly interesting; it shows that the stability of the foreign possessions of England depends upon our giving the Gospel to the nations;—that as the heathen nations receive the Gospel, their ports become places of safety for merchant and other vessels, who may, by stress of weather, want of provisions, or other causes, be driven to seek a port;—that where the Gospel is preached civilization ensues, and desire for European manufactures is created, and thus new and extensive markets are opening to the commerce of Britain, from its Missionary exertions. Missionary efforts have also produced a beneficial influence, by which the piety, love, and zeal of Christian churches are increased and animated ;— the Missionary work has furnished examples of holy devotedness to the service of Christ, which have exerted a powerful and blessed influence upon Christian ministers and churches ;—the good effected at home, irrespective of the unspeakable benefits conferred upon the natives of foreign lands, would have more than compensated for all the expenditure which has been incurred. The blessings yet in prospect for the world, to be conferred by Missionary efforts, are eloquently described by Mr. Noel in the following admirable passage, containing his concluding remarks on the "Effects of Missions."—
"jLet those who recal with impassioned fondness the days of the bard and the baron, dream on, of feudal fealty and chivalrous devotion to the altar and the throne. Thanks be to God, those days will not return. Then religion was hypocrisy in the teacher and superstition in the taught: then every church had its idols, and images took the place of God: then all learning was confined to the logomachy of the schools, and all theology to the legends of the cloister; the Bible was forgotten; the Gospel was unknown; the pardon of sin was bought by money; and the favour of* God was sought in the persecution of his saints. Then the rich man was a despot, and the poor man a slave. The devotion of the vassals to their Lord was an unprincipled readiness to trample on the rights and destroy the happiness of all against whom he chose to lead them. Then judges were bribed, juries browbeaten, and parliaments silenced or suspended. The monarch trod upon the necks of his subjects, and the priest upon the neck of the monarch. Then the business of life was war and its recreation drunkenness. There was no religion, no liberty, no literature, and no refinement. Thanks to God, those days will not return. We have now the Bible; we possess a free constitution; our institutions are strong; our literature is rich; and education is extending. Never were the foundations of our national prosperity laid so broad and deep. And from this point of happiness, to which the unmerited mercy of God has brought us, we look on to the fulfilment of his promises. Let others be wedded to the past; we live in the past, the present, and the future. But while like the Utilitarian, we are eagerly anticipating the future, not like him are we speculating on the perfectibility of the race in the exclusion of religious influences. Our present prosperity has been derived, not from philosophy but from religion. It is the Gospel which has won the battles of our liberty, which has given the nation a capacity to enjoy it, and which has made it safe and stable. By the Gospel therefore still must our own prosperity be completed, and that of less happy nations be secured. It is not the spirit of infidelity, but the book of God,' which threatens the pagodas of China and the mosques of Constantinople. It is not the sagacity of statesmen, but the doctrines of the cross, which must save the world. Before that, all forms of superstition, all modes of tyranny, all popular debasements must give Way; and more than the blessings of England will be the inheritance of the nations, because the nations will be the inheritance of Christ."
The Governor of the Universe has placed at the disposal of this country a much larger amount of means for the diffusion of the blessings of the Gospel, than has yet been brought into exercise. The Christian Churches of Great Britain have done something in the Missionary work; but what they have hitherto done, is as nothing compared with what they might and ought to do. Mr. Noel brings out to view, the amplitude of " means possessed by Great Britain for extending Christian Missions." He refers to what has been done by the Moravians or United Brethren; the number of whom in Europe and America, lie states to be only 10,000, and yet they have 230 male and female Missionaries, with more than fifty thousand heathen converts under their care. When the brethren of Herrnhut were only six hundred in number, they commenced their Missionary work, and within ten years had their missions in the West Indies, North America, Tartary, Greenland, North Africa, West Africa, the Cape of Good Hope, and Ceylon. Although they were only poor exiles, "they were rich in zeal, in faith, in courage, in love to God and to man; and they gave much of their little, and made their contributions, though small, support many labourers." Mr. Noel calculates, that if other Christian Churches were animated by the same degree of devotedness to the salvation of the heathen, the number of Missionaries would be increased to " three hundred and forty thousand." As to the pecuniary means of Great Britain, it is stated, that if one pound out of every hundred of the produce of property of every kind in the united kingdom, were devoted to Missionary purposes, we should instead of about £300,000, have £5,000,000 annually devoted to the work of evangelizing the world;—and four times the latter amount is annually expended in Great Britain for tobacco and spirits. Some persons calculate that a much greater sum is expended on these pernicious articles.
In the sixth chapter Mr. Noel points out the inadequacy of the number of Missionaries employed in preaching the Gospel to the heathen; and urges by weighty considerations the necessity of augmenting their numbers; that several Missionaries may be associated on the same field of labour, so as to afford to each other the help they require ; —he is of opinion that to make a mission effective, four Missionaries should be appointed to each station. In the seventh chapter the "Motives to Missionary Exertions" are brought under review. In the concluding chapter the question is considered "What is to be done?" We regret, that our limits will not allow us to give even an outline of the valuable statements and arguments contained in those chapters; this however we must say, that they are richly deserving of attention, and well calculated to call forth exertions in behalf of the glorious cause of Christian Missions. The interests of Missions Will be greatly advanced by this very valuable production: it is a book which cannot fail strongly to interest every right minded person by whom it may be read; it abounds with details of important and interesting facts which arrest the attention, and make a deep and lasting impression upon the heart. We are thankful that it has been published, and cordially recommend it to the notice of our friends; we doubt not but that by its perusal they will derive much pleasure and profit.
LECTURES AND SERMONS of the Rev. J. H. Roebuck; with a Sketch of his Life. 12mo. pp. 253. E. Pearson.
We regret that this volume does not contain a more extended account of the life of our much respected late friend and brother. The "Sketch of his Life" extends only to fourteen pages; the Lectures against Owenism occupy 190 pages; and the remainder of the volume consists of three Sermons,—" On Divine dispensations towards the Human Race;" "On Regeneration ;" and " On the Mode of Baptism." The Lectures and Sermons prove their author to have possessed extraordinary abilities; which would, if he had been spared, have raised him to great eminence as a minister of Christ.
SOUTH INDIAN SKETCHES; containing a sltort Account of some of the Missionary Stations connected with the Church Missionary Society in Southern India, in Letters to a young friend. By S. T. Part I. Madras and Mayaverant. '18mo. pp. 147. J. Nisbet and Co.
We can recommend this admirable little work as an appropriate present for young persons: it is well adapted to interest and instruct them, and to excite their attention and sympathy on behalf of the heathen.
CHILDHOOD'S DUTIES; or Precepts for little Emma. By M. A. S. Barber. 18n>o. pp. 143. J. Nisbet and Co.
From the Dedication prefixed to this little volume we infer, that th« author was sponsor to little Emma, and wrote it in discharge of the duty which ahe had thus undertaken. It contains some very important instruction, communicated in a very pleasing manner.
"I WILL GIVE LIBERALLY."
It is a good resolution, founded on good reasons, some of which I will state, in the hope that others may be induced to come to a similar determination. I will give liberally, for the following reasons, namely:— 1. Because the objects for which I am called upon to give are great and noble. It is the cause of morality and religion, of man and of God, for