Imágenes de páginas

ity, such the wondrous growth of the seed planted by Jesus. Tell me, brethren, whether you regard Jesus of Nazareth, the carpenter's son, as

an ordinary man ? Is tŁere a single soul in this large assembly who would scruple to ascribe extraordinary greatness and supernatural moral heroism to Jesus Christ and him crucified ? (Applause.) Was not he who by his wisdom illuminated, and by his power saved, a dark and wicked world, was not he who has left us such a priceless legacy of divine truth, and whose blood has wrought such wonders for eighteen hundred years,—was not he above ordinary humanity ? (Cheers.) Blessed Jesus, immortal child of God! For the world he lived and died. May the world appreciate him, and follow his precepts! (Applause.)

I have cursorily sketched the rise and progress of Christianity, and its gradual extension to the farthest limits of the world. I shall now proceed to discuss its ethics in its application to, and bearings upon, the character and destinies of the European and Native communities in India, with a view to draw certain wholesome lessons of a practical character for their guidance, and for regulating and adjusting their mutual relations. In handling this rather delicate part of my subject, I must avoid all party spirit and race-antagonism. I stand on the platform of brotherhood, and disclaim the remotest intention of offending any particular class or sect of those who constitute my audience, by indulging in rabid and malicious denunciations on the one hand, or dishonest flattery on the other.

It cannot be said that we in India have nothing, to do with Christ or Christianity. Have the natives of this country altogether escaped the influence of Christianity, and do they owe nothing to Christ ?

The many

Shall I be told by my educated countrymen that they can feel nothing but a mere remote historic interest in the grand movement I have described ? You have already seen how, in the gradual extension, of the Church of Christ, Christian missions came to be established in this distant-land, and what results thèse missions have achieved. noble deeds of philanthrophy and self-denying benevolence which Christian missionaries have performed in India, and the various intellectual, social, and moral improvements which they have effected, need no flattering comment ; they are treasured in the gratitude of the nation, and can never be forgotten or denied. (Applause.) That India is highly indebted to these disinterested and large-hearted followers of Christ for her present prosperity, I have no doubt the entire nation will gratefully acknowledge. Fortunately for India, she was not forgotten by the Christian missionaries when they went about, to preach the Gospel. (Cheers.) While, through missionary agency, our country has thus been connected with the enlightened nations of the West, politically, an All-wise and All-merciful Providence has entrusted its interests to the hands of a Christian sovereign. In this significant event. worldly men can see nothing but an ordinary political phenomenon, but those of you who can discern the finger of Providence in individual and national history, will doubtless see here His wise, and merciful interposition. (Hear, hear.) I cannot but reflect with grateful interest on the day when thé. British nation first planted their feet on the plains of India, and the successive steps by which the British Empire has been established and consolidated in this country. It is to the British Governúent that we owe our deliverance from oppres-.


şion and misrule, from darkness and distress, from ignorance and superstition. Those enlightened ideas which have changed the very life of the nation, and have gradually brought about such wondrous improvement in Native society, are the gifts of that Government ; and so likewise the inestimable boon of freedom of thought and action, which we so justly prize. Are not such considerations calculated to rouse our deepest gratitude and loyalty to the British nation and Her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria ? (Cheers.) Her beneficent Christian administration has proved to us not only a political, but a social and moral blessing, and laid the foundation of our national prosperity and greatness ; and it is but natural that we should cherish towards her no other feeling except that of devoted loyalty. Here, then, we stand, in the wise arrangements of Providence, Europeans and Natives, bound together by identity of political interests, and yielding common subjection to Her Gracious Majesty ; and certainly God requires of us that we should so adjust our mutual relations, and fulfil our respective missions, that we may benefit each other, and harmoniously co-operate for the furtherance of our common objects.

But does harmony actually prevail among us ? United by political ties, are we morally united ? Does brotherly love subsist between the conquering and the conquered races ? Do the former recognise Jesus as their guide and master in their dealings with the latter, and exercise on them the influence of true Christian life ? Are the Europeans and the Indians so far influenced by that love of God and man which Jesus Christ preached, as to combine harmoniously to promote their mutual welfare and fulfil the purposes of Providence ? Alas ! instead of

mutual good feeling and brotherly intercourse, we find the bitterest rancour and hatred, and a ceaseless exchange of reviling, vituperation, and slander. (Cheers.) The flame of antipathy is kept alive by the Native and the English press, which, instead of allaying fury and reconciling differences, are ever and anon fulminating thundering invectives against each other. This journalistic war, indicative, no doubt, of the actual state of feelings of the two communities, is sometimes carried to a most frightful extent, and the worst passions of the heart are indulged with the utmost recklessness. I deplore this most sincerely, not for any personal considerations, but because the interests of India and the honour of Jesus Christ are at stake. As one deeply interested in the social and spiritual welfare of my country, I cannot but feel grieved to see that, owing to unjustifiable conduct on both sides, there is a most injurious isolation between us and that nation with whose aid we are destined to rise in the scale of nations, and from whom we bave to learn the inestimable riches of Christ's sublime morality.

Among the European community in India there is a class who not only hate the Natives with their whole heart, but seem to take a pleasure in doing

(Cheers.) The existence of such a class of men cannot possibly be disputed. They regard the Natives as one of the vilest nations on earth, hopelessly immersed in all the vices which can degrade humanity, and bring it to the level of brutes. They think it mean

even to associate with the Natives. Native ideas and tastes, native customs and manners, seem to them odious and contemptible ; while native character is considered to represent the lowest type of lying and wickedness. In their eyes the

[ocr errors]

Native is a man who is inherently a liar, and the nation a nation of liars ; in short, the distinguishing feature in the national character of the Natives is their inherent love of lying. In all departments of life-intellectual, domestic, social and religious -they are a race of liars. · To say the least, I hold this to be a most uncharitable misrepresentation, (Hear, hear.) I believe, and I must boldly and emphatically declare, that the heart of a Native is not naturally more depraved than that of a Edropean or any other nation in the world. To say that lying is a natural and inborn defect in the native character is simply absurd. Nor can I see any reason why God should have created this particular people with an innate lying propensity, and freely bestowed purity and innocence on all others. The fact is, human nature is the same everywherein all latitudes and climes ; but circumstances modify it, and religion and usages mould it in different forms. Educate the Native mind, and you will find it susceptible of as much improvement and elevation as that of a European. However this may be, the great defect which these nigger-hating Europeans would persistently ascribe to the native character is inveterate lying and dishonesty. This, in their opinion, is enough to set down the Natives as a most wicked race. They liken a Native to a fox (laughter) -wily, fraudulent, and mean-full of sinister motives, deceit, and cunning. He is born and bred a fox, and is destined to live and die a fox ! (Cheers and laughter.) Frankness, sincerity, and straightforward dealings are unknown to him ; all his ways are ways of insidiousness and cunning. He is ever bent on mischief, and the weapons he invariably employs for the purpose are exactly the same which a fox would use. With wonderful shrewdness he

« AnteriorContinuar »