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stance since the commencement of missions in the East," says the Calcutta Englishman, "has there been a man in whom missionary excellences have shone so conspicuously, or through whose influence so much religious good has been effected as by Rhenius. He was possessed of very considerable missionary qualifications, combined with a natural suavity and uprightness of temper and conduct, which eminently qualified him for his work. For twenty-four years he pursued his labours, amidst the depressions of an Indian climate and all the internal trials of mission labour, with a cheerful and buoyant energy, seldom depressed and never dismayed. He was successful beyond any missionary since the days of Schwartz. Hundreds of natives were brought by his influence within the walls of the Christian Church, and were trained to the discharge of the public and social duties of Christian life, as well as instructed in the mystery and cheered by the hope of our holy faith."
We trust that some of the friends of this excellent and devoted missionary, will apply themselves to the task of giving to the public a faithful record of his life. Though the task might not be a very easy one, we think the recent events connected with this mission, of which he was the centre, would, if faithfully narrated, furnish deep instruction. They would at least shew to what an extent the sectarianism and divisions of the Christian Church, impede the progress of the gospel. In the meantime, we present our readers with the following translation of a letter from Mr. Start, minister at Patna, in Bengal, to Mr. Gosner, which gives an impartial and graphic sketch of his proceedings from the Neuesten Nachrichten.
visit to brother Rhenius, I was not personally acquainted with him, although I had several times corresponded with him. I had heard such contradictory opinions respecting him and his proceedings at Tinnevelly, that I concluded to visit the place myself, for my own satisfaction and that of my friends in Europe.
I remained about twelve days at Tinnevelly, and had sufficient opportunity to examine into every thing that I saw. My observations certainly led me to the conclusion that the four German brethren, Rhenius, Schaffter, Muller, and Lechler, are working together in the greatest harmony and friendship. Although Rhenius, as naturally follows from his age and experience, has the direction of the whole, yet, in his conduct towards the other brethren, I noticed nothing like assuming authority; nor, in theirs, any appearance of improper subjection. They rather gave me the impression of men feeling like brethren of the same family, in which one brother is older and more experienced than the rest. Several questions were discussed by them in my presence, arising out of various plans and occurrences in the mission; and the independence with which the younger brethren expressed their opinions, plainly indicated that they felt themselves responsible to the Lord, and not to brother Rhenius only and he was so far from insisting on his own views in any point, that in several particulars he gave way to the united opinion of the rest. It is a fundamental principle in their conferences, that any one brother gives up to the opinion of the other three.
I may say, that the love and harmony which reign amongst them made a deep impression upon me; and the testimony of one of my friends, who lived six months in the same house with them, confirms this impression. The very fact that the three younger brethren gave up their connexion with the Society, which secured them a certain income, and joined Rhenius, who
had nothing to offer them, excepting a fraternal participation in whatever the Lord might provide, is a sufficient proof of their love and confidence, and abundantly refutes the imputation of Rhenius tyrannising over the brethren.
I saw more than one hundred catechists, and many members of the congregation, collected in the missionhouse, and partook with them of the Lord's Supper. It was very attractive and touching to see so many natives, who once, in blind superstition, served the prince of this world, now "clothed and in their right mind," approaching the table of the Lord, where they all eat of the same bread, and drink of the same cup, in remembrance of the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. Although not naturally exciteable, yet I was deeply moved and touched by this unusual scene. And it was a great additional satisfaction, in witnessing it, to know that the missionaries admitted none to partake of the communion, of whose real conversion they are not convinced. Time does not permit my giving a circumstantial account of all that I saw. I will therefore only endeavour to give a little sketch of the character of brother Rhenius; the materials for which are furnished partly by my own personal acquaintance with him, partly by what I have learned from several Christian friends in India, who have long known him, and partly on the acknowledgments of his enemies.
1. Brother Rhenius is unanimously acknowledged, both by friends and foes, to possess very unusual qualifications for the work of a missionary. He is a perfect master of the Tamul language. I have been assured by persons in civil and military stations, as well as by missionaries, that no other missionary can compare with him in this respect.
2. He possesses great energy of character, and extraordinary elasticity of spirits, things of inestimable value to a missionary, especially in India.
3. Like the revered Schwartz, he is
a faithful father to his spiritual children; cares for them with the tenderest affection; assists them in all their little difficulties, both by word and deed; and considers nothing that concerns them too trifling for him to attend to. If one or another of them has quite teased and tried him, the very next day he will feel and act towards him as if nothing had happened. The missionaries are often so provoked by the falsehood, the hypocrisy, and the avarice of the natives, that they are ready to give up all labour with them, and all hopes of their real conversion. But those who are intimately acquainted with Rhenius, cannot sufficiently admire how little impression such sort of experience makes upon the the turn of his feelings.
4. Like Schwartz, he possesses the confidence of all the natives, converted or unconverted. The pleasure and confiding look with which they at all times meet him, bears witness to this. I will only mention one fact, of which I was an eye-witness. The natives of a large village some distance from Palamcottah, had had a long-standing dispute amongst themselves, about the division of a piece of common land; they wrote to Rhenius, represented their case, and begged him to send some one in whom he had confidence, to remain with them, conduct the proceedings, and divide to each his proper portion. They unitedly bound themselves to abide by his decision. I was present at the time that Rhenius received this letter, and read the names subscribed to it, about twentyeight in number. This circumstance is the more remarkable, as all the people were heathens: there was not a christian in the village: it is a long way off; and brother Rhenius had never yet preached there. He told me that such propositions were often made to him. Such a fact seems to me worth volumes of argument, for I know, by experience, how difficult it is, especially for Europeans, to gain the confidence of the natives: nothing
but many years of irreproachable and conscientious conduct will obtain it.
The society itself (Church Missionary) cannot deny all this, they are obliged to acknowledge that Rhenius was one of the most distinguished and efficient missionaries, that they have ever had.
Time does not permit me to go more into details; but I am glad to have the opportunity of bearing this testimony to dear Brother Rhenius, because I am convinced, that his labours and success have not been estimated as they ought, by the Christian Church
Bishop of Algiers." The Bishop of Algiers quitted Rome, the 27th of December last, for his post, taking with him among other gifts from the Pope, the last joint of one of the toes of the Apostle Philip, under the patronage of which the Cathedral of Algiers is placed; he also was the bearer of a parcel of the bones of St. Augustine."
Emigration from Prussia.-"The pastor Stephan, accompanied by five other ministers and seven hundred adherents, embarked at Bremen, the 14th of last November, for North America. M. Stephan and his companions are, as they call themselves, "Primitive Lutherans:" they have withdrawn from the persecutions to which they have been subjected, and now are seeking an assylum where they may worship God in peace according to their conscientious belief. It is sad to think that a Protestant government should, by its intolerance, occasion such emigrations."
Persecution in Bohemia.-The Evangelical Gazette of Berlin, relates revolting facts concerning the conduct of the Papal clergy, assisted by the civil authorities towards the evangelical Christians of Bohemia under the rule of Austria. Chains, imprisonment, conscription, horrible physical and moral tortures, these are the means which men who dare to call themselves ministers of Jesus Christ, resort to in order to hinder the progress of the Gospel of the grace of God, and keep the souls of men enslaved to superstition.
Occupations of the Pope.-The pope is now occupied in introducing five new saints, into heaven and into the calendar. These five personages (one of them belonging to the fair sex), are to be solemnly canonised in the course of this year. The miracles which they have performed are recognised as genuine, for thus the pope and cardinals have recently decided in a secret consistory,
Occupations of the Romish Hierarchy.A certain number of bishops and archbishops are on the point of assembling at Aix to deliberate on the best means of opposing the progress of Protestantism,
Death of Dr. Blumhart.-The venerable Dr. Blumhart superintendant of the Mission-house at Basle from the commencement, fell asleep in Jesus, the 19th Dec.
last, after a long and painful illness. He managed this institution for twenty-two or or twenty-three years. During this period, more than one hundred and fifty missionaries have been trained at Basle under his direction for their arduous work.
Baptism of a disciple of Zoroaster.-An interesting ceremony took place, the 1st of January last, in the Temple de l'Oratoire at Paris. M. Juilleras, president of the Consistory, received into the Church, by baptism, an adult, the son of a Mameluke, and himself brought up in the religion of Zoroaster. From the Archives du Christianisme.
Hymn by the Reverend WILLIAM JOSIAH IRONS, Minister of St.Peter's, Walworth.
The following composition, as vividly displaying the superstition of baptismal regeneration, and infant baptism, we offer to our readers.
To be sung by the Children of St Mary,
Lord of the countless worlds above!
W. J. I. 1837.
What saith the Scripture?-Rom. iv. 3.
THE HISTORY OF THE CHURCH OF GOD.
THE History of the Church is a record of the effects produced by the incarnation of the Son of God. We take "the church" in the strictly Spiritual sense of the word, not in the vicious and secondary meaning of a sacerdotal caste, but as expressive of that Holy body of followers of the Son of God who have become partakers of the Divine nature, and have been sanctified by the Spirit of Holiness especially imparted to them by the Eternal Father.
The incarnation of the Son of God is the great fact of the Christian Religion. It is the root of the whole tree, the foundation to which the thoughts of a Christian must continually recur, the substratum of every thing which can be said concerning the Christian faith. But the greatness of this fact consists in the Deity of him who assumed the human nature he was God before he became incarnate, he was Creator of all things, one with the Eternal Father in power and glory before the creation of the material universe, truly and essentially Divine. When we say this, we only repeat that which is on the lips of all the faithful, and is a part of their creed; but the surpassing grandeur of this mystery cannot be explained to any purpose beyond the simple assurances of revelation. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God....All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made... And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." That the Jewish nation expected such a manifestation is well known; for their Prophets had frequently predicted it, and the expectation of the Jews was not unknown even to their heathen masters who despised their superstitions, but could not be altogether ignorant of that hope which animated all the Hebrew people. The Romans* knew that the Jews expected, according to the prediction of their prophets, the appearance of some great one who was to become Ruler of all the Earth, but they did not particularly investigate the grounds of this expectation, as the whole fabric of the Jewish religion was in their eyes an unsocial and austere superstition, as despicable as it was disgusting. But the Jews, who had the writings of the Prophets, and diligently read and searched their Scriptures, saw that he
'Pluribus persuasio inerat, antiquis sacerdotum litteris contineri eo ipso tempore fore ut valesceret Oriens, profectique Judæâ rerum potirentur."-Tacitus, Hist. v. 13. VOL. II.
who was to appear amongst them, the Messiah, was not only to be universal ruler but God incarnate. The Prophet Isaiah, more than seven centuries before the incarnation, had said, “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this." And this illustrious testimony, one amongst many others, would teach those who believed in the divine instructions of the Prophets to wait for nothing less than the appearance of Deity amongst men. But when a fact of so marvellous a theme had been announced and accepted as true, what must have been their expectations of the nature of this stupendous epiphany? The Jewish people had not in vain received the divine oracles; they had, by the guidance of Scripture, learned truly the nature of God, and by long and severe discipline had been drawn off from any idolatrous defamation of his Holy attributes: they knew that he was pure unmixed spirit, wholly separate from any thing of flesh and matter, and that he enjoyed an excellency entirely remote from a corporeal condition: they knew that he was the only God, the Maker of all things, and Judge of all men ; that his power and knowledge were infinite, and that by his providence he superintended all things done upon earth, but had a peculiar regard for those who knew his name, and worshipped him in faith and holiness, as he had taught them by the Patriarchs and Prophets of their nation. By the holiness of the nature of God (which we may with confidence declare was asserted_in the Jewish theology alone, and never had been propounded in any other religion whatever), they understood that sin was opposed to the distinguishing attribute of the God whom they worshipped; that against sin he had uttered terrible denunciations; and that the object of his covenant with the Fathers of Israel, and of his revelations to the Prophets, was to point out the guilt of man, and the remedy for that guilt. The Ceremonial law, with all its variety of sacrifices, and its elaborate ritual of purification, taught them the same lesson, that God abhorred sin, and that all his worshippers must approach him not without atonement,—not without the shedding of blood to remove the guilt which all possessed who might invoke the name of Jehovah.* Every sacrifice was for sin (Lev. v.); and the slaughter of the lamb every morning and evening expressed the perpetual abhorrence of whatever was evil, by him who had instituted the worship of the law. The rising sun awoke Israel to the work of expiation: the setting sun saw the chosen people propitiating the Almighty with a bloody sacrifice. Their very acts of worship were considered infected with the inherent guilt of human nature, and therefore the high priest, in an eminent part of his sacerdotal office, was said "to bear the iniquity of the holy things of Israel" (Exod. xxviii. 36). And once every year with the blood of victims, did he, in the highest exercise of his pontifical functions, enter into the most holy place to make atonement for himself, for the priesthood, for the people, for the altar, and for the sanctury.
* "I have given the blood to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul." Lev. xvii. 11.