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A DIALOGUE AMONG THE BLESSED.
I bring you a trophy of
Ministering Spirit. Angels and saints rejoice! Sovereign grace from that land of idols, Bengal. pany I introduce the spirit of a converted Hindoo. Heavenly Host. Glory be to God in the highest! sound with the songs of his redeemed; and let the whole earth be filled with his praises.
All Heaven shall re
Syam Dass. Brethren, I greet you all. Behold one, who, in sin, having grown old, was already sinking into endless perdition; yet my soul has been snatched as a brand from the burning: my former idols forsaking, of sin repenting, the true Saviour embracing, I have tasted the sweetness of his love.
Brunsdon. What, are you one of the first-fruits of India? Did you come hither from Serampore?
Syam Dass. Yes; there for many years I lived, following the vain customs of the Heathen, and the way of life not knowing. There also I heard the word of truth, and found pardon through the blood of Jesus. Brunsdon. How were you induced to obey the call of the gospel, and made willing to reject your cast, for the love of the Saviour?
Syam Dass. I cannot say that I lost my cast for the love of Christ: I had long ago been drawn, by a far meaner passion, to make that sacrifice; for, without any sort of marriage, I had lived above thirty years with a Feringhee woman.
Brunsdon. How then was you delivered from that ensnaring connexion, which, while it prevented the pride of cast from operating on your mind, would yet form a strong objection, though of a different kind, to your embracing a holy gospel?
Syam Dass. As I confined myself entirely to this woman, I did not see, at my first conviction of sin, the evil of thus living with her; but as light increased, I was grieved at my having done all things during my state of heathenism, in an unholy manner. Then consulting the Missionary brethren, I determined, according to their advice, to be married before many witnesses. This was done at the Mission-house, not after the form of the Hindoos, but with prayer and exhortation, as becometh saints, who perform all in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Brunsdon. O! Brother Fountain, here is a saved Hindoo! Though we were not permitted to gather in much of our Lord's harvest, yet the work of the Saviour is going on in Bengal.
Fountain. I know it already; for Brother Powell also is just arrived, who has been telling me news which rejoices all my soul. The knowledge of our Redeemer is beginning to spread up the country, in a more remarkable manner than ever we witnessed. Many scores have broken the chain of the cast; and numbers are studying the Scriptures, and have resolved to avow themselves the disciples of Christ. I suppose this is the spirit of Syam Dass, the first martyr of India.
Syam Dass. Very unworthy was I of such an honour; yet I confess, to the praise of our beloved Jesus, that I lost my life in endeavouring to
subserve his cause.
Fountain. Has any revolution in that sinful world which you have left, given power to the Brahmans of persecuting the followers of Christ? Surely, neither the Danish nor the British government would sanction
such a deed.
Syam Dass. No, brother; the state of outward things remains un changed; and both governments are more and more convinced of the in
tegrity of the Missionary brethren. By a lawless mob was I murdered, returning from the country to Serampore.
Powell Brother Dass, I rejoice to see you; and to meet you also, dear Brunsdon, in this blessed world! I have been telling Brother Thomas how the Lord enabled our Hindoo brother to seal his testimony with his blood. He will communicate the news to Grant: indeed it will spread swifter than lightning through these realms of bliss. All Heaven rejoices in your salvation, and admires the grace which made you faithful unto death.
Thomas. Saved Hindoo! We have brought brother Stephen, the first martyr in the days of the apostles, to congratulate thee on the honour which Christ has conferred upon thee.
Syam Dass Venerable Stephen, for thy history I thank my dear Saviour, and holy brother Luke, who recorded it. Of thee I thought when I was dying, and endeavoured, like thee, to pray for my murderers. Stephen. Our Lord is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. He is conqueror over Death and Hell, who alone gave us the victory. I rejoice in thee as a monument of his unchanging grace. Let us for ever celebrate his praise.
Syam Dass. Not unto us, not unto us, but unto his glorious name is all the glory due! Once I hardly dared have thought of calling thee, who was so early employed in the work of the Lord, my brother; but I now feel that we are all one in Christ Jesus. All pride is removed from my heart, while I am also freed from all fear, and every kind of painful sensation. I perceive in you, my honoured Brother, the most perfect humility and benevolence; and I enjoy your holy love with the warnest return of gratitude and complacency.
Grant. O beloved Hindoo ! I rejoice greatly to behold thee in this state of bliss. In all the triumphs of grace do I exult; but to see one of the natives of that country, where I once hoped to have been employed for my blessed Saviour, affords me peculiar pleasure. My spiritual father Marshman, I find, is happily succeeded in the work of the Lord.
Syam Dass. Yes; he has lately been up the country with Peetumber, Mitter, and Bharat, to visit a number of Hindoos, who had for some time been convinced of the fallacy of the old religions of the country; among whom God seemed to have been preparing his way, almost as he prepared the friends of Cornelius for the visit of Peter. Many now appear to be earnestly seeking the true way of life, and are determined to own the name of Christ.
Grant. Welcome, dear Brother, welcome to the skies! But tell us how you finished your course, and experienced the power of our Lord to support you, when suffering death by the hands of violence.
Syam Dass. Brother Bharat had been sent up the country, to the new enquirers after the gospel, with letters from the Missionaries, and returned in safety. I also was willing to carry a written message, to inform my countrymen of the Friend of sinners. There were many Hindoos, at another place, nearer to Serampore, who despising the Debtahs, and not believing Mahomet to be divinely commissioned, owned that there was one God; but knew not how he would be served, nor how sinners could be saved. To them I carried a loving invitation, to call them to that Saviour who came to save the lost and unworthy. They, seeming more inclined to cast off all religion than to embrace the holy gospel, did not pay great attention to the representation of our brethren. Yet they received me civilly; and many of them took our papers, and some copies of God's word, which they promised to read. Thus they dismissed me, with a letter to the Missionaries. But as I was returning, many Hindoos were mad upon their idols, being also stirred up by the Brahmans, who feared the progress of the gospel, and, besetting me round, murdered me.
Thomas. How was your mind affected when you perceived their masderous intentions?
Syam Dass. Fear for a moment prevailing, I strove to make my escape; but finding that impossible, and thinking of the love of Christ, who laid down his life for me, I felt willing, if such should be his pleasure, to lay my life down for him. If the great and glorious Saviour died for poor unworthy sinners, why should not a saved sinner die for his gracious Saviour? A transient thought of my wife, and her son Neeloo, occurred to my mind, fearing lest my death should make them more averse to embracing the gospel, and I knew it would greatly grieve my brethren and teachers; but I gave them all up to our wise and loving Lord. Calling on him to receive my spirit, it soon left the body. Then at once my powers seemed lost in a calm rapture, love, confidence, and joy filling all my mind; while I perceived an holy angel joining me in songs of praise, who speedily conducted me to these hiest abodes.
Pearce. Hindoo brother! Though I never saw the plains of Bengal, yet have I in yonder world poured out incessant prayers for the success of the mission. I think it the greatest honour our Lord put upon me on earth, that he stirred me up to be one of the first who promoted the plan: and, had he seen fit so to have employed me, I would most gladly have become myself a Missionary. My dear countrymen, who were so soon called away from their work in India, when the fields first seemed ripe for harvest, have given me great joy, by the information they brought, that several of your countrymen had become obedient to the faith; but your arrival here affords me still higher pleasure.
Sam Dass. Are you that charming Pearce whose memoirs were sent to our brethren ? Felix once translated to me some of your letters, and the sweet account of your death. How will our nation for ever bless your gracious Lord, for filling your heart, and the hearts of your brethren in England, with such tender concern for our salvation!
Pearce. I am that saved sinner. O what a debtor to grace am 1! So indeed are we all. Heaven is full of insolvent debtors, wlio never, never can repay our exalted Immanuel for the love which passes knowledge! Row could we taste it on earth, and not be constrained to greater activity!
Spoon Dass. O happy English, who have enriched Bengal with the knowledge of such a Saviour!
Pearce. Here is the blessed Erskine, from Scotland, which is the northern part of Britain, who helped our little Society with his prayers, from its very commencement. He was, on earth, a generous lover of all good men, of whatever denomination. If they did but love Jesus Christ in sincerity, he loved them with a pure heart fervently.
Syam Dass. Why, could any one, whose heart was purified by faith in Christ, do otherwise?
Erskine. Ah, Syam! you never knew how the Christians of Europe are divided into a variety of sects; and though the things in which they agree are far more numerous and more important than those on which they differ, yet they find many impediments to their union, arising from the evils of their hearts, and the craft of Satan, who makes use of these differences to check their love. I bless God that I habitually felt a strong affection for all the friends of free grace and true holiness; and now that which was lacking in my love below, is perfectly supplied. I rejoice exceedingly that the labours of my Baptist brethren have been Crowned with success; and I am persuaded, Brother Dass, that your blood will be, as it were, the seed of the church.
Syam Dass. I feel perfectly assured that our Lord will over-rule all for the good of his own cause. He will care for my brethren, and comfort their hearts; and, perhaps, my widow and her son may he brought also to know his name.
Erskine. My Brother Edwards, who was lately President of Schenec
ady College, in America, to whose correspondence I introduced some of your English friends, has brought his dear father with him, to congratulate you on your arrival.
Edwards, junior. The saved of all countries and all ages meet here, with the most cordial affection, and exult in each other's happiness; but it affords a peculiar gratification to see the first-fruits of a country so long over-run with false religion and idolatry.
Syam Dass. Surely, no country on earth can be sunk lower in ignoance, vice, and cruel superstition than mine! Yet there, our Lord having begun to triumph, will doubtless prevail over all opposition. I remember how Brother Peetumber once exulted in the thought: "There is," said he, "an irrevocable decree, that Christ Jesus shall be manifested to Bengal."
Edwards, senior. Who can doubt it, that has any acquaintance with the most sure words of prophecy, contained in the Scriptures of truth? The zeal of the Lord of Hosts is pledged for their accomplishment. I remember that when I lived upon earth, "My heart was much set on the advancement of Christ's kingdom in the world. When I read the history of past ages, the pleasantest thing in all my reading was, the promotion of the cause of Christ. Whenever I expected, in a course of reading, to come to any accounts of this sort, I reckoned upon it all the way I read; and my mind was then delighted with the prophecies of the future triumphs of the Redeemer." The accounts which my dear son and others, who have lately come to this upper world, have given me, respecting the Societies formed in Britain and America, for the Propagation of the Gospel, have afforded me unutterable pleasure.
Grant. In my last illness I felt somewhat dejected at the prospect of being removed before I could do any thing for God, or had seen the brethren who went before us to India. But, as soon as Death ́tore the veil from my eyes, I saw cause for nothing but satisfaction and gratitude. God made Brother Marshman the chief instrument of saving me from infidelity and error; and then employed me as the means of turning his mind to Missionary work. I am received into this heavenly state; while he continues with dear Brother Ward, and with the excellent Carey, whom I never saw on earth, to labour with diligence and increasing success. My widow also is serviceable in the concerns of the family; and my children are training up, I trust, for future usefulness. All is well: all has been ordered by infallible wisdom.
Edwards, junior. Your brethren must have been greatly tried by the successive removals of their fellow-labourers, But what they know not now they shall fully understand in futurity. Brother Dass's death, no doubt, afflicts them exceedingly, but still it is counterbalanced by their success up the country. Greater opposition must be expected, as Satan feels his kingdom shaken. All others that are engaged in Missionary attempts must expect like trials, though they may differ in various circumstances. But this Hindoo brother is like the sheaf of the firstfruits which was ordered to be waved before the Lord. The harvest shall follow in Bengal and in all nations. They that go forth weeping, bearing precious seed, shall in due time reap, not fainting.
Stephen. Let us attend our brother to the throne of the slaughtered Lamb; in whose book of life, it now appears, his name was written before the world began.
Saints. Salvation to our God, who sitteth upon the throne, and unte the Lamb, who hath redeemed our souls with his blood!
Angels. Amen! Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever! S. C..
SOME ACCOUNT OF
THE FAMILY OF THE NARROW - SOULS;
their Origin and Manners,
MR. Narrow-soul, the father of the family, was the immediate descendant of Mr. Loveself and Mrs. Saveall. Though an only son, he had not the advantage of a liberal education, as his mother had a particular aversion to public seminaries. She often used to say, That it would cost more to maintain one child at a boarding-school than to bring up three at home:whatever they might learn at those places, they were never taught the value of money; which, in her estimation, was of more importance than all the learning in the world: besides this, she insisted upon it, that their heads were filled with notions which made them unfit for business, and that they acquired habits of extravagance under the idea of liberality; which were extremely prejudicial to their interests. Thus circumstanced, poor Narrow-soul had no opportunity of obtaining any useful knowledge, beyond what he could pick up at a little day-school in the neighbourhood; add to this, that he had naturally a very great aversion to reading, in which disposition he was unhappily encouraged by both parents; for it was grown into a proverb with them, That people would never get forward in the world who were always poring over books, excepting only those books which were necessary in keeping accounts; and these, they admitted, could not be inspected too often, or examined too closely.
When Narrow-soul arrived at years of maturity, it so happened, that he fell in love with Party-zeal. She was the eldest daughter of Superstition, a descendant of the ancient family of the Bigots, who, for many years, had their principal residence at Rome. His parents inade no objection to the match; only his mother was rather fearful, lest the object of his attachment, who was of a quick and lively turn, should lead him into expences, which were not quite compatible with her views of economy. She did not, however, oppose the union; which accordingly took place, and proved the source of a numerous progeny.
Their descendants have also multiplied to that degree, that there are few families which may not be traced to one or other of them, though they are seldom willing to own the extraction. They are indeed of various denominations, and called by dif ferent names; yet a family-likeness may be observed in them all. They particularly resemble old Love-self; and those who possessed an intimate acquaintance with that gentleman, would find no difficulty in discovering the lineaments of his face in