Page images

“In labours more abundant” than almost any other man, during forty years in India, Dr. Carey finished his most honourable life, in full faith in Jesus Christ, June 9th, 1834.

Memorial of the Bible Society, adopted by the Committee, on the occasion of the death of the Rev. Dr. Carey, late of Serampore :

The Committee cannot receive the intelligence of the death of their venerable friend, Dr. Carey, without expressing their long-cherished admiration of his talents, his labours, and his ardent piety. At a period antecedent to the formation of the British and Foreign Bible Society, Dr. Carey, and his earlier colleagues, were found occupying the field of Biblical Translation ;—not as the amusement of literary leisure, but as subservient to the work to which they had consecrated themselves, that of teaching Christianity to heathen and other unenlightened nations.

Following in the track pointed out by the excellent Danish Missionaries, they set sail for British India, intending there to commence their enterprise of zeal and mercy; and there, notwithstanding impediments which at first threatened to disappoint all their hopes, but which were afterwards succeeded by the highest patronage of Government—there, for forty years, did Carey employ himself, amid the numerous dialects of the East; first, in surmounting their difficulties, and compelling them to speak of the True God, and of Jesus Christ whom He hath sent; and then presenting them in a printed form to the people.

For this arduous undertaking he was qualified in an extraordinary degree, by a singular facility in acquiring languagesa facility which he had first shown and cultivated, amidst many disadvantages, in the retirement of humble life. The subsequent extent of his talent, as well as of his diligence and zeal, may be judged of by the fact, that, in conjunction with his

colleagues, he has been instrumental in giving to the tribes of Asia, the sacred Scriptures, in whole or part, in between forty different languages!

For many different years, it was the privilege of this Society to assist him in his labours : he was among its earliest correspondents. If, for the last few years, the intercourse has been less regular, and direct assistance suspended in consequence of difficulties arising out of conscientious scruples on the part of himself and his brethren, still the Committee have not the less appreciated his zeal, his devotedness, his humility ;-and they feel, while they bow with submission to the will of God, that they have lost a most valuable co-adjutor, and the Church of Christ at large a distinguished ornament and friend.


Divine wisdom and goodness are remarkably manifest in the life of Dr. Morrison, the first Protestant Missionary to the Chinese; and God honoured him with the admiration of the whole Christian world, by his extraordinary labours in compiling a Chinese Dictionary and Grammar, and translating the Holy Scriptures into that difficult language. But Dr. Morrison's vast biblical knowledge and exalted Christian character were eminently promoted by his being first a Sunday-scholar, and afterwards in Sabbath-school teaching.

Robert Morrison was born January 5th, 1782, at Morpeth, in Northumberland; but three years after his parents removed to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where his father, a truly religious man, was for many years an elder of a Scotch Church. Robert was instructed by his maternal uncle, a respectable school

master; but on Sabbath evenings, he was privileged to attend the public catechetical instructions of the Rev. John Hutton, in a kind of Sunday-school, at the High Bridge Chapel; where, " in his thirteenth year, he repeated one evening, without a mistake, the whole of the 119th Psalm, Scottish version."

He was bound apprentice to his father, as a boottree maker, and continued to enjoy the Sunday evening catechisings, which tended greatly to enlighten his mind. In 1798, he became a member of the Presbyterian Church; and formed, with several other youths, a “Praying Society," who met every Monday evening, in his father's workshop, for devotional exercises. Some of this little band met almost daily for religious reading, and conversation, and devising plans of doing good. Such was the character of his sterling piety, that even at this early age, he often conducted the domestic worship of his father's house; and over the spiritual welfare of a lad, who was apprenticed to his father, he watched with holy assiduity, instructing him in the principles of religion, and taking him aside to pray with him. His attendance on public worship was constant; and the intervals of his Sabbaths were devoted either to the teaching of poor children, or visiting the sick. By this Sunday-school exercise he was disciplined for greater things in the service of God, and for his extraordinary labours as a missionary in China.

“His Saturday evenings were often employed in seeking out objects of distress, whom he might thus visit and relieve ; and the mingled zeal and tenderness with which, as a member of the Friendly Poor and Sick Society, he performed this service, afforded no faint indication of the spirit in which he afterwards yearned over the millions of China, and persevered in seeking their salvation.”

Neither Scotland nor Northumberland had, at that time, generally adopted the system of Sundayschools; and from these exercises, young Morrison was soon called to other labours. Considering his station, his reading was extensive; and his piety was nourished by habitual devotion; for all which he redeemed time by early rising, and by uniform diligence. Particulars of his history in this respect may be seen in his instructive Memoirs. He began also to learn Latin; and before he had completed his twenty-first year he was accepted by the Directors of the London Missionary Society. While at college he made great progress in his studies; and he embarked for China in January, 1807. He succeeded so well in mastering that difficult language, that on the day of his marriage, February 20th, 1809, he was appointed Chinese translator to the East India Company's factory, with a salary of £500 a year. Perseverance marked his proceedings; and, under great privations, he laboured diligently in the compilation of his Chinese Grammar, and Dictionary, as well as in the translation of the Scriptures. He was delighted in receiving, July 4th, 1813, his valuable assistant in the mission, Mr., afterwards Dr., Milne. In January, 1814, he presented the Bible Society with the translation of the New Testament in Chinese. In 1815, he accompanied Earl Amherst, Ambassador Extraordinary, from the British Court to the Court of Pekin, as Chinese Secretary. In 1817, the Glasgow university made him Doctor of Divinity; and, in 1819, he completed the translation of the whole Bible! In 1820, he founded the Anglo-Chinese college; and his Chinese Dictionary, in three volumes, quarto, was printed at the expense of the East India Company.

Dr. Morrison, in 1824, visited England, and presented to the British and Foreign Bible Society, at its General Meeting, in May, his translation of the whole Bible and his Dictionary printed in Chinese. These were received with admiration, and devout thankfulness to God by the great assembly. In 1825, he returned to his work in China, and spent the following nine years in useful labours as a missionary; but on the 1st of August, 1834, he finished his earthly course, at Canton, in the lively hope of eternal glory through Jesus Christ.

All attempts, in this place, will be entirely inadequate to show the importance of the labours of Dr. Morrison, during twenty-seven years as a Missionary, or of his services, for twenty-five years, as Chinese Interpreter to the East India Company.

Memorial adopted by the Committee, on occasion of the death of the Rev. Dr. MORRISON, late of Canton :

Scarcely have the Committee of the British and Foreign Bible Society paid their tribute to the memory of one highly valued and distinguished fellow.labourer in the East, before they are called to mourn the loss of another. To the name of

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »