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Testament ... as it were, from dust and ashes, but beautiful as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers like yellow gold.”
Towards the end of September, therefore, Mr. Martyn put himself in readiness to leave Cawnpore; and on his preaching, for the last time, to the natives, and giving them an account of the life, the miracles, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus, as well as a summary of his heavenly doctrine—exherting them to believe in him, and taking them to record that he had declared to them the glad tidings of the Gospel—it was but too apparent that they would never again hear those sounds of wisdom and mercy from his lips. On the opening of the new chuch, also, where he preached to his own countrymen, amidst the happiness and thankfulness which aabounded at seeing “a temple of God erected, and a door opened for the service of the Almighty, in a place where, from the foundation of the world, the tabernacle of the true God had never stood,” a mournful foreboding could not be suppressed, that he, who had been the cause of its erection, and who now ministered in it for the first time, in the beauty of holiness, would minister there no more.— They beheld him standing on the verge of the eternal world, and ready to take a splendid flight. “My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof,” were the sentiments with which many gazed on him. One of his auditors on this solemn occasion, describes, in the following words, the feelings of many others, in depicting her own:—“He began in a weak and faint voice, being at that time in a very bad state of health; but gathering strength as he proceeded, he seemed as one inspired from on highNever was an audience more affected. The next day, this holy and heavenly man left Cawnpore, and the society of many who sincerely loved and admired him.— He left us with little hope of seeing him again, until, by the mercy of our Saviour, we meet with him in our Father's house.” —pp. 327–329.
On the 7th of January, 1811, Mr. M. sailed from Calcutta, and after visiting Ceylon, Goa, Bombay, and the Elephanta Island, he landed at Bushire on the 22nd of May; on the 30th his Persian dress was ready, and he started for Shiraz. Our limits prevent us from giving the very interesting account of this journey.
Arrived at the celebrated seat of Persian literature, Mr. Martyn, having ascertained the general correctness of the opinion delivered at Calcutta, respecting the trans.
lation of the New Testament, by Sabat, commenced immediately another version in the Persian language. An able and willing assistant, in this arduous and important work, presented himself in the person of Mirza Seid Ali Khan, the brother-in-law of his host, Jafter Ali Khan. His coadjutor, he soon discovered, was one of a numerous and increasing religious cornmunity, whose tenets, (if that term be not inapplicable to any thing of so fluctuating and indefinite a nature as their sentiments,) appear to consist of refined mysticism of the most Latitudinarian complexion; a quality, be it remembered, entirely opposite to the exclusive character and inflexible spirit of Christianity, and which I.F as it does so completely, the system of Soofeism, sufficiently accounts for its toleration under a Mahometan des. potism, of a purer and more absolute kind than exists even in the Turkish dominions. In Jaffier Ali Khan, a Mahometan of rank and consequence, to whom Mr. Mar. tyn had letters of recommendation, he found a singular urbanity of manners, united to a temper of a more solid and substantial excellence—a kindness of disposition, ever fertile in expedients conducive to the comfort and convenience of his uest. There was in him also, as well as in his brother-in-law, what was still more gratifying, an entire absence of bigotry and prejudice; and on all occasions he was ready to invite, rather than decline, the freest interchange of opinion on 1eligious topics. The work, for which Mr. Martyn had come to Shiraz, was commenced on the 17th of June, little more than a week af. ter, his reaching that city. It was preceded by a very pleasing interview with two priests of the Mahometan faith, of which we have this account.—“ In the evening, Seid Ali came, with two Moollabs, disciples of his uncle Mirza Ibraheem, and with them I had a very long and temperate discussion. One of them read the beginning of St. John, in the Arabic, and inquired very particularly into our opinions respecting the person of Christ; and when he was informed that he did not consider his human nature eternal, nor his mother divine, seemed quite satisfied, and remarked to the others, how much misapprehension is removed when people come to an explanation.' As Mr. Martyn was himself an objeet of attention and curiosity in Shiraz, and the Testament was wholly new to his coadjutor, he was not suffered to proceed in his work without many interruptions. “Seid Ali," he writes, June 17, “began translating the Gospel of John with me. We were interrupted by the entrance of two very majestic personages, one of whom was the great-grandson of Nadir Shah. The Uncle of the present King used to wait behind his father's table. He is now a prisoner here, subsisting on a thsion. “18.—At the request of our host, who is always planning something for our amusement, we passed the day at a house built half way up one of the hills that surround the town. A little rivulet, issuing from the rock, fertilizes a few yards of ground, which bear, in consequence, a cypress, or two, sweet briar, jessamine, and pinks. Here, instead of a quiet retreat, we found a number of noisy, idle fellows, who were gambling all day, and as loguacious as the men who occupy an alehouse bench. The Persians have certainly a most passionate regard for water: I suppose because they have so little of it. There was nothing at all in this place worth climing so high for, but the little rivulet.—pp. 157, 158.
“So universal a spirit of enquiry had been excited in the city of Shiraz, by Mr. Martyn's frequent disputations, as well as by the notoriety of his being engaged in a translation of the New-Testament into Persian, that the Preceptor of all the Mool. lahs began greatly to “fear whereunto this would grow.” On the 26th of July, therefore, an Arabic defence of Mahometanism made its appearance from his pen. A considerable time had been spent in its preparation, and on its seeing the light, it obtained the credit of surpassing all former treatises upon Islam.
This work, as far as a judgment of it can be formed from a translation, discovered amongst Mr. Martyn's papers, is written with much temper and moderation, and with as much candor as is consistent with that degree of subtilty, which is indispensable in an apology for so glaring an imposture as Mahometanism.
The Chief Moollah begins by declaring his desire to avoid all altercation and wrangling, and expresses his hopes that God would guide into the right way those whom he chose. He then endeavours, in the body of the work, to shew the superiority of the single perpetual miracle of the Koran, addressed to the understanding, above the variety of miracles wrought by Moses and by Christ, which were origin. ally addressed only to the senses, and that these, from lapse of time, become every day less and less powerful in their influ. ence. And he concludes with the following address to Mr. Martyn –
“Thus behold, then, O thou that art wise, and consider with the eye of justice, since thou hast no excuse to offer to God. Thou hast wished to see the truth of mira. cles. We desire you to look at the great Koran : that is an everlasting miracle."
“This was finished by Ibraheem ben al Hosyn, after the evening of the second day of the week, the 23d of the month lemadi, the second in the year 1223 of the Hegira of the Prophet. Ön him who fled be a thousand salutations !"
This work Mr. Martyn immediately set himself to refute, in dependence on his Saviour to “give him wisdom which his adversaries should not be able to gainsay.” His answer was divided into two parts: the first was devoted principally to an attack upon Mahometanism : the second was intended to display the evidences and establish the authority of the Christian faith. It was written in Persian, and from a translation of the first part, which has been found, we perceive that Mr. Martyn, “having such hopes, used great plainness of speech,” whilst, at the same time he treated his opponent with meekness and courtesy. After replying to the various arguments of Mirza Ibraheem, Mr. Martyn shews why men are bound to reject Mahometanism—that Mahonet was foretold by no Prophet—that he worked no miraclethat he spread his religion by means merely human, and framed his precepts and promises to gratify men's sensuality, both here and hereafter—that he was most ambitious both for himself and his familythat his Koran is full of gross absurdities and palpable contradictions—that it contains a method of salvation wholly inefficacious, which Mr. Martyn contrasted with the glorious and efficacious way of salvation held out in the Gospel, through the divine atonement of Jesus Christ. He concludes by addressing Mirza Ibraheem in these words : “I beg you to view these things with the eye ś. If the evidence be indeed convincing, mind not the contempt of the ignorant, nor even death itself—for the vain world is passing away, like the wind of the desert. “If you do not see the evidence to be sufficient, my prayer is, that God may guide you; so that you, who have been a guide to men in the way you thought right, may now both see the truth, and call men to God, through Jesus Christ, who hath loved us, and washed us from our sins in his blood.’ His Glory and Dominion be everlasting.”—pp. 176–179.
On the 24th of Feb. 1812, Mr. M. completed his translation of the NewTestament into Persian, and by the middle of March a version of the Psalms in the same language, was also finished. His conversation with the followers of Mohammed, were frequent, and interesting; and, in some instances, were not without a good effect.
“May 1–10. Passed some days at Jaf. fier Ali Khan's garden, with Mirza Seid Ali, Aga Baba, Shekh Abulhasan, reading at their request the Old Testament histories. Their attention te the word, and their love and respect to me, seemed to increase as the time of my departure approached. “Aga Baba, who had been reading St. Matthew, related, very circumstantially, to the company, the particulars of the death of Christ. The bed of roses, on which we sat, and the notes of the nightingales warbling around us, were not so sweet to me as this discourse from the Persian. “One day telling Mirza Seid Ali, that I wished to return to the city in the evening, to be alone, and at leisure for prayer, he said with impression, “though a man had no other religious society, with the aid of the Bible he may, I suppose, live alone with God?” It will be his own state soon —may he find it the medium of God's gracious communication to his soul | He asked in what way God ought to be address: ed, I told him as a father, with respectful love, and added some other exhortations on the subject of prayer. “11.—Aga Baba came to bid me farewell, and he did it in the best and most solemn way, by asking, as a final question, ‘whether, independantly of external evidences, I had any internal proofs of the doctrine of Christ?'—I answered, ‘yes, undoubtedly: the change from what I once was, is a sufficient evidence to me.’ At last he took his leave in great sorrow, and what is better, apparently in great solicitude about his soul. “The rest, of the day I continued with Mirza Seid Ali, giving him in charge what to do with the New Testament, in case of my decease, and exhorting him, as far as his confessions allowed me, to stand fast. He has made many a good resolution respecting his besetting sins. I hope, as well as pray, that some lasting essects will be seen at Shiraz, from the word of God left among them.” On the evening of the 24th of May, one year after entering Persia, Mr. Martyn left Shiraz, in company with an English clergyman, having it in intention to lay beore the King his translation of the New 'testament; but finding, that without a letter of introduction from the British Ambassador, he could not, consistently with established usage, be admitted into the Royal presence, he determined to proceed to Tebriz, where, at that time, Sir Gore Ouseley, his Britannic Majesty's Minister resided.—pp. 423–425.
Mr. M. arrived at the King's camp where he was treated with much rudeness, and finding that without a letter from the Ambassador he could not see the King, he continued on his route to Tebriz, though his health was so much impaired that be did not reach the place until the 5th of July. Iłere he was confined by a sever, of
two months continuance, so that he was obliged to relinquish his intention of presenting his translation of the New Testament to the King of Persia.
His disappointment, however, on this occasion, was greatly diminished by the kindness of Sir Gore Ouseley, who together with his lady, was tenderly and assiduously attentive to Mr. Martyn, throughout the whole of his illness, and who, in order that nothing might be wanting conducive to the favorable acceptance of the New-Testament with the King, promised himself to present it at Court.”—pp. 447, 448.
It was thought advisable for Mr. Martyn to make a visit to England, and he accordingly left Tebriz for Constantinople, on the 2nd of September. His health which was feeble, soon grew worse, and he expired at Tocat on the 16th of October 1812. The following are the last sentences of his Journal. They were written ten days before his decease.
“No horses being to be had, I had an unexpected repose. I sat in the orchard, and thought, with sweet comfort and peace, of my God; in solitude—my company, my friend and comforter. Oo when shall time give place to Eternity When shall appear that new heaven and new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness : There—there shall in no wise enter in any thing that defileth, none of that wickedness that has made men worse than wild beasts —none of those corruptions that add still more to the miseries of mortality, shall be seen or heard of any more."—pp. 478,479.
The Biographer of Mr. Martyn, remarks:
The peculiar circumstances, as well as the particular period, of his death, could not fail of greatly aggravating the affliction of those friends who, amidst anxious hopes and fears, were expecting his arrival, either in India or England. He had not completed the thirty second year of a life of eminent activity and usefulness, and he died whilst hastening towards his native country, that having there repaired his shattered health, he might again devote it to the glory of Christ, amongst the nations of the East. There was something, also, deeply affecting in the consid
* Sir Gore Ouseley, according to his promise, laid the New-Testament before the King, who publicly expressed his approbation of the work. He also carried the MS. to St. Petersburgh, where, under his superintendance, it was printed and put into circulation.
eration, that where he sunk into his grave, men were strangers to him and to his God. No friendly band was stretched out—no sympathising voice heard at that time, when the tender offices of Christian affec. tion are so soothing and so delightful— no human bosom was there, on which Mr. Martyn could recline his head in the hour of languishing. Paucioribus lacrymis compositus es”—was a sentiment to which the feelings of nature and friendship responded; yet the painful reflection could not be admitted—sn notissuma luce desiderarere aliquid oculi tui. The Saviour, doubtless, was with his servant in his last conflict, and he with him the instant it terminated.—pp.479,480.
God has not left Mr. Martyn without witness of those who heard him in Europe and in Asia. Above forty adults and twenty children, from the Hindoos, have received Christian Baptism, all of whom, with the exception of a single individual, were converted by the instrumentality of one man, himself the fruit of Mr. Martyn's ministry at Cawnpore. At Shiraz, a sensation has been excited, which it is trusted, will not readily subside; and some Mahometans of consequence there, have declared their conviction of the truth of Christianity—a conviction which Mr. Martyn was the means of imparting to their minds. But when it is considered, that the Persian and Hindoostanee Scriptures are in wide and extensive circulation, who can ascertain the consequences which may have already followed, or foresee what may hereafter accrue, from their dispersion ? In this respect it is not perhaps too much to apply to Mr. Martyn those words, which once had an impious application:—
“Ex quo nunc etiam per magnos didita
Nor is the pattern which he has left behind him, to be laid out of our account, in estimating the effects of his holy and devoted life. He doubtless forsook all for Christ; he loved not his life unto the death. He followed the steps of Zeigenbalg in the old world, and of Brainerd in the new ; and whilst he walks with them in white, for he is worthy, he speaks by his example, to us who are still on our warfare and pilgrimage upon earth. For surely as long as England shall be celebrated for that pure and apostolical Church, of which he was
* Thou art composed to rest with few tears: i.e. a very few chosen friends af. ford the expressions of their sympathy in the agonies of dissolution.
t In the hour of death, thine eyes longed Jor some object on which they might rest.
...; Even now, the sweet consolations of
life, by him published through great nations, soothe o passions of men.
so great an ornament; as long as India shall prize that which is more precious to her than all her gems and gold; the name of the subject of this memoir, as a Trans lator of the Scriptures and of the Liturgy, will not wholly be forgotten: and whilst some shall delight to gaze upon the splendid sepulchre of Xavier, and others choose rather to ponder over the granite stone which covers all that is mortal of Swartz; there will not be wanting those who will think of the humble and unfrequented grave of HENRY MARTYN, and be led to imitate those works of mercy, which have followed him into the world of light and love.—pp. 488–490. We have thus presented our readers with a brief outline of the life of this eminent servant of Christ. We regret that our limits prevent us from giving larger extracts. In repeated perusals of the work, we had marked numerous passages for insertion, and have found it difficult to select amidst so much that is good. The book to which we have called the attention of our readers, naturally induces us to disregard in a good degree those minor differences of christian communities, which, as it respects their immediate consequences, are so much to be lamented. We have not while reading the memoir thought of the subject of it, except as a christian missionary, and when occasionally reminded that he was of the communion of the church of England, we have rejoiced that she has numbered so good a man among her sons. The subjects brought under our consideration, have enabled us to extend our views beyond the interests of a section of the church. The conversion of the heathen is a subject dear to the Church Universal, and a contemplation of it must produce and cherish an extended charity. If such will be the effect of a partial attention on the mind of one who lives in christendom, how powerfully will that man feel it who views the abominations of a pagan population ? Mr. M. wrote in his journal; “how senseless the zeal of Churchmen against Dissenters, and of Dissenters against the Church 1 The Kingdom of God is neither meat, nor drink, nor any thing perishable; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” There is no doubt that all christian doctrine af. fects in some degree the conduct; and truth must therefore be important. It is also in itself lovely and desirable, and we can easily believe that those who are striving with ardour for minor points, may be good men, and that even this very conduct is prompted by a desire of glorifying God. But is there not something wrong in this 2 Cannot all this exertion be turned to a better account P While so large a portion of our race are the victims of a deadly superstition, without hope and without God, does not charity require us to be up and doing for their conversion ? and are not the souls of men the price of sectarian exertion P Indifference to truth is not what we plead for. We only desire that the salvation of the soul may be the governing motive; and would not this motive, feit in all its power, turn the exertions referred to, into a different chanuel P. The subject of this memoir was anxious for the truth, he was resolute in the declaration of those doctrines in which the safety of men is more immediately concerned: and he had lost none of this when he made the remarks which we have recited; still, he saw and regretted that time was spent by good men in altercation, and in endeavouring to make inroads upon each other's flocks, which should have been given for the benefit of those who were perishing for lack of vision. We repeat it, that the catholicism of Martyn was not indiscriminate. His was not that sickly charity, which when surveying a crowd of mingled character, a collection of good and of bad men, could extend its arms and say, “I love you all, and love you all alike.” All in a certain sense, he did love, and a desire for the welfare of unconverted men, warmed his breast, and excited him to action. Still he knew that there was a broad distinction between the members of the human family, of which the extract we published on the 91st page furnishes a singular instance. The divisions of the christian church are extremely
numerous. We shall in vain scrutinize the creeds, and the practices of the churches, and in vain shall we search the wold of God for proof that one branch of this church has the exclusive favour of God, and is consequently entitled to all our affection. The dividing line of different sects is sometimes scarcely discernible, and can be traced but with difficulty. At others, indeed, it forms a Chinese wall, which divides, and forever should divide those who encamp on each side of it. The sum of Martyn's catholicism may probably be expressed in the words of the Apostle. ‘Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.’ To those who trusted in the merits, were sanctified by the Spirit, and obeyed the precepts, external and spiritual, of this King in Zion, Martyn extended the hand of fellowship, and did not appear to be much solicitous whether they were of Paul, of Apollos or of Cephas, provided they were of Christ.
In imitation of his example, might not christians, (not those who bear the name merely, but those who possess the character described,) direct a portion of that attention and labour which are now employed in defending and propagating their peculiar tenets, to the conversion of the heathen world P. The advantages of such conduct would be seen in the increased exertion sor the benefit of the Gentile world; they would be seen in its effect upon the heathen, and the miserable spectacle of a divided household would not be presented them; they would be manifested also in christian lands, contention would be succeeded by concord, attempts at mutual injury by offices of kindness, and the good men who should thus exert themselves for the benefit of all and for the injury of none, would find an abundant recompense returned into their own bosoms. Upon the fields of christian exertion the influences of Heaven would descend, as the dew of Hermon, and as the dew which descended upon the mountains of Lebanon. Christian liberty would