Page images
PDF
EPUB

To our Readers we return sincere Thanks; and beg to assure them, that our endeavours to render the Work agreeable and useful shall not be relaxed.

To our Correspondents also our Gratitude is due. Through their liberality we are amply supplied with materials; and glad should we be to insert a much larger proportion of their communications, were it not impracticable, on account of the scanty limits of forty-four pages; in which, however, a far greater quantity of matter is compressed than in any similar work, published at the same price.

To“ God, only wise, the Author of every good and perfect gift," our supreme Acknowledgments are paid : His grace rendered the subjects of our Memorials what they were, - His wisdom directs the pens of our readiest writers, - His Spirit supports our dying friends in their departing hours, - His Providence superintends all

human affairs : it is He who suggests the plan and aids - the execution of every pious Institution. To Him there

fore, and to Him alone, be glory in all the churches, through Jesus Christ, world without end! Amen.

London, December, 1806.

EVANGELICAL MAGAZINE,

JANUARY, 1807.

MEMOIR

OF

THE REV. C. F. SCHWARTZ,

LATE MISSIONARY IN INDIA.
(Written on purpose for this Work, in Germany.)

The Rev. Christian Frederic Schwartz was born the 26th of October 1726, at Sonnenburgh, in the New Mark. Ilis father's name was, George Schwartz; and his mother's maiden name Gruner. The latter, who died during his carly childhood, declared on her death-bed, both to his father and to the clergyman who attended her, that she had dedicated her son to the Lord ; and exacted a promise from both, that they would at least lay no obstacle in his way, in casc he should express a desire to be educated for the church.

At the age of eight years, Schwartz was sent to the Town. School, where he received many good impressions under the then rector, Mr. Helm; who, in his instructions in religion, affectionately recommended prayer to his scholars, and shewed how they might, in their own words, lay their concerns before God. Schwartz relates, in an account written by himself, that he often, at that time, went into a solitary place, where he poured out his heart before God; in doing which he felt himself very happy. When he had done any thing amiss at home, he could not be easy till he had earnestly implored pardon of God.

When the above-mentioned rector was advanced to the situation of minister, and his successors paid little attention to the culture of the hearts of the youth under their

care;

Schwartz became again light-minded. He received confirmation from a clergyman, who was contented if his catechumens could answer his questions ; but was not anxious to perceive in them a real change of heart. Althongh at partaking, for the first time, of the holy commimion, Schwartz experienced some serious impressions, they were soon obliterated,

He was afterwards removed to the school ai Custrin, where God raised him many bencfactors. But as he loilged with light-minded scholars, his heart became more and more estranged from God, although he was not inattentive to external decorum in his conduct. However, even here, God did not leave himself without witness to hiin; for the discourses of the Rev. Mr. Stegmann, of Custrin, made strong impressions upon his mind; only be imagined it was not possible there to lead a religious life. He was also still destitute of a right notion of what true religion is; besides which, he did not perceive the necessity of trusting in the Divine Strength, to enable him to persevere.

He was afterwards entrusted with the tuition of the daughter of a magistrate, who had studied at Ilalle, and who expressed a great love and veneration for the teachers of that place. He lent him also some books, especially the “ Blessed Footsteps of the everliving God," by A. H. Franke; which he read net without emotion, and which first excited in him a wish to go to Halle.

He further observes, in the above-incntioned account, that he had been diligent, -- but merely for the sake of vainglory; that, in a dangerous disorder, with which he was twice attacked, he had formed a resolution to devote himself wholly to the Lord ; which, however, he soon forgot to carry into execution.

In the year 1746, lie went to Halle, with a view to attend the Latin School of the Orphan House; but his countryman, the Rev. Benjamin Schultze, who had been an English Missionary at Madras till the year 1743, and now resided at Halle, advised him to enter immediately at the College, as he was already 20 years of age, and sufficiently grounded in elementary knowledge. He took his advice; and diligently attended the lectures of the Professors at the University, Baumgarten, Mi. chaelis, knapp, Freylinghausen, &c. while he lodged and boarded at the Orphan-house. He was soon employed in the instruction of youth, and was likewise appointed to hold the evening prayer-meeting with the servants belonging to the farm of the Orphan-house. Both the instruction of the children and his prayer-meeting were beneficial to himself. Also, by his intercourse with a pious countryman of his, and by faithfully digesting what he heard in the meetings for edification, which were held at that time, he was more and more confirmed in Christian sentiments. They had both been first awakened in the prayer-meetings held by the Rev. G. F. Weisse, then Inspector of the German Schools of the Orphan-louse.

It was at that time in contemplation to print the Bible in the Talmul Language at Halle, under the superintendence of the above-mentioned Missionary Schultze. Schwartz, together with another student of this place, was commissioned to learn the Talmul language, in order to be employed in correcting the press. Although the printing of the Bible here was not carried into execntion, yet the pains which Schwartz had bestowed for a year and a halt upon the acquisition of the Talmul languag",

were not thrown away, since this became the occasion (the late Mr. Franke being also acquainted with his upright intentions) of his being appointed to go in the capacity of a Missionary to the East Indies. lle accepted this appointment; and ali hough, some days after, an advantageous situation, as preacher, not far from Hallé, was offered him, he declined it, in the firm persuasion that it was the will of God he should go to the East Indies. His father also, whom he visited before he set out upon his Mission, gave his consent to it; and the event has shewn that God had chosen him to preach the gospel to the Heathen.

On the 8th of August 1749, Schwartz set out, with two other Missionary candidates, Polzenhagen and Huettemann (the latter being destined for the English Mission) for Copenhagen. After they had there received ordination, they returned to Halle; from hence they proceeded on their way to London. On the 21st of January, 1750, they left London, embarked the 29th, and arrived on the 16th of July at Cadelar, and on the 30th at Tranquebar, in good health. As carly as the 5th of November following, Schwartz delivered his first discourse in the Talmul language.

In the year 1767, he was transferred to the English Society, as Missionary in Tirutchinapalli

, after having several times already preached the gospel there, and met with gieat attention : in the year 1779 he went to Tanschaur, where he had already founded a congregation during his abode at Tirutchinapalli, and where he remained till his decease.

At both places he received from the government at Madras an annual salary of 100 l. as garrison-preacher. At Tirutchinapalli he expended the whole of this sum in the service of the Mission, particularly in the building of the church and school, and also in augmenting the allowances of the national helpers. At Tanschaur he gave one half of his salary to Mr. Kohlhoff, whom he had educated and instructed until he was ordained at Tranquebar to be Missionary at Tanschaur. The otber half he likewise expended upon the Mission.

The fidelity with which he laboured, the self-denial which he exercisech, the blessing which attended his preaching of the gospel, the esteem in which he was beld both by the Europeans and Talmuls *, the veneration which all his brethren paid to him, as

[ocr errors]

The excellent conduct of Mr. Swartz was such as to secure the confidence of all ranks of people. In the time of war, when the fort of Tanjcre was in a distressed situation, a powerful enemy at hand, and not provision enough even for the garrison; and when, to add to this misfortune, the neighbouring inhabitants, who, by ill. treatment had lost all confidence in the Europeans, and the Rajah had in vain intreated the help of the people, the only hope left was in Mr. Swartz. "We have all lost our credit,” said the Rajah to an English gentleman ; “ let us try whether the inhabitants will trust Mr. Swartz.” Accordingly he was desired to make an agreement with them. There was no time to be to their father, counsellor, and pattern, appears sufficiently from the Missionary accounts. Much has he laboured ; - great will be his reward.

Ile enjoyed an almost uninterrupted good state of health, and could always perform his functions with ease: only in the last years he wrote, that he was no longer able to go about among the Heathen as formerly. But, in the beginning of November 1797, a cold which he had taken, became the occasion of a severe fit of illness. At that time, great apprehensions were entertained for his life. God, however, was pleased so far

lost. The Seapoys fell down as dead people, being emaciated with: hunger. The streets were lined with dead corpses every morning. He sent, therefore, letters in every direction, promising to pay, with his own hands, for every bullock that might be taken by the enemy. In a day or two he got above a thousand bullocks. He sent Catechists and. other Christians into the country, at the risk of their lives, who returned in a short tiine, and brought into the fort a great quantity of corn. Thus the fort was saved ; and when all was over, he paid all the people, nade thein a small present, and sent them home.

At another time, the inhabitants of the Tanjore country were so miserably oppressed by the Madras Dubashes árid others, that they quilted the country; in consequence of which all cultivation ceased, and every one dreaded a famine. The Rajah endeavoured to recall the peo. ple, proinising that their oppressions should be removed, and justice should be done them: but they would not believe him. Mr. Swartz was then desired by the Rajal to write letters to them, assuriig them that, at his intercession, kindness should be shewn them. He was credited. Seven thousand came back in one day, and the rest of the inhabitants followed. He then exhorted them to exert themselves to the utmost at the time, for cultivation was nearly lost. They replied, “ As you have shewed kindness to 11s, you shall not have reason to repent of it: we intend to work day and night, tu shew our regard to you."

These facts, and other similar ones, were related by Mr. Swartz, in a letter to the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (Feb. 1794) in vindication of himself and the Mission, from the unjust charges of a gentleman in a newspaper. He closes his letter thus :

“ I might have enlarged my account; but fearing that some characters. might have suffered by it, I stop here. One thing, however, I affirm before God and man: -- That is Christianity, in its plain and undisguised form, was properly promoted, the country would not suffer, but be benefitted by it. The knowledge of God, of his divine perfections, and of his mercy to mankind may be abused; but there is no other method of reclaiming mankind than by instructing them well. To hope that the Heathens will live a good life, without the knowledge of God, is a chimera.

“ The praise bestowed on the Heathen of this country by many of our historians, is refuted by, a close (I might almost say, superficial) inspection of their lives. Many historical works are more like a romance than history. Many gentlemen here are astonished how some historians have prostituted their talents by writing fables.

“I am now at the brink of eternity; but, to this moment, I declare that I do not repent of having spent forty-three years in the service of my divine Master. Who knows but God may remove some of the great obstacles to the propagation of the gospel. Should a reformation take place among the Europeans, it would, no doubt, be the greatest blessing to this country."

« PreviousContinue »