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degree this may affect the demand for English goods, there is not any occasion of discouragement to British genius and enterprize, since the comprehensive views, the well timed and enlarged policy of the Prince Regent and his Ministers, have opened the way to commercial intercourse with the vast regions of Hindostan.
Improvements in navigation, render the passage to India less formidable than a voyage to America used to be, when a trade was first attempted to that continent. How pleasing is the idea that British intercourse may prove the means of meliorating the condition of Oriental nations!
Trade, from the activity of its operations, may produce effects more extended and general than those resulting from Missionary Institutions. Of how much importance is it then, that those who go out to India to establish commercial relations, should be actuated by dispositions and sentiments, which will enable strangers to form a correct estimate of just and honourable enterprize, and duly to appreciate the advantages of Christian education! An intercourse thus conducted, may tend to elevate the moral tone of the degraded Eastern tribes; and to call forth the dignity of the human character from that mass of superstition under which it lies buried.
In the beautiful language of " the Elements of General Knowledge," we may say, that, in many instances," Christianity, by its general and combined effects, has exalted the character of man, by engrafting the purest affections, and the most sacred duties upon the stock of its natural designs, and upon its most powerful instinets. It bas provided the means of establishing a perfect harmony between the sensibilities of his nature and the convictions of his reason, by the revelation of its divine truths; not to expatiate upon its mild and salutary effects upon the tempers, the passions, and the general conduct of millions, who, although their names were never recorded in the page of history, were more worthy and honourable members of society, and more deserving the approbation of mankind, than all the ancient heroes who have sought renown by war."
Christianity, far from being adapted to any political constitution in particular, is calculated to improve all; being equally incompatible with licentiousness on the one hand, or with oppression on the other. How clearly do an enlargement of mind and superior intelligence, distinguish, in a peculiar manner, those nations which have embraced the religion of Jesus !
The present age displays a prospect very different from the scenes exhibited in the days of
religious bigotry and intolerance. The different professors of Christianity, if they disagree on some subjects of religious opinion, manifest, a liberality of sentiment, and a spirit of religious charity, unparalleled in any former period. There are few Christian countries wherein persecution is carried to any great extent; and where it is not entirely extinguished, it is rapidly on the decline.
OF all the discoveries which have been made in the world, historians are of opinion, that the invention of Printing constitutes an event, which, next to the establishment of Christianity, is the most interesting and important. Bigland says: "It is the only means which could have been discovered, of drawing the great mass of mankind from that profound abyss of ignorance in which they were, even in the most enlightened ages and nations, constantly involved, previously to the discovery of this superexcellent art; which, by reducing books to less than a hundredth part of their former price, facilitated the means of diffusing knowledge among the people.
"We have it upon good authority, that abov the year 1285, the countess of Anjou paid hundred sheep, and five quarters of whea the same quantity of rye, for a volume
mons; so scarce and dear were books at that time, when they were all written with the pen. If the merit of the inventors of the typographic art, was to be estimated according to the intrinsic value of the discovery, and its utility to mankind, their names ought to stand in the registers of fame, far above those of Caesar, and Alexander, and other conquerors, celebrated in history for their success in destroying mankind, and depopulating the world."
But it has been reserved for the present day, most conspicuously to exhibit the importance of the discovery. The British and Foreign Bible Society, have in a few years, issued no less than one million Bibles and Testaments; and have promoted the translation of them into fifty-four different languages. What an honour has been put upon the land of our nativity by an associa tion, first formed in it, in which all ranks of its inhabitants have united, and extended their arms to encircle, in one wide embrace, all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people!
The astonishing co-operation which has been excited in every quarter of the globe, may be attributed, under the Divine blessing, to the simplicity of the plan, in circulating the Scriptures without note or comment; that all suspicion of perversion or adulteration might be entirely ex