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with such miseellaneous quotations as may most appropriately elucidate the character of Dr. Morrison, and do justice to the valuable and interresting memorial before us.
It will gratify our younger readers to peruse the following account of the early zeal and active piety of Dr. Morrison, 80 delightfully anticipative of the devotion and perseverance that marked his subsequent life.
“ Early in the year 1800, for the purpose of securing a larger portion of quiet in his retirement, he had his bed removed to the workshop, where he would often pusue his studies until one or two o'clock in the morning. He had also a little garden in Pandon Dean, where he spent much of his leisure time in study, prayer, and meditation. Even when at work, his Bible or some other book was placed open before him, that he might acquire knowledge, or cherish the holy aspirations of spiritual devotion, whilst his hands were busily occupied in the labours of life. His diary does not record the method in which he pursued his studies : indeed, at this period he probably knew nothing of systematic effort, as he frequently changed his object, and complains of not being exactly aware of the best course to adopt. Botany, arithmetic, and astronomy, are incidentally mentioned as objects of his attention. Comparatively few books were within his reach; the following are, however, specified :-Hervey's Works, Romaine's Letters, Marshall on Sanctification, Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History, and Henry's Commentary, from which he made extracts. Besides these, he speaks of the Evangelical Magazine, and the missionary intelligence which it supplied, in such a way as to show his strong predilection for missionary labour. In after life he often referred to the loss which at this period he sustained through the want of books; and when the means of providing them were in his power, he would never allow himself, or his family, to suffer from this cause. He also lamented the scanty supply of books which missionaries in general possess, and deemed that deficiency to be greatly prejudicial to their usefulness, and destructive of their comfort. During the whole of this year he was actively engaged in visiting the sick, with whom he read the Scriptures and prayed, and to whose temporal relief he assigned, every week, a portion of his scanty earnings. 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 Friendless 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. Such was the sterling character of his 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 devout; and the intervals of his Sabbaths were either devoted to the instruction of poor children, or employed in administering consolation to the sick and the aged. In speaking of his engagements at this period, his sister narrates the following fact : He never beheld sin without the deepest sorrow, and a wish to reclaim the sinner. We had a relative who gave him much pain on this account. He reasoned, he expostulated with him; and at last made this solemn appeal-Can you dwell with eternal fire? Can you endure everlasting burnings ? The young man was a sailor. He has since told me that these words were ever in his ears, and were ultimately the means of his conversion. Thus did my beloved, my lamented brother, go about doing good, and dispensing happiness to all around him, from his youth upwards. Oh that we were, like him, following the example of our blessed Saviour, through whom we have life and immortality !'”_Vol. i. pp. 7-9.
The following extract is from a juvenile essay, written about this time, as an exercise of composition; and considering the defective education he had received, and the disadvantages under which he laboured, it is a specimen highly creditable to his taste and feelings, as well as his talent.
" Natural beauty, or the beauty of natural objects, is that quality, or those qualities, in the works of nature, or more properly of God, which are calculated to excite pleasing sensations in the mind of all such persons of true taste, who attentively observe them. That sensibility to beauty which, when cultivated, we term taste, is universally diffused through the human species : and it is most uniform with respect to those objects which are not liable to variation from accident, caprice, or fashion. The verdant lawn, the shady grove, the variegated landscape, the boundless ocean, and the starry firmament, are contemplated with pleasure by every attentive beholder. Bat the emotions of different spectators, though similar in kind, differ widely in degree: and to relish, with full delight, the enchanting scenes of nature, the mind must be uncorrupted by avarice, sensuality, or ambition, quick in her sensibilities, clevated in her sentiments, and devout in her affections.
• Would you, then, taste the tranquil scene?
Be sure your bosom be serene :
To graft the love of human race.' * Now such scenes contribute powerfully to inspire that serenity, which is necessary to enjoy and heighten their beauties. By a secret contagion, the soul catches the harmony which she contemplates; and the frame within assimilates itself to that which is without. For
• Who can forbear to smile with nature? Can
The stormy passion in the bosom roll,
Is melody?' " From this state of sweet composure, we become susceptible of virtuous impressions from almost every surrounding object. The patient ox is viewed with generous complacency; the guileless sheep, with pity; and the playful lamb raises emotions of tenderness and love. We rejoice with the horse in his liberty and exemption from toil, while he ranges at large through enamelled pasture; and the frolics of the colt would afford unmixed delight, did we not recollect the bondage he is soon to undergo. We are charmed with the song of birds; soothed with the buzz of insects; and pleased with the sportive motion of fishes, because these are expressions of enjoy. ment: and we exult in the felicity of the whole animated creation. The taste of the florist has been ridiculed as trifling, yet surely without reason; for a more rational pleasure cannot possibly occupy the attention, or captivate the affections of mankind, than that which arises from a due consideration of the works of nature. With what exquisiteness does she decorate the floweret that springs beneath our feet, in all the perfections of external beauty. She has clothed the garden with a constant succession of various hues. Even the leaves of the tree undergo a pleasing vicissitude: the fresh verdure which they exhibit in spring, the various shades which they assume in summer, the yellow and russet tinge of autumn, and the nakedness of winter, afford a constant pleasure to a lively imagination. But the taste for natural beauty is subservient to higher purposes than those which have been enumerated, and the cultiva
tion of it not only refines and humanizes, but dignifies and exalts the affections. It elevates them to the admiration and love of that Being who is the Author of all that is fair, sublime, and godlike in the creation. Scepticism and irreligion are hardly compatible with the sensibility of heart which arises from a just and lively relish of the wisdom, harmony, and order subsisting in the world around us; and emotions of piety must spring up spontaneously in the bosom that is in unison with all animated nature. Actuated by this divine inspiration, man finds a face in every grove, and, glowing with devout fervour, he joins his song to the universal chorus, or muses the praises of the Almighty in more expressive silence. Thus, they
• Whom nature's works can charm, with God himself
And form to his the relish of their souls.'” The invincible perseverance of Dr. Morrison was eminently displayed during his academical studies ; and all his colleagues, who have recorded their opinion respecting him, have referred to this characteristic feature. He was never diverted from the one object of mental improvement, as necessary to preparation for the Christian ministry. . Nihil sine laboreNulla dies sine linea, were his mottoes ; and he fully exemplified their influence. This unity of aim and purpose gave force, concentration, and dignity, to his entire character; and in this view the worth of his example, irrespective of the benefit of his efforts, is invaluable. What he achieved in the acquisition of languages, was not the result of that almost intuitive faculty which some eminent linguists have possessed. It was not the power of genius, but persevering and indomitable energy, that enabled him by “patient continuance” to proceed; while the still higher energy of devotion sustained and consecrated his exertions. The earlier period of his public life is well known from the numerous references that were made to it in notices, memoirs, and funeral sermons, soon after the time of his decease; but we cannot withhold from our readers the following graphic account of the young missionary, when for a short time he visited New York on his voyage to China. It is from a paper, entitled “ Reminiscences of Dr. Morrison.” The writer is the gentleman at whose house Dr. Morrison lodged during his stay in that city.
“ Dr. Morrison visited this country in 1807, on his way to China. He could not go out directly in one of the Company's ships, and had, therefore, to make a circuitous voyage by way of America. He had letters from Dr. Bogue, and from the Directors of the London Missionary Society, to the late lamented Dr. Mason, of this city. He was accompanied on his voyage to the United States by Mr. Gordon and Mr. Lee, two missionaries sent out, with their wives, by the churches of England to Hindostan. I shall never forget the evening on which the whole company were brought to my house by Dr. Mason. The appearance of a missionary of the cross was then a rare thing, and that of a company of missionaries still more so. The countenance of Morrison bore the impress of the effect of grace on a mind and temperament naturally firm, and somewhat haughty. His manner was civil rather than affable ; serious and thoughtful, breathing a devoted piety. The interview was solemn, but pleasant. Strangers, born on different sides of the Atlantic, there was but one bond between
us; yet the divine nature of that one 'mystic tie' was speedily recognized, as Christian communion unlocked the hidden treasures of the heart; and when, at the close, we bowed our knees in social prayer, the tears which fell on every side were witness to that strange affection to an unseen Being, and to all who love him, which knows nothing of oceans, or separating mountains,—nothing of distance, or of time. In a day or two after, Dr. Morrison was seized with sudden indisposition. As I sat by his bed, he took my hand, and, adverting to the uncertain issue of the attack, expressed, in language which told of a mind at ease, and prepared for every event, his resignation to the divine will. After urging me to greater devotedness to the cause of Christ's glory, he closed with these words, which I afterwards found were ever on his lips, ' Dear brother-look up, look on.'
"As the notice had been very short, he was placed, for the first night, in our own chamber. By the side of his bed stood a crib, in which slept my little child. On awakening in the morning, she turned, as usual, to talk to her mother. Seeing a stranger where she expected to have found her parents, she roused herself with a look of alarm; but fixing her eyes steadily upon his face, she inquired, Man, do you pray to God?' •0 yes, my dear,' said Mr. Morrison,' every day. God is my best friend.' At once re-assured, the little girl laid her head contentedly on her pillow, and fell fast asleep. She was ever after a great favourite with him.
"Having unpacked his books to air them after the voyage, he showed me two folio volumes in manuscript, written with his own hand. On inquiring of him how he learned to write the character, he related his introduction to Yong-Sam-Tak, and the circumstances of his tuition by him. The mode adopted by the Chinese to teach his pupil to write was, he said, the same pursued with his young countrymen. A page of the character was covered with a corresponding sheet of their paper, through which every stroke could be distinctly seen; and then, with a small brush or pencil of stiff hair set in a reed handle, and held vertically, (by the middle finger against the first and third,) every line was carefully and repeatedly traced, till it became familiar. After much of this drudgery, Dr. M. sat him patiently down to the Jesuit harmony, and copied out every syllable of it, for his own future use. This accounts for the otherwise surprising facility with which he subsequently acquired the language on his arrival in China. What an impressive spectacle must this man have presented, as he sat at his solitary task, to a being acquainted with the design God was about to accomplish by his hands. Is it too much to believe that angelic eyes sometimes looked over his shoulder, beholding with growing admiration both the wisdom and goodness of God in thus training the man who was to unbar the gates of life to the millions of the East ?
" There was nothing of pretence about Morrison. An unfriendly critic might have said he was too proud to be vain : a Christian would more willingly believe that he was too pious to be proud. Nothing could be more plain, simple, and unceremonious, than his manners. His fellow-missionaries looked up to him as a father, resorted to his room for prayer, and took his advice in all their movements. He exhibited less of the tenderness of the Christian than they did : his piety had the bark on; theirs was still in the green shoot. His mind stood firm, erect, self-determined ; theirs clung to it for support, and gathered under its shadow for safety.”—Vol. i. pp. 132–135.
"I will only add a brief notice of the parting scene, as he left us for his destination. On the morning he sailed, his missionary companions assembled in his room, and there had a most solemn interview-their last in this world. Poor Gordon was completely overwhelmed. Morrison was composed and dignified; he reproved the excessive grief of his brother, and conducted their parting devotions with great firmness and self-possession. We then set out together to the counting-house of the shipowner, previously to his embarkation. I cannot forget the air of suppressed ridi
cule which lurked on the merchant's features, and in his speech and manner towards Morrison, whom he appeared to pity as a deluded enthusiast, while he could not but secretly respect his self-denial, devotion, courage, and enterprise. When all business matters were arranged, he turned about from his desk, and, with a sardonic grin, addressing Morrison, (whose countenance was 'a book wherein men might read strange things,') said, 'And so, Mr. Morrison, you really expect that you will make an impression on the idolatry of the great Chinese empire ? No, Sir,' said Morrison, with more than his usual sternness, I expect God will.' We soon left the man of money, and descending to the wharf, took our last farewell of the future apostle of the Chinese, as he stepped into the stern sheets of a boat that was to carry him to the ship which lay off in the bay. He said little; he moved less ; his imposing figure and solemn countenance were motionless as a statue; his mind was evidently full, too full for speech; his thoughts were with God, and he seemed regardless of all around him."-pp. 136, 137.
On Dr. Morrison's arrival at Canton he availed himself of all the letters of introduction he had received, and of every opportunity of obtaining both an accurate and a familiar acquaintance with the Chinese language. His ultimate progress, in the estimation of the most distinguished British residents and of learned natives of the highest order, was so eminent that he was appointed the “ Translator to the East India Company's Factory;" and in that capacity he was enabled to perform the most important service, not only for the civil interests of the Company, but in the great cause to which his life and labours were devoted. He acquired influence and formed connexions, resulting from the moral and intellectualelevation of his character, which powerfully reacted on his missionary pursuits, enabling him by the wise appropriation of his resources, and the institutions he was led to establish, to make more extendedprovision for the permanence of the mission.
It is impossible to peruse the communications he transmitted to his correspondents, his official despatches to the directors of the London Missionary Society, and the various letters he sent to learned and illustrious men, both in Britain and on the continent, and not be astonished at the magnitude of his labours and the extent of his achievements. The more the extracts and journals in these volumes are studied, the higher will be the estimate of his attainments and his success. He published catechisms, elementary treatises, collections of maxims, and tracts, composed by himself, for circulation amongst various classes of the Chinese ; some of which are printed in their English form, in the appendix, and are admirably adapted to their great object—the inculcation and enforcement of pure Christianity. Dr. Morrison's literary and philological works were numerous, accurate, and profound ; and procured the highest approbation and regard from those who were competent to form an erudite and impartial judgment on the subject. Of his great work, the English and Chinese Dictionary, in six quarto volumes, printed at the expense of the East India Company, and of his greatest work, the translation of the entire Word of God, in successive volumes, and to which his whole life was devoted, a most