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DISCOURSE

ON THE

DEATH OF RAJAH RAMMOHUN ROY.

The circumstances, Christian Brethren, in which I am now to address you, are unprecedented in my own experience; in many respects they are altogether without a precedent; and I shall need the patience and candour, not only of those among you who may usually worship with other churches, but even of those who statedly attend in this house of prayer. But I will presume on your kindly attention. I shall not wilfully say what will pain any of my hearers; but there are important facts and positions which I must lay before you ; and while I say nothing but under the influence of solemn conviction, and in the christian temper, I am persuaded I shall meet with the indulgence of every one who respects the right of private judgment, and desires to receive light from whatever quarter it comes; and of all who, with less enlargement of intelligence, share in that spirit which is confined to no denomination of Christians, and which, indeed, under modifications arising from the varieties of light afforded,

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is to be found in all who worship the one living and true God, and acknowledge ‘his eternal power and godhead.' There are diversities of operations', but

it is the same God which worketh all in all'; and there are none of any clime or colour, who, according to the light given them, “fear him and work righteousness', but are guided by his spirit, and prepared for greater light on earth or in heaven.

Independent of the perfectly unique character and endowments of that remarkable person who has recently been called from the scenes of time, but whose mind will influence in death as much as in life, and perhaps still more so—for such has been the case with many gifted persons whom the providence of God raised up to lead the way of those who were far behind them in intelligence and enlightenment ;-independent of what we must all regard as most extraordinary in the illustrious Brahmin, there is something singular, and to myself peculiarly interesting, in the circumstances which, in a great measure, are only temporary or personal in their interest. For the last fourteen or fifteen years, I have been increasingly acquainted with the history and labours of the servant of the living God whose loss we mourn-mourning, however, with the christian hope of seeing him again, and with the reverential conviction that his will is best in whose hands are the issues of life. Often has the opportunity been afforded me, in various circumstances, in public and private, in this place and elsewhere, to advert to his services in the cause of philanthropy and religion ; and about eight years ago, these were in an especial manner brought forwards to this Congregation, when an appeal was made to it, answered with even more than its wonted liberality, to assist in the establishment of unitarian worship in the capital of British India. From causes which, in a prolonged intercourse with Rammohun Roy, we might have had more fully developed, but which we know generally, the effort seemed to have been lost. But such is not the law of God's providence. No wise and virtuous effort is lost; and in proportion as this was suited to the time and circumstances, and made in the dutiful spirit of faith, its effects have only been suspended. Ministers and Congregation here, however, have the satisfaction of feeling that we did what we could.

My own opportunities of direct communication with this eminent person, while he remained in India, were not frequent. Each had very close engagements and many interruptions of purpose. One of his communications, at least, on which I rested much, was lost. I had no official reason for intruding upon his time; nor had I-it would have been presumptuous if I had had -any desire to attempt to direct his views, except by information as to the state of things among our l'eligious community in Britain. It always seemed to me that his was a mind which, while looking to higher guidance, was to shape its own course; and which must be decided in its choice by the requirements of circumstances over which the residents in this country could have no controul, and of which, indeed, we had no certain knowledge. I was enabled, however, to keep myself in his recollection ; and when he arrived in Britain, the first letter which I received from him assured me that I possessed his friendly regard, and that as soon as his public duties permitted, he would

I was his companion in his first attendance on unitarian worship in London, and in the evening I conducted him to the crowded meeting of our Association, at which the father of my colleague presided ; where the enlightened Brahmin was welcomed as a fellow-labourer, and received with every mark of deep and heartfelt respect; and where he himself, though weakened by accident and indisposition, expressed, in simple but correct language — the remembrance of which, and of his appearance, presses vividly on my heart as I commit the thought to writing—his humble appreciation of himself, and his desires to promote whatever appeared to him the cause of truth and duty.

visit us.

The official services which his coming to England enabled him to undertake for the descendant of the ancient sovereigns of his country, and which may, in some measure, have decided the time of his visiting our land, together with duties for his country of a more comprehensive nature,* would not allow him to realize hopes which these causes so often disappointed that our hearts began, perhaps unreasonably, to fail us. But at length his son was confided to the care which he had learnt, by repeated personal observation, to appreciate highly. And soon after he had seen, for the first and last time on earth, one of our American brethren, who earnestly desired to see him—I refer to the Rev. Dr. Tuckermann, of Boston, the friend of the sinner and the destitute, with whom he had long had frequent communication, whom his own benevolent and devout heart led to estimate as all do who know him, whom the incessant toils of christian love have so re

* See his own statement of them in Appendix (A).

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