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of conduct, are naturally and inevitably brought in sight and discussion. There has not been, I am confident, one single particular, of the very smallest importance in the Serampore system, or in Dr. M.'s own conduct, that has not been freely talked over while he has been in this house. Many things he has mentioned, which, he has observed in the particular instances, he had never thought of mentioning, or had never deemed worth mentioning to any other person. And judging from this ample and minute disclosure, challenged and questioned and traversed at every point, and with a constant reference to all the animadversions circulated in report and in print, -judging upon this large and criticised explanation, I am convinced that the whole system and conduct at Serampore (and of Marshman quite as much as of Carey and Ward), has exhibited a completeness of devotement, and exclusion of selfish purposes, an unanimity of co-operation, å simplicity of object, and an indefatigable industry, of which there is no equal or second example (in an associated company of persons) in these times ;-and to which there has been hardly a superior in any other times. .. In short, never were mortal men devoted, throughout, with more disinterested singleness of purpose, to a noble object. Mrs. Marshman has co-operated in completely the same spirit; and with very great pecuniary efficiency. And John Marshman. · has acted most generously and magnanimously. As early as the age of seventeen, he had opportunities and overtures for going into courses for making a fortune, which by this time he would have done, with less indefatigable exertion than he has devoted to the Christian service, to which he has wholly given another seventeen years or nearly so, and is now worth nothing.'
* “It is of no use to make professions of impartiality. That indeed was not the state of mind in which I began to give a somewhat particular attention to the subject; as I have said near the beginning of these pages,
Other passages in Foster's correspondence will show, that the high estimate he formed of Dr. Marshman, as a Christian and a missionary, was not influenced by any remarkable congeniality in their general mental habits and tastes, for in these they widely differed; it will also appear, that though his convictions in favour of the Serampore fraternity, as to the noble and disinterested spirit that animated them, and their strong claims on the gratitude that I was very considerably prejudiced against Dr. M. till his free explanations on all points in question, led me to a conviction that gross calumny, that wanton and extravagant falsehood, was at work against him. It will be said, of course, that this went into a violent prejudice on the other side. I have to answer, that it was not, at any rate, such as to make me refuse attention to other statements or evidence. I listened to multifarious testimony and opinion against him, given with whatever force it could derive from the knowledge and acuteness of some of his most decided and able accusers. In addition, I have seen a considerable number of private documents. The circumstances which happened to render my habitation the most convenient retirement for Dr. M., while digesting his statement, have brought me acquainted with very many particulars and developments relating to its subject, and with the character of the man himself. If any one should say, that I have been beguiled by polite dexterity and insinuating address, I should think it needless to make any other observation than that, whoever he may be that says so, he would make rather light of any one's opinion who should say that he could be duped in his judgment of the character of any man, with whom he should pass several months in daily and familiar intercourse, though it were Prince Metternich himself. Let due praise then be rendered to the modesty of such as, with very slight, or without the smallest, personal acquaintance with Dr. M., shall have an agreeable sense of infallibility in asserting that the judgment of one so intimately conversant with him is deluded. Having in consequence of the local circumstances which brought me so directly in his way, been led to take an inquisitive interest in the concern in which he is involved, and having seen no appearance of a sustained and boldly uncompromising effort to assert his vindication, I have been induced by love of justice to do what I could in the capacity of advocate. What other motive can be ascribed or conceived for diverting so much time and attention from occupations for which they were greatly wanted ? From what other motive could I be willing to incur, and that from persons with not one of whom I have ever had any manner of disagreement, a share, as I must submit to expect, of the animosity which will continue in action for a time against a man and a fraternity who were so long heretofore, and will remain ultimately and permanently hereafter, approved, admired and revered ?"— Introductory Observations to a Statement Relative to Serampore, supplementary to a “Brief Memoir," by J. Marshman, D.D., London, 1828, pp. lxix.—Ixxi.
and support of the Christian public, remained unshaken to the last, he candidly allowed, that on some points his opinions were somewhat modified by the opposing statements. In 1837, a reunion was effected with the Baptist Missionary Society, a measure in which he did not acquiesce, though it relieved him from a very considerable expenditure of time and labour.
A great accession was made to Mr. Foster's sources of social enjoyment by the settlement of the Rev. W. Anderson in Bristol, as classical and mathematical tutor to the Baptist College, in 1825; and soon after, by the return of Mr. Hall to spend his last years in the scene of his early ministry. With the former his intercourse was frequent and cordial. As to Mr. Hall, Foster's letters abound with intimations of the vivid interest he took in the discourses and conversation of his great coeval.* Notwithstanding their difference of opinion on the Serampore question, they were often in each other's society, and would have met much more frequently, had not Mr. Foster's state of health, and his distance from the city, prevented. It has been remarked, and apparently with truth, that the social circle was resorted to by Mr. Hall (in his later years at least), as a soothing relaxation, in which old associations and the scenes of past life were the favourite topics.
* “ Hall is still in our sort of circle the great primary object, to talk of and to hear talk, whether in his public or private positions. The progress of time but augments the evidence of the eminent value of our acquisition in Anderson, whether as tutor or conversational associate. He is your man all round. He is more intimate than any one else is with Hall, and measures his talents and qualities with mathematical precision.”-To B. Stokes, Esq., June 11, 1827.
“ Hall is supporting his uniform tenor of admirable preaching with a measure of usefulness, which, however, he sometimes regrets not to see more evident and direct. And one may justly wonder it should not partake more of the extraordinary, considering the superlative excellence of the ministration. But it will, it certainly must, have a most important effect on the rising race of educated and inquiring persons.”—To the Rev. T. Coles, May 1, 1829.
Foster, on the other hand, valued it, though not exclusively, as a means of mental excitement, and enjoyed (unless physically disabled) “a long stout evening's talk," in which was duly intermingled the “animated No." On the occasion of Mr. Hall's decease, no one had a deeper sense than Mr. Foster of the irreparable loss sustained by that event; it was “a sense,” to use his own expressive language, " of privation partaking of desolateness.” “That memory,
" he said, “will never vanish from the minds of those who have heard his preaching, and frequently his conversation, during the five years that he has been resident here. As a preacher his like or equal will come no more. “The chasm he has left can never be filled. The thing to deplore is, that he did not fill a space which he was beyond all men qualified to occupy in our religious literature. It is with deep regret one thinks what an inestimable possession for our more cultivated, and our rising intelligent young people would have been some six or ten volumes of his sermons.”+ Instead of the funeral sermon which he declined (being under medical interdict at the time from all public speaking), he paid, in his “ Observations on Mr. Hall as a Preacher," & tribute to his memory, which allowed a more ample and impartial application of his critical powers than would have been in harmony with the first emotions of sorrow. " In the composition business," he says, “I have made very poor work all this long time past with the little exception (exception I mean in point of industry merely-not successfull industry) of the piece about the character of Hall a preacher. It was on many accounts most reluctantly, that I consented to attempt that task, which I did not, till urged with the plea that to refuse will appear unfriendly to his memory. It proved a matter of difficulty
* To John Easthope, Esq., March 3, 1831. + To the Rev. John Fawcett, March 9, 1831.
and labour to excess, and was the work of several months, though it will not extend through more than about sixty pages in the printed book. There are parts of it, that will not please the indiscriminating admirers of the great preacher. The foresight that such must be the case, was one cause of my reluctance to the service.”*
In 1829, Foster was invited to take part in the ordination of a minister over the congregation meeting in Swift's Alley, Dublin. His reply indicates, that his early antipathy to the formal and ceremonial in religion, had only been strengthened by advancing years. “ In answer to this application," he says, “ while I feel it to be very friendly, and to do me more honour than I can justly claim, I have to make a very simple story :-namely, that I have been, 1 may say almost all my life, and still more in the latter part of it, in the uniform habit of ridiculing our Dissenters' ordination, as a relic of the Hierarchy, which I have always intensely hated, -as a poor aping, among us who have no ecclesiastical institution, of a ceremony which has all manner of propriety (as consistent with the pretensions) in an established ecclesiastical order. It carries an appearance, and, though this be somewhat reservedly avowed, it makes, and is understood to make, a sort of pretension, of conferring some kind of speciality of fitness, qualification, and authorization, to perform the duties of a Christian minister. There is a notion that the ceremony creates something more, and something more effective and sacred, in the relation between him and the people, than could be contained in a serious deliberate engagement between them to accept each other in that relation. Now my wish would be, that
every notion and practice of this kind, in short everything sacerdotal and ceremonial, were cleared out of our religious economy.
* To B. Stokes, Esq., Dec. 19, 1831.