Project Canterbury

Memorials and Memoirs of the Right Reverend Daniel Corrie, Late Lord Bishop of Madras.

From Missionary Register for MDCCCXXXVII, June, July and September 1837.

London: L. & G. Seeley, 1837.

Transcribed by the Right Reverend Dr. Terry Brown
Bishop of Malaita, Church of the Province of Melanesia, 2008

[From Missionary Register, June, 1837, pages 265-266.]



WITH unfeigned sorrow we apprise our Readers, that Bishop Corrie has been called to his Eternal Rest. This afflicting event took place at Madras, on Sunday Morning, the 5th of February. At the Monthly Meeting of the Church Missionary Committee on the 11th of June, their feelings on this melancholy occasion were put on record in the Memorial which we here subjoin.

The Committee desire to receive the painful intelligence of the death of the Bishop of Madras with meek submission to the will of God; and they judge it right to place on their Minutes a brief view of his labours and character.

The records of the Society, from his first opening of a correspondence with it in December 1813, when Chaplain at Agra and directing the labours of Abdool Messeeh, bear continued testimony, all through his life to its very close, to the combined wisdom and zeal with which he endeavoured to promote its great design.

Returning from India in June 1815, for the recovery of his health, he passed nearly two years at home, not re-embarking till April 1817. On occasion of this visit, he preached the Annual Sermon before the Society in 1816--giving therein affecting testimony, as an eye-witness, of the delusions under which the Heathen labour; and shewing, from his own experience, the special adaptation of the Scriptures, Missions, and Christian Education, as means, under the Divine Blessing, for recovering them from these delusions. On these important subjects, he enlarged, with great effect, at the Meetings of various Associations connected with the Society; everywhere increasing the interest which was beginning to be taken by Members of the Church of England in the Cause of Missions.

Succeeding in due order to the Chaplaincy at Calcutta, Mr. Corrie was appointed, by Bishop Heber, Archdeacon of the See. In this office he was thrice called--on the deaths of Bishop Heber and of his two immediate successors--to supply, so far as it was in his power, the wants of the vacant See. In April 1835, he arrived a second time in this country, to receive consecration as Bishop of the newly-formed Diocese of Madras. The short period of his stay did not allow of his renewing the exertions which he had made on his first visit; but, at the Annual Meetings of the Society and of the British and Foreign Bible Society, held in May of that year, he traced, with an able hand, the Rise and Progress in India of Missionary Labours and of the Bible Cause.

Arriving at Madras in the latter part of October, the Bishop entered on the duties of his See; but has been spared only for the short space of little more than one year. When at Hydrabad, in November last, he complained, for the first time, of a pain in his head; which was thought to be the effect of the labours of the Visitation in which he had been engaged. Returning to Madras on the 15th of that month, he had soon to encounter the anxiety and fatigue of watching by the dying bed of his beloved Wife, who fell asleep in Christ on the 21st of December. From her, who had been his affectionate and faithful companion during almost the whole of his residence [265/266] in India, he was not long separated his own infirmities rapidly increased upon him; and on the 5th of February, he was called to enter into the joy of his Lord. The next evening--the evening of the Sabbath--his honoured remains were laid by the side of his Wife, in that grave at which he had stood but a very few weeks before, calmly submitting himself to the will of God.

The Committee, in recording this brief notice of the labours of Bishop Corrie, desire to ascribe all glory to God, for carrying His servant through such a course of toil in India, and for enduing him with gifts and grace so peculiarly fitted for the work committed to his charge. He stands forth, in his whole life in India, an exemplification, above the usual range of Christian Labourers, of the words of the Apostle James--Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew, out of a good conversation, his works with meekness of wisdom.

Bishop Corrie entered on his labours in India with an observant mind. Discharging with fidelity the duties of his Chaplaincy, he from the first determined to connect with these duties every degree of relief to the spiritual wants of the Natives, which it might be in his power to render, consistently with the more immediate care of his countrymen. He looked round him, therefore, with a watchful eye and a compassionate heart, on the character and state of the millions among whom he lived; and, as he devised means of opening a way for the Light into the thick gloom which hung on the Heathen, he was prompt in executing what he had devised: insomuch, that the First Bishop of Calcutta, when he wished, at his Primary Visitation, to stimulate and encourage the assembled Chaplains to unite with their immediate duties all practicable care of the Heathen, pointed to the Chaplain of Agra as their pattern.

Thus trained in the school of experience, and turning all his observation to practical purposes, his suggestions to others and his own measures were grounded on large intelligence and comprehensive views: and, though naturally susceptible, the grace of Christ had so chastened his spirit, that he could meekly and with gentleness bear up under indifference, and even opposition; while he was immoveable in such plans and measures as it came within his own province to devise and pursue. Rarely, indeed, had he occasion to retract any opinion which he had given, or to regret any step which he had taken. He seemed to have acquired, through grace, an almost intuitive perception of what was fit to be done on all occasions; and to take such quiet and firm hold of his object, as to give confidence to his friends, even in difficult circumstances.

In all this course, there was a simplicity and a saintliness of demeanour, which awakened love and reverence in all around him; and, of his influence over others, he was ever on the watch to avail himself, in leading them to that Saviour for mercy and grace, through whom he himself had habitual access, by the Holy Spirit, to the Father.

A few months after his arrival at Madras, the Bishop felt some discouragement under the difficulties which surrounded him. His ignorance of the vernacular tongues of South India seemed to separate him from the Natives, and his time of life forbad the hope of acquiring the necessary information in due season. "All I can now do," he wrote, "is to watch and pray against despondency; and, by the grace of God, to be found doing what I can in my place." And the Committee are persuaded, that, short as was the period allotted to the labours of this Servant of God in South India, they have answered a most important end. He arrived at a very critical season; and was enabled, in a wise and gentle manner, to rectify disorders which had crept in, and to diffuse somewhat of his own meek spirit around him. His brief administration will not soon be forgotten; and the Committee cannot but earnestly hope and pray, that it may please the Great Head of the Church to lead those in authority to the appointment of a successor of like mind with their late revered and beloved friend.

[From Missionary Register, July, 1837, pages 305-311.]



IN addition to the Church Missionary Society's Memorial on the late Bishop Corrie given in our last Number, we subjoin various particulars relative to that beloved Servant of Christ, derived from the communications of the Rev. John Tucker, and other documents forwarded from Madras.

The following accounts are from the pen of those who well knew the devoted career and character of Bishop Corrie:--

The Rev. Daniel Corrie, having been nominated a Chaplain on the Bengal Establishment, came to India toward the close of the year 1806, in the 29th year of his age, full of love to his Saviour, and of devotedness to his ministerial duties, as an ambassador of the Lord Jesus, to beseech men to be reconciled to God through Christ, the Son of His love.

His college friend, Henry Martyn, was then in Calcutta, burning with zeal, and bright with sanctified knowledge and Christian love. By Brown and Martyn he was warmly welcomed; and most affectionately did these friends regard each other, and earnestly seek India's real welfare, from the sole Giver of every good and perfect gift.

For a few months after Mr. Corrie's arrival in India, he continued in Calcutta, rejoicing many hearts by the evangelical plainness and purity of his sermons, and by the fervour of his zeal and holiness. His first station up the country was at Chunar, where he soon was able to speak to the Natives in Hindoostanee, of which he had acquired the rudiments in his voyage out, and told them of the wonderful works of God--salvation through a crucified Redeemer, and sanctification through the Eternal Spirit. He engaged a Native Christian to teach and catechize, and established Schools to instruct native children in the truths of the Gospel. Benares had also the benefit of his visits and ministrations. He loved his Saviour, and for his Saviour's sake he loved the people among whom the Lord had placed him. This love he manifested by preaching Christ, establishing schools, and erecting churches. By the assistance of friends, of whom one of the foremost was Dr. J. Robinson, brother of our late Archdeacon, he raised a small Church at Secrole, soon after another at Benares, and in 1818 the beautiful Church at Chunar; together with a small Chapel at Buxar, to the poor invalids and Native Christians of which place he extended his compassion and his labours of love.

At Chunar the faithful Chaplain remained--having paid one visit to Calcutta meanwhile, to meet his sister on her arrival from England--until 1810, when he was removed to Cawnpore, to labour with his dear friend Martyn. Here he continued not much more than one year, being forced by a severe attack on the liver to abandon his duties for a season, and proceed to Calcutta, and as soon as possible to sea. The Rev. David Brown went in the same ship, in a dying state. Tempestuous weather drove the ship back, almost a wreck; and about a fortnight after, Mr. Brown's spirit was relieved from the troubles of life, and entered into glory. Mr. Corrie soon after embarked in a ship bound to the Mauritius; but again a storm arose, and the vessel was obliged to [305/306] put in at Vizagapatam. His health having improved, he prosecuted his voyage no farther, but returned to Calcutta before the close of the year.

This was an important period in his life. In November 1812, he married Miss Myers, daughter of Mrs. Ellerton, who proved to him a help meet from the Lord. Her mind was strong, her judgment excellent, her natural talents cultivated with great care, and her affections purified and regulated by the Word and Spirit of God. After twenty-four years of happy union, Mrs. Corrie died in December 1836, to be followed, alas! in six short weeks, by him whose removal we now deplore.

Mr. Corrie being appointed to Agra in the beginning of 1813, took with him that venerable and faithful servant of Christ, Abdool Messeeh, who had been brought to the knowledge of Jesus by Henry Martyn, and baptized the year before by the Rev. David Brown. Abdool Messeeh was indeed a convert; and, being converted, he strengthened his brethren, and brought souls to the Saviour. A Native Congregation was formed at Agra, and soon counted fifty Members. The Word of the Lord grew and prospered; but within two years a dangerous attack on the liver drove Mr. Corrie from India for a season, to visit his native land. During a stay of about two years in England, he was much engaged in preaching for the Church Missionary Society, and in turning the hearts of British Christians to the spiritual destitution of their fellow-men in Hindoostan.

On his return from England, with Mrs. Corrie and an infant daughter, in the middle of 1817, Benares became tho scene of his ministrations and devoted labours. It was while here that he raised, through the help of dear friends, the fine Church at Chunar--his first station--and the Chapel at Buxar. At this time he devoted much of his care and thoughts to the Church Missionary Society, by establishing Schools in connexion with the Society, for the Christian Education of Hindoos and Mahomedans.

In 1819, he became Presidency Chaplain. While filling this important office, he pursued his plans and exertions in the cause of Education; and with great cordiality welcomed and aided that excellent and indefatigable lady, Mrs. Wilson, in her arduous efforts to promote Native Female Education; an effort in which God has blessed her with great success.

The gifted Bishop Heber conferred on Mr. Corrie the appointment of Archdeacon of Calcutta, in 1823, on the death of Dr. Loring; an appointment which reflected high credit on that amiable prelate's judgment, and associated the weight of responsibility and high office, with the meekness, humility, experience, fervent piety, and talent of Corrie--thus making them all more influential for the promotion of pure religion, and the good of the Church.

His appointment to the Archdeaconry did not entirely prevent him from doing something personally for the Native Congregations, so dear to him. Besides the addresses which he never failed to deliver to them on a fit opportunity, he translated Sellon's Abridgment of Scripture, the Prayer Book, and many of the Homilies, into Hindoostanee. He likewise drew up "Outlines of Ancient History," in English, for the benefit of Hindoostanee Youth. The third edition of that simple and excellent work is now issuing from the Madras Press, and will soon be in the hands of hundreds of the rising generation. Its great value consists in the tone of pure Christian principle which pervades it--making all history prove that sin is a reproach to any people, and that righteousness, and righteousness alone, exalteth a nation--that all good cometh of God, and all evil from our own corrupt hearts.

The interest which Archdeacon Corrie took in the cause of sound education may be seen in the establishment of the Calcutta High School; which valuable institution was organized and established by the judicious and holy Bishop Turner, mainly through the advice and counsel of the Archdeacon.

In 1834, after a sojourn of nearly twenty-eight years in India, Archdeacon Corrie was called to England, to be raised to that high station in the Church, for which the grace of God had so eminently qualified him. His natural powers and qualifications, a humble view of himself, simplicity of heart and purpose, unbounded benevolence, and a calm sound judgment, being so sanctified by the Divine Spirit, and so turned into the channel of holiness, rendered him the object on which all eyes looked, and many hopes rested, when Madras was erected into a [306/307] Bishopric. His striking humility, his eminent zeal, his devoted fidelity to the cause of simple evangelical truth, his transparent purity of character, and spirituality of mind; his calm judgment, his firmness in essentials, and his liberal views; were the religious and intellectual endowments which raised high hopes of his being a truly eminent Bishop. Nor did his exceeding urbanity and gentleness, his condescension to all, his affectionate attention to the young, and his extraordinary winning voice and look, fail to be reckoned among those characteristics which drew toward him the hearts and hopes of thousands.

On Trinity Sunday, June 14, 1835, Archdeacon Corrie was consecrated Bishop of Madras, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Bishops of Lichfield, Carlisle, and Bangor. The University of Cambridge conferred upon him the degree of LL.D. On the 24th of October, his Lordship landed at Madras; and on the 28th of the same month was installed in St. George's Cathedral. He preached his first sermon on the following Sunday, from the Epistle to the Galatians, vi. 14: God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ; by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

He has been heard to speak of this sermon as the first he ever preached in India. His views of Divine Truth had been obtained from the Bible, and had not varied for thirty years. He did indeed glory in the cross of Christ; all else to him was as nothing, or a loss: Jesus was his portion and his all.

The choice to be the first Bishop of Madras fell on this venerable servant of the Lord; and never was choice wiser, and never were fond hopes more fully realized. Every Chaplain and Missionary rejoiced, thanked God, and took courage. Time was daily ripening and mellowing every Christian grace, and developing every talent. Our venerated Bishop brought the Christian experience and the fruits of a thirty years' ministry in India to bear upon all that came before him. Never did kindness and gentleness, patience and forbearance, and consideration for the opinions of others, shine more conspicuously than in Bishop Corrie. And never were the necessary qualifications of firmness, dignity, and wisdom, more entirely separated and purified from every base alloy, than in the beloved subject of this imperfect and unworthy tribute.

Possessed of a strong natural constitution, he was enabled to add to his arduous duties, as a Chaplain at large Missionary Stations, the labours of a Missionary; and the best rewards of his life of toil were the hundreds converted to Christianity, in the midst of a highly bigoted population, through his instrumentality: up to a very late period he corresponded with some of the converts of his own ministry. During nine years he filled the office of Archdeacon in Calcutta, under Bishops Heber, James, Turner, and Wilson: and when the Legislature determined upon erecting one of the minor Presidencies into a See, every eye was turned upon Archdeacon Corrie, as the individual possessing the highest claim to the preferment. Not three months after his arrival, the well-known difficulties of the Tinnevelly Mission called him, as head of the Church Missionary Society, to the seat of those unhappy troubles; and the influence of his visit was felt--as the influence of his presence was always felt, where trouble existed, and peace was to be restored. In Tanjore, as the head and representative of another Missionary Society for propagating the Gospel, he followed up the work that Bishop Wilson had happily begun in his recent visit to the South. In works like these his mind was happy, and in such labours his life was spent.

We rarely meet with a character of which, like his, the beauty cannot be overlooked, and its influence with difficulty resisted. His countenance beaming with the benevolence of his mind, his voice remarkably soft and winning, his lofty form and venerable appearance, the simplicity of all he said, the charitableness of the opinions he expressed of others, his gentleness toward their defects, and his readiness to appreciate and to magnify their virtues--these qualities constituted the features of his every-day character, and are fresh in the memory of all who had intercourse with him. But it was reserved for those who knew him well, who depended upon his judgment, or had occasion to seek his advice, to see in him the wisdom of the serpent united with the meekness of the dove. The just influence of his character, as well as the authority of his station, were applied by him with judgment and with effect to the healing of wounds in the Church, to the support of order, and the creation of harmony and peace. Though mild, he was firm; though gentle, he held [307/308] to the decisions of his own judgment with the fidelity essential to his responsible situation; though a lover of true Christianity under every form, he adhered to the Established Church with a faithfulness and reverence that could not be exceeded.

The name of Corrie is associated with the best benefactors of India. Buchanan, who laboured till he made the woes and wants of India pierce the ear of England, was his friend. The humble, laborious, and spiritually-minded Brown loved him tenderly. Henry Martyn, who laid all his splendid talents at the foot of the Cross, devoting them to the Lord who redeemed him with his own most precious blood, loved Corrie as an only brother. And Thomason, amiable, talented, and pure in heart--the friend, companion, and fellow-labourer of these devoted men--felt a holy joy in the success of Corrie's labours, and entertained for him a brother's tenderness and regard.

Bishop Heber, whose name will live, loved Corrie, and thought he promoted his Saviour's cause in promoting his faithful servant. Bishop Turner, a profound theologian, an elegant scholar, of enlarged mind, and most spiritual in his affections--and possessing in a high degree discrimination of character--entertained for Archdeacon Corrie a warm attachment and a brother's love, which was most cordially returned by Corrie's tender heart and devoted spirit. Brown and Turner were his first and last, and most beloved friends.

The stroke which cut him off, and prostrated so many hopes, was an attack on the brain, terminating in paralysis. For some months past he had suffered severely from acute pain in the right temple, and head-aches; but so patiently did he bear all, that few knew how much he suffered, and little thought of the extent of disease gaining upon him. When at Hyderabad, on his Visitation, the disease seems to have been formed and partially developed; and on the morning of Tuesday, the last day of January, he was suddenly seized in the Vestry Room of St. Mary's Church, and in the course of an hour was in a state of insensibility and torpor, from which he had but few intervals of relief during the five remaining days of his life: yet on Wednesday he was able to attend to letters read to him, and converse on their contents; so again for a short time on Thursday and Friday; and even on Saturday morning, on Miss Corrie's repeating Isaiah xii. 1, he quoted the first line of Cowper's paraphrase of it, and afterward corrected a mistake of a single word which she made in repeating the fourth line. For twelve hours before his death, however, he seemed wholly unconscious of anything said or done, and was insensible to pain.

The Burial Service was performed by the Archdeacon and Junior Chaplain; and the same order was observed in proceeding to the place of interment as was followed on entering the Cathedral. The concluding portion of the sublime Service of the Church of England appointed for the occasion was read by the Venerable the Archdeacon, who, but a few weeks before, had officiated in the same spot, while he, who was then committed to the silent tomb, knelt at the grave of his wife. Those who witnessed the funeral of Mrs. Corrie can never forget the chastened sorrow which characterized the Bishop's demeanour on that occasion. He was indeed chief mourner, but he appeared rather to strive with his feelings, than to yield fully to their influence; and it is to be feared that his exertions to subdue his grief for his departed wife, both then and for some time afterward, tended to accelerate, if it were not the cause of, the mournful event which we all deplore.

The following official notice appeared in the Fort St. George Gazette:--

Fort St. George, Feb. 7, 1837,

With feelings of unfeigned sorrow, the Right Honourable the Governor in Council records the demise of the Right Rev. the Lord Bishop of Madras. The Venerable Prelate expired at half-past three o'clock on the morning of Sunday last. As a tribute of respect to his memory, the flag of the Garrison was hoisted half staff high during the day; and on the funeral procession leaving his Lordship's late residence, fifty-nine minute guns, corresponding with the age of the deceased, were fired from the Fort Battery.

His Lordship's remains were attended to the grave by the Right Honourable the Governor, the Judges of the Supreme Court, His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief, the Members of Council, all the principal Civil and Military Functionaries at the Presidency, and an immense concourse of all classes of the community, desirous of manifesting the feeling of [308/309] respect which the unaffected piety, benevolence, and exemplary life of the Bishop had universally inspired.

We extract from a Letter of Mr. Tucker, dated Feb. 3, 1837, a short passage, which shews how the disease, of which Bishop Corrie died, had been long gaining ground, and by what affecting circumstances it had been, most probably, aggravated.

When the Bishop was at Hyderabad, he complained, for the first time, of a pain in his head, which was thought to be the effect of fatigue which he had gone through, and that a little rest would remove it. He returned to Madras, after visiting Masulipatam, on the 15th of November, and found Mrs. Corrie in a very weak state. Soon afterward, she began to get very weak; and you may well suppose that our beloved Bishop was much worne by the anxiety and fatigue connected with his watching by her dying bed. It was too painfully evident, that, when she was taken from him, there was a severe struggle going on, to enable him to maintain that calmness and resignation, which was almost beyond what one could have wished. I shall never forget the single loud sob which he uttered, as the earth was thrown in upon the coffin. I fear this continued effort must have greatly shaken him; but, on the whole, he seemed tolerably well, with the exception of the pain in his head; for which he once or twice reluctantly consented to have leeches. He was to have preached for me last Sunday evening; but the absence of the Junior Chaplain made it necessary for him to assist at the Cathedral, and I had hoped to have heard him fulfilling his engagement next Sunday. On Tuesday, however, Jan. 31st, he came to the vestry-room of the Fort Church, to preside at the Quarterly Meeting of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts; but had not sat down, when he was taken with sickness, and went out into the church, where he was very sick. After remaining some little time, the Archdeacon and the Rev. H. Cotterill assisted him to his carriage, and the former attended him home. The seat of the disease, it is to be feared, is in his head; and here there is no improvement. There is a partial paralysis of the left side, and his frame is altogether powerless. The first day, Tuesday, he was scarcely sensible; but Mrs. Ellerton and Miss Corrie have since that been spared the severe trial of being cut off from all rational communication with him. Last night, he was able to attend to two letters, which Miss Corrie read to him, from the Bishop of Calcutta and Mr. Wilkinson; but to-night, when I saw him, it was a great effort to him to answer me, or, to speak more correctly, to shew that he was aware I was speaking to him.

On the afternoon of the day preceding the Bishop's death, Mr. Tucker writes--4 P. M.--

I have seen our dear Bishop, and sat by his bed-side. All human hope is gone: he appears unconscious, free from pain, and his countenance calm. This morning, Miss Corrie had the comfort of hearing him recognise her, and join with her in repeating a part of Cowper's hymn--"I will praise Thee every day."

On the day succeeding the Bishop's death, Mr. Tucker writes--

Our beloved and revered Bishop is taken from us, and is now with the Lord. Last night--Sunday night--his body was laid by the side of his wife; over whose grave he stood, not more than six weeks ago. Heartily can I rejoice at the thought of the peace, and joy, and felicity, in which our dear brother rests with Christ, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of the body. But when my mind comes back to ourselves, the Church militant here on earth, the conviction forces itself upon me, as it must upon all, that we have too good grounds for mourning and anxiety. We must, at all events, remain a year without a Bishop. And yet, when one thinks of the especial mercies that God has shown to India, we may still hope that He will chew us greater things than these; and earnestly do I hope that many prayers will be constantly offered up at home on our behalf.

How greatly this lamented Prelate prized the aid rendered by the Church Missionary Society to the cause of the Gospel in India, is well known: he declared them to have been "most invaluable." In the same spirit, he continued to take the deepest interest in the plans of the Society; and in reference to the troubles suffered, in his Diocese, by the Church Missionary [309/310] Society, Mr. Tucker observes of him--"He acknowledged to me, that the evils and the sins which he had himself witnessed, and heard with his own ears, caused him many a sleepless hour."

On the 8th of February, a Public Meeting was held, at which the most distinguished persons of Madras united in expressing their sense of the character of Bishop Corrie in the following Resolutions, which were unanimously adopted:--

1. That a Subscription be entered into, for the purpose of erecting a monument in the Cathedral, Madras, to the memory of the Right Rev. the late Lord Bishop of the Diocese.

2. That, after setting aside a sum sufficient to defray the expenses of the monument, the residue form a fund for the endowment of Scholarships, to be called, "Bishop CORRIE's Scholarships," in Bishop Corrie's Grammar School.

We select, from the Documents which we have used, the following very appropriate remarks, in conclusion:--

A blow has been struck, and many hopes have been laid low, and buried in the grave of Bishop Corrie. The State has lost a noble pillar; a glorious light has been extinguished in the Church; the grace and the ornament of Christian Society has been snatched away; the counsellor, the father, the friend, the guide, the prompter and pattern, has been removed.

The Madras Grammar School, Vepery School, and Vepery Seminary, all of which he fostered, mourn his death: and well may they join in the burst of grief; for a firmer, and a more affectionate friend, they had not on earth. Only one week before our Bishop was laid on his death-bed, he had examined the students in Vepery Seminary, in the Greek New Testament, and on the Evidences of Christianity; and addressed them in a strain of wisdom, piety, and affection, which, it is to be hoped, they will never forget, while memory retains its powers. Vepery Seminary was his care and his hope. May God raise up friends, to carry on and perfect what he delighted in, and looked forward to with hope!

The Native Christians, from Agra to Cape Comorin, have lost, in Bishop Corrie, the mild Ruler, the affectionate Pastor, and the friend, who, with the fullest Christian sympathy, acknowledged them as brethren, and loved them as such. In him, they have lost the friend who could fully enter into all their difficulties, sympathize with all their sorrows, make allowance for all their weaknesses, and appreciate their real faith and real Christian character. Let us, and let all the Church, look, as he did, unto Christ, the Author and Finisher of our faith--on Him let us rely--by His Spirit let us be sanctified, that we may at last join the general assembly of the Church in heaven, and the spirits of just men made perfect!

The "Friend of India," published by the Serampore Missionaries, bears the following affectionate and honourable testimony to Bishop Corrie:--

The melancholy intelligence was received last week of the death of Dr. Corrie, the Bishop of Madras. Greatly as the death of a man so pre-eminent in goodness is calculated to impress the mind under any circumstances, the affecting incidents which preceded the close of his life impart a feeling of peculiar solemnity to this mournful event. Fifteen months had scarcely elapsed since he was elevated to a sphere of influence, which enlarged his opportunities of doing goad; and laid him under new obligations, to the fulfilment of which he devoted all the energies of his body and mind: but he is snatched from society, just at the period when the benevolence of his character had begun to be appreciated and felt. A few weeks had only elapsed after he had followed the beloved partner of his pilgrimage to the grove, before he is consigned, amidst the tears of the community, to the same tomb.

It is now within a few days of thirty years since Mr. Corrie arrived in Bengal, and proceeded immediatelyto the residence of Mr. Brown at Aldeen, which was so often hallowed by the presence of Martyn.

It is among the most pleasing recollections of Serampore, of which Aldeen forms the eastern extremity, that here, in the infancy of Indian Missions, Martyn, Corrie, and Brown, so often met Carey, Marshman, and Ward; and, with a mutual forgetfulness of all sectarian distinctions, mingled their councils for the [310/311] advancement of Christ's Kingdom in this benighted land. There is a melancholy satisfaction in recurring to the friendly meetings which were held at the Pagoda of Aldeen by these early Labourers in a field which has since been marked out by the encampment of different sects; and this feeling is more strongly excited on an occasion like the present, where we are called to record the removal of another of this band, and are thus painfully reminded that one alone of the number still survives.

The character of Corrie will be best delineated by those who enjoyed the advantage of an intimate communion with him. Yet we cannot allow the event to pass over, without recording the deep sense of his Christian Virtues, which our acquaintance with him, although limited, could not fail to create. To know him, even in a remote degree, was to love him. It was impossible to come within the range of his influence, without being impressed with the most affectionate esteem for his character; for he seemed to live in an atmosphere of benignity. His venerable figure would always have commanded respect, even if it had not been set off by that suavity of manner and cheerfulness of disposition which imparted so great a charm to his social intercourse.

He never permitted the majesty of Divine Truth to be compromised for a moment, by any deference for his fellow-men: at the same time, he enforced the claims of religion with a degree of mildness, mixed with earnestness, which appeared to give them additional weight.

His instructions acquired a tenfold efficacy from his own example, which affords a pattern of the most genuine Christian Simplicity. Free, to a great extent, from the infirmities to which human nature is subject, he was ever ready to make allowances for the faults of others, while he reproved them with sincerity.

If there was any drawback in his character, it appeared to arise from the predominance of the kindness of his heart over the firmness of his determination. His liberality knew no bounds but his means; and too frequently overstepped even that limit, and obliged him to submit to privations of which his own benevolence was the cause. He acted but as the almoner of his income; which he appeared to consider, like every other possession, only as a trust for the benefit of others. In this trait of his character, he was the exact counterpart of Brown and Thomason, who were remarkable for giving away every thing, and giving it cheerfully.

Though Dr. Corrie was not calculated, from the feebleness of his voice and nervous tremour, to shine as a public speaker, his private ministrations, in society and in his own circle, made ample amends for the absence of pulpit eloquence.

From his first arrival in the country he considered himself a debtor to the Heathen; among whom he laboured, as opportunity offered, with zeal and success. To the diffusion of Divine Truth and of Christian Principle he devoted all the powers of his soul; and there was no institution for the promotion of these objects which did not receive his cordial support. Rarely has such a combination of Christian Excellence been presented to public admiration. All that remains to us of it now, is the example which he has left behind; and which, if rightly improved, will serve to animate and encourage those whom he can no longer instruct with his lips.

[From Missionary Register, September, 1837, pages 385-388.]


THE death of Bishop Corrie gave occasion to various Sermons in Madras, in which the most affectionate Testimonies were borne to his spirit and character. Our Readers will be gratified by the extracts which follow from three of these Sermons. Let us adore Him, whose grace so eminently triumphed in the Departed Saint.

Of the many traits of character, which this true servant of God possessed, none seemed more striking, more admirable, than the guileless Simplicity of the Man and of the Christian.

I know not how I can better describe the pleasure which I always experienced in his company, than by comparing it to that which a stranger might be supposed to feel, who finds himself welcomed by his host, not merely as far as the lobby or the hall, but into the inner apartments of the horse--into the domestic circle--invited to look at the unfurnished as well as the furnished parts of the house, and treated with the confidence of unreserved friendship. So was it with the deceased Prelate. The transparency of his character was such as to satisfy all who were introduced to him, that they were admitted into his full presence. There were no folds or doublings about him--no mysterious reserves.

I have alluded to our being of a different communion--a circumstance, which is often found to engender strifes and jealousy; and to make one party rejoice, not in the diligence and success of the other, but rather in its defects and miscarriages. Bishop Corrie was party to no such feelings. Never, as it seemed to me, was there a mind more completely free from them, and above them--provided only that he saw his Master's work being done, and the interests of truth and righteousness and peace promoted. I am persuaded that no success of a rival party, and no amount of honour accruing from that success, would have cast upon his mind a shade of jealousy. The circumstance, most likely to have created estrangement in his mind toward any Minister of any Denomination, would have been the want of success in the duties of his holy calling arising from carelessness in the discharge of them. Bishop Corrie rejoiced not in iniquity, but rejoiced in the truth.

I mention these features of character, not to the exclusion of others, or even for their own intrinsic worth, great as this is; but rather as indicative of the root whence they sprung--the foundation on which they rested; which I am persuaded was nothing less than a deep and steady principle of Godliness. This was the substratum of his character--nothing less, nothing short of this. He probably inherited from nature great amiableness of temper and kindness of disposition: but nature does not give the humility and disinterestedness, the singleness of aim and purpose, with which these characters in him were blended: such a combination is only found as a fruit of regenerating grace; and is only sustained and cerished by the believing contemplation of the wonders of Redeeming Love.

If, then, we would imitate those graces and virtues which shone so conspicuously in him, let us study in the school in which he had long studied, and to which he would have confessed himself indebted for all that was truly valuable in his temper and conduct, Let us sit daily at the feet of Jesus, taking our lessons from His Book. Then may we expect to live to some purpose: then may we humbly hope that our latter end, like that of our deceased Father and Friend, will be peace; and that we may yet meet with him in that better country, where guilelessness is not the characteristic of one, but of all--where party distinctions are unknown--where there is nothing to [385/386] hurt or to offend; no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying; neither shall there be any more pain: former things are passed away: behold, I make all things new.


This most striking point, perhaps, in his character was his great and unfeigned Humility. Though all loved and esteemed him as a father, and looked up to him as their guide and counsellor; yet, evidently, he was perfectly unconscious that there was any thing in himself more than in others. He had, through Divine Grace, so clear a view and so deep an experience of his own natural weakness and ignorance, and was so imbued with the mind of Christ, that he never appeared to value himself. His own opinion, and his own desires, were as nothing, when he saw reason that they should be overruled: nay, he put himself on a level with the weakest and most inexperienced. Those who knew him best, must remember how continually he spoke of himself and his own efforts as of no value; and was evidently pained when any thing was said which appeared to praise him. He had so high a standard of holiness for himself, that he felt that he came very far short of it; and always conceived that others more nearly attained to that standard than he did himself. Whenever he spoke of being disappointed in any of his efforts, he would invariably add, "But it doubtless was my own fault;" and whenever his labours were blessed, and he could not but see the fruits of them, he would always impute it to the grace of God in the hearts of those to whom he was useful, not to any thing whatsoever in himself.

Connected with this, was his great and childlike Simplicity. Divine Grace had so taken possession of his character, that there was a purity of purpose and motive about him, hardly ever to be met with. Whatever he spoke, they were the words of his heart; and out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth spoke. He bore this so about him, that it would have been impossible for any one to have any doubt or suspicion as to his character. This holiness shone forth, not in outward expressions of feeling, but in that meek and lowly spirit; and, certainly, if whosoever shall humble himself as a little child the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven; he was one of those, whose angels do always behold, that which he now himself beholds, and knows as he himself is known--the face of his Father which is in heaven.

The spirit of love prompted him to unwearied exertions for the spiritual welfare of his fellow-creatures. He was ever on the look-out to do good. Those who knew him were often astonished at the warmth and even joy with which he entered into every scheme, for the promotion of the cause of Christ and the good of the souls of men. He did indeed put all to shame; while he was a pattern for all, by the fervour and holy zeal which characterized him.

He was found by his Lord in the work to which he had appointed him, with his loins girded and his light burning; for truly he was a burning and a shining light among us! And it is remarkable, as a proof of his watchfulness, that on the morning before he went out and was taken ill unto death, at his family prayer, he prayed fervently that all present might be prepared for every change which might befall them during the day; and in a few hours he was insensible, and to his death had but a few hours during which he was in possession of his faculties. During these hours, the same calm, peaceful, and holy spirit appeared in him, which was always seen during his life. He was then conscious that he was going to his everlasting rest; and, with his remaining strength, he could praise God that his anger was turned away from him, and that He was merciful to him; and he then expressed his entire dependence on the sacrifice of the Lamb of God.


In contending earnestly for the faith, he successfully maintained and defended it; and illustrated its truths, and exemplified its tendency and spirit, and recommended it to the reverential regard and affectionate acceptance of all, by a firm and resolute adherence to fundamental principles, by benign and heavenly tempers, by holy consistency of conduct, and by unwearied attention to seize and improve every opportunity of doing good.

He was sometimes slow, and always cautious, in coming to his conclusions; but few minds were more firm of purpose, or more steady in pursuit. Seldom eager, yet always making progress toward the attainment of an object deemed to be of importance--yielding on every point that could by possibility be yielded without blame--and singularly considerate of the feelings and opinions of others, he was ever willing to tarry or move slowly on, so that, with a gentle constraining hand, he could at length take the dubious or the disputatious along with him: but into any thing like compromise of principle, or weakness of [386/387] concession, or tamely allowing a false, unscriptnral, injurious notion to pass current for truth, he never suffered himself to be betrayed.

To the young, he was peculiarly attentive, affectionate, and encouraging. In meekness and wisdom, he ever watched his opportunities to win their souls to Christ. His mild rebuke, his affectionate expostulation, his tender entreaty, his lucid and conclusive but gentle exposure of error, his subdued earnestness and remarkable simplicity in stating Scriptural Truth--have been blessed of the Holy Ghost to the conversion of many souls, who will be his joy and crown of rejoicing before God.

Nothing could well exceed the esteem and affection which were felt for him in the favoured circle of his friends. They marked the man of prayer, whose conversation was in heaven; and who watched, with untiring vigilance, over the spiritual interests of every individual of his family and flock on earth. They observed how, year after year, he grew in grace and the knowledge and love of God. They saw him rise in public esteem, and in dignity of station and office--filling progressively a larger space in the world's eye, and increasing in usefulness--becoming more elevated in spiritual mindedness, more conspicuous for increasing benevolence of heart, meekness of spirit, and humility of deportment. God has permitted us to mark in him a pattern of good works--in doctrine, shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech; in principle--enlightened, scriptural, firm, unyielding; in temper and feeling--considerate, benevolent, patient, tender, affectionate; in practice--the disciple of the meek and lowly Jesus, who went about doing good.

It was beautiful to see how, under trying circumstances, the Man of God demeaned himself. How slow and unwilling he was to recognise an affront--how ready, if possible, to overlook it--how mild and dignified his bearing, when it could not be misunderstood--how quick to perceive the slightest appearance of a better mind in the offender--how prompt, and cordial, and delicate in his expressions of forgiveness. He was never known to return an act of unkindness. His unremitting effort was to overcome evil with good.

Compassion for the long and almost-wholly neglected Teloogoos led him to devise the commencement of a Christian Mission exclusively to them, to be organized and maintained by means and instruments raised up in this country. This, with the formation of a Church Endowment and Building Fund, the erecting of the Vepery Seminary into a Theological Institution for the supply of well-educated men for the Missions of this Diocese, and the reprinting of valuable Books and Tracts for circulation at a small expense--were the projects which engaged his chief attention in the period immediately preceding his death; and they commend themselves, on this account, to the kind and fostering care of those who loved him, and mourn the ending of his day of usefulness among us, and the close of his labours of love.

To these Local Testimonies, we subjoin a


IT is with unfeigned sorrow that the Committee record the decease of their late excellent Vice-President, the Lord Bishop of Madras. Other individuals, whether by the splendour of their talents, or by the munificence of their contributions, may fill a wider page in the history of the Bible Society; but there are none whose departure has left among its friends a deeper feeling of affectionate regret, than that of Bishop Corrie. "He whom they loved" is dead!

Descended from an ancient family in Scotland, but brought up in an English Country Village, he early formed the design of devoting his life to the extension of the Kingdom of Christ among the Heathen; and soon after his Ordination, he was enabled, by an appointment to a Chaplaincy under the Hon. East-India Company, to commence the execution of that design.

As the memorable Dr. Claudius Buchanan sailed from the Hooghly, on his visit to the Syrian Christians of Travancore, Daniel Corrie entered it, and reached Calcutta at the latter end of the year 1806. There he was welcomed as the beloved associate of David Brown, and of Henry Martyn, who had preceded him to that land of darkness. One of the earliest acts of this devoted Evangelist was, to admit into the Christian Church, by the rite of Baptism, a Mahomedan, who had [387/388] been recently brought to the knowledge and love of the Gospel. He named him Abdool Messeeh--"The Servant of Christ"; and the title may be taken as a faithful description of them both--for there was between them a striking resemblance. Firmness of mind, calmness in decision, simplicity of manners, untiring perseverance, and the most winning affection, eminently characterized both the Disciple and his Teacher; and their joint labours, by the blessing of their common Master, were crowned with extensive success. In later years, Daniel Corrie, as Senior Chaplain, succeeded to the post which had been so long and so ably filled by David Brown at Calcutta; and became at once the dear friend, and the wise and disinterested adviser, of every one who had at heart the Cause of Christ in India. His counsel was sought after and valued by all the Bishops, who, in fatally-rapid succession, presided over the then-undivided Indian Diocese; and, by him, as Archdeacon of Calcutta, their lack of service was supplied, so far as this could be done, whenever the See was vacant. The experience thus acquired, together with his well-tried Christian Fidelity, having at length recommended him to a higher degree, he was consecrated, at Lambeth, first Bishop of Madras, in the year 1835.

From a character like his, in which strong good sense and sound judgment were singularly united with unaffected modesty, humility, and kindness, the greatest anticipations were formed by the Committee. On his departure for Madras, accordingly, he was authorized to draw largely on the Society's funds, for the promotion of those objects in which its best friends and the Bishop were of one heart and of one soul. But, alas! his course was well-nigh run. His glorious reward was at hand. From various causes, his attention had, through life, been directed less to the work of Scripture Translation, than to the equally-important pursuits of the Christian Missionary and in that service he died--having been struck with apoplexy on retiring from a Quarterly Meeting of the Madras Society for Propagating the Gospel in Foreign Parts.

His talents and labours were of that practical order, which, without courting publicity, produces, nevertheless, the greatest and most beneficial effects. They will ever be remembered with affectionate regard: but their true record is on high. Fully to appreciate them, we must ourselves copy his unobtrusive love to the Saviour, and to those for whom the Saviour shed His blood; and then follow him to a world in which they that be wise shall shine as the sun, and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

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