網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

pletion at the time of the disruption, and has since been completed, will, it is to be feared, remain in the possession of others; and it has become, therefore, a very serious question, how means are to be procured for erecting another. It appears from Dr Wilson's information, that, with the present imperfect and inadequate accommodation, no very great addition can be expected to the number of pupils in the institution. But your Committee would cherish the hope, that at no very distant period, this obstacle to the extension of your educational system will be removed. They have reason to believe that liberal contributions have already been promised in various quarters for this object.

“ The vernacular boys' schools connected with the mission contain about 600 pupils; and the girls' schools, 308. The latter have sustained a considerable diminution, in consequence of a girl of the name of Maina, about thirteen years of age, having declared her purpose of abandoning idolatry and embracing Christianity. About the beginning of August last, after she had recovered from severe sickness, her deep attention and sericusness of deportment became too remarkable to be mistaken. She then mentioned that her mind had been deeply affected, in the view of death; and that the instructions which she had formerly neglected were now felt to be very precious. Very soon after this, the man to whom she was betrothed compelled her to attend some idolatrous ceremony with him. She expressed so strong an aversion, that he sought by every means to keep her from school. Alaimed at his threats and violence, she remained in Mr Mitchell's house, where she has now lived for more than two months. Her caste people and relatives have striven hard to detach her. Their violence on one occasion was truly alarming, and could scarcely be quelled by the police. In the mean time, Maina is secluded from all heathen influences, and under faithful and affectionate Christian instruction. - The missionaries have not yet felt warranted in admitting her into the church by baptism; but she affords what they deem not a few indications of a heart that is under the Spirit's teaching.

“While Mr Cassidy, the European head master in the institution, and the two converts, Hormazdji and Narayan, are rendering the most important aid in carrying on the institution, as well as the elementary schools, from which the institution is fed, they are at the same time pursuing their own theological studies, with the view of becoming in due time ministers of the gospel. Your Conimittee cannot better convey an idea of the state of mind of these converts, and of the views of Divine truth which they entertain, as well as the position which they occupy, than by extracting a paragraph from a letter addressed by them to certain members of the Free New North congregation of this city, acknowledging a gift of books which had been sent to them, accompanied by a kind and affectionate letter. After acknowledging the books, and stating that they had sent specimens of the gods whom, in the days of their darkness, they had worshipped, referring to Dr Wilson for an explanation of the use of the idols, they thus proceed :

-Yes, brethren, as you so touchingly say--touchingly more especially to us than to any other--we are among the first fruits of India. What a great, what a singular, what a marked mercy to usward, that from among thousands and tens of thousands of our countrymen, who, alas ! live and die without God and without hope, we should be from all eternity chosen-we in due season called-we" from all things justified"--we in some measure (yet, alas ! how small that measure is!) sanctified-we privileged to suffer with Christ, and with his church militant on earth, we entitled to reign with him, and with his church triumphant in heaven-we made the very righteousness of the righteous God—we, in fine, reckoned by you, and other saints on earth, by angels, and saints made perfect in heaven, by Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and by God the Judge of all, as those who from among the heathen here first trusted in Christ, and form a church of the firstborn in this dry and desolate land! And, oh! what a responsibility has accompanied these great and glorious blessings! To whom inuch is given, of them much will be required. Who, oh! who is sufficient for these things ? Pray for then, dear friends; pray that Christ's grace may be sufficient for us, and that his strength may be made manifested perfect in our weakness. We would, brethren, that ye bear and share with us in our sorrows and in our joys. We are, by profission, students for the holy ministry, and teachers in one or other of our missionary schools here; and,

not.

[ocr errors]

by principle, little missionaries to all who come in our way. In these we meet with much opposition, often leading to temporary despair. Disappointments, or discouragements, or both conjoined, hedge up the way of our longing desires, and our buoyant hopes. The boys and girls whom we teach, are ever learning; but through thoughtlessness, and carelessness, and ignorance, and the evil example of their parents, never come to the knowledge of the truth--never see the one thing needful. And if a few, a very few, do see some excellency in the Saviour, the wicked parents instantly remove them away from our schools, so that we see no fruit of our labour in this sphere. The grown-up persons to whom we preach sometimes, lend us a dull ear, if they hear us at all; but often do they regard us and the doctrines we set before them with a sadly deep apathy; often do they quibble at the words and phrases we may innocently use, and slur over the ideas and arguments we try to impress them with. Often do they accuse us falsely, and excuse us unnecessarily. They desire and devise our halting. The grand twofold motive which actuates every Christian heart, even the desire of glorifying his God and saving his fellow-men, they know

The high and holy feelings which fill the Christian breast, they do not perceive. The language of Canaan, which they hear Christians speak, is an unknown tongue to them. In circumstances like these, we leave it for yourselves to imagine how we feel your sympathy, and how we are comforted and consoled, and how our hearts burn within us with love and with zeal, when we see you stretching out to us the right hand of fellowship from afar, and strengthening us, like fellow-pilgrims and fellow-strangers, who are seeking the same city as yourselves.'

Madras. At this station God has been dealing very graciously with his servants, though they have not been without trials sufficiently sharp to keep them humbly mindful of their absolute dependence on Divine grace. Soon after the rising of last Assembly, intelligence was received of the conversion and baptism of a Brahmin (Viswanauthun), who, as is usual in such cases, was exposed to many and long-continued attempts to draw him into apostacy. By God's grace he was enabled to resist them all; and up to the latest intelligence received, he continued to hold fast the profession of his faith without wavering. A few months after, another convert (Ramanoojooloo), who, after his baptism, two years before, had been overcome by the urgent entreaties of his mother, and gone back to live with idolaters, returned to the mission-house, with every appearance of genuine contrition and godly sorrow bringing with him his wife (Aleemalummah), who, in spite of many temptations, resolutely adhered to her purpose of forsaking idols and following Christ. These, too, by the latest accounts, continue stedfast in their profession. In little more than a month after this encouraging event, a young man who had for a considerable time professed his conviction of the truih of the gospel, as revealing the only way by which he as a sinner could be saved, presented himself for baptism, manifesting every appearance of godly sorrow and faith unfeigned. But scarcely had the ordinance of baptism been administered to him, when he secretly withdrew from the mission premises; and, up to the date of the last intelligence, he continued to live with idolaters, and, it is to be feared, in the practice of idolatry, though not without very painful misgivings, and something like vague resolutions of returning. This painful disappointment, together with the shock which their schools sustained by each new case of baptism, in the withdrawal of many of their pupils, was felt by the brethren to be very discouraging, and a sore trial of their faith. “But though perplexed, they were not in despair; though cast down, they were not destroyed. In the communications of Divine grace to their own souls, and in the stedfastness of their other converts, and their

rapid growth in the knowledge of Christ, as well as in the affectionate sympathy of Christian friends, they found aburidant consolation in their season of sorrow. In due time, also, God gave them to witness new fruits of their labours. Three females, one of them Aleemalummah, the wife of the restored convert, and the other two, Ummah and Mary, a mother and daughter, formerly nominal Christians, have been brought, as the missionaries believe, to the saving knowledge of the truth. And this encouraging event was soon followed by the baptism of a very interesting young man, Appasawmy, a pupil in the branch school at Triplicane, who has been enabled, in the face of much opposition, and in spite of

P

manifold temptations, to make an open profession of his faith in Christ. At the date of the latest letters (15th April), all these continued stedfast in their profession; and though occasionally exposed to sore trial, were going on their way rejoicing. The institution, too, as well as the branch schools, had recovered, to a great extent, the shocks which they had sustained. A twelvemonth ago, immediately after the baptism of Viswanauthun, there were only 130 pupils in the parent institution at Madras, and 17 caste girls in the female school there. By the last accounts, there were upwards of 270 boys, and more than 100 girls. At Triplicane, where formerly there were about 50 boys and 7 caste girls, there are now about 80 boys and nearly 40 girls. At Conjeverum and Chingleput together, there are upwards of 200; making in all, of heathen children under Christian instruction, upwards of 700.

" In connection with the subject of female education, the following extract from Mr Anderson's last letter may be interesting:

“ Aleemalummah's baptism, and Mary's conversion, after baptism in infancy, as the daughter of a native Christian, and her mother Ummah's quickening and enlargement of heart, help me to answer your forecastings about the difficulties connected with the bringing of native girls to the knowledge of the truth. God has worked so sovereignly in the case of these three, that if it pleases him to show mercy and to convert any of the tender little girls now under instruction, we see that his providence will find ways to bring them up and protect them. And just because the difficulty may, in one sense, be admitted to be greater than that of young men when cast off by their relatives, the love and power of the Shepherd who gathereth the lambs in his arms, and carrieth them in his bosom, will be perfected in their weakness. If he saves, he will find a way to keep them. He has opened Mrs Braidwood's heart, and Aleemalummah’s, and Mary and her mother's, to watch over these girls, and made Ramanoojooloo's teaching of them a real pleasure and delight to him. O that in due time he would save some of their tender souls! for we are well assured that his grace will provide them nursing fathers and nursing mothers, and carse them to dwell safely amidst the tumults of the heathen. The girls are all very young yet,-only a few being upwards of ten years of age. Four have now be. gun to read Luke's gospel,-two in Telugi, and two in Tamil,-besides going on with their English.'

“ The progress of the first three converts in their studies, with the view of being licensed to preach the gospel, is most satisfactory. Did their limits admit, your Committee might give specimens in abundance of the talents and attainments of these young men, from their letters addressed to Christian friends in this country, as well as from essays which they have written on various important subjects, and which have appeared in the missionary periodical of Madras, the Native Herald. And while they are thus acquiring the knowledge which is necessary to qualify them for the work to which they are called, they are evidently growing in grace, and in holy devotedness to the service of ‘Him who has called them out of darkness into his marvellous light. It is indeed, as has already been hinted, in the stedfastness of these youths, in the gradual development of their Christian character, and in their growing ardour in the cause of their Redeemer, as well as in the promising state of all the converts, that the brethren have often found solace and refreshment of spirit in seasons of trial and depression. Their hands, too, have been mightily strengthened, and their hearts encouraged, by the continued sympathy and aid of the Christian friends who, from the first, came seasonably to their help, when, at the disraption, they stood so greatly in need of Christian kindness. It is but justice to these friends to state here what is said of them by Mr Anderson, in his last letter, and what is equally applicable to the friends at all the mission stations: Our friends at home ought to know that Christians in India contribute most liberally of their substance to everything that they think will advance the gospel of Christ in this land; and, considering the number of other pressing claims upon them—some of them more pressing by far than ours—it is not right to expect that their purses are a mine on which we may draw without exhausting it. We admire the self-denial at home, and especially for the large measure of it given to faithful ministers; but there has been self-denial in India too, connected with all our missions, not a whit less honourable, and, to the full, as disinterested.' The Church at home will unite with the brethren abroad, in giving thanks to God for the grace bestowed upon these Christian friends to abound so largely in contributions of their worldly substance to the cause of the Redeemer.

Calcutta.-At this station, as at Madras, the history of the mission during the past year has been a chequered one. At the date of last Report, the parent institution at Calcutta had assumed its wonted regularity, and the great business of teaching, in all its different departments, proceeded with as much order and energy as if it had never been disturbed. The number of pupils was as great as at any former period, if not greater; and month after month brought intelligence of the uninterrupted progress of mission work generally, both at Calcutta and at the branch stations. Though the missionaries had found it necessary to abandon Ghosparah, they have, by an arrangement with the Committee of the Established Church, retained Culna; and there, as well as at Mr Fyfe's new station, matters were in a satisfactory state. Remarkable instances, too, were from time to time reported of the liberality of the friends of missions in India—some of them very unexpected; and, so far as human agency was concerned, all was prosperous and full of promise. Nor were the brethren without encouragement of a still more animating kind. About the middle of July, a young man (Gobindo), who had received his education in the institution at Calcutta, but who had been removed about six years ago, in consequence of the panic occasioned by one of the former baptisms, unexpectedly made his appearance at the mission house, apparently under strong convictions of sin, and earnest desires to know and embrace the way of salvation opened up in the gospel. The impressions which he had received in the institution had from time to time revived and gathered strength, till his convictions became irresistible; and after exhibiting satisfactory evidence of genuine conversion, and after resisting all the usual arts of relatives to turn him from his purpose, he was, on the last Sabbath of July, in the presence of the Free Church congregation, publicly admitted, by baptism, into the visible com. munion of the Church of Christ. But though the hearts of the brethren could not fail to be gladdened by this new and unexpected manifestation of the power of Divine grace accompanying labours which, on their part, had ceased five or six years ago; yet they could not but feel humbled at the thought, that of the thousand or twelve hundred youths on whom they had been expending all their skill and energy since the beginning of the last year, there was not one who gave evidence of being brought under the saving operation of the Spirit of God. From day to day, and from month to month, they laboured and watched with longing expectation for some spiritual fruit of their labour; but still none appeared. And even when, in the month of November, they received a most unexpected application from five Jews, requesting to be admitted, with two children, into the Christian church by baptism, and felt themselves warranted to comply with the request, as related in the Missionary Record for March last, they were by this remarkable event only the more deeply impressed by the solemn reflection, that while Jews, whom they were not seeking after, came to them, imploring to be received into the Christian church; yet, among the vast multitude of the heathen, for whose conversion to the faith of the gospel they had been constructing, and laboriously working, so goodly an array of means, there were none who manifested any earnest desire of putting on Christ by baptism. The thought was a very humbling, perhaps at times a perplexing, one; and the tone of their communications plainly indicated, how deeply exercised they were in seeking to have their minds brought into a state of resignedness to the Divine will, and an humble recognition of the Divine sovereignty. Meanwhile, in addition to the trial of their faith arising from the want of visible fruit of their labour, another, and a very severe affliction, was awaiting them. Koilas, a native convert and catechist, whose name must be familiar to all as the friend and fellow-labourer of Mahendra, was removed by death on the 26th of February last, after an illness of several months' duration. Of the ex. tent of the loss which the mission has sustained by this event, an estimate may be formed from the letter in which his death is intimated by his affectionate friend, and, it may be added, his spiritual father, Mr Macdonald:

“ The immediate occasion of my present letter is one of mingled sorros and joy-sorrow for the loss of

a dear fellow-labourer removed from us by death-joy for the great blessedness which he now enjoys in the presence of our beloved Lord and Saviour. Our much esteemed catechist, Koilas Chunder Mooker. jea, has gone home to his eternal rest, and left our mission bereaved of one of its best and most promising agents in the Lord's work. He died on the morning of the 20th ultimo, atter a trying and tedious illiness of several months' duration; and during all that time, the Lord granted me the privilege of hav. ing his dying servant under my roof, and of caring for him during a period when, as a man, he needed every attention, and, as a Christian, every consolation, that could be ininistered to him. For this mercy, this refreshing mercy, which brought more of Christ under my roof, I give thanks to Him who doeth all things wisely, kindly, and well to his servants. I need not enter on a history of Koilas as a Christian convert here; for he is already known to you as one of the two catechista lately stationed at Ghosparah, and honourably mentioned oftener than once in the communications of my colleague, Dr Duff; but it may be well to give a short notice of his latter days, as illustrative of a pure, lovely, and consistent character. I have it in view, also, if the Lord enable me, to araw up a brief memoir of his short life amongst us; so that I need not, in this letter, enter into many particulars of his past history.

" Koilas had an attack of cholera in March of last year, from the effects of which he never ultimately recovered. His strength was prostrated, although his life was spared; and successive attacks of diarrhoea and interinittent fever, alternating with each other for months afterwards, gradually reduced him to a state of helpless debility. In this state he left Ghosparah, and came with his family to my house in the month of August last; and sinking in what (at home) is often called atrophic decline, from month to month, he at last, a fortnight ago, died, in simple exhaustion of nature, without a struggle, or so much as a single movement of the framne to indicate that the spirit was departing from its tabernacle of clay. During all this time I had, of course, the opportunity daily of seeing him, and witnessing his deportment as a dying man, under my own eye; and I can attest that truly he died in the Lord! He did not. indted, say much--for he was naturally a quiet, humble, unobtrusive, and diffident youth, and as a Christian he was distinguished by the apostolic characteristic-swift to hear, slow to speak; but he suffered well, as also he suffered much, and was made a conqueror in his feebleness. Not that he was without the painful contliet of the flesh striving against the Spirit;' or without occasional tokens of spiritual weakness; for he was at times much tempted and bome down in spirit. The trial of soul that chiefly afflict. ed him was the continuance of life and of inental energy so long under circumstances that unfiitet for all exertion, and that debarred him from his much loved missionary work. He felt for a time like a rejected, u eless servant, whom his Master would no longer einploy-threatened with Divine dismissal; therefore was he sad; and during this sadness he seemed not to be the same person he formerly had been. But the faithful Lord did not suffer him to be tempted above what he was able to bear; and, strange to say, yet not difficult to understandi, it was by the prospect of death, so far as I can clearly gather, that he was delivered out of this iniry slough. He deemed himself certainly dying, before others thought him beyond recovery; and having once set his soul upon departure from earth, he found, in the prospect of being with Christ,' a substitute and a remedy for his darkness and despondency; and so he became happy-uniformly and peacefully happy. For the last few weeks he seemed to enjoy a steady, calm sunshine of soul; and being perfectly delivered from the bondage of the fear of death, he felt the advances of this solemn messenger with expressed satisfaction, and latterly with niuch desire. The superior skill and the kind attention of Dr S. Nicholson, our much-respected elder, were exerted to the uttermost on his behalf, at least to alleviate his sufferings, and not in vain, so far as alleviation was concerned ; and for these, and similar attention from others, he was exceedingly grateful, so that it became a pleasure to do anything for him. In Koilas' piety there was always much simplicity, and this appeared most in his last days; for CHRIST-Christ himself, and not religion in general-was the theme he most loved to speak, to hear, and to read of. For some hours before he expired, he was without the power of speech; but the last words he was heard articulately to express were these: 'I hunger after Christ and his righteousness. He gradually sunk into his rest, without so much as a convulsive sigh, at the hour of midnight; and when I looked upon him dead, he lay in the easy posture of a sleeping child. Whilst I paced to and fro through his room during that last hour, when his soul was setting its house in order' and departing, my soul was filled with the meditation of that glorious passage--a passage which I have always specially loved : : After this I beheid, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all tiations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb,' &c. And when I felt the cold seal of death on his forehead, I could but say in my heart: Now he is with them.

". There are many reflections that might suggest themselves, and that have suggested themselves, on such an occasion. I cannot but feel that the Lord has chastened our mission here by one of the most severe strokes that he could have inflicted upon us, through the relationship of our native agency-the object at which our Scheme professes chielly to aim. For my own part, I wish to be humbled, profoundly humbled, at the thought that, not only of late has the Lord granied us no addition to our numbers, but has rather taken away one whom he gave us. Oh! may the Lord pour out upon us his Holy Spirit, to bless, quicken, and sanctify us--to make us spiritually-minded, and heavenly-minded, more than we have yet been-less concerned about those merely secular elements, which, after all, the Lord uses but little in his work, and less trusting in plans and anticipations which may in a moment wither and decay into the dust. Koilas' translation to heaven is to me a source of much joy; but Koilas' re. moval from this needy land is also an occasion of much affliction.

“I need scarcely say how much my colleagues participate in the feelings which I have expressed for myself; but there are reasons which were acknowledged by the departed, and known to myself, why I should feel, if possible, a deeper interest in all that concerned him, than almost any other one. There was a peculiar tie betwixt us, and it is here enough to say, that whilst in my house, he had his first refuge from the persecution of idolatrous friends, from my home, also, his spirit departed to his Saviour's glory.

"It is, however, no small consolation, that in the same month in which he was removed from us, four others of his countrymen, converts to Christ, have offered themselves as probationers, for the same gospel ministry in which he was so briefly employers. You would love those youths, if you knew them. May the Lord the Spirit sanctify and seal them as the servants of the blessed Son of God! This will be your prayer, also, my dear and reverend Sir. May it be the prayer of our whole Church, when met in fuil and praying Assembly, after a few weeks more.

“Excuse ine for having seemed to write on this occasion so much in my own name. I can only say, that I could not help it; it devolved upon me.

The grace of our blessed Lord be with you !-Yours," &c.

P. S.--I cannot close this letter without reminding you that Koilas has left a widow and an orphanthe first widow and orphan of our mission. His wife (by name Anna) has conducted herself like a Christian woman throughout the whole of this most afflictive dispensation, and has been well able to

« 上一頁繼續 »