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on him a host of persecutions from without, and which he bears with the patience of an old and tried Christian, saying everything that is kind in return to his enemies. He also related to me a portion of his history, which will show whence his bitterest revilings proceed. He told me that very early in life he became anxiously concerned about religion, and tried many things, and inquired into many systems, without at all satisfying himself that he was right on the subject. At length, he said, he was struck with the austerity and apparently self-denial of a monkish life, and believing the truth must be with them, he entered one of their convents, in which there was a school, in which he learnt the French and Italian languages perfectly, and also received the rudiments of a good education; but on the subject that now more particularly weighed down his spirits he could obtain no satisfaction, but was answered, whenever he sought information, evasively, or was told that it was sinful and blasphemous to entertain scruples respecting the teaching of the church. Thus he continued for the space of two years, when he was led to make another change, which was to enter the college of the Jesuits, and he became a candidate for their order. This was done, he said, in consequence of their great reputation for learning, and which he fondly hoped and believed would certainly comprehend the object of his search; but he was destined again to be deceived, and to learn that the wisdom of God is not always to be found with the wise of this world: in short, he said, that if he was disappointed before, he had much more cause to be so now. Many of his former associates, though ignorant of the “way of life,” he believed to be sincere, but this, his new fraternity, he observed, except when in public or in the presence of strangers, threw away every appearance of religion, and derided everything, and, as to his own concern about his eternal state, that became an object of much derision. Here he saw, for the first time, the works of Voltaire, which were put into his hands with a recommendation to read them, and which worked as was desired they should, for they left him a complete infidel, or rather, an atheist, with every restraint removed to the indulgence of a corrupt and depraved nature, and he lived as he listed, and he even did worse, for he endeavoured, to the uttermost of his power, to make other dis
ciples to this great apostle of the devil. This was his condition when he first came to me, satiated, as he said, with sin, and tormented with fears at what might be the consequences. Now, he says, whenever he meets with any of the inmates of the convent, they reproach him with what they call his many changes of religion, and tauntingly ask him when he intends to become a Turk; but he tells them with mildness, that the reproach and shame is to them, that, when he was ignorant of the truth, and ruining both his soul and body in the service of Satan, they reproved him not, but rather gave him countenance; now when he was endeavouring to serve the Lord according to his revealed will, they manifested their hatred, showing themselves to be the enemies of the Lord, and if they called the master himself Beelzebub, his servant, certainly, had no right to expect better treatment. I am thankful to say, that the school is prospering, with a small addition to the last number mentioned, but I am unable to spend much of my time in it, in consequence of the pilgrims arriving at this season more than commonly. The Austrian steamers come every other Saturday, bringing large numbers both of Jews and Christians, and, by way of assistance and that no opportunity may be lost of supplying them all with the Scriptures, or a portion of them, I have engaged a poor man, a native of Nazareth, who has renounced the errors of Popery, and, until I assisted him, was in very great distress; and even now, when awaiting the taunting of the people, and visiting the khanns where they put up, he is often exposed to insult; and the other day, he said lie met with a singular encounter with a Maronite bishop, who was attracted by the contents of his basket, and went up and took out an Arabic Bible; and read a little, he then returned it, and fell down upon his knees and kissed the ground, and prayed, because, as the man said, he had seen a Bible. But, I replied, if he was so pleased, how was it he did not buy one? He said he was not pleased with the Bible, but the contrary, and his prayer was to be forgiven for having touched one. This will give you some idea of the gross hypocrisy practised upon the poor and deluded people of this country by their spiritual heads; for this fanatical exhibition was performed with the view of infusing a terror into the poor fellow's mind, at being employed in selling the Word of God.
I N DIA.
IN an article contained in our last number, on the “Results of Missionary Labour in India,” we took occasion to remark on the gratifying fact of the harmony of co-operation existing among the agents of the various Protestant societies labouring in that country, and of the advantage derived to the cause of truth from the practical exhibition of sentiments so honourable to their common Christianity.
We have now the pleasure to present the journal of a highly interesting tour, undertaken in the course of last year, by our esteemed brother, the Rev. A. F. Lacroix, of the Calcutta Mission, in company with an old and valued friend, the Rev. J. Weitbrecht, of the Church Missionary Society, to the towns and villages scattered over the districts of Hooghly and Burdwan.
The incidents of the tour will serve forcibly to illustrate a fact that has been the frequent subject of observation in relation to the natives of India—that great intellectual acuteness and discernment may, and actually do co-exist with the maintenance of the most absurd dogmas and superstitions by which the human mind was ever enslaved; a mournful proof that the error is to be traced to one only legitimate source—the utter alienation of the heart from God—and which can only be removed by the application of that great remedy which is provided in the gospel.
The journal further affords conclusive and encouraging evidence that, in the northern provinces, as well as in the south of India, the natives are found to evince a spirit of inquiry on the subject of Christianity, to listen to the preaching of the Missionaries, and to receive their tracts and Scriptures, to an extent altogether without a precedent at any former period:—
“During the course of 1850,” observes Mr. Lacroix, “I agreed with my excellent
commenced our tour on the 6th. Two native assistants accompanied us. We had four
friend, the Rev. J. Weitbrecht, Missionary of the Church Missionary Society at Burdwan, that we would itinerate together during the following month of January, and preach the gospel in the numerous native towns and villages in the districts of Hooghly and Burdwan, which lie along the old Midnapore and Juggernath road, and which, with one or two exceptions, had never been visited by Missionaries before.”
10EPARTURE OF THE TRAVELLERS.
“With a view to fulfil this engagement, I left Calcutta on Friday morning, the 3rd of January, 1851, and after a stay of two days at Burdwan, Mr. Weitbrecht and myself
bullock-carts to convey our tent, books, tracts, luggage, cooking utensils, and provisions. We travelled partly on foot, and partly in palankeens, the latter serving us also as beds for the night. We were absent about a month, during which we visited, besides villages, seventeen large towns, preaching several times in each of them to crowded audiences. About fifty English and Bengali New Testaments, fifteen hundred Gospels, and four thousand Tracts, were distributed by ourselves and native assistants. I look back on this trip with deep gratitude to the Lord, who gave me such numerous and favourable opportunities to make known the glad tidings of salvation. May his blessing
rest on the seed sown, and may the great day reveal that some of it fell on good ground, producing one hundred, sixty, and thirty-fold fruit, unto eternal lifel And if immediate conversions are not the result of this excursion, I have, at least, the pleasing consciousness of having, to a certain degree, acted the part of John the Baptist, in preparing the inhabitants of the districts I visited for the eventual reception of the gospel of Jesus."
The FALSE REFUGES OF THE HEATHEN ExPOSED.
“January 8th–Left our tent in a small village, near the main road, and walked across the fields to a populous native town, three miles distant, called Gopalpore. On arriving there, we separated and proceeded in different directions, with a view to bring the sound of the gospel within the reach of the greatest number of hearers. Aster walking on for some time, I reached a large open place, in the middle of which was the trunk of an old tree. On this I sat down, and was soon surrounded by a goodly number of persons, of respectable appearance, many of whom were Brahmins, who inquired what my object was in visiting their town. I replied that I was a preacher of Christianity—the religion which God has given to men—and had come on purpose to make them acquainted with it, if they would give me a hearing. Having expressed their willingness to hear what I had to state, I thought it advisable, before addressing them, to ask them whom they worshipped, and on whom they relied for salvation. Some said, We worship Siva, others Krishno, others, again, Doorga and the female deities, and from them we expect emancipation from sin. These answers led me to address them from the text, John iv. 24:— “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.' From this passage, I showed them the vanity and sinfulness of idolatry, and pointed to them the one true God, as the only object worthy of our adoration, and Jesus Christ as the only divinely appointed Saviour from sin and hell. “The attention displayed was most gratisying. After I had concluded, several of the auditors put questions indicative of their having well understood what they had heard.
One of them said:—What you have stated regarding Siva, Krishno and Kali, is true, the imperfections and wicked passions to which these deities were subject show, indeed, that we are wrong in calling them God; but pray, what have you to say against Soorjo-Deb (the Sun, or Hindoo Apollo)?— Surely, no fault can be found with him, and therefore we are safe in acknowledging him, at least, as God.” “Alas!' replied I; “if you look at what the Shastras relate of Soorjo-Deb, you will be convinced that he is not more worthy to be called God than any of the other gods and goddesses of your pantheon.' On which, I quoted the well-known story of Soorjo-Deb, where that god is represented as having lost all his teeth by a knock he received from the incensed Siva, at the festival of Dokkyo, and his being held by the Hindoos to be toothless to this day; for which reason they present him at his worship only soft rice, cooked with milk, which requires no mastication. On hearing this, the objector was silenced; and the people among themselves said:—‘This European seems to know everything about our religion, and therefore it is of no use to dispute with him.' This occurrence showed me, for the hundredth time, the great importance of a Missionary making himself as thoroughly acquainted as he can with the heathen mythology. The want of such knowledge deprives him of half the weapons he requires in the arduous warfare in which he is engaged against ignorance and superstition. “The gospels and tracts I had brought with me were received with great eagerness. A young man residing close by, who had had one given to him, slily ran home, changed his dress, and applied for a second book, imagining I would not recognize him; but he was mistaken. Though I was pleased with his evident anxiety to obtain our publications, I gave him a sound reproof, before all the people, for his duplicity, and told him I could not reward with the gift of another book one who had acted so contrary to the rules of the religion he had just heard proclaimed, and which condemns deceit of all kinds. I perceived that this practical lesson had a very good effect on the bystanders, who saw that Christianity is not a system of notions merely, but requires corresponding actions.”
Popular superSTITION's RESPECTING
“Mr. Weitbrecht, who told me that he also had had an excellent congregation in the part of the town to which he had repaired, now rejoined me, and it being late in the evening, we retraced our steps to our tent. As a specimen of the extreme superstition of the people of this district, I may just mention that, on passing a respectable man's house, two aged women rushed out, and stood looking most intensely at us. We inquired why they did so. They replied, ‘You are the first Europeans we ever saw, and we are now looking at you, in the hope that such gaze on men belonging to the caste of the rulers of this country will procure us some religious merit !” We endeavoured to make these poor ignorant females understand that, to look at mortal, sinful beings like ourselves, could not be productive of the benefit they were seeking; and pointed out to them, as the true source of spiritual blessings, the great God and Saviour whose name had been proclaimed in their town that afternoon.
“In many places in the interior, numbers of people, even at the present time, have not only never seen Missionaries, but even Europeans; and they form sometimes strange ideas respecting them. I was much amused, some years ago, by a pundit relating to me how an inhabitant of a remote village of the jungle district of Lishenpore, who had just returned from the Civil Station of Bancoorah, described Europeans to his inquisitive fellowvillagers:—‘Europeans,' he said, “are just like men!' It would seem that these simple people had before been doubtful whether Furopeans belonged to the human species, or were a superior kind of monkeys, or a race of demons, as the Chinese hold them to be.”
A hopeful, STUDENT.
“9th.-In a town named Kytee, I was most agreeably surprised, after preaching, on finding among my hearers a young man who spoke English fluently, and who told me he had received his education at the London Missionary Society's Institution at Bhowanipore. He alluded to his former teacher, Mr. Mullens, in terms of great gratitude, and spoke with unfeigned respect of the New Testament, which he said he continued to peruse frequently. This young man, although
not a professed Christian, is evidently favourably impressed towards the gospel, and did not scruple to acknowledge, in the presence of his countrymen, that he had lost all regard for idolatry. It was a great gratification to me to find a proof, at such a distance from Calcutta, that our labours in the educational line in that city are not in vain.” THE SEED OF THE KINGDOM SCATTERED AIBROAD. “10th–We arrived about noon at a large market-town, on the eastern bank of the Dalkissen River, called Ek-Lokky. Finding the market-place excessively crowded, we repaired to the outskirts, and selected two suitable stations, where we could address the people without being interrupted by the hun and noise of the thousand voices in the bazaar. Mr. Weitbrecht occupied one, and I the other. A congregation was soon collected. Taking occasion of an ambulatory merchant offering drugs and medicine for sale, I chose as the subject of my address, Jesus the great Physician of the soul. In imitation of our great Lord and Master, I find it most desirable, whenever practicable, to introduce religious addresses by an allusion to some passing event, or some object in sight of the hearers. This renders the discourse more natural, and the interest taken in it deeper. The attention was very pleasing, and the books distributed were received with great eagerness. “After returning to our encampment, several persons who had not received books in the town, came to the tent with the earnest request to be supplied, which was done. Among these applicants was a respectable merchant, who knew something of Christianity. He told us he was in the habit of occasionally visiting Calcutta on business, and that while there, he had heard the gospel proclaimed more than once. What this merchant thus stated of himself is of repeated occurrence, and accounts for the fact, that although no Missionary has ever been in these parts, there is scarcely a village or hamlet where some individual or other, acquainted with the name of Christ and a few of the leading truths of the gospel, is not to be found. This fact also shows the vast importance of Calcutta as a central Missionary Station, and its great influence on the