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IN November, 1844, the Rev. Mr. Clarkson, and the late Rev. Wm. Flower, were led, in the providence of God, to remove from Surat, then on the eve of being relinquished as one of the Society's stations, to the city of Baroda, about one hundred miles distant, where, and in the surrounding villages, they were encouraged by finding an open door for the entrance of the gospel. Failure of health having compelled Mr. Flower to retire in the spring of 1846, his place in the mission was supplied, before the close of the same year, by the Rev. J. W. S. Taylor. As the people of their charge were for the most part concentrated in a locality difficult of access from Baroda, the Missionary brethren, in 1847, transferred the site of the Mission to a more eligible locality, on the banks of the river Mye, where Mission premises have been erected and a Christian village established. In January of last year, Mr. and Mrs. Clarkson, after visiting this country for the benefit of their health, returned to the field of labour, accompanied by the Rev. A. Corbold and Mrs. Corbold.
In no part of India has the formidable question of caste occasioned greater embarrassment to the Missionaries, or exposed the converts to more systematic persecution, than among the villagers of Guzerat; and yet, when it is borne in mind that these wild and lawless people had had no previous instruction, or intercourse with Europeans, the success which has crowned the labours of our devoted brethren affords matter for grateful acknowledgment and praise.
Mr. Clarkson and his colleagues, in reporting the state and prospects of the Mahi Kantha Mission during last year, make the following statements, which serve to place, in a strong point of view, the dangers and difficulties, and, we may add also, the encouragements, which attend the prosecution of the Missionary enterprise among a population so peculiarly circumstanced:—
Christian village), the father of this family was very bitter in his hatred to them. He
THE PERSECUTOR CHANGED INTO THE
“Of the two Koli families who were converted, the one was a very remarkable case. When the converts first came to Borsad (the
would assail them with abuse and threats whenever any of them passed his house, or happened to be standing near it. His field,
however, was next to one that had been allotted to a Christian family. This brought him into daily contact with them: for months he maintained a sullen reserve towards them, yet gradually he was struck with their conversation. At length he was prevailed upon to attend the Christians' Sabbath services. Seeing the Christian girls read, he sent his eldest daughter to our school. This brought him under the displeasure of his caste. They insisted on his withdrawing his daughter from us. He declined compliance, and at the same time declared his own convictions of the truth of our teaching. The next day he proposed to join us. His clan was fierce in its opposition, the more so as he was the first Koli in Borsad that was going to embrace the new way. Four hundred of them rose in arms. They plundered his house, and took possession of his wife and children. They used every means in their power to intimidate him. But an influence greater than theirs both gave him strength to resist them, and prevented them from putting their violent menaces into execution. After a while his family, by various means, joined him, and in December, 1849, they were all baptized. Their conduct ever since has been very satisfactory.”
ANTAGONISM BETWEEN CASTE AND ChristianitY.
“The most serious difficulty that Hindoo converts have to encounter, arises from the institution of caste. The sinfulness and abomination of this system is not apparent to a casual or superficial observer. It is a poison which, if left undestroyed, will kill every Christian grace. To correct its power, there must be a most faithful and determined application of the antidote. Its existence among the Hindoos for lengthened ages has wrought results which will need, perhaps, ages more of strenuous effort to eradicate. Under its banesul influence there have arisen, among the Hindoos, communities possessed of characters almost as diverse as are national distinctions, although they may be of the same religion, customs, government, language, and climate. The sentiment is strong in every Hindoo mind, so that the first and most striking wonder that he seels regarding the all-wonderful Europeans, is that they have
no caste. Under the influence of the caste feeling, the heathen are often fairly puzzled how to act towards our converts. They ought, in strict obedience to the caste system, to rank all Christians as Dhéds, Mahaas, or Parias. But this circumstances will not allow them to do. They are conscious of a certain something in Christianity that is at once noble and ennobling. A convert to Christianity is properly an utter outcast from all the sympathies of Hindooism, lower than the lowest,--a despicable being. But a true convert manifests so much earnestness and sincerity, brings forward such good reasons for his change, that they cannot but respect him; he may also evince a spirit so completely superior both to the fears and the honours of caste, and a purpose so fixed to draw others to the Saviour, that they may even fear him and his exertions. To despise a convert, therefore, is, despite their desire and their pretensions, impossible. Thus are the heathen affected. But, on the other hand, converts from a people so spell-bound by caste as the Hindoos are, cannot be expected always and at once to be emancipated, and with the water of baptism to be washed clean of all stains of the old pollution. The Christian public has seen how difficult it was found to root out this plague from the churches of the south of India. Readers of our last Report will remember that our own Mission was well nigh broken up and wrecked on this rock. We insisted on all caste rules as to food, social intercourse, and matrimonial alliances, being broken. As to eating together, we adopted the primitive Christian practice of the Agapae, which brought all church members on eonvenient occasions (generally on the Monday after the Lord's Supper) together to one table. But this alone was not enough to set our minds at ease. For years after the so-called highcaste converts in the south had yielded to their Missionaries in the point of eating together, did they hold out against, and strenuously resist them in the case of marriages. Solely from the influence of this feeling, Protestant fathers have preferred giving their daughters to Papists and heathen, rather than to low-caste brethren of their own church. Most anxiously, therefore, did we wait for a marriage among our people.”
GOOD EFFECTS OF MARRIAGES BETwehr HIGH AND LOW-CASTE convertors, “We are happy now to report, that since the commencement of this year three marriages have taken place. The brides in all the cases were from the Dhéd, or low caste. They had, however, been for several years in our boarding-school, and were children of converts. The bridegrooms were a Kunbi, a Patidar, and a Koll, We thus, with great thankfulness to the Divine Head of the Church, rejoice to declare to our Christian friends, whose prayers we have before entreated, that the desire of their and our hearts has been granted, and that the example of breaking up the system of caste has been fairly, fully, and decidedly set in our little church, by the three first weddings that have been celebrated among the people. “Already do we think we notice good re
sults. On the one hand, there is greater confidence inspired in the minds of the lower castes, who, notwithstanding all our assur. ances to the contrary, in addition to the other defects of their character, felt a secret suspicion that, perhaps, after all, they would be lest by their Christian brethren to their own original heathen degradation; and on the other hand, there has been inspired in the minds of the higher class a feeling (if we may be allowed the expression) of thoroughness-an assurance that Christianity does not only profess noble things, but that it will have its professions carried out."
LIGHT ARISING IN THE MinST OF DARRNESs.
“At first, indeed, everything looked dark and gloomy; all the heathen were of course opposed; the idea of out-caste Christians coming to build and live among them, was disagreeable in the extreme ; the native officials of Government—merchants—tradesmen, labourers, all joined in caste leagues to prevent the settlement of Christians. Often was the faith of the little band ready to faint. Often did they (especially the women) say, ‘This is too hard for us.” But one or two were stronger. We remember, on one occasion, when our fields were unfruitful, when the merchants refused to sell grain, when water from the public well could not
be had but by strife and appeal to authority, many seemed quite cast down; but one said, ‘What is all this? At baptism we promised to serve Christ, if need be, with the loss of our life—but who yet has lost his life, or apprehends the loss of it? Were we deceived when we professed Christ Do we not daily rejoice in him? Then why fear this storm * This must blow over as others have done.' The storm has blown over. Water is now more free to them. Vanias sell without hesitation. Several combinations to annoy us have been broken. We now have more peace, but at times the rage of the storm has been great. At Borsad, when the first Christian Koli was baptized, four hundred Kolis with their swords were ready to check conversions and alarm the converts; nothing but wholesome fear of the British Government prevented our little settlement from attack on that trying occasion.”
THE Providex CE or GoD WATCriirg OVER His PEOPLE.
“At Dewan, the life of our native teacher, Desai, was preserved in a remarkable manner. A half-witted Koli had become attached to Desai, accompanied him wherever he went, and in every way served his family. The way in which madness had developed itself in this man was in the utterance of foul language, as though caused by a foul demon. Under Desai's influence, this evil was restrained, and the neighbours took notice of the wonderful effect. The poor man would also join with Desai in prayer, like a little child.
“This man, Adesung, was the instrument of saving Desai's life, though, alas; it was by the loss of his own. One evening he returned with Desai, from Borsad, to Dewan. When they arrived near the Mission bungalow, Desai, instead of going direct to his own house, where were his wife and children, in the village, sent this Koli there, telling him he would follow as soon as he had been to the bungalow and ascertained that all the residents were well.
“Adesung went to Desai's house, having on him a coloured coat which belonged to Desai. He had no sooner knocked at the door, and Desai's daughter was in the act of opening it, than an unknown assassin wounded him with
a sword in the leg. Adesung fell, exclaiming, ‘Why have you struck me 2' Desai's daughter pursued the murderer for some distance, but no one helped her, or did aught to apprehend the fugitive. As the assassin passed, the villagers shut themselves in their houses. The wound was inflicted by a poisoned weapon, and proved mortal. Adesung survived only a few days. When carried on a khatelo from the village, his words were not of imprecation, but of blessing on his murderer. He was, as the people themselves remarked, the shield of Desai. The Christian was to have been the victim; the Koli received the stroke. The people acknowledged the hand of God in preserving the Christian. The murderer has not been discovered, or at any rate has not been convicted. We have had frequent occasions of alarm at Dewan. The friends of Gungaram have frequently told him to be careful in not exposing himself alone at night, and not to travel without some safeguard. In several directions have we heard of a plot against the life of this native teacher, whose influence, the people of Dewan suppose, is paramount. On one occasion, he was beset by several men, but providentially escaped by the fleetness of his horse, and his own presence of mind.
“We are made to feel that we are in an enemy's country, and although our hand is against no man, we fear that from these people, who are professional thieves, and fear not the shedding of blood, there are many whose hand is against us.
“It is greatly to be regretted that the Kolis are allowed to go armed. The slightest provocation tempts them to employ their weapons.”
“Notwithstanding all adverse appearances, we are grateful to say that in some quarters a friendly feeling exists. The relatives of several converts who at one time, especially before the formation of the Christian village, refused to have any intercourse with them, now visit them, will sometimes eat with them, and occasionally remain for a time in the colony.
“In the fields, neighbourly co-operation is indispensable. At first the heathen neigh
bours of Christian farmers refused to give or receive help. This unfriendly spirit did not, however, last long: there is no difficulty now experienced on this score. Thus the Christian farmers have frequent and very good opportunities of conversing with their neighbours.
“We are constrained to offer a few general remarks as to the religious standing of the converts at Borsad. It is with gratitude we say, they have now been the joy of our hearts for several years. We doubt not but that they will be “our crown and rejoicing in the great day.' The realities of Christian character have been so strikingly developed in them, that, in justice to them, and to the grace of God which has made them what they are, we continually glorify God on their account.”
STATISTICS OF THE MISSION.
“The agricultural residents at Borsad, (all of whom are baptized) in the Khasi Wadi, (Beautiful Garden,) comprise nine families, consisting of forty-three individuals.
“The resident weavers of Dewan comprise six families, consisting of twenty-six individuals, four of whom are unbaptized. Add to these, the native teacher Gungaram and his wife.
“Besides these, are converts who do not reside in the Mission establishment. Of these, most keep aloof from us, and we scarcely recognize them as Christians. One family of Kanvadi is now in conjunction with the Mission, comprising six individuals. From all the baptized adults, sixteen are constant communicants.
“Belonging to the above families, of both places, nearly twenty children are receiving instruction in the boarding-school. ,
“The Missionaries are looking forward with renewed hope to the future. They are enlarging their operations, according to their design expressed in 1846, by building a Mission House at Borsad, where a convenient piece of land has been procured, contiguous to the Christian settlement, which will thus derive invaluable benefit from daily means of grace. Our experience at Borsad has led us to hope that it may be found as healthy a locality as any other inland part of Guzerat.
"From August, 1848, to January, 1851, the whole duties of the Mission devolved on Mr. and Mrs. Taylor. They were graciously enabled to sustain them,-and, amid personal and relative trials, the work of the Lord prospered in their handa The Mission was reinforced in January, by the return of Mr.
and Mrs. Clarkson to their sphere of labour, and by the accession to their number of Mr. and Mrs. Corbold.
“It is proposed, 60 soon as these latter Missionaries shall have learned the language to plant a third Mission, in such locality the providence of God may indicate."
PROTESTANT AND ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONS. It is matter of common observation, that, while the head of the Papady has, by the tide of events, become little better than a prisoner in his own capital, and ma object of indifference to those who owe him temporal allegiance, his spiritual emissaries are compassing sea and land to make proselytes to the system which recognizes, in this impotent sovereign of the Roman States, an infallible guide.
Not only have the zeal and energy of the Vatican been signally evinced in the endeavour to strengthen the influence of Popery on the continent of Europe, and to restore its lost ascendancy in Protestant Britain, but also to extend its domain to the ends of the earth. By means of the "Association for the Propagation of the Faith," the Church of Rome has been enabled to send forth missionary agents, in considerable force, to Asia, to Africa, to America, and to the Islands of the Pacific Ocean; and it is a significant fact, in connexion with this organization, that its agents have directed their main efforts-not to the unoccupied territories of heathendom—but to those more attractive spots, where they deen their greatest trophies are to be won the fields long cultivated by the Protestant Missionary. We can, however, have no hesitation in statingand we believe the conductors of other Protestant Missionary Institutions would be prepared to corroborate the statement—that the attempt of the Romanists to make converts in those parts of the heathen world where the Gospel has been received, have, to a great extent, proved abortive. It has, moreover, been ascertained, that the failure is, in many instances attributable to the fact, that discerning natives have discovered a remark. able coincidence between their former idolatrous usages, and the actual rites and ceremonies of the Church of Rome.
The friends of Protestant Missions have sometimes expressed surprise, and perhaps a degree of alarm, on hearing of the vast apparatus employed by the apostate church in connexion with its foreign operations ; but while it cannot be denied that the pecuniary resources of the “Association for the Propagation of the Faith" are considerable, it is satisfactory to have the means of estimating those resources on a fair comparison with the sum total of the contributions of the various Protestant Missionary Societies. In the following article, extracted from the Friend of