Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

and holding discussions with the people : one Brahmin stoutly maintained that God was in every thing-in the cow, in the pig, in the dog, &c. *But,” said 1, "if God be in the dog and you too, why do you run away from the dog when he approaches you, and consider yourself polluted when it touches you; then the dog and you cannot be one." The people smiled, and the Brahmin was silent. Some of the people received tracts. I retired to rest, and shut myself up in my palkee for that purpose, but was soon aroused by the howling of a hyena close by.

Aug. 23. (Sabbath.)-I remained in-doors

and met the servants for Teloogoo worship, and in the afternoon attended the market usually held here, and had a good opportunity of again pointing the heathen to Jesus Christ, “the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world.” Leaving at ten o'clock that evening, I reached home safely at half-past six the next morning, grateful to the Giver of all good for the manifold mercies which He had vouchsafed to me in these wanderings. May the Holy Spirit be poured out on the efforts made to extend the kingdom of Christ in these villages and towns. Amen!

AMOY.-SUPERSTITIONS OF THE CHINESE. The following additional statements from the correspondence of our Missionaries at Amoy, the former portion of which appeared in our number for January, bring more clearly to view the degrading conceptions of the divine character, the puerile and pernicious forms of idolatrous worship, and the inveterate attachment to ancient superstitions, prevailing among the Chinese. From these arise the peculiar and formidable obstacles with which our brethren have to contend in this country; and against which, in reliance on the Spirit of grace, they are bringing to bear the diversified weapons of the christian armoury. In subordination to the ordinance of preaching, the religious instruction of the young appears among the most probable' means of preparing the way of the Lord in China ; and to this it will be seen that our brethren at Amoy are paying particular attention, and have already experienced no small encouragement. Their interesting communication, on the several points now noticed, thus proceeds :

The whole religion of a Chinaman, from same as men exhibit. The principal means, beginning to end, is purely and intensely by wbich he propitiates their favour, are selfish: no reverence is felt for the object just those which he thinks would most likely professedly worshipped—it is solely on ac- weigh with his fellow-creatures. He sets count of the good he is expected to bestow, before them as offerings, pork, fowls, fish, or the evil from which he is able to deliver, eggs, wine, to appease their hunger; burns that any devotion is paid to him. Of course, incense before them to gratify their olfacin a great proportion of cases, the votary is tory nerves; and the gilt paper which he disappointed in his object in approaching burns, he believes becomes good gold and the idol; but this does not usually create silver, and helps to defray the expense of disbelief of the system in general: it merely living in the other world. Before removleads to the conviction that the particular ing the eatables, and dispatching them idol invoked is not efficacious, and induces themselves, the worshippers throw up their the worshipper to betake himself to another divining instruments, to ascertain whether deity more powerful or more propitious. the deity has had enough; and if, after

The general idea that a Chinese has of many trials, the answer is unfavourable, these idols is, that they are the officers and they conclude he has been dissatisfied with ministers of State, employed by the Su. his entertainment; and, to deprecate his preme Ruler; without whom He could as anger, promise him, next year, a far supelittle transact the multifarious business of rior one, both in quantity and quality. this lower world as the Son of Heaven (the It must not be supposed that so shrewd a Emperor) could manage his vast empire people, as the Chinese are known to be, do without his Mandarins. For the common not frequently recognise the absurdity of people always to worship God and God such practices. They readily admit, after only, would be thought as absurd as for the argument, if not the entire inefficacy of inhabitants of a distant province to decline idolatry, at least the impossibility of provall intercourse with the Magistrates of the ing it; and multitudes of the better-indistrict, and seek constant audience only of formed classes go as far as we do in theorethe Emperor himself. To these deities he tical contempt for the whole system. But, imputes passions and feelings exactly the in practical conformity to idolatrous usages,

such individuals act in the same way as the most superstitious. They say they cannot help themselves; it would be absord for one or two to oppose a whole community; what can they do against so many ?

But the principal difficulty, after all, in the way of the Gospel at Amoy, is, the prohibition, involved in its reception, of the worship paid to Deceased Ancestors. The Chinese stands entrenched behind what he regards as the natural feelings of the heart: how can he refuse such worship, and yet imagine himself a dutiful son or grandson? Let it be granted, he argues, that idolatry is indefensible; yet surely reverence for those who gave us birth is highly properreverence not only during life, but after death. If a father were to know that his son was determined not to pay him these honours after his death, the knowledge would embitter his remaining days on earth, and, in his view, ensure him misery in the future world. The son who refused such homage would be universally regarded as destitute of all proper feeling; and he might be led by the force of such opinion, to suspect that he was involving not only his parent, but himself also in future wretchedness, both here and hereafter.

There is a mysterious influence which parents and children are regarded as mutually exercising on their future fortunes; and whether that influence be favourable or unfavourable, is supposed to depend on the manifestation by the child of all due reverence to the Manes of those to whom he owes his being. Thus hosts of influences prejudical to Christianity cluster round the parental relation--a relation which, in the system of Chinese Ethics, is regarded as holding the first rank, scarcely if at all yielding in dignity to the relation between man and heaven. It is a maxim enunciated by Chinese Sages, and inculcated on their offspring by every succeeding generation of fathers, (though, of course, where the interests of the parties clash, very little attended to in practice by the children,) that under the whole of heaven, there are no mistaken parents; none, that is, whose sentiments and authority their children have any right to oppose or censure. Often, then, is the objection urged against Christianity, that it teaches children to rebel against parental authority; and it is regarded as but a poor justification of such rebellion, that it is caused by a deference to the authority of God--that authority having, through the long-continued influence of millenniums of ignorance and forgetfulness, operating on the natural enmity of the human heart, been reduced to a literal nonentity.

To one who reflects maturely on these exhibitions of the moral and religious con

dition of the people, and remembers, in ad. dition, the great gain accruing to immense multitudes from idolatry; the many trades which owe their existence to it, (such as the manufacture of idols, of gilt paper, of incense, and of ornaments used in idol-processions ;) the number of professions to which it gives rise, (such as priests, conjurers, fortune-tellers, selecters of lucky days and of auspicious sites for tombs ;) and their widely-extended influence ;-it will be very evident how much disturbance the introduction of so uncompromising an element as Christianity must introduce into the social system, and what an amount of opposition it may expect to encounter, before it can achieve an extensive triumph.

We shall now briefly notice the efforts that have been made to benefit the female part of the population. It had long been a matter of regret to us that circumstances hindered the commencement of such efforts. Chinese feelings of propriety interfere to a considerable extent, if not altogether, with promiscuous meetings of the sexes; but, even if this were not the case, the comparative infrequency with which women go out in the cities, would prevent us from ever expecting them to form any considerable portion of our usual qudiences - it is only occasionally they come into our chapels, and they do not stay long. It was therefore resolved, in the beginning of the year, to attempt a meeting expressly for them.

Mrs. Young, having acquired some knowledge of the local Dialect, visited several females in their own houses; was by them introduced to their friends; and thus became acquainted with a considerable number of women, some of them in very comfortable circumstances. They were informed of the intended meeting, and invited to attend worship in Mr. Young's house, where Mrs. Y. would be ready to receive them, and a teacher would address them on the subject of Christianity. Upwards of twenty women, besides children, attended on the first occasion ; and every week subsequently a greater or smaller number have come together, some of them from distant parts of the city. They form generally very attentive listeners; and the continued attendance of so many affords encouragement to keep up the meeting

A wide field of usefulness has been thus opened ; and our only regret is, that, to take advantage of it, there is so little instrumentality of the kind most needed. Female labourers, acquainted with the language, could not desire a more interesting sphere than Amoy now presents. The women seem to have the most perfect confidence in our objects and character, and manifest a strong desire to cultivate a closer

acquaintance with the Mission-families. that they will not in after-life be the slavish When Mrs. Young proposed to commence votaries of superstition as their predecessors a Female Boarding-school, it was feared through so many generations, but will be that but few would consent to give up their led to yield themselves, heart and soul, children to live with foreigners; but it was to the ennobling and sanctifying influences soon found that there were many more of Christianity. We hope the school will children ready to be consigned to our care be supported both by local subscriptions, than there was room to receive. Mrs. and funds sent from home; and we invite Young has accordingly commenced a Board- the attention and kind aid of those friends ing-school for girls from six to twelve years who take an interest in the cause of Female of age; and there are now eleven in attend- Education in China, in behalf of this inciance, who sleep and board in the house. pient effort, in a place where absolutely noWe trust that gradually such an impres- thing is done by the parents for their sion will be made on their young minds, daughters.

THE HURRICANE IN MANGAIA. The friends of the Society are already well acquainted with the desolations of Rarotonga, from the hurricane by which it was visited in the Spring of last year ; and it is now our painful duty to report the destructive fury of the same providential dispensation in Mangaia--another Island of the Hervey Group. It never enjoyed the advantages of a resident European Missionary till the arrival of the Rev. George Gill, in the month of July, 1845 ; but the labours of Native Evangelists, sent from Rarotonga, had been largely attended with the divine blessing; and out of a population of 3,560, on the arrival of our brother, there were upwards of 500 of the natives in church-fellowship, besides an equal number classed as inquirers. The congregations were also large ; the schools well attended ; and the avowed followers of heathenism were few. In February, 1846, Mr. Gill informed us, that a large and substantial new Chapel was in progress; and in the same letter he presented the following delightful picture of christian affection and enjoyment in an island where, not many years ago, the prince of darkness reigned in uncontrolled dominion.

On the first day of the present year, the refreshing to the christian mind to contemthree churches in the Island met specially plate such a scene as this! Formerly they at Oneroa, around the table of Communion, lived in enmity, war, and bloodshed; but in remembrance of our Crucified Redeemer. now they walk in peace and concord. I Early in the morning the people assembled saw many grey-headed and feeble old men, with great delight and propriety. I preached who had walked more than six miles before a short sermon from Psalm cxxii. 6, “ Pray dawn to be present; and, as their countefor the peace of Jerusalem." The discourse nances were animated with delight in the being ended, we surrounded the table of the service, I could have wished the Churches Lord, where the people met in this collected of England to have been spectators of their capacity for the first time. How calm and joy.

But these peaceful seasons and joyous expectations were soon to be over cast. Under date May 1st, the Missionary details, in most affecting terms, the awful tempest which swept Mangaia as with the besom of destruction. Commencing on the 10th of February, it was renewed at intervals, with destructive violence, until the 17th of March, when it put forth its most terrific and irresistible power :

At four o'clock on Tuesday morning, waves gave us light. How dreadful was the 17th of March, (says Mr. Gill,) we were anxiety of our suspense in watching and disturbed from sleep by the bursting open waiting for dawn! As dawn appeared, the of all our windows, with great violence. wind and sea increased in violence, and The wind was roaring like thunder, and the every thing seemed to be doomed to desea was furiously dashing its billows upon struction. The stones from the beach, carthe reef. The whole village was alarmed, ried by the wind like hail, fell upon us, and and in great confusion. In the darkness of broke our windows; and the whole house the hour, the foam of the billows and the itself was rocking. Mrs. Gill and our dear

babe hurried outside; and, for more than I had left the tree near to which I was an hour, were supported by Natives sur- standing, to take my position at another rounding them, as it was impossible to stand whence I could command a longer view of without help, or to seek a shelter, in conse the village. I observed the sea again rushquence of the violence of the wind.

ing upon the shore, and with it came a There we stood, in dreadful anxiety, stronger gust than we had yet felt: the very drenched to the skin, and watching the fall- land seemed to shake. Seven large houses ing of houses and trees, and the rolling of fell, with the school-houses and the old the sea. Who can describe the anxiety of Chapel, which was more than 120 feet long that hour? Oar dwelling-house was roof and 36 feet wide. I was blown down and less; and the gable ends had fallen. The bruised by the gust; but, recovering, I house in which we kept our stores was also seized a young tree to support myself, and, shivered and rocking, and almost roofless. looking around me upon the beach, I could The rain again fell in torrents : we were see no house standing. I looked towards without shelter, and trembling with cold. the new Chapel on the top of the hill, and The Natives gathered around us for com- greatly rejoiced to see it standing, although fort and counsel, but I was unable to speak, I perceived the roof was much injured. either to direct or console. Just at this But another moment—and another gusttime there was an awful shriek, which rent and it was not! the building rocked-then the air, and seemed to be louder and higher it was lifted up-and I saw it fall! Alas! than the roar of winds and waves. The alas! my heart was just broken. Natives observed that the wind had changed, The hurricane extended around the whole and had assumed the character of a whirl- Island: the two inland stations are desowind: every part of the village was caught lated; the chapels, the schools, and the by its violence, and the tallest trees, with dwellings of the Natives all levelled to the more than fifty houses, fell in a moment. ground. The plantations of food are greatly Still all was not done: the winds again injured, and the arrow-root, which they roared, and the waters thundered; trees, as had stored up as contributions to the Sothey were broken, were tossed in the air, ciety for the year 1846, is destroyed. and were seen turning rapidly like wheels.

But He, who rides upon the wings of the wind and directs the fury of the storm, said - Peace! be still! and the tempest of the morning was followed by an evening unusually placid and serene.

In our store-house, half full of dirt and looked on them with gratitude and confiwater, (writes the solitary Missionary,) we dence, as they led our thoughts to Him laid us down to rest, though not to sleep. “who spake the promises." In Him we Throughout the night we watched the broad have a refuge from every storm that blows, expanse of the starry heavens through our and in the security of His pavilion we will roofless house; and, if we did not feel as abide until these calamities be overpast. comfortable as we could have wished, we They are designed to humble us, and to still felt peace. The sea was again calm- teach His power and dominion; and we like a lake; the winds were gentle; the will humble ourselves under His mighty stars thickly and brightly shining; and we hand, that He may exalt us in due time.

Amidst these awful visitations, the divine mercy was as signally manifested in Mangaia, as it was in Rarotonga, in the preservation of the people. Though surrounded by universal ruin, not one life was lost ; and

On the following Sabbath, (says Mr. assembling to what, in former seasons, we Gill,) as we had no building in which to have been accustomed to enjoy. Why is it assemble, the people met in the inclosure so? Who will tell me? I ask the sea and before our house. There, amidst desola the land, and they declare it to be God! I tion, they sat down and wept, when they ask the ruins of our houses, and of our remembered Zion. As far as my strength houses of prayer-I ask the trees that are and feelings would allow, I endeavoured lying broken and dead upon our land-and to address them, from Matt. vii. 24, and they answer, this is of God! The Lord is 27 verses. In the afternoon we assembled great, and of great power-his ways are again, when the Deacons and others gave unsearchable. But why are we not dead? short addresses, accompanied with prayer Why, when the tree fell, did it not fall upon and singing. The season was much en- me-upon you-and upon our children? joyed by us, and the sentiments expressed Why? Because, though God is great, he is by the persons who spoke, manifested great good, and very kind. Let us, therefore, reclearness and humility. “My Brethren and joice that we are alive to bless God for his Sisters," said one, “this is a very different salvation.

The following additional records of the divine foreknowledge and benevolence cannot but excite devout admiration and thankfulness. The Rev. W. Gill, of Rarotonga, writing about four months after that Island had been visited by the desolating tempest, observes :-

The kind Providence of our Heavenly continually coming to our house to talk Father has been most signally manifested about the things of God, so that we have in an abundant and almost miraculous sup been obliged to set apart two days a week ply of the Pumpkin Plant. The seed had for church-members only, who visit us. I been introduced to the Island some four have also selected a class of candidates months before the gale ; and, in three weeks (twenty in number) who are giving evidence after, the whole land was covered with the of their conversion; and we have the names fruit. We were much gratified to find that of fifty others, male and female, who have the minds of the people were deeply af- lately been brought under concern for the fected with gratitude to God for this timely welfare of their souls. Many of these have and abundant supply. We have reason to been constant attendants on the means of believe that the solemn dispensation has grace for years past; but, as one poor man been greatly sanctified to all at this station. expressed himself"His heart till now had The church has been aroused to inquiry been hard as a stone." We trust these and prayer. There is a manifest anxiety to tokens for good may be lasting, and bring improve the awful event. Numbers are forth fruit unto eternal life.

Under these solemn but instructive dispensations of Providence, the Directors sympathised with their Missionary Brethren, both in the tears of the night and the joy of the morning. They felt constrained to present a claim, so urgent and peculiar, to the special sympathy of the friends of the Society throughout the country: the appeal was met with promptitude and generosity; and, in the space of three months, contributions exceeding 3,0001. were received for the relief of the sufferers ; besides large supplies of useful goods for their service. These valuable presents were quickly dispatched for their distant destination, together with a still larger amount of cotton and woollen goods, building materials, &c., purchased from the Special Fund. These means of relief were accompanied by a request to the Rev. Dr. Ross, of Sydney, to forward from the Colony a liberal quantity of flour, rice, and articles of food and comfort ; and, as the case did not admit of delay, he was also commissioned to charter a small vessel to convey these stores to the Islands forth with ; so that there is ground to hope that the hearts of the sufferers are now rejoicing over this proof of love “as a sacrifice unto God for a sweet smelling savour ;" while they implore blessings on their friends and benefactors.

DEATH OF REV. S. FLAVEL. We deeply regret to announce the death of “The next morning, at an early hour, the Rev. Samuel Flavel, for many years the we followed him to the grave, and soon devoted Pastor of the Tamil Church at became feelingly alive to the fact, that Bellary. He died of cholera on the 17th we had lost a friend and brother, whose of April, after a few hours illness, leaving advice when sought was never withheld, a large family and many attached friends and whose long experience and sober judgto lament his decease.

ment gave it a peculiar value. The Native “During the day on which he died,” Church mourn the loss of a Pastor of exwrites the Rev. William Thompson "many tensive knowledge, and great aptness to of the most respectable of the native popu- teach ;' a 'faithful minister of Christ;' lation, including some Brahmins, who had abundant in labour, and of most devoted known our dear brother as a member of the zeal ; whose ardent affection for the people Mission, and respected his devotedness and of his charge-most of whom were his spiconsistency, came to the house, and spon- ritual children-found its most appropriate taneously bore the most honourable testi- terms of expression in the language of the mony to his character. Our loss is like Apostle, “Now we live, if ye stand fast yours;' they said to his family, our interests in the Lord.' His widow and children

a friend to all.'

beyond the power of language to express,

« FöregåendeFortsätt »