« ElőzőTovább »
gently sloping grassy surface spread on every side. The bed of the Tyume River was thought of, but we could not reach it unseen, or remain till dark, with any chance of not being discovered. To go forward was duty, and on we went, discoursing on faith and Providence, eyeing now and then the dark figures which we saw surely and fast approaching. At last we observed one company bending out of their way to meet us. &etiring to a low bush which afforded shadow from a burning sun, we entreated the Lord to cast his mantle over us. Mrs. Niven whispered, “There they are, and on concluding our prayer, we saw the band standing over us, leaning on their deadly weapons. A group of women closed in behind. To their peremptory challenge, ‘Who are you?' I answered, rapidly narrating our disastrous journey. My tale was received in silence, which encouraged me. An eye, full of dark meaning, fell on Ball, as they sternly inquired about him. An aged man said to me, ‘You are a teacher. That man is not. He must die like the white men who are killing us.” In my earnest pleadings for him, I had not noticed my dear wife's imploring appeals to the women, till my eye caught Miss Ogilvie's exertions to prevent her falling, exhausted, to the ground. I begged of one of the women to fetch a little water wherever it could be soonest found. Not one would go. They said the men would kill them. This, from the tender-hearted Xosa women, was like a sentence of death. I asked Mankosi to borrow a canteen which I saw one had on her head, charred by the flames from which it had been snatched, at Woburn. He did so, but was nearly a quarter of an hour before returning from the place where he had to go. This painful interval, which diverted my attention from the perils of our situation, enabled me, on Mrs. Niven's rallying, to resume, with recruited energy, my supplications for life to one and all. Nor was it fruitless. Having deliberated for a time, they told me that they had agreed to spare us, and give two elderly men, whom they pointed out, for an escort to the station, as I had sought previously, promising a reward of a blanket to each. A principal woman in the female group, known to Tausi, had the chief share in obtaining for us this escort.
“We now rose from the ground and advanced, preceded by the two men, who talked confidingly, and reminded us now and again how much we were indebted to them for our escape. They took us through two kraals, to one of which they belonged, where the women were turning out their scanty furniture, rolled up in mats for being carried on the head, as the inmates were now to flee to their war haunts in the neighbouring mountains. All were civil, and two females brought milk for the children, while each bewailed the calamity that had befallen the teacher's house.”
ANOTHER ATTACK AND PROVIDENTIAL DELIVERANCE.
“A little farther on, we had to go through three kraals, filled with men and women, the latter bundling up, like the others, for bushlife. Our escort had just succeeded, with difficulty, in keeping these men off us, when an armed party, hastening past to the destruction of Auckland, the largest of the military villages, turned off, rushed across the river, and in an instant were on us with a terrible shout. They ordered us to stand, while the men who had a minute before let us pass with murmurs, now rushed down in our rear, to prevent our escaping. The expression of countenance in the excited band was indescribable. One of them advancing towards me as I was addressing them, eyeing me steadily, exclaimed, ‘You are Niven,' and taking hold of me by the hand to draw me aside, added, ‘You are safe, you are a teacher.” He repeated my statement about our going to the Chumie to Mr. Cumming; but as if to magnify the credit due to him for sparing me, he said, ‘You can go, but you are not liberal, nor ever gave me anything; that man, pointing to Ball, “shall die.' One from behind, following up the direction, said, ‘Let Niven live, this one shall die.’ And so saying, he took our little Walter off Ball's shoulders, where he had been seated, singing unsuspiciously till now. Ball wheeled manfully round to meet his executioners, and looked steadily at the two who were retiring a few paces to take their aim with poised assegai. We all closed around him, loudly imploring for his deliverance; and, succoured by the two men escorting us, and next by several elderly men of the kraals above mentioned, we were blessed to bring him off unharmed. Down we passed to the river, which was only a few paces off. I crossed it with Mrs. Niven on my back-leaving the Kasirs motionless and disconcerted, as if wondering how we had been allowed to escape. It was some time before any spoke, and the carpenter was the first-expressing, in abrupt sentences, his sense of the Divine succour so manifestly vouchsafed him. Our escort were more voluble, nor lost a moment in telling us how they had brought us all off, and must be rewarded accordingly. “We had still three miles to travel, and part of that distance lay across the roads to Auckland, whither the barbarians were advancing. The feeble of our company were now faint-Mrs. Niven dragging her limbs, as she was supported on each side by our friendly guides. I went back to bring up Miss Ogilvie (who was trying, in turn, to bring on our little Johnny), unconscious, seemingly, of her own weakness, save by looking at her distance from her aunt, who had till now passed on, as if scarcely touching the ground. Giving Bella my arm, I looked forward and saw Mrs. Niven falling back, but she was caught up in time by the men. I called to them to halt till I came up with my charge in the rear, which I did, and rested her in a recumbent posture on the ground for a few moments, eyeing the country all round to see if any other bands of individuals were moving on us. Starting again, Tausi supported Mrs. Niven on the one side, I on the other, our niece leaning on my right, and little John holding on by her skirt, on her right again. Ball was behind, carrying Walter on his shoulders. Robert trudged
on with earnest step, now and then calling attention to any suspicious object that met his eye, And Mankosi tardily followed, carrying Tommy on his back, in addition to his own wallet.” SAFE ARRIVAL AT CHUMIE.
“Left now to ourselves, we trudged along, crossed the valley of the Incotoyi, cleared the opposite slope, and soon came in sight of the station. ‘There is home,’ cried Walter, interrupting his song to tell his discovery, as from the man's shoulders he espied the houses. Our hearts, now committed to the influence of relieved reflection, began to enjoy the sense of deliverance, each contributing his portion to his fellow-travellersnow in English—then in Kaffir–children and their seniors all engaged. A few minutes brought us to the Gwali stream. The running of several persons toward us, showed that we had been observed. Mr. Cumming, Mr. and Mrs. Renton, came in view, and they soon took us by the hand. Turning back with us, they listened, wondering, to our broken narrative of the journey. I left Mrs. Niven to the kindly care of our friends. The elders and Christian natives now clustered around to congratulate us on our escape, and hear a few particulars. We passed successive groups, and stood a little with each, to acknowledge their sympathy and answer their inquiries, till I entered the mission-house.
“I entreat you to join me, which I know you will do, in heartily adoring the Divine goodness, with which these pages are fragrant. and in supplicating grace to be sanctified by this heaviest missionary trial that has, these sixteen years, befallen me.”
Though it would be premature to assert that the public mind of India is yet prepared to break asunder the links of that base superstition by which it has been held in bondage for ages, events of no doubtful import induce the belief, that this extensive and populous region—the brightes' colonial gem in the diadem of England—is destined, in the providen" of God, at no distant period, to witness the signal triumphs of the gospel.
It is a remarkable fact, that, while Missionaries and others who have had the opportunity of closely watching the progress of events, concur” the opinion, that great social and moral changes are in the cours" of
development in India, through the direct influence of Christian teaching, it is by no means uncommon to meet with intelligent and even religious individuals in this country, who seem to be under the strange impression that Missions in that vast region have, after all, proyed a failure. Now, such incredulity can be traced only to one of two causes; namely, the alleged paucity of accredited converts from Hindooism-or a very inade: quate notion of the nature and amount of the work that has been achieved during the last half-century. With respect to the former objection, the converts, as compared with the dense masses of heathenism by which they are surrounded, are indeed few; but their actual number, when estimated by any fair criterion, is by no means inconsiderable, as the statistical returns will incontestably prove. Upon the latter supposition, however, that the erroneous views entertained as to the results of Missionary effort in India may originate in defective information, we are happy to have the means of presenting, though in a condensed form, a highly valuable and interesting statement, which cannot fail to correct any false impressions that may obtain on this important subject, and also to strengthen the confidence and gladden the heart of every Christian philanthropist.
The last number of the “ Calcutta Review," a publication in deservedly high repute, contains an elaborate and very able article on the “ Results of Missionary Labour in India ;" and the following extracts, though at the disadvantage of being disjoined from their context, will serve to convince every candid mind that the efforts put forth for the evangelization of that great country, so far from being a failure, have already yielded such fruit as amply to justify the most sanguine expectations that have been formed of a future and glorious harvest :
Futile Attempts of the Portuguese, the Jesuits, and the Dutch, to
Christianise India. "Attempts to Christianise India, in whole or in part, have been repeatedly made, during a period of more than three hundred years; and four distinot plans of operation have been adopted for accomplishing that end.
" The Portuguese, backed by King John, and led on by their fighting priests, ondeavoured to compel the people of Ceylon and South India to receive their faith, by bloody massacres, cruel persecutions, imprisonments, and fines. We read of no sermons preached; no distribution of the Bible effected by them; but we find, that they demolished, burnt, and rooted out' the pagan temples,' sought to abolish the heathen sports, and severely punished' obstinate recusants.
“The Jesuits, in the same part of the country, endeavoured to accomplish the same end more thoroughly, by a persevering system of the most stupendous frauds ever committed under the sun. They pretended to be Brahmins of the highest caste; they dressed like Sanyasis (holy men); adapted their manners, dress, and food, to those of the heathen; forged a Veda; denied that they were Europeans; and, to support their character, resorted to the most unblushing lies, during a period of many years.
“The Dutch Government next entered the field; and, in addition to setting before the heathen the same example of dishonesty, covetousness, falsehood, licentiousness, cruelty, and intolerance, which they had seen in their predecessors the Portuguese, they sought to bribe the Singhalese to adopt Dutch Presbyterianism by the offer of places and situations; and to terrify them into it, by refusing all Government employ, and even the farming of land, to all who were not baptized, and had not signed the Helvetic Confession of Faith. Each of those three plans acquired thousands upon thousands of nominal converts, but nothing more. Neither cruelty nor fraud, nor appeals to self-interest, laid the foundation of a sincero and permanent Christian community. It naturally followed, therefore, that these thousands of converts returned to the heathenism of their fathers, as soon as the efficient cause of their profession was withdrawn.
“‘They melted from the field, as snow,
“In 1802, there were 136,000 Tamil Christians in Jaffna : but in 1806, after the English conquest, Christianity was ‘extinct. Of the 340,000 in the Singhalese district in 1801, more than half had relapsed into Buddhism by 1810, and others were fast going. The Roman Catholics of South India, the descendants of the Jesuits' converts, and numbering some 40,000, are at this day scarcely distinguishable from the heathen. Their ceremonies are, to a great extent, the same; the names only of their deities differ. Such are the results of the early attempts to convert the natives of Hindustan: attempts, of which twe were made, not by the teachers of Christianity, but by the Governments of Europe.”
“The fourth and last plan of missionary operations adopted in India, is that employed by modern Missionary Societies. It is that of endeavouring to convince the Hindus of the evils of idolatry and of the truth of Christianity, by preaching to the old, by teaching the young; by giving to all the Bible and Christian books in their own tongues; by endeavouring, in a word, to enlighten their understandings, to instruct their ignorance, to convince their judgments, and draw their hearts; so that they may become willing converts, and abide in the faith which they are persuaded to embrace.
“The series of efforts made in India on this plan, began with the labours of the Tranquebar Missionaries, in 1706. In that year, Ziegenbalg and Plutscho, the well-known founders of that useful Mission, entered on the work of preaching the gospel in the vernacular tongue, and for more than a century did they and their successors continue to carry it on. Until a few years ago, little was known of the extent and character of their work, of the stations they had founded, the Missionaries who had laboured, the incidents which had happened, and the results by which their labours had been followed. A recent work, however, has brought the subject prominently to light, and has enabled the Christian Church to see on what an advantageous ground the work of Missions was placed in South India during the last century. But that Mission was almost entirely a Continental one. Begun by the King of Denmark, it was supplied almost entirely in men, and subsequently in money also, from the Evangelical Church and University of Halle, sustained by Augustus Herman Francke, and his illustrious successors. The light which God had kindled in that Prussian town, sent its rays far into Southern India: so long as it continued steady, the Mission-stations prospered greatly; but when it faded, and at last expired, the Missions languished and expired too. During last century, more than fifty Missionaries arrived in India in connection with the Tranquebar Mission.”
British and American Societies.
“The modern era of Missions in India begins with the founding of the Serampore Baptist Mission in 1799. The continental Christians had retired from the work; but the churches of England and America had awoke to their duty, and were seeking to fulfil it. Within a few years, Stations were established in Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay, and began to push outward into all the Presidencies of Hindustan. The beginnings were slow, but sure. One Society, then another— one Missionary, and then another, landed on the coast, and took up their posts on the great battle-field of idolatry. The LoNDoN Missionary Society sent Mission aries to Chinsurah, to Travancore, to Madras, Vizagapatam, and Bellary; to Surat, and lastly, to Ceylon. The AMERICAN Board, after some opposition from the Government, occupied Bombay. The CHURCH Missionary Society entered first on the old Missions at Madras, Tranquebar, and Palamcottah: but soon began an altogether new field, among the Syrian Christians in West Travancore. They planted a Station at Agra, far in the north-west, and maintained the agency which Corrie had employed at Chunar. A native preacher began the work at Meerut, while two Missionaries were stationed in Calcutta. The BAPTIST Missionary Society soon occupied Jessore, Chittagong, Dinagepore, and other places; and also began its Mission in Ceylon. In the latter island, the WesleyANs speedily followed them; and to them succeeded the Missionaries of the American Board. North, south, east, and west, the church of Christ was pushing forth its men and means into the land with vigour and earnestness of purpose. The Bible Society aided the Missionaries in translating the inspired Word, and, within a few years, it was circulated among the various nations of India, in several languages, for the first time."
“Steadily advancing in their efforts, in the year 1830, after a lapse of twentyfive years from the entry of most Societies into India, the Missionary Ageneies stood thus:—There were labouring in India and Ceylon, TEN Missionary Societies, including the great Societies of England and the American Board: the Missionaries were A HUNDRED AND Forty-seveN in number, and their Stations were A HUNDRED AND six, scattered over all parts of the country. Since then, however, the interest felt by European and American Christians in the conversion of this eountry, has greatly increased, and renewed exertions to secure it have been put ferth with vigour. The discussions concerning the Suttee; the removal of old re-trictions by the last charter; the publication of numerous works on Indian Missions; and the appeals made to Christian churches, have shown that India is one of the noblest fields where Missionary labour may be carried on. The result is, that during the last twenty years, those churches have nearly TREBLED the agency previously employed, have greatly enlarged the sphere of their operations, and are beginning to reap the most substantial fruits.