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country around. Oh, that the number of preachers in that great city were but multiplied tenfold !” ConFIDEnce in omiens.
“The merchant in question displayed a curious specimen of native superstition. On leaving us and rising from his seat in front of the tent, he happened, with his head, to touch one of the ropes by which the tent is fastened to the ground; on which he immediately sat down again, declaring it was a bad omen when, on leaving a place, a man accidentally hurts or knocks himself against any object. We endeavoured to convince him of the absurdity of this motion, though not with much apparent success; for after having sat down again a little while, he rose, taking this time great care not to come into contact with anything; and departed, saying, that all was right now, and that no evil was likely to happen to him on his way home. The natives have many other superstitious notions of a similar description, which often prove quite a thraldom to them. For instance:—they deem it a very bad sign when, leaving a place, or when about to commence some undertaking, the well-known Indian house-lizard, called tiktiki, makes its squeaking noise, or when a person from whom they have just taken leave calls them back. I remember an instance where a Brahmin pundit once gave up a situation as Bengali teacher to a young gentleman, which I had procured for him, merely because, having forgotten to give him some particular directions, I called him back after he had left me. Christianity, as it is spreading, will of course do away with these superstitious beliefs, as indeed it has already done to a great extent among our native converts.”
a CHRISTIAN sabbath AMONG THE
“12th. Kamarpookoor. — This being the Lord's-day, all our bearers, cartmen, and servants were collected under a tree, and addressed in a simple way, on the subject of their souls' salvation; for it would be sad indeed that, travelling with us as they do, and assisting us in conveying the gospel to strangers, they were themselves neglected.
“During the whole day, people, not only from Kamarpookoor, but from several distant villages, flocked to our tent, to whom gospels
and tracts were distributed with a few words explanatory of their contents, and enforcing attention to them. “In the afternoon, we prepared to visit the town; but the crowd assembled around our tent was so large, that we decided that one of us only, with a catechist, should proceed to the town, while the other should remain to address the people near the tent. We drew lots as to which posts each of us should occupy. It fell to my lot to remain near the tent, where upwards of two hundred and fifty persons sat down on the grass in a half-circle. These I addressed on the important subject of etermity, and the necessity of preparing for it. The Ten Commandments were expounded, and from these it was shown, that no one is without sin. This fact having been admitted by the assembly, the plan of salvation through the atoning death of the Redeemer, and the regenerating influences of the Holy Spirit, were in a familiar and easy manner pointed out. Though none of the people present on this occasion had ever heard the gospel before, they seemed to understand very well what they heard. An elderly Brahmin only stood up in defence of Hindooism. The burden of his objections was, that the Hindoos had ways of salvation of their own, which were quite sufficient for them, and that therefore they did not require to believe in Jesus Christ, who might be a very good and proper Saviour for Europeans, but not for Hindoos. With a view to convince him out his own mouth of the untenable nature of his statement, I asked him what particular deity he worshipped and looked upon as his Saviour. He replied, that belonging as he did, to the sect of the Voishnobs, he worshipped chiefly Vishnoo or Krishno, and expected confidently that that god would deliver him from sin and its evil consequences. Upon this, I enquired whether, in his opinion, a blind man was a proper guide for another blind man, and whether an individual suffering from a disease which he was unable to cure, was a proper physician to cure the same distemper in others? ‘No,' said he, ‘of course not!” Then, continued I, sin is the disease under which men are now suffering, and you know as well as I do, that Krishno was, to an extreme degree, under the power of sinful lusts and passions. I further reminded him of the gross acts of licentiousness which the Shastras ascribe to that god. This had a desirable effect; for though not actually silenced, (N.B., a Hindoo opponent allows himself very seldom to be silenced; but though utterly foiled in argument, always insists on having the last word,) his replies were so sophistical, that some of the most intelligent among the auditors clearly saw and felt the flimsiness of them, and loudly expressed their disapprobation of the Brahmin's reasoning. On seeing this, he said: ‘It is now very late, Sir, I cannot stay longer,' and walked away. The sophistical argument used by the objector, was to the effect that Radha, the principal mistress of Krishno, and the sixteen thousand milkmaids with whom the Shastras say he lived in fornication, had been devoted worshippers of this deity, and had asked of him to grant them the boon of becoming their husband; and that, therefore, it behoved him to hear the prayers of such zealous worshippers, and to comply with their wishes and desires. Of course, it was pointed out to him, that whilst certainly God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him, and hears such prayers as are according to his good and holy will, it is not only absurd, but blasphemous to maintain, that he will grant the petitions of depraved beings asking his aid to commit wickedness and sin. “The discourse and discussion being ended, the rush for books and tracts was so great, that I feared the tent would be thrown down by the pressure of the crowd upon it. I therefore hastily proceeded with a bundle of tracts to a distance of about one hundred yards, and there the distribution took place, though not without vast trouble and danger of being borne down by the mass pressing upon me. Late at night, just when we were retiring to rest, a man and his son, residing in a village eight miles distant, called at the tent, telling us that the news of our arrival in these parts having reached his village that afternoon, he and his son had travelled all that distance in the hope we would favour them with the gift of a book. We, of course, cheerfully complied, and, after a few words of encouragement, dismissed them back to their village.” THE GOSPEL HEARD FOR THE First TIME. “13th. At about 11 o'clock, we reached
Hadgipore, a town containing between four and five thousand inhabitants. As usual, we selected the place of our encampment in the outskirts of the town, under a widespreading tree, and, in the afternoon, went into the town to preach, where we were listened to in two different places by at least four hundred persons at one time, with an attention the like I had seldom witnessed. Books and, tracts were most eagerly asked for and thankfully received. No Missionary having ever visited this place before, the gospel came home to the minds of the hearers with all the power of novelty. Oh, that the interest thus awakened at first were but more permanent!” A Tropical stortM.
“Scarcely had we done preaching, when the clouds gathered blackness, and heavy rain was evidently impending; so we hastened back to the tent to take it down, as it was of far too flimsy a texture to resist anything like a storm. The tent was soon down and loaded on its cart, after which we fled in all haste, with carts and baggage, to the town, in the principal street of which we providentially found an empty mud-built serai, generally used by the pilgrims who proceed to Juggurnath along this road. In this building, which contained only a few dingy rooms, without any furniture whatever, we thankfully took our refuge, and had barely done stowing away our goods, when down came the rain in torrents, accompanied by a strong wind and loud claps of thunder. We managed to get a cup of tea, and after our evening worship, spread our mattrasses on the floor and went to sleep, the rain continuing to fall in those copious showers which are only seen within the tropics. So much rain, however, at this season is a rare occurrence; the months of December, January, and February, being generally very dry and the sky most beautifully serene.”
A SPIRIT OF INQUIRY.
“14th-On awaking this morning, we found that, though the rain had subsided, the sky looked still very gloomy and threatening; so we deemed it advisable to stay where we were. The whole forenoon was occupied by ourselves and catechists, in the verandah of the serai, in conversation with the townspeople, and in answering their questions and objections, which we were pleased to see were put in a very good spirit, and with an apparent desire to ascertain the truth. On looking over our stock of gospels and tracts, we found that the former was nearly exhausted, although we had still some of the most populous towns in the district to visit. We, therefore, thought it advisable to write at once to the Secretary of the Calcutta Bible Society, requesting him to send us a fresh supply at a town called Ghatal, where we hoped to be in eight or ten days.
“In the afternoon, the weather having somewhat cleared up, we made an excursion to another very large native town, about three miles distant, called Ramjibonpore. When passing through the streets of Hadgipore on our way thither, we were extremely gratified to see, under the verandah of a house, a group of eight or ten individuals attentively listening to one of their number reading aloud one of the tracts we had given him on the preceding day. One of our native assistants told us that in his walk through the town in the morning, he had met with several knots of people similarly employed. This argues well for the interest excited. The blessed name of Jesus has been heard by this large population; they have been made acquainted with his atoning death, with his love to men, with his invitations of mercy. Surely, this is seed which, under the Holy Spirit's fostering care, may produce abundant fruit unto eternal life!”
an excITING SCENE.
“On coming near to Ramjibonpore we passed close by the place where the bodies of the dead are burned, and were surprised to see here and there some brick-built monuments erected in commemoration of the departed. I had never before witnessed this custom among the Hindoos, except occasionally on the banks of the Ganges, where a suttee had taken place. The Mohamedans again, who always bury their dead, frequently erect monuments over their graves. On entering the town, we found it as Paul did Athens, quite given up to idolatry. Almost every tenth house was a temple dedicated to the one or other of the Hindoo deities. At last we reached the market-place. Here we separated, Mr. Weitbrecht proceeding further on, while I took my stand on a little elevation
close to the principal temple. In a minute or two upwards of five hundred people assembled, who listened to the concerns of eternity and their souls' salvation with an attention I had never on any former occasion witnessed. Many manifested their deep interest in what was said, by stretched-forth heads, open mouths, and often lifting up both hands to heaven. I felt it quite a thrilling scene. The Lord also was evidently with me, and gave me a power of utterance I had seldom experienced before. “After the preaching was concluded, I attempted to distribute tracts; but soon discovered this to be impracticable. The rush made for them was so great, that I had all the trouble in the world to keep standing. I endeavoured to persuade the applicants to receive the books in quietness and order; but all in vain! On they rushed; my coat was torn, and I was nearly trampled down; when a respectable Brahmin stepped forward, and advised me to desist, and to step into my palankeen for security. I did so; but was pursued for nearly two miles across the fields by crowds of people, some of whom now and then forced open the door of my palankeen, crying out, ‘A book, a book!" Gladly as I would have complied with these vehement requests, prudence forbad my doing so; my bearers having expressed their fear that my palankeen would be crushed to pieces if I showed the least sign of compliance. I therefore ordered the bearers to proceed; when some of the applicants, irritated at my refusal, let fly a volley of clods of earth at me and my palankeen, and went back to the town. I very much regretted that things had taken such a turn; but it could not be helped. It was pleasing, however, to me, to reflect on the great change which has taken place in this country since my first arrival twenty-nine years ago. I remember the time when the natives would not receive, and sometimes even not touch one of our books when offered to them,-and now (as was seen in this instance) a Missionary is actually assaulted when he refuses to give them when asked for! Well, this, at all events, denotes some improvement.” WADING Through A River to OBTAin BOOKs. “Arrived near a small fordable river, a great many natives still followed. I then resolved in my own mind, but without giving utterance to it, that if any followed me to the opposite bank, by taking the trouble of wading through the water, I would reward their perseverance by the gift of a book to each. The greatest number on coming to the river side desisted, and bent their steps homeward; but about thirty were not to be deterred, and walked, some up to their middle, through the water, crying out, ‘Sir, give me a book—give me a book.' [See Engraving, page 41.] I then made a halt, came out of my palankeen, and causing these persevering applicants to be seated on the grass, gave to each a book, which having received with marks of gratitude, they made me a deep salaam, recrossed the river, and returned to the town. I was soon rejoined by Mr. Weitbrecht, who told me that he had experienced much the same treatment from the people clamorous for books, and had even been obliged to arm his bearers with sticks, to keep off the crowd rushing on his palankeen." IMPROVED PLAN OF Distributing Books. “Had not such violence been exhibited, we could easily have distributed eight hundred or a thousand tracts at Ramjibonpore. As it was, we gave away only about two hundred. The event of this day, and similar ones experienced on former occasions, led us to consider of some other plan for the distribution of our books; for it was but too evident that the noise, confusion, and tumult which accompany the distribution upon our present plan, destroys, to a certain degree, the good effects produced by the preaching. We therefore resolved, that wherever it was practicable, we would altogether abstain from
giving books immediately after the preaching, and that we would, instead, invite the people to come to our tent in small parties, which would afford to ourselves and catechists a much better opportunity to proceed to the distribution with quietness and discrimination.
“In the evening it came on to rain again, so that we spent another night in our serai.”
The skull, OF A cow worship PED
“15th-On passing through a small village about noon, we rested there for an hour. While seated in the street, our attention was arrested by a singular idol (which neither Mr. Weitbrecht nor myself had ever seen before) placed near the door of a hut opposite to us. It was the skull of a cow, in the upper part of which two cowries (small shells) had been pasted to serve as eyes. The forehead of the idol was painted with vermilion and turmeric; and before it lay on a plantain-leaf offerings of rice, fruits, and flowers. On inquiring what all this meant, we were told that this cow-skull, called in Bengali, “GoMoondo, is a representation of the goddess Shasti (the Hindoo Lucina); that it is placed near the door of a house after the birth of a child, and worshipped there during twentyone days by the mother of the infant; by which religious act the life and prosperity of the latter are insured. To such a degree, alas! do these poor ignorant people carry their idolatry, that even the skull of a cow is worshipped and revered as a divine being ! Truly, there is need for the gospel's enlightening rays in a country where such gross darkness prevails.”
(To be continued.)
WHILE the saving conversion of souls to the faith of Christ must ever be regarded as the one great aim and object of the Missionary enterprise, a review of the history of Christianity will prove that there is scarcely a well attested instance of a tribe or nation having embraced the gospel upon
its first announcement,
From the times immediately succeeding the
apostolic age until the present, the same law of gradual development and progress which is in operation in the physical world, also regulates the growth and extension of Christ's kingdom in the earth. The long and patient toils of the husbandman, aided by the genial influences of the sun, and of the early and latter rain, are the indispensable antecedents to the ingathering of the golden harvest. The instances in which the foregoing remarks apply to modern Missions are too numerous and too well known to require specification, and we refer to the fact only for the purpose of showing that, though the day of China's merciful visitation is at present only in its dawn, there is an important preparatory work in progress, and events are gradually tending to the accomplishment of the happy era when she shall come forth in her beautiful garments, and bow with grateful adoration beneath the sceptre of the Ring of kings. From the following extracts of a letter from the Rev. W. Muirhead, written on behalf of the Missionary brethren at Shanghae, and bearing date 15th October, ult., it will be seen that, while there is a wide door of entrance for the gospel in that portion of the vineyard, a knowledge of its truths, and a growing appreciation of its claims, also prevail to an extent that ought to encourage the hopes and stimulate the zeal of Christians
at home :
FROMISE OF A FUTURE HARVEST.
“The peculiar character of this people seems to require much preparatory effort, in order to awaken them to the serious consideration of eternal things. Still, the way is preparing. A vast amount of religious knowledge is being diffused. Hundreds and thousands have come within reach of the means of grace. They have heard the gospel; their hands have handled of the word of life; they have conveyed it to distant parts of the empire. It is now widely known that teachers from the West are proclaiming the doctrine of Jesus, and exhorting all ‘to turn from dumb idols, to serve the living God.' The appropriate influence of this may not be immediately apparent, yet we are persuaded that the seed of the kingdom will not be altogether lost, but that some, by Divine grace, will fall into good ground, and yield abundant fruit. More than this, however: we have had occasion for joy and praise in the results of our work, not being merely of a general kind. A considerable addition, as you have already heard, has been made to the church from the Fokien portion of the community, and it is gratifying to learn, that all the newly admitted members continue to hold
fast their profession, and to walk in obedi-