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THE MISSIONARY HERAL D.
JHE Committee have to record their gratitude to the Head of
the Church that, during the year now closed, the hopes expressed at the last Annual Meeting have been fulfilled, and that the various missions have enjoyed, in a very large degree, the Divine blessing. Never, perhaps, have the mission churches in the East and West received so large a number of accessions. The “showers of blessing ,” which have fallen in so many countries, and on so many sections of the Church of God, have not passed them by. Every part of the mission field has borne much fruit, and, in some instances, the effusion of Divine grace has been almost anexampled in modern times.
Dividing the entire range of the Society's labours into three sections, the returns exhibit the following number of baptisms during the year. In the East, excluding Sonthalistan, 392 persons have been baptized; of the Sonthals, 1,600; in Europe, Africa, and the West Indies, including Jamaica, 1,554 ; showing a total of 3,546 converts, who, for the first time have professed themselves followers of the Lord Jesus. Last year the baptisms were 1,822. Surely this is an answer to prayer, and a Divine attestation that our labours are not in vain in the Lord.
THE MISSIONARY STAFF.
Io accordance with the proposals of last year's Committee, and with the approval of the Annual Meeting, further additions have been made
to the missionary band. Nine brethren have been consecrated to Christ's service abroad, two of whom, the Revds. T. R. Stevenson, of Colombo, and the Rev. J. Urquhart, of Bombay, will be supported by the churches whose pastors they have become. In these cases the Committee have cheerfully met the cost of outfit and passage. The church at Bombay owes its existence, under the blessing of God, to the Rev. E. Edwards, formerly a missionary of the Society at Benares. Considerable funds were raised by him both in India and this country for the erection of the house of prayer which the church now occupies. By the aid of the Committee, the liberality of a gentleman well-known for his widely-spread acts of beneficence, and the self-denying gifts of the friends more immediately interested, the chapel has been freed from debt, and the Rev. J. Urquhart enters on his ministry with the most cheering signs of success. The church meeting in the Pettah, Colombo, was established in 1812 by Mr. Chater, the first of the Society's missionaries in Ceylon, and it has for many years enjoyed the services of his successors. Urged by the generous offer of one or more of its members, the Church has resolved to sustain the means of grace, and henceforth to support the pastor of its choice. The Society will continue to receive the co-operation of these churches, and though independent, in a pecuniary sense, of the Society, they will give to the missionaries the most hearty sympathy and aid. The Bombay church already sustains a native evangelist, and the Colombo brethren will, with their accustomed liberality, assist the Society by their contributions.
Three of the remaining seven brethren sent out this year will pursue their probationary studies in India, viz., Mr. Francis, at Poonah; Mr. Jones, at Monghyr; and Mr. Miller, at Benares. A fourth, Mr. S. J. Chowrryappah, a Tamil by birth, will enter on a new field in the Presidency of Madras. Of other three brethren, Mr. Grenfell has consecrated his energies to the service of Christ in Africa, whither he has accompanied the Society's veteran missionary, the Rev. A. Saker, whose health has been sufficiently restored to enable him to resume for a time his arduous labours. Mr. W. Williams has supplied the vacancy so long open in Trinidad ; and the Rev. J. E. Gummer, of Clarendon, Jamaica, has been accepted for the work in Hayti. Of the fields urgently requiring aid there remains China, and this the Committee have not been able to supply. Early in the year the Committee lost the services of Dr. Brown, since which time the Rev. T. Richard has been labouring most sedulously alone. In the opinion of the Committee it is most cesirable that one colleague or more should be found for Mr. Richard, and they hope that circumstances will allow them speedily to strengthen his hands. At their last meeting the Committee were happy to accept the services of Mr. Henry Tucker, of Plymouth, and of Mr Comber, of Regent's Park College, the latter for the mission in Africa.
One loss by death the Committee have had to mourn. The Rev. J. Lawrence, of Monghyr, entered on his rest in September last, after a missionary life covering no less than forty-three years. Forty-one years were spent in India, whither he went in 1831, not to return till utterly disabled by disease. He died at Loughton, in Essex, the place where he consecrated bis youthful powers to the service of his Lord, in perfect peace, having fulfilled his course with a patience, a diligence, and a zeal seldom surpassed.
To fill the post thus rendered vacant, the Rev. T. Evans, formerly of Allahabad, returned to India at the beginning of the year. The Committee's long-tried colleague and highly-esteemed missionary, the Rev. C. B. Lewis, separating himself from his beloved family, has also been able, through God's goodness, to renew his devoted attention to the Mission Press, and to take upon him the discharge of the laborious duties connected with the conduct of the Society's affairs in Calcutta. Messrs. Martin and Page have safely reached the shores of India ; but the Committee have to mention, with deep regret, that since his arrival, Mr. Page has been most seriously ill. The Rev. R. Smith, strong in purpose and in health, has undertaken to attempt to penetrate the interior of Africa from the Cameroons Mountain. And, finally, the Rev. L. O. Skrefsrud, with the warmest sympathies of multitudes who have been privileged to listen to his earnest appeals, has reached his loved Sonthals, in company with Mrs. Boerresen, Miss Skrefsrud, and a Norwegian helper in the work.
Great, indeed, was the need of the reinforcement of the mission which has been effected during the last two years. Thirteen new names have been added to the list of missionaries sustained by the Society's funds but the actual increase is only nine. Four vacancies had to be supplied occasioned by death and other causes, while the empty posts of several of our senior brethren, driven home through age and sickness, have absorbed several of the rest. The missionaries who have returned home since the last report, and to whom the Committee have been glad to give a hearty welcome after many years of devoted toil, are the Rev. Dr: Wenger, the Rev. John and Mrs. Sale, the Rev. T. and Mrs. Morgan, and the Rev. J.
and Mrs. Trafford ; the praise of these brethren is in all the churches, and their long, efficient, and successful labours, deserve at our hands the warmest acknowledgments.
THE INDIAN MISSION,
In the Indian Mission the year has been marked by a revived interest in divine truth, both among Europeans and natives. This revival has been greatly stimulated by the earnest and devout appeals of the Rev. Dr. Somerville, of the Free Church of Scotland, who visited many of the larger cities of Northern India, especially those where our country, men are met with in considerable numbers. His meetings have also been largely attended by natives to whom the English language is familiar. Early in the year, several of our brethren took part in a series of outdoor services held on the Maidan, the great evening promenade of the wealthy inhabitants of Calcutta, and also in other open parts of the city. They were carried on under the auspices of the Calcutta Missionary Conference. The addresses were chiefly in English, and occasionally in Urdu or Bengali. The hearers were, for the most part well-dressed Babus, with some English and Eurasians. The result was most encouraging. Revival services were next held in the English churches, with constantly increasing interest, which gradually extended to the churches in other parts of the land. As the result, considerable accessions have been made to their membership. In the Circular Road Church, Calcutta, thirty-four persons have been received into fellowship; in Lal Bazaar, thirty-five. In the latter, the total number who at the various meetings professed to have found peace in Christ, was upwards of sixty. Several of them were sailors; and some were prodigals, far from the home of parents, who have held important posts in the kingdom of Christ, and whose prayers were at length answered in this heathen land. Monghyr, Dinapore, Delhi, and Agra have largely shared in the merciful visitation, At Dinapore and Agra the blessing has chiefly rested on the soldiers, who to so large a degree occupy those stations.
THE ENGLISH IN INDIA.
It must not be supposed that the conversion of Europeans in India has an unimportant relation to the progress of the Gospel among the heathen. “ The influence of European life,” says Mr. Gregson in his report, “ is
making a great impression upon the natives, who are keen observers of oor habits, and mercilessly criticise our social and domestic customs The natives in every bazaar in India are constantly gossiping over European customs, and the various servants in European employ retail with relish every bit of domestic scandal that comes to their notice in the bungalow during the day. European vices are imitated in every heathen city in India. When European virtues become as prominent as their vices, the natives will be more ready to learn the secret of that power which gives to unregenerate men strength to live holy and noble lives. How mightily the lives of such men as Donald McLeod, Henry Lawrence, Nicholson, and Edwardes have told upon the natives ! most distinctly proving that they are as sensible of the good in men as the bad, and would be led to accept the true principles which are sustained by true lives.
At presen they only hear the theory of religion in the bazaar, and see a noble theory often grossly scandalised by the habits of ungodly Europeans. Hence, the pressing need of sustaining European work as part of mission work in India, that the missionary may not appear to be a mere theorist without any substantial evidence among his own people, that his religious theory of Christianity can be practically lived ont by his own countrymen." In accordance with the views so forcibly stated by Mr. Gregson, it is the opinion of many persons that the greatest of all obstacles to the progress of the Gospel at present existing in India, is the reckless life, the depravity, and the scepticism of no inconsiderable section of the Europeans residing in the land. The Committee cannot but rejoice that so many of their countrymen have been brought, in this time of refreshing from above, to the foot of the Cross. Of one such man of eminence, who during the year has been baptized, it is said, in the reports from the stations, that, “notwithstanding his rank and position, he is a thorough Christian man—a believer who glories alone in the Cross of Christ. His Christian humility and zeal adapt him for usefalness amongst us. He makes himself so especially among our brethren in the army, with whom he assembles every evening for prayer and praise, conducts a Bible-class among them on Saturday evenings, and often holds forth the word of life at such meetings. He has also ascended our pulpit on a few occasions.” The multiplication of such men is greatly to be desired, that the reproach from the lips of the heathen may be wiped away, and that Hindus and Mohammedans may no longer retort upon the preacher in the bazaar, with reference to his ountrymen— Physician, heal thyself."