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shipwreek; others, again, lived in the jungles in a state of want and misery, where they were found with scarcely sufficient provision remaining for their sustenance. But time rolls on, and the aspect of the country is changed. The Government now no longer fears that disturbances will arise from proclaiming and preaching the gospel of peace ; the natives themselves seem no longer to regard missionaries with distrust, and indeed, as an impartial observer travelling through Bengal, it seems to me that the missionaries ore absolutely popular.
If I go to the large cities, I see schools and colleges which belong to the various Christian missions, which may not, indeed, equal the Government insti. tutions in strength and resources, but which fully equal them in popularity. In the interior of the country among the villages, I find missionary institutions established in almost all parts of Bengal. The missionaries appear to be regarded by their rustic neighbours with respect, I may say almost with affection. They are consulted by their neighbours—by their poor ignorant rural neighbours—in every difficulty and every trouble, and seem to be regarded by them as their best and truest friends."
No better illustration of this, bis Excellency added, could be given than the confidence with which the parents of the youths before him committed them to the care and instruction of the missionaries, assured that, although the teachings of the Bible would be inculcated, no improper steps would be taken to interfere with their conscientious adhesion to the religions of their country. In his concluding remarks, the Lieut.. Governor hoped that the students would prove themselves worthy of the education they were receiving. “I hope that you will follow the noble, the bright, the elevating examples set before you by the great men whose Dames I have recalled to your grateful remembrance ; that you will ever remember the heritage of virtue left you by such men as Carey, Marshman, and Ward ; that you will continue to make use of that most precious legacy of a good example which they have bequeathed to you, and that in all you may do hereafter, you will prove yourselves fit to have gone forth from these walls as students of the Serampore College, under the auspices of the Baptist Missionary Society.”
The return of the Rev. L. O. Skrefsrud to India has been so recent that the Committee are unable to present a full report of this most interesting mission. Although the brethren Boerresen, Skrefsrud, and Haegert do not rely on the funds of the Society for their support, the Committee have from the first rendered them aid, and during the period of Mr. Skrefsrud's stay in this country, the sum of £572 was contributed by the Churches, in addition to some £600 specially raised in Birmingham, towards the promotion and extension of the kingdom of Christ amongst the Sonthals. Few who had the pleasure of hearing from Mr. Skrefsrud's lips the story of the beginning of the Gospel in Sonthalistan, will forget the vivid pictures he drew of their condition, and of the wonderful way in which Divine grace had manifested its power in their midst. His stirring appeals to Christians for a more consecrated life will not soon be forgotten; and his visit will ever remain memorable for the display of missionary spirit and zeal it called forth. The principle station is called Ebenezer, and is distant about four hours' railway journey from Calcutta ; but the bulk of the Christians live in villages more or less remote, each Church having its own native pastor and elders. The means of grace the converts themselves sustain, while the whole body of the disciples, in their measure, whether young or old, aid by their personal efforts the propagation of the Gospel. Some 2,000 of them met on Christmas eve to : welcome the return of Mr. Skrefsrud and Mrs. Boerresen, and at the service on Christmas day the communicants must have numbered about a thousand.
The famine was very severely felt by the Sonthals, and as the Government committed to Mr. Boerresen the charge of supplying the need of the people, great numbers were brought under his care.
Abundant opportunity was thus given to preach to them the Word of God. As the issue of these and other labours during the year, Mr. Skrefsrud informs us that over 1,600 grown up Sonthals have been baptized, upon a profession of faith in Christ, and there is great likelihood that numbers more will follow. This large and rapid increase of converts will demand of our brethren great labour and exertion. Mr. Skrefsrud before leaving Europe secured the services of two Norwegian brethren, one of whom accompanied him. They should have, and the Committee are sure they will enjoy, the fervent prayers of the Churches, that they may be able to guide these neophytes in the way of truth, and to secure for them such instruction as shall confirm their faith and make them grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. It is the intention of the brethren to form as speedily as possible an institution for the training of pastors and evangelists, while Mr. Skrefsrud will devote much of his time to the production of a version of the Holy Scriptures and other suitable literature for their use.
THE ZENANA MISSION.
Through the kind assistance of the Ladies' Association, there has been established in the most important stations of the Society, a mission to the wonen. This is the case in Calcutta, Serampore, Sewry, Dacca, Benares, Allahabad, and Delhi, and the work is only limited by the means at their disposal. In not a few instances the efforts of the teachers have issued in conversion, while the Bible has been introduced in many native homes, and has become the source of daily instruction. Though constrained by ill-health to remain in this country, Mrs. Lewis continues to devote her time and experience to the promotion of this great work, and to sustain in this country the cause to which, while in India, she devoted so much time and means. It must be a source of gratitude, that amid the “dead slumbers of ignorance which still shroud the women of India," the Zenana labourers can say, in however few instances, “that the women are getting more earnest in their inquiries, very eager for religions teaching, and bolder in avowing their belief in the truth.” There are a few whose light shines brightly in the deep darkness around them, and who are shedding a blessed influence in their homes-enlightened minds to whom friends come for guidance and instruction, and whose servants are taught, and led by them to the only Saviour.
MAGNITUDE OF THE WORK IN INDIA.
Amid the gratifying signs of progress which have been recorded, the Committee cannot suffer their friends to forget that, after all, the efforts of missionaries bear but a small proportion to the need of the vast multitudes among whom they labour. The overwhelming magnitude of the work which the Christian Church has undertaken in India, may at once be seen by the briefest examination of the results of the recent census. Large as the numbers of the population were known to be, this investigation has proved them to amount to 50 per cent. more than the highest estimate of the past. Taking only the provinces in which our brethren operate, we have in the lieutenancy of Bengal, in round numbers, SIXTY-SEVEN MILLIONS of people, and in the North-West Provinces, THIRTY-ONE MILLIONS. In the districts of Bengal, where the missionaries of the Society labour, there are found Twenty-sIX MILLIONS
of people. The inhabited towns and villages of these two provinces reach the surprising number of Two HUNDRED AND NINETY THOUSAND. Yet our entire staff of missionaries and evangelists numbers only one hundred and eighty individuals. God has borne witness to their assiduous and earnest efforts ; but what are they among so many ? Let it be calculated how long it would take to visit only once in a lifetime these two hundred and ninety thousand towns and villages. Where are the Bibles to supply, even with a single copy, every one of the eighteen millions of houses which are found in these two lieutenancies of England's vast Indian empire alone? Where are the hands to print them, and the messengers to deliver them ? Surely the Church may say, "Who is suficient for these things ?” and should cry mightily to Him who ruleth the heavens and the earth, “Lord, how long? When shall this great land be filled with Thy glory, and its idols flee before Thy face?” Is anything too hard for the Lord :
THE BENGAL FAMINE.
Through the good hand of God on the measures taken by the Supreme Government, the severity of the anticipated famine was checked, and multitudes were spared the last extremity of hunger and despair. Some of the missionaries were called upon to give their aid to the Government in the distribution of food, which was cheerfully rendered and suitably acknowledged. In the districts occupied by the Mission, the effect was chiefly felt in the great increase in the cost of food, and the Fund so liberally formed by the Churches proved more than abundantly sufficient to meet every case, and to assist many who might be supposed to have no direct claim on our charity. Speaking of the villages to the south of Calcutta, the Rev. G. Kerry says that the year had been one of severe trial, owing to the great scarcity of food, though it did not amount to actual famine. The poor (and most of our Christians are poor) had to suffer great hardships. “The help which was so generously sent by their Christian brethren in England was most gratefnlly received. It came at the time when large numbers of them were reduced to such distress that they could only obtain with difficulty one scanty meal a day. Many must have sickened and died but for the help given to them at the worst part of the year.” The Rev. G. C. Dutt reports that the sum placed at his disposal was carefully spent. “I have,” he says, “not only helped the most needy Christians, but also about one hundred Mohammedans and Hindus, from the month of August till December." Substantially the
same may be said of the districts of Backergurge, Sewry, and Sonthalistan. In no instance was relief confined to the native Christian community. Others shared in the bounty. Still the distress was not so extensive and lasting as was feared, and a large sum remains unspent. The total amount received was £3,584 148. 3d. ; the expenditure has been £1,321 19s. 4d. It will be the duty of the Committee to determine how best to use the balance for the benefit of the people for whose necessities the fund was formed.
The long vacant station at Poonah was occupied at the close of last year by the Rer. Hormazdji Pestonji, and the Committee have further sought to secure its uninterrupted progress, by sending to his aid Mr. E. B. Francis. The first months after his arrival were employed by Mr. Hormazdji in repairing the chapel, which he found in a very dilapidated state, and in preparing the way for the regular ministration of the gospel. Meanwhile, he found abundant openings for evangelistic work among the Christian bodies in Poonah, and in missionary visits in the district around. Among his countrymen, Parsees, Hindus, and even a few Jews, he also found a cordial reception. In the city jail he had access to a few Europeans and to well-nigh 500 natives, to whom every Sunday he preaches with much acceptance. Since the re-opening of the chapel in June last, regular services have been held on the Lord's Day and in the week, with varying attendance, but with much encouragement. Recalling his numerous exertions, Mr. Hormazdji says,
“Some of these engage. ments have often brought me very low in the valley of humiliation, whence my work appeared to be an uphill work, a work of faith indeed, especially in my street-preaching in the chief towns, amid unprovoked persecution and peltings of stone and dust from the enemy's camp; and, therefore, I cast myself entirely upon the sympathies, and crave for my work, unreservedly, the prayers of the Lord's people in your highly favoured land of light, life, and love."
The districts of the Mission of which Colombo is the centre, continue to exbibit steady and gratifying progress, and the labours of the brethren employed are efficient and successful. The Rev. H. R. Pigott summarises