Изображения страниц


scenes of cruelty and judgment, there is one circumstance which has afforded consolation and hope and it is this-That, through the instrumentality of this Society, upward of 20,000 copies of the New Testament, in Modern Greek, had been circulated among the Greeks, before these physical and civil convulsions began. Could we now look into the huts of the valleys and caves of the mountains of Greece, Asia Minor, and Syria, we should behold the widows, the fatherless, the friendless, the formerly-free, now reduced to slavery, deriving support and consolation, and I trust also, good hope, through grace, from those Sacred Volumes which you have put into their hands.

It is not, however, merely to operate against Infidelity and Superstition in Christendom, but against Idolatry and Vice of every name and of every clime under heaven, that this Society has been raised up by the arm of the Almighty, at one of the most eventful periods of the Christian Church, and of the history of mankind and I cherish the hope, that the Conductors of this Institution will feel themselves, from year to year, inspired with fresh ardour in the glorious career -will ever keep in view the full extent of their sacred obligations-and will never cease, until all the nations of the earth are sown with the incorruptible seed of the Word of God-for the period in which we live is not the harvest of mankind: it is only the spiritual seed-time of all nations: but the glorious-the longed-for consummation is fast approaching, when those who sow, and those who reap, shall rejoice together.

[Rev. Dr. Pinkerton-at the Bible Society Ann.

Civilized State of the Interior of Africa.

An intercourse has lately taken place between the countries on the east and west coasts of Africa, through the medium of the Portuguese Governor of Mosambique; a man of strict honour, and employed in a high diplomatic function by his government. I had heard the fact stated, and I questioned him on the subject: he told me that it was so: he had sent out some agents, to find their way into various places at a distance round Mosambique ; and to solicit the different powers which they should visit, to send him diplomatic agents in return. He has proof that his agents had fulfilled their duty, as repre sentatives had come to him from powers, of which he had not till then even heard the name. His agents stated on their return, that, in proportion as the Natives were at a distance from European mixture, the greater was their state of civilization.

[Sir G. H. Rose-at the Church Missionary Ann.

State of the Native Settlements in Sierra,


I ventured to put the question to Capt. Sabine, in a considerable company, risking the answer that he might give-" What is your sentiment with regard to our African Settlements in Sierra Leone?" His reply to me was this-" I can honestly assure you, that not the one half of the good done there has been yet told. I have been a considerable traveller, and have seen society under all circumstances: but I can declare, most conscientiously, that I never saw human society under so favourable and delightful a form as in the Church Missionary Settlements on the coast of Africa."

[Rev.J.W.Cunningham-at the Ch.Mission.Anniv. The abundant success which we have had in Africa calls for exertions in all other places. We cannot have greater difficulties than we had there, and cannot expect greater success. In the ever-mysterious course of Providence, even the wickedness of the Slave Trade has been the means of bringing under the sound of the Gospel greater multitudes of individuals than could have been collected in any other way, and has thus communicated to them the greatest of all blessings in return for the injuries which they had suffered. Never was there a more striking exemplification of that passage, The wrath of man shall praise


It is delightful to observe how, in this way, all those converts are become so many living oracles of heavenly truth, to show the power of Divine Grace and the infinite wisdom of the Divine Councils.

Let us go on, and prosper! Let us be thankful to God for that abundant success, which has hitherto rewarded our ex ertions. We can never be engaged in a cause more truly great and honourable. Of this, we are now aware: but we shall never have an idea of the full value of our labours, till we shall see multitudes coming from the East, and the West, and the North, and the South, and entering into that Temple of their Father's House above, where they shall join, with glad acclamations, in praising the God of all mercy, and that Lamb of God who redeemed them with His own blood.

[Mr.Wilberforce-at the Church Mission, Anniv. Reflex Influence of African Conversions on this Country.

The more I contemplate the pre-eminent success which has accompanied the labours of this Society in that portion of the globe which seemed sunk beneath the common privileges of the human race-when I see religion of the purest and simplest kind, so pure and simple as to reflect unnumbered benefits even on the most civilized Christian country of the earth-I cannot bring

myself to believe, that any less power than the power of a mighty and over-ruling Providence peculiarly guides, controuls, and influences the labours of this Institution. Living, as we do, surrounded with all the allurements and splendours of this world, and in a state of society which always mixes up human failings with Christian Efforts it is most delightful to know, that, by performing an obvious duty to these once-benighted Heathens, we are providing for ourselves a remedy against the unhappy effects attending a high state of civilization-that when we are tempted to rely on the wisdom of man, to esteem highly the acquirements and endowments of human intellect, we have the highest evidence of the power of God reflected upon us by the effects of His Word on those who have been considered almost as the outcasts of the earth.

What has been done in Africa, only throws back on us, indeed, increased shame and a subject of self-reproach, for having been so long instrumental in oppressing that unhappy race. The extensive progress made by the people of Sierra Leone in Christian Acquirements-the rapidity of growth that the Word of God has acquired there, which is such as to lead us to look for its parallel only in the primitive agesthese facts shew us what injustice has been done to that common nature of which these people are partakers, and to that spiritual nature of which they are in so high a degree susceptible, and by which they are proving themselves to be children of God and heirs of the kingdom of heaven.

[Lord Calthorpe-at the Church Mission. Ann.

Deplorable State of the Hindoos. Hindoostan needs every possible exer. tion that Christian Philanthrophy can make on its behalf: for, though we have seen there many things whereof we are glad, yet the great mass of its inhabitants still continue in an awful state of sin and misery: their ignorance and delusion are, indeed, almost incredible.

Of these, I met with a variety of proofs in a late journey up the country. To give you an instance that now occurs to my memory:

While a brother was preaching to a congregation of Hindoos, a Brahmin appeared in front of the circle, when one of his disciples broke through the ring, having in his hand a small vessel containing water: he instantly prostrated himself at the feet of the Brahmin, and entreated him to put his feet in the water: he did so; and the disciple took it away, expecting from it peculiar blessings, both in this world and the next. It is no uncommon thing for a June, 1823.

whole family to wash the feet of a Brah. min, and afterward to drink the water.

When an eclipse of the sun takes place (of the true cause of which they are entirely ignorant), they believe that a spirit of the name of Rahoo has a quarrel with the sun, and is endeavouring to devour it; and they perform incantations to extricate the sun from his imminent peril: and it is a fact, that all the Hindoos are engaged in the observance of these rites, for this absurd purpose.

But, in touching on the superstitions of the Hindoos, I must remark, that they are divided into two descriptions; viz., those who are denominated spiritual men, men who profess to be acquainted with the nature of the true God; and those who think to get to heaven by their own perform


One of these "spiritual men" called on me one day (and I may observe, by the way, that not more than one in five hundred profess to be enlightened men), and I will give you an outline of the conversation. I inquired if he were acquainted with the one living and true God: he replied, "Sir, you are a babe in knowledge. I have acquired accurate information on this matter, and I know that I myself am God." I replied, though you may employ this language now with impunity; yet the day is coming, when that God, against whom you thus blaspheme, will tell you plainly, that you are a guilty and depraved creature." He laughed at me. I then alluded to the attributes of the Deity, and asked, "Where is your omnipresence? Where is your omnipotence?" He answered in Sanscrit, that I might not comprehend him, and that he might hide his shame from the bystanders. Many of the Hindoos entertain the idea that there is no difference between the creature and the Creator; or rather, that they mean one and the same thing: of course, every motive for offering worship to God falls to the ground; for when a man believes himself to be God, why and whom should he worship? I charged this upon him, and said, "Your doctrine is subversive of all religion:" he acknowledged the consequence, and said that it was utterly unnecessary for him to worship at all.


The other class are all idolators, and worship their gods; which they say are in number thirty-three thousand. they worship in a variety of ways. It may be necessary to specify some of the features of their worship, in order to show its nature, and what strong demands are made on you for persevering exertions to enlighten their understandings. The absur2 M

dity of it is well known for Hindoos worship a stone, a monkey, a river, &c., but perhaps the dreadful extent of the uncleanness and cruelty of their religion may not be known to every one present. Their Uncleanness cannot be detailed: it can only be glanced at: to give you one instance: you have often heard of Jugger. naut's car: I went one day to look at it, and my attention was excited by seeing sundry paintings and figures upon it; but when I had beheld one or two of them, I was constrained to retire: practices were represented upon it, for the commission of which a man is here deemed a monster, and banished from society; yet men, women, and children, go to see those pictures, and deem it a meritorious act! As to their Cruelty, one of the most dreadful instances is the Burning of Widows: I have seen it take place: I was informed that a woman was about to be burned, and I wished to be present on one occasion of the kind, that I might be able to say I had myself witnessed what some persons in this land can scarcely credit: I went to the spot, where several Brahmins were in attendance, and the first salutation which was made to me by one of them was, "Pray, Sir, are you come to see the fun?" I replied, "You may call it fun, but God will call it murder." They answered, "It is the custom of our country; and if there be any blame, it belongs to your Government."


This, however, is not true: it is the earnest desire of Government that the practice should be suppressed in India; and, in proof of it, they have resorted to such measures as seemed calculated to diminish the evil, but the result unhappily has been an actual increase. The case now assumes this aspect: no widow is permitted to be burned till the case is submitted to the neighbouring magistrate he has to ascertain the facts of the case: and to learn whether, according to the Shasters, they may authorize her to be burned, and if not, they are bound forcibly to prevent it. Formerly, when Europeans beheld the scene, and spoke of it with horror and detestation, it was not so common; because the Hindoos then knew, that, though the English did not interfere, they abhorred the deed: but now they affirm, "Here is the license and sanction of your own Government." I may also be allowed to state the opinion of my own pundit, a Brahmin whom I took to instruct me in the language and customs of the country, His opinion was, that if Government were to issue an order, that the Burning of Widows should

be discontinued, it would excite no stir, much less any thing like insurrection: he said the drowning of children had been coercively suppressed, and without any symptoms of disaffection having been ma. nifested on the part of the Hindoos. And here it is important to observe, that, in Hindoostan, a considerable part of the population is Mahomedan, and all the Mahomedans abhor the practice, as do the English and Europeans; and I would further add, that a very large caste of the Hindoos themselves abhor it and count it murder: so that in favour of its suppression there is all the European influence, all the Mahomedan influence, and that of all those Hindoos who abhor the practice.

But besides the burning of widows, there are various other species of Cruelty which the Hindoos practice, some of which I have been an eye-witness to. In one of their religious festivals all kinds of cruelty are displayed. On one of these occasions, I saw a man with his arm pierced through and a bamboo in it, and he was practising the drawing of the bamboo backward and forward through the orifice, in order to make it pass easy: others were running iron spikes through their tongues; and some of them had living snakes passed through a hole made in their tongue. I saw men standing on a platform, and thence falling backward on knives; others with iron hooks through their backs. A post is erected with a cross-beam affixed to it, on which they are swung round a considerable circumference; and I saw a man actually suspend the whole weight of his body on the cross beam, by a hook fixed in the fleshy part of his back. They are in the prac tice of burying alive as well as of burning alive. In some castes, the widow, on the death of her husband, sits in the grave with his head in her lap; the earth is filled in gradually till it approaches the lip, when her children and relations throw it in quickly, and shout " Hurribah!" and a hundred, or a thousand voices shouting "Hurribah, hurribah!" close the dismal


[Rev. H. Townley-at the London Miss. Ann.

Calcutta Christian-School Society. The formation of a new Society took place just on the eve of my departure from India. It is called the "Calcutta Christian-School Society." It embraces good men of all denominations. It attempts to do the greatest good at the least possible expense. There were already Native Schools, either entirely supported by Na.

tives or by Missionary Societies; but the Society in question proposes to assist the Indigenous Hindoo Schools of the country, and in the following manner-Suppose in a village there is a schoolmaster, whose services are paid for, who has from 20 to 40 children, and who may obtain perhaps 201. or 301. per annum; it will be proposed to him to teach his scholars to read the Scriptures and Catechisms, and to allow him about one penny a week for each child thus instructed. The experiment has been made, and has to a considerable extent already succeeded; and thus, instead of paying 251. a year, which a Mission School would cost, it will not cost 31. a year to effect the same object, of imparting Christian Knowledge to the Hindoo Children.

[Rev. H. Townley-at the London Miss. Ann.

Progress of Christianity in the South of India.

In visiting India, two years ago, it was my intention, and I was enabled to fulfil it, to pay a passing visit to every Missionary Station in Southern India. In every Station I found the Work of God evident, though not great. The promise of what would take place, was more striking than the evidence of what had been effected. Yet I had the opportunity of tracing many proofs of great improvement among the Natives, and of the progress which they had made in Christian Knowledge. A few of these I will mention.

At Tranquebar, one of the most important Stations connected with this Society, I saw a Native, well known to the readers of Missionary History by the name of John Devasagayam: he came to see me, with several Scholars educated by himself: I passed the evening with these interesting men: and, before we parted, at their own suggestion, we bowed our knees in prayer to Almighty God, for a continuance of the blessings which He had so liberally vouchsafed to them, and in grateful remembrance of all that their kind benefactors in England had done for them. This prayer was offered by a Native Christian Indian, one of the Scholars of this School.

One Youth, on his leaving this School, and becoming a servant in the employ of a Christian Gentleman, stood alone as an advocate of the truth as it is in Jesus; and, though persecuted by his family for his religion, was enabled to preach to them Christ, and was made the instrument of bringing to conversion a relative of his own. Being commissioned by him to undertake a journey for the expense of which eight shillings were allowed

him, he contented himself with spend ing a small sum of his own, that he might with his eight shillings purchase a Tamul Bible: in this he read, day and night, with the true zeal of a Missionary. While reading to himself one day, he was visited by a poor man: this man, after listening to three Chapters, said he would give any thing that he possessed on earth to have a Bible: the Youth asked him if he could read: he said No, but he had a son who could; when the Boy generously gave him his dearly-bought and beloved treasure!

Another Youth, from the same School, obtained a place under the Government of Madras, with a salary of 37. 4s. per month; but soon declined that situation, that he might take another place where he could preach the Gospel to his family, though he had there but a monthly salary of eight shillings; but he felt the care of his kindred to be his first duty.

In the progress of my journey, I visited the long-neglected Syrian Church, being led thither by the report of a man whose name has been unjustly calumniated Dr. Buchanan. I spent several weeks there, and was accompanied by one or other of the Society's Missionaries who are settled among the Syrians. I visited the whole of the Christian Churches; and can truly declare from my own observation, that Dr. Buchanan has said but half the truth, when he spoke so highly of the Syrians of Malabar.

I was present at the first Sermon preached in the Syrian Tongue, by Mr. Bailey. Several of the Elders of that Church came afterward, and recapitulated the heads of the Sermon; testifying their joy at the happiness of the Natives of Cotym, in having the Gospel of Christ preached among them.

I afterward visited the College, which this Society justly considers an object of great interest. With one of the Young Students I was particularly pleased: for a week we travelled together in a boat; and I do trust, that, independently of the powers of mind which he possesses and which are very considerable, he is a truly pious Youth. He is esteemed by all his fellow-collegians; and will become, I trust, with God's blessing, a faithful Minister of that Ancient Church, and an instrument of recovering it from that low estate in which it has long lain.

I would also mention, that it is rare to find a more humble Christian, or one more devoted to the advancement of real religion among those placed under his charge, than the Metropolitan of the Syrian Church. He directs his measures by the

sentiments of the Missionaries of this Society. Every Monday, they meet in Committee; and review, in concert, all the measures that have been adopted, and deliberate on such as may seem expedient; in all which the Metropolitan seconds their suggestions, full of ardour and zeal: he is as much attached to them, I firmly believe, as a father to his children.

In the progress of my journey among these interesting people, I travelled, as is here customary, by water, and was rowed by Syrian rowers up the shallows of the rivers. On one occasion, Mr. Fenn began to speak to the rowers of the Gospel of Christ-not with the authority of a teacher, but with the kindness of a friend and equal: our progress was soon arrested the rowers ceased to rowlistening, with fixed attention, to the eloquence of a Missionary of the Gospel of Christ.


Did I not fear to occupy too much of your time, I could relate many similar instances of the good that your Society is doing, by its exertions in that Quarter of the Globe. I will only observe, that there is nothing, humanly speaking, to which this success can be more attributed, than to the conduct of your Missionaries themselves. It is impossible to conceive of three Brethren more united than they are in their work. They regularly assemble together for prayer; and, when they depart weekly to their separate labours, they receive the Sacrament together, that they may, by the means appointed by God Himself, draw down His blessing upon their labours.

[Major Mackworth-at the Church Mission. Ann.

Duty & Benefit of giving Christian Instruction to the West-India Negroes. For reasons which it would be neces sary for him to explain, he had to address the Meeting as a member of the Established Church, and as a holder of West-India Property. Of that Church he was an affectionate, and, he trusted, not unfaithful member: in her he had lived, and in her, if reason continued, he believed he should die. But, being such, he had felt himself called upon to act in a new and most painful situation, by a solemn andimperative sense of duty, which would appear from the predicament in which he had been placed, and which did not arise from any choice of his own.

A small West-India Property

had come to him by inheritance, and by entail: it brought with it a great burthen on his mind, because it involved a fearful moral responsibility, which had rested deeply on his heart; for he could not but be anxious for the spiritual welfare of the Negro Population on his estate. Their temporal weal, he had ascertained, was well provided for. It was his duty to obtain spiritual instruction for those who were thus placed in his hands; and to seek it from those persons, who could best communicate it. There was a slight varnish of Popery over a gangrenous mass of Heathenism, in the Negro Population of the estate.

Under the circumstances of the island, it was not possible for him to obtain assistance from the Church of England, or he should naturally have sought it there. Upon these matters he spoke on authority, though that of others, having never himself been in the West Indies; for when he came into the possession of this property, he filled a confidential trust from his Sovereign in a foreign land, and, since then, had, with but little exception, been absent from England. He knew something of the hostility of the Planters of the island against certain modes of providing for the religious instruction of the Negroes. It was his duty, on the one hand, to obtain it for them at any rate; but to select, if possible, the most palatable mode, as that which would insure him the co-operation of other proprietors and their agents. Under this impression, he addressed himself, in the first instance, to another respectable body, but unsuccessfully. In these circumstances he felt that he had no choice but to go, at once, to the Wesleyans; through whom he sought to benefit the souls of the Slaves. accordingly addressed himself to the Wesleyan Missionary Society; and he spoke it to their honour, that their cooperation was not sought in vain: they most willingly seconded his views, and were ready labourers in the cause: acting with equal zeal, liberality, disinterestedness, and piety: and, under God's blessing they had greatly succeeded.


Of two considerable plantations in a large island, the responsibility for which rested considerably on him, the moral state of the one, where a Missionary had been, was greatly improved: in the other, on which no Christian Instruction had been given, ignorance, dis

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »