« PreviousContinue »
to remedy this defect in the North, and that the hint he throws out will be taken by brethren elsewhere.
But it is not in Yorkshire alone that the brethren are bestirring themselves. Mr. Wilshere writes from Penzance, that at the half-yearly meeting of the Cornish Association, the position of the Mission was considered, and resolutions passed to take measures to secure enlarged subscriptions. The Executive of the Devon Association have issued a circular recommending a collection to be made in all the chapels, on the 2nd Lord's Day in January, to aid in the liquidation of the debt, and that an attempt be made to raise the annual income. At a meeting of the Herts, and Beds. fraternal association, held at Leighton, Dec. 1, the Rev. T. Hands of Luton, was cordially commended to the Churches, in the canvass which he is prepared to make, in the hope that they will further his object to the full extent of their ability. Mr. Mursell, writing under date of Dec. 1, informs us that he will take an early opportunity of inviting the pastors and deacons of the Leicester Churches to confer together on the best means of aiding the Mission in its present necessities. Mr. Newman, on Dec. 3rd, expresses his intention to ask the brethren in the neighbourhood of Shortwood, to meet for deliberation on the question of the Mission Funds. Mr. Millard has desired the Secretaries to forward to friends in Huntingdonshire, holding office in connection with the Mission Union down there, circulars containing the needed information, and soliciting their kind co-operation in the good work. Nottingham has followed the example of Yorkshire, and have engaged Mr. Pottenger to visit them, Mr. Martin and Mr. Edwards promising their most cordial support in his canvass. Mr. Phillips has been busily occupied in London, and it will be seen from the other pages of the Herald, that meetings continue to be held in various places, and no effort will be spared to secure one in each chapel in the Metropolis. The Magazine of last month contained a note from Mr. Brock, which showed the heartiness with which he and his friends have taken the matter up; while the pastor and deacons of Camberwell have issued a circular, appealing to their fellow members on the subject. Bayswater and Regent's Park have already sent in handsome contributions. The contributions from Mr. Noel's church will exceed £200.
What an encouraging scene of activity and life all this presents! We want nothing more than the extension of this spirit of zeal to all the churches, and the whole denomination will be alive! Could the expected debt become a reality then? Would the income of the Society remain at its present amount ? Assuredly not. Then, brethren, the whole matter is in your own hands. Providence has placed it there. It is for a trial of your faith, your zeal, your liberality. May you stand the test. May you prove yourselves worthy successors of the illustrious men who founded the Mission, and what is higher and nobler still, faithful servants of Him who hath bought you with His own most precious blood !
A CONVERT FROM MOHAMMEDANISM. As we have reason to believe that the native evangelist, referred to below, is our esteemed brother, Goolzar Shah, the pastor of the native church in South Colingah, we have transferred the narrative to our pages from the “Free Church Monthly Record.” It is an interesting illustration how the truth preached by the missionaries of one Society is often blessed of God, and results in the adhesion of the convert to the fellowship of another community. Thus the labours of all sections of the Church of Christ contribute to the enlargement of all.
Selim-ud-Din is a Mohammedan, about twenty-five years of age, son of a small zemindar in the district of Hooghly. He received a good education after the Mohammedan fashion, is familiar with Hindustani and Bengali, but ignorant of English. It is almost certain that a Hindu in similar circumstances would have possessed some knowledge of English, would indeed have been educated at one of the Government colleges or missionary schools. This is just an example of a significant difference everywhere observable between the Hindu and Mohammedan communities--that the former gladly embrace the opportunities afforded of obtaining an English education for their sons, while the latter sullenly reject them. The young man obtained some employment in connection with the courts at Hooghly, the nature of which I do not know precisely; and this was his occupation two years ago when he first came into contact with Christian truth. He had been in Calcutta, and seems to have lighted upon some vernacular preacher in street or bazaar, to have listened, conversed with the preacher, received some tracts written for Mohammedans, and gone his way. The perusal of the tracts deepened his impressions, aroused him to think, awakened doubts, suggested difficulties, and the result was that he resolved forthwith to study the Koran.
His study of the sacred book brought no light. Instead of dispelling, it increased the gloom; difficulties multiplied ; doubts increased ; the shadows were thickening over and around him. He took counsel with moulvies, the spiritual guides of the followers of Islam, propounded his difficulties, but found none who was able to remove them,-produced his tracts, but was told that they were wicked, and exhorted to cast them away. Being a man of superior intelligence, it was not likely that teachers who could give him so little satisfaction should bind him more firmly to the creed of the Prophet. He continued his study of the Koran with no better result. The sensual description of heaven seems to have caused him very great offence, a good sign truly in a native of this land.
In course of time he found another Christian teacher. A native evangelist belonging to one of the Calcutta missions was out on the river, and had landed at Hooghly for the purpose of preaching. Selim heard him, and accompanied him to his boat, where they seem to have conversed at length on the subject of Christianity. Such an inquirer at such a stage could not fail to obtain important instruction from an intelligent Christian ; and the young man seems sufficiently sensible of the obligation under which he lies to this evangelist. The latter gave him his address in Calcutta, inviting his young Mussulman acquaintance to visit him there. Ere long he found his way to this city once more, and waited on his friend of the river, but met at his house another Christian, to whom he has attached himself from that day to this. It was Hadji, a converted Mussulman connected with our mission, who is employed as a Scripture reader among the native servants of European families. "Hadji was a convert of Behari Lal Singh's, who used to labour among the Mohammedans ere he left us for RamporoBeauleah.
PROGRESS. The Scripture reader and inquirer left the house where they had met at the same time, and walked away in company. Hadji appears to have said some things on this occasion which were the means of introducing much additional light into the mind of the Mohammedan ; and so much was the latter attracted by his new acquaintance that he removed from Hooghly to Calcutta, obtained some employment in translating from Bengali into Hindustani for a gentleman connected with the courts here, and though this yielded a pittance barely sufficient for his support, as their manner is, he took up his abode near the Christian teacher Hadji.
This happened about six months ago. His family had cast him off when he
gave proof of being an incorrigible sceptic as to Islamism and a serious inquirer after the truth. Since then the teacher and pupil have met almost daily for the study of the word of life ; and it seems indeed that another was with them, an unseen Teacher who guides into all truth. It would seem that this young man has possessed a real knowledge of Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life, for some time past. His instructor speaks in earnest and touching terms of his gentleness, humility, unselfishness, and eagerness to grow in the knowledge of divine things. Some time ago Hadji brought him to Mr. Pourie, who has seen him repeatedly; and he was subsequently introduced to different members of our mission. Dr. Duff was satisfied as to his spiritual apprehension of vital truths, and heartily encouraged him to make a public profession of his faith by baptism. It was at first arranged that Dr. Duff should administer the rite, and the very last thing that our revered father did before disease laid him prostrate was to draw up a series of questions to be put to the convert before the congregation.
RESULT. After Dr. Duff, the duty naturally devolved on Mr. Pourie, to whom the young man looks up with special respect as the first European Christian minister whom he has known. Baptism was administered in the Free Church, Wellesley Square, on the morning of the Lord's day. The whole service was conducted with most impressive propriety. A judicious and well-timed discourse on the text, word of the Lord is not bound,”, formed a fitting prelude to the holy ordinance. After a statement of some of the circumstances already recounted—the young man standing forth meanwhile before the congregation, a person of mild intelligent aspect and superior bearing--some questions were put relating to his faith in the vital truths of Christianity, his renunciation of Mohammedanism, and his self-dedication to the service of Christ. Mr. Pourie put the questions in English, Mr. Smith, a city missionary and member of the Free Church, translated them into Hindustani, and Selim replied in his own tongue. Instead of contenting himself with a simple expression of assent or consent, he gave explicit replies to some of the questions, and displayed no small fervour both by voice and gesture, especially when declaring his renunciation of the Moslem creed, and stating his sole motive to be the salvation of his soul. Such a profession of faith as the issue of such a two-years' history must have been satisfactory to all. As he kneeled, the water of baptism was sprinkled on his head, and Selim-ud-Din was admitted into the fellowship of the visible Church of Christ.
I need not add any comments. So the leaven works, and the proofs of its working are varied and manifold, showing themselves now in one way, again in another entirely different. Street preaching bears its fruit; personal converse is not barren ; Christian schools have always been one of the most fruitful, if not indeed the most fruitful of all ; and now even the secular Government schools sometimes pay the tribute of souls to Christ. God be praised for these things! Let the Church at home not be niggard of her prayers; and let me ask them specially at this time on behalf of the Christian Selim-ud-Din.
THE STORY OF JAGANNATH.
BY THE REV. T. MARTIN. A more hideous monster than this said Jagannath could not well be imagined. In appearance, he is neither like man nor beast, but a huge, bloated, ugly creature, without hands and feet! A torn cloth is thrown over his shoulders, and a large white umbrella is suspended over his head to keep the rays of the sun off him. But why the figure of a man without hands and feet? "More wonderful than his appearance is the history of this fact. It is given as follows :-On the coast of Orissa there is a celebrated range of mountains bearing the name of Neelachol (Blue Mountains). Narayan (another name of Jagannath) having assumed the name of Neelmadhób, and being accompanied by his wife, came from Shwetdweep (white island) to live in this place, namely, Neelachol. Here gods and men came to see him, and Neelachol, in consequence of its being the residence of Neelmadhob, soon came to be regarded as a holy place. From that time forth, Hindoos from all parts of the country, and often at the expense of much bodily afliction and pecuniary loss, have made pilgrimages thither for the purpose of seeing the great idol Jagannath, and obtaining from him those blessings which they sought.
Afterwards, the son of the sun, Indranarayan by name, who was a king, and excessively attached to the worship of Vishnu, hearing of the fame of Jagannath, and being anxious to see him, made known his wish to his family priest. The priest, desirous of gratifying the king, sent beforehand his brother, Bidyapoti (a master of learning, a philosopher), to see Neelmadhob, and to ascertain the way. Bidyapoti, having wandered through various countries, and endured many hardships, at last arrived at Neelachol, and was successful in obtaining a sight of Jagannath, the object of his journey. On his return from Neelachol, he made known to the king all the particulars of the journey, and of his interview with Neelmadhob. The king then determined to see for himself, and, taking his family and his subjects with him, he set out from his country on a journey to Neelachol, which he made his place of abode. But on his arrival, he learned that Neelmadhob had disappeared ; and, finding there was no hope of seeing him, he rolled himself in the dust in vexation of spirit, and began to cry. Whereupon a voice from heaven came to him, saying, "O king, you cannot see Neelmadhob; but do you make a wooden image, and consecrate it (the brahmin puts life into the image - makes it the dwelling of God by repeating a sacred muntra to it!): afterwards, Narayan will take possession of it, will make it his habitation,-and you, and as many as will look on the image, will obtain great deliverance."
The voice from heaven gave the king some hope that he would yet be permitted to see Jagannath ; and when he became very anxious to make the wooden image and a temple for it, Narayan, assuming the garb of an old brahmin, by name Bishwakarmma, (the mechanic of the universe,– in Hindoo mythology, the architect of the gods), presented himself before the king, and said, "O king, give me permission, and in fifteen days I will make all and give you." Bishwakarmma, having obtained permission from the king, made a temple of gold, and three images of nim-wood, namely, Jagannath, Balaram, and Subhodra. Bishwakarmma, having previously told the people that they were on no account to open the door of his workshop as long as the sound of a tool was heard within, set to work; but when he had finished all but the hands and feet of the great idol, he stopped to put an edge on his chisel; meantime some one opened the door, and consequently the work could not be proceeded with! The image must remain as it was, unfinished ! Thus the shastras account for the maimed condition of the idol. But there is another account, which is perhaps a reasonable one, though it cannot boast of such antiquity. It is said that this maimed conclition of Jagannath was the fault of his wickedness,—that his hands and feet rotted off him in consequence of his wicked life when, in a former incarnation, he bore the appellation of Krishna, and carried on his amorous sports with the milkmaids in Brindabun! Such is the story of the great, maimed ugly creature, who is now to attract the attention of thronging multitudes, and claim the worship which is due to God alone !
MISSION WORK IN AND AROUND AGRA.
BY THE REV. J. WILLIAMS. We have four English services every week, which Mr. Gregson and myself conduct by turns. These meetings are well attended, and we have reason to hope, our labours are not in yain. During the two last months (May and June) we have had the pleasure of baptizing nine persons on their profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, six of whom were soldiers and the other three civilians. Besides the English work, we have seven Hindustani services every week, two of which are held in private houses, where brother Bernard and myself preach alternately, and where we often get a large congregation, composed both of respectable East Indians and natives. I am happy to inform you, that these meetings are commonly very interesting, and we are exceedingly pleased with the attention given to the word, and the great kindness and pleasant demeanour of the people. Every other Sunday morning I preach at the native chapel, where the attendance is tolerably good, and when time permits, I often assist brother Bernard in conducting some of the week meetings belonging to the native church, and held at the native chapel. Moreover, I take along with me two or three of the native preachers, and visit the bazaar daily, unless prevented by the rain or some other legal causes. At our different preaching places in the city, we usually get a large number of people to listen to us, some of whom hear us very attentively, whilst others, especially the Mahometans, oppose us sometimes most desperately : but notwithstanding this, the word we believe, is not sown in vain.
Again, Mr. Gregson and myself have to attend the "Class,” that came here lately from Delhi. Mr. Gregson teaches the students in Biblical knowledge, and I do my best to instruct them in the Hindi grammar, Dr. Barth's Church History, Geography, and in Composition. Every Saturday one of the students reads a sermon, concerning which the other students are exhorted to make their observations. This they do sometimes in the funniest manner. They are extraordinary reasoners! Though their progress is not very satisfactory, yet we hope they will turn out to be of some good to their fellow-countrymen, and that by their instrumentality the Spirit of God will bring many souls unto Christ. This is an outline to you of what I do here in Agra.
SCATTERING THE SEED. About the end of January last (1863), Thakurdās and myself, commenced an Itinerating journey. Having taken the Allygurh direction, we proceeded towards Hattaras, visiting the numerous villages on our way as we advanced. Having in five days reached the above city, we stayed there three days, preaching the word, and exhorting the people to abandon their idolatry, and receive Christ. Here we got large and attentive congregations, sold all our books and tracts, and I ain glad to say that many of the inhabitants were excessively pleased with the good news of salvation through Jesus the Saviour. Leaving this populous and delightful place, we changed our direction, and went across the country towards Moorshan, the royal city of that Raja, preaching in almost every village within our range, as we were moving along. Having come to Moorshan, we tarried there three days, and preached daily in the bazaar the “wonderful works of God." Here we got large crowds of people to listen to our message, among whom were some of the city chuprasees, who made an attempt once or twice to interrupt ts. But on my teřing them that I would inform the Raja of their bad conduct towards us, they departed, and we were left undisturbed to address the people, many of whom expressed their approval of what we said, and gave heed to the glad tidings.
TESTIMONY BEFORE KINGS. During my stay here, I had the pleasure of seeing the royal palace, and of having an interview with the Raja, whose name is Bahadoor Tekum Singh.