« AnteriorContinuar »
possible, to the accounts received, I obviate the charge of exaggeration; and in these nearly 1200 Native Girls, now collected in Protestant Mission Schools, we are furnished with a triumphant reply to the Abbé's imaginary objections ! He will hardly credit, that it was proposed, and acceded to, by some of the most respectable Natives in Bengal, to admit European and other Female Teachers into their families, to instruct their Wives and Daughters. In short, the Abbé Dubois ought to have known, that, in Christian Benevolence, as well as in Philosophy, the age of conjecture is gone by, and that we are now living in an age of experiment: and such results of Charitable and Christian Experiment as have here been adduced, when weighed against his volume of conjectures, or rather unproved assertions, are perfectly satisfactory to all candid minds.
He concludes his remarks upon this subject, by recommending the “ Liverpool Ladies” to attend rather to the temporal wants of their poor neighbours; and if, after, they have any surplus, and are “disposed to give a more extensive range to their charity and benevolence," to send it to India, to feed and clothè the poor of that distant land : (p. 207. Since he is now in Europe, I recommend him to pay “the Ladies of Liverpool” a visit, (as I have done since my return to England); and he will find, perhaps to his satisfaction, and, I hope, to his admiration also, that they have liberally anticipated his admonition. There is, I believe, no town, even in England, where Charitable Institutions more abound, or in which the wants of the indigent are more industriously explored, or more bountifully supplied. To what shall we attribute their strict attention to this “ Christian duty,” but to that principle of love, which constrains them to promote, with so much zeal, the eternal welfare of. mankind. This is the root, the tree, from which acts of genuine charity grow. And even were it proved that the Liverpool Ladies expended more upon the spiritual, than the temporal necessities of the indigent, we could find for them a satisfactory defence against such charges as those of M.Dubois, in the consideration of the superior worth of the soul, to the body and all its concerns. But never was it known, that the temporal wants of the poor were neglected by persons, who, from a correct view of the nature and condition of the soul, and of the Remedy provided for its recovery from the Fall, gave attention to its interests, as of paramount importance.
· The Abbé might have spared his insinuations of the same description, at pp.150, 151; for it would have cost him very little trouble to ascertain that the Protestants in India pay great attention to the necessities of the Poor. He has, probably, heard of the “ Friend-in-Need Society," and " Native Hospital," at Madras, and of similar Charitable Institutions at Calcutta. I know not a Mission Station in South India where the poor are not relieved, and provided with rice, “ cumbelees,” and cloths. · But to return from this digression. The principal means upon which Protestant Missionaries in India calculate for producing an immediate effect upon the Native Mind, is, the preaching of the Gospel. It is not much that they can do in this most important department of Missionary Labour; the climate, the languages, the habits of the people, being all against them. Though there are some, whose strength of constitution, correct pronunciation, and intimate acquaintance with the Native Tongues, enable them to preach almost as constantly and intelligibly as they could do in Europe, yet this is not often the case: consequently, they feel the necessity of qualifying pious and intelligent Native Christians, for the Ministerial Office. For this purpose, thc Colleges and Seminaries, already enumerated, were established at different Mission Stations; and the success that has hitherto attended the preaching of this class of persons, justifies the anticipation of the happiest and most extensive results, when a competent number shall be sent forth to preach to their own countrymen “ the wonderful works of God.”
In reference to this important class of Native Labourers, and to the good effect that may be expected from their exertions, the Committee of the Church Missionary Society say, in their Twenty-third Report
"At their head stand Two Ordained Missionaries—the Rev. Abdool Messeeh, and the Rev. William Bowley, whose steady and useful course may serve to assure the Society that the Natives of India are become competent, under the Divine Blessing, to form Christian Churches from among their countrymen, and to instruct and edify those Churches.”
In confirmation of this remark, the Reader need only refer to the various Letters and Journals of these two persons, published in the Missionary Register (passim), and in the Reports of the Society to which they belong. From the same sources he may derive information as to the qualifications and piety of John Devasagayam, Native Superintendant of the Schools of the same Society at Tranquebar. He may refer also to the Abstract of East-India Missions, published in 1814, by the Christian Knowledge Society, for an account of the zeal and talent of the First Four Native Priests ordained at Tanjore, but particularly of Sattianaden. In the various Reports of the Baptist Missionary Society, accounts to the same effect, equally satisfactory, may be seen. The Letter addressed, about a twelvemonth ago, by a Native Youth and other Members of the Serampore Congregation, to their Countrymen, evinces a talent and spirit of a superior order ; and is calculated to convince the most sceptical, that much, very much benefit to the Cause of Christianity in the East may be anticipated, from the attentive and religious cultivation of the Native Mind*.
It would detain the Reader too long to make all the citations from these references which my inclination would prompt me to transcribe. I shall, therefore, content myself with giving one more example of piety, zeal, and talent, in a Native Christian. He
* This “ Address” was reviewed in the Friend of India, and has since appeared in the Asiatic Journal for Sept. 1893.