Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

where a white face is seldom seen, and where the face of a missionary has never been seen at all, it is not difficult to obtain a goodly number of attentive hearers. As there are several brethren, they can take il by turns to preach ; and, while the one is preaching, the others will b ready to converse with any who may seek fuller information con cerning the truth. In this way many who came to these melá seeking to ease their burdened consciences by their pilgrimage to th shrine of their deity, have gone home with consciences no longe burdened with sin, and with hearts rejoicing in having unexpectedly found the pearl of great price.

An open-air preacher at home, at the close of his preaching, if he finds that any souls have been impressed, will converse with them, and give them tracts or gospels, in the hope that, their souls having been softened by the preached word, the written word may enter all the more deeply. Just so does the missionary in India. He will seel to distribute tracts, gospels, New Testaments, to those who wish to know the way of life more fully, so that they may take to their home the written word, by meditation on which their impressions may deepen into true conversion, and their minds be led more fully inte the truth. A very pleasing change has come over the minds of the people of India during the last few years, in reference to their readi

: ness to receive these tracts and gospels. Mr. Bion, one of our most indefatigable itinerant missionaries, says, “ One universal feeling exists among the millions of Eastern Bengal, that the days of the Brahmin are soon to be ended. Another remarkable feature which has struck us is the vast change which has come upon the masses of the people with regard to our Scriptures. In former years we had at times to talk and talk till our jaws ached before we could induce people in out-of-the-way places to accept a Bible, a New Testament, gospel, gratis. Now they have in some degree understood the purity and excellence of our Scriptures, and without much persuasion they are ready to buy them at a trifling cost. Nicodemuses we meet with in many places, who, for fear of man, hold back.”

And we hear this testimony from many quarters. Almost everyn where there appears to be such a desire to know more of the truth, that it is now a very general rule not to give away copies of the gospels or the New Testament, but to sell them. The price charged is not enough to pay the cost, but just so much as to lessen or destroy the temptation to buy it from any unworthy motive. Hence, in mos cases in which the book is thus bought, we may infer that the buyer really desires to know about the truth, and that the book will be read No people on the face of the earth are fonder of money than the natives of India, and if one of them is willing to give his pice or his anna (14d.) or his four annas to purchase a tract, or a gospel, Testament, it shows that he really values the book and wishes to read it. And when he has the book, he will be sure to value it the more for the simple reason that he has paid for it. Hence it is a very cheering sign that in so many places there is so much of desire to

or even a

or a Nem

know more of the truth. In the Madras Presidency there is a regular ystem of colportage; and the Report of the British and Foreign Bible Society for last year states that by this agency 7186 towns and villages and 369,310 separate houses were visited, and 34,831 copies of portions of Scripture were sold in the course of the year, in addition to a large number distributed by other agencies. During the past twelve years, in the Madras Presidency alone, 300,000 portions of Scripture have been sold. In Bengal, the North-West Provinces, the Punjab, Bombay, and Ceylon, a large number of copies were in like manner distributed, and for the most part sold. The total number of copies sold in India, in the course of the year, is probably not far short of 100,000. No doubt much of this seed falls on barren ground; but we cannot but believe that a great blessing will rest upon so large a number of portions of God's life-giving Word scattered thus through the land, and that they are preparing the way for the ultimate triumph of the truth, We have heard of many instances of their being blessed. A recent Report of the Bible Society refers to the case of a man who could not read, who received a copy of the gospel of Luke. He had his younger son learn to read on purpose that he might read this book to him. Eventually he became a Christian, and was baptized with his wife, Bon, and daughter-in-law; and nine other persons in two neighbouring villages have also been led to Christ. Yet the young man himself who learned to read the gospel, is still unconverted! And we may rest assured that many such a case as this has occurred. A man with sin-burdened conscience makes a pilgrimage to a melá at some sacred shrine, he sees there an English Sahib preaching, he goes and sistens

, he hears of a Saviour who can save the guiltiest ; he wishes to know more of Him, receives a single gospel, takes it to his home in a distant village, reads there of Jesus, His wondrous birth, His holy life, His deeds of love and power, His' death, His resurrection from the dead; and he says, “This Being is infinitely superior to Rám and Krishna and Durgá; I will trust in His power and love. He gave His life a ransom for many,' whatever that may fully mean; He has all power in heaven and on earth ;' He has said, “Come unto me and I will give you rest.' I come to 'Him, I trust in Him alone, - He is my only Saviour.” May we not rest assured that, as many of whom we have heard have thus found Christ, so many of whom we have not heard have thus found Him, through the simple reading of His own Word, and have died in this faith ; whose names, though not enrolled in any Church book

on earth, are yet written in the Lamb's Book of Life above? But let us also consider that, while we rejoice at so many thousand copies of God's Word being thus distributed in India, yet we may well ask, “What are they among so many ?" If a hundred thousand copies of portions of the Bible be distributed every year, what are they among two hundred millions of inhabitants-a very small fraction of whom could read, even if they had the book? Oh, how much land is yet to be possessed how much work yet to be done ! But if the Word of God is to be distributed, it must first be translated,

and this brings us to another most important agency at work—that of Biblical translation. In The Church for November, 1870, we referred at some length to this most important department of missionary labour we therefore pass it by with the simple remark, that a very large amount of time and labour has been devoted to the endeavour to give in the fifteen or twenty different languages of India, a faithful trang lation of the Word of God.

Some of the missionaries devote part of their time to the pastora charge of English Churches. There is a large and increasing number of English and European residents in the large towns of India; and remembering the preciousness of their souls, and the great help or hindrance they may be to the spread of the gospel among the natives our missionaries cannot altogether neglect them. Many a child of pious parents at home, after resisting all the Christian influences brought to bear upon him in his native land, has gone out to India and there, from the lips of some servant of God, has heard the mes sage which has saved his soul. There are many English Churches more or less strong, in India, to whose care some missionaries devota part of their time and energies, and the members of which, in retum , are very efficient helpers in seeking to spread the gospel amongst the idolaters by whom they are surrounded.

IS THERE ANYTHING IN IT?

BY MRS. H. B. STOWE.

Dr. DOLDRUMS had the blues. So “Sure I must fight if I would reigu : he informed Mrs. Doldrums, the

Increase my courage, Lord;

I'll bear the cross, endure the pain, first thing when she came down in the morning

Supported by Thy Word.” “This is such a confounded, miser. They were, in fact, about as good able, unsatisfying world,” said Dr. people as the average, this Dr. and Doldrums. “I wonder what it was

Mrs. Doldrums; or, to put the thing made for-why we are put in it, and intelligibly, about as good as you or what use there is in the confounded I, dear reader. thing, any way.”

When in the prayer meetings of Dr. Doidrums did not swear, be

Exmouth church, or under the vivid cause he was a pious man, and a oratory of its minister, their souls member of Exmouth Church. More- were often wafted in prayer and over, the night before, he and Mrs. | praise above things seen and tem. Doldrums had been in the most poral, and triumphed in things edifying manner to the

prayer-meet- unseen and eternal, and had they ing, and in a most charming frame been caught up just then and there, of mind had sung out of the Ex

might have made a very proper pair mouth hymn-book

of angels. Shall I be carried to the skies,

A stranger going into the ExOn flowery beds of

mouth prayer-meeting, and listening ease, While others fought to win the prize,

from time to time to the things sung And sailed through bloody seas ? there,

might suppose that, if all those

hings were true, there was, indeed, doctor had been courageously singbr those favoured individuals, no ing the night before, that he must leed of trouble, no need of sorrow, not expect to be carried to the skies ho need of care under the sun- on flowery beds of ease. He had hat the great unsearchable mystery been rejoicing and triumphing in of life, for them at least, was at the possession of a kind of stock ast solved. An inquirer who be- that could not fall in value, though ieved all that they professed would every bank and every corporation say, “Here is a company of true and company in this world were philosophers. They have found the sunk in the sea; and yet his heart Kalon-the true, solid, indescribable appeared to sink down to his very philosopher's stone, which whoso boots at this news from the Great hath, fears nothing, either in this Interior Ground Line Company. life or the life to come.”

How was this? Were the passion The very evening before, Dr. and earnestness of last night's and Mrs. Doldrums, standing up in prayer-meeting hypocritical ? solid column with all Exmouth Not a bit of it. They were as church, had sung

true, as heartfelt and sincere, as "Head of the Church triumphant,

anything you or I ever felt in our We joyfully adore Thee ;

lives. Till Thou appear, Thy members here,

Were the things sung last night Shall sing like those in glory.

still true? Undoubtedly they were. Thou dost conduct Thy people

If you had faced the doctor with Through deserts of temptation, the question that morning, he would Nor will we fear, when Thou art near, have told you that they were. The fire of tribulation.

What, then, was the matter? The world, with sin and Satan,

We can illustrate it by a phenomIn vain our march opposes

enon of everyday occurrence, in the By Thee we will break through them all, And sing the song of Moses.”

experience of a traveller in the Alps.

At sunset you may stand in your How bravely and joyously the cottage-door in Geneva, and see the words had surged and rung, and

whole of the Mont Blanc range, tobillowed on the waves of hundreds gether with the distant dazzling of hearty voices the evening before, rank and file of the Oberland Alps, as the members of Exmouth church glistening like jewels, and looking sang, after John Bunyan's fashion, like cities built of gold and precious * lustily and with good courage!”

stones—topaz, ruby, and amethyst. But this morning, nevertheless, The next morning you rise and look Dr. Doldrums, as aforesaid, declared where the dazzling vision was, and, lo, that he had the blues, and that he there is nothing there!--no colours, could hardly see any use in living,

no glitter, no sheen, no mountains, and that he couldn't see what such

no glory,-nothing but a cool, dull, a world was made for. How came leaden-grey sky, that seems firmly this great change? It is true that and honestly to bound that horizon. Dr. Doldrums, on going down this The wonderful vision may be then morning, had found

in his letter-box behind that grey horizon, but you an instalment of the “world and

can neither see nor touch it. It lives

by ing paper, and looking therein, The Y Such a double life do we all live saw that the stock of the Great Interior Ground Line Company was

who try to live by faith in the in

visible, in the midst of this hurrying, rapidly going down, and Doldrums bustling, obtrusive, and painfully Tas a large owner in that company,

visible world. The bright visions Now, it is also true that the good

of our better hours are all gone be

[ocr errors]

are

hind clouds of earthly reality! The now,” observed Mrs. Doldrums, world and the things of the world coming in. all that do appear.

· My dear, it had to be done, Besides this, it is to be remem- quoth the doctor, in a high-pitched bered that, on the present occasion, controversial tone. 6 The wind east it was a cold shivery March morning. again, and this vile chimney is just Last evening had been treacherously going to smoke all day.”. soft and mild, and the doctor and “I should think,” said Mrs. Dok his wife had walked to prayer-meet- drums, “that you would get that ing under spring-like skies. But, lo, chimney altered.” in the night there had blown up a 'Get that chimney altered!” said drizzly, sleety, growly east wind, Dr. Doldrums, in a supremely in that had filled everybody's bones dignant tone. with rheumatism, and twanged and Yes, get it altered," continued jangled everybody's nerves.

Mrs. Doldrums, with that persistent The month of March is well known didactic calmness wherewith good all over the world as the devil's wives edify their husbands when special vantage-ground for all those they catch them in a tight place. temptations which result from dis- “You know, my dear, I have been ordered nerves. During this month asking you every time you've been he seems to play with the human up town for a month, to attend to race as a cat does with a mouse- that chimney." boxing them contemptuously hither “And haven't I called, and called, and thither, now relaxing the system and called on Elkins, and hasn't he with soft breezes and balmy gales, promised, and promised, and proand in a moment twitching it up mised to come and alter it, I should with a tight freeze.

like to know?” said Dr. Doldrums, We are all familiar with these “ But I shouldn't let him off so, changes.

I should see he did come,” persisted Such a one now lowered over the Mrs. Doldrums. chimneys of Babylon the Great. "You would, would you! I just The soot was falling in little, sullen, wish you'd try it. I'd like to see streaky flashes through the air, like

you manage Elkins now,” said Dr. small instalments from the infernal Doldrums, with an aggrieved tone. regions.

“The fact is, my dear, you don't Now, the chimney in the doctor's know anything about it, that's what dining-room had a mean and treach- you don't; and you women are alerous habit of always smoking waysexpecting things to be done just when the wind was in that particu- as you think they can be; and they lar chilly quarter when a fire is most just can't be done your way, necessary

The doctor, on entering the din. * Well, I know, if I were a man, ing-room, was made aware that the wouldn't let things go so,” said Mrs. enemy was charging down the chim- Doldrums, seating herself with proney upon him. He seized the water

voking calmness. “Ugh!-what a pitcher, and forthwith discharged its cold, dismal morning, and no fire to contents into the grate. A fierce eat breakfast by,” she added, looking hissing and a cloud of wrathful round with a disgusted air on the smoke were the result. The white

spectacle, and the drabbled grate, ashes now began settling on all the and the chairs and sofa all covered furniture of the room, and embellish- with ashes. ing the doctor's head with a thick Now, though she did not say so coat of powder.

in so many words, yet Mrs. Dol"Well, I hope you are satisfied drums' tone conveyed the idea that

that's

I

« AnteriorContinuar »