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members of the native Protestant Christian community. In 1862 there were 519 missionaries, 1,190 churches, 1,505 native pastors and preachers, 31,249 Church members, and the nominal Christian community amounted to 153,816. If the converts of British Burmah, including the Karens, be taken into account, the number of Church members amounted in all to 49,688, and the nominal Christian community to 213,812. But confining our attention exclusively to India proper and Ceylon, and making all allowance for the imperfection of the statistics in 1852, we see that very real progress was made in the decade ending in 1862. Another religious census is now being made, and the rapidity of change and activity of thought that have prevailed in India during the last ten years, make it very probable that the increase since 1862 has been at least as great as in the decade preceding, so that we shall probably not be above the mark if we put the Christian membership in India at present as fully 40,000, representing a Christian community of 200,000. : What shall we say to these numbers ? Do they represent great or small success? When compared with the teeming population of India, this little flock of 40,000 amidst 200,000,000 seems small indeed. When compared with the expectations of our fathers, the founders of our Missionary Societies, who in the ardour of their zeal sometimes thought nothing of difficulties, and forgot that God's measure of time is very different from ours--these results may appear very meagre. But when we compare these numbers with the special difficulties of the work in India, and remember that the first steps are always the most difficult, we have no reason to be discouraged. Forty thousand immortal souls redeemed from heathenism and Mohammedanism, and rejoicing in Christ Jesus, walking in His fear, and having a good hope of the glory to come,-is not this a great and blessed result, and well worth all the labour devoted by God's servants to the evangelisation of that dark land? To these must be added the thousands who have died in the faith, and are now among the blood-bought throng on high. And all these souls gathered from the very stronghold of Satan, the land where he has put forth his utmost power to enslave men and bind them as with a tenfold chain. Moreover, these converts are representatives of all classes of the community. Though, as in all lands, the great majority of the converts belong to those “weak and foolish " things of the world, which God hath called—yet rich and poor, educated and illiterate, the Brahmin, the Sudra, and the outcast Lariah, Hindoos, Mohammedans, the aboriginal hill-tribes, and the deril-worshippers of Travancore, men of all beliefs, of all ranks and ages and positions in life, have felt the power of the one Gospel, and yielded their hearts and lives to the one Lord, Christ Jesus.
But it may be asked, whether we are sure that these are all true disciples, walking in the fear of God? Are there not hypocrites among them? No doubt there are, as there must always be in the professing Church; but on the other hand, where, as in India, the profession of Christianity involves for the most part such a terrible ordeal of persecution, there are sure to be found, outside of the professing Church, many timid but true disciples who have not yet had grace openly to enrol themselves among the Lord's people.
But what about the general character of these professing Christians? Do they manifest the spirit of Christ, and walk in the ways of the Lord ? It is necessary to answer this question, because we occasion. ally hear from people who have been in India, that there are hardly any converts at all, or that the native Christians are as bad as, or worse than, the heathen ; and people imagine that because these gentlemen have been many years in India they must know the truth; and therefore, on their testimony, it is evident that Christian missionaries are doing more harm than good. The fact is, that a person may spend many years in India, and yet know very little of missionary work there. He may be living in a part of the country where there are no missionaries and no Christians at all; or if there are any, in most places the converts will be very few in number and low in social position, and it is likely that the merchant or civilian will never come in contact with them. Hence a person who is not sufficiently interested in the evangelisation of India to carefully investigate the subject
, and become personally acquainted with the work that is being done, will very readily and naturally come to the conclusion that nothing has resulted from missionary labour. Or, on the other hand, he may have been brought into contact somewhat with native Christians
, and yet, perhaps, he says they are as bad as the heathen. How can this be ? Partly because, from their religion, he expects them to be very much better than others, and when he finds that they are imperfect, he is disappointed and magnifies their small faults. But the chief reason why a bad character is sometimes given to the native Christians is, that no distinction is made between those who are accredited mem. bers of the Church and mere nominal Christians. The laws of caste which preclude any intimate relationship between the heathen and Christians, necessarily produce the impression upon outsiders that the latter form a separate Christian caste, every member of which, good or bad, man, woman, or child, is Christian.” And of course many members of the Christian community are thoroughly worthless men, freed from the slight moral restraint which even caste in some respects (as, for instance, in the matter of intoxicating drinks) imposes upon its members. A merchant or civilian, who does not take the trouble to inquire into the distinction between the nominal and the real Christian, whether in India or in England, may thus come across many "native Christians," in this wider sense of the word, who are as bad as, or worse than, the heathen ; and he judges that all of them are, as a class, like those who have been brought before his notice. In short, he makes the same mistake as the heathen do who may form their estimate of Christianity from the worthless European loafers and vagabonds with whom the natives are beginning to become too much acquainted. We have, however, this satisfaction, that while many who have spent a considerable time in India, and are content to take a
uperficial view, say that Christian missions have accomplished no. hing, yet against their testimony we may place that of some of the Teatest men in India. We have had the cordial sympathy, and active jelp, of men like Sir Herbert Edwards, Sir Robert Montgomery, Sir Donald Macleod, Sir Arthur Cotton, and a large number of gentlemen n the highest civil and military positions in the country. Sir Bartle rere, in his paper on missionary work in India, speaks in the highest erns of the success achieved, saying that missionaries often have no dea of the greatness of the results that they are accomplishing; and 'ecently Lord Lawrence publicly stated that “much as England had lone for India, the missionaries had done more for her than all other zgencies combined.” With such testimony we may well rest content.
We have no desire, however, to deny that there are many imperfections in the native Church. It is sometimes thought that in a heathen land the Christians must see such an enormous difference between false religions and the true one, that they must be more decided Christians than Church-members at home. The truth lies really in the opposite direction; those who have been brought up in heathen ideas and practices, and are surrounded on all sides by an utterly corrupt heathen atmosphere, are not likely all at once to attain the knowledge and character of English Christians. And if at home we so frequently have to mourn over the ignorance and imperfections of so many mempers of our Churches, brought up, though they be, under Christian influences, shall we be surprised if there is much to deplore among converts, who but a short time ago were sunk in the foul mire of heathenism? It could not be otherwise. But we believe that those who know most of the standard of Christian character in a land like ours
, where religious privileges are so great, will be most forbearing in judging the character of our brethren in heathendom, and will rather marvel that the Christians there are so good, than that they are so But whilst thus fully acknowledging that there is much in the native Church to mourn over, yet there is no need to dwell here upon their imperfections. Let us rather earnestly and lovingly pray to their Lord and ours that they may be kept pure in heart and life, that they may be preserved from the manifold temptations to which they are exposed, that they may be blessed with increased spirituality of mind and decision of character, and may more earnestly strive for the diffusion of the Gospel around them. For those who thus “ have not seen our face in the flesh," let us offer up the prayers which the Apostle Paul has taught us in his Epistles. But while the native Christians have their special faults, they have also their special excellences. They are more patient than it is likely that English Christians would be, were they called upon to suffer the rezatious and continuous persecution to which our Hindoo brethren
At the annual meeting of our Society last year, a missionary from Southern
India speaks of teachableness and simplicity of faith as characterising the Christians there. The native Church is
beginning to manifest more self-reliance, especially where the Chris tians are more numerous, and at the present time there is a somewha hopeful appearance of an increased desire on the part of the native Christians to manage their own Church affairs, and to strive for the spread of the Gospel. Dr. Caldwell, one of the most experience missionaries of Southern India, writes thus of the Christians of tha part of the Empire:7“I maintain that the real earnest Christians of our Indian mission have no need to shrink from comparison with the real earnest Chris tians in a similar station in life, and similarly circumstanced, in England, or in any other part of the world.... I do not for a moment pretend that they are free from imperfections ; on the contrary, living amongst them as I do from day to day, I see their imperfections daily, and daily do I reprove, rebuke, exhort, as I see need ; but I am bound to say that when I have gone away anywhere, and look back upon the Christians of this country from a distance, or compare them with what I have seen and known of Christians in other countries, I have found that their good qualities have left a deeper impression on my mind than their imperfections.”—Good Words, June 1869.
In relation to the Christians, i.e., the Church-members, of Bengal one of our missionaries, Rev. J. H. Anderson, writes thus :-" They bear a character differing widely from that of the heathen. They take à deep interest in the worship of God, and evidently rejoice in the spread of His kingdom. Their moral sense has been quickened, and as the result of this, those immoral deeds, which are exceeding prevalent among the heathen, are very rare among them. Their treat ment of their wives contrasts with the harsh treatment which man Hindoo women are subjected to. They treat them with far more con sideration and kindness, and make them to a much greater extent, I be lieve, their companions. I regard them as being fairer in their deal ings with one another, and more honest than the heathen. In respec to the use of bad language, the difference between them and the heathen is very noticeable. The heathen think little of giving false witness in courts of justice ; our genuine converts shrink from doing what they have learned from God's word to be so wrong. I know good many who have made such progress in grace and in the know ledge of our Lord and Saviour, that I confide in them almost if no quite as much as I do in our fellow-Christians in England.”
It is a pleasing fact that there is no heterodoxy among our India Churches. An open Bible, and intercourse with English Christianity have, by God's blessing, thus far kept the Churches pure in doctrine Whatever imperfections there may be among them, there are none the Churches who can be charged with the sins and excesses tha existed in Corinth, or the false doctrine that disturbed the Churches Galatia, even under the very eye of the apostles.
So much for the direct results of Christian missions in India. be fore we proceed to notice the indirect results of our work, one remar! must be made. Let us remember that the first steps are generally thi rost difficult. Certainly this is true of a country like India, where the ower of custom has such sway over the people, and where almost all heir customs and beliefs are opposed to the Gospel. Hence, we ought lot to have been surprised if our success in the first seventy or eighty 'ears (a period which counts but as a day in the history of a nation) had jeen much less than it has been. We hope that in every succeeding rear our progress will be proportionally greater; and, as we shall presently see, the indirect work which Christianity is accomplishing, is gradually, though slowly, raising a large population to the level of Christian faith, and when they reach that level the accessions to the Christian community will, we believe, be numbered, not by units or tens, but by hundreds and thousands, perhaps millions.
AN OLD MAN'S STORY.
BY THE REV. R. MOFFAT.
This story, which we have ex. minutes, for I wish to ask one favour tracted from the Bible Society's of you before we part, and I know Gleanings,” will, no doubt, be very you
will not refuse doing what your interesting to many of our readers mother asks.” who have heard much of the devoted “What is it, mother p" I inAfrican missionary, who has, after quired. fifty years of untiring labour for the “Do promise me, first, that you cause of the Redeemer, returned to will do what I am now going to ask his native land to spend the evening and I shall tell you." of life. May it be the means of en- “No, mother, I cannot till you tell couraging young men to come for- me what your wish is." Ward and devote themselves to the “O Robert, can you think for a service of God and His Church. moment that I shall ask you, my son, "The harvest truly is plenteous, but to do anything that is not right? the labourers are few.'
Do not I love you po I was scarcely sixteen when, after “Yes, mother, I know you do; working in a nursery-garden near but I do not like to make promises my parents for about a twelvemonth, which I may not be able to fufil.” I was engaged to fill a responsible Ikept my eyes fixed on the ground. situation in Cheshire. The day ar- I was silent, trying to resist the risrived when I had to bid farewell ing emotion. She sighed deeply. to my father, mother, brothers, and I lifted my eyes, and saw the big sisters. My mother proposed to ac- tears rolling down the cheeks which company me to the boat which was were wont to press mine. I was to convey me across the Firth of conquered; and as soon as I could Porth. My heart, though glad at the recover speech, I said, “O mother, inviting prospect of removing to a ask what you will, and I shall do better situation, could not help feel- it!” ing some emotion natural to one of “I only ask you
will When we came within read a chapter in the Bible every sight of the spot where we were to morning, and another every evenpart, perhaps never again to meet ing." in this world, she said, “Now, my I interrupted by saying, " Mother,
, Robert, let us stand here a few
you know I read