Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

foundation-stone of a new chapel | has been recognised as the pasta has been laid at Ulverston, for the the church at Hook Norton, Ox pastorate of the Rev. T. Lardner.

The following reports of M The corner-stone of a new school | has been laid at Heaton, near Brad

TERIAL CHANGES have reached

since our last issue :—The Rev ford.-The memorial-stone of a new

E. Canwood, to the Town ] chapel has been laid at Frampton Cotterell, near Bristol, for the pas.

Barnet, Herts; the Rev. J. Swit torate of the Rev. W. M. Howell.

the Metropolitan Tabernacle Coll

to Gresham Road, Brixton, Sur A new chapel has been opened at Castleacre, Norfolk.--The chapel at

the Rev. H. Moore, of Bath Str Barnsley, Yorkshire, has been re

Glasgow, to Stockton-on-Tees;

Rev. J. A. Wilson, formerly opened, after considerable alteration

Peterhead, to Pound Lane, Isleb and repair.-A new chapel has been

Cambs; the Rev. H. A. Fletche opened at New Barnet, Herts, built

the Metropolitan Tabernacle Coll under the auspices of the London

to Whitehaven; the Rev. C. Sto Baptist Association.

of Fakenham, to Mint Lane, Lina The Rev. A. Williams, from

the Rev. J. R. Chappell, of Boi Llangollen College, has been re

Lincolnshire, to Fakenham; cognized as the pastor of the

Rev. J. Dunlop, formerly Indep churches at Ænon, Capel y Beirdd,

ent Minister, of Ringwood, to and Garn, Carnarvonshire.— The

Barnet, Herts; the Rev. S. Pil

of the Metropolitan Tabernacle Rev. W. Jones, from the same College, has been recognized as the

lege, to Potter's Bar, Middle pastor of the churches at Llangyn.

the Rev. J. Miller, of Crewki deyrn and Meinkian, Carmarthen

Somerset, to Collumpton, De shire.—The Rev. G. T. Ennals, late

the Rev. I. Birt, B.A., of:

Road, Peckham, to Clarence St of Leicester, has been recognized as the pastor of the church at West

Penzance. The Rev. E. Webb Hartlepool, Durham.—The Rev. J.

resigned his pastorate at Tive Evans, late of Pontypool College,

after twenty-five years of happy has been recognized as the pastor

peaceful labour. The Rev. W of the church at Cwmdare, Gla

Willis has resigned his pastora

Milton, near Northampton, and morganshire.- The Rev. J. Mursell,

sailed for the United States. late of Hallfield, Bradford, has been

Rev. W. C. Jones has resigned recognized as the pastor of the church at Bewick Street, Newcastle

pastorate at Newton Abbot, De upon Tyne.—The Rev. J. Billington

The Rev. W. Eddison has resig has been recognized as the pastor

his pastorate at Rishworth, of the church at Potter Street,

Halifax, Yorkshire. Harlow, Essex. - The Rev. T. We regret to announce the d Wheatley has been recognized as of the Rev. W. Morgan, D.D. the pastor of the church in Bristol forty-eight years the minister o Road, Weston-super-Mare. - The church at Bethel, Holyhead; al Rev. H. Wood has been recognised the Rev. R. Langford, pastor as co-pastor, with the Rev. W. twenty years of the church at : Jarrom, of the church at Barton, | Hedingham, and for thirty yea Leicestershire.-The Rev. R. Bray the church in Eld Lane, Colche

THE CHURCH.

" Built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ Himself

being the chief corner-stone.'

DECEMBER, 1872.

MISSIONS IN INDIA.
BY THE REV. G. H. ROUSE, M.A.

VI. INDIRECT RESULTS. Many people test missionary work simply by the number of converts. Worldly men count up the pounds expended on missionary enterprise, and divide by the number of converts, and contemptuously remark that to convert a single Jew or idolater costs so many hundred pounds. Even Christian men are too apt to judge of the results of this great work on the same principle; and when they observe that a missionary baptizes few or it may be no converts in the year, they think his work must be pronounced to a large extent a failure. Those who thus judge forget two or three things. They forget that it is man's work to labour and God's work to bless ; that even where the Gospel is rejected God is honoured and the Saviour glorified by the faithful preaching of the truth; that seed may be buried long in the earth before it brings forth fruit; and that God's grace may be secretly Working and preparing the way for an abundant harvest, even when the faithful labourer cries in bitterness of soul, “ Who hath believed our report ?” So it is, we believe, in India; and we proceed now briefly to glance at some of the indirect results of mission work.

The first of these results which we shall notice, is the improvement in the moral and spiritual character of the European residents in India. In one sense we might call this one of the direct results ; for many a European wanderer has been turned from the error of his ways and received into the fold of Christ through the labours of our missionary brethren. Until the present century European influence must have been altogether adverse to the Gospel. Here and there a godly man might be met with, but the great mass of Europeans were not only utterly irreligious, but to a large extent immoral in life. At Madras, in 1807, a gentleman endeavoured to purchase a Bible, but failed to procure one in any of the shops there, as the Bible was not a marketable article in India. Now the change is great indeed. Of course, as elsewhere, it is to be feared that those who have experienced the power of vital godliness are in the minority; but most VOL. XIV. NO, XII.

2 A

of the Europeans are church-goers, and moral in life, as the same class of people would be at home; whilst there are amongst them many thousands of true Christians walking in the fear of God. We do not ascribe all these results to missionary influence; there has been a revival of true religion at home, and Christian men have taken their religion with them to India, instead of, as it used to be said, leaving their Christianity behind them at the Cape of Good Hope, Still, missionary influence has largely contributed to raise the moral and spiritual standard of European Christianity in India. The result is that now, probably, European influence is rather helpful than hurtful to the spread of the Gospel. True Christians aid it directly by their example, their labours, and their contributions; and even those who are not converted men often help to raise the moral tone of the people around them, by presenting to them an example of pure domestic life, and by exhibiting to the Hindoo the astounding spectacle of a man whose word can be implicitly trusted, and of a judge who will never take a bribe.

Another of the indirect results of mission work in India has been the abolition of cruel rites, and the loosening of the bonds of evil customs. When the pioneers of the missionary cause first went to India, thousands of widows were every year burnt alive with their dead husbands ; now these Suttee fires burn no longer. For the last forty years Suttee has been illegal; the law regards it as murder, and whenever the vile deed is perpetrated, which is very rarely the case, the chief actors in it are severely punished. In former years thousands of infants, especially female children, were every year thrown by their mothers into the sacred Ganges, to propitiate the favour of their false gods; now this is also illegal. Only a few years ago hundreds used to torture themselves by having hooks fastened in their flesh, and being thus suspended in the air and swung round and round; now this so-called Churruck Pooja is illegal. Formerly the British Government subsidised and honoured idolatry, paid the priests and prostitutes of the heathen temples, and ordered British soldiers to present arms and fire salutes in honour of some hideous and shameful idol; now all connection of the Government with idolatry has for ever ceased. Formerly, if a person became a Christian he was legally unable to retain whatever property he might possess, whilst Government prejudice was so great that any soldier becoming a Christian was at once dismissed the army; now entire liberty of conscience is enjoyed, and the convert is freed from all but social persecution, against which, in a free country, the laws are powerless. Many other evil practices or cruel rites might be enumerated which have now been done away with, or their force lessened; and while other influences have combined to bring about these good results, the missionaries have taken a most prominent part in drawing public attention to the evil deeds that were practised, and in urging upon the people and the Government the claims of Christian morality.

Another matter of great import in reference to the ultimate overthrow of idolatry and spread of Christianity is the diffusion of education.

In classing this among the indirect results of mission work in India, we do not mean that it is to be attributed to missionary influence alone. The Government has done a great deal to spread amongst the people both English and vernacular education, especially the former. But it was, to a large extent, missionary influence which, in the first instance, urged upon the Government the consideration of the terrible state of ignorance in which the masses were plunged, and the importance of doing something to check the evil. It was missionary influence which first led the Government to take the matter up, and that same influence has had much to do in the selection, as subjects for the Calcutta University examinations, of books that are moral in their tendency, and many of which contain numerous references to the Bible and to Christian truth. And missionary colleges have sent forth tens of thousands of educated men, who have not only been instructed in English science and literature, but also have been trained in Christian knowledge, under the influence of the Christian spirit manifested in the daily life of their teachers. Thus the missionaries have done much, both directly and indirectly, in the work of education in India; and it has been to a very large extent their influence alone which has been as the salt purifying the education of the country, which, without this influence, would have produced little else but the corruption of an unrestrained and immoral infidelity.

In a previous paper we treated somewhat of the effects of this education work as far as the mission colleges are concerned; by means of them the belief in Hindooism is being weakened, and the knowledge of Christianity spread among the middle and upper classes; and in many cases, even where the heart is not touched, there is a conviction of the truth of the Christian religion. In general, the results of education in India are chiefly destructive. No one who has learned English science can for a moment believe in the absurdities of the native religion. Hence, the students of English cease to believe in Hindooism ; but too often they stop there, and become conceited in their supposed wisdom, and immoral in the absence of any restraining principle, and on both accounts bitterly hostile to the truth of God. Still

, the existence of this class of men is a hopeful symptom, because it tends much to weaken the power of idolatry. It is calculated that there are in India at least a quarter of a million of people who have a good knowledge of English, and therefore despise Hindooism ; these people scattered through the country, and, in many instances, occupy. ing important posts, must exert a considerable influence in shaking the faith of the common people in their own religion; and anything that helps to undermine Hindooism aids in the removal of one of the greatest obstacles to the spread of the truth in India.

We have treated in a previous paper on female education in India, and especially the zenana mission to the women of the middle

and upper classes, which, although it has so far resulted in but few conversions, being only in its infancy, yet is one of the features of mission work that is most full of promise for the future.

Another of the results of Christian effort in India, is the gradual diffusion of the knowledge of Christianity among the people. This arises partly from the spread of education, still more from the itinerant labours of the missionaries and native preachers, and the distribution of copies of the Scriptures and of religious tracts. Where the Gospel has been long preached in a district, the people gain some amount of acquaintance with the facts and doctrines of Christianity; although where there is but a mere handful of preachers to a scattered population of one or two millions, the knowledge acquired must be very limited. Still it exists, and it is preparing the minds of the people for the reception of the truth.

The effect upon the country of all these Christian agencies, and of the influence of English government, science, education, and so forth, is somewhat as follows:- There is a general awakening of the native mind. People are beginning to get out of the old ruts; to do otherwise than their fathers did, and believe otherwise than they believed. The sight of a train rushing along, with apparently nothing to draw it, shakes even the mind of the apathetic Hindoo. Young men who have been educated in an English college, come home and spread new ideas in their native villages. The old fatalistic indifferentism and the power of custom, strong everywhere, but above all strong in India, are being roughly shaken. There is, moreover, over large parts of the country, a growing conviction of the folly of idolatry, or, at least, a lessening faith in it. People begin to question, and, with religious systems such as those of India, questioning must ere long end in disbelief. The decreasing faith of the people is markedly observable in the diminishing attendance at many of the great religious festivals, the so-called melás, like that of Juggernaut in Orissa. Where many years ago there would have been a million of people, now there will be but half that number; where there used to be a hundred thousand, now there will not be above fifty thousand. With regard to the great Juggernaut festival, the Government official report for 1868, states: “Everything about the ceremony betokens that its former éclat and grandeur are falling off.” And these melás are being slowly divested of their religious character, and becoming more and more like English fairs. Combined with the growing disbelief in Hindooism is, as we just said, an increased acquaintance with Christianity, such as sometimes to surprise the preacher. There is in many places a growing conviction that Christianity is true, that it is destined to prevail, and that ere long. The people are less hostile to the truth and to its professors and preachers; where they used to hoot at and assail the preachers who came among them, now they receive them respectfully and even in a friendly manner, and as far as the laws of caste allow will sometimes offer hospitality. People who used to dread the touch of a Christian book, as if there were infection in it, will now be willing even to pay money to purchase a gospel or tract. The opponents of the Gospel, at the present time, rather shift le plan of attack. Whereas they used to defend their

« AnteriorContinuar »