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own religion, now, in many places, they have given that up as hopeless, and seek rather to attack Christianity with the weapons with which Newman and Colenso have furnished them. In all these ways the people, in districts where the Gospel is preached, are being gradually drawn nearer to the truth.
We might refer also to the gradual moral elevation of the people, especially where they are brought more into contact with the influence of Christianity or civilization. A moral public opinion is being gradually formed. Native papers urge the Government to pass stringent laws against perjury. Thousands of natives petition Government to make polygamy illegal. The moral sense of the people is being gradually elevated, and the smoking flax of conscience is being slowly quickened to a flame.
Everything in India is in a transition state--the people are awaking out of the dream of ages, and many a one is looking around and saying, “Who will show us any good ? ”. Some years ago, just when Bishop Colenso first published his religious views, a Mohammedan gentleman in India began to bring out a commentary on the Bible, in English and Hindustani, in which he spoke in the most respectful terms of the Sacred Scriptures. We have heard much lately about the Brahmo Somáj, through the visit to this country of one of its leaders, Baboo Keshub Chunder Sen. This Somáj (which word means " society,” Brahmo being the name of the Supreme God) was established, forty or more years ago, by the celebrated Rammohun Roy, but its doctrines have been very much developed since that time. The Somáj began by simply giving up idolatry, but has gradually approximated to Christianity, till the advanced section, represented by Chunder Sen, has virtually reached the Unitarian standpoint, and they recognise in Jesus Christ one of the best, if not actually the best, the most Divinely inspired man that ever lived. These Brahmists, as they are called, though few in number, exert considerable influence, because, from their position outside the Church, the movement has more of a native aspect, although there is really nothing original in their views, which are taken from English authors, especially of the Newman and Parker school. They present to us, in a tangible form, the transition state of thought in India; and although at present they are opposed to the Gospel
, yet when we consider that the movement started from heathenism, that it has now reached Unitarianism, that it has been
progressive and upward in its course of belief, that there can be no real resting-place short of the Gospel, we may well look with great interest on this Brahmo Somáj, both for what it is in itself, and for what it implies as to the development of thought in India.
Thus, apart from the direct results as shown in the conversion of souls, we see how much has been done in the direction of removing obstacles, weakening hostile powers, spreading a knowledge of the truth, and in general preparing the way of the Lord. It is a cheering fact that the older missionaries are usually the most hopeful. Those who have but newly arrived, are often
much cast down at the difficulties
to be encountered, and the apparent want of success; but those who have been many years in the country, and can compare India as it is with what it was thirty or forty years ago, see the enormous advance which has been made. It is a cheering fact also, that while civilians and military men usually look forward anxiously to the time when they will be permitted to retire on a pension and leave the country, missionaries, though in receipt of a very much smaller income, are generally anxious to return to their work, and hope to live and die in it. They know the work better than any others, and it does not look as if it were a failure, when, if health permits their return, they generally reject all offers to stay at home, and prefer rather to go back to their beloved work,
But let us not be impatient, expecting that in a few months or years the time for the regeneration of India will have come. The whole of the present generation of Christians may have to die before the large increase, the abundant harvest, is granted.
Whilst we speak of what has been done, let us remember how much remains to be done. If education is spreading, yet it is calculated that not more than four per cent of the population can read ; if the Gospel is becoming known, yet the knowledge of it is very limited; and there are vast districts in which there is no preacher of the Gospel at all, and where the people have never once heard the name of Jesus. To raise so vast a population from so deep a degradation demands the utmost efforts of the Church of Christ. Would that the preachers she sends to that land were tenfold, a hundredfold, more numerous than they are, and then they would be far too few! “Pray ye there. fore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into His harvest."
“SPARKLE!" “ WHAT noise is that, father! “Don't startle her," whispered Birds? How sweet! I don't see the considerate elder, and all the anything, do you!"
time the little sand-hill grew higher, * Hush ! Look down there."
and the sounds grew louder, wilder, The father pointed below the freer and more musical. Creeping bridge upon which they stood, to | down the tangled bank, they were where a girl sat, near the dry bed of close beside her before she was a brook, lifting the sand and pebbles aware. in her hands, and letting them run “What's your name, Sis?" asked through her slender fingers upon a the elder, kindly. mound she seemed to be uncon “ Can't you tell me your name?" sciously forming, and at the same as she paused, eyeing them sustime pouring out a wild, half dis piciously, with her dark brows cordant, half melodious air, regard gathering into a half-frightened less of the two who quietly stood to frown. listen.
“ Sparkle ! ” “It's a girl, father. What a lean, “Sparkle! That's a queer name! scrawny, big-eyed face she has ; let's | Is that all-what's the other p” go down there!”
"Spark for short, and Fire-brand
when they're mad at me," with a "Where they live--woods, you don't-care gleam in her eye.
know.” "Mad at you! Who gets mad at He found he was winning her such a midge as you ?” asked the confidence. boy scornfully.
“Would you let me go with
you The folks!”
some time? introduce me to the “But what's your last name, and birds; I like music too." whom do you belong top" with in- "Do you?" staring soberly in his creasing interest from the father. face.
Ain't got no last name, and “ Ask Rob to sing to you,” said don't belong to nobody, so now !” the father in reply. shrugging her shoulders and turn- “Will you ?” turning brightly to ing away. Plainly she did not like him, her face lighting up wonderthis questioning:
fully, “ Oh, will “* But you sing sweetly, dear; Laughing and blushing, Rob comwho taught you tell me, that's a plied, singing a little gay chorus he nice girl; here's sixpence for you,
had learned at school, and ending do you know what it's for p" as her with part of a sweet, plaintive, Scotch eyes, lighting upon the coin, gleamed song, a favourite with his mother. with half-concealed joy.
All the while, the bright dark eyes where did you learn to sing? P” of the puny girl seemed to be drink"Will you gi' me that p slyly. ing in every varying sound; she “Yes, take it now.”
bubbled over with laughter at the "I learned of all the birds, the first, and tears glittered on her air is full of them, and the bees, lashes when he ended. It was a they'll be here again soon,” making study to the gentleman to watch her å buzzing sound so near that the face. gentleman started and the boy “Now you must sing for me, laughed aloud.
Spark.” What a funny thing it is, father! “Yes," and such a medley as she Look here, Spark, Brand, or what- trilled forth filled them with amazeever you are, tell us where you live; ment; the bright cheerful note of don't be afraid of father, I never the robin, with her head perched on
one side; the sweet song of the "Pooh! I ain't afraid. See that blue-bird; the plaintive sound of old black house on the hill p"
the whip-poor-will; then a gush of “Yes."
melody that one expects from ar " That's the poor - house. Live canary or yellow-bird; and at last, there."
raising her arms as if to fly, she "Whew!" whistled the boy, glanc- gave the crow of a veritable shanghai, ing into his father's face.
and almost flew up the bank beyond “Do you like to live there p” their reach. Rob was about to questioned the other, apparently to spring after her, but his father reprolong the interview.
strained him. 'Guess 80-dunno---don't like “Let her go, Rob. I think we'll anything only to be in the woods," come again and see her." then looking into the boy's frank, Looking back with a
merry, blue eyes with a sweet, childlike triumphant glance, she sped towards candour one would not have thought the old house in the distance, and the elfin face could have assumed, they turned toward the town. she added, "I like the birds, they Well, father, what do
think?" know me, and they aren't afraid, “Remarkable mimicry."
“I wish mother could see her. "Gowhere, dear?” asked the father. In the poor-house ! it's a shame."
When I go alone."
and called, “Send Sparkle to the The next day at the same hour, a front room, some of you
there." chaise drew up before the door of A moment, and the door swung the town poor-house, from which the open again, showing to the stranger gentleman, with a lady, alighted. the same little creature he had seen She was a sweet, motherly looking before by the road-side. A face half person, with the same look in her sullen, half inquiring at first; but blue eyes that Rob had. It was his the moment her glance fell on the mother. The story had filled her gentleman, she cast such a look of with interest,-she would follow it sunshiny pleasure upon him, that he up.
wondered no longer at the singular Soon, in a little dingy parlour of name she bore. the house, the matron was telling “Come here, Sparkle,” he said, the little she knew of the girl's smiling. history. Brought there when she She came at once. was quite a baby by a man who was “This is Rob's mother. You too ill to proceed on his journey to remember Rob?" a neighbouring town where he She nodded, looking into the lady's hoped for work, she had been there face, who asked, “ Will
you ever since. The man was a foreigner,
Sparkle ?" and soon died, begging the matron The girl looked at her in amaze. to be kind to his child. Her mother ment, while the lady drew her close, was dead, she had no one on earth and tenderly kissed the thin scarlet to care for her; so he said in his lips. broken English ; and as she lay on
There was no response; like & his arm, he called her Sparkle, or marble image the girl stood in her something that sounded like it. So embrace, her eyes fixed on the sweet, the former matron had said before kind face; sparkling no longer, but she left, and the name had clung to tearful, with feelings she could no the child ever since. It was all they more understand than control. knew of her history. She was a Why, what's the matter, child ? wild, headstrong girl, quick to learn, have I hurt you? don't you love to ready to work, but with a passionate be kissed?" temper, that brought her many a
“ Yes'm, I dunno,-nobody ever whipping
did so before. “How old is she po asked the “La, child, how you act; of course s lady, and there was a tremour in her. you've been kissed; to be sure
voice, that the matron thought there's something else to do in this timidity, but her husband would house, and I never was no hand for have called suppressed indignation. foolin' over children. I give 'em
She's eight, but small at that.” enough to eat, and keep 'em busy, “And what work can such a child so they're happy enough.”. do, pray tell me?"
The lady paid no attention to this “Oh, in a house like this, there's tirade from the uneasy matron, but plenty for younger ones than she is. holding Sparkle close to her, asked She's old enough to wash dishes and in a low, loving voice, sweep. We all work here,” with a “Would you like to go with me, slight toss of the somewhat untidy Sparkle, and be my own little girl, head.
and never come here again ? : I had “ Can I see the child ?"
a little girl once, she is in heaven “Oh yes. She's never clean or May I have you?" in order for company-screaming “Yes, yes; take me! I'd do any. out in some mudhill
, I'll be bound." thing for you. I know how to Nevertheless, she went to the door work.”
“But I don't want you to work.”. the happy Sparkle at once joined “What do you want me to do ?” him in, much to the amusement of rith a grieved look of disappoint- Mr. and Mrs. Tilson. nent. The child had been taught “Is it a fact, father; really now?” o think hard work the all-important
asked Rob. part of living
To which blind query the father "I want you to love me," whis- replied, “Trust your eyes, Rob. pered the lady.
It's a fact. Your mother decided The head nodded vigorously, the the matter on the strength of the eyes fairly shone.
first kiss; she is ours now.” “I will! yes, I will!”
“Glorious!” said Rob.
vi Look "I shall want you to kiss me here, Sparkle, this is your home, you every day,” still whispering.
never had any other, you know. If “Yes, of course.”
anybody comes prying round, tell " And sing to me.”
them you dropped from the skies, “Yes."
will you ?” And buzz and crow, too."
“Yes, I'll tell them,” her cheeks “Oh yes, I can,” the head still glowing, and eyes shining: nodding rapidly.
“ We'll tell them the birds brought “Now, when they get through you, dear,” said Mrs. Tilson, as she talking you must be ready; I shåll drew her in the door, thinking in take you right along. Have you her heart that no one should get a got a hat?"
glimpse of her until she looked less “A shaker, yes; shall I get it p." forlorn. “Well, no, dear; I have a shawl. A few days only, and it would And this veil will look better this have been difficult to recognise the warm day," pinning a soft, white, child as the same once playing by cloudy thing beneath her chin. the bridge in the sand. The bare "So you're going to take her feet were covered neatly; the little right off , marm”
figure arrayed in a bright muslin, “I think so; my husband has the
set off with a dainty white apron; necessary order, I believe; and if frills in neck and sleeves made the you have no objection, it will save dark skin look brighter and fresher; me coming again.
and the eyes had seemed to garner "Oh, it don't make no kind of up the summer sunshine, so full of difference ; I believe I've got kind joy were they; o' used to her. I shall miss her, to There had been some thought of be sure. Run out, Spark, and tell giving her another name, that she the girls good-bye—no such luck for might the sooner forget her former the rest on 'em."
abode, but Rob vetoed that veheOn the ride back to town, the mently. happy child sat between the two,
“I couldn't know her by any drinking in every kind word and other name, mother. It just suits loving look. Beneath the white veil her; do let her keep it. Sparkle her eyes were like stars, and the Tilson ! I'm sure it's just the thing. thin shawl was held tightly to a I'd as soon tear out her eyes as heart that had never throbbed before change her name.' with a happiness so intense.
it was decided, and by-and-by As they drove into the yard, Rob, Sparkle went with Rob to school. just back from school, met them The children soon looked upon her with a whistle, a suppressed halloo; as Rob's beloved sister, laughed at and then, as the truth flashed upon
her tricks, admired her skill at him, he sent up a great shout ending mimicry, and faithfully believed that with an attempt at crowing, which she had been dropped from the sky,