Imagens das páginas

English that did not end there. I demur not to our friend's position, that they were probably as well qualified as their fellows to acquire the languages of the country; but the fact is, that if a man does not set to in good earnest to acquire the native language when he first arrives in the country, he very seldom has the time or energy to do it afterwards ; or he is so immersed in other labours, where he can do without it, that he gives up the task. It is thus with T. S.; he can venture to say, " I could acquire it if it were necessary." Necessary! can a missionary ever pen such a word when 99 out of every hundred of the people in the land can understand no other? Necessary—when nine-tenths of the millions of India must go down to the grave unblest with the light of the gospel, unless the missionary does submit to this heartless drudgery! Is thiB the way to speak of the interests of this people? Is this the way to encourage the new missionary to set to in earnest to acquire their language?

It is true that those brethren who thus devote their energies to teaching and preaching in English are well employed; to that I object not, but they are employed only in some little favoured spots, some choice parterres of their own and others planting and dressing, while the whole waste howling wilderness remains untouched.

But tins teaching in English is advocated with especial reference to the ministry. I am afraid this is not solid ground. The natives of India make out very poorly in English unless they begin in childhood. Are we then to devote certain native children to the ministry before their religious character is developed? or are we to teach all we can with a view to a future selection ? We shall not find many advocates for the former I apprehend, and if the latter be intended, what becomes of the leading point, of teaching through the medium of the English language with a view to the ministry? How many of the youths taught English enter the ministry ? While how many of our preachers, and those who are most likely to become native preachers, know nothing or next to nothing of English? I very much fear the tendency of the system pro

{>osed by T. S. will be to make well-taught clerks, deputy colectors, &c. &c., while our real native preachers will be neglected, and the only languages through which they can be reached trampled under foot. I beg to repeat that I am looking not at Calcutta but India.

Have we not seen the flower of our native Christian youth, taught in English, go off one after the other for more lucrative and congenial employment? Has the teaching them English any tendency to make them love the work of preaching the Gospel through the medium of their native tongue? I think not. There are a few exceptions, but they are exceptions, not the rule. Beside, we cannot support a native ministry, at present, and certainly the native churches cannot, at such salaries as our well-taught native youth can command. It appears to me we shall err greatly if we raise up a native ministry which a native church cannot sustain.

And what is the great spring and motive in which this teaching of the native ministry through the medium of English is based. Is it not said that thus the newly arrived teacher of theology may commence his labours at once? I confess this does not seem to me a very weighty argument. It appears to me that it is not a very desirable matter that a newly arrived teacher, whether a young man or an old one, is the best to set about this work. If we are arguing only for teaching theology to the rising native ministry, I apprehend that there are brethren enough who have had long experience in the peculiarities of Hinduism, and know how to bring the arguments of Christianity to bear upon it, may be found, while one newly arrived may go to work in the wide field and get experience there.

1 confess that I should hail with delight, the establishment of a Bengali Theological Institution, where the very best masters should be employed, and the student taught only through the Bengali and Sanscrit, and where their whole energies should be devoted to obtaining knowledge, and acquiring the best way of imparting it, in the most forcible and effective manner. Bengali would thus be improved—its power developed and increased, and a brighter day dawn ou the native church.

But if we are to look for pastors for our native churches, taught in English, to settle down in our native villages, and hunt out Hinduism through all its jungles and fastnesses, I fear our eyes will fail with longing.

Let me not be considered as a foe to teaching English to some extent. My practice is my best defence here ; but if I am less strenuous for it than I once was, it is partly because I share the change which all missionaries, so tar as I know, experience who cultivate the native languages; and partly because I fear that a fearful delusion is spreading through many minds especially at home on this point.

Secular men will teach English for secular purposes, and if our Christian youth are so situated as to be able to acquire it, it may be of service to them, in providing for their temporal wants, but my own conviction is, that our native ministry, wlietherthey know English or not, should be taught Theology through the medium of the native languages. This is the most direct way of settling theological terms, of searching out the best phraseology, of calling forth a native Theology, and of qualifying men for the actual work we wish them to accomplish.

This too is the way to remove the difficulty airsing from the want of books. Teaching by lecture is now very generally and advantageously employed. The students would soon acquire the habit of taking down lectures, and among them men of studious habits would soon be found to supply theological works nearly as fast as they are really needed.

I crave indulgence for my letter being so hastily written, for I could not command time to write more leisurely, and subscribe myself,

Yours sincerely,

Cuttack, Sept. 10, 1840.

VII.--What is the harm of attending the Dúrgá Pújá
Natches 2

S To the Editors of the Calcutta Christian Observer. IRS, The Dárgá Pájá náches are approaching, and doubtless the invitations of the wealthy worshippers of the idol Dúrgá will as usual go forth to their Christian neighbours, the European society of Calcutta, to join them in paying honor to Dúrgi ; for though the invitation may be expressed in other words—may be, to the Dūrgā Pitjá náches, we must not forget that the náches are purposely a part of the worship of the idol Dúrgá. The choir of singers, the ndch girls, will generally be found stationed near the door of the apartment, wherein sits in Heathen state the idol, fully displayed to the view of her worshippers—though none of the Christian guests, assembled by her votaries to do her honor, may enter, to pollute a place made sacred by her presence ; the adjoining room is said to be the nearest approach a Christian may make to Dárgá. When Christians, therefore, though from mere curiosity, or civility to her worshippers who invite them, follow in the train of Dúrgá's blinded votaries—those Christians undoubtedly swell the retinue of the idol, and distinctly though probably inadvertently, give encouragement to the grossest superstition— nay they may be said to lend the chief attraction to idolatry " The Hindu worship and ritual differ so totally from our own, that amidst such melancholy scenes of native superstition, we are apt to forget, and lose sight of the fact, that they form a portion of their worship, and to fancy it merely a feast or show;—not so. The Christians worship their God in their churches, and sing, and celebrate his praise, and assemble around the communion table of their Divine Saviour who gave his life a sacrifice for sin. The Hindus likewise worship their idols, and as a part of their ritual, sing and celebrate their idol's praise by a choir of náchgirls hired for that purpose. It would appear that the ordinary náchgirls assembled before the door of the idol, merely sing their customary songs, some of which are said to be indecent, but that other singers are mixed with them who sing, as the choir, the praises of the idol / That VOL. I. 4 H

those feasts and ndches are a part of their idol worship, is obvious from the very terms of the invitation, namely, " Durgd"the idol Durgd"Pujd" worshipndches, singing and dancing: indeed if any doubt remained on this head, it would be removed by the invitation cards, some of which are said expressly to invite the company to ndches, in honor of the Dured Pujd!

Christians are forbidden to eat of meats offered to idols. Whenever their so doing can be construed as giving countenance to idolatry, and this pro. hibition extends even to the meat sold in the shambles, provided the Christian be told that it had previously been offered to an idol. How then can a Christian go to such feasts? Not that Durga's votaries would so far insult the goddess, as to offer to her the meats polluted by such European guests; the feast itself however forms a part of the display in honor of Durgd, who were she not an idol of stone, having eyes, that see not, migbt be supposed to view with complacency the Christians, assembled by her votaries to do her honor! How therefore can Christians be found amongst those who swell her retinue, and by their presence, are doing honor to tit idol?

And as regards the ndches, what would be the demoralizing effect upon a Christian congregation, say in England, of men and women, and youth of both sexes, assembled under the sanction of Divine service, tor the worship of God, were a band of females, the greater portion of whom were prostitutes, to dance and sing, as part of the worship, in such strains and songs, ill the ears and language of such an English congregation, as the ndch girls of India sing, before the idol Durgd ?—songs, it is u be feared, few of which, could be admitted into your pages!—songs not from devout lips, to the praises of a Holy God, of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, but songs where they relate to the idol, from such a choir, in praise of the exploits and lives of those beings, which unhappily are worshipped as Divine personages by the followers of Durga!! We have long and fully heard of the songs and scenes at Jugunnith ; it is to be feared that Durga's choir when unrestrained by Christian guests, may not much surpass in purity that of Jagannith. What would be the effect upon an English congregation, of worship, in their own language, such as this? Would there be found a single family to attend snch a scene of contamination under the guise of Divine worship ¥ Would not every one who bora the honored name of Christian, use his utmost endeavour to deter from going thither, his friends, domestics, and all over whom he had any influence, lest their minds should be contaminated, their principles overturned, and their lives become abandoned? and can Christians then in a foreign land act upon other principles, forgetting the high and holy name they bear, go, and by their presence at this portion of the Heathen ritual, the feast, singing and niches in honor of the idol worship, encourage such scenes, perhaps to the injury of thousands who attend ?—oh no! If it be strictly prohibited in the circumstances already stated " to eat meats offered to idols," can it be right to go to, or partake of the feasts given in honor of the idol ?—can it be right to encourage others by our presence, to go and partake of the more dangerous mental food, the songs sung by successive bands of Indian nach-girls? Christians went there in former days, in ignorance of the evil they were encouraging; but let us hope, now that the evil has been sufficiently exposed to be apparent to every one, that none will go.

Independently of Christian principles (for after becoming aware of the nature of the scene, let us hope that no sincere worshipper of the Divine Jesus, who gave his life a sacrifice for sin, could be present at, or encourage such worship of Idols), the Philanthropist has ample reason to decline attendance; for, let us see the deep injury and cruelty to nmny innocent female children, he is indirectly aiding by the encouragement of his attendance. In proportion to the encouragement given to the worship of Diirgd, or as they are distinctly styled Durgd Pujd (worship) niches, by the presence of guests, the wealthy worshippers or Diirgd increase their expenditure of rnpees to render the ndches popular, and to obtain the most attractive nach girls, to dance and sing before the idol: (it is singular th:it such a class of society as nacli women should have been thought of to do honor to the gods.) Those therefore whose profession it is to procure nach girls for such occasions, have their purses replenished and are enabled to purchase more innocent female children to be brought up to the same profession. Now it is notorious that by far the greater proportion of Indian nach girls are prostitutes. How melancholy then to reflect that every encouragement given to "ndches'' tends to add to the number of innocent female children, who are purchased for the diabolical purpose of being reared in abandoned habits?—what generous mind then would, by his presence, lend encourgetnent to the destruction of female innocence, virtue and happiness!—The whole system of niches is evil at the core, and therefore all friends of humanity ought to discourage them, and more especially when they form a part of the honor done to idols! Indeed it is incumbent on those who are aware of the evil to make it known to others, as most probably no Christian family would attend naches when once acquainted with the fact that they were so objectionable, for wherever we are present and appear even to take only a general interest and pleasure in a scene, or play, or place of native worship or nach, we are naturally supposed, at least by the natives, however ignorant we may be of the language, songs or ceremonies used, to approve of what is going on, else why should we lend the encouragement of our presence? and though most Europeans are ignorant of what is sung, the natives drink in the songs, too frequently indecent; and who would not shrink from being supposed by the natives, (who may not be aware of our ignorance of the words)—to approve of all the songs sung, by a succession of nach girls Y

It is satisfactory to know that the "Christian Observer,"—the " Friend of India," and other papers whose objects are the promotion of religion, and virtue, and the improvement of India, continue very watchful of this evil, and to warn their own countrymen against any participation in honors done to Idols; and it will be gratifying if those publications are enabled to state that this year no Christians have been found encouraging the Ddrga I'uja naches.

I remain, Sirs, &c. 2W/i Sept. 1840. A Stranger.

VIII.—History of Madagascar. By the Rev. William Ellis, Author of the Polynesian Researches.

The Government of Madagascar is a modified despotism. The high estimation in which the hereditary nobles are held, and the great influence they consequently possess, together with an ancient practice of occasionally appealing to the people concerning political affairs, have given to the subjects a power over the interests of the nation which is incompatible with an absolute monarchy.

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