« AnteriorContinuar »
been admitted to the communion of the Church during the present year.
Sabbath School. We have a Sabbath School, composed chiefly of pupils from the High School, and a Bible class of young men, chiefly from the printing office and High School.
Church. We have erected a large and comfortable Chapel in one of the principal streets of the city, in which a sermon is preached every Sabbath. The language used is Hindustani. The Church numbers, exclusive of the Missionaries and families, 6 members,— making our whole number fourteen.
Languages and Population. The whole population of Lodiana has been estimated at 30,000 persons. Of these 7000 or more are Kashmiris, who in their intercourse with each other, use the Kashmiri language: indeed many of them know no other. Of the remaining 23,000 perhaps half speak Hindustani, and the remainder Panj&bi.
I have endeavored to give you a short sketch of our operations as they are now conducted, and hope you will find it of some use in preparing the History of Indian Missions you have in contemplation.
Yours very faithfully,
R. MORRIS, American Missionary. Lodiana, Sept. 22, 1840.
Note.—We shall print all the documents received on this subject as they may afford instruction to some, while it is a sure way of preserving the facts connected with the history of Missions in India. We entreat our friends to communicate similar statements concerning their stations. —ed.
IV.—Some causes for the slow progress Christianity is making in India; in a letter to a Friend in America.
My Dear Brother,
I have often felt a wish to say a few things to the good people at home through the medium of the Chronicle, in explanation of some of the latent causes from which the progress of Christianity appears so slow in India. As the dear people of God at home who contribute, and pray, and long for the bringing in of the Gentiles, have to share with us in the delayed hopes and disappointments and trials which belong to this subject; it is right they should be made as fully acquainted as possible with the outward and visible causes which operate in this case. The more they see of the silent influences at work the less are they likely to be stumbled when they find that the outward and manifest results do not seem to come up to the full measure of the means and efforts used. And their faith and prayers and expectations will bear on the subject more exactly as it is.
I mentioned in a former letter, which I hope you have received, the extent to which the native mind is filled—utterly filled—with legendary tales, all of which are decked in the strongest colors of romance. Hence many times the very strongest announcements of the Bible often only ferve to throw the mind back into the midst of them, and make them think how utterly vapid and feeble are the strongest figures and illustrations which we use when compared with those which are common among themselves. Where they are familiar with men " weeping tears of iron," and figures equally strong on all subjects, the strongest statements that Christianity makes are considered as only second rate. Immemorial custom has taught them not to accord to any the character or title of an author until he is able to write his sentiments, or doctrines, or what he wishes the people to read, in Poetry. A prose writer is regarded merely as an aspirant to a name of which he is unworthy. Hence nearly all their works are written in verse. Hence too that extravagant fondness for the gingling, measured lines of poetry so characteristic of Asiatics. Hence too the florid style of poetry decked in the most exuberant and gorgeous imagery has transfused itself through all the Prose which they do write. Thus the commonest prose writer cannot write on the commonest subject without striving to soar into the regions of poetry: e. g. A common approved writer now before me, speaking of a few of the hangers-on of a great man in office who were begging some appointment from him, instead of saying "they indulged sanguine hopes of success in their application," says, "the rose of desire bloomed in the garden of their expectation." This is but one of a score which are found in a chapter. Take one other specimen; it is a reply to an order about some work. It begins thus—" Your devoted slave Sikandur, having performed the ceremonies of the prostration and the dependency of slavery, sendeth health to the • Qibleh*' of this world and the next, at the petitioning place of the servants of your heavenly palace, I became dignified and elevated with the honor of the auspicious contents of the illustrious mandate that was issued in the name of this meanest of your slaves, on the subject of repairing the fort of Rajore," &c. And this is found among the forms of law where perspicacity and plainness are peculiarly necessary. Capacity in this kind of gorgeous decoration is that which in a great measure gives character to a writer and brings his services into demand in this country. And the simple unpompous " doctrines of the cross" in the hands of foreigners, can do very little at captivating the ear in this style.
Again the native works contain many very judicious reflections and precepts, mixed up with a great deal that is childish and even corrupting. So when the Christian stranger repeats the purest sentiments and precepts from the Bible in their presence, they are even ready to reply " We have so and so in our books just like that," and immediatelyset their minds at work to show the similarity of their moral precepts with those we wish them to receive as new.
Again natives have to do with despotic mind in all the affairs of life. Hence all their skill and training bear on the point of learning how to manage mind in this form. The books which are prepared for the
* " Qibleth" means the place towards which one turns in prayer, as the Musalroiins do towards Mecca and the Jews to Jerusalem. VOL. I. 5 c
especial use of Kings and Rulers bend all their powers to the preparation of rulers to rule and manage men in the way of absolute despotism. And all the training and experience of the common people are directed to the management of mind (especially of superiors) in that form. One of their first and highest efforts is to learn " with the water of endurance to quench the fire of anger." And by means of cunning and artifice to get that which they cannot obtain by power. And every man must adapt his mind and all his measures to be treated by all above him as a slave, and make up his account by bearing down the harder on all below him. The ramifications of this run through the whole framework of society, and in a thousand forms retard the progress of society from the present to a later state.
Again Christianity comes into a land where all the channels of thought are in almost every possible form pre-occupied in favor of some of the native forms of religion. Thus even a virtue, or excellency of character can scarcely be named which does not to their ear express some of their own forms or modes of worship. Thus " believer" is to a Christian ear a very familiar term and full of meaning. So is it in Hindustan. But here it means belief in Muhammad and the Quran. And if we change and compound a word to express the idea, still the elements of that new word point to the Quran and its prophet. When we speak of " Musalmans," we use a term " Ahli islam," (the most popular term for Musalmans) we utter a term which means "Master, a possessor of safety or orthodoxy," whilst we are labouring to show that this very people are far from either orthodoxy or safety. If we use the term "Kalam-ullah," (Word of God) it means the Quran as distinct from the books of Moses and Jesus. If we use the term " Quran," or its more popular form "Furkdn," it means the book which "distinguishes truth from falsehood." When we speak of " Ahlullah," (people of God) it means dervises, faqirs, &c. When we recommend "piety," and the " fear of God," "deaduess to the world," &c. we are in danger of requiring people to throw off their clothes and besmear themselves with dirt, and forsaking society go and dwell in the jungle.
Thus Christianity has to wear or cut for itself new channels, whilst all the old channels are flowing full and strong with a tide which carries far away from where the Bible bids us to go. The languages of India are copious and capable of expressing great varieties in the shades of thought. But it seems as if almost every possible combination is already brought into the services of the current forms of religion. So that Christianity has to take one of three alternatives; viz. either stand back and be content with very few simple, religious and theological terms, and express the most important and oft-recurring ideas by a tedious circumlocution, or attempt to form new compounds, the elements of which will still point to persons and opinions which Christianity proves to be false and unworthy such honor, or come forward with a confident and vigorous step and wrest a sufficient number of the most clear and simple and expressive terms already in use and appropriate them to its own use. The latter is the alternative, which I think it were most desirable to choose, e. g. The word " Kalamullah," "word of God" is perhaps the most simple, musical and expressive which the language affords; and if we have to stand back at respectful distance and yield the term entirely to the Quran, and use some other compound or circumlocution in its stead, we tacitly give them the vantage ground. Thus in a whole class of most important terms Christianity has to consent to the enemies occupying the vantage ground, whilst it occupies the plains and vales below. As a matter of policy this is not wise. When military men make a hostile advance into a country, their first and steady effort is to get possession of the forts and citadels, and eminences from which they can with ease bring their artillery to bear on the surrounding lower grounds. Whether Christianity will take no valuable hint from the policy of the world or not remains to be seen. Hitherto the aspect of things seems rather to say " no." Christians seem hitherto to be toiling each in his way to mould or form, or compound such terms or circumlocutions as will express the religious and theological terms of the bible without encroachiug on the ground conceded to the quran and the shastras.
And thus until Christianity shall have either formed or appropriated terms to express her important and oft-recurring doctrines, terms which will he recognized as implying just what the Christian preacher wishes to express, the power of Christian instruction will be greatly diminished.
Thus it will be many years before Christianity will have learned the exact force of her own terms, and have the lines drawn around the definition of terms used, so as to have it known exactly what is meant. But as Christianity goes forward in this work, exhibiting her doctrines and fruits along witli the terms she uses, and thus illustrating their exact meaning, the announcements of the great truths of the Gospel will be constantly acquiring new strength.
Now whilst Christianity is thus, as it were, feeling her way through this mass of preparatory work, let not Christians who dwell on the opposite side of the globe, are acquainted only with the simple, clear, and holy doctrines of the bible propounded in well-understood terms, be stumbled or perplexed when they seem to see the results of the gospel preached in this country not proportioned to the means and appliances used.
When Christianity shall have made a channel for herself, and when the ground is more thoroughly explored, and the high grounds and citadels are a little more in possession, on the principles of mere human calculation she will begin to exert and exhibit a very different power in possessing the country. Add to this the assurauces, of lliru whose cause it is, that " the kingdom given unto the Son of man is such a kingdom that all people, nations and languages shall serve him: that his domiuiou is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed; then the faith that was wavering cannot but be strong. The vividness, the hope, the panting expectation of immediate and greatly abundant fruits, will give place to that more deep and steady faith of the Prophets which saw the certain establishment and glory of the Messiah's kingdom through a far more extended tract of time than now lies before us; and led them to act steadily on the connections of that faith though they saw that not to themselves, but to other generations they did minister in the toils and labors and privations which they endured. As ever, your affectionate brother,
J. W. Allahabad, Oct. 16th, 1840.
V.—The Temples of Wun in Nemdr.
The province of Nemar is interesting for its fine diversified scenery and several interesting places. The climitts during the rains and cold weather is agreeable, but during the months of March, April and May, it is considered the hottest part of India; its fervid heat is then particularly ungenial to a European constitution. Wun is a small town in this province, and from the number of old Jain and Brahman temples in its vicinity must have been the residence of a considerable number of those t»o sects. Die present inhabitants, however, know but little regarding them; some are not at all respected, a few (Urahmanical) which contain Lingams are resorted toby the wretched inhabitants for the benefit of puja; only one of the Jain temples is visited by the Banyans, of whom there is a very small number, and that they have not thought proper to have cleaned out. However, I should have thought it more strange if so dirty and absurdly prejudiced a set of people as the Banyans bad ventured on having their temple cleaned out, for, from the neglected state of these temples, they must contain many a happy, contented insect, which would have been brought to an untimely end, had the use of a broom been ventured upon.
Last hot weather, I passed through Won; it was one of those closely hot, sultry days that precede the setting in of the rains, which draw the perspiration from the body like the action of a heated oven on a piece of meat. I was anxious to visit the temples during the day, and once ventured out, but after inspecting one was obliged to retire to my restingplace much discomfited, for the heat and glare combined were irresistible. It would have been un excellent state of atmosphere for Monsieur Chabert to have practised upon. I was compelled to hide my diminished head. However, during the day I was indulged with a dust storm and slight sprinkling of rain, which enabled me to visit them some time before sunset.
Temple No. 1. in the town is dedicated to Ma hade va. In front is a detached pillar with capital on the summit, on which are four stout figures, (one on each side) on their bellies, very similar to the cherubim we sometimes see outside the churches in England. The base is square, and on it are some carved bulls. The steeple of the temple is of a pyramidal shape, open in the middle of its faces, and hollow inside; the corners are friesed: at the entrance are two shafts of pillars on each side of the vestibule; one side is uninjured; they are merely half pillars; above them are very well carved figures on their bellies; on each side of the entrance are longitudinal carved lines; at the base of each side of the entrance are seven female figures in alto relievo, all in good condition hut one ; on the. ceiling are some well executed medaflions; in the centre is a large one very well worked; inside below are two Lingams and on each side are some carved figures . outside are a number of carved figures of both sexes, seated and standing in recesses; the sides of the temple are richly carved in smaller pyramidal shapes; the top, especially in front, is falling into ruin.