Page images

been on trial some time, and was one of the five referred to in my letter as desiring baptism. He is a junior-assistant in the Hoppo's Linguist's office. The other was an inpatient, a husbandman, about thirty-five years old, who gave good evidence of his conversion to every member of our little church; and as he wished to return home into the country, he was baptized after only a month's trial.

We have a rule, thatevery candidate, except in particular instances, must be on probation six months, at least, before he can be baptized. The rule is a good and necessary one. It prevents giving offence to those who are urgent for immediate baptism, and operates well in testing the real characters of the converts."


MISSIONARY OPERATIONS IN GUZERAT. In November, 1844, the Rev. Mr. Clarkson, and the late Rev. Wm. Flower, were led, in the providence of God, to remove from Surat, then on the eve of being relinquished as one of the Society's stations, to the city of Baroda, about one hundred miles distant, where, and in the surrounding villages, they were encouraged by finding an open door for the entrance of the gospel. Failure of health having compelled Mr. Flower to retire in the spring of 1846, his place in the mission was supplied, before the close of the same year, by the Rev. J. V. S. Taylor. As the people of their charge were for the most part concentrated in a locality difficult of access from Baroda, the Missionary brethren, in 1847, transferred the site of the Mission to a more eligible locality, on the banks of the river Mye, where Mission premises have been erected and a Christian village established. In January of last year, Mr. and Mrs. Clarkson, after visiting this country for the benefit of their health, returned to the field of labour, accompanied by the Rev. A. Corbold and Mrs. Corbold.

In no part of India has the formidable question of caste occasioned greater embarrassment to the Missionaries, or exposed the converts to more systematic persecution, than among the villagers of Guzerat; and yet, when it is borne in mind that these wild and lawless people had had no previous instruction, or intercourse with Europeans, the success which has crowned the labours of our devoted brethren affords matter for grateful acknowledgment and praise.

Mr. Clarkson and his colleagues, in reporting the state and prospects of the Mahi Kantha Mission during last year, make the following statements, which serve to place, in a strong point of view, the dangers and difficulties, and, we may add also, the encouragements, which attend the prosecution of the Missionary enterprise among a population so peculiarly circumstanced :THE PERSECUTOR CHANGED INTO THE Christian village), the father of this family

was very bitter in his hatred to them. He * Of the two Koli families who were con would assail them with abuse and threats verted, the one was a very remarkable case. whenever any of them passed his house, or When the converts first came to Borsad (the happened to be standing near it. His field,


[ocr errors]

however, was next to one that had been no caste. Under the influence of the caste allotted to a Christian family. This brought feeling, the heathen are often fairly puzzled him into dnily contact with them: for months how to act towards our converts. They he maintained a sullen reserve towards them, ought, in strict obedience to the caste system, yet gradually he was struck with their con- to rank all Christians as Dhéds, Mahaas, or versation. At length he was prevailed upon Parias. But this circumstances will not to attend the Christians' Sabbath services. allow them to do. They are conscious of a Seeing the Christian girls read, he sent his certain something in Christianity that is at eldest daughter to our school. This brought once noble and ennobling. A convert to him under the displeasure of his caste. They Christianity is properly an utter outcast from insisted on his withdrawing his daughter all the sympathies of Hindooism, lower than from us.

Ile declined compliance, and at the lowest,--a despicable being. But & true the same time declared his own convictions convert manifests so much earnestness and of the truth of our teaching. The next day sincerity, brings forward such good reasons he proposed to join us. His clan was fierce for his change, that they cannot but respect in its opposition, the more so as he was the him; he may also evince a spirit so comfirst Koli in Borsad that was going to em- pletely superior both to the fears and the brace the new way. Four hundred of them honours of caste, and a purpose so fixed to rose in arms. They plundered his house, and draw otbers to the Saviour, that they may took possession of his wife and children. even fear him and his exertions. To despise They used every means in their power to in- & convert, therefore, is, despite their desire timidate him. But an influence greater than and their pretensions, impossible. Thus are theirs both gave him strength to resist them, the heathen affected. But, on the other and prevented them from putting their violent hand, converts from å people so spell-bound menaces into execution. After a while his by caste as the Hindoos are, cannot be esfamily, by various means, joined him, and in pected always and at once to be emancipated, December, 1849, they were all baptized. and with the water of baptism to be washed Their conduct ever since has been very satis- clean of all stains of the old pollution. The factory."

Christian public has seen how difficult it

was found to root out this plague from the ANTAGONISM BETWEEN CASTE AND

churches of the south of India. Readers of CHRISTIANITY.

our last Report will remember that our own “ The most serious difficulty that Hindoo Mission was well nigh broken up and converts have to encounter, arises from the wrecked on this rock. We insisted on all institution of caste. The sinfulness and caste rules as to food, social intercourse, and abomination of this system is not apparent to matrimonial alliances, being broken. As to a casual or superficial observer. It is a poison eating together, we adopted the primitive which, if left undestroyed, will kill every Christinn practice of the Agape, which Christian grace. To correct its power, brought all church members on convenient must be a most faithful and determined appli- occasions (generally on the Monday after the cation of the antidote. Its existence among Lord's Supper) together to one table. But the Hindoos for lengthened ages has wrought this alone was not enough to set our minds results which will need, perhaps, ages more at ease. For years after the so-called high. of strenuous effort to eradicate. Under its

caste converts in the south had yielded to banefiil influence there have arisen, among their Missionaries in the point of eating the Hindoos, communities possessed of together, did they hold out against, and characters almost as diverse as are national strenuously resist them in the case of distinctions, although they may be of the marriages. Solely from the influence of this same religion, customs, government, language, feeling, Protestant fathers have preferred giving and climate. The sentiment is strong in their daughters to Papists and heathen, rather every Hindoo mind, so that the first and most than to low-caste brethren of their own striking wonder that he feels regarding the church. Most anxiously, therefore, did we all-wonderful Europeans, is that they have wait for a marriage among our people.”


HIGH AND LOW-CASTE CONVERTS. “ We are happy now to report, that since the commencement of this year three marriages have taken place. The brides in all the cases were from the Dhéd, or low caste. They had, however, been for several years in our boarding-school, and were children of converts. The bridegrooms were a Kunbi, & Patidar, and a Koll. We thus, with great thankfulness to the Divine Head of the Church, rejoice to dea clare to our Christian friends, whose prayers we have before entreated, that the desire of their and our hearts has been granted, and that the example of breaking up the system of caste has been fairly, fully, and decidedly set in our little church, by the three first weddings that have been celebrated among the people.

“ Already do we think we notice good results. On the one hand, there is greater confidence inspired in the minds of the lower castes, who, notwithstanding all our assur: ances to the contrary, in addition to the other defects of their character, felt a secret suspicion that, perhaps, after all, they would be left by their Christian brethren to their own original heathen degradation ; and on the other hand, there has been inspired in the minds of the higher class å feeling (if we may be allowed the expression) of thorough. nessman assurance that Cliristianity does not only profess noble things, buit that it will have its professions carried out."



be had but by strife and appeal to authority, many seemed quite cast down; but one said, • What is all this? At baptism we promised to serve Christ, if need be, with the loss of our life—but who yét has lost his life, or apprehends the loss of it? Were we deceived when we professed Christ ? Do we not daily rejoice in him? Then why fear this storm ? This must blow over as others have done.' The storm has blown over. Water is now more free to them. Vanias sell without hesitation. Several combinations to ånnoy us have been broken. We now have more peace, but at times the rage of the storm has been great. At Borsad, when the first Christian Koli was baptized, four hundred Kolis with their swords were ready to check conversions and alarm the converts; nothing but wholesome fear of the British Government prevented onr little settlement from attack on that trying occasion."



OVER HS PEOPLE. “ Át Dewan, the life of our native teacher, Desai, was preserved in a remarkable man

A half-witted Koli had become attached to Desai, accompanied him wherever he went, and in every way served his family. The way in which madness had developed itself in this man

was in the utterance of foul language, as though caused by a foul demon. Under Desai's influence, this evil was restrained, and the neighbours took notice of the wonderful effect. The poor man would also join with Desai in prayer, like a little child.

“This man, Adesung, was the instrument of saving Desai's life, though, alas! it was by the loss of his own. One evening he returned with Desai, from Borshd, to Dewan. When they arrived near the Mission bungalow, Desai, instead of going direct to bis own house, where were his wife and children, in the village, sent this Koli there, telling him he would follow as soon as he had been to the bungalow and ascertained that all the residents were well.

Adesung went to Desai's house, having on him a coloured coat which belonged to Desai. He had no sooner knocked at the door, and Desai's daughter was in the act of opening it, than an unknown assassin wounded him with

" At first, indeed, everything looked dark and gloomy; all the heathen were of course opposed ; the idea of out-caste Christians coming to build and live among them, was disagreeable in the extreme : the native officials of Government,-merchants,-trades. men, labourers,-all joined in caste leagues to prevent the settlement of Christians. Often was the faith of the little band ready to faint. Often did they (especially the women) say, 'This is too hard for us.' But one or two were stronger. We remember, on one occasion, when our fields were unfruitful, when the merchants refused to sell grain, when water from the public well could not

[ocr errors]

a sword in the leg. Adesung fell, exclaiming, bours of Christian farmers refused to give or "Why have you struck me?' Desai's receive help. This unfriendly spirit did not, daughter pursued the murderer for some

however, last long: there is no difficulty now distance, but no one helped her, or did experienced on this score. Thus the Chrisaught to apprehend the fugitive. As the tian farmers have frequent and very good assassin passed, the villagers shut them

opportunities of conversing with their neighselves in their houses. The wound was in- bours. flicted by a poisoned weapon, and proved “We are constrained to offer a few general mortal. Adesung survived only a few days. remarks as to the religious standing of the When carried on a khatelo from the village, converts at Borsad. It is with gratitude we his words were not of imprecation, but of

say, they have now been the joy of our blessing on his murderer. He was, as the hearts for several years. We doubt not but people themselves remarked, the shield of that they will be our crown and rejoicing in Desai. The Christian was to have been the

the great day.' The realities of Christian victim; the Koli received the stroke. The character have been so strikingly developed people acknowledged the hand of God in

in them, that, in justice to them, and to the preserving the Christian. The murderer has

grace of God which has made them what not been discovered, or at any rate has not

they are, we continually glorify God on their been convicted. We have had frequent occa

account." sions of alarm at Dewan. The friends of

STATISTICS OF THE MISSION. Gungaram have frequently told him to be careful in not exposing himself alone at “ The agricultural residents at Borsad, (all night, and not to travel without some safe- of whom are baptized) in the Khasi Vadi, guard. In several directions have we heard (Beautiful Garden,) comprise nine families, of a plot against the life of this native consisting of forty-three individuals. teacher, whose influence, the people of Dewan “ The resident weavers of Dewan comprise suppose, is paramount. On one occasion, he six families, consisting of twenty-six indi. was beset by several men, but providentially viduals, four of whom are unbaptized. Add escaped by the fleetness of his horse, and his to these, the native teacher Gungaram and own presence of mind.

his wife. “We are made to feel that we are in an “ Besides these, are converts who do not enemy's country, and although our hand is reside in the Mission establishment. Of against no man, we fear that from these these, most keep aloof from us, and we people, who are professional thieves, and fear scarcely recognize them as Christians. One not the shedding of blood, there are many family of Kanvadi is now in conjunction with whose hand is against us.

the Mission, comprising six individuals. " It is greatly to be regretted that the Kolis From all the baptized adults, sixteen are are allowed to go armed. The slightest pro- constant communicants. vocation tempts them to employ their “ Belonging to the above families, of both weapons."

places, nearly twenty children are receiving

instruction in the boarding-school. , ENCOURAGEMENTS.

“ The Missionaries are looking forward “ Notwithstanding all adverse appearances, with renewed hope to the future. They are we are grateful to say that in some quarters a enlarging their operations, according to their friendly feeling exists. The relatives of

design expressed in 1846, by building a several converts who at one time, especially Mission House at Borsad, where a convenient before the formation of the Christian village, piece of land has been procured, contiguous refused to have any intercourse with them, to the Christian settlement, which will thus now visit them, will sometimes eat with them, derive invaluable benefit from daily means of and occasionally remain for a time in the grace. Our experience at Borsad has led us colony.

to hope that it may be found as healthy “ In the fields, neighbourly co-operation is a locality as any other inland part of indispensable. At first the heathen neigh- Guzerat.

* From August, 1848, to January, 1851, and Mrs. Clarkson to their sphere of labour, the whole duties of the Mission devolved on and by the accession to their number of Mr. Mr. and Mrs. Taylor. They were graciously and Mrs. Corbold. enabled to sustain them,-and, amid personal " It is proposed, 60 soon as these latter and relative trials, the work of the Lord Missionaries shall have learned the language prospered in their hands. The Mission was to plant a third Mission, in such locality reinforced in January; by the return of Mr. the providence of God may indicate."


It is matter of common observation, that, while the head of the Papady has, by the tide of events, become little better than a prisoner in his own capital, and an object of indifference to those who owe him temporal allegiance, his spiritual emissaries are compassing sea and land to make proselytes to the system which recognizes, in this impotent sovereign of the Roman States, an infallible guide.

Not only have the zeal and energy of the Vatican been signally evinced in the endeavour to strengthen the influence of Popery on the continent of Europe, and to restore its lost ascendancy in Protestant Britain, but also to extend its domain to the ends of the earth. By means of the " Association for the Propagation of the Faith," the Church of Rome has been enabled to send forth missionary agents, in considerable force, to Asia, to Africa, to America, and to the Islands of the Pacific Ocean; and it is a significant fact, in connexion with this organization, that its agents have directed their main efforts—not to the unoccupied territories of heathendom-but to those more attractive spots, where they deen their greatest trophies are to be won--the fields long cultivated by the Protestant Missionary. We can, however, have no hesitation in statingand we believe the conductors of other Protestant Missionary Institutions would be prepared to corroborate the statement—that the attempt of the Romanists to make converts in those parts of the heathen world where the Gospel has been received, have, to a great extent, proved abortive. It has, moreover, been ascertained, that the failure is, in many instances attributable to the fact, that discerning natives have discovered a remarkable coincidence between their former idolatrous usages, and the actual rites and ceremonies of the Church of Rome.

The friends of Protestant Missions have sometimes expressed surprise, and perhaps a degree of alarm, on hearing of the vast apparatus employed by the apostate church in connexion with its foreign operations; but while it cannot be denied that the pecuniary resources of the “ Association for the Propagation of the Faith " are considerable, it is satisfactory to have the means of estimating those resources on a fair comparison with the sum total of the contributions of the various Protestant Missionary Societies. In the following article, extracted from the Friend of

« PreviousContinue »