Page images
PDF
EPUB

ABBEOKUTA, AND ITS CONVERTS.

75

not. The circumstances are related by the Rev. S. Crowther in the following paragraph

Oct. 31, 1852—At the morning service I baptized the aged mother of John Baptist Dasalu, who has become a changed character since the capture of her son in the late attack upon Abbeokuta by the king of Dahomey. Although John's ransom has not yet been effected, and she is disappointed month after month, waiting for his return, he being the son of her old age, yet she often talks of the instruction she used to receive from him-how he used to urge her to follow him to church, and worship God. Some time back she was taken very ill, and thought she would die. Then she gave up the hope of seeing her son any more in this world, but she did not wish to miss him in the next. She said,

My son was a Christian. If I die a heathen, and in my sin, we might not meet again, because my son used to say there will be a separation between the evil and the good after death.” She desired to give herself to the same Jesus whom her son serves. We took advantage of this change in her mind to implant the truths of Christianity in her heart, and lead her to “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Mr. Barber visited her frequently. She being fully decided, she was this day, according to her anxious wish, baptized by the name of Elizabeth. Eve, our most aged member, was chosen by Elizabeth as one of her witnesses, old Eve being her instructor and adviser at home also, before Elizabeth was fully decided. The sight of those two aged persons by the side of each other during the time of baptism was very affecting I preached from 1 Cor. xv. 53–55, and afterwards administered the sacrament of the Lord's Supper to seventy-three persons, old Elizabeth being admitted.

We add another deeply-touching account of a young lad removed by death from the family of our native catechist, Mr. T. King, who writes

Aug. 26, 1852—We have been called upon to sustain the loss of Isaac Robbin, my brother-in-law, a lad about the age of fifteen, who breathed his last about nine this morning. He had for many months suffered much from a peculiar illness, which none could understand, and which bude defiance to all medical help. The poor lad was sent to us by the parents a short time after our arrival here, as he did not make his wishes known in time previous to our embarkation. His conduct since he came here has become decidedly changed, from what it used to be since he has been with us for upwards of eight years, having put aside all childish and bad tricks, and become very mild, obedient, and beloved by all. Besides, he manifested that his heart had been wrought upon by the Author of a divine change, which leads us to believe that he is taken to a better abode, and to the best of parents. One or two cases might be mentioned to prove this.

As it was customary with Mrs. King to catechize the children that are with us on what they have heard in church, Isaac one Sunday, having taken his Bible, turned to the text, and was reflecting on what to say, when he saw two of his companions playing, to whom he said, “ Are you playing, instead of thinking on what to say ?” On this Mrs. King told him to attend first to the beam in his own eye. “I do attend to it,

76

OBITUARY OF AROKKIA NADAN.

ma'am," was the reply. After this he was closely questioned as to whether he understood what was meant, when he was not only emphatic in his answer in the affirmative, but at last burst into a loud cry, with a flood of tears, saying, “I believe that God has pardoned my sins." To all who were present this was very affecting, as it was altogether unexpected. In the evening, after an interval of more than six hours, he was again called, and, in a very gentle manner, questioned why he did so. It appeared that his heart overflowed, and, attempting to make a reply, he burst out again as at the first, and said the sanie words.

On another occasion, as our little child was sitting near him, and stretched both its hands towards the mother, who immediately took it up,

“ Exactly so," remarked Isaac, “Jesus Christ apprehends every sinner that comes to Him.". When he was questioned whether he had been apprehended by Him, he laughed, and said, “Oh, you ask me too deep a question.” On the repetition of the inquiry, he smiled, and said, “O yes, Sir.”

Other facts might be mentioned, such as his being found engaged in private prayer, &c. Though he was very weak on Monday, three days before his death, at the weekly prayer meeting, and lay down sleeping, he abruptly joined the tune when we commenced, and sang so loudly that his voice overpowered the rest. In this way he continued to sing, almost beyond his strength, till the hymn ended. Considering how he might have been one of the first in the Institution that is just now opened, this afflictive dispensation of Providence is indeed an acute one to us, but especially to Mrs. King.

So the Lord continues to gather in the number of His elect. They come from various climes and countries-from Africa and India, New Zealand and the stern regions of Rupert's Land. Wherever the gospel is preached faithfully it is found to be "the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth," whether aged or young.

May we experience its power, and share its blessings!

OBITUARY OF AROKKIA NADAN.

Our native Missionary, the Rev. John Devasagayam, has communicated the following particulars respecting this aged catechist, who had long laboured for the spiritual good of his countrymen in the Tinnevelly district,

He entered on his rest on the 15th of June 1852, aged 85 years. His heathen name was Periakannoo Nadan, and, like the rest of the heathen, he worshipped Sudalei Maden and several other idols. About twenty-five years ago, he and many other heathen came under Christian instruction. A good many of them became backsliders when a persecution arose from the heathen in consequence of their profession of Chris. tianity; but Arokkia Nadan remained faithful to the end. He was baptized by the late Rev.C.T. E. Rhenius, and always manifested a deep sense of his corrupt nature, and a well-grounded hope of pardon and mercy through faith in Christ, the only Saviour of sinners. As he was a man of property and exemplary conduct, he was appointed a headman of the

OBITUARY OF AROKKIA NADAN.

77

congregation. He evinced a particular desire for the conversion of the heathen. He was very active in bringing the people of both sexes to morning and evening service, and to the Sunday services in the church. His own conduct was a bright example to them. Even in extreme old age he was regular in going to the church every day, with the help of a cane. Once, in a dark and rainy night, when the wind was strong, he fell down near the church, and cried for help. I ran immediately, and asked him how he thought of coming to the church in the dark. He answered thus_“You know how much we suffered from want of rain, and how we prayed for it. The Lord has mercifully given us a little rain. Am I not bound to thank Him for it?" After the service, finding that many did not come to the church, he exclaimed, “ Alas ! like the nine lepers whom our Lord cured, they are ungrateful for the mercy shown to them.” So he went to the houses of the people, and, rebuking them, entreated them to render praises to God, at least in their houses. On Sabbath days, after service, he used to spend the rest of the day in hearing the word of God read to him. He and his three sons, as is the case with many heathen, were not early instructed in reading; but his grandchildren of both sexes were taught in our Christian schools, and were a great comfort to him. One evening, while I was teaching the women their catechism, one of them was not able to repeat her lesson, when Arokkia Nadan addressed her in the following words—“Amma (dear child), your heart is like the ground which received the seed that fell by the way-side; but pray to God that He may teach you by His Holy Spirit.” She said, “Oh, Nadan! what shall I do? The lesson does not remain in my mind.” He replied, “When you pray to our Saviour, say, O Lord, open my heart, as you did Lydia's ;' and then your understanding will be enlightened."

During his last illness, I read to him of the sufferings of our Saviour, from Matt. xxvii. He shed tears, and said, “What great love to me, the sinner, in suffering so much for me." I then left him, and went to him again in the evening, and asked him if he wished that I should read a chapter from the gospel. He answered, “I have no other desire so great and so sweet as to hear the word of God.” I read to him Luke xxiii., after which he said, "My sin is the great cause of my Saviour's suffering so much.”—I asked, “How ?" He answered, “ The Lord has shed His blood to save me, a sinner;" and repeated a verse from the hymn, “Dear Lord ! why all these plagues or sufferings to Thee? Alas! they are caused by my sins : so, if I look to Jesus who suffered for me, He will pardon my sins and save me."

Another day he was visited by a number of his relatives and friends. After I had offered up a prayer, he looked around, and observed his daughter, who is still a heathen. She had been married to a heathen before Arokkia Nadan became a Christian. He addressed her in the following terms—“ It grieves me exceedingly to see you a heathen, and remaining in a state in which you cannot embrace Christ as your Saviour. Here is a Christian church in this village : come and live here, learn the word of God, trust in our Saviour for the pardon of your sins, and

soul's salvation. I have often exhorted you and your husband, but neglected my advice, and trust in the devil. I therefore did not come to see you. Respect my dying advice at least, and embrace the gospel.

your you

have * The Bible, the Christian vedam. Some of the sacred books of the heathen are called the vedas.

78

BUDDHIST PRIESTS IN CHINA.

If not, your fate will be awful.” Observing some of his children in tears, he said to them, “Do not weep like the heathen, who have no hope beyond the grave. My heavenly Father calls me: I desire to go gladly to the house of my Father." "He then looked at me, and said, “Dear catechist, pray for me, and commend me to the Lord's will.” I accordingly prayed for him. He then said, “When the Lord removes me, you must take care that our people do not weep like the ignorant heathen.” I then read to him the 25th chapter of Matthew, and gave him some exhortation.

I came to him on the following day, and told him that his present sickness might end in death. He said, “I don't fear to die. I wish to ' finish my course with joy’and comfort, and go to my Saviour.” I asked him to tell me the text which gave him such a comfort. He answered, “ Did not our Saviour say, 'Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest? These words," he added, "give me solid comfort." I then read to him the 14th chapter of St. John. He said, with a feeble voice, that he was prepared to go to his heavenly Father's house, like the wise virgins. I asked him if he knew the parable of the ten virgins.

He told me that he knew it when he came to learn Vedam,* and that he was prepared to meet the Bridegroom three years ago. As he was very weak, I offered up a prayer, and came away.

On another day, when I spoke to him, he repeated to me the following verse—“O Lord, let me die by the side, or under the shelter, of Christ! and told me that he was washed by the blood of our Saviour, and that he hoped he would obtain eternal rest. He told me further, that, when he gives up his spirit, although unable to speak, still he would commit his soul to the care of

heavenly Father. I read to him the 5th chapter of the 2d Epistle to the Corinthians. He then sighed, and prayed, O Lord, when my earthly house of this tabernacle is dissolved,' receive me into that'house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens!'”

One day, when suffering exceedingly, he lifted up his hand. We understood that it was a sign for prayer, and I prayed immediately. A few minutes after, he stretched out his hands, and his happy spirit took its flight to the realms of glory. In the evening his burial service was performed by me. It was attended by all his numerous family, and a great number of Christians, heathen, and Mabommedans. He was loved and respected by all around him, and was always called Peria, or

great, Nadan.

BUDDHIST PRIESTS IN CHINA. BUDDHISM is the most widely-extended of all false religions. It prevails over Ceylon, Thibet, Siam, and Birmah. In Cochin-China, China, Japan, and Luchu, it possesses much influence, although not to the same extent as in the four countries first mentioned. In the three latter it has no support from government; and in China, except the priests and nuns, no one is called a Buddhist.

Buddhism has excellent moral precepts, but they are a dead

BUDDHIST PRIESTS IN CHINA.

79

letter, as there is no principle to enforce them. It ignores the existence of an eternal God, and substitutes the worship of a dead man-Gaudama Buddhu—who died about five centuries and a half before the Christian era. Besides this, it with facility admits into union with its own peculiar tenets every other species of idolatry and superstition; and in this way the Buddhist priests came gradually to be regarded in China as the priests and ministers of the popular idolatry. They live in monasteries, where they profess to renounce the world and live in celibacy. As a token of purity, they shave the entire head. They get their livelihood by begging, by the alms of worshippers, by cultivating the grounds of the temples, and by the sale of incense-sticks, gilt paper, candles, charms, and fees for services at funerals, and on the Chinese All-souls' day, when hungry ghosts are fed. Some, going about the streets, collect, in baskets, the scraps of printed or written paper, and carefully burn them, lest the sacred names of Confucius or Buddhu should be defiled; others earn a penny or two by writing inscriptions or charms on doors ; and not a few are thieves. Some of these employments are represented in the engraving.

[graphic][subsumed]
« PreviousContinue »