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mortals, your agents at this station are still enabled to hold on their accustomed course without any material interruption. Our divine Saviour has graciously prolonged our unworthy lives.and preserved us in health and activity up to the present period. The usual routine of missionary duties has been gone through, and no available opportunity wilfully neglected, of endeavouring to communicate the saving knowledge of the gospel to them that sit in darkness and the shadow of death; —but still we cannot but feel our need of a revival, and of a double portion of the Spirit of all grace, to prevent our desponding under the long trial of our patience, and to invigorate us while waiting for the early and the latter rain; particularly as we see so little good resulting from the long-continued operations at this station, and the heathen mind still remaining proof against repeated efforts to bring them acquainted with the truth as it is in Jesus. Those only who know the worth of immortal souls, and who feel the stirrings of a Saviour's love, can have any adequate conception of the sorrow and anguish that fill the missionary's mind, when, going from house to house, day after day, he meets the same cold reception, observes the same chilling indifference, and is dunned by the same stale objections, which have been answered a thousand times, and still a thousand times recur, as if they had never been refuted. To keep up the spirit of vigorous effort in spite of opposition, is easy, compared with the maintaining of it amidst inattention and neglect. Grace and prayer alone can keep alive the flame of missionary zeal amid such discouragements—oh, that the Lord would visit us in mercy, and make all grace to abound towards us! And, oh, that every well-wisher to missionary objects would be fervent in prayer on our behalf, and give the Lord no rest till he come and rain righteousness upon us!
Missionary Labours at the Station.
Notwithstanding, however, the desponding and self-condemning tone, in which I have been compelled to commence this communication, yet have we had, during the last half-year, some reason to thank God and take courage. The English congregation, en Sabbath mornings, has maintained, yea, increased, its usual numbers, and a proportionate degree of seriousness and attention has been visible. Two of our English friends have, within the last few months, given decided evidence of a work of grace on their souls, and have joined us in celebrating a Redeemer's love. One of these has been brought by affliction to seek an interest in the best things, and the other has been constrained to devote his youth to God as the most reasonable service. The Malay service, every Lord's-day at noon, has been con
ducted as usual by Mr. Young, who has kept charge likewise of the Chinese schools, and, by his devoted piety and discreet demeanour, has increasingly endeared himself to all around. The three members of our native church continue steady, while their number is likely to be increased by a few additions from among the native Christians here. The service, formerly mentioned as conducted in the Dutch church, every alternate afternoon, has been continued, as also the lecture in the open air to the convicts, whose numbers have lamentably increased to upwards of five hundred. Their wild untutored minds seem sometimes impressed, and their attention considerably arrested by the truth. On Friday evenings, a sermon is preached in the Malay language, and on Tuesdays a prayer-meeting is held in the same tongue. Depok is visited occasionally, and evidence of good appears.—In addition to these stated services, daily visits are made to the natives in the streets, campongs, and bazaars, for the purpose of conversation and tract distribution; on these occasions, when a few are found collected together, or even one seen seated alone and unemployed, the opportunity is embraced for the introduction of sacred things, and for the exposition of the main doctrines of the gospel. The certainty of future retribution, the demerit of sinful men, the need of a Saviour, and the suitableness of the gospel to our state and wants, are the main topics.
Defective and erroneous Notions of Moral Obligation entertained by the Chinese at Batavim.
The chief difficulty with the Chinese seems to be, to make them at all sensible of their guilt and danger, principally because sin, in their estimation, is a very different thing from what it is in ours; the word sin, in their language, being synonymous with crime, and those things only being accounted sinful which are cognizable and punishable by human laws ;—thus murder, arson, theft, and adultery, axe considered sins; but lying, deceit, fornication, gaming, drunkenness, pride, anger, lust, and covetousness, together with all bad passions of the human heart, which do not proceed to any glaring act injurious to our fellow-creatures, are none of them considered in the light of sins. Whatever Chinese moralists and philosophers may assert and teach, Chinese men and women in common life do not regard these things as criminal, do not strive against them, nor feel any misgivings on account of their prevalence in their hearts and lives. I have heard them openly and unblushingly plead for the policy and even necessity of deceit in business, without which, they pretend, that they could not live; fornication I never heard condemned as unlawful, so long as both parties were willing to live in that state, and no connubial engagement was infringed thereby; gaming is tlie more strongly pleaded for on account of its being licensed by law; and drunkenness, with its cognate vice, opium-smoking, can be looked upon as no offence, in their estimation, so long as the intoxicating drug or liquor is purchased with their own money. Indeed, no evil disposition, which can be concealed from human observation, is considered by them as criminal; and, in their reasonings among themselves, their blinded consciences fail not to excuse without accusing them for their transgressions. The law of God has been frequently laid before them, in all its strictness and impartiality—but it is not so easy for a Chinese to apprehend the ground of its authority, or to receive it as a divine communication on the mere words of a stranger; particularly when, instead of recommending itself to their judgments, all the precepts of the first table, and not a few of the second, when explained in their utmost latitude, run directly contrary to their pre-coneeived notions of religion and morality. The only faults which they ever tax themselves with, are, in reality, no faults; such as the quitting their native country while their parents are alive, dying without posterity or laying up for their wives and children; also treading unwittingly on an ant, eating beef, or allowing hungry ghosts to starve;—convictions of conscience for such like offences sometimes seize them, but these, instead of furthering, only hinder their sincere humiliation for sin, and heartfelt repentance on account of it.
Their Modes of purifying Conscience, and Ideas of future Punishment*
Again, when convinced in the slightest degree of sin, they have so many methods of pacifying their consciences, and putting far off the evil day, that it does not follow that concern should be manifested for their eternal safety. Those who do believe in a hell think that only the worst of criminals and vilest of mankind will be consigned to that awful place, the punishment of which they are still far from considering eternal. But the greater part of them do not believe in a hell, because they do not see it; and though they are in the constant habit of sacrificing to the dead, providing for hungry ghosts, and conveying money, food, and apparel, through the smoke for the use of their deceased relatives in Hodes, yet they have not the slightest apprehension of being themselves consigned to that dismal place, and make no attempts to escape from it. They believe, indeed, that they may be punished by coming out into the world again in another and a worse shape than that which they now inhabit—that they may even be beggars, slaves, dogs, horses, or the meanest reptiles, yet, as consciousness will then cease, »nd, whatever they were or may be, no
recollection of the same does or will accompany them, they are, therefore, the less concerned about their fate in this respect, and the apprehension of it has no salutary effect on their conduct and lives. The retribution which the Chinese most dread, is the reprisal that may be made on their posterity in the present life: they are sometimes greatly alarmed lest, in consequence of their fraud and oppression, their children and grandchildren should suffer, and the widow's mite and orphan's portion, which have been by them kept back by fraud, should be wrung out of the purses of their posterity after their decease. Such a motive as this, however, is too weak to bring them to entertain any serious alarm ; and, without being aware of their danger, we can hardly expect them to be earnest in fleeing from the wrath to come. Thus we never hear any bewailing their lost condition—their whole concern is, What shall we eat! &c, and none saith, Where is God, my Maker 1—or what shall I do to be saved 3 No opportunity has been omitted of making known the Saviour — of representing his sharp sufferings, bitter death, amazing love, and unlimited power to save; but, though these things be insisted on over and over again, these people seem to have no heart to them.
Their Indifference to the Offers of the Gospel.-~ Instance of their Superstition.
All the day long have we stretched forth our hands to a disobedient and gainsaying people—oh, that the Lord would appear in the thunder, in the whirlwind, or rather in the still small voice, speaking to the hearts of this people, and melting them into obedience by the all-constraining influence of a Saviour's love.—The following instance of attachment to idolatry may serve to shew the blindness and ignorance of these people: a man's house, in a neighbouring village, being on fire, and there being just time to save a few of his most valuable commodities, he rushed in and rescued—not his goods—but his parental tablet, which stood on the altarpiece, leaving his valuable clothes and merchandize a prey to the flames. He was thus reduced to beggary, and was obliged afterwards to take refuge in a wretched hovel, exhausted with disease and hunger, still clinging to his parental tablet, which he had saved at so much peril and at so great a cost. This tablet is nothing more than the name of a parent, with the date of his birth and death, engraved on a piece of wood, which they look upon as a kind of representative of the deceased, offer to it the daily meed of incense, and rely on the same for health and prosperity. The Catholics, in China, on the accession of a convert, insist on the destruction of this tablet, as a proof of an entire rejection of their former faith.
Distribution ofTraCttamong the Mohammedans. —Interesting Discitssion with their Priests.
In the Malay bazaars, the distribution of tracts continues as great and encouraging as when I last wrote—-latterly, on going to the markets, I have had no occasion to offer our tracts toa single individual, they being all begged from me, before half the market is gone through—thus, sometimes, fifty or sixty, and sometimes a hundred or two are freely circulated in one day. Some tracts beginning with the parable of the sower, were eagerly accepted by the natives, because it happened to be about the time when they were sowing their paddy fields; and some on the miracles of Jesus were the more readily received, as they themselves ascribe miracles to our Saviour. The objections to the circulation of our tracts are every day diminishing, and those who do object in the outset, yet scruple not to take a tract when they see others receiving them. The plan for establishing native schools throughout the island under the patronage of government has not yet succeeded, but the deliberations on the measure have brought me into contact with the high-priest and some of the most influential men among the Mahometans. The former invited me to meet him and his friends to debate on the points controverted between us ;—though I do not promise myself much from such discussions, on account of the bigotted prejudice of our adversaries, and the hatred and contempt which they conceive for the doctrines of the gospel, previous to examination and in spite of arguments, yet I attended as requested. About a score of their holiest men were assembled, some of whom .vere repared, by sophistry and cunning, and some iy banter and ridicule, to oppose the truth. Their shafts were principally directed against the divinity of Christ, and the doctrine of the Trinity, while it was evident that the notions which they had formed of these great mysteries were gross and erroneous, in attacking which they were only fighting with a creature of their own imagination, apparently countenanced by some unguarded expressions taken from the Athanasian creed, and the hymns and prayers of various professing Christians. I said I was by no means accountable for those, and was not prepared to defend anything that was not decidedly scriptural, at the same time laying before them a plain statement of these doctrines taken from the New Testament, which lay open before them. They could thus see for themselves that the doctrines in question were contained in our Scriptures, and were obliged to come to the conclusion, either that our Scriptures were adulterated, or that the doctrines were true. They, of course, chose the former alternative, notwithstanding they could not point out who altered them, when they were altered, or in how many instances, —, neither
could they reconcile the apparent incoasistency of supposing Christians themselves the authors of the alleged interpolations, while Christians looked to these writings as the standard of their faith, and the foundation of their hopes, and who' might as soon be expected to set fire to their own dwellings, or sink their own ships, as falsify their Scriptures. The declarations in the first chapter of John, respecting the divine Word, not a little stumbled them, particularly when compared with a passage in the Koran, which I pointed out to them, asserting Jesus Christ the son of Mary to be the Word of God. They could answer this only by quibbles, as to what was meant by the divine word, and finally by denying the passage in John to be genuine. The usual reference was then made to the supposed prophecies concerning Mahomet, contained in our Scriptures, and particularly to the Paraclete, which word they asserted, meant not only a comforter, advocate, and teacher, but also apostle, and, therefore, must refer to the prophet of Mecca, the apostle of God. This was met by pointing out the parallel passages and the context, in which the Paraclete was expressly called the Holy Ghost, was promised in the course of a few days, was intended to dwell in the disciples of Christ, and to abide with them for ever.—They then referred to the prophecy of Moses, recorded in Acts iii. 22, "A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me," &c, which they said must refer to Mahomet and not to Christ, as the prophet in question was not to be raised up from among the Jews, but from among their brethren, the Ishmaelites, or Arabians, who were the brethren of the Jews, being alike descended from the same patriarch Abraham. They also affirmed that there were more points of resemblance between Moses and Mahomet, than between the former and Christ, the prophet of Mecca being, like Moses, a leader of the people, a lawgiver, a warrior, and one who punished unbelievers and rebels by fire and sword, which Christ did not do. I said, when the Jews spoke ot their brethren, they never meant the Ishmaelites, but always the descendants of Jacob, who were united not only as the descendants of one patriarch, but as the subjects of one government and the professors of one religion. That Christ most resembled Moses in the meekness of his character, as well as in the greatness of his miracles, and that though he came not to destroy men's lives but to save, and thus refrained from calling down fire from heaven to destroy his opponents, when he might have done it, —yet the time was coming when all who obstinately rejected his easy reign would be brought forth and slain before him.—I now began, in my turn, to attack the more vulnerable parts of their system, and adduced a number of passages from the Koran, in
which so many carnal enjoyments are pro* raised to the faithful, as well as allowance given to polygamy — a particular license being taken by the prophet himself for the gratification of his own passions.-—On these points, however, they refused to answer me, as they said the very agitation of the question implied reflections on their prophet which they were not permitted to listen to or indulge. On the subject of the pardon of sin, they had no hopes beyond the undefined mercies of God, and completely rejected the idea of a. substitute or sacrifice ;—thus the doctrines of Christ's divinity and the atonement stand or fall together, and here, as in the west, the denial of one involves a rejection of the other. We may hope, however, that the time is not far distant, when even these blinded and bigotted Mahometans will be led to acknowledge the truth as it is in Jesus.
Further particulars as to the Labours of the Mission.
The distribution of Malay tracts having so remarkably increased, and being capable of still wider extension, I have been induced to set the lithographic press again in motion, and have printed about 30 pages of a Malay tract, containing five hundred. During the last year we have continued to distribute the remainder of the old Chinese tracts, which were still on hand, but we hope soon to recommence printing in that language, either some new compositions or revisions of former publications.
The schools here have continued as usual —two Chinese and one Malay. Mr. Young has been engaged in the superintendence of the former, while the latter, being taught on the mission premises, is more immediately under our eye. They contain together about forty scholars.
The translation of the Scriptures into low Malay, which I was engaged in revising and correcting, is now brought to a close. It has required so many alterations that I have been obliged to recompose nearly the whole of it; my labour, however, is abundantly recompensed by the consideration of the service it may be to the native Christians on the Island of Java. The printing of it at the government-press goes on but slowly, having only advanced as far as the epistle to the Romans.
My Hok-keen dictionary, forwarded to Canton last summer, has been put to press, and proofs having arrived here, testifying to roe of the neatness and accuracy with which it is likely to be executed under the superintendence of Mr. John Robert Morrison, son °f Dr. Morrison, I have been induced to prepare a second part—viz., English and Chinese, to be printed with the former. This was much wanted to render the work complete j and if net new attempted, while the
fklect Cotnmittei are so kindly bringing ii through the press, gratis, may be attempted at a future period under fewer advantages. Anxious as I am, therefore, to leave dictionary work, and to return to the composition of religious tracts, I cannot let this opportunity slip of giving a complete view of the Hok-keen dialect. The second part, now in hand, will be nearly as bulky as the first, and will, I trust, be accomplished by next midsummer.
We have reason again to praise God for the circumstances of health and comfort which we have enjoyed during the past year. My dear partner, and our four children, together with our valuable coadjutor, Mr. Young, have all been preserved from sickness and danger for a considerable period. May we beg an interest in your prayers, that these blessings may be continued to us, and that to temporal mercies may be added the richer blessings of grace, to enable us to live usefully and die happily! With affectionate regards to all the Directors, in which I am most heartily joined by all our household, I remain,
(Signed) W. H. Medhurst.
Neyoor, Oct. 5,1831. Dear Sin, In a letter dated 10th ult., I inclosed the Inverkeithing Reader's Report, translated from the Tamul. I have now the pleasure to send you a similar brief account of the labours of twelve other readers,* written by them'' selves, and conveyed, as near as possible, in their own language. The English might have been improved; but that would consume time, and destroy the simplicity of the original statement. I have selected, and continue to employ, men of moderate abilities, rather than some in the mission who are more intelligent, but not possessing so good a report of them who are without. Most of them are married men. Some of them enjoyed greater privileges in their youth than others, namely, the Inverkeithing Reader, Robert Pinkerton, and John Lockyer. The two former have made the best use of their advantages, and are invaluable helpers in our work. They came to us young, and have been employed in different parts of India, and have always retained an unimpeachable character. They are the earliest and some of the best fruits of our labours among the rising generation in South Travancore. The Inverkeithing Reader lives near the mission-house, and prosecutes hi? labours under my immediate inspection. All the readers are super
* The report of the reader, Edw. Parsons, will be sent ere long.
intended in their labours, and continue to receive constant instruction and advice, as circumstances require. Short discourses, and plans of sermons, enlarged and translated from the " Daily Bread," are now printing, as tracts, for the readers and assistant readers of this station. The state of their congregations is compared with their reports, and the people are always examined in the catechisms and scriptures when we visit them, which is principally on the Sabbath. The people of this district are either cultivators in the mountains, or possess paddy-fields of their own in the vicinity of their villages, or are weavers, who are engaged very early in the morning, and throughout the whole of the day; others carrying articles of merchandize from one market to the other; the remainder are palmyra climbers, but are not numerous in this mission—these, in the season, are occupied early and late. The Sabbath is therefore the principal, and in many places the only time, when a congregation can be collected.* The readersdaily go from house to house, and teach the catechisms, principally, to the women and children, while engaged in spinning cotton. The men can only attend on these occasions, when they have time to spare from their gardens, and happen to be at home. Many cultivate the beatle leaf of a vine that requires constant watering and attention. Some of the women are employed in boiling the juice of the palmyra into coarse sugar, called jaggary; this is an operation that must be attended to before the liquid ferments, or it becomes toddy and is spoiled. In the moonlight evenings we are able to collect a tolerable congregation at some of the villages; and those seasonsare embraced,and are frequently very interesting. We are generally fatigued before our hearers, who have been accustomed to spend the hours of the night in the celebration of sacrifices and services to the prince of darkness. The more distant places, especially since the revival to the westward, have recently had a great share of our personal labours. The people in the Neyattangherry district are eagerly inquiring for instruction. Three characters, of considerable influence there, have set the example of abandoning idolatry. One is a respectable and wealthy NadanatKallymatory.aworshipperofSaffan, whose stone image now lies before me in one corner of the printing-office. The second character I allude to was a player on the devil's bow, by which he got his livelihood. The bow is unstrung, and lies near Sattan in the corner, with other idolatrous appendages, viz. the devil's walking-sticks, clubs, and shield. A third influential character, who
* Frequent visits are made besides to the villages mentioned in the report; but principally with a reference to the schools, which afford opportunities of addressing the heathen, distributing tracts, &c.
has just abandoned idolatry, is a native doctor, who is called Munlhem Vatfiee, as he is a celebrated soothsayer and astrologer. I have told him, I hope to have his " curious books" and instruments, which he has promised to part with when I visit his neighbourhood again. He is also a rich man, and, having made great inquiry into the Hindoo and Roman Catholic systems, subsequently appears to have read the scriptures, and is now anxious to know the way of God more perfectly. I hope soon to send a description of the image and devil's bow, &c, of which rough sketches are inclosed.
P. S. 1 was happy to hear of Mr. and Mrs. Harris's safe arrival at Quilon on the 28th ult. C. M.
The Report of the Readers adverted to in Mr. Mead's letter wilt be in our next.—En.
Extracts of the Journal of Rev. F. G. Kaystr,
Missionary at Buffalo River, from 2ni
March to'2dth June, 1830.
March 2nd, Tuesday.—Captain Molo, tie brother of our native assistant, Jan Tzatzoe, who is a well-disposed young man, having, some time ago, removed with his Kraal nearer to the station, has since been regular in his attendance on divine service, and also on instruction in the Sabbath and day schools. He is taught both to read and write.
March 8th, Monday.—With the assist, ance of our Finko I began to-day to whitewash our house. While thus occupied my eyes became affected, and from the pain occasioned by the inflammation, I had for several nights no rest. Nearly a fortnight I was obliged to sit in a dark room, and during this trial I sometimes said to myself, What a mercy it is that it has not become dark in my heart! I remembered then what the Lord says in Matthew vi. 22, 23.
March 19th, Thursday.—To-day we had the pleasure of welcoming Dr. Philip at our station, accompanied by Messrs. Fairbairn, Read, and two French missionaries. To me it was a matter of regret, that I was not permitted, on account of my sore eyes, to enjoy the company of these friends, more than some few days before they left us, when I became able to go out a little. Dr. Philip and his fellow-travellers left us on the 29th of March. It was not till about the middle of April that I got well, and was able to write and read without perceiving any weakness.
April 29th, Wednesday.—To-day, as I was engaged with Jan Tzatzoe in studying the Curler language, Captain Soke came ia