Imágenes de páginas

certain way of saving the soul, but that a reception of it was quite contrary to the orders of my own religion.” I anxiously longed to obtain the knowledge of salvation, and read the book with constant application. I soon discovered that the forms of my own books and my own religion were useless inventions. I conceived that the principles of the little book were sound, and calculated to save the soul of man, and purge him from his iniquities; and greatly I wished for further instruction in the true and holy religion of Jesus Christ, for I was not well informed about the birth of Christ or his wonderful works. I frequently engaged in disputes with men of my own caste, having the image of Christ impressed on my mind. With the intent of obtaining a more perfect knowledge of the scriptures, I twice went over to Berhampore, to converse with some gentleman there; but such was the shame and fear which Satan put into my mind, that I could not. I inquired of several persons, but they informed me, there was no Missionary at the place. A little time before I went to Berhampore, when I was in a village called Tooloogoo, on the east of the Chicacole district, I obtained two books from a Teloogoo youth; one was entitled, “ A Description of the Creation," and the other, “ The Condition of Mankind.” The perusal of these books was very profitable to me, and strengthened my mind in the belief and mission of Jesus Christ, in whom I now rejoiced exceedingly. I carefully copied these two books on Cadjoor leaves, hoping by their means to introduce myself unto some European gentleman, that I might thereby accomplish my extreme desire of becoming acquainted with the religion I was now in pur. suit of. In 1832, the month of July, I went to Vizagapatam, and showed my books to a young man, who presently accompanied me to the Rev. Mr. Dawson's; but not being free from the delusions of Satan, instead of letting him know that I came to be instructed in the paths of religion, told him that I came to offer him these books as a present. The youth mentioned these things to Mr. W. Dawson, who said, he did not require the books, and now, poor sinful wretch that I was, I became plunged in shame and hardened in heart, and did not venture to announce to Mr. Dawson, that my purpose was to become a disciple of Christ and serve the Lord, but returned to my village.

A few days after this, a merchant in Purla Kimdy sent for me, and requested me to instruct his sons in the legends of our own books. I was unwilling to enter upon this service, but the constraint of my superiors in my own house obliged me; and during this period, the contemplation of Jesus Christ was much neglected. About this time I had another tract given me, entitled “ The Preaching of virtuous Maxims,” showing the true way of salvation. This was in the year Nundānā. On reading this, the perplexities of my mind were dispelled, and this tract dispersed more of my suspicions than the three former ones had done: for from them I could not learn many excellent things which this tract taught me, and I was therefore greatly delighted ; besides, there was at the end of this tract a short prayer, which I committed to memory, and totally relinquished all my former dissembled and hypocritical prayers, which I had used from my infancy. I rehearsed my new

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

prayer every day as often as I could, and disputed with

my friends about the truth of Jesus Christ, who I now believed came to effect the salvation of such sinners as myself, by reconciling the wrath of God toward such sinners, by becoming himself a sacrifice. In this glorious Saviour I believed, and reposed my soul on him. I abhorred all my former wicked practices and false gods, as well as detested the impure practices of such deities. In order that I might be enabled to quit all my former fallacious tenets, and forged Shastrums, to obey the Holy Scriptures, and be baptized in his name, and come near to Jesus Christ and enjoy eternal life, I dispatched a repre. sentation of my ardent wishes to the Missionaries at Berhampore, where a certain person named Francis Adam lived, who wrote me an unsatisfactory answer*, and I did not go over. I then wrote another representation of my case to Mr. Russel, the commissioner, who came to settle the affairs of Viza. gapatam, Ganjam, &c. and sent the same, together with the Cadjoor books I had written. This was in February, 1833, when Mr. Russel was stationed at Celingapatam beyond Chicacole. Respecting this application Mr. Russel without granting me any answer went away to Kemedy, where (as I heard) my petition was once read to him: consequently thinking that gentleman would consider my application I did not go to him ; but he thought of it more. Now the merchant in whose employ I was failed, and I went home to my house, where I earnestly poured forth my complaints before the gracious Saviour, whose revelation I did not as yet well understand. To perfect myself in his knowledge, I wrote down all his divine sayings in a small book, determining to go either to Cutcumt, or to Vizagapatam to the Missionaries. In the mean time my brother had some business to transact at Chica. cole, and desired me to go and execute it for him. This was a joyful event to my mind, for I immediately determined to take a route to Vizagapatam, and thence to Chicacole. This I did therefore, and after adjusting the business as soon as possible, I inquired of the people for those whom I sought, and providentially I heard of one Mrs. Knott to whom I in ecstacy went, and opened my heart to her ; and she kindly presented me with some religious books, and persuaded me to continue stedfast in the holy faith of Jesus Christ. She recommended me, with a statement of my case, to Lieut. Evelyn, who also confirmed me by some good instruction in the new way, and the Lord Jesus Christ, through infinite grace and mercy, made my soul to thrive and strengthen in faith and knowledge ; and enabled his servant within me (the soul) to resist with firmness and resolution those friends of the devil-shame and anxiety about the mortal body—which had long caused me to struggle in sin, and had often thrown me into the darkest and most dreadful apprehension, and would have thrown me back forever, had it not

This letter was undoubtedly suppressed by Mr. Adam, who is a Catholic ; as he knew well, that though there might be no Missionary there at the time, there was a Church of Protestant Christians.-C. L.

+ Probably Cuttack, a distance of 200 miles.

been for the help thus obtained of my gracious Saviour. He has freed me from the powers of these two wicked enemies. Now as soon as my near relations, such as my brothers, mother, wife, several kinsmen, and friends, as well as merchants who had from time to time lent me money, heard of my wonderful change, they began to afflict me; some spoke ill of me, some execrated me, some calumniated me, some were enraged at me, some gnashed their teeth on me, some intended to imprison me; and others sought in various ways to injure me. Notwithstanding this, the Lord Jesus Christ, on whom I reposed my whole heart, and whom I followed as my revered instructor, encouraged me with sufficient patience to answer with reason all the revil. ings of the persecutors, and to stand fearless and undejected and unperplexed ; and with firm purpose I avoided the society of such people as would perplex me. And for such mercies I with wonder and delight praised the kindness of the blessed Saviour, who delivered me thus from my persecutors. At length Lieut. Evelyn loving me much, gave me some travelling expenses, and sent me to Major W. T. Brett; recommending me to be sent by him to Madras to be baptized by one of the Missionaries there. I arrived in Vizagapatam in the year Vigāyä, month Aushada, Suddur Tadeya, and am now staying with Major Brett.

The great God, who searches all the internal and external actions of men, and who is a witness to all these things, has induced this forgetful sinner, to state such particulars of his circumstances as occurred to his memory, amongst those that he did before his conversion, for all those who are interested in this vouchsafement of the Holy Spirit towards his immortal soul.

POOROOSOOTOM DEB. “ Behold, is not this a brand plucked from the burning?"

Major B.

II.Thoughts on Toleration, arising out of the Restoration of

Gaudama to the Burmahs:-on the necessity for National Consistency, and on the course which it prescribes in regulating Institutions for Public Instruction.

In these days of excitement in India we hear every where the cry of « Toleration.” Toleration indeed! I exclaimed, on witnessing the preparations for the removal of the huge black image of Gaudama, which erst attracted attention in rounding the corner of Park Street: and a train of thought, as gloomy as the image itself, rivetted my senses, at the reflection that, in a few short weeks, mistaken Toleration would be the means of reestablishing the worship of the deity of the great Dagon or some other equally venerated pagoda! With what exultation will it be received by the astonished and delighted Burmahs! How unbounded will be their grati. tude to the sublime Government, of British India for thus“ restoring the high places of Baal ;" and how rejoiced will they be, that, although the English nation has drained the empire of the Lord of the White Elephant of all its treasure, its clemency has sent back this huge block of stone,

tenfold more precious than all: nay than the ten thousand attendant idols of gold and silver which overspread India in 1825 and 1826, and restitution of which was never thought of! Tenfold will be the sacrifices, tenfold the chains of slavery that bind the minds of the devoted multitude, tenfold the exactions of the priests :-Gaudama will be set up with a shout! may that shout ring to every corner of the Christian world, the ultra-toleration of the Government of British India.

This may however be unjust !

Unhappily for the credit of our country, though happily, I rejoice, for the consistency of the present government of India, I fear the restoration or the image is a mere act of justice, when we reflect how that image came here.

We have not the command in these days, neither had they in 1824, as the Jews of old, on entering Canaan, utterly to destroy all the places wherein the nations which we shall possess served their gods, upon the high moun. tains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree ;-to overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire.;-to hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place*. --But the Christian dispensation is a dispensation of peace, destined to spread its benign and blessed influences by appeals to the reason of its opponents, and to the example of its followers. With what "shame and confusion of face" then, should we not revert to those days, when, with a precipitancy which left the frontier of the Indian territory wholly unguarded, a war was undertaken which led amongst other evils to the spoliation of temples and grievous national inconsistency-during which, contrary we believe to the law of nations, which respects the religious rites and observances of enemies, and all their appurtenances, no stone was left unturned in the search for “barbaric pearl and gold.” Toleration was utterly disregarded by the armies of Christian England.

Toleration however was the cry of those days, also !-It then legalized the horrors of the Suttee in India within, whilst it plundered the temples of Buddha in India without, the Ganges ! How important is consistency in the national as well as in the individual character; how necessary, that fixed, undeviating principles of right should actuate rulers, and compel obedience in their agents, especially in India, this empire of opinion! Where shall such principles be found but in the influences of practical Christianity, founded on the unerring rectitude of the word of God?

Britons plundered, nine years ago, the temples of the heathen: justice now compels restitution. The consequence is, that England replaces the most venerated idol of the Burman empire! Humbled by the retrospect, it would be grievous that any opportunity should be lost of redeeming the national character. The next step should be, well to weigh the present position of England with reference to the opinion of the heathen around us !

The Christian will never oppose the most extensive toleration ;-as long as the perpetration of no real cruelty or injustice is contemplated, he will allow, permit, suffer, nay endure (however it may rack the soul), the unmeaning and worse than unmeaning rites and ceremonies of an idolatrous nation ;-he will never resist opinion by force. But, it is one thing to tolerate, another to cherish, encourage, and support superstition, and yet ANOTHER, I will add (which has of late been so ably exposed), to profess to tolerate and cherish, and at one and the same time to boast of undermining the foundations of that which is cherished and tolerated, in order to raise upon the rubbish—an apt simile for those who so reason,—the loose and unsettled mass of rubbish, that superstructure of Christianity which those tolerated and flattered hold in the most unqualified abhorrence.

Christianity desires absolute toleration, which needlessly outrages no feelings, and, whilst it works by love, would, if consistency regulated the

* Deut. xii. 2 and 3.

actions of its professors, soon render toleration but a name: when the rescued heathen would glory in their emancipation from the thraldom of those superstitions and vices which now lead to the abhorrence of light, or rather let us say of that mere profession of light, of virtue, and of holiness in which they suppose Christianity to consist. Let us pray that new days may dawn upon India! Let us trust that the days of all the olden time are passed away, to be remembered only as an incentive to unremitting watchfulness, against all real, and even apparent, evil; in order to redeem a national character which has been endangered, in more ways than by the plunder of the Burmese idols. May these be the brilliant times which shall radiate the brightness of Christian consistency from the canopy of state; firm and unchangeable in Christian purpose ; mild and conscientiously considerate in Christian meekness and toleration.

But, let us inquire, whether the toleration of the present day does not, with a mistaken benevolence, mislead its professors : they imagine it to be of a religious character for the sake of the governed; I have my misgivings that it may be of a financial or political character for the supposed benefit of the governors.

Let us trust that our present enlightened and respected Governor will not allow the remonstrances of Christian England to be raised much longer in vain, and that the countenance of the state will not much longer be extend ed, with financial toleration, to the idolatry of Juggernauth and the Behar pilgrimages. Christianity gains no credit in India, the state no stability, by the toleration of those professors across the seas, who can cry down the very mention of a care for the religious improvement of this country*, whilst even they themselves cannot but execrate the rites they cherish, in order to derive a profit from maintaining their observance.

With regard to political toleration, let us trust that a bold and decisive appeal to the reason of the natives may soon be attempted; and that the deceptive character of the institutions for the instruction of the rising generation may be superseded by some more open and consistent system. The hands of those who have the distribution of the parliamentary grant cannot surely be manacled to any particular plan in its disposal; and if there be a variety of opinions as to the best means of appropriating it, wherefore should all be directed into one channel? and that, perhaps, the one least in the esti. mation of the natives? who, if they do not, at the present time, soon will, raise the general cry of complaint that the Government has made Nastiks + of their children.

But if those who cried down Mr. Poynder assert, that toleration requires the state to offer no opposition of opinion to native superstitions, let the as sertors be firmly and unequivocally answered, that, to admit the principle involves a denial

of all education ; and let the two lacs of rupees be reshipped for Leadenhall Street! Let the nation be told, that the grant is unavailable, that to spread education must break the PLEDGES so much talked of; that such toleration will not admit of the money being applied to the purpose intended; that the least ray of intellectual light must serve to render“ dark. ness visible.”

But if, on the contrary, it be urged, as it ought to be, that Christianity requires a Government which knows the mass of its subjects to be enthrall. ed by a debasing superstition, and kept under subjection by a remorseless

* See the Report of the Proceedings of the Proprietors at the late great meeting, for the consideration of Indian affairs, when Mr. Poynder utterly failed to obtain a hearing.

+ Infidels. The complaint against the Hindoo College, of Rammohun Ghose, the father of Brijonath Ghose, who seems to have had as much horror of this result of education as of Christianity, or more-for he removed his child from the College, to place him at the Mirzapore School.

« AnteriorContinuar »