Page images
PDF
EPUB

as Sanyases, made many proselytes in the south of India, of whom the well-known Dubois confessed that they were worse than the heathensat that time a number of Jesuits (according to what the Roman Christians told me, seven) came also into the northern part of the Canarese country, and succeeded in the same way as their brethren in the south, to form some congregations, three of which exist to the present day, one at Moodakal, another at Raichore, and the third at Chittapoor. The last, consisting of only 20 to 30 souls, I saw: they possess books written in popular Canarese, partly of a polemical character, against idolatry, and partly for the instruction and admonition of the Christians. Their Church prayers are likewise in Canarese, and are for the most part of good Biblical contents ; but the congregations are in a miserable condition, partly from having retained distinctions of caste, the heathen names for prayers, worship, &c., and partly because, for a long time past, almost no spiritual care whatever has been taken of them ; for very seldom, and only after intervals of many years, they do enjoy the privilege of seeing a Goa priest among them, who commonly does not understand a word of Canarese. With the number and condition of the Roman Christians in the southern part of the Canarese country, I am not acquainted. I only saw, two years ago, a chapel, erected by Dubois at Ganjam, near Seringapatam, and another at Huribur. More Roman Christians, in small congregations, are to be found along the western ghats, in the western parts of the Belgaum and Dharwar collectorates, and in the Bednore district, the north-western part of the Mysore country. They stand in frequent communication with Goa, and the numerous larger congregations along the Malabar coast.

2. The first Protestant Mission among the Canarese people was undertaken by Missionaries in connexion with the London Society, twenty or thirty years ago. They settled at Bellary, Belgaum, Bangalore and Mysore. Afterwards Wesleyan missionaries came and begun their work at Bangalore, Mysore and Gooby, a place between Seringapatam and Bellary. The Missionaries of both Societies have more or less numerous congregations in their stations, which, however, for the most part, consist of Tamulians, being in the service of Europeans, &c. At Gooby, which is no military station, they have a small Canarese congregation ; and at Bangalore, during the last few years, they have had some conversions among the natives of the country. At Bellary and Bangalore, they have seminaries to train youths for catechists and native preachers. At the former place a Tamul preacher, the Rev. S. Flavel, was active for many years; and his death, two years ago, occasioned a great loss to that station. The Missionaries, especially at Bellary, did a great deal of preparatory mission labour, in compiling a good and complete Canarese-English and EnglishCanarese dictionary, translating the whole Bible, and composing or translating many tracts. When, two years ago, I passed through Sheemoga, on the banks of the Toonga, in the north of the Mysore country, I heard that for some years an Indo-Briton had been stationed there as an assistant-missionary of the Church of England. He died about six or seven years ago.

3. As soon as, by the new charter, British India was opened to foreigners, the Evangelical Mission Society at Basle sent three Missionaries to India. They landed, in 1834, at Mangalore ; and, as they found Canarese to be understood by the higher classes of the population, especially the numerous Brahmans and trading people, they began their labours in this language. Some years afterwards, they found an opening among the lower classes, and thereby some of them were obliged to adopt the Tooloo ; whilst the others, who had opened an orphan-school in Canarese, retained this language in it. They also opened some Canarese schools in the town, and an English one. From the latter, in 1843, they had the pleasure to receive four young Brahmans into the Church of Christ. One of them is, since 1846, in the Mission institution at Basle, and will, aftertwo more years' study, return to India, as an ordained preacher of the Gospel to his countrymen. In 1846, Mr. Moegling commenced, with eight of the youths of his orphan-school, a regular course of higher education and instruction, especially in the Bible, to educate them to future catechists. He also has the superintendence of the Canarese and Tooloo press there. The congregation at Mangalore numbers now about 250 Tooloo and Canarese members. A second station among the Tooloo people was cominenced some years afterwards, at Moolky, fifteen miles north from Mangalore, and has now about fifty members.

Similar congregations are on our other stations, farther down the Malabar coast, at Cananore, Tellicherry, and Calicut, in the Malayalim country. On the suggestion, and with the liberal endowment, of the late Casa Major, the Basle Society, in 1845, founded a new station on the Nilgherries, partly as a sanitarium for their Missionaries in the lower country, who, by sickness, might be obliged to resort to a cooler climate, and yet might be able to do something among the hill-tribes, especially the Badugurs, a tribe immigrated from the Mysore country, speaking a corrupted dialect of Canarese. Mr. Weigle, who is stationed there, together with Mr. Moegling, and some of the London and Wesleyan Missionaries, had for the last two years been chiefly employed in the revision of the Canarese Bible ; but this revision is still far from being a popular translation.

4. Our proper Canarese stations lie in the province called “Southern Mahratta country.” Dharwar, the civil station of the district, was selected in 1838; a year afterwards a Mission-house was built at Hoobly, the largest trading-town in this part of the country ; in 1841 some of the Missionaries settled in the eastern part of the province, at Bettigery and Malusamoodra. They were called to these places by a number of natives, who declared themselves willing to embrace Christianity, as they had old prophecies, according to which the teachers of the true God will come from the west. On account of these prophecies, the people called themselves“ Kalugnanes” (timeknowers). The Missionaries, who had not yet experience enough, followed their call, and settled among them. A number of persons received Christian instruction for a long time, but at last were found to have nothing in view but money and an idle life. As soon as they saw their plans frustrated, they turned back, some after having been baptized. This sad occurrence very much interrupted the gradual development of the mission influence upon the people. But now, after eight or ten years' patience and familiar intercourse, all the clouds have disappeared which lay between the people and the Missionaries : the latter know the former, and the former the latter ; and the Christian salt and light can act upon the mass more directly, and less obstructed by prejudices, than at first. Among the people who came in more frequent contact with the Missionaries, many a heart is more or less prepared for the reception of the heavenly truth ; of some we know it, of others not. The visible fruits of our labour till now have been few, it is true ; yet we have to praise the Lord for them. In 1840, some Canarese peasants were baptized at Hoobly ; in 1844, some others at Malusamoodra ; under many trials they have given proofs of their sincerity, and gladdened our hearts by their faithfulness. Last year the Missionaries at Dharwar had the pleasure to baptize, on Christmas-day, the four Canarese firstlings of that station. They also had a visit of some interesting men from the neighbourhood of Harihar, who, without ever having seen any missionary, had acquired an astonishing knowledge of Christianity, only by reading a number of tracts and portions of Scripture. The men declared themselves ready to be baptized, as soon as their family circumstances would permit them to emigrate to Dharwar. As yet, however, they have not made their appearance. The Missionaries at Hoobly, likewise, were permitted, last year, to baptize a lad, who, by what he had heard in the schools, was convinced of the foolishness of idolatry, for the neglection of which he was ill-treated by his relatives, and there. by obliged to take refuge with the Missionaries. In August, 1847, a Tangum priest came to Bettigery, asked instruction in the word of God, and was baptized on the following Christmas-day. He told us of a sect, to the north of Bettigery, of which he himself had been a member and teacher for some years. He told us, that the gooroo of the sect was in possession of curious shastras, written in different kinds of characters, not legible to the common people ; that the followers of those shastras ascribe to them a very ancient origin, despise idolatry and caste, and expect a gooroo coming from heaven, who shall destroy his enemies, raise his followers from the dead, and establish with and among them a reign of blessedness on earth. This, together with some other mysterious traces, first led us to conjecture whether the sect with its shastras might not be an old and corrupted nest of one of the Missions, which, according to Church history, had been undertaken by the Nestorian Churches of Persia, in India and China, in the sixth and seventh centuries. But closer investigation into the shastras, and among the people, proved that the sect is not yet 300 years old, and that the curious shastras, in the different kinds of disguised characters, contain a combination of Lingait traditions, Vedanta pantheism, and some notions, as it seems, of Mohammedan origin. To the latter source, undoubtedly, is to be ascribed the expectation of a resurrection of the dead. Just this original biblical notion was it, that brought the people into connexion with us, as they found the same prophecy in some of our tracts ; and on our preaching tours among them, this expectation always gives a convenient holdfast to proclaim the full Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of sinners. A widow, who last year accompanied Mr. Hiller, on his return from a tour among the people, likewise joined the Church, and afterwards was married to a Christian, the Tangum priest before alluded to. With both of them last year, and this year again, I travelled for several months, chiefly among the disciples of the sect, and found a good reception among them. Some fathers of families have made up their minds to emigrate to Bettigery, or Malusamoodra. Many others listened attentively to my preaching, but have not yet come to such a resolution. On these journeys we become more and more acquainted with people of every sort, especially the numerous Vedantists. Thus the Lord our God has graciously opened us a door to the people of this country, for which his name be praised !

(To be continued.)

[ocr errors]

DIFFUSION OF MISSIONARY INFORMATION. SIR,—One of the most important questions to be answered in the present day by those who are earnestly desirous, not only to maintain the Church in our own country, but also to enable it to expand in our foreign possessions and vast Colonial Empire-seems to be this :How are we to win over the middle and poorer classes to take an interest in this great work? The higher ranks of society have of late years been stirred up to feel some measure of the responsibility which lies upon them in this cause ; but unfortunately, the movement has not penetrated deeply, nor diffused itself widely among all classes of the community

No doubt ignorance is the great parent of much of the indifference which is felt by so many of our countrymen in this important work, (which ought to be of the greatest interest to them.)

The first thing then to be done is, if possible, to enlighten them. 1. One very simple and self-evident method—which however is by no means sufficiently employed—is the diffusion of books. The objection to most books on the subject, even to those admirable Journals of our Colonial Bishops published by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, is, that they are more calculated to interest those whose zeal is already awakened, than to excite interest in persons hitherto unacquainted with the subject. We want books written in a simple and popular style, giving information on the very commonest points connected with the history, geography, and topography of our Colonies, that people may become alive to the fact, so little remembered, that the inhabitants of those Colonies are our fellow-Christians, and fellow

ence.

subjects, and consequently have a claim upon us. No parochial or

u private lending library for the poor should be without a large store of such works-as large, that is, as can be had--and it is to be hoped that, before many years, a more copious selection will be within reach of every Clergyman.

2. Another mode of diffusing information, which has already been tried with great success in some few parishes, is the holding of monthly meetings in the school-house, or other commodious building, by the clergyman of a parish for the express purpose of giving his own parishioners information on these subjects. This has been done in one purely agricultural parish with such success that a perfect fureur was excited in favour of Missionary exertions, proving most indisputably that ignorance had been the parent of the previous indiffer

Many subjects can then be treated of more fully, and more opportunely, than in the pulpit, or even than on the platform at a gre meeting convened for some particular society. A more individual interest, so to speak, may thus be excited, and money for Missionary purposes will be more freely and generously given. Indeed, we can hardly expect that the penny subscriptions, so earnestly requested for the Society for Propagating the Gospel, will ever be widely collected, until some such means have been used for giving poor people information on the employment of the money, and interest in the object.

3. It would seem very advisable, where any considerable number of people have emigrated from one parish to any one part of our Colonies, to keep up, as much as possible, some connexion between them and the fellow-parishioners whom they may have left behind. They might be made the channel of conveying contributions from any particular parish to other parts of the same Colony, and thus a bond of union would be maintained, which is unhappily so often severed between the parent country and her dependencies. This is merely thrown out as

a hint.

4. Indeed it would seem, as has been before observed, that the great aim of every clergyman interested in this work, should be not so much to raise money for this or that Society-not at least to concentrate all his energies upon this—as to inform his people, and imbue them with the Missionary feeling. This may be done in various ways besides those already mentioned. It may be done, for instance, by casual conversation when visiting the healthy members of his flock ; above all, it may be done by bringing the subject prominently and practically before the school. Thus may we hope, with God's blessing, that the rising generation may be saved from that state of deadness on this important subject, in which the present has been educated, and

may learn to feel that they too, like their richer brethren, have an interest in spreading Christ's Holy Catholic Church over lands peopled by their own race and kindred.

These are but crude remarks; their object, however, will be more than accomplished should they induce others to bring forward more useful suggestions, and to make known the results of their larger experience.

« PreviousContinue »