Page images
PDF
EPUB

and simplicity seem to have been wonderfully united. The hymns are chiefly translations from the German, or from the Latin, and many of them are remarkably beautiful. Some are scarcely adapted for use in the congregation, but as a book of devotion I hardly know its equal. Among the old Christians the book is deservedly held in the highest esteem. The style is sometimes rather colloquial and quaint, and there are expressions which grievously offend our Tamil purists, but long, very long may it be before dear old Fabricius' hymn-book is forgotten! I have heard an anecdote regarding one of these hymns which illustrates the character of Fabricius, and so I shall relate it as it is current in India.

Fabricius, like John Bunyan, was put in prison once; I think it was for debt, for he was apt to give all he had, and become surety too for any one that asked him. Schwartz (I believe it was), hearing of the affair, visited poor Fabricius in prison, with the good intention of reproving him for his imprudence. But when he was admitted, he found Fabricius pacing up and down his room, his face bathed in tears, and singing a hymn which he had just translated. “Oh, brother Schwartz!” cried he,“ listen to my hymn;" and then proceeded to read to him one of the finest hymns in the book, and indeed one of the most sublime hymns, I should think, in any language. In a few minutes they were both engaged in singing the hymn, and it was not until Schwartz had departed, and was on his way home, that he recollected that he had intended to administer a rebuke to his less prudent brother.

But to return from this digression. Another pleasing remembrance connected with Nazareth concerns the village of Mukury, about a mile from Mr. Caemmerer's house. A day or two after my arrival, Mr. C. took me there, and in a long, low, thatched building, which I think, (but of this I am not sure) had been the village devil-temple, a multitude of men, women, and children had crammed themselves. They had just come under Christian instruction. There was a roughness and almost savage vehemence of demeanour about them that rather awed me at the time, unaccustomed as I was to Tinnevelly manners. There had been a few people under instruction for some time in this village, and but a week or two previous to my visit, almost the whole village, in which there are from 800 to 1000 souls, simultaneously had come and placed themselves under Mr. C. In such cases, doubtless, there is always a great mixture of motives. A conviction of the superiority of Chris. tianity, and of the utter worthlessness of their own system, is, I should imagine, always at the bottom of it; but a variety of secondary motives,—not, as far as I have seen, however, sordid

ones,-conspire to lead to a general movement towards Christianity in any village. Of course, one sees the hand of Providence in this, and we are glad of anything not in itself evil, which brings men, however ignorant and debased, to the threshold of the Christian temple.

At Mr. Caemmerer's request I said a few words to them, and asked them a question or two. They were men who were evidently feeling in the thick darkness after God, if haply they might find Him. It is an affecting sight to see people in that state. What a crushing load of responsibility rests upon the Missionary who has to teach, and train, and guide such as these! In a letter which I received a few days ago from one there engaged in the work, he says what a Missionary often feels to be one of his greatest temptations :-"I cannot be content to leave my people in God's hands. It is hard to feel that this district is His, and the work in which I am engaged His work. I think of it too much as though all depended upon me, and, when things go wrong, I am unduly depressed.” Indeed this part of our work requires a rare mixture of tenderness and sympathy, with inflexible firmness. “ Who is sufficient for these things?”Magnum quidem est onus, sed magna gratia Imponentis. The Missionary pastor especially requires the prayers of his brethren.

About six years after that first visit to Mukury, Mr. Caemmerer invited me to spend a Sunday at the same village with himn. It was vacation time, and as many of the young men of my Institution came from the neighbourhood of Mukury, I consented to spend the first Sunday in the year there. How changed the scene! A really imposing-looking church, built in the most substantial manner, occupies a central part of the village. A tower has been added ; large school-rooms for girls and boys, always prominent things in our Missions,) occupying one side of the area in the front. At the Morning Service the church was thronged. A band of my own youths led the singing and chanting. The people were clean, attentive

, orderly, and many of them devout in their behaviour. There was a large number of communicants, whose reverential and earnest manner much impressed me. In the afternoon a goodly number of children were brought to be catechised ; and then again the church was filled with worshippers. Mr. C. has much, very much to contend with in that and his other large and important congregations,-much apathy, much insubordination, much ignorance, much evil,what pastor has not?)—but he has been permitted to see a result which must be deeply gratifying to him, and for which I thanked God that day,

Another very pleasing remembrance is connected with the

village of Kadeiyanódey, which lies in the way from my own village to Nazareth. It stands upon the further bank of a deep nullah, or channel, connected with some rice fields ; and, in the rainy season, I have often been indebted to the people of the village for their kind and ready assistance in crossing the stream, then swollen to an almost impassable torrent. A congregation had been growing up there for a long time; and Mr. Caemmerer at length felt himself justified in erecting a large and substantial church, to which the people subscribed largely. He was kind enough to ask me to preach the sermon at its opening. There was a great gathering on the occasion, in a school-room which was fitted up for the reception of the guests. Some of our friends from I'uticorin were present, with some of the Missionaries of the Church Missionary Society, all myown assistants from Sawyerpuram, and my choir." As I rode along the bank of the stream, very early in the morning, I at length caught a glimpse of the tower of the new church, which I had not seen before, peeping out from the thick clump of trees, and at the same moment I heard too the bell ringing out for the first time, proclaiming to the people all around that there was in the midst of them “s a place for the Lord, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob.” How every word of that 1320 Psalm comes home to one at such a time!

It is not necessary to go into an account of all that took place that day, nor will my memory serve to recall all the particulars of our festivities. The service was the first thing, each clergyman taking his part. Then there were deputations of congratulation, and then races and sports among the children, and scrambling for plantains or other fruit; and in the evening the quiet meditative ride home, musing upon the progress and prospects of our joint work. There was the river to be crossed, and then a cup of tea at my friend Mr. Tucker's, and then evening prayers at Sawyerpuram, and then to rest, till the bell at five A.M. summoned us again to be up and doing.

Pleasant days to look back upon! These are times when one can “sing the Lord's song in a strange land,” and almost forget too that it is a “strange land.”

There are many other pleasing and a few painful thoughts that arise in my mind in connexion with Nazareth. But I shall close here. Of course it will be understood that I do not presume to give the history or enter into the details of the state of any of the Missions of which I venture to speak. I merely put down, almost at random, my personal recollections of them. In conclusion, I must say that I am daily more and more convinced of the absolute necessity of a more efficient and vigorous

ecclesiastical system in all our Indian Missions. Many, I know, share this conviction with me. The diverse, though, happily, not discordant elements of Missionary operations, require to be blended into an harmonious system. We must labour to plant not a Mission but a Church.

Would not one of the most telling protests which we could make at this crisis against the encroachments of the schismatical and corrupt Church of Rome be a vigorous effort to extend and consolidate our Missionary operations by the erection and endowment of additional bishoprics wherever God has been pleased to give us “ the heathen for our inheritance ?” How could the jubilee of the venerable Society for the Propagation of the Gospel be better celebrated, or our deep conviction of the truth of our doctrines and the Catholicity of our Church be better demonstrated, than by such an effort ?

G. U. P. The Rectory, Bishop Wearmouth, Nov. 12, 1850.

THE DUTCH OCCUPATION OF CEYLON."

No. III.

ABOUT three months after Spilbergen's departure, the ViceAdmiral, Sebald de Weerd, arrived in the port of Batilico. His object being to pursue the track so successfully opened by his predecessor, he at once proceeded up the country to the capital, and was received at court with every mark of esteem and consideration—the fruits of the favourable impression left by the Admiral. The musician Martsberger, now become the confidential secretary of state, was of essential service to him, in acquainting him both with the ceremonials of the court, and the sentiments and views of those in power. But De Weerd unfortunately was not a man to improve the advantages of his position. A treaty, however, was concluded between the Emperor and himself, in the name of the States; in

pursuance of which he set sail for Achen, to procure some addition to his naval force, in order to commence active hostilities against the Portuguese. On his return, he fell in with four Portuguese vessels, which he captured. Intelligence of this success reached the Grand Modeliar Manual Dias, who instantly sent a demand on the part of his master, that a share of the spoil should be assigned to him in pursuance of the treaty. The answer of the Dutchman excited the greatest surprise—that negotiations for

I Continued from p. 131.

setting them at liberty had already been completed. Upon receiving this inexplicable reply, the Emperor hurried down to the port, and his indignation was great upon finding that the vessels and their crews were actually released and gone. Greater still was his wrath upon hearing, from an officer of his own who had accompanied the expedition, of the marked favour shown by the Dutch commander to the Portuguese on all occasions, and of his evident indifference to the interests of his royal ally, and to the conditions of the treaty. Though the representative of the Emperor, the Kandian officer had been treated with slight and disrespect. On one occasion-a banquet on board ship--he had been placed at the lower end of the table, while Portuguese guests were seated at the upper end next to their host. And he strongly warned his sovereign against committing himself further to these strangers, whose object appeared to be, to cajole and blind him until they could by force or fraud get possession of the country.

Alarmed at the aspect of affairs, Fimala Dherma hastily called a council of state; and it was deliberated whether, after the palpable violation of the treaty, it would be advisable to put further trust in the foreigners. It was agreed, however, by way of testing their sincerity, to call upon them to fulfil one condition of the compact, and inmediately to make an attack upon the enemy's important station of Point de Galle. But before the conference broke up, it was announced that De Weerd, with 300 armed men, had arrived at the Emperor's quarters, and requested to pay his respects. An intimation being given that his train of attendants was considered too large, he dismissed all but a few, and was received to a sumptuous entertainment. On rising to depart, he requested that his Majesty would be pleased to honour him with a visit on board his ship, where he might return his hospitality, and show him the fittings-up of an European vessel. But the Emperor was in no disposition to put himself in the power of a man of whom he had conceived a deep distrust, and declined the invitation, alleging as a reason the objection of his counsellors to the step. De Weerd became importunate. At least, would his Majesty step down to the shore, from whence he might gratify his curiosity by a nearer view of the ship. In expectation of being honoured by a visit from his Majesty, he had ordered a tent with white hangings to be pitched upon the shore, and he trusted that he would not disappoint him. Fimala Dherma, no longer doubting but that some treachery was meditated, politely declined this invitatior. also. Then De Weerd, whose rude and violent temper had beer inflamed by the quantity of wine he had been drinking, abruptly declared, that since he did not choose to gratify him by such ai.

« PreviousContinue »