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knowing absolutely nothing; and others from the village schools; where they have received an imperfect elementary education. When it is remembered that the Missionary has to visit periodically from twelve to twenty villages, to superintend the catechists, to inspect the schools, to overlook more especially the boarding schools, to conduct the services in his central church, to prepare candidates for Baptism and Communion, to take his part in translations, to correspond with those under whom he labours, and to attend to all the other miscellaneous business of the Mission, it will be pretty evident that he cannot, in general, do very much for the youths who compose his class of preparandi. Then the contingencies of the Mission do not permit these youths to remain long under this training, imperfect as it is. A few of the junior catechists have received a tolerably fair education, either in the seminaries, or under some individual Missionary. Some of the superintending catechists in the Church Missionary Society's districts are of a somewhat higher caste than the bulk of our people, and many of these were originally connected with our Tanjore Missions. A fair knowledge of accounts, good habits of business, and great shrewdness, are almost universal in the caste to which they belong. It will be seen from this account that the body of catechists is composed of a very great variety of men. I must add that there are some admirably qualified for their work, and perhaps for a higher office in the Church, if God shall be pleased to call them to it. It should be stated also that a sifting process is constantly going on, that the vacancies, which occur either by death or dismissal, are filled up, for the most part, with better men; and so in this as in every department of our work there is a real, though for many reasons a somewhat slow, advance. What then are the duties of catechists ?

These are very various, and their position has often appeared to me to be exceedingly anomaloue. The nature of the catechist's work will appear from a consideration of his position. Perhaps he is appointed to a village where everything is to be begun. In this case the words of the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, and the Ten Commandments have to be taught and explained to the members of the congregation individually. He has to give the people, who are very much like children in all except matters of worldly business, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and

, there a little. Everything has to be taught. And when it is the time appointed for the instruction of the people, he has often to seek them; for one man has gone to his merchandise, and another to his field. The women, too, are not very ready at first to come out at the appointed times to be taught, and the catechist has to go and teach them often under the trees while


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they are spinning. And how slowly does the work of teaching then go on! The children, too, are often sent by their parents to tend cattle, to gather firewood, or to assist in other ways in procuring a livelihood. A catechist should have much energy, patience and prudence. However strict the superintendence of the Missionary may be, there will still rest upon the native catechist a very large share of the responsibilities of the work. In a Christian congregation of longer standing his duties are somewhat different. He has to preach or lecture, to expound the Catechism, and to prepare the people for admission into the classes which are training for Baptism or Communion.

In every congregation there is a great amount of secular work from which the catechist can hardly escape, even when he is anxious to do so, which many of them are not. Disputes are continually arising among the people themselves, or between them and their heathen neighbours; some powerful zemindar, or wealthy landowner, is guilty of an act of oppression, or there is some dispute about their taxes; and who should speak on their behalf but the catechist,-ordinarily the most intelligent man in the village? Such things often prove a great snare to our catechists. Temptation is thrown in their way, and they fall; or by their imprudence and hastiness they are sometimes the causes of great mischief. In this way I have kņown serious and irreparable mischief to result from the imprudence or duplicity of a catechist whom I have too implicitly trusted. On the other hand, great benefit results (in a temporal point of view), I fully believe, in the great majority of cases, from the residence in a village of a man of better education than the rest of the people, able to give them advice in their affairs, and to take their part in those innumerable cases of oppression, to which the peasantry in such a country are exposed. Where the village is at some distance from the central station, the catechist very frequently has to conduct all the services in the village church or prayer-house, and to stand almost in the relation of pastor to the people, subject only to the supervision of the Missionary, who is not able perhaps to visit the village himself oftener than once in a month, and in some cases not so often. This is an anomaly which can only * be removed by the subdivision of districts, and the increase of ordained labourers. When the villages are nearer to the central station, the catechist brings in his people, at least once on the Sunday, to the service.

A catechists' meeting is held, in some Missious once a month, but in the majority once a week. At these meetings each catechist brings the list of his congregation, with the lessons learned by each individual marked on it, and a journal of his own proceedings; reports all cases of delinquency;

delivers an account of the collections at the services; and brings in those of the congregation who may have any special matters to lay before the Missionary. They are then lectured or taught according to the plan which each Missionary has been led to adopt, and instructions are given them as to the work of the ensuing week or month. These meetings are often very interesting and profitable to all parties ; many of my happiest hours have been spent in lecturing my catechists and praying with them. Some of them have been of incalculable benefit to the Mission; and others have from time to time betrayed the confidence reposed in them. David, with whose name some of my, readers will be familiar, is a man of great ability, of most extensive Scriptural knowledge, possessed of ready and powerful eloquence, mild and conciliating in his manners, and, as far as I can venture to judge, a man of deep and fervent piety.

Besides these catechists' meetings in each district, there are also larger meetings of all the catechists in the Missions of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, which are held half-yearly at each station in turn. At these meetings a general examination of the catechists in lessons which have occupied them during the preceding months takes place; they are classified according to their proficiency; essays written by them on subjects previously assigned are read, and prizes awarded ; a sermon is preached to the assembled catechists and schoolmasters, and such general instructions are given to them as the brethren think fitting. These are most interesting meetings, and generally last for three or four days. It is a pleasant reunion for both Missionaries and Catechists. Our host is chairman for the time being. The Mission assistants come in from all parts of our Missions in little bands. Almost every variety is found among them, from the portly well-to-do catechist of long standing, to the assistant schoolmaster who was appointed last month, and hardly knows how to behave himself in the presence of so many great men, but nevertheless very often outstrips his seniors in the examination.

The first thing to be done is to read over the lists of questions which each Missionary has prepared upon the subject in which they are to be examined. These questions are always arranged and well considered beforehand, in order that no part of the subject may be left untouched, and that more order and system may be observed in the proceedings. The next thing is to read over the essays, which have already been examined by individual Missionaries. This generally occupies a whole day. The second day commences with the public service and sermon, and very solemn indeed it is to see so many men, pioneers in this great work, gathered together, and to think how much the character of the infant church must depend upon their influence. The work of the examination then commences. Each Missic nary takes his assigned part, and all unite in the work of classification consequent upon this examination. After this the successful essayists read their compositions in the presence of the rest, the prizes are distributed, subjects of study and for the essays for the ensuing half-year are announced, and the catechists are dismissed to their homes. At meetings of this kind a very large portion of the holy Scriptures has come in due course under consideration, and as the subjects for the essays are always such as bear directly upon their teaching and work, the effect of the whole is extremely beneficial.


Such, then, are our native assistants. It is the day of small and feeble things with us in this respect.

The extension of the Mission has been too rapid, and the labourers too few, to allow of such a comprehensive and thorough system of teaching and training as might, by God's blessing, have furnished us with a bard of more efficient native fellow-labour

But this deficiency will, it is to be hoped, be remedied by the institutions now established. There is a class of senior catechists now preparing for holy orders under Mr. Sargent. The Palamcottah seminary is in active operation. And in the Sawyerpuram Missionary Institution there is a large number of boys and young men who are in training for various offices in the ChurchStill it will probably be long, very long, before we shall find any considerable number of energetic, able, and devoted native fellow-labourers coming forward to assist us. There will be very likely an increasing number of men tolerably well qualified to work under the Missionary, to carry out his plans, and to follow where he leads them. But for men of enlarged minds, of fervent zeal, and fitted to produce a great and lasting effect upon the masses of their degraded countrymen, we have hitherto looked in vain; and the circumstances of the people, their early habits and associations, their physical constitution, their political state, and in fact everything within and around them, are peculiarly unfavourable to the attainment of anything like a high standard of character. They want the generosity, the bravery, and the dignity of the New Zealander or the Red Indian. Their minds are subtle, but weak; their passions strong, and their moral sense deadened, if not destroyed, by those pernicious systems which for untold generations have had sway in the land. Still, in His good time, God will doubtless raise up, even in the midst of them, men endued with power from on high, fitted to effect among their countrymen that glorious reformation for which we look and long. We know not when, in answer to our prayers, such men will be raised up in our


Indian church. Then indeed, humanly speaking, the consummation will be near : the gigantic but decaying fabric of Hindu superstition will totter to its fall. Meanwhile the cry is sounding louder and louder in our ears, from the far east, “Come over and help us !" Let it be a thousand times repeated, that now in every department of our work our progress is impeded, if not altogether stayed, by the want of men willing to go forth to labour there, that these millions of our fellow-subjects may become with us “fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the Gospel.”

G. U. P. Plymouth, Epiphany, 1851.

THE INDIAN CHURCH IN 1853. IN 1853 the present Charter of the East India Company expires. The years 1851 and 1852 will doubtless be occupied with the inquiries and discussions connected with the question of the renewal of the Charter. In all probability, a select Committee will be formed, next session, to bring under review all the great questions connected with the Company's administration of our Indian empire.

Surely this is a most suitable epoch for the Church at home to review the extent to which it has bitherto discharged its responsibilities to that vast heathen portion of the British empire, and to consider all that remains undone for the evangelization of its inhabitants, as well as to clear its view as to what changes it should endeavour to effect in the approaching re-adjustment of the Company's Charter,--a readjustment which must, in many ways, affect the position of the Church in that country, and the opportunities presented for the direct or indirect diffusion of the Gospel.

Let not the Church be behind the world in this matter. While the Legislature will most laudably direct its inquiries to the secular prosperity and the right and just government of 130,000,000 of our fellow-subjects, let the Church, with at least equal anxiety, survey the land, and see what has been done, or rather all that has not yet been done, to proclaim the Gospel of Christ, and establish His visible kingdom among those countless multitudes.

The two last renewals of the Charter, in 1813 and 1833, have each of them been marked by important events in the history of the Church of England in that country. The year 1813 saw the erection of the bishopric of Calcutta,-an immense step, considering the temper and tone of feeling of that day; and this erection was accompanied by the formation of a

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