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no other god but Me”. -"gods many and lords many ; but to us there is but one God,”—“the god of this world,” &c. On what principle of faithful translation can we render the same word in the Greek by a different word in the Chinese ? I know of none; and in the whole course of this controversy I have seen none adduced. Scores of false issues, and side issues, have been made, receded from, advanced again, and again abandoned; until it has become difficult to know where the opponents to the use of Shin are, and what position they wish to be considered as occupying. And if I cared to meddle with the tracts and preaching of the "Nonconformists," as you call them, I might give such a history of changes in the names used for God as would painfully illustrate Sir G. Staunton's remark that “the appearance of vacillation or uncertainty in the choice of the phrase to denote Deity tends to derogate from its sacred authority.” Alas, that our experience should have made us feel how true this is !
Very truly yours in the Lord, E. W. SYLE.
MISSIONARY PROCEEDINGS IN INDIA.
“Ma per trattar del ben ch' io vi trovai,
Diro dell'altre cose ch' io v' ho scorte.”-DANTE.
LETTER XI.-SULKEA. MY DEAR This Easter week, 1850, finds me again abroad, bound on a similar tour to that of which I wrote you an account at this time last year, viz. in the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel Missions south of Calcutta. I write this from Barripûr, whither I came two days ago. Yesterday, at half-past six A. M., I started with the two Messrs. Driberg, for Sulkea, which was among the first, if not the first place in these parts where “the mustard seed” struck root, nearly a quarter of a century ago. Owing to the desperate state of the fields, baked and cracked by the sun, (so that one seems riding over loose bricks and brickbats,) and also to continued talking as we rode, we made a two hours saunter of eight miles, putting up at half-past eight in a building of substantial brick walls and pillars, with a thatched roof, built at considerable expense by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel some years ago, in lieu of that destroyed by the gale of 1842.
After giving our steeds and selves the first feed of the day, we pushed on to Joláshi, a mile further to the west, arriving at eleven A. M., the hour at which the people come from their work in the fields. our way we passed a sad spectacle. There had been a bludgeon fight between two parties about a piece of land, and two poor creatures had fallen on the spot. One was insensible, with a severe wound in the head, the other also with a broken head and broken arm, but sensible. A mat had been thrown over the former, but the latter lay under the fierce sun, with a solitary burkundauze (policeman) on guard over them, waiting for the arrival of means and authority to remove them.
I had never before seen fellow-beings stricken down in mortal fray, but I know not how it was that whilst I saw the misery of the sight, it seemed not to move me. Perhaps it was, that one gets used to the sight of corpses and skeletons, and objects in India. What did occur was this, (as I saw at the same time our rude chapel at Joláshi not far off, that the like passions with the like results are seen in Christian lands : and what then? It would be too long a digression to note down all that came into my mind upon the question—"and what then ?”—so let me hurry you on to Joláshi, a small hamlet of people of exclusively the Téore, or fisherman caste. Here is a small chapel of mud walls and thatch, where I read the morning service as soon as the people were come in from their work.
There were present some thirty men and women ; service ended, three widows took advantage
of my new face to represent that their huts were dilapidated ; so, hearing a good report of them from the Missionary, I gave them each a rupee to buy straw to mend their thatch withal. I felt interested in afterwards hearing that the one who spoke, is a most constant attendant on Divine service. All last Lent she walked the nine miles to Barripûr to attend the prayers on Wednesdays in the church there. Not long since, her only child, a daughter, died suddenly when on the eve of marriage ; and it is observed, that as often as there is service at Joláshi, the mother goes straight from prayers to her child's grave, and stands in silence by it. for some time. Considering that she is a convert from Hindooism, I thought this a very practical comment on the two Articles of the Creed, “I believe in the Communion of Saints,” and “the Resurrection of the Dead.” Sympathy with the departed should be encouraged among the converts. I am reading, just now, Maitland's book on the Catacombs. How strong that sympathy appears in the records which form its subject !
As the people had to get their noon-day meal and return to work, we went back to Sulkea by one P. M., in time for a service there before the labourers went out again to the field. There were present some fifty men and women, with one Catechumen, sentenced to stand in the doorway for having used scandalous language. There was no sermon or exposition after prayers; but till four P. M. my reverend guide was engaged in counsel, comfort, and reproof, with one after another, and I was reminded of what I often felt, that with such poor creatures of the earth, herein lies the Missionary's opportunity for practical instruction and exhortation. Nor sermon, nor catechizing, could so come home to them as the pointing out to each how his faith should rule his practice in the case he submits; the neighbours, standing round, learn at the same time. And life is life. The rustic life has its tragedies and its " frivola ;” and even the one about the other, as, methought, the wounded men on the disputed hand-breadth of land proved. At Sulkea are a man and a woman both born deaf and dumb. The former is an industrious intelligent man, and a wellbehaved Christian ; though hardly taught of man. Some twelve years ago, the present Bishop of Calcutta being at Barripûr, confirming, this man made his way through the crowd that filled the small dilapidated room which then served as a church, and prostrated himself, with such uncouth sounds as his mouth can emit, making the sign of the cross on his forehead. His Lordship, on inquiring what he could mean, was told that the man had for some time sought baptism ; but, in the utter impossibility of instructing him, or of learning what he might have been taught, the Missionary felt a difficulty about it. His Lordship decided that water should not be forbidden, so he was baptized, and afterwards confirmed, and has been a regular communicant ever since. It is observed that when he has received the Holy Elements, he crosses himself as he withdraws. A sign of “ Amen,” which, who would meddle with? What does he know? What does he not know-or believe ? seeing Who it is has been his teacher.
The woman has not been baptized, not having in the same way sought it. She receives a monthly alms, being alone in the world and utterly destitute. The poor thing wasted a deal of gesticulation and wild sounds on some subject or other, but not to me. It was understood to be about the next dole she should receive. When the question had been settled, I gave her a four-anna piece, which bought more rhetoric than she could utter.
The business of the three hours spent here after service, suggested to my mind some contrast between the labours of a Missionary, when his work has assumed a parochial character, (which it bears in these parts,) and those of a curate at home. I took up in my mind the single point of the pressure on the energies and means of both caused by a large and very poor flock, and I thought the Missionary is at a disadvantage, in that, whilst his converts resort to him more generally in all matters, he has only his own resources.
He has not yet any men of substance within reach, on whom to fall back, and in whom to find helpmates ; and he is, in such a Mission as this, out of the sight and hearing of the Europeans of even Calcutta. And what can a Committee do for him ? And hereupon arose another reflection. The present mode of operations must soon find, is indeed finding, its limits. All the Missionary Societies are feeling a pecuniary pressure from which there must be daily less chance of relief, as the Church goes on gathering to itself a simply pauper population, which can as little build its own Churches, maintain its own schools, and remunerate its own teachers, as could a number of mere agricultural labourers in the poorest districts of England.
It must, before long, become a downright impossibility for any Society in England-nay, for all its Societies together—to not only pay and provide for Missionaries, but supply the entire body of stipendiary teachers, required to perpetuate the ministration of the Word and Sacraments among the converts and their descendants ; at any rate, if the even lowest present rate of Missionary salaries is to be the standard. And now, if any one interposes with the question,-But what is to be done ?-my reply is, We must learn to have faith in Holy Orders, as conferring a gift; as God's own institution for the maintenance of the Faith. As I go from village to village and see the native teachers, to whom the immediate ordinary care of the flock is entrusted, discharging all the offices of the Diaconate -- except indeed, the ministration of baptism-I cannot help asking myself, why they are not ordained Deacons ? If they are not fit for that degree, why are they entrusted to do what they at present do? If they are fit to do what they do, then would they not be the fitter to do it if ordained ? But, if ordained, it may be said, they must be paid more. I can only ask, Why? On salaries varying from 16 to 30 rupees a month they are able to make a decent appearance, and rank as gentry among the poor peasants. I heard the other day of the promotion of one of their number, for long and faithful service, to the pay and allowances of a Catechist educated at Bishop's College. I could not help thinking that if the good report which he has, and to my own knowledge deservedly, obtained, had won for him the degree of Deacon, a greater boon would have been conferred on the Church. Now do not take alarm, as though I were advocating a sort of ordination“ en masse.” Not so; but I would find in such men of good report and faithful service a substitute for those poor aboriginal spirits, of whom one hears complaints on all sides, who, because they have had a better education, care not to preach the Gospel unless they can be assured not of a competency merely, but of an equality absolute with men of other origin and other habits.
This, however, is a subject on which I purpose entering at some length in a separate letter. There was a lengthy controversy on it some years ago in the Calcutta Christian Intelligencer. But I drop it for the present, and proceed to introduce to you another of the notabilities of Sulkea. One of the men here went mad some years ago, soon after his conversion, in a harmless but singular way. He imagined himself commissioned to teach the Ten Commandments; in order whereto, he provided himself with a piece of bamboo with ten knots, or joints, in it, with which he struck those whom he would teach, administering the lesson thus one day to his pastor himself in the midst of divine service. His delusion lasted about a year.
Whilst officiating here I observed, that though there were only two prayer-books in the congregation, the responses were fully and accurately given, and perceived that the leading respondents were little children without books. These, I found, were boys from the Barripûr Mission School, at home with their friends for the Easter Vacation. This incident impressed me strongly with the worth of such schools, where only Christian children are reared, being taught their native tongue, with writing and arithmetic, and made to attend the Morning and Evening Service daily in the church. I observed also, here, that the “widows indeed,” who receive a monthly dole at the Society's charge, were lodged together in an old hut, formerly occupied by a reader, and it occurred to me that, seeing how completely, in India, such poor creatures are “without hope in this world,” it would be a wise as well as economical measure, that they should be all made to live together at the Mission Station, required to attend the daily services, as the children of the school do, and employed in some simple way, such as basket-making and the like.
We remounted our horses at four P. M., and made a detour to a place called Makallollah, between Barripûr and Mogra Hât, to see a
tank recently dug at the expense of the present Secretary to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, in Calcutta, on a plot of ground which, exhibiting, besides, four mud huts complete, and three but half built, rejoices in the name of Streetpûr. There are half a dozen others on another piece of land hard by, and I was pleased to find the people (all Christians) constructing, of their own free will and gratuitous labour, a sort of hall (with mud walls) for the Missionaries to rest in at this stated place of halting, when on their way to Mogra Hât. Here we had some cocoa-nuts, and, remembering our straits last year for want of water at Bósór and Kharri, ordered half a hundred to be sent on to await us there. We start early to-morrow morning, and if I pick up any sights or sounds for thought upon the way, they shall be recorded in another letter.
Yours very truly,
P. April 8, 1850.
MORAVIAN MISSIONS IN SOUTH AFRICA.
Graham's Town, Oct. 22, 1849. MY DEAR SIR,– Having just returned from a second visit to the Moravian Missionary station of Shiloh, on the borders of Kaffirland, I wish to give you a few of my thoughts on the subject. But first I must refer you to my journal of June last for a general account of the station and its inmates,-their numbers, their work, their expenditure, and other matters. (See vol. iii. p. 453.)
On this second occasion I took with me, who is no less delighted with the sisters of the establishment than I was with the brothers. Their frankness, simplicity, and kindliness win more and more upon us, the better we know them.
Besides giving the abstract of their year's accounts, which the frank kindness of Mr. Bonatz enabled me to do, I have said in my second visit that I was very minute in my inquiries about the expenses of their newly contemplated station at Windfogel, because I thought we might learn more from them than from any other body of Christians who are engaged in missionary work in this land.
Now, when we consider that Shiloh is only of twenty years' standing, —that they have incurred the plunderings consequent upon the Kaffir wars, when all their cattle were swept away from them (though they were never compelled to quit the station, nor was any one's life lost) it is a subject worthy of much reflection, that for some years past they have not only been a self-supporting Society, but have actually returned a surplus in aid of poorer Missions. 4001. was all that their Society received from the Government, at whose instigation two solitary men first came to settle on this trackless wild, (as it then was,) surrounded by a fierce tribe of savages. They had a promise of a grant of land, it is true ; but it is the industry which they have bestowed on this land, and their simple, self-denying lives, which has placed this and other Moravian Missions on such a different footing to the numerous stations of other bodies, whose lavish expenditure has no such fruit to show as is witnessed among these men, who have