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Lady Bcntinck and suite frequently attended his ministrations. The chapel was thronged with government officers, civil servants, military men, and merchants. This, however, did not continue. The fashionable crowd gradually withdrew, and went to other churches more congenial to their tastes and antecedents. Mr. Hill resigned his pastorate in 1833, and returned to England in 1834. He was succeeded for a short time by the Rev. R. C. Mather; but at the time of Mr. Boaz's arrival the pastorate was vacant, and he was at once appointed to tlie office by the unanimous vote of the people, and with the concurrence of his brethren in the mission. The directors of the London Missionary Society also gave their sanction. He secured the esteem of his missionary brethren, and gained the love and affection of his people, which he preserved during his long pastorate.
Dharumtalah, the street in which Union Chapel is situated, is a broad thoroughfare, stretching away from the Chowringhi-road on the west, to the circular road on the east of the city. Entering the street from the Great Maidan, a plain that separates Calcutta from the Hoogly on the west, the passenger has to make his way through a crowded Bazar, where merchandize of all sorts is exposed for sale, and where one sees numbers of natives squatted on the ground busily preparing heaps of cotton-wool .for exportation, with implements which, from their harsh sound and strange shape, one would take to be a kind of rude guitars, or curious stringed instruments, adapted to give forth barbaric music. Stifled with clouds of dust, and stunned with a din and hubbub such as are only witnessed in Oriental streets, he is fortunate if he succeeds in driving through the pressing throng without being thrown out of his buggy, or knocking over some of the half-naked natives who seem to enjoy the luxury of standing in the way, and are seldom in a hurry to clear the road, despite the loud shrill vociferations of the Syse as he runs along by the side of his master's carriage, warning the multitude of approaching danger. Ere the upper end of the now broader and more quiet street is reached, Union Chapel, the property of the London Missionary Society, is seen on the left. It is a plain, but graceful structure, with a verandah, and large portico in front, supported by massive Doric columns. At the north-east angle, stands the pastor's house, and the whole is surrounded by a garden, or compound. In the front of the chapel is a grassy lawn, and on either side the garden is filled with brilliant shrubs, evergreens, and flowers of various tints and colours, indigenous and exotic, brought hither from the Himalaya Mountains, from Europe, Africa, and America. The garden was planned, and enriched with its gorgeous occupants by Mr. Boaz. He took much delight in looking after thia favorite spot; he not only laid out considerable sums of money in purchasing seeds and plants from various countries, but cultivated it with his own hands. Morning and evening was he seen with knife, spade, and other implements of horticulture; pruning here, sowing there, and watering the thirsty ground as occasion required. All the time he could spare from more serious avocations was spent among his flowers, and under his fostering oare the compound looked gay and trim at all seasons.
The interior of the chapel presented an appearance very novel to one lately arrived in the country. The form of the chapel was a parallelogram, without galleries; the lofty roof being supported by two rows of. massive pillars. The pulpit was at the further end, and opposite to it the organ-loft. The walls were white, plain, and unadorned; but the monotony of their appearance was relieved by a number of large Venetian windows, painted green, and rising from the basement to the roof. The floor was covered with fine Bengal matting, and the pews consisted of open trellis work, made of polished wood, and containing from six to ten large arm chairs. From the roof were suspended several large white fans, or punkas, with pendent cotton or silk frills stretching across the whole length of the ohapel, from the pulpit to the organ-loft. During the worship, a row of sable Hindu attendants, dressed in turbans, and flowing robes, pure and white, stood on either side; not, however, for the purpose of taking any part, except to pull those gigantic fans that were moving slowly from side to side with the regularity of a pendulum, to keep the worshippers cool and comfortable during divine service. These attendants are called punka-bearers, and but for the occasional movement of their arms, one would take them for so many automata, cut out in ebony, and decked in Oriental costume, so still and seemingly lifeless are they I Not a muscle of the countenance moves, nor is there the slightest indication of any interest in what is going on. All around is a sea of whiteness. The gentlemen dressed in white from head to foot; the ladies also in white, without bonnets, sometimes bareheaded, and at others covered with gossamer veils. The countenances of the congregation shewed at once that it was not wholly composed of Englishmen. The worshippers were from various parts of Europe; some from America, while many were Eurasians, or the descendants of Englishmen, born in India.
It will be readily believed that Mr. Boaz did not seclude himself from intercourse with his fellow men. His home was open, not only to young men who brought letters of introduction from an old friend or a brother minister, but to young men of whose parents and connexions he knew nothing. Enough, if they were strangers in a foreign land, and were recommended by some respectable person at home. The reception that such persons met with was not cold and formal, consisting of some good advice, an invitation to dinner, and then a polite dismissal, but hearty and! cheery. Hence it was, that more young men, particularly midshipmen and others just arrived in the country, found a resting place in the Union Chapel home than in any other private dwelling of the same class in Calcutta. His kindness to his young countrymen did not cease with a few acts of hospitality which might be shewn with little inconvenience. Constituted as Indian society is, two or three guests even in a moderate household do not, as in this country, interfere with the usual routine of the family, or cause any particular commotion among the servants of the establishment. This may be one reason why Englishmen in India are proverbial for their hospitality. But Mr. Boaz not only yielded this hospitality, but assisted his visitors in their future prospects. For many a young man did he solicit and obtain a situation; humble it might be at the first, but which through industry and ability led on to independence, and in some instances to fortune. Sometimes he would write to the heads of Government departments, or to the principals of mercantile establishments on behalf of his proteges; at others he would call at their offices, and advocate his cause so earnestly, that if the situation was already filled he would get a promise of the first vacancy that occurred. This trait in his character was so well known to Government officials and the principal mercantile firms in Calcutta, that whenever his name was announced at an office, the remark that followed was, "there is Padre Boaz, he wants a subscription for some society, or a situation for some scapegrace." Nor was his interest in his young countrymen confined to such as had letters of introduction to him. He often sought the wanderer in the bazars of Calcutta, supplied his immediate necessities, and assisted him in finding a situation or in returning home to his parents and friends. He was once informed that a young man, a sailor, was lying in a state of destitution and wretchedness in a low punch-house in the Bow Bazar—the Wapping of Calcutta—the haunt of crimps and pickpockets, and the resort of staggering sailors on liberty. He went immediately to the shop, where he found the poor youth in a most deplorable condition, lying in a damp cellar without food or clothing, and prostrated by a burning fever which probably would have carried him off in a few hours. Mr. Boaz conveyed him to a more suitable dwelling, sent for. medical aid, and supplied liiui with all necessaries. He visited him daily until he was convalescent. He found that the youth had received a religious education, but in a moment of wild recklessness had run away from his home and worked his passage out to India as a sailor. In the furnace of affliction and amidst the delirium of fever, the memory of the past and the prayers and admonitions of a pious mother rushed like a torrent of burning lava into the soul of the now prostrate sinner, conscience was awakened, he was brought to his right mind. He soon after joined a Christian church, found a good situation, and has long occupied an independent position in society which he adorns by the graces of a useful and consistent Christian life.
As a preacher Mr. Boaz's extempore efforts were generally his best. So much waB he the creature of feeling, that the slightest incident happening before he went into the pulpit would so disconcert him, that the effect could be easily perceived; and however carefully the sermon might have been prepared, its delivery would bo a failure. But if he was in a right frame of spirit ho could, when called upon suddenly, and consequently without any previous study, preach so as to make a deep impression upon his audience. A remarkable instance of this occurred during the Indian rebellion. As he was preparing to go into the chapel to conduct his ordinary Wednesday evening service, the alarming report was passed from mouth to mouth, that the rebels had massacred a number of Europeans, and were coming down to Calcutta. He at once changed his subject and preached an impressing and heart-stirring sermon from the words of Joab to Abishai his brother, "Be of good courage, and let us play the man for our people, and for the cities of our God: and the Lord do that winch seemeth him good."— (2 Samuel x. 12.)
His ministry was blessed by the Great Head of the Church to the conversion of souls, of which the following is an instance. A gentleman who had spent the greater part of his life in the capacity of a lieutenant in the Royal Navy, settled in Bengal as an indigo planter. His wife was a member of Mi-. Boaz's church. In the cold season, as is usual, they visited Calcutta. During their stay, the lady regularly attended the services at Union Chapel, but her husband would never enter its doors; in fact, ho considered it a kind of degradation to enter a dissenting chapel. Ho used to drive his wife in his buggy to the chapel, put her down on the verandah; then go to the Episcopal church, and after service, call for her, and take her home. One Sunday morning they were overtaken suddenly by a heavy shower. Arrived at the chapel, the lady said, "You had better go no further, but come in with me,
you will hear nothing offensive." Her husband had no alternative, . if he proceeded further he would be drenched. With much reluotance he entered, but sat and listened attentively. When he went home he was silent and thoughtful. He retired to his room, and his wife overheard him engaged in secret and earnest prayer, for the first time in his life. Tn the evening, he proposed again to accompany his wife to chapel. From that day he was a new man, a devout and consistent Christian, and one of Mr. Boaz's attached friends.
Although Mr. Boaz had been providentially diverted from direct evangelistic labours amongst the natives, yet he never forgot that he was the missionary pastor of a missionary church. When he accepted that office, he was also appointed secretary and treasurer of the Bengal Auxiliary Missionary Society. The object contemplated was to raise funds in the country to defray the local expenses of the various stations connected with the Society in Bengal, hut more particularly those in and around Calcutta,—such as the support of schools, teachers, and catechists. In the year 1846, there were connected with this Auxiliary, in Calcutta and its suburbs, four native churches, three catechists, and five preaching stations; the Christian Institution, containing with its affiliated Bchools, upward of 400 boys; and the girls' school, with a girls' boarding school, and three village schools. The funds necessary for keeping this machinery well employed amounted at that time to £1,670., and were raised to a great extent by the personal and written appeals of Mr. Boaz, both in private, and from the pulpit and platform.
He was also in the habit of visiting the Hindu festivals for the purpose of distributing tracts, exposing the sin and folly of the abominable orgies practised at such times. Ho was usually accompanied by one or more native catechists, who interpreted what he wished to say. Had these brethren gone alone they would, in all probability have been brow-beaten and insulted; but protected by the presence of an intelligent European, they were treated with respect and consideration. On one occasion he'was roughly handled, and nearly lost his life. He went, with a brother missionary, to endeavour to put a stop to the cruelties of the Charah Puja, at Bhowanipore. A large concourse of people was assembled, the Charah-pole was erected, and all the necessary preparations were made. One poor wretch, who was about to be swung, had the iron hook already thrust through his back, ready to be hoisted on the Bwinging-pole, when Mr. Boaz interfered, and warned the instigators of this deed of cruelty, of the responsibility they incurred should the devotee be killed in the attempt, as sometimes happens.