James Hough.

The history of Christianity in India : from the commencement of the Christian era : second portion: comprising the history of protestant missions, 1706-1816 / by James Hough (Volume 5) online

. (page 16 of 54)
Online LibraryJames HoughThe history of Christianity in India : from the commencement of the Christian era : second portion: comprising the history of protestant missions, 1706-1816 / by James Hough (Volume 5) → online text (page 16 of 54)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


tutions. The present chapter is drawn up chiefly from this
work, and the Society's annual reports.



IN INDIA : BOOK XIII. 153

employed ; but the conversions were not so nume-
rous in 1817 as in some former years. In the
autumn of 1816 they were joined by a Mr Randall,
who was sent out to superintend the manufacture
of paper for the use of the mission, but he was
spared to them little more than two years. In 1817
a Mr Penny arrived, with instructions to attend
especially to the organization and increase of schools
on the British system of education. In 1818 he
was followed by two more missionaries from Eng-
land, Messrs Adam and Pearce. The former was
destined for Surat, but finding, on his arrival, that
much uncertainty existed respecting that distant
station, and no other for the present appearing
more eligible, he remained at Calcutta, preparing
for future work, as circumstances might require
his attention. Mr Pearce presided over the print-
ing department.

3. This station being thus strengthened, Mr E. 9p^^'^-
Carey resigned the co-pastorship of the EngUsh tend'er'
services for the purpose of devoting himself exclu- "' '^^,
sively to the heathen population in and around
Calcutta. In these exertions all the brethren
shared, in some degree, as soon as they had acquired
a sufficient acquaintance with the language ; and
in order to extend and facilitate them as much as
possible, several large sheds, covered with mats,
were erected in different parts of the city, in which
they preached. They next took up a position at
Doorgapore, a distant part of Calcutta, where they
erected a dwelling-house after the fashion of the
country, and a neat place of worship, which stood
by the road-side, in the very heart of the native
population. There the missionaries resided in
succession, for six months at a time. By these
means they came into immediate contact with the
natives, and their preaching soon appeared to be
attended with the desired effect.



154



HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY



CHAP.
IV.

Genero-
sity of a



Piety of a
convert.



4. In accomplishing their objects^ they were
much assisted by the contributions of pious indivi-
duals. One instance^ in the case of a very humble
individual, deserves to be particularly recorded.
A Portuguese woman, who had lately renounced
the errors of Romanism and embraced the Pro-
testant faith, was desirous of devoting to the cause
of God a sum of money which she had saved when
in service. Accordingly she proposed to the breth-
ren to rent a piece of ground, and erect on it a
Bengalee place of worship at her own expense.
Being satisfied as to the integrity of her motive,
they encouraged her to fulfil her desires ; and when
the house was finished, she wrote to Mr Carey in a
strain of simple piety and humility, expressing her-
self thankful for having been permitted to accom-
plish the work, and intreating him to ascribe it to
the Lord, who had put the wish into her heart and
enabled her to complete it. This chapel being
found too distant from the road to attract the na-
tives, was subsequently taken down and rebuilt in
a more eligible situation, towards the expense of
which this liberal woman cheerfully contributed.

5, The brethren witnessed also another gratify-
ing instance of Christian faith and piety, in a native
woman whom they had recently baptized. Being
taken ill, Mr Pearce visited her, and asked her,
^' VV^ell, how is the soul ? your body I see is very
weak." She replied, ^' All is well, I have no fear
of death ; Jesus Christ has suffered for me, all my
trust is in him." Thinking she might be thirsty,
the missionary asked her if she wanted water.
She said, ^' I have living water mthin, which my
Saviour has given me, the same as was given to
the woman of Samaria. You know you read the
chapter to us the other day." While the haughty
Brahmins were violently opposed to the instruction
of the native females, this is one among the proofs



IN INDIA: BOOK XIII. 155

vouchsafed to the brethren^ that the poor, the
prostrate Hindoo women, were not despised by Him
who liatli respect unto the lowly, and calleth the
things which are not, as though they were.

They now occupied seven stations in and about
Calcutta ; but their success among the heathen did
not yet answer their expectations. In this respect
they were still called to exercise the patience of
hope. Many instances occur in their journals af
persons of various descriptions, who appeared, for
a time, to listen with serious concern to the doc-
trmes of the Gospel, professed their intention to
renounce idolatry and embrace the religion of
Jesus, but who soon went back again, and walked
no more with them. While these disappointments
afflicted their hearts, God did not leave them with-
out encouragement from such instances of genuine
piety as we have just recorded.

6. The brethren devoted much attention to the New
European troops, and in 1821 a large chapel was cScuttl'
opened in Calcutta for English worship, the erec- ^nci Dum-
tion of which cost about three thousand pounds,
nearly the whole being contributed on the spot. At
Dum-Dum, a military station, on the opposite side

of the river to Serampore, their labours had met
with some interruption ; but this year they were
resumed under so much encouragement, that here
also they erected a new place of worship.

7. Notwithstanding the liberality of the British Apostasy
public in India, the growing establishments at Cal-
cutta and other stations increased the demands
upon the Society's funds to an extent for which
they were unprepared : and in order to meet these
demands, they found it necessary to suspend the
sending out new missionaries for the present. A
painful alternative, and the anxiety it occasioned
them was aggravated by the loss of one of their
missionaries at Calcutta under peculiarly distress-



ofa mis-
sionaiy.



156



HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY



CHAP.
IV.



Brahmins
begin to
oppose the
Gospel.



ing circumstances. This was Mr William Adam,
who had opened his career with great promise.
His journals had evinced an ability in his inter-
course with the natives, and an energy in the pro-
secution of his work, which had already awakened
hoipes of his becoming a most useful labourer '}^ but
these hopes were too soon blasted by his apostasy
from the faith. He embraced opinions denying
the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ, and became
an avowed Unitarian, se]Darated from the Society,
and choosing still to remain in India, connected
himself with the wealthy native before mentioned.
Ram Mohun Roy, who had adopted the same
heresy, and was taking great pains to poison the
truth with his pernicious doctrine. Associated
with this man, William Adam now became as
industrious in propagating infidelity, as he had at
first promised to be in disseminating the Gospel of
Christ. This was an affliction indeed to the breth-
ren, even as to the primitive Christians was the
conduct of those "^^ false teachers" who, we read,
privily brought ^' in damnable heresies, even deny-
ing the Lord that bought them."^ Ram Mohun
Roy was ably answered from the pulpit and the
press by Dr Marshman and Mr Yates ; but still his
opinions continued to sj^read in India, especially
among the natives who had knowledge enough to
discover the absurdity of their old idolatries, but not
light enough to embrace the truth as it is in Jesus.^
8. The Brahmins also were now beginning to bestir



^ Bap. Miss. Soc. Keports 1820 and 1822. Periodical Ac-
counts relative to the Serampore Mission, p. ii. Missionary
Herald and Missionary Register for the same period, 1821 and
1823. ' 2 Pet. ii. 1.

^ Dr Marshman published an able reply to Eam Mohun Roy.
Mr Yates's answer appeared in the form of a vohiine of essays
on tlie peculiar doctrines of the gospel.



IN INDIA : BOOK XIIL 157

themselves in a new way in defence of their super-
stitions, which the people were forsaking. The
activity of the mission press, which, in the year
1821 alone, had produced nearly seventy thousand
tracts and school-books, provoked those priests of
idolatry to adopt a similar expedient on behalf of
their own system. They accordingly established
a periodical work this year, entitled, '^ The Brah-
minical Magazine, or, the Missionary and Brah-
min." In this work they shewed much ignorance of
the Gospel, and published many misrepresentations
of the motives of those whom they attacked. All
this, however, the brethren even hailed with joy,
as calculated to stimulate the native apathy, and
beneficially to provoke a spirit of inquiry and inves-
tigation hitherto foreign to the Hindoo character.

In an extensive town up the country, two of the
missionaries visited Nuddea, the great seat of
Hindoo literature in Bengal, where they distributed
a number of tracts in the Sanscrit language. In
any other form they would have been rejected with
contempt ; whereas now they were acceptable to
the learned. While, however, some received them
freely, they awakened the apprehensions of others ;
and this contributed to call forth the efforts which
the Brahmins, were beginning to make to impede
their progress.

9. While the missionaries were mourning over Accession
their fallen brother, and were disappointed of that s"verar ^
aid from home on the continuance of which they labourers.
doubtless calculated, they were encouraged by ac-
cessions to their number equally unexpected. A
Mr Statham was raised up for them in the country,
a person of undoubted piety and good abilities.^

^ An account of the previous history of this gentleman,
drawn u^) by himself, was inserted in the Missionary Herahl for
September 1821.



158 HISTORT OF CHRISTIANITY

CHAP. After having preached^ under their sanction^ for
^^' some time^ with considerable acceptance^ they in-

vited him to become one of their body. A Brah-
min also of respectable family^ named Anunda^ was
baptized about this period^ in whom they greatly
rejoiced. From his relatives he encountered vio-
lent opposition^ but his constancy remained un-
shaken^ and his whole demeanour was eminently
consistent. After a time he was regularly employed
in preachings and gave hope of becoming a useful
minister of the Gospel to his countrymen. In this,
however, they were disappointed, as in the follow-
ing year he was taken from them by cholera mor-
bus. It was a singular coincidence, that about the
same time the aged Krishnoo also died ; and thus
the first and the last of the native converts finished
their course nearly together. Both died in full
hope of eternal life. Towards the close of the year
1821, they were joined by a Mr Harle, w^ho began
his missionary career with great zeal and ability.
But he had scarcely started on the course before he
reached the goal. He died in August of the follow-
ing year, Avith these encouraging words upon his
lips, ^^ All is well." ^

Among the converts in 1822, there were several
members of a Komish family, whom God had mer-
cifully brought out of the darkness and superstition
in which they had been brought up. In the follow-



^ In November and December 1821, Mr Harle and Auunda
accompanied Mr Townley and Gorachimd on a missionary ex-
cursion to Jungypore. Mr Harle kept a journal of their pro-
ceedings, which is published in the Appendix No. iii. to the
Report of the Baptist Missionary Society for 1823. This is a
valuable document, and it tends to shew how great a loss the
missionaries sustained by the death of these two young assist-
ants. In the Missionary Herald were published at the time
some interesting particulars relating to them both.



ary'8
death.



IN INDIA : BOOK XIII. 159

ing year an aged member of the 8ame idolatrous
church appears to have been reclaimed from igno-
rance and sin, under the instruction of Paunchoo,
one of the Hindoo teachers. Upon this conver-
sion the missionaries remark — ^^ It was indeed an
interesting sight to see a Hindoo instructing one
who always called himself a Christian." Another
of the converts this year was a Brahmin, of that
high order called Koohn, whose profession of Chris-
tianity excited great astonishment among his coun-
trymen, as it w^as evidently opposed to his tem-
poral interests.

10. The missionaries were greatly impeded in ^^^^^J^""
their work by sickness; and, in 1824, Mr E. Carey m^ ^
was induced on this account to return to Europe.
In the following year Mr Lawson died, exemplify-
ing to the last the firm supports and joyful triumphs
of that Gospel which he had long dispensed with
faithfulness and affection to others. His loss was
generally deplored by persons of piety in Calcutta.
He had charge of the flock in the Circular Eoad ;
and his affectionate admonitions to some of the
young people, and the solemnity with which they
were delivered, proved effectual to their conversion.
Others were impressed and turned unto God by
means of his funeral sermon, preached by Mr Yates ;
so that, during the year that followed his decease,
about thirty persons, from the age of thirteen to
twenty, were added to this congregation. Some of
them were Portuguese, who spoke Bengalee, and
afterwards became very useful among the heathen,
both by their example and faithful addresses. When
we read of this outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon
the little flock bereft of their pastor, we may surely
say that he died as the patriarchs, leaving a bless-
ing behind him.

While the providence of God was thus diminish-
ing the missionary strength in Calcutta, He raised



160



HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY



CHAP.
IV.



Success at
Howrah.



wp^ as heretofore, others on the spot to fill up the
ranks as they were thinned. Among these are
named Mr Scott, a pious young man, who was engaged
to assist Mr Pearce in the printing-office ; a Mr
Kirkpatrick, who Avas brought up in the Benevolent
Institution, and had discovered such an aptitude
and inclination to the work, that he was engaged
as a missionary ; and a Mr Fenwick, who had long
approved himself a man of Christian zeal, and was
now employed on behalf of the Society to itinerate
among the heathen. He spoke with fluency the
Bengalee and Hindostanee, and his journals proved
that he possessed the far higher qualifications of
an enlightened understanding and a devotional
spirit. Besides these, several natives were called
to teach their countrymen the way of life.

11. Mr Stat ham, who joined the mission in 1821,
was stationed at Howrah, a populous village on
the opposite side of the river from Calcutta, w^here
his labours were very successful. Two chapels and
a school-room were erected in the course of three
years under his superintendence. The chapels were
well attended, and the school soon contained sixty
boys. Among the converts under his instruction
he mentions a Mussulman Moonshee, whose baptism
occasioned great surprise among that class of natives,
and led to much inquiry. Another instance may
be given, in addition to what has already been
adduced, to prove the value of the Bengalee Bible.
A poor old woman, whom this missionary visited
in sickness, was waiting, calm and resigned, the
hour of her deliverance from suflering. On his
asking her how she felt in the prospect of entering
the eternal world, she said, ^^ It will be a happy
change for me." He inquired the grounds of her
hope ; when she clasped her Bengalee Bible, which
lay by her cot, and said, ^' I find Christ here —
Christ in my heart, and Christ in heaven. He died



IN INDIA : BOOK XIII. 161

for poor sinners like me ; I know He is able to save
me ; I believe He will." She then prayed with so
much fervour^ that her teacher could not refrain
from crying out, '' that my latter end may be
like hers."

12. At Howrah, Mr Statham had favourable Fallacy of
opportunities of observing the progress of the op'^ra'tions
native mind ; and shortly after tlie publication of respecting
the Letters on the State of Christianity in India, gres^oT
by the Jesuit missionary, the Abbe Dubois, he ^^"■'^- .

tianitv ill

remarked on that w^ork, that its statements w^ere india.
so glaringly f^ilse and invidious, that even the foes
of missions, residing on the spot, were obliged to
palliate and apologize for them ; and he expressed
his persuasion that the real cause of such opposition
was the probable success of missionary efforts ;
adding — ^' There is, and none can deny it, who
knows anything of these matters, a far greater
prospect of the establishment of the Redeemer's
kingdom among the Hindoos than ever presented
itself before. I well remember the time when, if I
offered a tract or a gospel to a rich Baboo, he would
reject it in scorn ; and now the same character is
continually inquiring for more hooJcs. Not two years
ago female education was looked upon by the rich
natives as a thing derogatory to their caste ; now
they are desirous to get female teachers for their
waves and daughters. I recollect, when in Sulkea
Bazaar, the natives would- not let myself, and the
native with me, get a place to preach in. Now,
they say, ^ Come often — tell us more about these
things.' I have, at this moment, thirty-six boys,
the sons of natives of good estate, reading the
Scriptures in my verandah, who, some time ago,
were afraid to touch a book. Depend on it, that
the Lord is fulfilling his promises quicker than our
thoughts surmise. I would not anticipate too great
things, but I do humbly trust that your hearts will

VOL, V. L



162



HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY



CHAP.
IV.



New mis-
sionaries
arrive ;
their oc-
cupations.



be soon refreshed by intelligence of the most pleas-
ing description. Only pray — let us pray — for
the outpouring of the Holy Spirit ! " ^

13. While thus zealously occupied, Mr Statham's
health began to decline ; and, in 1826, he was
obliged to intermit his labours for a time, and,
together with Mr Yates, seek, by revisiting their
native land, a renewal of that vigour which long-
continued exertions had materially impaired. In
1825 two new missionaries, Messrs James Thomson
and George Pearce, arrived from England. The
latter took charge of the station at Howrah during
Mr Statham's absence ; and having made consider-
able proficiency in Bengalee before he quitted Eng-
land, he was soon able to enter upon his work.
His companion also, Mr Thomas, had at the same
time acquired a knowledge of Hindo stance,^ which
enabled him to devote his attention to the Maho-
medan population at Calcutta, who were computed
at ten thousand souls, without any missionary ex-
pressly engaged for their benefit. Besides the out-
stations of Calcutta, in that city itself there were,
on an average, at this period, not less than twenty
native services held every week in the bungalow
chapels described above ; and frequently the whole
day was spent in them, either in conducting public
Avorship, or conversing familiarly, during the inter-



^ This was written in 1824, the year after the publication of
the Abbe Dubois's Letters, which called forth similar testimonies
from several missionaries in this and the two following years.
Baptist Missionary Keport 1825, pp. 14, 15. See also the
periodicals mentioned at the beginning of this chapter ; also,
Mr Townley's "Answer," and the author's "Reply" to the
Abbe Dubois,

^ They studied these languages in England, with the assist-
ance of the Language Institution, which was formed about
this time, with the design of qualifying missionaries to enter
more speedily on their work.



IN INDIA : BOOK XIII. 163

mediate hours^ with those who remained for that
purpose.^ In the general work of the mission, two
American brethren, Messrs Wade and Boardman,
had, for some time past, made themselves useful ;
but they proceeded about this time to Burmah, the
station for which they were originally destined.
Their place at Calcutta was supplied by Mr Robin-
son, who had returned from Sumatra, and took
charge of the congregation in Lai Bazaar.

14. The reports and missionaries' journals dur- Summary
ing the present decade shew the gradual and steady grcsrat^^"
progress of the Benevolent Institution, female edu- Calcutta.
cation, the printing press, and other departments
of the mission. In the last report,* the printing
office is described as becoming more and more im-
portant as a means of diffusing intellectual, moral,
and religious truth. Besides many thousand tracts
and school books, in various languages, and other
miscellaneous works of a larger size, there had
issued from it a commentary on the Romans, in
Bengalee, by Mr E. Carey ; and a work on geo-
graphy, with other small publications, in the same
language, by Mr Pearce ; a harmony of the Gospels
in Hindostanee, a new translation of the Psalms,
and an epitome of Natural History, with various
other works, in Bengalee, by Mr Yates. About
seventy persons were employed, in various capaci-
ties, in the office, among whom were several native
Christians, who were thus enabled to support them-
selves by their own labour. A service was held
for the benefit of all the office servants, heathen as
well as Christian, two or three times a week, which,
it was reasonably hoped, might lead many of them



^ Report of the Calcutta Auxiliary Baptist Missionary Society
for 1826.

^ See the Society's Report for 1827, which contains an account
of the mission to the close of the preceding year.



16i HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY

CHAP, to an acquaintance with the truth of the Gospel^
^^' and eventually^ under the Divine blessing,, to an
experience of its power. The state of the schools^
the number of communicants, the desire expressed
by natives for books and instruction, the encourage-
ment now given to the mission by the European
Society, who, not long ago, had frowned upon it —
all tended to shew that the labour bestowed upon
the metropolis of India had not been in vain in the
Lord.
Success at 15. Cutwa was still occupied by Mr William
Cutwaand Q^j-^y^ wlio employed his native assistants in itinera-
bhoom. ting, and he was much encouraged by the prospect
now before him. In the course of 1819 he bap-
tized thirteen persons, and several others were ex-
pected to follow their example. On the other
hand, he lost a valuable native assistant this year,
who had been for several years employed very use-
fully in preaching the Gospel. His name was
Gour ; and to the excellency of his character, the
following honourable testimony was borne : ^'^ He
was highly esteemed by those who knew him, both
natives and Europeans ; his walk and conversation
uniformly recommended the Gospel, and his end
was peace."

Mr Carey's sphere of labour extended as far as
Beerbhoom, about sixty miles from Cutwa, where
the greater part of his flock resided. Owing to his
other engagements, delicate state of health, and
limited funds, it was with difficulty that he could
make one journey a year to this distant post. In
1818 he was joined by a Mr Hart from Calcutta,
who took up his abode in Beerbhoom, and reported
the favourable account which he received of the
native Christians from the magistrate of the sta-
tion. That gentleman represented them as con-
ducting themselves in all respects in a manner
'' consistent with their being Christians indeed."



IN INDIA : BOOK XIII. 166

Among several new inquirers^ a Brahmin brouglit
to Mr Hart his idols and shasters. and was subse-
quently baptized at Serampore. But in the follow-
ing year this post was again without a resident
missionary^ Mr Hart, who entered upon the work
with so much assiduity, having left and returned to
Calcutta. There is no reason to doubt that the
cause of his departure was satisfactory ; but he left
Mr Carey under some discouragement, arising from
his personal inability to attend to that distant flock.
He was materially assisted, however, by his itiner-
ants, and few stations have afforded more pleasing
evidence of the advantage of emploj'ing pious na-
tives of good ability in the service of the Gospel,
when aided and directed by the judgment of an
European missionary. With their assistance Mr
Carey was able to maintain divine worship in differ-
ent places every day of the week, and he had rea-
son to believe that all who attended these services,
whether baptized or candidates for baptism, well
understood the leading doctrines of the Gospel.
The journals of the native teachers furnish many
pleasing indications of their talents and piety/

Mrs Carey established a female school in 1821,
which was suspended in the following year, on
account of the death of the mistress, whose place it
was found impossible to supply. A subsequent



Online LibraryJames HoughThe history of Christianity in India : from the commencement of the Christian era : second portion: comprising the history of protestant missions, 1706-1816 / by James Hough (Volume 5) → online text (page 16 of 54)