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

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attempt to revive it proved also unsuccessful. But
this important department of missionary work was
now beginning to attract favourable notice in the
upper classes of society ; and there was reason to
hope that aU obstacles to its progress would soon
be removed.

In 1823 the district of Beerbhoom was supplied
by a Mr Hampton, who joined the mission a few

Several of these journals are given in tlie Missionary Hejald.




tion of the

tions at

years before^ and had since been usefully employed
in its service. Here he began well^ and it was now
deemed advisable to make this a separate station.
But this young man also, like Mr Hart, soon relin-
quished the post, when a gentleman on the spot
took temporary charge of the missions. In 1825
he was relieved by a Mr Williamson from Seram-
pore. This missionary fixed his residence at Soora,
and entered on his work with so much zeal and
ability, that Mr Carey was at last encouraged to
hope that this important post would be well occu-

16. Mr Carey had now been fourteen years at
Cutwa ; and in the midst of many trials, the mea-
sure of success vouchsafed to his exertions was suffi-
cient to console him for sufferings and disappoint-
ments. During his residence in this district, he
had baptized one hundred converts, of whom he
gave the following candid description : — ^' I have
great reason to hope that the majority are, indeed,
members of our Lord and Master ; some are gone
to their rest, and a few have left us. I must say,
that I often have a great deal of trouble with
them, which has sometimes discouraged and dis-
tressed me beyond measure. But when I reflect
upon what they have to encounter, what tempta-
tions to overcome, what prejudices to lay aside, that
they have not had a religious education, and even
now have no books to direct them ; I do not much
wonder at their giving us pain at times. By de-
grees, as knowledge increases, I hope all these evils
will be much lessened."

17. Moorshedebad, — This station was formed by
Mr Ricketts in 1816 ; but sickness compelled him
to relinquish it two years after, just as his progress
encouraged him to hope that he should soon collect
a congregation there. Mr Sutton entered into his

labours, and soon


to reap some fruit from


the seed he had sown. The hearers soon in-
creased from about forty to one hundred and fifty ;
he met with great encouragement also in the esta-
bhshment of schools. His native assistants, Kureem
and Bhoondgur, diligently preached the Gospel in
the streets and bazaars, and wherever they could
gain access. On one occasion, preaching near the
palace of the Nabob, some of his servants com-
plained to their sovereign that these men wished
to destroy their caste ! The Nabob replied that
they were mistaken ; their object was to instruct
them in the pure worship of God. Hence, it would
appear, that a conviction of the excellence of their
design sometimes prevailed even among those who,
like this Nabob, had never heard the voice of a

Mr Sutton gave an emphatic description of the
inveteracy of the Hindoos' prejudices, and of the
power of that superstition which chained them
down in misery and guilt. '' Idolatry," he said,
'' appears to rust the springs of human intellect,
and destroy its energy. Nothing is more common
than to hear the Hindoo say, that there is no occa-
sion for him to think about salvation, his gooroo
(teacher) will do that for him. If we speak to the
gooroo, he will answer, there is no occasion for him
to think ; the charms he gives his disciples he has
received from his fathers, and they from their gods. -
Thus the blind lead the blind, and if God does not
infuse a spirit of inquiry amongst them, both must
perish. The description of Isaiah may justly be ap-
plied to a Hindoo, *Hefeedeth on ashes : a deceived
heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver
his soul, nor say. Is there not a lie in my right
hand ?' " Isa. xhv. 20.

Mr Sutton's labours varied with the calls of
those around him. Amongst other natives, some
Mahomedans visited him, and their apparent


CHAP, anxiety for instruction gave him hopes that they
^^' were sincere. Though he saw httle immediate
fruit from his exertions, yet his zeal did not relax
on that account. He undertook several journeys
to a considerable distance from Moorshedebad ;
and while at home he embraced every opportunity
to bear testimony for God in the streets and markets
of that populous city. Besides his missionary
duties, he attended regularly at Berhampore, an Eu-
ropean station ten miles off, where his services
were very acceptable, and not without profit.
Wherever he went he distributed large quantities
of tracts ; and in 1821 his schools contained about
two hundred children.

But he was suddenly interrupted in this promis-
ing career. In 1822, sickness obliged him to retire
for a season ; and in the same year he was deprived
of his head assistant, Kureem, who died at Seram-
pore. The account of this native Christian's last
illness, given by Mr Ward, shewed that he had not
received '^ the grace of God in vain/' He was
happy, declared that Christ was his onty hope, and
that his sole wish was for heaven. He departed
in peace on a Sabbath morning, to enjoy a better
Sabbath above.

In a few months Mr Sutton was able to resume
his duties, and he gave pleasing accounts of the
success of his ministry at Berhampore, and his per-
severing efforts to impress Divine truth upon the
minds of the heathen ; but the hopes raised by
these communications were soon clouded by tidings
of an alarming relapse, which compelled him to
embark for Europe, as his only hope of recovery.
He left Moorshedebad in 1823, and the Society
had not been able, at the close of the decade, to
send another missionary to occupy his place.
Mr Cham- ;|^g Mo7wJiyr. — Mr Chfunbcrlain still maintained

beiiain at i • i t l i j.j. a c

iionghyr. his post here, notwithstandmg repeated attacks oi


sickness. His two assistants were of special ser-
vice to him, when obhged to suspend his labours.
An extract from one of his letters will convey an
idea of his work^ and of the zest with which he
returned to it on the recovery of his health. In
1820, after describing his translation of the Scrip-
tures as that part of the work which afforded him
peculiar satisfaction, he added, '' I am engaged
four times a- week in our European congregation,
and seven or eight times in the native language
among the native brethren, servants, and otliers.
In a bazaar I have been able to preach to the
people, who crowd to hear, a few times ; but I
must take prudential care now, as a Uttle overdomg
might undo me altogether."

1 9. One of his assistants was a Brahmin, named Convcr-
Hingham Misser, who, on embracing Christianity, JieTth of a
was renounced by all his flimily. In 1820, his Brahmin,
wife and one of his sons returned to him, the rest

of the children choosing rather to be orphans than
to associate with Christians. To this they were
urged by the enemies of the gospel, who were en-
raged at their mother's return to her husband.
Hingham was removed by death, after four years
of useful service, when most honourable testimony
was borne to his moral and religious character, as
well as to his diligence.

20. Another remarkable conversion at Monghyr Also of a
is worthy of record here. The man's name was de'^^tee.
Brindabund. He first heard the gospel at a large

fair, where he was observed to pay great attention
the whole day ; sometimes to laugh, and at others
to weep. At night he came to Mr Chamberlain,
and said, in allusion to the custom of presenting
flowers, '' I have a flower (meaning his heart)
which I wish to give to some one who is w^orthy
of it. I have for many years travelled about the
country to find such a person, l)ut in vain. 1 have


CHAP, been to Juggernaut, but there I saw only a piece
^^- of wood : THAT was not worthy of it ; but, to-day,
I have found One that is, and He shall have it :
Jesus Christ is worthy of my flower ! "

He had been for many years a religious mendi-
cant. His hair had been suffered to grow so as
almost to conceal his eyes ; but he now cut it off,
and shaved his beard ; and, in short, from being
an idle devotee, became an industrious old man ;
for he was then, it was supposed, about seventy-
five years of age. He now preached the gospel to
his idolatrous countrymen, and the last five years
of his life were spent in entire devotedness to God.
When able to leave his house, which was at Mon-
ghyr, he was engaged from morning till night in
reading the Scriptures, and talking to the people.
He loved the Saviour : His cause lay near his
heart. Often, when so weak as in appearance
to be scarcely able to stir, he would not stay at
home, and when recommended to do so, he would
reply, '' Oh ! what do I live for ?" While able,
he took considerable journeys, walking sometimes
from twenty to thirty miles a-day ; and after
taking some refreshment, would converse with
his companions in a lively and edifying manner
till midnight. His spirituality of mind indeed was

He suffered much during the last few weeks of
his life, but was always happy, longing to depart
and to be with Christ. When asked, the day be-
fore he died, if he would take any thing, he said,
'^ No ;" and putting his hand on a part of the Scrip-
tures which lay near him, said, '' This is my meat,
and drink, and medicine." The neighbours, as was
their custom, came round him ; he got up and sat
at his door, where he repeated from memory, for
he was mighty in the Scriptures, some portions of
the word of God, and prayed, though he was then


able to utter only a few words at a time. The next
day he entered into the joy of his Lord.

21. Mr Chamberlain was so much affected at the Death of
death of Brindabund, that it is supposed to have bcriSn!™'
accelerated the termination of his own life. At
the grave of this convert he addressed those present
in Hindostanee ; and in the evening preached a
funeral sermon in English^ from John xi. 11, '^ Our
friend Lazarus sleepeth." At the close of the ser-
vice he administered the Lord's Supper. xVll the
week after he continued to grow worse. The next
Sabbath he made another attempt to preach, and
this was the closing scene of his public labours.
He was now reduced so low, that a sea-voyage was
deemed the only expedient that promised a hope
of rallying. In consenting to try it, he gave an-
other proof of the disinterested spirit which he had
uniformly shewn throughout his missionary career.
Though in a state requiring the watchful atten-
tion of a tender nurse, yet he w^ould not allow his
wife to accompany him, knowing how useful she
was to the mission, which he was leaving without
any other human guide. We hardly know whether
the more to admire this self-denial in the hus-
band or the wife. Both have left an edifying ex-
ample of the sacrifice of the tenderest personal feel-
ing in the service of their Master.

He embarked in November 1821 without any of
his friends, and was confined to his cabin, where
he languished about three weeks, and then expired.
On the morning of the 6th of December, he was
found dead in his bed by the young man who at-
tended him. In this solitude on the mighty deep
ended the days of one of whom it has been justly
said^ that for nearly twenty years he made full
proof of his ministry in India. He was eminent
for decision of character, for an inflexible adherence
to truth, and for such an ardent attachment to the




berlain in
charge of
the sta-

Arrival of
a mission-
ary — pro-
ment of
his la-

missionary work as led him often to exert himself
beyond what his frame could well sustain. As a
preacher to the natives, he was most impressive ;
and his translation of the New Testament into the
Brij Basha dialect, which was printed at Serampore
after his death, was said to exhibit ample proof of
his high proficiency as an Oriental scholar. In the
different stations which he successively occupied,
not a few appeared to have derived eternal benefit
from his instructions.^

22. After the departure of her husband, Mrs
Chamberlain remained at Monghyr, where she
afforded an edifying instance of the benefit which
may result from the exertions of a Christian woman,
whose heart is devoted to the cause of Christ.
Under her direction, the three native itinerants
persevered in their labours. The services of the
mission chapel and the superintendence of its six
schools proceeded with regularity ; three Hindoo
women, who ascribed their serious impressions to
Mr Chamberlain's ministry, proposed themselves
for baptism ; and on the whole the prospect of the
station was such as to induce the Society to take
immediate measures to provide it with another mis-

23. Accordingly, one, a Mr Leslie, was set apart
for Monghyr. He sailed soon after his appoint-
ment, and arrived in 1824. He found the state of
the church and schools highly encouraging ; and
having studied Hindostanee on the voyage, he was
enabled to begin addressing the natives about six
months after his arrival. Such, in a word, were
the hopeful appearances presented to him, that at
the close of the year he remarked, '' Keligion ap-

^ See a Memoir of Mr Chamberlain by Mr Yates. Also the
tribute to his memory in the Baptist Society's Report for 1822.
The Missionary Records, 154-157.


pears to be spreading among the natives in a way
that both astonishes and dehghts us."

The favourable anticipations hereby awakened
were soon, in a measure, reaUsed. In the follow-
ing year nine members were added to the congre-
gation, some of whom formed striking instances of
the power of Divine grace in renewing those who
seemed the least likely to yield to its influence.
There were thirteen schools now in operation, the
number having been increased at the request of
Mahomedan parents, who at last consented to allow
their children to read those Christian books, the
use of which heretofore was an effectual bar to their
entering the schools. An alteration equally favour-
able took place in the general conduct of the native
population. The readers who itinerated among
them were heard with serious attention, instead of
the vulgar abuse which they had formerly received.
The congregation was increased, at the close of
1826, to thirty-five members, but it is not stated
what proportion of this number were natives. The
schools continued to prosper ; and there was reason
to hope that, under the Divine blessing, the mission
work at Monghyr, and in its neighbourhood, would
still grow and prevail.

24. Digali. — Messrs Moore and Rowe continued Remark^
to occupy this post, and to labour with acceptance versionsat
among the troops at Dinapore. In 1819, they pro- i>jgaii.
cured the discharge from the army of a religious
yo:::ng man, named Stewart, who assisted Mr Rowe
in his school, and made such progress in Hindos-
tanee as to encourage the hope of his becoming a
useful labourer among the heathen of this province.
But in the following year God was pleased to nip
this hope in the bud by removing him to his rest.
The two native assistants met with little success
among their countrymen ; though the testimony
borne to the truth of the Gospel by several who


CHAP, died before they were baptized, shewed that the
^^' labour bestowed upon the heathen was not lost.
Several inquirers excited attention, and Mr Kowe
mentions one, in the service of a native rajah resid-
ing in a bungalow belonging to the Society, who
read the Hindostanee Testament, and acknowledged
that every line carried conviction home to his heart.
At another time he said, ^^ I have read the Shasters
and the Koran, they contain a great deal of unrea-
sonable stuff; but," putting his hand on the New
Testament, he emphatically exclaimed, '^ This is
truth !" This man was accustomed to collect four
or ^ye others around him, and read the Gospel to
them. At first he met with much ridicule, and
afterwards persecution from the Brahmins and
others in the rajah's service, which he endured with
so much patience, that the missionaries were in-
duced to think that his mind had undergone the
change which he avowed . The rajah having quitted
Digali, this man was separated from his instructor.
He, however, took his Testament with him, though
his enemies declared that he should never see his
relations unless he renounced his new sentiments,
or promised that he would never make them kno^\^Ll .
'^ Thus," said Mr Rowe, '^ the Gospel may make its
way into the hearts of some, where they have no
living preacher."

The missionary mentions a yet more interesting
case of an individual who died at this station in
1822. His name was Ram Kisoon, from the city
of Lucknow, where for years he had been endea-
vouring to impart to his countrymen the truths he
had learned on a previous visit to Digah. Re-
moving at length to this place, he proposed himself
as a candidate for baptism ; but previous to its
administration he was attacked by cholera morbus,
which carried him off in a few hours. His dying
prayer was this : — " Lord, I am a great sinner.


Save me from wrath. Thou art gracious, thou art
able. None but thee, Lord Jesus Christ. Save
me from destruction. Save me from the power of
sin and Satan." Seeing his wife and some of his
children weeping, he said to them, ''Forbear to
weep, for I am going to my Lord and Saviour ;"
and shortly after he expired. May we not say of
such a one, though unbaptized, ''Is not this a
brand plucked out of the fire ?" (Zech. iii. 2.)

25. Not long after this, Mr Rowe baptized five V'^ "'If-
converts ; but while the prospect was thus bright- dS— ^
ening before him, he was called to rest. He died ^^[^'■^J'^J
in October 1823, after nearly twenty years of active
service in India. As Mr Moore had previously left
Digah, the care of the station devolved on Mrs
Rowe, who had been eminently useful in the school
department, and was very competent to counsel
and direct the native teachers. The schools
flourished under her care, and were soon increased
to seven, containing one hundred and sixty-four
boys, and one hundred and twenty girls. In her
female orphan asylum she had two teachers who
had been baptized by her husband. Speaking of
these two women, she gave the following proof of
the effect of Christian education, in raising the In-
dian female from her state of depression and ser-
vitude : —

" These women appear to great advantage, con-
trasted Avith those who have never attempted to
gain instruction. I was much struck with this
circumstance while observing the difference between
the situation of one of these schoolmistresses and
that of one of the neighbours. She appears in her
house with all the independence of an European
woman, while her neighbour is kept in the greatest
degree of servile subjection. The husband of the
latter considers himself so immaculate, that if his
own wife were to touch the food he was about to




Arrival of

in the
of Orissa.

eat^ it would be rendered unfit for his use : and
she is so deplorably ignorant as to think this^ in
reality^ the case."

26. Thus^ like Mrs Chamberlain at Monghyr^
did this devout widow continue to perform the post
of a missionary till the year 1826, when the cir-
cumstances of her fatherless children, and her o\vn
declining health, induced her to return to England ;
she did not, however, quit her post before a mis-
sionary had arrived to take her place. Mr Burton,
the missionary at Sebolga in Sumatra, being obliged
to quit that island in 1825, repaired to Calcutta,
and soon after proceeded to relieve Mrs Rowe of
the charge of the mission at Digah. He found the
schools in a satisfactory state, but the native con-
gregation was reduced very low, by the departure
of several members to other places. The two
itinerants were constantly engaged among their
countrjanen, at fairs and other places of public re-
sort, besides regularly preaching at six places,
including Patna, every Lord's day. Mr Burton
found, however, that they were too defective in
judgment to be left alone. While acquiring the
language, he preached to the troops at Dinapore,
and superintended the schools ; but he was soon
deprived of the help of his indefatigable wife, who
was taken from him after a short illness in April
1826. The female schools were now unavoidably
discontinued ; but these trials seem only to have
increased the missionary's diligence, and both the
native congregation and the boys' schools soon began
to assume a more promising aspect under his care.

27. Midnapore, a town in the province of Orissa
and capital of the province of Midnapore. This is
a town of considerable population, through which
multitudes of pilgrims pass on their way to the
temple of Juggernaut. In 1819 Mr D'Cruz, from
Calcutta, was stationed here, with a good prospect


of usefulness. He did not confine himself to this
spot, but visited various parts of the province of
Orissa, preaching and distributing books wherever
he went. In 1818 he discovered a village between
Serampore and Midnapore^ the inhabitants of which
had formerly been proselyted to the Christian reli-
gion by a Komish priest^ but, having never seen the
Scriptures, they were nearly as ignorant as their
heathen neighbours. They had merely thrown off
caste, and substituted the worship of the Virgin
Mary and the saints for that of Doorga^ and the
other Hindoo deities. These poor men received the
word with gladness, and after Mr D'Cruz's de-
parture, sent a messenger to Serampore to request
that a place of worship might be erected in their

In 1822 Mr D'Cruz baptized four persons at Mid-
napore ; and many others were induced to ask him
about the way of salvation. In the following year
he baptized nine, of whom six were Hindoos, one
Mahomedan, and two Romanists. But as these
were all, in the course of providence, removed from
that neighbourhood, and he began to experience
many discouragements,' he removed to another sta-

28. Agimere. — In 1819, Mr Jabez Carey being Sciioois at
obliged to quit Amboyna, returned to Calcutta, and '^«'"^^^'^-
proceeded shortly after to Agimere^ the capital of
the province of that name, which had lately been
added to the British territory. It was about one
thousand and thirty miles from Calcutta. In his
attempts to establish schools, he feared that he
should have to contend with strong objections and
inveterate superstition, without any one on the spot
to countenance and support him. Accordingly, his
earlier accounts of the inhabitants were discourag-
ing ; but subsequently he gave a more favourable
report of- his prospects among them, differing



CHAP, materially from his first impression. '' The Hin-
^^' doos here/' he wrote, ^^ are very different h^om
those in Bengal, and have fewer prejudices. They
care very little about their idols. Some begin to
doubt of the truth of their own religion, and to
have a better opinion of ours. Of the burning of
widows, an instance is scarcely known to take
place once in twenty years. I shall in future travel
with more comfort and ease, as I have made sure
of a house in every village which I visit. I can-
not tell you how much gratified I am at the wil-
lingness of the natives to assist me in every thing.
They begin to lose their prejudices, and to become
warm friends to the schools."

On the establishment of these schools, the
Governor- General, the Marquis of Hastings, granted
six thousand rupees towards the expense of organis-
ing them, and to meet the expenses of Mr Carey's
journey to this remote station : and on finding that
he had expended four thousand rupees above this
amount, his lordship ordered that sum to be re-
funded to him, and granted three hundred rupees
monthly toward the support of the schools, with a
view to their beins; auoinented.

In 1823 there were seven schools in Agimere
and other places, containing two hundred and sixty-

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 17 of 54)