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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when thus engaged.^ The Arracanese, like the
Burmans, have no prejudices of caste to exclude
them from Christians, and but a limited number of
objects of idolatrous regard to oppose to the sim-
plicity of the Gospel.

, Simple as these details may be deemed, it is not
easy to estimate the importance of this station.



^ It is worthy of remark, for the henefit of the example, that
these four native teachers were supported by the contributions
of two associations of young gentlemen in Glasgow, who to-
gether sent £40 a-year for this [)urpose to the Serampore Mis-
sionary Society. Bap. Society's Report 1827, p. 39.



IN INDIA : BOOK XIII. 205

In a way most unexpected, a new and easy access
was obtained into the Burman Empire ; and, from
the relative position of that country to China, it
seemed not at all improbable that ere long the ex-
tensive frontier of that vast and populous region
might be laid open to the gospel.

63. Malda (or English Bazaar) was still under Maidare-
the care of the faithful Krishnoo." Though begin- ^i^auished.
ning to feel the infirmities of age, being near sixty,
yet the vigour of his mind was little abated, and
he made excursions, as his physical strength per-
mitted, into surrounding villages. Although Mal-
da was one of the first places in Bengal where
the gospel was preached, yet it had hitherto met
with a less favourable reception there than in many
places where it was introduced much more re-
cently. This is, doubtless, to be attributed to the
want of a European missionary. Krishnoo had
laboured diligently for about twenty years, but he
had reaped little fruit from his exertions ; and ex-
perience has proved in other parts also, that native
talent was employed to most advantage when aided
and directed by a European missionary, and under
his protection. On Krishnoo's removal, therefore,
as no missionary was available at present for this
station, nor any one competent to supply his place,
it was relinquished.

54. Dinagepore still remained under the super- Dinage-
intendence of Mr Fernandez, assisted by a native p°^'.^~,

t/ iissiuuitv

teacher, named Nidhiram, who joined him in 1818, and gene-
and is described as a good and useful man, and J^ir^^er-^
much interested in the cause of the Saviour. A naudez.
considerable improvement in the people was appa-
rent soon after his arrival ; and the gospel con-
tinued for several years to advance at this place.



^ Sometimes called Kristna and Krishna.



206 HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY

CHAP, with little variation in the circumstances attending
^^' it. In 1821, Mr Fernandez mentions, as one proof
of the decline of idolatry in this neighbourhood^
that many large temples, built by the former rajahs,
were hastening to ruin, and that the pecuniary
allowance allotted for their support by the native
government had been materially reduced, and was
annually decreasing

In 1823, the baptized members amounted to
ninety, and nearly the same number, who were
connected with them by relationship and other-
wise, had renounced caste, and were in the habit
of assembling for religious worship. This year Mr
Fernandez established a paper manufactory, for the
employment of these people, and also an excellent
school for their instruction. Several youths were
sent from this place to be educated for the native
ministry in the college at Serampore. Besides the
regular services on the Lord's day, religious in-
struction was given to the flock every evening ;
and the benefits accruing were so apparent, as to
attract the notice and commendation of those who
had no connection with the missionary cause.

In 1825, a whole family, consisting of eight
members, renounced caste, and seven other per-
sons, were baptized. In the following year there
were twelve baptisms. The flock was now about
equally divided between Dinagepore and Sadamhb,
residing at each place upon premises belonging to
Mr Fernandez. This generous friend bore the ex-
penses of the mission, with the exception of what
a few gentlemen on the spot contributed towards
the support of his schools. He had maintained
his post here nearly thirty years, and the Lord
had vouchsafed to bless his labours. Dr Carey, in
1820, briefly adverting to this station, remarked,
that more had '^ been baptized here than at any
other place in connection with the Society ;" an



IN INDIA : BOOK XIII. 207

encouraging example for other Christians to use
the means that God may have entrusted to them
for the salvation of mankind.

55. Benares. — The occupation of this post by Mr Awaken-
William Smith in 1816^ and the promising com- Benares.
mencement of his labours, have already been men-
tioned. His thorough knowledge of Hindostanee
made him very acceptable to the people. Within
the first year of his residence^ one Brahmin, as we
have seen, was converted under his instructions ;
in 1818, there was another among those who were
reclaimed from idolatry, and baptized. The atten-
tion excited here by the introduction of the Gospel
was great ; several Brahmins avowed their convic-
tion of its truth ; and one ventured to predict that
in eighty years the worship of Gunga would van-
ish, the chains of caste be dissolved, and that all
would have the true knowledge of God, and be-
come Christians. Several, however, who gladly
received the word, and seemed for a while disposed
to make any sacrifice for the sake of the gospel,
became intimidated by the threats and insults of
their former companions, and desisted from further
attendance.

Nevertheless, the general aspect of affairs at this
place was promising. In the establishment of
schools, Mr Smith was greatly encouraged by a
rich native, resident on the spot. Jay Narain,^ who
subscribed liberally towards their support. These
schools were soon in a flourishing state, and the
boys were said already to read the Scriptures with
delight. One youth, of the Romish Church, joined
the congregation, and some others expressed them-
selves desirous of folloAving his example.



^ Jay Narain subsequently established a scliool, which he
placed in connection with the C. M. Society.



208



HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY



CHAP
IV.



Com-
mence-
ment at
Futtyj^liur
and Mut-
tra.



In 1821^ a Mr Richards joined this station^ and
while there proved a useful colleague to Mr Smith;
but he was transferred before long to another post.
There were also several native teachers^ among
whom was one of the Brahminy converts just
mentioned, named Eam-dass, who was so much
respected by the European inhabitants of the citj^,
that they subscribed, almost without solicitation,
a thousand rupees to assist him in erecting a small
place of worship. The congregation, however,
fluctuated, and most of those who had been bap-
tized removed to other places. At the close of the
decade, Mr Smith was left with only one assistant.
He continued, however, to prosecute his work
without intermission, both in public and private.
Besides three services on the Lord's day, he was
usually engaged every morning in the week preach-
ing, either in a house or school, or at the different
ghats on the river side, where congregations of all
classes were obtained, and the Divine word ap-
peared to fasten strongly on the minds of several
individuals. He had the satisfaction of observing
that voluntary drownings in the Ganges were be-
come less frequent than formerly ; and from an
anecdote in his journal, it would appear that, even
in this holy city, and among the Brahmins too,
idols were falling into disrepute. One day he
asked a Brahmin why they took no notice of some
stone gods that he saw lying under a wall ? The
man answered, ^^ We worshipped them several
years ; but, not deriving any benefit from them,
we laid them aside, knowing that the^^ are but
stones, and are not able to do good or evil."

5G. Mr Eichards, on leaving Benares, proceeded
to Futtyghur,^ near Furruckabad, in the province



^ Sometimes spelt Futtehgliur or Fataghar,



IN INDIA : BOOK Xlil. 209

of Agra^ where he had great facihties for dispers-
ing the Scriptures, and was enabled to gather a
Httle flock around him ; but he was prevented by
ilhiess from making any active exertion. Dis-
couraged by his apparent want of success, though
his labours were by no means in vain, he removed
to Muttra/ in the same provmce, a place of high
repute among the Hindoos, as the scene of the
birth and early adventures of their god, Krishna.
Being the centre of attraction to Hindoos from all
quarters, it was an eligible place for a mission,
and his arrival and preaching awakened attention,
especially among the Brahmins, several of whom
remained with him for instruction Some of them
gave up caste, and, from their conduct, he was in-
duced to hope that they would soon be ready for
bajDtism.

57. AUaJiabad, — The removal of Mr Mackintosh ^f^^^^^^^^
and Nriput-Sing to this station, was mentioned in stitiXat
the last decade, as well as the promising commence- ^l^^^'^'
ment of their labours ; but the expectations thereby
encouraged were not yet realised. This is in great
measure accounted for by the prevalence of self-
destruction and superstition, for which the place
was notorious. In January 1818, Nriput-Sing wit-
nessed one of those cruel and revolting scenes so
frequently exhibited here. Two Mahratta women
consigned themselves to the Ganges, after worship-
ping the river, in the presence of an immense crowd
of people. Nriput spoke to them, and in the most
feeling manner pointed out the absurdity and the
delusion of the intended sacrifice, as a means of ob-
taining salvation. He faithfully warned the spec-
tators, also, of the horrid nature of this self-murder,
and assured them that all who were concerned in it



" Also Matliura.
VOL. \'.



210 HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY

CHAP, would draw on themselves the just vengeance of

'_ the Almighty. Regardless of all his arguments and

warnings, however^ the two females went into a
boat with three women of the same caste ; who,
without evincing any feeling, deliberately tied two
large pots filled with water round the waist of each,
and thus helped them to sink !^

Mr Mackintosh also mentions the case of a de-
votee, whose looks were grim and dreadful, having
his face blackened ; a human skull, with the upper
jaw and teeth attached to it, hung before him, sus-
pended by an iron chain round his neck. His
ankles were environed with a heaA^y iron chain ;
he was stark naked, and his body much emaciated.
The missionary, being informed that this man was
desirous of seeing him, paid him a visit, and found
him worshipping fire, which he advised him to
throw away. After remarking upon his appear-



^ The following instance, as described by a spectator of the
scene, is thus given by Mr Ward : — " Sixteen females, accom-
panied by as many priests, went in boats on the river opposite
Allahabad, and proceeded to the spot where the Ganges and the
Jumna, two sacred rivers, unite their purifying streams. Each
victim had a large earthen pan slung over her shoulders. She
descended over the side of the boat into the river, and was then
held up by a priest, till she had filled the pans from the river,
when the priest let go his hold, and the pans dragged her to the
bottom. And thus died, amidst the applauses of the spectators,
and assisted by the priests of the country, sixteen females, as a
single offering to the demon of destruction. They died under
the firm persuasion that this was the direct way to heaven.
The priests enjoyed the scene, and spoke of it to their friends
as a pleasant morning gambol. We have here no weepers ; no
remonstrants ; no youth interposing to save them to society.
They go down to the bottom as loose stones which have no ad-
hesion to the quarry, as creatures for which society has no use.
Fearful as one such instance is, how appalling is the fact, that
these immolations are so common as to excite very little anxiety;
indeed, at Allahabad, and beyond that city, they are scarcely
mentioned." — Missionary Eecords, India, pp. 151-153.



IN" INDIA : BOOK XIII. 211

ance^ he inquired what was the object of his wor-
ship. He said, ^^ Four things — air, water, earth,
and fire ; and that he should mingle in these four
elements after death." The missionary replied,
^^ Then it appears you have no future prospects.
But why do you go through such penances when
you believe you are to be annihilated, and to have
no existence after this life ? Surely you are taken
in the snares of Satan, deceiving your own soul,
and feeding upon ambition, that men may fall
down at your feet and worship you as a god ; and,
because this flatters you, therefore you go through
such penances." The only answer he gave to this
faithful rebuke was, that he had been in this state
twelve years, and meant to continue in it till death
set him free.

The state of these deluded and unhappy crea-
tures was, at this time, rendered peculiarly affect-
ing, by a dreadful disease, which had for some
months been ragmg among them, and which, in
the wide range of its infection, is supposed to have
swept away not less than a million of victims to an
untimely grave. ^' God has been pleased," says
Mr Mackintosh, ^^ to send the axe into this part of
the country, and numbers are daily hewn down by
the stroke of death. The Brahmins are busily em-
ployed in imposing upon the inhabitants, by exact-
ing offerings to appease the goddess Kalee ; and a,
man is frequently sent through the streets, to ex-
cite attention by beating a drum, and to enjoin the
populace to present offerings of rice, cowries, or
flour, in order to obtain a removal of the plague.
And the drowning of Hindoos at the junction of the
two rivers is so common, that no one seems inclined
to prevent these shocking instances of self-murder."^



Missionary Records, pp. 153-155.



212 HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY

CHAP. 58. Such were the difficulties that the mission-
^^' aries had to contend with, and they serve to ac-
Themis- couiit for the slow progress of the Gospel where
perJeve-^ they prevailed. At Allahabad the success was very
ranee. partial indeed. The most honourable testimony is
borne to the diligence of the missionary and his
native assistants, but hitherto they met with little
to encourage them. In 1825 the prospect appeared
to brighten, but it was like a gleam of sunshine in
a wintry day, soon to give place to the coldness
and darkness of night. Mr Mackintosh was com-
forted by the liberaHty and attention of some Eu-
ropeans in the neighbourhood, but it seems doubtful
whether at the close of the decade he had one native
in communion. The strength given to this labourer
to hold fast his plough in such a soil, is not less
worthy of admiration than the grace poured out
upon the field that we see whitening to the harvest.
X!l'!!il. ^^- GaiDnpore. — In March 1 818, Nriput-Sing was
sent thither, about a month's journey from Allaha-
bad, being invited by some Christians on the spot.
The state of religion among these friends was j)leas-
ing ; and he was encouraged by the great attention
which the natives seemed to pay to the instructions
that he occasionally gave them ; but, as there was
no missionary available for the station, little was
done there for the present.^



^ Missionary Heraki, December 1820. An instance of the
familiar and apposite manner in which the native Christian
teachers introduce the truths of revelation, occurs in the diary
of Nriput-Sing for November 1818. "In the beginning of the
month I went to Gold Ghat, and there saw a pundit at worship,
with a number of small stone images before him. I asked him
what he sold there ? ' What do you want?' replied he, ' No-
thing in particular,' answered I, ' except a small stone to make
a weight for my scales, and one of these stones you have
here will just answer.' ' Do you call these stones ?' said he,
'they are my gods. What countryman are you?' 'Of this



Cawnpore.



IN INDIA : BOOK XIII. 213



commence-
at



60. Delhi. — Mr Tlionipfsoii^ after labouring a few I'lomisiug
years at Patna^ removed to Delhi early in the pre- ^"nT
sent decade. Soon after his arrival in this iinpe- ^eih
rial city^ the cholera morbus began its awful
ravages in the place^ sweeping away^ among the
first victims^ five of the royal family^ besides mul-
titudes of inferior rank^ wdthout distinction of age^
caste^ or constitution. Mr Thompson was deeply
affected at the sight. ^' My soul hourly weeps/'
he said^ ^^for the miseries of this people, but, alas!
of wdiat avail is it ? I mourn alike for their unbe-
lief and hardness of heart, that they will not make
Jehovah, my God, their refuge. The dead alone
seem to feel the stroke ; the living lay it not to
heart ; therefore it is that such dreadful judgments
cannot be improved by the servants of God to the
spiritual advantage of this sinful, this unhappy
people."

He persevered, however, in his public addresses
to them, though but few^ came to hear. He met
with some Afghans, supposed to be descended from
the ten tribes of Israel, among whom he distributed
the Gospel. Some of them, when leaving Delhi,
repeatedly solicited him to accompany them, assur-
ing him that their countrymen w^ould be very
anxious to possess and search the writings of in-
spiration. This request could not have been made
to one more inclined to comply wdth it. In his
exertions at Patna w^e have seen how well he was
adapted to itinerate from place to place ; he still



country,' said I, ' nor can I believe what you say concerning
these stones, for I can tell you better things out of this book,
and shew you where to find the true God, who is a Spirit, and
who will have men to worship Him in spirit and in truth/ The
above discourse drew a great crowd together, who paid much
attention for about an hour." May we not hope that some
individuals in this crowd went away impressed with the convic-
tion " that an idol is nothing in the world," (1 ('or. viii. 4) ?



214 HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY

CHAP, continued to travel about, preaching and distri-
^^' buting the Gospel everywhere ; and he declared,
not long after this, that his heart was set on visit-
ing Bootan, Nepaul, and the nations to the west
of Hindoostan ; but at this time he was called to
Serampore, and could not, therefore, contemplate
for the present so long a tour in the opposite direc-
tion.

Not long after his return to Delhi, in 1823, he
was cheered by an event which created a great
sensation in that populous city. An aged Brah-
min, held in the highest estimation among his
neighbours for his attainments in Sanscrit litera-
ture, after hearing the Gospel for some time, pub-
licly renounced idolatry ; and, notmthstanding all
the efforts made, both to allure and terrify him
from his purpose, openly professed his faith in
Christ, and was baptized in the presence of many
spectators. On this occurrence the Serampore
missionaries remark : '^ This renunciation of Hin-
dooism by an aged Brahmin, eminent for his know-
ledge of the shasters, and the sacred language of
the Hindoos, being in that part of the country quite
a new thing, has procured much attention to the
doctrines of the Gospel. It seems to shew, among
other things, the safety wdth which Christianity
may be promulgated in the darkest parts cf India.
All the threatened opposition to this man's open
profession of Christianity ended in a few expres-
sions of personal dislike from his old acquaintance,
on account of the course he had taken, and his
having tacitly condemned them and all their reli-
gious observances, by nobly daring to follow his
own convictions of the truth. For all this, how-
ever, he was prepared, and by sustaining the whole
in the spirit of genuine Christianity, he in a great
measure disarmed the resentment of his neighbours
and acquaintance. So completely quiet were the}^



IN INDIA: BOOK XIII. 2l5

indeed in the expression of their dislike^ that, at
the time of his baptism, the attention of the lowest
person in the native poUce was not officially called
to the transaction."

In the following year five more were baptized,
among whom was another Brahmin. The influence
of these examples appears to have made a favour-
able impression in the place, as the congregations
soon became more numerous, though the converts
were yet a little flock. Besides the schools for
boys, a commencement was made in the work of
female education, which is always a token of the
decline of native prejudice against the introduction
of the Gospel.

61. Mr Thompson embraced every opportunity Native
to preach to the heathen. For this purpose he was ^10118^10 be
continually frequenting the head-quarters of dif- leceived
ferent Hindoo sects, attending the scenes of their caution,
religious festivals and other places of great resort,
both in and around the city, and at various dis-
tances from his abode. His conversations with
Brahmins and others on these occasions were some-
times highly interesting and instructive ; and they
shew that these exertions had at least the effect
of exciting attention to the great truths of revela-
tion. The statement made by one respectable
native for himself may be regarded as descriptive
of a numerous class of his countrymen, thus par-
tially informed. '^ I say truly," said he to Mr
Thompson, '^ I have a love for the things contained
in your books, but I have little faith yet ; when I
have more, I w^ill say more to j'Ou."

It must be confessed, however, that such accounts
are read with mingled feelings. Knowing the
duplicity of the Hindoos, it is hard to tell when
to give them credit for sincerity in making similar
avowals ; and even when there is reason to think
them sincere in the expression of what tho}' feel,



216



HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY



CHAP.
IV.



Total of
converts
unknown.



we are still in doubt whether any benefit has
accrued to their souls from the hmited knowledge
of the Gospel which has convinced them of its truth.
Conviction is not conversion : the Gospel is light,
and, like the sun, carries with'it its own evidence.
Those, therefore, to whom it has been preached,
especially if they have understood enough of it to
admire its doctrines and precepts, are brought under
a fearful responsibility if they do not embrace it to
the saving of their souls. Before the end of all
things, foretold by the Saviour, shall come, '' this
Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the
world for a witness unto all nations."^ The mis-
sionary, therefore, has done his duty when he has
preached this Gospel. But as in every former age,
so in this, the preacher is to one ^^ the savour of
death unto death ; " to another, '' the savour of life
unto life."^ What our Lord said of the unbelieving
Jews is true of all persons that obey not their con-
victions, '' This is the condemnation, that light is
come into the world, and men loved darkness rather
than light, because their deeds were evil." ^ Unless,
therefore, we know that those who seemed to ap-
prove the Gospel, acknowledged its truth, or even
received it with joy, shew that they have sincerely
embraced it, by bringing forth the fruit thereof,
the hope lighted up by their profession is darkened
by doubt of the issue.

62. It Avould have been satisfactory to know the
number of natives baptized by the missionaries at
all these places ; but as the stations increased, and
their journeys extended over so wide a surface,
they seem to have found it impracticable to continue
the Notitia which they kept during the earlier period
of the mission. The congregations were nowhere



Matt. XX iv. 14.



' 2 Cor,



ie.



' John iii. 19.



IN INDIA : BOOK XIII. 217

large^ the converts being distributed through nume-
rous heathen villages for the sake of subsistence ;
but we seldom read of a case of apostasy to the
idolatries of their neighbours ; while the testimony
borne to their general consistency^ and to the
devoted piety of individuals^ through life and in
deaths was frequent and disinterested^ and there-
fore the more satisfactory. The instances given in
the foregoing pages will suffice to corroborate this
statement. If the country occupied was not con-
verted to Christianity, it was already salted with
Christians ;* and the seed was sown abundantly,
and continued to be sown, for a future harvest.

63. When contemplating these operations, we Number of
shall be the more surprised at their magnitude if hltherto^^
we consider the paucity of labourers by whom they employed,
were carried on. The mission had existed thirty-
three years, during which period not more than forty



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 20 of 54)