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 38 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 38 of 54)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


with the disease, vows are made to present their
property as offerings to the temples, which are
always fulfilled with the most scrupulous exact-
ness ; so that, notwithstanding the scarcity and
distress which prevail, contributions for the build-
ing, adorning, or endowing of temples, are much
greater than at other times."

Such difficulties in the missionaries' way should
be constantly borne in mind, lest the comparatively
small result of their labours lead us to underrate
their capabilities and zeal.

16. We have yet to speak of a domestic school.
In 1820, Mr Knight obtained permission from the
Society to maintain and educate for future service
thirty of the most promising youths in the other
schools. For want of efficient help, they seldom
amounted to twenty ; but, on Mr Adley joining
him, the number increased, and the character of
the school revived. Several of these young men
were, to all appearance, convinced of the truth of
Christianity, and impressed with its value ; and
desired to be admitted into the Church of Christ.
Satisfied of their sincerit}^, Mr Adley, on the 3d of
September 1826, admitted four of them to baptism
and the Lord's Supper ; and the sentiments which
they openly avowed gave every reason that could be
desired to hope that they would continue stedfast
in the faith which they had embraced.^



^ Selkirk's Eecollectioiis, pp. 27G-2S0. Missionary Register
1827, pp. ni4-620.



IX INDIA : BOOK Xlll. 441

At the close of the decade, Mr Adley gave the
followhig account of this seminary : — ^' As promis-
ing youths offered themselves, I increased the num-
ber of our flimily scholars to thirty, the number
limited by the Society ; and, nearly through the
year, the number has averaged twenty- nine.
Nearly the whole of them are making suitable
progress ; and their state is far more pleasing and
encouraging than I could expect a few months
since. They generally write after me on the Sab-
bath morning ; and the repeating of the heads and
the substance of the sermon, thus wTitten on their
ollas, forms an interesting and profitable means of
instruction in the afternoon. The native employed
as their superintendent is a devoted Christian ; and
has, through the year, manifested great zeal and
concern for the souls of those under his charge.
During the time the boys are engaged in their
Tamul studies, he is daily occupied in visiting the
out schools, and catechising and speaking with the
children. Between the services on the Sabbath,
some of the youths go from house to house through-
out the village, to read the Scriptures or tracts to
all who are disposed to hear them, and to distri-
bute such tracts as they may have to those who
manifest a desire or willingness to read them. The
accounts which they give of their proceedings on
the following day are generally interesting."

17. We have stated that Mr Knight was able to Church
preach in Tamul at the commencement of 1820, sion buiid-
when he relinquished the English service at Jaffna, i"gs erect-
that he might give himself more exclusively to the frroumi
natives. On Sunday morning he preached at his p^f^a^t^i
own house, and repeated the sermon at two of the vemment.
school-houses in the afternoon and evening. In
the course of the week he preached at other schools,
as he could collect congregations. He found his
visits among the people the most effectual method



442 HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY

CHAP, of interesting them, and of drawing them to pubhc
^^- worship. Parents frequently accompanied their
children. The congregation at Nellore becoming
too large to assemble in the mission-house, in 1823,
on their petition, the Government granted them
the ruins of the old ^' Dutch church at Nellore,
and the ground on which they stood, with another
piece of ground contiguous to the premises formerly
occupied as a burial-ground. Conveyances of the
property were regularly made, in the names of four
members, as trustees to the Society. The extreme
length of the old church was about one hundred
feet, and the breadth about thirty-six feet. This
appeared larger than would be necessary to rebuild
for a church ; and, as it was requisite to erect
buildings for the printing establishment, it was
agreed to take that end of the church for this pur-
pose, which adjoined the dwelling-house."

Here they erected several rooms for their pur-
pose. On the remainder of the ground they com-
menced building a church, school-room, and vari-
ous offices ; and they soon found the advantage of
this extended accommodation. The congregation
began to increase ; and though converts were not
forward publicly to confess their faith, a few were
added to the Church. In closing his report for
1826, Mr Adley mentioned thirteen who had been
baptized and admitted to the Lord's Supper. He
remarked, ^' Besides the Sunday services at Nel-
lore, the Wednesday afternoon service at Nellore,
and the English service on alternate Sunday
afternoons at the fort have been continued ; the
church is regularly filled on the Sabbath, and
nearly so on Wednesday afternoons, which last
service has been a means of grace nnd benefit
to many. The administration of the 1 ord's Sup-
per has been continued monthly. I consider it to
have been a great source of comfort and usefulness



IN INDIA: BOOK XIII. 443

to our little body : it has tended to raise the tone
of Christian feeling, to increase the piety of the
communicants, to unite them more with one an-
other, and to separate them from the surrounding
heathens."

The missionaries found great advantage also in
the distribution of tracts. At first they obtained
them from Madras ; but the supply soon becoming
inadequate to the demand, they set up a press at
Nellore, and printed several useful treatises. Of
these they distributed some thousands in all direc-
tions, and their journals contain several instances
of the benefit that resulted from their perusal.



444



HISTORY OF CHRISTIAXITY



Mission-
aries
obtain
native
assistants.



CHAPTER X.^

WESLEYAN MISSION IN CEYLON, 18l7-.8i6.

1. We have already recorded the flourishing state
of this mission at the commencement of 1817,
when it was strengthened by the arrival of three
missionaries.^ At Columbo, the principal station,
the operations already begun were steadily advanc-
ing. The district attached to it extended twelve
miles to the south, seven to the north, and, in one
place, ten miles into the interior, embracing a cir-
cumference of nearly forty miles. This wide cir-
cuit, in which several congregations were formed^
demanded exertions which exceeded the mission-
aries' strength ; and it would not have been practi-
cable to supply them, but for the '^ native and
other assistance which it has pleased God to raise
up. Mr Coopman, of Dutch descent ; Don Adrian,
a converted priest, employed as a catechist ; Don
David, a converted Cingalese, employed as a school- *
master ; and Mr Gogerley, who was sent from Eng- \
land to conduct the mission press ; render assistance
in preaching through the circuit." -



^ We continue to use the narrative of this mission by W. M.
Harvard as far as it goes. Also the Wesleyan Missionary Ke-
ports and Notices

^ Book xii. chap. vii. ; Appendix H of this vol.



TN INDIA: BOOK XIII. 415

To these was added a young Cingalese of respect-
able family, named Don Cornelius de Silva Wijes-
ingha. He was one of the fruits of the mission,
and, in 1818, was appointed an assistant missionary.
Of these native assistants, Mr Clough wrote : —
'^ I feel a pleasure in stating to you, that, in our
native congregations, though we go to them as
often as we can, and shall do it while God gives us
strength, they begin to take the precedency of us ;
being natives, and of course perfectly famihar with
the languages of the country. It is no small grati-
fication to the native congregations, to hear the
things of God faithfully and zealously delivered by
their own countrymen, and in their own style of
speaking : indeed our native brethren have access
to persons and places that we cannot get at. We
have two others coming forward, who appear
actuated by the same spirit ; but we thought it
best to try them another six months, before we
entered their names on the plan."

The children under daily instruction amount to
eight hundred and thirty-five. ^^ Our schools (says
Mr Clough) are daily opening our way into every
village and hamlet. Every school- house is a church,
and sacredly set apart for Divine worship on the
Sabbath-days." '' Twenty-five heathen boys and
girls, after due instruction in one of the schools,
offered themselves for baptism ; and were admitted
into the Christian church, in the mission chapel,
in the presence of a great number of natives, adults
and children."

2. A mission academy was opened in July 1823, a semi-
for which a building was erected close to the mis- "^JJ^^d
sion chapel. The design of this seminary is thus
stated : — '' The primary object of the institution is,
to communicate gratuitously to the poor a correct
knowledge of the English language, and such an
education as may best fit them for useful situations



X



446 HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY

CH^p. in society : it will be open^ however^ to children of
respectable burghers and of Cingalese headmen.
In its establishment we have in view, in the most
direct manner, the spiritual interests of the great
missionary work in which we are engaged ; which
we propose to promote, first, By educating a cer-
tain number of youths from each station, prepara-
tory to their filling situations of usefulness, as
schoolmasters and catechists in their own villages,
under the superintendence of the missionaries ; and,
secondly, By securing a more perfect religious edu-
cation to as many as we can bring under the influ-
ence of the institution."^

The opening of this seminary was unavoidably
delayed till March 1826, when a commencement
was made with five scholars, and additions were
subsequently made. In April, after speaking in
favourable terms of some pupils sent from the
Tamul district, Mr Clough remarks : — ^^ I feel con-
fident that we shall soon have a race of fine native
Tamul youth, ready and prepared to go forth to
fill ujD places of usefulness in the work of God in
that extensive region."

About the close of 1826, the schools of this dis-
trict contained fiYQ hundred and six scholars, and the
congregations, ninety members. What proportion
of these were native converts does not appear ; and
that many of them were Europeans who had joined



^ " The plan of this institution will be seen from the follow-
ing abstract of the principal regulations : — ' Gratuitous instruc-
tion to be given to fifty children of reduced burgher families and
to fifty Cingalese children, not under eight years of age, and
who are able to read the New Testament in English — children
of respectable burghers and of Cingalese headmen to pay eight
rix-dollars per month : any funds which may be realised above
the expenses, to be laid out in the purchase of books and philo-
sophical instruments for the use of the advanced pupils — the
period of education not to exceed six years.' "



IN INDIA : BOOK XIII. 41'

the Wesleyau Society, may be gathered from the
following report of their ministry at this period : —
'' The unfavourable prejudice of the Dutch, by far
the most numerous and important of the European
population of the Pettah, against our public minis-
try and modes of church discipline, has consider-
ably diminished. Our English congregations at the
mission chapel are greatly increased, and several
young Dutchman have lately joined our Society ;
we now vv^itness what the builders of the Columbo
chapel never expected would be realised in their
day — such were the obstacles which then presented
themselves — a full chapel of attentive hearers, con-
sisting of almost all classes of persons. The pros-
pect in the fort, among the troops, wears a very
cheering aspect : the place of worship which we
now occupy is found by far too small ; and, had
we a larger, we feel assured that our congregations
there would be both large and respectable. Dur-
ing the year, the Society has undergone some
changes in consequence of removals, but several
have been added to our number."

3. The operations of the mission press were NewTes-
greatly extended during this decade. Besides Ind lL
numerous school-books and religious tracts, they ^'^fgy
printed an edition of the Cingalese New Testament ^""^^ "
for the Bible Society ; and, in 1820, a second edi-
tion of three thousand five hundred copies. The
following is the general report of the committee
for 1825 :—

" The printing-office is kept in full activity by
the new edition of the Scriptures in Cingalese, now
printing for the Columbo Bible Society on a smaller
type, and consequently in a more portable and
cheap form than the quarto edition, lately so hap-
pily brought to a conclusion. It furnishes also
various other works for general distribution, and
the works in the different languages used in the



448 HISTORY OF CIIRISTIAXITY

CHAP, schools, which have been composed or translated
^' by the brethren.

" Several portions of the New Testament, and
also the Liturgy, have been at different times pub-
lished, at the expense of the mission, in Indo-
Portuguese, for distribution in Ceylon and India.
These were translated by Messrs Fox and New-
stead, and have been exceedingly useful among a
most destitute class of people, who before had
scarcely a book, except a few Roman Catholic
missals, in that language. Mr Newstead also pre-
pared a new translation of the Liturgy in the same
language, at the recommendation of the late la-
mented Archdeacon Twistleton. This edifying form
of sound words is in extensive use in every part
of the Ceylon mission. The translation is printing
at the expense of the Prayer-Book and Homily
Society."

We will select one from several instances given
of the benefit accruing from the circulation of the
works : — '' One of the missionaries found a woman
at the point of death, to whom the Gospel of St
Matthew, thus translated, had been the means of
salvation ; astonished at her pertinent answers to
his questions, he made inquiries as to the means of
instruction which she had enjoyed ; when she drew
this precious portion of the word of God from under
her pillow, and said, ' From this book I have learned
these things, and am now dying happy in my Sa-
viour ! ' "
Schools 4^ Negombo, twenty miles north of Columbo,

ihihed. contained fifteen thousand inhabitants, Cingalese,
Mahomedans, and Romanists. '' Long^ ago, this
town and the adjoining couutry, which in general
is also very populous, were remarkable for the
readiness with which the natives embraced a pro-
fession of Christianity. The Roman Catholics, two
centuries ago, made great progress in converting the



IN INDIA : BOOK XIII.



449



natives to their religion. They continued to flourish
till the Portuguese were expelled by the Dutch^ who
in their turn were not unsuccessful in establishing
Protestantism among the natives ; and, from the
ruins of so many churches and school-houses still
visible in the neighbourhood, as well as from the
reports of the few aged native Protestants that
remained, they must have succeeded to a consider-
able extent. But, on the island being taken from
the Dutch, Eomanism began to revive." The pre-
valence of its principles presented a most formidable
impediment ^^ in the way of propagating the pure
principles of the Gospel ; and the missionaries, who
had to cultivate this field, met with many diflicul-
ties, to try both their faith and patience."

Their primary object was the establishment of
schools, in which they met with considerable suc-
cess. For some time they had charge of the Go-
vernment schools in the district, and at one period
these, together with their own, contained seven
hundred boys and two hundred girls. When the
Government schools were withdrawn, there were
few left ; but they soon began to increase ; and, in
1826, the mission had nine schools in the district,
containing three hundred and thirty-eight boys, and
one hundred and fifty girls. They opened an
English school also at Negombo, which at present
was on a small scale.

The congregation at Negombo was small, owing
principally to the interference of the Romish priests.
About the year 1825, however, they began to relax
in their opposition, and immediately the attendance
improved ; but the missionaries do not give a flat-
tering description of their flock at this period, and
they describe the state of pure religion as exceed-
ingly low in the town and its immediate vicinity.

5. KoRNEGALLE, a military station, about twenty-
five miles from Kandy, seems to have been con-

VOL. V. F f



Land from
Goreni-
mcnt for
mission
premises.



450



HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY



CHAP.
X.



Caltura.



Point rle
Galle.



nected by the missionaries witliNegombo. In 1821,
Government encouraged them to occupy this station^
and assigned a piece of land for the purpose. They
soon erected a spacious house and chapel ; and^, on
the 30th of December^ in the same yeai% the chapel
was opened with an English and a Cingalese service.
In 1823^ Mr Newstead^ the missionary^ wrote —
'^ Our work, having obtained a permanent footing,
and having been noticed in a manner most favour-
able to its interests by Government, is now begin-
ning more fully to approve itself to the Kandian
people, who are naturally of a calculating and
cautious turn, and therefore not very hasty in
forming their opinion. The result of the whole is
a very evident impression in favour of our estab-
lishment, which, they are assured, designs their
everlasting good. Several native chiefs, of diffe-
rent ranks, have lately come from considerable
distances, voluntarily bringing their sons to place
under our instructions."

Several schools were established, which were at-
tended by adults as well as children ; and many of
the scholars, sometimes accompanied by their pa-
rents, attended public worship. In 1825, there
were nine schools, containing three hundred and
eight scholars. The native congregation consisted
of ten members, though the attendance of others
was at times great. But, in 1825, these brighten-
ing prospects were darkened by the ravages of a
fatal disease, which rendered it very difficult for
the missionary to carry on his operations, and the
year 1826 closed before his institutions had reco-
vered from the effects of this visitation.

6. Caltura, about twenty- seven miles south of
Columbo. This district extended about thirty
miles north and south, and from four to twelve
toward the interior. Near fifty miles further, the
missionaries had another station. Point de Galle ;



IN INDIA : BOOK XIII. 451

and another, Matura, about fourteen miles to the Matma.
east, and one hundred from Columbo. Matura was
near Dondra Head, the southernmost extremity of
the island. These stations were the centres of
extensive districts through which the missionaries
and their assistants, European and native, were
constantly itinerating. As there was very little
variety in their operations, we class them together,
as the Cingalese stations south of Columbo.

7. Schools. — These fluctuated, as at other stations. Schools.
from various causes. In 1826, they amounted to
twenty-three, containing about nine hundred boys,
and one hundred and sixty girls. All received a
Christian education in their own language, and
some of the most promising were instructed in
English. The missionaries thus describe the views
which the adult natives had of these Christian
schools : — ^' It is equally pleasing and surprising,
that, although the Cingalese in general adhere to
their hereditary superstitions, they have so little
objection to the instruction of their children in the
religion of Christ. They seem to associate Chris-
tianity with the European character, and to think
that various religions may be respectively good.
They hardly apprehend the exclusive claims of
revelation ; but assume the possibility of under-
standing the European faith, without abandoning
Budhism. Hence the adults often tell us that
they are content with the religion of their fathers ;
and, apprehending that great application is neces-
sary to comprehend Christianity, they excuse
themselves, by saying, that they wish their chil-
dren to understand it, though too old to study it
themselves. Very many have been the disputes
and conversations with the adults at this place ;
but our hopes are chiefly directed to the rising
generation." This communication was from Galle,
but it was applicable to the other stations also ;



452 HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY

CHAP, and the whole at this period were in a hopeful
_^_1_ state. Several of the scholars embraced Christi-
anity and were baptized.
Ministry. MINISTRY^ — Besidcs the services on the Lord's
day, when the missionaries generally preached
four times, in English, Portuguese, and Cingalese,
they and their native assistants were constantly
occupied in their several districts through the
week, and their labours are thus described by the
Society : — ^^ They have succeeded in collecting a
number of native congregations, to whom they re-
gularly preach in chapels, school-houses, private
houses, and bazaars. Many of them have heard
the word gladly, and have begun seriously to in-
quire after the truth. Copies of the New Testa-
ment, Scripture extracts, with various religious
tracts in Cingalese, have been extensively circulated
in this district. The principal priest of the whole
island permitted a copy of the Scriptures, in Cin-
galese, to be deposited in his own dwelling, con-
nected with the temple ; and certain portions of it
were publicly read by one of the priests to the
others, generally from twenty to thirty being pre-
sent every day."

The missionaries add : — ^^ We have been much
encouraged in our labours among the natives : the
congregations in most of our preaching-places are
good, and the people hear with much attention.
Providence is also opening our way into other vil-
lages, where we have no schools ; and, in several
instances, very interesting congregations have been
collected together by the highways and in gardens,
who have listened with great earnestness to the
truths of the Gospel : our young men, from among
the Dutch and Cingalese, have manifested great zeal,
and a delightful spirit of missionary enterprise."

Though the congregations were often crowded,
yet the converts were not numerous. In 1826,



IX INDIA : BOOK XIII. 453

they do not appear to have exceeded ninety in
these three districts^ and several of these were
Europeans. In reference to their Hmited success
among the natives^ the missionaries remark^ after
mentioning some converts : — '^More names might
have appeared on our lists ; but we have been care-
ful neither to admit those^ nor to suffer such as
had been admitted to continue among us^ who do
not strictly comply with the rules of our Society.
Two have died during the year ; and, on attending
their deathbeds, we have been comforted and edi-
fied by beholding their faith and hope in leaving
this mortal life : we confidently believe that they
both died in peace : both exclaimed in their last
hours, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit ! Those who
remain appear to be seriously sensible of the
supreme importance of being saved from their
sins and of leading a holy life : so far as comes
within our observation, they are strictly correct in
their conduct, and attentive to religious duties and
the means of grace."

In 1826, Mr Sutherland, at Matura, writes : —
'^A signal triumph of the Gospel over Budhism
has been witnessed, in the baptism at Matura, in
July, of a priest of Budhu, second in rank in the
island ; whose conversion is to be traced chiefly, as
a means, to the reading of the New Testament."
On the whole, while there was undoubtedly much to
try the missionaries' faith and patience, their mea-
sure of success was quite enough to encourage them
to go forward in the name of the Lord.

8. In the Tamul division of the island, the mis- Battu
sionaries occupied a few stations, but their success ^^^°^-
hitherto was not great. At Batticaloa and Trin- rj,j.j^_
comalee they had two congregations, and the regu- comaiee.
lar members amounted together to about twenty-
five. There were also, at one time, ten schools,
containing]: about five lumdred scholars ; but, in



454



HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY



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 38 of 54)