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 39 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 39 of 54)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


CHAP.
X.



Jaffna.



Service
held by a
Portu-
guese
lady



1825, more than half these were broken up in con-
sequence of the fatal ravages of cholera, especially
at Trincomalee. At this station, they were also
much opposed by a Brahmin and the Romanists ;
so that they had a hard struggle to restore the
schools. They resolved, however, not to reUn-
quish these stations, so long as they could main-
tain them with any hope of success.

9. At Jaffna they were more successful : though
here too they met with considerable difficulty, and
it was not till after much delay and discouragement,
that they were able to obtain access to the villages
of this extensive and populous province. At one
time, in 1820, they had nearly seven hundred chil-
dren under instruction ; but these were subse-
quently reduced, owing to the cholera and other
impediments, to about one-half the number.

The missionaries and their assistants all preached
in Tamul, and they speak of the service as every
where well attended. They state, in 1821 : —
^' The demand for the Scriptures among the natives
is much on the increase. We have three young
men who take their work regularly with us as
preachers. By their help, we are able to have
about sixty regular services every month in the
Jaffna part of the circuit only. Our school-rooms
are our general places of preaching ; but, as the
congregations there are uncertain, wherever a com-
pany of men can be found there we preach and
teach, whether it be a rest-house or the bazaar."

On proposing to establish a Portuguese service
at Jaffna in 1824, they mention the following
interesting occurrence : — '^ Mrs Schrader, a vener-
able old lady, who had held Portuguese service in her
own house for upwards of twenty years, and had
translated nearly the whole of Mr Wesley's sermons
into Portuguese, began to feel herself incapable of
attending to these services. In commencing our



IN INDIA : BOOK XIII. 455

Portuguese worship, we felt ourselves at a loss how
to act, as she had service at the same time ; but
the matter was no sooner mentioned to her, than
she broke forth in praises to God, that she had lived
to see the day, when she could give up her flock to
the shepherds of Jesus ; and expressed a wish that
we should take her congregation under our care.
It is rather remarkable, that this lady did not
begin to learn English until about fifty-five years
of age ; and now she understands and regularly
attends our English preaching."

In 1825, one of the missionaries wrote : — ^^ Our
Portuguese congregation has continued to increase.
At the Table of the Lord we see English, Dutch,
Portuguese, and natives, with their intermediate
grades of colour, joining with one heart." He after-
wards describes the crowded attendance of the peo-
ple, and their devout attention to what they heard.

Of their Tamul ministrations also they speak, in
January 1827, in these encouraging terms : — '' Our
congregations are increasingly large ; and God is
carrying on a good work in the souls of many.
One truly gratifying circumstance, which has taken
place in the last quarter, is the baptism of seven
heathen men, Malabars, most of them of high
caste : they are by no means novices in Christi-
anity, but are able to give a reason for the hope
wliich is in them : they have been long under reli-
gious instruction, and their views of Christianity
are clear : their reasons for embracing the Chris-
tian religion and wishing to be baptized are ra-
tional and scriptural, and they manifest every
symptom of sincerity." Four of their adult con-
verts, who died by the cholera, gave, as they state,
'' the fullest testimony that they departed in the
Lord."

10. Connected with this station was Point ^^^'^"^^
Pedro, at the northern oxtremitv of the island.



456 HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY

^^^^ A native assistant resided there, and the station
— — was visited by the missionaries from Jaffna ; and,
in 1823, they began to reap fruit from their labours.
There were at that time seven schools_, containing
three hundred and twenty-one scholars, some of
whom were adults. In 1825, another large school,
built at the expense of the villagers, was opened
with one hundred native boys.

This mission suffered much during the present
decade from the sickness and departure of mission-
aries, when gaining experience in their work ; but
the cause of religion continued notwithstanding to
advance. In 1826, there were, in the two divisions
of the island, thirteen European and eight native
missionaries, and many native teachers and assist-
ants. The schools contained nearly three thousand
boys, and five hundred and sixty girls ; and,
though their converts were not numerous, they are
described as walking consistently with their profes-
sion, while several gave hope in death of the reality
of their faith.



IN INDIA : BOOK XIII. 457



CHAPTER XL

WESLEYAN MISSION IN SOUTH INDIA, 1817-1822.

1. We have already recorded the commencement of Progress
the Madras Mission by Mr Lynch in 1816.^ After workhl^^
some difficulty he succeeded in purchasing premises Madras
for a mission and chapel at Royapettah^ three miles neighbour-
south of Madras^ in the midst of a large heathen ^^^o^-
population. There he soon began to preachy twice
on the Lord's day^ and once on Thursday ; and he
had the satisfaction of seeing his congregation in-
crease. He also opened an English and a Tamul
school, and a third at the Mount, about ^Ye miles
distant. Li 1818, he was joined by the Rev. Titus
Close, and they both found full employment. Mr
Lynch was not long before he received converts
from among the natives, and in 1820 he wrote —
^^ Last year, six Indian converts, under my care,
exchanged earth for heaven ; and two poor heathens,
who, never having seen a missionary, heard of
Jesus by a country-born female, died, and I hope
went to heaven."

In 1824, Mr Lynch was compelled by sickness
to return to Europe, but not before he had seen the
erection of a substantial chapel at Madras. He was



Book xii. c'liap. iii. sec. 44.



458 HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY

CHAP, succeeded by the Rev. Elijah Hoole, who, having
^^' acquired great readiness in preaching in Tamul,
was able to make excursions among the natives in
the country with great advantage. In 1826, after
several changes, there were three missionaries at
Madras, Revs. E. Hoole, R. Carver, and T. J. Wil-
liamson ; but these were not enough to occupy all
the fields of labour opening before them, and they
were urgent with their Society to send them more
assistance. They had four chapels at Madras, and
in the district, which were generally well attended ;
and the associated members together, including
soldiers and other Europeans, amounted to one
hundred and thirty. The schools at Madras are
included at this time with those at other stations.
There were together sixteen, containing five hundred
and forty-two scholars. These they might have
considerably extended, but for the want of means.
Of the schools at and near Madras the missionaries
report — ^^ I'he vigorous system of superintendence
which has been adopted has caused the masters to
be more strict, and consequently the boys attend
better. Improvement in their behaviour, and in
their attendance on divine worship, is among the
encouragements which cheer the missionary to per-
severing exertions ; and fruits of increase will not
be wanting to his patient labours. Many of the
boys are very industrious in learning everything to
which they are directed ; and several are very pro-
mising, fit to be introduced to a superior school, if
we had means and time to establish and superin-
tend it."
Ne£?apa. 2. Negapatam. — The Society having been re-

quested to occupy this station, the Rev. T. H.
Squance, from Jaffna, arrived here in September
1820. Being well acquainted with Tamul, which
he had acquired in Ceylon, he was able to enter
upon his work without delay. He described the



tam.



IN INDIA : BOOK XIII. 459

field before him as promising ; but in the following-
year sickness compelled him to relinquish it. He
was succeeded by Mr T. Close^ from Madras^ who
also was soon obliged^ from a similar cause^ to return
to Europe. His place was taken by the Rev. James
Mowatt^ from Bangalore^ who arrived here in
August 1822. He also was able to enter imme-
diately on the Tamul services. An assistant mis-
sionary, Mr John Katts, from Ceylon, had charge
of the Portuguese department of the mission. In
1824, a small chapel was built, which was well
attended, but chiefly the Portuguese service. The
stated members of the chapel in 1826 were thirty-
four, very few of whom were natives. There were
four schools at Negapatam and in the neighbour-
hood, containing nearly two hundred scholars, who
received a Christian education.

Small as this success may appear, yet it was as
great as could reasonably be expected in so short a
time, and under the repeated interruptions caused
by the missionaries' removal. Under Mr Mowatt,
the prospect improved, as appears from the report
of Mr Hoole, after visiting the place. He writes —
'^ The good work in Negapatam is steadily advanc-
ing. The English congregation, although neces-
sarily small, is very attentive and regular. The
Portuguese congregation in the new chapel, which
was opened while I was there, is larger than I ever
before witnessed it in Negapatam ; and many mem-
bers of the class have attained an established matu-
rity in religion, highly encouraging to him who has
been labouring among them."

3. Bangalore. — In 1820, Messrs E. Hoole and Bangalore.
J. Mowatt arrived at Madras, appointed to com-
mence the missionary work in Bangalore and My-
sore. But while diligently studying Tamul, preach-
ing in English, and preparing for future labour
among the natives, Mr Hoole's services were re-



460



HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY



CHAP.
XL



A mission
com-
menced.



quired, as we have seen, at Madras, and those of
Mr Mowatt at Negapatam. The missionaries occa-
sionally visited Mysore, but do not appear to have
regularly occupied a station in that country during
the remainder of the decade.

4. Bombay. — We may mention here the Society's
first attempt to establish a mission at Bombay. The
Rev. John Horner arrrived for the purpose in Sep-
tember 1816, and was kindly received by Sir Evan
Nepean, the Governor. He then waited upon the
Bishop of Calcutta, as mentioned above, who ex-
pressed his good opinion of the zeal and conduct of
the Wesleyan missionaries in Ceylon, and wished
Mr Horner equal success in Bombay. Immediately
on his arrival, he applied himself to the study of
Mahratta, and in the course of a twelvemonth he
was able to converse with freedom among the
natives in that language. He paid attention to
Hindoostanee also, and, it appears, with equal
success. He now discoursed openly in the streets
and bazaars, but the result did not satisfy him.
^' Until we can get a house or room (he says) to
preach in, I shall not be able to say anything of
my sermons. The people consider the streets and
bazaars, &c., their own ; and though they listen to
what we tell them, yet they will talk, and sometimes
contradict, with all their might. But these are
good signs ; they shew that the Gospel appears to
them of importance enough to call forth their op-
position, and is not to be treated with silent con-
tempt."

In 1819, he had four Mahratta schools, contain-
ing one hundred and eighty boys, which he pur-
posed to extend on the arrival of an expected
colleague, the Rev. Joseph Fletcher, who joined
him shortly after.

In the same year, Mr Horner visited Mai wan,
and several neighbouring places, about two hundred



IN INDIA : BOOK XIII. 461

miles south of Bombay, with the view of ascertain-
ing the state of the people, and whether it presented
an opening for missionary operations. The result
of his inquiries was unfavourable.

In 1822, these active preparations were abruptly
terminated, both the missionaries being compelled
by ill health to return to Europe ; and the measure
of success does not appear to have been such as to
induce the Society to supply their place. In their
report for 1821, they remark — '' This place has
hitherto proved an unproductive soil to our brethren;
and whatever seeds of truth may have been sown
in the minds of the children at the school or by
conversation with the natives, no apparent fruit
has yet succeeded.

^^ The case of so many thousands of people, in-
volved in the worst and most disgusting of Indian
superstitions, renders every attempt to introduce
our divine religion the more obligatory. The pa-
tience of missionaries on many other stations, after
being long called into exercise, has at length been
followed by an abundant success. May it prove so
in Bombay ! In proportion to the discouragements
of missionaries labouring among a people wedded
to their idols, are they entitled to be held up by
the prayers of the people of God ; and we trust that
this awfully dark and idolatrous part of India will
call forth intercessions more fervent, that the period
of its visitation may not be long delayed."

Under these circumstances, it is not sui'prising
that this station was suspended.



462 HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY



CHAPTER XII.

AMERICAN MISSION IN BOMBAY, 1817-1826.

of tfr^^ 1. The establishment of this mission was recorded
mission, in the last volume.^ The missionaries^ Messrs
Hall^ Newell^ and Bardwell, still had encourage-
ment to go forward. They had no difficulty in
assembling the natives^ who at times seemed to be
impressed under their preaching, but they had not
yet formed a regular congregation. The printing
press was in active operation ; and they had twelve
schools for the heathen, which contained above
seven hundred children.

In February 1818, their hands were strengthened
by the arrival of two more brethren, the Rev. John
Nicholls and the Rev. Allen Graves. Mr Graves
soon removed to Mahim, a populous district, six
miles north of Bombay ; and, in the autumn, Mr
Nicholls proceeded to Tannah, the chief town of
the island of Salsette, and twenty-five miles north
of Bombay. At the same time, Messrs Hall and
Newell made excursions to various places, from ten
to sixty miles distant from Bombay, and subse-
quently they went into the northern and southern



^ In 1815. B. xii. c. iii. Our principal authorities continue
to be the Reports of the American Board of Missions, and the
Memoir of Gordon P.all.



of the
Jew?.



IX INDIA : BOOK XIII. 4(33

Conkan, preaching, conversing, and distributing Cordiality
books.^ The books were eagerly sought by all
classes ; and numbers, even of Jews, sohcited and
received copies of St Matthew's Gospel. The Jews
generally regarded the mission with a favourable
eye, and some of them became teachers, and sent
their children to the schools.

The state and prospect of the mission, about the
opening of the present decade, is thus described :^ —
'^ In the general health of its members — in its in-
ternal harmony — in the favour which it has obtained
with the rulers, and with the people, European and
native — in the free course afforded to its operations
— and, above all, in its lively stedfastness in the
work of faith, and lahour of love, and patience of
hojye — the Lord has marked this mission with dis-
tinguished kindness.

"" Since the dates reported the last year, a wide
expansion has been given to the sphere of its ope-
rations. At first, the labours of the brethren were
limited to the town of Bombay. After the arrival
of Messrs Nicholls and Graves, by occupying the
stations of Mahim and Tannah, they brought the
whole island of Bombay, and Salsette also, within
their range. Nor is this all. By the late war in
India, the Mahratta states and territories, on the
side of the peninsula or continent adjacent to Bom-
bay, and to a great extent, were subjected to the
British dominion. This event, as it rendered those
countries more easily and safely accessible, gave a
new spring to hope and to enterprise."

2. The missionaries were indefatigable in preach- ^^j'll'^^'"^
ing the word of God to natives of all castes, l)oth



" The journals which the missionaries kept on these excursions
are given in the Society's Reports, and will he read wiili great
interest. See especially Report xi.

^ American Board of Missions, Report x.



464 HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY

CHAP, at Bombay and up the country. They were now
^^^' able to conduct pubhc worship m several languages,
and a native audience was in frequent attendance,
but under great disadvantages for want of a suitable
building for their accommodation. The mission
had been in operation eight years before the mis-
sionaries were in circumstances to erect a place of
worship. They then circulated a proposal, solicit-
ing subscriptions for the purpose, which was gene-
rously responded to by their friends. A valuable
site was purchased in an eligible part of the native
town ; the building was soon commenced, and
there is one circumstance connected with its erec-
tion which will give a lively idea of the deplorable
state of Christianity in India at that time. The
missionaries wrote —

^^ Mr West, the architect, expresses much plea-
sure at being authorised to suspend all work at the
chapel on the Sabbath ; and thinks that he can
manage so as to have the same men do as much
work on the six week days as, disregarding the Sab-
bath, they would in the seven days : this shews the
plea of necessity for working on the Sabbath, which
is so common in this country, to be as unfounded
as it is impious. To the natives, it is quite a
phenomenon to see a building carried on with
activity, vigour, and bustle on every week-day ;
and, on every Sabljath, to observe all business
suspended and everything quiet. It speaks for God
and his holy Sabbath, with great emphasis ; for
not a building here, so far as I know, is erected,
' either by professed Christians or by heathens, the

work of which is not carried on much the same on
the Sabbath as on other days."

The building was opened on the 30th of May
1823, with service in Mahratta, '' which solemnity
was preceded by a day set apart for invoking the
blessing of God, with fasting and prayer. Public



IN INDIA: BOOK XIII. 4(j5

worship was held therein in Enghsh every Sunday
morning. In the afternoon, the scholars were cate-
chised ; and in the evening public worship was
held in Mahratta. On the first Monday in each
month, the ' Monthly Concert ' for missionary
prayer was held in the chapel. Government
granted a burying ground for the use of the mis-
sion, and, unsolicited, liberally ordered it to be
enclosed, at the public expense, with a wall of
masonry."

But the brethren still exercised their ministry
under the canoj)y of heaven, or under the shadow
of a tree ; and they thus speak of the manner in
which it was received : —

^*^We continue our usual method of addressing
the Gospel to the people — by the way-sicle, in the
field, at their houses, and in their assemblies — as
we meet with them, on going out for the purpose
daily. Besides this, we avail ourselves of oppor-
tunities, which we esteem suitable, of making
regular appointments in various places ; sometimes
weekly, sometimes daily, and sometimes twice a
day, according to our ability and the prospect of
collecting the people. Our method of conducting
these meetings is various, according to the circum-
stances of the hearers. The number of these is
various, from ten individuals to two or three hun-
dred. Some persons of every class are occasion-
ally present. Sometimes the stillness and atten-
tion almost or quite equal that of an assembly in
our native country ; and sometimes there are
conversation and confusion, opposition, resentment,
reviling, and blasphemy."

3. In 1820, they speak hopefully of a Mahomedan Conver-
convert, whom they had baptized : and a few years ^j"^J,on,e.
after we find him usefully employed in distributing dan.
the Scriptures and tracts up the country. But we
must confess — it is, indeed, confessed both l)y the

vou v. Q g



466



HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY



CHAP, missionaries and their friends — that conversions

. L were very rare. In 1822^ the Board remarked: —

^^ Though the prejudices of the natives are stubborn
and inveterate^ and though we do not discover that
inquiry concerning the nature of rehgion, and that
concern for the soul which is desired."

And about the same time^ one of the missionaries
wrote : — '^ I exceedingly wish that I could tell you
good news ; but I must be content to say^ or at
least I must say, that we do not enjoy, in our
labours, the converting influences of the Holy
Spirit. But I do indulge the hope that, as a body,
we are beginning to seek more earnestly this
divine gift ; and we are still hoping to see better
days."

The patience and faith of the brethren continued
to be exercised in this manner for a few years
longer, as appears from the following extract from
a letter of a friend at Bombay, written towards the
close of the decade : — "^ I wish our accounts of mis-
sionary success in this part of the world were more
cheering. As yet, the Lord seems to withhold
His blessing ; and though the labourers in the
vineyard are zealous, hard working, praying men,
yet I do not hear of one instance of real conversion
among the heathen."

Similar testimony is borne to the piety, the
discretion, and perseverance of the brethren, by
several other persons unconnected with them.
They were not disheartened by the apparent want
of success. They looked upon this as the seed-
time of the mission — believed that the Lord would
bless it — and were content to leave the harvest to
those who should follow.
Schools ^- Their schools were more prosperous, though

prosper— they Varied according to circumstances. For in-
onsiTnTay. staucc, in 1819, they had twenty-five, which, in
1821, were reduced to fifteen, in consequence of a



IN INDIA : BOOK XIII. 4G7

deficiency in their receipts from America. In
1824, they rose again to thirty-five, containing
nearly seventeen hundred scholars. In 1826, they
fell again to twenty-four. Yet, notwithstanding
this fluctuation in their numbers, the schools went
on improving both in management and progress,
and were free and open to all who chose to benefit
by them. They were instituted, not only in seve-
ral parts of the island of Bombay, but were also
extended along one hundred miles of coast, on the
adjacent continent. The instruction given was of
a religious character, similar to that of other schools
of Christian missions, which we have so often de-
scribed. They added, also, in the upper schools,
some instruction in the elements of mathematics
and universal geography. The attendance of Jewish
children was a feature of peculiar interest in these
schools. At one time, in 1825, they amounted to
one hundred and thirty-three. There were also no
less than ten Jews among the teachers ; and the
scholars in the principal school at Bombay were
regarded as a nursery of future instructors of the
heathen. After a time, the missionaries were in-
duced to discontinue the practice of dismissing the
children on the Lord's day, which Avas no more to
the heathen than any other day. They suspended,
however, all secular instruction on that day, and
employed the scholars in exercises of a moral and
religious nature ; so that they were proper Sunday
schools. The children were informed of the reason
of this change in their usual subjects of instruction,
and no objection seems to have l)een made to it.
"'A portion of Scripture was given to the elder
boys on the Sunday, in which they were examined
on the following Sunday : this portion being read,
the missionary examined them in it, and opened its
meaning to them ; an hour was thus pleasantly
occupied. In the afternoon, the schools assembled



468 HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY

CHAP, in the body of the chapel, which they nearly filled ;
^ they were catechised and addressed by the mission-
ary, and dismissed wdth prayer. From thirty to
forty adults, not connected with the schools, fre-
quently attended."
Female ^- The missionaries were anxious to introduce
and board- female education, hearing how well it had succeeded
begun. in other parts of India. For some time there had
been between sixty and eighty girls scattered
through their numerous schools; and, in 1824, they
thus speak of their first attempt to establish a female
school — '' In March 1824, we had the very great



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 39 of 54)