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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English services ; so that he disclaimed the name
of a missionary. But now, as soon as his younger
brethren had attained some knowledge of Tamul,
they began to address the Hindoos around them.
On Sunday, Feb. 14. 1819, Mr Loveless baptized
their first heathen convert. His name was ^^ Apa-
voo, whose parents were of the Batala caste, or
highest sub-division of the Soodras . When about

^ Book X. chap. v. Appendix J of this vol.


fifteen years of age, Lis appearance and manners,
which were engaging^ attracted the attention of the
late Dr John, of Tranquebar, into whose family he
was taken, and by whom he was treated rather as a
son than a stranger. Some time after the death of his
benefactor, his parents, apprehensive that he might
become a Christian, succeeded in drawing him away
from the school in which he had been placed. He
had, however, learned, to use his own language,
^ the vanity of his countrymen in worshipping
images of stocks and stones,' and, therefore, whilst
he continued with his parents, although he com-
plied wdth their superstitious modes of worship, he
did it reluctantly, and without the consent of his
judgment. Released, however, from former re-
straints, and having his passions fanned by the
influence of an impure religion, he soon sunk
into vice. Still he was not entirely free from the
rebukes of conscience. Without the knowledge of
his parents, he sought readmission into the school,
and was accepted, but after a short time was again
drawn away. To prevent any further applications,
he w^as afterwards taken to Madras.

^^ So difficult is it to eradicate superstition, and
so contagious is the influence of corrupt example,
that although Apavoo knew better, he actually
joined with his idolatrous relations in offerings and
penance to the Hindoo deities, in order that he
might render them propitious to his journey, and
its object. He chose, moreover, several of them,
in hope that, if one ffiiled, another might prove
more favoura])le. Nevertheless, his gods deceived
him. When he arrived at Madras, his relative was
dead, he could obtain no employment, and his
parents were compelled, by necessity, to leave liim
behind them in a destitute condition. The recol-
lection of his past sins now revived and tormented
him, and, to employ his own words, he ^ besouglit

VOL. v. 1 i


CHAP. God most humbly to place him m any service^ so
^^- that he might discover the truth of his infinite be-
ing, of Jesus Christ, and his gospel.'

'^ Introduced by an acquaintance to the Rev. Mr
Knill, he was appointed to superintend a school
recently established, and regarded this engagement
as another instance of the gracious care of a superin-
tending Providence. ' Surely/ thought he, ' this is
intended by God for the good of my soul !' Whilst,
however, he taught his scholars to read the Scrip-
tures, he did not neglect to search them himself.
By this means, and by the kind instructions of Mr
Knill, he acquired a high regard for the Bible, and
grew rapidly in a knowledge of its contents, though
still he could not see that he was under an obliga-
tion to comply with all its precepts."

Subsequently, in conversation with Mr Knill, it
appeared that he was struggling hard with his con-
victions, and fervently praying to be directed in the
path of sacred truth. He had, however, an ex-
treme horror at the thought of renouncing his
caste ; but was at length brought to the resolution
to brave all the contumely and loss to which this
step would expose him, by reading the following
Scriptures, Jer. xiii. 10 and Psalm Ixxxv. He
then declared, '^ From the views I have derived
from these passages of Scriptures, I was enabled to
form a decision, that I would leave my heathen
companions, and the worship of idols, and devote
myself to God, according to his revealed will, and
to be entirely his for ever." He also resolved to
receive Christian baptism ; but fearing the effect
on his people, and his parents, he was desirous to
postpone it for an indefinite period. His hesitation,
however, to take the decisive step was afterwards
removed ; when the missionaries, satisfied as to the
sincerity of his profession, publicly baptized him in
the mission cho.pel, before a crowded congregation.


chiefly of native Christians, but intermingled with
a few dissatisfied heathen. Mr Loveless addressed
the convert with much personal emotion, and with
pastoral interest. Apavoo was named John, out
of regard, no doubt, for the memory of his late
teacher, Dr John. The account of his present
state of mind, drawn up by himself, which was read
on this occasion, concludes as follows : — ^' Thus
I have fully and firmly resolved to give myself up
to Christ in public baptism, notwithstanding all the
opposition that has been made thereto by my own
people, and devote myself to his service, body,
soul, and spirit, well assured that ' Christ is the
way, the truth, and the life,' and humbly depend-
ing on him for my eternal redemption. In faith
of his power, and of his willingness to save, I can
defy all opposition, his grace assisting me. And 1
do hereby testify, that I am not ashamed of the
Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto
salvation : and may I have strength given me to
persevere, even unto the end, to manifest the purity
of my faith by a humble and holy life, and after
death receive a crown of endless glory. I now
humbly entreat my Christian friends here to re-
member me at the throne of grace, that I may be
kept from all sin and danger, and that I may be
made a useful and humble follower of Christ, hon-
ouring my profession, and glorifying God. And
now I commit myself to your love and afiection in
Jesus Christ. Amen."-^

After his baptism, Apavoo continued to be em-
ployed in the mission, and had subsequently a
Tamul congregation committed to his charge. Be-
fore long the missionaries also were able to take
part in preaching the Gospel to the heathen, and

Missionary Records, India, pp. 193-200.



^^^^^' two of them alternately performed missionary tours
in the neighbourhood of Madras. The result of
these exertions was very encouraging^ and before
the close of the decade, they had succeeded in esta-
blishing native churches at Vepery, Periamcottoo,
Royapooram, and Tripasore. On every visit to the
native schools also, they addressed the adult hea-
then, frequently in large numbers ; and of these
various exertions, also of other opportunities to
address the natives, it is remarked •} — " Unex-
pected opportunities of addressing the natives were
afforded, in consequence of the prevalent distress
resulting from the failure of the harvest. Mr
Taylor, having been appointed secretary to the
Yepery and Pursewaukum funds for the relief of
distressed natives, took an active part in their dis-
tribution : about one thousand usually attended to
receive assistance. On these occasions, they were
sometimes addressed, in a body, by Mr Taylor ;
and sometimes in companies of about five hundred
each, by himself and John Nimmoo, the native
teacher. The most favourable opportunities, how-
ever, for addressing the natives, are the seasons of
examining and catechizing the children in the
schools : on such occasions, the missionary is sur-
rounded by people, who patiently listen to the read-
ing and exposition of the Scriptures and Catechisms,
whom no persuasives would induce to attend the
preaching of the Gospel in a place of worship."

The missionaries remark : — ^^ Among the vil-
lagers and inhabitants of country-places, there are
seen a simplicity of character, a curiosity of dispo-
sition easily excited, and an ingenuousness of mind,
all highly favourable to the preacher who would
declare to them the tidings of salvation ; but among

Society's Report for 1825,



the inhabitants of the city there is a willingness of
character, an apparent pliancy of disposition, and
a very thorough Imowledge of the defects of merely
nominal Christians, which are calculated to ob-
struct the unbiassed reception of Divine truth."

In the following year they reported : — '' Teru-
chebray and ^Mmmoo (two native teachers) are
constantly and usefully engaged. A member at
Pursewaukum chapel has opened his house at
Royapooram for worship in Tamul; Mr Crisp
preaches there every alternate week. The congre-
gation consists of heathens and Roman Catholics,
chiefly heathens. At the close of the services,
which have excited considerable attention to the
place, numerous applications are made for the
Scriptures and tracts."

2. The missionaries had also three English con-
gregations in different parts of Madras and Yepery,
composed chiefly of East Indians ; and in Decem-
ber 1819, they opened a spacious chapel at Purse-
waukum, built by voluntary contributions. Other
places of worship were also erected where required ;
and of these English services it was reported in
1826: — ''^ The Black Town congregation, which,
from local circumstances, had for a time declined,
has revived, and presents a decidedly improved at-
tendance. In each congregation more seriousness
and spirituality are manifest : additions are, from
time to time, made to the church. The prayer
meetings on Sabbath evenings are fully attended :
a prayer meeting on Saturday evenings has been
conmienced. The missionaries preach alternately
at Fort St George, where from sixty to one hun-
dred of the military attend. The soldiers hold
prayer-meetings statedly among themselves : several
of them exhibit satisfactory evidence of piety. A
Sunday school connected with the English congre-
gation was well attended."

aries en-
gnged in


CHAP. In the Hindoo schools opened m and around
•^^^ Madras^ the aggregate number of boys, in 1826,
was six hundred. The missionaries estabUshed a
Hindoostanee school also, for Mahomedans, which
contained sixty scholars. '' The course of instruc-
tion is entirely under the regulation of the mission-
aries : a few native books are read ; but the lead-
ing objects are the communication of Christian
knowledge and the implantation of Christian prin-
ciples. The New Testament is a standard book in
all the schools. Many of the scholars, in the differ-
ent schools, e\dnce a knowledge and approbation of
Divine truth."
A central 3, They established a central school for irdimng
llta^ schoolmasters, which at this period contained
biished twenty-one scholars, ten Mahomedans, and the
rest Hindoos, who were both educated and sup-
ported. The annual expense of each youth w^as
about seven pounds sterling. There were English
free schools also, the average attendance in which
was eighty boys and sixty girls ; and many of the
scholars were reported to be improving, both in
attendance and learning.^

^ It would occupy too much space, in the progress of these
and other missions, to mention all the changes that take place
in the missionaries ; but we cannot forbear to give the high tes-
timony borne by the Society to Mr Loveless, the founder of
this mission, on his return to England in 1824 : — " Since he
has resided at Madras, a short period excej)ted, Mr Loveless
has not been in immediate connection with the Society : but
he has, nevertheless, in the departments which he has actually
filled, contributed materially to the establishment, support, and
advancement of the mission ; he has statedly officiated at the
chapel in Black Town ; and, together with Mrs Loveless, has
taken an active part in the superintendence of the free schools ;
he has also maintained a useful correspondence with the direc-
tors on the general concerns of the mission, ever since his
arrival in India. By these and other gratuitous services, as
well as by his pious and consistent conduct, he has entitled


4. YiZAGAPATAM. — This station continued, as at Teioogoo
the close of 1816/ under the care of three mis- t^onVf the
sionaries^ Messrs Dawson, Pritchett and Gordon. Scriptures.
The circulation of the Teioogoo Testament, trans-
lated, as we have seen, by Mr Pritchett, soon began
to awaken the attention of the natives, not only at
Vizagapatam and its immediate neighbourhood, but
to some distance through the country, as mentioned
in our last volume.^ Mr Pritchett proceeded to
Madras, to superintend the printing of two thousand
copies of the Teioogoo Testament for the Calcutta
Bible Society. He then returned to Vizagapatam,
with his family. Here he prosecuted his Teioogoo
translation of the Old Testament, in which he had
made considerable progress while at Madras; but,
on the loth of June 1820, he was cut off in the
midst of his labours, after about ten days' ilhiess.

The Society, speaking of the effects produced by
his translation, states,* — '^ Since the Teioogoo New
Testament has been circulated among the natives, .
and publicly read and explained to them, an in-
creasing interest has been excited among them
relative to Christianity. On the minds of some,
favourable impressions appear to have been made,
but none which the brethren regard as decisive of
real conversion to God."

On this subject, Mr Gordon writes — ^' Often have

himself to the esteem and gratitude of the Society. Nor can
the directors omit the present opportunity of gratefully acknow-
ledging the very kind and hospitahle manner in wliich Mr and
Mrs Loveless have, from time to time, received and entertained
at their own house the missionariesof this Society — notonly those
appointed at Madras, while they were j^et unprovided with a
residence of their own ; hut also tliose who have sojourned for
a season in that city, while on their way to other stations."

* Book X. chap. v. sees. 20, 21. '^ Ibid.

* Report of the London Missionary Society for 182o.


CHAP. I seen the Word of God take hold of the heathen ;

1 and^ while it caused them to tremble^ extort an

acknowledgment, honourable to the truth, gratify-
ing to the missionary, confounding to the by-
standers, and hateful to Satan."

Mr Gordon now carried on the Teloogoo trans-
lation of the Old Testament, with as much expedi-
tion as his other missionary engagements, and a due
regard to the accuracy of the translation, would

The native schools gradually increased, until, in
1827, they amounted to twelve, and the scholars to
^ye hundred and twenty-five. These were all Te-
loogoo schools, with the exception of one held at
the (]ourt-House, where the scholars were instructed
in English. There was also a native female school,
containing thirty-five girls. Besides these Teloogoo
schools, the English residents and some respectable
natives maintained two schools, one of thirty boys,
and the other of forty- two girls, instituted for the
benefit of the orphans of Europeans and East Indians.
Of the native schools, we have the following favour-
able report at the close of 1826 : — ^' They continue
to inspire in the missionaries a lively hope of many
among the rising generation at Yizagapatam even-
tually becoming Christians : the progress of the
scholars is very encouraging ; their prejudices,
generally speaking, are abating ; and their ac-
quaintance with Christianity increasing. Scarcely
a day passes, in which some circumstance does not
transpire, indicative of the beneficial influence of
religious instruction on their hearts ; and some of
the elder boys not unfrequently ask questions,
which the most sagacious Brahmins find themselves
unable to answer. Such is the repute in which the
schools are held, that many more would forthwith
be established, were the means of support and of
efficient superintendence within the reach of the


missionaries. An English lady, resident at Viza-
gapatam, has taken the native girls' school, super-
intended by the late Mrs Dawson, under her own
immediate charge ; together with two other native
girls' schools, situated in the fort."

The missionaries were indeflitigable in distribut-
ing religious tracts, and preaching to the natives in
difierent places. Of their stated performance of
Divine worship, it is reported, in 1826 — ''Six
English services are held week]}^ ; and. apparently,
not without fruit. Native services are held every
day, in one of the school-rooms : the attendance is
of the most fluctuating character, amounting some-
times to a hundred, at other times sinking below
ten ; the versatility of the natives, and their insen-
sibleness to the solemnity of Divine worship, ren-
der it impossible to observe the desirable order of
Christian services ; the missionary is obliged to
vary the mode of arresting the attention of his
auditors, and of inculcating truth according to the
peculiar circumstances of the case."

The hopes of the missionaries and their Society
for this part of India, lighted up by the j^resent
results of these operations, were thus described —
'' While the prospects of the mission continue to
brighten, there is here unquestionable proof of Pa-
ganism being on the decline. The car of Jugger-
naut, at Vizagapatam, which seems to have fallen
greatly in public estimation, did not make its ap-
pearance last year : its three images were olfered to
the missionaries for ten pagodas. The BrahmiiLS,
indeed, appear to support Hindoo ism merely to
support themselves ; since, in other respects, they
are as indifferent to its interests as they are igno-
rant of it as a system : they evidently feel their
inferiority in argument with the missionaries, and
stand confounded at the poverty of their own
doo'inas when contrasted with Christ ianitv ; never-


CHAP, tlieless, SO blended are their interests with the
^^' existence of Hindooism, that they continue exter-
nally to oppose the truth, the force of which they
are compelled to feel.

^'The hopes, however, of the brethren, as to the
introduction of Christianity into this part of India,
are chiefly founded on the effect of the schools
gradually preparing, by the Divine blessing, a race
who will more readily yield to the force of its obli-

5. South Trayancore. — The arrival of Messrs
Mead and Knill at Malaudy, and the rude state in
which they found the people, were mentioned in
Nagracoii. our last volumc.^ They soon removed to Nagracoil,
about four miles distance, the Rannee of Travancore
having presented to the mission a house there which
was formerly occupied by the resident. It was
situated in a healthy and central situation, close to
the southern extremity of the Ghauts, and sur-
rounded by scenery of singular sublimity and
grandeur. Its lofty hills gave it a grandeur which
no language can adequately describe.

The district allotted to the labours of the mission
comprehended ten distinct stations, or villages,
most of which had churches and schools, and all
increasing congregations. At each station, the
Word of God was read every Sabbath-day, by a
native catechist ; who also preached, as well as his
measure of knowledge would enable him. It was a
part of the employment of the missionaries to in-
struct the catechist s more perfectly.

Hundreds of the natives had renounced all con-
nection with heathenism. They had cast their
household gods out of doors ; and, on their public
profession of Christianity, each of them had volun-

Tao-e 2S5~^^o{c.


tarily presented a note of hand, declarative at once
of his renunciation of idolatry, and of his determi-
nation to serve the living and true God.

The missionaries adopted a plan for periodically
visiting the several villages where there were con-
gregations. They also established a seminary for
the education of thirty boys, to be selected from
among the most intelligent of their congregations,
and brought up in the mission house, on the prin-
ciples, and in the spirit and practice of Christianity.
In his journeyings among the people, Mr Knill
seems to have found the school children and some
adults better instructed than he had been led to
expect, as the following extracts from his journal
will shew : —

"^ When conversing with the people at Tamara-
coolum, on the importance of being prepared to die,
one man said, ^My father w^as prepared.' — '^By what
means ?' ^ Through the merits of my Saviour.' —
^ Did he live a good life ?' ' Yes, after he knew the
good way.' — ^ Who made him good ?' ^ It was God.'
— ' Did your father say much when he was dying ?'
' One sentence I remember.' — ^ What ?' ^ He said,
Jesus ! receive my spirit !' I cannot describe
what I felt when the poor creature told me this ;
and if we compare the dying expression of this man
and the last verse of the Epistle of James, we shall
see that the mission was not established in vain.

^^ One night, when I was catechising, I asked,
^ Who was your former master ?' ^ The devil.' —
' Is he a good master ?' 'Far from it.' — ' Do you
Uke his service ?' ' No ; we like Christ's service.'
— ' Is it good to be engaged in the service of God ?'
One of them promptly answered, ' Yes, it is good
— A day in thy couiis is better than a thousand^
alluding to Psalm Ixxxiv. 10. It was a lad from
Malaudy, about fifteen years old, who gave this
answer. Thus the Sacred Scriptures are treasured


CHAP, up in his memory, and may prove ^ a way-mark in
^^- the road to bhss.' "

Thus did the missionaries find the ground pre-
pared for them, and they diligently availed them-
selves of their advantage. They soon had about
four thousand persons under instruction, and fifteen
schools, with a fair prospect of increase. In 1819,
sickness compelled Mr Knill to return to Europe ;
but he was succeeded in the same year by a mis-
sionary from England, the Rev. C. Mault. They
had also two assistants, East Indians, besides seven-
teen native readers, who were chiefly employed in
the villages where congregations were formed. These
were sent forth with the Scriptures and other books,
for the instruction of the people, and their appoint-
ment gave new life to the mission.

January 1. 1819, the foundation-stone of a new
chapel was laid at Nagracoil. The Rannee of Tra-
vancore, through the intercession of the British
Resident, Colonel Munro, gave the land, timber,
and stone for the building, which was to be one
hundred and twenty feet by seventy. ^' The name
of this place," the missionaries write, " will not fail
to strike the pious mind — it means, literally, the
serpent church, from there being a church dedicated
to the express worship of that ^ old serpent the
devil.' We hope to build a Christian temple here,
on a spot, on one side of which will be seen a large
heathen pagoda, and on the other a Mahomedan
mosque. Our edifice will be raised above them
both. May this be the case soon in every part of
the globe."

Owing to the want of funds, this spacious build-
ing was not completed for some years ; but several
smaller places of worship, which they call Bungalow
chapels, were built in the most populous villages
Vvliere congregations were formed.

The stations gradually increased till they


amounted to twenty-nine. At ten of them native
readers resided. The missionaries preached every
Sunday, and as often during the week as other
avocations would allow, to three, and sometimes
four, of the congregations ; while the assistants and
native readers were constantly employed at the out-
stations, and in reading to the heathen population
in the vicinity of Nagracoil. In the years 1825,
1826, the missionaries gave the following account
of these labours and their present effect : —

^ '^ We are daily engaged in publishing the Gospel
to the Protestant, Roman Catholic, heathen, and
Mahomedan inhabitants of this place and neigh-
bourhood. It has not been entirely preached in
vain. We have reason to hope, that there are a
few real Christians. During the past year, several
families have publicly abandoned the w^orship and
sacrifices of the evil spirit. Several Roman
Catholic families have also joined, but there is less
hope of these continuing stedfast : they come to our
places of worship, and are disappointed at seeing
no altars — no images or crucifixes — no holy water
— no mysterious rites : they have no services in
what they deem a sacred language ; we have nei-
ther cars nor processions : the CathoUcs have most
of these, in common with the heathen : they say

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 42 of 54)