« PoprzedniaDalej »
on the road from Poona to Junir. On the following Sunday, the 22nd, early in the morning, the wife of my catechist brought a widow woman, of about fifty years of age, to our tent, who presented herself as a most anxious candidate for baptism. She was a traveller and had put up for the night in a temple close to which my native assistants had occupied an open place during our stay at that village. In the morning our widow traveller recognised my people as Christians by their reading the Scriptures, and by their going off to preach ; and when she, upon her inquiry, was told that they belonged to the Junir Mission, she eagerly inquired for the Missionary, and being informed of our presence in camp close by, she at once begged to be shown to us. Now I must mention that she had come a distance of forty-eight miles, and, having become ill of fever on the road, she could proceed but very slowly on her journey, which she had undertaken on purpose to join our Mission at Junir. Indeed, from her last stage she had hired a pony to ride, in order to be in time for Sunday service, which she wished to attend in Junir. The poor woman was rather weak from fever and fatigue : on this account I would not trouble her with many questions, but gave her at once appropriate medicines and food, and Mrs. Schwarz provided a place for her in our own tent. However, of her own accord she has given the following account of her former history >
Bhima, for this is the name of our candidate, was the widow of a native Christian, who formerly belonged to the Brahmin caste, and was a native of Poona. Her husband had been baptized about twenty years ago by the late Rev. James Mitchell, of the Free Church Mission, Poona. She herself would not be baptized at the time, but still she lived with her husband. Papers which she had with her showed that, since 1857, her husband had been employed as overseer by several railway contractors, and lastly he was on the line from Bhosawal to Khundwah towards Jubbulpur, where he, only a few months ago, died at Berhampore. Now it had been her earnest desire, she said, for a long time to be also baptized, but no Mission being in existence in those regions, and no leave of absence having been given to her husband to go with her somewhere, her baptism was deferred. Her husband's death seemed to have affected her much: he died, as she said, after a very short illness, and while he was in the act of reading the Scriptures. Her only wish now was to die the same peaceful death her husband died, and therefore her desire for baptism became stronger than ever, and was not to remain unsatisfied. For this purpose she collected her property and returned to Poona, a distance of more than 300 miles. On her arrival there she was sadly disappointed on hearing that Mr. Mitchell was dead, because to him she wished to present herself for baptism. With whom she stayed in Junir, and whom she consulted, I do not know; but, strange to say, a certain Mr. G., a native Christian I believe, with whom I am not acquainted, directed her to me; and at once, after having put up her things in a hired room in Poona, she most energetically set out on her journey, and thus came to us.
So far her own account: the remainder of her biography I am able to supply. Under my treatment, and Mrs. Schwarz's own special care and nursing, she seemed to improve for about five days. During this short period she endeared herself to us by her frankness and cheerfulness,
and especially by her gratitude for every thing that we ourselves or our servants did for her. She was certainly possessed of much good common sense, and, though she was weak, one could easily see that she had been very active and industrious. She spoke often of her husband's death with great affection and animation. Her knowledge of Christianity was simple, varied and precise, and her wish for baptism most earnestly expressed, but it was natural and unaffected. In short, the stamp of truth and sincerity was on her whole demeanour. Her plan was, after her baptism, or, if I wished, before it, to go back to Poona and fetch her remaining property, among which she mentioned a young buffalo cow given in charge of a cultivator, and thus she would live and die in connexion with the Mission. I did not see any reason to mistrust our simple-minded Bhima, nor did I think it necessary to postpone her baptism for an indefinite time ; but still, for her sake and our satisfaction, I naturally wished, before baptizing our candidate, to get a little more acquainted with her. On Christmas-day she most devoutly joined our service in our tent, and after it was over she took up a book with a large print, and made out several words, saying, in her good humour, that her eyes were now getting dim, but formerly she could read Marathi well. We had expected that she would soon shake off her fever and recover her strength, but on the following day her strength rapidly gave way, and other bad symptoms made us doubtful of her recovery: on this account I arranged for her baptism on the following day. Éer mind was quite composed, and to all the questions which I put to her she distinctly replied. During the following night she became somewhat uneasy on account of impeded respiration; her speech also failed her now though she remained quite conscious. She would tell us a great deal, but only now and then could we make out what she said. The name of Jesus was often distinctly heard, and about midday she almost plainly said, “The Lord may leave me here or take me away.” Once, after having given her some drink and made her comfortable, she said, “I give much trouble," and her smile expressed her gratitude. When she saw Mrs. Schwarz in tears, she said, “Madam Sahib .. wishing to tell her much, but only the last words we could make out, and these were : “Jesus Christ will take me to Himself.” It was now three P. m., and we sat down to dinner, leaving Wuzir Ali with our dying sister, but scarcely ten minutes had gone by before Wuzir Ali called me. I offered up a prayer, and commended her once more to the Saviour to take her spirit into His own charge, and to bring her to the heavenly joy; and while thus engaged on her behalf she fell asleep in Jesus, who, we feel assured, has accepted her.
CEYLON-ITS PEOPLE. IN a previous Number we collected from some notes of the Rev. W. Oakley a few points of information respecting this beautiful island and its inhabitants.
In this paper we propose to retouch some of these points. That portion of the people which professes Buddhism as its creed may with advantage
be spoken of somewhat more. This system influences not less than 350 millions of human beings. Two thousand years ago it became the national religion of Ceylon, and of the Indian Archipelago, and, although expelled from India by Hinduism, it has extended itself throughout the vast regions which stretch from Siberia to Siam, and from the Bay of Bengal to the western shores of the Pacific. In other countries it has been more or less altered from what it was originally, but less so in Ceylon than elsewhere. In this respect, as an able writer says “the Singhalese are the living mummies of past ages, and realize the eastern fable of the city whose inhabitants were perpetuated in marble.”
There must be something in this system which is pleasing to the fallen nature of man, else it would not have spread so widely. The ivy climbs thickly over the ruins of a building, but it is because it finds so many uneven places to lay hold upon, and chinks into which to introduce the fine fibres of its roots. What is the feature in the fallen nature of man, to which Buddhism adapts itself? Its self-righteousness. There is nothing more remarkable in the condition of fallen man than his unwillingness, until taught of God, to admit his own insolvency. Some think, that, although they have erred, they have the principle of recovery in themselves. Buddhism encourages this vain expectation, and teaches its followers, that, by their own unassisted exertions, they can attain to perfect virtue here, and to supreme happiness hereafter. They believe in locas, or hells, where guilty souls must pass through purgatories, in order that they may be purified, until, after many ages, they become fitted for the lowest of the many heavens which rise in tiers one above the other When the highest is reached, the demi-god finds that there is no one higher than himself; for whatever the Buddhists in ancient times might have thought, they do now deny a self-existent God. To lapse into a state called Nirwana, which, if it be not nothingness, is a dreamy repose, out of which they never waken, and which, therefore, comes to the same thing,—this is the heaven of the Buddhist.
Buddhism teaches that actions, as they are good or bad, produce their consequences; and when men begin to tremble because of their sins, Buddhism has no Saviour, no atonement to hold out. All that remains to be done is to reverence Buddha and make to him an offering. This will put off the consequences of a man's misdeeds, but not exempt him from the purgatory through which, sooner or later, he must pass.
We cannot be surprised, therefore, that the Buddhists of Ceylon are also devil-worshippers. They find nothing in their system to quiet an accusing conscience. Of a God of love, to whom they may turn, they know nothing ; but they believe in evil spirits, and these they seek to propitiate that they may not harm them. This the Buddhist does. He sees around him pain and suffering; he feels them in himself. He considers such to be the acts of evil spirits, and he seeks to quiet them. In fact, demon worship was the ancient superstition of the people of Ceylon, nor has Buddhism ever rooted it out; and as Buddhism has nothing for guilt but penal suffering, the people fall back upon devilworship. Is one in a family sick, and in danger? In the Gospel of Christ are to be found truths which comfort, and promises which support, and the future which Christ has promised to those who believe in Him opens
to the eye of faith, and sheds forth a bright radiance on the sick bed. But in Ceylon it is otherwise. The Buddhist sends for the devil-dancer. An altar covered with garlands, is set up before the eyes of the dying
An animal is sacrificed. The dying man touches and offers to the evil spirit the wild flowers, the rice and the flesh which have been prepared. The dancers, dressed in masks to resemble the demon, go through their ceremonies. As the sun rises, a form of words is chanted, which is supposed to drive the demons away. The devil-dancers withdraw, and the man is left to die with a lie on his right hand.
The Buddhist, having thus been accustomed to have two religions, one for his pride and the other for his fears, finds no difficulty in putting on a form of Christianity over both, and professing himself a Christian ; his object in the latter case being his worldly interest and advancement, by conforming himself in outward guise to the opinions of his rulers. Hence, when the Portuguese ruled, many of the Singhalese professed themselves Romanists; and when the Dutch ruled, many professed themselves to be Protestant Christians. The following anecdote will enable our readers to understand their motive. A Singhalese chief was once asked how he could satisfy himself to be so inconsistent as to be a Buddhist and a devil-worshipper too, and yet profess Christianity and call himself a Christian. Laying his hand on the arm of the questioner, the chief pointed seaward to a canoe, having a large spar or outrigger lashed alongside, and said “Do you see the style of the boats in which our fishermen put to sea.
That spar has its use. It is nearly as good as a second canoe, and keeps the first from upsetting. It is precisely so with myself. I add on your religion to steady my own, because I consider Christianity a very safe outrigger to Buddhism."
COPIED FROM THE “AMERICAN CHURCH MISSIONARY
REGISTER.” SOME Some interesting Papers on the subject, “Reasons why children should be interested in the Missionary Work,” written by the Rev. Richard Newton, D.D., have appeared from time to time in the “ American Church Missionary Register."
We shall take the liberty of introducing to our readers one of the many illustrations adapted to the minds of children, which are used as a happy medium to bring before them the Missionary work
The “ Gleaner" does perhaps sometimes come into the hands of children, and we should wish them to find in it something that they would like, and they will remember that the bunches which we now give them are foreign grapes, grown in America and ripened there.
Paroula and her rushlight. There was once a little girl who lived with her grandmother in the
“AMERICAN CHURCH MISSIONARY REGISTER."
midst of a wood. The little girl's name was Paroula. Her grandmother's name was Mrs. Lewis. The woud was a very large one, and the cottage, in which Mrs. Lewis and her granddaughter lived, was very far in the wood.
One night the old grandmother was tired, and went early to bed, while Paroula sat up to finish some work. There was a good fire on the hearth, and a little rushlight burning on the table.
It was a wild, stormy night in winter. The door was bolted fast, and the window shutters were up. Paroula heard the rain as it beat against the window, and came pattering down on the roof. She heard the wind, too, as it whistled through the keyhole, or went rushing through the branches of the trees. Sometimes she thought she heard voices, but it was only the different noises which the wind made.
It got to be late. Her grandmother was asleep, and there was no one in the house for her to speak to. Yet she was not at all afraid, for she was a good girl, and she knew that God was present to take care of her.
At last she had finished her work, and was just getting ready for bed, when she became almost certain that she heard the sound of voices outside in the dark. She kept still, and breathed very softly, as she listened to hear the sound agaiu.
Presently the voices seemed to come nearer. They grew louder and plainer. There were several persons together. They seemed to be standing on the path which ran through the woods not far from the cottage door, and to be in trouble about something. At last she heard a voice which said, “ Don't any
you know where we are ?”
Then she heard several voices which answered, “ No, Sir, not at all.”
Then the first voice said again, “ Are you sure that the candle in your lantern is quite gone out ? Couldn't you blow it in again if you tried ?”
“No, Sir; I cannot even see the lantern; I can only feel it in my hand.”
Then there was silence for a while, till a voice which had not been heard before said, “I have a good map of the wood, if we only had a light ?''
“And I have an excellent compass,” said another.
“ And I,” said a third, “should know exactly where we are, if I could only see the path on which we are standing, and the marks on the trees; but I think we had better push on somehow or other, or we shall be too late. In a matter of life or death it does not do to waste time."
“What is the use of pushing on unless we know the right road ?" was the reply. “I don't see how to find that without a light of some kind. Without that I'm afraid we must stay here till the morning.”
“But the men will be dead, Sir, hy that time,” said the others. “ Remember they are to be executed in the morning. The pardon will be too late.”
Just then the men who were thus talking started in surprise. They saw a kind of square opening in the midst of the darkness. In the