Imagens da página


AUG. 2.


. Last week I was obliged to go to Madura. We passed through Devadanapatti, half-way to Battalagundu, where Washburn met me as agreed. A great bazaar was holding here.

After our lunch we came out of the bandy and sat on a log, when I took a tract called “ The Bible Proclamation" and called out that I had a proclamation to read. It was in the thick of the bazaar, and two thousand people kept up a constant jabbering, so that I had to cry out the proclamation pretty loudly for the fifty or more crowding about to hear. Then I expatiated a little on some points in it, and in the midst of my speech was interrupted by a Mohammedan, who asked about Jesus Christ.

66 Who was he?"
" The Son of God."
66 Who was his mother?"
“ Mary.”
66 Who was his father?"
66 God.”

“ Take care," said Washburn at my side; "he 'll have you."

I knew of course what he was after, but did the best I could in replying that God had made creatures who had sinned against Him; that in spite of all He wished to save them; that in order to save them He had sent His Son to be born as a man and die for them, and it was not for them to criticise his plan for their recovery. I had never met a Mohammedan before. W. had, and he said that he always represented that God himself had come upon earth as man, not bringing prominently forward the fact of the Sonship. The man evidently intended to puzzle us, and yet he was not obtrusive or violent. We had a long talk, W. coming to my aid, and gradually taking the talk from me, so I turned about and soon had a separate audience. One boy seemed to get my meaning, and, as is very commonly done, took up my words and explained them to the crowd. One man apparently had not heard the gospel before, - probably the majority had not, - and I was pleased with the eagerness of his inquiries and the manner in which he received the news that it was no longer necessary to go on pilgrimages or do penance to get to heaven. Who knows but what this news comes as good tidings now and then to some poor soul? The people crowded about to get tracts, and telling them that it would do a sick man no good to hold medicine in his hand and not eat it, applying to them the moral, we beat a retreat, having given away all our tracts, and I so hoarse that I could hardly talk.

PERIAKULAM, Aug. 12. Another batch of letters came to us on Saturday.

The special matter of interest was the news that you were going to send us a magic lantern. It will be invaluable for this people, to amuse and instruct. It is hard to find anything that they can appreciate, — this they will. To-day we had the monthly meeting of school-children at the house, when I showed them

Harper's Weekly” and the stereoscope, had them sing, and wound up by playing blind-man’s-buff, a new game to them, which they enjoyed hugely.

I am studying up a talk for the heathen, to be in readiness for my tour next week. I propose to take different topics of importance and dwell separately

[ocr errors]

upon each, until I have a stock of themes well digested and in shape for delivery. I begin with Sin, and my method thus far developed is as follows:“Many of you do various acts of penance; (here I enumerate, which always interests ;) what is your object? There must be a purpose to gain something not before in your possession. A man does not go to the jungle in search of a sheep in his pen. That object, as you say, is to get merit, and to remove sin. Therefore

you admit that you are destitute of something, and that you are sinners. Yes, we are all sinners; but what is sin? Can a tree sin ? or does your mouth or hand sin ? No, the spirit. (Then I enumerate sins that are especially common here, as perjury, slander, theft.) To remove these sins you attempt a great deal and your intention is good, but the way in which you make the attempt is faulty. If you whitewash a black man, he does not become a white man. If you visit the Ganges to bathe, your heart cannot be cleansed. Sin is within, and your own poets say, • Though you travel to Benares with aching feet, black will not become white.' I will show you a more excellent way," and so on to the gospel. By taking one theme at a time, I think I can supply myself with apposite illustrations and learn proverbs, so as to have in time a valuable stock at command. You see I have to

. make the talks as plain as possible, and on sin even it is necessary to be very explicit and circumstantial. The people have very little consciousness of sin, their conscience is so seared and perverted; to neglect feeding a Brahman is as heinous a crime as theft, and perhaps more heinous.


PERIAKULAM, Sept. 3, 1862. Since getting into my work I have found but little leisure and I may add desire for other pursuits. I have not lost my interest in topics that formerly claimed a share of my attention, but a growing 'interest in special duty as missionary has cast into the shade desire after literary pursuits. I find that the only people we have to do with know precious little, as they themselves often say to us, but how to plant and reap. The higher classes are also ignorant enough. It is almost exclusively in Upper India, I fancy, that philosophy is studied with any zest or success. There is however a wide field of investigation for one who likes such work, in current and popular superstitions and worship. The mythology of the lower classes of India is not known at all, and it is this that practically concerns us much more than the Hindû Pantheon which we learn in books. I hope, after becoming familiar with the dialect of the people, to be able to pick up some things which may be valuable. I have just now come across a book of “ Dialogues on Hindû Philosophy,” by a converted Brahman of Calcutta. It is the best contribution to our knowledge upon the subject that I know of, outside of translations. It is a dialogue in which the principal speaker is a Brahman who has been led to adopt Christianity, after a full study of the several systems, and is an admirable exposition of the characteristic traits of each. As an argument for Christianity, it is very fine. It has upset many theories that I was led to adopt respecting the history of Hindû Philosophy, and certain criticisms on special systems. All the better, as it certainly has made an advance in the discussion of the subject.

What sort of a literature have your Christians in Turkey? the Armenians for instance. Have they any native literature that you can avail yourself of ? any ancient religious works? The English have done a good deal for Christianity here in this way, and the Christian Vernacular Education Society are publishing many valuable works, so that we are gradually getting up a literature, but must yet have many new books. Books already published have not reached a very wide circulation, chiefly because the people are so extremely poor. I think of starting a sort of circulating-library here at my station centre, for the use of the catechists. They are fond of reading and would profit by it, I think.


PERIAKULAM, Oct. 25, 1862. You are a farmer, and I suppose if you should take a trip to India you would look upon all things with a farmer's eye, and judge of the land from its capacity to produce onions and corn, horses and cows, barley and buckwheat. Now I feel quite happy in having a farmer among my acquaintances, for I can vary my tune and write upon fresh topics. I don't know how many times I have said to my wife, “I wish Henry Buck were here, he would enjoy this so much.” You would go home with ideas of the variety in modes of agriculture that would astonish home folks. A missionary once introduced among his people some wheelbarrows. The custom is to carry everything under a cart-load on the head, and you wonder that the necks of the people don't snap under the extraordinary bundles that they stagger with. The people thought

« AnteriorContinuar »