« AnteriorContinuar »
last ascended, but now it came not from Pilliyar Sûttû, but from heights which foot of flesh and blood had never trod, and the voice was not now one of welcome, but those apostolic words, – Seeing therefore we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before
66 We reached Kodi Kânal at two o'clock; we were our own heralds, but our coming at once announced our errand. We rode by the east house, past Nebo, past Rock Cottage of pleasant memories, and down the woody pathway to the church, and across the churchyard to its western side.' There, within the churchyard, just behind the church, is a warm living hill-side of yellow mould; a pleasant path bordered by a hedge of roses separates the church-yard from the overhanging woods. A beautiful rhododendron stands there, leaning to the east, and beneath its shade was without doubt the place for the grave of our most precious one, - far enough from the main path to the church to be beyond intrusion or common gaze, yet near enough for those who wish to frequent it, to be reminded of him and to blend his memory with the worship of the place.
“It was nearly five o'clock in the afternoon before the bearers were announced as up the Hill. As I again returned from the east house, I stopped and looked down upon the plain below. The rain had passed, the sun was shining mellow and invitingly upon the bungalow and all that region. It was all beautiful beyond description. It seemed to me a token that comfort, not to say joy, had again visited those stricken ones. I had not been long in the churchyard, whither I had gone to attend to the last details, when sounds announced the approach of the Coolies, but they were not the chant of the bearers. It was the sound of continued music, as the people came down the hill-side, through the grove, over the knoll, -- now swelling out, now dying away, and again breaking forth into the words of Christian song as they approached. Abend in the path discovered the catechist, servants, and Christians in decent procession before the bearers, singing.
It was a spontaneous outflowing of all that was Christian in them, the song of victory which Christianity alone can inspire. Such a triumphal procession through the long ages those hills had never witnessed. Alas! India raises only wails and clamor alike around the funeral pile of the twice-born and the grave of the Pariah.
“Mr. White, who had just arrived on the Hills in anticipation of our coming, Mr. Noyes and his son, two English gentlemen residing there, myself, and a large company of natives gathered around the sacred spot and under the sound of the church-bell; with the decencies of burial in our own native land, and with the words with which millions have been laid to sleep, we consigned dust to dust and ashes to ashes, in sure hope of the resurrection to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. And so our precious, cherished work was done.
4 The next morning very early I returned to take another look at that spot and to gather a few flowers as mementos for those who were not there. The old rhododendron-tree seemed to me to have accepted the guardianship of the spot, and had already begun to shed its wreath of gorgeous flaming flowers around and upon the grave. I gathered a few flowers and came away, not to leave it alone, but in charge of Him who shall change our vile bodies that they may be fashioned like unto His glorious body.”
Over that quiet grave stands now a memorial stone, bearing upon its face this inscription,
DAVID COIT SCUDDER.
" HE LEADETH ME BESIDE THE STILL WATERS."
and on the reverse, his office, the dates of his birth, landing at Madras, and death.
As soon as the necessary arrangements could be made, Mrs. Scudder and her child left Periakulam for Madras, on their way to America, taking ship to England and reaching Boston in May. It need not be told with what affectionate care they were sent on their way and accompanied by the various members of the Madura Mission. That little community, separated from other society, was united by the closest ties, and when one member suffered, all the members suffered. It was with sad hearts that they returned to their appointed work, leaving one whom they had so lately and with such fond expectation welcomed to their number in his grave on the Pulneys, and bidding farewell to another, more closely joined to them now by this recent sorrow. It may be judged how these missionaries, with their strong desire for the salvation of India, would mourn the loss of one possessed of such ability, and giving promise of so great usefulness. From every one came the sorrowful word — why was it hé? One after another bore testimony spontaneously to his worth and attainments. One, out of the mission, who is recognized as the leading scholar of Southern India, wrote to a friend : “ I met him twice in the beginning of the year, and corresponded with him a little, and it was my impression that he was the best prepared and most learned young missionary that had ever come out to Southern India ; but it is delightful to perceive, from the manner in which his missionary colleagues write of him, that those who knew him best entertained as high an opinion of his Christian simplicity and missionary zeal as I, who had but slight acquaintance with him, entertained of his scholarship.” And another, also out of the Madura circle, who occupies perhaps the foremost place among American missionaries in India, by his learning, his eloquence, and his missionary ardor, wrote, on hearing of the death, “ Kneeling down I have prayed that his mantle may fall upon me.”
David loved the native Christians; he took a very favorable view of Hindû character, and declared that he enjoyed Christian intercourse with his catechists as much as he had with friends at home. His ardent and affectionate concern for those about him could not fail to impress them, and children especially reciprocated his affection. He lived long enough with a few Hindûs to become intimately acquainted with them and to leave a strong impression of his own character upon them. The pastor of the church at Periakulam, the catechists of the villages in his district, and his mûnshi, all bore testimony in their simple manner to his worth. The last-named wrote as follows to David's father not long after the death of his pupil. I make no apology for inserting the letter without any alteration of the phraseology.
[TO CHARLES SCUDDER, ESQ.] MOST VENERABLE SIR, With due submission and unutterable grief, I beg to bring to your notice the very painful news concerning my valuable and most