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(SEPT. MISSIONARY EFFORTS AT PESHAWUR. Time was when the commencement of Missionary effort amongst the natives of India was discountenanced by those in authority. It was considered that any interference with the religious prejudices of the natives would be prejudicial to British interests. No idea could be more mistaken: it was a grievous misapprehension. But yet men so persuaded themselves, and in the decision to which they came, that it was expedient to discourage all attempts to convert the natives, they showed how little of reverence they had for the command of Christ, and how little compassion for the souls of their fellow-men. Christ's commandment, that His gospel should be preached universally, was to be set aside, and the heathen suffered to continue in ignorance and superstition, rather than the hazard be incurred of prejudicing English interests. As we have already said, no greater misapprehension ever existed. On the contrary, we feel persuaded that a providential enlargement of influence and power has been permitted to England in order to afford opportunity for the wide preaching of the gospel ; and that no surer method of dimi. nishing England's power could be adopted, than the nation taking up a position that should in any way interfere with this great purpose of God. Whatever hinders the onward progress of the great work of evangelization must be taken out of the way. It is therefore a cause for unfeigned thankfulness that a great change in this respect has come over men's minds, and that influential men, in high positions, instead of looking coldly on Missionary operations, and discouraging, if not obstructing them, admit their importance, and frankly sanction them. Men, whose character and position alike command respect, hesitate not to avow their conviction that England's duty is to encourage and protect all judicious efforts which may be made for the evangelization of the heathen within her jurisdiction, or bordering on her territories; and British residents in India have become so aware of this, that many of our Indian Missions have been commenced on their representations and entreaties.
Amongst others may be mentioned the Punjab Mission, one of the most important and interesting of the present day. This country was entered by our Missionaries about three years ago, and a little congregation has already been gathered together at Amritsar, with an ordained Sikh placed over it as native pastor. But our friends there were anxious we should push on still further, and that Peshawur, beyond the Indus, on the frontiers of Affghanistan, and the door into Central Asia, should be occupied. They therefore convened a meeting at that place on Dec. 19, 1853, at which resolutions were drawn up expressive of the convictions of the residents on this subject, and an earnest appeal forwarded to the Church Missionary Society, entreating the commencement of Missionary effort in that quarter, and promising pecuniary support to the amount of 30,000 rupees. Regarding this as an indication of the path of duty to be pursued by them, the Committee hesitated not to respond to this appeal, by sending out, as soon as they could be procured, additional Missionaries to the Punjab, so as to render the occupation of Peshawur possible; and three Missionaries—the Rev. Messrs. Pfander and Clark, and Major Martin—reached this advanced post in February of the present year.
Immediately on their arrival a second meeting was convened, the object of which was to afford the residents an opportunity of pledging themselves, as a Christian community residing on the spot, to assist and encourage, 1855.] MISSIONARY EFFORTS AT PESHAWUR.
103 by every means in their power, both those who had come to labour in that distant sphere, and also the Society which had sent them forth. The meeting was well attended, the numbers present being considerably greater than at the meeting which had been held the year previously. The chair, as on the previous occasion, was taken by Major Herbert Edwardes, C.B., Commissioner; and the meeting was commenced by reading the 55th chapter of Isaiah, and by earnest prayer, offered up by the chaplain, the Rev. E. Sharkey. The chairman, in his address, recapitulated the leading events relating to the Mission-the meeting in December 1853; the appeal to the Church Missionary Society; the answer, in the Missionaries then actually present with them. He then referred to the Pushtu, the language spoken by the Affghans, and the necessity not only of having Missionaries who should be able to preach in that language, but also Pushtu versions of the Holy Scriptures, which might be put into circulation. In the year 1818 the Pentateuch and the New Testament had been translated into Pushtu, under the superintendence of the Missionaries at Serampur; but of the edition which was then printed it could not be ascertained, even after application to Serampur itself, that any copy still remained. After much unsuccessful correspondence on the subject, the thought occurred to Major Edwardes, that many years before, in the Derajat country, he had himself seen a copy of the New Testament in Pushtu, in the hand of a Puthan chief. It had been given him by a Missionary at Hurdwar, and had been most carefully preserved by him, as he said, from fire and water, with the secret conviction that the English power would one day advance onwards to his own country, when it was his intention to produce it. This copy Major Edwardes wrote to procure. It was at once sent to Peshawur, and its place was supplied by a Persian Bible; but the old chief died the day before the latter arrived. Thus was a native chief, Muhamed Ali Khan, of the Sundapur tribe of Puthans, in the Kolachí country, made instrumental in preserving one copy of the Pushtu Scriptures, until the time arrived for making known the gospel among the Affghan tribes. He was then led to send it where it might be reprinted, and copies multiplied for their use, and immediately afterwards he died, as if the work for which he had been prepared and preserved alive were then finished. It was also remarkable that Major Edwardes himself had been led especially to notice this book in Kolachí as far back as 1848, in order that by his means it might become available, in 1854, for the benefit of Peshawur, where the providence of God had called him to occupy the position he now held. It had been from this book-although another copy was afterwards found and sent from Serampur-which had been thus remarkably preserved, that reprints have been made. Application was made to the Agra Bible Society, who engaged to print, for the use of this Mission, the Gospels of St. Luke and St. John, the Acts of the Apostles, and the Epistle to the Ephesians. The letters peculiar to the Pushtu were cast at the Church Missionary Station at Secundra, and it is hoped that St. Luke's Gospel will be very shortly completed.
These facts are full of hope, for the heathen, for India, for England. They show that among her distinguished men there are those who are not ashamed to honour God, and who, in the hour of difficulty and danger, will not be left without that wisdom which is “ profitable to direct," and which cometh from Him alone.
ON THE DEATH OF A MISSIONARY.
In the presence, and glory, and joy of your Lord.
LIFE ENDANGERED, YET SECURE. We think our readers will be touched by the perusal of the following very affecting narrative, from the « Western Episcopalian," of remarkable preservation in the midst of most imminent danger.
Cincinnati, Feb. 5, 1855-On Thursday morning, Jan. 30, Bishop M'Ilvaine started for Cincinnati, on his return from a visit to Louisville. He took the steam ferry-boat at Louisville for the purpose of crossing the river, and taking his seat in the Jeffersonville train. The day was bitterly cold, and the Ohio was full of running ice, going down in large fields to the Falls, which lie just below Louisville. The boat became fixed, in the middle of the river, in a large mass of solid ice, and could neither advance nor recede. Instantly she was at the mercy of the current, and began to move towards the Falls. The imminence of the danger became at once apparent. There were about 200 passengers on board-men, women, and children-besides omnibuses, waggons, horses, and their attendants. It now seemed almost certain
1855.) LIFE ENDANGERED, YET SECURE.
105 that all must be lost. Under Bishop MʻIlvaine's care was a daughter of Bishop Smith. The Rev. Mr. Sehon, a methodist minister of Louisville, and his wife, were also on board. It seemed impossible that a soul could survise if the boat should be wrecked upon the Falls. The current, the cold, the breakers, the eddies, the ice breaking over the Falls, would have rendered escape, even for the strongest and hardiest swimmer, impossible. Help from either shore could not be extended so long as the drift continued. Nothing could reach the boat in time to rescue a single person. Inevitable and speedy death was all that the most fearless and confident could see before them. The boat and passengers were given up on shore. Where was help to come from? Some there were on board who did know where to look, and did look there, where all true help is found in time of need. The bishop then said to Mr. Sehon that he would go into the room where the women were, and draw their minds to prayer. They went together; but, though the utmost caution was used to prevent alarm, the word "prayer" waz no sooner uttered, than the lamentations and cries made it impossible for prayer to be heard. After endeavouring in vain to calm these poor people, some of the calm ones, Mr. and Mrs. Sehon, and Miss Smith, gathered close around the bishop as he offered a brief and appropriate prayer. After this there was more composure. And now the hand of the Lord appeared. Man could do nothing. The boat was drifting on to its apparent inevitable wreck; but-was it not God's guiding, in answer to prayer?—she struck the hidden reef at the commencement of the rapids! That was the salvation, though it was then not known or recognised as such. How long the boat could hold that place against the pressure of the current and the prodigious momentum of the acres of ice, which constantly struck and ground against it; how soon she would be pressed over, or lifted up and turned over, or crushed under the accumulating mass of ice where no help could reach her, no one could say. Each new onset of ice was watched with intense anxiety. But that which was terror to those on board, proved to be one of God's instruments for their safety. As the ice struck against the boat, it formed such a mass that it rested on the rock beneath and formed a breakwater; and the more violent was the onset of the ice, the more strong and massive did it become. The boat lay, as it were, under the lee of this hill of ice, though some of her length was still unprotected. In this passive resistance to the assaults of the current and ice the boat lay about two hours before help came.
Meanwhile the passengers could not see that any movements for rescue were being made on shore. They were too far off to see what was doing. From the Louisville shore they were distant half a mile, and on the Indiana shore there were no inhabitants. During this time high rewards were offered, on the Louisville side, to any one who would attempt a rescue. The clerk of the “ Jacob Strader” had a son in the stranded boat, and offered a large price for his deliverance. The lifeboat of the “Strader” was launched, and three men came out in her, and took out the youth, and two young women connected with the officers of the “Strader." It took the boat an hour to get back. In the course of another hour some four or five boats, capable of containing each from four to five persons, came out from either shore. Meanwhile, the women had become quite composed. Many of them behaved in a
(SEPT. very exemplary way throughout the whole period. As soon as these skiffs came near to the boat the determination seemed unanimous that the women should all go first, and this determination was carried out. The coloured women were as kindly cared for as the white : whoever came first, entered the boats first. The last woman that came was a white woman. Such as had husbands were allowed to have them with them. The Rev. Mr. Sehon went, as was proper, with his wife, in the second boat, and to him Bishop M'Ilvaine consigned the care of Miss Smith, and bade them farewell. Our good bishop was strongly urged, by those in the skiff and on the boat, to go with the lady in his charge; but he resolutely refused to avail himself of the privilege which all seemed anxious to accord to his age and character. One or two coloured men were allowed to go in skiffs with their wives. Not a word of interference or remonstrance in reference to this arrangement was uttered. “Remember the Arctic !” was heard as the women were put in. All the while the ice was crushing against the boat, and none knew how soon she would be driven where no boats could reach her. At length the last woman, as it was supposed, had been put on, and the boat was not full. At the urgency of those who were most active, Bishop M'Ilvaine consented to get into the skiff. But before it had pushed off another woman was found, and he at once called to her to come and take his place. The next relief was a flat-boat, given by Messrs. Gill, Smith, and Co., of Louisville, to whoever would take it. It was manned by a gallant crew, who knew that such a craft must take the Falls. Two Falls pilots came in her: one steered and the other commanded. Capt. Hamilton, a cool and intrepid man, took the command. On her flush deck, which was even with the sides, and covered with straw, about fifty men, of whom Bishop M'Ilvaine was one, were placed. As there was not room to stand, because of the oars, nor room to sit, they were compelled to kneel. By this time the boats which had put off had been carried down, and were just able to reach the island at the head of the Falls, where there was much suffering from cold, and whence the women were with difficulty got to the Kentucky shore. As the crew of the flat-boat started for their fearful trial of the Falls, Capt. Hamilton ordered silence. “Let no man speak to me,” said he. He ordered the draught of the boat to be measured. The answer was, “ It is fifteen inches.” He answered, “It is a poor chance," and evidently thought the case very desperate. He had not expected that the boat would be loaded so heavily. His effort was to reach a particular shoot of the Falls, as that which alone afforded any hope of a passage. All this had occupied but a minute or two. The powerful current had brought the flat almost to the spot where, in another instant, she was to be wrecked, and all lost in the breakers and ice-or they were to be safe. There was perfect silence. What a solemn moment! How appropriate was the kneeling position which was maintained! The Lord saw those hearts that were before Him in a corresponding attitude of prayer and faith. Our beloved bishop sheltered a poor shivering coloured boy under his cloak, and commended himself and his fellowvoyagers with composure and confidence to his covenant Lord and Saviour. In the crisis of passing down the shoot the boat struck. It seemed then that all was lost. The silence was unbroken. Grating over the rock, she was a moment free, and then struck again. Again