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[oct. thus introduce amongst ihem the only element which can give them peace and prosperity.
JWALA-MUKHI. We have a very interesting station at Kangra, in the hill country, northward of the Punjab. It has not been very long commenced, and we wish to give our readers a brief account of it.
Kangra contains a population of upwards of 7000 souls, chiefly Hindus, the rest a few Mahommedans and Sikhs. It is separated from the snowy range by a valley about sixty miles long by ten broad, one of the most fertile spots in India. It is studded with villages, containing populations of from 100 to 1000 natives, chiefly Hindus, the majority of them being Rajputs, a fine, intelligent race of men. But the baneful influence of heathenism upon them may be traced in the extent to which the awful crime of female infanticide prevailed amongst them until about three or four years ago, when English legislation interfered to save the poor babe from the hands of the pitiless parent. The Rajput boys, when asked if they have sisters who would attend school, continually reply that they have none above three or four years old. The older ones had been killed in infancy, there being no prospect of proper matches being found for them. Generally the father, sometimes the mother, deprived the child of life by giving it opium.
But Kangra is of importance, not only because of its resident population, but from the number of pilgrims who resort there. In the vicinity is the shrine of Jwala-mukhi, sacred to Deva or Kalí, one of the innumerable deities of Hinduism. The temple, which is not more than twenty feet square, is built on a spot full of apertures, from whence issues an inflammable gas. This being ignited, is always burning in the temple. Hence the name, Jwala-mukhi, from the Sanskrit jwala, “ flame," and mukha, “mouth.” Kali's head is said to be buried at Jwala-mukli, and the body at Kangra; so these places are thus rendered objects of superstitious attraction. Thousands of pilgrims proceed to visit them from all parts of Hindustan, even from Southern India, arriving in April and September. The multitudes consist not merely of the poor, who have only a few annas to present to the goddess; but amongst them are frequently to be found rajahs, and their numerous trains, who often come from considerable distances, and spend thousands of rupees in their pilgrimage. Not only Hindus, but also large numbers of Sikhs, come and make their regular pujahs, like Hindus. When asked why they, who acknowledge no idols, were coming to worship Kalí, they usually replied, that they got blessings for their families and fields from these visits. The pilgrims travel in parties more or less numerous; and very affecting it is to observe them, when they come in sight of the gilded cupola of any of the shrines, breaking forth, old and young, into the shout of “Hail to Kalí!” and uniting to sing her praises.
Oh, when shall Christ be made known to these suffering tribes? They feel they need something, they know not what. They neither know the true nature of their necessity, nor where relief is to be found. They are uneasy and disquieted; they go on pilgrimage, but find no rest to their souls. When shall they be made acquainted with Him
1855.] TRIALS OF YOUNG CONVERTS IN INDIA.
113 who is everywhere present to the exercise of faith, for “the Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon Him."
Kali is worshipped almost everywhere in the hills—Kalí, the ferocious goddess, who is supposed to delight in human blood-who is pleased when her worshippers offer of the blood of their bodies to her. The great Devi of Kangra exercises a very extensive influence. Distant places are occasionally presented with small fac-similes of her image. These idols of course remain her vassals, and are from time to time brought from their respective dwelling-places to pay their respects to her. Thus the shrine is much resorted to, and our Missionary occupies a central position of great usefulness, which brings him into communication with many souls from various parts of India. May the good seed be sown in many a heart, and bring forth fruit to eternal life!
Our readers will rejoice to hear that the work of conversion has commenced at Kangra, and a first-fruits been gathered in—a respectable young Brahmin, formerly teacher of a school at Jwala-mukhi, who, after due instruction, appearing earnest and sincere in his profession, has been baptized.
s, andedge. Yet e instructed heathen
o first prove affectinged by
TRIALS OF YOUNG CONVERTS IN INDIA. Our Missionary schools in India are attended by many heathen youths. They come, knowing that they will be instructed, not only in secular, but in Christian knowledge. Yet they come willingly, and in considerable numbers, and the opportunity of giving them light, and bringing the truth of the gospel to shine on their dark minds, is diligently improved by the Missionaries. With many the understanding is enlightened, and the judgment is convinced of the truth of Christianity, yet they remain heathen; but with others it is more than this. The heart is brought under the power of the gospel, the conscience is stirred, so that they can no longer remain heathen, but desire openly to profess the faith of Christ. Then comes a season of great trial. The parents and friends are alarmed at the prospect of their making an open profession of Christianity. They endeavour, first by remonstrances and persuasions, to prevent them; but if these prove unsuccessful, they scruple not to have recourse to violence, and affecting cases are continually brought before us of great sufferings endured by these youths; nor can we be surprised if, in some instances, the trial prove too great for them, and they be withdrawn from the Missionaries, for a time at least. One instance of this kind is mentioned by our Missionaries at Amritsar, in the Punjab —
One sore trial has befallen us, in the case of a dear boy-Isai Dās who has been lately drawn away by his friends to the village of his father-in-law, eighteen miles from Amritsar.
He was baptized as a scholar in our school last March, after the most vigorous efforts of his relatives and friends to prevent him; and he continued with us until about a month ago-one of the most intelligent, loving, and devout Christians we have ever seen, whether at home or in this country. He was so remarkable an instance of the power of divine
TRIALS OF YOUNG CONVERTS IN INDIA. TocT. grace, that we frequently thought of writing an account of him for the Committee and Christian public. His friends continued to come to him from the day of his baptism, and he was as constant in his efforts to do them good. We have seen and heard him entreating his father to turn to God—and it was a deeply affecting and cheering sight-but, alas ! he has stumbled. The untiring efforts of his family have been at length partially successful: his wife's family have taken him away, and, as we understand, secured to him 700 rupees and other property with his wife, and he is now living with them. We have ourselves gone or sent native Christians to him three times, and, upon each occasion, succeeded in gaining interviews with him, but he cannot as yet break through all bonds and gain a perfect victory. It is clear that he went away partly in momentary displeasure, and partly in the hope that he could do them good. He said, in the last interview our people had with him, he never could forget the word of God, and in such a manner, that the people who surrounded him that instant looked aghast, and took him away; but he has yet to overcome Satan and the world in this their new assault, and we daily pray he may soon prevail. We trust that, in God's mysterious ways, this circumstance may be the means of carrying the gospel to many in that village, as well as of convincing the people of Amritsar of the mighty power of divine grace through the gospel. He was a Sikh, the son of a man in very comfortable circumstances, and all eyes are looking to the issue.
Often it happens, however, that the bitter trial is sustained, and, through grace, the young convert comes off victorious.
March 26th of this year was a joyful day to the teachers of our Masulipatam English School. Two intelligent Brahmins, each about seventeen years old, together with a superior young Mussulman, about the same age, all came in the evening to break caste and renounce error. One Brahmin had been five years under Christian teaching; the other more than two and a-half; and the Mussulman more than two. Though all are poor, they have been diligent, regular, and exemplary; and their answers at morning reading and prayer have often been very encouraging and good.
Scarcely had they come, when the trial of which we have spoken broke out in all its bitterness. The evening prayer had just closedit was about half-past eight-when the bitter wail of the aged mother of one of the Brahmins, upwards of sixty, broke upon the ear. She and her elder son were invited to come in, and the interview that followed was most heartrending; so much so, that, to use the language of one of the Missionaries, “nothing but a deep sense of man's perishing state while alienated from God, of the awful realities of eternity, and the infinitely superior claims to obedience which God has over parents, can fortify one to go through such painful scenes.” The next morning the aged father, perhaps eighty or ninety years old, came with the mother and brother to see the youth again. The mother's violence was gone, but her grief was the more affecting. The lad showed great affection towards his parents, embraced them very warmly, but retired apparently unshaken in his resolution to follow Christ.
115 These three young men have been “carried safely through the surf, and are well afloat on their Christian voyage. They were all baptized on Sunday, May 20th. May the spirit of Jesus unite them to Him! No outward bond of iron even, or brass, or silver, or gold, will suffice.” We have another affecting case of the same kind, which we reserve for a future Number.
THE FEEJEE ISLANDS.
(From the “Madras Christian Herald.”) The Feejee Islands were discovered by Tasman in the year 1643. Captain Bligh passed through a part of the group in the “ Bounty's" launch in 1760, and again in the “ Providence” in 1792. They form in all a cluster of about 154 islands, of which 100 are inhabited, and the rest are useful at particular seasons for pasturage and for the gathering of the bêche-de-mer. They range in size from a few miles in circumference to that of an English county : two of them especially extend throughout a large portion of the group, and have an area equal to that of Devonshire. The entire population is estimated at 300,000.
To the eye of the naturalist or the poet these islands present features of unsurpassed attractiveness. Sometimes an islet spreads itself out in gentle beauty a little above sea-mark. More frequently they may be seen rising in basaltic peaks, or needles, to the height of several thousand feet, and covered with the most luxuriant foliage to their very summit; the decomposed volcanic matter forming a rich soil, to which plants cling with their picturesque fringes, and in the most unlikely positions. Down to the very shores, and even within high-water mark, vegetation and beauty extend their dominion. The hibiscus, with its rich yellow blossoms-the erythrina indica, with its scarlet flowers-the ixona and the bolkameria, with their constant fragrance, convert even the shore into a garden; while the mangrove is seen starting from chinks and cracks in the coral, and waving its fantastic arms above the foaming tide. The flowers, indeed, form a natural calendar to the people, by which they divide their year into its eleven parts, and the blossoming of a certain vine regulates their operations of husbandry.
Excellent roots abound in these islands, some flourishing the most in dry, and others in wet seasons, and therefore never leaving the natives without food : the banana, the plantain, the cocoa-nut, the pine-apple, the orange, and especially the bread-fruit tree, are to be found in great variety: even the fruits of the temperate grow beside those of the tropical zone. The cotton-tree raises its tufted head in many regions. In one island a magnificent species of the chestnut sheds such a fragrance when in bloom, as to fill the whole air with the scent of the violet, and even to send its odours far out to sea; while birds of endless variety and gorgeous plumage inhabit these fruitful forests, and share the teeming abundance with man. The shores are strewed with 'shells of such elegance and delicacy of tint as would reward the enthusiasm of the most ardent conchologist; while over all spreads a midnight sky, in which the southern cross and the clouds of Magellan dispute the palm of glory with our own familiar Orion and Pleiades, and planets shine with the lustre of little moons. Such was the aspect of external nature
THE FEEJEE ISLANDS. in those garden-islands, when, in the month of October 1835, Messrs. Cross and Cargill, Wesleyan Missionaries, who had come from the Friendly Islands, first landed on their shores—and what was the aspect of man?
The dark photographic picture which Paul has drawn of heathenism in his Epistle to the Romans might be given as the answer, and even in its most hideous and revolting pictures the resemblance would hold. The people were indeed found to be ingenious in some of the useful arts, as in the formation of mats, in basketwork and earthenware; and a certain elegance of design and skill in workmanship were visible in the chequered cloths which they wove from the bark of some of their palms, placing them in these respects many degrees above the natives of the Friendly Islands; but their moral condition only admits of being partially unveiled, “ for it is a shame even to speak of some of the things which were done of them in secret.” The Missionaries found them to be strongly addicted to stealing. Falsehood was so common, that to “ speak as a Feejee man” was an expression equivalent to speaking lies. Covetousness so raged in their bosoms, that they would glare with savage eyes upon a stranger, or a native of another tribe, in order to discover whether there was any thing about his person for which it was worth while to destroy him; and, on a slight temptation, a deadly stroke from the murderous club would lay the victim at their feet. Infanticide prevailed in its most revolting forms; the self-immolation of widows on the death of their husbands was common; the old, the decrepit, and even those who seemed to be afflicted with lingering sickness, were unscrupulously put to death. War was a pastime, and was considered the noblest employment of men. The warriors stood next in rank to the chiefs, and as each island, and even tribe, had its own separate chief, the spear and the war-club were almost never at rest, while the ferocity and treachery with which war was pursued more than doubled all its natural horrors.
But the crime which of all others stood out as the most prominent feature in Feejeean wickedness, giving those islanders a ghastly preeminence even among heathen nations, was cannibalism. So completely had this crime intermingled itself with all the customs of the people, that a human being was sacrificed and eaten on every remarkable occasion. A house could not be built, a canoe launched, or an important voyage undertaken, without a human sacrifice. Cannibalisin was not more prompted by revenge than by an appetite for human blood. Not only were the victims obtained in war reserved to be eaten, and often roasted alive in their horrid ovens, but persons of the same tribe have been slain by stratagem to satiate the inhuman lust; and when such deaths have occurred, a whale's tooth * has been considered by the relatives of the dead a sufficient compensation for his life. It was estimated by one Missionary, that, in the space of four years, 500 persons wcre put to death, and eaten, within twenty miles of Vewa. Cannibalism was in truth a part of infant education in Feejee. Mothers have been seen to rub a piece of human flesh on the lips of their children, that they might be imbued from the first with a taste
* Probably the tooth of the parwhal is meant.-ED. C.M.G.