« AnteriorContinuar »
127 instead of hindering them, encourage them to give themselves to Christ, compare their own position with that of this poor suffering youth, and be thankful.
"On the 27th of December 1854 I went, with the Rev. B. Geidt and two native-Christian brethren, Thomas and Boigunda, to preach the gospel to the heathen ; and on our return I wished to see my sick parents, who had often desired me to come, and promised solemnly nothing whatever should happen to me: at the same time I wished to see whether my wife would be willing to come to Burdwan. I took, therefore, leave of my pastor, who, for precaution sake, advised the two native Christians to accompany me. Having arrived at my native place, we heard my father had gone out; but being desirous to see him we remained there three days. Many people came to see us, to whom we made known the gospel. As my father did not return, we wished to leave for Burdwan, but my eldest brother and others confined me to the house, and drove away the two dear Christian brethren. Now my father came home, and I saluted him friendly, and asked him, How are you at present ?'. He answered in a furious manner, saving, "You have no need to ask me any thing, because you are not my son, and you have no relation with me. After this he slapped me in my face repeatedly. Then my mother, who loves me, sent me to the house of my brother-in-law at Gopaulnogore, with a guardian and my youngest brother. Having an opportunity, I ran off early in the morning, desiring to reach Burdwan; but my brother-in-law pursued me, with others, and brought me back to his house. On receiving this news, my father came, shaved me, cut off my hair, and forced a poita on my shoulders, which I tore off immediately. About this he was very angry, took me back to his own house, and beat me severely again. He then put another poita around me, which I did not take down at once, on account of their rude conduct. Two days after this four Christian brethren came, sent from Burdwan, to see me, but I could only see them from the verandah. They asked me whether I had remained faithful, and whether I would return with them. I answered, “I am not only willing to go with you, but I am willing to give my life for Christ's sake. On saying these words, seven or eight persons forced me into the house, ill-treated me, and confined me. Then I tore off again the poita, and allowed them no more to put another around me, though they much persecuted me. I was very sorry not hearing any thing of what had happened to the Christian brethren* in the tumult before the house. That very night my father sent me to a village called Jogoria, where I was kept for a week like a prisoner. Then my father took me back to his house. Sometimes he beat me, and sometimes he caused others to teach me Hinduism ; and when I would not follow their advice, they used very abusive language towards me ; but being regardless of those things, I spoke to them of the Saviour Jesus Christ. After a few days had thus passed by, one influential man of our relatives came, who much persuaded me to forsake Christianity, and remain with my father; and when I would not consent, both my
* They were very ill-used, and driven by force from the village, and even persecuted in other places. No one was allowed in the neighbourhood of Paul's village to sell them any thing, or to give them a shelter.
[nov. father and eldest brother did beat me, and kick me, and slap me in my face. After this they hanged me, fastening ropes about my hands and feet, and keeping my face downward, and again and again beat me with a hammer on my elbows and knees, all which I bore quietly, and prayed for them to the Lord Jesus, who gave me strength to suffer without murmuring. This enraged them more, and they were now ready to drive nails into my hands and feet, and to make me lame; but the man who guarded me snatched the nails from them, and made me free from the persecution of that day. A few days after, the jamadar of Joypur came and asked me, “Is your name Horinaraion Chokrobutty? I answered, 'Yes.' Then he said, “The Missionary of Burdwan has written to the magistrate of Bancoorah to send you there. If you are willing to go, I came to make you free.' I answered, "I am willing to go.' I had some hope to be delivered; but soon all hope was over, for he took a bribe from my father, and left me bound behind him. My father beat and kicked me again on that day in such a way that I got a boil on my forehead ; and though I suffered now very great pain, he continued beating me. In the midst of that distress another burgundaz was sent from Bancoorah* to make me free, and conduct me to Bancoorah. When it was night we reached Bola gooma, and they put my legs in stocks.t The next day I went to the magistrate, who was kind. He asked me many things, and fined the jamadar who had taken the bribe ; and the next day he sent me to Burdwan with a man. I am not sorry that I suffered so much : I rather bless God for His mercy and love which He has granted me."
Our Missionary, the Rev. B. Geidt, adds
Paul has hitherto been so diligent and well-behaved that he now receives a scholarship in the English school.
May this poor youth experience the truth of the Psalmist's expression of hope" When my father and mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up."
THE CONQUESTS OF THE GOSPEL.
From degradation waken, and swell the mighty strain. * I had to write a second letter to Bancoorah, which had the desired effect. + As if he had been a thief.
THE FEEJEE ISLANDS.
Then shall the Hebrew nation, gathered from every clime,
THE FEEJEE ISLANDS.
(Continued from p. 118 of our last Number.) * There were few communities in the heathen world in which the fragments of a primeval faith less abounded than in the Feejee islands, or in which the popular belief presented fewer points of contact with Christian teaching. The belief in the inspiration of their priests might indeed prepare the natives for comprehending the true inspiration, and their practice of sacrifice for understanding the atonement. But their sacrifice was unaccompanied by any proper sense of demerit: even their supreme divinity was without providence, and their immortality without retribution; and their deep moral debasement, and torpid human sensibility, seemed to raise a mountain-barrier. against the pure and spiritual lessons of the gospel ; while their indifference to human life, and the numerous reports of white men who, welcomed with treacherous smiles, had perished on their shores, seemed to warn the Missionaries that they could only hope for protection, among such a people, by a special miracle. Yet, in the face of all these discouraging signs, these evangelic heralds sailed from Tonga, the capital of the Friendly Islands, over a stormy ocean of 300 miles, and landed on these islands of murderers and man-eaters, at the date we have named, to “sow in tears,” and, with a rapidity and to an extent that exceeded their very dreams, to " reap in joy."
And it is interesting to notice the means by which a shield was, at the beginning, placed by Providence over the heads of these friendless and unprotected men. It came, not from the presence of British warships, or from friends suddenly raised up to them; but from the fears and superstitions of the people themselves, by which God “made the wrath of man to praise Him.” Many years before, certain mariners, two of whom resembled, in appearance and dress, Messrs. Cross and Cargill, had been shipwrecked on one of their islands, murdered, and eaten. Shortly after, a dreadful distemper had broken out on the island which had been the scene of the murder, as well as on contiguous isles, accompanied by excruciating agonies, and spreading death with the rapidity of a plague. The natives, concluding this to be a punishment from God for killing the white men, continued lenient to foreigners for a number of years; and though of late the restraint had been relaxed, and many whites had been sacrificed, yet the recollected resemblance between the Missionaries and the men who had been murdered previously to the plague leading them to conclude that they, too, must have been Missionaries, held back their murderous hands; and these restraints continued until the number of the Christian converts, and the involuntary respect which the character of the Missionaries gradually inspired, surrounded them with other and surer defences. A conside
NOV. rable number of persons, Tonguese, or natives of the Friendly Islands, were to be found at Lakemba and other isles of the Feejee group; and, as the Missionaries were already familiar with their language, their first attention was turned to them, and among these they gathered their firstfruits. Meanwhile, they were endeavouring to master the Feejeean dialect, and, by means of converted Tonguese, to hold intercourse with the natives : an alphabet and a vocabulary were formed by Mr. Cross, and thus the first foundations of civilization laid ; and, in the course of a few years, the New Testament was produced by the same apostolic Missionary in the Feejce tongue. In light canoes, and in perils by the deep, and perils by the heathen, the Missionaries passed from island to island, teaching and exhorting, leaving here a native evangelist, and there a native teacher—schools were founded—some of the chiefs began to lotu (worship) and were followed by many of their tribes. In the measure in which the gospel extended, war, infanticide, cannibalism, and impurity, waned, the naked islander became clothed, and the stalwart and ferocious man-eater sat at the feet of the Missionaries, docile and tractable as an infant. But we cannot, in a mere sketch, trace, step by step, the progress of the Feejeean Mission from year to year. We shall imagine ourselves, after an interval of twelve years from the first landing of the Missionaries in 1835, visiting the station in the Wesleyan Mission-ship, along with the Rev. Walter Lawry, in 1847, and glancing at some of the richest fruits of this gospel vintage.
It may serve to give some notion of the extent to which Christian Missions had already extended in Feejee, to mention, that, to visit all the stations, required a voyage of 700 miles. Some of the islands were found to have already become entirely Christian. This was the case with the gem-like Ono, in which, with a population of 474 persons, there were 310 church-members, while all the children were under instruction. The earlier history of Christianity in Ono was found to be associated with a fact of singular interest. Above six years before the time of Mr. Lawry's visit, the few converts who were then on the island were violently persecuted by their heathen neighbours. Their numbers, however, continuing to increase, they at length determined that they would take up arms against their enemies. They did so, and the heathen fled before them to a strong fortress on the mountains. The Christians followed, and, with little bloodshed, took the town. But instead of putting the vanquished to the sword, they fell on their necks and wept over them. Affected and subdued by this extraordinary treatment, the heathen warriors fell on their knees, and lotued at once. They knew that aforetime they would have been eaten, instead of being preserved alive and wept over by their conquerors. Thus did Ono become Christian : love bowed the hearts of the people as the heart of one man, and Christ was glorified alike in the conquerors and in the conquered.
In other islands, again, such as Lakemba, Mr. Lawry found the majority of the population still heathen, but the leaven of Christianity quietly and rapidly extending. Amidst a population of 1500, there were already 250 Christians; while, from the summit of a mountain in this island, he could look around him upon clusters of islands, with the delightful assurance that there was scarcely one of them in which there was not already some form of Christian agency, and some measure of
131 Christian success. As he steered his way onward in the midst of coral reefs and sunken rocks, which strew those islands with so many wrecks, he was cheered, amid all the thick darkness that brooded over so many parts of Feejee, with the unequivocal signs of evangelic progress, constraining even hostile chiefs and people to acknowledge, “This lotu is a great thing." At one place the intelligence reached him of a whole town that had unexpectedly cast off heathenism in a day; at another place, he found a chief complaining that he could no longer send persons to the heathen dances, for nearly all his tribe had become Christian. A school was visited by him in one island, in which the bearded chief and his queen led the procession of the scholars, and repeated along with them the prescribed lessons of the day; while, in other places, his heart was warmed by being present at the prayer-meetings, and listening to the simple and often strangely eloquent prayers of the native Christians. “Lord, help us,” said one of these worshippers — “help us to bear our cross; and, if it be heavy, help us to move on still, bending slowly ! Untie the load of our sins. If this load were tied round our loins we could untie it ourselves; but as it is tied round our hearts we cannot untie it; but Thou canst. Lord, untie the burden now.”
(To be concluded in our next.)
DEATH OF A YOUNG CHOCTAW. It is very painful to a Missionary to lose his native brethren. He needs them all, and many more, indeed, than he can ever expect to gather about him, to assist him in his labours. And if the brother who is taken has unusual qualifications for the Master's service, if he gives high promise as a fellow-worker unto the kingdom of God, the trial will be greatly increased.
Such a trial has fallen upon one of our Choctaw stations. The Missionary family at Lenox have been much comforted and assisted, since they began to reside at that place, by Ellis Wade, a young man of “rare talents, lovely disposition, buoyant spirit, and agreeable manners." He was educated at Fort Coffee, where he became savingly interested in the doctrines of the gospel, as his exemplary life, and triumphant death, have clearly showed. He was a very efficient helper in the Missionary work, and his loss is severely felt by his people.
His death-bed was eminently peaceful and happy. In speaking of his last hours, Dr. Hobbs writes as follows — " When told that we all desired and prayed that he might recover, but would try to say from the heart, “Thy will, O God, be done,” he said, 'Yes, yes, yes. Thy will, O God, be done. I am young. I should like to do more for my family and country. But if my heavenly Father wishes me to go now, I am satisfied. It is right and best.'" His love for the Choctaws called forth the following message_“Give my love to all my people, and tell them to receive the gospel, believe in Jesus Christ, and be good Christians.”
His farewells will never be forgotten. To his wife he said, “We shall meet again. You will not always live in this wicked world. You will come soon to the happy world. I shall look for you; I shall look for you.” “I am not afraid to die. I am going home.” Waving his