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SAMUEL, OF RATMIWELA.
defiling, not to the body only but to the soul, they would know that to wash this away something is needed more powerful than the waters of the Ganges.
What need is there not, then, to preach to them Christ crucified; to tell them of Him who, by His own wounds, opened for sinners of all nations a fountain for sin and uncleanness, in which they may wash and be clean'? What need is there not, that as the Ganges flows onward on its way through its great valley, so the great truth,“ the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin,” should be made known through the cities and villages of India, until, gathering strength, it flows onward like a mighty stream throughout the land, and multitudes come, no longer to bathe in the waters of the Ganges, but to wash by faith in that blood, and offer there the sacrifice and service of a grateful heart to Him who “
so loved the world as to give His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
SAMUEL, OF RATMIWELA. The following very interesting paper has been forwarded to us by the Rev. J. I. Jones, one of our Missionaries in the island of Ceylon. Gladly do we give it insertion. It is just such a paper as we want to have for the pages of the “Gleaner.”
Amid the many discouragements and trials that our Missionaries meet with, circumstances occasionally occur which cheer the hearts of the labourers, and afford good proof that their efforts to make known Christ are not altogether in vain. The following is an example,
Twenty-five years ago two brothers, one of them a kapurala, or devil priest, lived in a village called Ratmiwela, thirteen miles from Kandy, in Ceylon. The kapurala, i.e. devil-priest, was a man of violent temper, and for some offence he was lodged in the Kandy jail.. While there, a little book, placed in his hands by a catechist of the Church Missionary Society, was made the instrument of turning him from darkness to light, and leading him to know Jesus as his Saviour. On his release he brought his heathen books, &c., to the Rev. William Oakley, who has been for more than thirty years the valued Missionary of the Society in Kandy, and, laying them at his feet, requested him to baptize him. This request Mr. Oakley, after a time, complied with, and man received the name of Abraham on his admission to the visible church of Christ.
On his return to his village he met with bitterness and persecution from those who had formerly been his most intimate friends, and even his own brother was so much enraged that he obtained a gun, and only waited till a good opportunity should occur of wiping out what he regarded as a disgrace to his family, by shedding his brother's blood.
While he waited, he happened to take up one of Abraham's books, and, as he read, God sent the arrow of conviction home to his heart. He gave up his murderous intention: he became an earnest inquirer, embraced the truth, and was baptized by the name of Samuel. He joined Abraham in professing Christ before men.
SAMUEL, OF RATMIWELA.
Twenty-five years of consistent Christian life have passed away, years during which both brothers sought to make known the Saviour to others, as well as to follow Him themselves, and during which, in simple trust in Jesus, they looked forward to the time when they should be called to stand in His presence and enter into His joy.
Two months ago the separation for a time came, and Samuel was taken to his rest. The following letter from a Christian friend, also a Singhalese, appeared shortly after in the “Lakriwi Kirani,” a Singhalese newspaper, and I have translated and transmit it in the hope that the perusal of it may lead Christian friends in England to feel that our work is not hopeless, and that their liberality is not without fruits or their prayers without answer, while it may serve to convince some who are sceptical on the subject that there is such a thing as the true conversion of even the
Buddhists of Ceylon.
“(To the Editor of the Lakriwi Kirani.) “SIR,—Though this letter is connected with the subject of religion, may I request that you will kindly publish it, inasmuch as it may show what fruit is produced by the preaching by Missionaries of the Gospel of Christ?
Rajapaxagedara Samuel, having entered into Christ by faith, was a man who possessed the influence of religion, the light, the sweetness, the joy and the consolation which cometh by hope, which a man may receive by belief in Christianity. He connected himself with the Church Mission some twenty years ago. I have been acquainted with him for about five years. He came to see me several times soon after my arrival at Kaduganawa, and, as my heart was drawn towards him, I endeavoured to go to his house whenever I visited the district in which he lived.
"When I was at his house he was generally occupied, when not at work, in reading the Bible and Pilgrim's Progress,' and he always requested me to have prayer with him. He assembled his family, read the Bible and prayed with great joy, and thus we both received instruction and comfort from meeting.
“ Samuel was taken ill with jaundice in March of this year. when I went to see him, he said that his death was very near, and that God had sent that illness as a messenger to prepare him for it. He said, 'If I had not been laid aside, my Lord might have called me at a time I did not expect, and when I was occupied with worldly concerns, and I must have gone; but now it is arranged so that I may prepare for my journey with joy.
“When I went to see him again, he said his illness was worse, and that he had no hope of living; and he asked me if, when the end drew near, and he sent a messenger for me, I would come and pray with him. I told him I should much wish to do so, and said that, in our passage over the river of death, if we have faith in our Lord, who promised that He would be with us to the end of the world, He will be with us, will send His mighty angels, and give us all the comfort we need at such a time. To this he replied, 'I believe most certainly that our Lord, who taught us that the angels carried Lazarus to heaven, though he bad none to preach to him or pray with him at his death, will take me also, who
trust in Him as my only refuge.' This answer of Samuel's conveyed instruction to my own heart. We prayed on this occasion also. After I had given him some medicine, he said that unless God restored him he could not recover-that he had no trust in medicine.
“ About a month before his death Samuel got a little better; he then sent a message to his neighbours, and collected them together, and spoke to them of his journey—of his hope in it—of the way of salvation provided in Christianity, and his trust that Christianity would be spread far and wide; and then settled all matters with regard to his family.
“On the 17th of August, feeling worse, he sent for me. He was asleep when I went, but on awaking said, 'I have been speaking with my Lord, and then said many things which might make one weep for joy. On this occasion I spoke with him of the comfort of religion, read several chapters, and returned home.
“On the 18th, which was Sunday, feeling worse, he told one of his relatives to send for me, but no messenger was at hand, as his son had gone to Kandy for medicine. He inquired frequently whether his son and I were coming, and gave much counsel to his family; and about eight o'clock, while praying earnestly and in full consciousness, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit; and while his wife, who, with his children, were weeping by him, was praying, 'O Lord Jesus Christ, allow him not to suffer, but receive his spirit to thine hand,' his life passed away.”
LOST SHEEP FOUND. The following notices are gleanings from the journals of one of our native catechists in Sierra Leone. They show that the Lord's work is going on, and that, by an humble agency, many a lost piece of silver is being lifted up out of the dirt where it had been lying, and returned to its owner
J. T., a young female, has had, both from me and our pious visitor, James Lisk, very many visits, which, we trust, have, under God, been much blessed to her soul. Her's had been for a long time a very unsatisfactory case. She had professed to walk with God, but, even at the time she was under a course of preparation for confirmation, she was living in sin. I had my fears concerning her, very much doubted her sincerity, and reminded her, at the time of confirmation, that I had done for her all that could be reasonably expected from me to show her that hypocrisy was sinful, and that I hoped I should be clear of blame concerning her. Her sin discovered itself, and the church was under the painful necessity of depriving her of full communion. since she fell into a consumption, and I rejoice to say that the affliction has been sanctified to her good : she has repented of her sin, and now fully believes she has obtained pardon of the Lord.
In the earlier stage of her disease she evinced no sign of true repentance, and seemed to think nothing of the necessity and blessedness of forgiveness. Again and again I read the Scriptures and prayed with her. The Lord opened her mind. She appreciated and liked my visits, and daily begged, in a humble toue, an interest in my prayers and that I
would repeat my visits. She subsequently manifested a great desire after the spiritual welfare of those about her, and frequently begged me to speak to her mother on the necessity of practical piety.
She once said to me, My doubts and fears are removed, and I trust in the Lord. I know I have sinned greatly ; I have done very wrong; I am truly sorry for it. I know I have grieved God; but I believe in Jesus, who has died for me. I feel sure He has forgiven me.
I know He has removed the world out of my mind. I do not fear to die." God grant her grace to be stedfast! At times Satan annoys her, and endeavours to deprive her of her confidence in the Lord. I remember one evening, in a very affecting tone of voice, she said to me, “I sometimes think God does not hear my prayer, because my pain increases, and I have rest neither day nor night." How often is it the case with even the very best of Christians ! May God never hide Himself from her; and whenever He should do so to try her faith, may He yet sustain her!
There was one thing that struck me particularly with her, and it was this. Once, when she appeared to be dying, and I hardly expected she could live two more days on earth, she did not forget to give me her usual subscription to the Church Missionary Society.
Jane The agent at Brookfield, at her request, desired me to visit her, as she was very ill, and wanted the Lord's Supper.
I quickly went to her ; but as I did not see that she was dangerously ill, and was afraid she had entertained some superstitious views of the rite, I did not comply with that part of her request. She was an illiterate woman ; but, when I examined her, I was agreeably surprised, and found her rich in faith. These are her answers to my several questions—"I trust in Jesus ; Jesus, my Redeemer, do good for me. He bring me from my country to this good land, and He die for me. He is my father, mother, sister and brother. I am stranger here : when I die He carry me home. I do not fear to die, becaus Jesus die for me." This shows clearly that it is not the amount of scriptural information that gives salvation, and that faith is the gift of God. True it is that the Lord bath hid these things from the wise and prudent, and revealed them unto babes. I need not say that I returned from Brookfields that day strengthened and encouraged.
There was another encouraging case.
I was told that Hannah was very ill, and I hastened to meet her : she, too, was an illiterate woman, but, like Jane, was rich in faith. She had lived long in sin, but was made sensible of the evil thereof, through the grace of God. To all my questions in Aku, she replied both in English and in Aku, “I know I have done wrong. I know sin is not good, but Jesus has pardoned me and washed my soul : He pays my debt with His blood. I am willing to die, and † know I shall go to Him.” She died shortly after this. Two others have since died. I had hope in their death.
OUR FRIENDS AT PETERBOROUGH AND ITS VICINITY. In the November Number of this periodical, after giving a short notice of a Missionary gathering at Wallingford, we added the following suggestion
“It would help much to encourage supporters in one part of the field to know what friends are doing in the other.”
Our excellent friend, Colonel Rowlandson, to whom the Missionary cause throughout the country is so much indebted, had been attending the Church Missionary Anniversary at Peterborough. He was much struck with the hearty character of the Meeting, which he believed to be owing, under God, to the self-denying and hearty upholders of this good cause, by those local friends whose names we would give, only we know that it would not be pleasing to them.
But remembering our suggestion, Colonel Rowlandson wrote to the Rev. John Mills, of Orton Waterville Rectory, by whom the following interesting paper has been drawn up for the pages of the “ Gleaner"
On Sunday, November 3, sermons were preached in the Parish Church of Peterborough ; in the morning by the Bishop of the Diocese, and in the evening by the Rev. R. P. Greaves, Missionary from India ; and at St. Mark's, by the Rev. R. P. Greaves, and Rev. S. W. Merry. The collections altogether were 321.
On Monday the Annual Meeting was held in the Corn Exchange, which was numerously attended. The Bishop took the Chair. The Secretary, the Rev. Canon Hill, read the Report, showing that the receipts of the Auxiliary for the last year were 2981. 138. 9d., and the sum remitted to the Parent Society was 2861. 19s. 9d. Colonel Rowlandson, and the Rev. R. P. Greaves, who formed the deputation, then addressed the Meeting. The former, from his thirty years residence in India, and from personal experience, could speak feelingly of the good work done by the Society, while Mr. Greaves, like Colonel Rowlandson, excited the sympathies and kept up the interest of his hearers_by dwelling upon facts of his own experience as a Missionary in India. The Gospel was producing an effect upon the hearts of the natives.
The Bishop, who reserved his remarks to the last, then addressed the Meeting in a most, earnest, powerful and warm-hearted speech, which excited and kept up interest to the last. He dwelt upon the care exhibited by the Society in the choice of their agents. He had watched with the warmest interest their progress for thirty years, and he had never known of any, but one, who had been unfaithful to his trust. He had no doubt whatever that Missionary efforts in India had produced great results. The field of literature was vastly extending in India from a free press.
In the last year there were twenty-six new newspapers started; and at the examination at the Calcutta University there were 1300 candidates. At Oxford or Cambridge the number of students was about 500 in one year. The development of mental power had led many to throw off idolatry ; but some had taken in its stead to infidel