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THEIR GODS ARE THE GODS OF THE HILLS.”
human family ; yet such is unhappily the case; and they may be used literally in reference to not a few of the poor idolaters of this sin-stricken world, and, among them, to a portion of those who inhabit some of the fairest parts of our vast Indian empire.
Prone as the heart of man has ever been to depart from the worship of the one only and true God, perhaps no people have exceeded the poor Hindu in the multiplicity of his idolatries ; indeed it may be asked what object in nature is not worshipped by some one or other of the castes into which the people is subdivided. The sun, and moon and stars, those hosts of heaven, which, as the Psalmist says, declare the glory of God, birds, four-footed beasts, and creeping things, rivers, hills, and innumerable other objects, receive homage and worship, some choosing one and some another, according to circumstances. So that worship of Him to whom alone it is due from man is lost in this multitude of idolatries.
Our sketch in the present number represents a temple of the mountaineers who inhabit the vast ranges which form the northern boundary of Hindustan, “whose gods are the gods of the hills," at Koree Puntwaree, on the confines of the Sirmoor territory, picturesquely situated, as is usually the case, on a strip of table-land above the stream of Budree. It is dedicated to the god Nāj, whose abode, as the deluded people imagine, is the summit of the adjoining mountain, called Nāj Tiba, or the mountain of Nāj. When visited, no idol was in the temple, only a “shunk,” or shell, which is blown like a horn on festival-days, to assemble the people from the surrounding villages for sacrifice. There was, besides, a small table or stand, doubtless intended to receive the idol on those occasions. There were five images of this same hill-god in all, which are brought forth for juthra, or festival, on which occasions goats and buffaloes are sacrificed. Three days' supply of provisions having been procured for the party, the ascent of Nāj Tiba was undertaken, and this precaution was necessary, as, with the exception of a few chalets of buffalo herdmen, about 600 feet above the temple, the only work of man to be seen was another temple, near the summit of this magnificent mountain, a stream of purest water issuing from its entrance, and dedicated to the same god of the hill, the track lying through a thick forest where silence and solitude reigned, save when broken by the cry of the beautiful musical pheasant, startled by the unusual sound of a footstep. The wild sheep and goat, various kinds of deers and bears, inhabit this glorious solitude, and also the god of the hill, as the poor people suppose,
but no human being. Thus gross darkness covers the people, and the fact that not an individual was found in those parts able either to read or write, tended to make the condition of these poor people the more pitiable.
But since this sketch was taken, our readers will be happy to learn that considerable improvement has been effected. If at that time one individual out of perhaps thirty villages could read, it would have been found that he had been taught at the Kotgurh Mission school, connected with the Church Missionary Society, or at the school at Simla, for these were the only schools. Now the schools connected with that Mission number, according to recent accounts, more than a dozen in surrounding villages, which form the principal feature of the work of that Mission. More than 150
NATIVE CHURCHES-THEIR MISSIONARY ASSOCIATIONS.
children have learned to read the word of God during the past three years, and more than that number of boys and girls continue to do so. This may appear small compared with the labours carried on in the more populous plains, but should not be despised.
What happy results may be expected from the return to their several scattered homes of these young persons, taking with them, as they will do, the Scriptures and tracts! When it is considered how comparatively sparse is the population, and how difficult of access are the villages, this mode of bringing the light of the Gospel to these dark abodes cannot but commend itself to every one; more especially as the work of itineration is not always possible, from various causes, and the language of the people is extremely rude, and greatly needing the introduction of a purer Hindee, of which language the dialect here spoken is but a jargon at present. Let us pray with more earnestness, that the God of all grace will pour out His Spirit, and prepare the hearts of the heathen for the
eption of the seed of the everlasting word; that those who have now as their gods the gods of the hills, may be brought to bow with all true believers at the name of Jesus; and that, instead of the shunk calling to the sacrifice of bulls and of goats, there may be the sound of the church bells calling to the spiritual sacrifice of prayer and of praise to Him who is Lord of all the earth, of the hills, and of the valleys also. Meanwhile, let not our Missionaries grow weary of their work of faith and labour of love, but continue to sow beside all waters, leaving the result with Him who is the Lord of the harvest.
NATIVE CHURCHES—THEIR MISSIONARY ASSOCIATIONS. In a previous article some notices will be found of what English friends are doing to send the Gospel to distant lands.
And where they have succeeded in doing so, and native churches have been raised up in places where heathenism liad reigned, our friends at home no doubt would desire to know whether the new Christians are engaged in the same work, and doing what they can to give the light, which they have so freely received, to those beyond who are as yet without it.
We introduce, therefore, the following report of the Regent Church Association, forwarded to us by the Rev. G. Nicol, which will show that our Sierra Leone brethren are up and doing
The annual meeting of the above Association was held on Monday the 2nd instant. The large church was well filled on the occasion, there being about 300 people present. The chair was occupied by Augustus Beale Hanson, Esq., of Her Majesty's Customs. Several friends were also present—the Rev. D. G. Williams of Fourah Bay, who preached the anniversary sermons on the preceding Lord's-day, Rev. T. C. Nylander of Gloucester, the Rev. A. G. Coomber, and Mr. T. A. John of the Niger Mission, Mr. P. Wilson of the Bullom Mission, and Mr. Mason, formerly of the Sherbro Mission. After singing and prayer, the chairman said he
NATIVE CHORCHES—THEIR MISSIONARY ASSOCIATIONS.
felt very great pleasure in being present on the occasion : he considered himself highly honoured to be asked to preside over the meeting. This was not the first time the minister of this congregation had thus honoured him. He was no speaker, but he felt a deep interest in the progress of the work of the Church Missionary Society in the heathen world. As he was surrounded by those who were immediately connected with that Society, and who were better able to address the congregation, he would not occupy any time, but at once call upon the Rev. G. Nicol to read the Report.
The Report stated that the amount of subscriptions for the year 1867, on behalf of the Church Missionary Society, is as follows : Adult Subscribers
£12 8 0 Juvenile Association
1 0 0 Sermons and Meetings
1 12 0
teachers of the Sunday-school, for
4 0 0
Compared with 71. 188., the amount subscribed for 1865, it will be seen that the contributions of the congregation for the present year are more than double those of any previous period, the Jubilee year excepted.
The first speaker was Mr. J. Mason. He gave an interesting account of the introduction and progress of the Gospel in the Sherbro. He was the first agent sent by the Church Missionary Society to commence the work at Bendoo, in the humble capacity of school-teacher and catechist. He began with a few children, and his chapel was a small mud house, built by a native merchant. But before he left the country, he had a large number of children, both of Sierra-Leone traders, and the natives of the country, to attend his school. Instead of a mud house, they have now a substantial church built for the worship of Almighty God, capable of holding about 200 people. And besides Bendoo, they now occupy Bonthe, as another station of the Society. He mentioned the great service which the late Consul Hanson, father of our respected chairman, rendered to the cause of humanity and civilization in the Sherbro. Many of the children, he said, who are now under instruction in the Kissy Normal school, were rescued by Consul Hanson from slavery. Mr. Wilson of the Bullom Mission, himself a Bullom, gave an account of his life; how he was wonderfully led by God to the knowledge of the truth, and to the blessed work of making that truth known to his fellowcountrymen. The Church Missionary Society went first to Bullom in 1804 ; and although now his country is the last, yet he believed the Gospel, having been a second time offered them, will spread far and wide. It has gone to Ro-banny and Ro-Benkè. The Rev. Mr. Coomber, a native of Regent, and Missionary to the Niger, next addressed the meeting. In a long and interesting speech he related the troubles of the Missionaries in the Niger, and the merciful deliverance of Bishop Crowther and his son Dandeson, from the hands of a cruel and covetous
THE PALAMCOTTAH ENGLISH SCHOOL.
heathen chief. The Lord had, he said, granted them much encouragement in their work of faith. He alluded also to the outbreak at Abeokuta, and appealed to the liberality, sympathies and prayers of the congregation on behalf of the Lord's work.
Mr. T. A. John, also a native of Regent, and a school teacher at Onitsha, on the Niger, lastly addressed the meeting. He had been labouring in that Mission now for about six years, under the Rev. J. C. Taylor. He could occupy the attention of the meeting for a long while by giving a detailed account of the work of the Church Missionary Society at Bonny, at Brass, and Onitsha, but he feared the time was expired. He showed . plainly that many evil customs which ministers deplore, among professing Christians in this colony, in connexion with funerals, are all relics of heathenism.
After a vote of thanks to the chairman, proposed in a neat speech by the Rev. Mr. Williams, Mr. Nylander pronounced the benediction, and the meeting separated.
Collections after sermons and meetings, 11. 12s.
THE PALAMCOTTAH ENGLISH SCHOOL, WRITTEN BY THE PRINCIPAL, MR. CRUICKSHANKS, DEC. 31, 1867. The Anglo-Vernacular school under my charge is situated on the south side of a public road in Moorgancarichee, between the Mission Printingoffice on the west, a Mohammedan mosque on the south, and the heathen portion of the village on the east, inhabited by Maravers, in the midst of whose houses stands a little chapel, dedicated to Kali
, yclept Amen Cohil. To the west of the Mission Printing house, on the same side of the road, are the Mission church, the Rev. Mr. Sargent's residence, and the Preparandi Institution.
Nearly opposite to these last, on the north side of the road, at the western extremity, are the Mission Training Institution, and the Rev. Mr. Spratt's residence, as also Mr. Kember's house, a less commodious edifice, with other still more modest dwellings oecupied by native Christians, extending along the whole side of the road as far as the channel forming the eastern limit of the village, which is bounded on three sides by paddy-fields. Within this limited area, intersected as described above by the road in question, one may see a church for Christians, a mosque for Mohammedans, and a cohil, or thunder temple, for the followers of Brahma ; and thus the three religions which divide India among them are fully represented within these narrow limits, which likewise contain three educational establishments, one for the training of teachers required for the Tamil schools of the Mission, one for the preparation of students educated for the native ministry, and one imparting instruction to native youths, based on Christian principles, through the medium of English. This last mentioned being the Anglo-Vernacular day school under my care, I shall henceforth confine myself to it in the following observations.
This school has now been in existence twenty-four years. It was begun under me in 1844, and I have now twice been entrusted with the charge of it.
THE PALAMCOTTAH ENGLISH SCHOOL.
The average number of boys in the school during the half-year ending December 31st was stated at 225; the average daily attendance 172. Of the pupils some are Christians, but the greater part Hindus, chiefly Vellalahs, including a few Brahmins, Mohammedans, and Pariahs, all of whom read the Holy Scriptures, either in English or Tamil.
Many thus educated are now able ministerial servants in the employ of Goverment, filling posts under it of more or less importance, including those of Moonsiffs and Tahsildars. Some have been converted from Hin. duism to Christianity, either under the direct operation of the school, or through the instrumentality of such as have been thus led to embrace the Gospel
In October of last year, one of our senior lads, being in the highest class, and nineteen years of age, named Ramasamy, of whom I made mention in my last report as encouraging us to hope for his ultimate conversion, calling upon me at my house, requested to be received into the Christian church by baptism. I took him the same day to Mr. Sargent's in the midst of a shower of rain, emblematic of the dew of divine grace which we trust the Lord is causing to descend on his soul. It was then arranged that if he remained steadfast till the Sunday after the one immediately ensuing, his wishes should be complied with. In the mean time he went home, intending to live, if he could, as a Christian in the midst of his heathen neighbours; but this he found no easy matter, for his father being absent, his other relatives required him to smear his forehead with ashes in token of his return to Hinduism, and enforced their demand by refusing to give him any food till he should accede to their terms. He therefore came back to me, and I placed him in charge of Ed rd, first native teacher in my school. On this occasion the youth earnestly requested to be baptized on the following Sunday, as previously arranged, and I seconded his request, on the ground that, while he remained unbaptized, his relatives would cling to the hope of being able to shake his resolution ; but Mr. Sargent wished to postpone the ceremony a little longer, considering it more dignified to avoid the appearance of precipitation. As the best time to baptize him was a question which Mr. Sargent, with whom the responsibility of administering the ceremony rested, was the most competent to judge of, I readily acquiesced in his decision, and found no difficulty in persuading the youth to do so likewise. On the next day, his father, who had been all the time absent from home, made his appearance, and, meeting his son in Edward's house, endeavoured to persuade him to return home, and abandon his intention of becoming a Christian. It seems he reminded him of the countless benefits he had bestowed on him, and appealed to his filial gratitude. The youth was much moved, but was enabled to resist these inducements to swerve from his steadfastness. At length, the father, finding his efforts useless, went away ; but, returning the next day, had an interview with Mr. Sargent. I do not know what passed between them, but the next day, after a conversation with his son, he returned again to Mr. Sargent, and signified his consent to his son's baptism, provided the ceremony took place on the following day. The youth was accordingly baptized on the 5th of November, five days earlier than Mr. Sargent at first intended. Strange to say, the father was