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no return of gratitude to God. When shall these heathen wastes be reclaimed, and populations now dead in ignorance and sin become like well-cultivated farms, yielding the pleasant and varied fruits of gratitude and service ? Alas ! how extended the wastes, how few the labourers ! When shall “the ploughman overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed, and the mountains drop sweet wine, and all the hills melt ?”
HELP FOR CHINA. The following passage occurs in a letter written by the Rev. G. Hamilton, Chaplain at Fuh-chau, and dated October 24, 1867. Who can tell but that, by the blessing of God, it may call forth some labourer to the Lord's work in China ?
“There are about two millions of souls in this city and its suburbs, and our Society has only two Missionaries here at present. These, however, are truly earnest, devoted men. I think their work is much blessed. The situation of the city is healthful, and the surrounding scenery quite lovely. The climate, too, is delightful during six or seven months in the year, though we have certainly four very trying and exhausting ones. I think, however, if a man is naturally of a sound constitution, he may labour on here with impunity for six or seven years in succession. If this were known at home we should perhaps find as many offering themselves for China as for India. May the Lord send forth more labourers into His harvest! My people do give liberally to the support of our Missionary Institutions. It is a cheering fact that all our Missionaries, both American and English, are agreed in considering that we are on the eve of a great spiritual crisis in China. Old prejudices against foreign usages and institutions are gradually giving way, and a readiness to hear and receive the Gospel is becoming everywhere apparent.”
CHINA, A.D. 1. (The following lines were suggested by a Chinese Buddhistic legend, referring to the introduction of Buddhism into China in the first century of our era.)
They say that in that wondrous time
When heathen oracles were dumb;
And longed for Him that was to come ;
From China's boundless plains to rest,
Hovered above the fading west.
Rose in blue wreaths from countless homes :
Till morn, with round of labour, comes.
THE JAFFNA MISSION.
Again and yet again, as rolled
The fires of day toward the west,
And beckoned China to the Blest.
Far shining with benignant ray,
To where their infant Maker lay.
Sank as before in burning gold,
Into the westward waters rolled,
Old India's temples, rich and rare ;
The Buddhist Bonze's muttered prayer.
With priest and charm and idol-form;
The sun went down mid circling storm.
Beside the Galilæan sea,
Ah! had he pressed to Calvary !
Who would not heed the band of heaven;
To them long years of gloom were given.
From yon dear land of Gospel day ;
A. E. MOULE.
The late severe and long-continued ravages of cholera in Jaffna and the districts around proved a heavy trial to our Mission in that part of the island. The schools were almost entirely broken up and dispersed, many of our Christian people cut off, and, among them, some of the best and most faithful of our native teachers. This heavy dispensation, however, was mingled with mercies; the dark cloud of trial which it pleased God to send had a silver lining; and, in the midst of much tribulation, there was also much cause for thanksgiving and praise. The pestilence which swept away so many into eternity, and spread such terror and consternation among the heathen population, proved a means of testing the sincerity of
the native Christians, and the great body of them, thanks be to God! stood firm and steadfast in the hour of trial; while
who taken away, gave evidence on their death-beds, not only of the reality of their faith and professsion, but also of their joy in prospect of entering into their Saviour's presence and kingdom.
The following accounts, (furnished by our native ministers) of the state of the Jaffna districts during the late sad visitation, and of the last hours of some of our native Christians, will be read with much interest by all who desire the progress of Christ's kingdom among the natives of this island proving, as they do, the reality of the work, at a time and under circumstances in which nothing but sincerity could possibly stand. Such proofs of sincere profession and firm faith among native Christians, as those furnished in the following extracts, are most cheering, and we cannot feel too thankful for such encouragements to go forward in the Lord's work, feeling assured that the efforts made to spread abroad the knowledge of His truth are not and will not be made in vain.
The following account is from the Rev. J. Hensman, the native minister at the Copay station, dated May 7th, 1867—
Cholera has been raging in this district during the last few months, during which time the heathen were in a state of great alarm, and sought refuge in their temples, and spent a great deal of money in offering sacrifices to their idols, endeavouring by such means to appease the vengeance of their gods. Temples that were in a ruined state have been repaired and rebuilt, and in them morning and evening oblations have been offered. Amongst these temples is one deserving of very particular notice : it stands in the neighbourhood of a few Christian families. The priests and diviners, who daily practised divination in it, made the boast that the lives of their followers would be safe and secure within its walls. Many, both old and young, believing the boast, resorted to it, and waited daily, expecting the fulfilment of the prediction. The Christians were not moved by these things, though the diviners had predicted that the cholera would sweep them away, and leave their houses desolate. This seemed to make them put their confidence more entirely in their all-wise Father, who not only promises to do what is best for His children, but also does it. This sad disease, making no distinction, entered into that temple, and many, to the surprise of the diviners, were taken away by it, dying as heathen always die, in great alarm, without a hope beyond the grave. The disease also attacked some of those poor Christians, but what a contrast did their closing scene present when compared with the others : while gloom, terror and despair hovered round the dying beds of the heathen, peace, joy and hope shone round the dying beds of the Christians, though they were deserted even by their nearest of kin, and left, in some cases, destitute of all bodily aid. But thanks be to God, that He has supplied these Christians with friends, who can, not only bodily, but more especially spiritually, help them. The native pastor and some of the catechists rendered all the aid in their power during these trying times.
The following account is from the Rev. George Champion, native minister of Kokooville, dated May 7th, 1867—
The following instances are given to show that the Gospel seed sown in Jaffna by means of the Mission, by the help of God has begun to grow, yea, to blossom and even to ripen into rich and luxuriant fruits. The first case I shall allude to is that of Mr. Robert William. born of heathen parents, and brought up in heathenism. But the grace of God saved him from that course, and chose him for His own use. He studied for some time in one of our Mission day-schools at Nellore, and then was received into the Chundicully Seminary. As he proved himself an active and diligent Christian boy, he was sent to the Cotta Institution, to make him more useful for the Mission work. There he received a good education under the Rev. J. F. Haslam, who then superintended that Institution. He returned to Jaffna, and was employed in the Mission service in the year 1849. That time was a very hard time with him. By temptations and persecutions of different kinds his friends tried to prevail upon him to separate himself from his faith. They tried to persuade him, by offering him a large sum of money, to marry a heathen wife, and thus plunge him into that gulf in which many a Christian youth has been plunged, and eternally lost. But the grace of God helped , him, and he married a Christian girl from our Mission boarding-school at Nellore. In the year 1851, after he was married, he was appointed the head master of the Chundicully Seminary, and continued in that service until his death. His ability to conduct such a school as that, his lively interest in the work, and self-denial for the cause of his Saviour, are well known to all who knew him. He was a good soldier in the army of Christ. His aim was always to glorify Him. But in the midst of his labours, in the bloom of his life, he was suddenly attacked by cholera, and was removed from this life to his Saviour's kingdom, to reap the fruits of his faith and hope here below. In him the Mission has lost a precious ornament, but he has gained in the next world. One of the bright stars that shined in Jaffna was eclipsed by his death. His preachings, teachings, conversations to the boys, both in the school and out of it, for some days previous to his attack of cholera were remarkable for their faithfulness, clearness, and sincerity. He wished all the school-boys to commit to memory some Scripture texts which he selected for them, especially the twenty-third and ninety-first Psalms. He was attacked by cholera on the 10th October 1866. Immediately he sent word to me to come and see him. It was about three o'clock in the afternoon when I reached him. When he found that the disease was of such a nature that it would soon end his life, he showed no anxiety whatever, but, with a composed mind, called his wife, and said, “Do not feel sorry at my departure : every thing that our heavenly Father does He does with infinite wisdom. He knows what is best for us. His will that we should live so long together on earth, but now He intends to call me to Himself. I go to Him. Be prepared, through our Saviour Jesus Christ, to come to the place where I go.” When his eldest son stood before him with weeping eyes, he said, “My son, when my father died I was of the same age as you are now: the merciful
“We are attracted by the crowds of men and women bathing at these various ghauts. We notice particularly the women, half immersed in the water, with little bunches of flowers, which they have purchased from the priest in the temple before they descended to the river, and we listen to their affecting prayer—"O holy mother Gunga, accept our offerings, and wash away our sins !" The little nosegay is then set afloat, and the deceived worshipper finishes her ablution, with the persuasion that she is inwardly and outwardly purified.”
It is even so : the Ganges is an object of religious veneration in India. Gunga was brought from heaven. The gods, conscious that they had also sins to be washed away, petitioned Brumha on the subject, who soothed them by promising them that Gunga should remain in heaven, and yet descend to earth also. And now, he who thinks on Gunga, although he may be 800 miles distant, is delivered from all sin, and fitted for heaven. At the hour of death, if a person think upon Gunga, he will obtain a place in the heaven of Shiva. If a person be going to bathe in Gunga, and die on the road, he shall obtain the same benefits as though he had actually bathed. There are 3,500,000 holy places belonging to Gunga ; the person who looks or bathes in Gunga will obtain all the fruit which arises from visiting all these holy places,” &c. Such are some of the superstitious legends of the Hindu.
Hence all castes worship Gunga. The people particularly choose the banks of this river for worship, because the merit of what they do, as they are taught to think, is so much greater. In every month there is bathing. At stated times crowds of people assemble from the different towns and villages near the river, bringing their offerings of fruit, rice, flowers, cloth, sweetmeats, &c., and hanging garlands of flowers across the river wherever it is possible. After the people have bathed, the officiating Brahmin ascends the banks of the river with them, performs poojah, in which he worships the living things that are in the waters, the fish, the tortoises, the frogs, the water-snakes, the leeches, the snails, the shell-fish, the porpoises, &c.
So sacred is the Ganges to the Hindus, that persons will perform long journeys of five or six months to bathe in it, and to carry back some of the water for religious purposes. The water is used in the English courts of justice to swear upon, and it is no unusual thing for Hindus to say, “Will you make this engagement on the banks of the Ganges ?” The Hindus are exceedingly anxious to die on the banks of the Ganges, that their sins may be washed away in their last moments. “A person in his last agonies is frequently dragged from his bed, and carried, in the coldest or hottest weather, to the river-side, where, if a poor man, he lies without a covering day and night till he expires. The relatives place the sediment of the river on his forehead and breast, and afterwards, with their finger, write on it the name of some God.”
What shall we say of this people? They have upon them a sense of sin. It is not that their ideas of sin are the same as ours. Their standard is different from ours; and they think far more of breaking their caste laws than of offences against the moral law. Still they feel that they are unclean, and need washing; and so they come to the Ganges. Did they know what sin really is, how dread an evil, how