« VorigeDoorgaan »
“ Yes! I have a great deal more to say. Tell me, Brahmin! is God just; that is, does he reward men according to their inerits or demerits ?"
“God is just : all pundits will say so."
“ But by your saying that God is the author of sin, you make him unjust to the utmost degree-for you say that God punishes the wicked; and yet, according to your tenet, the wicked has no demerit nor fault, because he does not commit sin of his own accord-it is God who causes him to commit it. What would you say of me, if, in your presence, I ordered one of my boatmen to go to the boat and fetch my umbrella ; and if, on his bringing that article to me, I beat him unmercifully, saying, O! you wicked man, why did you bring this umbrella to me?"
“I would say that you were a very unjust man indeed; because you punished your boatman for doing that which you ordered him yourself to do."
“ Now, apply this to God punishing sinners. If they sin (as you say) because God prompts them to it, is it not very unjust in him to punish them for that which they would never have done of their own accord, but did only because He caused them to do so ? But I will put but one more question to you. Is God merciful, or is He cruel?"
“God is full of love and mercy; for He feeds men and beasts, and supports all.”
* Now, let me tell you, that, when you say God is the author of sin, you make him the most unmerciful of all beings; for you well know that every suffering which men endure in this life and the next, is occasioned by sin. If, therefore, God causes men to sin, is He not inflicting upon them the greatest injury imaginable; and does He not show himself to be their greatest enemy? What would you think of a man who put secretly poison in your food, and thus caused you to die amidst the most intense pain and torture? Would you say that that man was very merciful and full of love to you?"
* How can you ask such a question ? That man would be most cruel to me; and to tell you the truth, I do not believe that I have an enemy who would do such a thing to me as you have mentioned.”
Well, sin is that poison. It causes, as you yourself acknowledge, misery and suffering in this life and the next; so then when you say God is the author of it, you make him most cruel, and more unmerciful than even your worst enemy. I could go on, Brahmin! and give you many more proofs to the same effect; but I trust these will suffice to convince you that God cannot possibly be the author of sin. Or if you still maintain that lle is
then you have no alternative but at once to acknowledge that the God in whom you believe, is an unwise, an impure, an unjust, and an upmerciful God. Are you prepared to acknowledge this?"
"I am not prepared to assert it, and yet, I am not convinced ; for, when I am sinning, I am doing it with my mind, with my speech, or with the members of my hody. Naw, as God has given me all these instruments of sinning, therefore, notwithstanding all you have said, it appears to me still, that He is the author of sin.”
“I grant that it is God who has given you your mind, your speech, and the members of your body ; but why has he given them to you? Certainly not that you should use ihem as instruments for sinning, but that with these you should perform his service, and thus glorify him. The fault, then, if you use these instruments for bad purposes, is not God's—it is yours : you knew his intentions and his will, but did not heed them. Suppose, Brahmin, that this morning on leaving home, you had given a rupee to your servant for the parpose of purchasing for your family some necessary articles of food in the bazaar, and that on your returning to your house you found, that, instead of fulfilling your orders with that rupee, your servant had spent it in drinking, and other evil practices, would you not hold him to be very guilty ?"
• Most certainly I would, and that not merely; but I would punish him in a way that he would long remember.”
“But if the servant told you, "Master, I am not to be blamed--it is you who are in fault; for it was you who gave me the rapee which I spent in bad practices.' Would you not then at once declare your servant quite innocent?”
Innocent, indeed! No, I would tell him, “You good-for-nothing fellow, was it to get drunk with it that gave you the rupee ? Was it not to buy provisions ?' But I see, Sir, what you are going to tell me. You will say that in the same manner God has given me my soul, my speech, and the members of my body, in order to use them for that which is good, and that if I use them for evil purposes, the guilt will be mine and not God's. And I must say this is rather true. But yet I am not wholly satisfied; and if you will not be quite angry, I wish to ask you one question more. Why does God not prevent men from sinning? He could easily do it, as he is omnipotent!”
“Tell me, would you like to be a stone, a tree, or a horse, rather than a man?
No, not I! I prefer being a man; for our Shasters say, that the state of man is the highest to which any being can attain on earth.”
“ This is so far correct, and I am glad you
are thankful that you are a man rather than pointed out to him again, not only the unsomne inferior being. But why is man su- reasonableness, but the horrible blasphemy, perior to the mere brutes, or to inanimate of making God the author of sin, and all objects? It is because he has a rational the wickedness which men commit. This soul and a free will, which inferior crea- admonition, I trust, had a good effect, 'if not tures have not. If, therefore, God did, by on the Brahmin himself, at least on the byforce and compulsion, prevent men from standers, several of whom said that they sinning, it would be tantamount to making would no more maintain that God was the them like stones, trees, and horses, which author of sin ; but acknowledge it to be have no will of their own, but act only as their own voluntary act which would render they are moved; and you yourself, Brah- them liable to punishment. min, this very moment said, you preferred There is, perhaps, not a doctrine of Hinbeing a man to such a mere machine !' dooism which offers greater impediments
"This will do, Sir! I beg to take leave, to the Gospel than this pantheistic one, for I see it is time to go to my dinner." " that God is the author of sin," as it takes
away all sense of responsibility from men, Salutary effects of the foregoing Conversation. and prevents in them that anxious desire
Before, however, permitting the Brahmin after a Saviour, which convinced singers to retire, I admonished him seriously to be experience. A Saviour, to persons holding careful in future how he uttered such a this baneful tenet, is an utter absurdity, dreadful doctrine as he had done, and
Having visited several other towns and villages on the Damoodah, our friends again directed their course to the Ganges. On the third of January they entered the Roopnarain River, and three days after visited the celebrated idol-shrine at Barodah. Adverting to that occasion, Mr. Lacroix observes :Salvation preached in a heathen temple.
but all now in a state of decay, and the ha
bitation of serpents, owls, and bats. On Jan. 6.-Observing in front of the idol,
ascending the ruinous staircase of the tower and placed on a pedestal, a hollow stone in
of the principal temple, we were not a little the form of a baptismal font, we drew near
surprised to find it occupied by a whole to it, and saw some blood in it! We in
family of baboons, who, on seeing us, leaped quired into its use, and were told that the
down through an aperture in the wall-a blood of the animals offered in sacrifice to
height of at least thirty feet, apparently the goddess was poured into this vessel. This led us to address the Brahmins and
highly vexed at our intrusion. We could
not help, on this spot, reflecting on the vi. others on the subject of sacrifices in general;
cissitude of human affairs. Here was a their nature and design; and then we pointed
lofty temple, once the resort of a royal out to them the great sacrifice of the Lamb
family and its courtly attendants-- the seat of God that alone taketh away the sins of
of a venerated idol, at whose shrine numerthe world. After having spoken much of
ous priests were daily officiating; but now, Jesus, and his love to our fallen race, we
'all was deserted, and the sole frequenters a left the temple of Bisha-Lokky, praising
tribe of monkeys!!! Sic transit gloria God that he had enabled us to bear witness
mundi ! We prayed internally that the fate to the truth in the very synagogue of Satan,
of this temple might soon be that of all and on the very spot, where as St. Paul
others in India, and that such a revolution says, sacrifices are offered to devils.
may be accomplished by the onward proAn idol-temple ruined and deserted.
gress of the blessed Gospel of our Lord
Jesus Christ. We then proceeded to view some exten- At half-past four, p. m., we took up our sive ruins of an Indian Fort in the neigh- anchor to retrace our steps down the Roopbourhood, whose last possessor was a cer- narain, and, at about an hour before dark, tain Rajah, named Soba-Singh.
arrived at a village called Bondor-Ghat, built on an artificially raised ground, twelve where we immediately went on shore. An feet above the level of the country, with a indigenous school was assembled under a moat around it, and altogether of great large tree, and the boys were busy in writing strength, and well suited to be the strong- on palm and plantain leaves. A good numhold of a refractory Chieftain, which its last ber of the inhabitants were also present. occupant was. The Fort cont ed, besides We availed ourselves of this good opporthe palace of the Rajah, his treasury, ele- tunity, and preached the Gospel to the asphants and horses, stables, &c., also numer- sembled crowd. ous temples consecrated to various idols ;
SOUTH SEAS-TANNA. Our latest intelligence of the Mission at Tanna is contained in the following extracts of letters addressed by the Samoan Teachers in that Island, early in the present year, to Mr. Murray, of Tutuila. These communications exhibit our native fellow-workers in an interesting and encouraging light; and also supply important information relative to their spheres of labour. The writer of the first, who is stationed at Resolution Bay, was a deacon of the church at Pagopago for several years, and the first convert from heathenisın in the island of Tutuila :
“I am about to inform you of the troubles thank God there are many good things which that have come upon us in this land. We I have seen with my own eyes in this land. have had a severe illness. It began in the I will mention some of the things that month of May. Petelu's wife, and my have taken place. One good thing is, many daughter died of it. My attack was light, of the people are inquiring on the SabVasa and his wife came from Nina, and bath. They abstain from work on that brought their child who was ill. They day, and do not cook ovens. I told them were both seized also with the same dis. they ought not to paint their faces on the
Vasa requested to be taken back to Lord's Day. In this, also, they were obeNina, saying, the dew and the cold were dient. A great many have united themmoderate there. So we went to Nina, and selves to the Christian party. On one SabI was again taken ill, and we were all lying bath, five came over; on another Sabbath, ill together. Vasa's wife died, and we were ten; on another, four. The people of this still lying when a war broke out in the dis- land are not distant and wild towards us. trict. When informed that the hostile party These are things that I have seen with my had arrived, we fled into the bush, and hid own eyes in these lands." ourselves. The war party found only Le- [The second communication from anofau standing before the house.
A man ther of the Teachers stationed at Resolucalled out to Lefau, •Don't fly-no harm tion Bay, is as follows:-) shall befall you.' The war was resumed “I am about to make known a little report on the following morning, and one man was of the work of God in 'Tanna. The work killed.
of God has increased greatly in the land “ Vasa and Lefau then returned with where we are stationed. The Christian me to Tanna : all their property was car- party is very numerous. On one Sabbath, ried off in the war, and had they remained ten were united to us; on another seven; at Nina, no one would give them any on another, five. Thanks indeed for the food. When we returned to Tanna, the wife help of God in his work, in which we are of Yagipo was dead, and Yagipo himself engaged in this land! A great many bad was very weak. We remained together for things have also taken place in this land; some time—then Yagipo also died. Five and among these, war and sickness. There of us were now dead. Lefau took Yagipo's were many surmises, and it was said that place, that he might assist Upokumanu, they (the Tannese,) were dying on our acwith whom Yagipo had laboured. A war count, and because we were living on their then broke out between the land of Lefau land. These were the words of those who and Upokumanu, and another land - the are not Christian; but the Chiefs of the
ght was right over them: the Lord pro- Christian party hold fast the lotu. God has tected them, and no harm befel them.
been merciful to us, and has delivered us “ Great trouble has come upon us in this from the evil things that have taken place land. Still, though we are greatly afflicted, I in this laud.”
In the succeeding statements and observations, our brother, Mr. Murray, urges the powerful and peculiar claims of the New Hebrides and New Caledonia on the enlarged compassion, and the more direct and vigorous efforts of the friends of Missions :
The letters of our Native Helpers (he re- sionaries. On the vast importance of this marks) furnish satisfactory evidence that and other islands of the New Hebrides, as some progress is being made towards en- also of the adjacent Group (New Caledolightening the poor Tannese : they show nia,) being so occupied, without delay, there that the Teachers consider their lives to be can be no question, perfectly safe, and that they are labouring A fact has recently occurred which places in hope, even in confident expectation of the subject in a far more affecting and ursuccess. Thus it is proved that Tanna may gent light than can be done by mere words. again be safely occupied by foreign Mis- Fifteen Romish Priests sailed from Sydney
a few months ago, for the New Caledonia and New Hebrides Groups !! Herein, dear Sirs, is the realization of our fears. The thing that we greatly feared has come upon us; and that which we were afraid of is come unto us. It is a dire calamity when the Papists get the start of us. Surely our Scotch Friends, who stand pledged to occupy the New Caledonia Group, will bestir themselves when they learn this fact. If the Papists succeed in thoroughly establishing themselves before Protestant Missionaries are on the spot, the ruin of the Natives will
be almost certain. They will be likely to fall under the two-fold yoke of Rome and France, and under the spiritual tyranny of the one, and the political tyranny of the other, they will melt away. I do trust and earnestly pray that something effective may speedily be done for both Groups. One of the minor evils of neglecting this will be that we shall lose the labour we have bestowed upon them, and be left to mourn the open doors set before “the man of sin and son of perdition.”
TRIUMPH OF THE GOSPEL OVER HEATHEN BARBARITY. We insert with pleasure the following portion of a letter, dated in June last, addressed by the Rev. Holloway Helmore, of Lekatlong, South Africa, to the church and congregation assembling in Rother-street Chapel, Stratford-uponAvon ; of which his late revered father was, for many years, the pastor. Our Missionary brother bears explicit and well-sustained testimony to the varied and delightful changes, both morally and socially, which have been wrought by the power and faith of the Gospel among the Bechuanas to whom he devotes his efforts ; and we trust he will be blessed as the instrument of extending this gracious work, until the land which but as yesterday was an untrodden waste shall " rejoice and blossom as the rose.”
Oar schools (writes Mr. H.) are our chief think not that the work is done. The mahope. In youth the mind is flexible, suscepti- jority of the tribes in these parts are still in ble of impression, and more inclined to adopt the darkness of heathenism. Though the the improvements of civilised life, than in Gospel is preached amongst them, they will riper years. In this country children rapidly not hear ; for “they love darkness rather grow up to be men and women. We want than light, because their deeds are evil.” to teach the young idea how to shoot. Many Every vice and the most cruel superstitions of the children and young people are anxi- are still practised amongst them-Satan's ous for improvement in every branch of seat is still strong, and it is only the arm civilization; nor do the elder people think of the Lord that can hurl him from itit any degradation to sit on the same form the bright beams of the Sun of Rightewith children.
ousness can alone dispel the mists of darkWhat a great work has the Gospel ac- ness and death that hover over the inhabicomplished! Formerly their bodies, be tants of Africa—the Holy Spirit only can smeared with red earth and fat, and covered breathe life and joy into the souls now with filthy skins, presented a most deplor- dead in trespasses and sins. But for such able and degrading specimen of human na- aid we bad all laboured in vain. In vain ture, sunk in darkness and brutality. Now had we sown-in vain had we looked for a it is a cheering sight to behold them flock- harvest. But now the wilderness bas begun ing to church on the Sabbath in neat and to blossom. The command has gone forth; clean attire, with the Testament and hymn- light shines upon the chaos; the waters of book in their hands; or, on the week-days, life flow in pure streams; buds, blossoms, driving their wagons hither and thither, and fruit appear. Life, activity, and joy, building houses in European style, con- characterise the new creation. The shout is structing chairs and stools, boiling soap, heard, “ Arise, shine, for thy light is come, making candles, or looking out for the tra- and the glory of the Lord is risen upon vellers, to convey their letters to some dis- thee." tant friend.
It has greatly cheered me to hear from But still more pleasing is it to see hun- time to time of your great liberality towards dreds of converted heathen surrounding the the Missionary cause. Go on, dear friends! table of their Lord, and testifying their faith it is the cause of God and of our blessed Reand love towards Him who first loved them, deemer. “He that watereth others shall be and redeemed them from their sins. But watered also himself;" and they that con
secrate their property and their prayers to the cause of immortal souls shall certainly be blessed in their own. May the God of all grace bless you, smile upon your families, and the whole town! prosper all the schools, all the churches and congregations, all the religious and benevolent institutions, and grant to the whole neighbourhood
every spiritual and temporal mercy! It will always delight us to hear from you ; and I hope, from time to time, to remember you, and cheer your hearts with good news from a far country. Last Sunday, after the afternoon service, several came forward, under deep impressions, inquiring, What they should do to be saved ?
CONTRIBUTIONS FOR AFRICA. The Directors are enconraged to hope that the appeal of Mr. Elliott, on behalf of the afflicted churches in Africa, suffering under the destitution occasioned by the Caffre
has excited a powerful feeling of sympathy and compassion among the friends of Missions in this country, and that ample means of relief will be speedily obtained. Of the many gratifying communications received by the Home Secretary, in answer to that appeal, we cannot withbold the following, as we are assured the excellent example it presents will stimulate the benevolence of others to a like generous activity :
REV. AND DEAR SIR, -I heard with deep feelings of sorrow of the calamity at Rarotonga, and from my humble circumstances I could only add a mite in the way of subscription. But the distressing information from Africa rouses every effort, and seems to reach even to me,-poor as I am with regard to this world. Desiring to convince my beloved African brethren of my willingness to “do what I could for them" in this their time of need, I have collected the whole of my stores into one box, which I now send as the “poor widow's gleanings,” with my tenderest sympathy and Christian love. There will, I hope, be many valuable boxes sent on the same errand of love and sympathy. If I can but help, though only with one finger, I cannot deny myself the pleasure of simply manifesting my affection to my believing brothers and sisters in Africa. Would you, dear Sir, dispose of the enclosed small pictures? They will produce some trifle, and add a little to the value of the package.-H. M. M.
From Huddersfield we have been favoured with another gratifying communication, to the following effect :
The touching appeals contained in the Chronicle, have set our friends in motion to provide a parcel of useful articles for the relief of present distress. I brought the case before our church-meeting last week, mentioned it publicly on Lord's-day, and again at the Mis. sionary Prayer meeting on Monday evening. On Tuesday, between thirty and forty of our female friends came together to sew; and after spending the afternoon in this work, each carried home a portion of work to finish. Next week a similar meeting is to be held, I trust, with equal success. I do not wish to convey the impression that we are doing great things. Our funds for the object are limited; but by a division of labour, and a general co-operation through the churches, something effectual may be accomplished. Meanwhile the appeal calls forth refreshing instances of generosity in humble life. A female, after asking in the simplicity of her heart, “ What can I give?" came and offered a cloak—one of two remaining articles clothing spared from the scanty wardrobe of a departed sister ; but we could not accept it. A poor young man, by trade a shoemaker, asked me if a pair of shoes would be suitable to send. Having received an affirmative reply, he has presented a pair of new shoes-a large contribution for him. In this way, as well as by other means, I trust we may make up a tolerable parcel.
Mr. Elliott gratefully acknowledges the receipt of several generous Contributions for the relief of the suffering Natives ; the particulars of which, with any other benefactions he may receive, wiil be inserted, in a complete form, in a future Number of the Missionary Magazine.
Mc. E. also begs to express his warm sense of gratitude to the many kind Christian friends in Manchester, Leeds, Bath, and other places, who have so promptly responded to his appeal, and intimated their intention of committing to