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home, and seek refuge in the forests, on account of his adherence to the faith.
The Christians at the capital were now unable to unite in singing, and yet they longed to sing one of the songs of Zion. Some of them learnt to play the tunes on the native instrument called the valiha or harp; and felt no small delight in that exercise. A wife of one of the Christians accused her husband of this to Razakandrianaina, the officer who had brought an accusation against them in the first instance. He listened gravely to her accusation, and then replied that he did not believe it, for, said he, “they are too much afraid to transgress again the laws of the queen; they pretend they can do great things, but when it comes to the crisis, they give up their religion to save their lives. When I used to go out after sunset before the suppression of Christianity, I sometimes overheard them singing, “ Izaho tsy matahotra,”
“I have no dread of death,
For Jesus Christ is ever nigh.” I felt annoyed at them, and began to think they really did not fear death; but as soon as the queen ordered them to come and accuse themselves, they ran from every direction, confessed their crimes, craved the queen's pardon, and promised to do so no more. I am almost convulsed with laughter to see some that I heard singing a few weeks previously, 'I have no dread of death,' coming almost out of breath to accuse themselves, in order to avoid death. I said within myself, these men were singing falsehoods; they are as much afraid of death as any body else. I do not believe there is one
real believer in this country, besides the Europeans. I have heard indeed that many Europeans in their own country have continued obstinate and suffered death for it, but they have not done so here.” These remarks made a deep impression on the minds of many of the Christians; and there is reason to believe that the reproof they contained, coming from such a man, proved a blessing in arousing them to greater fortitude, decision, and consistency.
Before the final departure of the missionaries from the capital, the“ Pilgrim's Progress” was translated into the Malagasy language, by Mr. Johns, and eight copies were written out by some of the Christian natives at full length, and left in their hands, each copy being made the joint property of several individuals. They read it over frequently, and prized it next to the Bible. There is reason to hope that the perusal of it has been the means of the conversion of some, and the recovery of others, who had backslidden from the paths of truth.
A copy of it was sent forward to Mr. Freeman, then in England, where a subscription was made by various friends in different parts of the country in order to have it printed. The Religious Tract Society liberally promoted the object, and 1000 copies were struck off, many of which are now in the hands of our suffering friends. One of the manuscript copies, into which Mr. Johns had put the plates he had taken out of his printed copy, fell into the hands of the government, on the apprehension of one of the Christians. Some of the officers read part of it, but found it remarkably mysterious. They were
THE SHINING LIGHT.
not aware of its being a translation from an English book, but supposed it to be some of the dreamings of these new fanatics. They came to the account of the glimmering light that Evangelist directed Christian to observe, and this completely puzzled them; "a little glimmering distant light”—what can that mean? and they laid the book down, in absolute despair of comprehending it.
Events occurring in the history of the Mission from the Queen's
edict, 1st March, 1835, to the martyrdom of Rasalama in 1837.
The immediate effect of the queen’s edict was to deprive the missionaries of all sphere of appropriate missionary labour in Madagascar, and, therefore, to force upon them the inquiry what they could or ought to attempt in the prosecution of their work, either by evading the edict or acting in direct defiance of it. The duty of the Christian missionary, to yield obedience to the supreme authority of the Saviour in seeking to make known his gospel to every creature, was unhesitatingly admitted, and felt to remain unaltered, whatever might be the laws and edicts of human princes—“Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you rather than unto God, judge ye.” But the present was a question of practicability. To do what the Malagasy government had commanded should not be done was attended not merely with difficulty and danger, but with physical impossibility; and this reduced the question of what the missionaries ought to do within a small compass. They could not collect the natives to address them, for the natives durst not and would not be collected to be addressed; the congregations were scattered ; individual converts might venture by stealth to visit the missionaries and converse with them;
REMOVAL FROM MADAGASCAR.
unbelievers would not come, and durst not listen-they knew they were exposed to imminent danger if they did, and they had no inclination to risk the danger. Missionaries might have resolved to visit their houses, but they could not gain access to the natives ; for it was now death to a native to lend an ear to their instruction on religious subjects. Nor could the missionaries find even useful occupation in their schools. They had no liberty to communicate instruction there : everything printed was prohibited ; and to teach a few children to write on slates, and that writing to consist only of names of villages, &c., and not anything involving sentiment of any kind, was the only sphere of labour allowed them in their capacity of “ teachers.”
The only thing left for them to do was to complete the translation and printing of the Scriptures. A part of the Old Testament was as yet unfinished, namely, from Ezekiel to Malachi, and a portion of Job. To this object they successfully and unremittingly devoted their energies, resolved, if it were possible, not to quit the country till the whole of the Scriptures were complete in the Malagasy language; and, happily, they saw their determination effected. Mr. Baker, the printer, as the sheets of the translation were put into his hand, composed the whole himself at the press, as the natives who had been taught the art of printing were no longer permitted to assist in furtherance of any such design.
The facts of the case as they occurred were laid before the directors of the Missionary Society, and their advice solicited; still, as no communications could be received from them before June, 1836, sixteen months from the