Immagini della pagina
PDF

point, when speaking to the Natives: because, in Europe, it is so generally known and established, as to make a question about its existence nearly unnecessary; and we take it for granted, that every body knows it. But the Hindoo is very deficient in this knowledge; and it requires all our care and exertion, to instil into his mind a right idea of his soul.

- May 28, 1821–Catechising, both children and grown persons, on divine things, seems, at present, to be the

most suitable mode of conveying re

ligious ideas to them, and of rousing them to reflection: because, with few exceptions, the Natives are generally very dull, and indifferent, with respect to their minds; having, from their youth, been bound by the chain of custom and slavish obedience. But catechising, in a way to benefit the people, is not so easy as we, at first sight, may imagine: it is often more difficult than preaching itself; because it requires, on the part of the Catechist, a good store of knowledge always at hand, and a quickness of judgment to turn every answer, from boy or grown person, to good account. June 7, 1821. — A request was made for the establishment of a School at Shevel, south-west from hence. As usual, I have sent the inhabitants a parcel of our Catechisms, &c. for their perusal. June 9, 1821. — This afternoon, when the Schoolmasters, as is usual on Saturdays, brought their Reports, I had occasion to speak very scriously, though affectionately, with them about their souls conversion from darkness to light: one of them gave the occasion. I was the more glad of this opportunity, because the Schoolmaster at Cookoracollam had expressed a wish to become a Christian, as he had now no relations to hinder him. The new Master of Chickney Gramum' had, likewise, expressed such a desire ; but, with this addition—“Not at present, because of my family.” Al Chickney Gritinum, thc Brah

min Children, who left our School, on account of the Christian Books, have all returned again. One or two Boys of our English School at Tinnevelly have left it, because the Children read only the Christian Vedam : they wished to read the Arabian Nights in the School. We have had our Nine Seminarists with us, now but about five weeks, in which short time they have already given us a great deal of trouble by their behaviour: they have at last made two parties of themselves, out of spite to each other. They doubtless do the works of their fathers and mothers, which are now the more manifest to us, because they are continually under our eye: they cannot so easily escape by the tricks which the grown people play, who live at a distance from us. When I compare these daily occurrences among the lads, with those which I had to notice among the Native Christians at Madras, I find a perfect resemblance : the one shews me the character of the others. Alas! the Native Christians are in a sad condition : there is, indeed, in many, an appearance of good; but I have mostly found that it is only an outward decorum, which the Heathen also have, somewhat coloured by Christianity. Appearance of good remains, so long as we refrain from looking into the inner parts of their affairs and practices; but if we dive once into them, we find things that shock and grieve every Christian heart. For our Seminaries we are encouraged to do our utmost : in every respect, they need to be taught and directed ; and we are willing to endure much for them : may it please the Lord to grant them true repentance, and faith in Him ; as we now exhort, correct, and direct them, we trust that they will hereafter be able, from experience, to do so to others. I am glad to see that the Parents have apparently confidence in us, and value the privileges which their Sons enjoy. Our Evening Devotions continue to be attended as usual : there will often be, including the Seminarists, about twenty persons, some of whom are Heathen. July 12, 1821.-Several people came from Kangeikondan, a Village about ten miles north of Palamcottah, requesting a School. I had some conversation with them, and gave then copies of our religious books to carry home, for the inhabitants of the place to read previous to the establishment of a School; because such like things would be taught therein. I have, for several years, been desirous to prepare a work particularly for the Heathen, containing the Life of our Saviour, according to the Four Evangelists, in a plain and idiomatic style, freely rendered, and paraphrased wherever the sense requires it; with remarks, and extracts from the Epistles: in short, a work which may enable any intelligent Native to form a proper and orderly view of the Life of our Saviour, and of the plan of salvation through Him. Such a work, I felt encouraged to commence at the beginning of this year, and have proceeded a good way; and the further I proceed, the more I am delighted with it, not only from the hope of its being useful to the conversion of the Heathen, but from the benefit which I myself reap from it. I have divided it into Seven Chapters: the First contains the principal prophecies concerning Christ, and the general expectation of a Redeemer among all nations : the Second relates the incarnation of the Saviour, with his Life to the 30th year of his age, including his baptism and temptation : the Third relates his various journeys, his instructions, his miracles, &c., until the time of his sufferings : the Fourth part contains his sufferingsand death : the Fifth relates his resurrection and ascension, with the intervening events: the Sixth contains the testimony of the Apostles to his Divinity, to his atonement, and to his bestowing forgiveness of sim and eternal life; and the Seventh notices the fulfilment of scveral remarkable pro

phecies of Christ, as the destruction of Jerusalem, the propagation of the Gospel, and His coming to Judgment, This Work will, I hope, also be useful to the Native Christians, as it explains many difficulties which they find in the New Testament. May the Lord help me to finish it well, and to the praise of His Holy Name ! In our English School near the Garden, I have the pleasure to instruct weekly between thirty and forty Young Men (a few only are Boys) in the way of salvation, in their Native language. They go on in the English Exercises, which Mr. Hough introduced. Though they are too difficult for them at present, I continue them, because they give opportunity of instructing the Youths in the History of the Bible. They have been translating, for some time, the Small Catechism, from Tamul into English; on which I likewise catechise them in the week, whereby they get ac: quainted with the principles of our Holy Religion. I do not yet perceive that any of the Boys take much pleasure in these things, and some of them cause me grief by light-mindedness. However, the School is on the increase; and when I catechise them, they make a respectable Congregation. July 26. – Some people from Calcaud asked for a School in their place. It is a city not far from Nangaucherry, a place upon which I have had my eyes some time. I hope" to visit it on my next tour. Aug. 17. – A Native came from Poorey oor, begging that a School and Church might be built at his place, as there are many who wish to become Christians. They are the same, who, some years ago, addressed themselves to Mr. Hough. The man brought his Son with him, and requested me to keep him here in our School for instruction, in order that he may be hereafter useful in the village. I promised to visit them by and bye; and received the Boy, as we think it a good plan to prepare

-

[ocr errors]

Labourers for our School-establishments in this way. Aug. 21, 1821.-A man from Keelpatam brought his Son to learn in our Schools. A third Boy will follow from Kanasabaram. Thus we shall have Three Boys to prepare for usefulness. We must, of course, feed and clothe them as long as they are here; as we wish to have them about us– accustom them to cleanliness and order—and instruct them in Christianity. We doubt not that the Committee will approve of the measure, and allow the expense of them. Aug. 25. — A Hamildar, of the 29th Native Regiment in the Fort, came to-day, and asked for a Christian Book. He seemed indeed desirous to know Christianity. To the question whether their own Gooroos do not give them the knowledge of the True God, he answered—“How can they they have it not themselves: they teach us what they know for the sake of gain.” David has been the means of exciting him to make inquiry. These inquiries are here, alas ! very rare. Tinnevelly is, in this respect, much behind Madras. Aug. 26, Sunday. — The Schoolmaster from Cookoracollam, who wishes to be baptized, attended, for the first time, Divine Service: fear of the reproach of men has hitherto prevented his attending. There is, besides him, a bricklayer; who has been, for a long time about our house, and who has, for three months, attended Divine Service, that wishes to be baptized. His Wife died a few years ago. He has an only Daughter, who is twelve years of age : he spake to her the other day, after he had opened his mind to me, and told her his intention of becoming a Christian: she was so much frightened, as to beg him to destroy her before he did so He, however, spoke to her more fully upon the subject, and she became more reconciled: the opposition of his Daughter has, notwithstanding, given him a

‘great-shock. I am unable yet to

discover whether his intention is pure: he says he has heard the Gospel for three months—that he is convinced that idolatry is a bad and useless thing—that he feels himself a sinner — and that he thinks Christianity is the true religion. Besides the above two persons, there is a woman, in our service, who has also declared her wish to become a Christian in order to save her soul. She has usually attended our Evening Devotions, which seem to have made a good impression on her mind. When her eldest Daughter, who is likewise in our service and is about fifteen years of age, heard of her Mother's intention, she was very much displeased, and broke out against her in a manner similar to that of the bricklayer's Daughter— publishing it to her relations: but, for some days past, she also has attended our Evening Worship, though I fear not willingly. The Mother sends her two youngest Daughters to our School. Sept. 23, Sunday. — The Congregation was more numerous than usual: several Christians attended from Tanjore, who were journeying to Nagracoil; also some of the people of Keelpatam. A goodly number of Heathens attended at the doors and windows. David informed me yesterday, that, on account of the present dry season, the Brahmins of Tinnevelly make extraordinary long prayers to their Deities for rain, and begged me to offer prayer to the God of Heaven and Earth: we accordingly did so to-day, accompanying it with a few admonitions to the people. Sept. 26. – I went with Brother Schmid to Courichy, where, after the business of the School, we visited the people in the village. A crowd of people assembled, both Brahmins and others, to whom I preached the Word of God—entreating them to turn from the error of their ways. An ancient Brahmin, from civility I believe, assented to- all I said: another remarked, during the Discourse, that it had already grown dark: the rest heard quietly. None seemed

inchined to accept a Tract. Alas!

how deaf are their ears 1 t

Ertracts from the Journal of the Rev. Bernhard Schmid,jrom April to o - September 1821.

April, 1821.-The introduction of Dr. Bell's System has been commenced, by giving daily, to the whole School, a lesson in Avoyar’s Sentences, with a literal translation : explaining, as far as possible, every difficult word, and ordering them to write in the sand almost every word, that they may obtain a clear idea of 'whatever they repeat; and then making them repeat, in rotation, every single sentence, together with the interpretation; and questioning them, from time to time, about the meaning of the high Tamul words, taken out of the connection in which they occurred, in order to prevent their learning by heart, in that thoughtless and mechanical manner to which Indian Youths are so much accus'tomed. Each sentence was thus repeated, till most of the Boys were masters of it; then they proceeded to the following sentences. ... We enlarge on this subject, partly because we have the intention to propose to the Committee to print Avoyar’s Sentences with a translation, ‘which we shall send to you; together with an Appendix, containing short "Annotations on these Sentences, and on the superiority of Scripture Morals. Such a little book would be very useful for rewards, and for occasional distribution among the Heathen ; besides its use as a Schoolbook. The practice of obliging Children to learn by heart things which they ... do not understand, we cannot but consider one of the most cunning and successful measures, which Satan has devised to maintain his cause upon earth. Persons are thereby accustomed, blindly to follow the authority of others, and to believe and to say whatever teachers or superiors ... believe or say : they lay an undue

importance on mere forms of words, which they do not understand ; and are easily induced to suppose them . to have mysterious powers. Even if

the Children should attempt to reflect on them, and attach an idea to these verses, they cannot but make mistakes and fall upon absurdities: whether they reflect while learning

these verses by heart or not, they will derive no benefit from them; but their minds will only be darkened and stupified, besides the loss of their time. Moreover, by seeing their teachers and learned persons greatly boasting of their knowledge .# these things, the people are induced to think very highly of the excellency of these books; and conceive a deep respect for the supposed wisdom and truth contained in them, whether scientific or religious, because they are unable to search and examine them themselves ; and thence reject, with contempt, the opportunities of becoming acquainted with truewisdom

and true religion.

[blocks in formation]

of words, which they do not understand. It would be equally wrong to turn out of our Schools the Ancient Tamul Language, i.e. the High Tamul, as it is commonly called ; together with the writings composed in the classical age of the Tamul Nation. But nothing must be learnt without an interpretation. We intend, there: fore, after having taught the whole of Avoyar’s Sentences in the way mentioned before, to teach in the same way some other Rational and Moral Books as far as time permits. But to exercise their memory with words, and to inure them to patient labour and to perseverance, they shall learn, in their native manner, the Negandoo and Devaragam Dictionaries of the Tamul Language, which will be of great use to them afterward. After this lesson in Avoyar's Sentences, an hour's lesson is daily given, to teach them, according to the System, our Short Catechism; ascertaining whether every word is clear to them; and ordering them to write in the sand the more difficult words. This lesson is given also to the whole School, in order to afford the Boys a greater scope for competition and exertion, and to discover their capacities; so that it will be easy to divide them into Classes, as soon as requisite. May 16, 1821. —Was almost the whole morning in the School, to accustom the Seminarists a little to the System. Only one of the youngest of them enters, in some measure, into its spirit; and he, I hope, will become useful to me. All who are above fourteen or fifteen years of age seem to find unconquerable difficulties, in divesting themselves of the mechanical observance of certain rules, and in making a free use of their mental faculties. I have hitherto found it so, at least with persons of caste. It is ridiculous, but distressing, to see how little dirty Boys of Caste, when standing with Parriars, according to the System, in a half-circle, endeavour to keep at a distance from the Parriars:

and if a Parriar Boy is advanced in the class, and comes to stand between two Caste Boys, the whole class moves, in order to avoid touching one another; for the Parriars are so accustomed to this, that they, of their own accord, are careful not to touch a Boy of Caste: this produces often much disorder in a class. I am grieved that I must daily see such instances of superstition, by which man degrades his fellow ; but since all the Boys are Heathen, excepting a few Roman Catholics that are among them, I think it is a duty of Christian forbearance to connive, unless the disorder occasioned by it becomes too apparent. The manner in which a Boy of Caste looks at a Parriar, who comes, even unintentionally, too near to him, reminds me often, in a very lively manner, of that passage of the Prophet Isaiah lxv. 5.-Stand by thyself: come not near to me, for I am holier than thou : these are a smoke in my nose—a fire that burneth all the day. In Madras, I never saw or heard such a thing. May 19.—Almost daily, new Boys come to the School, of good caste. I am afraid, that, when the Gospel begins to shew its effects among them, great drawbacks will take place. But we must not be induced by this fear to withhold from them the Gospel, so long as they are placed by Providence under our care. It is the peculiar character of the Gospel to make a stir; and, before such stir exists, the Gospel does not duly operate. We have always found, that those among our Schools have prospered most in spiritual things, in which the greatest stir has been excited by the Catechising, and the Christian Books which the Boys committed to memory. In such cases, the Children will leave the Schools in Numbers; but many of them will return, after a time, when they see that we persevere steadily in our way, and explain to them meekly our motives and views as often as opportunity offers. The Children become, after such struggles, the more willing to learn our books, and more

« IndietroContinua »