VERY DEAR BRETHREN,
In entering on a review of the past year, feelings of a peculiar nature fill our minds. This year has witnessed both judgment and mercy in an unusual degree. It has closed, moreover, the twentieth year since the formation of our Society. The dealings of God with us therefore deserve to be diligently recorded, and carefully pondered in the heart. Surely it is not presumption for us to realize the advice of the Psalmist respecting the Lord's dealings with us, nor deceptive to expect the fruit he declares to follow therefrom, "Whoso is wise and will observe these things, even he shall understand the loving kindness of the Lord."
We will begin the review with the afflictions God has been pleased to lay upon us, and which indeed almost commenced with the year. It had pleased God in the last week of the preceding year, to remove sister Mardon who had been previously confined by illness nearly two months. This was succeeded in the month of January, by the death of one of our pupils. But in February we were visited with an alarming disease seldom found in India, the putrid sore throat. Brother Ward's second daughter, about six years old, was the first who was seized with it, and within two days after the disease was perceived, it carried her off. The disease afterwards seized the other children of brother Ward, them both himself and sister Ward, and afterwards brother Marshman's family, brother Carey's neice, sister Carey, and the greater part of the children in the school. Here, however, mercy was evident, neither brother nor sister Ward, nor any of their other children, nor any one of the family, was carried off thereby; and only one of our pupils, who died in April. Affliction however still followed: in the latter end of February, brother Marshman's infant son was taken ill in a different disease, and after an illness of ten days was removed by death.
But all these domestic afflictions were light compared with what was about to follow. On the 11th of March, an affliction was sent, which, but for the tender mercies of our God, might have consumed us utterly; the fire which you have already seen so fully detailed; and the particulars of which therefore we need not mention. The circumstances attending this afflictive stroke are such as evidently mark the hand of God therein. It happened at a time when the printing-office was more completely
furnished with types, than at any other period. Founts had been completed in fourteen of the Indian languages, and a very large supply of English types had been received about three weeks before. -- The quantity of English paper too was greater than we had ever under our fire before. In addition to the paper which had been purchased for various English works, the Calcutta Auxiliary Bible Society had, a few days before, sent us nearly a thousand reams, intended for the Cingalese, Tamul, and Malayalim versions of the New Testament, which they had employed us to print. To secure this paper from being stolen by our native heathen servants, which had been several times the case, we removed it into our printing office a few days before the fire. – Add to this, that the versions of the Scriptures then at press were more numerous than at any former period. Beside those versions which we have in hand ourselves, we either had in the press or were preparing to put to press, the Tamul and Cingalese versions already mentioned, the Persian-Hindee by the Reverend Mr. Marlyn, and the Persian by Pere Sebastiani. In the midst of these circumstances it pleased God to send this awful fire, and to permit it after being kept under for more than four hours, to break forth at once with irresistible fury, and consume every thing within the space of an hour; the title-deeds of the premises and the accounts, which were in a room 150 feet distant from the place where the fire first raged, being scarcely saved, and that at the hazard of life. These circumstances we cannot but regard as evidently marking hand of God therein.
Yet if the hand of God was evident in the judgment, it was still more conspicuous in mingling mercy therewith. His goodness evidently shone in preserving our lives amidst the fire when exposed to the most imminent danger in attempting to quell it. A Portuguese servant who merely ventured into the room half an hour after the fire was seen, was dragged out senseless through suffocation, and lay thus for some time. How easily might any one of us have adventured in a little farther, and have been completely suffocated! What but Divine mercy kept us from this, or preserved us from sinking in while upon the roof on fire underneath, giving directions to others? We cannot recollect these circumstances without gratitude and wonder. -- The wind's being perfectly still, which at that season blows often with great violence, and even in the beginning of that evening blew quite fresh, is a circumstance which marked the tender care of Providence; for had the south or north-west winds, so often violent at that season, been at all stirring, while a column of fire above a hundred and fifty feet in length and nearly forty in breadth, was fiercely burning, the other premises north, west, and north-east of it, the farthest of which were scarcely fifty feet distant, and the nearest scarcely thirty, must have fallen unavoidably a prey thereto; and premises which in purchasing and repairs have cost.us more than fifty thousand rupees, including the schools for our pupils of both sexes, the public hall, the library; the museum, and all our own dwellings, must have been inevitably consumed; which, if our lives had been still spared, would have left us, a family of nearly a hundred, without a shed beneath which to lay our heads, and perhaps without the means of going forward to repair the misfortune.
Nor can we help reflecting on the peculiarly merciful circumstances which appeared to attend the fire; some of which, though mentioned already, it would he almost criminal to overlook in a review of the Lord's dealings with us. The Presses, so necessary for carrying forward the work of God, we have hitherto been constrained in general to seek from Europe; and could we have got them made at any rate in this country, it must have occasioned a delay of many months: these, five in number, were in a side-room; and so steadily did the flames ascend, that this room was not burnt, although the flames kindled upon the door-posts. Further, though every pound weight of types was melted down, the steel puncher for the various founts in the languages of India, which were in a box in the midst of the flames, were neither burnt, nor injured, nor lost in the rubbish. These, the most important of all, which we had been ten yean in fabricating, were found the very next day amidst the burning ruins. -- Nor could it be without the care of Divine Providence, without which a sparrow does not fall to the ground, that a place so exceedingly convenient for a printing-office should have fallen into our hands only four days before the fire. While held by the former occupants, it often had cloths deposited there to the worth of fifty or sixty thousand pounds sterling; and had this been the case when the fire happened, we should not of course have distressed the occupants by compelling them, at a great loss, to remove so much property, and immediately give up the place to us. If we had been compelled, however, to build a, new printing-office of that extent, (could we have procured the funds,) still the delay in printing the Scriptures during the whole of this time, in the present state of things in India, would have augmented our distress more than we can easily describe. But having still the punches for casting new founts of types, and a place so suitable lying empty, we were enabled to begin casting new types before the fire was thoroughly extinguished, and within a month to set up our presses thus preserved to us, and begin printing the Scriptures anew, which we did in the Tamul and Hindee languages.
We have also reason to remember the good hand of God upon us in this peculiarly trying season, in enabling us, we humbly hope, to form aright judgment respecting this affliction, and not permitting us either to indulge mutual recrimination, or sink into stupifying despondency. Either of these might have been the case, and we might have been in consequence alienated in affection from each other, or else have sat down in despair, concluding that the loss was irreparable, and the stroke a frown of God forbidding all future efforts. Instead of this, however, we were enabled to humble ourselves before God with a oneness of heart, that seemed only increased by the affliction; and some of the sweetest and purest seasons of communion with God, and with each other, which we have ever known, were experienced in this season of affliction. Not a murmuring word, nor a desponding look was to he observed even among our dear sisters, or the younger branches of the family; hut a solemn serenity seemed to fill and strengthen our minds, $e remembrance of which is inexpressibly dear to us even at this hour.
The way too in which we were led, and the blessing which seemed to attend all our efforts to restore things to their former state, we cannot but recollect with gratitude. The hearts of valued friends were opened toward us; and the sum of more than 8000 Rupees was contributed to assist us, without our soliciting an individual, or taking a single step therein. The generous sympathy manifested for us in this time of affliction by our esteemed friend, the Reverend Mr. Thomason, and the Christian friends with him, was more refreshing to our minds than even the pecuniary aid which they so freely contributed, to enable us again to go forward with the work of God. One instance peculiarly deserves mention: A gentleman, whose name we forbear to mention, within six days after the fire, of which he heard only by common report or the public papers, sent us, from a hundred and fifty miles distance, a letter couched in terms of sympathy and esteem which it would he improper for us to repeat, and enclosing a bill for five hundred rupees, (more than L 60 sterling) to assist us in beginning anew to print the Sacred Scriptures. In all too that we attempted by way of replacing the founts of types, the good hand of God has been so fully upon us, that we are again printing the Scriptures in twelve languages; and in some of them the progress made has been very great, particularly in the Tamul, so much needed and so earnestly desired by our Christian brethren on the coast. This edition of the New Testament, consisting of five thousand copies, and containing nearly 800 large 8vo. pages, we shall be enabled to complete in about eleven months from the time of the fire, although we had to cast the fount of types afresh. This fact illustrates the goodness of God in watching over us in the furnace so as to preserve the presses, and the punches, and in providing us with a place in which to renew our labours without delay. Thus then at the close of the year, after an affliction the most tremendous we have ever known, through the wisdom and mercy of God, we find ourselves better fitted, both in mind and circumstances, to go forward with the work of diffusing abroad the Sacred Scriptures, than before the Lord was pleased to visit us with this trial, while the lessons we would fain hope we have been taught by this event, are more precious to us than gold, even when purified in the fire.
We now proceed to take a view of the dealings of God as it relates to the Mission in general, in which we shall first notice the several stations mentioned last year, and then any extension the Lord may have been pleased to grant us this year. The number of persons added by baptism this year, is on the whole, rather less than the preceding year. Yet it will notwithstanding appear that there has been a wider extension of the Gospel this year than in any one preceding. We proceed to notice the state of the various stations:
1. Dinagepore. At this station there has been no increase by baptism this year. Our beloved brother Fernandez, however, is still labouring in hope. Letters lately received from him inform us, that he has had several on the enquiry, for some months past. We hope, therefore, that this year there will he an increase granted to that infant church.
2. Goamalty. This station has this year sustained the loss of its pastor,
our highly valued brother Mardon. The afflictions with which our beloved brother was previously exercised were very great. In the space of five months, he was bereaved of his yoke-fellow and his two youngest children. Afflictions, however, which, though a most affectionate and tender relative, our brother was enabled to sustain with that patient resignation to his heavenly Father's will that endeared him exceedingly to his brethren. Within a month after sister Mardon's death, he departed to his station, and applied himself with new vigour to his work, particularly that part which had been recently recommended to him, the founding of schools to instruct children in the Bengalee language, and accustom them to reading the Scriptures therein. In this he succeeded beyond his expectation: the people in the towns where he proposed the plan, beseeching him to begin schools and promising to secure the attendance of children. There seems to have been no period of his life indeed in which his heart seemed more earnestly and delightfully engaged in the work of God. In the midst of it however it pleased Him who cannot err, to call him to the possession of a crown of glory; and that in a most sudden manner; after having been engaged in missionary labour during the day, he retired to rest, and by two in the morning he had bid adieu to all labour and sorrow. Happily about six months previously to this, our brother had taken with him brother D'Cruz, a member of the church at Calcutta, who had devoted himself to the work of God among the heathen. He has since succeeded to the care of the station and the schools, for which latter he had been in some degree prepared by assisting brother Leonard in the school at Calcutta. It has pleased God to own his labours by enabling him to add two to his church; and the last letters received from him give an account of several natives who seem earnestly enquiring about the gospel.
3. Cutwa. At this station our bro. W. Carey, jun. continues to reside; and much of the divine blessing seems to have been experienced in the year under review. Seven (including two not mentioned last year) have been baptized at that station, two of them at Lakra-koonda. The branch of the church at Lakra-koonda seems to hold on in the faith and to grow. Two or three native brethren labour with very great diligence among their fellow-countrymen, and with considerable effect, as will appear from the journals of Kangalee and the other brethren which have appeared in the Circular Letters. The word of God seems not to have been sowed here for so many years by our bro. Chamberlain in vain. When our brother W. Carey, jun. was here on a visit last year, we desired him to attempt extending schools in his neighbourhood too. This he has attempted and in some places with much success.
4. Jessore. In this district brother Petruse has been resident during the whole year. Six have been added to the church at Chougacha; among the native itinerant brethren, Pran-krishna and Punchanun labour with great assiduity. Punchanun lives at the distance of thirty or forty miles from Chougacha, and we intend to form the brethren there, about fifteen in number, into a separate church, and to advise their chusing brother Punchanun as their pastor. He is a man endued with peculiar activity and boldness in declaring the gospel; and we trust he
5. will prove an extensive blessing. Pran-krishna too has proved himself a Most faithful and useful helper in making know n the word of life.
This church has sustained a great loss this year in the death of our brother Seeta-rama. He was baptized nearly ten years ago, and during the whole of this period his walk has been such as to give us pleasure. Though unable to read, he may he called the father of the little church in Jessore t we have scarcely less than ten who have been brought to the knowledge of the truth entirely through his instrumentality. He seems to have lived down prejudice as it related to his neighbours, and by boldly avowing the gospel, and adorning it with a meek and blameless conversation, to have recommended it powerfully to their esteem. But if the church have suffered a loss in the removal of our deceased brother, it has received an addition scarcely less pleasing, in the recovery of a brother who for some years seemed lost to the cause. This is Boodhoo-sha, who was baptized at Serampore in 1802, but who had for a long time forsaken the faith. His brother Sadut-sha, who was baptized some months after him, soon afterwards went to live in the forest called the Soondur-vunas as a mendicant. About three years ago, he by some accident came within the knowledge of our bro. Carapiet then in Jessore, was by degrees made sensible of his sin and folly in forsaking the living; God and the Saviour of men, and at length restored. He is now in communion with the church at Calcutta, and labours honestly with his hands. Boodhoo-sha, after wandering a long time about the country, took up his abode in our bro. Seeta-rama's village, and obtained a living by selling necklaces made of the toolsee tree. Here he for a long time opposed the gospel, and was quite a thorn in the side of Seeta-rama; who, however, patiently persevering in recommending the gospel, seems at length to nave overcome the obstinacy of Boodhoo-sha. He listened to it again; and in a short time, with tears intreated to be admitted among them who gloried in the name of Jesus Christ alone. He has since been with us at Serampore, and has improved that opportunity, though near forty years of age, to acquire the Bengalee alphabet that he might be able to read the Scriptures to others. He is capable of great usefulness, should the Lord he pleased to keep him in his fear.
6. Jugunnudee near Dacca. This year the Lord has been pleased to raise up a small interest at this place. Our bro. Cornish, on his being placed in an indigo factory here, requested us to send a native brother to assist him in making known the gospel around. We sent our brother Bhagvat, whom bro. Cornish has supported at his own charge ever since. About a month ago they formed themselves into a church consisting of six members, and have since baptized one person. Bro. Cornish discharges the pastoral office among them; but we hear he is about to he recalled thence. Should this be the case, the little interest there may suffer. The Lord however can support them, and if he has much people there, as he once declared he had in Corinth, he most certainly will.
7. Serampore & Calcutta. Around the former of these places the gospel has been made known much more than in any preceding year. The keeping of a horse, which we felt unwilling to do till our numerous sedentary avocations would permit us lo enjoy health no longer without it,
enlarged our own sphere of itineracy; and our native brethren from the beginning of the year, felt much stirred up to seek the salvation of their perishing countrymen. Hence the villages and towns around to a considerable extent, have been frequently visited, and we have been enabled to do much more in disseminating the Scriptures, and scripture tracts, than in any preceding year. The fruit has not appeared as yet in many coming forward openly to confess the Lord Jesus; but the degree of light is greater than it has ever been; and we have no doubt that truth will ultimately triumph. Several instances have indeed come to our knowledge of persons, who, we have reason to think, have received the word of life, although they have never openly made a profession of faith in Christ. An instance of this is recorded in the Circular Letter for December, in the case of a Hindoo who on his dying bed called on the Lord Jesus as alone able to save him, and was on this account turned out by his unfeeling relatives to expire in the street.
In Calcutta the word of life seems to grow exceedingly. A desire to make known the gospel, we hope, in a greater or less degree, prevails throughout the church there; so that almost every one who is able manifests a wish to recommend the gospel to those around. Many have in consequence been wrought upon in the course of the preceding year. A great work seems silently going forward in His Majesty's 24th Regiment now in the Fort, of which regiment eleven have been baptized this year, and a still greater number are candidates for that sacred ordinance. Our native brethren too, Krishna, Sebuk-rama, and others, continue steadily to labour in the gospel, making it known both to small assemblies, and from house to house. The fruit graciously given this year has been great; no less than seventy of various nations have been baptized this year at Serampore and Calcutta, a greater increase than we have witnessed in any preceding year. Calcutta indeed, as it relates to the gospel, is become one of the most favoured spots to he found in India, and perhaps in England, if we regard the number of European inhabitants, as it is either statedly or occasionally the scene of the labours of no less than ten European evangelical ministers, beside our native brethren, whose labours perhaps are equal to those of all the others. The number of persons baptized at the various stations in Bengal this year is eighty-six.
Digah. Our brethren at this station have this year formed themselves into a church, having previously, at their own request, received a dismission from the church at Serampore for that purpose. They have not as yet been favoured with any addition; hut the accounts relative to hearers are very hopeful. They have a very promising native school; and there is reason to hope that the Lord will ere long be pleased to bless our brethren and sisters there, and give them to see the accomplishment of their wishes in the increase of the cause of Christ around them.
The Lord has been pleased this year to exercise them with affliction in removing our highly and justly esteemed sister Moore, who had been for a long time on the borders of the grave. In the beginning of the last
year indeed, she seemed considerably recovered; but abont June her disease returned with increased violence, when bro. Moore took a journey with her to Calcutta, in the hope that the air on the river, and the medical advice she might obtain there, might prove salutary. But the Lord had otherwise determined. After staying a few days at Calcutta, agreeably to her own earnest desire, she came to Serampore, where, three weeks after, she gave up her soul into the arms of her Redeemer, leaving a sweet memorial on the minds of her brethren and sisters, of her humble but firm and steady reliance on her glorious Saviour, and of her love to them, which seemed to have been rendered more fervent and tender by her absence from them. She was one who most sincerely loved the cause of God, and thought no labour too great by which she could promote it. She may he said to have been the founder of the school at Digah, which we trust will long he a support both to that station and the cause of God around; as both by her personal exertions, as far as her health would permit, and her prudent and steady counsels, she abundantly strengthened the hands of the partner of her soul; and many and earnest were the prayers she put up for the divine blessing on that station as it related to the cause of God there: prayers which we cannot but hope will he answered, notwithstanding she herself has been first removed to glory.
Agra. At this station brethren Chamberlain and Peacock resided at the beginning of the year; but a train of circumstances, which it is unnecessary to detail here, has led to the removal of bro. Chamberlain, not however before he had disseminated the word of life widely around, nor before the first fruits of their labour had been granted to our brethren, in the baptism of one of their own countrymen. Brother Chamberlain arrived at Serampore on the first Sabbath in October. We have since heard that bro. Peacock, who still continues at the station, goes on with increased vigour, and seems likely to he useful there. He continues the European school, began by brother Chamberlain and himself, which we hope will contribute in some degree to the support of the station. A valuable friend there, supports a native school at her own expence [sic].
THE MAHRATTA COUNTRY.
The valuable friend and brother who has so diligently laboured to diffuse the word of life around him here, was, in the course of Providence, brought to Serampore this year; where he gave up himself to his Lord in the ways of his own appointment, and was baptized. He remained with us nearly three months, in which time he was united to Miss Hobson, the neice of brother Carey, and who was baptized on the same day with himself. In the beginning of October he left us, apparently much refreshed and strengthened in mind by the visit. We have since heard of his safe arrival, and that there are one or two whom he soon expects to baptize.
In this country, our brethren John Peter & Krishna-dasa, both of whom have now acquired the Orissa language, seem to labour in an unwearied manner. It is here, how ever, as it was in Bengal, and as it must be in every heathen country into which the gospel is newly carried, the seed must be
sown, and have time to vegetate, before much fruit can be expected. The people must first receive the word before it can bear fruit, and they must understand its excellence before they can receive the truth in the love of it; and the force of prejudice must be abated before they will give it that patient hearing which may lend them to discover its excellence. Thus we found it in Bengal; and now prejudice is greatly abated, the light is diffused abroad, and the gospel begins to bear fruit in a manner we have not before seen. Three only have been baptized this year in Orissa, two of whom were previously Roman Catholics. The branch of the church which was at Cuttack has been removed with the regiment to another part of India. Brethren Smith and Greene however seem well established in the truth, and zealous to make known the word. We therefore hope that their removal will be the means of diffusing the gospel still more widely. The number baptized in the other parts of India (excepting Bengal) the preceding year amount only to four. We now leave Hindoosthan, and turn to the
The Mission to the Burman empire, although it sustained a great loss from brother Chafer's being unable to continue there, seems still to he the care of Divine Providence. Brother Norman Kerr, a young man, a member of the church of Calcutta, had long been desirous of engaging in the work of God. On the Burman mission being mentioned to him, he took it into the most serious consideration. After a few days, he fully made up his mind, and devoted himself to this work. In about a month he gave up his employ in the office of a respectable merchant at Calcutta, whom he had served several years, and who parted with him with great reluctance, and came to Serampore to pursue his studies till a ship should offer. This circumstance was to us the more pleasing, as brother Kerr is the first brother born in India who has offered himself to serve in a foreign mission. At Serampore his assiduous attention to his studies has seldom been exceeded. He re-commenced Latin which he had previously studied some years before, under our much esteemed friend the late Mr. Burney; and after two months commenced the study of Greek, in which, before he left us, he had made such proficiency as to enable him to read the Testament pretty readily; and had gone through the Hebrew grammar, and begun reading. Brother F. Carey visiting us, he departed with him in November, and we hear with gratitude, that they have safely arrived, and have a greater field of usefulness opening before them than ever. Brother F. Carey expresses a strong hope that he shall he enabled to set up a press there, which he knows well how to .conduct, as he laboured diligently many years in the priming-office at Serampore. Brother and sister Robinson, destined to this station, embarked in June; hut the ship was driven hack by distress of weather; and since, 110 convenient opportunity has offered. There are however some pleasing circumstances in the state of things at Java. Brother Brown, who is a member of the church of Calcutta, seems both steady and active in
the ways of God, and the last letter from him informed us, that a small society consisting of about fifteen met constantly with him for prayer and other religious exercises; and that they were earnestly praying for, and expecting the arrival of brother Robinson. From our brethren in the 14th, which lay at Soorabaya we have scarcely heard during the year.
ISLE OF BOURBON.
We have heard hut once this year from our brethren of the 22d regiment stationed on this island. This was from our brethren Forder and Blatch, who with brother Joplin seemed to be steady in the ways of God; they hinted that several of the rest had given them much sorrow by their conduct; but did not mention any particulars. We can therefore say nothing relative to this church, till we hear farther from them.
We have thus taken a brief review of all the stations formed at the beginning of the last year. In certain of them where the seed had been long sown, much fruit has been seen; certain others have just begun to blossom, and in some others our brethren are beginning to sow the heavenly seed. Be it our concern fervently and constantly to implore the blessing of the Lord of the harvest thereon.
And Brethren called this year to the work.
It has pleased God this year to grant a considerable extension to the Mission; greater perhaps than in any former year. These instances of divine goodness we shall notice in the order in which they have been brought before us.
COLUMBO IN CEYLON.
Circumstances having led brother Chater to seek for another field of labour, he desired us to assist him in selecting a suitable one. His mind was strongly inclined to Columbo. But having reason to believe there was a missionary brother from the London Missionary Society already residing there, we, deeming the conduct of the apostle Paul a directory for all future missionaries, and unwilling to enter upon another man's labours, pointed out four other stations as eligible for missionary labours. Of these bro. Chater chose Penang, and applied himself with diligence to seeking a passage thither. Some time after, being at Calcutta on the point of taking a passage for Penang, he met with a friend who had just arrived from Columbo, and who informed him that there was no missionary there, nor, he believed, any one nearer than Point de Galle, nearly a hundred miles distance from Columbo; and that there were multitudes of natives there hearing the name of Christians, who were without any one to care for their souls. Brother Chater thinking this state of things removed all possibility of his intruding into another's province, communicated this intelligence to us, with his own sentiments on the subject. Wishing to see the path of duty perfectly clear, we consulted some of our Christian friends on the subject, particularly our late friend the Rev. Mr. Brown. He most thoroughly approved of the step, particularly as opening a door for the effectual distribution of the Cingalese New Testament
which we were then putting to press; and offered to give bro. Chater letters of recommendation to the Rev. Mr. Twisleton there, with whom he, as Secretary to the Calcutta Auxiliary Bible Society, constantly corresponded. This he did, and March 4th, our brother and sister with their family left us, having been previously and repeatedly recommended to the Divine blessing. The Lord was pleased to grant them a prosperous voyage, and has been pleased to open the way for them in a remarkable manner. The Honorable the Governor, the Chief Justice, and the Rev. Messrs. Twisleton and Bisset, have shewn our brother and sister very great kindness. They have an increasing school, and bro. Chater has obtained permission to preach in English, as well as in Cingalese when he shall have acquired the language, to which he is diligently applying, and in which he finds great advantage from his previous acquaintance with the Burman language. Thus an effectual door seems to be opening there for the spread of the gospel. Some time after bro. Chater's arrival at Columbo, brother Palm was appointed to the care of the Dutch church in that city, on the death of the preceding minister of that church. We hear with much pleasure, that brethren Chater and Palm live in great harmony with each other.
Patna. The large and populous city of Patna presents a vast field for missionary labour. As our brethren at Digah are at the distance of twelve mile; and have a populous neighbourhood around them, they have long intreated us to send up some brother who might labour among the natives in that city. We for some time wished to send bro. Petruse, hut he wishing to go into Jessore, we mentioned the subject to our younger brother J. T. Thompson, who had long been labouring in the neighbourhood of Calcutta. He after duly weighing the matter, determined to devote himself to the work of God in the city of Patna. After this he was set apart by the church to the work of God there; and himself, his wife, his mother, and a brother and sister who expressed a desire to accompany him, formed into a church. He arrived safely at Patna in. May, and has since laboured with much diligence there, as will appear from his journals. Hitherto none have come forward to embrace the faith of the Lord Jesus openly; but we hope the earnest desires of our brother on this head will this year he heard and accepted by the Lord of the Harvest. Our brother for some time previously to his departure, attended the school at Calcutta under the care of brother Leonnard, with the view of attempting one on the same plan at Patna; and on this being mentioned among the elder boys of the school who were in the habit of assisting as monitors, several voluntarily offered to accompany and assist bro. Thompson. Among these brother Leonard made choice of a lad who had long discharged the office of second monitor much to his satisfaction, and had discovered great attention to the Scriptures there daily read and committed to memory; and we hear that a school has since been opened for the natives and others, which contains more than thirty children, and that this lad conducts himself with much steadiness.
Bombay. As brother Petruse's going into Jessore enabled our brother Carapiet to turn his attention to some other field, we thought it reasonable
to gratify a wish he has long expressed, that of seeking in some way the salvation of his countrymen, and proposed to aim to go to Bombay, where and at Sural he would get frequent opportunities of conversing with them. Into this he entered with all his heart, and in October embarked for Bombay with his wife and daughter. We have since received a most pleasing letter from him, informing as of his safe arrival there, and expressing his determination to spend and he spent in the service of the Lord Jesus. Whether he will make choice of Bombay or Surat for the chief scene of his labours we are not certain. His wife was born at Surat, and understands the Guzeratee language. It is therefore probable that if he does not take up his abode there, he will make it occasionally the scene of his labours, as the distance is hut about three days' journey. Our brother had learnt to read the Mahratta New Testament prior to his departure, so that the acquisition of the dialect there will be easy to him acquainted as he is with the idiom of the Indian languages. We cannot but admire the wisdom and goodness of Providence in this circumstance: while so many attempts have been made in vain to send European missionaries to this part of India, God raises up an Armenian who is free of every part of India, fills his heart with the love of the truth, and opens the way for him to return, and preach the gospel almost at his own door. His ways are not our ways. May we more and more cease to lean to our own understandings, and in all our ways acknowledge him, assured that he will then direct our paths.
Brother Mackintosh sent to Agra. Before it pleased God to remove bro. Chamberlain from Agra, bro. Peacock seemed rather wavering in his mind relative to staying there. But on our writing to him, his mind acquired new vigour, and he determined to remain and promote the work of God there to the utmost of his power. This we esteemed a great mercy. He seemed still however to need some one to strengthen his hands there. When a friend of brother Peacock's, brother Mackintosh, who had been long in the ways of God, although he had joined the church at Calcutta only a few months, learnt his situation, the desire he had long entertained for the work of God broke out with new vigour, and he determined to leave his situation, on the whole a lucrative one, and join brother Peacock in the work of the mission, if it met the approbation of his pastors; We could not refuse our consent, if brother Peacock approved, who on being written to, expressed much joy at the idea of having a friend he knew so intimately, coming to help him in the work of God. The church at Calcutta therefore called him out to the work, and he is now on his way, with his wife also, a member of our church, to strengthen the station at Agra.
Sirdhana. This country forms a small independent state about twelve days' journey beyond Agra. It is governed by the Begum Sbumroo, who is highly esteemed by the British Government, to whom she has occasionally rendered important services in their wars with the petty states in upper Hindoost'han. Her father married her when very young to a Catholic priest, who had made his way thither, and had so ingratiated himself with the aged monarch, that he rewarded his real or imagined services with the hand of his daughter and heiress. She succeeded to the throne probably in conjunction with her husband, who however has
been dead many years; and she has since ruled the country alone. She is a Roman Catholic, and so are many of her subjects. A young man of the name of D. horn in India, and educated under our worthy friend. Mr. Burney, went up thither some years ago, and conducted himself .so much to the Begum's satisfaction, that she committed to him the command of her forces, and much of the management of her affairs; and gave him her grand-daughter in marriage. This young man a few days before brother Chamberlain left Agra, wrote to him, desiring him to come and educate his children in the Protestant religion, informing him withal that if he complied with his wish, a house and a monthly salary of 200 Rupees would await his arrival. Brother Chamberlain wrote him that he was a missionary and was connected with us; that if he came he must come as a missionary; and he would consult us on the propriety of the measure. After brother Chamberlain had been about six weeks at Scrampore, Mr. D. sent him another letter enclosing 400 Rupees to defray the expenses of his journey, and saying that he had acquainted her Highness the Begum with his having invited him, who seemed much pleased therewith; and that if it was necessary, her Highness would present a. petition to the Governor General in Council to grant him permission to come. Brother Chamberlain is therefore on his way thither, in the hope of receiving intelligence from Mr. D. while on the road of this permission being granted. What the event will he, we must leave to the great Disposer of events; but this we know, that if the Lord has a people there to call by his grace, he will surely open the way, and secure this being; effectually done.
Chittagong. To this place, which is the most easterly part of Bengal and is parted from Arracan and the Burman empire only by a small river, we have long wished to send the word of life. A native of this part who had come to Calcutta, heard the word there in 1806, just before preaching in Bengalee was stopped by Sir G. Barlow, and has long been a member of the church at Serampore. As he however has not the gift of utterance in any considerable degree, we felt unwilling to send him there alone. In November it occurred to us that our brother De Bruyn, a steady member of the church at Calcutta, who has long laboured among; his neighbours and the heathen there, might be encouraged to go. We found on mentioning this to him, that he had resided at Chittagong, and knows the country well. He entered most heartily into our views of the work, and was set apart by the church thereto, and a few days after departed thither. We have since had letters informing us of his arrival, and of his having met with a more favourable reception than either he or we expected. Many of the Roman Catholics flock to hear him, and among the rest the priest sometimes attends, who has examined his Bengalee New Testament, comparing it with his Latin one, and has pronounced it a good translation, and of course worthy of being read by his flock. A respectable woman there, has offered brother De Bruyn a piece of ground on which to erect a place of worship.
Brethren Johns and Lawson arrived.
On the 11th of August we were pleasingly surprized by a letter announcing the arrival of brethren Johns and Lawson. Nothing could be
more evident than the goodness of Providence to sister Lawson, who was confined within a few hours after they had reached our house in Calcutta. Sister Lawson soon recovered, and they are all now in perfect health at Serampore, waiting to see the goodness of the Lord to his church and people.
The importance of schools toward the dissemination of the word of life we have long felt, and have indeed from the beginning attempted what we were able in this way. But within these last three years our thoughts have been turned toward them in a peculiar manner, and certain improvements resulting from the Lancastrian plan, have suggested themselves as of the highest importance in disseminating the knowledge of the Sacred Scriptures, Among the chief of these, is that method by which the word of life can he conveyed to the minds of the children, even by idolatrous schoolmasters, without shocking their prejudices in the least. As this may probably suggest a hint to others who wish to conduct schools on this plan, we will describe this method somewhat particularly. The principle on which Mr. Lancaster has so successfully brought children forward in spelling, may he applied in this country to far nobler purposes. Sentences which convey ideas of the most important nature may be written by children, as well as single words. Thus a whole gospel either in English or Bengalee, by appropriating a certain part of the day to this exercise (giving the rest to accounts, &c.) may he written out, and he not only read, but almost engraved on the mind in a very moderate space of time; as we have proved by experience in our schools both in English and Bengalee. The advantages which, by the divine blessing, may result from the full application of this among heathens, are almost incalculable. Not only may the doctrines and the precepts of the Sacred Word be selected in the words which the Spirit of God himself hath dictated, and thus conveyed to the tender minds of heathen youth, without the least outrage to their feelings; but by a judicious selection of the history given in the Old Testament and continued in the New, a heathen youth might in the space of four or five years have the whole of the dealings of God with man since the creation, - the fall, - the plan of redemption, - the call of the Jews, - their sufferings through idolatry, - the promises respecting a Saviour, - and their full accomplishment, almost engraved on his memory, without the least difficulty or alarm. About an hour each day for four years would suffice for the whole of this. Nor does it require a Christian teacher, a heathen schoolmaster could as well dictate a few verses or a chapter, as a Christian teacher; nay two or three intelligent hoys selected from the children themselves could do it quite as well, while the idolatrous teacher sat quietly by, and merely preserved order. The ease with which it could be ascertained whether he had directed the requisite passages to be written or not, would secure its being done, and if one heathen teacher failed, others would readily take his place for the sake of the salary. Any brother or Christian friend who took the trouble to superintend such a school once a week, or even once a month, would only have to direct, that certain chapters of the Gospels for instance,
should he written from dictation in his absence by writing two, four, or six verses daily, as circumstances might render prudent; and on his return at the end of the period mentioned, a few questions to the hoys on the subject of that portion of Scripture would enable him to discover whether it had been written by them or not, with nearly as great certainty as though he had witnessed its being done. If in addition to this, he were to reward the hoys who gave the best account of what they had thus written with a trifle each, and distribute a few pice [pieces] among the most steady and regular of the other hoys, this would spread through the village or town, fill the school with children, and quicken their attention to what they thus constantly wrote. The effects of this system wisely and steadily carried forward for a few years, can scarcely he calculated. The general diffusion of pure, scriptural knowledge would he among the most certain of these. No attempt need he made to compel these children to lose cast, or to leave their idols. It would be impossible for youths thus gradually yet diligently and affectionately instructed in the Sacred Scriptures, to unknown what they had once learned. The sacred book which had been made thus familiar, and even endeared to them by the encouragement and rewards which had accompanied it, might be their companion through life; and it could scarcely avoid approving itself to their understandings if it did no more. Were it further accompanied at school with a concise but perspicuous compendium of Geography, and another of General History and Chronology, the minds of the children would he enlightened almost beyond conception, and if they did not become sincere and zealous Christians, they could scarcely remain blind and bigotted idolators. With what advantage could the seed of the word he afterwards sown in a village or town when the ground had been thus prepared! Where the names of the persons occurring in the Scriptures, the story itself, the language, the incidents were already known, and recollected as being connected with youthful ideas of pleasure, and a number of youths thus acquainted with scripture facts, had made them the subject of conversation with their neighbours, surely such places might he said to be prepared of God to receive the gospel. Nor can the effects be easily limited; the plan of itself provides means for carrying this state of things to any extent. The elder and most intelligent youths employed and rewarded.as monitors in these schools, when grown up would have an employ to seek, and would he far better qualified to conduct such schools, than their former teachers. And it would follow as a matter of course that they would prefer teaching the things they had learned, to any other employ. Thus, if they were not savingly converted, they might still, without any derilection [sic] of cast, become useful in diffusing the knowledge of the word of life to an extent known only to Omniscience itself. By steadily persevering in this simple plan, might any system of idolatry, without noise and almost without notice, be sapped at its very foundations, and made to fall of itself with as much ease as a tree the roots of which are destroyed beneath the surface of the ground.
To this plan we have turned much of our attention, ad have been enabled to set up more schools in this than in any preceding year; no less than eight having been added this year. They now stand as follows;
The Benevolent Institution at Calcutta. This has been begun nearly three years. The object of it is to instruct children in the Scripture! both in the Bengalee and English languages, as well as in writing and accounts. The advantages attending it in a city like Calcutte are very great. Multitudes of natives who hear the name of Roman Catholics, hut who are in reality as ignorant of the Scriptures as were their idolatrous ancestors, by means of the instruction given their children, gain some knowledge of the gospel themselves. They sometimes come to the school, and attend worship in the Bengalee language, which they understand better than any other; and at other times their children carry home their Testaments and talk of passages which they have committed to memory; and thus the gospel makes its way into those dark recesses, which it would otherwise he almost impossible to reach. There are from three to four hundred children on the books of the school; but sickness and other circumstances seldom allow more than two thirds of them to attend at once. The school-room built for them, and entered upon the beginning of the year, is however capable of containing eight hundred children; and the plan of Mr. Lancaster, with some modifications, would enable our brother Leonard (whose very soul seems in the work) to superintend this number. The goodness of God relative to the funds of this institution demand our warmest gratitude. In November when we issued the First Report, it was full three thousand Rupees in debt, and our faith relative to its future existence had little more to support it, than that if the Lord intended to make it an instrument of good, he both could and would surely give the needful supplies for carrying it forward. Our hope has not been put to shame; the encouragement it has met with from all ranks of people, has been such as will clear off the debt and carry as through full half of this year. May this teach us to trust him in future seasons of need.
A small school of the same kind has been set up at Serampore, for the sake of the poor native Roman Catholics there. This is supported and conducted by the youths of the Mission Family and the School, the expenses are defrayed by a small monthly contribution from each of them, and they appoint one of the eldest among them to conduct it from month to month. In this school the Scriptures are taught both in English and Bengalee, together with writing and accounts in both languages. Classes of boys have here written a whole gospel in three or four months, by writing a few verses daily. The children taught amount to nearly forty.
We have endeavoured this year to increase the number of our schools in which the Scriptures are taught in the Native languages. At Taldanga, about ten miles west of Serampore, a school has been begun for several months, and the number of children amounts to about thirty. At Vidyuvatee too, in the midway between Serampore, and Taldanga, another is lately begun, which contains about thirty. We also desired brother W. Carey, jun. to set up several around him, which he has done. There are now four around Cutwa. Four were also set up by our bro. Mardon, and are now superintended by bro. D'Cruz. Add to these, one supported by brother Fernandez, another by our two brethren at Digah, the one at Patna carried forward by brother Thompson, and the one supported by a Christian friend at Agra, and the whole number will
be found to be sixteen. We cannot speak with perfect precision relative to the number of children in each; hut we suppose the whole number taken together can he little short of a thousand.
Respecting these WE can only notice a circumstance or two which displayed the Lord's goodness to us: we must reserve a full account of them for the Memoir in June.
In the late fire the manuscripts of two or three of the Translations were consumed. This at first made us feel somewhat dejected; but on more thoroughly examining things, we found Providence had still left to us the means of repairing this loss, and that to some advantage. The pundits who had assisted us in translating, were still with us; and we found, on making the trial, that the advantages in going over the same ground a second time were so great, that they fully counter balanced the time requisite to be devoted thereto in a second translation.
In casting the new founts of types we have been succeeded beyond our expectation. In the space of ten months, we have been enabled to replace the two founts of Nagree, the Bengalee, the Cingalese, the Tamul, the Orissa, the Telinga and Kurnata, the Mabratta, the Burman, the Shikh, the Persian, and the Arabic; and to cut a new and beautiful fount of Cashmere types. We have also made great progress in the Chinese fount, which brother Lawson has enabled us greatly to improve. In a little time we hope to have fifteen versions in the press.
In addition to the distribution of the Scriptures in various languages, opportunities offer to distribute Tracts in them. This has been done to a considerable extent in the course of the past year. The number distributed throughout the year amounts to about fifteen thousand. Of these nearly three thousand have been in the English language. These consisting chiefly of the Life of James Covey; "Pause and Think;" and "Jesus Christ the only Refuge," have been distributed among our countrymen in the army, at the various stations, and among such as understand English at Calcutta. The other twelve thousand have been in the various languages of the country; a considerable number of those in Mabratta have been sent to Bombay with brother Carapeit. These tracts in the native languages have consisted almost wholly of Selections from Scripture; the words which the wisdom of God teacheth, appearing to us by far the most likely to enlighten the mind, and convert the soul. Many instances have come to our knowledge of these tracts being made the means of turning the attention to the great things of God; and many more will no doubt appear in that day when all things shall he brought to light.
Thus, very dear brethren, have we taken a brief survey of the Lord's dealings with us in the past year; and we are convinced you will join with us in terming it a year "to be greatly remembered," a year wherein the Lord has shewn that he could have swept us away in a moment; but a year in which he has also shewn us, that he can build up as well as destroy, and that when his people are trembling on account of his
righteous judgments, he can take that opportunity to magnify his mercy, and extend them beyond their highest expectations. When with all these both tremendous and gracious displays of the hand of God this year, we recollect that this completes the Twentieth year since the forming of our Society, a train of ideas arises to which we can scarcely give utterance; wears constrained to say "this is the finger of God." When we contrast its humble beginning, "in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling," at Kettering, October 2, 1792, where our brethren looking to Him who "despiseth not the day of small things," laid the foundation of it in a subscription amongst each other of about thirteen pounds; with five hundred baptized in a heathen land, these forming twelve churches, scattered over a surface of more than a thousand miles, in which ten languages are spoken, and which contains eighteen missionary stations, superintended by twenty-five missionary brethren, and the intermediate space occupied by witnesses for the truth constantly rising up from amongst the natives themselves, -- and to this add the Scriptures in a state of translation, and the means afforded for their being speedily published, in Fifteen Languages, we are constrained to say "What hath God wrought?" Nor can we, who from our remote situation in India as from some distant eminence, have an opportunity of concentrating in one view what the Lord is doing in our native land, refrain from taking another view of these circumstances. When we look hack twenty years, and reflect, that then no society was formed with an ex press view to the conversion of the heathen, and few persons even thought it their duty to hope for their conversion,* except by some supernatural means like the gift of tongues of fire at the day of Pentecost, and that against all this indifference, more dreadfully morbid than the fiercest opposition, our brethren were enabled to hear up, and to attempt kindling the missionary flame: and consider how the Lord has enabled them to see their wishes realized in its enkindling since in the hearts of others, we are filled with wonder. For within three years after, (in 1795) the London Missionary Society was formed; then the Edinburgh; then that for Missions to Africa and the East; and last of all, hut if we may judge from what the Lord is doing, the greatest of all, a Society far exalting and enthroning the Word of God amidst the nations of the earth, after the enemy has exerted all his strength to get it trampled under foot. Not that we mean to say that all these things sprung from our dear brethren's efforts. They came from God, and from Him alone. But as nothing could prevent our brethren's praying that the Lord would thus appear and build up Zion; so neither can any thing prevent their enjoying the divine pleasure of rejoicing in what the Lord has thus been pleased to do since for his cause. In what degree He was pleased to make use of their example to stir up the minds of others, and promote his own designs, must and ought to be left for disclosure to that day when every man shall receive according as his work shall be; and all shall join in exclaiming, "Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name be the glory."
We remain, &c. W. CAREY, J. MAR8HMAN, W. WARD.
* Our justly esteemed Moravian brethren formed however a glorious exception to this general indifference, though not publicly appearing as a missionary society.
[From the Baptist Missionary Society Journal, January, 1813. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
More Missions / Missionaries Articles
Baptist History Homepage