« ZurückWeiter »
great nation. He solemnly addressed the Three eventful years of progress and crowd. Silence and deep feeling prevailed. toil had passed; and another great occaBrave old Governor Bie shed manly tears. sion came in the Mission—the first ChristThe waters went over the Hindu, and the ian marriage of Hindu converts; the first name of the Father, and the Son, and the solemn inauguration of that happy instituHoly Ghost, sounded across an arm of the tion, the Christian family, before which Ganges. That evening the Lord's Supper the seraglios of Bengal were eventually was first celebrated in the language of all to disappear. The pair to be united Bengal. The cup of the missionaries was were a young Brahman and a girl of the full of joy and hope. Krishnu was but carpenter caste; thus setting aside the one, but à continent was coming behind prejudice of ages. Under a tree in front him.
of the father-in-law's house, the faithful Perhaps we feel all the more touched Krishnu, the first convert, gathered the with this ceremony from the fact that we party. The natives sat on mats, the Euroare thorough anti-immersionists. It is as peans on chairs. Mr. Carey performed certain that “dip” in our English version the service, and the youthful couple signed is never baptize in the original, as it is the agreement—the first time the hand of impossible to say where three thousand a Hindu female in North-India had perpeople could be immersed in a day in Je- formed that act. All the missionaries rusalem. Besides, we do not believe that signed as witnesses; and we feel sure that any living soul ever saw one man immersed they were happier men that day than by another (unless he were a European proud fathers attesting a flattering alliance. Baptist) in all the East on any occasion. That night they partook of the wedding We have watched for the phenomenon in supper. The repast began by singing ! India, Egypt, Arabia, Palestine; but never hymn of Krishnu's own, which still lives; once saw a native of those countries im- and then the Brahman husband, the Euromerse himself. No doubt they do dive pean missionaries, the Sudra father-in-law, or duck sometimes; but we never saw it. all feasted together; nothing wonderful They go down to a piece of water; sit by in the eyes of England, a prodigy and a it or in it, and dash it over themselves, or portent in those of India. go in to the shoulders, or swim, though Another solemnity soon came.
The seldom; but diving or ducking must be little band of converts was called to see very rare.
There was a tale told, we one of their number die—the same whose know not how true, of a Baptist transla- heart failed him the first day of baptism, tion into Bengalee which, in making the but who " afterwards repented and went.? word " baptize” mean “immerse,” got a The first Christian death was a scene of term which meant “ to drown." When tranquil hope and joy in prospect of imthe people heard of multitudes being mortality. It strengthened the souls of “drowned” by John, they innocently mur- the converts. How was the Christian to mured, “ What a sinner!”
be buried ? Usually persons of this creed About six weeks after the first baptism were borne by drunken Portuguese, and came another great and holy event. The among the Hindus a corpse is touched blessed New Testament was placed com- only by those of the same caste. A crowd plete in the hand of its happy translator. gathered around to witness the novel cereThe first copy was solemnly laid on the mony. To their stupefaction the missioncommunion table; and the whole mission ary Marshman, and young Carey, Byrub group, with the native converts, gathered a Brahman, and Perroo a Mohammedan, around to offer up fervent thanksgiving. placed the coffin of the Sudra on their Men talk of making history; but of all the shoulders. Singing a Bengalee hymn, history-makers in the annals of a nation, “Salvation through the death of Christ," none is equal with him who gives it the they marched the funeral march of caste word of God in the mother tongue. From among the Christians of Serampore. The that hour the names of Carey and Seram- German missionaries in South-India had pore were touched with that true immor- unhappily permitted caste to enter among tality which lies in the principle, “The the converts; but in the North it was word of the Lord endureth forever." faced at first, and the benefit has been
As in many other languages, the New great. Testament was the first prose work print The first labors of a native evangelist ed in Bengalee, except a code of laws. soon followed. The Serampore Mission
aries early perceived that the most fruit- of state, was seated the magnificent Marful of all their works would be sending quis of Wellesley, in the full meridian of forth native laborers. They kept this car- his renown. The occasion was to honor dinal point steadily in view. They daily the college which he he had created, by and carefully trained their converts, and a public disputation. Three selected puprayed much and earnestly in all their un- pils from each class were brought forth as dertakings. The first who had gladdened disputants, headed by the professor, who their hearts as a convert, Krishnu the car- acted as moderator.
In that presence penter, was also the first to go forth on stood forth the meek but mighty Carey, Christ's errand among his countrymen. as professor of both Bengalee and SansIn this journey tracts were freely distribu- crit, and on him devolved the task of adted, thus bringing two powerful agents dressing a speech to the great viceroy, in into play at once. The eagerness of the the latter ancient and, to India, sacred people to receive the strange thing, a tongue. He fully avowed his work as a printed book, was very great. Some of preacher and teacher, and took his place the books thus given away brought in- as bravely as he wore his fame humbly. quirers from a great distance to Seram The position of professor in the Fort pore, who, following the light first showed William College, to which his preëminent by the book, found the teachers and be- talents had carried him, was advantageous came true Christians. The first convert to him in many ways, and all these were from the Kayusts, the caste next to the turned into advantages to that for which Brahmans, came in this way from a dis- he lived—his mission. In point of litertance of thirty miles: and the first from ary labor he and Marshman were scarcely the Brahmans themselves, a fine young men, they were a sort of miracles. They man, came by the same means from the dealt with languages, hard and untried neighborhood where Carey had passed a languages, as other men might with poetry. miserable month in the Sunderbunds. The To learn one language well is a work of history of every mission in India shows some skill; and all agree that one Indian many cases of this kind. Yet good men, language is about equal in point of diffieven missionaries, are found zealously op-culty to five European ones. They learned posing a free distribution of books, ay, the living and the dead, those spoken at even the word of God, in regions where, their doors, those spoken far away. They at the present rate of progress, a mission- made grammars and translations of Scripary can not reach for ages. Crotchets can ture, and of native works into English, on stop the simplest efforts at usefulness, as a scale that had much more of prodigy well as the most elaborate.
than of practical wisdom; but, as a proNow came the effort' to establish sta- digy, nothing like it has been done. They tions on British territory. One was tried, conceived grandly, lived like great souls but the missionary had to retreat under in a wide sphere, and wrought for millions, shelter of Serampore.
and for distant generations. Men in SeNearly twelve years had passed since rampore translating into Mahratta, and Carey was smuggled into Calcutta, and Canarese, and Teloogoo, was not wise, sheltered in a hovel by the charity of a but it was wonderful and zealous. But heathen. It was a high day at Govern- wonderful beyond all, and a proof of pament House—that superb residence built tience combined with intellectual power at a cost of £145,000, for the Governors- never exceeded, was Marshman's underGeneral, by the most splendid of their line. taking, in the midst of his other labors, to The fashion, wealth, and beauty of Cal- learn Chinese. He did it, and actually cutta crowded its noble throne-room. translated the Scriptures; and then, to “The most eminent men in the native get money to print them, translated Concommunity; the learned Brahmans from fucius, for which the rich liberally suball parts of the empire, in their simple at- scribed. This can be written in a sentire; the opulent rajahs and baboos, and tence, but, before it can be done the representatives of the native princes of
“How large a space of fleeting life is lost!" India, in their plunied and jeweled turbans, were assembled to do honor to the And how many lives would have to be majesty of British power.” On the dais doubled a dozen times before it could be at the head of this grand assembly, sur- done at all! The man who did this was rounded by the judges and high officers learning £2000 a year, with his wife, for
the Mission, by a boarding-school. They | Yet they were shut out from preaching lived out of the common stock, and had to them. In all the evil doings of the besides £100 a year for their family ex- East-India Company's servants, few things penses. So Carey's salary as professor, are more calculated to rouse feeling in and Ward's earnings as printer, went to England than Mr. Marshman's calm and increase the funds for their work. Let it lucid narrative of the way the missionaries be remembered that they were not paid were beset and persecuted in their atby a Society on a scale to support them; tempts to preach the Gospel in Calcutta. but only allowed something to eke out They were followed by spies; called up their earnings.
in police-courts; stopped again and again; Yet, gigantic in intellect, and noble in and dragged through scenes of humiliaheart and reputation, as these three were, tion and sorrow. Yet, like true men, we the younger men who joined them, from find no railing at the authorities, no abuse time to time, could ill brook their well- or ill-will, but a meek manliness in pursu. merited precedence in managing the Mis- ing their end, and a loyal British heart sion affairs. They claimed equality; and that does one good. They were glorious the noble seniors yielded to this intoler- days for the Christian soul of Ward when able injustice too far. Mr. Fuller said he could preach, and preach again, in the plainly: “Who of us ever advanced the midst of the Calcutta multitudes; but democratic nonsense of every apprentice they were slowly and painfully arrived at. we send you being equal the moment he Even after Carey had been installed as set his foot on the soil of Bengal ?" Yet Professor for years, the Mission owed its this nonsense, and worse, this conceit and escape from ruin to Denmark. First, ofnaughtiness, embittered many precious fense was taken at a tract prepared by a hours of men whose name will be dear to native, which abused Mohammed: and the the catholic Church forever.
press was ordered to be removed from When they had been ten years at Se- Serampore to the Company's territory at rampore, the glowing mind of Mr. Ward Calcutta. By patient and manly resistreviewed the mercies they had witnessed. ance on their part, and on that of the
this was averted. Once “Amidst all the opposition of government in Calcutta, the press soon would have
governor, they had succeeded in settling four stations in been made harmless enough. Then the Bengal; they had sent a missionary to Patna, and planted stations on the borders of Orissa arrival of additional missionaries was made and Bootan, and in Burmah; the number of the occasion of terrible menaces. Mr. members in church-fellowship exceeded two Marshman narrates, more patiently than hundred; they had obtained a footing in Cal. any one could whose life had been spent cutta, where a chapel had been erected at a cost under English liberty, the mean and wickof more than £3000, and a large church and ed ways in which those proceedings were congregation collected; the Scriptures had been conducted, till five missionaries were acprinted, in whole or in part, in six languages, and translations had been commenced in six tually banished. The tale of these proothers. “And now, dear brethren,' concludes ceedings throws floods of light on the the Report, “has not God completely refuted the moral career of the Company, and fixes notion that all attempts to disseminate the Gos- an everlasting stain on the name and gov. pel among the heathen are vain? This happy deernment of Lord Minto. But they were gree of success, which surprises us who are on the last deeds of the persecutors. In 1813 the spot, has been granted within the space of the British Parliament ended their power about nine years; for it is no more since the baptism of the first Hindoo.'”_Vol. i. pp. 421, 422. to do what a Christian government in the
had never done—forbid the The opening into Calcutta here alluded Gospel to be preached to the heathen. to, offers points as lamentable as any thing From this moment a new era set in for in the moral history of our nation. That India; the word of God was not bound, great metropolis growing with the rapid- and those who had so long struggled ity of London, to rival the magnitude of against a powerful government, were left Pekin, lay at the door of the missionaries, to contend with their natural enemies, the and their souls longed to enter it. There superstitions and darkness of India. Yet were its swarming heathen. There were all the sorrows of Serampore were not Armenians and other Christian bodies. past. The system of missionaries being There were multitudes of neglected crea- partly supported by a public body, and tures, descended from European fathers. I partly by their own earnings, is inherently
bad. The public body ought to engage writings did much to bring the mission for the man's full support, and the mis- not only before his own denomination, but sionary give his whole efforts to the pub- the public at large. After having preached lic interest alone. This had not been the one Wednesday evening, he was next day case at Serampore; and serious, we may seized with cholera, and speedily rested say painful, collision between the mission- from his labors. “The three old men, aries and the Society at home was the says the historian, “had lived and labored natural result. Into the results we do not together for twenty-three years, as if one enter. They will be remembered as an soul animated them, and it was difficult to instruction in the future management of realize the fact that one of them was gone.” missions.
Grief turned a partial deafness of Dr. The great passion of Dr. Carey's life Marshman into a total one. “I never," was to give the holy Scriptures to all he said “ did any thing, I never published India in the mother tongue of each pro- a page without consulting him.” He had vince. Few things more clearly display first gained the missionary's reward, and the magnitude of the country, than the his brethren had yet to wait and labor. difficulty of learning how many languages Twelve years longer the two Titans of are spoken in it. At Serampore a map Indian philology toiled on in love and onewas published, according to the best light ness. Marshman more than once fell, for of the day, showing where each tongue a season, under the effects of melancholy, prevailed, the errors of which are a touch- but was mercifully delivered from it, and ing proof that India is a region so vast as enabled to “enjoy almost a heaven upon to baffle not only conception, but even in- earth” with his Bible, and in his glorious quiry, for a length of time. Pundits of work. Carey had generally good though different nations were assembled at Seram- not robust health. He had reached his pore, and labored under the direction of seventy-third year. More than forty had the missionaries in producing versions in been spent in Bengal without a break. the various languages. Seven years was He was, as Sir Charles, afterwards Lord, the shortest period given to the prepara- Metcalfe expressed it, “surrounded by tion of any one version; but several pro- his own good works, and attended by the ceeded simultaneously. In the year 1822 respect and applause of all good men.” the New Testament had been published in He had the feeling of every good servant twenty of the languages of India. This strong in him-a dread of becoming useprodigious performance overtaxed the re-less." To labor till the hour of his final sources at their command, and brought rest sounded, by his Master's order, was them into straits. These, and the painful his ambition. Yet he was gently laid separation from the Society in England aside for a little while before the moment through questions of property, clouded for meeting his Lord. The two old men many of their later days.
loved each other like boys, and took counIt was more than thirty years since Dr. sel together like patriarchs, standing on Carey, now renowned and honored, had the banks of the deep river we have all to landed friendless on the shores of Bengal. cross, with the unseen but not unknown For the chief part of that time his two shore only hidden below the horizon. Dr. great coadjutors had been joined with Marshman him in every success and trial. They were not alike, but well suited. They had "visited him daily, often twice in the day, and misunderstandings with their colleagues, the interviews were always marked by cheerfulstruggles with the government, contro
ness. They had lived and labored together in versies with persons of other denomina- I were the last survivors of a generation which
the same spot for nearly thirty-five years. They tions, and heart-burning differences with had passed away, and they seemed peculiarly to their Society in England; but between belong to each other." themselves had always subsisted a firm “The progress of Christian truth in India and happy union. Ward was the most was the chief topic of conversation with the genial, affectionate, and eloquent of the various missionary friends who visited Dr. Carey three. He was eminently devoted to the during his illness. While confined to his couch, service of God, and happy in the active visit him, and Dr. Wilson, the Bishop of Cal
Lady William Bentinck repeatedly came over to work of seeking souls, to bring them to cutta, came to his dying bed, and asked his the Redeemer. He had been to Europe benediction. In the prospect of death Dr. Carey and America, where his speaking and exhibited no raptures and no apprehensions.
He reposed the most perfect confidence in the noble volumes of which we are about reall-meritorious atonement of the Redeemer. He luctantly to take leave ? felt the most cheerful resignation to the Divine will , and looked at his own dissolution without daughter, now Lady Havelock, barely es
A frightful danger from which his any feeling of anxiety. 'Respecting the great change before him,' writes Mr. Mack, a single caped with life, shook the old man. He shade of anxiety has not crossed his mind since rapidly failed: the beginning of his decay, as far as I am aware. His Christian experience partakes of that guile- but he was supported by the blessed hope of less integrity which has been the grand charac- immortality, and the richest consolations of the teristic of his whole life . . . We wonder that Divine presence were vouchsafed to him. The he still lives, and should not be surprised if he resignation of his mind and the serenity of his were taken off in an hour; nor is such an oc- feelings afforded the clearest evidence of the currence to be regretted. It would only be value of Christian truth at the hour of approachweakness in us to wish to detain him. He is ing dissolution. When apparently unconscious, ripe for glory, and already dead to all that be- he repeatedly exclaimed: The precious Saviour longs to life. His decease thus came softly on He never leaves nor forsakes.' Frequently after his relatives and associates. On Sunday, the a night of broken rest and bodily suffering, the 8th of June, Dr. Marshman engaged in prayer triumph of joy beamed in his eye in the mornat the side of his bed, but was apprehensive that ing, as he informed his friends that he had exhe was not recognized: Mrs. Carey put the perienced the greatest delight in communion question to him, and he feebly replied, 'Yes;' with God. A week before his death, the swelland for the last time pressed the hand of his ing began to subside, and he felt a degree of colleague. The next morning, the 9th of June, lightness of head, but his mind was still fixed his spirit passed to the mansions of the blest on the work in which he had been engaged ; he He was followed to the grave by all the native prayed in Bengalee, and conversed in that lanChristians, and by many of his Christian breth- guage on spiritual subjects. Soon after, he apren of various denominations, anxious to pay peared to regain his strength, both of body and the last token of reverence to the father of mind, and at his own request was carried about modern missions. Lord William Bentinck was in his “tonjohn,' or sedan chair, to take his last at the time at the Neelgirry hills, but Lady Wil- look at the various objects on the premises. On liam sent over a letter of condolence, and de- Thursday morning he caused the bearers to consired her chaplain to attend the funeral.” – Vol. vey him to the chapel where the weekly prayii. pp. 476, 477.
er-meeting was held, and to place him in the
midst of the congregation; and, while seated in Three lonely years the last of the giants his tonjohn,' he gave out in a firm voice the traveled cheerfully on, expecting to over- missionary hymn, which he and his colleagues take his happy comrades. He reached had been accustomed to use in every season of close on his seventieth year; bowing to
difficulty, till it came to be identified with their his honored grave" in graceful poverty,” Serampore missionaries.'"-Vol. ii. p. 516.
» names, and to be designated 'the chant of the says his son, "after having devoted a sum little short of forty thousand pounds to His last act was to inquire “if there was the mission—and that, not in one ostenta- any thing more he could do for the cause." tious sum, but through a life of privations." So slept the last of the Serampore fathers, On this point the words of the old man three wonderful instruments of Proviwere: “I have never had a misgiving dence, the contemplation of whose course thought for having done it, though I have makes us feel that He who draws such two sons unprovided for.” Ah! how many men from the cottages of shoemakers and have, and ought to have, misgivings for weavers, holds indeed in His hand the not devoting thousands to such works, on power to raise up laborers for the widest the plea of providing for children-mean- harvest. Already the lives of the three ing, thereby, leaving them very rich ! are a wonder; in a few centuries the tale And of the sons so left, how many rear to told in this book will be considered a part the father who enriches and, perhaps, of the history, not of the Baptist denominaruins them, such a monument as the two tion, or of Bengal, but of the human race.