Page images

should be able to afford a most gratifying report of the progress of the Gospel in Spain.

III. FROM SPEECH OF M. VERNIER, AND LETTERS OF M. CARASCO.M. Carasco, a Spaniard, was educated in the Theological College in Geneva, over which Dr. Merle D'Aubignè presides, and has recently gone to preach the Gospel to his countrymen. From his letters M. Vernier quoted extracts which were full of interest.

In a letter dated 1st March, 1869, he states that he is very much encouraged in the work, for it was something quite new to see 200 persons assembled, “not only attentive, but receiving with avidity every word uttered, and who, after the sermon, come to ask questions, bringing with them a Gospel or New Testament full of marks. These people, who used to be out of patience if the mass lasted more than twenty minutes instead of a quarter of an hour, now come forty minutes before the service begins, in order to secure a place, and then listen quietly and attentively for more than an hour, and that is a long time for Spaniards. From all parts we get requests for tracts. During the last few days we sent some to Alicant, where they are asking for a pastor, also to fanatical Saragossa ; to Seville, where they have 500 regular attendants at Evangelical worship; to Bilboa ; to Burgos, where Florès labours with success. He sold some Bibles there, and held some meetings in the houses of courageous people. We must not forget that Burgos is a difficult place to work in; there is a priest for every ten persons, and the evangelist there needs much to be supported by the prayers of Christians. We also sent tracts to Valencia and Toledo. In the latter place the visit of a zealous labourer has roused the priests, and they preach daily against our tracts—but the whole town has received them. At Leon the editor of a journal has distributed a quantity of tracts, and sold forty Bibles; he asks for forty more. At Valladolid the number of those who met for worship is increasing. A railway guard has distributed tracts in all the towns and villages between Madrid and Juan,—that is, the whole Northern line. He tells me that

my to the Archbishop of Valladolid has caused great sensation, and that he has been asked for it everywhere; the 10,000 copies are all gone."

This showed the advantage of sending out ministers well trained in theology who are able to hold their ground. The Society felt greatly honoured in having such an agent as M. Carasco.

On the 22nd of March M. Carasco writes :-“Yesterday we took possession of the new chapel. Mr. Ruet preached in the morning to about 700 persons, and at four o'clock the crowd was very great; there were at least 1,000, and almost as many in the street. If it goes on in this way, must open another place of worship at Seville. The attention and respect with which they listen astonish one more and more, and it is delightful to see these people in the street looking for hymns which we get printed, and singing them with all their heart, and as well as if they had known them for years. We are deeply grateful to God, who has permitted us to



be witnesses of such scenes. Besides the Sunday services, there are also little meetings here and there, at which sometimes as many as twenty-six are present. There is also a Bible-class for boys, and another for girls. Amongst those who attend the Sunday services are some very interesting and well-disposed persons, with whom it is a pleasure to have intercourse. They have escaped that indifference which has done so much harm in this country. They, on the contrary, are anxious about the state of their souls. One of them, an engineer officer, comes regularly to public worship. He thinks a great deal, and after having heard me preach, he sometimes writes to ask me for explanations, or to state some objection. I generally succeed in satisfying him, either in conversation, or by my sermons. When leaving the chapel yesterday (the text had been Luke xix. 38), he said to me, * You can tear the letter which I wrote to you. My doubts have all fallen to the ground, and even were difficulties to arise in my mind I feel that I have given my heart to Christ, whose Divine origin I fully accept.' This is very encouraging. There is every Sunday an increasing number of women at our services. When once they have had the courage to come, they usually continue to attend. The husband of a lady of position was asked the other day about her. He answered, 'If you want to find my wife you must go to the Protestant services ; she never misses them.'

"Amongst the congregation yesterday I observed a colonel, a major, several captains and serjeants. Two of the captains were introduced to me by my friend the engineer; they seem to be really in earnest. It certainly would be very important if we had some of the military chiefs on our side ; they might have a great influence upon the soldiers. Our friend Mr. Campbell is at present at Seville ; he sends us very interesting accounts of the work there. Mr. Cabrera is preaching with great success.

There are never less than 500 present, and he receives besides many at his house. The movement is so great at Seville that Mr. Campbell sees no reason why the city should not be Protestant in a few years. Martyrs shed their blood there, in order to bear witness to the Lord Jesus Christ, and God is now giving the reward. The Roman Catholics are trying to keep up their influence by great splendour in the processions of the Holy Week. Here at Madrid that will not be the case. The municipality used to give 14,000 reals for the Easter processions; but M. Rivero would give nothing this year, saying that if the Catholics want to have fétes, they must pay for them themselves. M. Villazago, one of our brethren, who was sentenced to seven years' penal servitude, writes to us that at Malaga the place of meeting has become too small.

Vargas is also working there as a schoolmaster, and everything is going on well. I think the following incident will interest you.

An Englishman, who is still living, was struck many years ago when visiting Malaga with the corruption and fanaticism which reigned there. One day, having gone out to walk, he went to the top of a hill, and seeing the town in the distance, he knelt down and entreated the Lord that a great light might shine upon Malaga. Some years afterwards

Matamoros preached there, and now his petition has been still further answered.”

M. Vernier mentioned that there were two Spanish students at this time in the College at Geneva, and urged upon the Protestants of England more earnest efforts in the prosecution of the work of Continental evangelisation.


By the Reb. Edward Storrow. WOMEN are more indebted to Christianity than are men. To both alike it brings the hope of eternal life, but to the former it brings also deliverance from earthly degradation. As the prevalence and depth of our sublime faith, precisely corresponds with the limits and degrees of modern civilisation, so do they indicate the extent to which the gentler sex is respected, honoured, and elevated. No Englishwoman who has never lived beyond the limits of Christendom can adequately comprehend what "great things” Christianity has done for her kind.

Nowhere have women been so systematically and deliberately degraded as in India. In other regions they have been treated with greater cruelty, and subjected to more laborious tasks, but nowhere has public opinion so universally branded them as inferiors, and nowhere has the entire framework of society been so constituted on the principle that intellectually, and to a greater degree morally, they are inferior to men. This is the general language of the ancient codes of law, of the reputed sacred writings, of popular literature, and of common life. Lest anyone should suppose that the cries of ancient times have passed away, we cite the words of a popular Hindu newspaper, written not many months ago, and, admitting that oriental language is more highly coloured than our own, what a conception does it give us of the state of myriads of families: “ Look now at the position of the wife ; but it is difficult to find anything to compare this with. There is no freedom for a man even in our families, how can there be then for a helpless woman. Her condition is simply that of a slave. As soon as she is married she begins to be tormented. In some families when the daughters go to their father-in-law's house,* she may be considered to be entering in the torments of hell. She must rise the first in the morning, and go to bed the last at night. She must do the most work, and eat the worst food in the house. But she must be properly dressed, and must not appear in rags. As a reward for her labour she gets abuse, and sometimes blows; but she must bear all this in

* In all respectable families the sons, married and unmarried, live in the father's house. The wife is therefore far more under the authority of her father and motherin-law than of her husband. She has in fact no power or influence, nor has he much to use in her behalf, even if he is so inclined.

silence, else what more will she not get ? She has also to hear vile abuse of her parents and forefathers. Is she the servant of one person only ? No, all in the house, great and small, exercise an iron rule over her. Until she is grown up she may not speak to her husband; who then will protect her ? When she is grown up, if her husband is good and earns his living, she may begin to have a little comfort, but even then she and her husband may not speak in public together. If they do so speak they get the reputation of being immodest and babblers, besides which her husband's relations will begin to suspect her, and be envious of her. If she have children it is not proper for her husband and her to show even ordinary affection and pleasure. But we cannot describe the strife, envy, and grumbling, of the other women. In short the houses of our people are often, from this cause, like the fireplaces of hell !” *

It is a part of this evil system that women should not be educated. A few in Hindu history are celebrated for their learning, and here and there in modern life one who can read and write is found, but such cases are certainly exceptional. The causes which have led to such a policy and such results we cannot now describe; there, however, is the frightful result, that of the eighty millionst of Hindu women in India, for generations, probably not one in a thousand could read or write !

A slight incident will show the estimation in which they have been held, and thus have learnt to hold themslves. At an examination of one of our schools in Calcutta a woman was laboriously and vainly trying to spell a word, when suddenly seeming to recollect herself, she said, “But what can we know, we are only women-folk.” Nor is the want of education made up by opportunities for the acquisition of knowledge in other ways. Etiquette demands that no respectable woman shall freely leave her house, or converse with any man, even in her own family; thus all the facilities for gathering information, which we in our freedom possess, are denied her, and her faculties are left undeveloped and stagnant.

Happily there is now the beginning of a blessed change. Those of us who are yet in middle life can remember the time when no respectable girls could be induced to learn. There were schools for Christian girls, and such orphans as dread calamity threw upon our care, but schools for heathen girls were very rare, and maintained a struggling existence. Some one was paid to bring the scholars to school; they were paid for attending ; only the youngest and poorest would come, and not a few of them were destined to an infamous life. When the attempt was first made to meet prejudice by giving an education in their families, since they would not send their daughters to school, none were found willing to receive it.


* Hindu Prokash, November, 1867.

+ Besides ten millions of Mahomedan women, and an almost equal number belonging to aboriginal hill-races, whose condition is in some respects better than their Hindu sisters. Altogether these are one-sixth of all the women in the world.

Various causes have operated to bring about a change. The example of Europeans has had much influence.

There is a growing disposition to study our customs and to adopt them. Every Englishwoman there, who suffers herself to be observed, and exhibits the ordinary freedom, courtesy, intelligence, and amiability of her sex, appeals powerfully in favour of her less fortunate sisters. Much, too, is owing to the zeal and perseverance of Missionaries and their wives. They have pressed on female education to the utmost of their power. By educating the native Christian and orphan children, if they could not reach the heathen ; by teaching the poor if they could not teach the rich; by never ceasing to press the subject on the attention of all around them, and by condescending to avail themselves of any openings for usefulness, however insignificant, they have already greatly altered both native opinion and usage, and the change cannot now but advance towards the most satisfactory results. The education of boys, however, has done more to prepare the way for the education of girls than anything else. Alike in government and missionary colleges and schools, thousands of the former have for many years been receiving an education which sets them free from all the trammels of superstition, and gives breadth to all their opinions and sympathies. This education puts a great gulf between them and their female relatives. It gives them to see how far behind them the latter have been left; and they soon feel the want of wives and mothers who can sympathise with them in their new pursuits and aspirations. Hence there has arisen among them an almost bitter feeling against the custom which has imposed such disabilities on those they love, and a strong desire that education may be given to all in their families. Such men are rapidly becoming influential alike in their own homes and in society, and, to the degree they are so, female education is spreading.

The methods adopted for its diffusion are very various, and arise out of the peculiarities of society to a great extent. Where day schools can be established, they are. Many of these owe their origin to Missionary zeal, and others to the paternal care of Government; but now, numbers are formed and managed entirely by Hindus. Where these are of a respectable • character, they are less free and public than with us. Often they are held in some building belonging to a gentleman, and are so situated that certain families can easily have access to them, and are so controlled that only those of certain caste rank have the privilege of attending. In other cases, instruction is confined to the ladies of a family, though not seldom, some few from neighbouring houses have the privilege of attending. This practice falls in with the customs of society; jealousy, exclusiveness, fear, and etiquette, alike urge a native gentleman to seclude from the gaze of the outer world any lady of his family, and they are led to look on such seclusion as a proof of his care and their respectability, but his wish for their education disposes him so far to relax his exclusiveness as to allow & teacher to visit them. In some instances he will pay for her services, in

« PreviousContinue »