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SINCE 1800 IN CALCUTTA.
BY DR. ROBERT JARDINE.
| century there occurred in Great Britain College were the Rev. D. Brown and the a deep and wide awakening of Christian Rev. C. Buchanan, chaplains of the East thought and effort with reference to the India Company, who have left behind them evangelization of the heathen world. In a most honourable name for their learning, Calcutta, also, about the same period, there piety, and zeal in the cause of Christian was a corresponding awakening of mission- missions. These two distinguished men, and ary and philanthropic zeal. A chaplain of the Baptist missionaries at Serampore, for the East India Company, of great zeal and Carey was soon joined by zealous fellowdevotion, the Rev. David Brown, had long labourers, went hand in hand in the great laboured upon the banks of the Hugli to work of the first quarter of the century—the promote the cause of true religion, both translation of the Holy Scriptures. It was amongst his countrymen and amongst the obvious to the minds of Brown, and heathen. Amidst many discouragements Buchanan, and Carey, and Ward, that the and difficulties, he exhibited faithful perse- first and most important duty of Christian verance and much self-sacrifice; and, at the missions, then in their infancy in Calcutta, opening of the century, he was the great was to give to the nations of the Eastern supporter of the Christian cause in Calcutta. world the Bible in their own languages. His hands were strengthened and sustained, And in order to accomplish this object an however, by the arrival, in 1798, of a very amount of energy was put forth and a course distinguished man in the capacity of Governor- of patient earnest labour gone through General.
which has perhaps never before or since The Earl of Mornington, who was after been equalled in the history of Christian wards created Marquis Wellesley, the brother missions. of the Duke of Wellington, the hero of But the work of translation was not the Waterloo, when he assumed the chief com- only kind of labour undertaken by the mismand of the East India Company's ope- sionaries of the first quarter of the nineteenth rations in India, soon gave most decided century. Important mission stations were and important support to Christianity. But opened in Calcutta by the Baptist missionit is to another quarter than Government aries and those of the Church Missionary House that we have to look for the chief Society. Schools were established, chapels actors in the important missionary efforts of were opened in which services for both the first quarter of a century which were Europeans and natives were held, mission carried on in the great metropolis of the houses were built to which native inquirers East. The Baptist Missionary Society had might come for the purpose of learning from already sent out Messrs. Thomas and Carey the missionaries about the gospel of Christ, to commence missionary operations in and attempts were made to train native Bengal. And in January, 1800, Mr. Carey Christians of promise for the work of preachbought at Serampore, on behalf of his , ing the gospel to their own countrymen. society, a commodious house and a con- Evidently a strong impression was made siderable plot of ground, and thus established upon the native mind by these efforts to in a local habitation a mission which after- enlighten the people ; for we learn that in wards acquired a great name. In August of the year 1805 no less than thirty natives the same year an institution was established publicly professed their faith in Christ
. And in Calcutta which was destined for a short in the year 1816 an important evidence of time to play a very important part in the the up-springing of independent thought and missionary operations which were then be life is presented in the fact that the celeginning to be carried on. This was the brated Rajah Ram Mohan Rai established a College of Fort William, an institution of society, which exists to the present day, for learning established by a Minute of Council the investigation of religious truth and the for the purpose of giving instruction to native cultivation of a pure form of worship. This youth in science and literature, and also for was the commencement of the famous the purpose of aiding in the translation of Brahma Samáj, which has become well the Holy Scriptures into Oriental languages. known in this country through the visit a
few years ago of its present leader, Babu ing. To the distinguished convener of this Keshab Chandra Sen.
committee must be attributed the honour of During the first thirteen years of this cen- having expounded and carried through the tury the cause of Christian missions in India General Assembly, and subsequently applied passed through a very critical stage. Many to practice, the principle which was hencemembers of the Indian Government and the forth to govern much of the missionary effort Honourable Company were opposed to all of the Christian Church. The great question efforts to evangelize India ; and this oppo- which was discussed in the Assembly was, sition was carried so far that some missionaries whether the natives of India should receive were ordered to leave Calcutta, and one was the blessings of general enlightenment and actually compelled to do so. But there were secular knowledge, as a preparation for the men in India and in England, of great Chris- intelligent reception of the gospel of Christ. tian zeal and enlightened minds, who were This question was answered in the affirmative; not trammelled by the wretched timidity and and the policy to be adopted by the Scottish worldliness of the rulers, and they determined mission was to be the elevation of the Hindu that new principles should be introduced into mind to such an intellectual and moral standthe Government of India. The battle was point, as would enable our Hindu fellowlong and severe ; but, as has been shown at subjects to arrive at an intelligent and reapage 46 of the SUNDAY MAGAZINE, in the sonable conclusion regarding the important year 1813 the friends of missions achieved a questions connected with the Christian religreat victory.
gion. The next most important step was to In the following year the good ship secure the services of an agent who would be Warren Hastings took out to Calcutta Bishop able to carry out the policy of the committee; Middleton and two of his archdeacons, along and in this they were singularly successful. with the Rev. Dr. Bryce, the first chaplain of In the year 1829 the Rev. ALEXANDER the Scottish Established Church in Calcutta. Duff, having been ordained for missionary The principles of Christian liberty were from service in India, sailed for Calcutta in the this time forth acted upon by the Indian month of November, and, after an eventful Government, and the course of Christian voyage, reached his destination in the spring missionary effort was henceforth one of un- of the following year. Endowed in a very interrupted progress.
remarkable degree with the perfervidum inDuring the first quarter of this century genium which is said to characterize his counthe policy of Christian missionaries in their trymen, he threw himself heart and soul into attacks upon Hinduism was for the mis- the great work which was before him. In sionaries to go to the position of the Hindus and carrying out the policy of the General Assemattack them. The missionaries studied the bly, he established an institution in which Hindu languages and spoke to the people in English literature and science along with a their own vernaculars, translated the Scrip- knowledge of the Christian religion were comtures into these languages, and, in short, municated to the pupils, the medium of clothed Christianity in an Oriental garb to instruction being, as much as possible, the make it intelligible to the Hindu mind. This English language. Beginning with five pupils, no doubt was the only method which was this institution gradually increased its attendpracticable at that early period in the history ance until it numbered several hundreds of missionary effort. But another method upon its rolls. was soon to be inaugurated exactly the re During this second quarter of our century, verse of the former, inasmuch as it consisted the work of translation, or rather of revising in bringing the Hindus to the intellectual posi- translations, was continued. Numbers of tion of the Christians as a means of bringing vernacular schools were established in which them into relation to the Gospel of Christ. the elements of Christian doctrine were This latter method has proved a most powerful | taught. Numberless religious tracts were instrument in changing the intellectual, social, written in the vernacular language. The and religious condition of India ; and the gospel was preached in the bazaars, at street honour of first employing it belongs to the corners, and in roadside chapels to as many Church of Scotland. In the year 1824 the as could be induced to listen to it. Thus General Assembly took into consideration the beginnings of Bengali Christian congrethe necessity and mode of conducting foreign gations were formed, and the foundation was missions, when a committee, with the Rev. laid for subsequent progress. Dr. Inglis as convener, was appointed to From the very first it was felt to be of great consider the subject and report to next meet- importance to have native Christians trained
to be preachers of the gospel amongst their agency cannot be very well over-estimated, countrymen. It was thought that they, being and, now that we have learned to moderate well acquainted with the customs and modes our expectations regarding the character and of thought prevailing in India, would be able efficiency of native Christian agents, we may to present the gospel to their brethren more be able better to adapt our plans to the cireffectually and persuasively than foreigners cumstances which we have learned to exist, could possibly do; and the most brilliant and thus to command a greater degree of expectations were entertained regarding the success. success of the gospel when a well-educated But I must now advance a step downwards band of native Christian missionaries and along the stream of time to the events bearing ministers could be prepared. It was with a upon missions which transpired in the third view to the preparation of such a band that quarter of our century. About the beginning Bishop Middleton, the Baptist missionaries of this period the attention of the Government of Serampore, the General Assembly, and the of India and of the India Office was directed the Church Missionary Society, established to the condition of education in India. The various training institutions. But the results result of this examination of the subject was which were brought about by these means the great “ Educational Dispatch of 1854." did not correspond to the expectations which In that famous paper there was provision had been entertained. The General As-made for the establishment of three universisembly's Institution, from the year 1846, was ties in India, one at each of the presidency presided over by one whose experience in cities. These universities were to be examinthe training of native Christians is worthy of ing bodies, and any college might become careful attention. James OGILVIE was a man affiliated to them upon a guarantee being of a refined and sensitive nature, of high given that its educational staff would be mental culture, of an extremely quiet, un- maintained upon a footing adequate to the obtrusive disposition, and of a much less requirements of the course of study. The sanguine temperament than Dr. Duff. He privileges offered by the University of Calundertook to train no less than fifteen young cutta were very soon taken advantage of by men for the Christian ministry, and endea- the missionary institutions. The effects of this voured to give them, as nearly as possible, connection with the university were very imthe education which is required for ministers portant. The standard of the secular educaof the Church of Scotland. He and his col- tion which was given was raised, but the leagues laboured patiently and assiduously in liberty of the missionaries to arrange their their work, and reached a fair amount of suc own course of study, and especially to give cess as far as the communication of know- Christian instruction, was considerably interledge was concerned. But upon the whole fered with. The high pressure of preparing his experience was one of disappointment for the university examinations had a tendThe native Christians, with whom he had to ency to force the Christian instruction into deal, thought themselves to be of immense a subordinate position.
This tendency, importance--an idea which they very naturally however, has been conscientiously resisted, drew from the accounts that appeared in the and Christian instruction has continued to Missionary Record at home regarding their be systematically given in all the great conversion and progress. The natural con- missionary institutions of learning. The sequence was that they entertained high ex- young men who attend the higher classes pectations regarding the position and salary of these institutions are probably as well they should obtain in the Indian Church. acquainted with the fundamental facts and Their expectations were disappointed, and doctrines of the Christian religion as the some of them in disgust betook themselves pupils of the higher classes of British Sundayto other occupations. Out of the fifteen schools; while many of the graduates of Calwith whom Dr. Ogilvie began, only three cutta can discuss the fundamental doctrines of were licensed to preach the gospel. But the Christian, and indeed of all religion, with notwithstanding the fact that the high ex as much intelligence and good sense as are to pectations of the early missionaries and of be found amongst the most intelligent young the Christian Church at the beginning of our men of Christian countries. But still it must century have not been realised, it still remains be admitted that the majority of the students true that the attempts, which have hitherto do not leave the missionary institutions been prosecuted with but indifferent success, with sympathy for the Christian religion. are of the very greatest importance. The The power of national prejudice is very value of a well-trained and earnest native great, the social impediments in the way of
becoming Christians are still enormous; the apace, partly by natural increase and partly conservative elements in Hindu society, and by additions from heathenism. The process especially in the female portion of it, are of training native Christian ministers has stronger than anything with which we are also been going on, although not so extenacquainted in our country; and the greatest sively or successfully as could be desired, result which missionary education, as well and the native Christian community has as the secular education of the Governinent increased in influence as well as in extent, Colleges, is producing, is unquestionably a until now it exerts a very considerable moral wide-spread scepticism.
power in Hindu society. One of the earliest A very important development of mis- converts to Christianity, the Rev. K. M. sionary effort may be said to take its rise Ranerji, LL.D., a gentleman of wide and accuin the quarter of the century which I am rate scholarship and high Christian culture, is now reviewing. Many years earlier attempts now placed at the head of almost every imhad been made to introduce enlightenment portant movement amongst the natives of amongst the female portion of Hindu society Calcutta ; while many of the Bengali Chrisby the establishment of schools for girls. tians occupy, under Government and in But the usefulness of these schools was connection with educational and missionary greatly restricted by the marriage customs of institutions, positions of honour and responthe Hindus, which require that after mar-sibility. riage, which always occurs at a very early Some of the Bengali congregations, too, age, the Hindu girls must be shut up in the have advanced nearly or altogether to the seclusion of the zenána. For a long time status of self-supporting churches. In 1861 the zenánas were closed to Christian ladies the members of the Bhawanipore native who might desire to introduce the light of church selected a pastor for themselves, the gospel into their darkness; but at length and contributed during the year ninety the purdahs were drawn aside, and the pounds towards his support; and ever Hindu zenánas opened to the visits of lady since then that congregation has contrimissionaries. It was felt that the opening buted almost all the funds necessary for the of the zenánas to the light of Christian truth support of Christian ordinances amongst was a most important step towards the evan- them. This is a favourable example of gelization of Calcutta. And hence different several instances in which Bengali Christian missionary societies established agencies congregations in Calcutta have taken a posiwhose chief object was to introduce the tion approaching independence. blessed light of the gospel into the dark Thus Christian missionary effort in Calness and helplessness of Hindu female life. cutta has been greatly blessed by the great The Church Missionary Society entered with Master for the advancement of whose kingzeal into this new field; the ladies' associa- dom it has been carried on; it has produced tions of the Scottish Churches did likewise ; some results which were unexpected, and and the American Presbyterians established some which may, perhaps, be deplored; but an important zenána mission, which is carry- it has unquestionably been productive of ing on an extensive work.
enormous changes in the intellectual and This third quarter of our century is marked religious condition of the capital of India. also by progress towards greater consolida- The great Ruler of all human affairs only tion and independence on the part of the knows what are His own purposes, and to native Christian churches. The number of His wisdom and love we may well leave the members of these churches has been growing fruits of our imperfect labours.
WAITING FOR THE ANGELS.
A Visit to the Putney Hospital for Encurables. WE ?
ful tasks devolving upon a doctor in tient, whose eager, hungry gaze was fixed upon his arduous work none can be more difficult his face until his courage has failed for what he than whispering the few words to the sorrow- had nerved himself to say only five minutes ing relatives and friends of his patient, “A before—that for him, too, there was no hope, few more hours and the end must come." although death may be far off yet? How can
But is this the physician's most difficult he tell the eager, hopeful sufferer, just on the