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THE

MISSIONARY OBSERVER.

OCTOBER, 1879.

The Annual Report.

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THE ANNUAL REPORT has been published and forwarded to the churches. Should any churches or friends not have received copies, or should they have received too many or too few, they will oblige by informing the Secretary,

Now that the Report has been printed, it is hoped that it will be read, pondered, and prayed over. Friends may help on the good cause by lending their copy to others. Pastors may also increase the missionary spirit by reading selections from the Report at the monthly missionary prayer meetings. With trade still depressed, it will need considerable effort to prevent a decline in the contributions during the current year; and one way of preventing this will be by the diffusion of missionary information. Moreover it is of the highest importance that our churches should be well organized for mission work, and that friends should be appointed to solicit and collect weekly contributions.

It will be seen from the Report that men are needed as well as money, but as yet they are not forthcoming. For the Government service, whether civil, military, or medical, there are candidates in abundance; but for the service of Jesus no one says, “ Here am I, send me.” This sad lack of volunteers for the King of kings, and for the noblest of service, indicates something seriously wrong in the professed soldiers of Christ. What is the cause ? In the sight of God let each ask himself the question, and not rest satisfied till he can give to himself a satisfactory answer—an answer that will stand the test of the day of judgment.

The Conversion of a Mahomedan Military

Officer to Christianity.

WRITTEN BY HIMSELF.

In former Observers and Reports reference has been made to the conversion of Taliboodeen-a Mahomedan and military officer, formerly in Government service. An account of his conversion, written by Mr. W. Bailey, appeared in the Sunday at Home for 1877, page 169.

The following account has been written by Taliboodeen himself, and will be read with interest. He writes ::

Mr. Miller (of the Cuttack Baptist Mission) having asked me to write out my reasons for becoming a Christian, I now comply with the request. I was formerly a Sepoy of the 11th Regiment Madras Native Infantry. One of the European officers of the Regiment commenced the study of the Hindusthani language-not being satisfied with his teacher he engaged me to instruct him. Having studied and passed a satisfactory examination, the officer rewarded me, and aided my promotion in the Regiment. For this I was thankful, and prayed to God on his behalf.

CONVERSATION WITH THE OFFICER AND ITS RESULT.

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On one occasion when speaking to him, he said, “Your countrymen and co-religionists in your worldly business are addicted to lying." I replied, " If wespoke the truth we should suffer great loss—by falsehood we are preserved from this." He then said, “Though people thus speak, in God's sight falsehood is exceeding hateful, and He has forbidden it.” I observed, “If I speak the truth how am I to live in the world ?”. By doing so you may occasionally suffer loss, yet you will gain much, was his reply. Though not able to understand all that he said I kept it in my mind and decided henceforth to speak the truth. I also concluded that the religion which sanctions falsehood must be false, little imagining that this would lead me to become a Christian.

ATTEMPTS TO BE TRUTHFUL AND ITS CONSEQUENCES.

I now began to speak truthfully, but found I was unable to do so without separating myself entirely from the world. In the Gulistan (a popular book among Mussulmans) it is written, “By lying a man was rewarded; by speaking the truth he was imprisoned.” In a note of this book it is said, “It is better to tell a falsehood and get out of a difficulty than to speak the truth and get into trouble.” In the Koran and other Mahomedan books, the same teaching is found. Among Hindoos similar ideas prevail. I was, therefore, greatly troubled and perplexed, and going to a learned Moulvie, I said to him, " When God's word teaches us to speak both truth and falsehood, how is it to be understood ?” Not knowing my reason for the enquiry he called me a fool. Greatly distressed and ashamed, I said, " True, I am a fool.” Returning to my home in sorrow I prayed to God and said, “O Lord, I am ignorant; open the eyes of my mind.

I now began to read books of other religions in order to get a knowledge of them, but without receiving any benefit. I continued to be looked upon as a fool.

INTERVIEW WITH A FRIEND.

I had a friend named Sheik Ali. One evening I called upon him. On entering the room I saw him reading a book weeping, and heard him utter these words, "I will arise and go to my Father.” I said, “ Why do you thus weep?". He answered, “The book I have been reading is the Injil (New Testament).

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THE CONVERSION OF A MILITARY OFFICER.

419 There is no other book in the world like this; its teachings are most precious." He then read and explained some parts of it to me. I enquired if the name of Mahomed was in the book. He said, “ There is much about the Paraclete or Advocate" (which Mahomedans apply to their false Prophet.) “How is it then," I said, “that Christians do not believe in our Prophet?He answered, “ Christians say the Holy Spirit is here referred to, though Mussulmans say it is Mahomed." I laughing said, “How can a man be the Holy Spirit, or the Holy Spirit a man? Very well, I also will read this book. If you have a copy in Hindusthani, favour me by letting me have it.” He said he had not one. kept in my mind this book and endeavoured to procure it, being desirous to know what testimony it bore to Mahomed. I prayed to God, “O Lord, grant that by this book my darkness may be removed, my understanding enlightened, my mind established, my desires fulfilled.” Having thus prayed, I came to my house. On the way a thought came into my mind which cast me into a fortress of doubt, and I said, “What is this? the book which we are forbidden to read, this person reads and weeps over it.”

SEEKS THE COUNSEL OF THE REGIMENTAL MUNSIF.

One day I went to the Regimental Munsif and made known my doubts. He said, “The Christian religion is true and pure, and the way of knowing God therein revealed is an easy oue-according to our religion it is very difficult.” Full of anger I arose and said, There is no power or virtue but in God. Christians call two or three beings God, and Christ they call the Son of God.” He answered, “You do not understand,” and by various illustrations tried to explain Christ's Sonship. He referred to rays of light being the same in nature as that from which they emanate. He said, “We call Mahomed the light of God. Christ is God's light-God's word.” I was not able to make any reply. Referring to several Mahomedan doctrines and institutions he said, “These are not right, as wise men know; but in order to avoid unpleasantness connive at them before the world.” This conversation made a deep impression on my mind and led me to act according to the teaching of the Persian proverb,“ Hear from all but act according to your own judgment.” I said to myself, “ Thou art ignorant. Do not be anxious. To have doubts about several portions of the Koran, can this be possible? If so, my understanding must be perverted. Nevertheless, if my doubts are well founded it is my duty to be a follower of the truth.”

OBTAINS AND READS A NEW TESTAMENT.

My Regiment having removed to Vizianagram, and been there some time I had almost forgotton the New Testament which I had resolved to procure, though the desire to obtain more knowledge remained. There is a Persian proverb—"God has a reason for everything He does”—the truth of which was seen in my being brought to Vizianagram. Here I heard that Mr. Dawson, of the London Missionary Society, had received a supply of books. I went to him and he gave me a New Testament which I knew to be the same as Sheik Ali read and wept over. I said to myself, “ Now shall be seen what is my fate, whether this book will cause me to weep or rejoice." I thought of the proverb, - To obtain the flower we must endure the storm.” I had to be careful that no Mussulman saw the book in my possession as it is considered the most evil book in the world, and to read it is strictly forbidden. At the same time I reasonedIf this be such a bad book, how can anyone believe in it? I began to read it regularly in secret; but how could I keep it secret from the world? Light shineth in darkness. The darker the night, the brighter appears the shining light.

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PERSECUTION ON ACCOUNT OF THE WORD.

Separating myself to read was displeasing to my many relatives and friends. From the first I did not follow their improper practices, but now they were more than ever displeased, and some of them meeting me alone, beat me. This led to a Court Martial. God, however, preserved me. Up to this time I never mentioned the New Testament to anyone—had I done so I should probably

have been murdered. Now began to be fulfilled in my experience the words of Christ, “ They will deliver you up to the council. And a man's foes will be those of bis own household.” I then thought, if through reading this book thus far I have suffered so much, it is my duty not to lay it aside until I have wholly read and understood it. I continued to read it with great care, and in five months got to the end. “The entrance of Thy word giveth light.” Though there were many things I could not understand, and my knowledge was not equal to that of a true Christian, yet I now knew Christ to be the brightness of God's glory, and who became incarnate to give light to and save the world. From the nature of its contents I now believed the New Testament to be God's word. Its teachings rejoiced my heart, and by it ignorance and passion began to remove from my mind. I praised the Lord for His word, and considering the sufferings of Christ for me I was sorrowful and wept. Now I witnessed a miracle. For three days wherever I looked Christ was visible to my mind in a form so attractive and lively as to ravish my soul.

In forwarding the above Mr. Miller adds :

Subadar Taliboodeen left Cuttack at the close of Conference to return to Raepoor, Central Provinces, where his family reside. He came at the invitation of Conference to labour six months in Cuttack, and during this time faith. fully witnessed for Christ before Mahomedans of influence and position in the town. His appearing in the dress of a Mabomedan Subadar (native military officer) though a Christian teacher, created quite a sensation wherever he went. His former co-religionists, when convinced that he was not an apparition, and after recovering sufficiently from their surprise and indignation to be able to speak, would generally ask, “Why did you forsake your religion and become a Christian ?” Taliboodeen, with great forbearance, would commence by saying, “He came to know that he was a sinner, and needed a Saviour; that Mahomed himself was such, and could not, therefore, help him. Nor did his religion make known any sacrifice for sin, and means of salvation. Hence when I found that the Lord Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, and that there was none other name given under heaven among men whereby we must be saved, I, as a matter of necessity, thankfully received Him as my Saviour, Prophet, Priest, and King. Being familiar with the Koran and Mahomedan religious thought, also the arguments employed by Mussulmans against Christianity, he was always prepared to meet objections, and by mani. festation of the truth, commend himself to every man's conscience in the sight of God. He has an extensive knowledge of the Old and New Testaments, and may be said to be mighty in the Scriptures. He has also carefully studied the various phases of Hindooism, including Brahminism, and is able to point out the errors and defects of these systems. I was much pleased with what I saw of him. His venerable appearance, his gentlemanly address and bearing, his ripe Christian experience, his humble and devout spirit, won my respect and admiration; and often did I adore the wondrous grace of God as seen in his conversion. I do hope that a man so qualified for usefulness, and so rarely met with, may be secured to the Mission. He would like to settle at Sumbul. pore, and engaged to join Mr. Pike there. It should be mentioned that he refused to receive anything toward his expenses home when offered, though the cost will be a considerable sum, the distance being nearly four hundred miles from Cuttack

W. MILLER.

BAPTISM AT CUTTACK.

IN a recent letter Dr. Bucklog writes :-“Five were baptized at Cuttack on Lord'sday, August 3, after an appropriate sermon by Sebo Patra from Colossians iii. 1. We have now twenty-six candidates."

Condition of Women in Judir.

India

BY PROFESSOR MONIER WILLIAMS.

A LITTLE study of the Indian Office Statistics reveals a condition of prostration which even the most sanguine might pronounce hopelessly irremediable. One hundred millions of women, supposed to be actual subjects of the British Empire are, with few exceptions, sunk in absolute ignorance. They are unable to read a syllable of their mother-tongue, they are never taught the rules of life and health, the laws of God, or the most rudimentary truths of science. In fact a feeling exists in most Hindoo families that a girl who has learnt to read and write, has committed a sin which is sure to bring down a judgment upon herself and her husband. She will probably have to atone for her crime by early widowhood. And to be a young widow is believed to be the greatest misfortune that can possible befal her.

Not indeed that an Indian woman's married life can be described as a blissful elysium. The women of India are victims of the worst form of social tyranny. They are allowed no voice in the selection of their own husbands. According to Dr. Hunter's statistics (i. 56), infants are sometimes betrothed when but two or three months old.

As a rule, girls are betrothed at three or four (a barber being sometimes the match-maker) and married at six or seven to boys of whom they know nothing. They are taken to their boy husband's homes at the age of ten or eleven. From that moment they lose their freedom and even their personality. They merge their individuality in the persons of their husbands. They may be loved, and they are rarely ill-used, as they too frequently are in Christian countries, but they are ignored as separate units in society. They never pronounce their husbands' names, and they are never directly alluded to by their husbands in conversation. For another person to mention their names or inquire after their health would be a gross breach of etiquette. They never appear unveiled before their husbands in the presence of a third person. They often become mothers at eleven or twelve. Their life is then spent in petty household duties, in cooking for their families, in gossiping with female friends, in arranging the marriages of their children, in domestic jealousies and envyings, in a thousand foolish frivolities, in a wearisome round of burdensome religious ceremonies imposed by exacting priests. Add to this that the

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classes cooped up behind Pardahs or in the stagnant atmosphere of zenanas. There they are prisoners in apartments set apart for their exclusive occupation. They have no opportunity of listening to the intellectual conversation of educated men. They are shut out from every wholesome influence, and debarred from every healthy occupation likely to conduce to the improvement of their physical condition, or to their social, moral, and intellectual elevation. They become enfeebled in mind and worn out in body at a period of life when European women have barely reached their prime. They are neither fit for independence, nor have they any desire for it.

And what of the young widows? If a young wife has no individuality apart from her husband, a young widow has practically no existence. It is true that our law has prohibited a widow from being burnt with her dead husband. It is true, too, that an old widow is cared for by her children if she has remained a wife long enough to have a large family. She is even more than cared for. Every mother in India is an object of veneration to her offspring. As a wife she may be nothing. But as a mother, even though a widow, she is all in all to her children. It is only a young widow or a childless widow who is regarded as worse than dead. But nearly every household possess a widow of this kind. Such a widow belongs for ever to her dead husband.

A widower may marry again, but a widow never. She is made a househould drudge. She is expected to get up at four a.m. before the servants of the family. No one will supply her with water. She must go to the well and fetch water for herself. It is unlucky to meet her. She is supposed to be in eternal mourning for her deceased lord, though she may never have seen him except at her child. wedding. She must practise a perpetual fast, and only eat one meal a day. If her young husband had acquired property of his own before his death and the

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