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the weather was very beautiful, without much rain."-(p. 320.) The bay therefore appears far to exceed Clarence in healthiness, and to be every way desirable for a tropical residence. In the case of the crews of the fatal Niger expedition, fever rapidly gave way to the bracing effects of the climate of the bay.
Arrangements have been made to secure from the Bimbian chief, King William, the entire shore of the cove for the new settlement. It is understood, however, that the whole of the bay, with the surrounding country, is subject to the queen of England. Years ago the chief surrendered the sovereignty to Colonel Nichols, as the representative of the British Crown, when he received the empty title of king, in which he now rejoices. Should the English government assert their right, as it is expected they will do, then will our Christian brethren be freed from all danger of interruption in their evangelical labours. Here, at least, neither the priests of Rome, nor the intolerance and bigotry of Spain, will be allowed to interfere. Liberty of conscience and of worship will be both the right and privilege of all.
(Concluded from our last.) HURDWAR lies at the foot of the Sewalik range of mountains, which here forms the right side of the gorge through which the Ganges flows into the plains of Hindustan. The town itself is small; but its glory is concentrated in the numerous ghats which line the banks of the holy stream, and in the profusion of temples which the superstition of ages has built in honour of the gods. Here Krishna is said to have performed his ablutions, and to have prostrated himself on the site of Hurpyree, the most sacred of all the stone ghats of Hurdwar. From this centre, within a circuit of a few miles, some other twenty-five places are reckoned sacred; and, according to Brahminical instruction, it is necessary that the pilgrim should visit them all, in order to derive the utmost good from his visit to these holy scenes. Two thousand Brahmins are entitled to receive the
offerings of the pilgrims. Houses have been built for their reception, partly by the liberality of rich worshippers, and partly by the cupidity of the resident priesthood. Even the British Government has not withheld its homage to the deities of the place, having repaired or rebuilt some of the serais and temples which the tooth of time had crumbled into ruin. These houses for the entertainment of pilgrims, with ranges of shops, form the street to the Hurpyree, and on the days of the annual festival, it is thronged with the myriads who are pressing onward to bathe in a spot so sacred as that where Krishna laved his youthful limbs. Hither come, from year to year, burdened travellers from all the countries of Hindustan, from beyond the Indus, from the lofty Himalayas, and from the gardens of Cashmere. Religion and commerce are the great attractions, and by multitudes both receive their due regard. Every twelfth year is peculiarly sacred. Then the vagabond devotees of the Hindu faith flock together in vast numbers to the “ Gate of Huri.”
Amidst the multitude thus assembled, Mr. Thompson for many years sought to spread the knowledge of the gospel, and his journals abound with incidents of the scenes and conversations of these visits. Often was he recognised by individuals from remote distances, who, elsewhere, had received copies of God's word, or bad heard him preach. To Sikhs, Persians, the men of Cashmere, Affghans, as well as to Hindus, speaking all the languages of Upper India, he gave copies of the gospels, first ascertaining their ability to read. Thus was spread over Hindustan, and even in Central Asia, a knowledge of the true will of God. Gurus sought an exposition of the Scriptures from his lips. Brahmins came, and with avidity received instruction. Byragees and fakirs bore away with them to their desert solitudes the Scriptures, and in after years Mr. Thompson had often the pleasure of meeting many to whom their perusal had been the means of salvation.
Fearful were the scenes be witnessed at these annual melas. Sometimes the fire of a suttee glared in the evening sky. At another, hundreds of worshippers were crushed in the throng, or drowned in the holy stream, through the pressure of millions striving to bathe in its waters at the auspicious moment. One year a large number of fakirs were killed in a fight between the contending sects. Robbery was frequent enough. Even the great bell of the temple was stolen at one mela, fear of the god not repressing the cupidity of his worshippers. Many were the murders which the sacredness of the place could not restrain.
The worship of the river is performed three times a day, with the beating of drums, the ringing of bells, the clangour of the cymbal, and the blast of the conch shell. A chowree is waved over the waters, as if to cool the goddess of the stream. Incense is offered, and, as its fragrant clouds curl over the heads of the worshippers, the Brahmin chants the praises of Gunga. The bathers, however, do not join in this worship. They swim about, dive, shout, take each other by the arms, and both sexes embrace each other.
The remarks of his auditors not unfrequently encouraged the missionary amidst this scene of revelry and sin. One day while preaching at the ghat, a Brahmin said, “ When this country is become dark, the religion of Jesus Christ will prevail.” Inquirers would often come to his tent and seek for further illumination, and he is told that several of the followers of Shiva-narayan and Nanuk say, that “should they find anything that particularly marks the hand of God in the religion of Jesus, they will embrace it."
It will be unnecessary to describe the visits of Mr. Thompson to other sacred spots, where the Hindus annually congregate. For more than thirty years this devoted missionary spent considerable portions of the year in journeys to those places. The results of his labour in actual conversions were not very many, nor may we ever ascertain the extent to which his ministry influenced the minds of the people of Northern India. Over the wide space from the Indus to the eastern boundaries of the land, he diligently sowed the seed of eternal life. Probably the fruit would have been more immediately apparent and abundant, had he confined his labours within a more limited range. It is true that at melas and fairs great numbers of people are accessible, and the word of God may be carried from them into the remotest parts of the country. Still there are serious drawbacks to any expectation of large results. Very imperfect notions are formed of the gospel by the casual hearers at these seasons. The confusion, riot, and revelry of a fair are not favourable to the production of serious thoughts; and if a tract or book is borne away to the distant home of the receiver, yet is there in it so much that is new, so much that requires explanation, that we may reasonably fear it is seldom that the heart is stirred or the mind is opened to the illumination of truth. Experience in missionary work on the whole goes to prove, that diligent labour in some well defined area is more successful than desultory, unconnected efforts made amid the tumult and madness of an Indian mela.
Mr. Thompson diligently availed himself, during his journeys, of the means then afforded him of learning the language of the people, and which ultimately led him to compile two most useful dictionaries in the Hindustani language. He spoke the Hindi language with singular fluency, taste, and accuracy, and was always able to command a most attentive auditory. His translation of the New Testament was both idiomatic and simple, and became one of the most useful versions in circulation. He was also the author of many most valuable tracts which have had, and still have, a large circulation.
The first baptism in Delhi was that of a Rajpoot woman, in May, 1821, who afterwards became the wife of a French officer in the service of the Begum Sumru. Her admission to the church was a season of great interest; most of those present were affected to tears, as they listened to her expressions of faith in and love to Christ. At the close of 1822, Mr. Thompson had the pleasure of receiving a confession of faith in Christ from an aged Brahmin, an eminent Sanskrit pundit, a man held in the highest estimation among the Hindus. Soon after Mr. Thompson's arrival in Delhi, this man came to him; and when his determination to confess Christ became known, great efforts were made to restrain him. In the following year Mohun Singh, a brazier, was added to the church-a lost sheep found at the gbats of Delhi. In 1824 the missionary had the joy of baptizing four of his own countrymen, and also another Brahmin, who the year before had been met with at Hurdwar, and now came to Delhi to be baptized into Christ. By the year 1826 we find the church consisting of eleven persons, two only, however, being natives. Sukh Misr was actively engaged in preaching and the distribution of tracts, and several very promising inquirers cheered the missionary in his labours at the ghats and the annual melas. The nature and value of the missionary's efforts may be gathered from his report for the year 1828. He says: “Besides the persons mentioned, about 190 others have visited me through the year, either for conversation or books; to whom, and to the people at ghats, on the road, and in temple yards, I have given 782 books and tracts; to the multitudes at Hurdwar 3,000; and at Gurmukteswar 2,145—a total of 5,927 books, pamphlets, and tracts, in Hindi, Urdu, Sanskrit, Bengali, Nepauli, Punjaubi, Persian, and Arabic.” But, through many removals, the resident church members had dwindled down to four. .
On the 28th Nov., 1830, Devigir, a gosain, was baptized in the river Jumpa, at Kudsiebagh, in the presence of a large assembly of Hindus and Mussulmans. Shortly after, this pious native brother became an active assistant in the work of the Lord, living for nearly twenty years a consistent Christian life. He died on the 27th April, 1850. His end was peace. Calm joy and firm faith in the Redeemer marked his closing hours. The last act of his life was to fall prostrate, as he was wont to do in prayer ; while praying he departed to the presence of the Lord, calling on bis name in the words of his favourite hymn, “Keep me, Lord Jesus, I have none but Thee.” Several of his hymns are still sung by the native Christian church of Upper India.
In the five following years the work of the Lord slowly advancedeight persons were baptized, and several inquirers were seeking instruction in the ways of God. Among the converts was Bhugwan Das, a youthful Brahmin. A year before his baptism he gave up his idols, beads, poita, and the brass, shell, and stone articles connected with his “thakur. puja,” or idol worship. The books used in worship also were cast aside. He said, “ What have I any more to do with idols ?"
At the close of 1835, Mr. Thompson went down to Serampore, leaving Devigir in charge of the station, who in the following year was joined by Bhugwan Das. The object of this visit to Serampore by Mr. Thompson, was to carry through the press bis Hindi version of the New Testament, also the Psalms, and various tracts in the same language. The decease of Dr. Marshman, and Mr. Leechman's departure from India, led to the request that he should stay there to take the oversight of the native church, and to carry on the correspondence of the Serampore Mission. This arrangement continued until the union of Serampore with the parent society, when Mr. Thompson, in 1839, again resumed his missionary work in Northern India.
Meanwhile the blessing of God appeared on past labours. Among those who came to the native brethren for instruction, was the Jageerdar of Bhakuri, a village between Allygurh and Delhi, by name Mukundlalljee. After some study of the Scriptures he renounced idolatry, and professed his admiration of the love of God in the plan of salvation, and his sole reliance on Christ for pardon. During his residence in Delhi he regularly attended the daily worship. The sneers of the Brahmins he met in a Christian spirit, and openly, in the midst of his tenantry, exhibited the change which had passed over his mind. The worship of his domestic god was laid aside. An upper room in his house was set apart for Christian :worship, where he kept his Hindi hymn-book, the Psalms of David, and other religious works. He shortly, however, fell asleep in Jesus, leaving this testimony," that he feared God.”
The succeeding years of Mr. Thompson's life were passed in the same devoted labours. Year by year a few were added to the church in Delhi, while the missionary continued those extensive tours and visits to the melas of Upper India, of which we have already spoken. In 1845 he had the pleasure of baptizing a second convert made at Hurdwar fair, and five pilgrims came to remain with him for further instruction in the gospel. In the same year the ground for a Christian chapel was obtained, and donations were freely given by the friends of the mission for its erection. It was built under the walls of the royal palace, and by the side of the road leading to the bridge of boats, the most frequented part of the city. The removal of the bridge a few years after to the other side of the city destroyed, in some measure, its value as a preaching place; but for a few years it became a spot full of interest. There multitudes of passers-by heard the word of eternal life.
In his last report to the society, Mr. Thompson speaks of his daily work among the people of Delhi. From twenty to eighty persons would stand in the streets of the city, and listen to his reading and addresses. “I have obtained from them," he said, “a more fixed and serious attention than in past years." Also in the chapel, in his house, at the drummer's place of worship, audiences of Hindus, with some Moslems, regularly listened to the word of life.
Ten days of this year were spent at Hurdwar. The people listened in a quiet manner. “Some even made solemn, and apparently sincere, affirmations as to their love of the word, their desire to know more of the Saviour and his gospel, and their wish to believe in him.” At Gurmukteswar, also, crowds attended upon him, and seemed to labour under an excitement to inquire the way to God. From the Himalayas he heard of the good results of these labours. “I have heard," wrote a resident at Nynee Tal, “ many of the Gurwhal people speak of what they heard the padre sahib saying at the fair at Hurdwar. The seed, to my knowledge, has taken root, in two hearts. One man, now with me, is anxious to be baptized ; and the other is, I believe, quite as sincere, and only waiting to see his friend take the final step." And of another young convert, who had gone to Benares for instruction, similar satisfactory intelligence was received. Thus the seed of the word scattered on these highways of Hindu life was ever and anon springing up and bearing fruit to life eternal, to the great joy of this devoted servant of God. During his missionary career he had been permitted to baptize sixty persons, irrespective of many who joined other missionary churches.
At length this unwearied servant of Christ was called to his rest, and Delhi was deprived of its only missionary. He died on the 27th of June, 1850. A little before his death he sung a part of the following hymn of Watts, so descriptive of the character of his life :
“Mine eyes and my desire
Are ever to the Lord.” Even when labouring under delirium, his mind was full of his work. He sat up and talked much of revising for the press one of his most valuable tracts, on the Hindu Incarnations. His decease called forth the expression of much sympathy. Some five hundred natives of Delhi, amongst whom he had for so many years preached the gospel, surrounded his grave.
Till 1854 Delhi remained unoccupied,* when our native brother, Walayat Ali, was sent from Chitoura to carry on the work of God. On 27th March, 1856, the Rev. J. Mackay arrived, and immediately commenced his missionary exertions for the spiritual welfare of the people.
* In this interval, the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel commenced a mission in Delhi. Two of its agents were killed in the massacre of the English residents in the revolt of 1857.