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the committee had given an account of the reasons for so lamentable an event as the total abandonment of a station for which so great an interest had been excited and so much money had been expended. But those reasons the reader must seek from other sources. The treasurer's report (1842) winds up its history, without a word of explanation, by the item :-"Stockholm Missionand return of Mr. and Mrs. Scott and family, and of Mr. Edwards, £429 9s. 2d.” The total amount expended on this mission, from which ought to be deducted several Swedish donations, exceeds five thousand pounds sterling, exclusive of the collections made by Mr. Scott.*
Passing from Europe, we come to what has been justly styled the widest and most inviting field for modern missionary exertion. It is the vast continent of Asia and the islands of the eastern seas, containing a population estimated to amount to two-thirds of the human race. Here the absurdities of Buddhism, the immoralities of Brahminism, and the sensualities of Mohammedanism, have held, for ages, almost undisputed sway; but the obstacles presented by either, or by the three combined, do not begin to compare with those thrown in the way of the truth as it is in Jesus, by the degrading, blinding, and intolerant bigotry of the Romish superstition. It is estimated that, in this part of the world, there are, at least, two hundred millions of human beings, who are, “directly or indirectly, under the sway of Great Britain; and it is probable that political and commercial intercourse has made the national character of Britain to be known and respected by almost two hundred millions more.”
The accounts from the mission at Ceylon, we are told in the Report for 1819, continued to afford the greatest satisfaction and to encourage the best hopes. It had been established some five years previously. The membership in Asia, including seventy in New South Wales, was at this time three hundred and nineteen. “We occupy,” says a missionary on the south division of the island, "the whole of the Singhalese coast, in which we have sixty-three places where we preach, and three thousand seven hundred and three children daily
The facts are, that Mr. Scott, upon his return to Sweden, was accused, in the public journals, of having abused the Swedes and their religion when in America; and a persecution followed, which compelled him to leave Sweden. The whole was the work of designing men, who wished to find occasion against one of the most faithful and successful missionaries whom the Wesleyan Missionary Society have ever sent out. But, though the government closed the Wesleyan Chapel, and expelled Mr. Scott, the work of God is going on, in spite of all opposition. To God be all the praise !--Ed.
instructed.” At these stations religious services were conducted in the Singhalese language, and in the absence of the missionaries the liturgy was read by some one of the native converts. From Columbo, in the same year, information was received of the employment of native Singhalese in the work of the ministry, and two priests of the highest order of the Buddhist priesthood having found their way to England, were taken under the protection of the Society and their religious and literary instruction superintended by the late Dr. Adam Clarke. A very interesting and affecting letter from George Nadoris de Sylva, who styles himself “high priest over the Buddhist priests of his caste in the Island of Ceylon," published in the Report for 1819, explains the system of Buddhism, and ably refutes its absurdities. After giving an account of his interview and arguments with the missionaries, “with whom,” says he, “I strove and fought several times, my heart turned toward the Christian religion, as a plantain-tree which is bended by the heaviness of its clusters.” “It is to be noted,” he continues, “that the religion of Buddhu existed in this island for the space of two thousand three hundred and sixty years; but that no such pagan opposer as myself was ever converted to the Christian religion: consequently, that God, who did break away my hardness and enmity, and made me a Christian, may in a short time make all the other heathen opposers also to be Christians. And though there were ministers of the Christian religion who formerly lived in this country, they never converted even an Oepaseke, or a little-learned Buddhist; but that after the arrival of the missionaries to Ceylon, even the Buddhist priests and ministers were converted to the Christian religion."
Great attention appears to have been paid, from the beginning, to schools for the instruction of adults and native children, the main object being always kept in view,-that of imparting religious instruction. Every school- house," says one of the missionaries, is “sacredly set apart as the house of God;" and all who attend are taught to regard it as a sacred place. The influence thus exerted extends to the parents, friends, and neighbors, of the pupils, and prepares the way for the preaching of the gospel in places previously inaccessible. There were in the Singhalese and Tamul districts, in 1820, eighty-six schools and nearly five thousand scholars. As a specimen of the whole, and as a sample of the manner in which these accounts are given, we copy from the Report for 1820 the account of the Colpetty school :
" The average attendance in the school is from one hundred to one hundred and twenty ;-a calculation which we take from the daily
return of numbers in the school.? Out of this number forty-six boys and thirteen girls can read very well in the English Testament; sixtyiwo boys and twenty-three girls can read the new version of the Singhalese Testament; most of the boys write their own language on the Ola, or, more properly, the Talipot leaf; fifty-two of the boys and several of the girls write copies in English on paper; and we hesitate not to say, that most of the children write their English copies much better than the generality of children in English schools, of the same standing : indeed, their aptness in this respect exceeds anything we usually see in European children. In addition to their daily exercises, they are all learning catechisms, both in English and Singhalese, which they commit to memory with great facility ; this they do principally when they have finished their other work in the school, or when at their own houses. Many of the children have got on so well with their catechisms of different kinds, that they can not only repeat any part either in Singhalese or English, but their minds and thoughts are become so conversant with divine subjects, that we can hardly ask them any question connected with the leading truths of the sacred Scriptures, but we shall have a speedy and correct reply. Their knowledge of God's word, and in many instances of experimental religion, is really surprising. Many of them have taken great delight in committing to memory whole chapters of the New Testament, both from the evangelists and the epistles, together with a number of psalms and hymns, with which we have regularly furnished them, both in their own and the English languages."
A practical printer was sent to Colombo, in Ceylon, in 1818, and the Society's press is kept in active operation by the labors of the missionaries in translating catechisms, liturgies, and other religious works.
"In addition to the entire New Testament in Singhalese, there have been printed at the mission press the parables of our Saviour, the discourses of Christ, the sermon on the mount, separately ; Ostervald's History of the Bible, abridged; prayers and collects from the liturgy, all in Singhalese; and the miracles and parables of our Lord, in separate volumes, in the Tamul.”
The remarkable conversion of another Buddhist priest is detailed, and a copy of his address to the people, on publicly renouncing idolatry, is given in the Report for 1827. His name was Wallegedere Piedassi Terrunnanse. He had been a priest for fifteen years—was a learned man and of the highest caste. He publicly declared his conviction that there was no truth in the Buddhu system, and that there was no hope of salvation save that revealed in the Christian Scriptures. Aster giving further account of his experience he added, “I now come openly, in the presence of this congregation, and declare all these things. I lay aside my robes, and, as an humble learner of the right way, take my place among you;
and the prayer of my heart to the God omnipotent is, that, as I rejoice in embracing this faith, all other heathens may also be brought to this knowledge through this Saviour." As was to have been expected, his sincerity and decision were soon severely tested. He was waited upon by a large delegation of the priests, his former colleagues, and every possible inducement was held out to prevail
him to return. Threats were added to entreaties. Some said if they had him in their power they would kill him by “scraping him in pieces with their nails.” In this district alone (the Ceylon) there is reported, for the year 1826, an increase in the membership of eight hundred and sixty-two. About this time the Wesleyan Institution for the religious instruction of pious young men of promising talents was established at Colombo. Its object is to train them up for posts of usefulness as teachers and missionaries among their own countrymen. Favorable accounts are given of the success by which this effort has been crowned. In 1829, at the close of the public examination of the students, three left the institution to enter upon the work assigned them; one as an assistant superintendent of schools for the Negombo station, the second as teacher of English and Singhalese at Amlamgoddy,—both to labor also as local preachers,--and the third as an assistant to the missionary at Jaffna. In the Report for 1842 is a letter from Mr. Percival, of the Tamul district, in South Ceylon, in which he says :-“Yesterday, one of my late students, a Tamul youth, whom we have named David Stoner, preached for the first time in our large chapel, and gave us a very excellent sermon. He is about twenty years of age.”
In the general summary, as given in the Society's Report for 1845, the entire aspect of the missions in both the northern and southern districts of Ceylon is said to be one of great encouragement and hope :
“In the southern, or Singhalese, district, the soul-destroying errors of Buddhism are losing their hold on the minds of the natives. Twice the people of Doudra have risen in a body against the Buddhist priests, and avowed their purpose to renounce them for ever; but some influencial men among them produced a reconciliation. The missionaries are of opinion that the time is not far distant when the whole system will fall."
In these two districts (North and South Ceylon) there are, as by Report of 1846, nineteen missionaries, one hundred and fifty-nine subordinate paid agents, twelve hundred and forty full and accredited church members, one hundred and twenty day-schools, containing nearly five thousand scholars of both sexes, all of whom
receive religious instruction. Truly God has abundantly blessed the labors of his servants, and the spirit of the apostolic Coke may look down well pleased upon this field, on his way to which, it pleased the great Head of the church, in his mysterious sovereignty, to call him to his reward.
The next in order is the Madras district, in which there are four hundred and twenty-one church members, and over two thousand scholars in the day schools, the whole under the care of eighteen missionaries and sixty-six paid agents. In 1818 there were in this entire district but two missionaries—one at Bombay, and one at Madras. The former proved an unproductive soil; and in 1821, no apparent fruit succeeding, it was abandoned. In September, 1820, was formed the station at Negapatam, whence the missionary writes :
“The district is said to contain two hundred thousand inhabitants. There are numerous towns and villages in all directions, which literally swarm with human beings; and these vast multitudes are, to all human appearance, perishing for lack of knowledge, having no hope and without God in the world. . . . . They all appear to be as depraved in their actions, as they are blind in their principles. There is nothing in heathenism calculated to restrain its votaries from vice. On the contrary, the very images which are the objects of worship, are many of them personifications of sin. It was after I came here that my mind was first filled with horror by a sight of the lingam, an image too indecent to be described; and yet this scandalous figure is daily worshiped by all classes of natives, both men and women. Thus their very religious services are calculated to corrupt the heart, to sensualize the mind, and to lead to every description of vice.”
Other stations were successively occupied; and some of them, after a short season, abandoned. The annual reports from this entire region are varied by sadness and joy. Now the hearts of the missionaries are made glad; and now, deep gloom seems to rest upon their prospects. In 1830 the report is, that the laborers in this distant quarter are rejoicing in the sensible manifestations of God's presence, and “many idolaters have been converted from the error of their way during the past year.” Then, again, they allude to the apostasy of some for whom they entertained the highest hopes. The severity of the persecutions through which the young converts in these regions are called to pass,-expulsion from families, ridicule, loss of caste,-may be imagined, but, by the dwellers in the midst of civilization and refinement, cannot be adequately appreciated. In this same year (1830) the mission at Calcutta was "commenced under favorable auspices.” In the year following it had "found a wide and promising field of labor," and the schools