Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

he executed his task. Hence it was that thirty years after this, the C. K. Society in addressing M. Gericke on his appointment truly said, “ Professor Francke is kindly pleased, on our application, to furnish us with proper labourers for the work of the gospel ;. ...persons who have under him been educated in good learning and the knowledge of true religion ; persons whom he hath tried in lower stations, and hath experienced them to be deserving of double honour and capable, with the blessing of God, of undertaking the more arduous labour of preaching the Gospel to the nations who know not God.” That Mr. Kiernander, after some deliberation, accepted the proposal, at a time when Missionary labour was but little appreciated, speaks much in his favour: and that he was one of those to whom the words of the Society now mentioned fully apply, his subsequent Missionary career will we trust shew. He returned no more to Sweden, but was ordained at Halle to the work of the ministry, November 20, 1739, and immediately set out for London, to commence his mission. He here took up his abode with the King's chaplain, who was accustomed to receive all the Missionaries who visited England: by him he was introduced to the C. K. Society, who gave him a most cordial welcome. He sailed from England in the “ Colchester,” at the close of the year, and, he the Missionary of peace, arrived at Cudalore in the spring of 1740, a year after Nadir Shah bad filled the North of India with all the horrors of

war.

Before we proceed to narrate his further history, it will be well to consider the progress which had been made in the work of God previous to his arrival. The Protestant Mission in Southern India had at that time been established upwards of 30 years. It had enjoyed the labours of many most excellent and faithful Missionaries; it had met with many trials, difficulties and even persecutions, but it had grown strong and its numbers rapidly multiplied every year. The men to whose charge it had been committed were not lightly endowed ; and had used their endowments in no sparing way. With prudence, energy, sound judgment, and in great simplicity of heart, with all their resources they had set themselves to seek the prosperity of their flock. By preaching and teaching, the establishment of boarding and day-schools, (one of which had been formed on the model of the Orphan House at Halle ;) by the distribution of tracts and Christian books and portions of the word of God; by the exercise of a strict and impartial discipline amongst their converts : by constant conferences with the Heathen, they had brought their mission to a high state of

efficiency, gathered a large amount of wise experience, and prepared the way for increased labours and increased success. In 1740 the Mission was carried on at three separate places, Tranquebar, Madras, and Cudalore.

The Mission at TRANQUEBAR was then divided into two parts: in Tranquebar itself and the Danish territory there were eight Missionaries, some of whose names are widely known for the diligence, humility and zeal of the men who bore them. There was a Portuguese congregation of 285 members and a Tamul one of 1,003. Beyond the Danish territory, divided into six districts there was another Tamul congregation of 1,892. In the charity school they had upwards of 200 children. Since the commencement of the mission they reckoned about 6,000 converts; and of these nearly 2,000 had been admitted to the highest privileges of Church fellowship. A Branch from this mission had been fixed at Negapatnam, and constant intercourse was maintained with the Christians at Jaffna in Ceylon.

The mission at MADRAS had been begun in 1726, under the auspices of the society for promoting Christian knowledge, and had for many years been carried on by two of the most devoted missionaries that had arrived in India, Dr. Schultze and M. Sartorius. They were both scholars, and were both thoroughly acquainted with the native languages. Dr. Schultze excelled in a knowledge of Tamul, Telugu and Hindustani; M. Sartorius in Tamul and Portuguese. Like their brethren at Tranquebar they employed all the means in their power for the spiritual good of the native population, and like them were permitted to see their labours largely blessed. Up to 1740, i. e. in fourteen years they had been joined by upwards of 700 converts; the majority of whom, though natives, had been Papists. Of these 100 were communicants.

And let it not be supposed that the large number of converts already made in these two missions, were such only in name. Though all were not well-informed and consistent Christians, many were so. The Missionaries and Catechists were most diligent in faithfully instructing their flocks and administering among them Christian discipline. “They gloried not in the number, but in the reality of their converts, wherein they found themselves obliged to use, both for conscience and prudence sake, the utmost caution, lest their good should be evil spoken of, and for fear of admitting into their congregations any such impostors, unbelievers or immoral persons as might offer themselves,.... from worldly motives.” Many proofs are given in their reports of the faith and piety of these Christian natives,

[ocr errors][merged small]

many examples of consistent Christian virtue, and many instances in which persecution was borne with patience and submission. Many a happy death-bed scene is described, in which even female converts have expressed their enjoyment and realization of the consolations and hopes of the gospel. And besides all this, through their preaching and the spread of the word of God, missionary influence was felt, and the aim of missionary labour understood, even beyond the sphere to which it was more immediately confined.

CUDALORE, to which Mr. Kiernander had been appointed, was in many respects well adapted for an influential Missionary station. It is the chief town of southern Arcot, and is situated on the coast about twelve miles south of Pondicherry. It was then

very populous, and a place of considerable trade. Though now built on both sides of the Penar River, the town was formerly confined to the south side, and contained several broad streets aud commodious houses. It was fortified on all sides except the East, where it was quite open. For there the river which in its course passes a short distance from the town on the north side, before reaching the sea, suddenly turns southward, skirting the town on its east side. A bank of sand separates the

river from the sea, upon which lived two villages of fishermen. The river is navigable only for boats and has a bar across its mouth. About a mile to the north of Cudalore was Fort St. David, then the strongest fort in the possession of the East India Company. A territory larger than that of Madras, was under its control, containing not only the town of Cudalore, but three or four large villages. At a short distance on the west was the large Pettah and fortified Pagoda of Trivada with a considerable population. The advantages which Madras and Cudalore, possessed from being within the Company's territories were early pointed out by Ziegenbalg. He said that the security it enjoyed, and the great influence exerted by the English would form an excellent social safeguard to the stability of missionary operations. Not that he sought for Government interference, but he knew that under English law, those labours could be carried on in peace, and that converts would not be exposed to inprisonment, persecution and death.

The steps which in the providence of God, led to the establishment of a Mission in Cudalore are clearly traceable. Its name constantly occurs in the early Missionary reports. When a journey was undertaken by one of the Tranquebar Missionaries, whether for labour or for the renovation of health, it was often one of the places included in the tour. It was visited by Ziegenbalg as early as 1710, in one of

these missionary journeys. He visited it a second time in 1716: there he saw the Pagoda of Tripalore, and its heathen dances, of which he has left a description. On that occasion he established a Tamul school, one of the first, set up for natives in the Company's territory, and in it Aaron, the first native ordained to the work of the ministry, was educated. Through the want of efficient superintendence however, the school declined. In 1726 the town was visited by M. Schultze, then senior Missionary at Tranquebar, and there he preached in German, Portuguese and Tamul. A year or two after, upon establishing a Mission at Madras, M. Schultze re-opened Zeigenbalg's school above mentioned. Again in 1734, M. Sartorius on a journey spent several days in Cudalore, and so earnest was the application of the Governor of Fort St. David, and the other English inhabitants, for the establishment of a Mission, accompanied with the strongest assurances of pecuniary help, that M. Sartorius wrote to England urging the matter on the immediate attention of the society for promoting Christian knowledge. They agreed to found a mission there and authorised the Madras Missionaries to proceed to Cudalore to begin it. Accordingly in 1737 M. Sartorius and M. Geister went thither, M. Schultze remaining at Madras, and were cordially welcomed by the Governor. They at once cheerfully began their operations. They procured a house and ground in an advantageous situation, and invited the natives to visit them; M. Sartorius taking the Tamul department and M. Geister the Portuguese. The natives were at first very unwilling to hear them: but their reluctance was soon subdued. In the midst of their preparations Sartorius died after a short Missionary life of eight years labour. He was buried in the English burial ground at Cudalore, and all the English gentlemen there attended his interment. His death was a severe loss to the infant Mission, for he was so eminently qualified to carry it on. Even the learned natives declared that he spoke Tamul like a Brahmin. But the providence of God sometimes deals thus mysteriously with the plans of his servants, to teach them the important lesson that in the work of redemption, He is the great agent, and that it is upon Him, not upon perishable men, they should rely in their labours. M. Geister was not discouraged, he continued his preparations, had much intercourse with the natives, encouraged them to see him privately, and opened a Portuguese school, where he taught reading, catechism and prayers in Portuguese. He was also just completing substantial buildings to accommodate two missionaries and two schools, when Mr. Kiernander arrived.

The new Missionary entered upon his work under many advantages compared with some of his predecessors. Much experience had been acquired, the benefit of which he received not only from Missionary letters and journals, but the practical advice of his colleague. Such help is by no means of small value. Stores of materials also had been already provided for his labours by those who had come before him. The excellent Tamul grammar and dictionary of Ziegenbalg; the complete Tamul Bible (partly the work of Ziegenbalg, partly of Schultze,) the Portuguese Bible, many tracts, many school-books, in Tamul, Portuguese and Telugu, with which the Missions were now well provided, were all open for his use. Those who are in circumstances where these materials of Missionary labour are wanting, will know how highly they ought to be prized. He was himself endowed with excellent qualifications of head and heart. He had studied for many years, was of prepossessing manners, and an excellent preacher. He brought to his work great zeal, and an earnest desire to give himself wholly to the Missionary cause. In carrying out plans of usefulness also, he was

no novice.

He had already acquired much experience at Halle in educating the young; he had witnessed systematic efforts for the distribution of the Bible and of religious tracts. These plans, so suited in themselves to do good, and hence employed in almost all ages and all lands by the servants of Christ, he found in full operation when he arrived, and as far as the details of missionary reports serve us, he seems like his brethren, to have employed in them the resources of his well furnished mind. In public preaching, both in the Tamul and Portuguese languages, in instructing Schools, in itinerating amongst the villages, in catechising his flocks, in holding conferences with the heathen, he soon began to take a full share of labour. Thus he took his place amongst his brethren, and thus his work fitted on to, and formed a part of, that system of operations, carried on in Southern India for the conversion of its inhabitants. No man can live independent of others; who, wherever he goes is surrounded by his fellowmen. They are influencing him in a thousand ways, and he is imperceptibly, perhaps, influencing them. Such is the law to which all living beings are subject; and it is when we consider the qualifications of men, the sphere of their labour, the way and the degree to which they influence their fellows for good, that we learn how far they accomplish the end for which the Providence of God sends them to a particular spot at a particular time.

To draw out these facts, to trace their working and mark their results

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »