Page images
PDF
EPUB

can resume his labours, and probably he may be under the necessity of coming home to recruit his health. If this be necessary, we are assured that the Church will gladly welcome bim back, and do every thing requisite for his comfort. Your Committee have already expressed their sympathy with him and his family under this trying dispensation, and have forwarded instructions to Mr. Bose to do all in his power to carry on the various agencies in operation for the benefit of the people. And the Committee unanimously recommend the Synod to express their satisfaction with the work already accomplished by Mr. Anderson, and their sympathy with him in his present affliction, by making him a grant of L.50 out of the Foreign Mission Fund.

NO NEW MISSIONARY

[ocr errors]

has yet been appointed to go out to India, not from lack of means, but for want of a man offering his services for the work. Your Conimittee would still cling to the hope that, however pressing be the home claims on young men, some one every way qualified for the undertaking will soon come forward and be put under training for the necessitous and fast-ripening foreign field. Pointing to that land, which is beginning to stretch out its hands unto God, and whose gates are thrown open to admit and welcome the servants of the Great King, the Saviour thus charges each aspirant to the ministry amongst us, "Son, go work to-day in my vineyard.” May the response soon come from some one well qualified for the work, “ I will arise and go.”

Your Committee cannot close their Report without briefly adverting to the great loss which the cause of Foreign Missions has sustained in the removal by death of that veteran missionary, Dr. Alex. Duff. Being the first missionary given by the Church of Scotland to India, his life is invested with an interest of an unusual kind. His long and remarkably brilliant career in the land of his adoption, his unflinching courage, his untiring and successful labours, his self-denial, his apostolic zeal, his burning earnestness, his quenchless enthusiasm, his impassioned eloquence, and his fervent appeals for help on behalf of India, rendered him a man the like of whom we may never see again. The removal of such a devoted missionary is a loss to the whole Christian Church. He now rests from his fond-loved labours, and his works do follow him. It has been well said that “the story of Dr. Duff's life and work in India is known throughout Christendom;" and the Church has laid it up in her archives as among the most precious and memorable records. On the roll of Indian missionaries there are many illustrious nanies, but he stands second to none.

[ocr errors]

His place is beside that of Carey and Henry Martyn, by universal consent “the first three” of many honourable men who have done valiantly in the field of Christian missions in the East. May his mantle alight on many of our countrymen, and his spirit enkindle in them a burning desire to be instrumental in rescuing the inhabitants of India from their heathenism, and in leading them to a saving knowledge of the Lord. May his death raise to life a great army of like-hearted men who will be ready to quit country and kindred at the Lord's call, and throw themselves into the great work which our vast Indian Empire so urgently requires. Meanwhile may constant and fervent prayer ascend to the God of salvation on behalf of India. “Ye that make mention of the Lord keep not silence and give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth."-Submitted in name of Committee,

WILLIAM B. GARDINER, Convener.

REPORT OF THE SEONI MISSION FOR THE YEAR 1877-78. I beg respectfully to lay before the Foreign Mission Committee of the Original Secession Church, the following Report of work accomplished during the year. It affords me unfeigned pleasure and heartfelt gratitude to the great Head of the Church to be in a position again to report some progress made in the work of the Lord, the details of which will be found in what follows :

1.-DIRECT EVANGELISTIC Work. Having been released from regular teaching in the school, I have this year been enabled to devote more of my time to village preaching than was possible during the previous year. During part of last hot season, however, the state of my health prevented me from going out to the villages, though I was never entirely laid aside from duty. In all, about 400 village meetings have been held, includ. ing 18 in village bazaars, and 21 in fairs.

Besides these, about 250 meetings have been held in and near Seoni, making in all about 650 meetings held in the course of the year. Of these 25 were in the town bazaars, and 44 in different parts of the town, the balance being made up of meetings in the school, which have been on the whole well attended, meetings of beggars in the mission compound, the regular English meeting on Sabbath morning in our small meeting-room, and the Sabbath School, which is held at the close of the English meeting. At the Sabbath School, which is attended by the orphans and other children connected with the congregation, and also by the converts referred to below, after the lessons are finished, I repeat in the vernacular the substance of my English discourse. Both in town and village work I have from time to time been assisted by Mr. Bose and Munshi Imdad Masih, as they had leisure.

It is my pleasant duty to report the baptism of eight men, two women, and two children of the Pardhan caste of Gonds; and there is reason to hope that ere long some more of the wives and children of the converts may be received into the Church. Several persons who had professed their desire to be baptized drew back when the time arrived, and we kept others back for various reasons, such as unworthy motives, ignorance, &c. If the converts prove sincere, and walk worthy of their profession, this may be the beginning of a great work. I would, therefore, commend them to the prayers of God's people, that they may be rooted, and built up, and stablished in the faith. . I need scarcely say that for months past much time has been spent in connection with converts and inquirers, of which no proper record can be kept.

From the foundation of the Mission in 1872 till the present time, there have been added to the Church by baptism from the heathen world in all 24 persons, including 12 orphans, two of whom died in infancy. The community connected with the Mission, young and old, now numbers 61 baptized persons, of whom 42 are natives.

Zenana work is now regularly carried on in the town, and also to some extent in the surrounding villages. The work is very difficult in all parts of India, and in Seoni more so than in most large towns ; but a beginning has been made and with a fair amount of success. Mrs. Anderson gives as much of her time to it as she can; and for some time she has had the assistance of Munshi Imdad Masih's wife. A girls' class, numbering 14 pupils, most of whom belong to the congregation, is taught daily at the bungalow ; and steps are being taken to get a class organised in the town for the instruction of women and girls. Female assistance was and is of great value in dealing with the wives of the converts, two of whom, as was noticed above, have been baptized.

11.-ORPHANAGE. We have had no addition to the inmates of the orphanage during the year, and the infant boy referred to in last Report died on 17th June last. His death was evidently the result of an attack of measles, followed by dysentery. There are therefore at present only 10 orphans under our care.

Thomas Manson has suffered for a considerable time from severe cutaneous disease, which in fact he brought with him, though he became worse afterwards. We tried to keep him as much as possible apart from the other children ; but several of them suffered to a greater or less degree in the same way, which caused us no small amount of trouble. He is now, I am happy to say, much better than he was.

Frances Smellie is now in good health, and can walk fairly, and the rest of the orphans are well.

The four elder girls attend the girls' class above mentioned, and the three elder boys have been attending school since the beginning of January. Munshi Imdad Masih is therefore now relieved from teaching the orphan boys, and is able to be present all day in school.

The local income and expenditure of the orphanage for the year were as follows :

Expenditure,
Income. - For support of orphans,

Donations,
Proceeds of orphan's work ::

L.54 11 3

L.15 4 0
21 10 0
0 10 0

37

4 0

L.17 7 3

Excess of expenditure over Local Income. A considerable quantity of wheat, and also some other articles of food were given by friendly Hindus and Mahometans. Several natives failed to implement their promises of help, which is a very common thing in this country. Some repairs had to be effected, and necessary surniture, &c., to be made or purchased, with which the orphanage was by no means well provided. The price of grain, too, has been for some time past more than double what it cost at any time since the orphanage was started ; and there is reason to fear that it will continue so for at least months to come, as the crops in this district are this year uncommonly deficient. The scarcicy is already causing much distress in and around Seoni ; and, if it continue, it is not at all unlikely that we may soon get a number of orphans. It is therefore well that the orphanage should have a reserve to fall back on in case of need.

Of the donations, Mrs. Barter collected L. 18 in Nagpur, L. 3 were given by L. A. Mender, Esq., LL.D., Jabalpur, and tos were given by two Hindus. This is the second time that Mrs. Barter has spontaneously collected money in Nagpur for the orphanage.

Here I may state that the amount collected in Mrs. Anderson's Mission box during the was L. 19 18s 4¢d, so that the total Indian income of the missie exclusive of donations and subscriptions towards the erection of a Church, amounts to L. 57 25 44d, which is the highest amount yet realised by us in one year.

[ocr errors]

III.-EDUCATIONAL WORK. The school continues to do well, though we still meet with opposition. Fees have been levied since the month of April last, and this year we are imposing higher fees on some of the classes. Some scholars have on this account left the school ; but on the whole it has not suffered seriously on account of the change. The fees realised up to the present time amount to L.2 145 10$d, a small sum, considering the number of scholars; but there are some arrears, and there is reason to hope for a considerable improvement this year. The payment of fees will now be more strictly enforced than at first.

The school also suffered somewhat two or three months ago by the needful dismissal of a Mahometan teacher. He was at once employed by the Committee of the Zilah School, and drew away a number of the youngest scholars of the Urdu department.

On the other hand, a few boys belonging to some of the most respectable families in Seoni were some time ago enrolled as pupils, which tends to raise the school in the public estimation. The highest number of scholars on the roll at any time during the year was 183, the average number was 166, and the present number is 167, of whom 40 are in the English, 51 in the Urdu, and 76 in the Hindi department. The average attendance for the year was 117. The total expenditure connected with the school, exclusive of Mr. Bose's salary, was L. 125 108 10d.

Religious instruction is communicated daily to all the pupils of the English classes, and to those of the Hindi and Urdu classes who can read fairly. We are as yet unable to do more, owing to the paucity of Christian teachers : but this is an improvement on last year. I am, as already observed, now relieved from regular school work; but i usually visit the school, and examine some of the classes every Monday morning, besides which I have had occasion to teach temporarily at other times.

A few months ago, some members of the Zilah School and Municipal Committee, petitioned the Chief Commissioner to the effect that the Zilah School be amalgamated with the Mission School. A counter petition was also got up by interested parties, asking that, for the sake of competition the two schools should be maintained ; but no objection was made to religious instruction. This petition was signed in ignorance by some who were friendly to the amalgamation, under the impression that it was simply a petition for the promotion of education. In these circumstances, I considered it to be my duty again to petition that the Zilah School be made over to the Mission, but the Chief Commissioner answered to the effect that he agreed with the Commissioner in thinking that the time had not yet come for this to be done.

I have petitioned for a grant-in-aid to the school for the ensuing financial year, which begins in April ; but as yet I have received no answer. It is just possible that it may be refused on account of retrenchment in connection with the recent famines.

IV.-COLPORTAGE. Since the month of July, Munshi David Gajadhar has been employed as colporteur by the North India Bible Society, which relieves the Mission of the greater part of the expenditure connected with colportage. Bibles, parts of Scripture, and tracts, were sold to the value of L.5 145 6d, of which amount L.2 175 9d, was the price of Bibles and parts of Scripture belonging to the above Society. The Bible Society paid for salary, coolie hire, and commission L. 13 45 2d. The net cost of colportage to the Mission for the year, including the price of a book press, books, carriage, &c., was L. 16 155 3.d. Tracts have likewise been given away from time to time, as I saw occasion. Fifteen copies of a Christian Hindi monthly periodical, and two copies of a Christian Urdu weekly newspaper, are also subscribed for in Seoni. By the blessing of God, this work may prove a valuable auxiliary to the other work of the Mission, while it affords the colporteur many opportunities of setting forth the way of salvation through Christ.

Library.-There have been added to the library during the year in all fourteen volumes. The total cost, including price of bookshelves,' bookbinding. &c.. amounted to L. 2 4s 10 d.

V.-CHURCH BUILDING. We have for some time past been rather crowded in our meeting-room in the orphanage, and much more so since the baptisms above referred to. In these circumstances, it was thought advisable to erect a small place of worship in the corner of the mission compound, next the town. By this arrangement the room presently used for public worship will be placed at the disposal of the orphans, by which their accommodation will be considerably increased. Considering the increase of the congregation of late, we saw that it would be necessary to erect a larger building than was at first contemplated, and that the sum of L. 50 granted by the Committee for the purpose would be quite insufficient. We therefore at once attempted to supplement the sum allotted by collecting money amongst our friends in India, the result of which has been very encouraging. Our own small flock has subscribed L. 13, donations from without have been received to the amount of L. 19, and we have reason to hope for more. One of the most interesting donations owards the erection of the Church was received from the orphans. A friend had given Mrs. Anderson five rupees (1os), to provide a treat for them. On hearing that we were trying to raise money in India to help in the erection of a Church, they in the most hearty way told the matron's husband that they wished to give their five rupees, and to do without their bará kháná (big dinner). Of course we were much pleased, and highly approved of their self-denial. The total expenditure will probably amount to about 1000 rupees (L. 100). A considerable part of the wood work has been made, and the foundation has been laid, in the faith that He whose are the silver and the gold will provide the funds necessary for its completion. We hope that it may be ready for use about two months hence. As the interior measurement will be 40 ft. by 20 ft. there will be considerable room for increase to our numbers. The site being very near the main road, it will be necessary to put up a respectable-looking building ; but everything will be managed under my own supervision and with strict economy

VI.-PURCHASE OF A VILLAGE. As yet we have not heard of a suitable village for sale ; and I think it would be a mistake to invest money in any village which could not be under proper supervision. Nothing beyond inquiry has therefore been done in this matter.

There is enough in the above Report to encourage as to persevere in the good work of the Lord. It is as yet the day of small things with us ; but our labour has not been in vain in the Lord. Let all the friends of the Mission continue instant in prayer "that the Word of the Lord may have free course and be glorified" in Seoni. God says, “Yet for this will I be inquired of by the house of Israel to do it for them. I will increase them with men like a flock. As the holy flock, as the flock of Jerusalem in her solemn seasts ; so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men, and they shall know that I am the Lord."-Submitted by

GEORGE ANDERSON, Missionary. Seoni, Chhapara, C.P., India, 15th March 1878.

REPORT ON PUBLIC QUESTIONS.

PRESENTED TO SYNOD, MAY, 1878. The public questions, to which the Church as “the pillar and ground of the truth,” and as “set for the defence of the Gospel,” ought to attend at the present day, are numerous and important. They include questions arising out of the old controversy between Theology and Science falsely so called, between Religion and Scepticism, between salvation by grace and salvation by works,-between holiness and sin in the world. They include, also, questions and facts that have

« PreviousContinue »