- Γεγονότα, Hμερολόγιο -



India's Problem

Krishna or Christ


John P. Jones, D.D.

of Southern India, A. B. C. F. M.

New York, Chicago, Toronto

Fleming H. Revell Company



[pg 003]



My Wife

Without whom the following pages
could not have been written.

[pg 004]

A Typical Buddhist Priest
A Typical Buddhist Priest
“Yes, it shall come! E'en now my eyes behold,
In distant view, the wish'd for age unfold,
Lo, o'er the shadowy days that roll between,
A wand'ring gleam foretells th' ascending scene.
Oh, doom'd victorious from thy wounds to rise,
Dejected India, lift thy downcast eyes,
And mark the hour, whose faithful steps for thee
Through Time's press'd ranks bring on the Jubilee!”
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The following pages are, practically, the result of a course of lectures given, on the Hyde foundation, at the Andover Theological Seminary in the fall of 1902. Some of the chapters were also used in lectures, delivered during the year, at the Yale and Hartford Theological Seminaries and at the Western Reserve University. Small portions have appeared in Reviews and Magazines but have been much changed in the transfer. The cordial welcome accorded the lectures, including an expressed desire that they be published, has led to their appearance in this more permanent form.

India should be better known to Europe and America. I trust that the following pages may help the student to understand the vast country and to realise the greatness of the problems connected with Christian work in the land; may they also stir within many a strong desire to present Christ to that great people, and inspire a hope in the ultimate and speedy triumph of our cause in the land of the Vedas.

I gratefully express my indebtedness to the Rev. J. L. Barton, D. D., for his valuable suggestions and kindly sympathy, and also to the Rev. W. P. Elwood for his kind help in proofreading.

John P. Jones.

So. India.

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Chapter I.

The Land And The People.

No country in the Orient is of greater interest to the West today than is India. It is picturesque in its life, wonderful in its history, remarkable in its present conditions and fascinating in its promise for the future.

It is a land most worthy of study both for what it has been, for what it is and for what it is to become; as the arena for the greatest conflict upon which our Faith and Civilization have ever entered; and for their most magnificent triumph in the world.

Moreover, India is now peculiarly wedded to the Anglo-Saxon race. For good or for evil the destiny of that country, socially, politically, intellectually and religiously, is linked with that of the Anglo-Saxon; and we, as a part of the Anglo-Saxon race, cannot, even if we would, shake off our connection with, and responsibility for, it.

1. The Physical Features of That Land.

It is a very extensive land. More a continent than a country, it stretches, from east to west, a distance of 1,900 miles; and it extends the same distance from the Himalayas on the north to Cape Comorin on the [pg 014] south. It covers an area equal to one-half of that of the United States.

It is physically divided into three portions. The first, on the north, includes the Himalaya Mountains, which separate it from the rest of Asia and which furnish an important element in the meteorological conditions of the country. Then from the base of this mountain range extend the plains of the great rivers which issue from the mountains themselves. Again, from the southern boundaries of these plains gradually rises a very extensive three-sided table-land reaching towards the coast on both eastern and western sides, and extending to Cape Comorin on the south. There may be added to this the narrow strips of coast-land on the east and west. In the land are found some of the greatest and most wonderful rivers in the world. The Ganges, which is the queen of Indian rivers, carries life and fertility to a population greater than that of the whole United States. After a course of 1,557 miles it empties, into the Bay of Bengal, 1,800,000 cubic feet of water per second, which is half as much again as the water of the Mississippi, and nearly six times as much as that of the Nile at Cairo.

It is a land wonderful in the variety of its climates. It is difficult to imagine greater contrasts than those existing between the various climates of India—from the eternal snows in the north to the fierce and constant heat of the tropics in the south; from the practically rainless expanse of the western plains of Sind to the 600 inches of rainfall which deluges the eastern mountain slopes. No land is more extensively cultivated and none gives more fruit in return [pg 015] for human labour than India. The Ganges, by the abundant silt which it carries, brings fertility and fruitfulness to its valleys. Even the plains of Sind, which are nearly rainless, are transformed into life by large irrigation schemes.

Rice, wheat and millets are the three staples of the country. In the north, wheat furnishes sixty per cent. of the cultivated area. This total area under wheat cultivation in India is estimated to be equal to that of all the wheat-fields of the United States. One-fourth of the population of India lives on rice; and various kinds of millets represent fifty-two per cent. of the whole cultivation of the land. Though the methods of cultivation there are primitive and the implements used inadequate for best results, yet through the rich climatic conditions and the persistent efforts of the people the land normally yields an abundance of good things for the support of its inhabitants.

2. The People.

The people of India number, according to the census of 1901, 291,236,000—about one-fifth of the inhabitants of the globe. This population represents more races than are found in the whole of Europe. Besides many small tribes, it has eleven nations, the least of which numbers 2,250,000 souls. Of these nations seven are of Aryan, and four of Dravidian, extraction; and they differ in physique, temperament and language. Between the sturdy Aryan on the north and the degraded primitive people on the plains of the south there is a great gulf. Between the clever and subtle Baboo of Bengal and the [pg 016] war-like Marahtta of the west, the bold, spirited Pathan in the north and the passive but enduring Dravidian in the south, there are many intermediate classes which furnish wonderful diversity of character and temperament. Among these people there is not, and cannot at present be, a sense of oneness. Until recently their whole civilization tended to emphasize their divergence, to broaden the breach between them and to cultivate a perpetual, mutual jealousy and hatred.

The languages spoken by these people are, according to the census of 1891, seventy in number.1 Of these the Sanskrit is the oldest, and may truly be called the mother tongue of the country. It is one of the most ancient languages in the world, with a history of more than 3,000 years. It is strong, pliant, expressive—a worthy vehicle of noble thought and religious aspiration. Though not spoken today by any tribe or people, it is not a dead language, for it is the religious tongue of India. The best thought, the deepest philosophy, the highest religious aspiration, the laws, customs and legends of the people are treasured in that tongue. All who would know the religious life and thought of India at its best and in its sources, should study Sanskrit. From it have sprung many of the languages of Modern India. In the northern and northwestern parts, the Aryan tongues find supremacy. Although these languages differ greatly among themselves, their source and vocabulary is mainly Sanskrit. Of all Indian languages, the one most widely spoken is the Hindi—88,000,000 people use it as their mother tongue. [pg 017] Forty-one millions speak Bengali, 18,000,000 speak Punjabi, 19,000,000, Marathi, 11,000,000 speak Gujurathi.

The Dravidian languages of South India are entirely separate from the Aryan group, their source and character being Turanian. These languages are Tamil, Telugu, Kanarese and Malayalam. Fifty-three million people speak these tongues alone.

The inhabitants of India are an ancient people. When thirty centuries ago our ancestors were grovelling in the lowest depths of primitive savagery, our fellow-Aryans of India were enjoying a civilization of their own, which was, in its way, unique and distinguished. Their philosophy shows testimony to their ancient glory. It may truly be said that their chief glory is to be found more in ancient than in modern times. It is a people whose progress has, in some respects, been backward rather than forward, and whose boast is rightly of what they have been rather than of what they are.

It is a conservative people. India is a land where custom is deified—the past is their glory. Today, we are living, they say, in the iron age (Kali Yuga), in which righteousness is all but lost. Hindu law has conserved the past—it exalts past observances above those of the present. Under such a system all innovations are out of place, individual ambitions are crushed. To resemble their ancestors is the summum bonum of their life.

The inhabitants of that land are a rural people. Unlike western countries, India has very few large towns. Nine-tenths of the whole population live in villages of less than 5,000, four-fifths live in villages of [pg 018] under 1,000 inhabitants. The average village of India today contains 363 inhabitants. During the last few years the tendency has been towards towns. But the large increase in the population is still to be seen in rural regions. In India two-thirds of the villages have less than 200 inhabitants each, while 1,000 have from 5,000 to 10,000 inhabitants. Notwithstanding this fact, the population, in some parts of the country, is very dense. The whole of Bengal furnishes 360 persons to the square mile, and in the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh the total per square mile rises to 416.

Owing to modern methods of sanitation, to peace and to general prosperity, the population has grown and is growing rapidly.2 There is already one person to every two acres of land in the country; and under the British Government the prosperity of India is largely measured by the growth of the population; and this in turn seriously increases the difficulty of providing for the wants of the people. Indeed it has become one of the hardest problems which confronts the Indian government; and the difficulty is considerably enhanced by the religion of the country which demands that every man and woman marry and add to the population, regardless of any question as to health or even sanity. In India the first privilege and duty of man and woman is supposed to be the propagation of their kind.

3. Economic Conditions.

One of the most marked characteristics of India is [pg 019] its poverty. The people, as a whole, have always been extremely poor. There has been some wealth in the land; but it has not been evenly distributed. While a few nabobs have enjoyed immense treasures, the people, as a whole, have grovelled in the lowest depth of penury and want. There is better distribution of wealth today than ever before; and yet the poverty of the masses continues to be a serious feature of the land. “Its finance lies at the base of every difficulty connected with our Indian Empire,” is the remark of Sir Charles Dilke. And at the base of the finance difficulty lies the poverty of the people. It is a well known and lamentable fact that one-fifth of the population, say sixty millions, are insufficiently fed even in ordinary years of prosperity. They are the ever ready prey of the first drought, distress or famine that may happen. It is a not uncommon experience of the ryot (or farmer) to retire at night upon an empty stomach. The average income of the common labourer in India is between four and five rupees, or, say, $1.50 per month.

Most of this evil which the people endure is self-imposed. They reveal a combination of blind improvidence, reckless expenditure and an unwillingness to shake off impoverishing customs. For instance, the debt incurring propensity of the native is akin to insanity. All the poor people with whom I am acquainted are bound hand and foot by this terrible mill-stone. And the interest paid upon loans is crushing. Two and three per cent. per month is an interest commonly received. It is rare that a poor farmer who gets into the clutches of the money lender regains his freedom. It usually leads to the [pg 020] loss of all property and means of support. Under the ancient Hindu law no money lender could recover interest upon a loan beyond the amount of the principal which he had advanced; under the present rule he can recover to any extent, sell the tenant's crops and even take possession of the land under a judgment decree. It is one of those instances where justice in law is made to minister unrighteousness and cruelty in life. The people moreover are given to the most extravagant expenses at marriages and funerals. It is frequently the case that a man spends upon the marriage of his son or daughter, the latter especially, more than a whole year's income. I know of many who are overwhelmed by debts incurred for the marriage of their children; and the saddest thing about it is that they have little option in this expense; for it is prescribed by caste custom.

Add to this the rank growth of religious mendicancy, under the fostering care of religious teaching and superstition. There are five and one-half millions of such lazy, worthless fellows encumbering that land today. The mass of them are sleek in body and pestilential in morals. Whenever a man finds work too hard, he dons the yellow cloth of the religious mendicant and becomes an immediate success. But alas for the community! Hindu charity is proverbial, but it is blinder than love itself. Such a body of worthless consumers would tax even a wealthy land. To India it is a dreadful burden and drain.

Add to this the insane passion for jewels which consumes both high and low. Millions of rupees' worth of gold flows into the country annually, and [pg 021] most of it is melted and converted into personal adornments for women and children. For this purpose nearly one-half million goldsmiths, according to the last census, are employed and make a comfortable living at an annual expense of ten million dollars. This is a much larger force of workmen than that of all the blacksmiths in the land.

The litigious spirit of the people is also phenomenal. It is doubtful if any other people on earth spend, relative to their means, more in legal processes than the Hindus. In view of all these facts, Sir W. W. Hunter's statement that “The permanent remedies for the poverty of India rest with the people themselves” is eminently true. It is further emphasized by the remarks of Sir Madhava Rao, K. C. S. I., one of the very few statesmen whom India has produced among her own children: “The longer one lives, observes and thinks,” he says, “the more deeply does he feel there is no community on the face of the earth which suffers less from political evils and more from self-inflicted, self-accepted, or self-created, and therefore avoidable, evils than the Hindu community.”

Famine is an oft-recurring and most perplexing evil with which India has always been familiar. In times past, it was the gaunt Avenger which decimated the people and which kept down the population within the range of tolerable existence. The god of dirt and insanitation carried away the unneeded residue left by famine. Famine is one of the very few evils before which human power stands helpless. The government has done very much by irrigation schemes and by the building of railways to mitigate [pg 022] this evil. By famine funds and relief works it strives, as it did the last famine, to reduce the mortality and suffering arising from these seasons of drought. But the constant penury of the people, and the fact of their always living upon the verge of hunger and want, make it almost impossible to save many from the terrible result of such visitations. Perhaps there is no other thing, at present, which occupies more of the time and thought of the Imperial Government than this; but, to drive entirely away this hideous demon from a land which is peculiarly liable to drought, and while the people are chronically unprepared to meet the least extra drain, is more than can be expected from any government.

The railroads of the land are manifestations of the material progress which meet one on all sides. In the extent of its railroads India is the fifth country in the world. Already the splendid railway system, upon which travel is as comfortable as, and perhaps cheaper than, in any other country in the world, has extended 23,000 miles and reaches the remotest parts of the land. These throbbing arteries carry life and enterprise to all portions of India; and many regions not yet made thus accessible will soon listen to the neigh of the iron horse and feel the pulsations of new life thereby. Three hundred million pounds sterling have been expended in this work alone.

But better, if possible, than these roads is the rapidly developing irrigation system which brings security of life and works prosperity wherever it reaches. Nearly 14,000,000 acres are now cultivated under this system. This includes fourteen and eight-tenths per cent. of all cultivated land in India. One great enterprise [pg 023] in this line is the “Peryar Project” of South India which was large in its conception, perfect in its execution and is rich in its blessings. It consists in the diversion of a large river which vainly poured its treasures down the western mountainside into the Arabian Sea, and causing its waters to flow into the eastern plains to fertilize the thirsty land as far as the Bay of Bengal. It embraces the second largest dam in the world, a tunnel one and one-fourth miles through the mountain, and many miles of distributing channels. It will irrigate at least 150,000 acres for rice cultivation and will feed 400,000 people. I live in the heart of the region thus fertilized and refreshed, and know the joy of the residents who also stand astonished before the magic power of these white people who do for them what, they say, even their gods failed to accomplish. It is well to remember that these irrigation schemes, now found in India, are much the most extensive in any country.

Looking at her commerce during the Victorian reign alone, we see a growth of 1,000 per cent. in the imports and exports of India. The export of tea has risen from nothing to 70,000 tons, and that of cotton from nothing to 220,000 tons. There are now in the land 150 cotton-mills with 150,000 labourers. Three million tons of coal are annually mined, and gold mines yield £1,000,000 sterling every year. It may, indeed, be said that India has now, for the first time in its history, taken a place as a land of manufactures, trade and commerce.

4. Social Life.

The contrast between the social life of the East [pg 024] and that of the West is marked. Problems that today stir this land to its depth have no existence in India. The conservatism of India is proverbial. The Hindu people have been kept back from all progress, so that questions arising about human rights and liberty have not begun to be mooted there. The thousand problems of our land are the direct result of the emphasis which our civilization has given to human rights and individual freedom and the equality of men. India has thus far denied to the individual those rights and liberties which are deemed elementary and fundamental in the West. Its emphasis has always been upon the rights and privileges of Society as a corporate body. It has ignored entirely the claims of the individual and has prevented him from enjoying his inalienable rights in any division of society. This may be seen in the two great departments of life in that land.

(a) The Family.

The family systems of the East and of the West are essentially different. In India the Joint Family System prevails. According to this system members of a family for three generations live together and have all things in common. No member of the family can claim anything as his own. It is the old patriarchal system and emphasizes the rights of the family as a whole, and denies to any individual member separate possession or privileges. This system has had a long day in India; but, as western ideas are spreading, dissatisfaction is manifestly increasing, especially among the educated classes. The recent introduction to the Madras Legislature of the so-called [pg 025] “Gains of Learning Bill” is the first serious attack made upon that system. By means of this bill, which was introduced by an orthodox Hindu, but which is not yet passed, an educated man could claim exclusive right to ownership of all properties acquired by him through his education. Thus, for the first time in India an individual might claim, apart from the family, that wealth which was acquired by himself. This bill has brought opposition from the public, because it conflicts with the rights of the joint family, and is a serious blow to all the old Hindu family privileges. The Hindu joint family system, while it has been a source of some blessing to the land, has also been a serious curse in that it has fostered laziness, dissension and improvidence, and has put a ban upon individual initiative and ambition.

Child marriages have been an unfailing source of evil to the land. Of this Sir John Strachey says: “It would be difficult to imagine anything more abominable than the frequent consequences of child marriages by which multitudes of girls of ten to twelve or less are given over to outrage; or, if they belong to the higher class of Hindus, are doomed to lives of degraded widowhood.”

The Indian government has endeavoured to remove this evil; but at all points it has been opposed not only by conservative, orthodox Hindus, but also by educated members of the community. No system can degrade the womanhood of a race, nor, indeed, for that matter, its manhood, more than that which marries its girls in childhood and which consigns millions of them to wretched widowhood. One of [pg 026] the consequences is that girls of even twelve years are known to become mothers in that land, while very few attain the age of eighteen without bearing children. An increasing population under these physical conditions cannot be a healthy or a vigorous one.

(b) Society.

In India, Society is almost exclusively the product of the ancient caste system. A more elaborate social system than this was never known in the world. It is an order of social tyranny of the worst sort, whereby every man is compelled to give up his own individuality and to be bound to the iron will of an ignorant community: a will also which is based upon the past and conforms to the rules and habits of peoples who lived in remote antiquity. No greater millstone could be hung around the neck of any people than that of the multitudinous caste rules of Manu and later accretions which are the all in all of Hindu life. There may have been good in this system in the past, and it may have conserved some blessings of antiquity; but today it is the worst tyranny and the greatest curse that has blasted the life of the people. It is the source of their physical degeneracy, for it compels them to marry within narrow lines of consanguinity. It has cursed the people with a narrow sympathy; for no man in that system deems it his duty to bless or help those beyond his own caste. It has sown poverty broadcast over the land; for it prohibits a man from engaging in any work or trade which is not prescribed by caste rules and customs; and thus has brought many to penury, want and [pg 027] famine. When the caste-prescribed occupation or work is not available, the suffering is very great.

It has brought stagnation to the people by restraining every man who had ambition to move forward and improve his prospects in life. The whole village regards as conceited a young man of the outcastes who seeks to rise in life; they soon bring him low. Progress is impossible under the caste system.

In like manner, it has fostered the pride and presumption of one class and destroyed the ambition and aspiration of the other. No people on earth today are more proud than the Brahmans; none more hopelessly abject than the Pariahs and other outcastes.

It has also made national unity and the spirit of fellowship impossible in the land; large corporate interests are impossible for the people. The castes of the community are filled with jealousy and are mutually antagonistic; each division having rules and ceremonies which make it impossible for communion of interests with others. Many would like to see it removed; but the system itself has created such abjectness of feeling among them that they dare not come forward to stem its tide or oppose it.

5. The Educational System.

Ignorance still rests like a pall upon that land. According to the census of 1891, out of a total population of 261,840,000, 133,370,000 were males. Of these, 118,819,000 were analphabet. Including boys under instruction, only 14,550,000 could read and write. Of the 128,470,000 females only 740,000 could read and write or were being instructed. In other words, only eleven per cent. of the males and [pg 028] a little more than one-half of one per cent. of the females were in any sense literate. In Madras, we find the greatest progress; but even there eighty-five per cent. of the male and ninety-nine per cent. of the female population are illiterate. In Oudh, on the other hand, corresponding figures are ninety-four and very nearly one hundred per cent. When it is remembered that the Brahmans, who constitute only five per cent. of the total population, include seventeen per cent. of the literate class and more than twenty per cent. of those who know English, it can be understood that the illiteracy of the common people is still greater than that indicated by the above figures.

Considerable effort has been made by the government to educate this immense population. It is seriously handicapped in this endeavour by want of funds. The State does not largely enter into the establishing of schools of its own; its policy being to give grants in aid to private bodies on the basis of results achieved. And it contents itself with the establishing and conducting of relatively only a few schools of its own which shall serve as models and as a stimulus to the private aided institutions. More than three-fourths of the education of the land is thus conducted by private bodies which are encouraged by the government through its grants in aid. There still remain not a few indigenous or, so-called, “piall” schools. Educationally, these schools are of little value, as their training is both antiquated in kind and extremely limited in quantity. They are interesting because they reveal to us the old educational methods of the land. Schools on modern [pg 029] lines, however, by coming under government surveillance, for the purpose of receiving grants in aid, are conducted much more efficiently, and attain results worthy to be compared with those of western lands. The chief feature of the educational system, controlled, examined and aided by government, is the emphasis given to an English training. From the second year of instruction, the English language grows annually in importance in the curriculum of studies. In the grammar school it becomes compulsory and in the high school and college it is the sole medium of the communication of knowledge. The English language is emphasized also because it is the test for admission even into many of the lowest of the numberless offices in connection with government service; so that the study of this language of the West has become to young India practically a necessity and a craze. People of the lowest conditions in life pawn and mortgage their property and involve themselves in terrible debts for the sake of giving their sons an English education.

Christian missions constitute one of the principal bodies which engage in the training of Hindu youth. One-ninth of all the school children of India are found in mission schools. This number includes 330,000 boys and nearly 100,000 girls. In the training of girls, Protestant missions have not only been pioneers; they are also today much the most prominent and efficient educators of the women of the land. Their girls' schools and colleges are not only the most numerous, but also the most efficiently conducted and thoroughly managed of all institutions for women in India. The Madras Christian College [pg 030] for boys and the Sarah Tucker Woman's College of Tinnevelly are among the best institutions for those classes in India. The educational system of India culminates in the five Universities of Calcutta, Bombay, Madras, Allahabad and Lahore. These are not instructing, but simply examining universities like the University of London. With these the 140 colleges of two grades and of various degrees of efficiency, are affiliated. In these colleges are found 18,000 students of whom more than 5,000 graduate yearly. The city of Calcutta is a city of many colleges and has more college students, relative to its population, than almost any city of the West.

Though the masses of the people, and especially the women, are still, as we have seen, grossly ignorant, yet every year encouraging progress is being made in spreading the blessings of, and in creating a taste for, education. Every year natives themselves enter more largely into the educational work and find in it not only a living, but noble scope for their activities. Among the higher and cultured classes there is a growing body of young men, besides the ambitious few from the lower classes, crowding into the higher institutions of the land. It is one of the problems of the day to direct the mind of this increasing army of university graduates to other professions than the overcrowded government service. There is a persistent feeling among these youth that it is the business of State to supply them with lucrative posts upon their graduation. And it is the disappointed element of this class which furnishes so many of the discontented, blatant demagogues who are almost a menace to the land.

Madura Mission Hospital For Women.
Madura Mission Hospital For Women.
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Yet this educational work is one of the potent, leavening influences of the country, and is helping greatly in carrying quietly forward one of the mightiest revolutions that have been witnessed in any land. In its train follows closely the social elevation of the people. The relaxation of the terrible caste system, the elevation of woman and her redemption from some of the cruelties and injustice of the past, immediately attend that expanding knowledge which results from the schools of the land.

Protestant missions are preëminent in their work of educating the Christian communities gathered together by them.3 Though these communities are largely drawn from the lowest outcasts, yet they compare favourably, in their educational equipment, with the highest classes. This is a significant indication of their present, and a bright promise for their future, position among the people of India.

6. The Political Situation.

India today is politically a subject country. Though in one sense England did not directly subjugate India, it is nevertheless true that its inhabitants, though treated with large consideration, are today a subject people—ruled by a foreign nation 7,000 miles away. Hence, it might be expected that political rights and privileges would not prevail there as among a self-governing, entirely independent, people. The existence of an army of about 75,000 Britons in that land today is significant of the situation and partly reveals one grip with which Great [pg 032] Britain holds India and makes it a part of her great empire. I do not wish to minimize the moral power with which also, and increasingly, Great Britain draws India by sweet compulsion to herself; of this I shall speak later.

It should also be remembered that the genius of the Orient is not for self-government; in the East, people have little taste for free institutions; they have always craved, and found their greatest happiness and chief welfare in, a strong paternal government. The ordinary Hindu seeks for himself nothing higher than a government which, while not asking for his opinion concerning its policy and acts, will at least dispense a fair modicum of justice to him and his.

Notwithstanding all this, the Indian government has bestowed upon the people a wonderfully large meed of power and privilege. Political progress in the land is one of the marvels of the past century. Before the British entered India that land had never enjoyed the first taste of representative institutions. Today the query which arises in the mind of disinterested persons who know and love India is, whether political rights and liberties have not, of late years, been conferred too rapidly upon them. It should not be expected that a people who, by instinct and unbroken heritage, are the children of the worst kind of autocratic and absolute government, should acquire, in one age or century, wisdom or aptitude to rule themselves. The mass of Hindus love to be led and they follow easily.

But there is a small and growing party of the soil who have aptly learned many of the lessons taught them by the rulers. The best acquired of all these [pg 033] lessons is that of the power of agitation and of the efficacy among the Anglo-Saxon race of the cry for human rights. The only difficulty is that one might suppose, from the language of some of these men that England has not yet conceded to worthy Indians any of those political privileges which every Anglo-Saxon citizen demands for himself. As a matter of fact, we see in the municipalities of that land a form of popular government such as even not all western countries enjoy. The power of the franchise, in the election of municipal commissioners, is vested in all those who are possessed of the least amount of property. Even women enjoy the franchise; and it is a curious fact that the natives of South India have recently protested in the newspapers against the granting of this power to women, because, they say, the power is exercised only by “dancing girls” and other public characters. To those who watch carefully the working of this right of municipal franchise and see how easily and speedily the natives have adopted all the vices and tricks of the system, it does not by any means seem an unmixed good. And the hardest critics of the system that I have met have been intelligent and loyal Indians who believe that this meed of self-government is fraught with evil. The District Boards also are composed almost entirely of native gentlemen, and they have large powers in the administration of the internal affairs of the land. Moreover these municipal and local bodies, together, elect members for provincial legislative bodies where they enjoy recently enlarged powers for interpellating the government—a power which, by excessive use or abuse, they may soon forfeit.

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To all this must be added the freedom of the press, which also has recently been abused by the dissemination of disloyal and seditious sentiments, but which adds immensely to the powers of the people.

Then the “National Congress” is a peculiar institution which, while it gives scope to the political aspirations of many natives, adds, by its very existence, to the lustre of the British Raj in the land. Just imagine for a moment the existence of such a Congress under Russian rule! It is true that this Congress, which meets annually in some great city of the land, has no connection with government or legislative bodies and has only that power and influence which inhere in its deliberations and resolutions. It is also true that up to the present it has given itself largely to the criticism and abuse of government. By this it has alienated some of its best friends. Still, even as a public censor it has doubtless done good, and offers to the discontented a wholesome vent for pent up feelings. It is also a remarkable gathering in its numbers of cultured men and illustrates one of the wonders which Great Britain has accomplished in that land. To think, that out of the babel of Indian tongues there should gather together in one place annually some 5,000 native gentlemen to discuss questions of State, and to criticise one of the most modern of governments in the pure English accents of Addison or of Macaulay! What a wonderful object lesson of progress this!

Nor is Great Britain as remiss or as selfish as many would lead us to believe in the distribution of the loaves of office. There are only 122,661 male Britishers in that land (including the army)—one to [pg 035] every 2,500 of the population. Of these, only 750 are found in the higher offices of government. In the Provincial Services 2,449 natives are employed in high judicial and administrative posts. It is a significant fact that out of 114,150 appointments, carrying Rs.4 1,000 annually, ninety-seven per cent, are in the hands of natives. To all offices, below that of the Governor of the Province, natives are eligible. As Judges of the High Court and as Members of the legislative bodies not a few Indians are found; as they are also in the Indian Civil Service which was so long exclusively filled by Anglo-Indians. It hardly appears how England can hold that great land to herself, as a member of her empire, with fewer of her own citizens than are now found at the helm. Nor does it yet appear that a strong, efficient and acceptable government can be maintained there by a large reduction of this force. I use the word “acceptable” advisedly; and it is certainly the business of Great Britain to discover and consult the wishes of the people—not of the hungry office seekers—in this matter. After many years of observation and of living among the people, I am convinced that nine-tenths of them are prepared any day to vote in favour of the relative increase, and not the decrease, of the European official force. The people have found them to be just and honest; they know that they can be depended upon to administer justice with an even hand and that they are incorruptible. In their own native officials they have no confidence. They have found, alas, too often that justice is sold by them to the highest bidder. The “middle men” who arrange [pg 036] such matters are too commonly known as the accompaniments of the native courts of justice. It is true that some native judges are above such venality. But I know how general is the want of native confidence in native officials. Many a time have I been importuned to use my influence to have cases transferred from the jurisdiction of the native to the Englishman. And the reason invariably given is that “The white man will not accept bribes and will give justice.” Indeed, it may be said that the chief difficulty which confronts the Government in its great work is that of saving the people from low, mercenary and unprincipled native officials—especially those of the lower and lowest grades.

The police department is corrupt to the core. The common people dread the policeman as they do the highwayman; for the constable rarely touches a case without making money out of the transaction; and he is expert in manufacturing cases.

What India needs today, above all else, is an honest, faithful, efficient class of officials. The presence of a few English dignitaries found there is worth ten times its cost to the land, purifying and toning up the service.

Considering the political situation as a whole, I confidently maintain that the people of India enjoy political rights and privileges quite as extensively as they are prepared wisely to exercise them. No people anywhere enjoy larger privileges, relative to their ability to use them wisely; and no subject people on earth have ever been treated with larger consideration by their conquerors, or have been more faithfully trained to enter upon an ever increasing [pg 037] sphere of opportunity and of self-government. The political situation in India today—in the privileges and rights which the people enjoy—is a marvellous testimony to the wisdom and unselfishness of Great Britain in her Indian rule.

7. The Government of India.

The government of India is perhaps the most elaborate in the world; the highest powers of statesmanship have been manifested by the successive rulers during more than a century in the development of a State which is extraordinary no less in the complication of its provisions and details than in the wise adaptation of human laws to meet the multitudinous exigencies of this great conglomeration of peoples. It should also be remembered that British statesmen in their work of legislation in India, and in their coordination of laws, have not only had to consider the manifold character of the different portions of the population of the land; what is more difficult still, they have been compelled to ingratiate themselves with the Indians by conserving, so far as possible, those myriads of ancient laws and customs which obtain there. The laws of Manu and of other writers of twenty-five centuries ago have been handed down by this people through the ages and have accumulated authority and reverence with increasing time, until today all Hindus regard them as divinely given and as possessing irresistible claim upon them for all time. So that, while it may be said on the one hand that the laws of India are largely built upon western foundations, and savour of Christian principles and modern ideas; it should also be remembered, on the [pg 038] other hand, that the dicta of ancient Hindu lawgivers find a large place in the legal codes of that land.

Yea, even more than this is true. There are a host of caste rules and customs which have no further sanction than the fact that they have become customs, and yet which have been dignified with the authority of law. This is of course due chiefly to the fact that most customs in India have a religious basis and interpretation, and therefore draw to themselves that sanctity and claim which belong to things religious. Thus, for instance, every caste in South India has its own marriage customs. Most of these are highly incongruous with modern ideas and rights, and most of them absolutely disregard the rights of the wife. And yet it has been deemed wise by the State to conserve and to give the sanction of law to these multitudinous marriage customs which are enough in themselves to constitute an extensive code.

Some conception of the magnitude of the work carried on by the Indian Government may be gathered from the following description by Bishop Thoburn:—“With a population greater than that of the five great powers of Europe put together; with a revenue exceeding $350,000,000; with a foreign commerce worth $768,000,000 annually; with a standing army 230,000 strong, more than two-thirds of which are composed of native soldiers; with a drilled police force of more than 150,000 men; with a code of laws in many respects superior to those found on the statute books of European countries; and with courts of justice as impartial and as faithfully conducted as any to be found in the world, [pg 039] India may well claim a place among the great empires of the present era.”

The British Government has respected the possessions of native chiefs in whose hands still remain about one-third of the country. But these so called native territories are so largely under English control and guidance that we may well regard them as essentially a part of the British Domain.

The Secretary of State for India has practically the control of British Indian affairs. He, with his council in London, has the final word in Indian matters of paramount importance. Nevertheless, the Indian Government finds this power rarely antagonistic in matters whereon it has firmly made up its mind.

The British possessions in India are distributed into twelve governments, each separately organized and yet all of them constituting parts of the Supreme Government of India. This Supreme Government is administered by a Governor-General or Viceroy with whom is associated a Council of six members. This Council constitutes the Viceroy's Cabinet and each one has charge of a separate department of the government.

Of the Provincial Governments of India, the principal ones are the Province of Bengal with 71,000,000, under a Lieutenant-Governor; United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, with a population of 47,000,000, under a Lieutenant-Governor; Presidency of Madras, with 35,500,000, under a Governor; Presidency of Bombay, with 18,800,000, under a Governor; and the province of Punjab, with 20,800,000, under a Lieutenant-Governor.

The unit of government in India is the District. [pg 040] The whole of India is divided into 235 Districts. At the head of a District is placed an officer known as Collector, Senior Magistrate, or Deputy Commissioner, who is practically ruler of that division. He is the administrative representative of the government. In each District there is also a District Judge and a few other officers at the head of various departments. These Districts vary in size and population, covering areas from 14,000 to 1,000 square miles, and containing from 3,000,000 to 250,000 population. The average population of a District is 800,000. Nothing impresses the careful observer more than the large amount of responsibility and the multifarious duties which devolve upon these District officers. During recent years, however, authority has been withheld increasingly from Collectors and centralized in the Provincial Governments; for at the head of every Province also there is a government patterned somewhat after the Supreme Government in Calcutta.

Maharajah Of Travancore.
Maharajah Of Travancore.

Rajah Of Ramnad.
Rajah Of Ramnad.

No greater mistake can be made than to think that India is either crudely or poorly governed. Owing to the great poverty of the land it is extremely difficult to maintain so costly and elaborate a régime as the present one; and many claim that for the support of so expensive a luxury the people are taxed beyond their ability and resources. The taxation imposed by a government on its people is rightly considered, both in its extent and character, as a measure of the wisdom of the State. The critics of the Indian government are prone to dwell upon the alleged injustice of its taxes. It is, however, difficult to understand why this matter should be pressed unless it be on the ground, apparently maintained, that the poverty of [pg 041] the people should exempt them from any of the burdens of taxation—a theory beautifully generous to the people but fatal to the maintenance of any government. The salt tax does certainly seem cruel in its severe pressure upon the very poor; and yet it is the only one whereby this very large part of the community can be reached at all, and made to contribute its mite to the State which protects it.

Comparing present taxes with those of the past, we should certainly expect heavier imposts now, because the government furnishes today, as an equivalent of protection and blessing, infinitely more than former dynasties did. And yet Sir W. Hunter has ably shown from a comparison of taxes levied by the present government and by the Moghul government that the modern Hindu is vastly better off than was his ancestor of two and three centuries ago. Today, five and one half per cent. is collected in land tax; under the Moghul rule they had to pay from thirty-three per cent. to fifty per cent. Besides this, the Mohammedan imposed various other taxes, many of them upon non-Mohammedans as a religious penalty. Nor were the Hindu governments one whit better off; and even today the native states are much harder upon the people than is the British Raj.

The famine commission is the highest authority on the subject. In its exhaustive report of 1880 it writes:—“In the majority of native governments the revenue officer takes all he can get, and would take treble the revenue we should, if he were strong enough to exact it.”

If we pursue the comparison to that of European [pg 042] peoples, Indian taxation would seem but a trifle. Placing even English taxes side by side with India's, we shall find instruction. The average income in the United Kingdom is £40, while the tax assessed is 44s, or five and one-half per cent. In India, alas, the average income is only 36s. But then the tax is only 1s, 9d per capita which is a trifle smaller per capita than that for England. Here again we are impressed with the reasonableness of the tax imposed.

The opium and liquor traffic in India is one which has drawn forth much criticism. From the moral standpoint the critics have a very strong case. The evil which the opium traffic of India has inflicted upon China—against her will too—has been enormous. The large army of opium eaters which it has created, only to destroy with a terrible death, has long been an argument to which no nation of England's position and pretensions can render satisfactory reply.

In like manner, the State monopoly of the drink traffic is neither honourable nor wise. It not only gives unwonted and unwarrantable dignity to a disreputable business, it also involves the State in the business of making a large army of drunkards in the land. To take up a traffic like this, for the revenue there is in it, is to trifle with the higher interests of the subjects and to become instrumental in the corruption and misery of the people whom it is bound to protect. It is questionable whether any other civilized government has involved itself in such unworthy means of creating a revenue. Doubtless, opium and drink represent, morally, the weakest part of this government. Of course, the all important [pg 043] defense lies in the revenue thus acquired. These two items of revenue flow more easily than any others into the depleted treasury of State. To give these up in behalf of what is termed sentiment, would necessitate the imposition of other heavy taxes. This is an aspect of the question which too easily silences and secures the acquiescence of the people of India. But, its evil is great and is spreading.

The drink curse is rapidly becoming one of the trying problems of India. It was slanderously remarked some years ago that if the English then left that country the only monuments left behind of their life would have been broken whiskey bottles! There is indeed ground today for the fear that if England were to abandon the land, it would leave, as the saddest monument of its past, an immensely increasing army of drinkers; and this evil is further enhanced by the mean ideal of life which the ordinary Englishman sets before Hindus by his passion for the cup. Half a century ago an Englishman died while on duty in the jungles in South India, and his body was there buried in the wilderness. The natives soon erected a shrine over his grave and, for a long time, offered, in true sobriety, whiskey and cheroots to appease his thirsty and unsatisfied spirit! It is not strange that the natives should recognize a continuity of spirit-taste in the here and the hereafter of the Sahib!

The recent utterance of the Archbishop of Canterbury on this subject should be heeded by the State. “The true principle of morals,” he says, “is to have nothing whatever to do with that which is shown to be necessarily productive of evil. The English nation [pg 044] caused the opium evil in China and we are responsible for that evil. I also protest against the principle of raising revenue by temptations to evil. It might be right for a government to pause before interfering with private trade; but, in this case we ourselves are carrying on the evil trade. Such a thing on the part of a great government is, I think, without a parallel in the whole world.”

The Army in India is a necessary but great evil in the expense which it involves to the government, no less than in the evil life which it leads among, and the evil example which it sets, the native community. Its influence is deplorable. It is the most vulnerable to attack of all departments of government, both on the score of expense and character. “Tommy Atkins” is the greatest trial to the Hindu, and brutally rides rough-shod over all his sensibilities. If he could only be left at home with safety to British interests in the land, it would help largely to improve the situation between the two races. It would also save England from the terrible disgrace of immorality which the army is instrumental in carrying as a plague wherever it goes. Awful indeed is the prevalence of the social vice in the native community itself; but the English Army spreads the demoralization in a most disgraceful way.

Considering the government as a whole, then, it is wonderful, both in the extent of its operation and in its numberless activities and agencies. Its purpose is generally noble, and its wisdom, both in the framing of laws and in general administration, has been most marked. The occasion of most of its failings and weaknesses is the poverty of the people [pg 045] whereby the government has, at times, been driven to subterfuges to avoid bankruptcy.

8. The Mission of Great Britain in India.

The British people are only today beginning to realize fully the wonderful mission which, under God's providence, they are called to fulfill in that great land of the Vedas. For nearly a century the commercial motive was not only paramount but was practically the only motive which impelled the Anglo-Saxon in his contact with India. Everything Indian had value in his eyes in proportion as it added to his revenues. For many years he excluded the Missionary of the Cross from his domains in the East, lest that good man should, by teaching the people, disturb the revenue of the Honourable East India Company. As the domains of this great company extended and its powers multiplied, the English nation gradually came to realize their own responsibility as a people to the land; and the Indians thus were brought within their influence. This contact and communion of interests became to them the voice of responsibility and of obligation to impart their blessings to them as well as to take their material resources from them. The dawn of the new altruistic sense towards its subject people, though long deferred, rapidly grew into full daylight; and Great Britain today feels, as no country has felt before, its privilege and duty to bestow upon its dependency in the East the highest and best which it can furnish.

The difficulty of England's mission in India is greatly enhanced by the difference which amounts [pg 046] almost to a contrast between her own people and the inhabitants of India. The striking difference of type and character existing between the Anglo-Saxon and the Hindu facilitates all sorts of misunderstanding between them, and aids perceptibly in making the path of the British Raj a very thorny one in the land. It would perhaps be impossible to find two peoples who are farther removed from each other in temperament and training—whose nature and antecedents are more irreconcilable at all points. While the Anglo-Indian is bold, frank and just, even to harshness, the Hindu is subtle, affable, practiced to dissimulation, with ready susceptibilities to temporize and to barter justice for expediency. On the one side, we see the Westerner haughty, unyielding and unwilling to conciliate; on the other we behold the Oriental willing to be trampled upon when it seems necessary, and to smile with apparent gratitude under the process; but, withal, possessed of a large inheritance of ineradicable prejudices, which make a contact with his too domineering Western lord an unceasing trial to him.

There is another point at which the two races are antipodal. The Briton is progressive to the core. He only needs to be assured that a certain course is right and for the best interests of the community, in order to adopt it. His face ever looks upward and his ambition is ever to go forward. But, in India he lives among a race whose chief divinity is custom and the gist of whose decalogue is, “Hold fast to the past.” As they approach a proposed enterprise their first and last question concerning it is not whether it is right and best, but whether it is in a [pg 047] line with the past and would be approved by their ancestors. The whole country has been anchored for the last twenty-five centuries to a code of social laws and customs which are more unyielding than the laws of the Medes and Persians. With them conservatism is the acme of piety and propriety. All progress has been practically forced upon the country from without, and in the teeth of their most sacred institutions and their most earnest protestation and opposition. Thus the great difference between the two peoples has been a serious hindrance to the realization of British designs in that land.

Notwithstanding all this, Great Britain has patiently, persistently and doggedly carried on her work and pursued her highest ideals for India.

And what have been the ideals and blessings which she is seeking to achieve for that great land?

The first is that of Western culture and civilization. In these two particulars, England has introduced into India a perpetual conflict. Western ideas, processes of thought, points of aspect and ideals of beauty and of life have been gradually supplanting the very different ones of the East. Western life in India today is a constant challenge to the people to study, admire and appropriate its many features of thought and conduct; and India is not insensible to this call. The railroads and hospitals, the schools and sanitary projects which have been introduced by the West into that land are markedly transforming the sentiment and the life of the people. The contrast between the people of India today and of a century ago is all but complete in this respect. While the educational institutions of the land are [pg 048] revolutionizing the thought, the more material elements of civilization are transforming the outer life of the people.

England also is imparting to India the Anglo-Saxon conception of right, of law and of justice. In order to know how widely apart the East and West were in this respect, one should live in India a few years. The idea of equal rights to all the people, of freedom of speech, of liberty of conscience and of other similar rights which are regarded as elementary and fundamental in the West, was all but foreign to India when England established her power there. That the government itself should treat high and low, the poor ryot and the wealthy rajah, the ignorant Pariah and the cultured Brahman as one in their claim for right and protection, for justice and for favour, seemed to the Hindu absurd. It is one of the best commentaries on British justice and administration in India, that the people have now come not only to regard it with satisfaction, but also as an indispensable condition of their life.

The blessings of peace also are among the greatest which England has conferred upon India. “Pax Britanica” is equally known and loved today in India and in the British Isles. From time immemorial India had been torn asunder, not only by internecine wars, but also by numerous attacks from the peoples of other countries. India has always been a prey both to the decimating wars of her own unjust and ambitious tyrants, and mutually antagonistic castes and tribes; she has also been the easy victim of any hardy, enlightened, ambitious people who sought to invade her. The presence of Great [pg 049] Britain in India has been a voice commanding peace to its troubled and exhausted people. With a strong hand she has put down injustice of tribe against tribe and made impossible inter-tribal wars and raids. She has brought rest such as India never before enjoyed and has given safety to the most harmless and innocent classes, as she has peace to the most warlike and aggressive in the land. This great land of the East has thus had opportunities to grow and to develop in many of the most essential characteristics of individual and national progress. These blessings would have been impossible apart from the peace which Great Britain assured and wrought out for the land.

In connection with this we need to emphasize the various forms of progress which are an essential part of British blessing to India. We have seen that India was a stagnant land, that its people were preëminently unprogressive and ultra-conservative. England has helped her to break down many of these barriers of the past. Though India is obstinately slow in her acceptance of the spirit and blessings of progress, England has thrust upon her many of the conditions, and compelled her to enter into some of the paths of progress which will bring inestimable benefits into her life.

In like manner, the mission of England has been and is a religious one. Her Majesty, Queen Victoria, upon assuming authority in the land, issued a proclamation to the effect that under her reign all the inhabitants of India should enjoy perfect right to worship as they please and whom they please. It is true that too many of the representatives of the [pg 050] British Government in India today are so impressed with the importance of a government that is absolutely neutral in religious matters, that they have both ceased themselves to manifest any religious preference in their life and are scrupulously careful to see to it that Christians get just a little less of right and of protection than the adherents of other faiths. This they consider to be true altruism added to breadth of religious sentiment!

Notwithstanding this, nothing is more manifest in India today than that the very fact of the rulers of the land being nominally Christians adds to the prestige of Christianity in the land. The people naturally come to regard it as the State religion. What is more significant, however, is the fact that, at the basis of modern laws in that land and of the multiplying institutions of the country, distinctively Christian principles are universally recognized. Should the government of India resolve to be absolutely neutral in all religious matters, it would have to renounce those laws and institutions which have furnished it with all its success in the land and which today crown its efforts with largest usefulness. To the government, and unconsciously to the masses of the people, Christian thought and truth and method necessarily characterize most of the laws, institutions and processes of India. They are all a part of the work of Great Britain in that land and such a part as she could not dispense with if she would. It is a part of her unconscious Christian heritage.

Thus the work of Great Britain in India has been attended with a large degree of success; it has lifted the land out of a condition of semi-savagery and [pg 051] placed it among the civilized nations of the world. It has cut it asunder from its anchorage to the past and brought it almost abreast of the times. There is still much to be done and much to be desired. We shall be glad to see the day when radical steps in progress shall be taken voluntarily by the people and through the initiative of their own leaders, rather than that they should wait to have them thrust upon them, as in the past, by the progressiveness of the foreigner among them.

The people, on the whole, appreciate the blessings of British supremacy in the land. If they are not demonstratively loyal to the government, they certainly do rest satisfied in the progress which has been achieved for them.

The well known political leader of Bengal, Babu Surendra Nath Banerji, recently expressed, in the following eloquent words, the sentiment of the most thoughtful and influential natives of the country.

“Our allegiance to the British rule,” he says, “is based upon the highest considerations of practical expediency. As a representative of the educated community of India—and I am entitled to speak on their behalf and in their name,—I may say that we regard British rule in India as a dispensation of Divine Providence. England is here for the highest and the noblest purposes of history. She is here to rejuvenate an ancient people, to infuse into them the vigour, the virility and the robustness of the West, and so pay off the long-standing debt, accumulating since the morning of the world, which the West owes to the East. We are anxious for the permanence of British rule in India, not only as a guarantee [pg 052] for stability and order, but because with it are bound up the best prospects of our political advancement. To the English people has been entrusted in the Councils of Providence the high function of teaching the nations of the earth the great lesson of constitutional liberty, of securing the ends of stable government, largely tempered by popular freedom. This glorious work has been nobly begun in India. It has been resolutely carried on by a succession of illustrious Anglo-Indian statesmen whose names are enshrined in our grateful recollections. Marvellous as have been the industrial achievements of the Victorian era in India, they sink into insignificance when compared with the great moral trophies which distinguish that epoch. Roads have been constructed; rivers have been spanned; telegraph and railway lines have been laid down; time and space have been annihilated; Nature and the appliances of Nature have been made to minister to the wants of man. But these are nothing when compared to the bold, decisive, statesmanlike measures which have been taken in hand for the intellectual, the moral and the political regeneration of my countrymen. Under English influences the torpor of ages has been dissipated; the pulsations of a new life have been communicated to the people; an inspiriting sense of public duty has been evolved, the spirit of curiosity has been stirred and a moral revolution, the most momentous in our annals, culminating in the transformation of national ideals and aspirations, has been brought about.”

Great Britain has not been, and is not now, without failings in her work in India; and her line of [pg 053] progress is studded with many errors. But she has been faithful to her trust and has carried it out in no selfish way. The warm and deep loyalty of India bears testimony to this; for native sentiment everywhere reveals marked appreciation.

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Chapter II.

The Religions Of India.

India is the mother of religions. No other land has been so prolific in religious thought or has founded faiths which have commanded the allegiance of so large a portion of the human race. While the Aryans of the West have been content to borrow their faith from the Hebrews; Indo-Aryans have produced the most wonderful and mighty ethnic religion (Brahmanism) and also one of the three great missionary religions of the world (Buddhism). A third of the human race today cling with devotion to these two products of the fertility of the mind, and the spirituality of the heart, of India.

India's toleration for other religions has been marked. For twelve centuries she has been the asylum of Zoroastrianism. Nearly nine-tenths of the followers of that ancient cult of Persia found and still enjoy a hospitable home in India. There are more of the narrow, bigoted followers of Mohammed among these tolerant people than are found in any other land—even in the wide domains of the Sultan. Christians also have lived, practically unmolested, in this great land almost from Apostolic days.

Thus not a few of the great Faiths of the world are at present represented, and are struggling either for existence or dominance, in the land of the Vedas.

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The principal faiths of the land, with their adherents, were as follows, according to census of 1891:

Hindu 207,731,727
Sikh 1,907,838
Jain 1,416,638
Buddhist5 7,131,361
Parsee 89,904
Mohammedan 57,231,164
Jewish 17,000
Christian6 2,284,000

Let us consider these faiths briefly. It will be seen that Christianity has, as its followers, only one per cent. of the whole population of the land.

(a) Judaism.

The Jewish Community in India numbers only 17,000; these are found mostly in Bombay and Poonah. Perhaps the most interesting colony of them is that on the west coast in Cochin. I had the pleasure of visiting them in 1897. There are 1,500 of them divided into two sections—the White, and the Black Jews. There is a marked racial difference between the two. The Blacks were originally the slaves of the Whites as is shown by their historical documents. It is not known when the Whites came to India. Some think that they fled there during the Jewish exile. More likely they came upon the dispersion during the first century of our era. The purity of their blood and the remarkable fairness of their complexion indicate that the settlement has [pg 056] been from time to time reenforced from northwestern countries. They are an exceedingly conservative people; and in their two synagogues, they conduct their worship perhaps more like the Jews of twenty centuries ago than do any other representatives of that race today. The day-school connected with the White Synagogue closely resembles the little school which our Lord attended at Nazareth.

(b) Mohammedanism.

About one-fifth of the whole population of that land is connected with the religion of the great prophet of Arabia. This is a number largely in excess of the whole Mohammedan population of Turkey. It is very suggestive that this faith finds larger growth under the peaceable protection of the Indian, than under the semi-barbarism of the Moslem, government.

This religion was carried into India in 711 A. D. at the point of the sword; and its establishment and success for centuries was owing to the same method. This community is not evenly distributed all over India; for, more than one-third of it is found in Bengal alone, where it furnishes the majority of the population. More than one-half of the adherents of this faith in India are converts from Hinduism. These were gathered in former centuries when the Mohammedan power was dominant, and when to be a member of any other faith than Islam was regarded as a disability. The Mohammedans of the country are, on the whole, physically more sturdy and vigorous than their neighbours. Government, in its treatment of the people, has to conciliate and regard [pg 057] with favour this class more than the Hindus who are four times their number. They possess a great deal of religious bigotry which is intrenched behind their dense ignorance. There is a no more ignorant element than this in the population of India; only six per cent. of the men are able to read and hardly any of the women; and they seem, even today, to have a positive aversion to the schoolhouse. Mohammedanism had, during the days of its dominance, considerable influence in the land; but it did very little to improve the material, moral or religious condition of the people; and it is a significant fact that, comparing today the adherents of Islam in India, with those of Hinduism, the latter are found not inferior in life, morals and aspirations to the followers of the prophet.

The converts gathered from Mohammedanism by Christianity are few, though not so few as ordinarily represented. In North India encouraging success has been achieved by missions for this class. But in South India, where their numbers are fewer, efforts in their behalf have not been so well organised and have produced smaller results. It is a hard task to reach and to move this class, owing not only to the important truth of monotheism, which they hold with great enthusiasm, but also because of the supreme ignorance which blinds them equally to the weakness of their own, and to the excellence of the Christian, faith.

(c) Parseeism.

This faith has had adherents in India for eleven centuries. Driven out by Mohammedanism from [pg 058] their home in Persia, the Parsees found refuge in India. There are only 100,000 of these followers of Zoroaster in the world. 90,000 of them are in India; and nearly all of these reside in Bombay and its vicinity. Their faith, Zoroastrianism, is the purest of ethnic religions. It has preserved its ancient integrity and high tone much better than its sister faith, Brahmanism. Among the members of this religion are found men possessed of great enterprise, much wealth, the spirit of progress and of philanthropy and culture. They give high honour and position to their women, and in all matters of civilization are considerably in advance of even the best class of Hindus.

This religion, though from the same source with Brahmanism, has fundamental differences of doctrine from that faith. None is more marked or significant than its Dualism as contrasted with the Pantheism of its sister faith. The problem of the origin of evil has found these two diverse interpretations and these have had a large influence in shaping the characters, respectively, of these two great ethnic religions.

Besides the far-off common source of these two religions, indicated by the earliest names and character of their deities, there is hardly any bond of fellowship in doctrine, worship or observance between the fire worshipping Parsee and the Hindu idolater. And though these Parsees have, for more than a millennium, made India their home, they have kept themselves apart from the people of the land and are still as truly foreigners in the land of their adoption as are the English residents.

[pg 059]

(d) Buddhism.

This religion is a child of India; its founder, Gautama, was the product of that land, and, next to our Lord Himself, is the greatest among the founders of religions. Buddhism arose as a reaction, twenty-five centuries ago, against the excesses of Brahmanism. It flourished wonderfully for a few centuries, and at the time when Christ was on earth, had gained supremacy over the old faith and had become the State religion in India. Owing to the Brahmanic revival, in the eighth century of our era, Buddhism was in its turn, driven out of the land, and has found refuge in Ceylon and in more eastern countries from that time until the present. Since then it has been almost entirely without followers in India proper. Of the British India possessions Burma is the only place where it is the popular faith today.

Still it is not without much influence in the land of its birth. For, Brahmanism overcame its rival faith in India only by adopting some of its most fundamental contentions and teachings. Indeed, modern Hinduism is largely a blending of the Brahmanism of old with its supplanter, Buddhism. The abundant sacrifices which Brahmanism offered were entirely abolished in deference to Buddhistic sensibilities. The doctrine of transmigration, through Buddhism, received new emphasis; and kindness to all living creatures was extolled to a supreme virtue. As a climax to this attitude of conciliation Hinduism finally adopted the Buddha as the ninth incarnation of Vishnu. Thus, by the irony of history, Gautama, the Buddha, found a place in the pantheon of the religion which he gave his life to overthrow; [pg 060] and today many of the leading aspects of the life and teaching of the Hindus may be traced, either in source or in emphasis, to his religion.

(e) Jainism.

This religion is an offshoot, or the India remnant, of Buddhism. It perhaps represents that element among the followers of the Buddha who declined to be absorbed into the revived and transformed Brahmanic faith. Through the many centuries of their existence as a sect they have spurned every approach of the Brahmans and have largely stood for Buddhistic teaching and observances. They have differed little from Buddhists in their beliefs; for they deny the authority of the Hindu Vedas, disregard sacrifices, cultivate a high morality, believe strongly in transmigration and reverence life in all its forms. And yet, strangely enough, many of the priests of their temples are Brahmans and they place Hindu idols close to their shrines. They differ from the Buddhists chiefly in their objects of worship and in their ritual. They have a mythology of their own—a mythology of saints rather than of gods. These saints, or “Jaina,” (the “victorious ones”—those who have attained perfection through self-victory and discipline) are worshipped, and furnish an inspiration to all the devotees of that faith.

The Jains, like the Parsees, are found mostly in Bombay and are a wealthy community, usually engaged in banking and commerce. They are noted for their charity, and their philanthropy is largely directed towards helping the poor among them and for maintaining hospitals for animals.

Temple Of Buddha's Tooth, Ceylon.
Temple Of Buddha's Tooth, Ceylon.

Oldest Relics Of Buddhism, Ceylon.
Oldest Relics Of Buddhism, Ceylon.
[pg 061]

(f) Sikhism.

This religion, if we may so denominate it, was founded by Nanak Shah in the fifteenth century. Nanak Shah was apparently an admirer, if not a follower, of Kabir, the Hindu reformer who established a sect which was essentially a compromise between Hinduism and Mohammedanism. This is the chief characteristic of Sikhism. It eschewed the polytheism and idolatry of Hinduism. It taught the unity of the Godhead, abolished caste, and enforced a high type of morality. It has, however, subsequently fallen under the blighting influence of surrounding Hinduism and has lost much of its distinctive excellence. So that, according to the census report of 1891, “distinction between Sikhs and the rest of the Brahmanic community is mainly ritualistic.... The only trustworthy method of distinguishing this creed was to ask if the person in question repudiated the services of the barber and the tobacconist; for the precepts most strictly enforced nowadays (by the Sikhs) are that the hair of the head and face must never be cut, and that smoking is a habit to be avoided.”

However manifestly the Sikh religion is going the common way of all the new faiths and religious revolts of India—the way of reabsorption into Hinduism—it has done much to create and foster a strong national feeling. Sikhs were cruelly persecuted by the then ruling Mohammedans. But the overthrow of the Moghul Empire gave the Sikhs territorial power and they possessed the only remaining political organization in the Punjab. So that, at the advent of the British, the Sikhs were a mighty power to be [pg 062] dealt with. They became the great power of North India; and during the Indian mutiny their loyalty to the British Raj was its salvation. At present the Sikh nation, warlike and valiant as ever, furnishes, perhaps, the most stalwart and invincible contingent for the Indian Army.

(g) Hinduism.

This is the religion of three-fourths of all the inhabitants of India and of nine-tenths of all those who are there reached by missionaries.

What is Hinduism? It is a mixture of Brahmanism, Buddhism and Devil-worship. As we have seen, the supplanting faith of Buddha was finally absorbed, so far as India was concerned, into the old faith. When, later on, the Brahmans moved towards the southern part of the peninsula they entered the region occupied by, and largely given over to, demonolatry. According to its wont Brahmanism, as modified by Buddhism, sought not to overthrow the primitive cult of the people, but to absorb it. Thus, in South India today, more than three-fourths of the people are devil worshippers. And yet, with their demons, they have been accepted into the higher faith of the Aryan; and, according to their mood and preference, give themselves to the worship of Hindu gods or village demons. Worshipping in pure Hindu temples is to that people but a pastime, a mere holiday diversion; while the appeasing of the demons at their village shrines and under old trees in their hamlets is the most serious concern of their life. And yet all of them are regarded, and rightly regarded, as Hindus. Indeed, in the Hinduism of today, especially [pg 063] as found in South India, can be found living amicably together and without any apparent sense of incongruity or conflict the lowest type of fetishism, an ardent devil-worship, an engrossing ceremonialism, a worship of the higher Brahmanical deities, a thoroughgoing pantheism and a pure theism. I have witnessed in our district, side by side, a hideous fetish, a gross idol of a local demon, an image of Vishnu who is the best of Brahmanical gods, while in an adjacent hamlet lived families who belonged to none of these cults but who gave themselves to a belief in, and practice of, a vague theism which is farther removed from the fetishism of their neighbours than is their religion from the highest type of Christian teaching.

Thus Hinduism may be viewed as an immense cloth of many colours; which colours have been patched together without any reference to harmony or consistency. In other words, that religion is a big mass of mutually inconsistent and undigested beliefs, practices and ceremonies. It has not only mutually antagonistic philosophies, it has also three different ways of salvation, 330,000,000 gods and as many laws and customs which, though binding as the laws of the Medes and Persians, are nevertheless, absolutely wanting in consistency and in unity of purpose and teaching. In the words of Sir Alfred Lyall,—“The general character of Indian religion is that it is unlimited and comprehensive, up to the point of confusion; it is a boundless sea of divine beliefs and practices; it encourages the worship of innumerable gods by an infinite variety of rites; it permits every doctrine to be taught, every kind of [pg 064] mystery to be imagined, any sort of theory to be held as to the inner nature and visible operation of the divine power.”

It has been the wont of Brahmanism not to directly antagonize and overthrow the old and the opposing cults, but rather to absorb them. Note here its fundamental contrast with Christianity. It meets its rival with a smile of appreciation, then seeks to fraternize with it, after which it approves and appropriates and finally absorbs it.

In the Madura District of South India, where I have lived, the Brahmans, upon their first arrival, found all the people given to the worship of their village demons. They said to them, practically,—“We do not wish to deprive you of your devil shrines and images and worship. We will take the leading demons which you worship and marry them to our great gods and then give to them a place in our pantheon and a part in our worship. Come ye also with them and we will welcome you into our temples and faith.” Thus “Meenatchi,” the old and the principal demoness of the primitive cult of that region, was married to the great god Siva and became the presiding goddess of the great Hindu temple of Madura; and all her old worshippers followed her into the new faith of Hinduism. So all those people are Hindus today. And yet they have not abated one jot of their interest in and practice of their demonolatry.

That which may be regarded as the more strictly Brahmanical development and manifestation of Hinduism is divided, at present, into two great cults. These are Saivism, or the worship of Siva, and [pg 065] Vaishnavism, or the worship of Vishnu. These two cults, while not mutually antagonistic, are nevertheless entirely separate—their devotees, respectively, being satisfied with their own god and his incarnation and manifestations.

The first god of the Hindu triad (Brahma, Vishnu and Siva)—has practically no shrines among Hindus today. His worship has been largely transferred to his so-called sons, the Brahmans; and Siva has, in the main, absorbed all his functions as creator. As it is only Vishnu, the preserver, and Siva, the destroyer and recreator that have anything to do with men, the Hindus devote themselves to these two only. Siva is the “great god,” the austere and terrible one whom the people fear. He is known chiefly through his phallic emblem, the linga, which emphasizes his creative activity. Vishnu is the benign god who has resorted to many incarnations whereby he might free the world of demons who were worrying and destroying our race. Siva has many manifestations; Vishnu alone has “descents” or incarnations, some of which were in brute, and some in human, form.

These two cults obtain universally throughout India. Vaishnavism (the worship of Vishnu) has many popular sects which wield extensive influence throughout the country. The one established by Vallabha-Swami, in the sixteenth century, is a worship of Krishna and is given to the indulgence of the passions and is characterised by gross licentiousness.

The sect founded by Chaitanya in the fourteenth century is one of the most celebrated, and is very popular in Bengal. It subordinates everything to [pg 066] faith (bhakti) even making this more important than caste. Contemplation, rather than ritual, was Chaitanya's pathway to salvation and he gave supreme value to the virtue of obedience to the “guru” or religious guide.

In South India the cult of the religious reformer, Ramanuja, who flourished in the twelfth century, has extensive popularity. He was a man of great thought, and his special type of Vedantic philosophy is much in vogue today. He proclaimed the unity of God under the name of Vishnu. He received converts from every caste. It is an interesting fact that nearly all, in the long list of religious reformers in India, took a position of hostility to the caste system. But it is also significant that none of these reform movements has persisted through the centuries in that attitude, but has fallen into line with orthodox Hinduism in absolute submission to the caste demon.

“Sakti” worship has also attained great influence and extensive predominance in many parts of India. This is the worship of the Sakti or the female half of the great deities of the land. The Saktar preëminently worship Kali, the goddess of blood, and the other consorts of Siva. It is a worship of power (“Sakti” means energy or power), and usually power of the maleficent type. It is perhaps the lowest form of Hinduism and easily lends itself to a gratification of the lowest passions of men. This tantric cult (the tantras are the sacred books of the Saktar) is the only one in modern Hinduism which indulges in bloody sacrifices—Kali and her sisters being satisfied by blood as by nothing else. This attests the non-Aryan origin and character of this worship, inasmuch [pg 067] as Brahmanism, since the days of Buddha, abjures all bloody sacrifice.

Let it not be supposed, however, from the above remarks, about the multiform and self-contradictory character of the amorphous thing called Hinduism, that it is therefore impossible for us to understand and measure its nature and power. For Brahmanism, through all ages, has not been without a definite tendency, an underlying philosophy and pervasive fundamental beliefs. It is indeed more a congeries of faiths than a simple religion, like Christianity. And yet, amid all its hosts of contradictions and ways of salvation and sects and cults there have sounded, as a diapason through all the centuries, the fundamental teachings of Vedantism. A few doctrines such as pantheism, transmigration, “karma,” “bhakti” and final absorption into the Supreme Soul are all but universally held by the people of all sects and divisions, however much at variance with these their peculiar beliefs may seem to be.

The prominent staple of Hindu religious thinking in all ages has doubtless been Vedantism—that subtle form of pantheism which has charmed and bewildered not a few of the great minds of the Occident also. The paramount influence of this philosophy upon all religious thought and life in India is unmistakable today, as it has been through the centuries. Of this Max Müller says,—“If the people of India can be said to have now any system of religion at all ... it is to be found in the Vedanta philosophy, the leading tenets of which are known to some extent in every village.... Nothing will extinguish that ancient spirit of Vedantism which is breathed by every Hindu [pg 068] from his earliest youth, and pervades, in various forms, even the prayers of the idolater, the speculations of the philosopher, and the proverbs of the beggar.”

We may therefore, without hesitation, so far as Hinduism is concerned regard as philosophic Hinduism those basal doctrines and their corollaries which, from the earliest days, have been the stock in trade of all Indo-Aryan thinkers and at the same time the source and solvent of all the mysteries of their faith.

By a study of these one may easily reach the heart of Hindus and of Hinduism and can weigh and measure the forces which enter into their religious life and thinking, and can compare them with the teachings and institutions of Christianity.

This study will bring a twofold blessing to Christians of the West, especially to missionaries who have given themselves to the regeneration of India. It will give them a larger degree of respect for that great people of the East and a new appreciation for Hindu thought and religious speculation. We of the West have been imbued with too much of an intellectual arrogance and a spirit of contempt for “the benighted Hindu.” Even if we ever learned, we certainly have too easily forgotten, that many, many centuries ago—when our ancestors were grovelling in the lowest depths of primitive savagery—the rishis of India were engaged in perhaps the highest self-propelled flights of religious speculation the world has ever known and were working out a philosophy, or more correctly a system of ontology, which is today the wonder and admiration of Western savants.

I argue for a study of those teachings which, [pg 069] though hoary with age, are today all-important as the foundation upon which the many-aisled temple of Hinduism is built and (if I may change the figure) as the cement which binds the whole structure together.

A few years ago it was generally thought that Brahmanism was little else than the insane ravings of well-meaning, but unguided, or, worse still, misguided, denizens of darkness; the whole literature was considered a mass of intellectual and moral rubbish. How much the verdict of Western scholars upon this subject has changed during the last quarter of a century I need not mention. All men who have investigated the subject give today unstinted praise to the heart and intellect of those sages who produced much of the ancient religious literature of India. They will not endorse the statement of the great German philosopher who exclaimed, “In the whole world there is no study so beneficial and so elevating as that of the Upanishads. It has been the solace of my life—it will be the solace of my death.” And yet many claim that its truths are numerous and spiritually helpful. Hopkins writes7:—“The sincerity, the fearless search of the Indic Sages for truth, their loftiness of thinking, all these will affect the religious student of every clime and age, though the fancied result of their thinking may pass without effect over a modern mind.” And Barth truly remarks8:—“The religion of India has not only given birth to Buddhism and produced, to its own credit, a code of precepts which is not inferior to any other; [pg 070] but in the poetry which they have inspired there is at times a delicacy and bloom of moral sentiment which the Western world has never seen outside of Christianity. Nowhere else, perhaps, do we meet with an equal wealth of fine sentences.” Of their intellectual acumen Dr. Matheson says: “It is not too much to say that the mind of the West, with all its undoubted impulses towards the progress of humanity, has never exhibited such an intense amount of intellectual force as is to be found in the religious speculations of India.... These have been the cradle of all Western speculations; and wheresoever the European mind has risen into heights of philosophy, it has done so because the Brahman has been the pioneer. There is no intellectual problem in the West which had not its earliest discussion in the East; and there is no modern solution of that problem which will not be found anticipated in the East.” These words of the Scotch divine are doubtless strong; too strong, I think. And yet they may be serviceable, if they warn us against that proneness to depreciate the intellectual value and serious purpose of the religious books of that land. It is worse than useless to confidently descant upon the errors, inconsistencies, the follies and absurdities of these writings without acknowledging at the same time the profound thought, the deep spiritual yearning and the sublime poetic beauty, which characterize some portions.

In this connection the question of the origin of Hinduism is important.

It was formerly laid down as a postulate of the Christian's belief that Hinduism is of the devil; and [pg 071] that, coming from below, it must be shunned as a study and denounced root and branch as a thing purely satanic. This theory has entirely given way to a more rational belief. The question whether the truths of Hinduism, with those of other ethnic religions, have filtered down from some primitive revelation and are the relics of a vanishing faith, divinely communicated to some of the earliest members of our race; or whether God has directly, from time to time, guided the thoughts and answered the deep yearnings of the soul of the Indo-Aryan, is one which is still discussed. But modern scholarship is practically of one voice in maintaining that God hath not left Himself without witness among the many nations of the earth,—a witness that has indeed been comparatively feeble—a revelation that is dim and starlike as compared with the noonday brightness of the Sun of Righteousness in the Christian religion. The day has come when the Christian must accept and believe that God has been dealing directly with this people through the many centuries of their history, leading them to important truths, even though their evil hearts and worse lives have caused them, in many cases, to “change the truth of God into a lie and worship and serve the creature more than the Creator.” Many of the truths which are imbedded in the religion of that land find their solution in no other hypothesis than this.

This study of Hinduism will also lead us to realize the important truth of the many points of contact between that faith and our own. A knowledge of their sympathies cannot be of less importance than that of their antipathies. And this knowledge is indispensable [pg 072] to the Christian worker in India as it gives a new and a most direct way of approach to the Hindu heart, and a fresh and all-potent argument with them in behalf of Christianity.

This process also best illustrates the method and Spirit of Christ. Dr. Robson aptly remarks that “while no religion has done more to overthrow other religions than Christianity, no religious teacher has said less against other religions than Christ. We have from Him only one short saying condemning the Gentiles' aim in life, but not even one reflecting on the gods they believed in, or the worship they paid them. Was not this because He came not to destroy but to fulfill?”

I can refer to only a few of these common points and belief in the two faiths.

(a) Incarnation.

These are the only two faiths which have exalted, to primal importance, this doctrine. In Christianity it is basal, and in later Brahmanism, or Hinduism, it has overshadowed nearly every other teaching. In a sense the all-pervasive pantheism of Brahmanism made a certain form of incarnation a necessity from the earliest days. The ancient Aryans could not rest satisfied with the Unknown and the Absolute of their Vedantism; so they speedily began to erect for their evergrowing pantheon an endless procession of emanations. But it was, probably, the phenomenal success of Gautama, and especially the posthumous influence of his life and example, that opened the eyes of the Brahmans and suggested to them the supreme need of an avatar (“descent”), for the [pg 073] popularizing of their faith. And thus originated that vast system of descents, or incarnations, which have multiplied so greatly and developed so grotesquely all over the land. The common ground furnished by this doctrine to the two faiths is not adequately appreciated. This truth of incarnation, in its fundamental doctrinal bearing upon Hinduism, and in the strengthening of its hold, even until the present, upon the popular imagination and affection, should not go for nought in the mind of Christian critics, because of the content of the multitudinous descents, which is mostly grotesque, debasing and repulsive. They forget that the Christian doctrine of incarnation furnishes, perhaps, the best leverage with which the Christian missionary is to overturn the faith of that people, simply because the doctrine itself has been so popularized, even if debased, in India for many centuries. Christ should be none the less, yea the more, welcome to that land because the most popular god of the Hindu pantheon (Krishna) is also the leading incarnation of Vishnu.

(b) Vicarious Atonement.

In Christianity this is second in importance only to the doctrine of incarnation. In Brahmanism also it has maintained, from the first, a position of cardinal importance. In pre-Buddhistic days this found expression in sacrifices that were probably more numerous and more precious than those offered by any other people. This is partly shown by the fact that words used for sacrifice are more numerous in the Sanskrit than even in the Hebrew language. It is true that their idea of sacrifice, both as to its import [pg 074] and object, was different from ours or from that of the Israelites; and indeed their own ideas also varied at different times. Under the influence of Buddhism, sacrifice, as such, was practically abandoned; but the idea of atonement for sin, which was underlying them, they practically carried over into the doctrine of transmigration. For, however stiffly they contend that, through metempsychosis, the doctrine of karma is realized and every soul atones for its own sin, it nevertheless remains true that the element of consciousness separates the person who sinned from him who suffers; and one becomes the involuntary atoner and the other the atoned for.

(c) Spirituality.

It may, to some, seem absurd to bring the two faiths into anything but the relationship of contrast in this particular, when it is remembered that we are confronted daily by a Hinduism which is as grossly formal, materialistic and sensual as any religion known in any land. But it is unnecessary to remind us of the fact that the literature of the faith of this people is, in some respects, far removed from the low life and ritual of the present day; and in no greater respect than in this which we are now considering. All students recognize in many writings, vedic and post-vedic, profound seriousness and a sometimes strange depth of spiritual apprehension coupled with an other-worldliness which, to the western mind, seems absurdly impractical. Indeed, the naturally mystical bent of the Hindu mind has been regarded, and, doubtless, rightly regarded, as one of the chief obstacles to a true and easy understanding of much [pg 075] that is in their sacred writings by the too practical Westerner. We should not be blind to the lofty height of spiritual thought which we occasionally, and the deep spiritual yearning which we frequently, are permitted to witness in their books. In evidence of this we need only to refer to the powerful hold which the yoga system of philosophy and life has upon them. An intense meditativeness, a devotional ecstasy and an insight of true heavenly wisdom is the ideal of life to which the Hindu has been called from time very remote.

(d) Eschatology.

In Hinduism, as in Christianity, man is directed to look to a judgment-seat and a system of rewards and punishments in the world to come. While this doctrine again, in its development and detail, differs essentially from that of the Christian faith, it is well to call attention to it as a point of contact. It breathes the spirit of karma, which, in its retributive power, has been compared by some to the doctrine of heredity, and by others, to that of fate. Karma demands the full future fruition of every act done in the body; and many re-births, with intervals of keener suffering and bliss in numerous hells and heavens, are the countless steps in the doleful fugue of emancipation—a process which is enough to appall any but the patient, stolid soul of a Hindu. And yet this weary detail of a very long and sisyphean effort to shake off this mortal coil and to enter into rest is worthy of the missionary's attention, as it represents, perhaps, the most elaborate system of eschatology outside of the New Testament. It is [pg 076] also ethical in its character, and in its fundamental principles has chords which harmonize with those of the Christian doctrine.

(e) The Doctrine of Faith.

This doctrine maintains that, by devotion to a personal god, salvation is achieved. This idea separates this doctrine from, and apparently antagonizes, the prevailing philosophy of the land—Vedantism. This cult of Bhakti is connected with Krishnaolatry, which is the worship of the most unworthy and licentious god of the Hindu pantheon.

Of Vaishnavism, or the worship of Vishnu, in which the bhakti, or faith, doctrine prevails, Sir Monier Williams remarks:—“Notwithstanding the gross polytheistic superstitions and hideous idolatry to which it gives rise, it is the only Hindu system worthy of being called a religion. At all events it must be admitted that it has more common ground with Christianity than any other form of non-Christian faiths.” The basal truth of bhakti—that of supreme attachment to, or faith in, a personal god—could not fail of rousing within the devout lofty and stirring emotion. Bhaktar, i.e., those who have given themselves absolutely to this doctrine and make it the motive and inspiration of their lives, are oblivious to all other bonds, abjuring among themselves even caste and all its demands, and proclaiming the true oneness of the brotherhood of the faith among all the devotees of the same god.

Rock-Cut Temple, South India.
Rock-Cut Temple, South India.

Thus we have today a large and vigorous class of Hindus who have subordinated every doctrine and practice of their religion to that of faith, or bhakti. [pg 077] I believe, with not a few illustrious scholars, that this doctrine traces its origin to Christianity. Like everything else which Hinduism had absorbed, it has been considerably transmuted in the process. It has been necessarily and greatly affected and degraded by the character of the gods who have been its objects. It has been debased by contact with idolatry and error, with superstition and sensuality. And yet we trace its lineaments to its lofty, divine origin, and hesitate not to say that it furnishes a common ground of a fundamental truth of which Christian missionaries have not yet sufficiently availed themselves in their work for this people.

Hindus have also done not a little thinking in the elaboration of the doctrine of salvation. In their discussion as to the relative potency of divine grace and human agency in the salvation of man they became divided into two antagonistic schools, corresponding, very closely, to the Calvinistic and Arminian, among Christians—the Tengaliar maintaining the “cat theory” and the Vadagaliar the “monkey theory”; so called because one party holds that, just as the cat saves her kitten by seizing and carrying it away bodily, so God seizes and saves man without his own effort. This is the doctrine of absolute grace. The other party insists that the relation of the young monkey to its mother, whereby its rescue from trouble depends upon its own grasp, best represents the process of salvation in which man's coöperation is necessary.

They have also developed the doctrine of growth in grace sometimes in a very instructive way. The spiritual development from saloka (in the same world [pg 078] with God) to sāmīpa (in the divine presence) thence to sārūpa (in the divine image) and finally to sāyujya (complete identity with the divine Being) bears, in some respects, a striking resemblance to the teaching of St. Paul, where he writes that Jesus was “made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30).

In like manner they teach that, for the attainment of beatitude, it is necessary to pass through five stages—(1) that of sānti, quiet repose or calm and contemplative piety; (2) that of dāsya, the slave state—the surrender of the whole will to God; (3) that of sakhya, or friendship; (4) that of vātsalya, or filial affection; and (5) that of mādhurya, or supreme, all-absorbing love.

I must refer briefly to only one other illustration of the probable influence of our religion upon the faith of India, and that is in its teaching on eschatology. The illustration is drawn from the tenth incarnation, Kalki avatār, of Vishnu. This incarnation is to take place hereafter, when Vishnu will come, at the close of the present Kali yuga, or iron age, and put an end to these growing evil times, destroying with them all the wicked and ushering in the new era of righteousness (Satya yuga) upon the earth. For this great work of the restoration and the renovation of all creation, he is to come seated upon a white horse with a drawn sword, blazing like a comet. Hindus at present look forward to this new incarnation as their future deliverer, when the sorrows and the depravity of this present, shall be swallowed up in the glories and joys of the future, age. The striking thing about this teaching is not the hope [pg 079] which it inculcates for the future; for that is practically a part of the Hindu conception of the succession of the ages of their time system. According to this the present era must yield to the coming good yuga, which must, in its turn, give way to the ages of lesser good and of evil, which again will go and come in their ever-changing cycle. What seems remarkable is the form in which this idea is here clothed. The coming of the Deliverer upon a Kalki—a white horse—with his great message of universal destruction and deliverance, brings directly to our memory the Bible prophecy of Rev. 6:2; 19:11-16, and also brings us into touch with the belief of many Christians today as to the appearance and the work of the Son of Man at the great day of His Second Coming.

The question arises as to how this avatar originated. It evidently seems to be an afterthought and of no ancient date among the series of Vishnu's descents. And following the ninth, or Buddha, avatar, which was clearly intended as a bait to Buddhists, and as a frank and full compromise with that hitherto supplanting and hostile faith, it seems natural to suppose that this tenth also came in the same way and with the same spirit as a palm leaf to another religion, even our own, whose prophetic words about the second coming of Christ could be so easily appropriated and so harmlessly adopted into the Hindu system. It thus introduced into their faith an element of future glory and triumph which the religion had not formerly possessed. Indeed this very element of aggression and conquest is one of the signs of its Western origin and Christian source.

[pg 080]

Chapter III.

Hinduism And Christianity Contrasted.

In the previous chapter I have endeavoured to show and emphasize the teachings common to Christianity and Hinduism.

But it must not be forgotten that if their consonances are neither few nor unimportant their dissonances are far more numerous and fundamental. They meet us at almost every point of our investigation and impress us with a sense of a vast contrast.

We will now give ourselves to a brief study of these divergences.

The two faiths differ essentially.

1. In their Initial Conceptions.

Their starting points are almost antipodal. This will seem evident when we study their views:

(a) In reference to religion itself. Christianity is briefly and beautifully explained by its Founder (Luke 15) as a divine method of seeking and saving the lost. It is the expression of the Father's love yearning for the return, and seeking the complete salvation, of the son. It is primarily and pervasively a “Thus saith the Lord”—a revelation from God manward. Hinduism on the other hand has been the embodiment of man's aspirations after God. Wonderfully pathetic, beautiful and elevating these aspirations have been at times; and doubtless guided [pg 081] at points by Him whom they so ardently sought. They perhaps represent the highest reach of the soul in its self-propelled flight towards its Maker. It is true that orthodox Hindus variously describe the Vedas as eternal, as a direct emanation from Brahma and as a divine entity in themselves. They constitute the “Sruti”—“the directly heard” message of God to man. But the authors of the Upanishads, which are a part of Sruti, absolve man from the necessity of accepting the four Vedas and propound a way of salvation entirely separate from, and independent of, vedic prayers and ritual. The direct influence of the Vedas upon religious life and ritual in India today is practically nil; while that of the Upanishads, which are the fons et origo of the all-potent philosophy, is felt in every Hindu life, however humble.

This aspect of the two faiths is not unexpected when we remember:

(b) Their very dissimilar conceptions of God. The monotheism of the one and the pantheism of the other are clear and uncompromising. They have stood for many centuries as representatives, to the world, of these very dissimilar beliefs. Christianity inherited from Judaism its passion for monotheism, and brings the “God of Israel” very near to our race as the infinitely loving Father. It has not only emphasized His personality but reveals, with incomparable power and tenderness, His supreme interest in our race and His loving purpose concerning it.

On the other hand Hinduism derived its highest wisdom and deepest convictions concerning the Divine Being from the ancient rishis through the [pg 082] Upanishads. There they accepted, once for all, the doctrine of the Brahm (neuter)—the one passionless, immovable, unsearchable, ineffable Being who, without a second, stands as the source and embodiment of all real being.

Barth truly remarks that “this is the most imposing and subtle of the systems of ontology yet known in the history of philosophy.” This inscrutable Being is the only real existence, all else being illusion projected by ignorance. This doctrine of identity or nonduality (advaitha) lies at the foundation of all their religious thinking. This Being which is devoid of qualities (nirguna), because incomprehensible to man, can be of no comfort to him. In this respect the Hindu is an agnostic of a profound type.

For this mystical philosophy one word of praise is eminently due. It is not to be confounded with that species of Western pantheism which is rank materialism—making God and the material universe convertible terms. Sir William Jones emphasized this difference—the difference between a system which, in all that it sees, sees God alone, and that which acknowledges no God beyond what it sees. One is the bulwark of materialism; the other its most uncompromising enemy. Whatever the defects of this philosophy of the Upanishads it must be confessed to be deeply spiritual.

And yet in this very effort to conserve the spiritual and transcendental character of Brâhm the Aryan sage has covered Him with the dark robe of mysticism and pushed Him into a far off realm beyond human ken.

[pg 083]

So that the only intimations which man has of Him are confessedly false projection of ignorance. For all practical purposes this hypothetical deity—for the very existence of Brâhm is only assumed as a working hypothesis by the theosophist—is a nonentity to the worshipper. How can a being lend itself to a devout soul in worship when it is rigidly devoid of every quality that can inspire or attract the soul? This very fact has led the ordinary Hindu to seek and develop something else as an object of his devotion. Hence the polytheism of Brahmanism. Let it not be supposed that there is any antagonism between their pantheism and their polytheism. One is the natural offspring of the other. The numberless gods which today are supposed to preside over the destiny of the people, are but emanations, the so-called “play” of Brâhm. Properly speaking they are neither supreme nor possessed of truly divine attributes. Even the Hindu Triad—Brahma (masculine gender), Vishnu and Siva—are but manifestations of the delight of the eternal Soul to invest itself with qualities (guna). These three gods are no more real existences than are the myriad other children of illusion (maya) and ignorance (avidya) which constitute the universe. And as they had their existence, so will they find their dissolution, in the fiat of the Supreme Soul. India finds polytheism no more satisfying than it does pantheism. There is no more assurance of comfort in worshipping 330,000,000 gods, whose multitude not only bewilders but also carries in itself refutation to the claim of any one to be supreme, than there is in the yearning after an absolute, ineffable Being which cruelly evades human [pg 084] thought and definition. It is no wonder therefore that the growth of the Hindu pantheon is constant, and both follows, and bears testimony to, the craving of the human soul for a God who can satisfy its wants and realize its deepest longings.

(c) Their theories of the universe are also divergent. According to the Bible the outer world is the creation, by God, out of nothing. To the Brahman of all times the idea of pure creation has seemed absurd. Ex nihilo nihil fit is an axiom of all their philosophies. Whether it be the Vedantin who tells us that the material universe is the result of Brâhm invested with illusion, or the Sankya philosopher who attributes it to prakriti—the power of nature; or the Veisashika sage who traces it to eternal atoms; they all practically posit that it is eternal.

Of course the Christian doctrine of creation from nothing does not, as the Hindu too often assumes, maintain that the universe is a result without a cause; for it teaches that God Himself, by the exercise of His sovereign will and omnipotence, is an all-adequate cause to all created things.

If the Vedantin claims that creation is impossible, how can he at the same time believe that ideas have from time to time sprung up in the mind of Brâhm, which ideas themselves have put on illusion and appear to human ignorance as the universe? It is, to say the least, no easier for him, with his conception of Brâhm, to account for the origin of such ideas than it is for the Christian to trace the source of the material universe to an all-wise and omnipotent God. Nor does the Sankya philosopher, by practically denying God and positing the eternal existence of souls [pg 085] and prakriti, remove half the difficulties that he creates.

(d) Again, the teachings of the two faiths concerning man are no less divergent. In the Bible man is represented as a son of God. He is fallen indeed, but with a trace, even in his degradation, of his Father's lineaments. We follow him in his willful rebellion against his Father; he plunges into the lowest depths of sin. But we still recognise in him the promise of infinite and eternal possibilities of spiritual expansion and happiness. Indeed we find at work a divinely benevolent scheme through which he is to be ultimately exalted to heavenly places in Christ Jesus and made the heir of infinite bliss.

On the other hand, Hindu Shastras represent man as mere illusion—the poor plaything of the absolute One. For man to assume and to declare his own real existence is, they say, but the raving of his ignorance (avidya). To the practical Western mind it seems almost impossible that a philosopher should be so lost in his philosophy as to aver that he, the thinker and father of his philosophy, has no real existence—is only illusion, concerning which real existence can only be assumed for practical purposes. What must be said of the philosophy begotten by such an illusive being? Shall it not also be doomed to vanish with him into the nothingness whence he came and which he now really is, if he only knew it? Sir Monier Williams aptly remarks,—“Common sense tells an Englishman that he really exists himself and that everything he sees around him really exists also. He cannot abandon these two primary convictions. Not so the Hindu Vedantist. [pg 086] Dualism is his bugbear, and common sense, when it maintains any kind of real duality, either the separate independent existence of a man's own spirit and of God's spirit, or of spirit and matter, is guilty of gross deception.”

Another conception regards the human soul (jivatma) as a part of the Supreme Soul. This theory adds small comfort or dignity to it when we remember that this whole of which it is declared a part is an intangible, unattractive Being—devoid of all qualities (nirguna). If the soul existed from eternity as a part of the divine Soul and will ultimately resume that interrupted existence, what value, ethical or otherwise, can be attached to that bondage of manhood which was thrust upon the soul (or was it voluntarily assumed?)? This part of deity called individual soul certainly cannot be improved by its human conditions; and the question is not—“How soon can I pass through this slough of despond,” but, “why was I thrust into it at all? Was it a mere sacred whim (tiruvileiadal) of Brâhm?”

Moreover this view of human “self,” or soul, carries one out too far into the sea of transcendental metaphysics to be of any practical use, religiously. We know something of man—this strange compound of soul and body—and we are deeply interested in his history and destiny; the more deeply because we are included in this category.

But who knows of the eternal soul—that part of the absolute—separate from human conditions and apart from all experiences of men? Is it not simply the dream of the philosopher, a convenient assumption to satisfy the needs of an impractical [pg 087] ontology? To magnify the soul apart from human life, and to interpret human life as the self's lowest degradation and something which is to be shaken off as quickly as possible, can hardly be sound philosophy, and is certainly bad theology. It simply reduces this life into an irremedial evil, with no moral significance or spiritual value.

This leads us to the second point of contrast:—

2. Their Ultimate Aim or Goal.

What do these two religions promise to do for those who embrace them? The work which Christianity proposes to itself is difficult and glorious. It takes fallen, sin-sodden, man and leads him out into a new life of holiness; it opens out to him a long and broad vista of life with an ever-enlarging, blissful, activity. Christ said that He came into the world that men might have life and have it abundantly. He came not only to save the lost but also to develop all the grand possibilities of the soul to their utmost, and to launch the human bark upon a voyage of everlasting life, which means unceasing growth in all its noblest qualities, activities and enjoyments.

Hindu philosophy and faith, on the other hand, unite in commanding that human endowments be starved, qualities suppressed, activity of all kinds stayed, ambition and every other desire, even the noblest and purest, quenched. All the essential elements of life itself are to be mortified that the soul may, unhampered by its own entanglement, reach that consummation which is supposed to be final. And what is it? Who can tell? The Aryan philosopher himself stands mute in its presence. All [pg 088] that we can predicate of it is not life and happiness, according to any standard of human experience known or imagined. The idea that the individual soul will finally sink into and blend with the Absolute Being as a drop of water returns to and mingles with its mother ocean may seem plausible to the philosopher; but of such an hypothetical existence we know absolutely nothing and can expect nothing that would inspire hope and kindle ambition.

In Hinduism there are heavens many and not a few hells. But unlike the places of reward and punishment connected with Christianity, they represent nothing final. They are more like the purgatory of the Catholics, and represent only steps in the progress of the soul towards emancipation.

Concerning the general view of human life, its import and outcome, the two faiths are antipodal. Christianity is brightly optimistic. The future of every Christian is to be as the sun shining more and more until the perfect day. Unceasing progress and eternal expansion are held out before him. His is an heritage that will abide and will resound in an ever increasing anthem of praise throughout time and eternity. Nothing can occur hereafter to rob him of that crown of glory which is the gift of God and which is to result in likeness to Him.

Hinduism, on the other hand, is essentially pessimistic. It teaches that human life is totally and irremediably evil. Every power of the soul must be exercised in the endeavour to shake off this terrible burden of separate human existence and escape all the conditions of this life. That is the only relief [pg 089] possible. To the Hindu the question so often discussed in Christian lands—“Is life worth living?”—has no interest, since it has but one answer possible. And even if the Indian sage forgets his present conditions and pessimism long enough to gaze down the long and dismal vista of numberless births to the final consummation (Sayujya)—the final union with God—he finds in that nothing which the Christian does not discover in tenfold richness and beauty in the Bible. To be partaker of the Divine Nature is a blessed reality to the Christian without his forfeiting, in the least, the dignity of self-identity and the glory of separate personal consciousness. To have the “life hid with Christ in God”; to be able triumphantly to exclaim—“I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me”; to experience the blessedness and power of abiding in Christ and to realize the answer to Christ's own prayer to the Father—“that they also may be in us”—all this is the joy and hope of the Christian in a manner and to a degree utterly impossible to the Hindu whose union with the supreme spirit is the loss and end of self, including all those faculties which are capable of enjoyment.

Looking from another standpoint, we perceive that the aim of the religion of Christ is the banishing of sin from the life and the establishing of character. Sin is the dark background of Christianity. It explains its origin and reveals its universality. Its whole concern is with the emancipation of man from the presence and power of sin. To the Vedantin, on the other hand, sin, in the Christian sense of it, is an impossibility. Where God is all and all is God there can be no separate will to antagonize the divine [pg 090] will. Monism necessarily, in the last analysis, carries every act and motive back to the supreme Will and establishes an all-inclusive necessitarianism which is fatal to human freedom; and it therefore excludes sin as an act of rebellion against God. Much is made of sin, so called, in the Hindu system, as we shall presently see; but nowhere is more care needed than here that we may distinguish between ideas conveyed by this word in these two faiths. In Christianity the ethical character of sin is emphasized. It is described as a thing of moral obliquity and spiritual darkness. According to the Upanishads the only defect of man is an intellectual one. He is in bondage to ignorance. Plato made ignorance the chief source of moral evil and proposed philosophy as a remedy for the malady. The Vedantin differs from the Greek philosopher only in his more absolute condemnation of (avidya) ignorance as the mother of all human ills. Remove this—let a man attain unto a true knowledge of self, of the fact that he has no real separate existence and is one with the Supreme Soul—and he becomes thereby qualified for his emancipation and ends his long cycle of births. Moreover, in the polytheism of the Puranas and in the laws and customs of Manu sin generally means only ceremonial defilement and the violation of customs and usages.

Hinduism, therefore, has never addressed itself to the task of helping man as a sinner—of regenerating his heart, of establishing within him that beautiful thing known in Christian lands and philosophies as a well rounded, symmetrical and perfect character. For many reasons and in many ways [pg 091] it has aimed at a very different consummation in man from that consistently sought by Christ and His religion.

3. The Agency and Means Recognized and Appealed to by those Faiths Respectively.

By what power and instrumentality are the above ends to be sought and attained? They will be, doubtless, quite as divergent as the aims themselves were found to be.

In Christianity God Himself is the agent who works out its scheme of salvation. He entered, through infinite condescension, into human life and relations in the Incarnation. He wrought, in the days of His flesh, the redemption of our race—a work which finds its climax in His atoning death. In the person of the Holy Spirit He is working and bringing to full fruition, in the hearts and lives of men, the redemption which He wrought.

Into this, man enters not as an efficient cause of his own redemption. He cannot atone for his past, nor has he the assurance within himself for the future. Hence the atoning sacrifice of Christ and the indwelling of the Spirit of God which becomes in him a source of peace, of power and of hope. Yet, in this divine work, man is neither passive nor apathetic. In the exercise of saving faith he not only appropriates the works and gifts of God but also enters into full and active harmony and coöperation with God in his own regeneration and salvation. So that the Apostle Paul aptly urges the Philippian Christians (Phil. 2:12) to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God [pg 092] which worketh in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”

How different is the picture presented to us by the Hindu Shastras of the means of human redemption—a picture, however, consonant with the aims which they have set before themselves to accomplish for man. The first and all-present fact of this faith is the terrible loneliness and isolation of man in the great struggle of life. His destiny is in his own hands, and he must fight single-handed against a thousand odds in the awful battle for emancipation.

Karma is the word used to express this thought which has possessed the Hindu mind from the earliest days to the present. This word may be translated “works,” and means the acts by which the soul determines its own destiny. In Vedic times the all-powerful works were sacrifice and ritual. In the Upanishads they are meditation and self-mortification. Today they are ceremonial, with works of charity, self-renunciation or religious mendicancy generally added.

In pre-Buddhistic days sacrifice abounded in Brahmanism; and it grew to such proportions that the revolt headed by Gautama and incarnated in Buddhism became universal. But vicariousness was largely wanting as an element in, and as a cause of, their sacrifices. They were rather offered with a view to nourish the gods and as a means of acquiring power. He who sacrificed a hundred horses was said to gain thereby even larger power than Indra himself possessed—a power which enabled him to dethrone this god of the heavens. Such was the power said to inhere in sacrifice that the gods themselves combined [pg 093] to prevent men from the practice lest they should rise to larger power than themselves! With the triumph and subsequent absorption of Buddhism into Brahmanism the latter abandoned its sacrifices and accepted the Buddhistic emphasis upon Karma, and doomed every soul to the tread-mill of its own destiny. To every human word, deed or thought, however insignificant, there is fruit which must be eaten by the soul.

It is claimed for this doctrine that it well emphasizes the conservation of moral force. Christianity also conserves, to the last, moral force; not however by insisting upon man bearing himself the whole burden, but by enabling him to cast the burden upon the Lord who graciously offers to bear the load of human guilt belonging to every soul.

Another word in India which is synonymous with large power and merit is Yoga. It is inculcated in the Yoga philosophy and is supposed to stand for a high mental discipline which speedily qualifies one for absorption into the Deity. It is manifested in the form of abstract meditation and austerity—an austerity embodied in asceticism and self-mortification. From early times this method has been held high in honour, and today is universally esteemed as the most powerful and speedy boat wherewith to cross the sullen stream of human existence. The grand object of Yoga is to teach how to concentrate the mind—an object based upon the idea that the great and sole need of man is not moral and spiritual regeneration, but more light, i.e., a clear, intellectual apprehension of things. Not only is this basis of philosophy false in supposing that such intellectual gymnastics can [pg 094] finally exalt and save a soul, it is also radically defective in its general rules and practical results. No one who has studied the childish rules which are prescribed to the Yogis, or has observed in India many of even the better type of Yogis can fail to be impressed with the degradation to mind and morals which is indissolubly connected with it. Barth's observation on the processes of Yoga is eminently true. “Conscientiously observed,” he says, “they can only issue in folly and idiocy; and it is, in fact, under the image of a fool or an idiot that the wise man is often delineated for us in the Puranas for instance.”9

Meditation upon the Divine Being and upon self is a supreme duty inculcated by Christianity. Here God is a Personality upon whom the mind can be centred and find rest and exaltation. The self also is conceived as a being with a separate and infinitely high destiny marked out before it. Concentrated thought, deep emotion and lofty purpose, in view of these objects, is supremely profitable. But what is there left worthy of thought for the Vedantist Yogi when the Divine Being is the unknowable and the Yogi himself the deluded child of (Maya) illusion and (avidya) ignorance—those twin enemies to all true and worthy knowledge? It cannot be elevating to detach the mind from things worldly and attach it to nothing!

Incarnation, as we have seen above, has in later times become a popular doctrine in India. The avatars (“descents”) of members of the Hindu pantheon, especially of Vishnu, the second member [pg 095] of the Triad, wield a large influence in the religious life of the masses. Yet the doctrines should, by no means, be regarded as identical or even similar in Hinduism and Christianity. It should be remembered that in Hinduism it is believed and magnified by those who also hold the law of Karma as supreme. There is hardly a Vaishnavite and Krishnaolater who does not believe firmly that his destiny is writ large upon his forehead—that nothing that this or any god may do can affect his adrishta which is that felt but unseen power working out the Karma vivaka, or fruition of works, done by him in former births. This belief directly antagonizes incarnation from the Christian standpoint, where it appears as God's mighty instrument of grace to man. Not so from the Hindu standpoint. The incarnations of Vishnu are referred to in their Shastras “as consequences of deeds which the god himself had performed. One was the fruit of sins he had committed; another of a curse which had been pronounced upon him.” And yet they are doubtless frequently referred to as undertaken with a view to benefit and help our race. If such was their intention it is difficult to see how that benefit could be any other than racial and temporary; for there is no intimation in any of them of its being a means for the spiritual uplifting, or moral regeneration, of one human soul.

There is no finality of blessing supposed to be in any Hindu incarnation; and it would be sacrilege to compare the character of any one of them with the wonderful incarnation of Jesus. It is not so much that many of them appear as fish, fowl and beast, and as such are devoid of moral aim and efficiency; [pg 096] not a few are immoral, some of them, like Krishna, representing the worst type of sensuality and moral obliquity. Such examples, in the popular mythology of the land, have done, and are doing, inexpressible harm to the people and the country. “Like God like people”; and when the god is highly popular and conspicuously immoral the result will be correspondingly great.

In connection with the doctrine of avatar has arisen the well-known bhakti marga—“the way of faith.” Many believe that the latter was the source of the former and that both were affected by Christian teaching. In any case they are closely connected. Among many this way of love and devotion to individual gods has gained preëminence over the other two ways of salvation—knowledge (gnana marga) and works (Karma-marga)—though it should not be forgotten that bhakti itself is regarded as a work of merit and is by no means synonymous with Christian faith. Yet it must be confessed, as we have seen above, that Hinduism comes nearer, at this point than at any other, to touching the religion of Jesus.

The blindness of this faith is also a serious objection to it. To the bhaktan “faith is the great thing.” It matters not how hideous, morally and spiritually, the object of faith may be, bhakti will triumphantly vindicate itself in the ultimate salvation of the soul. “Repose faith in the idols, in ceremonial observances, in ascetic performances, in all that you religiously do, and blessing will rest upon you.” This is the bhaktan's creed; it is essentially the teaching of the “Divine Song”—Bhagavad-Gita. And it is this [pg 097] which has so powerfully helped the moral and spiritual degeneracy of India during the past few centuries. Men have attached themselves absolutely to gods whose mythology, detailed in the Puranas and Tantras, is a narrative of lust and of moral crookedness, devotion to which can mean only moral contamination and spiritual death. Such a faith, in its nature and results, can only be contrasted with a loving devotion to the incomparably holy and lovely Jesus.

4. The Processes of These Two Religions.

In other words we inquire, in what manner do they propose to attain unto their respective ends?

Christianity brings man into the new, divine life through the narrow gate of a new birth. He stands justified before God and, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, he begins that course of spiritual development which steadily progresses towards perfection in truth and holiness. He, “beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord is changed into the same image from glory to glory even as by the spirit of the Lord.” And in the fullness of his acquired, or divinely bestowed, powers he passes through the gate of death, once for all, to enter upon the full glories of eternal life beyond.

In Hinduism metempsychosis is the great process. “As the embodied soul,” says the Bhagavad-Gita, “moves swiftly on through boyhood, youth and age, so will it pass through other forms hereafter.” This doctrine is universally regarded as the all-potent solvent of human ills and the process which alone can lead to ultimate rest. In transmigration [pg 098] the soul is supposed to pass on from body to body in its wearisome, dismal progress, towards emancipation. The bodies in which it is incarcerated will be of all grades, according to the character of the life in the previous births, from the august and divine body of a Brahman down to a tenement of inorganic, lifeless rock. From ancient times this weary process of working out the law of Karma has seized upon the imagination and wrought itself into the very being of the people of India; so that today it is the universal way of salvation believed and taught by the Vedantin, accepted with assurance by the idolater, and the one great bugbear in the mind of even the common coolie.

This doctrine has its roots in Vedantism and is an essential part of it. The Brahman theosophist taught that all souls emanated from Brâhm and must return to their source along the way of metempsychosis. All acts, words and thoughts find their exact reward in future births. If a man steals a cow he shall be reborn as a crocodile or lizard; if grain, as a rat; if fruit, as an ape. The murderer of a Brahman endures long-suffering in the several hells and is then born again in the meanest bodies to atone for his crime. According to Manu the soul might pass “through ten thousand millions” of births. The passageway to absorption is through Brahmanhood only. Transmigration is the doom of all others.

The prevalence of this doctrine in India is one of the saddest facts connected with its life. It is sombre and depressing in the extreme and robs the mind of a good portion of the small comfort which the idea of absorption might otherwise bring to it. [pg 099] Though the doctrine has found a footing among other nations at different periods in their history, nowhere else has it prevailed so long and exercised such a mighty influence over high and low as it has in that land.

The doctrine is based upon a hypothetical identity of soul in different successive bodies—a hypothesis which can never be proved, and which contradicts the universal consciousness. Until that erratic Englishwoman, Mrs. Besant, appeared, no one claimed to possess the first intimation, through consciousness or memory, of a previous existence in another body. Ancient rishis and a few others were said by others to have possessed it. Strange, if such a re-incarnation were a fact, that none has ever been assured of it by any other agent than the philosopher in his search after truth. Stranger still that men in such countless millions should hang their whole destiny upon so rotten a cord—so unethical a theory—as is here involved. Why should any moral being be put through a course of discipline, or be punished, for a past of which he has no knowledge? To inflict a punishment for any conduct or thought to which the memory does not bear evidence, nor conscience furnish assent, nor the whole realm of conscious experience reveal a trace, is both unethical and in violation of the deepest laws of being.

Nor does it appear how this process, as a method of discipline, can achieve what is expected of it. It is maintained that, ultimately, all the myriads of separate souls will cross over this terrible stream of human existence and reach the further shore of emancipation. But what aptitude, or efficiency, [pg 100] there can be in metempsychosis itself to reach this end is not apparent. That the soul should ultimately reach beatitude rather than absolute, irremedial, degradation through this process is merely assumed, and that without adequate foundation in reason.

In view of the well-known power of sin and its tendency to settle down, through habit, into a permanent type of character; in view of the well-attested scientific doctrine of heredity—a doctrine which easily accounts for and explains every semblance of truth in transmigration—it seems incredible that any soul in India could, through transmigration, finally emerge out of the quicksand of sin and corruption which surround and overwhelm it, especially when it is assumed that it has already passed through many births.

It should also be remembered that, at its basis, this doctrine has its face turned, with equal repugnance, against all sorts of work. Desire of every kind, good as well as evil, is to be suppressed inasmuch as it is the source of action, and action must bear its fruit, the eating of which prolongs existence which, itself, is the burden to be removed. The question is not how to become good and to overcome evil in life, but how to shake off all personality. And this is accomplished, they say, by abandoning all action and suppressing all desire whatever. How this can result in holiness and lofty character is not evident. It is true that a certain sort of “good works” have large value in this process of emancipation. But quiescence rather than character is the thing emphasized. Noble thoughts and aspirations are as fatal as are the basest to immediate deliverance—they [pg 101] all disturb that equilibrium of the soul which ushers it into its final rest. “The confinement of fetters is the same whether the chain is of gold or of iron.”

It is doubtless true that this doctrine has some elements of truth, otherwise it could not have survived and thriven as it has. It bears consistent testimony to the immortality of the soul. It also teaches the important truth that the soul must receive the full reward of all its deeds in a body. It is also, in a certain way, a response to that deep instinct of justice which is a part of human nature. But these cannot atone for its fundamental defects and errors. Some claim that its highest merit is that it is a powerful deterrent from sin and incentive to virtue. Beyond the remarks made above the all-sufficient refutation to such a statement is the present condition of the Hindu race itself. If any people on earth, more than others, sin with “fatal facility” and seem perfectly oblivious to the character and consequences of their deeds they are the descendants of the rishis of old and the heirs, in rich abundance, of this and its cognate doctrines. To judge this doctrine by its results in India is to pronounce it an error and a curse.

5. The Ideals of the Two Faiths.

No religion can regenerate or exalt men simply through a code of moral laws, or even through impassioned appeals to a higher life and threats of eternal punishment. There must be, above and beyond all this, a life which stands boldly forth as an example and inspiration to good men. The noble example of the royal Gautama did more perhaps than any other thing to disseminate Buddhism throughout [pg 102] India. His supreme renunciation and his loyalty to truth exalted him before his disciples and transformed him into an ideal for Buddhists of future ages. This also is a preëminent characteristic of Christianity. It is the religion of the Christ. He stands supreme in it—not merely as its Founder, Expounder and Life. He is also the embodiment of His own teaching, the ideal of life and conduct which He has brought to men. His command to all is not—“Do this or that”; but “Follow Me”—not, “Believe in this truth or another,” but “Believe in Me,” who am “the way, the truth and the life.” For these twenty centuries He has stood before the world as the incomparable, unapproachable, perfect ideal which has wrought more for the regeneration of the world than all other forces put together.

Do we find any counterpart to this in Hinduism? Do we find any life or example which stands related to it as Buddha's to Buddhism or as Mohammed's to Mohammedanism, or, even in a slight degree, as Christ's to Christianity? None whatever. Starting with the absolute Brâhm, we have seen this Supreme Soul shrouded in unfathomable, unapproachable darkness. We descend to the divine emanations of this eternal Soul and search in vain among the millions of beings which constitute the Hindu pantheon to find one who could become an ideal of life and an inspiration to the soul struggling against sin. “Godlike life could scarcely start from its examples of incarnations; for none of their lives is superhuman in holiness. Even Rama, the most blameless character in Hindu mythological literature, is by no means perfect; while the most popularly [pg 103] worshipped incarnation committed deeds so vile that even the narrator warns his hearers not to take him for their example. ‘Listen to the story of Hari, but do not think of doing his deeds,’ he says.”

We look again at the sages and heroes of India with the hope that we may possibly find one who stood conspicuous among others as the perfect type of character and the helper of those struggling after a better and holier life. Here again we are wofully disappointed, though it must be confessed that there are loftier types of goodness and of self-discipline among them than we found among the gods. Thus, with no worthy ideal of life before them and no one to inspire them to better things, the wonder is that men in India have not descended to a lower level than they have. It is perhaps this very reason that has discouraged them and has led them to strive to attain unto beatitude, not by perfecting, but by destroying humanity. The renunciation and loss, rather than the realization, of self has thus become their aim and ambition. Perhaps it is for this same reason also that the votaries of this faith have constructed one of the most elaborate systems of ceremonial and ritual that the world has ever witnessed; whereby, in the absence of a high ideal and of a divine inspiration, the whole life from birth even until after death, may be directed and protected from evil.

6. The Credentials of the Two Faiths.

Each has its Scriptures in which are found its original teachings including a declaration of its source and message to man. Beyond this general statement very little can be predicated of these two in common. [pg 104] The theories of their inspiration are dissimilar. In the Bible there is no theory of inspiration taught. Its testimony to its own divine origin is indirect rather than direct. And yet the evidence, both internal and external, that the Bible was written by men under Divine guidance and inspiration is unmistakable and convincing. Whether we have regard to its prophetic utterances, its record of miracles, its plan of salvation, its delineation of the incomparable life and character of Jesus Christ; or whether we behold its marvellous power among men of all classes and of all countries and tongues—all that pertain to it point unmistakably to its divine origin.

Nor can any one fail to appreciate the beauty and sublimity of some of the Vedic hymns of the Hindus or the profound depth of the philosophic reach of the Upanishads, those sublime “guesses at truth,” or the great excellence of the Bhagavad-Gita which is the gem of all Hindu literature. And yet the puerilities of many and the obscenity of others of the Vedic songs and prayers are well-known. So are the strange vagaries and the rambling character of many parts of the Upanishads. And as for the Bhagavad-Gita it is simply a dialogue whose gist is the argument of Krishna—“the Supreme God”—to urge the tender-hearted and the conscience-smitten Arjuna to slay his relatives in war. Its argument is that no evil which one man may do to another is of any moment, since he cannot touch his soul which is eternal and beyond the reach of any human power! In the destiny of a soul what can the destruction of one of its bodies signify? This is an argument which is subversive of morality and of social order.

[pg 105]

When one leaves these earlier scriptures of Brahmanism and takes up the later productions—the Puranas and Tantras—he comes into a very different atmosphere, most of which is morally pestilential and spiritually degrading. The ascription of divine inspiration and special heavenly guidance in the production of such literature is nought else but blasphemy. To pass over from the study of the Bible, with its transcendent beauty, its perfect ethics, its heavenly spirit, its Divine Saviour and way of salvation, to the Scriptures of India, especially the more recent parts, is to exchange the pure air of heaven for the charnel house.

The “divine brevity” of the Bible is one of its most striking features. Few things could impress one with the heavenly source of this Book more markedly than its wonderful omissions.

How very different when we examine the countless tomes of the sacred literature of India! If the salvation of a soul depended upon the reading of even a hundredth part of these, who then could be saved? Their very multiplicity and their voluminous character debar any man, however learned, from an acquaintance with more than a small fraction of them. Moreover, among learned pandits of today the Smriti (traditions) are more frequently quoted as authority, and they wield a larger power over the life of the people, than the Sruti (revelation) itself.

In the Christian Bible we are permitted to see a progressive revelation. From age to age, and from page to page, we see new glimpses of truth and are attracted by the divine light whose illumination grows ever brighter from Genesis to Revelation. [pg 106] This is what we should have expected from a God-inspired book. We should have looked forward to a gradual transition from the starry midnight of the far-off past to the rising, in Christ, of the sun of righteousness with healing in His wings.

In Hindu literature this process is reversed. The surest, I may almost say, the only, evidence we have of divine guidance in the production of this literature is to be found among the earliest productions. There we see earnestness of purpose combined with heavenly aspiration and deep searching after truth. Subsequent to this we see the light vanishing and earnestness giving place to triviality of thought, to the ravings of superstition, to the inanities of ceremonialism and to the laws of social and religious bondage. All this progress downward is in direct ratio to our distance from Vedic times.

What could be more conclusive proof of the human source and direction of these prolific writings? Educated Hindus are sensible of this fact. They constantly hark back to the Vedas, to the Upanishads and to the Bhagavad-Gita, conscious of the fact that these represent the high water-mark of their faith and literature.

7. Other Distinguishing Traits.

These are not a few, and they aid in presenting the two faiths in bold relief.

(a) Their attitude towards the individual and Society. Nowhere are they more antipodal to each other than here. Christianity is preëminently a faith which exalts the individual. It presents, with marked clearness, his rights and responsibilities. His [pg 107] liberty of thought, of belief and of action, is fundamentally sacred and to be conserved at all hazards.

Hinduism is the staunchest foe of individual freedom. It concedes no right to the individual which others are bound to respect. It has erected above the individual, and in such a way as to overshadow him entirely, the stupendous caste system. And it has subordinated his every right and privilege to the whim of this demon caste. Man is its abject slave—cannot swerve one inch from its dictates; and these reach down to the smallest detail of his life. If the vast majority of the members of a caste were high in their morals and strict in their integrity and pure in their beliefs, the aid to a higher life which this system might render to the individual would, in small part, compensate for its destruction of his manly independence. But caste discipline directs itself to petty forms and observances and to the perpetuation of mean jealousies rather than to the development of character.

In India alone is caste a religious institution. The Brahman merged the individual in the corporate body, thus perfecting his bondage; and he set class against class to prevent the lower from rising and to make national union impossible. Men were said to have been created differently even as different kinds of animals; to bring them together is as unnatural as it is sinful.

Thus, every man within the pale of this religion has his social, as his religious, status fixed unchangeably for him before his birth; and woe be to him who tries to shake off this bondage, or even in a small degree to kick against the pricks. No better [pg 108] system than this has been devised under heaven to rob man of his birthright of independence and self-respect. And the population of India bears, in its character and conduct, ample testimony to the truth of this statement.

(b) Connected closely with this is another aspect.

The religion of Jesus fosters progress. Not only do we behold Christian nations the most progressive, we also find that as this faith obtains in its purity, so do its votaries enjoy the large spirit and results of progress, both in religion, science, the arts and in civilization. In India, on the other hand, conservatism is a fetish and custom a divine law of conduct. In the West the question asked, as men approach a certain line of action, is whether it be reasonable? Among Hindus the invariable inquiry is,—is it customary?—did our forefathers practice it? This again is the legitimate product of the caste system. It conserves and deifies the past. It never tolerates a question as to the wisdom of the ancients. The code of Manu, which is the source and supreme authority for this system, has done more to stereotype and degrade social and religious life in India than has any other code in all the history of other lands.

(c) Another marked feature of the religion of Jesus is its exclusiveness. It claims to be the only way of salvation. Not that it is unwilling to acknowledge the truths which are found in other faiths. While it recognizes such, it maintains that they are but broken lights of the Truth which it presents in all its full-orbed glory. It reveals Christ as the fulfillment of the good and pious of all nations, and His revelation as the realization of all truth [pg 109] wherever found. But as a means of salvation it stands alone, and will brook no rivalry nor accept divided homage.

In Hinduism, on the other hand, we see tolerance incarnate. It is true that the caste system lends itself readily to intolerance, that some of the most refined and cruel forms of persecution are conducted by it against Christians today. Yet in itself this faith has a genius for toleration. It does not go out of its way to attack other faiths. On the contrary it generally reaches forward the flag of truce and peace to them. It willingly appropriates much of their teaching and ritual. It placed in its pantheon its arch-enemy, Buddha, and has dignified many of the demons of the primitive cult of South India in the same way. And herein lie the subtle power and supreme danger which inhere in it to other faiths.

(d) It must also be remembered that the faith of India is an ethnic faith, with no ambition to reach to other peoples beyond that peninsula. This faith has a hundred ways of expelling and excommunicating its members and only one doubtful door by which it may receive outsiders, namely, by the formation of a new caste.

Christianity, on the other hand, is preëminently a missionary religion. It claims to be the universal faith. The last commandment of the Lord upon earth and the first work of the Holy Spirit upon His descent was to propagate the faith and to carry it to many lands and peoples. Hinduism is conserved by its social organism of caste; Christianity, by its leavening influence upon all that comes in contact with it, and the outreaching power of its life within.

[pg 110]

(e) Another difference is observable in the fact that while Christianity is always held as a system of saving truth to be believed, Hinduism, in its acceptance, does not involve the necessary belief of any doctrine or system of doctrine. It is well understood that a man of any belief, or of no belief, may be a genuine and orthodox Hindu provided he observes caste rules and ceremonies. It has been more than once insisted upon that a man may accept Christ as his Saviour and His religion as his firm belief and still remain a Hindu if he only submit to the demands of caste. Not a few Hindus are trying to live up to this strange dual system today! And I fear some native Christians have not got rid of the same delusion.

(f) There is also a marked difference in the moral standards of the two faiths. In a certain sense the moral code of Brahmanism, at its best, is lofty if not perfect. It enjoins a man not to lie, not to steal, not injure another, to be just, brave, hospitable and self-controlled. Some savage races inculcate, with more or less severity, the same moral lessons. But to Hindus as to savages these injunctions have represented the moral code; and whoever, among them, attains unto these, mostly negative, virtues, is deemed worthy of praise. In a sense the ten commandments communicated through Moses, obtain among Christians and are enjoined upon them today. But they, rather than represent the Christian's ideal, indicate only the low water mark of his moral requirements. To say of a Christian gentleman today that he does not steal, or does not lie, is rather an insult than a compliment, since it assumes that he possesses only what is now considered a very elementary [pg 111] form of morality, such as the lower classes and children are supposed to practice. It is only as we follow Jesus Christ and sublimate this code in love (Matt. 22:37-40) that we rise to the full significance and divine content of morality. The Christian code rests not in negation, but commands a life of outgoing, active love. A lofty altruism must permeate his every act and give colouring to his whole life. Christ not only introduced and emphasized this golden rule; He taught that it was absolutely necessary (John 12:25; Matt. 5:44).

To the Hindu, on the other hand, the lex talionis is a law of life still enforced. See, e.g., Vishnu Purana 5:19. He never thinks nor is he commanded by his religion to think, of aught but outward conformity to a moral code which is altogether inadequate to keep, direct and inspire him in life. This difficulty is, of course, enhanced when we remember that in the whole realm of Hindu life—whether it be of gods or of men—there is no one who looms up as a perfect example. It is therefore little wonder that in India today morality is at so low an ebb and that even the code which prevails there is so sadly and universally violated.

Hopkins aptly remarks in this connection: “This Christian ideal of today, which makes fair-mindedness, liberality of thought, and altruism the respective representatives of the savage virtues of manual honesty, truth-speaking and hospitality, is just what is lacking in the more primitive ideal formulated in the code of savages and of Brahman alike.... In India all the factors of the modern code are entirely lacking at the time when the old code was first [pg 112] completely formulated. Liberality of thought comes in with the era of the Upanishads; but it is a restricted freedom. Altruism is unknown to pure Brahmanism.”


Considering therefore these two faiths in all their characteristics and tendencies we are warranted in concluding that Hinduism must wane and vanish. It is an ancient faith and has survived not a few storms. It has a strong place in the hearts of a great people. But the leaven of dissolution and death is mightily at work within it today. The times are changed, new circumstances are bringing in a revolution of thought. Foreign ideas, language and customs are the rage; a new civilization, the deadly foe to the strongholds of the faith, is supplanting the old. This faith has nothing to offer with a view to meeting this new and complicated situation. It opposes all progress; through its pundits and orthodox defenders it antagonizes modern civilization and scientific advancement at every point. It is given up to degrading idolatry and a debasing, all-absorbing ceremonialism. It is the foster-mother of ignorance.

The mighty influence of Christianity, on the other hand, is being felt by all in the land; and the thousand-headed, thousand-handed civilization of the West is grasping and slowly transforming all their ideas of life. Verily India is in the throes of a new birth. Hinduism has done some good, doubtless. It has had a mission in the world and that has unquestionably been, partly, in the conservation of the great doctrine of God's immanence at a time when [pg 113] the western world had largely forgotten it. But this work is no longer needed. Today this truth is emphasized also by the Christian Church, and in the safe and practical way, in combination and harmony with the personality and fatherhood of God.

We can therefore look forward with confidence to the ultimate issue of this great conflict and see, through faith, the day when Christ shall reign supreme in that land.

[pg 114]

Chapter IV.

The Products Of The Two Faiths In India. The Hindu And The Native Christian—A Study.

During the many centuries of its history and working in India Hinduism has had ample opportunity to produce its own type of religious devotee, one who is thoroughly representative of its teaching and life. This type abounds in India today and is a faithful reflection of that faith. We shall now endeavour to study that living embodiment of Hinduism. In one respect it will be but another way of studying the faith itself—perhaps the best of all methods of studying a religion, for it is thus presented in life and action.

Protestant Christianity has not been sufficiently long in India to develop and foster an Indian type of character of its own. And yet we see it rapidly working towards that consummation. A century is too brief a time for this purpose. Moreover, native Christian life in that land is too much under the dominance and guidance of the West to enjoy a large degree of spontaneity; and without spontaneity life is not natural.

Nevertheless, the century that has passed has brought into existence the fourth generation of Protestant native Christians in India; and we are able to see, to some extent, among these descendants [pg 115] of native Christians that tendency and bent which will ere long develop into a definite and settled type of its own. For the time being we can only study the native Christian as a prophecy—a prophecy not for many years to be fulfilled in all its details, and yet worthy of study both in itself and for what it suggests.

Let us consider, then, these types of the two faiths which we see in that land.

1. And First, The Hindu.

The Hindu Devotee is a genuine product of his religion, wrought out during thirty centuries on its native heath. He stands before us as a distinct type whose characteristics differentiate him from the followers of any other religion.

It is well to remember here that that modern product—the Hindu of Western culture who is so much in evidence today in India and who sometimes comes West in flowing orange robes and turban to urge his mongrel philosophy upon our fellow-countrymen—is not the type of Hindu appreciated by, or representing, the people of that land. Neither in life nor in teaching does he represent the faith whose name he bears. He is a man who has studied Western thought and religion under the guidance and inspiration, perhaps, of the Christian missionary; and then in an ingenious way strives to interpret his own faith in the light of his Western attainments. He presents to us not orthodox Hinduism, but a mongrel doctrine and philosophy which are as foreign to the teaching of the orthodox Hindu pundit and as alien to the Hindu Scriptures as they are to [pg 116] Western philosophy and faith. It is a significant fact that all these Western-travelled Hindus have first to violate a fundamental injunction of their own religion—namely, that which prohibits sea travelling to a Hindu—before they can visit the West in order to commend their faith. And when they return to their native country they do so as the outcastes of their religion, and can be reinstated only after performing a work of atonement which includes the disgusting act of eating the five products of the cow!

The real Hindu, who stands today as the true exponent of his faith, is a very different man. He would no more cross the seas than he would cut off his right arm; for he knows that he can remain a true Hindu only so long as he remains at home. He is a conservative of the stiffest kind. He thinks on ancient lines and swears by the rishis of old.

Idol Worship.
Idol Worship.

Religious Mendicants.
Religious Mendicants.

(a) Study his prepossessions and then alone can you appreciate his heritage. Though he may not be a scholar or a philosopher, he is nevertheless fortified by a host of religious beliefs and prejudices. A thousand dogmas and prepossessions, the inherited treasures of thirty centuries, are his. He drank them in with his mother's milk; he has breathed them in as an essential part of his daily environment. They are more than second nature to him and constitute largely the world of his thought. His ideas of God, of himself, of sin, of salvation, of human life—all are far removed from ours and are peculiarly his own. He feels himself to be in the toils of an iron destiny which slowly grinds him to powder. His conception of God brings him no ray of comfort, or hope of release. His idea is that his sin and suffering of [pg 117] today are the inflictions, by some unknown power, for the sins of supposed former births. So that he must, through countless ages, work out his own salvation—a salvation which indeed means eternal rest; but it is a rest from all thought, emotion, self-consciousness and separate existence as well as from all work.

Within the mighty fascination of this Vedantism the people have been held through the centuries. And it is a doctrine which renders the highest morality impossible and has proved the mightiest soporific to the conscience. A few years ago a murderer in South India was being led from the court of justice to prison where, soon, he was to be executed for his crime. As he was struggling in the street with the police, a missionary accosted him, urging him to confess his sin against God and to seek his peace. Whereupon the man replied, “I did not commit the murder; it was the work of God Himself, in whose hands I am and of whom I am part.” To this the missionary replied that this was neither true nor worthy, and that he would soon suffer the full penalty of the law for his crime. “Ah, yes,” he exclaimed, “the god who wrought this in me and through me, will put me to death. It is all his and I am he.”

Such is the line of thought which passes through the mind of the orthodox Hindu devotee under all circumstances, be they pleasant or disagreeable. And it is one of the most difficult things for him, under these circumstances, to cultivate a true sense of responsibility and a genuine conception of sin as a moral act.

[pg 118]

(b) See again his ideals. He has many such which influence him largely in his life. Much depends upon what a man regards as the Summum Bonum of life. The supreme blessing which the Hindu ever holds before his eyes, as the highest and last attainment, is union with God. Not a union of sympathy, but a metaphysical oneness with Brâhm. To lose himself entirely in the Divine Being and thus to cease having separate thought or existence, and to pass out of the turmoil and restlessness of human life into the calm of the passionless bosom of the Eternal—this, to him, is the ideal which alone is worthy of human attainment.

Again; we, Christians, look forward to a complete self-realization, to a perfect manhood and a full rounded character as our ideal. The opposite ideal is the Hindu's. He seeks the loss of all that we hold best—the elimination of every ambition and desire, the eradication of all love and altruism, the cessation of all activity—good as well as evil. His ideal is not greatness and goodness of heart, but the renunciation of all that animates and inspires. To him the highest virtue in its noblest activity has no charms; for he claims that he looks above and beyond all this to that absolute equilibrium of soul when passion, and when all desire, shall have been killed through self-mortification and self-abnegation and he shall have attained mental poise and repose rather than a perfect character. Thus, in its last analysis, his ideal is an intellectual, rather than a moral, one; for it is again absorption into the Divine Soul; and that he conceives to be the Supreme Intelligence rather than the Perfect Will. This difference of ideal between [pg 119] the two faiths is fundamental and must work for very diverse results.

In harmony with this is the other thought that the body, yea each and every body with which the soul may clothe itself, is an unmitigated evil because it is the highway to suffering and defers the final consummation. Hence, the Hindu has no respect for the body and longs for the day of final emancipation from flesh and all its ills.

How then shall the soul be freed from its many births so that it may pass out of this bondage into the final freedom of Sayutcha, or emancipation? To him Yoga, the way of meditation, represents the highest way of release. To wean the mind, through this process, from all desire and ambition and thus to reach absolute equilibrium of soul is the object of Yoga. This indeed is the only condition whereby the soul can rise above any future contact with earthly bodies.

Consequently the Hindu has, for many centuries, looked to the monastery and the wilderness as the only places where this ideal can be safely and speedily attained. To live among men, and thus to be subjected to corroding cares and to the swaying passions of human society, renders the attainment of beatification impossible. Under these circumstances the soul finds no way of emancipation. Therefore the watchword of the Hindu is, “flee from the world rather than overcome it.” For the attainment of those qualities which ensure final repose he immures himself in a mutt or he flees into the forest where, apart from men, he gives himself to self-mortification and meditation that he may speedily find the desired [pg 120] release. At the root of this idea, as its animating motive, lies the worthy ambition of living a better life than the environments of a corrupt society favour. And with this desire is coupled the idea that a full rounded life and a perfected character are not only possible in the solitude of a wilderness but are nowhere else attainable. And thus it is, with many, a silent acknowledgment of failure and of the belief that in the rush and struggle of public life a godly, heavenly-minded character is impossible. According to the Hindu conception, a man may be successful in business matters, but he cannot be holy or fit for the highest communion with God unless he spend his time in separation from all his kind. Therefore the so-called pious and holy men of that land are ascetics. They eschew human society and seek to renounce all human good and every earthly ambition.

With this purpose, ostensibly, in view there are, as we saw, about 5,500,000 men in India who have given up all earthly employment, who live apart as ascetics and spend their time in roaming around the country as religious mendicants. These people are, in the main, doubtless possessed of the laudable ambition to be holy and to prepare themselves for union with Brâhm. And yet, as a matter of fact, they are the most pestilential in their morals of all the people of the land. Many of them, at the same time, both regard themselves and are regarded by their co-religionists as the acme of piety. Nevertheless, they daily trample under foot every command of the decalogue. It is true that a few of them are different from the mass, and genuinely seek the higher life [pg 121] for the cultivation of which they have separated themselves. But into their ideal of life altruism hardly enters at all. It is not to do good unto others, but to escape contamination from others which is the concern of the Hindu devotee. At the basis of his higher aspirations concern for self is supreme, thoughts of others are absent.

A notable illustration of a high realization of the Eastern ideal we see in the famous Hindu ascetic Swamiji Bhaskara Nanda Sarasvati, of Benares, who recently died and to whom Dr. Fairbairn has referred so cordially. For many years he had given himself to devotion and meditation. He had subdued the body by the rigours of asceticism and had attained preëminence in self-restraint and in the highest wisdom of yoga culture. He had therefore retired from the world, spurned all its allurements, denied all its claims and devoted himself exclusively to thought and meditation. Thus immured within temple walls in the great city of Benares he was utterly oblivious to the sin and sorrow of the swarming multitudes of that city and did nought to relieve the suffering, or to improve the lives, of his fellow-beings. He died, and over his remains has been erected a shrine to which the thousands go for worship and for inspiration to attain unto that ideal of life which they believe him to have realized.

This ideal has, for centuries, taken possession of the Hindu mind, and never before did it rule with more absolute sway than it does at present.

Another ideal of life with the Hindu is the so-called “path of works.” At present this term is synonymous with a life of ceremonialism. In modern parlance [pg 122] “works” means to the Hindu, ceremonial observance. His life is hedged in on all sides by a host of ceremonies and is permeated through and through with a most complicated ritual. There is nothing in the life of a Hindu devotee, whether it be eating, sleeping, bathing or travelling, which is not religiously prescribed both as to time and method. And utterly regardless of the significance of these rites or the appropriateness of them to his life, he deems their observance as essential to his salvation and finds in their daily keeping the highest satisfaction and completest assurance of his spiritual progress.

The Hindu is no rationalist in his religion. He obeys implicitly, and without question, the ritual of his ancestors and finds no interest in the scrutiny or analysis of them.

So, to the ordinary Hindu, especially to him to whom the way of meditation in the wilderness seems impossible, ceremonialism becomes a matter of supreme concern. No other religion has furnished to its followers a more elaborate and pervasive system of observances than this. These rites exercise their influence upon the mind and are wielding today a most potent influence upon Hindu character. A man may think nothing of, nor have any ambition to attain unto, the spiritual aspect of his faith; he may give no time whatever to any of its teachings or spiritual instruction; but if he maintain its ritual with ordinary care he flatters himself with the thought that he has attained a perfection corresponding to his estate.

Moreover, the Hindu is a thorough fatalist. He believes that his destiny is “written upon the forehead.” [pg 123] Nothing which he may do can affect this destiny. Nor does it seem to be a part of the divine purpose. So far as he is concerned it is an irrevocable fate. This belief manifests itself largely in his life and conduct. It is one of the inconsistencies of the Hindu's thinking that he, at the same time, worships a tribal god in whose hands he believes his affairs to be, and through whom prosperity can flow into his life for time and eternity; and yet he holds, with equal, yea with greater, persistence, the law of Karma, that is, the law of works, according to which law alone future life, both to himself and to all men, must be wrought out even to the last detail. It is strange that a man whose pantheon is so crowded as that of the Hindu, and who believes in such constant divine guidance and interference, should, also, at the same time, maintain a theory of life which practically dispenses with all divine action and makes human life the product of a blind and grinding fate. Nothing is more marked as a characteristic of Hindu thought today than a possession by the people of these mutually conflicting and contradictory views of life.

(c) Looking at the Hindu from a social standpoint we see him largely affected by the caste system. Not only is his life in bondage to this system, his view of life, too, is thoroughly coloured by his caste sentiments.

Just as ceremonialism covers all his personal life, even so caste observance defines for him all his social relations. There is not a tie or an influence which binds man to man that is not, to the Hindu, a part of the great and all-embracing caste system. So all-pervasive [pg 124] is this social tyranny that a man dare not withstand it; yea, more, he has learned to look at it as the prime necessity of his social being and therefore invariably regards it as the highest good. He may indeed believe that, in the abstract, caste is an evil and that it has been a curse to the people of the land. But he nevertheless maintains that, as it is an ancient part, and a most important part, of his ancestral faith, it must be submitted to in all obedience and regarded as the ideal of life.

The Bhagavad-Gita is regarded today not only as the gem of all Hindu literature; it is also held up by educated Hindus as the highest authority among their Shastras. Concerning caste duties this “Divine Song” speaks as follows:

“Better to do the duty of one's caste,
Though bad and ill-performed and fraught with evil,
Than undertake the business of another,
However good it be. For better far
Abandon life at once than not fulfill
One's own appointed work; another's duty
Brings danger to the man who meddles with it.
Perfection is alone attained by him
Who swerves not from the business of his caste.”

Therefore the Hindu has come to regard caste observance as the supreme claim of his faith. As we have seen, a man may believe or disbelieve any doctrine he please; that does not affect his status as a Hindu so long as he is loyal to caste rules and observances. As one has aptly remarked, the seat of other religions may be in the mind; the seat of Hinduism is preëminently in the stomach. It is not [pg 125] what he thinks but what and how and with whom he eats that gives him his religious status.

The Hindu regards himself as socially devoid of any right of initiative and choice; he has no will of his own. His social conscience is in the keeping of his caste. This has gained its rules from the past and exercises no discretion or judgment of its own in the social direction of its members; but it insists upon implicit obedience, by every one, to past customs which have crystallized into irrevocable laws. And to these laws the Hindu is always and everywhere a willing and an abject slave. To violate any of them is, he well knows, to be recreant to his faith and to be an outcaste among his people.

(d) The Hindu is not strong in character, as Westerners regard strength. As we have seen, his religion is not favourable to the highest development of conscience. Hence, sincerity and truthfulness are not among his strong points. Not only does pantheism undermine conscience, the example of the most prominent gods of the Hindu pantheon, leads men to prevaricate and encourages all forms of duplicity. Under these circumstances it were strange if the Hindu were conspicuous in honesty and in loyalty to the truth. And in like manner he is wanting largely in those convictions which, in the West, are so inseparably associated with earnestness, integrity and lofty purpose. If, to the Hindu devotee, religion is not a system of truth to be believed and loyally followed, but a series of ceremonies to be observed and of caste rules to be obeyed, then loyalty to truth becomes a very secondary matter and integrity of mind will be regarded by him as of no great moment. [pg 126] Therefore it is that hollowness is so often found at the core of their life. Lying and stealing are all but universal. It is said in our District in South India that the regular price of a court witness is two annas (four cents); and he stands ready to perjure himself to any extent for this paltry sum. The ordinary Hindu seems too often to have a predilection for falsehood and uses truth with rare economy! There, dishonesty and petty larceny are foibles too frequently condoned because too generally practiced. Even among the higher classes—the cultured and élite—open-faced and open-handed frankness and sincerity are too rare. Hypocrisy and duplicity are too often cultivated as a fine art. It seems to be the pride and pleasure of an Oriental to conceal his mind and purpose and to say and do things by the greatest indirection possible.

India has been extolled as a land where there is no profanity. This is true and she should have the credit for this abstinence. And one never feels like giving her this credit more than when he returns from that country to this and is compelled to endure the coarse profanity which pervades our streets as a terrible stench.

Yet one can hardly see how the Hindu could find interest in, and a strong grip upon, profanity, so long as the gods of his pantheon have so little of his respect and enter so rarely into the serious compacts of his life. Moreover it should not be forgotten that obscenity fulfills in India the function of profanity in the West. The bursts of passion which find expression here through taking the name of God in vain gain utterance there in language unspeakably bad of [pg 127] the other kind. And this is only a part of the larger subject of the prevalence of social immorality in India—an evil which is largely fostered under the protection of the religion of the land. When Lord Dalhousie, the Viceroy of India, was considering an act for the suppression of obscenity in the country, he was compelled by Hindu sentiment to exempt all temples and religious emblems from the operation of the act! What better commentary could one desire upon the source and prevalence of this vice in that land? When such an evil is intrenched behind the religion of the people and is symbolized and fostered by its emblems and ceremonies—when tasies, or women dedicated to the Hindu gods and temple worship (there are 12,000 of these in South India alone), constitute the public characters of the land—then the hope for the purification of life is at the lowest ebb.

It is also very rare that one finds a Hindu whose convictions and loyalty to certain beliefs are such that he is willing to suffer in their behalf. That masculine vigour and manly persistence under difficulty in maintaining what he believes to be right and true is not germane to the Hindu character.

On the other hand, the Hindu is strong in the so-called passive virtues. In harmony with his religious beliefs, patience and meekness and endurance of evil have become second nature to him. This side of his character has, indeed, received undue emphasis during the many centuries of his history. He cannot understand the rush and impatience, the push and aggressiveness of the Westerner any more than he of the West can understand the Hindu's cool, [pg 128] quiet, patient, bearing under most trying and adverse circumstances. He has a large lesson to teach us in the art of self-control and in the ability to endure with complacency evils which cannot be remedied.

Thus as we look at the Hindu from the various standpoints of life and character we see how strange a compound he is, and how unlike the man of the West at nearly all points in our examination. He is preëminently weak where we are strong, and he manifests strength where we seem to need it most. His religion has developed within him traits and tendencies which, through these many centuries, have wonderfully wrought in his life and character, and have largely made him what he is today.

Moreover all this enables us to see what a serious problem Christianity has in hand in India today, namely the conversion of 230,000,000 people so far removed in life and sentiment from those who have gone to preach Christ to them. Yea, more, we have seen what mighty influences and forces Christianity has to overcome, what hosts of prejudices to destroy, before she can lay her hand in power upon that great land and claim it as her own.

2. Let us Now Study The Native Christian.

The Indian Christian, as we have seen, is a recent product, so far as Protestant Christianity is concerned. And yet we are glad to witness a marked development in the life and character of those who are connected with the Protestant missions. It is true that fully one-half of the Christian community there found has been connected with our faith no [pg 129] more than a quarter of a century. But as we compare these recent accessions to our faith with those Christians of a second, third and fourth generation we are much encouraged by the growth in Christian character and principle which is taking place. I have often studied these differences between the recent convert and the Christian-born member of the community. I have also compared those of the second, with those of the third and fourth, generation of Christian heritage; and I have been much encouraged to see that our faith is adding to its power over the life and character of the native Christian community as the years and generations increase. And if the work continues, with the present insistence and vigour, it will not take many generations more before Christianity will have become thoroughly indigenous, because it will have developed a type of character in that land fully in harmony with its own genius and teaching.

It is necessary, however, in considering this question, that we remember specially that the antecedents and the environment of the native Christian have been entirely Hindu. His ancestral faith has coloured, and must colour, largely his religious preceptions and conduct. Let it not be thought that, when a man abandons Hinduism and becomes a Christian, he thereby, once and for all, drives out of his mind all those prepossessions, prejudices and superstitions which he has inherited from the past. It will take a long time for him to separate himself from these and their influence. Many of them will probably cling to him during his whole life. It is as much as we can hope that Christian truth will take increasing [pg 130] possession of his mind and gradually supplant the old and unworthy beliefs of Hinduism.

There are moreover certain elements of truth in that old faith which we do not care to eliminate from his mental furnishing, but which must find new adjustment and be properly located in the new religion which he has adopted.

It should also be remembered and made prominent in our consideration of this subject that the people of India are an Oriental people and are the children of the tropics and, as such, will always remain and must remain very different from us of the Northwest. Their climatic and meteorological conditions, their outer, physical life, their social customs and the trend of their civilization, have always been, and will continue to be, far removed from our own. Nothing could be more fatal to our success in our effort for the conversion of India than the idea that we must in every respect mold them after the pattern of Western life and habits. A large portion of their life is the result of the conditions which I have mentioned and must largely remain unchanged; and it would be folly for the missionary to regard these as a part of the faith to be supplanted, and to teach that western social customs are inseparable from Christianity and must be accepted by the Orient with our faith. The Christian of India will always be, and it is well that he should be, differentiated from the Anglo-Saxon Christian.

It should also be remembered that the people of India, at least the masses, are low in civilization. It should not be expected that those who are in that low estate, when they become Christians, will leap [pg 131] with one bound into the full possession of a high civilization and be clothed upon with some of those beauties of western life and character which we inevitably associate with the term, “A Christian Gentleman.” They, indeed, become truly and sincerely the disciples of Christ; but they will, at the same time, manifest some of the crudities and weaknesses of the low social grade of which they have been and still remain a part. They should not be judged by standards Western or of a high civilization.

Looking, then, at the native Christian of India let us have regard to his condition socially, morally, religiously and spiritually.

(a) Studying this product of the Christian faith in that land from a social standpoint we find encouragement. He differs from his Hindu neighbour by a growing freedom from the trammels of caste. He feels, in his best moments, that caste has been and continues to be the greatest curse of the land, that he has been emancipated from it, and that he is ambitious to enjoy the liberty wherewith Christ has made him free. And yet, unfortunately, he does not remain constantly in the possession of this sane mind. The roots of the caste system have reached down into the lowest depths of his being. Even at times when he believes that he is absolutely independent of caste considerations, there is in him a blind persistence which clings to caste bondage. I have often felt that Hinduism can be dispensed with by our convert with vastly more ease in all other particulars than in its caste feelings and affiliations. This relic of the past clings to him with a tenacity which is phenomenal and most sad. Though everything [pg 132] teaches him that this caste system is the greatest enemy of Christianity and will prevent any one who believes and practices it from fully imbibing the spirit of Christ; and though he aspires to be an earnest and an efficient Christian and to love all his brethren, this remnant of Hinduism in his heart returns to rob him of the joys and blessings of his Christian birthright. I have seen this frequently disfigure what would otherwise have been a beautiful Christian character. I have witnessed it blast the prospects of Christian congregations dooming them to stagnation and death. I have known it to palsy the arm and deaden the heart of more than one Christian worker.

All this is inevitable when we remember the mighty influence and the long continued dominance of caste in that land. But even at this point, where the missionary finds the greatest discouragement, there are marked signs of progress. So long as the missionary fought this evil alone there was little hope of success. But, during the last few years, the conscience of the native Christian Church itself has been roused on this question. The Indian Christian today, as never before, has the conviction that this caste evil saps the spiritual life of every member and of every church which entertains it, and that it is his supreme duty to fight it steadily in his own heart, home and church. And there is an increasing number, especially of the young Christians, who are pledging themselves to an unceasing warfare against the demon caste. Christians are also organizing themselves into Caste Suppression Societies. All this is highly encouraging, but needs large furtherance and [pg 133] development before the native Christian can be said to be freed from this most subtle curse of the ancestral faith.

The old Hindu Joint Family System is the foster-mother of the caste idea, and it is cheering to see native Christians increasingly abandoning that system for the Western idea of home which encourages thrift, independence and liberty among the various members of a family and clan.

In India, for many years to come, this blight of social narrowness, exclusiveness and divisiveness will affect more or less the native Christian character and give colour to the native Christian Church. For centuries it may prove the weak spot of Indian Christianity.

(b) Morally, the native Christian develops slowly. One writer has recently claimed that the Christian of India manifests little, if any, preëminence over the Hindu, in this respect. This is not true. He is certainly moving forward and upward morally. But it should be remembered that moral character is not one of the first results of Christian conquest among such a people. It is rather the highest and last fruit upon the tree of Christian life. It should not be forgotten that what we regard in the West as the high moral traits of a Christian gentleman are the product of more than 1,000 years of Christian living.

The native Christian manifests, in this respect, the weakness of his antecedents and his environment. When we remember that weakness of character to which we have referred as belonging to the Hindu it is not surprising that the native Christian, who is daily surrounded by men of that faith and who imbibes [pg 134] the atmosphere of that religion, should largely be affected by the same evil. A few years ago an English barrister complained to me of certain Christian witnesses who had given evidence in a case recently conducted by him in Madura. “I hate to have your Christians as witnesses in any of my cases,” he says; “for whenever they venture to give false evidence they instantly falter and stumble and are caught by the opposing counsel. A Hindu, when he gives false evidence, will tell a straight and a plausible story. But your Christians are too much affected by twinges of conscience.” What was embarrassing and annoying to him was encouraging to me! That our Christians should occasionally give false evidence did not surprise me; but that they, in this matter, should be differentiated, by this disinterested observer, from Hindu witnesses is a reliable testimony in favour of their growing veracity.

Among the higher class of native Christians, which is annually increasing in number, there is marked improvement in character. Especially among mission agents do we have opportunity to witness this development. They are growing in sincerity and reliability. The missionary is learning, with increasing pleasure, to place confidence in their veracity. And yet, we must mourn that moral progress among our people, both high and low, is not more rapid and satisfying.

Social immorality, as we have seen, is very prevalent in that tropical country. It is natural that this should annoy and worry us greatly among our native Christians. It is a sad fact that more of our mission agents are dismissed on account of this sin than any [pg 135] other. Hindu society is not only largely demoralized by this evil, there is also no public sentiment against it. But, under the influence of a growing sentiment in behalf of chastity and purity, the evil is gradually diminishing among our native Christians.

One source of moral depravity in Hindu society is the prevalent belief among them that there is no necessary connection between piety and morality. Their faith maintains that a man may be an ardent and worthy devotee, and at the same time trample under foot every part of the decalogue. Indeed the immorality of their religious ascetics is as noticeable as their profession of piety. Nobody there questions their lofty faith, their deep piety, their supreme devotion to their gods; nor will any one hesitate for one moment to charge them with every vice and sin in the human catalogue. Such is the Hindu mind that it can and does believe that these, to us, inseparable elements of a noble life, can be severed and found absolutely apart. In India, today, the moral people are largely the non-religious; while the ostentatiously religious are the publicly immoral ones.

It will take a long time for this fundamental and universally prevailing error to lose its grip upon our Christian people in that land. We find, not infrequently, in the Christian community, men and women living in unrighteousness and at the same time believing that it will be overlooked in the Divine account because of their zeal in Christian advocacy or their offering for the Christian cause. Perhaps this land of the West also is not free from such a delusion! We endeavour to teach them, in the language of the Apostle Paul (1 Tim. 3:9), “to hold the [pg 136] mystery of the faith in a pure conscience”; and we emphasize the supreme truth that faith and conscience, piety and morality are one and inseparable.

(c) Religiously, the native Christian is slowly shaking off the clinging brood of superstitions which he inherited from Hinduism. Our most recent converts have often a tenacious belief in the efficacy of some of those childish superstitions and charms which were largely their main stay in their ancestral religion. In most cases these are not a matter of faith so much as of inheritance which have become more than a second nature to them. Idolatry may be abandoned, belief in Hinduism as a saving faith may be thrown to the winds, Hindu ritual may lose its charm; but the many little superstitions which are connected with private life and social customs have still a quiet influence and a lingering power over them. These largely belong to the life of those who have recently accepted the Christian faith. It may be that some of them will never make that progress in life which will lift them entirely above some of these Hindu superstitions. But the great majority of native Christians today have religiously had no connection whatever with Hinduism and have entirely substituted Christian rites and observances for those of the Hindu religion. And they apparently have large satisfaction in them. The old Hindu idea of the supreme value of asceticism is largely yielding to a Christian altruism which abandons self-centred, self-seeking, activity in favour of loving sympathy for, and an endeavour to do good to, men.

We also notice that among them the idea of the efficacy of certain forms and ceremonies is lessening [pg 137] in favour of a conviction of the power of the inner life of faith.

And yet it should be constantly kept in mind that ceremony and ritual must always find a larger place in the religious life of India than in that of the United States. The inhabitant of India is tropical and poetic in temperament. He beholds things, and appreciates and appropriates spiritual blessings, more through the help of forms and ceremonies than does the man of the West. A rite appeals to his nature more strongly and lends to him greater facility in getting at its underlying truth and antitype than it does to us. Indeed it is his nature to look at Christian truth through the eyes of a poet; and ceremonies consequently convey to him the largest significance and are more revealing of the spirit within. We seek divine truth and spiritual blessings more directly than he. It would be therefore a mistake for us to expect that practical, unpoetic mind of ours in the Oriental, or to present religious truth to him in its nakedness, unadorned and unenforced by rite and ritual. It has been, and, to some extent, continues to be the fault of our Congregational Missions in India that they try to lift the native Christian to those dry, unadorned, simple forms of religious service which indeed satisfy the missionaries, but which ignore the great difference of nature and temperament between themselves and the converts. It should be remembered that in India people think vocally. Even as they must and do read aloud in order to read intelligently, so must they worship aloud in order to worship feelingly and thoughtfully. Hence the wisdom and urgency for them of a ritual and a responsive service.

[pg 138]

(d) Spiritually, the Indian Christian is slowly and surely developing on definite lines of his own.

The simplicity of his faith is beautiful. He has none of those questions of doubt or misgivings of unbelief which are so prevalent in the West. He takes the Bible in all fullness of acceptance. His prayers are not crossed and frustrated by any rationalistic theories, but have the simplicity of childish directness, filial trust and full expectancy. Nothing has touched me more in my contact with native Christians than to feel the directness, simplicity, unquestioning trustfulness of their prayers even in times of greatest adversity.

The native Christian possesses a mystic temperament. The inhabitants of that land, through many centuries of training, have become natural mystics in religion. This national heritage the native Christian retains; and properly chastened and directed by Christian truth and faith it will add depth, beauty and power to his religious life. Under these conditions I shall have no fear of mysticism in the Christian Church in India. Deep spirituality and a yearning after the hidden things of religion is more natural to the East than to the West. The West is practical and worldly; the East is mystical and other-worldly. The native Christian, at his best, is manifesting some of this spiritual power. He takes naturally to the Pauline emphasis upon the life “hid with Christ in God,” and to the mystic union which exists between Christ and His own.

It is here that the native Church in India is, I believe, to show an inspiring example to the Church of the West. If the Christian of India is not to be as [pg 139] practical or indeed as spiritually sane as his brother of the West, he will probably illustrate more of the hidden mysteries and power of the spiritual life. In this respect the spiritual power of the East and that of the West will be, in their separate emphasis, mutually complementary.

The Indian Christian, true to his native temperament, is and will continue to be strong in the so-called passive virtues, and weak in the positive or aggressive ones. Patience, meekness, gentleness, endurance—these are the graces which preëminently adorn him and which give colour and shape to his religious character. Here, again, his life will be very different from that life which has characterized, thus far, the Western Christian. The masculine virtues of assertion, boldness, aggressiveness have characterized the West. We have been strong and continue strong in that aspect of our faith which we associate with the words assertion and attack. The West has, true to its environment and training, developed Christian character mostly, I will not say exclusively, on the positive side of life. The equally important passive virtues we of the West have much neglected if not despised as weakness. The East is even today manifesting the blessedness, and the native Christian will increasingly illustrate, the beauty and potency, of the passive virtues—of the spiritual element of endurance and non-resistance. He will show to us that a true and perfected character—a character molded after that of the divine Exemplar—must have also, and with equal emphasis, the sweet and feminine passive graces of life as an essential element. In India today the Anglo-Saxon is wont [pg 140] to speak with contempt of “The mild Hindu.” That mildness which we are too apt to despise contains the germs of that half of Christian character which is too largely wanting in the spiritual life of the Anglo-Saxon and which the Christian Church of India will increasingly illustrate and gradually seek to respect, honour, and ultimately, to adopt.

Thus, speaking broadly of the native Christian of India today we find him almost as much a product of heredity and environment as he is of Christianity. He holds out Christ before himself as his ideal of life, and His words as the all-satisfying truth. He seeks in His redeeming work rest and salvation of soul; but many of the deepest yearnings of his heart come to him through old channels worn out by his ancestral faith. Hinduism gives more or less of colouring to his religious thought and aspirations; and not a few of its forms and ceremonies are retained, but filled with a new Christian content, and are utilized to aid in the development of Christian life. Even as the Jews of old entered into possession and appreciation of Christian life through Jewish rites and ceremonies, so do native converts enter Christian life through Hindu forms today. From the necessity of their thought and being they utilize not a few of the processes of the old, in order to acquire and enjoy the blessings of the new, faith. This cannot be avoided nor do we desire that it should be avoided.

House Of A Missionary In India.
House Of A Missionary In India.

A Village Christian Church.
A Village Christian Church.

The study of the Indian Christian character in its peculiarities and tendencies is of importance, because, as I have said above, I believe it is to affect our conceptions of life in the West. At the present [pg 141] time not a few of the religious vagaries which infest our land such as Christian Science and Theosophy, have chiefly come to us from India. At least, whatever of philosophy they may possess, and all of the occultism and mysticism which they court and magnify, are thoroughly Eastern and Indian. And from the popularity of such movements in this land it would seem as if the boast of some men that Hindu thought is invading the West is partially true. But the invasion which I desire and expect, in the not distant future, is the invasion of an Oriental Christian thought, Christian life and Christian character. This will come in its time as truly as, and much more fully than, the other has come, and it will do this country as much good as the other is now doing evil.

As an illustration of what I mean in reference to the influence of Eastern thought upon the West I would prophesy that ere long the Indian Christian Church will formulate for itself and enunciate to the world an advanced and helpful doctrine of the Holy Ghost beyond anything that the West has enunciated. India, which for these many centuries has been the home of an all-prevalent spiritual pantheism, when it comes to elaborate the doctrine of God, from a Christian standpoint, will give as much emphasis to His immanence as the West has given to His transcendence. God with us and in us and working in all creation, even the Holy Spirit of God,—this is the conception which the Indian Christian will elaborate and illuminate beyond anything that the West has thus far attempted.

There is danger, today, and it is inevitable, that [pg 142] missionaries from the West be too ambitious to occidentalize the native Christian community, ignorant of, or indifferent to, the grand possibilities of thought and of life which lie in Eastern character and teaching. It is much easier to thrust upon them everything Western than it is to appreciate and to conserve many things Eastern. The future missionary will learn wisdom from the past and will enter upon his work with less depreciation of things Oriental and with a larger desire to conserve to the utmost Eastern habits of thought and social customs, so long as, and so far as, they can be made the vehicles of Christian thought and the channels of Christian life. Herein must lie the best means for a speedy coming of the Kingdom of Christ in India.

[pg 143]

Chapter V.

The Women Of India.

The condition of its women is the truest test of a people's civilization. Her status is her country's barometer.

The one hundred million women of India admirably reflect the whole social and religious condition of that land. There are more nations in India than are found in all Europe; they also present a greater diversity of type. Between the aboriginal tribes which treat the weaker sex only as a beast of burden, and the Parsee community which holds its women in the highest consideration and furnishes them with a liberal education and large opportunity, there are many intermediate tribes and nations which regard their women with varying degrees of consideration and of contempt.

Of all Scriptures the Zend Avesta of the Parsees is the only one which furnishes woman, from the beginning, with absolute equality with man; and that position she has never lost among the Parsees. But the Parsees in India are a mere handful.

The Hindu woman constitutes four-fifths of the total number of her sex in India; and her condition is fairly uniform everywhere and conforms, in varying degrees, to a type whose characteristics are easily recognized. She has come down from earliest history. We recognize her everywhere in the pages of [pg 144] their ancient literature, in their laws and legends; and we behold her in all the manifold walks of modern life. For nearly a quarter of a century the writer has lived as her neighbour, gazed daily upon her life, wondered at and admired her many noble traits which have been preserved under the most adverse circumstances, and grieved over her weakness and her many disabilities.

In ancient times, the position of woman in India was one of power coupled with honour. Today the power remains, but the honour has been largely eliminated.

1. In ancient Vedic times woman enjoyed many distinctions and revealed great aptitude. She joined her husband in the offering of domestic sacrifices and sat as queen in the home. Some of the sacred hymns of the Rigveda were made by her and have come down these thirty centuries as a beautiful testimony to her intellectual brightness and aspiration, and as an evidence of the honour in which she was held.

Five centuries later this beautiful description was given of her in the Mahabarata:

“A wife is half the man, his truest friend;
A loving wife is a perpetual spring
Of virtue, pleasure, wealth; a faithful wife
Is his best aid in seeking heavenly bliss;
A sweet speaking wife is a companion
In solitude, a father in advice,
A mother in all seasons of distress,
A rest in passing through life's wilderness.”

The rights and opportunities of woman are strikingly illustrated by many of the legends of their ancient epics. For instance, we read of the Svayamvara [pg 145] of the lovely princess Draupadi. It was the occasion when she had attained womanhood and was entitled to the right to choose her own husband. How graphically are the royal suitors described as they press their claims to her heart and hand in knightly tournament. It is one of those scenes which reveal woman in the possession of some of her most queenly rights and attractions.

The ancient ideals of womanly character have come down the centuries writ large in their songs and annals; and these ideals are today held as dearly, and are loved and sung with as much ardour, as at any time in the history of India.

Every boy and girl of that land, today, knows the lovely Sita, wife of the noble and heroic Rama,—how, while in the power of the terrible Ravana, and at risk of life, she withstood every temptation and lived in unspotted purity and in supreme devotion and faithfulness to her royal lord.

Who does not know of the faithful Saguntala, whose legend is woven into one of the most beautiful and touching love stories the world has ever known. This drama was the first translation from Sanskrit into the English tongue and elicited the astonishment and lively admiration of such a man as Goethe.

India has always boasted of the constancy and devotion of the beautiful Savitri to her beloved Sattyavân. After the death of her husband, she followed his soul into the spirit-world with fearless devotion and pleaded with the King of Death with so much passion and persistence for his return to life that he was finally restored to her in youthful vigour.

[pg 146]

These are some of the stock illustrations of the model wife used everywhere and at all times in India. And they have had an extensive and wonderful influence in the molding of wifely ideals.

It is, as we see, a glorification of devotion, faithfulness, constancy—traits that have always beautified the character of the Hindu woman. It is true that, apart from her husband and from the kitchen, woman has had few ideals urged upon her in that great country. Her ambitions have not crossed the doorsteps of her house and home. She is measured entirely by her relation to her husband or children. She is her lord's companion and servant. Love to him is the wand which alone can transform her life into gold. Her usefulness and her glory are the reflections of his pleasure and of his satisfaction in her. She has no separate existence. Apart from man, she is an absolute nonentity. And yet, within the sphere which has been granted to her, she has shone with a wonderful radiance and with a charm which reminds us often of some of Shakespeare's beautiful womanly creations.

The physical attractions of woman have always, of course, captivated the sterner sex in India, as in other lands. Her beauty is lavishly described and painted in warm colours through all Hindu literature. And she is physically beautiful; she will compare favourably with the fair ones of any land in womanly grace, in beauty of figure, and in bewitching charm of manner.

But the standard of womanly grace and beauty is not precisely the same there as it is with us in the West. A Hindu and an American have different [pg 147] ideals of personal beauty. Though the Aryan type of countenance may not largely differ East and West, there are touches of expression and shades of beauty which correspond respectively to the different ideals in both lands. May they not have created the ideals themselves?

The most common results of a Hindu woman's toilet are the smooth hair, the blackened eyebrow, the reddened finger-nails, the pendent nose jewels, the bulky ear-rings, the heavy bangles for ankles and arms. Without these, life, to the Hindu belle, is not worth living. On wedding occasions, among the common folk, red ochre is also daubed over the throat in ghastly suggestion to the Westerner; but in glorious attractiveness to the native of the land!

West and East associate a fair complexion with highest beauty. A fond Hindu mother once came to the writer moaning that she could not find a husband for her daughter because she was “too black!” The young man of India puts a premium upon every shade of added lightness of complexion. His taste is reflected in the universal feminine custom of using saffron dye to lighten the complexion upon all festive occasions.

The clothing of the woman of India is exceedingly attractive. Her pretty garb sets off admirably the beauty of her person; and, both in inexpensiveness and grace, and in its contribution to health, is far better than the complicated extravagance, the heavy encumbrance and the insanitary tight-lacing of the West. The women of South India dress with a view to comfort in the tropics; but they have also, in a most remarkable degree, conserved appropriateness, [pg 148] beauty, and simplicity in their robes. The possibilities of the one cloth, which is the full dress of the South Indian woman, as a modest garment and as a charming full-dress equipment would be a revelation to the much dressed votary of the West. In the arranging of this cloth there is considerable scope for ingenuity and for æsthetic taste; although, in this matter, the rules of each caste furnish an iron etiquette which must be followed by the women. Indeed, the tyranny of Worth in the West is nothing as compared with caste tyranny as the Fashioner of the East. This is accounted for by the fact that a woman's dress must be arranged in such a way as to publish abroad her caste affiliations.

Woman has a vast influence upon the life of the people of India. In no other country has she relatively exercised more power. All this, notwithstanding the fact that, for more than twenty centuries, she has had no recognized position in religion or in society. Her spiritual destiny has been entirely in the hands of man. By the highest authorities her salvation has been made entirely dependent upon her connection with him. She has absolutely no right of worship of her own. From the cradle to the grave she is in man's keeping. Until she is married, supreme obedience to her father is her only safety; while her husband lives, heaven's blessings can come to her only through his favour and prayer; and, after his death, her sons become her lords and the sole guardians and protectors of her spiritual interests. All this is everywhere recognized by Hindu society, and by none more than by the woman herself.

And yet, it is equally true, and a fact of remarkable [pg 149] significance, that, in India today, the religious influence of woman is paramount. She is the stronghold of Hinduism at the beginning of this twentieth century. Man, under the growing influence of western thought, civilization, and faith, has largely lost his moorings and is growing increasingly insincere and a trifler with religious beliefs and institutions. The woman, on the other hand, is a conservative of the conservatives. In her superstition she is deeply sincere; her faith has no questionings, and her piety shapes her every activity. Were it not for the women of India, Hinduism, with all its vaunted philosophy, its wonderful ritual and its mighty caste tyranny, would, within a decade, fall into “innocuous desuetude.”

It is a significant fact that in the religion of no other people on earth does the worship of the female find so prominent a place. In many parts of the land Sakti worship, or the worship of goddesses, is widely prevalent and almost paramount in influence. It is really the worship of power under a female form; and the power which these goddesses exercise is mostly malevolent in its character. The terrible wife of Siva, in all her dread manifestations, is the most popular deity, because the most feared in the land.

It is natural to inquire whether this characteristic of the Hindu pantheon is not a reflection of the Hindu mind as to the influence of woman, and as to the belief of man in the evil character of that influence. As is the place and power of woman among the men so is the character and place of the goddesses in the pantheon of that people.

[pg 150]

The famous religious reformer Chunder Sen, though he adopted and used the Lord's Prayer, changed the form of address from the masculine to the feminine and said, “Our Mother who art in heaven!” The adoration of the female in Hindu worship was never more marked than at present. What has Christianity to meet this bent of the Hindu mind? Or should it be discouraged as an element in worship? The Romanists meet it by exalting and giving preëminence to the Virgin Mother. The Protestants have nothing corresponding to this.

Socially, the Hindu woman is a reactionary of the most pronounced type; she opposes social reform at all points—nowhere more than when it is directed to ameliorate her own condition. Religiously, as we have seen, she is the slave of man by law and teaching; yet she rules her household, even in these matters, with an iron hand.

From her throne in the home she so wields her sceptre that it is felt also throughout the whole social fabric. Her beloved lord has perhaps passed through a university course, is a pronounced social reformer and discourses in eloquent English, before large audiences of his admiring countrymen, concerning the mighty social evils which are the curse of the country; he, with his ardent fellow-reformers, frames rules which shall soon usher in the millennium of social reform and progress! And then he—this man of culture, of eloquence, of noble purposes and of altruistic ambitions—goes to his home and meekly submits to the grandmotherly tyranny which has shaped his life much more than he knows, and which vitiates and renders nugatory all his social and other schemes! [pg 151] As man has narrowed the scope of woman's life in that land, so she has given it intensity of power.

And what is more significant, she has become supremely contented with the narrow sphere which man has grudgingly given her. And, for this very reason, she combats every endeavour, on the part of her friends, to release her from her bondage and to increase her opportunities and blessings in life. The old triple slander perpetrated upon India, to the effect that “it is a country in which the women never laugh, the birds never sing and the flowers have no fragrance,” is a falsehood in all its details. Hindu women have as merry a laugh as their sisters in any other land. They have learned to make the best of their lot and to rejoice in it.

Since the time of the Mohammedan conquest, and probably long before, the higher class of women have mostly led a life of seclusion. This is preëminently true of the northern parts of the country where Mohammedan influence was strongest and the Hindu had carefully to protect his wife and daughters from the coarse Mussulman. In South India this seclusion is very rare and observed only among the most aristocratic. The common woman of India finds ample freedom of intercourse in her town and village, and figures conspicuously at the great religious festivals of her land.

Generally speaking, woman is the redeeming feature of India. She is the ideal home-keeper and housekeeper. Usually, she is devoted to her husband, a passionate lover of her children, the conserver of society, the true devotee in religion. Her lord and husband has been taught, from time immemorial, to [pg 152] keep her in obscurity and to surround her with the screen of ignorance and narrow sympathies; but she has magnified the work assigned to her; her excellence has shown far beyond his; and, in her bondage, she has built her throne from which she has wielded her sceptre of love and goodness over him.

She has never aspired to realms not granted to her by her lawgivers. The modern aspiration of the “new woman” of the West does not appeal to her. She asks only to be let alone in her narrow but, to her, all-sufficient sphere.

2. But, after all we have said, or can say, of the power of woman in India, it still remains that, in no other land, has she suffered such marked disability and deeper injustice. If her goodness has shone out of her darkness, it has only served to reveal the more the sadness of her position. She bears in her condition the signs of her bondage and humiliation. The evils of the land have been attributed to her; and man too often ascribes his own degradation and sin to the curse breathed upon him by woman.

The proverbs of a country are the truest test of its sentiments. What have these to say of the woman of India today?

“What poison is that which appears like nectar? Woman.”

“What is the chief gate to hell? Woman.”

“What is cruel? The heart of a viper. What is more cruel? The heart of a woman. What is the most cruel of all? The heart of a soulless, penniless widow.”

“He is a fool who considers his wife as his friend.”

[pg 153]

“Educating a woman is like putting a knife in the hands of a monkey.”

These are a few of the many proverbs which characterize woman in one vernacular only. Every other Indian tongue equally abounds in proverbial expressions which brand a woman as one of the greatest evils of the land. Sanskrit writers have exhausted vituperative language in describing woman. They represent her as “wily, hypocritical, lying, deceptive, artful, fickle, freakish, vindictive, vicious, lazy, vain, dissolute, hard-hearted, sinful, petty-minded, jealous, addicted to simulation and dissimulation. She is worse than the worst of animals, more poisonous than the poison of vipers.”

These proverbs do not necessarily reveal the depravity of the Hindu woman; but they do testify unmistakably to the estimation in which she is held by man.

The ignorance of woman there is dense and is probably a fact which closely connects her with the proverbial expressions concerning her. Her illiteracy is not an incident in Indian life. It has been, through the centuries, a settled policy of the land. At the present time only one woman in two hundred can read and write in that land of progress. The remarkable thing is, not that so many are illiterate, but that even a few have been taught at all, in view of the attitude of the Hindu mind towards her. In ancient times there was little to learn, in India, apart from religion; but it has been the strict injunction of their Shastras and religious instructors that no man shall, under penalty of hell, teach to his wife or daughter the Vedas which are the purest and best [pg 154] part of Hindu Scriptures. Any form of useful knowledge was considered dangerous in her possession.

It is not that woman is wanting in capacity. She is as bright and as teachable as her brother. All that she has needed, educationally, has been opportunity; and this, society has denied her, and this has done injustice not only to her but, still more, to itself.

Infant marriage has been, for many centuries, a crying evil in that land. This has brought to woman a train of evils which have made deplorable her condition above all the women of the earth. This custom originated, probably, from a sense of kindness to the girl herself. It was the expression of a desire on the part of the parents to insure their daughter, at an early date, against failure to attain that which all Hindus regard as the summum bonum of a woman's life—marriage. But, in their short-sighted policy, they failed to realize the myriad evils which would follow this pernicious custom. The girl's will or desire must not be regarded as an element in this life compact! And, what is worse still, these infant compacts are necessarily followed by early consummation, whereby girls enter, in many cases, upon the duties of motherhood at twelve years of age. Few, indeed, are permitted to reach full physical development before they assume the function of child-bearing. This is not only a serious evil to the woman herself, it also gives poor chance for the begetting of a healthy progeny and for the early training of the same. And it is not strange that the woman who thus early enters the sphere of motherhood should become a worn out old woman at thirty-five or forty years.

[pg 155]

Much effort has been put forth in India, by Westerners especially, to make infant marriages impossible, or at least unpopular. But, little success has thus far attended this effort.

A small meed of alleviation was gained with much effort in 1891. It came through the passing of the “Age of Consent Bill” whereby the age of a girl's consent to cohabitation was raised from ten to twelve. To a Westerner, the blessing acquired by this bill seems in itself a mockery and only reveals the appalling cruelty of that people to its girls.

It has been found impossible to touch, much less remove, the gross evil of infant marriage itself, the custom which opens wide the door to other ghastly evils.

The greatest of these is that of virgin-widowhood. If men will perversely marry their infant daughters to small boys, it is sure that a considerable proportion of the boys will die before their marriage is consummated. Thus, annually, thousands of these poor girls, who are in absolute ignorance of the situation, are converted into virgin widows whose condition, upon the death of their husbands, is instantly changed from one of innocent childhood pleasure into a sad, despised and hated widowhood. For, the parents of the boy sincerely believe that it is her evil star which has killed the boy whose destiny was blended with her own. And henceforth she is regarded, not only by the parents concerned, but by society in general, as an accursed person, hated for what has happened to her husband, and also a creature to be shunned. Her presence must not be allowed on any festive occasion, lest its evil influence bring sorrow [pg 156] and death to others. Thus a child of four or five years may suddenly have her prospects blasted, her life embittered and her company shunned by the whole world, with none to befriend, to cheer or to comfort her. There are two millions of such sad and injured ones in India today. Their cry goes up to God and to man in inarticulate appeal for relief and redress against a social custom and a religious rule which consigns them, in their time of greatest innocency, to a life which is worse than death itself and which robs them of the protection, love and sympathy which the whole economy of heaven and earth should guarantee to them.

Coupled with this terrible fact is the other, that woman must marry in India anyhow. No disgrace and misfortune can befall a woman, according to Hindu ideas, equal to that of spending her whole life in maidenhood. This, of course, is connected with the idea that she has no social status or religious destiny apart from man. Hence it is that a host of loving parents, who are unable to find a suitable match for their daughters, rather than leave them unmarried, stupidly join them in wedlock to professional bridegrooms. There is, in Bengal, today, a division of the Brahman caste whose men are professional purveyors to this silly but prevalent superstition. They are prepared to marry any number of girls at remunerative rates. And thus they acquire a fair income. Each of these men have scores of such wives and entertains the proud satisfaction, doubtless, that he is bestowing a favour upon a benighted community by coupling his name in wedlock with unfortunate girls who otherwise would be without a [pg 157] name or hope among men! A state of society which renders such a condition of things possible is not only a disgrace to any community, it is a monstrous evil against the womanhood of that community. Is it any wonder, then, that so many of the women of India, under these circumstances, should commit suicide? Is it strange that a wife, in such a land, should find it best to obey and submit to the indignities of the worst kind from her husband? And is it remarkable that the Hindu widow, rather than endure the neglect, the temptations and the obloquy of her widowhood, should have preferred to practice Suttee and to end her miseries upon the funeral pyre of her husband? When we remember that their system consigns one-fifth of all the women of India—more than 20,000,000 souls—to this despised and ostracized widow class, we realize the depth of evil which flows from the system.

There is still another cruel injustice inflicted upon the womanhood of India. Many thousands (there are 12,000 in South India alone) of her daughters are dedicated in infancy to a life of shame in connection with temple worship in that land. These women, the so-called “servants of the gods,” have been mostly dedicated by fond mothers to this wretched life as a thank offering to the gods for blessings received. This seems very strange when it is known that all such girls thereby become public characters. The “Dancing Girl” of India is thus shut up to her evil life by those who love her most; and her religious profession becomes to her the highway to perdition and a bitter curse to society. Recent effort has been made, in Bombay, to save such girls by making [pg 158] it a legal offence to “marry” them to the gods and thus devoting them to a life of shame. But this law only refers to the dedication of girls of tender age in Bombay. It is exceedingly sad that, practically, the whole population is utterly indifferent to this greatest insult committed against the womanhood of India and to the coupling of their own religion and their gods with the ruin of the soul and body of many thousands of the daughters of the land.

It is not remarkable, under these circumstances, that among all the people of India the birth of a daughter is the most unwelcome of domestic events. The evils which surely await her, and the greater possibilities of sorrow and suffering which surround her, the great burden of expense and of trouble which her training, and especially her marriage, will entail upon the family—all combine to make her birth a much dreaded event.

The large expense, in the shape of the marriage dowry and the wedding expenses which have to be incurred among nearly all classes in connection with the disposal of their daughters, only make this situation the more emphatic.

The practice of infanticide, so extensively found in India, was the direct result of this difficulty. For instance, among the noble race of Rajputs in North India it was found, some years ago, that, in a community of 30,000, there was not a single girl! Every daughter that was born was killed. The higher the rank of the family the more constant and systematic was the crime. “Thus, while an unmarried daughter in India is looked upon as hopelessly disgraced, a son-in-law cannot always [pg 159] be found unless the father of the girl is prepared to pay highly, and the marriage of a daughter may mean the ruin of a family. Rather than incur this danger, the Rajput preferred that his daughter should perish. And though the government has enacted stringent laws against this custom, it is not entirely eradicated yet.”10

Thus the Hindus have wittingly and unwittingly placed many of the most serious disabilities of life upon their women. And the greatest evil of it is that the woman has become so hardened to her lot that, like the prisoner of Chillon, she has become enamoured of her chains and is most loathe to part with her bondage.

3. But the dawn of a new day has risen upon India. It is the day of woman's emancipation. A new spirit, during the past century, has entered that land, and the welcome era of brighter blessing, greater appreciation and larger opportunity for woman has actually begun. One has only to study the laws which, during the nineteenth century, were enacted in India with a view to removing the terrible evils and crimes which were committed under the sanction of Hinduism; and he will find that not a few are directed towards the amelioration of the condition of woman. Such inhuman customs as suttee, the murder of children, the dedication of girls to lives of shame—these have been removed in whole or in part; and, by the “Age of Consent Bill” and other similar half measures, the beginning has been made in introducing a day of better things for the women.

Many of the efforts of Hindu Social Reformers are [pg 160] directed towards the removal of some of the disabilities under which woman lives. It is true that the woman of India cannot expect, for a long time, much help from her own people. Even the Social Reformers among them are so few in number, are so half-hearted in their measures, and are so unwilling to deny themselves in behalf of the cause which they advocate, that little can be expected from them. And yet, it must be said that in a few matters of importance Hindu sentiment is slowly moving in the right direction. As a Social Reformer, the Hindu is a poor success; but he is not a fool; he can see that the situation, so far as woman is concerned, is becoming increasingly untenable and flagrantly inconsistent with the growing light of today. The hope is that he will yield, with increasing readiness, to the pressure brought to bear upon him by Western sentiment.

The presence of many women of the West in that land has been a standing rebuke to the Hindu social situation. These women have done not a little to stir within their Eastern sisters a desire for something better. They open their eyes to the contrasted conditions of the women of the East and of the West. When they shall have aroused the women of India to the desperateness of their condition and to the urgent need of reform and relief, the battle will be more than half fought and victory will be in view. For, when the Eastern woman herself will vigorously demand her emancipation, man will yield it to her. The Dufferin Hospitals are a noble tribute to the active interest of the good lady whose name they bear; and the sympathetic endeavour of Lady Curzon [pg 161] for the elevation of India's women are but suggestive of considerable work which the fair sex of the West have rendered and are rendering in behalf of their Indian sisters.

Protestant Christian missions have been pioneers in this great movement towards the emancipation of the women of India. American and English women, connected with these missions, have given themselves to the redemption of their sisters. More than one thousand of these good women are devoting their lives to the salvation of India through the elevation of the women of the land. Thousands of schools are conducted by them in which a host of young girls are receiving that training which Hinduism has proscribed for many centuries. And through these schools, and by means of at least two thousand Bible Women, trained by them, they have access into hundreds of thousands of Hindu homes where they reveal to the women and girls a broader horizon of life and give a new conception of the privileges and opportunities which are opening today before them. They are creating among the women a spirit of unrest which is the dawning of a new ambition for greater things in life and service. The very presence of these foreign ladies suggests to their Indian sister a new sphere broader than the home, and a new opportunity pregnant with rich blessings to the land.

Under the influence of these missionary efforts and of the less thorough training given in government schools, Hindus themselves are beginning to bestir themselves and to establish schools for their daughters; and thus we trust that coming years will not only witness a change of thought among Hindus [pg 162] concerning women, but also a new line of indigenous activity for their elevation.

There is further ground for encouragement; for the Hindu man of culture is growing increasingly sensitive to the wide gulf which lies between him and his absolutely untrained wife. He sees that, while the Western woman is suited in every way to become the companion of, and a helpmeet to, her husband, his own little wife is fit to be neither. Even when not separated from him by a disparity of many years in age, he finds that she has absolutely no interest outside the walls of her home and has not the first qualification to discuss with him or to help him by advice in any matter pertaining to his work or profession. So he, under the new light of modern times, is increasingly ambitious to have a wife of the new training and of the larger horizon, and is willing to pay a premium for her in marriage. And this, itself, is beginning to create a market for educated women even in that stronghold of conservatism, the Brahman caste.

Thus the effort of Christian missions in the development of womanhood is acting like leaven upon the whole social mass.

[pg 163]

Chapter VI.

The History Of Christian Effort In India.

Christianity found very early entrance into India. How early we cannot definitely say. The Syrian Church of Malabar traces its legendary origin to the “doubting disciple,” by whose name it loves to be called. The Romish Church also warmly supports this contention and exalts St. Thomas to a high place as the Patron Saint and Apostle of India.

Careful historical investigation entirely overthrows this old claim. The Thomas legends probably owe their existence to the natural desire of the Syrian Christians to connect their history with Apostolic origin and sanction. The name may also be confounded with a later Thomas, several of whom were conspicuous in the annals of the India Syrian Church.

The ancient vagueness of the name “India,” has also, doubtless, had no little influence in the formation of these legends. In the beginning of the Christian era “India” was a term of much wider application than at present. It included several countries in Southwestern Asia, and even a portion of Africa. While St. Thomas may therefore have laboured and died in “India,” it does not at all follow that his field of labour was within the limits of the peninsula now called by that name. Indeed, many [pg 164] historical incidents and facts agree in disproving Apostolic connection with the rise of Christianity in India.

Pantænus, the saintly and learned Presbyter and Christian philosopher of Alexandria and the renowned teacher of the illustrious church fathers, Clement and Origen, is the first honoured name which finds historic sanction in the grand roll of Christian missionaries to India. He visited Malabar, South India, during the last decade of the second century. He was a man wonderfully equipped by deep spiritual insight and piety and also by philosophic training and metaphysical acumen to become the messenger of Christian truth and life to the Buddhists and Brahmans who lived side by side in South India in those days.

We know little of his work in that land. He found in Malabar a colony of Jewish Christians who possessed a copy of the Gospel of Matthew in the Hebrew tongue, said to have been given to them by the Apostle Bartholomew. It is not known, however, whether this last named apostle laboured among these Christians in that region.

Probably a century later that Christian community formed connection with Antioch, Syria, which was the first of all Christian missionary centres; but which, through its Nestorian faith, soon lost its missionary ardour.

1. And thus emerges out of the darkness into its long and unique history the Syrian Church of Malabar.

It has passed through many vicissitudes and has lost much, if not all, of its positive Christian influence and missionary character. During a recent visit to [pg 165] that region I was saddened by the sight of this Christian community which had lived all these centuries in the centre of a heathen district with apparently no concern for the religious condition of the surrounding, non-Christian, masses—content to be as a separate caste without religious influence upon, or ambition to bring Christ into the life of, its benighted neighbours.

This church has survived its own apathy, on the one side, and Roman Catholic inquisition on the other, and appears before the world as what it really is—the only indigenous Christian Church in the peninsula of India. It enjoys the unique distinction of having lived more than a millennium and a half in a heathen land, for a thousand years of which it was entirely surrounded by a non-Christian people.

During the last half century it has been considerably influenced by the work and example of the Church Missionary Society which is established in that region. Through this influence a Reformed Syrian Church has come into existence which promises to do much for the whole community in ideals and life. The Syrian Church has hitherto been greatly cursed with the trinity of evils—ignorance, ceremonialism and superstition. It was not until 1811 (at the suggestion of an Englishman) that it translated a part of the Bible (the four gospels) into the vernacular. And this is the only translation of the Scriptures ever made and published by the natives of India.

The Syrian Church now numbers 248,741. That part of the Syrian community which the Romish Church compelled, by the inquisition, to unite with it numbers 322,586.

[pg 166]

2. From the fourteenth century the Roman Catholic Church has continued to send out her emissaries and missionaries to that land.

Jordanus and his brave band of missionary associates were her first representatives.

But it was only from the arrival of Vasco da Gama and the Portuguese conquest four centuries ago, that the influence of that Church began to be seriously felt and its triumphs recorded.

By the sword and cruel Inquisition not only were Syrian Christians compelled to transfer their allegiance to the Pope; non-Christians also were, for perhaps the second time in the long history of the land, subjected to the bitter restraints and inhuman inflictions of religious persecution. It is a curious fact that the hideous and bloody monster of religious intolerance was hardly known in India until, first, the followers of Mohammed and, secondly, the disciples of the meek and lowly Jesus began to invade the land.

Then follow the devoted and heroic labours of the saintly Xavier. He was a man of princely extraction, of royal bearing, of Christian devotion and self-denial. He wrought, according to his light, with supreme loyalty to his Lord and with a divine passion for souls in South India. Many thousands of the poor fishermen on the coast was he permitted to baptize into the Christian faith. It is much to be regretted that, like nearly all subsequent Romish missionaries, he gave himself, all but exclusively, to the ceremonial salvation, rather than to the ethical transformation and the spiritual regeneration, of the people. It has always been a much easier thing, in [pg 167] India, to gather the people for the reception of the mystical ordinances of our faith than it has been to prepare them, by patient teaching and guidance, to exemplify its precepts by their lives.

After Xavier came the accomplished and wily Jesuit, Robert de Nobilibus—the nephew of Cardinal Bellarmine. A believer in the Jesuitical principle that the end justifies the means, and ardently desiring to bring the Brahmans over to his faith he proclaimed himself, and in every way assumed the rôle of, “the Western Brahman.” He lived scrupulously as a member of that haughty caste and, until recalled by the Pope on account of his deception, wielded much influence over the Brahmanical hierarchy in Madura.

Men of great power and supreme devotion to their faith followed as representatives of that great Church in India. Such names as de Britto, Beschi, the Abbe du Bois are a crown of honour to that community. Many like them spent lives of great self-denial for the cause of Christ and faithfully wrought for the redemption of the people; so that at present the power of the Romish Church and the devoted energy of its leaders are known in every section of the Peninsula. After nearly six centuries of effort its community in India has reached the total of 1,524,000 souls. For a long time, it has not enjoyed much increase in its membership. In many places it finds numerous accessions; but not a few of its people backslide and return to their ancestral faith. The marked defects of Romanism in that land have been its concessions to, and compromise with, the religion of the land both on the side of idolatrous worship and of caste observance. I have discussed the subject [pg 168] with Indian Roman Catholics in the villages and find that to them the worship of saints, through their many obtrusive images, is practically the same as the idolatry of the Hindus—the only marked difference being in the greater size of the Romish images! In like manner the Jesuit has adopted and incorporated into his religion, for the people of that land, the Hindu caste system with all its hideous unchristian divisions. All this makes the bridge which separates Hinduism from Roman Catholic Christianity a very narrow one; and it reduces to a minimum the process of “conversion” from the former faith to the latter. But an easy path from Hinduism to Christianity means an equally facile way of return to the ancestral faith. If the Hindu has little to surrender in becoming a Christian, neither has such a Christian any serious obstacle to prevent his return to Hindu gods and ceremonies when it suits his convenience to do so. Hence it is that the new accessions to Romanism hardly exceed the number of those who leave it in order to resume their allegiance to the faith of their fathers.

3. Protestant missionary effort began late. In India it was introduced with the Dutch conquest in the early part of the seventeenth century. But the proselytizing methods of the Dutch in those days savoured too much of the Romish inquisition under the Portuguese. When the pressure of religious compulsion by the civil government was removed, consequent upon the English conquest in Ceylon and India, the people apostatized in a body.

(a) It was not until the truly Christian King, Frederick IV. of Denmark, took, himself, a religious [pg 169] interest in that land at the beginning of the eighteenth century, and sent, at his own expense, the first two Protestant missionaries to Tranquebar on the east coast, that really consistent Protestant effort for the redemption of India began.

Zeigenbalg and Plutschau, the two pioneers who were sent to Tranquebar, arrived in 1706. They inaugurated the great work of Protestant Christianity for the spiritual regeneration of India, and will always find an honoured place among the heroes of the cross.

Zeigenbalg was a man of great piety and of intellectual resources. He died in 1719 after a most successful service of unremitting toil. He gathered hundreds of converts into the Christian fold, established schools and erected a beautiful church edifice which stands today as the oldest Protestant Mission Church in the East. Above all, he felt that an open Bible in the vernacular was essential to the conversion of India; and he therefore gave himself to the translation of God's Word. He was not able to complete this work; it did not issue from the press until 1725. This Tamil version of the Bible was the first translation of God's Word in India and in all the East; and it stands today as a monument to his intelligent labours and to those of his worthy successor, Schultze. It also represents the beginning of a new era of missionary effort in the country. The Roman Catholics, during all their stay in that land have done nothing towards giving to the people the Bible in their native tongue. It was not until the year 1857 that, stirred by Protestant example, they published their first and only translation of any portion of God's Word in any [pg 170] of the South India vernaculars—that of the Tamil Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles.

Schultze spent fifteen years in Madras and left a congregation of 700 persons there. From Tranquebar, as a centre, missionary effort spread extensively throughout the Madras Presidency. This was done through German missionaries supported mainly by English funds furnished by the Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge.

Perhaps the most commanding figure connected with that work and century was Frederick Schwartz, the missionary statesman and apostle who arrived in India in 1750. His efforts extended throughout the Kingdom of Tanjore and even to the Madura and Tinnevelly districts. Through all these regions his power was felt and, in company with a few other worthy souls, he laboured with distinguished faith, wisdom and heroism. The Protestant Native Church which has so flourished in Tinnevelly and Madura found its origin and first success under his guidance. He spent forty-eight years in unremitting effort, influenced powerfully all missionaries who came in contact with him, and passed on to his reward in 1798.

Thus, before the close of the last century, at least 50,000 Tamilians had been baptized in connection with this Protestant effort. When we bear in mind the fewness of the agents, and the very limited tract of country which they occupied, it is a matter of considerable astonishment that so many converts were every year baptized in the various missions. In Tranquebar alone, in nineteen years, there were 19,340 persons baptized; and during the century, the [pg 171] entire number of converts was nearly, if not quite, double this amount. In Madras, as many as 4,000 natives were received into the Christian church. The Cuddalore Mission, notwithstanding its great troubles, yielded between 1,000 and 2,000 converts; the Trichinopoly Mission, more than 2,000; the Tanjore Mission, about 1,500; and the mission established at Palamcottah in Tinnevelly in 1785, also a few.

It is impossible to know exactly the number of the native Protestant Christian churches and congregations existing at the beginning of the last century, or the number of the Christian community in the Presidency.

Probably only a few thousand remained to await the dawn of the new century.

From Madras, down South as far as Palamcottah, infant Christian communities existed. But they did not largely flourish until new missionary societies were organized and a larger force of missionary workers were sent to strengthen and push forward the work established.

And it is very unfortunate that, with much good, not a little evil was found among these few Christians whom the eighteenth century bestowed upon the nineteenth. Mr. Sherring truly says,—“That many of the converts were sincere and genuine, we cannot doubt. Yet it is certain that the permission to retain their caste customs and prejudices throws considerable suspicion on the spiritual work accomplished among them. The Danish and German missionaries soon perceived the formidable influence of caste as an opponent of the Gospel, unless they were ready, like the Roman Catholics, to enlist it on their [pg 172] side, by permitting it to be retained in the Christian churches established by them. They chose to make caste a friend rather than an enemy. In doing this, however, while they made their path easier, they sacrificed their principles. They admitted an element into their midst which acted on the Christian community like poison.” And this poison is still exercising a potent influence upon a no small portion of the Protestant Native Church in South India. A bad beginning in this respect has facilitated an evil continuance.

The closing years of the eighteenth century carry our interest to North India and are notable as the beginning of the organized missionary effort of the English people for the redemption of India.

(b) The Anglo-Saxons seem to have been the last among Christian peoples to awake from the lethargy of a self-centred, self-seeking Christianity, and to enter upon the great missionary campaign for the conquest of the world for Christ. It is true that the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel received its first charter in 1701. But for more than a century of its history it did not concern itself about carrying the Gospel to the heathen races. It seems strange that, up to that time, both the Protestant clergy and laymen of Great Britain and America felt little or none of that sense of obligation for the conversion of the non-Christian world to Christ which has now become so universal a conviction and a passion among them.

American Church In Southern India.
American Church In Southern India.

In the work of rousing the English to this grand world-wide enterprise William Carey acquired well-earned distinction. Though of humble origin and wanting in early training, his spiritual vision and [pg 173] contagious enthusiasm made him a leader of power. Thus, God chose a cobbler youth to lead the Christian hosts of England out of the bondage of narrow religious sympathies into a world-wide conquest of souls for Christ. Carey's efforts in England were unremitting, and the contagion of his burning altruism spread everywhere notwithstanding much opposition and contempt met from a certain class.

His early efforts at home were supplemented by a missionary life in India so remarkable in its self-denying devotion, so characterized by distinguished ability and linguistic genius, and so notable in wisdom and persistence under the greatest difficulties that his name will ever stand preëminent in all the annals of missionary effort.

But it was very sad that, while Christian England was waking out of her lethargy to her spiritual opportunities and duties in India, commercial England threw herself across the path and denied the right of Christian service for the Christless people of that land.

Carey found no welcome or even permission to work in British India. He was compelled to flee from the territory of the East India Company and to find refuge and opportunity for missionary work under the more enlightened and progressive rule of the Danish in Serampore. It was from that place that he directed his missionary effort in India and found the long-sought opportunity to serve his Master in that heathen land. It was there that, in company with his worthy associates, Marshman and Ward, he built up a Christian community and translated and published the Word of God into many [pg 174] oriental tongues. The success and achievements of Carey would be regarded as phenomenal in the case of any missionary. But when it is remembered that he was compelled to support himself and his mission, in considerable part, through his income in secular pursuits; when it is also known that his wife was, for many years, a wreck, mentally, and therefore a source of great care and anxiety to him, how wonderful must have been his faith, his persistence, his intellectual endowments and his love for the people of India to have led him to accomplish so much for the cause of Christ in that great land!

Carey's life and example wrought wonders in its influence upon others of his countrymen. Among a noble band of followers is found the devout and pious enthusiast Henry Martyn who, during his too brief career as a chaplain in India, found time to commend his Master and His Faith to many in that land of darkness and death. Martyn was a worthy example of what a consecrated chaplain can do for the Christian cause, beyond the strict performance of his priestly functions—an example which was perhaps never more needed in India than at present when so wide a gulf is found between the ordinary chaplain and the missionary.

As a result of this missionary revival there also came into existence not a few hopeful, vigorous missionary societies. First among them was the London Missionary Society which entered, in 1795, upon its grand career of world-wide endeavour. After that, was organized (in 1799) the Church Missionary Society. Both of these organizations, at the opening of the new century, began to put forth their [pg 175] best energies for the salvation of India. Then a host of other lesser, but equally determined, agencies followed in their train and made India their special field of activity.

In addition to distinctively English societies there were organized, also, separate Scotch, Irish and Welsh movements for work in the land—each nation vying with every other in the work of upbuilding there the Kingdom of Christ.

Among the British societies the Church Missionary Society, the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, and the London Missionary Society have done most extensive service and have been markedly blessed with growing communities and effective organizations for work among the people.

Each nationality also represents a separate type of life and activity. The English missions, for instance, are strong in their wise organization and effective administration. The Scotch, on the other hand, have a genius for thoroughness in everything, especially in educational work. The names of the greatest missionary educators of India are, almost without exception, Scotch. They have dug deep foundations and have aimed, by means of their splendid schools, to excel in the work of directing the thought of, and imparting a new philosophy to, the rising generation of Indians. If their results have not been statistically impressive, so far as converts are concerned, they have had preëminence in the task of transforming the thought and of leavening the institutions of the land. For instance, Alexander Duff—the father of the higher educational work of missions, a man mighty in thought and kindled with a sublime faith and a [pg 176] Christian enthusiasm—did not number many converts as the result of his college training of the young. But every convert under him counted for something in the Christian Church. It is said that, of the forty-eight educated men who were won to Christ through his mission in 1871, nine were ministers, ten were catechists, seventeen were professors and high-grade teachers, eight, government servants of the higher grade, and four, assistant surgeons and doctors. Similar to the work of Dr. Duff in Calcutta was the work of Dr. Wilson in Bombay and is the effort of Dr. Miller, at present, in Madras. Mission results must be weighed as well as measured.

As a contrast to this thought-directing and leavening work of the Scottish Churches may be placed the work of the Salvation Army in India. This unique organization invaded that great land nearly a quarter of a century ago. Believing that existing missionary organizations and methods of work were too dignified, staid and inadequate for best results, the leaders of this movement introduced its cyclone methods and proposed to take India by storm. They began by insisting upon all their European officers conforming to native custom, in clothing and diet. Their appeal was simple even if their work was narrow and noisy. It was a call upon all to immediate repentance and to a belief upon the Lord, Christ, for salvation. They ignored the Sacraments of the Church and, for a while, even emulated the Hindus by daubing their religious emblems upon their foreheads.

But their appeal fell flat upon a people who had no Christian heritage or training; and their genuine forms of self-denial and methods of adaptation, instead [pg 177] of producing popular admiration and attachment, soon produced pity and even contempt. If the officers were men of spiritual ardour and were kindled with a passion for the salvation of India, they were also, on the whole, untrained and uncultured. They not only disobeyed their Lord in neglecting the Sacraments, they did not and could not understand the people and their religion. By ignoring all sanitary rules many of them vainly sacrificed their lives to the Cause.

Considering the money expended, the precious lives sacrificed and the efforts exhausted during this quarter of a century the results achieved by this organization have been painfully, though not unexpectedly, small. It clearly illustrates and emphasizes the fact that India is not to be won for Christ by a campaign of ignorance and noise, however largely it may be enforced by altruistic fervour. And it should not be forgotten that the army officers have not scrupled to enter territory already occupied by Christian missions, to cause unspeakable annoyance to workers on the field, and to fill up more than half the ranks of their “soldiers” with people who already claimed allegiance to Christ in connection with well-established missions.

(c) Australia has recently fallen into the ranks of those who carry the Gospel to India. One Faith Mission in Western India is almost entirely conducted by men and women of that country. A Baptist Mission also is maintained by them there. And not a few of the strong members of British missions are Australians; these, with their work, are supported by the churches which sent them forth.

[pg 178]

(d) Protestant Europe has not been conspicuous for its missionary effort. And yet India owes a large debt to the Christians of the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Sweden for their effort to present to them the message of life. As we have seen, the Dutch, upon their first conquest in the East, sought to introduce their faith among the people. The first Protestant missionaries who gave their life for India were Danes. They were supported by the private resources of their own king. In early times Danish settlements in India were the refuge of Gospel messengers to that land. They protected them against the unchristian narrowness and persecution of the East India Company. The Danish settlement of Serampore gave the only opportunity to Carey and his associates for a home and for missionary work.

The Bible was the first time translated into an Indian vernacular (Tamil) by our Continental brethren, and the first vernacular Christian books were printed in Germany.

At the present time they are giving themselves more fully than ever before to the work of India's redemption. There are eight Continental Missions conducted there, some of which have achieved considerable success. The Leipzig Evangelical Lutheran Mission has fallen heir to the first Danish mission established at Tranquebar. It has at present a strong force of workers, and they are scattered through several Districts in South India, are doing solid and substantial work and have gathered a numerous Christian community.

Perhaps the most successful of these European missions is the Basil German Evangelical Mission, [pg 179] which is established upon the southwestern coast. It is well organized, has a thorough educational system and is embued with a strong evangelistic spirit. Connected with this mission is an extensive and prosperous Industrial Mission. With the German spirit of thoroughness they have developed, more largely than any other mission in India, the industrial department, until it is now well established and fully self-supporting.

All these European missions are systematic and painstaking in the work which they are carrying forward. In some respects this gives them well-earned distinction. But, on the other hand, they labour under a serious disability in having to acquire the English as well as the vernacular of the people after arriving in the land. They are also extremely conservative, not to say antiquated, in their methods; and they have not, in most cases, learned to hate and antagonize, as they should, the terrible caste system of the country.

(e) The American participation in the Christian conquest of India began early. It was the perusal of the Life of David Brainerd, the American missionary saint, which kindled the missionary zeal of William Carey in England. On the other hand, the Life of Carey had no small influence, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, in giving irresistible impulse and definiteness of purpose to that noble band of American missionary pioneers—Mills and Nott, Newell and Judson. And their consecrated enthusiasm and purpose to labour for the conversion of the heathen nations, in its turn, led, in 1810, to the founding of the first foreign missionary society in the United States—the [pg 180] American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.

The first field chosen by this society for its activity was India. It represented to them both the greatest need and the best opportunity for Christian work.

Thus the first organized attempt of the Christian Church of America to reach and to redeem the heathen world was directed towards the land of the Vedas. And the first band of missionaries which that, now venerable, Board sent forth into the harvest went, with eager anticipation and earnest prayer, to that ancient and benighted people.

But how great must have been their disappointment and sorrow, upon their arrival, to be refused permission by the Honourable East India Company to land in Calcutta. With sad hearts they turned their faces towards Bombay, hoping that God would open the way to their entering upon missionary service there. This again was denied them and they fled to Cochin, but were seized and brought back to Bombay to await the arrival of an American ship to convey them home. It was just then that their prayer was answered and the Lord of Hosts came to their succour and opened wide the door of that land to the missionary labourer. A new charter was granted by the British Parliament to the East India Company. In that, insistence was made that the Christian missionary be permitted to prosecute his work for the heathen of that land unmolested. This charter was granted in 1813, while the Americans were still held in durance in Bombay.

It was the Magna Charta of missions for India; and from that time until this the Christian missionary has [pg 181] found permission to preach his message in that land. He has also enjoyed there ample protection in the exercise of all his religious duties and work as a messenger of Christ. By this charter missions received State sanction to obey heaven's command, and missionaries of all lands came to enjoy, on British territory in the East, the undisputed right to carry the gospel of our Lord to heathen people.

The impatient little band of missionaries were therefore released at Bombay; and from that day until this America has found joy in her effort to convey her spiritual blessings to that land. Adoniram Judson, having become a Baptist, was directed by Carey to Burma where he laboured for many years with apostolic zeal and with distinguished success. The nearly 150,000 native Christians of Burma today owe their conversion largely to Judson's wise initiative, resistless energy, grand Christian faith and inspiring example.

Mills, who was the leader in the early band of students whose zeal led to the organization of the American Board, found his field of service on the West coast of Africa, whence also he was early called to his heavenly reward.

The saintly Harriet Newell, wife of another member of this distinguished company, died on the Isle of France, and her sorrowing husband returned to Bombay and rejoined his brethren Hall and Nott. These three, therefore, were the founders of this first American Mission in India—now called the American Mahratta Mission. Bombay, Ahmednaggar and Sholapur are its principal centres of work; and it covers a field whose population is between three and [pg 182] four millions. It has had distinguished success and has gathered the largest native community among the Protestant missions of Western India.

In 1834 the same society established its South India Mission at Madura. This was an offshoot from the Jaffna Mission which was founded in 1815 in that northern corner of Ceylon. The Madura Mission has prospered, has 18,000 in its Christian community, and is regarded as one of the best organized missions in the country.

In 1834 the American Presbyterians, while yet connected with the American Board, established in the Northwest their large and successful mission. Its centres of work are Lahore, Lodiana, Futtegarh, Dera-Dun and Allahabad. This mission has done excellent work and has attained high eminence among the missions of North India, both for its educational work, its leavening influence and for its evangelistic zeal. A number of its missionaries suffered martyrdom during the terrible Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. It was from that mission that the first call to universal prayer for the conversion of the world was sent forth. And thus was founded the Week of Prayer which now finds such general observance among Protestant Christians.

College Hall Of The Madura Mission.
College Hall Of The Madura Mission.

In 1836 the Baptists established for Telugu people, on the southeastern coast, the famous “Lone Star Mission.” It has had such phenomenal success that, though established only in 1840 in a purely heathen field, and notwithstanding the fact that the first twenty-five years of its efforts were barren of outward results, it is to-day by far the largest mission in India, having 53,790 communicants and a community [pg 183] of 200,000. Its chief centres of work are Ongole and Nellore.

The Rev. Samuel Day was sent out by the society in 1835 to Chicacole, but in 1837 removed to Madras. After three years' labour there he resolved to establish a mission among the Telugu people, and so removed to Nellore and commenced work there in March, 1840. The unproductiveness of the work in the early history was such that the abandonment of the mission was several times under consideration. But in 1866 prosperity dawned. Later followed the great accessions which have, up to the present, continued in greater or less degree and which have been on a larger scale than in any other field in South India. “The history of Christianity, in all ages and countries, shows nothing which surpasses the later years of this mission in spontaneous extension, in rapidity of progress, in genuineness of conversions, in stability of results or in promise for the future.” The church organized with eight members by Dr. Clough at Ongole in 1867 numbers now its thousands. The great famine of 1877 presented a large Christian opportunity which was eagerly seized by Dr. Clough, himself a civil engineer, in the conduct of large famine relief works under government and in the Christian instruction of many thousands who laboured under him. This itself created a wonderful movement which has been marvellously used of God in the conversion of the people. Nearly all of these converts have come from the lowest class of society. But at present the higher classes are beginning to consider the claims of the Gospel. It is natural that the most serious problem and principal concern of [pg 184] this mission has been to keep pace with the movement, and to train suitable agents for the guidance and instruction of the incoming thousands. It has also been largely blessed in this line, as its various and growing institutions testify.

As the Madura Mission was the daughter of the Jaffna Mission so the Madras section of the Madura Mission, in the year 1851, became the mother of a vigorous daughter. For the members of the Scudder family—a family famed in missionary annals—were appointed to the District of Arcot, some seventy miles south of Madras, and there began a work under the American Dutch Reformed Church which has rapidly grown into power and promise.

In the year 1856 the Methodists of America entered upon their great work in that land. With their wonted zeal and evangelistic fervour they carried forward a vigorous campaign in North India. They early found an opening among the outcaste people as the Baptists had found among the same in the South; and they eagerly entered the open door and vigorously prosecuted their endeavours for that class. Their success has been signal. More than 100,000 people have been gathered into their Christian community and an equal number of others are desirous to place themselves under their spiritual care and guidance. They have also entered seriously into the work of training an agency and of educating the densely ignorant members of their community. In addition to their village schools they have a large theological and normal school, besides two colleges, one of which is perhaps the best college for women in Northern India, if not in the East. Their work [pg 185] has now spread to many parts of the land and even to Burma and the Straits settlement. They have also wisely cultivated the press and the publishing department as an important auxiliary in their work. In this department they are perhaps doing more than any other society now at work in India.

The great success of this society in India is largely owing to the wise leadership of that missionary statesman—Bishop Thoburn. I doubt whether many other missionaries, if indeed any other, have wrought more for the redemption of that people than this sturdy American of ample common—and uncommon—sense, of wide vision, of sublime faith and of masterful generalship.

Several divisions of the American Lutheran community have also wrought much for India and are justly proud of their prosperous missions, especially in South India.

In like manner American “Faith Missions,” not a few, have planted the banner of the cross in that land of the trident and are prosecuting their mission and proclaiming their message with singleness of purpose and exemplary zeal. The “Christian Alliance” is the most pretentious organization of this class which does work in that land. Its efforts are chiefly confined to the Bombay Presidency where it has a goodly number of earnest workers.

Organizations for the young—the Y. M. C. A., Y. W. C. A., Y. P. S. C. E., S. V. M.,—while they are not in any sense distinctly American, are nevertheless dominated by the American spirit and methods, and are, to a large extent under the guidance of American youth. These Christian movements are doing royal [pg 186] service for the Kingdom of Christ in that stronghold of error. They bring cheer to the missionaries, youthful inspiration to the churches, a wide opportunity to the young life of the Christian communities and a new pace to all the messengers of Christ in the land. The Y. M. C. A. is also doing an excellent evangelistic work among the educated non-Christian youth of India—a work that is appealing mightily to their deepest spiritual instincts and is impressing them, as nothing else does, with the combined sanity and spirituality, the reasonableness and the saving power of our faith.

I must also allude to that unique American Institution—the Haskell-Barrows lectureship—which has already done no small good to the educated of the land, and has within itself the possibility of largest blessing to the country. It was founded in connection with the University of Chicago; and it appoints and sends to India once every two or three years a distinguished lecturer to present the excellence of our faith in its philosophy and life in such a manner as shall best commend it and appeal to the thoughtful non-Christians of the Orient. Every effort of this kind which shall emphasize to Hindus the harmony of Christian truth and the best thinking of our age and shall reveal to them Christ as the Redeemer and Exemplar of our race and as the only “Name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved,” is to be cordially welcomed among God's best forces for India's redemption. And America is to be congratulated because she is the first to endow and to inaugurate such a helpful agency for the glory of God and the salvation of India's men of culture.

[pg 187]

It is comforting to the American worker in India to be assured that the modern rulers of the land are amply atoning for the unchristian and rude incivility of their predecessors in office ninety years ago. For they not only cordially welcome the Christian worker from the States; they also reveal full appreciation of his labours, render him every protection and are not averse to praising him for his arduous endeavours. Listen to the words of Lord Wenlock, while Governor of Madras,—“Our cousins in America,” he says, “are not, as we are, responsible for the welfare of a very large number of the human race; but seeing our difficulties and knowing how much there is to do, they have not hesitated to put their hands into their pockets to assist us in doing that which is almost impossible for any government to achieve unassisted. They go out themselves, their wives and their sisters; they enter into all parts of the country, they send a very large amount of money and they spend their time and their health in promoting the welfare of those who are in no way connected with them.... In all Districts I find our American cousins joining with us in improving the system of education and in extending it wherever it was wanted. To their efforts we owe a very great deal. It must be recognized that their great object is the advancement of the Christian religion.”

Lord Harris, the Governor, of Bombay, a little more than a decade ago, also said publicly, of the work of the American Board Mission among the Maharattas,—“I do not think I can too prominently say that our gratitude towards this American Mission has [pg 188] been piling up and piling up all the years of this century.”

4. Our record of the efforts of Christian countries in behalf of India were not complete without a reference to the hearty coöperation of Protestant Canada in this work. Several missions have been established there by Canadian Baptists and Presbyterians; and these are flourishing and are adding daily to the number of those who are being saved.

Looking at the whole force of Protestant Christian missions in that land today we are impressed with the magnitude of its organization, work and success. Nearly two and a half million dollars are devoted annually by the Christians of the West to this work of saving this great one of the East. It is a great financial investment, but not to be compared with that of the thousands of choice men and women who go forth and give themselves unto death that they might enable Christ to see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied among the millions of that land.

Comparing present missionary agency and methods in India with those of past ages it may be well to consider the differences and gather therefrom assurance for the coming of the Kingdom of our Lord in the East. These differences are numerous and radical. I need only refer to a few of them:—

(a) The spell of an ecclesiastical, and the glamour of a ceremonial, Christianity is being increasingly substituted by the moral and spiritual characteristics of our faith in that land. The conversion of India is less and less regarded by Christian workers in the land as a change from the ceremonial and ritual of the old, to those of the new, faith. Ever increasing [pg 189] emphasis is given to the fact that to be a Christian is to live the Christ-life and to be loyal to Him in all the ethical and spiritual teachings of the Sermon on the Mount. And these missionary workers care less to touch the life of our converts on the surface and more to grip it at its centre and to transform character. And this is a work which is most enduring in its results.

(b) Christian workers in India are learning mutual sympathy and appreciation in their work. Instead of the old jealousies, suspicions, antipathies and misunderstandings of the past, there is found a developing sense of oneness, of fellowship, of comity, amity and mutual helpfulness among the missionaries of that land. The watchword of to-day is coöperation. The distracting spectacle of a divided Christianity, of hated and mutually hating Christian sects in a heathen land is surely passing away and the dawning of the day of peace and harmony and fellowship in Christian work is upon us. And India will enjoy the wonderful results of this.

(c) The serious mistakes of method and standpoint in missions of former centuries are now avoided. The compromise which they made with Hinduism in caste and in other matters is no longer possible in Protestant missions. We know, as they could not, the irreconcilable antagonism of caste to Christianity.

On the other hand we know Hinduism and other non-Christian faiths better than our fathers did. We are not so anxious to trace all these back to Satanic origin. We are learning the sympathies as well as the antipathies of religions. The translators of God's [pg 190] Word into the vernacular of India two centuries and one century ago largely avoided the use of popular terms because they were popular and the common-vehicles of Hindu thought, which (they said) was of the devil. We see the folly of such an avoidance and the need of using and rehabilitating the religious terminology of the people that we may the more surely come into touch with them, and the more easily convey to them the deepest truths of our faith. Formerly, missionaries declined to use the music of Hinduism because it enriched the temple services and “was of the devil.” Today these same sweet and plaintive songs are wedded to beautiful Christian hymns, prepared by native Christian poets, and are the appropriate and very popular vehicles of the best Christian thought and sentiment to Christian and non-Christian natives alike.

This only illustrates the fact that the Christian message and work are finding greater power over the people because conveyed to them in more intelligible terms. It can come home to them in their common life as it did not formerly.

Village Christian Church, South India.
Village Christian Church, South India.

High And Normal School For Girls, Madura.
High And Normal School For Girls, Madura.

(d) Educational work is increasingly utilized. Formerly missionary effort was mostly the work of the preacher—it was the direct Gospel message and appeal. To this has been added the no less necessary, indeed the deeper, work of transforming the thought of the land and of introducing everywhere a Christian philosophy and a process of thinking which will undermine the old methods and foundations of Hinduism. This Christian education, which is now being imparted in India to nearly half a million youth in our schools, is a leavening power the extent of [pg 191] whose influence no one can compute. And it carries within itself untold possibilities for the conversion of India. By these institutions, Sir William Muir truly tells us, “the country has been inoculated with Christian sentiment.”

Sir Charles U. Atchison declares that, in his judgment, “the value of educational missionary institutions, in the present transition state of Indian opinion, can hardly be overrated. It is more than ever the duty of the Church to go forward in its educational policy.”

In other ways also, medical and industrial, Christian work has broadened out so that it reaches the people at all points and lifts up the Christian community into a self-respecting power which will abide and grow in influence.

In modern missions the Word of God, translated into all the vernaculars of the people, has become the mightiest instrument of progress in Christian life, and the most ubiquitous messenger of Christian truth. The Bible was almost a sealed book to the people of India when William Carey arrived at the close of the eighteenth century. The Roman Catholic and Syrian Christians had done nothing to bring this blessing to the people. The Danish mission, as we have seen, had translated it into the Tamil tongue. And that was all. How wonderful the work of the last century whereby this blessed Word has been translated into every language and many dialects of polyglot India. Among its 300,000,000 inhabitants there are few who cannot find God's own Word translated into their own speech, published and brought to their doors. Can any one realize how great a leverage this [pg 192] is in the work of overturning that land religiously and in bringing Christ into the life of India?

* * * * *

Thus the history of Christian effort in India has not been without its many lessons. And these lessons have brought wisdom and, with that wisdom, confidence and growing efficiency to the Christian forces now at work in the land.

For this reason the progress of the Kingdom of Christ in India will, during the present century, be much more marked and its triumphs more signal than in the past centuries. And for this well-founded assurance we thank God.

[pg 193]

Chapter VII.

The Missionary.

The present missionary force in India represents, according to the “Indian Missionary Directory,” a body of nearly 2,500 men and women who have been sent from Europe, America and Australia to instruct the people in the blessings of our faith. This body is constantly increasing in numbers and is sent forth and maintained by some seventy societies.11 They are a noble band of Christian workers, of no less consecration and faith than those in the past, and of the highest training and broadest culture ever known.

The missionary furnishes to the home churches the chief interest in missionary work and is the link which connects them and the home society with their enterprise abroad.

His work at present is not what it once was in India. In earlier days the missionary had to be a man of all works; every form of missionary endeavour came under his direction. In mission work, as in every other line of effort, specialization has become a feature and a necessity. There must be men of as varied talents and special lines of training as there are departments of missionary work. But every missionary should be preëminently, a man. [pg 194] He should be a man of large calibre. There is much danger lest the church become indifferent to this matter, and send to the mission field inferior men—men who would be unable to stem the tide of competition and attain success at home. If a man is not qualified for success in the home land, there is little chance of his attaining much usefulness upon the mission field. And an inferior class of men sent out to heathen lands to represent, and to conduct the work of, the home church must necessarily react upon the church through want of success, discouragement and defeat in the missionary enterprise. A church whose missionary representatives abroad are wanting in fitness and power cannot long continue to be a strenuous missionary church; it will lack fuel to keep burning the fire of missionary enthusiasm.

And in speaking of the missionary I include the lady missionary. Missionary ladies today are more numerous in India than are the men. More than a thousand single ladies have given themselves to the missionary life and are labouring with conspicuous success in that land. They meet almost the same conditions of life and require the same qualifications for success as their brother missionaries do. Of course, in certain details, they differ; but into such matters I cannot enter at present.

I desire to enumerate the qualifications of a missionary for highest usefulness in India at the present time.

1. Physical Fitness.

Is a man physically qualified to be sent out into missionary work? For an enterprise like this, where [pg 195] a man practically enlists for life, it is of much concern to the Society which appoints him, and of great importance to the work which he is to take up that he be possessed of good health. This is preëminently true in the case of all those who are appointed to India. The climate of India is trying, though it is neither dangerous nor as fruitful in difficulty, as many believe. It is not necessary that a man who is sent out to India be possessed of robust health. Indeed, I have often noticed that the most robust are the most likely to yield, through ill-health, to climatic influences there. This is chiefly owing to the fact that such people are usually careless in all things pertaining to health. They place too much reliance upon their stock of vigour, and ignore, until too late, the insidious influences of the tropical sun. We ask not for a man of great bodily vigour; but he should be possessed of organic soundness. Such a man may stand the climate longer and work with fewer interruptions than his more vigorous brother; simply because he knows that his health is delicate and appreciates the necessity of taking suitable care of himself. On the whole, my experience has led me to two convictions about this matter; the first is that the less robust and more careful missionaries stand well that tropical climate; and in the second place, that to those who do take adequate care of themselves, the climate of India is neither dangerous nor insanitary.

There are, however, certain precautions which missionaries should take in that land in order to insure the proper degree of efficient service. Annual periods of rest at hill “sanitaria” are not only desirable, [pg 196] but are necessary, in order to preserve the health and add to one's usefulness. Many of the best missions in India, at present, not only arrange that their missionaries take this rest, but demand it of them. They have learned by experience that it is a reckless waste of precious power for their missionaries to continue working upon the hot plains until compelled by a break-down to seek rest and restoration. It is much easier, in the tropics, to preserve, than to restore, health. Many a noble service has been cut short, and many a useful career has been spoiled by recklessly continuing work for a few years without rest or change in that land. The youngest and the least organized missions, and consequently those which have not perfected arrangements for the rest and health of their members, are those which have the largest number of break-downs, and which lose most in labour and money on account of the ill health of their missionaries.

Visits to the home land every eight or ten years are also desirable, not only for restoration of physical vigour, but also, for a recementing of domestic and social ties and for a renewed contact with and a new inspiration from the Church of God in the West. Life in all its aspects has a tendency to degenerate in the tropics; and one needs occasional returns to northern climes for the blessings which they alone can give.

Shall the missionary indulge in recreations? Among missionaries themselves this is a much debated question. Some maintain that all forms of recreation are unworthy of a man engaged in this holy calling. I do not agree with them. I have seen many missionaries [pg 197] helped in their work by such recreation. There are some men and women who have no taste for such diversions. To them they may have little value or usefulness. But, to the ordinary missionary who has done a hard day's work an hour's diversion in tennis, badminton or golf has often been a godsend. It has brought relief to the tense nerves and a new lease of life to the organs of the body. In a similar way an interest in carpentry, in geology, photography, or any other set study, brings to the jaded mind a diversion and a new lease of power, and prepares one to go back to his work with fresh pleasure and renewed enthusiasm.

One should carefully avoid entering inordinately into any such recreation. There is danger, and sometimes a serious danger, that such lines of diversion may be carried to an excess, and the mind and heart be thereby robbed of, rather than strengthened for, one's life-work.

2. His Methods of Life.

There are questions of importance which come under this consideration and which are much discussed at the present time. It is asked, for instance, whether a man should go out as a married, or as a single, missionary. A few years ago the American Board showed very decided preference for the married missionary, and hesitated to send, except under special circumstances, bachelors. Missionary societies connected with ritualistic churches, on the other hand, have given preference, almost exclusive preference, to the unmarried missionary. At the present time there is a growing feeling, in all Protestant denominations, [pg 198] that there is a demand, and a specially appropriate field of usefulness, both for the married and the unmarried missionary. The supreme argument in favour of the married man is connected with the home influence which he establishes and which, in itself, is a great blessing to the heathen people among whom he lives. The light and beauty of a Western Christian home is always a mighty testimony, not only to the Gospel, but to the civilization of the West which is a direct product of the Gospel. Through the wife is also conserved the health of the husband who is thereby rendered more efficient. And to his activity is added her equally beneficent one among the women of their charge. The missionary home constitutes a testimony and a power which no mission can be without.

On the other hand, there is a large and an attractive field of usefulness which can best be worked by the unmarried man and woman. There are forms of activity and lines of self-denial which can best be met by those who are not tied down by home life and who are more free to meet the rapidly changing necessities of certain departments of work. It is also true that the unmarried life represents to the Orient that type of self-denial which has always been associated, in their mind, with the highest degree of religious attainment; and it may, for this very reason, be in the line of highest influence upon the people of the land.

So, married and unmarried life have in the mission field today their recognized place, advantage, and sphere of influence. And, working together they will exemplify to the people those forms of religious [pg 199] life and activity which bring highest glory to our cause.

Another question pertains to the missionary's daily life. Shall he conform to the ordinary habits of life practiced by the people among whom he lives? In other words, shall the missionary from the West conform to native customs in food and dress? It is not possible to give a categorical reply to this question. A country should be studied and the ideals of the people thoroughly investigated by the missionary before he decides upon any course of action in this matter. There are countries where such conformity would be desirable and would add considerably to the missionary's influence and success. China is such a country; and many of the missionaries in that land find it to their interest, and to the interest of the work, to adopt the Chinese costume, cue and all. They thus cease to appear foreign and peculiar in a land where to be a foreigner is to be hated, or at least to be unloved and distrusted by the people.

The same thing has been tried in India, not only in clothing, but also to a large extent in food. Many a missionary, feeling how great a barrier his foreign habits created between him and the people, and inspired by a passionate desire to come near to them in order that he might bless them, has divested himself of European clothing, adopted the native costume (at least so far as it was possible for him to do so) and has confined himself to native food. But I have never known of any Western missionary who has continued this method for a long time and declared it a success. One of the most pathetic instances on record is that of the famous Jesuit missionary Abbe [pg 200] Du Bois, who, after a careful study of the situation, donned the yellow garb of the Hindu monk and became practically a Hindu to the Hindus, spending most of his time in travelling from town to town and living strictly, both as regards food, clothing, and general habits, as an ordinary Hindu in order that he might gain close access to the people and thus win many converts to the Roman Catholic Church. For many years, in a distinguished missionary career, he followed this method of life. But was it a success? In his “Life and Letters,” written at the close of his missionary life, he frankly confesses that that method of approach to the people had proved an entire failure; that he had not thereby gained any added influence over them or had become better able to lead them into the Christian fold. He maintains that, so far as this style of living was concerned, he had accomplished absolutely nothing for India. I have known of ardent and able Protestant missionaries also who have tried the same method, with the same result, and have returned to their Western costume and food.

The Salvation Army, at the beginning of its work a few years ago in India, compelled all its officers fully to adopt Indian methods of life. This was enforced, in its rigour, only for a short time; but for a sufficiently long period to reveal its disastrous effects upon the health and life of its European officers. Their system has been considerably modified, but is still unsatisfactory on the score of health and usefulness.

It is now recognized by all that the differences between the natives of tropical India and the inhabitants [pg 201] of northern climes, and between the tropical clime and that of the temperate zone, are so great that we of the Northwest cannot, with wisdom and impunity, adopt the manners of life of that people. There are differences so great, both in clothing and in food, that it would require generations of acclimatization before the change could be wisely adopted in its entirety. It is indeed desirable that the European or American, who goes to live in the tropics, should change somewhat his diet so as to meet the changed requirements of his system there. But, to adopt the native diet is a very different thing, and will be conducive neither to nourishment nor digestion.

There is, however, another question of more importance than this and one which seriously confronted the Abbe Du Bois. What is gained in accessibility to, and power over, the people by adopting these native habits? It should be remembered that Westerners have lived in India so long as to have become perfectly well known to all the people. Moreover, the Western garb and habits of life represent to the Hindu honour, influence, power, and culture. In his heart of hearts the Hindu highly respects, and is always ready to listen to, that man of the West who is true to himself and stands before him for what he is and for what he teaches. The ordinary Hindu is not stupid enough to be deceived as to a man's nationality or true position in life because of his change of clothing or food. Indeed, to nine-tenths of all Hindus, such a change of habits, on the part of a European, would mean nothing else than that he had lost caste among his own people and had descended [pg 202] to a much lower social scale than formerly. It is well to remember in India that the way of access to the people is opened to the Westerner not through such outer changes of life, but through true manifestations of kindness and love to them. They are quick to understand the language of love and would never confound it with outer posings of men who are thereby seeking to win their favour.

The Rev. Geo. Bowen, of Bombay, was perhaps one of the most self-denying of all the missionaries who lived in that land. He reduced the annual expenses of his living to $150.00. It was in this path of self-denial that he sought to find greatest usefulness as a missionary. Of this life he said at one time: “I have not been wholly disappointed, but I have not been successful enough to make me feel like advising any one else to follow my example. And yet I have not so completely failed as to make me regret the course which I have pursued. I have discovered that the gulf which separates the people of this country is not a social one at all; it is simply the great impassable gulf which separates between the religion of Christ and an unbelieving world.”

It may be laid down as a general principle of life in that land that the missionary should adopt that method of life which, while consistent with severe economy, shall best conduce to health and efficiency of service among the people.

And in this connection it should also be stated that there are many things which are perfectly natural and wise and desirable in the line of self help in America which should be unnecessary and unwise in such a land as India. It is a safe rule adopted by the best [pg 203] missionary workers in that land that a European should never do those things which can easily be done by natives in the matter of domestic service. It would be folly for a missionary man or woman to spend much time in household work and in similar duties when there are many people around whose special province that is, and who can do it for one-thirtieth his own wage, and who can thus release him for the more serious and higher duties of life.

Thus, in all these matters, one should consider fully the whole situation—the character of the climate, of the people, and the conditions of the best health and efficiency and greatest usefulness of the missionary worker.

The question as to the length of the missionary's service is an important one. Shall he enter upon it for a definite term or shall he consider it his life work? In most missions and societies the missionary service is considered a life service. It is a service so peculiar in its training and in its direction; it tends in many ways so to lead a man away from the atmosphere of work and direction of activity found at home, that it is better for him, who undertakes it at all, to consecrate himself to it as the great mission of his life. It is also a fact that the longer he continues in it, the more ability and aptness he acquires for that special work.

There are, of course, some who will find that they have mistaken their vocation and that missionary work does not suit them; or, rather, that they are not adapted to it. Such people should make no delay in returning home and in seeking a more congenial life work.

[pg 204]

3. The Intellectual Ability and Educational Training of the Missionary.

Whatever may have been the case in the past, the day certainly has come when India demands only men and women of wide intelligence and thorough training as missionaries. Whether we regard it as a land of profound philosophy, and of a marvellously organized religion; or whether we consider the intellectual power of many of the natives of that land, the missionary must be amply prepared, through educational and intellectual equipment, to meet them. One of the saddest sights seen in India is a missionary who has absolutely no interest in the religious philosophy of the land, and who is not able to appreciate the mutual relations of that faith and his own and who is unequal to the task of discussing intelligently with, and of convincing in, matters of faith, the educated natives of the country. Such a man apparently did not know that he would meet in that land many university graduates who are still believers in, and defenders of, their ancestral faith. So he finds himself unable to stand before such men and to give reason for the faith that is in him so as to satisfy their earnest, intelligent inquiries, or to quiet their keen opposition.

It should also be remembered that, in addition to this growing host of natives of university training and culture, there is a considerable number of Europeans in government service and in other departments. They come into constant touch with the missionary, and gauge his culture and capacity, and are sure to judge of the missionary work according to their estimate of his training and qualification.

[pg 205]

In such a land, and facing such conditions, and in the presence of such people, the missionary should be a man of thorough training and culture, and should have a mind which has ample command of the treasures of knowledge which it has acquired. He should also be able to find interest in various branches of learning. As I said above, he should, in some respects, be a man of special training with definite and high qualifications for the special department upon which he has entered; but he should also be not narrow, but of broad sympathies and of a growing interest in the general realm of culture. He should continue to cultivate his student tastes, and should grow constantly in ability and aptitude to grapple with the mighty problems of the land. He should be able not only to understand the many aspects of Hinduism and of Buddhism, which has entered so largely into the Hindu faith, but he must also know considerable about Mohammedanism, since it is held by one-fifth of the population of that land.

It is well that he be thoroughly grounded in Christian doctrine before he enters upon his missionary duties. I have known men to enter the mission field who had not clear views and definite convictions concerning some of the most essential Christian doctrines; with the consequence that they drifted away from their moorings and had to recast their faith, under adverse circumstances, on the field.

The mission field is no place for a man to readjust his faith and to discover that his religious affiliations are not what they ought to be.

It is not a question whether a man's theology is of the conservative, or of the progressive, type. Both [pg 206] types may be needed. It is largely a question whether he has grasped clearly and with conviction any doctrine—whether he has thought for himself and appropriated any system of truth. Or, I should say, whether any sort of theology has gripped him in its power. Bishop Thoburn has well said that “the young missionary should have a clear and well-grounded theology before going abroad. His views of vital theological truth should be clear and settled. The Christian Church of America cannot afford to export doubts or even religious speculation to foreign fields. The people of India, and I may add of other lands, are abundantly able to provide all the doubts and all the unprofitable speculation that any church will care to contend with; and one important qualification of the missionary should be a positive faith as opposed to doubt, and a clear system of living truth as opposed to profitless speculation.” Above all, the missionary should have a working faith in the gospel—not a half-grounded conviction. There may be a place at home for the unsettled mind; the mission field is not for such. In India, especially, while there is ample room and abundant opportunity and inducement for progress in thought and development in doctrinal construction, there is no place for destructive doubts and mental unsettlement. Positive teaching and not interrogations and destructive doubts should characterize the missionary. Give us a man who knows something and is inspired with convictions. For, it should be remembered, the missionary is preëminently an instructor. He must give himself to the work of establishing others in living, satisfying, saving truth. He is to instruct the people, as a [pg 207] preacher, in the way of salvation. He is also called upon to furnish a working equipment of truth to pastors, preachers and teachers. He should be conversant with the Bible and with the various theories of interpretation. He should be possessed of a clear system of theology and should understand the best methods and principles of Christian work.

For the attaining of all this, the missionary must continue as an earnest student, he must maintain upon the field thorough habits of study. His missionary life, itself, should be to him, not only an interpreter of what he formerly studied, but an incitement to further regular study. Many temptations overtake the missionary to intellectual indolence as well as to intellectual dissipation. He is in danger, under the pressure of other interesting work and distractions, either not to read anything very seriously or to read in a haphazard, desultory way. The latter is specially a dangerous habit on the mission field. The missionary needs not only to cultivate habits of study and to devote certain hours daily, so far as possible, to that habit; he should, preëminently, keep before him some definite aim or ideal towards which all his reading should be directed. If he be specially a preacher, he should conscientiously and thoroughly prepare his sermons as if he were to preach to the most cultured audiences; or, if he instruct his agents, he should make previous, elaborate preparation for the same.

He should take an intelligent interest in, and make a thorough study of, the people, their social and religious customs, their economic conditions, their educational efforts, their history,—these and many other [pg 208] studies will furnish abundant and abounding interest to the thoughtful missionary and will add to his power in his work. In all these respects, no people on earth are more interesting than those of India. And for successful spiritual work among them the missionary needs to study these side issues more than he would, perhaps, among any other people.

He will find it of much help if he is apt at acquiring language. A good and usable knowledge of the vernacular of the people is a most important avenue of access to their mind and heart. The acquiring of a living language is a very different thing from the study of a dead language. A man may be a success in the one and a failure in the other. A good ear is of paramount importance in a first-class facility for acquiring and using a modern vernacular.

I would not say that a man who has not a good command of the vernacular of a people cannot be to them a good missionary; for a few of the best missionaries I know, speak the vernacular wretchedly. But I do emphasize the fact that proficiency here is of prime importance and I would also add that it should be the first work of a missionary after entering his field. To dawdle with the language the first year, is, generally speaking, to fail in acquiring it at all.

Should a young man, who intends to become a missionary, receive a special preparatory training for missionary work? Yes, to a certain extent. I heartily approve of all recent courses established in theological institutions with a view to training their students in missionary principles and literature. And I would that these courses were much enlarged so as to correspond with the relative importance of the missionary [pg 209] work. Beyond all this, I believe that every student, who intends to become a missionary, should spend time during his last year or two as a student in special preparation for his work and field. For instance, it were a great help to him who is to become a missionary in India that he study seriously the Sanskrit language and Hindu philosophy. These two would give him an important start upon his missionary career and, probably, furnish him with initial taste for that larger equipment which is essential to the great missionary. It is of course understood that the modern science of Comparative Religion has already had his attention in the general course of study. Too much emphasis cannot be placed upon the study of this science as an aid to the modern missionary.

I would also urge here the importance of each missionary, so far as his tastes and ability permit, preparing himself for the work of enriching the Christian literature of the field and country of his choice. In India this is becoming a matter, not only of growing, but also of paramount, importance. In the past, missionaries have been too much engrossed with the other departments of work to give themselves to the production of tracts and books. Much more must be done in this line in the future. Every year adds to the need for, and the influence of, a worthy literary effort expressed in the various vernaculars of India. The growing host of readers in the Christian communities and among the non-Christians is a loud cry for missionary consecration to this specific work.

There is not one possession or element of power connected with a thorough education and high culture which will not become available and most useful in [pg 210] that interesting land, and which will not be transmuted into power for the elevation and redemption of that people.

4. Spiritual Qualifications.

It would hardly seem necessary to speak on this subject. It must be everywhere understood that a life of spiritual power is, and must ever remain, the first requisite of the missionary. And yet, I fear that the missionary force of today reveals more serious delinquency at this point than at any other. If missionaries were asked, wherein lies the chief hindrance to their work, I believe they would, all but unanimously, refer to their want of spiritual power. Not that they are more defective in this respect than are the ministers at home. They are a noble band of consecrated men and women. But they greatly need, and bemoan their need of, a growing spiritual endowment, the possession of which would give to them a new joy, and, to the people, an inexhaustible gift of life, and to the missionary work a power hitherto unknown.

A man should not go out as a foreign missionary unless he has a definite call from God to go. It must be laid so strongly upon his heart that he feels the necessity of going forth unto the heathen. There must be a constraining power and a felt conviction within, that in the mission field alone can he find rest and peace and power.

The missionary should be a man of pronounced and positive spirituality—a man who loves the Word of God, who finds meditation in it sweet, and who finds relief, strength and joy in frequent daily prayer. [pg 211] The depressing influences which beset his spiritual life are many. The all-pervasive, chilling influence of heathenism, and its dead and deadening ceremonialism tend to exercise an increasing power over him. He will not, at first, realize this influence; but as an insidious and an ever swelling tide of evil it will come into his soul, unless he is well guarded and daily fortified against it by frequent communion with God. In India the hardening influence of the all-surrounding heathenism is as subtle as it is potent in its influence upon the life of any Christian worker and needs to be overcome by constant spiritual culture.

The life of the European Christians who reside in that country is so far from being Christlike and is so wanting in these spiritual traits which should characterize an earnest Christian, that the missionary constantly has to guard himself against its influence upon himself.

The loneliness of the missionary—his frequent and long-continued absence from those means of grace which so largely minister to the spiritual strength of a pastor in this country—is something deeply felt. Few men realize the extent of the spiritual helps which the Christian society of America renders to the aspiring life of a man of God. In his loneliness, in the far-off land, the missionary feels its absence keenly.

Moreover, all the native Christians of the community of which he is the official head look up to him for inspiration. Is he wanting in faith, hopefulness and cheer; is he depressed and discouraged; is he lacking in the power of prayer and of sweet communion with God? It is marvellous how quickly this frame of mind is transmitted from him to the [pg 212] people of his charge. The pastors, catechists and other mission agents of his field all look to him for their ideal and seek to draw from him their inspiration in spiritual life. Is he down; then they are down with him. In coldness as in spiritual ardour they faithfully reflect his life and temper. It is, indeed, true that many of these live spiritual lives which bring inspiration and spiritual joy to him. The simplicity and earnestness of the faith of most of the native Christians is beautiful. Still, in many respects, he finds the community a heavy spiritual drain upon him; and, if he is to maintain himself as a worthy leader in the higher Christian life, he must live constantly with God and find daily strength in Him.

In India, specially, there are needed a few definite spiritual gifts which I desire to emphasize and which a missionary should aim to cultivate.

The first in order, if not in importance, is patience. To us of the West the Orient seems preëminently slow. To them of the East we of the West rush everything unduly and are the victims of impatience. There is much truth in that homely skit of Kipling's:

“It is bad for the Christian's peace of mind
To hustle the Aryan brown;
For the Christian riles but the Aryan smiles,
And it weareth the Christian down.
“And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased;
And the epitaph drear, a fool lies here
Who tried to hustle the East.”

The ordinary Hindu will endure the white man's impatience, [pg 213] and he and the native Christian will submit to the same weakness on the part of the missionary. But they fail to understand it; and the missionary's power with them is very largely impaired by the manifestation of this evil spirit. Even if impatience were ever, anywhere, a virtue, in India it is always an unmixed evil and should be guarded against. The warning is the more needed because the tropical climate itself is a very bad irritant to the nervous system. Among the Hindus patience is regarded the supreme virtue of God and of man; and it should adorn every missionary who seeks to be their leader.

Humility also is a grace which needs much cultivation by the missionary. He has constant temptation to pride. The sin of masterfulness is naturally his besetting sin; for his influence over his people and his control in the direction of his work gradually grow sweet to him and develop, if he is not very careful, into an imperiousness of will which is neither pleasant to those who come in contact with him, nor consistent with the golden grace of humility, nor in any sense pleasing to God.

Love—that essence of divine character—needs preëminent guarding, encouragement and development on the part of the missionary. There is so much that is unlovely and unlovable all about him, so little to attract and draw out his tender emotions that he needs to drink freely from the fountain of love above; or he will degenerate very easily into a hard, cold, unsympathetic, cynical missionary—a frame of mind which will utterly disqualify him for any joy or power in his work. One of the best missionaries I have known used to pray very frequently—“O Lord, save [pg 214] me from the sin of despising this people.” It is a prayer which every missionary may find it necessary to offer frequently. True Christian love is none the less necessary, yea the more necessary on the mission field, because the missionary lives among people who are not kindred in blood to himself.

Then he needs also a large gift of faith and of hope. The smallness of the Christian Church in the midst of a dense mass of heathenism; the apparent inadequacy of earthly means to convert that great people to Christ; the slowness of progress and the fewness of results—all these tend to depress and discourage the worker. And he needs to offer for himself, as for his people, the prayer which Elisha offered in behalf of the young man,—“O Lord, I pray thee open his eyes that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man and he saw and behold the mountain was full of chariots of fire round about Elisha.”

Spiritual power, in all its forms, is not only greatly needed by the missionary, it is also highly appreciated by the people who are always ready to be led by it. I believe that the people in the East are much more amenable to this influence and much more ready to follow spiritual guidance than are the people of our own land. And this, in itself, is an added reason for deep spirituality in the missionary.

5. The Missionary's Attitude Towards the Non-Christian World.

This attitude is one of considerable importance to the missionary because it furnishes largely the motive of his life work. Before one goes out as a missionary [pg 215] he should acquire some definite and sound views as to the condition of the non-Christians who constitute three-fourths of our race. This means that he must decide as to his missionary motive,—what motive power shall impel him to leave his native land and go to live among a benighted people surrounded by a thousand disadvantages.

Since the organization of our missionary societies—less than a century ago—there has been an important change of emphasis in the matter of missionary motives. The progress, I might almost say revolution, in theology has worked towards this change. The recent discovery of new sciences, and the utilization of the wonderful modern means of communication whereby a new knowledge of non-Christian peoples has been made possible to us, has affected our consideration of the whole problem of missionary work and has especially modified the missionary motive. Dr. W. N. Clark, in his admirable book on Christian Missions, discusses fully this question. “The difference,” he says, “between our conception of man today and that of a century ago is mainly not that something true has fallen out of it, though that may be the fact with many minds: it is rather that immeasurably much that is true has been added to it. Unquestionably our conception of man is still incomplete, unbalanced and incorrect, but it certainly has been altered within the century by the addition of much that must remain in any true conception. Our knowledge must have experienced true and legitimate growth and from our present conception of the human world we can never go back to that which our fathers held when they began [pg 216] the work of modern missions ... our thought concerning our fellow-men contains elements of truth and justice that our fathers knew nothing of. The best Christian feeling towards the heathen world today is far more true, righteous, sympathetic, Christlike, than the feelings of those who were interested in missions an hundred years ago. But the single motive which, standing alone, led to the missionary enterprise has come to be so surrounded by other thoughts and motives as to lose its relative importance, and be less available than it then was as a controlling influence. This is one of the great and significant causes of the crisis in missions.”

It is not necessarily true that the paramount motive of a century ago is no longer believed; but that other motives have grown and reached a commanding influence as a power in the Christian consciousness of today. A Christian missionary has indeed changed his views, for instance, concerning the origin and character of Hinduism. Through modern enlightenment and the study of comparative religion no man can go out as a missionary, even as I was expected to go less than a quarter of a century ago, with a general belief that that great religion is entirely of the devil and is in itself evil and only evil continually. The missionary of today must discriminate, must study appreciation and consider historic facts. He must know that ethnic, and all non-Christian religions, have had their uses, and that some still have their uses in the world. They are the expression of the deepest religious instincts of the human soul. And they have, especially such a faith as Hinduism, not a few elements of truth which a missionary [pg 217] should know no less than he should understand the great evils which enter as a part of them.

The greatest missionary motive of today lies in the last commission of our Lord which emanates from the heart, and reveals the essence of our religion. His command to his disciples to go and disciple the nations stands now as the Supreme Christian Command; and its significance is appreciated and emphasized today as never before. And so long as a Church gives increasing emphasis to this, His greatest commission, it must necessarily be in the path of duty, of privilege, of blessing and of power. Above all other missionary motives this must remain supreme.

And there must go hand in hand with this loyalty to Christ, a deepening loyalty to Christianity and a growing appreciation of its uniqueness in the world. Christianity is not one religion among many; it stands alone as the soul-satisfying and soul-saving faith. The scattered lights of other faiths find here their centre, and all their prophesies find here fulfillment. The need of Christianity, by all men, is supreme. Whatever may be said in favour of other faiths we must say of them that they are, in many respects, perverted and are inadequate as a means of salvation.

And in addition to this the missionary must feel that all non-Christian peoples are in supreme need of Christ, the Saviour. This fact we cannot afford to qualify, without, in very truth, cutting the nerve of missions. When a missionary regards Christ and His mission and message as only an incident in the life and need of our race and ceases to acknowledge that all men need Christ supremely, he had better [pg 218] give up his work; for his missionary motive has lost its foundation and his life work has been robbed of its power.

The missionary is called to go wherever the Macedonian cry of human need and of spiritual helplessness is heard. Our Lord's command was world-embracing in its extent; it was a discipling of all nations; it was a call to be witnesses unto the uttermost parts of the earth.

Shall the missionary go and preach everywhere the gospel of Christ, whether men invite him or not? In view of recent events in China and in other lands some people (and among them are a few well-meaning Christians) question our duty and even our right and privilege to carry the gospel to a people against its will and when it is satisfied with its own faith. They claim that this restraint is demanded by true Christian altruism and by the spirit of Christ. That the day has come when the Christian Church should thoroughly reconsider the best methods of missionary approach to such peoples I readily agree. I also maintain that Protestant missions should everywhere scrupulously avoid all Jesuitical methods and political influences and should always strive to minimize, if not ignore, their political rights and magnify the spiritual side of their work. Under these conditions no people has lent an unwilling ear to the missionary's message, or, for a long time, failed to rejoice in his presence and work. But had missionary societies sent their missionaries only to those people who invited them, or were prepared to give them a cordial welcome, where could they have found work or how achieve the magnificent success of the last [pg 219] century? Imagine the great missionary apostle sending messengers in advance to inquire whether the inhabitants of Lystra and Ephesus, of Thessalonica and Athens were willing to receive him, and turning away his face because, forsooth, they were not prepared to welcome him! The only invitation he did receive was from Macedonia in a vision. The acceptance of the invitation brought to him at once opposition and stripes. Paul said that he knew that bonds awaited him wherever he went. But that did not deter him.

Had our Lord Himself considered the attitude of man towards Himself He would never have come down to men. He came to fling fire upon the earth—to bring not peace but a sword. He was despised and rejected of men. Like Him, missionaries must consider the deep spiritual need and not the desire of a people. Above all, they must be assured everywhere, in their great life work, that they are sent by God rather than invited by men.

6. The Relationship Which the Missionary Sustains to the Missionary Society and the Churches Which Support Him.

The relationship into which a man, who becomes a missionary, enters with the missionary society and the churches is a very precious one, and should be fully realized. In a peculiar sense he has become their adopted child—the subject of their prayer and the object of their pride. They have taken him into their own heart and his support and success are their peculiar concern.

He is the connecting link between them and the [pg 220] work which they support and cherish in the far-off land. Whatever of interest, of joy and of responsibility they possess in that work passes through him. He is to them the channel through which flow their endeavours. He is the living embodiment of their interest in the work as also of their effort to bring the heathen to Christ. And in like manner he has become to them the articulate cry of the heathen world for help. He represents to them at the same time both the progress of the work, its need and the claims of a heathen world upon them. He is their agent to develop and inspire their infant Mission Church. He is also the almoner of their benevolence.

In all these capacities it is well that he remember, constantly, how much he depends for inspiration as for support upon those who have sent him forth to the heathen and who, under God, sustain him and his work. He should cultivate full appreciation of their endeavour; he should keep himself in living, loving touch with both society and churches; and he should deem it his duty and privilege to furnish them with all light and intelligence concerning his work. It is thus that he must strengthen their faith and inspire their hearts in the great and far-off work which they are maintaining. It is his opportunity to add fuel to the ardor and enthusiasm of all the churches in the missionary endeavour. In this he has an important function to perform and should endeavour to magnify his office.

In my opinion the relationship between the missionary and those whom he represents at home might easily be strengthened and improved by added [pg 221] recognition and courtesy to him in the home-land. At present the foreign missionary of the congregational churches is simply regarded as their paid agent. This relationship is indeed a pleasant and a cordial one. The American Board is most appreciative of the labors of its missionary agents and deals with them generously. The churches also give them a cordial welcome and a warm hearing. But the missionary has no status whatever beyond this. He returns for a furlough to the home-land and feels himself, in a peculiar sense, a stranger. He has no official connection whatever with his society; his voice is not heard in its councils; his wisdom and experience are not sought in its deliberations. In other words, though possessed of a large stock of knowledge which might be of value to the Board in the shaping of its policy and in the direction of its work at its annual meetings, he has absolutely no voice or place there and stands apart from its organization, beyond the privilege of being its foreign servant. The missionary body has felt this deprivation and isolation during critical periods in the history of the Board; and it still feels that, at least some of its number should be permitted both to enjoy the honour, and also to render the service incident to being corporate members of the Board.

The situation is no better in his relation to the home churches. He is a member, probably, of some church in the home-land; but, upon his return home he has no status whatever in any Conference or Association, or as a member of a Ministerial body among his home brethren. In his deputation work at home he finds welcome, as a stranger or as an outsider, [pg 222] and not as a member or as an integral part of any body or Association.

The position of the missionary is different among the Methodists. Every minister of that body finds that, by becoming a foreign missionary he does not separate himself from home ties and privileges. His ministerial connection is preserved intact, so that he has a status in the churches and in the missionary society.

7. The Missionary and the Mission To Which He Belongs.

When a man becomes a member of a foreign mission he soon realizes that he has become a part of a compact organization. All its members are bound together by the warmest ties of friendship and love. Largely separated from the world and knit together by common purpose as by all their highest ambitions, they verily become a big family whose love increases as the years multiply, and among whom the spirit of dissension can only create the deepest sorrow and greatest bitterness. It is, therefore, of the utmost importance that every one who becomes a missionary should be a man of peace; should know how to live in harmony with all his brethren. He should cultivate that spirit and should aim to see eye to eye with those who are thus so intimately connected with him. In loving sympathy they should unite in the serious concerns of their life-work. One of the first requisites demanded from a missionary applicant from the American Board is that he be of a peaceable disposition—able to live harmoniously with others. And it is not only a suggestion that should [pg 223] be heeded by every missionary; it is also a rule which should be enforced by every missionary society.

Each mission has behind it a history, and, before it, more or less of an aim and policy. It should be the ambition of every member of that mission to study and honour the one, and to be faithful and loyal to the other. The history of most missions in India is precious and full of instruction. They have sainted heroes and most interesting traditions. The missionary should not only study the records of his own mission and draw from them every possible lesson for his life; he should also enter heartily into the spirit of the mission and endeavour cordially to bring himself en rapport with its highest wisdom, deepest purposes and most cherished schemes for the future. It is not necessary that he be satisfied with all that the mission has done; he should also aim, in the spirit of humility and of patience, to constitutionally influence his brethren to his own new views and better way of thinking, if he have any. Above all, he should aim to conserve rather than to destroy. The blessings of the past should be utilized in attaining higher things for the future. Revolutionary methods are ill-adapted to add blessing to such a work. It should also be the aim of the missionary to so further the work of his mission that it may soon cease to be a necessity. A mission, at best, is but a temporary thing. It should constantly aim to so nourish and strengthen the native church as to make itself unnecessary. And it should be the aim of the missionary to hasten, with all speed, this consummation.

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8. The Relation of the Missionary to the People Among Whom He Lives.

Having entered upon his work and settled among the people of his choice, he must seek to realize the best possible relation to them. This relationship will be a varied one.

He must be a leader of the Christian community. In India, today, there is special need for missionaries who are born leaders. The people of that land are defective in the power of initiative; but they are most tractable and docile. They love to follow a bold and a wise leader of men. And the missionary, from the very necessity of his position, should be able to direct and guide the Christian community into ways of holiness and of Christian activity. He is to be a leader of leaders. He should marshal the mission agents connected with him in such a way as to lead the native Church into highest usefulness and most earnest endeavour for the salvation of souls.

He should be strong as an organizer and administrator. In missions the word organization is becoming the keyword of the situation. There is no danger of over-organization, so long as the organization is endowed with life and does not degenerate into machinery. The best organized activities of today are the most powerful and the most useful. And the missionary will find his highest powers for organization taxed to the utmost in his missionary work. And as an administrator there will be made many claims upon him daily. I know of few qualifications that are more essential to the highest success on the mission field than conspicuous ability to organize and wisdom to administer the affairs of a mission. [pg 225] Missionaries frequently fail at this point and need therefore to strengthen themselves in this particular.

A missionary should be as much the conserver of the good as a destroyer of the evil which he finds among the people. Much of that which he will see in India, for instance, will at first, and perhaps for a long time, seem strange and outlandish to him; but let him not decide that it is therefore evil. The life of the Orient is built on different lines from that of the Occident. Many things in common life, in domestic economy and in social customs will, and must, be different there from what they are here. Their civilization, though different from ours, has a consistency as a whole; and we cannot easily eliminate certain parts and substitute for them those of our own civilization without dislocating the whole. Therefore, it is often safer and better to conserve what seems to us the lesser good of their civilization than to introduce what seems the greater good of our own.

The missionary must be careful to distinguish between those things which are real, and those which are apparent, evils among the customs of the people. There are some customs, such as are connected with the degradation of woman and heathen ceremonies which are fundamentally wrong and must be opposed always. There are others which seem uncouth and unworthy, but which are devoid of moral or religious significance. Of two missionaries, the one who studies to utilize the existing good among the habits of the people will find greatest usefulness. Some waste their time, destroy their influence and minimize their usefulness by a destructive way of attacking [pg 226] everything that is not positively good and beating their head against every wall of custom.

The missionary should be a prophet to rebuke and to condemn evil. He will find numberless evils on all sides of him—in Church, in general society and in individual life among the people. He must not hesitate to use constantly his voice as a protest against all forms of evil. This duty is the more incumbent upon him as there are none among the people to protest and to denounce the most flagrant, demoralizing and universal evils of the land. One of the most discouraging things concerning the situation in India is, not the universality of certain evils, but the utter absence of those who dare to withstand them and denounce them as sins before all the people. Missionaries have done more in that land to rightly characterize certain gross evils and to call the attention of the people to them than have any other people in the land. And they have recognition for this. And this prophetic function of the missionary must be exercised with increasing faithfulness for the good of the land and for the purity of the Church of God.

In that country the missionary must also stand before the people as their exemplar. He must represent, not only Christianity at its best, but also the civilization of the West in its purest and most attractive garb. India has always greatly needed such human types of nobility of character to encourage and stimulate the people to a higher life. With all modesty and due humility the missionary is called upon just as much to live as he is to teach the best that is found in his religion and in the civilization of his mother country. In India, the life of the missionary [pg 227] has spoken more loudly than his words. There are millions in that land today, who, while they deny and reject the teaching of the missionary, give him unstinted praise both for what he is and for what he has done for the country.

The testimony of Sir William Mackworth Young, Lieutenant-Governor of Punjab is only one of many such;—“I take off my hat to the humblest missionary that walks a bazaar in India,” he said, in a recent public address, “because he is leading a higher and a grander life and doing a grander work than any other class of persons who are working in India. If the natives of India have any practical knowledge of what is meant by Christian charity, if they know anything of high, disinterested motives and self-sacrifice, it is mainly from the missionary that they learn it. The strength of our position in India depends more largely upon the good-will of the people than upon the strength and number of our garrisons, and for that good-will we are largely indebted to the kindly, self-sacrificing efforts of the Christian missionary. It is love which must pave the way for the regeneration of India as well as for the consolidation of England's power.”

The missionary must never lose this crown of glory in India. He must hold it most precious and strive to add to the glory which he thus reflects upon his Faith in that land.

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Chapter VIII.

Missionary Organization.

Thorough organization of any work is essential to its highest efficiency. The Missionary Department of the work of the Christian Church should, therefore, be well organized. As missionary effort expands, grows in intensity and increases in power, it must find a growingly efficient organization in order to adequately express itself and to attain further growth.

1. A thorough Missionary Organization at home is the first requisite in order to highest success. Thus only can the missionary work abroad be maintained and fostered; because, by this means only can missionary ardour be kindled in the churches. A Church which is not adequately marshalled for activity in heathen lands will soon become self-centred and will easily forget the claims, if not the very existence, of the heathen.

A Foreign Missionary Society of well organized efficiency has, up to the present, been the best agency in the development and furtherance of the foreign work of every denomination. And the day does not seem near when this agency can be dispensed with.

This missionary society should be in close touch with the denomination or body of Christians which has organized and maintains it. It should be plastic to the touch and will of its constituency and should [pg 229] seek in every way to be at the same time a faithful exponent of the thought and ambition of the churches, and a leader and a source of new inspiration and light to them on missionary problems. This society should scrupulously avoid, on the one hand, the danger of too much independence and of a purpose to shape the missionary policy of the churches; and, on the other, the equally serious evil of dragging, or of declining to move a step without the direct intimation, command or leadership of the churches. There has been a time in the history of the American Board when the one evil constituted its danger; at the present time it would seem as if the other danger seriously threatened it.

It is of much importance that the foreign missionary benevolences of a church should be wisely administered as a whole. When different missionary societies of a denomination appeal, as they do at present, to our churches for funds to support the missionary cause in foreign lands, it is of great importance that moneys received by these different bodies should be appropriated wisely. They should be brought together both for unity of results and for economy of expenditure on the mission field. My observation convinces me that, for want of a wise union or correlation of our missionary agencies at home the various departments of the work (of the Congregationalists, for instance) on the mission field are very unequally supported, and an unwise distribution of the benevolences of the churches follows as a result. A previous, full consideration, by a competent general committee of finance, in America, should be had of the needs of the various departments [pg 230] of each mission and of the distribution of all the funds collected for that mission by the various societies; and they should be carefully distributed in accordance with the urgency of those needs respectively.

These missionary societies should aim to cultivate in the churches the spirit of missions as a Christian principle. Advocates of the missionary cause strongly feel that the interest of the Church in missionary work today is too little based upon the real and fundamental principle of missionary work as a necessity of the life of the Church itself, and too much dependent upon exciting narrative, tearful appeal and poetic romance. The cultivation of the missionary principle and the inculcation of the doctrine of the privilege and beauty of supporting missions, apart from any impassioned appeals or tragic events, is one of the desiderata of the Church today. It is a morbid condition of the mind of the Church which demands exciting narrative and hysterical appeal in order to arouse it to its duty in this matter; and it also tends to create a standard of missionary advocacy which is neither manly nor sufficiently careful to balance well the facts and data of missionary work as it is found upon the field. There is considerable danger of accepting, today, only that form of missionary appeal which is directed to the emotion and which abounds in mental excitement rather than that which furnishes food for sober thought. The consequence is that this advocacy is in danger of becoming a producer of more heat than light—of more emotion than intelligent conviction.

The recent movement towards leading certain [pg 231] churches to take up definite portions of the work in foreign lands and to support, each a missionary for itself, has in it much to commend it to our acceptance. It certainly has the merit of definiteness in purpose, work and prayer; and this brings added interest and a growing sense of responsibility to each church which takes up the work. If a man (or a church) finds his interest in missions waning as a principle of Christian activity the best thing for him, perhaps, is to come into touch with a missionary or a mission agent on the field. By supporting him or a department of work conducted by him, and by being kept frequently informed of the work which he is supporting, new fuel is constantly added to that missionary interest which thereby develops into zeal and enthusiasm. The method has apostolic sanction and partakes of the simplicity of primitive missionary endeavour.

But this method should not be too exclusively pursued. It should not interfere with a broader outlook upon missions and a general sympathy with, and support of, the common work. And all of the work should be done through the missionary society which alone can rightly coördinate and unify the whole work of the particular mission.

Faith Missions, so called, represent a genuine and a worthy spirit among many of God's people today. To them the somewhat lumbering business methods of the large missionary organizations savour too much of worldly prudence and seem subversive of the deepest Christian faith. They maintain that the old method is one that looks too much to men and too little to God for support. And they also claim that [pg 232] the missionary of such a society has little opportunity for the exercise of highest faith in God both for himself and his work. These new missions, therefore, have come into existence practically, if not really, as a protest against modern methods of conducting missionary work. They may do much good if they exercise some restraint upon missionary societies in this matter. Probably it is needed. Many believe that there is an excessive tendency among the directors of missionary societies, at the present day, to consider this great enterprise simply as a business enterprise, and that, in the committee rooms, faith has yielded too much to prudence, and the wings of missionary enterprise have been too much clipped by worldly considerations. How far their reasoning is true, I will not decide. Their claim is not without a basis of truth. The financial embarrassment brings to the Missionary Society today, much more than it used to, discouragement and a halt; with the result that the missions are more than ever before crippled by retrenchment and home churches are resting satisfied with smaller attainments and are forgetting the old watchwords of progress and advance.

“Faith Missions” are created by and meet the needs of a certain class of people in the church whose spiritual life is intense and who crave romance in faith and in life. The missionaries of these societies tire of the great organizations of the church and are usually men who are restless under any stiff method or extensive system in Christian work.

But very few such missionaries meet with permanent success. The glamour of the “faith life,” so called, does not abide with them. Few men have [pg 233] the staying, as well as the supporting, faith of a George Müller; and yet every missionary in this class should be a hero of faith—a man with that special gift and power from God which will maintain itself and go on working under the most adverse circumstances. And this is what the ordinary “faith missionary” does not possess in an exceptional degree.

As a matter of fact, “Faith Missions” are decidedly wasteful of means in the conduct of their work. If, in some ways, they practice more economy, in other matters of greatest importance, there is deplorable wastefulness. For, they are wanting both in continuity and in wise management and sane direction. As history has shown, they also easily degenerate into very prudential methods and sensational forms of advertisement which destroy the very faith which the missions were supposed to express and conserve. There is no less faith—rather is there more—exercised by members of well-organized missions who depend upon God's supply through the regular channel of a society. For they can give themselves entirely to their work of faith and love, confident that God will provide for their wants and the wants of their work; while the “faith missionary” has to devote much time in anxious thought and in skillful and dubious methods of appeal to secure the means of support.

One only needs to look at India today and there study the results of these two classes of missions in order to see which method is the more economical and the more owned of God.

The Missionary Boards should keep in close touch and living communication with the missions which [pg 234] they support. The mission to which I have the honour of belonging has not had the privilege, until the last year, of receiving an official visitation from any member of our Board for nearly forty-five years. That a society should aim, by its officials in one city, to conduct, for so many years, a mission among its antipodes without having one representative among its directors who has gazed upon that land, seen that people or studied on the ground any of its problems, seems remarkable, and wants in that sagacity which usually directs us as a people. By frequent visitations alone can such a society expect to be able to direct wisely and lead successfully its missions. For, it is highly desirable, both in the interests of the mission itself, of the society and of the home churches that at least some of the directors of the society should know personally and well each mission supported through them. At no greater intervals than five years such a visitation should be planned for every mission. I am confident that they would add largely to the efficiency of our missionary work and increase the interest of home churches in their foreign work. But such visiting committees should be willing to learn and should not come out with preconceived ideas of what ought to be done, nor with bottled and labelled remedies for all the ills of the mission. Some missions are sore today because of a visitation many years ago, since it was not conceived in the spirit of highest wisdom and teachableness.

2. The missions themselves also should be well organized for work. The success of a mission will depend, in no small degree, upon the character of its organization. In India, today, there is a great variety [pg 235] of missionary organizations. They range from the almost purely autocratic ones, established by Christians of the European Continent, to the thoroughly democratic and largely autonomous ones of the American Missions. German and Danish Missions are mostly controlled by the home committees of their missionary societies. American Missions have a large degree of autonomy in the conduct of their affairs. British Missions divide equally with their home Society the right and privilege of conducting their affairs. It is certainly not wise that a committee of gentlemen thousands of miles distant from the mission field should autocratically direct and control, even to matters of detail, the affairs of their mission. The missionaries on the ground should not only have the right to express their opinions, but should also have a voice in conducting the affairs of the mission for whose furtherance they have given their life, whose interests they dearly love and whose affairs they are the most competent to understand.

Nor yet should a mission be entirely free from foreign guidance and suggestion. Too much power given to a mission is as really a danger as too little power. It is well for a mission that it should have the aid of men who have large missionary interests under their guidance and who are in full sympathy with home churches. The ideal mission is that which, on the one hand, enjoys a large degree of autonomy in the conduct of its affairs, and yet which, on the other hand, is wisely supported and strengthened by the restraining influence, suggestion and even the occasional initiative of a well-formed home committee.

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The relation of the mission to its own members should always be firm and its authority kindly and wisely exercised. There may arise a serious danger of too much individualism in a mission. A mission which does not have a policy of its own and conduct its whole work in harmony with that policy, and so control the work of each of its members as to make it fully contribute to the realization of its aims, will not attain unto the largest success in its efforts. When each missionary is given absolute independence to develop his own work on his own lines it will soon be found that whatever mission policy there may have been will be crushed out by rampant individualism. And when each man is at liberty to follow his own inclination and to direct his work according to his own sweet will, mission work will have lost its homogeneity. Each section and department of the mission will be changed in direction and method of work upon the arrival of every new missionary; and thus every blessing of continuity in work and of a wholesome mission policy will be lost. I know of missions (American, of course) which suffer seriously on this account. I also know of other missions which are seriously affected by the opposite difficulty. The mission controls its work so completely, even to its last detail, that it leaves to the individual missionary no freedom of action and no power of initiative. The mission, in solemn conclave, decides even the character and quantity of food which must be given each child in a boarding school conducted by one of its missionaries! A control which reaches into such petty details as this, is not only a waste of time to the mission itself; it seriously compromises the dignity, [pg 237] and destroys the sense of responsibility, of the individual missionary. It takes away from him the power of initiative and thus largely diminishes his efficiency.

The ideal mission is that which gives to each of its members some latitude for judgment and direction, but which has a definite policy of its own and sees to it that this policy is, in the main, respected and supported by every one of its missionaries.

It is an interesting fact, in the study of the missions of India, that the American Missions, on the whole, represent the largest degree, both of mission autonomy and of missionary individualism. The farther we pass east from America the more do we see mission autonomy yield to the control of the home society; and the independence of the missionary lost in the absoluteness of mission supervision.

How far shall missions give the power of franchise to their lady members in the conduct of mission affairs? The last few years has seen this question agitated by many missions. They differ largely in this matter. The Madura Mission has settled the problem by giving to the women absolute equality with the men. This, probably, is an ideal solution. But it should be accompanied by a similar movement in the missionary societies at Boston. The position at present is anomalous in that mission; for while it has given to both sexes equal rights of franchise and is therefore a unit in administrative power, the societies at home which support the general, and the woman's parts of the mission activity are entirely separate from and independent of each other. It is not too much to hope that, at an early date, the relations of [pg 238] the home societies may be changed towards unity of action, to correspond with the present situation in the mission field.

The relation of missions contiguous to each other in foreign lands is a subject which is increasingly engaging the thought of all missionaries. In the past, missions of different denominations lived largely isolated from, and absolutely indifferent to, each other's welfare. There was much friction and jealousy, coupled with a readiness to disregard each other's feelings and a willingness to take advantage of each other's weaknesses. I am glad to say that that era is gradually giving way to a time of better feeling, when sympathy and appreciation, fellowship and coöperation are becoming the watchwords. During the last few years marked progress has been seen in India in the line of amity and comity between the Protestant Missions of the land. Recently, a large Conference of Christian Missionaries was convened in Madras representing the thirty-five Protestant Missions of South India. Missions which formerly held aloof from their sister missions and declined to fraternize in any way with them, came on this occasion and heartily joined in the universal good feeling and desire for fellowship among all. Coöperation was the watchword heard in all discussions at that great Conference; and since that day increasing effort has been put forth to bring several of the more nearly related of these missions, not only into coöperation in work, but also into organic unity. For instance the missions of the Free Church of Scotland and of the Dutch Reformed Church of America have met, through their representatives, and have perfected a scheme of ecclesiastical [pg 239] union and of coöperation in work. And already expressions of hearty desire have been made that the missions of the Congregational denominations unite with these Presbyterian Missions in this Scheme of Union. I believe that it will require but a short time for the perfecting of such a union among all these kindred missions. Thus and thus only can we hope to teach to our native Christians the growing oneness of God's people; and thus also do we hope to reduce considerably the expenses of the work in that land. For, by thus uniting our forces, we shall be able to reduce the number of our special institutions for the training of our agency and the development of our work. Nothing can further the cause of economy in mission lands today more than the union of mission institutions now built on denominational lines and expensively conducted in all the missions. I believe in denominationalism. It has its mission in the world and has done much good. But a narrow, selfish, denominationalism on the mission field, and in the presence both of the infant native church and of the inquiring Hindu community, is one of the most serious evils that can befall the cause of Christ in India.

We should all pray for the day when all narrowness in this matter shall yield to the broadest sympathy, love and coöperation. And, perhaps, the best way to answer our prayers in this matter is by furthering the noble cause of Christian union among the denominations and churches here at home.

The old illustration, taken from the rice fields of South India, is apt and instructive. These fields are small and divided by low banks. The banks serve [pg 240] the purpose of separating the fields of different persons, of furnishing water channels and of facilitating the irrigation. When the crops are young and low every field is seen marked out by its banks. But as the crops grow the banks are hidden and we see nothing but one great expense of waving grain ready for the harvest. So, while the useful, denominational banks which have divided us in mission lands are still there we thank God that they are being hidden more, year by year, as the harvest of Christian love and fellowship is approaching.

3. The organic structure of a mission in the early stages of its growth is a very simple thing; as it achieves increasing success the necessities of the situation compel it to add to its efficiency by widening its scope and increasing its functions and multiplying its departments of work. A hundred years ago, or less, as the missionary entered virgin soil and began to cultivate a new mission field, he devoted himself, almost exclusively, to the work of preaching the gospel to the heathen. Presently the gospel message found entrance into the hearts of a few and they were formed into a congregation. At once he began to train this infant congregation and selected one or more of the most promising of its number for special instruction and initiation into the duties of Christian service. He then took this nucleus of a native agency with himself on preaching tours until new accessions to the faith were gained and new congregations established. As the congregations multiplied his work as an evangelist had to give way, in part, to his efforts to train an adequate native agency to guide and nourish the growing [pg 241] Christian community. There was also added to this the pastoral care and superintendence of congregations new and old. Later on he felt the need of schools to train the young of his congregations; he also began to realize the value of educational work for non-Christians as a means of presenting to them the gospel of Christ. Thus a system of schools was gradually established, both for Christians and for non-Christians which not only required his care, but also demanded a force of Christian teachers adequate to this increasing work. So, institutions for the systematic training of teachers and preachers had to be established. Under the influence of these schools intelligence grew apace and was suitably met and satisfied by a developing Christian literature—a literature which met the needs of the Christian and heathen alike.

Moreover as he studied the physical condition of the surrounding people he was appalled by the prevalence of disease and the inadequacy, yea, even the evil, of the system of medical treatment which obtained there; and so his heart was drawn out to the need of making some provision for modern medical aid. As the community continued to grow and the number of young people multiplied, in church and congregation alike, he became impressed with the need of organizations whereby this latent youthful power might be conserved, increased and utilized for the Glory of God.

In this way the primitive missions of the past have actually developed into the powerful organizations of the present. One must study, on the spot, one of the larger missions of India today in order to appreciate [pg 242] what a complicated organism it is. He then will see how it has sent out its ramifications into all departments of life and of Christian activity. It has laid its hands, in organized power, upon every department of Christian work which can be made to contribute to the furtherance of the cause of Christ in that field. In this way have come into existence the following departments, which are represented in more or less fullness in all the missions of India today.

(a) The Evangelistic Department.

This, as we have seen, is the oldest as it is the most fundamental, of all organized missionary activities. And it should retain its prominence in missionary effort. It was preëminently the method of Christ. He was the Heavenly Messenger proclaiming that the Kingdom of God was at hand. He was first of all the great Preacher; “and the people everywhere heard Him gladly.” The missionary of the Cross never feels that he is more directly in the footsteps of his Master than when he is preaching to the unchurched and Christless masses. There is to this work a joy and an exhilaration which are peculiarly its own, even though it is a work fraught with physical weariness. I have felt, in the prosecution of this work, more satisfaction than almost in any other. Not that I regard it as the most successful form of labour. It is not. Even as a direct evangelizing agency, I believe that it must yield precedence in India to school-work. The faithful Christian teacher is now a more successful evangelist in that land than the preacher himself. And yet the [pg 243] preacher reaches and offers light and gracious opportunity to the more benighted and the more neglected members of the community. Without making special choice of any favoured class he sows broadcast the seed, preaches the divine Word, praying that the Lord himself, who also preached to the common people, bestow his richest blessing upon the labour which he has done in his name.

This work of preaching Christ to those who know him not, must be carried on by missionaries and agents. It is usually the custom to expect that every mission agent shall devote some of his time in visiting neighbouring villages and in gathering the people together and in presenting to them, in all simplicity, the message of salvation. Frequently these teachers, catechists and pastors take with them some of the members of their congregations to help them, by song and by the influence of their presence, to present their message effectively to the people; and thus the Christians also receive a most useful training in this elementary part of Christian service.

From time to time special itineracies are conducted by a band of mission agents who will spend a week or more in traversing a whole region, preaching in every village and street as they pass along their journey. These itineracies are conducted in various ways, but are always most helpful in the evangelization of the district.

Some of the best organized missions are adding emphasis to this work by devoting missionaries specially to the conduct of it. These men gather bands of native preachers around them who spend their time and strength in preaching and in disseminating [pg 244] gospel truth in the neglected regions of their fields.

Theological seminaries also give a part of their time to this excellent work. The seminary, with which I am connected, gave, during the year 1900, five weeks to village work. Teachers and students travelled hundreds of miles among the villages of the neglected part of the field and carried the message to more than 50,000 people. This was not only a joyful service, it was also a most helpful experience to the young students while undergoing their theological training.

But, as the native Church, in a mission, grows in numbers and in intelligence, the work of evangelism becomes its special duty. If the Church does not enter, with added joy and power, into this department of its work; and if it does not voluntarily assume, with ever increasing fullness, this form of Christian activity, there is something radically wrong about it. It should be the prayer and purpose of the missionary that every church and congregation established by him become a centre of evangelistic power, whence will radiate divine light and heat into adjacent hamlets and villages. I am glad to say that, so far as my observation goes, the native Church is undertaking this work with increasing zeal and with a growing impulse from within, rather than by pressure from without. In the Madura Mission, through the Home Missionary Society and its auxiliaries, and through the organizations of the native women, at least eighteen men and women are being supported for this especial work of evangelism. And the number of members of churches, who engage voluntarily in this work, is every year growing.

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The character of this preaching is a matter of importance. In India it should be, largely, if not exclusively, constructive rather than destructive. Forces destructive to a belief in Hinduism and its numberless superstitions have multiplied wonderfully in that land during the last fifty years. So that there is no necessity, today, that the Christian preacher spend any of his time in attacking the errors and evils of the ancestral faith of the people. He should give himself to the more agreeable and blessed work of imparting the living truth of the Gospel in all directness and simplicity. The destructive agencies of the civilization, knowledge and religious institutions of the West have accomplished their work and have made straight the pathway of the Gospel Messenger into the mind and heart of the people. Thus, it is not the abuse of the old, but the exposition of the new, faith which should occupy the time of the preacher to Hindus today. It has been my own custom, and I always urge it upon my students, to avoid the temptation of attacking Hinduism, and to preach a simple Gospel of salvation.

(b) Pastoral Work.

The rapidly increasing number of churches and congregations has added much to the pastoral duties of a mission. Formerly missionaries themselves acted as pastors and shepherded the flocks in the villages. Even today some of the German missions have missionary pastors. But this is now exceptional. Missions generally have learned that, for native congregations, native pastors are essential. They not only are better adapted, by nature and by [pg 246] training, to meet the needs of the native Church; they are also the only ones that are within the range of the financial possibilities of self-support. And self-support must be ever held before the church as a high future blessing and duty of the Christian community.

Theological Students With Their Families.
Theological Students With Their Families.

Group Of Madura Pastors.
Group Of Madura Pastors.

And yet the day when the pastoral work can be effectively and satisfactorily done by the natives themselves has hardly arrived. Few native pastors today, and much fewer catechists, are competent, both on the score of character and of independence, to wisely direct the affairs of their people and to efficiently preserve church discipline. This is a sad confession to make; but truth compels me to make it—a truth emphasized more than once by long experience among them. A few years ago a church within my jurisdiction wished to expel a leading member whom it knew to be a godless man. He had become a curse to the community, and nothing but excommunication seemed wise or possible. I visited the church for the purpose of assisting the pastor in the administration of the Lord's Supper and of studying the general condition of the church. And we attempted, congregationally, to discipline this member. The church was asked to vote, in case it thought wise, to excommunicate the man; but not a hand was raised. The matter was further explained to them, and all those who were in favour of his expulsion were requested to raise the hand. Again not a hand was raised! The pastor, thereupon, explained the situation by stating that the people were afraid of the man and dared not vote against him even though he was not present. The pastor was himself equally [pg 247] timid in the situation. Thereupon I asked those of them who desired that I should act in this matter for the church to raise the hand; whereupon every hand of pastor and people was immediately raised; and I fulfilled their wish by excommunicating, in their name, the evil member!

This may or may not be Congregationalism; but it illustrates the fact which I am now dwelling upon, viz.: that for the present, both pastor and people are unequal to the severe duties of church discipline. Every month the missionary is confronted with similar situations which reveal to him the necessity of his presence as a superintending pastor and the urgent need of his wisdom to direct the affairs of the church, his firmness to put an end to many impossible situations, and his inspiration to tone up and give backbone to pastors and other agents connected with him. It should not be forgotten that, while the infant community connected with each mission has many admirable traits of piety and of character, it is still the victim of great weakness in matters of purity, of fellowship and of Christian peace. So that if the Church is to be preserved from many intolerable evils and brought into the noble traits of a Christian character which will impress itself upon the non-Christian community there must be firm guidance, stern repression of evil and wise inspiration to good on the part of the native pastoral force under the bracing influence of missionary guidance. To those who are conversant with the condition of the native Church in India there is a supreme conviction that its greatest danger lies in the irregularity of the life of its members and in its want of firm discipline and the preservation [pg 248] of purity rather than in the fewness of accessions from heathenism. Hence the importance of the work of shepherding Christ's feeble flock in that land. The training of suitable native agents for this work is a duty of paramount importance; and the training must be continued through their life by the presence of the missionary to guide, restrain and inspire.

(c) The Educational Department.

In large, well-organized missions, the educational department is now perhaps the most important and all-pervasive. As a mission grows, this department usually develops more rapidly than any other of its organized activities. This work is divided into three classes:

Schools for Non-Christians.

These are especially established with a view to reaching and affecting the non-Christian community. They have developed wonderfully during the last half-century and hold an important place in the economy of missions. They represent the leaven of Christianity in India. They are preëminently an evangelistic agency. They furnish excellent opportunity to present Christ and His Gospel of salvation to a large host of young people under very favorable circumstances. These institutions are of two classes—primary schools in villages and high schools and colleges at centres of influence and culture.

They have been the object of attack from men of narrow missionary sympathy and of limited horizon. These men claim that money expended on such institutions [pg 249] is a waste of mission funds. But they have failed to recognize the significant fact, which I have already mentioned, that these institutions undoubtedly furnish the best opportunity for missionary evangelistic work. And I fearlessly maintain that more conversions take place, and more accessions are made, through these schools than through any other agency, apart from the Christian Church itself. Not a few of the village primary schools become nuclei to Christian congregations, which flourish and develop into Christian churches. And through the higher institutions some of the best and strongest members of the Christian community have been won from Hinduism. All this, apart from the fact that these institutions perform an unspeakably important function in the dissemination of light throughout the whole Hindu community and in the leavening of the whole mass of Hindu thought and institutions. The good done by this class of institutions is beyond computation in that land.

Schools for Christian Children.

It is the worthy ambition of every mission and missionary to train the children of the Christians so that they may rise, not only in intelligence, but also in social life and position. Under this class of schools the native Christian community is being rapidly developed and educated, so that it is already in advance of any other community in general literacy.

Among these schools for Christians are industrial institutions for the training of boys and girls in manual labour. At the present time there seems to be [pg 250] a growing tendency to magnify this department of work. These schools are given to training in carpentry, blacksmithing, weaving, brass-work, rattan-work, etc. The Germans have entered more fully into this effort than any other missions in India. But they are not loud in its praise as a department of mission work. It certainly has both merits and demerits which we shall consider later.

During the last decade a few missionaries have launched out upon a new enterprise in the shape of Peasant Settlements. One object of these is to train the poor and improvident members of the community, especially the socially submerged classes, to habits of thrift, economy and independence. It is also conducted as a philanthropy for the purpose of raising the people socially and industrially through new methods and forms of agriculture. This movement is still in its infancy.

Training Institutions for Mission Agents.

It is the duty of every mission to train for itself an efficient class of men and women who shall conduct all the departments of missionary work and gradually relieve the missionary of many of his duties. These schools are of many kinds corresponding with the various classes of agencies required.

This may be illustrated by the institutions now found in the Madura Mission. Nearly every one of the twelve out-stations of that mission has a boarding school for Christian boys and girls. The best students who graduate from these schools, especially those who are deemed worthy to become future candidates for mission service, go to Pasumalai and to [pg 251] Madura for further, and professional, training. At Pasumalai young men may pass through the High School and even the college department. They are then placed in the normal department, to qualify them as teachers, or in the Theological Seminary, to prepare them as preachers and pastors. So, also, girls are placed in the Madura Girls' High and Training School and are there qualified for one of three grades of teachership. Or they may be placed in the Bible Woman's Training School where they receive a two-years' course of training for work as Bible women.

The only class of agents which is not trained by the Madura Mission is that of medical assistants. I trust that the mission's desire for funds to establish this work also may be gratified and that thus we may have the means of training suitable agents for every department of our missionary work. No mission can be complete unless it has some means of furnishing itself with an efficient agency to conduct all departments of its activity.

The only danger connected with the excellent educational department of work is, lest it should outgrow and overshadow all other departments. This danger is at present manifesting itself in some missions. It is an attractive form of work which allures the missionary; and, for several reasons, he yields to the temptation of emphasizing it out of proportion to its relative value and gives more time and money to it than a wise place in mission economy demands. The ideal arrangement for a mission would seem to be to keep well in front its evangelistic and pastoral endeavour, and to utilize all forms of educational work with a view to strengthening and furthering these. [pg 252] It is true that certain missions, like certain individuals, have a special genius or talent of their own; and their highest success will depend upon their following that bent. For instance, the Free Church of Scotland, in South India, has shown eminent ability and taste in the work of education. It has met with distinguished success in that line of effort, and its college for boys and high schools for girls in Madras bear testimony to its eminent success in this department. In evangelistic work it has thus far neither shown much interest nor large aptitude. The Wesleyan Methodists, on the other hand, are born evangelists and find their chief success as preachers of the gospel. Each mission should not only consider its field and its claims and needs, it should also study its own corporate gift and bent and then strive to develop its work mainly upon those lines which are most congenial to it.

(d) Literary Work.

The creation and circulation of a healthy Christian literature has always been recognized by our missions as a work of paramount importance. While not many missionaries have devoted themselves exclusively to this work, yet not a little has been accomplished in it by the missions. If not much that is original and brilliant has issued from the missionary pen; and if it stands sadly true that too few have seriously undertaken this work; it is nevertheless a cause of thanksgiving that Christian truth has been extensively expounded and defended by them, and that they have sent forth from the press a continual stream of blessing to all the people.

[pg 253]

In India, three strong societies aid the missions by engaging directly in the production and dissemination of Christian literature. These are the Bible Society, the Tract Society and the Christian Literature Society. These institutions have spent large sums of money in the translation, revision and circulation of the Holy Scriptures and in the furnishing of fresh, readable and informing tracts and books in explanation, illustration and defense of Christianity. The far-reaching results of the work of these societies no one can adequately estimate. The need of this department of work is not only great, it is growing annually. Missions feel this keenly and are unwilling to depend entirely upon the above mentioned societies. Each mission of any importance has one, or more, printing establishments with which it can prepare and issue tracts and books of its own, and whereby it may present special truths and teachings which seem to it urgently needed by its people. Through these presses the missions publish also 147 newspapers and magazines for the special use of the Christian people and others. In this way forty-one printing establishments, employing no fewer than 2,000 men, are utilized by the Protestant missions of India in the production of healthy literature for the furtherance of the cause of Christ in that land.

In this department two special classes are kept in view. The growing Christian community must be provided with suitable books in the vernaculars. Books devotional for the mass of Christians, and text-books for the students in our professional schools, and helpful books of instruction for the large body of Christian agents are needed. All these [pg 254] make an increasing demand upon the literary fertility of writers and authors on the mission field.

There is also a growing demand, and an urgent need, for good books adapted to the non-Christian community—such tracts and books as can present to them, in an attractive and convincing way, the special truths and the supreme excellence of our faith. The number is annually increasing, both among native Christians and in the non-Christian community, of those who can read and whose taste for books is growing.

This method of approach to the mind of the people has peculiar advantages of its own. The prejudices connected with Christian instruction, as it proceeds directly from the lips of the teacher or preacher, does not exist in connection with tracts and books. These printed messengers of truth and salvation quietly and effectively do their work in the silent hours of the night and in the secret recesses of the woods or of the solitary chamber. And this message is the more effective because it may be read and pondered more than once, until its truth grips the soul in convicting and saving power.

The power of the printed page, as a Christian messenger in India, is second to none at present; and its influence will multiply mightily as the years increase. Missions and individual missionaries should enter more fully into this work; none needs increasing emphasis more than this; and none has larger hopes of preëminence in the great work of India's redemption. Missionary societies also should devote more men, than in the past, to the creation of a strong Christian literature.

[pg 255]

And even where missions are too weak to publish anything of their own and are unable to write books or tracts; there is a wide field of usefulness open to them in a thoroughly systematic and energetic work of distributing the existing literature produced by the great societies. In some missions this work of circulating Scriptures and Christian books has been reduced almost to a science and has become an exceedingly efficient help to the cause in those districts. Other missions have yet to learn the importance and blessing of this activity.

(e) Medical Work.

This department of missionary effort has a wide sphere of usefulness. Though not so urgently necessary now as in former times in India, owing to the ubiquitous and efficient Government Medical Department, it is nevertheless popular and very useful. This is specially so when the whole work and its agency are brought into full subjection to the Christian, as distinct from the purely humanitarian, motive. No other department is more capable of being utilized as an evangelizing agency; and in many missions its influence is thus widely felt. Everywhere its aid to other departments of mission work is much appreciated through its ability to gain friends for our cause among those who would otherwise be inimical; and in preparing the hearts of many to receive spiritual help from the Great Physician. No fewer than forty hospitals, besides many dispensaries, are conducted by Protestant missions in India today. Many of the medical missionaries give their whole time to this work; others conduct the medical as only one of the [pg 256] departments of their missionary activity. To each method there are advantages and disadvantages; though, perhaps, the medical missionary finds greatest usefulness when he gives himself entirely to his profession as physician. But, in that case, he needs tenfold caution lest the distinctively missionary idea of his life-work should be subjected to, or lost in, the professional and the humanitarian spirit.

Medical work for women and children finds in India today perhaps its most urgent call. There is more need and suffering among them than among men.

(f) Work for Women.

From the first, missions have not neglected woman. She has been their care, and her conversion and elevation their ambition. But, in recent times, much has been added to this. Not only have separate and definite forms of work been opened for women; organized work by women in their behalf has suddenly taken high rank and attained considerable popularity among Christian peoples. Under Women's Missionary Societies fully 1,000 ladies have come to India and are giving themselves exclusively to work for their Indian sisters. All forms of effort are undertaken in their behalf. Assisted by an army of thousands of native Bible women, Zenana workers and mistresses, these ladies perform their noble service. Hindu homes are daily and everywhere visited, and the seed of Christian life and truth sown; thousands of non-Christian girls and young women are instructed and initiated into the mysteries of Bible truth and Christian life; and Christian womanhood [pg 257] is being developed, more rapidly indeed than Christian manhood, into a thing of strength and beauty. In the town of Madura alone thirty-one Bible women have access to 1,000 non-Christian homes where Bible instruction is gladly received. Another staff of twenty-one Christian workers instructs daily, in five schools, 500 Hindu and Mohammedan girls. Also a High and Training school for Christian girls, with 256 pupils; and a Bible woman's training school, with seventeen students, complete this organized work for women in that town. From it, as a centre, seventeen other women visit and work in seventy-two different villages and instruct 1,005 pupils. No work at present is more important or finds more encouragement than this organized activity for women.

A Junior Christian Endeavor Society.
A Junior Christian Endeavor Society.

A Village Christian School.
A Village Christian School.

(g) Work for the Young.

Ours is preëminently the age of youth—the time when the importance of work for the young is fully appreciated, and when manifold activities are put forth by the Christian Church in their behalf. During recent years such activity has been extensively introduced into mission fields. In India at present, Y. M. C. A., Y. W. C. A., Y. P. S. C. E., Epworth League, Sunday-school Union and a host of other less-known organizations for the young have established themselves and are working with much enthusiasm. In former years little was done for the young of the infant Christian communities. The old Oriental idea that young people are of no account, and that effort in their behalf is hardly worth while, obtained in India until recent years. The consequence [pg 258] was that the children of Christian congregations were neglected and allowed to absent themselves from Christian services and to grow up in ignorance and heathenish darkness. As a result of this many of these boys and girls, when they grew up into manhood and womanhood, reverted to heathenism; and many flourishing Christian congregations of the last generation became defunct. It is now understood, with increasing distinctness, that the permanent success and growth of a Christian congregation, as of the whole Christian community, depends more upon the effort which is exercised in behalf of the young than upon any amount of labour lavished upon those of maturer years. Hence, more activity, of an organized type, is being wisely put forth in behalf of the children and of young people. The more plastic, responsive, tenacious mind of the young takes in more readily, appreciates more keenly and clings with more persistence to religious instruction and inspiration imparted to it than does that of the older members of the community. The Christian worker thus finds earlier and greater fruit to his labour among the young than among the old. Any enthusiasm imparted by him to the young people is also, sooner or later, apt to be carried by them to the older members of the congregation or church. The hope of the Church in India lies in the young people; and that missionary, or native agent, who can best organize the young into useful forms of outgoing Christian activity, will do most for the Church of the present and future. And, while so excellent an agency as the Christian Endeavor Society is available for use in [pg 259] this line of work, the missionary need not be discouraged, but may feel confident that he has within his power an organization rich in promise of blessing to his whole community.

(h) Organizations for the Special Activities of the Native Christian Community.

Every mission should encourage all forms of wise and necessary organization for the furtherance of the highest life of the community itself. And this chiefly with a view to developing self-dependence in the community. These organizations will be naturally divided into two classes.

Those Which Promote Self-Government.

The Christian Church in the mission field should be organized ecclesiastically and administratively in such a way that it may ultimately, and as speedily as may seem wise, become entirely self-governing. Every mission should aim to so teach the people that they may control and conduct successfully their own affairs. It should establish a Church which sends its roots deep into the soil of the land and which will become, in the highest sense, indigenous. One of the necessary evils of missionary life is the early Western control and guidance of everything. I should like to see the day, when the native Church can establish that polity which is most congenial to its taste and run its affairs independently and on Oriental lines, in such a way as to win more effectively the people of India to Christ. The question is sometimes asked,—“Must our Congregational missions bind, to our Congregational form of ecclesiastical [pg 260] government, the people whom they bring over from heathenism? Must our church polity, in the mission field, be Congregational, or Presbyterian, etc., regardless of its adaptation, or want of adaptation, to the people?” The affirmative answer has usually been given by all societies (and wrongly I think) to this inquiry; and thus every denomination transplants into heathen lands, with renewed emphasis, not only its own peculiar shibboleths of doctrine; it also exalts to a heavenly command the government and ritual which it represents.

Missions in India are conscientiously endeavouring, with varying degrees of wisdom and success, to lead forward their people in the line of self-government. But both love of power and a conviction of the inability of the infant Church to wisely control its affairs, combine to render this transfer of power from the mission to the native Church a very slow matter—more slow than seems wise to many besides the leaders of the native Church themselves. It is a significant fact, in India today, that the Methodist missions, by their compact organization, are able to, or at any rate do, confer more ecclesiastical and administrative power upon the native Church than any other mission; while Congregational missions—the least organized—are the most backward in this matter. A study for the causes of this would be instructive.

Those Organisations Which Promote Self-Extension.

One of the first things that a mission should do, after gathering the Christian community, is to organize, in the community, such activities as are outreaching [pg 261] and self-extending. In the Madura Mission there has been for many years a Home Missionary Society whose aim is to help support weak churches and also maintain a force of evangelists to preach to non-Christians. It is the society of the native Christians—supported and largely directed by them. It has created, maintained and increased the interest of the people in furthering the cause of Christ.

Many such societies exist in India today and they render valuable service in keeping before the mind of the people the deepest characteristics of our faith and the highest privilege of a Christian community—that of outgoing love, and self-extending enthusiasm.

Those Organisations Which Further Self-Support.

How extensively should the idea of self-support be at present urged upon the native Christian community? This is a question which we will discuss later on. There is no question however but that every mission should so organize its benevolences that the infant Church may, at as early a date as possible, cease to seek support from a foreign land; and that it cultivate at the same time a spirit of self-denial and of self-reliance. The poverty of the people is, and will long remain, a serious barrier to this consummation. But the evil of poverty may be counterbalanced by a careful system whereby the benevolent feelings, generous impulses and the sense of obligation of the people are conserved, strengthened and made fully effective. This matter should not be left to haphazard or to spasmodic appeal. Every Christian, even the poorest, should be so directed and [pg 262] inspired in his benevolence that he may effectively contribute to the worthy object of self-support.

These three desiderata of the native Christian Church—self-support, self-propagation and self-government—are to be desired above all other blessings by the missions and should be sought with a persistence and a well-organized intelligence, which will mean advance and ultimate success. When these three have been attained, missions, with all their expensive machinery, may gladly disband and feel that their end has been accomplished and that they are no longer needed.

[pg 263]

Chapter IX.

Present Day Missionary Problems.

Every age has its own problems to solve; and so has every department of life. The problems which belong to missionary life, method and work are many. The permanence and future success of the missionary effort of the Church of God depends upon the wise solution of these problems. Nowhere is this more manifest than in India. In that land Christian effort for the conversion of the people has been made for many centuries by numerous nationalities and Christian communities with varying success or want of success. Unwillingness or an inability to thoroughly confront and master the deep problems of the field, the work and the people, with a view to adapting Christianity to them has largely been the cause of the slow progress of our faith in that land. Successive efforts by the Greek, the Syrian, the Romish and the Protestant Churches have not been prolific in marked and permanent results, simply because they have not adequately studied the novel and strange conditions of the land and the best methods of presenting Christ and His truth.

We need in India, today, highest wisdom in order to establish worthy missions, and to conduct them in the right and best way so as to attain results commensurate with the resources of the kingdom and of the great King whose we are and whom we preach.

The missionary problems of today are many.

[pg 264]

1. The initial and preliminary question as to the right of the Christian Church to send forth its missionaries, and to establish its missions in heathen lands.

This question is now raised by many. They ask it because they believe in the integrity of the doctrine of evolution. “Why do you not,” they say, “leave those non-Christian peoples to work out their own salvation through a natural evolution of their own faiths? Let those old crude religions pass into something higher through the natural process of evolution rather than resort to the cataclysmic method of over-throwing the old and introducing a faith that is entirely foreign. Why not let the process of growth work out its own results even though it takes a long time for it?”

This objection to our work is modern and thoroughgoing. Of course it is equally pronounced against supernaturalism in all its forms and ramifications. It would be futile to reply to this by appealing to the command of our Lord to go and disciple all nations. It is enough to remind this objector that the doctrine of evolution admits that the highest altruism is a part of the evolution process. And if that is so, then the highest Christian altruism must find its noblest exercise in the work of bringing, by Christians to non-Christians, those ideas and that life which they deem the best and of which those outside of Christ stand in urgent need. The highest evolution of our race has been, and ever must be, through that Christian altruism which will not rest until the noblest truth and the fullest life are brought to all the benighted souls of our race. Is not this the last message of [pg 265] evolution to us at this present? And is it not identical with the last commission of our Lord to His followers—to go and disciple the nations? And while it is the function of Christianity to maintain the evolution principle of the survival of the fittest, it does this by indirection—by seizing upon the most unfit and unworthy and making them fit to stand before God and worthy to enjoy the life eternal in all its glory.

Moving a step forward we come to,—

Another problem kindred to the one mentioned—one which concerns the aims and the results which should animate missionary endeavour.

2. What shall a man or a mission entertain as a motive or as an aim to be attained and as results worthy of achievement in missionary work?

This question also is based upon and will cover very largely the character of the work accomplished.

There are two distinct and separate motives and aims impelling Christians, at the present time, to missionary effort. They are, in the main, an emphasis given, respectively, to each of Christ's two final commands to his disciples upon earth.

In the first instance his last commission to his followers to go and make disciples of the nations is taken as the watch-word; and this has always meant thorough, patient, all-inclusive effort for the redemption and elevation of all the races of the earth.

The other class has taken as its watch-word our Lord's last utterance upon earth—“Ye shall be My witnesses.” “Witness-bearing” has become to them the expression of the Church's great duty to the world.

[pg 266]

There is a great difference between these two classes of aims and motives, and they are associated with two classes of theological thinking. According to the former theory the Kingdom of our Lord, under the dispensation of the Holy Spirit, is to spread in regenerating power and triumphant efficacy until all the nations of the earth shall come under its sway. This is a great and arduous undertaking. The planting of this Kingdom in heathen lands and the discipling of those people until the Church of God shall have become a living and a self-propagating church in all the regions of the earth is a work of ages, worthy of the combined effort of heaven and earth. And this consummation will surely take place. God has promised it; Christ's work involves it; the Holy Spirit came into the world for its realization. They who entertain this belief are Christian optimists. No reverses can daunt them; no opposition can discourage them. They lay broad and deep the foundations of their work and labour patiently but hopefully for the great and final consummation.

Those, on the other hand, who are pessimistic as to the triumph of the Kingdom of Christ under the dispensation of the Spirit, maintain, with exclusive emphasis, the Christian duty of witness-bearing. They claim, in Dr. Pierson's words, that our mission to the heathen world should be one of diffusion and not of concentration; that we should bear witness concerning Christ to the people who know Him not and then pass on to others, rather than remain to expand, to convert, to train and to establish living churches. They maintain that our duty is preëminently to bear witness to Christ, that we have no responsibility [pg 267] for the conversion of the people and for the building up of strong churches.

This claim that it is the duty of the Church to herald the good news of redemption to all men as speedily as possible apart from the expectation that they will accept it: does not commend itself to me either upon Scriptural grounds or upon grounds of reason.

The idea of preaching the gospel to the heathen “for a witness,” in the ordinary acceptance of that term, does not constitute a worthy Christian motive. Dr. W. N. Clark well analyzes this thought in the following words, (page 53, in “Study of Christian Missions”),—“At the outset, there is one motive, often, though not necessarily, associated with the theory of heralding, that must be rejected as no Christian motive. It is often held that in this rapid work the gospel is not to be preached mainly in order that it may be believed unto salvation, but rather ‘for a witness,’—which is taken to mean ‘for a witness against,’ the hearers when they meet the judgment of God. The hearing of the gospel marks a turning-point, both in experience and destiny. When once men have heard the gospel, they will be saved if they believe, and justly condemned if they do not. Only a few will be saved by the missionary preaching; the elect will be gathered out of the mass, and the many will remain indifferent. But the blame of their ruin will be upon themselves, not upon God or the Christian people; and it is to insure this result that the gospel is preached to them for a witness. But this is no Christian truth. Such teaching cannot truly represent the motive of God the Saviour. [pg 268] We must maintain that God acts in good faith in the offers of His grace, or Christianity becomes a delusion. We must preserve our own good faith also in conveying the offer of grace, or our hearers will rise in the judgment to condemn us. No allowance should be made for any such unchristian motive in our plans for Christian missions, and we must hold no theory of missions that implies it.”

Moreover the view is thoroughly pessimistic, so far as this dispensation is concerned, and fails to realize the power and the glory of Christian truth and of the kingdom of Christ as inspired by the Holy Spirit. A theory of missions which is pessimistic at the core can hardly be a safe or an inspiring one.

It should be remembered also that missions are not an end in themselves. They should aim at making themselves unnecessary by the establishing of vigorous churches which shall become self-extending and indigenous in all the lands of the earth. The hope of missions, and the hope of the world through missions, lies not, ultimately, in the missions, but in the churches which they establish. Therefore they should be well established and patiently developed. The Church of God must take up its missionary work with a full appreciation of its supreme greatness and difficulty. Let it not be supposed that it is called simply to “bear witness.” This heralding of the gospel of Christ, is only a part, and indeed a small part, of the great duty of the Church to the world. It is also specifically, and with greater urgency, called upon to disciple the nations—to bring them into full possession of saving truth and into joyful acceptance of, and life in, Christ.

[pg 269]

Let us not delude ourselves with the idea that this work is easy, that we can pass over it lightly or that we have no responsibility for the conversion of the world. As I have preached for the first time to a heathen village I have felt that my obligation to its inhabitants for their salvation was thereby increased rather than fulfilled. There is no doubt that Christian missionaries realize today as never before the greatness of the task set before God's people to disciple the nations. The obstacles to it and the conflict which it involves seem greater than ever. The romance of missions has largely given way to sober work and the rush of battle has been succeeded by a great siege. This is preëminently the condition in India today. Let us not forget this in our missionary enterprise lest we lose courage by the way. But let us also remember that it is God's work. He is pledged to bring it to its ultimate triumph, and He will do it. He will fulfill His promise and give to His Son the heathen for His inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for His possession.

This theory of missionary work is the only one that has produced, and can maintain, all the present organized activity of the missionary Church. The aim of the manifold activities and various departments of missionary effort, as witnessed in India today, can be nothing less than the ultimate conquest of that land for Christ through the establishment of a living, an ever-growing and self-extending Indian Church there.

Let us now consider some of the problems which specially exist in India.

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3. The Caste Problem.

The caste problem has been, and continues to be, the most troublesome and obtrusive among all the questions which confront missions in that land. It is a more serious problem—more pervasive and intense—in Southern than in Northern India.

This is radically different from social problems in all other lands, in that it traces its source to, and gathers its authority from, religion. It enforces all that it sanctions by the most compact and relentless religious system the world has known. It maintains that men have been created into a great number of castes or classes from none of which can they, by any possibility, pass into another. In whatever social stratum a man is born there must he live and die. It is impious for him to attempt to evade or to violate this heavenly classification. His interests and all his rights are confined to that one caste of his birth. It is sin for him to marry out of it or, in any way, to transgress his natal compact with it. Neither added wealth, growing culture, a new ambition, nor anything else can enable him to change his caste. All the forces of religion are directed, like a mighty engine of tyranny, to bind him to it.

This sentiment of caste, after millenniums of teaching, of rigid observance and custom, has become even more than second nature to the Hindu,—it has grown into a sweet necessity of his life, from whose claims and demands he neither expects nor desires relief. To the ordinary Hindu a change of caste would be as unexpected, yea as impossible, as his sudden change into the lower brute, or into the higher angelic, kingdom.

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When Christianity was first established in India the problem of the adoption or the rejection of caste by the Christian church had to be faced. It was rejected by the earliest Christian community in India; for we find no traces of it in the Syrian church on the coast of Malabar today. Even caste titles, that dearest remnant of that system to all other native Christians in India, have entirely disappeared from that community. It is a great pity that the history of that victory over caste has not been preserved as a lesson and a heritage to later Christians.

The Romish Church, which next invaded India, unfortunately despised the Syrian community, sought no instruction from its history, made a friend of the caste system and adopted it in all its hideousness. It did not wait to consider the terrible fact, so patent to all at present, that Hinduism and caste are convertible terms—that one cannot cease to be a Hindu who maintains the caste system in its integrity. Its intention was, no doubt, good in its way. It was an effort to make an easy way out of Hinduism into Christianity and thus to swell the tide of incoming converts. But, unfortunately, the path was made too easy; the narrow gate was sufficiently enlarged for the Hindu to enter with his burden of heathen prejudices and superstitions, and it soon became the highway of insincerity and hypocrisy. Moreover, the Romish Church has found, to its cost, that an easy way from Hinduism to Christianity is an equally easy path to return. A man who carried much of his Hinduism with him into the Christian Church was easily drawn back by the remaining old ties and affections. The consequence is that, while Romanism [pg 272] has made large inroads upon Hinduism in some places, it has only been for a time; and the back-sliders have been as numerous as the new converts; so that Roman Catholicism has made little net progress in India for many years.

This alliance which Christianity made, four centuries ago, with caste was, thus, a fatal one. It gave also a clue to the earliest Protestant missionaries—a clue which they, in a weak moment, decided to follow. For, the first Danish missionaries also made a sad compromise with this monster evil. I presume that this may be regarded as a continental failing of that day, when in Europe class differences were great and almost insurmountable. Human rights and individual liberty were not held so sacred, or so scrupulously defended, in Europe in those days as they are in Anglo-Saxon countries today. Otherwise any alliance by the Church with the caste system would have been an impossibility in India. Even today some Protestant missionaries from the European continent are found in India who defend the adoption of the caste system by the Christian Church. How different would have been the attitude of the Protestant Church towards this heathenish institution had men of the Anglo-Saxon type of today rather than Continentals of two centuries ago started its work in South India! In any case, the attitude of compromise assumed towards the caste system in those early days has led to interminable evil and to constant trouble in the Christian Church in that land.

After caste had first found admission as a friend and then was discovered to be an uncompromising enemy to Christian life and principles, much effort [pg 273] was made to expel it. Nearly all Protestant missions now denounce it, root and branch, and preach against it, and in various ways try to check and to cast it out. But with no great success thus far. The false step taken at the beginning has cost the Church terribly. Today in South India more than nine-tenths of all Protestant native Christians, while they seek an alliance only among Christians, nevertheless marry not on lines of Christian affinity so much as on Hindu caste lines. It is not often that we find a man among common Christians who has courage and sense enough to seek a match for son or daughter outside of the limits of that caste to which he and his people belonged in Hinduism. This custom is found not only extremely inconvenient and troublesome to them; worst of all, it perpetuates, in the Christian fold, the old heathen lines of cleavage. And thus life in the Christian community is still running somewhat in the old channels of Hinduism and largely preserves those social distinctions of the past which should have been buried with them at baptism and forever abandoned.

Under these circumstances what should missions do? What should be their attitude towards caste spirit and customs? Through former misapprehension and neglect the evil is in the Christian Church and exercises a potent influence. How shall it be overcome or expelled? Some believe in the laissez faire method. They maintain that, if left to itself for a time, it will die out, or the general spirit of Christianity will naturally drive it out. The spirit of caste is not exorcised in that way. So long as it is perpetuated by marriage affinity, the source of the [pg 274] whole evil, and by habits of eating together on caste lines, it will not diminish very much or cease to torment the Church. A century of such waiting, in some missions that I have known, finds the evil not much diminished. It is only in those missions where it is attacked and constantly denounced and its terrible evils exposed, that progress is evident.

That which can do speedy and sure work, in the destruction of this evil in Christian missions is inter-caste marriage. And through this I am glad to see that increasing good is wrought. Missions should in every way encourage and put a premium upon marriages among their members from different castes. They should teach frequently and emphatically that membership in different castes does not constitute a prohibited marriage relationship; but rather does it furnish the best ground for marriage. In this way, and in this way only, will this wretched caste feeling speedily die a natural death and Christians come to marry, eat, sympathize, love and live on Christian, rather than on Hindu, lines. A mission which does not improve every opportunity to show its hatred of the caste system and to antagonize it positively and persistently can find no peace; nor will it find any permanent prosperity. Missions are feeling this increasingly and are acting accordingly.

4. Self-Support of Missions.

Every mission seeks, as its ever-present ambition, to attain unto independence from all outside financial aid and a thorough self-support of its own institutions. We await the day, and believe in its no distant coming, when a large number of mission [pg 275] churches will entirely support their own institutions. Indeed there are now many churches, on mission ground, that have grown into self-dependence and that maintain, at their own expense, all those normal forms of work that are connected with Christian activity.

The question is frequently asked,—how far shall missions place before them, as the supreme and immediate aim, the self-support of their separate churches? Among missions and missionaries there are two tendencies in this matter. One class, represented by the Church Missionary Society Mission in Tinnevelly, place all moneys received from their mission churches into one fund, and from this fund they pay the salaries of the pastors and catechists, so far as possible. Bishop Sargent told me that he did not think any church should be allowed to directly support its own pastor lest they consider that thereby they had a right to exercise authority over him! That mission, therefore, and for other reasons also, has relegated the direct question of the self-support of each church into the limbo of the undesirable. In the American Madura Mission, on the other hand, the responsibility is urged upon every individual church to support its own spiritual instructor; and all rules and methods are directed towards emphasizing and enforcing this. Self-support thus becomes, in that mission, its ever-present cry and the growing ambition of its every church and congregation. And the progress of the Church and of the mission is largely measured by this standard.

The self-support of a mission, as such, is a question which is not looked upon with the same urgency, [pg 276] or with the same idea of importance by all missions, or by all missionaries. One party, for instance, would make self-support the supreme end; everything else must be subordinated to it. Nothing should be undertaken, they say, which is not within the means and the desire of the people to support. For instance, they maintain that the salary of all mission agents and the support of mission institutions must be pecuniarily within the means of the Orient and within the limits of its ambitions. I ought to say that no mission, to my knowledge, carries out this principle in its integrity, although there are some missionaries who urge it and proclaim it at all times.

The other party believes that the principal duty and highest privilege of a mission, as such, is not immediately to seek self-support or to pare everything down to the capacity of the people to give; but to push forward the work energetically; with economy indeed, but regardless of expense, knowing that vigour and enterprise and a strenuous Western energy today will be both amply rewarded in results and will also set a pace for the native Church in coming years. They therefore seek the best trained agents regardless of the immediate ability of the people to pay their salary. And they establish schools and hospitals and various other institutions which are altogether beyond the present ability of the Indian Church either to found or to maintain.

We must not forget that self-support, entire self-support, is possible in any mission from the very first day of its organization, if the mission only makes this paramount and has the boldness of its convictions to shape its work according to the offerings of the people. [pg 277] And there are some advantages to that method. Many of the best missionaries have often felt that they would like to try that system in India. Bishop Thoburn, while maintaining that it would be impossible to radically change the method of an old mission, expressed the conviction that it might be well to establish in India a new mission on the basis of complete self-support from the beginning. This, doubtless, was the Pauline method; and it operated well under the then existing circumstances in those lands. And had our missions in the East been established and conducted by the Orient instead of the Occident they would have had adequate patience to pursue the method of self-support ab initio. But as we are of the West, Western, our missions must partake of the characteristics of our nature; and be imbued with that energy, push, impatience for results which distinguish us in everything. I am sure that neither the churches at home nor their missionaries abroad are prepared to limit their efforts by the poverty, slowness and apathy of the East, and thus perhaps delay for years, or generations, the results which, through the expenditure of more money, they possibly might reap today. The method which missions have adopted is the western method, characteristic of our haste and strenuous spirit, and partaking of the evils incident to that spirit and method. It is, on the whole, perhaps the best method that can be used and fully realized by us.

5. Mission Educational Work.

In connection with the increasingly important department of mission educational work in India not a [pg 278] few perplexing questions arise. We have seen that this department has conquered for itself general recognition as a legitimate part of missionary effort.

But there is a serious conflict ahead, in the not distant future. And this is in part owing to the attitude of the Government Educational Department and of the local governing bodies towards mission institutions. There is no concealing the fact that most of the English officials of the Educational Department in India deem mission schools the most serious rivals to, and regard missionary educators as quasi enemies of, their departmental schools. These men have recently assumed, and are increasingly assuming, an attitude of jealousy, if not of hostility, to mission institutions, chiefly because of their strength and excellence as rival schools, and partly because of the Bible training which is imparted to all the students of these schools—a training with which those officials have no sympathy and which they are wont to regard as an educational impertinence.

Missions must expect that the jealousy and the antagonism of that department will increase. It is true that the great State Educational Despatch of 1854 and later enunciated government policy, declare that it is not the purpose of the government to establish schools of its own, except where private bodies fail to do so; and that it is its purpose to encourage, so far as possible, private institutions. But the general declaration of the Imperial and Provincial governments is one thing and the purpose and ambition of its Educational Department a very different thing. Departmentalists find it to their interest to strengthen and increase government schools at all points; and [pg 279] as the funds appropriated for educational purposes are inadequate for all schools they seek the lion's share for their own, and grudgingly give an ever decreasing quota to mission institutions. It will be an ill day for missions when the Educational Department and its schools will become sufficiently strong to affect the policy of the general government as against private, and in favour of government schools.

Another fact, of equal significance, is the attitude of District Boards and Municipal Commissioners towards the schools of Mission Bodies. Nearly all the members of Local Boards are native gentlemen. They see the large influence of mission schools, scattered as they are through their districts and towns, and they regard them as Christian propaganda and as evangelizing agencies; and it is but natural that, under the impulse of their new nationalism and of their interest in a Neo-Hinduism, they should be jealous of mission schools which are the rivals of their own indigenous and growing institutions. And as they have the power of the purse and make and withhold grants to different schools at their pleasure; and as all the subordinate officers of the Educational Department are natives and are not in full sympathy with mission schools; it can be easily seen how our schools are doomed to suffer through an ever decreasing government aid towards their support.

Thus, there are two problems, in this connection, which will confront us. One is the question whether it be worth while for missions to conduct their schools entirely at their own expense, i.e.—without any government aid. This problem must be faced ere long; [pg 280] and it means either the curtailing of this department of work or the expending of a very much increased sum of money upon it.

The question may also be urged upon us, more speedily than we anticipate (indeed it has been raised already), whether any schools aided by government shall be allowed to be used as religious propaganda. In other words, whether mission schools shall enjoy the privilege of teaching the Bible to all non-Christian students in attendance, even against their will. This question is exercising the mind of not a few natives and others today; and it is claimed that the present practice is contrary to the Royal Proclamation of Religious Neutrality in the land. There is some reason for this contention; and, under increasing religious rivalry and jealousy, it may, at an early date, lead to a crisis in mission schools. And the problem may confront us as to whether we are prepared to continue all our schools for non-Christians under conditions which make it impossible for us to give Bible, or even any religious, training in them.

Another serious problem, in this same connection, is whether missions should conduct, to any extent, educational work apart from other indirect aims and purposes. In other words, how far, if at all, should a mission give itself to the work of education, per se, and not as a Christian training or as an evangelizing agency.

Many at present maintain that education—general education—is in itself a good and a blessing which it is the business of a mission to impart, independent of any direct religious instruction or spiritual training which might be given through it. They maintain [pg 281] that mission funds should thus be used for the intellectual advancement of the people apart from their Christianization. The majority, however, would claim that a mission's educational work should be conducted only so far as it can be the medium of communicating religious truth, or only in so far as it can be made a direct auxiliary to the Christianizing of the land. This class would claim that no work should be undertaken by a mission which does not contribute to the Christianizing of the people as a result distinct from their progress in civilization. And it is here that these two classes of missionaries take issue with each other. It is an important difference in the conception of the Church's work in heathen lands. As I shall consider this later I only call attention to it here.

Another matter, of no little consequence in this connection, is that of the amount of educational privilege which a mission should furnish to its people. President Stanley Hall has recently maintained that, even in this country, many are educated who should not be. They should, he says, be left to the hoe and shovel. He claims that not a few are, through education, spoiled for usefulness in the lowest sphere of manual labour for which they were by nature designed; while they are also disqualified for the highest sphere of service and life. If this be true in America it is doubly true in India. Many young men and women in that land have had lavished upon them the blessings of education to an extent that was unprofitable both to them and to the cause. They have received an education and training which not only carried them away far outside the social [pg 282] realm for which they were intended by nature; it also left them incapable of doing the higher thing for which they were intended by the mission.

There is adequate excuse for this in the early stages of mission progress. The greatest need of a mission is a good, strong, native agency. And in its desire to furnish this agency the mission, as well as the individual missionary, eagerly seizes upon every boy and girl who shows any signs of promise as an applicant to be trained for missionary service. This same ambition to develop, in intellectual power and in civilizing progress, the young of an infant Christian community so that they may adorn our faith and give an honourable status to the community leads many a mission to expend upon the education of its boys and girls more than it will in its later and more mature stage of growth.

6. The Industrial and Economic Problem.

During the last two decades there has been a marked and strong tendency in Indian missions, as in the home churches which support them, to still broaden the scope of missionary effort by adding to its directly spiritual, and to its educational and medical, work, schemes for the industrial, economic and social advancement of the people. This broadening of the conception of the work of the Church in missionary lands is a most interesting study. Less than a century ago nothing that was not directly and intensely spiritual in its character was regarded as, in any sense, a part of missionary effort. To preach the Gospel to the heathen, to establish and to train Christian churches and to develop and direct a suitable [pg 283] native agency—this embraced the whole work of the mission. Anything beyond this was considered illegitimate. Subsequently the medical department was introduced,—chiefly because of the example of Christ Himself as the Great Healer. Soon the educational work was begun, as a necessity in its elementary stages, and it gradually grew until it has reached its present manifold character and large proportions. Then a few missions began to touch the industrial problem and to establish schools for the training of boys and girls in manual labour. Today that work is finding much increased emphasis, and missions are beginning to take up, in all seriousness, Peasant Settlements as a means of lifting the people economically, and of training them to habits of industry, and to found villages as separate Christian communities. Schools for the blind and for deaf mutes also have been established. In fact all forms of philanthropic effort have now practically been adopted by the missions of India as legitimate forms of their activities. Indeed, it is extensively proclaimed, what has long been strenuously denied, that missions are not founded simply to Christianize but to civilize and to elevate in all matters pertaining to soul, mind and body, the people among whom they are established.

This is a broad question and an issue of fundamental importance. It belongs to the very concept of missions and is largely a question of aim and purpose. The trend of the times is doubtless in favour of the broader, humanitarian, philanthropic, civilizing purpose of missions as against the deeper and more exclusive, spiritual and Christianizing end.

[pg 284]

It seems to me to be a question whether missions are ready for this change.

It is also a very serious problem whether, in the mission field, this modern tendency to extend and broaden out is of the spirit of Christ and is a passion to do good unto men in every department and sphere of their life; or whether it is a degeneracy—a drifting away from the lofty and exclusive purpose of soul-winning and soul-saving down towards the lower plane of earthly blessing and general philanthropy. There is certainly a sense in which this widening of missionary endeavour is a part of the broadening of the Christian life of today and is in harmony with the multiplication of the agencies of the Church at home for the general betterment of the people and for preparing them for the highest blessings of our faith; and as such it is both commendable and encouraging.

On the other hand I know of no temptation that is pregnant with greater evil to missions, at the present time, than that connected with this multiplication of what may be called the lower activities of missions. The spiritual work of a mission must ever remain its principal work if it is to succeed in the highest sense. It is also the most difficult work. It bears with it, often, serious discouragement to the worker. And in times of discouragement it is a very easy thing for a missionary, and for a mission, to relax effort at this point and, as a compensation, to seek larger results on the lower planes of social and industrial activities and humanitarian and philanthropic effort. These lower forms of activity are exceedingly absorbing and distracting; and when a mission enters extensively into them it usually means, [pg 285] and, I would almost say, necessarily means, a withdrawal of time and energy and of interest from its highest spiritual work. A man or a mission has only a certain amount of strength and money to devote to his work; and if this is increasingly and extensively expended upon the lower forms of philanthropic effort, the higher, spiritual purposes and endeavors must suffer.

The Basle Lutheran Mission of South India has done more industrial work than any other mission of that land. But the industrial department grew so rapidly and became so absorbing that it was found necessary to make a separate “mission” of it. It has flourished as a commercial enterprise and is self-supporting. But the leader of that mission informs me that its blessings are questionable, in that it tends to demoralize the people and renders little or no aid to their spiritual work.

While I believe that a certain amount of endeavour, by a mission, for the temporal good and social betterment of its people is legitimate and desirable, extreme care should be taken, in the present early stage of progress, lest this form of activity become prominent or dominant; and, above all, lest it, in any way, interfere with the conviction concerning the supreme importance and prime urgency of the spiritual training and growth of the people. This class of work can very easily, by changing the people's ideas of a mission's aim and purpose, demoralize them. It can also, with equally fatal facility, transfer the interest of the missionary from the higher to the lower realm of work, and thus become a curse, rather than a blessing, to him. If the [pg 286] work of missions is to be broadened the greatest care must be exercised lest this breadth be secured at the expense of depth of spiritual purpose and power, and height of spiritual life and experience. I must confess that this new movement, in the present stage of the progress of missions, brings to me as much fear as it does hope. For, while I see reason for taking up such work, I know also the demoralizing influences that so naturally and easily follow it. A mission that allows itself to be secularized, by giving too much emphasis to these social and civilizing agencies, becomes inevitably paralyzed as a spiritual force in its field; and woe be to any mission that gains anything at the expense of its spiritual paralysis.

7. Mission Administration.

The question of administration is an exceedingly important one to every mission. How wisely are our missions organized for large economy of money and effort and for highest efficiency? Could not missions unite, for mutual counsel and wisdom, as many officers of our societies at home now do; could not missions learn more from one another in this most important respect? The annual expenditure of more than one million dollars on mission work in South India alone is in itself a large trust which requires great care and breadth of wisdom. Hitherto not much has been done by the many missions of India to learn from one another the wisest methods of administration. There is remarkable diversity and even contrast among those missions in the methods of conducting their work and in the administration of their affairs. This is, in no small part, due to the [pg 287] different peculiarities of the several nationalities which conduct the missions; it is also in part due to their denominational affinities. But, by growing familiarity with one another's methods and by more appreciative study of the same, much could be learned by these missions which would tend to increasing uniformity of administrative method, efficiency of work and abundance of results.

Another question of perennial interest, in this connection, is that of the extent to which native Christians should be allowed to participate in the administration of the affairs of a mission. The training of some of the highest members of the native Christian community in the responsibility of missionary administration is a serious duty of every mission. The day must come when the whole administration of the Christian work carried on by missions will be in the hands of the native community itself—when missions, as such, shall have accomplished their work and shall be disbanded. What is being done by our missions today to make that consummation possible and desirable at the earliest moment? Most missions maintain that Indians should have nothing to do with the administration of foreign funds. Is this a wise position to take? Is it consonant with the best training of the highest native Christians for future control? In other words, what administrative preparation is being made by the mission for the incoming of an indigenous, self-governing Church?

It is true that Indian Christians will not, for a long time, be able to render much assistance to the missions in this line. But if they are to be, at any future time, capable of undertaking the responsibility [pg 288] of the work they must be trained for it; and this training must be conducted with patience by the mission. If they are now wanting in independence and poise of character and breadth of horizon, these can come to them only through an extended training. And it is the duty of missions to give this training to them.

There is danger that missions cling too tenaciously to their right to rule. Power is sweet to the missionary no less than to other men.

I am glad to say that progress is made by missions in this matter. Slowly but surely the native Christian is entering into their counsels and is finding increasing opportunity and responsibility there.

8. Problems Concerning New Converts.

There are many interesting and important questions connected with the reception of new converts into the Christian fold in India. Some of these have a growing interest to the Cause and have found an important place in missionary discussion. I shall refer to only a few of them.

(a) Shall polygamous converts be received into the Christian Church?

In Hinduism polygamy (more especially, bigamy) is not uncommon. It is permitted and indeed fostered by that faith and is legalized by the laws of the country. As our faith makes increasing inroads upon that religion, numbers, and yet never a large number, of those who have two or more wives will accept our teaching and, with all earnestness, seek admission into our Christian communion. What shall [pg 289] we say to such? How shall we meet them and their desire? This question has, in a few cases, been sent to the societies at home, the missions seeking from them advice and guidance. From America the instruction has been received against receiving any such into the Christian Church. This is natural enough from a country which is confronted by the Mormon question. But the problem has its Eastern bearing which is not understood in the West and which has led missionary bodies in India almost invariably to decide in favour of receiving such into the Christian fold.

In the consideration of the problem many things must be kept in mind. None more important than the claims to a cordial welcome from the Church of any man who, in true faith and Christian earnestness, seeks admittance. If it be demanded of the man that he put away all but one of those wives taken in heathenism; then we ask whether it is Christian, or even just, to cast away one to whom he was solemnly and religiously pledged according to the laws of the land and with whom he has been linked in love and harmony for years and from whom he has begotten children? And if he is to put away one or more of his wives, which one shall it be? Shall it be the first wife? Certainly that would not be Christian. Or shall it be the second wife who is the mother of his children and whom he probably married at the request of the first, who was childless, in order that he might raise seed unto himself? It is not easy, on Christian grounds, to decide such a problem as this; nor is it very Christian to put a ban upon any woman who, in accordance with their religion and their country's [pg 290] laws, has formed this sacred alliance with a man and has lived with him for years. Nor can it be right to brand with illegitimacy the children born of such a wedlock.

I would not allow such persons, received into the Christian Church, to become officers of the Church. But I cannot see why there may not be an humble place in the Church of God for such and their families.

(b) Should the baptism of a person, in any case, immediately follow his confession of Christ?

This question does not pertain to those who live in Christian communities and within the circle of Christian light and influence. It refers mainly, if not exclusively, to those who accept Christ under the influence of Christian teaching at heathen festivals and who may live far away from Christian communities. In North India, some of those who have accepted Christ under these circumstances have received immediate baptism and have been sent back to their villages professing Christians. At first sight this seems unwarranted and unwise. Men who have received and made an open confession of Christ under these circumstances have not likely received a sufficient knowledge of our faith, or attained an adequate familiarity with its truths; nor have they been grounded in its principles and life, sufficiently to warrant us in the hope and assurance that they will continue this life in their heathen homes and do honour to our cause and the name of Christ which they have professed. And yet who are we to decide adversely upon the application of such a man who may find, or [pg 291] think he finds, in that public occasion the only opportunity of making an open confession of Christ? And what right have we to conclude that he will not stand firm to his pledge and promise if we are convinced that it is made in all sincerity and earnestness, and if we are convinced that the man has really accepted Christ as his Saviour? Or, more properly, what ground have we to believe that the Holy Spirit cannot carry on to perfection the work thus begun by Him in the heart of such a man? And was not this method of immediate baptism that of the Apostolic Church, even though many thus baptized subsequently denied their new faith?

There are, doubtless, cases of this kind where baptism cannot be refused by the minister of God—where it is even imperative and may prove a blessing to the heathen audience as well as to the new convert. And yet, the ordinary method of delay and careful scrutiny and training should still be adhered to as a normal method of the Church in heathen lands. It is the safest way to lead to a healthy and a strong Church.

(c) Another question frequently asked is that concerning secret baptism.

Shall a missionary, at any time and under any circumstances, secretly baptize such as are anxious to make confession of Christ, but are debarred by family opposition, or by similar causes, from public baptism? This problem frequently arises in connection with work for heathen women. Under the influence of the work of a Bible woman, or a lady missionary, [pg 292] a woman may abjure her faith, accept Christ as her Saviour and yearn for baptism. But to be baptized publicly and to confess Christ before her people openly would inevitably result in her being driven from home, separated from her children and people, and robbed of all opportunity to influence them in behalf of her newly found faith. Moreover, by this public confession she is deprived of all family support and becomes a helpless dependent upon the mission for her daily bread. The question rises whether such a woman should be quietly baptized and thus left to pursue her way in her own home and with her family as a pledged, but secret, follower of the Lord. There is much to be said in favour of, as there is against, such a baptism. Many contend that such an acceptance of Christ would be unworthy and would be robbed of its saving power. But such are not conversant with Hindu life and some of its terrible conditions. Some would maintain, perhaps with more wisdom, that it would be better not to baptize such, but to encourage them to believe that they are accepted of Christ and to treat them in every way as Christ's own disciples.

Another problem in this connection is as to the right or wisdom of an unordained lady missionary to administer this initiatory rite to such women converts. This question, of course, will be largely decided in accordance with the ecclesiastical connection of those who consider it. There is a growing number of persons who believe that it would be well that ladies be authorized to administer this rite under such circumstances.

9. Another problem is connected with the revival [pg 293] of thought among the people of India whom we seek to bring to Christ.

This revival is really the result of western influence—largely the product of Christian teaching and activity in that land. In its last analysis it is therefore not to be deplored, but rather to be welcomed. At the same time this new awakening seems to be, for the present, connected with a reactionary and a militant spirit. It speaks in the interest of a new nationalism and a false patriotism which extols everything Eastern simply because it is Oriental. Its aggressiveness is manifest even in America. We are becoming familiar, in this country, with the yellow-robed Hindu monk who has probably been trained in a Christian mission college and who talks Hinduism with a strong Christian accent. Though he has violated a peremptory command of his ancestral faith in crossing the seas; and though, of necessity, he daily tramples in this land the whole decalogue of Hindu life and ritual, he feels competent to champion Hindu philosophy here! And he seems to find a coterie of admirers and quasi disciples in this land of light and privilege! Recently an old classmate of mine informed me, with all solemnity, that Eastern thought is now invading the West; and that he himself had become a theosophist! I have, since hearing this statement, travelled considerably over this country and confess that his statement does not seem so absurd as at first I thought. For, I have seen the recent phenomenal spread of Christian Science and of other vagaries with which we are too familiar in this land. What is Christian Science but the subtle, evasive idealism of India unequally yoked to a form of Christian [pg 294] truth and ritual. What is theosophy, but the stupefying philosophy and the benumbing metaphysics of the East, clothed in its own garb of Oriental mysticism and senseless, spurious occultism. It is a sad reflection upon our Western life that so many people who fail to find rest in the divinely inspiring teachings of Christ, sink into the depths of a credulity which will accept the inanities of Madame Blavatsky and the wild assumptions of Mrs. Eddy. Let these people go out to India and live there for years to see how Hindu thought and teachings have, for three millenniums, worked out their legitimate results in the life of the teeming millions of that land. Let them observe the debasing immorality, the hollow ceremonialism, the all-pervasive ignorance and superstition which rest, like a mighty pall, upon that people and which make life mean and render noble manhood impossible. The situation in India reminds one of the legendary house built upon the banks of Newfoundland. The foundation was completed when a dense fog swept over the place and rested upon all. After the superstructure was built and finished the fog lifted and it was found, alas, that the building was erected some two hundred yards away from the foundation, and rested upon nothing! Whatever one may say about Hindu thought and philosophy as a basis of conduct, that people have been living for many centuries in the dense fog of ignorance, superstition and ceremonialism; and their life has been unworthy and debased because it rested upon nothing.

A Brahman Gentleman.
A Brahman Gentleman.

Swami Vivekananda.
Swami Vivekananda.

But there is another form of this awakened Eastern thought which invites our attention and which concerns [pg 295] the missionary work not a little. It appears there in a reactionary form among men of culture and leads many of them to turn away in hearty disapproval from our faith. They are wonderfully drawn towards Christ, our Lord. His praises are in their mouths, and they eagerly study his example and life. They claim him as one of the East and, therefore, as one of themselves. But these same men will have none of Christianity, because it is, as they say, of the West, Western. One of their number recently wrote an article under the following caption:—“Why do We Hindus Accept Christ and Reject Christianity?” He claims that they reject our faith because it is “not Christianity but Churchianity”; that is, it savours of the Western Church more than it does of Christ. There is a great deal that is false and foolish in this contention; and yet it has an element of truth in it. We, of the West, have not realized, perhaps we never can fully realize, the great width of the gulf which, in thought and life, separates the Occident from the Orient. Hence we have in part failed in the duty of adapting our faith, in thought and ritual, to the taste and inherited bias of that people. We forget that they and we usually approach things temporal and spiritual from opposite sides. They are deeply mystical and poetic, while we are obtrusively practical and meanly prosaic. Thus the Western colouring and emphasis which is given to our faith in that land can neither be appreciated nor approved by the educated Hindu. Even native Christians are bemoaning this fact. I shall never forget the eloquent appeal which the Hon. Kali Churn Banerjee, a leading native Christian in that land, [pg 296] made before the Bombay Missionary Conference, begging the missionaries to cease emphasizing, as he said, “adjectival” Christianity and to dwell more upon “substantive” Christianity before the people of India. It is a sad fact that we carry there our Western shibboleths, our antiquated controversies, and our sectional jealousies. Most of these are not only unintelligible in India; they weary the people and largely bury the essentials of our faith from public gaze and appreciation.

The question returns to us with a new emphasis today,—How much of our Western Christianity can we eliminate and how much must we retain in order to present to that people the gospel in its simplicity and saving power? How much of our modern Christianity is the product of Western thought, interpretation and life, and how much is of the very essence of Christ's message? We have yet much to learn and are to be overtaken by many surprises in this matter, I believe. God forbid that we should rob our message of one tittle of its essential truth. But may He enable us to discriminate more and more, and lead us to cease encumbering our gospel to the East with such unessential thought and ritual as are suited to us but not to them.

I doubt whether we of the West can accomplish this—it can be fully done only when the Christian Church in India shall have become indigenous and strong, and, when freed from Western influence and leadership, it shall do its own thinking and shape its own ritual and ceremonial on Eastern lines. Then indeed shall we behold that welcome and mighty movement which will draw completely the culture [pg 297] of India into the Christian Church. Then also, and not until then, shall we begin to see the Indian Church contributing her share to the Christian thought and life of the world. We, of the proud West, are prone to think that our type of life is all-embracing and that our religious thought is all-satisfying. Nothing can be more fallacious or more injurious than such a conceit. The East is the full complement of the West. In life and thought we are only an hemisphere, and we need the East to fill up our full-orbed beauty. The mystic piety of India will correct our too practical, mundane view of things. The quiet, passive virtues which find their perfect realization in that land we must learn from them to accentuate in addition to the more aggressive and positive virtues of the West. All this is to take place in the no distant future. The Kingdom of Christ in the East is to reach out its hand to the West and both, in mutual helpfulness, will coöperate in bringing this whole world to Christ. Then shall we see a universal kingdom and the beginning of the fulfillment of the blessed vision in which “the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever.” God hasten the day.

[pg 298]

Chapter X.

Missionary Results.

We are occasionally compelled to read and to hear detailed and emphatic statements about “the failure of missions.” An increasing number of our countrymen spend their vacation days in hurried trips through mission fields. They are so impressed by glimpses of the strange life and institutions of the Orient that they have neither time nor inclination to study and appreciate the missionary work and organization which everywhere invites their attention. They return home absolutely ignorant of the work whose power, prevalence and progress they might easily have learned on their travels, and they are wont to hide that ignorance behind the emphatic assurance that “there was nothing to be seen” of missions; and they soon convince themselves, and not a few others, that what they did not see was not worth seeing or was, perchance, non-existent. I have long lived on one of the great lines of travel in India and have sorrowed over the fact that hardly one in ten of our travelling countrymen (and many of them members of our home churches too) turn aside for a moment from gazing upon Hindu temples to study the important work which our mission is carrying forward in that city and district.

Even the friends of missions should learn what constitutes missionary success.

[pg 299]

In South India there is found a mission which counts its converts only by the hundreds. It is known in Christian lands only through the severe criticisms which have been heaped upon it by some good Christian men because it is an educational mission.

And yet I sincerely believe that that abused mission is doing a work not inferior to that of any other mission in India for the permanent growth and highest achievement of the Kingdom of God in that land. Its leavening influence upon Hindu thought and institutions is hardly surpassed by that of any other mission. In the wonderful turning of the educated classes of India towards Christ, and the acceptance of him as their Ideal of life, that mission has a position of power. Many of the native Christians of greatest influence, culture and character in South India trace their conversion or highest efficiency to the work and influence of that educational mission. The best educated pastor in the Madura district came from and was trained by that mission; as also its highest and best Christian teachers received their final course of training and discipline there.

That mission is largely ignored and even despised by the too common statistical reckoning of results and success. And yet the illustrious name of Dr. Miller, the leader of that mission, will be cherished in India and in the world a century hence as a chief among those who were instrumental in bringing that great people to Christ.

The mighty and unparalleled revolution which is going on in India at present, as a result of missionary work, is not to be tabulated in our statistical reports. [pg 300] The deepest currents of those great moral and spiritual forces of the India of today are not found within the realm of figures. They defy tabulation; and yet they bring to the keen Christian observer in that land more encouragement, because they have more significance, than all the facts and figures usually found within the covers of an ordinary mission report.

A great deal of the discouragement and pessimism about missions today is born of this statistical craze.

Let us therefore take a broad view of the work of our missions and study some of the results achieved—results which are almost entirely the harvest of the labours of the last century.

These results are threefold.

1. Present Missionary Appliances.

(a) Protestant missions in India have created a plant and have developed appliances which are not only an assurance and a prolific source of encouragement for the future; they are also monuments of the industry and wisdom of those who have passed on, and definite signs of God's guidance of, and blessing to, the work.

In the first place, consider the buildings and other property erected and owned by the missionary societies and utilized for the maintenance and furtherance of their work in that land.

Few people realize the enormous store of wealth which is thus treasured in this elaborate mission plant. Nor can they appreciate the equivalent of this in terms of moral efficiency and spiritual power in the regeneration of India.

The thousands of acres of land and the many [pg 301] thousands of substantial edifices erected and dedicated to the cause of Christ in connection with these missions represent an investment of at least ten million dollars; and this money not only represents the generosity of Christians in the West, it also includes the self-denying offerings of Indian Christians, who from their poverty have given liberally to build up the cause which is dear to their hearts.

Mission educational institutions are housed in a legion of substantial and beautiful buildings ranging, from the massive imposing structures of the Madras Christian College, downward; churches there are of all sizes and architectural design, from the magnificent and beautiful stone edifice which accommodates its thousands and which was erected by the Church Missionary Society in Megnanapuram, Tinnevelly, down to the unpretentious prayer-house of a small village congregation. A host of suitable buildings for hospitals, presses and publishing houses, residences for missionaries and native agents, school dormitories, gymnasia and lecture halls; Y. M. C. A. and other societies' buildings—all these represent that power for service, incarnate in brick and mortar, which is invaluable and even indispensable to the great missionary enterprise in that land.

(b) Nor must we overlook or fail to estimate adequately the results achieved in the form of a Christian literature. Though our Protestant missions have not cultivated, as extensively as they should, the press and the publishing house as a missionary agency, they have not been insensible to their power and have utilized extensively the printed page.

In the first place a translated and a well-circulated [pg 302] Bible has been the aim and pride of our missions from the beginning. The humblest native of that land can find, in his own vernacular, the Word of God, and read for himself the message of God in Christ Jesus to his sin-burdened soul. Who can realize the work involved in all this, or the achievement which it represents?

Then the Christian hymnology of India is already a rapidly growing power. Every important vernacular has one or more Protestant Christian hymn books, which reveal to what a large extent our faith has inspired and made vocal the praises of Zion in that land. Nearly all of these Christian hymns in South India and many in North India are the compositions of native Christians and manifest considerable poetic power and high sentiment. Though many of them are worthy of translation, only two have thus far found place in our American hymn books. One is a Tamil hymn composed by Yesuthasan, catechist, and translated as below by Rev. E. Webb,—

1. Whither with this crushing load
Over Salem's dismal road,
All thy body suffering so,
O, my God where dost thou go?
Whither Jesus goest thou,
Son of God what doest thou,
On this City's dolorous way,
With that cross, O, Sufferer say?
2. Tell me fainting, dying Lord,
Dost thou of Thine own accord
Bear that cross, or did thy foes
'Gainst thy will, that load impose.—Cho.
[pg 303]
3. Patient Sufferer how can I
See thee faint and fall and die,
Pressed and peeled and crushed and ground
By that cross upon thee bound?—Cho.
4. Weary arm and staggering limb,
Visage marred, eyes growing dim,
Tongue all parched, faint at heart,
Bruised and sore in every part!—Cho.
5. Dost thou up to Calvary go,
On that cross in shame and woe,
Malefactors either side
To be nailed and crucified?—Cho.
6. Is it demon thrones to shake,
Death to kill, sin's power to break,
All our ills to put away,
Life to give and endless day?—Cho.

Besides this there is an ever-growing mass of Christian literature in all the vernaculars used by our missions; and this is becoming increasingly available as a power for the uplifting of the people who are, in growing numbers, learning to read. Beyond almost every other appliance for the Christianization of that people there stand high in usefulness and pervasive influence these books, tracts and magazines of the missions; and the aid which they furnish to all Christian workers in that land is beyond computation. Missionaries may go and come, and mission policy may change, but this Christian literature will quietly and mightily work out its own benign results throughout the land, enlightening the people and appealing to the best that is in them.

(c) In like manner the missionary educational institutions, which cover the whole land as a great network, [pg 304] are a noble product of missionary ideals and efforts in the land. They are in themselves an achievement which not only has cost millions of rupees for its creation and maintenance, but is also the product of some of the best thought and highest wisdom of many choice spirits during the last century. These schools constantly furnish to the Christian Church in India, for intellectual upbuilding, for moral guidance and for spiritual regeneration, nearly a half million of the brightest youths of the land. These institutions are the product of a century of endeavour; and it can be truly said that without them the Protestant mission of India would be shorn of much of their power and more of their promise.

In the present organized activity of missions there stands nothing in higher esteem than these institutions for what they have done in the life both of non-Christians and of Christians alike.

(d) In connection with missionary activity in that land one of the most encouraging, as it is also the most monumental, of results, is the large army of well-educated and thoroughly equipped men and women who have been taken from among the people and have been trained and placed as their leaders and guides.

Perhaps 20,000 such (there are 10,550 in South India alone) are at present giving all their time and strength to the spiritual training of the Christian community, to preaching to non-Christians and to the instruction of the young in the schools.

India is to be brought to Christ and his religion, not through the efforts of the foreigner, so much as through the life and activity of men and women of [pg 305] the soil. They are to be the essential factor in the future prevalence and in the character of our faith in India. Therefore it stirs one to deepest emotion to behold this mighty army of native workers, who are praying and working daily in that land for the conversion of their own people and for the upbuilding of the Christian community in all that is characteristic of our faith. As I have been permitted, for years, to train and to send forth into that great harvest field young men to preach the gospel of Christ and to guide the churches and congregations into spiritual truth and life, I have felt that it was the highest and best opportunity that could be granted to any missionary worker in that land. This work of training an adequate spiritual agency is occupying the serious thought of all missions. There are 110 theological seminaries and normal training schools in the country; in these, 4,305 students, of both sexes, are undergoing training.

Many of the agents now employed are men and women qualified to clearly expound the truths of our faith to believers and unbelievers. They are well fortified against attack as rational defenders of Christianity and are prepared to remove doubts which may arise in the minds of sincere inquirers and wavering believers. Not all of them are such as we could wish in intellectual equipment or in strength of character. But the poorest of them are gradually being replaced by better ones; and the intellectual, moral and spiritual tone of the whole force is constantly improving. The ordained native clergy are a body of men who are rapidly growing in efficiency and power. There are 406 of them in South India alone—nearly [pg 306] as many as there are ordained missionaries in the same area.

A comparison, in South India, between this force of 406 native pastors and the 585 native priests of the Romish Church shows how well, relatively, the Protestant Church of South India is supplied; there being one native pastor to every 1,500 of the Protestant community, while the Romish priests are only one to every 2,000 of their community.

Some of these pastors are university graduates, and all are men of good professional training. They are faithful workers and are increasingly worthy, and enjoy the confidence, of their missionary associates. Among the native agents of our Protestant missions in South India alone there are about 100 university graduates, 200 First in Arts (the degree granted after two years of college work) and 600 university matriculates. This thorough utilization of a strong, cultured, native agency is one of the most striking results of the last century's work in that land. And it is the more remarkable in the case of the women, since a generation ago hardly any of the weaker sex were in mission employ, while today the missions of South India alone employ 3,000 of them. It is practically the creation of a mighty and most faithful and devoted agency in one generation.

What may we not expect from this great army of native brethren and sisters, as they shall continue to grow in numbers and in general equipment, and as they shall be filled with the Spirit of God and be fully used by our Lord in the redemption of their own people!

[pg 307]

2. The Native Christian Community.

Recent statistics give the total number of Christians in British India as 2,923,349. This is a growth of about 640,000 in ten years, four times more than the rate of growth of the whole population. And yet there are people who tell us that the kingdom of our Lord is not coming in that land!


Total of all denominations 2,923,349
European and other races 258,990
Natives 2,664,359

Total Returned. Natives.

Anglican 453,612 305,907
Baptist 220,863 216,743
Congregationalist 37,876 37,313
Lutheran and allied denominations 155,455 153,768
Methodist 76,869 68,451
Presbyterian 53,829 42,799
Friends 1,309 1,275
Roman Catholic 1,202,039 1,122,378
Salvationist 18,960 18,847
Syrian 571,327 571,320
Scattering 131,210 125,558

Of the above number of Christians 2,664,359 are natives of India. This is an increase of over 630,000, or about thirty-one per cent, of Indian Christians during the last decade. And during this time the general population of India has increased only about two and one-half per cent.! Analyzing this aggregate of all Christians we find that 970,000 of them are native Protestant Christians. This represents an advance of sixty-four per cent, during the last ten years in that community; while the Romish and Syrian [pg 308] native Christian communities have gained hardly three per cent, in the same time. Thus it will be seen that the rapid progress of our faith in that land of the East depends almost entirely upon the remarkable advance of Protestantism among the people of India. This is certainly a result most encouraging to Protestant Christian workers in that land. That this decade's growth is not abnormal is attested by the fact that the native Protestant Christians of India are more than ten times what they were fifty years ago.

In view of the fact that the whole Christian community of India is only one per cent, of the total population, one may be inclined to feel discouraged. And yet if the relative growth of the whole population and, say, of the Protestant Christian community for the last decade be maintained for one hundred and thirty years more, the whole population will be found Christian of the Protestant type.

These figures indicate the magnificent development of our work in that land. And when we remember the splendid equipment and wonderful modern appliances of the missionary organizations of today we can easily believe that, even within another century, Christianity will become the prevailing faith of India.

A large number, in our Christian community, has been gathered through mass movements, where certain castes and classes have, in large bodies, sought the blessings of our faith. In Tinnevelly, for instance, the Shanar caste was early influenced by Christian workers; and, as they are a very clannish community, many thousands of them have embraced the Christian faith and have been wonderfully transformed and elevated through their contact with it.

[pg 309]

One of the most marvellous manifestations of the power of the Gospel is presented today in that district by this people, who, under missionary influence and Christian training, have risen from great depths of ignorance and social degradation until they stand among the highest of that land in intelligence and in the spirit of progress. Most of the Christians of Tinnevelly belong to this once despised class and are, in many respects, full of vigour and enterprise.

In the famous Telegu Baptist Mission we find a similar movement. That American Mission laboured for twenty-five years without much encouragement. After those years the outcastes of the community began to appreciate the advantages of our faith and to apply for admission into its congregations. It gathered them in by thousands until it has become by far the largest mission in the country. It represents nearly one quarter of the whole Protestant Christian community of India.

During the last few years a similar movement has overtaken the American Methodist, and other missions in North India. Many thousands of the depressed classes, within its area, have sought a refuge from their ills and a Saviour for their souls in the Christian fold; so that it taxes all the energies and resources of the mission to keep pace with the movement and to instruct adequately, in Christian truth, these ignorant masses who flock unto it. Bishop Thoburn says that more than 100,000 of this class are now waiting to be received into their community; but that their mission has not the men or means to instruct them.

In other missions, also, reports are being received [pg 310] of similar movements now going forward on a smaller scale. Some missionaries of these fields have written to me stating that the only limit to the growth and development of their missions is that of men and money wherewith to instruct and properly direct the people who come seeking for light and help.13

In the great majority of missions, however, growth has been general and normal; people have come as individuals and as families, separating themselves, after much thought and prayer, from those who are dearest to them upon earth, and passing through a sea of tribulation and persecution into the Christian life.

It has been claimed by Hindus, and by some others, that Hinduism is a tolerant faith—that it does not resort to persecution. In one respect this is true. As we have before seen, it will permit its members to hold any doctrine and to accept any teaching that they please. It has no punishment nor even a voice of disapprobation to its member who is a rationalist, an atheist, or a Christian so far as acceptance of such belief or non-belief is concerned. And, so far as conduct is concerned, a man may be a libertine, a robber or a murderer, and yet maintain his religious status. But when it comes to the violation of caste rules it is very different. Hinduism will tolerate anything but caste insubordination. So that when a man, in becoming a Christian, severs his connection with his caste and becomes, socially, an alien to his people, then Hinduism steps in and brings to bear [pg 311] upon him all the bitter penalties of caste infliction, and persecutes him in a thousand social ways such as make life a burden unto him. The engine of caste is the most complete and mighty instrument of religious persecution the world has known, as many thousands of our native Christians have learned to their bitter cost.

When a man decides to become a Christian there is very little opposition to this purpose among his people so long as his decision involves only his belief, conviction and private devotion and prayer. But when it leads him to a public confession of Christ and to baptism, which is regarded as his renunciation of caste rules, affinities and obligations, then all the spite of caste tyranny is showered upon him. He is boycotted thoroughly. None of his caste people, not even his own Hindu family, will eat with him. The family and caste washerman is no longer permitted to serve him; their barber will not shave him, and the blacksmith, carpenter, mason and other village servants decline to render him their wonted service. So that he is absolutely helpless. It requires a very strong man to face all this kind of annoyance and deprivation, and to stand firm in the new life upon which he has entered and continue loyal to the new faith which he has embraced.

It must be admitted that such rigours of persecution are not carried out in all cases at present. Though this is the spirit and method of caste, yet the influence of home ties and family affection and the social position and influence of a new convert may be such as to mitigate this public opposition to his Christian decision. But the engine of persecution is there, always ready for use.

[pg 312]

The question has often been asked as to the motives which animated those of our Christian community who denied their ancestral faith in order to become Christians. In this land many have an idea, in some cases expressed but in many unexpressed, that most of the Christian converts in India are what are denominated “rice Christians.” This charge against the adherents of our faith in that land is as unworthy as it is untrue. That some embrace our religion and take upon them the name of Christ from unworthy motives we know—perhaps this is a thing not confined to India. But it has always been a surprise to me, not that so many, but that so few, join our missions from worldly or unworthy motives. For they soon learn that the missionary of their district is a friend of the poor and the oppressed; and they are constantly suffering from the injustice and the rapacity of Brahmans and of other members of their own faith who are above them. Outside of slavery there are few people who are subject to grosser injustice at the hand of men of wealth and of power than are the poor, down-trodden people of India.

Most of them are also groaning in the deepest pit of poverty. Poverty is a relative term. As compared with India, America knows absolutely no poverty. The poverty of India is crushing, over-whelming. When we remember that according to government statistics, the average income of a man for the support of his family in India is less than $1.50 a month we get a glimpse of what abject poverty means.

And when we further remember that, during many months and seasons of his life, even this is partly [pg 313] denied him, owing to frequent droughts and other unpreventable evils, we know in part how an unsatisfied craving, and pinching distress overwhelm a large proportion of that population. Government statistics show that one-fifth of the population are in a chronic state of hunger.

And yet I heartily bear testimony that comparatively few of our people have become Christians in order that they might receive physical and temporal blessings. We dare not say that this motive does not exist; but we are confident that in three-fourths of our converts it is not the prevailing or the dominant motive. There is a soul-hungering and a heart-thirsting in India such as are not in any way satisfied by their ancestral faith. And Christianity appeals to the people increasingly as a soul-satisfier and as a power of God unto salvation; and they more and more realize this fact and are impelled more by that motive than by any other in transferring their allegiance from Krishna to Christ.

And even when some do come with prevailingly low and sordid motives and seek to be enrolled as members of the Christian community, we dare not discourage or deny them; because we hope soon, after they have united with our community and have placed themselves under Christian instruction, to impart to them loftier conceptions of life and of truth. And even should we fail to reform them and to give them worthy views of our religion and of their relationship to it, we entertain the hope that their children will become worthy and genuine Christians. Many of the best and most honoured members of our community, today, are the children and grandchildren [pg 314] of very unsatisfactory Christians of the past.

I might say here that missionaries are being frightened less and less by the charges so frequently made, by those who know the situation least, concerning the unworthy motives of those who become Christians. Indeed, to be frank, the question of motives is, in my opinion, one of very little consequence, save as it may involve down-right hypocrisy or gross deception.

Ordinarily we do not expect, from a people who have been brought up in so selfish and so debasing and sordid an atmosphere as that of the common Hindu of today, a highly spiritual, or a purely ethical motive in becoming Christians. If such be the prevailing motive, or even if we are convinced that it is not absent, we are satisfied. Nor can there be anything wrong if a man in India seeks alliance with Christianity in order to better his earthly circumstances. This may mean a purpose to secure an education and the blessings of civilization and culture for his children; or it may reveal a desire for relief from injustice, or protection from gross tyranny; it may signify merely a vague hope that, by becoming a Christian, the general circumstances both of himself and family will be improved. There is nothing intrinsically evil in any of these ambitions nor in seeking Christian affiliation largely with a view to obtaining these, provided always that there is also a conviction of the moral and spiritual excellence of our faith and of its ability to satisfy the soul's need. And this we may generally assume in a man who voluntarily severs his connection with the faith of [pg 315] his ancestors, and from a religion which was a part of his own deepest life.

Nor should the deep ignorance of many of those who become Christians lead us hastily to conclude that, because they know so little about our faith, they therefore are unable to appreciate or enjoy any of its spiritual blessings. I have often been surprised to see how many very ignorant Christians, and those who greatly try our patience at times, both by their stupidity and their crooked lives, nevertheless often reveal beautiful touches of a genuine faith and of a most direct and simple trust; and they stand nobly firm under the most trying and worrying persecution which Hinduism knows too well how to inflict upon those who desert and deny it.

It has often been charged, with a view to discredit missionary effort in India, that the converts gathered into the Christian fold have been from the lowest social stratum, and not from the higher and ruling classes of society. Even if this charge were entirely true, I can see in it nothing reflecting upon the success of our cause in that land.

It has, indeed, in all ages and lands, been the normal process of Christian conquest, to gather in the lower classes first. It is not by filtering downward but by leavening upward that Christianity has been wont to enter and to transform nations. As this was the initial method in apostolic days, so has it continued through all the history of the Church. It has been by the weak and despised things of the world that our Lord has brought to nought and then won the mighty. It is so in India. Perhaps three-fourths of the native Christians of that land are from [pg 316] the non-Aryan community—from the aboriginal classes over whom the sway of Hinduism is less complete than it is over the Aryan races. This is doubtless one reason why two-thirds of all the Christians of India are found in Southern India—among the Dravidians, who, as we have seen, are more the children of Demonolatry than they are of Brahmanism. And yet, let it not be supposed that the Turanians of the South are far inferior to the Aryans of the North; or that the salvation of the so-called “aborigines” of India, of whom there are more than sixty millions, is unworthy of our highest ambition.

Neither let it be thought that Christianity has not made glorious inroad upon the middle classes and even upon the highest class in that land—the Brahmans. It is true that, thus far, not very many of that high and haughty caste have openly professed Christ. It is equally true, however, that some of the best members of our Christian community are converted Brahmans. The Indian Christian community is proud of such men as the Hon. Kali Churn Bannerjee, Dr. K. M. Bannerjee, Rev. K. C. Chatterjee, Rae Maya Das and the Hon. N. Subramanien, not because they were Brahmans, but because they have consecrated to the Lord all their distinguished ability, and because they excel in their possession of Christian graces.

These names, and many others like them, reveal the growing power that our faith is wielding over men of position in that land. At the coronation of King Edward, in London, twenty representatives of the Indian Christian Church were present. Of these, six are ruling princes; perhaps the most distinguished [pg 317] of them is Sir Harnam Singh Ahluwalia, K. C. I. E. He is a man of culture—“a true representative of educated India.”

He was entrusted by the Indian Christians to convey their address to the king upon the occasion of his coronation. Sir Harnam Singh's usefulness and success largely depend upon the support, which he receives, in all good things, from his wife, Lady Singh, who is the daughter of Rev. Golak Nath.

The devout Henry Martyn, nearly a century ago, with mingled discouragement and yearning, declared that to see one Hindu a real believer in Jesus would be something more nearly approaching the resurrection of a dead body than anything he had yet seen. The illustrious Jesuit missionary, the Abbe Du Bois, mourned that, even after a long period of faithful work, he believed he had seen no genuine convert to Christianity in that land. How would those two great friends of India rejoice today were they to see the glorious harvest which Christianity has been permitted to gather during the last century from that great people! And among the best of them are to be seen not a few representatives of the haughty Brahman caste and also members of the crushed and despised outcaste Pariah community.

It is well to remember that it has been the ambition of missionaries in India, not so much to gather in numerous accessions from the social and intellectual aristocracy of the land, as to create out of the Indian Christian community, however degraded may have been its origin, an aristocracy of character and of true culture. And in this they have achieved remarkable [pg 318] success. For the native Christian community is being most rapidly transformed in these respects. Remember, please, the condition, previous to their embracing our faith, of those outcaste people who now constitute three-fourths of the Christian community. They were not only socially ostracized, and therefore wanting in all traits of manly assertion, of independence and of self-respect. They were also in deepest ignorance. Not five per cent, of them could either read or write. Moreover they were under serious religious disability. Though nominal Hindus, they had no right to enter purely Hindu temples nor to approach in worship any strictly Hindu deity. The most sacred of Hindu religious books were denied them, and the most cherished of Hindu rites and ceremonies they were deemed totally unfit to observe.

All that they could claim was permission to appease the demons of their ancestral worship. I have seen these outcastes, who, while absorbed into Hinduism, nevertheless live constantly under its ban. They erect fine halls and shrines in Brahmanical temples, but are not permitted to enter them after the day of their dedication to Hindu worship. Hinduism has never declined any pecuniary offerings from these despised ones; and yet it has never deemed it its province or duty to impart its religious blessings to them. It has denied to them instruction, comfort and salvation. Is it a wonder that most of the people were almost on a level with brutes so far as thoughts of the highest interests of the soul are concerned? These are the people whom Christianity has delighted to rescue from their [pg 319] thralldom and to build up in religious thought, ambition and spiritual blessings.

It has applied itself to the task of raising them from their low estate. It has erected buildings for their instruction. In most cases its prayer-houses have been daily used as schoolhouses where the young have been instructed; so that today this community stands distinguished among the other communities in the land for its intelligence.

For example, the total number of Christian youth in mission schools in South India is 62,000—two-thirds of them being boys and one-third girls, which represents a percentage to the total of school-going-age of 68.7 for boys and 33.7 for girls; and this while, in the general community, only twelve per cent, of those who are of an age to be at school are attending school. Among the Brahmans only is literacy more common than among Indian Christians. And even that caste, which has for thirty centuries represented the cultured aristocracy of India, must look to its laurels; for, though their males are preëminent in culture, the females are as illiterate as any class in India, only six in 1,000 being able to read. In the Christian community, on the other hand, the women are not far behind the men in the race for culture. It is therefore not difficult to prophesy that the day is not far off when the Indian Christians, among whom both sexes find equal opportunity and inducement to study in the schools, will outstrip the Brahmans and stand preëminent as the educated and cultured class of India.

This is as true in the higher as in the lower grades of education. There are today living 418 native [pg 320] Christian graduates of the Madras University. Last year twenty-seven of these Christian youth received the B. A. degree in that Presidency alone, and the only three Indian ladies who have seized the difficult and much coveted prize of Master of Arts from that University are Christians. These facts are significant and reveal the marvellous progress made by this once despised community.

As to the character of these Christians the testimony of Sir Alexander Mackensie, a distinguished Anglo Indian statesman of large experience, may be of interest:—“The advance made (in missions) during my time,” he says, “have been substantial and encouraging, and it is my firm belief that the day-spring of still better things is very close at hand, while the simple faith and godly lives of many native Christians, might put all, or most of us certainly, to the blush.”

It may be well to add emphasis here to the position of woman in the native Christian community as a direct result of mission endeavour in that land.

The new womanhood of the infant native Christian community has begun to impress itself upon the land. There are nearly five hundred thousand women and girls connected with the Protestant missions of that country today. They are being trained for, and introduced to, new spheres and opportunities such as the women of India never dreamed of before. Thousands of them are engaged as teachers and as Bible women. Some practice medicine; others adorn and cheer the homes, beautify the lives and strengthen the work of pastors and preachers, of teachers, doctors and other professional [pg 321] men. They grow into the full bloom of womanhood before they leave their school training; and they go forth well equipped intellectually, morally and spiritually for the manifold duties of life.

The last few years have not only helped the Christian women of the land, as a class, they have also brought into distinction many of them who are worthy to stand among the eminent women of the age and world.

The first of these, both on account of the remarkable career which she has led and of the noble work which she is performing, is the well-known Pundita Ramabai. Herself a Brahman widow, who lost her father in the tender years of childhood and who subsequently entered into the joys and blessed power of a Christian life, she dedicated herself to the work of redeeming her unfortunate Hindu sisters from their sad lot. To this noble work of philanthropy and of heroic Christian service she has given herself absolutely; and through distinguished administrative skill and a triumphant faith she has achieved marvellous success. Beside her well-known institution for child-widows at Poonah—the Sharada Sadan, which the writer visited and greatly admired—the recent famine inspired her to a new effort to save the waifs and orphans of that region. So that, today, she has under her care more than two thousand of the unfortunate ones of her own sex whom she is not only protecting and wisely training for worthy positions in life, but is also bringing forward into the joys of a true Christian life. Few women, in any land, have found a more useful, or more honourable, career than this noble woman of the East. She combines, in a [pg 322] rare degree, large capacity for work, the highest sanity in her methods and the deepest love for those whom she has given her life to bless.

The Sorabjis, also of Western India, have achieved distinction beyond most native Christian families. Mr. Sorabji was one of the few Parsees who have embraced Christianity. One of the daughters of the family, the widow of an Englishman, lives in London and has delighted the Queen by her exquisite rendering of Persian songs. One sister is an artist, whose paintings are exhibited in Paris and London. One is a surgeon of distinction. It was another daughter of this family who was the only representative of her sex from the Orient at the Parliament of Religions in Chicago. The most distinguished of these seven sisters is Cornelia Sorabji, the barrister. Her graduating paper on “Roman Law,” at Oxford, was classed among the best papers produced by the pupils of that famous institution. She is the first lady barrister of India, and is not only a powerful advocate, but also a brilliant writer, as her book and her articles on the woman question in “The Nineteenth Century” amply testify.

Toru Dutt, of Calcutta, one of the brilliant young stars of India, was versed in French, German and English. At twenty-one she published “A Sheaf Gleaned in French Fields.” It is a skillful and able English translation of the works of famous French authors. She and her sister, Aru, were remarkably talented. It is sad that she, who was so full of intellectual brightness and so beautiful in Christian life, should have been taken away by death in the bloom of life.

Miss Goreh is the only Indian Christian who has [pg 323] thus far added to our popular English hymnology. Her beautiful hymn:

“In the secret of His presence how my soul delights to hide;
Oh, how precious are the moments which I spend at Jesus' side.
Earthly cares can never reach me, neither trials bring me low;
For when Satan comes to tempt me to the Secret Place I go,”—

has been a blessing to many in this land of ours.

Mrs. Sattianathan of Madras (the wife of a distinguished Indian Christian) was another bright young woman who showed marked evidence of talent as an English writer. Her books, descriptive of the life both of Hindu and of Indian Christian women, have had deservedly large popularity. They created in many of her friends a hope for even greater results from her. But, alas, these hopes were soon shattered by her sad and premature death.

The second Mrs. Sattianathan, herself an M. A. of the Madras University, has entered upon a brilliant career as a writer, and has established the first English monthly magazine for her Indian sisters—a magazine which is full of attractiveness and promise.

These ladies are only a few of those who illustrate the ability, devotion, beauty and promise of the women of India. Such are preëminently the hope of that country.

It was while looking upon one of these Indian Christian ladies that the late Benjamin Harrison, Ex-President of the United States, remarked that if he had spent a million dollars for missions and had seen, as a result of his offering, only one such convert as Miss Singh he would still have considered his offering a most profitable investment.

[pg 324]

These women are creating their own opportunities and will, ere long, achieve much in all the ranks of life and especially in their own peculiar sphere of womanly activity and influence. Woman will do more for the progress and development of the country than the sterner sex, as she has hitherto done more than he to conserve and dignify the past. And it is safe to conclude that the womanhood of India will discover its chief glory as it now finds its largest opportunity in Christianity. And I may add that the mission of Christianity to, and in behalf of, the women of that land may almost be called its chief mission, as the results which it has achieved, and will yet achieve, in this line, will constitute its chief glory.

At large centres the Indian Christian community is already beginning to feel its power and is organizing in behalf of its own highest interest.

The “Madras Native Christian Association” is perhaps the strongest organization of the community. It unites hundreds of the best members and gives them a corporate existence and furnishes opportunity to render articulate the ideals, ambitions and needs of the Christian community. It has recently undertaken several enterprises of importance, such as The Twentieth Century Enterprise and the Indian Christian Industrial Exhibition. It discusses, with much sanity, the most serious problems of the community and creates a worthy sentiment which will increasingly spread until it reaches the remotest parts of the country.

All this tends to show that the community is growing conscious both of its strength, its responsibility and its opportunity.

Rev. S. Sattianatha, LL.D.
Rev. S. Sattianatha, LL.D.

Mrs. S. Kruba Sattianatha.
Mrs. S. Kruba Sattianatha.
[pg 325]

For the furtherance of this purpose weekly and monthly magazines, both in the English language and in the vernaculars, are being conducted by them. The Christian Patriot, the best organ of the community, is published in Madras, is conducted with much ability and represents the best sentiments of its constituents. It has done much to develop the consciousness of life and power in the community and has always urged worthy ideals upon its readers.

The seriousness with which all the native Christians of India regard their calling and the gratitude with which they enjoy their faith is clearly attested by their offerings.

Perhaps nothing can render more satisfactory reply to those who charge the native Christians with worldly motives than to show how far they deny themselves in behalf of their faith. In other words the benevolence and offerings of the native Christians may be taken as a fair test of their sincerity and of their spiritual appreciation. It is a good test in any land. I have said that they are very poor. A few years ago I investigated carefully the economic conditions of the most prosperous and largest village congregation of the Madura Mission. I discovered that five rupees (that is $1.66) was the average monthly income of each family of that congregation. And that meant only thirty-three cents a month for the support of each member of a family! We have congregations whose income is less than this. And yet, the Christians of that mission contributed over two rupees (seventy-five cents) per church member as their offering for 1900. For all the Protestant Missions of South India the average offering per church member during [pg 326] 1900 was one rupee and nine annas (fifty-two cents). For South India this represented an aggregate sum of R 248,852 ($85,000) or about seven and one-half per cent, of the total sum expended in the missions during that year. An American can easily realize how much this offering is as an absolute gift; but he cannot realize how much of self-denial it means to that very poor people; nor how large an offering it is as related to the best offerings of our home churches today. If our American Christians contributed for the cause of Christ a percentage of their income equal to that of the native Christians of India they would quadruple their benevolence. And if, in relation to their income, the Christians of India contribute four times as much as the Christians of America, in relation to their real ability, after supplying the most primitive needs of their bodies, they contribute a hundred times more than do their brothers and sisters in this great land of luxury and abundance. Who in America, today, in contributing to the cause of Christ, denies himself a convenience or a comfort; yea more, who on that account fails to meet the craving of bodily appetite? And yet there are many Christians in India who suffer in both these respects in order that they may add the widow's mite to the treasury of the Church and their loving offering to advance the Kingdom of the Lord.

In this way the infant Christian Church of India, in its poverty of this world's goods, is revealing a wealth of spirit and a richness of purpose such as are worthy of emulation in Christian lands today.

The organized effort of the Indian Church for self-extension is rapidly multiplying. Every endeavour [pg 327] is put forth to train them out of that spirit of dependence which is one of the necessary evils incident to modern missions.

In nearly all well organized missions in India are found, as we have already seen, Home Missionary Societies, which are conducted and maintained by the people, and which constantly direct their thoughts to their privilege to further the cause of Christ in their own land and among their own people.

Work by the young for the young, also, is being conducted with increasing prevalence, zeal and success throughout the land.

Indeed, all departments of a healthful, normal life and activity are vigorously prosecuted on mission territory with a view to imparting to the Christians, not only a knowledge of the highest type of Christian altruism, but also for the purpose of making them partakers of the same.

And the Indian Christian community at present, notwithstanding all its faults and weaknesses, which I would not conceal, furnishes us much encouragement as a product of past effort and as a growing power which is to be used by God in the speedy upbuilding of his Kingdom in that great land of the East.

There are, indeed, not many forms of organized Christian activity conducted by Indian Christians themselves—apart from Western missions. There are some, however, which are worthy of note and commendation. Such are Pandita Ramabai's Mukti Mission for Widows; Miss Chuckerbutty's flourishing Orphanages; Mrs. Sorabji's High School for Women; the Gopalgange Mission started by the Rev. [pg 328] M. N. Bose, and Dr. P. B. Keskar's Orphanage and Industrial School at Sholapur.

Recently a novel enterprise was inaugurated in the American Mission, Jaffna, Ceylon, in the form of a Foreign Missionary Society, which sends forth, to a region in Southern India, its missionaries to carry the gospel of Christ to the non-Christians of that place. It is chiefly conducted and supported by the young people of the mission and is prophetic of a movement which will, ere long, spring up throughout India as a result of a growing sense of responsibility and opportunity among the Christians of that land.

It is with no spirit of boasting that I wish to dwell upon the share which America has had in producing these results. Other people have done in some respects, better than we. But there is no doubt that India is much influenced by our land. America has, for a century, lavishly given her sons and daughters and expended her wealth for the salvation of India. Her sacrifices have not been in vain. None have found more hearty response among that people than the American Missions. Among the many Protestant Missions now at work in that Peninsula less than one-fourth are American; and, yet in connection with these missions have been gathered and are found nearly one-half of all of the Protestant Christians of that land. In South India the mission which has found much the largest success in gathering converts is an American Mission. In North India, again, one of our missions stands preëminent in the multitude of its Christians, and another, in the excellence of its educational power and leavening influence. In Western India, also, America stands first in the acknowledged [pg 329] power and preëminence of one of its missions.

In the organized movements for the young, America again stands conspicuous in that land. As we study the wonderful activity exercised by Protestant Christianity in behalf of India's youth, we are at once impressed by the leadership of American workers as we are by the American methods used.

The finest Y. M. C. A. building in the Orient is mostly American, both in conception and in the organized energy and princely offering which made it possible. It stands today in the city of Madras, as one of the noblest and the most beautiful tributes of western Christian enterprise to that great land.

The only theological seminary which has been adequately endowed for the training of Protestant Christian workers in India, is an American one.

Perhaps the best, because the most sane and enterprising, Christian weekly newspaper in the land is American.

The only Quarterly Review conducted in that land by Protestant Christians was founded by an American.

And, in the same line, it is interesting to note that American presses and publishing houses are multiplying and are exercising an ever-widening influence in the redemption of that country.

So largely have all these American agencies been used for the furtherance of Christian truth and light; and so much have they been welcomed and appropriated by the people, that it may well be spoken of as “an American Invasion.”

The Bishop of Newcastle, England, referred to this in his last annual sermon. “So far,” he says, “has [pg 330] America realized the need of winning India to Christ that a hundred years hence, if the last thirty years' proportion continue, India will owe its Christianity more to America than to Great Britain and Ireland combined.” These words are no less significant in their truthfulness than generous in their appreciation. England has been entrusted with the work of leading that great people of the Orient, politically and socially, into a larger and higher life. This, by a strange Providence, has been entrusted to her in consequence of her conquest of that people seven thousand miles away and seven times her own population. So also has America been favoured with a fair share of opportunity and of influence as the moral supporter of England in this unique and unprecedented work. And, while England by the nature of her compact, or conquest, is somewhat handicapped in this task, so far as her religious influence upon the people is concerned, America has free access and ample entrance into the heart of the community because of her disinterested and unrestrained relationship to them.

Her voice to India has always been the voice of a constraining altruism. All her endeavours in that land have been the outgoings of a world-wide philanthropy and of Christian self-denial. Therefore, she has been free and unencumbered in all her ambitions for the uplifting of that people; and she has found the heartiest response and warmest appreciation from those whom she has sought to bless. Consequently, that noble band of 1,000 of her sons and daughters, who are today giving themselves to the salvation of India; and the one million dollars [pg 331] sent forth annually to maintain her work in that land, are fruitful in the highest good and in the richest result in all parts of the land.

While all this means a great achievement, it means also, and preëminently, a stirring opportunity. The widest door of opportunity is open to America among her antipodes in that historic land. Christian effort can nowhere else find heartier welcome or results more encouraging and telling in the great gathering of eastern nations into the Kingdom of our Lord.

[pg 332]

Chapter XI.

Missionary Results—(Continued)

1. The Leaven of Christianity.

Our Lord compared his Kingdom to the mustard seed which grew into a tree. This wonderful growth and development of his Kingdom we considered in the last chapter. He compared it also to the leaven which was placed in the meal and which leavened the whole lump. We shall now consider the leavening or assimilating work of his Kingdom as at present witnessed in India.

If a man were to ask me, “wherein do you find the most encouragement as a Christian worker in India?” I would doubtless reply:—not in the Church and community gathered by the missions, but outside of the Christian fold, in the institutions, and among the non-Christians, of the land. It is not in the fields already harvested (though much of joy and promise we certainly find there), but in the fields whitening for the harvest, that we see the largest hope for the ultimate conquest of that great people by Christ.

There are in India, at present, a thousand results, movements and tendencies which, to the thoughtful, watchful, Christian worker, bespeak the rapid coming of the Kingdom of Christ, even though their testimony is not heard through mission statistical [pg 333] tables, and though their activity is found mostly outside the visible pale of the Church.

I appreciate the fact that, when we begin to consider these results which lie outside the life and organization of the Christian community, we need much discernment and discrimination, lest we ascribe to Christianity alone an influence and an efficiency which it only shares with Western thought and civilization. But it is not only impossible to separate these forces, in our endeavour to estimate the share of each in the results achieved; western thought and civilization, both in their origin and development, are themselves as much the product as they are the expression of Christianity; so that we need not hesitate much in ascribing to our faith all the results which the combined energy of these have produced in that land.

Another discrimination is here necessary. In the last chapter we dwelt, almost exclusively, upon Protestant missionary activity and results. These we were able to measure chiefly through the concentrated activity and published statistical reports of Protestant Missions. But, in considering the more indirect and general results there achieved we must not forget that they must be ascribed to all the Christian agencies at work in that land. I believe that Protestant Christianity is much the largest Christian power among all the forces that make for the redemption of India. And yet it would be presumptuous and unjust not to recognize the strenuous activity and pervasive influence of Roman Catholicism in the land. I am convinced that that great historic Church, with all its errors and false methods, is [pg 334] nevertheless a positive and a mighty power in the dissemination of Christian thought and principles in India. In the results which I am about to mention, this and all other Christian agencies have had their share.

Some of these activities, indeed, seem to come directly from none of the organized agencies of Christianity in the land. But they are only apparently so. They are among the thousand subtle influences which work in a quiet way in the minds and life of the people and which suddenly, from time to time, break upon our sight through their results. An illustration of this kind occurred not long ago. It is said that one of the vernacular versions of the Gospels accidentally fell into the hands of a Mohammedan Moulvi, or teacher, in North India. It had been prepared and published by the Bible Society. The Mussulman read the book with eagerness, chiefly with a view to find new arguments against the divinity of our Lord and the heavenly source of our faith. But, as he read, he was so impressed with the wonderful narrative and the unique beauty of the character of our Lord, that he surrendered himself to him as his Saviour and found in him peace and rest. Sometime later he met a Hindu fakir, named Chet Ram, who was earnestly in search of the truth. The Mohammedan convert joyfully told him of his newly found Saviour and gave him his copy of the New Testament that he might find for himself the same blessing. The Holy Spirit carried the Gospel message of life into his heart also, and he accepted Christ and at once began to preach him unto his friends and neighbours. This work he performed faithfully; and [pg 335] he gathered around himself many who accepted his following, short creed;—“I believe in Jesus Christ the Son of Mary and in the Holy Ghost and in the Father to whom prayer should be made and in the Bible through which salvation is to be received.” Chet Ram died some time ago; but there are today found, scattered through the villages of North India, thousands of his followers who subscribed to his brief creed and who always carry upon their persons a copy of the Scriptures. So far as I know, these people have never come into contact with Christian workers, but have been led simply through a study of God's Word, under the guidance of God's Spirit, unto Christ the Saviour of the world.

It is one of the most encouraging facts connected with Christian influence in India that one so often and unexpectedly meets its manifestations in individual life and institutions. Suddenly he comes across little streams of influence whose source may be unknown, but which do a great deal towards fertilizing thought and producing a harvest of religious results throughout the land.

The general subject of the influence of the West upon the East has been recently raised in the very interesting and thought-provoking book on “Asia and Europe” by the English writer, Meredith Townsend. He stiffly maintains that the West never has, and, probably, never will, seriously and permanently influence the East in thought and life. While there is a semblance, yea an element, of truth in his contention, so far as the past is concerned, it fails to apply to the India of the present and must fall far wide of the mark in the future. Many years have elapsed [pg 336] since the author of “Asia and Europe” left India; and he is not conversant, at first hand, with the mighty revolution which is taking place there at present. He fails, for one thing, to appreciate the wonderful influence of modern scientific discovery as a unifier of all peoples and as the handmaid of western life and thought and of Christian conquest. I need refer only to one of these modern agencies—the telegraph. The election of Mr. McKinley as president of the United States was known to me in India before it was known to nine-tenths of the population of this land.

The calamity which recently befell Galveston, Texas, was not only known to Hindus, the very next day; the price of cotton went up in South India villages as a consequence of that sad event. The generous offerings recently contributed in America for the famine sufferers in India were actually distributed to them in food the next day after they were offered! Can these things, and a thousand like them, which enter into the every-day transactions of East and West, have no permanent influence upon the relations of these once remote but now neighbouring people? Isolation has everywhere given way to intercourse and mutual dependence; and that means community of life and thought which produces fundamental action and reaction.

Under these new and marvellous conditions the former “mental seclusion of India,” so unduly emphasized by Mr. Townsend, is rapidly yielding and must utterly pass away. It will, however, not pass away simply because of the influence of the West upon the East, but rather because of the mutual action [pg 337] and reaction of East and West. The East will approach the West because, to a large extent, the West will have learned to appreciate, and to draw in sympathy towards, the East. Herein lies the secret of the future oneness, or at least of the communion, of the two great hemispheres.

India is, therefore, in this matter, facing today such conditions as never before existed there; and these are to further considerably the work of revolution which our religion is bringing to pass in that land, and which such pessimists as Mr. Townsend are wont to ignore.

That keen philosopher and high authority upon India, Sir Alfred Lyall, is right in his anticipation when he claims that India “will be carried swiftly through phases which have occupied long stages in the lifetime of other nations.”

Considering, then, the leavening influences and the general results of our faith in that land we shall see them in many institutions and departments of life.

(a) In laws which the government of India has enacted during the last century.

There has been a steady conflict between the enlightened government of the white man and the inhuman customs of the people of that land. The Christian sentiment of the members of the government, and of other Christians outside of that circle, has ever rebelled against and sought to put down the grossest evils which obtain there.

And the fact which we need to emphasize here is that these evils have been directed and protected by Hinduism itself and are an integral part of its ceremonies and teachings. Whenever the government [pg 338] has sought, by legislation, to do away with these inhuman rites and customs it has been bitterly opposed by Hinduism and has been met by a general uprising of its followers against what they have called religious interference and persecution. Thus the suppression of Thuggism was a definite attack upon a religious institution, for the Thuggs never committed a murder, save as a part of their worship of the goddess Bhowanee to whose service they had dedicated themselves and to which the blood of the innocent traveller (as they thought) was the most welcome sacrifice its devotee could offer. Hence the difficulty which faced the government in bringing these religious murders to an end.

Suttee was also regarded as a high type of religious devotion. For the widow to immolate herself upon the funeral pyre of her dead husband was not only the supreme test of wifely devotion, it was also preëminently the highest religious act possible to her; and it brought to her a future bliss which was painted in glowing and attractive colours by the sacred books of her faith. It was not strange, therefore, that the State hesitated, for a long time, to abolish by law this hideous custom, whereby in the year 1817, for instance, two widows were burned daily in the Bengal Presidency alone.

It was in the face of extensive protest and threats by orthodox Hindus that the government abolished it. “Previous to 1857, 150 human sacrifices are said to have been annually offered in Gumsur, a city in East Central India; and the abolition of that horrible custom raised such a storm of opposition among the Hindus that an eight years' war was the result. More [pg 339] than 2,000 victims were rescued from sacrifice and handed over to the care of the missionaries.” In like manner infanticide was encouraged for centuries in the land as an act of religious devotion which was possessed of great efficacy. In the name of religion and with the promise of its highest blessings mothers were led to feed the crocodiles of the sacred Ganges by throwing to them their own infants.

It seems hardly possible that human beings could regard the prohibition of that inhuman and unnatural act as a piece of injustice and an interference with the rights of conscience. And yet it was so regarded!

Not fewer than twenty laws have thus been enacted in that land, during the last century, with a view to putting an end to religious customs which robbed thousands of people, annually, of life itself and deprived many thousands more of the most elementary and inalienable rights of human beings. So it has become penal to do any one of the following things, all of which were regarded as expressions of the highest religious devotion and were committed with the sanction of the ancestral faith and under the inspiration of its benediction: to burn widows; to expose parents to death on the banks of the Ganges; to offer up human sacrifice; to murder children, either by throwing them into the Ganges, or by the Rajpoot secret method of infanticide; to encourage men to throw away their lives under temple cars and in other ways of religious devotion; to encourage various forms of voluntary self-torture and self-mutilation; to outrage girls under a certain age.

How much hath the Spirit of Christ wrought in that land during the century by saving the lives of [pg 340] millions of poor innocent creatures from the ravages of a savage faith and an inhuman religious devotion!

Thus, in India today the laws protect the people, old and young, from the old murderous customs of its religion, and gives a sanctity to life and a protection to the innocent and a check to the mad, suicidal tendency of the religious fanatic, such as India never before knew. And all this has been done in the teeth of their religion and notwithstanding the persistent cries and protests of the religious leaders of the people.

I have already mentioned the fact that the obscene and the impure have in many ways been fostered by that faith, and that the government has thus far been unable to find courage to apply to religious temples, symbols and rites that legislation which it has enacted against the obscene in literature and in the ordinary life of the people. And yet, we are encouraged to find there this anomaly today,—that men, for translating and publishing obscene portions of the Hindu scriptures, have been punished in accordance with this law. The day will, doubtless, soon come, it must come, when this legislation against obscenity will be enforced without exception in favour of temple cars and sacred objects and rites.

In reference to caste observance the State has been more courageous and has absolutely ignored class distinction among its subjects. No one who has not lived in the East can realize how radical and important this policy is in that land of class distinctions based upon religious injunction and revelation. It seemed absurd and unrighteous to that people that the august and sacred Brahman and the unclean and [pg 341] outcaste Pariah should be regarded as equal before the law, and that a pauper should enjoy, with a prince, the same protection and blessings from the State. Regardless of immemorial custom and religious injunction, the government has become the great leveller—it has ignored entirely, in all the rights and privileges which it has to confer, every caste distinction and class privilege and disability which Hinduism had created and sacredly maintained for centuries. And it adheres stiffly to its Christian principle of the equal rights of all its subjects.

(b) Moreover, Hinduism itself is being gradually transformed under the search-light of a present Christianity.

Not only has it been compelled, from without, to give up some of its inhuman practices, it has also voluntarily, from very shame, relinquished some of its grossest evils.

There is a very interesting conflict now going on in Hinduism—between the ultra-conservatives and the progressives. This latter class is composed almost entirely of men who have been educated in mission and government schools, and who have been influenced by Christian light and life.

I do not expect much from a Christianized Hinduism any more than I do from a Hinduized Christianity. And yet we cannot be unmindful of, nor ungrateful for, that growing sense of shame which leads that faith to conceal, if not to abandon entirely, some of its worst crimes against man and to adorn itself in such a way that it may not too violently shock the sensibilities of a people who are living under the growing light of a Christian civilization.

[pg 342]

This is what the ancestral faith of India is now intent upon doing, at least so far as the changing situation compels. The influence of educated Hindus upon the pundits and other religious guides of the land is increasing annually, and is steadily in favour of religious reform and of a broad and enlightened interpretation of Shastraic deliverances upon religious customs. For example, a few years ago, sea voyages were strictly prohibited to all Hindus. No exceptions were allowed and excommunication was the inevitable penalty for the violation of this religious injunction. Today hundreds of Hindus, impelled by an ambition for the best education and for a broad culture, annually travel to England and to other foreign lands. Though some of those men are punished for their temerity in defying this sacred injunction of their faith, it is remarkable how many pundits arise to defend such travel and to reduce the opprobrium which overtakes a sea-travelled man. Indeed, every year adds to the ease with which such a man can avoid punishment for going abroad.

Until recently, Hinduism had no way of reinstating a man who had deserted his ancestral faith and had thereby broken caste. Today this subject is up for discussion, and many of the religious leaders are pointing to passages from their Scriptures which justify such a reinstatement and are showing methods by which it can be effected. In consequence of this not a few back-sliding Christians have recently found an open door to reenter their ancestral faith. This is an important move; but I doubt whether it will cause Christians to lose any converts save those who are [pg 343] not sincere and who would therefore be better outside than within the Christian Church.

A generation ago few Hindus in the villages of the land would fail to defend polytheism and idolatry as an essential part of their faith. At present the Christian preacher, as he travels among these same people, finds universal assent to his declaration concerning the unity of God. I have hardly met one villager in the land who maintains today that there are really “gods many.” Polytheism is not defended but explained away, and idolatry, it is claimed, is only an accommodation—a kind of religious kindergarten—for the sake of the very ignorant, and “for women and children.” But of course, pantheism is the Hindu's conception of the divine unity.

Whenever an educated Hindu defends his faith, in an argument with a Christian, he never quotes as scriptural authority the more recent writings of their faith—the Tantras and Puranas, which are the storehouse of legend and myth, of myriad rites and customs and are the refuge and joy of the orthodox and conservative pandits;—he discards these and falls back upon the most ancient writings, which are the exponents of nature worship and of vedantic philosophy. Or he will extol the Bhagavat Gita, which is an eclectic attempt to unify and approve the conflicting philosophies of Brahmanism.

In these, and in many other ways, Hinduism finds today new presentation and defence. It is not the thing it used to be. And yet in matters of fundamental importance it is and will remain unchanged. In some respects these changes make that ancient faith less vulnerable to attack. In the words of Doctor [pg 344] Robson,—“The influence of Christianity upon Hinduism has been rather to strengthen its rival by forcing it to abandon certain positions which weakened it, and bringing it more into accordance with natural religion. But Hinduism remains the same. The contest is coming to be between the ultimate principles of the two religions, and these are irreconcilable.”14 Yes, it will be a good day for Christianity when the great contest is thus narrowed down, and when the deepest teachings of the two faiths will be placed in clear and simple juxtaposition.

One serious source of danger in this controversy lies in the Neo-Hinduism which interprets Hinduism in the light of Christian truth and modern thought. Hindus formerly maintained that the teachings of Christianity were false. Now they tell us that most of its truths were taught by their own faith even before the Christian era! Through the allegories of their Shastras, and under the guidance of the fertile imagination of that Englishwoman, Mrs. Besant, they find equally the best Christian truth and most recent results of modern scientific discovery taught by their ancient scriptures! Mrs. Besant has even discovered that the ten incarnations of Vishnu are based on strict evolution principles and follow that order.

She claims, indeed, that many of the most recent discoveries in the physical universe were anticipated and promulgated three millenniums ago by Hindu rishis. This of course is a method of insanity which will soon give way to a newer craze. For the present it helps to evade or confuse the issue in certain [pg 345] minds; but as it is in itself a substitution of nonsense for argument and reason it will not long deceive any one, not even the poor Hindu.

And just as, under the present Christian régime, Hinduism is rapidly being transformed, no less truly does the Mohammedan faith undergo change. There is a new Islam arising in India. That faith cannot be preserved in its rigid integrity under the ægis of a Christian government; therefore in India the faith of the great Arabian prophet has undergone marked transformation during the last century and a half. Its religious leaders there are rationalists who scrutinize and criticise the Koran with the boldness of the higher critics of the Bible. They both urge that the Koran has no permanent authority on moral questions, and also insist upon progress in all religious matters.15

This young Mohammedan party of progress have found a vigorous leader in Judge Amir Ali Sahib, a brilliant writer, who hesitates not to explain away or antagonize all those teachings of his faith which lie athwart the path of progress and enlightenment.

He avows, in his book on “The Spirit of Islam,” that his purpose is to assist “the Muslims of India to achieve intellectual and moral regeneration under the auspices of the Great European Power that now holds their destiny in its hands.” “The reformers,” he further writes, “are congratulated that the movement set on foot is conducted under a neutral government.” Thus a Mussulman writer declares that the highest [pg 346] reforms can best be conducted under a Christian government!

All this is illustrative of that leavening influence of our faith as it comes into contact with and permeates the spirit and teaching of these and other religions of that land.

(c) Another marked result of Christianity in that country is seen in the attitude of many thousands of Hindus who live contiguous to the Christian communities found there.

In the first place we see it among the common people. I have already referred to mass movements which have largely helped to strengthen the Christian Church in the past. Those movements have only just begun; they will continue and increase in the land. Day by day Christianity is commending itself to the people in a thousand ways. In times of famine, when the old religious leaders of the people—the Brahmans—render no help and manifest no sympathy, yea more, are as rapacious as ever, the loving sympathy of Christians there and in far off lands, and their outgoing charity and their substantial help to the famine stricken and the suffering—all this does not fall in vain upon the susceptible mind of the people.

This work of Christianity in uniting the world through brotherhood and sympathy seems wonderful to a people who are crushed and robbed by the wretched divisiveness of their own terrible caste system. They recognize also the truth and the life which Christianity presents in contrast with the debasing idolatry and the senseless, all-pervasive ceremonialism which haunt them.

It is not surprising therefore that we see, not only [pg 347] certain mass movements towards our faith but also, on the outskirts of the Christian community in every district, a growing number of doubting, halting ones—those who have done with their ancestral faith and who are attracted by the religion of Christ, but who are so much afraid of the terrible demon, caste, that they dare not openly accept Christ and unite with God's people through baptism. They linger on the outside, hoping for some great tide of influence to come, soon, to carry them, without persecution, into the kingdom. Their attitude of mind is encouraging, and the missionary hopes for the day which will furnish the strength and opportunity for this great host of weak and doubting ones to make its decision for Christ and to enter, in ever-increasing numbers, into His Kingdom.

I have come into daily, close touch with many men and women of this class. They, at the same time, encourage and exasperate one. They give evidence of the strong influence of our faith upon them—they have ceased to visit Hindu temples, they decline to worship the family and tribal gods, they lose no opportunity to denounce the idolatry and superstitions which have debased them, and they always speak to their friends a warm word for Christianity and often attend its meetings in their village. But there they continue to stand. They are the slaves of caste fear and of social inertia. While, however, they stand and wait they often say the word and give the encouragement which enable others to accept Christ openly and to enter the Christian fold.

They are also always glad to send their children to our schools and are willing to have them instructed [pg 348] in the truth and guided into the life of our faith. They often contribute towards the support of Christian pastor or teacher, and in various other ways evince their sympathy and reveal their intellectual assent.

For instance:—In Tinnevelly there is a hall built by such a Hindu to commemorate the late Queen Victoria, in which lectures and entertainments are held. Christian ministers are frequently asked to pray at these gatherings; and former years have witnessed requests by the donor for prayer, from well-known ministers and bishops. Such appreciation of Christian worship is very pleasing, particularly as the proprietor is a member of a committee that has the oversight of nearly 300 Sivite temples in the district.

They also show their appreciation of the medical work of Christian missions. In the city of Madura stands one of the finest hospitals in the country. It is the property of the American Board, but was erected, at an expense of $14,000 by members of the orthodox Hindu community as a monument of their appreciation of the mission physician and of their confidence in the mission and its work.

(d) Another marked feature of the religious life of India, at present, is the existence there of several new cults or religions. They not only add picturesqueness to the religious situation, they also reveal the unrest of the people and their desire for something better than the orthodox faith of their fathers furnishes them.

Sacred Tank In Madura Temple.
Sacred Tank In Madura Temple.

Hospital For Men, American Madura Mission.
Hospital For Men, American Madura Mission.

Having become dissatisfied and disgusted with their ancestral religion, they are striving in every possible way, short of being Christians, to seek for [pg 349] something better and higher. This is what we should expect. In the many schools and colleges of the land the subtle metaphysics of the East is supplanted by the modern philosophy of the West; their own bewildering ancient rules of logic are replaced by the more rational processes of the West. So that every university matriculate and graduate of India is today crammed with ideas, and trained in methods of thinking, which make a belief in practical Hinduism and in much of its philosophy an impossibility, if not an absurdity.

Thus we see in that land today a number of movements and organizations which are a protest against orthodox Hinduism and are carrying the people, in thought and sympathy, from the past to the present, from the old to the new. Most of these movements are merely half-way houses between Hinduism and Christianity. They are with faces more or less turned towards the light and possess the progressive spirit which, in some cases, cannot fail of landing their members, at no distant date in the Christian fold. For instance, we have in western India the Prartanei Somaj (prayer society); in north India the Arya Somaj (Aryan society), and in Bengal the Brahmo Somaj (society of God).

These are healthy movements, away from a general, old-fashioned view of religious things. Take, for example, the Brahmo Somaj. Though not as large in membership as the Arya Somaj it represents more culture and power. Nearly all the members are men of education and of western training, and represent much more influence than their number (4,000) would suggest. Their new faith is an eclecticism. [pg 350] It has adopted a little of Hinduism and of Buddhism and of Mohammedanism and a great deal of Christianity. The movement, especially that progressive branch which was under the leadership of Protab Chunder Mozumdar, is largely Christian in drift and spirit. Mozumdar accepts Christ, though not in the fullness of belief in His divinity or in His atoning work; nevertheless with an amount of appreciation, affection, devotion and loyalty not met even among many Western Christians today. His book on “The Oriental Christ” is full of appreciation and reveals a wonderful knowledge of the eastern Christ from an Eastern standpoint. I shall not be surprised to see the members of this society landing, at an early date, through a full confession of Christ, in membership of the Christian Church.

In the meanwhile it is disappointing to find this organization divided, already, into so many mutually antagonistic sects. It is also a reason for regret that Mozumdar, who is a man of great culture, intelligence and deep spiritually, has recently relinquished the leadership of the movement. Having retired to the Himalayas, he communicates his reasons in these truly oriental, pathetic and pessimistic words:

“Age and sickness get the better of me in these surroundings, I cannot work as I would—contemplation is distracted, concentration disturbed, though I struggle ever so much. These solitudes are hospitable; these breadths, heights and depths are always suggestive. I acquire more spirit with less struggle, hence I retire.

“My thirst for the higher life is growing so unquenchable that I need the time and the grace to [pg 351] reëxamine and purify and reform every part of my existence. The Spirit of God promises me that grace if I am alone. So let me alone.

“The rich are so vain and selfish, the poor are so insolent and mean, that having respect for both I prefer to go away from them.

“The learned think so highly of themselves, the ignorant are so full of hatred and uncharitableness, that having good will for both I prefer to hide myself from all.

“The religious are so exclusive, the sceptical so self-sufficient that it is better to be away from both.

“Where are the dead? Have not they too retired? I wish my acquaintance with the dead should grow, that my communion with them should be spontaneous, perpetual, unceasing. I will invoke them and wait for them in my hermitage.

“What is life? Is it not a fleeting shadow, the graveyard of dead hopes, the battlefield of ghastly competitions, the playground of delusions, separations, cruel changes and disappointments? I have had enough of these. And now with the kindliest love for all, I must prepare and sanctify myself for the great Beyond, where there is solution for so many problems, and consolation for so many troubles....”

This seems an unworthy ending to a very worthy life. And yet a movement which has created two such men as Chunder Sen and Protab Mozumdar is a compliment to Christianity and has a mission before it. But it must undergo many changes ere it can exercise a commanding influence in the land.

A much more popular movement is the Arya [pg 352] Somaj. The recent census reports 40,000 members of this organization. If Brahmo Somaj represents the working of that Hindu mind which has been imbued with European culture and Christian thought towards a solution of its religious doubts and problems; the Arya Somaj represents a strong Theistic movement springing forth out of Hinduism itself. This latter movement is possessed of unwonted vigour and has a future before it. The founder of this Somaj was Dyanand Sarasvati, a Brahman who was born about the year 1825. He was a man of much thought and of deep religious interest. He was entirely ignorant of the English language. He broke with orthodox Hinduism after reading the Christian Scriptures. And yet he also attacked the character of Jesus. He accepted the Hindu Vedas as Scriptures, but interpreted them so freely that he was able to find in them all that he desired of religious reform. He vigorously opposed caste.

The following are some of the principles of the Arya Somaj:

1. God is the primary source of all true knowledge.

2. God is perfect in all His attributes and should be worshipped.

3. The Vedas are the books of true knowledge.

4. The caste system is a human invention and is evil.

5. Early marriage is prohibited.

The movement has assumed the aspect of a sect of Hinduism. But some of its fundamental contentions are so directly antagonistic to most cherished institutions of Hinduism that it is a mighty disintegrator of that religion in the land.

[pg 353]

It must be confessed that the Arya Somaj is, in its present spirit, anti-Christian. It champions the cause of home religion in the East as against the aggression of the great rival, Christianity. But the teachers of our faith in India find encouragement equally in the hostility of this movement and in its coöperation in a common attack upon modern Hinduism. Any movement, that effectively calls the attention of the people to the weakness and defects of its ancestral religion, cannot fail, in that very process, to invite their attention to the claims of its rival, Christianity.

The chief function of all these movements is to reveal the general religious interest of the people. Indeed, they forward greatly the spirit of discontent towards the ancestral faith. And while they do this, they themselves furnish a no more satisfying or soul-inspiring substitute. And in this way they emphasize the need of a new faith and draw the thought of many to the new supplanting religion of the Christ. Chunder Sen, even twenty years ago, declared that, “None but Jesus, none but Jesus, none but Jesus is worthy to wear this diadem, India, and He shall have it.” Yes, even through such movements as the Brahmo Somaj, Christ is winning India for himself.

The educated classes of India are largely permeated and influenced by Western thought. They may not be inclined to join any of the reform movements which I have mentioned; but they are now thinking on absolutely different lines from those of their ancestors fifty years ago. The dissemination of Western literature, and especially the conduct of so many Christian schools have done more, perhaps, than any [pg 354] other thing to create an intellectual ferment and to produce a revolution of thought in all parts of the land.

One cannot unduly emphasize the importance of Christian schools in India. The government schools and the Hindu institutions of learning are acknowledged to be the hot-beds of rationalism and of unbelief. They not only furnish no religious instruction to the youth, they too often give the impression that all religion is a mere superstition and is unworthy of being taught.

To such an extent is this trend and influence observable that the government experiences much concern, coupled with an expressed, though vague, desire, that this evil be arrested by the introduction, into all public schools, of some method of imparting at least the fundamental principles of religion. But to discover the method of accomplishing this, without violating the principle of religious neutrality, seems beyond its power.

In the meanwhile mission schools have a grand sphere opened to them on this line. They are not only a common agency, with governmental and all other higher institutions, in the work of undermining and destroying vain credulity and the whole brood of superstitions which are legion in India; they are also a positive and constructive force in the impartation of those principles of morality and teachings of religion which will ennoble life here and hereafter. And in this connection it should not be forgotten that all mission schools—higher and lower—enjoy unlimited opportunity to teach, daily, to all their students God's Word and to apply its principles and its saving message [pg 355] to the minds of the half million students who are being trained by them.

I desire to emphasize again the importance of all these schools as the most potent agency, apart from the native Church itself, in the transformation of the thought and life of India. It is a noteworthy fact that the only statue erected to a missionary in India was that recently unveiled by the Governor of Madras in the city of Madras to Dr. Wm. Miller. This noble missionary educator has wrought mightily, through his great institution in Madras, for the upbuilding of Christian truth in the minds of Christian and non-Christian youth alike. And this statue is a unique tribute of gratitude from his “old boys”—most of them still Hindus, indeed—to the man who has been instrumental in opening before them the broad vistas of Western thought and of Christian truth and life. But more enduring than marble will abide the blessed results which he and his colabourers have wrought in the thought and life of the more than 2,000 graduates who have been educated by them. Of these there are 1,800 who represent the Hindus of thought and culture in South India at present. Such is the influence of one Christian school.

If the work of the thousands of village Christian schools is more humble in its aim it is much more pervasive in its reach, and it marvellously directs thought and inspires life in remote villages.

Twelve years ago I opened one little primary school in a small unlettered heathen village. Ten bright Hindu boys sought instruction at the hands of the devout old Christian teacher placed there. Today these boys have grown into manhood and, with one [pg 356] or two exceptions, have entered into the Christian life and have been formed into a Christian congregation. They are not only intelligent, but firm and beautiful in their new-found Christian hope. Moreover, the whole village is permeated with Christian truth and it resounds with the appeal of our faith. In this way have come into existence many of the best and strongest congregations of the Christian Church in India.

But, to return to the educated class in India. We have considered already its attitude of mind towards the supplanting religion of Jesus.

Madras Christian College.
Madras Christian College.

Bombay Railway Station.
Bombay Railway Station.

Their opposition to Christianity, as it is now presented to them, I can appreciate. They are beginning, for the first time, to think seriously and philosophically about religion. They are, more than ever before, impatient with their past, and annoyed with the inadequacy of their present faith. It is not strange if this feeling is shown in their attitude towards the only supplanting faith. In this matter they are on the way to light and truth. The under-current is strongly right and in the direction of an enlightened and an enlightening religion. They are more earnestly in quest of truth than ever before. Moreover it is not substantive Christianity, but adjectival Christianity—the too Western type of our faith—which arouses their antagonism. And I must again express my belief that, before Christianity is to gain universal acceptance by the people of India, it must be dissociated from many Western ideas and practices which seem to us essential even to its very life. When we learn to forget our antecedents and prejudices and to study well the Hindu mind and its [pg 357] tendency, then perhaps shall we be prepared to present a Christianity which will commend itself universally to that land. The Rev. G. T. E. Slater in his new book, wisely emphasized this same need.

“The West,” he says, “has to learn from the East, and the East from the West. The questions raised by the Vedanta will have to pass into Christianity if the best minds of India are to embrace it; and the Church of the ‘farther East’ will doubtless contribute something to the thought of Christendom, of the science of the soul, and of the omnipenetrativeness and immanence of Deity.”16

But the most encouraging aspect of this question is the present attitude of the mind of educated India towards Christ himself.

Listen to the words of an orthodox Hindu in a recent lecture delivered to his fellow Hindus:—“How can we,” he says, “be blind to the greatness, the unrivalled splendour of Jesus Christ. Behind the British Empire and all European Powers lies the single great personality—the greatest of all known to us—of Jesus Christ. He lives in Europe and America, in Asia and Africa as King and Guide and Teacher. He lives in our midst. He seeks to revivify religion in India. We owe everything, even this deep yearning towards our own ancient Hinduism, to Christianity.”

All former antipathy to, and depreciation of Jesus, our Lord, have given way to appreciation and admiration. They vie with each other in a study of His life and regard Him as the only perfect Exemplar of [pg 358] man. That great land which has never found in its old faith an ideal of life is now finding it in our blessed Lord. This movement towards Him is remarkable. They are enthroning Him in their imagination and are drawing Him to their hearts.

A Braham friend of mine—a devout Hindu, a university graduate, a barrister and a leader of the Hindu community, requested me to purchase for him a pocket copy of Thomas a Kempis' “Imitation of Christ.” He possessed a large copy, but desired a small one which he could carry with him and could use for devotional purposes on his journeys. Some of his friends sought other copies through him. Thus they bought all the copies that I could find for sale in South India. He also asked me to buy for him a copy of Dr. Sheldon's book, “In His Steps.”

I bought four dozen copies and sold all to Brahmans and to native Christians. One of our pastors bought a copy. He soon handed it to a Brahman friend—a government official and a university graduate—requesting him to read it. This he did, and, returning with the book a few days later, he earnestly said—“Sir, why don't you bring us more such books as this. We also want to know more of Christ and to follow ‘In His Steps.’ ”

Indeed, I find a wonderful eagerness among Hindus of culture to know all that can be known about the life and teaching of our Lord, even though they are not prepared to accept his atonement as their salvation. The same fact is true among the common people. There are not a few who believe that the tenth—that is, the coming—incarnation of Vishnu (Kalki avatar) refers to Christ. A Hindu Saivite devotee [pg 359] told me once that they proposed soon to place in their monastery an image of Christ (as they had one of Vishnu) and thus render to Him worship in common with the others. I am confident that Hindus, all but unanimously, would, today, vote to give him a place in their pantheon and a share in their worship, if Christians would accede to this. “Did we not,” they say, “thus appropriate Buddha, the arch-enemy of Brahmanism, twenty-five centuries ago, and make him the ninth incarnation of Vishnu? And why should we not regard Christ, also, as the tenth ‘descent’ of our beloved Vishnu.”

I deem this trend towards Christ, and it is marked especially among the educated in all parts of India, as the greatest encouragement to the Christian worker in that land today.

I care not so much whether they accept our faith in its Western form and spirit, so long as I see them growing in their appreciation of, and devotion to the Christ. Through Him I am sure they will pass on to some outer expression or other of their faith in Him—an expression which will doubtless correspond with their own oriental turn of thought and life.


Thus, whether we look at the growing Christian community and its many cheering features of life and of activity; or whether we study the non-Christian community and all the social and national institutions of that land, we find large encouragement and a rich assurance of the speedy coming of the Kingdom of our Lord.

Nearly a century ago—the very time in which [pg 360] America, through the America Board, sent its first missionaries to that great land—the Directors of the East India Company placed on record their sentiments in the following words:

“The sending of Christian missionaries to our Eastern possessions is the maddest, most expensive, most unwarranted project that was ever proposed by a lunatic enthusiast.” This was, at that time, the conviction and the confession of the English rulers of India. It was the voice of unbelief and the declaration of defiant opposition. How different the attitude and the words of Sir Rivers Thompson; the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal, near the close of that same century. “In my judgment,” he says, “Christian missionaries have done more real and lasting good to the people of India than all other agencies combined.” Certainly, a no more competent witness than he, and a no more conclusive evidence than his, could be desired.

In my compound in South India, for a quarter of a century, a date palm tree grew and flourished. Years later a seed was carried by a bird and dropped at the foot of this palm tree. It was the seed of the sacred boh tree. It also sprouted and its slender, subtle shoot wound round the sturdy palm. Every year it grew higher until it finally towered above the date palm; and the higher it grew the more its winding stem thickened; and as it thickened it began to tighten its grip upon the other tree. That grip, so weak and innocent at first, soon became to the palm tree a grip of death. For every day so added to the encircling power of the boh tree that, about three years ago, it completely enshrouded and killed [pg 361] the palm. Today that boh tree stands alone, indicating, by its spiral form, where the unfortunate palm found its death; and it stretches forth its beautiful branches in rich verdure and in welcome shade to all who seek refuge from the heat of the tropical sun.

This is only a parable of the struggle which is witnessed in India today. For many centuries the tree of Brahmanism has flourished. It covers that whole land. But at its very root has been sown the seed of God's Word and there is growing out of it, in its beauty and strength, the sacred tree of our Faith. Already it has the old tree in its almighty grip. The work of death is progressing and the final issue is sure.

But it will not transpire in a day. The victory will come, is now coming.

But the resources of Hinduism are legion, and its strange fascination, to some extent, continues. India, which is increasingly becoming Christ's in thought and ideals, will become his in worship and ritual, when his name shall be heard in every home throughout the land. But we need patience; and the grand result to be achieved is worthy of the noblest endurance and of the most patient waiting.

Christian workers in that great land are faithfully labouring and hopefully waiting until the fruitful branches of the sacred tree of Christianity shall have spread over the whole land, so that its shade may be the refuge of all souls in distress and its fruit shall abound for the healing of all the nations of India.

The resources and the agencies of our Faith, which are now utilized for the furtherance of the truth in that land, are already wonderfully varied and potent; [pg 362] but they are also increasing annually in prevailing power as in bewildering variety. Every Christian drawn from Hinduism and added to the fold of Christ becomes, in himself, a force to draw and to win others to Christ. This power has already become the main agency in the growth of the church, and its efficiency is to grow in geometric ratio as the years increase.

The great need of India today is the power of the Holy Spirit of God. His people must bring themselves much more into subjection to his Spirit, that they may, the more fully, be the vehicles of His grace to others and the channel of His power in the land. The dangers of God's Church are, and will preëminently be, dangers from within rather than from without. It is Hinduism, godlessness and sin within which must be fought with an eternal vigilance and an uncompromising hostility. And for this a larger baptism will mean a mighty fire of God kindled in the whole Church such as will burn all its dross and consume all opposition. And then shall we speedily witness the great desire of our heart—a happy, prosperous India, because it will be Emmanuel's land—a part of the great Fold of Christ.

This consummation is as sure as God's own promises, for, in all his work, the missionary is not only encouraged by results achieved and by assurances given, but also by the double promise of God. First he has the promise of the Father to the Son:

“Ask of me and I will give to thee the heathen for thine inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” The Son has asked and is seeking the possession of the earth; and in the confidence [pg 363] of his assurance he exclaims, “All authority is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” And, to his waiting disciples, he adds, “Go ye therefore and make disciples of all nations.” And with this all-embracing command he coupled the all-satisfying promise, “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” Amen.

[pg 365]


Administration, Mission, 264-286

Advaitha, 82

Agency employed by Hinduism and Christianity, 89

Agents, Mission, 304

Aims of the Two Faiths, 87

American Effort in India, 179, 329

American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, 180

American Push, 187

Amir Ali Sahib, 345

Anglo-Saxon Effort in India, 172

Appliances, Missionary, 300

Army, The, 44

Aryans, 15, 289, 316

Arya Somaj, 313, 315, 349, 351

Asceticism of Hindus, 120

“Asia and Europe,” 335

Atchison, Sir Charles, 191

Australian Effort, 177

Avatar, 79

Banerjee, Kali Churn, 295, 316

Banerjee, Dr. K. M., 316

Banerjee, Surendra Nath, 51

Baptism—shall it be administered immediately upon confession? 290

Baptism—shall it be administered secretly? 291

Baptism—shall ladies administer? 292

Baptists, American, 292, 309

Barth, 69, 82, 94

Basil Mission, 285

Benevolence of Native Christians, 225

Besant, Mrs. Annie, 344

Bhagavada Gita, 96, 124

Bhakti, Doctrine of, 76

Bible—Influence of, 90

Bible, Translated, 178, 301

Bowen, Rev. George, 202

Brâhm, 84

Brahmo Somaj, 349

Buddha, The, 59

Buddhism, 54

Burma, 181

Canadian Effort, 188

Carey, William, 173

Caste, 26-107, 124

Caste and Government, 340

Caste in the Church, 131, 171, 270, 271

Ceremonialism, 121, 122

Chaitanya, 65

Character of Native Christians, 320

Child Marriages, 25, 154

Christian Community, The, 307

Christian Science, 293

Christian Schools, 354

Christianity and Hinduism Contrasted, 80

Chunder Sen, 150

Church Missionary Society, 174

Clarke, Dr. W. N., 267

Climates of India, 14

Comparison of present and past Methods of Work, 188

Comparative Religion, 209

[pg 366]

Contrast of the two Faiths, 88

Contrast of the two Races, 46

Converts—from what Social Strata? 315

Coöperation among Missions, 238

Coronation Address of Indian Christians, 86

Credentials of Hinduism and Christianity, 183

Danish, 173

Demonolatry, 63

Denmark, 168

Direction of Missions, 234

Discipling the Nations, 266

Dress and Food of the Missionary, 199

Du Bois, The Abbe, 200, 201

Dravidians, 15

Drink Evil, The, 42

Duff, Alexander, 175

Dutch, 178

Dutt, Toru, 322

East and West, 297

East India Company, 176, 180, 360

Eastern Thought, 141

Economic Conditions, 18

Economic Problems, 282

Educated Classes and Christ, 357

Educated Classes and Western Thought, 353, 356

Education, 27, 193, 248, 277, 280

Education of Christians, its Extent, 281

Emancipation of Woman, 159

English Missions, 175

Eschatology, 75

Ethnic Faith, 109

European Effort in India, 178

Evangelistic Department, 242

Evolution, 264

Exclusive Spirit of Christianity, 108

Faith Missions, 231

“Failure of Missions,” 298

Fairbairn, Dr., 121

Family Life, 24

Famine, 21

Fatalism, 122

Frederick IV, King, 168

Gautama, 59

God, Doctrine of, 81

Goreh, Miss, 322

Government, The Educational Department of, 278

Government of India, 37

Government Service, 34

Grain of India, 15

Hall, Stanley President, 281

Haskell-Barrows Lectureship, 186

Harris, Lord, 187

Harrison, Ex-President Benjamin, 323

Heavens and Hells of Hinduism, 88

Hindu Character, 125, 128

Hindu Joint Family System, 24, 133

Hinduism, 62

Hinduism Conservative, 107

Hinduism an Ethnic Faith, 109

Hinduism—is it Tolerant? 310

Hinduism Transformed, 341

History of Christianity in India, 163

Hopkins, 69

Humility necessary to the Missionary, 213

Hymnology of India, 302

Ideals of the Two Faiths, 101

Ideals of the Hindu, 118

Incarnation, 72, 94

Independent Work of Indian Christians, 326

Individualism in Missions, 236

Industrial Mission, 179

Industrial Problems, 282

Infanticide, 158

Influence of Woman in India, 148

Inter-caste Marriages, 274

[pg 367]

Irrigation Schemes, 22

Islam, The New, 345

Jaffna Mission, 182

Jones, Sir William, 82

Jordanus, 166

Judaism, 55

Judson, Adoniram, 181

Kali, 66

Kalki Avatar, 78

Karma, 92

Kipling, Rudyard, 212

Languages, 16

Last Commission of our Lord, 265

Laws of India Changed, 337

Leaven of Christianity, 332

Leipzig Lutheran Mission, 178

Length of Missionary Service, 203

Lex talionis, 111

Life of the Missionary, 197

Literacy, 27

Literary Work, 252

Literature, Christian, 301

London Missionary Society, 174

Love—a Missionary Qualification, 213

Lyall, Sir Alfred, 63

Macedonian Cry, 219

Mackensie, Sir Alexander, 320

Madras Native Christian Association, 324

Madura Mission, 182, 325

Magna Charta of Missions, 180

Mahabarata, 144

Mahratta Mission, 181

Man, Doctrines concerning, 85

Manu, Code, 108

Marriage among Hindus, 156

Martyn, Henry, 174

Mass Movements, 308, 346

Matheson, Dr., 70

McKinley, President, 336

Medical Work, 255

Metempsychosis, 97

Methodist, American, 184, 309

Miller, Dr. William, 299, 355

Mills, Samuel, 179

Mission Administration, 286

Mission Agents, 304

Mission of Great Britain in India, 45

Mission Enterprise as a Christian Principle, 230

Mission Schools, 29, 277

Missionary, The, 193

Missionary and the Mission, 222

Missionary and Missionary Societies, 219

Missionary Appliances, 300

Missionary's Attitude towards the Non-Christian World, 215

Missionary as an Organizer, 224

Missionary Organization, 228

Missionary Results, 298

Missionary Societies, 228

Missionary Success—What is it? 298

Mohammedanism, 56, 345

Moral Standards of Christianity and Hinduism, 110

Morality and Piety, 135

Motive of Missionary, 215, 265

Motives of Christian Converts, 312

Mozumdar, Protab, 350

Muir, Sir W., 191

Müller, Max, 67

Multiplication of Missionary Activities, 284

National Congress, 34

Native Christian, 126

Native Christian Character, 130

Native Christian Community, 307, 318

Native Christian Women, 320

Native Church and Evangelism, 244

Native Officials—Their Attitude Towards Mission Schools, 279

Native States, 39

[pg 368]

Neo-Hinduism, 344

Newcastle, Bishop of, 330

New Converts, 288

New Religious Movements in India, 348

Obscenity in the East, 126, 340

Offerings of Native Christians, 325

Opium Traffic, 42

Organic Structure of a Mission, 240

Organizations of the Native Church, 259

Oriental Christianity, 296

Origin of Hinduism, 70

Pantænus, 164

Parseeism, 57

Passive Virtues of India, 127

Pastoral Work in Missions, 245

Path of Works, 121

Patience, an Equipment of the Missionary, 212

“Patriot, The Christian,” 325

Pax Britanica, 44

People of India, 15

Persecution, 309, 315

Pessimism of Hinduism, 89

Physical Features of India, 13

Physical Fitness of the Missionary, 194

Plato, 90

Plutscho, 167

Political Condition of India, 31

Polygamous Converts, 288

Poverty of Christians, 312

Poverty of the Land, 19

Prakriti, 85

Prartanei Somaj, 349

Preaching to the Heathen—Its Character, 245

Prepossessions of a Hindu, 116

Presbyterian Mission, 182

Problems, Missionary, 263

Problems Concerning New Converts, 288

Products of Christianity and Hinduism, 114

Profanity, East and West, 126

Progressive Spirit of Christianity, 108

Property of Missions in India, 300

Protestant Christian Effort, 166

Provincial Governments, 39

Puranas, 94, 105, 343

Railroads in India, 22

Ramabai, Pandita, 321, 327

Ramanuja, 66

Reactionary Spirit in India, 293, 295

Religions of India, 54

Religious Instruction in Mission Schools, 280

Religious Mendicancy, 20, 120

Religious Toleration, 54, 109

Rest and Recreation for Missionaries, 195

Results, Missionary, 298, 332

Revival of Thought in India, 293

Right of the Christian Church to Send Missionaries, 264

Rivers of India, 14

Robert de Nobilibur, 167

Robson, Dr., 72, 344

Roman Catholic Effort in India, 165

Roman Catholics and Caste, 271

Rural People, Hindus a, 18

Saivism, 64

Sakti Worship, 66

Salvation Army, 176, 200

Sanskrit, 16

Sattianathan, Mrs., 323

Schools for Christian Children, 249

Schools for Non-Christians, 248

Schools, Mission, 303

Schultze, 169

Schwartz, 170

Scottish Missions, 175

[pg 369]

Self-Extension of the Native Church, 260

Self-Government of the Native Church, 32, 259

Self-Support of the Native Church, 261, 274

Sell, Dr. E., 345

Serampore, 173

Shanars, 308

Sherring, Rev., 171

Sikhism, 61

Sin, Hindu and Christian Conception of, 89

Singh, Sir Harnam, 317

Sita, 145

Slater, Rev. G. T. E., 357

Social Life in India, 23, 26

Sorabjis, The, 322

Soul, Doctrine of, 86

S. P. C. K., 170

S. P. G., 172

“Spirit of Islam,” 345

Spirituality of Hinduism, 74

Spiritual Qualifications of the Missionary, 210

Statistics, Religious, 55

Strachey, Sir John, 159

Study of Christian Missions, 267

Supreme Soul, 86

Survival of the Fittest, 264

Syrian Church of Malabar, 165

Tamil Bible, 178

Tantras, 105, 343

Taxation in India, 40

Telegu Baptist Mission, 309

Theological Seminaries, 244

Theology of the Missionary, 205

Theosophy, 293

Thoburn, Bishop, 185, 206, 277, 309

Thomas, St., 163

Tinnevelly Mission, 308

Toleration, Religious, 310

Townsend, Meredith, 335

Training of the Missionary, 204

Tranquebar, 167

Triad, Hindu, 65

Turanians of South India, 316

Universe, Doctrine of the, 84

Vaishnava Sects, 65

Vaishnavism, 65

Vasco da Gama, 166

Vedantism, 67

Vernaculars of India and the Missionary, 208

Vicarious Atonement, 73

Webb, Rev. E., 302

Wifely Devotion, 145

Williams, Sir Monier, 85

Wilson, Dr., 176

Witness Bearing, 266

Women of India, 143, 147, 151, 320

Women of India, their Disabilities, 152

Women in Missionary Organization, 237

Work for Women, 256

Xavier, 166

Yesuthasan, 302

Yoga, 93, 119

Young, Work for the, 185, 257, 329

Young, Sir William Mackworth, 227

Ziegenbalg, 167


Some of these, doubtless, are only well-developed dialects. Many other, more imperfect, dialects might be added to this total.
The extensive famines of the last few years have reduced this increase to two and one half per cent. during the last decade.
This subject is treated more fully in later chapters.
The rupee is at present one-third of a dollar.
Nearly all these Buddhists live in Burma which is included in these statistics because it is now politically a part of India.
According to the census of 1901 there were 2,923,349 Christians.
“The Religions of India,” p. 562.
“The Religions of India,” p. 288.
“The Religions of India,” page 83.
Sir John Strachey's “India,” page 311.
I speak vaguely because it is hard to definitely declare what a missionary society is.
The returns for Congregationalists do not include the members of the London Missionary Society Missions,—these being, apparently, included among the “Scattering.”
See Toronto Convention Report of Student Volunteer Movement, p. 378.
Hinduism and Christianity, page 248.
See Dr. Sell's article, “The New Islam,” in Contemporary Review, August, 1893.
“The Higher Hinduism in Relation to Christianity,” page 291. This valuable book has only just been published after my manuscript was written.








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