Page images
PDF
EPUB

shall almost invariably find that he never did go when young. The wretched objects of their country's offended justice, have borne an almost unanimous testimony to the fatal effects of nonattendance at divine worship. They never had acquired the habit of going to church-they therefore never thought of going, and evil found them. May these brief remarks be impressed upon the minds of our readers, and make them earnestly desirous to implant in their children an early habit of atttendance at church.

DIOCESE OF CALCUTTA.

MISSION OF BARRIPORE. In our last number we gave an account of the noble Mission ary Institution, which is supported by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, at Bishop's College in the neighbourhood of Calcutta.

This month we are enabled to give a history of one of the Society's most flourishing missions in connection with that College,--the Mission of Barripore.

The account is drawn up by the Rev. C. E. Driberg, the present chief missionary at that station. Next month we hope to be able to give an account from the pen of the Bishop of Madras, of the consecration of the interesting Church, the completion of which is mentioned by Mr. Driberg.

Barripûr, the head-quarters of this Mission, is situated sixteen miles south of Calcutta—a few years ago it was a civil station -a collector, a salt agent, a magistrate, and a medical man, were among the residents; but, a few years before I came, it was abandoned as a station, and has again assumed its quiet, villagelike aspect. This circumstance, together with those of distance from town, and the absence of the scandalizing examples of dissolute and abandoned Christian men, are a great advantage for carrying on our Missionary operations. I consider this station eminently favourable for a sphere of Missionary labour, being far enougb from town for quiet and retirement, and yet not so far as to deprive us of the benefit of constant counsel and advice; an excellent carriage road now renders the intercourse easy, and speedy enough. Some noble Cassuarina firs point out the village, two miles before you reach it; and the tower of the church, rising heaven-wards, tells at once that the Lord's territory extends here.

A delightful and refreshing sight it is indeed, when, after passing at Rajpore a bideous car of Juggernath, and numerous lofty

в в

temples with the trident of Shiva displayed, you first get a glimpse of the pinnacles, and then of the tower, and then the tower itself opens on your view as you turn the angle of the road—and then the east end comes into sight, with the sacred symbol of our holy faith. It is indeed quite an oasis in the desert. Barripûr itself contains, it is said, about 6,000 souls; one quarter of the whole number are Barriüs pân-cultivators, from which produce the village takes its name.

There are no schools of any charac ter supported by the natives themselves. The Zemindar neither does anything towards the moral improvement of his under tenants, (ryots,) nor affords any facilities for the education of their children.

For many years the only school here was the one which has been lately given up by the Committee, after having existed for twenty years in it; most of the children of the respectable residents received their education in the vernacular, and it was originally a very popular school too, for, being so far as it then was from the immediate superintendence of the Missionary, the whole of the time in the day school was devoted to teaching writing and arithmetic, the composition of business letters, petitions, grants, leases, and also the forms of address belonging to the different grades of rank and station in society--to the total exclusion of all books touching on Christianity, though these books were, of course, kept in the school.

But when Mr. Tweddle took charge of Tallygunge, and was enabled to visit it once or twice in the nionth, matters were much altered for the better.

This school, then, which had been established by Mr. Plowden, formerly salt agent, at Barripûr-supported and fostered by him for some years, and subsequently transferred to the Calcutta Diocesan Committee of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge may be considered to have been the commencement of Missionary operations in this district. Although put under the superintendence of the Missionary resident at Tally-gunge, it was not till 1829, that any direct measures were adopted towards the conversion of the heathen. During this year, applicants seeking) Christian instruction came from Sulkea to Mr. Tweddle-he, having just at that time been reinforced by the appointment of a Catechist from Bishop's College, was enabled to extend his operations. The applicants (who, in proof of their sincerity, brought with them some of their idols) were favourably received ; Sulkea was regularly visited, and generally via Barripûr,

where in examining the school, opportunities were abundantly afforded for explaining to the heathen listeners the first principles of the Christian religion : each visit occupied two or three days; and the house I now occupy (then a deserted police office) afforded shelter to the Missionary. But a great and effectual door having been opened at Jhanjèra, in the vicinity of Tally-gunge, and which has since become the head-quarters of that Mission, Barripûr and Sulkea lost, for a time, the benefit of regular påstoral superintendence. However, in 1833, Barripûr was made the centre of a separate Mission, having attached to it the villages of Andermanic and Sulkea, and the Rev. J. Bowyer was put in charge; but after a short residence of three or four months, he was compelled to relinquish his post by reason of severe illness.

But matters were not in so discouraging a state now; a great improvement had taken place by the appointment (as assistant to the salt agent) of my lamented friend the late Robert Shedden Homfray. He came to reside at Barripûr about the time that Mr. Boyer was compelled to leave it. The Christians were at this time in the last state of temporal distress, having all of them lost their rice crops, by the severe inundation of 1843, and most of them their very dwellings. He immediately collected many together, gave them work in his own grounds; and when the inundation had partially passed away, furnished them with paddy seed, and sent them back to their villages. I have known but few laymen who have interested themselves on Missionary affairs as did this servant of the Church. Though not much of a Bengalli scholar, he yet put the morning prayers of the Church into Bengalee in Roman characters; and when we were unable to come from Tally-gunge, used to assemble the Christians in bis study for prayers. He will ever be had in remembrance, in the cup and paten used for the service of the altar, one of his pious offerings. His memory is endeared to me by a personal friendship of many years, and by his uniform kindness to the native Christians. Ever ready and willing to co-operate in any plan for the advancement of the interests of the Mission, he was, from the very first, a true yoke-fellow.

In 1835, after having been admitted into the holy order of Deacon, I was sent by the Bishop to take charge of this Mission. I was not a little dismayed to find, when I came, that a dissenting Missionary had found his way down here. Happily for me, his perfect knowledge of the language and habits of the people of this district secured him the interest of an influential Govern

ment officer, through whom he received a secular appointment under Government, which made it necessary for him to quit Barripûr, and thus I was left unmolested.

Early in 1836, Mr. Moore joined me as Catechist. We have ever since worked together in this portion of the Lord's vineyard; and happy do I consider myself in having been permitted to enjoy his friendship, and his most valuable co-operation and counsel in the management of this responsible station. Mr. Moore was admitted to Priest's orders on Holy Thursday last.

At Barripûr itself there was, when I first came, the Bengalli school to attend to daily, whilst the spiritual charge of the small congregations of Christians at Sulkea and Andermanic became an almost paramount duty.

In a short time we established a school, exclusively for the children of native Christians, and intended to serve also as an asylum for such orphans as we might chance to obtain.

An English school was also commenced about the same time, and received Mr. Moore's assiduous attention, until the increasing numbers of the converts demanded more of our care and time. Still a few youths continued to receive instruction privately, being chiefly the younger members of the family of the Zemindar of the place.

A small room, that had been formerly used as the salt office, being lent me by Mr. Homfray, daily service was immediately commenced in it; and having with God's blessing, been continued to this day, has at last found the shelter of a decent church.

A Bengalli school was also opened at Rajpûr, five miles north of Barripûr, on the Calcutta road; but the violence and opposition of the people (a large body of Brahmins reside there) caused the attempts to be abortive. A second was then established at Sojidpûr, four miles to the south; and in time, others, at the different villages; of those, all which were under the charge of heathen teachers, have since been closed, and those that now remain are conducted by Christian teachers; hence the poverty of attendance in general, for the villagers are afraid to send their children. “lest they should get contaminated ;” and it is only when the head-man in the village patronizes the school that the rest gain confidence.

But, to return to my narrative. At the end of 1836, a little more than twelve months after I came here, the old cutchery house, then deserted, which in former days had given shelter to Messrs. Tweddle and Jones, was purchased of Government, and

having been thoroughly repaired, became the Missionary residence. Hereby we began to gain a footing in the village. Hitherto I had resided in the lower rooms of Mr. Homfray's house. It became necessary now to look out for a place to perform divine service in. A small house, belonging to Baboo Dwarkanath Tagore, stood contiguous to the Mission-house; this, at the request of the Bishop, was kindly lent to the Mission by the proprietor, rent free; the centre hall fitted up for divine service, and the side rooms were used for the Christion school.

The next thing was to purchase a piece of ground for a Christian burial-place. You can easily imagine what a difficulty this was; nobody would give me any, for love or money, least of all when the object for which I wanted it became known. At last, after much delay, I chanced to hear of a man who was anxious to sell a small piece (half a biggah) to meet some difficulty he had got into; I need hardly say that we paid its full price, twice told.

Mr. Homfray, about this time, became the proprietor, by purchase, of a small estate a few miles to the south east of Barripûr. He immediately formed the project of devoting one portion of it to the formation of a village,Sto serve as an asylum for such native Christians as were compelled to leave their own villages by the oppression of their zemindars. At first, eight or ten families flocked to it from various parts; by-and-by the number increased, and several, too, of the aborigines of the place embraced Christianity; so that it now contains a very pleasing Christian colony. The chapel was built at Mr. Homfray's expense, and, at his request, I took the spiritual charge. Some little assistance was given by Mr. Homfray to each Christian family towards building their dwellings (not more, however, than is usually done by zemindars when a new ryot comes); some advances were also made for the purchase of ploughing oxen and paddy seed. One or two of them are hunters, and get a good subsistence by the sale of their game, viz., wild hogs, and venison, of which latter Hindus of all classes, as well as Mahommedans, are very fond. Very good boney is gathered in the jungles, and the sale of the bees-wax is also very lucrative.

During 1837-1838, the whole of the families residing at Barrelle (in Mogra Hat) renounced caste, and came to me for Christian instruction. I visited the village immediately, and made arrangements for locating a reader, and a small bungalow was constructed for divine service.

« PreviousContinue »