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Settlement of the Rev. R. Milne at Malacca.-Mode of
spending The Sabbath.— Interview with Sabat.-Baptism of Leangafa.- Lecture opened in the Temple of T'a-pehKung.-Anglo-Chinese College.—Death of Mrs. and Dr. Milne.- Visit of the Deputation.— Circulation of the Scriptures.— Improved state of the Mission.—Pulo Penang. -Iđolatrous Festival.- Infanticide. — Singapore.-Siam.
- Rev. Mr. Gutzslaff.-His Labours. In consequence of the circumstances stated in the previous account of China, the Rev. R. Milne determined to settle at Malacca.
Soon after his arrival he opened a charity-school for poor
Chinese boys, and fifteen of them were placed under instruction. On the sabbath he preached a short discourse in English to a congregation of from thirty to fifty people, and taught and examined his scholars; and whenever he could, received the Chinese in a little room fitted up in their own style, that he might converse with them, as he also did in the streets and shops.
“One day,” says he, referring to his visiting Penang, “ I met with Sabat, the Arabian, formerly a convert to christianity, under the labours of the Rev. Henry Martyn, and subsequently employed by the Bible Society in Bengal. His aspect appeared interesting in the highest degree, and his conversation discovered a very acute intellect. I had previously heard of his conversion and labours; but knew nothing of his apostacy, till he himself mentioned it. The causes which led to this unhallowed step he endeavoured to explain,
but I could not clearly comprehend him. The fact of his apostacy, and of his having written a book professedly in favour of mohammedanism, he did not attempt to conceal; but appeared to be deeply affected with the sin and folly of his conduct. On my putting some pointed questions to him, he replied, “ I am unhappy! I have a mountain of burning sand on my head! And when I go about, I know not what I am doing!' He then added, “What I did in renouncing christianity and writing my book, (which I call my evil work,) was done in that heat of passion which is so natural to an Arab; and my chief wish now is, that God may spare me to refute that book, page by page. I know it contains all that can be said in favour of mohammedanism; and should I live to refute it, I shall render a greater service to the gospel than if it had not been written.'
“He spoke with rapture of the Rev. H. Martyn, and said that if every hair on his body were a tongue, he could not fully describe the worth of that excellent man. He also alluded to the Rev. Messrs. Cran and Des Granges as amiable and lovely characters; and observed that the baptists at Serampore were very worthy men, though he could not receive their doctrine of adult baptism.
“The case of this poor man,” says Mr. Milne, deeply affected me and captain MʻInnes, who was also present.
We afterwards visited and conversed with him, and, as he understood English, I wrote a letter to him, exhorting him to a speedy repentance and turning to the Lord.
“ After a little time, he went over to Acheen, with the ex-king, but for what purpose, I know not. On his way back to Penang, he unfortunately fell
A few days ago,
into the hands of the usurper, who seized all his property, and put him in irons. I received a letter from him, from which it appears that he is confined day and night in the gun-room of a piratical brig belonging to the usurper, and that, during the night, he is always put in irons. He says, When I was first brought before the usurper, he examined me, and found no fault; but he afterwards asked, “What is thy religion ?' I replied, "My parents were mohammedans. But what is thy religion ?' To this I merely answered, "God knows.' Then,' said the usurper, ‘thy parents were mohammedans, but thou art a serance (a christian), and must be put to death.” Since that time he has been in confinement; nor does it appear that he denied his being still a christian. I immediately despatched the letter to captain MʻInnes, entreating him to endeavour to procure Sabat's release, and earnestly prayed the Lord to grant that in his captivity his backslidings might be healed.”
Mr. M. opened a Thursday evening lecture in the temple of Ta-peh-Kung, to which he gained admission through the influence of two of his most regular hearers. “Being a public place," says he, “though small, it seemed better adapted to my purpose than a private house, though larger; bé. cause quarrels and contentions, which often prevent neighbours who do not agree, from going to a private house, do not prevent them from visiting the temple. The place is sometimes full. I sit down before the altar, preach the gospel of the Son of God, and often condemn idolatry in the presence of the idol and its votaries. On great days, I am obliged to sit before pots of smoking incense, cups of tea, and burning candles of an immense size, placed on the altar, in honour of the deity whose worship it is my aim to overthrow. I will not presume to say a single word which
lead to a supposition that great things are doing ; but I think it would not be a little gratifying to the members of the Bible Society, to see half a dozen New Testaments taken out and opened in this idol's temple, by the heathen, in order to search for the text, or to look over the passage explained.
The people bring their books from their houses, and carry thein back, when the service is over. How great a blessing will the Bible Society which furnishes this precious volume prove to the world, and how important is its assistance to christian missionaries !"
On the 11th of November, 1818, major Farquhar, late English resident and commandant of Malacca, laid the foundation stone of an institution called the Anglo-Chinese College, in the presence of the governor of the colony since its restoration to the king of the Netherlands, and other distinguished individuals. This institution, the chief objects of which are the cultivation of Chinese and English literature, and the diffusion of christianity in the countries and islands which lie to the eastward of Penang, owes its origin to the Rev. Dr. Morrison, who generously devoted the sum of one thousand pounds sterling to the erection of the building, and promised an additional sum of one hundred pounds annually for the first five years, commencing from the opening of the college.
In the month of March, 1819, Mr. Milne was bereaved of his pious and affectionate wife, in whoin he had indeed found a help meet."
years before this trying event she had been visited by a very serious illness, during which her life was despaired of. At that time she made a solemn surrender of herself, her husband, and her beloved children, to God her Saviour; and her enjoyment of the consolations of the gospel was so great, that she afterwards said, in reference to her recovery, “Your intimation that my complaint had taken a favourable turn filled me with sorrow, and I felt an unspeakable disappointment in being sent back again, as it were, from the gates of heaven, to spend a little more time in this sinful and dreary state."
The death of Mrs. M. is thus affectingly recorded in Mr. M.'s journal, March 20, 1819. “Clay-bang, about four miles from Malacca. This morning, about nine o'clock, my dear wife was taken from me by the hand of death. I closed her eyes with my own hands, and assisted in doing the last offices for her. For the last four days of her life she said but little about divine things; stupor and partial delirium being produced by her complaint. She had previously given charge concerning her affairs, and often said that though she could not feel as she wished under such serious circumstances, yet she hoped that the Lord, whom she had chosen in the days of her youth, would be her God; and that her only hope was in Christ Jesus. For several days I have given up every other concern to attend solely to her, with which she was greatly pleased; and it is now to me a source of satisfaction, that I attended her to the last with as much tenderness and attention as I then thought I possibly could; but alas ! now, what regrets crowd upon me! but they are fruitless. O Lord, if in any thing I have been sinfully