Page images

ance. Effective speakers should be secured to stimulate the people to increased exertions.

CHURCH BUILDING, REPAIRS, &C.-In the early days of Missions, some Societies built expensive Churches with steeples or towers. The effects of this have already been noticed. Now a wiser course is generally taken. Some Societies do not make


building grants. The erection and up-keep of Churches are thrown entirely upon the people. As a rule, no congregation should ask help to build their place of worship. If they are few in number, a small cheap building will suffice, which in India they can easily put up for themselves. If they require a large building, their means will be in proportion. Instead of doing something for themselves and then begging, right and left, for the remainder, the aim should be to make each congregation meet the whole expense. It simply requires more time. Let the people make an extra effort for two or three years, and the object will be gained.

A Missionary in Travancore wished to have a large brick chapel at the Central Station for Missionary Meetings, &c. He applied to friends in England for help; but none was received. Upon this, he made additional efforts to stir up the people, and with such success, that they raised twice as much for religious objects as ever they did before.

In the Cuddapah District, a number of poor Málas, or Pariahs, have placed themselves under Christian instruction. The following extract from a Report of the Rev. J. Higgens, S. P. G., will show what can be done even among such a people

“ I have always found that help is often vnappreciated, whereas help yourselves' never fails to draw out some good. Acting in accordance with this principle, I have insisted in every case when, for instance, a liew school-100m was to be built, an old one repaired, or any furniture, &c, to be procured, that the people should effect it by subscriptions among thems lves, and look to me for lo more than ny 'share' as an individual inter

[ocr errors]


ested in the concern. Thus it has resulted, that though during the year four little school-rooms or chapels have been built, and numerous necessary articles supplied in each village, no ouiside assistance has been solicited, and the people have borne most of the burden themselves. I confess, indeed, that these new chapels are far inferior to the olden ones in make and size, and I would much rather prefer better built places for the worship of God, but I have the consolation to think that while at first the people gave but a tithe compared with what was furnished out of the Mission Fund, now the Missionary's quota is but small

, and the people make up the rest. Besides, when a village has built up a school-room with their own money, they are more proud of it, they take better care of it, and they lose the habit of looking to the Missionary for every little thing that must be done to it.

“ Let us enter one of these unpretending edifices. While yet at a disance from it, you may see its white walls flashing out in bright contrast with the green cultivation around. It is built of rubble and covered with thatch, and is about 25 or 30 feet long by 12 or 15 in breadth, and presents a clean well-swept room with whitened walls, to which Native idea of decoration has added a broad streak of red all round the base. At one end is a table, rude and country made, with a bench beside it that serves as the Missionary seat; both have been purchased with the people's money, and the fair white' cloth which serves as an altar cover, has been woven by the men for this particular purpose,

the women having spun each her hank of yarn. The bell that summons the people to prayers, and the cymbals with which they accompany their singing, have been bought by subscription. On the table is a little wood box with a slit on the lid ; it is the village exchequer, and is now weighty with six months' collections, principally derived from the weekly offertory; and the little tin platter by it is the collection plate which goes round once a Sunday." Mission Field, July, 1463.

Roman Catholics are often blamed by Protestants for too great attention to outward forms; but Xavier wrote thus :

“ With regard to the revenues of the college, take care that you expend them rather in the building up spiritual temples than material buildings. In buildings of this latter kind,

whether of wood or stone lay out nothing which is not absolutely necessary.... It is by spiritual temples that God is chiefly honoured, such as in training children in Christian doctrine." Venn's Memoir, p. 224.

EDUCATION.-Hitherto almost the entire expense connected with the education of the children of converts has been met by the Missions. It is time that a change took place. MISSIONS.- Dr. Caldwell observes :

The divine blessing cannot be expected by any congregation whether in England or India, which leaves the heathen around it to be evangelised by the zeal of strangers, which hold itself aloof from the contest with evil which Christ's Church militant here on earth must for ever wage, or which is content to enjoy Christian privileges from generation to generation without paying for them. It is the praying, working, giving congregation that is refreshed with showers of blessings. If we wish to call forth the dormant faith, love and zeal of a people, whether it be in England or in India, there is no way of doing it so effectual as that of stirring them up to do good to their neighbours. Work is the best remedy for rest, whether in a machine or in a Church. At every turn of the wheel some portion of rust is ground off, and the cold, dull organization gets warmed up and brightened." Mission Field, April, 1860.

It cannot be expected that Native Christians should do much at first for the heathen, as their primary duty is to support religious ordinances among themselves. Still, it is highly desirable to train them to efforts to benefit their unevangelised countrymen. Perhaps only one liberal public collection a year should be sought at the commencement. Interest will be deepened by devoting the proceeds to some special object. A good plan is to support Native Agents, labouring exclusively among the heathen. Information should be given at the monthly Missionary Meetings, and reports presented at the great Annual Missionary gathering



owe a debt of gratitude to these useful Institutions. The Native Churches should be induced to make contributions towards their support. The first step might be an annual collection, to be divided between the two Societies. Only a trifle would be raised at the commencement; but the principle of giving is the main thing

THE POOR.—The rule of the Tranquebar Mission is, that each congregation must provide for its own poor. This is an excellent arrangement. The utmost caution should be exercised by the Missionary in rendering temporal assistance. The people may be poor ; but to give their money makes them dependent, and tends to deprive them of the very little energy they possess. They live upon the gift, and then come begging for

The sick and disabled deserve every consideration; but “if a man be indolent," says Wayland, “ the best discipline to which he can be subjected is, to suffer the evils of penury.”

Widows' Fund.-In some Missions, provision is made for widows by means of monthly payments by their husbands while alive. They have been found of much service. In Calcutta there is, in addition, a fund for orphans. As the rules have been drawn up after obtaining the opinions of eminent Actuaries in England, Missionaries wishing to establish any similar fund should obtain copies of them. Applications may be made to the Rev. E. Storrow, Calcutta.

Rate of giving.The Rev. J. Ross says of the Church, “Her incessant begging to obtain the mere means of subsistence is her own continual perplexity, her ministers' disheartenment, and the world's deri„sion.” The remedy proposed is the scriptural rule of giving away a stated proportion of our income. Jacob's vow was, “Of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth to Thee.” It is estimated that the Jews were enjoined to give at least a full fourth of

[ocr errors]

their income to religious and benevolent objects. Dr. Cather quotes the following from Richard Baxter :

“On the whole, therefore, when we investigate the whole Scriptures, I am persuaded it is the duty of Christians generally, to devote some stated proportion of their income to God in pious and charitable purposes. There may be men

so poor that they have no income, there may be men who have insufficient for their habitual necessities and wants, so that they can't meet the necessities of life; but the duty of a Christian, generally, is to devote some stated proportion of his income to God. I am further persuaded that one-tenth is as likely a proportion as can be generally prescribed from Scripture, and I am further persuaded that this is a matter that we have more than human direction for."

Replies to some objections may be given, in a greatly abridged form, from Arthur.

06.--" In urging upon us to give away a tenth, you are reviving the Levitical law, and that is abolished.”

Ans.—The spirit of that law is, “ Of thine own have we given unto thee.” This is not abolished ; and, blessed be God, never will be !

06.—“ But we are not now to be brought under, rule ; for the law is love."

Ans.—To those who use this objection we have only one thing to say: If the law is love, will you keep the law ? It is, “ Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and thy neighbour as thyself.And you invoke the law of love to save your money!

06.—“But if you teach men to give a tenth, they will give that and be content, though they ought to be giving much more.”

Ans.-Could we succeed in bringing up the Church generally to that proportion (though far below what we hold to be the due of many) the state of things then would present a wonderful improvement on that existing now. Besides, whoever begins life by keeping a law of proportion, is the most likely of all men to advance his proportion as his Benefactor augments his blessing.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »