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commenced with things familiar to the people. The gods. of India and famous shrines have been used with advantage as texts to start with. Native writers are apt to dwell exclusively upon the crimes of the gods, but Dr. Merray Mitcheil has shewn in “ Pundarpoor and Vithoba," both how the people may be interested and taught Christian truth.
It was stated at the Punjab Conference, on the antthority of a Pundit, that “when the heathen saw their religion exposed in tracts, they threw them away without perusal.” The pundit thought it would be a " better plan to contine our tracts to an exposition of our own religion.”* Though this may hold good in a few isolated cases, the experience of every Tract Society in India proves the reverse as a general rule. It is a melancholy fact that, on the whole, the more a tract contains of Christianity the less it is in demand. The people are familiar with cutting exposures of idolatry by the Vedantists. So little reverence have they, in many cases, for their gods, that one of the most popular Native works in Tamil, is a dialogue between two of the principal goddesses, in which they, in turn, rake úp all the faults of each other's husband. The difficulty is to make a tract popular without dwelling too much on heathenism.
Proverbs, familiar illustrations, parables, and interesting narratives, may all be used with effect.
It has been mentioned that most of the people are still in the ballad stage. The great bulk of Native literature is in poetry. Great efforts should therefore be made to secure telling tracts in verse.
In general tracts should not be long, and the type should be large and clear. The people read slowly and with difficulty. : Tracts of 18mo. size are more easily carried about;
Report, p. 19.
and less likely to be used for bazar purposes than those which are larger.
Periodicals.—These are yet in their infancy in India. Every Missionary should foster them as much as possible.
Almanacs may be included under this head. No works are more in demand among the heathen; but they are valued chiefly for astrological purposes. In some cases, however, Christian Almanacs will be
purchaşed in their stead, if cheap and well got up.
Books.-Two principal sorts are wanted : 1. Books for general readers. 2. Books for Mission Agents.
The former are far more difficult to supply than the latter. With the exception of the Pilgrim's Progress, the Heart Book, Phulmani and Karuna, and one or two others, perhaps none can be named which are popular even among Native Christians. As the Indian Church gathers strength, authors, capable of producing original works suited to the genius of the people, will multiply.
The most popular native books should be studied as guides. The Life of our Lord, a kind of Christian Ramayana, in good poetry, would be exceedingly useful. In Ceylon, several editions, covering expenses, have been sold of a Poetical History of Joseph. Other narrative parts of the Bible might be issued both in verse and prose. Parables adapted to the oriental mind, would likewise be useful.
Visits to celebrated places in India, descriptions of England and other countries in which the people are specially interested, form other subjects.
NATIVE MINISTER'S LIBRARY.- Translations, or rather free expositions, of English works, altered and adapted to India, may be of considerable service to Native Agents. The chief object is to convey information, which may afterwards be communicated orally in a popular form. Native Agents, from their training, can more or less appreciate translations from the Eng
lish. Those who have passed through the first class English Institutions have much the same tastes with respect to books as Europeans.
For some time to come, the libraries of Agents acquainted only with the Vernacular must be very small. It is important that the selection of books to be printed should be as judicious as possible. If a Native Minister is only to have a few books, let them be the most useful. This has not always been attended to. In some cases the books most wanted have not been published, while others which might have been dispensed with for many years have been issued in their stead. Thus, some time ago a translation of Paley's Horæ Paulinæ was printed in Canarese. One of the most experienced Missionaries in the Canarese country writes of it as follows :
Paley's Horæ Paulinæ has been done in Canarese, but it was rather as an intellectual freak at the cost of prodigious labour and much money, and even so the book is of no use. A native capable of understanding and appreciating this book in the Vernacular I have not yet found. Those who are able to study it in English might derive advantage from it."
The compiler made repeated attempts to obtain from men like Dr. Angus, author of the Bible Hand-book, lists of books, which they thought would be of most use to a Native Minister in India. As these efforts failed, he was obliged to frame a list himself. It is given below, after having been referred to one or two friends. The matter, however, requires and deserves much further investigation. The list is printed chiefly to lead, if possible, to inquiry. It is intended to answer the question, Suppose a Native Minister, without books, was supplied at each of four successive periods with 25 works, which should they be? The books which seem most wanted are placed in the First Section ; those of next importance in the Second ; and
Of each division 15 books are religious, and
10 secular. Tract Societies would feel called upon to supply only the former.
History of India.
Hodge on Romans. * This would also supply to some extent the place of a Concor. dance, which cannot be prepared in the present state of Indian versions of the Scriptures.
Life of Christ.
History of England.
Speir's Ancient India.