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Prayer for Children. The late Rev. J. M. Lechler, in a Paper read at the Ootacamund Conference, mentioned the following :
" It is the practice of many Missionary families to set apart a short season on the Lord's day after morning worship, for special prayer on behalf of their own and other Missionaries' children. I would seize this opportunity to invite all the brethren present, and through them the whole army of labourers in our Mission field, to join in this most important exercise and
Efforts for others.-- Malcom says, that some Missionaries' wives, with no children,“ have maintained a course of public usefulness not inferior to their masculine fellow-labourers.” In other cases, exterior efforts must be determined by the measure of strength and the care required by the children. It has been mentioned in the chapter on health, that ladies are more liable to disease from their sedentary habits. Bodily weakness in some would be removed, rather than increased, by more active occupation. The late lamented Mrs. Muilens and numerous living examples, show how much may be done, while young families receive most careful attention. If the fine lady is avoided on the one hand, and the duties of the seamstress, housemaid, and cook on the other, it will be found that, after other claims are met, no inconsiderable portion of time may be devoted to Mission work.
MODES OF ACTION.-The Missionary's wife, even more than her husband, must aim at acting through at few upon the many. She should first consider, Upon whom is it most desirable to exert an influence ? Foremost among these will be the wives of native agents; next those of the leading Native Christian laymen, and of promising heathen families. Two or three ways of doing good may be noticed.
Visiting.- Probably there may be some houses not
far from the Mission premises. During morning or evening walks, they should occasionally be visited. Some of the last words of Mrs. Pierce were :
“ The women of India ! How I wish to live for them! Doctor Butler, tell our Missionaries' wives to visit them--to go to their houses. What though they are dirty, and degraded, and unwilling ;—they have souls-immortal souls ! and we must reach them, if India is to be saved !"*
But visits should not be confined to the a rule, the Missionary's wife may visit the principal Native families and be well received, if, in compliance with the laws of Hindu etiquette, she gives due notice beforehand. A few pictures, or European curiosities, will render her company doubly acceptable.
Receiving Visits.--The wives of Native Agents should be encouraged frequently to come to the Mission house. Sometimes they should be invited to tea, and efforts made to interest them in benefiting their neighbours.
Mothers' Meetings. This means of usefulness should, above all, be adopted. At a small expenditure of time, much good may be the result. The Rev. E. Porter says:
"Let me also here recommend to our Christian female friends and co-operators in this good work, the importance of establishing Mothers' Meetings wherever practicable. At such Meetings, the great responsibilities of mothers, and the best method of training up their children in the fear of the Lord, should be especially brought to the attention of our Native Christian mothers. The awful results of neglecting the spiritual instruction and discipline of their families when young, should be placed prominently before them, and on the other hand illustrations of the happy effects of the contrary mode of procedure. Special prayer should also be offered for the conversion of particular children on such occasions, and thus the spiritual interest in the eternal welfare of their neighbours' families should be awakened and increased."*
* Punjab Conference Report, p. 121.
In addition to the Scriptures, Phulmani and Karuna, The Mother at Home, and the Mother's Magazine, &c., will furnish materials for conversation.
Intercourse during Tours. The wives of Missionaries who accompany their husbands on preaching tours may find valuable opportunities for reaching Native females. The Rev. J. Fuchs, Benares, writes :
“ Another circumstance worth mentioning on account of its novelty was that of the women coming to Mrs. Fuchs. The first day she accosted some that were passing by who after itlittle hesitation came up to her and sat down on a carpet, when Mrs. Fuchs commenced to converse with them on different sulijects, which they could understand, and showed them Bible pictures. These women returning to the village made it known, what they had seen and heard, whereupon the women, that and the next day, came in large numbers from 20 to 30 at a time, and the following day three or foar, but from morning till evening, and some came every day. They spoke without reserve of their household affairs, their children, and also of their sorrows and trials. One in particular spoke of her inconsolable grief of baving lost all her children, having only one grand-child remaining. She and the other women present were very much struck by hearing that the true God, whom the Christians worship, was liear to them, that in prayer they could tell him all their griefs, and afier this life were permitted to live with him, when he would wipe off their tears from their eyes, set them free for ever froin all sufferings, and re-unite them with those whom they loved on earth. This was a thing, they said, they had never heard of, and confessed that they lived without hope in the world.”
FEMALE EDUCATION. Day Schools. It has already been mentioned, that in Tinnevelly Christian girls often attend school witli their brothers. This is an excellent arrangement. The practice is adopted, in a few cases, even by Hindus and Muhammadans. As a rule, however, there must be separate schools for non-Christian girls.
Some years ago there were numerous day schools for the children of the poor, who received a certain allow
ance for attending. They have now been generally given up. The girls remained only a short time, and attended very irregularly ; hence they soon forgot all that they had learned. So far as day schools are concerned, efforts are now chiefly directed to getting up schools for the children of the middle classes, who form the bulk of the population, and are able to keep their children long enough at school to be really profited. The influence of the pupils in after life is also much greater. So far from requiring to be paid, in a few schools fees have been levied with success. Schools of this class may be carried on in some places to a great extent.
Boarding Schools.-Few forms of Mission agency have been more blessed. If there is one at the station, it should receive much care. Two or three points may be noticed.
1. Very young children should not be admitted.--As funds are limited, they should be turned to the best account. If girls are received when only six or seven years of age, the expense is nearly doubled, while the advantage is inadequate. Children, it is true, should not be too old, or they will not learn ; on the other hand, little girls should be with their parents. Thus nearly twice as many children may be educated at the same outlay.
2. The girls should be trained to household work.As a general rule, this is attended to; but there are exceptional cases. The compiler was told of a man, who married a boarding school-girl, turning his wife out of doors because she could not cook. A suitable matron should be appointed to the school; but servants should not be employed—the elder girls should do all the work. Some Missionaries have adopted the plan of requiring specimens of skill in making curries. If the girls are unaccustomed to work, they get lazy and proud; when married, servants must be employed, perhaps at an expense which cannot be borne.
3. Children likely to occupy influential positions should be selected.—Simply as a work of charity, the poor might seem to deserve the preference; but this is not the object. Respectable men will not marry boarding school girls of low origin, as their disreputable relatives think they have a claim to prey upon them. It works badly to marry an educated girl to an uneducated man in humble life. Besides, the good she can do is comparatively limited. Hence the selection recommended. Efforts should be made to induce the parents to bear part of the expense. A commencement might be made by requiring them to provide clothes.
4. Instruction should be mainly in the Vernacular. -In some cases Missionaries' wives, because they have not mastered the native language themselves, have taught the children English. As a rule, only a mere smattering can be acquired; it is not kept up in future life, and is gradually forgotten except a few phrases. Sometimes girls are taught English hymns, of the meaning of which they have no conception. Five words with the understanding are better than ten thousand in an unknown tongue. Let the children rather be taught poetry in their own language.
Some wish to teach a little English on the ground that it brightens the mental faculties. In most instances, where this is done, it should be only as French is taught at home-the great bulk of the education should be in the native language of the pupils.
There are, cases, however, where an effort may made to communicate a tolerably good knowledge of English. At the Presidency towns the daughters of native gentlemen and the future wives of Mission Agents of superior grades, should possess this advantage.
Zenana Schools.Dr. Mullens gives the following hints :
1. In these Zenana Schools, the old system of drawing children and scholars to a Missionary, is entirely given up; the