Page images

are formed, and your vocabulary may be extended with ease by gradually committing to memory the roots.

Do not preach by interpretation. It is a very cold, unsatisfactory method, and removes a powerful motive to study. Persons who begin with crutches do not easily give them up, and seldom acquire the vigorous use of their limbs. Arthur remarks :

“ Let two men of equal talents begin at the same time in the same language, the one by using an interpreter, the other by deferring all attempts to preach till his progress enables him to venture, and it will be found that, at the end of three years, the latter has delivered far more sermous than the former; and not only so, but acquired a freedom and command which it is doubtful whether the other will ever gain.”*

A Missionary may learn a great deal by watching the language used by a good preacher. He may also consult him as to how particular doctrines can be best put before the people.

Examinations.-All Societies should follow the example of the C. M. S. and S. P. G. in requiring Missionaries to pass examinations in the vernacular. The following is the Marathi Standard of the Church Missionary Society :

Written.--(1.) To make a written translation into English from a passage taken from the Bal Mitra, or the Fourth Book of the Government Vernacular Series, or of Æsop's Fables; and a couple of payes of some idiomatic Tract.

(2.) To make a written translation into Marathi of a couple of

pages of any suitable English Tract. To write a short Sermon. To write a letter to a catechist.

Diva voce.-(1.) To read and translate some portion of the Marathi Scriptures and Liturgy. (2). To render into Marathi a prayer such as is commonly used. (3). To quote from memory from the Marathi Scriptures some passages on the state of man by nature and on salvation by Christ. (4). To give an exposition in Marathi of a portion of scripture. (5). To converse with some natives before the examiners.

* Mission to the Mysore, p. 240.

The examination to be conducted by two Missionaries and a. Layman when possible.

When you have made some progress, the Scriptures should form a great object of study. But the language used in conversation and original compositions, not translations, should form your standard. The different versions of Scripture vary considerably; some translators sacrificing closeness of rendering for the sake of idiom, and vice versa.

Continued Study.-After you have passed your examination, do not give up the study of the language. Devote a certain proportion of your time to the reading of standard native works. Your mastery over the language will be rendered more complete; you

will know more of the workings of the native mind; and you will be able to note similies and illustrations which may be used in your addresses with much effect. Endeavour to acquire gradually a general knowledge of the literature of the people among whom you labour. A history of the literature of each language, with a Catalogue Raisonnée, should be provided for missionaries.

Sanskrit.-Orientalists are apt to overrate the value of this language in a missionary point of view. Old pundits and others acquainted with Sanskrit, are, humanly speaking, about the least hopeful class to operate upon. They were rapidly dying out even in Benares, for the study, they said, brought neither honour nor profit. The action of the Indian Universities with regard to Sanskrit will give more importance to such men, while it will draw the attention of Indian youth from subjects of much greater utility.

The value of Sanskrit to a missionary depends a good deal upon his position. A knowledge of it enables a person to have a clearer idea of the meaning of Sanskrit-derived words, and to spell them more accurately. To quote a Sanskrit stanza, with words of " learned length and thundering sound,” will raise a Mission

ary in the estimation of the people and often silence a noisy caviller. The only question is, will it repay

the labour ? Notwithstanding that the study has been greatly facilitated by the works of Monier Williams and others, from the very complex character of the language, the acquisition involves the loss of a great amount of time. It is very desirable that a few Missionaries, who have a talent for languages, should acquire a good knowledge of Sanskrit ; but in the case of the majority of Missionaries the time may be spent otherwise to more advantage. Under any circumstances, its study should not be commenced till the Missionary has passed in the vernacular.*

“Let all other tongues alone,

Until your master of your own.”

VI. STUDY OF THE PEOPLE. Importance. While the Missionary should give his strength at first to the acquisition of the language, it is of very great consequence that he should be acquainted with the inner life of the people and the springs of actions by which they are moved. In general, Europeans are separated from the natives by a great gulf; they see them as servants or subordinate officers, they may hold intercourse with them on business ; but of their home life, the thoughts which pass through their breasts, they are almost entirely ignorant. Missionaries mix more with the people and know more; but the most experienced are the first to confess how much is yet a mystery

* For further remarks on the study of Indiar languages, see Hough's Missionary Vade Mecum, Arthur's Mysore, the Liverpool Conference Report. and the Study of Sanskrit by M. Williams. Some valuable hints will be found in a pamphlet by Sir Arthur Cotton,- “ The Study of Living Languages," published by Graves and Co., Madras.

to them. The following remarks were made recently at a Missionary Meeting in Bombay :

“An intimate knowledge of their modes of thought and social habits is necessary in order to enable any one fully to sympathize with the feelings they experieuce when a different religion is offered to their acceptance; but after 200 years spent by the English among the people, no European has yet acquired the requisite knowledge to enable us to know with certainty the prejudices that we wound, or the affections that we fail to


This ignorance is unquestionably one great cause why Missions have not made greater progress. WANT OF ADAPTATION is a crying defect.

The Missionary, while he is improving his knowledge of the language, may learn a great deal from his Munshi about the people, by drawing him out in conversation. By taking up a series of topics, the information may be systematized. In addition to this, two hours daily may be devoted to the study of the subject. It will form an agreeable variety, while in itself the knowledge will be of great value. Supposing a Missionary to give eight hours a day to sleep, bathing, and dressing, an equal time to devotional reading, meals, exercise, general literature, &c., there will remain six hours for the language, and two for the studies proposed. One hour may be allotted to history and the social life of the people; the other to the religious systems, &c. Of course the Missionary may pick up valuable information during his walks, &c. ; books like Heber's Journal may be read during seasons of relaxation.

Some of the subjects of study may now be noted.

Geography.-The physical features of a country exert a considerable influence on the inhabitants. The rice-fed Bengali, who has been said to live in a vapour bath for a considerable portion of the year, differs

Report of Bombay Diocesan Committee of the S. P. G. for 1863, p. 15.

much from the Sikh,whose frame is strengthened by the dry heat and the winters of the Punjab. Get a good general Map of India, and the Atlas sheet for the District in which you reside. Murray's Hand-books give excellent topographical accounts of the Bombay and Madras Presidencies. Thornton's Gazeteer of India is valuable for the whole country. Very full descriptions have been published of a few Districts. The geology, botany, and zoology of India, all possess interest. Some sources of information are pointedout in the Appendix.

History. The recent work by Marshman gives the best compendium. Hunter's History is very brief but good. By far the most valuable and elaborate history of Ancient India is Lassen's Indische Alterthumskunde. An English translation is very much wanted. Interesting information about the Hindu period may be obtained from Mrs. Speir's “ Life in Ancient India.” Elphinstone's History may be read for theMuhammadan period. Mill's History (Wilson's edition) gives very full details with reference to British India. Grant Duff's History of the Mahrattas, Cunningham's History of the Sikhs, and similar works, will be of special interest in particular parts of the country.

Social Life. This is a wide and important field of inquiry. India is peopled by several nations, differing about as much from each other as the English, French, Germans, and Italians. No account of the Bengalis can be taken as an accurate representation of the Tamil. Each nation has its peculiarities, and requires a special description. Stilì, all followers of the Brahmanical system have certain features in com

Dr. Wilson of Bombay recommends the study of a little work, "The Hindus," published in the Library of Entertaining Knowledge. Ward's Hindus contains a large fund of information. The specimens of conversation are very characteristic. A small volume by Babu Ishuri Dass, gives a good account of the domestic manners of the Hindus of the North



« PreviousContinue »