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London Missionary Society.
1.—Missionaries Needed for India.
BY THE EDITOR.
URING the past year our Indian Empire has attracted unusual
notice, and its interests have been the object of careful study to many thoughtful minds. The visit of the Prince of Wales to its various provinces and chief cities has furnished an occasion for describing to Englishmen, both by pen and pencil, with abundance of graphic detail, the life of its multitudes of people, their homes, their occupations, their strange customs, their many varieties of religion and worship. It has, on the other side, furnished a powerful occasion for drawing forth many proofs of the satisfaction of its people with English rule, their regard for their Sovereign, their recognition of the justice of English law, and of the desire of the English people in many ways to promote their welfare. The sense of security manifested by the people; their perfect freedom of movement; the homeliness of their demeanour, their hearty reception of the Prince of Wales, and the earnest efforts they have made to do him honour and render his visit a pleasure, all give proof that beneath the calm surface of Oriental life, there have been secured for the Queen's subjects in India, an order, a personal safety, and true freedom which they never knew in the old days, and which must give great gratification to the English nation at large.
Below the surface of all this public life and these holiday crowds, a thoughtful mind will find many themes for serious and careful contemplation. The English hold empire in India, not for gain, but for duty; not for show and holiday, but for earnest, daily toil. Such duty and such toil are being faithfully carried out by a large number of well-trained officers; and of both the men and their service, the English people have just reason to be proud. The trade of India developed by the enterprize and uprightness of our merchants and manufacturers, and by the facilities furnished by our railroads and steamers, has, during a long series of years, continued
grow till it has reached nearly a hundred millions sterling a year; and has, by furnishing to the peasantry the fair fruit of honest industry, brought comfort to their homes which they never knew before. One of our English statesmen, who recently travelled over a large portion of India, and has written frankly of what he saw, testifies clearly that, notwithstanding acknowledged deficiences, both the Government and the people of India are making steady progress.
Another recent traveller, who has dealt more fully with the moral and religious life of the people, furnishes evidence of the extraordinary activity which that life also has assumed. The long-continued efforts of able professors in colleges and universities, the steady, earnest teachings of missionaries and Christian teachers in chapels and schools, have not only fed the hunger for knowledge with wholesome food, which has nourished both intellect and heart; but have directed inquiry by sound methods, and have stimulated the spirit of inquiry in multitudes of minds. Far as the number of scholars in these schools falls behind the proportion which it ought to reach, the actual number under instruction is by no means small. It is a contribution to the instruction of the many; and the knowledge conveyed is not only extensive, but it is producing most powerful and most gratifying effects. The great increase in native literature, in the number of native writers and translators, in the activity and character of the native press, is one of its most patent fruits. The books, pamphlets, and papers which are thus given to the native world in many languages are in many respects defective; nevertheless, they convey to their readers a vast array of facts and judgments which are derived from the experience of the Western world; and which are enlarging the thought and experience of these most interesting races in the East. Among these facts and experiences, the moral teachings of Christianity occupy a very high place. All this progress can only strengthen a Christian mind in the earnest longing that direct Christian teaching in India might be increased a hundredfold, and that the religious aspirations of its great races, which have gone forth for ages in so many strange forms, should at last be satisfied in HIM who has said, "I am the Light of the World; I am the Way, the Truth, the Life." The Christian churches of Europe and America have done no mean things for India. Since they commenced their efforts, the number of Societies, of foreign missionaries, and of Christian agencies has gone on increasing until, in some thirty Societies, more than six hundred missionaries are scattered over the empire, occupy the most important positions, and are sustained, with all their agencies, by an annual outlay of £300,000. To their earnest efforts are added the hearty co-operation and Christian ex
ample of some three hundred native pastors and missionaries, the efforts of two thousand five hundred native evangelists, and some three thousand school teachers. Their labours assume many forms, and touch the population at numerous points. Chiefly in the twenty native languages they are pressing home upon the people of India, old and young, the great truths of the Gospel. While they supply them with many elements of sound and useful knowledge, their first and most delightful duty is to warn them of sin, and point them to the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world.
But what are they among so many? The census of the Indian Government, lately published, exhibits, in a more striking light than ever, the vasness of the population with which the English nation has to deal. It used to be thought that that population amounted to two hundred millions. The census shows that it amounts to nearly three hundred millions; and a long list of cities and towns is given, in which places are named having 100,000, 80,000, 50,000, and 20,000 inhabitants. Apart from these things, which show how gigantic the labour of Christianizing these multitudes must be, the heat of the climate, as affecting the health of missionaries, tends continually to weaken the number of those who have given themselves to it. It is due to this circumstance more than to any other that the efforts of the directors of the London Missionary Society to increase their staff of Indian missionaries, and widen the area of their usefulness, have been attended with such poor success. Once and again, and yet again, they have sought to add to their numbers; but they have been baffled in the attempt. They have succeeded in filling up vacancies and in maintaining old ground; but to their own disappointment, and that of their missionary brethren, in the desired extension they have failed. ONCE MORE they are anxious to make this effort. They are specially desirous of adding at least six missionaries to their Indian staff during the present year. And they appeal to students in our colleges, to young ministers, and to the members of our churches generally, to offer their services for this great work which the Indian empire opens to the earnest Christian labourer. No wider, fairer field is presented to them in any part of the world. It is under our national care. Its people are being brought under the light and the truth in a thousand ways. Their hearts have already been deeply affected by the Christian truth which has been spread among them. Multitudes have ceased to believe in the idolatry of their fathers. The women in retired Hindu homes are also seeking for light. "Whom shall we send and who will go for us to this people "prepared of the Lord ?"