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Malays, Javanese, &c. &c., of between 16,000 and 17,000. A temporary building was erected, which served as a residence, a school-house, and a chapel ; and the usual means were employed for the benefit of the people these continue in operation to the present day.
It is matter of deep regret that very few decided converts to Christ have, as yet, rewarded the labours of the missionaries. Some knowledge of christianity has however been disseminated, a spirit of inquiry has been awakened, and no objection is now made to the use of christian books in the schools, as was formerly the case.
As to the higher and more intelligent classes of mohammedans, the following facts may serve, in some small degree, to exhibit the apprehensions entertained by them as to the permanence of their own faith, and the light in which they are disposed to regard the missionaries there. After they had received information of the destruction of the Turkish fleet, at Navarino, an event which excited considerable consternation among them, some of their number went to the houses of the brethren, to inquire whether their sacred books contained any prophecies relative to the duration of the present state of mohammedanism; apparently entertaining an expectation that it would be superseded by a superior dispensation of religion, which would extensively prevail in the world, and continue to the final consummation of all things. One of their visitors, a hadjee, or pilgrim, who read Arabic, was presented with the Bible in that language, and on being directed to those passages in the Old Testament which describe the nature and extent of the Messiah's kingdom, acknowledged that the repre
sentations they gave appeared to him more like the word of God than any thing which the Koran either promised or portrayed.
But there is reason to believe that the most extensive good effected by means of the mission at SINGAPORE has been accomplished through the instrumentality of the press, which the missionaries there represent as a powerful means of diffusing the knowledge of God through Eastern Asia. The mission printing-office at Singapore, and that at the neighbouring station of Malacca, have furnished an immense number of copies of the Scriptures and tracts in Chinese and Malay, which have been widely dispersed in that part of the world, extending, as to the former language, even to the vicinity of Pekin. The following statement, relating to the distribution at Singapore, is highly interesting.
"In all, perhaps not less than one hundred junks, of various sizes, pay at least an annual visit to Singapore, which afford abundant facilities for sending the sacred Scriptures into the empire of China, and to almost every important Chinese colony in the Indian Archipelago. The large junks from China are chiefly from two places, Canton and Amoy. They arrive early in the year, and, as they stay some months, we have an opportunity of paying them several visits, and of holding conversations with the people. All the readers on board each junk are supplied with books, and then a small "export cargo" is entrusted to the captain, or other intelligent and well-disposed persons amongst the crew, to be dispersed among their friends on returning home. A complete copy of the Scriptures is usually given to the captain for his own use. In all our intercourse with these visitors, as
well as those from other parts, we have uniformly met with a friendly and even kind reception, and the books are generally received with cheerfulness, and not unfrequently with strong feelings of gratitude. During the present season, 1830, we have, indeed, met with increasing friendliness, and often found it difficult to avoid numerous and pressing invitations to share their hospitality."
As to the effects resulting from these latter operations, they must, from their very nature, to a great extent remain unknown to the missionaries; but there is reason to hope, that they may not unaptly be compared to those smaller portions of light that are diffused over the surface of the earth at the first break of day, which, though scarcely sufficient to strike the eye, are not the less real, nor the less necessary to the increased body of light that follows.
SIAM, a country of Eastern Asia, long regarded with lively interest, has lately been added to the field of missionary labour. It may be desirable here to give a slight sketch of Charles Gutzlaff, to whom there will be now a frequent reference.
The providence of God seems to have singularly fitted him for the work on which he has entered. But little of his history is known as yet to the christian public. It is stated, however, on good authority, that he is a native of Stetten, in Prussia, of poor parentage, and that he first attracted notice, at the age of fifteen, by means of a ballad composed on the king's birth-day. On this account he was taken under the royal patronage, and educated at one of the universities. Here he became pious, his attention having been arrested by the fact, that the religious students withdrew, in a great mea
sure, from his society. Of an inquiring mind, he was led to ask the cause of their conduct, and the result was a conviction of his true state and character by nature. On completing his education, he renounced his inviting prospects, and the royal favour already secured; and actuated by a desire of carrying the gospel to the heathen, became a humble missionary of the cross. He was sent out to Eastern Asia, by the Netherlands Missionary Society; but, for some time past, has depended for support on his own resources, and the aid of christian friends.
On the arrival of Mr. Tomlin, of the London Missionary Society, and Mr. Gutzlaff, at Bankok, they had an interview with the “ prah klang," minister of foreign affairs, and head of the commercial department, who appeared satisfied with their character and intentions, questioned them as to their knowledge of the Chinese language and their capacity for making sermons, and expressed his desire to hear them preach. They, however, proposed that he should wait till they were acquainted with the Siamese language, and requested him to furnish them with a teacher. He did so; the person appointed was the head of the romish christians in Bankok, but of a mild and candid spirit. He was friendly towards them, but others present were of a very different temper, who as soon as they entered, whispered that they were no christians-bad men, who believed neither in God, nor heaven, nor hell! To these the prah klang paid but little regard, rallied them on the points of difference between catholics and protestants; and on a subsequent occasion, when he questioned the missionaries on the main articles of their faith,
they boldly and distinctly avowed their confidence, not only in those fundamental truths which their accusers gratuitously disclaimed for them, but also in other important truths of christianity.
They met with a good reception among the people, who are in a very degraded and deplorable state, but apparently mild and good-natured, and many are able to read. They are, indeed, very great idolaters; their whole city is full of temples and idols, dedicated to gods known and unknown.
Amidst dwellings, the bulk of which have but a sorry appearance, there are perhaps two hundred temples scattered in various parts; outwardly very splendid and glittering with gold, but usually crammed with idols, and very dirty. Hundreds of priests may be seen every morning, swarming upon the river, and going from house to house, begging rice, of which they usually receive a small portion wherever they call. This practice seems not to detract from their dignity; the richest as well as the poorest are beggars; even the king himself, before ascending the throne, must assume the sacred function, join in the train, and beg his daily bread for a short period. The people have nothing of the diligent, enterprising spirit of the Chinese. The women are merchants, managers of all business, cultivators of the soil, &c., and are literally the slaves of their husbands.
For the first fortnight the mission wore a bright aspect, but then, as the stir among the Chinese about the books was notorious, an alarm was spread; it reached the ears of the king, who instantly ordered the books to be translated, but he found nothing in them against the country or the laws.
Notwithstanding this royal and public declara