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NOTES FROM ROME.
Again, on February 18th, Mr. Bailey writes :
I returned last week from measuring the rice at Padri Polli, and you will be glad. to know that the harvest has been very abundant, and the people are in better circumstances, and a more healthy condition generally, than for some years past. The services were well attended on the Sunday, and tho Young Men's Society now numbers nearly thirty members.
We had specially interesting services at Berhampore yesterday. In the afternoon Balunki Podhan, who according to the appointment of Conference is removing to Sambalpur, gave a farewell sermon to a more than usually large congregation; after which, the young mon, for whose interests he has laboured assiduously, presented him with an address and a small article of jewellery-part being taken in the service by Niladri, Daniel, and myself. Balunki also gave a suitable response. He has been very active and usoful during the two years he has been located here, and leaves with general and hearty good wishes for his future welfare.
At the close of this service, and on passing through the verandah, we were joined by Ramswammy, the Hindoo convert to whom previous reference has been made, and whom I had recognized in the congregation. Áo stated that he was now ready to be baptized, and had brought a change of clothing with him; and as his case is well known to all our people, and has been before us for some time, we proceeded at once to the water, and after the usual brief service at the water's edge he was baptized by Makunda Sahu. There was, as it bappened, a large number of Hindoos present to witness the ceremony. The case is interesting, as Ramswammy's father was. acquainted with the early missionarios, and though a roputed Hindoo was a secret Christian disciple, and while on his deathbed warned his children against worshipping idols, and encouraged them to look alone to Christ. It has taken the son a long time to muster the courago necessary to meet the reproach and persecution ho is only too certaid to be called upon to suffer. May the Lord give him strength to be faithful and consistent!
We beld an English service in the evening, and at its close Mr Ramsbothamunsolicited gave me a cheque for ton rupees, for a special object in connection with the Mission. The friends will rejoice with us in these evident tokons of the Master's presence and blessing.
Notes from Rome.
BY REV. N. H. SHAW.
LORD Radstock and Canon Wilberforce are in Rome, conducting prayer meetings and preaching the gospel. Some of the prayer meetings have been very enjoy able, and fitted to deepen the religious life of all attending them. Lord Radstock, besides preaching in French in a public hall, has paid visits to most of the mission churches. He has preached at Via Urbana to a crowded house, and we believe his visit has been useful.
The Pope has again been threatening to leave Rome, if we may believe some of the papers. He will think twice and thrice before he puts his threat into execution. The threat is only meant to rouse the fears and cupidity of certain people, and is losing its effect even upon them.
Said an Italian to me the other day : “While the Pope is represented abroad as a prisoner, we Italians wish he would issue from his prison and show himself to the public, as formerly ; because then more foreigners would come to Rome, and we should make money." I replied, “Then you wish to retain the Pope as the national showman only ?” “Just so,” said my friend. And I believe this is the feeling of very many, especially those who are represented by the " Papolo Romano." What a degradation of religion 1
THESE STINKING BOOKS. A young man who is a member of our church has a landlady who is very fond of him, but much disturbed on his account. The curate tells her she is committing a great sin, and imperilling her soul by harbouring the heretic,that his presence is bringing down the curse of God on her house, etc., etc.
The young man, being studious, has a bible and other kindred books on his table; and one day entering the room noiselessly he saw the landlady engaged in dusting. She stood as far off the books as the length of her arm and the duster would permit-evidently afraid of contamination—and while she adopted this ridiculous attitude, he heard her say, as she flapped the corner of the duster over the terrible objects, “ Questi puzzosi libri !" (these stinking books !) Poor woman! She is only a specimen of thousands of others.
The usual crowds have this week visited the churches, first to see and adore an image representing the dead Saviour laid in the tomb surrounded with flowers and lamps, then to the three hours of agony and the exhibition of relics, etc. At Santa Croce in Gerusalemme we saw exhibited the pretended pieces of the true cross, the holy nail, two holy thorns from the Saviour's crown, the finger of St. Thomas, which they say he thrust into the wound in the Saviour's side, etc. On all sides it is possible to hear the English tongue, and often we are made to feel ashamed by seeing English people kneeling in reverence to the host, kissing a wooden crucifix, and in other ways showing either a lamentable superstition or a cowardly weakness.
St. Peter's, I suppose, was crowded to-day (Good Friday). There was at Via Urbana this evening a meeting addressed by three brethren. Many listened with evident interest while the love of God was represented as the cause of love and obedience in the sinner; and an Italian remarked to me in the class, “Probably much more good has been done here to-night than in St. Peter's throughout the day, and amongst the many thousands that were there. I can believe that.
Proposed Benares-gooree Railway.
The railway system is gradually being extended in India. One of the most recent proposals is a line from Benares to Pooree. Whether it will ever be an accomplished fact time will determine. That such a line should be proposed is a remarkable sign of progress. Should the locomotive engine ever find its way to Pooree, Juggernath will find in it a powerful rival if not a complete extinguisher. Science and superstition cannot long run side by side. The steam engine clears the way for the Gospel chariot. With regard to the above railway, “ The Friend of India and Statesman," writes :
The proposed railway from Benares to Cuttack, to be continued to Pooree, awakens more than the ordinary interest attaching to all projects for opening our isolated tracts, and improving the communications between great cities. Benares and Pooroo are the two capitals of Hindooism, in its sister forms, the Rome and Constantinople of the middle ages, and it is difficult to say whether the goddess Siva attracts more worshippers in her golden temple on the banks of the Gangos, in the contro of the land of the Brahmins, or the god Vishnoo, in his remote but magnificent shrine on the distant coast of Orissa. The pilgrimage from the one temple to the other has been rendered comparatively easy, but it still involves a long détour, vid Calcutta, and, what Hindoos dread with an aversion declining but still great, a voyage by sea. There is still in Hindoo oyes, a gulf between the sacred cities, to pass which
PROPOSED BENARES-POOREE RAILWAY.
implies courage and devotion. It is an interesting work to unite and bring into the closest communication, two capitals that have so much in common, and which are yet so different and so distant. The engineer is, perhaps, in the long run, an enemy to the ideas enshrined in the Bisheswar of Benares and the Juggernath of Pooree, but he does not object upon occasion to act as their servant, particularly in smoothing the way for pilgrimages. Science is ready to serve superstition, taking her toll for 80 doing in money at first, in another form afterwards. Some day a contractor will certainly offer to take Juggernath's car by steam or tramway; meanwhile it is something to see Juggernath's devotees conveyed by rail and steam boat, or as now proposed, by rail alone.
There is another and distinct interest attaching to the line, in the nature of the country between Mogul Serai and Cuttack, which the new rail would open up. Considering that Cuttack is an ancient and populous city, the capital of the civilised province of Orissa, it is extraordinary that the country close to it should be so little known. The resident in that pretty station sees the hills of the Tributary Mehalo quite close to bim, separated only by the waters of the Mahanuddi, and any morning he choosos, a ferry-boat will in. an hour land him on the most neglected, most backward, and least known part of India. It is amusing to read in the last annual Resolution of the local Government on the “ Tributary States of Orissa,” that “they have hitherto been regarded as forming a part of British India, to which owing to its backwardness, it was not thought advisable to extend the law in force in other parts of the Empire. In a case referred to the High Court, however, a full bench decided just before the commencement of the year, that the Mehals are not a portion of British India" We should not rashly answer as to the ignorance and indifference which may exist elsewhere, but perhaps we may express a hope, if not a conviction, that no Government but that of India, and no part of the Indian Government but that which rules Bengal, could have remained for a century or so under an erroneous impression that it owned, and was responsible for the administration of, an area of sixteen thousand one hundred and eighty-four square miles, much of it fertile and rich in minerals, with which in point of fact it had no concern. The people of the Mehals givo no trouble, and therefore no one attends to their affairs. We know not whether the men are always engaged in protecting their fields from the wild elephant, who seems to exercise the real right of ownership in the Mehals, and the ladies in the cares of their toilette, which used to consist exclusively of green leaves, and to require to be renowed daily at noon, after a protracted visit to the jungle; but for some reason they koop themselves so quiet that no one cared to enquire whether they were the Queen's subjects or not, until the High Court, after much discussion and difference of opinion, came to the conclusion that they belong to—the elephant.. Beyond this tract comes the division of Chota Nagpore and the plateau of the Kymore Hills, extending to within twenty miles of Benares, and almost as neglected as the Tributary Mehals themselves. This vast tract contains the best coal fields of India, and affords the most promising field for emigration from the over-populated districts of Behar, Orissa, and the North-West Provinces. Yet, as the Government of India remarks, very little is known about it. A middle aged tiger of active habits, with his head quarters on the upper reaches of the Kurramnassa river, is probably better acquainted with the country and can certainly traverso it more quickly, and with less difficulty in the important matter of obtaining supplies, than the best informod officer of the Indian Government.
The Government of India, contented with the prospect, as far as the preliminary report shows it, has called for estimatos both of the cost of construction and of the probable traffic. It is possible that the returns under the latter head may not be altogether satisfactory. There will be the pilgrims to Pooree, some two hundred thousand a year, the coal from the mines, and a little through traffic to Cuttack; but the rest must be conjectural. At present there is no traffic worth mentioning by this route, because there are no communications, and the extent to which trade can be created by affording it facilities, is always a matter of experiment. But we hope that the Government of India will not insist on seeing a balance-sheet showing an assured profit before sanctioning this undertaking. Roads are made without insisting on a return for the expense, and in many cases railways may be constructed though their profit is doubtful. This line will open up a neglected country, and yield a large indirect profit. There is also a reasonable prospect that it may prove immediately a good investment, and though this could not be affirmed with certainty, it would still be wise to push on the work.-" The Friend of India and Statesman."
Does the thought ever occur that we may render acceptable service by the manner of our reception of the church or missionary collector? Humbly as she may regard her work, it is a very important factor of the whole, and, to a certain extent, lies at the foundation. No doubt she often shrinks from the self-sacri. ficing, necessary duty, and hesitates from all that it requires. Do not say to her, “Ah! you come too often,” or the very common, stereotyped expression, “I've no money for missions." Rather receive her with a warm welcome, and as you lay your offering in her hand, be it large or small, breathe a prayer for it and her work, and send her on her way rejoicing. Sometimes a cup of cold water, or a word of encouragement shows, one's loyalty to a cause, when more active service is denied.
IF thou shouldst never see my face again
DURING the month services have been held as follows:
March 16th to April 15th, 1884.
Subscriptions and Donations in aid of the General Baptist Missionary Society will be thankfully received by W. B. BEMBRIDGE, Esq., Ripley, Derby, Treasurer; and by the Rev. W. HILL, Secretary, Mission House, 60, Wilson Street, Derby, from whom also Missionary Boxes, Collecting Books and Cards, may be obtained.
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