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THE HINDU GIRL:
A NARRATIVE FOR THE YOUNG.
A LITTLE Hindu girl was one summer's afternoon playing before her father's bungalow, when she was carried off, taken to Calcutta, and sold as a slave. She was a sweet and beautiful little girl ; and the lady who bought her soon began to love her very much, and she thought she would not make her a slave. She had no children of her own, and she liked to have a little girl to play with her and amuse her. She loved her more and more, and as she grew older, she made her her companion.
When the little girl was stolen from her father, she was too young to have learned his religion. The lady who bought her was a Mohammedan, and she brought up the little girl as a Mohammedan too. Thus she lived till she was 'sixteen years old; and then all at once it came into her mind, she knew not how or why, that she was a sinner and needed salvation. She was in great distress of mind, and went to her kind mistress for comfort; but she could not tell her of a Saviour; all the lady could do was to try to amuse her, and make her forget her trouble. She hired rope-dancers, jugglers, and serpent-charmers, and tried all the sports of which the natives of India are fond, to give her pleasure. These were of no use, and the girl remained as miserable as ever. Her mistress, deeply grieved at the distress of one whom she loved dearly, next sent for a Mohammedan priest. He had never felt the want of a Saviour, and he could not understand the girl's distress. However, le took her under his care, and did his best. He taught her a long string of prayers in Arabic, a language which she did not understand. She learned the long hard words, which had no meaning to her, and she repeated them five times
lay, and each time she repeated them she turned towards Mecca, the birthplace of Mohammed, and bowed her face to the ground.
Did the poor girl find comfort in these dark words and idle ceremonies ? No; she felt there was no forgiveness, no salvation in these. When she had tried these prayers for three long years, the thought struck her that perhaps all the sorrow of mind was a punishment for having left the faith of her fathers, and become a Mohammedan. She set out directly in search of a Brahmin or Hindu priest, and entreated him to receive her back into the Hindu church. How do you think the Brahmin answered her? He cursed her in the name of his god. She told him how unhappy she was, and how long she had suffered, and begged him to pity her ; but he would not listen. She offered him a large sum of money, and then he was ready to do anything; so she put herself under his direction, and went again and again. He told her to make an offering of flowers and fruit, morning and evening, to a certain goddess, who was some way off, and once a-week to offer a kid of the goats, as a bloody sacrifice.
In India the people have a language of flowers; each flower means something; and when you go into a temple, and see the flowers which have been laid on the altar, you may often tell what petitions have been offered. The flowers she brought as her offering signified a bleeding heart. Oh! there was One who would not have refused such an offering! He only could have healed her broken heart ; but she knew Him not. For a long, long time did she carry flowers, morning and evening, and once a-week offer a kid of the goats, and sprinkled the blood on herself and on the altar; but she found that “the blood of goats could not take away her sins ;” and very often she cried out in her deep distress : “ Oh! I shall die; and what shall I do if I die without obtaining salvation?"
At last she became ill through the distress of her mind; and her mistress, with deep sorrow, watched her beloved companion sinking into an early grave. But one day as she sat alone in the room, thinking, and longing, and weeping, as her custom was, a beggar came to the door and asked alms. Her heart was so full, that I suppose she spoke of what she wanted to all whom she met, in the hope that some might guide her. She began talking to the beggar, and used a word which means salvation. The man started and said: “I think I have heard that word before." “Where, oh! where have you heard it ?” she eagerly asked. “Tell me where I can find that which I want, and for which I am dying; I shall soon die, and, oh I what shall I do if I die without obtaining salvation ?” The man told her the name of a charitable institution, where once a-week two thousand poor natives were supplied with rice, and, before the rice was given out, some Christian teacher used to speak to them. “I have heard it there,” he said ; " and they tell of one Jesus Christ who can give salvation.” “Oh! where is He? Take me to Him."
The man cared nothing about this salvation himself. He thought she was mad, and he was going away; but she would not suffer him to depart till he had given an answer; she dreaded lest she should miss that prize which now
seemed almost within her reach. “Well," he said, “I can tell you of a man who will lead you to Jesus;" and he directed her to that part of the town where Narraput Christian lived. Who was Narraput Christian? He was once a rich and proud Brahmin; but he had given up all his riches and honours to become a humble disciple of Jesus, and he was now an assistant missionary and preacher to his countrymen. This was the man of whom the beggar spoke.
The Hindu girl gave the beggar a trifle; and that very evening she set out in search of Narraput Christian, the man who would lead her to Jesus. She went from house to house, and inquired of every one she met “where Narraput Christian, the man who would lead her to Jesus,” lived ; but no one would tell her. They all knew; but they were worshippers of idols, and did not choose to tell her. It grew late and dark, and she began to be afraid of being seen out at that hour. Her heart was nearly broken, for she thought she must return as she came, without obtaining salvation.
She was just turning to go home, when she saw a man walking along the road: she thought she would try once more; so she asked him the same question, "Where Narraput Christian lived, the man who would lead her to Jesus ?” To her great joy he pointed her to the house; and when she reached it, she met Narraput himself coming out at the door. She fell at his feet in tears, and wringing her hands in anguish, she asked : “Are you Narraput Christian, the man who can lead me to Jesus ? Oh! take me to Him; I shall die; and what shall I do if I die without obtaining salvation ?"
Narraput did not receive her as the Hindu priest had done He raised her kindly from the ground, and led her into the house, where his family were met at their evening meal. “My dear young friend,” said he, “sit down and tell me all.” She told him her history; and as soon as she had done, she rose and said: “Now, sir, take me to Jesus; you know where He is; oh! take me to Him." Ah! if Jesus had been on earth, how willingly would He have received the poor wanderer! She thought He was on earth, and that she might go to Him at once; but Narraput knew, that though He was not here, He was just as able to pity and welcome her from His mercy-throne in heaven; so he only said : “Let us pray." All knelt down; and as he prayed the poor Hindų felt that she had found that which she had so long wanted.- The British Messenger.
been successful in opening friendly intercourse
them some sort of national agreement and understanding, is one of those remarkable occurrences which, in more tranquil times of peace, when we were happily free from the painful excitement of the present hour, would have commanded much attention and curiosity.
When the Jesuit missionaries reached Japan, towards the latter end of the sixteenth century, Japan was an open country, accessible to all. They met with full toleration, and propagated, without hindrance, their paganized Christa ianity until their converts were computed at 200,000. But Rome does not inculcate submission to the powers that be; nay, she has often taken upon her to release subjects from the allegiance they owe their princes, and encouraged them to rebellion, when the interests of the church so required it. We cannot wonder if, under such auspices, the so-called Christians of Japan were found, after a time, arrayed in rebellion against the legitimate authorities ; and civil wars ensued, which ended in the utter extirpation of Christianity from the islands, and the shutting up of the Japanese empire from intercourse with foreigners of every clime, Asiatics or Europeans, the Chinese and Dutch excepted, who were permitted to hold each one factory at Nagasaki, a seaport near the western extremity of the island of KiuSiu; and so things have remained since the year 1640.
Between the empires of Japan and Great Britain, in situation and kindred circumstances, several curious features of resemblance exist. Each consists of several islands grouped together into one kingdom ; and as in Great Britain, so in Japan, one is superior, the island of Niphon, about 860 miles long by 170 in its greatest breadth. Moreover, the situation of Japan off the eastern coast of Asia, is similar to that of Great Britain off the western coast of Europe, and would seem to intimate, that this insular empire is fitted, if raised by the healthful influence of Christianity, to exercise as powerful an influence on the affairs of Asia as our own country has exercised on the affairs of Europe. The extent of the sea-coast, the numerous harbours, and the proximity of the sea to every part of the Japanese dominions, indicate the future attainment of maritime preponderance. The country may be called mountainous ; and the climate, far more severe than that of European climates in the same parallels, is calculated to brace the human frame with hardihood and energy. Thus, by the application of human industry, a country, often rugged in its aspect, is made productive; and labour and skill, overcoming every obstacle, render even the sterile rock fruitful. The sides of the hills are terraced, and sown with rice, and planted with vegetables ; so much so, that scarcely a foot of ground to the tops of the mountains is left uncultivated. The staple product is rice, used by all classes, from the emperor to the peasant; and in the middle and southern provinces it is yielded so plentifully as to supply the northern portions of the empire, where the cold is too great for it to thrive. ' Besides, they grow barley, buckwheat, maize, and other grain, also peas and beans, which are much used. But, next to rice, the tea-plant has most care bestowed on it, and to such an extent is it prized throughout the islands, that, besides larger plantations, every hedge on every farm consists of the tea-plant. Domestic animals are few, and kept only for agricultural purposes; and fish, fowl, and venison, with submarine vegetables of various kinds, complete the culinary statistics of the Japanese.