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( 139 )
A SABBATH AT SEA. (FROM WILKINSON'S “CHRISTIANITY IN NORTII INDIA."). “ On going up on deck early in the morning, we rejoiced to find that it was possible to make a difference between the Sabbath and other days, even far ont at sea. The awning was stretched over the poop; the deck beautifully clean, the long end of the halliards, sheets, tacks, and all the nautical assemblage of ropes, lay coiled in circles on the deck with almost geometrical exactness; the ship's officers were in their Sunday dresses, and the hardy crew in their new and clean clothes. The water was remarkably smooth, having only that peculiar swell and undulation usually attendant upon a calm; and though we beheld not the might of the Lord when He bloweth with his wind, and the waves thereof rise and swell, we confessed it in that power which could say to so fickle an element, 'Peace, be still!
At five bells (half-past ten) prayers and muster was the order issued by the officer of the watch, and with ready obedience the crew assembled on the quarter-deck: their names were called over, and their respective posts assigned them. When this was done, the men uncovered and took their seats on some capstan bars, which had been arranged in parallel lines for their accommodation, supported on water buckets. The Missionary took his place at the cuddy, the capstan covered with a flag, served for a pulpit. The officers and passengers then took their seats above and below on poop and deck, &c. The service was quietly and solemnly performed, all in keeping with the scene. . .
A poor pigeon which had escaped from his confinement continued for some time to hover about the ship, like the dove of Noah finding no rest for the sole of her foot, save the sea-girt citadel. Like her, O my soul, when thou dost madly forsake the shelter of thy Redeemer's bosom, mayest thou find no repose till thou fleest thither again."
THE SABBATU BELI..
Cheerily on her onward way,
Across far Biscay's stormy bay.
Rising slow with measured swell;
Listen !-'tis the Sabbath-bell.
Winds and waves have ceas'd their war;
That shrill sound is heard afar.
To thy tried spirit, wand'rer, tell ?
Wake at that simple Sabbath-bell?
Of hearts so fondly knit to thee;
Thine hand shall grasp, thine eyes shall see.
Of scenes where mem'ry loves to dwell,
Far, far away, that Sabbath-bell.
THE CHIMSYAN INDIANS.
Listen again! thy wounded spirit,
Shall soar from earth, and seek above
The mansions of eternal love.
Pursued too keenly, lov'd too well,
Thou hear'st with joy the Sabbath-bel!.
THE CHIMSYAN INDIANS.
British Columbia, in consequence of the gold discoveries, will in all probability become for a time a centre of attraction, to which adventurers will rush from all quarters. It is greatly to be regretted, that before such a crisis arrived, Christianity had not been, to some extent, introduced amongst the Indians. They exist in considerable numbers, and are much more numerous in proportion to the extent of the country, than on the Atlantic side of the Rocky Mountains. It is to be feared, that, confiding in their numbers, they will not hesitate to interfere with the miners, and thus collisions will ensue. Had Christianity obtained some footing in the land, it might have exercised a protective and restraining influence, and shielded them, as it has, to a considerable extent, the New Zealanders, from the effects of colonization. But this, we regret to say, is not the case. The first Protestant Missionary (the priests of Rome had got there before him) did not reach Vancouver Island earlier than June 1856, or about two years and a half ago. Of course little more ha
yet done than acquiring one of the Indian dialects, and gaining the confidence of the particular tribe amongst whom his lot is cast. These are the Chimsyan Indians, on the mainland, opposite Queen Charlotte's Islands. How dark, how degraded they are, our readers will learn from the following passages, taken from our Missionary, Mr. Duncan's journals.
“ Contrary to the custom of the Indians here (who always burn their dead), the chief begged permission to inter the remains of his daughter in the Fort garden, alongside her mother, who was buried a short time ago, and was the first Indian thus privileged. The corpse was placed in a rude box, and borne on the shoulders of four men. About twenty Indians, principally women, accompanied the old chief, whose heart seemed ready to burst, to the grave. A bitter wailing was kept up for about three-quarters of an hour, during which time about seven or eight men, after a good deal of clamour (which strangely contrasted with the apparent grief of the mourners), fixed up a pole at the head of the grave, on which was suspended an Indian garment. At the head of the mother's grave several drinking vessels were attached to the pole, as well as a garment. The scene was very affecting, and the reflections it sugo gested are indeed awfully solemn.
“Immediately after dinner, the second officer of the Fort, who had not been absent more than a minute, came rushing back, to report that an Indian had just been murdered close to the Fort gates. On repairing to the gallery I saw this shocking sight. Several Indians, with muskets
141 in their hands, were hovering about the dying man, and one or two ventured to go near and assist him. He was shot in the right breast, and apparently dying, but seemingly conscious of what had happened. In a few minutes, two Indians, looking as fierce as tigers, carrying muskets, came bounding to the spot, and, after ordering all away, one of them immediately tired at the poor fellow as he lay on the ground, and shot him in the arm. They then as quickly bounded away. All stood exceedingly alarmed at this dreadful tragedy, but none dared to interfere. My own feelings I will not attempt to describe. I found consolation in committing myself afresh to the care of that omnipotent arm that has brought me here, and in more earnestly beseeching the Sun of Righteousness to arise on this dark land.
“The particulars of this foul deed are as follows:-The head chief was the murderer. Being irritated by some other chiefs while partly intoxicated, he vented his rage upon the first stranger that came in his way, and, after shooting him, ordered two of his men to finish the horrible deed. His victim was a Queen-Charlotte Islander, a very finelooking young man, who had been working for the Fort some few days. This morning I saw him in the garden working, while the chief was burying his daughter, which made the affair doubly affecting to me. The murderer, in order to extenuate his crime, gave out that a QueenCharlotte Islander, of the same tribe as the murdered man, had shot a brother of his about ten years ago.
Such is his idea of right. But the matter does not finish here. I learn that another from the same island must be killed before the affair can be settled. The chief under whose protection the murdered man had been living must revenge his death, in order to maintain his dignity. The victim will have to be one of the same people under the protection of the present murderer. Thus does one foul deed beget a never-ending strife amongst them. It is now dark, and I hear the firing going on outside."
These poor people seem very willing to be taught, and very anxious that Mr. Duncan should be able to converse freely with them in their own language.
Various little incidents occur which show this to be the case. One morning, as Mr. Duncan was having a little conversation with a Chimsyan chief, a group of Indians gathered round them, desirous to know what was going on. The chief, immediately turning round, spoke to them for about ten minutes with great earnestness.
When asked what he had been saying, he said he had been telling them about the Missionary and his business.
Their searching looks and happy countenances showed how pleased they were; and each, as he was leaving, greeted him with a smile. They are aware that he is engaged in learning their language, and declare, that as soon as he has got a house outside the Fort, they will come to him to be taught. Mr. Duncan is striving prayerfully to get the power of speech, for it is most painful to be with them, and not be able to speak to them of the things of God.
Nov. 17–To-day a chief called to see me, who is suffering from a bad cough, and seems wearing away fast. He very anxiously desired
THE CHIMSYAN INDIANS.
(DEC. relief; but it is to no use giving them any medicine for such complaints, as their habits prevent any good effects ensuing. I told him to keep his chest and feet warm, for he has plenty of property to make him comfortable; but, like his people, he prefers going barefoot and halfnaked. I perceived he wanted to tell me something rather serious, by his countenance and muttering. Like a man about to take a long journey, he seemed gasping for directions about the way. Oh how I longed to tell him my message, but could not. I made him understand that I should soon be ready to teach all the Chimsyans about God; that I had God's book with me, which I should teach from; and my object was to make them good and happy. After a little pause, he remarked in his way), “ You are going to teach the Chimsyans not to shoot each other,” which to him seemed, I suppose, about as great a boon as I could confer. I also made him understand something about what we did on the Sabbath. His constant response was, ahm," (Good, good).
Nov. 24–I have had the same chief mentioned above again to-day. As it was during school-time when he came, I got the little boys to sing him a hymn or two. This pleased him very much. He said byand-by he would understand what we sang. He then asked me if I should expect pay from the Chimsyans for teaching their children. A volley of good expressions were the response he gave to my answer. I then tried again to make him understand my main object in coming here, with some account, also, of what we did in the Fort on the Sundas. He then requested to see Shimauyet Lakkah shahounsk (God's book), which I showed him. His anxious gaze and sighs told me how he longed to know its contents, and oh! how I longed to tell him. Again and again I mentioned the name of our Saviour, but could do but little else. I never felt the evil of Babel so keenly before. He is a delicate man, and, humanly speaking, cannot live long. I wonder if he will ever be able to hear the glorious message of salvation. That God may giant it is my earnest prayer.
Nov. 27-I had a fine old chief call to see me to-day. His name is Neeashwaiks. He sat very quietly during all our afternoon school operations. He heard the little boys sing and read, and seemed much delighted. More than that, he saw us go down on our knees, and
pray in our Saviour's own words. In great seriousness he pronounced his “ Ahm, ahm,” (Good, good).
Dec. 7—Yesterday (Sunday) a chief and his wife were both shot in their own house by one of their own tribe, who had just been giving away his property (blankets, &c.). It is hoped the wounds are not fatal. It seems this chief had insulted the man by refusing his present, and that simply because another chief had a similar present made him. The boy I employ to get me wood, &c., asked me last night if he might stay in the Fort, as he was afraid to go outside. I have heard since that a party of men were watching for him at the gates ; so that, had he gone out, he would either have been killed or enslaved, all because he belongs to the unfortunate chief's tribe.
We must reserve other details respecting this new field of labour for a future Number.
( 143 )
A MOHAMMEDAN CONVERT.
(Concluded from p. 131.) The same afternoon that Yusuf had the conversation with the monks, he started out to walk, and a monk went with him. He asked the monk why he followed him. “ Am I a slave still ?” said Yusuf: “ I escaped from the slavery of my master in Bagdad, and from the slavery of Islamism, and am I now in another bondage? I cannot, I will not return to the convent to stay.” He then left the monk in the street, hastened back to the convent, and succeeded in getting his bed and a few books, with which he made his escape to the khan or inn, where he intended to sleep. In a few minutes, however, he came to us, and we had his things transferred from the khan to our own house..
He then gave us a full account of his history, which is not uninteresting. He was born in Abyssinia, and was stolen as a slave, when an infant, by an Arabian Moslem, and sold to the Grand Vizier of the Persian Government. He was trained up as a Moslem, and while in Bagdad he became fully acquainted with the Korán, and learned the Arabic, Persian, and Turkish languages; and afterwards enough of the French to converse readily.
At length he fell in with a Moslem who had formerly been a Greek Christian, and from him he learned something of the Christian religion. The Greek had left his own church on account of its idolatry ; but told him there was another class of Christians, who followed the Gospel only, and they were pure and upright men. Not long after, this Greek Moslem fell in with an English Missionary, embraced the truth, declared himself a Protestant, and was sent away to Bombay. This awakened Yusef's attention. He conversed with the Jews, anxious to see if their religion was any better than his own, but found nothing to rest upon. He then went to the Romish priest, who baptized him and gave him his present name, Yusef (Joseph). But he found their system to be so much like idol-worship, and their enmity to the Gospel so violent, that he had no rest, and determined to go to the “Gospel-men," or Protestants. He visited the Jewish Missionaries, and at length abandoned Islamism and embraced the truth as it is in Jesus.
As it would not be safe for him to remain in Bagdad after changing his faith, he proposed to escape to the westward. For a time there seemed no opportunity, and he was about giving it up, when the Jesuits renewed their efforts to convert him to the church of Rome. He came at last to Tripoli, and made his escape from the monks to our house.
The morning after his escape from their hands, he thought it best to return to the convent to ask for his baggage, but promised to return. Three hours passed, and he did not return. We began to be alarmed, fearing lest he had met with violent treatment at their hands. But at length he came, thanking God for his escape, although he did not succeed in getting his baggage. He narrowly escaped violence, as the monks tried to detain him by force. He had openly declared his Protestant sentiments, and set them all in an uproar. At first they tried honeyed words, but afterwards threatened. He told them of his love for the Bible, and his determination to read it at all hazards ; to which they replied by cursing him and the Gospel-men who had taught him such heresy.