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The two volumes which you kindly gave me in 1855, in the name of the Directors of the London Missionary Society have been one of several means for cherishing and strengthening my desires to help in that great work; and I am thankful to find by a letter received from Mr. Hawkins since my return, that he had communicated with yon on the matter, and had received so encouraging a reply. Mr. Ellis is clearly in a position of the utmost importance at Antananarivo, and he stated without reserve his conviction that the missionary staff sent on that service can occupy that central field. My plan therefore is to work for occupying places on the coast; and having vainly attempted to get a translation of our Liturgy here, I thought of asking Mr. Baker to come to Mauritius and superintend that work, for which he is so well fitted by his knowledge of the language ; and at the same time he might superintend their printing also. Our morning and evening prayers would be our chief want.
It would greatly rejoice the Directors and friends of the London Missionary Society to witness the reverence and affection with which the names of their former Missionaries are mentioned by the people; I must not, for time does not allow it, enlarge upon such matters, but I hope portions of my journal bearing on them will reach you.
"On Sunday, the 24th of August, I met some of your Missionaries at Ampasimbe, where we were resting for the day, and after our Litany, and a Malagasy service conducted through an interpreter, I read to them an account of my visit to the four spots where the martyrs had suffered. It was a solenin occasion. Further down we met the other three, all were well and in good spirits, with the exception of Mr. Toy, who was suffering on the Sunday from indisposition, but on the Monday was better.
" It would have given me much pleasure to have conferred with you personally and to bave told you of Mr. Ellis's work, and of his kindness to me, but there is so much work here for me in French and English just now that I cannot leare.
"I trust we shall all feel the unspeakable importance of seeking that grace and blessing which alone can prevail to bring men out of darkness and vice to the light and parity of the Gospel of Christ. Nothing but actual contact with heathen darkness can make one appreciate the energy of the former which brings men out of it.
“Believe me, my dear Sir,
“Yours very faithfully, "REV. DR. TIDMAN."
“ VINCENT W. MAURITIUS."
THE BISHOP OF MAURITIUS ON RECENT EVENTS IN
MADAGASCAR. Ar the Annual Meeting of the Mauritius Auxiliary Bible Society, held at Port Louis, the 30th September ulto., the highly respected Bishop of the Colony, in moving one of the Resolutions, which had reference to the new and wonderful openings for the spread of the Gospel in Madagascar, took occasion to give the resuit of his personal observations during a visit he had recently paid to that island. As the Bishop, in the course of his journey through the country, and during his sojourn in the capital, enjoyed the best opportunities for ascertaining the actual state of things, and for forming an impartial estimate of the moral, religious, and social condition of the people, we have much pleasure in reproducing the speech entire, under the conviction that it will be received with great interest by our readers, more especially as it fully confirms all previous accounts as to the striking and happy changes that, in the providence of God, have been brought about since the accession of Radama II.
“ The Bishop of Mauritius rose to propose the second Resolution, which was as follows :—' That the preservation and silent extension of Christian truth in Madagascar during so long a period of active and cruel opposition, is a marked and signal demonstration of the Divine blessing upon the reading of the Word of God. That this Meeting hails with thanks and praises to Almighty God the resumption of missionary undertakings in that country, under such hopeful auspices, and implores the blessing of Heaven upon his Majesty King Radama II., that he may wear with wisdom, and in peace and prosperity, the crown just placed (or about to be placed) upon his head, until he obtains an incorruptible crown in the Kingdom of Heaven!
STRIKING EFFECTS OF CHRISTIAN INSTRUCTION. * The Resolution,” said the Bishop, “alludes to the silent extension of Christian truth in Madagascar,' “and the signal demonstration of the Divine blessing apon the reading of the Word of God.' I think I may say with truth that I was never more impressed in my life with anything, than I was at witnessing the results occasioned by the spread of Christian truth in Madagascar! It is my firm opinion that it is impossible for any one to feel the full force of this impression unless he has witnessed and studied it himself. The effect of Christian teaching in Madagascar strack me as possessing a most remarkable character. And it was introduced to my mind in this manner :- I was requested to attend a meeting of some of the natives. I said that I would do so if I could; but the heat of the season was so great that I could not remain on shore, and was compelled to go back to the ship. I there received a letter, addressed to me as "The Bishop of Mauritius, our beloved brother on board the ship,' expressive of the Christians' regret at my inability to be amongst them on the occasion to which I had been invited, and requesting me to attend in the evening. In compliance with the request just alluded to, I went on shore in the evening and found more than a hundred persons met together to receive me. They listened most attentively to the Word of God; and their praying and singing were of the most fervent character. They expressed great pleasure at seeing me, and intimated their earnest desire to have Christian teachers sent amongst them. After leaving Tamatave and proceeding towards the capital, the road lies on the right hand, the sea being on the left. Four attendants left the port with me, and three of these remained with me until I arrived at the capital, ore having left me on the way. They were ever ready to enter upon the exer. eise of prayer. As an instance, I may mention that on one evening I was obliged from fatigue to go into my cot, and fell asleep. I was awakened in the early morning by the voices of persons who were engaged in reading the Scripture and in prayer, and on inquiry I was informed that these exercises had been carried on throughout the night. They were ever ready for prayer and for reading the Scripture more so, indeed, than I was able at all times to assist in, owing to my being sick with fever. Proceeding along our journey, we came to a place called 'Indivaranty,' where we met with many Christians, who walked out through the village
towards us, to welcome us. On arriving at the village we went to a house, where we found a woman, who is the aunt of a man now in this room, and who was a listener to the Missionaries who were expelled nearly 30 years ago. The honesty of the people-in a part of the country where there is no police, and no magistrate or judge -particularly struck me. On one occasion I held a meeting, when three fine young men came in, whom I found to be Christians. They had each a copy of a Malagasy hymn-book, and they started the singing of well-known English sacred airs. In testimony of their desire to read and to hear the Word of God, I now hold in my hand a copy of the New Testament which when I left Mauritius was quite strong, and all but new. I was only a few weeks in Madagascar; but such was the desire of the people to handle the sacred volume, that my copy of it has been reduced to the state which frequent usage of it by them now exhibits it to you. All of these young men were able to read, and one of them engaged in prayer. This was precisely the state of things I met with throughout my passage from the coast to the capital. In the capital and in its immediate neighbourhood, I was struck by yet more sterling proofs of the abiding power of God's Word; for, in spite of the cruel persecutions of the late Queen, there are at this hour many thousands more of openly-pronounced Christians than there were known to be at the ejection of the Missionaries in 1845. I met with many Christians who appeared to have had the truth brought to their knowledge in a very special and striking manner. Some of these I particularly questioned. One of them had been taught Christianity by a Hova mother ; she had been seized, imprisoned, and had almost miraculously escaped ; seized again, she was again imprisoned, and put to death with horrible torture. With reference to the way in which the Bible has been circulated and its knowledge spread abroad in Madagascar, I will only mention one further instance:-A young man possessed a Bible, which he had invariably carried about his person during a period of eighteen years. In the course of that long period of time, his Lible had frequently been exposed to the danger of destruction ; but he had dwelt with peculiar confidence and satisfaction upon that passage which is found in Jer. xlvi. 27 :—But fear not thou, O my servant Jacob, and be not dismayed, O Israel : for behold, I will save thee from afar off, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return and be in rest and at ease, and none shall make him afraid. That poor man had read this in the midst of his troubles, and he was not afraid. He went on in his way; 'and here,' he said to me, we are now, in good health and in safety. He further quoted to me the 11 and 12th verses of the 42nd chapter of the book above cited :-Be not afraid, &c. :' and six other similar passages from the Word of God.
RETROSPECT OF THE PERSECUTION. “Mention is made, Sir, in the Resolution I hold in my hand, of the active and cruel opposition' which the Word of God has encountered in Madagascar. The proofs of this, which are still in existence, are most striking, I was shown a chain, although the person who showed it to me had previously stated that he did not like’ to exhibit it. It consisted of very heavy iron rings—now broken and cut through-and had been for many long years around the ankles of a poor Christian woman, whose life those rings had helped to wear away! Other instruments of torture—one of them a long iron bar with adjusting rings—were shown to me, by a person who bore marks of the sufferings they had occasioned, and must carry those marks to his grave; and, in spite of all this, the Word of God has yet gone on and prevailed.
" In speaking of the second part of this Resolution, the resumption of missionary enterprise in Madagascar-when I was there, I could not help being impressed with the feeling, that, had we attempted, one year ago, the Mission upon which we were then engaged, we every one of us ran the certain risk of being put to death!
LARGE GATHERINGS OF THE PEOPLE TO LISTEN TO CHRISTIAN TEACHING. "Arriving on the heights of Tananarivo, I never saw scenery more beautiful than was there spread out before me. In the dwelling occupied by the General and myself, we overlooked the whole of the city. Mr. Ellis, who was present at one of the meetings held there, said, there must have been at least 1500 persons present. I never saw anything like the fervour I there witnessed. I shortly afterwards again addressed the people, when from 1000 to 1400 persons were present—a mighty crowd pressing us in upon all sides. Whilst I addressed them, a kind of electric feeling seemed to possess and pervade the whole assembly. I spoke to them of the fulness of the blessing of the Gospel of Christ. The Rev. Mr. Ellis interpreted my abservations, and their effect so gratified me that I recalled those lines of Dr. Watts :
“In holy pleasures let the day
In holy fervour pass a way!" “Mr. Ellis commences his services early, and concludes them at 11 a.m. To see the people swarm along the streets, produces much the effect of a swarm of bees around a beehive. My firm impression is, that it is not of the least use to attempt to spread the Roman Catholic religion in Madagascar. One of the Roman Catholic priesthood whom I met there, observed to me that one might just as well attempt to cut a rock zith a razor, as attempt to make Roman Catholics of the Malagasy!
PREPARATIONS FOR RESUMING THE LONDON SOCIETY'S MISSION. "" Before leaving the capital for Tamatave, I asked Mr. Ellis if he was prepared to undertake the immediate responsibility of conducting the Mission. He unhesitatingly replied 'Yes!" He stated also that the whole coast was open; that Missionaries were on their way out; and that everything was ready for missionary labour, even to the very centre of Tananarivo. Some of the first and most influential young men in the island are studying under Mr. Ellis's instructions, and one of the highest officers in the army has learnt his A B C under his care, almost in a single lesson ; he had been regularly put through his lesson, and very speedily learnt it. On my way back from the capital, I met with the Missionaries of the London Missionary Society on their upward journey. I need not say that this meeting made us all exceedingly glad. They first joined in the services of our Liturgy, and we then held a service in the Malagasy language. VISIT, WITH MR. ELLIS, TO THE SPOTS WHERE THE MARTYRS HAD SUFFERED.
“We afterwards paid a visit to the four places in which the Christian martyrs had been sacrificed. These holy men are resuming the labours of the Madagascar Mission under painfully interesting circumstances. The bones of some of the martyrs still remain where they fell; but Mr. Ellis did not wish to remove them, for Chris. tian burial, until the Missionaries should arrive and in this I fully concurred. Let Mr. Ellis say what was the effect produced upon him and upon the Malagasy Christians by the sight of this spectacle! We passed by spots where their bleached remains still lay, ever since 1858; the martyrs having been precipitated down a
height of at least 70 perpendicular feet. There, striking against projecting rocks, they had rolled down a further descent of at least 50 feet. Those surviving relatives or friends who had been able to obtain the permission so to do, had removed some of these melancholy remains; but the bodies of several of the martyrs, on being hurled from the precipice, had been arrested in their descent by the wide-spreading branches of beech trees, planted there by English Missionaries many years previously; and evidences still exist of this fearful termination of their lingering agonies, and of the impossibility of according to them the last tokens of respect claimed by our common humanity. Our attention was directed to another spot, at which four Malagasy nobles had been burnt at the stake, for their profession of Christianity; and these spots could all be seen from the palace of the late Queen; or if they could not be seen, or if the Queen was unable personally to assure herself of the literal execution of her cruel decrees, special officers were despatched to witness the same, and to report the fact to the Queen. She would not, she declared, rest satisfied until she had uprooted every Christian in her dominions. These Christians,' it was her habit to say, 'will not cease singing their hymns, until their heads are cut off!' When I heard that remark repeated, I said that Christians would not cease singing until they had reached their home in Heaven! Numerous cases of dreadful persecution—the ordeal of the tangena, and other poisonous processes, were brought to my notice. These are the circumstances under which the labours of the Mission are being renewed. I think we may, therefore, say, in the language of the Resolution I hold in my hand, that this Meeting hails, with thanks and praises to Almighty God, the resumption of missionary undertakings in that country, under such hopeful auspices ;' and I would earnestly urge upon the Meeting to pray Almighty God to crown with success the Society's efforts. LIBERAL POLICY OF THE KING, AND HIS MEASURES FOR THE ENLIGHTENMENT
OF THE PEOPLE.
“The third part of the Resolution calls upon us 'to implore the blessing of Heaven upon his Majesty King Radama II. ; that he may wear with wisdom, and in peace and prosperity, the crown just placed (or about to be placed) upon his head, antil he obtains an incorrnptible crown in the Kingdom of Heaven.' Those who have not read the Rev. Mr. Ellis's work on Madagascar, should lose no time in giving it a careful perusal. I am sorry to have heard it stated by some persons in this island, that Mr. Ellis's book had been 'got up' to serve a partial end. I have read that book, and I can affirm that its contents are literally true. The King, anxious that his people should be relieved from the burdens which had borne so heavily upon them under the reign of the late Queen, has remitted all taxation. He is most anxious to ensure for them the blessing of education, and is himself engaged in superintending the building of a large school-house in the capital, to which he accompanied me every day during my stay there. One of the Missionaries recently arrived was to take charge of this school on its completion. As we are now specially met to speak of the Bible, it may be as well to state what took place when we went up to the palace to present the copy of the Bible to the King, with which I was specially entrusted. The officers of the Court, when I presented that Bible, received me amidst two rows of their ladies, all dressed in strange and almost barbaric splendour. The address I had written for the occasion was admirably translated by one of the bigh officers of the palace, and some of the sentences were so constructed as to be most suitable for Oriental literature.