« 前へ次へ »
England thought of that stripling band, marching like a forlorn hope against idolatry, assailing systems which were enfibred round the hearts of nations, and which the habits of centuries had rooted, systems magnificent in furniture, and venerable for age,—no wonder that they should have had their zeal and faith stirred up afresh, and should have been prompted, as by Divine inspiration, to greater liberality and more fervent prayer.
The wonderful interpositions of Divine Providence on behalf of the bereaved ones, and the auspicious commencement and progress of the Mission to Ceylon, are now matters of history, and, as such, need not be recorded here.
Mr. Clough's labours in Ceylon were, from an early period, distinguished by remarkable success. On his first station at Galle, he was visited by many persons whose curiosity had been powerfully excited, and whose language was, in effect, “Thou bringest certain strange things to our ears : we would know therefore what these things mean.” The higher classes in the island were, in many instances, led to sanction and help the Mission. From Lord Molesworth, the Commandant of the Galle garrison, Mr. Clough received marked attention ; and the friendship of that benevolent and Christian nobleman was of great advantage in gaining the respect and confidence both of the European and the native population.
“ He has been to me," wrote Mr. Clough to England, “a father, a friend, and a guide.” Under his Lordship’s patronage, the Missionary obtained access to the troops in the garrison. Services were held for their benefit, and speedily a class of twenty members was formed, among whom was William Lalmon, a native who afterwards became a valuable Assistant Missionary. After awhile the Maha, or great Moodeliar of the district, (a man of high rank and influence among the natives,) understanding that Mr. Clough wished to establish a school for the sons of native headmen, offered him a house to reside in, and entrusted four sons to his care. This gave him at once a residence of comfort, and access to the native population, among whom he yearned to labour.
At one of the Buddhist festivals, (which he embraced every opportunity of attending) Mr. Clough conversed with a distinguished and learned Priest, Petrus Panditta Sekara,—who, by the blessing of God upon the endeavours of His servant, was induced to embrace Christianity, and was publicly baptized on Christmas-day, 1814. Within twelve months, by the same blessing upon faithful effort, Rajahgooroo, known as the Ava Priest, was also won over to Christianity, and baptized.
In the year 1815 Mr. Clough removed to Colombo ; at which place he continued henceforth to reside, during the whole period of his Mission in Ceylon. In April, 1816, he had begun to preach in Singhalese, the vernacular of the southern districts of Ceylon ; and about the same time he had made sufficient progress in the study of Portuguese, which was spoken by many Europeans and their descendants, to justify his public addresses in that language also ; so that he
was privileged to bear witness for Christ in three languages, inclusive of his own.
In the midst of the great changes incident to his new position, it is pleasing to observe the consistency of his character, and the careful jealousy with which he watched over his own heart. There were many circumstances of temptation, which might have caused him to truckle and to swerve. He had exchanged the still scenery of his native vale for the gorgeousness of an Oriental landscape ; he had been suddenly elevated to a position of trust and influence ; he had been caressed by a nobleman ; his Mission had been eminently successful :—but, in the midst of all, he preserved an even mind, and the grace of God sustained him. His diary bears witness to his searching self-examinations, his abiding sense of personal unworthiness, and the ardour of his aspirations after all the fulness of God. Writing to a friend in Britain, he says,—"By the joy which I daily experience from the strong consolations of the God whom I serve, I feel that I have now the same kind Being to approach that I ever had. The joys of communion with Him are the same among the jungles in Ceylon, as in the splendid places of Worship in your highly-favoured country. And though such a space now separates me from my native land, yet I rejoice that I can go as quickly to take possession of my mansion in the skies from hence, as from among my friends in England." Though occasionally subject to depression of spirits, (largely accounted for by the debilitating influence of the climate upon a nervous system already weakened by harassing labour,) he maintained, in the main, a cheerful trust in God. When tried by opposition and misrepresentation, and these trials were not wanting to him,) it was his comfort to know that “the Lord reigneth,” mighty to control all enemies, and, as he remarks in his diary, “knoweth the length of their chain.” To personal injury he was comparatively indifferent ; but anything that damaged the reputation of the Mission, or impeded its progress, touched the apple of his eye.
In common with his fellow-labourers, and indeed with all Christian people, Mr. Clough felt the heavy and sad discouragement thrown in the way of Missionary labour by the Government patronage of idolatry. He has thought worthy of preservation in his journal a copy of an official proclamation, which links the Government in complicity with idolatrous practices within the last thirty years, and that too, as would appear from the office of the party whose signature the proclamation bears, from motives rather sordid than politic :PROCLAMATION OF HIS MAJESTY'S CEYLON GOVERNMENT,
SIR E. BARNES, GOVERNOR. “NOTICE is hereby given that a Dalada Pincama will be held at Kandy with the sanction of Government, on Thursday, the 29th proximo; and the Sacred Relic exhibited at the Muligava to all persons who may desire to attend and make offerings.
“George TURNOUR, "Kandy Cutcherry, April 28th, 1828. Revenue Commissioner."
To this copy of an official proclamation the Missionary has appended the expressive monosyllable—Shame! And Christian people, as they echo the sentiment, will breathe with it a prayer that such unworthy subserviency may cease for ever; and Christian thinkers, as they dwell upon this trafficking for souls,--this national adultery, and for hire,—will pause ere they affirm that there is no subtle and retributive connexion between such “traditional policy” and the atrocities of Meerut and Cawnpore.
The same mistaken feeling, which has perpetuated this temporizing with idolatry in India, induced some of the authorities, while generally favourable to schools, printing establishments, and other collateral operations of the Mission, to regard it as unwise, if not mischievous, to ply the native mind with the peculiarities of the Christian religion. Mr. Clough was not of this opinion. While he was alive to the importance of diffusing a healthy and Christian literature, and especially of caring for the young, that they might be snatched, in early recovery, from the errors of their fathers, he did not hesitate to affirm his belief in God's great ordinance of preaching—never to be mistrusted, never to be superseded—as the main instrumentality for the conversion of the world. Nor did he believe that the Hindu mind, or any mind, needs a long course of training before it can comprehend the mystery of the cross. Hence his preaching was not the critical essay, nor the cold digest of moral duties. It had the true magnetic charm about it, which attracts the hearts of sinners all the world over. After apostolic precept and precedent, he “delivered unto" them “ first of all that which ” he “ also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures ;” and be received attestation, in many an encouraging instance, that in India, as well as in England, the old Gospel could soonest wake up the new song, In preaching, he was “in labours more abundant." As he gazed upon the vast and motley population of Colombo, and saw the city almost “wholly given to idolatry,” “his spirit was stirred in him ;' and alike in the houses of worship, in the places of public resort, “and in the market daily with them that met with him," he lifted up a testimony for the truth as it is in Jesus. It grieved him often that he could not preach a thousand sermons instead of one. Sometimes after his return home in the evening, having preached three or four times during the day, he sat down and wept because he could bear to preach no more. His language was, literally, “If my bones were brass, and my flesh iron, I would not cease to teach and preach both day and night.”
Mr. Clough's application to the study of the languages of the country was very successful. Besides attaining a masterly acquaintance with Portuguese, he became a full and ripe scholar in the difficult Singhalese tongue, and in the still more difficult unspoken language of the Pali. Hence one of the principal duties which devolved upon him was to assist in the translation of the Scriptures into Singhalese. Four days in each week were for a long time
entirely occupied in this noble employment. Contrary to his predilections, but from a strong sense of duty, his excursions from the study were at this period divided almost entirely between the translating-room and the pulpit. Harassing as was this protracted application, he reaped from it a glorious reward. It is no small honour for any man to be God's interpreter ; and it was no doubt a sunny memory in his after-life that he had had any part in the work by which the native Singhalese could read in their own tongue the wonderful works of God.
Among Mr. Clough's manifold literary labours may be enumerated -in Pali
, the compilation of a grammar, and the translation (in part) of the New Testament; in Singhalese, translations of catechisms, sermons, tracts, and the Abridgment of the Liturgy. But the work by which his name will probably live the longest in the world of letters, is his Dictionary. The first volume, containing about fortyfive thousand words in English and Singhalese, was published in 1821, under the especial patronage of the Governor, Sir Edward Barnes. The second volume, in Singhalese and English, containing eight hundred and fifty-two pages, was published about ten years later. “ The publication of this dictionary," writes one of his fellow-labourers, “must have been a work of incredible labour ; as the manner of its execution reflects on him the highest credit, whether we look to the completeness of its vocabulary, or to the correctness of its definitions."
In the year 1822 Mr. Clough’s health seriously failed; and, though a voyage to Galle produced a temporary improvement, he was obliged to seek the restorative climate of his native land. By his friends at home he was received with open arms. The Mission to India had, by this time, attracted general attention ; and he, as its exponent, was everywhere regarded with interest. Vast multitudes, in nearly all the principal towns in the land, were thrilled by his earnest addresses, as he told of Heathenism, and pleaded for the rescue of that far-off and beautiful island,
“Where every prospect pleases,
And only man is vile.” In December, 1824, he was introduced to Margaret, daughter of the late William Morley, Esq., of Doncaster, who shortly afterwards became his wife ; and on the 11th of April following, Mr. and Mrs. Clough embarked in the "Africa” for Ceylon. After his arrival, he resumed his multifarious duties with the same application and success. But on the 30th of June, 1827, death entered his dwelling, and his beloved wife was suddenly called to her reward. Although the Missionary career of this estimable lady was so soon terminated, she lived long enough to bear the testimony of a holy life which is not forgotten in Ceylon to this day. Her Memoir, compiled by the late Dr. Adam Clarke, forms an interesting addition to Missionary biograplıy; and she has been recognised, by the esteemed author of a
Prize Essay on Missions, among that band of female worthies whose names, “inspiring as odes, storied as chronicles, make us hold our manhood cheap.”
Mr. Clough's feelings under this bereavement were acute, and, for a season, almost overwhelming. Left as he was with two very young children, a mystery seemed to hang over the removal of one who was 80 eminently fitted to be “a help meet ;" such a mystery as only the revelations of the “hereafter" could explain. The grace of God, however, triumphed ; and, at the call of duty, he toiled patiently on. At this period he wrote a tract, entitled, “Reasons why I am not a Buddhist,”-s0 convincing in its argument, and so withering in its appeals to the votaries of Buddhu, that a general impression was made, and the Priests, roused to great wrath, made an attempt, happily without success, to get its circulation stopped by the authority of the Government.
In 1832 his health again failed, and it became necessary that he should return to Europe. In anticipation of this removal, the following Resolution was passed at a meeting of the Colombo Bible Society, the Right Honourable the Governor in the chair :—“A letter having been addressed to the Secretary by the Rev. Benjamin Clough, stating that circumstances have rendered necessary his return to Europe for a time, the meeting cannot allow such unexampled services as Mr. Clough's to pass unnoticed ; and, in token of their sense thereof, unanimously resolve, that the fullest assurance be conveyed to Mr. Clough that his exertions on behalf of the Society have not been undervalued, and will never be forgotten ; and that his incessant labours, whether as translator of the Singhalese, Pali, or Portuguese Scriptures, which he extended even to the correction of the press, have exceeded far what we could have expected from any single individual ; and that our sincere thanks for bis kind offer of continued services, while in England, are recorded with our sense of past obligations."
His acquirements as an Orientalist were at this time acknowledged and honoured by the spontaneous presentation of Fellowships, from the Royal Asiatic Society, and several other learned Societies at home. Moreover, as, from his position and character, he had acquired considerable influence in the island, it is not surprising that he should have been often tempted from his allegiance to the work he loved so well. Offers were frequently made to him, that, if he would abjure his Missionary calling, he should be at once inducted into some of the lucrative posts which civilians ardently covet : or, if he preferred being a Missionary, hints were thrown out, “with bated breath, and whispering humbleness," of speedy promotion if he would but connect himself with a more patronized ecclesiastical regime. Such overtures, it is needless to say, Mr. Clough steadily refused. By the grace of God he resisted alike the chances of amassing treasure, and all temptations to prove traitorons to the church of his fathers.
Though England and English society were dear to his heart, he had the soul of a Missionary, and still yearned after the scene of so