From The Independent (New York) volume 45
Part I (Apr. 6, 1893), pp. 3-4 (455-456); Part II (Apr. 20, 1893), pp. 5-6 (529-530); Part III (May 11, 1893), pp. 5-6 (637-638); Part IV (June 22, 1893), pp. 5-6 (845-846); Part V (Aug. 10, 1893), pp. 3-4 (1075-1076)
It was on the twelfth of September, 1864, that my wife and I set sail for the shores of India. Having been ordained by the Bishop of London, I was designated by the Church Missionary Society to work at Peshawur, within the limits of British Afghanistan, and only a few miles from the celebrated Khyber Pass. It was at that time esteemed a post of some honor and of not a little danger; for three missionaries had recently died at that distant military outpost, one of whom was shot by his watchman.
Our passage was taken at Gravesend in the "good ship" "Malabar," registered A 1 at Lloyds, but nevertheless a veritable old tub, in which cockroaches and living creatures innumerable abounded. We were, in all, fifty passengers, among whom was Lieut. West Ridgeway, a young man of promise, who played the woman in our private theatricals, but who has since played the man in both Central Asia and in Ireland, and is known as Sir West Ridgeway, K.C.B. Another distinguished passenger was Captain Olpherts, on the retired list, who had done good service in the Afghan War of 1842, and could astonish the uninitiated traveler with wonderful stories of soldier life. One of his best was the story of a Sikh orderly who had been sent across the battlefield with a letter for an officer commanding of the brigades. The native soldier had got within three paces of his destination when his head was blown off by a cannon ball. The faithful messenger, however, advanced the three paces, and, saluting the General by raising his hand to the top of his headless trunk, fell down dead as he handed the dispatch!
We had scarcely sailed out of the British Channel when our ship's captain discovered that we had a runaway couple on boarda young tea planter, who had married the pretty daughter of the village blacksmith. As we were in all three clergymen of the Church of England, we were able to certify to the legality of the marriage certificate, and thus prevent the enraged sea captain from putting the young people ashore at Plymouth.
When we were well out in midocean, our cow died. It was a grievous calamity, for there were five little children on board and two babies, and we had no tinned milk. In the midst of our distress we sighted a vessel floating the American flag, and our captain immediately signaled: "Our cow is dead. Send us some cans of milk." The Yankee captain responded: "Our children have got the measles. Good-by stranger." Captain Brown, of the "Malabar," was enraged. Shaking his fist with violent passion, he stood at the stern of his ship and imprecated curses on the American flag until it disappeared below the horizon. How little did I think that the Stars and Stripes, which in the year 1864 had treated us as "strangers," would extend its hospitality and good citizenship to us in the year m1885 as "friends"!
We had a tedious voyage of nearly five months, during which time we never once sighted land, except a small rocky island in the Indian Ocean; and when we reached the shores of India at the Sand Heads off Calcutta, the smell of the earth was perceptible. As we were tugged up the Hooghly, we saw the remains of the fearful cyclone which is historic, and large steamers were stranded on dry land, where they had been thrown by the flood.
Upon our arrival in Calcutta we were hospitably entertained by Mr. E. C. Stuart, who is now Bishop of Waiapo, in New Zealand, and we were also kindly received by Mr. Cowie, who was at that time chaplain to Bishop Cotton, of Calcutta, but who is now also a bishop in New Zealand. Upon the first evening of my arrival I was asked to visit the chief officer of a ship anchored in the Hooghly, who was suffering from Asiatic cholera, and was with him when he died. It was my first experience of that direful epidemic, with which, in after years, I became so familiar at Peshawur. Our designation to Peshawur was the subject of commiseration among all our kind friends in Calcutta. Even Bishop Cotton, that stern old schoolmaster who had birched boys at Rugby and Marlborough, had a kindly look of sympathy for the young clergyman and his wife who were appointed to a station which had just passed through a fearful visitation of cholera, had been the scene of a somewhat bloody frontier war, and where several Europeans had been recently assassinated. Nor was our position made more assuring by the circumstance that one morning a telegram appeared in the Calcutta papers announcing the assassination of Major Adams, the District Magistrate at Peshawur.
My first Sunday was spent at Serampore, the scene of the labors of Dr. Carey, and among the congregation was Sir John Lawrence. He had just retired from the Governorship of the Punjab, and was on his way to England, but the following year he returned as Lord Lawrence, and Viceroy of India.
Our journey up the country, a distance of fifteen hundred miles, took a whole month; for the railway was then only constructed to Ghaziabad, within a few miles of Delhi. The journey from Delhi to Peshawur was performed in a stage, or "dawk gharee," at that time a most tedious method of travel. I remember one evening we entered the van and settled down, as the manner was, for a night's journey, hoping that by to-morrow's dawn we should have proceeded some fifty or sixty miles. We had a comfortable night's rest and slept soundly, but in the morning we discovered that we had made exactly five miles; the supply of stage horses had failed. Such was traveling in Northern India thirty years ago. The five great rivers of the Punjab were not then spanned with magnificent arches, but were crossed either by boats or pontoons, the crossing of a river often taking as much as five or six hoursa transit which can almost be accomplished in as many minutes nowadays.
The tedium of the journey from Calcutta to Peshawur was much relieved by the interest which we felt in visiting such historic places as Benares, Cawnpore, Lucknow, Agra and Delhi; and as we passed through the Punjab we were hospitably entertained at Ludianah by the venerable Mr. Rudolf, of the American mission. A little incident which occurred at Ludianah has fixed itself in my recollection. A young man visited Mr. Rudolf and made an application to which the venerable missionary replied, "I am very sorry, but we have nothing to suit you." Being anxious to do a kind act, I inquired the nature of the young man's application, hoping that perhaps I might be able to assist him, when Mr. Rudolf informed me that request was for a wife. It appeared that they had a large orphanage in the mission at Ludianah, and that applications for "helpmeets" were almost of a daily occurrence.
We were kindly welcomed and hospitably entertained by the missionary clergy of the Church of England at Peshawur, who tried to do every thing they possibly could to give us interesting (if not cheerful) impressions of the place. They took us to the cemeteries, where lay the remains of hundreds of British soldiers who had fallen victims to disease, or had died on the battlefield, or had fallen by the assassin's knife. They stood with us beside the graves of three missionary brethren, one of whom had been assassinated. They pointed out the various spots where British officers had been murdered by Afghan fanatics, and then called our attention to the distant snow-capped hills where years ago a whole British army had been annihilated in the dark defile of the Jugdulluck Pass, and then pointed to the Umbeyla hills, where only the previous year a religious war had raged between the fanatical Wahabis of Satana and the British rulers of India. We retired to rest with not the most cheerful feelings regarding our future field of labor! Nor were our anxieties lessened by the fact that upon the second morning after we had settled in our new home, within the military cantonments of Peshawur, an Afghan brigand was found dead at our gateway. He had been shot by the night patrol.
My first duty was the acquirement of the language. Peshawur requires a veritable polyglot of a missionary, the language spoken by the native troops and servants being Hindustani, a language which is more or less current throughout the length and breadth of India. The tongue of the Afghan villagers is Pushto, while that of the scholar and student is Persian. Arabic, however, is the theological language of all Moslem divines. And in the city of Peshawur, they speak a patois of Punjabi, known as Peshawuri. The new missionary was, therefore, brought face to face with the fact that if he wished to become efficient in his work, he must become acquainted with at least five languages. My attention was given first to the acquisition of Hindustani, then to Pushto, in which I subsequently became Government Examiner. The best, in fact, the only way of acquiring an Oriental language is to live among the people, and I soon found that the routine of the work of a missionary station, with frequent demands made upon my time, my ministerial duties among the soldiers, as well as the frequent charge of a large grammar school, were very serious impediments to a thorough mastery of the languages. The great German missionary, "The Apostolic Swartz," maintained that every missionary should go out unmarried, and should for the first few years be left entirely free to mix among the people. This method of acquiring the language from the tongues of these living dictionaries was strongly urged upon me by an old Afghan convert, who, when he saw me day after day sitting in my study, surrounded with piles of books, said: "Padre Sahib, if you want to convert the people of this country and to learn their language, you must come out and sit under a tree, and not stay in the house."
It was, however, a grand and soul-inspiring thing to preach in that magnificent military church at Peshawur, with its large congregation of soldiers; and I was not a little delighted only a few months ago to meet in the streets of the city of New York a policeman who remembered hearing me preach in St. John's Church when he was serving in a British regiment at Peshawur.
Among the converts from Mohammedanism in the little Christian church at Peshawur was a native brother named Imam Shah. When I arrived at the station he was a catechist, but it soon became evident that he was pre-eminently fitted for the sacred ministry, and in conjunction with another clergyman I undertook the training of this excellent man, who is now the revered pastor of the native church in that great Moslem city. I always considered Imam Shah a man whose mind was drawn to the subjective and ethical side of Christianity, rather than to the objective and doctrinal. The character of his mind seemed to me illustrate what Bishop Westcott, of Durham, has truly said, that the mind of the Christian Oriental is more likely to move on the lines of Origen and Athanasius than of Augustine and Anselm. It was a great privilege to take part in the training of such a man, and to note the difference there is between the religious aspirations of an Oriental and of an Occidental mind.
I may add that I am indebted to the Rev. Imam Shah, the pastor of All Saints' Church in Peshawur, for the knowledge of the best way to count a congregation. In the native church of the city it was our custom to record in a book the number of persons attending divine service. Upon asking Imam Shah what was his rule for counting the number, namely whether he counted the babies as well as the children, he replied: "I count those who say Amen." If this method were adopted in some of our fashionable city churches, I am afraid the recorded number of the congregation would be somewhat small!
It was in 1866 that a very remarkable convert from the ranks of Mohammedanism was baptized at Amritsar by the Rev. Robert Clark. He was Maulavie Imad ud deen, who, when I came to the Punjab, was a bigoted Moslem priest. He is now a devout Christian minister and an able preacher of the Gospel. He has been honored under letters patent from the Queen of England with the degree of Doctor of Divinity. I regard both Imam Shah and Imad ud deen as true types of Oriental character, and specimens of what the Christian Church may expect from time to time to gather in the sheaves of the Gospel harvest from the 50,000,000 of Moslems who are under British rule in India.
Another Moslem converted to Christianity, who, upon my arrival at Peshawur became my intimate friend, was a Subadar or captain of the corps of Guides, named Dilawar Khan. He was a man of distinguished military service, and was selected by Lord Mayo for a political mission in Central Asia. He died in the snows of Kashghar, a martyr to his Christian faith.
Dilawar Khan, who was a man of considerable learning, altho in his youth he had been the leader of a brigand band, was one of the most remarkable Orientals I ever met; and I often think of the time when God in his mercy shall give to the Christian Church of Asia an army of evangelists with that force of will and determination of character which marked this Afghan captain. It was he who told me that if I wanted to learn the language and convert the Afghans I must sit out-of-doors under a tree, and not in my house at my study table.
Only a few weeks ago the news reached me of the conversion of an Afghan on the frontier of British India who traces his first impressions of Christianity to an interview which he had with Dilawar Khan many years ago. He says he then abused the old Christian captain and converted brigand, but that the brave man replied with gentleness: "God grant, my lad, that when your beard is as gray as mine you may have learned what the true religion is."
A Kabul mystic, Yayah Bakar by name, who had embraced Christianity just before I reached Peshawur, had also been influenced by the life and teaching of old Dilawar Khan. Yayah Bakar, having heard of Christ at Peshawur, traveled through the length of Northern India to learn the way of Christ more perfectly, and then, having been baptized at Peshawur, he returned to the city of Kabul and died there. We know scarcely anything of his subsequent history, but the story goes that when he returned to his native city the people came from far and near to ask Yayah Bakar what the Christians had taught him. He replied: "I have visited most of the cities and Christian missions between Peshawur and Calcutta, and I have observed that the Nazarenes are divided among themselves, even as the Moslems are. The Church of England teaches one way, the Presbyterians another, the Baptists another and the Congregationalists another. There are English missionaries, and American missionaries, and German missionaries, and they all teach Christianity in their own peculiar way; but I think I can put the germ of their teaching into one [p. 456] simple Persian aphorism, 'Maseeh cem roz araam''Christ is peace to-day.' "
When I first went to Peshawur, there was an interesting community of Armenians worshiping in their little church in the city of Kabul. They had been there and enjoyed the protection of Mohammedan rule ever since the days of Nadir Shah; and it is a strange and exceedingly sad circumstance that this little church was eventually destroyed, not, as it might have been, by Moslem rulers, but by an invading Christian army during the last Afghan war. They, of course, obtained compensation from the British Government; but the little Christian edifice on the Bala Hisar has never been re-erected. Most of the Armenians were baptized by myself and colleagues at Peshawur; for they had had no Armenian priest for nearly a century, and the pastor of our native church, the Rev. Imam Shah, at considerable risk to his life, visited them on one occasion in order to administer the Holy Communion in their church in Kabul. Some of the chiefs of these Armenian families were interred in the native Christian cemetery at Peshawur.
Altho the Armenians had resided in Kabul for more than a century, they could only report the conversion of one Mohammedan to the Christian faith. The case was peculiar. The Mohammedan was a thief, who dug through the mud roof of the little Armenian church and stole the sacramental vessels. Having placed them in a bundle, he proceeded to escape through the hole in the roof when he accidentally fell back into the church, and remained senseless until he was seized by one of the Christians. The Moslem thief regarded it all as "kismet," or fate, and said it was his destiny to embrace Christianity. He was baptized, and given an Armenian wife. It is a noteworthy circumstance that the late Ameer Afzul Khan, the father of the present Ameer of Kabul, married an Armenian Christian wife, and that the Afghan prince, Ishak Khan, who is now the guest of the Russians, and a powerful rival as well as the half-brother of Ameer Abdur Rahman, is the son of Afzul Khan and his Christian wife.
New York City
The dismal forebodings of my friends were, to some extent, realized; for within three years of my arrival at Peshawar I buried three of my brother clergy and my two eldest children, and passed through a fearful visitation of cholera, in which we lost 360 British soldiers out of a force of 2,000 men. At that time the district of Peshawar was notoriously unhealthy, and was called by the English soldiers "the valley of Death," in contradistinction to "the happy valley" of Cashmere. The climate of Peshawar was singularly fatal to heavy drinkers; and I remember that on the morning of the second of July, 1866, six British soldiers were found dead in their beds, having imbibed too freely of rum and beer when the thermometer stood at 100.
It was in the spring of 1867 that I formed the friendship of three of the Afghan princesSardars Aslam Khan, Hassan Khan and Hussain Khan; they were stepbrothers to Ameer Shere Ali Khan. These men doubtless possessed many of the ordinary failings and vices of Afghan chieftains, but they became true and sincere friends of mine; and it was their friendship and true-heartedness to me personally which was the beginning of that close identification with the Afghan people which characterized my twenty years' work at Peshawar, and which I consider one of the most happy reminiscences of my eventful life. How well do I remember the pleasing way in which these wild Afghans would try to amuse and entertain my sweet little Minnie, and how touching were the letters which they wrote to me from Kabûl when our little one was taken to her heavenly home! Truly one touch of sorrow makes us all akin. Sardar Aslam Khan and his brother Hassan were afterward assassinated by the cruel order of their the Ameer; and Hussain, true to his friendly instincts toward the English people, fell when fighting under the British flag in the last Afghan war . It is sad to think how many of my Peshawar friends have been assassinated, murdered or killed. But such is "life among the Afghans"!
When I first traveled among the Afghans I was hospitably entertained by a great burly yeoman named Samundar Khan, of the village of Moneyri, in the district of Yusufzai, and his seven stalwart sons. But not very long afterward a tribal feud occurred in which my former host took but too active a part, and old Samundar and six of his seven sons, whose salt I had eaten, and whose dinner of savory pilaf and curry I had enjoyed, were sentenced to death by a British judge! The six sons were hanged. But old Samundar Khan rather than undergo the disgrace of a public execution secreted beneath the stone of his signet ring a deadly poison, and when the hangman sought him he was lying lifeless in his cell. Only one son escaped the gallows. The poor fellow stayed in my guest-house the night previous to the public execution of his brothers and claimed my sympathy. "Ah, sir," he said; "it is all kismet. I had gone away to sell a horse for my father and, as I could not get the full price of the animal, I waited another day. This saved my life, for had I been in my village I must have obeyed my father and taken part in the fight."
Another Afghan friend, who came to an untimely end, was Fatteh Khan Khattak, a man of most distinguished bravery, and of very loyal service to the British Government. He had served the Government of India during the Afghan War of 1842, the Sikh Campaign of 1848, and the Indian Mutiny of 1857. He was a man of violent temper, a perfect desperado when excited; and one day he slew his servant. He was, of course, brought to justice and placed in the Peshawar jail. When I heard of my poor friend's misfortune I paid him a visit. There in the prison cell, I found my old friend Fatteh pacing to and fro like a caged tiger. "Padre Sahib," he said, "this altogether too bad, I have killed hundreds of men on account of the Government of India, and now that I have slain this miserable little cur, on my own account, I shall be hanged!" This was quite true; for forty years or more Fatteh Khan had been employed by the British Government for desperate deeds, and he was now sentenced to death for the killing of his servant. The sentence would have been commuted, but Fatteh Khan was found dead in his cell. He had probably acted on the example of Samundar Khan of Moneyri.
I first met Shere Ali Khan, the Ameer of Kabul, in March, 1869, when he visited India for a conference with Lord Mayo at Umballa. As we gave him the use of our city mission house he was nominally my guest, altho hospitably entertained with the most lavish expenditure it was my duty to visit him every morning, and as his highness knew very well that I was not a Government servant he took me much into his confidence. He was then a man of about fifty years of age, of medium stature, with marked aquiline features, and with a fine soldierly bearing. He struck me as a man of remarkably good common sense, and his powers of conversation were very great. He was unable to read or write, but, like other Oriental potentates (the Emperor Akbar, for example) he acquired his information from conversations with those of his attendants who were able to read, and a special clerk acquainted with English was kept at his court to translate articles and telegrams from the Indian newspapers. I found he knew much of the history of Bonaparte, Alexander, Peter the Great, and even of Alfred. He said his favorite character was Napoleon Bonaparte. Like all Afghans his sense of humor was very great. "I know I am a savage," he said one day to me, "but you English were just as bad three hundred years ago." Once, when he was unusually talkative, he said, "How dreadfully afraid you English are of the Russians." "Not in the least," I replied; "we shall be excellent neighbors some day." "Ah," he said, "if you were not afraid of the Russians you would not make so much of me." He affected not to be impressed with the beauty of English ladies, and several times remarked as he passed them, "Ah, I see you do just as we Afghans do, keep all your pretty women at home." He frequently expressed his abhorrence of low dresses and short-tailed coats, and said such advances in the scale of civilization were contrary to his religion, for they were forbidden by the Prophet. He professed to be a strict Moslem, but numerous empty bottles told of frequent departures from the injunctions of his religion, and on one occasion, when taking luncheon at a regimental mess, he ventured to suggest that cherry brandy was much more suited to his taste when served in tumblers than in small liqueur glasses.
Our conversations on religion were very frequent, and he seemed to have, on the whole, a very fair knowledge of Christianity. This he probably acquired when as a boy he was brought in contact with several pious British officers. Among his retinue was a very remarkable man named Nur Muhammad. He was at that time the Ameer's secretary and trusted adviser. He seemed sincere in his religious convictions, and I gave him a copy of the New Testament in Persian. Some years afterward Nur Muhammad came to Peshawar as the Kabul embassy, and I was glad to find that he had not only read, but studied the Epistles of St. Paul with very great interest, a circumstance which he made known to me only a week before his death; for he died when attending that historic Peshawar conference which brought about the two recent Afghan wars, to which I shall again refer.
In the light of later days I can now see how determined Ameer Shere Ali was to become neither the slave of Russia, on the one hand, nor of Great Britain, on the other. He had been welcomed by Lord Mayo in real royal fashion; but it was evident that he distrusted the British Government and did not believe the word of the British officials. This is all the more remarkable, because it is undoubtedly the general truthfulness of the British in India which enables them as a small minority to control those millions of warlike races which form the population of India. It is said that a native Rajah once complained to the Duke of Wellington (then Sir Arthur Wellesley) that a certain Colonel Brown, of the commissariat department, had threatened to hang him if he did not produce one hundred camels by daybreak. "My good Rajah," said the Iron Duke, "produce the camels, for Brown never tells a lie!"
Very soon after the Ameer's return to Kabul, Peshawar was again visited by a cholera epidemic, even more fearful in its ravages than that of 1867. Among the many deaths which occurred was that of Dr. M, the head of the medical department, a man of education and of high military rank, but a very pronounced unbeliever and scoffer. Dr. M had not visited any of the cholera camps, but is supposed to have imbibed infection from the letters and reports which he received daily from the hospitals under his control. On his deathbed he sent for me, and he died a most penitent and believing death. I do not care to make public the sacred incidents of this death chamber; but I have never read in any book or tract of a deathbed repentance more sincere, and of a confession of faith in Christ more true, than that which was made by this physician who for many years had been known as an open blasphemer of the Colonel Ingersoll type.
In 1870 the whole of India was aroused by the assassination of Lord Mayo, the Viceroy of India, at the Andaman penal settlement. The assassin was an Afghan named Shere Ali, a native of the Peshawar Valley. I remember him well as orderly to the Commissioner of Peshawar. Shere Ali, like every living Afghan, had a family feud, and he had murdered two of his enemies outside the limits of that "red line" which marks the British Empire on the map, and had even boasted of the deed to his master, the Commissioner of Peshawar. For this, of course, he received no punishment; but he killed his third enemy within the boundary of British Territory, and for this the Commissioner sent him to penal servitude for life. Shere Ali considered himself deeply wronged, and in revenge took the life of Earl Mayo, an Irish nobleman who, had he lived, would have undoubtedly proved himself to be one of the greatest among the many great rulers of British India. I may here remark that Mohammedans, Afghans or otherwise, regard murder as purely a family matter, and not as an offense against the State; in fact, such is the case among the Hindus, also. In Cashmere, for instance, if a man kills a cow he is sentenced to death, but the life of a human being can be atoned for by a few years' imprisonment! It is impossible to get Oriental races to view the crime of murder from a Christian standpoint.
I have often repeated a story (which, altho true to the very letter, has always excited an incredulous smile among my American and English friends), which illustrates the very slight value which an Afghan places upon human life. On one occasion among my guests was an Afghan chieftain from Kunar with a large retinue of servants. As my custom was, I invited the chief and his party to an evening entertainment in my library. I showed him a magic lantern, I explained to him the movements of the magnet, I sent shocks of galvanism through his stalwart frame, I illustrated and explained the method of the telegraph. The chieftain and his servants were all deeply interested. When the entertainment was over, the chief dismissed his servants and sought a private interview with me in my study. Drawing his chair near to mine, in a confidential mood, he said: "Sir, it is very evident that you are a man of science, an alchemist, and a medicine man of high attainments. May I inquire if you have a poison which, if administered, will take effect about a week or ten days afterward?"
I replied: "I have no such poison: but may I ask for what purpose you want it?"
Drawing his chair still closer to mine, he, in a low whisper, said: "I want to take the life of my enemy."
I sprang from my chair with indignation, and exclaimed: "It is very evident that you do not understand the work and office of a Christian minister. I am not here to take life, but to save it."
"Don't get angry, Padre Sahib," he said, placing his [p. 530] hand gently upon my shoulder. "If you will only sit down quietly and listen patiently to my story, I will tell you the circumstances under which I want that poison; and then, after all, you will see that I am not the villain you take me for."
"I am open to conviction," I said; "proceed with your story."
He then related as follows: "Some time ago a mortal feud existed between myself and the chief of a rival tribe. For many years this man sought my life; but he never found me alone nor could he seize me unguarded and unarmed. But one summer's night, when we were all sleeping on our beds in the open court facing my house, this man crept stealthily to my cot, and, raising his dagger, plunged it violently through the quilt under which he thought I was sleeping. It so happened that I was not sleeping in my cot that night, but my beloved child, a little maid of ten years, was. The villain's knife had pierced the heart of my favorite child! I sought revenge. I pursued the man over hill and dale, by night and by day; but I could not catch him. But one evening, when I was in my chamber alone, he came to me unarmed, and, casting his turban at my feet, begged that I would spare his life. The sight of my enemy, who was in our country esteemed a warrior of renown, pleading at my feet, touched my heart, and I forgave him. But," he continued, heaving a deep, heavy sigh, "an Afghan never forgives. And when I saw you do those wonderful things, and felt those strange shocks of lightning pass through the nerves and sinews of my body, I thought to myself, this man is a man of science, and if he could give me a poison which I could put in the food of my enemy, when I entertain him as my guest, and which would take effect a week or ten days afterward, so that I never could be suspected, then I could take the life of the murderer of my beloved child and yet keep my word and pass as a man of honor among my own people."
This story is perfectly true, and it illustrates that strange contradiction of character, that admixture of base treachery and impulsive sense of honor with low meanness and great personal bravery which, all combined, form that strange complexity of the Afghan character which is utterly beyond the comprehension of an Occidental mind. It perplexes the English ruler as well as the Christian missionary.
On June 28th, 1870, in the midst of the very hot weather I lost another of my missionary colleagues, the Rev. John William Knott. He was a Fellow of Brasenose College, Oxford, and the vicar of the valuable benefice of East Ham, near London. In middle life he gave up the comforts of home and prospects of preferment in the English Church, and came out to India as a missionary. Mr. Knott had been a personal friend of Dr. Pusey, by whom he was nominated Vicar of St. Savior's, Leeds. A change in Church views, however, brought about a change of work and life. He had only been with me six months at Peshawur when he died suddenly of fever. As a testimony to his self-denial and Christian character two whole regiments of British infantry voluntarily attended his funeral. He was buried within sight of the Khyber Pass. When I had finished reading the burial service at the grave, the wife of a soldier came up and exclaimed "My poor master." It was striking coincidence: There, at the extreme limits of the British Empire, was a woman who had been employed as a servant by Mr. Knott when he was Vicar of St. Savior's, Leeds, standing as a tearful mourner at his grave in a heathen land.
The following year, 1871, we lost a lady missionary of very great promise, the wife of the Rev. T. R. Wade. She was a sister of the present Earl of Drogheda, and had given up home and country and a life of ease, to become the wife of a missionary at that distant frontier outpost. She was buried near to Mr. Knott's grave on the twenty-first anniversary of her birthday.
There is probably no missionary station in the world which has been more consecrated by lives given to the Master's service than that in the great Moslem city of Peshawar. There, close to the frontier line, are the graves of two English chaplains, Bellamy and Kellner, and of five missionariesIsidore Lowenthal, John Stevenson, Roger Clark, Thomas Tuting, and John William Knott, and of two missionary sisters, Alice Wade and Annie Norman. There, within sight of the dark defile of the historic Khyber these graves testify to the fact that the Christian Church has given liberally to the service of Christ in Moslem lands by the consecration of devoted lives to missionary service. It was Roger Clark, a brother of the venerable Robert Clark, still actively engaged as a missionary in the Punjab, who, on his deathbed, said: "Inscribe upon my tomb the words 'Thankful to the last that he had been a missionary.' " It was Annie Norman, a daughter of a distinguished military officer, Sir Henry Norman, who could say, when seized suddenly for death: "It is, after all, not hard for a Christian to die."
In the winter of 1872 I attended the first General Conference of missionaries at Allahabad, and looking through the vista of twenty eventful years it is remarkable how many who took an active part in that first decennial conference are still living. It was there I became acquainted with the great Presbyterian missionary, Dr. John Wilson, of Bombay, and his Brahmin convert, Sheshadri, both of whom have gone to their rest. Dr. Wilson was an eminent scholar and a perfect encyclopedia of information, and when it was put to the vote who should be selected as preacher to the Conference Dr. Wilson was elected. To our regret, however, we discovered that the venerable scholar was but a poor preacher. For one weary hour we listened to a simple sermon which could have been written by any Sunday-school teacher of ordinary intelligence. On the Sunday there was a joint communion service. Two clergyman [sic] of the Church of England, Messrs. Robinson and Barton, celebrated the Holy Communion according to the office of the English Church. But instead of exhibiting to our native brethren the unity of the Christian Church it did the very reverse. At the reception of the bread and wine some knelt, some stood and some sat. The great Bishop of Calcutta, Dr. Robert Milman, a nephew of the historian, had warned his clergy that it would be so. There have been two decennial conferences since then, one in Calcutta in 1882, and another in Bombay last year, but the "joint communion" has not been repeated. It was my privilege, also, to attend the conference in Calcutta in 1882; but it did not equal our great assembly at Allahabad either in tone, intellect or in spiritual power.
New York City
As soon as I had acquired a knowledge of Pushto, the language of the Afghans, I employed as much of the cool season as I possibly could for itinerations from village to village. My equipment consisted of a small tent about seven feet in hight [sic], covering an area of ten feet by six, a portable bed, a small table, and a pair of mule trunks, with a few necessary cooking utensils. The whole of my baggage was conveyed by three mules.
At the first I visited the villages in my ordinary English clerical costume; but finding that this excited too much attention, I soon adopted the graceful dress of the Afghan; and during my long residence in the country, I wore this costume when travelling in the districts. Besides being an exceedingly comfortable, as well as graceful attire, it had the merit of being patriarchal. My turban consisted of twenty-one yards of fine, white muslin, probably folded as it was in the days of Abraham. My choga, or khiftan, was of camel's hair, and answered to the meil, or tunic, which Jonathan gave to David; and the kamees, or under-garment, which was of white calico, was similar to the ketoneth of the Hebrews or the chiton of the Greeks. My lungee, or scarf, which had been woven by Afghan villagers of dark-blue cotton, with a narrow scarlet silk border, was the Jewish beged, or simlah. My shoes were probably such as had been worn by Oriental peoples ever since the days when the Gibeonites with "old shoes clouted" upon their feet imposed upon the men of Israel! And it was astonishing to find how the Afghan people were flattered by my adopting their dress, and what ready access it gave me to their mosques and guest chambers. As long as I wore the English coat I seemed to be some strange thing among them--the children counted the buttons on my coat and the people called me a feringee, or foreigner. In my native garb I was one of the people. I could sit cross legged with ease, if not with gracefulness, on a rich Persian carpet; I could slip off my shoes as I entered a mosque without loss of dignity, and the magnitude of my turban (a large white turban being the emblem of the scholar) made up for the foreign accent of my speech. Judging from my own experience among an Oriental race for twenty years, it seems strange to me that missionaries in all lands do not adopt the dress of the people among whom they labor. There are a great many arguments against it; but in my opinion they may be pretty well summed up in the word prejudice which sees what it pleases, but cannot see what is plain.
The Afghans are probably the most hospitable race in the whole world, a trait that is exemplified in their common salutations. As the priest or chieftain on horseback passes the trudging traveler on foot, he will salute him by way of encouragement, by saying: "May you never get tired!" When the footsore traveler will immediately respond, with a cheery face: "May you ever be prosperous!" When the traveler enters a village he is saluted with the welcome: "May you ever come," to which he is expected to reply: "May you ever dwell here!" A stranger can always claim an evening meal and a bed for the night, and, consequently, no inns nor poorhouses are needed in an Afghan district.
Upon entering a village I would usually find its chief with a numerous retinue waiting to receive me, and as I came into sight it would be my duty to give them the usual benediction; "May the peace of God be with you," to which they would immediately respond: "And on you be peace." Dismounting from my white Kabul pony I am greeted with the salutations of welcome and find a charpoy, or cot, prepared for me, with piles of silken cushions whereon to rest my weary frame. The chieftain's cupbearer offers me the calumet of peace with a bowl of sweetened and spiced sherbet. In those lands men of religious aspirations do not smoke. The pipe is, therefore, declined with thanks, but the sherbet is cool and refreshing. It is my first duty to inquire after every member of the chieftain's family, including an inquiry after the health of the female members of it. The latter is a delicate matter. The wife of an Afghan household is usually of the plural number, and to mention the sister of an Afghan by name would be a positive insult. It is all put in the neuter gender and embraced in the one word "house." My inquiries are, therefore, couched in the following words: "Are you quite well? Are you very well? Are your brothers quite well? Is your father well? Is the old man, the grandfather, in a healthy condition? Are your big and little ones quite well? Is 'the house' quite well?" by which, of course, is meant all the female members of the household.
A visit to a village would always include dinner with the chieftain on the evening of arrival, and a religious discussion in a mosque in the morning. A good Afghan dinner is an education. It would commend itself even to Mr. Delmonico. Its pilaus, its curries, its candied fruits, its decoctions, and its condiments would suit the palate of a connoisseur. Here again the wearing of the Afghan costume saved my kind hosts an infinity of trouble; for, being dressed as an Afghan, I spoke as an Afghan, I sat as an Afghan, and ate as an Afghan. During my early itinerations I found on one occasion that my kind host, with that consideration which characterizes an Oriental gentleman, had gone to his kitchen and had ordered them to prepare for the English clergyman a regular English dinner. The wife (for he had four), whose turn it was that week to superintend the cuisine, was perplexed. She had never once seen an Englishman, or as for an English dinner, she had never heard of such a thing. An Afghan villager, who in his early life had been an orderly to an English officer, volunteered his services. He said: "The Englishmen do not cut up their meat and vegetables into small pieces and cook it with rice and curry; but they eat whole legs of mutton and boil potatoes with the skins on!" His services were accepted and the dinner was duly prepared. When night had set in the chieftain and myself, with a large number of guests, sat on the floor around a white tablecloth, with a sumptuous repast spread in our midst. The host, raising his hands devoutly, besought a blessing on the food "In the name of the merciful and gracious God," and then asked me what dish I would partake. I selected a savory pilau with curry.
"Oh!" said the chief, "this is disappointing: for I have prepared for you a leg of mutton."
And there I saw before me a leg of mutton, burnt as black as coal.
"But there is nothing to cut it with," I said. For the Afghans eat with their fingers, and a knife is not necessary.
"Bring a knife!" called the chief. "Bring a knife!" shouted the chief attendant. And soon a big knife, used for killing sheep, was produced.
"That is not necessary," said the amateur cook, the orderly of former years, who was seated near me, and seizing the leg of mutton, he handed it to me, and said: "Take a pull." The old soldier, hero of many fights, knowing that there would be a scarcity of knives had, before roasting the mutton, cut notches in it so as to enable the foreigner to "take a pull" with his fingers instead of violating Afghan etiquette by using a knife at dinner.
After dinner I generally found that the village chief, knowing the purpose of my visit, would invite some of the village priests to discuss religion with me, when he was always ready to see fair play in a heated religious discussion. Such discussions between Christians and Moslems usually turn on the doctrines of the Trinity and the Crucifixion of Christ, both being denied in the Koran, or the alleged corruption of the text of the Old and New Testaments, as also indicated in the sacred books of the Moslems. We have often discussed religion in these after dinner meetings, altho occasionally the chief would insist upon the religious discussion being stopped in order to make way for the village minstrel, who, on that ancient four-stringed instrument, the rebab would, with dulcet tones, soothe to sleep the inmates of the guest chamber.
My long contact with the mosque life of the Moslem in Afghan villages is to me the most interesting reminiscence. If people inquire how it is that Mohammedanism obtains such a strong hold upon the people a reply can be found in the mosque. The mosque is just as much a parochial institution, and its priest as much a social and religious consideration, as the village church and its rector are in England. An Afghan village is usually divided into four parishes, in each of which there is a mosque, or musjid, as it is usually called. These praying places are often simple structures, but they usually combine the threefold purpose of a place of worship, a divinity college, and a village school. The imam, [p. 638] or priest, is practically the rector of the parish. He leads the prayers five times a day, celebrates marriages and conducts funerals, and usually preaches a sermon on mid-day on Friday. If he is not a scholar he will employ a maulavie, or doctor of divinity, to teach the students and to manage the school. These mosque institutions exist in every village and, consequently, do more than anything else to maintain the Moslem religion among the people.
I think it is probable that I have spent more time in Moslem mosques than any modern Christian missionary, and my ability to do so arose chiefly from my close identification with the people in their national way of life as well as from my wearing the native dress while travelling among the people. I seldom found it a difficult matter to expound the Christian Scriptures before a Moslem audience in a mosque, and on one occasion I was allowed to offer up an extempore prayer. Occasionally, however, things went hard with me. For instance, when I was in a musjid in the village of Shubkadar, I thought I was getting on admirably with an attentive audience, when a Moslem priest came up to me and said "It is very evident that this Christian priest is beyond all hope of salvation, and it is my duty to declare to him the whole counsel of God." Then solemnly opening his Koran he stood over me and read a chapter of denunciations from that book, and closing it said: "Now, sir, leave the mosque!" Only once did I meet with positive violence. I was giving an address in a mosque and must have used some expression which was misunderstood by the people. There were about one hundred people in the mosque, and they closed in upon me and would probably have done me some violence had not one of the village chiefs, Solomon Shah (may his shadow never grow less), literally carried me out of the place. Old Solomon Shah was alive when I left Peshawar and always claimed that he had saved my life.
Among the Moslem priests on the Afghan frontier there have been many scholars of eminence, and it may not be out of place to remark here that next to Arabia itself, Central Asia has contributed most to the literary lore of Islam. It was a native of Bokhara who collected the great volume of Moslem traditions, and it was the Akhound of Swat who resided on the frontier during my day who did so much for the revival of Islam during the last fifty years. The whole country is covered with the tombs and shrines of men who have made their mark in the history of the Mohammedan religion.
It was in the year 1874 that I commenced the compilation of my "Dictionary of Islam." I completed it after my arrival in America in 1885. The necessity of such a work became evident to me during my frequent intercourse with the priests and students in Moslem mosques. A mere knowledge of Arabic and acquaintance with the text of the Koran are, after all, but an imperfect preparation for the Christian evangelist, in dealing with the Mohammedan scholars. The theological literature of Islam is immense. Of the Sunni system alone the authorized traditions consist of six large volumes, which with their commentaries, if rendered into English, would probably fill a hundred volumes. There are also numerous commentaries on the Koran, just as we have commentaries on the English Bible. The jurisprudence of Islam (for in it all civil law is religious) fills hundreds of books. In divinity, in ethics, and in exegesis the works are also innumerable. Fortunately, however, for the student, Islam, vast as it is, is a tabulated system of divinity. There are numerous books in Arabic and Persian compiled by Moslem divines for the express purpose of systematizing the whole religion. From these I compiled my Dictionary. The work has been well received by the scholars and very favorably noticed by every English review: but I have frequently been asked by ministers and other Christian people, What is the use of so much labor? Let any man sit day after day in a Mohammaedan mosque and he will soon find how hopeless he will be without some tabulated and systematic knowledge of Islam such as my Dictionary supplies.
I must here pay tribute to my faithful Arabic tutor, Mullah Ahmad, of Tungi: "A fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy," a poet of no mean gifts, and a diligent inquirer into the truths of Christianity, of whom I had hoped and expected much. He was not far from the kingdom of Heaven. In addition to his services on the work of my "Dictionary of Islam," he also assisted me in the compilation of the Government text-books in the Afghan language. He rendered into excellent Pushto verse the thirty parables of our Lord. He was a man of blameless life, and had a remarkably handsome face. His portrait, drawn by the wife of an English judge, now hangs upon the wall of my room. Poor fellow! Like so many of my Afghan friends, he was assassinated! Soon after I left Peshawar, as he was returning to his village by night, he was stabbed by some unknown person. He was at the time assisting my successors in a work which I began with him--namely, a translation of the Pentateuch into Pushto; and I should think it very probable that it was the valuable assistance which he was rendering to Christian missionaries at Peshawar which brought about his death.
In the earlier period of my residence at Peshawar I attempted what is called "bazaar preaching," or preaching in the streets of the city. A special preaching stand had been erected in the very heart of the city, and we had the fullest protection of the Government police; but, as my experience increased and my knowledge of the habits of the Oriental people became more thorough, I was forced to the conviction that street preaching is essentially a modern English institution, and that even the custom of the early Apostles does not indorse it. When a missionary preaches in the streets of London he is addressing an audience who, to some extent, understand his terminology; but when he preaches in a large Moslem city like Peshawar, he is certainly not understood by the people, no matter how great his command over the language may be. In a nominally Christian city the forces of irreligion are brought against the street preacher, but in a Moslem city the Christian preacher is opposed by the religious rather than the ungodly; hence the difference. No Moslem preacher of respectability would ever preach in a street; he would consider it lowering to the dignity of religion. At the same time, I am ready to admit that street preaching has been blessed to the conversion of souls. One remarkable instance occurred among our Afghans and Peshawar. The man came from beyond the British frontier, and travelled as far as Calcutta. There in the Bazaar he heard an Englishman preach. The sermon was in Hindustani, and, consequently, unintelligible to the Afghan; but there was one word common to all Oriental languages--araam, rest or peace. It awakened inquiry; and in an interview, when the conversation carried on by an interpreter, the Afghan discovered the missionary had been preaching from the text "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (araam). It led to the Afghan's conversion, and he became one of my most faithful Christian helpers in Peshawar.
It was the spring of 1875 that, after the completion of ten years' residence at Peshawar, I paid a short visit of six months to England, and returned at the close of the year, leaving my wife and children at home. My six months furlough was entitled a "well-earned rest" by those in authority, but it was in fact the hardest six months' work of my life. Beginning with Exeter Hall, I travelled through the length and breadth of England advocating the cause of missions both in sermons and missionary meetings. The intense interest taken in foreign missions in England is a very striking contrast with the apathy manifested in America; and I cannot help thinking that the spiritual life of this country suffers very much in consequence, for the all-pressing need for domestic missions can never create that enthusiasm which the wide and varied field in Oriental and other lands presents to the Christian Church.
The hospitality extended to the foreign missionary by the very best of the land in old England does much to rekindle the zeal of the returned missionary who visits home somewhat worn out by the enervating climate of India and the deadening influences of non-Christian systems. I consequently returned to Peshawar in November, 1875, with an increased enthusiasm and zeal. On my way out I spent a short time in Egypt where it was my privilege to form the acquaintance of the Rev. H. C. Potter, then Rector of Grace Church, New York. How little did I think at that time that I should ever become the rector of a church in the diocese of which Dr. H. C. Potter would be Bishop! But such are the strange coincidences of human life. When in Egypt I was one of Lord Kinnaird's party, who, during his lifetime, was a zealous supporter of missions, and I had an opportunity of becoming interested in the remarkable work of faith and labor of love that the late Miss [Mary Louisa] Whately, of Cairo. She was a remarkable woman, and had all the force of character which was so striking a feature in the life and work of her distinguished father, the Archbishop of Dublin. Among other reminiscences of her work, I remember the good lady took considerable credit to herself for having waylaid the Maharajah Duleep Singh upon his return from Punjab, and for having brought about his marriage with one of her Syrian Christian girls. Subsequent events, however, would seem to discredit Miss Whately's judgement. The poor Syrian Christian Princess has had a somewhat hard time since she became the wife of the reputed son of the "Lion of the Punjab"!
The great mosque in Cairo, Al-Azhar, which has been called the Moslem University, afforded me a rare opportunity of increasing my knowledge of Mohammedanism. The mosque had 10,000 enrolled students, and when I visited it I calculated that there could not be fewer than 3,000 present. Among the students I found two from India who could speak Urdu. They seemed somewhat disconcerted at meeting an Englishman who could speak their own language. They had probably left their country for their country's good. Cairo is an intensely Oriental city, and its streets and shops are very similar to those of my own city, Peshawar. In fact, those who have visited Cairo have seen a true type of those Moslem cities which exist throughout the whole of Central Asia from the Indus to the Oxus. It is a notable fact that the cities of Cairo, Peshawar, Candahar, Herat, Kabul and Samarkand are totally unlike such cities as Constantinople, Calcutta, and Lucknow.
When I arrived in India the Prince of Wales was there. I had the privilege of taking part in the presentation of copies of the Oriental translations of the Bible to His Royal Highness at Amritsar. I regret to say the Prince did not visit Peshawar. It was a great disappointment to the Afghans. And I cannot forbear relating a story which illustrates the way in which history is formed in the Oriental world. Once when staying with an Afghan chieftain our conversation turned upon the visit of the Prince to India. The chief said: "What a wonderful man the Prince must be; I understand that as soon as he landed at Bombay he drove straight to the Governor and ordered the immediate release of every prisoner in the jails of the city. The Governor was amazed, and, falling at the Prince's feet, begged His Royal Highness not to do so rash a deed. There are thousands of jails in India, he said, why not release one prisoner from each? The great Prince commanded the Governor to rise and then gave an edict for the release of one prisoner from every jail in India."
The incident is true so far that when the salutes were fired announcing the arrival of the Prince on the shores of India a prisoner was released from every jail in the country. The little Oriental touch which had been lent to the story gave the action of the British Government a charm that would not otherwise have presented to the mind of an Afghan.
New York City.
In the spring of 1876, I was at Peshawar when Bishop Milman, of Calcutta, paid his last Episcopal visit to that station, and was seized with the sickness which ended in his lamented death. Bishop Milman may be said to have been the first Government bishop of Calcutta, who took a direct interest in mission work, and who made it the engrossing object of his life. I do not mean to say that former bishops of Calcutta were not interested in missions to the heathen and Mohammedans of India; but they conscientiously made it subservient to their duty of taking oversight of the Government chaplains. But Bishop Milman was heart and soul a missionary. In one of his last letters to a friend in England he said: "The cry is as agonizing as ever; send us more men." He was seized for death during his visit to Peshawar but was removed to Rawal Pindee with the hope that the change might be beneficial. But he never rallied. He met the last summons, as every Christian bishop should do, with calmness and resignation, and almost his last words were those of the De Profun dis: "If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee that thou mayest be feared." It has been well said that there is a halo of grandeur around the bishopric of Calcutta, the midst of active labors. Five of them have been men of mark. Middleton was the learned author of "The Doctrine of the Greek Article." Reginald Heber, "the gentle Heber" still lives among us in the oft repeated sacramental hymn "Bread of the world in mercy broken." Daniel Wilson, Vicar of Islington, at an advanced age, volunteered for the office, not deterred by the short-lived episcopates of his predecessors. Cotton was the trusted lieutenant of Arnold at Rugby, and was distinguished master of Marlborough. Robert Milman was neither a poet nor a scholar, but he was undoubtedly the most apostolic in life and work of all the bishops of India. And I consider it a notable reminiscence of my life that I was among those who partook of the sacraments with him on his deathbed, and assisted in the burial service in the Rawal Pindee cemetery. Bishop Milman's powers of work were enormous. Altho a man of sixty, he would ride horseback forty or fifty miles at a stretch, and take a service and preach a sermon at the end of the journey. He was a man of great sanctity of character, but had a strong sense of humor; and it is unfortunate that in his Memoir, written by a loving sister, the marked individuality of the man is not portrayed. He was singularly quaint in his way of putting things. For example, when on one occasion the veracity of a Christian gentleman of Jewish extraction was called into question, the bishop replied: "The man is not a hypocrite; but he has an Old Testament conscience!"
It was in the autumn of this year that Lord Lytton, the newly appointed Viceroy of India, visited Peshawar with the intention of initiating a chance in policy on the part of the Indian Government toward Afghanistan. Knowing my interest in the Afghan people, my knowledge of their language and my acquaintance with the Ameer Shere Ali Khan and many leading Afghan princes and chieftains, Lord Lytton requested me to call upon him and in an interview of some length asked my opinion regarding a change in policy. At such times a Christian missionary is placed in a position of unusual difficulty. It is always said that missionaries should have nothing to do with politics; and yet the whole history of the Church shows that Christianity has influenced the political life of nations in all ages. The avowed policy of Lord Lawrence, supported by Mr. Gladstone, was the closing of Afghanistan against the traveler, the merchant, and the missionary. Lord Beaconsfield's policy was the opening up of the whole of Central Asia to British influence, whereby it might become possible not only for the merchant, but for the evangelist to carry on his vocation in a land where the Gospel had not been preached. It was, therefore, impossible for me to be entirely a disinterested spectator of the great course of events which unfortunately culminated in the Afghan war.
The outcome of Lord Lytton's visit to Peshawar was a political conference between Sir Lewis Pelly, the British Envoy, and the Afghan embassy, Syud Nur Muhammed Shah. The first meeting took place in my library on January 30th, 1877, and of the individuals who took part in that historic event I am the only one living. The negotiations lasted several weeks and the Afghan plenipotentiary died during the conference. I was with him only a short time before his death. History has revealed the fact that while Lord Beaconsfield's policy was grand in its conception the instruments selected for the undertaking were singularly incompetent. I am myself convinced that the impression on the Ameer's mind was that the British intended to seize his country; and I have often regretted that in my desire to abstain from taking part in political matters I never attempted to take some steps whereby I might assure the Ameer Shere Ali Khan to the contrary. I think he would have believed me. The poor, unfortunate Ameer, who had been my genial guest in March, 1869, eventually died from fright and excess in drinking, being under the impression that the English were determined to destroy his dynasty.
War was declared with Afghanistan in September 1878; and it was when, on a short visit to England, I was walking in the garden of the old Gurney mansion of Earlham, near Norwich, that I heard of the taking of Ali Musjid, and the death of a Peshawar friend, Major Birch, who was killed leading his regiment in the attack, September 24th, 1878.
Upon my return to Peshawar, in 1879, the Afghan War was being carried on with vigor; and I made a visit to Jalalaba[d]. I am somewhat proud of the fact that on this journey I walked through the Khyber Pass alone and unarmed. After staying a night at a military outpost I proceeded to Jalalabad, where I was very kindly entertained by Colonel Ball Acton, commanding Her Majesty's 51st Regiment. On the day of my arrival the battle of Fattehabad was fought. It was an undoubted victory for the English, but its glory was dimmed by the loss of Major Wigram Battye, of the Guide Corps, and of Captain Wiseman.
The bodies of these officers were brought into the camp the evening of the victory, and the next morning they were interred in a cemetery outside of the walls of Jalalabad. I read the burial service. It has been my lot to take part in many military funerals; but the burial of these two officers was one of the most striking military incidents of my life. The whole military force, both European and native, of that large encampment marched to the grace, with arms reversed, to the solemn strains of "The Dead March of Saul." The native corps followed the remains of Ma[j]or Battye, and the Europeans regiments the remains of Captain Wiseman. It was a touching incident, in connection to the burial of Wigram Battye, that the native soldiers of his squadron, Hindu, Sikh, and Moslem, cast the earth into his grave with loving hands in testimony of the affection in which he was held by those whom he had lead to victory. When the war was over the body of Major Battye was removed from Jalalabad cemetery and placed in that of Hoti Mardan, within the limits of British Territory. It was conveyed on a raft and floated down the rapids of the Cabul River; and it is a sad circumstance that the solitary orderly, who was seated on the raft protecting the remains of the beloved officer, was shot by the enemy from the mountains high above the river.
The victory of Fattehabad resulted in the treaty of Gundamuck, which was signed by Yakoob Khan, as Ameer of Afghanistan, and by Sir Louis Cavagnari, representing the English Government, on the twenty-sixth of May, 1879, making over to England what Lord Beaconsfield called "a scientific frontier." It is a question which has never been settled whether this frontier line was "scientific" or otherwise; but it has certainly given the British a hold upon Afghanistan which could not possibly have been obtained under the "masterly inactivity" policy of Lord Lawrence. By the Treaty the Ameer consented to receive a British resident in the City of Cabul and Sir Louis Cavagnari was appointed to the post.
Just before Cavagnari left Peshawar, he called to see me; and I have retained his card with its P.P.C. as an interesting relic. Sir Louis Cavagnari was a brace but impulsive man. When reminded by the Ameer, only a few days before his death, that his political mission was fraught with some danger to himself, he replied: "An Englishman is not afraid to die, and remember, if you kill me there are thousands ready to take my place."
The Cabul massacre was followed by another Afghan war, which finally terminated with the placing of the present Ameer, Abdur Rahman Khan on the throne. People unacquainted with the peculiarities of mountain warfare have not the slightest conception of what is needed to carry on a successful campaign in Afghanistan. Statistics show that not fewer than sixty thousand camels died during the campaign. The mortality among the troops was also very great, and the retirement of the army was enforced by the prevalence of sickness among both European and native soldiers. There can be no doubt that events have shown what a mighty barrier the Afghan hills must be to a Russian invasion of British India.
During the first ten or twelve years of my residence at Peshawar our missionary labors among the Mohammedans on the frontier was greatly hindered by the influence of the great Akhoond of Swat [Footnote: See INDEPENDENT, Vol. 37, No. 3]. This religious luminary died at the little village of Sidu, about fifty miles from Peshawar, in the year 1876, at an advanced age; and it was a fortunate circumstance that this formidable Moslem leader was removed from the scene before the Afghan war commenced; for had he been living it is not improbable that he would have succeeded in raising a Mohammedan rebellion in that part of Central Asia. There is a curious incident in American journalism in connection with the death of Akhoond. It appears that when Mr. Lannigan, the night editor of the New York World, was in his office receiving transatlantic messages the news came: "The Akhoond of Swat is dead." "Who on earth is the Akhoond of Swat?" exclaimed the night editor. "Men of the Times," encyclopedias and dictionaries were consulted in vain. The night editor was perplexed. Still, the strange name haunted him and early in the morning, ere Mr. Lannigan retired to slumber, he penned the nursery rhyme which has made the name of the Akhoond of Swat famous in the Western world:
"Who, or why, or, which, or what,
Is the Akhoond of Swat?
Is he tall, or short, or fair?
Does he sit on a stool, a sofa, or chair,
The Akhoond of Swat.
Does he drink his liquor cold or hot?
Does he sleep on a mattress, a bed, or cot?
The Akhoond of Swat."
When Lord Lytton visited Peshawar I presented his lordship with my story of the Akhoond, which I had written for the information of the Viceroy. I believe it is the only account of the great ascetic which has appeared in English.
In the religious world of the Moslem on the Afghan frontier the place of the Akhoond has been well filled by another Moslem celebrity known as the Manki Mulla. This Moslem priest resides in the little village of Manki not far from Peshawar, and came into notoriety during my time under peculiar and interesting circumstances. A certain tribe of Afghans, known as the descendants of Kaka Sahib, had placed in the Mihrab of one of their mosques a sacred black stone upon which their ancestor had sat centuries ago. It was an heirloom of the tribe and much venerated, and altho the congregations of the mosque had prostrated in the direction of this black stone, no one had ever raised the question as to whether they regarded this black stone, or the black stone at Mecca as the Kiblah of their heart, or whether the veneration paid to it was latriadulia or huperdulia! But one night Manki Mulla entered the mosque with a crowbar and smashed the venerated relic to pieces. Some said that he was prompted solely by the love of fame, others that he was actuated by the same honest convictions that prompted the prophet to clear the Meccan temple of its idols. I now hear that the Manki Mulla is one of the great men of his day in those regions: and I am glad to remember that many years ago, when I visited him in his mosque and Manki, I left with him [p. 846] a copy of the New Testament in the Arabic language. There was an account of this personage in one of our leading daily papers recently. One peculiar feature of my work at Peshawar was the establishment of a hujrah, or guest house, for the entertainment of native visitors. By this means a vast number of people were brought under Christian influences; and the very men who would have created a disturbance at the preaching in the bazaar would sit patiently and listen attentively to Christian teaching when they were the missionary's honored guests. To the Afghan mind hospitality is the very bond of perfectness, and the Moslem priest exercises his influence very largely by this means. When visiting the mosques it was interesting to compare the parochial system among the Mohammedans with that which obtains in Protestant countries. The Moslem Imam, or pastor, would be amused when I told him of the incessant round of calls, the going from house to house, which forms so important a part of the ministerial duty of the Christian pastor. Such a thing is almost unknown among Moslem priests. They are never expected to visit their parishioners, except in times of sickness or death, or in seasons of affliction. At all other times the people visit the pastor, and not the pastor the people. But the Moslem priest is always found in his mosque from early morn until noon: and if he be a man of great influence he will attract people to him by a widely extended hospitality, the means for which he will be supplied by his flock.
It was in harmony with this Oriental view of the good uses of hospitality that this guest house was established. Our Hujrah, or guest house, consisted of one large chamber with several smaller ones, with a portico in front to shade it from the heat. It was filled with charpoys, or cots, and fairly supplied with quilts, pots, pans, cups, saucers, plates, pipes and jugs. The Afghans, as indeed all Mohammedans, being total abstainers, our guests on arrival were supplied with water which, sometimes, in a case of a guest of distinction, would be flavored with sugar and rose water. As soon as the guest arrived the native orderly would offer him a pipe which, if he were a strictly religious Moslem, he would decline and ask for a snuffbox. The guest, or guests, being comfortably seated, I would be informed of their arrival, and then either visit them in the guest house or invite them to my study. Adjoining my study was our private chapel and a large library, including the only collection of Pushto manuscripts in the world: and I was often much flattered to find that my Afghan visitors were disposed to estimate my degree of learning and scholastic attainments by the large number of volumes they saw before them. Still occasionally an incredulous Maulivie, or scholar, would scan with supercilious scorn the great pile of volumes which towered above his turbaned head, and ask: "Can you show me an original copy of the Gospel?" And when I assured him that the original copies of God's Book were not now in existence (even as the original copy of the Koran had not been discovered). I would find myself plunged at once, in medias res, into that never-ending controversy regarding the supposed alteration of the Christian scriptures. It was often a relief when tea was served; for this excellent beverage, so much in use in all parts of Central Asia, has the most mollifying effect upon the mind of even the most bigoted Moslem.
The Afghan has a great sense of humor, as the following little incident in connection with our guest house will demonstrate: A lady in England, interested in our work in Peshawar, sent me a beautifully illuminated text in the Pushto language--"Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out." I had the text framed and placed upon the wall of my study, facing the entrance door, with the intention, of course, of teaching the people a great Gospel truth. Almost every guest who entered the room seemed to smile, the reason of which I could not ascertain. But one genial Afghan as he entered, when he read the text, grasped me by the hand, exclaiming: "Sir, you are among the most hospitable of men." "Why do you say so?" I replied. "Because you not only give us a good breakfast, but you place before your door intimation to the effect that when we enter your room you will not kick is out!" The real state of things at once flashed upon my mind. The Pushto text was a correct translation of the original: but as there was nothing to indicate whose words they were, my Afghan guests had altogether misunderstood its meaning.
At first the Mohammedans were somewhat shy in partaking of food prepared by Christians, but the prejudice gradually wore away: and I am glad to learn that the guest house is still a distinctive feature in the Peshawar Mission. It was very remarkable how it attracted men from all parts of the Asiatic world, and oftentimes some very astonishing incidents occurred. For example, late one night a mysterious guest arrived and sought protection and an evening meal. The next morning I discovered that he was an Afghan serving in a British regiment at Cawnpore, and that he now was on his way to his native village in Swat, with the intention of faithfully performing the office of "the avenger of blood," by slaying the murderer of his father. It was a curious position for a Christian minister to be placed in. I had actually given protection to a would-be assassin! Yet, after all, he was no more an assassin than the public hangman at Newgate, or the physician who presides over the electric chair at Sing Sing. In connection with this lex talionis of the Afghans a curious incident occurred in the district of Boneyr. A chieftain had been murdered, but he had left no male heirs. His only daughter was a young maiden of sixteen summers. It seemed probable that her father's murderer would go unpunished: but the young damsel declared her intention of assuming the office of "avenger." The men of her tribe caught her father's assassin and placed him before the girl, who plunged a dagger into his breast, and thus took legal vengeance on her father's murderer. But our guests were, for the most part, men of peace; and it was interesting to remember how many of those who partook of our hospitality, spread on the Persian carpet of our drawing room, would come into our private chapel at evening prayer and remain there with respectful reverence while we said and sung our evening service. Our native Christian pastor, the Rev. Imam Shah, would often form one of the party; but the fact that he was a converted Moslem would sometimes excite the bigotry of those present. To dine with a Christian Englishman was one thing, to eat with a man who had renounced the Moslem faith was another. Poor Imam Shah, he often found it difficult to have his speech "seasoned with salt" so as to answer every man; but in time very much of this bigotry passed away, and not infrequently an Afghan chieftain would sit down to eat with three or four of our Christian converts gathered in from the Afghan people.
New York City
A few months before I left Peshawar, in the spring of 1881, it was my privilege to witness the completion of the "All Saints Memorial Church," for the native Christian flock at Peshawar, erected in the center of that great Mohammedan city. This building was constructed with a three fold object: that it might be a place of worship for the native Christians of that city, a standing witness for Christ in the midst of a Mohammedan population, and a memorial of departed missionary brethren.
During my twenty years' labor on the Afghan frontier it has been my endeavor to carry on my evangelistic labors, as far as possible, on Oriental lines; and it is in accordance with this view of missionary work that the Peshawar Memorial Church now stands in an Oriental dress. It is an attempt to adapt Moslem architecture to the purposes of Christian worship, and, consequently, the Memorial Church does not stand in the midst of an intensely Oriental community as "some strange thing," but is in touch with the religious feelings of the people.
It is built from east to west, facing Jerusalem (Dan. 6:10). The necessity for this may not, at first sight, appear to my readers; but, strange as it may seem, a Mohammedan who has during the whole of his life prostrated and prayed in the direction of Mecca finds it somewhat difficult to turn in the direction of the rising sun or to some other point of the compass at the hour of prayer. The exterior of the church (although it is cruciform) very much resembles the exterior of a mosque. But in order to give a decidedly Christian aspect to the building the domed belfry is surmounted with a gilded cross, which can be seen in the distance by the Central Asian traveler as he emerges from the dark defiles of the Khyber.
The church is entered by a doorway at the east end, over which is inscribed in Persian "Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom, and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be unto him for ever and ever, amen." Over the south transept door is inscribed, also in Persian, "O Lord our Governor, how excellent is thy name in all the earth." Above the interior of the central door is inscribed in the Afghan tongue, "Jesus said, I am the door; by me if any man enter in he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture." Facing, as you enter, is a cuspid or scalloped archway (a distinctive feature of Saracenic style) separating the nave from the chancel, on which is a text in English "I will make them joyful in My house of prayer." The chancel is paved with blue and white Peshawar tiles, and surrounding the apse is a screen of Peshawar pinjra work or tracery, of which it is a very fine specimen, and behind it is an ambulatory. The object of this ambulatory is to show the pinjra work, which is a very characteristic feature in Peshawar buildings, and it also forms a corridor in which are placed white marble tablets to the memory of departed missionaries. In the chancel screen above the Lord's Table, is worked in the tracery of the woodwork, a Latin cross. Some Protestants object to crosses, and so did the Arabian prophet; but this ancient symbol has been designedly placed to be a witness for the crucifixion in the face of thousands of Moslems who reside in Peshawar, who with their prophet say, "Yet they slew Him not, and they crucified Him not."
In the south transept is the baptistery, which is specially constructed, with Episcopal sanction, for the purpose of immersion, thus carrying out the rubric of the Book of Common Prayer, which in the case of infants directs that "he shall dip it in the water," and in the case of adults "shall dip him in the water or pour water upon him." The baptistery is a pentagonal well three feet deep, the coping of which is engraved in the Afghan language "Go ye therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Upon the wall of the transept, in the center of which the well is built is the Apostles' Creed in Hindustani, and the text "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus Christ and shalt believe in thy heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." The north transept is curtained off so as to allow Mohammedan women to attend the service.
The church is filled with memorials, among others, a richly stained glass window to the memory of Sir Herbert Edwards, the lay founder of the mission; and a brass lectern to the memory of the late Bishop Millman, of Calcutta, whose last Episcopal act was an address to the natives at Peshawar.
A few yards inside the church is a red cord drawn across the aisle which separates the Mohammedan and heathen audience from the Christian worshippers. Up to this cord natives are allowed to enter without uncovering the head or the feet. Morning and evening prayer has been said daily in this church without any intermission since its erection; and I am told that there is not infrequently a considerable attendance of Moslems at each service. It is undoubtedly a standing witness for Christ in a great Moslem city, where the cry of the Muezzen, "Come to prayers!" has been for centuries given from its minarets.
It is interesting to note that, although in bygone ages the city of Peshawar has passed through many religious phases, from Hindu idolatry to Buddhism, and from Buddhism to Islamism, this native Christian edifice clad in Oriental garb, with its native pastor, its Oriental liturgy, and the Word preached in the divers tongues of the people, is the first church edifice which this distant frontier city has ever known. It is truly "a thing of beauty," not only to the native eye, but to that of the European; and soon after I returned to England the Commissioner of Peshawar officially conveyed to me a message from the Duke of Connaught (Prince Arthur), in which his Royal Highness expressed his admiration of this unique building; and I am glad to find that Lady Dufferin, in her interesting book of travels, records the pleasing impressions of this Saracenic Christian church.
I do not like to say much regarding our converts from Islam to Christianity, except in the case of those who have finished their course with faith, and now rest from their labors. The great ease with which converts from Islam lapse into their former religion is one of the most sad and discouraging features of missionary work. In Turkey and in Egypt, as well as in Persia, there have been a large number of converts from Islam who have been baptized into the Christian faith, but who, true to the parable of the Great Teacher, had no root in themselves but endured only for awhile, and when tribulation and persecution arose, went back to the ranks of Mohammedanism. This has been the case in Northern India.
One of the early converts from Islam to Christianity was a public school teacher and professor in a Government college. His conversion to Christianity caused no little stir among the Mohammedans of the province. But he lapsed. Nevertheless the brother of this very man is the distinguished Christian clergyman the Rev. Imad-Ud-Din, to whom I have already referred. It was this phase of missionary work which made our position at Peshawar so trying to Christian faith. For among people so warlike, so turbulent and so bigoted as the Afghan, the wonder is that any man has had the courage and stoutness of heart to declare himself a Christian, and especially when he finds that there is little or no bond of Christian union between the English conqueror and those who have been brought into the Church from among the natives of the country.
English people are too prone to suspect the motives which actuate the natives of India in embracing Christianity, and, in deference of our too-much-abused native brethren, I have often related the following incident. When I first went to the Punjab it was in the era of the Lawrences, when the Province had been blessed with a remarkable succession of Christian governors--John Lawrence, Henry Lawrence, Robert Montgomery and Donald McLeod--men who were not only Christian in their methods of administration, but were remarkably so in their personal and domestic life. For years Government House had had daily evening prayer, and in Sir Robert Montgomery's time family prayer was even said at the conclusion of State dinners.
In those days it was usual to see high State officials, secretaries, judges and commissioners in church every Sunday, kneeling devoutly in the house of prayer behind the Governor, and giving liberally to the cause of missions. But a new era came in, an era of agnosticism and unbelief. And an instantaneous change took place. The Governor of the Province neglected the means of grace, [p. 1076] and so (with some exceptions) did his secretaries, judges and commissioners. The sudden transition from evangelical faith to irreligion was most remarkable. It was even amusing. (It must have wearied the Almighty!) But to my mind it silenced forever the tongue of scorn so frequently directed against those native Christian converts who lapse from the faith under severe trial. Human nature is very much the same all the world over, and neither Englishmen nor Americans can afford to laugh at the weakness and inconsistencies of native converts. During one of my visits to England I once officiated in a large parish church, in one of the Eastern counties, and celebrated the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. I was very much impressed with the devout and reverent attention of some twenty old people who received the sacrament. When the service was ended I found that each of these old folks received a large quartern loaf of bread. The rector of the parish told me that a generous benefactor of former years had bequeathed a loaf weekly to aged people who were communicants. Hence the reverent behavior of these twenty individuals! Opponents to missions write and speak of our "rice Christians," and sneer at the worldly motives of our converts; but we have nothing like the loaf of bread incident, to which I have referred, in the whole compass of our Indian missions. How well do I remember an eloquent native pastor addressing the vast audience of missionaries assembled at Allahabad in 1873, and saying: "Brethren, when you convert our souls, do you expect us to leave our bodies behind?" There was an encyclopedia of wisdom in this pungent question. The early Christians had all things in common, and it is probable that our missions to Moslems would be more successful if we studied the worldly interests of our converts a little more.
I have often been asked whether I consider the work of Christian missions among Mohammedans encouraging as compared with that among idolatrous people. The question is difficult to answer. In the first place I believe we are only just beginning to understand how to deal with Moslems. Until recently the missionary who went out to India believed that he was quite able to teach Christianity without any special preparation to fit himself for the instruction of native minds; and the polemical works written by Christian missionaries, during the last fifty years, are in themselves evidences of that condition of ignorance of Oriental religions which has tempted the philosophers and theologians of the East to treat the preaching of Christian missionaries with indifference if not with contempt. The life and work of such a distinguished scholar as Thomas Valpy French, the late Bishop of Lahore, who for forty years studied the theological literature of the people, has convinced the missionary that he has much to learn, even after he has passed through an English university and a theological college. It has often been said that the great difference between missionary work in a large city like New York or London and evangelistic labors in the Brahminical city of Benares or in the Moslem city of Peshawar, is this, that in London and in New York the opposition to Christianity comes largely from the thoughtless and irreligious, while in Benares and Peshawar the missionary is opposed by the religious thinkers of the day. Missionary societies seem now to realize this great difference, and to encourage their agents to adapt themselves, as far as possible, to the customs and habits of Oriental people.
Up to the present time it would appear that missionaries have succeeded in bringing into the Church a very fair number of converts, some of whom have given evidence of piety and ability. I consider it a remarkable circumstance that when our native Church in the center of the Moslem city of Peshawar was dedicated there were present not fewer than six clergymen who had embraced Christianity from the ranks of Islam, and that one of them was the pastor of the church, and another the special preacher on the occasion. And it is a notable circumstance in the history of missions that the first native of India to receive ordination from the hands of a Christian bishop was a converted Mohammedan, the Rev. Abdul Maseeh, ordained by Reginald Heber, the poet-bishop of Calcutta. To the earnest-minded missionary there is great cause for humiliation of soul and searchings of heart when the failures of missionaries in their attempt to convert Mohammedans are calmly considered. But the historian, in recording the story of modern missions, remembers that it took several centuries to bring a small country like Great Britain to a knowledge of Christ; for when Augustine landed in England he found Christianity had been entirely banished from the midland parts of England, and that London was chiefly heathen.
In all ages of the Christian Church the spread of Christianity has been very largely brought about by tribal influences. This has been the case in Madagascar, and in the southern provinces in India. The Apostolic Schwartz recognized this fact, and planted Christianity in India through the influence of its native Rajah. It is quite true that to the poor the Gospel has been always preached, but princes have been the nursing fathers and princesses the nursing mothers of the Christian Church ever since the day that Publius lay sick of a fever and St. Paul healed him; and that chief man of the island honored the Christians with many honors. So many of our missionaries have failed in their zealous efforts because they have not clearly traced the history of the spread of Christianity. Had they done so, ere this many tribes in India would have brought into the Christian Church. Among Mohammedans this will certainly be the case, for the whole history of Islam inclines the Mohammedan to look to his chieftain for guidance in things spiritual, and I am persuaded, that in the northern portion of India there are many Moslem tribes who would embrace Christianity, if their chieftains would but lead the way.
As soon as such a movement takes place the leaders of missions will be brought face to face with great difficulties. Among these is the question of polygamy. No Christian minister could consistently advocated the maintenance of polygamy in the Christian Church. But the baptism of those already polygamists is quite another question. Should, for example, a Moslem tribe decide to embrace Christianity, it would be absolutely impossible for that tribe to put aside immediately its polygamous connections. To do so would be to strike a serious blow at the very foundations of morality; for women who had contracted marriages, under the most honorable conditions, would be placed in the lowest scale of Christian life. When I labored at Peshawar, I had on two occasions to face this difficulty. The first case was that of an old farmer who had two wives, both of whom had encouraged him to embrace Christianity. He had children by both. I at once appealed to my diocesan, Bishop Millman, of Calcutta. Under his instructions I baptized this man and his two wives and their six children. The second was that of a Moslem Priest who had two wives. The first was the wife of this youth, the second the widow of his deceased brother, whom he had married solely from motives of honor, according to the Afghan custom. My Bishop was at that time the honored and revered Thomas Valpy French; he sanctioned the baptism of this man and his two wives and their children. The great Lambeth Conference of Bishops decided against such baptisms. But Bishop French was not there! He was laboring under the burning sun of a foreign clime. Nor was Bishop Millman! He had laid down his life a few years before at the post of duty. Both these saintly men decided that polygamists should not be called upon to give up their wives on baptism, when each of those wives honestly desired to embrace Christianity. But no polygamist, they said, should occupy the office of minister or teacher in the Church, and it must be clearly understood that polygamy could never be adopted by the Christian community.
Whenever there are large accessions to Christianity from the educated classes of Mohammedanism and Hinduism stupendous difficulties will present themselves; for it must be expected that those very discussions regarding the person and nature of the Christ which agitated the early Church will again be revived. It is not likely that Christians gathered in from Hinduism, with its agnostic and mystic tendencies, or from Mohammedanism, with its decidedly Arian and deistic thought, will accept the dogmas of a purely Western Church without much controversy. Hence the need of caution. About fifteen years ago European and American missionary societies were disposed to cut the traces which bound the native Church to the Western mother, and to set it free by the establishment of native Church councils and native bishoprics. Experience, however, has already taught the committees of missionary societies that they must move slowly in this direction. If the freedom of the native Church only meant self-support, with self-organization, there need be no anxiety; but it means far more then this. Under the freedom of our Protestant system it means the opening of the floodgates of doctrinal error, and all the necessary confusion arising from a spirit of contention and controversy. What is specially needed in the vast missionary field of India, China and Japan, is a strong force of European and American missionaries, capable of adapting themselves to the requirements of Oriental people, but with sufficient force of character and strength of conviction to lead rather than to follow.
It must be remembered that within the ranks of Mohammedanism there already exist those theological schools of thought which have in times past agitated the Christian Church, and that there is no doctrine, whether it be the Trinity, man's fee will, purgatory, prayers for the dead, and even the evolution of the human race, which has not already been discussed for centuries by the learned divines of Islam. It is on this account that I have always regarded the tendency of foreign missionary societies to withdraw European and American superintendence from their missions in India with some alarm; and I venture to think that the circumstance, that up to the present time no native bishop has been consecrated for the missions of the Church of England in India, is an evidence that experience has demonstrated the correctness of this view of the question.
With any great success vouchsafed by the Spirit, through the efforts of modern missions in India, another difficulty will present itself--namely, the question of adaptation. It has often been said that a great deal of heathenism came into the early Christian Church with the desire of the early Christian missionaries to adapt themselves, as much as possible, to the requirements of heathen people. It could hardly have been otherwise. But should there be a great awakening among Mohammedans, whereby whole tribes are brought to Christ, this power of adaptation will be the most urgent question of the hour. It is not likely that theologians (Moslem theologians, I mean) will accept Christianity without bringing in from their own religion what they consider to be true. It is not probable that they will take Western Christianity wholesale without some desire to purge it of what may seem to them objectionable Western features. There will be problems which cannot be settled by any Lambeth Conference or by any missionary committee, whether in London or in Boston. And when I think of them I often feel that, small as the success of modern missions to Moslems may be, the All-Wise Father has given us just that amount of success for which the Christian Church was prepared, and no more! In fact, the missionary forces among great Oriental peoples, such as we find in India, in Persia, in China and in Japan, are so weak that if a very large number of conversions took place in one single year, they would be found altogether inadequate to meet the exigencies of the time. The words of the great Missionary Bishop of Calcutta, Robert Millman (when he was traveling through the length and breadth of the vast empire of Hindustan with its warlike races and its teeming multitudes of religious thinkers) are still true--"The cry is as agonizing as ever, Send us more men."