Johann A Schürmann ~ Correspondence

The Report of the Directors to the 42th General Meeting of LMS

12 May 1836 | Report | LMS Directors, Exeter Hall, London.

BENARES.

During the past year, the brethren have been preserved in the enjoyment of health and strength for their labours; and these have been far more extensive than in any preceding year; Messrs. Mather and Schürmann having made such progress in the language as to enable them to enter fully on their work.
In the city of Benares there are now 25 services every week, at stated places and times, besides occasional labours at Melas, &c. These services are at different stations, most of which are supplied twice a week; twenty-three are entirely for the heathen; one is in English, and another in Hindustani for professed Christians. The latter service has been recently commenced, and is attended principally by East Indians and native Christians, in the neighbourhood of the Mission-house. The number of the latter is between 30 and 40. With the exception of one at Secrole, all are in the city and suburbs of Benares. The brethren have not been able to extend their labours to the villages; as they find it impossible to occupy even a small number of the inviting stations which are presented in the city. One Missionary
tour has been made by Mr. Buyers, as far as Allahabad; of which some interesting particulars are furnished in the Missionary Chronicle for February and April, and subsequent months of the present year. Narapot Sing, the Native preacher formerly employed at Calcutta, supplies regularly some of the stations, and assists at others. Besides the Hindustani chapel built by the Society, there are four small places rented from natives for evening preaching. Two new places are about to be erected in convenient situations; towards the building of these, a friend has contributed 500rs. Besides these, a new building in the Mission Compound, appropriated as a school-house, is also used for preaching. At the out-door services, the attendance is necessarily fluctuating; the attention is encouraging, and opposition continues to decrease. A theoretical knowledge of the truth is making considerable progress. Many are now well acquainted with the doctrines of Christianity; and a far greater number have a confused perception of several truths, which they mix up with the errors of their own system. Respecting the general influence of the Gospel, the brethren write as follows :-

Thousands are gradually imbibing sentiments, without considering where they have obtained them, that must ultimately prove fatal to a belief in absurdities of Hinduism. The common people, generally, are so ignorant of their own religion, that when they hear the truths of Christianity, most of which are so simple and reasonable as to recommend themselves at once to the conscience and common sense of mankind, they scarcely think of them as subversive of their national faith ; and instead of cavilling against them, frequently listen to them with apparent delight. Our greatest dificulty with the great body of the people is, not in silencing objections, but in overcoming their natural aversion to spiritual things, and producing a serious conviction of the absolute necessity of such a Saviour as the Gospel announces. The objections brought against the Gospel are most of them trifling ; but the difficulty of really and permanently affecting the conscience can only be overcome by the powerful energy of the Spirit of God.
All the services of the Mission church are conducted in Hindustani, including the Lord's Supper. The only exception is a sermon in English on Thursday evening, for those who do not fully understand the native language; and a monthly Missionary prayer-meeting. The Missionaries gratefully acknowledge the kindness of friends connected with the Rev. Thomas James's congregation, Woolwich, in supplying them with a service of communion plate:-

"This", it is stated, "is now employed in the monthly commemoration of our Saviour's death, by the infant Hindustani church. We trust that this small community, where the converted Brahmin and Soodra drink from the same cup with believers from Britain and Germany, will soon be greatly increased ; and that this candlestick of the Lord, set up in dark and idolatrous Benares, will be preserved in its place by Almighty power, and continue to send forth its rays of heavenly light, till millions around, now walking in the shadow of death, be illuminated and blessed."
Besides several inquirers, more or less hopeful, there were three candidates for baptism; to whom the brethren hoped to administer that rite in the course of a few weeks. The united request of the Missionaries is :-

Let us have more European labourers to preach to the heathen ; men of holy zeal and ability. Where there is such a willingness to hear the Gospel as is found in Benares, there can be no doubt of our ultimate success.”
Schools.-These are six in number; an English school, under the charge of Mr. Mather; two Hindu, and one Urdu and Persian, for boys; a school for girls, containing 25, under the care of Mrs. Buyers, and another superintended by Mrs. Mather. The two latter have been commenced during the year. The
English school has had to contend with many difficulties; its numbers, however, increased from 13 to 30 ıcholars, and their pıfoâeiency is very encouraging. The boys pay for their books themselves; they are taught the Hindustani, and translate from that language into English. In the three other schools,
which are principally under the care of Mr. Schürmann, the aggregate number is 83.
Christian books alone are used. In the Hindu, reading, writing, arithmetic, and geography are taught. In the Persian school, the boys are generally of a higher caste; being, with the exception of a few Mussulmen, either of the Brahmin or Writer caste. A peculiar advantage in connexion with this school is, that the pupils remain much longer under instruction; and others become well acquainted with the truths of Christåanity. Two female schools are supported by the benevolence of'friends at the station.

Source:

Published in:
The Report of the Directors to the Fortieth General Meeting of the Missionary Society, usually called the London Missionary Society, on Thursday, May 12th, 1836. Page(s): 44-46 (pdf 481-483).

Online: Google Books. Viewed: 5.2.2015.

For reference:

Administrator. Johann A Schürmann ~ Correspondence :: 12 May 1834 - 42. LMS Report, in: Pirltawardli Research Website. Adelaide 2019.
(Created: 08.02.2015. Last updated: 23.03.2016.)
Direct URL: <www.grweb.org/cpo-pirltawardli/en/detail.php?rubric=other_ShurmannJA_correspondence&nr=1144>. Viewed 17.10.2019.