Johann A Schürmann ~ Correspondence
Death of a Native Female, Girya
In a recent letter, Mr. Kennedy, of Benares, conveys the interesting particulars respecting the conversion and death of a native female, Girya, a member of the church at that station.
Her husband, Isaidas, was a native Indian evangelist with the LMS missionaries. His story features in some of the mission journals but not in too much detail. One summary can be found here.
In this short narrative, we have a delightful record of the mercy that redeems the soul, and sanctiﬁes the affections; while it also tends to prove that the Hindoo woman, although suffering from the neglect and degradation of ages, consigned by the customs of her country to utter ignorance and imbecility, possesses an intellect highly capable of cultivation, and which promises abundantly to reward existing efforts for its improvement:-
A few months ago, [Girya] the wife of our worthy Catechist, Isaidas, was removed to a better world. She was an eminent instance of the power of Divine grace to enlighten and elevate the most ignorant and degraded of the human race. Little is known of her history, until about eight years ago, when Mr. Mackintosh, of the Baptist Mission, Allahabad, found her begging with an infant son. She was a widow, and Mr. M. received her into his house, where she did what little work she was able, and was instructed in the knowledge of the Gospel. It would seem that the Spirit of God opened her heart to receive the truth as soon as she heard it. She gave decided evidence of conversion, and was baptized.
Coming to Benares shortly after, to reside in the family of Mr. Smith, of the Baptist Mission, Isaidas met with her, and they were soon after married. We can truly say, that from the time of her coming amongst us, (nearly six years ago,) she was a growing Christian, though not exempt from infirmities of temper. Her character was truly that of a child of God, and her path like "the path of the just, which shineth more and more unto the perfect day."
Only on one occasion since then did she act inconsistently with her profession; and when we remember what she had been, and how undisciplined the minds of even true converts from Hindooism remain, we need not wonder at this. She was involved in a quarrel with two of our native Christians, and in giving her evidence stated an untruth. She manifested the dee est sorrow for her sin, and it was a lesson Girya never forgot. Often with tears did she refer to it, and the remembrance seemed to ﬁll her with a horror of everything like falsehood.
All along she was a regular attendant in my little Bıble-class, and often have I been cheered and astonished at the quickness of her perception of Divine truth, and the invariably deep interest she evinced in the subjects before us. This was the more remarkable, as in worldly matters she was rather defective. On coming to us she commenced learning to read, but soon gave it up; however, she always had some one to read to her. Her husband, her eldest boy, or some other of our native Christians, had often an attentive hearer in Girya. Occasionally she would come to ask questions, which evinced a degree of thought much beyond what we supposed she possessed.
Another uniform characteristic feature in her was love to the ordinances of religion. For some months before her death, she was seldom able to go to the house of God; but often made efforts to do so, which we almost thought injudicious. She would walk a few yards, with the aid of a staff, sit down on the ground for a little, rise up and proceed a little farther, and so on til she reached the chapel. On one occasion, I went to remonstrate with her aﬂer the service; but she had enjoyed it so much, and was so ﬁlled with a sense of God's goodness in having strengthened her to go, that I could say nothing.
She died of consumption, which began to show itself about a year and a half before her death. During the last few months of her life I saw her almost daily, and generally found her rejoicing in God her Saviour, and longing to depart and be with Christ. She often spoke of the sovereign mercy of God to her soul. "My parents died idolaters. I too was hurrying on to destruction; but the Lord had mercy on my soul. He stretched out his hand and rescued me."
One Sabbath-morning, a month or six weeks before her death, I visited her before service, and found her worse than usual. She seemed to think her end near at hand, and spoke with much feeling of the happiness of the Redeemed. The vision of the multitude before the throne seemed to ﬁll her thoughts. She repeated, in a broken manner, several passages from the Revelation -- "They shall hunger no more, nor thirst any more, neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat." -- "They go no more out." On another occasion, shortly after, she seemed unconscious of my presence, and I entered into conversation with her husband. He expressed his surprise that her mind remained so vigorous, notwithstanding the weakness of her body, and proceeded to tell me some things she had said a little before. She opened her eyes, and said with energy, "Do not boast -- I am all covered over wıth sin, from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet; but Jesus will receive me."
To the last Girya enjoyed undisturbed peace. When she could no longer speak, I asked her to lift her hand if she died happy, and felt Christ's presence in the dark valley. She did so thrice, and in a few hours after was, we doubt not, one of "that great multitude which no man can number," before the throne. Oh, how should such cases stimulate us to prayer for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit! This alone is required to make the moral wilderness blossom like the rose.
The Evangelical Magazine and Missionary Chronicle for October 1846 Page(s): 550-551.
Online: Google Books. Viewed: 5.2.2015.
(Created: 08.02.2015. Last updated: 23.03.2016.)
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