[On Ceylon and Christian Converts]
Theosophist, May, 1881
Notes by H.P.B. on an article by William Yeats
Complying with the pressing invitations of our Buddhist brothers, our President, Col. Olcott, is again on his way to Ceylon. He sailed on April 22, by the steamer “Khiva,” accompanied by Mr. H. Bruce. F.T.S. (late of Shanghai), a Scotch gentleman connected with the educational line, who will inspect the several Theosophical Buddhist schools, and, perhaps, be induced to remain on the island as Educational Superintendent. The thorough acquaintance of that estimable gentleman with school systems makes it desirable that our Buddhist brethren should not lose such an opportunity; the more so as Mr. Bruce—a freethinker of forty years’ standing—is very much opposed to padri proselytism, which in this country is rarely, if ever achieved, through sincere conviction. In Ceylon, converts bribed over to Christ, whether by the prospect of employment, ready cash, or any other worldly boon, are pertinently called “belly Christians.” We doubt whether the confiding victims “at home” who are made to swell the “poor missionary” fund would be much gratified to find out that instead of helping the heathen convert to “Jesus” they helped him to “Mammon.”1 Out of the two fresh and educated catechumen, we hear, one was coaxed over to “Salvation” by the means it afforded him to cast off his non-Christian wife and marry again, and the other by the prospect of becoming the happy possessor of the few rupees of his padri baptizer by taking his daughter in the bargain. Being a thoroughly honourable man, we trust Mr. Bruce will help to expose such evil practices. We may give some account of the joint work of both the travellers in our next.
1. [see Matt. 6:24, and Luke 16:11]