[Reviews: Two Christian Papers]
Theosophist, September, 1882
The Christian Herald and Signs of Our Times carry in their title-name the gist of their subject matter. It is an illustrated paper; and one of the engravings represents a wicked Chinese “Blacksmith burning his female child.” It is a very impressive picture. It would hardly fail to prove to the infidels the evident superiority of the Christian over the “heathen” Buddhist and Confucian religions, had we not as an offset against it another engraving in some of the illustrated papers of America, representing a pious Christian father in Philadelphia moved by the example of the Patriarch Abraham sacrificing (in common parlance murdering) his own ten year old child for the glory of the Lord God of Israel. We have had several such instances of frenzied piety among Christians lately. On the engraving of the Christian Herald (March 22nd, 1882) the newly-born female infant shows undoubted signs of desperate terror at the sight of the burning oven; her eyes are widely open, and her two uplifted arms are giving the “sign of distress” of the Western Masons. Very happily though the picture does not seem to represent a fact, but only a hearsay. “We have even heard of an infant girl being burned to death,” writes the reverend reporter from China. We are sorry to be unable to give the same benefit of doubt to the Philadelphian modern Abraham, since he was tried, found guilty and sentenced last year in America for his pious Biblical imitation.
A long article is given by Rev. G. W. Waldon, on Spiritualism, which its author calls “Modern Demonism.” Having shown the public these “Signs of our Times,” the editor addresses a personal request to his subscribers the originality of which ought not to be lost on our own patrons. Hoping that the latter will not fail to comply with the modest request, we reproduce it verbatim.
“The prayers of the readers of this journal are requested for the blessing of God upon its Editors and those whose sermons, articles, or labours for Christ are printed in it, and that its weekly circulation of more than 250,000 copies may be blessed by the Holy Spirit to the conversion of many sinners and the quickening of God’s people.”
The Free Church Monthly of July 4th, shows us “Hindus Feeling After God.” The Rev. A. Andrew of Chingleput speaks very eloquently of three cases of “Brahmin seekers after salvation.” Unfortunately, the interesting case, No. 1 (who, we are told, is now studying at Madras in Patcheappah’s College) had hardly told his Rev. adviser “I am ready” when a meeting of his Brahman friends was convened and the proposed candidate for salvation was carried off by his unregenerate parents beyond the proselytizing clutches of the reverend gentleman. The second case, also proved a failure. A Brahman boy of fifteen having been asked “to believe at once and witness well for Christ” asked before giving his heart to Jesus “if he will be compelled (when a Christian) to eat those things he dislikes.” Notwithstanding “a long letter in answer” the reverend has not heard from him, since. The third case is that of a non-caste. Being but a too easy prey for the missionary enterprise, the Rev. A. Andrew declines to baptize him, as he is “not yet satisfied with his knowledge of Christian truth.” His ignorance must be great indeed. Remembering the numbers of Hindu converts we have met at Madras and elsewhere, who continue to wear the topknot, to adorn their dusky brows with huge caste-marks, to give their children in marriage in their infancy, to keep strictly to the widow non-remarriage law, and every other custom, and differing generally from their heathen brethren by no external, social, or for all we know, internal mark, we wonder at such an unusual discretion. Asked by us what he knew of Jesus Christ, one of the said natives, a very old convert, baptized in 1857, as he told us, answered that Yeshu was born and lived and died at the Nazareth Mission near Tinnevelly. Cross-examined further, as to who put the Man-God to death, the unsophisticated Madrassee innocently replied that he “did not know for certain, but that he had reasons to believe it was done by the order of an English Collector Sahib of that place”! We hope the Rev. A. Andrew will clear the doubts (as also the reputation of the British Anglo-Indian Officials)—of his converts to that effect—before he baptizes any more of them.