Some very wicked men have been converted. You have heard of those proud and hateful beggars, the Sunnyasees and the Fakirs.
One day a missionary, who had gone for his health to the Himalaya Mountains, was walking in the verandah of his house, when he was surprised by a man suddenly throwing himself down at his feet, and embracing his knees. The missionary could not tell who this man was, for a dark blanket covered the man’s head and face. But soon the covering was lifted up, and a swarthy and withered countenance was shown; the missionary knew it to be that of an old Fakir he once had known, as the chief priest of a gang of robbers, but now the Mahomedan was become a Christian; and he had travelled six hundred miles, hoping to see once more the face of his teacher; and lo! he had seen it at last.
SCHOOLS.—The Hindoos have schools of their own, but only for boys. The scholars sit in a shed, cross-legged upon mats, and learn to scratch letters with iron pins upon large leaves. But what can they learn from Brahmin teachers but foolish tales about false gods?
Missionaries have far better schools, where the Bible is taught; and missionaries’ wives have schools for girls; and sometimes they take pity on poor orphans, and receive them into their houses.
One evening as a Christian lady was returning home, she saw a Hindoo woman lying on the ground, and a little boy sitting by her side. The lady spoke kindly to the sick woman, and then the little boy looked up and said, with tears in his eyes, “My mother is sick, and has nothing to eat; I fear she will die.” The lady had compassion on the mother and the child, and hastening home, she sent her servant to fetch them both. They were soon put to rest on a nice clean mat, with a blanket to cover them; but the mother died next morning. The little boy was left an orphan, but not forlorn, nor friendless, for the Christian lady took care of him. He was five years old, thin and delicate, and much fairer than most Hindoo children. He had many winning ways; but he had a proud heart. He was proud of his name, “Ramchunda,” because it was the name of a great false god: but when he had learned about the true God, he asked for a new name, and was called “John.” His wishing to change his name was a good sign: and there were other good signs in this little orphan; and before he died,—for he died soon,—he showed plainly that he had not a new name only, but a new nature.
Little Phebe was another child received by a missionary’s wife. She was not an orphan, yet she was as much to be pitied as an orphan; for her mother told the missionaries that if they did not take the child, she would throw her to the jackals. It was a happy exchange for the infant to leave so cruel a mother to be reared by a Christian lady, who, instead of throwing her to jackals, brought her to Jesus.
She died when only five years old by an accident: when washing her hands in the great tank she fell in, and was drowned.