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Sermon Podcast | Audio | Video : Christian Books : CHAPTER SIXTEEN. AN ABANDONED HEATHEN TEMPLE.

Old Daniel by Thomas Hodson


On the 11th of October, 1839, Mr Arthur joined Mr Jenkins at Goobbe, and by that time the fruit of past labour was beginning to appear; not in the shape of individual conversions, but in an extensive neglect of idol-worship, particularly in Singonahully. Mr Arthur gives the following account: |About the time of my arrival, the inhabitants of the place declared that they had abandoned idolatry, and would no more honour the temple of Runga. To test their sincerity, Mr Jenkins one morning, asked them whether he might go to the temple. `O, by all means.' `Might we enter?' `Yes; go where you like.' `Might we enter without taking off our shoes?' `Certainly; we don't care who goes, or how: we have given up the idol.' This was strong proof that their old feelings had vanished; and, accordingly, at the temple we found no obstacle to our entrance. Shod and covered, we passed up through the outer apartment to the sanctuary, where sat the grim image of Runga, incrusted in the congealed oil and ghee of many anointings, with the lightless lamp before him, faded garlands hanging round his neck, loads of dust settled on his person, and part of the roof falling in directly above. No room remained for doubt. The faith which once adored Runga had changed into contempt; and we rejoiced over that forsaken idol, as an earnest of better days. On afterwards enquiring what induced them to withdraw the confidence they had so long reposed in Runga, they answered, `You,' (meaning the Missionaries), `told us that the god did not protect us, but that we protected the god; that if we only left him alone, we should see that he could not take care of himself; and if he could not take care of himself, how could he take care of us? Now we thought that was a buddhi matu,' (a word of sense), `and so we resolved to see whether he could take care of himself or not; for we felt certain that if he could not take care of himself, it was out of the question that he could take care of us. Accordingly we discontinued pooja (worship). We soon found he could not keep the lamp burning, nor the garlands fresh, nor the temple clean, nor do a single thing for himself. The lamp went out, the flowers withered, the temple became dirty; and then,' (they added, laughing) `the roof fell in, just over his head, and there he sat, soommanay (tamely) under it; so we saw very well he could not take care of himself. Notwithstanding all this, we had some fears that the return of their annual feast-day would revive their love for heathenish merry-makings with a force too strong for their new convictions. The day came, and we watched the village narrowly. There was no car, no procession, no music: and, when night came, no tom-tom was beaten, no rocket sent up, nor any other sign that it was the day of Runga.' One morning, when preaching in the village, I observed that the old man who used to conduct the services of the temple, was not in the congregation; and feeling, for the moment, a suspicion lest he should have returned to his former occupation, I asked, `Where is the poojari?' A young man instantly replied, smiling, and patting his person, `O, he has gone to the fields with the cattle: now that the temple is given up, he must do something for his stomach.'|

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