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SermonIndex.net : Christian Books : CHAPTER EIGHTEEN. BAPTISM OF DANIEL.

Old Daniel by Thomas Hodson

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN. BAPTISM OF DANIEL.

In the beginning of 1843, the mind of Daniel was brought under a very powerful and gracious influence of the Holy Spirit, which produced an ardent desire for salvation. Hitherto he had been an opponent of idolatry, and he had manifested an interest in the doctrines of Christianity, but he had never shown any deep conviction of his sinfulness and danger, nor any desire to obtain pardon and purity. He had been a diligent hearer of the Word of God, and he had studied its truths well. The Missionaries had established a school in Singonahully, and visited it regularly to examine the boys. At these times many of the parents attended, and took great interest in the progress of their children. Daniel used very frequently to sit in the school listening to the lessons, and, though he was never able to read himself, he had his children taught, and made them read the Scriptures to him day by day for many years. He was blessed with a very retentive memory and with good common sense, so that he had a very fair acquaintance with the history, the biography, and the doctrinal teaching of both the Old and the New Testament. And now, to this knowledge, there was added that special working of the Holy Spirit, which produced deep conviction of sin, and an anxious desire to escape eternal punishment. He says, |I regularly attended the preaching of the Missionaries, and always felt interested in what they taught, but I did not feel any serious concern for salvation until Mr Hardey came to live at Goobbe. Under his teaching and prayers I was brought to a better mind; but even then there were some sins which I did not wish to give up. I wanted to save my soul and yet retain some pecuniary advantages connected with heathenism. I and my family had often conversed about our all becoming Christians, and they, everyone of them, always declared that they would follow me. This cheered and comforted me. But, for a long time, as often as I decided to go and open my mind to the Missionaries, so often did some strong temptation turn me aside. I feared my uncle who had been very kind to me. And then I thought, all my relations will disown me, and they will unite with other heathens in persecuting me, so that my life will be made miserable. Thus I went on month after month. But at length, in answer to prayer, I received power to decide for Christ and against the world. I went immediately and told Mr Hardey all that was in my heart. After this, he and Nallamuttoo, the Catechist, daily instructed me and prayed with me for many weeks. I felt the benefit of this teaching, and by Divine aid I was able to say, `I give up all for Christ.' One day while under this course of instruction, I felt very anxious to be baptised without further delay, and I asked Mr Hardey to fix upon a day for the baptism. This being done I went home and told my wife and children what I had done: and they all said, `we will do as you do.' Mr Male was at this time living in Mysore, but as he had known and instructed me before Messrs. Hardey and Sanderson came to live at Goobbe, he was requested by them to come and perform this sacrament of baptism. On his arrival he had a long conversation with me. He asked me many questions, warned me as to coming persecutions, and exhorted me to watchfulness, prayer, and faith. I said, `I believe that in every difficulty God will be my friend and protector. By Divine help, I shall be able to endure: and I am prepared to give up all for Christ.'|

The day fixed for the baptism was Sunday, the 13th of August, 1843; and the place was the Goobbe chapel, near the fort gate, not the present chapel, but the one which was first built in that locality. Out of curiosity many came to see a baptism, and amongst them several of Daniel's relatives. Mr Male conducted the usual Sunday morning service, and the large congregation was very attentive, both during the sermon and whilst he read a portion of the baptismal service; but when by his movements it became evident to those natives in the congregation who were nearest to him that he was about to make some use of the water, which was in the vessel on a table in front of him, they shrunk back upon the people behind them, and in a moment there was a panic. Some, not knowing exactly how the water would be used, and fearing that a drop or two might by chance fall on them, so as to make them Christians without their consent, rushed to the door; others, in ignorance, followed; and as all tried to get out of the chapel at once, the doorway was soon blocked up. Then a few men scrambled out at the windows; and in the scuffle two or three children were knocked down, but no one was seriously hurt. The confusion and noise put a stop to the sacred service for several minutes. But when all the congregation had gone out except Daniel and his four sons, Mr Male proceeded with the service without further interruption. The people who had escaped out of the chapel remained near to it in the street until the service was over. A few peeped in at the open door and windows to gratify their curiosity. The father was named Daniel, and his four sons were named respectively John, Peter, Timothy, Samuel. There were some hindrances in the way of Daniel's wife being baptised with her husband and children; but as Mr Male happened to be passing through Goobbe six months afterwards, he baptised her then, giving her the name of Sarah, as previously fixed upon. After the baptism of Daniel and Sarah they continued to live in the village of Singonahully, without any serious persecution from their heathen neighbours. This may, perhaps, be accounted for on the ground that the villagers having no love for idolatry, generally approved of Daniel's conduct in embracing Christianity.

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