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SermonIndex.net : Christian Books : CHAPTER NINETEEN. DANIEL AND THE VILLAGE PRIEST.

Old Daniel by Thomas Hodson

CHAPTER NINETEEN. DANIEL AND THE VILLAGE PRIEST.

After his baptism Daniel was very consistent in his conduct as a Christian, and in a quiet way attempted to promote the spiritual well-being of his neighbours. He was well qualified by his knowledge of the Scriptures to set forth the truth as it is in Jesus; and was |ready always to give an answer to every man that asked him a reason of the hope that was in him with meekness and fear;| and his word was often accompanied with divine power. He had long disputations with the village priest, (a nephew of the man who was priest when the idol was thrown out of the temple). His case is a very interesting one. He was a sincere enquirer, and became a regular attendant at Daniel's family prayer. He said one day to the Missionary, |Although I have walked daily several miles to gather flowers, after bathing and putting on my temple garments; although I have gone into the temple and made offerings to the idol; although I have done all this in sincerity to the present time -- this idol, neither in my dreams nor when awake, has ever said, `Thy sins are forgiven thee.' Although from fear lest the idol should destroy me, I have fasted and prayed, it never said to me, `Thou shalt escape hell and enjoy heaven.' Therefore the idol is a lie, and I forsake it. I embrace Jesus Christ as my Saviour and my God.| Mr Walker gives the following account of him: -- |A few days ago, just as I was leaving the village of Singonahully, after preaching, I saw the poojari with his guitar in his hand, going off to another village to beg his bread for the day. I stopped him, and we entered into conversation on the sin of idol-worship. I told him that in order to obtain salvation it was absolutely necessary for him to abandon his idols and embrace Christ as his only and present Saviour. He tried to appear unconcerned, and said, `It is getting late; I must go for alms,' and left me. In a few days he came to the Goobbe Chapel, and after the sermon I spoke pointedly to him, asking him, in the presence of the whole congregation, if he was desirous of obtaining salvation. He said, `I am.' I asked if his idols could save him. He answered, `No.' I then said, `If you will, with all your heart, believe in Christ and become His disciple, He will save you.' Throughout this conversation all the people looked at him in amazement. After a few days I went again to Singonahully, and saw the poojari in company with Daniel. I preached to a small congregation from a part of the eighth Chapter of Saint Matthew's Gospel; and in my sermon I proved the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ from the miraculous cure he wrought upon the leper. I showed to them the leprosy of sin; and after dwelling upon the awful consequences of sin, I exhorted the people to seek for the healing of their spiritual maladies by faith in Jesus Christ. This done, the poojari and Daniel accompanied me to my house. At Daniel's request I read the parable of the Pharisee and Publican, and commented on it. The next morning the poojari came to my house again, and said he wished to be baptised. I exhorted him to stand steadfast, by faith in Christ, and then prayed with him. He appeared to be deeply affected. He came with Daniel to our next Class-meeting, and joined heartily in our devotions. In a day or two he came to my house again, and gave me the idol which he and his family had worshipped for many years.| He then went home, and told his wife what he had done with the idol, and that he had made up his mind to become a Christian. His wife on hearing this began to beat her breast and cry bitterly. She threatened to go to the mission-house, pull out her tongue and die there. The heathen people in Singonahully, hearing that the priest had given Mr Walker the idol which he and his family had worshipped, became alarmed, and secured the keys of a temple inside the village, where the priest officiated daily, lest the idol in it should also be taken and given to the Missionary. After a few days the priest's wife ceased her opposition, and began herself to converse with Daniel's wife and others about the truths of Christianity. The villagers annoyed the priest in every possible way. As he could not remain peaceably in his own house, he left the village, and the Missionary gave him a room on the mission premises. Sunday, December 20th, 1846, was the day fixed on for the baptism. The place was the chapel in which Daniel had been baptised about three years previously. The congregation was unusually large, and a solemn awe rested upon the people. The interest increased as the service proceeded. Vysha Runga was the priest's heathen name. After he had answered all the questions proposed to him in the presence of the congregation, he was baptised in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and was henceforth known by the name of Abraham. On the same day he voluntarily took food with the other Christians, as a public announcement that he had broken his caste. The Missionaries considered that Daniel was the chief instrument, in the hands of God, of this man's conversion.

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