Some Indian Saints
THERE was one -- he has joined the company of Indian saints in glory now -- the poet of the Mission, and our friend, -- one so true in all his ways that a Hindu lad observing him with critical schoolboy eyes, saw in him, as in a mirror, something of the holiness of God, and, won by that look, became a Christian and a winner of souls. Some of the noblest converts of our Mission are the direct result of that Tamil poet's life. There is another; he is old, and all through his many years he has been known as the one-word man, the man of changeless truth. He is a village pastor, whom all the people love. Go into his cottage any time, any day, and you will find one and another with him, and you will see the old man, with his loving face and almost quite blind eyes, bending patiently to catch every word of the story they are telling, and then you will hear him advising and comforting, as a father would his child. For miles round that countryside the people know him, and he is honoured by Hindus and by Christians as India honours saints.
I remember once seeing the poet and the pastor together. They belonged to widely different castes, but that was forgotten now. The two old white heads were bent over the same letter -- a letter telling of the defection of a young convert each had loved as a son, and they were weeping over him. It was the ancient East living its life before us: |O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom my son, my son!| But what made it a thing to remember in this land of Caste divisions, even among Christians, was the overflowing of the love that made those two men one.
There are others. Money, the place it holds in a man's affections, is supposed to be a fair test of character. We could tell of a lawyer who is losing money to-day rather than touch unrighteous gains; of a doctor who gives to his church till he feels, and travels any distance to help the poor who cannot pay; of a peasant who risks a certain amount of injury to his palms rather than climb them on Sunday; and in many an old-world town and village, dotted about on the wide red plain, we have simple, humble, holy people, of whom the world knows nothing -- pastors in lonely out-stations, teachers, and workers, and just ordinary Christians -- who do the day's work, and shine as they do it. We think of such men and women when we hear the critic's cry, and we wish he could know them as they are.
It is these men and women who ask us to tell it out clearly how sorely our Indian Church needs your prayers. They have no desire to hide things. They speak straighter than we do, and far more strongly, and they believe, as we do, that if you know more you will pray more.
LONDON: MORGAN AND SCOTT
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Obvious punctuation errors repaired.
Page 146 was missing in the 1905 edition. The text was replaced from the 1903 edition.