Robert Clark Biography
|Robert Clark, centre right, white beard. Enlarge to to see other missionaries names
ROBERT CLARK OF THE PANJAB (pub. 1907)
ANCESTRY AND BOYHOOD.
In the year 1821 the Reverend Henry Clark, M.A., the father of the subject of this memoir, was preferred to the benefice of the village of Harmston, in the hundreds of Kesteven and the county of Lincoln. His armorial bearings show that he was of gentle birth, of a good South Country stock, his immediate progenitors having migrated northwards from Devonshire. Hamlet Clark, his grandfather, had settled in Leicester. The Poll Book of that city shows that he was of St. Nicholas Street, in the parish of St. Nicholas, and was living in 1768. He married Elizabeth Smith, of the parish of
St. Andrews, Holborn, in 1735, and they had a family of three sons and seven daughters. The second son, Henry, by his marriage with Martha Johnson, on 4th April 1783, became the father of the future vicar of Harmston in 1791, and of a daughter, Martha. Shortly after his settlement in Harmston, on 30th May 1828, the Rev. Henry Clark married Mary, daughter of Robert Blackwall. The ancient family of Blackwall of Blackwall, in the Peak, was well known in the reign of Henry III. Sir Thomas Blackwall, the head of the family in the days of the Civil War, was a zealous Royalist. He spared neither blood nor treasure in the Royal cause, and so impoverished himself that he died in reduced circumstances after the Restoration, unrequited by Charles 11. In 1634 the family pedigree is signed as head by Gervaise Blackwall, " Citizen Skinner " of London. The Rev. Anthony Blackwall, M.A., born in1674, attained distinction as a critic, lecturer, and educationalist. He was rector of Clapham from 1726 to 1729.
Another member of the family entered the Church, in the person of WUliam, born 1675, third son of Robert Blackwall. At the date of his death, in 1731, he was rector of " Blower," the modern Blore, famous in the Wars of the Roses. His only son, Thomas, followed in his father's steps, and became rector of Mayginton. By his marriage with Sarah Miller he had a daughter and two sons, one son being Robert Blackwall, the father of Mary, who became the wife of the Rev. Henry Clark, as already stated.
Residence in Harmston must be conducive to longevity, for there are yet those living who remember the far-oflf days when the nineteenth century was young, and can give us the charm of personal touch with Mr.and Mrs. Henry Clark. In the pages immediately following, the writer is able to draw largely upon the authentic recollections of these ancient parishioners.
The new rector was a man of gifts, refinement,and sterling common sense. Strong in purpose and of transparent sincerity, he was full of the kindness and tact that spring from a sympathetic heart, and the Welfare of his people commanded his labours by day and his thoughts by night. He is described as a splendid preacher, evangelical in his teaching, and a faithful pastor. Given these qualifications, it is small wonder that he speedily won the reverence and affection of his people, and became a veritable father to them. Indeed, the aged still speak of his prayers and exhortations, and remember the celebrations of the Lord's Supper on Wednesday nights, initiated for the benefit of labourers, shepherds, and neat-herds who were unable to attend on Sundays.
Mrs. Clark proved herself a fit helpmeet, alike in work and home. She was a woman of rare powers, sweet and gentle, abounding in labours and ministrations, and practical withal in everything she did : she even kept a medicine chest for the benefit of the poor — we are speaking of days long gone by. By word or look or by something less tangible, she helped and brightened wherever she went. An aged woman well remembers Mrs. Clark's farewell visit to her dying
mother, who had served her faithfully many years. " Good-bye," Mrs. Clark said to her old servant, — " good-bye. I can tell you nothing more than you know, and you will soon know more than I do."
As must ever be the case where religion is vital, the energies of the pastor and people speedily overflowed the bounds of their parish. The cause of Christ in the world lay near to their hearts : Harmston subscribed very liberally to the Bible Society, as well as to Missions abroad, and the interest shown was systematic and general. In this connection, we get a glimpse into Mrs. Clark's character from an anecdote related by an old parishioner. A certain Mrs. Hutchison was only able to give one farthing a week for the missionary cause ; yet, fair weather or foul, Mrs. Clark made it a point to call personally for the monthly penny. Robert Clark, born on the 4th of July 1825, was the third son in a family of five sons and three daughters who in the course of years sprang up around Mr. and Mrs. Clark.
Broad Lincolnshire can show no prettier village than Harmston. Even to-day the deep peace of rural England reigns there unbroken. The health and beauty which surrounded him left their mark on Robert Clark. The home itself was refined and beautiful. The parents showed no partiality, and the children were plainly and carefully brought up in an atmosphere of order and love. Obedience, courtesy, self-denial, punctuality, and neatness came to them almost by instinct. Needless to say, their deepest interests were ceaselessly cared for, and in the peaceful quiet of this ideal home the sterling virtues which form good character and make true men and women were sown upon good ground. While the parents were treated with reverence, they were still the friends and companions of their children ; and the children among themselves were the most united of brothers and sisters.
The Rectory had been built on Mr. Clark's arrival by the united efforts of a man from Lincoln, who was responsible for the front, and a certain Conyers of Doddington, still living, who built the back! Two large rooms, the blue and the green, were set apart for the use of the boys and the girls respectively. The cook, a maid, and table-servant, with a woman to char and wash, and a gardener-groom, formed the establishment. As was then almost invariably the custom among families of standing, the rector kept his own cows and sheep, and also a pig. The food was abundant, simple, wholesome, and nourishing. Meat was sparingly used, but milk, bread and butter, farm, field and garden produce, all the best of their kind, formed the diet on which the children throve. Breakfast was served at eight, to admit of school at nine. A middleday lunch was followed by dinner at five. The
napery, even' in the kitchen, was always snowy white, and the tin and pewter used by the servants in lieu of crockery were ever bright and clean. The butter, as an old servant notes, was made up in " Devon fashion." Wheaten bread was seldom used; a little appeared on the table for the parents and guests, but bread made of rye was the staple on ordinary occasions.
Robert Clark, in common with the other children, enjoyed splendid health. He had but one serious illness, and that in infancy. He was always considered the clever one of the family, but was for all that very fond of games. Then, as now, there were toys, swings and tops, hoops and trap, bat and ball, cricket of course, " kibbles " (marbles), and " ball play." This last is now unheard of The name is not particularly descriptive, for no ball entered into the play. It appears to have been a sort of assault or tilt at a knot in a suspended rope.
Later on, these amusements were replaced by the sports and relaxations of a country life. Robert was a good shot. There was much friendly intercourse between the Rectory and Harmston Hall, the residence of the Thorolds, lords of the manor. The Brant and the Witham, in the valley at the foot of the lofty Cliff Ridge on which Harmston is built, were open to him, and in bathing and fishing he spent many a happy day. He is remembered as a cheery lad full of life and fun, kindly in word and deed, remarkable for his great politeness to ladies, his good manners, his love of flowers and animals, his courtesy to his mother and sisters. Other recollections of the aged village folk are worth noting for the insight they give into the nature of the lad. There was one Jamie Gray of Thorpe, a turner of clothes-pegs, and " Master Robert liked to help him " in his toil. The village shoemaker, then but a journeyman, made a pair of boots for Robert, and " they fitted him fine." Though now eighty-two years of age, he still rejoices in the thrill of mingled pride and pleasure he felt when Master Robert was " that pleased, he told me I was fit to be a shoemaker in Northampton." "Ay," he adds, "good young fellers were they Clark lads." Robert had a keen sense of humour, but his fun was ever kindly, and sometimes had a purpose in it. A certain farmer had a woefully neglected ass, and one fine day Robert spent some hours in washing, grooming, and adorning the animal. Saddling her, he rode down to the farm to call on the owner. The farmer was loud in his admiration of the beautiful beast, and repeatedly congratulated Robert on his new mount. We can imagine his feelings when he was eventually introduced to his own donkey and left to his reflections. Robert first attended a school conducted by a Mr. Hall in the neighbouring village of Waddington. The sisters went to a boarding-school in Lincoln, and there after to one in London. Later, the brothers were sent, possibly to Boston, but certainly to the Grammar Scbool at Lincoln. The distance from Harmston to Lincoln was six miles, and the lads boarded in the city.The girls were taken home on Fridays by Jacob Gell, the man-servant ; the boys followed on the Saturday in time for the five-o'clock dinner, and these weekly reunions did much to foster the influence of the family life. The Harmston school feasts were famous throughout the district, and missionary meetings were important occasions at the Rectory. Such gatherings, whether in the vicinity or the parish, commanded the heartiest support and service of Mr. and Mrs. Clark, and it need scarce be said they strove to enlist the interest of their children. On one occasion as they were driving home from a Church Missionary Society's meeting in Lincoln, Robert, still a boy, was seated behind his parents. Overhearing Mr. Clark say to his wife, " We would give all our boys for the cause if they were willing," he interjected, " You will not be called upon to make the sacrifice in my case, for that will never be me. I won't be a parson, much less a missionary." When the time to choose a profession arrived, Robert Clark elected to enter upon a commercial life.
"ROBERT CLARK'S parents may have felt disappointment at their son's choice, but, with the practical common sense which guided them throughout life, they set to work to give effect to his decision. He had resolved to enter commercial life, and they would see that he did so fully equipped. They judged it expedient that he should be sent to Germany to learn the language and acquire a sound commercial training. Their eldest son, Henry, had also chosen commerce for his future career. Mr. Clark selected a suitable school, and, although Continental travelling was then beset with many difficulties which do not exist nowadays, Mr. and Mrs. Clark went themselves to Germany, and, having fully satisfied themselves, settled the brothers at Boningheim, near Heilbronn, in Wurtemburg.
The school was Protestant and evangelical in character. The pupils were drawn from Germany, Switzerland, and France, many pastors' sons among their number. With one such, afterwards the well-known Pastor Appia of Paris, Robert formed a lifelong friendship.
There were no visits home during the days of training in Germany. This was due in part to the difficulties in travelling, but mainly to the fact that the parents wished their sons to be in no way unsettled, so that they might profit to the full by the land to which they had gone. At the conclusion of his training in Germany, Robert returned home to Harmston, and some months went by while his parents were considering how they could give him the best start in commercial life.
In 1842 we find him entered in the house of Messrs. Jones & Hodgson, merchants, of Exchange Buildings, Liverpool, and living with the vicar of one of the city churches, Mr. Carpenter, father of the present Bishop of Ripon. He devoted his whole energies to the requirements of his new life, and at the end of three years his future was bright with the promise of a prosperous career. But the years had been fruitful in other ways than that of business. At some unknown
point he had faced the one tremendous question of life : God had become to him a God for all days and every day, and the Divine Will the law for all things and everything. Whether the great change came suddenly as in a lightning flash, or gradually as when in the dawn light displaces darkness, we cannot tell.
In after life Mr. Clark never spoke of these secrets of his soul. The ministrations of his parents, helpful companionships, and the forces steadily at work in his happy, godly home, had all had their share in shaping his inner life ; and in the whirl of the great city and the turmoil of business life these sacred influences were conserved and deepened in the home of which he was a member. In particular, he was greatly influenced by Mrs. Carpenter, a saintly woman, full of zeal and
fervour, who had a deep love for Missions. In all probability, some apparently chance spark fired a mine that had been carefully laid during many years. The how, and when, and where of Robert Clark's definite surrender to God we know not, but it was made about this time.
Robert reviewed his life and prospects in the new light which had come to him, and began seriously to think that the Christian ministry rather than a commercial life was the sphere in which he could best serve God. He paid a visit to his home, to talk the matter over with his parents ; but the serious nature of the change involved pressed so heavily upon him that he said nothing of what was in his heart on this occasion.
Eventually, he wrote from Liverpool, on 20th November 1844, to tell his parents what was passing in his mind, and proposed to come home to discuss the matter. His father replied, on the 22nd of that month : ―
" I have written to Mr. W. Jones [Robert's principal], and I expect that he will speak to you, and that you will know his sentiments before I shall have his answer. I thought it best to tell him all about it. Your visit to Harmston is quite a secondary and minor consideration. We shall be glad to see you here any time, and we should prefer talking this matter over ― but we can transact the business by letter. We will not be hasty in the matter, for it requires serious and long deliberation. Tell us all your mind and feelings and reasons, and we will always exercise our best judgment for your welfare. With respect to expenses and money, that shall not be an impediment in the way : we do not wish for and we cannot afford needless expenditure of time or cash, and we do not like being ' given to change.'Still, the Christian ministry is so high and superior an employment, that we cannot even now say No ― if, after due thought and prayer, there should seem to be a way out for you, into the Church. We hardly expect you here next week, but if you should come, you can borrow money off Mr. Carpenter, if need be. We were not fully aware of the extent of your trouble in your face, and in your mind ; and we feel much for you. Always be open to us and make us your friends ― tell Henry I will write to him in a day or two. Mr. La Tour has a List of Books for your reading. ... If your future destination is to be changed, we must make that our main study, and we will turn it well over in our minds.
God bless you, dear Robert, and believe me,
Ever your affectionate father, H. Clark."
On the same date his mother wrote : ― " My dear Robert, I have felt very thankful since we received your letter yesterday. I hope the Lord has put it into your heart to choose (tho' late) the most noble service ― but you must count the cost. It is no light matter to be servant to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Read carefully and prayerfully Hebrews xi. 25, 26.
You are in the way of earning money where you are ― now that must be given up. You seem aware that we did what we believed to be hest for you when we took you to Germany and then 'placed you with Mr. Jones. We did not consider our own trouble or expense, but your good. If you had made up your mind at once to enter the Church it would have been less expense and less trouble. But I see the Hand of God in it. You were heedless and thoughtless about your own soul, and therefore a very unfit person to be a teacher for the souls of others. Now it seems to me the Lord has seen in mercy to open your heart to attend to the concerns of your own soul, and therefore I hope He will fit and prepare you to attend to and teach the souls of dying sinners. It is no light matter. 'If any man lack wisdom, let him ask' (James i. 5, 6). We have kept praying for you ever since you were born, particularly in that sad sickness. I remember it seemed to comfort you when I walked up and down that nursery floor carrying you in my arms ― and praying for you, that sooner or later He would take you to Himself, [that] living or dying you might be the Lord's child to serve and glorify Him, either in this world or the next, just according to His Will. You are now a man and quite unconscious of what then passed. May the Lord be with you, and bless you in every step, and make you a blessing in every place where He may please to place you, is the prayer of your own dear mother, Mary Clark."
The whole matter was considered with characteristic thoroughness. In the end, the parents were convinced of the reality of the call which had come to their son. The Liverpool life ended with the approval of those with whom he had been connected, and Robert left, the richer by business training and the formation of lasting friendships. From Liverpool, Robert returned to Harmston. It was arranged that he should go to the University of Cambridge. His earlier education had been moulded for commercial life. During the further years in Liverpool the non-commercial branches of knowledge had lain fallow, A good deal of preparatory study had therefore to be done before he joined the University, and to this he addressed himself with steadfast heart and sound common sense. The preliminary reading was done in part at home and in part with a tutor at Yaxholm, He writes from the latter place to his brother Henry on the 12th April 1845 ; ―
" I am getting on here pretty well, I hope, on the whole. We have plenty to do ― I have one great advantage in having nothing else to do but read, ― although I should not be sorry to have somebody to take a walk with now and then. I am now giving the best part of my time to mathematics, but of course not to the exclusion of classics. We have come to this conclusion for these reasons ― That it will be easier for me, as I am situated, to take a mathematical rather than a classical degree ; because no person can go out in classical honours without knowing a good deal of mathematics, i.e. sufficient to take a Jun. Opt. degree ; whereas, for the other, there is hardly anything but mathematics, and as it is too late for me to do well in both we have chosen the latter as the easier to get on in ― more especially since Mr. J himself is much better able to get me on in that than in classics. For my own choice I think I would have preferred classics, but since the other seems to be the best, I must try to get on in it as I can."
We have a glimpse of him in those preparatory days from the memory of one still living. She says : "My days at old Harmston were very red letter ones, all were so kind and friendly. Robert Clark was my ideal in early days ― so utterly unselfish. He was in the way to be a rich merchant when his mind changed, and he was whole-hearted for spiritual work. When I first knew him he was reading hard for college, but in the two hours' leisure which he allowed himself, his first question was, ' Now, girls, what can I do for you ? Shall I read aloud, or shall we go for a walk ? ' I well remember one walk. We were half way along the top of a very long field, when we discovered a bull among the cows; he had already caught sight of us, and was coming full tilt up the field. Robert said, ' Run for your lives, girls,' took off" his straw hat and held it in his teeth while he came backwards after us, facing the bull. We had just got over the stile into safety when he vaulted over it, as the bull came up," In due course the preliminary work came to an end, and in October of 1847 Mr. Clark entered Trinity College, Cambridge,
All through college life home and friends were cherished. We may quote from a letter to his brother Henry. " I write to wish you many happy returns of your birthday, but more especially to congratulate you on coming of age. What your presents on the occasion are to be, I cannot inform you (not being myself in the secret), further than that I believe that Hamlet's and mine is to be a gold chain, which I hope you will like. I suppose it is not bought yet, but that it, with your other presents, will be presented to you on Mama's birthday, as Hamlet's were to him, and that your birthday will then be more especially kept when we are all together at home.
" Are you still in your Orange Lodge, or have you left it, and how do you get on with the Debating Society ? How does F. Grove get on with his Musical Society ? What instrument does he perform upon ? Has F. given you my Hind's Arithmetic ― if he has not, I hope you will manage to get it from him in some way ― it is quite too bad of him. I don't care half so much about the book itself as about his humbug ― if you do write to him, tell him I told you that I have repeatedly wanted it. He is a capital book-keeper, in every sense of the word. How's Massie Something & Co. getting on ? What is Brown doing ? has he set up yet ? Please remember me to them all.
Robert threw himself whole-heartedly into under- graduate life ; his best energies were devoted to the work in hand ; but though he was a diligent student he found time for the purpose of life which had brought him to the University. The end was not lost sight of in the absorbing claims of the means. Soon he became a teacher in Jesus Lane Sunday School. He consorted with men like-minded with himself. His rooms in Trinity were a centre of hearty spiritual life. He became a leader in a Bible Class for undergraduates. His labours widened and his influence deepened as the University curriculum went on.
During student-days he was a steady reader, and, as all good readers are, with pencil in hand and note- book within reach. The journals of that period contain comments, reflections, and jottings for future work, of which the following may serve as a sample : ― Justified ―
Freely by Grace, Bom. iii. 24.
Meritoriously by Christ, Rom. v. 19.
Testamentally by Faith, Rom. v. 1.
Evidentially by good works, James ii. 18.
We must not ask " What thinkest Thou 1 "―but " How readest Thou ? "
As a student Mr. Clark neither sought nor expected academical honours. His rule was ― " Work cheerfully, not tearfully. Though wearily you plod ; Work carefully, work prayerfully. And leave the rest to God."In that spirit he conscientiously, to the best that lay in him, did the day's labour, "ye nexte thynge."
Undergraduate days came to an end with success and high distinction in 1850. In that year he took his B. A. degree, and his name stood as that of 28th Wrangler in the honours lists.
His degree obtained, Robert Clark stood once more at the parting of the ways, face to face with a momentous question on which depended far-reaching issues. The young graduate had now to decide the sphere of his future service. He was consecrated to live for God in the work of the Christian ministry, but where could he spend life to the greatest advantage for Christ ?
A college tutorship in his own University ― a position alike honourable and lucrative ― awaited him. It would have been the first step in a prosperous academic career, and one rich in opportunities for good work amongst some of the brightest minds that, in coming days, were to mould their generation. The curacy of All Saints', Derby, was also offered him, and this opened up the prospect of the direct work of a beneficed clergyman in all its multifarious prospects and possibilities. But the overwhelming need of the heathen world was insistent in its claims upon his heart. We have noted the deep interest in Missions which obtained in Harmston, and in the home and heart of its vicar. Robert Clark was reared in a missionary atmosphere, but the first deep personal interest came to him while in Liverpool, through Mrs. Carpenter, and the flame then lighted by that missionary-hearted woman burned brightly during his college days. Besides, Cambridge was astir on the subject of Foreign Missions. A remarkable movement was going on. This had for its centre the saintly Nicholson, Fellow and Tutor of Emmanuel, Honorary Secretary of the Church Missionary Society at Cambridge University, and a man abundant in enterprise and labours. Under- graduates interested in the evangelisation of the non- Christian world rallied round him. His teaching, example, and sympathy fostered and furthered the love of the cause, and this resulted in the noble array of missionaries which went from Cambridge to fight the battles of the Cross. The names of many of them are to-day household words in missionary history. Bishops Speechley, Eoyston, and Moule ; Brocklesby-Davis, the brothers Fenn, Clement Cobb, and John Barton, were among the band. Mr. Nicholson's activities were shared, among others, by Eagland of Madras, and Cell, for several decades Bishop of the same diocese. Robert Clark was one of the inner circle, and formed lifelong friendships with many of the future missionary veterans. With some of them he was to be intimately associated in work at a later day.
In this crisis of his life, Robert Clark consulted with no one. After a time of silent dispassionate thought, he made his decision. Mrs. Carpenter had planted, Mr. Nicholson had watered, and now he heard the clear call of God to the work abroad. No claims, to his mind, were as urgent as those of the Mission Field : the work of his life should be there, if God so willed.
He notes in his journal : ―" I am now twenty-five, and it is high time I was doing something. I have given this place, Cambridge, a good trial, and I am thoroughly dissatisfied with it. My positive reasons are simply that there is a difficulty in getting men to go. I have no reason against going, therefore I ought to go. I have not a shadow of regret at leaving home ; if a branch is cut from a tree, the other branches will spread and fill up the gap. ' The Lord hath need of thee ' is a sufficient answer. I am free, and can go cheerfully. I am full of thanks to Him who gives me the good will and the strength to carry out my purpose."
Mr. Clark told his parents of his wishes on April 12th, 1850, and left the final decision in their hands. The news was as if a sword had pierced their hearts. Heathen lands in those days were very far away, the facilities for travel and communication, which have now caused such a shrinkage of the globe, did not then exist. After the first shock, they rose true-heartedly to the measure of their privilege and duty. They gave their assent, and communicated the news to their children, while Robert put himself in communication with the Church Missionary Society, ― but the story is best told in their own words.
On April the 26th, 1850, Mrs. Clark wrote to Henry at Liverpool : ― " Now I have something of consequence to tell you, and first I must beg you to pray most earnestly to our God to give us all Wisdom from above that we may be guided so as to do the thing that pleaseth Him. You will wonder what I am alluding to. Well, I will tell you. On the 12th, Robert went to Cambridge, and when he was gone, on the study table your dear Father found a letter marked ' Private ' outside. Copy : ' I may as well tell you at once why I want two or three days to consider as to the Derby curacy. I have been thinking for some time about the relative want of clergymen abroad and at home, and when I stopped up at Cambridge the week before yesterday, I came to the determination to ask you to let me go abroad, and that for several reasons too long to mention here. Now, Mr. Eagland of Madras is in want of a curate. Will you let me go out to him, under the auspices of the Church Missionary Society, or elsewhere, should it seem desirable? If you will let me, I shall send you my reasons and future plans in my next letter ; but if you make objections, I will accept the All Saints' curacy at once. I shall be guided entirely by you. I have never mentioned this to anybody as yet, and if you wish me to stay in England I should like to say nothing at all about it ; and even if I do go abroad, I don't want to make any bother or talk about it, but merely to go there, as I should to any other curacy.' This news came upon us with a blow such as I can hardly describe. It seemed as if I were at that time following him to the grave. We have always wished to love our children with the same love ― just alike to all ― and when we first went to Liverpool to seek for a place for you, they asked us whether we wished you to go to China or elsewhere ? We rejected the idea with abhorrence, how could we part with you in that way? But that was for a worldly purpose, and I feel as if I could not give my consent to part with a child into those distant parts, for any worldly motive. This, however, seems a different case, and I hope that God will make us willing to part with him in the day of His power, if it be His will to make use of Robert. The thing is quite decided in Robert's mind, and acquiesced in by us, his parents. Therefore we need not trouble him about reasons to the contrary. He does not wish it to be made matter of public talk, but would rather, he says, go to his Mission Station quietly, as he would go to any curacy in England. It is not now known to any- one (I mean on April 26), except to your Father, Mother, and Aunt Elizabeth, Mr. Tucker, and Mr. Venn ; and, to save Robert the trouble, we inform you, for he is very much engaged with this and college matters. You may answer this letter to him if you like. " May 1. ― We have been waiting for wise reasons to send this. You must keep praying with us that we may all be guided rightly, and that all things may work together for good. Pray for your Father and for your own dear Mother."
On the same day the Rev. Henry Clark wrote : ― " The matter spoken of in Mama's note is not yet public, but the whisper may escape from the Church Mission House, where Robert has been (though Mr. Tucker, etc., are requested to keep silence) ; and I cannot bear the thought that it should reach the ears of my children through any other medium than a letter from home. There can be no doubt of the Society's willing- ness to accept your brother's services, but as no arrangements are or can be made for the present, may I beg you to mention it to no one, not even to John, to whom I will write in a day or two. Hamlet and Elizabeth will be informed by to-day's post. You will hear more particularly. I can only add that Robert's resolution is fixed and that we approve, both Mama and I, though at a great cost of feeling. Robert heard the Lord Bishop's sermon, breakfasted with the clergy on the Tuesday at the Church Missionary anniversary, and was at the meeting, on the platform. He returns to college this evening, after visiting Harrow." On the 9th of May, Mr. Clark again writes to his son Henry : ― " I have no fresh news about Robert ; it is now thought that he cannot leave England before the summer of 1851, and therefore we are about to inquire after a curacy for him, and would like London or a large town, and I agree with you it is a noble undertaking. Hamlet admires your brother's devotedness, but prefers the Colonies to any heathen lands, and the Propagation of the Gospel Society to the Church Missionary, and above all he likes his own Pastoral Aid Society, and says that his own countrymen at home are worse than the heathens, and stand in need of the Gospel to guide them right. Robert's mind is decided, and I do not think that he would flinch from his good purpose ― if he has health ; he only regrets that he cannot immediately go forth to his missionary work."
Robert's resolve commended itself to the other members of his family, and he was strengthened by their satisfaction. He writes to his brother Henry on the 9th of May, from Trinity College : ― " ... It gives me no little satisfaction, I assure you, to find that all our family, at least the grown-up portion of it (with perhaps the single exception of Hamlet), are unanimous in their approval of my going abroad. In fact, most of them seem to consider it a subject of congratulation than otherwise. I little thought, when I settled down in Jones's office in Liverpool a few years ago, that I would so soon leave it for Cambridge, and then go abroad as a missionary. But, however, we are led on step by step, often without knowing where we are going to or what may be the consequence of any single step we may take ; but if we are sure that the step is a right one, we need not have any apprehensions about the consequences. I have not yet heard from John ; what is his opinion about it ? I do not know when or where I am going. Indeed, it is not impossible that I may take a curacy in England for a year. However, if we should probably not meet all together many times more, I think we ought to make the attempt to do so this year."
The days that followed the offer of service to the Church Missionary Society were busy ones for Robert Clark. There were interviews with the Secretaries of the Society and the appointed members of the Committee, and with the medical advisers, and meetings and discussions to attend on the subject of his offer.
Mrs. Clark wrote : " In every step Robert has consulted his father." It was not till the 30th of May that Mr. Clark was able to tell his son Henry : " Robert is accepted by the Church Missionary Society. Place and time not settled. If India, not this year. The Committee wish him ordained on their title at Christmas. I prefer his taking orders on an English title and curacy, if only for a short period. . . . Some will praise and some will blame your brother, we shall feel the parting stroke. It is easy to give ￡1 or ￡10, but not to offer a child. It is separating a limb from the body, a parting for life. Robert has gone through pretty close cross- questioning, and has done it, as you say, nobly. He has gained some friends. . . ."
The title for ordination offered by the Society would have given what are known as Colonial orders, which, while sufficient for work abroad, do not permit of the exercise of the ministerial office in the Homeland, without special sanction. Mr. Clark preferred " English orders " for his son. These carry no limitation at home or abroad, and so it was ultimately arranged. He was ordained Deacon, in 1850, by Dr. Wordsworth, Bishop of Lincoln, in that Cathedral on a title to the curacy of Harmston, and the year which he spent as his father's curate was one of much happiness as well as profit.
Harmston Church to-day is one of the most handsome and well kept in the county. The nave and aisles have been rebuilt since the days under review. The venerable Saxon spire remains unchanged. In 1850 it was flat-roofed and high-pewed. The blue-lined pew of the Hall magnates was on one side ; the Rectory pew, amongst the earliest of Robert's memories, was on the other. Now he ministered in the church of his baptism and confirmation, and amongst his own people. The position was obviously beset with many difficulties, but tact and grace made him first acceptable, then beloved, during his short yet fruitful service in his native village. Former parishioners remember the faithfulness of Robert Clark's ministry, and the kindliness and sympathy which characterised it. An aged man has not forgotten his courage in reproving a group of men under particularly difficult circumstances. " Master Robert," he says, " was ever one to speak straight if he saw anything as shouldn't be. He went straight up to them and spoke straight too, and they didn't forget it either."
Another grey-haired man, then a chubby scholar, recalls one Sunday afternoon when, instead of being in the Sunday school, he, with several friends like-minded, was indulging in youthful pranks in the church porch. Mr. Clark surprised them, and " Boys," said he, among other things, pointing each word with his finger, " always remember, ' Thou God seest me.' " A small incident, perhaps,* but not forgotten to this day, such is the power of a word !
" Remember Master Robert ? Ay do I," exclaimed a man in his eighties. " Why, he married me to her, come fifty year." " Her," still buxom and hearty, was busy about her home, despite the weight of years, and both agreed that he was " good."
In another way Robert left a permanent mark of his year of service : he set to work, collected funds, and built the schools of which the village is still justly proud. During the year, the preparations for the new life occupied the household. While some things were purchased, many were made at home. For one thing, " Home made is heart made ; " for another, outfitters did not exist then to the extent they now do. An old sewing maidservant, still living, describes the making of the bed and table linen, the towels, the fine linen shirts, pleated as was the fashion of the day, with loose wrists and narrow neck-bands, the collars, the ties, and the other articles of personal use. Her memory has retained with curious tenacity the three pairs of shoes, the two changes of nightcaps and of slippers, and the six pairs of knitted white woollen gloves which formed part of the outfit.
In 1851, Robert Clark was ordained Priest by Dr. Wordsworth in Lincoln Cathedral, and was now ready for work abroad. The Church Missionary Society first proposed to send him to Africa, afterwards it was decided that he should join his Cambridge friend Ragland at Tinnevelly, at Ragland's request. Ultimately, however, his destination was changed from the extreme south to the far north of India. The Panjab had been newly conquered, and while the smoke and dust of hard- fought battles still hung over the land the call came to carry the Gospel to its warrior races. Robert Clark, the Rev. Thomas Henry Fitzpatrick, M.A., T.C.D., late curate of Bishop Ryder's Church, Birmingham, together with Mrs. Fitzpatrick, were appointed the first missionaries to that great land.
The Valedictory Meeting for the out-going missionaries was held in London on the 20th June 1851, at the National School Rooms in Liverpool Road.
Instructions were delivered to the missionaries by the Honorary Secretary, the Rev. Henry Venn, and after acknowledgment by each, the band generally was addressed by the Rev. W. W. Champneys, rector of St. Mary's, Whitechapel. The Panjab party were addressed more especially by Pfander, that great missionary to the Moslem world. The Rev. W. Jowett commended the party in prayer, and so the meeting closed. The bustle of departure was now in the air. Mr. and Mrs. Fitzpatrick sailed on 1st July. Before doing so, they visited Robert Clark's home, and took part in very interesting farewell meetings in Lincoln and Harmston.
The last day came, and the mother's grief was sore. It is told as an unprecedented thing that for a whole week she did not go down to the village. Robert Clark's departure from home evoked a great demonstration, still vivid in some memories. They recall how Jacob Gell took the huge packing-case for India to Lincoln in a big cart. The day before Robert left Harmston there was a special farewell service in church ; next day was observed as a general holiday ; the whole village went along the Ramper Eoad to Lincoln, to speed " Master Robert " on the first stage of his long journey ; nobody stayed at home. Amidst cheering and tears, great wavings of handkerchiefs and hats, and the fervent prayers and good wishes of young and old, the consecrated missionary fared forth. Most of the family accompanied Mr. Clark to London, where a few final days were spent, and on 29th August he sailed from Portsmouth for Calcutta in the East Indiaman Trafalgar.
It was Robert's Clark's guiding principle to do with all his heart the work that lay immediately to hand. He did not wait to reach India to be the missionary ; the long voyage was utilised for study and preparation and in ministrations, and he had pleasant intercourse, which ripened into fruitful friendship, with several fellow-passengers who afterwards became men of mark in the world of Anglo-India. The course of the voyage was followed by his old parishioners with the greatest interest. They had a paper given to them which told of the various ports of call, and they remember " a beautiful letter " which was sent to them and was read in church. After Madeira, and St. Helena, and the tropical belt of the ocean were passed, there came the usual long rough tumble round the Cape of Good Hope, and then the ship arrived safely in the Hugli, and Robert Clark landed in Calcutta on 4th January 1852. He took his way up country by such conveyances as were then possible. Boats, dhoolies, bullock-carts, and an occasional mail-cart, in time brought him eighteen hundred
miles to his station, Amritsar, which was reached in April. We have a glimpse of him in his own words : ― " I was just twenty-five when I was ordained, and twenty-six when I came to India, and was known everywhere for my rosy English cheeks and juvenile appearance for a cleric. I thank God who gave me my wish and led me to stick to it ; it is that which tells at last more than anything else : choosing very carefully one's line with much thought and prayer, and then sticking to it, and going on year by year, with one settled object before one's eyes. " The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill ; but, as Solomon says, ' I prayed, and understanding was given me. I called upon God, and the spirit of Wisdom came to me, a pure influence flowing from the glory of the Almighty, the brightness of everlasting life, the unspotted mind of the power of God and the image of His goodness. Oh send her out of the holy heavens and from the throne of Thy glory, that being present she may labour with me that I may know what is pleasing to Thee : nevertheless I perceive that I could not otherwise obtain her except God gave her to me.' " From the hand of a master missionary we have
yet another picture of him in those days. In January 1852, on his way up country, he was the guest of the veteran Weitbrecht at Burdwan, who notes : ― " I have been busy to-day in loading two bullock-carts with my little tent, books, etc., and was going to proceed to the westward when the arrival of a dear brother missionary, Mr. Clark, rendered it desirable for me to put aside my departure till to-morrow. We were delighted with Mr. Clark. He appears to possess all the qualifications for becoming an eminent missionary. He is now on his way to the Panjab. It is very cheering to see such promising labourers arrive in this vast country."
IN order to realise the problem Mr. Clark had to solve, as a pioneer missionary to the Panjab, it is essential that the reader should know something of the condition of that country as it was at the time of his arrival; and for this reason it is necessary here to enter with some little detail into facts which, while sufficiently familiar to those conversant with Indian affairs, are naturally unknown to others whose studies have not lain in that domain.
The Panjab (pronounced Piin-jab) derives its name from the great rivers, five in number, which water its plains. It is compounded from the Persian words pa,nj, five, and db, water. The rivers are the Satlaj, Beas, Eavi, Chenab, and Jhelum ; a sixth, the Indus, which flows through the land, and receives the others as its tributaries, is not included in the classic five.
The " Land of the Five Rivers " forms the North-Western Frontier of India. Thrust wedge-wise between the Peninsula on the one hand and Central Asia on the other, it has been the great bridge which has served for the passing of many nations between these two regions. The development of the Panjab and the character of its people are in so special a manner the outcome of the position which has made it one of the greatest of the highways in the migrations of mankind, that it is material to an understanding of the subject to grasp some facts of Panjab history. From time immemorial, successive tides of conquest have rolled over India from the direction of Khorassan.
The invaders have entered through the gateways formed by the passes which pierce the girdling mountain wall of the Panjab, and have swept over her doabs, or intrafluvial tracts, to the riches of Hindustan.
In the Panjab it has ever been " an axe age, a spear age," and a confusion of races, since the twilight of time. As a result, the land is a palimpsest. Hardy men are the Panjabis, and the bordering Afghans and Beluchis ; for the centuries of battle and storm have fashioned warrior races amongst the most stalwart on earth.
At the head of the long line of invaders, the Aryan Fathers come first in the dim dawn of history. The steady stream of Persian invasions culminates in the dominion of monarchs such as Ahasuerus of the Book of Esther, " who ruled from India even unto Ethiopia."The conquest of Persia in turn led Alexander eastwards in the steps of the dynasty he had overthrown. By a Panjab river, the Macedonian defeated Porus ; by another, he raised his lost " memorials " and celebrated his games ere he turned homewards, lamenting that there were no more worlds to conquer. The ebb and
flow of the tide of war continued throughout the reigns of the Seleucidse, and during the days of the Grseco- Bactrian kingdom of Ariana, until that too was swept away, this time by the irruptions of the Tartar hordes.
The commencement of the Christian era saw the breaking of a new tide into the Panjab. The Middle Scythian Horde, known as the Getse ― the Massagetse of Herodotus ― expelled by the victorious Huns from its possessions on the confines of China, swept through the mountain passes to find a new home by the waters of the Panjab. A long struggle followed, first with the Hindu kings, and later with the Sassanian monarchs, who fiercely assailed the invaders. Eventually the G-etse, reinforced by successive Scythian waves, over- came all resistance. This Scythian stock is of more than historic interest. It is the main element in the Panjab population of to-day, and the Getae survive in the Jats (Jtitts) who form the bulk of the Panjabi peasantry.
To the Scythian there succeeded foes of another mould. In the fullness of time, the lowering cloud of Islam passed from Arabia to burst eastwards and westwards in a storm of ruin and desolation. Muhummudanism first touched India in Sindh. These early expeditions, however, were mainly the raids of marauders. The great campaigns and lasting con-
quests came, as ever, through the old-time warways of the Panjab.
The Moslem fury desolated the land in the twelve several invasions of the Afghan (Uffghan ― the gh guttural) sovereign, Mahmoud of Ghazni. A vast Hindu confederacy under Pal, King of Lahore, was routed in battle at Peshawar (Peshawur). Thereafter this irresistible scourge ravaged unchecked. Hindu India reached its most abject depths in November 1024 A.D. In that year, Mahmoud sacked the holy city of Somnath. The treasure he acquired there was immense, but he prized more highly the title he then won of Mahmoud, " the Breaker of Idols."
The Quran (or Koran, as it is popularly called in the West) went hand in hand with the sword of Muhummud. Islam was to be no passing phase or mere court creed : the conquered must witness to the unity of God and the truth of His prophet. The Moslem rulers therefore, with consummate foresight, propagated the faith amongst the villagers. Dynasties might come and go, Islam should abide for ever, because it had gripped the men of the soil.
Eventually Khusro Malik of Lahore appears as the first indigenous Moslem ruler of the Panjab. Mahmoud's Indian empire slipped away from his dynasty, in its decay. The Panjab, the final possession of his line, eventually passed to another Afghan conqueror, Muhummud of Ghaur. Qutubuddin Eibek, the victorious general of the Ghaurian monarch, proclaimed himself king on his master's death, and so founded the far-famed Muhummudan Empire of Delhi.
The Mongols, under the terrible Jenghis Khan, are next found devastating the land. The ravages of Genghis, or Jenghis Khan, mark the beginning of a period of a hundred and fifty years of misery, during which the Panjab was the arena of the struggles for supremacy between the Mongols and the Pathan (pronounced PHtt-han) kings of Delhi. The final acts of the Mongol drama were played out towards the close of the fourteenth century, under that veritable destroying angel Timour Lang, to wit Timour the Lame, known as Tamerlane in the West. His horrible cruelties are unparalleled alike in magnitude and ferocity, even among the records of this stricken land. The nearest approach to them is to be found in the
sanguinary massacre during the invasion of Nadir Shah, the Persian, when that excitable savage caused human blood to flow until, in Delhi, the stream reached to the girths of the horses in the streets.
Tamerlane quitted the Panjab in 1399. Thence- forth, until 1525, there is nothing but a record of mis-rule and devastation, " of noise of battle and garments rolled in blood." In 1525, yet another wave of conquest swept towards India. In that year, the young King of Ferghana, in Central Asia, by name Zehiruddin, crushed by the pressure of hostile neighbours, formed an ambitious decision. As he himself tells, he " put his foot on the stirrup of resolution, and his hand on the rein of confidence in God, and mounting the horse of purpose set forth to the conquest of Hindustan." He is known in history as the Emperor Baber, founder of the great Moghul dynasty of India. It was in the dark days before the coming of Baber that the Sikhs (pronounced Sickhs), with whom the Panjab was to be identified, had their rise. The sect was, in its inception, purely religious. Indeed, the genius of the Orient is religious, and the rise and fall of various religious systems is a remarkable phenomenon in the lands of the East, Eeligions as well as many religious reformers have had their birth in India, and two of the greatest of these, Goraknath and Nanak Ghand, were natives of the Panjab. Sikhism. had its origin in the teaching of the latter. This great man, the son of one Kalu, a Hindu of the Khatri caste, was born in a.d. 1469 at Talwandi, a village on the banks of the Ravi, in the district of Lahore. The idolatry of Hinduism and its gods many, and the fanaticism and superstitions of Islam, were to him alike abhorrent. He preached, as others before him had done, the unity of Gad and the brotherhood of man. The destruction of caste naturally followed. He taught full religious toleration towards all. All religions he regarded as but so many avenues leading to the one great centre, God. On this basis, supplemented by certain moral precepts, he promulgated an eclectic religion, which should embrace all men, and reconcile all creeds. Those who accepted the Sihhshya, or teaching that he gave, became his Sikhs or disciples. He himself was the Guru or teacher, the "dispeller of darkness." The teaching was excellent in some respects : its weakness lay in this, it conferred no moral power on men to enable them to follow it. The purest system of mere ethics must eventually fail as a regenerating power in the battle with the sins and sorrows of the mass of mankind.
The new religion was no exception to the rule. The initial force of Nanak's teaching speedily spent itself, and the inevitable followed. His successors made innovations designed to adapt the new creed more closely to the passions, prejudices, and circumstances of a crude people.
Angad succeeded Nanak as Guru, Amar Dass followed, and he was succeeded in turn by Earn Dass, the fourth Guru. In 1581 Earn Dass built a temple in the midst of a holy tank which he had excavated : Ambrita Salras, " The Lake of the Water of Immortality," was the name given to the tank. A great city sprang up in due course round the shrine, and was called EamDasspur after the Guru. That name is now seldom heard : holy lake and city alike are known as Amritsar, the Mecca of the Sikh people.
Two events in the history of the fifth Guru, Arjan Mai, mark an era in the story of Sikhism. He compiled the " Original Sikh Scripture," the Adi Granth, from his own writings and those of his predecessors in the Gruruship, and during his pontificate the first persecutions befell the Sikhs.
All the Gurus had been quiet, peaceable men ―mystics ― and their followers were inofi"ensive devotees. But the sect had increased, and the jealousy and fanaticism of the ruling Moslem power were aroused. In 1606, the hierophant Arjan was cruelly put to death, and his followers proscribed and persecuted.The character of Sikhism thereafter rapidly changed. Har Govind, the sixth Guru, fanned the flame of opposition to the Moslem, and this steadily grew. HarEae and Har Krishn followed in succession in the Guruship. In 1675, the ninth Guru, Tegh Bahadur, was executed at Delhi by the Emperor Aurangzeb. His son, Govind Singh, the tenth and last Guru, completely revolutionised Sikhism, by welding the body of peaceful devotees into a national and political confederation on the basis of a great military brotherhood. Fanatical hate of the Muhummudans was its ruling principle, which Moslem cruelty only inflamed to an almost incredible height. Every Sikh in future underwent an initiatory rite, whereby he became a Singh, or lion, and other rites and customs of the faith, even in things most trivial, were designed to foster the martial spirit, and abhorrence of Islam.
Govind Singh wrote a new Sikh Scripture, known as the Daswin Badshahi di Granth, or the " Book of the Tenth Kingdom," to distinguish it from that of the earlier Gurus. He proved himself an able general, fertile in resources; and, having marshalled his disciples, he entered into a death-struggle with Aurangzeb. Despite heroic efforts, the tide of battle set steadily against the Guru. He met with crushing disasters. His sons were brutally killed, his followers were routed, and he fled, a broken man, to die a lunatic far from the Panjab in the Deccan. The Sikhs were defeated, dispersed, hunted down and destroyed like wild beasts ; yet they rallied again and again, glorying in death, and despising all that malignant cruelty could do. In 1742 they were notably strengthened by the accession of the peasantry, the Jats, who made common cause with them against the oppression of the Muhummudan rulers. The great Durrani monarch, Ahmed Shah Abdali, then sat on the throne of Cabul. The Panjab kept him fully occupied. The Mahratthas of Sivaji rolled up from the south- west, to meet with irretrievable defeat on the plains of Panipat. The Sikhs were in continual turmoil. Ahmed Shah traversed the Panjab in repeated and ever victorious campaigns against them. His vengeance was terrible. Holy Amrita Saras, as it was now called, was filled up ; the temple and sacred city were polluted with slaughtered cows ; and the mosques, desecrated by the Sikhs with the blood of swine, were cleansed in turn by the blood of kine and that of troops of the defeated followers of the Gurus. Ahmed Shah chastised the Sikhs with such an iron hand that they seemed to be for ever annihilated. Yet, time and again, though scattered as the chaff of the threshing floor, no sooner did the Durrani return to Afghanistan, than they again took the field, sturdy and unsubdued, remorseless in their hate to the Moslem.
The scattered units rallied round the flag of various chiefs, who became the heads of the twelve great Misls, or principal military confederacies that knit together the followers of Govind Singh. To ensure unity of action, the Sikh organisation was further developed by the institution of a strong central council called the Gurmata, or " Wisdom of the Guru," that directed the Misls in the war with Islam. In 1764, Ahmed Shah, aptly named the " Terror of the Sikhs," finally abandoned the Panjab, and the Misls promptly parcelled out the country amongst themselves. The Sikhs became lords of the land. The story of the Panjab is now identified with that of Sikh rule, which showed developments unique in
A certain Chart Singh set up as a petty chieftain near Lahore on the strength of a little mud fort which he had wrested from a Moslem governor. His father began life with a slender patrimony ― a horse under him and a sword buckled on his thigh. His grand- father had been a Jat farmer in humble circumstances. Chart Singh was followed by his son, Maha Singh, a man prompt, fearless, and energetic, who enlarged his power in every direction. Eventually, Maha Singh be- came the recognised head of one of the most important confederacies of the Sikhs. He died in 1792, and was succeeded by his only son, the famous Maharajah Ranjit Singh, signifying " The Lion Victorious in the Field," ― and never was name more appropriate.
Ranjit was only a boy of twelve when he succeeded his father. His prospects seemed hopeless, alike as regarded his house, divided against itself, and the opposition of cunning foes innumerable. In personal appearance he was ill favoured, sorely marred by smallpox ; and lie was illiterate, yet of extraordinary talents. He rapidly rose, surpassed all competitors, crushed every opposition, and by sheer force of genius became lord paramount of the Panjab. More than this, his sway extended over Afghanistan, Trans-Indus to the Khyber, over lovely Cashmere ; to the snowy ranges of the Himalhyas, and beyond, to Ladakh and Little Thibet. The river Satlaj formed the boundary between this magnificent kingdom and the empire of the British.
The fortunes of the two powers had been curiously similar. In 1756-57, Ahmed Shah had to all appearance annihilated the Sikhs. On 18th June 1756 the British Fort of Calcutta was carried by storm, and the tragedy of the Black Hole enacted by Suraj-ud-Dowlah. It was the darkest hour of earlier British history in Hindustan, and the darkest hour for the Sikhs. Eighty years later, the Briton and the Sikh were lords of India from Cape Comorin to Peshawar. In November 1838 "the Lion of the Panjab" and Lord Auckland, Governor-General of India, met each other on a veritable "Field of the Cloth of Gold" at Ferozepore. Treaties of friendship between the two powers were concluded ; but Eanjit Singh was even then near his end, and his death let loose the forces of anarchy.
The history of the Panjab now becomes a record of revolting butchery. The strong hand of Ranjit was gone. Corruption and incompetence ran riot. Seldom, even in the history of the most barbarous states, has there been such a series of swift-following murders as, between 1840 and 1845, bereft the Sikh kingdom of Maharajahs, rulers, and councilors. The pressing element of danger came to be the magnificent Sikh army which Ranjit Singh's genius had created, and his sedulous care had brought to perfection. All that Western science and art could do had been lavishly done for a great warrior people. The last of Ranjit Singh's line, a child, Dhalip Singh, now sat on the throne of his father, and his mother ruled in his name. The real power lay with the army, which had the Government and people alike at its mercy. The turbulence of the soldiery daily became more difficult to restrain, and it was evident that the army would assuredly desolate the land unless an outlet could be found for its destructive energy. The queen mother and her counsellors, in this dire strait, in the teeth of every obligation, resolved on the desperate expedient of letting loose the recalcitrant soldiers to harry the British territory. The reasons for this decision are not germane to this narrative. The thunderbolt was launched. The Sikhs crossed the Satlaj. The British were rudely roused from profound peace to meet the most stalwart foes they have ever encountered in the East, But the Sikh Wars with their stricken fields are matters of history. In 1849 the Panjab was annexed to the British dominions, and the land entered on yet another phase of its chequered career.
After.what has been said in the previous chapter, it will have been seen that, through long centuries, war and oppression were the portion of the land of the Panjab. The advent of nations and the waxing and waning of successive dynasties were merely changes in the factors, not the facts, of the cruel burden of oppression. Of all the tyrannies under which the Panjab had suffered, the politico-religious rule of the Sikhs had been the most grinding and desolating, and at the time of the British annexation the misruled and wasted country was reduced to the lowest ebb.
The load of taxation was crushing : the land tax alone ostensibly amounted to one half of the gross produce. The legal taxation was but a moiety of the burden the unfortunate people had to bear, for in effect there was no law save " the good old rule, the simple plan," ― and frequently the overlords ruthlessly took all a villager had of crops or cattle. Offices and taxes were farmed or assigned to rapacious favourites. The pitiless holders harried and plundered the people : they had to recoup themselves, as well as to meet the enormous bribes which were essential if the favour of the Court was to be retained. Taxes were collected from defaulting villages by the effective expedient of turning loose upon them regiments of soldiers, which proceeded to " eat up " the countryside. Forced labour was a national institution. Every kind of injustice and spoliation were openly perpetrated by the Maharajah and his subordinates, through governors, judges, and magistrates, downwards to the lowest ranks of the officials. AH of them were children of the horse-leech, insatiable in their greed. To quote the native idiom, "they drank the blood of the people dahke," that is, in brimming bumpers, and the corruption was universal amongst the people as amongst the officials : every man oppressed whomsoever he could.
Public order was as non-existent as law. As the Panjabi saying pithily puts it, the case was one of hanne hanne raj ― every saddle was a throne. Might alone was right. Bloody feuds and fatal fights were the order of the day. In the large cities there were as many camps as there might be factions. Thus, for instance, the various quarters of the walled city of Amritsar, the religious metropolis, were strongly fortified against each other. Offensive and defensive coalitions amongst the rival camps were common. Goods were taxed in transit from one part of the city to another, as if they had crossed the frontiers of rival kingdoms. Villages raided each other. Irrigation wells were protected by towers in which the husbandman took refuge. The harvests were reaped with the sword girt on the thigh, and watches were set, as in time of war. Personal difficulties were settled by arbitration, or by pole-axe, bludgeon, gun, or sabre. Traders were harassed every few miles by inquisitorial examinations and rapacious mulcts. Torture, mutilation, and shocking forms of punishment were frequent. Satti, or widow burning, infanticide, child stealing, Thuggee, traffic in women and girls, and things unameable and untellable, flourished luxuriantly. The roads were mere tracks, and were infested by footpads, and beset with many dangers. A "holy man," in conversation with the writer, once mourned over the good old days (the Golden Age he called them) when he "could plunder twelve men of a morning before if; was time to drink butter-milk," that is, about 8 a.m. Bands of dacoits preyed on the highways and habitations.
It need scarcely be said that arts and manufactures languished in such a condition of affairs. The productiveness of this, one of the most fertile lands of the East, was greatly reduced. Water is of prime importance in this hot country, but the irrigation works of the Moghul emperors had been abandoned to decay. As a result, large tracts of ground lay sterile ; villages and homesteads ceased to exist ; and the drain on life was incessant. Wild animals, of which the Panjab has an ample variety, from lions and tigers to the smaller beasts mischievous alike to life and crops, increased in the depopulated land. The disintegration of the country and the forces of disorder were greatly intensified by the fanaticism in which they in large part had their origin. The faith of Muhummud had been forced at the point of the sword. Sikhism, as a cult, promulgates no propaganda by force. Hinduism, from which it sprang, inculcates many evils, but it does not outrage the convictions of men by brute force as does Islam.
As a religion it is free from violence and the persecuting spirit. It seeks no converts, and interferes with no man's faith. The religious strifes of Hinduism have all been engaged in to preserve her rights from violation, and not to enlarge their domain or to seek accessions from the outside. But the Sikh now repaid with interest the galling cruelty and intolerance which the ferocious spirit of Islamism had meted out to him in the days of its power. The exercise of the religion of Muhummud was grudgingly permitted. The public call to prayer required by Islam was abolished, and by regulations of rigorous severity the Moslem was taught that his star had set, and that it behoved him to walk warily. The mutual hate between Sikh and Moslem was deep and unquenchable. It has outlasted generations of British rule. The writer has seen a Sikh roused to fury, and restrained with difficulty from violence, because in the failing light a passer-by mistook him for a Muhummudan, and addressed him in all humility and good faith by an honourable Moslem title.
The physical features of the Panjab range from the mighty masses of the Himalayas, through breezy uplands and broad plains, to the arid wastes of the Great Desert. Climatic conditions, therefore, show a wide variation. The intense heat of the long hot weather alternates with the frosts and cold of the severe winter. The thermometer marks all degrees, from the burning plains to the eternal snows on the everlasting hills. The races of mankind which dwell in the " Land of the Five Rivers" are as varied as its climate and physical conditions. Every type of development and civilisation, from the rudest to the most polished, is to be found within its borders. The races are so heterogeneous, and so widely divergent in the scale of social progress that it is difficult to realise that the Panjab is their common home. There are primitive tribes of hunters and fishers with whom it is still the dawn of civilisation. Nomads of many kinds are abundantly represented. The Cathsei of Arrian, " of manly form, open countenances, and independent gait," still roam the Panjab plains and deserts, with their immense herds of buffaloes and camels. There are pastoral and semi- pastoral peoples, sturdy hill men, and sinewy desert dwellers, men of the rivers, men of the cities, and the agricultural masses of the village population. Aboriginal, Aryan, Turanian, Mongol, and what not, with a fine blend from the neighbouring nations, Indian and Central Asian, having for the most part no possibility of fusing, as in other lands, into one great united people. Differences of language, custom, and religion, and all-pervading caste have kept the types apart, so that time has but blurred, not blended, the original lines. The Panjab, with its nations, peoples, and kindreds, is of necessity a polyglot land. Persian, largely understood, was the polite tongue, the language of the Court and diplomacy. Hindustani or Urdu then formed a lingua franca understood! somewhat in the larger cities. But amidst the multifarious languages and dialects of the land, Panjabi, one of the later prakrits of Sanskrit, stood out and still stands out as the mother tongue of the country ― homely, rugged, strong, and vigorous as the people themselves. Physically the Panjabis are a well-grown, handsome people. They are hardy, powerful, athletic, sinewy in limb and tall in stature, and their mental powers are of a like high order. Morally they are the product of centuries of ignorance, superstition, and darkness. Religion with them is not a matter of the heart, but of outward observance. A man is good or bad, not according to his relation to morality, to say nothing of things spiritual, but as he observes the rites of his faith. Thus a Hindu may commit every iniquity and be a good Hindu still ; but let him drink a drop of water from the hands of one of a forbidden caste, and at once he commits a sin terrible in its penalty here and hereafter. Similarly, indulgence in evil will not brand a Moslem with disgrace ; but let him eat the forbidden thing and he is an outcast avoided by his fellows. Pig's flesh degrades as villainy and rascality cannot do. This moral obliquity permeates the whole people, and the result is ruin. The ceremonial requirements of the various religions, in fact, have left the inner life of their followers without any restraining influence or power, so that they have fallen a prey to their own worst corruptions.
At the date at which our narrative has arrived, the people as a whole were literate and coarse, rude in manner, crude in life and method. The belief in magic, witchcraft, and the black arts generally, has struck its roots deep in the East. Signs and omens control all life, and it is impossible to understand Eastern lands unless these things are steadily borne in mind. Much that appears on the surface to be the outcome of mere vacillation or simple folly, is in reality a matter that goes far deeper. Superstition, protean in shape, diverse in manner, but ever forceful and rigid, dominates the people. The poison warps opinion and judgement, and directs public policy as well as private affairs ; it pervades every rank of society, from the despot on the throne to the rabble in their rags. " It affects every act of life, and claims equally the soldier on the battlefield or the criminal at the tree of execution.
At the time of which we write, superstition held the Panjab in complete thrall. Astrologers, interpreters of dreams, soothsayers, necromancers, magicians, and all the fraternity of forecasters and of the occult flourished mightily. The belief in witchcraft was profound. Omens, lucky and unlucky days, were a study which concerned everyone and every act of life. They were rigidly noted and scrupulously observed. A journey would be unhesitatingly postponed if a man tripped as he left his house, or met a dog shaking the head and ears. To sneeze on entering or quitting a room or house, to meet a corpse or a Brahmin, or to hear the howl of a female jackal during the night, were things of evil portent. A town would not be entered, however pressing the business might be, in the face of such warnings as a partridge call on the right, or a flight of cranes from the left to right, or a braying jackass, or a meeting with a bareheaded person. Examples might be multiplied to any extent. An evil omen might be neutralised by a good one. In the conduct of affairs, good and bad omens would be summed up, and a balance struck on the preponderating side. The vendors of charms to ensure good fortune, to bring ill luck to enemies, to compass every conceivable purpose, did a thriving trade. Divination by the casting of lots, and various other methods, was commonly applied to everyday life. The Maharajah Eanjit Singh constantly resorted to such practices when some great matter was afoot. In full conclave of his court, the Maharajah's wish and the reverse were written on two slips of paper ; these were placed on a volume of the Granth, the sacred Sikh Scripture ; a little boy was brought in, and whichever slip the boy chose determined the policy to be pursued. The Maharajah and his Council were content, for had not Heaven spoken ? On such small pivots do the weightiest affairs turn in Eastern lands. The darkness and shadow of death which had so long covered the Panjab produced results still more terrible which cannot be ignored. Hinduism is in
some of its aspects a thing most impure. Sensuality and the degradation of womanhood follow Islam as night follows day. The people in general were dissolute in proportion to their opportunities, and not infrequently they were shameless in their evil. The Sikhs, debarred from the use of tobacco by the command of Guru Govind Singh, debauched themselves with spirituous liquors and intoxicating drugs. Indeed, the consumption of these articles was an act of religion. The writer has often seen, in the famous Golden Temple of Amritsar as well as in lesser shrines of the Sikhs, the maddening Indian hemp being prepared and drunk. In the Golden Temple, as elsewhere in holy places, there is a station for the free distribution of the drink to all who ask for it. The reason is that Indian hemp preparations are supposed to be greatly conducive to spiritual meditation, and as such are peculiarly the adjuncts of "holy" life. The profoundly sad fact in the degradation of these peoples is that it is the direct outcome of the systems which profess to reveal the Deity to them ; and it must be kept in mind that they are amongst the most religious of peoples of the religious East. False creeds pervert the deepest instincts, to the ruin of heart and soul; moral corruption is the result of the principles which the faiths inculcate ; and it is pathetic to realise that at the root of every abomination and evil practised in the name of religion in the Panjab there lies Truth. Rightly apprehended, that Truth would have raised this gifted and valiant people to the meed of greatness that their qualities richly merit. The religions of the Panjab must be briefly summarised, because the relation of this country to the great religions of India is most noteworthy. The Panjab was the first home of the Aryan Fathers on their entrance into the great Peninsula. The Vedic hymns were chanted, and the sacrifices, with their elaborate ritual, were first offered on Panjab soil ; and, as a matter of fact, the Land of the Five Rivers is still the most Aryan part of India. From this stronghold, mighty Hinduism ― the great system that still holds the majority of Panjabis ― went forth in her career of conquest as the religion of India. As wave after wave of varying beliefs swept the land in the wake of various conquerors, they broke against the wall of Hinduism, and with one exception all these beliefs were absorbed by it. There was room in that wonderful system for every god and every philosophy. The vanquishers were in turn vanquished, and owned the sway of the Brahman ; and the stern, uncompromising creed of Muhummud itself, while not absorbed, has in India been deeply permeated and modified by all-embracing Hinduism.
The Panjab has a large share of the holy places of Hinduism. Sites, shrines, holy mountains, and sacred waters are to be found in abundance, and by their sanctity they draw pilgrims from the countless sects and schools of thought that constitute the Hindu faith. Buddhism, the mighty rival of Hinduism, is to-day non-existent in India. The pure morality and the hopeless, godless creed of Gautama could not in the long run hold a people whose history shows they must have a god. From Buddhism, which had supplanted earlier Brahmanism, the pendulum swung back to the gods many of the latter-day Hindu pantheon. At one time Buddhism flourished luxuriantly in the Panjab, part of the holy lands of the Buddhist world. The first great synod of Buddhism was held at Jalandhar, a city in the Panjab, a synod that sent forth the first missionaries to win the world for Buddha ; and the country is still covered with the ruins of famous sites and shrines that witness to the power and glory of this religion when at its zenith.
A degraded form of Buddhism called Lamaism is all of that religion remaining to-day in the land of its birth and glory. Lamaism obtains in the Himalhyan valleys of Lahoul and Spiti. They are on the Indian slope of the range, and form part of the government of the Panjab ; but their affinities, social, ethnic, and religious, are with Tibet. The religion of Sakhya Muni died hard in India. Jainism arose as the product of a compromise between expiring Buddhism and rejuvenated Hinduism in its conquering strength. Flourishing Jain colonies are still dotted over the Panjab, though the religion has no general hold.
When, with the marching years, the faith of Muhummud entered into the affairs of men, the Panjab played its part. It was the citadel from which Islam dominated the Peninsula, and it yet remains the most Moslem portion of India. Northwards of the river so Ravi, the followers of the Quran numerically displace those of Brahma, and from the Indus onwards the land is practically Moslem. The conditions begin to approximate to those of Central Asia rather than to Hindustan. Muhummudanism in all its ramifications and warring divisions ― for there is no more fond delusion than the vaunted unity of Islam ― is in abundant evidence in the Panjab. Sikhism completes the enumeration of the principal religions of the land. Whether they be of vast antiquity, or, by comparison with faiths hoary with the centuries, mere outcomes of yesterday, world-old Animism underlies them all. It was to such a land and to such peoples that Robert Clark was sent, as the Ambassador of the Prince of Peace. To the Hindu his message was of one God, to the Moslem of one Mediator between God and man. To the Sikh he had to tell of the one Guru, the True Light which lighteneth every man. To those seeking wearily for the Sat Sangat, or the true union and communion with God, he had to preach the fulness of the gift and fellowship of God the Holy Spirit. To one and all of the sin-sick children of Adam, by whatever name they might be called, he had to proclaim the brotherhood of Man in the Fatherhood of God, full salvation without money or price, through the tender mercy of God in His love, by Jesus Christ, His Son. Joyful as the sound of the message is in the countries where it is the precious inheritance of men from their earliest days, its full blessedness perhaps only those can realise who have experience in heathen lands of a dying, despairing people, without God, and without hope.
IN the days of the Sikh dominion, Ludhiana formed the outpost on the British side of the frontier. It was one of the two important cities on the long line of demarcation formed by the winding course of the Satlaj where the two empires met. At the time of the Sikh Wars, Ludhiana was an established station of the American Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions, having been occupied in 1836.
The fast closed territories of the Maharajah could not but claim the interests of all who had the extension of the Redeemer's kingdom at heart, and the missionaries at Ludhiana had that unevangelised region beyond ever before them. It commanded their study and prayer ― and they were men of prayer. The great week of world-wide intercessory prayer originated with these " men of Ludhiana." But they did more than pray : they prepared themselves, in every way possible to them, for the work their faith anticipated when the set time of favour should dawn, and the Panjab be glad- dened with God's message of love. As we have seen, the long-watched-for day came in 1849 with the triumph of the British arms.
Two of the Ludhiana missionaries, the Rev. Messrs. Newton and Forman, with their assistant, Mr. Goloknath, made a tour of exploration in the country. As they journeyed, they found much encouragement. On all hands there was an eager and expectant people, the most manly and least bigoted of any in India. As a result, the Presbyterians definitely occupied the country as a field of missionary labour. Meanwhile the call to a larger conquest of the Panjab had come to the Church Missionary Society from the Christian men who had been victors alike in her tortuous diplomacy and her bloody fields. The sentiment which cannot abide Missions, and cries " Away with them," was not, however, lacking ; nor were there wanting those candid friends who, in Missions as in aught else, are ever ready with the counsels of prudence and considerations of fitting time and proper opportunity. It was urged that fanatics abounded, both Sikh and Moslem ; that the armies of the Maharajah were barely subdued ; that the British hold was insecure ; that any tampering with the religions of the people would inflame them to fatal frenzy ; and that the work of missionaries would form a rallying cry for another national war. It was indeed, in the view of these faint-hearted people, tempting Providence to let the missionaries enter at this juncture. But the fortunes of the Panjab were providentially in the guiding hands of staunch men, unmoved by such considerations of policy or counsels of timidity, and these served their earthly sovereign the more faithfully that they were true servants of God. " Having learned to fear Him, they knew no other fear," In the sphere of Christian duty, confident in the God who had given them the victory, they never paused to ask, " Is it safe ? " at the expense of "Is it right?" Missionaries were allowed from time first to enter the Panjab without let or hindrance, and the Missions commanded the interest and support of Christian men in every way that was consistent with their official position and duty.
The great army camps had collected substantial sums for the proposed new enterprise, and subscriptions came in from many other sources. The Panjab Mission was intended to be a thank-offering to Almighty God for victory granted over a terrible foe. The worth and valour of the vanquished had won the respect of the victors. They longed to share with their quondam enemies, now their fellow-subjects, the blessings of the service, gifts, and calling of Jesus Christ.
The call to the Church Missionary Society from the Christian soldiers and statesmen of the Panjab was endorsed by an invitation from the missionaries of the Presbyterian Church who had entered the land. The field was too vast for them to occupy. Their nets break, and, like the apostles of old, these fishers of men called those of the other boat to their aid. A munificent donation was offered by an unknown friend, on the condition that missionaries for the Panjab should reach India by 1st March 1852. With large-hearted catholicity, the Rev. John Newton communicated the offer to the Church Missionary Society, and in doing so urged it to occupy the field without delay.
In an earlier chapter, we have narrated the sequence of events prior to the arrival of Mr. Clark in Amritsar, where he was warmly welcomed by his colleagues, Mr. and Mrs. Fitzpatrick, who had already arrived, and by such friends of Mission work as Henry and John Lawrence, then stationed in the Panjab. The sacred city at that time had no houses built for the needs of Europeans, and Mr. Clark found his first home in a little summer-house in the Eam Bagh, a pleasure garden of the Maharajah Eanjit Singh. The situation was on the great thoroughfare of the city, close to the main gate.
The Panjab hot weather, with its scorching winds and terrible heats, was at hand. To pass it in such a house was to run the gauntlet of a veritable ordeal by fire. Since better could not be, however, Mr. Clark set to work to make the best of it, and in that little house first impressions were received, and first plans were formed, fateful in the religious history of the Panjab,
A land, languages, peoples, religions, all equally unknown, surrounded him far and wide. Every act, every word, was pregnant with the germ that should, for good or ill, be the tree of the future. The temptation which besets the young missionary who has regard only to the tremendous urgency of the work on every hand, is to set to work to do it at all hazards. But body and mind are unprepared ; the workman is as untempered clay which can bind no wall, and the result to work and worker alike is apt to be disastrous. The secret in such a service is to remember that the work has to be done, and done in very truth, and so to avoid injudicious efforts, which, however magnificent, are " not war." Mr. Clark brought sanctified common sense to bear on the multiplicity of the problems which pressed on every side. He put first things first, and took one thing at a time. His foremost duty was to live, for so only could he declare the works of the Lord ; and while care-free as regarded the duration of life, he, as a solemn duty, was most careful of health. To preserve it in vigour, he studied the conditions of life in the land to which he had come. Food, clothing, sleep, exercise, recreation, were all ordered in accordance with the new requirements. Health and usefulness in India are greatly made or marred by the servants, and Mr. Clark was careful to choose none but such as would be true helpers to him personally. It was of equal importance that they should not be inimical to the work he had come to do, for it is possible for the servants of a missionary to neutralise his efforts in many subtle ways. Mr. Clark devoted himself assiduously in these early days to the study of the' vernacular, and he did not neglect the even more paramount study of the people. The secret of success in one aspect of missionary work lies in changing eyes with the people of the country ; in other words, in seeing a matter as they see it, and think of it as they think. A knowledge of the religions of the people is, of course, necessary ; but more important still is it to know the traditions, customs, and prejudices which make up their daily life. The more thoroughly these are known, the more feasible it is to present new truths in the form in which they can most easily be assimilated. Mr. Clark regarded nothing that could help the cause, in however slight a degree, as too trivial for his notice. Wellington declared that he won his battles by attending to the footgear of his soldiers ; in the old story, for want of a horse-shoe nail a kingdom was lost ; and the secret of power in mundane matters, imperial or missionary, is thoroughness in little things.
The work of preparation was one of infinite difficulty in those far-off days. Grammars, dictionaries, teachers, manuals of all kind, the ripe fruit of experience and labour, now plentifully available, did not then exist to soften the ruggedness of the way. But patient continuance in well-doing can attain much ; and while, in one sense, the work waited, Mr. Clark felt that " the husbandman that laboureth must first be partaker of the fruits."
The relation between Mr. Clark and his colleagues was one of mutual trust and co-operation. The fullest confidence was sedulously cultivated. In Mr. and Mrs. Fitzpatrick he found the kindest of friends as well as loyal colleagues. In the trials of that "first terrible hot weather Mr. Clark often mentions the great patience and kindness of Mrs. Fitzpatrick. She was ever heartening in discouragements, and constantly ready to smooth the roughness of the difficulties which beset a young worker in a strange land. The principles laid down and measures adopted in the opening years at Amritsar were so thoroughly the outcome of mutual counsel and agreement between the colleagues, that it is not possible or desirable to differentiate between them : each was pledged to the other.
A cordial welcome from the Presbyterian brethren already in the field awaited the new missionaries. Presbyterian and Episcopalian were one in the work of their common Lord. A fundamental law of the Church Missionary Society ordains that friendly intercourse shall be maintained with all Protestant agencies engaged in the preaching of the Gospel. In the Panjab, in addition, close ties of personal friendship united the missionaries of the two Churches, and the rules of missionary comity were made a working basis from' the start. These in brief mean that a mission of one Church will not intrude into a field occupied by the agencies of another. The foundation of the work of the Church Missionary Society with respect to the operations of other Churches were thus laid in the blessed spirit of union and brotherly love.
The choice of suitable headquarters for the Mission was, of course, a matter of great importance. Eventually, after much consideration and consultation with friends, Amritsar was chosen, and that with sound wisdom. In those days it was a walled city, girdled with ramparts, pierced with fortified gates, and a malodorous moat surrounded the whole as a farther outwork. It was the largest city of the Panjab, with a resident population of about one hundred and sixty thousand. It possessed also rare qualifications to make it a strong missionary centre, being the Holy City of the Sikh people, the seat of authority and of worship. The new religion proclaimed from Amritsar would command prestige all over the land ; within its walls the doctrine of Christ would be brought into immediate contact with the scholarship and whatsoever was best in the religions in possession ; and work done there would reach far ― a conversion or baptism of any leading man would thrill through the surrounding country. Religious festivals periodically brought the people in hundreds of thousands to the Holy City, and as a consequence Christian truth delivered in Amritsar would permeate the land to its remotest border. The central situation of the city, too, was convenient. It commanded roads and routes on the great lines of travel ; it admitted of work among Europeans ; and it was within easy reach of friends and supporters. It possessed, in short, all the advantages which accrue in the East to a city that dominates the highways.
Amritsar was further the great commercial city of the land. Her bazaars were thronged by men of all the countries under this part of the northern heavens. Traders from the depths of India here supplied the wants of the whole Panjab. Sindh, Beluchistan, Persia, found their marts within her walls. The wealth of Cashmere, the fruits of Afghanistan, the silks and
brocades of Samarkand, Bokhara, and Central Asia, the produce of Yarkand and Western Thibet poured into the many - peopled, multi - tongued city. The Gospel preached in Amritsar would, as a consequence, penetrate into regions inaccessible to the missionary, and would be carried to their homes by those who had heard it in the far city of their sojourn. The first inquirer into the Christian faith in this great city was a Persian merchant temporarily resident in it, who on leaving took the Scriptures with him to his own land.
Amritsar was also the key to the wealth and genius of the Panjab, as well as to neighbouring lands. There was in it a large Moslem population, but the ferocious intolerance of Islam was here checked by the preponderating non-Moslem element. The Gospel could be freely and eflfectually preached alike to Muhummudan, Hindu, and Sikh, and this made it a place peculiarly favourable to missionary effort.
The colleagues felt it to be a duty of the utmost importance to engage the efforts of the Christian residents on behalf of the work of God, and they were remarkably favoured in finding at Amritsar and Lahore a body of such men full of zeal and interest. A large public meeting at Lahore on the 9 th February 1852 resulted in the formation of a local Church Mission Association officered by various gentlemen of the Province, under the Presidency of Sir Henry Lawrence, and having the missionaries as secretaries.
An incident at the first meeting of the Association deserves to be recorded. The Rev. W. Jay, Chaplain of Lahore, in stating the feeling of the gathering, said : " We all hail the commencement of the Panjab Mission of the Church of England with lively joy and satisfaction; we are yet not unmindful of the earnestness and the Christian zeal of our American brethren, who have gone before us in endeavouring to evangelise the heathen around us. I propose, therefore, that some communication be made to these, on the part of this meeting, to assure them how much we value their exertions ; how ' very highly we esteem them in love for their work's sake ' ; and how earnestly we hope that they may each year receive still higher and higher encouragements in the field of usefulness which they have chosen, and how much and sincerely we wish them good speed in the Lord." The proposition was received with loud plaudits, and the gentlemen assembled rose unanimously to do honour to the Rev. C. W. Forman, the representative of the American Mission, who was present at the meeting.
The Association busied itself with the collection of funds, and, such was the liberality of the Europeans, these mounted up to thousands of rupees. The friends, however, did not rest content with monetary contributions. They co-operated to relieve the missionaries of much secular work in connection with necessary buildings and the like, work which would have taxed their time and energy, and in the end would not have been so efficiently performed.
The spiritual needs of their own countrymen were not forgotten by the Amritsar missionaries. The colleagues ministered voluntarily, from the beginning, to the residents and garrison of the station. Regular Lord's Day services and a weekly Bible Class were helpful alike to the residents and the missionaries. The principles which regulated personal life and relation with other Communions have been detailed. We have seen that instead of getting out of touch with their fellow-countrymen, as missionaries are apt to do, it was the aim of Robert Clark and his companions to maintain a happy intercourse with them, and gratefully to enlist their fellow-Christians in the service of the Lord. In relation to the work amongst non-Christians, the colleagues adopted the sound principle that it could be most effectively done by natives of the land. As the homely Panjabi saying has it, " The hound of the land best hunts its game." It was therefore of the most pressing importance to build up a native agency without delay.
Three Indian fellow-labourers had joined the missionaries. One was a convert from Islam, baptized as the result of reading one of Dr. Pfander's books on the Moslem controversy ; the other, by name Daud Singh, is remarkable as the first Sikh baptized into the faith of Christ. He was a devotee whose wanderings had brought him to Cawnpore, where he heard the Gospel, and was instructed and baptized in the Mission of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel by Mr. Perkins. Though greatly valued in Cawnpore, he was cheerfully given for the work in his own land. Yet another Daud Singh, a later convert from Sikhism, also from Hindustan, completed the staff. He had fought against the British in the Sikh Wars as a soldier of the Maharajah, received an honourable discharge from the British Army, which he joined on the annexation of the Panjab, and, while in Benares, was baptized in September 1850. He was first interested by reading the Scriptures in Panjabi.
It is to be noted that all three were married. This was sound policy, in every way. The workers had all the advantages and comforts of home ; the work was spared many pitfalls and snares at a time when any indiscretion would have gone far to wreck the Mission. In a land of intense jealousy and seclusion of women, married Indian workers could command an entrance and influence not possible for the bachelor. India is pre-eminently the land of home ; round it all things centre, and marriage is emphatically honourable in all. The early marriages customary amongst Hindus need only be mentioned : Muhummud's teaching on the subject is, "He who is married hath perfected his religion." A truly Christian home is the most effective of sermons that can be preached in India : it is a "living epistle," known, read, and understood of all.
While preparing to make full proof of his ministry, Mr. Clark was also watching the signs of the times. He noted that there was a widespread desire for education. Despite the troublous times, the Vernacular schools in the Lahore division numbered 1384, where 11,500 boys were instructed in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Hindi, and like subjects. The city of Amritsar had fifteen schools, where Moslem girls were taught the Quran. The East India Company had authorised an annual grant of five thousand rupees for the endowment of a college at Amritsar. Education had been prized in the past, but the thirst was now for education in the knowledge of their new masters.
In April 1852, Mr. Clark opened a school in the heart of the city, and the roll on the opening day showed an attendance of fifty youths. Half were Sikhs, the rest were Moslems and Hindus ; and they comprised Panjabis, Afghans, Hindustanis, and Cashmeris. The popularity of the institution now grew apace. Hindi, Persian, and Urdu were taught, and, with sagacious foresight, English was given a place on the curriculum from the start.
Education in English is now so much the everyday of life in India, that it needs a little effort to realise what an important forward step was taken when, at the point to which we have come, it was included by the Amritsar missionaries in the ordinary school course. The storm which had burst when Dr. Duff first taught English in Calcutta was no long-past memory. Mr. Clark believed that our mother tongue held the ideals which would bring new life to the East, but the real purpose for which the school existed was to teach the Bible. What a wondrous hour was that in which these keen-witted young men and lads gathered round their master to taste for the first time of the living water from the wells of salvation ! Christian teachers did not exist, they had to , be created. Daily, before school began, there was a class in Scripture study for the masters, and it was eagerly attended. Thus, to haft the Gospel axe laid at the root of the trees of Hinduism and Islam, the helves were hewn from their branches. From the school, by means of the teachers and scholars. a trickle of Christianity began ere long to moisten the arid wastes of the city. The evangelistic work of the Mission succeeded to the educational. The 20th day of October 1852 is memorable in the Christian annals of the Panjab. On that day the first public preaching of the message of Christ was made in the bazaars of Amritsar, Mr. Clark having made such headway that he was able to speak with precision and fluency in the vernacular.
The colleagues, however, had not deferred all efforts until they were versed in the language ; always and everywhere they were missionaries ; their mere presence in the city was a sermon in itself They did whatever they prudently could as soon as it was possible. For instance, Mr. Clark early began to teach his own personal servants at home ; and portions of the Scriptures, and tracts prepared by the missionaries at Ludhiana in the days of waiting, were sown broadcast ― seed on the waters to be found in God's time to God's harvest. With far-seeing wisdom, also, Mr. Clark gave the aristocracy and gentry, as well as the theocracy and teachers of the various religions of the country, their proper place. Visits paid and received formed a large part of the work of the day, and at all of them the truth of God which he had come to proclaim was the central topic of interest. A constant stream of leading men were thus taught and interested ; and this intercourse led to friendships of no small account in the further development of the work. It was obviously necessary that the Mission should possess its own buildings, and in 1852 the colleagues secured a very large tract of ground outside the city wall. It was a desolate and unprotected site. Old men have told the writer that it was an unsafe place for wayfarers, even in broad day. The price, however, was small, and the situation was admirably suited for the purposes of the Mission. The land far exceeded any present want, but the purchasers had an eye to the future. Houses were built, and gardens were planted, with the characteristic thoroughness which forgot nothing. By the beginning of 1853 the Mission was suitably housed, and Mr. Clark planted the now well known banyan tree (Ficus Indica) of which we shall hear again in the course of our history. A church had been erected by the residents. In it the missionaries ministered, and it was at their disposal, when it should be needed, for converts. In launching the Amritsar Mission, Mr. Clark and his colleagues did not forget the wider field of the Panjab. Most of the cold weather was spent by one or other of them in tents, and they systematically made tours in all directions to spy out the land, and to ascertain the disposition of a people to whom the Gospel was now first proclaimed. Preaching and book distribution were steadily carried on among thronging masses of eager people. Such crowds were not seen except at the great religious fairs. All took hold of one truth at least : the missionary and the books declared that Jesus Christ the Son of God is the only Saviour of them that believe.
These most important journeyings were extended in ever widening circles from the centre at Amritsar. Mr. Clark was able to report : ― " In this manner almost every one of the important cities of the Panjab between the Satlaj and Peshawar have, at one time or other, been visited. The magnitude of the work has thus been presented to view. It has become evident that the whole of the Panjab is open to missionary efforts, and presents a sphere of labour second to perhaps none other in any part of the world in importance, and in the opportunities which it presents. The character of the people, their geographical position, and their readiness at this present time to hear the Word of God, together with the zeal and liberality of those Christian friends who, by the providence of God, have been sent here since the occupation of the country, have all united to give an importance to missionary work in this country which it is difficult to express in any adequate terms."
THE combination of favouring circumstances which attended the founding of the work in the Panjab was perhaps unique in the history of missionary enterprise. The political downfall of Sikhism operated powerfully to promote its dissolution as a religious system. The British conquerors and their religion were regarded with just respect by the sturdy warriors of the Panjab, and amongst the energetic and manly minded peoples of this great and glorious land there was an extraordinary eagerness apparent on all hands to hear the new doctrine. The vicissitudes of centuries of conflict in the matter of religions had accustomed them to balance the claims of divergent faiths and warring creeds. The religious history of the land showed, too, that when once their hearts were won, her brave and intelligent sons were capable of the deepest sacrifices, and knew no half measures. When their souls were touched they did and dared all for the cause they loved.
The British rulers were happily men of high principles, and their spirit and example inspired all the officers of the Government. The progress of the land was marvellous. In a few years the work of an age was done in the Panjab, and perfect peace and good order reigned over a prosperous people. The state of European society was good: Christians, as we have seen, were neither ashamed of their God nor backward of heart or hand in His service. Mr. Clark realised these advantages to the full in the further development of the Amritsar work on the lines of its inauguration. We have seen the problems which surrounded first beginnings ; he was speedily called upon to face those attendant on a later stage, when success began to crown his efforts. There was to be no prolonged period of waiting in Amritsar ; he was not called on to endure the long-drawn toU and heart-sickness of hope deferred appointed to many a faithful worker as he strives, while the heavens are as brass, to drive the Gospel plough through an earth like iron. In Amritsar sowing and reaping went on together. Scarcely indeed had the colleagues begun to plant when fruit for the gathering was ripe to their hands.
There was a peculiar fitness in the personality of the first convert baptized in the Panjab, and in the Holy City of Sikhism. He was a Sikh priest, by name Kaiser Singh, over forty years of age, who had first heard the Gospel at a public preaching on the 23rd February 1853. On the 3rd of July of that year he was baptized, taking the name of Shamaun, i.e. Simeon. The courage and faith of this first convert cannot be realised by Western standards, for it is impossible to understand by them how unutterably vile baptism would make him in the estimation of his co-religionists. He was at the time incumbent of a Sikh temple in a neighbouring village. Baptism involved his separation from an attached people. It meant an abandonment of the emoluments and high honours of priesthood, and the loss of a position of perfect ease and happiness ; above all, it meant loss of caste, and a literal becoming as the " off-scourings of all things." Thenceforth, mere contact with him would be defilement, his very shadow a pollution, his existence an insult and an outrage to the deepest feelings of his countrymen. The primary essential of social being in India is corporate life ; in the family, brotherhood, or caste ; and it is impossible to exaggerate the all-mastering force of this depend- ence on others. The writer has personal knowledge of many instances where strong men did not dare to follow their Christian convictions, in the face of the question, " With whom shall I smoke or eat or drink, if I become a Christian ? "
At the time of our narrative such considerations exercised even more tremendous force. There was as yet for the convert neither Church nor Christian community : Kaiser Singh went out from everything to nothing ― Closing all that had made life good and sweet to him in the past. He had learned the fundamental truths of Christianity and felt their inwardness ; as the crucial period for his profession of faith drew near, the struggle grew in severity ; but, finally, after three days of cruel mental conflict, he, with clear, enlightened judgment, requested baptism, content to bear the reproach of Christ ― a solitary man against the whole Panjab world of that day. The principles which guided Mr. Clark in his relation with seekers after Truth were wise and just. The first essential was that the inquirer should clearly understand what he was called upon to accept and what to reject. To that end, Mr. Clark carefully taught fundamental truths. It is the same still, in matters spiritual, as it was with the man born blind whose eyes the Saviour opened. To absolute darkness there succeeds a stage in which the inquirer sees but a dim and distorted image of Christianity ; just as the man in the miracle saw men as trees walking. Mr. Clark therefore recognised that certain truths best serve at certain stages of spiritual development, and what is more, he adapted his teaching to the circumstances of the man. When the time came for the all-important decision to be made, he was earnest that it should not be the result of outside urgence : the command of God, the claim of duty were clearly explained, and the result was left to the workings of the enlightened and awakened conscience.
Mr. Clark was heedful, also, that every man should carefully count the cost of the step he was about to take in following Christ. There could be no compromise between Christ and Caste, or any other evil thing. Loss of caste was, however, then so irrevocable in its nature and tremendous in its consequence that it was not to be lightly incurred. Nothing could be more lamentable than the condition of a man who by becoming an outcaste had lost all things temporal, and yet had fallen short of the things eternal. Mr. Clark, therefore, laid down a principle which was considerate and just. The neophyte could do as his conscience directed him in the matter of caste during the period of his instruction in truth and preparation for baptism. As a general rule, breaking of caste was not required until the administration of that sacrament. Thus a man was not cut off from his people until he himself heard and obeyed the clear call of God to come out from among them and be separate. The Eastern mind can dissociate truth from practical life with fatal faculity. Men of varying creeds and all shades of life will agree most sincerely in accepting a truth propounded to them, though it may be subversive of their faiths, or be pure Christian doctrine. The acceptance is merely abstract however and without prejudice to life or creed, be it remembered. But Mr. Clark was careful to emphasise on the inquirer the duty of living up to the measure of truth received, and lines of cleavage at once began to appear of necessity in the course of the man's daily life amongst his fellows.
The further development of the truth received by the individual inquirer was steadily borne in mind. Mr. Clark early recognised the extreme importance of securing the development of Christianity on the lines of the home. The leaven working in the unit was to leaven the family. The convert was encouraged to learn in the best of ways, by himself becoming a teacher of others, and especially of the women of his household ― a plan of action which showed a fine appreciation of the conditions of Eastern life. The sound wisdom and solid advantages of the course are now generally recognised, and indeed only in this way can Christianity become native to the soil.
The actual details of the first baptism were matters for most careful thought. A great point was to be made or lost, according as it was administered so as to disarm the heathen or have the reverse effect. The colleagues stood on the threshold of the unknown. It did not take much prescience to see that to baptize a Sikh priest in the heart of the very Mecca of Sikhism was in all probability to court conflict and stir up wrath. Prudence seemed to demand measures that would minimise the shock to the heathen, and that the baptism should take place in a spot which was safe for the convert. The colleagues, however, were not led astray by any such specious considerations ; with rare courage and sagacity they held their solemn service in the city itself, at their house in the vicinity of the Golden Temple ; and in so doing they won the confidence of men.
The East is a nettle that requires to be firmly gripped, and there, emphatically, the timorous man in whatever estate, sows trouble for himself. One who temporises, more particularly, in matters of religion, forfeits alike dignity, confidence, and respect. The man who would win and mould men of the East must be of different mettle. He must show all gentleness, courtesy, and a scrupulous regard for the rights of others ; but at the same time he must be fully conscious of his duty, and pursue his own way straightforwardly with unhesitating step. These principles were fully recognised by Mr. Clark. It was a rule with him to begin everything as he meant to go on with it, and to do all with transparent sincerity.
Other great purposes were served by the manner of the baptism. To understand these, we must first try to realise something of what India was, nay still is. A darkness inconceivable to the Western mind broods over the people. Some extraordinary rumour or another is generally abroad, and the more monstrous it is, the more implicit is the credence it commands. Many of the reports that dominate the people never come to the ears of Europeans. Now and again there is a glimpse into the seething under- world of ignorance and superstition from which much trouble springs ; for these rumours are a fruitful source of unrest, alienation, hatred, and crime. Let a few instances suffice.
When Lord Auckland lay ill at Simla, the Hill people fled in terror to the jungles to save their lives, ― Was not their blood wanted to restore the Governor-General to health? A newly formed corps of Bhils deserted en masse. They had heard that Government wanted to parade them in line, the better to exterminate them at one blow. The devastating greased-cartridge delusion of Mutiny days need only be mentioned. In the writer's experience, time and again great scares have been abroad. One of them was that the people were being kidnapped to manufacture special drugs or charms by means of which British prowess was maintained. Sometimes the blood or internal organs of the victim were said to be the substance sought for. Or it might be the need was more complicated, and then the wretched creature was suspended head downwards over a cauldron of milk simmering on a slow fire, and the body fat and nerve tissues dripped into the milk to form the precious ointment, momiai, necessary to the British conquerors. At another time the rumour was that Government introduced Plague, and sedulously enforced inoculation, because a million souls were neeeded as a retinue by the deceased Queen Victoria in the other world. Or, it might be, the Plague was maintained to check the population, or to avenge an insult to the Queen's statue in Bombay. But all rumours agreed in alleging that Government had introduced and fostered the epidemic. The writer overheard a Moslem villager assuring another that the whistle of the railway engine was caused by the abhorred pig's fat. Even iron screamed out at the unholy application ! If such things can be all-powerful forces in the India of to-day, the reader can imagine what they were in the land at the period of our narrative.
The new religion was, as a matter of course, the subject of much speculation. Nothing was known about baptism, and therefore every sort of rumour, repulsive, foul, or merely silly, had full scope. It was asserted that swine's blood, or that of the cow, was the medium employed, according as the neophyte was a Moslem or a Hindu. On another occasion, a Sikh chieftain was present at a baptism in the Amritsar Church. He was so carried away, that, oblivious of time or place, he walked up and looked into the font. He staggered back in astonishment, and with bewildered mien said to Mr. Clark, who was oficiating, " Why, it is water after all ! " These beliefs die hard. In the eighties of last century it was the writer's privilege to conduct a fruitful work in the village from which the first convert, Kaiser Singh, had come, and some six converts were to be baptized. The church was crowded with non-Christian friends. At the moment of baptism, the village waterman brought in water from the village well, and the intense interest of the spectators was as conspicuous as was their relief, as they realised there was to be no cow's blood. There is a marked lack of privacy in the East, even for Europeans. Among the people it scarcely exists. A man's affairs are common property. Seclusion in the conduct of affairs suggests wrong-doing, a priori.. Mr. Clark always therefore encouraged publicity. The baptism before the people dispelled many false notions. It was seen that the candidate was neither drugged nor bewitched ; that he was not called on to revile his ancestry or insult his old faith ; that he was under no compulsion ; that he freely made a choice of and confessed the new faith ; that the element used was plain, pure water ; and that no terrible distortion or disfigurement followed the rite, as they had been led to expect. Verily Amritsar had much food for thought and talk on that memorable July morning, when the first sod was turned on the path of the Panjab to God!
Other baptisms followed apace. The school yielded fruit. A month later, a high-caste Brahman pupil of nineteen, much advanced in knowledge, was baptized. In yet another month, two more of Mr. Clark's pupils, a Sikh aged twenty-one, and a Hindu aged nineteen, entered the fold of Christ. The Sikh youth had been one of the first pupils to join the school. At the close of the year, the colleagues were gladdened by a yet more remarkable baptism. The convert was a gentleman of honourable Moghul descent, the son of a teacher of the former kings of Delhi. His name is still revered by the Moslems of that city. This young man could recite the Quran by heart at fifteen, and now, though but thirty, he was a distinguished Moslem Doctor of Divinity. He came to Amritsar to teach the language to Mr. Fitzpatrick, and the reading of the Word of God in the Scripture class for teachers first opened his mind. Mr. Fitzpatrick notes concerning him : ― " He continued all last winter in deep distress, searching the Bible, but more with the design of finding answers to his doubts and our teaching, than for Divine guidance. And when he found that was impossible, he remained in doubt upon the doctrine of the Trinity ; but, having learned to submit to God's Word as inspired, he resolved upon becoming a Christian." This baptism was, like the others, coram populi, in the city.
The event caused a great stir amongst the Moslems of Amritsar. Several young men of fair abilities systematically studied the Scriptures in the hope of being able to prove them false, from internal evidence. The house of the young convert, Maulvi Aziz Ulah Beg, was much frequented by Moslems of all ranks. They also largely attended his public preaching in the bazars, though generally unable to answer a word to his clear and convincing reasoning.
New factors now entered into the work of Robert Clark : the converts had to be shepherded. Mr. Clark looked on this work as one which it was impossible to overrate in importance. The infant Church was tenderly watched over and nourished. Systematic Scripture instruction, the " sincere milk of the Word," was the first requisite, and he laboured diligently to supply it. In addition he cultivated a close personal touch with each convert. The strength and weakness, the special gifts, special circumstances of each individual, were his study, alike in the interests of that soul and of Christ's work in the Panjab. With the success . which had come to the work, there came also the inevitable persecution. To the private trials which Christians in India have to bear there succeeded public opposition whicli overflowed into violence. Scholars were reproached for attending the school ; personal abuse was heaped on the missionaries and their fellow-workers ; and things came to a head when the junior catechist, while preaching alone, was set upon by a rude mob of Kashmiri Moslems. He was severely beaten, and would have been killed had not a hasty report of what was going on brought other Christians to the rescue. Matters required judicious handling. The just mean had to be hit between gladly bearing stripes and abuse for Christ's sake, as part of the persecution which is the Christian's glory, and the wreck of the work by unchecked lawlessness. Nothing in India perhaps calls for a finer discrimination on the part of the missionary than the appeal to Csesar in such circumstances. It is the right of every subject of the British Crown to go peacefully about his lawful avocations without let or hindrance ; on the other hand, Mr. Clark felt it would be a loss if Christianity were to seem to stand because of the secular arm. While his principle was that, where God had given it to men to work under the blessings of a good government, there was a lawful use of the rights which protect all subjects equally as such apart from religious profession : he judged each specific case on its own merits. The treatment Christians were to receive in the future depended on the action taken in respect of this assault ; and, be it remembered, in matters of this kind nothing is insignificant in India. By a series of small advances, the way is paved for grave assaults or serious wrongs. A little rudeness or neglect, or some trivial breach of the punctilious courtesy of the land, is first essayed. If this is checked, there is an abject apology, and the attempt ends. Or, it may be, a child is instigated to some slight act of mischief. If this is resented, there are prompt disclaimers and humble excuses. Should these tentative excursions into forbidden land pass unchallenged, graver forays follow in their wake. It was Mr. Clark's dictum in reference to such matters, "Never allow the smallest thing that ought not to be to pass unnoticed. You need not resent it,but make it clear that you have marked it. Nothing is really of little account in India." The case just mentioned was therefore brought before the magistrate ; not in a spirit of revenge, but to prevent a recurrence of such acts. The punishment of the leader was not sought, and he was consequently discharged after being severely reproved. In the course of the inquiry, high testimonials in favour of the Christians were given by non-Christian Government officials. The magnanimity of the Christians was recognised by the people, and the incident was satisfactorily closed. Such disorders, and worse to follow, were in this way nipped in the bud. The evangelising tours over the country were continued, and calls came to the colleagues to commence work in other places. The European residents of Sialkot, the third city of the Panjab, for instance, offered a hundred and fifty rupees a month for work in their midst.
Striking news also came from the North. Fifty Sikhs and Hindus of the city of Eawal Pindi had diligently studied a Christian tract which had come into their hands, and, convinced of the falsity of their faiths, had separated themselves into a band for further search after truth.
At the close of 1853, the missionary horizon was truly full of promise for Mr. Clark. Preliminary work was done, the foundations of the Amritsar Mission had been well and truly laid, and the fair building had begun to take shape. In the Panjab, as in every land and clime, the Gospel had proved itself the power of God unto salvation. Evangelistic and educational work had alike borne fruit. The white fields of Sikhism, Hinduism, and Muhummudanism had all yielded their sheaves, an earnest of plenteous reaping for the harvest home of God. Near and far was the glad sound of the wind beginning to play on the dry bones of the valley. But circumstances of which we now have to tell, were to take Mr. Clark far from the promise of Amritsar.
A NEW FIELD : AFGHANISTAN.
The scene of our story now shifts from the home of Sikhism, in the plains of the Central Panjab, to the far north-western confines of the Indian Empire. A call to commence Mission work in the great frontier city of Peshawar had come, and for this fresh efibrt, in a new land and amongst strange nations, Robert Clark was chosen. The Indus divided the former field of work from the proposed new sphere. Its southern banks marked the limits of the Land of the Five Rivers ; beyond lay Afghanistan. Our interest centres in that portion of the country which, bordering the river, lies contiguous to the Panjab. The tide of conquest under the Sikhs had reft the Durrani kings of Cabul of their sovereignty over this part of Afghanistan, from the Indus to the Khyber Hills, but that tide had wrought no change in the people. The country was still the land of the Afghan, and the language, customs, and religion of Afghanistan continued to hold unbroken sway. The new country differed from the Panjab in being a purely Moslem land. The Hindu element was small, though the sprinkling of settlers may have increased somewhat after the conquest by the Sikhs. The votaries of Hinduism were found principally in the city of Peshawar and in the larger towns, and scarcely existed amongst the rural population. In the country- side they were restricted, according to the size of the village, to one or two shopkeepers, squalid in aspect and of mean position. The necessity for their presence had always secured for them a limited toleration. They supplied such small-wares as Afghan life required. Above all, the Afghans were unable to keep accounts without the aid of " the unbelieving idolater," and so, despite the law of Islam, they permitted him to live in their midst. The position was precarious as regarded tenure and fraught with danger to life. It was a case of the war of the wit of one against the rapacious violence of the many. The Hindu, as is the custom of his kind, was the sponge that absorbed the wealth of the Afghan. He was wily enough to secure a certain measure of protection by placing himself under a leading man, content to be looted by one if he could recoup himself from the mass. But when financial affairs became complicated, the Afghan adjusted matters by a method which was simplicity itself The unbeliever was slain, and his ledgers were burned. Another Hindu was then captured or inveigled to fill the vacant place, and account-keeping began afresh. The site of Peshawar possesses so many marked natural advantages that it is easy to understand how a big and influential city has grown up there. It stands at the head of a large, densely populated, well watered vaUey, almost encircled by a wall of girdling mountains. It lies at the junction of the hills and the plains, to both of which it is the key. It is on the great highway between the countries of India and the lands of Central Asia ; it commands the famous passes (of which, the Khyber is the best known) that here pierce the barrier of mountains and debouch on the plains, and it therefore enjoys a special importance in religion, commerce, and the strategy of war. The climate of the land Trans-Indus differs materially from that of the Panjab. The heat, though as fierce, is of shorter duration, the cold is more bitter. The Peshawar Valley was, in the days to which we now refer, notorious for its unhealthiness. Peshawar itself was a veritable " white man's grave." The climatic conditions, however, were not inimical to work. Mr. Clark, in his estimate of the new land, notes : ― " The climate favours active exertion. The hot and rainy seasons do not continue more than four months and a half. In the cold season we can travel about in tents for at least five months ― many stay out eight ― and that cold season is far superior to any period of the year in England."
The change of masters from the Durrani to the Sikh had, as we have noted, left the city untouched. It continued to be one of the greatest cities of Afghanis- tan, Central Asian rather than Indian in its afl&nities ; it remained as of old the centre of life for the Afghan in his manifold tribes, within or beyond the Border ; and its population was then estimated at 90,000. We cannot in these memoirs compass any detailed account of the Afghan peoples, although their origin, peculiar customs, and racial and social characteristics are replete with interest. Yet a cursory glance at some aspects of the subject is necessary if we are to under- stand something of the task that awaited Robert Clark in his new cure of souls.
The people is quite diflferent from that on the Indian side of the Indus. The Afghans are a hardy, handsome, sinewy race of men, athletic and well-built. Their complexion ranges from the deep brown of the dwellers in the hot lowlands to the delicate milk-white skin and rosy cheeks of the men of the highlands. Proud of heart and martial in bearing, their bold eyes flash and their whole carriage is instinct with valorous independence. Their mental endowments are of the highest order. Alike in rnind and body their qualities are those of a race capable of immense possibilities. That makes the present degradation of this fine people all the more lamentable. As we have seen, the Afghans are Moslems, and their character is the pitiable outcome of noble, highly gifted natures ruined by the subtle and deadly venom of Islam. It has been truly observed of this baleful system, that " it is the abomination that maketh desolate ; its favour and its hatred are alike deadly." The present ruler of the Panjab, Sir Denzil Ibbetson, has pithily remarked that " it is curious how markedly for evil is the influence which conversion to even the most impure form of Muhummudanism has upon the character of the Panjab villager." If that be true of the impure forms of the faith, the purer it is the more disastrous will be its eff'ects. In Afghanistan the form is of the purest; the consequent ruin is complete. The Afghan's nature is strong and enduring as the granite of his own native hills, and the evils he does are the "mighty sins" of a strong man. The descendants of the old-time peaceful Buddhists are to-day the most turbulent, fanatical, and bigoted of men. They wallow in wickedness, yet, be it under- stood, are rigidly religious withal. It was once the writer's fortune to fare through the defiles of the Khyber Pass. To ensure his personal safety he had an escort of Afridis of the Khyber Hills, and these beguiled the way by recounting deeds of daring, their own exploits and those of their peoples. They told of iniquity upon iniquity, and horror upon horror ; gruesome tales of robbery, murder, and wrong. As they fought their battles over again their eyes glistened, and their cheeks flushed with the joy of strong men in gallant deeds. When the writer took them soundly to task, they listened patiently, with absolute good- humour, even with interest. At the conclusion, one magnificent reprobate replied with profound astonishment, " Man, man, verily thou art one of the foolish ! What do I that the Prophet of God, on whom be peace, himself did not do ? " What a proof this is that Islam can rise no higher than its fountain-head, Muhummud ! At the time of our narrative, the Afghans of the Trans-Indus districts were what Afghans still are beyond the British border. Their ideas concerning the property of others were something less than elementary. A brother Afghan was lawful spoil, if not of their immediate kin. The stranger, in their terse phrase, was "a bird of gold" to be plucked to the last feather. They were a nation of caterans, resolute and resourceful reavers of the chattels of others. Robbery was an honourable calling ; for it they were created, in it they were born. The babe was subjected to a suggestive ceremony. The mother passed the infant to and fro through a hole made in the wall of the homestead, crooning the while, " Ghal Sha ! Ghal Sha ! " ― Be a thief! Be a thief! Brave to a fault, the Afghan was careless of his own life, and recked still less of the lives of others. The slaying of a man was accounted a matter of no moment. In the course of conversation with the writer, an Afghan of sound worth casually remarked, " If we have to slay a sheep, we think twice of it : a sheep is something, but a man. Sahib ― ^what is a man that he should be taken account of? " Murders were the commonplace of everyday life. The vendetta was the most solemn article of honour. The tale of unexacted blood was a sacred trust bequeathed from generation to generation ; a legacy of undying hate given by a father to his sons with his last breath. The land was, indeed, polluted with blood. The moral sense against murder had apparently ceased to exist. The situation sometimes had its humours. The shrine of a defunct saint proved very lucrative to the village in which he was buried. A constant stream of pilgrims brought to it wealth and honour. Envy and cupidity roused a neighbouring village to found a rival shrine, but there was a difficulty ― they had no dead saint. An influential deputation, however, waited on a noted living one, and humbly begged him to accept sepulture in their village on the day he should depart to Paradise. They promised that, if they were so honoured, his funeral should be of the finest, and his shrine of the grandest. The gratified saint acceded to the desire of the suppliants. Then the deputation craved a further boon, that he should consent to depart at once to the realms of the blest. " We can- not wait," they urged ; " we will kill you now. We will not hurt you very much ― we really must take you back with us." Despite the prayers and protests of the holy man, kill him they did. It is but fair to add that they scrupulously kept their word as regarded both the funeral and the shrine. Murder, bloodshed, and their concomitants apart, there are other evils in the land which will not bear description. Amongst much that is repellent and abhorrent, however, there are to be found virtues which charm the observer and win his respect. The Afghans are a generous race, prompt of hand and hot of heart, as strong and steadfast in love as they are in hate. They have a pride of race, also, and a stately dignity that never fails. They come of a long line of conquerors and rulers of men ; and they themselves have never been in bondage to any man. The veriest tatterdemalion will show himself stout of heart and unabashed of mien before the most august presences, in the most brilliant assemblages. He bears himself as among equals, for is he not a Pathan ?
Mr. Clark once observed that almost every word written by Macaulay concerning the Scottish Highlanders as they were a century and a half ago would apply to many tribes of the Afghans as they now are." If," he continued, " anyone wishes to know about the Afghans of Peshawar and its neighbourhood, he should read Sir Walter Scott and Aytoun ―
"'I charge thee, boy, if e'er thou meet
With one of Assynt's name,
Be it upon the mountain side,
Or yet within the glen,
Stand he in martial gear alone.
Or backed by arm^d men.
Face him as thou would'st face the man
Who wronged thy sire's renown ;
Remember of what blood thou art,
And strike the caitiff down.'
But the Afghans have not yet had a Sir Walter Scott to tell of all their prowess, and humour, and treacheries, and jealousies, and hospitality. They are a grand nation, or will be so (as the Scots are now), as soon as they have their John Knoxes, and Maitlands, and Wisharts, and Erskines, and Hamiltons, and Chalmers."
Among the Afghans are found many well read in the languages, literature, and philosophies of the Moslem Bast, for the land is the meeting-place of many tongues. In Peshawar itself, a dialect of Hindi is commonly used, and Persian is employed far and wide. Special importance is attached to Arabic, the sacred tongue, " the language of heaven and the angels." A brawny Afghan, who would unhesitatingly charge a cannon, was reduced to abject terror by an Arabic phrase in the mouth of a malevolent mullah. The mother tongue of the people is called Pukhtu, or Pushtu. The name is derived from Pukhtun, or Pushtun, by which the Afghans designate themselves. The word is more generally known to the outside world in its Indianised form of " Pathan." The language of the Pukhtun is an Aryan tongue whose affinities are with the Zend and Pahlavi rather than the Sanskritic branches of the family. The sound of Pukhtu is barbarous in the extreme, harsh and rough as the people themselves. The Moghul emperor Akbar is reported to have sent envoys into many lands to learn their varied languages, in order that on their return they might recite in them to their royal master. The delegate to Afghanistan filled a drum with pebbles, and, rattling them hard, said, " Refuge of the world, this is the Afghan tongue." But though the tongue is uncouth it possesses an extensive literature ― religious, poetical, and philosophical. Afghan poetry, too, is of especial beauty, and contains rare gems, even according to Western ideals. The circumstances which made evangelisation possible amongst this ferocious and fanatical people were pregnant with meaning for Robert Clark. He was a keen student of the ways of God among nations ― what men call History. But in fact the sequence of events in these northern lands was unequivocal : gross of heart and dead to things celestial must he have been who could not read, writ large in the happenings of the time, the plain purposes of God. We have traced the march of events that welded the distracted Panjab into a kingdom under one head in the sovereignty of Maharajah Ranjit Singh. When the work was done, the united whole passed unsought into the hands of the British, and then the eternal purpose stood revealed. The Panjab had lain unknown to Europeans, fast sealed to the messengers of God ; yet even while men looked, the land was opened, prepared, made ready for the Gospel and the blessings that follow in its train. Still more clear, however, was the finger of God in the ordering of affairs on the Peshawar frontier. The people there were tenacious of their own faith, frantically intolerant of any other. Had the Afghan domination remained unbroken, bigotry would have barred the door to the Evangel of God as effectually as it does in the Afghanistan of to-day. The mountains of Afghan power had to be cast down, and the rough places of the pride of the Pukhtuns made smooth, that the way of the Lord might be prepared. And the instrument of their humiliation was the self-same Eanjit Singh. We are not concerned with the Sikh conquest of this portion of the Durrani domains, as history ; but it throws such light on the peoples amongst whom Robert Clark was to be the first " Torchbearer of the Faith," that it ought not to be wholly passed over. Having consolidated his power in the Panjab, the Maharajah Eanjit Singh turned his attention to his Afghan neighbours. The lands of the Durrani dynasty were harried in a preliminary foray. Thereafter the Maharajah himself led the armies destined to invade Afghanistan. The progress of the Sikh force, however, was barred by the Indus, and the troops lay inactive for five weeks on the Panjab side of the river. The difficulty was theological. It was forbidden for a Hindu to go beyond the boundaries of his own land, the penalty of disobedience being the loss of caste, and the flood of the Indus was as prohibitive as the " black water " of the ocean.
History repeated itself ; for the exploit of Julius Caesar's standard-bearer on the shores of Albion was paralleled on the Indus. A gallant old Sikh chieftain eventually forced the situation by plunging into the river, with a ringing " Follow ! All lands belong equally to God ! " With such an example before them, the Sikhs could not hold back ; in a trice their armies broke up, to form up again on the soil of Afghanistan. The regular Afghan army awaited them, and, in addition, the whole countryside was in a blaze, for the mullahs had assiduously preached a religious war. From the villages of the plains, from the circling mountains, from the broken Khattak Hills, a steady stream of men poured out in a frenzy of fanaticism and hate to destroy the infidel invaders. Sikh and Afghan met at Naushera, in the centre of the valley of Peshawar. The Durrani forces retired without striking a blow : the commander of the army, Muhummud Azim, was more solicitous for the safety of his harem and treasure than for the honour of his land. The rough country folk, undisciplined, rudely armed, were alone left to confront the disciplined valour of the flower of the Sikh armies, under the redoubtable Maharajah himself. They faced the position with splendid courage. Shouting the Moslem formula of faith, they hurled themselves again and again on the Sikh masses, and repeatedly carried all before them in a whirlwind of destruction and death, only in turn to be beaten back by the dogged bravery and unfailing nerve of the Sikh, who faced them with his battle-cry of " Victory to the Guru ! " Doughty deeds were performed on both sides. Eanjit Singh's great general, Phula Singh, was slain as he led in the thickest of the fight. A Pathan ripped up the huge war elephant on which Phula Singh rode, content to perish by the fall of the beast, if so be the Sikh were slain ― a story, by the way, which recalls an incident in the wars of the Maccabees. There was no thought of retreat or surrender. It was war to the death. The curses of the mullahs and the blows of the women drove any recreants back to the fight. When their scanty ammunition was exhausted, the Afghans fought on gallantly, with cold steel, sticks, and stones, even with hands and teeth. Many a Sikh warrior was found stiff and stark on that fatal field, tight clasped in the death-grip of his foe, with the Afghan's teeth still clenched in his throat. The battle raged the livelong day, with a ferocity that taxed the generalship of the Maharajah and the mettle of his veterans to the uttermost. Eanjit's one eye in after days used to sparkle with unwonted fire as he told the tale of Naushera, Darkness at last separated the combatants, and during the night some four hundred men― all that remained alive of the Afghans ― cut their way through the heart of the Sikh forces, and made good their retreat to the hills. The rising sun found Ranjit Singh victor of the field, and the country was at once annexed to his dominions. What the valour of the Maharajah had won was preserved by the genius of his famous general, Hari Singh Nalwa, and the cruelty atnd determination of General Avitable, a Frenchman in the service of the Maharajah, appointed first governor of Peshawar. The power of the Afghans was broken, and their pride was humbled. Naushera remained a bitter memory. "Is it a time to laugh when the bones of your fathers are whitening Naushera ? " was a formula which for many years promptly checked undue levity in Afghan homes. When the British annexed the Panjab, they were reluctantly compelled to include the Trans-Indus Sikh dominions. The treachery of Dost Muhummud, King of Cabul, in the final Sikh war, frustrated the earnest desire of the British to restore Peshawar to Afghanistan. The meaning of this fact scarce needs emphasis. God's counsel was established despite the plans and wills of men. Robert Clark rejoiced in the opening prospects of work in a purely Moslem land, and he coveted the strenuous Afghan race for God. He saw in Peshawar the key to the Frontier and the regions beyond. The abutments of the mountainous masses of Central Asia on the plains at Peshawar formed the first scarp to be scaled in the conquest of the Central Asian highlands, and in like manner was it in the war with Islam in the heart of Asia. Kobert Clark considered Peshawar of supreme importance. The leavening of this portion of Afghanistan was a preliminary to the advance on the mass beyond. Here are his own words : ― " We were obliged, against our will, to occupy Peshawar; and, however much we may have desired it, we have been obliged ever since to keep it, although at a great expense of money and life. The will of the Lord was that the Gospel should enter Afghanistan, and be there preached in one of the strongholds of Mohammedanism ; and, if I mistake not, His will also is that from Peshawar it shall go forth into the midst of Mohammedan countries, and that, from Turkey on the West and the boundaries of India on the East, Mohammedan countries shall be evangelised. A Mission, therefore, established here, would be for the benefit, not of India, nor of the Panjab, but of Afghanistan : it would be beyond all Indian Missions, to act on the countries in advance, being fixed at the farthest point from India, and the nearest point to other countries to which missionaries can at present go. The intercourse with the countries beyond is very great. Large numbers of natives are constantly coming from them to Peshawar : from Peshawar large numbers of natives go to them. Missionaries are, indeed, as yet excluded, but not so their influence ; and there is every reason to suppose that Christian books, in the language of the country, would find ready access, and probably free circulation amongst the people." We must now tell how Mr. Clark came to be the first missionary to cross the Indus to the Afghans.
There is a singular fitness in the fact that the work of evangelisation amongst such a warrior race as the Pathans has been the outcome of the prayerful zeal of British officers. The armies of Britain first entered Afghanistan in the course of the disastrous Afghan War of 1839. In that year, Captain Richard Eaban, in common with several brother-officers of the Cabul garrison, initiated a movement to enable the Church Missionary Society to establish a Mission in the cities
of Candahar and Cabul.
A sum of money was collected by these faithful men, but the scheme progressed no further. The British authorities would have none of it. So uncompromising and radical was the official hostility to the proposed venture, that a number of New Testaments despatched to the country were ordered to be sent back to India. But God has His own ways of working His will. The returning convoy was looted by the Pathans. The books never recrossed the Afghan frontier, but remain scattered seed to be yet found in God's harvest, for even the ordinary printed page commands respect in the East, and is rarely destroyed by a Moslem. Much more will he treat with reverence "the Holy Gospel of Jesus the Son of Mary," whom he also calls the " Spirit " and " the Word of God." In the annihilation of the British army and the horrors and humiliation of 1842, the matter dropped from men's minds. The proposals of Captain Eaban were, in fact, in advance of his day : the set time was not yet. Those noble men obtained not the promises, but they saw them afar off, and to the eye of their faith clear visions were granted of the glorious things that shall be in the ripeness of God's time.
With the advent of the British into the Panjab in 1849, Peshawar became a garrison town of the first importance. At the time of which we write, the population of the cantonments amounted to thirteen thousand. Trans-Indus, as in the Panjab, the army of occupation was blessed with godly officers. The gross darkness that enshrouded the Pathans in a mantle of death lay heavy on their hearts. They were keenly alive also to the privilege and duty of the Christian's calling in the
parting command of their Lord. None the less, it seemed beyond the wit of man to compass a mission to the peoples amongst whom they sojourned, for the propagation of Christianity amongst Afghans seemed beset with difl&culties and dangers so tremendous that the official opposition to any effort of that kind was insuperable.
Colonel Mackeson was then Chief Commissioner of the Frontier from the Indus to the Khyber HUls. He was a good man and a great soldier, with a splendid record as one of the most distinguished officers in India. Though personally friendly to Missions, in his public capacity he was firmly resolved that while he ruled no missionary should penetrate north-west of the Indus. In the year 1852, an officer in Peshawar advocated the cause of the newly-established Mission at Amritsar. His plea for funds met with a generous response on the Frontier, and amongst the subscribers was the Chief
Commissioner, The liberal donation, however, was combined with a note to the promoter of the appeal in which Colonel Mackeson said, " I take this opportunity of officially informing you that, for political reasons, I shall oppose the passage of missionaries across the Indus." Those who longed to see the Pathans brought within sound of the Gospel carefully considered this declaration of policy, and the upshot was that, some months later, seven officers solemnly dedicated themselves to the founding of a mission amongst Afghans. The position was undoubtedly delicate, and no immediate action was possible ; but they prayed insistently, and watched and waited.
A few weeks later, one afternoon, a Pathan sought an interview with Colonel Mackeson as he sat in the verandah of his house. On being ushered into the Commissioner's presence, the man presented a petition for consideration. Scarce had the Colonel begun to read the paper when the Afghan plunged his dagger into the Commissioner's heart. Thus, in the flower of his age, by an assassin's stroke, perished gallant Mackeson. Lord Dalhousie, then Governor-General of India, voiced the general sorrow when he wrote in his official order that the loss "would have dimmed a victory."
Mackeson was succeeded, hot-foot, by the heroic Herbert Edwardes, wise in council, strong in war ; a great soldier on the battlefields of India, yet greater in the more strenuous conflicts of life. Though Colonel Edwardes's views on the subject of missions were unknown to the band of prayerful officers, they were prompt to act. They called on the new Commissioner, but in the presence of the stranger they were a little uncertain how to proceed. A cheery " What can I do for you ? " speedily put Edwardes in possession of their errand, and he unhesitatingly allowed the Mission. Mr. Clark has noted the interesting fact that Edwardes's reply for the first time officially formulated in India a policy alike just and reasonable as regards the preaching of Christianity in that country. " I see no difficulty in the matter of founding a Mission," said this great ruler of men. " We protect the Hindu and the Muhummudan in the enjoyment of their religion. It is the primary duty of a Christian to preach the Gospel of Christ." That interview marked an epoch. In a moment, official opposition had vanished into the air, and the way to the longed-for goal lay clear before the comrades in prayer. They had already been in correspondence with Mr. Clark, and it was now decided to ask him to address a public meeting at Peshawar on the whole question of a mission to the Afghans. In response to that invitation, the first ambassador of a Kingdom that knows no limitations on earth save that of the human race itself, crossed the Indus. He left Amritsar on the 2nd of November, marched up through the length of the land, evangelising as he went. When he reached the great frontier city in mid December, he himself saw the blood of the murdered Mackeson still unefiaced from the verandah pillars of the Residency. Much preliminary work had to be done in furtherance of the object that had brought Mr. Clark to Peshawar, and a just estimate of the situation had to be formed. After recruiting from the fatigues of the daily strenuous evangelistic work, and of the long journey accomplished by such primitive methods as were then available, he, as was ever his wont, set systematically to work. His time was fully occupied in interviewing friends, in interchange of views, and in ascertaining necessary facts and figures. The actual campaign opened on Sunday, 16th December 1853, when Mr. Clark preached at the services in the station church. The collection that day on behalf of the
proposed Afghan Mission amounted to eighteen hundred rupees.
The public meeting, held three days later, is unparalleled in the history of Missions, at all events in India. The chair was taken by Colonel, or as he afterwards became, Sir Herbert Edwardes. As Chief Commissioner of the Frontier, he dwelt, in a memorable address, on the public aspects of the proposed Mission. Mr. Clark speaks of his words as " almost inspired." They are instinct to-day with the thrill of living truth.
"That man," said Edwardes, "must have a very narrow mind who thinks that this immense India has been given to our little England for no other purpose than that of our aggrandisement ― for the sake of remitting money to our homes, and providing writerships and cadetships for poor relations. Such might be the case, if God did not guide the world's afiairs ; for England, like any other land, if left to its own selfishness and its own strength, would seize all it could. But the conquests and wars of the world all happen as the world's Creator wills them ; and empires come into existence for purposes of His, however blindly intent we may be upon our own. And what may we suppose His purposes to be ? Are they of the earth, earthy ? Have they no higher object than the spread of vernacular education, the reduction of taxes, the erecion of bridges, the digging of canals, the increase of commerce, the introduction of electric telegraphs, and the laying down of grand lines of railroad ? Do they look no farther than these temporal triumphs of civilisation, and see nothing better in the distance than the physical improvement of a decaying world ? We cannot think so meanly of Him with whom one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. All His plans and purposes must look through time into eternity ; and we may rest assured that the East has been given to our country for a Mission, neither to the minds or bodies, but to the souls of men. " And how is this to be done ? By State armies and State persecutions ? By demolishing Hindu temples, as Mahmud of Ghuznee did? or by defiling mosques with Mohammedan blood, as Ranjit Singh did ? It is obvious that we could not, if we would, follow such barbarous examples.
" The British Indian Government has wisely maintained a strict neutrality in religious matters. The duty of evangelising India lies at the door of private Christians. The appeal is to private consciences, private efforts, private zeal, and private example. Every Englishman and every Englishwoman in India ― everyone now in this room ― is answerable to do what he can towards fulfilling it.
" This day we are met to do so ― to provide the best means we can for spreading the Gospel in the countries around us.
"They happen to be Mohammedan countries of peculiar bigotry. Sad instances of fanaticism have occurred under our own eyes ; and it might be feared, perhaps, in human judgment, that greater opposition might meet us here than elsewhere. But I do not anticipate it. The Gospel of Peace will bear its own fruit, and justify its name. . . .
" For these reasons, I say plainly that I have no fear that the establishment of a Christian Mission at Peshawar will tend to disturb the peace. It is of course incumbent upon us to be prudent, to lay stress upon the selection of discreet men for missionaries, to begin quietly with schools, and to wait the proper time for preaching. But having done that, I should fear nothing. In this crowded city we may hear the Brahman in his temple sound his ' sunkh ' and gong ; the Muezzin on his lofty minaret fill the air with the ' Auzan ' ; and the Civil Grovernment which protects them both, will take upon itself the duty of protecting the Christian missionary who goes forth to preach the Gospel. Above all, we may be quite sure tlxat we are much safer if we do our duty than if we neglect it ; and that He who has brought us here with His own right arm will shield and bless us, if in simple reliance upon Him we try to do His will."
This noble speech was followed by one from Mr. Clark. He told of what had already been done in the Panjab, and as he limned the possibilities near hand and farther afield that were opening up before the people of God, the hearts of the hearers burned within them. They realised the workings and purpose of the Divine Providence for these unevangelised lands ; they saw that the opportune moment had come for the proclamation of the Gospel message amongst those needy
souls, and a deep thankfulness filled their hearts. The great forward step in the religious history of the Pathan race was taken with ardent enthusiasm : the Church Missionary Society was formally invited to make a bold extension of its Panjab Mission by undertaking work Trans - Indus at Peshawar. Over fourteen thousand rupees were collected at the meeting for the new departure, and the sum total speedily passed thirty thousand rupees. There were the indifferent, of course, as ever, the doubters, and the sneerers. One young officer, of whom more anon, was absolutely confident that the Mission had not the slightest chance amongst the Afghans without the support of his troopers. In pure mockery he subscribed " one rupee to buy a Deane & Adams revolver to protect the first missionary." But, jeer and flout as men might, God had set an open door before the lovers of the Gospel that none could shut.
The document of invitation drawn up at the meeting was sent on its way, vid the Cape of Good Hope, to the Church Missionary Society in London, and Robert Clark, having achieved the purpose of his visit to Peshawar, returned in due course to his station in the Central Panjab.The Amritsar Mission grew apace. The keen spirit of inquiry already existing among Panjabis was whetted when, in this year, the Maharajah Dhalip Singh was baptized by the Rev. W. Jay. That
event will yet be remembered to the honour of the Land of the Five Rivers. With the exception of the somewhat mythical Presbyter y-clept Prester John, and a Romanist Ziogoon or Shogun of Japan, the ex-sovereign ruler of the Panjab remains the first of his rank in Asia to accept the faith of Christ.
There had been twenty-three baptisms in Amritsar since the commencement of the Mission, and the success of the work brought Mr. Clark, in 1854, face to face with a problem fraught with vital consequences. The indigenous Christian community that now existed marked a further stage in the development of Christianity in the Panjab, and the important question that had to be solved was, What principles should obtain in the choice of a pastor for the infant Church? Mr.
Clark early realised with deep insight that the ultimate result of Christian work stood or fell according as Christianity assimilated to itself the environment of its new home or remained fettered in the trammels of Western form and fashion. The prosperity of the Church required the establishment of an indigenous pastorate at the earliest possible moment. The goal he had in mind for the Panjabi ministry was not a weak copy of men and things Western, but a great free type, instinct for the service of God with what was best in the life of the Panjab, supplemented by all that was helpful from the treasures of the West.
The wisdom of this sound policy is so manifestly advantageous, that the principle on which it is based is to-day a mere truism. All missionary organisations are in one fashion or another strenuously endeavouring to translate the idea into action. The fact was not so apparent when Kobert Clark advocated it in 1854. There was then much to give legitimate colour to the theory that the European with his superior experience and advantages, mental and spiritual, should for a
time at least fill the office of pastor. To that doctrine Mr. Clark gave a very limited assent, only admitting its force in cases of absolute necessity or in the earlier stages of work ; but he held strongly that the presence of the foreign missionary was merely an incident in the evangelisation of the land, and that the stranger would not abide for ever. Of course, much had to be done that only he could do. It was his to place the leaven in contact with the mass of the meal ;
to guide and strengthen the Church he had planted ; to be the primary factor in winning those who were in turn to conquer the bulk of their fellow-countrymen for God. But when the Church of the country was able to bear its own witness to her Lord, the foreigner's mission was accomplished, and he would pass on to other fields.
The pastor was ready to hand in the person of Daud Singh, the first Sikh baptized, to whom reference has been made in an earlier chapter. The qualifications of the first pastor testify to the foresight of Mr. Clark and his colleague, Mr. Fitzpatrick. They looked at the matter from the one true point of view, that is, the Eastern. Daud Singh knew no English, to say nothing of more recondite Latin, Greek, or Hebrew. He was lamentably deficient in the merest rudiments of education, as that term is understood in the Occident.But for all that he was equipped and gifted with
attainments of a far higher character for work amongst Panjabis. Eobert Clark was well content that his young David should go out to combat the Goliath of Heathenism armed with his sling and the stones of the brooks of the land ; the armour of the West would have been but an incumbrance as things then stood. We have seen elsewhere in these pages that men's lives in the Orient are regulated by matters that are of absolutely no moment in the West. For example,
superstition concentrates the look of the Oriental first on the personal appearance of the man with whom he has to do. Daud Singh was a Panjabi of the Panjabis, a tall, handsome Sikh, shrewd of eye, with a graceful carriage and a kindly dignity of mien. His tongue smacked broadly of the beloved homely Doric of the land. A flowing beard was not the least of his qualifications ; in fact, the possession of an adequate beard is a matter of moment in the Orient, particularly
amongst Sikhs, who reckon the cutting of a hair to be the greatest of sins. The reader may recall the classic instance where the lack of beard bade fair to wreck the embassy of Lord Exmouth to the Dey of Algiers. The wrath of the Corsair king was vehement at the insult done him in sending a beardless ambassador to his Court. " Had my King known you set such store by a beard he would have sent your Deyship a goat," retorted the intrepid Admiral.
Daud Singh was also of birth and breeding, and to a large stock of mother wit he added a good education according to Panjabi standards. He had deep experience of life : pre-eminently a man, he was fitted to deal with his virile countrymen. An ex-devotee, he was well versed in the holy books, maxims, and philosophies of the Sikhs ; he was of simple faith and transparent sincerity, and he was untiring and eloquent in fervid preaching of the Gospel. Such was Daud Singh : pleasant and seemly, with all about him in keeping with the message he had to deliver. Not only
the first Sikh baptized, but also the first Panjabi called , to the Christian ministry, he was ordained by the Bishop of Calcutta at Allahabad on the 29th of October 1854.
PIONEER WORK IN CASHMERE AND THIBET.
The narrative of 1854 again takes Robert Clark to the banks of the Indus, though not to the point at which it borders Afghanistan. The scene is now far beyond the snowy barriers of the Himalhyas, in the lands where the mighty river first begins to gather up its waters for the long course to the Arabian Sea.
The summer of 1854 found Robert Clark engaged in an exploration of Cashmere, Ladakh, Iskardo, and the contiguous portions of the Himalhyas, and of Western and Little Thibet. The expedition was the outcome of a proposal by Colonel Martin, an officer who had just retired from his command at Peshawar. The subject received much consideration from Mr. Clark.
He tells us : ― " When the time arrived at which it was necessary to make the decision, a special season was set apart for prayer in our Amritsar Mission, and the different members met together for consultation respecting it. The result was that the members of our Mission unanimously concurred in the opinion that the journey was of very great importance and ought to be undertaken." The expedition was commenced on 20th April, and its object, to quote Mr. Clark, " was to preach the Gospel in the countries beyond. ..." A secondary
object was " to see to what extent there is missionary work to be done in those countries, and how far, and in what circumstances and conditions that work may be commenced, and carried on with the greatest human probability of success."
Three Indian Christians went with Mr. Clark ― Sulaiman (Solomon), Shamaun (Simeon), and Yakub (Jacob). Sulaiman was a worker from Cawnpore, Shamaun we have already met as Kaiser Singh, and Yakub was a later Brahman convert, baptized in Amritsar. Thus early did the Amritsar converts follow their leader in perilous ways for the cause of God.
Mr. Clark had the solace of Colonel Martin's company. The Colonel's long experience in India, combined with his passionate devotion to the missionary cause, made him a much valued guide and friend in the journeyings through the wild lands of High Asia. A great interest attaches to the travels, because Mr. Clark was among the first Europeans, at all events in modern times, to traverse these countries, then practically unknown to the West. They were virgin soil for
evangelisation ; in no period of the world's history had the Gospel been preached in them.
Mr. Clark took his way northward through Sialkot, evangelising as he went. The British border was crossed at Aknur. The route then lay through the territories of Eajouri and Punch to the kingdom of Cashmere, and the "Happy Valley" was entered on 20th May. Gulab Singh, sovereign ruler of Cashmere, accorded a hearty reception to Mr. Clark, and showed him many tokens of his goodwill. Mr. Clark did not ask for any leave to evangelise. He deemed it best to feel his way quietly, and then begin to preach. The course was a sound one. No existing obligation made it incumbent to seek permission ; to do so, therefore, was to concede a right that did not exist, and thus to establish a wrong precedent; while refusal of the request would have meant a false position, and the creation of a situation
of extreme delicacy.
It was a principle with Robert Clark to lay the message he had brought to a land before the great men of it at the earliest opportunity. This course gave rulers and nobles their rightful position amongst their people. It was good policy ; but, policy apart, Mr. Clark, while preaching the news of the Kingdom to the poor, was not forgetful of the needs of the rich. His interviews with Maharajah Gulab Singh will concern us later, Mr. Clark's frank sincerity and statesmanship won
Gulab Singh's confidence. He turned a deaf ear to those who sought to rouse his antagonism against the work Mr. Clark had in hand. He had heard the message, he had seen the man, and both were alike good. " Let be," caustically observed the Maharajah ; " my people are so vile, no man can make them worse. I am curious to see whether the gentleman's preaching can do them any good."
On his way through the Happy Valley to " The Roof of the World," as men call Thibet, Mr. Clark gave great heed to beautiful Cashmere. There, as throughout his long wanderings, he was indefatigable, together with his comrades, in evangelising by word and by the distribution of books. Two inquirers came to him in Srinagar, the capital of the kingdom. With characteristic insight he was quick to mark others touched and " eminently qualified to teach and exert much influence over" their countrymen. The land lay before him full of endless opportunities, and, turn where lie would, lie found great encouragement. He remarks : " Many most pleasing opportunities have been given for conversations. Frequently on the carpet in the native house, or under the magnificent plane tree with the most delightful prospects of wood and valley and snow-peaked mountains and streams of water on every side, we have sat cross-legged on the ground, and talked and listened, and gone away with every cause for the greatest joy."
In due course the sterile ways that led into Western Thibet were entered upon. The marches had been trying, the ways dangerous. There had been savage torrents to ford, rope bridges to cross, and the miseries of what Mr. Clark calls "the very worst road I was ever on." Ponies fell down precipices, or went through the planking of mouldering bridges. " In other places," remarks Mr. Clark, " we had to pass over great slanting beds of snow, one of which seemed to me the most dangerous place in the journey. It was inclined at an angle of about 54°, and terminated in the river, which it overhung, the river having cut it away, leaving a perpendicular wall about five feet high just over the torrent. The road was cut across this bed of snow, and was a little path about six inches broad, of course very slippery : the sloping snow, quite hard, was above and below, and the least slip would therefore have been the commencement of a slide which would probably have terminated in the foaming river below." This was all, however, a mere preliminary, and not to be spoken of with what awaited the travellers. The really serious part of the way was to come, with the scaling of the grand backbone of the mountains, and the perils of the journey beyond.
The lofty Himalhyan passes of Seojila, Namikar, and Photola were successively surmounted ; only one life was lost in these dangerous and arduous journeyings; and Mr. Clark now entered Khachan-pa, or Snowland, as the old Chinese travellers call Ladakh and the Lhassan kingdom of Thibet. As he passed from land to land, Mr. Clark delivered the message of God, and he had ready entrance and welcome among Hindu and Moslem residents, and amidst the Buddhists, who form the vast mass of the peoples of these regions; for he was tactful in manner, sympathetic of heart, and the law of kindness was in his tongue.
Throughout this tour, his preaching was formulated on a carefully considered plan. His object was to proclaim the Gospel, so that it should have free course in many lands amongst people widely divergent in race and religion, and it is instructive to note the principles which guided him. They are best explained in his own words. " We have endeavoured
to avoid as much as possible all mention of the existing religions ; and have only stated our opinion when expressly called upon to do so. We have also abstained from argument and controversy as much as possible. Our simple object has been to make plain statements of the Gospel, and to set before the people the fundamental doctrines of our religion in such a manner as would be most likely to inform their understandings, and then to call upon them to use every effort to investigate the truth, and to attain to everlasting life according to the revealed will of God. The uncertainty of life and the certainty of death, the contrast between heaven and hell, between realities and vanities, between eternity and time, constitute "the stimulating arguments which make this all-important duty imperative on all men. As messengers of God, it would seem that our simple duty is to deliver our message faithfully, and even authoritatively, as a direct communication and command of God to them, and then to leave all results and consequences, of whatever kind, in the hands of Him whose work it is we are endeavouring to perform. We do not, therefore, state at once why it is so, or how it is so, but simply that it is so. Its truth rests upon the truth of the Word of God. If the latter be true, then is the former true also, however difficult or incomprehensible it may seem to men. When this is stated, the proofs, the credentials of its truth, the reasons why we know the Bible to be the Word of God, must then be forthcoming when we are called upon to declare them."
The lands traversed, their peoples and the things pertaining to them, and even their fauna and flora, were subjected to close and systematic study. Nothing in the natural features and capabilities of a country or the condition of its people seems to have been overlooked, and all things were passed under review from the point of possible missionary effort. As the result, Mr. Clark judged the time to be ripe for missions in Ladakh, and he refers thus to the matter in a communication to the Church Missionary Society : ―
" I will tell you what my thoughts are about it, reserving to myself a right to alter my opinion whenever just reasons should appear for doing so. We will begin with the principle that the Gospel must be preached here. The only question, therefore, that remains is, how, and when, is it to be preached ? We may again simplify these two questions by removing the latter which I have stated ; for the experience of all will prove that there is no time like the present for doing anything that has to be done. It can be done, and therefore it should be done, now. Humanly speaking, there is not any outward obstacle of any kind apparent to prevent the Word of God being preached in any part of the country ― I mean in Western and Middle Thibet ; for I believe there are obstacles down towards Lhassa. The question, ' When is it to be preached ? ' may therefore be at once answered by the ready reply, ' Now ! ' " There is now in Thibet a most important, and, as it would seem, an effectual opening for the Gospel to be preached wherever the Church of Christ, or the emissaries of that Church, are willing to do it. The only question, therefore, that remains, is. How ? How is it to be begun and carried out ? The missionary to Thibet must be, it seems, exclusively for Thibet. It would be desirable, if not necessary, for him to live almost permanently in the country, or at any rate to remain in it until he is turned out. The latter is not, however, at all a probable event; yet we must still remember that here are no English laws, and a native rule is always different from an English one. I do not mention this, however, to place a difficulty in the way ― far from it. I do not think it is a difficulty ; nor do I see the slightest reason in the world why English Missions should be confined to
countries under English government. We are commanded to preach everywhere : we can do so here, and therefore must. We have nothing to do with results and consequences, but we must obey commands.
" I do not see any reason ― but I speak with very imperfect knowledge ― why missionaries to Thibet should be men of very great talent. I should say that the people are, for the most part, ignorant. There is neither Mahommedanism nor Hinduism to grapple with ; and Buddhism has here, perhaps, no more hold on the inhabitants than a superstitious fear and dread of what they have been accustomed to reverence ; the same, probably, as that which existed in the South Sea Islands, or on the West Coast of Africa. Pious, simple, plain, straightforward missionaries would probably suit this people, while brilliant talents would find much more scope in India, or Persia, or China. The missionaries, however, here must be men capable of enduring hardness, and some fatigue and cold ; for most of the country is more than ten thousand or twelve thousand feet high, and the winter is no doubt sufficiently severe.
"A missionary here will, of course, under the present state of affairs, have no English society, except for a few weeks in the summer, when English officers are passing through. The necessaries of life, however, are cheap and plentiful ; and we can get mutton, vegetables, China tea from Yarkund, woollen cloths, firewood, bread, eggs, fowls, butter, milk, and fruit, especially apricots, etc., very good, and for very little money. The climate, too, is dry, and seemingly as healthy as any climate could possibly be, and the people seem strong and healthy. They seem to be a very simple, obliging, nice set of people ; very ignorant, but always ready to hear. The lamas, too, are exceedingly ignorant, but they can generally read; indeed, I do not think we have met with any who cannot spell out his words. I cannot but think that there would be every encouragement for missionaries devoted to their work, and who simply desired the present and eternal welfare of the inhabitants,"
The famous city of Leh, or Ladakh, was reached on the 24 th of July. During his stay there, Mr. Clark very carefully collected information about the far cities of Kashgar and Yarkand. He notes : ― " No people seem to be excluded from Yarkund but Europeans. If any of the latter were to penetrate to Yarkund, they say that the people would make a considerable disturbance, and turn them out, but would not kill them. The reason of their exclusiveness is that they are; afraid that the English will come and take their country. The Yarkundis who gave the above information say they do not know that any European has ever been there ; but they remember that when they were boys a report one day flew through the city that there was an Englishman hid in one of the houses. They described the running about of officials in every direction, to see whether or not it really were so, but they did not know what the result was.
" I tried hard to get one of them to take a Persian New Testament, with my salaam, as a present to the Alum Akhun [head of the Moslem theocracy], but he quite shrank from the idea. He said he was almost afraid to speak to him, much less to take so great a liberty. He said that the people were so opposed to us, that whenever they asked him at Yarkund whether he had seen any sahibs, he invariably said that he had not, to free himself from their unpleasant observations,
which such a statement would produce. He even denied having seen any of us, much more, therefore, concealed what we had said. After a little, however, we succeeded in putting a Mizan-ul-Haqq and a Persian Gospel into the hands of the second one of them, which he said he might perhaps give to some mullah at Yarkund; and on leaving the tent he thrust them into his breast out of the reach of all observation. We cannot tell what the result of even these two books may be, should they ever reach Yarkund."
On 17th August the crossing of another snowy pass took Mr. Clark into the fastnesses of Little Thibet. In the territory of the Khoppali Raja, he describes the national game of Chaughan ― now universally known as Polo. The return to Srinagar on the way homewards to the distant Panjab was safely accomplished by 9th September.
The story of Mr. Clark's travels is replete with interest. We may here, however, only note three great missionary outcomes : two fall immediately under our purview, the third will concern us later. During this tour Robert Clark first conceived the idea of a great chain of Missions extending from the Panjab along and beyond the British borders into Central Asia and China. The achievement of this chain of Missions marching with the frontiers became thenceforward one great aim of his life, to be steadfastly pursued. In this connection, Mr. Clark was prompt to urge the need for the Scriptures in the various vernaculars. He observes : "A most important consideration at the present time has reference to the work of translations, and it is one which forcibly presents itself to the notice of all friends to Missions in the north of India. In the countries immediately surrounding us there are four languages spoken, all of which are but very imperfectly, or not at all, known ta Europeans, viz., Gurmukhi, Pushtu, Kashmiri, and Thibetian. The translations must, it would seem, be made. They are indispensable for the effectual carrying out of missionary work in three countries, and it is probable that very few months would elapse before they could obtain free admittance into the fourth. But, at any rate, it would appear that it is an absolute necessity that someone should be sent out at once from home for this especial work. The work is great, and it is still almost uncommenced."
Independently of missionaries appointed expressly for the Panjab, he urged the despatch of other missionaries to labour for the countries beyond the British boundaries. " These countries, it is true, are not under our own Government," he writes, " nor can any place in them be occupied as yet by an European as a permanent residence. But this does not present any real obstacle to the missionary's labours. We may, and can, act in all these countries, both directly and indirectly, without any permanent occupation of them. From the advanced frontier posts of the Panjab they may be con-
stantly visited ; and at any rate, in some of them, as in Kashmir, and I believe also in Thibet, the missionary may remain as long almost as he will. Such frontier stations ought therefore to be supplied with additional labourers for this especial work ; or they might perhaps be placed there in such numbers, that some might at any rate be able ― without crippling the local efforts of the Mission ― to advance anywhere, wherever an important opening might present itself. Such persons would be- come masters of the languages spoken in the countries, and not only undertake journeys in them ― which may be sometimes long in duration, and to far-distant places ― but they would be ready prepared to establish missions in advance of all present ones, whenever the time might arrive for doing so. The opening in the Panjab
seems to be important not only with regard to itself, but also with regard to Afghanistan, Persia, Kashmir, Thibet, and China ; and we may even add, with regard to India itself."
The second outcome of these memorable wanderings was a source of the greatest thankfulness to Mr. Clark. Darkness brooded impenetrable in the lands of his sojourn, but he had the joy of seeing the day break in those far ends of the earth. That great people of God, the Moravian Brethren, were stirred up to occupy the land in Christ's name. Through the influence and liberality of Colonel Martin, they established the parent station of their widespread Western Thibetan Mission in the Himalhyan valley of Lahoul.
Robert Clark had done what he had gone forth to do ; and now he once more quietly settled down again to his work at Amritsar. But it was not for long.
The waning year brought the reply of the authorities of the Church Missionary Society to the invitation sent from Peshawar at the close of 1853. They heartily responded to the call to go forward. Mr. Clark was assigned to the Mission he had promoted in its initial stages. Peshawar was to be his headquarters, and the Afghan people his cure. The veteran Pfander, king amongst missionaries to Moslems, was transferred from Agra to the work amongst Pathans. Colonel
Martin had by this time definitely joined the ranks of the Church Missionary Society as a lay missionary. The new Afghan Mission had owed more to him than to any other one man while he was an officer at Peshawar, and it was greatly strengthened by his appointment to its staff".
APOSTLE TO THE AFGHANS.
TN the beginning of 1855, Robert Clark again crossed the Indus, this time as an apostle to the Afghans. We get a glimpse of his feelings in the following letter, written at that time : ―
" I am sure you will congratulate me in my preferment in having been appointed to Peshawar, the frontier Mission, and the nearest to the untouched fields of Central Asia. This is indeed an honour and a privilege. I shall again have the distinction of walking in the apostle's steps, who sought to preach the Gospel, not where Christ was named, but to those
to whom He had not been spoken of, and not building on any other man's foundation. At Amritsar we were not the first in the field, as the Americans had been there before us. At Peshawur everything is as yet untouched : no missionary, to do any work, has as yet crossed the Indus, beyond which all our work will lie, and we shall be separated by that river from all India, and have to look forward to the stillness of death. I think, if you look upon the map, and take Peshawur as a centre, you may draw a very great part of a circle without going near any missionary field, and you may extend the radius to almost any length without tres-passing on any man's labours. To the North you may go, I think, almost to the Arctic Ocean ; to the East, almost to the Five Seaports of China; to the West, almost to Europe, that is, through the whole length of Asia, and pretty nearly the whole breadth of it, without meeting with any fellow-labourers. You will see, then, the position in which we are placed. I need only say that I feel utterly unfit for the post, and only go because I am sent. However, if you will help me with your prayers, perhaps some little use will be made even of me : otherwise, I shall not do much. You will, I am sure, not forget me in that way, although removed from you all even farther than before. Indeed, that is the very reason, I am sure, why you will wish the more to assist me, and the best way, and almost the only way, you can do so is by prayer. . . ."
The founding of the Afghan Mission made the translation of the Word of God into the vernacular an urgent matter, and in this connection a truly remarkable providence falls to be noted. In the dark days when missions were barely accorded a precarious toleration under the British flag in India, the mighty faith of Carey foresaw the time when, from the surf- beaten shores of Cape Comorin to the snows of the Himalhya, from the Bay of Bengal to the Arabian Sea, the Word of God would have free course through the length and breadth of the land, and the messengers of the Cross would run to and fro, none daring to make them afraid. He would not live to see that day, but his spirit greeted it, and he made his inheritance secure in it : with incredible labour and enterprise the Serampore missionaries translated the Holy Scriptures into the many tongues of the fast-closed lands of the North, and, amongst others, in 1818, the Pentateuch was rendered into the Pukhtu.
As we have seen, the long night at last gave place to the dawn of day for the Afghan race, but alas the book could no longer be found. It had perished under the mordant tooth of time. All search proved unavailing. Then Herbert Edwardes remembered that he had seen a copy, in 1848, in the possession of Muhummud Ali Khan, chief of the Sunda tribe of Pathans, in the far Derajat. The book had been given to the aged chieftain, decades before, by a missionary at Hardwar, in India, and he had preserved it most carefully from " flood and fire," because of a secret conviction that one day the British sway would extend to his land, and he would then produce it. The British had come, the door was open, and the young District Officer was now Chief Commissioner of the Frontier. He despatched a special messenger on the long journey to the Khan at Kolachi, in Derajat, with a Persian Bible in exchange for the Pukhtu version. The old chief had died the day before its arrival, but he had lived long enough to preserve for the Afghan race the one copy of the
Scripture extant in Pukhtu. In Oriental phrase, " Allah Ho Akbar "―Great is God !
The establishment of the Mission synchronised with remarkable developments in Frontier politics. During the winter of 1854, our old enemy, Dost Muhummud of Cabul, sought an alliance with the British. A few days after the arrival of the missionaries, also, the historic frontier city saw a significant sight. Sir John Lawrence and Hyder Ali, son of the Durrani sovereign, concluded a treaty of friendship on behalf of the contracting powers, A writer of the day notes : ― "Thus the first Christian Mission to Afghanistan is opened simultaneously with an alliance with Afghanistan, sought for by the people of that country themselves. ' Dull,' writes an officer in high authority, ' must be the understanding of him who sees no significance in this coincidence ― no token from above that the Lord has purposes of mercy towards that country.' "
We have a picture of the colleagues at Peshawar from the pen of Mr. Phelps, a Chaplain of the East India Company. " A better selection of men for this important post could hardly have been made. Mr. Pfander brought to bear upon the important task that lies before the Mission a considerable store of learning, great linguistic attainments, and most winning presence and manner ; Mr. Clark, many years his junior, great missionary promise, combined with a singular devotedness, a most unwearied industry ; Colonel Martin, an indomitable zeal and activity ; and they all seemed endowed with the courage needed by all those whose work lies amongst the most fanatical of the followers of Mahommed."
The missionaries set actively to work. The broad principles which had governed the initial operations at Amritsar were adapted to the new conditions at Peshawar. Mr. Clark's first care was thoroughly to study the country, its history, and its language and tribes. The people were bold, and must be resolutely met ; their teachers and leaders were men of learning ; he must master their holy books, philosophies and song, and, while he entered fully into his present field, he developed a close touch with the regions beyond the Frontier. The policy he formulated can be stated in his own words. "This Mission will be one not of defence, but of attack ― an outpost of Indian Missions carrying the Gospel into the midst of a hostile enemy, and bearing on Persia and Central Asia, which must also soon be unlocked. In the present time we must, I think, be no longer contented with small things, but expect great things ; and indeed, whether we expect them or not, I am convinced that they are at hand, and that perhaps the most sanguine will find his expectations below the reality of that which they will shortly see."
How shall the new religion take high ground in the minds of the people? This was the pressing question. Mr. Clark's insight saw that the key to the position lay in education. Peshawar was a learned city, a seat of great religious authority, to which questions were constantly referred for authoritative decision from Cabul itself, and the Mission would therefore at once win respect if the public mind associated it with teaching. The first step in the war of God against Afghanistan was taken on the 14th May 1855, 'vvhen Mr. Clark opened a high school. Prudence would seem to have demanded for the new venture some safe spot within the British lines, where, free from molestation, the work would take root in security, and in natural course expand as the people became familiarised with the missionary and his objects. Robert Clark, however, was far too astute to be misled by such superficial considerations. The institution was
not to be buried in the cantonments or in a corner of the Mission compound. Christianity had come to take possession, and the school was to be in evidence, a witness in itself. Its place, therefore, was not to be in obscurity, however safe that might be ; the flag must fly in the heart of the enemy's land ; and, despite the perils of that deadly city, the school was established' in its midst. Moreover, the object in view required that the institution should not, except for the moment, be housed in a hired building, dependent on alien kindness and an uncertain toleration. That were in itself a
confession of weakness. The new departure must have all the prestige that would attach to the ownership of its own premises, and accordingly a handsome school was rapidly erected in a commanding position. Matters such as these count for much in the East, though but few foreigners realise their importance. Robert Clark at once grasped the course best calculated to show the Pathan mind by evidence it could appreciate, that tbe new religion in their midst was
powerful, permanent, worthy of the best consideration. As Herbert Edwardes wrote at the time : " Mr. Clark's exertions in the discouraging task of beginning a school on missionary principles in a Mahommedan city have been very great indeed, and have been rewarded with more success than could reasonably have been expected."
A few weeks after the commencement, Mr. Clark was able to report : ― " Our school, not yet two months old, has some ninety pupils in regular attendance, of every country within our reach. We have one representative from Georgia, or rather whose family is from that country ; some from the wandering Tartar tribes above Persia ; several from Persia and from different parts of Cabul ; whilst many of the people from the neighbouring mountains, and other tribes who have come here to learn at the feet of the Mullahs, also attend the different classes. There are Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Armenian Christians, both Sunni and Sheah Mohammedans, and many Hindus. Many of the scholars are grown-up men, and some of them are from the very best families in the city ; so that the school has already assumed a place of importance in missionary work."
In a letter dated 14th July, he continues, concerning the school : ― " Forty -five of these scholars are in the English School, and aflford sometimes hopes of their really learning something by which they may be partakers of truth and pardon through Him of whom they have been hitherto altogether ignorant. I have been much pleased lately with the altered appearance of some of them ; their whole manner and character seems changing, and not only do they seem to be laying hold of and appropriating what they learn, but also to be a different class of beings from the rough, ignorant, and wild creatures they were before ; some of them actually speak the truth sometimes, and some I hope generally ;
a virtue seemingly unknown in Peshawur, when it militates against apparent advantage. I have been also much surprised and gratified to find the boys themselves, and one or two of the masters, support a poor scholar, who is, or rather was, a workman before, and who has not the least claim upon them. It came out quite accidentally the other day that they raise a subscription monthly for him ; one or two give Is. each, and others 6d. or 3d., in order to allow the poor man time for his studies, and yet to procure his daily food. There is another boy who came from Bunnoo, who I rather think is also privately helped by some of them, which speaks well for them."
Preaching was from the first regularly carried on n the bazaars of the cantonment. Despite the urgency of some warm friends of the Mission, the colleagues waited for some months before they began to preach in the city. They felt that the foundation-stone of Christ's Kingdom amongst the Afghans would ultimately be the better laid for the delay ; and what a day that was when Dr. Pfander and Mr. Clark first published the Oospel in the streets of murderous Peshawar !
Large crowds habitually attended the preaching- places. Special honour was always shown to any Khan or great man who attended the preaching. He was given a chair, which is reckoned a high distinction, and was very properly made much of. Sometimes a frantic Afghan would literally foam at the mouth with rage, and insults might be shouted or filth thrown ; or, again, the infuriated mob with violent threatenings would shout, " La ilia il Allah Muhummud Easul Allah" (There is no God but God, and Muhummud is the Prophet of God). The effect of such a cry, like the roaring of a troubled sea, is described by an officer as "most terrific." Ordinarily, however, and contrary to all expectation, the preachers were heard with patient attention. Dr. Pfander reported at the time : ―
" Many of our friends, knowing the character of the people, thought it dangerous to preach in the city, and felt rather uneasy about it, but, through God's mercy and help, all has gone on well hitherto. Neither have any tumults taken place, nor has any injury or serious insult been offered to us, and the preaching has at least had the effect of making our work known, not only in the city, but in the villages and places and countries around, through those who have heard us, and seen the strange and novel sight, to them, of having the Gospel preached in the streets of Peshawur."
The subject matter at these preachings is worthy of note. Some advise, in the first instance, a whittling down of Christian truths to approximate them as far as may be to the prejudices of non-Christian faiths. Others again would, among Moslems, advocate a certain reticence concerning the facts of the Trinity and the Divinity of our Lord. But Robert Clark shrank with abhorrence from any such methods. It was not for him to try to broaden the narrow gate or
do away with the offence of the Cross. Meekly, gently, lovingly, he hesitated not to declare the whole counsel
of God, whether men heard or whether they forbore. He addressed himself to his high duty with "no wisdom of words," firmly "resolved to know nothing save Jesus Christ and Him crucified." The Divinity and Sonship of Christ, His Incarnation and Atonement, were from the first freely declared to that violent and barbarous people, the Gospel being
preached in its fulness and simplicity. Then, as ever, the Cross was to some foolishness, to others a stumbling-block. That Islam or the Quran should be called in question was almost more than those frantic Moslems could endure. Direct attacks, even when provoked by questions, were avoided. Those who desired to discuss were invited to the Mission, or promised a visit at their own homes should they so prefer. The colleagues observe : ― " It would seem almost an impossibility for a Mahommedan of these parts to embrace the despised religion of Jesus Christ. There is a firm determination stamped on the countenance, a confidence of faith that seems never to have known a doubt, an indifference to and ignorance of every other feeling, that would lead the observer to exclaim, ' Can these dry bones live ? ' But the eye of faith sees more than the outward view. At God's command even these shall live, for with God
nothing is impossible ; and, doubtless, before the great white throne there shall stand many, even of men like these, redeemed from among men by the blood of the Lamb." Thus, without exciting violence, both teaching and preaching were introduced into that ultra-Muhummudan city by the colleagues. The Chief Commissioner observes : " That alone is a victory. Every day accustoms the people to the innovation ; and soon it will seem no more strange to them that Christian doctrines should be openly taught among them, than that Hindus are worshipping idols and no true Moslem breaking them. The first step is the difiiculty in these matters. After that, it is impossible that the presence of really good men, Europeans without European pride, and with all European knowledge, mixing with the natives on kindly terms, teaching their children better than they could be taught elsewhere, and radiating generally the genial influence of Christian goodwill towards all men, should not succeed in softening angry feeling, dispersing prejudice, attracting curiosity and inquiry, and winning a large amount of humanity and respect."
A great deal was done by means of visits paid and received. The distribution of books was also largely carried out. The Oriental, as we have already mentioned, has a great reverence for the printed page, because perchance the Divine Name is upon it. In addition to a large general circulation, copies of Dr. Pfander's well-known works were sent to chiefs and
leaders in religion. The colleagues report : ― " The books were variously received : some sent in return their kind and respectful salaam ; others simply returned the books ; and the first among them, a man famous among his people for his learning and devotion, returned them with the following characteristic note, written in Arabic : ' To the renowned Priest, the Padre-Sahib, Dr. Pfander ― The books on religious controversy you sent me for perusal I return herewith, without having read them. The great God has placed us firmly on the right way, and our knowledge is solid truth, established by reason and revelation, and by external and internal proofs, and we have no wish whatever to call our religion in question. What have we therefore to do with false books, belonging to such a people as have turned from the right way, and in behalf of whom it is said (in the Quran), "God has sealed up their hearts, and a veil is over their eyes " ? And again it is said, "Theirs is a severe punishment for what they have forged ; " and, further, " For them is their religion, and for us is our religion." To write more there is no need : for the wise, a hint is enough. ― Hafiz Mohammed Azim, Waiz.'" Hafiz was his title as a reciter by heart of the Quran, and Waiz his office as preacher.
Mr. Clark had studied with such diligence, that by the end of the year he was able to preach with great fluency to the Pathans in their own tongue. To him also belongs the honour of publishing the first Christian work in the Pukhtu language.
The close of this eventful year found the Mission firmly established. Not only had there been no opposition, but here, too, as at Amritsar, the harvest followed quick on the sowing. There were three baptisms during the year. The first man to be baptized was a Syud, or descendant of Muhummud, from Central Asia. He was a merchant, of mature age, a man of education and polish, and held in high esteem alike for his sacred descent and personal worth. While on pilgrimage at Mecca, he was taught of God in a dream that he must follow Christ, and he set out to learn the truth more fully from Dr. Pfander, whom he found in Peshawar. Haji Syud Muhummud Yahya Baqar there professed the faith with great joy and boldness. A few days afterwards he was murderously assaulted by a Pathan, sore wounded, and left for dead ; but he
recovered, with the loss of two fingers. He afterwards returned to his distant home in Central Asia ; where he held fast by the faith of Christ, and witnessed for Him amongst his own bigoted people. He had wonderful escapes and adventures, but despite Moslem fury he lived the full tale of his days, and years afterwards fell asleep while on a trading venture at Shikarpur, in Sindh. It was the writer's privilege in 1902 to instruct an Afghan gentleman, a relative of the Amir, in the truths of Christianity. This Afghan said that he had as a lad seen the Haji reciting Christian truth in the streets of Cabul, where none dared to molest him ; for the command was, " Touch him not ; the hand of God is on him." A notable convert, Dilawar Khan, followed later in sequence of time. He was the first Afghan to be baptized from the vicinity of Peshawar, Mr. Fitzpatrick being the officiating minister. He had been a famous brigand, a terror to the countryside for years, but eventually entered the famed regiment of the Guides, and rapidly rose to the highest rank open to him, that of Subhadar, or centurion. He was a rigid Moslem. The truth of Christ, however, laid hold of his heart, and he, who among even his fanatical people would have seemed to be the least likely to serve the Prince of Peace, was the first to bow the neck to His yoke. A number of Afghans banded themselves together, as certain of the Jews did against Paul, " and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink until they had killed" Dilawar Khan ; but that tough old warrior recked naught of such trifles. " Pray you that my faith fail not," said he to his friends the missionaries ; and he grimly added, " As for my head, my hand will keep that well enough." He went about as usual, stout of heart and quick of eye, a perfect walking arsenal of weapons To the stranger who approached, his greeting was, " An ye be a friend, bide where you are ; if an enemy, come on ! " The avengers of Islam had to be absolved from their vow ; old Dilawar, or " The Valiant Chief," as his name signifies, was too hard a nut to crack.
Years afterwards, the Governor-General, Lord Mayo, had a delicate matter of statecraft to adjust with the Amir of Cabul, and the man chosen from all broad India for this mission was the Christian Subhadar, Dilawar Khan. He started from Peshawar for Cabul in the depth of winter. The passes were bad enough in any case at this season, but the ruler of Chitral, by treachery, lured him into yet more dangerous paths. When the Subhadar regained the proper road he was stricken by mortal sickness, but he gallantly kept on his way till the sands of life ran out. He lay down to die in the deep snows of the mountain passes a few days' march from Cabul, and delivered his despatches intact to his escort to take back to Peshawar. His farewell was, " Say to the Commissioner I went as far as man could go ; I could fare no farther, for the hand of God was on me. I am glad to die a good soldier of the Queen. I die also a true soldier of Jesus Christ."
Then he turned in the snow, and covered his face. As the months sped, Robert Clark's thoughts turned to the villages that dot the plain of Peshawar, and evangelistic tours were undertaken in various directions. The Afghans are above all things hospitable ; the guest is sacred, his privileges are great and many ; each village has its hujrah, or guest-house. In these things Mr. Clark saw a potent engine for furthering the Gospel amongst the rural Pathans. The importance of a fixed preaching-place in the city was also realised, and in time the " Martin Chapel "occupied a site, the best in Peshawar for the purpose.
Colonel Martin was the first layman in the Panjab to join the Church Missionary Society. Robert Clark was greatly impressed, as the result of Peshawar experience, by the value of the work that could be done by an unordained missionary, and the development of such agencies became a fixed principle with him in Mission policy. In the local report the colleagues observe of Colonel Martin : ―
" The erection of our Chapel in the city, and its adjoining room, the new buildings of the school, the purchase of the residences of the missionaries and of the station chapel, the distribution of the alms to the poor, and searching out separately each deserving case, the procuring funds for the publication of Dr. Pfander's works, the establishment of the general library, the whole correspondence of the Mission, and the management of the accounts, are some of the labours in which he is engaged. In the necessary absence of the missionaries from Peshawar, he has supplied their places in the school, and has accompanied the catechists to preach. The happy results of the association of a lay missionary with ordained ones has thus been witnessed ; and the Mission may serve as an example of what may be done by Christian laymen in direct missionary labours."
With the further progress of the work, the question as to how he might best get in touch with his parishioners increasingly pressed on Mr. Clark's mind. The one adequate solution, to his thinking, was to quit the British quarters, and live among the Pathans, within the walls of the city itself. But was that feasible ?
The Frontier is yet on occasion none too safe, even in such places as the cantonments at Peshawar. Vigilant watch and ward is incessant. On a dark night, with a nervous sentry at the charge, it is well to obviate the risk of swelliog the tale of regrettable incidents by a prompt reply to the challenge. In the days of which we write, Europeans literally carried
their lives in their hand. They went armed, and under military escort. The city and country were extremely dangerous. In the cantonments, though there was a measure of protection, every house was under the care of its own armed watchman.
Night and day the unceasing tramp of sentinels, patrols, and guards was borne on the ear. They shot at sight, but, despite all that could be done, only assured a moderate safety against an enemy of reckless valour, malignant in ferocity and cunning. Scarce a day passed without an alarm or an attack. Dropping shots or a regular fusillade would arouse the residents in the depth of the night. They turned over to slumber again as unconcernedly as if the rifle reports were but the serenading of so many cats. It was only the guard engaged with some Afghan marauder or assassin ; he might be killed or captured, or the honours might be divided, and he get off scot free ; they would hear all about it soon enough, in the morning. Even in the daytime the vicinity of the cantonments was not without hazard. On one occasion Sir John Lawrence and Colonel Edwardes, driving under a strong escort, were greatly startled to find Mr. Clark a few hundred yards beyond cantonment limits. He was enjoying a quiet stroll, unarmed and unaccompanied, as was his wont. They rated him soundly on his rashness, insisted on taking him back to safety in their carriage, and were not satisfied until he promised to be more careful in the future. They had reason ; murders of Europeans by shooting and stabbing were of frequent occurrence. Instances could be given in lamentable abundance, but one may suffice. A young lieutenant, Mr. Hands, was shot while riding with a lady in the vicinity of the cantonments. His head and hands were severed from the body, the horses were stolen, and the lady, frantic with horror, after wandering about all day, eventually reached the cantonments in a dazed condition.
Mr. Clark had his own share of peril. One day he sat at a table in school engaged in the usual teaching. As an Afghan approached to present a petition, a sharp-eyed schoolboy caught the gleam of the long dagger, naked in the folds of his belt. He promptly warned the teacher by a look, for the exigency did not admit of words. Refusing the petition, Mr. Clark moved slightly backwards ; the knife was hurled at him and cut his waistcoat, and the man fled. The affair was
one of moments.
On another occasion, Mr. Clark was travelling under escort towards Bunnu with Captain Minchin. They marched by night, because of the heat. At a halt, the straying of one of his camels hindered Mr. Clark from marching at the usual hour. The friends dined together, and at ten at night Captain Minchin went on, while Mr. Clark stayed to allow of a search for the truant, hoping to rejoin his companion at the morning halt. They never met again, however. Captain
Minchin was shot by his own escort within an hour of leaving camp.
Obviously it was no light matter for any European, let alone a missionary, to make the experiment of residing within the walls of Peshawar. Sweet reasonableness was a ruling feature of the solid bed-rock of Robert Clark's character. It preserved him from both the forms of folly, widely divergent though they be, that are peculiarly apt to beset the endeavours of Christians in the service of God, and from them the wreck of many a good cause has resulted. There was no trace in him of that soulless calculation of chances, sadly miscalled caution, that hesitates in abject doubt, when the call of God is to go forward, ― his was no timid, laggard heart that could not enter into the promises " because of unbelief." On the other hand, he was equally free from the harebrained temerity that, under the specious guise of faith, tempts Providence, ― he was not of the number of those who " run though they have not been sent," and "so fall by the way."
After judicious ponderings on the question in all its bearings, he was convinced that it was feasible to live in the city, and therefore, as circumstances stood, it must be done. The problem now was, Where should he place his home?
In the early centuries of our era, Peshawar was the capital of the great Buddhist empire of King Kanishka. It was a holy city of far renown in the Buddhist world, because of the stupa wherein was enshrined that precious relic, the begging bowl of Buddha. Vast numbers of pilgrims from all Buddhist lands thronged the city to worship at that glory of the Buddhist world, the stupa. It was encircled by an extensive Buddhist rail of wondrous workmanship, wrought in pure gold, and a vast monastery, or vihara, surrounded the shrine. The piety of the king and the munificence of the pilgrims made the buildings and all connected with them of the best. Scarcely inferior in sanctity to the begging bowl itself was a mighty Bodhi drum, or tree of Buddha, even in those days a thing of great age. Ten centuries later, Baber's march to
the conquest of India brought him to Peshawar. He visited "the famous great tree of Begram." The stupa was gone ; but his memoirs give a graphic account of the immense quantities of human hair with which the cells of the vihara were bestrewn. It came from the heads of countless pilgrims, who, in pursuance of their vows, had their locks shorn at this holy place.
In the East, with changes of religion, the holy places of the old faiths continue their reign uninterruptedly, under the auspices of the new. This rule is universal. The Kaaba at Mecca, for instance, the central spot of Islam to-day, was the holy place of the Arabs " in the days of darkness," as Moslems call the period of pre-Muhummudan idolatry. The erst-
while resort of the Buddhist world in like manner was now the place of pilgrimage of rejuvenated Hinduism. In Baber's day all memory of dead and gone Buddhism was already lost ; but tradition, with the undying tenacity of the East, called the old vihara, Gorkhatri, the grave of the Kshatriya, or Eajput, the warrior caste from which the princely line of Buddha had sprung.
When, centuries later, Robert Clark acquired it to make it the citadel of Christian operations amongst the Afghans, it was still known as the Gorkhatri. The choice was dictated by sound principles. The Gorkhatri was the most prominent object in Peshawar. Quartered in it, Christianity was emphatically in visible evidence. It stood on the highest ground in the city, and was therefore in the most healthy situation possible. It was neither crowded in by other buildings nor over-
looked ; it was open on all sides to the free play of the breeze ; and the surface and deep drainage flowed away from it. There was ample room in the valuable building for present work and future developments, and it had this manifest advantage also that the Gorkhatri was famous throughout the country. Strangers could easily find their way to the missionary without incurring the suspicion and hostility inseparable from inquiries as to his whereabouts. In going to live in the city, Mr. Clark had no intention of shortening his days by trying to live after the manner of a native of the land. He planned, altered, and built with a primary regard to health. The external surroundings of the new residence were dealt with in the same methodical way as the internal arrangements. Mr. Clark's principle was to let nothing be wasted. Order, beauty, utility were carefully considered. A garden was laid out, open spaces were planted with suitable trees and shrubs, and the refreshment and advantages that trees bring in the East were thus secured. The compounds of Europeans in India often present a picture of desolation. The neglected ground is a noisome void, unsightly, cheer-
less, and inimical to health. Grass, trees, and gardens are so much the everyday of life in the West that the points here emphasised may appear trivial. It is otherwise in India, and Mr. Clark's habitual thoroughness and careful forethought was in nothing more apparent than in his comprehensive grasp of just such matters of detail. The conservation of
energy for his holy calling by the removal of preventable strain and the reduction of every risk to a minimum were, to Eobert Clark's robust common sense, not only the truest economy but simple duty. When he had flitted to his new home, he came and went throughout the city, preaching, teaching, visiting, un- armed, unescorted, careful only to discharge his office. Under God's shadow he lived openly among the heathen. Sometimes it was known that danger was near, but no harm was permitted to befall him or his, and the step he had been led to take was abundantly justified.
Before Mr. Clark left cantonments, a pleasant little incident befell him that is worth recording. One day, as a new regiment marched in, a private fell out of the ranks and approached him at the salute with a cheery " I think you know me, sir." To Mr. Clark's " I am afraid I do not," he responded, " But indeed you do, sir," and forthwith introducedhimself as a Harmston lad, a pupil in the schools Mr. Clark had built, and an ex-scholar of his Sunday class. The soldier wrote home in high glee to his native village, telling how Mr. Clark had given him a hearty welcome and a cordial handshake, and, obtaining leave for him there and then, took him to his house and said to his servants, " Prepare everything quickly, for I have a very great guest to-day." And a joyous day it was that he had with Mr. Clark. When the writer was told of this incident at Harmston, the narrator's eyes sparkled with pleasure for all her ninety years, and she described vividly the joy the great news had brought to the folk ― " ay, to be sure."
Mr. Clark w^as greatly cheered by the devotion of some of the private soldiers in the British regiments. A number of godly men had built themselves a prayer room at their own charges, and five hundred private soldiers annually subscribed sums varying from three to twenty-five shillings each, to further the Mission amongst the Afghans. Most of them prayed as well as gave. One of the privates said to Mr. Clark, " We never meet, sir, without praying for your work amongst the heathen ; " and Mr. Clark adds, " And they meet every night for prayer." The first period of his service now drew to a close, and Mr. Clark quitted Peshawar on furlough on 24th February 1857. He travelled home with Dr. Dealtry, Bishop of Madras, to whom he had been appointed Chaplain, and arrived safely in London, after an uneventful journey, on 2nd May. We need not dwell on the home-coming, or the reunion with friends.
While on furlough, Mr. Clark forwarded the Panjab Mission by much counsel with the authorities of the Church Missionary Society, and although he did not undertake the work of deputation, he found time to deepen the enthusiasm of friends of Missions. An address to the members of the University of Oxford while he was at home is memorable for its marshalling of facts, its cogent reasoning, and its ardent appeal to the young manhood of England to enlist for service in " the wars of the Lord." His youngest brother, Roger Edmund, then a Cambridge undergraduate, dedicated himself as a missionary. Harmston bore yet further fruit : an old pupil of Robert Clark's Sunday class entered the missionary ranks of the Church Missionary Society. After years of self-sacrificing service in the cold lone lands of the North-West of Canada he is still full of labours abundant, as the Right Rev. Dr. Reeve, Bishop of Mackenzie River, Canada. While on furlough, Mr. Clark took his M.A. degree at Cambridge. The year was one of national anxiety and widespread sorrow, and in this Robert Clark had a special share. He had scarcely landed in England when there came news of the outbreak of the Indian Mutiny, on 23rd May. Europeans and natives alike, for their sins, trod the winepress of the fierce anger of God. But in wrath He still remembered mercy. When the calamities were overpast, a purified India emerged, freely open to the Gospel under the sceptre of the Queen. The story of that terrible time does not belong to the present narrative, but the reader will understand the anxiety that pressed on Mr. Clark while the tempest raged. Though there was no mutiny at Peshawar, the position was perilous in the extreme. The state of affairs will be evident from the following letters. A friend wrote on 2nd August : ― " An interval of a month has occurred since I commenced this letter. The disturbing nature of the events happening around us renders communication quite uncertain, not to speak of its absorbing much of one's thoughts. Even while I write, the rumour is abroad that, at the conclusion of the feast now being celebrated by the Mussulmans ― the Beiram ― the fanatical Hill Tribes around us are to surround and destroy us. I am kept, however, by God's goodness, in great peace of mind, and have not had one uneasy night, except from dyspepsia, since the beginning of the Mutiny. A few months ago, Peshawur was looked upon as a place to be shunned and dreaded, not only as one of the most unhealthy, but also as one of the most dangerous stations in this country. Now it has turned out to be one of the safest. Through the admirable management of Colonel Edwardes, every plot has been
discovered and thwarted. Time after time we have been devoted to the sword ; letter after letter has been intercepted, and from great men among the Mohammedans to our Sepoys, counselling indiscriminate murder of men, women, and children. Colonel Edwardes has himself been prepared to fly at a moment's warning, so imminent has been the danger. Twice, within the last three days, the Artillery have limbered up, on some false alarm ; and only yesterday a letter was intercepted, inculpating the only Sepoy regiment in Peshawur which was thought trustworthy. In common with others, I have a few shirts, and papers, and money, made up, ready at any alarm to betake myself to the Kesidency, which is the appointed rendezvous in case of an emergency."
Another correspondent, writing on 23rd August, says : ― " The Sepoy Mutiny is an event of such unparalleled magnitude that people in India find their thoughts and pens almost exclusively occupied by it. The horrors and dangers of that movement have been brought to our very doors, and we feel as if there was nothing else going on throughout the whole world. Here, in Peshawur, though surrounded with dangers, we have hitherto been wonderfully preserved. It seems as if God had put the fear of us in the hearts of the ferocious people around us. ' Surely they had swallowed us up
quick,' if they had risen up against us. And that they were fully disposed to do this, they have themselves candidly avowed. It was passed from mouth to mouth in the city of Peshawur that, when our Sepoys should mutiny, all the people of the city would join them in exterminating the Sahibs. A letter was intercepted purporting to be from the King of Delhi ; and in reply to a question asked him by the Peshawur Sepoys, ' What should they do with the women and children of the English ? ' the answer was to the point, ' Kill every one.' Colonel Edwardes has intercepted numbers of
letters of a similar kind, in which a tiger-like thirsting for the blood of the Christians was manifested. The impression among thoughtful men relative to this movement is, that it is the death-throe of Mohammedanism. The Hindu soldiers have been nothing more than tools in the hands of the more energetic Mussulmans." The reader will remember our friend the officer who subscribed one rupee for the purchase of a revolver wherewith to protect the missionary. He had gone with his regiment from turbulent Peshawar to the profound security of the coveted station of Meerut ; yet he was the first man killed by the mutineers, being cut down by his own troopers on that fatal Sunday in May. Throughout the Mutiny, the Peshawar Mission quietly continued its work. Dr. Pfander preached daily, according to his custom, in the bazaars, and had only to discontinue this for three days. We must now glance at matters more personal, and refer to one who now entered into Robert Clark's life and became an important factor in all his work and all his plans. There was at this time a certain Dr, Robert Browne living in London. He came of an excellent Scottish stock. Though there was a Highland strain in their blood, his forbears were, in the main, Lowlanders, and included a staunch Covenanting ancestry. Dr. Browne himself was'a son of the manse. His father had been minister of Falkirk for many years, and there
Robert Browne had been born and bred. After he had taken his degree of Doctor of Medicine in the University of Edinburgh, the East had attracted him, and eventually he had settled in Calcutta, where he amassed a fortune, large even according to modern ideas. Having completed forty-five years of honourable professional life, he had retired from India, but continued to keep up a lively interest in the land and people he had so long and arduously served. The sorrow of the Mutiny came to his home ; for he had lost one son, an officer, at the Alam Bagh, in the course of Havelock's relief of
Lucknow. It is with his eldest daughter, Elizabeth Mary, that we have here to deal. Miss Browne was endowed with rare talents and force of character, and of her many gifts, one was a marvellous aptitude for languages. She acquired the classical tongues as a girl ; French, German, and Italian were as familiar to her as was English itself; and she read Sanskrit and Urdu with her brother John, who became a prominent Bengal civilian. Christian work claimed her deepest interest, and at the stage our story has reached she had been a prison and hospital worker for some years. The cause of Missions, however, appealed powerfully to her heart. She had for some years collected for the Peshawar Mission, and had corresponded with Robert Clark. He was anxious to see her, and secured an introduction through his friend Dr. Baddley, the first meeting taking place at King's College Hospital, where Miss Browne had been working as a Sister of St. John. Soon afterwards, Robert Clark sought her hand. Dr. Browne was very unwilling to let his daughter go out to India at such a time ; but, after long delay, he gave his consent, and the marriage took place at Marylebone Church on 14th May 1858. Eobert Clark received his instructions from the Church Missionary Society on the 8th of June, and,
a week later, on the 15th, he and Mrs. Clark sailed from Portsmouth in the Indiaman Nile. After a long voyage, they reached Calcutta in December 1858, and Peshawar on 8th February 1859. As Dr. Pfander had meanwhile returned to Europe, Mr. Clark now became the senior missionary at Peshawar.
THE AFGHAN MISSION.
STEADY development, born of patient continuance ^ in well-doing, marked the progress of the Afghan Mission. Mr. Clark was able to report : ― " We have many encouragements. Your heart would have been warmed had you been with me to-day when . . . But I have found by experience that the less said about such cases the better. Those converts whose names are never known grow in grace and Christian virtues. I went to the house of one of the Christians, the Qazi, and saw there a sight I had never seen before in Peshawur ― seventeen men, Persians and Afghans, from both city and country, sitting round him, while he explained to them, most beautifully, in Persian, 1 Cor. xv. ; they listening with the deepest attention, and apparently assenting to everything he said."
The difficulties of residence in the city were greatly intensified in the case of a lady, but Mrs. Clark faced them with high courage and unflinching resolution. Her presence, moreover, was a civilising and humanising agency of immense value. It need scarcely be remarked that from the first Mr. Clark had been alive to the extreme importance of work amongst the women. That now became possible. Amongst the ultra-fanatical Moslems of Peshawar, any effort of this kind required the exercise of the greatest discrimination, and not a little courage. Mrs. Clark, however, was soon an
honoured visitor in the homes of the nobility and educated classes. Her medical skill won her entrance and secured friends, and she was ever ready to adopt in work the line of least resistance. Books in zenanas were prohibited by the men ; but, finding that the wives of the mullahs recited the Quran and the Arabian Nights, she speedily delighted all hearts by reciting the Gospels in like fashion. The zenanas were full of bright, intelligent ladies, and Mrs. Clark was a welcome guest in their monotonous life. Mr. Clark was frequently away from Peshawar, and on one such occasion Mrs. Clark spent a fortnight in a zenana, and, in Moslem garb, witnessed a marriage and a funeral. The foundations of friendships that have endured to this day were securely laid. She had her adventures also ; as, for instance, when, on a hot-weather evening, she rode out towards the Khyber Pass, was fired at twice, and had to gallop back in hot haste.
In September of 1859 sorrow came to Mr. and Mrs. Clark in the loss of their first-born child, a daughter. In the closing months of 1859, Mr. Clark set out on a journey of exploration, accompanied by the Rev. Isodore Loewenthal, a member of the American Presbyterian Mission in the Panjab. The object of the itineration was to ascertain missionary possibilities in a hitherto untouched tract of country. Mr. Clark explored the whole course of the Indus, from the point where it touches the Peshawar District to its majestic confluence with the Panjnad River, formed by the combined five
waters of the Panjab, below the historic city of Multan. He followed the course of the Frontier through the Trans-Indus districts that comprise Makhud, Kakbagh, Kohat, Bunnu, and the Derajat, ― the first to preach the Gospel through this extensive stretch of territory. There was no opposition on the part of either authorities or people, and he evangelised freely in every town and village. Large numbers of books were likewise put in circulation by sale at nominal prices. The door was found to be widely open, and it was clear that the Gospel could be proclaimed throughout the whole course of the Border with no more serious difiiculty than in Peshawar. The British residents extended a cordial welcome on all hands, and the great garrisons of Bunnu and Dera Ismail Khan raised considerable sums in aid of the Afghan Mission. This was done without solicitation, in one case even without the missionary's knowledge. Many pleasant, helpful, and permanent friendships were formed during the tour. One such was with Major Hugh Hayley, a well-known Frontier
officer, whose career of brilliant promise was prematurely cut short by death. His aged father's parting words to his son had been that he should " be good to the missionaries," and when he met Mr. Clark at Bunnu, he remembered this injunction. Mr. Clark was loaded with kindness that did not cease with his stay. When he parted from his host and was well on his way, the Major's orderly overtook him ; he had been sent in hot haste with a present of Hayley's own valuable fur coat to provide against the bleak cold of the Frontier.
The journey resulted in fruitful plans. Mr. Clark outlined two chains of Missions through this country. They were to be connecting links between the Frontier, the Central Panjab, and onwards through Sindh to the sea, ― the Panjab would thus be fully grasped. One line stretched from Find Dadan Khan to Kalabagh ; the other ran through the country Trans-Indus amongst the Afghans from Peshawar to Multan, with its centre at Dera Ismail Khan. The realisation of this scheme became one of the ambitions of Eobert Clark's missionary policy.
The Peshawar staflf was reinforced by the arrival, first of the Rev. T. Tuting, B.A., of Lincoln College, Oxford, and afterwards of Mr. Clark's brother, the Rev. Roger Edmund Clark, B.A., of Trinity College, Cambridge. The Secretariat of the Mission and the work of evangelisation in the city and villages were Mr. Tuting's special sphere. Roger Clark, who had been eight years a master at Harrow, took charge of the school.
Mr. Clark was now free to follow up a work of peculiar promise in a Panjabi regiment then stationed at Peshawar. Converts to Sikhism from the scavenger class of outcastes are known as Mahzabis ; their coreligionists will not fraternise with them, and the sense of degradation augments their natural ferocity and misanthropy. Thuggee, for instance, though prevalent in India proper, was unknown in the Panjab, until it was introduced by a Mahzabi called Wazir Singh. Indeed, the class has always been depraved material, and has contributed largely to the criminal population of the Panjab. During the Mutiny, however, the soldierly qualities of the Mahzabis were recognised. Lieutenant Home, leader of the historic assault on the Cashmere Gate of Delhi, recruited the first regiment from amongst them, and it did excellent service in the grim days spent before the rebel capital. On the fall of that city, some Christian books, part of the spoil, came into the hands of the men of the Mahzabi Kegiment, the 24th, known later as the
32nd Panjab Infantry. The books were eagerly read, and when they were exhausted the men begged information from their officers. The inquiry was further stimulated at Amritsar, where one man was baptized. When the regiment moved beyond the reach of the missionaries, some of the officers instructed the Christian converts, and united with them in worship on the Lord's Day. Eventually, the 24th Panjab Infantry became a portion of the Peshawar garrison. The deepening spirit of inquiry rapidly pervaded all ranks of native officers as well as the privates, and there were forty-nine baptisms. Very soon the whole regiment was far on its way towards embracing Christianity. The Sikh priest officially attached to the soldiers, was himself ready to conduct the Christian services. Robert Clark devoted himself to the requirements of these stirring events. He marched with the regiment in its transfers to various frontier posts, the while keeping in steady touch with the Peshawar work, and not forgetting the towns and villages where he found himself quartered. We find him living at Khairabad and at Attock, and he systematically evangelised both places. At Attock a church, a school for boys, and another for girls, were erected, and the place became a permanent branch of the Pesha-
war Mission. When' the regiment was transferred to Abbotabad, it became Mr. Clark's privilege to be the first to preach Christ to the people of the Hazara.
The Commandant of the regiment. Colonel Morgan, and some of his staff were unfortunately not in sympathy with the movement; but the real opposition came from the wildly alarmed Supreme Government in India. Orders were issued from Calcutta cautioning the officers against taking any part whatever in the spread of Christianity in the regiment. In Mr. Clark's own words : ― " It was an unchristian order and an impolitic one ; for the officers were doing nothing more than Christian men should do, and were in noways unduly using their official influence to the prejudice of the native religions. The effects of the order have been, however, most unfavourable to Christianity." He goes on, in a letter dated 2nd November 1857: ― "Before it came, the men were pressing forward, eagerly and earnestly inquiring into the subject of Christianity ; but from the moment they heard that the Governor-General in Council had interfered, and had written through official channels to their officers about it, they naturally understood this to mean that the English Government directly discouraged the spirit of inquiry, and were averse to any further baptisms in the corps : from that time to the present not one soldier has come forward to ask for either instruction or baptism. The Christians stand dismayed at seeing the interest in their spiritual welfare suddenly lost, and the school has dwindled down to less than half its numbers. The officers may not converse with the native Christians about Christianity ; they may not hold a service for them, or even worship God with them, although they are their fellow-Christians, much less speak to any who
are not yet baptized.
" Everything is in a state of doubt and uncertainty. even as regards what a missionary may do in the corps : whether he may enter the lines at all, and if so, whether he may hold a service in a native Christian's house ; and, above all, whether he may admit those to his services who are still heathen. I was certainly grieved to find that the orders were of such a nature as to leave everyone in doubt whether a missionary might or might not visit, as a pastor, a large native Christian flock of thirty persons, because they happened to live in the lines of a regiment ; but it was thought better that our services should be held away from the lines, in one of the officers' quarters. I held one full service and two shorter ones with them, and administered the Lord's Supper to five adults. I also married two native Christians belonging to the regi-
mental band ; but even there the officers could not be present, although they take much interest in the parties, and although none but Christians were present at the wedding.
" Our Government cannot surely know the consequences which such orders lead to, or they would be more careful in making them. No rule had been ever transgressed, and nothing had been done to call for such an order. The only apparent iact was, that some of the soldiers had been baptized ; and no sooner does the Government hear of this, than it steps in with its veto, and checks the whole proceeding, as if the baptism of ten Sepoys was something dangerous or something out of order ; and a summons is forthwith sent, not to this regiment alone, but to every Panjab regiment, for
every officer to hold himself clear of such untoward events. If it had been another plot against their very existence they could hardly have done more."
The order constituted an intolerable violation of personal rights, and Mr. Clark had to face the battle for the private rights of British officers and of native soldiers. The controversy does not concern us here, further than in its result. The publication of the correspondence at home led to important modifications ; but the inimical spirit remained, and evangelisation was only permitted within certain limitations. The Government disclaimed any intention of interfering
with the private actions of their officers ; still, by that time, the favourable moment for the mass movement had gone by. The work in the regiment, however, continued for years aftei-wards.
The action of the Government was politically a blunder of the first magnitude. Robert Clark was quick to see the great gains that had been foolishly sacrificed, by an interference as uncalled for as it was unreasonable. He saw that the bond of a common religion between rulers and ruled was the surest guarantee of loyalty. The body of converts was loyal to a man in the dark days when, to all appearance, the British power in India was reeling to irretrievable ruin. The fruit of Missions, therefore, meant immovably loyal subjects, and, in proportion, India would require fewer British bayonets. What would not regiments of Christian Sepoys have been worth in the storm through which India had come ? The Mahzabis were recruited from the Manjha tract of the Panjab, the cradle of the finest soldiers of that warlike land ;
Christianity carried to their homes would spread fast on family and tribal lines ; a villainous clan would be transformed into a law-abiding people. Christianity established in the Manjha in fact, would mean a tremeudous loyal reserve and a progressive force in the heart of the Panjab. Events barely past had witnessed to the eflfects of timorous anti-Christian policies. The Mutiny was not due to the propagation of the true religion, but to the lack of it. Had Christianity had free course, stories of cartridges greased with the fat of swine or of kine would have been powerless to rouse the Sepoys to the murderous frenzies of 1857.
Robert Clark sought no relaxations of the wise and eminently just policy of neutrality in religion, but he wished the neutrality to be real, and, above all, he desired that the neutral attitude should not be confounded with a widely different thing ― discouragement of the propagation or acceptance of the Christian faith.
Since that day, it is to be noted, the rulers of India have repeatedly and unreservedly acknowledged the enormous debt they owe to Christian Missions. The principles Robert Clark maintained will yet command adherence to the full.
"We must now turn to some other results of Mr. Clark's sojournings with the regiment. The towns of Khairabad and Attoek face each other on the banks of the Indus close to the spot where " The Father of Waters," as Pathans call that majestic waterway, is joined by the river of Cabul. The towns were important points on the one great highway that ran north and south between India and Central Asia. While here, Robert Clark was. brought into contact with peoples of
many lands, but on a day there came a visitor stranger than any that had come and gone.
The sullen roar of the mighty river told of heavy floods in its course through unknown lands. The dead cattle and household debris that raced madly by in the swirling eddies of the turgid waters witnessed to many a ruined homestead. By and by, a haystack swept down with a living woman perched precariously upon it. She was rescued, and proved to be a handsome matron, exceeding fair, clad in skins, who spoke no word of any known tongue. The District Oflficer placed the poor waif under the tender care of Mrs. Clark. She was a difficult person, this castaway, and would sit mute for hours gazing in speechless grief at the blue mountains of Afghanistan. Then her glance would fall on the baby in Mrs. Clark's lap, and she would beat her breast in a paroxysm of tears, and lament the while in her unknown tongue. The only thing that interested her in the great city of Peshawar was a packet of needles. It was conjectured from the
words " Sardar Khan," " Istandan," " Kaffirastan," which she uttered in her sorrowings, that she was the wife of a chief at some place called Istandan in Kaffirastan, and that she had lost in the flood just such a child as the baby Robert. This was corroborated in measure by some Kaffirs of the lower lands in service at Peshawar, but as every valley of Kaffirastan seems to have its own speech, the communication between them and this remote uplander amounted to very little. Mr. Clark was thus vividly confronted with the far regions of the remotest Hindu Kush, termed Kaffirastan, or " The Lands of the Unbelievers," by the encircling Moslem powers. Entrenched amongst the ramparts of tremendous mountains, these highlanders had defended their native uplands and glens against the powers of Islam. Implacable hatred to the Moslem was the mainspring of their religious and national polity. No male of the race was accorded the privileges of manhood until he could bring a tale of twenty Muhummudans slain. The Kaffirs were at that time supposed to be the descendants of the Greeks of Alexander who elected not to face the perils of the homeward march to Macedonia ; they are now known to be a fragment of the Aryan people who in their remote fastnesses have maintained the primitive ethnic type and faith in its purity. One day the stranger disappeared with the infant Robert, and when the hue and cry was raised, she was captured in full flight for the hills. Later, she slipped away, and was heard of no more. The problem of the evangelisation of Kaffirastan, however, remained in the steadfast heart and kindly brain of Robert Clark.
Access to that distant land was absolutely impossible for the European or the Indian. A Moslem Afghan could reach its borders with ease, thereafter certain death awaited him. If a Christian Afghan could in any wise traverse the zone of fire of the intervening Pathan countries, he might have some chance of life in Kaffirastan itself. The perils were stupendous, but the true Afghan convert is tough metal, as strong in the service of God as he has been fearless in that of the Devil. The following may serve as illustrations : ―
A young Afghan mullah from Swat had been baptized, the first of his nation, in the Medical Mission at Amritsar. As the writer was preaching at a fair, a Panjabi Moslem asked a question, and at this the convert said, "My father, my heart is so full of love to Christ that I beseech thee to let me enlighten this man." The request was gladly granted, and the writer turned away to another group. In a few minutes there was a yell. The Moslem was prostrate on the ground, howling, " I'm dead ! He has killed me ! Call this Christianity!" Undeterred by a surrounding mob of Moslems, the irate Afghan towered over him, shouting, " Just say that again ! " and then explained, "This scum said Christ was not the Son of God;
so, of course, I knocked him down." "Call this Christianity ! " again spluttered the injured " true believer." " Yea, verily," responded the writer, " had this youth been a Muhummudan Afghan, thy life alone would have satisfied him ― inasmuch as he is a Christian, rejoice that the loosening of a few of thy teeth hath sufficed." " Verily the words of our doctor sahib be the words of truth and wisdom," exclaimed the crowd. " Fool, what demon drove thee to affront the Afghan ? Knowest thou not the race ? " they added to their discomfited co-religionist, who continued to listen to the preaching, but asked no further questions.
A stranger from the depths of Afghanistan on a visit to Peshawar stood spell-bound at the sight of a convert preaching in that city. "What man is this, in our garb and of our lineage and tongue," he queried, " who proclaims not the truth of Muhummud ? " When he heard the man was an Afghan, now a renegade, a Nazarene, he said, with withering contempt,
to the Moslems, " And you swine let him live ? " " These be the lands of the Faranghi, not Afghanistan," they muttered, abashed. The Afghan walked up to the catechist, breathing threatenings and slaughter, and then, maddened with fury, he yelled, with violent revilings, "English or no English, say but one word against the blessed Prophet of God, and may I be accursed root and branch if I do not at once despatch thee to hell ! " The catechist, however, was also an Afghan of the Afghans. In a moment the hot Pathan blood in him was aflame. With eyes ablaze, he shouted, "Wilt thou indeed lay down thy life for that lying camel-driver of Mecca, dead and gone, with his very bones mouldered into dust, who never did a hand's turn for thee, and shall I do less for the Lord who ever liveth, and bought me with His own blood ? Come on ! " The two powerful men were instantly in close grips, and Christians and Moslems alike had much ado to separate
the champions. "Could I do less for the Lord?" was, for long, all that the Afghan replied to the remonstrances of his friends.
In 1859, a fine young Afghan, by name Fazl i Haqq, accosted Mr. Clark after the bazaar preaching. He was full of questions, anxious for instruction, and received the Faith as a little child. His brave, gentle, loving heart went out to the Kaffirs. Another Pathan convert, by name NuruUah, joined him 'lii' volunteering to carry the Gospel to the men of the Hindu Kush. After such preparations as were possible, this forlorn hope set forth on its errand of mercy to Kaffirastan.
The innumerable perils of the way, the thrilling adventures and hairbreadth escapes of the comrades, cannot be touched on in this place, nor may we dwell on the entrancing theme of the secluded land and people now first brought within our ken ; suffice it to say that the missioners returned safely, after having accomplished their purpose. Concerning Kaffirastan, Mr. Clark observes, in his valuable book. Missions in the Panjab and Sindh : ― " The first Christian missionary to that country was an Afghan. He took some medicines with him, and wrote an amusing account of his reception as a medical man, although he had only received one hour's instruction, together with some labelled bottles, from Mrs. Clark. In one place he doctored a girl who was ill with neuralgia, but the girl still went on crying ; on which the mother boxed her ears, saying that if she was not well she ought to be, for she had had her medicine. In another place he witnessed the slaughter of twenty-eight unarmed Mohammedans by the Kaffirs. 'The Kaffirs brought a drum and pipes, and began to dance and sing, throwing their hands and feet about, the women looking on ; then, suddenly, without one moment's warning, each Kaffir's knife was unsheathed, and seen poised high above his head ; and, with a loud whistle, four or five Kaffirs rushed on each Mohammedan, stabbing him in every part. The whole was over in a minute, and all had sunk down dead, covered with wounds.They then beheaded them, and threw them all down
into the river below.' " Fazl i Haqq reported that the wild highlanders had given them a joyous welcome. They had begged for a visit from Europeans, in whom they acknowledged, according to their traditions, "brothers from the far
West." On two subsequent occasions an Afghan Christian, Syud Shah, the hero of the episode in Peshawar bazaar, already narrated, followed in the footsteps of the gallant pioneer, Fazl i Haqq, with like success. A "Kaffirastan and Border Mission" was formed, and those valleys of the Hindu Kush were never forgotten in Kobert Clark's plans. For the
present, the star of hope set when the recent British Boundary Commission handed over the land to the sphere of influence of the Amir of Cabul.
In 1860, the perils of Peshawar were again startlingly emphasised. At a bazaar preaching, Roger Clark had finished his address. As Mr. Tuting rose in his turn, an Afridi ran up, and, in a trice, the long razor-edged Afghan knife was descending with murderous precision. The stroke was foiled by the promptitude of a bystander, and the man was secured. He was a soldier with three years' good service in the famous Guide Corps. Mr. Tuting finished his address as if nothing extraordinary had occurred.
The case of the Rev. Isodore Loewenthal, Mr. Clark's companion in a former exploration, was lamentably tragic. That distinguished linguist had been lent by the Presbyterian Mission to the Afghan work. His charge was to translate the New Testament into Pukhtu. He laboured diligently at his task, working far into the night. Wearied on one such occasion, he wandered into the garden of his house in the cantonments. Lost in thought, he failed to reply to the challenge of his own armed Sikh watchman. Thereupon the man promptly fired, mortally wounding his master, who in a few minutes passed away ― the only missionary ever killed in civil life on the Frontier. The text on his monument
was, " Well done, good and faithful servant " (sic !). That inscription no longer exists : some have it that it was never there ; others that its incongruity led to its removal ; and yet others that it was noted against the entry in the burial register by a chaplain lacking in a sense of proportion. However this may be, the story has a firm hold on the Frontier. A priori there is nothing to militate against it, for all have not the saving grace of humour. In a certain Panjab church the low vestry door by which the clergy enter to minister in holy things was adorned with " The Lord shall go before thee." Immediately underneath followed, "Mind your head " ! Nearer home, in the parish church of Portsmouth, may be seen a window in memory of a number of gallant chaplains who fell in the Crimean War. One of the panels represents Balaam and his ass !
THE closing of the year 1861 witnessed the gathering in Lahore of the first General Missionary Conference of the Panjab.
Belief in the need of constant mutual intercourse between colleagues was an axiom with Mr. Clark. Those who have no experience of Indian life cannot conceive the disastrous effects of isolation in a land where the environment differs radically from that of our own. It makes men self-centred, dwarfs their horizon, and breeds incredible mischief even between fellow-workers. Mutual confidence can only result from sympathetic understanding born of free intercourse.
That is difficult to maintain in India, for it must not be forgotten that the lives of most Europeans are crowded with responsible duties, in a climate which is intensely trying. When the day's work is done, there is a paresis of body and a lethargy of spirits that disincline men, in a manner not understandable in our own land) for even the smallest extra exertion.
Robert Clark, therefore, regarded the assiduous cultivation of courteous personal intercourse with others, and an interchange of the sweet charities of life, not only as a privilege and a duty, but also as a means of grace and a paramount requirement of missionary policy. Thus only were cobwebs to be swept away from weary brains, and pernicious estrangements between brethren nipped in the bud. He strenuously taught these principles throughout life. Those " who only England know " may think that in emphasising these things we are merely apostles of the obvious,
but the truth is ― as witness the wreck of promising missions and the roots of bitterness that are constantly springing up to defile ― that the lesson has still to be learned at the present day.
Mr. Clark considered it peculiarly lamentable that there should be any lack of touch between the various Christian agencies, or strife between the rival herdsmen of Abraham and Lot, while " the Canaanite dwelt in the land." He took a large share in promoting the Conference, and the gathering was held with the happiest results ; the wisdom of the whole body of the missionaries of the Panjab was brought to bear on various types of work and on all future plans. The members separated, feeling it had been good for them to be together. Mr. Clark's special work at the Lahore gathering will concern us later.
The little seed planted by Robert Clark and his comrades in 1861 has developed into the stately tree under whose shadow all the scattered tribes of our common Israel now gather in the Decennial Missionary Conference of India. That great Conference has commanded the allegiance of all Protestant missionary bodies, except only the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, whose episcopal proclivities did not allow of such fraternising, even in the mission field, until the latest Conference, held in Madras.
The year 1862 was a period of sorrow that was sorely to test Robert Clark. A three-years' struggle with attacks of the terrible Peshawar fever so weakened Mrs. Clark, that in February of that year she was compelled to voyage home. The same hot season brought Mr. Clark the news of his father's death. The Rev. Henry Clark had resigned the cure of Harmston on 16th June, after an incumbency of forty years, and on the 2nd of July he died at Torquay. His last words were, "Christ, Christ, Christ." Grief followed hard on grief On the 27th of October the beloved Mr. Tuting also passed away. The first pang of that sorrow was scarce spent ere the deadly climate again claimed its toll in Roger Clark, who fell asleep in great peace on 14th January 1863, rejoicing and thanking God with his latest breath that he had been called to be a missionary.
A striking testimony to the worth of those who had gone was borne by the tears of many non-Christians as they followed the funerals of these brethren. To the end of his days, whenever Mr. Clark spoke of Roger, the unconscious wistfulness of his voice told of a love that many waters could not quench, nor years dim.
The condition of the widowed Mrs. Tuting was most precarious. Her constitution had been shattered by Peshawar fever, and death had robbed her of two infant sons within a month, shortly before her supreme loss. She still remembers Mr. Clark's brotherly care of her husband during his illness, and his tender solicitude in arranging her affairs and furthering her journey home. In all things he proved " the most perfect type of Christian gentleman " she ever met.
Sorely bereaved and broken-hearted, Robert Clark carried on the stricken Mission with a dauntless courage born of unflagging faith. He endured hardness as seeing Him who is unseen ; and to him the sorrows were not disasters, but pledges of the joy that " cometh in the morning." He was persuaded that "great trials and losses are the very earnest of great spiritual strength and life when at length a mission arrives at manhood. The graveyard that contains the bodies of the missionaries is the garden where the seeds of great missionary success are sown ; for our Lord's own promise is that when corns of wheat fall into the ground and die, they abide no longer alone ; but when they die, they bring forth much fruit."
He wrote at the time to his wife : ― " I felt so much for Mrs. Tuting I cannot tell you. , . . We have all been upset ― one burst of tears has succeeded another, and it was only with some diflficulty that we could get through the burial service. We have had a season of much heartfelt prayer and communion. . . . And now, how about the future? It was said in my hearing by one that sooner would he live on eighty or a hundred pounds a year at home than in this wretched
country, where the rule, not the exception, is that friends are torn from one, and husbands, wives, and children are always being separated. If it was not for our work he would go home. Yes, that is it, ' if it was not for our work.' What would become of the heathen if we Christians were faint-hearted enough to leave them because stronger men than we are cut off by death and we may any moment follow them ? I thought at the time, that we must just be content to suffer and to die ― in God's name for the sake of the heathen ― to conquer through death as Christ did before us. Yes, we too may be called to give up our lives. Can we do it ? We can, God strengthening us. We must just give ourselves to His work ― for life ― or for death. Let the world call us fools ― we will live through death, and let them laugh, but we will win. Pray that we may be faithful ― faithful to our Lord. It is He ; we will not be afraid. Let us walk closely with Him, and in our union with our brethren, even as He loved us ― let us be their servants, as He was ours ― and we too shall be received at last into the mansions of light above."
The Rev. Thomas Russell Wade now joined the Peshawar Mission. He is still in the field ― the present doyen of the Panjab Missions. In him Robert Clark found a steadfast friend and good comrade in the fight. The arrival of Mrs. Clark's youngest brother, James Browne, was also a great solace to Mr. Clark. They lived together in the city, and in the sterling qualities of the youiig ofiicer of Royal Engineers Mr. Clark foresaw a great future. When, as Government
examiner in Pukhtu, he congratulated his brother-in-law on scoring a good pass in that tongue, he added, " I shall see you ' Sir James ' yet." Nor was he wrong, for Sir James Browne, universally known by his sobriquet " Buster Browne," had a brilliant career, and has left an honoured name in the annals of Empire builders in India.
The first-fruits from amongst the women were now garnered. On the 27th July 1863, Mr. Clark writes to his wife : ― " Another woman has just been here who wants to be baptized together with her husband. The latter is an old Afghan soldier who has long been an inquirer, and the old woman was in a great state about it. She first abused him, then she tried to starve him by not cooking his food, then declared that she was going to leave him, and going to do I don't know what ; she would never stay with an infidel, not she ! However, she has thought better of it, and came this morning, very humbly, and said her husband after all had been very good to her, and it was no use vexing herself and him about it, and that, if he must become a Christian, why, the best thing would be for her to become one too. I, of course, told her that there was to be no compulsion in the matter, and that if she wished she was quite at liberty to go ; and so, being a
veritable woman, she was at once ready and eager to stay. However, she wanted to make a bargain, that we were to see she never starved for becoming a Christian. I told her that was a bargain she must make with God, and not with us, and that we could not be responsible about her in any way whatever. These, however, are only the outward features of the
story. She seems much humbled and softened, and one cannot but hope that having been, as she has, for now several weeks under the influence of the Gospel, she might be in the way to becoming a good Christian body. She looks honest. How strange that when we had four missionaries' wives we had no native women in the Mission, and now that we are only two bachelors we have so many ! I'm thankful I married one of them off yesterday ― but we have two unmarried young ladies still, and I am trying hard to get them nice husbands."
The work amongst the men continued full of encouragement. The following incident illustrates Robert Clark's soulful method of considering the claims of each individual case, instead of being hidebound, as is all too common, in the blighting trammels of routine. An inquirer, well recommended, was brought to him from Amritsar. Mr. Clark says : ― "I examined him ; he knew the Creed, Lord's Prayer, and Ten Commandments, and not only so, but he appeared to understand them fully, and to believe in them with all his heart. I promised to baptize him shortly. ' But why not now ? ' was the reply. ' I have been waiting and learning for months.' I told him to wait at any rate one week. ' And who knows that I may live a week ? ' he said. I was silent for a minute or two, when he broke out with the words, ' The truth is, Sahib, / am thirsty, and I want to drink.' The way was quite plain, and although it was Saturday, and I had only seen him twice before, I baptized him on the Sunday. His state was very clear : ' Like as the heart panteth after the water brooks,' so his soul was longing after Christ."
We will let Mr. Clark speak in some detail about an Afghan convert. He calls him " a true Christian, a man whose biography will be written some day in another world, because he is a remarkable instance of great grace." The story shows us how Mr. Clark dealt with these strong Pathans. We note the blossoming of true belief into fruitful deeds under the systematic teaching of God's Word ― a marvellous instance truly of the power of the Gospel in its simplicity over that apparently most unpromising of mankind, a ferocious, fanatical, Muhummudan Afghan. On the evening of the Sunday that witnessed the baptism of the convert already referred to, one Shah Munir came to Mr. Clark. They had met once, over a year before, in February of 1862, at Khairabad. He had inquired into Christianity, and departed with some
Christian books. Mr. Clark's notes run: ― "He is a man, from Zeyda, a large village inYusufzai. He had walked four days' journey to inquire about the way to heaven. He is a fine handsome man, about thirty years old, grave and dignified, with the medal of Mooltan and Gujrat hanging from his neck, for he had served as Havildar in the Guide Corps in those engagements. On his arrival he said at once, ' I am a great sinner, and I am in search of God's grace and
mercy, and have been so for some years ; I am terribly afraid of God's judgment.' His state was that of Christian in the Pilgrim's Progress, for he had read a little in the New Testament, and felt the burden of his sins, and his only cry and only thought was, ' What shall I do to be saved ? ' I asked him if he ever thought of Jesus, and he said he was always thinking of Him.
He pointed to the chief artery in his neck, and then put his hand on his heart, and said, ' As quick as this blood passes to my heart, so quickly and as constantly do my thoughts pass to Jesus.'
15th June. During our evening family prayer the subject brought before us was charity, and the necessity of every Christian man laying something by, to give to God, according as God prospered him. The next time I saw him alone, he professed his intention of doing so, and asked to whom, and how, he was to give it, adding that his income was not in money but in kind, and chiefly in wheat from his fields. When one remembers how hardly an Afghan will let one anna
leave his hand in charity, this was to me a most encouraging sign. . . .
17th June. A plain avowal from Shah Munir : ' I believe Jesus Christ to be the Son of God, and I look for pardon and life and mercy from Him, and from Him only.' Long conversations have taken place on all the last days, in which light comes flashing before his eyes, and he seems to see all so clearly. His earnest look of deep thought as he puts down his book to take in some doctrine of Scripture, and then the bright, quiet flash of the eye, showing that the word had hit its mark and the arrow had gone quite home, was greatly cheering. "
19th June. Reading St. Matt. chap. v. 39-48, I was almost wishing for his sake that these verses had come later on in the Gospel, knowing an Afghan's sacred duty of revenge. I hardly knew what I should say, but I dare not leave it out, as it came in the ordinary place. However, I had (as it happened) nothing at all to say ; the word was quite enough alone. His whole face brightened up, as he concluded the few verses and put down the book. ' I have read quite enough to-day,' he said ; ' I want no more.' I looked at him, and he then told me why. ' This word,' he said, has been medicine to my heart. Look here.' He then slowly took off" his turban, which was torn and ragged. ' The people of my village did this,' he said ;'they have only left me this.' He then showed his coat, which had also been torn and mended. ' "When I went home, after seeing you at Khairabad in February 1862, I went straight to my village with those books, and called the people round me and showed them to the people, and told them to answer them, or to find out with me whether they were right or wrong. They would not look at them, and told me to give them up. I would not, and they abused me and tore my clothes. Whenever I put on a new suit, they tore it also. I had my eye on them, and marked five or six of them, and meant to have my revenge quietly. I knew I could pay them of. But now, after reading these verses, I see it all plainly. I must do no such thing. I will bear it all, and worse than all this.' A long conversation followed, when he rose up and said, ' Now kneel down and pray for me and with me.' For many days he had now knelt with us ― always taking off his turban in the most reverential manner. ' I was a great man in my village before 1 read these books and knew my power. They dare not have done anything to me then. But my mind is quite changed now ; I feel low and much humbled.' "
In writing of this delightful event to his wife, Mr. Clark adds the caution ― "Don't let any of this get published, by any means. Converts seem always to go wrong as soon as their names get into print. You may tell everyone who will to 'pray for him."
The returning heat is in India the signal that awakens slumbering legions of tormentors of mankind into vigorous life. With "the voice of the turtle " in the land comes also the hum of the mosquito, the vanguard of a host fraught with pain and peril. In a letter, Mr. Clark refers incidentally to an event by no means uncommon in Indian life. " People are beginning now to go away to the hills, but the weather is very pleasant. I sleep often with two blankets on my bed, and cannot yet keep the windows open at nights. I had a strange visitor two mornings ago ― a snake which climbed twenty-five feet up from the ground, up the spout literally, they say, and hid himself under the matting close to my washing-stand. I neither saw nor heard anything of him, however, till I found him dead on my return from school. I have in con-
sequence had the spout stopped up and all the matting taken up until these creatures get underground again.
How a snake can crawl twenty-five feet up a smooth perpendicular wall I know not. I thought we were quite out of the reach of all such creatures."
With the passing of the year 1863 new prospects began to loom in the near future for Robert Clark. It was once again to be his lot to relinquish established work, and go forth to be the founder of a Mission in yet another nation and land ―namely, in Cashmere.
In the hot weather of 1863 he wrote to Mrs. Clark : ―" It is blowing fire here, but I keep cool in my underground room alone most of the day with my old dog Tohfa ('Delicious'), you called him 'the stuffed crocodile,' and two cats, Spina and Tora (' White ' and ' Black '), ― one a very large long-haired Persian a native brought me as a present. They like cool places, and wisely never go upstairs till evening. I miss Roger sadly. . . How I have been longing lately to remain at Peshawur !
I love it more and more, the work is so great here, so important. There is so much to be done for the women and girls ; unless we gain the women, we do little or nothing ; we want you badly, for they take to you, and are, through the men, always asking for you. I am sick of fresh beginnings. In Cashmere, no house, no schools, no converts ; no church, no friends, and natives I do not take to. However, it must be ; like Abraham, we must strike our tents, and live by faith, build houses for others to live in, sow for others to reap. All last year I was living in native quarters and settling to my Pushtoo work, then came Tuting's and Roger's death and changes, and now others are to come here, and we wander off to Cashmere, and probably Amritsar. It is trying, but if it is God's will we must be content to have no abiding city or continuous work. I have kept up your Sunday almsgiving and preaching, ― we had two hundred and ten poor to-day,
― 'Several catechists preached very earnestly. Shah Munir and Fazl Kadir are often with me. I feel more real brotherhood with Pathans. So do you and James, who gets on splendidly with them."
In August Mr. Clark set out from Peshawar to preach in and further explore the new land to which he was shortly to be accredited. We shall refrain in these pages from entering into the deep things of Robert Clark's inner personal life. The following letter written to Mrs. Clark on 22nd August from Khanda, on the road to Cashmere, must serve to outline the nature of his thoughts : ―
" To-day's march was a short one, and I got in about ten a.m., instead of at twelve, as usual, after breakfasting on the road. A wash and dress soon follows arrival, and a half-hour's snooze, which soon takes oflf all the fatigue of travelling, and comes naturally after a ride and walk of from five to seven hours daily, over the most wonderfully rough roads imaginable ; then a Pushtu book and one or two other books (of course after one's daily reading of the Bible), then dinner at four, and after dinner preaching. However, to-night it is raining, and besides there is no one here to preach to ― and I have had my reading and a talk with the old munshi [teacher] who is with me, and Nunda has just been putting up curtains on the side of the house (for it is only enclosed on three sides, the fourth being open), and I have been walking listlessly about with my hands in my pockets, thinking of all kinds of things ― or rather, especially of Elsie and the little ones, and wondering where and how they are, and what they are doing, and how nice it would be if they were here. How I wish you were here to talk to me, and to spend to-morrow (Sunday) with me. Will it be so ... in a few months? Will Robbie and Henry be coming here too, and playing about on the floor ? I hope to find letters from you waiting for me at Sirinagar. Let me see, ― this letter will reach England, I suppose, about 1st October. When do you sail ? Will it be of any use writing any more ? Except, of course, to Alexandria and Aden. But this will probably be mentioned in your letter. , May God guide you in everything relating to the time and manner of your journey. It is both safe and pleasant to be led entirely by Him and to seek to do His will. That is, after all, the true secret of happiness ― to do His will, and then the end ! I always think of the coming of Jesus with more and more joy ― the more so as I see more of myself or of others, or of the world generally. Long has the Curse been on the ground and blighted God's creation ― but then there will be no more Curse. Long has there been pain and sorrow, but then there will be no more sorrow or crying, for He will wipe away all tears. Long have we been groaning by reason of sin within and without, but then there will be no more sin or death. Long has the world been in darkness, but then will the whole earth see the glory of our God.
" I have been thinking a great deal lately of these railroads ; means of communication, and new roads opening out every country, as preparing the way of our Lord. Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain shall be made low, and the crooked made straight, and the rough places plain. Seeing all this is being now done and the whole world is coming together. Journeys will soon be mere nothings. What a glorious world this would be if sin was taken away ! But as it is, sin and darkness everywhere prevail. How hard it is for a single person to see and receive the truth ! Take the case of the old Nunda, a good old soul as ever lived, and a true help and comfort. He has heard the Gospel for years, and says yes to everything ― not as if he never cared or thought about it, but gravely and solemnly, and without the least excuse for not receiving it. Why does he not become a Christian ? Then this old munshi who translated the New Testament into Pushtu with Loewenthal, and knows it almost as well as I do, ― a nice, simple, unsophisticated old man, ― who is always bewailing the state of Mohammedans generally. Why does he not come out and declare himself on the side of Christ ?
The only answer I can make is by looking into my own heart, and see how hard it was to become a disciple of Christ myself, and how long it was before the seed which had been sown for years took any effect, and then I had nothing to lose ― and it was nothing but the hardness and desperate wickedness of my own heart ― and here how many other adversaries rise up in a land like this on every side against a man in whose heart the light is struggling for an entrance. However, some day, perhaps, they too will feel in their hearts that the darkness is past and the True Light now shineth. There are doubtless in every country many of those who, like the Eunuch (Acts viii.), of whom we have just been reading with Imam Masih and Jelaluddin, at our evening prayers, who are living up to the light they profess, and will in due time receive more. I am beginning to give up making plans. It seems better in every way just to be guided every day and hour by God as the time comes, seeking His aid and guidance in everything, and seeking to have no other desire but His will."
The record of these journeys into Cashmere will occupy us elsewhere in the narrative, and we here only chronicle a single episode. The question that Mr. Clark propounds is one that the British people may well ponder. It bears an intimate relation to their national dignity and material interests abroad, alike in subjected and in foreign lands.
" This evening had quite a gathering and a long talk with the people, and they were civil and listened well, till a man, a sepoy of the Maharajah's, interrupted us rudely and boldly, told my hearers that all the sahibs were bound for hell. I was annoyed, but found that this man had heard missionaries preach in the Panjab, and treated us in Cashmere as he had seen the natives treat us in our own territory. This set me thinking. Why is it that we often meet with rudeness under the
English Government, and very seldom in a native state ? How is it that natives treat us whenever they dare do so with impunity in a way they would never attempt with their own officials ? How far is our Government right in allowing this ? An English officer would most likely have knocked the man down, and would be called to account for it. And this only four years after the Mutiny ! The natives do not understand our ways."
At the New Year of 1864, Mrs. Clark arrived in Peshawar, and in the spring Mr. and Mrs. Clark bade farewell to the beloved work amongst the Pathans, and took their way as heralds of the Cross to far-famed Cashmere.