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and the labour appalled them, as being perfectly insuperable. When their pastor first advised them to construct the canals necessary for the purpose, they absolutely refused to attempt it, and he was obliged to tell them, that they were equally deaf to temporal and spiritual counsel. Pointing to the rushing waters, which were capable of being diverted from their course to the parched and sterile soil, which he wished to see improved, he exclaimed, * You make as little use of those ample streams, as you do of the water of life. God has vouchsafed to offer you both in abundance, but your pastures, like your hearts, are languishing with drought.'
“ After much conversation, and offering many obstacles to the work, some of them agreed to commence operations, and on an early day, all were busy, some digging and excavating, others clearing away.
The pastor himself was at one time plying his pickaxe, and at another moving from place to place and superintending the progress of others.
“ It was a toilsome undertaking. In some places they had to elevate the floor of the main channel to the height of eight feet, and in others to lower it as much. In the course of the first day's labour, it was necessary to carry the construction across the rocky beds of three or four torrents, and often when the work appeared to be effectually done, Neff detected a default in the level, or in the inclination of the water-course, which obliged him to insist upon their going over it again. At four o'clock, the volunteers were reward. ed by seeing the first fruits of their labours : one line of aqueduct was completed; the dam was raised, and the water rushed into the nearest meadow amidst the joyful shouts of workmen and spectators. The next day some cross-cuts were made, and proprietors, who were supposed to be secretly hostile and incredulous, saw the works carried over their ground without offering any opposition to the measure, for who could indulge his obstinate and dogged humour, when the benevolent stranger, the warmhearted minister, was toiling in the sweat of his brow to achieve a public good which could never be of the least advantage to himself? It was the good shepherd, not taking the fleece, but exhausting his own strength, and wearing himself out for the sheep. On the third, and on the following days, small transverse lines were formed, and a long channel was made across the face of the mountain, to supply three village fountains with water. This last was a very formidable enterprize. It was necessary to under. mine the rock, to blast it, and to construct a passage for the stream in granite of the very hardest kind. I had never done any thing like it before,' is the pastor's note upon this achievement; but it was necessary to assume an air of scientific confidence, and to give my orders like an experienced engineer. The work was brought to a most prosperous issue, and the pastor was thenceforward a sovereign, who reigned so triumphantly and absolutely, that his word was law.”
Attentive, however, as Neff was to the social comfort and temporal prosperity of his charge, he never lost sight of that which should be at all times the simple object of the Pastor and the Missionary. The welfare of their souls was his high desire. He had now been with the inhabitants of Val Queyras and Fressinière about two years, and unceasing labour and the severe climate of the Alps had so shattered his constitution, that it became evident he could not long bear up against his numerous toils and exposures. This impaired state of health led the pastor to one of his most interesting engagements. The origin of Neff's establishment of a Normal School is best told by himself. He says“I foresaw with sorrow that the Gospel, which I had been permitted to preach in these mountains, would not only not spread, but might even be lost, un. less something should be done to promote its continuance. I bethought how it might be preserved in some degree ; and after mature deliberation, I determined to become a training-master, and to form a winter school, composed of the most intelligent and well-disposed young men of the different villages of my parish.”
The place chosen for the institution was the village of Dormilleuse. This spot was selected on account of its seclusion, as during the five winter months it is walled in with ice and snow, and nothing could consequently tempt the youths to forsake their studies and return to their homes. The scholars were 20 young men, who met as the pastor directed, bringing with them a store of salted meat and rye-bread, sufficient to serve them for the five months' term of their studies. Having secured the attendance of an assistant teacher, Neff commenced operations, and has left the following interesting account of their proceedings :
“ The short space of time which we had before us rendered every moment precious. We divided the day into three parts: The first was from sun-rise to eleven o'clock, when we breakfasted; the second from noon to sun-set, when we supped ; the third from supper till ten or eleven o'clock at night, making in all fourteen or fifteen hours of study in the twenty-four. We devoted much of this time to lessons in reading, which the wretched manner in which they had been taught, their detestable accent, and strange tone of voice, rendered a most necessary but tiresome duty. The grammar, too, of which not one of them had the least idea, occupied much of our time. Arithmetic was another branch of knowledge which required many a weary hour. Geography was considered a matter of recreation after dinner; and they pored over the maps with a feeling of delight and amusement which was quite new to them. I also busied myself in giving them some notion of the sphere, and of the form and motion of the earth; of the seasons and the climates, and of the heavenly bodies. Every thing of this sort was as perfectly novel to them as it would have been to the islanders of Otaheite; and even the elementary books, which are usually put into the hands of children, were at first as unintelligible to them as the most abstruse treatises on mathematics. I was consequently forced to use the simplest and plainest modes of demonstration ; but these amused and instructed them at the same time. A ball made of the box-tree, with a hole through it, and moving on an axle, and on which I had traced the principal circles ; some large potatoes hollowed out, a candle, and sometimes the skulls of my scholars, served for the instruments by which I illustrated the movement of the earth and of the heavenly bodies. Proceeding from one step to another, I pointed out the different countries in the chart of the world, and took pains to give some slight idea, as we went on, of the characteristics, religions, customs, and history of each nation. Up to this time I had been astonished by the little interest they took, pious-minded as they were, in the subject of Christian Missions; but, when they began to have some idea of geography, I discovered that their former ignorance of this science, and of the very existence of many foreign nations, was the cause of such indifference. As soon as they began to learn who the people are who require to have the Gospel preached to them, and in what part of the globe they dwell, they felt the same concern for the circulation of the Gospel that other Christians entertained. These new acquirements, in fact,
enlarged their spirit, made new creatures of them, and seemed to triple their very existence. In the end, I advanced so far as to give some lectures in geometry, and this too produced a happy moral development. Lessons in music formed part of our evening employment, and those being, like geography, a sort of amusement, they were succeeded by grave edifying reading, and by such reflections as I took care to suggest for their improvement.
The term of their studies having ended, the approach of spring gave the signal for the scholars to return to their several homes, and the duties of the school-room gave place to manual labour in the fields and woods. On the evening before their departure, “ the young men of Dormilleuse prepared a supper for their new friends, and invited them to the parting banquet. The pastor addressed them on the consolatory thought, that though they might see each other's faces no more in this life, they would most assuredly meet again in a joyful state of existence in the world to come, if they persevered in their Christian
He then gave a parting benediction, and after a long and mournful silence, which each seemed unwilling to interrupt, they separated. The next morning, at an early hour, they were seen winding down the mountain path to their several homes; and they of Dormilleuse gazed after them till their figures were lost in the distance, and the village on the rock appeared more dreary and desolate than ever.”
On the next year, they again assembled, and for the last time, when through the kindness of friends they were in circumstances of greater comfort than the preceding year; and Neff writes,
“ Thanks to the generosity of my friends, our little school is now floored and glazed—the benches and seats are all finished, and while all the other schools in this country are held in damp and dark stables, where the scholars are stifled with smoke, and interrupted by the babble of people and the noise of the cattle, and are obliged to be constantly quarrelling with the kids and fowls in defence of their copy-books, we have here a comfortable and well-warmed apartment. I am again conducting a School for the education of those, whose business it will be to educate others; it now consists of about twenty young men from the different villages. We are buried in snow more than four feet deep."
Neff left behind him some remarks on the progress which the students made, and their several capacities and dispositions. These remarks, which are given in the Memoir, shew the great attention he paid to their general character and spiritual condition. He had the satisfaction of seeing his plan in educating the young
answer well, and thus records his praise to God for its success :-- I never,
"can be sufficiently thankful to Almighty God, for the blessing which he has been pleased to vouchsafe upon this undertaking, and for the strength he has given me to enable me to bear the fatigue of it."
This second meeting of the Normal School proved to be the last, and almost the end of Neff's pastoral employ. The longcontinued excitement and anxiety; the oft-repeated journies on foot in all weathers; the sharpness of the external air, and the suffocat
ing heat of a small room, in which so many persons, not remarkable for their cleanliness, were crowded together day after day, together with the exertion of daily and almost hourly lectures, were calculated to undermine the most robust frame. Deprivation added to hard work, and the irregularity as well as the coarse unwholesome quality of his meals, brought on a weakness of stomach, which was followed by a total derangement of the digestive organs. He struggled through the summer of 1826 pretty well; but when the winter came, and he resumed his labours, both in the school upon the rock, and in visiting his scattered hamlets; while the snow blocked up some of the more direct passes and rendered all difficult of access, it was more and more manifest that the conflict could not last long.
In April, 1827, Neff submitted to the absolute necessity of a removal to his native climate, and made preparation for a return to Geneva by slow degrees. On bidding farewell to his beloved people, these poor mountaineers gave him every proof of the sincerity of their attachment and the bitterness of their sorrow. After travelling by easy stages, he arrived at Geneva in a state of extreme languor and suffering. In 1828, he visited the baths of Plombieres. The use of the waters produced a good effect, and he was so much better as to be capable of preaching a few times. Very soon, however, he became worse than before. His stomach could scarcely bear a little whey; for even with this he suffered much from indigestion, and the pain it caused was so violent that he could not bear to take this slight nourishment till many hours after he had endured the pains of hunger. During the lingering illness which followed, his people in the Alps were fondly remembered, and when he could no longer write to them himself, his mother became his amanuensis, to convey to them sentiments of consolation and instruction. Extracts from these letters are given in the memoir. We must however pass them over, and hasten to conclude our notice of the short life of this high missionary and ministerial character. Two days before his death, (12th April
, 1829,) he was supported by two persons, and, though scarcely able to see, he traced at intervals and in large and irregular characters, the following last lines to his beloved friends in the Alps :
“ Adieu, dear friends, Andre Blanc, Antoine Blanc; all my friends the Pelissiers, whom I love tenderly ; Francis Dumont and his wife; Isaac and his wife; beloved Deslois ; Emilie Bonnet, &c. &c.; Alexandrine and her mo. ther; all, all the brethren and sisters of Mens, adieu, adieu. I ascend to our Father in entire peace! Victory! victory! victory! through Jesus Christ.
Missionary and Keligious Entelligence.
1.--BAPTISM OF A NATIVE FEMALE. On Lord's day, Nov. 3, at the Circular Road Chapel, in the presence of a numerous congregation, composed of European and Native Christians, a Hin. doo female, named Piyaree, was baptized. The Rev. Mr. Yates, who admi. nistered the ordinance, conceiving it might interest the audience in the salvation of the natives, unexpectedly asked the candidate a number of questions, the answers she gave to which were so appropriate, as to excite much interest, and to afford satisfactory evidence of her intimate acquaintance with the truths of the Gospel, and her feeling sense of their influence on the heart.
2.-Native CHRISTIAN BOARDING SCHOOL, CHITPORE. The attempts made for the instruction of native youth are now of three kinds. The first is, that of affording them instruction in science and general literature, without any attention to religious sentiments ; the second is, that of combining religious with scientific knowledge, but still leaving the youth under the care of their heathen parents; and the other is, that of removing them entirely from all the influence of idolatry, and making them acquainted with the Christian religion and general knowledge in a Christian family:-In each of these plans a knowledge of the English language is an essential part of a boy's education. It is to the last of the classes mentioned that the Native Christian Boarding School at Chitpore belongs.
This institution consists of 30 boys and 16 girls, all the children of Native Christians, and on the 5th Nov. a respectable number of persons from Calcutta were assembled to witness their examination. After singing and prayer, the 4th English class read parts of the First Instructor. The girls, who have not been taught English, then read in the Bengalee New Testament; and considering they had not appeared in public before, acquitted themselves honourably. It must have been a great exertion to them to read aloud and fluently, as they did in the presence of about 200 persons. When the girls had been examined as to what they had read, another class read in English the First Reader, which diversified the scene ; then a class in Bengalee was examined, and it was pleasing to observe from their reading and writing, that while they had been engaged in learning the English they had not neglected their own language-a fault by no means uncommon at the present day. Proceeding again to English, a Catechism of the Christian religion in rhyme was repeated by the 3rd class, without a single mistake: which excited both surprise and pleasure. But the best was reserved to the last, in the examination of the first class in geography, the use of the globes, history, and religion : those who had witnessed the examination the year before were not prepared for such a display, and much less could strangers be so. The answers of the boys in this class were remarkably correct, and that too when questions were proposed which they could not have anticipated.—They all, both boys and girls, certainly did great credit to their teachers, Mr. and Mrs. Ellis. Of the 30 boys in the institution, about 10 from nominal have become real Christians, and it is hoped that their juniors, as they rise up, will follow their example. There appeared too in one at least indications of his proving something more than an eminent Christian-an able defender of the religion he professes. The examination closed with singing and prayer; after which one of the Christian boys repeated the following hymn, which had been composed for the occasion by the Rev. W. H. Pearce; and so feelingly did he pronounce it, that it drew tears from the eyes of several who were present.