Sin Savor (Without Flavor)

You have got to be kidding me
In circles again
The beginning keeps stepping on the toes of the end
And this complacency is suffocating
A slow death dipped in honey
Right before our eyes marinating
The tide that turns the body back and forth in motion
Yet has us standing still in the middle with an unclear notion
Of what’s to come
We understand there’s got to be more then this because Hillsong sings it so it has to be so
And we know it’s going to be worth it because Rita harmonizes it to the sound of the piano
And yes the walls are falling don’t you hear Martha as she shouts
Taste the anointing, touch the anointing, be the anointing
Yet not convinced by His clout
I’m in route and I sense it
Nobody knows what intense is
When you’re stuck between the place of restoration and the place of divine plan and purpose
Rejoicing over the ashes, the truth turned from lies and the abolished curses
But this still isn’t enough
This still isn’t what I want
Wanna know what I want???

Well let me stop speaking poetic
I’ll bring the poetic speaking to a stoppage
If for one second I can awaken your soul
Can I awaken your soul better yet take it hostage?
I’ma be blunt, no sugar to coat the truth in
I’m scanning the eyes of an army but we’re in need of recruiting
Prophetess and prophet step up, open your mouth, let it out
When the enemy comes like a thief before dawn hits
Let your tongue speak truth that’ll put muscle on a dead carcass
Regardless, of the circumstance, watchmen I’m pulling your cards
If you sense and don’t pray, you leave the whole army unprotected
Vulnerable to broken bones, bruises, wounds and scars
Teacher-man, teacher-man soaking up in knowledge and wisdom
If you don’t plant those seeds, we’re not going to see victors; we’re going to see victims
Evangelist, handling the truth that encompasses your heart and is shut up in your bones
If you refuse to move, how you gonna bring the prodigal son and daughters home?
Preacher ordained by the High Priest let’s get it crackin’
Souls are dying and the deceiver is convinced that he got the advantage
Tisk, tisk
Silly rabbit…

Gotta question
Are you ready?
Ready to step outside the 4 walls
Ready to impact the lost
Ready to be impacted
Broken before a King whose power is the ammo in the heat your packing
Don’t you know that He’s called us to command the great commission?
Manifest demons, uproot the lies and beat the flesh into submission
Can you listen? Are you listening?
Don’t you know that you’re called???
Called to divide and conquer the plots of our nemesis
You’ve been called since way before the womb, way before genesis was written in the genesis
Exodus, exit quick from your place of slavery
Zoom through your psalms of praise till you reach your revelation
Elevation is what we need to get over or else it’s over
ARE YOU READY???
TELL ME, ARE YOU READY??
I’m sick…matter fact I got the flu
I feel the heat and the cold in one
Sick of what complacency has the power to do
Acknowledge what’s to come yet too hesitant to step into it at all
A little aggressive with it yes…but I want to hear well done good and faithful servant when he calls
So I stand before man with a declaration to the Savior
Today, I’m done with standing still…if I’ma be salt
Then Christ Jesus be my flavor

– Nina del Valle

The kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:21)

Luke 17:21
The kingdom of God is within you.

It reigns in the heart by the law of God; it sets up its dominion over the passions, and brings every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

In the elect of God, in their hearts; it being of a spiritual nature, and lying in righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost; in the dispossession of Satan, the strong man armed; in the putting down of the old man, sin, with its deceitful lusts, from the throne; and in setting up a principle of grace, as a governing one; and so escapes the observation of natural men, and cannot be pointed at as here, or there. The work of grace is an internal thing; it is wrought in the hearts of men; it has its seat in the inward parts, and is therefore called the inner, and the hidden man. It is oil in the vessel of the heart, an inward principle of holiness in the soul, or spirit of man, produced there by the Spirit of God, and it is a very glorious thing, since it is signified by a kingdom. It is a rich treasure; it is gold tried in the fire, which makes rich; it is an estate, that good part, and portion, which can never be taken away; it is preferable to the greatest portion on earth men can enjoy; even the largest and richest kingdom in the world is not to be compared with it; it is a kingdom which cannot be moved; and as it is glorious in itself, it makes such glorious who are partakers of it. The King’s daughter is all glorious within (Psalm 45:13). It is high in the esteem of God; it is the hidden man of the heart, but it is in His sight of great price. It reigns, through righteousness, to eternal life; and by it, Christ, as King of saints, lives and reigns in His people.

Within you (εντος υμων — entos humōn). This is the obvious and the necessary meaning of εντος. The examples cited of the use in Xenophon and Plato where εντος means “among” do not bear that out when investigated. There is no clear instance of εντος in the sense of among, and rightly so. The only other instance of εντος in the NT (Matthew 23:26) necessarily means “within” (“the inside of the cup”). There is in the Oxyrhynchus Papyrus a saying which is interesting: The kingdom of heaven is within you (εντος υμων – entos humōn) as in Luke 17:21.

Look not for it in distant times or remote places: it is come: it is present in the soul of every true believer: it is a spiritual kingdom, an internal principle. Wherever it exists, it exists in the heart.

Some have thought it strange that Jesus should say “within you” when addressing the Pharisees, but the word “you” is used generally and indefinitely.

It is over this inward kingdom, the kingdom of the soul, that Christ rules. It is within this kingdom that He energises. It is out of this kingdom that His glory has to proceed. And they who search to discern Him in spirit and life, in holy expression of consecrated faculty, in the energy of capacities dedicated to God, will find Him; and they will find that in these He is all in all.

Though the kingdom of God, in its highest sense, certainly occupies space, we are quite sure, nevertheless, that we will find heaven much more a state than a place. We know already, even here, that happiness does not depend on where we are. Happiness is a condition of mind. We carry about with us a feeling which makes the atmosphere, which determines the colour of the prospect. And what is all this? What is this great moral truth, which commends itself to every man’s experience, but an approach to, and a part of, that truth, The kingdom of God is within you?

I believe that every one, in this present world, is gradually but surely ripening, and getting like the state—whichever the state may be—where he is to live for ever and for ever. The final condition of a saint in glory is only the growth and the increase and the extension of his life on earth. He has been constantly assimilating to his own perfected condition in another world. The heaven is in him long before he goes to heaven.

Heaven, we are led to expect, will be: (1) Light. But what are the emanations of that light? Truth, clearness, uprightness. And that is heaven. If you are a child of God, there is in your heart, transparency, strict justice, perfect truthfulness. The kingdom of heaven is within you. (2) Harmony. If you are a man that loves unity, if you hate variance, if you are doing all that in you lies to make the Church’s unity—then, in so far, the kingdom of God is within you. (3) Singleness of purpose. Whichever of us can say, One thing I do—whether I eat or drink, whatever I do, I try to do it to the glory of God—then, the kingdom of God is within you. (4) Humility—every angel covering his face with his wing. If I see a man very little in his own eyes I know that the kingdom of God is within him. (5) Through all heaven, it is the one felt Presence of Christ which is, to all hearts, all their joy; because He is there. And, just according to what Jesus is to you, the kingdom of God is within you.

It is of an internal and spiritual character, as opposed to the outside views of it: so the Fathers understood it.

The marginal reading, among you. has been adopted, somewhat hastily. So taken, the words emphatically assert the actual presence of the Kingdom. It was already in the midst of them at the very time when they were asking when it would appear. The use of the Greek preposition is, however, all but decisive against this interpretation. It is employed for that which is within, as contrasted with that which is without, as in Matthew 23:26, and in the LXX version for the “inward parts,” or spiritual nature of man, as contrasted with the outward (Psalms 103:1; Psalms 109:22; Isaiah 16:11). It was in that region, in the life which must be born again (John 3:3), that men were to look for the kingdom; and there, whether they accepted it or rejected it, they would find sufficient tokens of its power.

Matthew 23:26
You blind Pharisee. First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.

Romans 14:17
The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Deuteronomy 30:11-14
For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it? But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.

Onward Martyrdom by Cruz Cordero

Verse 1:

Let’s take a look into this book called the Martyrs Mirror

a collection of stories that can draw y’all nearer

closer to glory of the Prince of Peace

Having war ceased from Italy to Middle East to Philly streets

It’s really deep, Jesus keeps his peeps meek

yet He keeps us strong, the word He speaks is bond

He’ll never leave us nor forsake us

He’ll take us in His arms and He’ll lead us on

His peace will keep us calm

So come along as we journey in honor of

The many men and women, empowered by the power of

God’s love

It gots to be a part of us

If we’re called His followers then this love should be synonymous

With our lives and not just our lips

It’s time to get fanatical with this gift that God gives

If this love is in you, then you would do what Dirk did

Dirk Willems that is, a true servant who worked his

Faith out, by putting his life on the line

What was Dirk thinking? It was Christ on his mind

What was Dirk drinking? A special kind of Wine

Instrumental for the mental, giving sight to the blind

A living light that shines bright, like the sunshine

Man, if I can just sum this up in just one rhyme

But anyway, let’s get back to Dirk Willems

A Christian imprisoned for the faith that he was living

Facing execution, this man was willing

To extend a helping hand to the man pursuing him

To do him in, so those rulers can ruin him

‘Cause he was an Anabaptist who was walking in unison

With the Person of Christ, immersed in His life

Obeying the sermon is what turned him to a furnace of light

Those merciless magistrates full of malice and hate

Murdered this servant Dirk by burning him at the stake

A lingering death, he suffered at a slow pace

His faith was steadfast, his soul was shown grace

In the hands of God, he commended his whole fate

A showcase of his faith is what makes this story great

But the object of his faith, makes the story greater

So all praise and honor goes to the Creator

Chorus:

All praise and all glory to the Prince of Peace

All these stories are testimonies of what peace can reach

Without His fingerprints in each, each story wouldn’t teach

Such remarkable faith in the face of evil beasts

Historically, history is His story

God gets all the glory, you should just ignore me

And strictly get in awe with this sovereign God

Who’s calling, all of y’all to have you all involved

In his purpose and plan for this revolving ball

You should worship this Lamb, He’s such a flawless God

Take a permanent stand, you won’t fall real hard

Take it personal and, take the gospel far

Verse 2:

Let’s continue with this next verse, let us converse

With the past, let’s us grasp what we can learn from these excerpts

Historical records are not just for the experts

They’re there for those who want to learn without lectures

Now let’s search Scriptures, let’s us remember

That we’re members of the urban church, serving like the servant Dirk

Thermostats on the map, instead of thermometers

Regulating earth’s temperatures instead of changed by her common errs

I’m kind of irked by the lack of servanthood

We need to practice what we preach and not just word it good

We should be working the hood, like my man Tom Skinner

Who was a gangster, but thanks to Christ, Tom was made a winner

He went from the Harlem lords to the sovereign Lord

Tom Skinner was a peacemaker, stopping war

Stop and pause, let’s talk about some other martyrs

Sons and daughters, who were slaughtered like lambs on an altar

We ought to be salt and light, walking with Christ

We need to act accordingly and not just talk real nice

Be like Margaretha and Michael, true disciples

Brutally executed by self righteous psychos

Michael’s tongue was sliced off, it wasn’t nice y’all

Parts of his body was twice torn by hot tongs

And what about his wife? This women was not soft

She was later bound and tossed in a river and what for?

For believing Jesus, for obeying His teachings?

For seeking to please Him? Those were the reasons

Even if they were heathens, is this how we treat them?

Or do we lead them to Jesus by repeating Ephesians

6:10 through 17, by any means

Put on the armor of God and give praise to Elohim

Verse 3:

In conclusion, let us all turn our attention

To innumerous amounts of men and women unmentioned

To the many heat-takers and the many peacemakers

To those who took heed of being Jesus imitators

Like Kelifa and Keros, Ethiopian heroes

Two leaders of a church known as the Meserete Kristos

Meaning Christ the Foundation, Christ the Solid Rock

The Socket that connects us to the power of God

He’s the Potter, you’re not, every hour you got

Is under total control, keeping your mindset locked

Reproducing Menno Simons, even out of Hip-Hop

As the clock goes tick-tock, God is never gonna stop

Giving us lots of guts like Felix Manz and Hans Hut

Life minus Christ sucks, there’s no success

Without Jesus, life is just a bunch of meaningless

Like a sniper aiming at nothing and always hitting it

Are you getting it? If not, then peep Elizabeth Dirks

Just listen to her story and get with its worth

Like in heaven, do the Father’s will on this earth

Give Him reverence, thank Him for the spiritual rebirth

Kunigaikštis Mikalojus Radvila Juodasis – Reformatų bažnyčios Unitas Lithuaniae įkūrėjas ir globėjas

Kunigaikštis Mikalojus Radvila Juodasis – Reformatų bažnyčios Unitas Lithuaniae įkūrėjas ir globėjas – vienas įžymiausių Lietuvos Didžiosios Kunigaikštystės didikų, valstybingumo puoselėtojas, vienas labiausiai apsišvietusių Lietuvos žmonių, gynęs LDK integralumą ir politinį savarankiškumą. Gimė 1515 m. vasario 4 d. Nesvyžiuje, Trakų kašteliono Jono Radvilos ir Onos Kiškaitės šeimoje. Anksti – keturiolikos metų neteko tėvo ir, kaip ir daugelis tų laikų Lietuvos aristokratų, lavinosi karaliaus Žygimanto I Senojo dvare Krokuvoje, augo kartu su Žygimantu Augustu ir pelnė karalaičio draugystę. Žygimantui Augustui tapus Lietuvos didžiuoju kunigaikščiu, M. Radvila Juodasis ėjo įvairias pareigas rūmuose ir valstybėje: 1544 m. buvo paskirtas Lietuvos didžiuoju maršalka, 1550 m. – didžiuoju Lietuvos kancleriu ir 1551 m. – Vilniaus vaivada. Visas šias pareigas garbingai vykdė iki mirties.

Vaivada atsakė už vaivadijos saugumą, buvo pašauktinės bajorų kariuomenės vadas. Kancleris – antras pagal rangą ir svarbiausias LDK vyriausybės narys, faktiškai – aukščiausia Lietuvos Didžiosios Kunigaikštystės valdžia, didžiojo kunigaikščio – tuo metu Žygimanto Augusto – ir Ponų kanceliarijos reikalų tvarkytojas, į kurio pareigas įėjo valstybės įstatymų leidimas ir vykdymas. Per kanclerio rankas plaukė visa valstybinė korespondencija, jam buvo patikėta saugoti didįjį valstybės antspaudą, jo žinioje buvo valstybės archyvas ir Lietuvos metrika. Vilniaus vaivadų ir LDK didžiųjų kanclerių pareigas iki Radvilos Juodojo buvo ėję jo senelis Mikalojus II ir tėvas Jonas Radvila. Po Mikalojaus Juodojo mirties šias aukštas pareigas LDK perėmė pusbrolis Mikalojus Rudasis.

1547 m. iš Šventosios Romos imperatoriaus Mikalojus Radvila Juodasis sykiu su broliu Jonu ir pusbroliu Mikalojumi Radvila Ruduoju gavo kunigaikščių titulus. Mikalojus ir Jonas Radvilos tapo Šventosios Romos Imperijos kunigaikščiais Olykoje ir Nesvyžiuje ir naudojo herbą – aukso lauke buvo pavaizduotas erelis išskėstais sparnais su skydu ant krūtinės.

1548 m. Mikalojus Radvila Juodasis susituokė su Lenkijos kanclerio Kristupo Šydlovieckio (Krzysztof Szydłowiecki) dukterimi Elžbieta. Šeimoje gimė 4 sūnūs (Mikalojus, Albrechtas, Jurgis ir Stanislovas) ir 4 dukterys (Elžbieta, Sofija, Ona ir Kristina). Su šeima daugiausia rezidavo savo dvaruose Vilniuje ir Brastoje.

Mikalojus Radvila Juodasis buvo iškiliausias Reformacijos globėjas ir rėmėjas. Kaip aukščiausiasis LDK pareigūnas, valstybės reikalais lankydavosi užsienyje, bendravo su Čekijos husitais, buvo susipažinęs su Ulricho Cvinglio ir Jono Kalvino raštais. Šveicarijos reformatorių tikėjimo mokymą stengėsi išplėsti savo gausiuose dvaruose. 1553 m. Breste ir Vilniuje jo rūmuose buvo pradėtos laikyti pamaldos pagal kalvinistinę liturgiją.

Brunonas Bušackis knygoje “Radvila Juodasis“ rašo: Ne tik savo rezidencijoje Nesvyžiuje, Olykoje, Szidlowiecuose, Tikocine, Brastoje, bet ir visur kitur, kur tik siekė jo galinga ranka, jis steigė kalviniškas parapijas, skyrė reformatų kunigus, aprūpino juos pragyvenimu, statė naujas bažnyčias, nesivaržydamas ir senas katalikiškąsias paversti naujo tikėjimo šventyklomis. Dvasininkų kvietėsi iš užsienio. Kurį laiką jo dvaruose pamaldas laikė poznanietis Martynas Čekavičius (1532–1613), Mikalojus Vendrigovskis, kurie tapo garsiausiais Radvilos rūmuose įkurtos bažnyčios dvasininkais.

B. Bušackis toliau rašo, kad Radvila, brolio Jono Feraroje gautų kalvinistiškos Reformacijos impulsų paskatintas, jau apie 1550 metus ėmė linkti prie šveicariškosios protestantizmo formos.

1556 m. lenkų Pinčovo sinodui sutikus parsikviesti iš Londono Joną Laskį (1499–1560), kuris Rytų Fryzijoje ir ypač Anglijoje kūrė tautines reformuotas Bažnyčias pagal Kalvino mokymą, gavo karaliaus patikinimą, kad Laskis nebus LDK persekiojamas ir galės grįžti. J. Laskis, susitaręs su Simonu Zacijumi, ėmė perorganizuoti reformatų parapijas ne tik griežtai nuo liuteronų atsiribodamas, bet ir varydamas propagandą prieš liuteroniškąjį, mažai nuo katalikybės besiskiriantį, Komunijos supratimą (Bušackis B. Radvila Juodasis. Čikaga, 1977, 162 p.).

Mikalojaus Radvilos Juodojo rezidencijoje Vilniuje, Lukiškėse, 1557 m. buvo sušauktas pirmasis evangelikų reformatų Sinodas, padėjęs pamatus Lietuvos evangelikų reformatų Bažnyčiai Unitas Lithuaniae. Pirmuoju naujosios Bažnyčios superintendentu buvo išrinktas Simonas Zacijus, kuris Lietuvos parapijose tarnavo jau dešimtmetį. Tuo metu buvo įkurta ir pirmoji institucinė biblioteka Lietuvoje, priklausiusi Vilniaus evangelikų reformatų Sinodui.

Brunono Bušackio nuomone, “kalvinizmas pademonstravo pasauliui asmeninės atskirų individų aristokratijos galimybę, kuri plaukė ne iš pretenzijų į luomines privilegijas, bet iš orumo, kurį duoda laisva valia užsikrautosios prievolės ir įsipareigojimai, žinant, kad tikrąjį elitą sudaro ne pasyviu paveldėjimu sukaupta statiška būklė, bet čia ir dabar nepaliaujamu aktyvumu dinamiškai įgyjamos, vis naujai atidengiamos vertybės. Reformuotoje Radvilos Bažnyčioje dėl jos sinodinės konstitucijos raudona gija ėjo ir demokratinė jos santvarka, nes jos Sinodas, kuriame dalyvauja, net jame pirmaudami, pasauliečiai, yra tikras demokratinis Bažnyčios parlamentas“ (Ten pat, 100 p.).

Paminėtina, kad Radvila Juodasis 1553 m. Lietuvos Brastoje įkūrė pirmąją nuolat veikusią LDK spaustuvę, kur 1563 m. išleista garsioji Brastos Biblija – Lietuvos ir Lenkijos reformatų parengtas viso Šventojo Rašto vertimas į lenkų kalbą – pirmoji Biblijos vertimo į vieną iš šnekamųjų kalbų publikacija Lietuvoje ir Lenkijoje. Šią spaustuvę Mikalojaus Radvilos Juodojo sūnus, 1567 m. sugrįžęs į katalikybę ir tapęs uoliu katalikų rėmėju bei gynėju, 1575 m. perkėlė iš Brastos į Vilnių ir pavedė administruoti jėzuitams.

Mikalojus Radvila Juodasis spaustuvę buvo įsteigęs ir Nesvyžiuje bei buvo sukaupęs ten turtingą biblioteką. Nesvyžiaus spaustuvėje buvo spausdinamos religinės knygos, kurias vertė į gudų kalbą ir rengė spaudai vėliau išgarsėjęs arijonas Simonas Budnas.

Popiežius Paulius IV, pabūgęs Reformacijos sėkmės LDK, 1555 m. siuntė į Vilnių savo nuncijų, Veronos ir Bergamo vyskupą Aloyzijų Lippomaną, kad įtikintų karalių Žygimantą Augustą imtis priemonių prieš eretikų įsigalėjimą: įkurti inkviziciją, suimti ir nubausti mirties bausme protestantų vadus. Karaliui pasibaisėjus ir atmetus nuncijaus siūlymus, minėtasis vyskupas dar bandė sukiršinti dvasininkus. Bajorijai pasipriešinus, Lippomanas spruko į Varšuvą ir iš ten parašė laišką Mikalojui Radvilai Juodajam, kuriame išreiškė didžiulį susirūpinimą kanclerio, vaivados, kaip didžiausio eretiko, sielos išganymu. Į nuncijaus laišką M. Radvila parašė viešą atsakymą, datuotą 1556 m. rugsėjo 1 d. Šių dviejų laiškų pagrindu 1556 m. Petras Paulius Vergerijus parengė ir Karaliaučiuje išleido M. Radvilos Juodojo “Du laiškai“ – Tikėjimo išpažinimą, kuris Romos katalikų Bažnyčios buvo įtrauktas į pirmąjį visuotinį Draudžiamų knygų sąrašą. (Ši knyga “Du laiškai: popiežiaus nuncijaus Luigi Lippomano ir kunigaikščio Mikalojaus Radvilo Juodojo polemika (1556 m)“ yra išversta į lietuvių kalbą ir šių metų vasario 21 d. Knygų mugėje buvo pristatyta visuomenei. Pristatyme dalyvavo vertėja Dalia Dilytė, knygos sumanytoja ir sudarytoja Dainora Pociūtė-Abukevičienė). Vergerijus iki mirties palaikė artimus ryšius su M. Radvila Juoduoju, 1564–1565 m. globojo Tiubingene studijavusį jo sūnų Našlaitėlį.

“Du laiškai“ išgarsino Radvilą Juodąjį Europoje kaip LDK Reformacijos pradininką ir nepriklausomos LDK protestantų Bažnyčios įkūrėją. Savo atsakyme A. Lippomanui Radvila Juodasis viešai atsisakė būti katalikų Bažnyčios nariu, pavadino ją blogio įsikūnijimu ir paskelbė įkuriąs naują tikrą krikščionių Bažnyčią: Mano altorius anaiptol nėra […] šventvagiškas, bet iš tiesų šventas ir krikščioniškas, ne išniekintas popiežiškos bedievystės ar stabmeldystės, o papuoštas Kristaus ir apaštalų nuostatų. Pagaliau jis paskirtas ne Romos ar Loreto Marijai, jūsų mediniams dievams ir dievybėms, iš esmės – Delfų velniams, o pastatytas ir pašvęstas amžinajam ir gyvajam mūsų Dievui.

1558 m. M. Radvila Juodasis savo rūmuose Vilniuje reformatų jaunuomenei įsteigė mokyklą. Nors istorinių duomenų išlikę nedaug, istorikai teigia, kad bent tris kartus bandyta šią mokyklą performuoti į aukštesniojo ir aukščiausio lygio švietimo įstaigą. Yra žinių, kad jis savo testamente dalį turto užrašė mokyklai ir jos plėtrai. Istoriografijoje užfiksuota, kad katalikų vyskupas Valerijonas Protasevičius disponavo informacija apie šio testamento turinį ir nerimas dėl protestantų planų plėsti mokyklą sostinėje pastūmėjo jį imtis aktyvių iniciatyvų steigiant alternatyvią katalikiškąją švietimo instituciją – universitetą.  

Radvila Juodasis, faktinis LDK valdovas, net ir būdamas nepaprastai užsiėmęs valstybės reikalais, rasdavo laiko rūpintis ir naujai įkurta Bažnyčia. 1561 m. jis išsiuntė kunigą Martyną Čechavičių Ženevon pas Šveicarijos reformatorius Kalviną ir Bulingerį, pavesdamas jam geriau susipažinti su evangeliškojo tikėjimo dvasia, liturgija ir institucijomis. Kunigaikštis norėjo išsiaiškinti, ar nėra kur geresnė, tikslingesnė liturgija ar sinodinė tvarka. Tam tikslui jis susirašinėjo su garsiausiu reformatoriumi Jonu Kalvinu, kuris negailėjo kritikos ir patarimų nepriimti ir negloboti anabaptistų, antitrinitorių Blandratos, Stankaros ir kt. Tačiau M. Radvila laikėsi savų pozicijų ir tikėjosi ant tikėjimo laisvės ir tolerancijos pamatų įkurti tautinę nuo nieko nepriklausomą Bažnyčią.

Mikalojus Radvila Juodasis buvo nepailstamas Lietuvos valstybės gynėjas, tolerancijos kitoms konfesijoms LDK įtvirtintojas. Globojo socinistus, arijonus, anabaptistus ir leido jiems savo valdose šaukti savus Sinodus. Jo iniciatyva ir pastangomis 1563 m. Vilniaus seime buvo priimta garsioji Religinės laisvės privilegija, tolygi angliškajai Magna Charta Libertatum, užtikrinusi visoms religijoms lygias teises ir laisvę išpažinti bet kurią religiją ir ją skelbti, protestantų bei stačiatikių bajorų teisės ir privilegijos sulygintos su katalikų bajorų. Jo, kaip įtakingo ir artimo karaliui Žygimantui Augustui asmens, dėka per Seimą, Senatą buvo siekiama įtvirtinti Reformacijos laimėjimus be kruvinų vidaus karų ir įtampos.

Dr. Deimanto Karvelio nuomone, Radvila Juodasis buvo ne tik Bažnyčios reformatorius, iš visų Reformacijos srovių mėginęs paimti visą, kas geriausia savo valdose, bet jo vizija, matyt, buvo pakreipti Lietuvą šveicarišku, vokišku, gal skandinavišku keliu. Tą tikriausiai turėjo omenyje pasaulinio lygio kultūrologas Vytautas Kavolis, viename savo tekstų parašęs, kad 1565 metais Lietuvos ateitis dar galėjo kitaip susiklostyti. Tačiau po Radvilos Juodojo mirties nebeatsirado socialinių jėgų jį pakeisti. Tai buvo paskutinis kartas, kai Lietuva galėjo tapti svarbi pasauliui.

Radvilos Juodojo politinės sėkmės zenitas – 1562 m. kovo 5 d. prisaikdintas Rygoje hercogas Gothardas Žygimanto Augusto vasalu, Livonija pajungta LDK. Taip buvo užbaigta 250 metų trukusi kova su kalavijuočiais: pasidavė Rygos arkivyskupas, riteriai, Rygos miestas.

1562 metais, būdamas tik 47-erių, Radvila Juodasis tapo našliu. Jo žmona Elžbieta iš Šydlovieckių mirė 1562 m. gegužės 20 d., palikdama keturis sūnus ir keturias dukteris, kurių vyriausiam Mikalojui Kristupui (pramintas Našlaitėliu) tebuvo trylika metų, o mažiausiajai dukrelei – Kristinai – pusantrų.

Tuo metu Mikalojus Radvila Juodasis buvo savo galybės ir didybės apogėjuje. B. Bušackis, pasitelkęs tų metų amžininkų aprašymus ir užsilikusias litografijas, Radvilos išvaizdą apibūdina taip: aukšto ūgio, laibas, riteriškai atletiškas, išdidžios laikysenos vyras. Jo pailgas, išblyškęs, bet tamsios juodbruvio odos veidas su siaura kakta ir ilga juoda barzda turėjo sužavėti kiekvieną, kas tik su juo susidurdavo. Jis buvo mažakalbis ir ramus. Išorinius ispanų grando požymius jungė savyje su nordiško vikingo vidiniu santūrumu.

Kunigaikštis Radvila antrą kartą nevedė, nors buvo ketinimų ir noro susigiminiuoti su Mecklenburgo kunigaikščiais. Netrukus po žmonos mirties M. Radvila pradėjo sirginėti, jį ėmė kamuoti podagra.

Mirė Mikalojus Radvila Juodasis 1565 m. gegužės 28 d. Vilniuje. Buvo palaidotas savo rūmų Vilniuje bažnyčios rūsyje, kaip prašė savo testamente, greta prieš tris metus mirusios žmonos.

Savo mažamečių vaikų globą testamente, surašytame kelios dienos prieš mirtį, paliko Lenkijos karaliui ir LDK didžiajam kunigaikščiui Žygimantui Augustui bei kitiems didikams protestantams.

Savo vyriausiajam sūnui Mikalojui Kristupui du mėnesiai prieš mirtį parašė laišką, kuriame prisakė neišsukti iš tikro tikėjimo. Tai skambėjo maždaug taip: Aš, mielas sūnau, žemiškame gyvenime pasiekiau viską materialiai ir karjeros prasme, bet visa tai nieko neverta palyginus su tuo tikėjimu, kuriame aš tave užauginau. Jei tu savo gyvenime jo laikysiesi – tu pasieksi visą, ką ir aš turiu.
Deja, sūnūs jėzuitų pastangomis perėjo į katalikybę, Jurgis tapo net pirmuoju lietuviu kardinolu.

Kardinolui Jurgiui ėmus valdyti Juodojo rūmus, tėvų karstai iš ten buvo iškelti, vėliau perlaidoti Dubingių reformatų bažnyčios rūsyje, kur 1557–1620 m. buvo laidojami reformatų tikėjimo Radvilos. Lenkijos archyvuose yra išlikęs Kristupo II Radvilos dvariškio laiškas, kuriame rašoma, kad 1627 m. šaltą vasario naktį slapta dvejos sunkiais karstais pakrautos rogės pajudėjo iš Vilniaus Dubingių link.

Per 1655–1665 metų karą Dubingių pilis ir bažnyčia buvo apiplėšta, sugriauta, palaidojimai išniekinti Maskvos kariuomenės. Po šio karo Radvilų palaikai buvo surinkti ir garbingai vėl palaidoti.

Šiaurės karui tarp Rusijos ir Švedijos (1700–1721) prasidėjus, bijant naujo išniekinimo, sarkofagai su kunigaikščių palaikais vėl buvo slepiami. 1734 m. Radvilų palikuonis Mykolas Kazimieras atvykęs į Dubingius visur jų ieškojo, bet nebesurado. Palaikai buvo rasti tik 2004 metų archeologinių kasinėjimų metu. Antropologų, istorikų, menotyrininkų ir archeologų bendromis pastangomis palaikai buvo identifikuoti ir 2009 m. iškilmingai perlaidoti Dubingiuose, reformatų bažnyčios vietoje įrengtame Radvilų panteone.

Kunigaikščio Mikalojaus Radvilos Juodojo, jo žmonos Elžbietos Šydlovieckos ir kitų artimųjų palaikai dabar ilsisi Mikalojaus Rudojo vaikaičio Jonušo VI Radvilos statytos buvusios bažnyčios požemiuose.

RADVILA JUODASIS (1515-1565) PATRIOTAS IR PROTESTANTAS

RADVILA JUODASIS (1515-1565) PATRIOTAS IR PROTESTANTAS

Lietuvos reformacija nebuvo ir nėra, priešingai kai kurių istorikų teigimu, nei erezija, nei dvasinis pasimetimas, nei nutolimas nuo tikrojo krikščioniškojo mokslo. Lietuvių Enciklopedija neigiamai atsiliepdama apie reformaciją, evangelikus pravardžiuoja eretikais, atskalūnais, klaidatikiais, kreivatikiais, kalvinais ir kitokiais epitetais, — nusižengdama mokslo disciplinai.

Kng. Mikalojus Radvila Juodasis, Lietuvos reformacijos vadas, buvo tvirtas DLK patriotas, Griežtai, kaip liūtas, kovojo už Lietuvos valstybinį savarankiškumą, integralumą, atmesdamas Kriavos ir Horodlės aktus, kaip primestus valdovų, neatsiklausus tautos. Griežtai stojo prieš lenkų primetamą Lietuvai uniją. 1563-64 m. Varšuvos seime pareiškė, kad jis pats greičiau leisiąs nudegti savo rankai, negu pasirašysiąs po kuria nors skriauda Lietuvai: “Gerint mirtis, negu tokia unija” (L. E. XXIV t., 392 psl.).

Radvila Juodasis turėjo tolimą viziją į ateitį. Tais laikais religija buvo lemiamas veiksnys pasaulinėje ir vidaus politikoje. Reformacijoje pramatė politinius galimumus DLK savarankiškumui apginti. Dėlto energingai plėtė reformaciją Lietuvoje, remdamas visas protestantiškas konfesijas bei disidentinius sąjūdžius. Taipgi intensyviai rėmė reformacinį sąjūdį ir pačioje Lenkijoje, paremdamas protestantus į aukštus valstybinius urėdus, gindamas jų teises seimuose ir šelpdamas reformacinę veiklą piniginiai.

Po Radvilos Juodojo mirties toliau Lietuvos ir Lenkijos reformaciją globojo Ir buvo visų disidentų ir disunitų vadais Biržų—Dubingių šakos Radvilos iki jų išmirimo, šis faktas sugriauna lietuvių istorikų nepagrįstą teigimą, kad lenkai dominavo Lietuvos reformacijoje.

Radvila Juodasis, siekdamas savo tikslių 1558 m. savo lėšomis įkūrė Lietuvos Brastoje, prie Lenkijos sienos, spaustuvę, pakvietęs Krokuvos spaustuvininką B. Vojevodką. Joje buvo ruošiami ir spausdinami propagandiniai ir poleminiai raštai. Tai buvo pirmoji spaustuvė Lietuvoje evangelikų raštams leisti, Sutelkęs žymiausius humanistus ir geriausius šv. Rašto žinovus iš Prancūzijos, Vengrijos, Lenkijos, pavedė jiems parengti Biblijos vertimą į lenkų kalbą, kuri labai puošniai buvo išspausdinta 1563 m., žymiausias anuo laiku spausdinys, pagarsėjęs Brastos Biblijos vardu. Šia garsiąja Brastos Biblija, kuri kancleriui kainavo apie 100.000 auksinų, buvo lenkų kultūrai pastatytas paminklas, kuris savo dailia kalba buvo pavyzdžiu ir katalikiškiems lenkų šv. Rašto vertimams. Radvila Juodasis, kaip leidėjas ir visų išlaidų dengėjas, Brastos Bibliją laikė savo kūriniu. Jis Bibliją plačiai paskleidė po Lietuvą, Lenkiją ir užsienyje. Radvila pasididžiuodamas padovanojo Bibliją Žygimantui Augustui, pasiuntė kng. Kristupui Wittenbergiečiui, Prūsijos hercogui Albrechtui, imperatoriui Maksimilijonui, Prancūzijos karaliui ir visiems vokiečių kunigaikščiams.

Reformacijai skleisti tarp stačiatikių Radvila Juodasis antrąją spaustuvę įsteigė savo gimtajame mieste Nesvyžiuje, kur reformaciniai raštai buvo spausdinami kirilinėmis rašmenimis. Čia buvo išspausdintas žymaus mokslininko Simono Budnio, vėliau tapusio arijonų vadu, išverstas į gudų kalbą Liuterio katekizmas ir 1562 m. pradėta spausdinti jo išversta į slavų bažnytinę kalbą Biblija.

Radvilos juodojo laikais dar nebuvo sukurtos bendrinės lietuvių rašybos ir nebūta šios srities žinovų. Pirmieji lietuvių raštijos pradininkai – A. Kulvietis, St. Rapolionis, J. Zablockis buvo išguiti iš Lietuvos. Radvila Juodasis, norėdamas patraukti prie reformacijos ne tik Lietuvos sulenkėjusią, bet ir Lenkijos diduomenę, – pirmenybę atidavė lenkų kalbai, ta kalba išleisdamas Bibliją, skirtą Lenkijos reformacijai paremti. Radvila Juodasis, kovoje dėl Lietuvos savistovumo, ieškojo paramos ir Lenkijos reformacijoje.

Ne iš Lenkijos helvetiškoji reformacija pasiekė Lietuvą, kaip tai klaidingai istorikų nurodoma, bet ji savaimingai išaugo Lietuvoje. Iš Lietuvos buvo remiamas silpnai besireiškiąs reformacinis sąjūdis Lenkijoje, nes ten katalikybė per 500 metų jau buvo giliai įleidusi šaknis lenkų tautoje.

Radvila Juodasis, siekdamas išlaikyti lietuvių tautos dvasinį palikimą, tolerancijos principą padėjo Lietuvos reformacijos pagrindan. Jo pastangomis ir rūpesčiu, remiant pusbroliui Radvilai Rudajam ir kitiems žymiems Lietuvos pareigūnams, 1563 m. Vilniaus seime buvo pravesta Religinės Laisvės privilegija, kuri buvo tolygi garsiajai angliškajai Magna Charta Libertatum. 1563.VI.8 religinės laisvės privilegija, pirmoji visoj Europoj, užtikrino visoms religijoms lygias teises ir laisvę išpažinti bet kurią religiją ir ją skelbti. Buvo sulygintos katalikų bajorų teisės su protestantų ir stačiatikių tikėjimų išpažintojais. Šia privilegija buvo užtikrintos bajorijai, politinės, asmeninės ir sąžinės laisvės, šį epochinės reikšmės dokumentu savo parašais patvirtino: DLK didysis kunigaikštis ir Lenkijos karalius Žygimantas Augustas, DLK kancleris ir Vilniaus vaivada kng. Mikalojus Radvila Juodasis, trys katalikų vyskupai, vienas stačiatikių kunigaikštis ir keli žymesni reformatų, katalikų ir stačiatikių didikai, ši privilegija apėmė ir antitrinitorius (šv, Trejybės neigėjus), vad. arijonais, kuriuos Radvila Juodasis taip pat globojo, leidęs jiems savo sinodą sušaukti jo valdoje – Mardavoje 1563 m. Kalvinas raštu buvo įspėjęs Vilniaus reformatų sinodu saugotis antitrinitoriaus G. Blandratos (italų gydytojas, religinis polemistas), kaip kokio maro, bet į tai nebuvo atsižvelgta.

Tuo laiku visoje Vakarų Europoje virė žūtbūtinės religinės kovos ir karai, o DLK, kunigaikščių Radvilų valdoma, buvo tapusi tolerantiškiausiu kraštu. Daugelis dėl savo skirtingų religinių įsitikinimų, ar dėl naujų idėjų, persekioti V. Europoje, Anglijoje, buvo suradę prieglobstį DLK.

Lietuvos reformacija, dėka Radvilos Juodojo įžvalgumo, buvo įstatyta į parlamentines vėžes. Per seimus ir senatą siekta užtikrinti reformacijos laimėjimą be jokių kruvinų vidaus karų ar didesnių įtempimų. Popiežius Povilas IV, išsigandęs reformacijos pasisekimo, jau 1555 m. atsiuntė į Vilnių savo nuncijų, Veronos ir Bergamo vyskupą, Luigi Lippomano (1500-59), kilmingos šeimos bažnytinį kunigaikštį. Lippomano, panaudojęs visas diplomatines priemones įtikinti Žygimantą Augustą persekioti “eretikus”, pareikalavo suimti 8 ar 10. vyriausiųjų protestantų vadų ir jiems, be didesnių procesų, nukirsti galvas arba juos sudeginti. Kai karalius, pasibaisėjęs tokiu pasiūlymu, jj atmetė, tai Lippomano pradėjo kurstyti Lowitczo sinode susirinkusius dvasininkus, reikalaudamas imtis griežčiausių priemonių “erezijai” išnaikinti. Slaptiems Lippomano reikalavimams iškilus aikštėn, suerzinta bajorija parodė savo griežtą neapykantą ir Lippomano turėjo prašyti kardinolu Caraffą, kad jį kurija atšauktų. Į nuncijaus Lippomano parašytą įžūlų laišką, kad jis esąs labai susirūpinęs Radvilos Juodojo, kaip “eretiko”, sielos išganymu, kancleris vaivada viešu atsakymo laišku, išspausdintu Karaliaučiuje, gražino vyskupui “malonius komplimentus” (Brunonas Bušackis “Radvila Juodasis”, Chicago 1977, psl. 147- 151). Lietuvių –Enciklopedija virš minėtą nemalonų faktą kazuistiniais išvedžiojimais užtušuoji (L. E. XVI t., 257-8 psl.).

Radvila Juodasis laikėsi demokratinių principų, nes demokratinė santvarka užtikrina plačiausias pilietines, asmenines, kūrybines ir tautines laisves, Radvilos Juodojo įkurtą “Unitas Lithuaniae”, kuri buvo pašaukta ginti Didžiosios Lietuvos Kunigaikštystės savarankumą ir laisvę, Brunonas Bušackis taip apibūdina:

“Lygiagreta su tokiu vidiniu aristokratizmu reformatų Bažnyčioj, dėl jos sinodinės konstitucijos, raudonu siūlu ėjo ir demokratinė jos santvarka, nes juk sinodas, kuriame dalyvauja, net jame pirmaudami, pasauliečiai, yra tikras demokratinis Bažnyčios parlamentas”

“Dėl to galima būtų teigti, kad Lietuvos Ev. Reformatų Bažnyčiai Radvila uždėjo savo asmenybės antspaudą, padarydamas ją savo forma demokratiška, bet turiniu aristokratiška” (Radvila Juodasis, Chicago 1977)

Radvilos juodojo susirašinėjimas su pačiu reformatoriumi Jonu Kalvinu ir kitais Genevos žymiais reformatoriais baigėsi tuo, kad jo 1564.VII.16 rašytas laiškas pačiam J. Kalvinui, gyvo reformatoriaus nepasiekė, o Genevos reformatų teologų atsakymas į Radvilos pasiteiravimą, nepasiekė gyvo Mikalojaus Juodojo.

Radvilos Juodojo priežiūroje valakų reformos nuostatai buvo priimti 1557 m. Plati agrarinė valakų reforma iš pagrindų pertvarkė krašto žemės ūkį, Reforma, kuri buvo įvykdyta XVI a. antroje pusėje, sudarė pastovias valstiečių sodybas ir sukūrė tvirtą ūkininkų luomą. Valakų reformos metu valstiečiai buvo iškeldinti iš senųjų sodybų ir apgyvendinti naujai įsteigiamose gatvinėse sodybose. Tai buvo drąsus ir aniems laikams labai racionalus projektas. Valakų reforma priklausė prie didžiausių tos rūšies darbų Europos istorijoje, kurios Lenkija niekad nesugebėjo pravesti.

Radvilai Juodajam teko diplomatiniais ginklais kovoti sustabdant totorių įsiveržimą į Ukrainą ir prijungiant Livonijos dalį prie Lietuvos. Livonijos prijungimas prie Lietuvos buvo Radvilos užsispyrimo ir didelio triūso vaisius. Pramatęs, kad viena DLK nepajėgs atsilaikyti prieš Lenkijos kėslus ir augančią Rusijos galybę, ieškojo santarvės su Švedija, -siekdamas Baltoskandijos sudarymo.

Radvilos Juodojo veikla buvo plati ir šakota. Jo pastangomis buvo plečiama prekyba ir amatai žymiai išaugo Vilnius ir kiti miestai. Jam rūpėjo įkurti Vilniuje universitetą paruošimui kadrų valstybei, kultūrai ir reformacijai, šiems reikalams savo testamente buvo paskyręs stambias sumas pinigu Jo priežiūroje ir vadovybėje buvo paruoštas 1566 m, II Lietuvos Statutas, kuris įteisino DLK suverenines teises bei užtikrino bajorijos pagrindines pilietines ir religines laisves.

Radvilai Juodajam vadovaujant, Žygimanto Augusto laikais Lietuva buvo tapusi laisviausia šalis visoje Europoje. Renesanso, humanizmo ir reformacijos idėjų paveikta, DLK buvo pasiekusi .aukščiausiu politinę galybę ir kultūros suklestėjimo viršūnę, šių sąjūdžių įtakoje suklestėjo mokslas, literatūra, menas ir žemės ūkis. Visas politinis krašto gyvenimas buvo tvarkomas seimų priimtomis konstitucijomis, kurių nutarimus turėjo vykdyti rinkti valdovai. Lietuvos ir Lenkijos valstybės buvo tapusios bajorų demokratinėmis respublikomis.

Radvilos juodijo milžiniški darbai bei žygiai, atlikti per trumpoką penkiolikos metų vadovavimo laikotarpį, pareikalavo iš jo nepaprastos energijos ir sumanumo. Tokius darbus tegalėjo atlikti tik didinga asmenybė, dvasios milžinas. Radvila Juodasis, savo genialiomis mintimis ir darbais, toli buvo pralenkęs savo amžininkus Vakarų Europoje.

Kng. Mikalojus, Radvila Juodasis, ryžtingas reformacijos šalininkas ir platintojas, kaip Lietuvoje, taip ir Lenkijoje, Lietuvos reformacijos idėjinis ir politinis vadas; buvo vienas iš didžiųjų lietuvių tautos genijų. Radvilos Juodojo ankstyva mirtis buvo didžiausias smūgis DLK savarankiškumui ir Lietuvos reformacijai.

Monumentali Radvilos Juodojo asmenybė per amžius švies Lietuvos istorijoje skaisčia aureole.

The Life Story of Pandita Ramabai

The Life Story of Pandita Ramabai

“…Jesus … said … Go home to thy friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you….” Mark 5:19

“Come, and hear…what He has done for my soul. Psalm 66:16

An Honorable Heritage

My father, though a very orthodox Hindu and strictly adhering to caste and other religious rules, was yet a reformer in his own way. He could not see why women and people of the Shudra caste should not learn to read and write the Sanskrit language and learn sacred literature other than the Vedas.

He thought it better to try the experiment at home instead of preaching to others. He found an apt pupil in my mother, who fell in line with his plan, and became an excellent Sanskrit scholar. She performed all her home duties: cooked, washed, and did all household work, took care of her children, attended to guests, and did all that was required of a good religious wife and mother. She devoted many hours of her time in the night to the regular study of the sacred Puranic literature, and was able to store up a great deal of knowledge in her mind.

The Brahman Pandits living in the Mangalore District, round about my father’s native village, tried to dissuade him from the heretical course he was following in teaching his wife the sacred language of the gods. He had fully prepared himself to meet their objections. His extensive studies in the Hindu sacred literature enabled him to quote chapter and verse of each sacred book, which gives authority to teach women and Shudras. His misdeeds were reported to the head priest of the sect to which he belonged, and the learned Brahmans induced the guru to call this heretic to appear before him and before the august assemby of the Pandits, to give his reasons for taking this course or be excommunicated. He was summoned to Krishnapura and Udipi, the chief seat of the Madhva Vaishnava sect.

My father appeared before the guru, the head priest, and the assembly of Pandits and gave his reasons for teaching his wife. He quoted ancient authorities and succeeded in convincing the guru and chief Pandits that it was not wrong for women and Shudras to learn Sanskrit Puranic literature. So they did not put him out of caste, nor was he molested by anyone after this. He became known as an orthodox reformer.

My father was a native of Mangalore district, but he chose a place in a dense forest on the top of a peak of the Western Ghats, on the borders of Mysore State, where he built a home for himself. This was done in order that he might be away from the hubbub of the world, carry on his educational work and engage in devotion to the gods in a quiet place, where he would not be constantly worried by curious visitors.

He used to get his support from the rice fields and coconut plantations which he owned. The place he had selected for his home happened to be a sacred place of pilgrimage, where pilgrims came all the year round. He thought it was his duty to entertain them at his expense, as hospitality was a part of his religion. For thirteen years he stayed there and did his work quietly, but lost all his property because of the great expense he incurred in performing what he thought was his duty.

So he was obliged to leave his home and lead a pilgrim’s life. My mother told me that I was only about six months old when they left their home. She placed me in a big box made of cane, and a man carried it on his head from the mountain top to the valley. Thus my pilgrim life began when I was a little baby. I was the youngest member of the family.

Some people honoured him for what he was doing, and some despised him. He cared little for what people said, and did what he thought was right. He taught and educated my mother, brother, sister, and others.

A Unique Education

When I was about eight years old, my mother began to teach me and continued to do so until I was about fifteen years of age. During these years she succeeded in training my mind so that I might be able to carry on my own education with very little aid from others. I did not know of any schools for girls and women existing then, where higher education was to be obtained.

Moreover, my parents did not like us children to come in contact with the outside world. They wanted us to be strictly religious and adhere to their old faith. Learning any other language except Sanskrit was out of the question. Secular education of any kind was looked upon as leading people to worldliness which would prevent them from getting into the way of Moksha, or liberation from everlasting trouble of reincarnation in millions and millions of animal species, and undergoing the pains of suffering countless millions of diseases and deaths. To learn the English language and to come in contact with the Mlenchchas, as the Non-Hindus are called, was forbidden on pain of losing caste and all hope of future happiness. So all that we could or did learn was the Sanskrit grammar and dictionaries with the Puranic and modern poetical literature in that language. Most of this, including the grammar and dictionaries, which are written in verse form, had to be committed to memory.

Ever since I remember anything, my father and mother were always travelling from one sacred place to another, staying in each place for some months, bathing in the sacred river or tank, visiting temples, worshipping household gods and the images of gods in the temples, and reading Puranas in temples or in some convenient places.

The reading of the Puranas served a double purpose. The first and the foremost was that of getting rid of sin, and of earning merit in order to obtain Moksha. The other purpose was to earn an honest living without begging.

The readers of Puranas, Puranikas as they are called, are the popular and public preachers of religion among the Hindus. They sit in some prominent place in temple halls or under the trees, or on the banks of rivers and tanks, with their manuscript books in their hands, and read the Puranas in a loud voice with intonation, so that the passers-by or visitors of the temple might hear. The text, being in the Sanskrit language, is not understood by the hearers. The Puranikas are not obliged to explain it to them. They may or may not explain it as they choose. And sometimes when it is translated and explained, the Puranika takes great pains to make his speech as popular as he can by telling greatly exaggerated or untrue stories. This is not considered sin since it is done to attract common people’s attention, that they may hear the sacred sound, the names of the gods, and some of their deeds, and be purified by this means. When the Puranika reads Puranas, the hearers, who are sure to come and sit around him for a few moments at least, generally give him presents. The Puranika continues to read, paying no attention to what the hearers do or say. They come and go at their choice.

When they come, the religious ones among them prostrate themselves before him and worship him and the book, offering flowers, fruits, sweetmeats, garments, money, and other things. It is supposed that this act brings a great deal of merit to the giver, and the person who receives does not incur any sin. If a hearer does not give presents to the Puranika, he loses all the merit which he may have earned by good acts. The presents need not be very expensive ones: a handful of rice or other grains, a pice, or even a few cownes, which are used as an exchange of pice (64 cowne shells are equal to one pice) are quite acceptable. A flower, or even a petal of a flower or a leaf of any good sacred tree, is acceptable to the gods. But the offerer knows well that his store of merit will be according to what he gives, and he tries to be as generous as he can. So the Puranika gets all that he needs by reading Puranas in public places.

My parents followed this vocation. We all read Puranas in public places, but did not translate or explain them in the vernacular. The reading and hearing of the sacred literature is in itself believed to be productive of great merit, “Punya,” as it is called by the Hindus. We never had to beg, or work to earn our livelihood. We used to get all the money and food we needed and more; what remained over after meeting all necessary expenses was spent in performing pilgrimages and giving alms to the Brahmans.

Famine, Death and Doubts

This sort of life went on until my father became too feeble to stand the exertion, when he was no longer able to direct the reading of the Puranas by us. We were not fit to do any other work to earn our livelihood, as we had grown up in perfect ignorance of anything outside the sacred literature of the Hindus.

We could not do menial work, nor could we beg to get the necessities of life. Our parents had some money in hand. If it had been used to advance our secular education we might have been able to earn our living in some way. But this was out of the question. Our parents had unbounded faith in what the sacred books said. They encouraged us to look to the gods to get our support. The sacred books declared that if people worshipped the gods in particular ways, gave alms to the Brahmans, repeated the names of certain gods, and also some hymns in their honour, with fasting and perfor­mance of penance, the gods and goddesses would appear and talk to the worshippers, and give them whatever they desired. We decided to take this course of meeting our tem­poral wants. For three years we did nothing but perform these religious acts. At last, all the money which we had was spent but the gods did not help us.

We suffered from famine which we had brought upon ourselves. The country too, that is, the Madras Presidency, where we lived at that particular time, had begun to feel the effects of famine. There was scarcity of food and water. People were starving all around, and we, like the rest of the poor people, wandered from place to place. We were too proud to beg or to do menial work and ignorant of any practical way of earning an honest living. Nothing but star­vation was before us. My father, mother and sister all died of starvation within a few months of each other.

I cannot describe all the sufferings of that terrible time. My brother and I survived and wandered about, still visiting sacred places, bathing in rivers, and worshipping the gods and goddesses, in order to get our desire. We had fulfilled all the conditions laid down in the sacred books, and kept all the rules as far as our knowledge went, but the gods were not pleased with us, and did not appear to us. After years of fruitless service, we began to lose our faith in them and in the books which prescribed this course, and held out the hope of a great reward to the worshippers of the gods. We still continued to keep caste rules, worshipped gods and studied sacred literature as usual.

But as our faith in our religion had grown cold, we were not quite so strict with regard to obtaining secular education and finding some means of earning an honest livelihood. We wandered from place to place, visiting many temples, bathing in many rivers, fasting and performing penances, worshipping gods, trees, animals, Brahmans, and all that we knew for more than three years after the death of our parents and elder sister. We had walked more than four thousand miles on foot without any sort of comfort, sometimes eating what kind people gave us, and sometimes going without food, with poor coarse clothing, and finding but little shelter except in Dharma Shalas; that is, free lodging places for the poor which are common to all pilgrims and travellers of all sorts except the low caste people. We wandered from the south to the north as far as Kashmir, and then to the east and west to Calcutta in 1878.

Introduction to Christianity

We stayed in Calcutta for about a year and became acquainted with the learned Brahmans. Here my brother and I were once invited to attend a Christian gathering. We did not know what it was, for we had never come in social contact with either the Hindu Reformers, nor with Christians before that time. We were advised by our Brahman acquaintances to accept this invitation. So we went to the Christian people’s gathering for the first time in our life. We saw many people gathered there who received us very kindly. There were chairs and sofas, tables, lamps, all very new to us. Indian people curiously dressed like English men and women, some men like the Rev. K.M. Banerji and Kali Charan Banerji, whose names sounded like those of Brahmans but whose way of dressing showed that they had become “Sahibs,” were great curiosities. They ate bread and biscuits and drank tea with the English people and shocked us by asking us to partake of the refreshment. We thought the last age, Kali Yuga, that is, the age of quarrels, darkness, and irreligion had fully established its reign in Calcutta since some of the Brahmans were so irreligious as to eat food with the English.

We looked upon the proceedings of the assembly with curiosity, but did not understand what they were about. After a little while one of them opened a book and read something out of it and then they knelt down before their chairs and some said something with closed eyes. We were told that was the way they prayed to God. We did not see any image to which they paid their homage but it seemed as though they were paying homage to the chairs before which they knelt. Such was the crude idea of Christian worship that impressed itself on my mind.

The kind Christians gave me a copy of the Holy Bible in Sanskrit, and some other nice things with it. Two of those people were the translators of the Bible. They were grand old men. I do not remember their names, but they must have prayed for my conversion through the reading of the Bible. I liked the outward appearance of the Book and tried to read it, but did not understand. The language was so different from the Sanskrit literature of the Hindus, the teaching so different that I thought it quite a waste of time to read that Book, but I have never parted with it since then.

Calcutta: Deeper Hindu Studies and Scepticism

While staying in Calcutta we became acquainted with many learned Pandits. Some of them requested me to lecture to the Pardah women on the duties of women according to the Shastras. I had to study the subject well before I could lecture on it, so I bought the books of the Hindu law published in Calcutta. Besides reading them I read other books which would help me in my work. While reading the Dharma Shastras I came to know many things which I never knew before. There were contradictory state­ments about almost everything. What one book said was most righteous, the other book declared as being unrighteous. While reading the Mahabharata I found the following, “The Vedas differ from each other; Smrities, that is, books of sacred laws, do not agree with one another; the secret of religion is in some hidden place: the only way is that which is followed by great men.” This I found true of about everything, but there were two things on which all those books, the Dharma Shastras, the sacred epics, the Puranas and modern poets, the popular preachers of the present day and orthodox high caste men, were agreed, that women of high and low caste, as a class, were bad, very bad, worse than demons, as unholy as untruth, and that they could not get Moksha as men. The only hope of their getting this much desired liberation from Karma and its results; that is, countless millions of births and deaths and untold suffering, was the worship of their husbands. The husband is said to be the woman’s god; there is no other god for her. This god may be the worst sinner and a great criminal; still HE 1S HER GOD, and she must worship him. She can have no hope of getting admission into Svarga, the abode of the gods, without his pleasure, and if she pleases him in all things, she will have the privilege of going to Svarga as his slave, there to serve him and be one of his wives among the thousands of the Svarga harlots who are presented to him by the gods in exchange for his wife’s merit.

The woman is allowed to go into higher existence thus far but to attain Moksha or liberation, she must perform such great religious acts as will obtain for her the merit by which she will be reincarnated as a high caste man, in order to study Vedas and the Vedanta, and thereby get the knowledge of the true Brahma and be united in it. The extraor­dinary religious acts which help a woman to get into the way of getting Moksha are utter abandonment of her will to that of her husband. She is to worship him with whole-hearted devotion as the only god; to know and see no other pleasure in life except in the most degraded slavery to him. The woman has no right to study the Vedas and Vedanta, and without knowing them, no one can know the Brahma; without knowing Brahma no one can get liberation, therefore no woman as a woman can get liberation; that is, Moksha.

The same rules are applicable to the Shudras. The Shudras must not study the Veda, and must not perform the same religious act which a Brahman has a right to perform. The Shudra hearing the Veda repeated must be punished by having his ears filled with liquified lead. The Shudra who dares to learn a verse or verses of the Veda must be punished by having intensely hot liquor poured down his throat. This would no doubt be done to the Shudra violating the sacred law, if he were left to the tender mercies of the Brahman. His only hope of getting liberation is in serving the three high castes as their lifelong slave. Then he will earn merit enough to be reincarnated in some higher caste, and in the course of millions of years, he will be born as a Brahman, learn the Vedas and Vedantas, and get knowledge of the Brahma and be united in it. Such is the hope of final liberation held out by the Shastras to women and to the Shudras.

As for the low caste people, the poor things have no hope of any sort. They are looked upon as being very like the lower species of animals, such as pigs; their very shadow and the sound of their voices are defiling; they have no place in the abode of the gods, and no hope of getting liberation, except that they might perchance be born among the higher castes after having gone through millions of reincarnations.

The things which are necessary to make it possible for them to be born in higher castes are that they should be contented to live in a very degraded condition serving the high caste people as their bondservants, eating the leavings of their food in dirty broken earthen vessels, wearing filthy rags and clothes thrown away from the dead bodies of the high caste people. They may sometimes get the benefit of coming in contact with the shadow of a Brahman, and have a few drops of water from his hand or wet clothes thrown at them, and feel the air which has passed over the sacred persons of Brahmans. These things are beneficial to the low caste people, but the Brahmans lose much of their own hard earned merit by letting the low caste people get these benefits!

The low caste people are never allowed to enter the temples where high caste men worship gods. So the poor degraded people find shapeless stones, broken pots, and smear them with red paint, set them up under trees and on road sides, or in small temples which they build themselves, where Brahmans do not go for fear of losing their caste, and worship, in order to satisfy the cravings of their spiritual nature. Poor, poor people! How very sad their condition is; no one who has not seen can realize. Their quarters are found outside every village, or town where the sacred feet of the pious Brahmans do not walk!

These are the two things upon which all Shastras and others are agreed. I had a vague idea of these doctrines of the Hindu religion from my childhood, but while studying the Dharma Shastras, they presented themselves to my mind with great force. My eyes were being gradually opened; I was waking up to my own hopeless condition as a woman, and it was becoming clearer and clearer to me that I had no place any­where as far as religious consolation was concerned. I became quite dissatisfied with myself. I wanted something more than the Shastras could give me, but I did not know what it was that I wanted.

One day my brother and I were invited by Keshab Chandra Sen to his house. He received us very kindly, took me into the inner part of the house and introduced me to his wife and daughters. One of them was just married to the Maharaja of Cuch Behar, and the Brahmos and others were criticizing him for breaking the rule which was laid down for all Brahmos; that is, not to marry or give girls in marriage under fourteen years of age. He and his family showed great kindness to me and, when parting, he gave me a copy of one of the Vedas. He asked if I had studied the Vedas. I answered in the negative, and said that women were not fit to read the Vedas and they were not allowed to do so. It would be breaking the rules of religion if I were to study the Vedas. He could not but smile at my declaration of this Hindu doctrine. He said nothing in answer, but advised me to study the Vedas and Upanishads.

New thoughts were awakening in my heart. I questioned myself, why I should not study Vedas and Vedanta. Soon I persuaded myself into the belief that it was not wrong for a woman to read the Vedas. So I began first to read the Upa­nishads, then the Vedanta, and the Veda. I became more dissatisfied with myself.

In the meantime my brother died. As my father wanted me to be well versed in our religion he did not give me in marriage when a little child. He had married my older sister to a boy of her own age, but he did not want to study, or to lead a good religious life with my sister. Her life was made miserable by being unequally yoked, and my father did not want the same thing to happen to me. This was of course against the caste rules, so he had to suffer, being practically put out of Brahman society. But he stood the persecution with his characteristic manliness, and did what he thought was right, to give me a chance to study and be happy by leading a reli­gious life. So I had remained unmarried until I was 22 years old.

Having lost all faith in the religion of my ancestors, I married a Bengali gentleman of the Shudra caste. My husband died of cholera within two years of our marriage, and I was left alone to face the world with one baby in my arms.

Marriage and Life in Bengal

I stayed in Bengal and Assam for four years in all and studied the Bengali language. While living with my husband at Silchar, Assam, I had found a little pamphlet in my library. I do not know how it came there but I picked it up and began to read it with great interest. It was St. Luke’s Gospel in the Bengali language.

There was a Baptist missionary, Mr. Allen, living at Silchar. He occasionally paid visits to me and preached the gospel. He explained the first chapter of the Book of Genesis to me. The story of the creation of the world was so very unlike all the stories which I read in the Puranas and Shastras that I became greatly interested in it. It struck me as being a true story, but I could not give any reason for thinking so or believing in it.

Having lost all faith in my former religion, and with my heart hungering after something better, I eagerly learned every­thing which I could about the Christian religion, and declared my intention to become a Christian, if I were perfectly satisfied with this new religion. My husband, who had studied in a Mission school, was pretty well acquainted with the Bible, but did not like to be called a Christian. Much less did he like the idea of his wife being publicly baptized and joining the despised Christian community. He was very angry and said he would tell Mr. Allen not to come to our house any more. I do not know just what would have happened had he lived much longer.

I was desperately in need of some religion. The Hindu religion held out no hope for me; the Brahmo religion was not a very definite one. For it is nothing but what a man makes for himself. He chooses and gathers whatever seems good to him from all religions known to him, and prepares a sort of religion for his own use. The Brahmo religion has no other foundation than man’s own natural light and the sense of right and wrong which he possesses in common with all mankind. It could not and did not satisfy me; still I liked and believed a good deal of it that was better than what the orthodox Hindu religion taught.

WIDOWHOOD – AND POONA

After my husband’s death, I left Silchar and came to Poona. Here I stayed for a year. The leaders of the reform party, and the members of the Prarthana Samaj treated me with great kindness and gave me some help. Messrs. Ranade, Modak, Kelkar and Dr. Bhandarkar were among the people who showed great kindness to me. Miss Hurford, then a missionary working in connection with the High Church, used to come and teach me the New Testament in Marathi. I had at this time begun to study the English language, but did not know how to write or speak it. She used to teach me some lessons from the primary reading books, yet sometimes I was more interested in the study of the New Testament than in the reading books. The Rev. Father Goreh was another missionary who used to come and explain the difference between the Hindu and Christian religions. I profited much by their teaching.

England – Being Drawn to the Religion of Christ

I went to England early in 1883 in order to study and fit myself for my lifework. When I first landed in England, I was met by the kind Sisters of Wantage, to one of whom I had been introduced by Miss Hurford at St. Mary’s Home in Poona. The Sisters took me to their home, and one of them, who became my spiritual mother, began to teach me both secular and religious subjects. I owe an everlasting debt of gratitude to her, and to Miss Beale, the late lady principal of Cheltenham Ladies’ College. Both of these ladies took great pains with me and taught me the subjects which would help me in my life work. The instruction which I received from them was mostly spiritual. Their motherly kindness and deeply spiritual influence have greatly helped in building up my character. I praise and thank God for permitting me to be under the loving Christian care of these ladies.

The Mother Superior once sent me for a change to one of the branches of the Sisters’ Home in London. The Sisters there took me to see the rescue work carried on by them. I met several of the women who had once been in their Rescue Home, but who had so completely changed, and were so filled with the love of Christ and compassion for suffering humanity, that they had given their life for the service of the sick and infirm. Here for the first time in my life, I came to know that something should be done to reclaim the so-called fallen women, and that Christians, whom Hindus considered outcastes and cruel, were kind to these unfortunate women, degraded in the eyes of society.

I had never heard or seen anything of the kind done for this class of women by the Hindus in my own country. I had not heard anyone speaking kindly of them, nor seen any one making any effort to turn them from the evil path they had chosen in their folly. The Hindu Shastras do not deal kindly with these women. The law of the Hindu commands that the king shall cause the fallen women to be eaten by dogs in the outskirts of the town. They are considered the greatest sinners and not worthy of compassion.

After my visit to the homes at Fulham, where I saw the work of mercy carried on by the Sisters of the Cross, I began to think that there was a real difference between Hinduism and Christianity. I asked the Sisters who instructed me to tell me what it was that made the Christians care for, and reclaim the “fallen” women. She read the story of Christ meeting the Samaritan woman, and His wonderful discourse on the nature of true worship, and explained it to me. She spoke of the infinite love of Christ for sinners. He did not despise them but came to save them. I had never read or heard anything like this in the religious books of the Hindus; I realized, after reading the 4th Chapter of John’s Gospel, that Christ was truly the divine Saviour He claimed to be, and no one but He could transform and uplift the downtrodden womanhood of India, and of every land.

Thus my heart was drawn to the religion of Christ. I was intellectually convinced of its truth on reading a book written by Father Goreh, and was baptized in the Church of England in the latter part of 1883, while living with the Sisters at Wantage. I was comparatively happy and felt a great joy in finding a new religion, which was better than any other religion I had known before. I knew full well that it would displease my friends and my countrymen very much, but I have never regretted having taken the step. I was hungry for something better than what the Hindu Shastras gave. I found it in the Christian’s Bible and was satisfied.

After my baptism and confirmation, I studied the Christian religion more thoroughly with the help of various books written on its doctrines. I was much confused by finding so many different teachings of different sects: each one giving the authority of the Bible for holding a special doctrine, and for differing from other sects.

For five years after my baptism, I studied these different doctrines and made close observations during my stay in England and in America. Besides meeting people of the most prominent sects, the High Church, Low Church, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Friends, Unitarian, Universalist, Roman Catholic, Jews, and others, I met with Spiritualists, Theosophists, Mormons, Christian Scientists, and followers of what they call the occult religion.

No one can have any idea of what my feelings were at finding such a Babel of religions in Christian countries, and at finding how very different the teaching of each sect was from that of the others. I recognized the Nastikas of India in the Theosophists, the Polygamous Hindu in the Mormons, the worshippers of ghosts and demons in the Spiritualists, and the Old Vedantists in the Christian Scientists. Their teachings were not new to me. I had known them in their old eastern nature as they are in India, and when I met them in America I thought they had only changed their Indian dress and put on Western garbs, which were more suitable to the climate and conditions of the country.

As for the differences of the orthodox and non-orthodox Christian sects, I could not account for them, except that I thought it must be in the human nature to have them. The differences did not seem of any more importance than those existing among the different sects of Brahmanical Hindu religion. They only showed that people were quarrelling with each other, and there was no oneness of mind in them. Although I was quite contented with my newly found religion, so far as I understood it, still I was labouring under great intellectual difficulties, and my heart longed for something better which I had not found. I came to know after eight years from the time of my baptism that I had found the Chris­tian religion, which was good enough for me; but I had not found Christ, Who is the Life of the religion, and “…the true Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” 1 John 1:9.

Finding Christ

It was nobody’s fault that I had not found Christ. He must have been preached to me from the beginning. My mind at that time had been too dull to grasp the teaching of the Holy Scriptures. The open Bible had been before me, but I had given much of my time to the study of other books about the Bible, and had not studied the Bible itself as I should have done. Hence my ignorance of many important doctrines taught in it. I gave up the study of other books about the Bible after my return home from America, and took to reading the Bible regularly.

Following this course for about two years, I became very unhappy in my mind. I was dissatisfied with my spiritual condition. One day I went to the Bombay Guardian Mission Press on some business. There I picked up a book called “From Death unto Life,” written by Mr. Haslam, the evangelist. I read his experiences in this book with great interest. He, being a clergyman of the Church of England, had charge of a good parish and was interested in all Christian activities connected with the Church. While he was holding conversation with a lady, a member of his church, she told him that he was trying to build from the top. The lady meant to say, he was not converted, and had not experienced regen­eration and salvation in Christ.

I read his account of his conversion and work for Christ. Then I began to consider where I stood, and what my actual need was. I took the Bible and read portions of it, meditating on the messages which God gave me. There were so many things I did not understand intellectually. One thing I knew by this time was that I needed Christ and not merely His religion.

There were some of the old ideas stamped on my brain; for instance, I thought that repentance of sin and the determina­tion to give it up was what was necessary for forgiveness of sin: that the rite of baptism was the means of regeneration; that my sins were truly washed away when I was baptized in the name of Christ. These and such other ideas, which are akin to the Hindu mode of religious thought, stuck to me. For some years after my baptism, I was comparatively happy to think that I had found a religion which gave its privileges equally to men and women; there was no distinction of caste, color, or sex made in it.

All this was very beautiful, no doubt. But I had failed to understand that we are “… in Christ Jesus, Who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification and redemption.” I Cor. 1:30. I had failed to see the need of placing my implicit faith in Christ and His atonement in order to become a child of God by being born again of the Holy Spirit, and justified by faith in the Son of God. My thoughts were not very clear on this and other points. I was desperate. I realized that I was not prepared to meet God, that sin had dominion over me, and I was not altogether led by the Spirit of God, and had not therefore received the Spirit of adoption and had no witness of the Spirit that I was a child of God.

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” Romans 8:14-16.

What was to be done? My thoughts could not, and did not help me. I had at last come to an end of myself, and un­conditionally surrendered myself to the Saviour, and asked Him to be merciful to me, and to become my righteousness and redemption, and to take away all my sin.

Only those who have been convicted of sin and have seen themselves as God sees them under similar circumstances can understand what one feels when a great and unbearable burden is rolled away from one’s heart. I shall not attempt to describe how and what I felt at the time when I made an unconditional surrender and knew I was accepted to be a branch of the True Vine, a child of God by adoption in Christ Jesus my Saviour. Although it is impossible for me to tell all that God has done for me, I must yet praise Him and thank Him for His lovingkindness to me, the greatest of sinners. The Lord, first of all, showed me the sinfulness of sin and the awful danger I was in of everlasting hell fire and the great love of God with which He “…so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son….” John 3:16. And He gave His Son to be the propitiation for my sin, for does not the inspired Apostle say, “…we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:1-2.

The Bible says that God does not wait for me to merit His love, but heaps it upon me without my deserving it. It says also that there is neither male nor female in Christ.

“…the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe; for there is no differ­ence. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time His right­eousness, that He might be just, and the justifier of him who believes in Jesus.” Romans 3:22-26.

I do not know if any one of my readers has ever had the experience of being shut up in a room where there was nothing but thick darkness and then groping in it to find something of which he or she was in dire need. I can think of no one but the blind man, whose story is given in the gospel of John, chapter nine. He was born blind and remained so for forty years of his life, and then suddenly he found the Mighty One, Who could give him eyesight. Who could have described his joy at seeing the daylight. When there had not been a particle of hope of his ever seeing it? Even the inspired evan­gelist has not attempted to do it. I can give only a faint idea of what I felt when my mental eyes were opened, and when I, who was “sitting in darkness saw Great Light,” and when I felt sure that to me, who but a few moments ago “sat in the region and shadow of death, Light had sprung up.” I was very like the man who was told, “…in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk…. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking and leaping and praising God.” Acts 3: 6,9.

I looked to the blessed Son of God Who was lifted up on the cross and there suffered death, even the death of the cross, in my stead, that I might be made free from the bondage of sin, and from the fear of death, and I received life. O the love, the unspeakable love of the Father for me, a lost sinner, Who gave His only Son to die for me! I had not merited this love, but that was the very reason why He showed it to me.

How very different the truth of God was from the false idea that I had entertained from my earliest childhood. That was that I must have merit to earn present or future happiness, the pleasure of Svarga, or face the utterly inconceivable loss of Moksha or liberation. This I could never hope for, since a woman, as a woman, has no hope of Moksha according to Hindu religion. The Brahman priests have tried to deceive the women and the Shudras and other low caste people into the belief that they have some hope. But when we study for ourselves the books of the religious law and enquire from the higher authorities we find that there is nothing, not anything whatever, for us.

They say that women and Shudras and other low caste people can gain Svarga by serving the husband and the Brah­man. But the happiness of Svarga does not last long. The final blessed state to which the Brahman is entitled is not for women and low caste people. But here this blessed Book, the Christian Bible says”For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commends His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us…. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son….” Romans 5:6-10.

“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitia­tion for our sins.” I John 4:9, 10.

How good, how indescribably good! What good news for me a woman, a woman born in India, among Brahmans who hold out no hope for me and the likes of me! The Bible declares that Christ did not reserve this great salvation for a particular caste or sex.

“But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the children of God, even to them that believe on His name; who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12, 13. “For the grace of God that brings salvation hath appeared to all men….” Titus 2:11. “…the kindness and love of God, our Saviour, toward man appeared, not by works of rightousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us….” Titus 3:4, 5

No caste, no sex, no work, and no man was to be depended upon to get salvation, this everlasting life, but God gave it freely to any one and every one who believed on His Son Whom He sent to be the “propitiation for our sins.” And there was not a particle of doubt left as to whether this salvation was a present one or not. I did not to have to wait until after undergoing births and deaths for countless millions of times, when I should become a Brahman man, in order to get to know the Brahma. And then, was there any joy and happiness to be hoped for? No, there is nothing but to be united into Nothingness-Shunya, Brahma.

The Son of God says, “Truly, truly, I say unto you He that hears my word, and believes on Him that sent me has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation but is passed from death to life.” John 5:24.

“If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He hath testified of His Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God, has made Him a liar, because he believeth not the record that God gave of His Son. And this is the record, that GOD HAS GIVEN TO US ETERNAL LIFE, AND THIS LIFE IS IN HIS SON. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God, that ye may know that you have eternal life and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God.” 1 John 5:9-13.

The Holy Spirit made it clear to me from the Word of God, that the salvation which God gives through Christ is present, and not something future. I believed it, I received it, and I was filled with joy.

Telling Others

Sixteen years ago, a new leaf was turned in my life. Since then I have come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour, and have the joy of sweet communion with Him. My life is full of joy, “…for the Lord is my strength and my song, and He is become my salvation.” Exodus 15:2 Now I know what the prophet means by saying, “Therefore, with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.” Isaiah 12:3 I can scarcely contain the joy and keep it to myself. I feel like the Samaritan woman who “…left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and said to the men, ‘Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did. Is not this the Christ?’” John 4:28, 29

I feel I must tell my fellow creatures what great things the Lord Jesus has done for me, and I feel sure, as it was possible for Him to save such a great sinner as I am, He is quite able to save others. The only thing that must be done by me is to tell people of Him and of His love for sinners and His great power to save them.

My readers will not therefore find fault with me for making this subject so very personal. The heart experiences of an individual are too sacred to be exposed to the public gaze. Why then should I give them to the public in this way? Because a “…necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” 1 Corinthians 9:16. I am bound to tell as many men and women as possible, that Christ Jesus came to save sinners like me. He has saved me, praise the Lord! I know “…He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25.

God has given me a practical turn of mind. I want to find out the truth about everything including religion by experiment. I experimented on the religion in which I was born. I did not leave a stone unturned, as it were, as far as I knew; not only in the way of studying books, but of doing myself what the books prescribed. I have seen many others also doing the same thing. I saw them doing everything that was commanded them. The sad end was, that I found that they were not saved by it, nor was I. It was a dire spiritual necessity that drove me to seek help from other sources. I had to give up all pride of our ancestral religion being old and superior, which is preventing many of my country people from finding Christ although they know well that they do not have the joy of salvation. They can never have it except in Christ.

There are, I know, many hungry souls, and maybe, some of them might be helped by reading this account. I would urge upon such brothers and sisters to make haste and come forward, and accept the great love of God expressed in Christ Jesus and not to neglect “so great salvation,” which God gives freely according to Hebrews 2:1-3.

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12.

Do not therefore lose time through pride or because of any other difficulty. The caste may put you out, your near and dear ones will perhaps reject you and persecute you, you may very likely lose your temporal greatness, and riches; but never mind, the great salvation which you will get in Christ by believing on Him, and confessing Him before men, is worth all the great sacrifices you can possibly make. Yes, and more than that, for all the riches and all the gain, and all the joys of the world, do not begin to compare with the joy of salvation.

On the other hand, of what use are all the riches and great­ness of the world, if you are condemned to the second death, and are to live in the lake of fire for ever and ever suffering indescribable agonies from which there is no relief?

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Mark 8:36-37.

I would urge on you, dear brother and sister, to make haste and get reconciled with God through Christ. For the great day of judgment is fast coming on us, so make haste and flee from the wrath of God, which you and I have justly merited. God is Love, and He is waiting patiently for you to accept His great salvation, so despise not “…the riches of His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering,…” and know “…that the goodness of God leads thee to repentance.” Romans 2:4.

It would make the story too long if I were to tell all that happened to me after I found Christ. I was greatly helped in my spiritual life by attending several mission services con­ducted by Dr. Pentecost, Mr. Haslam, Mr. Wilder, Mr. Reeve and other missionaries. I received another spiritual uplift by attending religious services conducted by Rev. Gelson in 1895 at the Lonavala Camp meeting.

I found it a great blessing to realize the personal presence of the Holy Spirit in me, and to be guided and taught by Him. I have experienced the sweet pleasure promised by the Lord in Psalm 32:8, “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which you shall go; I will guide thee with mine eye.”

The Holy Spirit taught me how to appropriate every promise of God in the right way, and obey His Voice. I am sorry to say that I have failed to obey Him many a time, but He tenderly rebukes and shows me my faults. Many a time He finds it most necessary to punish me in various ways, His promise is “…I will correct you in measure, and will not leave you altogether unpunished.” Jeremiah 30:11.

I have many failures and am corrected as the Lord sees fit. It is always helpful to be shown that His hand is in everything that happens. Then no room is left for murmuring. Whenever I heed and obey the Lord’s voice with all my heart I am very happy and everything goes right. Even the tests of faith, and difficulties, and afflictions become great blessings.

Since the year 1891 I have tried to witness for Christ in my weakness, and I have always found that it is the greatest joy of the Christian life to tell people of Christ and of His great love for sinners.

About twelve years ago, I read the inspiring books, “The Story of the China Inland Mission,” “The Lord’s Dealings with George Muller,” and the “Life of John G. Paton,” founder of the New Hebrides Mission. I was greatly impressed with the experiences of these three great men, Mr. Hudson Taylor, Mr. Muller and Mr. Paton, all of whom have gone to be with the Lord within a few years of each other. I wondered after reading their lives, if it were not possible to trust the Lord in India as in other countries. I wished very much that there were some missions founded in this country which would be a testimony to the Lord’s faithfulness to His people, and the truthfulness of what the Bible says, in a practical way.

I questioned in my mind over and over again, why some missionaries did not come forward to found faith missions in this country. Then the Lord said to me, “Why don’t you begin to do this yourself, instead of wishing for others to do it? How easy it is for anyone to wish that some one else would do a difficult thing, instead of doing it himself.” I was greatly rebuked by the “Still Small Voice” which spoke to me.

I did not know then that there were some faith missions in India. Since then I have come to know that there are a few faith missions working in this country, and I thank God for setting them up here and there as great beacon lights.

At the end of 1896 when the great famine came on this country, I was led by the Lord to step forward and start a new work, trusting Him for both temporal and spiritual blessings. I can testify with all my heart that I have always found the Lord faithful. “Faithful is He Who calls you…” 1 Thessalonians 5:24. This golden text has been written with the life blood of Christ on my heart. The Lord has done countless great things for me. I do not deserve His lovingkindness. I can testify to the truth of Psalm 103:10, “He hath not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.”

Here are some of the things which the Lord has been teach­ing me during the past sixteen years, especially in the last decade since He brought this Mukti Mission into existence,

1. “…men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside Thee, what He hath pre­pared for him who waits for Him.” Isaiah 64:4.

2. “…all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” 2 Corinthians 1:20.

3. “…the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” Romans 11:29.

4. My unbelief shall not “…make the faith of God without effect.” Romans 3:3.

5. “The secret of the Lord is with them who fear Him; and He will show them His covenant.” Psalm 25:14.

6. “…the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7.

7. “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” 1 Timothy 1:15.

In short, the Lord has been teaching me His Word by His Spirit, and unfolding the wonders of His works day by day. I have come to believe the Word of God implicitly, and I have found out by experience that it is true. I praise God and thank Him for His mercies to me and mine. Hallelujah!

I feel very happy since the Lord called me to step out in faith and I obeyed. To depend upon Him for everything: for spiritual life, for bodily health, for advice, for food, water, clothing, and all other necessities of life. In short, to realize by experiment that the promises of God in Philippians 4:6, 19 and in other parts of the Holy Scriptures are true is most blessed.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6.

“I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt; open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.” Psalm 81:10.

“It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.” Psalm 118:8-9.

I am spared all trouble and care, casting my burden upon the Lord. There are over 1500 people living here. We are not rich, nor great, but we are happy, getting our daily bread directly from the loving hands of our Heavenly Father, having not a pice over and above our daily necessities, having no banking account anywhere, no endowment or income from any earthly source, but depending altogether on our Father God; we have nothing to fear from anybody, nothing to lose, and nothing to regret. The Lord is our Inexhaustible Treasure.

“The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms…” Deuteronomy 33:27. We are confidently resting in His arms, and He is loving and faithful in all His dealings with us. How can I express in words the gratitude I feel toward such a Father, and the joy that fills my heart because of His goodness?

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all thy diseases, Who redeems thy life from destruc­tion, Who crowns thee with loving-kindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies thy mouth with good things, so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Psalm. 103:1-5.

Bombay – Founding of Mukti Mission – Home of Salvation

Nineteen years ago in this month of July, I started from the city of Philadelphia and went to San Francisco in response to the kind invitation sent by some good friends who took a deep interest in the well-being of the women of India. I lived in the latter city for more than four months and sailed from the Golden Gate for Bombay via Japan and China.

God in His great goodness gave me faithful and true friends in America who promised to help me in my work. My work, in the beginning, was a purely educational one, and religious liberty was to be given to the inmates of my school, and all plans were made to start the Home for Widows as soon as I should land in Bombay.

The day for sailing from San Francisco arrived. I felt as if I were going to a strange country and to a strange people. Everything seemed quite dark before me. I fell on my knees, committed myself to the care of our loving Heavenly Father, and sailed.

My religious belief was so vague at the time that I was not certain whether I would go to heaven or hell after my death. I was not prepared to meet my God then. How can I describe my feelings when I heard of the disaster at San Francisco by the terrible earthquake, and of the great destruction of human life in the harbour of Hong Kong not long ago. How I thanked God for letting me live all these years, and not sending the terrible earthquake and the dreadful storms when I was not prepared to meet Him. I deeply sympathize with the people living in both of these places in their afflictions, and pray to God that He may save each and all of the surviving inhabitants of San Francisco and Hong Kong.

When starting from San Francisco, and on landing in Bombay, I had resolved in my mind that although no direct religious instruction was to be given to the inmates of my home, yet I would daily read the Bible aloud and pray to the only True God in the name of Christ that my countrywomen, seeing and hearing what was going on, might be led to inquire about the true religion, and the way of salvation.

There were only two day pupils in my school when it was started a little more than eighteen years ago. No one was urged to become a Christian, nor was any one compelled to study the Bible. But the Book was placed in the library along with other religious books. The daily testimony to the goodness of the True God awakened new thoughts in many a heart.

After the first ten years of our existence as a school, our constitution was changed slightly. Since then, every pupil admitted in the school has been receiving religious instruction, retaining perfect liberty of conscience.

Many hundreds of the girls and young women who have come to my Home ever since its doors were opened for them have found Christ as 1 have. They are capable of thinking for themselves. They have had their eyes opened by reading the Word of God, and many of them have been truly converted and saved, to the praise and glory of God. I thank God for letting me see several hundred of my sisters, the children of my love and prayer, gloriously saved. All this was done by God in answer to the prayers of faith of thousands of His faithful servants in all lands, who are constantly praying for us all.

I was led by the Lord to start a special prayer circle at the beginning of 1905. There were about 70 of us who met together each morning and prayed for the true conversion of all the Indian Christians including ourselves, and for a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all Christians of every land. In six months from the time we began to pray in this manner the Lord graciously sent a glorious Holy Ghost revival among us, and also in many schools and churches in this country. The results of this have been most satisfactory. Many hundreds of our girls and some of our boys have been gloriously saved, and many of them are serving God and witnessing for Christ at home and in other places.

I have responded to the Lord’s challenge, “…test me now…” Malachi 3:10, and have found Him faithful and true. I know He is a prayer-hearing and prayer-answering God. His promise, “…My people shall never be ashamed.” Joel 2:26. And all the thousands of His promises are true. I entreat you, my readers, to prove the Lord as I have proved Him.

“O taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him. O fear the Lord, ye His saints; for there is no lack to them that fear Him. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger; but they who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.” Psalm 34:8-10.

“Oh, give thanks unto the Lord for He is good; for His mercy endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy, and gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south. They wandered in the wilder­ness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in. Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them. Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them out of their distresses. And He led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation. Oh, that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.” Psalm 107:1-9.

Glorious New Hope

This has been literally fulfilled in me and mine. I praise the Lord Who has done great things for us.

The most precious truth which I have learned since my conversion is the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. I firmly believe, as taught in the Bible, that the Lord Jesus Christ is coming soon. He will most certainly come, and will not tarry. The signs of the times in the last decade have taught me to be waiting for Him. I was totally ignorant of this particular subject. It is not generally taught in this country. The missionaries connected with some denominations do not believe in it at all. They believe that Christ will come to judge the quick and the dead at the time of the last judgment but they do not think He will come for His servants before the time of the resurrection of the dead, and before the final judgment.

I do not remember just how I came to know about it at first. But shortly after my conversion I began to read many books on the subject. The works of Mr. Middleton, Mr. Newberry, Dr. Grattan Guinness, and others have greatly helped in fixing this subject in my mind. I have studied and continue to study the Book of Revelation with greatest interest and spiritual profit. There is nothing like the Word of God which teaches everything clearly. Other good books written by godly men and women are quite helpful in that they help to make this subject of special interest and increase the desire for its study. But there is nothing so very helpful as to study the Bible itself, aided by a good concordance, and the “Treasury of Scripture Knowledge.”

The hope of the appearing of our Saviour to take His redeemed ones to be with Him has been a great help to me in my Christian life. I praise the Lord for the great promise of His coming, and His counsel to watch and pray.

“Watch, therefore, for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” Matthew 24:42.

“Take heed, watch and pray; for ye know not when the time is.” Mark 13:33.

An Unexpected Visit from the Governor

One day, during this month, as I was getting ready for my afternoon work, one of my fellow-workers came to the door of the office, followed by the Collector of Poona. Both told me that His Excellency the Governor of Bombay had come to visit Mukti. I was taken by surprise, for I never thought that the Governor would ever come to such an out-of-the-way place, and visit an unpretending institution, which had not earned popularity by great achievements, and by courting the favour of the great men of the country. In a few moments my surprise vanished, giving way to perfect pleasure at finding the Governor so simple and natural in his manner, though he was very dignified and grand.

It was delightful to see the greatest man of this presidency taking kind notice of every one who happened to come in his way, enquiring with interest of every little detail concerning the work. He seemed to be well acquainted with what was going on here. After inspecting all parts of the Mission, he bade us goodbye, and went away. It was a very pleasant surprise, and we shall never forget his visit and kindness to us all.

As we did not know about his visit, we had not made any preparations to receive him, so he saw us as we were: some walking about, some idly sitting where they were, some doing their work properly, some sweeping the ground and doing other housework, some dressed well and tidily, others in rags with unkempt hair, some giving themselves to their lessons and industry with diligence, and some just looking into the air doing nothing and thinking about nothing in particular.

It does one good to be taken by surprise in this way. The one great thought that filled my heart while the Governor was here, and after he went away, leaving a very pleasant impres­sion on our mind, was that our Lord Jesus Christ is coming some day just in this manner, and those of us who are prepared to meet Him will have the joy of being caught up in the air to be with Him. How blessed it will be, not to have anything to be afraid of, or anything that belongs to the enemy. How nice to be able to say with our Blessed Saviour, “…the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.” John 14:30

“…the grace of God that brings salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present age, looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people of His own, zealous of good works.” Titus 2:11-14.

A Loving Invitation

If I were to write all that the Lord has done for me, even as much as it lies in my power to do so, the book would be too large for a person to read, so I have made the account of my spiritual experience as short as possible. I am very glad and very thankful to the Lord for making it possible for me to give this testimony of the Lord’s goodness to me. My readers will scarcely realize the great spiritual needs of all my country­women and of my countrymen too. The people of this land are steeped in sin, and are sitting in a terrible darkness. May the Father of Light send them light and life by His chosen ones. We need witnesses for Christ and His great salvation freely offered to all men.

Dear brother and sister, whoever may happen to read this testimony, may you realize your responsibility to give the gospel of Jesus Christ to my people in this land, and pray for them, that they may each and all be cleansed from their filthiness, and from all their idols, that they may find the true way of salvation.

My prayer for those readers who have not yet been saved is that they may seek and find Christ Jesus, our Blessed Redeemer, for the salvation of their souls.

“…our citizenship is in heaven, from where also we wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 3:20.

“…unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us a kingdom of priests unto God and His Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” Revelation 1:5-6.

Date: March, 1907

Pandita Ramabai

A Sweet Celebration of Reading

As the excitement grows about progress on the Enga New Testament (PNG), the local churches are taking the initiative to hold literacy classes to teach people to read in their own language. In this way the people are prepared to read the Scripture portions as each book is translated into Enga.

Volunteer literacy teachers from the church write letters and words on the chalkboard, and murmurings can be heard around the room as people bravely repeat the sound for each syllable and form them into words. Slowly the words are mastered and put together to make sentences. Smiles light their faces as they become fluent enough to read short stories and then longer passages from the Bible.

During a recent graduation ceremony, more than 40 individuals, representing three churches, gathered to celebrate the completion of the literacy course. Many of the graduates were middle-aged or older and had not had the opportunity to learn to read when they were children. Being able to articulate the words on the printed page for the first time in their lives was certainly a reason for celebration!

Translator Adam Boyd stood before the group and read aloud Psalm 119:103, which in Enga reads, “The sweetness that happens when I read your word surpasses the sweetness that happens when I taste honey.” Next, each graduate came forward to taste a spoonful of honey. They smiled at the delicious taste, and rejoiced to know God’s Word is even sweeter than this!

As they left the ceremony, each graduate held a brand new copy of the Gospel of Matthew printed in the Enga language. With no mother tongue libraries and very limited access to Enga books, this Gospel will be a treasure to each of them and a means for all of the graduates to continue improving their reading skills.

https://thepngexperience.wordpress.com/author/thepngexperience/

Lamech

Lamech

(1) The name is first mentioned in Ge 4:18-24. Here Lamech, the son of Methushael, is named as the last of the descendants of Cain. He was the father of Jabel, Jubal, Tubal-cain, and Naamah. As the husband of two wives, namely, Adah and Zillah, he furnishes the first recorded instance of polygamy. It is very instructive to note that this “father of polygamy” at once becomes the first blustering tyrant and a braggadocio; we are fully permitted to draw this conclusion from his so-called “swordlay” (Ge 4:23 f). He does not put his trust in God, but in the weapons and implements invented by his sons, or rather these instruments, enhancing the physical and material powers of man, are his God. He glories in them and misconstrues the Divine kindness which insured to Cain freedom from the revenge of his fellow-men.

(2) Another Lamech. is mentioned in Ge 5:25,28 (compare 1Ch 1:3; Lu 3:36), the son of Methuselah and the father of Noah. His words (Ge 5:29) show the great difference between this descendant of Seth and the descendant of Cain. While the one is stimulated to a song of defiance by the worldly inventions of his sons, the other, in prophetical mood, expresses his sure belief in the coming of better times, and calmly and prayerfully awaits the period of comfort and rest which he expected to be ushered in by his firstborn son Noah. He was 182 years old at the birth of Noah, and survived that event 595 years, making his total age 777.

Early Christians Were Called Atheists

One of the accusations against early Christians was atheism. Monotheism was not the norm in antiquity. It was an anomaly. In the ancient Mediterranean world virtually everyone agreed that there were many gods and that each home, association, city, ethnic group, or empire might have its own deities. Few were concerned with denying the legitimacy of other gods. The Christian focus on one God seemed the equivalent of denying the gods altogether. Christians refused to worship the traditional gods and also, judged by Roman-era criteria, they didn’t seem to practice even a recognizable form of religion. In the first couple of centuries Christians had no shrines, temples, altars, images, sacrificial rites or priesthood. Therefore early Christians were called atheists.

Names of Christians

Names Of Christians in early ages, are manifold, besides those found in the N.T. Thus the Church fathers used various appellations in describing Christians: Catholics, for while the Church remained one and undivided, it was properly called Catholic; Ecclesiastics, men of the Church; Dogmatics, men of the doctrine; Gnostics, men of knowledge. The names of reproach and derision heaped upon Christians were almost endless. The following are of importance in illustrating the condition of the primitive Church: Jews, for at first they were regarded merely as a Jewish sect; Nazarenes, always used in a bad sense; Galikeans, a name used by Julian the Apostate, who died with these words on his lips, “Vicisti, O Galilaee;” Greeks, for by the ancient Romans this was a term expressive of suspicion and contempt; Magicians, Sibyllists, from their being charged with corrupting the Sibylline books; Sarmentitii, from the fagots with which fires were kindled around martyrs at the stake; Senaxii, from the stake to which they were bound; Parabolani, from their being exposed to wild beasts; Βιαθάνατοι, self-murderers, because of their fearlessness of death; ῎Αθεοι, atheists; Νεώτεροι, new lights; , Σταυρολάτραι, worshippers of the cross; Plautinae prosapiae homines, pistores, men of the race of Plautus, bakers (Plautus is said to have hired himself to a baker to grind in his mill); Asinarii, worshippers of an ass; Abjecti, Creduli, Fatui, Hebetes, Idiotce, Imperiti, Lucifugae, Simplices, Stulti, Stupidi, etc.