The Bakalahari, Who Live At Motlatsa Wells, Have Always Been
Very Friendly To Us, And Listen Attentively To Instruction Conveyed To Them
In Their Own Tongue.
It is, however, difficult to give an idea to a European
of the little effect teaching produces, because no
One can realize
the degradation to which their minds have been sunk
by centuries of barbarism and hard struggling for the necessaries of life:
like most others, they listen with respect and attention,
but, when we kneel down and address an unseen Being, the position and the act
often appear to them so ridiculous that they can not refrain
from bursting into uncontrollable laughter. After a few services
they get over this tendency. I was once present when a missionary
attempted to sing among a wild heathen tribe of Bechuanas, who had no music
in their composition; the effect on the risible faculties of the audience
was such that the tears actually ran down their cheeks.
Nearly all their thoughts are directed to the supply of their bodily wants,
and this has been the case with the race for ages. If asked, then,
what effect the preaching of the Gospel has at the commencement
on such individuals, I am unable to tell, except that some
have confessed long afterward that they then first began to pray in secret.
Of the effects of a long-continued course of instruction
there can be no reasonable doubt, as mere nominal belief has never been
considered sufficient proof of conversion by any body of missionaries;
and, after the change which has been brought about by this agency,
we have good reason to hope well for the future - those I have myself
witnessed behaving in the manner described, when kindly treated in sickness
often utter imploring words to Jesus, and I believe sometimes really do
pray to him in their afflictions.
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