TEACHING THE AYAH.
Poor Motee had been brought up from infancy amongst idolaters; she had never
been taught truth when a child, and now error bound her like a chain. Motee had actually been led to think it honourable to her family that, many years before, there had been a suttee in it; that is to say, a poor young widow had burnt herself with the dead body of her husband. Happily, our Government has forbidden suttees—no widow can thus be burnt now; but still the cruel heathen religion hurts the bodies as well as the souls of the Queen’s dark subjects in India. Motee’s own father had died on a pilgrimage to what he believed to be a holy shrine. Travelling on foot for hundreds of miles under a burning sun, the poor idolater’s strength had given way, and he had laid himself down by the roadside, sick, faint, and alone, to die far away from his home. Poor Motee had never reflected that the religion which had thus cost the lives of two of her family could not be a religion of heavenly love. She worshipped Vishnu, for she knew no better; and when her lady spoke to her of the Lord, the ayah only said to herself, that the God of the English was not the God of the Hindu, and
that she herself must do what all her fathers had done.
Mrs. Tuller’s words had little power, but her example and that of her husband were not without some effect upon the ignorant ayah. Motee knew that the sahib (master) who prayed with his family, never used bad words, nor was unkind to his wife, nor beat his servants, nor took bribes. Motee knew that the beebee who read her Bible was gentle, generous, and kind. The ayah could not but respect the religion whose fruits she saw in the lives of her master and mistress.
But it was not only the lady’s words and the lady’s example that were used as means to draw the poor Hindu to God. Little Edith had never heard the beautiful saying, that “the nearest road to any heart is through heaven,” and she would not have known its meaning if she had heard it, but the English child had been taught that the Saviour listens to prayer. Every night and morning Edith, at her mother’s knee, repeated the few simple words, “Lord Jesus, teach me to love thee!” and now, of her
own accord, she added another short prayer. Mrs. Tuller caught the soft whispered words from the lips of her darling, “Lord Jesus, teach poor Motee Ayah to love thee!” The mother took no outward notice, but from her heart she added “Amen” to the prayer of her child.