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The School Church was the Holy Trinity Church, where the services were held in Bengali. Near its entrance was the water reservoir in which the adults were generally baptised by immersion. On 7th July 1912, during the evensong service at 4 p.m. the pastor of the Church, Rev. now Canon Joseph Paran Nath Biswas, in procession led by the choir, marched from the chancel to the baptismal font at the other end of the Church. The Church that evening was overcrowded, though I cannot tell how many of those of whom I had personally invited to come were present. Mr. J. H. Hickinbotham and Babu Hemchandra Bhattacharya, one of my School teachers, stood as my god-fathers I had chosen the latter for his serene and calm disposition, and his real and good Christian life. After I had recited the Apostle's creed, which was a departure from the Anglican rite, usually the officiating minister recites it


and the candidate signifies his assent to it, I was baptised by immersion. The ceremony over, the usual service was resumed by the pastor, who preached on the text: "When he had eaten meat he was strengthened" (Acts: 9:19). The message impressed me very deeply and for a long time this remained my golden text. A few days later I surprised a quaker friend of mine, in course of my Bible study with him, by giving this as my favourite text, for it did not, naturally, convey any special meaning to him as it would not have meant anything to me apart from the meassage preached by my pastor on that evening. The physical experience in Paul's life, who after the vision on the way to Damascus, "neither did eat nor drink," until after he was baptised, and when he had received meat he was strengthened, was symbolic of his spiritual experience. He who was spiritually starved was strengthened after he had received Christ and was baptised in His name. Baptism implied becoming a member of the Body of Christ, and therefore for strength and daily energy it was necessary for members to share His life.

Often it has been noticed that the baptism of a convert is regarded by the Church at the culminating point of his life, and interest in his future progress ceases. It is true that baptism marks a milestone in the history of the spiritual life of a convert, yet at the same time, with it begins the critical period of his life. Disillusionment of much of his preconceived ideas as to the ideal state of the Christian community starts as he comes closer in contact with it. At the same time after baptism the convert himself is in danger of losing his former zeal and fervour for his Master, and for his own spiritual progress. He soon finds out that


some who call themselves Christians are no better than non-Christians. He meets persons in the Church who maintain that it does not matter what you believe provided you lead a good life. He, moreover, notices the unhappy divisions within the Church, and as he finds one denomination condemns another, he wonders whether he has accepted the true form of Christianity after all. When he finds the same sins existing within the Christian community which are found outside of it, he begins to suspect whether Jesus really saves His people from their sin. Persecution from outside and the cold-heartedness of the people inside the Church begin to tell upon his spiritual health.

Learn more about baptism and how to get saved

Table of contents to How a Sufi Found His Lord

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