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5 126 131 560 4,000 240
35 11,282 11,320 136 1,399 90
13 3,122 3,135 1,118 568 155
1,974 72 95 3
327 315 2,049 178
1,420 1,420 211 1,692 208
1,190 1,190 268 612 152
10 291 301 277
2,514 335 438 1,522 2 152 4,144 4,298 30 57 2
117 117 139 1,388 76
5,538 5,538 1,077 10,718 422 2,707 2,568
20 6,245 6,265 2,367 29,727 1,883 1 1,117
236 42,067 42,303 3,455 41,230 2,363 90 484
67 35,054 35,121
5 911 916 31 194 293
518 4 3,222 3,226
Total by Native Colporteurs
52 10,511 103,129 6,755 3,499 6,028 199 1,095 119,501 120,795 Add Foreign Colporteurs 9 5,932
40 2,015 34,462 36,517 Total Colpor
teur's sales 61 11,220 109,061 7,536 3,500 6,219 239 3,110 153,963 157,312 Donations
1 94 3,479 3,574 Grand Totals 61 11,220 109,061 7,536 3,500 6,219 210 3,204 157,442 160,886
I am glad to say that this table, as a whole, gives me no small degree of satisfaction. I have labored for the increased efficiency of the colportage service, and the desired result to a good degree has been realized. The grand total shows a large advance over the previous two years in every particular save only that of the number of junks visited in 1891. This is doing well, considering the fact that portions of the field have been gone over again and again in former years. Two of the foreign colporteurs, Mr. Vercautern and Mr. Cameron, have done but little for our work, while the same may be said of several of the natives. Much of Mr. Verity's time is taken up with the care of his men, he having a larger number under his direction than any of the other superintendents, and he is constant in the endeavor to improve their character and efficiency. Iought to say that the real value of services rendered, by either native or foreigner, should not, as a rule, be judged merely by the number of books sold. Our Scriptures sell much more readily in some places than in others, and sometimes unexpected delays occur, or the people take up the time in asking questions and hearing the word expounded.
With a grateful sense of the divine goodness vouchsafed to me and my associates in the work during the year 1892, I submit this very brief and inadequate account of what we have attempted, in the hope and prayer that the present year, auspiciously begun, will not fail of blessing from the Lord of the harvest.
JAPAN. Nearly three years have passed since the adoption of a plan for combining the operations of the Bible Societies of America and Great Britain in Japan, and putting the work under the general supervision of a representative Committee. The actual results up to the present time, so far as it is possible to represent them in figures, have fallen below the hopes which attended the inception of the plan, although there has been an undoubted advantage in the removal of rivalries incident to the employment of three sets of Agencies in the same field.
The prolonged absence of Mr. Loomis during the first part of the year 1892, in consequence of impaired health, and the preoccupation of Mr. Braithwaite in the preparation of an edition of the Japanese Bible in the Roman letter, interfered with that careful supervision of the native colporteurs which is requisite for the best success. Arrangements have now been made by which it is expected to secure a closer contact between the Agents and the Bible distributers, and the hope is entertained that new channels may be found by which the circulation of the Scriptures will be greatly increased.
One-half of the expenditure in Japan is provided for by the American Bible Society; the other half by the British and Foreign Bible Society and the National Bible Society of Scotland. There were printed in 1892, by the Committee, 1,000 Bibles (in Roman letter), 11,500 New Testaments, and 16,000 Portions.
On the resignation of Dr. Amerman, Prof. M. N. Wyckoff was invited to take his place on the Committee, with the other representatives of the American Bible SocietyDr. Imbrie, Mr. Woodman, Mr. Draper, Dr. Greene, and Mr. Loomis. The resignation of Dr. Imbrie, due to his return to the United States, leaves a vacancy to be filled.
By request of the Board of Managers, Mr. Augustus Tabor, one of the Vice-Presidents of the Society, who was expecting to spend the winter in California, kindly consented to visit Japan and give his personal and minute attention to all the problems connected with the work of the Society in that kingdom. In accordance with his advice, the present arrangements are to be continued, and it is confidently believed that the results of his conferences with a large number of interested persons will be of lasting value.
From the report of the Bible Societies' Committee the following paragraphs are taken:
With the month of June, 1892, the term assigned for the work of the Committee in the original agreement between the Bible Societies expired. It is not necessary to review here the questions which arose in connection with the proposition to continue the work in aco ance with the terms of the original agreement. It is sufficient to say that, in spite of some difference of opinion as to important questions of administration, the arrangement for the consolidation of the Bible work in Japan has given very great satisfaction to the missionaries; and we believe, also, that it is regarded by the Japanese Christians as a very great improvement upon the old plan.
The most noteworthy event of the year was the publication of the entire Bible in the Roman letter. Before its publication great pains was taken to free the text of the Japanese version from clerical and proof-reader's errors; and, so far as it could be done, such mistranslations as were brought to the attention of the revising committee were also corrected. This work was done under the direction of the Permanent Committee, which is charged with the responsibility of conserving the text of the Japanese version. Some of these emendations were of great importance. As a result of this revision and the very great care bestowed upon the proof-reading, this edition presents the current Japanese version in the best form yet attained. It is the intention of this Committee to bring future editions of the Scriptures into conformity with this standard, so far as can be done without the sacrifice of its stereotype plates. This edition (1,000 copies) has been on the market since the middle of November. The sales have been 173 copies. This is a less number than was expected; but, in view of some strictures which have been passed upon this undertaking, your Committee feels bound to say that it still regards it as a wise expenditure of time and money.
The general circulation of the Scriptures is still less than that reported last year. The condition of the country, as has been noted in the preface to this report, has been unfavorable, and the work of Bible distribution has suffered in common with every form of missionary activity. There was, however, reason to believe that the system adopted by the Committee of paying the colporteurs by a fixed monthly salary had led, in some cases, perhaps many cases, to inefficient work and small sales. This matter was very carefully investigated, and it was decided to revert as soon as practicable to the old plan of paying by means of commissions upon sales. This change was not made without some misgiving, and it has met with a very vigorous protest from two of the best known and most intelligent missionaries (both outside this Committee). It seems proper to emphasize this difference of opinion in order to illustrate the difficulties of the position which your Committee is obliged to fill. The general public sentiment of the missionary body must be allowed great weight in determining plans for Bible distribution. For this reason it is inevitable that questions which, when viewed from London, Glasgow, or New York, seem simple and of easy solution, seem to those on the ground beset with difficulties, and only reach their solution after long and, it may be, painful effort. So far as we can now judge, the change appears to have caused a great improvement. Only the circulation of two months, November and December, was affected by this new plan, and that of November only slightly. During September and October the value of the books sold by certain men (all who were in the service during the entire four months) was Yen 260 97, at an expense of Yen 254 33 over and above the value of the books. During November and December, in spite of the fact that December is an unfavorable month, the value of books sold by the same men was Yen 296 73, at an expense of Yen 11 79 less than the value of the books. Ten colporteurs had in the meantime given up their positions because of the change. Prompt measures will be taken to increase the force of colporteurs, and to make a good use of the new opportunities which the improved state of feeling and increased activity of the evangelists are opening in many directions. Though the outlook does not encourage the hope that the circulation of Scriptures in Japan will soon reach the proportions reported by the three Societies prior to the adoption of the plan of union, there is reason to expect a decided increase.
The Committee were glad to welcome back Mr. Loomis to his post in the Bible House in May last. The success of the work demands the presence of both Agents, and the temporary withdrawal of either one, however imperative, is a drawback much to be regretted.
The customary tables are appended to this report, as well as a collection of incidents kindly supplied by the Agent in charge of the colporteurs, which will indicate that the self-evidencing power of the Holy Scriptures not less in Japan han in other lands.
Assured of your interest and sympathy, the Committee commends its work to your continued support.
SANDWICH ISLANDS AND MICRONESIA. It is only indirectly that information has reached the Society concerning the actual circulation of the Scriptures which have been forwarded from time to time to the islands of the Pacific Ocean; but the assurance that the demand in the Gilbert Islands is unabated has led to the printing of a new edition of the New Testament, in advance of the completed Bible, and two thousand copies of it have been sent on their way. The full supply of Bibles will hardly reach its destination before 1894, but a few copies which were forwarded by mail for use in the training school at Kusaie will increase the longing of the people to possess the Scriptures of the Old Testament as well as those of the New Testament, with which they have been familiar for many years. The inhabitants of Ruk and the * Mortlock Islands, who bave already had the New Testament, will gladly welcome the Books of Genesis and Exodus, which have been printed for them at the urgent request of Mrs. Logan.
Correspondence with the representatives of the Hawaiian Evangelical Association, in respect to some provision for the distribution of the Scriptures among the 20,000 Japanese resident on the Sandwich Islands, led to an offer to furnish supplies of Japanese Scriptures for that purpose and to allow the proceeds of sales to be expended in colportage. No response to the offer has yet been received.
AFRICA. EGYPT.-On previous pages of this Report an account will be found of the distribution of the Scriptures in Egypt under the direction of the Levant Agency.
SOUTH AFRICA.—The revision of the Zulu Bible by a company of fifteen missionaries proceeds so slowly that it has been found necessary to reprint the version in common use in order to meet the pressing demand and furnish an uninterrupted supply. The missionaries of the American Board report the opening of two new depositories in remote places, Johannesburg and Pretoria, both in the South
* Inadvertently spoken of on page 34 of this Report as the Marshall Islands.