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99 79 85 05 118 73 83 61 91 53 43 57 45 30 30 31 27 10 28 28 26 18 17 19 53
Receipts, Mex. Cur. $105 30 104 75 100 18 98 51 97 48 92 84 91 61 88 49 79 39 64 15 57 94 52 07 35 12 33 62 30 78 30 05 27 94 26 06 25 71 23 94 22 49 22 42 22 45 19 00 82 02
195 101 61 68 78 55 147
Total by Colporteurs . 8,056 4,8.57 4,214 4,718 13,789 $4,594 10 By Correspondents
544 616 544 = 1,704 470 66 By Agent.
666 200 50
6,806 7,074 9,734 23,614 $7,154 05 -an advance in receipts from sales over 1891 of $2,353 33, and of volumes of Scripture distributed, 2,538, of which 2,445 were complete Bibles.
With their reports, the colporteurs have given numerous narratives of their trials and triumphs in famine, in sickness, in persecution, and in prison. I cannot translate them all, or reduce to one letter all their adventures; but, looking back over the year, here and there over the wide field, I see Mr. Blachly in the streets of Rosario, preceded by a man sent from the parish church to forbid the purchase of Bibles under penalty of “excomunion,” selling dozens of copies more than he could without such "aid ;"' or again, at night, going to ask protection from the threatened expulsion from the city, and turning back to his meson three times to bring Bibles for three persons who came after him saying, "I must have a Bible before you go ;'' or, again, disembarking
with the first boxes of Bibles ever sent to the shores of Lower California, and selling them all in a few days.
Of this brother, one who knows him well writes : “He has a peculiar aptitude for selling the Scriptures ; he canvassed this whole port, street by street, from house to house, and in three weeks sold 181 Bibles;' and Rev. W. D. King writes, August 27th : “The Bible work is of greatest importance to us missionaries. Mr. Blachly is the man to sell Bibles, and I hope he may continue."
At the other end of the republic, alone, in the State of Chiapas, I see Mr. Fernandez battling against re-inforced opposition that his remarkable work of the previous year had caused, persuading men and women to hold on to their Bibles, though they should be condemned and ostracized, calling meanwhile on the Missions in Mexico to come down and help him ; or, again, carrying the Bible to complete victory in a group of Spiritualists who had long opposed him in San Cristóval.
The veteran Vicente Vaca, by the shores of Northern Vera Cruz, calling a second time to inquire after Felipe Sanchez, to whom he had sold a large Bible, finds that he had died of yellow fever, but in the true gospel faith. No funeral rites had been performed, so, at the instance of the bereaved widow, he holds a gospel service and preaches the consolations of the Holy Bible to more than a hundred souls.
Luis Moreno, in Molango, of Hidalgo, is talking with a poor man who comes to him, saying: “The priest declares that the Bible you sold me is a bad book ; will you give me back the price ?"
" But would you not prefer God's own revelation to such a small sum of money ???
Yes, sir ; since you read me those few verses I have desired to read the whole book, but the priest took it away from me.” “Go; tell that priest he has no right to your property without paying for it, and that the judge will doubtless agree with us if we have to demand it.” The priest answers : “ Take your condemned book, and go, and be lost." The man returns with his Bible to his house.
Rafael Hernandez has labored several months in the new fields of Valle Nacional and Tuxtepec, producing a real demand for church organizations. He essays to return to the coast in November, but is driven back by a cyclone, to remain, ill, for another month. An enemy killed his horse with a sword while in pasture.
Eusebio Gomez suffers, too—is robbed of horse and all he had on the way from Guadalajara to the Pacific, and then compelled by sickness to remain at Mazatlan, while his wife is ill with the fever at Tepic; yet he reports good work for every month of the year.
Manuel Perez is encouraged by the coming of the first missionary to Oaxaca, and increases the sales in that field, which is now old to the Bible work.
Ocampo two months ago brought in a strong petition for a preacher, and a church is now founded on his work at Tasco, Guerrero State.
Vargas's horse is stolen, through the connivance of an enemy at Salvatierra ; he recovers the value by law, purchases another, and pushes on his work. E. B. Perez leaves his horse to rest and walks from San Miguel to Santa Cruz, in Puebla ; half-way back he is attacked by six men, robbed and beaten, and left bound by the roadside, till a native Indian cuts the cords at nightfall.
S. Gonzalez arrives on a rainy night in September at the town of Zitácuaro, in Michoacan. There had been a robbery down the road he had come, and he is arrested on suspicion-his donkey and goods taken from him. His letter of commission from the Agency is torn up, on sight of the word “Bible,” and he is locked up, with the suggestion that he will be shot in the morning; but a Protestant preacher comes to identify him the next day, and his torn letter is returned as well as his property and freedom.
Mr. Puerto reports a similar case: “On September 15th I began a second time to read and recommend the Scriptures in the plaza of Tejeojuma, Puebla. As the number of listeners increased, the village priest and the municipal president appeared to charge me with breaking the law by selling prohibited books. I defended my right to sell the Bible or any good book. They retired, because the people seemed to agree with me; but soon a corporal and two soldiers came to arrest me. I demanded a written warrant, which the corporal went to procure, leaving the soldiers to guard me. This circumstance aided me, for while the corporal tarried I sold thirty copies of the Scriptures. At sundown I asked the soldiers to take me to headquarters, where the corporal met me, saying, 'I have no warrant; you are free.'”
But the time would fail me to tell of all the injustice, abuse, and injury brought upon our men. Felipe Gaitan is still in prison without trial, arrested on the 6th of July by the gefe politico of the district of Rio Grande, accused by a man of his own town-an enemy of the Bible -of being implicated in a robbery committed by the “Garza" raiders; and Donaciano Cortez now lies ill with a fever caused by a stoning received in December, a little way north from San Luis Potosi.
And what shall I say of their devotion and self-denial? I will quote the words of one only out of many. Felipe Gonzalez had asked for an advance on his small salary, to help him through famine times, and he wrote, October 3d :“Believe me, brother, I am not so much interested in earning more money as I am in giving more of my people the word of God. I am commanded to work, not for bread but for eternal life, and that others may believe and have it also; and I am the more rejoiced that the greater part of these Scriptures (he had sold fifty-three volumes for $20 14 in September] are in the hands of those who never read the word before, but had persecuted me until I persuaded them to listen to a passage. I find this the best way—to read a passage, and by the help of God explain it."
Who that reads this brief record of long-continued toils and trials will not pray God to guide and protect these faithful men day by
Many missionaries are observing in their respective fields the results of the Society's work, but few have time to record them. Rev. Mr. Olds, of Cusihuiriachic, Chihuahua, writes of “a young girl who received a New Testament and heard the truth some two years ago, and is still found faithful and earnest in the midst of greatest persecution. Her own parents beat her for reading the book, and threaten her life if she continues; yet she remains firm, and has interested several others in the truth. Four copies of the Scriptures were sold by the colporteur to those with whom she had labored, and several members of these families are now apparently true Christians."
While in Mexico, at the annual conference, the Rev. S. P. Craver, D.D., related the following incident, which shows how long it sometimes takes seed to germinate :
In San Mateo, Puebla, many years ago there lived a family who possessed a Bible printed in 1825, but without a word to indicate the place of publication. The father secured permission from the priest to read this old book on condition that no other member of the family should do so,
but his sons could not restrain their curiosity to read it also. They called it the “Documento," and came to have great respect for it. Upon the death of the parents, the book was left to the oldest son. Last July a nephew of his, who had gone to Panotla, Tlaxcala, to buy oxen, spent the night with a Protestant family, who talked to him of the gospel and lent him a Bible when he went away. As he began to read it he found it to be much like something he had read before, and it soon occurred to him that it was like the “Documento.” Having looked it up, the whole family made the comparison, and found that the revered “Documento” was the Sacred Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. They began to attend gospel services, taking the old Documento" " with them, and are now converts to the Bible religion.
The Rev. Mr. Borton gives me the following account of a bookseller's conversion to the gospel : “He lived years ago just outside the city, by the Viga Canal. As he was reading "Uncle Tom's Cabin' in Spanish it occurred to him that if the poor Negro could have so good a religion in his hovel and in his own heart, and that religion was found in one book, he would look for the book and look for the religion without processions, and pictures, and candles. When at last a colporteur came to his house offering Scriptures he surprised him greatly by the promptness with which he produced from his pocket the price of a large Bible. He has held to it now these many years.”
Now, Mrs. Stowe's object was not the evangelization of Mexico, but there are many really good books in Spanish written or translated with this special object-books that lead to the Bible and help to interpret the Bible. They are in constant demand, and one of the needs of gospel work in Mexico is the establishment of a central depository for the sale, at uniform prices, of the Spanish publications of the great tract societies,
But the great demands to be urged upon every friend of the Holy Bible are, first, fervent prayer for God's blessing on the thousands of Bibles now in the hands of the Mexican people, that the saving truths may enter their hearts; and then gifts, that we may carry the word to thousands more, in far distant towns and villages, who have never yet seen the sacred volume.
CENTRAL AMERICA. It has been a long-cherished desire of the Board of Managers to enter vigorously upon the work of supplying the five republics of Central America with the Scriptures. Occasional consignments of books have been sent to one point and another as opportunity offered for circulating them, but the opportune hour for a general exploration did not occur till near the close of the year 1892. The interruption of Mr. Norwood's work in Venezuela left him at liberty to participate in the opening up of a new field, and on the first of November he joined hands with Mr. Penzotti, who had made his way up the western coast from Peru, and arranged a plan by which the two, working in concert and meeting at stated points, were to visit in succession Costa Rica, Nicaragua, San Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. The undertaking was crowned with remarkable success, and in the ensuing six months more than 11,700 copies of Bibles, Testaments, and Portions were sold, the proceeds amounting to $2,253 10 United States gold. Notwithstanding the bitter opposition of the priesthood, which at times took the form of inciting the people to violence, they met with no personal injury; and, on the other hand, they made many friends. In the five republics of Central America are several Protestant churches, but only at two points—at the capitals of Guatemala and Costa Rica—is there at present any organized movement for the evangelization of the Spanish-speaking population. This makes it the more important to sow the seed of gospel truth, and then to have the effort followed up by other laborers who can lay the foundation of Christian institutions. The statistics of 1892, only, properly belong in this Report, and concerning the work of two months Mr. Norwood says:
On the first of November the Rev. Francis Pezzotti, with one helper, joined me to begin the tour of Central America, and a little after I engaged Henry A. Box, a native of Jamaica who speaks both English and Spanish, to accompany me along the Atlantic coast. In December Salvador Avilés, a native of Nicaragua, joined the company, and Mr. Penzotti employed several other persons for brief periods during the