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UNDER the direction of a committee of pastors of Boston and immediate vicinity a Foreign Missionary Conference of great interest and power was held in the Berkeley Temple and in the Old Scuth Church on March 9 and to. The sessions of the afternoon and evening of the first day were given to the Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor, the young people being present in large numbers, especially in the evening. The Societies of Christian Endeavor have almost from their inception responded well to the purpose of their leaders that they should be forward in missionary work. And it was most fitting that in a missionary conference one day should be devoted exclusively to the relations of this organization to foreign missions. Stimulating and instructive addresses were made by Messrs. C. M. Southgate and N. Boynton, Mr. Atkinson, of Japan, Mr. Tracy, of Turkey, Mr. Gutterson, of India, Miss Leitch, of Ceylon, and Mr. Baer, Secretary of the United Society of Christian Endeavor. The general sessions of the Conference, held in the Old South Church, were well attended and of deep interest, with stirring addresses by Drs. Horton, March, McKenzie, Behrends, and Virgin, and Rev. E. S. Hume, of India. Would that such conferences might be held in every city of our land
A NEw missionary map of the world has just been prepared by the Messrs. Colton, of New York, which is the third publication of the kind issued by the same firm, the last being a great improvement on its predecessors. It is on cloth, twelve feet by six feet eight inches, and presents the two hemispheres very distinctly, with such markings in color as indicate the prevailing religions. The prominent mission stations are given, with marks showing what societies are working in them. The margins are utilized for the presentation of a great variety of facts relating to missionary work. A box of tags accompanies the map, these tags to be affixed, as occasion may require, by any one who in speaking wishes to call attention to particular localities. Altogether the map is an excellent one for use in church or chapel. Its retail price is twenty dollars. Having no other concern with the sale than the awakening of missionary interest, such as we are sure will follow the use of such a map as this, arrangements have been made by which the agent of the American Board, Mr. C. E. Swett, will supply copies to churches at fifteen dollars per copy. We should be glad to know that the map has a wide circulation.
WE are beginning to receive reports as to the observance of the Week of Prayer throughout our missions. A delightful account will be found on another page as to the results at Bardezag, Turkey. Dr. Farnsworth, of Cesarea, reports that at that station there were large and interesting meetings. The women's meeting held at midday had from 70 to 150 in attendance, while the general meeting, in the evening, was attended by about 175. At Talas the attendance at some of the evening services of the week was nearly equal to the Sunday congregations. See also reports in the letters from Japan as to spiritual fruit in that empire.
We call special attention to the account, in the Young People's Department. given by Dr. Allen Hazen, of fruit, and that in large measure, gathered from seed sown long since and in very unpromising soil. It is a remarkable story of conversion by the power of the gospel.
AN earnest plea comes from Mr. Marsh, of Philippopolis, for aid in behalf of an active, self-denying church at Yamboul, one of the most important centres of evangelistic work among the Bulgarians. Like other evangelical churches in this mission, though rich in faith and good works, it is possessed of but little wealth. Most of the members, sixty-six in all, are persons in humble life, only two or three comparatively well-off. This church has secured a good lot for a church edifice, erected its own house of worship, supports two teachers for its schools, a colporter, and an able pastor, with a grant-in-aid from the Board of about one fifth of his salary, but in the hope of assuming all in a year or so. But new expenses come with growth and spiritual development. When the site of the present church building was chosen, regard was had to economy, and a lot was purchased a little back from the main street, central enough for convenience, accessible by means of a narrow alley, flanked on either side by small lots which it was hoped one day to secure for a parsonage and other necessary conveniences. That time has now come and the sum of $440 is needed for this purchase. The lots are: now in the market. The church must have help or the opportunity of securing them will be lost. The people are doing the best they can to help themselves. Mr. Marsh is confident that, were funds secured to meet one half of the amount required, the people would be so encouraged as to make up the rest in some way or other. Who will accept this privilege in behalf of the cause of Christ in Bulgaria?
THE Turkish government in its blind opposition to the preaching of the gospel seems bent on o geographical as well as historical truth. A physical geography, published by the Western Turkey Mission some time since, and authorized by the censor at Constantinople, has recently been put under the ban on account of an expression it contains about “the tableland of Armenia, with its highest point Yoo feet.” The Sultan would not have his subjects know that there is such a land as Armenia, and he would doubtless be glad to level down Mount Ararat. It is doubtful whether it can succeed in the one case more than in the other.
THE converts from Islam within the Turkish Empire will be few so long as the political power regards conversion as treason, and so long as death or exile await those who turn from Mahomet to Christ. But in other parts of the world conversions are taking place. The English Church Missionary Society reports 1,000 converts from Islam, chiefly in India and Africa. Dr. Schreiber, of Barmen, affirms that the Rhenish Missionary Society has in Sumatra and Borneo 2,000 converts, and that of the 12,000 Christians in Java the large majority were formerly Mohammedans.
THE great change effected in the transportation facilities between Matadi and Manyanga, on the river Congo, is shown by a recent statement in the Mouziement Géographique. In August, 1883, Captain Hanssens could obtain barely twenty-eight porters from the chief of Banza-Manteka; now that region furnishes an army of porters numbering at least 30,000, who are constantly passing and repassing, loaded with goods.
FROM all sections of Japan and from members of many missionary organizations the report comes that the outlook for evangelical work throughout the empire is much brighter than it was a year or two since. The attitude of the Japanese toward foreigners is more friendly. The native churches are recognizing clearly the fact that they need the counsel and assistance of missionaries from other lands. The theological unrest seems to have measurably passed away, and the apparent movement toward rationalism, which caused many fears, either was not so strong as was supposed or it has been checked. The native churches are feeling their responsibility for the propagation of the gospel and are entering upon the task with great self-denial and enthusiasm. The Synod of the “United Church of Christ in Japan,” which is the name assumed by the now united Presbyterian churches of the empire, has recently received an invitation from the General Assembly of Presbyterian Churches in the United States to appoint a committee to correspond with other committees in the preparation of a short creed containing the essential articles of the Westminster Confession, to be used as the common creed of the Reformed churches throughout the world holding the Presbyterian system.” The Synod in its reply hesitates about accepting the invitation, since it is not clear whether the desire is to prepare a creed which shall contain the truths necessary to a vital Christianity or a creed which shall present the essential articles of the Westminster Confession “regarded as a document setting forth a differentiating system of theology.” The Synod then says: “The chief foes of the Church of Christ in Japan are Buddhism, Pantheism, Materialism, Agnosticism, Rationalism, and Unitarianism. Against these any Confession cannot but be antagonistic. But all the evangelical churches of Christ are friends. And toward these the Synod is constrained to believe its Confession of Faith should be only irenic.”
IN disproof of a frequent charge that the Japanese are fickle, Rev. Mr. Hayes, in Zhe Church at Home and A/road, refers to the fact that on a recent visit at Nagasaki a friend had pointed out to him the road “where he himself had only twenty years ago seen 4,000 poor and wretched peasants drived from their homes in the midst of winter, in an entirely destitute condition, and scattered throughout the empire because they refused to trample upon the cross, which their ancestors two centuries before had learned to love. They held very crude ideas of Christianity, but their hold on what they had, not death itself could shake.”
OUR attention has been called to a statement in a letter of President Fuller, of Central Turkey College, printed in the last Missionary Herald, in which he quotes Mr. Wishard as saying that the new building at Aintab is the first building in Asia Minor erected for Young Men's Christian Association work. It should be remembered, however, that both at Adana and Marash the Young Men's Christian Associations have had buildings of their own for several years, though they were buildings bought and fitted up for the use of these organizations. It is a noteworthy fact that the funds for securing these buildings at Adana and Marash were largely collected from friends in the United States by ladies connected with the mission.
FoR reasons that can be surmised, if not stated, it is not our custom to speak much in detail concerning the attitude of Turkish officials, but our friends ought to know that matters in the Ottoman Empire have recently assumed a specially grave aspect as related to the work of our missions. A determined effort is now being made to curtail in every possible way the privileges of Christian communities. A government order was sent not long since to the provinces that all schools and places of worship are to be reported to headquarters, and that they must be provided at once with government permits (firmans), or else closed. This is a direct blow at our missionary work, and if the order is executed untold evil will result. The order is directly contrary to the existing law; for in accordance with this law all schools are authorized which accept government supervision of the course of study and of the books used. All Protestant schools have long since conformed to this law, and their suppression is entirely illegal. Every one knows that, as matters go in Turkey, a firman can be obtained only with the greatest difficulty, never until after months, commonly only after years, of effort. To depend upon such special authorization of these schools would be fatal. Yet the government seems determined to enforce this requirement, as is shown by an incident happening in the interior of Turkey since the present year came in. The government sent for a native preacher in Aziziye, an out-station of Cesarea, demanding by what authority he was there and had a school. This man had been quietly working in this place for several years, and the Protestant community with which he labored numbers forty-five. The preacher was told that this longestablished school must be closed unless within three months he had a governmental permit. May the Lord defend his people against the machinations of those who would destroy the evangelical work in Turkey ! The United States Minister at Constantinople, Mr. Hirsch, is acting energetically in the matter, and it is expected that the British and German ministers will unite in protesting against the course of the Turkish government.
THE Indian government, in its official statements in regard to the opium traffic, affirms that there are only 22,000 licensed opium-shops, which is about one to every 10,000 of the population. The authorities admit that this is an evil, which is a point gained, for although it might seem that no one but an idiot would have any doubts as to the deplorable nature of this traffic, it yet has been the fashion for Indian officials to treat the matter very lightly, inasmuch as it touched upon the social habits of the people and the revenue of the government. It is now claimed that the traffic is not on the increase, and that any attempted suppression would lead to revolt among the native races, especially in the Punjab.
A HINT as to the popular beliefs in Japan, beliefs which are shared in by the cultivated as well as the common people, is found in a document signed by the leaders of the political party called the Kaishin-fo, corresponding to the “opposition” in the British Parliament. Referring to the meritorious deeds accomplished since the Restoration, these leading men say: “We firmly believe that those deeds were accomplished by the spirits of the departed emperors and by the virtue of the reigning sovereign.” People who say this evidently make a religion of loyalty to the emperors.
We have received from Hankow Mission Press a copy of a reproduction of the “Complete Picture Gallery,” a series of cartoons, printed in colors, issued by the anti-foreign party in the province of Honan, China. The text of the cartoons has been translated and the pictures reproduced, in order that the various missionary societies working in China and the officials of foreign governments may understand more clearly the forces which are at work in the empire for the suppression of Christianity and the incitement of the people to riotous acts against foreigners. There are thirty-two of these cartoons, the foulness and blasphemy of which are wholly unreportable here. They are admitted by Chinese officials, as well as by all who have an understanding of affairs in the empire, to be one great source of the bitter hostility manifested toward foreigners, and especially toward Christians. It is said that these publications, in the form of handbills, placards, and pamphlets, are sent by the boatload in all directions from Changsha, the capital of Honan, as well as from other cities, not for sale but for free distribution among the people. They appear on the billboards, posted side by side with the imperial proclamations denouncing them. They were distributed by the thousands to the scholars who assembled for the triennial examinations in September last, and the common people believe the infamous iies that they tell. They are prepared evidently by the literati, and they show something of the depths of moral depravity of their authors. This effort of the Chinese to drive out the Christian religion from their empire sets in the strongest possible light their desperate need of the gospel.
DR. FARNsworth, of Cesarea, in Turkey, in writing of the efficient work of the late Mrs. Bartlett, of Smyrna, in opening the school for girls at Talas, in 1872, speaks of this school as a monument to Mrs. Bartlett far nobler than some of the monuments erected to mark the resting-place of statesmen and warriors. And he adds: “The young men and young women whose ambition for an education was first awakened or greatly stimulated by her now hold important positions of trust and influence in the Armenian, as well as the Protestant, communities. ' Her works do praise her ’’’
A SINGULAR incident is that mentioned by Mr. Chambers, in a letter on another page, that an audience of 200 women in Turkey, gathered to listen to the Gregorian bishop, but disappointed at his non appearance, asked a native teacher in our Adabazar Girls' School to address them and to lead them in prayer. A significant fact this, as showing the respect felt for Protestants within the Gregorian Church.
A strikiNG illustration of the “power of littles” is seen in the statement that almost one fourth of the receipts of the Basel Missionary Society comes from subscribers who give only a half-penny a week. Nearly $60,000 annually are received from this source. If all the Christians in our churches would contribute even at this low rate, then the larger gifts from those who have abundant means. with the legacies of the dead, would swell the total of receipts to a goodly sum. The American Board would get its million a year. Is there any reason why this should not be done?