Imágenes de páginas

and nearly 500 other Japanese evangelists and workers, and with nearly 4oo men in training in theological schools. The foundations of these churches were laid in the midst of great opposition, when it cost something to profess the Christian religion, and for that reason they were well laid. We may certainly thank God and take courage that the infant church in Japan has so well withstood the attack from semi-materialism and rationalism which came in such subtle form so early in its history. The faith of some of us has been rebuked. The forty millions of Japan are not yet reached and saved, but the present force of foreign and Japanese workers ought to contain within itself the promise and potency of this great result. If there are any workmen in the great worldfield who ought to be thankful and encouraged and who ought to press forward to the final victory, it is those in Japan. The writer is profoundly grateful that this subject has been chosen for to-day. It is fitting at the close of this year that we look backward and forward, and if we are to meet at all adequately the present which is upon us, and make the future a glorious future, it is necessary that we look upward. It is eminently fitting that we spend some time in praise and thanksgiving to God for what he has already done for Japan. Let us praise him that the country is open to the gospel; that the hearts of the people are so receptive ; that so many, both foreign and Japanese, are prepared or preparing for the work. Let us give thanks for the beginning which has been made in a Christian vocabulary and in Christian books; for the publication of the Bible in the Japanese language; for the Christian churches and schools which have already been established ; for the earnest, active type of piety which prevails so generally in the church in Japan, as well as for all the material helps which we have in the evangelization of the empire. Let us thank God that he has given us a divine Redeemer whose blood avails for Japan, and that the conviction of his full divinity is ever deepening in the hearts of his followers. Let us return thanks that Christ's promise to be with us always until the end of the world has been fulfilled in some measure in our hearts and lives and work in Japan, until this present; but let us make God's promises, our past successes, and our present glorious and unparalleled opportunities, the reason and ground for renewed and full consecration, even of such a seeking and receiving of all the fulness of God as can fit us, and as alone can fit us, to successfully work in these fields which are white to the harvest, and reap them for the heavenly garner.


SUCH was the name chosen by the believers in San Isidro de las Cuevas, when they were organized into a Christian body, some three years ago. Of the interesting beginning and wonderful growth of the work there, accounts have been given in these pages.

We have now to record the dedication of a house of worship, the only one in that farming village of 1,200 souls. True, the erection of a Roman Catholic church was begun forty years ago, and carried on at intervals; but it was never finished, and now its high walls house the public school for boys. The new building measures sixty feet in length by thirty in width, is solidly constructed of adobe, with plastered walls, and has a spire sixty-five feet high, terminating in a double iron cross, the gift of a Mexican friend. The front doors open into a commodious vestibule, above which is a gallery with arched openings toward the audience-room. At present this is divided into two rooms that receive the missionary during his frequent visits. The auditorium is so lofty as to give the impression of great roominess; and the ceiling, twenty-five feet above the ground, is quite picturesque, being formed of thin tablets of wood resting upon a hundred round, smooth, straight rafters. This wooden ceiling is really the under side of the flat roof, which is supported in the centre by three huge pillars, like the masts of a ship, two of which were felled in the forest by Mr. Case, when he went into the mountains more than a year ago with some of the brethren, to get out the timber. In the tower is a hollow piece of steel that once formed the end portion of a boiler-like receptacle for smelting ore, but was presented by an American mine-owner to the church. It is six feet in diameter, weighs 500 pounds, and when struck by a hammer gives forth a sound much like that of the ancient bells in the Roman churches. For the building of this house not a dollar of aid has been sought from the United States, although a lady there has loaned $1 oo, without interest, to meet some bills. Our church members have shown great self-denial, pledging one tenth of their crops until the entire expense should be provided for. It was their hope to pay all with last year's crops, but owing to the drought they gathered almost nothing; and instead of having corn and beans to sell they must buy at very high prices to keep their families from starving, in some cases borrowing money at three per cent monthly. Some of them will not be able to get out of debt for years, and a few may have to become peons, instead of employers as heretofore. Until relief comes, the glass cannot be put into the windows nor a wooden floor be laid; but there is a good supply of comfortable benches, a pretty cedar table upon the pulpit platform, a sweet-toned traveling-organ at one side, a dozen lamps attached to the walls and pillars, and the windows are filled with muslin bordered with turkey red. If some reader of this should feel moved to send to Treasurer Ward an extra offering to help a struggling people, not to put bread into their children's hungry mouths, but in paying their sacred pledges for the building of this house of prayer, it would greatly encourage faithful brethren and bring good cheer to their missionary leader. On the last Sunday in January the people gathered together from the village and surrounding ranches for the service of dedication, which followed the Sunday-school. In the afternoon there was a meeting of the Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor and a praise service. In the evening was celebrated the Lord's Supper, when seven infants were presented for baptism and twelve members were received on confession of their faith. The house was filled all day, and at the closing service there were not seats for all. Through the week there continued to be held afternoon and evening meetings, with increased attendance, especially at night, when the addresses on gospel themes were illustrated with the sciopticon. Scores of Romanists came for the first time, and they gave the closest attention to sermons on such subjects as “The Names of Jesus,” “The Blessed Virgin Mary,” “The Ministry of Angels,” “Confession and Pardon,” “Which is the New Religion?” and “The Open Door.”

The village government is now in the hands of the Protestants, the secretary and treasurer of our church being the president, and one of the deacons the supervisor of schools and public funds.

The fertility of the soil here is shown by the fact that last year three fanegas of wheat sown on irrigated land yielded eight hundred fanegas, though unfortunately none of our people own water rights. Our prayer is that the good seed sown during the week may be watered by the showers of divine grace, so as to yield even three hundredfold, and that this church may continue to be a model of Christian activity and fruitfulness for all the communities of believers on this mission field.

[ocr errors]

North China sūission.

MR. SPRAGUE, of Kalgan, is spending the winter at Pao-ting-fu on account of the necessities of the station, and he writes very hopefully of the work in and about that city. Six Sabbath services are maintained: two in the city or suburbs, two in places ten miles away, and two in places at a still greater distance. One of these latter places, Wang Tu, is especially interesting in view of the fact that the results there come almost entirely from native agency. The only help from foreigners has been by means of two visits by Miss Morrill, one by Miss Miner, and one by Dr. Merritt. The work is in charge of young Mèng Chang, of the last class graduated from the Tung-cho Seminary, and his wife. who was also educated at Tung-cho. They have been there but three months and have a house consisting of two rooms. Mr. Sprague writes : — “Meng Chang and his wife have devoted one of their rooms to chapel, school, and teaching purposes, and the other is fixed up so clean, neat, and convenient as to be a good object-lesson, showing what a Christian home may be even in one small mud room. They are very happy

in their work and fruit is appearing early.
Good work had been done there for about
two years by another teacher, Kao Hsien
Shing, and his wife, a well-taught Bible-
woman, had been with him about five
months. Mrs. Méng has a day-school
of five little boys and one little girl, and
a very bright class they are. We heard
them recite several Bible lessons, and their
explanation and illustrations of the Ten
Commandments would do credit to any
Sabbath-school class in America. Their
singing, and not less their praying, sur-
prised and pleased us much.
“We found here several persons who
desired baptism. They had been on pro-
bation from two to six months, and Sat-
urday, while Dr. Merritt examined patients,
Pastor Méng and I examined these candi-
dates one at a time, and each without the
presence of the others. Every one of the
five men and three women proved to be
well versed in the essential truths of the
Bible, strong in their belief of God's
Word, childlike in their trust in Jesus
Christ, and happy in the assurance their
sins were all forgiven through Christ's all-
sufficient atonement. We were satisfied
with the proofs of the spiritual regeneration
of each.
“One of these men had been kept back

from applying for baptism because in his business he had formerly sold incense and paper for burning for the dead. But when we learned he had already ceased selling all idolatrous articles and was ready to give proof of his sincerity by burning all his stock on hand, we allowed him to come forward. On Sabbath morning he made a bonfire in front of the church door of all his goods used in the worship of idols — some four dollars' worth. His countenance, before gloomy, was now lighted with joy. And now he with his aged parents, each seventy-eight years old, and his two little children were baptized —a whole family for Christ. After these ten baptisms it was a happy yet solemn company that gathered around our Lord's table to celebrate for the first time our Saviour's dying love. Very warm and hearty were the congratulations given to the new brothers and sisters by the few older church members who had come together to worship. The prayer, conference, and experience meeting that evening could hardly be brought to a close, so many had their mouths open to praise God for this newly planted church. Many were the exhortations to press forward and bear more fruit.” Mr. Sprague reports that there are other inquirers at Wang Tu, and that some villages in the vicinity are also calling for some one to instruct them in Christian truth. At the present, nine regular helpers are crowded with labors and many more could be well employed. Of the work in Pao-ting-fu City, Mr. Sprague says: — “Last Sabbath three of Dr. Merritt's hospital patients and one woman from the city joined the church here. We have large and attentive audiences in the street chapel daily. Dr. Merritt's clinics are also large. The schools are doing well under Miss Morrill's care.”

[ocr errors][merged small]

January Io, eight persons were baptized at Niwakuchi, near Lake Biwa, by Mr. Fuwa, pastor of the Heian Church. Mrs. Stanford was the first foreigner to begin work in this place, some two years ago, since which time others have visited the town. Special credit is due to members of the theological school for their devoted labors in this place. Dr. DeForest reports the baptism at Sendai, January 17. of ten persons, seven of them soldiers, making twenty-seven who have joined the church within four months. Eleven were baptized by Dr. Davis, at Fukuchiyama. Several have also been baptized in the churches of Kyôto, and ten at Okayama. A gracious revival is reported as progressing at an out-station in the province of Tango. Some matters in connection with the Doshisha have caused anxiety and have led to self-examination, humiliation, and prayer, and the last reports stated that there are evident signs of the quickening of spiritual life. The brethren call earnestly for the prayers of the people of God for the spiritual work both in the Doshisha and throughout the empire. Mr. Albrecht writes from Kyoto, January 29: — “The spiritual life in the churches is on the increase all around here. In Kusatsu, where we have a preaching-place for the last two years, five young men wanted to be baptized last Sunday, when I was there, but I thought it wiser to give them more time for thoroughly “counting the cost.” The same Sunday we had a meeting in a village five miles distant. where the gospel had never been preached. The meeting was held in the office of the headman of the village and attended by nearly 1oo adults. At the close, the general expression was: “We are glad we have heard about Christianity; now we can investigate it.' “Per contra, at a meeting in one of our preaching-places in this city on Monday evening, some young men created so much disturbance that at last two policemen appeared on the scene and kept order. “Down with Christianity Long live Buddhism ' ' was the cry with which they congregated at last before the door.” in the PROVINCE OF ISE. In the Missionary Herald for last September, Mr. F. N. White gave an account of the persecutions at Yamada, near Tsu. Since then, the man who compelled his wife, on peril of divorcement, to renounce her Christian faith, in order that he might retain his position as temple-keeper, has died, never having from that day been able to enter on the position which he was willing to sacrifice everything to secure. Writing October 17 last, Mr. White speaks of Haze, another out-station of Tsu: — “Haze is the one place, the condition of which brings us almost unadulterated joy. It was fortunate in getting the services of one of the choicest spirits in the Doshisha for the summer. He averaged a service a day with them for fifty days, besides doing an enormous amount of personal work. The result was the baptism of eleven adults, eight men and three women, and the bringing of at least three others to a position which makes it probable that they will be admitted erelong. More surprising, if not more pleasing, was the sudden spring which the monthly contributions for the support of the evangelist took, from eighty sen up to four yen, and all as the result of quickened faith and zeal. This comes from people who are truly poor, who have little or nothing laid aside, but who keep themselves out of debt (a feature which gives Haze a unique reputation in this region) by dint of unremitting industry and economy. These Christians wear the same clothes year in and year out, and eat the poorest of food, that they may have wherewith to extend the work. For a time they were so zealous in their Christian activity that they proposed to dispense with the labors of an evangelist, doing all the work themselves; but the presence of the summer evangelist and the grand results flowing from his work have convinced them of the danger and folly of such a proceeding, and they are now seeking with equal zeal for one who shall carry on the work so auspiciously begun. The opportunities which the right man, working from Haze

as a centre, would have in that mountain region are truly great.” Writing on February 2, Mr. White reports that it has been deemed best to transfer the evangelist from Yamada to Haze, where the people have assumed a generous proportion of their pastor's salary, and that a young man belonging to the Tsu church, who has long had on his heart evangelistic work, has been employed in this form of service. Of renewed life in the church at Tsu, Mr. White writes : — “During last autumn the number of attendants at the pastor's Bible class suddenly increased, and on the first Sunday morning of 1892 we had the privilege of welcoming most of them into the church. Seven were received at that time, and on the following day four more were baptized and received into fellowship at the neighboring town of Kameyama. These joyful events were followed by the meetings of the Week of Prayer, which called out more than double the number of Christians that had been in the habit of attending the usual service of prayer, and which were characterized by earnest petitions and by deep spiritual power. All the services and activities of the church seem to have shared in the general quickening. Not all of the Christians, to be sure, are sharing in these spiritual joys of the new year, nor have we any large number of inquirers from without just at present; but the infusion of new blood and the gift of new life have resulted in a general improvement and in a raising of the general tone of the church that promise to be permanent and that justify genuine hopefulness. “A practical evidence of this is the fact that at the annual meeting of the church, on January 10, the debt, which had been accumulating during the previous years of lethargy, was attacked. The pastor urged the immediate payment of it, not only on the grounds of honor and self-respect, but also on the ground that the existence of a debt is an effectual handicap to all spiritual efficiency. When the pledges. were counted up, it was found that the

« AnteriorContinuar »