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NYASA. — The agent of the African Lakes Company wrote, March 14, that a new disaster had befallen the garrison of Fort Johnston, south of Lake Nyasa, which was constructed by the British commissary charged with the administration of that region. The slave-traders had attacked the company's expedition, wounded the leaders, and killed or wounded many Zanzibari soldiers.
ITEMS. – A decree exempting from duties all merchandise for missionaries in Eastern Africa was made public at Zanzibar, March 14. The British government has recognized the treaty made between the South African company and Lewanika, chief of the Barotses. A monthly postal service, established by an agreement between the company and the chief Khama, will go as far as Kasungula, one of the stations of the French Protestant mission upon the Zambesi. The German authorities are endeavoring to civilize the natives of their Cameroon colony. They have five schools, in which the pupils are taught Bible history, reading, writing, arithmetic, the rules of interest, and a little German. They can already sing many of the German national songs. A letter from M. Coillard, at Sefula, announces the arrival at the Zambesi of the missionary from the West Indies, Dr. Johnston, who is crossing Africa to visit the missions. It will be remembered that he took with him six young colored men of his own church. and that he left some of them in Bihé, to work with our missionaries there. These young men have recently returned to Jamaica.
THE COPTs. – The United Presbyterian mission in Egypt is having remarkable success among the Copts, the influence of the mission extending, far beyond its own organized work. A letter from Rev. Mr. Alexander, dated March 8, given in The Onited Presbyterian, reports that at Assiout, where he had long been stationed, the Copts themselves had held nightly meetings for over three years in their cathedral church. They seem to have been, in externals at least, thoroughly reformed, for they have abolished the confessional and have removed the pictures of the Virgin and the saints. All this has been done under the leadership of reformed Coptic priests, but these priests are not competent to lead in the further reformation of the church or in the unfolding of the Scriptures. They are untrained and most of them extremely ignorant. At Assiout the leaders in the Coptic church have asked the United Presbyterian mission for one of its licentiates to become their religious teacher, providing his support and promising him freedom of utterance. In other places in upper Egypt the Copts have held meetings similar to those at Assiout. Three Coptic young men have been placed by their parents in the training college of the United Presbyterian mission, with the avowed purpose of preparing them for service in the old church. This certainly is a remarkable movement and one of great promise for the future. The Presbyterian mission has for years been laying a good foundation by its labors in Egypt, and the blessing of the Lord has rested upon it in a marked degree.
A MissionARY's EscAPE. – The Rev. J. Parker, of the London Missionary Society, whose station was Chao-yang in Mongolia, reports in The Chinese Recorder his thrilling experiences at the outbreak of the rebellion last autumn. On November 12 everything in the mission seemed to be going on well, when suddenly the native preacher informed Mr. Parker that 2,000 robbers had attacked villages thirty miles north of them. The people of the city began to flee to the mountains, though the story of the number of rebels was discredited. The next day the robbers, for they were nothing less, arrived and began to burn the Mongol temples and murder the Mongols, while Confucian temples and Chinamen were spared. Mr. Parker and his man, taking what provisions they could, walked twenty-five miles to a town where they found shelter, and on subsequent days, hearing rumors of robberies in different places, they went from town to town where there was hope of security. One night the old preacher sat down on the kang, and said in the most helpless kind of way, “We have no road now ; eastward there are robbers, and westward there are robbers, while in the north and south there is nothing but mountain.” “Well,” said Mr. Parker, “there is one way open yet, and that is the way above.” Not catching the meaning, the preacher said, “Ah, but we have no cart.” “Perhaps the Lord will send us his fire-cart,” said Mr. Parker. Seeing his meaning, the preacher said, “Yes, that way is always open, and we are ready to go.” The rougher element of people had the ascendancy and Mr. Parker and his friends met everywhere with insult; they suffered much from cold and hunger, and refuge was found for ten days on a mountainside. Hearing then that the rebels had been driven from Chao-yang, Mr. Parker returned to find the city in the saddest condition, with no business, shops closed and barricaded, and piles of headless bodies outside the gates. Taking refuge in an inn which was closed to others, Mr. Parker did not go outside for days. The Christians came secretly and spoke cheerfully, though every one was in terror as to what might happen should the robbers return. Yet the greatest fear rose from the bad element in the city. The converts urged the missionary to escape, as they thought he might do safely. But he had no money, and could obtain none from any source. The converts told him that their hearts had no peace as long as he remained, such was their anxiety for his safety. Their excellent spirit is illustrated by the words of Mr. Parker's Chinese man, whom he was obliged much to his regret to leave without paying him his dues. When anxiety was expressed as to what the young man would live on during the winter, he replied, “Oh, never mind; you go. The Lord will help me. I don't fear. I am trusting in him.” Other Christians showed a similar devotion. After three days' dangerous traveling, Mr. Parker reached Chin Chou, suffering more from cold than he had ever done in his life, and he finally reached Tientsin December 29, safe but sadly worn. A letter from Mr. Meech in The Chinese Recorder states that the viceroy at Tientsin, through the foreign office at Peking, called upon the authorities at Chao-yang to find and protect Mr. Parker. This was subsequent to his escape, but the authorities were persistent, and informed the innkeeper that if his assertion that Mr. Parker had escaped to a place of safety should prove untrue, his (the innkeeper's) head would be in danger. This care of the officials for Mr. Parker's safety has produced a good effect in Chao-yang, as the people perceive that the Christians are to be defended. The converts now move about in the city without molestation.
MARE. — The journal des Missions tells a sad story of the state of things upon Maré, one of the Loyalty Isles, where the London Missionary Society has been obliged, by the French occupation of those islands, to give up its successful work. Mr. Jones, the English missionary, gave over to M. Lengereau, of the French Société des Missions Evangéliques, the care of the churches of Maré. The chiefs, under pressure from the government and its agent, “made life impossible for the followers of Mr. Jones at the seashore,” where all the natives have hitherto lived. They were obliged to retreat into “the brush,” the interior of the island, where their gardens are, and which they had only visited for a few days at a time. The natives are divided into the shore party and the brush party, and there is a perpetual conflict. The shore party, being much smaller than the other, has been reduced to admitting into the church and even to naming for evangelists, men under discipline, who have fallen into sin. M. Lengereau writes: “On the day when I affirmed my intention to conduct myself and the church according to the gospel rule, and not according to the ambitious views of such and su -i, war was declared. It grows more and more violent. If in spite of all the provocations of which our people are the objects, they remain quiet, it is only in deference to my advice and in order to show once more that they are not guilty but victims.”
PREACHING AT A MELA. — Rev. J. A. Elliot, in The Harvest Field, reports a method of preaching at the great annual mela, or sacred feast, at the town of Ajudhya (Oude). Two melas are held in this place each year, one to commemorate the birth of Rama, and the other his death. The town itself has a population of not far from 10,000; but the pilgrims, according to the government estimate based upon the number who passed over the Gogra bridge, were not less than 4oo, ooo. The Wesleyan and the Church Missionary Societies joined forces, numbering in all sixteen, both male and female. They were divided into four groups of four each : one band always standing near the Hanuman temple, and the other bands at important positions so as to catch the bathers going to and from the river. Each band began with a series of Christian lyrics, followed by preaching till eleven A.M. At three P.M. the bands went out again, returning at nightfall. The common people heard the Word gladly. The Hindus are now seeking to meet this effort of the Christians by attempting to preach themselves, and one tall, handsome Brahman gave a good deal of trouble by his disputatious methods. In the midst of one of these preaching services, a messenger came to Mr. Elliot from the mahant (abbot) of a large temple, wishing much to see him. The whole company went to the temple and were soon squatting on the floor. The mahant said, “I am a seeker after truth; I have read the whole of your Bible, some parts many times; I have read many of your controversial books. I hear that you speak the language well, and understand both the Hindu and Christian controversy. So I have troubled you. We will have no disputes, no anger, please. I merely want a number of questions replied to that are troubling my mind, and that I think you can answer.” For an hour the discussion of Christian truth went on quietly. The dispo tatious pandit tried several times to speak, but the abbot would silence him by saying, “You don't understand these things,” or “You're in a temple, not in the street." Scenes somewhat similar to this occurred several times during the mela, and great numbers heard the truth and seemed to be impressed by it. But the terrible bonds of caste stand still in the way of an open confession of what they inwardly believe.
A FRUITFUL YEAR. — The report of the North India Conference of the American Methodist Episcopal Church states that during the last year 14,749 persons have been baptized. This is an astonishing growth. One good test of the genuineness of this religious movement is the fact that the contributions of the native Christians have more than doubled within the year.
There has also been a general Christian movement in the Cuddapah and G005 districts, where the London Missionary Society is at work. A report of a committee appointed to visit these districts is printed in The Harvest Field, from which it appears that there is a genuine religious awakening among the Mala people which gives much promise. Doubtless the motives of these people are mixed, but there seems to be a genuine desire for religious instruction. The people are asking for teachers, and in many villages the temples have been destroyed. They are convinced of the falsity of their old faiths and are impressed by the character of the Christian religion. Few of the adults can read, but their earnestness of purpose is shown by their efforts to commit to memory such lessons as are given them by their teachers, and by their efforts to gain a knowledge of the life of Christ. The inadequacy of the agencies employed among these people is painful. In the Cuddapah district there are eight;"
eight villages, having only thirty-nine resident teachers among them, and the visiting deputation declares that 145 additional teachers are needed. Men are even more needed than money. This mass movement toward Christianity will be a serious peril unless a force of Christian laborers is forthcoming.
NATIVE OPINION IN INDIA. — At a Social Conference, held at Nagpore, by representative men of various classes in India, many matters relating to reform were discussed, and a great variety of opinions were expressed. Among the points considered was one respecting the visiting of other countries by Hindus. It is practically impossible for a Hindu to travel abroad and conform to the rules of his caste. Should he visit Great Britain he must come in contact with individuals and eat food in a way which would break caste. There has therefore been very strong opposition toward foreign traveling, and some who have returned from abroad have either lost caste or been obliged to go through the disgusting rites by which it may be regained. This Social Conference passed the following resolution: “That in the opinion of this Conference it is not desirable to excommunicate persons who undertake distant seavoyages, and that the Social Reform Associations be requested to exert themselves to secure the retention of the social status enjoyed by them in their caste.”
The Conference also resolved that the disfigurement of child-widows without their consent should be discouraged, and that the movement in favor of the remarriage of these child-widows should be favored on all suitable occasions. A letter of a prominent
o Hindu, Dewan Raghunatha Rau, of Madras, on this subject of remarriage is given in * The Harvest Field, in which he affirms that he had preached throughout India that the
Shaster did not disapprove of remarriage, but although no one disputed this, yet he had made few converts. The uneducated masses affirm that while he preached good doctrine, yet there was no use in changing the existing state of things. Pandits, while admitting that he had quoted the Shasters correctly, said, “Why make any change when the existing state of things is highly satisfactory to the people?” This Hindu gentleman affirms that though many on platforms, and in the presence of superiors,
had spoken in a commendatory way of the reform, yet, when they went among
their relatives, they did not stand by their convictions. He gives two or three illustrations of this fact. We quote one of them: “I began to preach from 1880 that the marriage of widows was sanctioned by the Shaster. I made about a thousand people to say that they agreed with me. They signed certain rules framed by me for the Marriage Association. These were published throughout India and England. Within two years after this, myself, Veerasalingam Pantulu, and Hon. Chenchala Rau arranged for the celebration of the marriage of a child-widow at Madras. A number of educated men were so good as to honor the occasion with their presence. A few days later a dinner was arranged with the newly married couple, and many were invited to it, but not more than half a dozen dined together. This small band of six was excommunicated. Myself, Hon. Chenchala Rau, Narasiah, and Buchaya Pantulu had to face the brunt of the excommunication. Our relatives forsook us; our priests refused to cele
brate Shradhas in our houses, and our dead were refused their funerals. Even for the
removal of corpses, none would assist. I am thankful to say that we stood firm. As for Veerasalingam Pantulu, he left for his country to suffer similar annoyances. We
conducted ourselves in perfect accordance with the Shaster. We helped each other in performing Shradhas, etc. The priests, finding that we could go on without them for three or more years, removed the excommunication.” In another case, where a
dinner was announced, with strict observance of caste and caste rules, only three
quarters of a dozen of the invited guests appeared, since they would not recognize, or
do honor to, the editor of the Hindu newspaper, whose daughter had been remarried and who was to be a guest on the occasion. These facts furnish striking illustration
of the mighty hold which caste has upon the people of India.
Medical Missions : Their Place and Power. By John Lowe, F.R.C.s. E., Secretary of the Edinburgh Medical Missionary Society. With an Introduction by Sir William Muir. Third edition. New York and Chicago: Fleming H. Revell Company.
We are glad to see that the public has called for a third edition of this standard book on medical missions. Dr. Lowe writes with enthusiasm, yet with calmness, and his arguments in favor of medical missions are conclusive both as a means of alleviating human misery, and as an agency for the propagating of the gospel. The power of this agency is well illustrated by the results of medical work in India, China, and elsewhere, and two chapters are devoted to the history of medical missions. Dr. Lowe is Secretary of the Edinburgh Medical Society, and Superintendent of its Training Institution, and is an authority on the subject about which he writes. We hope that this valuable treatise of his, now that it has been reissued in the United States, will have a wide circulation.
Indian Gems for the Master's Crown. By Miss Droesse, of Landour, India. London: Religious Tract
Society. New York and Chicago: Fleming H. Revel. Company, Sole Agents. Price, 80c.
This volume comprises two narratives relating to persons brought from Hinduism into the Christian faith. The first of these, The Indian Devotee, was prepared by the daughter of a missionary of the Church Missionary Society who has been in India for fifty years, and the story is vouched for by the Religious Tract Society as perfectly true. It has already been translated into several foreign languages and well illustrates the difficulties and trials through which Hindus must pass in coming into the full light of the gospel. The other story is the autobiog: raphy of Tulsi Paul, who came out from Hinduism and became pastor of a native colony in Northern India. An excellent book for the Sunday-school library.
BOOKS RECEIVED. Tobacco: its use and abuse. By Rev. J. B. Wight, Syracuse. New York: A. W. Hall, Publisher. Diron on Ingersoll. Ten discourses. By Rev. Thomas Dixon, Jr. New York: J. S. Ogilvie. Publisher, 57 Rose Street. Glimpses of Heaven. By Rev. W. H. Munnel, Louisville, Ky. Philadelphia: John Y. Huber Co., Publisher.
Por Micronesia: with thanksgiving for the safe return of the Morning Star and for the preset. vation of the lives of all our missionaries in the island world, let there be earnest prayer for the work already begun and for that which is awaiting additional helpers; that the missionaries may be cheered in their loneliness; that the converts may be stedfast; and that obstacles may be removed so that these waiting islands may receive God's law.
May 4. From New York, Burt N. Bridgman, M.D., and wife, to join the Zulu Mission. Dr.
ARRIVALS IN THE UNITED STATES.
April 25. At New York, Rev. Mark Williams, of the North China Mission.
The Morning Star arrived at Honolulu from Micronesia, April Io.
(See page 224.)