« AnteriorContinuar »
ting down its estimates. The appeal of the mission for more money is as urgent as language could make it. We are impressed anew with the scope and significance of educational work in India. In its lower and its higher departments it is assuming immense importance. The spectacle recently witnessed in Bombay, of an English lord publicly thanking the United States for its aid to the British government in pushing forward the cause of education, was a novel one. And the affiliation of Jaffna College in Ceylon with Calcutta University has lent it an added dignity in the eyes of the natives. Whatever may be said of other schools, our instruction is Christian in substance and methods, fruitful of abundant spiritual results. We cannot omit to mention the efficient work done by Dr. Pentecost in India. We are grateful for the manner in which he is supplementing it at home, through the press and public addresses. We trust his stirring words may kindle a fresh enthusiasm in all our borders for publishing the glad tidings in that ancient land, so populous and so rich, where our Board began its evangelizing work nearly fourscore years ago. While there is much that is cheering and inspiring in the intellectual and religious condition of India, it is not yet won for Christ. Its venerable systems of error have been shaken, indeed, but they are by no means shattered. Valiant reconnoitring and skirmishing have been done, but the decisive battle is yet to be fought. Fought it must soon be, and the banner of the cross will not go down.
The Committee on Missions in China, Rev. Simeon Gilbert, D.D., Chairman: —
The explicit statements presented in the documents laid before the Board as to the work and the workers, the methods and results, during the year past, remind us afresh how stupendous is the task we have taken in hand. How sublime ought to be the courage, how utter ought to be the humility of obedience to the command and the glorious leadership of the Master; how clear and definite the vision, how broad the outlook, and how completely united the purpose and the counsel which ought to characterize us in pressing on this transcendently consequential undertaking ! Despite the feeling that cannot be suppressed, “What are these among so many?" it is clear that from these scattered centres of light and power there are many and signal results already manifest. Rightly, as we think, prominence has been given to the medical department of the work. Though not the main thing aimed at, it is no small thing in the interests of the sick and suffering millions of that empire that these Christian medical missionaries are having the leading part in effecting a change in the entire theory and practice of medicine and of surgery—a change that is simply revolutionary. This change will not come suddenly; but it is certain to come, and will extend more widely and more rapidly than most suppose. Besides the deliverance from the existing barbaric treatment of disease and the relief of suffering, the moral advantage of it in touching and winning the heart of the Chinese people toward the acceptance of the gospel and the all-healing grace of Christ is increasingly manifest. We would also express the earnest gratitude of all friends of missions that our missionaries in China have been kept secure amid the almost fiendish exhibition of maddened, malignant oppositions to the truth which in numerous places have appeared during the year. While we are reminded that “this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting,” it is pleasant to note that our missionaries appear to have had the grace of wisdom and of that kind Christian patience that so overawes the fiercest enmity. Although the hostile cancature of the truth was ineffable in its baseness, it has nevertheless served greatly to give publicity to it. The desire expressed by the missionaries for more adequate means for the utilization of the press ought, we believe, to be heeded. Moreover the religious newspaper in some modified form seems to be needed there, as everywhere else in the older mission fields, as an indispensable aid in duly fostering annong the native Christians as well as among the missionaries the consciousness of their oneness in Christ and in his service, giving added intelligence to zeal, and multiplying the missionary's voice and felt presence. The Committee cannot but give expression to what seems to be a deepening and spreading conviction that, at last, China even is giving unmistakable signs of sharing in that vast world-movement which the new world-fellowship of our time is making not merely possible but inevitable. Whatever its characteristic pride and sense of self-sufficiency, no mistake could be greater than to imagine that the imperial government of China is either blind, unobservant, or insensible. Japan has awakened; China is awakening. Its hour is at hand; the dust of ages is stirring. The startling sublime fact of this new world-movement gives tremendous urgency to the business we have in hand of sending on, into, and throughout China also the forces of the world-redeeming gospel of Christ. No doubt China's awakening will come about in its own way; but, let us victoriously believe it, it is coming. Japan has had its Neesima; God's resources in humanity and in his infinite grace are not exhausted yet. China, we believe, shall yet—and if we do our part will before long —have, too, its greatly gifted and divinely anointed leaders in the new order of things. And of this we may be sure, these providential men will come sooner then there will be those ready to recognize them. In this connection, and as bearing on our missionary work, the American Board cannot be indi: ferent to certain peculiar and terrible stumbling-blocks in the way of China's acceptance of Christ, due to the governmental action of the so-called Christian nations, Great Britain and the United States. The appalling harm being done by the opium traffic, in which the British government has so fearful a responsibility, needs no word of characterization, although the testimony of Christian bodies can hardly be too often or too strongly recorded against it. But neither is our own government in other ways free from guilt. To select the people of the greatest empire on earth for invidious, exclusive discrimination, and that too in face of our treaty obligations with it as one of the “most favored nations," seems, and is, not only recklessly short. sighted and unwise on other grounds, but liable to jeopardize at any time our missionary work and immensely to hinder its influence. There is China, with its 400,000,000 souls, subject to a single sovereign; here is America, Christian America, the foremost republic among the nations, soon to be, if not already, the leading power among the governments of the world. It might, it ought to, hold the position of world-leadership in the far East. And what might not this leadership do to help on the general Christianization of the world ! To doubt the practicability of the Christianization of the Chinese would be treason to the gospel of Christ, would be blindness to the facts of Christian history not less than to the foregleams of prophecy. A single further suggestion: too much emphasis, as it seems to your Committee, can hardly be laid on the need of an endowment for the North China College of Tung-cho. This is the one college of our North China Mission, with its seven stations in the two northern provinces of China with their population of over fifty million people. When will $50,000 be more needed for purposes of Christian education and the training of native helpers than just here?
The Committee on Japan Mission, Rev. G. R. Leavitt, D.D., Chairman: —
The annual survey of this mission which has furnished the text of this brief report of your Committee makes no recommendations concerning its work beyond the general one that this should be immediately and greatly extended. The following are reasons for enlargement: — 1. The encouragements from the work already done. The growth of this mission from the begirning has been continuous and rapid. The fields have opened faster than they could be occupied, and occupied faster than they could be efficiently developed. From the first the opportunities of the field have been extraordinary. Though the rate of move. ment has varied, to one who is able to compare the present with the past it is marvelous. Twelve years ago the chairman of this Committee saw the opening of the work in Okayama. At that time to missions were yet established in Kumamoto, or Tottori, or Tsu, or Niigata, or Sendai, or Tokyo. A few of these places had been visited as preaching stations. In 188o there were but 7 churches it the entire mission, with less than 500 members. The church in Okayama was organized in that year. Now there are 92 churches and almost 11,000 church members. Okayama is a centre of six churches with more than twice as many members as the entire mission then contained, and with thirty-five culstations. In 188o the Doshisha, with its two or three plain little buildings, had just reached the modes: total of sixty students. This total has been increased tenfold. It pays to invest in missions in Japan. If the investment has been large, it has been splendidly productive. The hospital and dispensary work have been largely the creation of these past twelve years, and also the work for women an. children, to which should be added the work of the publication committee. 2. Another reason for enlarging the work, greatly and immediately, is that it has not been develoofast enough. Movement in Japan is rapid. The Western civilization and thought have been into duced, and have diffused themselves more rapidly and extensively than the gospel and its institutio This suggests a want of Christian enterprise. We should make sure, as soon as possible, that to gospel of Christ is the controlling influence upon Japan from the West. Churches and schools an: other institutions should be promoted with a yet larger liberality. 3. The difficulties and discouragements and fluctuations of the work made a third reason for grea' strengthening this mission. It was thought twelve years ago, to look no farther back, that the coo sion of the Japanese empire to Christianity was near. We have had concerning this field, as ** cerning no other, a pervading enthusiasm of hope. The missionary held a reaping-hook. So “ fondly conceived the situation. We have learned that Neesima was nearer the truth when he so “I have a plow on my hands." We have a plow on our hands. The work is to be a long onemust be thorough. It will require long and large battling. Money and missionaries must be Po-so into Japan. Approving the general suggestion of the report that the work in Japan justifies and demands “ immediate and liberal enlargement, your Committee recommends that it be adopted.
The Committee on Missions in the Pacific Islands, Rev. Egbert C. Smyth, D.D., Chairman: –
Your Committee have considered the portions of the annual report which were referred to us, namely, on the “Special Work in the Hawaiian Islands," and on the “Micronesian Mission," and recommend their acceptance by the Board.
The brief narratives as given in these reports do not adhit of recapitulation, and should be read in full, together with the comments of Secretary Smith. We notice the statement that the negotiations of our government with that of Spain have not yet secured the indemnity for loss of property at Ponape and the restoration of rights and privileges which have been justly claimed, and unite in expressing the hope “that the demand for just and prompt reparation will soon be made so clear and strong as to be irresistible." We commend also to special attention the announcement that a third vessel is to be added to the Morning Star and the Robert W. Logan, for missionary purposes among the Gilbert Islanders, and the new boat is named appropriately the Hiram Bingham. In this connection the narrative will be read with special interest of the response of the students of the North Pacific Missionary Institute at Honolulu to the call for helpers from Micronesia. Every member of this graduating class, one and all, volunteered for service, and three of them have been commissioned and will go with their wives.
The greatest of the earlier apologists for Christianity, writing while it was yet a new and an unlawful religion, and when the leaders in the political, social, and literary world regarded it with disdain, remarked, in effect, that it was no wonder that thoughtful and cultivated men should accept the new religion; the marvel to him was that it recovered the outcast and degraded. Christianity won its throne by proving its universality. Missions to those who may seem to us in conditions, race, and life, and historic importance farthest from our own standards and aspirations, have, from this point of view of the power of the gospel, special attractions and peculiar obligations. Something, moreover, necessary to be done for the good of the whole body of Christ is unaccomplished until this work is effected. In the burial service of the Church of England occurs a prayer that God would surely accomplish the number of his elect, that one and all who are his may attain to perfect consummation of blessedness in his eternal kingdom. The thought is—and it is a truth perhaps not yet apprehended as it should be — that the final completeness of blessedness and glory for which the Church in heaven and on earth still waits cannot be reached until the last soul in darkest Africa or on the most distant island of the sea has heard of the Saviour of mankind.
We may well rejoice in the results already gained and on record. We praise God for the self-denying men and women through whom they have been wrought, and who are contributing more than any of us can begin to measure to the good in which all believers are eventually to share. We honor them; we are profoundly grateful to them, and we will pray for the continued and abundant blessing of God on their labors of faith, patience, and love.
The Committee on Missions in Papal Lands, Rev. M. McG. Dana, Chairman: –
The Committee to whom was referred the report on the Papal Lands would state that the impression made upon them by the story of the work of the mission in Spain, Mexico, and Austria is that it is not only exceedingly difficult but invested with special embarrassments. It is always a most discouraging undertaking to revive a decadent Christianity. Ignorance, superstition, and bigotry are encountered, and there is not seemingly the readiness for the gospel which cheers the workers in heathen lands. Still there has been evinced by our missionaries the heroism of patience and persistent effort—with delayed fruitage and oftentimes opposition of a virulent sort. In Spain the work is mainly educational, and never were there more signs of encouragement than now. Mr. and Mrs. Gulick are laboring with signal hopefulness and devotion. The School for Girls at San Sebastian is meeting with marked success and indicates a new era in the history of mission work in Spain. Evangelistic effort is being prosecuted with promising results. New churches and sanctuaries are gaining for the gospel a local strength and power that augur well for the future. In Mexico the work is full of signs of progress. The church and school building period in this mission seems to have been reached, and openings on every hand invite to more ventures than the limited force in that field is able to undertake. The distribution of Bibles and tracts has been quite noteworthy in some sections, and much good seed is being quietly and effectively sown. In some cities the active opposition of the Romish clergy has added to the trials of those who have identified themselves with the Protestant churches. In Austria persecution is diminishing, and twenty-five per cent. increase is reported in the church membership. There is also a growing respect for the mission on the part of government officials, and in the places where the missionaries are best known nearly all the latter ask is uniformly granted. Ten services are maintained every Sabbath in Prague and its suburbs. A new helper, the first for to: years, will bring long-needed assistance to Rev. Mr. Clark, and it is interesting to learn that he come from the Sunday-school of the church in Connecticut of which Mr. Clark was pastor prior to his departure to Austria. During this period this mission has sent eight preachers and two Bible-women and two pastors wives to this country, showing the rich and rapid returns we in our own land reap from this mission It may not be generally known that among the other distinctions of this unique city of Chicago is that of being the second Bohemian city in the world. The people in whose behalf our mission. aries are laboring remember that only about eight generations back they were themselves Protestan's No one has yet taken the gospel to the birthplace of Huss, and Mr. Clark and those associated with him, feel that this is a work American Christians ought to undertake, in gratitude to the memory d that great reformer. The mission to Papal Lands is quite as fruitful as could be expected considering the meagre force in the field and the lack of general interest in this department of the Board's work