« AnteriorContinuar »
THE BÂLE MISSIONARY SOCIETY. [nov. hand, he said, " I bid you all farewell. Christians, be faithful to the end; and we shall meet in the blessed world above." Surely it is not a vain thing to engage in a work which brings forth such fruit!
[Boston “ Journal of Missions."
fins mediately connecthe Båle Institut become of late
THE BÂLE MISSIONARY SOCIETY. This Society, one of the most ancient on the continent, was founded in 1816. Its Missionary Institution is one in every respect dear to us, yielding to us year by year a supply of valuable candidates for Missionary work, and thus reinforcing the ranks of the Church Missionary Society, as well as supplying the wants of that Society with which it is immediately connected. Some of our most valued Missionaries have come to us from the Bâle Institution.
The financial position of the Bâle Society has become of late one of much difficulty, and an appeal was put forth in the spring of the present year, calling on the friends of Missions throughout Germany for increased efforts on its behalf. This has already produced about 40001., and some truly interesting instances of individual liberality have refreshed the hearts of those engaged in the direction of the work. · At the late anniversaries at Bâle some of these facts were mentioned by M. Josenhans, the Principal of the Bâle Institution.
A pious woman in a rural part of Würtemberg, having made a little profit by selling about sixty florins' worth of wine, brings forty of it (31. 6s. 8d.) to her pastor, as an answer to the Bâle appeal. Another woman of the same country had emigrated to America, seen all the members of her family die, and received the consolations of the gospel through the instrumentality of a Bâle Missionary: the President of the Society soon afterwards received from her a note for a thousand dollars (about 2001.), the fruit of her economy through a long period, and this rich" widow's mite” reaches Bâle at the moment of the greatest distress. But here is something finer still. Pastor Schaufler, also of Würtemburg, had two sons, both of whom he devoted to the Mission. The elder left for the Gold Coast, in Africa, and soon found a tomb under that deadly climate. The younger was still at the Bâle Institution. What does the father do? He writes to his youthful son—" Thy brother is with God: it is time that you thought of Africa. Go and ask the inspector to permit you to fill up the vacancy left by your brother.” And the young Christian obeys with joy. The father also writes to the Committee” Do not abandon the Gold Coast, even although the graves of Missionaries should fill it with the dead like the trenches before Sebastopol. Resting on the promises of God, we are more sure to carry the African fortress than the allies to conquer the Crimea."
The question had been agitated, “Will Christians make still greater efforts, or is it necessary to restrict the field of labour ?" With such facts before them no one could counsel a limitation of the work, and the unanimous decision was, “ Forward." .
( 133 )
MOUNTAIN REGIONS. MOUNTAIN regions are full of torrents, which find their way through the valleys, until, gradually meeting, they form rivers. The higher the mountains, the more powerful are these torrents, and the mightier the rivers which at length issue forth from the mountain barrier to water
SWINGING BRIDGE IN THE WESTERN HIMALAYAS.–Vide p. 135.
[DEC. the thirsty plains below. In this we see the gracious providence of God, " He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills." What would India be but for the lofty mountain ranges which bound her to the north? The rich plains of the Ganges would be a frightful desert, like the Sahara of Africa, the “ocean without water," as the Arabs call it. But amidst those lofty mountains noble rivers have their spring and birth-place, and, gradually increased by innumerable contributions, break forth into the lowlands, to water them and make them fertile. “O Lord, how manifold are Thy works! in wisdom hast Thou made them all : the earth is full of Thy riches."
The work of our own Society is like the course of a mighty river. It carries with it the gospel of Christ, and as it flows along it reclaims the desert, and the face of the earth is renewed. But the great stream of Christian love is made of many prayers, many efforts, many offerings, coming from those who lie hid from the world's eyes, like the deep valley and wooded glen through which a little tiny stream, not deep enough to reach the ankles, finds its way. It has trickled down from the peaks above, which are covered with eternal snow; and who would despise it because it is small? It is one of a multitude; and without the feeders where would be the great river in which they all unite, and which, mighty as it is, is dependent on these small beginnings? The Hindus, who are carnal and gross in all their ideas, aware that India owes its productiveness to the mighty rivers which flow throughout it, worship the stream, and fancy that the mountain region whence it comes is the dwelling-place of the gods. Hence Gungotra, at the source of the Ganges, and other like spots, are reckoned amongst their most holy places, and are visited by numerous pilgrims from the sultry plains below.
Our Missionaries, also, from the more advanced stations in the hill countries, and the Punjab, have been entering into those mountain regions—with very different objects in view. The Hindu goes on pilgrimage to do penance, and make satisfaction for his sins. The traveller from Europe penetrates the hot valleys, and climbs the lofty passes, where the atmosphere is so rarefied as to make breathing difficult, that, as a scientific man, he may acquire information, and put others in possession of what he has seen himself. Our Missionaries enter these difficult countries to seek out man. They know that, amidst those valleys and deep glens, overshadowed by the everlasting mountains, men have their dwelling. They are a part of the great human family, to each member of which the Saviour commanded His gospel to be preached; yet they know not of it. They have been shut up in their highland homes, and no man cared for their souls. It is right that they should be searched out, and that the results of those journeyings should be given to the Christian church: otherwise, they would remain unknown and unpitied, and another generation pass away without any effort being made to do good to their souls. And this is the course which must be pursued. Wherever a portion of the human race is lying in obscurity, endeavours must be made to give it prominence, and bring it out to the 1 light. We may not mark out a certain portion of the world, a chosen field, and say, “ Now let us attend to this first, and until we have finished our work here let us not look beyond, lest our attention be
135 distracted.” Nay, we must lift up our eyes and behold the fields, for they are already " white unto the harvest.” Limited views stunt the work. Enlarge the view, and you enlarge sympathy, and exertions for the good of others increase proportionably.
Travelling in these regions is difficult, as might be expected, from their high and broken character. The roads generally consist of narrow footpaths, skirting precipices, overhung by great rocks, which threaten to come down with every gust of wind. Sometimes the path leads over smooth stones, slanting towards a frightful precipice, in which, to help the traveller, small niches are cut, barely enough to admit the point of the foot. Sometimes deep chasms cross the road, over which the traveller must leap, and where there is the greatest danger lest the rock which receives his weight give way with him. Again, hard beds of snow rise steeply before him, to ascend which steps must be cut with a hatchet, and which are best descended by sliding down them. Now the road lies across rude scaffolding along the perpendicular face of a mountain. Posts are driven horizontally into the clefts of the rocks, and secured by a great many wedges : on the outer sides is no support. On these the planks are laid; and over this frail support, which shakes with the force of the mountain torrent that rushes underneath it, the traveller must pass. These torrents are so quickly swelled by showers, and rush down with such rapidity, that a bridge of some kind or another is necessary to cross them. These bridges are singular structures, and the prospect of crossing them, to the inexperienced traveller, is far from pleasant. Some are wooden bridges, called sungo, and these, occasionally, are strongly and substantially built of poplar spars laid touching each other. Sometimes they consist of a single spar, thrown from rock to rock across a chasm, some ninety feet deep: two or three trees, with boards nailed across, are common. Again, there are the chug-zam, or suspension bridges. This kind of bridge is formed of two stout ropes of twisted birch trees, about the thickness of a man's arm. These ropes are suspended side by side; and from these depend the side ropes, of birchen twigs, to which the roadway is attached, which also consists of ropes, of the same size with the suspension ones, laid side by side: a close wattling of wicker-work, connecting the side ropes, affords security.
But the most singular is the ghulu, or swinging bridge, represented in our engraving. This consists of five or six cables placed close together, on which rests a hollow piece of fir tree, secured by pegs driven through below. From this hangs a loop of three or four ropes, which serves as a seat for passengers, and also a receptacle for baggage; and this is pulled across by cords. Sometimes a forked stick is made to traverse the cables, to the ends of which is attached a slack rope, on which the back of the traveller, wrapped in a blanket, rests, and he then warps himself over with his hands and feet.
Difficulties and hindrances there are in the way of Missionary work. May the providence of God prepare a way by which they may be passed over, and the gospel go forward on its appointed message to the tribes and nations of our world!
the CK TOCA,
the must nee Christinel, we
20 hring upoling-block at length much i
thesess upon it wöe in its unbe unto the of gement which blocks out how greing reje
( 136 )
(DEC. THE GREAT STUMBLING-BLOCK TO CHRISTIANITY IN CHINA. If we were asked what is the greatest stumbling-block to the progress of the gospel, we should at once say the inconsistencies of professing Christians.“ Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh.” The mind of man is of itself sufficiently indisposed to the reception of spiritual religion, and, in the inconsistencies of its professors, finds, as it persuades itself, a justification of that indisposition; so, when the servants of the Lord would press the world to consider the claims which God's message of mercy in Christ Jesus has upon their consideration, it escapes from the difficulty by pointing out the inconsistencies of its professed friends, and insinuating that a tree which bears no better fruit cannot be of much value. Therefore it is said, “Woe unto the world because of offences!" They strengthen it in its unbelieving rejection of the gospel, and so bring upon it woe. But how great the guilt of those who place these stumbling-blocks in the world's path; and how fearful the judgment which must at length re-act upon them! The difficulties of Missionary work are often much increased by such hindrances, and our Missionaries, when they would place before the heathen the excellencies of the gospel, are met by arguments such as these-“If your religion be so excellent as you describe, why are your own countrymen guilty of such and such practices? Why does it not make them act otherwise than they do ?" In no part of the heathen world are our Missionaries more exposed to painful objections of this kind than on the coast of China, in consequence of the prosecution of opium smuggling by English merchants, and the miseries which that drug inflicts upon those who become addicted to its use. This our readers will gather from the following fact, which is related by the Rev. W. A. Russell, our Missionary at Ningpo, in a letter recently received from him
April 7, 1855– Visited Sæn-tscih-z, a small village in the neighbourhood of Z-kyu, close to which are several country-seats of wealthy country gentlemen. After breakfast the catechist and I went into the village, and addressed about 300 persons under the shelter of a leáng. ding, a kind of shed on the road, resting on wooden pillars, usually put up by rich Chinese, as a meritorious deed, for the accommodation of the poor to take shelter from the weather. When we had finished our addresses here, and distributed a few tracts among the people, we went next to another small village close by, where we spoke a second time to another assemblage of about the same number. Just as we had concluded, a respectable-looking man came to tell us that a Mr. Tong, a man of great wealth, who lived a short distance from the village, would be glad to see us at his house. We accordingly accepted the invitation, glad of the opportunity of bearing testimony for our Master in the presence of those who are so seldom accessible. The crowd whom we had been addressing in the village, with many others who subsequently collected together, accompanied us to Mr. Tong's house. On arriving,