« AnteriorContinuar »
A HOPEFUL EFFORT.—BING-00, CHINA. [FEB. into my new abode. This house is built on the side of the wide stream that flows past this city, and in one of the back rooms there is a kind of trap door, which opens on to a flight of steps leading down to the water. When the darkness of night had covered us, the boat was brought to these back steps. I sent in my bed and box, and then crept up, almost on all fours, myself, to the great danger of the steps, which are by no means as firm as the day they were set up. But, however, I am in, and I shall try to keep in as long as I can. How long that may be I know not; but I feel I have a proud, close-fisted, prejudiced, jealous people to deal with, and I have great need of all the wisdom of the serpent, joined with the gentleness and harmlessness of the dove. At first, when I came, I went daily into the city, and preached, as usual when I am out on an excursion, in the temples, and in the streets; but this caused such a riot among the boys, both little and great, that I saw it was likely to endanger my stay here altogether. I have therefore discontinued this practice for the last week, and contented myself with speaking with those who come to see me at my own hired house. It cost me a good deal to give up the street-preaching; but we have to learn, as Missionaries as well as Christians, when it is “our strength to sit still.” When once the strangeness of a foreigner, in his own dress, dwelling among them wears off, and there is less danger to my landlord, I shall again go out into the streets and temples, publicly to proclaim the message of salvation ; but at present, in a quiet way, I have as many opportunities of speaking for my Master as I want, and the rest of my time I fill up with study. That I am living here is known to most of the people in the city and outside of it, as well as in the mandarin's offices. Whether any steps will be taken to oust me I know not; but this I know, that, if the present be the Lord's time, no power on earth, or in hell, can drive me out, till I accomplish the work He has sent me to do. However, I
do not want to boast much. The next mail may carry home news of my , entire failure.
We look forward to his next communication with much anxiety. Recent news from China have made us aware that the Tae-pings are approaching Shanghae; and the probability is, that, on account of the disturbed state of the country, he has found it necessary to fall back. The recent collision at Canton between the English squadron and the Chinese authorities is a new and unexpected element of embarrassment; nor is possible to say to what extent the position of English Missionaries along the coast may be affected by it.
We wait for the results of all these movements; nor do we think we shall wait long. We believe that China is not far from being thrown wide open to intercourse with foreigners, unless, indeed, our own unhappy connexion with the opium growth and traffic subject us to a special exclusion. The Tae-pings are most resolute in their antipathy to the opium traffic, and the Tartar dynasty at Pekin, so far as its feebleness permitted, has endeavoured to suppress it. May the opium monopoly, which places England in so unfavourable a light before the Chinese, be abandoned, and China soon open to the gospel !
. ( 17 )
LADIES WORKING ASSOCIATIONS. THERE are many groups of kind friends, throughout the country, who are in the habit of meeting together once a month, to work and make up clothing for our more destitute Missionary stations; especially in Rupert's Land, where the climate is so severe, and warm clothing so much needed. We feel that these little meetings require occasionally a word of encouragement. It is not always easy to realize the connexion between the rough piece of work in hand-some coarse and strong material, through which the needle does not pass with facility, and which is tedious and uninteresting—and its arrival at some distant station, where it becomes a welcome gift to some poor shivering Indian-a prize of great value. Could our friends sometimes be enabled to trace their work to its destination, it would cheer and encourage them; and it is always a pleasure when we can introduce into our pages facts of this kind.
York Factory, on the west coast of Hudson's Bay, is the most northerly of our North-West-American stations, being some degrees further north than the Rev. R. Hunt's station on the English River; although not so remote, for York Factory is the port where the annual ships Jade and unlade for England; and here there is opportunity of seeing friends, and having brief but pleasant intercourse with them, Church Missionary Point, English River, has no such advantage. It is the most lonely and far separated of all the stations, and our friends there need much sympathy.
In the matter of climate, we cannot say which of these localities is the most severe. Of York Factory, our Missionary, the Rev. W. Mason, says-“The Ladies' Associations in England and Ireland cannot have a better field for their objects of charity and benevolence than here, where the climate is so severe, that all our energies are exerted to keep ourselves from freezing at times, especially the poor Indian, who is so exposed. My tea was once poured out for me to drink, but, before I had finished the cup, it became a solid mass of ice. I was relating the circumstance to one of the gentlemen of the Company. He told me that a similar circumstance occurred to him when on the coast near North River.” Our own English winters are sufficiently cold to make us sensible of the need, and thankful for the comfort, of warm clothing. How pitiable, then, the condition of the poor Indian, his wife and little children, if, as is too frequently the case, their clothing be old and insuf. ficient. Let no one say, “We have poor enough at home.” I believe the more we do, temporally and spiritually, for the poor abroad, the less, through the enriching providence of God, we shall have of the poor at home.
How much our Missionaries prize the contributions of our Ladies' Associations will appear in the following words from Mr. Mason. “ August 25, 1856–I opened some of the goods which had just come from home. Our hearts rejoiced when we saw the charity clothing, sent for our school children by our kind but unknown friends both in England and Ireland. May their work of faith and labour of love be abundantly rewarded by our Heavenly Father, who has promised that a cup of cold water, given unto one of these little ones in the name of a disciple, shall in no wise lose its reward. Kindness is the key to the
FEB. human heart; and the Missionary, being the almoner of these charitable contributions to the Indians, is more likely to succeed in persuading them to abandon their evil ways, and accept the still more important blessings of the gospel, gratuitously conferred upon them by God, who is loving to every man, and whose tender mercies are over all His works; who hates nothing that He has made, but wills the salvation of all men.” Again he says, August 29th—“A most timely supply of clothing, which will fill the hearts of our dear children with joy. Some of them were so destitute, that I was obliged to buy clothing to enable them to come to school; and I am happy to say, that what has been sent by our kind Christian friends is just what we needed. A larger stock of boys' clothing would be acceptable—as they are quite as destitute as the girls— such as trowsers or coats, or materials to make them.”
They are now in the depth of stern winter in far-off America. Our Associations, we trust, are in full work. The spring will soon come round, when packages must be made up for Rupert's Land. The summer there is brief. The ships must get in to Hudson's Bay, and get away, while the water be still open. Let us be diligent. “Naked, and ye clothed me.”
“GIVE ME TO DRINK.”
That askest drink of me, a child of carth ?
Though once a stranger to Thy matchless worth.
Athirst and weary, seated on the well,
This feeble tongue it hath no words to tell.
Pilgrims and strangers on their homeward road.
Athirst or fainting, then remember ME;
Give me to drink '--this boon I crave of thee.
The river of life's water, cool and clear-
When, in death's agony, I thirsted here-
Of life and love from my unbounded store,
[" Madras Christian Herald."
( 19 ) LABOURS AMONGST THE SLAVES OF TRAVANCORE. The gospel has to do with man. It is a message to him from God. It meets him under every variety of circumstance, amidst the manifold forms of his estrangement from God; but it penetrates through all outward difficulties, that it may reach his heart, and bring him to repentance. To bond and free, learned and illiterate, barbarian and civilized, it is still “ the gospel of Christ, the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.” We see it in its power when it humbles the pride of the philosopher, and bows him down at the foot of the cross. We see it in its condescension when it reaches down to the outcasts and pariahs of the human race, and assures them that,' low and vile as they are, they are not deemed unworthy of His notice, who lifteth the poor out of the dust and the beggar out of the dunghill. We know what wondrous things have been accomplished among the slaves of Africa. Would our readers wish to hear something of what is being done among the slaves of Travancore ? Some interesting particulars of the work which is going forward amongst them occur in the journals of the Rev. Oomen Mamen, one of our native ministers, who was ordained at Cochin in March last.
April 21, 1856—Mepra. At six P.m. I reached the slave school. Notice being previously given that all the inquirers should meet in the school this evening, Púwen, the leading man here, and his family, were present on my arrival. Most of the inquirers were present this evening. Two of the slaves brought three lamps and a large quantity of oil. I have never met such a large and interesting company of slaves flocking our school in so clean and neat dress as on this occasion. I expressed my high opinion of cleanliness, and told them to learn to wash their clothes hereafter. We first sang our favourite hymn, “Jesus alone (is our) trust,” then prayed together. On rising from our knees I saw a youth weeping. On my inquiring into the cause of it, he said he wept for his sins. This gave me occasion to preach from 1 John i. 7, “ The blood of Christ.” Explained the vileness of sin—the death of Christ as the only remedy for sin—the necessity to love Christ-the curse of God resting upon all who do not love Him. (1 Cor. xvi. 22.) All present were deeply attentive: many listened with tears. I sat down and inquired into their trials. They informed me that twenty-seven of them are desirous to be baptized as soon as possible, as they are not kept back by any peculiar hindrance. Among the forty-three slaves present on this occasion, three belonged to heathen masters. One of them, being forbidden to attend divine service, replied to his master, “Sir, God made heaven and earth in six days, and He did not work on the seventh, so that I cannot work on that day: I am wholly at your disposal during the remaining six days." Convinced by this simple statement, the master answered, “ If so, you must not work on Sunday.” A second slave informed me that his master is much opposed : still, he attends the school without his consent. He said, further, that he was hindered from attending the school two or three Sundays during the late harvest. A third slave came from a great way off : he said, because his master was bitterly opposed he
[FEB. used to attend the school by stealth. He is a nice young man: he ex. pressed his distress because he had no friends for encouragement at the place he lives. A few young men complained that their wives are opposed to this religion. I think in no other school we have at present so many inquirers as in this.
I cannot express the joy I felt on this occasion. While we were engaged in these boly exercises, the heathen slaves met in a neighbouring devil-temple, to spend the night in singing and shouting in honour of a goddess. We concluded our meeting with prayer.
ABORIGINES OF AUSTRALIA. One of our New Zealand Missionaries, Mr. Telford, residing at Port Macquarie for the benefit of his health, having had some opportunities of intercourse with the degraded aborigines of that portion of New South Wales, has communicated to us the following particulars
The Committee will be pleased to learn that I am not altogether idle in Port Macquarie. I generally teach the first class in Mr. O'Reilly's Sabbath-school, and have often little meetings of the poor, outcast, benighted aborigines in the verandah of the house where I reside. Though living in the midst of Europeans, they either know very little, or nothing at all, about God, and Christ, and a future state. Many of them can understand, and speak, a little English. This enables me to tell them some precious truths, which they appear never to have known. When I speak to them of Christ, and of His love in coming from heaven to die for poor sinners, they often express great astonishment; but tell me that they doubt whether it was for stupid black-fellow of Australia. They have similar doubts about churches and schools. When I say, to such of them as understand a little English, that they ought to begin and attend church on Sundays, and begin also to learn to read, they usually reply that the churches and schools were built for the “big white-fellow” only, and that they would not be allowed to sit down in either. I hope that three or four of them have now, for the first time, been convinced to the contrary. A few days ago, one of them, with whom I had been speaking on religious topics, evinced much apparent concern about his ignorant condition, and inability to read, when I showed him a copy of the Bible, and told him whose book it was, and what it revealed. By way of encouragement, I sometimes tell them about the New Zealanders, what they once were, before they knew about the true God and Jesus Christ, and how different they are now. I am endeavouring to collect a vocabulary, and to gain some acquaintance with the grammatical construction of their language. If I could manage to translate the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, and the Ten Commandments into it, I fancy that my residence here for a time would not be in vain. Strange to say, it does not extend beyond the district of Port Macquarie. Other languages or dialects, all widely differing from each other and from it, are said to abound in the adjoining districts. This will form an immense obstacle in the way of Missionary operations, should such ever be attempted among them on a large scale; of which, however, I fear there is little chance. A general feeling among