Fruits of Toil IN THE LONDON MISSIONARY SOCIETY.
ILLUSTRATED WITH MAPS AND SKETCHES
LONDON: JOHN SNOW & CO., IVY LANE, PATERNOSTER ROW. 1869.
"Sow in the morn thy seed, At eve hold not thine hand; To doubt and fear give thou no heed, Broad-cast it o'er the land.
"Beside all waters sow; The highway furrows stock; Drop it where thorns and thistles grow; Scatter it on the rock.
"Thou canst not toil in vain; Cold, heat, and moist and dry, Shall foster and mature the grain For garners in the sky."
Fruits of Toil IN THE LONDON MISSIONARY SOCIETY.
When our fathers established this Society they were met by a formidable array of difficulties of which we know nothing. Gathered in fellowship when the infidel principles of the French Revolution were doing deadly work, and soon involved in the national struggle of the great war, they found little to encourage them in the outward aspects of their position. Christian men were few; Christian churches were small and scattered; money was scarce; Christian benevolence was little understood. The wide world of Christian effort opened to us was almost wholly closed against them. They could enter the South Seas; though their islands were almost unknown. But the West Indies were close shut. "If you preach to the slaves," said the Governor of Demerara to a missionary, "I cannot let you stay here." They were excluded from South Africa and from India. China was sealed, and remained so for forty years. Passages were expensive; voyages were full of discomfort; letters were few. They knew little of the manners and systems of heathen nations; they knew less of their literature; they knew nothing of their languages. Dictionaries, literature, buildings, converts, everything had to be produced. Their fields of labour were unprepared. Their message and their aims were little understood.
In all these elements of usefulness we occupy at this hour a position of usefulness, in marked contrast to that of our predecessors. With a mighty advance in practical freedom, in intelligence and education, in social comfort, in material resources, the entire religious life of England has secured a solidity, an elevation, and a general influence of the most marvellous kind. In the number and wealth of our churches, in the character and position of the ministry, the Society ought to find supporters immeasurably in advance of the few but earnest friends of seventy years ago. Our missions have made indescribable progress. Our agencies continue to grow more complete. Churches have been gathered; the members of which are no longer novices in Christian truth and Christian life. The time has come for a native ministry; and a larger number appear on our lists than ever before. And last, but not least, the full and faithful preaching of the gospel, for which our missionary brethren have ever been distinguished, and the employment of Christian education, have made a marked impression upon heathenism; have broken its prestige, have silenced its objections, and have prepared the way for future victories, more triumphant in their grandeur than anything the Society has yet seen.
But this advanced and noble position, which is the proof of success in the past, and the guarantee and instrument of larger results in days to come, is precisely that attainment and possession of our Society, which the friends of the Society appear least to appreciate. It seems to be thought that now, as ever, missionaries just preach to the heathen and give away books; they teach a few boys and girls; win a few souls; and send a few teachers into the districts around. All that is true. But the high and solid work beyond it—all that superior influence which the Society and its missionaries are exercising, in Christianizing communities, in sanctifying all the great elements of their public and social life, in destroying the very roots of their heathenism, and in preparing the way for enlightened, disciplined, independent churches, sound in faith and full of life—all this has been little understood. Had it been duly realised, it is incredible that the ministers and churches which sustain the Society should quietly continue to give for its maintenance the same narrow income which they gave to it thirty years ago.
The result of this irrepressible growth, fostered by the kind providence and loving care of the Master for whom the service has been done, was for the Directors, in their management of the Society's affairs, embarrassment, difficulty, and debt. That embarrassment commenced with the year 1866, when the accounts were closed with a balance of 7450 pounds against the Society, which was paid from the legacy fund reserved for such a contingency. During the entire year the Directors had the difficulty in view, and adopted a series of measures to meet it. Special Meetings were held with the London ministers and officers of churches, to lay before them the growing needs of our Foreign Missions. Papers were published by the Home Secretary, showing the growth of those missions, with the increased claims they present for agency and help; and urging that an addition of at least 10,000 pounds a year is needed to the Society's permanent income. In the autumn Auxiliary meetings the missionary Deputations were urged specially to make the facts known. In February a solemn and impressive meeting for prayer was held by a hundred and twenty of the London ministers and Directors.
But these measures did not at once remove the difficulty. In numerous instances old friends of the Society, and churches which have ever been its chief supporters, not only expressed hearty sympathy with these efforts, but increased their contributions and rendered substantial help. Various consultations ensued, and a Special Committee was requested, to indicate the course which, in their calm judgment, the Directors ought to take, to meet the difficulties of their position.
Their Report pointed out various defects in the Society's system of account, and in the audit of details in the expenditure which is incurred abroad. It noted especially that since—on the system till then in force—the initiative in that expenditure had been placed to a large extent in the hands of the missionaries themselves, the Board did not possess sufficient and effective control over its growth and its specific application. And it recommended that, as in some other Societies, a system of annual appropriations should be adopted, by which the available income of each year might be made to sustain existing schemes of usefulness, without bringing the Society into debt. Further, the Committee recommended that, as the expenditure had greatly increased in recent years, on the one hand, in consultation with the missionaries, that expenditure should be carefully revised; and, on the other, all available efforts should be made to increase the Society's income. After full and earnest consideration of this truly valuable Report, the Board adopted the following RESOLUTIONS, which gave special satisfaction to the Delegates and country Directors, and met with the marked approval of all the Society's friends:—
"1. THAT, this Board approve the proceedings of the Special Finance Committee, in securing the services of a competent Accountant to examine the system on which the SOCIETY'S ACCOUNTS are kept, with a view to the introduction of all practicable improvements; and in instructing their own Accountant to give the details of the principal Stations, and show the items on which the outlay has taken place.
"2. THAT, with a view to secure a more complete control over the Society's funds, an ANNUAL ESTIMATE be desired in advance from every Station and Treasurer abroad, as well as from the Home Secretary, of all the expenses anticipated for the coming year; that the Board may sanction, for that year only, such amount as its probable income may enable it to meet; and THAT all payments be strictly forbidden unless that definite sanction has been first accorded.
"3. THAT the ACCOUNTS be kept, at home and abroad, on a COMMON SYSTEM; and that each of the Foreign Committees in the Mission House be requested to appoint a small AUDIT BOARD, whose duty it shall be to audit the accounts of the Stations under its charge, and to see that the expenditure is strictly confined to the sums which the Board have sanctioned.
"4. THAT all the efforts already carried on for some time to increase the knowledge, the interest, the contributions, and the prayers of the Society's friends throughout the country, be continued, and, where practicable, increased.
"5. THAT the Board regard with the most serious concern the rapid increase in the expenditure of the various Missions; and, desiring to see that expenditure not only placed under firm control, but applied in all respects in the wisest way, they instruct all their Committees most carefully to REVISE THE ENTIRE EXPENDITURE under their superintendence, and, in accordance with the Resolution passed on May 6th, specially to keep in view a judicious reduction of that expenditure in the case of prosperous churches in districts largely Christianized."
II.—REVISION OF THE MISSIONS ABROAD.
In considering the state of the Society's finances, the Special Committee recommended, in strong terms, not only that some reduction should be made in the expenditure, but that the character of that expenditure should be carefully examined. They recommended that the Board should take full advantage of the opportunity furnished by the present crisis, for placing the entire system of payments in their Foreign Missions upon the soundest footing, and for determining the principles by which those payments shall be regulated. The Directors accepted these suggestions, and since then the three Foreign Committees, into which the London Board is divided, have devoted much attention to the system of their Foreign Missions.
In the case of each of the Missions examined, they carefully laid down the principles applicable to the condition of the Native churches; the forms of missionary labour among the heathen; the number and work of the Society's missionaries; the number and labours of Native agents engaged in purely mission work; and the state of education. The present scale and details of expenditure were examined; and then, to every element of the system an APPROPRIATION for the year was made of that amount of money which, in the judgment of the Directors, the Society could justly spare from the funds which they have at their command. A Schedule of these allowances in every group of Missions was next drawn out, exhibiting the sums available for the expenditure of the year, and was forwarded to the Mission concerned. And finally, a special DESPATCH which accompanied the Warrants, was written to the members of every Mission, in order to explain in the fullest manner the views of the Directors respecting that Mission, and the form which, in their judgment, the aid of the Society should for the future assume. Again, while the Society enjoys the services of a large number of able, conscientious, and spiritual men, as devoted as ever their predecessors were to missionary work, it was seen to be essential to their fullest efficiency, that they should be brought into closer union with each other abroad, and with the system of the Society at home; that the personal comfort of the mission families should be more fully secured under the changed circumstances of modern days; and that the experience of each field of labour should be so wrought into the general system as to prove a helper to all the rest.
The result of the system to the Society's finances has been economy, compactness, and strength. While in several cases the personal income of the missionaries has been increased, yet, by limiting the amount of the Native agency to be employed in evangelistic work; by reducing the help hitherto granted to the Native Christians for their incidental expenditure; and by enforcing economy in all minor matters at home as well as abroad; the Board have been able to bring down the total expenditure of the Society to a point much nearer the range of the Society's ordinary income than it has for several years past. They have provided, however, only for the necessities of their present operations. They need a larger income still, if the friends of the Society would wish them to undertake that extension of their Missions into new fields which the world needs, for which the missionaries earnestly plead, and which they themselves are most anxious to secure. The effect of the system on certain of the Native churches has been a most healthy one. As hoped for, it is beginning to stimulate them to manliness, and to a more earnest consecration, not only of their means, but of their personal service to the Saviour's work.
III.—THE SOCIETY'S PRESENT OPERATIONS.
The revision now described has furnished materials for exhibiting, in a more complete form than usual, the present agencies of the Society, and some of the results with which its labours have been blessed. In a few of the older Missions of the Society, the duty of instructing the heathen has been almost complete; the population are nominally Christian, and in most of these communities there is a strong nucleus of spiritual life in a valuable body of Church members. This is the case in Polynesia, in the West Indies, and in many stations in South Africa. Around many strong churches in Madagascar, in India, and in China, the sphere of heathenism is still very large. Several stations in those Missions—well planted for the influence required of them—may now be occupied by the Native minister instead of the English missionary. The number of chief stations in all the Missions is 130.
The NATIVE CHURCHES of the Society are 150 in number. They contain 35,400 members: in a community of nominal Christians, young and old, amounting to 191,700 persons. Of these, nearly 13,000 are in Polynesia; nearly 5,000 in the West Indies; over 5,000 in South Africa; and 3,400 in India. The converts under the Society's care speak altogether twenty-six languages.
The general scope of the Society's efforts, so far as figures can show it, is set forth in the following Table:—
GENERAL SUMMARY. - - -+ English Native Native Church Native MISSIONS. Mission- Ordained Preach- Mem- Adher- aries. Pastors. ers. bers. ents. + - - - 1. CHINA 21 4 40 1265 2367 2. NORTH INDIA 18 6 20 284 1374 3. SOUTH INDIA 22 11 65 882 3408 4. TRAVANCORE 8 11 190 2228 32,362 (MADAGASCAR 12 20 532 7066 37,112 5.( AND (MAURITIUS 1 ... ... ... ... 6. SOUTH AFRICA 33 1 30 5866 31,197 7. WEST INDIES 13 2 14 4972 14,240 8. POLYNESIA 28 26 249 12,924 69,738 - - -+ TOTALS 156 81 1140 35,487 191,798 + - - -
+ + -+ SCHOOLS. + -+ -+ BOYS. GIRLS. + -+ + + -+ + + MISSIONS. Sch- Schol- Fees. Sch- Schol- Fees. 00ls. ars. pnd. s. d. ools. ars. pnd. s. d. + + -+ + + -+ + + 1. CHINA 16 354 0 13 6 7 103 26 0 0 2. NORTH INDIA 15 2076 1036 3 1 16 375 12 10 0 3. SOUTH INDIA 47 2858 706 2 10 31 1494 9 2 8 4. TRAVANCORE 180 6646 ... ... 30 1595 ... ... Boys and Girls. (MADAGASCAR 28 1735 9 7 6 ... ... ... ... 5.( AND (MAURITIUS ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 6. SOUTH AFRICA 39 1332 32 10 11 25 1473 19 2 0 7. WEST INDIES 35 2040 317 0 10 35 1691 269 11 1 8. POLYNESIA 229 6715 ... ... 212 6695 ... ... + + -+ + + -+ + + TOTALS 589 23,756 2101 18 8 356 13,426 336 5 9 + + -+ + + -+ + +
+ LOCAL CONTRIBUTIONS, MISSIONS. &c. pound. s. d. + 1. CHINA 374 1 4 2. NORTH INDIA 1435 14 9 pound. s. d. 3. SOUTH INDIA 1793 13 6 *From English Friends 4,200 0 0 4. TRAVANCORE 1220 0 0 From Native Converts 11,647 2 3 (MADAGASCAR 479 17 7 5.( AND 15,847 2 3 (MAURITIUS ... ... Fees Boys 6. SOUTH AFRICA 2125 3 10 2,101 18 8 Fees Girls 7. WEST INDIES 4730 16 8 336 5 9 8. POLYNESIA 3687 14 7 2,438 4 5 + TOTALS 15,847 2 3* 18,285 6 8 +
IV.—THE SOCIETY'S MISSIONARIES.
But Statistical Tables cannot show the real character of the Society's work, or the breadth of influence which that work has attained. The hundred and fifty-six English missionaries of the Society in foreign lands constitute the central force and stimulus of a wider agency, numbering twelve hundred persons, gathered among people once heathen, now Christian; an agency adopting the same aims, ruled by the same Christian spirit, and fulfilling the same Divine command. This body of true and devoted men were never rendering to the Society a nobler service than at the present time; and were never more worthy of our highest esteem. It is, therefore, with indignation and regret that Christian men have seen the recent attacks made on the whole missionary body, and the contemptuous terms in which their labours have been described. Looking away from all that is temporary and special, and contemplating that which springs from their ordinary duties, the Directors would never forget what a noble position missionaries occupy, and how truly great, from its very nature, their work is. They have gone forth from home and country as ambassadors of God, to preach His message of forgiveness; to bring the Saviour in His human life to those who have never understood Him; to save the perishing, and bind them as with golden chains to the feet of God. They are battling with error, and breaking up the iron systems of priestcraft, inhumanity, and wrong, which have enslaved men for ages, and have shut off from them the light and love of their Heavenly Father. They are staying the progress of crime; they lay the hand of law on the slaveholder; they appeal to the drunkard; they clear out the dens of vice; and to the hopeless and despairing they open up long vistas of light and gladness, which terminate only in Heaven. Everywhere they are preaching with power. Their Divine message is quickening the dead conscience of nations: it is converting the wicked, and saving souls from death; it is lifting women from the dust; it is purifying family life; it is putting trade under rules of honesty, and teaching humanity where cruelty was the universal rule. Its principles are going down to the very roots of national life; it is substituting law for force; and is moulding young communities for a higher life in all their people, a closer union to their fellow-men, because they are gaining a holier and truer union with God.
They are doing this among great varieties of place and people; amid many forms of outer life; amid many grades of human comfort and human resources. Some labour among the most glorious manifestations of creative might; others upon scorched and barren plains; others in the busy life of cities; others in lonely isles. In labours abundant, in perils oft, by example, by preaching, by prayers, everywhere they seek to approve themselves unto God, and serve their generation according to His will. Politicians may lecture them: men of science may undervalue them. Time-serving editors may pour on them their scorn; they may be called enthusiasts, or be socially despised; but steadfast in duty, unmoved by reproach or praise, they will reply: "Whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God; or whether we be sober, it is for your cause." Our "meat is to do the will of Him that sent us, and to finish His work."
It is impossible for any Report to describe in detail, and with full justice, the varied labours in which these brethren are engaged. Like ministers at home, our Missionaries preach the Gospel; instruct, govern, and build up churches; watch over the young, and stir up their people's zeal. But they do a great deal more. Placed in many cases in simple states of society, on a low level of education and social connection, as well as of religion; in states of society saturated with heathen vices and heathen beliefs, our missionaries have not only to Christianize individual souls, but to Christianize literature, to Christianize public law, to form a healthy public opinion, to sanctify public taste. Forms of agency, therefore, unneeded at home, are required on every hand; varied in character, at times expensive, all carefully adapted to the case with which they deal. And it is in the employment, the adaptation of these means to their appointed ends, that missionaries specially prove themselves "wise to win souls."
Thus it is that not only on the Sabbath but through the week, not only in the pulpit but in the school, the market, the private house, in a boat, under a spreading tree, our brethren expound and enforce that Gospel which shall sanctify and govern the hearts of many nations. Thus it is in the cities of China and India, in the villages of Africa, among the swamps of Guiana, beneath the palm groves of Samoa, they seek to be instant in season and out of season. Some are pastors of churches, others preach almost entirely to the heathen. Some are training students in seminaries. Some superintend a range of simple schools; others, in Indian cities, give large time and effort to the important Institutions taught in the English and Native languages. A few are revising translations of the Bible; others are preparing commentaries, school-books, and other Christian literature. All have to share in building; and, besides the Medical missionaries, a great number constantly give medicine to the sick. Here we see Dr. TURNER, in the admirable seminary at Malua, training the Native Teachers; Mr. EDKINS and Mr. MUIRHEAD penetrate the Mongolian desert, to inquire into the place and prospects of a Mission among the Tartar tribes; while Mr. JOHN, after completing the new Hospital, is isolated within a vast sea, the overflowings of the mighty Yangtze, which has drowned half the streets of Hankow. We see Mr. ASHTON and Mr. JOHNSON, Mr. COLES and Mr. BLAKE, Mr. HALL and Mr. RICE, surrounded by the hundreds of their students and scholars, diligent in daily English studies. We see the TRAVANCORE brethren in the midst of their many agents; advising pastors, instructing catechists, reading evangelists' journals, examining candidates, and auditing accounts; while, in their midst, Dr. LOWE and his seven students administer to their crowd of patients in the hospital that medicine which shall relieve their pain. Dr. MATHER re-edits the Hindustani Scriptures. The brothers STRONACH, fellow-labourers indeed in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ; still watch over the prosperous churches of Amoy, which they were honoured to found. In the midst of barbarism, Mr. MOFFAT carefully revises that Sichuana Bible of which he was the first translator. In the midst of civilization, after reading the proofs of the Chinese New Testament, Dr. LEGGE, consulting his learned pundits, dives deep into the ancient Chinese classics, and strives, by an erudite commentary, to make plain the early history of China. While Mr. LAWES, who describes himself as the "poet laureate" of Savage Island, after completing the New Testament, prepares the first Christian hymn book, for the use of the converts he has brought to Christ. Mr. THOMPSON, visiting the Missions in Cape Colony, drives with hard toil across the fiery dust of the Karroo desert; Mr. JANSEN and Mr. MUNRO, in their long canoe, traverse the gorgeous and silent forests of Guiana, to visit the little Mission among the Indians below the rapids of the Berbice. Mr. MURRAY, opportunely arriving in a screw steamer, prevents war among the Christians of Manua; Mr. CHALMERS, voluntary leader of the band of converts who keep the John Williams afloat, sticks by the vessel to the last, and, with his brave wife, refuses to quit the ship till she is anchored safe in Sydney harbor. While Mr. PHILIP, pastor and schoolmaster, doctor and lawyer, engineer and magistrate, of the flourishing Hottentot Christians of Hankey, when overturned in a ravine on a visit to his out-station, preaches to his people with a broken arm, rather than deprive them of that bread of heaven which they had come many miles to hear. Who would not rejoice and thank God for such men? Of the ninety Protestant Missionaries labouring in China, the five who stand first in public estimation for character, scholarship, and zeal are missionaries of this Society. Among the five hundred missionaries of India, not a few of our brethren occupy a high and honoured place; while in all other of the older Missions the men who with fidelity and zeal have steadily maintained their posts for twenty-five and thirty years are numerous, and are all held in honour. A just consideration of toil like this will show that never in the Society's history had the Directors greater reason to thank God for the grace bestowed upon their missionaries, or stronger ground for holding them in esteem as workmen not needing to be ashamed.
While discussing, amongst other matters, the expense of the Society's Seminary at Highgate, the Special Committee suggested an inquiry into the question of the training of the missionary students generally. It was felt by them that the advanced position attained by our Missions in all parts of the world, gives to the missionary brethren, as a body, very great opportunities of usefulness. A large number of them are called to be superintendents of several churches and many native agents, to be counsellors of native pastors and missionaries, and tutors in theological seminaries. All the brethren in India and China may hold intercourse with Native scholars and priests, and have to defend truth and assail error by argument, spreading over a wide range of thought and knowledge. Several of them have charge of educational institutions of a high order, and are associated with Native ministers who are themselves men of superior education and position.
It is an injustice to our missionary brethren themselves to place them in such positions of weight and influence without giving them the opportunity of acquiring a complete fitness for the important duties which those positions involve. It is an injustice to the Society that the training of its missionaries should be incomplete. And it is an injustice to the Missions generally, should they be placed in the hands of men who are unable, from defective education, rightly to comprehend their claims, and to fulfil the important duties which the charge of them now involves. In addition to considerations such as these, the Directors observed that for some years past their missionary students had been trained in a variety of ways; a few being educated in the ordinary colleges, and the remainder in private Institutions, adopted by the Board, at Bedford and Weston-super-Mare. Aided by a valuable memorandum from the Rev. J.S. Wardlaw, which went fully into the entire question, the Directors, after careful consideration, arranged it on the basis of the following RESOLUTIONS; which have given the students, the missionaries abroad, and the friends of the Society great satisfaction:—
"1. THAT, considering the high position of usefulness now attained by the Society's Missions, and the great importance of the work carried on in the present day, it has become increasingly desirable that the Society's missionary students should all enjoy, as far as practicable, the advantages of a sound and complete College education.
"2. THAT, as any plan for the formation of a separate Missionary Institution, and of affiliating it with any existing College, is found to be impracticable; and as existing colleges have shown themselves so ready and anxious on favourable terms to welcome the Society's students among theirs, it is desirable that our students should be placed in those Institutions in various parts of the country.
"3. THAT, in the judgment of the Directors, a preparatory class may be maintained for the few students who need it.
"4. THAT; for several important reasons, the Directors deem it most desirable to maintain the system by which the Society's students receive a final year of missionary training under the Rev. J.S. WARDLAW, M.A."
The Directors regard it as a matter for great thankfulness, and as a token of continued approval of their work, that they have recently received, as they did in 1867, a large number of offers from young men to enter upon the Society's service. The applicants have presented a great diversity of natural gifts, attainments, and position: some of them are already studying for the ministry in our Theological Colleges. The Directors have during the year accepted no less than eighteen. Amongst them are two of the missionaries' sons. The total number of missionary students in the Society is now forty-two. On the first of May, 1869, they stood thus:—
- - - - - - On Probation. 1st Year. 2nd Year. 3rd Year. 4th Year. 5th Year. Total. - - - - - - 6 13 10 3 6 4 42 - - - - - -
VI.—NATIVE PASTORS AND MISSIONARIES.
The increase of our Church Members, and the enlargement of their spiritual life, have from time to time placed at the disposal of the Society an increasing number of Christian helpers for the local service of our various Missions. No exact account of them was taken for several years. But from the complete returns recently gathered, it appears that at the present time they are more than twelve hundred in number.
The Christian Assistants not engaged in schools are divided into several classes. Some are READERS, who go from house to house, and explain the Word to families or individuals. Others are preachers of greater or less education, and are more or less trusted, either to work alone, or in company with more experienced brethren. In India and China, these brethren are usually termed CATECHISTS, though in the South Seas the missionaries have retained the title of NATIVE TEACHERS. One class among them, of higher character and education, in whom great trust is reposed, are termed in India EVANGELISTS. These brethren frequently occupy stations by themselves, or are immediate and trusted assistants of the missionaries. Several of the excellent preachers in China belong to this rank; as also others in the South Sea Islands and in Madagascar.
It has from the first been a settled rule with the Society's missionaries that catechists and preachers should be men of known and proved piety; and that all candidates for theological classes shall be members of the church. The Directors believe that it is largely owing to the observance of this sound rule that the Missions have received a great blessing from above, and have been built up on a solid basis. It is the effect of this blessing, and a result of the development of the churches, that a steady improvement has taken place in the general character and fitness of Native Agents. And not the least benefit is that at length it is giving rise to the long-desired class of NATIVE ORDAINED PASTORS.
In 1865 our lists showed twenty such Pastors and Missionaries, not reckoning the Tahitian or Madagascar brethren; and of the twenty, fourteen were in India. During the last three years fifteen have been added in India, and one has died. In the Leeward Islands several of the Tahaa students have been ordained as pastors in Tahiti and the out-stations; the Directors have recommended the ordination of others, as TAUGA, the Evangelist in charge of the churches in Manua; ELIKANA, the Evangelist of the Lagoon Islands; and ISAIA, the well-known Evangelist of Rarotonga; and five have been ordained in Samoa. In Madagascar a practical Native pastorate grew up in the days of persecution, which was judiciously fostered by Mr. Ellis and his associates, and was placed by them in a most healthy position. Of the five hundred preachers placed over the churches, some twenty may be reckoned of that high standing and independence of management accorded to the other brethren in the ordained lists. The Directors rejoice that, through the wise foresight of Mr. Ellis, the Madagascar pastors receive no support from the Society; they are almost wholly sustained either by their own labour or by the Native Churches. In Travancore, three of the pastors ordained last year have become entirely free of all help from the Society. The Board desire that in all cases the same independence of support from English funds shall be steadily aimed at, though for a time it may be necessary to guarantee a certain salary, and to supplement such portion as the native members give, by an annual grant from the Society's funds. In all the Society's missions the number of these pastors is about eighty. It is desirable that all our native agency shall be of the best kind, and shall be trained in the most efficient way.
VII.—THE NATIVE CHURCHES.
The high and useful position attained by the Society is further illustrated by the character and importance of the Native Churches. These are our actual converts, the most striking, the most patent, if not the most real among the fruits of our past labours. These churches are unevenly distributed, but the explanation is easy. As a rule, they are largest in fields of labour which have been longest cultivated, and where converts are easily won. They appear, therefore, in inverse ratio to time and difficulty. To the native races of Polynesia, desolated by wars, torn in pieces by faction and strife, Christianity came as the healer and peace-maker, and was welcomed as soon as understood. To the native races of South Africa, and to the people of the West Indies, to the weak who had been crushed and enslaved by the strong, it came with loving smiles as deliverer and friend. By the devil-worshipper of Travancore, ignorant, degraded, friendless, afraid of malignant spirits, it was welcomed for its kindness. To the caste-ridden people of the great cities and towns, to the sudra of South India, to the Brahmins everywhere, it came as an enemy, destroying their social life, breaking up the bonds of Hindooism, smiting the gods, putting down the priesthood, destroying the vested interest, and drying up the wealth produced by centuries. Who can wonder that to the learned, the powerful, the bigoted, it was "foolishness;" while to the despised and poor, accepted in a child-like spirit, it became the power of God unto salvation? As a rule, the converts, who were easy to win, have been hard to raise; and in ordinary Christian life some of the most zealous, the most consistent, the most liberal, the most missionary, have been found among the few converts, drawn by hard struggles and heavy penalties, from the caste population of our Indian towns. It is from such came nearly all our first ordained Native Ministers.
But, whether easily or hardly won, we rejoice in the fact that at this hour the three hundred Churches gathered through the ministry of this Society contain thirty-five thousand members; and that round them, looking to them for instruction, and influenced by their example, lives a population of not less than one hundred and ninety thousand souls, who have given up all idolatry, and call Christianity their religion.
* * * * *
The GENERAL CHARACTER of these church members, their attainments in knowledge, the amount of their moral strength, the enlightenment of conscience, their peculiar deficiencies, are topics frequently dwelt upon in missionaries' letters, and find a conspicuous place in the annual reports. Who can doubt that, should occasion arise, the converts of MADAGASCAR would still emulate the fidelity of the brethren who gave themselves to clanging fetters and the fiery flame rather than deny Christ? When bitterly persecuted by bigoted priests, the Christians of UEA still possess their souls in patience, and with their chapels burnt, their plantations desolated, and their companions beaten, they hold on to the truth as it is in Jesus, and refuse to bow the knee to the Baal of Rome. In the Calcutta Mission last year, as heretofore, converts have been found to bear reproach and shame for Christ rather than be numbered among idolaters. Still do the tried Christians of POKLO show how grace reigns in China.
The great Christian virtues, the fruits of the Spirit, are developed in these churches as in the older realms of Christendom. In them enlightened conscience makes war with sin; Christian love casts out fear; the eye of faith sees heaven in a dying hour. Scarcely a report is written that does not illustrate these excellencies. We must not undervalue what here we have gained. It is not only that so many individual souls have been saved. We have rescued them from heathenism, from false religion, from the advocacy of error, from the practice of error, from open, unchecked vice and crime. We have drawn them from the world's disorders and cruelty, from wrong and misery. In the great warfare with vice, they have changed sides, and are now valiant for the truth. We have drawn not only them but their children; we have drawn them, not as isolated individuals, but as families, as neighbours, as fellow citizens, as nations. We have drawn into the church, for man's happiness, and the Lord's glory, all the influences of their private, social, and public life. We have won their intelligence, their moral life, their literature, their material resources, their public law. Henceforth heathenism has lost them, and Christ has placed His sanctifying hand on all they have and all they are. These Christians are all His; their children His, and generations as they succeed each other shall be more completely His, to give Him all the glory of their growing love, and add their contribution of immortal souls to His Millennial reign.
"For to His triumph soon, He shall descend, who rules above, And the pure language of His love All tongues of men shall tune."
Our earliest mission in Polynesia is constantly offering evidence of the power of the Gospel. The Rev. J. King of Savaii, gives the following striking illustration:—
"PENIAMINA (Benjamin), was one of the first converts in Samoa, and for thirty years he has maintained an unblemished character. A short time ago I took down from his own lips the story of his life, or I might rather say of his two lives; so great a contrast does the latter half of his life present to the former. The one is the life of the ignorant and corrupt Pagan, the other that of the humble follower and devoted disciple of the Lord Jesus. All who know Peniamina would concur in this testimony that he is one of the brightest gems that has been won for Christ in Samoa. His praise is in all the churches. As a pastor he has done good service. For a number of years he has had the oversight of one of our churches in the out-stations, and so beloved was he by his people, that when, through age, his eyesight failed, and he could no longer read the Scriptures in public, they begged that he would still preach to them, and asked that a young man might be appointed to read the Scriptures for him. This he did for some time, until he became so infirm, that he was compelled to resign. But when he proposed to return to his native village, that he might die amongst his kindred, according to the invariable custom in Samoa, his people begged that he would not leave them; and that, as he had devoted so much of his strength to their good, they might be allowed to 'nurse' him in his old age, and to have the honour of burying him in their own village. But the national custom prevailed over their entreaties. A few days after he had taken farewell of his Church, he called on me, and gave me a few steel pens, the remainder of some I had given him for writing his sermons. As he gave them to me, he said, 'I have finished my work: I shall write no more sermons; and that nothing may be wasted that is useful in the work of God, let these pens be given to a younger man, who is still able to write sermons.' This incident is characteristic of the man, and will illustrate his simple uprightness, and his concern for the work of God. He is now very infirm, but strong in faith; he is calmly waiting to be summoned to his reward."
Much more might be written on this topic, and these illustrations of Christian experience might easily be multiplied. Our native churches give proof in every direction of the soundness of the teaching from which they have sprung, and of the Divine blessing by which it has been followed. They differ greatly in the outer form of their life from English churches: they differ scarcely less from one another. They differ in their knowledge, in the character of their excellencies, in the form of their defects. They differ in their experience of the truth, as they have had a varied history. But one heart and one mind are found within them all. It is the Bible which touches their feelings most deeply, which quickens their conscience, which inspires their richest joys. Everywhere the tribes, once heathen and hard-hearted, now Christianized, care for the orphan, show kindness and courtesy to women, and watch over the aged and the sick. Everywhere they lead a pure life, they cultivate and practise mutual kindness, they are brought under public law. These things are not novelties in Christianity; but their daily recurrence in all our Missions is the best testimony we can offer to the reality of our work. They are seen in all our Churches; they are written on every page of our reports. The heathen natives of Travancore and of the Lagoon Islands, far distant from one another, get drunk with toddy: their Christian fellow-countrymen of the same class in both places abstain from it. Touched by the gospel, the negroes of Jamaica came in hundreds to be married: the Bechuanas on the Vaal river have done the same. Our new converts in the plains of Shantung try to evangelize their stalwart neighbours. The same efforts of love are put forth by the new Christians among the hills of Fokien. Our South Sea Converts observe the Sabbath better than Englishmen. When accompanying the Queen down to the sea-coast, our Church members held Sabbath camp-meetings in the forests and jungles of Madagascar.
Would that the English churches realized more completely what they are! Follow them in their daily life. Look at them on the Sabbath-day. There, where once all seasons were alike, they gather on the first day of the week in the house of prayer. From China eastward, round to Lifu westward, in twenty-six languages, these Christian converts gather for holy worship. In the broad streets of Peking; among the green hills of Amoy; amid the tall roofs of Antananarivo, and the well-watered gardens of Hankey; among the deep ferns of Raiatea and in the cotton-fields of Samoa; in Calcutta and Benares, within the shadows of the wealthy temples of Kali and Mahadeo; or where the creamy surf in curling waves throws up the garnet sands of Travancore,—each Sabbath-day rises the hymn of praise, the earnest prayer; each month they break the bread and drink the cup in memory of Him whom, not having seen, they love; in whom, though now they see Him not, yet believing, they rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory; receiving the end of their faith, even the salvation of their SOULS.
"Knowest thou the value of a soul immortal? Behold the midnight glory, worlds on worlds! Amazing pomp! Redouble the amaze. Ten thousand add, and twice ten thousand more; Then weigh the whole. ONE SOUL outweighs them all."
VIII.—THE SOUTH SEA MISSION.
The SOUTH SEA MISSION lies deep in the affection of the Society's friends. Seventy years have passed since the first missionaries were landed by the Duff on the Island of TAHITI. After long trial of patience, amid a most depraved and corrupt people, heathenism gave way, the gospel triumphed, and the Society Islands became Christian. In 1823 RAROTONGA was discovered, and the Hervey Islands, now containing one of the brightest groups of our Christian churches, were evangelized. In 1830, SAMOA received that gospel which has sanctified the gentle habits of its people, and produced in them a zeal in the extension of the church which none of their neighbours have excelled. In 1840 and onward, the efforts to evangelize the dark races of the NEW HEBRIDES were commenced and partly frustrated. In 1848, the LOYALTY GROUP received teachers, and in spite of priestly intolerance, have since been largely christianized.
When TAHITI first fell under the French Protectorate, fears were entertained respecting the stability of its people. By God's blessing on the means of grace, they seem at the present time to be more spiritual and more firm in their attachment to the truth than ever. Several young pastors, trained in our Tahaa Institution, have been warmly welcomed among them, and their numbers are larger than for some years past:—
"The statistics of the year, as far as we can obtain them for Tahiti and Moorea, are as follow:—
Population ... ... ... ... ... ... ... over 9000 Members of Protestant Churches ... ... ... ... 2800 Children in Protestant Schools ... ... ... ... 1260 Roman Catholic Congregation, Members and Scholars, Natives ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 700
"Hence we see the Roman Catholics cannot yet number in their schools, congregations, and churches altogether, in Tahiti and Moorea, more than one twelfth of the Native population as theirs. The other eleven-twelfths are nominally Protestant. Without reckoning the schools and congregations of the Protestants, the Church members alone of the Native Protestant Church are about four times as many as all the Roman Catholics in their schools, congregations, and churches together."
In the Hervey Islands, in the midst of their desolation, the churches of RAROTONGA insisted on holding their usual Anniversary, and gave a larger contribution to the Society than in the year before. The SAMOAN MISSION continues to enjoy prosperity and peace; the Seminary at Malua flourishes; an extraordinary demand exists for the Scriptures, which every Christian seems resolved to make his own; the influence of the missionary diminishes the risk of social war; and the liberality of the churches still abounds. SAVAGE ISLAND, becoming more closely allied to the civilised world, through the influence of its beautiful cotton, begins to encounter the greater temptations to which a community of simple manners is by that contact exposed; and the first drunkard has been seen upon her shores. As truly as a pious lad on entering London life needs the daily support of a mother's counsel and a mother's prayers; so do these young communities, exposed to the vices and temptations of stronger nations, demand the help, the sympathy, and the prayers of the English churches from which their piety springs. In the LAGOON ISLANDS and in the LOYALTY GROUP the Word of Christ is winning many dark hearts; but in the latter the fanatic hatred of Romish priests continues to the stricken Christians of UEA that system of oppressive persecution against which they appealed long ago.
Of the SAMOAN MISSION a most pleasing account has recently been given by a writer in Blackwood's Magazine, which fully sustains the reports of its prosperity given by the missionaries:—
"We have said that the London Missionary Society has the spiritual care of the Samoan Islands. The first missionaries were established there about thirty years ago, but the group had been frequently visited by them previously to that date. With what zeal and devotedness these excellent men have laboured needs not here to be enlarged upon; and with respect to the success that has attended their labours, it is sufficient to say that all heathen and barbarous practices have been abolished, Christianity is firmly established, life and property are as secure as in England—nay, more so, as theft is almost unknown—the morals of the people have been greatly improved, a general system of education prevails, and the Bible is admirably translated and in the hands of every member of the community. The difficulties which the missionaries in Samoa had to contend with were certainly far less than in many other islands in these seas. Here were no bloodthirsty, ferocious cannibals, but a mild and gentle race, well disposed towards strangers, with no elaborate system of idolatry to overthrow; so that the Mission was established without difficulty, and the progress was rapid and continued. So apt and intelligent are this people, that Samoa very soon became a centre of missionary enterprise, sending forth trained Native Teachers to other islands, of whom we shall presently have occasion to speak.
"A short account of the mode in which the Mission work in Polynesia is carried on will be interesting, not only by reason of the success that has almost invariably attended it in the islands in which missionaries are located, but also on account of the widely-spread influence exercised throughout the South Seas by the agency of the Native Teachers."
Special mention has frequently been made of the great liberality of the SAMOAN churches. The Rev. GEORGE PRATT thus describes the energetic effort made last year to increase it:—
"In May I paid a visit to Mr. Drummond's district. Very much pleased I was to see the very great improvement amongst his people. At the May Meeting they made a great effort, and challenged Samoa to beat them. I accepted the challenge, reminding them how formerly our people beat theirs in a game of chance just when they made sure of victory. The report of this speech preceded me, and created a furore among my people. They determined to beat; the merchants raised the price of money fifty per cent.; the merchants refused money, or ran short; all in vain; every difficulty was surmounted; and when a most iniquitous discount for bills is deducted, there will still be hard on to 700 pounds for the London Missionary Society."
The Rev. A.W. MURRAY informs the Directors that the contributions so gathered have been the largest of all. They have amounted to the extraordinary sum of 2,236 pounds 18 shillings:—
"Our contributions for the present year are not quite complete yet. What remains will be inconsiderable. The full amount will appear in my annual statement of accounts. What has come to hand from the different stations, including our own, amounts to the unprecedented sum of Two thousand, two hundred, and thirty-six pounds, eighteen shillings. May I add a word of caution with reference to the amount raised by our people this year. It will be wise, I think, for all of us to say very little about it, inasmuch as the present year will certainly be an exceptional one."
Nor are others of our Polynesian Converts behindhand. The Native Churches in Mangaia have also given generous gifts, of which the Rev. W.W. GILL speaks thus:—
"This sum (217 pounds 7 shillings O pence) is considerably the largest contribution ever made by Mangaia to the funds of our Society; the reason is, that I have this year obtained a better price for the arrowroot. I feel deeply thankful that our people have steadily persevered in their offerings to God, notwithstanding the accumulated misfortunes produced by three hurricanes in two years, and their consequent poverty."
When it became clear from the letters received from the islands that the MISSIONARY SHIP was really lost, the Directors without delay devoted their attention to the question of securing a new one. Several important facts were clearly shown in the statements laid before them. Some six or eight small vessels are now running regularly between the chief groups of islands and Sydney: a few vessels also pass irregularly between the islands themselves, and can at times be chartered, or be employed to carry goods. So far, therefore, as mere goods are concerned, there is no great difficulty in supplying about twenty out of the twenty-seven missionaries of the Society who are labouring in the South Seas. But, besides supplying stores to their missionaries, the Society is carrying on most important evangelistic work in several small and isolated groups; as the Pearl Islands, the Penrhyns, the Ellice and Lagoon Islands, and in detached islands of the larger groups. These isolated spots require to be visited regularly, for the protection of the people, the encouragement of the teachers, and for the supply of new men, medicines, and books. The vessels that may be hired are not always available. They are often far from suitable to the work; they are very deficient in that amount of comfort which on public duty the missionary brethren ought to enjoy. Not seldom they wish to go where the missionary finds no work; to stay at some places when his work is finished; and to leave others when the work requires him to remain. Besides, evangelistic work is growing on our hands; the native churches are strong; labourers are abundant; the groups lying to the north and west are more open than ever; and the Directors are called upon to look fairly in the face a large extension of the South Sea Mission among three hundred islands, containing millions of people who are heathen still. All the objects desired through the entire range of the Society's interests and the Society's work, can with ease be secured by a vessel of our own, commanded by a truly missionary captain, officers, and crew.
With considerations like these before them, the Directors were unanimous in resolving that another MISSIONARY SHIP should be provided without delay. They had clear evidence that the ship should be smaller than the last. They were urged also on every hand to keep the ship between the islands and Sydney, and to recall her to England only at long intervals. Accordingly, another vessel, the third bearing the name of the John Williams, has been launched, fitted out and despatched to the Islands. Amid the busy work of the past two years, no single matter has occupied a larger share of the Directors' attention and care than the building and equipment of this vessel. She is a beautiful barque of 186 tons register; she went to sea well equipped in every respect, and specially provided with certain fittings that will conduce to the comfort of the missionaries and their families. The Directors placed on board an excellent library, a large Atlas of the best maps, illustrative of the South Seas and the Australian colonies; also a quadrant and barometer for general use; and it only remained to supply the library with a set of the different Polynesian Scriptures.
"Heaven speed the canvas gallantly unfurled, To furnish and accommodate a world. Soft airs and gentle heavings of the wave Attend the ship whose errand is to save, Which flies, obedient to her Lord's commands, A herald of God's love to pagan lands."
Rare in the world are those scenes of enchanting beauty, which the islands of Polynesia so frequently display. Yet nowhere did heathenism descend to deeper degradation; nowhere did it develop blacker vices and commit more hellish crimes. Incessant war, merciless cruelty, infanticide, indescribable vice, in many places cannibalism, made the strong races a ceaseless terror to each other and to the world outside them. Over millions of their brethren such heathenism and wickedness hold the same sway still. In all but Western Polynesia, the Gospel has swept this heathenism away. The four great Societies which have sent their brethren forth as messengers of mercy, have gathered into Christ's fold 300,000 people, of whom 50,000 are members of the Church. They have together expended on the process less than 1,200,000 pounds, a sum which now-a-days will only make a London railway, or furnish the Navy with six ironclads. Yet how wonderful the fruit of their toil! "The wolf dwells with the lamb; the leopard lies down with the kid." The destruction of life has been stayed. Beautiful as were these lands by nature, culture has rendered them more lovely still. Everywhere the white chapel and school have taken the place of the heathen marai. The trim cottage, which Christianity gave them, peeps everywhere from its nook of leaves. Land and people are Christian now. The victories of peace have taken the place of war. Resources have multiplied: wealth has begun to accumulate. Books, knowledge, order and law, rule these communities. Large churches have been gathered; schools flourish; good men and good women are numerous. Not a few have offered themselves as missionaries to heathen islands; and in zeal, self-sacrifice, and patient service have equalled the earnest men of other climes.
All over the southern groups of Polynesia, this is the work which missionaries have been doing. This is the influence which they have exercised, and these are the fruits of their devoted toil. It is not merely Admiral FITZROY, and Captain ERSKINE, and Admiral WILKES, who testify to the reality of such results; but to these Christian islands, where sailors were once afraid to land, hundreds of whalers run gladly every year to get the refreshment which their hard toil renders so grateful. From icebergs and boundless seas, and heavy gales of wind; from the exciting chase, the capture, the boiling down of their huge prey; and from all the filthy, weary work of whaling life, they now run north to New Zealand and Samoa, to Tahiti and Rarotonga; not only to refit their vessels and to replace their broken gear, but to buy fresh meat and vegetables and coffee; to get medicine for their sick; to revel in oranges, plantains and water-melons; to feast the eye on green mountains and cultured valleys; to walk among white cottages and flower gardens and groves of palms; to attend Sabbath services, and be reminded of their Christian training and their Christian homes. Where have unaided men, however wise, produced a moral change like this? With us the GOSPEL alone has done it, and to GOD we give all the praise.
In the course of their revision, the Directors found that the SOUTH AFRICA Mission needed at their hands an unusual amount of attention and care. Owing to peculiar circumstances, it had been to a considerable extent lost sight of for several years. At the outset of the inquiry, several questions of vital importance presented themselves for settlement. While the mission numbered on its staff thirty-five European missionaries, no less than twenty-one of these brethren were labouring in the christianized portions of the colony; where the native population has grown thinner rather than more numerous; and where the ministers and missionaries of other Societies have considerably increased. Only fourteen of the Society's missionaries were labouring in the heathen territories, in Kafirland and among the Bechuana tribes.
The six mission estates, termed INSTITUTIONS, which for a series of years proved a valuable refuge to the Hottentot labourers, and trained them in habits of industry, have changed their character, with the improved position of public opinion and public law. They have long since accomplished their special work; and socially, in recent years, some of them have been doing evil rather than good. Again, the close relation subsisting between several of the missionaries and the Native Churches of which they were pastors, has operated much to the disadvantage of these brethren during the years of drought; and the system required readjustment without delay. The incomes of all the missionaries, especially of those within the Cape Colony, were insufficient, and the education of the young was in general very imperfectly provided for.
After careful consideration of the whole case, the Directors found themselves able to meet the numerous difficulties which it presented, and to shape out a system of management which may duly provide for these missions in the future, on definite and healthy principles. A series of RESOLUTIONS was passed by the Board, embodying that system; and these were conveyed to the brethren in the mission, with a DESPATCH which contained a full explanation of their views.
In considering the future of the Mission, the Directors remember that many christian agencies have been set at work in the Colony, in addition to their own, since they took up the cause of the Native tribes, and successfully fought the battle of their freedom. Some of these agencies have given especial attention to the European Congregations, to which the Society has never devoted its substantial strength; but amongst them the Natives also, especially in the eastern parts of the colony, have found pastors and friends. The time has therefore come to shift the Society's labours more decidedly to those districts of South Africa which are still occupied by heathen tribes, and which have but few instructors. In the western parts of the colony our churches are few. In the neighbourhood of PORT ELIZABETH there is a cluster of important stations, which have exercised great influence for good over the Native races, and have brought many of their people into the Church Of Christ.
In KAFIRLAND, in districts within the English dominion, the Society has five stations, in most of which there is fair access to a population still heathen. In each a Christian Church has been gathered; the members are nine hundred in number, and the congregations contain nearly four thousand persons. Four English missionaries have charge of these missions, and a Native Pastor, the Rev. A. Van Rooyen. These missions, however, are surrounded by the agencies of other Missionary Societies; and they have not that full scope for development which is desirable, and which they possessed in earlier years. It is among the Bechuana missions, that enlargement is most practicable.
For twenty years the Mission Station at the KURUMAN, with its immediate neighbours, stood forth, the last of the border lighthouses on the shore of that wild sea of savage life and savage wars, which stretched northward without a break to the unpeopled Sahara. Then for nine years Livingstone maintained a station beyond it among the Bakwains. In 1859, in two bands, our brethren entered the wilderness, to found new Missions among the Makololo and the Matebele. Strange disasters broke up the first. The second was established successfully at INYATI, and has grown in strength and influence. Two others have since been fixed at intermediate stations between the Kuruman and Inyati: and thus a chain of Missions, at intervals of three hundred miles, has been carried onwards into the centre of savage heathendom, and to the neighbourhood of the Victoria Falls. Amid powerful difficulties our brethren have not laboured in vain. They have had to contend with inveterate prejudices; they have been preaching lofty truths to minds which, in religion, are on the level of childhood, yet, in wickedness, have the experience of age. Still they have held on. In perils of journeys; in perils of sickness; in perils of the wilderness; in abundant labours; in privations; in loneliness; they have lived on, if by any means they may save some.
The death of MOSELEKATSE is no common event among the South African tribes. His career has had a terrible effect upon their numbers, their position and their history. Leader of a tribe of Zulu Kafirs, about 1816 he was driven from his own country by the anger of Chaka, the savage head of the nation, and began to carve out an inheritance for himself in new lands. Brave, bold, and shrewd, he knew how to grasp opportunities, to make use of the right men, to reward fidelity generously, and summarily to stamp out opposition. Throughout life he had a wonderful influence over both nobles and people. His army was disciplined; and its courage was stimulated by stirring songs. In the little court-yard of this African lion, the yells of battle, the cries of the wounded, the shouts of victory were imitated, and the stories of brave deeds were told by rude minstrels, as effectively as, in old days, in Scandinavian halls. His rule was despotic in the extreme; its barbarities were unparalleled. His warriors were rewarded by slaves and plunder, and their warlike expeditions have been incessant to the last. Bursting upon the Bahurutse tribes beyond the Zulu territory, myriads of lives were flung away. The tribes were crushed, destroyed, and scattered. The remnant fell upon their neighbours; or fled into the desert; or escaped, like the Makololo, to a new land. For twenty years the country was a sea of war, in which Mantatees and Bergenaars, Barolongs and Bangwaketse, Bakwains and Matebele, were flung upon one another, until the storm spent itself, and but a remnant was left. Often did the Matebele themselves suffer terribly. Often did the stratagems of Scythians and Libyans in ancient days reappear in this modern warfare. The refugees decoyed their terrible enemies into the desert, and left them to die miserably of thirst. Driven to the northward by fear of Dingaan, in the Makololo and their brave chief, Sebituane, the Matebele found their match. But on the weaker tribes, to the banks of the Zambesi, they have waged incessant and successful war.
What a mighty need is there of the Gospel here! In no field of the Society's efforts is that need so strikingly manifest. The incessant wars, the shocking inhumanity, the indescribable vices, the universal degradation, all attest the depth of sin and misery in which millions of our race pass their lives. Acuteness, bravery, manliness are not wanting; right and wrong are not unacknowledged; the future world is not unknown. Even tenderness is not unfelt; the sorrows of children could touch Moselekatse's heart to its very core. But how appalling their ignorance, their misery, their SIN! Is it true that they are responsible—that "they are without excuse"? Is it true that "the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men"; that "neither thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God"; that "the fearful, the abominable, murderers, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the second death"? How loud the call upon us to save them; to waken them from their sleep of evil, and proclaim with tenderness and power, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world"! For all this wrong and all this misery the Gospel is a perfect remedy, and we have only to apply it fully. To enlighten these degraded souls by knowledge; to humanize their hardness; to save women and children; to deliver all from sin; to bring them upward to the Father whom they have forgotten, by opening to them His divine compassion in the Lord Jesus; to make life worth living for, because it is the portal of a heavenly life for ever: this has been the purpose and this the work of our faithful brethren for fifty years. Other men have gone there with very different aims. When once the missionary had made it safe, the trader followed with his muskets and powder, his exciting firewater; with his brilliant beads, his gorgeous chintzes, his convenient cutlery; he followed with sugar, and coffee, and tea, which he was willing to exchange for karosses and deer-horns, and cattle; for teeth and tusks of ivory. Aids to civilization such things might prove; but standing alone how could they elevate, when powder fed the wars; when the drink prostrated chief and people; and even Englishmen encouraged the sale of slaves.
True civilization springs from pure religion. Where grace touches the heart of a man, it quickens all his powers.
"The transformation of apostate man From fool to wise, from earthly to divine, Is work for Him that made him."
Among a barbarous people the gospel effects changes in one generation which ages without its grace have failed to secure. "In coming back to the station on the Kuruman," says Livingstone, "from the tribes in the interior, I always felt that I had come back to civilization." It is the Gospel which has made the Kuruman; and what it is, other stations are already beginning to be. Apart from its christian church and christian community; apart from the many who have lived a holy life and died in the Lord; apart from the well studied translation of the Bible to which Mr. Moffat has given the strength of his life,—all over the northern territory the tribes which have heard the Gospel are waking up to new, strange thought; conscience is struggling upward into power; and life is taking for them a new form, and is exhibiting a higher purpose. Peace is desired more than ever; towns and settlements are becoming seats of constant industry; waggons are purchased by chiefs and people; cottages and gardens multiply. When Sechele and five thousand of his people hold a meeting to pray for rain, and gather again to offer thanks for the blessing bestowed, the influence of the rain-maker must be on the decline. And when the Matebele hope that the successor of Moselekatse, wandering in other districts, will have learned the religion of the gospel, and rule gently according to its precepts, surely the time for their deliverance is nigh at hand.
The MADAGASCAR MISSION is peculiarly dear to the friends of the London Missionary Society; and not to them only, but to all the supporters of Foreign Missions. It is the child of their affection; the object of their most tender compassion, their yearnings, and their prayers. Its long trial of suffering, the grace given to its scattered members, their patience, their fidelity, have drawn to its churches the love, the confidence, the reverence of all christian hearts. Its history is a very simple one. Founded in 1818, it was between 1820 and the death of Radama in 1828, that the Mission Schools, the printing press, and instruction in the industrial arts, laid deep the foundation of that education and enlightenment which have so greatly benefited the population at large. And it was during those brief years the seeds were sown of that true spiritual life and christian principle which produced a native christian church, and enabled it, nourished by Divine grace, to bear the bitter persecution of twenty-six years. No fiercer resolve to maintain an old national idolatry has been witnessed in modern days, than that from which this persecution sprang. It was steadfast, uncompromising, and unrelenting. Maintained throughout the lifetime of the persecutors, it was especially bitter and violent on three occasions. a. In July, 1837, when the profession of christianity was forbidden, when all christian worship was stopped, and all books were ordered to be given up, our first martyr, a true christian woman, RASALAMA, was speared. RAFARALAHY followed her, a year after. In 1840 nine were speared; many hundreds were made slaves; two hundred at least became fugitives. In 1842 the persecution extended to VONIZONGO, and, of five brethren who suffered, two were executed, and three were poisoned. By this time seventeen had lost their lives: and both christian and heathen had learned the great lesson, that a true faith in Christ enables its followers without fear to meet all penalties for conscience' sake, and even with gladness to lay down life itself. b. The second great trial, intended to be more severe, fell on the scattered church with the year 1849. Nineteen confessors were seized, but they answered their persecutors bravely, and looked on death without fear. Fourteen were thrown over the lofty precipice; the four nobles sang hymns amid the burning flames, while the bright rainbow arched the heavens and inspired them with more than mortal joy. Nineteen hundred of their faithful companions were fined; a hundred were flogged; many others were enslaved, and made "to serve with rigour" in public works, in felling timber and hewing stone. But still was it true of these "children of Israel," "the more they oppressed them, the more they multiplied and grew." c. The third persecution was more bitter and resolute still. In July, 1857, when mutiny and massacre were at their height in Upper India, fourteen were stoned to death at FIADANA, followed by seven others; and sixty-six were loaded with heavy chains. The church was still more scattered; but many of the leading brethren were securely hidden, and "had their lives given them as a prey."
In 1861 the church obtained its long-lost liberty, and was permitted again to profess its belief in open day. Rich in faith, steadfast in principle, it only needed a wider range of Scripture knowledge and some little guidance in its public affairs. Singularly free from the admixture of foreign elements in its constitution, it had pastors and teachers; the brethren were accustomed to edify one another, and were zealous for the spread of the truth among their fellow-countrymen.
The progress of the churches during the last eight years has been sound as well as rapid. Conviction has ripened where the good seed was sown; thousands have become members; many thousands more have joined our congregations; numerous churches have been organized both in the capital and in the country round. The members of the churches have been true missionaries where they have gone; and thus many, whom public duty or private interest had led far away from home, have been the means of planting churches in the district of Vonizongo, and even in the distant town of Fianarantsoa.
If the measure of our suffering be the measure of our greatness, we cannot wonder that this martyr church is strong in faith, giving glory to God. Hence all the quiet but solid strength of their present prosperity. Hence the great but not too rapid increase, in their numbers. Hence it is that, though persecution left them poor, they have built nearly a hundred village chapels; that their search into the Word of God is deep, continuous, and unwearied; that their congregations are crowded; that, at a missionary prayer meeting held early in the day, sixteen hundred persons gather together; and that, when a volunteer preacher finds it inconvenient every Sabbath to visit a distant village, his brethren invite him permanently to reside there, and offer to pay him a sufficient income till that village shall be christianized.
How shall we forget their grateful rejoicings when the first stone church in memory of their martyrs was set apart for worship! By the entire christian population, and even by many heathen, it was felt to be a truly festive day. From early dawn they began to gather around the edifice, eager to secure a place on an occasion so memorable. You see the little parties of christian villagers making their way across the western plain; coming in from the southward, where many churches lie; or from the north, where, in the sacred village of Ambohimanga, the man who should have been chief guardian of its heathenism, is now the teacher of its christian church. Streaming along the public roads of the city, the many processions, headed by their singers, mount to the noble platform of rock on which the Church of AMBATONAKANGA stands. The building will hold eleven hundred people, but over four thousand have gathered around it: the doors are opened at eight; sixteen hundred manage to squeeze in, and the remainder wait in patience for five hours more, to get their turn in the afternoon service. Attended by a procession, duly marshalled with music, high officers of the government bear from the Queen a condescending message of congratulation and encouragement. And then the native pastor opens the service. He is one of the earliest Christians in the island; a man of great ability, of noble, long-tried character. He was a convert in the old chapel that stood on that very ground. For years he was hunted for his life; but the Lord kept him. His noble wife, a true martyr, died in chains; but, hid in hollow walls, in holes of the rock, in solitary huts and cowhouses, he marvellously escaped. And when at last, like the rest of the "slain" church, after long silence, he walked once more through "the streets of the city," his "enemies beheld him" in wonder. There he stands in the face of day, honoured and known, the native pastor of that church, and the appointed tutor of the Queen's adopted children.
When the late Queen took her journey to the sea, large numbers of christians attended the camp on official duty, and, by faithfully observing the Sabbath and holding meetings for worship, afforded numerous opportunities to their heathen companions of hearing the gospel preached and of listening to christian prayers. The impression produced was deep and widespread. When the camp returned to the capital, hundreds of new faces were seen in the churches, and the congregations increased so greatly, that chapel building and enlargement were necessitated on a very extensive scale.
With the reign of her youngest sister, the new Queen, all hesitation on the part of the Government respecting christianity seemed to pass away. The leaders had doubted whether it did not necessarily involve the introduction of purely foreign elements into the general government of the island. But reassured by the steadfast loyalty of the Protestant missionaries, who have adhered strictly to their position as religious teachers, and whose prudent, sober conduct in difficult circumstances the Directors consider deserving of high praise, the nobles, believing that christianity had proved itself a great public blessing, began to accept it heartily for themselves.
Kind messages were sent from the Queen to the missionaries on her accession; with assurances of public protection for all their converts. The diviners and idol keepers, who had been so influential in the palace, were dismissed to country villages. Numerous members of noble families joined the several congregations in the city, and many of the highest rank were baptized. The congregations both in town and country grew larger and larger, and it was most difficult to find them room. Next a law was passed, putting a stop to all official work on the Sabbath-day: and was followed by another law, which directed that Sunday markets should be held on some other convenient day. After full consideration, the Council repealed the ancient law, which forbade the erection of stone buildings within the capital, and had sanctioned only palaces, houses and walls of wood. Such a step may appear to be a trifle. It may seem to be a matter merely of economy, safety, and convenience, whether a people shall build in wood or earth or stone. But the repeal meant more than this. It was a veritable Reform Bill: it swept away old traditions, conservative customs, and those rules and motives of the past which were the buttresses of idolatry, and which had hitherto hindered all public progress. It was a sign that this young nation had entered on a new career of life and thought and happiness.
On the day of the coronation three hundred thousand people gathered to meet their sovereign. Preceded by a hundred ladies, and by her Ministers and Council, the Queen was borne to the assembly in simple state. The old scarlet banners, which were the emblems of the idols' presence, were wanting in the procession. Around the canopy that shaded her throne, were written the words of the angels which welcomed the Redeemer into the world. In front and to her right stood the table which bore her crown. On another table to the left, was the Bible presented to her predecessor by the British and Foreign Bible Society. Her royal speech contained many elevated sentiments: but it specially announced to all her people liberty of conscience in regard to christianity of the fullest kind. "This is my word to you, O ye under heaven, in regard to the praying: it is not enforced: it is not hindered: for God made you."
For several weeks in a quiet way worship was maintained, and the Bible read in the palace on the Sabbath-day: the native ministers were invited to conduct the service. In the country districts gratifying advance has been made. Village chapels have increased in number. In the sacred city of Ambohimanga which foreigners may not enter, two churches have been gathered outside the walls: and on one occasion one of the missionary brethren addressed a vast congregation in the open market near. In Vonizongo the churches have increased. Far away to the south of the capital, the visits of our brethren to the BETSILEO awoke new life among the converts; and, among the forests of Tanala, the noble princess Ittovana, one of the ablest among the able nobles of the island, has declared herself a Christian.
The most conspicuous manifestation of the sympathy of the Queen and her leading nobles with this advance of religious opinion appeared in November last, on the opening of the second of the Memorial Churches, the church at AMBOHIPOTSY. Thirty years ago, in March, 1836, on a Sunday morning, the little prison of the capital at Ambatonakanga was opened, and a young woman was led forth to be put to death. She was just thirty, fair to look upon, and of gentle manners; and her face was lit with that bright radiance which springs from the conviction that God and heaven are very near. She walked forth with firm step; she was surrounded by the guards; and though going to die, she began to sing in a joyous tone the hymns that she had loved. Followed by a crowd, of which some hooted and some were lost in wonder, she passed through the city, towards the dreary ditch at the south end of the long ridge on which the capital is built. The scene before her and on either side was one of unusual beauty. East, west, and south, the broad green plain of Imerina stretched to the distant horizon, presenting to the eye bright gleams of lakes and watercourses, of fertile fields and wooded hills; amongst which nestled the rich villages, and the flocks and herds were feeding in peace. She saw it not. She saw not the smiling land, the taunting crowd, the cruel executioner: she saw only the face of her Lord. Descending the hill, she knelt to pray; and so praying she was speared. No common honour descended upon her that day: she was the first martyr of Christ's church in the island of Madagascar. "Strange is it," said the executioner, "there is a charm about these people; they do not fear to die."
Thirty-two years have passed away. Again the crowds gather at the "White Village," and another woman comes down to pray, the object of attraction to all eyes. But this is the QUEEN of Madagascar. On the white ridge which overhangs the ditch where RASALAMA died, stands a handsome church, with its lofty spire, which has been erected to her memory, and will bear her name upon its walls. The church is crowded with christian worshippers, and vast numbers are compelled to remain outside. The Queen, not a persecutor, but a friend, comes to join her people in dedicating the church to Christian worship; and, in special sympathy with the occasion, offers her Bible for pulpit use. The Prime Minister, whose predecessor had assigned christians to death, now urges his countrymen, in stirring words, to believe in CHRIST, because He is the Saviour of the world. To all who are present, ruler and subjects, the occasion is one of unfeigned joy. Once more the Queen and her christian subjects met before the year closed. On Christmas Day the palace court was crowded by converts wishing to present their congratulations, and, at the Queen's request, they sang some of their hymns and offered prayer. The Report of the Mission speaks of 20,000 hearers added to the congregations during last year; and returns the converts at 37,000 persons, including 7,000 members.
Now we hear, on the very eve of this May anniversary, that the QUEEN herself has been baptized. Humbly and simply, like one of her subjects, she has sought instruction from her Native Pastors; has told the story of the growth of her convictions; and has not been afraid to confess her faith.
All this the Directors of the Society have observed with deepest thankfulness; and they know that many have sympathized with this feeling, and have joined them in recognizing these wondrous answers to prayer. But they feel that heavy responsibilities still rest upon them as christian men; and that continued care and grace are needed from the Spirit of God to keep these young churches from surrounding perils. They have a very definite work before them, and definite principle to guide them in the doing of it. The third Memorial Church is being completed, and plans have been adopted for the fourth. They are strengthening the country mission among the Betsileo tribes; increased agencies are now at work in general education; and plans have been suggested for the training of a Native ministry. A reprint of the Malagasy Testament has been undertaken by the Bible Society; the general operations of the press are being enlarged; and they are anxious to strengthen the Medical Mission. The missionary brethren are watching with wise and jealous care over the purity, the discipline, and the spiritual independence of the Native churches; and a UNION of those churches for mutual aid has been inaugurated during the year.
With numerous Romanist priests and sisters in the capital, the Protestant ministers, English and Native, are firm in their adherence to the Bible alone as the appointed instructor and guide of their people. And it is because the preaching of vital truth has been so blessed, that the Directors are anxious to prevent the introduction of all minor controversies. Therefore they cannot but consider that, in the absence of any number of converts in the Episcopal missions, the appointment of a Bishop of the Church of England to Madagascar, promoted by one of those missions, is undesirable; that it is calculated to introduce confusion among young converts; to hinder their spiritual progress; and to do them vital and lasting injury. They have therefore very earnestly pressed upon the proposers of the scheme that it shall be reconsidered; and they trust that, as a result of friendly conference, it may be altogether laid aside.
XI.—MISSIONS IN INDIA.
In India two hundred millions of people are placed under the indirect jurisdiction or the direct rule of the Queen of England. The empire is divided into many great provinces, in which are spoken ten principal languages. All along the great rivers are scattered great cities, surrounded by hundreds of large towns, and thousands of populous villages. Many of them are centres of a trade growing greater every year, and many are also headquarters of Mohammedanism and of Hindoo idolatry. The endowments and vested interests of idolatry are of enormous value; the Brahmin families may be counted by millions; the Hindoo religious books were commenced 1200 years B.C., and the system itself goes back a thousand years farther still. Such a system is a formidable antagonist and the barriers it raises against change are very strong. Yet even Hindooism, so powerful, so rich, so ancient, is giving way at every point. In the external life of the Empire, a just government, providing for every one of its subjects complete security of person and property, and giving them perfect religious liberty, is adapting its public laws and forms of administration more fully to the circumstances of the time; and is introducing the natives more numerously to those posts of duty and of usefulness for which they become fitted. The order and peace of the country, encouraging production and trade, have raised the wages of labour, and given the peasant a command of comfort which he never knew before. Englishmen have done many wrong things in India, for which they have been justly chastised. But a new spirit has entered into the public government of the Empire, and during the last seven years, a degree of improvement and a solid advance have taken place, in the course of legislation and in the material wealth of the empire, of which none, except men who have seen it, have any idea. Three Universities, whose annual examinations in the English and native languages draw hundreds of native students, stand at the summit of a sound system of education which is spreading more widely every year.