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Pastor Stephen Bonnet, in transmitting the subscriptions of thirteen members of the Alliance in the Valleys, writes: "There are so many objects for which we ask subscriptions that we are able to send only a small amount for the Evangelical Alliance." We extract the following particulars from M. Bonnet's letter to the General Secretary of the Alliance. During the first week of this year they had, as usual, many crowded meetings in the villages, following the programme for the Week of Prayer as given in Evangelical Christendom. He says: "I should like you to have seen the assemblies in the three churches as well as in many other centres of activity in the Valley of Angrogna. Despite bad roads, snow and frost, these meetings were often overflowing, the people listening eagerly to the Word of God and uniting in fervent prayer. More than 500 meetings of various kinds have been held in the district during the past year, and this winter 300 children have been attending our seven Sunday-schools under the care of fifty teachers, and they are amongst the sweetest flowers in the Lord's Garden.'"
There is a widely scattered population of about 2,000, and sixteen day schools have 450 pupils, whose ages vary from five to sixteen years; of these children some are of Roman Catholic parentage, but they attend the Waldensian schools in spite of the priests. There are also four Young Men's and Young Women's Christian Associations, with an average attendance of 150 members. The winter has been a bad one for the health of the population, and M. Bonnet was unwell for a time and unable to carry on his useful work, but having regained strength he wishes to spend it in his Master's service.
In expressing his thanks for Evangelical Christendom, which he receives regularly, he adds: "This valuable periodical helps me as Editor of Le Témoinour Waldensian paper. May the Lord bless the great work entrusted to your hands."
WE extract the following from our Constantinople correspondence :
The annual meeting of the Constantinople Branch of the Evangelical Alliance was held at the Dutch Chapel in Pera on May 22, with a good attendance. The Rev. Dr. Washburn presided and gave a summary of the great objects of the Alliance. These objects, he said, were four: (1) The extension of the principles of religious liberty throughout the world. (2) The improvement of the condition and the work of the Protestant churches throughout the world. (3) The bringing about of a union among Christians. Three plans had been proposed and supported: (a) Organic union; (b) Federation; (c) A working union of individual churches and of individual Christians. Little or no progress has been made in carrying out the first and second plans, but the third presented many hopeful features. (4) To ally churches and Christians in the solution of the great social problems of the day.
The Rev. A. F. Schauffler, D.D., of New York, gave an interesting address, with illustrations drawn from his own experience in City Mission Work, upon the methods by which the Alliance can apply forces to the solution of social questions. He gave a vivid picture of the diverse and far-reaching activities of the modern city Church, with its guilds, associations, and Sunday-schools, and its great corps of volunteer workers reaching out to the bodies, minds and souls of the masses, by organised union of the powers of individual Christians. The great point emphasised in the address was that in elevating degraded men, the only effective force is Evangelical, Gospel Truth. No philosophy or mere humanitarianism can do the work, but the love of Christ the crucified Saviour can and does do it.
The closing address was by the Rev. F. D. Greene, of the American Mission at Van. He alluded to the peculiar method of Christian work adopted by the Missionaries at Van, where the apathy or possibly the broader views of the Gregorian Armenian Church has made possible the continuance of an Evangelical enterprise without the formation of a separate Protestant community. Mr. Greene's
mental attitude toward the Protestant Churches of Turkey was rather startling to the most of his audience, and, like some of his opinions respecting the Gregorian Church, will, perhaps, be modified by a few more years of experience and observation. Yet, upon the fundamental theory of his address, few would differ from Mr. Greene-namely, that the acceptance of institutional Protestantism should not be deemed an indispensable condition of the evangelisation of the Armenians of Turkey.
The Rev. Dr. Washburn was re-elected Chairman of the Branch of the Alliance for the next year, and the Rev. Mr. Dwight, Secretary.
EUROPEAN TURKEY MISSION.
For the first time in many years, the annual meeting of the European Turkey Mission assembled this year in Constantinople. The sessions opened on April 26, and closed on May 7. None of the reports, either of institutions or of special work, contained this year any features of unusual interest; but, taken as a whole, they revealed a period of steady though slow growth with enough encouraging features to more than counterbalance what was discouraging. Financial stringency and other discouragements were reported; but the encouragements were increased liberality in various places, outstanding instances of the quickening and deepening of spiritual life in persons and communities as the result of troubles undergone, widespread interest in the temperance cause, and new signs that the Evangelical work is influencing, strongly and favourably, the mass of the people that remains attached to the old Church.
Among the items of business transacted, the following may be mentioned :— It was determined, with the sanction of the Prudential Committee, to open a station-the Mission's fifth-at Salonica, the progress of the work in Macedonia demanding this. The importance of Salonica as a railway centre and the seat of government for the vilayet led to its selection rather than Seres, which had hitherto been thought of in this connexion; and by the re-distribution of territory between the stations it is hoped that Mr. Baird will be able to press the Albanian work more from Monastir, and the Samokov brethren the work in their school, town, and immediate vicinity.
The Mission reaffirmed its view that it would be unwise, indeed impossible, to restrict its educational work to the theological training of preachers. In a country where a great majority of the public-school teachers are more or less pronounced infidels, and where the Christian influences of the Mission Schools are still in many families valued enough to outweigh their prejudices against the name of Protestant, any such restriction would be disastrous both to the country and to the work carried on.
It was regretfully stated that the negotiations for the appointment of a person to represent officially at Sophia the entire body of Bulgarian Protestants had failed. The opinion was expressed that the Protestants of southern Bulgaria would therefore appoint their own representative, and thus the misfortune of a dual representation will probably eventually be realised.
The entire meeting was refreshing and helpful; and the social mid-day lunches were specially enjoyed. To the dwellers in this big city it was almost a revelation that a ten days' visit to its noise and hurry could come as a welcome change from the monotony and shut-in-ness of life in a quiet town under snowcapped mountains.
THE FIRST PROTESTANT BELIEVER IN JAPAN. THE Japan Evangelist gives the following, compiled by J. Maeda :
Murata Wakasa-no-Kami was born in 1815. Destined to be " a foundation stone" for the edifice of Protestantism in Japan, he nevertheless came into the world under the shadow of the awful persecutions of the Christians in the seventeenth century. Nearly two hundred years had elapsed since the edicts prohibiting the "evil sect" were first promulgated and published permanently all over the empire, and since the new order that as long as the sun should shine no foreigners should enter Japan or natives leave it; and these dangerous prohibitions were still in force when our subject first saw the light of life and of the world.
This first known believer of Protestantism in Japan was a son of Nabeshima Magorokurō, a relative of the "Daimyō," or Prince, of Saga, Hizen, Kiushiu. When he was a boy, he became the heir of the Murata family; and when a man was appointed a minister of the Daimyō. He proved to be a faithful officer and always enjoyed the esteem and confidence of his master. While engaged in his official duties he met a Dutchman one day who gave him a picture of the great battle of Sebastopol. The martial arrangements and soldierly bravery delineated in the picture filled his mind with admiration, and led his thoughts indirectly to the Christian religion as an answer to questions suggested by the picture. When English and French men-of-war anchored at Nagasaki in 1855, the Shōgun commanded the two Daimyō of Saga and Fukuoko to guard the port. Wakasa was the commander of the Saga men. One day, when he was patrolling the port, he found a strange book in the water and told one of his men to pick it up. Neither he nor they whom he met and questioned knew what book it was or what its contents were. So after he returned home, his growing curiosity prompted him to seek an explanation; and to accomplish his burning desire to know what the book was, he sent one of his men, Eguchi Baitei, to Nagasaki, ostensibly to study medicine, but in fact the new book. Baitei entered more or less into the spirit of his master's curiosity. He soon learned from the Dutch that the book was the Holy Bible, the Word of God, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He caught its general idea, and reported all he had heard and learned to his master. Afterwards Wakasa heard that a Chinese version was published at Shanghai. He secretly sent a man there, and bought a copy. Henceforth he, together with his younger brother and some friends, earnestly studied the Scriptures day and night. When this younger brother went to Nagasaki in 1862, to get aid in understanding the Bible, he unexpectedly met the Rev. Dr. Verbeck, a missionary of the Reformed Church in America. He asked him many questions. The following spring he visited the missionary again to tell him to escape from the danger of being killed by some reckless conservative young men. Verbeck heeded the warning and went to China.
After a time Dr. Verbeck returned to Nagasaki. Murata Wakasa-no-Kami then sent his relative, Motono Shūzō, who had been studying Chinese in Osaka, to Nagasaki to study English and the Bible from him. Dr. Verbeck kindly taught Wasaka and others through this channel. Motono served faithly as a messenger, carrying questions and answers back and forth. This wonderful Bible-class lasted almost three years. These eager pupils came to understand Christianity more fully. They grew in faith and determined to be baptised. Wakasa had to state their determination to the Daimyō, for it was a violation of the edict against the "evil sect"; but Ayabe, his younger brother, proposed that it might be better to do so after baptism. So, on the 14th day of May 1866, they visited Dr. Verbeck. It was a memorable occasion. It was Wakasa's first interview with his yet unseen teacher, and they were exceedingly glad to see each other. The "samurai" told the missionary his own career for eleven years, from the time of his finding the Bible in the water to this meeting with his long unseen teacher. He bore witness to the fact that he had been most deeply moved by the simple record of Christ's person and life. At last, Wakasa, Ayabe and Motono declared their determination to Dr. Verbeck, professed their faith in Christ, were baptised, and partook of the Lord's Supper. This took place on the 20th day of May 1866. Bravely but peaceably did these warriors enter the higher service of the Lord of all. Wakasa was then fifty-one years old. When these fervent Christians on their return reported to the Daimyō what they had done, he, seeing the firmness of their faith, left them unquestioned. The Imperial Government on hearing of Wakasa's conversion commanded the Prince to punish him. The only semblance of obedience to this order was to burn some of the subject's books.
Murata Wakasa-no-Kami's last years were spent calmly, he having retired to a villa in Kubota, where in rural quietude, surrounded by the most beautiful scenery, he lived in the sweet embrace of nature. It is said that in those days he was engaged in translating the Bible from Chinese into Japanese. At the end, he, praying for the future victory of Christianity in Japan, smilingly left this world in 1874, being sixty years old. It was two years before his death that the first Protestant Church was organised at Yokohama. Happy fruits of love and labour, gathered after many days
by other hands than his, bear witness to Wakasa's earnest zeal and faithful efforts for the conversion of his children, friends, and servants. His memory is deeply cherished by Christians still living, who, in earlier days, felt the power of his earnest personality. In his own family tree there are good and fruitful branches that are green and flourishing in Jesus Christ.
A CITY TEMPLE FOR MADRAS.
THE REV. Maurice Phillips, of the London Missionary Society, writes:
After labouring in the district of Salem, in South India, for twenty-four years, I was transferred at the commencement of 1886 to the city of Madras to preach to the masses in their own language, the Tamil. There were about sixteen missionaries in connexion with various Protestant societies, but, with one or two exceptions, all devoted their time to English teachings in Schools and Colleges.
I took with me three well-trained evangelists, and selected certain centres in different parts of the city where we could preach without interfering with the public thoroughfares. After every meeting we offer Bibles and Christian books for sale, answer objections, and sometimes engage in public discussions.
We were greatly encouraged during the year. Hundreds listened attentively to our message, and many eagerly bought our books. But in the second year the zealots of Hinduism took fright. They summoned a meeting to consider our preaching, and what means should be used to counteract its influence; and, as the result, they established the "Hindu Tract Society" and the "Hindu Preaching Society."
The "Hindu Tract Society" sent forth thousands of tracts, pamphlets, and handbills against Christianity every week. In these publications, the infidel objections made against the Bible in England and America were reproduced, missionaries were held up to ridicule, and the people were warned not to listen to them. A few extracts from the tracts will show what a tremendous excitement the simple preaching of the Gospel in the vernacular caused. "Missionaries come from England at great cost, and tell us that we are in heathen darkness, and that a bundle of fables, called the Bible, is the true Vedam (inspired word) which can enlighten us. They have cast their net over our children by teaching them in their schools; and they have already made thousands of Christians and are continuing to do so. They have penetrated into the most out-of-the-way villages and built churches there. If we continue to sleep as we have done in the past, not will be found worshipping in our temples in a very short time; nay, the temples themselves will be converted into Christians churches." Then, with an indignation worthy of a better cause, the writer exclaims: "Do you not know that the number of Christians is increasing, and the number of Hindu religionists is decreasing every day? How long will water remain in a well which continually lets out, but receives none in? If our religion be incessantly drained by Christianity without receiving any accessions, how can it last? When our country is turned into the wilderness of Christianity, will the herb of Hinduism grow?' Again: "Patriots of India, be warned in time! Do your duty! The Christian belief is slowly making way. It works secretly and stealthily. Hinduism is being daily robbed of its votaries! Patriots of India, reflect well on our danger! Can you bear to see sacrilegious hands deface or destroy our holy inheritance. We have slept long enough, shall we not now at least, with a great and grave danger looming before us in all its huge and hideous proportions, shake off our lethargy? Patriots of India, rise and gird up your loins for the coming struggle! And may heaven guide your efforts, prosper them, and crown them with reward!" It is a curious coincidence that when the Hindus in Madras were thus wailing over the great progress of the Gospel, Canon Taylor in England was wailing over the "Great Missionary Failure!"
The literature distributed by the Hindu Tract Society in the city and throughout South India, instead of hindering our work had the contrary effect. It created more interest in the Gospel, which resulted in larger congregations, and increased sale of Christian books. To answer the current objections against the Bible made in
the Hindu tracts, and to advocate its claims by means of the press, a monthly paper called The Messenger of Truth was started, and its success has been far beyond our anticipations. Though it is sold for one pie a copy, it has reached a yearly circulation of more than a hundred thousand!
The "Hindu Preaching Society" sent forth a number of men to the streets and bazaars to preach Hinduism and abuse Christianity. At one time these preachers could be seen standing in almost every street, and the religious fermentation produced was marvellous! Two or three of them were daily told off to follow us and to start opposition preaching close to us, so as to attract our audience. At first they succeeded; but after a while they failed, the people remarking: "What is the use of listening to these preachers? They can tell us nothing but what we know. They always abuse Christians and their religion; why should they do so? It is not right." When they failed to break up our meetings by preaching, they resorted to physical force. They set the roughs upon us to push us down so as to trample us under their feet, and to stone us! And many a stone has been thrown at us in that city of Madras! While preaching one morning two well-aimed stones were thrown rapidly, one after the other, at me, and the second inflicted a wound more than an inch long on my head above the temple. Had I not worn a thick felt helmet at the time, the probability is that the skull would have been fractured! We never found out the culprit. We were glad to find, however, that the audience did not sympathise with that treatment. Men and women ran for water, and did all they could to staunch the profuse bleeding. One man tore off a piece of his cloth and tied it round my head. We appeared next morning on the very same spot preaching again. We felt that the crisis had come, and that we must either conquer by the power of God, or the heathen by the power of the devil. We determined to continue to preach, though stones came pouring down upon us like rain from heaven -aye, and to lay down our life rather than give in! And God gave us the victory. From that time the opposition began to wane, and within three years, the Hindu Tract Society" and the "Hindu Preaching Society" collapsed; and one of the Hindu preachers was so touched by the Spirit of God that he embraced Christianity publicly by baptism.
We feel that the time has come to provide a suitable preaching hall, which, ander God's blessing, will be a powerful means of bringing the Gospel to bear on the 400,000 inhabitants of Madras. I propose to build such a room, somewhat after the plan of a Hindu temple, so that the people may come in and out freely as they do in their own temples. If built in English style they will not do so. I propose that preaching be carried on in it all day, and every day in the week, by relays of preachers. It will be used also for delivering lectures to educated Hindus and for magic-lantern exhibitions. I have conducted Sunday afternoon lectures in English for the last six years with an attendance ranging between 50 and 200. And as I intend to build this Gospel-hall after the plan of a Hindu temple, I propose to call it "The Madras City Temple." Besides the large hall, which will accommodate about 500 persons, there will be a small reading-room, where the people can sit down and read the Bible and Christian books, and a consulting-room where inquirers can meet us. And as long as strength is given me to preach, no uncertain sound shall go forth from that temple-sound, accompanied by the Spirit of God, that shall influence, not only the inhabitants of Madras, but, more or less, the inhabitants of all South India. "The Madras City Temple" will cost a thousand pounds (£1,000).
WE quote, from The Gospel in All Lands, the following extracts from an interesting paper by the Rev. Thomas B. Wood, D.D., of Peru, and entitled " 'Beginnings of Light in Darkest America." First, a little congregation was started in Callao. It lived through tremendous hostility, suffering mob violence and the arrest of its pastor, Penzotti, lasting over eight months. Later, another was founded in Lima under assurances from both friends and foes that it could not be maintained, with threats that blood should be shed before it would be tolerated. But it has gone on for over a year and is still growing. Preparations are making to organise similar