« ForrigeFortsæt »
touch the great wage-earning class. What enormous wealth there must be in this land to-day. We are the principal merchants of the world. Our ships are in every harbour; our sons on every shore, drawing in to us by a thousand hands all the wealth and comfort of the world. What a responsibility Great Britain has to the world. Surely God has not given us this position simply that we may aggrandise ourselves, make our name great, build for ourselves ceiled houses, and gather all the treasures of the world. We have avenues of access to the world more numerous, free, and influential than any other people. What an appeal to our Christian spirit. God has opened the whole world to-day, and says to His children, "I want to see the sincerity of your love; here is your opportunity go and make Christ known to the
world." And the world is crying out for Christ. The people are passing away. The weak races need the proclamation of salvation, and the strong races of the earth need the Gospel as a salt-a purifying influence to keep them from being a curse instead of a blessing. I look at China with its enormous material resources, half asleep; but getting waked up remarkably; and I ask, what will happen to the world if China goes out into the ways of modern progress without Christ. The consequences to the world will be appalling. God has given us the opportunity of taking to the strong, as well as the weak races, the one thing which is allied with life and salvation wherever it comes. May God give us grace to be faithful to our responsibilities, and to realise the unspeakable privilege of spending and being spent for Him Who gave Himself for us.
THE HINDU'S DIFFICULTY.
Ar a meeting at Bolarum, Mr. Moodookrishniah Naidoo, a Christian missionary, gave a lecture on the Claims of Christianity, in English, which appears to have been well received. A Hindu gentleman then asked and received permission to state some of the difficulties which occurred to every Hindu on the subject of Christianity, the chief difficulty, in his own estimation, being: How it was possible for perfect Justice to accept another's sacrifice in lieu of the sinner's punishment? Instead of replying the lecturer asked the objector to accept a pamphlet in which the matter was discussed. Having mentioned this objection we feel disposed to say a few words about the difficulty raised. Supposing that perfect Justice is on the throne, three ways of dealing with the sinner may be considered. First, on the principle of a strict administration of law. This requires that the transgressor should remain for ever under the wrath of God. This means that all mankind shall so abide. For all men have set up their own will against God, sought their own pleasure in life, broken-in heart or in life-the commandments of God. The law knows nothing of forgiveness or of redemption. If sinners choose to be dealt with on this basis, there is nothing in Christianity to hinder them. They may be pitied, but they cannot be helped. There remains, then, the way of sacrifice. This may be sacrifice rendered by the sinner for his own sin. He has sinned indeed, and forfeited the favour of God; but let him perform some extraordinary works of penance or privation of voluntary pain, and thus regain the favour of God. Here we have a very wide departure from strict justice. Νο trace of anything like this appears in human legislation. A man who takes the life of another is not let off from the gallows by making a gash in his own arm. God has made us that we should serve Him with all our powers, all our days and moments, though we lived a lakh of years. How can a man do more than serve God with all his heart, mind, and strength? It is impossible, in the nature of the case. Again, the sinner's faculties are all defiled by sin. But the command of God positively rejects the service rendered with defiled and injured powers. It thus becomes evident that a sinner can never recover the favour of God by his own efforts. There remains, then, the third alternative. The sinner must be saved by the sacrifice of another. But we have already seen that no sinner can render an acceptable sacrifice. It is then evident that an acceptable sacrifice can only be rendered by one who is sinless and who is not under law. We want a perfect human being, one who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth; and one who is also divine and so not under obligations to the law. Such a Saviour we have in Christ Jesus. He was holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners, and was also God manifest in the flesh. He tasted death for every man. His divine nature gave infinite dignity to His sufferings and death, so that it became meet for divine justice to receive and forgive all sinners who believed on Him and placed all their hope of eternal life upon Him.
Thus we see that if strict Justice is on the throne, there is but one do or o
hope opened for sinners, whether Cristians or non-Christians,-viz., through the blood of the everlasting covenant, tle Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. "I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Me.” But no man is drawn against his will. If any man prefer to continue under the law of his own deserts, he is free to do so. But that means the abiding wrath of God.-G. B.
THE following article, by Mr. Polhill Turner, appeared recently in China's Millions:
The word Tu-ba-teh is one of the Chinese names for Thibet, from which the English name may be derived. Tsang or Si-Tsang are the more usual Chinese designations; Bod-yul the Thibetan.
At one time Thibet was independent, ruled by its own kings. In 1717, the king was killed in a conspiracy by his ministers. One of the officials who escaped sought the assistance of the Chinese Emperor. Aid was given, and the rebellion quelled; but Thibet from that time (1720) became a dependency of the Chinese Empire, and two Chinese "ambans," or ministers, were placed, the one at Lhasa, the other at Shigatse. A little later the Emperor of China committed the nominal government of the country to the Dalai Lama, the head of the Buddhist faith, who resides at Lhasa. In 1751, during the minority of the Dalai Lama, this was put into the hands of a council of Lamas, presided over by one termed "King of Thibet." The Chinese Government now finds it convenient never to allow a Dalai Lama to reach his majority. Practically, the Chinese exercise all the secular authority through their two ministers at Lhasa and at Shigatse, both of whom are responsible to the Viceroy of Sichu'en.
The Thibetans have no code of laws; tradition is the arbiter. fines are the usual penalties. The Lamas have the power of inflicting death on a monk for a severe infringement of discipline. The Thibetans belong to the Mongol family, and are usually short in stature, strong, and active, splendid horsemen, fond of merriment, but lacking in perseverance. Their great failings are immorality and wine-drinking. Less civilised and less haughty than the Chinese, they are not less superstitious, and more religious.
The language is only less difficult to acquire than the Chinese. Instead of the 40,000 characters of the latter, the Thibetans have an alphabet of thirty letters; the sounds are more guttural than the Chinese, and without the latter language's difficulty of "tones." Writing was introduced from India along with the Buddhist religion. The letters are an adaptation from the Sanskrit. The Lamas are adepts at writing, using a bamboo pen, shaped somewhat like our own, and Indian ink. Many of the books are printed, the wooden blocks being cut by the Lamas. The paper used is prepared from the papyrus grass, or the thin Chinese paper is used, several sheets being pasted together to form one thick sheet.
Half the population live in houses; the other half in tents. In the immediate neighbourhood of Lhasa, in Amdo, and a few other parts, houses are built of mud, wood, or stone, with one or two stories and flat roofs, the window, if there be one, being just a square hole in the wall. Tents are woven, for the most part, of yak's hair, and arranged in camps of from four to fifteen tents, and usually several huge Thibetan mastiffs loiter about outside, and are a real cause of danger and alarm to any approaching travellers.
What strikes a traveller most on entering Thibet is the religious nature of the people. At every turn one is confronted with the objects of their worship or superstition-prayer-flags and prayer-mills on the houses, water prayer-mills, hand prayer-mills, each containing a quantity of written or printed prayers; chodtens, or monuments containing the relics of saints; obos, or huge piles of stones to ward off evil spirits on the high roads; sheep's shoulder-blades, inscribed with prayers, strung in festoons across the roads; even the blazing fire on the hearth fans and keeps in motion a prayer-mill hanging from the ceiling. Every one met with has round his neck a charm-box containing an image of Buddha, and in his hand a rosary, on
which he repeats the formula, "Om mani padme hum" (Oh! the jewel in the Lotus), or a prayer-wheel which he never stops whirling. Frequently one meets with individuals or companies on pilgrimage. I have overtaken a whole village population, men, women, and children, making the circuit of a holy mountain by prostrating themselves at full length over every inch of the way, regardless of snow and cold, the nights and days of a whole week being thus spent in the open. Women sometimes "obtain merit" by marching round and round monasteries or other sacred spots with fifty or sixty pounds' weight of sacred looks strapped to their backs.
At the larger monasteries, as Kumbum, fairs are held several times in the year, and people from far and near come to trade, to enjoy themselves, and to worship at the shrines, the monks providing several days' hospitality for their relations and friends. These monasteries are very numerous. In the immediate vicinity of Lhasa there are thirty monasteries, with 32,000 monks. Near Si-ning I have visited four monasteries, with an aggregate of 9,500 monks, besides very many smaller establishments. The larger monasteries are endowed by the Emperor of China. Some are very rich, possessing extensive estates, besides what accrues from the people's freewill offerings. Each monastery consists of a series of buildings-from one to twelve idol temples (Lha kang), large, lofty, and gorgeous, in central positions, and around and about these the neatly-whitewashed dwellings of the monks (mi kang). The monks are usually clad in red serge robes and shawls, their shaven heads bare, and their feet shod with long leather boots.
The Thibetan religion is, of course, Buddhism, but a peculiar form of it, consisting of the worship of the Buddha, who, having himself attained the "Nirvana," or state of non-sentient existence which is the goal of Buddhist ambition, has, out of compassion, consented to again become incarnate and live in Thibet, in order to help the people "Nirvana-wards" and free mankind from its sorrows. The Dalai Lama of Lhasa is the great re-incarnation of Buddha, and occupies the same position in Lamaism as the Pope does in the Church of Rome. There is another "Living Buddha" at the monastery of Trashilunpo, second only in rank to the Dalai Lama, while lesser lights are very numerous. Divine honours are paid to them, as well as to the idols representing Buddha. Only a limited number, even among the monks, know anything of the mysteries of the faith, and this itself is quite a different thing from the Buddhism described in the theosophical writings of the present day.
Of all the numerous travellers who have sought to reach Lhasa, the sacred capital, only three Europeans have succeeded-an Englishman, Manning, in 1816, who had an interview with the Dalai Lama; and two French priests, Huc and Gabet, in 1844, who were permitted to reside a month at the capital. In all other cases the rigidly exclusive policy pursued by the Chinese and Thibetans combined has successfully prevented the intrusion of any European. The difficulties in the way of carrying the Gospel to this people are apparent, and may be summed up under three heads: (1) Political and ecclesiastical exclusiveness; (2) physical barriers; (3) the lawless and uncivilised state of the country. Up to the present time no Protestant missionary has ever been allowed to settle within Thibet.
The brave and indomitable Moravians have for forty years been toiling among the Thibetan-speaking population of Kashmir on the west. They have now ten missionaries in three stations, one of which, Leh, is the capital of Ladak in the territory of the Maharajah of Kashmir; the other two, Poo and Kyelang, are in British territory. Though apparent results are not large, yet the work done in the translation of the whole New Testament, parts of the Old, many tracts and educational books is invaluable, and has laid a great foundation on which new work may be built, while the scattering of these and of the story of the Gospel within the country by means of those who visit the mission stations are seed-corn which will, when God's time comes, yield an abundant harvest. Of later missions, the Scandinavian Alliance, U.S.A., has recently stationed a band of missionaries in the neighbourhood of Darjeeling; and five from Rev. A. B. Simpson's International Alliance Mission, U.S.A., were announced to sail last autumn for the same neighbourhood. Then the departure of Miss Annie Taylor and her fourteen associates in the Thibetan Pioneer Mission will be fresh in the minds of many; their centre
also being, at first, Darjeeling. On the eastern or Chinese side of Thibet the C.I.M. has two stations near the border; one in the north at Si-ning, a day's journey from the Kumbum monastery, and a few days from other Thibetan and Chinese trading centres; the other at Sung-p'an, itself a great centre of trade between the two peoples, and within easy reach of numerous Thibetan villages and monasteries. From this town my wife and I were expelled by the Chinese after two months' residence, in July 1892; but the place has been retained as a mission station, and Mr. Horsburgh, of the Church Missionary Society, has kindly allowed two members of his mission to reside there pro tem. His work has, however, been confined to the Chinese. Two members of the International Alliance Mission are learning the Thibetan language at Peking, preparatory to work on the border. There are, therefore, including ourselves, only four who, so far, have any prospect of working for the Thibetans of this eastern district-an area of 700 miles from north to south by any distance up to and beyond 1,000 miles to the west-and yet, here we have a people readily accessible to all who, besides the ordinary qualifications of a missionary, have enough physical endurance to "rough it" a little, and are able to acquire the Thibetan language as well as the Chinese. This had been done years ago by Roman Catholic missionaries. Are Protestant missionaries not ready to do for their Lord and Master what these do for their "Church"? "How long are ye slack to go in to possess the land?" Is my reader to have any dealings with the Lord about this matter? What we Thibetan missionaries long for and ask you for is your "fervent, effectual prayer." Prayer can unlock barred doors, can loose stammering tongues, can make seared consciences tender, can open shut hearts, can loose the captives of sin and falsehood. I am persuaded that the "shut door" of prayer (Matt. vi. 6) is the way to the "open door" in the work of evangelisation and conversion, and is the one great present need.
BRIEF NOTICES OF BOOKS.
THE Religious Tract Society have sent us a budget of their various publications, and it is scarcely necessary for us to say that all these volumes are worthy of the Society from which they issue.
The Sunday at Home maintains its old and distinguished character as one of the best, if not the best, of the monthlies for Sunday reading. The annual volume contains over 800 pages, and is profusely illustrated with coloured plates and other pictures. In this yolume may be found something for every member of the household; and it includes interesting papers by Archdeacon Sinclair, Rev. Dr. Maclaren, Rev. Dr. Monro Gibson, Rev. Dr. Glover, and many other wellknown writers. We cannot imagine anything more suitable for a Christmas or New Year gift than one of these beautiful volumes.
The Leisure Hour retains its well-earned position among high-class magazines, and we can cordially recommended it as a gift-book suitable to be placed in the hands of any person, in whatever station of life; for all will find some pages of interest among the numerous articles and stories.
The Boys' Own Annual, for 1894, is a handsome volume containing over 800 pages of interesting reading, and is illustrated by twelve coloured plates, besides hundreds of other pictures. There are, of course, the usual leading stories which contain enough of adventure to satisfy the legitimate cravings even of present-day youth. The shorter stories are also sure to be warmly appreciated; while the articles on amusements, pastimes, and games, are valuable from a technical
point of view. In fact, the whole volume is, in itself, a library of interesting and useful information.
The Girls' Own Annual for 1894 is similar in size and style to the Boys' Own; and we cannot praise it more highly than by saying it is equal to the other. This volume is also profusely illustrated, and contains a great mass of useful reading. There are the serial stories, and also short tales by well-known authors, as well as several pages of new music; while papers on general subjects of interest are written by such eminent writers as Sir Benjamin W. Richardson, M.D., Esther Palliser, and others. It should be added that both these last-mentioned volumes are published in monthly parts, which commence with November.
The Daisies of Nazareth, by HUGH MACMILLAN, D.D., LL.D. (Religious Tract Society), is a beautiful volume by the author of Bible Teachings in Nature. Dr. Macmillan is one of the most sympathetic students of nature in our day; and the charming style of his various writings most attractively set forth the harmonies between the Word and the works of God. The volume now before us abounds with vivid description and apt illustration drawn from the daisies of Nazareth, as the author found them growing on a hill behind the little It is a book which would form a very useful present for young people of either sex.
A Forgotten Great Englishman, by JAMES BAKER (Religious Tract Society), gives us the story of the life and work of Peter Payne, an Englishman who, in the fifteenth century, went to Bohemia, and spent his life in spreading the
doctrines of Wycliffe and Huss. Peter Payne was evidently one of the English reformers before the Reformation, and his story has great interest as that of a noble witness for the truth in the dark ages.
The Householder's Treasure, by the Rev. F. BOURDILLON, M.A. (Religious Tract Society).— This volume of nearly 300 pages is not, as some might suppose it to be, a housekeeper's treasure, but it contains a series of homilies on things new and old. It is called a plain book on serious subjects, for occasional reading, and is certainly calculated to be most useful in this connexion.
The Missionary Birthday Book is a daily textbook compiled by Miss CURRIE, and is interleaved with ruled paper for autographs and birthdays. It contains a verse of the Bible, and part of a hymn bearing upon missionary effort, for each day in the year, and also includes much valuable information on the subject of Missions and Missionary Societies.
My First Communion, by JAMES WELLS, D.D. (Religious Tract Society), is a munual for young communicants, and sets forth, in clear and simple language, the meaning of the Lord's Supper.
Luther Anecdotes, by Dr. MACAULAY; The Story of Charles Ogilvie, by GEO. E. SARGENT; The Soul's Wardrobe, by Rev. W. A. CHALLACOMBE; Emily Ellet's Journal; Life's Battle Lost and Won; Self-Improvement; Sunbeams for Dark Days-are all published by the Religious Tract Society, and each deserves a wide circulation.
Secrets of a Beautiful Life, by J. R. MILLER, D.D. (Hodder & Stoughton). This is a volume of nearly 300 pages, in which the author gives us twenty-four chapters working out the ideas of the beautiful life which should characterise God's children. We have already received several of Dr. Miller's previous volumes, and we can only say this is as beautifully written and as spiritual as the preceding volumes.
The Zenana; or, Woman's Work in India. This is the first volume of the monthly magazine of the Zenana Bible & Medical Mission. It is beautifully illustrated and contains a vast amount of information regarding work amongst the women of India, in which British Christians might well take a very much deeper interest than they appear to do.
THE monthly meeting of Council was held on Thursday, November 8, Mr. John Paton presiding. After a passage of Scripture had been read by the Chairman, prayer was offered by the Rev. Bishop Taylor.
The following persons were unanimously admitted to membership :—
The death was reported of the following valued friends of the Alliance: Colonel Puget, Mrs. Henderson (widow of the late John Henderson, of Park), Dr. Lunn, of Hull, the Rev. W, A. C. Fremantle, and Mr. J. G. Morison, of Eastbourne. The Council instructed the Secretary to convey the expressions of their sympathy with the bereaved families.
A letter was read from Sir William Willis, thanking the Council for selecting him as one of the Vice-Presidents of the Alliance and accepting the office.
A letter was also read from the Rev. Dr. Nicholas, of Belfast, accepting his appointment as a Member of Council.
UNIVERSAL WEEK OF PRAYER.
The Secretary reported the final arrangements for the London meetings during the Week of Prayer, presenting a list of the chairmen and speakers for the various days.
RELIGIOUS LIBERTY IN TURKEY.
On the subject of religious liberty in Turkey, communications were read from