« FöregåendeFortsätt »
his anvil, "this is life with a vengeance-
burst upon us with its awful disclosures, and its changeless state. With us the night is passing away; the day, the unending day, is at hand. Not in vain, then, was that exhortation of the apostle, "Be ye sober." But if this is applicable to the private Christian, with what added emphasis does it appeal to the Christian minister! If Paul could write to the Church of the Ephesians, that "foolish talking and jesting are not convenient," does not the charge come with double power to him who stands between the living and the dead, as the messenger of God to sinful and apostate man? Shall he, whose business is with eternity-the effect of whose labours will last long after the light of the sun has been quenched-shall he stoop to mingle in the idle raillery of those around him? Shall he not rather bear ever written on the tablet of his mind that confession of David: "There is not a word on my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether!" With what feelings can he pass from the midst of levity to join in the solemn duties of his profession? He may be summoned while the half-uttered jest is yet upon his lips to go forth and see the last hours of some one committed to his charge-to stand by the dying sinner, when eternity is opening to his view, when his lips are quivering with a long-forgotten prayer, and for the first time he asks, in the agony of his spirit, "What shall I do to be saved?" Or, it may be his lot to administer the comforts of our most holy faith to the departing Christian, and to aid him in gathering (Composed on the Death of an eminent young up the energies of his soul for the last stern conflict. Will his spirit be fitted for duties like these when he has just been mingling in the frivolity of the world? No, if the Christian minister seeks nothing beyond his own spirituality, and that frame of mind which shall fit him to deal with the souls of dying men, he will let his conversation be such as become the Gospel of Christ.Presbyterian.
How universal it is. How few there are ready to say, "I am contented." Go where you will, among the rich or the poor, the man of competence or the man who earns his bread by the daily sweat of his brow, you hear the sound of murmuring and the voice of complaint. The other day we stood by a cooper, who was playing a merry tune with an adze round a cask. "Ah!" said he, "mine is a hard lot-for ever trotting round like a dog, driving away at a hoop." "Heigho!" sighed the blacksmith, in one of the hot days, as he wiped away the drops of perspiration from his brow, while his red-hot iron glowed on
Where the seraphs bright,
Where she wished to be,
Saviour, with Thee,
For ever free
Where we wish to meet, And hope to greet,
At Jesus' feet
THE SYNOD AND THE CHINA MISSION.
To the Editor of the " English Presbyterian Messenger."
SIR,-The approaching Meeting of Synod | Burns. God, in his wonderful providence,
must now be occupying the thoughts of many throughout the Church. What business will there be before it? What are the subjects that will chiefly engross the attention of its members? These are questions that are being put amongst all who take an interest in the Church's operations.
The changes which are going on in China, to which the attention of the readers of the "Messenger" has so frequently been directed, and which, by a competent eye-witness, have been pronounced as without a parallel in the history of Christianity, seem to indicate that the Mission in China will surely hold a large place on that occasion. Is it not a striking coincidence that Sunderland should have been chosen as the place of meeting under such circumstances; circumstances which, at the time it was fixed, no one could have believed would have arisen? It was there that, seven years ago (on the 20th April, 1847), the Church set apart her first missionary to China. The solemn and deeply-affecting meetings on that occasion, when Mr. Burns so unexpectedly appeared, and told the brethren that he believed that it was the will of God that he should go forth on that Mission, can never be forgotten by those who were present. What call is there to praise and bless the Lord for all that He has done for the Mission during these seven years, and especially that a great door, and effectual, is now opened to our missionaries: in their own words, "showing that a day of Gospel-light is beginning to dawn upon these so long benighted shores."
It would be a token for good were the Sunderland Septennial Synod to be rendered notable this time by a fresh effort on behalf of China, as it was, seven years ago, by the ordination of Mr.
by the events which are taking place is evidently calling to his servants to enter in and possess the land; and other Societies have, in consequence, been roused to make special appeals for China. London Missionary Society, the Church Missionary Society, the Chinese Evangelization Society, to say nothing of the Million-Testament-Fund, have all been putting in their claims, and, at the same time, warning Protestants that, if they do not hasten to furnish men rightly qualified for the work, Rome will occupy the field. Living agents to "preach the Word" is now the great desideratum, especially since the means for supplying the letter of the Word have been so amply contributed, so that no more is required for that purpose. Nowhere is the call greater than from Amoy, of which the American missionaries write "It is deeply to be regretted that a field of so much promise should be so inadequately supplied with labourers. The opportunity of usefulness which the American Mission enjoys are constantly multiplying; but the brethren have not strength to meet the demand which is made on them. They have called for assistance, but no person has gone to their relief."
It may be thought by some that the Church has already done its duty by sending out Mr. Johnston. But the appointment of another ministerial labourer was determined upon some years ago, altogether independent of the remarkable openings which have now taken place. Indeed the funds have been laying by for some years for supporting another missionary, and at the date of Mr. Johnston's ordination, were adequate to meet his charges of six years: so that, in fact, it is the Church of 1845-6 that maintains one of the missionaries. To this cause may perhaps be ascribed the small amount
mat on the earthen floor, and laid on one side of it a sack filled with straw-a seat primitive, but comfortable enough for a queen. Mrs. Woodhouse, during the short time she has been in Ithaca, has picked up almost a sufficient number of kindly phrases to maintain a kind, affable conversation in Greek; so that she greatly pleased the poor people by addressing them in their own tongue. After a pleasant quarter of an hour, she, on rising to come away, offered to the girl who wore her dowry on her head a small sum of money; but the mother would not allow her daughter to have it, and declared she was too much honoured by such a kind lady coming into her house. I may here remark that we all observed a striking difference between the Ionian and Continental Greeks, in this respect, that the latter are not, at least in the rural districts, nearly so grasping as the former: if they do take anything at all for little services, a very small sum contents them. I believe the more avaricious spirit of the Ionians has been in part fostered by the English, who are very flush with their silver for bridle-holding, and other little jobs. Leaving this village, we entered the pass, and ascended, by a track rough and steep, to the Tower of Thrasy bulus, who collected to this spot the followers with whose aid he expelled the thirty tyrants. This tower, by the rude masonry, gives proof of a hasty erection. Its position is very strong, and it commands a view of the plain of Attica, of the city, and of the blue gean Sea in the distance. The pass, to which it is the key, and through which there winds a track that connects the plain of Attica with that of Thebes, is bounded on both sides by mountains covered with pines and wild wood, and broken, at frequent intervals, by lofty, precipitous crags, which give the scene a very savage aspect. Having heard much of its grandeur, I was expressing myself to my countryman, Dr. Brown, as somewhat disappointed, and was saying that there were many unnoticed glens in Scotland as wild as this. "Well," said Col. Woodhouse, laughing, "you Scotchmen have always seen some grander scene in your own country. I suppose you could match this in the Highlands.' "Oh," said Dr. Brown, 66 we can match it in my native Cheviots, or among the hills to the north of Dumfriesshire." He then said, "I was once on a botanizing excursion, in the neighbourhood of Moffatt. We entered the glen by a path which might be termed a shelf in the rock-a woody precipice high above us, and a burn roaring far below us. We came to a waterfall, which rushed white and foaming across the path down to the burn beneath; and, on the other side, there rose, right up from the stream, a perpen
dicular rock, grander, I think, than any of these." I then said, "I think it grander, too." "What!" said Dr. Brown, "you know it then. But do you remember its name?" "Yes," I said; "I know it well -that is the Bell Crag Linn. It is within three miles of my birth-place." You can easily imagine how interesting this was to me. I could scarcely restrain my gathering tears and my heart was away far from the pass of Phyle, in that wild glen which I had often visited in my boyhood. I recalled the daring climb of one of my schoolfellows, near the steepest part of that rock, to a hawk's-nest, built, in ill-fancied security, among the bushes that fringed its summit, while I stood below and directed him to the spot with my hand, as the height was too great, and the burn too noisy, to permit my voice to be heard. That climb was young enterprise in embryo. The climber has since become rich, and settled down into a púrty Laird and farmer; while his companion in the youthful sport is not much richer in this world's goods now than he was then. But it was more than riches to him, to hear singled out that romantic dell in his native Annandale, and to be told that it excelled in grandeur even the classic pass of Phyle. It might well be added, that the Covenanters, who were hunted like beasts of the chase in the Bell Crag Linn by the bloody Claverhouse, bequeathed much richer blessings to old Scotland, by their suffering till they triumphed, than did Thrasybulus to Greece by the expulsion of the tyrants.
The excitement of the Greeks continues to increase; and I fear their sympathy for the Russian, and their hatred of the Turk, will ere long greatly complicate the Eastern question. There has been a revolt in Epirus, which has awakened the enthusiasm of the whole Greek race; and a deep fall of snow, blocking up the passes, has been the only hindrance to thousands joining the Epirotes from all parts. Mrs. Arnold thus describes the state of feeling in Athens :
"The roads are entirely blocked up with snow, which is, in some places, four feet deep. This is likely to cool the ardour of some of the volunteers. In the little village of Cassia there are about eight hundred men waiting for an opening to proceed to Epirus. Thousands are leaving Athens and the islands, and rushing to the aid of their oppressed brethren. The greatest enthusiasm prevails. The University is closed for a time it is said that more than 150 students have enlisted to fight their country's battles. Even the ladies have keenly entered into the warlike spirit, and they are employing their spare time in making lint for the wounded. The Queen takes the warmest interest in the movement, and says, if need
be, she will sell all her jewels, that the Greeks may have the means of freeing themselves from the Turks. Yesterday, the 15th, was the anniversary of her arrival in Greece, and it is usual, on this occasion, to give a grand ball in the evening; but this year it was not given, the Queen saying that she could not dance while the Greeks were suffering and bleeding. Is she not a Philellene? They have already begun to Zr-that is, "long live"-Otho as "Emperor of Constantinople!"
To show you the spirit that prevails, I may also transcribe for you the following declaration of independence by the Epi
"Four centuries has our noble nation borne the oppressive yoke of the barbarous Ottoman; and nothing but Divine Providence has till now preserved it from entire destruction.
"Our children have been mercilessly torn from the maternal embrace, in order to gratify the fierce appetite of the savage tyrant; our women have been shamefully dishonoured; our men have expired amid the horrors of torture and slavery; our holy religion has been desecrated, and our venerable priests have been wronged and hanged.
"Four centuries of shame, dishonour, tortures, and death, we now avenge by taking up arms for our religion and independence. Let no one entertain the unhallowed thought that to serve the interests of a foreign power we have now risen against our oppressors. No one can more shamefully traduce our cause than by entertaining such a thought. We call the omniscient God to witness that no other than national honour, national grandeur, the Greek name which we boast of bearing, and our duty to liberate our dear country from the opprobrious bondage of the Turk, have excited us to this unquailing conflict for Grecian freedom. It is the Cross against the Crescent. We proclaim to the whole world that our war against the Turks is one which we have inherited from our fathers; that it is a conflict of Europe against Asia -of light against darkness. In this sacred conflict we shall consider as an enemy him only who fights against our liberty, and as a friend him who in any way contributes to the destruction of Asiatic slavery, and to the establishment of Christianity, with independence, freedom, and equality.
"Greeks! ye who have not yet taken up arms in defence of liberty, hasten from every quarter to the country which has already cast the die in favour of you all. Young men! nerve your indomitable arms for the Grecian phalanx. Generals! be to us an Alexander
on our right hand, and a Pyrrhus on our left. Sages! come and enlighten us by your glowing words and patriotic counsels. Ye rich, pity the mother degraded to the condition of a beggar before her children! Descendants of Greeks, come! Be free our children and our women; be free the religion of our fathers, and the graves of our ancestors! The combat is now for all.
"Ye noble sons of happy and now enlightened Europe, assist us generously in this our sacred conflict. Remember our daring deeds for the existence of Europe itself, at Marathon and Salamis. Remember that, for a thousand years during the middle ages, we were the bulwark of Christendom against the barbarous hordes of Asia. Remember that, in our last and complete subversion, we benefited Europe by adorning it with the relics of our ancestral wisdom, with all joy communicated to you. Considering you, therefore, as fellow-combatants in inclination, we assure you that the present spontaneous movement for Greek nationality will ever be true to its predetermined and immutable object-the civilization of mankind by learning, liberty of conscience, and universal intercourse, the ardent love of personal freedom and of national independence. Invoking the Most High to witness and defend our cause, we rush boldly on to danger, resolved either to conquer or to die!
Lastly, we address you, Mohammedan citizens, and inhabitants of our fatherland. Peace be to you, if you assist us against our tyrants. Freedom, equality, honour, personal safety, will be yours as well as ours. Your improvement, your welfare, and your happiness, will be one of our chief considerations, as they are one of our greatest joys. On the other hand, we declare to you, in the name of the Omnipotent, that in fighting against us, or in opposing us in our sacred cause, you will render us as fierce as the panther, as savage as the tiger. Your blood shall dye the rivers and water the valleys; fire and the sword shall pitilessly destroy you, your houses, your cities, and your country!
February 5, 1854."
The above is very savage language; yet it is but the echo of man's thoughts when he "lets loose the dogs of war."
I fear we need to be strengthened rather than weakened. This war has already been a very bloody one; and I cannot help feeling that the support of the Turk is not a cause very worthy of western Christendom, though it must be admitted that the Russian is not much higher in civilization, and is acting very unjustly.
Men will propose, but the Most High will dispose and overrule all events for his own glory.
I wrote to Miss Webster as to the state of the school, &c. Two Greeks, one of them an amiable and talented priest, who knows a little English, have been lately paying frequent visits to me.
AT this time, when the religious and political condition of China is attracting so much attention, it becomes doubly interesting to ascertain the state of Missions within its borders. For ages it has been a stronghold of Satan; but now that by God's hand a breach has been made, the practical question is, what available force belonging to the Christian army is at hand, to enter in and take possession? We subjoin a partial answer. The statement made below is not complete, though we believe correct, so far as our intelligence extends. In it there is no mention.made of facts so well known to our readers, as the existence of our own Chinese Bible Scheme, or of the resolution of the British and Foreign Bible Society to send one million New Testaments to China; nor yet of the labours of our three valued missionaries, as details regarding them are given elsewhere in our pages. We wish to. look over our own hedge, and see what other brethren are doing for the Lord in China, that we may with understanding give them a hearty "God speed you!"
At Hong Kong the American Baptists have two missionaries, four native assistants, forty scholars, twenty-five communicants. The Basle Missionary Society has three missionaries and five native assistants. The Swedish Missionary Society has one missionary; the Berlin Association has two; and the London Missionary Society, three, one of whom is a medical man.
In Ningpo, the American Baptists have two missionaries, two native assistants, nine communicants. The American Presbyterian Board has nine missionaries, one native assistant, 126 scholars, nineteen communicants. The Church Missionary Society has three missionaries, one native assistant, three schools, sixty-two scholars.
At Canton, the American Board has five missionaries, one printer, two native assistants, nineteen communicants. The American Presbyterian Board has two missionaries, eighty scholars. The Wesleyan Missionary Society has four missionaries; and the London Missionary Society, one medical missionary, with five native assistants.
At Shanghai, Amoy, Foo-Choo, and other places, there are labourers connected with the Churches or Societies already named. Altogether, we find that thirteen religious
bodies belonging to Britain, the Continent of Europe, and America, at present maintain sixty-four missionaries, of whom seven are medical gentlemen, whose profession gives them superior opportunities of carrying the Gospel to the wretched. Besides, they have two printing-presses, twenty-seven native assistants, 388 day-scholars and boarders, with 132 communicants. Truly this is the day of small things. But we need not be fearful. It is recorded by the Spirit of God, that when the Church was gathered at Jerusalem, "The number of the names together were about one hundred and twenty." Yet, soon she counted her martyrs by thousands, her professors by nations. God is at this moment calling on the people to enter on a similar course of victory in China. He is going before them, and the idols are falling. The confidence of success should enliven and increase their exertions, knowing that their leader is "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever."
Notwithstanding the opposition of the authorities, an earnest religious movement makes progress in Sweden. At Geneva, the priests have succeeded in preventing the sale of an old Popish chapel to be used as a Protestant church. But it is hoped this event will only rouse the friends of the truth to more active exertions to have a new church speedily built.
The mind of Italy has departed from Rome; the crucifix has failed to satisfy its need, but the living Saviour who can, is now knocking at its gates.
In Asia, the miracle of Hezekiah's day is exceeded. Then the shadow only returned ten degrees, now the light is shining broadly and fully from the west upon the regions of the East. On the borders of the Bosphorus, American missionaries have planted three important stations at Haskeny, Pera, and Bebek. Beside the work of translation and of direct preaching the Gospel going on at these places, there are two very valuable seminaries, which must prove the centres of wide-spread moral and religious influence. At Haskeny, under the charge of Mr. and Mrs. Everett, with Miss West, there are thirty-two young ladies from various parts of Asia Minor, receiving thorough training in all parts of a Christian female education. While at Bebek there are fifty young men, of whom thirty-five are Armenians and fifteen Greeks, who are diligently studying English literature, English science, and, better still, Bible truth. These young persons are all fired with a noble zeal, not only to acquire knowledge for its own sake, but to use it for the good of their countrymen. How sad if the war should interfere with these useful institutions. Let us not cease to pray, "Thy kingdom come."