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THE APPROACHING SYNOD.
Our readers will bear in mind the meeting of Synod, which is to take place in London, in Regent Square Church, on the third Monday of this month, at
Its members may rely on receiving a hearty welcome from the London members of our Church, who we doubt not will also show their interest by full attendances at its meetings. The Synod, we are sure, will be remembered by our readers in their prayers. May the Head of the Church be realized as himself presiding at its meetings ! May the Spirit be vouchsafed as a Spirit of wisdom, of liberal devising, of love, and brotherly kindness! Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. They shall prosper that love her.
We trust that at the annual meeting of the Synod of our Church, to be held this month, the state of our Foreign Missions will meet with that earnest and prayerful consideration which it well deserves. We seem to have reached a crisis in the history of our China Mission, and it is for the Church at home to say whether she will rise to the occasion in a way she has not yet done, and so draw down spiritual blessings on China and at home, or allow a glorious opportunity to pass unimproved, and so incur the danger of spiritual leanness amongst her members.
How are we to account for the remarkable fact that the Lord is opening doors on all hands in China, and abundantly blessing the work, while at the same time at home the interest in the work seems declining, if we may judge by the falling off of the funds, and the difficulty of obtaining men? May not the secret of this state of matters lie in this the neglect of united believing prayer? We have but to point to the letters from China now published, appealing for prayer, as a specimen of what we receive almost monthly, till it might seem as if the appeal had become hackneyed. But has it been responded to? With some exceptions we have reason to fear it has not, and so our mission is on the point of being stranded for want of prayer. And yet it is the secret of power with God, and nothing is more certain from past experience than this—that God does answer in a remarkable way prayer in behalf of missions to the heathen. We earnestly commend this subject to our readers.
LETTERS FROM THE REV. WM. it has been doing for some time past, there M'GREGOR.
will soon be a perfect famine of labourere.
In addition to the wide-spread interest Amoy, 11th Jan., 1866.
in the Gospel throughout the Baypay region, MY DEAR MR. MATHESON,–We have Pechuia is again beginning to show some here just now room for many more labourers, symptoms of life, there being in it at present both native and foreign ; indeed, if the work some six or seven inquirers, one of whom continue to increase as, by the blessing of God, is a literary etudent, who has in conse
quence suffered great persecution at the raise up labourers, both native and foreign. hands of his parents.
We ask friends at home specially to pray The new chapel at Liong-bun-si will for this." now soon be finished, and the fact of a comfortable place of worship being built is
LETTER FROM THE REV. C. said to be attracting the attention of some
DOUGLAS. who formerly thought the Gospel beneath their notice, but who are now inclined at
Amoy, 3rd Jan., 1866. least to 'bear what this doctrine is. One
MY DEAR DR. HAMILTON --Last Thurs: thing peculiar about this village is that it day I had again the pleasure of seeing possesses no temple, and thus the only Chin-chew city, spending that afternoon, building of the kind will be that which is with the whole of Friday, at the city, and appropriated to the worship of the living returning to Anhai on the Saturday. We God.
had excellent opportunities of preaching in With kind regards from Mrs. M'Gregor the streets and in the ion where we lodged. and myself,
The owner of the inn offered to build a I remain, yours truly,
house on an adjoining plot of ground, to WILLIAM M'GREGOR.
let it to us as a chapel ; but we hope we In another letter, dated Baypay, 23rd may perhaps find a more suitable situation, Dec., 1865, Mr. M'Gregor writes :
and are also somewhat afraid that the ope
ration of building (though by the owner -" I do hope the Church at home will and not by us) might raise special difficulsoon send out at least tbree additional
ties. missionaries. Dr. Maxwell, in Formosa, is
While in the city I was able to effect the still alone ; the brethren in Swatow are in release of one of the Anhai congregation continual danger of being left short-banded (not yet a member) from unjust imprisonby the sickness of one of their number; and ment, by the collectors of the land-tax. In we here have such an inviting field open to China the people well know the force of the üs, that five or six additional missionaries Scriptural collocation of "publicans and could not overtake it all. Oh! that the
sinners." members of our Churches at home could
Excuse this brief note, as since returning fully appreciate the opportunity China now from Chin-chew I have been very busy presents, and feel the responsibility that about our new Gospel-boat, which is just lies on us all to improve it! May we launched to-day, and also with arrangehere feel it more, constraining us to labour ments for the building of the chapel at more diligently, and pray more earnestly; Liong-bun-si, for wbich place I start early may our students of divinity feel it more, to-morrow morning. compelling them to give themselves to this
Yours as ever, work; and may the Churches at home feel
CAR. DOUGLAS. it more, leading them to give the people of China more a place in their hearts and in their prayers ; in which case there will be LETTER FROM THE REV. GEORGE no need for any one to press them to help
SMITH, also with their substance. I believe the chief want is men to come: if God raise
Dated, Swatow, 12th Jan. 1866, up men to come, the means to send them
(After referring to some details of the will not be wanting. We here are feeling Mission accounts, he gives a rapid glance at also a want of native helpers. The field is the events of the past year, which, however, so widening that we have not a sufficient is of a more gloomy, complexion than we number of qualified native preachers to over- think warranted, if we remember the visit take it. At the last Presbytery meeting a of Mr. Smith to Kway T'ham early in the day of prayer was appointed to be kept year so full of encouragement, and the throughout the Churches, to plead for this mission work in connection with the hospione thing.' May the Lord of the harrest tal; as, in addition to the significant fact that the number of different towns and vil under his mighty hand, that he may in due lages from which patients have come, during time raise us up. We urgently need more the year ending in September last, amounted help, both foreign and native. The large to 320, to each of which some measure of towns of Tie-chew are open to us, but we Gospel light has been carried back, a few of are unable to occupy them. We desire to lay the patients have been brought to a saving our own case and that of Tie-chew before knowledge of the truth.
the Lord, imploring a time of refreshing But, undoubtedly, in contrast with the and quickening from his Presence. . May large number of 18 adult baptisms in 1864, the Church at home be stirred up to wrestle it is a cause for humiliation on the part in prayer in behalf of this mission in all of the Church that the number of these its interests. is only 7 in 1865, coupled with cases of “ With sincere regarde, backsliding and apparent coldness, resulting
“ I remain, yours truly, in part from the bitter persecution they
6 GEORGE SMITH." have had to endure. We proceed with Mr. Smith's letter :-)
LETTER FROM THE REV. W. C. “During the past year we have had to
BURNS. give up the school at Tat-hau-Po for want of scholars. The Yam-tsau school is
Pekin, Oct. 7th, 1865. still flourishing; while that begun at Dear MR. MATHESON,- It is now some Swatow last year has proved successful. time since I wrote to you ; and it may be
“One of the female members at Chin- well to let you know aomething of my late chung '
has been removed by death ; four engagements here. I formerly mentioned infant members have likewise died in the having begun to put the second part of the course of the year. Two of the members at «
Pilgrim's Progress" into the Mandarin Yam-tsau have been excommunicated ; colloquial. This work occupied about two these are the first cases of the kind that have months and a half, and was completed occurred in the Swatow mission ; would nearly a month ago. The work is now that they also were the last! We have had being looked over by two native scholars to to grieve over the falls of some of whom we obtain their criticism ; and when returned, had hoped better things; and still have to we hope to give it a final revision with a mourn over some who, through fear of view to its being printed. The first part, persecution, do not dare to attend public which is now in course of being printed, worship, and some who are ensnared' in will be ready, we) hope, in the course of worldliness, and walk disorderly. One of about six weeks. Since finishing the se. our oldest assistants has not been in our cond part I have been employing myself employment for many months, chiefly owing with my teacher in trying to put the Book to worldly entanglements.
of Psalms into Mandarin colloquial. . To “Our own small circle has been visited' do this suitably is not an easy work, and it with sickness, as you are aware; our native is as yet uncertain whether the result will helpers have also suffered, and at present be worthy of publication. In our first some of them are still suffering. Two draft we had finished the 25th Psalm, members have left this region, and gone to when a Chinese term occurring, our work Siam and Singapore respectively.
was interrupted a week ago. I hope to Altogether we have been privileged to resume this attempt when my teacher rereceive by baptism, seven adults, and six turns on Monday (9th). You will see, children; one of the number is a young from what I have said, that there is little man from the Foo city (Chaou-chow-foo), prospect, in the meantime, at least, of my the first-fruits of the chapel opened there. being able to go south to aid Dr. Maxwell
“ Thus, in reviewing the past year, we have on Formosa. I pray that you may be cause to sing of mercy and of judgment. speedily directed to find a new missionary The Lord has been casting us down; may fitted and ready to enter on that important grace be given unto us to humble ourselves field. In Pekin the door for preachin the Gospel is now more widely opened than / with two of Mr. Edkins's (London Missionbefore. Within the last few months one ary Society) men on a missionary excursion of the missionaries of the Church Mission into the country. When in the city I have has obtained premises for preaching on one plenty of opportunities of preaching; but of the principal streets of this city, and the it is rarely, except on the Lord's-day, that I place is crowded by from 100 to 200 have at present leisure for this work. We people whenever it is open.
More need much the support of the prayers of lately, aleo, the members of the London God's people. The door is outwardly Mission, being obliged to vacate the pre- open; but there is a want of signal evi. mises they formerly occupied, went to the dence of Divine power accompanying the British Legation, and have providentially word. succeeded not only in purchasing houses to
“ Ever yours (in haste), live in, but adjacent to these they have also
" WM. C. BURNS." obtained by purchase a small temple, opening on one of the principal streets. This they are now occupying both as an hos- LETTER FROM DR. MAXWELL. pital and preaching place, and the numbers in attendance are very encouraging. I maybettiin
Takao, Formosa, Decr. 20, 1865. add that the new premises of the London
It is now six months, or nearly so, since Mission are within five minutes' walk of our mission work began in Takao, and my lodgings ; and were it not that I am during that time it has continued to be kept busy generally with my teacher in limited to the one village. Being the most translating work, I might daily have the important village, however, to the south of opportunity of preaching to those who Tai-wan-foo, and a port to which a considercome for healing, and to the crowds of able number of smaller vessels come from passers-by who come in from the street places further south, the audiences who when the chapel is open. As the case have been addressed from day to day, stands, my work of late in the way of during all that time, have consisted quite preaching has been almost confined to the as much of strangers as of Takao resident Lord's-day. I do not think of anything Chinese. I would it were my privilege to else which it is important to mention, and speak of visible fruit of these labours, but conclude these hurried lines, with Christian excepting one young man, of whom we have regards to all friends ; and begging a con- a good hope that he has passed into the tinued interest in the prayers of God's liberty of God's children, I know of none people for myself and this city,
who are more than interested in the docI remain, dear Sir,
trine of salvation through Christ Jesus. Yours truly,
That we can live and labour here from day WM. C. BURNS. day, however, without a leavening process By a letter, dated Pekin, Dec. 16th, we its fruit, I do not believe, even while I feel
going on which shall in due time bear learn that Mr. Burns was still occupied in
it to be right to refrain from speculating endeavouring to put the Book of Psalms into a simple and readable form ; but of upon it.
Of late months we have been turning our the success of this effort, or the contrary, he says, it is as yet too soon to speak. distant about three miles to the north-east
eyes with desire towards a large village, The first part of the “ Pilgrim's Progress" and which lies on the main road to Taiin the Mandarin colloquial was ready for
wan-foo. publication ; and he was engaged in get- size the last syllable). It is said to contain
Its name is Sa-te-choo (emphating the second part through the press. He
between 6,000 and 7,000 inhabitants, and
is a wealthy, busy place. After the lessons “ Next week my teacher is obliged to of Tai-wan-foo, and the difficulties expeleave me for a short time on account of a rienced there in obtaining a place wherein literary examination he has to attend ; and to labour, I thought it best quietly to during his absence I think of going along procure a place in Sa-te-choo, before
visiting the locality, with a view either to meet here, and they are heart and soul in preach or heal. After a good deal of waiting their work. and difficulty, we have at length been There is no immediate prospect of the enabled to rent, for the next fourteen way being opened for labour in Tai-wan-foo months at least, a very suitable place in the again, even were we in a position now to chief market street.
take advantage of such an opening, which The barg in was scarcely completed, and we certainly are not. The authorities are a little repair was going on before our in perpetual strife with the two foreign entering upon it, when, as I expected, an merchants who have houses there, and the attempt was made to force us away. The resident consular agent in the city has leading merchants of the place met, and himself to complain of but indifferent treatsummoning the landlord of the house before ment. them, insisted that the house should not be Of a visit which I was privileged recently let to us.
He replied that it was too late to make to certain of the savage tribes in the now, for the houee was already let. They Eastern part of Formosa, I hope to speak were very angry, and ordered him to do his in another letter. best to get us to leave, as they would not
I am, &c., have us there. He came to me, when I was
J. L. MAXWELL there yesterday, to ask what he should do.
P.S.-Dec. 29. The work in the vilage He was afraid they would get him into
above-mentioned is being pursued without trouble with the magistrates of the district. interruption from the merchants referred I told him to take back the message that
to. we certainly should not leave the place, To-day we opened it with 'prayer and In January, 1866, he writes :-"I am preaching. We had a large and respectful beginning this year hopefully, in cheerful audience, and at the close three or four sick confidence that in due time the Lord will came forward for medical assistance. It is have mercy upon this people. Trusting to quite possible that these merchants may hear speedily that the Committee have take further means to try and eject or found a colleague for me, frighten us from the place, but we trust and
“I am, &c., pray earnestly that it may be the Lord's
“ J. L. M.” will to continue to us this gracious opening. We have strength enough to work both localities without an overstrain. How willingly NARRATIVE OF THE MISSION TO and earnestly should I seek your prayers in
CHINA, &c. our behalf this night on the matter! But two months will pass before you ever hear It is with pleasure we notice that Messrs. of it, and how many morrows between now Nisbet & Co. are publishing a little book and then of which we know not what they with the above title, which we trust will be may bring forth ! So much the more, the means of extending the interest in our in view of this very ignorance of what trials China Mission. and contentions your missionaries are pas- Twenty-one years have elapsed since our sing through from day to day, and in lieu church first resolved to embark on a misof that present immediate sympathy and sion to China, and a connected narrative of prayerful help wbich is so precious, would its progress during this period is now much I, and I am sure all my brethren with me, needed, to enable readers of the monthly desire and entreat for a special place in the intelligence, particularly those who may daily prayers of the pastors, office-bearers, not have followed its history from the comand members of all our churches.
mencement, to take a correct estimate of The Chinese brethren who are with me the value and bearing of the monthly corfrom Amoy, now three in number, are a respondence. source of much comfort. They are all of In addition to the narrative, there is a them well fitted for evangelistic work valuable essay, written in a popular style, amongst the class with whom we chiefly on the social life and religious ideas of