Slike stranica

the people. This has been a growing burden for years, as money has, for some reason or other, been getting scarcer and scarcer. Thus far, however, the evangelists seem to have continued at their work, whether they received less or more, and of late, happily, the tide of prosperity seems to be returning. Within a year or two there has been a remarkable revival, less among the Christians than among the heathen, and large additions to the classes of inquirers and catechumens. The interest around each Christian village, it is remarked, corresponds almost exactly to the degree in which it has given a worthy example. Polygamy is a great barrier, especially with the chiefs and principal men, and so also is the refusal of the missionaries to compromise with the practice of selling daughters for wives. "Our daughters are our bank," they say, and they resist an interference with their bank account as warmly as if they were white


The French brethren have established an isolated mission on the banks of the great river Zambesi. This has as yet made scarcely any converts, but is establishing an influence, amid extreme privations and monotonous miseries. The native king, Lewanika, is a thorough heathen, and a jealous, sanguinary tyrant, but is wonderfully proud that he enjoys the illustrious dignity of having white missionaries settled in his kingdom. Like the barbarian German kings who were breaking up the Roman empire, but valued themselves immensely on receiving some title or badge from the Emperor, this African tyrant contemns the law of God from morning till night, but thinks he is sure of a blessing now that he has God's messengers with him. After one of his massacres, he with all his chiefs had to listen to a sermon from the missionary on the guilt of murder. They showed great uneasiness, and from the king down sent or came, each one to excuse himself from the guilt, and to put the blame on somebody else. And when Lewanika next wanted to do a deed of murder, he merely administered poison to his victims, and putting them ashore on an island in the river, left them to die, representing afterwards to the missionary that these people had come to their deaths, he hardly knew how, but that he had been guilty of no bloodshedding! He was as pious over it as the tyrant Tiberius when he made known to the Senate, concerning the deaths of certain descendants of Augustus, that he had not been guilty of shedding the blood of the divine Julius; he had merely starved the young princes to death.

Lewanika, however, is very desirous of frequent conferences with the missionaries, and allows them unrestricted freedom of speech, or rather, unlike some pious rulers of Christendom, seems to assume that this is an inherent attribute of God's prophets. And his conscience does seem at last to have been so far affected that he put an energetic veto on the scheme of a murdering and plundering foray against a weaker tribe, and only gave way when tumultuously overborne by his chiefs and people, who declared that in such a time of scarcity it was a simple necessity. An African king appears to have despotic power over individuals, but very little power as against the will of his tribe, and sometimes very little against that of his council.

Unpromising as these beginnings of the Zambesi Mission may appear, they show a readiness to be convinced of sin, though not as yet to depart from it, far greater than appeared in the beginning among some other Caffre tribes, which now number hundreds, or even thousands, of sincere Christians.

The Protestant churches of French Switzerland have an interesting mission in the Transvaal Republic, extending down to the coast, and to the Portuguese town of Lourenço-Marques. But a law of the jealous Boers now forbids more than five native families to reside on one plantation. This has already broken up several mission-stations, and may break up all in the Republic. Some murmur that the recognition of Transvaal independence was a doubtful good, if it means added power to tyrannize over the natives. But if the sacred principle of nationality implies an obligation to give over Ulster to the tender mercies of Leinster, Munster, and Connaught, who are the black Caffres that they should ask for better measure than is to be dealt out to white Scotchmen?

The Boers of South Africa, of whom the most are within the Cape Colony, are there, I believe, guilty of no intrigues against their British allegiance, to which, indeed, they have no great temptation under a power which is both Teutonic and Protestant, which allows them ample openings to a great career in other parts of the world, and which grants them wide powers of self-government at home. But in nationality, though they have a large admixture of Huguenot French blood, they still remain obstinately, or I should rather say perseveringly, Dutch. When the wealthier young men receive a university course, it is still taken in the Netherlands. I have seen it represented that Cape Colony is not a whit nearer being Anglicized than it was seventy years ago. And that peculiar harshness and insolence towards subject races, which has been remarked as distinguishing all branches of the Teutonic race, is more pronounced among the Boers of South Africa than even in our own South, although it is restrained from proceeding to brutal outrage by the ingrained sense of justice which Niebuhr has remarked as distinguishing the Dutch, and also by the firm hand of British authority. The Boers are intensely religious, and even pietistic. Not only the church, but the prayer-meeting is an undisputed power among them. No one, it is said, has any hope of social or political preeminence among them who is not supposed to be eminent in the spiritual life. Indeed, as has been sarcastically remarked by some unecclesiastical Englishman, the arms of the Colony ought to be a kirk rampant. But for a long time they were very unwilling to act as if the natives had any souls to be saved. The first Moravian missionary, George Schmidt, aroused such indignation by presuming to baptize some Hottentots, that he was banished back to Europe. For fifty years the Brethren were kept away from the Cape.

Finally, however, the Boers have advanced so far as to allow that the inferior races are capable of an inferior salvation. They have provided them, or allowed them to provide themselves, or both, with spacious churches. They furnish them with regularly educated white pastors; but no exchange of pulpits is ever permitted, it is said, between these and the clergy of the Boers themselves. One extraordinary fusion of services, however, has been known to occur. An aged Caffre had died, whose reputation for piety was so uncontested and eminent, that the congregation of the white church attended his funeral in a body. To check all presumptuousness, however, into which the natives might have been betrayed by seeing the gods come down to do honor to one of themselves, it was insisted that the body of the aged saint should be deposited in an outbuilding, and should be buried on the open heath.

They have still, however, remained jealous of missionary undertakings

among the yet unevangelized tribes. But at last one of their Synods has, to the general astonishment, recognized in all form its obligations to this work, and has made provision for commencing it. So while our Northern Congregationalists, Presbyterians, and Methodists, working in the South, are suspected, and our Southern Episcopalians are much more than suspected, of retroceding from Christianity in their dealings with the rights of the colored members of the Church of God, the Presbyterian Boers appear to be slowly and painfully climbing up towards it. There is reason to hope that in due time the native races of South Africa, and even the Boers themselves, may be Christianized.

The established Lutheran Church of Finland, the head of which is the Archbishop of Abo, has a mission, now some twenty years old, in King William's Land, in Southwestern Africa. The number of converts is small, some two hundred, but they are much encouraged that, after having in twelve years baptized their first convert, they then increased to one hundred, and within a year have just doubled their number. The heir to the throne of the native kingdom within which their work is done, who exercises an independent jurisdiction over a part of it, has lately been dealing so tyrannically with them that they have been fain to flee into the immediate territory of the king. The Christians, having to choose between their possessions and their religion, have almost unanimously chosen the latter, and have followed their teachers.

The "Missionary Herald" for January, 1888, says: "The Portuguese government has received from Mozambique a telegram announcing that the famous Bonga of the Zambesi has been beaten by Portuguese troops, and his thirty-six villages, defended by palisades, have been destroyed. The security of commerce upon the Zambesi is now assured.” This important service of the Portuguese may be so far set off against their intermeddling on the Shiré. · In the Zulu Mission of the American Board, Mr. Harris, of Ifumi, reports that during the Week of Prayer in 1888, thirty made a public profession of faith at Ifumi, and as many at Ahmahlongwa. Mr. Ireland, of Amanzimtote, reports that: "The evangelist Rev. David Russell has made another useful visit to this station. For three days and a half we had two services each day, from Monday afternoon to Thursday evening. Including some twenty-five to thirty catechumens, who had met in class once a week for several months, more than fifty professed to come out on the Lord's side before the meetings came to a close. We had large, earnest congregations, of some four hundred, twice each day, and the services were solemn and interesting."— Rev. E. H. Richards, of the East Central African Mission of the American Board, reports some of the prayer-meeting expressions of his people. As the "Herald" remarks, the plain strength of religious feeling clothed in the unhackneyed language of these Africans is likely to be found refreshing. Temba, twenty-three years old, prays: "We thank thee, O God. Thou hast helped us to-day; thou hast helped us many days in many ways. Put thy truth in our ears; remember us surely. Give us good hearts, Father, to hear thy truth. Take us out of the weeds and off from the rocks. Help everybody and teach them. Thou art able to send the missionaries, let them come in plenty. We worship thee; we serve thee; wash our hearts, all of us; make us to understand thy truth; do not forget us; lead us in thy pleasant paths. Help all people to understand and obey thy words. We thank thee in Christ's name. Amen." Mahkalule, twenty years old, prays: "We are in thy house, O God.

Thou art the King of all lands and all peoples. Let down thy strength among us to save us. Abide with us; we love thee. Put good thoughts into our hearts and mouths; save her and make her well who is sick [Mrs. Richards]. Help her much. Show us thy path, for we stay in the forest like animals. Keep us; save us from within and without. Wash us thoroughly with strong soap; we love thee, care for us. We ask it earnestly in Christ's name. Amen." Perengi, twenty-five years old, says: "I have often left the King, but I have eaten bitter fruit. I have often stayed well in my heart. I am happy now. I am now the King's. I love his word and his law. I will not again leave him."

At Umtwalume, in the Zulu Mission, Mr. Wilder reported, April 2, 1888, that 116 inquirers had announced themselves within a few months. They have dedicated a new church, into which they will be able to crowd six hundred people. At the dedication thirty-nine were received on confession of faith, many of them parents, two were restored, and thirteen infants were baptized. - Mr. Wilder and Mr. Bates, of the East Central African Mission, had, June 15, 1888, reached the island of Chiloan, on their expedition to Umzila's country. "It is sad to learn that the Portuguese steamer which landed these brethren on their missionary errand landed also hundreds of cases of gin. Half of the porters who brought the cargo ashore were women, many of them with babes on their backs, who were driven to their task by an Arab, horsewhip in hand. These women marched into the water up to their waists. received their loads from the side of the dhow, and carried them to the house of the Portuguese governor. No food was given these porters from morning to night, but in the afternoon whiskey was dealt out to all. Will not Christendom make its voice heard so that these atrocities shall cease?"

The last Annual Report of the American Board says of Africa:

"The three missions of the Board in this great continent are well placed, and have a wide and effectual door open before them. The older mission among the Zulus in Natal has suffered a serious depletion of its forces, and calls loudly for immediate reinforcement. The four veteran missionaries, who have been nearly or quite forty years in service, are all either absent from the field on furlough, or laid aside by serious illness. Two of the remaining seven are also temporarily withdrawn from the field. In spite of these discouragements we have good reports from all parts of the work, and a better outlook for the future than in many years past. The churches have been revived and enriched in numbers and Christian devotion. The schools have especially shared in the Christian awakening, and thus there is the prospect that this blessing will be felt for long years to come. Two native helpers have gone from the Umzumbe to Matabele Land, to cooperate with the laborers of the London Missionary Society there; a beginning of that work in behalf of kindred people which is opening before the churches of this mission throughout a vast territory northward to the Zambesi. An exploration is now making by members of this mission in the Gaza country, where new fields for missionary labor, it is hoped, may be found and entered at once.

"It is an extremely interesting fact to find the Zulu language so widely diffused, and the regions occupied by those who use this tongue so accessible. Nothing can give a greater value to the missionary work in Natal, or react more powerfully upon the religious life of the native churches, than this providential call to bear the gospel far beyond their own borders to kindred peoples and tribes, and thus to take their part in Christianizing the heart of Africa.

"The East African Central Mission, though few in numbers, makes a good report for the year in schools and evangelistic work, and in the translation

of the Scriptures. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are already translated and in the hands of the natives, and other books for schools are in preparation. A goodly number at each station give evidence of penitence and faith in Christ, and are under careful instruction to prepare them for baptism and church organization. Miss Jones, of Fisk University, the first unmarried colored woman to be commissioned by the Board, is proving herself well fitted for her work as a teacher here."

Messrs. Bates and Wilder have at last succeeded in securing the consent of Gungunyanu, king of the Gaza country, in southeast Africa, to admit them to an audience. There are such rumors of gold mines, that he has been afraid to give any encouragement to white men to visit him. He is familiar with the Portuguese, but he calls them women, in contrast with the virile and aggressive Anglo-Saxons and Germans. The explorers are very much pleased to have their expectations fully confirmed, that Zulu would be found a language in general use. The king seems to make it a part of his policy to enforce the teaching of it. There are two other great languages, the Isi Senji, spoken from the Buzi to the Sabi, and the Isi Nhlwenga, from south of the Sabi. This, Mr. Wilder thinks, is probably the Sheitswa of Mr. Ousley. There are a few minor languages, and north of the Buzi and Punge to the Zambesi the Senna language is spoken by a tributary nation who only occasionally speak the Zulu. The Isi Nhlwenga is closely allied to the Zulu.

The kingdom of Gungunyanu "practically extends from the Zambesi to the Limpopo, and from the sea to Matabele Land. The centres of the pure Zulu-speaking population are at the King's about the headwaters of the Buzi, and at Baleni on the Limpopo, not very far from Delagoa Bay. So far as we have come in contact with the natives outside of Portuguese influence we find them very cordial and eager to have missionaries among them. We have no definite idea as yet about the population of the kingdom, but if we can judge by that along the Buzi it is very great. The banks here are one continuous garden, with villages every few rods, but not extending far into the plain. The soil is very rich, and would support an immense population. Although we have been for six weeks in what is called the unhealthy portion of the country, we have so far escaped any touch of fever." They have been careful to use all precautions. The Gaza people, it seems, are not mainly of Zulu race, but are more and more inclined to use the Zulu language. The result of this attempt to settle among them will be seen below.

The "Missionary Herald" for December, while justly remarking that some of the measures proposed by Cardinal Lavigerie for the repression of the slave-trade are inadequate, and others fantastic, cordially acknowledges the good service done by the Archbishop of Algiers in arousing the conscience of Christendom, and in pouring a flood of accusing light upon the inherent complicity of Mohammedanism with this abomination. It seems that the Turkish minister at Brussels, Cathareorody Effendi, acknowledging the guilt of Mohammedans in this matter, protested that the Cardinal ought not to make Mohammedanism itself responsible. But Mgr. Lavigerie, who has been in constant intercourse with Mohammedans for thirty years, gives a crushing reply. He says, that he does not know in all Africa a Moslem state, great or small, whose sovereign does not permit, and more commonly practice, slave-hunting; that it is only Mohammedans who now organize these hunts; that where restrained by Christian law, Moslems universally refuse their moral concurrence

« PrethodnaNastavi »