IN a previous chapter much was said regarding the readiness with which the Zulu and other African people take up the task of evangelizing their own people. Their zeal and their readiness to undertake this work frequently outrun their knowledge and discretion, a refreshing change from the usual attitude of professing Christians towards this duty. But the subject of this chapter, Charles Hlati, while showing fully the zeal of an evangelist, also combined with this quality the rarer one of complete earnestness, and the still rarer gifts of organizing ability and common-sense. The long extract from Archdeacon Johnson's diary which is reproduced in this chapter tells the romantic story of how Hlati came to him in search of the help he needed, how together these two set about leading Hlati's people from the wilderness into the fold. It is an extraordinary incident. It sheds light both upon the state of the native mind and its attitude to the Christian Faith, and upon the difficulties inherent in the situation as it exists in South Africa to-day. There are many people who think that a profession of Christianity is compatible with the existence of a colour-bar in religion. This mistaken racialism is not confined to the European section of the population. It exists almost as strongly among the natives. Many natives of education dislike the European as greatly as he dislikes them. However much this feeling may have been created amongst them by the attitude of the white man to their race, it is a factor with which the Church will increasingly have to deal. But, fortunately, even some of the most rabid native racial fanatics will freely acknowledge how much their race needs to be taught and led by Europeans for many decades to come. So is reached the position reflected in this chapter, where a talented native leader seeks close co-operation with Europeans, in order that his people may be rightly led and instructed.
There was also, undoubtedly, existing in the mind of Hlati, as in the minds of many of his class and race, a deep desire for an authoritative creed and Church. The more he learned of Christianity the more plainly he seemed to see that our Lord's teaching postulated an authority remaining on earth which should continue to teach and to bear witness to the truth.
Of his ability as an evangelist there is no doubt. He was a most moving and eloquent preacher in his own language--a real orator. He could move thousands to emotion by his speech. He had that ready command of illustrative anecdote and superb simile which all effective speakers have, especially all effective African speakers.
Before quoting the archdeacon, it is the merest act of justice to say that the authorities of the Dutch Reformed Church denied some of the assertions made by Hlati, and reproduced by Archdeacon Johnson as to their attitude towards this body of native converts. For example, they contended that they had never expressed any unwillingness to baptize or to confirm them, or to receive them into full communion. They claimed that their inability to shepherd the Hlati people was in no way due to their unwillingness, but solely to the fact that the Anglo-Dutch war had deprived them of any power to move freely about the country, and of most of their wealth. They said that Hlati had not, as he claimed to have done, gone from one of their authoritative bodies to another trying to get official recognition of his status without success, and they produced facts which seemed to show that they had acted towards him in good faith. These contentions may be accepted as being true. But the facts of the situation were plainly against any claim which the Dutch Reformed Church might have made to the effect that it was dealing adequately with this movement. As Archdeacon Johnson points out in his letter, the very large number of Hlati's followers and their infants who had remained unbaptized over a fairly long period showed that little pastoral work had been done amongst them for some time.
We may, at this date, sympathize fully with the Dutch Reformed Church in the difficult period of reconstruction which it had to face after the Boer War. It is not surprising that the rulers of that Church found it impossible then to handle a fairly big movement towards Christianity such as Hlati's people represented.
Nor is it surprising that, in view of this inability, Hlati should have sought help elsewhere, especially as his mind was turning more towards the teaching and practice of the Catholic Church than towards the tenets of the two Christian bodies with which he had already come into contact.
With these prefatory remarks, we may allow the archdeacon to speak for himself. He says:--
September 17. Utrecht. Some months ago a native evangelist came to me for advice. This is his history. He was baptized by the Wesleyans as a young man, and, full of enthusiasm, he began to preach amongst the natives on the Boer farms in the Transvaal; the Dutch ministers of those parts encouraged him, and he was recognized as a native evangelist. The Boer farmer just tolerated him, but the natives heard him gladly. This has gone on for some years, and the Dutch minister has from time to time baptized the converts that he has made until they form a body of from 2000 to 3000, only a section of whom are baptized. He is styled the "head native evangelist," and he has about twelve or fifteen subordinate evangelists under him.
Now comes the wonderful thing. The Dutch ministers told him about three years ago that they cannot baptize any more of his people, and they cannot administer to them the sacrament of the Lord's Supper.
The Dutch have the rite of confirmation among their European congregations, but they will not allow the same rite for the native Christians. This, Hlati says, has been going on since 1898.
They could, of course, do nothing under the old Boer rule, but now that British rule is established all over the Transvaal, he and the other catechists and evangelists went to the Dutch ministers while in synod, but they could get no promise of an ordained minister to come and minister to them. Then he came to me for advice--this was some months ago; I said I did not see how I could assist him, as he was an evangelist of the Dutch Reformed Church, and I had no right to interfere with what his minister did or did not do. I said that "if the ministers of the Dutch Church had signified their intention to throw him over, why did he not go in a straightforward manner and ask them whether they would minister to them, or whether they would give them leave to go to ask some other Church to receive them." They left me at that time, saying they would go and act on my advice.
On August 10, just before I started on my journey to the mission centres in the north-east of the diocese, he, with seven elders or headmen of his people, came to me as a deputation, carrying a document signed by a chairman of the Dutch Reformed Church, saying that as they, the Dutch Reformed Church, were unable to appoint any ordained minister to take up the native work, they hereby give him his "discharge," whatever that may be. We had a long talk, which lasted nearly all day, and I have promised to go on my return to see the Dutch minister at Utrecht who signed the document in question, and that I would also come and meet him and his people at each of his centres. I would not promise more than that. I said I would meet them on Sunday, September 20, after seeing the Dutch minister.
I therefore went with Mr. Allen last night to see Mr. Albertyne, and I found from him that his (Charlie Hlati's) statement is correct in every detail. [Rev. H. Allen, rector of Utrecht.] I feel very sorry for Mr. Albertyne, for as a minister of the Gospel he is put in a very false position.
Hlati's statements were as follows:--
1. There are a great number of converts who wished to be baptized. The only Church in the country was the Dutch Reformed Church, and he had begged that Church to appoint an ordained minister to come and minister to them. For four years he had been going about whenever the Dutch Reformed Church assembled in synod begging for an ordained minister. He had been to Bloemfontein, and to Pretoria, and also to Cape Colony, but without success.
2. That for years their children had been living and dying unbaptized, and that the old baptized members of the community who were formerly communicants had been without a celebration of the Holy Sacrament for over four years, although they had Dutch ministers living in their midst ministering to the European Dutch (Boers) congregation, but refusing to administer in any way to the natives, or allow them inside the European churches.
3. That he had now asked for and received a written document from the ministers of the Dutch Reformed Church to the effect that as they (the Dutch Reformed Church) were not prepared to appoint an ordained minister as a missionary, he, Hlati, was given permission to go and seek elsewhere.
We found Mr. Albertyne very courteous. He owned at once that Hlati was quite right in his statements, and that he was very sorry they could not get an ordained minister for the natives, and that he as a minister to the Dutch was not permitted by his Church (or rather his congregation) to minister in any way to the natives, because it would tend to lead the natives to consider themselves on an equality with the Europeans. He owned that they were not allowed to come into the Dutch churches for divine service, baptism, or in fact any spiritual ministration.
He said he quite recognized our right, as a Church, to come and commence mission work. Charlie Hlati and the natives, with the help of a few Boers, had built a place for the native services. The Dutch minister, I am told, had never been allowed by his own congregation to enter the native preaching place, or take part in any service there. The key was always in Hlati's possession, and it was looked upon as belonging to the native community, of which Hlati is the head, but unfortunately it was built on a Boer farm, and now the Boer, I hear, refuses to allow Hlati to occupy or use the building, because he has asked a European to come and minister to his community.
I am sorry for this, as I wished to avoid any friction with the Boers. I thought that, as they were unable to minister to the natives or to do mission work amongst them, they would be glad for us to do it. I found this the case on other Boer farms, where the Boer family often attend the mission services for the natives.
September 19. Still at Utrecht. I went out with Mr. Allen to look at a piece of ground offered by a good churchman who sympathizes with native work. The piece of ground is well situated for native work, and I should like to begin to build at once if we can only get funds. The ground is about three acres in extent. Mr. Vinsor offers to have the land transferred at once to the diocesan trustees.
September 20. We have had one of the most remarkable gatherings to-day that I have ever taken part in. About 800 to 1000 natives, men, women, and children attended. Before the service we had a meeting of men and women. I opened with a short prayer, and then spoke, explaining my position and the reason for my being among them; that it was in answer to a deputation of the heads of their people brought to me by Charlie Hlati, and that I had come to listen to what they had to say, and then I sat down. The meeting was held under Mr. Vinsor's trees. He very kindly sent down a table, with a white cloth and chairs. When I sat down Hlati stood up and spoke very clearly and straightforwardly. He commenced with a little history of his work amongst them, and how gradually the number of converts had increased, until now there are fourteen centres of natives all living on Boer farms. He reminded the assembly how he had gone to the Dutch Church asking for an ordained missionary to minister to them, and how he had failed, until he had lost hope of getting any minister of the Church of the country in which they lived, and then, after the war had decided that all the land should be British territory, he had gone with his assistant preachers as a deputation to the "Big House," the English Church, and had begged the "Big House" to take them under its wing; and now, in answer to their prayer, their Father (pointing to me) had come to hear with his own ears what they had to say.
Then he went on to say: "This is what we ask for: (1) baptism at once for our infants and for our adults when they have been examined and are found to be prepared; (2) classes for the instruction of all wishing to be confirmed; (3) administration of the holy sacrament of the Lord's Supper to those who are prepared; (4) the solemnization of holy matrimony for the many couples now waiting to be married, and for the many who have been married by native law only, not having been able to obtain the religious ceremony."
After running through what they hoped to get by being taken under the wing of the "Big House," he ended by saying, "Now my children, you have heard my words. Are they true? All that endorse what I have said let stand upon their feet and signify their approval of what we have done in asking the archdeacon to come and take up the work of God amongst us as our Father."
It was quite impressive to see the whole assembly rise and shout "Siya vuma." ["We agree."] I felt no doubt about what I ought to do. Here was a large community of people feeling after God, and persevering under very difficult circumstances, and in the face of many snubs, asking confidently for our help; so I told them that we would, with God's blessing, undertake the responsibility, and I closed the meeting. This was in the morning after the English eucharist. Then there was half an hour's interval, during which I began to write down the names of infants to be baptized, and the names of parents and sponsors. By this time a good many more people had arrived, and a good many Europeans, Boers mostly, either from curiosity or sympathy with the work; for there are a good many Boers who sympathize with our mission work amongst the natives, although they are greatly in the minority.
At about 11.30 we commenced our mission service. Charlie Hlati and his assistant evangelists have taught the people a few Sankey and Moody hymns by heart, which they sang with a heartiness very encouraging, and I spoke to them about the Kingdom of God; they sat and listened without a sound or movement, except on the part of a few children who were sent away immediately, poor little mites, in the charge of some older girls.
The mission service ended about I p.m., when we had an interval of an hour, during which I finished writing down the names of the infants to be baptized, and got the font and water ready, etc. Some people kindly sent me a cup of tea, which was very acceptable, for speaking to a large congregation of people in the open air for any length of time is somewhat trying to the throat.
At 2 p.m. I began one of the most remarkable services I have ever assisted at. There were 106 infants, ranging from two months old to five years. I knew how long it would take to baptize so many; therefore I advised those living near who could come next day to refrain from presenting their infants if they were afraid of keeping them out late. Everything was very orderly and impressive; even the babies were hushed into silence. The service ended at 4.30 and the people departed to their homes. A large majority had not tasted food since last night.
September 21. Still at Utrecht. I baptized seven more children this morning, and had a long talk with Hlati and other natives, arranging about my visiting their other centres.
Hlati thinks he can gather all the natives into four centres, as I wish to arrange them into instruction classes. Hlati has between 2000 and 3000 followers altogether; nearly all of them are unbaptized, and they must be instructed and prepared. I hear that this movement of Hlati's will draw other native communities to wish to follow, with an idea of uniting all together in one body.
The natives will raise about half the funds for expenses of paying native teachers; I trust that the S.P.G. will assist us to meet this great responsibility.
We must have a European priest in charge of this great work, and we need funds to buy books--prayer-books, hymn-books, catechisms, etc. I am quite willing to work and do my best, but I have no funds to spare for these purposes.
September 26. Mr. Page's Store. We have had a hard day. Hlati came to escort me to another centre of his work; I had an idea it was about eighteen miles from Vryheid, but we found it is thirty-six miles. Hallowes, in whose district (if a country can be called a district) all this native work is, has come with me, but he must be back in Vryheid on Sunday night or Monday morning. Tommy has gone in harness to-day very well indeed, and has come along in fine style. [Rev. W. H. Hallowes at that time rector of Vryheid. Afterwards missionary to Hlati's people.]
We outspanned at a little settlement of Hlati's people, who received us most hospitably--bread, chicken, and tea, a feast for a king. Everywhere we go we find the natives very thankful that we have undertaken to minister to them. Here they assembled in a well-lighted hut, and we sang a hymn and had our prayers together before going on our way. The latter part of the road was very dry and stony, and just before sundown we were caught in a thunderstorm, but there was more wind than rain. At last we reached this place, a trading centre or store, belonging to a Mr. Page, He lost everything in the war, and he is just commencing again. His house and store is only half finished; only three rooms are roofed, and his household consists of his mother, wife, brother, and of himself. They have put themselves out to give hospitality to us. Everything is so beautifully clean and nice, and, though food is so scarce, they have prepared a very good dinner for us.
Sunday, XVI. after Trinity, September 27. Sweet Milk River. I am tired, and have come back to Mr. Page's store. To-day has been another great day; we have baptized ninety-eight children, ranging, as last Sunday, from a few months' old to seven years. There were about 500 natives, counting children. Hallowes, I think, counted 430 adults. All these are children of converts who have been begging for their children to be baptized during the last four years. There are a great number of adults who have been preparing for baptism for the last five or six years. I hope to get all these classified in time. Hlati is a wonderful man, with a wonderful influence. Mr. Page will, I hope, let us have a bit of land he is leasing. It belongs to a Boer, but he has a lease for fifteen years, and if he can get the consent of the owner he will give us a bit for fifteen years to build on, and he offers to bring up everything we need for the building, timber and iron, free of charge, at cost prices. We shall have to wait to know whether the owner of the farm will give his consent.
We had our service in a large wagon shed, lent for the purpose by a Boer farmer, but I preached in the open air. Hallowes has gone back; I fear he will have felt the fury of a thunderstorm that passed this place with little rain, but terrible wind. We go on to another centre of mission work in the morning; I trust the road will be easier than yesterday's. What we must have is a house of prayer at each of these centres; I wish we had the funds to start building at once. It is a terrible thing to be handicapped for funds.
I have given over speaking about the famine amongst these people. I wonder how many of our congregation had anything to eat to-day? Not half of them; but a native can go a long time fasting. They all put on their best clothes in honour of the day, and the bright colours looked well in the bright sun. In these two days we have baptized 204 little children, all children of converts.
September 28. Isibane out-station. This station is in charge of Joel Masondo, evangelist. We arrived here in good time; Hlati came just as I was getting my breakfast. Mr. Page has been very good to me; "I was a stranger, and he took me in." This place of Hlati's, under the charge of Joel Masondo, is just under the Lunasberg Mountains. We came through a pretty gap in the mountain, which the natives have named "Isikala sika Magidula." We are in the heart of the Boer country; some of the Boers are looking on the work I am doing amongst their natives with great suspicion, as they fear that the more enlightened these natives become, the more trouble they will have with them to make them work without wages. I am afraid it is true that the more enlightened they become, the greater value they put on their services; but I maintain that Christianity ought to make them more contented, and it is in spite of Christianity if they become discontented with their simple country life. They get their discontent from such enlightenment as Johannesburg, Kimberley, and other centres of civilized labour afford; natives who have been up there working for a very high wage, and spending it in amusement and on their own personal appetites, as most of them do, come down and describe the life they have been leading up there, and contrast it with the simple lives lived by natives on farms, working each six months in the year for the owner of the farm, in lieu of rent, without any pay. This is what makes the farm people discontented. I do not think that this simple plan of vassalage, of allowing people to settle on a farm and give labour in lieu of rent, can last much longer. It is a very simple plan, and if the people could have been kept from knowing what others more enlightened are doing, it would have gone on working very well. But this is not the result of Christianity.
The people are treating me like a prince; each woman, boy, and girl vying with each other to do something for me in their own simple way. They have prepared quite a feast, but I fear they will go very short in consequence. Our evening meal was a fowl, sweet potatoes, and bread. We had evening prayers as the sun went down. The people have put up a thatched roof on poles as a church; quite a large number assembled for prayers, and I gave a short address. Some few, about thirty or forty, can read Zulu very slowly. The evangelist, Joel Masondo, has taught them, and they have a few Wesleyan hymn-books in the Xoza dialect. What we want immediately is a large grant of books: Zulu prayer-books and hymn-books, so as gradually to get them into the Church form of service. I hope we shall be able to get a grant of books at once from somewhere.
My bed had been made up for me, consisting of two mats on the floor, and it looks rather hard. I would not mind if it were outside on the veld, but these polished hard earth floors are hard. I always feel as though I wanted to dig two holes for my hip and shoulder bones to fit into. I have never become accustomed to the hard polished floor of a native hut, although I have slept often enough on them. I am just going to have family prayers with the household, which is a grand institution that I wish was more generally observed by Europeans. I love holding family prayers.
September 29. Up with the sun, and conducted the early service, after which I began to write down the names of the infants to be baptized. It has been a beautiful day, without wind and not too hot. I baptized seventy-one little children. It was a beautiful service, very solemn, and without any crying on the part of the children. The service lasted three-and-a-half hours; we had a mission hymn which Hlati has taught the people by heart, when half the infants were baptized, to break the service and rest the minds a bit.
The offertory, all in small coin, came to £5 53. 6d., which shows what a number there were present--about 400; and shows too that the people had prepared a long time beforehand for this service. I have preached three times to-day, besides talking and advising, and so I feel rather tired. Whilst I was writing down names a messenger came from a Mr. Rudolph, a Boer, asking us to go to his house, and offering us a building to hold a mission service in, and offering hospitality to me. I am writing now in my room in his house. Hlati is well known to him, as he has a centre of work on Mr. Rudolph's farm.
We have just finished a well-attended mission service, and Mr. Rudolph attended the service himself. We had a long talk also about a matter that has disturbed the minds of a good many. There is a sect calling themselves I-Bandhla Lo-Hlanga, i.e. "The National Church," who will not allow any European to have any part in its organization. This sect does not lay itself out to try to convert the heathen, but it sends emissaries about amongst the members of other communities, whose work seems to be to try to proselytize from them. One of these emissaries has been up here to this community of Hlati's and persuaded some families to join their movement; but since I have come here they want all to come back, and their excuse is that they had been waiting for over four years to have their children baptized, etc., and having no hope that any ordained minister would come to minister to them, they had at last in despair gone, or rather had promised to go, over to "the Lo-Hlanga"; but now that an ordained minister has taken up the work they wish to turn back again to their old community, and they publicly asked their brethren to forgive them, and allow them to come back amongst them. I am going (D.V.) to baptize two infants of this congregation tomorrow, and try to classify the converts; but it is a big work and takes time.
September 30. Paulpietersberg. I have come on here, a three hours' drive from Mr. Rudolph's farm. To-day has been a full day. We commenced with an early mission service soon after sunrise, at which I preached. This lasted (the service) two hours, then we had breakfast, after that we found that so many natives were assembling that the building lent us by Mr. Rudolph was not able to hold them, so Mr. Rudolph very kindly set the men to work at a large shed, to clear it out and get it ready. He has given all his people a holiday to enable them to attend the services to-day. They increased the holding power of the building by erecting a large awning at the open end of the shed. The service commenced at n a.m. I baptized twenty-eight babies, about twenty other babies I left until I come another time, as their parents had only lately joined the hearers' preparatory class. All the children I have baptized on this trip to Hlati's people have been attending a class from two to five years. I have now baptized a total of 305. Mr. Rudolph and his family attended the eleven o'clock service, and contributed to the collection that was made at the end. We then had a thanksgiving service that was hearty and devout.
I always feel that we can provide for our converts everything in extra (mission) services that the Nonconformists can give plus something, as the Catholic Church, that they cannot give. After the thanksgiving service, I found that Mrs. Rudolph had very kindly got dinner ready, after partaking of which we started for this place.
This place, Paulpietersberg, is fortunate or unfortunate, as the case may be, in having native agents or evangelists from three distinct denominations, each with a following of converts, but with no ordained minister. They are all fighting amongst themselves, as is sure to be the case when very ignorant native evangelists are allowed to go off by themselves without any organization and uncontrolled by any ordained minister. Hlati says they were all his people once, and he is in sore despair about the matter; his hope is that the different sections may all wish to unite under us, the Church. That, of course, remains to be seen. I am afraid I shall have to remain in this place all to-morrow. This is my first day at an hotel since I left home on this trip; everything here is famine price. The country is very much dried up for want of rain.
This accommodation house is kept by a Jew. Everything is very quiet at present, as to-morrow is their Day of Atonement.
I do not know yet whether we can get a building for our native service to-morrow; would that we may find another truly Christian couple like Mr. and Mrs. Rudolph, who are in real sympathy with and encourage and help the natives in their efforts to turn to God.
October 1. Paulpietersberg. I have finished visiting Hlati's people in this part of the country. We have had an interesting meeting, followed by an interesting service, all held under some trees belonging to the ruins of a house destroyed during the war.
This place is, as Hlati says, the most difficult of all his places, but there is a hope that they may all unite under the Church. Some of the men made excellent speeches, saying that the reason of their differences is that they are "foolish sheep without a shepherd." There is one section of the community who have been trying to continue steadfast under very trying circumstances. I spoke generally to them all, and I said "I had only come to see them and to kneel down and pray with them. It is true they are sheep without a shepherd, but it remains to be seen whether they wish for a shepherd." I have promised to try and get leave for them to build a place of worship and assist them to build.
Why land all about this little village of Paulpietersberg should have increased so much in value since the war I cannot understand. Erven in this town were worth from £15 to £25; they have now run up to £400 and £500 each erf. It is a fictitious value, and must come down soon.
We were wanting to buy a site for a church here, but of course it is out of the question while the land is boomed in this absurd manner; well, we must bide our time.
I have had to stay at the hotel this time. Dr. Case would, I think, have asked me to stay with him, as he very kindly did once before, but Mrs. Case is very unwell, and they are just moving into the house they have just finished building. The doctor asked me when I went to see him this morning to come and stay with them on my return from Swaziland. He is always very hospitable and ready to assist. The hotel is kept, as I said, by Jews, very nice people, and it is very well kept.
October I. From Paulpietersberg. I have seen at the different centres I have visited about 2000 people. This, I think, is about the strength of Hlati's adherents who are anxious to be received into the Church in their different grades as hearers, catechumens, and candidates for confirmation. The two great questions are: I. "What ordained minister have we who would go and minister to them spiritually?" 2. "How are funds to be obtained to meet the expenses of this movement?" I have thought the matter out a good deal while travelling about.
The ordained minister question is only a little more evident than before. It has been evident for some time to our bishop, as well as to myself, that we must have a missionary priest for the natives of this part of the country, to minister to the natives outside the two European settlements of Vryheid and Utrecht. This movement of Hlati's only makes this want more evident. But until some earnest mission priest can be found for the work, Mr. Allen of Utrecht, and Mr. Hallowes of Vryheid, will have to divide the work between them, with what assistance I can give them as archdeacon, and I think I can give them a good deal of assistance. Then I depend on Hlati, as a kind of head catechist, to render most valuable service, not only to these his own particular adherents, but to those at our other outlying centres, where I hope his earnest enthusiasm may stimulate them into a more vigorous and active life, so that I think we can get along with our present staff, with an effort, until additional assistance can be found.
The second question, "Funds?" Well, I hope from three sources to get sufficient:--
I. The people themselves will agree to give a yearly contribution of 5s. each adult male and 2s. each adult female, besides their offerings during divine service. This will be towards a staff of native workers. 2. I hope that perhaps the Society which is the greatest helper and encourager in this diocese, i.e. the S.P.G., will help again in this great work by giving a stipend of £200 for a European mission priest; and 3. I hope that S.P.G.K. may give a grant towards building each school-church.
There will be a grave difficulty in getting sites to build on, but (D.V.) we will overcome this difficulty too.
I have now baptized 315 children, which proves the truth of what Hlati said: "Our babies, and adults too, are dying unbaptized in sight of the Cross of Christ, and under the eyes of Christ's ministers, but they (the ministers) will not allow us to bring our children to be baptized by them, and they will not allow us inside their churches, because we are black natives, and they are only ministering to white Europeans; and now we turn to our mother, the 'Church.' Will you come over and help us?"
There are other movements or works like this of Hlati's--the Uhlanga, the Tiopiya, and many other smaller ones, commenced by earnest enthusiasts. They are preaching repentance, and gather a good many followers. They lay a good foundation, but they cannot get beyond a certain mark; they cannot build up, and then a time comes when, like Hlati and his people, they look for some one to "come over and help us." Can we guide this movement, this feeling after God? I am sure we can if we try. May the Master give us wisdom, understanding, and knowledge for this work of his. The people are living on the lands that were raided from the Zulus; they have to give their services to the Boer owner of the farm on which they are residing. He has the power to turn them off at a month's notice. What I want is to buy a bit of land at each centre to ensure the independence of the church-school and the native catechist from the danger of being turned off at a moment's notice. The natives themselves will give us much labour as they can get leave from their masters, the owners of the farm; for no native may engage in any work without first getting leave from the owner of the farm.
The natives get little, their labour being in lieu of rent, so they are not very well off, especially just now that all their cattle have been swept off by rinderpest and war, and now the famine is putting them to great straits for food of any kind for their wives and families; but I hope things will begin to mend soon. I have just had a wire telling of an offer of an iron building that will cost £100 delivered at Utrecht, and I have guaranteed the amount, as the opportunity was too good to let slip, but where the money is to come from I do not know just yet. I must borrow it if I cannot get it in any other way. I expect to raise about £30 in labour and coin from the natives of Utrecht, leaving £30 to be raised somehow. And I want five other buildings at once, or as soon as I can get the funds; I have no fear but that we shall get it done in time. God grant us patience!
Sunday, October 18, XIX. after Trinity. We have had a very full day. Zulu eucharist with sermon, 6 a.m.; then with Hallowes to English mattins and Holy Communion with sermon; then a drive of twelve miles to Kambula Drift, where we found Hlati and a congregation of 260 natives, and we baptized forty-two babies. Both Hallowes and I baptized, each with a basin for a font. A Boer and his family came to the service and asked us to go in to have lunch afterwards; they were very friendly. We reached Vryheid about 5 p.m., and I preached at the English evensong, but this seemed very tame compared with the native open-air mission-service and baptisms of the morning.
October 19. Home again at St. Augustine's, having had a most helpful tour and having baptized 367 babies.
I think the following is about the number of Hlati's followers:--
Christians baptized 450
Converts wishing to be baptized 1500
Children from 1 to 4 years 500
This, I think, will be found nearly the work Mr. Allen and Mr. Hallowes are going to do the best they can with. We wish to get all the adults into separate classes, according to whether they are (1) hearers; (2) catechumens; (3) candidates for confirmation.
Our bishop will have his hands full on his return, "going about confirming the Churches."
After this strenuous pioneering work was done, and the people were settled as baptized, and, later, confirmed members of the Church, the archdeacon continued his labours on their behalf. A farm was bought by the diocesan trustees about fourteen miles north of Vryheid, in the vicinity of the battlefield of Kambule, and there the Rev. W. H. Hallowes, son-in-law of the archdeacon, built a house and a church. From this centre he laboured amongst the Hlati folk, and gradually mission sites were acquired, churches built, schools opened, and evangelistic work amongst the surrounding heathen begun, all with the constant and generous help of the archdeacon. Charles Hlati was, after a few years, ordained to the diaconate. Together with Mr. Hallowes and the Rev. A. Rowand--then priest-in-charge of Utrecht, a village on the other side of the Hlati district--he worked hard amongst the people.
Gradually, however, as he grew older, his powers waned. With the increase in education amongst his people he lost much of his former hold over them. As his followers grew more and more into the life of the Catholic Church, with its ceaseless round of worship and teaching, they came to depend less upon his emotional appeals for spiritual nourishment. Inevitably, and not without considerable heart-burning, Hlati retired into the shade. For a time he was used in the diocese to preach revivalist missions. Then he fell into premature senility and died, leaving his followers safely housed in the bosom of the Church Catholic, and having performed a notable work in his day and generation. To the day of his death the archdeacon continued to show the greatest interest in the Hlati work, and he constantly supervised it, especially when Mr. Hallowes left Kambule and the Rev. John Mnareng was sent to carry on his work there.