MISSIONARY BISHOP TO CHINA.
ASSISTANT BISHOP OF THE DIOCESE OF PENNSYLVANIA.
SHERMAN & CO., PRINTERS.
THE following Sermon was prepared at the request of the Foreign Committee of the Board of Missions of the Protestant Episcopal Church, and was delivered before them in Calvary Church, New York. At their request, it has been since repeated in Trinity Church, New Haven; St. Paul's, Boston; Grace Church, Providence; and St. Luke's, Philadelphia; in the latter Church, on two successive Sunday evenings.
In no one place was all that had been written delivered, and, in each place, portions were omitted or introduced as the circumstances of each seemed to require. While no one, therefore, will read exactly the same sermon which he heard preached, all will have the whole sermon as it was originally prepared.
The interest which this discourse has already awakened has been deeply gratifying, and the author earnestly prays that God, for Christ's sake, may so stir up the hearts and wills of His faithful people, that they may devise great things for the building up of the China Mission.
SUCH was the praise which St. Paul bestowed upon Apelles. High praise this, if it had come simply from a fellow Christian; higher, coining from an Apostle; highest, as the utterance of the Holy Ghost. Who Apelles was, we know not. The old Church traditions say that he was a Bishop; but whatever his rank, he was a Roman Christian, whose life was so in harmony with the Gospel as to warrant an Apostle to give him that praise which condenses in three words the highest eulogy that can be passed on man.
As applied to Apelles, the phrase meant that he had been tried and found trustworthy; and it is in this sense that I design to apply it to him whose life and services this sermon is designed to commemorate. I stand before you, at the request of the Foreign Committee of the Board of Missions of the Protestant Episcopal Church, to deliver a memorial discourse on the Right Rev. Dr. Boone, the first Missionary Bishop to China.
The man, and his work, are both remarkable,--the [5/6] man, as possessing qualities of heart and mind which would have given him eminence in any field; and the work, as being the nearest in character to that of Him who left the abodes of Heaven that he might seek and save the lost on earth.
I come, therefore, to present, for your consideration, the character of one who may well be designated as
Many years ago, in the city of Charleston, South Carolina, two medical students were drawn together by peculiar circumstances, which caused each to feel a strong interest in the other. One, and the younger, was attending his first course of medical lectures in that city, having recently returned from an absence of over two years, travelling in foreign lands and seas in search of health, in the course of which he had spent some months in China. The other had recently been ordained to the ministry, and was then preparing himself, by medical studies, to go as a missionary to China. This fact drew together these students; and though one was a layman and the other a clergyman, yet both loved the same Saviour, both had hearts that went out in sympathy for the heathen, and hence they loved to walk together, and talk of that strange land from which one had recently come, and to which the other was speedily to go. Little did that younger medical student then think that he would ever be a minister of the same Church of his elder companion; little did either of them imagine that each would be a Bishop in the Church of God; or that, twenty-seven years after they left those [6/7] college halls, the younger student would be called upon to preach the sermon that should commemorate the life and labors of his brother student and brother Bishop, William Jones Boone. This youthful acquaintance with Bishop Boone ripened into a life-long friendship, and enables me now to speak of him with the eye of a careful observer, with the heart of a devoted friend.
He was born in South Carolina, on the 1st July, 1813, and was descended from an old and respectable family, some of his ancestors having held high places of trust in the civil and military government of that colony.
After graduating with the honors of his class, at the College of South Carolina, at Columbia, he began the study of law in the office of Chancellor De Saussure, and in due time was admitted to the South Carolina bar.
His talents marked him out as one who would take high rank in his profession, and his friends expected of him great things. But God had other thoughts concerning him. He was brought under the power of the preached word, and the Holy Ghost made it effectual to the renewing of his soul. As soon as he had found peace in believing, he sought to impart the truth to others. He now yearned to preach the Gospel; and amidst remonstrances, and through hindrances, and over obstacles which would have held in check an ordinary mind, he resolved to give up the law and study for the ministry. He accordingly repaired to the Theological Seminary at Alexandria, Virginia, and, passing through the course of studies, graduated there in 1835, one year in advance of the Right Rev. Dr. Payne, the first Missionary Bishop [7/8] to Africa. On his return to South Carolina, it was the desire of his Diocesan (Bishop Bowen) that he should settle in Charleston, and a prominent position was offered to him. His mind, however, had been deeply exercised as to his duty to the heathen; and, after prayer and due consideration, he declined the tempting offers of a home parish, and decided to go "far hence, to the Gentiles."
The opposition which this decision excited was very great, and scarcely any of his friends sustained his missionary views. But having reached a conscientious conviction of duty, he suffered none of these oppositions to move him, but set his face steadfastly towards China. To one of his loving and sensitive nature, this was no common trial; and the laceration which he felt in thus tearing away the tendrils of his affection from home and friends, around which they had clasped themselves so closely, was never wholly healed. To prepare himself more fully for this work, he studied medicine, and graduated M.D., at the Medical College of the State of South Carolina, in 1837. He had now honorably enrolled himself as a member of each of the learned professions,--law, divinity, and medicine. These professional studies, based, as they were, on a thorough collegiate course, and pursued with the high aim of a Christian, consecrating his whole mind to Christ, gave breadth and solidity to his acquirements, and that intellectual force and drill which enabled him to grasp and solve the great questions and complex problems of mission-work among the heathen. No missionary ever left our shores better furnished in mind, with a higher intellectual culture, or with a more [8/9] consecrated heart. He was appointed a missionary to China, by the Foreign Committee, on the 17th January, 1837. The sub-Committee on China, to whom the request of Dr. Boone for an appointment had been referred, reported to the Committee, "that though a resolution had passed that body, on the 18th October last, implying, in their view, the inexpediency of increasing, at present, the number of missionaries to China, they are now induced to make an exception in favor of the Rev. Dr. Boone, whose qualifications for the field are of a peculiar character, and whose long and devoted self-consecration to the spread of the Gospel in China give him a high claim to such an appointment."
During the spring, at the request of the Foreign Committee, he visited many of the churches, in order to awaken an interest in his work, and diffuse information in relation to his field of labor.
It was in this spring, also, that he was married to Sarah De Saussure, daughter of the Hon. Henry De Saussure, then Chancellor of South Carolina,--a lady elegant in her person, refined in her manners, cultivated in mind, and, like her husband, ready to sacrifice all for Christ. In forming this alliance, he again passed through intense trials of faith and patience, through the opposition of friends and kindred. The inner history of this period, with its mental conflicts and perplexing questions of duty, and, at times, almost despair, is one of the most touching episodes in the Bishop's life. Often did we talk of these trials; and I was a witness of the struggles which so agitated his heart. The resulting [9/10] spiritual blessings he ever gratefully acknowledged. It was the rocking to and fro, by fierce winds, of the missionary sapling, only to make the roots of it strike deeper and spread wider; so that, in the end, it put forth stronger branches, and bore richer fruit.
On the 8th July, 1837, Dr. and Mrs. Boone sailed from Boston for Batavia, Java, to begin the work in which both of them laid down their lives.
Before we follow their personal history any further, let us consider, for a few moments, the nation to which they were going, and what had hitherto been done for its Christianization.
China, called, by the natives, the "Middle Kingdom," and often termed "The Celestial Empire," has long been the social, political, and moral enigma of the world. Geographically it is one of the largest, and numerically it is the most populous of the nations of the world. Ethnologically, the Chinese form a distinct branch of the human race. Historically, their records go back farther than any other people, except the Jews. Politically, its government presents the most marvellous complexity and minuteness of detail, with the most wondrous centralization and unity, under a dynasty that, in its general principles, goes back twenty-five centuries. Socially, China was civilized when all Europe was barbarous. Its literature, purely indigenous, covers the whole domain of art, science, and letters, as they existed before the discoveries of modern research; while its language, unique in its symbols, its structure, and its antiquity, was long [10/11] the unsolved linguistic riddle of the world. Walled in on the north by a cordon of stone and brick of gigantic size, of fabulous extent, more than two thousand years old; and fending off all other people by edicts which proved more exclusive than its great wall, this strange people,--this great hive, buzzing with the hum of labor, and working with mechanical regularity and civilized intelligence,--has existed as a single empire, under one ruler, flourishing in all industrial and commercial pursuits, long before the beginning of any European kingdom.
Yet, with so many elements of political, and social, and literary greatness, the Chinese were debased; and, with so much to elevate and refine, they were "without hope and without God in the world."
In the efforts of the early Christians to spread abroad the Gospel of Christ, such a people, even stranger then than now, could not be, and was not overlooked. Syriac tradition tells us that St. Thomas himself was the first to preach to the Chinese. Certain it is, as Mosheim remarks, that "the Christian faith was carried to China, if not by the Apostle Thomas, by the first teachers of Christianity."
As early as the beginning of the sixth century the Nestorians had introduced the Christian religion into China. The celebrated Memorial Monument which they erected in Shensi in the eighth century, and only discovered by Europeans in 1625, fully evidence the existence, toleration, and even spread of the religion of Jesus.
 But the truth which these Nestorians preached was so mixed with error that the vital power of it was not sufficient to leaven the surrounding mass; and hence, opposed by Buddhism, and crowded upon by Mohammedanism, its churches soon decayed, its ministry died out, and its faith became almost extinct.
The Romish Church was not unmindful of the demands of China, and has made long, continued, and powerful efforts to bring it under the Papal yoke.
In the thirteenth century Nicholas IV sent Corvino as missionary to China. This earnest priest was by Clement V, made Archbishop, in 1307; and seven bishops, together with priests, were sent to his aid. Two centuries after, but little remained to tell of the effects of Corvino's mission.
A more successful effort was made in the sixteenth century, under Ricci, a Jesuit, who, using all the arts and finesse which Jesuitism sanctions, that it may triumph (processes, however, unworthy a Christian, and derogatory to Christ), laid the foundation of that Church in some of the important places in the empire. Yet the faith he preached was but Buddhized Christianity,--a bastard religion in articles of belief, and a mongrel worship in the blended ceremonial of the Heathen temples and the Romish Church.
The success of the Jesuits stimulated the Franciscans and Dominicans to similar efforts; and though edicts of banishment were now and then proclaimed, though persecution often raged, though defection and treachery often prevailed, yet, despite of punishment, and [12/13] expulsion, and torture, the missionaries of the Church of Rome have held on, now in favor with the imperial court, now in disgrace; now baptizing thousands, now compelled to hide away in secret; now working alleged miracles, and now enduring the tortures of officials; laying great stress on baptism, and little on a holy life, turning Chinese idols and pictures into Romish saints and images; and more solicitous to hold outward relations with the Papal See, than to build up the Spiritual kingdom of God's dear Son.
At the latest accounts which I have seen, the working force of the Romish Church in China was twelve bishops, seven or eight coadjutors, about two hundred foreign and native priests, and over four hundred thousand converts.
From so many hundred years of labor, by so many hundred bishops and priests, and so many thousand professed converts, we should expect to see remarkable fruits. But it is all barrenness. No life-giving power has gone out from its missions; no soul-elevating power has raised up its disciples to a higher level; no breaking down of heathenism has been effected; and the pure and glorious Gospel of the Son of God, setting men free from the bondage of sin, and the fetters of superstition, and the thraldom of error, has scarcely been heard, even by the professed converts to the Romish faith.
It was not until the beginning of this century that Protestant Christians bestirred themselves for the conversion of China. For a hundred and fifty years Protestant England, through its great mercantile companies, [13/14] had traded with China, and drawn thence much of the riches which had built up England's commerce and marine. Multitudes of Protestants had made long and perilous voyages thither, and spent years there in buying, and selling, and getting gain; but they had never sent the Bible there, never taught the truth there, never built a church there.
And when, at last, at the beginning of this century, a man was found ready to go there on this noble mission, the honorable East India Company would not permit him to go out in one of their ships; and this young man, the subsequently world-honored Dr. Robert Morrison, had to come to this country, and, under protection of a letter from President Madison to the American Consul at Canton, he took passage in an American ship, and reached Macao in 1807. Some years after, when he had, through untold obstacles, mastered the language and evinced his rare linguistic powers, the same East India Company were willing enough to receive him into their employ, and appoint him their official translator. With the exception of a domestic service with his servants, Dr. Morrison's missionary work was confined to preparing his great Dictionary of the Chinese language, to translating the Bible in connection with Dr. Milne, to translating the Prayer-Book, and the preparation of a Chinese Grammar. These were herculean tasks, for he had to be a pioneer, and cut his own way through unexplored regions, and mark out paths where scarcely a footstep had gone before him. The work was worthy of the man, and will ever receive the praise which its [14/15] untold value, in connection with all subsequent efforts, deserves.
Other missionaries were sent out; but such was the jealousy of the Chinese, and the worldly policy of the East India Company, that they never got a foothold beyond Canton or Macao, and were mostly kept at a distance, in border countries.
The first American missionary, the Rev. Elijah C. Bridgman, was sent out by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, in 1829, and a few others followed. In 1835, the Rev. Dr. Peter Parker, subsequently the American Commissioner to China, arrived in Canton, and proceeded to establish a hospital for diseases of the eye, so prevalent in China. This inaugurated the great system of medical missions, which, in judicious hands, has proved one of the most mighty agents for breaking down prejudices, imparting truth, and opening China to missionary effort. About this period the Rev. Charles Gutzlaff having previously labored as a missionary in Java and Siam, went to China; and first in the disguise of a Chinaman, and then as interpreter and surgeon in an English ship, he made several voyages along the coast, distributing books, gaining information, and seeking out the vulnerable points whence China could be most successfully assailed by the Gospel of Christ. Mr. Gutzlaff labored with a zeal that often went beyond the bounds of prudence, and with a heroism that had in it a dash of knightly daring, but with an earnestness that quickened into activity every power of his mercurial body; and [15/16] his letters, and journals, and voyages, had an immense influence in awakening the Christian mind to its duty to the long-neglected sons of Ham.
All these, and other efforts, were, however, preparatory. Yet, just as ordnance stores must be gathered in given places before you can make a successful war, and just as a reconnoissance of engineers is important to learn the position and feel the strength of the enemy before you attack him, so, in this Lord's war, waged by missionary forces against the powers of darkness in China, these preliminary efforts were of incalculable value in guiding future operations. It was while these efforts were being made by Bridgman, and Parker, and Gutzlaff, and Medhurst, and others, that the attention of our branch of the Church was drawn towards China as a mission field; and very touching are the circumstances connected with its origin.
In the churchyard of St. Peter's, Philadelphia, is a plain marble slab, with this inscription "Sacred to the memory of the Rev. Augustus Foster Lyde, a Deacon of the P. E. C. in the U. S., who was born in Wilmington, N. C., Feb. 4, 1813, and died in the city of Philadelphia, Nov. 19, 1834. It was in his heart to preach the Gospel to the Chinese, and for this service he had offered himself to God and the Church; but it pleased his Heavenly Father to call him early home, and he died aged 21. Patient, cheerful, victorious through the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ." Under that marble slab lies the real founder of the Chinese mission!
This young man, whose early life and precocious [16/17] powers were baptized with the dew of the Holy Ghost, became a student in the General Theological Seminary in New York, in 1831. In that institution a Missionary Society had been organized, and with it he became intimately connected. In his last seminary year, 1833, the wants of the heathen pressed deeply upon his mind; and amidst struggles between sense and faith, and with wrestlings in prayer for strength and light, he believed he saw the index finger of God pointing to China; and he pledged himself, if God gave him health, to convey those glad tidings to China which his Saviour brought to earth. In the spring of 1834, while travelling to Philadelphia, he met the Rev. Dr. Milnor and the Hon. E. A. Newton, then on their way to Philadelphia to attend a meeting of "The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society" of our Church; and so earnestly did this young but even then almost death-struck man, present to the minds of these gentlemen his views as to the importance of establishing a mission to China, that at the meeting of the Society, on the 13th of May, the subject was formally brought before it by the Hon. Mr. Newton; and the next day, on motion of Dr. Milnor, China was designated as a missionary station of the Board. The enthusiastic Lyde was not, however, permitted to enter upon the field for which he had willingly offered himself. He had the high honor of inaugurating the movement, and setting in motion the machinery, and then was called to die, just after he had received his commission as a minister of Christ; and, by his death, he made [17/18] sacred to the Church the object so near his dying heart, the evangelizing of China.
As a scholar, he was far in advance of his years and his companions. As a poet, he has been well termed the Henry Kirke White of America. As a Christian, he was deeply spiritual and fervent. In the touching lines which Mrs. Sigourney, who knew and loved him, wrote in honor of his memory, we can say,
"Thy wakened lyre,
Sweet son of song! won thee warm brotherhood
With many a loving heart.
Yet not the realm
Of ancient learning, thronged with classic shapes,
Nor rose-wreathed Poesy's delightful bowers,
Contented thee. Thy soul had holier aims.
And from Castalian waters meekly turned
To the pure brook that kissed thy Saviour's feet,
What time to dark-browed Olivet he went
For lowly prayer. And ever o'er thine hour
Of deep devotion China's millions stole,
Blind, wandering, lost! And then thou didst dismiss
The host of pleasant fancies that so long
Hath made thy pilgrimage a music strain,
And for the outcast heathen pledge thy life,
A diamond to the treasury of thy Lord.
Heaven took the pledge; yet not for weary years
Of toil, and pain, and age; there was a flush
On thy young cheek, a fire within thine eye,
A wasting of the half ethereal clay;
Heaven took the pledge, and thou art all its own!"
The example of Lyde stirred the heart of his classmate, Henry Lockwood; and in July, 1834, he offered himself, and was appointed missionary to China. In [18/19] September he went to Philadelphia to study some of the more general principles of medicine with Dr. Caspar Morris, and thus fit himself for greater usefulness abroad.
In March, 1835, the Rev. Samuel R. Hanson, a graduate of the Virginia Theological Seminary, and Rector of Christ Church, Prince George County, Maryland, was also appointed to China, and the two missionaries sailed in June for their distant field. On reaching Canton they were kindly received by the other missionaries, but were soon convinced that their best plan was to go down to Batavia, in Java, and there learn the language, while at the same time they could have access to the 40,000 Chinese residing there, and begin with them their sacred work. They accordingly removed thither, and commenced the mission with earnest and hopeful minds.
There they were joined, in October, 1837, by Dr. and Mrs. Boone, who reached Batavia after a pleasant passage of one hundred and six days from Boston. Here for the present they determined to remain, that Dr. Boone might learn the Malay and Chinese languages, and wait for the Providence of God to open to them a door of entrance into the long walled-up "Middle Kingdom."
The health of Messrs. Lockwood and Hanson having broken down under the climate, causing them to return to America, Dr. Boone and wife were, in April, 1839, left alone,--the only representatives of our Church east of the Cape of Good Hope.
By great diligence, and amidst many drawbacks, he acquired the Chinese and Malay languages, and soon [19/20] began to use them for the diffusion of the truth. "I feel," he writes at this time, "that if I can acquire the Chinese language, I would exchange station with no one whatever. I have never been happier in my life than I have been since I came here; and I believe I can say with truth, that, when night comes, it affords me as much pleasure to count my Chinese gains as a miser ever enjoyed in telling over his gold." As soon as he had mastered the speech of the country he established schools for the Chinese children, and gathered about forty, to whom he imparted much religious truth in connection with secular instruction. He also gratuitously practised medicine among the poor, and thus, through his patients, sought to give medicine for the sick soul, as well as for the sick body. These labors were subsidiary to his great purpose of thoroughly acquiring the Chinese tongue; for, as he well wrote, "A missionary's career as a missionary--a publisher of the Gospel grace to those who have never heard it--cannot be said to commence until he can with some fluency speak the language of the people of his adoption. This thought is a great stimulus to me. I long to be a missionary in the true and highest sense, and at present all my powers are concentrated in the effort to acquire this most difficult language. I spend, every day, my whole strength upon it." Well might he call it a most difficult language; for there is not one so peculiar in its characters, its sounds, its dialects, and its grammar. Its characters number fifty thousand; its sounds almost mock the ability of the foreign ear to catch, or of the [20/21] tongue to use; its dialects are as various and as diverse as the many branching languages of Southern Europe growing out of the old Latin root; and its grammar, except in syntax and prosody, has no analogy to any other. It is the oldest living language, and is spoken by more people, through a greater extent of territory, than any in the world; and with its mystic characters, diverse from all other media of thought, it has walled in the mind of the Chinese with a mental barrier, which only a few foreign scholars have had the courage or the patience to surmount.
The strain to which Dr. Boone subjected his mind, in the intense effort to master it, told, alas! too soon, upon his health; and these studies, together with teaching school, and feeling the whole responsibility of the mission resting upon him, almost broke him down before he had reached the threshold of China; and, in his first annual report to the Board of Missions, forcibly but plaintively he appealed for help.
It was not until his physician insisted upon it, that Dr. Boone consented to remit his studies for a time and make a voyage to Macao. He did so with decided advantage to his health. His visit there was followed by another important result. He found that Macao presented greater facilities for carrying on his preparatory work than Batavia, and he decided to remove the mission thither as soon as practicable. This semi-Portuguese town, situated on a peninsula at the southeast part of China, and famous in the eyes of European scholars as containing the cave in which Camoens, the [21/22] greatest of Portuguese poets, mostly wrote the "Os Lusiadas," the greatest of Portuguese epics, offered many advantages as a point d'appui for missionary operations. It was in China; it was healthy; it was better fitted to carry on the work of studying and translating the language; it enabled the missionaries to watch more closely the processes then going on for the opening of China, and gave them great vantage ground when such opening should take place.
The residence at Macao did not as fully reinstate his health as he had anticipated, and the Foreign Committee invited him to visit the United States. To this request he replied, "I still think it much better to try another winter at Macao before I venture to conclude that the Lord is calling me away from a field, even though it be but for a season, to which I as firmly believe now, as ever I did, that He sent me."
While at Macao he was diligent in studying the Fokien dialect, and also in perfecting his knowledge of the Chinese classics, in which he obtained, according to the testimony of those best competent to judge, marked superiority. These and other studies necessary to make him thoroughly furnished as a Chinese missionary, he pursued amidst many embarrassments caused by ill health, and greater discouragement occasioned by want of sympathy for his work by the Church at home. Yet amidst it all he could say, "I have never been so encouraged in the work personally, or so sanguine in regard to the China mission generally, as at present. Do send us help." Ah! had he known, when he wrote these [22/23] buoyant words of hope, that at the very time they were penned there were those at home who wished to disband the mission and recall the missionary, how would his heart have sunk within him at this attempt to strangle the mission in its infancy! Thanks to God, when the subject came before the Annual Meeting of the Board, the counsels of faith and hope triumphed over those of doubt and faintheartedness. The discussion did good; it showed the falsity of a missionary policy that was based on seeing immediate and visible results, making it a work of sense rather than of faith, and it strengthened the mind of the Church in its resolve to do its duty to the heathen of sending the Gospel, leaving it for God to give the increase.
For this increase God was preparing the ground, but by a dark and mysterious way.
On Sunday morning, July 5th, 1841, the first gun was fired from the English Commodore's ship at the tower of Tinghai, which opened what has been called "The Opium War" with China. The deed desecrating this holy day was worthy of the war which dishonored English justice, and humanity, and religion. For more than two years this war was waged, until counsels of peace were heard, and a treaty indemnifying England for loss of opium, and opening to commerce five ports, instead of one, closed the opium tragedy of fire, and blood, and desolation. God thus "made the wrath of man to praise Him," and out of the untold evils of war created advantages never before possessed for preaching the Gospel of the Prince of Peace.
 In February, 1842, Dr. Boone made a voyage to Amoy, a city which had been captured by the English in 1841, and which was, by treaty, one of the five ports open to foreign residents. Impressed with its superior advantages as a missionary station, he removed thither in June, 1842, and settled himself on the island of Ku-lang-su, half a mile from the great city of Amoy. He now felt that he had at last gotten into the empire; and here, for the first time, Protestant missionaries could preach and teach the doctrine of Jesus without let or hindrance. His prayers had been answered; his hopes had been realized; and, as he saw the Chinese gather daily to his religious services, the toils and sufferings of five years seemed but as the small dust of the balance against the preponderating joy which then filled his soul. Standing now upon the threshold of China, with five doors open, he sent across the waters most fervid appeals to the Foreign Committee to reinforce him, as he stood alone with three hundred millions of heathen before him, and he asked that "a band of co-workers should be sent out, that with them he might go in and possess the land for Christ and the Church." How was this Macedonian cry responded to? How were the trumpet-calls of this lone and feeble missionary answered? The Church heard them and was DUMB! The merchant's call for clerks, for supercargoes, for traders, was quickly replied to by hundreds of aspirants for Chinese goods and gold. Mammon's voice was obeyed; the voice of God, speaking through the lips of his servant, and resounding through the Church of America, was heard in [24/25] silence, and not a man replied, "Here am I, send me." God then took another method of awaking the sleeping Church. He called Mrs. Boone to himself, and on the 30th August, 1842, took away from Dr. Boone the desire of his eyes at a stroke, and left his house desolate. For more than five years she had been to him not only a sweet companion and comforter, but a most faithful co-worker in all his missionary plans. "I may say of her," writes Dr. Boone, that "she was the most energetic missionary that I have ever met in my five years' sojourn in the East."
She was the first female missionary who died in China, and her body was laid to rest in a grave in the island of Ku-lang-su, amidst the very people whom she came to serve and save.
In her last sickness she begged her husband to say to her friends that though her missionary course would be short if she died front her present disease, that she never had, nor did she now, regret coming out as a missionary. "No," she added; "if there is a mercy in life for which I feel thankful to God, it is that He has condescended to employ me as a missionary to the heathen."
Though cast down by this affliction, he was not destroyed. "I trust the Lord is sanctifying my afflictions to me; I feel more determined than ever that by His grace I will live and die in His service in China."
This breach in his household made it necessary that he should return to the United States with his young children; and he was also urged to take the step by the [25/26] desire of the Foreign Committee, that he should come back, and seek to do, by his presence, what he had failed to do by his pen,--rouse up the Church to a sense of its duty to over three hundred millions of heathen in China. He reached New York in the summer of 1843, after a short passage of three months. Having placed his children under proper care, he set about the work of creating an interest in his mission, and of securing additional missionaries.
How different was the position which Dr. Boone occupied now, and that in which he stood when he first went out.
The unsolved problems of 1837 were all solved now. He stood before the Church in this land as one who had mastered the language, and could, and had, preached in it concerning Jesus and the resurrection. He could tell of crowds who attended his services; of schools to which Chinese children freely resorted; of the unsealing of the long sealed up empire; and the opening of five gateways along the coast to Western commerce and true religion; and, to meet the marvellous developings of God's Providence, he called upon the Church for men and means, to secure the conquests already won, and to make them the base of wider and stronger operations in the future. He had purposed spending but a few months in America, so anxious was he to be on the spot; but, at the request of the Foreign Committee, he remained here, visiting the churches from Boston to New Orleans. His addresses were simple but effective; eloquent, without oratory; powerful, without pretension; [26/27] telling the story of his work and of his field with an unction that showed his heart was in it, and communicating to others the deep emotions which so often stirred the depths of his own soul. It was a great blessing to our whole Church to be brought into contact with this good man; you became insensibly interested, first in him, then in his work. He was a noble embodiment of missionary zeal, guided by knowledge, and tempered with discretion; and fitly illustrated the Church's ideal of a single-hearted, single-eyed missionary of the Cross.
It was at this juncture that the subject of sending out our foreign missions with an Episcopal head was discussed in the Board of Missions and in the General Convention. In June, 1843, the Committee, in their annual report, write, that they hope "that suitable measures will be taken by the Board to secure, if possible, the early appointment of a Bishop for China. The Committee cannot perceive the necessity of separating in the Church that which God has joined. If Episcopacy be an important part of the organization of the Church, as constituted by Christ and his Apostles, why reject it in the missionary work among the heathen? Paul, and Barnabas, and Timothy, and Titus, were Apostles or Bishops to the Gentiles; why, in the same work among the Gentiles, is this principle of missionary work changed?" The idea thus suggested was warmly responded to by the Committee of the Board to whom the report was submitted; and Bishop Doane, the Chairman, earnestly urged the duty of "furnishing the China mission with an Apostolic head. China," he adds, "is ours, [27/28] for duty and devotion, by the right of pre-occupation." Among the resolutions appended to Bishop Doane's report, was one stating that it was "necessary not only to increase the number of laborers in that field, but to send a Bishop at their head." This resolution was adopted by the Board, and thus fixed its policy on a right basis.
At the next meeting of the Board of Missions, in June, 1844, the subject again came up, and the Committee to whom the Foreign Report was referred, reported, through their Chairman, Bishop Henshaw, "that they believe that it is presumptuous to hope for any very extensive blessings upon the missions of the Church in a land where the Episcopacy has no existence, without sending the ministry of the Church in its integrity." Canonical difficulties were, however, in the way, which could only be removed by the action of the General Convention, which was to meet in October, and hence no definite action could be had until these obstacles were overcome.
In the meanwhile, Dr. Boone was assiduously at work cultivating the missionary spirit and diffusing missionary knowledge. Ten thousand dollars had been pledged for missionaries and schools; and the Committee determined, if the General Convention agreed, to send out a bishop, and several presbyters and teachers.
The General Convention having, in October, 1844, passed canons for the election and consecration of Foreign Missionary Bishops, the Board of Missions, meeting at the same time, resolved, that such bishops should at once be appointed for Africa, China, and Constantinople.
 On Tuesday, the 22d of October, 1844, the House of Bishops, having, on motion of Bishop Meade, passed a brief space in silent prayer, proceeded to the election of a Bishop for Amoy, China, when it was found that the Rev. William Jones Boone, M.D., was elected to be nominated to House of Clerical and Lay Deputies as Missionary Bishop for said station. The nomination was sent to the lower House, and acted upon that evening, the last of the session, by electing Dr. Boone, and signing his testimonials; the Rev. Mr. Glennie, of South Carolina, being at the same time elected Bishop of Africa, and the Rev. H. Southgate, of Maine, Bishop of Constantinople. Thus, at the close of a session of the General Convention of unusual excitement and interest, growing out of personal, theological, and ecclesiastical questions, that touched vital spots, and made the whole Church quiver under the touch, there was inaugurated a measure designed to carry on the work of missions in a more thorough, wise, and systematic way than ever before.
The consecration of Dr. Boone took place in St. Peter's Church, Philadelphia, on Saturday, the 26th October, 1844. Bishop Chase, of Illinois, the Presiding Bishop, officiated as the consecrator, assisted by ten other Bishops of the Church. Dr. Boone was presented for consecration by Bishop Meade, of Virginia, and Bishop Elliott, of Georgia, and Bishop Elliott preached the consecration sermon from the words, "Enlarge the place of thy tent., and let them stretch forth the curtains of thy habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; for thou shalt break forth on the [29/30] right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited." (Isaiah, 54: 2, 3.)
Dr. Southgate was, at the same time, consecrated Missionary Bishop for Turkey; and Dr. Freeman, of Delaware, Missionary Bishop to Arkansas, the Indian Territories, and Texas.
The whole scene was exceedingly impressive; and the event itself,--the consecration of three Missionary Bishops, one for this country and two for foreign lands,--was the most stirring one which had yet occurred in the history of the American Church. It electrified our whole communion, and sent a thrill of joy to every heart that longed and prayed for the advent of the Redeemer's kingdom. Truly did Bishop Elliott say, in his consecration sermon, "This day's work is the exhibition of the measure of her faith; the solemn assumption of the position which, by the help of her covenant God, she intends to maintain before men and angels. And how sublime that position! But yesterday, cast forth a callow, unfledged thing, from her parent nest; to-day she spreads the wings of faith and hope over four continents. But yesterday, and she, herself, was struggling for life in a world that frowned upon her, and cast out her name as evil; and to-day, in the very spirit of her Divine Master, is she covering, with the mantle of her charity, the desolate and the perishing of the earth, and imparting to them the warmth and vitality of her own life-blood. But yesterday, that she received the fulness of her divine commission from the compassionate [30/31] kindness of her mother Church; and to-day she more than recompenses all that love, by taking her station side by side with that venerable mother, to battle for the faith once delivered to the Saints. But yesterday, and none so poor to do her reverence; now, a generation has scarce passed away, thousands of noble hearts will turn to her, from isles and continents, and bow before her for having dared first and foremost, in these degenerate times, to send the light and life of Christianity, in the fulness of its power, and in the integrity of its order, to the heathen nations of the world."
After the delivery of the consecration sermon, and the solemn investing of the Bishop elect with the robes and authority of the Episcopal office, Bishop Henshaw presented to Bishop Boone an address from the House of Bishops, containing their fatherly counsel and advice. It was affectionate, judicious, and suggestive, and greatly strengthened the hands and nerved the heart of the newly-made Bishop. And now Bishop Boone stands before us as Missionary Bishop to Amoy, and parts adjacent, ready to depart to his distant jurisdiction. He had come home sad, almost discouraged, and alone,--a single presbyter, battling with an empire of idolatry. His appeals had been so successful, and the spirit which he had called out had been so earnest, that he was now to return with a band of co-workers, men and women, to organize a new mission in a more eligible field. He had also married Miss Phoebe Elliott, the sister of Bishop Elliott, of Georgia; and, with a reconstructed household, he went forth with a joyous heart.
 Previous to his sailing, Bishop Meade delivered to him and his associate missionaries a paper of instructions, indicating the desires of the Foreign Committee, and planning out, to a certain extent, the work of the mission.
The Bishop was to remove from Amoy to Shanghai, the most northern portion of the empire open to foreigners. This change was made from the fact that this city was near to the great heart of the Empire of Pekin, from its greater salubrity, and from its being the port of greatest probable commerce; and hence where they could receive, on the one hand, foreign protection, and, on the other, easiest access to the people whom they came to save.
In referring to Bishop Boone, the instructions thus speak: "The conduct of this mission is committed to no unknown or untried person, but to one long and intimately known to the members of the Foreign Committee; to one whose past agency has afforded them the most entire satisfaction; to one who has commended himself to the hearts of the members of our Church at home.
"The Committee, Right Reverend Sir, glorify God in you, and bless the great Head of the Church for all that he has done in and by you. You have comforted our hearts; you have given a new impulse to the missionary exertions of the Church. You have the confidence, the love, the prayers of the Committee, and of multitudes whom you leave behind."
On Saturday, December 14, 1844, Bishop Boone and [32/33] wife, and the Rev. Messrs. Henry W. Woods and Richardson Graham, and Mrs. Woods, Mrs. Graham, and Miss Gillette, Miss Jones, and Miss Morse, sailed from New York for China in the ship Horatio. A large number of the friends of the missionaries accompanied them to the ship and down the bay; and, after religious services, conducted by the Rev. Dr. Milnor, the farewell word was spoken, and the devoted hand proceeded on their voyage.
Well might the Foreign Committee say, of this event, "It will form an important epoch in the missionary history of the Church of Christ; for then went forth the first completely organized mission to heathen lands since the early ages of the Church,--a mission having within itself the means of perpetuation after what we deem the Apostolic pattern."
On the third day of the voyage the Bishop began the formation of a class in Chinese; and, with the assistance of a native Chinese on board, named Chae, studies in the language were kept up during the voyage of one hundred and thirty-one days. And thus a foundation was laid in the language before the missionaries reached China.
The party reached Hong Kong on the 24th April, 1845, and arrangements were at once made to go to Shanghai, and establish the mission on a permanent basis.
In the two years' absence of the Bishop, great and favorable changes had taken place in the missionary aspect of the empire; especially in the promulgation of an imperial edict, granting "to foreigner the privilege [33/34] of teaching the Christian religion in any of the five ports, and to the natives of China to profess it in any part of the empire."
Under this new answer to prayer, that God would open China to Christian efforts, Bishop Boone writes, "I stand prepared to throw my whole heart, and life, and soul, into the effort to make known the precious Redeemer to these perishing millions, whose chains have been thus unexpectedly knocked off."
The Bishop reached Shanghai on the 17th of June, and soon the whole mission family were comfortably settled and at work in their new Chinese home.
Schools were soon established. Translations of the Catechism, Prayer-Book, and other simple religious works, were prepared by the Bishop. Preaching and distributing of tracts were kept up in the surrounding villages. Nor was he unmindful of the spiritual needs of the foreign community. He was active in getting up Trinity Church for the English and American residents, and in procuring a Colonial Chaplain from England. He early planned, and soon saw built, a large schoolhouse, which, for some years, served as a boarding-school for boys, and a home for the missionaries. Also, a house for the girls' school. He built a church, the first Protestant church in China, in the very centre of the city of Shanghai, and another smaller one near the residence of the missionaries. His active mind and warm heart kept him ever at work. Nothing connected with mission work was too minute to escape his care. Nothing so great as to prevent his grappling with it [34/35] and mastering it for Christ. He had the whole machinery of the mission under his eye, and regulated it with a wise mind and a judicious hand. Hence, harmony prevailed in the mission families, and cordial co-operation in all his varied plans.
An important step was at this time taken by the several representatives of the Christian world in China!, and Bishop Boone was called upon to occupy a foremost part in the movement. The translation of the Scriptures into Chinese, by Drs. Morrison and Mime, needed revision. The increased knowledge of the language possessed by the present missionaries, made it important to bring out, if possible, a standard edition. To secure accuracy and mutual confidence, a committee of delegates from the several missions in China was appointed, in 1847, to the work of revising the three translations of Morrison, Medhurst, and Gutzlaff, and bringing their united labors into one volume. The committee consisted of the most eminent Chinese scholars in China: Dr. Bridgman, of the A. B. C. F. M.; Rev. Mr. Stronach, from Amoy; Rev. Mr. Lowrie, of the Presbyterian Board for Ning-po; the Rev. Dr. Medhurst, of the London Missionary Society, and Bishop Boone.
The most important question which this committee was to settle was the proper rendering of the Hebrew Elohim and Greek Theos into Chinese. Drs. Morrison and Milne had employed the Chinese word "Shin;" Dr. Medhurst, "Shangte."
Bishop Boone opposed the use of the word "Shangte," as simply meaning emperor who is above,--a chief god [35/36] among many gods; the Jupiter of the Chinese,--and strenuously advocated the term "Shin" as the genuine term for God in Chinese.
"In my opinion," says Bishop Boone, "this is the most important emergency in which I have been placed for advancing the true interests of the Christian cause in China. An error on this point will do more to retard this peoples' coming to a knowledge of the true God than on almost anything which could be mentioned. It is in vain to fight against Polytheism in the name of a heathen deity; we must use the generic term for this reason, if for no other, namely, that Jehovah does not propose Himself to a Polytheistic nation to take the place of their Jupiter or Neptune, but in place of the whole class. We must therefore give Him the name of the class, and affirm that He alone is entitled to the name."
Notwithstanding the Bishop's feeble health,--for he had been, some months before, threatened with paralysis, and had been compelled to stop preaching, as being too exciting to his shattered nervous system,--he yet roused himself up to the height of this great argument, and, when the Committee on Revision split upon this question, he prepared an address to the Christian public, ably showing the truth of his position, and proving, to the satisfaction of every unbiassed mind, that he was right.
Having done this, he told the Foreign Committee, "I indulge strong hopes that this question will be settled soon with a good degree of unanimity, so that the [36/37] Chinese may at least regard all Protestant missionaries in China as worshippers of the same God."
It was a little word that the Bishop thus earnestly contended for, but it involved the whole theology of the Chinese Bible. Just as, around a single word, omoousion (Homoousion), aye, and around a single letter of that word, an o, raged the great Arian controversy of the fourth century.
For the Bishop to have given up the word "Shin" for "Shangte," would have been, in his view of the subject, to place an idol god as the corner-stone of the Christian Church in China.
To the work of translation and revision, Bishop Boone gave much and careful study. In addition to his labors on the Revision Committee, the object of which was to render the holy Bible into the written or "book-language" of China,--a language which never has been, nor can be, a spoken language, and which is addressed solely to the eye, and is understood, when thus written, by all the educated Chinese,--he also, in connection with Mr. Keith, translated the New Testament, and part of the Old, into the spoken language of the province of Kiang-su, in which Shanghai is situated. In the vast empire of China there are at least six provincial dialects, which differ as much from each other as French, Spanish, and Italian. These dialects have never been reduced to writing, the "book-language," as it is called, being the medium of written and printed communication; but this book-language, like the Latin in the middle and later ages in Europe, was known [37/38] only to Chinese scholars, and hence a large proportion of people could not use the Bible thus translated. To meet this difficulty, and to introduce the Bible into the colloquial language of the thirty-six millions of the province of Kiang-su, Bishop Boone undertook the difficult task of adapting the characters used in the book-style to the hitherto unwritten vernacular of that province. He succeeded most admirably, and thus was the first to render the Word of God into the mother tongue of a population larger than is contained in all the United States. The amount of literary labor and critical knowledge required for this work cannot be fully known or appreciated by us. And the benefit of such work, not to the present generation alone, but through all coming time, in thus giving to them, in their own tongue wherein they were born, the Word of God, is beyond computation.
Had ten times the money which the whole Chinese mission cost, been spent in this one work of translating the Bible into the vernacular of Kiang-su, it would have been a blessing cheaply bought, and for which the Church would have been richly repaid.
Permit me, at this point, to call your attention for a moment to a department of missionary labor too often overlooked, but which equals any other in present and future influence, and is, indeed, the basis of all Christian work in a heathen land. I refer to the translation of the Bible into the mother tongue of heathen nations. There are two points from which to look at this work,--the one literary, the other religious. Looking upon the [38/39] Bible as a literary book, containing the oldest history, the oldest laws, the oldest ritual, the oldest biographies, the oldest poetry, the oldest philosophy; written by forty different persons,--kings, priests, prophets, rulers, poets,--during a period of fifteen hundred years, let me ask, What would be the effect of introducing such a book into a language which never before possessed it? Or, that you may comprehend more fully this blessing, let me put the question in another form. What would be the effect on English literature, if the Bible, and all the literature to which it has given birth, and all the richness which it has imparted to our tongue, and all the shape and coloring which it has given to the English mind, could be suddenly withdrawn from the field of letters? It would produce a mental collapse,--a void which no production of any one, or of all human minds combined, could fill.
To give the Bible to the language of a nation, is to enrich it with a body of poetry, history, law, and morality, beyond anything else; infusing into the veins of that language the noblest and holiest streams of pure and purifying thought. Not only so, but such a translation fixes the language of the nation. The master-singers of the sixteenth century, with all their wealth of song, did not do as much to fix the German language as was done by Luther's translation of the Bible; and the stability of the English language is more due to the King James version of the Bible, than to the poetry of Milton or the dramas of Shakspeare. It cannot be translated into a heathen tongue without refining, [39/40] beautifying, enriching, and solidifying that tongue; and when you make a languge the repository of the soul's deepest emotions, and the vehicle of its intercourse with God, and the organ of its public worship, then have you anchored that language, and given it fixedness and nationality. Thus, even in a literary point of view, the missionary who translates the Bible into the vernacular of the heathen, has done the noblest literary work that the human mind can do for that nation. But if, waiving this mere literary view, you look upon this work of translation as bringing to the heathen the knowledge of the true God, and Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit,--the Church, and its sacraments, and its ministry; as giving to the heathen a book which will be his soul's guide-book to God and Heaven; as introducing into his nation a silent power, which is to revolutionize and overturn existing systems of irreligion, and build up the pure and holy principles of the Gospel of Christ,--if you look at the work of the translator in this light, then must you rank the missionary with the highest benefactors of the human race, and his work with the grandest achievements of the human mind. Through the labors of Protestant missionaries the Bible has been translated into a hundred different languages within the past seventy years. What a mighty work! To make a hundred living languages vocal with Divine truth, to as many tribes and nations, numbering four hundred millions of people! Who can estimate the literary or the moral value of such a work, conceived by Christian love, wrought out by Christian toil, and [40/41] done to Christianize man and glorifying God! Yet this is but one department of missionary work.
On the 7th September, 1851, Bishop Boone had the happiness of admitting the first native Chinese to the order of Deacons in the Protestant Episcopal Church. This young man, whose name was Chae, had accompanied Bishop Boone to America, had learned the English language, and on his return voyage, in 1844, had been deeply impressed with religious truth, chiefly through the personal instruction of Mrs. Boone. Subsequent events placed him again under the Bishop's care, by whom he was carefully instructed, and, after due probation, baptized and admitted a candidate for holy orders. The ordination of this man was looked forward to by the whole mission with deep interest. Two days before it was to take place, the Bishop had a severe attack of disease, and it was feared that the service could not take place. But by Sunday morning he was so much recruited, that he determined, though amidst pain and weakness, to proceed. The morning service was duly read; the sermon was delivered by the Rev. Mr. McClachie, of the English mission; the candidate, vested in a surplice, was presented by the Rev. Mr. Syle; and the hands of the first Protestant Missionary Bishop to China were laid upon the head of the first native candidate for orders, and he arose "a Deacon in the Church of God." The scene was touching in each of its particulars. The humble Chinaman, wearing, for the first time, the white surplice over his native dress; the uniting of the two great Protestant [41/42] nations of the earth, England and America, in the ordination service; the singular situation of the Church, the only one in a city wholly given to idolatry; the motley crowd of natives and foreigners, Christian and idolaters, attracted by the strange ceremonial; the first celebration in the church, and in the city, of the Lord's Supper; and the feeble aspect of the Bishop, scarcely able to get through the service, and yet with a face glowing with delight; all these things conspired to make that ordination one of the most noted events in the history of the Chinese mission. Thus began the native ministry of the Episcopal Church in China. God grant that it may prove to be but the first in a line of holy orders, embracing deacons, presbyters and bishops, which shall eventually cover the empire with the churches and dioceses of this Apostolic Communion.
Soon after the opening of the five ports to foreign trade, Victoria, the chief city of the Island of Hong Kong, was, through the influence of the mission societies in England, erected into an Episcopal See, under the title of "Victoria," and the Rev. George Smith, who had been a faithful missionary in China for several years, was nominated as its first Bishop, and his jurisdiction was extended, by the Queen's letters patent, over the five consular ports. In 1850 Bishop Boone had the pleasure of welcoming Bishop Smith to China. The question of jurisdiction was somewhat complicated, and at times perplexing. There was, however, no friction or jar in the practical working of the two episcopates, because of the good sense and Christian spirit [42/43] which animated the two Bishops, who sought union rather than division, and harmony rather than discord. They entertained for each other great respect; and it was peculiarly grateful to me to hear the Lord Bishop of Victoria, when in this country some years since, speak in terms of such high regard concerning the zeal and ability of Bishop Boone. Both have since left the field, one by death, the other by resignation, and China is now without a Protestant Bishop to oversee the work of American and English missionaries.
In 1852 the Bishop was again compelled, by loss of health, to revisit the United States. Since he left its shores, he had established the mission at Shanghai; had built up the mission school-houses for boys and girls, and had organized the schools; had erected a church for worship in the native language; had supervised the translation of the Bible and Prayer-Book; had gathered native congregations, had baptized over a score of adults; had confirmed nearly as many Chinese, and had ordained to the ministry a native candidate; and, in various other ways, had lengthened the cords and strengthened the stakes of the mission. All this time he was suffering with his head and nerves, which, at times, seriously crippled his powers, and made mm do all his work under great disadvantage. After such a campaign, conducted under such physical disability, the Bishop needed rest, and the Foreign Committee urged him to return. While in this country, the insurrection which had began some years before, in one of the distant provinces, had gathered such head, as [43/44] resulted in the capture of Shanghai, in 1853, by the rebel troops.
This rebellion, the history of which is not yet fully known, was one of the most wonderful movements in the annals of China. It was a political faction, incorporating in itself several great religious truths, seeking to overthrow the Manchou dynasty, and to establish on its ruins a sort of paganized Christianity. The edicts and books which were at first circulated by the insurgents, in which, with many errors, were many precious truths, gave, at first, great hopes to the friends of true religion. Their denunciation of idols, their engrafting the ten commandments in their code of laws, their professed reverence for the Lord Jesus, and their published respect for the missionaries, seemed to be so many precursors of good, preparing the way for the spread of more and purer truth.
At such a time, when the stagnant mind of China was stirred to its depths by this rebellion, the Bishop felt anxious to be on the spot, to observe more closely the signs of the times, and act as the shifting scenes should demand; and, hence, he sailed from New York in November, taking back with him three assistants. On reaching Shanghai, after a passage of one hundred and fifty days, he found the city of Shanghai in a deplorable state. War, with its moral, and social, and civil desolation, ruled the scene. The missionaries and their premises had been mercifully preserved; the services, except in the city, had been continued, and the number of attendants had even greatly increased. Two great [44/45] facts met Bishop Boone on his arrival there,--the anarchy in which China was plunged by the rebellion, and the remarkable opening of Japan. Each of these had important bearings on mission work,--the former, by presenting avenues of access to the interior of China, and opportunities of distributing books hitherto unknown; and the latter, by opening those long-closed "Isles of the Rising Sun," not by the sword of war, but by the diplomacy of peace, so that the missionaries of the very Cross on which the Japanese had annually trampled with disdain, could visit and settle there. "I believe," says Bishop Boone, "that our generation has never before seen any crisis so much calling for prayer, and energy, and prudence, in the conduct of missions in this field. It is not a time to draw back when God is making bare his arm." In the meantime, the development of the insurgents' plans, and the character of those who directed the rebellion, were such as to shock all minds by their blasphemous claims and their insane attempts to establish a sort of theocracy, a celestial dynasty, in which Hung Siu-tseun pretended to be a natural, and not a spiritual Son of God, and claimed, in right thereof dominion over the whole earth. Hence, when commissioners and officers from England and America visited him, he objected to their giving specific names to their countries, or pretending to offices independent of him, declaring there was but one country, "the Celestial Kingdom;" but one dynasty, the Tai-ping, or that of the Prince of Peace; while he styled his prime minister "the Holy Ghost."
 For a long time the mission suffered from the Imperial army, sent to put down this rebellion; and it was not until April, 1853, that the Bishop could write, "Peace has returned to our neighborhood, and it is a great blessing. We are now preaching daily at our church in the city, and that to good congregations."
It was, however, not a permanent, but an intermittent peace. The insurgents, checked in their advance by the Imperialists, in a few years broke up into factions among themselves, and more fearful scenes of anarchy and carnage convulsed the empire.
Early in 1857 the Bishop's health again gave way so seriously, that he was compelled to lay aside his duties for a season, and return to the United States. He reached New York in August, 1857, benefited by the voyage, but in a condition which demanded "as much rest as possible, and freedom from labor." He accordingly settled himself; for a while, with his family, at Orange, New Jersey, there to recruit his strength. For the last four years he had been working where most men would have been resting; and amidst all his suffering and debility, he kept in active operation the full power of the mission in its schools, its preaching, and its translations.
The quiet and seclusion of Orange could not make Bishop Boone inactive. The antennae of his mind were ever stretching themselves out to feel and take hold of something that could advance the China Mission. In February, 1858, he brought before the Foreign Committee the expediency of occupying Japan as a missionary [46/47] station. The ports of that insular empire had been marvellously opened, and he was anxious that the missionary should keep pace with the merchant in gaining a foothold in that strange land. From his retreat at Orange he also watched with intense interest the negotiations in progress, in 1858, between the Commissioners of the four great powers (America, England, France, and Russia), and the Chinese Government. This was one of the most striking scenes in diplomatic history. It was the civilized world, through its ambassadors, knocking at the gate of Pekin to obtain an audience of the Emperor, and to secure the rights of nations, and the world waited and listened for his reply. At length his Imperial Majesty was brought to feel that this was no paltry ceremonial of nations, bringing him tribute and reverence, but the just demand of the greatest nations on earth for recognition, with all the rights and privileges of equals, as regulated by the principles of international law, to which he was solemnly bound to reply. The treaties of July, 1858, made severally with the ministers of the great Powers, were his reply; and they contained grants and privileges, which, while they were favorable to trade and intercourse, were yet destined to be more favorable to the Chinese than even to the nations which secured them. The American treaty, negotiated by the Hon. William B. Reed, in July, 1858, was the first ever made with the Emperor of China which opened it to the Gospel, and secured protection to missionaries and native converts throughout the empire. The Lord Bishop of Victoria, writing to the [47/48] Archbishop of Canterbury, says, "The American Minister, the Hon. William B. Reed, has been the first, in his treaty with China, to obtain an honorable mention and direct recognition of the Christian religion, and a voluntary offer of protection to Christian converts in the country. It is right that Christians on both sides of the Atlantic should know the advantages that have been procured for missionary labor, and the impediments which have been removed from the path of the Gospel, by the noble work of the American Minister, the Hon. William B. Reed." This is one of the greatest moral triumphs which diplomacy has ever gained. It opened an empire to Christ, not by the sword of war, but by the pen of the diplomatist.
When the text of the Reed-Treaty reached America, it made the soul of the Bishop glow with unusual enthusiasm; and, commenting on it in his annual report to the Board of Missions, he says, "Can you imagine a stronger call? It is not merely a man of Macedonia, but a whole phalanx of Chinese mandarins are standing and beckoning to you to send to them these good men, the missionaries of the Cross. The whole eighteen provinces are now thrown open to the men whom you shall send."
His appeals were not in vain. In February, 1859, Japan was made a mission station, and placed under his jurisdiction. Messrs. Williams and Liggins, two missionaries, were taken from China and sent there. In March the Foreign Committee resolved to send out large reinforcements to meet the new emergencies, and [48/49] requested Bishop Boone "to solicit from the churches, as a special contribution, means to accomplish this end." To this work the Bishop sprang as one whose energies had long been held in the leash, and he bounded forward to the duty with a faith that was an earnest of success, and with a zeal that triumphed for a time over disease and pain. He was successful. Men and means seemed to come at his call as if by magic; and young men and women willingly offered themselves for the work. Some who are here present will remember the thrilling scene which took place in St. George's Church, New York, when, on the morning of the 7th July, 1859, Bishop Boone ordained four candidates for holy orders as missionaries to China; and, on the Sunday following, ordained another in the Church of the Ascension, New York.
On the 13th of July, the Bishop, with his family and twelve new missionaries, male and female, set sail from New York for China. They reached Shanghai in December, and were saddened at finding China again at war with England and France. Shortly after his arrival, he held two confirmations, at which thirty-five persons renewed their baptismal vows.
The next year, 1860, nominal peace was again restored,--internal by defeating the rebels,--external by a treaty with France and England.
Missionary trials of a peculiar sort now began to develop themselves, and gave the Bishop great distress. The first was the necessity of degrading from the ministry, which he had received at the Bishop's hands, Tong, [49/50] the young Chinese, whose ordination, as the second native Deacon, gave so much pleasure to us all. Then followed the gradual dismemberment of the mission, by death, and removal of many of its members; then the disbanding, for lack of funds, of the boys' school; then the giving up of the Northern Mission to Chee-foo; and then the declining health of Mrs. Boone. All these sad things fell like trip-hammer blows upon the Bishop's heart, and almost crushed out its hope and life. But he still hoped against hope, feeling that the cause was God's, and that He would not forsake the vine of His own planting.
The Bishop was now left with only three missionaries, and the native Deacon, Chae, whom the Bishop advanced to the Priesthood on the 8th November, 1863. Unwilling to return to the United States, and yet compelled to make some change on account of Mrs. Boone, the Bishop resolved to try the climate of Singapore. This failing to produce the desired effect, he took Mrs. Boone, by the advice of physicians, to Egypt, to try the effect of its dry atmosphere. The patient sufferer reached Arabia in a sinking condition; and at the Isthmus of Suez, in a hotel, with only the Bishop, and her son, and servant, by her side, Mrs. Boone fell asleep in Jesus. She was buried on an island in the Red Sea, her body being fitly borne to the grave by the boat's crew of four Chinese sailors, while the sorrowing husband read over her coffin the service which committed to earth all that was earthy of one of the loveliest missionaries of the Cross.
 The Bishop now took his youngest son to Germany, and, at his mother's request, placed him in charge of Miss Jones, long the friend and co-missionary of Mrs. Boone, then residing there. Having done this, he declined the invitation of the Foreign Committee to visit the United States, because he had left the burden of the mission on the shoulders of one brother, and he felt that Shanghai must now be his post for work or for death. He accordingly took the Overland Mail back, but amidst dangers and trials of the most fearful kind. The steamer in which he set sail from Aden for Ceylon, was, on the 29th April last, caught in one of those cyclones which at times so terribly ravage the Eastern seas. In this gale the ship, with her fires put out, lay helpless, drifting on a lee shore, almost water-logged by the immense waves which combed over on her decks, filling the engine-room to the depth of seven feet, and for two hours it was the expectation of all on board that the vessel must founder, for it seemed as if no human fabric could contend successfully with such wind and waves. When this danger was over, new ones arose. The ship-fever, in pestilential form, and small-pox, broke out among the native crew and passengers. In the midst of all this danger and alarm the Bishop bore up as a Christian hero, calming the excited, comforting the despairing, lending himself to every effort that could encourage hope or impart consolation; and, when the storm abated, and the dangers were over, he held a thanksgiving service on board, and made an address to all the passengers, [51/52] the good fruit of which will doubtless be seen at the last day.
"You will be anxious to know," writes the Bishop, "how my health has fared during all these troubles. Strange to say, I have been better ever since the day of the storm."
A month later, when he had reached Singapore, he was obliged to write that he "had been seriously ill, but hoped to be able to get on to Shanghai." Through the mercy of God, and amidst great suffering, he reached his post on the 13th June, "very ill from the effects of his long journey." Yet, though weak, he was cheerful and resigned, ready for service or for sacrifice. The sacrifice was called for, rather than the service; and on Sunday, the 17th July, he entered into the rest of his Lord. Every funeral honor was paid to his memory; and the body of the first Protestant Bishop buried in Chinese soil, should be the Church's pledge that China shall not be given up until a native ministry shall be reared to carry on the work, which a foreign ministry began.
The private life of the Bishop, as seen in the home and mission circle, offers a tempting subject on which to speak; for it would show that, in all his relations to his own and to his mission family, he manifested that unselfishness, simplicity, charity, godliness, and wisdom, which surrounded his character as with a halo of grace and beauty.
His love of his missionary work was intense. From the time that he gave himself to Christ for service in [52/53] heathen lands, to his death, he never faltered in his zeal and perseverance,--never tired of the work; but, with an ever-growing consciousness of the importance of it, he gloried in spending and being spent in the holy service. He wandered off into no side-paths. He had no by-ends to serve. His eye was single; his aim was single; and, guided by faith, nerved by hope, impelled by love, he pressed toward the mark for the prize of his high calling, ever looking unto Jesus. He no more doubted that the Sun of Righteousness would, through missionary instrumentality, shine on China, than that the next day's sun would rise in the east.
Unquestioning belief in God's word, unfaltering obedience to God's command, unwavering hope in God's promises, and unfailing love to God, were the controlling elements of his life, and made him an eminently faithful missionary, and an eminently godly man. So intensely active was he, even when, by reason of sickness and debility, he might well claim repose, that it seemed as if his motto was, "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" To such an extent did he carry this, that, when unable to preach, he would place one of the missionaries, or the native Deacon, Chae, in the pulpit, while he would stand at the street gate, and ask the people, as they passed by, to "turn in and hear the doctrine of Jesus," declaring that "he had rather be a door-keeper in the house of God than be altogether laid aside."
With all his zeal and ceaseless activity, he yet had the most humble idea of his own labors. He often [53/54] spoke of himself as being a useless member of the mission, a mere locum tenens, holding on to a place which another could more easily fill; and this greatly distressed him. In his last letter to the Foreign Secretary, dated July 4th, he speaks of his poor and imperfect life; and on one occasion, when told that he was doing all that a man, under his state of health, could do, yet, because he could not come up to his own standard, he replied, "Poor business, brother, poor business,--next door to vegetation." There was about his character no sloth nor self-indulgence. He was easy only when active; contented only when all his powers were tasked; happy only when he was laboring or suffering in the cause of missions, which was, with him, a synonym for the cause of Christ.
His whole official life was spent as a missionary to China. To it he had consecrated the morning of his days, in it he had labored through the noontide heat; and, when the shadows of the evening began to be stretched out, he went back to China to die, and his sun of life went down there, sinking beyond the horizon of earth, but leaving a broad band of golden light behind to mark the glory of his setting, and to tell of the brightness of the departing orb, which shines on still, though unseen by us.
Has his life been spent in vain? Has his been a thwarted effort and a worthless work? I answer, No! emphatically, No! He first effected a lodgment for our mission at Macao, at Amoy, at Shanghai. He first brought our Church face to face with the philosophy and [54/55] the idolatry of China. He baptized the first native convert, married the first Christian couple, buried the first Christian dead, according to the ceremonies of our Church. He laid the corner-stone and consecrated the first Protestant Episcopal Church in China, celebrated the first holy communion, administered the first rite of confirmation, admitted the first native as a candidate for holy orders, ordained the first native to the Diaconate and Presbyterate, in accordance with the rubrics and canons of our Church. He established the first school for boys, and the first for girls, in connection with our Church. He aided in revising the first translation of the Holy Scriptures into the book-language of China and the vernacular of Kiang-su; prepared the first! translation of the Prayer-Book into the colloquial tongue, and was the first to introduce our Liturgy into the native Church; and for nearly twenty years he was our first and only Missionary Bishop east of the Euphrates.
Thus was he pre-eminently A FOUNDER. But how much had he to bear, and to learn, and to do, before he could be even a founder!
He had scarcely anything prepared for him, neither did he build on another man's foundation. He began at the beginning, and by years of toilful study, through months of tropic heat and burning fever, amidst intense physical suffering and family afflictions, during periods of war, and rapine, and anarchy, he faithfully laid his foundations, and piled up one course of Christian masonry on another, until the great Master-builder called him from toil to rest, and from suffering on earth to [55/56] the bliss of Paradise. So far, then, from Bishop Boone's work being either worthless or a failure, it was great and successful; and he will ever take his place, in the annals of the Church, as the noble founder of the Reformed Catholic Church in China.
It is impossible for any human mind to judge of the results of missions this side of eternity; and the reason is, that we have not all the elements of the equation, or all the factors necessary for the right calculation of the product. We can see only the human side of the results; there is also a divine side, because it is a divine work.
We can see only its temporal aspect; there is also an eternal aspect, because the work done is for eternity. We can see only the physical and material products; there are also spiritual products, which are known only to the Father of Spirits; and where we are ignorant, therefore, of so much that is needful to be known before we can correctly judge, let us not dare, in our short-sightedness and narrow-mindedness, to call that a failure which, could we compute all its elements, would prove to be a glorious success.
Nothing is a failure which is done at God's command, and in God's way. It is not for the Church to make results, but to do her appointed work. It is for her to sow the seed, for God to give the increase; for her to send forth laborers, for God to furnish the harvest; for her to preach, for God to make men "willing in the day of his power."
It was in this spirit that Bishop Boone labored. [56/57] When, in the early years of his mission, his brother said to him, "I suppose you must be discouraged, for you have been laboring nine years, and have made but one convert, Chae," the Bishop replied, that "his chief object was not to make converts, but to glorify his Master. If he could only do that, though he should not make one convert, yet he should not fail." Success is not always to be measured by immediate results. That work is successful, no matter how men may regard it, which seeks to do God's will in God's way. It is a faithless policy which graduates success by visible results, and which labors only to be seen of men. The Church must measure its duty by the breadth and force of God's command to preach the Gospel to every creature, and persist in obeying that command, though no visible results appear to reward patient toil and fervent prayer.
Faith tells us that results will come, and that they "who go forth weeping, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with joy, and bring their sheaves with them." The carping spirit that pronounces the Chinese Mission a failure, because of small apparent results, and temporary declension,--that judges of the whole work done and to be done by present appearances,--such a spirit would have pronounced our blessed Lord's mission to earth a failure, when all his disciples forsook him and fled, and he himself gave up the ghost upon the cross. The whole history of the Church is a history of triumphs after apparent defeats; and its greatest conquests have ever been preceded by its greatest humiliations.
 The conversion of three thousand, on the day of Pentecost, was shortly after "the eleven" had returned from the Mount of Olives, bereaved of their head, and as a sect, to all human appearance, dead. It was just at the close of the ten persecutions of the Christians, extending through the first three centuries, and when Diocletian, Maximian, and Galearius raised pillars "to commemorate their complete extirpation of Christianity," that Constantine placed the once despised cross on the Labarum of the Empire, and became the first Christian Emperor of the Roman world. It was immediately after Queen Mary had lighted up the darkness of Papal England with the flames of burning martyrs, and was, as she thought, successful in restoring England to the authority of the Pope, that God placed Elizabeth on the throne, and so established the true Church that the gates of hell have never since prevailed against it.
The history of our own Church testifies to the same truth. Was the Protestant Episcopal Church a failure, because, twenty years after it was organized by two Bishops and seventeen Presbyters, it could only gather two Bishops and seventeen Presbyters to its General Convention in 1811? meeting, as Bishop White stated, "under serious and well-founded apprehensions that we should again have to appeal to England to secure the canonical number of Bishops to carry on the American Succession." Yet, during that very Convention, when the axe seemed laid at the root of this tree of God's planting, Griswold and Hobart were consecrated Bishops; and since that day of doubt and gloom, the Church has [58/59] steadily gone on to her present magnitude and power. Such is the teaching of all ecclesiastical history,--through prostration to strength; through reverses to success; through darkness to light; through apparent death to newness of life.
God deals thus with his Church, because it is a militant Church. Continued successes would flush it unduly with self-confidence; continued peace would make it relax its watchfulness; and under a sky always clear, and with a wind always fair, the tackling of the Church's ship would stiffen in its blocks, and its iron sinews rust with disuse. hence, the Church needs this varied discipline, to teach her that it is not by her priestly might, nor her episcopal power, but by God's Spirit, that success is won and the world redeemed.
No, brethren, temporary reverse is not ultimate ruin; and often what seems to be reverse is only a seeming going back, not a real one. Just like that astronomical phenomenon, where the planets, seen from one point of the earth's orbit, seem to be rolling backward, instead of forward, while yet an observer in the sun would mark only the regular progression of the planet, without any looping or retrocession, so we must learn to look at missions, not from a mutable earth-point, but from the central, immovable sun-point, the cross of Christ, looking at the work with the eye of him who hung there, before whose view the whole grand scheme unrolled itself as one steady progression of his Church, from the upper room at Jerusalem until the kingdoms of this world [59/60] shall have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ.
Since our mission to China began, in 1835, some thirty-four persons have been appointed missionaries. Of this number eleven have died, twelve have returned sick or disabled, and six are still in service. The cost of the mission to the Church, from the beginning, has been, deducting the present value of the mission premises, about $250,000, or about what it costs our country to carry on the present war every three hours!
That is to say, a mission of our Church to China, covering thirty years of labor, and occupying thirty-four laborers, and resulting in establishing boys' and girls' schools; in founding churches; in revisions and translations of the Bible, and Prayer-Book, and religious tracts; in gathering several score into the communion of the Church; in originating a native ministry, and in scattering abroad millions of pages of Divine truth, like leaves from the tree of life, for the healing of the nations,--all this work, and all these blessed results, the full worth of which will not be known until the day of judgment, has been done by the Church at what it costs to keep up this war just one-eighth of a day!
Yet men talk of waste, and failure, and abandonment! Tell me, ye men of faith, and hope, and prayer, as ye survey the promises on the one hand, and the work done on the other, is it a failure? Tell me, ye ransomed Chinese, who have fallen asleep in Jesus, in full and joyful hope of a glorious resurrection, is it a failure? [60/61] Tell me, ye departed missionaries, who are now in the Paradise of God, as you survey your work from the stand-point of eternity, is it a failure? And thou, O holy Saviour! thou first great missionary, who gayest the commission to preach and the spirit to go,--thou who didst give thy blood in atonement for China, as for Judea,--O, tell us, from thy throne of glory, is this mission a failure? Has it brought in no revenue of praise to thee?
And hark! I seem to hear the response of the mission-loving men of the Church on earth,--"There is no failure where souls are saved and Christ is preached." I catch the words of the departed Chinese,--"That is not a failure which plucked us from the miry pit of heathenism and planted us in the Paradise of God." I hear the reply of the sainted missionaries,--"Christ has owned our work. Press on; falter not, for Jesus will give you victory." And that blessed Jesus answers our appeal with the assurance,--"Fear not, little flock; it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. China shall yet be redeemed through the mission work of the Church of God."
Thus have I sketched, in rapid outline, the Missionary Bishop of China,--the man and his work. Can we not say of both what St. Paul said of Apelles, "APPROVED IN CHRIST?"
I pray you, brethren, in God's name, do not recede in the work which you have begun.
By the little band of missionaries still in China, and by the noble band of those who have labored there, and [61/62] are now in the Paradise of God, I beseech you, go not back! By the schools and scholars, the churches and communicants, the press, and its pages of truth and light, I pray you, falter not in your onward course!
The honor of our Church, sacredly pledged to sustain and carry on to final success the work inaugurated in China and Japan, forbids hesitation or delay. The claims of the millions in China who have never yet had the Gospel preached, forbid your withdrawal. The Glory of Christ, who has honored you by using you as instruments for the spread of his truth, forbids retreat. If it was heroism to begin when nothing had been done, it would be cowardice to hesitate now, after thirty years of toil expended on the field.
The moral forces of the Protestant world, represented by over twenty societies, and over one hundred and ten missionaries, distributed in forty mission stations, are gathering along the sea-coasts and the rivers' banks, and pushing out their pickets six hundred miles into the interior; and when the battle is thus being set in array, and the stores and munitions of this spiritual war are a thousand fold increased beyond what they were when the mission of our Church first planted itself at Amoy, shall we beat a retreat? To draw off our force now,--to abandon our schools, our churches, our catechists, and our pupils now,--would be to exhibit a lack of faith in God's word, a lack of love to Christ, a lack of courage to dare, and a lack of self-denial to endure, such as would disgrace us in the forefront of the world; and, as the friends of the great missionary [62/63] societies pointed to us in scorn, might they not say, "This great American Apostolical Church began to build the Church of Christ in China, but was not able to finish?"
Let it not be said, that we who went forth to plant in China the tree of life, have only left behind us a tombstone, to record the death of the noblest mission work in which the Church has engaged.
Let the call go out for more men to fill up the ranks of the mission hosts; let the means be freely given, to carry on this warfare with idolatry and sin; let another leader, clothed with Episcopal power and with apostolic zeal, be commissioned as the standard-bearer on this distant field; let new points be occupied, new forces be set in action; and, above all, remembering that it is "not by might, not by strength, but by my Spirit," let us address ourselves more earnestly to God, to go forth with our hosts; to endow them with a Pentecostal baptism; to inspire them with the fire of Christian love; and then, with a new Missionary Bishop, standing, as on the hill-top of China, with the rod of God in his hand, and with hands uplifted, and held up by the Aarons and Hurs of the Church, the clergy and the laity, the forces of Christ shall prevail against the Amalekites of China, and the Church shall again set up a memorial pillar to commemorate its triumph, and inscribe on it the talismanic words,--JEHOVAH NISSI.