"And it came to pass, when the Lord would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha. . . .
"And, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of lire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven."
"Thou sweet beloved will of God,
My anchor ground, my fortress hill,
My spirit's silent, fair abode,
In Thee I hide me, and am still.
Oh, will that wiliest good alone,
Lead Thou the way, Thou guidest best;
A little child, I follow on,
And, trusting, lean upon Thy breast.
Thy beautiful sweet will, my God,
Holds fast in its sublime embrace
My captive will, a gladsome bird,
Prisoned in such a realm of grace.
Within this place of certain good
Love evermore expands her wings;
Or, nestling in Thy perfect choice,
Abides content with what it brings.
Oh, lightest burden, sweetest yoke!
It lifts, it bears, my happy soul,
It giveth wings to this poor heart;
My freedom is Thy grand control.
Upon God's will I lay me down,
As child upon its mother's breast;
No silken couch, nor softest bed,
Could ever give me such deep rest.
Thy wonderful grand will, my God,
With triumph now I make it mine,
And faith shall cry a joyous Yes!
To every dear command of Thine."
THE storm that burst on August 1, 1895, at Hwasang (the summer resort of our dear missionaries) was not altogether without warning.
The following letters tell their own tale. Mrs. Stewart's letter, written as early as December 10, 1894, shows that already there was earnest need for prayer. Her journal letter, and Mr. Stewart's letter, written to the Church Missionary Society a little later, show how surely, though slowly, the clouds were gathering.
But later letters--some extracts from which are given towards the end of this chapter--give us pictures of our friends enjoying their quiet rest at Hwasang, and looking forward with joyful hope and confident expectation to their "Keswick Week," which they kept at the same time as the great gathering by Derwentwater.
The following letter from Mrs. Stewart, dated December 16, 1894, addressed to Mrs. Baldwin, formerly at Foochow in connection with the American Mission, was inserted in the letter leaflet of the Women's Auxiliary:--
"MY DEAR MRS. BALDWIN,--
"Your kind suggestion that I should send you now and then topics for special prayer has been in my mind much to-day, and I feel that I must write and tell you of our great need. You will, of course, have guessed that owing to the war between China and Japan, Chinese people are in a state of great unrest, and hardly know what to expect from day to day. In this part of the Fuh-kien Province a new source of danger has arisen. A secret society, which has been slowly growing for two years, has suddenly become very active, and is rapidly increasing in numbers; some hundreds have joined them within the last few weeks, and they are daily growing in numbers. The Mandarin has no power to check them; he made an attempt a few weeks ago, and his house was soon surrounded by an angry mob, who said they would pull it down if he did not agree to all their wishes. At last the poor man yielded, as he was quite terrified, and actually allowed his own secretary to be beaten, merely because the mob demanded it, and then liberated a few of their number he had imprisoned, and sent them home in state in sedan chairs. The victory over the Mandarin has made them very bold, and they say quite openly they can now do as they like. They have many times threatened to burn down our houses, and either kill us or drive us away; but the Lord has kept us in perfect peace; we realize fully that we are safe in His keeping, for we have no human power to trust to. The Mandarin can no longer help himself, so there is no protection from him, and the officials at Foochow are powerless: such consternation prevails owing to the Japanese victories. But we know nothing can hurt us without our Father's will, and we feel quite content. Our little girls, aged ten and twelve, sometimes feel the strain rather, and when people begin talking of possibilities they feel rather frightened; but even this the Lord is using for good, for it is teaching them to turn to Him for help and comfort, as they never would in peaceful days. We feel most for our poor Christians, and it is for them I want specially to ask you to pray. Even now many are having a time of severe testing, and much worse may come if the war is prolonged. The heathen think they have now a good chance of injuring them, as the Government is quite unable to take their part at present. Some have had their crops of rice cut down and carried away before their eyes; others have been beaten; and one poor man had his shop attacked, and everything he had carried off. We know that those who are grounded and settled in the faith will not be moved, but we feel so much for the inquirers, and those just lately come out of heathen darkness. 'God is able to make them stand.' Will you join with us in asking that all this trouble may lead to great spiritual blessing, and that the Christians may be given courage to bear whatever may be the Lord's will to send them? Will you also pray that this secret society, which is doing so much harm, may be in some way broken up, and not allowed to injure the Lord's work in this place? They are going to have a great gathering of some hundreds of these conspirators at this city in about a fortnight, and we are praying much that the Lord will keep them from doing any harm. They threaten all sorts of things, but we know they cannot carry them out unless God permits them. The Consul is anxious we should all leave these inland stations, and go down to the Treaty Port for safety, for he thinks that if Pekin is taken there may be a general rising of the people, and then the 'foreigner' would be the first to suffer. But so far we cannot see that it is the Lord's will we should leave our posts, and we fear it would much discourage the Christians if we did so. The Lord will guide day by day, and we want simply to follow His will. Will you pray specially for two dear men, leaders in the Church here at Kucheng? The first is named Ling Sing-mi; he is an ordained clergyman, the pastor of our church in the city, and head of the Kucheng district work under my husband. Will you pray that he may be given wisdom and strength at this time of trial, that God may bless him, that he may be a blessing to others? The other is a man named Li Daik-in, also a leader, and also a very good man. Will you ask that he too may receive much blessing through this trial, and learn to trust God more fully than ever before? We are all well in health, thank God. My husband has had one attack of illness since the summer, but is now well again; he is constantly busy, and, indeed, can hardly get through the work of these two great districts. Will you ask the Lord to send more men--men fitted and prepared by Himself? Our warmest thanks for your sympathy in our work."
The following letters, written in April, 1895, by Robert Stewart, show that all needful precautions were taken. They knew the angels had charge to "keep them in all their ways," but they were not rashly tempting God.
"Reuter's Agency is informed that the district referred to in the Hongkong telegram as 'nearer Foochow than Kucheng,' contains several Church Missionary Society stations, Church of England Zenana stations, and American Methodist stations. The most important of these are Fukhicu, Fuhning, Longuong, Ningtaik, all to the north of Foochow, and Hokchiang, and Hinghwa, to the south of that city. At some of these stations there are male missionaries, and ladies at most of them. The following letter--the last one received--from the Rev. R. W. Stewart, addressed to the Church Missionary Society, and communicated by them to Reuter's Agency, is dated Kucheng, April 8, and shows that even then the situation was critical.
"Mr. Stewart says:--
"'We have been having some rather exciting times here lately. Ten days ago I was called up at four o'clock in the morning by our native clergyman and other Christians, who had crossed the river to our house to bring the startling news that the Vegetarian rebels were expected at daylight to storm Kucheng and that the gateways of that city were being blocked with timber and stone as fast as possible. We have for a considerable time been aware that the Vegetarians were recruiting in large numbers, and the expectation that something of this kind might happen led the better-class people to subscribe large sums for the rebuilding of the city wall, which in many places had fallen down; the gates, too, had been either broken or were gone. At the time when the alarm was given, we had, with women, girls, and children, nearly one hundred sleeping in our compound. The rebels expected in an hour! What was to be done? As we talked, and prayed, and planned, the dawn began to break; then came the rain in torrents. What part this played in the matter I don't know; but as we saw it falling heavily, and remembered the Chinese fear of getting wet, we said to one another, "The rain will be our protection." At daylight we roused the schools, and, after a hasty meal, all left in a long, sad procession to make their way across the river in a small ferry-boat, which came backwards and forwards for them, until at last the whole party had reached the other side. It was a long business, all in the rain, and then the wall had to be climbed by a ladder, for by this time the blocking of the gateways was complete: Near our chapel the wall had not been rebuilt to its full height; and the chapel ladder, the only one to be obtained, just reached to the top. This was one of the many incidents that showed us that the hand of God was controlling everything. The next day that part of the wall was built to its proper height, and the ladder would have then been several feet too short, and we could never have got the women with their cramped feet and the children over the wall.
"'For the next three days the wall was guarded by bands of citizens, posted at short intervals from one another, and armed with the best Aveapons they could find; but, indeed, they were poor things--old three-pronged forks, centuries old, to judge by their appearance, with movable rings on the handles to shake, and so strike terror to the hearts of the foe. Rusty, too, were their swords, and rarely to be seen; we watched the proud possessors washing them in a pool and scraping them with a brick. The majority had no scabbards; not that the "braves "had thrown them away, but they had lost them. One I examined had a useful sort of scabbard: it covered all but the last couple of inches of the blade, so you could stick your enemy without the bother of pulling it out--a good thing if you were in a hurry. Those three days whilst the city was straitly shut up were anxious ones. Then the gates were opened. What took place between the Mandarin and the Vegetarian leaders we do not know; but no one believes that we have seen the end of the matter. Such a serious affair cannot be so easily patched up; probably we have as yet had but the beginning. Much depends upon the course that the war takes. If a treaty is arranged during the present armistice of three weeks, I think perhaps all will be quiet. Soldiers can be spared from Foochow, and some arrests of the ringleaders can be effected, and that will quell it; but if not, the rebels will have recruited in sufficient numbers to make a rising a success.
"'Our girls' and women's schools have, of course, been disbanded, and your ladies have left for Foochow, I need hardly say very sorely against their will. It was hard for them to leave their loved work and their many friends amongst the Chinese; but they saw clearly it was best, for they could not help them in the event of a disturbance, and might rather hinder their flight and make concealment more difficult. Our Consul wrote, strongly urging this step should be taken, and the American Consul wrote to his people in the same strain; so the ladies have gone very obediently, but very sadly, all of them wishing they were men, and so not obliged to retreat. But I think they see in all that is happening the finger of God pointing to a cessation of their work for a time, perhaps that they may leave Him to work alone. When they come back, they may be astonished to find the wonders that the Spirit of God has done in their absence. The Japanese have taken Tamsui, on Formosa, and are hovering about Foochow. I hope they will not land. They have many well-wishers among the Chinese. Here eight out of ten of the lower and middle classes would rejoice at a Japanese victory. They hate their own Government, and are rebels at heart. It would take very little to make them so in fact. But Hezekiah's God is ours. One angel slew 185,000 men, so with the Lord of Hosts of angels on our side there is nought to fear.' "
"The Rev. R. W. Stewart writes in a more recent letter:--
"'KUCHENG, April 21.
'"As you know, all the ladies have been moved from here to the coast, to see what the Japanese intend doing. The general belief is that a treaty is about to be agreed to; and if so, we need expect no more trouble here of a serious kind. God holds the key of the unknown. Your Lang-yong and Sa-yong ladies have not moved; all in peace there. The others will be back here soon, I expect.' "
And Hezekiah's God was true to them, as He ever is, and must be to His children. For that time, the storm passed by.
When all danger was supposed to be over, they returned to Kucheng, and shortly afterwards went to Hwasang, their summer resort, where, on August i, as already stated, the storm burst.
Though some things already told occur again in this journal-letter of Mrs. Stewart, we put it in as it is. Simply and naturally she writes to her own friends, and as well as general information about the "Vegetarians," it gives us a glimpse of the happy family life, even when surrounded by danger.
She had learned that lesson, "In everything give thanks": even when her little girls were frightened by the news of the "Vegetarians," because it taught them "to turn to Him for help and comfort, as they never would in peaceful days." She saw as well as believed, that "All things work together for good to them that love God."
MRS. STEWART'S JOURNAL-LETTER.
"March 2~th} Evan's birthday.--We had a quiet, peaceful day, with no indication of coming trouble. The children had their tea out of doors as a birthday treat, and the three sisters, who happened to be in Kucheng, came and joined us. That night, about 12 o'clock, our two leading men, Mr. Sing-mi and Mr. Daik-ing, came to our house to tell us the Mandarin had men hard at work all night barricading the gates; the walls were nearly finished, but no gates put up; however, the Chinese are equal to any emergency, and the old gates were quickly put in, and huge strong boards they use for coffins nailed behind, also great pieces of stone; so that, from inside, the fortifications looked quite formidable. I think all the coffin-shops in the city must have been rifled! However, this was the startling news brought to us in the middle of the night! What was to be done? We had our 100 women and children sleeping in our compound, between the women's and girls' schools; besides, we had the lady missionaries and all our own children. Clearly, we could not do anything in the darkness. The road between us and the city is steep and difficult, and there is a small river to cross. Many plans were discussed, and much time was spent just waiting upon God to know His will. In a wonderful way His promise was fulfilled to us, 'Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee.' We felt so certain God was guiding, that we could go on watching for each indication of His will. Just as we Avere standing talking together, heavy rain began to fall, and Mr. Sing-mi said quietly, 'There is one answer to our prayers. Even Vegetarians will do little on a day like this!' Well, as soon as light came, the ku-niongs (young ladies) were wakened up, and all the women and girls. It was decided that all should move at once over to the buildings adjoining our city Church, as they were safer inside the walls than at outhouses, which stand outside. It took some time to get them all started; and while I was looking after them, and helping to get them off, Lena packed a few necessary articles in a basket, as we felt our houses would probably be the first attacked if the Vegetarians really arrived. We had to make great speed, for all the gates were by this time blocked up, and men were busy building up the only place on the wall still rather low. I forgot to say that the Mandarin had sent over his card asking us all to go over to the City, saying he could not give us any protection outside the walls. At last, the women and girls were all safely housed in the city. There was a ladder belonging to the Church, which was fortunately just long enough to reach the lowest part of the wall, and up this all had to climb. Then our own party started, the two little boys in baskets carried by our trusty coolie (a basket on each end of a bamboo stick), baby in Lena's arms, and the little girls with their father. I called for the three sisters on my way past the 'Olives,'--Hessie Newcombe, Miss Wellcr, and Miss Wade, who had been only just one week in Kucheng. At last the river was crossed, the ladder ascended, and the city entered, and we found ourselves at the house of one of the American missionaries, Mr. Wilcox, who was away at Foochow with his wife and family. Dr. Gregory, a medical missionary, was the only representative of the Mission, and, with his permission, we took possession of the empty house. In a short time we got all settled; we found beds enough and had brought bedding with us. We were glad we had lost no time in moving, for by the afternoon the wall at the place we got over was so high that, standing on the top rung, the person's hands could only touch the top of the wall, and they had to be pulled up by people standing on the top. The wall was guarded by people hired by the Mandarin for the purpose. We heard he was paying them $200 a day, as he had engaged 1,000 men. I can almost believe it, for we watched groups of men passing to and fro continually, on the look-out to give the alarm should the Vegetarians be seen approaching.
"Three days we spent in the city, the people all the time grumbling because the gates were shut and they could not get out to do their Avork in the fields or gather brushwood on the hills to make fires to boil their rice. At last placards were posted up all over the city, saying that 'when the Mandarin oppresses the people rebel,' and it was openly said that if the gates were not opened they would force them open themselves; and then, of course, would be the opportunity for the Vegetarians. Accordingly they held a council of war, and after much prayer it was decided that it was very important to get the children away at any rate; and that of course led to my going, as baby could not be sent without me. Our chief native helpers strongly advised sending all the women and girls away as soon as possible to their own homes, as they thought they would be much safer than anywhere near us; they also thought it safer for the sisters not to visit just then, while the people were in such an excited state. It therefore seemed wiser, as there was no special reason for staying, to divide, and to go to Foochow for a time till things quieted down. I need not say how sad we felt to come to this conclusion; but it made it almost impossible that any one should escape if we all stayed, for chair coolies are never forthcoming in times of great excitement, and Cui-kan, where we take boat for Foochow is 30 miles from Kucheng! So not many amongst us could walk it! No sooner said than done. The packing at once began, chairs were ordered, and after dinner we started. We heard that one gate was supposed to be opened that afternoon, so the long procession proceeded along the top of the great wide wall, till near the gate we descended to the streets, only to find the gate barred and barricaded and no signs of opening whatever. We turned away hoping to find some friendly ladder by which to make our exit, and, to our joy, not very far away was one discovered, and for the sum of forty cents the man was bribed to allow us to use it. Robert got down first, but just as he reached the ground our friend of the ladder got some idea into his head, and decided we were not to go! To our horror, he began shouting and vociferating loudly, and trying to haul up the ladder; Robert held on to the lower part, and it seemed as if it was going to be a struggle as to which was the strongest. Robert, however, got two strong Chinamen to come to his aid by promise of a little money, and at last our sturdy ladder man yielded. Now we had time to observe that the ladder was all too short, indeed was about four feet short of the ground.
"There was nothing on which to prop it up, but Robert and his two assistants held it up in their hands till we had all safely reached the ground. The little ones first, then all the ku-niongs one by one. Robert came with us a short way from the wall, and then felt he ought to return, as he might have difficulty in getting back if he was late. It did seem hard to go on and leave him behind, but to stay there with the little ones and baby only meant additional peril to him.
"That night we only travelled six miles, and reached one of our chapels at a place called Co-tong. We got there about dark, and our little washerman began bustling about to get us some supper. The cook stayed in the city with Robert, but the Chinese can be 'Jack of all trades,' so the washerman turns cook when there is any need. After tea, the next thing was to find beds for such a large party, but the catechist was equal to the occasion, and produced a lot of forms and bed-boards, which are all a Chinese bed consists of; we had our own wadded quilts and blankets in our baskets. So we were soon all in bed.
"At daylight the coolies were all astir, and made such a noise we could not go on sleeping; so we got up and dressed, and then found our good little man had got breakfast ready for us. We started in our chairs about seven o'clock. Baby rode with me, Herbert and Kathleen in a chair together, Mildred with Evan, Lena in a chair to herself; and five ku-niongs made up our procession. Cui-kan was reached about five o'clock. A man who had been sent on before us got two boats, so we went at once and took possession. They were native boats with covering of matting. There was a long delay about paying our chair coolies, and waiting for some of our baskets that had not arrived, and at last we began to feel very impatient to start. However, as we found afterwards, these very delays were being ordered by the Lord, and Robert was at that very time praying in Kucheng that 'the wheels of our chariots might be taken off!' Just as we were persuading the boatman he ought really to push off, a man rushed up and put a piece of paper into my hand; it was a scrap written in great haste by Robert, saying the Mandarin had made peace with the Vegetarians, that the city gates were opened, and that we might return safely; only he thought the children had better go on with Lena to Foochow for a little time.
"We were indeed glad and thankful, but sorry for the disappointment of the little ones, for they had so looked forward to having us all with them; but I must say they behaved beautifully. They looked a little sad of course, but they never said one grumbling word, and seemed trying to make it easy for me. We quickly put all they would need in the smallest of the boats, gave them their supper, and food enough for breakfast, sent one of our two menservants with them, and saw them off floating down the lovely river Min towards Foochow. (I might say here they arrived next morning about twelve o'clock, and were taken into the 'Olives' by kind Miss Stevens, who made them very happy.)
"After their departure we proceeded to have our own supper, and then prepared for the night. We spread our wadded coverlets on the deck, all in a row, and had a fairly good night. Baby rather disturbed some of the party, I fear, but Hessic Newcombe exclaimed next morning,' Oh, you little darling, you slept all the night through!'--which showed us that Hessie herself had, at any rate, slept well. Next morning we started back. It rained the early part of the day. so the coolies would not start, and we only got half way by dusk. That night, therefore, we had to enjoy the luxuries of a Chinese hotel. It is not a treat, I must confess. We were shown into a small, dark room, the walls of which were lined with the usual Chinese wooden beds. Just space enough was left in the middle for a square table, where we had our meals. Six of us, not including baby, had to sleep in the same room; or rather try to rest, for we did not sleep much. "Next day we finished our journey to Kucheng, arriving about three o'clock. As our chairs passed the city, it was nice to see the gates open, but we noticed men were still working vigorously at the wall. Robert met us at the ferry, and poor little tired baby was glad to go to him and be carried to the house. Leu-luk, the Chinese girl who assists me, soon came to help, so I was able to begin to put the house in order, which was rather upset by our sudden flight. However, we found, soon after our arrival, that things were not going on as satisfactorily as had been at first expected. Rumours kept flying about of gatherings of Vegetarians at certain places, and all sorts of threats were used as to what they were going to do, to Christians and heathens alike who were possessed of any property. We had a prayer meeting at eight o'clock each morning with the Christians, which was a source of great comfort to us all. So a week passed away, and then our messenger arrived from Foochow, bringing letters. One was from our Consul, telling us that the Japanese had come south; that they had taken a port in Formosa (which afterwards turned out to be untrue); that they were threatening an attack on Foochow; and that if they did so, and all the Chinese soldiers should be detained at Foochow, he felt sure that the Vegetarians would make the most of the opportunity, and would very likely make an attack on the foreigners because under the protection of their Government. He therefore insisted on all the ladies and children leaving the district. Again we had to pack up, and again sorrowfully to leave our beloved Kucheng. We journeyed, as before, to Cui-kan, and sent on a trusty man to hire a boat for us. When we reached the hill overlooking the river, we waited to hear if a boat had been found, for, once down in the streets, we get surrounded with crowds of people. At last the man came back, saying there was no boat to be had! that soldiers were being sent down from cities higher up the river to help defend Foochow, and every available boat was secured by them. It seemed sad news. We could not go back very well even one stage to look for an inn, our coolies were so tired; and the inns are so bad in Cui-kan no one likes to stay in them. It was getting dark too, and cold, and poor little baby was coughing a good deal, and I longed to find some shelter for her. I could only tell the man to try again, and that he might offer a little extra money as the case was urgent. Again we prayed and waited, and again he returned unsuccessful. At last he came back saying he had found one boat that would take us if we would be willing to share it with two soldiers and a horse! He added, 'They will tie up the horse, so you need not be afraid.' We gladly accepted, even though we had to pay more than we usually do for a boat all to ourselves. We were only too glad to get any shelter for our heads, for by this time rain was beginning to fall, and darkness fast approaching. This time there was no friendly letter to stop us, and soon our boat got off. We were all so tired that as soon as we could get something to eat we lay down and tried to get some sleep. I searched in vain for some sheltered nook for baby; the wind seemed to whistle through the frail covering of our boat, and, in spite of shawls and rugs and a barricade of baskets, she caught a heavy cold that is not well yet. Next day we reached Foochow, but not till two o'clock, as the wind was against us. We sent at once for native chairs, and all our party, except myself, went off direct to the 'Olives,' the only house just then in Foochow that had room for us. I was so anxious about Robert that I decided I would go at once to see the Consul, and tell him just how matters stood in Kuchcng. Nellie Saunders kindly took baby from me, and I knew Lena would be at the 'Olives 'to receive her. The Consul was most kind; said he was very glad we had come down, for he felt a very great responsibility. He added, 'I never like to disturb missionary work till it is absolutely necessary.' . . .
"After a few days' rest we arranged that we would take possession of the C.E.Z. summer resort up in the hills near Foochow, and wait till the Lord should open the way for us to return to Kucheng. We felt led to this decision for several reasons; one, that Foo-chow is very unhealthy this time of year, and it was better for the children and those studying the language to be away from it; and also we are in Chinese dress, and we have at present no other. We are more convinced every day that the native dress is the best for the work. Even at Foochow we heard every one make favourable observations on us. 'How much nicer that dress is than the foreign!' is a very common remark; and some women call out, 'Do look! her petticoat is just like ours, and her jacket too; her hair is done the same way, and her shoes do look nice. If it were not for the eyes, she would look just like us! And some even say these are the 'Cing-cing hunggau,' the true Christians. ... I am writing now in the Kuliang 'Olives,' and have with me, besides the children, L. Wade, the two Saunders, Elsie Marshall, and Annie Gordon. . . . Robert writes that all is quiet at Kucheng, waiting to see how the war gets on. ... He has arranged that all the Christians throughout our district shall meet together at 7 o'clock every morning to pray, trusting in God alone to protect them. We believe it will bring great blessing."
A very interesting letter appeared in The Newcastle Daily Chronicle of August 13, from Dr. W. P. Mears, dated Teignmouth Artillery Camp, Redcar. He writes from experience gained by some years' travel and residence in the disturbed district.
The following is an extract from his letter. He describes not only the mutterings of the storm, as the missionaries' own letters do, but the great whirlwind that took them from our sight. . . .
"Knowing intimately, as I did, the late Rev. R. Stewart, I am fully persuaded that he would be the last man to do anything to excite the animosity of any of the natives. When I reached China he had been for some time invalided at home. Yet everywhere the people--not one or two, but scores--spoke of him with a loving respect, and a most genuine desire for his return. In Kucheng, round him he had upwards of two thousand native Christians and over 500 regular communicants, all these last being men who had been well tested by at least two years' probation. The Vegetarians dared not attack him there. They waited till he had left the city, as he would do at the beginning of August on account of the heat, and had gone with the majority of the Europeans to the little sanatorium of the Kucheng missionaries, four hours' journey off, among the hills. Hardly had he taken possession ol one of the two or three small bungalows there, where he and the others were far remote from any assistance except that of a few terrified villagers, when the assassins crept up in the darkness, just before dawn, fired the house, prodded their victims as they rushed out, and promptly scattered, not waiting to complete their devilish work, or to attack the other bungalows a few hundred yards farther off, Avhere the few foreigners were already aroused. Mr. Stewart was in every way a thorough man, whom to meet was to respect and love--a man without fear, and without fanaticism. Such men--men like Livingstone, Mackay of Uganda, and others--are the pioneers who clear the way for British influence, civilization, and religion, whose lives are examples to every man, whose deaths are losses to the nation."
His expression "devilish work," when speaking of the assassins, is not too strong.
"Thou couldest have no power at all against Me, except it were given thee from above," said Jesus.
This is equally true of every member of His body.
God could have sent legions of angels to deliver them, had that been His will; but when He would "take them up into heaven by a whirlwind, . . . behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them asunder." Those who are left represent to us Elisha. God grant to them a double portion of His Holy Spirit! We pray Him to work miracles of grace through them, as He did through Elisha.
The following extract is from a letter from Miss Codrington, dated Hwasang, July 20, 1895, received September 9:
"We are having a very happy, restful time up here. Mr. and Mrs. Stewart are looking less tired than they did; the girls and boys look well, the baby improving.
"Next week we hope to have our 'Keswick Meetings,' and are believing and praying for much blessing."
How beautifully God arranges everything; their last week on earth specially filled with waiting upon Him in praise and prayer!
Miss Tolley's letter of an earlier date mentions the other workers, and tells in the natural style of a "home letter," how God chose those who were to wear the martyr's crown and how others were spared.
Has not God specially called these to blessed work for Him? And we know He will fill their lives with praise.
"Not for the lips of praise alone, or e'en the praising heart I ask; But for a life made up of praise in every part."
God asks us to let Him make us channels of blessing, through believing prayer, to those who have been left behind. Their names and special work will be found in chapter iv., which is devoted to "Foreign Women."
Here, let us record the names of our happy dead, or rather of those who went from their "Keswick Week" to join "the general assembly and church of the Firstborn," and the "innumerable company of angels."
We too "are come" to that "city" (Heb. xii. 22); and so these dear ones, whose names we give, have not left us. For are they not "in God," who "is not far from any one of us"?
"With Christ." Robert Warren Stewart.
Louisa K. Stewart.
Flora Lucy Stewart.
Mary Ann Christina Gordon.
Harrictte Elinor Saunders.
Elizabeth Maud Saunders.
Herbert Stewart (aged 5).
Hilda Sylvia Stewart (1 year).
Helena Yellop (the faithful nurse).
Left behind: Florence Codrington; Mildred, Kathleen and Evan Stewart, aged respectively, twelve, ten, and three.
Let us not forget Mrs. Stewart's request for prayer, for their dear native Christians, always so near their hearts.
Robert and Louisa Stewart knew no class distinction, they cherished no race prejudice.
They believed that "God has made of one blood all nations of men."
The following extracts from Miss Annie Tolley's journal-letter give us some bright homely glimpses of the C.E.Z.M.S. ladies, working and resting:
"May 15th.--Lucy went to Dangiong for me, to teach the women for me. The Bible-woman went to Uongbah, for the class there, instead of Flora, and then Hessie read to Flora and me, while I lay on my bed. We had a very nice afternoon. You know I was not well from fever then. The next day I went myself in a chair to Hokdong and took the class there, speaking on 'the pearl of great price.' Flora and one of the girls from the station class went to Seng-sang for the class there.
"The next day (Friday afternoon) Hessie and I spoke to the women at the Friday afternoon prayer meeting. We had such a nice time.
"In the evening, there was the prayer meeting, when the catechists and all the men and boys gather together in our hall, we sitting with the women behind a red screen.
"May 21st, Tuesday.--Made medicine for a boy. Taught five children in school. Read with teacher (studying Chinese), till a man came, saying Mr. Stewart was on his way to us.
"Flora and I got a room ready for him, and in the afternoon he arrived.
"We were delighted to see him, and we talked all about the doings in Kucheng, etc. In the evening he took prayers for us, and saw the women in the school. [The school is for training native Bible-women.]
"We went late to bed.
"The next day (May 22nd) it pelted with rain. After breakfast Mr. Stewart spoke to us on Isaiah ix. 1-7, and i Corinthians iii. 10-15, telling us that there are two ways of working: one the fleshly way, using our own power and armour and influence. The other, 'Unto us a Child is born.' All our working will be tried by fire. He prayed so beautifully with us, and his visit so refreshed us. He left in pelting rain for Kucheng.
"Monday, May 12th.--Hessie started . . . for Kucheng.
"It was so hot that day, and, in time for dinner, Maud and Fanny arrived from Sangiong, meaning to stay with us till Wednesday, and then to leave for Kucheng, Foochow and Kuliang. [Kuliang is the summer resort on the hills above Foochow, as Hwasang is above Kucheng.] They had kept writing, asking me if I were not coming to Kuliang this summer, and saying, if so, I had better come with them and not wait to travel a month later by myself, I could not make up my mind what to do--whether to go to Hwasang with Flora and the others from Kucheng, or to come down to Kuliang and have a perfect change. The more Hessie and Lucy prayed about it, the more they felt I should come to Kuliang.
"However, that afternoon, as I was sitting in my study, feeling very dull, I heard Maud's step. You know the rest: that she told me I was to come with them down to Kuliang, and that I had better begin to pack at once.
"All the next day I packed, dear little Lucy helping me so. [Little did any one think what the decision might have meant, if she had gone to Hwasang to be with Mr. and Mrs. Stewart, as Hessie Newcombe did, and shared their martyrdom.]
"That evening Fanny's teacher spoke so beautifully on 'Looking unto Jesus.' One time the disciples were looking at the grandeur of the temple buildings. Another time their eyes were heavy with sleep and they could not look up to watch and pray.
"The devil tempts us to look at anything but Jesus. There was Stephen, who was looking up, and the devil was so angry, he did his best to get Stephen to look down, making the people wild until they stoned him. But nothing could make Stephen get his eyes down.
"Then when Jesus went up into heaven, the disciples' eyes were up. They were not looking at grand buildings then, they were not heavy with sleep, they were looking steadfastly up. So we must be looking ever unto Jesus.
"On Wednesday, May 29, we started. Maud took all the responsibility. Fanny and I just looked on, and were taken in and done for. . . . Flora and Lucy were there, and the servants to help in the start, so it did all seem exciting.
"Finally I got in my chair and started, and Fanny came next, and Maud last, for she would always have us on in front.
"We got into Kucheng at 7.30 p.m., and found, of course, only Hessie there to welcome us (to the ladies' house this means), the other sisters, you remember, being down in Foochow.
"Mrs. Stewart came in to see us that evening.
"Thursday, May 30. We rested, and the dear little Stewarts all came in to see us, and I gave Herbert a dog and Evan a horse. You know those cardboard animals that------sent me one time.
"In the afternoon we all went up to the Stewarts' for a prayer meeting. The American missionaries always come over for it if they are in Kucheng.
"We were all invited to the Stewarts' for supper. It was most nice, and Mrs. Stewart was sweet to me, calling me Annie.
"Friday, May 31. I took a quiet time. Nellie Saunders came in to see me. In the afternoon . . . Mrs. Stewart came in to tea. Chinese visitors came too, and I helped to talk to them.
"We had a walk on the hill, and in the evening Fanny's teacher preached again.
"Saturday, June 1. Talked over my second examination with Nellie Saunders, and then I went up to see Topsy, who was ill.
"Sunday, June 2. Fanny and I went to Sunday school and taught some women.
"Fanny's teacher preached on the Holy Spirit. It was Whit-Sunday. It was just a wonderful sermon. He said, God gave to us the Holy Spirit without limit, that it was we who said, Stop, I have enough.
"After dinner we went up to the Stewarts' (Mr. S. was away itinerating). We sat in the garden and sang hymns.
"In the evening Fanny's teacher preached again. 'Take, take the Holy Spirit; receive as much as ye will.'
"Hessie had said to me early in the morning, 'What a lovely day Whit-Sunday is; it is just receiving, opening our mouths wide and taking!
"Monday, June 3. Up at 5 a.m. . . . preparing for the long chair ride to the boat; but though the coolies arrived, they all refused to carry our baskets, saying they were too heavy, and, as it was hopeless, we had to send away the chair coolies too, for we could not start without our loads.
"After dinner Hessie started on a three weeks' itinerating tour.
"We went up and said good-bye to the Stewarts, and saw Mr. Stewart, who had just come back from his itinerating, so tired and hot. It was so sweet to see Mrs. Stewart's face, as she saw him coming in at the door so unexpectedly, and the little ones' joy and his joy in his children. . . .
"Maud, Fanny, and I returned to our house . . . To our joy the coolies returned, saying they would start with us. It being 4.30, we were making up our minds not to start till the next day. And the Stewarts had asked us in there to supper.
"However, we quickly locked up the house and started, leaving it quite empty, and sending the key to the Stewarts."
One or two more extracts I must give, omitting the journey (interesting and amusing as it is) to Foochow, where they stayed a few days, and the further travelling to Kuliang.
"Kuliang, Thursday, June 13. Splendid time in evening over Chinese prayers. We read round, and then all spoke on any verses that struck us ... Our servants and teachers are all Christians this year, so we do have such nice times over the Bible every evening--not just one person preaching, but all speaking and praying, as we like. . . .
"Flo Lloyd and Mabel Witherby arrived from Hing-hwa, very bright and sweet, but needing rest from all the heat they had come through."
Miss Alice Hankin writes from Dangseng Hing-hwa (the district south of Foochow):--
"May 18, 1895. I must not forget to tell you we had such a delightful little visit from Mr. Stewart a fortnight ago. He was with us from Friday to Monday, and it was a real blessing to us and to our people.
"He preached on Sunday on Love, and it is nice to see how well the people have remembered his sermon."
"He being dead yet speaketh."
I cannot close this chapter better than by copying some verses from "Daily Light," which were brought to the minds of both Robert and Louisa Stewart in a remarkable way.
September 7, 1876, the day of their marriage, the texts were:--
"We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." "Whosoever doth not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple."
"No man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that ye are appointed thereunto."
The following evening, September 8:--
"Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit."
Again, on September 16, 1876, the day they left London on the first journey to China:--
"No man should be moved by these afflictions, for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto, for verily, when we were with you before we told you that we should suffer persecution."
December 27, 1885, they left us again for China, and the texts again spoke of suffering and glory:--
"Our light affliction . . . the exceeding weight of glory."
"The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed in us."
September 1, 1893, they left us to go to China for the last time. They had meetings in Canada on the way. The same thoughts occur in the texts---suffering, glory. Robert often dwelt on the words, "To you it is given ... to suffer."
"If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me."
"Unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ not only to believe, but also to suffer for His sake."
"If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him."
We had read these texts together, and applied them to the "trials of the way"--separation from children, etc. Now they seem prophetic.
We turned to "Daily Light" to see what verses they had last read ("Daily Light" was a daily companion), and we found the same message and encouragement.
"Endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ."
"It became Him for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings."
"We must through much tribulation enter the kingdom of God."
"The God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered awhile, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you."
And on August 1 in the evening, after the telegram, we turned again to "Daily Light," and the Lord spoke to us--of them, still in the same tender keeping. The prophecy fulfilled, the suffering, thank God, over. The eternal glory begun, and to us, of "His pitiful, tender mercy"--
"The Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy."
"He that keepeth thee will not slumber."
"Behold He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep."
"His compassions fail not; they are new every morning."
"Truly His doctrine drops as the rain, His speech distils as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass."
"His compassions fail not."
"GOD IS LOVE."