From the glory and the gladness,
From His secret place;
From the rapture of His presence,
From the radiance of His Face--
Christ, the Son of God, hath sent me
Through the midnight lands;
Mine the mighty ordination
Of the pierced Hands.
Mine the message grand and glorious,
Strange unsealed surprise,--
That the goal is God's beloved,
Christ in Paradise.
Hear me, weary men and women,
Sinners dead in sin;
I am come from heaven to tell you
Of the love within.
There, as knit unto the body,
Every joint and limb,
We, His ransomed, His beloved,
We are one with Him.
On into the depths eternal
Of the love and song,
Where in God the Father's glory
Christ has waited long;
There to find that none beside Him
God's delight can be--
Not beside Him, nay, but in Him,
O beloved, are we.
[From "Hymns of Tersteegen and Others," by Mrs. Bevan.]
I WANT to write the beginning of this chapter to boys and girls. All the young ones were great favourites with Mr. Stewart.
He was so glad when he found the boys and girls taking an interest in God's work among the heathen. He used to say that "C.M.S." stood not only for "Church Missionary Society," but that it meant, too, "Come, Master, Soon," as he felt this to be the true way of hastening His coming and kingdom.
He used to say that the right way to get new missionaries must be the way Christ Himself taught us. He said, "Pray ye the Lord of the harvest, that He may send forth labourers into His harvest." This, he said, was as much the Lord's prayer as the prayer that is usually called by that name, and yet how few pray the first "Pray ye" compared to the number who say "Our Father."
How glad he will be if he hears (and I think Christ will tell him--don't you?) that some boys and girls in the United Kingdom and in the Colonies have begun to pray for, and to help, the boys and girls in China, for whom he prayed so earnestly and worked so diligently!
Do not say in a hurry "I can do nothing."
God works in those who let Him, "to will and do of His good pleasure."
Let me tell you what some children have done.
They belong to a Bible Class, and the teacher told them--what I want the children who read this chapter to know--that they could have a school of their own in China for £4 a year.
I suppose some of them thought it would be nicer to help to send the knowledge of Jesus to China than to buy all the sweets they had been accustomed to; but be that as it may, they gave their pennies, and the kind teacher sent £4. I hope after some time a letter will come from China telling them where their school is, and describing the village, the teacher, and the scholars, so that they can pray as well as send pennies.
If eighteen boys or girls would band themselves together, each giving one penny every week, they could send £4 0s. 8d.--enough for a school, and the 8d. over would pay for postage.
They could choose one to be secretary and another for treasurer, and so have a little Missionary Society of their own.
I am sure they would soon feel the need of prayer; and they would ask God to fill the Chinese schoolmaster with His Holy Spirit, that he might teach the children and their parents when he visits them all that God wants them to know.
So that it would come to be the missionary children's village, not only their school.
I remember a story Mr. Stewart told about a Chinese boy he met.
It happened in this way. Mr. Stewart came to a village where, he was told, there were no Christians except one boy. He asked at a door for a drink of water; he was weary and thirsty. It was only water that he asked for; he got some information that refreshed his heart.
"Have you ever heard of Jesus Christ?" he asked the woman who came to the door.
"Oh, yes. My boy of twelve years old is always talking about Him. He wants me to give up the idols and burn them, but I dare not do that."
Mr. Stewart started again on his journey, walking in the dust and heat as his Master did, having learned from the mother that the boy had gone up the mountain on some errand.
I forgot to mention one important thing the mother said. After saying she feared to burn the idols, she added: "I sometimes think my son must be right; he is so changed. He used to be selfish and bad-tempered; now he is unselfish and patient, and he says it is Jesus Christ has made the change."
Mr. Stewart had to go across the mountain, and I know not how many steps he had to climb to reach the summit--like a steep flight of stairs.
About half way up he saw a boy coming towards him, descending as he ascended. As he approached Mr. Stewart felt no doubt that this was the one Christian in the village; he recognised in the bright face and fearless eye a brother in Christ.
Great was the joy of the youthful disciple to meet the foreign Singang (teacher). I cannot tell you all the conversation, but this I do remember: the boy told Mr. Stewart that he had only once heard of Jesus--"the One," as he said, "who loved me enough to die for me. And I could not help loving Him with all my heart as soon as ever I heard of Him. I feel now that I could die for Him.
"I had gone to the wedding feast of my cousin, a long journey over the mountain, and there was one Christian there. I heard he had some strange new doctrine he had learned from 'foreign devils.'
"I felt a great desire to hear, and he told me something better than new doctrine. He told me of my Saviour, my Friend, my Lord."
I cannot tell you how much more God taught that dear boy through Mr. Stewart, sitting on the mountain side; and I do not quite remember if a little school was started in that village--I think so. But I know that some time after Mrs. Stewart was visiting at Kucheng (where she afterwards resided). She examined the women in the school there--the Training School for Bible-women--and noticing one woman with a spiritual perception far beyond the others, she spoke to her personally after the Bible lesson. The woman told her where she came from and her name, and she was identified as the mother of this boy.
Mr. Stewart longed to have schools for boys and girls in all the villages.
The following accounts were written by Mr. Stewart as "Reports" for those who contributed to the Day School Fund. We reprint them here, that they may have a wider circulation.
REPORT OF THE FUH-KIEN DAY SCHOOLS.
August, 1893. DEAR FRIENDS,--
Through absence in the Colonies last year, I was unable to send a Report at the usual time, and am now reprinting my article on the School from this month's Gleaner. [Mr. Stewart visited the Colonies in company with Mr. Eugene Stock.] I am returning (D.V.) to Fuh-kien the beginning of September, and my sister, Miss Smyly, 35, Fitzwilliam Street, Dublin, has most kindly promised to receive contributions, and give information.
Some fourteen years ago we in Fuh-kien felt that an attempt should be made to establish Christian schools throughout the country, and on a more distinctly self-supporting basis than had yet been attempted.
We had then about half-a-dozen little schools; but on our stating our intention to in future confine our pecuniary assistance to £4 per school per annum, all above this for all purposes connected with the school, or the salary of the teacher, to be found by the scholars themselves, several of these teachers sent in their resignation.
However, we persevered in our determination, and made it a constant matter of prayer, both in public with the Chinese converts and among ourselves, that if it were God's will He would bless these little schools; and the result was that, to our great delight the demand for them increased, and the number gradually mounted from those first three or four up to ninety-six last year. Our other rules regarding them were, that the teachers should all of them be converts, and that the scholars should learn our Christian books, written in the simplest and most direct language by ourselves, treating of the vital doctrines of Christianity, and also of course the Bible, and give half their school-time each day of the week to the study of them.
The annual examination of these schools was perhaps the happiest part of my work, and they proved themselves to be an evangelistic agency beyond our expectation; for not only was light brought into many dark homes by means of the children, but also many adults came to the schoolmasters to be taught in the evenings when their day's work was done. Also at our examinations crowds of the heathen thronged the room, listening attentively as we catechised the children on the great fundamental doctrines of the true Faith. Of course we took care that these listeners should understand the questions and the answers, and thus we preached to them in perhaps the most effective of all ways.
These ninety-six schools are distributed over an immense tract of country, often five or ten miles, or even more, from one another. Sometimes you find one in a far outlying district, the only centre of Christian light in a wide area of heathenism; and there are places in the Province now, where the thriving little church that exists there owes its origin to the establishment of one of those tiny schools.
Mr. Lloyd, writing some time ago from the district of Hing-hwa, gave a striking illustration of this. A request came to him to establish a Christian school in the village; he did so, and through the instrumentality of the schoolmaster, who was "a very earnest man, with a good influence outside the school," an interest began at once to spring up; this steadily increased, till in the short space of two years the number of converts had grown to 150. He added that the converts had proved the reality of their faith by subscribing liberally towards the erection of a much-needed church, schoolroom, and catechist's house, having given ninety dollars in money, and about 1,500 days' labour, and various gifts of tiles, etc. "It is built," he writes, "of red brick, entirely in the native style of architecture, and as I came in sight of it I could have cried with joy at what God had wrought by His grace in that village. What a joy it was to examine a school in that nice building, knowing as I did, that only two years before the Christians could have been counted on the fingers of one hand, and that, humanly speaking, but for our little school all would still be in heathen darkness!''
A good illustration of the usefulness of one of these little day schools in a far outlying district, and the way in which it becomes a centre of Christian instruction to those seeking it, is given by Mr. Collins. His experience, too, shows how much good may be done 6n the journey to the school; he writes:--
"'There is a great interest awakened in A-cai,' said the native clergyman to me. 'I went there and stayed two nights and all the village came to listen.' 'Where is A-cai?' I asked, as the name was unfamiliar. 'Down by the sea--it is the village to which the school was moved this year,' he answered. Directly he said that, I remembered that the schoolmaster was a very earnest man, a true Christian, and a keen student of his Bible, and I had been expecting to hear further news of him. I had heard that he had twelve scholars coming to his school every day, and sixteen at night--boys whose work prevented them coming at any other time--so I was heartily glad when I found myself seated in a large boat that sails daily down to the sea-coast villages. There was no limit to the number this boat could contain apparently--to-day it was particularly crowded. As soon as I got on board I was greeted at once by a cheery 'Ping ang '(' Peace to you ') from two men, and found that there were two or three Christians on board. The people crowded round me, and I resigned myself to my fate. I knew what was coming, and gave myself up at once to silent prayer, for it is a very real trial for me to be overhauled and mauled by a crowd on a hot June morning, and to answer with perfect equanimity a thousand questions, each more extraordinary than the one before; to have every garment pierced and felt by every hand that can reach it, and to be catechised on the state of the tea-market, and the value of a dollar in England. Presently an old man came and sat down near me, and in answer to a question as to where he was going, said, 'To A-cai.' So at once we struck up a friendly talk. He had heard the Gospel from the schoolmaster, Mr. Ding, and at once, to my complete surprise, asked me to read some of it to him, 'As Mr. D. does every evening.' Out came my Testament, and the fire of questions ceased as I read St. John iii. 1-18. I thought this old man promised well for A-cai.
"A crowd of coolies with their loads joined us from another boat, and the noise and confusion preventing conversation, I opened my ink-bottle and letter-case to write. 'What's he got there--is he eating opium?' shouted a man who was too far off to see, and took the pen for a pipe-stem. That gave me an opening, and they carried away a very distinct idea of what English Christians out here think of the opium question. I overhead one man say reflectively to his friend, some time after, 'He says what they hate most is opium.'
"Shortly after, another man took the ink for morphia; for some reason it was connected with opium in his mind. They then conversed about foreigners in general, and some of their ideas were new to me. I gathered that there was a race of foreigners who were all women, no men! that there was one kingdom which no ship built with iron nails could ever get to, and so on. At length I made a last effort, and quoting St. John iii. 12, caught their attention, and with the help of the little 'wordless book;' had a capital time with them.
"A welcome mid-day rest was obtained in the little church at A-ling, and in the afternoon I started for A-cai with the A-ling catechist. He told me how some new enquirers had come over to him, influenced by the A-cai schoolmaster.
"Leaving the coast, we began slowly to ascend the steep little range of hills. Once at the top, we saw before us a narrow glen, with steep rocky sides that even these industrious Chinese could not cultivate, and beyond it another range of hills, bare, rocky, and precipitous, with scarcely a tree to be seen. One, indeed, there was, at the hill foot on the opposite side of the glen, a tree that has a history of its own. Further along the shore is a farm-house, owned by a man who has been long a Christian. He held to his faith stoutly in spite of bitter persecution, and Sunday by Sunday came along this lonely glen on his way to church. One Sunday a party of opium smokers lay in wait for him, caught him and tied him to this tree, and cruelly beating him, left him there. But the beating had not the desired effect, for he still continued to go to church. Then his heathen neighbours seized some of his land and the trees planted on it. Having full proof of legal possession, he took the case to the law court; but the mandarin was no friend to ths Christians, and gave the man his choice between imprisonment and freedom, but the latter only on condition that he burnt incense before an idol. This he refused to do, and chose the prison.
"As we passed round the corner of the cliff that shuts in the glen, there opened to our view a beautiful little cove, that reminded one of Devonshire, and the likeness increased as the tide came in and covered the mud flats. Skirting the foot of the hills, we followed the path to the right of the little bay, and turning another corner came suddenly on the place we sought, the village of A-cai.
"This was the first time a foreigner had been there, and the news soon spread. The first old man we met, holding up both hands in astonishment, exclaimed, 'Why, some of them arrive at the age of fifty or sixty years, do they? 'This was a compliment to my supposed grey hair! He wras more dumbfounded still to hear I was only thirty. The villagers treated us with marked courtesy, and not once did one hear an objectionable expression. Politeness like this is not unusual in remote places away from the high roads.
"The sun was setting behind the mountains, and the cool sea breeze which the incoming tide brought with it made a welcome change after the hot day. The little schoolroom, evidently once a shop, was densely crowded, so they placed a table outside the house, with a lantern on it, and the preaching began. It was a thoroughly Chinese scene, the audience sat on doorsteps, window-sills, benches and chairs, and on the low wall that bounded the little terrace were sixteen children, evidently the night-school. The sky was dark, and only the stars lighted the scene, if Ave except our flickering candle. I began with a few words, but gave way to the schoolmaster. He spoke well and to the point, the audience interrupting freely with questions, some showing earnest thought, and none of the flippant mocking questions so usual in street preaching. Only half-a-dozen of the foremost men could be seen in the light, but every now and then a voice would come out of the gloom, or a smart discussion would spring up resembling a duel, and sounding not unlike a quarrel to unaccustomed ears. Then the preacher would go back to his subject and silence would reign.
"As the catechist preached, suddenly two men shouted out, 'Then the worship of idols is useless,' and a tumult of voices arose which ceased as suddenly, while he gave a clear and decided answer.
"Meanwhile the schoolmaster was not idle. He had gone into the schoolroom, which was full of people who preferred a seat in the light, with a pipe and a cup of tea, and there was holding an animated discussion on some subject of which I could catch only a word now and then.
"Looking in from the darkness, one could only judge from the shadows on the mud wall thrown by the light that the argument was a hot one, it looked once or twice as if more than moral persuasion was being resorted to, but it was all perfectly good-natured.
"The catechist's voice failing, my load-bearer, a fine old Christian, came to the rescue, and his rough voice broke the silence, evidently making some telling points, which the audience much appreciated. The old charges that the missionaries take people's eyes and knee-caps to make medicine of were brought forward, and talking continued for over three hours. It must have been quite eleven o'clock before the last man went off and the Christians had prayers.
"To me this was the most interesting evening I had spent since landing in China. The courtesy of the people and their earnestness, with the evident spirit of real inquiry that they showed, made me most hopeful for the future. The schoolmaster's humility and reality mark him as a man whom God the Holy Ghost can use.
"I talked to the children at prayers the next day, and found them very bright and intelligent, and well up in the main facts of the Gospel story. Surely it is a cause of great thankfulness that thirty little ones should be learning something of the way of life at that little country day school. It is our best school in that district, but what one is all may be in time, and they will prove no mean instruments in freeing this enslaved people from the bondage of Satan."
Of the schools in the wide district south of Foochow, far removed from the district just spoken of, Mr. Lloyd gives some very interesting particulars:--
"Chia-yang.--At the beginning of the year we started a school in this village at the request of a man who had heard the Gospel at Sieng-iu, and had walked ten miles to Sunday service for some months. He had induced some eight or ten of his neighbours to join him in petitioning us to send them a teacher, and assured us that numbers of the people were anxious to hear about the 'Religion of Jesus.' The result has surpassed our most sanguine expectations. I visited the village some weeks since, and was both pleased and surprised to find some eighty persons assembled to meet me with every token of respect, all of whom had enrolled their names as desirous to serve Christ and forsake their idols. Two old men especially attracted my attention. One of them, a village elder, very old and feeble, hobbled to the school, and was with great difficulty prevented kneeling down to me; he insisted that he wished thus to honour me as the representative of Christ, and was a little displeased when we pointed out that it must not be. Will not the supporters of our day schools sometimes think of this little company of disciples in this remote mountain village, nestling among the hills 3,000 feet above the sea level, and pray that the little school may be a centre of light to the whole neighbourhood?
"Eiig-tan-kiang.--Our attempt to open a school at this village two years ago met with such violent opposition that we were obliged, perforce, to close it. Two of our 'voluntary exhorters,' who went thither and endeavoured to quell the disturbance, were bespattered with unmentionable filth, and sent whence they came. This year the attitude of the people has quite changed, and sixty or seventy of them are attending the Sunday services. The schoolmaster is allowed to carry on his work unmolested, and we are deeply thankful that animosity has given way to glad acceptance on the part of many."
Here is one other illustration of the good work these little schools are doing, also from Mr. Lloyd:--
"Leng-tie.--This village is situated in the Sieng-iu plain, about three miles from the city. I am glad to say that the establishment of the school has led to an increased interest in Christianity, and some ten of the villagers have joined us. One man among these recent converts attracted my attention at once, as being evidently in good circumstances, and quite above the majority of the people. I had a long conversation with him, and we read the New Testament together. He seems really sincere, and I do trust his influence may be felt."
These cases show, I think, what valuable wrork these day schools are doing, not only in reaching the children, but bringing the Gospel message to their adult friends as well, and the faster we can scatter them through the length and breadth of the country, the sooner will it be evangelized. The small amount of help, too, that comes from outside sources for their maintenance, £4 per annum, as I mentioned above, tends to foster a spirit of independence and self-support. Why the heathen priests and literati allow the children--for most of them are from heathen homes--to attend and learn our Christian books, it is hard to understand, except that, in answer to the prayers of those supporting these little schools, God is graciously protecting them and blessing them. Out of the ninety-six only fourteen are paid from the C.M.S. general funds; the rest are supported privately, and this means a good number of true friends specially interested in this work, and whose prayers are being abundantly answered.
Yours very sincerely,
ROBERT W. STEWART.
The Rev. R. W. Stewart writes from Kucheng:--"At the beginning of the year, at our native Conference, when the leading native Christians from all parts of my two districts of Kucheng and Ping-nang came together for four days' consultation and Christian intercourse, requests were handed in from twenty-eight new places for schools. Each application gave the names of those who would attend the school, and the amount they were willing to subscribe to add to our £4 for the teacher's salary. I believe so thoroughly in these little schools that I could not refuse them, and so they were allowed, and I am trusting for the needful funds. These 28 new schools in my own district, added to some new ones in other districts, bring up the number to over 90. So you will believe that some new subscribers' names on your list was a pleasant sight, and if the old friends will stand firm, we shall get along without coming into the bankruptcy court. I have not the least fear of this, for if it be of God, it will not fail, and if it be not of God, I hope it will fail."
"The good point about these country schools is that they are distinctly 'Evangelistic' in character. I have examined them once this year, and find that 6 or 7 out of every 10 come from heathen homes, utterly heathen, the adult members of the house never going near church or chapel. The children, however, come, and every day read our Christian books. I examined them in nothing else, and I am sure that what they learn in that way, and learn thoroughly, will bring forth fruit one day. But it is bringing forth fruit already here and there. In more than one place, where there is now a native church, a few years ago there was only one of these schools, and the work began from that, so that friends at home who are making it possible to carry on these little schools are as really 'Evangelizing China 'as any of us out here."
The following is a translation of a letter written by Li Daih-ching, who is the teacher at the school at Dong-kio, to the Rev. T. M'Clelland:--
"Teacher M'Clelland, peace! I have been appointed to Dong-kio. I have myself no good method of accomplishing my work, and hope you will always by prayer help me. I hope God will give me His Holy Spirit, and show me the right way to teach my scholars, that they may know God. At Dong-kio at present 60 or 70 regularly come to worship on Sunday. Sometimes many more come. There are some whose faith is 'great,' and some whose faith is 'small.' My school is as far from the chapel as the Foochow boys' school is from the college. More I cannot write. Greeting to the Teacher's Lady."
"KUCHENG, FOOCHOW, January 23, 1895.
"I am extremely grateful to you for helping us again this year, by providing so large a number of Christian Day Schools throughout the country.
"On returning to China after my furlough, a year ago, I found I had been appointed to take charge of the two inland districts, or, as we would call them in England, 'counties,' of Kucheng and Fing-nang, covering an area equal to about half the size of Wales.
"At our first native Conference, which was held the beginning of February, applications came in from all directions for these Christian Day Schools. Each application gave the number of scholars promising to attend, and the amount of money they would subscribe, the assistance from foreign sources being, as you know, limited to £4 par annum for everything connected with the school.
"On reckoning up the number applied for, and finding that it meant an increase of 28 over the previous year, I hesitated, wondering if funds would come in sufficient, but the hesitation was not very long. If they were of God, He would send the funds; if they were not, then we would take that as a sign. We prayed about it, and gave consent. Sufficient funds have come in, and we regard it as a proof that they have God's approval, and heartily thank those through whom He has sent it.
"I have just returned from a long school-inspecting tour through my two great districts, and have been surprised at the improvement everywhere visible, over the last time I went round, before going home to England. Not only were the Christian books learned thoroughly by heart, so that again and again nine children out of ten got full marks, but also, what I felt still more glad about, there was a clear grasp of the fundamental truths of Christianity and the way of salvation.
"Crowds of heathen came in to listen, and stood perfectly still for sometimes two hours, and even on to three hours, while I catechised the children on the entrance of sin into the world, the need for a Saviour, His love and death for us, and our life of service for Him now. This is, I feel sure, the most effective "kind of preaching to the heathen, and would be worth all the trouble and expense, even if it were no gain at all to the children. It is the most powerful agency for evangelizing the country that we have.
"You may ask, 'What signs are there of this?' I am glad to say there are many. In place after place, I found that the adults joining the church were preceded by their children joining the school. Out of the 58 schools in my districts, 31 are in places where there are no other Christian teachers, and in a good number of these I found great interest excited in the village, and a small congregation on Sunday ministered to by the schoolmaster; indeed, I felt that the interest circling round the schools was as great as where catechists were placed.
"The individual instances of adult friends being brought in by the children were very encouraging, and far too many to enter here. One little girl was the means of leading seven members of her house to worship; another had brought in her father, mother, and grandfather, etc., etc.
"One of our C.E.Z.M.S. sisters tells me of a case she came on in the western part of this district. 'At the beginning of 1894, there was a Day School started at Siong-ngiang, and one of the first scholars was a little girl called Geng-sai. She eagerly learned, going home and telling as much as she could about the Jesus she loved. Her home people seeing how earnest and real she was, began to think it would be a good thing for them if they went to church; and so began to go and worship God, and hear for themselves. Now the whole household worships God, and in October they invited the catechist, and other Christians, to come to their house, when they collected all the idols together and burned them (seven or eight in number), putting up in their place the Ten Commandments.' "
"The same lady tells of another place where a woman specially attracted her attention by her knowledge of the true God, and her desire to know more. This was through her little boy, for 'in this place there is no one to teach the women,' and so this woman only knows what the little boy has come home and told her. She eagerly learned a little prayer to repeat every day, and said she would worship God.
"So far I have only spoken of my own two districts in the centre of the Province, but your schools are scattered over a still wider region. From the far North-East, in the Fuh-ning Prefecture, Mr. Eyton Jones writes, 'On behalf of our Fuh-ning Church, I must send through you to the friends at home sincere thanks for your assistance in starting four Day Schools. The school at Sing-sang fishing hamlet has been useful, not only in getting a few little ones together, but for the strengthening of the adults, whom the teacher assembles for evening prayers. One of the little lads has been the means of bringing in his father.'
"South of the last-named Prefecture lie the districts of King-talk and Lo-nguong, and scattered through these you have the goodly number of twenty-three schools. Mr. Martin, the missionary in charge, writes: 'These schools have given us more satisfaction the last two years; they are better attended, and in some villages the schoolmasters teach also catechumens and Christians, and in all the villages where we have schools these masters preach Jesus, and are lights in centres of gross darkness. I have had applications from heathen to open schools, and to send Christian teachers, the reason given being, in your schools you teach the children to speak the truth, to obey their parents, and to give up bad habits!'
"South of Foochow and the river Min, you have, through the districts of Hok-chiang, Hing-hwa, and Sieng-iu, over thirty schools. The missionaries in charge give good reports of them all. A C.E.Z. lady gives interesting particulars of those round her station of Dang-scng:--
"'Although my work is not among the little boys of our day schools, I should like to say what a very great help these schools are to the evangelistic work carried on in our district.
"'I am stationed at Dang-seng, and within about eight miles radius we have had ten boys' day schools open during the past year. The attendance varies of course, but generally we have twenty-five children; in our largest schools, thirty-five and more.
"'In visiting a village I generally go first to the school; after a little talk there, we go outside the building, and find the news has spread, and quite a good number are waiting to hear the Gospel message. In this way the school becomes an introduction for an open-air meeting. If many follow me into the building, I take one of the school-books, and question the children on the important truths of our religion--the Creation, the work of our Saviour, His blessed coming again, the folly of idols, and so on; watching our hearers to see what they can understand, and explaining the meaning of our questions.
"'Then again, it is a great joy to me to see progress in the teachers themselves. There are three men now teaching, who two years ago were dark heathen; they attended our services, learned the way of salvation, and when it was seen the work was real, were put into their posts. In some cases, particularly, I can see how they are growing in the knowledge of our Saviour. Three weeks ago, I heard one of these preach at Dang-seng, on Sunday morning. He was very nervous, and preached a short sermon; but it was earnest and thoughtful, and one could see how by constant teaching he had really grasped the truths he sought to teach the little boys.
"'Then again, a fortnight ago, we were asking who wished to be prepared for baptism, and amongst others was one of our former scholars, a lad of sixteen or seventeen years. He used to come to our little school at Dang-seng, then went to work in the fields, but came to evening prayers and the Sunday services; now we find him wanting to take a stand and publicly confess Christ by baptism.
"'Another younger lad, also a former scholar, is asking for baptism at the new year. The seed has been sown in early childhood, and being the good seed of the Word of God, it will certainly spring up, and bring forth fruit.
"'In four of our village schools, there is a regular Sunday morning service at which Christian men and women, from that and neighbouring villages, gather to worship God. One must not limit the influence of these schools; each one can be, and by the power of God shall I believe be, a light in a dark place, and the means of bringing many little ones to the feet of our Saviour.
"'I forgot to say that, during the past year, I had a weekly Bible-class with the teachers of our schools. We study the Gospel of St. Mark for two hours each Wednesday. I gave them written papers to take home and answer, and found that in this way our lesson was well remembered.'
"Let me in conclusion repeat the three fundamental 3 rules which guide us:--
'"(1) The scholars must all read daily our Christian books, and pass examinations in them several times in the year.
"(2) The teachers must all be baptized converts. "(3) The amount of foreign aid towards the entire support of the school, renting the room, books, and furniture, as well as the teacher's salary, must not exceed £4 per annum.
"On the sum you put into my hands last year, we had 119 schools, an increase of more than 30 on the previous year. In this coming year I hope we shall be able to keep up at least as many, and perhaps add a few.
"Let me beg of you to remember these little schools in your prayers as often as you can. The success that has so far attended them is, I firmly believe, due more to that than to any other cause.
"Yours very sincerely,
"ROBERT W. STEWART."
"Since writing the above, Mr. Shaw, who is in charge of Hing-hwa, the most southerly of our districts, writes: 'I wonder if you could let us open three more schools down here. I am thankful to say there are wonderful openings, and it would be such a blessing if we could get these schools.' "" To this I have at once replied, 'Yes.' "Mrs. Stewart wrote to the lady who is head of the Missionary House in Dublin for the Agents of the Irish Church Missions and Dublin Visiting Mission:--"I hear the inhabitants of your House have subscribed £4 for one of our day schools in this province. Will you please convey to them our warmest thanks? But we trust that something far better than thanks will be their reward, if they will help by prayer also--even boys and girls saved from the power of sin and Satan to be their crown of rejoicing by-and-by.
"We feel more and more convinced since our return to China this time that these schools are perhaps the best means of 'evangelizing 'the country.
"A schoolmaster in China is always acceptable; and a school can be started in some new place when a catechist would not be allowed to enter, and a foreigner would not be listened to.
"In these two districts there are now fifty day schools,--twice as many as last year.
"We felt sure when these new schools were asked for, that it must be the Lord's will . . . And though we had not got the needed money, Mr. Stewart gave leave to open them, for we had asked the Lord to send the money. . . .
"Your House will now be the means of supporting one of these schools, and we have heard of several others being undertaken.
"Mr. Stewart was much pleased with the way the children answered the last time he examined some of the schools. They are scattered over a wide district. The two districts of Kucheng and Ping-nang are larger than half of Wales, with a greater population.
"You can imagine the difficulty of superintending such a work, with no railways, or even carriages!''
And now the schools and schoolmasters have lost their superintendent. God has another way for him to work now.
But we trust that the little schools will go on. The Chinese schoolmasters will be called to greater earnestness and diligence through the trial which has come to them. The friends who have prayed for the children, and given the necessary £4 a year for each school, will have a chastened joy now in seeing to it that the work shall not be left to languish for want of supplies from the home-land.
If God has touched hearts through the recital of China's needs, let us be practical. When God so loved the world He proved it by giving His only Son.
If we love God, and love to spread the knowledge that "Jesus saves," let us ask ourselves--may God ask us--if we are letting Him use us, use our money, all we have and all we are, just as He pleases, that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ.