"If any provideth not for his own, and specially his own household, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever."--I TIM. v. 8.
THE chaplaincy in this important field, with its large and increasing population, was established in 1879 under the Rev. J. H. Gybbon-Spilsbury. For a time the civil war and the siege of the town put a stop to the work at the isolated stations in the camp; but it was resumed on the return of peace.
The amount of travelling involved in itinerating through the vast camps south and west of Buenos Ayres may be gathered from the fact that, during 1880, Mr. Gybbon-Spilsbury, traversed in train 14,104 miles, and on horseback 5,055--in all, 19,159 miles. Acknowledgment was made by him of the unfailing courtesy shown by the managers of the Southern, Northern, and Campana Railways in placing free passes at his disposal.
At the present time (1905) there are in Buenos Ayres and the suburbs seven churches of the Church of England, with their own clergy, and all self-supporting.
Work among the seamen at Buenos Ayres was carried on by Mr. P. J. R. Walker from August, 1891, until his translation in 1895 to the Araucanian field. The need for a Mission at this and other ports finds many painful illustrations. Thus Mr. Walker reported that in the course of one month no fewer than six sailors were drowned in the harbour, drink being in each case the cause.
Mr. W. Fosterjohn, who took charge of the Sailors' Home, gave the following figures for a quarter of a year:--Boarders in home, 181; visits to hospital, 40; visits to prisons, 6; religious services, 12; cash taken care of, £360. The distribution of Christian literature is an interesting feature of the work. Much of it was supplied to the Argentine men-of-war, where there are many British engineers, seamen, and firemen. Such literature is invariably gladly received. Most of it is as bread cast upon the waters, which, it cannot be doubted, will be found after many days. A Sailors' Home was established in the Boca, near the outer end of the Southern Dock. It was at best only a makeshift arrangement, though it has done good work in its time. On April 16, 1902, a handsome new building, raised to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of the late Queen Victoria, was opened by the President of the Argentine Republic. The new Home stands in a much better position than did the old, on the reclaimed land at the foot of Calle Independencia, opposite the division between Docks 1 and 2. As yet there are no buildings near it, and it is seen, therefore, to the best advantage, standing quite alone. The site was given by Government, mainly through the exertions of the late Mr. Edward T. Mulhall.
The Rev. W. Case Morris, who had for many years laboured in a suburb of Buenos Ayres, resumed his work there, in the suburb of Palermo, in November, 1897, and was ordained Deacon by Bishop Stirling in 1898, and Priest in 1899. The attendance at the Spanish service was most gratifying, and the Gospel message was not without fruit. One lady who had been induced by the Bible Woman to attend the prayer meeting was much impressed with what was said regarding the nature of true prayer, and Scriptural confession. As the result of this, and of further conversations on the subject, she took down from the walls of her house the crucifixes, and pictures of saints, and rosaries, that hung upon them, and instead substituted the Decalogue, the Lord's Prayer, and other portions of Scripture in Spanish. She purchased a Bible, which has become her daily study. Others were benefited by the Spanish services, notably several soldiers of the Argentine army. The young, too, were well looked after. A Mission Day School, opened in July, 1898, with eighteen boys, had by the following November 107 pupils. A girls' school was started later, and also another boys' school in the Maldonado district of the city. Other buildings have since been opened, the attendance fast out-growing the accommodation; and now the numbers in the schools, and in the various institutions that have grown out of them, have risen to between two and three thousand.
Mr. Morris tells of remarkable progress in evangelistic work in Buenos Ayres. He also refers to a strong testimony borne in the Argentine Congress as to the value of the Society's work in Tierra del Fuégo. On that occasion, Señor Carbo, the Minister of Education, said, "The English Missionaries are conquering the south b}' means of their preaching and teaching, while we here neglect to interest ourselves in the welfare of those regions; they are the workers who are educating and civilizing those isolated people." Senor Carbo's brilliant exposition, Mr. Morris states, was greeted with prolonged applause.
Still more important was the expression of a desire on the part of the Argentine Government to introduce the Bible into the National Schools. The message of the Government to Congress, dated June 5, 1899, bore the signature of President Roca, and of Dr. Osvaldo Magnasco, Minister of Justice and Public Instruction, and was to the effect that "the Executive is unable, for reasons which will be easily understood, to introduce innovations in this direction, and therefore confines itself to the expression of a strong desire for the advent of an epoch in which--imitating England and Germany--the unprejudiced reading of the Bible shall constitute one of the most delightful and edifying occupations of our public schools."
This certainly is one of the most significant declarations ever made by the Argentine Executive, and, if carried into effect, will, it cannot be doubted, prove the harbinger of manifold blessings to the Republic. Dr. Magnasco was much in earnest to further the difficult work upon which he had entered.
Yet another forward movement following the decision just mentioned has to be recorded. The cheering announcement was reported by Mr. Morris that the Municipal Authorities of the city had, after repeated futile attempts to obtain the, concession, resolved to relieve the South American Missionary Society, the British and Foreign Bible Society, and the American Bible Society, of the tax hitherto levied upon their colporteurs, without any limitations, a tax amounting to over six shillings monthly per person. It is another step in the direction of real progress, for which the Societies concerned have cause to rejoice and give thanks. The laying the foundation stone of St. Paul's Church Hall at Palermo by Bishop Stirling, on June 27, 1899, was an occasion of much rejoicing, this being the first building of the kind erected under the auspices of the Society for distinctly Spanish work. Still greater were the rejoicings when, on November 30, in the same year, the Hall was opened by Bishop Stirling, in the presence of a large and enthusiastic assembly, and of more than 500 school children. On that occasion Sen. M. F. Quinquela, an Argentine gentleman holding a position of trust under the National Government, made a remarkable speech, hailing the event of the day as a distinct advance in their national development, and declaring that these walls spoke, this building pointed, to the coming Argentine Reformation. The deeply interesting narrative of his spiritual experiences was published in the Society's Magazine for March, 1900.
Notwithstanding his multifarious duties, Mr. Morris finds time to translate good literature into Spanish, in popular form, adapted to the native mind. He hopes also to translate theological textbooks into Spanish for the use of native students. Both of these literary efforts cannot fail to prove most helpful. He edits La Reforma, a high class monthly magazine in Spanish, the general aim of which is expressed in its title.
RIO DE JANEIRO.
On January 1, 1516, Juan de Solis sailed up a river which he named "January River," now Rio de Janeiro; thence he journeyed south and discovered the mouth of the Rio de la Plata, where he was barbarously murdered and, it is said, eaten by the natives in sight of his shipmates.
A much-needed Mission to the English-speaking seamen was commenced in 1880 by Mr. F. Curran. It was estimated that there were seldom less than 600 in the harbour, a number certainly amply sufficient to furnish a noble, field of usefulness. The work embraced services in a mission-room which had been secured for the purpose, services on board ship, visitation of the various boarding-houses in the city, visits to hospitals and the prison, with special attention to the seamen therein, and distribution of the Scriptures and religious literature.
One instance of good done by these efforts for the benefit of the seamen may suffice. The chief officer of a Belfast vessel which had been destroyed by fire mentioned to Mr. Hooper, who succeeded Mr. Curran in 1884, that he remembered visits paid to his vessel thirty months previously, and that both the Captain and himself had benefited by them; that since then he had endeavoured to call the men together on all suitable occasions for worship; and that as one result the Captain had it to record that upon only one occasion since signing articles was it necessary to speak to a man for misconduct. While at Rio the officers and men of this same vessel regularly attended Divine service at the mission-rooms, their general behaviour being all that could be desired. A friend of the mission generously entertained them one evening. The advantages of rational enjoyment compared with what is the sailor's conduct while on shore was in the course of the speechifying pointed out. They all agreed with the views expressed; "but," said one of them, "it very rarely happens that a gentleman will take the trouble to brighten the life of poor Jack on shore."
Mr. Henry Brandreth, who succeeded Mr. Hooper, wrote as follows:--
I find that the conditions of sailor life on shore are deplorable. The majority of them are deserters, enticed to leave their ships by unscrupulous boarding-house keepers (who keep them in hand for a few days, and then ship them, giving them a few paltry clothes, or none at all, and retaining the whole of their advance), or through the restless corruption of their hearts, which seems to burst forth after the bondage of a sea voyage, and leads them to have another fling at miscalled liberty, but which is undoubtedly the most fearful and tyrannical form of slavery. The sailors in many instances are very bad; but when we think of the hardness of their lives, that in many cases from the commencement to the close of their voyages they receive not a single word of sympathy, and that it is work and bed, and bed and work, all the voyage, and no one to care for them, their condition ceases to be a wonder. . . .
During 1894 Mr. Brandreth and his colleague were in imminent peril in connection with the revolution then in progress. Both were lodged in gaol on suspicion, but were released after some days, satisfactory evidence of their innocence having been produced. The rebellion was quelled, but the country continued for a tune in a very unsettled state.
In illustration of the helpfulness of the, mission, it may be mentioned that the seamen had deposited in Mr. Brandreth's hands no less than £658, a considerable portion of which amount was sent home to their friends. One day a sailor brought to his notice a mate, under the influence of drink, who seemed to have lots of money upon him, and had gone into one of the drinking saloons which abound in the city. Mr. Rrandreth went with the sailor to the saloon, and found the mate asleep at one of the tables. On being wakened up, he, after some conversation, placed in the missionary's hands £33.
The brave and devoted Brandreth, in February, 1896, went in a boat to take two sailors oft to the vessel by which he had shipped them. When returning, one of the most unlooked-for hurricanes ever known came down upon the bay, and swamped the boat. The master of the boat and a young Englishman from the mission, whom Brandreth had taken with him for a little pleasure trip, were saved, Brandreth and the second sailor of the boat being drowned. The strongest testimony was borne to Brandreth's indefatigable labours, and to the confidence reposed in him by all who stayed at the mission. He was spoken of as one of the gentlest of men, being hardly ever known to lose his temper, even under the greatest provocation.
Mr. Brandreth was succeeded by Mr. Thomas McCarthy, who had been for some years Superintendent of the Monte Video Sailors' Home. After one year's service in this new field, to the regret of all, he was taken away by death at the early age of twenty-nine. The Seamen's Mission next came for a time under the care of Mr. W. J. Lumby. He refers to a difficulty that had cropped up in his hospital visitation. Many Roman Catholic sailors ask for a copy of one of the gospels, which he gladly gives them in Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, or German, as the case may be. To this the Sister in charge objected. Mr. Lumby, however, very properly informed her that he never gave without being asked, and that as long as she gave Protestant sailors Roman Catholic books, attacking Protestant doctrine, he felt free to give a portion of the New Testament to any who asked for it.
Of late the work at this port has greatly changed, owing to steamers taking the place of sailing ships. Good wharves are being built, to allow of movement of cargo alongside.
CHANARAL AND LAS ANIMAS.
These stations are in the Republic of Chili on the west coast. A chaplaincy was established at Chanaral in 1879. The communities at both places were English residents, who either worked in the copper mines, or were engaged in commerce. The seamen visiting the ports also afforded a sphere of usefulness. The children, too, English and native, were carefully instructed in secular and religious knowledge. Systematic, Bible distribution was also a feature of the mission from the first. Mr. J. S. Robertson, the Lay-Reader since 1879, in one of his letters, referred to the utter ignorance of the Bible previously existing among some of the children.
Chanaral was visited in 1892 by the Roman Catholic Bishop of Serena, accompanied by three priests. At every service anathemas were hurled at the Protestants, and the faithful were ordered to deliver up all Bibles and religious books printed by "herejes." One poor man in possession of such was told to bring them to the Bishop to be burnt. He agreed to do so, on condition that he was paid the value of the books. "What did they cost?" asked the Bishop. "Two hundred and fifty dollars," replied the man. Nothing more was said on the subject!
Mr. Robertson visited periodically Pan de Azucar, Taltal, and Carizalillo, at the last-mentioned of which places, as well as at Chanaral and other stations, Spanish services were held. After seventeen years' services at Chanaral, Mr. Robertson was, in 1896, transferred to Coquimbo, where evangelistic and educational work is carried on. He met with much encouragement from the people, and was also greatly gratified by receiving permission from the Adminstrator of the Hospital to pay a weekly visit there when there are English inmates.
CHUBUT, on the Patagonian seaboard, in the Argentine Republic, was especially established for the benefit of Welsh colonists, who first settled there more than thirty years ago, and still number about 2,000. The station is at Trelew, the terminus of the railway which connects Port Madryn with the colony, and is under the superintendence of the Rev. Hugh Davies. The steady enterprising character of the colonists was testified to by Colonel Fontana, for some years Governor of Patagonia. The spirit also prevailing among them may be gathered from the fact that on one occasion at a Christmas service hardly a house for sixteen miles was unrepresented. Churchmen and Dissenters crowding the building with apparently the one purpose of worshipping God. Bishop Stirling, when at Chubut in 1895, paid a visit to the Independent minister, and bore witness to the amicable relations subsisting between Churchmen and Dissenters, as also to the influence exerted by Mr. Davies in connection with his medical skill, and his indefatigable labours in the relief of suffering.
In the winter of 1899 the Welsh Colony was visited by most disastrous floods, ruining many homes, and dividing up the district by several wide and deep channels hollowed out by the raging waters. St. David's Church and Mr. Davies' house, standing on high ground, were like islands in the overflow. For more than six weeks no service could be held in the Church, but Mr. Davies collected congregations at several of the homes up the hillsides, whither he and his fellow-sufferers had fled from the waters. These disasters have been several times repeated since.
Bishop Every visited the settlement in July, 1904, and found that Chubut is by no means a field of lessening importance, for the Society's work. In some quarters the impression prevails that the bulk of the Colony has migrated to Canada; but the, fact is that only about 200 went, thither, and 2,000 remain at Chubut. Though a large number do not belong to our Church, they seem to have a kindly feeling towards it, and this the Bishop attributes under God to Bishop Stirling's ministrations, for he found that he was remembered and spoken of by many with special affection. "The Welsh colony in Chubut--as Welsh or even more Welsh than when it was first begun--seems to me something quite unique in South America, and I found my first visit to it very interesting."
FRAY BENTOS, in the Uruguay Republic, with its population of about 750,000, derived its importance as being the headquarters of meat-extracting operations. For many years a church, school, and parsonage have been in existence.
Since the lamented death, in 1893, of its Chaplain, the Rev. R. Allen, the station remained vacant until 1896, when it was re-occupied by its former Chaplain, Archdeacon Shimield. Mr. Allen's removal was keenly felt. In pursuance of his ministerial duties, he had for many years travelled over vast territories, involving frequent and lengthened separation from his family, and also much fatigue and many discouragements, borne with Christian courage and patience. His visits to numerous scattered congregations in the vast camps of this portion of the. Continent proved an unspeakable comfort and blessing. Similar labours were repeated by the. Archdeacon, who was ever planning the most effective, menus of overtaking the wide field under his superintendence, a field in extent larger than Great Britain. SALTO and PAYSANDU, on the river Uruguay, were also under the Archdeacon's charge. The work of this chaplaincy is now carried on by the Rev. C. F. Mermagen, who, partly by travel, and partly by correspondence, does his best to keep in touch with his widely scattered flock. His linguistic powers find ample scope amid the many nationalities represented in Uruguay.
SAO PAULO and SANTOS in BRAZIL.--The Rev. G. E. Craven was several years ago appointed to this chaplaincy, embracing work among the sailors. He and his devoted wife in a high degree secured the esteem and affectionate regard of all classes of the people. Mr. Craven spoke of himself as a kind of barrier to stem the onrushing stream of forgetfulness of God to which colonists, when destitute of the means of grace, are so liable. He furnished the following particulars respecting the first-named town:--
The town of Sao Paulo is the residence of the Governor of the State, and possesses a few public buildings. It has a cathedral and a bishop, and among its churches is a large Jesuit church, with a big orphan school attached, and a large theological (R.C.) seminary for educating for the priesthood. But the religion of the people can hardly be regarded even as a debased or ignorant form of the worship of Christ. The Saviour is quite omitted, except as a child, and the Virgin Mary adored, at least by name, with the usual accompaniments of tawdriness and puerility; and considering the miraculous powers, even to Divinity, ascribed to her, she seems to differ but little from the old forms of heathen cults with which history makes us familiar. The fundamental doctrines of the gospel are unknown; the people are walking in darkness, and are content thus to continue. Now and again a little energy is seen upon the arrival of a special Sunday or saint's day, when a visit to a church is made, and religion performed by substitutes; the remainder of the day will be devoted to horse-racing, sport, or festal gatherings. . . .
Santos, one of the largest seaports in South America, has seldom fewer than two dozen ships in the harbour at a time. It has been described as one of the deadliest and most wicked ports in the world--known far and wide as a very Sodom, quite exceptionally so. (The building of spacious wharves, the introduction of a water supply, and other sanitary measures, have made a very great improvement in the health of Santos.) Such being its character, Mr. Craven and Mr. Holms, lately transferred from Pernambuco, found ample scope for all their energies. Mr. Craven was under the necessity of resigning on account of his health, and was appointed Association Secretary for the northern parts of the kingdom, including Scotland; then to the Vicarage of St. Barnabas, Douglas, Isle of Man. He was succeeded at Sao Paulo by the Rev. William Brown Morris, B.A., of Dublin.
The city of Sao Paulo has now a population of 230,000. Mr. Morris' own work is mainly parochial, amongst our own people, who in the city are 300 or 400, but in the State are about 1,000. Distance of residence from the church creates a difficulty in attendance; the morning congregation would be 70 or 80, the evening one of a different class, some 30 or 40, many of whom are servants and workpeople. The congregation are liberal givers. It is the intention of the Church Committee to take on themselves the whole cost of the chaplaincy, so as to set free the Society's funds for other purposes. This will probably be effected by degrees, as finances allowed. There is a Sunday-school with about 45 scholars, but the attendance depends on the weather.
PERNAMBUCO, also in BRAZIL.--Operations were commenced at this port, with a population of 120.000, m 1884, under the superintendence of the consular chaplain, the Rev. J. Midgley. Mr. P. J. R. Walker was appointed by the Society Seamen's missionary. Through the good offices of Mr. Hughes, the English Consul, permission was obtained from the authorities of the hospital and the prison to visit each place at such times as suited the missionary's convenience. Besides English, many of the sailors who call at the port are of German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, and Dutch nationality. Deeply touching cases have come under the missionary's notice. Here is one:--
An English brig, the Acacia, of Portmedway, N.S., entered the harbour, all on board sick with malarial fever. The Captain, with his wife, little daughter, and the baby were all very sick. The poor baby died two hours alter entering. As soon as the vessel dropped anchor I went on board, and stayed until they all came ashore in the evening for the hospital. Five of the crew went to the public hospital, and the Captain and his family to a private hospital, the corpse of the baby being removed to the cemetery. The story, as told by the Captain and his wife, is a sadly distressing one. The sickness was on board for forty days before they arrived here; the Captain's wife was confined prematurely of a dead infant; before she was well she had to nurse her husband, who had lost his reason for a while, and to take care of her youngest child, also sick. For two or three days no reckonings were taken, and altogether it is a wonder how they ever arrived here at all! The Captain and his wife are Roman Catholics, but they were very thankful when I arrived on board, and for my subsequent attention to their comfort. At their request I went with the Captain's wife to the burial of the infant.
The scourge of yellow fever was severely felt during 1895. For three months the lazaretto on the island was kept open as a yellow fever hospital for seamen. Of the 121 admitted, one-third of the number died. Nearly all of them were seen by Mr. Holms, who at that time was stationed there. His visits, doubtless, were a comfort, and helpful spiritually to not a few of the poor fellows.
The rent of the. house occupied as the Sailor's Home having been several times raised, it became all but impossible to retain it, and much difficulty was experienced also in getting a proper man to act as steward. Mr. Holms proposed to one of the hotels near to provide sitting-room, bed-rooms, baggage-rooms, and meals for seamen sent to him by the different consuls. This arrangement was carried out.
The following may be taken as a sample of the cases that have to be attended to by a Seamen's missionary. Mr. Holms wrote:--
A full-rigged ship put into the port with a terrible case of accident to put into hospital. From the royal yard (150 feet) a sailor fell at night on the deck, broke his right arm and left leg (the leg in a horrible manner), besides receiving a number of other injuries; all this twenty-six days before reaching here, so that on arriving he was in an indescribable state. On getting him into the hospital, I took the flag off his face, and the first words he said were, "Hallo, Mr. 'Olms!" and I soon recognised the man who on Christmas Day twelve months ago was my boatman when we had such a splendid time on board a large Norwegian barque. I subsequently shipped him in the vessel where the mate was who was converted here about that time, and they went to New York together. I stood by the unfortunate young man during his operation, to encourage him in a language he understood.
Mr. Holms on being transferred from Pernambuco to Santos in January, 1898, received from the local committee of the Sailor's Home and Mission an illuminated address expressing their high appreciation of his devoted services, especially in visiting the yellow fever cases. His removal was a distinct loss to the city in a religious point of view.
At Santos Mr. F. Holms has got together quite a congregation of Brazilians, who use our Prayer Book in Portuguese. When the Bishop of the Falkland Islands visited them he confirmed 23, and now Rev. W. B. Morris goes there once a month for the Holy Communion, taking the service in Portuguese. He has found a congregation of over 100, and 30 communicants. The. work among seamen at this port is hampered in two ways; the number of British ships trading here is diminishing, and captains are very averse to letting their men go on shore. A man can get drunk on the fiery local spirit for one penny, and then he is robbed or injured, and is found in the prison or the hospital.
There are now from eighteen to twenty organizations which have followed in the wake of the South American Missionary Society. None of them are numerically strong, but all of them are helping to dispel the darkness and to diffuse the light. It would be beyond the scope of the present work to give a detailed account of these. It may, however, not be amiss to refer briefly to a few of them.
One in particular, with its headquarters in Edinburgh, deserves special mention, because of the providential circumstances under which it was commenced. Our readers are perhaps aware of the bitter persecution that prevailed in Madeira, well-nigh sixty years ago, consequent on the remarkable spread of Protestant truth, of the imprisonment and providential escape from the island of Dr. Robert Kalley, the chief promoter of the work, of his visits to the Portuguese refugees in Illinois and elsewhere, and of his settlement thereafter at Rio de Janeiro, where, along with Mrs. Kalley, for twenty-one years he laboured, in season and out of season, to bring the votaries of Rome to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. God put His seal on the work. A Church was formed both in Rio and in Pernambuco; and at length, in 1892, the somewhat desultory efforts of many years took definite shape, by the formation of an Association entitled "Help for Brazil." From first to last some twenty labourers have gone out to the field, of whom fourteen or thereabouts are at the present time doing work for the Master. Under the efficient and devoted superintendence of Pastor James Fanstone, and with the valued aid of Mrs. Kalley, the cause of Christ is steadily spreading to a number of inland places.
It is an interesting fact, too, and not without significance, that in 1894 two pioneer bands of Waldenses emigrated from their valleys to South America, 200 families settling in Uruguay and 100 in the Argentine Republic, while 200 more families found their way to Tennessee. Since then these numbers have been increased by several hundred additional families. They are an agricultural people, and support themselves by the cultivation of the soil, of which they now own 10,000 acres of forest and cleared land, their chief attention being given to the growing of cereals, grapes, and other fruits, the manufacture of woollen and jean clothing, etc., affording also industrial outlets. A little town, in the neighbourhood of which the bulk of the families have settled, is growing up, and has been named Valdese, streets and squares being laid out, according to a regular plan. It need hardly be added that it contains, among other buildings, a handsome church, for which there is a regular pastorate. The hope may be indulged that this new element quietly introduced from the Vaudois valleys into the very midst of a people enthralled by, and for generations steeped in, Romish superstition, will act as the leaven, and that the fruits of the leavening process will in due time be seen in the votaries of the papal Church embracing, instead of the teachings of Rome, the truth as it is in Jesus.
Educational and evangelistic work has for many years been carried on in Chili by the Foreign Missions Board of the Presbyterian Church (North) of the U.S.A., more particularly at Valparaiso, the chief seaport, at Santiago, the capital, at Copiapo, about 100 miles to the north of Valparaiso, and at Concepcion, 300 miles to the south. Dr. J. M. Allis, who is in principal charge at Santiago, besides preaching, etc., conducts a theological class numbering thirty-three students; while Dr. W. E. Browning has charge of the Instituto Ingles, there having been no fewer than ninety matriculations in 1898--99, more than the half of whom were Roman Catholics.
Nor must we omit to allude, however briefly, to the successful missionary operations conducted in Brazil by the Foreign Missions Board of the Presbyterian Church (North) of the U.S.A., of which the veteran Rev. G. W. Chamberlain is the worthy principal representative. He has been for several years latterly located at Feira de Santa Anna in Central Brazil. The other stations in the same region are at Bahia, Larangeiras, Aracaju, and Cachoeira. In Southern Brazil, the following towns are occupied, viz.: Rio de Janeiro, Novo Friburgo, Castro, Sao Paulo, Curityba, the capital of the state of Parana, and Guarapuava. Sao Paulo has, along with allied schools, a Protestant College, numbering fifty-six students, of whom twenty are Protestants, the others being more or less under the influence of Scriptural truth. All give proof of gratifying progress.
In the Colombian field the same Presbyterian Board has been at work since 1856. The stations occupied are Bogota, the capital, Bar-ranquilla, near the mouth of the Magdalena River, and Mcdellin, situated between the Magdalena and Cauca Rivers.
Alike in the Brazilian and Colombian fields mention is made by the Presbyterian Board, of opposition and persecution on the part of the priests of the Romish Church, But it is the same everywhere. They are valiant for the Church, though not for the truth, and are. utterly unscrupulous as regards the means of advancing its interests. One lately enquired at the house of a devoted member of his flock, whose mother-in-law was dying, to whom extreme unction was being administered, if he had any bad books in the house--Protestant books being indicated. In reply, he said he had a New Testament. "Burn it," rejoined the priest. Having declined to do so, the man was cast out of the Church. He and his wife are now steady in their attendance at the Presbyterian services.
In 1897, the Board planted a mission in Caracas, the capital of Venezuela. It is still the day of small things there, but progress is being made in connection with house to house visitation, and with the school for boys and girls.
The Mission Board of the Presbyterian Church (South) is also taking part in the evangelization of Brazil. Work was begun in 1873 at Recife in the north, and is efficiently represented by the Rev. G. w. Butler, M.D. It was extended to Portaleza in 1882, to Marenham in 1885, to Natal and Parahyba in 1895, and to Caxias in 1896. In South Brazil, the Standard of the Cross was planted in 1869 at Campinas, where for the last eight years the Rev. F. A. Rodrigues, a native minister, has laboured with much diligence and no small amount of success: at Lavras in 1892, at Sao Paulo, Araguary, and at Sao Joas del Rei in 1895. A theological seminary with fourteen students, under the direction of the Rev. Dr. J. R. Smith, exists at Sao Paulo.
In a recent number of the magazine published by the Board, mention is made of the prevalence of the plague in Brazil; but the writer states that the greatest plague from which the country is suffering is not the bubonic plague, but the plague of Jesuitism. The Jesuits have, it is alleged, received latch" more concessions than during the previous nine years of the Republic's history. This is shown in various particulars. One only need be quoted from the magazine for February, 1900.
Upon the return of the Brazilian bishops from the Latin-American Council in Rome, they published an encyclical from Leo XIII., granting permission for the priests to take active part in politics, and ordering the bishops to give greater attention to the education of the priests, especially in regard to political affairs, which indicated a plan to secure control of the government. As one of the results of this interference of the priests, all of the Protestants have been disfranchised in the election for federal senators and representatives, by the law recently passed ordering this election to take place on the last Sunday of the year, for no one who fears the Lord can engage in such a business on His day.
The writer adds:--
When this Jesuit plague has established itself firmly in the land, and when there shall be a general harvest of its legitimate fruits of the pernicious teachings of Rome, what will happen to poor Brazil and the few thousand faithful here? God only knows.
In the principal towns in Brazil, as also in adjacent provinces, Missionaries from the American Presbyterian and American Methodist Episcopal Churches are engaged in the work of evangelization, preaching, and teaching, and disseminating the Word of God. The limits of our space forbid more particular reference to these.
The South American Missionary Society cannot but hail with the liveliest satisfaction the aid given by the aforementioned and other similar organizations in furthering the work of evangelization throughout the long neglected Continent. There is, alas! room for very much more of it. These Mission Boards will doubtless on their part freely concede to the Society the unique position of being the only one regarding whose operations a narrative could be written with the title "From Cape Horn to Panama."
The following testimony from the Bishop of the Falkland Islands is reprinted from the South American News (Victoria Gospel Press, Buenos Ayres), 1903:--
As the South American News is chiefly intended for circulation at home, I am glad to take the opportunity of telling what otherwise would not be likely to be known of the excellent educational work being done by the American Methodist Episcopal Church in Chili. It must be understood, however, that I hold no sort of commission to speak for the Methodists, and have not been asked even to mention their schools, and that what I say is said entirely on my own responsibility. Hence this communication is quite unauthoritative and may be lacking in. many important particulars, but it will have the advantage of being an independent witness from one outside the Methodist Church.
The American Presbyterians in Brazil and the American Methodists in Chili and Argentina do an immense amount of work, and not the least important part of that work is done through their schools, or perhaps I should say colleges. I have had the pleasure of visiting several of these institutions, and was greatly pleased with them, notably with that at Santiago, Chili. Often the American Methodist school is the only English school in the place, and hence it is attended by the children of English Church people, as well as by other foreigners. No other body seems to seriously undertake the work.
I was at once struck by the large character of their undertakings. Just as American manufacturers spare no pains to secure the latest plant and machinery at whatever cost, so it seems that the promoters of these schools and colleges are willing to embark a considerable amount of capital in first-rate buildings, well situated in a suitable neighbourhood, and excellent modern educational apparatus. There is nothing tentative or makeshift or inferior in the general educational outfit. So far as f know, the only unusual economy effected is in the salaries of the teachers, and this is due to the creditable reason that the teachers are missionary-hearted people who are content for the sake of the cause to work for less than their real value.
Now, what is the principle of these schools? ft is educational rather than evangelistic. It does not so much aim at making definite converts by the continual forcible presentment of the facts of the Gospel as the making of a gradual impression on the community by influencing all who pass through their hands. No doubt to work thus involves, especially in Methodists, much self-restraint and limitations, for none are keener evangelists. Again and again in my travels I have asked what Christian work is being done, i.e., outside the Roman Church, and in nearly all cases I have found that it is the Methodists who do it. They have mission rooms everywhere, and fill them too, to their honour be it said, with the poorest and lowest. This I have frequently heard on the testimony of those who have taken no interest in the work among Spanish-speaking people. Hence if the teachers of the schools are not evangelists it is not. because they are lacking in the evangelistic spirit. But indeed they work under great difficulties.
The professed object of the school is to give a good English education, and it is to obtain this that parents send their sons or daughters. If definite attempts were made to convert their children, they simply would not send them. Hence the teachers rely rather on the general results of an education based upon Christianity and the example of Christian living, especially upon the boarders, and they make a point of maintaining the friendliest relations with all their old scholars.
Now they judge, and, as I think, judge rightly, that this work will not be wasted. In so far as their girls represent the mothers of the future, these mothers will be of a more enlightened and liberal type than at present, and, even though it be unconsciously, they will be a leavening influence in that upper-class society which it is so difficult to reach.
For my part, I consider that the educational missionary, especially in the difficult circumstances of a Spanish-American republic, deserves all possible support and sympathy. There are no exciting reports to make. They have no adventurous travels, no escapes from perils by land or sea, no strange tales of the ways of savage folk or nature's great handiwork in the scarcely trodden paths of the world. Hardest of all, there is little visible result of their toil, perhaps only faint and far-off indications of the working of God's Spirit, no startling miracles of grace, none of those triumphant instances of the power of the everlasting Gospel, in the strength of which men may go for many a long day and night without noticing the fatigue and toil. The educational missionary is simply a wholesome influence in a corrupt, unbelieving, or misbelieving society, a little mite of God's leaven working secretly in the world.
Let me ask for a larger share of the prayers of the missionary-hearted people at home for educational missionaries, and not least for the American Methodists, that they may receive the encouragement which they need, and such signs of the Divine blessing as will enable them to persevere in work that must often seem thankless and discouraging.
One point more. May the knowledge of what the Americans are doing arouse our English folk to attempt far more, and especially the English Church. In spiritual things at least, I am no believer in the Monroe doctrine. Where the British outnumber the Americans by, I should think, ten to one, why should the blue ribbon of missionary effort be carried off by the Americans? We ought to be ashamed of doing so little. May their example nerve us to fresh effort in the cause of Christ, our common Master!