A NEW CENTURY DAWNS (1899-1900)

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SHOULD MISSIONARY WORK BE KEPT ON IN CHINA?

In September my friend, Miss Holmes of Pittsburg, in a letter on missions, asked me the above question, in view of the dreadful massacres by the Boxers. I replied that the true soldier of Jesus Christ will never give up as long as there are men to be saved. The Christians in Madagascar were burned alive, cast down precipices, and cruelly tortured, but God's Word remained and the missionaries went back and were more successful than ever. In 1860 Syria was desolated with fire and sword. Thousands of Christians were massacred, churches, schools and homes destroyed. Some thought we should come home and leave such a land. They said, "Wind up and come home." We did wind up the machine, and it has kept running for forty-eight years with no sign of needing another winding at present. The Church will have to wind up its mission clock in China afresh. We would not give up or leave the country. We fed and clothed some 20,000 refugees in Beirut who had come from Damascus, Hasbeiya, and Lebanon. And from that time has begun a new interest in Christianity all over Syria. I have no doubt that the same will eventually be the result in China. It may be delayed by the rapacity, land hunger, and jealousies of the European Powers, but some day and in some way, the Lord, who bought that people with such a precious ransom, will see to it that they have the light and comfort of the Gospel. Alas, that the Christian Church should have waited so long before sending the Gospel to China.

Dr. Brown visited China in 1901 and I wrote to him, "If you cannot rectify everything in China during your visit, be content to let the Lord finish up the job."

In September the Moslem roughs in Haifa insulted a body of German women from the colony who were bathing in the sea. The German consul obtained the severe punishment of the offenders. The Turks will not allow outrages upon the subjects of Emperor William, above all, the peaceable colonists in Haifa.

On the 1st of October, Abdullah, the American Press watchman in Beirut, was found brutally murdered and mutilated in his room and the money drawer of the office broken open. The murderer found little money. Suspicion fell on a young Moslem. In entering the press over the wall, he had stepped into a bed of soft mortar and left the exact impression of his bare foot. The Moslem was brought and his foot exactly fitted the mould. The evidence against him was clear, but as he was a Moslem, and had only killed a Christian infidel dog, he was soon released. There is hardly a case on record where a Moslem has been executed for the "highly meritorious" act of killing a Christian. Their sacred book and law allow it, and a Mohammedan government is not adapted to rule over a semi-Christian, semi-Moslem people. The day has passed when a purely sectarian government can rule justly and without constant friction over a mixed population. It is religiously obliged to discriminate in all cases in favour of one sect and against all others.

I translated Rev. S. M. Zwemer's statistical table of the Moslem population of the world, giving it as 196.ooo'ooo. On sending it to the Mudir el Maarif, he prohibited its publication on the ground that the Emperor William in Damascus had declared the number to be 300,000,000. I replied that the emperor only quoted what the Moslem sheikh bad asserted to be the number. But the mudir kept it, and months after it was published in the Independence Belge in an official statement of the Ottoman government as the result of its own researches. I then copied it from the Belgian journal and published it in our Neshrah. The Mudir Jelal ud Din Beg, however, got the credit of it.

A review of the year 1900 shows that the press printed 24,000,000 pages, of which 17,884,000 were Arabic Scriptures. Fifty-eight thousand copies were issued, although, owing to repair, the presses were idle for two months.

During the year, the Russian Schools Committee bought 4,026 copies of the Arabic Bible and Testament for use in their schools and in addition, 7,893 volumes of educational and scientific literature.

The local press censors have continued to remind us that we are under their paternal scrutiny. They refuse now to sanction any map of the Holy Land showing the divisions made by Joshua among the twelve tribes of Israel, as the Sultan Abdul Hamid has not authorized such a division in the past nor will he in the future. In Mr. Moody's book, "To the Work," all the illustrations and lessons drawn from the story of Gideon and his victorious band of three hundred are suppressed, probably from the perilous suggestiveness of the possibility that such an event might occur again.

The Beirut Girls' Boarding-School continued to prosper and the return of Miss Barber from America was cause for special, thanksgiving. The college students numbered 512, showing a steady growth from year to year.