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THE CHURCH MISSIONARY GLEANER.
THE STORY OF THE PERSIA MISSION.
BY THE REV. ROBERT BRUCE, D.D.
T is remarkable that, in the second Report of the Church Missionary Society, published June 8th, 1802, when that Society which is now the mightiest and most highly honoured Society for the extension of Christ's Kingdom in the world was herself hardly born, and had not yet given birth to a single Mission, the Persian language is mentioned as one of the very first to be cultivated for the purpose of spreading the knowledge of the Gospel in the heathen world. It was, however, reserved for Henry Martyn to carry the message of Divine grace to Persia in 1811, and to translate the New Testament into the Persian language, which he accomplished in the one year of his residence. But his translation came to London, and remained there; nor was any attempt made to carry it back to Persia until more than half a century had elapsed. The American Mission at Ooroomiah was to the Turkish-speaking people of the extreme north of the country. The C.M.S. Mission at Ispahan is the first Mission which has been established by any Protestant Church in the Persian-speaking parts of Persia.
In the year 1858 I first went out as a missionary of the C.M.S. to the Punjab, and the greater part of the first three and a half years of my mission life was spent at an out-station called Narowal. Though the greater part of the inhabitants of the Punjab are idolaters, I was led from the first to study the Mohammedan religion; and when I received an order from the Committee to leave Narowal and go to the new Mission to be opened in the Derajat, on the Afghan frontier, which was entirely to Mohammedans, I saw that it had been of God that I had made choice of Islam for my sphere of labour.
I laboured for six years among the Afghans, and Pushtu was the language through which I held intercourse with them. But in the last year of my stay in the Derajat I began to think that the Persian language would be a better means of aiming at the extension of Christ's Kingdom in Central Asia than Pushtu, and with this object I began to study Persian. Eighteen months afterwards I found myself in Persia.
In the spring of 1868 my wife and myself were both obliged by illness to visit England for awhile. And when having, by God's mercy, regained my health, I was planning a return alone to India in the spring of 1869, I met a friend who had travelled in Persia. What he told me created a desire in me to go through that country. When I mentioned this to Mr. Venn, his eyes filled with tears, and he said with emotion, "I am so thankful for this opening; it is one of those things we looked for in vain in times past, but which God is giving us now." What to me was but a journey was to him an opening made by Him "who openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth"; and such, we trust, it has proved.
In March, 1869, I left London for Persia, en route, as I thought, for India, and with the permission of the Committee to spend one year in that land. During my first year there, I felt deeply the spiritual famine of the land, and I asked and received permission to prolong my stay for another year. My wife joined me in 1870, and we took up our abode in Julfa, the Armenian suburb of Ispahan, the ancient capital. When only a few months remained of my second year's sojourn, I received a letter from Mr. Venn, saying that if I could make a good revision of Henry Martyn's translation of the New Testament the Committee would consent to my staying in Persia for that purpose; if not I must go on to India in May, 1871, when the second year would have expired. The postal arrangements were at that time so bad
that it generally took from five to six months to get an answer to a letter from Europe; and as I could not be a judge as to whether I could make a good revision of the Persian Testament or not, we earnestly prayed that God would make His way plain. The month of April arrived, when the decision must be made; and lo! in that very month nine Mohammedans, all respectable, intelligent men, asked me to baptize them. I felt sure that this was an answer to our prayers, and a plain guidance from God that we should stay in Julfa.
There had been great distress in Persia, though no famine, during the winter months of 1870-71, and as the summer and autumn of 1871 passed away the near approach of a dreadful famine became more and more manifest. My wife and myself daily prayed that God would send us money to relieve the want of the sufferers, but we made no appeals to any human being except one-to my sister. In September the first answer to our prayers came in a telegram from Colonel (now General) Haig, of Calcutta, offering to collect money for the Persian famine. The result of Colonel Haig's noble effort was that he sent us during the winter months £3,500 for the Ispahan poor, besides other sums which he sent for the poor of Shiraz and Teheran. We soon had about 7,000 poor on our list; and most anxiously did we look and pray for more aid, though we knew not whence it could come; when one day I received a telegram from Pastor Haas of Stuttgardt, Wurtemberg (whose name, as well as Colonel Haig's, I had never heard before), saying, "Draw on me for £1,000." We drew £4,600 from this aged servant of God during the winter months, and I received a letter from him saying, We know Mohammed taught his followers to hate Christians, but Jesus taught us to love our enemies, and we have collected this money in sixpences and shillings, as it were, from the poor Germans, and we hope you will distribute it among Jew, Christian, and Mohammedan without any distinction." We received also £3,500 from the London Committee for Persian Famine Relief, £1,500 from Sir Moses Montefiore for the Jews, and several smaller sums from private friends. We received in all £16,000.
That winter was a season of distress never to be forgotten; we devoted our whole time to the relief of the sufferers. The Mohammedan priests and governors in Ispahan did nothing themselves, and instead of assisting us in our work rather looked upon it with disfavour. In April I received a telegram from the same Pastor Haas of Stuttgardt, saying, "We have £1,700 more for you if you will get up an orphanage." As we had in our relief list a great number of poor children whose parents had died of hunger, we thought this a call from God to begin an orphanage, and accordingly did so. Five months passed before we received a letter (in September) from our German friends, who with Pastor Haas formed the Wurtemberg Persian Famine Relief Committee; and when the letter reached us it was in these words: "Since telegraphing to you about the orphanage we have corresponded with your Society in London, and they inform us that they have not taken up the Persia Mission, and that you are only on a visit to that land; this being the case it will not be possible for you to continue the orphanage; we have therefore given the £1,700 to the Basle Missionary Society, who have undertaken to send out missionaries and to get up an orphanage." I had already been supporting the orphans for five months when I received this, which seemed to me unpleasant news. But God makes all things work for His own glory. The Basle Society sent out two Armenians trained in Basle to Tabreez; they spent nearly two years trying to get up an orphanage, and having failed to do so, in the end £1,300 of the money was handed over to the C.M.S., £400 of it having been spent in the transaction and lost
to the poor orphans for whom
About this time an Armenian gentleman asked me to take charge of a school of Armenian boys, in which English was taught, and which was supported by a bequest of £60 per annum left by a relative of his. I replied that if he would rent the house next to my own for a school-house and open a door through the wall into my courtyard, I should be happy to look in several times daily; but that my stay in Persia was uncertain. I never shall forget the first day I examined the boys; they were being instructed in Romans, Revelation, and Psalms, but had not read Genesis or Matthew, and could not tell me who Abraham was. By God's blessing
the number increased from
From my first arrival in Julfa till this time I had done the utmost in my power to work in harmony with the Armenian archbishop, monks, and priests, and had refused to receive any converts from their Church to the Church of England, telling them that my work in Persia was for the non-Christian population, and trying to get them to work with us; I even allowed two Armenian priests to teach their own doctrines in the school. But when the number of our scholars increased, and I was obliged to complain of the non-receipt of a sum of £60 due to the school, and also of the conduct of one of the priests, who was paid as a teacher of the school, in neglecting his duties, the archbishop and priests of the Armenian Church joined the Roman Catholic priest in stirring up the Mohammedan authorities against us. They drove the Mohammedan boys out of the school, put spies on the door of the Mission-house to report to the Persian authorities the name of every Moslem who visited me, and in other ways stirred up a per
The C.M.S. Committee still hesitated to start a Persia Mission, partly from a doubt whether the door was really opened, and partly on account of the loud calls from other fields. But they allowed me to have a Persian schoolmaster from their Bombay Mission, Mr. Carapit Johannes, who has been of the greatest service to us. The boys' school has continued to flourish under his care; it now contains 150 scholars, and has already brought forth fruit in young men, who are being employed as agents and colporteurs of the British and Foreign Bible Society for the dissemination of God's Word among the Mohammedans.
In 1875 my wife and I paid a visit to England, and during the five months which I spent there the Committee felt that they were led by God to enrol Persia on the list of their Missions. This accounts for the date of her birth being given in the Report as 1875. In the winter of 1878-9 we had the great privilege of a visit from Mr. Watt, the able and devoted agent of the British and Foreign Bible Society for Southern
Russia; and the re
sult of his visit was that I undertook the agency of the Bible Society in Persia.
We have yet one more link in the chain of God's gracious providences towards our Mission to relate, with feelings of deep gratitude to the Hearer and Answerer of prayer, to Him "that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth." (Rev. iii. 7.) In 1877 I felt the absolute necessity of seeking for another missionary for the Persia Mission. During the first three years of our Mission life in Persia we had
add commodious boys' and girls' school buildings, an orphanage and industrial school to the Mission-house, and also to build a fine Mission-hall or chapel, in which we hold Divine service in the Persian language. We have a congregation of about 150 members, of whom 56 are now communicants, a boys' school with 150 and a girl's school with 50 scholars, and we have about 20 boys in the orphanage. We felt that the time was come when we ought to seek to make our Church a light to the Moslems also, and that nothing would be so likely to do that as
worked solely for Moslems, and as related above we had numbers of Mohammedans coming every week to the Mission-house for prayer and reading the Word of God, and we had thirty Moslem boys in our school. The opposition and persecution set on foot by the Armenian and Roman Catholic priests for a time changed the aspect of our Mission work, and we had felt ourselves compelled to confine our labours chiefly to the members of Eastern Christian Churches. Through the liberality of kind Christian friends in England and Ireland we had been enabled to
the establishment of a Medical Mission. We knew that the ComImittee of the C.M.S. had neither funds nor men sufficient to work the fields already occupied by their missionaries; So after having made it a subject of earnest prayer, we wrote to an unknown friend, Mr. Edmond of Edinburgh, who had shown by a letter a great interest in the Persia Mission, asking him to look out for a medical missionary
for Persia. In a very short time Mr. E. not only found the man, but also most kindly undertook to raise £100 per annum for three years towards
his salary. Two other friends of the Persia Mission also undertook to give £150 per annum towards the local expenses of the medical mission; and on the 1st of January, 1880, the Rev. Dr. E. Hoernle, sent out by the C.M.S., arrived in Ispahan. Being the son of one of the oldest missionaries of the C.M.S. in India he had known Hindustani from his youth, and had studied the Persian language a little in India, so he was able to commence active work almost
from the time of his arrival amongst us in Julfa.
I cannot sufficiently thank God for the special qualifications with which He has gifted His servant Dr. Hoernle for the great work he is now carrying on during our absence. He has indeed more on his hands than any one man can do. Rightly valuing the great importance of educational work, he has thrown himself into the work of the school, for which he is eminently fitted, and teaches two hours daily in the boys' school. He has opened a dispensary for the poor, aud built a hospital on the Mission
premises. He preaches in Persian every Sunday, and generally in English also; acts as pastor to the congregation, and superintends the work of the Bible colporteurs; besides carrying on his studies in the language. When we reflect that he is just now the only missionary in the southern half of Persia, we surely cannot but feel how serious it is to leave one man with such a I urden of work upon his shoulders.
I appeal to all who revere the memory of Henry Martyn to come to the help of the C.M.S., and enable them to establish a strong Mission in the land for which he gave his life-to give it life eternal. If Henry Martyn could be consulted, surely no other memorial would please him half so well. And I appeal still more confidently to all who love the Lord Jesus Christ to help Him to "set His throne in Elam."
THE STORY OF THE LIFE OF DR. KRAPF,
V.-WORK AT MOMBASA AND RABBAI.
N the 19th of August, 1844, I made an excursion to the village Rabbai Ku, Great Rabbai, or old Rabbai, partly to see whether the locality was suited for a missionary station. When we landed at four in the afternoon I was received by a crowd of heathen Wanika, who lifted me out of the boat and bore me on their shoulders to the land with singing, dancing, brandishing of arrows, and every other possible mode of rejoicing. The Wanika made a favourable impression on me; for they were both quick and well-behaved, but wore extremely little in the way of clothes, even the women not being sufficiently clad; yet on leaving Rabbai I was not quite convinced of its suitability for a missionary station.
On the 3rd of September I visited the village of Ribe. The chiefs and their retinue welcomed me, and conducted us through three entrances in the palisades into the village, amid cries of rejoicing, dancing, and brandishing of swords and bows. Whenever any one only stood and looked on, he was driven by the chiefs into the crowd, to dance and shriek with his neighbours. When I said I was not a soldier, nor a merchant who had come there to trade, but a Christian teacher who wished to instruct the Wanika and the Galla in the true knowledge of God, they looked at me with something of a stupefied expression, and coull not rightly understand, but assured me of their friendly disposition.
I arrived again at Mombaz, being on the whole well pleased with my journey. I was grieved, however, in witnessing the drunkenness and sensuality, the dulness and indifference, which I had observed among the Wanika. The chief of Kambe said openly, "There is no God, since he is not to be seen. The Wanika need trouble themselves about nothing except tembo (cocoa-wine), corn, rice, Indian corn (mahindi), and clothes; these are their heaven. The Watsumba" (Mohammedans), he added, were fools to pray and fast so much." Meanwhile, with the view of settling down among the Wanika I remained in Mombaz, prosecuting with great zeal the study of the Suahili language, into which by degrees I translated the whole of the New Testament, and composed a short grammar and a dictionary, continuing likewise my geographical and ethnographical studies in the certain conviction that the time would come when Eastern Africa, too, would be drawn into European intercourse, and these introductory studies would be made available, even if for the present no great missionary result were to be attained.
On the 25th of March, 1845, I made an excursion to Rabbai Mpia (New or Little Rabbai) a village consisting of some twenty to twentyfive huts. Eastward there was a magnificent view of the sea, of Mombaz, and the level country; and to the north and west stretched far away the plains of the Wanika and the Wakamba. I felt at once the impression that this would be just the place for a missionary station.
The elders were very friendly. I explained to them that the object of my visit was to teach them the words of the book (the Bible) which I held in my hand. One of the elders asked whether I was an enchanter, who could tell him out of the book how long he was to live; or whether I could heal the sick chief by a prayer from it. I answered that this
book could make them live in everlasting joy, if they accepted and believed what was read to them; that they would be cured of the worst of maladies, sin, if they believed in the Son of God. I then narrated to them some of the chief facts in, the life of Christ, and pointed out in conclusion that God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. One of the elders said that it was really true that God loved men, for He gave the Wanika rain, tembo, and clothes. I rejoined that these were certainly great proofs of Divine love, but that, after all, they were only earthly gifts, and would not avail them, if God had not taken care for their souls, and had not sent his Son to free them from sin aud Satan. Another elder, who seemed to understand me better, repeated my whole address, and that with tolerable accuracy.
From Rabbai Mpia I went in a south-westerly direction towards the Wakamba land. On my way back I had the pleasure of seeing for the first time the mountain Kadiaro, which is distant about thirty-six leagues from Rabbai Mpia, and rises some 4,000 feet above the level of the sea. The sight of this mountain gave me great delight, and in imagination I already saw a missionary-station established in that cool climate for the spiritual subjection of the countries of the interior.
The ensuing twelvemonth was a period of varied experience and suffering. After the rainy season, in March, 1815, I left Mombaz on a trip to Takaungu, exploring the coast and its immediate interior. At the beginning of October I had a violent attack of fever, brought on by exposure to the sun. On December 1st, being a little recovered, and having formerly felt the good effects of the sea air, I took a trip to Zanzibar, where I received much kindness from the English consul, Major Hamerton. Three months later I took another sea trip, and explored among other places the ruined and deserted town of Malindi, which might again be a populous and flourishing port, serving as an important missionary centre.
At last, on the 10th of June, 1816, my dear and long-expected fellowlabourer, Rebmann, arrived. After a few days he was attacked by fever, but soon recovered sufficiently to accompany me to Rabbai Mpia, to receive the assent of the elders to the establishment of a missionary-station there. I introduced my beloved fellow-labourer to the chiefs, and asked for the same friendly reception for him which had been given to myself, which was promised with pleasure. I explained the object of the Mission, remarking that I had now visited the whole of the Wanika-land, and was convinced that we should be welcomed in every village. To this they assented. But, I continued, Rabbai Mpia seemed to me the place best suited for our object; and that as here I had met with more kindness than anywhere else I asked them whether they would consent to our establishing ourselves among them. Immediately and without any stipulation, even without asking after African fashion for a present, they responded, "Yes!" and truly with one heart and mouth. They gave us the strongest assurances of friendship; the whole country should be open to us; we might journey whithersoever we pleased; they would defend us to the uttermost; we should be the kings of the land, &c. When we then spoke of dwelling-places, they replied: "The birds have nests, and the Wasungu (Europeans) too must have houses." I mentioned to them two huts, which at that very time were uninhabited, and asked them to repair and improve them, until we were ready to remove from Mombaz to Rabbai, and this was assented to most willingly.
Scarcely had we returned to Mombaz, when we were both attacked by fever, and a whole month elapsed before Rebmann was convalescent. August 25th was fixed on as the day of our entry into Rabbai. On the morning of that day I had a severe attack of fever, but it did not keep me from journeying thither. Whether the result be life or death, I said to myself, the Mission must be begun; and with this resolve, and an inward prayer for succour, I tottered along by the side of Rebmaun, who was likewise very weak and could scarcely walk. We therefore determined to ride by turns on our single ass, but after some time I was quite unable to go on foot, and obliged to monopolise the beast. With much pain I ascended the steep hill, which even without a rider the ass could scarcely have mounted, and Rebmann also could only clamber up by the most painful exertion. Scarcely ever was a mission begun in such weakness; but so it was to be, that we might neither boast of our own strength, nor our successors forget that in working out His purposes, God sanctifies even our human infirmities to the fulfilment of his ends.
It was surprising how my physical strength increased the higher I ascended. The cool air was a genuine stimulant. Arrived at the summit, I felt myself, nevertheless, quite exhausted, and was obliged at once to lie down on a cow-hide in the house of the chief Jindoa, where I slept for several hours. The sleep was so refreshing, that I awoke with the consciousness and strength of convalescence.
The chiefs then came in a body to greet us and to fix the day for the commencement of the building. They wished themselves to build, and we were to give in return a present of fixed amount. On the 16th of September the new house was roofed in, and thus the work of the Wanika ended. We were now obliged to do the rest of it mostly with our own hands. If any one had seen us then and there in dirty and tattered clothes, bleeding from wounds caused by the thorns and stones, flinging mud on the walls in the native fashion, and plastering it with the palm of our hands, he would scarcely have looked upon us as clergymen. But a missionary must not let trifles put him out; he must learn to be high and to be lowly for the sake of his Master's work; and with all this toil our hearts were made glad, even more so than in quiet times, before and afterwards. During every interval of rest, I persevered with the translation which I had begun, though often during the renewed attacks of fever, the thought would arise that even before the commencement of my proper missionary labours, I might be summoned into eternity. I prayed fervently for the preservation of my life in Africa, at least until one soul should be saved; for I was certain that if once a single stone of the spiritual temple were laid in any country, the Lord would bless the work, and continue the structure, by the conversion of those who were now sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death.
On the first Sunday after the erection of the hut for public worship, some twelve to fifteen Wanika assembled in it, and I explained to them the purpose for which it had been built, and invited them to come again every Sunday, and listen to God's Holy Word. When I had finished my address a Mnika asked what we would give the Wanika to eat, if they were to come here every Siku ku (great day, Sunday). If the Wanika received rice and a cow, they would always come; but if not, they would stay away; for no Mnika went to a maneno (palaver) without eating and drinking. This was rather a humbling experience for the day of our little church's consecration; but we consoled ourselves with the thought that the Jews preferred to look upon our Divine Master rather as upon an earthly king, than as upon the King eternal, the only wise God. I therefore found it necessary to make house-to-house visits to prepare the Wanika for public worship, and to announce to them the day on which Christians keep their Sabbath. Every Sunday morning, I gave a signal by firing off a gun once or twice, and afterwards by ringing a small bell which had been sent us from London to Rabbai Mpia. Besides this, we tried to familiarise the people with the Christian Sunday by buying nothing on that day; by not allowing our servants to do any work on it; and by wearing holiday clothes on it, to enhance the significance of the day. In this way the Wanika attained by degrees a notion of Sunday, and an insight into the fact that Christians do not pass their holy day in eating and drinking like Mohammedans and heathens, but with prayer and meditation on the Word of God in peaceful quiet and simplicity.
After the work of building was over I began to visit the neighbouring hamlets and plantations of the Wanika, to speak to them about the salvation of their souls, and to open up to them the kingdom of Heaven. In the course of time it became ever more evident to us, impressing itself upon us with all the force of a positive command, that it was our duty not to limit our missionary labours to the coast tribes of the Suahili and Wauika, but to keep in mind as well the spiritual darkness of the tribes and nations of Inner Africa. This consideration induced us to take important journeys into the interior.
In March we visited Zanzibar, and waited upon the Sultan, who, as usual, was very friendly. He said that the Wanika were bad people, and that we ought, therefore, to reside in Mombaz rather than in the Wanikaland. I remarked that the inhabitants of the South Sea Islands had been still worse than the Wanika, who were not cannibals, like them. European teachers had gone to these cannibals, had taught them out of the Word of God, and they were now quite different men. The Sultan rejoined: "If that be so, it is all right; you may stay among the Wanika as long as you choose, and do whatever you please.”
WHAT IS THY REQUEST?"
O scimitar to slay, no sword avenging,
O bride espoused, put on thy fair apparel!
And doth IIe promise half His kingdom to thee?
For those who yet in death and darkness are.
Let every mourner hear the wond'rous tale!
N the afternoon of our return to Calcutta, Keshub Chunder Sen gave his annual address to the Brahmo Somaj in the Town Hall. The huge hall was crammed. I should say 3,500 men and some six ladies almost all Hindus-thoughtful, earnestlooking men. He spoke for an hour and forty minutes--a torrent of eloquence. He has reached Deism, but denies the Godhead of Christ, though, with this grave and grievous lack, which overshadowed all, nothing in parts could be more impassioned than his language of devotion to Christ. He thinks himself the prophet of A NEW DISPENSATION, as he calls it, which is to affirm the Unity of the Godhead and the unity of all earnest creeds-Hindu, Moslem, and Christian-who worship God. Of course it is a great advance on the multiform idolatry of this land. BOMBAY, Jan. 28, 1881.
We have had five days of unbroken mercy since I wrote the above. On Sunday evening Mr. Deedes preached a most beautiful sermon in the Cathedral at Calcutta. On Monday morning, at 6 A.M., I started with Mr. Parker to see the C.M.S. Orphanage at Agarpara, where our Christ Church orphan is being reared. It is some ten miles from Calcutta. The walk, two miles from the railway station, was lovely, and the situation on the banks of the Hooghly just perfect. Then we returned and saw the C.M.S. Divinity School, under the Rev. W. R. Blackett ;* the Normal Girls' School, a noble institution; and the Leper's Hospital, where dear Mr. Vaughan did so good a work.
At 6 P.M. we left our truly kind Bishop and his sister and niece, and travelled all night and next day to Allahabad, had the kindest welcome from our friends there, were delighted with *See Mr. Blackett's letter in the GLEANER of May.