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This is a group of the Koi or Koya people, who live in villages on either side of the river Godavery, in India. Those in the foreground are women, those in the rear are men: they are “sitting" for their portrait, and having seen and known only such Europeans as have shown their kindness, they do not appear to be afraid either of the artist or of his
The women are not pretty, nor are the men handsome, and yet we must claim for the group this at least, and try to establish the claim, that they are an interesting people. They are interesting because of their antiquity. They are not Hindus, they are not Mussulmans; they are older inhabitants of India than either. They have traditions, not very clear indeed, but doubtless with some truth mixed up
with errors, which connect them with some of the noblest and most ancient of early Indian warriors.
These very people, whose likenesses are here engraved, speak of each other, and are spoken of, as my lord, my lady, as the case may be. I have seen Hindus, on coming into the district where the Koi people live, greatly amused at the high-sounding titles of this very ancient but ragged aristocracy. They are interesting because of the simplicity of their
life. Their wants are few, and nature freely supplies them. Their little villages are mere clearings in the jungle, just as large as the necessities of the community dictate. The village is in the centre : around it are the fields, as we should say, a few acres of Indian corn ; and, where the land is suitable, a little patch of cotton is about all. Here, then, is a supply for the necessities of life. The cotton is exchanged for cloths, and so the Koi finds himself fed and clothed, as far as his notions of clothes go.
The cattle give milk, and the Ippa-tree provides flowers from which an intoxicating drink is made. A few plants of tobacco, requiring no attention, or very little, complete the catalogue of the luxuries of Koi life.
In the cold weather, when melons and other gourds have covered the thatched roof with their shady and beautiful leaves, a Koi village is exceedingly pretty ; but it is a dangerous time, for the Indian corn is nine feet high, and tigers and panthers come up to the very doors.
Alony both banks of the Godavery, above the point where it is crossed by the eastern ghauts, these villages abound. We will give one more reason for considering them an interesting people. Though they are very superstitious, yet their superstitions have not assumed the shape of a false system : they have no false temples and no false sacred books
Around the village of Dumagudiem, where the Church Missionary Society has had a station for a few years, several little schools have been established, where the Kois were willing to have them. The Rev. C. Tanner, who knows these schools well, and is familiar with the more advanced schools in the Masulipatam district, says that the Koi boys can read a chapter in the Telugu New Testament with as much readiness as the Hindu boys at Bunder. The only limit to the progress of schools amongst them is the want of suitable native teachers to do the work.
From time to time, different Missionaries have made tours in the district, and some of the English officers have worked hard for these people, but it has always been a trying field. Some subtle, unhealthy influence, working in the bright atmosphere, which seems to disarm suspicion, steals away the health, and drives the labourer from the vineyard. He cannot
WHAT THE NATIVE CHRISTIANS IN CHINA ARE DOING.
leave them without much regret, and need not leave them without this comfort, that the Lord God, which gathereth the outcasts of Israel, saith, “ Yet will I gather others unto Him besides those that are gathered to Him."
WHAT THE NATIVE CHRISTIANS IN CHINA ARE DOING. We have often said, and cannot too often repeat the saying, that Missionary work is to be judged of, not by the number of the converts, but by their reality. One real convert is worth more than a host of nominal ones, and for this reason, that, being in earnest, he reproduces his Christianity, whereas nominal converts are useless for this purpose ; nay, more, by their heartlessness they prejudice the heathen against Christianity.
We remember when no wheat was grown in New Zealand, and the natives fed on potatoes and pigs, diversified by a horrid feast on human flesh. In those early days, one of our Missionaries brought some wheat grain into the East Cape district. It was a very small supply, so small as to fit into a stocking. This he carefully sowed, and it brought forth seed tenfold. The produce he divided among natives whom he could trust, on the condition that they were to keep the entire of the yield for seed, and sow it. Before the late wars these districts were covered with rich fields of corn.
The converts which the Missionary gathers round him may be few in number; but if they be genuine, they have in them a reproductive power, Only let him use them for seed; that is, let him employ them, as far as he can, to teach Christianity to their countrymen, and, after a time, the little one shall become a thousand, and the small one a strong nation.
Now we have our converts in China. They are only a handful, especially when compared with the immense population of that country; but we find that they can be used as seed, and that the generality of them are real Christians, who, having tasted that the Lord is gracious, desire to bring others acquainted with that graciousness. Having found sweet honey, they do not mean to keep the secret to themselves : they wish their relatives, friends and neighbours to share it with them. As they have the wish, so God has given them the ability to be useful, and they prove to be very efficient evangelists.
Our Missionaries have therefore sown these men throughout the towns and villages in China. This is the plan our two Missionaries in Fuh-chau province have pursued. They had a little group of converts in the city of Fuh-chau. They did not keep them there, like plants in a greenhouse. There were large cities around them at various distances, 50, 100, 150 miles and more, and all in utter darkness. They planted these men out, and, by the blessing of God, they are doing their work well. They are wise, earnest and persevering. They love the work because they love their Saviour, whose work it is: they are reproducing Christianity in these places, and raising up new congregations.
One of these towns is called Ming-ang-teng. The catechist here, whose name is Timothy, is said to be everything we could wish for; faithful, earnest, prayerful, zealous and original in his way of working. Recently Mr. Wolfe baptized an interesting group of people, the fruits of
WHAT THE NATIVE CHRISTIANS IN CHINA ARE DOING.
his labours-two men, two women and two children. A great many heathen were present to witness what was going on, and the greatest order and decorum was observed.
Are we interested in this work as we should be? The pastor of the flock takes
up the infant in his arms and presents it to the Lord. Do we take
this infant Mission in the arms of faith, and present a prayer to the Lord that it may grow up to maturity, and that, when it grows up, it may not be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified, but manfully to fight under His banner against sin, the world and the devil ? We are glad to hear of conversions from amongst the heathen, but do we follow up this work with our prayers ? The Lord has commenced the work of conversion in China, and given our Missionaries some first-fruits, as a token and encouragement. Could He not make the few, many? Who can tell how much, by withholding our prayers, we retard the progress of the work ?
Some of these cases were full of interest. One of the women had been recommended by the catechist in the words of Paul—“ She hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.” She took for her Christian name, Phebe. She has gone through the fiery ordeal of persecution, and has suffered much for the Lord's sake. But now, as Mr. Wolfe says, all these trials are over, the dark clouds are removed, and the storm has become a calm. The prayer of faith has triumphed. - Her son, who, on her conversion, became her bitter persecutor, and who attempted to assassinate the faithful catechist because he was the means of her conversion, has been given to her prayers and to ours, and has been baptized. His baptism took place at Fuh-chau, in the presence of eighty native Christians, among whom was his own mother, and a large number of heathen. This woman devotes her whole time to the cause of the Gospel at her native town, and God is blessing her efforts in no small degree, She is quite a literary character, and this places her at a great advantage among her neighbours. She may be seen with her Bible and her Prayerbook, exhorting and praying with her countrywomen.
Another of those baptized on the above occasion has given his house in a neighbouring village to be occupied as a chapel and preachingplace.
There is another town, Lo-nguong. Here, some time back, took place two interesting cases of conversion, one of a very dissipated young man, and the other of a rigid old idolater, his father, for whom the young man, when brought to his right mind, prayed much.
Since then they have both been zealous for the truth, occasionally addressing their fellow-townsmen on its behalf; and as they have given up, the one his vices, and the other his idolatry, the change undeniably wrought in them gives weight to their words. The Christians at Lo-nguong have been busy in repairing the new Mission premises, which have just been taken, and which were greatly wanted. The expense of repairing and furnishing the chapel and school is entirely met by the old man. When finished it will have cost 120 dollars. He has, in addition, presented a beautifully carved pulpit, and shows himself deeply interested in the building up of the church of Christ in his native place.
Such then are our native Christians in China. May they never lose
GOOD NEWS FROM ABEOKUTA.
their first love, and may they never be beguiled from the simplicity that is in Christ!
The experience of our Missionaries is not peculiar to them. An American Missionary, writing from Amoy, says—“Almost every convert is a Missionary, and the European Missionaries have often to enter upon new fields opened up by native agency." I might give you many instances of this : one must suffice. A Missionary, one Lord’s-day morning, approaching a village where no European had been before, found the people assembled for worship in a place hired by themselves. They were keeping the day holy to the Lord.
GOOD NEWS FROM ABEOKUTA. The intelligence received from the Missions is seldom of one complexion, Coming from so many quarters, where the work is in every possible stage of progress, it is of a checquered aspect. The tidings are like the chariots in Zechariah's prophecy, one being drawn by red horses, another by black, another by white, and another by grisled and bay. Sometimes the tidings tell of war and danger to our Missions ; sometimes they make known to us calamitous events, disappointing and painful, which put us all in mourning ; again the Lord deals with us as He did with Paul
“When we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side: without were fightings, within were fears. Nevertheless, God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus. So, when cast down by painful tidings, the same Lord whom Paul served, and whom we seek to serve by making known His Gospel according to his commandment, comforts us by good
Not unfrequently too, the good news comes from the very Mission, from whence, not long since, painful intelligence had reached us, and thus the white horses follow immediately after the black.
Some time ago we had painful tidings to communicate from Abeokuta -the closing of the churches by order of the Bashorun and chief; the pension of public Christian worship; the riotous proceedings of the roughs of the city; the sacking of the churches and residences of the Missionaries ; and the retirement of the European Missionaries to Lagos, and also several of the native teachers.
Since then we have endeavoured to keep our readers acquainted with events as they have occurred, communicating to them, from time to time, the intelligence received from the native pastor at Oshielle, the Rev. W Moore. He has visited from his out-station the scattered flocks in Abeokuta, and finding himself unobstructed by the authorities, he availed himself of this tacit permission, and held meetings, at which the Christians assembled for prayer and instruction in the word of God. Thus the native Christians have been preserved from too great discouragement, and kept together in the hope of better days.
And now the clouds are breaking, and the sun is beginning to shine forth. The storm we trust is over, and the work of reparation has commenced.
Since the day of the outbreak, Oct. 16th, 1867, it has been generally considered that the Christians had no longer any right to the Missionary.
GOOD NEWS FROM ABEOKUTA.
stations, and that the ground on which the ruined tenements stood was now the property of those who had been the ringleaders of the work on - that occasion.
But the Bashorun has decided otherwise. He, with others of the chiefs, signified their determination to restore Christian worship to the position it had lost, and wished this to be publicly known. They had therefore resolved to hand over the stations to the Christians, in order that they might be put to use at once, and accordingly the Ake elders urged on the Christians the duty of re-occupying the premises without delay.
The Christians did not need much incitement. They came with glad alacrity, like the Jews in Nehemiah's time to remove the rubbish and repair the wall. On June 1st, a large body of converts, both men and women, chiefly of the Ake congregation, assembled in the Ake Missionary compound, and at once set to work, clearing away the obnoxious weeds by which the compound had become densely covered, so much so as to render difficult the realization of a very different order of things some ten months before, when that very spot had been inhabited by some hundred Christian people, old and young. The undertaking proved to be much more arduous than they had expected; but the Ake Christians found help, willing labourers from other congregations flocked to aid them, for the work needed to be done promptly. Nor were these helpers only from the church congregations. The Wesleyans were there, uniting with their church brethren, and cheering them on by sympathy and active help; while the Ake people contributed the money to provide necessary food.
Would that it might be so at home. Thus good is brought out of evil Common afflictions have conduced to union. Is this the way in which we are to be taught at home the value of Christian union, and be led to understand more fully than we have as yet how good and pleasant it is for brethren, in the belief of the great saving truths of the Gospel, to dwell together in unity!
In this undertaking the Christians have been encouraged to persevere by the Bashorun himself. He has told them to go on, and repair without fear the Ake Church; that he would not only protect them, but help them by taking on himself the cost of a portion of the work; and that the doors, which he desired should be made at once, were to be made at his cost.
Thus they seem to be carrying on the work of rebuilding, pretty much after the fashion with the Jews in Nehemiah's time, when each tribe, each family, charged itself with a special portion of the wall, and wrought side by side with its townfolk on either hand.
Not only has the process of restoration commenced, but the native pastors and teachers have returned from Lagos, and resumed their work. To this step they were decided by a resolution of the Parent Committee, to the effect that all the native agents who had fled to Lagos should be encouraged to return to Abeokuta, and, with the other native agents who had remained there, endeavour to keep the native Christians stedfast and unmoveable in their Christian profession.
The Igbein people, who are the most determined opponents of Christianity, endeavoured indeed to prevent their doing so. These people took possession of two villages on the banks of the river Ogun, with the view