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POETRY.-PS. XCII. 14.
of intercepting the commụnications with Lagos, and preventing the return of the native teachers. But the resolute action of the Bashorun and other chiefs compelled them to vacate this post, and leave the road open.
More recently the Bashorun has received a deputation of the native Christians, in which were some of the agents who had returned from Lagos. He expressed himself gratified at their return, and requested that for the present they should reside at Ake, where he would be able to give them full protection. He also gave them permission to ring the school bell, which had been silent since the outbreak.
Ogudipe, a friendly chief, has also invited them to re-occupy the township of Ikija, to ring the Church bell, and thus publicly summon the people to the worship of the true God.
“Thus," writes Mr. Moore, “ the stations at Ake and Ikija have been restored to us. The bells, which had been silent forty Sundays, have rung out freely, and been heard once more through the town. The heathen thought that Christianity was done for in Abeokuta. Thanks be to God we re-commenced it publicly this day (June 28th), when, to a congregation of 423 persons, I had the privilege of preaching from the passage—All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away ; but the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is that word which by the Gospel is preached unto you.' (1 Pet. i. 24, 25.)
The text was appropriate, for their being permitted, after so severe an ordeal, to assemble once more for Christian worship, was in itself a proof of the enduring power of the word of God. Man, in his unhappy enmity. to that which is so well fitted to restore him to the happiness which he has lost, may try to get rid of it, and crush it out. Often has this been attempted in many other places as well as Abeokuta, yet true Christianity lives on and gathers strength. “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn.”
There has been a meeting of the native teachers : districts have been assigned to them, and the Mission, rising out of the confusion into which it had been thrown, is being shaped into order and systematic working. Ake, Ikija, Owu, have been re-occupied. Igbein alone remains excluded, for as yet the people of that district exhibit no signs of repentance.
These are good tidings, and we thank God for them.
Ps. XCII. 14. The following lines have been written by an old friend of the Church Missionary Society, one who has loved it for its works' sake.
"And said I that
limbs were old ?
And that I could not sing of love ?”
That I might share His throne above ?
( 117 )
JAPAN. The Americans are not, as yet, a homogeneous nation. The population at present is a vast gathering of fragments of races, which have not thoroughly blended. But in time this will be done. In the midst of the mass there is at work a splendid leaven. There are numbers who love the truths of the Gospel, and desire that it should be widely known at home and abroad. So far as home is concerned we feel assured that this most valuable portion of the American community will increase in power, and exercise a healthful influence upon the great Republic.
In a Missionary point of view the American Christians are second to none, their enterprising nature peculiarly fitting them for the work of evangelization in remote, and, we may almost say, inaccessible countries.
In January 1866 a most interesting letter was addressed by Mr. C. R. S. Brown, an American Missionary at Yokohama, in Japan, to a member of the Parent Committee of the Church Missionary Society, in which he calls upon all Christian brethren for their earnest prayers that the partially open door in that country may be set wide open for the introduction of the Gospel.
Among other obstacles to the extension of Christianity which he enumerates in that letter are the penal edicts, which, at the time when he was writing, were still in force against Christians. " There is no evidence,” he writes, “that the old edicts against Christianity have been revoked : no proclamation from the Government as yet assures the people that they would not be treated as criminals worthy of death, should they be suspected of favouring the Christian religion. We call upon our brethren in Christ to pray that this last obstacle may be removed.”
That these edicts are not regarded as obsolete, but may be brought into action at any moment, according to the caprice of a heathen Government, appears from the following paragraph which appeared in the “Homeward Mail" of September 7th
“From Nagasaki we hear that the Governor had caused to be drowned 200 native Christians because of their religion, in spite of the remonstrances of the foreign consuls. There being about 40,000 native Christians in Japan, it is to be hoped that European nations will be able to find some means of yet saving them from extermination.”
Japan has of late been passing through the miseries of civil war. A great revolutionary movement has convulsed the country, the causes of which are explained in the following communication from Bishop Williams of the American Episcopal church, dated January 1868–
“The Daimiyos, or several of the more powerful of them, seem determined to abolish, or greatly modify, the power of the Tycoon, and elevate the Mikado to his legitimate position as emperor de facto, as he is de jure. For more than two hundred years the Mikado has been a nonentity, leading a life of seclusion, kept almost as a prisoner of state, and bound by the strictest rules of etiquette, which prescribed nearly everything he could or could not do. In the meantime the Government has been administered by the Tycoon and Council of State, some more important affairs being refered to the Mikado for approval.
“The Daimiyos were compelled by Gongen Sama, the successor of Taiko, to reside at Yedo six months in the year, and were not permitted to take
their families with them when they visited their provinces. They were kept virtually as hostages--guarantees for their good behaviour-pledges that they would not attempt a revolt in their absence.
“The more powerful Daimiyos have long felt very restive under such treatment of the Tycoon, whom they looked upon as one of their peers, only a Daimiyo like one of themselves; and since the late treaties they have forced the Tycoon to consent to their residing permanently with their families in their own provinces. They have been drawing around the Mikado, evidently with the intention of elevating the Mikado and weakening the powers of the Tycoon.
“All of these changes tend to the furtherance of the Gospel. The unrestricted opening of the country to the spread of Christianity will very probably be effected by the independent action of the princes.
“ The Missionaries are much more open and free in their intercourse in instructing the Japanese than when I left the country. Mr. Ballagh, of the Dutch Reformed Mission, gathers a number every Sunday morning in Dr. Hepburn's dispensary, for prayers and instruction in the Bible. The Sunday morning I spent in Yokohama there were about fifteen present, and they were remarkably quiet and attentive. Most of them had their Bibles open, and followed his explanations very closely.
“ Mr. Verbeck, the only Protestant Missionary in Nagasaki, teaches, several hours a day, a Government school. He feels much encouragement in the great work he is doing, and some facts he mentioned are full of interest; but he would not like to make public the particulars of his work at present, as there has lately been some excitement at Nagasaki on account of the Roman Catholics."
For some considerable time the Missionaries have been engaged in compiling a Japanese-English Dictionary, containing about 40,000 words. This valuable work has just been published at the Mission press in Shanghai, and will be most useful to both Japanese and English, in prosecuting the study of the respective languages. The Missionaries stationed at Yokohama are now engaged in translating the Gospel according to St.
Mathew, and we expect soon to hear of its publication.
The Japanese are an intelligent people. They are most eager, moreover, to acquire an insight into the various arts and sciences which are known to Europeans. Not, indeed, that printing is unknown in Japan. Though unacquainted with moveable types, they have for a long time made use of a kind of stereotype in wood, by means of which they have produced various works of science, moral philosophy, poetry, travels, and even encyclopædias. They have the greatest respect for literary men, and the facility with which the Missionaries have acquired their language will greatly tend to command their respect and attention. This facility is owing, not to the simplicity of the language, but to the perseverance and unwearying exertions of the Missionaries.
The Japanese language is not, as is often supposed, a mere dialect of the Chinese, but is said by philologists to be so dissimilar to all known languages in structure, grammar, and every characteristic, as to prove that the nation who speak it must be a distinct race and colony. The Chinese language is monosyllabic. The Japanese is polysyllabic. It has a sweet mellifluous sound, and has an alphabet of forty-seven letters,
“AND SO HE BRINGETH THEM TO THE HAVEN," &c.
be written in four different sets of characters; in addition to which the Chinese is used as a kind of learned character. Another means of attaining to closer intimacy with the natives, and indirectly promoting the cause of Christianity, is the medical dispensary.
This institution is open daily, except on Sundays, the number of patients averaging about thirty, and as they come from all parts of the country, the opportunities thus afforded for good are incalculable. On entering the dispensary you may see the ten commandments and various passages of Scripture translated into Japanese, and suspended from the walls, showing that the balm of Gilead occupies a prominent place among the healing medicines of the Missionary.
There is also a class of medical students, numbering eight persons, who take the greatest interest in the instruction given to them by Dr. Hepburn. Medicine, indeed, is a science which is much cultivated in Japan, and original works on this subject, are often published in that country.
66 AND SO HE BRINGETH THEM TO THE HAVEN WHERE
THEY WOULD BE.”