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"has it been unproductive of good: a great change is everywhere perceptible, and I hope "lasting benefits have been received. The lower orders, notoriously fond of drumming and "dancing, have abandoned, at least for the present, their foolish old customs.
"Christmas used to be their grand holiday-time for celebrating their obscene and disgusting "fooleries. This season they had something else to think about; every house was filled with "lamentation, and every heart with grief, bewailing the loss of some dear friend.
"Multitudes have been drawn to the house of God. Every Sabbath our chapel is crammed "with large numbers of attentive worshippers. Even the aisles are crowded. Every chair "and stool for which room can be found is brought into requisition. Not a few have to sit "outside. Some of the most notorious and depraved characters in this quarter, whom I have "tried for years in vain to draw to the house of God, are now to be found every Lord's-day "listening to the truths of redemption. After the public engagements of the chapel are over, "I hold an open-air service in some populous district, and the attendance upon these occasions has been truly gratifying. In fact, I have no trouble now in inducing congregations to "assemble. Wherever I send word I am coming to preach, I am sure of finding large numbers "waiting to hear me."
The race of Africans, torn from their native land, and sold into bondage in the colonies of Britain, is fast passing away; and the following narrative of the character and dying hours of one of these deeply injured men, in which the mercy of God appears in strong contrast with the cruelty of man, is instructive and delightful :
"Death has deprived us of four of our number. One of these came many years ago from "Guinea, taken captive by the King of Ashantee, against whom his tribe had been fighting; " and he was led in triumph to the capital of the kingdom, where he was sentenced, with a "number of his unfortunate countrymen, to be beheaded. Through some means, his life was "providentially saved, and soon after he was sold to the slave-dealers, and brought to this " country. Here he continued to live as much a heathen as when in his native land. When "I first came to reside on this mountain, he was a poor, blind, ignorant sinner, living without "God in the world, and addicted to crimes of the most licentious character. But, through "the enlightening influence of the Holy Ghost, the Word was blessed to his polluted soul. "He joined the inquirers' class, surrendered his heart to the claims of Christ, became a new man, and was received into the church in the year 1846. From that time up to the hour "of his death, he continued a faithful follower of the Son of God. It was truly edifying to " visit him during his last illness. Christ appeared to engross the whole of his thoughts and "affections. His conversation was all about the goodness of God in preserving his life, bringing him under the sound of the gospel, and making him a partaker of its blessings. Shortly "before he died, I asked him if he felt the truths of the Bible to be precious. Laying his "hand upon his heart, he exclaimed, 'I have been a very wild and worthless sinner in my “ time, but all my trust is in the blood of my Saviour, Jesus. I must wait with patience till "he think me fit to die, and then I know he will not forsake my poor soul, but receive it up "to heaven.' Of all the sick-beds I have attended in this country, I can truly say I never "met one like his. Pure religion appeared completely to have changed his heart, and filled "it with holy resignation."
In the month of January, the Directors had the happiness to welcome home their friend and brother, the Rev. Joseph John Freeman, on the completion of his visit to this field of Missions, and to render thanks to God, who, throughout his extended voyages and journeys, had been his Guardian amidst the dangers of the deep and the perils of the wilderness, and had now restored him in health and peace to his country, his family, and friends.
It is but the tribute of justice, rather than the offering of friendship, on the part of the Directors, to bear testimony to the Christian kindness, faithfulness, and efficiency, with which Mr. Freeman executed the delicate and arduous duties of his Mission; and they anticipate with confidence the willing and universal concurrence of their constituents, in thus presenting to him the assurance of their fraternal love and heartfelt thankfulness for this renewed proof of his devotedness to the interests of the Society;-feelings which derive additional animation and strength, as they are associated with the remembrance of his labours in Madagascar and the West Indies, and his entire consecration to the cause of Christian Missions for a period exceeding four-and-twenty years.
As our friend will presently give to the assembly his own Report, it may be deemed superfluous for the Directors to do more than state generally that his testimony will be found most honourable to the character, intelligence, and ministerial fidelity of our Missionaries throughout South Africa; conclusive as to the proofs of God's blessing on their past labours; and no less encouraging in relation to their future prospects. The Directors cannot, however, deny themselves the pleasure of adding, even at the risk of anticipating Mr. Freeman's address, that he found Dr. Philip, now in his seventy-fifth year, though feeble in body, yet clear in mind and calm in spirit; and, while waiting for the salvation of God, rejoicing in the extension of his kingdom amongst men.
The venerable James Reed-the Missionary of more than half a century-he found still with a heart unchilled by age, and with the activity and cheerfulness of youth labouring incessantly for the social improvement and eternal happiness of Africa.
Robert Moffat, in addition to the ordinary duties of a Missionary, was toiling night and day, with head and heart and hands, in effecting the most important object that could engage his energies the translation of the entire Scriptures into Sichuana: the language understood, as there are strong grounds for concluding, by hundreds of thousands, and probably millions of the various tribes of Southern Africa.
David Livingston, the intrepid traveller of the desert, was just departing for his second visit to the North; and, though deterred by unforeseen events peculiar to the season from proceeding further than the Lake Ngami, his fearless and benevolent heart still meditates another and an early endeavour to explore the unknown regions that lie beyond it, in the hope of proclaining to the benighted multitudes the word of the Lord, and preparing them to receive teachers and evangelists from the Native Churches. On the completion of his labours in South Africa, Mr. Freeman proceeded, in accordance with his instructions, to Mauritius, principally with the design of visiting the refugees and emigrants from Madagascar now in the Colony, and more especially of attempting a visit to that island, should the bare possibility be afforded and although everything conspired to forbid the attempt, the visit of our friend was not in vain. Here he found a goodly number of his old Malagasy friends, stedfast in the faith and united in the fellowship of Christ; and during his sojourn he made arrangements with Mr. James Le Brun to give six young men of their number a course of education for the Christian ministry, in the confident expectation that God will, at no distant day, open before them a door of entrance to their native land
Mr. Le Brun and his two sons labour assiduously, and with a good measure of success, for the spiritual welfare of the Creole population of Mauritius; but they encounter great obstacles from the power of Popery and the influence of its Missionaries, who are sustained in their labours by grants from the Colonial Treasury to the amount of £2000 per annum.
From Mauritius, Mr. Freeman bent his course homeward; and as the time required for making the voyage to Britain in an ordinary sailing vessel would not be exceeded by proceeding to Ceylon, and thence by the Indian overland route, he determined to adopt that course. By the way, he was induced to linger for a month (and who would not ?) to visit the wondrous spectacles of Egypt and the more wondrous scenes of Palestine-scenes so instruc
tive and impressive to the understanding and the heart. To those who know the honour and integrity of our friend, it will scarcely be necessary to add, that for this tour of hallowed pleasure, as well as for all extra expenses of the overland route, he drew not on the funds of the Society, but upon his own resources; and on the 20th of January he landed on the shores of England, after an absence of two years and two months.
Since the departure of Mr. Freeman from South Africa, one of the direst calamities has occurred that could have befallen the country or affected our Missions-the outbreak of another Kaffir War.
A result so early and so terrific our friend did not anticipate, but his forebodings were strong as to the permanent repose and prosperity of the country, since he found fixed in the minds of many of the chiefs and tribes bordering the Colony, a deep-seated sense of wrong, from the treatment which they had recently suffered from the Colonial authorities: and more than one of these complainants besought Mr. Freeman to seek for them that justice from the Government of Britain which they had sought in vain from its local representatives.
God forbid that the friends of Christian Missions should palliate in the slightest degree the faithless and cruel deeds with which the Kaffir chiefs and people may be justly chargeable! but, in denouncing their crimes, they cannot overlook the provocations they have suffered, nor forget that their present accusers are their alleged oppressors.
It is true that the chiefs and people of Kaffirland are heathens; but they are men,-intelligent and shrewd, brave and patriotic men,-and they must be ruled by reason, which they can well understand, and by justice and kindness, which they can fully appreciate, and not by boastful pretensions and puerile displays of power, which they will not fail to despise,
The Kaffirs are charged with robbery and encroachment; but whose lands have they sought but the lands of their fathers? What soil have they claimed but the soil that gave them birth? Why should the love of home and the love of country be eulogised as the virtues of patriotism in the civilized, and be branded as crimes and rebellion in the savage?
The Kaffirs are charged with perfidy and the violation of treaties; but have not treaties honourably observed by friendly chiefs and faithful allies, been recklessly violated by our countrymen in power? and have not treaties most disastrous to the natives been extorted under threat of death?
What if the same determination had been proclaimed to the world by the chiefs of Kaffirland, to expel and to exterminate the British colonists of South Africa, which has been proclaimed by the Colonial authorities against the Kaffir race?-who would have hesitated to denounce them as revengeful and bloodthirsty? and how could Christianity be more awfully blasphemed, or rendered more hateful to the heathen, than when the blessing of its Author is invoked to sanction these sanguinary counsels, and prosper this purpose of desolation and death?
But, apart from the causes of the present conflict, and whatever may have been the injuries which the aboriginal tribes have suffered, the Directors most deeply lament to learn that at least a part of the Hottentot population of the Kat River settlement have united with the Kaffirs against the British forces. By what influence this defection has been produced, whether by terror and compulsion, or by choice, and to what extent it has prevailed, no information has yet been received. In the war of 1848, several hundreds of the people of this Station, at the call of the Government, left their homes and their families, for many months, to repel the Kaffir invasion and protect the British colonists. On that occasion, they received the public acknowledgments of the Commander-in-chief, for their promptitude, bravery, and good conduct: and it is no less surprising than grievous, and an occasion for careful inquiry, that in less than three years their loyalty should have given place to discontent and opposition.
It has been alleged in the Colonial papers, that at our Stations of Theopolis and Hankey also, the same spirit of disaffection has appeared; but it is evident, from the statements of
Messrs. Smith and Durant Philip, that these are the accusations of men who would be glad to prove them true, but for which they can adduce scarcely a vestige of evidence. It is indeed notorious that, not only at Missionary Institutions and with the coloured population, but with the European colonists generally, instead of the ardour and determined resistance evinced in 1848, there has been an apathy and reluctance to meet the urgent and repeated calls of the Governor for co-operation,-a fact pregnant with suggestions, and which must hereafter be explained.
In the mean time, the Directors congratulate the friends of justice, humanity, and religion, that, on the motion of Her Majesty's Prime Minister, the House of Commons has resolved:"That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the relations between this country "and the Kaffir and other tribes on our South African frontier."
Let this Committee be wisely and impartially selected; let the investigation be full and fair -if necessary, let it issue in the appointment of a Commission in the Colony, where only the truth and the whole truth can be ascertained;-let the commendations and censures which the Committee may pronounce be given without prejudice or partiality; let them fall on the black or the white man, on the feeble or the powerful, as truth and justice may award,—and the friends of the African race, and the supporters of African Missions, will calmly await the judgment, and honourably abide by the decision.
it has been already intimated, continues shut. Not only is the Christian Missionary excluded, but all intercourse with foreigners is strictly prohibited. It is rarely, therefore, that any communication can be held with the interior, even by letter. But the last intelligence, which bears the marks of authenticity, is most deeply affecting. From causes unexplained, but probably from the increase of their numbers, a new persecution against the Christians raged with great violence during last summer. About twelve hundred were summoned to the capital, to answer for the offence of worshipping the only true God and believing on his Son. Three of the most distinguished for rank and devotedness were sentenced to be burned to death; and their lingering tortures must have been awfully aggravated, as, three times, while their bodies were consuming, torrents of rain descended and extinguished the fires. Ten others were precipitated from a rocky eminence near the city, and dashed to pieces. What would have been the doom of the multitude cannot be determined, had not the Prince of Madagascar, at the risk of his personal safety, now interposed, as the protector and patron of the Christians, and boldly withstood the authority of their cruel adversary, the Prime Minister of his Royal mother. Subsequent results are unknown; but while these tragical events must excite our deepest sympathy and fervent prayers for the confessors and martyrs of Madagascar, they supply also reflections that strengthen faith and demand thankfulness. Upwards of fourteen years since, all the faithful shepherds were driven from the island, and the fold of Christ was left like lambs among wolves; but after enduring fourteen years of fiery trials, still they live, and still increase. Between forty and fifty have been doomed, for the sake of the Lord Jesus, to meet death in forms the most agonizing and terrific; but none have drawn back unto perdition, all have been faithful even to the death. The blood of the martyrs has proved the seed of the Church; and for one Christian there are ten, and for tens there are hundreds. The debased and cruel woman who now fills the throne of Madagascar, impelled by her own evil nature, or swayed by the evil influence of others, has tried long, but tried in vain, to extirpate the very name of Christ; but her son, her only child, her heir and successor to the throne, has learned the faith in which the martyrs died, avowed himself their friend and their protector, and declared that the man who shall hereafter strike them must strike through him. "This is the Lord's doing, and it is wondrous in our eyes."
ALL the different branches of Missionary operation have been vigorously prosecuted at the four Stations occupied by our Missionaries; namely, Canton, Amoy, Shanghae, and the Colony of Hong-Kong.
Education is attended with great expense and many difficulties; but the good work has been commenced in these several localities. In the schools at Hong-Kong, under the superintendence of Dr. and Mrs. Legge, there are about 40 boys and 20 girls, all domesticated amidst the habits and enjoyments of a Christian family, and carefully instructed in the several branches both of useful and of Christian knowledge.
The Theological Class, under the especial care of our esteemed brother, includes five young Chinamen of tried Christian character. Their application, diligence, and sincere piety, afford Dr. Legge great satisfaction, and justify the expectation that they will prove hereafter intelligent and devoted ministers of Christ to their degraded countrymen.
The benevolence and skill of our medical Missionaries have been successfully exerted on behalf of many thousand afflicted Chinese, who have gladly sought their aid. During the past year, Dr. Hobson alone, in the city of Canton, received 25,000 patients; and in his Hospital, in common with those of his fellow-labourers, the gospel is made known to every inmate; and on his departure he is supplied with Christian tracts, which are often thus conveyed into the interior of the empire. This twofold method of mercy-so accordant with the example of Him who, while He preached the gospel to the poor, went about doing good, and healing all manner of diseases-has been attended generally with the most beneficial influence. The prejudices of the people against foreigners have been subdued, and their feelings conciliated; and in many instances, where they have been mercifully relieved of physical suffering, the great Physician has applied His sovereign remedy for diseases of the mind.
Mr. Hirschberg, of Hong-Kong, writing to a generous supporter of his labours, gives the following particulars illustrative of this gratifying fact:
"Two patients, a woman of about 50, and an old man of 64 years of age, were a few "Sundays ago admitted into the church. The former I have known nearly as long as I have "been in Hong-Kong, the other about a year. Both of them came into the hospital to be "cured of diseases of the eye. The woman cannot read, but having had the story of the cruci"fied Redeemer often brought before her, she, after leaving the hospital, gave up all idol "worship. Being rather of a ready speech, and having a good memory, she preaches the "gospel to all her female friends, and whenever she comes to chapel, she always brings some of them with her. A few days ago she introduced to me one of these friends, "who desired to hear more of the gospel and to be baptized. She attends all the services, "and has been present at our private evening prayers, which are accompanied with an "explanation of Scripture. She has been examined by several members of the church, and "also by Dr. Legge, and all were much satisfied with her answers. All the members of the "Chinese church speak very highly of her, and believe her to be a sincere Christian. The 66 same testimony is given to the old man, whom you may find at all times with the New "Testament in his hands. These converts are continually speaking of the folly of idol worship, and how they rejoice to know the true and living God."
In no heathen country are the labours of the Press, viewed in connexion with the translation and circulation of the Holy Scriptures, more important than in China. As compared with other countries, the ability to read is general, and books are not only read, but prized. Knowledge is venerated, and the higher attainments of philosophy and science lead to honour, wealth, and fame. It is therefore with peculiar satisfaction that the Directors report that the New Testament, thoroughly and carefully revised, principally by our Missionaries at Shanghae, has been printed in that city, and also at Hong-Kong.