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BY C. C. VINTON, M.D., SEOUL, KOREA
Missionary of the Presbyterian Church (North) Fifteen years ago the Christian leaflet ; a sick man has sought medical community in Korea was comprised help at dispensary or hospital and of two congregations worshiping in brings thence the medicine for the the city of Seoul, and in connection healing of a soul; a Christian peddler with which were something more brings a few tracts with his wares than sixty baptized believers. Serv- and spends time in reading and exices were possible only upon a for- plaining them to such as will liseign compound, baptism might be ten; a church-member working out administered only in the face of pro- "preaching days" brings the glad hibitions, itineration throughout the message from a distance; a believing country was subject to many restric- family remove here from some other tions, persecution even to death was region and hasten to let their light the expected lot of many who aban
shine. Those interested soon draw doned the ancient faith.
others around them and a group is To-day Korea has more than fif- formed of such as meet on the Sabteen hundred worshiping congrega
bath and read together and seek to tions each Sabbath, many of them understand the Scripture, to practise housed in private dwellings and ob- its rules, and call themselves serving but elemental forms of wor- Christians. According to their numship, yet not a few meeting in church ber they usually endeavor to erect a buildings and ministered to by mis- house of worship, they take up weeksionaries or well-taught evangelists. ?x collections for the support of reAmong them all hardly half a hun- ligious institutions among them, perdred have attained ecclesiastical or- haps they purchase and distribute ganization according to prescribed tracts and leaflets among their neighdenominational forms; five or six bors. And this before their existence hundred others have received recog- as a community of believers has come nition from missionaries who have to the knowledge of missionary or been able to visit them and appoint helper and while the hands of both leaders over them, and the balance are so tied by obligations of other are of that large number of com- work that in years' time no visit can munities where the seed has fallea be paid the region. upon good ground and sprung up The Gospel now is free in Korea and brought forth plentifully, yet to and its preaching unhindered. All which the guidance of trained in- restricting ordinances have been restructors has not been extended. The moved. The official world is indiforigin of such communities comes ferent, not hostile. Persecution is about in very simple ways. A col- mainly a matter of the family and porteur has passed with his load of the neighborhood. The recent war books, selling, teaching, and explain- has even turned a mighty tide of ining: a villager has heard the Word quiry toward that which seems the preached in the capital, in a market only unchanging thing amid all that town, or has received somewhere a change. Men and women in the vil
lages and in the cities, throughout all preaching the Gospel to those who
those applying to enter the Church, The propagandism of the Korean But the fact and the standard are Church is a true home missionary established by the native members of work. In perhaps all the larger and church consistories and in obedience in many of the smaller congregations to their own reading of the words of societies are organized for this end. Christ.
It has long been their They are in most cases the sponta- practise, almost universally followed neous growth of the people's own im
among them, to inquire of applicants pulse. Frequently a group of churches for baptism: "Since your conversion are so affiliated as to cover the terri
what have you done for Christ? To tory of a county or a province. Their whom have you made Him known?" officers are native leaders, their col- And if the answer is a negative one, lections are systematically gathered the counter reply is very ready: "You and cared for, and they pay salary are not yet ready to be sealed to and expenses to some among them- Christ. Go first and prove your faith selves who are qualified to go out by your works and come again." and tell of Christ's redemption in the These congregations, smaller and villages before unreached.
greater whether partially organized In the past two years
or not, maintain a self-supporting Christians have devised a new formi attitude. Their collections are reguof collection taken up in das's of larly taken and are often generously preaching time. Men and women abundant. In many country places contribute. At one class of a few it is the custom for housewives, to hundred attendants over thirteen hun- whom actual money is something of dred days were so pledged. One man a rarity, to begin upon the first day gave thirty days and others gave a of the week setting aside, when the week's or two or three days' time, as day's portion of rice is cooked, a they could spare. By the terms each spoonful for each member of the one who contributes is to go a dis- family, and this accumulation, sold tance from home, to some wholly upon Saturday or carried to the heathen locality, and to spend the full church, forms this household's conperiod of the designated time in tribution to the Lord's treasury.
With these gatherings the people faith they were seeking. Surely the erect their church buildings, light harvest is white and calling the them and heat them, keep on hand reapers. But with these and various a supply of literature to be sold or other discouragements, the progress handed out, pay their proportion of of the work is ever upward with that the salary of the helper assigned to steady impulse that gives continued their district, send their own leader hope. And it is borne up—it has been up to the Bible class held for a few all these years—on a very great volweeks at the station, maintain a ume of prayer arising from Koreans primary school perhaps for their and those that love Korea in all porchildren or make a contribution to tions of the world. ward the higher educational institu The prayer of the Korean Christions in the chief centers, even sup
tian is often that of the closest deport one of themselves for a few pendence on his Maker, laying bare months of each year at the theo the faith of him who never doubts. logical class in order that he may Many times it puts to shame the later become their pastor, and raise foreign hearer. It was the testimony all the funds of the home missionary of one who had been teaching a ten work.
days' class of church leaders in the These people regard the prayer North and had been enjoying the rare meeting of like consequence with the fellowship that comes in such a reSabbath service, and every Wednes lation, that at Northfield conferences day finds nearly the
faces and other religious gatherings the gathered for a service of prayer and uplift to his own spiritual life had song
The Sabbath-school is a real never been so great as from the Bible-school, not for the children simple trust displayed by these men. only, but one of the regular services The system that has grown up of of the church, where all, old and instruction in Bible classes of difyoung, gather for study together of ferent grades is perhaps the only one a passage of the Word.
by which the influence of the indiIt is not to be thought that mis- vidual missionary could be so widely sionary work in Korea is without its. extended over a broad parish. Once setbacks, its discouragements. There
class of are many who put their hands to helpers, colporteurs, and leaders of the plow and then turn back. In larger churches is held by the mismany cases, because the inquirers sionaries of each station, and a simare so overwhelmingly numerous, ilar class by the ladies for Bible because time is so pressing and there women and others. Two weeks or are so many cares, so many already so are given to instruction in Scripaccepted whose instruction it were ture, in simple theology, and to conperilous to remit, because distances ferences regarding Christian usages. are so great and so much else inter Then these people separate to their feres with the going and shepherd own communities and repeat among ing, it has proved the history of them what they have been hearing. promising groups that they fell inta Besides this, classes are constantly grave error, went wide of the true being taught in the central churches
of various districts, to which are addition to large numbers of sheet gathered the prominent members of tracts and of periodicals, will be the surrounding churches. The studies
normal output to meet actual deare not unlike those of the station mands; and these all to be sold for classes, and the instructors, while the Koreans are a reading people and sometimes including one more abundantly willing to buy. missionaries, usually chosen One other resource from whiclı from among the helpers and quali- much is hoped for the education and fied leaders. Taken in connection training of the Church is the inwith the wide diffusion of literature, struction of a ministry. In two by which the teachings of an indi- stations classes are being taught vidual are extended to
ever certain months of each year, and perbroadening circle of hearers, this haps for both the Methodist and the system of classes constitutes the best Presbyterian connection the first hope of the missionary force for graduates will be ordained in 1907. molding the growing Church into an These will not be fully educated abiding Christianity.
men, but they will be men trained Literature, largely tracts and ele- as fully for leadership as existing mentary expositions of Christian circumstances allow, and they heraldi doctrine, has been supplied in rea- the time when the Church in Korea sonable abundance until recent years shall conserve all its forces and all by the Korean Religious Tract So- its opportunities for Christ under the ciety. The great increase in enquir- leadership of its own ministry. ers, combining with other causes of Whether the political future of rapidly increasing demand, the ab- Korea is likely to have a decided insence of a corresponding increase in Huence upon the development of this available funds, the preparation of a Church, one may well question but large number of manuscripts all hardly answer. Changes wrought directed to specific needs, and the by the war were far less than miglit great importance of a suitable supply have been expected. The resultant of every class of religious and edu
opening of the hearts of so many to cational literature to a work like that the Gospel is the most signal one. In progressing in Korea, all served to the providence of God may it not be accentuate this as a time of crisis in that Japanese rule is to open a still this respect when the facts were wider door of entrance and to render canvassed last year; and the result more stable the conditions under has been the drawing yet nearer to- which that Church is to grow? And gether of all interested and the for- in that same providence may it not mation of a L'nion Publishing House also be that by these very bonds a to which the Tract Society is a party Church of so high a type is to have and for which the needed funds are its influence in welding in closer being solicited. Should this object inity, in raising to greater spiritualbe attained, it is thought well above ity, the churches growing apace in one million volumes per year, in neighboring empires ?
BY REV. HENRY L. E. LCERING, PH.D., STRAITS SETTLEMENT
Missionary of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 1889
Great statesmen in recent years uriant forests of valuable timber which have often given their testimony to were of no particular use to anybody, the value of missions when they have and I suggested that it would be a gone out of their way to attend some great benefit to invite Chinese settlers missionary function in the foreign to make this fertile country their home. field or when they have spoken at Encouraged by the official I presented anniversaries and conferences of mis
to the government of the State of sionary societies in Christian lands. Perak a plan for the establishment of Still more valuable than such utter a Chinese Christian colony, and after ances are often the silent testimonies some modification this plan was acof those called to administer foreign cepted and approved by the Resident colonies and dependencies.
General of the Federated Malay The Malay Peninsula is one of the States and sanctioned by the High most beautiful countries on the globe. Commissioner, the Governor of the It is developing marvelously in many
Straits Settlements. The Methodist respects and possesses the richest tin Episcopal Mission was asked to allow mines in the world. The governments me to go to China in order to gather have of late shown much interest in five hundred settlers for an agriculthe development of agriculture, espe tural colony in Perak. These people cially the culture of rice and the much were to be the forerunners of five more profitable planting of cocoanuts hundred more who should be invited and rubber.
to join the settlement a few
years later, The Chinese residents of Malaysia I selected 2,500 acres of valuable land have proven expert business men and with a reserve of the same size for also promising objects of missionary distribution among the people, and endeavor. Every society at work in the government agreed to bear all the the field has found them responsive expenses of the emigration, to defray to the preaching of the Gospel. The the whole expenditure of roadmaking, success is marked, not only by the to give sanitary and medical supernumber, but also by the quality of the vision and to advance to the settlers converts, and urges every mission to food and farm supplies for six months, more devoted and widespread activity or until the first harvest should have among these children of the Middle been gathered. These latter amounts Kingdom.
were to be repaid in six yearly installA few years ago, when traveling ments without interest. The total through a rather thinly populated dis proposed expenditure to the governtrict of the Sultanate of Perak in the ment could not have been less than company of a high government official, $60,000 (Mexican). I happened to speak of news recently In due time I went to the Kukien received of the failure of crops in a
Province and collected mainly in the part of the Fukien l'rovince in China stations connected with the Methodist and the consequent suffering of the Episcopal missions around Ilinghua. people. We were surrounded by lux Ilokchiang, Fuchau and Kucheng, the