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THE UNION EASY WENLI VERSION. To the Editor of The Recorder,
From the expressed desire to secure a single version of the Bible in Easy Wenli, in which the missionary body can cordially unite, there has been, so far as I know, no dissentient voice. But some writers have said or assumed that there was “an unfortunate complication ” which would tend to defeat this desirable object, namely the fact that two versions were already practically in the field. To me this fact does not seem necessarily a hindrance to a Union Version. Supposing it were not a fact, and a Committee should be appointed to produce a Union Version, what would be the most desirable method of proceedure? I think, were it not for considerations of time and expense, it would be best for each member of the Committee to independently translate the whole Bible, and have these versions compared verse by verse, and select the best rendering or perhaps some combination or modification suggested. If this be true, how fortunate that we have these two independent versions already at hand. The "combination ” cannot be unfortunate unless one or more of these translators should be unwilling to unite his work with that of others, for what, I feel assured seems to most of us, the good of the common cause.
From the note appended to the Gospel of Matthew by Dr. Blodget, in the version lately issued by him, it is evident he is ready cordially to contribute his work to a Union Version. If Mr. John is willing to do the same, the only thing wanting to make the “combination ” as perfect as could be hoped for, is that a Com : mittee should be appointed, two or three of whose members besides those who have produced these translations, already in hand, should be qualified to make independent versions, and have the time to do so, and that all these versions should be cast into the common treasury from which to select the excellences of them all. To one who carefully examines the versions of Mr. John and Dr. Blodget, it will be evident, I think, that a combination of the two can be made, which would be superior to either of them. Is it not also true that there would still be room for independent work?
THE MURDER OF MR. JOHNSON IN 1869. Dear Sir,
Among the traditions of the elders in China is the disappearance of Mr. Johnson, of the British and Foreign Bible Society, in 1869, place and circumstances unknown. I have had a solution of the problem in a manner which carries the impress of truth with it. As the details may be interesting to many of your readers, I hope you will find a corner for my information.
In the course of a boating journey from Chinkiang across the province of Nganhwui to the Honan border, it was our lot at 4 P. M., on the 8th of May, to cast anchor at a small town commonly called Hwui Lung Ki, though on the map it is marked as Hwui Liu Wo, (). Any who wish to mark the spot where Johnson died the death of a martyr will find it on the Hwai River between the cities of Ying shang Hsien, (1 E), and Ying Chow Fu, (Hili HH) being some forty li, by water, from the latter city. The people almost immediately showed an unfriendly spirit. At first books were purchased, but ere long were taken by force. Stones fortunately were not at hand, but we were pelted with wet clay from the river side, until some of us appeared as if brick making was our business. Eventually the demi-god of the place, a wei” they styled him, thought he had better have the mob dispersed before it brought his button into danger. A despatch from Ying shang hsien was handed to him which converted this would be Gallio into a “having heard that he was a Roman" sort of man.
I apologize for obtruding myself at all, but it is necessary for the elucidation of the facts. At night one of my crew went ashore to smoke opium. In the opium den the topic of conversation was the attack on the "devil.” The keeper of the shop an old man stated as follows:
“Twenty years ago there was another foreigner here selling books. During the day a fire broke out and burned a large part of the place. The people attributed this fire to the evil influences of the foreigner. At dead of night a body of men went on board the boat and killed the foreigner, his assistants, and all on board. The boat likewise was destroyed.”
From another source I was informed that a lad, over ten years, escaped by dropping into the river, floating down, and then begging his way home. I am, Sir, Yours truly,
ROBT. BURNET. Chinkiang, June 9th, 1886.
PROPER USE OF THE WORD
HEATHEN.” Dear Mr. Editor,
I see that the Editor of the North China Daily News takes exception to the use of the word “heathen” as applied to the Chinese. He seems to think it inappropriate when applied to a people so highly civilized as the Chinese.
An inquiry into the meaning of the word will show that it has no reference to civilization whatever, or to the want of it. Its equivalent 'égvn in the N. T. is applied to all nations outside of the Jews. It included the Greeks and Romans and all the most highly civilized nations of antiquity; some of them much more highly civilized than the Chinese.
I find that Webster defines the word to mean simply ; “ Those who worship idols, and do not acknowledge the true God," and the note is appended that it is “now used of all nations except Christians and Mohammedans."
SHEET TRACTS WHOLLY BIBLICAL.
Would it not be well that missionaries should endeavor to influence the Bible Societies to publish “sheet tracts” composed of the most suitable portions of Scripture for general distribution to the heathen? They might be sold at a cash each, and contain in each, most important passages of the Bible. Their comparative brevity would ensure their being read, while the bulk of the Gospels, and especially whole New Testaments or Bibles sold by colporteurs, is a barrier to their being more than casually looked into by the purchasers. Some portions as e. g., Isaiah 44th Chapter, 6th to 20th verses, or Isaiah 40. 9-31; Psalm 19, Psalms 8, 41, 90, 93; Psalms 104, 111, 115, 139, 145, 146, 147, 148, 2 Chron. 6. 18–39, Matt. 5th, &c. would be complete in themselves; or shorter passages might be formed into one. I trust that these “Tracts wholly Biblical ” may soon be brought out by some enterprising Society. These, formed into a small book would become what I have for years wished to see, extracts from the Bible chronologically and systematically arranged. While the whole of the information and instruction contained in the Bible is doubtless useful, the more salient points can be none the worse for being first and most strongly insisted on.
GEO. KING. Fanchung, N. W., Hupeh.
Echoes from Other Lands.
THE ISLAND OF HAINAN. From a letter by Rev. B. C. Henry to the New York Evangelist, we gather a few facts about mission work on the island of Hainan, commenced by Mr. Jeremaiassen. About eighty miles inland, at Nadoa, where nine persons were baptized last year, there are now fifty names on the roll of inquirers. A chapel has been requested at Namfung, twelve miles further inland, and in many other places the people are anxious for the missionary to come. The coast and the northern half of the island are occupied by Chinese, while the uncivilized aborigines of Malay origin occupy the southern interior. These aborigines “are exceedingly friendly, treating the missionary with great consideration, and urging him to open schools in their towns." The American Presbyterian Board (North) has sent out Dr. H. M, McCavaliss and Mr. & Mrs. Gilman for work in Hainan,
TESTIMONY TO MISSIONARIES IN NORTH SIAM. The following generous words come from Mr. Holt S. Hallett, in a paper published in the January Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Soceity, London :-“During the first part of my explorations I was accompanied by Dr. Cushing, of the American Baptist Mission, who had previously travelled through some of the Shan States, and is known as the best Shan scholar and the highest authority upon the Burmese Shans. Afterwards our party was joined by Dr. MoGilvary, of the Presbyterian Mission, and still later by Mr. Martin, of the same mission. I most gratefully acknowledge the assistance that I received from these gentlemen as interpreters, and was highly pleased at seeing the esteem that Dr. McGilvary, Mr. Wilson, Dr. Cheek, Dr. Peoples, Mr. Martin, and the lady missionaries were held in, by not only their converts, but by the princes and people throughout the country. Their influence in eradicating the most deleterious superstition of the people was evinced by many of the princes and chief men in cases of illness calling in their aid, instead of that of witch finders and conjurors. By their having checked the ravages of small-pox through bringing vaccination into the country, and by their open protection of so-called witches and wizards who had had their homesteads ravaged and had been driven from their villages, by their unwavering kindness, unselfishness, conciliation, and by their tact, they had gained the goodwill of all, and were looked upon as benefactors by many people outside their own flock."
BIBLE WORK BEARING FRUIT.
The following facts are reported to us from Soochow :During the week of prayer at China New Year, the topic for the day was Colportage. One aged preacher said, "When I was a young man, old Dr. Medhurst and Mr. Edkins, who had a very boyish appearance, visited the Great Lake and gave me both the Old and New Testaments. I read them closely clear through and this was the first thing that led me to become a Christian.” Another said, “Recently I have known of two men who became inquirers by reading the Gospels. One of them, a gentleman from Changsoh, was here attending the examinations. He came to Church, knelt at prayers, and behaved so well I thought he was a teacher in some other Mission. He told me he had purchased some portions of the Bible in his own city and had diligently studied them and these were the only Christian books he had seen. He came to see me often when he was in Soochow."
The British and Foreign Bible Society's Monthly Reporter for February, publishes the following lines from Rev. W. F. Shaw, of the Irish Presbyterian Mission, Newchwang, regarding Djin-djow:“Lately two colporteurs under Mr. Harmon, of the Bible Society, have been working there, and the result is that fourteen men have received the Christian faith, and desire baptism. I saw all but one or two who were away up country, and was greatly pleased with these men. The majority were what is called 'reading men,' that is scholars, and two of the fourteen had been Mohammedans. Fancy the joy of finding fourteen men waiting to be baptized, although no missionary liad ever been in the place, all resulting from the salo of Scriptures."
STRICTURES ON MR. CARPENTER. Dr. W. Ashmore, continues his strictures on Mr. Carpenter's “ Tracts” in The Watchman of Boston. He insists with force that Carpenter's method of dividing the expenditures of a Mission by the number of foreigu missionaries, without reference also to the work in hand, is not a fair method of reaching the real expensiveness of a mission. Dr. Ashmore would also discriminate between the “ legitimate problems,” and the “parasitic evils,” in missions, as he thinks Mr. Carpenter does not. The Watchman itself fears that Mr. Carpenter is actuated, in part at least, by motives not of the highest kind toward the Baptist Missionary Society-The Unionand gives some evidences of the statement, but very wisely remarks that among the matters brought up by Mr. Carpenter are some that are eminently worthy of the attention of missionaries and their supporters at home, and hopes that the Board of Managers and the Executive Committee may look with candor at such questions raised, “overlooking any infelicities in their presentations." It is gratifying that the discussion raised by these tracts has resulted in an increase of interest rather than diminution, in foreign missions among the Baptists of the United States, and in an increase of contributions to their foreign Missionary Board. Mr. Ashmore has an article in The Standard on Self-support in Swatow, which we may yet notice more fully.