DAYS OF GRACE IN MANCHURIA
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Days of Grace in Manchuria begins with a brief sketch of the life and ministry of William Chalmers Burns who, after experiencing powerful revivals in Scotland, went to China as the first missionary of the Presbyterian Church of England, in June, 1847 where he laboured until his death in 1868. Though his ministry was mainly seed-sowing, many recognize his work as an essential forerunner of the revival that later occurred.
This book records that gracious outpouring of the Holy Spirit which began in 1908 mainly through the ministry of Jonathan Goforth. He had visited Korea to observe the revival there and fuel was added to his passion for God to use him powerfully by reading the writings of Finney and Edwards.
At Mukden, where he was a speaker, an elder's confession ignited revival and eight hundred were convicted, confessed sin and subsequently made restitution. Thereafter the revival spread to other cites in Manchuria where the Presbyterians alone recorded 1,300 baptisms in five years.
I. The Wonder At Mukden
II. The High Tide Of Revival
III. A Memorable Week In Mukden
IV. Revival In The Villages
V. Mr. Goforth's Mission—The Man And His Message
VI. Mr. Goforth's Mission (Continued)
VII. Outposts Catch The Flame
VIII. Reconsecrated Ruins
IX. Revived Bible And Prayer Interest
X. The Revival And Woman's Work
XII. Impressions Of Results After Eighteen Months
THE REVIVAL IN MANCHURIA
Brief Sketch Of The Life And Service Of William C. Burns, Of Kilsyth And Dundee, who went out as a Missionary to the Millions of China, who had never heard the Gospel, in 1847, continued his ministry for 21 years, and died in the Port of Nieu-chang, on April 4th, 1868.
William Chalmers Burns was born in the Manse of Dun, in Angus, on April Ist, 1815. He was the third son of the Parish Church minister there. After leaving school, he went to Edinburgh to be apprenticed with an uncle to the legal profession. His eldest sister, a gay young lady, was converted to God, and became a bright witness for the Lord Jesus in 1831, and it was by means of her decided testimony that William was first awakened to a sense of his need of salvation, and led to put his trust in the Son of God, as his Redeemer and Saviour. In was shortly after his conversion that he walked into the manse of Kilsyth, where the family then resided, having walked on foot the thirty-six miles from Edinburgh, to tell his mother and his sisters the glad news of his conversion, and to say that his desire now was to relinquish his study of law, and devote himself entirely to the preaching of the Gospel of God's grace to his fellowmen. And this he did heartily and with all his might, first in the neglected Parts of Scotland, and latterly among many heathen millions of the great Chinese Empire, then scarcely touched by the feet of God's messengers of peace. Mr. Burns's name came into prominence in connection with a wonderful work of grace in Dundee, while he was preaching for Robert Murray M'Cheyne, then on a visit to Palestine, for the evangelization of the Jews. During Mr. Burns's preaching in Dundee, a remarkable awakening took place; thousands were aroused to their condition in the sight of God, truly converted, and set on the heavenward way. Remarkable scenes were witnessed in the old church of St. Peter's, near to which M'Cheyne's body now lies, awaiting the first resurrection. It was on the evening of a Lord's Day in Kilsyth, after preaching to a crowded congregation, that Mr. Burns felt constrained to intimate to the people that he would preach to the people in the open air, before returning to Dundee the following day. Deeply burdened with the souls of the people, he went into the village and invited the people, who thronged into the old church, until every seat and passage was filled. And the Lord helped His servant to preach straight to the people with great power, with the result that the whole congregation became melted under the message, many weeping aloud and crying to God for mercy.
A glorious work of conversion followed. Meetings for prayer and preaching of the Gospel continued in the churchyard, the market-place and elsewhere for weeks, while Mr. Burns returned to Dundee to resume his ministry. The work progressed in Dundee with increased interest, until the return of Mr. M'Cheyne, who greatly rejoiced in all that the Lord had done during his absence, through the ministry of His servant. There was no jealousy, but the deepest gratitude, and these two true ministers of Christ rejoiced together over the Lord's doings, which were indeed marvellous in their eyes. From that time onward, until the Lord's call came to go to China, Mr. Burns gave himself almost wholly to itinerant Gospel preaching, through Perth-shire, up as far north as Aberdeen, preaching in barns, on market-places, and wherever the people could be gathered together to hear the Word. His message was plain, and to the point; thousands were awakened and many saved. But the adversary opposed. Time and again Mr. Burns was stoned, and bore the marks of these brands of the enemy for many days. Believing it to be the call of the Lord, he went forth to China as the first missionary of the Presbyterian Church of England, in June, 1847. When questioned by those interested in his out-going, how long it would take him to prepare for the voyage, he replied with all simplicity, "I will be ready to go tomorrow."
On a brief visit to his home, to take farewell of his sister, he silently wrung her hand, took a last glance around their old home, and with a small bag in his hand and his mother's plaid across his arm, went forth, in the Name of the Lord with the Gospel to China's benighted people, of whom it was said "a million a month" were dying without having once heard the Gospel. For years this solitary witness toiled alone, at times with a few helpers, in the great heathen land, amid overwhelming hindrances, but his faith in God never faltered. On and on he went, sowing the seed which others would reap, until he reached the borders of the great kingdom of Manchuria, where, in a small, comfortless room in Nieu-chang, wearied and worn in labours abundant, he fell asleep on April 4th, 1868, his last audible words being, "For Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory." It is of this great land that the story of grace related in the following pages is told, and those who saw and shared in its joyful results, say that it was no doubt part of the result of William Burns's sowing, in his earlier years in China.
The Wonder In Mukden
"This is the Lord's doing; it is marvellous in our eyes."
It is the custom in some of the principal stations of the Manchurian Mission to hold a short series of special meetings, for prayer and Biblestudy, during the early days of the Chinese new year. It is a time when all business is suspended; people are idle, temptation is rife, and it has been found a good thing to give the Christian people an opportunity of beginning the new year after a godly fashion. In the month of February, I908 — being the thirty-fourth and last year of the reign of Kuang-su — such a series of meetings was arranged for in various centres, and among others in connection with the Chinese congregation of the United Free Church of Scotland Mission in the city of Mukden.
It is a large congregation which has been ministered to for many years by a Chinese pastor — Rev. Liu Ch'uen Yao, one of the early fruits of a mission begun thirty-five years ago. Rev. Jonathan Goforth, from the Canadian Presbyterian Mission in Honan, was with us as special missioner. Immediately before coming to Mukden he had held a week's mission in Liaoyang, a city some forty miles south of Mukden, and manifest blessing followed.
The work began in Mukden on a Saturday night with a special prayermeeting. On the following Sabbath, Mr. Goforth held two services each preceded by an hour of prayer. There was a large congregation, from eight to nine hundred people being present. He told us fully about the revival in Korea, which country he had visited the previous autumn, repeating some of the striking things we had already heard from others. He closed with an appeal for earnest prayer that a like blessing might come to the Mukden people. An opportunity was given to any one who felt led by the Spirit to pray, but no one responded. It seemed as if the audience was struck dumb. To me it was amazing, as the Chinese are not usually backward in responding to the call to pray. But Mr. Goforth was disappointed. There was, however, a tone about the congregation which to me was full of quiet hope and expectation. In the address the key-note had been struck — this wonderful work in Korea and the need of the Holy Spirit. "It is not by might nor by power." This truth, emphasised, iterated and reiterated, and pressed home, was not without its effect from the outset.
At night the congregation was very, large. I took this as a token for good. To see seven or eight hundred people gathered together after sunset, a thing almost unheard of in China, to listen to a foreign missionary setting forth the doctrines of sin and righteousness, seemed to me to be some thing miraculous in itself "Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord." Mr. Goforth's address was from the Book of Ezekiel, the vision of the valley of dry bones. Another opportunity was given during a period of silent prayer for voluntary prayer or confession. Again, however, there was no response. The silence was deeper than in the morning, and Mr. Goforth was again disappointed; but to me, noting the faces of the congregation, the silence was more significant than words. The hearts of men had lost confidence towards God, and they simply could not pray. But one felt that something new had come to us, and that, under the surface of things, a great spiritual movement was in progress.
On Monday morning, immediately after breakfast, ex-Elder D—— was announced. He desired to see me in private. He began in a low, sad voice, saying that he felt ashamed to come but he had to do so. He could not look me in the face without shame, and he could not lift his heart to God until he had straightened out matters with me. I asked, "What things, Mr. D——?" " Do you remember," he said, "that about ten years ago Deacon M—— died, and that he had at the time of his death a certain sum of money in trust, belonging to the Church?" Yes, I remembered. "Do you remember," he continued, "that my firm was security for this money, and that the Church accepted interest on it while the family were unable to pay?" Yes, I remembered. "Then the Boxer trouble arose, and you got the Church to cancel the debt, in view of the losses the Christians had sustained at that time?" Yes, that was so. "Pastor," he sobbed, the M—— family prospered afterwards. They paid the money to me, and I never said anything about it to you. Yesterday, when Mr. Goforth spoke, I became very, uneasy and unhappy, I have not slept all night, and I have come to make this confession to you, and to ask you to pray the Lord to forgive this my great sin."
I took the poor man into Mr. Goforth's room and got him to repeat his story. Then we knelt together, and the strong man was broken down, as on bended knees with head bowed to the dust he pleaded for pardon. Soon afterwards, with a new look in his face, he left, having assured us that he would pay the money as soon as he had realised some property. Our hope had begun to be fulfilled. Mr. Goforth was greatly cheered. That morning, at the close of the address, the usual opportunity was given for confession and prayer. But only those who felt moved by the Spirit were asked to pray; if they had not received the "Sheng Ling tiu kantung" (the grace of the Holy Spirit) they were to hold their peace. One deacon near me, an oldish man, rose and made the remark that he was not at all sure about the "Sheng Ling tiu kantung," but he "wished to say a few words" on his own account. "O Lord," he said in prayer, "I wish to say that I give myself to Thee now to be all Thine for evermore." "Amen." It was so natural, so entirely unaffected, that the whole congregation gave a glad response. A few more prayers, somewhat after the stereotyped form, followed, and a closing hymn was sung, full souled. No great manifestation came, such as Mr. Goforth thirsted for, but one was glad.
In the evening I posted myself near the door to keep late-comers from disturbing the meeting, and a more orderly gathering one could not wish for. Fathers and mothers were there with their children, and every one kept as quiet and still as mice. Mr. Goforth's voice rang out well in every part of the large building. The usual opportunity for prayer or confession followed the address. One after another rose, and gave utterance to confession and earnest petition, sometimes mingled with sobs hard to supress. From the woman's side of the house a voice arose. Soon the speaker's feelings got the better of her, and she sobbed aloud. Just as she was in the midst of this sobbing prayer, some one gave a terrific yell, almost as if some part of the roof had fallen in, and in a moment the whole congregation seemed to be weeping together. This went on for the space of five minutes or so. Scores of people were praying in the most entangled fashion. One felt glad he had not to take the minutes of that short session. It was quite outside the limits of human interpretation. But the angel who keeps the records of such proceedings as these would be near at hand, and one imagines there was not a little to put on record. We met in the evening and held a short, hearty, hopeful prayer-meeting. The ladies of the Mission were greatly cheered. They had been longing and praying for some such movement among the women and now it seemed to have come. It was marvellous how the women came, twice a day through the mire and the keen cold, and some of them from great distances. Whole families came together and were blessed. At the close of the fourth meeting it was every one's conviction that a great, if quiet, spiritual work was going on.
From my notebook I quote the happenings of the following days
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18th,
At the meeting this morning, which began at 10 a.m. we had an account of the work in Korea and Liaoyang, from a Liaoyang deacon. He spoke as one who had himself experienced a great uplift.
"There will be no difficulty now," he remarked, "in getting the Liaoyang congregation to support its own minister." Mr. Goforth spoke at considerable length, and yet the great congregation never moved. At the close one after another rose and prayed, men and women, to the number of fifteen or more. Their prayers were all manifestly the outpourings of hearts that had been powerfully moved. Our minister, Mr. Liu Ch'uen Yao, has been greatly quickened. His son, the doctor, prayed to-day. He also has been deeply moved. The women prayed with wonderful freedom, fervour, and gratitude.
At the evening meeting to-night the large church was three-quarters full from five o'clock till eight. An evangelist who has been to Korea told us of what he had seen there. But he seems to be measuring everything by that standard, and one hopes he will not get the people to follow any stereotyped method. The beautiful thing about the movement hitherto has been its spontaneity; no forcing, but the simple, natural movement of human souls touched by the Spirit. To-night it was delightful to see the people rising all over the church and to hear them pouring out their hearts in prayer. Again the greatest fervour and power came from the women's side of the house. We were surprised to hear Mrs. L——'s voice. We heard she had been given up by, the doctor and was dying. And here she was, back from the gates of death, out at this evening meeting on a bitterly cold night, her heart brimming over with thanksgiving and devotion. She has made a determination to give the Lord two full days of service every, week for the rest of her life, and she is going to fulfil that determination. Mrs. P—— was also there, the strongest personality, in the Church, evidently having experienced a great uplift. Her prayer was something wonderful. Many others might be mentioned.
The good work is going on. It is a season of refreshing to us all, in fact a time of joy unspeakable. I am getting impatient for a service of praise. Mr. Goforth says it is too soon. He is glad that so many have been quickened, but thinks there are some who have hitherto been holding back. We had our prayer reunion at the close of the evening meeting. Every one thanked God for His gracious presence. Some one prayed that our minister himself might get a blessing. Thank God, Mr. Liu has got a blessing — you can see it in his good old face — and his son likewise.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY I9th .
This morning I went to the church before ten o'clock, as I wished to hear about the work in Korea from a Chinaman's standpoint. The building was three-quarters full even then, and the women's part quite full. Mr. Chang gave a very interesting and stirring address. That the work was genuine was demonstrated, he said, by the evidence of Chinese merchants in Pingyang, who, although they knew nothing about Christianity themselves, could yet judge soundly of its ethical effects. Being strangers in this Korean city, the missionaries naturally found their way to the house of the Shantung merchants, and talked with them. "Who were they?" asked the merchants. "Christians from Manchuria." "Were there Christians in Manthuria also?" "Oh, yes." "Were they the same sort as the Christians here?" "Don't know. What are the Christians here like?" "Good men! good men!" " Why do you think so?" "Oh, a man owed us an account, five years ago, of twenty dollars. He refused to acknowledge more than ten, and we had no redress. A few months ago he came back and,asked us to turn up that old account, and insisted on paying it with interest for these five years." Things of this sort, Mr. Chang stated, were happening all over Korea.
Mr. Goforth spoke for quite an hour on Prayer, very tenderly and impressively. The- time came for voluntary prayer, and one after another prayed in quick succession. There is now no hanging back; on the contrary, many are eager; and a good deal of suppressed emotion is visibly being felt. I was struck with the movements of Elder S——. His feelings quite overpowered him. Twice he sprang to his feet, made an attempt to speak, and twice sat down again, burying his face in his hands in great distress. At last he rose, sprang to the platform, and said, in effect "Mr. Goforth, I can bear this burden no longer! Before the Lord and this congregation I must confess my iniquities. Years ago, as all you people know, I was an earnest and sincere Christian. But, alas, I fell! He then gave the particulars of his fall, and continued "My wife spoke to me often about my great sin, and at last I could endure that no longer, and made up my mind to get rid of her. I mixed poison with her food on three separate occasions, but each time ineffectually. All this time I was a member in the Church, and often preached from that pulpit there. I got hundreds of cards printed with my name and designation as elder in this Church, but I am not worthy of such a designation."
Walking over to the stove, "I now tear up these cards and burn them," throwing a handful of cards into the fire, "and I charge every one here who has such a card of mine to destroy it. I have been all the time like a fierce dog frightening souls away from the fold of Christ. May God have mercy upon me! May God have mercy upon me!" And he threw himself down on the ground in a very agony of weeping.
Immediately, the whole congregation broke into loud lamentation. Scores of men and women rushed forward to the platform, fell on their knees, and made abject confession of sin.
It was impossible to gather particulars, the hubbub was so great. There was not a dry, face in the building. When the noise had subsided a little, Mr. S—— again got up and said "Here is a gold bangle which in my pride and vanity I bought and wore. And here is a gold ring which I have also been wearing. They are not mine. 'Take them, and may God have mercy on my soul!"
In his terrible excitement to get rid of the ring he almost tore his finger out of joint. A friend beside him assisted him, and the ring and bangle were laid on the table. An earnest prayer, simple and tender, arose on the women's side. It was a cry for forgiveness. I inquired who it was who thus prayed. The reply was, Mrs. S——, the wife of the elder who had just confessed.
I cannot remember what happened after that on the Wednesday forenoon. We were as those who had dreamed. There is not a doubt in the minds of any of us now but that we are in the midst of a great work of grace. The Spirit of the Lord is with us as we have not seen heretofore.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 20th
At both morning and evening meetings to-day the church was filled. The spiritual movement is spreading and deepening. There has been no scene such as we witnessed on Wednesday. But the desire to get good has spread over the whole congregation. They seem to be afraid that the time will pass away and leave them unblessed, and so we have had crowds of people confessing — elders, deacons, evangelists, members young and old, inquirers, backsliders. The whole congregation has been of one mind to-day. And it was this we must receive the Spirit and the power He can bring, and we must take every step, however painful it may be, in order not to miss this great blessing. The spirit of prayer has been wonderfully manifest. Sometimes half a dozen would start at once, and on one occasion the entire congregation of seven or eight hundred people were all praying together. But there was not the slightest feeling of discord. One felt they were all of one heart and one mind. The spirit of giving offerings has been wonderful. Men have promised land and houses, as well as money, to the Lord's cause. I don't know how many offered to give part of their time to voluntary service for the Master.
The spirit of praise has been very evident, especially to-day. The singing of hymns of thanksgiving has been splendid. A new song has literally been put into their mouth to glorify God withal. Old hymns are sung with a new and extraordinary fervour, and new hymns are coming to the front — hymns of confession and contrition, hymns of pardon through the precious blood of the Atonement — hymns expressing human need and heavenly peace. Songs of the redeemed they sing as they never sang before. "What can wash away my sin?" "Weeping cannot save me," "Tell it o'er and o'er again, Christ receiveth sinful men" — these and many others are the hymns which have become sacred songs indeed through the revival.
The High Tide Of Revival
"Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power."
THE last day of Mr. Goforth's visit saw us on the high tide of revival. Great congregations filled the large church. A continuous stream of confession and petition flowed the whole time, the entire congregation frequently bursting into united prayer. It was something wonderful. The desire to make confession brought great numbers to their feet. There was no pressure of any kind — indeed, Mr. Goforth rather repressed than encouraged them. But they would not be repressed. Men and women seemed overwhelmed with the sense of guilt, and could find no rest until they got rid of it in this way. The pastor left the pulpit, and, taking his stand at the foot of the stair, said, with great emotion, " My sins are the greatest of all, for they are the sins of a minister of Christ. Pray for your minister." Elder L—— came forward and said that he felt constrained to confess his sin. Petty acts of dishonesty, of which he had been guilty years ago, he quietly and circumstantially enumerated. There seemed no reason for his doing this — at any rate, publicly — but they had been rankling in his mind and keeping him from blessing, so he said H——, the elder, also made a clean breast of sinful things belonging to his past, and since then has been the means of blessing to many. One old man came to the pastor and told him that his heart was very sore, and he did not know what to do. "Just tell the Lord all that is on your heart," was the reply. And the old man, bursting into tears, said "I'm sixty-eight years of age, and sixty years ago I told a lie about my mother, and she suffered for it!" Then it seemed as if the lifelong record of his sin all came up before him, and the old man was shaken as by a very tempest of contrition. When things seemed overpowering I led them away into a verse of some well-known hymn, such as "Jesus saves," or " Nothing but the blood of Jesus." The result was always good.
At the farewell meeting (wrote Mr. Goforth) a new phase of the movement began spontaneously to appear. A long list of free-will offerings from those who had confessed were read out. They were spoken of as " proofs of repentance." I have before me a list of a few of these offerings. One man gives a dollar, another six; one offers a tenth of his income to the Lord, along with a gold bangle and gold ring; a fourth gives five bushels of grain. One man offers 500 strings of cash; another the rent of two small houses. One elder brings 300 dollars; and a voluntary preacher 160 dollars besides a month's voluntary service. Another voluntary preacher offers the rent of half an acre of land yearly. A man who confessed to having cheated the hospital in making garments brings a piece of cotton cloth as restitution. A woman brings her gold ornaments and lays them on the table, and a little girl came forward, and holding up a bangle, said " I like this bangle very much, but I want to give it to Jesus." One deacon offers the salary of an evangelist another — the son of one of the first elders of Mukden, long since departed — offers twenty dollars a month towards the salary of a second minister for Mukden. One undertakes to preach the gospel in the open air every week. An elder gives a two-roomed house as a place of prayer, and so on. Everybody is willing.
It was unanimously resolved that the meetings should be continued, although Mr. Goforth had to leave, The oneness of mind with regard to the movement was remarkable. Missionaries, Chinese pastor, officebearers, and the whole congregation were of one heart and one mind. Mr. Goforth left on the Saturday. About thirty office-bearers, preachers, and dispensers went to the station, full five miles distant, in the early morning to bid him farewell. They sang a hymn, with great heartiness, as the train was about to start, much to the wonderment of the listening multitudes.
At the morning meeting Rev. Mr. Liu presided. Again the continuous stream of confession and petition poured forth for the space of two hours. Among others, four elders and a number of deacons spoke, confessing and asking prayer. The climax was reached when Mr. Liu, rising in the pulpit, asked earnest prayer on behalf of himself, his office-bearers, the staff of evangelists, the dispensers in the men's and women's hospitals, the schoolteachers, all those in the employment of the missionaries — and then he stopped. "And please include the missionaries themselves in your supplication," broke in a foreign voice, "that a rich blessing may come upon them all." And immediately such a burst of prayer broke out from the whole congregation as surely was never heard before; without confusion or discord, though that might have been expected. Seven hundred different people were each praying his or her own prayer aloud, and yet withal there was the most perfect harmony. Again and again that day this wave of prayer swept over the assembly, carrying every one along with it by an irresistible impulse. The experience was the same on the Sabbath. The church was crowded morning and evening. Had we not thought it wise to break up, the meeting might easily have gone on all day — and all night, for that matter. The stream flowed on, deepening and widening every hour — confessions, petitions, thanksgivings, consecration.
Requests for prayer poured in — for fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, sons, and daughters. A schoolgirl sent in a request for ten member's of her family. A merchant requested prayer for a score of men in his employment, and a father for a son who was a prodigal in the far unknown. Prayers for backsliding members of the Church were very numerous. The excommunicated weighed heavily on the minister's heart. He said that there were rules of the Church which were necessary, and which had to be carried out, and in consequence not a few whose names had once been on the communicants' roll had been erased. But he longed for these men to come again, and he asked prayer that the Lord would open a door for them and incline them to return. It was the signal for another of those simultaneous outbursts of united prayer which was one of the characteristics of the meetings during those days. Never in the history of the city has there been such a day as that Sabbath day in Mukden.
It had been decided to have only one meeting a day from this onward. The church was well filled at eleven o'clock on the Monday morning of the following week, and the stream of prayer flowed on. At the close a hymn had been given out, and the blind organist had begun to play, when one of the elders, whose voice had not yet been heard — a much respected man among us — came down to the front, and in a few short, simple, manly words told of his coldness in the Lord's service, and asked the earnest prayers of the people. After prayer a different hymn from that which had just been announced was sung; it was our "Hallelujah Chorus." As one said, nothing else would do in the circumstances. The tenth day of the meetings showed no signs of declining interest. From 10. 30 in the morning until 1.3O p. m. there was never a break in the stream of prayer. Towards the close the feeling became intense. One after another confessed with a broken voice, and made offerings. One man offered the salary of a native preacher as a thank-offering. A formal resignation of elder-ship on the part of Elder S—— was read. He said that although he had made confession, and humbly believed that the Lord had pardoned him, yet his sin was so heinous that he could no longer remain in office. Thereupon Elders L—— and H—— in succession rose and declared that they, too, were no longer worthy to hold office. They all implored prayer on their behalf. It was another signal. The whole congregation burst into loud and united prayer. Afterwards they all rose in their places and begged the elders to remain with them. Then the minister, standing in the pulpit, added with great, passionate earnestness " Yes! Yes! and together we will drive the devil out!" Every hand was shot up when the mind of the people was called forth. The doxology had been sung, the benediction pronounced, when one of the elders, still on his knees, desired two meetings a day instead of one. The proposal was hailed with acclamation. So at five o'clock we again met. The church was three-quarters full. A large number of requests for prayer had been handed in. One of them was from Sheng, an old elder, who brought great disgrace on the Church many years before. His name had been taken off the roll of members for many years, but he had undergone a great change since the meetings began. He rose and made confession, and implored the congregation to beseech the Lord on his behalf and on behalf of his family.
Requests for prayer also came from the hospital dispensers, from the girls' school, from the north and east suburbs chapels — in each of which prayer unions have been formed. The blessing has gone out to all branches of the Mission, and we look forward to a great work during the coming months in the chapels, in the hospital, and in all the schools. As I have already mentioned, our minister, Mr. Liu, received a great uplift. It is simply true to say that the conduct of the movement was entirely in his hands, so far as human instrumentality is concerned, from the time that Mr. Goforth left. I was always by his side. This was my privilege and my joy. To kneel beside him in the pulpit while in tender, sympathetic tones he led the congregation to pray for this and that one by name, the backslider, the penitent, the broken and contrite heart, "the bereaved widow with her five children" (entering into touching little details as only a minister who knew his flock intimately could do), to share in the work of applying the healing balm to wounded spirits, and to join him in his song of thanksgiving — all this was to me an unspeakable joy and is a glad memory.
There is a note, written at the time, in my diary " 'This is the Lord's doing. It is marvelous in our eyes.' The Divine Spirit is working his own gracious work in his own way among this people. There is a great danger of marring it. It must be with very gentle hand we touch it. And for the rest 'Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord!' "
A Memorable Week In Mukden
"Prayer and the ministry of the Word."
THE previous Chapter brought the story of the Mukden movement down to the tenth day. At the end of three weeks the wonderful awakening still went on, and there was no sign of any abatement. On the contrary, the interest was yet deepened every day after Mr. Goforth left.
As already mentioned, the evidences of a spiritual awakening were so unmistakable, that we felt it would be disastrous to bring the meetings to an end with Mr. Goforth's departure; and it was therefore decided to continue them. But, fearing lest too much interference on the part of foreigners might hinder the free operation of the Spirit of God, we resolved to telegraph to Dr. Walter Lowrie (of Paoting-fu), telling him of the movement and asking for assistance. Dr. Lowrie is well known as a leader in evangelistic effort, and had charge of the resolutions on evangelistic work at the Centenary Conference at Shanghai. We therefore naturally turned to him as one who was likely to understand the situation and to send us the help we needed. I specially mentioned Rev. Meng Chi Tseng, the younger brother of the martyr minister of Paoting-fu, and himself minister of one of the congregations of that city; he was connected with the American Board Mission and was a friend of our own minister, Mr. Liu. On the day, that Mr. Goforth left we received a reply telegram from Dr. Lowrie "Elder Li starts Monday." Paoting –fu is a three days' journey from Mukden by rail, but how the railway is going to forward the kingdom of God in China is shown, when I say that within a week of our telegraphic dispatch Mr. Li was in the Mukden pulpit, with Mr. Meng by his side. When Dr. Lowrie first approached Mr. Meng, he had engagements which he feared would prevent him, and it was decided to send Mr. Li. Later the way was opened up and they both came.
Mr. Meng gave one address; it was brief, but it was worth his while, and ours, that he should come all the way from Paoting-fu to give it. It linked this wonderful movement of to-day with another memorable period now forty years gone by. Mr. Meng's father was one of those who were led to Christ through William Chalmers Burns, during his visit to Peking in the sixties. He told us that from childhood he had had the desire to visit the land east of the barrier, having heard so much about it from his father, to whom Manchuria was rendered very sacred, the grave of his beloved Pin Wei Lien (Rev. W. C. Burns) being there. "You are reaping to-day," he said, " in this revival movement the fruit of the prayers of that man of God, who, just over forty years ago, began to pray for this which we now see and hear, the manifestation of the Spirit's power in Manchuria. Even then Mr. Burns, in his dreary lodging in Newchwang, waiting patiently for the Master's call and praying while it tarried — even then he saw this day in vision, and was glad. God," he said, "will carry on His work in Manchuria. I have no fear of that."
This address was given on the Friday. On the Saturday Mr. Meng was in the hospital suffering from a severe illness. For the next ten days he was unable to take any part in the meetings, and the speaking fell almost entirely to Mr. Li.
The interval between the going of Mr. Goforth and the coming of the Paoting-fu men was given up to continual prayer. The congregation continued to come out in large numbers. We sent dispatches to the outstations inviting the country members to come in. A special entertainment committee elected itself, and called for subscriptions. They flowed in freely. It was a great gain, this interval of prayer. The minds of men grew calm in this atmosphere after the exciting period through which they had just passed. A great peace and joy grew up in the hearts of many who had been in the depths of mental distress. The men from the country were afforded an opportunity of joining in prayer for blessing on the coming evangelists. It was part of that Divine ordering which has been recognised by many since this work began.
From the tenth day onwards the meetings, which were held twice daily, each lasting fully three hours, divided themselves naturally into three parts. Thus, part of the first hour was given up to individual prayer. Between I0 and I I a.m. a large number had gathered. A hymn was sung and we knelt in prayer. One after another with-out a moment's interval would lead our devotions, until fifteen or twenty had taken part. This spirit of prayer was one of the characteristics of the movement. Every one seemed to want to pray. Then another hymn, and the requests for prayer followed.
This must not be regarded as a bit of foreign machinery introduced by the foreign missionary. We had nothing to do with it. From first to last there was no foreign machinery impelling the movement, for it created its own machinery. Thus, the requests for prayer arose as a necessity of the situation. So many people were getting up and requesting the prayers of the congregation for themselves, their relations, and others that it was impossible to take them up in an orderly manner. A Chinaman is practical in his praying as in everything else, and he must know definitely what is wanted of him. Some one at the back of the church would make a request that was not intelligible to some brother in the front, who would promptly ask for particulars. "Better write it out and send it to me," suggested the minister, who had probably never heard of " requests for prayer," so-called, in his life. So it came to pass that the petitions were written out and sent in. They came in shoals. I have before me now a sheaf of over three hundred. There is no anonymity about them. It is not a case of "A father asks prayer for his son." The flame and address of the petitioner are given in full in each case, also the names of those for whom prayer is asked. Thus — "Chu Ching Ho, a miserable sinner, who has been a [professing] Christian for twenty years, denied Christ and worshipped idols at the Boxer time) and has been indifferent ever since. Pray for me and for my wife, who is not a Christian. Alas! I have never done anything to induce her to become one. Pray that God may have mercy upon me."
Another — "Wang Pao Shen asks the minister, elders, deacons, brethren, and sisters of the Church to pray for his father, mother, and wife, all of them still outside the kingdom of God."
And yet another — "Hsiang Yang Sheng, a sinner without compare, who has transgressed every one of God's commandments. Pray the Lord in His infinite mercy to compassionate me. Also for my son, for many years a member, but who has drifted away, and never goes to church. Also to my great sorrow my daughter-in-law and grandson are still outside. Pray the Lord for them, and for me, that He may have mercy upon us all. I send five dollars along with this, a token of my repentance."
And so on, and on, through the whole sheaf for fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, relations, communities. The minister is in the pulpit, with the day's petitions spread out before him. The congregation have all gathered, we all kneel, and together on our knees sing a verse of such a hymn as "I need Thee every hour." One by one the requests are read out by the minister, who usually interjects little comments of his own to make the matter quite plain, and then the whole congregation together bear the petition in prayer to the Throne of Grace. The wonderful thing is, there is no sense of discord. On the other hand, there has sometimes been the most striking harmony. It sounded indeed like the most beautiful music, as of a wind-swept æolian harp. Not Infrequently seven or eight hundred people were taking part. No human ingenuity could have produced it. Then came a short interval of hymnsinging, and Mr. Li gave his address. "He is the man for the hour," was the remark of one of our missionary ladies after hearing his first address.
If we had searched China through we could not have found a man whose message could more exactly fit the psychological moment. The first thing that struck us was the great humility of the man. "I have come to you," he said, "not that I can hope to give anything to you, but to get a little of this gracious fire that has fallen upon you, to inspire my own heart, and to take some back to Paoting-fu." His spiritual discernment seemed to enable him to know at once the sort of treatment the congregation required. His addresses have been marked by great ability, being clear, spiritual, evangelical, upbuilding, rich in Scripture illustrations and practical in the highest degree. Again we were thrown back on first principles by a sermon on the text, "Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord."
The troubled in soul were led to look to Christ in addresses from the texts "Sir, we would see Jesus," and "I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me." The despairing got hope from the words "I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked." There was the call to duty from the texts "As we forgive our debtors," "Take ye away the stone," "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy," " Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven." " Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse," &c. The congregation listened with the most earnest attention, many were busy filling up their notebooks, and Mr. Li's expositions and apt illustrations will do service in many places for many days to come. Those days of Mr. Li's ministry amongst us cannot be better described than in the words which Jonathan Edwards used in regard to a somewhat similar movement which took place a hundred and seventy years ago "The goings of God were then seen in His sanctuary, His tabernacles were amiable, our public assemblies were then beautiful. The congregation was alive in God's service, every one earnestly intent upon the public worship. Every hearer was eager to drink in the words of the minister as they came from his mouth."
During this third week some notable things happened. Among others, one young fellow confessed that in the year I900 he had joined the Boxers, and undergone a regular course of drill in the south suburb. He told us how he became uneasy, in his conscience when he saw how far things were going, and had begged the Boxer chief to allow him to return home, on the pretence of getting a change of clothing. He then escaped, but ever since then he had been miserable, and he literally cried for, mercy. With unusual fervour the congregation prayed for the man who had been a blasphemer and a persecutor. Another confessed that when Mukden was burning, at the Boxer time, he had stolen money and goods, and now repented his ill-gotten gains. Many confessed to having denied Christ at the Boxer time. A poor woman after praying with great earnestness and fervour, came forward with an offering of two dollars to buy books for inquirers as she could not speak to them herself.
The most notable incident was when an old member, excommunicated for several years, who in the meantime had become a man of influence in the city, and president of the Chamber of Commerce, came forward and told us how during these days his sin had been revealed to him, and he besought the prayers of the congregation on behalf of himself and his family. But the most striking development of the week was that of the thank-offerings. Letters were received in great numbers offering gifts of money, ornaments, goods, and voluntary service. During the first fortnight many offerings were made — land, houses, money, goods, ornaments, grain — all sent by penitent men, as tokens of repentance But the later gifts took the form of thank-offerings for blessing received. Many gave notice of their purpose to devote a tenth of their income to the Lord's work.
Out of a handful I select one or two of these for translation. The Misses Li, Liu, and Chang, dispensers in the women's hospital, having heard the teaching of these past days, have thought in our hearts if the Lord has loved us with a love like this, it would be little if we gave a half instead of a tenth to Him. If the Lord has appointed us to do this work for Him in the hospital, why should we not be willing to do it freely? We do desire to devote our whole lives to the Lord, always to be His servants. But we have no strength of our own, and we ask prayer that the Holy Spirit may help us in this our earnest purpose, and that we may be kept from forsaking the Lord. We also desire to give a tenth of our salary to His service. And now it is our earnest desire that we may have faithful hearts to serve Him. Please pray for us."
A young merchant writes thus "As one who has received grace from the Lord, and as a token of faith and love towards the Lord Jesus Christ, I desire to devote a tenth of my property to Him. I estimate roughly that my capital amounts to 7,000 dollars. So I have placed a tenth of this sum to the credit of the Church in the bank, to be applied thus Men's Hospital, I00; Women's Hospital, I00; Missionary, and Bible Society, 100; Education, 200; Evangelistic agencies, 200."
A member who had the reputation hitherto of being very close-fisted, who indeed had never been known to give anything to the Church before, received such an uplift that he wrote offering a fifth of his income to the Lord's service. A firm wrote that they proposed to increase their annual subscription by 120 dollars. One of the partners gave 60 dollars in addition, and ended the letter by stating "The firm have decided to close their place of business on the Sabbath."
One poor man wrote that he had received a great blessing, and had nothing to offer by way of expressing his gratitude except a black calf with a white stripe, and he begged the minister, elders, and members to pray the Lord to accept the black calf with the white stripe. There were many other offerings of definite sums, or of a tenth part of income. Scores of such letters were received.
About this time also we were receiving earnest appeals from our country members, and almost daily requests for prayer on behalf of this and that outpost, so that we had to face a mission to all the out-stations connected with Mukden. This was no easy undertaking, as there are, roughly speaking, from twenty to twenty-five towns and villages containing groups of Christians in embryo Churches, drawing their members and adherents from four times that number of places. A call for volunteers was given, and seventeen men responded. The session met for the purpose of dealing with these offers of service.
The various out-stations were grouped into seven districts, and it was decided to send two or three men together to each district. It turned out that the number of volunteers exactly corresponded to the number of men required for the various districts. The next question to decide was who was to go where?, "Don't send me to Changtan," pleaded one of the men. Others had their own ideas of where they would like to go. Some districts were more desirable than others, the soil more promising, the conditions altogether more favourable. Other districts were remote, the soil hard, the members cold, the whole outlook uninviting. The names of the volunteers were all written out on separate slips of paper and thrown into the minister's hat. Each district was then called out, and two or three names drawn by Mr. Liu. The first district to be called was Changtan and the first name drawn was the man who didn't want to go. "Ai Ah!" said the man; "this is surely God's doing." There were others who were sent where they, certainly would not have elected to go, but there was no jealousy, shown; all felt there was no doubt about the call. On the Sabbath morning, at the beginning of the fourth week of the meetings, after the usual service, the volunteers one by one answered to their names and took their stand in front of the pulpit. They, were then solemnly sent forth, the minister giving an address full of wise counsel and encouragement, and offering earnest prayer on their behalf. Then, on the Monday, morning and evening, many prayers were offered up for them and their great mission, the whole congregation rising at the close and singing with great fervour, "God be with you till we meet again." So, on the morning of Tuesday, March I0th, a cavalcade of carts left the church premises at dawn, bearing these messengers of good tidings north, south, east, and west.
Revival In The Villages
"The Lord gave the Word great was the company of those that published it."'
THE Revival in the country districts round about Mukden was not less remarkable than that in the city itself. It was my privilege to have a share in it, and I shall attempt to describe it as I myself saw it and as I have heard of it from, others who took part in it.
To begin with, let me tell you a little about these out-stations. There are over twenty such stations, established in villages or market towns round Mukden — in all directions, from seven to thirty English miles from the city. They have each a place of worship of one kind or another, and an embryo congregation of believers gathered from many villages around. They all date from the period of the great ingathering which followed after the Chino-Japanese War of 1894. During those memorable years the missionaries had so much work to do among the multitudes who were seeking admission into the Church that there was little time available for teaching or organising the young converts.
When the I900 tribulation descended upon them it came like a thief in the night. They were not prepared. Their sufferings during that terrible Their sufferings during that terrible time can never be told. Many denied their Lord. They were Christians — in name at least — hence their bitter sufferings, but they were Chinamen. A lie was a little thing to them then, and life was sweet. So they lied — and lived. Meanwhile, all their property was taken from them, their houses and chapels burned down, and, to all outward seeming, the vine was torn up by the roots. But it revived again. The people returned to their old homes after the terror was over; they built up their ruined homesteads, and sowed and reaped as in former years. Better still, many of them repented their lie, and once more vowed allegiance to their Lord. The waste places were restored, and a time of prosperity, temporal and spiritual, seemed to have dawned. Then, the Russo-Japanese War broke out. The contending armies swept the fields and farmyards bare. The Christians, sharing in the common lot of all, were driven from their homes. Public worship was impossible.
Missionary visitation was prohibited. Churches and chapels were used as barracks by the Russians, and torn down for fuel by the Japanese. It was indeed "a terrible day," following so hard upon the blight of I900. "That which the palmerworm had left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten." It was with them as in Joel's day, and the people said Is not meat cut off before our eyes, yea, joy and gladness from the house of our God? " For a time the people were soured. Faith and hope withered and almost died out. But gradually a change came. Temporal prosperity returned with a succession of good harvests after the war. Once more they gathered for the worship of their common Lord; their meeting-places one by one were restored, and although there was much coldness, formality and general spiritual stagnation to be deplored, still the out-stations of Mukden at the beginning of this year of grace (I908) had at least "a name to live.''
I mention these things by way of preface to what follows, and to show the sort of preparation which our out-stations had undergone for this special mission.
It was my lot to be sent, along with our minister's son, Dr. Liu, and another, to a district thirty miles south-east of the city. We had three stations to visit — Tuerto, Szefangtai, and Panchiapu. They were said to be the most backward of all.
At dusk on Tuesday, March I0th, we arrived at the village of Tuerto. Dr. Liu at once suggested sending messengers to all the villages where there were Christians, telling them of the meetings, and inviting them to come. This was done, and on Wednesday morning sixty people had gathered. We told them the story of the past three weeks in Mukden — nothing more. They listened with an air of wonderment and thoughtfulness. At the evening meeting one noticed a troubled look on many faces, but when we called for prayer only one responded, formal, stereotyped. Next morning Dr. Liu and I walked out together. He was greatly troubled, thought he had made a mistake in coming, that he was not the man for this sort of thing. We came to a wooded copse, and the doctor suggested prayer. We knelt by an old willow, and he poured out his heart to God. "Guide us," he prayed, "as to who shall speak, what we shall say, or whether we should speak at all." He seemed like one inspired.
We returned to the meeting. We sang a hymn. Dr. Liu said we might have a time of silent prayer, and if any one felt disposed he might pray aloud. Presently came a sob from a man in the front seat, and a brokenhearted prayer for mercy. Another followed in the same way. Several men and women were weeping. Then a man came up from the back seat, saying "I wish to speak." He was the principal deacon of the place. His first few words were spoken with difficulty. But presently he gained control of himself, and said "You all know me. I have been passing as a good, sincere Christian man among you. I am nothing of the sort.
Formerly I was delighted when a missionary or an evangelist came here, but when I heard they were coming on this occasion I was not pleased. I felt this was no ordinary visit. Yesterday, when hearing of the Mukden meetings, I was greatly troubled. Last night I could not sleep, thinking of my sins. I cannot bear the burden any longer." He then fell on his knees in an agony of weeping, and poured out his confession in prayer, beseeching us also to pray for him.
Immediately the whole meeting broke down, and for a considerable time every one continued to pray aloud. Afterwards, one after another rose and besought prayer. For three hours this went on. Once in a while Dr. Liu or I would repeat a text, or point a distracted soul to the Saviour, or sing a verse of a simple hymn. But there was no formal address, only prayer. One dare not write what those broken and contrite hearts poured out before the Lord. It were sacrilege so to do. The sense of guilt was sometimes overpowering. For the first time in their lives they seemed to feel that they were face to face with a holy God, and, however painful the process, they must make full confession of their sins. What seemed to trouble many was the memory of what they did in the Boxer riots. How many times did we hear this memory recalled, and see men and women weeping bitter tears as 'they confessed how they had at that time denied Christ! "Not only did I worship the idols myself," sobbed one poor fellow "but I led my old mother to the temple and made her do the same, and she is dead!" And he refused to be comforted. It was the same at the evening meeting.
"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning," and on Friday the tone changed. The spirit of praise, as well as prayer, had taken possession of them. Everybody wanted to pray. Not the old prayers, the well-known, oft-repeated formula they had been babbling for many years. New petitions offered with a new reverence, a new solemnity, a new humility, and a new assurance of faith, as children to a father, having had their "hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience." In the matter of praying, as in much else, "old things are passed away all things are become new."
On the afternoon of that Friday I left Dr. Liu to continue the meetings at Tuerto, and proceeded to Panchiapu, whither my second companion had gone the day before, to prepare the way. It was arranged that I should rejoin the doctor at the third village on the following night. Some sixty people gathered in the evening at Panchiapu. I told them our story. They were interested — nothing more. The following morning another large meeting was convened. I proposed a short time of prayer. Several took part, quite in the old orthodox style. They had not understood. One felt sorry, and wondered if the foreigner's hands were marring the work.
Before leaving I strongly urged them, as many as were able, to go to Tuerto for the thanksgiving service on Sunday. Many consented. I reached Szefangtai — eight miles further — towards evening. A meeting had been held in the morning by Dr. Liu. A number of the folk had been to Tuerto, and had been blessed. The house was packed when I arrived. We lit our candles as it grew dark, and the meeting began. What a meeting that was! It needed no conducting, or very little. Occasionally it seemed well to sing a verse of a hymn, or repeat a Divine promise that was all. Yet there was no excitement, nothing calling for repression.
There was plenty of weeping. The house was full of men and women with broken and contrite hearts, and the floor was simply watered with their tears. One had heard of such meetings. Our fathers had told us of their having been eye-witnesses to something similar in their day, in Scotland — long ago, but we had never seen it in this fashion. It was truly GREAT, writ large. The house where we were gathered was a humble enough one, mud-walled, mud-floored, and smoke-begrimed; but it was for the moment transfigured, and became the House of God and the very Gate of Heaven.
"Now I saw in my dream that by this time the pilgrims were entering into the country of Beulah, whose air was very sweet and pleasant. Here they heard continually the singing of birds, and saw every day the flowers appear in the earth, and heard the voice of the turtle in the land. In this country the sun shineth night and day. Here they were within sight of the city they were going to, also here met them some of the inhabitants thereof, for in this land the shining ones commonly walked, because it was on the borders of' heaven." One felt good to be there. We could have remained on and on, and we did remain on until our candles burned out in their sockets. And long afterwards men stood round an oil-cruse, getting their thank-offerings written out. It was a poor village.
The people were all poor. And yet, next morning, we found the thankoffering amounted to £6 sterling. If there had been a night like that night in some of our city congregations at home, what a thank-offering it would have been!
Sabbath morning saw us back at Tuerto for the thanksgiving service. I had told Dr. Liu about the Panchiapu luke-warmness, and he was much distressed. There was a great gathering, and the Panchiapu men were there in force, and their womenfolk too, although it was ten miles away.
After praise and prayer, Dr. Liu said he had been grieved to hear that there had been no blessing at Panchiapu. It was very distressing for the brethren there, who were greatly to be pitied if they were passed over. So he said and then proposed that first of all we should have a time of earnest prayer on behalf of Panchiapu. And with one consent the whole congregation besieged the Throne of Grace on its behalf. That was indeed a great chorus A hundred people or more were earnestly praying for Panchiapu. Panchiapu was the one sound that was unmistakable. When this united prayer ceased the voice of the leading deacon of that unhappy place began to pray. He had not gone far before he seemed to realise that the old stereotyped formula was a dead letter now, so he just let himself go. "O Lord," he said, " don't leave out Panchiapu." And then he added, apologetically, " There's nothing really wrong with Panchiapu, only we are just deadly cold." The thanksgiving service was the crowning meeting of the series in that village, and at its close the Panchiapu deacon and members came forward and implored us to go back to them. They would take no denial. They had seen the blessing others had got, and they must have it too. So Dr. Liu went back with them and held a three days' mission. They got what they sought, and they said at the close of the meetings, "We must never get into this deadly cold state again." Then and there they raised half the salary of an evangelist, got friends to help them with the other half, and sent an urgent letter to the Mukden session asking an evangelist to be sent at once to teach and preach among them. The session appointed a man, and ever since the congregation of Panchiapu has been ministered to by its own evangelist.
When Dr. Liu went to Panchiapu, I travelled eight miles in the opposite direction to Tutaitze, to meet two other deputies who had been conducting a series of meetings at Changtan. I met them on the Monday morning. They had the bearing of men who had been at the wars and had returned victorious. It was the joy of the Seventy over again. "Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through Thy Name!" They told me that on the evening of the third day of the mission, the whole congregation began to cry aloud for mercy. The village magnates came to find out if any one had died suddenly! They could not understand such sorrow on any other ground. Men had voluntarily confessed to crimes that not even torture could have made them reveal. They had a book with them in which the names of those who had confessed were entered, and the nature of the confession. It was a terrible list. Some of the men were in the room when it was submitted to me. I said to the leading elder "If the Lord has blotted out these terrible things from the Book of His rememberance why should we keep a record of them. Better burn the whole handwriting." He looked at me for a moment reproachfully. He had meant to take it back to Mukden as a spoil of war. It was only for a moment. The next, the leaves were torn out and the record committed to the flames. And the men whose names were there fell down on their knees and wept.
After a three days' mission at Tutaitze, where a similar awakening took place, we arranged a thanksgiving service. Representatives from six stations came together to render praise to Almighty God for His gracious blessing. There was a gathering of over two hundred Christians. The short reports we heard from the various stations all told the same tale of blessing. Not one of them had been passed by. And after our return to Mukden we met the deputies from all the other places, and the stories they told were simply echoes of what we heard that day. The blessing which came to us in Mukden had fallen on all the out-stations, marked by the same awakening of the Christians, the same profound conviction of sin. Everywhere they had looked on Him whom they had pierced, and mourned, as one mourneth for his only son, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
Everywhere had been the same spirit of contrition, confession, restitution, thanksgiving; the same remarkable spirit of prayer had been evidenced all along the line. The Boxers, the war, the persecution, famine, peril, sword — all were forgotten now. The years that the palmerworm, the locust, and the caterpillar had eaten were restored. And after such things it had been, as promised "I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out My Spirit." At the close of the thanksgiving meeting short parting words of counsel were given. My companion, Dr. Liu, who is quite a young fellow, and had undergone a deep spiritual experience during the previous month, has developed a wonderful gift as a leader in this movement. He gave the last address, and at its close he asked all those present who had received blessing during the meetings to rise. The whole congregation rose as one man. While they stood he continued "All those who are resolved henceforth to follow the Lord fully hold up the right hand." And every hand went up. Standing thus, with uplifted hands, we sang our consecration hymn:
And how they sang! It was a great, solemn, gladdening sight! Nothing but a psalm seems fitting here.
This joy I am sure will be shared by many of the faithful in the home Church, who have, for many years, been praying for this which we have seen and heard in Manchuria.
Mr. Goforth's Mission — The Man And His Message
"Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord."
IN the previous pages the story of the gracious movement in the Manchurian Church has been limited to Mukden and its outposts. The movement, however, was not confined to that city; it spread like a flame of fire to all the places whither Mr. Goforth went, and to many places whither he could not go, so that Liaoyang, Hsinminfu, Kuangning, Chinchou, Haicheng, Fakumen, Tieling, Hailungcheng, Kwan-chengtze, the port of Newchwang, and their out-stations, have all shared in the blessing.
Before describing this extension it may be interesting here to say something more in detail regarding the inception of this great movement, and the man through whom, in the providence of God, this signal blessing came to us, the methods he used, and the message he brought. I have been asked about the "previous preparation." I am not aware of any special preparation. Some of us, were quite unprepared; we were not waiting for it in any sense whatever. We, were not, if the truth were told, much interested in it, and had no great enthusiasm for missions of the kind! As for the Chinese Christians, such a special mission, although not entirely a new thing, did not evoke any great sense of the necessity for special preparation. So, if the question be asked "What did you do beforehand in the way of making preparation for this great movement? "my answer must be 'We did nothing! We may have been wrong; I think we were very wrong. We have received much one wonders how much we have lost by neglecting the very necessary previous heart-searching, repentance, and prayer.
Having said this, it must be added that, for a year or more, there had been, deep in the hearts of many of the missionaries and Chinese Christians, a sense of great need, a dissatisfaction with existing conditions within the Church, and a longing for better days. So far back as the Presbytery meeting of I906 (our first meeting after the war), we heard with profound interest of remarkable spiritual movements in other parts of China, and at our Presbytery meeting the previous year, when visitors from Korea told us of the work of grace there, the Chinese brethren were deeply stirred, and the Presbytery at once resolved itself into a prayermeeting to invoke similar blessing on Manchuria. For two years there had been a prayer-meeting of all the ladies of the mission once a fortnight, when prayer was constantly offered for Revival. From Liaoyang two men were sent to Korea to see the work for themselves; and these men, returning before the mission began, were of immense service in Liaoyang, Mukden, and elsewhere. When the time for Mr. Goforth's coming to Mukden drew near, although there were no special prayermeetings held, Mr. Liu, the respected minister of the Mukden congregation, made use of the ordinary course of worship to impress the people with the importance of prayer, in view of the forthcoming meetings.
The coming of Mr. Goforth, one might say, was a pure accident. Rev. Dr. Mackay, of the Presbyterian Church of Canada, was on a visit to China in connection with the Centenary Conference in Shanghai. In the course of the summer he visited Korea to see at first hand the wonderful work there, and took Mr. Goforth along with him as his travelling companion. On their return they passed through Manchuria and visited Mukden, spending one Sabbath day there. Mr. Goforth preached to the Christian congregation, and rehearsed something of what they had been privileged to see in Korea. Such was the impression produced, that the desire was expressed that he might see his way to come back, and conduct a special mission with a view to the quickening of the spiritual life of the Christian community of Mukden. Nothing, however, was definitely arranged; in a day or two the travellers left Mukden, and, dropping off at Liaoyang, spent a short time there. Without having had an opportunity of speaking to the people of Liaoyang the desire was again expressed that Mr. Goforth might visit Manchuria later in the year, and conduct a series of special meetings for the Chinese Christians. For the first time the thought impressed itself on Mr. Goforth's mind that it might be in the line of duty, for him to come. Negotiations were begun, and ended in the Presbytery of Honan generously granting Mr. Goforth's services to the Church in Manchuria, for the space of two weeks. This time limit was afterwards extended to six weeks. Thus it was that Mr. Goforth came to Manchuria, being " sent!"
Mr. Goforth is Canadian born. His father is a Yorkshireman and his mother emigrated from the north of Ireland. He was educated in Knox College, Toronto, sitting at the feet of the late Principal Cavan. He was the pioneer missionary of the Presbyterian Church of Canada on the mainland of China. For many years that Church had been carrying on a successful mission on the Island of Formosa, but it was only in 1886 that work was begun in China proper, in the province of Honan. During the previous years, there had been a wonderful revival of missionary interest and zeal in two of the principal theological colleges of the Presbyterian Church of Canada, and as a result of this movement each of these colleges undertook the support of one missionary, for the new field. Mr. Goforth was chosen by his own College as their representative, and arrived in China just twenty years ago. He has thus had the benefit of that kind of training only to be obtained in pioneer work in a new field, a training which peculiarly fits him for the new duty which God in His providence seems to have called him to fulfil.
In common with all his colleagues, Mr. Goforth passed through a very trying experience during the Boxer uprising in China. It will be remembered that the Honan missionaries had to flee for their lives. During a most exciting and perilous journey of over twenty days, the party was attacked by an armed mob, and had a miraculous escape. Some were severely wounded, Mr. Goforth receiving sword cuts on the head. For a whole day and night, Mrs. Goforth and he lost trace of their little boy, and had all but given up hope of ever seeing him again. In schools like these he has been taught to endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ; he has learned patience, forbearance, and tactfulness in dealing with the Chinese, and above all the meaning and power of prayer.
During these twenty, years in Honan, Mr. Goforth and his colleagues have laid the foundation of, and built up a Christian institution on Evangelical lines, having had as their aim from the first a self-supporting, self-governing, and self-propagating Church. In all this work Mr. Goforth has had much success. In his evangelistic work he has sought to reach, not only, the illiterate or moderately educated classes, who are most susceptible to missionary influence, but the students and scholars of his district; knowing well that in order to bring about the regeneration of the Chinese empire, the men of influence must be brought into living touch with the redeeming principles of the Christian faith. In all this he has shown a breadth of vision and a sympathetic appreciation of the real missionary problem in China, which, together with great and good common-sense, knowledge of the Chinese language, literature and peoples, simple faith, and apostolic zeal, places Mr. Goforth in the front rank of Presbyterian missionaries in the Empire of China.
And his message? It is a simple, plain, old-fashioned one. To begin with, we learned much of the story, of the Korean Church. We heard of the Revival movement through which it has passed, the rapid progress of Christianity in the Hermit Kingdom, the amazing increase of converts, the strength and independence of the Churches, the number of schools and colleges, all established within the past few years, and all self-supporting. We soon learned to our cost that the preacher was as well versed in our statistics as in that of the Korean Church, and there followed a merciless comparison between the progress there and here during the last decade; a very striking, humbling contrast.
While he was sorry to disillusion us if we imagined we were doing well, Mr. Goforth felt it imperative to assure us that he had not come to Manchuria to praise up missions. He asked us to seriously inquire what was the meaning of this extraordinary, difference between Manchuria and Korea, in the spiritual sense. We could not explain matters by saying that the work had beep hindered in Manchuria by long-continued unrest and the turmoils of wars and insurrections. Korea has had her own share of wars and insurrections. Nor was the explanation to be found in the political situation, the bondage of the Korean people, and their galling yoke, driving them to embrace a foreign cult, in the hope that the Western powers would step in to deliver an oppressed and helpless people. On the other hand, the Church has stood out as the leader of anti-revolution, and shown a loyalty to the authorities and a forbearance under oppression which has been an example to the whole body of the people. It is not to these things that we must look for an explanation of what has taken place in the Korean Church. " Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord."
One has heard it said that in every great Revival movement there has been some particular truth on which emphasis has been laid. Thus, in 1859-60 it was "Ye must be born again." In 1873-75 it was "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ." The point of Mr. Goforth's message on which the emphasis rested was this "It is not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord." This doctrine, presented in many aspects, reiterated and amply illustrated, certainly formed the distinguishing theme of Mr. Goforth's ministry in Manchuria.
The holiness of God, the exceeding sinfulness and destructive nature of sin, the absolute helplessness of man without God's Holy Spirit, the possibility, of keeping back the Holy Spirit from working His miraculous work in and through us — these were the preacher's principal subjects.
He did not deal in abstract theories about the work of the Holy Spirit. "I speak that I do know, and testify that I have seen," is what he seemed to say. There was a note of certainty about it all. He says nothing of which he is not perfectly sure, and then he declares it with all his might. He believes that idolatry and superstition are not the fruits of the Spirit and he says so. And he equally believes that men who have given up these practices and have become nominal — even baptized — professors, may yet be the enemies of His Cross. He believes that enmity and hatred, jealousy and suspicion, uncleanness and lasciviousness, falsehood and dishonesty, pride and hypocrisy, worldliness and avarice, are not the fruits of the Holy Spirit of God, and that while these things are cherished and sanctioned in the hearts of men and women who name the name of Christ, no blessing can come such as came to the Church in Korea.
There was no doctrine of the Atonement unfolded. The Cross was not the preacher's theme, though it burned like a living fire in the heart of every address. Neither was there any lurid picture of torment everlasting, held up to strike terror into the hearts of sinners. That which oppressed the minds and hearts of the penitent was not the future punishment of the wicked. That thought may have been present to them, but seldom did one hear it expressed. Their minds seemed full of the thought of unfaithfulness, of ingratitude to the Lord who had redeemed them, of the heinous sin of trampling on His love.
It was this that pricked them to the heart, moved them to the very depths of their moral being, and caused multitudes to break out into a lamentable cry "God be merciful to me, a sinner."
The special mission began in the city, of Liaoyang on February I0th, and continued for a week. As I have already stated, two of the Liaoyang evangelists had been to Korea. They came back "on fire," and on the Sabbath previous to Mr. Goforth's arrival had told the people of what they had heard and seen. During the latter half of Mr. Goforth's visit there was a signal manifestation of the presence of the Holy Spirit, and many were moved to penitence and prayer. The outposts of the mission were subsequently visited by Chinese deputies from Liaoyang, great blessing following the preachers as they went from place to place. On their return to Liaoyang, they rehearsed to the congregation what they had seen in the provinces, and another series of meetings was begun, continuing for a week. The work in the out-stations and this second week in Liaoyang are well described in a letter written in English to Mrs. Macintyre of Haicheng, by one of her old pupils, Mr. Lin Yun Sheng (now one of the assistants in the Liaoyang hospital).
I cannot do better than quote from this quaint epistle. Mr. Lin writes (I give it verbatim) 'The meetings of Revival are very interesting. When Mr. Goforth went away from Liaoyang, Mr. Douglas sent some of the evangelists to the other stations to conduct meetings there. Through the help of the Spirit they did it very well. The effect was so great that all the Church members got roused. Their eyes brightened so that they could see the dirt as of a leper all over them. They went up to Jesus one by one, cried for mercy, and owned their faults and sins. This great sight even touched the conscience of the outsiders. They knew their burdens were heavy enough to put them to death, but they did not know what to do. So they asked the evangelists if they could be saved. They were told Jesus is not partial. He came to the world for nothing but sinners. He is only, too pleased to see sinners repent, and will receive every one who cares to yield himself. So they own their sin and become Christians immediately. And when the evangelists came back they thought Liaoyang should have meetings again, so they, gathered all the members at the Church on Sunday, but there was no effect whatever.
"On Monday we had other two meetings. The first one was very quiet, but at the second which lasted two hours, just before the meeting was closed, Elder Liu went up to the pulpit. He looked long at the members with great dignity. This made the members give their best attention to him. All waited anxiously, for his speech. He said very few words, and then began to weep in very agony, looking so that no one who saw him could bear it. The room was filled with the voice of crying. Many of the members and schoolboys owned their sins.
"On Tuesday we continued the meetings and the effect was even greater. There were more people who owned their greatest crimes. The meetings on Wednesday were very much the same, but still a great many, did not give their greatest burdens to our gracious Saviour. On Thursday, two outsiders came. It was the first time, they had been in church. The first went before the pulpit. He knelt and cried. He said 'I have much more sin than all the others. I am the chief bad man in my village. I used to persuade my village to go to law with others . . . I will not do any thing like this again.' Then he asked all the members to pray for him. So we obeyed and prayed for him. When all had finished he said in a low voice, 'K'o Liao Pu Teh' ('It is terrible'). I hope he will soon become a Christian. Another outsider said he was an undutiful son to his parents.
"And now I am not afraid to tell you of one more who has been a [professed] Christian for a long time, but he did not do his duty. He, too, owned his sin. You would have been sorry for him if you had been present, for he is a friend of yours." (He then goes into particulars of his fault, showing how he had involved a relative.) He was sorry, not only that he had sinned himself, but because his relative had sinned through him. Now you will deny that you have a friend like this, but you have, and he will sign his name at the end of this letter! My dear Mrs. Macintyre, I hope our great Lord will take up my great burden and deliver me. Will you be kind enough to mention my name in your prayers, and let me sin no more!"
Of the movement in Liaoyang, Rev. George Douglas (of the United Free Church of Scotland Mission) writes:
"There are manifestations of a profound conviction and confession of sin, accompanied by great emotion, and general pleading for mercy, and forgiveness from the whole body of the people, and a sense of responsibility for the heathen around. There are abject confessions of secret idolatry, fraud, theft, adultery, opium-smoking, gambling, various forms of deceit, resistance to the Spirit, and indifference to the salvation of souls. These are made before the whole congregation, and in great distress. It has been a most awe-inspiring and humbling experience for all. Even outsiders have been drawn into the tempest of confession and prayer, and in some cases great fear has fallen on the neighbourhood. They say 'What has come over the Christians? Yamen torture could not draw confessions such as these from human lips, and they are respectable people enough!' 'Don't go near them,' say others; 'their Spirit has come down, and He is irresistible! You will be drawn in before you know it.' "
Mr. Goforth's Mission — Continued.
"Other cities also."
AFTER leaving Mukden, Mr. Goforth proceeded to Kuangning, a city west of the Liao River. It is one of the stations of the Irish Presbyterian Mission, where a successful work has been carried on for upwards of sixteen years by, Rev. William Hunter and his devoted wife.
During the "Boxer year "the persecution of the Christians raged fiercely here. Many suffered martyrdom. And nowhere has the Divine blessing now fallen in richer measure. In a way, the people were more prepared than they were in some places. The longing for times of refreshing was deep in the hearts both of the missionaries and the people. They knew beforehand about the meetings, and had been praying long and earnestly. They had been in the habit for years of enjoying such special missions, extending over several days. But even here that which came was entirely unexpected; never before had they see aught like this.
Of the movement in Kuangning Mr. Hunter writes "The most striking case, to begin with, was that of a preacher, who, from his appearance, was in deep sorrow for sin for several days before he said anything. He broke into prayer, and first prayed God that his wife and children, and the relatives-to-be of his children, then present, might not be ashamed. He then went on to say — that he had now been on the brink of hell for several days, and if God did not intervene he would certainly go there soon; but he also had such a sight of heaven that he could keep quiet no longer. He confessed to betrayal of trust with regard to money confided to his care; to cheating in the matter of absence from his station when he ought to have been, and had, indeed, reported himself as being, there; and also to adultery. It was when he, in an utterly heart-broken voice, made this last confession that a wail came from the women's side — so heart-stricken that soon the whole house was in tears, and many, striking on their breasts, besought pardon. So general was the prayer and crying that scarcely any one heard anybody else. I knew not what any one said, as I kept moving here and there among kneeling, agonised people. Of course I could do little for them; their pain was beyond human help at that time.
"Next morning, I rode round to six houses, of which no member had been present that evening. Nearly all of them had heard, and were preparing to be present early. The normal salutation when I asked them had they heard of last night was, in awed tones, 'Yes! The Lord has come.'
Outside the north gate there was an elder who was not present at either meeting of the previous day. I called on him and found him sick, 'pained all over,' and in deep distress. The gate closes at sundown, and no communication whatever had reached him. He was far away from the members, of whom none but himself lived near there. He had been moved somewhat in prayer on the last day he attended the meeting.
When I told him what had happened in the church, he exclaimed, 'That explains it!' He went on to say, 'Last night, just about lamp-lighting, all my sins seemed to surround me and stand in my presence, and hell cannot be as bitterly painful! I was in an agony of body and mind. These around me said, "It surely cannot be that the elder is possessed with a devil" — the only explanation possible to them — ' "since he does not believe in such things." ' His agony continued until he called his son from the house adjoining, and narrated to him the various sums and ways in which he had defrauded people, saying, 'These have to be made good, even should we not have a house to live in.' He was still in deep distress when I saw him, and I comforted him as well as I could from Scripture.
But he was not satisfied until he had confessed in public what he had said to me in private. The fact that has struck me as of chiefest importance is that precisely as people have been moved to confession and repentance in Kuangning, so in the out-stations, where only native Christians led — and they apparently without any qualifications — the same results were met with. I was out with one group, and the certain expectancy of God's work being immediately accomplished in each particular place was most striking. The men were 'lifted out of themselves'; the speaking was heart to heart; and they found their souls standing naked in God's sight.' The experiences were most striking. In one place a man who had been associated with highway robbers, and had been with them on a raid, was arrested, and he endured torture for six months; when he was set free with all the other prisoners, because of a rumoured approach of the Russians to seize the city. During the six months torture he confessed to nothing but one flash of the light of the divine Spirit of Truth on his soul revealed to him his lost condition, and he writhed in agony on the floor for a long time. For over an hour afterwards we tried to comfort him by the reading and explanation of the Fifty-first Psalm, which we thought suitable; and I think we succeeded.
"In another place some soldiers came to ascertain what the disturbance, so late at night, could be, and finding on inquiry that it was 'Christians confessing sins,' they entered 'to see the fun.' They were not long there before two of their number confessed to murder and other sins!
"In another place one young man lay on the floor, his face covered with his hands, all day, and refused to move or speak. He was joined next day by another man, who kept him company in the same position. They had both been guilty of the same sin.
"These are a few of the most striking of very many cases which might be given. About the ultimate 'effect I do not know. So far good, undoubtedly. But I had rather wait a year before answering that question. What I am sure of is that it has been an enormous blessing to our district to have its eyes opened. May God continue to bless us!"
Another important station of the Irish Presbyterian Mission is Chinchou, a large city on the Chinese railway, midway between Shanhaikuan and Mukden. While the meetings in Kuangning were in progress, Mr. Hunter wrote to Rev. John Keers, the missionary in charge of Chinchou, telling him of the wonderful movement. Mr. Keers at once hurried to Kuangning to see it, taking with him one of his chief helpers. So impressed was he by what he saw and heard that he at once wrote an urgent letter to the Presbytery of Honan, asking that Mr. Goforth might be set free to conduct another three weeks' mission in Manchuria.
Ultimately, through the kindness of the Honan brethren, this was arranged, and Mr. Goforth came back, beginning the second campaign at Chinchou. The movement in this city is thus graphically described by Mrs. Keers:
"Our meetings began on a Saturday evening, when Mr. Goforth gave a short address on the subject of prayer for others. Previous to this, for a fortnight, we had been holding daily prayer-meetings, asking God's blessing and the outpouring of His Spirit. On Sunday morning and evening the church was packed. The Revival in Korea was brought vividly before us, and the people seemed much impressed.
"On Monday morning the whole congregation, after an earnest address on the sins that were spoiling their lives and making them useless as witnesses for Christ, broke down and wept on their knees, calling to God for mercy. After about twenty minutes of sobbing and prayer some one said, 'Let us thank God for His mercy to us'; and we rose and sang, 'I hear Thy welcome voice.' Those words had a new meaning to us as we sang with all Our heart and soul
On the following days — Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday — at the conclusion of each address, when the usual opportunity for prayer was given, many rose and confessed their sins before the whole congregation, asking the prayers of all present. It was a new and moving sight to witness strong men in tears because of sin. Even schoolboys came forward, crying and confessing sins of swearing, fighting, stealing, and gambling. Until this time only three or four women had the courage to speak out before all and confess their sins, though every day the sound of weeping and prayer was quite general among them. One woman (formerly a Bible-woman) confessed that she had never led any one to Christ, that she had not taught her own children, nor brought any of her relations to Christ's fold.
"On Saturday Mr. Goforth left us, but our meetings went on as usual, twice that day, the time being occupied almost entirely in confession and prayer. The evening meeting was one of the most powerful of all. One young man, well known in the city, rose to make his confession, and he could scarcely get the words out for sobbing. A neighbour tried to get him to sit down, and an elder suggested that we should all pray for him, but he said, 'Take your time; I must get it all out.' And then he reviewed his past life as in God's sight. He told of having been four years at St. John's College in Shanghai, and how, during that time, he had only attended church a few times; also that when, in Shanghai he had tasted of the sins of dissipation and evil living. Then, gathering strength as he proceeded, he asked the congregation, had any of them seen his father at these meetings? His family, he said, had indeed a name to live, and were dead. His wife, an earnest Christian woman, had often exhorted him to keep, the Sabbath, but he had not listened to her. The congregation all went on their knees and prayed for him. That evening our meeting lasted from 4.30 till 8 o'clock.
Next day was Communion' Sunday, and it was with difficulty we could get seats for all who crowded in. The very peace of God seemed to be among us, perceiving that our sins had been washed away; and we could sit down at the table of our Lord. The Sunday evening service was one of thanksgiving, and many testimonies were given by both men and women to the great blessing they had received. On Monday eight men gave in their names as willing to go to the out-stations and tell of the wonderful manifestations of the Holy Spirit's power. They were divided into four groups, and at the end of the fortnight they returned, praising God for all His goodness, and reporting similar scenes, of weeping, and confession of sin, and turning to God. There was no foreigner with them, and whereever they went God used them mightily. This has greatly strengthened their faith, and they return to their homes with added zeal and power.
"One special confession made by very many was that they had done nothing to bring their families to Christ. As soon as the meetings were over we began a campaign of visiting in these families in Chinchou, and three women and four schoolgirls offered to help. A daily prayermeeting is held in both school and hospital, and prayer has now a new meaning to us. We find a difficulty in getting the meeting closed, for all want to pray. At this meeting, night after night, the schoolgirls broke down, confessing their sins; and often we all wept together. There is now a new spirit of love and service in both hospital and school. From the boys' school, on Sunday afternoon, five or six of the boys go out with the teacher (a young man who received great blessing), and they preach on the streets. We do indeed thank God for lives cleansed and made new to serve him, and our prayer is that all Manchuria and all China may, share in the blessing, and become indeed a Christian nation."
It was my privilege to be present at the meetings at Chinchou at the end of the week and to take part in that wonderful Communion. It seemed, in looking over the crowd of faces on Saturday night, as if not one had been passed by. Old men of three score and ten, boys from the school, the women and girls — all seemed to have shared alike in the pain and the joy. It was most touching to see the boys, utterly broken-hearted, rise one after the other, walk forward to the front, and sob out their faults and failings before the whole congregation. Once I heard the sounds of very great distress in a particular part of the church, and, on going over, found two men on their knees, facing each other and weeping bitterly. One said "It was my fault, all my fault. I have wronged you; forgive me, forgive me! The other, smiting his breast, avowed "No, it was my fault, all my fault. You must forgive me!" And they wept together. Mr. Keers came up. "It's all right!" he whispered "two brothers, long estranged, reconciled!"
"It was at Chinchou" writes Dr. Walter Phillips, of Newchwang) "that I first came in touch with the Revival. Meetings had been going on for a week, hence I was ushered into the heart of things unprepared, and, I must in candour add, with a strong temperamental prejudice against revival hysteria in all its forms, so that mine is, at least impartial testimony.
"At once, on entering the church, one was conscious of something beyond the common. The place was crowded with members from all over the district, and tense; reverent attention sat on every face. The very singing was vibrant with new joy and vigour. The opening prayer was scarce ended when a voice from the audience took up the strain, not in the old stereotyped phrases, but in faltering, broken words, direct from the heart. Another and another followed in eager exercise of the new-found power, sometimes two or three joining in at once till a hymn was given out to stop the unceasing stream. Then came an address, vivid enough, yet not out of the ordinary; telling how one cold and almost hopeless congregation after another, in the Mukden district, broke down before the zeal and prayer of the voluntary workers who visited them. Ordinary words were used, but the need and destitution spoken of seemed to strike home to the listeners a description of the desperate need of their own awakened hearts. The people knelt for prayer, silent at first, but soon one here, and another there, began to pray aloud. The voices grew and gathered volume and blended into a great wave of united supplication that swelled till it was almost a roar, and died down again into an undertone of weeping. Now I understood why the floor was so wet — it was wet with pools of tears! The very air seemed electric — I speak in all seriousness — and strange thrills coursed up and down one's body. Then above the sobbing, in strained, choking tones, a man began to make public confession. Words of mine will fail to describe the awe and terror and pity of these confessions. It was not so much the enormity of the sins disclosed, or the depths of iniquity sounded, that shocked one. The faults of some were venial enough, yet the remorse of these newly tender consciences was as keen as that of greater offenders. It was the agony of the penitent, his groans and cries, and voice shaken with sobs; it was the sight of men forced to their feet, and in spite of their struggles impelled, as it seemed, to lay bare their hearts, that moved one and brought the smarting tears to one's own eyes.
"Never have I experienced anything more heart-shaking, more nerveracking, than the spectacle, of those souls stripped naked before their fellows. It seemed to violate the privacy of the being, to outrage every instinct of the individual; and yet those who were most racked and torn by their emotions, once they had made a clean breast of their sins, seemed to find peace, and their faces shone with an ecstasy their streaming eyes could not belie. So for hour after hour it went on, till the strain was almost more than the onlooker could bear. Now it was a big, strong farmer groveling on the floor, smiting his head on the bare boards as he wailed unceasingly, 'Lord! Lord! "Now a shrinking woman in a voice scarce above a whisper, now a wee laddie from the school, with tears streaking his piteous grimy little face, as he sobbed out, 'I cannot love my, enemies'; 'Last week I stole a farthing from my teacher' 'I am always fighting and cursing.' 'I beseech the pastor, elders, and deacons to pray for me.' And then, again, would swell that wonderful deep organ tone of united prayer, while ever as the prayer sank again the ear caught a dull underflow of quiet sobbing, or of desperate entreaty, from men and women, who, lost to their surroundings, were wrestling for peace."
After leaving Chinchou Mr. Goforth went to Sinminfu, another of the Irish Mission stations, west of the Liao. Rev. John Omelvena, the missionary in charge, writing a few days after the mission began, tells of an extraordinary movement. On the third day of the meetings the congregation, of wind of contrition and confession. At the close of the mission Mr. Omelvena writes "We have had a great time. On Friday and Saturday prayer and confession went on for seven hours. All the boys and girls of the school have spoken. The women also have made a stand."
Four months later Mr. Omelvena wrote "I still thank God that a wave has broken on our shores. All the manifestations recorded by you were duplicated in my large district; the evangelists, elders, deacons, and schools, without exception, were borne off their plodding ways and swept irresistibly forward; every nook and corner of the district was reconnoitred, and the gospel of confession and peace was proclaimed and accepted. Those who previously had been more or less instructed in Divine truth, those in whom the Spirit could, as it were, find a vantageground, have been bringing forth the fruits of the Spirit almost in proportion to their previous preparedness. One result of the work has been that now my best helpers are fully sensible of the great honour, as well as the great responsibility, which their duty carries with it. In season and out of season they, are working and planning, and itinerating and praying — the latter they practise now. The senior boys and girls of the schools are infused with a different spirit, and their private meetings for prayer and searching the Scriptures, as well as their efforts to preach in the streets and villages, show where our main hope lies for the future." The other two cities whither Mr. Goforth went were Haicheng and the port of Newchwang. The former place will always be associated with the name of the founder of the Mission there — the late beloved and revered Rev. John Macintyre. For a period also James Allan Wylie, who won his martyr's crown during the Chino-Japanese War, laboured there. These men toiled and prayed for the day that we have seen, but did not see it. They rest from their labours and their works follow them. Mr. Goforth held a week's mission here, the same results following as in other places. The teaching men — elders, evangelists, and deacons — as well as the body of the members, shared in the blessing. Testimonies of blessing received were given by men from other districts. An evangelist from a very distant outpost told of what he had seen at Chinchou during the meeting. Such and such things happened on the 22nd and 23rd of the moon, and on the 24th — "Ah! the 24th," he added; and his eye kindled as he added, with emotion, "that was the day of my birth!" It was through such men that the fire spreads.
It was at Newchwang that the Gospel was first preached in Manchuria by settled Protestant missionaries. The first evangelist, Rev. William Chalmers Burns, laboured here and prayed here with extraordinary fervour; here, too, he died, and here, within the little foreign cemetery, is his grave.
The Irish Mission has been established here for well-nigh forty years past, and the gospel has been preached in its streets continuously, year in and year out, by the missionary in charge, Rev. James Carson, with beautiful fidelity, and in the face of many discouragements. It is a port town, with a floating population, and hard soil to work upon. Mr. Carson had gone home on furlough shortly before the meetings, but before leaving he had the satisfaction of knowing that Mr. Goforth would be able to hold a mission in Newchwang. It was the last of this most wonderful series, the last, and, in some respects, the mightiest — but I must leave my esteemed friend, Dr. Walter Phillips, who has charge of the Mission Hospital at Newchwang, to tell the story.
"There has been a great shaking among the dry bones," writes Dr. Phillips. "To describe or to estimate accurately what we have experienced during the past week is not easy. The signs of movement and life came early, on the first meetings held by Mr. Hunter on the Friday and Saturday, prior to Mr. Goforth's coming. To begin with there was an unexpectedly large audience (considering the lateness of the season) of some two hundred people, sixty to eighty of whom came from the out-stations. The reports from Kuangning and Sinminfu by the delegates from these places strongly affected the people. The extraordinary outbursts of earnest united prayer occurred early. Even on the Friday there were confessions. On the Saturday the movement spread. By the evening the people were weeping in concert. With Mr. Goforth's beginning on Sunday the evidences of life were still more marked. After the first address we had a terrible scene with Mr. Liu, a colporteur, who fell on the floor, screaming add praying, and sobbing out a whole catalogue of crimes. After that a deluge followed. I was present only at the afternoon meetings, so I cannot speak of what took place in the mornings. It was terrifying, heartrending! The results are glorious, but — the process! Such confessions! Elders, agents, members, inquirers, wept and sobbed, and threw themselves on the ground, and knocked their heads and called aloud for mercy, till one's very soul thrilled within one. There were not wanting proofs of the genuineness of the contrition of many, in the offerings of money and service that came in. Into these there is no need to go. I suppose they were much the same as else where.
"Proportionately to their numbers, the out-stations were more moved. I don't know how it all happens. Mr. Goforth's message is certainly direct enough. I imagine that the reports given from other places, Korea to Haicheng, may, to an extent, act as suggestions. But the strong emotion displayed is certainly not the direct outcome of anything said. Still, the pointblank certainty of an enthusiast like Mr. Goforth is infectious. There is no doubt or hesitation about his beliefs, and his matter-of-fact exposition appeals to the Chinese mind. The audience get to feel the same as the, preacher, feel to the fullest the urgency and danger of their position, and have brought home to them the redeeming love of Christ, outside Whom is no salvation! It is all so real. No abstractions or philosophising. Criticism is disarmed. The power of the man, the results of his appeal, confound all questioning.
"There were a good many women present, and they were mightily stirred. Fortunately, Dr. Mitchell, a lady doctor in Fakumen station, was there to look after them, when there was a pitiful scene with Mrs. Chen, who sobbed as if her heart would break. I am not very impressionable, but the tears came even into my eyes. And the wee laddies from the school! It was pitiful to see the wee chaps rise up and tell their faults — 'I stole a tang tze' (cent), 'I always ma rin' (curse), 'I don't like studying' — while that wonderful man beamed on them! Young and old, they were all alike.
"What the permanent results may be time alone can show. But these people, at the very least, can never be as they were. They are separated from their past by a sea of fire. Meantime seventeen workers have gone out to the nine out-stations, in four bands, to describe their experience, and preach this Gospel of confession and peace. Very enthusiastic they are, and certainly they have got something new to tell. And the members who could not themselves go subscribed fifty dollars, apart from all previous subscriptions, to help pay the expenses of the mission." Dr. Phillips' story needs no comment. One cannot help feeling sorry that the veteran missionary Mr. Carson was not there to observe all. For thirty-five long years he has been hammering away at that rock, and whilst returning home on furlough another comes, and with one stroke more the thirty-five years' hammering at last succeeds in rending the rock asunder. It is the last stroke that tells. And herein is the saying true, one soweth and another reapeth."
Outposts Catch The Flame
"Is not My Word like as a fire ?"
HITHERTO, what has been recorded is the movement accompanying and following the missions of Mr. Goforth. But the fire spread far afield, and kindled flames in many places untouched by the missioner's personal influence. A notable movement was that at Fakumen, of which the missionary in charge, Rev. F. S. W. O'Neill, writes thus "The Revival in the Fakumen district began at the end of March with the preaching of Licentiate Chang and Evangelist Li, of Liaoyang. Indeed, one of the remarkable features of the movement here has been the agency of Chinese preachers, to whose work, almost entirely, under God, the quickening has been due. The method of these two missionaries was to tell the story of the Revival in North Korea, as well as in the Liaoyang circuit and in Mukden. It was brought out very prominently that Korea had been blessed through the humility and prayerfulness of her people.
Poorer by far than the Chinese, more primitive in business and agriculture, with far less ability and fewer resources, the Koreans had leaped ahead in the Christian race. Out of their extreme poverty they 'support four hundred preachers in the Pingyang district alone. They build churches, and fill them to overflowing. The street on the Sunday is like a temple fair, with the crowds trooping to the different places of worship. Temples are falling into decay through neglect. In the absence of litigants, yamens have little work to do. Nor is this mighty ingathering due merely to the loss of political power since the advent of the conquering Japanese. The work is spiritual and real.
"Such, in part, was the story told by the licentiate Chang. But, strange to say, the work of the Holy Spirit seemed to stop short at the Yalu River. Coming back from Korea into Manchuria, one breathed a colder and more humdrum Church atmosphere. Now, however, things were changed. Incidents of the awakening in East Mukden, and in the villages round Liaoyang, revealed the power of God in our very midst. Pastor Chen, of Chinchiatun, gave now and then a solid Scripture basis for the renewal of spiritual life. Soon the prayers, which had been ascending for some time previous, began to receive their answer. The first to show deep concern was one of our best Christians, Mrs. Martha Chang, the girls' school-teacher. She wept when praying to be forgiven for neglect of the people of her home. No one who knew her exemplary life could fail to be touched by her words. Later on she broke out in a passion of importunate petition for her husband's brother, a prodigal who had been prevailed on to come. She cried to God over and over again for his immediate conversion. In a short time the answer came. The prodigal turned to the Father for pardon, weeping with bitter tears.
"Martha's father, an evangelist, was the next to be touched. He had appropriated the Church's money. Had broken the seventh commandment, had failed in his duty to the Master. In token of repentance, he promised to give up the use of tobacco, and to subscribe a tenth of his income to the Lord. His daughter gave a heavy pair of silver bracelets, and though she had formerly been subscribing one-tenth, now agreed to make the Lord's share the first claim on her salary. While many men broke down, the women were, on the whole, more powerfully moved. A young girl dispenser in the Women's Hospital, who hitherto has been a pattern for enthusiasm and self-sacrifice, admitted having broken a clinical thermometer and having told the doctor a lie about it. She had a relative in the hospital for treatment, for whom she prayed, and then at once went off to bring her along to the meeting. The girl, from her salary of six shillings a month, promised to offer to the Lord one half. "One young woman almost refused to receive comfort from the prayers and singing, so bitterly did she mourn her evil habit of reviling her mother-in-law.
"An able ex-evangelist, among his other transgressions, gave us a shock by confessing the crime of murder, while his brother; who, though illiterate, is one of the best men in the congregation, admitted the same awful sin, and added that in the Boxer year he had lent a hand in looting the town. A young man, not previously remarkable for his zeal, became so concerned for his father — schoolteacher and a Christian — that he took a walk of ten miles or so and brought his father in to the meeting. The latter at first scorned the idea of public confession, but the very next day he was down on his knees, asking for pardon for sins of the flesh and for gambling away his inheritance. He offered to serve the Lord, under the Church's orders, without pay.
"On the sixth day the climax occurred. Never had such a scene been witnessed or even dreamed of. The audience, of three hundred to four hundred, were suddenly swept away by a torrent of weeping, passionate and deep. God alone comprehends the heartfelt cries. Many who had already received pardon and peace were pouring out their ardent prayers on behalf of the unsaved. All at once over thirty of the schoolboys were seized by a wave of feeling. Jumping up on the forms, some besought and implored the unbelievers standing around to repent of their sins and seek the Saviour forthwith. Inside and outside the church there was such a crowd as had never once been thought possible in Fakumen. Altogether it was estimated that perhaps a thousand were present. It was a strange and wonderful awakening, the Church being moved to its very depths.
"Before the close of the Fakumen meeting our two missionaries went with Pastor Chen to his congregation at Chinchiatun. At first the coldness of the religious atmosphere was depressing. The ground seemed too stony to bear fruit, but the change came, and then what an upheaval! The outward physical manifestations were more extraordinary than anything hitherto experienced. A member fell back from his seat unconscious and remained so for a considerable time. Even after a partial unburdening of his guilt his face was still the colour of ashes, and not till he had confessed that in earlier life, before coming in contact with Christianity, he had committed murder five times, as well as other awful breaches of God's law, did he obtain peace. This man is a respectable and educated practitioner of medicine, who had been a teacher of the Church school.
His worst enemy could not have imagined him guilty of such fearful crimes. Small wonder the inner compulsion to wrench himself free from the past should have had peculiar bodily effects! Nor was this an isolated occurrence. Five others, including a young woman of doubtful reputation, not belonging to the Church, at different times fell down unconscious, or as if in pain. But in each case a full confession of sin brought instant relief.
"In order that no out-station, however small, should miss the opportunity of blessing, we arranged for a series of meetings in each of the twelve places. Our elder, Chang, assisted by five or six evangelists, spent a month or so in the ten nearer out-stations; I visited each place either during or about the time of the services. In the two furthest out-stations Pastor Chen did the greater part of the work. It is truly wonderful that not one station failed to show visible evidences of the Holy Spirit's power. In Chengchiatun (about eight miles north of Fakumen) the members had enlarged their place of worship, so that perhaps four hundred could crush into it. Day by day the hall was crowded within and without, the bulk of the listeners being non-Christians. For some days, though the men of the congregation had been deeply stirred, the women appeared to have hardly been influenced. The deacons requested us to pray specially for the women. The same evening the women and girls were so broken down that even after the meeting ended their weeping could still be heard.
"At the thanksgiving service many valuable gifts were handed in or promised — jewellery, money, disused silver opium boxes, land. One man volunteered to give about £15 and a piece of land away in the northwest colony. Many promises were made of time to be devoted to evangelising.
"Concerning this Revival with which God has graciously blessed us in the Fakumen district the following general remarks may be made:
"I. As already mentioned, the instruments used by the Spirit have been Chinese preachers, through whose means the work was begun, and, for the most part, carried on. One cannot be too thankful that THE DAY OF THE WESTERNERS' ECLIPSE HAS ALREADY DAWNED.
"2. While the admission of non-Christians to such meetings is open to objection, still, it is a very striking fact that heathen listeners were now and then moved to repentance. One young man in Fakumen called out, anxiously beseeching us to enrol him as an inquirer. In Tungchiangtze a complete stranger came to the front, and, throwing himself on the floor, with convulsive sob's told the broken story of his guilt.
"3 With regard to results, one of the most encouraging is the change in the evangelists themselves. A new power in prayer, a new grip in preaching, more zeal and more love — their eyes have seen the King in His beauty. The foundation of the whole work has been in prayer — solitary prayer on hillsides or in fields, united, spontaneous petition of the whole congregation, prayer untaught by man, simple, insistent, trustful.
"Many a leader, and many a member of the rank and file; has learned afresh to pray, and a new joy and peace have taken possession of their hearts. Again, a new spirit of evangelism ha s appeared amongst us. Groups of men or boys have gone out to the streets to preach, or to adjacent villages, women to the homes of 'friends — to compel them to come in, that My house may be filled!
"One day, at the prayer-meeting, a schoolboy sadly complained that passing along the street, he had heard a man saying to his neighbour, 'Do you see that boy? He is mad!" He was referring to the boy's strange conduct in preaching enthusiastically at the street corner. Then we all lifted up our voices and thanked God that any of us should thus be counted worthy to follow in our Saviour's steps. 'LET US GO FORTH THEREFORE UNTO HIM WITHOUT THE CAMP, BEARING HIS REPROACH. '"
Hailungcheng is a station of the United Free Church Mission, a hundred miles east of Kaiyuan. The resident missionaries are Rev, and Mrs. W. MacNaughtan, and Dr. and Mrs. W. Young. It is a wide field, opened to colonisation within recent years, and fast becoming a populous and prosperous region. Work has more or less been carried on during the past eighteen years, receiving a great impulse twelve years ago through the influence of a remarkable man, "Blind Chang," known as the Apostle of Manchuria, who was martyred in 1900.
Mr. MacNaughtan (writing in the early summer of I908) gives the following graphic account of the movement in this district " Many signs of new life and progress in the Church here came to encourage us this winter. One congregation had called its own pastor, and over a hundred Christians had pledged themselves to seek to lead at least one soul to Christ in the year, and contribute ten cents per month to the support of new agents. All was going well, and we were prepared to give a glowing account of the condition of the Church and the zeal of the evangelists. Little did we know what lay beneath the surface!
"The Revival came to us with the revealing power of the Judgment Day. It was the awful experience of the Opened Books and the Recording Angel! On that first afternoon when the fountains were broken up, we saw hell as it were opened in our midst, and witnessed the agony of torn souls. Every life was weighed in the balances and found wanting, and against the lives of some stood the grossest crimes.
"Our two deputies to the Revival, Pastor Yao and Mr. Sung, had returned, their faces ablaze with new fire, and humbled to the dust with a sense of their own sins. The audience, thronging the meeting-place, were awed by the testimony of these men, and felt the power which thrilled them. The crisis came on the third evening. There was nothing sensational in the quiet, earnest address which was being given. Some of the audience were finding it dull and had gone to sleep. Suddenly a young man at the side rose to his feet, and raising his hands above his head, gave a gasping cry, and fell heavily to the floor, where he lay struggling and gasping for breath. 'Hysteria!' thought I, nonplussed, with a grip of annoyance at my heart. At the same moment a gust of wind drove open a window with a loud bang! 'The Holy Spirit has come!' shouted an evangelist, and the whole audience fell on their faces, loudly crying for mercy. In a few moments the prayers became the frantic cries of souls in agony and terror.
"Pastor, stop the prayers,' said a man in my ear. He had had experience of such scenes in other places. We sang again and again the chorus of the hymn, 'What can wash away my sin?' and at last in some measure the excitement was brought under control. Three sobbing helpless beings still lay prostrate on the floor, incapable of speech and unable to stand. Supported by others, they were brought forward, the young man above mentioned and two women. To my inexperienced eyes they appeared to be cases for the Doctor rather than for the confessional. One of the women especially in a state of utter physical collapse, was wailing in a peculiarly weird chant. 'She is in violent hysterics,' I told Pastor Yao, 'and should be taken out till she is calmer and can understand what is said to her.' He looked at me for a moment, not liking to contradict me, and then said, 'It is like this everywhere! That woman has been a spiritdancer, and when she confesses she will gain perfect peace.' I felt then that for me, with my Western civilised experiences, it was 'hands off' lest peradventure I be found fighting against God. My colleague, Dr. Young, felt as I did. It is getting "black" said he referring to the wild agony of some. At last, by holding their hands firmly and speaking gently to them, they regained some measure of self-control and sobbed out their confessions. The sorceress had come to the school a fortnight before, no one could understand why. It transpired later that she expected help in a lawsuit. Thus when the Spirit came to her she was practically a heathen. Next day the radiant peace upon her face was something wonderful to see.
"The other woman was a piteous case. She had come, recommended by Pastor Yao, as a possible Biblewoman, and had just begun her course of training. She had been married at sixteen, married to an imbecile, and had been led astray. 'I never was taught anything but evil, evil all my life,' the poor penitent sobbed. Other women, too, made terrible confessions. One cried bitterly, ' I was left without a morsel of food in the house.'
Surely it was like the Judgment Day! The sins of the night and the secret places were dragged to the light, and, like evil spirits leaving a man, they threw him on the ground and rent him. Our innocent faced house-boy, whom we thought so good, was not,only an adulterer but a murderer. He had poisoned his wife! A sobbing, broken man gasped out that he had killed two men! Yet another confessed to the brutal murder of a nephew!
The schoolboys all lay with their faces to the ground, sobbing piteously, many of them so collapsed that we had them taken outside. But shortly afterwards, before the whole meeting had dispersed, the teacher came to me saying that the boys were all weeping and wished to confess. He brought them in, and there the poor little fellows with tear-stained faces knelt before the platform, and I spoke of Him who carried the lambs and said, ' Fear not, little flock!'
" 'Do you repent of all your sins?"
" 'Yes!' was the vehement reply sobbed out by all. 'Then listen to what Jesus says to you, 'Son, thy sins are forgiven thee."
'Do you give your hearts to Jesus?' With an eager affirmative they claimed Him as their Master and Lord.
" That night we went home with shaken nerves. For that night at least the joy in the remedy was all swallowed up in the hideousness of the disease revealed. The marks of the night were upon almost every face next morning. Some were radiant with new-found joy, others looked white and drawn from a night of terror and anguish.
"It was thus that the Spirit' worked. I question whether many could remember any detail of the addresses. But the sense of sin awakened at the meeting deepened through the night till the burden became intolerable. I never saw anything like it. One man for whom we were all praying was resisting the Spirit. Day by day his face became more ghastly, till I felt that for him the option was between confession or insanity. It was the judgment seat they stood before. Not one seemed to find peace in private confession. In this matter advice or opinion was of no avail, The burden was not got rid of till it was laid down publicly. Each morning weary, burdened souls waited for the opening of the meeting, and, regardless of all else, interrupting speaking, prayer, or hymn, they poured but their bitterness at the foot of the Cross. A confession stopped all proceedings, and was received by a kneeling congregation, who then prayed with united voice for the brother or sister who had just spoken.
"Our, leading deacon, Mr. F—— (a man whom I thought eligible for the eldership), after the first two meetings could stand it no longer, and stayed away. He dared not face the ignominy of confession. But from his conscience there was no escape. The day could be faced, but not the dark loneliness of night. His burden grew, till it rendered him desperate. At a Christian's home, where he was calling, he was asked to lead in prayer. He could not. His response was to burst into a flood of tears, and startle that little company by his confession of secret impurity. His words melted the hearts of all, and they too confessed, and were all filled with the Spirit. Amongst them was a non-Christian, a merchant in this town. Though he understood nothing of what was meant in theory, he was nevertheless swept into the tide of the Spirit, and with bitter weeping confessed his sins.
"The Shanghai Centenary Conference, in its, inquiries, elicited the fact that instantaneous conversions, in the true sense, at the first hearing of the gospel, were practically unknown in China. This man is one of a great number in this district who have experienced a 'thaumaturgic' conversion at these meetings.
The deepest work of grace has been among the evangelists. Some of them have been taken up to the Mount of Transfiguration, and have learned the lessons of victorious prayer. On my way to our Conference at Newchwang I passed early one morning through a village where three of them were conducting Revival meetings. I wished to see them and hear their news before I passed on. Many of the congregation had already gathered together, but the evangelists were not there. The people pointed to a little hilltop not far off and said "They go there to pray every morning for several hours." When they, came down from their Oratory to see me they 'wist not that their faces shone!'
"Of these men, two had been a source of anxiety to me only a few weeks before. One of them had insulted me because I had refused to help to deliver the Church from an unjust tax, which a new magistrate was levying on heathen and Christians alike. He and two deacons followed me for three days on my return from a long journey, causing me as much annoyance as they could, till by the grace of God they, were led to the meetings here. For a week he stood out, proud and bitter. He met my greetings with a frown but in the end he capitulated. With cool, steady voice and half defiant attitude he stood up and told his terrible story.
Pride' was his enemy. He had so ill-used his first wife that she committed suicide. He cursed and beat his second wife, who eventually, died. My present wife at times I still curse and beat.' He hated me for my refusal to help in that law plea, and represented that I had lied to them about it. He asked my, pardon and the prayers of the congregation in still the same bold voice. Need I say that the congregation under such a man had languished almost to death. Later he went to Mopanshan, where the next meetings' were held, and there he got a great overflowing blessing, which made him a channel of the Spirit's power to other places also.
"The other evangelist had sobbed out his confession as I held his hand only ten days before. In the station where I had last placed him he had fallen into grievous sin. Now there was a freshness and bloom of joy in his face — in all their faces — which smote me suddenly with the sense of my own lack.
"Of another evangelist, I had the highest hopes. He was nephew to 'Blind Chang,' the Apostle of Manchuria, and inherited much of his uncle's zeal and many, of his gifts. At one meeting he was smitten to the floor, and lay there for over ten minutes, utterly incapable. When at last he was roused and could speak he gasped out, 'I have seen Jesus.' His uncle before he died had left him his prophetic mantle. But all these years he had been planning to kill his uncle's murderers. They were the leading men of his own village,' and had never been called to account for that shocking murder of the old blind man.
Do you forgive your enemies?' asked Pastor This, surely, was more than could be expected. A friendly Christian rose and went over to where he stood.
" 'I want to help you,' said he, ' and I will do all I can to help you. Forgive them!' Still there was silence, and many silent prayers were offered that Jesus would gain the victory. It was a moment heavy with destiny for him. Defeat, and his life would be cast to the void. Victory, and a new hero would be gained to God's army.
" 'I forgive them,' he said, very quietly. Then the power of a new vision broke upon him. He would seek Christian 'revenge.' Pray for these men, all of you, that they may be saved; and pray, for me that I may be given the victory over myself and them.' "I shall first write to them,' he continued, 'and tell them of my forgiveness and hopes, and then at the earliest opportunity visit them, and plead with them to repent and be saved.'
"Only those who know Chinese life and Confucian morals can estimate the value of this miracle.
" Many strange things have happened during these days. Visions have been seen and dreams have been dreamed. An inquirer, ten miles from Mopanshan. was ploughing his field, unconscious of the fact that meetings were being held. That morning a strange unrest troubled him, for which he could not account. Tears kept welling up in his eyes, and he could not see what he was doing. He was compelled to stop work, and resolved that he would go to town and ask the pastor what was wrong with him. On his arrival he found the great gathering already assembled inside and outside of the building, and that same day he received a new baptism from above and told his strange story.
A heathen carter who had driven his master to the meetings was standing outside the open windows listening to the proceedings. He became strangely uneasy and retired quietly to lie down on his cart. But his agitation became more violent, and he rolled backwards and forwards in agony, till his condition attracted the attention of the, bystanders. Thinking that he had been taken suddenly with some strange disease, he, desired treatment and advice. The Christians assured him that 'it was no disease, only, a troubled conscience. In fear and trembling he confessed his sins and immediately and found relief.
"Another heathen, smitten in the same way, took a large dose of medicine, which only made him sick. In perplexity he returned for help, and was led to confess his sins, when he at once found peace.
"Another man, not a Christian, was suddenly, stabbed in his conscience, and became violent. He tore himself with his nails, and bumped his head on the ground, till the blood came, and for the space of a full hour he opened wide his mouth and bellowed. His voice carried far down the street, and caused no little commotion. He had to be removed to another room, where, after over an hour he recovered, and came in cheerfully to confess and testify to the New Birth.
"In the town of Mopanshan a great work was done amongst the heathen. Ninety-six individuals entered their names as inquirers before the end of the week. A strange, heterogeneous lot they were whom the net of the Kingdom had enclosed. One woman confessed to having been a highway robber. A man interrupted 'Mr. Sung's address. 'Behead me! behead me!' cried he. 'This is no place for beheading,' was the reply. 'I'm a Boxer,' said he; 'I've persecuted your people, burned your houses, and killed you! Then he fell on his face and wept aloud, whilst all present knelt in prayer for him.
'Who is sufficient for these things?' Generally, speaking, where men were more advanced in knowledge and experience of Christianity, the phenomena were more inward and spiritual, but where the ignorant and heathen were involved, they became outward and physical.
"The revelation of sin came to us all with a shock of surprise. Scarcely, one had even a moderately clean record. What, then, had Christianity done for these men? Many began their confession by saying: 'What happened before my conversion need not be mentioned but even since then I have done so-and-so.'(Many of the sins confessed were pre-Christian.) They still fell back at times into the mud, but formerly they delighted to wallow in it.
"It is too soon to speak of results. We are in the midst of a great movement of the King of Glory across the path of His people's hearts to the multitudes of China. The valleys of ignorance are filled up, and the mountains of pride are being laid low. The crooked falseness is being made straight' and the barbaric roughness made smooth, and in the end 'all flesh' shall see the salvation of God.' "
Writing a year later, Mr. MacNaughtan speaks of disappointed hopes as regards "a great ingathering of the multitudes of China." The soil was shallow, the people densely ignorant, and as a consequence the physical phenomena were violent. "On the whole," he writes, "our observation shows that the spiritual results were in inverse proportion to the violence of the excitement. The deeper and more instructed souls were equally moved, but not in the same physical way. The most violent were non- Christian spectators and uneducated inquirers."
On the other hand, it is significant that after this interval Mr. MacNaughtan should thus record his conviction regarding the movement: 'I have no hesitation in saying that the Manchurian Church, including its backwoods section at Hailung, has been radically changed by the Revival. Some gifts are indestructible and imperishable. The Church in Manchuria has received such gifts."
"Thou hast destroyed thyself; but in Me is thine help."
TIELING, the city of the Iron Hill, is picturesquely situated on the left bank of the Liao River, about forty-five miles north of Mukden. It is a walled city, with large and populous suburbs, and has a population of about thirty thousand people. Always an important commercial centre, from its proximity to the navigable waters of the Liao, its importance has been greatly increased of late years by the building of a branch of the great Trans-Siberian Railway through Manchuria, of which Tieling has been made 'one of the principal depots. In consequence of this there is a large and flourishing Japanese settlement in addition to the Chinese population.
The early days of mission work in Tieling were stormy. About twentyfive years ago, when we first attempted to obtain a foothold in the city, the difficulties were well-nigh insurmountable. One day we rented a street chapel. On the following day the chapel was wrecked. On the third day, after a vain attempt to speak to the people from the windows of the wrecked chapel, two foreigners might have been seen riding full gallop down the streets of the city followed by a howling, angry mob and a fusillade of all sorts of missiles, But, as is usually the case, patience and forbearance won the day for us, and for the Gospel. The people had no fault to find with Christianity, of which they knew nothing and cared not a whit. But they had a great deal against the men who preached it, for the objectionable thing about Christianity then, as now, was that it was the cult of the alien — the supposed enemy of China. The momentary frenzy passed away and the Gospel flourished in Tieling, year by year, until some twelve years ago a congregation of several hundreds had been gathered, who supported their own ordinances, were ministered to by their own Chinese pastor, and worshipped in their own substantial and commodious church.
Then came the Boxer tragedy. The congregation, like all other congregations of Christians throughout Manchuria, suffered in the fierce persecution that raged for three terrible months; some were put to death for Jesus' sake, while the rest were hunted for many days like wild beasts on the mountains. The pastor was separated from his family, and was in hiding in a distant valley for months. The church building was of course destroyed, all save the walls and gables being burned down.
After peace was restored the congregation never flourished. The love of many waxed cold. Dissension grew up among the members. The pastor lost heart, and when the Russo-Japanese War broke out he left his flock un-shepherded for nearly a year. In fact, the Tieling congregation just before the Revival was in as unhealthy and as spiritually dead a condition as it is possible for a congregation to be in.
When the movement broke out in Manchuria the Pastor, Mr. Chang, was on a mission tour in the far north. His daughter, a student dispenser in the Women's Hospital of Mukden, was one of the earliest of those who came under the influence of the Revival, and in the glow of the first love she wrote a letter to her father telling him of all that had taken place in Mukden, and of the blessing she herself had received. "When I read that letter," he said to me, "I knew my daughter had got something which I had not got, and there grew up a great longing in my heart for a like blessing." Other letters came telling of the Revival fire having broken out here and there, but apparently Tieling was left out. Sadly reflecting on this, he began to see how much he was to blame, and how the unfruitfulness in Tieling Church was owing to his own unfaithfulness. Returning home, he met a member of his own flock who had been at the meetings in Fakumen, and who in deep anxiety of soul sought his pastor's help and counsel. They entered into an inner room and prayed and wept together.
Shortly afterwards Mr. Chang visited Mukden. He spoke to me of his joy at hearing of the gracious movement in Mukden and other places, but his face clouded as he added, "Tieling has not been touched yet." Thinking to comfort him, I suggested that there might be meetings in Tieling in the autumn. "Autumn!" he cried. "We cannot wait till the autumn. We must have them now. In fact, they are arranged, and you will come and help us."
It was arranged that his daughter and another should go up from Mukden to assist in the work among the women. On the Sabbath morning previous to the meetings I was asked to arrange an escort for them, and in my own mind fixed on a certain elder as a suitable man to go, but straight-way forgot all about it. At our usual Mukden prayermeeting that Sabbath evening two things happened. First, we had an inspiring address from a man named Chao, from a distant station east of Mukden, who told us of a most wonderful movement among the Christians in his district, two hundred miles away. Second, we had a letter from one of our out-stations, beseeching us to send some one to conduct a special mission in their village. As was usual at that time, we called for volunteers and the first to respond and be appointed to go was the elder who, in my own mind, I had arranged should go to Tiding as escort to the two young women. On the following day, shortly before the hour appointed for leaving, a messenger came inquiring about the escort. My man had left the city and could not be recalled. Rushing out to see if I could find any one to help me in my dilemma, the first man I met was the man Chao, whose address the previous night produced such an impression. Said I " Mr. Chao, surely God sent you here to-day. Can you go to Tiding and tell them the story you told us last night?" "Well, Pastor," he said, "I was on my way home, and just came to say goodbye, but if I can help in Tieling, I'm ready to go. When must I go?" "Now," was the reply. And he went. A simple circumstance; but in the light of what happened, it was one of those providences of which we saw so many in those days.
We reached Tieling on the second day of the meetings. The gables of the old pre-Boxer church, where nothing had happened since it was burned in I900, had been roofed over with coarse straw matting, and the interior roughly seated for four or five hundred people. Tents were erected all round for the accommodation of visitors from the country — of whom there were a great number.
The building was full and a meeting was in progress when we arrived. The two men from Liaoyang who had been to Korea were conducting it, telling what they had seen and heard. The people sat wonderingly. After the gathering dispersed one noticed solitary individuals moving about the church courtyard in evident mental distress, Mr. Chang, the Pastor, seemingly more troubled than any. The following morning the anxiety deepened, Mr. Chang sitting through the service with his face buried in his hands. In the afternoon Mr. Chao, who, by seeming accident, had accompanied the two dispensers from Mukden, spoke with great impressiveness and spiritual power. The congregation was deeply moved. He had not finished his address, when Mr. Chang fell on his knees and cried aloud for mercy. An elder followed, then another and another, while the whole congregation began weeping. When at last silence fell, the congregation saw through their tear-dimmed eyes their pastor standing on one side of the platform and a leading elder on the other, contending with each other who should be the first to enter the Valley of Humiliation. At last Mr. Chang quietly but firmly said "I am the pastor here, and it is my privilege to speak first.' Then he went to the platform and humbly, but with intense emotion, told a story of coldness and indifference in the service of God — of want of love to Christ and of desire to win souls, a tale that in its letter and its spirit might have been told by a Christian minister anywhere. "Pray for your pastor,' he pleaded, in a voice broken by sobs. "I have been unfaithful to Christ and to you." Then he fell on his knees and wept.
While he yet spake there seemed to come to his whole congregation a sudden and overwhelming sense of sin, of their own sin, for what their pastor had said seemed to be swallowed up by the realisation of their personal guilt before God, and they fell on their knees in agony of contrition. The Tieling church was soon ablaze a second time — this time with the purifying fires of God. Men and women, usually stolid, dull, and unresponsive, were weeping in a very abandonment of grief. The Psalmist's prayer, was on every lip " 'Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned.' Have mercy upon me, O God, have mercy!" There followed individual confessions of the usual kind. This went on for four days, unbroken save by an occasional verse of a hymn, a passage of Scripture, or the great waves of united simultaneous prayer which every now and then broke over the congregation like a rushing mighty wind. How the hearts of some of them were torn and lacerated during those days, ay, and sometimes far on into the night!
I had been absent for two days, and returned very late on the Sabbath evening. Passing the door of the church, I was attracted by a glimmer of light within. Looking in through the door, a sight met my gaze which I shall not soon forget. A crowd of men, hardly visible in the semidarkness, were on their knees. Most of them were weeping, and the wind moaned through the old ruins, as if Nature wept in sympathy. An old, well-known elder, who had been unfaithful during the Boxer persecution, and whom the Church had disciplined, was telling his story, in intervals broken by weeping. "My heart has been like hell since you disciplined me. Nothing but bitterness and hate against you all! I have wished nothing but evil to come to the Church, and to Mr. Chang the pastor, and when Mr. Stobies' little boy died the other day, I was glad! Forgive me, forgive me, and pray for me, that these years of sin may be forgiven!' Then the kneeling men lifted up their voices in prayer, that rose and swelled as the sound of a great wave breaking on the shore; and the wind moaned through the old ruins again as the chorus was quietly sung:
Again it was sung, and yet again, bringing its' message of comfort and peace to his sorely stricken soul.
There followed days of great joy and great gratitude, and the usual flow of offerings to the Lord — "Proofs of my repentance," "Thank-offerings for His benefits." As usual, too, the women brought their ornaments and the men their tithes. Farmers without ready money brought their bag of grain, or other goods there was the brindled calf at the door, and a rifle leaning against the platform, while one poor weeping widow with nothing else to give brought her solitary cent — which is a farthing. It was all she had, and when the people saw it, and saw her, and remembered the story of the Gospels, they wept and sang together for pity and joy. "It has been life from the dead to all of us," said; Pastor Chang.
More who received blessing in Tieling afterwards went everywhere preaching the Word. The ex-elder, whose feet had been taken from the mire and the clay, and a new song put in his mouth, went home and threw himself with all his might into helping to organise a special mission in the city of Kai Yuän. The whole city was moved, the chief magistrate himself visiting some of the meetings to see what this wonder was. Into the country stations round Tieling the flames spread. The cold-hearted were revived, erstwhile inquirers who had turned aside came back again, and there were instances of what seemed to be remarkable conversions among outsiders.
While Mr. Chang and others were holding meetings in a market town some miles from Tieling one day, a man who was notorious for his evil living entered the meeting. Suddenly, in the middle of the address, he cried out, and fell down unconscious. By and by he was heard muttering something about a knife," which, he said, lacerated his hands. "Take it away, take it away!" he kept saying. On returning to consciousness, and being lifted up, a lethal weapon dropped from the folds of his loose robe. He had been on his way to commit a crime! Later he professed conversion. Such instances of entire outsiders being powerfully influenced were not frequent; but they have been recorded, and all we can say about them is, "Is anything too hard for the Lord?" It is only in the coming years that the genuineness of this and like cases can be proved. Much which seems hopeful in the blossom may wither up, leaving no fruit, but in other cases — who can doubt it ? — there will be fruit unto life eternal, fruit to the glory of God's grace, "some an hundredfold."
Revived Bible And Prayer Interest
"At the mouth of two or three witnesses."
REGARDING the progress of the work, Rev. T. C. Fulton of the Presbyterian Church of Ireland Mission, Mukden, writes: "In Mr. Goforth's second week in Mukden, when the two congregations agreed to meet together in the east church, he was accompanied by Messrs. Hu and Chang, of Liaoyang, who had but recently returned from a visit to Korea to see something of the great Revival that had been going on there for over a year. To the coming of these two men, even more than to Mr. Goforth, I attribute very much of 'the success of these fine meetings. I shall not readily forget the first time I heard them relate the wonderful things they had seen and heard in Korea. Their manner of speaking was quiet., but their whole appearance and tone, and gesture even, were awe-inspiring, and they made one feel that eternal things were awfully real to them.
" No sooner had I said to myself, in glad surprise, 'Here is something in Chinese Christian life I have never touched before,' than the audience appeared to think The same thought. It was wonderful to see the enraptured gaze that sat upon the faces of the hearers. Their eyes were fixed intently on the face of the speaker, but he was only one of themselves; and yet to them the voice came from the inner sanctuary. Hitherto I have had a horror of the emotional in religion, and the first outburst of grief from some men who prayed displeased me exceedingly. I did not know what was behind it all. Eventually, however, it became quite clear that nothing but the mighty Spirit of God was working in the hearts of men. As man after man and woman after woman poured out their hearts in agonising grief and heart-rending cries, an awful solemnity seemed to pervade the place. The Judge was on the Throne, and human hearts pleaded for mercy, which they acknowledged they did not deserve.
"Extraordinary confessions of sin were made, public and detailed and tragic; in a sense very humiliating, painful, and disappointing to listen to, especially when taken in connection with some of the prominent ones who made them; yet, in another sense, very pleasing and cheering, indicating that at last these men and women had found themselves and God. As these men and women stood or knelt in prayer, confessing the sins into which they had fallen, they did not seem to care a jot for what their fellow-men thought of them, if only they could gain the ear of God and get rid of the awful burden of sin.
"From the strange, broken speech of many, it was evident that they had never really prayed before; but how desperately in earnest they were! They could not wait for one another to finish, for their hearts were full, and sin was crushing beyond endurance, and mercy might not linger long enough. Before one ceased to pray another would begin; then several, and eventually practically the whole audience at once, would besiege the Throne, appealing audibly either for themselves or for others. Such violence at God's Throne of Grace I have never witnessed. What most impressed some men as to the movement being entirely of God, and not of man, was the fact of the public confessions made voluntarily in prayer; for they acknowledged that no power of man, not even the utmost terrors of criminal law, would have forced such secrets from their lips. Soon the good news spread, and the fire was kindled in other places. Very muddy roads and dark nights made no difference in the size of the audiences, and men and women from the nearer country districts came pouring in to see for themselves what was happening.
"At the end of the first week I got Mr. Chang to come over and relate to us in the west church his wonderful experiences in Korea, and the unusually large audience we had for him was due to a complete houseto- house visitation on the Saturday. We met for three and a half hours, and but for the fact that Mr. Chang had to proceed to another meeting immediately after, we might easily have gone on for another hour or two.
He divided his story into sections, and we relieved his voice, and gave vent to our own pent-up feelings by breaking in after each section with singing and a few voluntary prayers. Running my eyes over the audience, to watch the effect of Mr. Chang's message, it was intensely interesting to see the look of surprise that appeared on the faces of those who had not attended the meetings through the previous week, and who did not know, therefore, what wonderful things had happened. They evidently felt the power that was manifest in the meeting; and as they listened to the earnest prayers of uneducated men and women, with whom they had often worshiped, but whom they had never heard pray before, they seemed to be asking themselves, 'What does all this mean?' "Taking advantage of these questionings and these looks of surprise, at the end of the meeting I tried to drive home Mr. Chang's message by saying, amongst other things, that to those who had attended the meetings throughout the week these things that they were seeing and hearing were not at all strange, but perfectly natural. I closed with a proposal to meet for prayer every evening, and immediately almost the whole audience leaped to their feet in response. As a consequence, since then we have had a most delightful fortnight's meetings for prayer, fifteen or sixteen taking part every night, and we have resolved to continue the meetings indefinitely. These three weeks have been among the happiest I have spent in Manchuria.
"Latterly the low spiritual life of the congregation had been an almost unbearable burden to me, and nothing that I could do in the shape of earnest, faithful speech seemed to do any good. Beyond cold, respectable formality, however, there was nothing seriously wrong, but that was quite enough. But during this delightful fortnight, in spirit I have daily danced for joy on hearing at least a score of men and women pray whom I never thought could pray at all. Even of the schoolgirls, five — one of nine, one twelve, and three of sixteen years of age — have again and again led in prayer; and so strongly did that fact impress some of the adults that they appealed to God to at least hear the cry of the children.' I could almost sing the Nunc Dimittis when I think of what God has allowed us to see and hear these days, and yet I should like to be in this great work a little longer, for it is grand beyond expression. I have often prayed for such a movement as this; yet I must be frank, and say that I never expected to see it; and now I am deservedly rebuked for my want of faith. I wrongly took it for granted that these men and women would continue dry and formal to the very end, and would never realise for themselves what wonderful power there is in the Gospel they had believed.
"Three evenings ago one of our evangelists from the country, of whom I thought very highly, paid a visit to the city and attended our prayermeeting. He remained dumb all the hour and a half; yet I had an idea that his dumbness arose from amazement at so many men and women, and even schoolgirls, pouring out their hearts before God. The next evening he joined in prayer and broke down completely, weeping like a child, and confessing how cold and unfaithful he had been in the Lord's service.
I have altered the order of the Sunday services, in order to give the people their due share in them. It is not fair for one man, or even two, to offer all the prayers, when so many hearts are full and waiting for expression. We have now at least five or six voluntary prayers at intervals throughout the service, and it is delightful to see that so many of them have at last realised the power of prayer. No cry that comes from them is more earnest and pathetic than the prayer for their comrades — the 'lost sheep,' as they call them — who strayed away from them during the persecution of I900. I hear that they are searching them out wherever possible, and trying to bring them back. They have now an interest in all their fellowcountrymen that they had not before, and it is shown not only by their prayers, but also by their presence and as assistance in preaching at the street chapel every afternoon. The audiences, too, have increased very much in size and attention. Of money we have very little amongst us. But some men have vowed to give a certain part of their time every week for visiting the lapsed Christians and for preaching to the non-Christians, as far as they have ability for such work."
Rev. Liu Chuen Yao, pastor of the east congregation, Mukden, writes as follows "Great numbers of our professing Christians, both in the city and out-stations, have been powerfully convicted of sin, and have openly confessed the same with deep contrition, falling prostrate on the ground and weeping bitterly. In every place large numbers of inquirers have received the gift of the Holy Ghost, and some who were entirely unconnected with the Christian Church have also been constrained to confess their sins, and have repented and believed in the Lord Jesus. Those who have been excommunicated, or had lapsed from ordinances, are coming back and confessing their sin. Many members who formerly were proud and cold and self-centred have undergone an entire change of character. Those who were ashamed to confess Christ before have now great freedom and boldness in doing so. Many who neglected the Sabbath, and cared little for the services of the sanctuary, now love the house of God, while others have put up the 'Sabbath sign.'
"The careless inattention of former times has given place to alertness of mind to the ministration of the Word of Life. Bible reading and study, which were matters of little moment to them before are now regarded as of the first importance, and the deep things of God are beginning to be better understood. Preaching the Word, whether in church or chapel, on ordinary or special occasions, was formerly unaccompanied with power, whoever the preacher might be. Now the word of God has free course and is glorified; not only in the case of Mr. Goforth's ministry, and that of Mr. Li and Mr. Meng; but also in the case of every one who has received blessing through them. Wherever they go signs follow. A new anxiety for the spiritual welfare of friends and relations has taken possession of men's hearts. Those who formerly did nothing for Christ are now freely offering their service, while others give of their means for this special work. Women, too, are freely offering their time and service — a thing never before heard of. Those who never gave for the cause of Christ before have now become willing to do so; many have devoted a tenth to Christ, while not a few have given up wine and tobacco in order that they may be able to give more for the good cause.
"All the people pray now with a new earnestness and power. Prayers are not only fervent; they are effectual. Formerly our prayers seemed without effect; now answers are looked for and received. Many who never before prayed have now learned to do so, and those whose prayers were formal and lifeless have become sincere and earnest. Family worship has been begun in many homes where, until now, prayer has been unknown. Prayer-meetings for both men and women have been formed, not only in the city, but in all the out-stations; in the boys' and girls' schools, in the men's and women's hospitals, and, most significant of all, some ten girls in the Government school have formed a Prayer Union of their own.
"When members go from home on any affair whatever, they make it a matter of prayer, and ask others to pray for them. All the office-bearers of the Church are inspired with a new zeal and ddevotion to Christ's cause. A new inward peace, and a new outward joy, are manifest in all the members.
"The great Revival movement in Manchuria is just what all who are specially interested in the Bible Society's work have longed for. In the first place, whilst the Christians in Manchuria have always compared favourably with those of other provinces of China, in their desire to possess for themselves complete Bibles and New Testaments, and also in their contributions to the Society's funds; yet it has been felt that there was much deadness, and not the life needful for a healthy Church. For some years we have had great difficulty in obtaining fresh colporteurs, who would face the hardships and endure the privations of their calling, and also be powers for good. Twenty years since such men were to be had, but those of recent times have been largely failures. Now we find, on all sides, a further demand for God's own Word, Bibles for the Christian homes, and Gospels for the Christians' friends, systematic Bible reading, and regular family worship. Devoted men are coming forward, offering their services; and, not least, our old and faithful colporteurs have all had a great uplift, and are going forth with a new enthusiasm to witness for the Master, Whose they are and Whom they serve. Our Biblewomen, always earnest, were among the first to receive a blessing, which is practically proving to be very real.
"Our blind children and their teacher all came in for a share of the blessing. We can only bow our heads in reverence and gratitude, and pray that greater and greater things may be wrought throughout all Manchuria."
The following statement from the men's hospital shows how the work in that institution has been uplifted by the movement:
"The men's hospital in Mukden has had its full share of the great blessing which has been poured out upon the Mukden Church this spring, and there is a new life and joy in every department of its work. From the beginning of the meetings arrangements were made that as many as possible of all the assistants, students, and various employees should attend in turn, some going in the mornings and almost all in the evenings. Of all the thirty-two men in hospital employ, there is not one who has not been at least stirred up, and a good many, especially the students, have been deeply moved, and have entered on what is really a new life. "We have in the hospital a devotional meeting with the staff before each day's work begins, and at the time of the special meetings some of these morning, gatherings were most touching and inspiring. There were personal confessions from man to man, such as could hardly be made in the church — confessions of unkindness, ill-feeling, jealousy, suspicion, and other things; requests individually for forgiveness, and glad promises of reconciliation. There were also prayers to God for forgiveness — specially for lack of faithfulness in leading patients to Christ — and earnest self-consecration to His work in the hospital. There was a general feeling that they needed to pray more, so a Prayer Union was formed, which has a meeting every evening and is attended by the whole staff — assistants, evangelists, coolies, &c. They have a book with a text for every day of the year. This they repeat together and learn by heart; there is an informal talk about it, and also a good deal of prayer. The students have also expressed the desire to form a branch of the Y.M.C.A., with the object of influencing and helping the young men of the city.
"With the workers thus roused and inspired, it is not to be wondered at that there is a notable movement among the patients. At first there was curiosity, and then awe, as they heard of the confessions of sin in the church. Many who had been uninterested began to realise that they too were sinners, and one and another commenced to seek God. Altogether, during the three months since those meetings began, thirty-five patients have put down their names as desirous of baptism. These are scattering, one by one, to their homes, where they will receive further instruction. One was a soldier, and, though still unbaptized, his Christian profession has cost him his post for he is now dismissed from his regiment by an anti-Christian officer. The hospital evangelist is kept very busy talking to the patients of the wards, and says he never saw so many at one time anxious to hear. He cannot enter a ward without several calling to him to come and teach them, and even with the help of the assistants and students these eager inquirers do not get enough to satisfy them. In the dispensary waiting-room the same readiness to hear is manifest, far beyond what is usual.
"These are a few of the definite results which may be reported, but more important still is the intangible but real change which has passed over the hospital. There are the wheels of much machinery in an institution of this size, and it is not always easy to keep these oiled. But all goes, smoothly now. Medicines are made up with enthusiasm, the coolies labour with a smile, and our thirty-two workers throw heart and soul into all they have to do."
The Revival and Woman's Work
"Hear My voice, ye careless daughters."
A GREAT blessing came to all branches of the work among women. From the ladies' hospital, Mukden, comes the following story of uplifting: "At the outset of the special meetings conducted by Mr. Goforth the student dispensers were all at home for the New Year holidays. But in a day or two they began to return, and as each one came in and was told of the doings at the church, she listened astonished, and immediately became eager to go and see for herself. Liu Shih Chen, from Lagoyu, began to be distressed about the luke-warmness of her own village, and Li Kuei Ying was affected in the same way about Paitapu. Chang Shih Chih, daughter of the native pastor of Tieling, 'began to pray earnestly for her father's flock, and Yu Wen Hui, the only Christian in a large family, began to pray for her own people.
"One night Liu Shih Chen spoke, in the church, at one of the prayermeetings, saying that she wished to reconsecrate herself to the Lord's work. Before the holidays she had become absorbed by her medical classes, and had resolved that when the examinations were over she would give more time to teaching the patients, but now she resolved to put nothing before the important work of winning people in the hospital for Christ. Though she was the only one who spoke aloud, the others seemed to have made the same resolution; for the work of teaching and talking to the patients in the wards became an engrossing occupation, with the result that the patients all became greatly interested and anxious to learn, and several of them expressed the desire to become inquirers. The dispensers said, 'The hospital has received the Spirit,' which was true enough, though I think they did not realise that it was through 'the new power going forth from themselves. One evening the minister, Mr. Liu, came up to see the patients, and instead of only two or three putting down their names as inquirers, one after another came up, until the pastor had a list of sixteen.
"When the time came for the members to offer their gifts to the Lord, three of them, Miss Li, Miss Liu, and Miss Chang, sent in a paper announcing their desire to express their gratitude to God for His mercy by giving a tenth of what they earned to His work, and the others, though they did not publicly offer, have one and another told me of various ways by which they wish to use their means to help to spread the truth. Chang Shih Chih wrote to her father, the minister of Tieling, who was then moving from place to place in the north of Manchuria, conducting special meetings. In her letter she described thc manifestation of the Spirit's power in Mukden, with the result, that he was greatly helped and cheered. He replied asking her to write a letter to the Church at Kuanchengtse, where he was about to conduct meetings. She did so, and her letter was used of God to help to rouse the members there from their coldness. A prayer circle was formed in the hospital, and every night the members met for prayer.
Prayer was offered for friends and relatives, for the people of their own town or village, and for themselves to be used of God.
"One special subject of intercession, every night, was in connection with Mrs. Pei, the hospital cook, an earnest Christian. She had broken up her household many years ago, selling a little son of eight years old to an official, and had come to Mukden with the object of entering a temple in order to become a nun. But having some trouble in her hand, she came first to the hospital to be healed. The seed sown while there fell into prepared ground, and immediately bore fruit. She became a Christian, and stayed on in the hospital as one of the workers. From that day, however, she had quite lost sight of all her family connections, and did not even know whether her son was alive or dead. Any mention of him brought the tears to her eyes at once, and now that she herself possessed the great hope of salvation she was doubly anxious about her people. Prayer was offered every night at the prayer circle, and a few days ago, without any warning, a brother whom she had not seen for twelve years suddenly appeared at the hospital, asking for Mrs. Pei! She was overjoyed to see him, and before he had conversed with her very long she went for her Bible, and began to get him to listen to her story of the Gospel. The brother stayed only, a few days, then went back to his home, and Mrs. Pei is hoping, and still praying, that she may yet be able to find traces of her son, perhaps through this brother.
The following account tells how the Mukden Revival had its first manifestations in a woman, Mrs. Hou, teacher in Mrs. Turley's school for blind children. "In June, I907, our church had a visit from Mr. and Mrs. McLaren, of Edinburgh. Mrs. McLaren addressed a large gathering of our Christian women in the waiting room of the women's hospital. The subject of her address was the out-pouring of the Spirit on the Korean Church. At the close of the address many of the women pressed forward, Mrs. Hou among them, to express their delight at seeing and hearing Mrs. McLaren. Even then Mrs. Hou was agitated, but a quiet word was spoken to her, and a promise given of a future meeting. Later on Mrs. Robertson had a talk with her. She was unhappy, and was conscious that her heart was not right with God. Mrs. Robertson prayed with her, and spoke words of counsel and comfort to her. Afterwards, several women mentioned that Mrs. McLaren's words had set them thinking and longing that the blessing which had come to the Korean Church might also come to them. Many were praying in secret.
Seven months passed, and Mr. Goforth came. His first address was also on the Korean Church. It was the second day of the meetings. An opportunity was given for prayer and confession, and the first to lead in prayer was Mrs. Hou, who threw herself on the ground and poured out her confession of sinfulness in passionate earnestness her voice broken with loud sobs and her body shaken with emotion. Her confession and repentance were the signal for a great cry from the rest of the people. Men and women some on their knees, and some prostrate on the ground, poured out their confessions and cried for mercy. Every day saw the women gather in greater numbers; the movement began to be felt as the news spread. The most indifferent and careless were affected by it; many who rarely attended church came to see and stayed to pray. Painful to witness as many of the scenes were, the pain had to be borne before peace and forgiveness could be enjoyed. From confession we glided into thanksgiving and care for others. It was at this point that a wonderful thing was to be seen — waves of united prayer for others, each man and woman praying audibly for their relatives, friends, neighbours, for villages and districts. One would have thought there would have been discord in this form of prayer; instead, there was exquisite harmony. How they poured out their hearts for others in these prayers! Such fervour! Truly they gave themselves to prayer for others on these days. "From thanksgiving we passed to free-will offerings. Many promised their tenth, many others so much of their time to preaching. Some handed in articles of jewellery.
"In the girls' school, Mukden, there are between seventy and eighty pupils, daughters of the Church, gathered from the city and the many out-stations; members, some of them, of large families, whose immediate influence is great and whose influence on the Church of the coming generation is simply incalculable. It was felt from the beginning that it was of the greatest importance that they should come under the influence of this gracious movement. It would have been a loss had they been passed by. It is a source of joy to know that there has been great blessing among them. It has shown itself in a less conspicuous manner than among the seniors. There was no special manifestation in public. It was a good thing that this was so. But the indications of a gracious work of the Holy Spirit in their hearts have been unmistakable. A keen sense of sin, and sorrow for it, earnest prayers for forgiveness, a new love towards the Saviour, a desire to serve Him and help others, have all been conspicuously manifested among them. Others can offer gifts — we have none to offer. Others can give time and service — we cannot. What can we do, specially, to show our love to Christ?' When it was suggested that perhaps they might devote a little time to reading to the patients in the women's hospital, and teaching those who were willing to learn, their joy was boundless. And now the older girls go two and two and spend an hour by the bedsides of the women patients, reading to them and shedding the brightness of their fresh young faith and love into the lives of others.
"The time came for Mr. Goforth to leave us. It was felt by all that though he had to go, the meetings must be continued. Elder Li came from Paotingfu, and for the next ten days kept the attention of the people, leading them into fuller light, pointing out their duties to God, to themselves, and to others, showing them their privileges, calling them to go forward as new men and women in Christ Jesus. Following on the awakening, the addresses of Elder Li were God-directed. It was what the people needed — plain direction. They had consecrated themselves afresh, and did not know what was the right thing to do. Their hearts burned with fresh zeal, and they longed to show forth their gratitude and love. These after-weeks of quiet waiting upon God were greatly blessed to our women. Elder Li's teaching strengthened them greatly for what they will have to meet afterwards — more opposition, more persecution, more subtle temptation, in the light of fuller knowledge, to be fought and overcome. We had been on the Mount of Transfiguration. It was good for us to be there, but as Mr. Li told us in his last address, we had to go down and face the pain, the misery, and the sin of the work-a-day world below.
"Among the women, those who received the greatest blessing were those who had been members for a number of years. Those who were recently baptized received a great impetus, but the effect of the Spirit was not so apparent on them.
"What a change has come over us! Before, we had to grieve over indifference and coldness, great irregularity at church services, a lack of interest in the preaching of the Word, coldness, worldliness in the spiritual domain, and a lack of warmth and fervour generally. To-day we are a changed Church. Such care for the welfare of others, such heartiness, such quiet reverence! It has made work, that since the Boxer outbreak has been hard and discouraging, to become 'our hope, our joy, our crown of rejoicing. ' From our centre here the movement has reached the women in our furthermost out-stations. It has given to the girls' school, training home, and hospital a great impetus. We have more women and girls wanting to learn than we quite know how to accommodate. But labour is light with such earnest hearts longing to know; and we go forward in the glad assurance that He who has wrought this work is able to do 'exceeding abundantly,' beyond anything we have seen or can imagine, 'above all that we ask or think."
The following impressions of the meetings in Mukden, by a lady missionary who was seldom absent, give touching expression to what we' all felt:
"On entering the church during the meetings one was immediately impressed with the feeling of intense earnestness that pervaded the place. On the women's side mothers no longer needed to be told to hush their little ones, or to move gently where movement was necessary; babies were kept quiet as if by magic, and doors shut and opened as softly as the most exacting could desire. At last these people had got right into the presence of the Most High, and nothing must be allowed to disturb the audience granted.
"A fear seemed to exist that this wonderful time might pass, and all the petitions might not have been presented — that some loved one might still be left without a blessing, and the doors be closed ere all were saved. 'Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation' seemed to be sounding like the voice of a trumpet in their hearts, and creating that tone of urgency with which their prayers were offered. And what prayers those were! The rushing of a mighty wind through the place seemed no simile, but a reality; and the cry that went up from those hearts, eagerly reaching out to the God who had revealed Himself to them, was thrilled with love and absolute faith. They saw the pit out of which they had been digged, and they saw the Lord Jesus, and seeing Him, all else was blotted out. He was 'All and in all!' "For thirty years,' said one, 'I have been a so-called Christian, but I have only just now met Christ.' We no longer hear the word 'doctrine' in the forefront of all discourses. 'Do you know the Lord Jesus?' 'Have you felt the Spirit's power?' These are the crucial questions of the hour, and indicate the crowning blessing that the Manchurian Church has at this time received.
"Another impression one received was that a new spirit of kindliness, of thoughtfulness for others, was abroad. We were all one great family and at last the angels' message of peace and goodwill seemed to have been realised. We seemed to have all joys and sorrows in common; and petitions and thanksgivings went up with a heartfelt earnestness for some unknown supplicant, whose cry came from an out-station, as for a member of one's own home.
"As one returned home late at night after a meeting the streets presented an unusual sight. Crowds of men and women and even children thronged the road, in groups or singly, each with his paper lantern held before him, little points of light dotted over a great heathen city. The same intensity that characterised the meeting was still evident in their manner and speech. The strange events of the last few days were discussed in no low tone, but, as is usual with Chinese, at the top of their voices, and as one passed swiftly through the crowd, from one side and another came to one's ears words never before so spoken in Mukden — "sin," " repentance," " forgiveness," "Jesus," "Holy Spirit," "prayer."
These, and short extracts caught from conversations, suggested that a new day of spiritual awakening had dawned on the land.
"Our progress being stopped on one occasion, the following conversation was overheard. First an angry voice said 'Why did you make such a fool of yourself to-night at the meeting? You have lost face before every one. If you wanted to confess sin, could you not have gone home and prayed in your own room?' The answer came impressively and in awe-struck tones 'Do you think I wanted to stand up before every one and confess the awful sins I had committed? No, I struggled in agony against the impulse, but, my brother, when the Spirit of God tells you to get up on your feet and confess, you have got to do it!' "
"Tell them how great things the Lord hath done."
MORE than a year has passed since the great religious awakening in Manchuria began, and the time has come to form some estimate of the influence of the movement on the life and work of the whole Church. The Unanimity of the Missionaries. — One thing has been strikingly in evidence throughout, and in my opinion has had not a little to do with all that has happened. I refer to the remarkable unanimity of the missionary body regarding the movement. Working together in Manchuria there are missionaries from England, Scotland, Ireland, and Denmark, representing Presbyterian, Episcopal, and Lutheran Missions, numbering between seventy and eighty men and women. With scarcely an exception they have but one mind upon the subject it is, that what has happened, whatever may be the defects on the human side, has been essentially a work of God's gracious Spirit, silencing criticism, and compelling to come and to praise. Doubts and questionings naturally existed while as yet the movement was mere rumour; and the rumours, mostly from Chinese sources, emphasised the mere physical manifestations. All doubts, however, were dispelled when the missionaries found themselves in the very midst of the movement. Over and over again, hard-headed Scotchmen, not much given to emotionalism at any time, and with a strong temperamental prejudice against religious hysteria in all its forms, were heard to say one to the other, with a sort of awe in their voice, "This, is the Work of God."
The fact is that they themselves came under the wonderful influence. We were all humbled: one felt a poor creature in the presence of the Revival. There was a feeling of personal shortcoming, of being behind the very least of these poor stricken souls, who, in their grief and joy, were sounding depths of contrition one had never touched, and reaching to heights of spiritual joy to which one had never attained. The Revival brought with it a blessing to the missionaries. They will ever be thankful that they passed through it. It was the time of times of their careers, and gave them a new lease of missionary life, with new hopes and new ideals, and a new faith in the glorious Gospel of the Grace of God to save and sanctify all sorts and conditions of men.
Further than this the missionaries had little to do with the movement. After Mr. Goforth left, the leadership of the meetings was entirely in the hands of Chinese Christians, who, although previously without any experience of such meetings, led them with great wisdom and prudence. The attitude of sympathy on the part of the missionaries no doubt had something to do with the movement; for the rest, they had simply to "stand still and see the salvation of God."
The Chinese leaders were of one accord. Chinese pastors and officebearers, almost without exception, entered into the movement with their whole heart. In the language of the New Testament, "They were all filled with the Holy Ghost." The blessed result of the Revival is more visible in the life and work of pastors and evangelists than among the rank and file." "They have received 'Vision,' " one writes. They have seen Jesus, and in the light of His face have been appalled at their own sin. The agony of remorse, the burning desire to save sinners, the burden of the guilt of others, have given them at least a glimpse of the meaning of the Cross. Above all, they have felt the converting power of the Holy Spirit, and they know that this religion is spiritual. They have seen miracles performed through prayer. And, whether it is used or not, this weapon has been put into their hands. The Church for the first time possesses leaders who are Spirit-filled men. There are men now who can gather their fellow-Christians together, and by the might of prayer and exhortation kindle the sleeping spiritual flames. For these the Revival has been the anointing of power, and they can strengthen their brethren. Not only is there a new enthusiasm, a new zeal and love to preach the gospel and win souls, there is a new grip in their preaching, a note seldom heard before, the note of the redeemed soul. "I speak that I do know and testify that I have seen." And needless to say, the new messenger and the new message are accompanied by a new power.
The Revival and the Church. — The centre of the whole movement was the Christian Church. It was not in connection with evangelistic work among non-Christians that the movement manifested itself first or last. Although here and there individuals were influenced, who had neither previous knowledge of Christian truth, or connection with the Christian Church, the vast majority of those who were the subjects of the Revival were already members or adherents of the Christian Church.
The Revival and Church Life. — "There is a higher standard of Christian living, and a great desire to win outsiders, especially unconverted relations" (J. W. Inglis). "The experiences of the students in the college during the Revival can never be obliterated. (John Ross). " We received a large share of the blessing, which brought new life and new joy into every department of our work. All our agents were stirred up, and some have entered on a new life of earnest devoted service (Dr. Christie). At the end of a year a missionary returning from furlough, writes " I have come back to find the whole Church life quickened, and a new spirit of earnestness and devotion animating the members. The Christians love prayer, and are, in large numbers, burning with zeal to extend the Kingdom of God." (Rev. H. W. Pullar). "If I am asked what I consider to be the most permanent mark left upon the Church here by the wondrous experiences we passed through a year ago, I answer, 'The conviction of sin and sense of personal responsibility before God.' They never knew the content of the word 'sin' before. Now they can never mistake it " (Rev. George Douglas).
"Our hearts overflow with praise and gratitude," writes a lady missionary, "when we look back on the great and wonderful things the Lord has wrought in our midst during the past year. . . The Revival was no passing emotion; after months of testing the fruit of the Spirit is being manifested in every department of our work. There is an earnest desire to work for the Master and a fresh longing to learn of Him." Another lady missionary writes "This year has been a blessed one for many of our women and girls. They have learned to know their Saviour and themselves as they never did before. The Revival has made a great difference on our outstation work. In all my journeys I have been much cheered. The women who have been influenced by it have organised themselves into little Missionary Societies, and have done splendid work in their own districts. Their whole talk seemed to be as to how they could bring more people into the Church."
During the progress of the Revival there was nothing more striking than the readiness on the part of the people to give to the Lord's cause. They spontaneously came forward with freewill offerings of houses, land, ornaments, and money. Such was the spirit of willingness to give "and to do that I believe many would readily have given their all, or even have laid down their lives for the Lord if they had been asked to do so. In the enthusiasm of the moment many made promises which it was physically impossible for them to fulfil. But, on the other hand, it is true that many of those who at that time of great emotions made promises to give and do for Christ, have fulfilled and are fulfilling their promises. At the anniversary of the Revival in Mukden a series of meetings were held for the deepening of spiritual life — meetings which, but for the experiences of last year, could not have been. "Many renewed the dedication of their tenth, fresh resolutions were made, and fresh offers of service and of money were given."
Apart, however, from these special gifts, there can be no question, I think, regarding the tide of Christian liberality, and voluntary Christian service, having risen greatly throughout the whole church, as a result of the Revival. A new sense of duty to spread the gospel has been awakened in men's minds. The missionary spirit, already existing, has been increased manifold; it is a significant fact, in this connection, that of the twelve Chinese pastors, supported entirely by Chinese congregations in Manchuria, four have been called and ordained since the Revival. The Devotional Spirit. — A new spirit of devoutness, of piety, a new sense of the fear of the Lord, has been created through the Revival. It is seen in the public worship of the sanctuary in the Prayer Unions that have everywhere been formed; in the institution, in many homes of family worship; and in the life of prayer that has been entered into by many. The worship of God has been lifted up to a higher plane. Prayermeetings have been established everywhere. The Spirit of Intercession has been poured out upon the Church. There are men now within the Church who spend long periods of time in private prayer. Some time ago I was travelling with a young physician, Liu Chih Hsüeh (one of Dr. Christie's old pupils), who, since the Revival in Mukden, has devoted much of his time to voluntary medical and evangelistic work, and it was a surprise and a reproof to me to see him, night after night, on a corner of the kang, spending hour after hour in earnest secret prayer. Sometimes, indeed, I fell asleep while he continued to wrestle in prayer. Wherever we went Dr. Liu always spoke, and whenever he spoke he always had an effectual message to deliver.
'The Development of Christian Character. — Of the influence of the Revival on the development of Christian character, it is perhaps too early even now to speak. And yet there can he no doubt that the Church, as a whole, has grown stronger and purer and altogether more Christ-like during those memorable months. As has already been pointed out, a new conscience has been created, which looks on sin with other eyes than hitherto.
In the matter, for instance, of retaliation, the old idea, "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth,' was still all too prevalent in the minds of men nominally Christian. It just needed such a spiritual and moral upheaval to lift them above the old Chinese level, and there have been not a few indications during the movement and since of this old spirit of retaliation giving way before the Christian spirit of conquering by love.
The Revival and the General Community. — Something remains to be said on the influence of the Revival on the multitudes outside the Church. As has already appeared, it was essentially and almost entirely a movement inside the Church, but it goes without saying that many of those who had no connection with the Church were powerfully affected. Thus, in Kuangning district, some soldiers who were led out of curiosity to go to the meetings were arrested by what they saw and heard, and made public confession of sin. In Fakumen, heathen listeners were now and then roused to repentance. At one place a complete stranger came to the front, and throwing himself on the floor with convulsive sobs, told the broken story of his guilt.
Mr. Macnaughton writes of one woman at a distant outpost who, "when the Spirit came to her, was practically a heathen." Another, though "he understood nothing of what was meant in theory, was nevertheless swept into the tide of the Spirit." Many other instances of heathen men — totally ignorant of the Gospel — are given by Mr. Macnaughton, as having undergone extraordinary and miraculous conversion. Some results ned not be a matter of surprise. "Some fell upon the wayside and the birds of the air devoured them," and thus there have been disappointments.
Apart from these extraordinary manifestations on the part of some, there was, in many places, great interest in the movement shown by the outside public. Large gatherings of Christians in one place, and the scenes of lamentation which so frequently occurred, could not fail to attract widespread attention, and awesome curiosity to hear and see the wonderful things that were reported. Soldiers, village magnates, the gentry, and in some cases the magistrates of districts, attended the meetings and listened with reverent attention and interest. Fears were entertained lest the outward physical phenomena might prove a stumbling-block to minds untutored in the Christian doctrine, and that the movement might be prejudicial to Christianity among thoughtful Chinese. So far as I know there has been no such prejudice created.
Physical phenomena, accompanying deep mental experiences, do not surprise the Chinese. They cry and wail in a very passion of grief when death invades a home, and no one thinks anything about it. "It is a good thing for men to sit in judgment on themselves," was the remark of an official to Mr. Chang, of Tieling. "One of our sages speaks of 'Liang shin fa sien' (a conscience enlightened); and it is what seems to have taken place," said a literary friend, whom I had told about the movement. And a number of well-educated men who have no connection with the Church, have expressed themselves in similar terms of approval. During recent years many temples have disappeared, and many others are falling into decay. Buddhism in Manchuria, for a long time dying, has never survived the Boxer cataclysm, and seems utterly dead. Idolatry has been completely broken up, and the remains form a mere superstition, in which few have faith, and the rites of which still fewer practise. It is significant, in view of this, to hear of outsiders being attracted to the Christian prayer-meeting, and actually coming with requests for prayer on behalf of themselves or their friends. A non-Christian, speaking of the Mukden prayer-meeting, described it as " a place of power." In one district a score or more catechumens were recently received, two-thirds of whom stated that they first became convinced of the truth of Christianity by the signal answers to prayer offered at a weekly prayer-meeting in the district.
This must suffice with regard to the fruits of this blessed movement. Perhaps we should not speak of them as fruits, for after all it is but springtime with us now, the time of the green blade and the blossom. It is all very sweet and fresh and beautiful, but the harvest is not yet, and the time for the full corn in the ear and the ripened fruit must wait. A generation, indeed, must pass before a fair and true appreciation of the results of this Revival can be formed. Meantime we are glad and thankful to Almighty God for His grace to this Church in Manchuria. The movement has, indeed, lifted the whole Church, in this southern province at least, "into a more clear and decided consciousness of their Christianity. It has baptized thousands into the spirit of Jesus, and opened the eyes of innumerable men and women to the reality of the great facts of repentance and the possibility of self-control, and conversion and peace by God's Spirit." That was true in Scotland in the seventies; it is true of Manchuria to-day. There are rocks ahead, we know, Every movement of the kind is beset with them. "Revivals rise and fall, but the influences of worldliness and vice abide with fresh and awful persistency." The war has only just begun. We tremble to think of the battles yet to be lost, and won, by those who have only now entered the lists. But the Lord of Hosts is with them. The God of Jacob is their refuge.
Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, for they are white already to harvest." "The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few. 'Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He would send forth labourers into His harvest."
Impressions Of Results After Eighteen Months.
"Rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith."
MORE especially were the effects apparent in the theological students," writes my esteemed colleague, Rev. John Ross, D. D.; and no one is better fitted to write an impression than the senior missionary of the United Free Church of Scotland in Manchuria and the Principal of the Theological College in Mukden. Dr. Ross is the only survivor of those who planted the evangel in the early seventies, and the Church in Manchuria is very dear to him. For thirty-seven years he has given her his best — strenuous labour, splendid patience, unwearying sympathy, wise counsel; and the Church knows, as we all know, that whatever is strong and hopeful and evangelical in the Church of Manchuria to-day she owes, in great measure, under God, to Dr. Ross. During the year of the Revival he was absent on furlough, and what he saw on his return were the results of the movement; and it is of one of these that he writes.
During recent years he has been giving himself to the training of the future ministers of the Church, and what he says about the effects of the Revival on the students of divinity is of supreme interest and importance. Dr. Ross says "By the time I arrived in Mukden, in October, I908, the excitement of the Revival period had disappeared. The results still manifest were the greater spirituality in prayer, the readiness to volunteer personal service, and the more ready liberality for all Christian and philanthropic objects. More especially were the effects apparent in the theological students, most of whom had been active agents in the Revival, and all of whom had been influenced by it. I felt, in lecturing on Isaiah, that I had an audience more deeply sympathetic, and more appreciative of the prophet's teaching, than they would have been prior to that year. It was a living book, out of which came to them a breathing spirit.
"As the anniversary of the Revival approached, the Mukden Session agreed to commemorate it by meetings of a similar nature, and of the same duration. We had two long meetings per day, led by the pastor's son, Dr. Liu, and the pastor-elect (Yao). The meetings were well attended; but not a few lamented that the same visible phenomena were not apparent as in the previous year, till they were reminded that there was no repetition of Pentecost reported in the New Testament. But the same style of hortatory addresses were given, and the people prayed, some of them with strong cries and tears, as before. At the end of the series of meetings the same generous offerings were made; promises being given of considerable sums for the support of the Lord's work. It was agreed that the meetings should be held annually.
"When these meetings came to a conclusion in the city, those who had proved the most efficient agents volunteered to go to the out-stations — especially to those unvisited in the preceding year. To the numerous small country congregations, north, south, east, and west, they went two by two. On returning, they gave satisfactory reports of many of the villages, in one of which there was a band of nearly two hundred men and women applicants for baptism. An annual visitation like this, for full and varied instruction in Christian life, as well as Christian doctrine, will be invaluable.
Of four new pastors, ordained as the outcome of the Revival, one is a colleague to Pastor Liu, of Mukden. The principal motive in undertaking the support of this second pastor in Mukden, is to enable the Session and congregation to devote more time to evangelistic work, in the large extent of country under the spiritual supervision of Mukden. "Every member of the Session has gladly volunteered to go, wherever and whenever requested, to preach the gospel to the non-Christian population, and to instruct those who, though baptized, are in much need of fuller knowledge.
"The excitement of Revival times has disappeared, as was natural; there remain (I) the knowledge of a spiritual elevation, of which 'the Church in China had no experience, of which they had not even heard; (2) the knowledge that God is ever near, ever ready to help, and that He alone is sufficient for the accomplishment of the work entrusted to His Church;
(3) a greater liberality than ever known before, and a joy in giving; and (4) a zeal in personal service — which, indeed, they had never lacked, but which has been multiplied manifold.
"Let me add that the work is still going on, though sporadically, and with less external excitement."