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BY REV. ISAAC T. HEADLAND,
Professor in Peking University.
[Methodist Episcopal Mission.]
ORE than twenty-four years ago the work of our North-China Mission was established by the late lamented editor of the RECORDER, Dr. Wheeler. Since that time it has been under the superintendence of one man, Dr. Lowry, and it is probable that there is no other mission in our Church that has been under the superintendence of one man for an equally long period.
The mission has had a gradual growth. It has suffered no reverses, no persecutions, no internal dissentions. It has had a peaceful and prosperous existence thus far. It has about 2800 members, six ordained native pastors, four ordained deacons, eight young men, who will be ready for their first ordination next year, besides a number of local preachers and exhorters, who do faithful and efficient service.
The Peking University is the outgrowth of the mission school, and has more than 130 students. Besides these we have boarding schools at Tsunhua, Tientsin, Lanchou and Taian, each of which has about twenty students, and are well on toward self-support. Outside of these we have a large number of small schools at various other places, which cost us nothing, except the teacher's pay.
In addition to this a large amount of work has been done by the W. F. M. S. The girls' school at Peking contains about 100 girls, Miss Hale's school at Tsunhua nearly fifty, besides a number of small schools, in which even the teacher is not paid a salary. I visited a school at Pei-yin, about forty miles south of Peking, where the helper's wife, one of our former school girls, had herself collected a dozen or more little girls, was teaching them in a small mud room, on a mud k‘ang, where the cupboard was made of mud and the shelves of cornstalks, and everything about the place showed the greatest economy. But I have never heard little children pass a better examination. The teacher was without salary and had been teaching them more than three months.
Within the conference we have four hospitals, two for women and two for men. In these hospitals during the past year, with the dispensaries connected therewith, have been seen about 50,000 persons. Some of the most difficult surgical operations have been performed by a single physician with only one Chinese assistant. Dr. Scott, last summer, before he had been here a year, removed a tumor from a woman's breast, weighing fifteen catties, with the help
of a single assistant, who was himself unwell. I simply mention this as a sample of what is being done all the time. Our physicians are often called to see persons in the highest circles among merchants and officials. This is especially true of some of our ladies. Women are not able to come to the dispensaries as men are, and thus our lady physicians have shown what women are able to do, who are willing to sacrifice the quietness of domestic for the duties of professional life, and have abundantly proven that none of the most cherished of woman's virtues need be lost even in this, perhaps the most difficult of all professions in which women have yet engaged.
The industrial school here is constantly kept busy fulfilling the orders which come in from the various missionaries in the other as well as our own mission. Beds, tables, chairs, dictionary stands, dressers and indeed any article of household furniture is promptly and neatly made; boys are taught a trade which will enable them to be respectable, self-supporting mechanics, and at the same time are instructed during the evening in the Christian Scriptures and Chinese classics. The school is thus a benefit to the foreign. community, to say nothing of its convenience to our own growing mission demands.
The present time, and during the whole year, the school will suffer from the illness of Dr. Pilcher. During the past year he published his Physical Geography, which was reviewed in a recent number of the RECORDER. He has well on toward completion an Astronomy, and a Physiology prepared by Mrs. Gamewell; a Primary Geography is now in press. A printing press has been purchased with an amount of tpye. A circulating library was started last year, and there is a good library in connection with the school.
Our recent Annual Meeting was changed into an Annual Conference, so that the North-China Mission is a thing of the past, and the North-China Annual Conference takes its place. No one, I am sure, who attended the conference went away without feeling that the presence of Bishop Foster, Dr. Leonard, Mrs. Keen and her daughter, Miss Keen, had been a source of great blessing and strength. The college and preparatory students spent all the time they could spend without neglecting their studies, listening to the discussions of the various topics that were brought before the conference.
The age of Bishop Foster prevented his being able to take part in any public services in the community, though he was able to see many of the members of the other missions at a reception given by Dr. and Mrs. Taft, and his place was well occupied by Dr. Leonard at our Sunday evening service and before the Missionary Association.
After the close of the conference Dr. Leonard visited our work at Tsunhua and other places in the East, where he dedicated ne w
chapels at two different places. Another new chapel was almost ready for dedication at Tientsin, but its dedication was left to Dr. Lowry.
During the session of conference there were two especially touching scenes. The one was when Dr. Lowry addressed the conference no longer as its Superintendent, but simply as a member. Resolutions of gratitude were offered in recognition of his services, but tears rather than resolutions expressed the gratitude of his co-laborers, both foreign and native, and he was at once elected as official correspondent of the conference. The other scene was when the venerable Bishop made his closing address. His words sunk deep into the hearts of both foreigners and natives. The appointments were then read, the conference adjourned, and each man sought his co-laborer for the coming year and shook his hand as though they were old friends who had not met for half a life-time.
Thoughts for the New Year.
66 OUR SPIRITUAL NEEDS" v. "GOD'S ABUNDANT SUPPLY."
"And my God shall fulfil every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus." Phil. iv., 19. R. V.
HE admirable paper on The Measure of Our Faith (in the November issue of last year) has suggested to me the above text as a sort of companion verse for thought and inspiration during the New Year upon which we have now entered.
It was to me, as I expect to many others also, very refreshing to be directed to those grand and glorious promises in Numbers xiv., 28 and Matthew ix., 29. It is, alas! sadly too true we are constantly forgetting the magnificent heritage at our disposal, and frequently fail in appropriating these precious promises, because I fear we are not always ready to fulfil the conditions which are as clearly defined as the promises themselves. Be it ours, however, one and all, to enter more fully into the freedom of possession during 1894 and thus know in greater and grander measure the joy of inheriting the promises.
Doubtless many will be asking the question, How can I help to make this year a season of added consecration and blessing, both in my own life and also in the lives of those with whom I come in contact?
The great burden now seems to be a deep yearning desire for souls, for many have found that this after all is the great "desideratum." We may have all our missionary machinery in perfect working order. Our organizations may be of the latest Western type. And yet there may be no "true por ̃......”
Minds may be instructed, and higher studies may produce natives of exceptional ability, but I take it we shall never be truly satisfied until the Spirit of the living God breathe upon the dry bones that they may live.
Now as we step forward it is all important that we first look well to our spiritual surroundings. Examine closely our vast resources, and by a definite act of faith link every need of ours on to the sufficiency treasured up in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The words of the Apostle are, in this connection, full of meaning for us. Let us divide it up into its own natural parts! My God! shall fulfil—every need of yours—according to his riches—in glory-in Christ Jesus.
The source of Paul's power can be seen at once; he held on to his God! My God, says he, How often do we practise that sort of appropriation? We are constantly talking about my work and my mission, or my plan and my purposes. Yet how very seldom do we subordinate everything to "Our God."
I venture to think we do well to get back to apostolic usage. Any way let us see to it that 1894 has a great deal of my God in it. "My need" met and satisfied by "my God;" how this lights up the prospect. We need no longer fear failure, for as long as the soul is in this garrison "victory" must be ours. Away to the battle then brethren and sisters, for the "Mighty Arm" is ours, and every need of the soldier band is understood and shall be supplied by the Captain of our Salvation. One could easily enlarge upon the other divisions, but I am sure if the subject is thought out in much prayer many precious thoughts will come to bless and cheer us in our work and labor of love.
In closing let me first refer to two things we need to have ever present with us throughout 1894. The first is "your need" and the second is "in Christ Jesus."
I cannot tell how exceedingly helpful the following has been to me. Though it has appeared in two or three home papers I am sure the workers in China, who have not read it, will be much edified:
I need oil, said an ancient monk. So he planted him an olive sapling.
"Lord," he prayed, "it needs rain that its tender roots may drink and swell. Send gentle showers." And the Lord sent a gentle shower.
"Lord," prayed the monk, "my tree needs sun. Send sun, pray Thee." And the sun shone, gilding the dripping clouds. "Now frost, my Lord, to brace its tissues," cried the monk. And behold, the little tree stood sparkling with frost. But at evensong it died. Then the monk sought the cell of a brother monk and told his strange experience.
"I too have planted a little tree," he said, "and see! it thrives well. But I entrusted my little tree to its God. He Who made it knows better what it needs than a man like me. I laid no condition. I fixed not ways or means. Lord, send it what it needs,' I prayed-storm or sunshine, wind, rain or frost. Thou hast made it and Thou dost know.""
Brethren and sisters! let this self-abandonment to God's will be our rule of life. Not my wants or fancies but His divine plan and purpose worked out, so that every need of ours be filled in and filled up for His own glory and our joy.
The last thought is none the less precious. The old version has it "by Christ Jesus." It is possible to have a blessing by a person from another, but to have that blessing in and through the blesser seems to me an added joy. "All in Jesus." May we all feed upon this fact and in every detail of our Christian life, whether directly or indirectly missionary work, be it yours and mine to let every need be supplied out of, and according to, His abundant riches. S.
Published in the interests of the "Educational Association of China."
Notes and Items.
E regret exceedingly to be obliged to announce the death of the Rev. Leander W. Pilcher, D.D., President of Peking University, which occurred on Friday, November 24th. Our Association has lost one of its most active and influential members and our Publication Committee its valued Chairman. Dr. Pilcher came to China in 1870, but did not enter educational work till some years later. He was first connected with the school of the Methodist Episcopal Mission at Peking, known as the " Wiley Institute," and was largely instrumental in the development of this Institute into the Peking University, the plans for which were both wisely and successfully laid by him. He is the author of a Primary Geography, which had an extensive sale, and of a new Physical Geography, which we recently noticed. At the time of his decease he had in hand the revision of Chapin's Geography and a new Astronomy. In the prime of his manhood and in the midst of his important work he is taken from us, but his memory will ever be fresh. No one who knew him will forget his frankness and affa