« AnkstesnisTęsti »
In 1900 the Christians of the little country churches, dear to his heart, were decimated by martyrdom, and those who were left, had been stripped of their worldly goods. With his strong sense of justice, his personal bravery, and his thorough acquaintance with the Chinese leaders in all this district, Dr. Ament was one of the first to seek a reparation for the wrongs that his people had suffered. After consultation with the only authority in existence to which he could appeal, the United States Legation, he took abandoned property to feed, clothe, and house the hundreds of Chinese dependents that he found on his hands. It was the only thing he could do for them He took every means to open the normal arteries of trade in his part of Peking and organized various temporary departments of public service for the good of all. He could not but make mistakes, if he tried to make anything in these unsettled conditions, and yet he took pains to recognize and repair mistakes. The sincerity of his motives and the wisdom of his constructive work after the siege, have been amply vindicated at the bar of honest Christian opinion. The attack upon him by Mark Twain, partly based upon misinformation, but persisted in after it was corrected, was a blow that sank deep into his soul, and he never fully recovered from the pain of it. The instinct born in him to see an accuser face to face and fight it out, drove him to return to the States, and he gladly accepted the call of the Board to come home and explain. Certain it is that he won the commendation of the public, for he was received with acclaim in the great churches of Boston, New York, and Chicago. He was given the seat of honor in the business men's club in Boston. A similar organization in New York City tendered him and Major Conger a banquet and reception, where he was given the opportunity to explain the actions that had been called in question. None can know the exquisite refinement of agony that the reading of the article by Mark Twain caused him.
On his return to China in 1902 he threw himself with the old time vigor into the work of reconstruction. He adapted himself to the changed conditions in city and country. When street chapel audiences dwindled he resorted to teaching English and to the lecture platform. For two years or more he maintained
course of weekly lectures in the Tengshihk'ou Church that attracted men of all classes. These were conducted with the expenditure of much vital force, as many of the lectures were his own, and he was always ready to take the place of the belated lecturer on a moment's notice.
In the movement toward missionary co-operation he took an active interest and was the chairman of the important Committee on Union at the Shanghai Conference. His work on this committee, with the paper on the subject presented at the Conference, took
much of his strength for a year. His retraction of an unfortunate remark on the platform of the Conference was an act of moral courage and did much to promote united feeling.
Let us turn now from what he did to what he was. Dr. Ament's mind was prompt in action, keen in memory, well developed in imaginative and poetic faculties, well stored with classic literary forms and historic events. These qualities, combined with a gift for expression, made him a ready and fascinating speaker. When he squared his shoulders and threw back his head with kindling eye, his audiences could expect a mental treat and moral uplift. He had a sympathetic nature constantly overflowing in unostentatious kindliness. His home in Peking and Peitaiho was ever open to the belated traveller and homeless family. Many of the mistakes he made may be traced to the all-absorbing desire to be friendly and helpful. This power to be friendly and to make friends, which in the last analysis is the essential feature in human life and duty, was conspicuous in its influence on the Chinese. We hear on all sides among the non-Christian Chinese :
'What, Dr. Ament dead! Ai ya! He truly loved us Chinese." He leaves friends among all classes.
He was impatient with Chinese trickery and injustice and often broke out with stern, indignant rebuke. This offended many, and yet the repeated testimony of the Chinese is that he never cherished hatred or laid up resentment. He was generously forgiving, and I know that he consciously guarded against pressing an opponent until the iron of bitter hatred should sink into his soul. He always gave a man a chance to save his self-respect.
In all the years that I companied with him I never heard word or expression or saw an act indicating that he was other than a pure-minded man, harboring nothing unclean in thought. We may believe that he now has the blessing promised the pure in heart.
The China Times was baffled, in its search for information about Dr. Ament, by his modesty, saying: “The late Dr. Ament was a modest man." That same modesty baffled his friends in learning of his triumphs and brave deeds. We never could get from him the details of these things. We know, however, that he was a lion in
, both physical bravery and moral courage. The Chochou official, when the Boxers lay in wait for Dr. Ament at the door of his yamên, took him out the back door exhorting him to save his life and not to trouble about his friends. Vain exhortation ! He returned to Peking and, convinced of the gravity of the situation, applied to the United States Minister for a soldier guard to rescue the American Board missionaries assembled in annual meeting at T'ungchoy. The legation guard was deemed too weak to spare any, so he resolved to go alone. With Miss Russell's cart and her trusty servant, he went out into the rain and the night with the word ;
“If I do not return, tell Mary that all is well." He gathered seventeen empty carts and left the city for a fifteen-mile night ride to T'ungchou, through Boxer infested country, to save the lives of his friends. His bravery was rewarded by perfect success. In the siege he was scornful of bullets and was impatient of what he considered excessive caution against personal exposure. This physical bravery was matched as we have seen by a higher moral courage which drove him to face an accuser and often sent him with impetuous zeal into a fight for what he felt to be right. He was a born fighter and loved a fight and yet he could yield and could forgive and love and pray for his enemies. The only thing before which he weakened was distress or a woman's tears. These sometimes won him over against his better judgment. His splendid courage stood him in good stead when he faced the last great enemydeath. It was then that he said: “I am ready to die. I only wish that I had a chance to pass my work over to another.”
The basic element of all his lovable and admirable qualities, as well as the secret of his success as a missionary, can be found in a deep conviction of the reality of spiritual things and a genuine love for God and all men. He was deeply religious without cant. He admired the mystics among religious thinkers and had a poetic and mystic strain in his nature tempered by a strong sense of the practical. A sect of mystic perfectionists at Oberlin made a strong impress on him through the life of their leader, Miss Rawson, in whose home he lived for a time. Yet he disavowed their perfectionism, and was thoroughly imbued with the doctrines of the Oberlin school of ethics and theology.
In closing I have the sense of failure to express the significance of Dr. Ament's work and character, but I wish to say for myself that with the passing of this one to the other side, I have lost the precious consolation of a true earthly friend in time of despondency. I have lost a high note in the call to noble living. I have lost a great inspiration to hard work and sacrifice for the Master. Lost these! did I say ? Nay, they are only removed from sense, idealized, spiritualized, for our friend has but crossed a wider sea than the Pacific and as he entered the farther Golden Gate, the breath of the eternal morning on his bewildered brow has cleared the clouds that lowered over his mental life. When he left us he scarcely recognized his closest friends, yet we believe that now in the radiant light of eternity, with clear vision and sympathy unabated, he looks on us with the same kindly loving interest as of old, and that he also sees and knows the loved Master, for whom he wrought so long and faithfully, yea and for whom he longed. Let us rejoice with him that the longing is now satisfied and that his life is bid with Christ in God.
311 Semoriam. Mr. T. A. P. Clinton.
BY REV. T. J. PRESTON, CHANGTEH.
after the effective opening of Hunan to the resident mis
sionary, closely associated with two men of more than ordinary character and energy, the one Mr. J. R. Bruce, who was murdered at Shenchow in 1902, and the other Mr. T. A. P. Clinton, who passed away on January 18th soon after his arrival in Australia. Though of a different mission, the close association in plans and work with Mr. Clinton continued for a decade, and now that he has been called to receive his reward, gratitude for the privilege of long and helpful fellowship prompts this humble tribute.
Mr. Clinton assumed charge of the China Inland Mission station in Changteh in 1898, and a well-established church with many in the city and district to thank God for having heard the Gospel from his lips, is sufficient testimony to his untiring zeal and devotion to the work. In 1904, after his return from furlough, he was married to Miss Emily Baller, daughter of Rev. F. W. Baller, and to them was born a son, whom they named Bruce, after his friend and first co-worker in Changteh. The coming of Mrs. Clinton soon developed large interest among women, and their station was well organized for effective and growing work among all classes.
In contemplating his missionary career-all too brief were it not that God never makes mistakes—it is difficult to seize upon any quality that stands out more prominently than others, but two may be mentioned which show that his character had the ring of tempered steel and that he was admirably fitted by disposition and training to be a successful missionary.
I. He was a man of unlimited determination. This was shown at the beginning of his labors in this city. He felt that his mission was to establish work within the city walls, at that time a bold venture, and he had to change residence three times ; each move, however, bringing him nearer the city gate ; before he accomplished his purpose. First he lived in the rear of an ordinary inn on the outskirts of the city, then he changed to a very unsuitable and unsanitary house nearer the city gate, but it was a step in the direction of the accomplishment of his purpose, and later he rented a house still nearer, always with the one end in view. Finally he succeeded in purchasing excellent property within the city walls, and at once made the place a centre for the dissemination of divine truth. The energy displayed in this one respect characterized all his labors. He entertained no chimerical