Part 3 out of 3
The words found a ready response in his heart. They were the
words of a true soldier of the King. The officer went back to his
captain with Mackay's message and with a deep admiration in his
heart for the man who would rather face death than leave his
So the British man-of-war drew off, leaving the missionaries in
the midst of danger. And almost immediately, with a great
bursting roar, the bombardment from the French ships opened.
Sometimes the shells flew high over the town and up to the bluff,
so Dr. and Mrs. Mackay put their three little ones in a safe
corner under the house; but they themselves as well as Mr. and
Mrs. Jamieson, went in and out to and from the college, and the
girls' school as though nothing were happening.
Every day Mackay's work grew heavier and his anxiety for the
persecuted Christians grew deeper. He ate very little, and he
scarcely slept at all. It was not the noise of the carnage about
him that kept him awake. He would have fallen asleep peacefully
amidst bursting shells, but he had no opportunity. The whole
burden of the young Church, harassed by persecution on all sides,
seemed to rest upon his spirit. Anxiety for the Christians in the
inland stations from whom he could not hear weighed on him night
and day, and his brave spirit was put to the severest test.
Only his great strong faith in God kept him up and kept up the
spirits of the converts who looked to him for an example. And a
brave pattern he showed them. Often he and A Hoa paced the lawn
in front of the house while shot and shell whizzed around them.
During the worst of the bombardment they came and went between
the college and the house as if they had charmed lives. One day
there was a great roar and a shell struck Oxford College, shaking
it to its foundations. The smoke from fort and ships had scarcely
cleared away when, crash! and the girls' school was struck by a
bursting shell. Next moment there was a fearful bang and a great
stone that stood in front of the Mackays' house went up into the
air in a thousand fragments.
But when the firing was hottest, Kai Bok-su would repeat to his
students the comforting Psalm:
"Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the
arrow that flieth by day."
But in spite of his brave demeanor, the strain on the shepherd of
this harassed flock was beginning to tell. And when the
bombardment ceased and the intense anxiety for his loved ones was
over, Kai Bok-su suddenly collapsed. Dr. Johnsen, the foreign
physician of Tamsui, came hurriedly up to the mission house to
see him. His verdict sent a thrill of dismay through every heart
that loved him, from the anxious little wife by the patient's
side, to the poorest convert in the town below. Their beloved Kai
Bok-su had brain fever.
"Too much anxiety and too little sleep," said the medical man.
"He must sleep now," he added, "or he will die." But now that Kai
Bok-su had a chance to rest, he could not. Sleep had been chased
away too long to stay with him. Night and day he tossed about,
wide awake and burning with fever. His temperature was never less
than 102 during those days, and all the doctor's efforts could
not lower it. The awful heat of September was on, and the great
typhoons that would soon sweep across the country and clear the
air had not yet come. The glaring sun and the stifling damp heat
were all against the patient. At last one day the doctor saw a
crisis was approaching. He stood looking down at the hot, flushed
face, at the burning eyes, and the restless hands that were never
still, and he said to himself, "If the fever does not go down
to-day, he will die."
The doctor went along College Road toward his home, answering the
eager, anxious questions that met him on all sides with only a
shake of his head.
A Hoa followed him, his drawn face full of pleading. Was he no
better? he asked with quivering lips. It was the question poor A
Hoa asked many, many times a day, for he never left the house
when not away on duty. The doctor's face was full of sympathy and
his own heart weighed down as he sadly answered, "No."
"If I only had some ice," he muttered, knowing well he had none.
"If there was only one bit of ice in Tamsui, I'd save him yet."
Over in the British consulate Dr. Johnsen had another patient.
Mr. Dodd lay sick there, though not nearly as ill as the
missionary, and the physician's next visit was to him. When he
entered he found a servant carrying a tray with some ice on it to
the sick room.
"Ice!" cried the doctor, overjoyed. "Where did it come from?"
The servant explained that the steamship Hailoong had just
arrived in Tamsui harbor with it that morning. The doctor entered
Mr. Dodd's room. Would he give him that ice to save Mackay's
life? was the question he asked. To save such a life as Mackay's!
That was an absurd question, Mr. Dodd declared, and he
immediately ordered that every bit of ice he had should be sent
at once to the missionary's house.
The doctor hurried back up the hill with the precious remedy. He
broke up a piece and laid it like a little cushion on poor Kai
Bok-su's hot forehead; that forehead beneath which the busy
brain, resting neither day nor night, was burning up. It had not
been there a great while before the restless eyes lost their
fire, the eyelids drooped and, wonderful sight, Kai Bok-su sank
into a sleep! The doctor hardly dared to breathe. If he could
only be kept asleep now, he had a chance. Dr. Mackay had never
been a sleeper, he well knew. He was too restless, too energetic,
to allow himself even proper rest. When Dr. Fraser, his first
assistant, had been with him, he had struggled to persuade him to
stay in bed at least six hours every night, but not always with
success. But now he was to show what he could do in the matter of
sleeping. All that night he lay, breathing peacefully, the next
day he slept on from morning till night, and little by little the
ice melted away on his forehead. He did not move all the next
night, and A Hoa and Mrs. Mackay and the doctor took turns at his
bedside watching that the precious ice was always there. Morning
came and it was all finished. The patient opened his eyes. He had
slept thirty-six hours, and a thrill of joy went through every
Christian heart in Tamsui, for their Kai Bok-su was saved!
But though the crisis was over, he was still very weak, and such
was the state of affairs through the country that he was in no
condition to cope with them. Riot and plunder was the order of
the day. News of churches being destroyed, of faithful Christians
being tortured or put to death, were still coming to the mission
house, and no one could tell what day would bring Kai Bok-su's
And now came an order from the British consul which the
missionaries could not disobey. He commanded that their families
must be moved at once from Formosa, as he could not answer for
their protection. So at once preparations for their departure
were made, and Mr. Jamieson took his wife and Mrs. Mackay and her
three little ones and sailed away for Hongkong.
But once more Kai Bok-su stayed behind. It cost him bitter pain
to part with his loved ones, knowing he might never see them
again; he was weak and spent with fever, and his poor body was
worn to a shadow, but he stubbornly refused to leave the men who
had stood by him in every danger. The consul commanded, the
doctor pleaded, but no, Kai Bok-su would not go. If the danger
had grown greater, then all the more reason why he should stay
and comfort his people. And if God were pleased to send death,
then they would all die together.
But he was so weak and sick that the doctor feared that if he
remained there would be little chance for the mob to kill him:
death would come sooner. So he came to his stubborn patient with
a new proposition. The Fukien, a merchant steamship, was now
lying in Tamsui harbor. She was to run to Hongkong and back
directly. If Mackay would only take that trip, his physician
urged, the sea air would make him new again, and he would return
in a short time and be ready to take up his work once more.
It was that promise that moved Mackay's resolution. His utter
weakness held him down from work, and he longed with all his soul
to go out through the country to help the poor, suffering
churches. So he finally consented to take the short journey and
pay a visit to his dear ones in Hongkong.
He did not get back quite as soon as he intended, for the French
blockade delayed his vessel. But at last he stepped out upon the
Tamsui dock into a crowd of preachers, students, and converts who
were weeping for joy about him and exclaiming over his improved
The voyage had certainly done wonders for him, and at once he
declared he must take a trip into the country and visit those who
were left of the churches.
It was a desperate undertaking, for French soldiers were now
scattered through the country, guarding the larger towns and
cities and everywhere mobs of furious Chinese were ready to
torture or kill every foreigner. But it would take even greater
difficulties than these to stop Kai Bok-su, and he began at once
to lay plans for going on a tour.
He first went to the British consul and came back in high spirits
with a folded paper in his hand. He spread it out on the library
table before A Hoa and Sun-a, who were to go with him, and this
is what it said:
British Consulate, Tamsui,
May 27th, 1885.
To THE OFFICER IN CHIEF COMMAND OF THE FRENCH FORCES AT KELUNG:
The bearer of this paper, the Rev. George Leslie Mackay, D.D., a
British subject, missionary in Formosa, wishes to enter Kelung,
to visit his chapel and his house there, and to proceed through
Kelung to Kap-tsu-lan on the east coast of Formosa to visit his
converts there. Wherefore I, the undersigned, consul for Great
Britain at Tamsui, do beg the officer in chief command of the
French forces in Kelung to grant the said George Leslie Mackay
entry into, and a free and safe passage through, Kelung. He will
be accompanied by two Chinese followers, belonging to his
mission, named, respectively, Giam Chheng Hoa, and Iap Sun.
A. FRATER, Her Britannic Majesty's Consul at Tamsui.
They had all the power of the British Empire behind them so long
as they held that paper. Then they hired a burden-bearer to carry
their food, and Mackay cut a bamboo pole, fully twenty feet long,
and on it tied the British flag. With this floating over them,
the little army marched through the rice-fields down to Kelung.
It was an adventurous journey. But, wonderful though it seemed,
they came through it safely. Poor Kai Bok-su's heart was torn as
he saw the ravages the mob had made on his churches. But what a
cheer his heart received when he found that persecution had
strengthened the converts that were left and everywhere the
heathen marveled that men should die for the faith the barbarian
missionary had taught. They were taken prisoners once for German
spies, and led far out of their way. But they came back to Tamsui
safely, having greatly cheered the faithful Christians who still
were true to their Master, Jesus Christ. It was early in June,
just one year from the opening of the war, that the French sailed
away. They were disgusted with the whole affair, the commander of
one vessel told Dr. Mackay, and they were all very glad it was
Mr. and Mrs. Jamieson and Dr. Mackay's family returned to their
homes on the bluff, and work started up again with its old vigor.
But everywhere the heathen were in great glee. Christianity had
been destroyed with the chapels, they were sure. Wherever Mackay
went, shouts of derision followed him, and everywhere he could
hear the joyful cry "Long-tsong bo-khi!" which meant "The mission
is wiped out!"
But strange though it may seem, the mission had never been
stronger, and it soon began to assert itself. Dr. Mackay went at
the work of repairing the lost buildings with all the force of
his nature. First, he and Mr. Jamieson and A Hoa sat down and
prepared a statement of their losses. This they sent to the
commander-in-chief of the Chinese forces, who had been
responsible for law and order. Without any delay or questioning
of the missionaries' rights, the general sent Dr. Mackay the sum
asked for--ten thousand Mexican dollars.*
The next thing was to plan the new chapels and see to the
building of them. And before the shouts of "Long-tsong bo-khi"
had well started, they began to be contradicted by walls of brick
or stone that rose up strong and sure to show that the mission
had not been wiped out. Three of the chapels were commenced all
at once--at Sintiam, at Bang-kah and at Sek-khau. Before anything
was done Dr. Mackay and a party of his students went up to
Sin-tiam to look over the site. They stood up on the pile of
ruins, surrounded by the Christians, and a crowd of heathen came
around gleefully to watch them in the hopes of seeing their
But to their amazement the little company of Christians led by
the wonderful Kai Bok-su, suddenly burst into a hymn of praise to
God who had brought them safely through all their troubles:
Bless, O my soul, the Lord thy God,
And not forgetful be
Of all his gracious benefits
He hath bestowed on thee!
The heathen listened in wonder to the words of praise where they
had expected lamentation, and they asked each other what was this
strange power that made men so strong and brave.
And their amazement grew as the chapels, the lovely new chapels
of stone or brick, began to rise from the ruins of the old ones.
And not only did the old ones reappear, new and more beautiful,
but as Dr. Mackay and his native preachers went here and there
over the country others peeped forth like the hepaticas of
springtime, until there were not only the forty original chapels,
but in a few years the number had increased to sixty.
The triumphant shout that the mission had been wiped out ceased
completely, and the people declared that they had been fools to
try to destroy the chapels, for the result had been only bigger
and better ones.
"Look now," said one old heathen, pointing a withered finger to
the handsome spire of the Bang-kah chapel, that lifted itself
toward the sky, "Look now, the chapel towers above our temple. It
is larger than the one we destroyed."
His neighbors crowding about him and gazing up with superstitious
awe at the spire, agreed.
"If we touch this one he will build another and a bigger one,"
remarked another man.
"We cannot stop the barbarian missionary," said the old heathen
with an air of conviction.
"No, no one can stop the great Kai Bok-su," they finally agreed,
and so they left off all opposition in despair.
Yes, the cry of "Long-tsong bo-khi" had died, and the answer to
it was inscribed on the front of the splendid chapels that sprang
up all over north Formosa. For, just above the main entrance to
each, worked out in stucco plaster, was a picture of the burning
bush, and around it in Chinese the grand old motto:
"Nec tamen consumebatur" ("Yet it was not consumed.")
CHAPTER XII. TRIUMPHAL MARCH
Up and down the length and breadth of north Formosa, seeming to
be in two or three places at once, went Kai Bok-su, during this
time of reviving after the war. He would be in Kelung to-day
superintending the new chapel building, in Tamsui at Oxford
College the next day, in Bang-kah preaching a short while after,
and no one could tell just where the next day.
But every one did know that wherever he went, Christians grew
stronger and heathen gave up their idols. The Kap-tsu-lan plain,
away on the eastern coast, seemed to be a sort of pet among all
his mission fields, and he was always turning his steps thither.
For the Pe-po-hoan who lived there, while they were simple and
warm-hearted and easily moved by the gospel story, were not such
strong characters as the Chinese. So the missionary felt he must
visit them often to help steady their faith.
Not long after the close of the war, he set off on a trip to the
Kap-tsu-lan plain. Besides his students, he was accompanied by a
young German scientist. Dr. Warburg had come from Germany to
Formosa to collect peculiar plants and flowers and to find any
old weapons or relics of interest belonging to the savage tribes.
All these were for the use of the university in Germany which had
sent him out.
The young scientist was delighted with Dr. Mackay and found in
him a very interesting companion. They met in Kelung, and when
Dr. Warburg found that Dr. Mackay was going to visit the
Kap-tsu-lan plain, he joined his party. The stranger found many
rare specimens of orchids on that trip and several peculiar spear
and arrow heads to be taken back as curios to Germany. But he
found something rarer and more wonderful and something for which
he had not come to search.
He saw in one place three hundred people gather about their
missionary and raise a ringing hymn of praise to the God of
heaven, of whom they had not so much as heard but a few short
years before. He visited sixteen little chapels and heard clever,
bright-faced young Chinese preachers stand up in them and tell
the old, old story of Jesus and his love. And he realized that
these things were far more wonderful than the rarest curios he
could find in all Formosa.
When he bade good-by to Dr. Mackay, he said: "I never saw
anything like this before. If scientific skeptics had traveled
with a missionary as I have and witnessed what I have witnessed
on this plain, they would assume a different attitude toward the
heralds of the cross."
Not many months later Dr. Mackay again went down the eastern
coast. This time he took three of his closest friends, all
preacher students, Tan He, Sun-a, and Koa Kau. With a coolie to
carry provisions, their Bibles, their forceps, and some malaria
medicine, they started off fully equipped. By steam launch to
Bang-kah, by a queer little railway train to Tsui-tng-kha and by
foot to Kelung was the first part of the journey. The next part
was a tramp over the mountains to Kap-tsu-lan.
The road now grew rough and dangerous. Overhead hung loose rocks,
huge enough to crush the whole party should they fall. Underneath
were wet, slippery stones which might easily make one go sliding
down into the chasm below.
As usual on this trip they had many hair-breadth escapes, for
there were savages too hiding up in the dense forest and waiting
an opportunity to spring out upon the travelers. Dr. Mackay was
almost caught in a small avalanche also. He leaped over a narrow
stream-bed, and as he did so, he dislodged a loose mass of rock
above him. It came down with a fearful crash, scattering the
smaller pieces right upon his heels; but they passed all dangers
safely and toward evening reached the shore where the great long
Pacific billows rolled upon the sand. They were in the
Their journey through the plain was like a triumphal march.
Wherever a chapel had been erected, there were converts to be
examined; wherever there was no chapel, the people gathered about
the missionary and pleaded for one. They often recalled the first
visit of Kai Bok-su when "No room for barbarians" were the only
words that met him.
But Dr. Mackay wished to go farther on this journey than he had
ever gone. Some distance south of Kap-tsu-lan lay another
district called the Ki-lai plain. The people here were also
aborigines of the island who had been conquered by the Chinese
like the Pe-po-hoan. But the inhabitants of Ki-lai were called
Lam-si-hoan, which means "Barbarians of the south." Dr. Mackay
had never been among them, but they had heard the gospel. A
missionary from Oxford College had journeyed away down there to
tell the people about Jesus and had been working among them for
some years. He was not a graduate, not even a student--but only
the cook! For Oxford College was such a place of inspiration
under Kai Bok-su, that even the servants in the kitchen wanted to
go out and preach the gospel. So the cook had gone away to the
Ki-lai plain, and, ever since he had left, Dr. Mackay had longed
to go and see how his work was prospering.
So at one of the most southerly points of the Kap-tsu-lan plain
he secured a boat for the voyage south. The best he could get was
a small craft quite open, only twelve feet long. It was not a
very fine vessel with which to brave the Pacific Ocean, but where
was the crazy craft in which Kai Bok-su would not embark to go
and tell the gospel to the heathen? The boat was manned by six
Pe-po-hoan rowers, all Christians, and at five o'clock in the
evening they pushed out into the surf of So Bay. A crowd of
converts came down to the shore to bid them farewell. As the boat
shoved off the friends on the beach started a hymn. The rowers
and the missionaries caught it up and the two groups joined, the
sound of each growing fainter and fainter to the other as the
All lands to God in joyful sounds
Aloft your voices raise,
Sing forth the honor of his name,
And glorious make his praise!
And the land and the sea, answering each other, joined in praise
to him who was the Maker of both.
And so the rowers pulled away in time to the swing of the Psalm,
the boat rounded a point, and the beloved figure of Kai Bok-su
disappeared from sight.
Away down the coast the oarsmen pulled, and the four missionaries
squeezed themselves into as small a space as possible to be out
of the way of the oars. All the evening they rowed steadily, and
as they still swept along night came down suddenly. They kept
close to the shore, where to their right arose great mountains
straight up from the water's edge. They were covered with forest,
and here and there in the blackness fires twinkled.
"Head-hunters!" said the helmsman, pointing toward them.
Away to the left stretched the Pacific Ocean, and above shone the
stars in the deep blue dome. It was a still, hot tropical night.
From the land came the heavy scent of flowers. The only sound
that broke the stillness was the regular thud, thud of the oars
or the cry of some wild animal floating out from the jungle. As
they passed on through the warm darkness, the sea took on that
wonderful fiery glow that so often burns on the oceans of the
tropics. Every wave became a blaze of phosphorescence. Every
ripple from the oars ran away in many-colored flames--red, green,
blue, and orange. Kai Bok-su, sitting amazed at the glory to
which the Pe-po-hoan boatmen had become accustomed, was silent
with awe. He had seen the phosphorescent lights often before, but
never anything like this. He put his hand down into the molten
sea and scooped up handfuls of what seemed drops of liquid fire.
And as his fingers dipped into the water they shone like rods of
red-hot iron. Over the gleaming iridescent surface, sparks of
fire darted like lightning, and from the little boat's sides
flashed out flames of gold and rose and amber. It was grand. And
no wonder they all joined--Chinese, Malayan, and Canadian--in
making the dark cliffs and the gleaming sea echo to the strains
of praise to the One who had created all this glory.
O come let us sing to the Lord,
To him our voices raise
With joyful noise, let us the rock
Of our salvation praise.
To him the spacious sea belongs,
For he the same did make;
The dry land also from his hand
Its form at first did take.
Dawn came up out of the Pacific with a new glory of light and
color that dispelled the wonders of the night. It showed the
voyagers that they were very near a low shore where it would be
possible to land. But the helmsman shook his head at the
proposal. He pointed out huts along the line of forest and
figures on the shore. And then with a common impulse, the rowers
swung round and pulled straight out to sea; for with Pe-po-hoan
experience they saw at once that here was a savage village, and
not long would their heads remain on their shoulders should they
The scorching sun soon poured its hot rays upon the tired rowers,
but they pulled steadily. They too, like Kai Bok-su, were anxious
to take this great good news of Jesus Christ to those who had not
yet learned of him. When safely out of reach of the headhunters,
they once more turned south, and, about noon, tired and hot, at
last approached the first port of the Ki-lai plain. Every one
drew a sigh of relief, for the men had been rowing steadily all
night and half the day. As they drew near Dr. Mackay looked
eagerly at the queer village. It appeared to be half Chinese and
half Lam-si-hoan. It consisted of two rows of small thatched
houses with a street between nearly two hundred feet wide.
The rowers ran the boat up on the sloping pebbly beach and all
stepped out with much relief to stretch their stiffened limbs.
They had scarcely done so when a military officer came down the
shore and approaching Dr. Mackay made him welcome with the
greatest warmth. There was a military encampment here, and this
was the officer as well as the headman of the village. He invited
Dr. Mackay and his friends to take dinner with him. Dr. Mackay
accepted with pleased surprise. This was far better than he had
expected. He was still more surprised to hear his name on every
"It is the great Kai Bok-su," could be heard in tones of deepest
respect from fishermen at their nets and old women by the door
and children playing with their kites in the wide street.
"How do they know me?" he asked, as he was greeted by a
rice-seller, sitting at the open front of his shop.
"Ah, we have heard of you and your work in the north, Pastor
Mackay," said his host, smiling, "and our people want to hear of
this new Jehovah-religion too."
The cook-missionary had evidently spread wonderful reports of Kai
Bok-su and his gospel and so prepared the way. He was preaching
just then in a place called Ka-le-oan, farther inland. When the
officer learned that Dr. Mackay wanted to visit him he turned to
his servant with a most surprising order. It was to saddle his
pony and bring him for Kai Bok-su to ride to Ka-le-oan.
The pony came, sleek and plump and with a string of jingling
bells adorning him. A pony was a wonderful sight in Formosa, and
Dr. Mackay had not used any sort of animal in his work since that
disastrous day when he had tried in vain to ride the stubborn
Lu-a. But now he gladly mounted the sedate little steed and
trotted away along the narrow pathway between the rice-fields
Darkness had almost descended when he rode into the village and
stopped before a small grass-covered bamboo dwelling where the
cook-preacher lived. For years the people here had looked for Kai
Bok-su's coming, for years they had talked of this great event,
and for years their preacher had been writing and saying as he
received his reply from the eager missionary in Tamsui, "He may
And now he was really here! The sound of his horse's bells had
scarcely stopped before the preacher's house, when the news began
to spread like fire through the village. The preacher, who had
worked so hard and waited so long, wept for joy, and before he
could make Dr. Mackay welcome in a proper manner the room was
filled with men, all wildly eager for a sight of the great Kai
Bok-su, while outside a crowd gathered about the door striving to
get even a glimpse of him. The ex-cook of Oxford College had
preached so faithfully that many were already converted to
Christianity, many more knew a good deal of the gospel, and
crowds were ready to throw away their idols. They were weary of
their heathen rites and superstitions. They were longing for
something better, they scarcely knew what. "But the mandarin will
not let them become Christians," said the preacher anxiously. "It
is he who is keeping them from decision. He has said that they
must continue in idolatry, as a token of loyalty to China."
"Are you sure that is true?" cried Dr. Mackay.
The converts nodded. They had "heard" it said at least.
But Kai Bok-su was not the man to accept mere hearsay. He was
always wisely careful to avoid any collision with the
authorities. But remembering the kindness shown him back in
Hoe-lien-kang, he could not quite believe that the mandarin who
had been so kind to him could be hostile to the religion of Jesus
To think was to act, and early the next morning, he was riding
back to the seacoast, to inquire how much of this rumor was true.
His reception was very warm. It was all right, the officer
declared. Whatever had been said or done in the past must be
forgotten. Kai Bok-su might go where he pleased and preach his
Jehovah-religion to whomsoever he would.
It was a very light-hearted rider the pony carried as he galloped
back along the narrow paths, with the good news for the
villagers. The word went round as soon as he arrived. Kai Bok-su
wanted to know how many were for the true God. All who would
worship him were at once to clear their houses of idols and
declare that they would serve Jehovah and him only. At dark a
great crowd gathered in an open space in the village.
Representatives from five villages were there, chiefs were
shouting to their people, and when Dr. Mackay and his students
arrived, the place was all noise and confusion. He was puzzled.
It almost looked as if there was to be a riot, though the voices
did not sound angry.
He climbed up on a pile of rubbish and his face shone clear in
the light of the flaring torches. His voice rang out loud and
commanding above the tumult.
"What is this noise about?" he cried. "Is there a difference of
opinion among you as to whether you shall worship these poor toys
of wood and stone, or the true God who is your Father?"
He paused and as if from one man came back the answer in a mighty
"No, we will worship the true God!"
The tumult had been one of enthusiasm and not of dispute!
Kai Bok-su's heart gave a great bound. For a moment he could not
speak. He who had so often stood up fearless and bold before a
raging heathen mob, now faltered before this sea of eager faces,
upturned to him. It seemed too good to be true that all this
crowd, representing five villages, was anxious to become
followers of the God of heaven. His voice grew steady at last,
and standing up there in the flickering torchlight he told those
children of the plain what it meant to be a follower of Jesus
Christ. It was a late hour when the meeting broke up, but even
then Dr. Mackay could not go to bed. Never since the day that A
Hoa, his first convert, had accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior,
had he felt such joy, and all night he walked up and down in
front of the preacher's house, unable to sleep for the
thankfulness to God that surged in his heart.
Morning brought a wonderful day for the Ki-lai plain. It was like
a day when freedom from slavery was announced. Had there been
bells in the village they would certainly have been rung. But joy
bells were ringing in every heart. Nobody could work all day. The
rice-fields and the shops and the pottery works lay idle. There
was but one business to do that day, and that was to get rid of
Early in the morning the mayor of the place, or the headman as he
was called, came to the house to invite the missionary and his
party to join him. Behind him walked four big boys, carrying two
large wicker baskets, hanging from poles across their shoulders;
and behind them came the whole village, men, women, and children,
their faces shining with a new joy. The procession moved along
from house to house. At every place it stopped and out from the
home were carried idols, ancestral tablets, mock-money, flags,
incense sticks, and all the stuff used in idol worship. These
were all emptied into the baskets carried by the boys. When even
the temple had been ransacked and the work of clearing out the
idols in the village was finished, the procession moved on to the
next hamlet. The villages were very near each other, so the
journey was not wearisome; and at last when every vestige of the
old idolatrous life had been taken from the homes of five
villages, the happy crowd marched back to the first village.
There was a large courtyard near the temple and here the
procession halted. The boys dropped their well-filled baskets,
and their contents were piled in the center of the court. The
people gathered about the heap and with shouts of joy set fire to
these signs of their lifelong slavery. Soon the pile was blazing
and crackling, and all the people, even the chiefs of the
villages, vied with each other in burning up the idols they had
so lately besought for blessings.
And then they turned toward the heathen temple and delivered it
over to Kai Bok-su for a chapel in which he and his students
might preach the gospel.
And so the temple was lighted up for a new kind of worship. It
had been used for worship many, many times before, but oh, how
different it was this time! Instead of coming in fear of demons,
dread of their gods' anger, and determination to cheat them if
possible, these poor folk crowded into the new-old temple with
light, happy hearts, as children coming to their Father. And was
not God their Father, only they had not known him before?
The heathen temple was dedicated to the worship of the true God
by singing the old but always new, one hundredth Psalm. The
Lam-si-hoan were not very good singers. They had not much idea of
tune. They had less idea of just when to start, and there was
very little to be said about the harmony of those hundreds of
voices. But in spite of it all, Kai Bok-su had to confess that
never in the music of his homeland or in the more finished
harmonies of Europe, had he heard anything so grandly uplifting
as when those newly-freed people stood up in their idol temple
and with heart and soul and voice unitedly poured forth in
thunderous volume of praise the great command:
All people that on earth do dwell,
Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice.
For a whole week with his pony and groom, which were still his to
do with as he pleased, the busy missionary rode up and down this
plain, visiting the villages, preaching, and teaching the people
how to live as Jesus Christ their Savior had lived; for it was
necessary to impress upon their childlike minds that it would be
of no use to burn up the idols in their homes and temple unless
they also gave up the still more harmful idols in their hearts.
But at last the day came when the pony had to be returned to its
owner and the missionary and his helpers must leave. It was a sad
day but a joyous one--the day that great visit came to an end.
Crowds of Christians, fain to keep him, followed him down to the
shore, and many kindly but reluctant hands shoved the little boat
out into the surf. And as the rowers sent it skimming out over
the great Pacific rollers, there rose from the beach the parting
hymn, the one that had dedicated the heathen temple to the
worship of the true God:
All people that on earth do dwell,
Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice.
and from the rowers and the missionaries in the boat, came back
the glad echo:
Know that the Lord is God indeed
Without our aid he did us make.
They were soon out of sight. The rowers pulled hard, but a stiff
northeaster straight from Japan was blowing against them, and
they made but little headway. Night came down, and they were
again skirting those dark cliffs, where, here and there, along
the narrow strip of sand, the night-fires of the savages flamed
out against the dark tangle of foliage. All night long the rowers
struggled against the wind. They were afraid to go out far for
the waves were wild, they dared not land, for, crueler than the
sea, the head-hunters waited for them on the shore. And so all
that night, taking turns with the rowers, the missionary and his
students toiled against the wind and wave. The dawn came up gray
and stormy, and they were still tossing about among the white
billows. No one had touched food for twenty-four hours. They had
rice in the boat, but there was no place where they dared land to
have it cooked. There was nothing to do but to pull, pull at the
oars, and a weary task it seemed, for the boat appeared to make
little headway, and the rowers barely succeeded in keeping her
from being dashed upon the rocks.
They were becoming almost too weak to keep any control over their
boat, when about three o'clock in the afternoon they managed to
round a point. There before them curved a beautiful bay. Behind
it and on both sides arose a perpendicular wall several hundred
feet high. At its foot stretched a narrow sandy beach. It was an
ideal spot, secure from savages both by land and sea. A shout of
encouragement from Kai Bok-su was the one thing needed. Tired
arms and aching backs bent to the oars for one last effort, and
when the boat swept up on the sandy beach every one uttered a
heartfelt prayer of thankfulness to the Father who had provided
this little haven in a time of such distress.
The rest of the journey was made safely, and just forty days
after their departure the four missionaries returned, worn out,
CHAPTER XIII. THE LAND OCCUPIED
But Kai Bok-su had no sooner returned than he was off again. He
was not one of that sort who could settle down after an
achievement, content to rest for a little. He seemed to forget
all about what had been done and was "up and at it again." If he
"did not know when he was beaten," neither did he seem to know
when he was successful; and like Alexander the Great he was
always sighing for new worlds to conquer, yes, and marching off
and conquering them too.
But every time he returned to his work at Tamsui from one of
these tours, it was borne in upon him more forcibly every day
that his faithful assistant who was left in charge, could not
long shoulder his work. Mr. Jamieson was fighting a losing battle
with ill health. The terrible experiences during the war year,
the hard work, and the trying Formosan climate had all combined
against him. His brave spirit could not always sustain the body
that was growing gradually weaker, and one day, a dark, sad day,
the devoted soul was set free from the poor pain-racked body. He
had given eight years of hard, faithful work to the study of the
language and to the service of the Master in the mission. Mrs.
Jamieson returned to Canada, and once more Dr. Mackay faced the
work, unaided except by native preachers. But he was not daunted
even by this bereavement, for he always lived in the perfect
faith that God was on his side.
And then, he had by this time three new assistants in the
mission-house on the bluff. They did not even guess that they
were any help to him, for they could never go with him on his
mission tours. But by their sweet merry ways and their joyous
welcome to father, when he returned, they did help him greatly,
and made his home-comings a delight.
"How many did you baptize, father?" was baby George's inevitable
question on his father's return. For already the wise toddler had
learned something of the bitter enmity of the heathen world, and
knew that converts meant friends. Then father's home-coming meant
presents too, wonderful things, bows and arrows, rare curios for
the museum in the college, and, once, a pair of the funniest
monkeys in the world, which proved most entertaining playthings
for the little boy and his two sisters. Another time the father
brought home a young bear to keep the monkeys company, but they
were not at all polite to their guest, for they made poor bruin's
life miserable by teasing him. They would torment him until he
would stamp with rage. But he was not always badly used, for when
the three children would come out to feed him, he was very happy,
and he would show his pleasure by putting his head between his
paws and rolling over and over like a big ball of fur. And he
always seemed quite proud of his performance when his three
little keepers shrieked with laughter.
The next year after Mr. Jamieson's death the empty mission-house
was once more filled. In September the Rev. Mr. William and Mrs.
Gauld sailed from Canada, and with their arrival Dr. Mackay took
The new missionaries had learned the language and their work was
well under way when the time came round once more for Dr. Mackay
to go back to Canada for a year's rest. This time there was quite
a little party went with him: his wife, their three children, and
Koa Kau, one of his students.
Among those left to assist Mr. Gauld, there was none he relied
upon more than A Hoa. Mr. Gauld, at the close of his second
year's work, wrote of this fellow worker: "The longer and better
I know him, the more I can love him, trust his honesty, and
respect his judgment. He knows his own people, from the governor
of the island to the ragged opium-smoking beggar, and has
influence with them all."
There were many others besides A Hoa to render the missionary
faithful help; among them Sun-a and Tan He, the latter pastor of
the church of Sin-tiam; and just because Kai Bok-su was away they
worked the harder, that he might receive a good report of them on
The separation was longer this time, for Dr. Mackay wished to
send his children to school, and he decided that they would
remain in Canada two years. He was made Moderator of the General
Assembly, too, and the Church at home needed him to stir them up
to a greater desire to help those beyond the seas.
While he was working and preaching in Canada, his heart turned
always to his beloved Formosa, and letters from the friends there
were among his greatest pleasures. A Hoa's of course, were doubly
welcome. Pastor Giam, the name by which he was now called, was
Mr. Gauld's right-hand helper in those days, and once he went
alone on a tour away to the eastern shore. While there he had an
adventure of which he wrote to Kai Bok-su.
"The other morning while walking on the seashore I saw a
sailing-vessel slowly drifting shoreward and in danger of being
wrecked, for there was a fog and a heavy sea. I hastened back to
the chapel and beat the drum to call the villagers to worship. As
soon as it was over I asked converts and heathen to go in their
fishing-boats as quickly as possible and let the sailors know
they need not fear savages there, and if they wished to come
ashore a chapel would be given them to stay in. The whole crew
came ashore in the boats at once. I gave your old room to the
captain, his wife and child, and other accommodation to the rest.
I then hurried away to a mandarin and asked him to send men to
protect the ship."
When Kai Bok-su read the story and remembered that, twenty-five
years earlier, the crew of that vessel would have been murdered
and their ship plundered, he exclaimed with joy, "Blessed
Blessings abound where'er He reigns!"
A Hoa had another tale to tell. One afternoon he had a strange
congregation in that little chapel. There were one hundred and
forty-six native converts and twenty-one Europeans. These were
made up of seven nationalities, British, American, French,
Danish, Turkish, Swiss, and Norwegian. Their ship was from
America and was bound for Hongkong with coal-oil.
They were amazed at seeing a pretty, neat chapel away in this
wild, remote place, which they had always supposed was overrun by
head-hunters, and indeed it was just that little chapel that had
made the great change. These men now entered it and joined the
natives in worshiping the true God, where, only a few years
before, their blood would have stained the sands.
A Hoa told them something of the great Kai Bok-su and the
struggles he had had with savages and other enemies, when he
first came to this region. The visitors were very much interested
and did not wonder that the name "Kai Bok-su" was held in such
reverence. When they left, the captain presented the little
chapel with a bell, a lamp, and a mirror which were on board his
The long months of separation were rolling around, when something
happened that brought Kai Bok-su back to his island in great
haste. Once more war swept over Formosa. This time the trouble
was between China and Japan. The big Empire proved no match for
the clever Japanese, and everywhere China was forced to give in.
One of the places which Japan set her affections on was Formosa.
She must have the Beautiful Isle and have it at once. China was
in no position to say no, so the Chinese envoy went on board a
Japanese vessel and sailed toward Formosa. When in sight of its
lovely mountains, without any ceremony he pointed to the land and
said, "There it is, take it." And that was how Formosa became a
province of Japan. At noon on May 26, 1895, the dragon flag of
China was hauled down from Formosan forts and the banner of Japan
Of course this was not done without a struggle. The Formosans
themselves fought hard, and in the fight the Christians came in
for times of trouble. So Kai Bok-su, hearing that his "valuables"
were again in danger, set sail for Tamsui.
When he arrived the war was practically over, but everywhere were
signs of strife. As soon as he was able, he took A Hoa and Koa
Kau and visited the chapels all over the country. Everywhere were
sights to make his heart very sad. The Japanese soldiers had used
many of the chapels for military stables, and they were in a
filthy state. At one place the native preacher was a prisoner,
the Japanese believing him to be a spy. At another village the
Christians sadly led their missionary out to a tea plantation and
showed him the place where their beloved pastor had been shot by
the Japanese soldiers. Mackay stood beside his grave, his heart
heavy with sorrow.
But his courage never left him. The native Christians everywhere
forgot their woes in the great joy of seeing him once more; and
he joined them in a brave attempt to put things to rights once
more. The Japanese paid for all damages done by their soldiers
and in a short time the work was going on splendidly.
"We have no fear," wrote Dr. Mackay. "The King of kings is
greater than Emperor or Mikado. He will rule and overrule all
His faith was rewarded, for when the troublous time was over, the
government of Japan proved better than that of China, and on the
whole the trial proved a blessing.
Oxford College had been closed while Dr. Mackay was away, and the
girls' school had not been opened since the war commenced, for it
was not safe for the girls and women to leave their homes during
such disturbed times. But now both schools reopened, and again
Kai Bok-su with his cane and his book and his crowd of students
could be seen going up to the lecture halls, or away out on the
He had conquered so often, overcome such tremendous obstacles,
and faced unflinchingly so many awful dangers for the sake of his
converts, that it was no wonder that they adored him, their
feeling amounting almost to worship. "Kai Bok-su says it must be
so" was sufficient to compel any one in the north Formosa Church
to do what was required. Surely never before was a man so
wonderfully rewarded in this life. He had given up all he
possessed for the glory of his Master and he had his full
A few happy years sped round. The time for him to go back home
again was drawing near when there came the first hint that he
might soon be called on a longer furlough than he would have in
At first, when the dread suspicion began to be whispered in the
halls of Oxford College and in the chapel gatherings throughout
the country, people refused to believe it. Kai Bok-su ill? No,
no, it was only the malaria, and he always arose from that and
went about again. It could not be serious.
But in spite of the fact that loving hearts refused to accept it,
there was no use denying the sad fact. There was something wrong
with Kai Bok-su. For months his voice had been growing weaker,
the doctors had examined his throat, and attended him, but it was
all of no use. At last he could not speak at all, but wrote his
words on a slate.
And everywhere in north Formosa, converts and students and
preachers watched and waited and prayed most fervently that he
might soon recover. Those who lived in Tamsui whispered to each
other in tones of dread, as they watched him come and go with
slower steps than they had been accustomed to see.
"He will be well next month," they would say hopefully, or, "He
will look like himself when the rains dry." But little by little
the conviction grew that the beloved missionary was seriously
ill, and a great gloom settled all over north Formosa. There was
a little gleam of joy when the doctor in Tamsui advised him
finally to go to Hongkong and see a specialist. He went, leaving
many loving hearts waiting anxiously between hope and fear to
hear what the doctors would say. And prayers went up night and
day from those who loved him. From the heart-broken wife in the
lonely house on the bluff to the farthest-off convert on the
Ki-lai plain, every Christian on the island, even those in the
south Formosa mission, prayed that the useful life might be
But God had other and greater plans for Kai Bok-su. He came back
from Hongkong, and the first look at his pale face told the
dreaded truth. The shadow of death lay on it.
Those were heart-breaking days in north Formosa. From all sides
came such messages of devotion that it seemed as if the
passionate love of his followers must hold him back. But a
stronger love was calling him on. And one bright June day, in
1901, when the green mountainsides, the blue rivers, and the
waving rice-fields of Formosa lay smiling in the sun, Kai Bok-su
heard once more that call that had brought him so far from home.
Once more he obeyed, and he opened his eyes on a new glory
greater than any of which he had ever dreamed. The task had been
a hard one. The "big stone" had been stubborn, but it had been
broken, and not long after the noontide of his life the tired
worker was called home.
They laid his poor, worn body up on the hill above the river,
beside the bodies of the Christians he had loved so well. And the
soft Formosan grass grew over his grave, the winds roared about
it, and the river and the sea sang his requiem.
Gallant Kai Bok-su! As he rests up there on his wind-swept
height, there are hearts in the valleys and on the plains of his
beloved Formosa and in his far-off native land that are aching
for him. And sometimes to these last comes the question "Was it
well?" Was it well that he should wear out that splendid life in
such desperate toil among heathen that hated and reviled him? And
from every part of north Formosa, sounding on the wind, comes
many an answer.
Up from the damp rice-fields, where the farmer goes to and fro in
the gray dawn, arises a song:
I'm not ashamed to own my Lord,
Or to defend his cause.
Far away on the mountainside, the once savage mother draws her
little one to her and teaches him, not the old lesson of
bloodshed, but the older one of love and kindness, and together
Jesus loves me, this I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
And up from scores of chapels dotting the land, comes the sound
of the old, old story of Jesus and his love, preached by native
Formosans, and from the thousand tongues of their congregations
soars upward the Psalm:
All people that on earth do dwell,
Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice!
These all unite in one great harmony, replying, "It is well!"
But is it well with the work? What of his Beautiful Island, now
that Kai Bok-su has left for a greater work in a more beautiful
land? Yes, it is well also with Formosa. The work goes on.
There are two thousand, one hundred members now in the four
organized congregations, and over fifty mission stations and
outstations. But better still there are in addition twenty-two
hundred who have forsaken their idols and are being trained to
become church-members. The Formosa Church out of its poverty
gives liberally too. In 1911 they contributed more than
thirty-five hundred dollars to Christian work. "Every year,"
writes Mr. Jack, "a special collection is taken by the Church for
the work among the Ami--the aborigines of the Ki-lai plain." This
is the foreign mission of the north Formosa Church.
A Hoa lately followed his pastor to the home above, but many
others remain. Mr. Gauld and his family are still there, in the
front of the battle, and with him is a fine corps of soldiers,
comprising fifty-nine native and several Canadian missionaries,
including the Rev. Dr. J. Y. Ferguson and his wife, the Rev.
Milton Jack and Mrs. Jack, the Rev. and Mrs. Duncan MacLeod, Miss
J. M. Kinney, Miss Hannah Connell, Miss Mabel G. Clazie, and Miss
Lily Adair. Miss Isabelle J. Elliott, a graduate nurse, and
deaconess, will join the staff shortly, and a few others will be
sent when secured, in order that the force may be sufficient to
evangelize the million people in north Formosa.
Mrs. Mackay and her two daughters, Helen and Mary, the latter
having married native preachers, Koa Kau and Tan He, are keeping
up the work that husband and father left. A new hospital is being
built under Dr. Ferguson, and plans are on foot for new school
and college buildings.
And the latest arrived missionary? What of him? Why his name is
George Mackay, and he has just sailed from Canada as the first
Mackay sailed forty-one years earlier. He has been nine years in
Canada and the United States, at school and college, and now with
his Canadian wife, has gone back to his native land. Yes, Kai
Bok-su's son has gone out to carry on his father's work, and
Formosa has welcomed him as no other missionary has been welcomed
since Kai Bok-su's day.
But these are not all. From far across the sea, in the land where
Kai Bok-su lived his boyhood days, comes a voice. It is the echo
from the hearts of other boys, who have read his noble life. And
their answer is, "We too will go out, as he went, and fight and