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Forty Years in South China by Rev. John Gerardus Fagg

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ourselves. If we could thus trifle with conscientious views on subjects of
such importance, we certainly should regard ourselves as being unworthy to
be called missionaries of the A. B. C. F. M. or any other Protestant
association, and we think the Prudential Committee would also lose
confidence in us. We now feel called upon to state our views in reference
to the propriety of the various missionary societies and Bible societies
and other institutions deciding for us what terms we shall use and what
terms we shall not use in preaching the Gospel to the heathen. We shall
state our views with the utmost kindness and with all due deference to
those from whom we differ. We cannot doubt that the Prudential Committee
are willing also and desire us to state our views with the utmost
frankness. If our views are incorrect, we desire that others use the same
freedom in pointing out our errors. Our views are these:--The societies
in the United States and England are not called upon, at least at the
present time, to decide this question for us. Those societies which have
made such decision have acted prematurely. In deciding this question
authoritatively, they are assuming a responsibility which we think they are
not called upon to assume. This responsibility belongs properly to the
missionaries, and they, we say it with all due respect, are much better
qualified to bear this responsibility; for they are better qualified to
judge of the evidence and discover the truth in the case. If they are not,
then they are not qualified to be missionaries. But whether better
qualified or not, they are accountable to a higher power than that of any
society under whose patronage they may labor. Whatever be the decision of
such society, they are still bound, in preaching the Gospel, to conform to
their conscientious views of truth. The only way to produce agreement
among Protestant missionaries is not by authoritative decisions or even by
compromise, but by producing evidence sufficient to convince the judgment.
We must have evidence. In selecting men for China or any other heathen
field, missionary societies should first examine whether they have mental
ability to acquire the language of the people to whom they are going. If
they are deficient in this respect they should not be sent, and if
missionaries on the ground are found deficient in this respect they should
be recalled."

The "term question" has not been settled to this day.

Jan. 22, 1852. To Dr. Anderson.

"I made another effort to extend our influence by going out towards evening
into the streets and selecting eligible situations from which to preach to
those who would assemble. In this manner I often had opportunity to
publish the glad tidings more widely than we can do in our houses of
worship. I found much encouragement in this work. If we had the physical
strength we might thus preach day after day, from morning to night, and
find multitudes ready to listen."


In the same letter, speaking of ten converts received, he says: "One of
them was gaining a mere living from the profits of a small shop, in which
he sold paper and candles to be used in idolatrous worship. As he became
acquainted with the Gospel, he soon found that his business was opposed to
the doctrines of Christianity. A hard contest ensued, but the power of the
Gospel finally triumphed. He gave up his business and with it his only
prospect of making a livelihood and for some months had no other prospect
before him and his family but beggary or starvation, except such a hope as
God afforded. Another held a small office of government, the requirements
of which were inconsistent with obedience to the Gospel, but the
perquisites of which were his only means of sustaining his family,
including an aged father. In his case the conflict seemed yet more fearful
and lasted a much longer time. We hoped that the truth had taken a deep
hold on him, but we began to tremble for the result. The love of Christ,
as we trust, finally gained the victory. He gave up his office, gave up
his living, gave up the world, that he might find the salvation of his soul
and confess Christ before men. So also with the most of the others. They
were called to sacrifice their worldly prospects, in order to embrace the
Gospel. Christians in our beloved land hardly know what it is to take up
the cross and follow Christ. The ridicule and obloquy with which they
meet, if indeed they meet with any, is not a tithe of that to which the
native convert here is exposed. Besides, they are seldom called to suffer
much temporal loss for the sake of Christ, but it is very different with
him. If he belong to the literary class, he must give up all hope of
preferment. If he be in the employ of the government, he may expect to be
deprived of his employment, if indeed he be not compelled to give it up
from conscientious motives. If he be a shopkeeper, his observance of the
Lord's day will probably deprive him of many of his customers, and if he be
in the employ of others the same reason will render it very difficult for
him to retain his situation."


April 6, 1852. To his brother, Goyn.

"I promised to give some account of the young man who was baptized on the
Sabbath before the last. His name is Khi (pronounced like the letter 'X'
of the Greek alphabet). Early last year I noticed a young man who began to
be quite regular in attending service at my chapel. I inquired of him
where he lived and why he came. He said he was employed in burning lime at
a lime-kiln not far off from my house. That I had met him in the street
and invited him to come to the chapel. Of this I remembered nothing, but I
often thus invite persons to come and hear the Gospel. He said he came in
consequence of that invitation. But having heard the doctrine, he found it
to be good, and had embraced it. This man has since been baptized. I soon
learned that he had been persuading his fellow-workmen to come along with
him. One of these workmen was Khi. He soon determined to obey the
doctrines of the Scriptures. One of these doctrines brought him into
immediate collision with his employer. This doctrine was, 'Remember the
Sabbath day to keep it holy.' He refused to work on the Sabbath day. His
employer told him if he did not work he would discharge him. Khi was not
to be moved from his determination and was finally dismissed. After a few
ineffectual efforts to get employment, he returned to visit his father's
family; They reside a day's journey from Amoy. While home he was taken
ill. It was two or three months before he returned again to Amoy. When he
came back I conversed with him concerning his conduct while away. He had
as yet but little knowledge of the doctrines of the Bible. But I was much
gratified at the simplicity of piety which his narration manifested. He
had not only endeavored to serve God himself, but had endeavored to
persuade others also to turn unto God. After his return, all his efforts
to get employment failed. I spoke to a mason who has done much work for
us, and who employs many workmen, and requested him to employ Khi for the
carrying of bricks and mortar and such work, if he had an opening for him.
He consented to do so and employed him for a short time. But Khi's fellow
workmen did not like his religion and succeeded in getting him discharged.
In consequence of the dampness of the climate, it is not safe for
foreigners to live on the first floor. We always live above stairs.
Therefore I have rooms in the lower part of my house unoccupied. Khi asked
me if he might sleep in one of these rooms. I of course consented. He had
no bed or bedding. I had some empty boxes in the room. He put these
together, and laid some straw and a straw mat on them for his bed. After
he was discharged by the mason, he endeavored to make a living by carrying
potatoes about the street for sale. His profits were from two to four
cents a day. He made no complaint. He lived on potatoes. Winter came on;
he had no means of buying clothing, or better food. The consequence was
that he became ill. The room in which he slept was directly under my
study. Almost every night I would hear his voice engaged in prayer, before
he retired to his straw. Sometimes he would pray for a long, long time.
The first thing in the morning again I would hear his voice in prayer. I
knew that he was destitute, but as he never complained, I knew not how
great his destitution was, and did not dare to help him lest it would throw
out inducements for others to profess Christianity. We are continually
compelled to guard against this danger. Many of these poor people would
profess Christianity for the sake of a living. One Sabbath evening I heard
his voice in prayer, much earlier than usual, and therefore it attracted
particular attention. Presently word came to me that Khi was ill. I went
down to see him. It made my heart bleed to see a fellow-creature in such
destitution, one, moreover, who I hoped was a brother in Christ Jesus. I
had had no idea that his destitution was so great. He seemed to be
suffering under a severe attack of colic. On inquiry as to how he usually
fared, I did not wonder that he was ill. I gave him a little medicine,
took means to get him warm and he was soon relieved.

"I then had some good food prepared for him. I was peculiarly struck with
the meekness and patience wherewith he bore his sufferings. There was not
a murmuring word from his lips, but many words of an opposite character.
The next day I called him into my study to give him a little money with
which to buy clothing and food. But I had great difficulty in persuading
him to take it. He said his sufferings were of no consequence. They were
much less than he deserved. The sufferings of this world were all only for
a short time. They were sent upon us to teach us not to love the world.
Much more he said to this effect. I had to call upon one of the native
converts to intercede with him, before he would take the money. But I must
not dwell on this subject longer. From what I have said about our
missionary work, you will understand why the missionary loves his work and
why he would not leave it for any other work, unless duty compels him."


Nov. 27, 1852. To the Sunday-school of the Reformed Church at Bound Brook,
New Jersey.

"There is very much poverty and misery among the heathen. They do not pity
each other and love each other as some Christians do. Those who have the
comforts of life seem to have very little pity for those who are destitute.
Therefore they have no poorhouses where the poor may be taken care of.
Consequently very many steal, very many beg, and very many starve to death.
In going from my house to church on the Sabbath I have counted more than
thirty beggars on the streets. The most of them were such pitiable looking
objects as you never saw. I have seen persons who are called beggars in
the United States, but I never saw a real beggar till I came to Amoy. Some
of them are covered with filth and a few filthy rags. Some of them are
without eyes, some without noses, some without hands, and some without
feet. Some crawl upon their hands and feet, some sit down in the streets
and shove themselves along, and some lie down end can only move along by
rolling over and over. On Sunday before last, while I was preaching, a
blind girl came into the chapel. She was led by a string attached to a boy
going before her. He could see, but could not walk. He crept along on his
hands and knees. A month or two ago, during a cold storm, late in the
evening, just as I was going to bed, I heard some one groaning by my front
door. I went out to see what was the matter. I found an old man with
white beard Iying in the mud and water, and with very little clothing. He
was shivering from cold. He was unable to speak. I had him carried into
my house, and covered over with some mats. We prepared some warm drink and
food for him, as speedily as possible, hoping that thus we might save his
life. But before we could get it ready he died. He had probably been
carried by some persons and laid at my door to die, that they might be free
from the trouble and expense of burying him.

"A week or two ago when walking through the streets I saw a beggar Iying a
little distance off. I inquired whether he was already dead. Some men,
who stood near, said 'Yes.' I then asked why they did not bury him. 'Oh,
he is of no use.' I inquired, 'Is he not a man ?' 'No,' they said, 'he is
only a beggar.' 'But,' I asked again, 'is he not still a man?' They
laughed and answered, 'Yes.' A few days after, walking with Mrs. Talmage
by the same place, we saw another beggar Iying nearly in the same spot. I
inquired of the persons who were near whether he was dead. They answered,
'Yes.' Close by sat a beggar who was still alive. He was scarcely grown
up. But his face was so deformed from suffering that we could not guess
his age. He held out his hands for alms. We gave him a few cash and went
on. The next day we passed that way again. We saw two beggars lying
together, both dead. We went to them. One was the lad to whom we gave the
cash the day previous. On Sunday in coming from church we again passed by
that sad spot, and there was still another beggar lying dead directly in
the road. This gives you, in part, a picture of what heathenism is."

Parts of two letters written in 1852 to his sister Catharine will prove


"Our work here is continually growing on our hands. Besides our usual
missionary work, I do a little teaching, a little book-making, and a little
printing. You did not know, perhaps, that I am a printer. We are teaching
a few persons to read the colloquial (or spoken) language of Amoy. But in
order to teach this, it is necessary that this spoken language be committed
to writing. It is necessary to have books printed in it. We have no
printing press at Amoy. I have had some types cut on bone or horn. With
these I print a copy. This is handed to the carver. He pastes it upside
down on a block and carves the words on the block. This block is then
inked and is made to print other copies. It is a slow process, but the
only one we have at Amoy at present. I have thus prepared a spelling-book
in the Amoy colloquial. It is not all completed yet. The carver is busy
with the last two or three sheets. A few of the first sheets were struck
off some weeks ago and made up into small books, which we have been using
to teach those who are learning to read, until the whole book is complete.
Our printing is not very pretty. When the caners get more experienced in
their work, they will be able to do their part better. Our plan of
teaching is as follows: On Monday afternoon we have a meeting for women at
our house. Before and after the service we teach them (those of them who
wish to learn) to spell. On Tuesday afternoon, Mrs. Doty meets those who
wish to learn, in a room connected with the church. On Wednesday, Mrs.
Doty has a meeting for women at her house. She also spends a little time
then in teaching them. On Friday, Abby and I go to the church and spend
about an hour in teaching. We cannot expect them to make very rapid
progress in this manner of teaching, but it is the best we can do for them
at present. There are two little girls who have been coming to our house
every day for more than a month. They are beginning to read."

"I must tell you a little of what I have been doing to-day. This forenoon,
among other things, I doctored a Yankee clock. I bought it in Amoy nearly
a year ago for three dollars. Sometimes it goes, and sometimes it stands
still. But it stands still much more than it goes. This morning I took it
all apart, every wheel out, rubbed each wheel off, and put the clock
together again. It has been running ever since, but how long it will
continue to run, I cannot tell.


"Our cook, 'Lo,' takes care of our pigeons. Some have died and a few have
been stolen, but they have continued gradually to increase. They now
number twenty. They are very pretty, and very tame. They spend much of the
time on the open veranda in front of our house. Some of them are of a dark
brown color, some are perfectly white, some are black and white. We shall
soon have enough to begin eating pigeon pies, but I suppose we shall be
loth to kill the pretty birds. Some of them are of the Carrier pigeon
species. We might take them to a good distance from Amoy and they would
doubtless find their way home again. The Chinese have a small whistle
which they sometimes fasten on the back of the pigeons near the tail. 'Lo'
has some attached to some of our pigeons. When they fly swiftly through
the air, you can hear the whistle at a great distance. The noise often
reminds us of the whistle of a locomotive.

"The gold-fish in the lamp continue much as when I wrote before. We have
made some additions to our flower-pots and flowers this spring. Our open
veranda is being turned into a sort of open garden. We now have from sixty
to seventy pots, from the size of a barrel down to the size of a two-quart
measure. Some of them are empty and some of them are not. Besides
flowers, we have parsley, onions, peppers, mint, etc., etc. Our garden
does not flourish as well as it would, if I had time to attend to it.
Besides this, the pigeons are very fond of picking off the young sprouts.
Lest you should think us too extravagant, I ought to tell you the cost of
the flower-pots. Those which were presented to us, did not cost us
anything. Those we bought, cost from a cent apiece to sixpence. Some two
or three cost as high as fifteen or twenty cents apiece. But you will never
understand how nice and how odd we have it, unless you step in some day to
look for yourself."


China has maintained her integrity as an empire for hundreds of years. But
not without struggle. There have been rebellions and dynastic overthrows
that threatened to cleave the empire to its foundations. Indeed rebellion
has often had the sanction of religion in China. Let a government be
unsuccessful; let a dynasty see the gaunt hand of famine, or the poison
hand of pestilence laid on the land, that is the mute voice of Heaven
speaking against those who rule. And what nobler than to be self-chosen
executors of Heaven's vengeance. Green-eyed envy in imperial pavilion and
courtrooms has often stood sponsor to the wildest lawlessness. A base and
extortionate government has often driven men in sheer self-defence to
tearing down yamens and hunting down the "tiger" mandarin.

The present Manchu dynasty seized the Dragon throne in 1644. For one
hundred and fifty years China enjoyed comparative peace and prosperity.
The emperor Kang-hi and his grandson Keenlung, each reigned sixty years, to
the Chinese a manifest token of Heaven's favor. The past one hundred years
have been troublous. There has been internal strife. There have been
momentous issues to settle in the opening of China's gates to the outside
world. When she needed Emperors of the broadest statesmanship, she has had
to blunder along with mediocre men or bend an unwilling neck under the sway
of puppets. Had it not been for her great Prime Ministers, such as Prince
Kung and Li Hung Chang, the days would have been fuller of dark-presaging
omens and their disastrous fulfillment.

The beginning of this century found a secret society in existence known as
the "Triads," whose avowed object was the expulsion of the Manchus and the
restoration of the Mings. In 1803 the emperor Kiaking was attacked in open
day while being carried in a chair of state through the streets of Peking.
He was saved by his attendants, several of whom lost their lives.

In 1851 the Tai-ping Rebellion began. The fuel that fed the flame was
various. It was reaction against oppressive government. It was iconoclasm
inspired by a spurious Christianity. It was pride of race that would not
tolerate a Manchu on the throne. For fourteen years China staggered under
this awful scourge. Whole provinces were devastated and almost
depopulated. For a long time the issue was uncertain. At length the
united strength of foreigners and Chinese battered the serpent's head and
destroyed its vitals.

While the boa of rebellion was stretching itself across the heart of the
empire a whole brood of little serpents were poisoning and devouring other
outlying provinces. An insurrection was organized in the neighborhood of
Amoy early in 1853. Mr. Talmage writes fully concerning it.


Jan. 25, 1853. To the Sunday-school, Flushing, New York.

"The streets of Amoy are very narrow. The widest are only a few yards
wide. At very short distances apart, there are gates across the streets.
The object of these gates, and the principal cause of the streets being so
narrow, are to protect the inhabitants from gangs of thieves. In the
winter season, when men have more leisure and more temptation to plunder,
these gates are closed every night. During the present winter the people
seem to have had more fear of robbers than usual. Old gates have been
repaired and many new gates have been built. The inhabitants of a
Christian land, like America, do not fear to live alone in the country
without any near neighbors. But in this region a house standing alone in
the country is scarcely ever seen. The people always collect together in
villages or towns or cities. The villages are usually provided with small
watchtowers, built of stone or brick, in which a few men may sleep as
sentinels to give notice of the approach of robbers, and to fire on them.
Even in the towns and cities you seldom see a dwelling-house with an
outside window. If there be such a window, it is usually guarded by slabs
of granite, or by mason-work with only small openings, like the windows of
a prison, so that a person cannot pass through."

June 3, 1853. To Dr. Anderson.

"In March last one of the members of our church, Chheng-choan, requested
that he might be sent in company with the colporteur on a trip to the city
of Chiangchiu to preach the Gospel and distribute tracts. He said that his
heart was very ardent to go and make known the Gospel. He was willing to
give the time and bear his own expenses. He is a native of the city of

"They made two visits, one in company with Rev. W. C. Burns. Many of the
people requested them to establish a permanent place. Houses were offered
them for rent. A few days after their return to Amoy two men who had been
much interested in their preaching came down and spent several days with us
in order that they might learn the way of the Lord more perfectly."

"On the 3d of May we called a meeting of the male members of our church, to
take into consideration the subject of immediately sending two of their
number to Chiangchiu, to commence permanent operations. The members were
unanimous in the opinion that the Master had opened the way before us, and
was calling us to go forward. It was decided that if two men qualified for
the work would volunteer, they should immediately be sent. It was then
suggested that if two more men were ready perhaps it would be well to
appoint them for the region north of us, to carry the Gospel to the
villages and towns between Amoy and Chinchew and see whether the way might
not be open to begin operations in that city. Chinchew is an important
city near the seacoast, about one-third of the way from Amoy to Foochow.
The suggestion concerning the appointment of men for Chinchew was new to
us. Everything seemed favorable for adopting the new suggestion. Four men
immediately offered themselves for the work, two for Chiangchiu, and two
for the region of Chinchew. They were men whom we thought well qualified
for the work, probably just the men we would have chosen.

"The evangelist U, and the colporteur Lotia, left Amoy on their mission to
Chiangchiu, May 12th. A few days after their arrival, about midnight on
the 17th of May, the insurrection broke at Chiangchiu, which interrupted
their labors. The evangelist thought that quiet would soon be restored and
therefore resolved to remain a few days. The people rushed upon the
insurgents, wrested their arms from them, and slew many of them. The
insurgents finding themselves overpowered attempted to flee. The gates of
the streets were closed against them. The people along the streets
attacked them by throwing missiles from the tops of the houses. All
strangers in the city were in great danger of being suspected and treated
as insurgents. The evangelist in leaving the city was seized by some of
the mob. Some said he was one of the insurgents, others said he was not.
He succeeded in making his escape to the house of a friend outside of the
city walls. The colporteur made his escape over the wall of the city and
fled to the house of some friends in the suburbs near the river-side. By
my letter of May 19th, it will be seen that Amoy was attacked by the
insurgents on the morning (May 18th), after they entered the city of
Chiangchiu. The insurgents are members of a secret society. For very many
years there has existed in this region a society by the name of
'Thian-te-hoe,' Heaven and Earth Society. This is the name by which the
members designate their society. But as the members are generally provided
with knives or small swords, the society is designated by the people as
'Sio-to-hoe,' Small Sword Society. The professed object of this society
has been the overthrow of the present Tartar dynasty. Between this and
Chiangchiu the members of this society are very numerous. After the
breaking out of the insurrection at Hai-teng, and Chioh-be (cities fifteen
and eighteen miles from Amoy, half way to Chiangchiu), the whole populace
appeared to sympathize with the movement. Large bodies of the insurgents
moved up the river to Chiangchiu, others came down the river to Amoy. At
the same time there was a rising of the insurgents at Tong-an and An-khoe,
districts to the north of Amoy. At the first outbreak the officials and
soldiers fled. The people of Amoy have been in continual excitement and
fear. They are afraid to engage in business. On Sabbath morning we went
to our chapels as usual. Shortly after commencing services, news came that
a fleet of war junks under the command of the Admiral was anchoring a short
distance from the city. Soon the whole city was in commotion. About noon a
detachment of a thousand soldiers was landed from the junks. They marched
with very little opposition through the town to the gates of the city.
They were attacked simultaneously by the insurgents from within, and by
those in ambush without. The insurgents were victorious.

"By three o'clock in the afternoon the city was comparatively quiet, and we
repaired to our church. Most of the church members were assembled. Our
church edifice is situated on the great thoroughfare which had been the
principal scene of excitement. It was thought best to suspend the usual
exercises, to close the street doors, and hold if possible a quiet
prayer-meeting. It was a solemn time. The 'confused noise' of war had
just been heard, human blood had been flowing, the angry passions of men
were not yet calmed, and we knew not what the end would be. We felt it a
suitable time to draw near to God and make Him our refuge. This afternoon
we received tidings from Chiangchiu. The evangelist was arrested by twelve
men, delivered to an official and beheaded."

"June 10, 1853. The state of affairs through the whole of this region
remains very unsettled. The insurgents are endeavoring to regain
possession of the city of Chiangchiu. They have command of the whole
region, between this place and that city. They still are in possession of
Amoy. We are almost daily expecting an attack by the government

"Amoy is cut off from all trade with the large towns around. The
insurgents probably would not permit goods to be carried to Chiangchiu and
other places with which they are at war. Besides, this whole region is
infested with pirates. It is only at great risk that any merchant junk can
at present come to or depart from Amoy. We cannot yet form any definite
opinion as to the final result of this movement. The forces of the
insurgents are none of them drilled soldiers. Their appearance is that of
an armed mob. Their weapons are mostly spears, and knives and matchlocks.

"At the time the insurrection broke out in our neighborhood and while we
were expecting an attack on our city by the insurgents, we felt some
anxiety. We had no means of deciding how they would feel towards
foreigners. We supposed they would feel it to be for their own interest
not to meddle with foreigners. They knew that they would have enough to do
to contend with their own government, without at the same time involving
themselves with foreign powers. More than all this, we had the doctrines
and promises of God's word on which to rely. These we feel at all times
give us the only unfailing security. They are worth more than armies and
navies. It is only when God uses armies and navies for the fulfillment of
His own promises that they are worth anything to us."


July 28, 1853. To his brother, Daniel.

"I suppose you will feel more desirous to learn about the state of politics
and war at Amoy. At present everything is quiet. Three weeks ago another
attempt was made by the Mandarins to retake Amoy. They landed a body of
troops on the opposite side of the island. These were to march across the
island (about ten miles) and attack the city by land. Simultaneously an
attack was to be made on the city from the water side by the Mandarin
fleet. It is said that the land forces amounted to about 10,000. The
fleet consisted of about forty sail. On Wednesday morning (July 6th),
about daybreak, the troops were put in motion. They were met with about an
equal number of rebel troops. They fought until the Mandarin soldiers
became hungry (about eight or nine o'clock). Not being relieved at that
time, as they expected, they withdrew to cook their rice. The Mandarin in
command considering that his life was much more important than that of the
soldiers, kept himself at a safe distance from the scene of action. At
about breakfast-time he started to go down in his sedan chair nearer the
scene of action. When he saw that his troops were retiring to cook their
breakfast, he supposed that they were giving way before the enemy.
Prudence being the better part of valor, he ordered his chair-bearers to
face about and carry him in the other direction. The soldiers, finding
that their chief officer had fled, thought there was no further need of
risking their lives, so they all retired. I cannot vouch for the truth of
the whole of the above statement. Such, however, is the story soberly
related by some of the Chinese. We could see the smoke and hear the
reports of the guns from the top of our house. The fighting commenced very
early. We thought that the Mandarin troops were gradually approaching the
city, until about Chinese breakfast-time (eight to nine o'clock), when the
firing ceased. We know not how many lives were lost in the engagement.
The rebels brought into the city some seventeen or eighteen heads which
they had decapitated. I know not whether these were all killed in the
fight or whether they were the heads of some villagers on whom the rebels
took vengeance for assisting the Mandarins."

"Now for the engagement on the water. The rebel forces on the water were
much inferior to the Mandarin forces, but the Chinese say they fought more
desperately. The engagement opened on Wednesday about noon and lasted
until nearly evening. Towards evening the Mandarin fleet withdrew a few
miles and came to anchor. On Thursday at high-tide (about noon) the
engagement was renewed. Towards evening the Mandarin fleet again withdrew
as before. On Friday the engagement was again renewed with similar
results. On Saturday the Mandarin fleet withdrew entirely and left the

"During the three days of the fight, as you would expect, there was much
excitement in Amoy. The tops of the houses and the hills around about, at
the time of the engagement, were thronged with people, and there was a
continual discharge of cannon. But I have not given the number of the
killed and wounded in the three days' naval action. Reports, you know, are
often much exaggerated on such occasions. According to the most reliable
statements (and I have not yet heard of any other statement), the list
stands thus:


"It is said that one ball from a Mandarin junk did strike a rebel junk, but
did not hurt any one. During the fighting the vessels kept so far apart
that the balls almost always fell into the water between them. On the
second day of the fight, a boat from the city in which were three men, who
were not engaged in the fight, was captured by the Mandarin fleet, and the
three men were beheaded. War is too serious a matter to be laughed at, but
the kind of war we have thus far seen at Amoy is only like children's

Nov. 1, 1853. To his brother, Daniel.

"Our war still continues, fighting almost every day. The day I sent off my
last package to you, two more balls struck our house. One came through the
roof of an unoccupied part of the premises. I did not weigh it, but
suppose it was about a six-pounder. The other struck against a pillar in
the outside wall and fell down and was picked up by some one outside of the
house, so that I do not know the size of it. It was a merciful Providence
that it struck the pillar. If it had struck on either side of the pillar,
it would have come into a room in which many Chinese were collected. On
Sunday last there was much fighting again. A small ball came into our
veranda. A small ball entered Mr. Doty's house, one entered Mr. Alexander
Stronach's house, several entered Dr. Hirschberg's house; other houses also
were struck. Dr. Hirschberg's house has been the most exposed. We have
all been preserved from harm thus far. He, who has thus far preserved us,
I trust will continue to preserve us. The fighting is more serious than at
first. A little more courage is manifested and more execution is done.
But I do not see any prospect of either party being victorious. The party
whose funds are completely used up first, will doubtless have to yield to
the other. I cannot tell which that will be. I shall be heartily glad
when one of the armies withdraws from Amoy. The country around Amoy is
becoming desolated. Houses and whole villages are plundered and burned. In
Amoy suffering abounds, and I suppose is increasing. When I go out into
the street I usually put a handful of cash into my pocket to distribute to
the beggars."

In November, 1853, Imperial authority asserted itself.

"The Imperial forces having collected from the neighboring garrisons,
appeared in such overwhelming strength that the insurgents hastily put off
to sea. Many succeeded in escaping to Formosa and Singapore. The leader
was accidentally shot off Macao. The restoration of Imperial authority was
followed, however, by terrible scenes of official cruelty and
bloodthirstiness. The guilty had escaped, but the Emperor Hienfung's
officials wreaked their rage on the helpless and unoffending townspeople.
Hundreds of both sexes were slain in cold blood, and on more than one
occasion English officers and seamen interfered to protect the weak and to
arrest the progress of an undiscriminating and insensate massacre."


"In tropical lands, when the rain comes, what was barren baked earth, in a
day or two is rich meadow, all ablaze with flowers, and the dry torrent
beds, where the stones lay white and glistening ghastly in the hot
sunshine, are foaming with rushing streams and fringed with budding
oleanders." Such a spiritual transformation it was the glad privilege of
our missionaries to witness in the region of Amoy during the years 1854 and
1855. Until then, to the eye of man only an occasional seed had burst its
way through the stone-crusted earth and given a shadow of harvest hope.
The first four years of prayer and testimony from 1842-1846 were definitely
and visibly rewarded with only two converts.

When Mr. Talmage arrived at Amoy in 1847 the total church membership was
three. By 1850 it had grown to five. By the end of 1851 the seed had
brought forth nearly fourfold. There were nineteen converts. This was the
harbinger of brighter days. Even during the troublous times of 1853 signs
of awakening appeared. In the midst of war and rumors of war the native
brethren had proposed to enter the "regions beyond" Chiangchiu and
Chinchew. The faithful preaching of Doty and Talmage in the chapels and on
the streets of Amoy city, among the towns and villages of Amoy Island and
the mainland; the apostolic labors of William Burns, whose joy it was to
sow beside all waters,-these had found acceptance with God and with the
people. Inquirers multiplied at the chapels. They came from among the
shopkeepers and boatmen of Amoy, from cities and towns along the arms of
the sea and up the inland rivers, from remote country hamlets beyond the

Mr. Talmage's letters during 1854 and 1855 tell of the great awakening.

"This year (1854), thus far, has been one of unusual blessing, a year 'of
the right hand of the Most High.' Early in January, knowing that there were
a few individuals desirous of receiving Christian baptism, we appointed a
meeting for the examination of such, and also for personal conversation
with all others who might feel an especial interest in Christianity. We
were agreeably surprised to find the number of inquirers and candidates for
baptism much greater than we had supposed. We also found among the
inquirers an unusual tenderness of conscience, and sense of sinfulness, and
anxiety for the salvation of the soul. Seeing such evidence that the Holy
Spirit was shedding abroad His quickening influences among this people, we
appointed a similar interview for the week following.

"These meetings for the examination and instruction of inquirers we have
continued almost every week, and occasionally twice a week, till the
present time. Sometimes the inquirers present have numbered thirty or
forty, perhaps more. At times, moreover, the depth of feeling manifested
has been such that the eyes of every one present have been suffused with
tears. These meetings, we trust, have been very profitable, as well as

"On Sabbath, March 26th, we were permitted to receive into the fellowship
of the Christian Church ten individuals, eight men and two women, the
eldest a widow woman aged sixty-eight, the youngest a young man aged
twenty." "On the last Sabbath in May, we again received nine persons, six
men and three women, the eldest an old man aged seventy-four, the youngest
a young man aged twenty-three."

"On the thirtieth of July (Sabbath), we again baptized nine others, four
men and five women, the eldest a widow aged fifty-one, the youngest a girl
aged sixteen. Thus the whole number of adults baptized by us at Amoy
during the present year, thus far, is twenty-eight."

He cites individual cases. Speaking of an aged widow he says:

"She lives at a village some fifteen miles or more from Amoy. Boats coming
from that place to this place land at a wharf near my house. On one
occasion, when she arrived here a few months ago, she resolved to come to
my house, and see how the foreigners lived. On entering, she was met by
the Christian who has charge of the chapel. He asked her business. She
said that she only came for amusement. He replied, 'This is not a place to
visit for amusement, but to hear the doctrine.' 'Well,' says she, 'then I
will hear the doctrine.' He explained to her something of the truths of
Christianity. He told her also that after breakfast I should be in the
chapel for morning worship. She went back to the neighbor's house whence
she had come, to wait until after breakfast. But the new doctrine which
she had heard, took so deep a hold on her mind, that she desired no
breakfast for herself. Soon she again came to hear more. She was deeply
impressed with the truth and importance of the things which she heard. She
reasoned with herself thus: 'The myriads of people I meet with do not know
what is in my heart, but these people tell me what is in my heart and in my
bones. This doctrine cannot be of man. It must be the great power of
God.' She was poor and lived at a distance from Amoy. She learned that
the Christian who had charge of the chapel was of the same surname with
herself. She inquired whether she might not come down next Saturday, and
lodge with his family. She said she would bring with her some dried
potatoes for her food. Of course her request was readily granted. From
that time to the present, she has come the whole distance from her village
to Amoy almost every week, in order to hear the Gospel. She has two sons
and one daughter. She has brought both her sons with her, desiring that
they also may become Christians. The eldest, aged seventeen, is among our
inquirers. She has also brought some of her neighbors with her to hear the
Word. She has met with much opposition and persecution; but so far as we
can learn, she has borne all with the meekness of a true disciple of
Christ. Since her baptism, she has rented a room in Amoy, that she may
live within sound of the Gospel. When she told me of this, I asked her how
she expected to maintain herself, and whether she thought she should be
able to earn a living at Amoy. She replied that she trusted in God. If
she could not get as good food as others, she would eat coarser food.

"There is still a goodly number of inquirers at Amoy. In our meeting for
conversation with them to-day; we met with two very affecting cases. They
are lads, the elder being in his seventeenth year, and the younger in his
thirteenth. Their parents and friends bitterly oppose them in their
determination to follow Christ.

"They have been severely beaten. The elder was severely scourged
yesterday. This morning he was again tied up in a very painful manner, and
beaten by his cruel father. He carried the marks of his sufferings on his
arms, which we saw. We were told that he had scars also on other parts of
his body. We trust that they are 'the marks of the Lord Jesus.' A
brother, still younger than themselves, we are told, also worships Jesus.
If they are, indeed, lambs of Christ's flock, the blessed Saviour will take
care of them; but their severe afflictions should call forth much sympathy
and prayer in their behalf.

"The conduct of our church members continues to give us much comfort. They
are not free from faults. They need much careful oversight and exhortation
and instruction. In consequence of this, our cares, anxieties, and labors
must necessarily increase as the converts increase. But if allowance be
made for their limited knowledge, only a short time having elapsed since
the most of them first heard the Gospel, there are probably but few
churches, even in our own beloved country, compared with which the
Christian character of this little flock would suffer. Were it not for the
Christian activity of our members, so many of them abounding in good works,
our operations here would necessarily be confined within much narrower
limits. Almost every one seems to be impressed with the truth, that he or
she is to improve every opportunity to speak a word for Christ. Many of
them are quite effective speakers. The heathen are often astonished to
hear men from the lower walks of life, who previously had not had the
benefit of any education, and are yet perhaps unable to read, speak with
such fluency, and reason with such power concerning the things of God, as
to silence all their adversaries, even though they be men of education."

Speaking of the awakening at Peh-chui-ia, a market-town once under our
care, now under the care of the English Presbyterians, Mr. Talmage

"We have been specially interested in their lively faith, their praying
spirit, their earnestness in the study of the Holy Scriptures, and, as a
consequence of all this, their joy in the Holy Ghost.

"The house first rented was found too small and uncomfortable for our work.
The adjoining house, of about the same size, and the upper part of the next
house, have since been rented, and doors opened through the walls. Thus we
have several rooms for lodging and conversation, and also for holding more
private meetings than we could in the chapel. The members and inquirers
spend the greater part of the Sabbath at the mission premises studying the
Scriptures, listening to the preaching of the Word, and in religious
conversation and prayer. They go home only for their meals, and some not
even for that. A part of them spend much of their time there in similar
employments on other days of the week. When we have been with them, we
have been much gratified by seeing their earnestness in the study of the
Scriptures. They are continually coming to us for explanation of passages
which they cannot understand. Often the voice of prayer will be heard from
all parts of the house at once. They are but babes in Christ; yet their
knowledge of the Scriptures is remarkable. We feel it good for our own
souls to be among them."

This market-town owed much to the earnest labors of Rev. W. C. Burns, whose
words and manner of life are still a fragrant memory among the brethren
there. He was the first English Presbyterian missionary to China. He
arrived in 1847. For the first four years he carried on evangelistic work
at Hongkong and Canton. He came to Amoy in 1851.

Mr. Talmage alludes to a family at Peh-chui-ia who had endured much for
Christ's sake.

"This family have been twice plundered. Once their house was set on fire
by a band of robbers, and everything was destroyed, themselves only
escaping with their lives by a remarkable providence." (So intense is the
hatred of some of the officials against Christianity that bold robberies
will take place with their connivance, sometimes at their instigation.)
"These afflictions seem to have been employed by the Spirit of God in
preparing their hearts for the reception of the Gospel. On the first
announcement of the Word, they were deeply impressed with its truth. The
father, however, had a hard struggle; and the opposition from his neighbors
was too much for him at the first. At one time, he resolved to run away
from the place altogether. At another time he meditated drowning himself.
While in this state of mind, he derived much benefit from the counsel and
earnest entreaties of his wife. She exhorted and besought him to exhibit
the meekness and endurance taught by the meek and suffering Saviour. He
who never suffers His people to be tempted above that they are able to
bear, at length raised him above the fear of man, and established his
goings. On one occasion, when we were conversing with him, it was
suggested that he might again be robbed. He replied that he did not
believe he should be, for he now trusted in God. We suggested, 'Perhaps
the very fact that you have turned from idols to the service of the true
God, may lead the enemies of the Gospel to band together and plunder you.'
He answered, 'I do not believe that they will. They will not, except it be
the will of God. If it be His will, I also am willing.' On one occasion
it was suggested that he might even be brought before magistrates because
of the Gospel. He answered that he had no anxiety on that subject. When
the time came the Holy Ghost would teach him what to speak. He has since
had his faith put to the test, but his confidence was not disappointed.
The enemies of the Gospel banded together to demand of him money as his
share of the expenses of some idolatrous celebration, resolving, if he
refused to pay the money, to plunder his establishment. A crowd collected
at his door to carry the resolution into effect. They made their demand
for the money. But he was enabled to speak to them with such power that
they trembled in his presence, it is said, and were glad to leave him

Mr. Talmage writes of the great change in a man notoriously wicked, who at
fifty-one years of age yielded to Christ.

"For thirty-one years he was addicted to the smoking of opium. When the
brethren first saw him, he seemed just ready to fall into the grave. He
also had a bad reputation throughout the town, being accustomed to meddling
with other people's business. He was a man of good natural abilities, and
the people feared him. He has given up his opium and his other vile
practices. His whole character seems to have undergone a change. He also
has been called, as have all the others in that town, to experience
persecution. His enemies are those of his own house. His opium-smoking,
and all his other wickedness, they could endure; but they cannot endure his
Christianity, his temperance, his meek and quiet spirit. One of my visits
to Peh-chui-ia was on the day after his friends had been manifesting,
especial opposition to him. I found him greatly rejoicing that he had been
called to suffer persecution for Christ's sake, and that he had been
enabled to bear it so meekly. He said the Holy Scriptures had been
verified, referring to Matthew v.11, 12. He said that he had been enabled
to preach the Gospel to those who had met to oppose him for two hours,
until his voice failed him. He was still quite hoarse from his much
speaking. He had told them of the change which he had experienced through
the power of the Holy Spirit on his heart; but he also said he knew they
could not understand his meaning, when he spoke of the work of the Holy
Spirit in the heart. If they would worship Jesus, however, and pray to the
Holy Spirit to change their hearts, as his had been changed, then they
would understand him."


An interesting case narrated in the life of W. C. Burns is that of Si-boo,
who afterwards went as an evangelist among his own countrymen at Singapore.

"On Mr. Burns' first visit to Pechuia, he found amongst the foremost and
most interesting of his hearers, a youth of about eighteen or twenty,
called Si-boo.

"Of stature rather under the average of his countrymen, with an eye and
countenance more open than usual, and a free and confiding manner, he soon
attracted the attention of the missionary. His position in life was above
the class of common mechanics, and his education rather good for his
position. His occupation was to carve small idols in wood for the houses
of his idolatrous countrymen, of every variety of style and workmanship,
some plain and cheap, and some of the most elaborate and costly
description. Had Si-boo been of the spirit of Demetrius, he would have
opposed and persecuted Mr. Burns for bringing his craft into danger. But
instead of that, he manifested a spirit of earnest, truthful inquiry,
although that inquiry was one in which all the prepossessions, and
prejudices, and passions of mind and heart were against the truth--an
inquiry in which all the influence of friends, and all his prospects in
life, were cast into the wrong balance. By the grace of God he made that
solemn inquiry with such simplicity and sincerity, that it soon led to an
entire conviction of the truth of our religion, and that to a decided
profession of faith at all hazards; and these hazards, in such a place as
Pechuia, were neither few nor small-far greater than at Amoy, where the
presence of a large body of converts, and a considerable English community,
and a British flag, might seem to hold out a prospect of both protection
and support in time of need, though such protection and temporal aid have
never been relied on by even our Amoy converts, still less encouraged.

"One of the first sacrifices to which Si-boo was called was a great one.
His trade of idol-carver must be given up, and with that his only means of
support; and that means both respectable and lucrative to a skillful hand
like his. But to his credit he did not hesitate. He at once threw it up
and cast himself on the providence of God, and neither asked nor received
any assistance from the missionary, but at once set himself to turn his
skill as a carver in a new and legitimate direction. He became a carver of
beads for bracelets and other ornaments, and was soon able to support
himself and assist his mother in this way. One advantage of this new trade
was, that it was portable. With a few small knives, and a handful of
olive-stones, he could prosecute his work wherever he liked to take his
seat, and he frequently took advantage of this to prosecute his Master's
work, while he was diligent in his own. Sometimes he would take his seat
on the 'Gospel Boat' when away on some evangelistic enterprise; and while
we were slowly rowing up some river or creek, or scudding away before a
favorable wind to some distant port, Si-boo would be busy at work on his
beads; but as soon as we reached our destination, the beads and tools were
thrust into his pouch, and with his Bible and a few tracts in his hand, he
was off to read or talk to the people, and leave his silent messengers
behind him."

During the same year (1854), Mr. Doty wrote a letter to Mr. Burns while in
Scotland, in regard to the awakening at Chioh-be, a large town of 30,000
inhabitants, eight miles northwest of Peh-chui-ia. An extract reads as

"But what shall I tell you of the Lord's visitation of mercy at Chioh-be?
Again, truly, are we as those that dream. The general features of the work
are very similar to what you witnessed at Pechui-ia. The instrumentality
has been native brethren almost entirely. Attention was first awakened in
one or two by I-ju and Tick-jam, who went to Chioh-be together.

"This was two or three months ago. This was followed up by repeated visits
of other brethren from Pechui-ia and Amoy. Shortly the desire to hear the
Word was so intense, that there would be scarcely any stop day or night;
the brethren in turns going, and breaking down from much speaking in the
course of three or four days, and coming back to us almost voiceless."


On the 30th of August, 1854, Mr. Talmage wrote, enclosing the subjoined
appeal of the church at Peh-chui-ia for a missionary. It is addressed to
the American Board, which these brethren call "the Public Society." A
duplicate letter was sent at the same time to Mr. Burns to be presented to
the Board of Foreign Missions of the English Presbyterian Church. "They
tell us," says Mr. Talmage, "that every sentence has been prayed over.
According to their own statement, they would write a sentence, and then
pray, and then write another sentence, and then pray again."

"By the mercy and grace of God, called to be little children of the Saviour
Jesus, we send this letter to the Public Society, desiring that God our
Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, may bestow grace and peace on all the
saints connected with the Public Society. We desire you to know the
boundless grace and favor of God towards us, and in behalf of us, little
children, heartily to thank God because that the announcement of God's
grace has been conveyed by your nation to our nation, and to our province,
even to Amoy, and to our market-town Peh-chui-ia. We desire the Public
Society to be thoroughly informed, so that they may very heartily thank God
and the Lord Jesus Christ; for we at Peh-chui-ia originally dwelt in the
region of death and gloomy darkness, a place under the curse of God, and
were exposed to God's righteous punishment. But many thanks to God's
compassion and mercy, the Holy Spirit influenced the pastors of your nation
to send holy brethren (Amoy native Christians), in company with the English
pastor, the teacher, William Burns, unto our market town, to unfold the
holy announcement of grace, and preach the Gospel. Many thanks to God,
whose grace called several brethren, by day and by night, to listen to the
preaching of the Gospel, for the space of four months. Many thanks to the
Holy Spirit, who opened our darkened hearts, and led us unto the Saviour
Jesus, whose precious blood delivers from sin. By the grace of God five
persons were received into the Church and baptized. Again, two months
afterwards four persons were received into the Church and baptized. There
are still some ten persons and more, from different quarters, not yet
baptized, who have been operated on, so that they listen to the preaching
with gladness of heart.

"By the will of God, the English pastor has been called to return to his
own nation. Our place is distant from Amoy by water, several tens of
'lis,' [One li is about one-third of a mile] so that it is difficult to
come and go. The two pastors of your nation at Amoy (Messrs. Doty and
Talmage) have not a moment to spare from labor, for the holy brethren there
are many; and it is difficult for them to leave home.

"We, the brethren of the church at our market town, with united heart pray,
earnestly beseeching God again graciously to compassionate us, and send a
pastor from the Public Society of your nation, that he may quickly come,
and instruct us plainly in the Gospel.

"It is to be deplored-the brethren having heard the teacher William Burns
preach the Word for a few months, their spiritual nature only just born
again, not yet having obtained firmness in the faith, that just at this
time, in the seventh month, the pastor should be separated from us.

"Day and night our tears flow; and with united heart we pray, earnestly
beseeching God graciously to grant that of the disciples of the Lord Jesus
a pastor hastily come, and preach to us the Gospel, this food of grace with
its savoriness of grace, in order to strengthen the faith of us, little
children. Moreover, we pray God to influence the saints of your nation
that they may always keep us little children in remembrance. Therefore, on
the 28th day of the seventh month (August 21, 1854) the brethren with
united heart have prayed earnestly beseeching God that this our general
letter may be conveyed to the great Public Society, that you may certainly
know these our affairs, and pray God, in behalf of us, that this our
request may be granted. Please give our salutation to the brethren.

"The disciples of Jesus at Peh-chui-ia.

"Presented to the Public Society that all the disciples may read it."

Mr. Talmage concludes a letter speaking of the "times of refreshing" in
these words:

"This remarkable work may well fill our hearts with gratitude and
encouragement. Heretofore, we have always been obliged to wait a long time
before we were permitted to see much fruit of our labor; and we were almost
led to the conclusion that such must always be the case, in carrying the
Gospel to a heathen people. Now we see that such need not be the course of
events. We should preach the Gospel with larger expectations, and in the
hope of more immediate fruit. He who commanded the light to shine out of
darkness, can shine into the darkest minds, 'to give the light of the
knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus' on the first
announcement of the truth as it is in Jesus. When the proper time comes,
and His Church is made ready for the great accession, it will be an easy
thing for Him to accomplish the expectation that a nation shall be born at


Missionary work in its initial stage has only to do with first principles.

Given shelter, food, power of utterance in a foreign tongue, a preaching
spot, a company of hearers, and you have bounded the horizon for the

No sooner, however, is a goodly company of believers gathered, but
problems, numerous and weighty, confront the missionary.

How shall the company of believers be organized and governed? Shall it be
exactly on the model of the church which the missionary represents? If
not, what modifications shall be made? Shall the seedling ten thousand
miles away be roped to the mother tree or shall it be encouraged to stand
alone? What advantages in independence? What perils? What shall be the
status of the foreign missionary before the native church just organizing?
What relation shall he sustain to the home church?

The answers to these questions have been as various as the denominations
represented in Oriental lands. The answers of missionaries representing
the same denomination have not even tallied.

After the gracious awakening and ingathering at Amoy and in the region
about, had taken place, the question of church organization became
foremost. The missionaries gave the subject earnest thought. Men like
Elihu Doty and John Van Nest Talmage and Carstairs Douglas, were not likely
to come to conclusions hastily.

But they were born pioneers. Conservative enough never to lose their
equilibrium, they had adaptability to new circumstances.

Quite willing to follow the beaten path so long as there was promise of
harvest returns, they were prepared nevertheless to blaze a new road into
the trackless forest if they were sure some of God's treasure-trove could
be brought back on it. There was no divergence of view as to what the
foundation of the new church-structure must be. 'For other foundation can
no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.' So long,
however, as the general proportions were the same, there was no fear that
the new edifice would topple over if it did not conform exactly in height
and length and breadth, in column and pilaster and facade, to the venerated
model in the mother countries. The brethren expressed their views to the
churches in the home land. They did more. They plead their cause and
hoped for endorsement. The following is part of a lengthy but very
interesting communication written by Mr. Talmage and sent to the Synod of
the Reformed Church in 1856:

"Amoy, China, Sept. 17, 1856.

"To the General Synod of the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church.

"Fathers and Brethren: We your missionaries at Amoy, China, have, by the
blessing of the Head of the Church on our labors, arrived at a stage of
progress in our work which imposes on us weighty responsibilities, and we
feel the need of counsel and advice. It will be proper for us to give a
brief account of our Mission, of our work, of the blessing of God on our
labors, of our peculiar circumstances, and of the principles on which we
have acted hitherto, and which we think should still guide us in our
efforts to establish the Kingdom of Christ in this land, that you may
praise God in our behalf and in behalf of this people, and assist us by
your sympathies, prayers, and counsels. Our Mission was commenced at Amoy
by the late Rev. David Abeel, D.D. Mr. Abeel arrived at Amoy in company
with the Rev. (now Bishop) Boone, on the 24th of February, 1842. On the
22d of June, 1844, Rev. E. Doty and Rev. Wm. J. Pohlman arrived at Amoy
from Borneo. In Dec., 1844, Mr. Abeel in consequence of continued and
increasing ill health left Amoy on his return to the United States. Mrs.
Pohlman and Mrs. Doty having been removed by death, Mr. Doty left Amoy for
the United States, Nov. 12, 1845, with his own and Mr. Pohlman's children.
Rev. J. V. N. Talmage accompanied Mr. Doty on his return to Amoy, arriving
Aug. 19, 1847. Mr. Pohlman was lost at sea Jan. 5, or 6, 1849. Mr.
Talmage was away from Amoy from March 24, 1849 to July 16, 1850. Rev. J.
Joralmon arrived at Amoy, April 21, 1856.

"Mr. Boone, of the Episcopal Church of the United States, was at Amoy but a
short time. After him there have been no missionaries of that church at
Amoy. The mission of the American Presbyterian Board at Amoy was commenced
by the arrival of Rev. T. L. McBryde, in June, 1842. He left Amoy in
January, 1843. James C. Hepburn, M.D., arrived in 1843, and retired in
1845. Rev. John Lloyd arrived in Dec., 1844. Rev. H. A. Brown arrived in
1845 and left Amoy for the United States in Dec., 1847. Mr. Lloyd died in
Dec., 1848. Since then that mission has not been continued at Amoy.

"W. H. Cumming, M.D., a medical missionary, but not connected with any
missionary society, arrived at Amoy, June, 1842, and left Amoy in the early
part of 1847. The London Missionary Society's Mission at Amoy was
commenced by the arrival of Rev. Messrs. J. Stronach and William Young, in
July, 1844. Since then other agents of that society have arrived, some of
whom have again left and some still remain. They now number three
ministers of the Gospel and one physician.

"The Mission of the English Presbyterian Church at Amoy was commenced by
the arrival of James H. Young, M.D., in May, 1850. Rev. W. C. Burns
arrived in July, 1851. Rev. James Johnston arrived in Dec., 1853. Dr.
Young and Mr. Burns left Amoy in August, 1854. Mr. Johnston left Amoy in
May, 1855. Rev. C. Douglas arrived at Amoy in July, 1855. He is now the
only member of that Mission at Amoy. All the members of this Mission,
although sent out by the English Presbyterian Church, were originally
members of the Free Church of Scotland.

"The present missionary force at Amoy are three ministers and one physician
of the London Missionary Society (in their ecclesiastical relations they
are Independents), one minister of the English Presbyterian Church, and
ourselves, three ministers of the Dutch Reformed Church.

"The first converts received into the Christian Church at Amoy were two old
men, baptized by Mr. Pohlman in April, 1846. The next converts received
were two men baptized by Mr. A. Stronach, of the London Missionary Society,
in March, 1848. A few months later Mr. Stronach baptized one more. Since
then every year has witnessed additions to the church. We received into
our church by baptism in 1849 three persons; in 1850 five; in 1851 eight;
in 1852 two; in 1853 six; in 1854 including those baptized at Peh-chui-ia,
fifty-three; in 1855 including Peh-chui-ia and Chioh-be, seventy-two;
during the present year thus far, also including Pehchui-ia and Chioh-be,
fifty. The whole number now connected with our church at Amoy is one
hundred and twenty-one. The number at Peh-chui-ia is forty-two. The
number at Chioh-be is thirty-one. In all, the number is one hundred and
ninety-four. The London Mission has also been greatly blessed. They now
have in connection with their church at Amoy and in vicinity one hundred
and fifty-one members. After acquiring the language of this people, we
have felt that our great work is to preach the Gospel. Every other
department of labor must be entirely secondary to this. The Scriptures are
clearly in favor of these views, and our own experience has confirmed these
views until they have become very decided. We have already mentioned the
name of Mr. Burns as uniting in labors with our church members. The
brethren of the English Presbyterian Church, in the providence of God, have
been brought very near to us. We have rendered each other much assistance
and often have labored together almost as one Mission.

"When Mr. Burns arrived at Amoy, providentially he found and secured a room
not far from our church edifice, and near to the residences of several of
our church members. As soon as he was able to use the dialect of Amoy,
many of our church members and inquirers were glad of the privilege of
meeting with him daily for the study of the Scriptures and for prayer. Mr.
Burns came to Amoy for the simple purpose of preaching the Gospel. He did
not wish to take the responsibility of organizing a separate church. He
was ready to co-operate with us or with the London brethren. He often
rendered them assistance likewise. When he became able to use the language
with freedom, he often preached in our church. When he went out for street
preaching, or went out to visit the towns and villages around, he always
took with him native Christians, usually the members of our church, having
been providentially placed among them. Early in the year 1854, Mr. Burns
with some of our church members visited the region of Peh-chui-ia. Much
interest was awakened in that region in the subject of Christianity. A
goodly number, we trust, were born of the Spirit. Mr. Burns did not wish
to take the responsibility of a pastor, desiring to keep himself free for
evangelistic labors wherever a door might be opened before him. He
requested us to examine the candidates for baptism and receive those whom
we deemed worthy, and take the pastoral care of them. We yielded to the
desires of Mr. Burns and took charge of Pehchui-ia.

"Mr. Burns continued to spend much of his time in that place and vicinity
until he was called to leave Amoy. Shortly after the departure of Mr.
Burns, learning that the English Presbyterians would have been glad to
retain Peh-chui-ia, and Mr. Johnston (E. P.) being willing to take charge
there as far as he was able, we very willingly relinquished it to them. He
was still unable to use the language with freedom, so we continued to visit
the place as often as we could. Before Mr. Johnston's knowledge was
sufficient to relieve us of the pastoral care of that interesting church,
his ill-health compelled him to return to his native land. His place was
soon supplied by the arrival of Mr. Douglas. We have continued the same
pastoral care of that church. Lately our visits to the place have become
less frequent, as Mr. Douglas has become better acquainted with the

"In the latter half of the year 1851, some of the Christians from
Peh-chui-ia went to the large town of Chioh-be on business and preached the
Gospel as they had opportunity. They found a few persons who listened to
their message with interest and manifested a desire to hear more. When
this fact, on their return, was reported to the churches of Peh-chui-ia and
Amoy, other Christians went to Chioh-be. A great interest was awakened. A
small house was rented for a chapel. This house was thronged every day
throughout the day and evening. Soon as we had opportunity we visited the
place to converse with inquirers and examine candidates for baptism. In
January, 1855, the first converts at that place were baptized. The
interest continued to increase. We found the premises we had rented
entirely too small. As soon as a larger and more suitable place could be
found it was secured. Soon after this a violent persecution broke out.
The immediate effect was greatly to hinder the work. Only those who were
sufficiently interested in the Gospel to raise them above the fear of man
dared attend the place of worship. Still there has been constant progress.

"If the churches gathered by us are to be organized simply with respect to
the glory of God and their own welfare, there is a fact in our
circumstances which should have great weight in forming this organization.
This fact is the intimate relation and hitherto oneness of the churches
under our care and under the care of the missionaries of the English
Presbyterian Church. In the foregoing short history of our work it will be
seen that we have been and are closely connected with the missionaries of
that Church. From the first we have had the pastoral care of their church
gathered at Peh-chui-ia and in the surrounding region. They have not
attempted the organization of any church at Amoy. By far the greater
proportion of their influence and labors at Amoy has been in the direction
of assisting us in our work. They have acted as though they thought it was
of no importance whatever whether converts were received into church
fellowship by us or them. Doubtless the church members, although perfectly
aware that we and our English Presbyterian brethren are of different
Churches and different countries, suppose that they form but one Church.
When the time had arrived for a regular organization of our church in Amoy,
the question presented itself: Shall we invite Mr. Douglas, then and still
the only English Presbyterian missionary at Amoy, to unite with us in our
deliberations? By the providence of God our missions had been brought
closely together. We had been laboring together in the work of the Lord,
were one in sympathy, held the same views in theology, and did not differ
in regard to church polity. But one answer could be given to this
question. We cordially invited him. He as cordially accepted of our
invitation, and heartily engaged with us in our church meetings, held in
reference to the election of church officers. He voted with us and our
church members. He united with us in setting apart the officers-elect to
their respective offices, and since then has usually united with us in our
deliberations in our consistorial meetings. Surely in this matter we have
acted according to the leadings of Providence and the spirit and
instructions of the Gospel of Christ; for in Christ Jesus there is no
distinction of nationalities. Our labors having thus far been so
intermingled and our churches so intimately related and united together, we
can see no sufficient reason for separation. If there be any advantage in
the association of churches by the organization of Classes or Presbyteries,
why should we deprive these churches in their infancy and weakness of this
advantage? We have always taught our people to study the Word of God and
make it their rule. Can we give them a sufficient reason for such
separation? Doubtless if we were to tell them, that the churches by which
we are sent out and sustained desire separate organizations, and therefore
should recommend such organizations to them, they would acquiesce. They
know that they cannot stand alone. Gratitude, also, and ardent affection
for those churches by whose liberality they have been made acquainted with
the Gospel, would lead them to do all in their power to please those
churches. We can hardly suppose, however, that such separation would
accord with their judgment, or with those Christian feelings which they
have always exercised towards each other as members of the same Church.
But we do not suppose that either our Church or the English Presbyterian
Church will recommend such a separation. The Dutch Church in North America
has always manifested an enlarged Christian spirit, and therefore we cannot
doubt but that she will approve of an organization by which the churches
here, which are one in doctrine and one in spirit, may also be one in
ecclesiastical matters. Neither do we doubt but that the English
Presbyterian Church will also approve of the same course. We do not know
as much of that Church as we hope to know in the future. Yet we know
enough of her already to love her. But if separation must come, let not
our Church bear the responsibility.

"Another question of importance may arise. What shall be our relation as
individuals to the Dutch Church in America? We see no reason and desire
not to change the relation we have always sustained. We were set apart by
that Church to do the work of evangelists. This is the work in which we
still wish to be engaged. We must preach the Gospel. As God gives success
to our labors we must organize churches, and take oversight of them as long
as they need that oversight. When we find suitable men, we must 'ordain
elders in every city.' Such is the commission we hold from our Church, and
from the great Head of the Church. Theoretically, difficulties may be
suggested. Practically, with the principles on which we have thus far
acted, we see no serious difficulties in our way. We must seek for Divine
guidance, take the Scriptures for our rule, and follow the leadings of
Providence. We are all liable to err. But with these principles, assisted
by your counsels, and especially by your prayers, we have reason to
believe, and do believe, that the Spirit of truth will guide us in the way
of truth."

Dr. Talmage also sent a communication to Dr. Thomas De Witt, then
Corresponding Secretary for the Reformed Church in co-operation with the
American Board. It reads:

"Oct. 1, 1856. There are some other facts arising out of the circumstances
of this people, and of the nature of the Chinese language, which have a
certain importance and perhaps should be laid before the Church. No part
of the name of our Church, peculiar to our denomination, can be translated
and applied to the church in Chinese without inconvenience or great
detriment. The words, Protestant and Reformed, would be to the Chinese
unintelligible, consequently inconvenient. The only translation we can
give to the name Dutch Church, would be Church of Holland. This, besides
conveying in part an incorrect idea, would be very detrimental to the
interests of the Church among the Chinese. The Chinese know but little of
foreign nations and have for ages looked upon them all as barbarians. Of
course the views of the native Christians are entirely changed on this
subject. But our great work is to gather converts from the heathen. We
should be very careful not to use any terms by which they would be
unnecessarily prejudiced against the Gospel. It is constantly charged upon
the native Christians, both as a reproach and as an objection to
Christianity, that they are following foreigners or have become foreigners.
The reproach is not a light one, but the objection is easily answered. The
answer would not be so easy if we were to fasten on the Christians a
foreign name."

At the meeting of the General Synod, held in the village of Ithaca, New
York, June, 1857, the following resolutions recommended by the Committee on
Foreign Missions, Talbot W. Chambers, D.D., Chairman, were adopted:


"Among the papers submitted to the Synod is an elaborate document from the
brethren at Amoy, giving the history of their work there, of its gradual
progress, of their intimate connection with missionaries from other bodies,
of the formation of the Church now existing there, and expressing their
views as to the propriety and feasibility of forming a Classis at that
station. In reply to so much of this paper as respects the establishment
of individual churches, we must say that while we appreciate the peculiar
circumstances of our brethren, and sympathize with their perplexities, yet
it has always been considered a matter of course that ministers, receiving
their commission through our Church, and sent forth under the auspices of
our Board, would, when they formed converts from the heathen in an
ecclesiastical body, mould the organization into a form approaching, as
nearly as possible, that of the Reformed Protestant Dutch Churches in our
own land. Seeing that the converted heathen, when associated together,
must have some form of government, and seeing that our form is, in our
view, entirely consistent with, if not required by the Scriptures, we
expect that it will in all cases be adopted by our missionaries, subject,
of course, to such modifications as their peculiar circumstances may for
the time render necessary. The converts at Amoy, as at Arcot and
elsewhere, are to be regarded as 'an integral part of our Church,' and as
such are entitled to all the rights and privileges which we possess. And
so in regard to the formation of a Classis. The Church at home will
undoubtedly expect the brethren to associate themselves into a regular
ecclesiastical organization, just as soon as enough materials are obtained
to warrant such measure, with the hope that it will be permanent. We do
not desire churches to be prematurely formed in order to get materials for
a Classis, nor any other exercise of violent haste, but we equally
deprecate unnecessary delay, believing that a regular organization will be
alike useful to our brethren themselves and to those who, under them, are
in training for the first office-bearers in the Christian Church on heathen
ground. As to the difficulties suggested in the memorial, respecting the
different Particular Synods to which the brethren belong, and the delays of
carrying out a system of appellate jurisdiction covering America and China,
it is enough to say:

"1. That the Presbyterian Church (Old School) finds no insuperable
difficulties in carrying into operation her system, which comprehends
Presbyteries and Synods in India as well as here; and, 2. That whatever
hindrances may at anytime arise, this body will, in humble reliance upon
the Divine aid and blessing, undertake to meet and remove them as far as
possible. The Church at home assumes the entire responsibility of this
matter, and only ask the brethren abroad to carry out the policy held
steadily in view from the first moment when our Missions began.

"The following resolutions are recommended:

"Resolved, 1. That the Synod view with great pleasure the formation of
churches among the converts from heathenism, organized according to the
established usages of our branch of Zion.

"2. That the brethren at Amoy be directed to apply to the Particular Synod
of Albany to organize them into a Classis, so soon as they shall have
formed churches enough to render the permanency of such organization
reasonably certain."


This utterance of the General Synod, while made with the best intentions,
fell with exceedingly painful echo on the ears of the missionaries at Amoy.
Was the flock they had gathered with so much prayer and effort, and reared
with such sedulous care, to be thus summarily divided and perhaps in
consequence scattered? The missionaries felt persuaded that their brethren
in the United States could not fully appreciate the situation or there
would be no such action.

Mr. Talmage again took up his pen in behalf of his Chinese flock. If it
had been dipped in his own blood his utterances could not have been more
forceful-could not have palpitated with a heartier affection for his
Chinese brethren's sake.

On Dec. 23, 1857, he wrote to Dr. Isaac Ferris, who, since the separation
from the A.B.C.F.M. at the last Synod, had become the Corresponding
Secretary for the Board of Foreign Missions of tile Reformed Church.

"So far as we can judge from the report of the proceedings of General Synod
as given in the Christian Intelligencer, one of the most important
considerations, perhaps altogether the most important mentioned, why the
church gathered by us here should not be an integral part of the Church in
America, was entirely overlooked. That consideration relates to the unity
of Christ's Church. Will our Church require of us, will she desire that
those here who are altogether one,-one in doctrine, one in their views of
church order, and one in mutual love,-be violently separated into two
denominations? We cannot believe it. Suppose the case of two churches
originally distinct, by coming into contact and becoming better acquainted
with each other, they find that they hold to the same doctrinal standards,
and they explain them in the same manner; they have the same form of church
government and their officers are chosen and set apart in the same way;
they have the same order of worship and of administering the sacraments;
all their customs, civil, social, and religious, are precisely alike, and
they love each other dearly; should not such churches unite and form but
one denomination? Yet such a supposition does not and cannot represent the
circumstances of the churches gathered by us and by our Scotch brethren of
the English Presbyterian Church. Our churches originally were one, and
still are one, and the question is not whether those churches shall be
united, but shall they be separated? Possibly the question will be asked,
why were these churches allowed originally to become one? We answer, God
made them so, and that without any plan or forethought on our part, and now
we thank Him for His blessing that He has made them one, and that He has
blessed them because they are one.

"Our position is a somewhat painful one. We desire to give offense to no
one, and we do not wish to appear before the Church as disputants. We have
no controversy with any one. We have neither the time nor inclination for
controversy. We are 'doing a great work,' and cannot 'come down.' Yet our
duty to these churches here and to the Church at home and to our Master
demands of us imperatively that we state fully and frankly our views. We
have the utmost confidence in our church. We have proved this by
endeavoring to get our views fully known."

The subject did not come up again for discussion before the General Synod
until 1863.

Meanwhile the churches grew and multiplied. The Amoy church, which in 1856
had been organized by "the setting apart of elders and deacons," was
separated into two organizations in 1860, "preparatory to the calling of

Two men were chosen by the churches in 1861. In 1862 an organization was
formed called the "Tai-hoey," or "Great Elders' Meeting," consisting of the
missionaries of both the English Presbyterian and Reformed Churches and the
delegated elders from all the organized congregations under their united
oversight. The two men chosen as pastors were examined, ordained, and
installed by this body.

During that year Mr. Talmage was called to stand by the "first gash life
had cut in the churchyard turf" for him. His beloved wife, Mrs. Abby
Woodruff Talmage, was called to her reward, leaving Mr. Talmage with four
motherless little ones. He was compelled to go to the United States to
secure proper care for his children. He came in time to attend the General
Synod of 1863. There he advocated most earnestly the course which the
brethren at Amoy had taken.

Dr. Isaac Ferris brought the subject before the Synod in these words:

"In 1857 the Synod met at Ithaca, and a most remarkable Synod it was.
According to the testimony of all who were present the Spirit of God
unusually manifested His gracious presence. A venerable minister on his
return remarked, 'It was like heaven upon earth.' That Synod, under this
extraordinary sense of the Divine presence and unction, judged that the
time had arrived for the Church to take the responsibility of supporting
its foreign missionary work upon itself, and, accordingly, in very proper
resolutions, asked of the American Board to have the compact which had been
in operation since 1832 revoked, and the Mission transferred to our Foreign

"It was at that meeting that a memorial of our brethren at Amoy on the
subject of organization, very ably drawn, and presenting fully their views
and reasonings, was read and deliberated on. Their work had been
wonderfully blessed, and the whole Church was called to thanksgiving, and
the time seemed at hand to realize the expectations of years. The brethren
asked advice, and the Synod adopted the carefully-drawn report of a
committee of which the President was chairman, advising the organization of
a Classis at as early a day as was practicable. Our brethren at Amoy were
not satisfied with this advice, and considered the subject as not having
had a sufficient hearing.

"In the progress of their work they have deemed it proper to form a
different organization from what the Synod advised, and which was in
harmony with the constant aim of our Church on the subject. The Board of
Foreign Missions, when the matter came before them, could only kindly
protest and urge upon the brethren the action of the Synod of 1857. Not
having ecclesiastical power, they could only argue and advise. They would
have it remembered that all has been done in the kindest spirit. They have
differed in judgment from the Mission, but not a ripple of unkind feeling
has arisen.

"The question now before the Synod is, whether this body will recede from
the whole policy of the Church and its action in 1857 or reaffirm the same.
This Synod, in its action on this case, will decide for all its missions,
and in all time, on what principles their missionaries shall act, and hence
this becomes probably the most important question of this session. It is
in the highest degree desirable that the Synod should give the subject the
fullest the most patient and impartial examination, and that our brother,
who represents the Amoy Mission, be fully heard."

Mr. Talmage next addressed the Synod and offered the following resolution:

"Resolved, That the Synod hear with gratitude to God of the great progress
of the work of the Lord at Amoy, and in the region around, so that already
we hear of six organized churches with their Consistories, and others
growing up not yet organized, two native pastors who were to have been
ordained on the 29th of March last, and the whole under the care of a
Classis composed of the missionaries of our Church and of the English
Presbyterian Church, the native pastors, and representative elders of the
several churches. It calls for our hearty gratitude to the great Head of
the Church that the missionaries of different Churches and different
countries have been enabled, through Divine grace, to work together in such
harmony. It is also gratifying to us that these churches and this Classis
have been organized according to the polity of our Church, inasmuch as the
Synod of the English Presbyterian Church has approved of the course of
their missionaries in uniting for the organizing of a church after our
order; therefore, this Synod would direct its Board of Foreign Missions to
allow our missionaries to continue their present relations with the
missionaries of the English Presbyterian Church, so long as the present
harmony shall continue, and no departure shall be made from the doctrines
and essential policy of our Church, or until the Synod shall otherwise

There were speeches for and against, by distinguished men in the Church.
Dr. T. W. Chambers, President of the Synod, made the concluding address, as

"If there be any one here who has a deep and tender sympathy with our
brother Talmage and his senior missionary colleague (Mr. Doty), I claim to
be the man.

"Mr. Doty was my first room-mate at college thirty-one years ago, and ever
since we have been fast friends. As to the other, his parents-themselves
among the most eminent and devoted Christians ever known-were long members
of the church in New Jersey, of which I was formerly in charge. For
several years I was his pastor. I signed the testimonials of character
required by the American Board before they commissioned him. I pronounced
the farewell address when he left this country in 1850. I have watched
with intense interest his entire career since, and no one welcomed him more
warmly when he returned last year, bearing in his face and form the scars
which time and toil had wrought upon his constitution. It is needless to
say, then, that I love him dearly for his own sake, for his parents' sake,
for his numerous friends' sake, but, more than all, for that Master's sake
whom he has so successfully served. Nor is there anything within reason
which I would not have the Church do for him. He shall have our money, our
sympathy, our prayers, our confidence-the largest liberty in shaping the
operations of the Mission he belongs to.

"But when we come to the matter now at issue, I pause. Much as I love our
brother, I love Christ more. Nor can I surrender, out of deference to our
missionaries, the constitution, the policy, the interests of our
Church,--all of which are involved in this matter. Nay, even their own
welfare, and that of the mission they are so tenderly attached to, demand
that we should deny their request. What is this request? That we should
allow our brethren at Amoy, together with the English Presbyterian
missionaries there, to form with the native pastors and the delegates from
the native churches, an independent Classis or Presbytery, over whose
proceedings this body should have no control whatever, by way of appeal, or
review, or in any other form. Now, the first objection to this is, that it
is flatly in the face of our constitution and order. A 'self-regulating
Classis' is a thing which has never been heard of in the Dutch Church since
that Church had a beginning. It is against every law, principle, canon,
example, and precedent in our books. Perhaps the most marked feature of
our polity is the subordination of all parts of our body, large or small,
to the review and control of the whole as expressed in the decisions of its
highest ecclesiastical assembly. I submit that this Synod has no right to
form or to authorize any such self regulating ecclesiastical body, or to
consent that any ministers of our Church should hold seats in such a body.
If we do it, we transcend the most liberal construction which has ever been
known to be given to the powers of General Synod. How, then, can we do
this thing? Whatever our sympathies, how can we violate our own order, our
fundamental principles, the polity to which we are bound by our profession,
by our subscription, by every tie which can bind religious and honorable

"Moreover, the thing we are asked to do contravenes our missionary policy
from the beginning. As far back as 1832, when we made a compact with the
American Board, one essential feature of the plan was that we should have
'an ecclesiastical organization' of our own. Without this feature that
plan would never have been adopted; and the apprehension that there might
be some interference with this cherished principle was at least one of the
reasons why the plan, after working successfully for a quarter of a
century, was at length abrogated. And so when, in 1857, we instituted a
missionary board of our own, this view was distinctly announced.

"It was my privilege to draw up the report on the subject which has been so
often referred to. That report did not express merely my view, or that of
the committee, but the view of the entire Synod. Nor from that day to this
has there been heard anywhere within our bounds even a whisper of objection
from minister, elder, or layman in regard to the positions then taken. It
is our settled, irreversible policy. Deep down in the heart of the Church
lies the conviction that our missionaries, who carry to the heathen the
doctrine of Christ as we have received it, must also carry the order of
Christ as we have received it. Certain unessential peculiarities may, from
the force of circumstances, be left in abeyance for a time, or even
permanently, but the dominant features must be retained. It is not enough
to have genuine Consistories, we must have genuine Classes. And, under
whatever modifications, the substantive elements of our polity must be
reproduced in the mission churches established by the blessing of God upon
the men and means furnished by our Zion.

"Further, Mr. President, it is to be remembered that we are acting for all
time. It is not this one case that is before us. We are settling a
precedent which is to last for generations. Relax your constitutions and
laws for this irregularity and you open a gap through which a coach and
four may be driven. Every other mission, under the least pretext, will
come and claim the same or a similar modification in their case, and you
cannot consistently deny them. The result will be an ecclesiastical chaos
throughout our entire missionary field. Let us begin as we mean to hold
out. Let us settle this question now and settle it aright. We direct our
missionaries what Gospel to preach, what sacraments to administer, what
internal organization to give to single churches. Let us, in the same
manner and for the same reasons, say what sort of bonds shall unite these
churches to each other and govern their mutual relations and common

"I know we are told that the hybrid organization which now exists is every
way sufficient and satisfactory; that it is the fruit of Christian love,
and that to disturb it would be rending the body of Christ. Here one might
ask how it came to exist at all, seeing that this Synod spoke so plainly
and unambiguously in 1857. And I for one cordially concur in the remark of
the Elder Schieffelin, that the brethren there 'deserve censure.' We do
not censure them, nor do we propose to do so, but that they deserve it is
undeniable. But the point is, how can our disapproval of the mongrel
Classis mar the peace of the Amoy brethren? There is already a division
among their churches. Some are supported by our funds, others by the funds
of the English Presbyterians. Would it alter matters much to say, and to
make it a fact, that some of those churches belong to a Classis and others
to a Presbytery? Some have an American connection and others an English.
But this would break Christian unity! Would it, indeed? You observed, Mr.
President, the affectionate confidence, blended with reverence, with which
I addressed from the chair the venerable Dr. Skinner. The reason was that
we both belong to an association of ministers in New York which meets
weekly for mutual fellowship, enjoyment, and edification in all things
bearing on ministerial character and duties. Ecclesiastically we have no
connection whatever. I never saw his Presbytery in session, and I doubt if
he ever saw our Classis; yet our brotherly, Christian, and even ministerial
communion is as tender, and sacred, and profitable as if we had been
copresbyters for twenty years. Now, who dare say that this shall not exist
at Amoy? Our brethren there can maintain precisely the same love, and
confidence, and co-operation as they do now, in all respects save the one
of regular, formal, ecclesiastical organization.

"But I will not detain the Synod longer. I would not have left the chair
to speak, but for the overwhelming importance of the subject. It is
painful to deny the eager and earnest wishes of our missionary brethren,
but I believe we are doing them a real kindness by this course. Union
churches here have always in the end worked disunion, confusion, and every
evil work. There is no reason to believe that the result would be at all
different abroad. A division would necessarily come at some period, and
the longer it was delayed, the more trying and sorrowful it would be. I am
opposed, therefore, to the substitute offered by Brother Chapman, and also
to that of Brother Talmage, and trust that the original resolutions, with
the report, will be adopted. That report contains not a single harsh or
unpleasant word. It treats the whole case with the greatest delicacy as
well as thoroughness, but it reaffirms the action of 1857 in a way not to
be mistaken. And that is the ground on which the Church will take its
stand. Whatever time, indulgence, or forbearance can be allowed to our
brethren, will cheerfully be granted. Only let them set their faces in the
direction of a distinct organization, classical as well as consistorial,
and we shall be satisfied. Only let them recognize the principle and the
details shall be left to themselves, under the leadings of God's gracious

The report of the Committee on Foreign Missions, E. S. Porter, D.D.,
chairman, was adopted. Part of it reads as follows:

"The missionaries there have endeared their names to the whole Christian
world, and especially to that household of faith of which they are loved
and honored members."

.... "No words at our command can tell what fond and flaming sympathies
have overleaped broad oceans, and bound them and us together.

"'Words, like nature, half reveal,
And half conceal the soul within.'

.... "Your committee are unable to see how it will be possible to carry the
sympathies and the liberalities of the Church with an increasing tide of
love and sacrifice in support of our missionary work, if it once be
admitted as a precedent, or established as a rule, that our missionaries
may be allowed to form abroad whatever combinations they may choose, and
aid in creating ecclesiastical authorities, which supersede the authorities
which commissioned them and now sustain them."

"The committee are not prepared to recommend that any violent and coercive
resolutions should be adopted for the purpose of constraining our brethren
in Amoy to a course of procedure which would rudely sunder the brotherly
ties that unite them with the missionaries of the English Presbyterian
Church. But a Christian discretion will enable them, on the receipt of the
decision of the present Synod, in this matter now under consideration, to
take such initial steps as are necessary to the speedy formation of a

"Much must be left to their discretion, prudence and judgment. But of the
wish and expectation of this Synod to have their action conform as soon as
may be to the resolutions of 1857, your committee think the brethren at
Amoy should be distinctly informed. They therefore offer the following:

"'I. Resolved, That the General Synod, having adopted and tested its plan
of conducting foreign missions, can see no reason for abolishing it; but,
on the contrary, believe it to be adapted to the promotion of the best
interests of foreign missionary churches, and of the denomination
supporting them.

"'II. That the Board of Foreign Missions be, and hereby is, instructed to
send to our missionaries at Amoy a copy or copies of this report, as
containing the well-considered deliverance of the Synod respecting their
present relations and future duty.

"'III. That the Secretary of the Foreign Board be, and hereby is, directed
to send to the Rev. Dr. Hamilton, of London, Convener of the Presbyterian
Committee, a copy of this report, with a copy of the action of 1857, and
that he inform him by letter of the wishes and expectations of the Synod
respecting the ecclesiastical relations which this body desires its
churches in Amoy to sustain to it.'"

In the report of the Foreign Committee of the English Presbyterian Church
for 1863, the following language is used in reference to the Union Chinese
Church of Amoy:

"We are hopeful, however, that on further consideration our brethren in
America may allow their missionaries in China to continue the present
arrangement, at least until such time as it is found that actual
difficulties arise in the way of carrying it out. 'Behold, how good and
pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unify,' and there are few
brethren towards whom we feel closer affinity than the members of that
Church, which was represented of old by Gomarus and Witsius, by Voet and
Marck, and Bernard de Moore, and whose Synod of Dort preceded in time and
pioneered in doctrine our own Westminster Assembly. Like them, we love
that Presbyterianism and that Calvinism which we hold in common, and we
wish to carry them wherever we go; but we fear that it would not be doing
justice to either, and that it might compromise that name which is above
every other, if, on the shores of China, we were to unfurl a separate
standard. We would, therefore, not only respectfully recommend to the
Synod to allow its missionaries to unite presbyterially as well as
practically with the brethren of the Reformed Dutch Church; but we would
express the earnest hope that the Synod of the sister Church in America may
find itself at liberty to extend to its missionaries a similar freedom."

These sentiments were unanimously adopted by the Synod of the English
Presbyterian Church.

The cause which Mr. Talmage was advocating was too near his heart, and his
convictions were too strong to permit silence. He prepared a pamphlet,
setting forth more clearly the position of the Mission at Amoy, as well as
answering objections made to it. [The exact standing of missionaries in
the Union Chinese Church of Amoy was also explained by Dr. Talmage in a
later pamphlet, for the contents of which see Appendix.] A few quotations

"In reference to it, i.e., the report of the Committee on Foreign Missions,
we would make three remarks: (1) It (Resolution III.) seems rather a
cavalier answer to the fraternal wish of the Synod of the English
Presbyterian Church, as expressed in their action. (2) The action of Synod
is made to rest (Res. I.) on the fact that Synod had 'tested' this 'plan of
conducting foreign missions.' If this be so, and the plan had been found
by experiment unobjectionable, the argument is not without force. But how
and where has this test been applied and found so satisfactory? Our Church
has three Missions among the heathen-one in India, one in China, and one in
Japan. Has it been tested in Japan? No. They have not yet a single
native church. Has it been tested in China? If so, the missionaries were
not aware of it. The test applied there has been of an opposite character
and has been wonderfully successful. The test has only been applied in
India, and has only begun to be applied even there. There, as yet, there
is but one native pastor. Their Classis is more American than Indian. We
must wait until they have a native Classis before the test can be
pronounced at all satisfactory. (3) No consideration is had for the
feelings, wishes or opinions of the native churches. The inalienable
rights of the native churches, their relation to each other, their absolute
unity-things of the utmost consequence-are not at all regarded, are
entirely ignored."

In reply to the advantages claimed to flow from the plan advocated by
General Synod, Mr. Talmage says:

"1. The most important advantage is, or is supposed to be, that there will
thus be higher courts of jurisdiction to which appeals may be made, and by
which orthodoxy and good order may be the better secured to the Church at

"Such advantages, if they can be thus secured, we would by no means
underrate. There sometimes are cases of appeal for which we need the
highest court practicable-the collective wisdom of the Church, so far as it
can be obtained; and the preservation of orthodoxy and good order is of the
first importance. Now, let us see whether the plan proposed will secure
these advantages. Let us suppose that one of the brethren feels himself
aggrieved by the decision of the Classis of Amoy and appeals to the
Particular Synod of Albany, and thence to General Synod. He will not be
denied the right to such appeal. But, in order that the appeal may be
properly prosecuted and disposed of, the appellant and the representative
of Classis should be present in these higher courts. Can this be secured?
Is the waste of time, of a year or more, nothing? And where shall the
thousands of dollars of necessary expense come from? Now, suppose this
appellant to be a Chinese brother. He, also, has rights; but how, on this
plan, can he possibly obtain them? Suppose that the money be raised for
him and he is permitted to stand on the floor of Synod. He cannot speak,
read, or write a word of English. Not a member of Synod can speak, read,
or write a word of his language, except it be the brother prosecuting him.
I ask, is it possible for him thus to obtain justice? But, waiving all
these disadvantages, the only point on which there is the least probability
that an appeal of a Chinese brother would come up before the higher courts,
are points on which these higher courts would not be qualified to decide.
They would doubtless grow out of the peculiar customs and laws of the
Chinese, points on which the missionary, after he has been on the ground a
dozen years, often feels unwilling to decide, and takes the opinion of the
native elders in preference to his own. Is it right to impose a yoke like
this on that little Church which God is gathering, by your instrumentality,
in that far-off land of China? But it is said that these cases of appeal
will very rarely or never happen. Be it so; then this supposed advantage
will seldom or never occur, and, if it should occur, it would prove a

In regard to keeping the Church pure in doctrine:

"Sure I am that the Church in China cannot be kept pure by legislation on
this, the opposite side of the globe. But we expect Christ to reign over
and the Holy Spirit to be given to the Churches, and the proper
ecclesiastical bodies formed of them in China, as well as in this land. Why
not? Such are the promises of God. The way to secure these things is by
prayer and the preaching of the pure Gospel, not by legislation. Let the
Church be careful in her selection of missionaries. Send only such as she
has confidence in-men of God, sound in faith, apt to teach-and then trust
them, or recall them. Don't attempt to control them contrary to their
judgment. Strange if this, which is so much insisted on as the policy of
our Church, be right, that she cannot get a single man, of all she sends
out to China, to think so. Can it be that the missionary work is so
subversive of right reason, or of correct judgment, or of
conscientiousness, that all become perverted by engaging in it?

"2. Another supposed advantage is the effect it will have in enlisting the
sympathies of the Church in behalf of the Mission at Amoy. Our people do
not first ask whether it be building ourselves up, before they sympathize
with a benevolent object. We believe the contrary is the exact truth. It
requires a liberal policy to call forth liberal views and actions. As
regards the enlisting of men, look at the facts. Every man who has gone
out from among you to engage in this missionary work begs of you not to
adopt a narrow policy. So in regard to obtaining of funds. Usually the
men who are most liberal in giving are most liberal in feeling.

.... "However powerful the motive addressed to the desire to build up our
own Church, there are motives infinitely more powerful. Such are the
motives to be depended upon in endeavoring to elevate the standard of
liberality among our people. If our people have not yet learned, they
should be taught to engage in the work of evangelizing the world, not for
the sake of our Church in America, but for the sake of Christ and His
Church, and when the Church thus built up is like our own they should be
fully satisfied. We believe they will be satisfied with this.

"Now let us consider the real or supposed evils of carrying out the
decision of Synod.

"1. It will not be for the credit of our Church. She now has a name, with
other Churches, for putting forth efforts to evangelize the world. Shall
she mar this good name and acquire one for sectarianism, by putting forth
efforts to extend herself, not her doctrines and order-they are not
sectarian, and her missionaries esteem them as highly as do their brethren
at home-but herself, even at the cost of dividing churches which the grace
of God has made one? The decision of the last Synod may not be the result
of sectarianism among the people of our Church. We do not think it is.
But it will be difficult to convince our Presbyterian brethren and others
that it is not so. By way of illustration I will suppose a case. A. is
engaged in a very excellent work. B. comes to him, and the following
dialogue ensues:

"B. 'Friend A., I am glad to see you engaged in so excellent a work. I
also have concluded to engage in it. I should be glad to work with you.
You know the proverbs, 'Union is strength,' and 'Two are better than one.'

"A. 'Yes, yes, friend B., I know these proverbs and believe them as
thoroughly as you do. But I have a few peculiarities about my way of
working. They are not many, and they are not essential, but I think they
are very useful, and wish to work according to them. Therefore, I prefer
working alone.'

"B. 'Yes, friend A., we all have our peculiarities, and, if they be not
carried too far, they may all be made useful. I have been making inquiries
about yours, and I am glad to find they are not nearly so many, or so
different from mine, as you suppose, and as I once supposed. The fact is,
I rather like some of them, and though I may not esteem them all as highly
as you do, still I am willing to conform to them; for I am fully persuaded
that, in work of this kind, two working together can do vastly more than
two working separately, and the work will be much better done. Besides
this, the social intercourse will be delightful.'

"A. 'I appreciate, friend B., your politeness, and am well aware that all
you say about the greater efficiency and excellence of united work and the
delights of social intercourse is perfectly true. But--but--well, I prefer
to work alone.'

"2. It will injure the efficiency of the Church at Amoy. Besides the
objection furnished by the increase of denominations, which the heathen
will thus, as readily as the irreligious in this country, be able to urge
against Christianity, it will deprive the churches of the benefit of the
united wisdom and strength of the whole of them for self-cultivation and
for Christian enterprise, and will introduce a spirit of jealous rivalry
among them. We know it is said that there need be no such result, and that
the native churches may remain just as united in spirit after the
organization of two denominations as before. Such a sentiment takes for
granted, either that ecclesiastical organization has in fact no efficiency,
or that the Chinese churches have arrived at a far higher state of
sanctification than the churches have attained to in this land. Do not
different denominations exhibit jealous rivalry in this land? Is Chinese
human nature different from American?

"In consequence of such division the native Churches will not be so able to
support the Gospel among themselves. Look at the condition of our Western
towns in this respect. Why strive to entail like evils on our missionary
churches? ....

"But may not the Church change or improve her decisions? Here is one of
the good things we hope to see come out of this mistake of the Church.
Jesus rules, and He is ordering all things for the welfare of His Church
and the advancement of His cause. Sometimes, the better to accomplish this
end, He permits the Church to make mistakes. When we failed in former days
to get our views made public, it gave us no anxiety, for we believed the
doctrine that Jesus reigns. So we now feel, notwithstanding this mistake.
The Master will overrule it for good. We do not certainly know how, but we
can imagine one way. By means of this mistake the matter may be brought
before our Church, and before other Churches, more clearly than it would
otherwise have been for many years to come, and in consequence of this we
expect, in due time, that our Church, instead of coming up merely to the
standard of liberality for which we have been contending, will rise far
above anything we have asked for or even imagined, and other Churches will
also raise their standard higher. Hereafter we expect to contend for still
higher principles. This is the doctrine. Let all the branches of the
great Presbyterian family in the same region in any heathen country, which
are sound in the faith, organize themselves, if convenient, into one
organic whole, allowing liberty to the different parts in things
non-essential. Let those who adopt Dutch customs, as at Amoy, continue, if
they see fit, their peculiarities, and those who adopt other Presbyterian
customs, as at Ningpo and other places, continue their peculiarities, and
yet all unite as one Church. This subject does not relate simply to the
interests of the Church at Amoy. It relates to the interests of all the
missionary work of all the churches of the Presbyterian order in all parts
of the world. Oh, that our Church might take the lead in this catholicity
of spirit, instead of falling back in the opposite direction-that no one
may take her crown! But if she do not, then we trust some other of the
sacramental hosts will take the lead and receive, too, the honor, for it is
for the glory of the great Captain of our salvation and for the interests
of His kingdom. We need the united strength of all these branches of Zion
for the great work which the Master has set before us in calling on us to
evangelize the world. In expecting to obtain this union, will it be said
that we are looking for a chimera? It ought to be so, ought it not? Then
it is no chimera. It may take time for the Churches to come up to this
standard, but within a few years we have seen tendencies to union among
different branches of the Presbyterian family in Australia. In Canada, in
our own country, and in England and Scotland. In many places these
tendencies are stronger now than they have ever before been since the days
of the Reformation.

"True, human nature is still compassed with infirmities even in the Church
of Christ. But the day of the world's regeneration is approaching, and as
it approaches nearer to us, doubtless the different branches of the
Presbyterian family will approach still nearer to each other. God hasten
the time, and keep us also from doing anything to retard, but everything to
help it forward, and to His name be the praise forever. Amen."

So strong was the feeling of the entire Amoy Mission, that in September,
1863, the following communication was sent to the Board of Foreign

"Dear Brethren: We received from you on the 22d ultimo the action taken by
the General Synod at its recent session at Newburgh with regard to the
proposed organization of a Classis at Amoy. Did we view this step in the
light in which Synod appears to have regarded it, we should need in this
communication to do no more than signify our intention to carry out
promptly the requirements of Synod; but we regret to say that such is not
the case, and that Synod, in requiring this of us, has asked us to do that
which we cannot perform. We feel that Synod must have mistaken our
position on this question. It is not that we regard the proposed action as
merely inexpedient and unwise; if this were all, we would gladly carry out
the commands of Synod, transferring to it the responsibility which it
offers to assume. But the light in which we regard it admits of no
transfer of responsibility. It is not a matter of judgment only, but also
of conscience.

"We conscientiously feel that in confirming such an organization we should
be doing a positive injury and wrong to the churches of Christ established
at Amoy, and that our duty to the Master and His people here forbids this.
Therefore, our answer to the action of General Synod must be and is that we
cannot be made the instruments of carrying out the wishes of Synod in this
report; and further, if Synod is determined that such an organization must
be effected, we can see no other way than to recall us and send hither men
who see clearly their way to do that which to us seems wrong.

"We regret the reasons which have led us to this conclusion. We have
thought it best that each member of the Mission should forward to you his
individual views on this subject, rather than embody them in the present

"We accordingly refer you to these separate statements which will be sent
to you as soon as prepared.

"Commending you, dear brethren, to our common Lord, whose servants we all
are, and praying that He will guide us into all truth, we are as ever,

"Your brethren in Christ


"AMOY, Sept. 16, 1863."

The last action taken by the General Synod was in June, 1864, and reads as

"Resolved, That while the General Synod does not deem it necessary or
proper to change the missionary policy defined and adopted in 1857, yet, in
consideration of the peculiar circumstances of the Mission of Amoy, the
brethren there are allowed to defer the formation of a Classis of Amoy
until, in their judgment, such a measure is required by the wants and
desires of the Churches gathered by them from among the heathen."

At the Centenary Conference on the Protestant Missions of the World, held
in Exeter Hall, London, 1888, Rev. W. J. K. Taylor, D.D., for many years a
most efficient member of the Board of Foreign Missions of the Reformed
Church in America, read a paper on "Union and Cooperation in Foreign
Missions," in which he said:

"Actual union has been happily maintained at Amoy, China, for more than a
quarter of a century between the missionaries of the Reformed (Dutch)
Church in America and those of the Presbyterian Church of England. Having
labored together in the faith of the Gospel, gathering converts into the
fold of Christ, and founding native churches, these brethren could not and
would not spoil the unity of those infant churches by making two
denominations out of one company of believers nor would they sow in that
virgin soil the seeds of sectarian divisions which have long sundered the
Protestant Churches in Europe and America. The result was the organization
of the Tai-Hoey, or Great Council of Elders, which is neither an English
Presbytery nor a Reformed Church Classis, but is like them both. It is not
an appendage of either of these foreign Churches, but is a genuine
independent Chinese Christian Church holding the standards and governed by
the polity of the twin-sister Churches that sent them the Gospel by their
own messengers. The missionaries retain their relations with their own
home Churches and act under commissions of their own Church Board of
Missions. They are not settled pastors, but are more like the Apostolic
Evangelists of New Testament times,--preachers, teachers, founders of
Churches, educators of the native ministry, and superintendents of the
general work of evangelization.

"This Tai-Hoey is a child of God, which was 'born, not of blood, nor of the
will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.' It is believed to
be the first ecclesiastical organization for actual union and co-operation
in mission lands by the representatives of churches holding the Reformed
faith and Presbyterial polity. Its history has already been long enough to
give the greatest value to its experience."

For seven years, by tongue and pen, Mr. Talmage advocated the establishment
of an independent Chinese Union Church of the Presbyterian order. Even
then the Reformed Church was not fully persuaded and did not give her
hearty assent. The resolution of 1864 was only tentative. It was a plea

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