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´╗┐Title: Forty Years in South China - The Life of Rev. John Van Nest Talmage, D.D.
Author: Fagg, Rev. John Gerardus
Language: English
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great-granddaughter of the subject of this biography.


The Life of Rev. John Van Nest Talmage, D.D.


Rev. John Gerardus Fagg
Missionary of the American Reformed (Dutch) Church, at Amoy, China




Too near was I to the subject of this biography to write an impartial
introduction. When John Van Nest Talmage went, my last brother went.
Stunned until I staggered through the corridors of the hotel in London,
England, when the news came that John was dead. If I should say all that I
felt I would declare that since Paul the great apostle to the Gentiles, a
more faithful or consecrated man has not lifted his voice in the dark
places of heathenism. I said it while he was alive, and might as well say
it now that he is dead. "He was the hero of our family." He did not go to
a far-off land to preach because people in America did not want to hear him
preach. At the time of his first going to China he had a call to succeed
Rev. Dr. Brodhead, of Brooklyn, the Chrysostom of the American pulpit, a
call with a large salary, and there would not have been anything impossible
to him in the matters of religious work or Christian achievement had he
tarried in his native land. But nothing could detain him from the work to
which God called him years before he became a Christian. My reason for
writing that anomalous statement is that when a boy in Sabbath-school at
Boundbrook, New Jersey, he read a Library book, entitled "The Life of Henry
Martyn, the Missionary," and he said to our mother, "Mother! when I grow up
I am going to be a missionary!" The remark made no especial impression at
the time. Years passed on before his conversion. But when the grace of God
appeared to him, and he had begun his study for the ministry, he said one
day, "Mother! Do you remember that many years ago I said, 'I am going to be
a missionary'?" She replied, "Yes! I remember you said so." "Well," said
he, "I am going to keep my promise." And how well he kept it millions of
souls on earth and in heaven have long since heard. But his chief work is
yet to come. We get our chronology so twisted that we come to believe that
the white marble of the tomb is the mile-stone at which a good man stops,
when it is only a mile-stone on a journey, the most of the miles of which
are yet to be travelled.

The Dictionary which my brother prepared with more than two decades of
study, the religious literature he transferred from English into Chinese,
the hymns he wrote for others to sing, although himself could not sing at
all, (he and I monopolizing the musical incapacity of a family in which all
the rest could sing well), the missionary stations he planted, the life he
lived, will widen out, and deepen and intensify through all time and all

I am glad that those competent to tell of his magnificent work have
undertaken it. You could get nothing about it from him at all. Ask him a
question trying to evoke what he had done for God and the church, and his
lips were as tightly shut as though they had never been opened. He was
animated enough when drawn out in discussion religious, educational, or
political, but he had great powers of silence. I once took him to see
General Grant, our reticent President. On that occasion they both seemed to
do their best in the art of quietude. The great military President with his
closed lips on one side of me, and my brother with his closed lips on the
other side of me, I felt there was more silence in the room than I ever
before knew to be crowded into the same space. It was the same kind of
reticence that always came upon John when you asked him about his work. But
the story has been gloriously told in the heavens by those who through his
instrumentality have already reached the City of Raptures. When the roll of
martyrs is called before the Throne of God, the name of John Van Nest
Talmage will be called. He worked himself to death in the cause of the
world's evangelization. His heart, his brain, his lungs, his hands, his
muscles, his nerves, all wrought for others until heart and brain, and
lungs and hands, and muscles and nerves could do no more.

He sleeps in the cemetery near Somerville, New Jersey, so near father and
mother that he will face them when he rises in the Resurrection of the
Just, and amid a crowd of kindred now slumbering on the right of him, and
on the left of him, he will feel the thrill of the Trumpet that wakes the

Allelujah! Amen!

BROOKLYN, June, 1894.


The accompanying resolution of the Board of Foreign Missions of the
Reformed Church in America, November 16, 1892, explains the origin of this

"Resolved, That the Board of Foreign Missions, being firmly convinced that
a biography of the late John V. N. Talmage, D.D., for over forty years
identified with the Mission at Amoy, would be of great service to the cause
of Missions, heartily recommend to the family of Dr. Talmage the selection
of an appropriate person to prepare such a memoir, and in case this is
done, promise to render all the aid in their power in furnishing whatever
facts or records may be of service to the author of the book."

The writer raised his pen to this task with hesitancy. He had known Dr.
Talmage only little more than a year; long enough, indeed, to revere and
love him, but not long enough to tell the story of so rich and fruitful a

Dr. Talmage was a man of unconscious greatness. If he could have been
consulted it is doubtful whether a public record of him would have ever
seen the light. His life to him would have seemed too commonplace and
unworthy. He was exceedingly careful in the use of language. He could not
endure exaggeration. Nothing so commanded his admiration as honesty and
accuracy of statement. That ought to be sufficient to guard any one who
speaks of such a man against indiscriminate eulogy.

We have endeavored as far as possible to make this memoir an autobiography.
To carry out this purpose has not been without difficulties.

Dr. Talmage did not keep a continuous diary. He did not preserve complete
files of his correspondence as if anticipating the needs of some possible

The author's enforced retirement from the mission field in the midst of
collecting and sifting material, has been no small drawback.

It is hoped, however, that enough has been gleaned to justify publication.
Sincerest thanks are due to those brethren who contributed to the
concluding chapter, "In Memoriam."

If these pages may more fully acquaint the Church of Christ with a name
which it should not willingly let die, and deepen interest in and hasten by
the least hair-breadth the redemption of "China's Millions," the author
will feel abundantly rewarded.


October 1, 1894.


Rev. John Van Nest Talmage
Chinese Clan House
Buddhist Temple, Amoy
Pagoda near Lam-sin
Chinese Bride and Groom
Traveling Equipment in South China
Pastor Iap and Family
The Sio ke Valley
Glimpse of the Sio-ke River
Scene in the Hakka Region
Girl's School; The Talmage Manse; Woman's School. (Kolongsu, opposite Amoy)
Pastor Iap


I. The Ancestral Home
II. Call to China and Voyage Hence
III. The City of the "Elegant Gate"
  Description of Amoy and Amoy Island
  Ancestral Worship
  Is China to be won, and how?
  Worship of the Emperor
IV. Light and Shade
  The Chiang-chiu Valley
  Breaking and Burning of Idols
  The Chinese Boat Race and its Origin
  The Chinese Beggar System
  Two Noble Men Summoned Hence
V. At the Foot of the Bamboos
  Romanized Colloquial
  Chinese Sense of Sin
  Primitive Lamps
  Zealous Converts
  The Term Question
  What it Costs a Chinese to become a Christian
  Persecuted for Christ's Sake
  "He is only a Beggar"
  Printing under Difficulties
  Carrier Pigeons
VI. The "Little Knife" Insurrection
  How the Chinese Fight
VII. The Blossoming Desert
  Si-boo's Zeal
  An Appeal for a Missionary
VIII. Church Union
  The Memorial of the Amoy Mission
IX. Church Union (continued)
X. The Anti-missionary Agitation
XI. The Last Two Decades
  Forty continuous Years in Heathenism
  Chinese Grandiloquence
XII. In Memoriam
  Dr. Talmage--The Man and The Missionary
    By Rev. W. S. Swanson, D.D.
  Venerable Teacher Talmage
    By Pastor Iap Han Chiong
  Rev. John Van Nest Talmage, D.D.
    By Rev. S. L. Baldwin, D.D.
  The Rev. J. V. N. Talmage, D.D.
    By Rev. Talbot W. Chambers, D.D., LL.D.
  Rev. John Van Nest Talmage, D.D.
    By Rev. John M. Ferris, D.D.


John Van Nest Talmage was born at Somerville, New Jersey, August 18, 1819
He was the fourth son in a family of seven brothers and five sisters.

The roots of the Talmage genealogical tree may be traced back to the year
1630, when Enos and Thomas Talmage, the progenitors of the Talmage family
in North America, landed at Charlestown, Massachusetts, and afterwards
settled at East Hampton, Long Island.

Dr. Lyman Beecher represents the first settlers of East Hampton as "men
resolute, enterprising, acquainted with human nature, accustomed to do
business, well qualified by education, circumspect, careful in dealing,
friends of civil liberty, jealous of their rights, vigilant to discover,
and firm to resist encroachments; eminently pious."

In 1725 we find Daniel Talmage at Elizabethtown, New Jersey. Daniel's
grandson, Thomas, during the years between 1775 and 1834 shifts his tent to
Piscataway, New Jersey, thence to New Brunswick, thence to Somerville,
where the stakes are driven firmly on a farm "beautiful for situation."
Thomas Talmage was a builder by trade, and erected some of the most
important courthouses and public edifices in Somerset and Middlesex
Counties. He was active in the Revolutionary war, holding the rank of
major. It was said of him, "His name will be held in everlasting
remembrance in the churches." He was the father of seven sons and six

The third son, David T., the father of John Van Nest Talmage, was born at
Piscataway, April 21, 1783. He was married to Catharine Van Nests Dec. 19,
1803. David T. Talmage was rather migratory in his instincts. The smoke
of the Talmage home now curled out from a house at Mill stone, now from a
homestead near Somerville, then from Gateville; then the family ark rested
for many years on the outskirts of Somerville and finally it brought up at
Bound Brook, New Jersey. Though the family tent was folded several times,
it was not folded for more than a day's wagon journey before it was pitched
again. The places designated arc all within the range of a single New
Jersey county.

In 1836 David T. Talmage was elected a member of the State Legislature and
was returned three successive terms. In 1841, he was chosen high sheriff
of Somerset County. Four of his sons entered the Christian ministry, James
R., John Van Nest, Goyn, and Thomas De Witt. James R., the senior brother,
rendered efficient service in pastorates at Pompton Plains and Blawenburgh,
New Jersey, and in Brooklyn, Greenbush, and Chittenango, New York. He
received the degree of Doctor of Divinity from Rutgers College, New Jersey,
in 1864. John Van Nest gave his life to China. Goyn, a most winsome man and
eloquent preacher, ministered with marked success to the churches of
Niskayuna, Green Point, Rhinebeck, and Port Jervis, New York, and Paramus,
New Jersey. He was for five years the Corresponding Secretary of the Board
of Domestic Missions of the Reformed Church. Rutgers College honored
herself and him by giving him the degree of Doctor of Divinity in 1876.

Thomas De Witt, the youngest son, still ministers to the largest church in
Protestant Christendom. What a river of blessing has flowed from that
humble, cottage well-spring. The wilderness and the parched land have been
made glad by it. The desert has been made to rejoice and blossom as the
rose. The courses thereof have gone out into all the earth, and the tossing
of its waves have been heard to the end of the world.

In November, 1865, Dr. T. De Witt Talmage preached a sermon on "The Beauty
of Old Age"[*] from the words in Eccles. xii. 5, "The Almond Tree shall
flourish." It was commemorative of his father, David T. Talmage. He says:
"I have stood, for the last few days, as under the power of an enchantment.
Last Friday-a-week, at eighty-three years of age, my father exchanged earth
for heaven. The wheat was ripe, and it has been harvested. No painter's
pencil or poet's rhythm could describe that magnificent sun setting. It was
no hurricane blast let loose; but a gale from heaven, that drove into the
dust the blossoms of that almond tree.

  [Footnote *: This sermon gives so graphic and tender a portrayal of the
  father of one of America's most distinguished ministerial families, that
  the author feels justified in making so lengthy an extract.]

"There are lessons for me to learn, and also for you, for many of you knew
him. The child of his old age, I come to-night to pay an humble tribute to
him, who, in the hour of my birth, took me into his watchful care, and
whose parental faithfulness, combined with that of my mother, was the means
of bringing my erring feet to the cross, and kindling in my soul
anticipations of immortal blessedness. If I failed to speak, methinks the
old family Bible, that I brought home with me, would rebuke my silence, and
the very walls of my youthful home would tell the story of my ingratitude.
I must speak, though it be with broken utterance, and in terms which seem
too strong for those of you who never had an opportunity of gathering the
fruit of this luxuriant almond tree.

"First. In my father's old age was to be seen the beauty of a cheerful
spirit. I never remember to have heard him make a gloomy expression. This
was not because he had no conception of the pollutions of society. He
abhorred everything like impurity, or fraud, or double-dealing. He never
failed to lift up his voice against sin, when he saw it. He was terrible in
his indignation against wrong, and had an iron grip for the throat of him
who trampled on the helpless. Better meet a lion robbed of her whelps than
him, if you had been stealing the bread from the mouth of the fatherless.
It required all the placidity of my mother's voice to calm him when once
the mountain storm of his righteous wrath was in full blast; while as for
himself, he would submit to more imposition, and say nothing, than any man
I ever knew.

"But while sensitive to the evils of society, he felt confident that all
would be righted. When he prayed, you could hear in the very tones of his
voice the expectation that Christ Jesus would utterly demolish all
iniquity, and fill the earth with His glory. This Christian man was not a
misanthrope, did not think that everything was going to ruin, considered
the world a very good place to live in. He never sat moping or despondent,
but took things as they were, knowing that God could and would make them
better. When the heaviest surge of calamity came upon him, he met it with
as cheerful a countenance as ever a bather at the beach met the incoming
Atlantic, rising up on the other side of the wave stronger than when it
smote him. Without ever being charged with frivolity, he sang, and
whistled, and laughed. He knew about all the cheerful tunes that were ever
printed in old 'New Brunswick Collection,' and the 'Strum Way,' and the
sweetest melodies that Thomas Hastings ever composed. I think that every
pillar in the Somerville and Bound Brook churches knew his happy voice. He
took the pitch of sacred song on Sabbath morning, and lost it not through
all the week. I have heard him sing plowing amid the aggravations of a 'new
ground,' serving writs, examining deeds, going to arrest criminals, in the
house and by the way, at the barn and in the street. When the church choir
would break down, everybody looked around to see if he were not ready with
Woodstock, Mount Pisgah, or Uxbridge. And when all his familiar tunes
failed to express the joy of his soul, he would take up his own pen, draw
five long lines across the sheet, put in the notes, and then to the tune
that he called 'Bound Brook' begin to sing:

  'As when the weary trav'ler gains
  The height of some o'erlooking hill,
  His heart revives if, 'cross the plains,
  He eyes his home, tho' distant still:

  Thus, when the Christian pilgrim views,
  By faith, his mansion in the skies;
  The sight his fainting strength renews,
  And wings his speed to reach the prize.

  "'Tis there," he says, "I am to dwell
  With Jesus in the realms of day:
  There I shall bid my cares farewell,
  And he will wipe my tears away."

"But few families fell heir to so large a pile of well-studied note-books.
He was ready, at proper times, for all kinds of innocent amusement. He
often felt a merriment that not only touched the lips, but played upon
every fibre of the body, and rolled down into the very depths of his soul,
with long reverberations. No one that I ever knew understood more fully
the science of a good laugh. He was not only quick to recognize hilarity
when created by others, but was always ready to do his share toward making
it. Before extreme old age, he could outrun and outleap any of his
children. He did not hide his satisfaction at having outwalked some one
who boasted of his pedestrianism, or at having been able to swing the
scythe after all the rest of the harvesters had dropped from exhaustion, or
at having, in legislative hall, tripped up some villainous scheme for
robbing the public treasury. We never had our ears boxed, as some children
I wot of, for the sin of being happy. In long winter nights it was hard to
tell who enjoyed sportfulness the better, the children who romped the
floor, or the parents who, with lighted countenance, looked at them. Great
indulgence and leniency characterized his family rule, but the remembrance
of at least one correction more emphatic than pleasing proves that he was
not like Eli of old, who had wayward sons and restrained them not. In the
multitude of his witticisms there were no flings at religion, no
caricatures of good men, no trifling with things of eternity. His laughter
was not the 'crackling of thorns under a pot,' but the merry heart that
doeth good like a medicine. For this all the children of the community
knew him; and to the last day of his walking out, when they saw him coming
down the lane, shouted, 'Here comes grandfather!' No gall, no acerbity, no
hypercriticism. If there was a bright side to anything, he always saw it,
and his name, in all the places where he dwelt, will long be a synonym for
exhilaration of spirit.

"But whence this cheerfulness? Some might ascribe it ail to natural
disposition. No doubt there is such a thing as sunshine of temperament.
God gives more brightness to the almond tree than to the cypress. While
the pool putrefies under the summer sun, God slips the rill off of the
rocks with a frolicsomeness that fills the mountain with echo. No doubt
constitutional structure had much to do with this cheerfulness. He had, by
a life of sobriety, preserved his freshness and vigor. You know that good
habits are better than speaking tubes to the ear; better than a staff to
the hand; better than lozenges to the throat; better than warm baths to the
feet; better than bitters for the stomach. His lips had not been polluted,
nor his brain befogged, by the fumes of the noxious weed that has sapped
the life of whole generations, sending even ministers of the Gospel to
untimely graves, over which the tombstone declared, 'Sacrificed by overwork
in the Lord's vineyard,' when if the marble had not lied, it would have
said, 'Killed by villainous tobacco!' He abhorred anything that could
intoxicate, being among the first in this country to join the crusade
against alcoholic beverages. When urged, during a severe sickness, to take
some stimulus, he said, 'No! If I am to die, let me die sober!' The swill
of the brewery had never been poured around the roots of this thrifty
almond. To the last week of his life his ear could catch a child's
whisper, and at fourscore years his eyes refused spectacles, although he
would sometimes have to hold the book off on the other side of the light,
as octogenarians are wont to do. No trembling of the hands, no rheum in
the eyes, no knocking together of the knees, no hobbling on crutches with
what polite society terms rheumatism in the feet, but what everybody knows
is nothing but gout. Death came, not to fell the gnarled trunk of a tree
worm-eaten and lightning-blasted, but to hew down a Lebanon cedar, whose
fall made the mountains tremble and the heavens ring. But physical health
could not account for half of this sunshine. Sixty-four years ago a coal
from the heavenly altar had kindled a light that shone brighter and
brighter to the perfect day. Let Almighty grace for nearly three-quarters
of a century triumph in a man's soul, and do you wonder that he is happy?
For twice the length of your life and mine he had sat in the bower of the
promises, plucking the round, ripe clusters of Eshcol. While others bit
their tongues for thirst, he stood at the wells of salvation, and put his
lips to the bucket that came up dripping with the fresh, cool, sparkling
waters of eternal life. This joy was not that which breaks in the bursting
bubble of the champagne glass, or that which is thrown out with the
orange-peelings of a midnight bacchanalia, but the joy which, planted by a
Saviour's pardoning grace, mounts up higher and higher, till it breaks
forth in the acclaim of the hundred and forty and four thousand who have
broken their last chain and wept their last sorrow. Oh! mighty God! How
deep, how wide, how high the joy Thou kindles" in the heart of the

"Again: We behold in our father the beauty of a Christian faith.

"Let not the account of this cheerfulness give you the idea that he never
had any trouble. But few men have so serious and overwhelming a life
struggle. He went out into the world without means, and with no educational
opportunity, save that which was afforded him in the winter months, in an
old, dilapidated school-house, from instructors whose chief work was to
collect their own salary. Instead of postponing the marriage relation, as
modern society compels a young man to postpone it, until he can earn a
fortune, and be able, at commencement of the conjugal relation, to keep a
companion like the lilies of the field, that toil not nor spin, though
Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these--he chose an
early alliance with one, who would not only be able to enjoy the success of
his life, but who would with her own willing hands help achieve it. And so
while father plowed the fields, and threshed the wheat, and broke the flax,
and husked the corn, my mother stood for Solomon's portraiture, when he
said, 'She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her
household. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the
distaff. She is not afraid of the snow for her household, for all her
household are clothed with scarlet. Her children arise up and call her
blessed, her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done
virtuously, but thou excellest them all.' So that the limited estate of
the New Jersey farmer never foundered on millinery establishments and
confectionery shops. And though we were some years of age before we heard
the trill of a piano, we knew well about the song of 'The Spinning-wheel.'
There were no lords, or baronets, or princes in our ancestral line. None
wore stars, cockade, or crest. There was once a family coat of arms, but
we were none of us wise enough to tell its meaning. Do our best, we cannot
find anything about our forerunners, except that they behaved well, came
over from Wales or Holland a good while ago, and died when their time came.
Some of them may have had fine equipage and caparisoned postillion, but the
most of them were only footmen. My father started in life belonging to the
aristocracy of hard knuckles and homespun, but had this high honor that no
one could despise. He was the son of a father who loved God, and kept His
commandments. What is the House of Hapsburg or Stuarts, compared with
being son of the Lord God Almighty? Two eyes, two hands, and two feet,
were the capital my father started with. For fifteen years an invalid, he
had a fearful struggle to support his large family. Nothing but faith in
God upheld him. His recital of help afforded, and deliverances wrought,
was more like a romance than a reality. He walked through many a desert,
but every morning had its manna, and every night it's pillar of fire, and
every hard rock a rod that could shatter it into crystal fountains at his
feet. More than once he came to his last dollar; but right behind that
last dollar he found Him who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and out
of the palm of whose hand all the fowls of heaven peck their food, and who
hath given to each one of His disciples a warrantable deed for the whole
universe in the words, 'All are yours.'

"The path that led him through financial straits, prepared him also for
sore bereavements. The infant of days was smitten, and he laid it into the
river of death with as much confidence as infant Moses was laid into the
Ark of the Nile, knowing that soon from the royal palace a shining One
would come to fetch it.

"In an island of the sea, among strangers, almost unattended, death came to
a beloved son; and though I remember the darkness that dropped on the
household when the black-sealed letter was opened, I remember also the
utterances of Christian submission.

"Another bearing his own name, just on the threshold of manhood, his heart
beating high with hope, falls into the dust; but above the cries of early
widowhood and the desolation of that dark day, I hear the patriarch's
prayer, commending children, and children's children, to the Divine

"But a deeper shadow fell across the old home-stead. The 'Golden Wedding'
had been celebrated nine years before. My mother looked up, pushed back
her spectacles, and said, 'Just think of it, father! We have been together
fifty-nine years!' The twain stood together like two trees of the forest
with interlocked branches. Their affections had taken deep root together
in many a kindred grave. Side by side in life's great battle, they had
fought the good fight and won the day. But death comes to unjoint this
alliance. God will not any longer let her suffer mortal ailments. The
reward of righteousness is ready, and it must be paid. But what a tearing
apart! What rending up! What will the aged man do without this other to
lean on? Who can so well understand how to sympathize and counsel? What
voice so cheering as hers, to conduct him down the steep of old age? 'Oh'
said she in her last moments, 'father, if you and I could only be together,
how pleasant it would be!' But the hush of death came down one autumnal
afternoon, and for the first time in all my life, on my arrival at home, I
received no maternal greeting, no answer of the lips, no pressure of the
hand. God had taken her.

"In this overwhelming shock the patriarch stood confident, reciting the
promises and attesting the Divine goodness. O, sirs, that was faith,
faith, faith! 'Thanks be unto God who giveth us the victory!'

"Finally, I noticed that in my father's old age was to be seen the beauty
of Christian activity. He had not retired from the field. He had been
busy so long you could not expect him idle now. The faith I have described
was not an idle expectation that sits with its hands in its pockets idly
waiting, but a feeling which gathers up all the resources of the soul, and
hurls them upon one grand design. He was among the first who toiled in
Sabbath-schools, and never failed to speak the praise of these
institutions. No storm or darkness ever kept him away from prayer-meeting.
In the neighborhood where he lived for years held a devotional meeting.
Oftentimes the only praying man present, before a handful of attendants, he
would give out the hymn, read the lines, conduct the music, and pray. Then
read the Scriptures and pray again. Then lead forth in the Doxology with
an enthusiasm as if there were a thousand people present, and all the
church members had been doing their duty. He went forth visiting the sick,
burying the dead, collecting alms for the poor, inviting the ministers of
religion to his household, in which there was, as in the house of Shunem, a
little room over the wall, with bed and candlestick for any passing Elisha.
He never shuddered at the sight of a subscription paper, and not a single
great cause of benevolence has arisen within the last half century which he
did not bless with his beneficence. Oh, this was not a barren almond tree
that blossomed. His charity was not like the bursting of the bud of a
famous tree in the South that fills the whole forest with its racket; nor
was it a clumsy thing like the fruit, in some tropical clime, that crashes
down, almost knocking the life out of those who gather it; for in his case
the right hand knew not what the left hand did. The churches of God in
whose service he toiled, have arisen as one man to declare his faithfulness
and to mourn their loss. He stood in the front of the holy war, and the
courage which never trembled or winced in the presence of temporal danger
induced him to dare all things for God. In church matters he was not
afraid to be shot at. Ordained, not by the laying on of human hands, but
by the imposition of a Saviour's love, he preached by his life, in official
position, and legislative hall, and commercial circles, a practical
Christianity. He showed that there was such a thing as honesty in
politics. He slandered no party, stuffed no ballot box, forged no
naturalization papers, intoxicated no voters, told no lies, surrendered no
principle, countenanced no demagogism. He called things by their right
names; and what others styled prevarication, exaggeration, misstatement or
hyperbole, he called a lie. Though he was far from being undecided in his
views, and never professed neutrality, or had any consort with those
miserable men who boast how well they can walk on both sides of a dividing
line and be on neither, yet even in the excitements of election canvass,
when his name was hotly discussed in public journals, I do not think his
integrity was ever assaulted. Starting every morning with a chapter of the
Bible, and his whole family around him on their knees, he forgot not, in
the excitements of the world, that he had a God to serve and a heaven to
win. The morning prayer came up on one side of the day, and the evening
prayer on the other side, and joined each other in an arch above his head,
under the shadow of which he walked all the day. The Sabbath worship
extended into Monday's conversation, and Tuesday's bargain, and Wednesday's
mirthfulness, and Thursday's controversy, and Friday's sociality, and
Saturday's calculation.

"Through how many thrilling scenes had he passed! He stood, at Morristown,
in the choir that chanted when George Washington was buried; talked with
young men whose grandfathers he had held on his knee; watched the progress
of John Adams' administration; denounced, at the time, Aaron Burr's infamy;
heard the guns that celebrated the New Orleans victory; voted against
Jackson, but lived long enough to wish we had one just like him; remembered
when the first steamer struck the North River with it's wheel buckets;
flushed with excitement in the time of national banks and sub-treasury; was
startled at the birth of telegraphy; saw the United States grow from a
speck on the world's map till all nations dip their flag at our passing
merchantmen, and our 'national airs' have been heard on the steeps of the
Himalayas; was born while the Revolutionary cannon were coming home from
Yorktown, and lived to hear the tramp of troops returning from the war of
the great Rebellion; lived to speak the names of eighty children,
grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Nearly all his contemporaries
gone! Aged Wilberforce said that sailors drink to 'friends astern' until
halfway over the sea, and then drink to 'friends ahead.' So, also, with my
father. Long and varied pilgrimage! Nothing but sovereign grace could
have kept him true, earnest, useful, and Christian through so many exciting

"He worked unwearily from the sunrise of youth, to the sunset of old age,
and then in the sweet nightfall of death, lighted by the starry promises,
went home, taking his sheaves with him. Mounting from earthly to heavenly
service, I doubt not there were a great multitude that thronged heaven's
gate to hail him into the skies,--those whose sorrows he had appeased,
whose burdens he had lifted, whose guilty souls he had pointed to a
pardoning God, whose dying moments he had cheered, whose ascending spirits
he had helped up on the wings of sacred music. I should like to have heard
that long, loud, triumphant shout of heaven's welcome. I think that the
harps throbbed with another thrill, and the hills quaked with a mightier
hallelujah. Hail! ransomed soul! Thy race run,--thy toil ended! Hail to
the coronation!"

At the death of David T. Talmage the Christian Intelligencer of October 25,
1865, contained the following contribution from the pen of Dr. T.W.
Chambers, for many years pastor of the Second Reformed Church, Somerville,
New Jersey, now one of the pastors of the Collegiate Church, New York:

"In the latter part of the last century, Thomas Talmage, Sr., a plain but
intelligent farmer, moved into the neighborhood of Somerville, N.J., and
settled upon a fertile tract of land, very favorably situated, and
commanding a view of the country for miles around. Here he spent the
remainder of a long, godly, and useful life, and reared a large family of
children, twelve of whom were spared to reach adult years, and to make and
adorn the same Christian profession of which their father was a shining
light. Two of these became ministers of the Gospel, of whom one, Jehiel,
fell asleep several years since, while the other, the distinguished Samuel
K. Talmage, D.D., President of Oglethorpe University, Georgia, entered into
his rest only a few weeks since. Another son, Thomas, was for an entire
generation the strongest pillar in the Second Church of Somerville.

"One of the oldest of the twelve was the subject of this notice; a man
whose educational advantages were limited to the local schools of the
neighborhood, but whose excellent natural abilities, sharpened by contact
with the world, gave him a weight in the community which richer and more
cultivated men might have envied. In the prime of his years he was often
called to serve his fellow citizens in civil trusts. He spent some years
in the popular branch of the Legislature, and was afterwards high sheriff
of the County of Somerset for the usual period. In both cases he fulfilled
the expectations of his friends, and rendered faithful service. The
sterling integrity of his character manifested itself in every situation;
and even in the turmoil of politics, at a time of much excitement, he
maintained a stainless name, and defied the tongue of calumny. But it was
chiefly in the sphere of private and social relations that his work was
done and his influence exerted. His father's piety was reproduced in him
at an early period, and soon assumed a marked type of thoroughness,
activity and decision, which it bore even to the end. His long life was
one of unblemished Christian consistency, which in no small measure was due
to the influence of his excellent wife, Catherine Van Nest, a niece of the
late Abraham Van Nest, of New York City, who a few years preceded him into
glory. She was the most godly woman the writer ever knew, a wonder unto
many for the strength of her faith, the profoundness of her Christian
experience, and the uniform spirituality of her mind. The ebb and flow
common to most believers did not appear in her; but her course was like a
river fed by constant streams, and running on wider and deeper till it
reaches the sea. It might be said of this pair, as truly as of the parents
of John the Baptist, 'And they were both righteous before God, walking in
all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.' Hand in hand
they pursued their pilgrimage through this world, presenting an example of
intelligent piety such as is not often seen. 'Lovely and pleasant in their
lives, in their death they were not (long) divided.' Exactly three years
from the day of Mrs. Talmage's death her husband received the summons to
rejoin her on high.

"These parents were unusually careful and diligent in discharging their
Christian obligations to their children. The promise of the covenant was
importunately implored in their behalf from the moment of birth, its seal
was early applied, and the whole training was after the pattern of Abraham.
The Divine faithfulness was equally manifest, for the whole eleven were in
due time brought to the Saviour, and introduced into the full communion of
the Church. Years ago two of them were removed by death. Of the rest,
four, James, John, Goyn, and Thomas De Witt, are ministers of the Gospel,
and one is the wife of a minister (the Rev. S. L. Mershon, of East Hampton,
L.I.). Without entering into details respecting these brethren, it is
sufficient to say that, with the exception of the late Dr. John Scudder's,
no other single family has been the means of making such a valuable
contribution to the sons of Levi in the Dutch Church.

"Mr. Talmage was not only exemplary in the ordinary duties of a Christian,
but excellent as a church officer. Shrewd, patient, kind, generous
according to his means, and full of quiet zeal, he was ready for every good
work; one of those men--the delight of a pastor's heart--who can always
be relied upon to do their share, if not a little more, and that in things
both temporal and spiritual. He was a wise counselor, a true friend, a
self-sacrificing laborer for the Master."

We find the following allusion to the life and death of his mother, in a
sermon by Dr. T. De Witt Talmage:

"In these remarks upon maternal faithfulness, I have found myself
unconsciously using as a model the character of one, who, last Wednesday,
we put away for the resurrection. About sixty years ago, just before the
day of their marriage, my father and mother stood up in the old
meeting-house, at Somerville, to take the vows of a Christian. Through a
long life of vicissitude she lived blamelessly and usefully, and came to
her end in peace. No child of want ever came to her door, and was turned
away. No stricken soul ever appealed to her and was not comforted. No
sinner ever asked her the way to be saved, and was not pointed to Christ.

"When the Angel of Life came to a neighbor's dwelling, she was there to
rejoice at the incarnation; and when the Angel of Death came, she was there
to robe the departed one for burial. We had often heard her, while
kneeling among her children at family prayers, when father was absent, say:
'I ask not for my children wealth, or honor; but I do ask that they may all
become the subjects of Thy converting grace.' She had seen all her eleven
children gathered into the Church, and she had but one more wish, and that
was that she might again see her missionary son. And when the ship from
China anchored in New York harbor, and the long absent one crossed the
threshold of his paternal home, she said, 'Now, Lord, lettest Thou Thy
servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation.'

"We were gathered from afar to see only the house from which the soul had
fled forever. How calm she looked! Her folded hands appeared just as when
they were employed in kindnesses for her children. And we could not help
but say, as we stood and looked at her, 'Doesn't she look beautiful!' It
was a cloudless day when, with heavy hearts, we carried her out to the last
resting-place. The withered leaves crumbled under wheel and hoof as we
passed, and the setting sun shone upon the river until it looked like fire.
But more calm and bright was the setting sun of this aged pilgrim's life.
No more toil. No more tears. No more sickness. No more death. Dear
mother! Beautiful mother!

  "'Sweet is the slumber beneath the sod,
  While the pure soul is resting with God.'"


The known facts in regard to John Talmage's boyhood and youthful days are
few. Of the known facts some perhaps are too trivial, others too sacred to
bear mention. The sapling grew. Of the inner and outer circles of growth
there is but brief record.

He spent his boyhood at a quiet country hamlet, Gateville, New Jersey. On
the ridge swung the toll-gate, and a little beyond might be heard the hum
and rattle of the grist-mill. His father kept the toll-gate. John was a
fine horseman, and found great sport in jumping on his horse and chasing
the people who had "cheated the gate" by not paying their toll. John knew
the law and was not afraid to go for them. He went to a private school
under the care of a Mr. Morton at the village of Bound Brook, two miles
from home, and generally stood at the head of his class.

He early became the judge and counselor among his brothers and sisters. In
any little dispute which arose, John's verdict was usually accepted as
correct and final.

During all his missionary career in China, he was an adviser and arbitrator
whom foreigners and Chinese alike sought and from whose advice they were
not quick to turn away.

In the midst of the tumult among the men of Medina when they met to elect a
chief to take the place of Mohammed, who had passed away, the voice of
Hohab was heard crying out, "Attend to me, attend to me, for I am the
well-rubbed Palm-stem." The figure Hobab used represented a palm-trunk
left for the beasts to come and rub themselves upon. It was a metaphor for
a person much resorted to for counsel. John Talmage never called attention
to himself, but the Arab chief must have counseled many, and well, to have
taken a higher place than did this messenger of Christ at Amoy.

By the time John Talmage's school days at Bound Brook were completed he had
determined to prepare for college. Preparatory schools then were few and
far away. They were expensive. John made an arrangement with his senior
brother, Rev. James R. Talmage, then pastor at Blawenburgh, New Jersey, to
put him through the required course. Here he joined the Church at the age
of seventeen. From Blawenburgh his brother Goyn and he went to New
Brunswick, New Jersey, joining the Sophomore class in Rutgers College. John
and Goyn roomed together, swept and garnished their own quarters and did
their own cooking. Father Talmage would come down every week or two with
provisions from the farm, to replenish the ever-recipient larder. Both John
and Goyn were diligent students and graduated with honorable recognition
from Rutgers College in 1842, and from New Brunswick Theological Seminary
in 1845.

John Talmage had made such substantial attainments in Hebrew and Greek,
that when some years afterward the distinguished Dr. McClelland resigned as
professor of these languages in the Theological Seminary at New Brunswick,
he was talked of as Dr. McClelland's successor, and but for the conviction
that he ought not to be removed from the Amoy Mission, his appointment
would have been earnestly advocated by the General Synod.

John Talmage had read missionary biographies when a boy in the
Sunday-school at Bound Brook. He had been specially touched by the life of
Henry Martyn. While at college he kept himself supplied with missionary
literature. His parents were already interested in foreign missions. In
secret before God his mother had devoted John to this very work. John did
not know it. The determining word for him was that spoken in a missionary
address, by Rev. Elihu Doty, one of the pioneers of the Amoy Mission. It
was plain that he must go to the "regions beyond." He must break the news
to his mother. John's love of missionary literature and his eager
attendance upon missionary meetings had filled the family with a secret
fear that he thought of going. One day he invited his younger sister,
Catharine, to take a walk with him across the fields. He began to talk
about missions to foreign lands. Finally he said, "Catharine, you must
help me prepare the way to tell mother that I want to go to China." Too
overcome with emotion was the sister to reply. They walked home in
silence. John sought opportunity when he could quietly tell his mother.
Said he, "Mother, I am going to China." In the intensity of a mother's
love she replied, "Oh, John, it will kill me." But the grace of God
triumphed and again she said, "I prayed to God for this, how can I object?"

In October, 1845, he applied to the American Board of Commissioners for
Foreign Missions, through Dr. Thomas De Witt, the Secretary for the
Reformed Church. The letter is still in possession. An extract from it

"I was twenty-five years of age last August, reside at Somerville, New
Jersey, have been blessed with Christian parents and enjoyed an early
religious education. By the assistance of friends and the Church, I have
been enabled to pursue the usual course of study preparatory in our Church
to entering upon the duties of the Gospel ministry. I graduated at Rutgers
College in the summer of 1842, pursued my theological studies in our
seminary at New Brunswick, and received from the Classis of Philadelphia,
July last, 'license' to preach the Gospel.

"Owing doubtless in great measure to the religious advantages I have
enjoyed, my mind has been more or less under religious impressions from my
earliest recollection. About eight years ago I united on confession of
faith with the Church (Reformed Dutch) at Blawenburgh, New Jersey, of which
my brother, Rev. James R. Talmage, was then and still is pastor. Was
living in his family at the time, and studying with him preparatory to
entering college. I am unable to decide when I met with a change of heart.
My reason for believing that I have experienced such a change are the
evidences within me that I love my Saviour, love His cause, and love the
souls of men.

"My reason for desiring the missionary work is a desire for the salvation
of the heathen. My mind has been directed to the subject for a long time,
yet I have not felt at liberty to decide the question where duty called me
to labor until the last month. In accordance with this decision I now
offer my services to the Board to labor in my Master's service among the
heathen. As a field of labor I prefer China."

Owing to deficiency in funds the Board could not send him that year. He
accepted an invitation to assist Dr. Brodhead, then pastor of the Central
Reformed Church of Brooklyn. Dr. Brodhead was one of the great preachers
of his day. In Philadelphia, an earlier pastorate, "he preached to great
congregations of eager listeners, and with a success unparalleled in the
history of that city and rare in modern times." John Van Nest Talmage
might have been his successor. But no sooner was the Board ready to send
him than he was prepared to go. The day for leaving home came. Father
Talmage and the older brothers accompanied John. They left the house in
three carriages. A younger sister (Mrs. Cone) recently said: "When we saw
the three carriages driving down the lane it seemed more like a funeral
than anything else." Silent were those who drove away. Silent, silent as
they could constrain themselves to be, were mother and sisters as they
stood by the windows and got their last look of the procession as it wound
down the road. To go to a foreign land in those days signified to those
who went, lifelong exile,--to those who tarried, lifelong separation. The
only highways to the far East were by way of the Cape of Good Hope or Cape
Horn. The voyages were always long and often perilous.

When on board the ship Roman, bound for Canton, David Abeel wrote: "To the
missionary perhaps exclusively, is the separation from friends like the
farewell of death. Though ignorant of the future he expects no further
intercourse on earth. To him the next meeting is generally beyond the

The hour of departure was not only saddened by parting from parents and
brothers and sisters, but the young woman in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, to
whom he had given his affection, could not join him. Once it had been
decided that they were to go together, but during the last days the
enfeebled widowed mother's courage failed her. She could not relinquish
her daughter to what seemed to her separation for life. Mr. Talmage had to
choose between the call of duty to China and going alone, or tarrying at
home and realizing his heart's hopes. He went to China. By a special
Providence it was not much more than two years after he set sail that he
was again in the United States. The mother of Miss Abby Woodruff had died,
and the union was consummated.

Mr. Talmage kept a diary of the voyage. A few extracts will prove

"Left Somerville April 10, 1847, via New York to Boston. Sailed from
Boston in ship Heber, April 15th. Farewell services on board conducted by
Bishop Janes, of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The Heber is a ship of
436 tons, 136 feet long, 27 wide. Among the passengers are Rev. E. Doty
and wife, and Rev. Moses C White and wife, and Rev. I. D. Collins. The
three latter are Methodist missionaries bound for Foochow (China)." They
were the pioneers of Methodist missions in China.

On Thursday evening, the cay of sailing, he writes: "I am now upon the
bosom of the mighty deep. But I cannot as yet feel any fear. I am in the
hands of the Being 'whose I am and whom I serve.' In His hands there is
safety. I will not fear though the earth be removed. Besides, there are
Christian friends praying for me. Oh, the consolation in the assurance
that at the throne of grace I am remembered by near and dear friends! Will
not their prayers be heard? They will. I know they will. The effectual
fervent prayer of the righteous man availeth much! When I took leave of my
friends, one, and another, and another, assured me that they would remember
me in their prayers. Yes, and I will remember them."

April 17th. Speaking of Mr. Collins, he says: "I think we shall much enjoy
ourselves. We shall study, read, sing, and pray together, talk and walk
together. From present appearances we shall feel towards each other as
David and Jonathan did." Mr. Collins was a man of intense missionary
convictions, who declared if there were no means to send him to China he
would find his way before the mast, and work his way there.

"April 22. We have now been one week on our voyage. We commenced our
studies today. Mr. Doty, Collins, and myself have organized ourselves into
a Hebrew class. We expect to have a daily recitation in Hebrew, another in
Greek, and another in Chinese."

"May 8th. Saturday evening. We have been out 23 days. We have had our
worship as usual in the cabin. Since then we have spent some time in
singing hymns. Have been led to think of home. Wonder where and how my
many friends are? Are they happy? Are they well? Are they all alive? Is
it strange that sadness sometimes steals over my mind, when I think of
those whom I love, and remember their weeping eyes and sorrowful
countenances at the time of bidding them farewell, perhaps never again to
see them in this world."

He had decided to take a text of Scripture for daily meditation, following
the order in a little book published by the American Tract Society entitled
"Dew Drops."

"The text for today is 1 Pet. ii. 21. 'Christ suffered for us, leaving us
an example, that we should follow his steps.'

"Why should the Christian tremble at the prospect of suffering, or be
impatient under its existence? 'The servant is not greater than his Lord.'
The 'King of Glory' suffered, and shall a sinful man complain? Besides,
the Christian should be willing to suffer for the welfare of others. If he
can benefit his fellow-men by running the risk of losing his own life,
shall he hesitate to run that risk?"

"May 11. Since Sunday noon have made little progress."

On examining the record of the voyage which Mr. Talmage kept faithfully
every day, we find that the ship had made only twenty seven knots in two

"June 18. For the last month we have not made rapid progress. We have
experienced much detention from head-winds and calms. About a week ago we
were put on an allowance of water, one gallon a day to each one on board.
This includes all that is used for cooking, drinking and washing."

"Have had quite a severe storm this afternoon and evening. The waves have
been very high, and the wind--severe almost as a hurricane. This evening
about 8 o'clock, after a very severe blow and heavy dash of rain, 'fire
balls,' as the sailors termed them, were seen upon the tops of the masts,
and also on the ends of the spars, which cross the masts. They presented a
very beautiful appearance.

"Brother Collins and myself have this week commenced the study of Pitman's
System of Phonography." That Mr. Talmage became proficient in the use of
it is evident from the fact that much of his journal was written in

"On the Sabbath Brother Collins and myself spend two hours in the
forecastle instructing the sailors. Many of them seem perfectly willing,
some of them anxious to receive instruction."

"July 17. Saturday evening. Today passed to the eastward of Christmas
Island (an island in the Indian Ocean). It is a small island about ten
miles square. This is the first land seen since we left Boston. Of
course, we gazed with much interest."

"July 22. About nine o'clock Tuesday evening we anchored off Angier. This
is a village off the island of Java, bordering on the Straits of Sunda.
Remained at Angier until Wednesday afternoon. Capt. Patterson laid in a
good supply of pigs, geese, ducks, chickens, yams, turtles, water, two
goats, and fruits of various kinds in abundance."

"Aug. 6. Friday. Wednesday evening arrived at Macao. This morning set
sail for Whampoa, twelve miles below Canton."

After a few days at Canton and Hongkong, Mr. and Mrs. Doty and Mr. Talmage
embarked for Amoy on the schooner Caroline.

"Aug 21. The Caroline is a small vessel of about one hundred and fifty
tons burthen. She was built, I suppose, for the opium trade. Our passage
from Hongkong was not very pleasant. Our quarters were close and our
captain was far from being an agreeable companion. He drank freely and was
very profane."

"We left Brother Collins and Brother White and wife at Hongkong. We had
been so long in company with these brethren, that it was trying to part
with them. On Thursday, the day before yesterday, we arrived safely at
Amoy. The brethren gave us a very hearty welcome. The missionary company
at this place consists of Brother Pohlman, of the A.B.C.F.M.; Mr. Alexander
Stronach and wife, and Brown, of the Presbyterian Board. Mr. John Stronach
also belongs to this station. He is at present at Shanghai."


[Footnote *: the meaning of the two Chinese characters composing the name

In a letter to the Sabbath-school of the Central Reformed Church, Brooklyn,
Mr. Talmage thus describes the southern emporium of the province of Fukien:

"Amoy is situated on an island of the same name. The city proper or
citadel is about one mile in circumference. Its form is nearly that of a
rhomboid or diamond. It is surrounded by a wall about twenty feet in
height, and eight or ten feet in thickness, built of large blocks of coarse
granite. It has four gates. The outer city, or city outside of the walls,
is much more extensive. Its circumference, I suppose, is about six miles.

"The streets are not so wide as the sidewalks in Brooklyn. Some of them
are so narrow that, when two persons, walking in opposite directions, meet
each other, it is necessary for the one to stop, in order that the other
may pass on. The most of the streets are paved with coarse granite blocks,
yet on account of the narrowness of the streets, and the want of
cleanliness by the great mass of the inhabitants, the streets are usually
very filthy.

"This part of Amoy island is rugged and mountainous, and interspersed with
large granite rocks. Some of them are of immense size. It is in such a
place that the city has been built. Many of these rocks are left in their
natural position, and overhang the houses which have been built among them.
The ground has not been leveled as in Brooklyn, consequently the greater
part of the streets are uneven. Some of them are conducted over the hills
by stone steps. Near our residences, one of the public streets ascends a
hill by a flight of thirty-six steps. On account of this unevenness of the
streets as well as their narrowness a carriage cannot pass through the city
of Amoy. Instead of carriages the more wealthy inhabitants use sedan
chairs, which are usually borne by two bearers. The higher officers of
government, called 'Mandarins,' have four bearers to carry them. The
greater part of the inhabitants always travel on foot. The place of carts
is supplied by men called 'coolies,' whose employment is to carry burdens.
The houses, except along the wharves and a few pawn-shops farther up in the
city, are one story.

"There are no churches here, but there are far more temples for the worship
of false gods, and the souls of deceased ancestors, than there are churches
in Brooklyn.

"Besides these, almost every family has its shrine and idols and ancestral
tablets, which last are worshipped with more devotion than the idols. In
consequence of their religion the people are degraded and immoral.
One-third of all female children born in the city of Amoy are slain. In
the villages throughout this whole region, it is supposed that about
one-half are destroyed. They do not exhibit sympathy for each other and
for those in distress, which is enjoined by the Bible, and which,
notwithstanding all its defects, is the glory of Christian communities. I
have seen a man dying on the pavement on a street, almost as densely
thronged as Broadway, New York, and no one of the passers-by, or of the
inhabitants of that part of the street, seemed to notice him or care for
him more than if he had been a dog."


Another letter to the same congregation a few months later reads:

"The first impression on the mind of an individual in approaching the
shores of China from the south, and sailing along the coast, as far north
as Amoy, is anything but favorable. So great is the contrast between the
lovely scenery and dense vegetation of many of the islands of the Indian
Archipelago, and the barren and worn-out hills which line the southern part
of the coast of China, that in the whole range of human language it would
seem scarcely possible to find a more inappropriate term than the term
'Celestial' whereby to designate this great empire. Neither is this
unfavorable opinion removed immediately on landing. The style of building
is so inferior, the streets are so narrow and filthy, the countenances of
the great mass of the people, at least to a newcomer, are so destitute of
intelligent expression, and the bodies and clothing, and habits of the
multitudes are so uncleanly, that one is compelled to exclaim in surprise,
'Are these the people who stand at the top of pagan civilization, and who
look upon all men as barbarous, except themselves?' Besides, everything
looks old. Buildings, temples, even the rocks and the hills have a
peculiar appearance of age and seem to be falling into decay. I am happy
to say, however, that as we become better acquainted with the country and
the people, many of these unfavorable impressions are removed. After
passing a little to the north of Amoy, the appearance of the coast entirely
changes. Even in this mountainous region we have valleys and plains, which
would suffer but little by comparison with any other country for beauty and
fertility. I also love the scenery around the city of Amoy very much. The
city is situated on the western side of an island of the same name. This
part of the island in its general appearance is very similar to the coast
of which I have spoken. It is rocky and mountainous and barren. There
are, however, among these barren hills many small fertile spots, situated
in the ravines and along the watercourses, which on account of their high
state of cultivation form a lovely contrast with the surrounding
barrenness. Wherever the Chinese, at least in this part of the Empire, can
find a watercourse, by cultivation they will turn the most barren soil into
a garden. The sides of the ravines are leveled by digging down, and
walling up, if necessary, forming terraces or small fields, the one above
the other. These small fields are surrounded by a border of impervious
clay. The water is conducted into the higher of these terraces, and from
them conducted into those which are lower, as the state of the crops may
demand. Often a field of paddy may be seen inundated, while the next field
below, in which perhaps the sweet potato is growing, is kept perfectly dry.
Among the hills there is much of picturesque scenery, and some that is
truly sublime. The Buddhists have exhibited an exquisite taste for natural
scenery, in selecting such places for the situation of many of their


"Their respect for ancestors is very great, so much so that the species of
idolatry which has by far the strongest hold upon their minds is ancestral
worship. This is the stronghold by which Satan maintains his supremacy
over the minds of the people, and this we may expect will be the last to
give way to the power of the Gospel of Christ. One may hold up their gods
to ridicule and they will laugh at his remarks, but they do not love to
hear the worship of their ancestors spoken against. This worship, after
the period of mourning is over, consists chiefly in offering at stated
times various articles of food to the spirits of the deceased, and in
burning various kinds of paper, as a substitute for money, by which these
spirits are supplied with that most convenient article. Natural affection
and selfishness unite to strengthen their attachment to this worship. It
is as necessary for the happiness of the souls of the dead, in the opinion
of the Chinese, as is the saying of the mass in the opinion of a Roman
Catholic. Without these attentions the souls of the deceased are in a sort
of purgatory; wandering about in want and wretchedness. But if the desire
of rendering their ancestors happy be not sufficient to secure attention to
these rites, a still more powerful motive addresses itself to their minds.
These wandering spirits are supposed capable of bringing misfortune and
inflicting injuries on their ungrateful and impious descendants. Thus if a
family meet with reverses, the cause is often attributed to the want of
attention to the souls of the deceased ancestors, or to the fact that the
sites of their graves have not been judiciously selected, and the
dissatisfied spirits are taking vengeance for these neglects or mistakes.
Another consideration which seems to exert much influence, is that if they
neglect the spirits of their ancestors, their descendants may neglect them.

"For the present life they can think of no higher happiness than success in
acquiring wealth, and the highest happiness after death consists in having
sons to supply the wants of their spirits. These are the two objects that
engross the highest aspirations of a Chinaman."


"This will account in part for the barbarous custom of infanticide which
prevails to so lamentable an extent among these heathen. Only female
infants are destroyed. While the parents are living the son may be of
pecuniary advantage to them, and after their death, he can attend to the
rites of their souls, and even after his death, through him the parents may
have descendants to perform the ancestral rites. A daughter on the
contrary, it is supposed, will only prove a burden in a pecuniary point of
view, and after she is married she is reckoned to the family of her
husband. Her children, also, except her husband otherwise order, are only
expected to attend to the spirits of their paternal ancestors."

"Some have denied the existence of the practice of infanticide among the
Chinese, or, they have asserted that if it does exist, the practice of it
is very unusual. Every village which we visit in this region gives
evidence that such persons are not acquainted with this part of the empire.
A few days ago a company of us visited the village of Kokia. It is
situated on the northern extremity of Amoy Island, and contains, perhaps,
two thousand inhabitants. After walking through the village we sat down
for a short time under the shade of a large banyan tree. A large concourse
of people soon gathered around us to see the foreigners and hear what they
had to say. In this crowd we found by counting nearly a hundred boys, and
but two or three girls. Also when walking through the village very few
girls were to be seen. The custom of binding the feet of the girls, which
greatly affects their power of locomotion, would account for more boys
being seen than girls, but will not account for the disparity noticed. We
therefore inquired the cause of this disparity. They answered with
laughter that female children are killed. The same question has been asked
again and again at the various villages we have visited and the same answer
obtained. This answer is given freely and apparently without any idea that
the practice is wicked, until they are taught so by us. The result of this
one practice on the morals of the people may readily be imagined. It
accustoms the mind to acts of cruelty and it prepares the way for impurity
and wickedness in forms that are never dreamed of in Christian countries."

In this connection an extract from Dr. David Abeel's[*] diary may be of

[Footnote *: David Abeel was the founder of the American Reformed Mission
at Amoy in 1842.]

"Today had a conversation with one of the merchants who come to Kolongsu
for trade, on the subject of female infanticide. Assuming a countenance of
as much indifference as possible, I asked him how many of his own children
he had destroyed: he instantly replied, 'Two.' I asked him whether he had
spared any. He said, 'One I have saved.' I then inquired how many
brothers he had. 'Eight,' was the answer. I asked him how many children
his eldest brother had destroyed. 'Five or six.' I inquired of the
second, third and all the rest; some had killed four or five, some two or
three, and others had none to destroy. I then asked how many girls were
left among them all. 'Three,' was the answer. And how many do you think
have been strangled at birth? 'Probably from twelve to seventeen.' I
wished to know the standing and employment of his brothers. One, he said,
had attained a literary degree at the public examinations; the second was a
teacher; one was a sailor; and the rest were petty merchants like himself.
Thus, it was evidently not necessity but a cold inhuman calculation of the
gains and losses of keeping them, which must have led these men to take the
lives of their own offspring.

"Mr. Boone's teacher's sister with her own hand destroyed her first three
children successively. The fourth was also a girl, but the mother was
afraid to lay violent hands on it, believing it to be one of the previous
ones reappearing in a new body."

"The names of the five districts in the Chinchew prefecture are Tong-an,
An-khoe, Chin-kiang, Hui-an and Lam-an. Amoy is situated in the Chin-chew

"From a comparison with many other parts of the country, there is reason to
believe that a greater number of children are destroyed at birth in the
Tong-an district than in any other of this department, probably more than
in any other of this department, probably more than in any other part of
the province of equal extent and populousness. In the Tong-an district I
have inquired of persons from forty different towns and villages. The
number destroyed varies exceedingly in different places, the extremes
extending from seventy and eighty percent to ten percent. The average
proportion destroyed in all these places amounting to nearly four-tenths or
exactly thirty-nine percent.

"In seventeen of these forty towns and villages, my informants declare that
one-half or more are deprived of existence at birth.

"From the inhabitants of six places in Chin-kiang, and of four places in
Hui-an, if I am correctly informed, the victims of infanticide do not
exceed sixteen percent.

"In the seven districts of the Chiang-chiu prefecture the number is rather
more than one-fourth or less than three-tenths.

"There is reason to fear that scarcely less than twenty-five percent are
suffocated almost at the first breath."

It is altogether probable that this vice is just as prevalent now. The
scarcity of girls in nearly all the towns and villages and the exorbitant
rates demanded for marriageable daughters in some districts, only render
sad confirmation to what Drs. Abeel and Talmage wrote two score and more
years ago.


Mr. Talmage continues:

"I cannot close this letter without saying a word in reference to our
prospects of success. The moral condition of this people, their spiritual
apathy, their attachment to the superstitious rites of their ancestors,
together with the natural depravity of the human heart, and at the same
time their language being one of the most difficult, perhaps the most
difficult of acquisition of any spoken language, all combine to forbid, it
would seem, all hope of ever Christianizing this empire. But that which is
impossible with men is possible with God. He who has commanded us to
preach the Gospel to every creature, has connected with it a promise that
He will be always with us to the end of the world. The stone cut out
without hands, we are told by the prophet, became a great mountain and
filled the whole earth. The kingdom which the God of heaven has set up
'shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms and it shall stand
for ever.' Thus, whatever may be the prospect before us, according to
human reasoning, we have 'a more sure word of prophecy.' Resting upon this
we can have no doubt in reference to the complete triumph of the cause of
Christ, even over the land of Sinim. In connection with such prophecies
and promises we have many facts to encourage us. The people are accessible
and friendly, and willing to listen to our doctrines. The superiority of
Christianity to their systems of religion, sometimes from conviction and
sometimes perhaps only from politeness, they often admit.

"Already a few converts have been gathered into the visible Church, and
there are others who are seeking to know the way of life more perfectly.
Those who have been received into the Church are letting their light shine.
The conduct of some who have heard the truth, reminds us forcibly of the
conduct of the woman at the well of Samaria, and of the conduct of Andrew
and Philip when they first found the Messias.

"It is thus that this empire and most other heathen countries must be
evangelized. The work must be done by the natives. The Church in
Christian lands, by her missionaries, can only lay the foundation and
render some little assistance in rearing the superstructure. She can never
carry forward the work to completion. She can never furnish the heathen
nations with missionaries of the cross in sufficient numbers to supply them
with pastors, neither is it necessary that she should. The Christian is a
light shining in a dark place. Especially is it true among the heathen,
that every disciple of Christ is as 'a city set on a hill which cannot be
hid.' His neighbors and acquaintances must observe the change in his
conduct. He no longer worships their gods. He no longer observes any of
their superstitious rites. He is no longer a slave to their immoralities.
his example must tell. But many of the converts will have gifts to make
known the Gospel, and will eagerly embrace these gifts in order to rescue
their dying countrymen. Already have we examples of this. Such converts,
also, in some respects, may be more efficient than the missionary. They
can go where we cannot, and reach those who are entirely beyond our
influence. They are better acquainted with the language. They understand
the customs of the people more thoroughly. They remember what were the
greatest difficulties and objections which proved the greatest obstacles to
their reception of the Gospel, and they know how these difficulties were
removed and these objections answered. Besides, they have all the
advantages which a native must be expected to possess over a foreigner
arising from the prejudices of the people.

"Perhaps it may be necessary to guard against a wrong inference, which
might be hastily deduced from the facts just stated. The fact that the
natives are to be the principal laborers in evangelizing this empire, does
not in the least remove the obligation of the Church to quicken and
redouble all her efforts, or supersede the necessity for such efforts. It
will be many years before this necessity will cease to exist. The Churches
in Christian lands, in resolving to undertake the evangelization of this
empire, have engaged in great work. In obedience to the command of their
Master they have undertaken to rear a vast superstructure, the foundation
of which is to be laid entirely by themselves, and on the erection of which
they must bestow their care and assistance. This work has been commenced
under favorable auspices, but the foundation cannot yet be said to be laid.
More laborers must be sent forth. They should be sent out in multitudes if
they can be found. They must acquire the language so that they can
communicate freely with the people. They must proclaim the message of the
Gospel from house to house, in the highways and market-places, wherever
they can find an audience,-until converts are multiplied. Schools must be
established, and the doctrines of the Gospel be instilled into the minds of
the children and youth. We must have a native ministry instructed and
trained up from their childhood according to the doctrines of the Gospel
before they will be capable of taking the sole charge of this work. Until
all this has taken place the churches may not slacken any of their efforts;
nay, to accomplish this there must be an increase of effort beyond all that
the churches have ever yet put forth."

During the year 1848 he sent a letter to the Society of Inquiry of the
Theological Seminary, New Brunswick, New Jersey.

"It is yet a 'day of small things' with us. Our work thus far has been
chiefly of a preparatory nature. This will probably be the case for some
time to come. There have been just enough conversions to teach us that God
is with us and will own the instrumentality which He Himself has appointed
for the salvation of men, and to encourage us not to faint in our work. We
have a vast amount of prejudice and superstition to remove--prejudice and
superstition which has been growing and consolidating for forty centuries,
and has become an essential ingredient in the character of the people and
part of almost every emotion and conception of their minds. At present
both officials and people are very friendly, and we are permitted to preach
the Gospel without hindrance. But we cannot tell how long this state of
things will continue. When the operation of the leaven has become
manifest, we must expect opposition. We cannot expect that the great
adversary of God and men will relinquish this the strongest hold of his
empire on earth, without a mighty struggle. We must yet contend with
'principalities and, powers and spiritual wickedness in high places.'


"The system of idolatry is as closely connected with the civil government
of China, I suppose, as ever it was with ancient Rome. The emperor may be
called the great High-priest of the nation. He and he only is permitted to
offer sacrifice and direct worship to the Supreme Being. The description
which Paul has given of the 'man of sin,' with but little variation may be
applied to him.

"'He exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so
that he as God, sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is
God.' He has arrogated to himself the title which expresses the highest
thought of divinity known to the conceptions of the Chinese mind. He is
superior to all gods, except the great Supreme. All others he appoints,
designates their business and dethrones them at his pleasure. In the city
of Amoy is a temple dedicated to the worship of the emperor and containing
a tablet as representative of his person. On certain days of the year the
officers of government are required to repair to this temple, and offer
that religious homage which is due to God alone. Now to remove these
prejudices and superstitions and to carry to the final triumph this
warfare, which we must wage with those in 'high places,' will not be the
work of a few years. We might well despair of ever possessing the land,
where such 'sons of Anak' dwell, were it not that the ark of God is with us
and His command has been given, 'Go up and possess it.' But we look to
you, my brethren, for assistance and reinforcement in this the cause of our
common Lord, not only to fill the places of those who fall at their post or
are disabled in the conflict, but also that we may extend our lines and
conduct the siege with more effect. If you desire a field where you may
find scope and employment for every variety of talent, and where you may
prove yourselves faithful soldiers of Jesus Christ, I know of no place
whence can come to you a more urgent call than from this vast empire."



Among the jottings in Mr. Talmage's diary for 1847-1848 we find mention of
a tour to Chiang-chiu on September 23, 1847, in company with Messrs.
Pohlman, Doty and Lloyd.

Chiang-chiu is a large city of 200,000 inhabitants, situated on a wide
river, 30 miles west of Amoy. He writes: "Wherever we went we were
accompanied by an immense throng of people. The most of them I suppose had
never seen a white face. But few Europeans have visited the city. The
city has an extensive wall, wider and I think more cleanly streets, and is
larger than Amoy. In the rear of the city there are three watch towers.
They are situated on very elevated ground. From these we had a very
delightful view of the city and surrounding country. The scenery, it
seemed to me, was the most beautiful I had ever witnessed. Within the
circle of our vision lay that immense city with its extensive walls, its
temples and pagoda, its river, bridges and boats, its gardens, its trees
and shrubbery, and its densely crowded streets. Surrounding the city was
spread out an extensive valley of some ten or fifteen miles in width and
some twenty or twenty-five in length, covered with luxuriant vegetation.
Through the midst of the valley might be marked the meandering track of the
Chiang-chiu river, the whole region beautifully variegated with fruit
trees, shade trees, and villages. Still further on, in every direction,
our view was bounded by lofty hills whose cloud capped tops seemed as
pillars on which the heavens rested. Nature had done her best to make this
region a terrestrial paradise."

On a subsequent trip to Chiang-chiu, Mr. Talmage writes: "The valley of the
Chiang-chiu river is one of the most beautiful regions I ever saw. It is
densely populated. In every direction are villages, I might almost say
without number, rendered most beautiful by their plentiful supply of large
banyans and various other trees of luxuriant foliage. The intermediate
spaces between the villages are fields covered with vegetation most dense
and beautiful. Through the centre of this scene may be traced the course
of the river with its numberless canals, like the Nile of Egypt, giving
fertility wherever nature or the art of man conducts its waters."


"Feb. 27, 1848. Today an old lady and her two sons declared themselves to
be worshipers of Jesus by presenting their idols to Bro. Pohlman. On the
evening of the last day of their last year they had burnt their ancestral
tablets. It was an interesting sight, said Bro. Pohlman, to see the old
lady, supported by one of her sons, breaking her idols and making a
voluntary and public surrender of them at the chapel.

"March 1st. When the old lady returned from the chapel on Sunday evening
she was full of zeal, and began preaching to her neighbors on the folly of
idolatry. She was so successful that another old lady living in the same
house with her has made a bonfire and burned all her idols except one.
This, being made of clay, was not combustible. This she presented to
Pohlman today. He asked her whether she gave it up willingly. She said
she rejoiced to do it. She said she had not yet destroyed her ancestral
tablets. Pohlman told her he did not wish her to do it rashly. She must
reflect on the subject, and when she became convinced that the worship of
them was a sin against God she must give them up immediately.

"March 29th. This afternoon Bro. Hickok and wife and Bro. Maclay arrived
at Amoy on their way to Foochow. They had a long passage from Hongkong,
having been out twenty-nine days." The distance from Hongkong to Amoy is
less than three hundred miles, and is made in twenty-four hours by an
ordinary coast steamer.


"June 5th. Monday. To-day being the fifth day of the fifth month (Chinese),
was the festival of dragon boat-racing. Several dragon boats filled with
rowers, rather paddlers, were contesting this afternoon in the harbor. The
water was thronged with boats filled with Chinese to see the sport. Many
of these boats, and almost all the junks in the neighborhood, were decked
with green branches, also with streamers flying. The origin of this
festival is said to be as follows: In very ancient times one of the first
officers, perhaps Prime Minister of government, gave offense to the
emperor. The emperor banished him. He was so downcast on account of the
emperor's displeasure that he went and drowned himself. The emperor
afterwards repented of his act, and on inquiry after the man learned that
he had drowned himself. He sent out boats in every direction to search for
his body, and also to make offerings to his spirit. His body was not
found. But from that time to this his body is thus searched for every year
and his spirit thus appeased. This celebration is universal throughout the
empire and wherever there are colonies of Chinese, throughout the islands
of the (East Indian) Archipelago.

"The same good feeling continues to exist at Amoy as formerly. We are on
the best of terms, so far as we can judge, with all classes, the officials
and people. The mandarins receive our calls and return their cards. All
of them but one have visited us at our houses. Some of them call on us
quite frequently. This places us on a high vantage ground. The people
will not fear to listen to us, attend our meetings, and visit us at our
houses, as they would if the mandarins kept aloof from us. The same good
feeling towards foreigners seems to extend far into the interior. At least
we go from, village to village wherever we please without hindrance, and
are always treated with kindness."


"I have to-day been making some inquiries of my teacher concerning the
system by which the beggars of Amoy are governed. The truth seems as
follows: There are very many beggars in the city. In each ward there is a
head-man or chief called 'Chief of the Beggars.' He derives his office
from the 'Hai-hong,' or the superior local magistrate. Sometimes the
office is conferred as an act of benevolence on an individual, who from
sickness or other causes has met with reverses of fortune. Sometimes it is
purchased. There being eighteen wards in the city of Amoy, of course there
are eighteen such head-men. Their office is not honorable, but there is
considerable profit connected with it. The head-men hold their office for
life, or until removed for bad behavior. They get certificates of office
from the 'Hai-hong,' and on the change of that functionary it is necessary
to get the stamp of his successor attached to their certificates. Their
income is derived from various sources. Monthly they call on the merchants
and shopkeepers, who by paying down a sufficient amount are freed from the
annoyance of beggars during the month. If a beggar enters one of these
establishments he is pointed to a card which is posted up in some
conspicuous place, and is a certificate from the 'chief of the beggars' of
that ward that a sufficient amount of beggar money has been paid down for
the month. The 'chiefs of the beggars' also receive money from a man or
his family when he is about to marry, also from the family of the bride.
They also receive money after the death and burial of the parents or any
old member of a family; also from men who are advanced to literary honors,
or who receive official promotion In any of the above cases, if any
individual fail to agree with the 'chief of the beggars' of his ward and
pay what is considered a sufficient amount of money (the amount varies with
the importance of the occasion and the wealth of the parties), he may
expect a visit from a posse of beggars, who will give him much annoyance by
their continual demands. The 'chiefs of the beggars' give a part of the
money which they receive to the beggars under them. My teacher thinks
there are about two thousand beggars in the city of Amoy. There is a small
district belonging to the city of Amoy called 'The Beggars' Camp.' The
most of the inhabitants of this place are beggars. These beggars go about
the city seeking a living, clothed in rags and covered with filth and
sores, the most disgusting and pitiable objects I ever saw."


On the 6th of December Rev. John Lloyd, of the American Presbyterian
mission, died of typhus fever after an illness of two weeks. Mr. Talmage
makes this record of him:

"Dec. 8, 1848. Rev. John Lloyd was born in the State of Pennsylvania on the
first of Oct., 1813, which made him thirty-five years, two months, and five
days at the time of his death. He was a man of fine abilities. His mind
was well stored with useful knowledge and was well disciplined. He was
most laborious in study, very careful to improve his time. He was
mastering the language with rapidity. His vocabulary was not so large as
that of some of the other brethren, but he had a very large number of words
and phrases at his command, and was pronounced by the Chinese to speak the
language more accurately than any other foreigner in the place. They even
said of him that it could not be inferred simply from his voice, unless his
face was seen, that he was a foreigner. He was a man of warm heart, very
strong in his friendship, very kind in his disposition, and a universal
favorite among the Chinese. I never knew a man that improved more by close
intimacy. His modesty, which may be called his great fault, was such that
it was necessary to become well acquainted with him before he could be
properly appreciated. But it has pleased the Master of the harvest to call
him from the field just as he became fully qualified to be an efficient
laborer. What a lesson this, that we must not overestimate our importance
in the work to which God has called us. He can do without us. It seems
necessary that He should give the Church lesson upon lesson that she may
not forget her dependence upon Him."

Early in 1849 the brethren were called to mourn the loss of one of the most
devoted pioneers of the Amoy mission, the Rev. William J. Pohlman.

Mr. Talmage writes: "Feb. 8th. On Monday night at twelve o'clock I was
called up to receive the sad intelligence that our worst fears in reference
to Pohlman were confirmed. He perished on the morning of the 5th or 6th
ult. He embarked on the 2d ult. from Hongkong in the schooner Omega. On the
morning of probably the 5th, at about two o'clock, she struck near Breaker
Point, one hundred and twenty miles from Hongkong. A strong wind was
blowing at the time, so that every effort to get the ship off was
unavailing. She was driven farther on the sand and fell over on her side.
Her long boat and one quarter boat were carried away, and her cabin filled
with water. The men on board clung to the vessel until morning. The
remaining boat was then lowered. Those of the crew who were able to swim
were directed to swim to the shore. The captain, first and second
officers, and Pohlman entered the boat end those of the crew who could not
swim also received permission to enter. But a general rush was made for
the boat, by which it was overturned, and those who could not swim, Pohlman
among the number, perished. The captain attempted to reach the shore by
swimming, and would have succeeded, but was met by the natives. They were
eager for plunder, and seized the captain to plunder him of his clothes.
While they were stripping him of his clothes they dragged him through the
water with his head under, by which he was drowned. About twenty-five of
the crew succeeded in reaching the shore in safety. After being stripped
of their clothes, they were permitted to escape. Afterwards, on arriving
at a village they were furnished with some rags. After suffering much from
fatigue and hunger they arrived at Canton, overland, on the 17th ult. This
event has cast gloom again over our small circle. But one month previous
to his death, Pohlman with myself had closed the eyes of dear Lloyd. Oh,
how deeply we do feel, and shall for a long time feel this loss."

"Feb. 11th. On Sunday afternoon our new church was consecrated to the
worship of the only true God, the first building built for this purpose in
Amoy. Mr. Young preached the sermon. It was also a funeral sermon for Mr.
Pohlman. The house was crowded with people. Very many could not get into
the building. There was some noise and confusion. I think the majority,
however, were desirous to hear."

In a letter to Drs. Anderson (Dr. Anderson was one of the early Secretaries
of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.) and De Witt,
speaking of Pohlman's death, he says:

"Our hearts bleed. God has seen fit to send upon us stroke after stroke.
Oh, when will He stay His hand? But we will not murmur. It is God who
hath done this. His ways are inscrutable. We gaze upon them in mute
astonishment. We may quote as peculiarly applicable to our present
circumstances the remarks which this brother made at the grave of him who
was called away a month previous. 'Death,' said he, 'is always a sad
event, and is often peculiarly distressing. It is so in the instance before
us. There is a sad breach in our little circle at this station. Situated
as we are here, every member of our small society tells upon the happiness
of the whole. Our number is limited and less than a score. We have few
bosom friends, few to cheer and encourage us, few to whom to tell our
sorrows and our joys. Here we are far away from those we love, away from
dear friends and kindred and those tender associations which make society
so delightful at home. Hence we feel deeply any breach made in our little
circle. In proportion as our number is diminished in the same proportion is
there a decrease in the endearments of friendship and love. More
especially is this the case when the departed was possessed of social
virtues and qualified to make all around him agreeable and happy. We mourn
also for these poor deluded heathen. They have sustained an incalculable
loss. I feel it impossible to give an adequate description of his
character. He felt that in laboring for the heathen he was engaged in a
work of the highest moment. Thereto he bent every energy of mind and body.
That which, by receiving the word of God, we are made theoretically to
acknowledge, by the dispensations of His Providence-we are made practically
to feel, that man is nothing-that God is All in All.'

"God's dealings with this mission would seem to be enough to arouse our
Church. Heretofore He has given success to His servants. He has given us
favor with the authorities and with the people. The Church has seemed to
be satisfied with this. She has thanked God for His smiles, but has made
little effort to increase the number of her laborers as fast as the demand
for them increased. Now God is trying another plan. Her laborers are
dying off and the question comes to her, not merely whether she will
advance or not, but, whether she will retain that which she has already
gained. She has volunteered in a glorious warfare. Will she hold the
positions she has won, and make further conquests, or will she permit her
soldiers to die at their posts without being replaced, and thus retire from
the field? Important interests are at stake. The honor of our Church is
at stake. The salvation of souls is at stake. It is a crisis with our
mission. We cannot endure the thought that the labors of those faithful
servants who have been called home shall be in a great measure lost by
neglect. We have received lately impressive lessons of the uncertainty of
human life. The thought steals over us that we, too, are liable at any
moment to be cut down in the midst of our labors. This liability is
increased by the amount of labor which necessarily devolves upon us. Now
we are only two in number. As for myself I am only beginning to stammer in
this difficult language. This, too, in a field where there is labor enough
to be done to employ all the men you can send us. You will not think it
strange then that we plead earnestly.

"Our new church edifice was completed soon after Brother Pohlman left for
Hongkong. As he had done so much of the work in gathering the congregation
and had originated the idea of the building and had watched its erection
with so much interest, we were desirous that he should be present at its
consecration. We therefore delayed opening the building for worship until
we received the definite news of his death."

In an address on "Reminiscences of Missionaries and Mission Work,"
delivered by Dr. Talmage during his later years, he refers to the early
missionaries at Amoy in these words:

"The men God gave the Church were just the men needed to awaken her
missionary spirit and shape her mission work. So for laying the foundation
and shaping the plan of the structure He would have us erect at Amoy He
gave us three men, just the men needed for the work,-David Abeel, William
J. Pohlman and Elihu Doty. The more I meditate on what they said and wrote
and did and suffered in the early days of that work, and see whereunto it
is growing, the more am I impressed with the fact that they were wonderful
men, just the men for the time, place, and circumstances, and therefore
evidently God's gift.

"Dr. Abeel was the pioneer of the Amoy Mission. During the greater part of
the years of his manhood, he struggled with disease, and his whole life on
earth was comparatively short, yet the Lord enabled him to accomplish more
work than most men accomplish during a much longer life. His last field of
labor was Amoy, entering it in January, 1842, when the port had just been
thrown open and while the British army was still there, and leaving it in
January, 1845. In that short time, notwithstanding interruptions from
sickness and of voyages in search of health, or rather to stave off death
till others were ready to take his place, he laid a good foundation, doing
a work that told and was lasting. I met him only once. It was at his
father's house in New Brunswick, after his work at Amoy-after all his
public work was done and he was only waiting to be summoned home. When I
afterwards went to Amoy, I found his name very fragrant, not only among
Europeans and Americans, but also among the Chinese. He had baptized none,
but a goodly number of those afterwards baptized had received their first
impressions concerning Christianity and their first instructions therein
from him."

"Messrs. Doty and Pohlman with their families came from Borneo to Amoy,
arriving in June, 1844, about six months before Dr. Abeel was compelled to
leave. We have heard of places so healthy, that it is said there was
difficulty to find material wherewith to start cemeteries. Amoy, rather
Kolongsu, where all the Europeans then resided, in those days was not such
a place. It is said that of all the foreign residents only one escaped the
prevailing fever. The mortality was very great. In a year and a half from
the time of their arrival at Amoy, Mr. Doty was on his way to the United
States with two of his own and two of Mr. Pohlman's little ones. The other
members of their families--the mothers and the children, all that was
mortal of them--were Iying in the Mission cemetery on Kolongsu; and to
'hold the fort,' so far as our Mission was concerned, Pohlman was left
alone, and well he held it. He had a new dialect to acquire, yet when
health allowed, he daily visited his little mission chapel, and twice on
the Sabbath, to preach the Gospel of Christ. He was a man of work, of
great activity. When I arrived at Amoy in 1847, he was suffering from
ophthalmia. Much of his reading and writing had to be done for him by
others. I was accustomed to read to him an hour in the morning from six to
seven. Another read to him an hour at noon from twelve to one. He was
still subject to occasional attacks of the old malarial fever. Besides all
this he was now alone in the world, his whole family gone, two of his
little ones in his native land, then very much farther away from China than
now, and the others, mother and children, sleeping their last sleep.

"Yet he was the life of our little mission company. Do you ask why? He
lived very close to God, and therefore was enabled to bow to the Divine
will, to use his own language, 'with sweet submission.' Pohlman's term of
service, too, was short. He was called away in his thirty-seventh year.
His work at Amoy was less than five years. It, too, much of it, was
foundation work, though he was permitted to see the walls just beginning to
rise. Two of the first converts were baptized by him, and many others
received from him their early Christian instruction. The first, and still
by far the best church-building at Amoy, which is also the first church
building erected in China expressly for Chinese Protestant Christian
worship, may be called his monument. It was specially in answer to his
appeal that the money, $3,000, was contributed. It was under his
supervision that the building was erected. To it he gave very much toil
and care. The house was nearly ready when he took his last voyage to
Hongkong, and he was hastening back to dedicate it when God took him. His
real monument, however is more precious and lasting than church-buildings,
as precious and lasting as the souls he was instrumental in saving, and the
spiritual temple whose foundation he helped to lay. There were many who
remembered him with very warm affection long after he was gone. Among them
I remember one, an old junk captain, who in his later years, speaking of
heaven, was wont to say, 'I shall see Teacher Pohlman there; I shall see
Teacher Pohlman there.'"


The sad and sudden departure of Mr. Pohlman so affected a maiden sister,
Miss Pohlman, then at Amoy, as to unsettle her mind and necessitate an
immediate return to the United States. No lady friend could accompany her.
It was decided that Mr. Talmage take passage on the same ship and act as
guardian and render what assistance he could. The ship arrived at New York
August 23, 1849.

Mr. Talmage made an extensive tour on behalf of Missions in China among the
Reformed churches in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

"Jan. 15, 1850. Was married at twelve M. in First Presbyterian Church at
Elizabeth, New Jersey, by Dr. N. Murray, to Miss Abby F. Woodruff. Started
immediately with my wife on a trip to Seneca County, New York."

"March 16, 1850. In the forenoon accompanied by many dear friends we
embarked on board the ship Tartar from New York bound for China."

"July 16th. Arrived safely at Amoy, for which our hearts are full of
gratitude to Him who has watched over us on the deep and conducted us
safely through every danger."

Though the entire Reformed Mission at Amoy then consisted of only three
members, Mr. Doty and Mr. and Mrs. Talmage, still they believed in
colonizing. Mr. Talmage secured a Chinese house and shop a mile or more
away from the original headquarters and this became the missionary's home
and preaching place. It was on the north side of the city in a densely
populated neighborhood known as "Tek-chhiu-Kha," or "At the Foot of the

It fronted one of the main thoroughfares of the city. It was near the
water's edge at the mooring-place of junks from the many-peopled districts
of Tong-an and Lam-an. The house and shop were renovated and capped with
another story. Here Mr. Talmage prayed and studied and preached and
planned for nearly twenty years. On this spot to-day stands a flourishing
Chinese church.

In a letter to Drs. Anderson and De Witt, dated Dec. 17, 1850, Mr. Talmage
thus describes their new home:

"Our house is pleasantly situated, having a good view of the inner part of
the harbor, and of several small islands in the harbor. We also have a
pleasant view of the mainland beyond the harbor. From our house we can
count a number of villages on the mainland, beautifully situated among
large banyans. We hope the situation will prove a healthy one. I like the
situation most of all because I think it well adapted to our work. We are
near the northern extreme of the city along the water's edge, while the
other missionaries are near the southern extreme. Thus on entering the
harbor from Quemoy and other islands, near the mouth of the harbor or from
the cities and villages on the seacoast, the first foreign residence at
Amoy, which meets the eye, is the residence of missionaries. On coming to
Amoy from the cities and villages which are inland, again the first foreign
residence which meets the eye is the residence of missionaries. We are in
a part of the city where the Gospel has not yet been preached."

In the same letter he refers to the Opium habit--and to the initiatory
steps toward the formation of a Romanized alphabet for the Amoy Vernacular.
The Chinese character is learned with great difficulty. It requires years
of close application. In Southern Fukien not more than one man in a
hundred can read intelligently. It is doubtful whether one woman in ten
thousand can.

Protestant Christianity wants men to be able to give a reason for the hope
that is in them. It urges our Lord's command, "Search the Scriptures." It
demands not only the hearing ear, but the reading eye.

Hence this early effort on the part of the missionaries to prepare a
version of the Scriptures and a Christian literature in a form more readily
learned by the people. Those early efforts were doubtful experiments even
to some of the missionaries. The Chinese converts at first looked quite
askance at what appeared to them an effort to supersede their highly
venerated Chinese character.

The Romanized system was gradually perfected. The Chinese were gradually
disabused of their prejudices. To-day the most ardent advocates of the
system are Chinese pastors and elders. The whole Bible has been translated
into Amoy Romanized colloquial. An extensive literature adapted to
Christian homes and Christian schools has grown up through the years and is
contributing to the strength and progress of the Chinese Church to-day.


"Independent of the reproach which the opium traffic casts on the Christian
religion, we find it a great barrier in the way of evangelizing this
people. We cannot put confidence in an opium smoker. A man who smokes it
in even the smallest degree we should not dare to admit into the Christian
church. More than one-half of the men at Amoy are more or less addicted to
the habit. Of this half of the population the missionary can have
comparatively but little hope. We know the grace of God can deliver from
every vice and there have been examples of reformation even from this. Yet
from experience when talking to an opium smoker we always feel discouraged.
Although this be a discouraging feature in our operations here, it should
only be a stimulus to the Church to send more laborers and put forth
greater efforts to stem the tide of destruction which the Christian world
is pouring in upon the heathen. Independent of the principles of
benevolence, justice demands of Christendom that the evil be stayed, and
reparation if possible be made for the injury already done. If nothing
more, let there be an equivalent for whet has been received from China. It
is a startling fact, that the money which Christian nations have received
from China for this one article, an article which has done to the Chinese
nothing but incalculable injury, far, far exceeds all the money which has
been expended by all Protestant churches on all Protestant missions in all
parts of the heathen world since the days of the Reformation.


"The question whether there is any way by which this people can be made a
reading people, especially by which the Christians may be put in possession
of the Word of God, and be able to read it intelligently for themselves,
has occupied much thought of the missionaries here. At present most of the
church members have no reading for the Sabbath and for private meditation.
They may have family worship, but they cannot at their worship read the
Holy Scriptures. Some of us are now trying an experiment whether by means
of the Roman alphabet the Sacred Scriptures and other religious books may
not be given to the Christians and to any others who cannot read, but who
take enough of an interest in Christianity to desire to read the Scriptures
for themselves. By the use of seventeen of these letters we can express
every consonant and vowel sound in the Amoy dialect, and by the use of a
few additional marks we can designate all the tones. Dr. James Young, an
English Presbyterian missionary physician, has commenced teaching the
colloquial, as written with the Roman alphabet, in his school, a school
formerly under the care of Mr. Doty. From his present experience he is of
opinion that boys who are at all apt in acquiring instruction, in less than
three months may be prepared for reading the Scriptures, with
understanding. I have a class of three or four adults an hour an evening
four evenings in the week, receiving instruction in the colloquial. They
have taken some half dozen lessons and are making good progress. At
present we have no printed primers or spelling-books, and are compelled to
teach principally by blackboard. We are of opinion that almost every
member of the church can soon learn to read by this system. Arrangements
have been made to print part of the history of Joseph in colloquial. These
are but experiments. If they succeed according to our present hope, it may
be worth while to have the whole Bible and other religious books printed in
this manner. A little more experience will enable us to speak with more
confidence for or against the plan."

"Dec. 23. Yesterday morning my chapel was opened, according to
appointment. I preached to the people my first regular sermon from the
text, 'There is one God and one Mediator,' etc. The room was crowded. It
will seat about one hundred comfortably."


March 17, 1851. To his brother, Goyn.

"I think the Chinese are very different in their religious feelings from
many other (perhaps from the most of other) heathen people. We have often
heard of the great sacrifices which the heathen of India will make and the
great sufferings they will impose on themselves in order to make atonement
for their sins and appease the anger of the gods. There may occasionally
be something of the kind among the Buddhists of China. But I rather
suppose that where there are any self-mortifications imposed (which is very
rare in this part of China), they are imposed to secure merit, not to atone
for sin. I do not remember ever to have met with an individual among the
Chinese who had any sense of sinfulness of heart, or even any remorse for
sinfulness of conduct except he was first taught it by the Gospel. It is
one of the most difficult truths to convey to their minds that they are
sinners against God. We have had a few inquirers who have expressed a deep
sense of sinfulness. But this sense of sinfulness has come from hearing
the Gospel. The way the most of those, whom we doubt not are true
Christians, have been led on seems to be as follows: They hear the Gospel,
presently they become convinced of its truth. Their first impulses then
seem to be those of joy and gratitude. They are like men who were born
blind, and had never mourned over their blindness, because they had no
notion of the blessing of sight. Presently their eyes begin to be opened
and they begin to see. They only think of the new blessings which they are
receiving, not of the imperfections which still remain in their vision. A
sense of these comes afterwards. Was not this sometimes the case in the
days of the apostles? It was not so on the day of Pentecost. The
multitude were 'pricked in their hearts' because the moment they were
convinced that Jesus was the Christ they were filled with a sense of their
wickedness in crucifying Him. So it is with persons in Christian lands
when their minds become interested in the truth; they are made to feel
their wickedness in so long resisting its influences. But the case seems
to have been different when Philip first carried the Gospel to Samaria. The
first effect there seems to have been that of 'great joy.'

"It seems to be thus in Amoy. The conviction of deep sinfulness comes by
meditating on the Gospel, the work of Christ, etc.

"It is the doctrine of the cross of Christ, after all, which should be the
theme of our discourses."

March 18, 1851. To his brother, Goyn.

"They say in regard to preaching, that when a man has nothing more to say
he had better stop. If this rule were carried out in conversation and
letter-writing, there would be much less said and written in the world,
than is now the case.

"You seem to think that we missionaries can sit down at any time and write
letters, always having enough matter that will be interesting to you at
home. This is a good theory enough, but facts do not always bear it out.

"Our missionary work moves on usually in the same steady manner without
many ups and downs or interesting episodes (rather a mixture of figures you
will say), which we think worthy of note. I wish you folks at home could
send us more men to drive on the work a little faster. The door of access
at Amoy still continues as wide open as ever, and now seems to be the time
for the Church to send her men and occupy the post, which the Master offers
to her. But the Church at home cannot, it seems, look at this matter as we
who are on the ground....


"We have no good lamps yet for the church, consequently cannot open it in
the evening. But I have prepared some lamps for my chapel. I think you
would laugh to see them. They are four in number. Two of them are merely
small tumblers hung up by wires and cords. By means of another wire a wick
is suspended in each tumbler and the tumbler filled with oil. The other
two are on the same principle, but the tumblers are hung in a kind of glass
globe which is suspended by brass chains. These look considerably more
ornamental than the first two. Whether you laugh at them or not, they
answer a very good purpose. They do not make the room as light as would be
required in a church, in as large a city as Amoy is, in the United States,
but by means of them my chapel is open on Sunday evenings and on every
other evening in the week except one. The church and chapel are both open
almost every afternoon in the week, and sometimes in the mornings. One,
two, three, or more of the converts are always ready to hold forth almost
every afternoon and evening. Besides this, they go to other thoroughfares
frequently and preach the Gospel as well as they are able. For much of the
work these converts are perhaps better adapted than ourselves. They
understand the superstitions of the people in their practical working,
better than we probably will ever be able to learn them."


"April 14, 1851. There are now in connection with our church thirteen
converts. In connection with the church of the London brethren there are
eight. Two of our members, although compelled to labor with their hands
for the sustenance of themselves and their families, yet devote the
afternoons and evenings of almost every day in the week, in making known
the way of salvation to their countrymen. They spend the Sabbath also,
only omitting their labors long enough to listen to the preaching of the
missionary and to partake of their noonday meal, from early in the morning
until bedtime, in the same way, publishing the Gospel to their countrymen."


It was at this time that the translation of the Bible into the Classic
Chinese Version, or "Delegates' Version" as it was afterwards called, was
going on. A long and heated controversy had arisen as to the proper terms
in the Chinese language to be used in translation of the words "God" and
"Spirit." Missionaries in different parts of the empire took most opposite
views and held them with the greatest tenacity. The Missionary Boards and
Bible Societies in Great Britain and America were deeply interested
spectators. The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions and
the American Bible Society became participators. On what they considered
satisfactory evidence they declared in favor of certain Chinese words and
characters to be used in preaching the Gospel and in translating the
Scriptures. They advised their missionaries and Bible distributors of
their decision.

The missionaries at Amoy, Messrs. John and Alexander Stronach, London
Mission, and Messrs. Doty and Talmage, had very strong convictions on this
subject. Their views agreed. Rev. John Stronach was one of the Committee
who prepared the "Delegates' Version." The views of the brethren at Amoy
were diametrically opposed to the decisions of the American Board and
American Bible Society. In a long letter of eighty four pages, addressed
to Drs. Anderson and De Witt, Oct. 31, 1851, Mr. Talmage sets forth their
side of the question. No man can read that document, weighty with learning
and charged with moral earnestness, but must feel the profoundest respect
for the writer, however he may dissent from his arguments. He concludes as

"Such are our views concerning the use of the words 'Shin' and 'Ling' as
translations of the words 'God' and 'Spirit.' While we hold ourselves open
to conviction, if it can be proved that we are wrong, we at present hold
these views firmly. We may not have succeeded in convincing the Prudential
Committee that our views are correct, yet we trust we have convinced them
that we have given due attention to the subject. We now ask, Can the
Prudential Committee expect of us, while we hold such views, to conform to
their decision? Would they respect us if we did? We could not respect
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

    E. DOTY,
    A. OSTROM,

  "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
for toleration. This was not strange. It was one of the earliest efforts,
if not the earliest, for church union and separate autonomy on heathen
soil. It was a new departure. But the battle was really won. The
question was never broached again. The strongest opponents then are the
warmest friends of union and autonomy now. Thirty years of happiest
experience, of hearty endorsement by native pastors and foreign
missionaries are sufficient testimony to the wisdom of the steps then

In November, 1864, Mr. Talmage married Miss Mary E. Van Deventer, and
forthwith proceeded to China, where he arrived early in 1865.

In 1867, Rutgers College, New Jersey, recognized Mr. Talmage's successful
and scholarly labors in China for a period of full twenty years, by giving
him the degree of Doctor of Divinity.


Prince Kung, at Sir Rutherford Alcock's parting interview with him in 1869,
said: "Yes, we have had a great many discussions, but we know that you have
always endeavored to do justice, and if you could only relieve us of
missionaries and opium, there need be no more trouble in China."

He spoke the mind of the officials, literati, and the great masses of the
people. Heathenism is incarnate selfishness. How can a Chinese understand
that men will turn their backs on the ancestral home, travel ten thousand
miles with no other object but to do his countrymen good? The natural
Chinaman cannot receive it. He suspects us. And he has enough to pillow
his suspicion on. Let him turn the points of the compass. He sees the
great North-land in the hands of Russia. He sees the Spaniard tyrannizing
over the Philippine Islanders. He sees Holland dominating the East Indies.
He sees India's millions at the feet of the British lion. "What are these
benevolent-looking barbarians tramping up and down the country for? Why
are they establishing churches and schools and hospitals? They are trying
to buy our hearts by their feigned kindness, and hand us over to some
Western monarch ere long." So reasons our unsophisticated Chinese. He is
heartily satisfied with his own religion or utterly indifferent to any
religion. He has no ear for any new doctrine except as a curiosity, to
give momentary amusement, and then to be thrown to the ground like a
child's toy.

The missionary appears on the scene in dead earnest. "Agitation is our
profession." We are among those "who are trying to turn the world upside

The Spirit of God touches and dissolves the apathy, melts the ice, breaks
the stone, and we see men alive unto God; "old things are passed away,
behold all things are become new." What a change in the recipient of God's

A change, too, takes place in him who resists. Icy apathy becomes burning,
bitter hatred. The whole enginery of iniquity is set in motion to sweep
off this strange foreign propaganda. Malicious placards are posted before
every yamen and temple. Basest stories are retailed. "The barbarians dig
out men's eyes and cut out men's hearts to make medicine of them." The
thirst for revenge is engendered, until, like an unleashed tiger, the mob
springs upon the missionary's home, and returns not till its thirst has
been slaked with the blood of the righteous. That is the dark shadow
hanging over missionary life in nearly every part of the Chinese Empire.

We have had no name to add to the foreign missionary martyr list, from the
region of Amoy.

Chinese martyrs there may have been. Men who have endured the lifelong
laceration of taunt and sneer and suffered the loss of well nigh all
things, there have been not a few. Though the fires of persecution have
burned with fiercer intensity in other parts of China, yet we have not
escaped having our garments singed in some of their folds.

Perhaps the most widespread anti-missionary uprising in China occurred
during the years 1870 and 1871.

It was during the summer of 1870 that Dr. Talmage was compelled to go to
Chefoo, North China, for much-needed rest and change.

On August 8th he wrote to Dr. J. M. Ferris:

"The next day after my arrival at Chefoo the news was received of the
terrible massacre at Tientsin on June 21st. (Tientsin is the port of
Peking, and has a population of upwards of one million.) Nine Sisters of
Charity, one foreign priest, the French consul and other French officials
and subjects, and three Russians--in all, twenty-one Europeans--were
massacred. Many of them were horribly mutilated. Especially is this true
of all the Sisters. Their private residences and public establishments, as
well as all the Protestant chapels within the city, were destroyed."

Not long after, the American Presbyterian Mission at Tung chow, Shantung
Province, North China, was broken up, for fear of an intended massacre.
The missionaries were helped to Chefoo by two vessels sent by the British
Admiral, Sir Henry Kellet.

At Canton, vile stories about foreigners distributing poisonous pills were
gotten up, and such was the seriousness of the crisis that two German
missionaries had to flee for their lives, one having his mission premises
utterly destroyed. A people whose credulity is most amazingly developed by
feeding on fairy tales and demon adventures from their childhood, are
prepared to believe anything about the "ocean barbarians" whose name is
never spoken without mingled fear and hatred and suspicion.

The ferment, started at Canton, spread along the coast. The people of Amoy
were inoculated with the virus.

On the 22d of September, 1871, Dr. Talmage addressed a letter to General Le
Gendre, U. S. Consul at Amoy, informing him of the state of affairs in and
about Amoy. The missionary knowing the language and having constant
dealings with the people would be more likely to know the extent and
gravity of any conspiracy against foreigners than the Consul. A part of
the letter reads:

"In July last inflammatory placards were extensively posted throughout the
region about Canton, stating that foreigners had imported a large quantity
of poison and had hired vagabond Chinese to distribute it among the people;
that only foreigners had the antidote to this poison and that they refused
to administer it, except for large sums of money or to such persons as
embraced the foreigner's religion. In the latter part of July some of
these placards and letters accompanying them were received by Chinese at
Amoy from their Canton friends. They were copied, with changes to suit
this region, and extensively circulated. The man who seems to have been
most active in their circulation was the Cham-hu, the highest military
official at Amoy under the Admiral. He united with the Hai-hong, a high
civil official, in issuing a proclamation, warning the people to be on
their guard against poison, which wicked people were circulating. This
proclamation was not only circulated in the city of Amoy, but also in the
country around.

"It did not mention foreigners, but the people by some other means were
made to understand that foreigners were meant. The district Magistrate of
the city of Chiang-chiu issued a proclamation informing the people of the
danger of poison, especially against poison in their wells. Two days later
he issued another proclamation, reiterating his warnings, and informing the
people that he had arrested and examined a man who confessed that he, with
three others, had been employed by foreigners to engage in this work of
poisoning the people.

"Their especial business was to poison all the wells. This so-called
criminal was speedily executed.

"A few days afterwards a military official at Chiang-chiu also issued a
proclamation to warn the people against poison, and giving the confession
of the above-mentioned criminal with great particularity. The criminal is
made to say that a few months ago he had been decoyed and sold to
foreigners. In company with more than fifty others--he was conveyed by
ship to Macao. There they were distributed among the foreign hongs, one to
each hong. (Hong is pigeon English for business house.)

"That afterwards he with three others was sent home, being furnished with
poison for distribution, and with special direction to poison all the wells
on their way. They were to refer all those on whom the poison took effect
to a certain individual at Amoy, who would heal them gratuitously, only
requiring of them their names. This, doubtless, is an allusion to the
hospital for the Chinese at Amoy, where the names of the patients are of
course recorded and they receive medicine and medical attendance

"In this confession foreigners are designated by the opprobrious epithet of
'little'--that is, contemptible--'demons.' This, by the way, is a phrase
never used to designate foreigners in this region except by those in the
mandarin offices. Besides the absurdity of charging foreigners with
distributing poison, the whole confession bears the evidence not only of
falsehood, but, if ever made, of having been put into the man's mouth by
those inside the mandarin offices and forced from him by torture, for the
express purpose of exciting the intensest hatred against foreigners.

"In consequence, excitement and terror and hatred to foreigners, and
consequently to native Christians, became most intense, and extended from
the cities far into the country around. Wells were fenced in and put under
lock and cover. People were called together by the beating of gongs to
draw water. The buckets were covered in carrying water to guard against
the throwing in of poison along the streets. At the entrances of some
villages notices were posted warning strangers not to enter lest they be
arrested as poisoners. In various places men were arrested and severely
beaten on suspicion, merely because they were strangers. The native
Christians everywhere were subjected to much obloquy and sometimes to
imminent danger, charged with being under the influence of foreigners and
employed by them to distribute poison.

"Even at the Amoy hospital, which has been in existence nearly thirty
years, the number of patients greatly decreased; some days there were
almost none."

In the large cities of Tong-an and Chinchew placards were posted in great
numbers. They averred that black and red pills were being sold by the
agents of foreigners under presence of curing disease and saving the world.

Instead they were causes of terrible diseases which none but the foreign
dogs or their agents could cure. And to get cured, one must join the
foreign religion or else give great sums. It was asserted that all this
poison emanated from the foreign chapels, was often thrown into wells, and
secretly put into fish or other food in the markets.

A preacher, sixty miles from Foochow, one hundred and fifty miles north of
Amoy, barely escaped with his life. He was pounded with stones while the
bystanders called out, "Kill the poisoner, the foreign devils' poisoner!"

The whole object of this diabolical calumniating was to kindle the people
into a frenzy against foreigners, especially missionaries, and to make
foreign powers believe that the people are so anti-foreign that the
authorities cannot secure a foreigner's safety outside of the treaty ports.

Even when these reports were traveling like wildfire there were those among
the Chinese who knew better, and it was often said, "It cannot be the
missionaries and native Christians, for have they not been going in and out
among us all these years and they never did us any harm?"

Speaking of the "Political State of the Country," Dr. Talmage says:

"With the atrocities committed at Tientsin the world is acquainted, though
many seem still to be under the grievous error that these atrocities were
designed only against Romanism and the French nation.

"If this were the fact, it would be no justification. Others are under an
error equally grievous, that the Chinese Government has given reasonable
redress. It has given no proper redress at all. Instead of reprobating
the massacre, it has almost, and doubtless to the ideas of the Chinese,
fully sanctioned it. The leaders in the massacre have not been brought to
justice. The Government has readily given life for life--a very easy
matter in China--but it has so highly rewarded the families of the victims
thus sacrificed to placate the barbarians, and put so much honor on the
corpses of these martyrs to foreign demands, that it has encouraged similar
atrocities whenever a suitable time shall arrive for their perpetration.
The Imperial proclamation stating even this unsatisfactory redress, which
the Government solemnly promised should be published throughout the land,
has not been published except in a few instances where foreigners have
compelled it. The massacre at Tientsin is known throughout the empire, but
it is not known generally that any redress at all has been given.

"Instead of the publication of this proclamation the vilest calumnies--too
vile to be even mentioned in Christian ears--have been circulated secretly,
but widely throughout the land. Throughout the coast provinces of this
southern half of the empire the people have been warned of a grand
poisoning scheme gotten up by foreigners for the destruction of the

"Because the foreign residents in China report the truth in regard to the
feeling of hatred to foreigners, and warn the nations of the West of the
coming war and designed extirpation of all foreigners, for which China is
assuredly preparing with all its might, we are charged as being desirous of
bringing on war. We know that the Church will not impute such motives to
her missionaries. But the testimony of missionaries agrees in this respect
with that of other foreign residents. We see the evidence, as we walk the
streets, in the countenances and demeanor of the literati and officials,
and somewhat in the countenances and demeanor of the masses.

"We see it in the changed policy of the local magistrates toward the
Christians; we learn it from rumors which are circulated from time to time
among the people; we see it in the activity manifested in forming a proper
navy and in preparing the army.

"We learn it from the secret communications, some of which have reached the
light, passing to and fro between the Imperial Government and the higher
local authorities, and we fear that we have another proof in the barbarous
treatment of a shipwrecked crew some two weeks ago along the coast a little
to the north of Amoy.

"A British mercantile steamer ran ashore in a fog. She was unarmed. The
natives soon gathered in force and attacked the vessel. The people on
board attempted to escape in their boats. These boats were afterwards
attacked by a large fleet of fishing-boats and separated.

"One boat's company were taken ashore, stripped naked, wounded, and robbed
of everything. They finally made their way overland to Amoy. The other
three boats, after the crew and passengers had been stripped and robbed,
were let go to sea. They providentially fell in with a steamer which took
them to Foochow. Such atrocities were once common here.

"We do not believe that any large proportion of the foreign residents in
China wish war. We do wish, however, the rights secured to us by treaty.
These, with a proper policy, can be secured without war. We wish most
heartily to avoid war. Besides all its other evils it would be a sad thing
for our work and our churches. We still hope that God in His providence
will ward it off. He will do it in answer to our prayers if so it be best
for His cause. This is our only hope, and it is sufficient."

The threatening war cloud did blow over, and a restraint, at least
temporary, was laid upon the officials and the people in their treatment of


Dr. Talmage was a man of strong convictions, at the same time possessed of
a spirit of genuine catholicity. The brethren connected with the London
and English Presbyterian Missions recognized him as a true friend. In his
later years he became the Nestor of the three Missions, the venerated
patriarch, the trusted counselor.

It will not be inappropriate to give two letters expressive of his
good-will toward his fellow laborers. The one was written on the occasion
of Rev. John Stronach's return to England:


"March 16, 1876. Today we said farewell to the veteran missionary, Rev.
John Stronach.

"He has been laboring many years at this place in connection with the
London Missionary Society. This morning he left us for his native land by
a new route.

"Each of the three Missions has one or more boats employed exclusively in
carrying missionaries and native preachers on their trips to and from the
various outstations accessible by water. These boats are called by the
native Christians 'hok-im-chun,' which means 'Gospel boat.' Mr. Stronach
embarked on one of these 'Gospel boats.' He expected to land at one of the
Mission stations on the mainland northeast from Amoy, and then travel
overland on foot or by sedan-chair to Foochow. He will spend the remaining
nights of this week and the Sabbath at various stations under the care of
the Missions at Amoy, and say some parting words to the native Christians.

"He expects early next week to meet one of the Methodist missionaries of
Foochow, and in company with him to pass on to that city, spending the
nights at stations under the care of the Foochow Missions. We may now
travel overland from Amoy to Foochow (a distance of one hundred and fifty
miles) and spend every night, sometimes take our noonday meals, at a
Christian chapel. Does this look as if missions were a failure in this
region? At Foochow Mr. Stronach will take steamer for Shanghai, thence to
Yokohama and San Francisco.

"All the missionaries of Amoy and many Chinese Christians accompanied Mr.
Stronach to the boat. It is very sad to say farewell to those with whom we
have been long and pleasantly associated.

"Mr. Stronach left England in 1837, thirty-nine years ago, to labor as a
missionary in the East Indies.

"He came to Amoy in 1844, shortly after this port was opened to foreign
commerce and missionary labor. He was soon sent to Shanghai as one of the
Committee of Delegates on the translation of the Scriptures into the
Chinese language. If he had done nothing more for China than his share in
this great work, the benefit would have been incalculable. After the
completion of this work in 1853, he returned to Amoy, where he has labored
continuously, with the exception of a short visit a few years ago to
Hongkong and Canton, and a shorter one last year to Foochow. Very rarely
has he been interrupted in his work by illness. In the history of modern
missions few instances can be found of missionaries who have been permitted
to labor uninterruptedly for nearly forty years, not even taking one
furlough home.

"In the case of Mr. Stronach the language concerning Moses may be literally
applied, 'His eye is not dim, nor his natural force abated.' He does not
yet have occasion to use spectacles, and the route he has taken proves him
still full of mental and physical vigor. Think of the discoveries and
inventions during the last forty years! Will Mr. Stronach recognize his
native land? The good hand of the Lord be with him and make his remaining
years as happy as his past ones have been useful."

The other letter, to Rev. John M. Ferris, D.D., was written on the occasion
of the death of the Rev. Carstairs Douglas, LL.D., one of the most
accomplished and scholarly men ever sent to any mission field:

"AUGUST 8, 1877.

"By this mail we have sad news to send. It relates to the death of Rev.
Carstairs Douglas, LL.D., of the English Presbyterian Mission at Amoy. He
was the senior member of that Mission, having arrived at Amoy, July, 1855,
twenty-two years ago.

"Dr. Douglas, two weeks ago to-day, was in apparent good health. On that
day he made calls on several members of the foreign community. To some of
them he remarked, concerning his health, that he had never felt better.
That evening he was in his usual place in our weekly prayer-meeting. The
next morning at four o'clock he began to feel unwell, but did not wish to
disturb others, so called no one until about half past six. Then some
medicine was given him and he sat down at his study-table for the morning
reading of his Hebrew Bible. About an hour after this he became much worse
and the doctor was sent for. On his arrival the physician pronounced his
disease to be cholera of the most virulent type, and the case to be almost
without hope of recovery.

"In consequence of our long and close intimacy word was soon sent to me. I
hastened to see him. He was already very weak and could not converse
without great effort. Everything was done for him that could be done. But
he continued failing until about a quarter before six in the afternoon,
July 26th, when he breathed his last. He knew what his disease was and
what would probably be its termination, but evidently the King of Terrors
had no terror for him. His end was peace. He retained his consciousness
nearly to the last.

"He was to have preached in our English chapel to the foreign community on
the following Sabbath morning. He told us his text was Romans vi. 23, 'The
wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus
Christ our Lord.' The text was so suitable to the occasion that I took it,
and in his place on the next Sabbath morning preached his funeral sermon
from his own text.

"By overwork he had worn himself out, and made himself an old man while he
was yet comparatively young in years. He came to China quite young and at
the time of his death was only about forty-six years of age, and yet men
who had recently become acquainted with him thought him over sixty. Is any
one inclined to blame him too much for this, as though he wore himself out
and sacrificed his life before the time? If so, he did it in a good cause
and for a good Master. Besides this, he did more work during the
twenty-two years of his missionary life than the most of men accomplish in
twice that time. And then, he reminds us of One, who when only a little
over thirty years of age, from similar causes, seems to have acquired the
appearance of nearly fifty (John viii. 57).

"Recently, especially during the last year, it was manifest, at least to
others, that his physical strength was fast giving way. Yet he could not
be prevailed upon to leave his field for a season for temporary rest, or
even to lessen the amount of his work.

"I never knew a more incessant worker. He was a man of most extensive
general information. I think I have never met with his equal in this
respect. He was acquainted with several modern European languages and was a
thorough student of the original languages of Holy Scripture, as witness
the fact of his study of the Hebrew Bible, even after his last sickness had
commenced. As regards the Chinese language, he was already taking his
place among the first sinologues of the land. We were indebted more to
him, perhaps, than to any other one man for the success of the recent
General Missionary Conference (at Shanghai).

[At this first General Conference of the Protestant missionaries of China,
held at Shanghai in May, 1877, Dr. Talmage preached the opening sermon and
read a paper, the title of which was, "Should the native churches in China
be united ecclesiastically and independent of foreign churches and

"As a member of the Committee of Arrangements he labored indefatigably by
writing Ietters and in other ways to make it a success, and though
comparatively so young, he well deserved the honor bestowed on him in
making him one of the presidents of that body. 'Know ye not that there is
a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel?'

"This is a great blow to the English Presbyterian Mission in this place.
It is also, because of the intimate relations of the two missions and the
oneness of the churches under our care, a great blow to us. It is a great
blow to the whole mission work in China--greater, perhaps, than the loss
of any other man. You will not wonder that I, from my long intimacy with
him, feel the loss deeply, more and more deeply every day and week, as the
days and weeks pass away without him."


An episode in connection with the visit to China in 1878 of Dr. Jacob
Chamberlain, of the Arcot Mission, is described in a letter to Dr. Goyn
Talmage, as follows:

"Dear Goyn: I suppose I told you about the pleasant visit we had from Dr.
Chamberlain and family. The Doctor went with me to Chiang-chiu. While
there his carpet-bag was stolen out of the boat. We reported the case to a
military officer, and told him that we wanted the bag very much, and if he
could get it for us, we should make no trouble about having the thief
punished. In a few days after our return to Amoy the bag was sent to us
with all its contents complete. We bought an umbrella--a nice silk
one--and sent it up to the officer as a present. Perhaps you would like to
see a translation of the letter he sent in reply. It will illustrate
Chinese politeness. The letter reads as follows:

"'When the flocks of wild geese make their orderly flight,--the glorious
autumnal season deserving of laudation,--my thoughts wander far away to
you, Teacher Talmage, whose noble presence is worthy to be saluted with bow
profound, and whose dignified manners invite to close intimacy. Alas, that
our acquaintance should have been formed at this late day!--and that, too,
when, by wafting and by the plying of oars, having arrived at 'the stream
of the fragrant grain fields' (poetic name for the region of Chiang-chiu),
you met with the mishap of doggish thieves taking advantage of your want of
watchfulness! Truly, the blame of this rests on me. How, then, can I have
the hardihood to receive from you a present of value! A reward of demerit,
how can I endure it! During the three stages of life, (youth, middle age,
and old age,) I shall not be able to repay. It is only by inheritance (not
by my own merit) that I obtained the imperial favor of office. Thus, my
deficiency in the knowledge of official laws and governmental regulations
has subjected you to fear and anxiety. Shame on me in the extreme! shame
in the extreme! Only by the greatest stretch could I hope to meet with
forbearance, how then could you take trouble and manifest kindness by
sending a present. Writing cannot exhaust my words, and words can not
exhaust my meaning. It will be necessary to come and express my thanks in
person. Such are my supplications and such is my sense of obligation. May
there be golden peace to you, Teacher Talmage, and will your excellency
please bestow your brilliant glance on what I have written!'

"Is not that a specimen of humility? The stealing was because of his
neglect of duty, and his neglect of duty was because of inability, having
obtained his office through the merit of his father or grandfather. Of
course he kept the umbrella."

August 18, 1887, marked the fortieth anniversary of Dr. Talmage's arrival
in China. He said so little about it, however, that it was not known by
the friends of the other missions until the very day dawned.

The members of the English Presbyterian Mission--ladies and
gentlemen--immediately concluded to secure some suitable memento expressive
of their regard for Dr. Talmage and his work. A set of Macaulay's History
of England, bound in tree calf, and a finely bound copy of the latest
edition of the Royal Atlas, were sent for. In connection with the
presentation the following letter from Rev. W. McGregor was read:

"Amoy, April 3, 1888.

"Dear Dr. Talmage:

"When on the 18th of last August we learned that that day was the fortieth
anniversary of your arrival in China, the news came upon us unexpectedly.
We wished we had had more forethought and kept better count of the years,
so that we might have made more of the occasion. Each of us felt a desire
to present you with some token of our regard, and it seemed to us for many
reasons best that we should do so unitedly as members of the English
Presbyterian Mission in Amoy. We had at the time nothing suitable to offer
you, but we agreed on certain books to be sent for,--not as having any
special relations to the work in which you have been engaged, but as being
each a standard work of its kind. The books have now arrived, and I have
much pleasure in sending them to you as something that may be kept in your
family as a memorial of the day and a small token of our high esteem for
yourself personally and of the great value we attach to the work you have
done in the service of our common Lord.

"I am, yours truly,

"Wm. McGregor.

"On behalf of the members of the English Presbyterian Mission, Amoy."

Dr. Talmage was blessed with a most vigorous physical constitution, but
years of struggle with one of the complaints peculiar to the tropics,
finally compelled his retirement from the Mission field.

In the summer of 1889, Dr. and Mrs. Talmage embarked on the steamship
Arabia for the United States. Dr. Talmage turned his face to the old
home-village, Bound Brook, New Jersey, all the time cherishing the hope of
one more return to China and his laying down the shepherd's crook and robe
among the flock he had gathered from among the heathen. That hope was not
to be realized. Though he had left Amoy, yet he ceased not to do what he
could for the work there. Though compelled to lie on his back much of the
time, making writing difficult, he sent letters to the Chinese Monthly
Magazine and to not a few of the pastors, encouraging them in their labors.
Chiefly did he devote himself to the completion of a Character Colloquial
Dictionary in the Amoy language, intended to be of special service to the
Chinese Christian Church. It was intended to facilitate the study of the
Chinese Character, especially those Characters used in the Chinese Bible.
It was also calculated to promote the study of the Romanized Colloquial
Version of the Scriptures as well as other Romanized Colloquial literature.

In the midst of multiplied duties and many distractions he had wrought on
it for upwards of a score of years. He was eager to make it thoroughly
reliable. He spared no pains to that end. He always felt very much out of
patience with any one who would give to the public an inaccurate book; and
it was the desire to make his dictionary as accurate as possible that kept
him from having it published some years since.

He consulted Chinese literary men. He pored over Chinese dictionaries. He
brought it home with him, requiring, as he thought, still further revision,
and his last labors were the completion of it with the valued assistance of
the Rev. Daniel Rapalje, of the Amoy Mission. It is now going through the
press and will soon be at the service of missionaries and native brethren
who have eagerly awaited its appearance for many years.

His strength gradually failed and on August 19, 1892, in his seventy-third
year, he quietly breathed his last at Bound Brook, New Jersey.

The mortal tent loosened down and folded was laid away in the family plot
near Somerville, New Jersey. Most of his living, working years he had
spent far away from the ancestral home. It was God's will that his dust
should find a place next to the kindred dust of father and mother, sister
and brother, in the peaceful God's acre but a few miles from the old

Dr. Talmage left a wife, two daughters and three sons, and a goodly circle
of relatives and friends to mourn his departure. Mrs. Talmage has since
returned to the Talmage Manse at Amoy and taken up afresh her chosen work
in educating the ill-privileged and ignorant women of China. The two
daughters, Miss Katharine and Miss Mary, are rendering most faithful and
efficient service, too, among China's mothers and daughters. Rev. David M.
Talmage fills a pastorate with the Reformed Church of Westwood, New Jersey.
Mr. John Talmage is a rice merchant at New Orleans, Louisiana. Rev. George
E. Talmage ministers to the Lord's people at Mott Haven, New York.

When the sun of Dr. Talmage's life set, it was to the Chinese brethren at
Amoy, like the setting of a great hope. The venerable teacher had left
them two years before, but he had not spoken a final farewell. They and he
looked for one more meeting on earth. He was known to the whole Chinese
Church in and about Amoy for a circuit of a hundred miles. He sat at its
cradle. He watched its growth until within two years of the day when it
went forth two bands united in one Synod with twenty organized,
self-supporting churches, nineteen native pastors, upwards of two thousand
communicants and six thousand adherents.

In the many breaks that occur in the missionary constituency, his life was
the one chain of continuity. The Churches had come to feel that whoever
failed them, they had Teacher Talmage still. His departure was like the
falling down of a venerable cathedral, leaving the broken and bleeding ivy
among the dust and debris. The Chinese Christians had leaned hard upon
him. They loved and revered him as a father. Since he passed away his
name has seldom been mentioned in any public assembly of the Church by any
of the Chinese brethren without the broken and trembling utterance that has
called forth from a listening congregation the silent, sympathetic tear.

Great and good man, fervent preacher, inspiring teacher, wise and
sympathetic counselor, generous friend, affectionate father,--farewell,
till the morning breaks and we meet in the City of Light. "And behold these
shall come from far, and lo, these from the north, and from the west, and
these from the land of Sinim."

  "Oh then what raptured greetings,
  What knitting severed friendships up,
  Where partings are no more."




[Dr. Swanson was for twenty years a valued member of the English
Presbyterian Mission at Amoy, and subsequently Secretary of the Board of
Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church of England until his death,
November 24, 1893]

My first meeting with Dr. Talmage took place in the early days of July,
1860, and from that day till the day of his death he was regarded as not
only one of the best and most valued friends, but I looked up to him as a
father beloved and respected.

One cannot help recalling now the impressions of those early days. There
was a marked individuality about this man that made you regard him whether
you would or not. You felt that he was a man bound to lead and to take the
foremost place amongst his brethren and all with whom he came in touch.
There was a firmness of tread, and the brave courage of conviction, united
with a womanly tenderness, that were unmistakable.

You saw he had made up his mind before he spoke, and that when he did speak
he spoke with a fullness of knowledge that few men possessed. He was every
inch of him a man.

And what touched us very much, who were young men, was the tender
forbearance with which he always treated us. We saw this more clearly as
the years passed on, and learned how much, perhaps, he had to bear from
some of us whose assertiveness in some matters was in the inverse ratio of
our knowledge. The reference here is to matters and methods regarding our
work as missionaries to the Chinese. He bore with us, and knew well the
day would come when, with increasing knowledge, there would come increasing
hesitation in pronouncing too hastily on the problems we had to face; and
he knew well that day would come if there was anything in us at all.

In my own study of the Chinese language he and another who also has gone to
the "better land"--the Rev. Dr. Douglas--assisted in every possible way;
and to both in this line am I indebted for what was the most important
furnishing in the first instance for every missionary to China. I can well
remember the plane upon which Dr. Talmage placed this study of the

It was our work for Christ, at this stage a far more important one than any
other. He encouraged us to use whatever vocables we had got, no matter
whether we were met with the wondering smile of the Chinaman in his vain
endeavor to understand us, or to keep from misunderstanding us.

"Use whatever you have got, be glad when you are corrected, but use your
words." To some of us the advice was invaluable.

And in other ways the same spirit was manifest. He did all he could to get
us to attend every Christian gathering, to sit and listen to the business
of the Sessions, and to show the Chinese as soon as possible that we were
one with them, and he succeeded. There was an enthusiasm and warmth
distinguishing these early days of the Amoy church that were formative in a
very high degree, and that are now a precious memory.

Then Dr. Talmage was a scholar, with a very wide range of scholarship. We
looked up to him and we respected him, with an esteem few men have ever
won. And in conjunction with his scholarly furnishing there was an
absorbing, consuming zeal for Christ and His kingdom, and an intense love
for the Chinese people. If he had not this latter, he could not have been
the unmistakably influential and successful missionary he was. These,
coupled with a Christian walk and devotion, formed the furnishing of this
man of God.

He was also a true gentleman, a Christian gentleman in every sense of the
word. The best proof of this was that we loved him, and if the foreign
ladies in Amoy who knew him were asked what they thought of him--many of
them have gone to rest--they would hardly get words to tell out all their
respect and love for him. His visits in our houses were most welcome, and
when he spent an evening with us there was always sunshine where he was.
He was essentially a happy man, and nothing pleased him more than to see
all happy around him.

There is still one point to which reference must here be made.
Missionaries were not the only foreign residents in Amoy. There was also a
considerable number of American and European merchants. Unfortunately the
missionaries and the merchants did not always see eye to eye. Dr. Talmage
was a favorite with every one of them. They esteemed him, they would have
done anything to serve him; and at no cost of principle or testimony he won
this place with them.

And to those who know the conditions of life in China, it will be at once
understood what a man he must have been to win such a position.

It may not be generally known that in Amoy we have a "Union English
Church," with regular Sabbath services in English. These services were
conducted by the missionaries in turn. And we fear it may also not be
known what Dr Talmage's powers as a preacher were. He was a very prince
among English preachers; and if he had remained in America this would very
soon have been acknowledged. There were no tricks or devices of manner or
words employed by him for winning the popular ear. He never seemed to
forget the solemnity and responsibility of his position in the pulpit. He
hesitated not "to declare the whole counsel of God." He stands before me
now as I listen with bated breath to the fire of his eloquence, denouncing
where denunciation was needed, contending with a burning earnestness that
never failed to carry us with him, for "the faith once delivered to the
saints," and then with exquisite tenderness seeking to draw his hearers to
Him who is Saviour and Brother. He never failed to think and speak as much
about temptation as about sin. It was a real feast to attend the English
service when it was conducted by him. And during all my time in Amoy,
there was always a large congregation when Dr. Talmage was the preacher.

He was not all tenderness. He would only have been a one-sided man if this
were all. He was as strong as he was tender; a keen and powerful opponent
in discussion. And we often had very warm and keen discussions; keener and
warmer than I had ever seen before I went to Amoy, or have ever seen since.
We had to discuss principles and methods of translation, hymnology, Church
work, Church discipline, and many other subjects. And there was no mincing
of matters at these discussions. Foremost amongst us was Dr. Talmage,
tenaciously and persistently advocating the view he happened to have taken
on any question. There were men of very strong individuality among us, and
these gave as good as they got. I can recall these scenes, but I cannot
recall a single word he said that involved a personal wound or left a barb.
When it was all over he was the same loving brother, and not an atom of
bitterness was left behind. By us, the brethren of the English
Presbyterian Mission, he was looked up to as a revered father, just as much
as he was by the brethren of his own Mission. This will be seen more fully
further on, and a simple statement of the fact is all that is necessary

There is another and most sacred relation--his position as the head of a
family,--the veil of which it seems almost sacrilege to uplift. But it
must be said, and it is only a well-known fact, that few happier homes
exist than his home was. He was there what he was elsewhere, the man of

Dr. Talmage was not perfect. He was essentially a humble man, and he would
be the first to tell us that of every sinner saved by grace, he was the
most unworthy. And when he said it, he felt it. And he had not the very
most distant idea how great a man he was. Sometimes one fears that this
very modesty pushed to an extreme prevented others who did not know his
life and his work from accurately gauging his real work. Better perhaps,
he would say, that it should be so; better to think of the work than of the
workers. To hold up Christ and to be hidden behind Him is the highest
privilege of those engaged in the service of this King. And this, his
uniform bearing, made him all the greater.


It would be useless speculation to lay down here what should be the special
qualifications of a missionary to the Chinese. The better way is to find
them in the concrete, so far as you can do so in an individual, and set Him
forth as an example for others. The friend of whom we write would
deprecate this, but it is the only way in which we can see him as he was
and account for the singularly prominent place he occupied amongst us.

I do not need to say here that he was a man of faith and prayer, earnest
and zealous for the spread of Christ's Kingdom; in the face of difficulties
and dangers, of disappointments and failures, maintaining an unwavering
faith that the Kingdom must come and would yet rule over all.

He had both an intense love for his work and enthusiasm in carrying it on.
He came with a definite message to the people to whom the Master had sent
him. There was no apologizing for it, no watering it down, no uncertain
sound about it with him. Christ and Christ alone can meet the wants and
woes of humanity,--Chinese or American or British. He had no doubt about
it whatever; and hereby some of us learned that if we had not this message
it would have been far better for us to have stayed at home. And this
feature marked him all over his course. You felt as you listened to his
pleadings that sin and salvation were terms brimful of meaning to him. He
had traveled this road, and all his pleadings seemed to be summed up in the
one yearning cry, "Come with us and we will do thee good." "This is a
faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into
the world to save sinners." And he would have gone to the end, "of whom I
am chief."

Then he had a great love for the people. He made himself acquainted with
the family and social conditions of the people. He had not come to
Americanize but to Christianize the Chinese. And for this he equipped
himself. I never saw him so happy as when he was surrounded by them. He
was then in his real element, answering their questions, solving their
difficulties, opening up to them the Scriptures, and meeting them wherever
he thought they needed to be met. And go to his study when you liked, you
almost always found some Chinese Christians there. He was the great
referee, to whom they carried home difficulties and family trials, assured
that his sympathy and advice would never be denied them. This endeared him
to them in an extraordinary manner. We never on such occasions found a
trace of impatience with him. What would have annoyed others did not seem
to annoy him, and the consequence was that the whole church loved him.
There was an inexhaustible well of tenderness in the man's nature, and it
was sweetened by the grace of God in his heart.

We sometimes thought he erred by excess in this particular. He was
unwilling to think anything but good of them, and was thus apt to be
influenced too much by designing and astute Chinamen. Often we have heard
it said, "Well, if you won't listen to us, Dr. Talmage will." But, looking
back to-day over it all, if it was a fault, it was one that leant to
virtue's side. He was wonderfully unsuspicious: and so far as his fellow
men were concerned, Chinese or Westerns, the mental process which he almost
invariably employed was to try to find out what good there was in a man.
And now one loves him all the more for such a Christlike spirit.

Dr. Talmage was thoroughly acquainted with the spoken language of Amoy.
Few men, if any, had a more extensive knowledge of its vocables. He spoke
idiomatically and beautifully as the Chinese themselves spoke, and not as
he thought they should speak. There was no slipshod work with him in this
particular. Here was the indispensable furnishing and he must get it. And
he did get it in no average measure. This was the prime requisite, and
through no other avenue could he get really and honestly to work. There is
no royal road to the acquisition of the Chinese language. It is only by
dint of hard, plodding, and persevering study one can acquire an adequate
acquaintance with it.

And till the last he never gave up his study of it. He was not satisfied,
and no true missionary ever will be satisfied with such a smattering of
knowledge as may enable him to proclaim a few Christian doctrines. Such
superficiality was not his aim or end. And when he first acquired Chinese,
it was more difficult to do so. There were no aids in the way of
dictionaries or vocabularies.

It may be his knowledge of the language was all the more accurate on this
account. He got it from the fountain-head, and not through foreign
sources. He was thus qualified to take a prominent place in all the
varied work of a mission--in translation, in revision, and in
hymnology--departments as important and as influential for attaining the
end in view as any other possible department in the Mission.

As a preacher to the Chinese he was unrivaled. The people hung on his lips
and never seemed to lose a word. He was in this respect a model to every
one of us younger men.

The ideal of the church in China which he had set before him, the goal he
desired to reach, was a native, self-governing, self-supporting, and
self-propagating church. This is now axiomatic.

It was not so in those early days. The men in Amoy then were men for whom
we have to thank God--men ahead of their time, with generous and
far-reaching ideas; not working only for their own present, but laying the
foundation for a great future. Side by side with him were the brethren of
the English Presbyterian Mission, with whom he had the fullest sympathy,
and they had the fullest sympathy with him. It is difficult to say who
were foremost in pressing the idea of an organized native church. All were
equally convinced and strove together for the one great end. After many
years of waiting the church grew. Congregations were formed and organized
with their own elders and deacons, and in this he took the first steps. He
was a born organizer. And then came the next great step, the creation of a
Presbytery and the ordination in an orderly manner of native pastors. Some
congregations were ready to call and support such pastors, and the men were
there, for the careful training of native agents had always been a marked
feature of the Amoy Mission. But how was it to be done? Common sense led
to only one conclusion. This church must not be an exotic; it must be
native, independent of the home churches. And there must be kept in view
what was a fact already--the union between the Missions of the "Reformed
Church" and of the "English Presbyterian Church." It must be done, and done
in this way, and so it was done.

The Presbytery was created with no native pastor in the first instance, but
with native elders and the missionaries of both Missions. Then came a
struggle that would have tried the stoutest hearts.

The "Reformed Church" in America declined to recognize this newly-created
Presbytery. Dr. Talmage went home and fought the battle and won the day.

To its great honor be it said, the General Synod of the "Reformed Church"
rescinded its resolution of the previous year, and allowed their honored
brethren, the missionaries, to take their own way. So convinced were the
missionaries of the wisdom, yea, the necessity, of the course they had
taken, that they were prepared to resign rather than retrace their steps.

But that painful step was not necessary. The Synod of the English
Presbyterian Church gave their missionaries a free hand. There is this,
however, to be said for the General Synod of the "Reformed Church." It was
only love for their agents and deep interest in this Mission that prompted
their original action. They feared that by the creation of this native and
independent church court, the tie that bound them to the men and the work
might be loosened; and when they saw there was no risk of that, they at
once acquiesced. But it was Dr. Talmage's irresistible pleadings that won
their hearts.

The native church has grown. About twenty native pastors have been
ordained, settled, and entirely supported by their own congregations. The
Presbytery has grown so large that it has to be divided into two
presbyteries; and these, with the Presbytery of Swatow, where brethren of
the "English Presbyterian Church" are working, will form the Synod of the
native Presbyterian Church in those regions of China.

In connection with all this we must mention another name--the name of one
very dear to Dr. Talmage, and of one to whom he was very dear. They were
one in heart and soul about this. We refer to the Rev. Dr. Douglas, of the
English Presbyterian Mission. They stood side by side during all their
work in Amoy.

Dr. Talmage was by a good many years the predecessor in the field. They
were both great men, men of very different temperament, and yet united.
Not on this point, but on many another, they failed to see eye to eye, but
they were always united in heart and aim. True and lasting union can only
exist where free play is given to distinct individualities.

And so it has always been with this union, the first, I believe, between
Presbyterian Churches in any mission field. And when the history of the
Amoy Mission comes to be written, these two men will have a leading place
in it; for to them more than to any others do we owe almost all that is
distinctive there in union and in methods of work.

And when our beloved father Talmage passed from earth to heaven, what
thankfulness must have filled his heart. In the night of his first years
in China there were labor and toil, but there was no fruit for him. The
dawn came and the first converts of his own Mission were gathered in. When
he went to rest, there was a native church; there were native pastors;
orderly church courts; a well equipped theological college, the common
property of the two Missions; successful medical missionary work, woman's
work in all its branches, and a native church covering a more extensive
region than he had in the early days dreamt of. And there was another
honored Mission in Amoy--that of the London Missionary Society, whose
operations have been followed by abundant and singular success. To this
Mission he was warmly attached; and he never, so far as we can remember,
ceased to show the deepest interest in its work, and the heartiest
rejoicing at its success.

And now he has gone, the last, we may say, of the men who began the work of
the Presbyterian Mission of Christ in China; but ere he passed away, he
knew that men of God were still there with the old enthusiasm and the old
appetite for solid and substantial work.

We cannot part with him now without one fond and lingering look behind.
Burns, Sandeman, Doty, Douglas, and Talmage; what a galaxy these early
pioneers in Amoy were. Few churches have had such gifts from God, few
fields more devoted, whole-hearted missionaries. It was a privilege to
know them, to work with them, to learn at their feet, unworthy though some
of us may be as their successors.

May the Lord of the Harvest rouse His own Church by their memories to
greater energy and self denial in the spread of His Kingdom.

Their memories will never die in China. Those who have lately visited Amoy
tell us that they who knew them among the Chinese Christians speak lovingly
and fondly of those early heroes. And they will tell their children what
they were and what they did, and so generation after generation will hear
the story, and find how true it is that workers die, but their work never
dies. "Their works do follow them."



[Pastor Iap was the first pastor of the Chinese Church]

Teacher Talmage was very gentle. He wished ever to be at peace with men.
If he saw a man in error he used words of meekness in convincing and
converting the man from his error. Whether he exhorted, encouraged or
instructed, his words were words of prudence, seasoned with salt, so that
men were glad to receive and obey.

Teacher Talmage was a lover of men. When he saw a man in distress and it
was right for him to help, he helped. In peril, he exerted himself to
deliver the man; in weakness, in danger of falling, he tried to uphold;
suffering oppression, he arose to the defense, fearing no power, but
contending earnestly for the right.

Teacher Talmage was very gracious in receiving men, whether men of position
or the common people. He treated all alike. If they wished to discuss any
matter with him and get his advice, he would patiently listen to their
tale. If he had any counsel to give, he gave it. If he felt he could not
conscientiously have anything to do with the affair, he told the men

He could pierce through words, and see through men's countenances and judge
what the man was, who was addressing him.

Teacher Talmage had great eloquence and possessed great intelligence. His
utterance was clear, his voice powerful, his exposition of doctrine very
thorough. Men listened and the truth entered their ears and their hearts

Teacher Talmage was grave in manner. He commanded the respect and praise
of men. His was a truly ministerial bearing. Men within and without the
Church venerated him.

Sometimes differences between brethren arose. Teacher Talmage earnestly
exhorted to harmony. Even serious differences, which looked beyond
healing, were removed, because men felt constrained to listen to his

Teacher Talmage was exceedingly diligent. When not otherwise engaged,
morning and afternoon found him in his study reading, writing, preparing
sermons, translating books.

He preached every Sabbath. He conducted classes of catechumens. He
founded the Girls' School at the Church "Under the Bamboos." He founded
the Theological Seminary. Others taught with him, but he was the master
spirit. He was ten points careful that everything relating to the
organization and administration of the Church should be in accordance with
the Holy Book.

Only at the urgent request of two physicians did he finally leave China.
He was prepared to die and to be buried at Amoy. And this was not because
he was not honored in his ancestral country, or could find no home. No, he
had sons, he had a brother, he had nephews and nieces, he had many
relatives and friends who greatly reverenced and loved him.

But Teacher Talmage could not bear to be separated from the Church in
China. Surely this was imitating the heart of Christ. Surely this was
loving the people of China to the utmost.



[Recording Secretary of the Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal

My memory of Dr. Talmage dates back to the year 1846. I was then but
eleven years old, but I remember distinctly the earnestness of his manner,
as he preached early in that year in the Second Reformed Church of
Somerville, New Jersey. His missionary zeal was of the most intense

I was present at the Missionary Convention, at Millstone, New Jersey,
August 26, 1846, and saw him ordained. The Rev. Gabriel Ludlow preached
from 2 Timothy ii. I, and the charge to the candidate was given by the Rev.
Elihu Doty, of Amoy. Mr. Doty, at a children's meeting in the afternoon,
asked us whether we would come to help in the missionary work, and asked us
to write down the question and think and pray about it, and when we had
made up our minds to write an answer underneath the question. I did "think
and pray about it," and some weeks afterward, under a sense of duty, wrote
"Yes" under it. From that time on, it was not a strange thought to me, to
go to China as a missionary; and when the call came in 1858, I was ready.
In 1860, on my first visit to Amoy, I renewed old acquaintanceship, and
during my twenty-two years in China was several times a guest in Dr.
Talmage's family.

He was in the very front rank of missionaries. For ability, for fidelity,
for usefulness, he had few equals. As a preacher, he was clear, forceful,
fearless. As a translator, his work was marked by carefulness and
accuracy. In social life, old-fashioned hospitality made every one feel at
home, and one would have to travel far to find a more animated and
interesting conversationalist. He held his convictions with great
tenacity, and was a powerful debater, but always courteous to his

Many missionaries fell by his side, or were obliged to leave the field; and
in the providence of God he remained until he was the oldest of all the
American missionaries in China. His was a most pure and honorable record,
and his death was universally lamented. From little beginnings, he was
privileged to see one of the most flourishing of the native communions of
China arise and attain large numbers and great influence among the
Christian churches of the empire.

Such a history and such a record are to be coveted. May the Head of the
Church raise up many worthy successors to this true and noble man!



[Pastor of the Collegiate Reformed Church, New York City.]

My acquaintance with Dr. Talmage began at a very early period. During the
years 1842-5 his father was Sheriff of Somerset Co., N. J., and resided at
Somerville. While there he and his wife were members in communion of the
Second Reformed Dutch Church, of which I was pastor; and from them I heard
frequently of their son John, who was then a student in New Brunswick.

He prosecuted his studies in the College and Theological Seminary with zeal
and success, and was duly licensed, and then, while awaiting the arrival of
the period when he would be sent to join the mission in China, he accepted
the position of assistant to the Rev. Dr. Brodhead, who at that time was
minister of the Central Church of Brooklyn. Here his services were very
acceptable, and the training under such an experienced man of God was of
great value to him. His course was what might have been expected of one
reared in a peculiarly pious household. His father was a cheerful and
exemplary Christian, and his mother was the godliest woman I ever knew.
Her religion pervaded her whole being, and seemed to govern every thought,
word, and deed, yet never was morbid or overstrained. The robust common
sense which characterized her and her husband descended in full measure
upon their son John. His consecration to the mission work was complete,
and his interest in the cause was very deep, but it never manifested itself
in unseemly or extravagant ways.

So far as I can recall, there was nothing particularly brilliant or
original in the early sermons or addresses of the young missionary--nothing
of those wondrous displays of word-painting, imagination, and dramatic
power which have made his brother, Dr. T. De Witt Talmage, famous. But
there was a mental grasp, a force and a fire which often induced the remark
that he was too good to be sent to the heathen, there being many at that
time who labored under the mistake that a missionary did not require to be
a man of unusual ability, that gifts and acquirements were thrown away on a
life spent among idolaters. Still, while this was the case, none of his
friends expected that he would develop such marked and varied power as was
seen in his entire course at Amoy. I remember the surprise with which I
heard the late Dr. Swanson, of London, say from his own observation during
ten years of the closest intercourse at Amoy, that Dr. Talmage was equally
distinguished and efficient in every part of the missionary's work, whether
in preaching the Word, or translating the Scriptures, or creating a
Christian literature, or training native workers. Nothing seemed to come
amiss to him; everywhere he was facile princeps. I suppose that the
explanation is found in his thorough and unreserved consecration. He was
given heart and soul to the work. Whatever he did was done with his whole
mind. There was no vacillation or indecision, but a deliberate
concentration of all his faculties upon the task set before him. Nor did
he work by spurts or through temporary enthusiasm, but with a steady,
unyielding determination. So he went on through life without haste and
without rest, doing his best at all times and in every species of service,
and thus earning the brilliant reputation he acquired. The same qualities
rendered him as wise in counsel as he was efficient in working. He was
able to look on both sides of a given problem, was not inclined to snap
judgments, but preferred to discriminate, to weigh, and, if need be, to
wait. Yet, when the time came, the decision was ready.

He perceived earlier than his brethren at home the true policy as to
churches in heathen lands, that is, that they should not be mere
continuations of the denomination whose missionaries had been the means of
founding them, but should have an independent existence and grow upon the
soil where they were planted, taking such form and order as Providence
might suggest. When the proposal was made in accordance with these views
to build up a native Chinese Church strictly autonomous, there was an
immediate revulsion. The General Synod in 1863 emphatically declined to
consent, not, however, from denominational bigotry, but on the ground that
the new converts must have some standards of faith and order, and, if so,
why not ours, which had been tested by centuries? And, moreover, if they
were to be regarded as an integral part of the Church at home, that fact
would prove to be a powerful incitement to prayer and liberality on the part
of our people. But the rebuff did not dishearten Dr. Talmage. He renewed
the appeal the next year, and had the satisfaction of seeing it succeed.
Full consent was given to the aim to build up a strong, self-governing,
and, as soon as might be, self-supporting body of native churches in China,
who should leave behind the prejudices of the past, and form themselves
under the teaching of God's Spirit and Providence in such way as would best
meet the demands of the time and be most efficient in advancing the Kingdom
of God upon the earth. The consequences have been most happy. The
missionaries of the Presbyterian Church have cordially co-operated in
renouncing all denominational interests and giving all diligence to the
forming of what might be called a Chinese Christian Church, freed from any
external bond and at liberty to shape its own character and course under
the guidance of the Divine Spirit. The experiment has been entirely
successful, and stands conspicuous as a testimony to the true policy of
carrying on missionary work in countries where there is already an antique
civilization and certain social habits which need to be taken account of.

Dr. Talmage always kept himself in touch with the Church at home by
correspondence or by personal intercourse. His visits to America were in
every case utilized to the fullest extent, save when hindered by impaired

It is matter of joyful congratulation that he was permitted to finish the
usual term of man's years in the missionary field. Others of our eminent
men, such as Abeel, Thompson, Doty, and Pohlman, were cut off in the midst
of their days. But he spent a full lifetime, dying not by violence or
accident, but only when the bodily frame had been worn out in the natural
course of events. Our Church has been signally favored of God in the gifts
and character and work of the men she has sent into the foreign field--and
this not merely in the partial judgment of their denominational brethren,
but in the deliberate opinion of such competent and experienced observers
as the late Dr. Anderson, of the American Board, and the late S. Wells
Williams, the famous Chinese scholar; [One remark of Dr. S. Wells Williams
is worth reproducing: "I think, myself, after more than forty years'
personal acquaintance with hundreds of missionaries in China, that David
Abeel was facile princeps among them all."--Presb. Review, II. 49.] but I
think that none of them, neither Abeel nor Thompson, surpassed Dr. Talmage
in any of the qualities, natural or acquired, which go to make an
accomplished missionary of the cross. I enjoyed the personal acquaintance
of them all, having been familiar with the progress of the work from the
time when (October, 1832) our Board of Foreign Missions was established,
and therefore am able to form an intelligent opinion. Our departed brother
can no more raise his voice, either at home or abroad, but his work
remains, and his memory will never die. For long years to come his name
will be fragrant in the hearts of our people; and his lifelong consecration
to the enterprise of the world's conversion will prove an example and a
stimulus to this and the coming generation. The equipoise of his mind, the
solidity of his character, the strength of his faith, the brightness of his
hope, the simple, steadfast fidelity of his devotion to the Master, will
speak trumpet-tongued to multitudes who never saw his face in the flesh.
The unadorned story of his life, what he was and what he did by the grace
of God, will cheer the hearts of all the friends of foreign missions, and
win others to a just esteem of the cause which could attract such a man to
its service and animate him to such a conspicuous and blessed career.



[Editor of the "Christian Intelligencer" and ex-Secretary of the Board of
Foreign Missions of the American Reformed Church.]

Circumstances which tested character, ability, and attainments brought me
into intimate relations with Rev. Dr. John V. N. Talmage. The impressions
I received are these: He was eminently of a sunny disposition. A smile was
on his face and laughter in his eyes almost all day long. He was
conspicuously cheerful and hopeful. The strength of his character was
unusual and would bear victoriously very severe tests. Mental and moral
ability of a very high order marked his participation in public exercises
and his demeanor in social life. It seemed to me that in mind and heart
there were in him the elements of greatness. Greatness he never sought,
but avoided. Still, from the time succeeding the opening years of his
ministry, he was a leader among men until seized with the long illness
which terminated his useful life. Those who knew him appointed him one of
their chief counselors and guides, and in any assembly where he was
comparatively unknown he was accepted as a leading mind as soon as he had
taken part in its discussions. A wide range of knowledge was his. It was
surprising how he had maintained an acquaintance with the research and
discovery of his day while secluded in China from the life of the Western
nations. With all this his intercourse with men was marked by modesty and
the absence of ostentatious display. The deference with which he treated
the opinions of others and of his manner in presenting his knowledge and
convictions to an audience was extraordinary. He was courteously
inquisitive, seeking from others what they knew and thought, and this
oftentimes, perhaps habitually, with men much his inferiors. Such a man
would be expected to be tolerant of the opinions of others, and this he was
eminently, although his own convictions were clear, strongly held,
earnestly presented and advocated. How often we heard him say, "So I
think," or "So it seems to me, but I may be wrong."

Accuracy in statement was sought for by him constantly, sometimes to the
detriment of his public addresses. When we who were familiar with him were
humorous at his expense, it was almost invariably in relation to this
constant endeavor to be accurate, which led now and then to qualifications
of his words that were decidedly amusing. He was animated, earnest, and
strong in public addresses. His mind was active; apt to take an
independent, original view, and vigorous. His sermons were often very
impressive and powerful. Few who heard in whole or in part his discourse
on the words, "The world by wisdom knew not God"--an extemporaneous
sermon--will forget the terse, vigorous sentences which came from his lips.
It was, I believe, the last sermon he prepared in outline to be delivered
to our churches in this country. It was full of power and life.

Dr. Talmage was a Christian and a Christian gentleman everywhere and
always. It seemed as natural to him to be a Christian as to breathe.
Conscientious piety marked his daily life.

He was a delightful companion through his gentleness, sympathy, wide range
of knowledge, cheerfulness, animated and earnest speech, vigor of thought
and expression, deference for the opinions and rights of others, and
unselfishness. He asked nothing, demanded nothing for himself, but was
alert to contribute to the enjoyment of those around him. The work of his
life was of inestimable value. He was abundant in labors. Only the life
to come will reveal how much he accomplished which in the highest sense was
worthy of accomplishment. Those who knew him best, esteemed, loved, and
trusted him the most.


Ecclesiastical Relations of Presbyterian Missionaries, especially of the
Presbyterian Missionaries at Amoy, China.


We have recently received letters making inquiries concerning the Relations
of the Missionaries of the English Presbyterian Church, and of the American
Reformed Church to the Tai-hoey [Presbytery, or Classis,] of Amoy; stating
views on certain points connected with the general subject of the
organization of ecclesiastical Judicatories on Mission ground; and asking
our views on the same. We have thought it best to state our answer so as
to cover the whole subject of these several suggestions and inquiries, as
(though they are from different sources) they form but one subject.

Our views are not hasty. They are the result of much thought, experience
and observation. But we are now compelled to throw them together in much
more haste than we could wish, for which, we trust, allowance will be made.

As preliminary we remark that we have actual and practical relations both
to the home churches, and to the churches gathered here, and our
Ecclesiastical relations should correspond thereto.

1. Our Relation to the Home Churches. We are their agents, sent by them to
do a certain work, and supported by them in the doing of that work.
Therefore so long as this relation continues, in all matters affecting our
qualifications for that work,--of course including "matters affecting
ministerial character,"--we should remain subject to their jurisdiction.
In accordance with this we retain our connection with our respective home
Presbyteries or Classes.

2. Our Relation to the Church here. We are the actual pastors of the
churches growing up under our care, until they are far enough advanced to
have native pastors set over them. The first native pastors here were
ordained by the missionaries to the office of "Minister of the Word," the
same office that we ourselves hold. In all subsequent ordinations, and
other ecclesiastical matters, the native pastors have been associated with
the missionaries. The Tai-hoey at Amoy, in this manner, gradually grew up
with perfect parity between the native and foreign members.

With these preliminary statements we proceed to notice the suggestions made
and questions propounded. "To extend to the native churches on mission
ground the lines of separation which exist among Presbyterian bodies" in
home lands is acknowledged to be a great evil. To avoid this evil and to
"bring all the native Presbyterians," in the same locality, "into one
organization," two plans are suggested to us.

The first plan suggested (perhaps we should say mentioned for it is not
advocated), we take to be that the missionaries become not only members of
the ecclesiastical judicatories formed on mission ground, but also amenable
to those judicatories in the same way, and in every respect, as their
native members, their ecclesiastical relation to their home churches being
entirely severed. This plan ignores the actual relation of missionaries to
their home churches, as spoken of above. Surely the home churches cannot
afford this.

Perhaps we should notice another plan sometimes acted on, but not mentioned
in the letters we have now received. It is that the missionaries become
members of the Mission Church Judicatories as above; but that these
Judicatories be organized as parts of the home churches, so that the
missionaries will still be under the jurisdiction of the home churches
through the subjection of the Mission Judicatories to the higher at home.
This plan can only work during the infancy of the mission churches, while
the Mission Church Judicatories are still essentially foreign in their
constituents. Soon the jurisdiction will be very imperfect. This
imperfection will increase as fast as the mission churches increase.
Moreover this plan will extend to the native churches the evil deprecated

The second plan suggested we take to be that the missionaries, while they
remain the agents of the home churches, should retain their relation
respectively to their home churches, and have only an advisory relation to
the Presbytery on mission ground. This is greatly to be preferred to the
first plan suggested. It corresponds to the relation of missionaries to
their respective home churches. It takes into consideration also, but does
not fully correspond to the relation of the missionaries to the churches on
mission ground, at least does not fully correspond to the relation of the
missionaries to the native churches at Amoy. Our actual relation to these
churches seems to us to demand that as yet we take part with the native
pastors in their government.

The peculiar relationship of the missionaries to Tai-hoey, viz., having
full membership, without being subject to discipline by that body,--is
temporary, arising from the circumstances of this infant church, and rests
on the will of Tai-hoey. This relationship has never been discussed, or
even suggested for discussion in that body, so that our view of what is, or
would be, the opinion of Tai-hoey on the subject we gather from the whole
character of the working of that body from its first formation, and from
the whole spirit manifested by the native members. Never till last year
has there been a case of discipline even of a native member of Tai-hoey.
We do not know that the thought that occasion may also arise for the
discipline of missionaries, has ever suggested itself to any of the native
members. If it has, we have no doubt they have taken for granted that the
discipline of missionaries belongs to the churches which have sent them
here. But we also have no doubt that Tai-hoey would exercise the right of
refusing membership to any missionary if necessary.

It is suggested as an objection to the plan that has been adopted by the
missionaries at Amoy, that "where two Presbyteries have jurisdiction over
one man, it may not be always easy to define the line where the
jurisdiction of the one ends and the other begins; and for the foreign
Presbyter to have a control over the native Presbyter which the native
cannot reciprocate, would be anomalous, and contrary to that view of the
parity of Presbyters which the Scriptures present."

From our last paragraph above it will be seen that the "line" of
demarcation alluded to in the first half of the above objection has
certainly never yet been defined by Tai-hoey, but it will be seen likewise
that we have no apprehension of any practical difficulty in the matter.
The last half of the objection looks more serious, for if our plan really
involves a violation of the doctrine of the parity of the ministry, this is
a very serious objection--fatal, indeed, unless perhaps the temporary
character of the arrangement might give some sufferance to it in a
developing church. It does not, however in our opinion, involve any such
doctrine. It does not touch that doctrine at all.

The reason why Tai-hoey does not claim the right of discipline over the
missionaries is not because these are of a higher order than the other
members, but because the missionaries have a most important relation to the
home churches which the other members have not. The Tai-hoey respects the
rights of those churches which have sent and are still sending the Gospel
here, and has fullest confidence that they will exercise proper discipline
over their missionaries. Whether they do this or not, the power of the
Tai-hoey to cut off from its membership, or refuse to admit thereto, any
missionary who might prove himself unworthy, gives ample security to that
body and secures likewise the benefits of discipline. If time allowed us
to give a full description of our Church work here it would be seen that
the doctrine of the parity of all who hold the ministerial office so
thoroughly permeates the whole, that it would seem impossible for mistake
to arise on that point.

In connection with this subject it is also remarked "that where two races
are combined in a Presbytery, there is a tendency to divide on questions
according to the line of race."

With gratitude to God we are able to bear testimony that at Amoy we have
not as yet seen the first sign of such tendency. We have heard of such
tendency in some other mission fields. Possibly it may yet be manifested
here. This, however, does not now seem probable. The native members of
Tai-hoey, almost from the first, have outnumbered the foreign. The
disproportion now is as three or four to one, and must continue to
increase. It would seem, therefore, that there will now be no occasion for
jealousy of the missionaries' influence to grow up on the part of the
native members.

But, it may be asked, if the native members so far outnumber the foreign,
of what avail is it that missionaries be more than advisory members? We
answer: If we are in Tai-hoey as a foreign party, in opposition to the
native members, even advisory membership will be of no avail. But if we
are there in our true character, as we always have been, viz., as
Presbyters and acting pastors of churches, part and parcel of the church
Judicatories, on perfect equality and in full sympathy with the native
Presbyters, our membership may be of much benefit to Tai-hoey. It must be
of benefit if our theory of Church Government be correct.

Of the benefit of such membership we give one illustration, equally
applicable also to other forms of government. It will be remembered that
assemblies conducted on parliamentary principles were unknown in China. By
our full and equal membership of Tai-hoey, being associated with the native
members in the various offices, and in all kinds of committees, the native
members have been more efficiently instructed in the manner of conducting
business in such assemblies, than they could have been if we had only given
them advice. At the first, almost the whole business was necessarily
managed by the missionaries. Not so now. The missionaries still take an
active part even in the routine of business, not so much to guard against
error or mistake, as for the purpose of saving time and inculcating the
importance of regularity and promptitude. Even the earnestness with which
the missionaries differ from each other, so contrary to the duplicity
supposed necessary by the rules of Chinese politeness, has not been without
great benefit to the native members. Instead of there being any jealousy
of the position occupied by the missionaries on the part of the native
members, the missionaries withdraw themselves from prominent positions, and
throw the responsibility on the native members, as fast as duty to Tai-hoey
seems to allow, faster than the native members wish.

We now proceed to give answers to the definite questions propounded to us,
though answers to some of them have been implied in the preceding remarks.
We combine the questions from different sources, and slightly change the
wording of them to suit the form of this paper, and for convenience we
number them.

1. "Are the missionaries members of Tai-hoey in full and on a perfect
equality with the native members?"

Answer. Yes; with the exception (if it be an exception) implied in the
answer to the next question.

2. "Are missionaries subject to discipline by the Tai-hoey?"

Answer. No; except that their relation to Tai-hoey may be severed by that

3. "Is it not likely that the sooner the native churches become
self-governing, the sooner they will be self-supporting and

Answer. Yes. It would be a great misfortune for the native churches to be
governed by the missionaries, or by the home churches. We think also it
would be a great misfortune for the missionary to refuse all connection
with the government of the mission churches while they are in whole or in
part dependent on him for instruction, administration of the ordinances,
and pastoral oversight. Self-support, self-government, and
self-propagation are intimately related, acting and reacting on each other,
and the native Church should be framed in them from the beginning of its

4. "Is it the opinion of missionaries at Amoy that the native Presbyters
are competent to manage the affairs of Presbytery, and could they safely be
left to do so?"

Answer. Yes; the native Presbyters seem to us to be fully competent to
manage the affairs of Presbytery, and we suppose it would be safe to leave
them to do this entirely by themselves, if the providence of God should so
direct. We think it much better, however, unless the providence of God
direct otherwise, that the missionaries continue their present relation to
the Tai-hoey until the native Church is farther developed.

5. "Is it likely that there can be but one Presbyterian Church in China?
or are differences of dialect, etc., such as to make different
organizations necessary and inevitable?"

Answer. All Presbyterians in China, as far as circumstances will allow,
should unite in one Church organization. By all means avoid a plurality of
Presbyterian denominations in the same locality. But differences of
dialect and distance of separation seem at present to forbid the formation
of one Presbyterian organization for the whole of China. Even though in
process of time these difficulties be greatly overcome, It would seem that
the vast number of the people will continue to render such formation
impracticable, except on some such principle as that on which is formed the
Pan-Presbyterian Council. One Presbyterian Church for China would be very

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