Page images
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

our schools then, and that now nigh two years after we were repaying that visit. At the close he asked them if they would like to send a token of their interest to the Sabbath-school in London. Immediately a voice cried out, “ Oh! send them a missionary ship.” The proposal was approved of and agreed to. When we were about to return to England, the missionary ship was sent to us, and although it was a fragile affair, a model made of glass, it arrived safely at its destination.

And now we must tell you the story of this missionary ship. Everybody has heard of the Sandwich Islands and their interesting missionary enterprises. But perhaps not mary know that some two or three thousand miles southwest from them, lie numerous clusters of small islands, hundreds on hundreds of them, known now, in the aggregate, as Micronesia. On two of these, “ Oualan" and

Ponape,” three hundred miles apart from each other, in 1852 the American Board of Foreign Missions established stations.

To keep up these stations, to add new ones, to visit and explore that remote sea, it was needful that the board should have a ship of its own. Accordingly, at the request of the Sandwich Islands and Micronesia Missions, it was resolved to build a missionary packet of about one hundred and fifty tons. A contract was entered into, and in three months afterwards the “ Morning Star” was launchud at Boston, Her namne, said her builders, is significant of the work she is to do, as the herald of a brighter day soon to dawn on those dark places of the earth.

But who shall furnish the cost of this missionary ship? who shall give the £2,600 needful to build and fit out this pioneer of the gospel to the far Pacific ?

There were many men in America would gladly have given all the 132

THE MORNING STAR."

money, but the board said, “No! This shall be the children's ship; we shall ask them to send forth this messenger of mercy. They shall give us the needed funds."

They did 'so. An appeal was issued. The cost was divided into shares of 6d. each, and certificates of stock in the " Morning Star” were prepared. The children look up the project with interest. By the second day of December, the day on which the “Morning Star” sailed from Boston, £2,800, or more than her whole cost, had been subscribed and paid in, and by the end of last February the amount thus raised was £5,500, or more than double what was needed. To commemorate this effort and its success, models in glass of the “ Morning Star” were prepared, the proceeds of the sale of which are divided between the Missions and the Tract Society. It was one of these models that the children of Mr. Dodge's school sent to the children of the Sabbath schools at Somers Town.

The“ Morning Star" is out on her first voyage of love. Shall not all, in heartfelt 'sincerity, wish her“God speed ?"

At the first Missionary meeting of the Somers Town schools, held after our return, the above details were told to the children, and the missionary ship exhibited to them. If we may judge by the sustained attention during the address and the interest manifested in the little model afterwards, this incident of international and transatlantic fraternisation has not altogether failed of good effect.

The children of our church gave £322 6s. 4d. to our foreign missions last year. Will they not be encouraged and stimulated by this account of what their American brothers and sisters have done? Will they not go and do likewise ? Will they not go, and if they ean, do more?

A YOUNG DISCIPLE.

WAEN Our Missionary, Mr. Burns, went first to preach. the gospel in Pechuia, where that gospel had never been heard before, one of his first and most earnest hearers was a youth of eighteen or twenty, called Se-Bu. In height he was rather under the average of his country. men, of slender build, but good proportions ; his dark eyes more open than usual, and his expression of countenance frank and pleasing, while the well-formed features and forehead, shaved after the fashion of his country further back than what is called the organ of benevolence, gave him an air of intelligence and thought. fulness, combined with a large share of vivacity and cheerfulness. His complexion was of a pale olive tint, and although you might at first be amused with the long black hair plaited into a tail, reaching to within a foot or two of the ground, and the curious little black cap, like a bowl, stuck on the top of his head, and the wide-sleeved blue jacket and loose nankeen trousers, and embroidered shoes with thick-paper soles, you would soon have been interested in Se-Bu, and he with his free and easy bearing would soon have been at home with you. His position in life was above that of a common labourer, and his education pretty good for his position. His occupation was considered in China a very respectable one, although you will think that it was very bad. He was a maker of idols, which he carved out of wood as described by the prophet Isaiah. And as he was skilful at bis work, and carved the small household idols which every Chinaman thinks he must possess, he had abundant em-: ployment, and it paid him well.

Had Se-Bu been like Demetrius of Ephesus he would

134

A YOUNG DISCIPLE.

have hated and persecuted Mr. Burns for preaching against idolatry and bringing his craft into danger, and ruining his prospects in life; but instead of that he became from the first one of his most constant and attentive hearers, and he set himself to study the grand question brought before him by the missionary with such simplicity and sincerity, that he soon saw that Cbris. tianity was the true religion, and that all idol worship and idol making was wrong. But what was he to do? Was he to give up his only means of subsistence for himself and for assisting his mother, who was a widow ? Could he not carry it on till he found some other employment? or if he did not do that, might he not get the missionary to promise him some help for a time? No. Se-Bu did none of all these sinful or mean things. He at once gave up the work to which he had been trained, and never either asked or took any help from the foreign teacher. He cast himself on the care of God, and God took care of him. But he did not remain idle; he at once set himself to a new and honest work, and turned his knowledge of carving to a good account. He took a few olive stones, and with his old tools, and his old skill, lie carved them into neat forms, and cut out figures of animals and plants of every kind he could think of, and strung six or eight of them together for a bracelet, and sold them to the merchants for curious ornaments to send to their friends in England. It was a trade before he began, and he found in that way employment enough and money enough for himself and his only parent. It was not long before the young convert asked for baptism, and though he met with opposition from his family and friends he never wavered in his purpose, and he was soon admitted into the Church of Christ. He did not

A YOUNG DISCIPLE.

135

meet with so much opposition as some. His old mother did not say much to a son who was always so kind and obedient in other things, though it was a sad trial him giving up his trade; and his father had been dead for many years, though his body was kept in the house. It lay in its coffin in a small dark room for more than twelve years, and would have lain twenty years longer, awaiting for a lucky day and a lucky place to bury it, had the house not been wanted for a mission chapel, when the priest managed to find both day and place in a very short time, as it in general only requires a little money to make lucky days for funerals or marriages, or anything you like to undertake.

Se-Bu's new trade suited him in many ways; first of all, it was a work he could carry on wherever he liked, he only required to put his tools, like small knives, in his pocket, with a handful of nuts, and he could take his seat where he liked. And one of his seats used to be in the “Good News' Boat,” when it was bound on some voyage of mercy; and there he would sit working diligently till it arrived at its destination, when he thrust his beads and tools into his pocket, took some tracts in one hand, and a Bible in the other, and away to tell his countrymen of the great salvation he had found for himself, which he urged earnestiy on all he met. Many a day and hour did he spend in this voluntary work of evangelization.

Another advantage was that he could study as well as work, and, with his book on his knee, he kept head and hands well employed. Many a chapter did he commit to memory in that way, and many a hymn did he learn to sing and say by heart while at his work, and many a

« PreviousContinue »