Along with the missionary, the Church had sent funds for a house for him and also one for Mackay. So the poor old Chinese house on the bluff was replaced by a modern, comfortable dwelling, and by its side another was built for the new missionary and his family. One room of Mackay's house was used as a study for his students.
After the houses were built and the new doctor was able to use the language, he began to fill a long-felt want. Mackay had always done a little medical work, and the foreign doctor of Tamsui had been most kind in giving his aid, but a doctor of his own, a missionary doctor, was exactly what Kai Bok-su wanted. Soon the sick began to hear of the wonders the missionary doctor could perform, and they flocked to him to be cured.
It must not be supposed that there were not already doctors in north Formosa. There were many in Tamsui alone, and very indignant they were at this new barbarian's success. But the native doctors were about the worst trouble that the people had to bear. Their medical knowledge, like their religion, was a mixture of ignorance and superstition, and some of their practises would have been inexcusable except for the fact that they themselves knew no better. There were two classes of medical men; those who treated internal diseases and those who professed to cure external maladies. It was hard to judge which class did the more mischief, but perhaps the "inside doctors" killed more of their patients. Dog's flesh was prescribed as a cure for dyspepsia, a chip taken from a coffin and boiled and the water drunk was a remedy for catarrh, and an apology made to the moon was a specific for wind-roughened skin. For the dreaded malaria, the scourge of Formosa, the young Canadian doctor found many and amazing remedies prescribed, some worse than the disease itself. The native doctors believed malaria to be caused by two devils in a patient, one causing the chills, the other the fever. One of the commonest remedies, and one that was quite as sensible as any of the rest, was to tie seven hairs plucked from a black dog around the sick one's wrist.
But when the barbarian doctor opened his dispensary in Tamsui, a new era dawned for the poor sick folk of north Formosa. The work went on wonderfully well and Mackay found so much more time to travel in the country that the gospel spread rapidly.
But just when prospects were looking so fair and every one was happy and hopeful, a sad event darkened the bright outlook of the two missionaries. The young doctor had cured scores of cases, and had brought health and happiness to many homes, but he was powerless to keep death from his own door.
And one day, a sad day for the mission of north Formosa, the mother was called from husband and little ones to her home and her reward in heaven.
So the home on the bluff, the beautiful Christian home, which was a pattern for all the Chinese, was broken up. The young doctor was compelled to leave his patients, and taking his motherless children he returned with them to Canada.
The church at home sent out another helper. The Rev. Kenneth Junor arrived one year later, and once more the work received a fresh impetus. And then, just about two years after Mr. Junor's arrival, Kai Bok-su found an assistant of his own right in Formosa, and one who was destined to become a wonderful help to him. And so one bright day, there was a wedding in the chapel of the old Dutch fort, where the British consul married George Leslie Mackay to a Formosan lady. Tui Chhang Mai, her name had been. She was of a beautiful Christian character and for a long time she had been a great help in the church. But as Mrs. Mackay she proved a marvelous assistance to her husband.
It had long been a great grief to the missionary that, while the men would come in crowds to his meetings, the poor women had to be left at home. Sometimes in a congregation of two hundred there would be only two or three women. Chinese custom made it impossible for a man missionary to preach to the women. Only a few of the older ones came out. So the mothers of the little children did not hear about Jesus and so could not teach their little ones about him.
But now everything was changed for them. They had a lady-missionary, and one of their own people too. The Mackays went on a wedding-trip through the country. Kai Bok-su walked, as usual, and his wife rode in a sedan-chair. The wedding-trip was really a missionary tour; for they visited all the chapels, and the women came to the meetings in crowds, because they wanted to hear and see the lady who had married Kai Bok-su. Often, after the regular meetings when the men had gone away, the women would crowd in and gather round Mrs. Mackay and she would tell them the story of Jesus and his love.
It was a wonderful wedding-journey and it brought a double blessing wherever the two went. Their experiences were not all pleasant. One day they traveled over a sand plain so hot that Mackay's feet were blistered. Another time they were drenched with rain. One afternoon there came up a terrific wind storm. It blew Mrs. Mackay's sedan-chair over and sent her and the carriers flying into the mud by the roadside. At another place they all barely escaped drowning when crossing a stream. But the brave young pair went through it all dauntlessly. The wife had caught something of her husband's great spirit of sacrifice, and he was always the man on fire, utterly forgetful of self.
For two years they worked happily together and at last a great day came to Kai Bok-su. He had been nearly eight years in Formosa. It was time he came home, the Church in Canada said, for a little rest and to tell the people at home something of his great work.
And so he and his Formosan wife said good-by, amid tears and regrets on all sides, and leaving Mr. Junor in charge with A Hoa to help, they set sail for Canada. It was just a little over seven years since he had settled in that little hut by the river, despised and hated by every one about him; and now he left behind him twenty chapels, each with a native preacher over it, and hundreds of warm friends scattered over all north Formosa.
He was not quite the same Mackay who had stood on the deck of the America seven years before. His eyes were as bright and daring as ever and his alert figure as full of energy, but his face showed that his life had been a hard one. And no wonder, for he had endured every kind of hardship and privation in those seven years. He had been mobbed times without number. He had faced death often, and day and night since his first year on the island his footsteps had been dogged by the torturing malaria.
But he was still the great, brave Mackay and his home-coming was like the return of a hero from battle. He went through Canada preaching in the churches, and his words were like a call to arms. He swept over the country like one of his own Formosan winds, carrying all before him. Wherever he preached hearts were touched by his thrilling tales, and purses opened to help in his work. Queen's University made him a Doctor of Divinity; Mrs. Mackay, a lady of Detroit, gave him money enough to build a hospital; and his home county, Oxford, presented him with $6,215 with which to build a college.
He visited his old home and had many long talks of his childhood days with his loved ones. And he was reminded of the big stone in the pasture-field which he was so determined to break. And he thanked his heavenly Father for allowing him to break the great rock of heathenism in north Formosa.
He returned to his mission work more on fire than ever. If he had been received with acclaim in his native land, his Formosan friends' welcome was not less warm. Crowds of converts, all his students who were not too far inland, and among them, Mr. Junor, his face all smiles, were thronging the dock, many of them weeping for joy. It was as if a long-absent father had come back to his children.
The work went forward now by leaps and bounds. Mackay's first thought, after a hurried visit to the chapels and their congregations, was to see that the hospital and college were built.
All day long the sound of the builders could be heard up on the bluff near the missionaries' houses, and in a wonderfully short time there arose two beautiful, stately buildings. Mackay hospital they called one, not for Kai Bok-su—he did not like things named for him—but in memory of the husband of the kind lady who had furnished the money for it. The school for training young men in the ministry was called Oxford College, in honor of the county whose people had made it possible.
Oxford College stood just overlooking the Tamsui river, two hundred feet above its waters. The building was 116 feet long and 67 feet wide, and was built of small red bricks brought from across the Formosa Channel. A wide, airy hall ran down the middle of the building, and was used as a lecture-room. On either side were rooms capable of accommodating fifty students and apartments for two teachers and their families. There were, besides, two smaller lecture-rooms, a museum filled with treasures collected from all over Formosa by Dr. Mackay and his students, a library, a bathroom, and a kitchen.
The grounds about the college and hospital were very beautiful. Nature had given one of the finest situations to be found about Tamsui, and Kai Bok-su did the rest. The climate helped him, for it was no great task to have a luxurious garden in north Formosa. So, in a few years there were magnificent trees and hedges, and always glorious flower beds abloom all the time around the missionary premises.
But all this was not accomplished without great toil, and Kai Bok-su appeared never to rest in those building days. It seemed impossible that one man should work so hard, he was in Tamsui superintending the hospital building to-day, and away off miles in the country preaching to-morrow. He never seemed to get time to eat, and he certainly slept less than his allotted four hours.
A great disappointment was pending, however, and one he saw coming nearer every day. The trying Formosan climate was proving too much for his young assistant, and one sad day he stood on the dock and saw Mr. Junor, pale and weak and broken in health, sail away back to Canada.
But there was always a brave soldier waiting to step into the breach, and the next year Kai Bok-su had the joy of welcoming two new helpers, when the Rev. Mr. Jamieson and his wife came out from Canada and settled in the empty house on the bluff. Yes, and in time there came to his own house other helpers—very little and helpless at first they were—but they soon made the house ring with happy noise and filled the hearts of their parents with joy.
There were two ladies now to lead in the work for girls and women. Their sisters in Canada came to their help too. The young men had a school in Formosa, and why should there not be a school for women and girls? they asked. And so the Women's Foreign Missionary Society of Canada sent to Dr. Mackay money to build one. It took only two months to erect it. It stood just a few rods from Oxford College, and was a fine, airy building. Here a native preacher and his wife took up their abode and with the help of Mrs. Mackay and two other native Christian women they strove to teach the girls of north Formosa how to make beautiful Christian homes.
And now to the two missionaries every prospect seemed bright. The college, the girls' school, the hospital, were all in splendid working order. Mr. and Mrs. Jamieson were giving their best assistance. A Hoa and the other native pastors were working faithfully. God's blessing seemed to be showering down upon the work and on every side were signs of growth. And then, right from this shining sky, there fell a storm of such fierceness that it threatened to wipe out completely the whole north Formosan mission.
CHAPTER XI. UNEXPECTED BOMBARDMENT
An enemy's battle-ships off the coast of Formosa! During all the spring rumors of trouble had been coming across the channel from the mainland. France (*) and China had been quarreling over a boundaryline in Tongking. The affair had been settled but not in a way that pleased France. So, without even waiting to declare war, she sent a fleet to the China Sea and bombarded some of her enemy's ports. Formosa, of course, came in for her share of the trouble, and it was early in the summer that the French battle-ships appeared. They hove in sight, sailing down the Formosa Channel or Strait one hot day, and instantly all Formosa was in an uproar of alarm and rage. The rage was greater than the alarm, for China cordially despised all peoples beyond her own border, and felt that the barbarians would probably be too feeble to do them any harm. But that the barbarians should dare to approach their coast with a war-vessel! That was a terrible insult, and the fierce indignation of the people knew no bounds. Their rage broke out against all foreigners. They did not distinguish between the missionary from British soil and the French soldiers on their enemy's vessels. They were all barbarians alike, the Chinese declared, and as such were the deadly foe of China. This Kai Bok-su was in league with the French, and the native Christians all over Formosa were in league with him, and all deserved death!
* War in 1844.
So hard days came for the Christians of north Formosa. Wherever there was a house containing converts, there was riot and disorder. For bands of enraged heathen, armed with knives and swords, would parade the streets about them and threaten all with a violent death the moment the French fired a shot.
In some places near the coast the Christian people dared not leave their houses, and whenever they sent out their children to buy food, often a heathen neighbor would catch them, brandish knives over the terrified little ones' heads and declare they would all be cut to pieces when the barbarian ships came into port.
Every hour of the day and often in the night, letters came from all parts of the country to Dr. Mackay. They were brought by runners who came at great peril of their lives, and were sent by the poor Christians. Each letter told the same tale; the lives and property of all the converts were in grave danger if the enemy did not leave. And they all asked Kai Bok-su to do something to help them.
Now Kai Bok-su was a man with great power and influence both in Formosa and in his far-off Canada, but he had no means of bringing that power to bear on the French. And indeed his own life was in as great danger as any one's.
He wrote to the Christians comforting them and enthusing them with his own spirit. He bade them all be brave, and no matter what came, danger or torture or death itself, they must be true to Jesus Christ. He went about his work in the college or hospital just as usual, though he knew that any day the angry mob from the town below might come raging up to destroy and kill.
The French had entered Kelung harbor and the danger was growing more serious every day when Mackay found it necessary to go to Palm Island, a pretty islet in the mouth of the Kelung river. It was almost courting death to go, but he had been sent for, and he went. He found the place right under the French guns and in the midst of raging Chinese. Some of the faithful students were there, and they were overcome with joy and hope at the sight of him. He gathered them about him in a mission house for prayer and a word of encouragement. Outside the Chinese soldiers paraded up and down. Sometimes indeed they would burst into the room and threaten the inmates with violence should the French fire. Kai Bok-su went on quietly talking to his students. He urged them to be faithful and reminded them of what their Master suffered at the hands of a mob for their sake. But, in spite of their brave spirits, the little company could not help listening for the boom of the French guns. It was fully expected that the enemy would soon fire, and when they did, the Christians well knew there would be little chance for them to escape.
But God had prepared a way out of the difficulty. The meeting was scarcely over when a messenger came in, asking for the missionary. A Christian on the mainland was very ill and wanted Kai Bok-su to visit him. Mackay with his students left the island at once and went to the home of the sick man.
They had been gone but a short time when the thunder of the French cannon broke over the harbor. The guns from the Chinese fort answered, and had the missionary been on Palm Island he and his converts would surely have been killed.
The Chinese were no match for the French gunners. The bombardment destroyed the fort and killed every soldier who did not manage to get away. A great shell crashed into the magazine of the fort, and the explosion hurled masses of the concrete walls an incredible distance. The city about the fort was completely deserted, for the people fled at the first sound of the guns.
As soon as the firing was over, the rabble broke loose and a perfect reign of terror prevailed. The mob carried black flags and swept over town and country, plundering and murdering. The Christians were of course the first object of attack, and to tear down a church was the mob's fiercest joy. Seven of the most beautiful chapels were completely destroyed and many others injured.
In the town of Toa-liong-pong was the home of Koa Kau, one of Kai Bok-su's most devoted students. Here was a lovely chapel built at great expense. The crowd tore it to pieces from roof to foundation. Then, out of the bricks of the ruin they erected a huge pile, eight feet high; they plastered it over with mud, and on the face of it, next the highway where every one might see it, they wrote in large Chinese characters:
MACKAY, THE BLACK-BEARDED BARBARIAN, LIES HERE. HIS WORK IS ENDED.
They knew that the first was not true, but they firmly believed the latter statement, for they understood little of the power of the gospel.
At Sin-tiam the crowd of ruffians smashed the doors and windows of the church. Then they took the communion roll and read aloud the names of the Christians who had been baptized. As each name was announced, some of the murderers would rush off toward the home of the one mentioned. Here they would torture and often kill the members of the family. The native preacher and his family barely escaped with their lives. One good old Christian man with his wife, both over sixty, were dragged out into the deep water of the Sin-tiam river. Here they were given a choice. If they gave up Jesus Christ, their lives would be saved. If they still remained Christians, they would be drowned right there and then. The brave old couple refused to accept life at such a cost.
"I'm not ashamed to own my Lord," was a hymn Kai Bok-su had taught them, and They had meant every word as they had sung it many times in the pretty chapel by the river. And so they were "not ashamed" now. They were led deeper and deeper into the water, and at every few feet the way of escape was offered, but they steadily refused, and were at last flung into the river—faithful martyrs who certainly won a crown of life.
These were only two among many brave Christians who died for their Master's sake. Some were put to tortures too horrible to tell to make them give up their faith. Some were hung by their hair to trees, some were kicked or beaten to death, many were slashed with knives until death relieved their pain. And on every side the most noble Christian heroism was shown. In all ages there have been those who died for their faith in Jesus Christ; and these Formosan followers of their Master proved themselves no less faithful than the martyrs of old.
And where was Kai Bok-su while the mob raged over the country? Going about his work in Tamsui as of old. Only now he worked both night and day, and the anxiety for his poor converts kept him awake in the few hours when he might have snatched some sleep. He was here, there, everywhere at once, it seemed, writing letters to encourage the Christians in distress, visiting those who were wavering to strengthen their faith, teaching his students, praying, preaching, night and day, he never ceased; and always the mob surged about him threatening his life.
The French ships now sailed out of Kelung harbor and took up their position opposite Tamsui. Every one knew this probably meant bombardment, and Dr. Mackay and Mr. Jamieson, standing on the bluff before their houses, looked at each other and each knew the other's thought. Bombardment would mean that the mob would come raging up and destroy both life and property on the hill.
But just as they expected the roar of guns to open, there sailed into Tamsui harbor a vessel that flew a different flag from the French. Mackay, looking at her through a glass, made out with joy the crosses on the red banner of Britain! England had nothing to do with this Chinese-French war, but as a British vessel can be found lying around almost any port in the wide world, there of course happened to be one near Tamsui. She gained a passport into the harbor and sailed in with a very kindly mission; it was to protect the lives of foreigners, not only from the French guns, but from the Chinese mobs.
The ship had been in the harbor but a short time when a young English naval officer, carrying the British flag, came up the path to the houses on the bluff. Dr. Mackay was in the library of Oxford College, lecturing to his students, when the visitor entered.
The missionary made the sailor welcome and the young man told his errand. Dr. Mackay was invited to bring his family and his valuables and come on board the vessel to be the guest of the captain until the disturbance was over.
It was a most kindly invitation and Dr. Mackay shook his visitor's hand warmly as he thanked him. He turned and translated the message to his students, and their hearts stood still with dismay. If Kai Bok-su, their stay and support, were to be taken away, what would become of them? But Kai Bok-su had not changed with the changing circumstances. He was still as brave and undaunted as though trouble had never come to his island.
He turned to the officer again with a smile. "My family would not be hard to move," he said, "but my valuables—I am afraid I could not take them." He made a gesture toward the students standing about him. "These young men and many more converts scattered all over north Formosa, are my valuables. Many of them have faced death unflinchingly for my sake. They are my valuables, and I cannot leave them."
It was bravely said, just as Kai Bok-su might be expected to speak, and the English officer's eyes kindled with appreciation. The words found a ready response in his heart. They were the words of a true soldier of the King. The officer went back to his captain with Mackay's message and with a deep admiration in his heart for the man who would rather face death than leave his friends.
So the British man-of-war drew off, leaving the missionaries in the midst of danger. And almost immediately, with a great bursting roar, the bombardment from the French ships opened. Sometimes the shells flew high over the town and up to the bluff, so Dr. and Mrs. Mackay put their three little ones in a safe corner under the house; but they themselves as well as Mr. and Mrs. Jamieson, went in and out to and from the college, and the girls' school as though nothing were happening.
Every day Mackay's work grew heavier and his anxiety for the persecuted Christians grew deeper. He ate very little, and he scarcely slept at all. It was not the noise of the carnage about him that kept him awake. He would have fallen asleep peacefully amidst bursting shells, but he had no opportunity. The whole burden of the young Church, harassed by persecution on all sides, seemed to rest upon his spirit. Anxiety for the Christians in the inland stations from whom he could not hear weighed on him night and day, and his brave spirit was put to the severest test.
Only his great strong faith in God kept him up and kept up the spirits of the converts who looked to him for an example. And a brave pattern he showed them. Often he and A Hoa paced the lawn in front of the house while shot and shell whizzed around them. During the worst of the bombardment they came and went between the college and the house as if they had charmed lives. One day there was a great roar and a shell struck Oxford College, shaking it to its foundations. The smoke from fort and ships had scarcely cleared away when, crash! and the girls' school was struck by a bursting shell. Next moment there was a fearful bang and a great stone that stood in front of the Mackays' house went up into the air in a thousand fragments.
But when the firing was hottest, Kai Bok-su would repeat to his students the comforting Psalm:
"Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day."
But in spite of his brave demeanor, the strain on the shepherd of this harassed flock was beginning to tell. And when the bombardment ceased and the intense anxiety for his loved ones was over, Kai Bok-su suddenly collapsed. Dr. Johnsen, the foreign physician of Tamsui, came hurriedly up to the mission house to see him. His verdict sent a thrill of dismay through every heart that loved him, from the anxious little wife by the patient's side, to the poorest convert in the town below. Their beloved Kai Bok-su had brain fever.
"Too much anxiety and too little sleep," said the medical man. "He must sleep now," he added, "or he will die." But now that Kai Bok-su had a chance to rest, he could not. Sleep had been chased away too long to stay with him. Night and day he tossed about, wide awake and burning with fever. His temperature was never less than 102 during those days, and all the doctor's efforts could not lower it. The awful heat of September was on, and the great typhoons that would soon sweep across the country and clear the air had not yet come. The glaring sun and the stifling damp heat were all against the patient. At last one day the doctor saw a crisis was approaching. He stood looking down at the hot, flushed face, at the burning eyes, and the restless hands that were never still, and he said to himself, "If the fever does not go down to-day, he will die."
The doctor went along "College Road" toward his home, answering the eager, anxious questions that met him on all sides with only a shake of his head.
A Hoa followed him, his drawn face full of pleading. Was he no better? he asked with quivering lips. It was the question poor A Hoa asked many, many times a day, for he never left the house when not away on duty. The doctor's face was full of sympathy and his own heart weighed down as he sadly answered, "No."
"If I only had some ice," he muttered, knowing well he had none. "If there was only one bit of ice in Tamsui, I'd save him yet."
Over in the British consulate Dr. Johnsen had another patient. Mr. Dodd lay sick there, though not nearly as ill as the missionary, and the physician's next visit was to him. When he entered he found a servant carrying a tray with some ice on it to the sick room.
"Ice!" cried the doctor, overjoyed. "Where did it come from?"
The servant explained that the steamship Hailoong had just arrived in Tamsui harbor with it that morning. The doctor entered Mr. Dodd's room. Would he give him that ice to save Mackay's life? was the question he asked. To save such a life as Mackay's! That was an absurd question, Mr. Dodd declared, and he immediately ordered that every bit of ice he had should be sent at once to the missionary's house.
The doctor hurried back up the hill with the precious remedy. He broke up a piece and laid it like a little cushion on poor Kai Bok-su's hot forehead; that forehead beneath which the busy brain, resting neither day nor night, was burning up. It had not been there a great while before the restless eyes lost their fire, the eyelids drooped and, wonderful sight, Kai Bok-su sank into a sleep! The doctor hardly dared to breathe If he could only be kept asleep now, he had a chance. Dr. Mackay had never been a sleeper, he well knew. He was too restless, too energetic, to allow himself even proper rest. When Dr. Fraser, his first assistant, had been with him, he had struggled to persuade him to stay in bed at least six hours every night, but not always with success. But now he was to show what he could do in the matter of sleeping. All that night he lay, breathing peacefully, the next day he slept on from morning till night, and little by little the ice melted away on his forehead. He did not move all the next night, and A Hoa and Mrs. Mackay and the doctor took turns at his bedside watching that the precious ice was always there. Morning came and it was all finished. The patient opened his eyes. He had slept thirty-six hours, and a thrill of joy went through every Christian heart in Tamsui, for their Kai Bok-su was saved!
But though the crisis was over, he was still very weak, and such was the state of affairs through the country that he was in no condition to cope with them. Riot and plunder was the order of the day. News of churches being destroyed, of faithful Christians being tortured or put to death, were still coming to the mission house, and no one could tell what day would bring Kai Boksu's turn.
And now came an order from the British consul which the missionaries could not disobey. He commanded that their families must be moved at once from Formosa, as he could not answer for their protection. So at once preparations for their departure were made, and Mr. Jamieson took his wife and Mrs. Mackay and her three little ones and sailed away for Hongkong.
But once more Kai Bok-su stayed behind. It cost him bitter pain to part with his loved ones, knowing he might never see them again; he was weak and spent with fever, and his poor body was worn to a shadow, but he stubbornly refused to leave the men who had stood by him in every danger. The consul commanded, the doctor pleaded, but no, Kai Bok-su would not go. If the danger had grown greater, then all the more reason why he should stay and comfort his people. And if God were pleased to send death, then they would all die together.
But he was so weak and sick that the doctor feared that if he remained there would be little chance for the mob to kill him: death would come sooner. So he came to his stubborn patient with a new proposition. The Fukien, a merchant steamship, was now lying in Tamsui harbor. She was to run to Hongkong and back directly. If Mackay would only take that trip, his physician urged, the sea air would make him new again, and he would return in a short time and be ready to take up his work once more.
It was that promise that moved Mackay's resolution. His utter weakness held him down from work, and he longed with all his soul to go out through the country to help the poor, suffering churches. So he finally consented to take the short journey and pay a visit to his dear ones in Hongkong.
He did not get back quite as soon as he intended, for the French blockade delayed his vessel. But at last he stepped out upon the Tamsui dock into a crowd of preachers, students, and converts who were weeping for joy about him and exclaiming over his improved looks.
The voyage had certainly done wonders for him, and at once he declared he must take a trip into the country and visit those who were left of the churches.
It was a desperate undertaking, for French soldiers were now scattered through the country, guarding the larger towns and cities and everywhere mobs of furious Chinese were ready to torture or kill every foreigner. But it would take even greater difficulties than these to stop Kai Bok-su, and he began at once to lay plans for going on a tour.
He first went to the British consul and came back in high spirits with a folded paper in his hand. He spread it out on the library table before A Hoa and Sun-a, who were to go with him, and this is what it said:
British Consulate, Tamsui,
May 27th, 1885.
To THE OFFICER IN CHIEF COMMAND OF THE FRENCH FORCES AT KELUNG:
The bearer of this paper, the Rev. George Leslie Mackay, D.D., a British subject, missionary in Formosa, wishes to enter Kelung, to visit his chapel and his house there, and to proceed through Kelung to Kap-tsu-lan on the east coast of Formosa to visit his converts there. Wherefore I, the undersigned, consul for Great Britain at Tamsui, do beg the officer in chief command of the French forces in Kelung to grant the said George Leslie Mackay entry into, and a free and safe passage through, Kelung. He will be accompanied by two Chinese followers, belonging to his mission, named, respectively, Giam Chheng Hoa, and Iap Sun. A. FRATER, Her Britannic Majesty's Consul at Tamsui.
They had all the power of the British Empire behind them so long as they held that paper. Then they hired a burdenbearer to carry their food, and Mackay cut a bamboo pole, fully twenty feet long, and on it tied the British flag. With this floating over them, the little army marched through the rice-fields down to Kelung.
It was an adventurous journey. But, wonderful though it seemed, they came through it safely. Poor Kai Bok-su's heart was torn as he saw the ravages the mob had made on his churches. But what a cheer his heart received when he found that persecution had strengthened the converts that were left and everywhere the heathen marveled that men should die for the faith the barbarian missionary had taught. They were taken prisoners once for German spies, and led far out of their way. But they came back to Tamsui safely, having greatly cheered the faithful Christians who still were true to their Master, Jesus Christ. It was early in June, just one year from the opening of the war, that the French sailed away. They were disgusted with the whole affair, the commander of one vessel told Dr. Mackay, and they were all very glad it was over.
Mr. and Mrs. Jamieson and Dr. Mackay's family returned to their homes on the bluff, and work started up again with its old vigor.
But everywhere the heathen were in great glee. Christianity had been destroyed with the chapels, they were sure. Wherever Mackay went, shouts of derision followed him, and everywhere he could hear the joyful cry "Long-tsong bo-khi!" which meant "The mission is wiped out!"
But strange though it may seem, the mission had never been stronger, and it soon began to assert itself. Dr. Mackay went at the work of repairing the lost buildings with all the force of his nature. First, he and Mr. Jamieson and A Hoa sat down and prepared a statement of their losses. This they sent to the commander-in-chief of the Chinese forces, who had been responsible for law and order. Without any delay or questioning of the missionaries' rights, the general sent Dr. Mackay the sum asked for—ten thousand Mexican dollars. (*)
The next thing was to plan the new chapels and see to the building of them. And before the shouts of "Long-tsong bo-khi" had well started, they began to be contradicted by walls of brick or stone that rose up strong and sure to show that the mission had not been wiped out. Three of the chapels were commenced all at once—at Sintiam, at Bang-kah and at Sek-khau. Before anything was done Dr. Mackay and a party of his students went up to Sin-tiam to look over the site. They stood up on the pile of ruins, surrounded by the Christians, and a crowd of heathen came around gleefully to watch them in the hopes of seeing their despair.
But to their amazement the little company of Christians led by the wonderful Kai Bok-su, suddenly burst into a hymn of praise to God who had brought them safely through all their troubles:
Bless, O my soul, the Lord thy God, And not forgetful be Of all his gracious benefits He hath bestowed on thee!
The heathen listened in wonder to the words of praise where they had expected lamentation, and they asked each other what was this strange power that made men so strong and brave.
And their amazement grew as the chapels, the lovely new chapels of stone or brick, began to rise from the ruins of the old ones. And not only did the old ones reappear, new and more beautiful, but as Dr. Mackay and his native preachers went here and there over the country others peeped forth like the hepaticas of springtime, until there were not only the forty original chapels, but in a few years the number had increased to sixty.
The triumphant shout that the mission had been wiped out ceased completely, and the people declared that they had been fools to try to destroy the chapels, for the result had been only bigger and better ones.
"Look now," said one old heathen, pointing a withered finger to the handsome spire of the Bang-kah chapel, that lifted itself toward the sky, "Look now, the chapel towers above our temple. It is larger than the one we destroyed."
His neighbors crowding about him and gazing up with superstitious awe at the spire, agreed.
"If we touch this one he will build another and a bigger one," remarked another man.
"We cannot stop the barbarian missionary," said the old heathen with an air of conviction.
"No, no one can stop the great Kai Boksu," they finally agreed, and so they left off all opposition in despair.
Yes, the cry of "Long-tsong bo-khi" had died, and the answer to it was inscribed on the front of the splendid chapels that sprang up all over north Formosa. For, just above the main entrance to each, worked out in stucco plaster, was a picture of the burning bush, and around it in Chinese the grand old motto:
"Nec tamen consumebatur" ("Yet it was not consumed.")
CHAPTER XII. TRIUMPHAL MARCH
Up and down the length and breadth of north Formosa, seeming to be in two or three places at once, went Kai Bok-su, during this time of reviving after the war. He would be in Kelung to-day superintending the new chapel building, in Tamsui at Oxford College the next day, in Bangkah preaching a short while after, and no one could tell just where the next day.
But every one did know that wherever he went, Christians grew stronger and heathen gave up their idols. The Kap-tsu-lan plain, away on the eastern coast, seemed to be a sort of pet among all his mission fields, and he was always turning his steps thither. For the Pe-pohoan who lived there, while they were simple and warm-hearted and easily moved by the gospel story, were not such strong characters as the Chinese. So the missionary felt he must visit them often to help steady their faith.
Not long after the close of the war, he set off on a trip to the Kap-tsu-lan plain. Besides his students, he was accompanied by a young German scientist Dr. Warburg had come from Germany to Formosa to collect peculiar plants and flowers and to find any old weapons or relics of interest belonging to the savage tribes. All these were for the use of the university in Germany which had sent him out.
The young scientist was delighted with Dr. Mackay and found in him a very interesting companion. They met in Kelung, and when Dr. Warburg found that Dr. Mackay was going to visit the Kap-tsu-lan plain, he joined his party. The stranger found many rare specimens of orchids on that trip and several peculiar spear and arrow heads to be taken back as curios to Germany. But he found something rarer and more wonderful and something for which he had not come to search.
He saw in one place three hundred people gather about their missionary and raise a ringing hymn of praise to the God of heaven, of whom they had not so much as heard but a few short years before. He visited sixteen little chapels and heard clever, brightfaced young Chinese preachers stand up in them and tell the old, old story of Jesus and his love. And he realized that these things were far more wonderful than the rarest curios he could find in all Formosa.
When he bade good-by to Dr. Mackay, he said: "I never saw anything like this before. If scientific skeptics had traveled with a missionary as I have and witnessed what I have witnessed on this plain, they would assume a different attitude toward the heralds of the cross."
Not many months later Dr. Mackay again went down the eastern coast. This time he took three of his closest friends, all preacher students, Tan be, Sun-a, and Koa Kau. With a coolie to carry provisions, their Bibles, their forceps, and some malaria medicine, they started off fully equipped.
By steam launch to Bang-kah, by a queer little railway train to Tsui-tng-kha and by foot to Kelung was the first part of the journey. The next part was a tramp over the mountains to Kap-tsu-lan.
The road now grew rough and dangerous. Overhead hung loose rocks, huge enough to crush the whole party should they fall. Underneath were wet, slippery stones which might easily make one go sliding down into the chasm below.
As usual on this trip they had many hairbreadth escapes, for there were savages too hiding up in the dense forest and waiting an opportunity to spring out upon the travelers. Dr. Mackay was almost caught in a small avalanche also. He leaped over a narrow stream-bed, and as he did so, he dislodged a loose mass of rock above him. It came down with a fearful crash, scattering the smaller pieces right upon his heels; but they passed all dangers safely and toward evening reached the shore where the great long Pacific billows rolled upon the sand. They were in the Kap-tsu-lan plain.
Their journey through the plain was like a triumphal march. Wherever a chapel had been erected, there were converts to be examined; wherever there was no chapel, the people gathered about the missionary and pleaded for one. They often recalled the first visit of Kai Bok-su when "No room for barbarians" were the only words that met him.
But Dr. Mackay wished to go farther on this journey than he had ever gone. Some distance south of Kap-tsu-lan lay another district called the Ki-lai plain. The people here were also aborigines of the island who had been conquered by the Chinese like the Pepo-hoan. But the inhabitants of Ki-lai were called Lam-si-hoan, which means "Barbarians of the south." Dr. Mackay had never been among them, but they had heard the gospel. A missionary from Oxford College had journeyed away down there to tell the people about Jesus and had been working among them for some years. He was not a graduate, not even a student—but only the cook! For Oxford College was such a place of inspiration under Kai Bok-su, that even the servants in the kitchen wanted to go out and preach the gospel. So the cook had gone away to the Ki-lai plain, and, ever since he had left, Dr. Mackay had longed to go and see how his work was prospering.
So at one of the most southerly points of the Kap-tsu-lan plain he secured a boat for the voyage south. The best he could get was a small craft quite open, only twelve feet long. It was not a very fine vessel with which to brave the Pacific Ocean, but where was the crazy craft in which Kai Bok-su would not embark to go and tell the gospel to the heathen? The boat was manned by six Pe-po-hoan rowers, all Christians, and at five o'clock in the evening they pushed out into the surf of So Bay. A crowd of converts came down to the shore to bid them farewell. As the boat shoved off the friends on the beach started a hymn. The rowers and the missionaries caught it up and the two groups joined, the sound of each growing fainter and fainter to the other as the distance widened.
All lands to God in joyful sounds Aloft your voices raise, Sing forth the honor of his name, And glorious make his praise!
And the land and the sea, answering each other, joined in praise to him who was the Maker of both.
And so the rowers pulled away in time to the swing of the Psalm, the boat rounded a point, and the beloved figure of Kai Bok-su disappeared from sight.
Away down the coast the oarsmen pulled, and the four missionaries squeezed themselves into as small a space as possible to be out of the way of the oars. All the evening they rowed steadily, and as they still swept along night came down suddenly. They kept close to the shore, where to their right arose great mountains straight up from the water's edge. They were covered with forest, and here and there in the blackness fires twinkled.
"Head-hunters!" said the helmsman, pointing toward them.
Away to the left stretched the Pacific. Ocean, and above shone the stars in the deep blue dome. It was a still, hot tropical night. From the land came the heavy scent of flowers. The only sound that broke the stillness was the regular thud, thud of the oars or the cry of some wild animal floating out from the jungle. As they passed on through the warm darkness, the sea took on that wonderful fiery glow that so often burns on the oceans of the tropics. Every wave became a blaze of phosphorescence. Every ripple from the oars ran away in many-colored flames—red, green, blue, and orange. Kai Bok-su, sitting amazed at the glory to which the Pe-po-hoan boatmen had become accustomed, was silent with awe. He had seen the phosphorescent lights often before, but never anything like this. He put his hand down into the molten sea and scooped up handfuls of what seemed drops of liquid fire. And as his fingers dipped into the water they shone like rods of red-hot iron. Over the gleaming iridescent surface, sparks of fire darted like lightning, and from the little boat's sides flashed out flames of gold and rose and amber. It was grand. And no wonder they all joined—Chinese, Malayan, and Canadian—in making the dark cliffs and the gleaming sea echo to the strains of praise to the One who had created all this glory.
O come let us sing to the Lord, To him our voices raise With joyful noise, Let us the rock Of our salvation praise. To him the spacious sea belongs, For he the same did make; The dry land also from his hand Its form at first did take.
Dawn came up out of the Pacific with a new glory of light and color that dispelled the wonders of the night. It showed the voyagers that they were very near a low shore where it would be possible to land. But the helmsman shook his head at the proposal. He pointed out huts along the line of forest and figures on the shore. And then with a common impulse, the rowers swung round and pulled straight out to sea; for with Pe-po-hoan experience they saw at once that here was a savage village, and not long would their heads remain on their shoulders should they touch land.
The scorching sun soon poured its hot rays upon the tired rowers, but they pulled steadily. They too, like Kai Bok-su, were anxious to take this great good news of Jesus Christ to those who had not yet learned of him. When safely out of reach of the headhunters, they once more turned south, and, about noon, tired and hot, at last approached the first port of the Ki-lai plain. Every one drew a sigh of relief, for the men had been rowing steadily all night and half the day. As they drew near Dr. Mackay looked eagerly at the queer village. It appeared to be half Chinese and half Lam-si-hoan. It consisted of two rows of small thatched houses with a street between nearly two hundred feet wide.
The rowers ran the boat up on the sloping pebbly beach and all stepped out with much relief to stretch their stiffened limbs. They had scarcely done so when a military officer came down the shore and approaching Dr. Mackay made him welcome with the greatest warmth. There was a military encampment here, and this was the officer as well as the headman of the village. He invited Dr. Mackay and his friends to take dinner with him. Dr. Mackay accepted with pleased surprise. This was far better than he had expected. He was still more surprised to hear his name on every hand.
"It is the great Kai Bok-su," could be heard in tones of deepest respect from fishermen at their nets and old women by the door and children playing with their kites in the wide street.
"How do they know me?" he asked, as he was greeted by a rice-seller, sitting at the open front of his shop.
"Ah, we have heard of you and your work in the north, Pastor Mackay," said his host, smiling, "and our people want to hear of this new Jehovah-religion too."
The cook-missionary had evidently spread wonderful reports of Kai Bok-su and his gospel and so prepared the way. He was preaching just then in a place called Ka-le-oan, farther inland. When the officer learned that Dr. Mackay wanted to visit him he turned to his servant with a most surprising order. It was to saddle his pony and bring him for Kai Bok-su to ride to Ka-le-oan.
The pony came, sleek and plump and with a string of jingling bells adorning him. A pony was a wonderful sight in Formosa, and Dr. Mackay had not used any sort of animal in his work since that disastrous day when he had tried in vain to ride the stubborn Lu-a. But now he gladly mounted the sedate little steed and trotted away along the narrow pathway between the rice-fields toward Ka-le-oan.
Darkness had almost descended when he rode into the village and stopped before a small grass-covered bamboo dwelling where the cook-preacher lived. For years the people here had looked for Kai Bok-su's coming, for years they had talked of this great event, and for years their preacher had been writing and saying as he received his reply from the eager missionary in Tamsui, "He may come soon."
And now he was really here! The sound of his horse's bells had scarcely stopped before the preacher's house, when the news began to spread like fire through the village. The preacher, who had worked so hard and waited so long, wept for joy, and before he could make Dr. Mackay welcome in a proper manner the room was filled with men, all wildly eager for a sight of the great Kai Bok-su, while outside a crowd gathered about the door striving to get even a glimpse of him. The ex-cook of Oxford College had preached so faithfully that many were already converted to Christianity, many more knew a good deal of the gospel, and crowds were ready to throw away their idols. They were weary of their heathen rites and superstitions. They were longing for something better, they scarcely knew what. "But the mandarin will not let them become Christians," said the preacher anxiously. "It is he who is keeping them from decision. He has said that they must continue in idolatry, as a token of loyalty to China."
"Are you sure that is true?" cried Dr. Mackay.
The converts nodded. They had "heard" it said at least.
But Kai Bok-su was not the man to accept mere hearsay. He was always wisely careful to avoid any collision with the authorities. But remembering the kindness shown him back in Hoe-lien-kang, he could not quite believe that the mandarin who had been so kind to him could be hostile to the religion of Jesus Christ.
To think was to act, and early the next morning, he was riding back to the seacoast, to inquire how much of this rumor was true.
His reception was very warm. It was all right, the officer declared. Whatever had been said or done in the past must be forgotten. Kai Bok-su might go where he pleased and preach his Jehovah-religion to whomsoever he would.
It was a very light-hearted rider the pony carried as he galloped back along the narrow paths, with the good news for the villagers. The word went round as soon as he arrived. Kai Bok-su wanted to know how many were for the true God. All who would worship him were at once to clear their houses of idols and declare that they would serve Jehovah and him only. At dark a great crowd gathered in an open space in the village. Representatives from five villages were there, chiefs were shouting to their people, and when Dr. Mackay and his students arrived, the place was all noise and confusion. He was puzzled. It almost looked as if there was to be a riot, though the voices did not sound angry.
He climbed up on a pile of rubbish and his face shone clear in the light of the flaring torches. His voice rang out loud and commanding above the tumult.
"What is this noise about?" he cried. "Is there a difference of opinion among you as to whether you shall worship these poor toys of wood and stone, or the true God who is your Father?"
He paused and as if from one man came back the answer in a mighty shout:
"No, we will worship the true God!"
The tumult had been one of enthusiasm and not of dispute!
Kai Bok-su's heart gave a great bound. For a moment he could not speak. He who had so often stood up fearless and bold before a raging heathen mob, now faltered before this sea of eager faces, upturned to him. It seemed too good to be true that all this crowd, representing five villages, was anxious to become followers of the God of heaven. His voice grew steady at last, and standing up there in the flickering torchlight he told those children of the plain what it meant to be a follower of Jesus Christ. It was a late hour when the meeting broke up, but even then Dr. Mackay could not go to bed. Never since the day that A Hoa, his first convert, had accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior, had he felt such joy, and all night he walked up and down in front of the preacher's house, unable to sleep for the thankfulness to God that surged in his heart.
Morning brought a wonderful day for the Ki-lai plain. It was like a day when freedom from slavery was announced. Had there been bells in the village they would certainly have been rung. But joy bells were ringing in every heart. Nobody could work all day. The rice-fields and the shops and the pottery works lay idle. There was but one business to do that day, and that was to get rid of their idols.
Early in the morning the mayor of the place, or the headman as he was called, came to the house to invite the missionary and his party to join him. Behind him walked four big boys, carrying two large wicker baskets, hanging from poles across their shoulders; and behind them came the whole village, men, women, and children, their faces shining with a new joy. The procession moved along from house to house. At every place it stopped and out from the home were carried idols, ancestral tablets, mock-money, flags, incense sticks, and all the stuff used in idol worship. These were all emptied into the baskets carried by the boys. When even the temple had been ransacked and the work of clearing out the idols in the village was finished, the procession moved on to the next hamlet. The villages were very near each other, so the journey was not wearisome; and at last when every vestige of the old idolatrous life had been taken from the homes of five villages, the happy crowd marched back to the first village. There was a large courtyard near the temple and here the procession halted. The boys dropped their well-filled baskets, and their contents were piled in the center of the court. The people gathered about the heap and with shouts of joy set fire to these signs of their lifelong slavery. Soon the pile was blazing and crackling, and all the people, even the chiefs of the villages, vied with each other in burning up the idols they had so lately besought for blessings.
And then they turned toward the heathen temple and delivered it over to Kai Bok-su for a chapel in which he and his students might preach the gospel.
And so the temple was lighted up for a new kind of worship. It had been used for worship many, many times before, but oh, how different it was this time! Instead of coming in fear of demons, dread of their gods' anger, and determination to cheat them if possible, these poor folk crowded into the new-old temple with light, happy hearts, as children coming to their Father. And was not God their Father, only they had not known him before?
The heathen temple was dedicated to the worship of the true God by singing the old but always new, one hundredth Psalm. The Lam-si-hoan were not very good singers. They had not much idea of tune. They had less idea of just when to start, and there was very little to be said about the harmony of those hundreds of voices. But in spite of it all, Kai Bok-su had to confess that never in the music of his homeland or in the more finished harmonies of Europe, had he heard anything so grandly uplifting as when those newly-freed people stood up in their idol temple and with heart and soul and voice unitedly poured forth in thunderous volume of praise the great command:
All people that on earth do dwell, Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice.
For a whole week with his pony and groom, which were still his to do with as he pleased, the busy missionary rode up and down this plain, visiting the villages, preaching, and teaching the people how to live as Jesus Christ their Savior had lived; for it was necessary to impress upon their childlike minds that it would be of no use to burn up the idols in their homes and temple unless they also gave up the still more harmful idols in their hearts.
But at last the day came when the pony had to be returned to its owner and the missionary and his helpers must leave. It was a sad day but a joyous one—the day that great visit came to an end. Crowds of Christians, fain to keep him, followed him down to the shore, and many kindly but reluctant hands shoved the little boat out into the surf. And as the rowers sent it skimming out over the great Pacific rollers, there rose from the beach the parting hymn, the one that had dedicated the heathen temple to the worship of the true God:
All people that on earth do dwell, Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice.
and from the rowers and the missionaries in the boat, came back the glad echo:
Know that the Lord is God indeed Without our aid he did us make.
They were soon out of sight. The rowers pulled hard, but a stiff northeaster straight from Japan was blowing against them, and they made but little headway. Night came down, and they were again skirting those dark cliffs, where, here and there, along the narrow strip of sand, the night-fires of the savages flamed out against the dark tangle of foliage. All night long the rowers struggled against the wind. They were afraid to go out far for the waves were wild, they dared not land, for, crueler than the sea, the head-hunters waited for them on the shore. And so all that night, taking turns with the rowers, the missionary and his students toiled against the wind and wave. The dawn came up gray and stormy, and they were still tossing about among the white billows. No one had touched food for twenty-four hours. They had rice in the boat, but there was no place where they dared land to have it cooked. There was nothing to do but to pull, pull at the oars, and a weary task it seemed, for the boat appeared to make little headway, and the rowers barely succeeded in keeping her from being dashed upon the rocks.
They were becoming almost too weak to keep any control over their boat, when about three o'clock in the afternoon they managed to round a point. There before them curved a beautiful bay. Behind it and on both sides arose a perpendicular wall several hundred feet high. At its foot stretched a narrow sandy beach. It was an ideal spot, secure from savages both by land and sea. A shout of encouragement from Kai Bok-su was the one thing needed. Tired arms and aching backs bent to the oars for one last effort, and when the boat swept up on the sandy beach every one uttered a heartfelt prayer of thankfulness to the Father who had provided this little haven in a time of such distress.
The rest of the journey was made safely, and just forty days after their departure the four missionaries returned, worn out, to Tamsui.
CHAPTER XIII. THE LAND OCCUPIED
But Kai Bok-su had no sooner returned than he was off again. He was not one of that sort who could settle down after an achievement, content to rest for a little. He seemed to forget all about what had been done and was "up and at it again." If he "did not know when he was beaten," neither did he seem to know when he was successful; and like Alexander the Great he was always sighing for new worlds to conquer, yes, and marching off and conquering them too.
But every time he returned to his work at Tamsui from one of these tours, it was borne in upon him more forcibly every day that his faithful assistant who was left in charge, could not long shoulder his work. Mr. Jamieson was fighting a losing battle with ill health. The terrible experiences during the war year, the hard work, and the trying Formosan climate had all combined against him. His brave spirit could not always sustain the body that was growing gradually weaker, and one day, a dark, sad day, the devoted soul was set free from the poor pain-racked body. He had given eight years of hard, faithful work to the study of the language and to the service of the Master in the mission. Mrs. Jamieson returned to Canada, and once more Dr. Mackay faced the work, unaided except by native preachers. But he was not daunted even by this bereavement, for he always lived in the perfect faith that God was on his side.
And then, he had by this time three new assistants in the mission-house on the bluff. They did not even guess that they were any help to him, for they could never go with him on his mission tours. But by their sweet merry ways and their joyous welcome to father, when he returned, they did help him greatly, and made his home-comings a delight.
"How many did you baptize, father?" was baby George's inevitable question on his father's return. For already the wise toddler had learned something of the bitter enmity of the heathen world, and knew that converts meant friends. Then father's home-coming meant presents too, wonderful things, bows and arrows, rare curios for the museum in the college, and, once, a pair of the funniest monkeys in the world, which proved most entertaining playthings for the little boy and his two sisters. Another time the father brought home a young bear to keep the monkeys company, but they were not at all polite to their guest, for they made poor bruin's life miserable by teasing him. They would torment him until he would stamp with rage. But he was not always badly used, for when the three children would come out to feed him, he was very happy, and he would show his pleasure by putting his head between his paws and rolling over and over like a big ball of fur. And he always seemed quite proud of his performance when his three little keepers shrieked with laughter.
The next year after Mr. Jamieson's death the empty mission-house was once more filled. In September the Rev. Mr. William and Mrs. Gauld sailed from Canada, and with their arrival Dr. Mackay took new heart.
The new missionaries had learned the language and their work was well under way when the time came round once more for Dr. Mackay to go back to Canada for a year's rest. This time there was quite a little party went with him: his wife, their three children, and Koa Kau, one of his students.
Among those left to assist Mr. Gauld, there was none he relied upon more than A Hoa. Mr. Gauld, at the close of his second year's work, wrote of this fellow worker: "The longer and better I know him, the more I can love him, trust his honesty, and respect his judgment. He knows his own people, from the governor of the island to the ragged opium-smoking beggar, and has influence with them all."
There were many others besides A Hoa to render the missionary faithful help; among them Sun-a and Tan He, the latter pastor of the church of Sin-tiam; and just because Kai Bok-su was away they worked the harder, that he might receive a good report of them on his return.
The separation was longer this time, for Dr. Mackay wished to send his children to school, and he decided that they would remain in Canada two years. He was made Moderator of the General Assembly, too, and the Church at home needed him to stir them up to a greater desire to help those beyond the seas.
While he was working and preaching in Canada, his heart turned always to his beloved Formosa, and letters from the friends there were among his greatest pleasures. A Hoa's of course, were doubly welcome. Pastor Giam, the name by which he was now called, was Mr. Gauld's right-hand helper in those days, and once he went alone on a tour away to the eastern shore. While there he had an adventure of which he wrote to Kai Bok-su.
"The other morning while walking on the seashore I saw a sailing-vessel slowly drifting shoreward and in danger of being wrecked, for there was a fog and a heavy sea. I hastened back to the chapel and beat the drum to call the villagers to worship. As soon as it was over I asked converts and heathen to go in their fishing-boats as quickly as possible and let the sailors know they need not fear savages there, and if they wished to come ashore a chapel would be given them to stay in. The whole crew came ashore in the boats at once. I gave your old room to the captain, his wife and child, and other accommodation to the rest. I then hurried away to a mandarin and asked him to send men to protect the ship."
When Kai Bok-su read the story and remembered that, twenty-five years earlier, the crew of that vessel would have been murdered and their ship plundered, he exclaimed with joy, "Blessed Christianity! Surely,
Blessings abound where'er He reigns!"
A Hoa had another tale to tell. One afternoon he had a strange congregation in that little chapel. There were one hundred and forty-six native converts and twenty-one Europeans. These were made up of seven nationalities, British, American, French, Danish, Turkish, Swiss, and Norwegian. Their ship was from America and was bound for Hongkong with coal-oil.
They were amazed at seeing a pretty, neat chapel away in this wild, remote place, which they had always supposed was overrun by head-hunters, and indeed it was just that little chapel that had made the great change. These men now entered it and joined the natives in worshiping the true God, where, only a few years before, their blood would have stained the sands.
A Hoa told them something of the great Kai Bok-su and the struggles he had had with savages and other enemies, when he first came to this region. The visitors were very much interested and did not wonder that the name "Kai Bok-su" was held in such reverence. When they left, the captain presented the little chapel with a bell, a lamp, and a mirror which were on board his ship.
The long months of separation were rolling around, when something happened that brought Kai Bok-su back to his island in great haste. Once more war swept over Formosa. This time the trouble was between China and Japan. The big Empire proved no match for the clever Japanese, and everywhere China was forced to give in.
One of the places which Japan set her affections on was Formosa. She must have the Beautiful Isle and have it at once. China was in no position to say no, so the Chinese envoy went on board a Japanese vessel and sailed toward Formosa. When in sight of its lovely mountains, without any ceremony he pointed to the land and said, "There it is, take it." And that was how Formosa became a province of Japan. At noon on May 26, 1895, the dragon flag of China was hauled down from Formosan forts and the banner of Japan was hoisted.
Of course this was not done without a struggle. The Formosans themselves fought hard, and in the fight the Christians came in for times of trouble. So Kai Bok-su, hearing that his "valuables" were again in danger, set sail for Tamsui.
When he arrived the war was practically over, but everywhere were signs of strife. As soon as he was able, he took A Hoa and Koa Kau and visited the chapels all over the country. Everywhere were sights to make his heart very sad. The Japanese soldiers had used many of the chapels for military stables, and they were in a filthy state. At one place the native preacher was a prisoner, the Japanese believing him to be a spy. At another village the Christians sadly led their missionary out to a tea plantation and showed him the place where their beloved pastor had been shot by the Japanese soldiers. Mackay stood beside his grave, his heart heavy with sorrow.
But his courage never left him. The native Christians everywhere forgot their woes in the great joy of seeing him once more; and he joined them in a brave attempt to put things to rights once more. The Japanese paid for all damages done by their soldiers and in a short time the work was going on splendidly.
"We have no fear," wrote Dr. Mackay. "The King of kings is greater than Emperor or Mikado. He will rule and overrule all things."
His faith was rewarded, for when the troublous time was over, the government of Japan proved better than that of China, and on the whole the trial proved a blessing.
Oxford College had been closed while Dr. Mackay was away, and the girls' school had not been opened since the war commenced, for it was not safe for the girls and women to leave their homes during such disturbed times. But now both schools reopened, and again Kai Bok-su with his cane and his book and his crowd of students could be seen going up to the lecture halls, or away out on the Formosan roads.
He had conquered so often, overcome such tremendous obstacles, and faced unflinchingly so many awful dangers for the sake of his converts, that it was no wonder that they adored him, their feeling amounting almost to worship. "Kai Bok-su says it must be so" was sufficient to compel any one in the north Formosa Church to do what was required. Surely never before was a man so wonderfully rewarded in this life. He had given up all he possessed for the glory of his Master and he had his full compensation.
A few happy years sped round. The time for him to go back home again was drawing near when there came the first hint that he might soon be called on a longer furlough than he would have in Canada.
At first, when the dread suspicion began to be whispered in the halls of Oxford College and in the chapel gatherings throughout the country, people refused to believe it. Kai Bok-su ill? No, no, it was only the malaria, and he always arose from that and went about again. It could not be serious.
But in spite of the fact that loving hearts refused to accept it, there was no use denying the sad fact. There was something wrong with Kai Bok-su. For months his voice had been growing weaker, the doctors had examined his throat, and attended him, but it was all of no use. At last he could not speak at all, but wrote his words on a slate.
And everywhere in north Formosa, converts and students and preachers watched and waited and prayed most fervently that he might soon recover. Those who lived in Tamsui whispered to each other in tones of dread, as they watched him come and go with slower steps than they had been accustomed to see.
"He will be well next month," they would say hopefully, or, "He will look like himself when the rains dry." But little by little the conviction grew that the beloved missionary was seriously ill, and a great gloom settled all over north Formosa. There was a little gleam of joy when the doctor in Tamsui advised him finally to go to Hongkong and see a specialist He went, leaving many loving hearts waiting anxiously between hope and fear to hear what the doctors would say. And prayers went up night and day from those who loved him. From the heart-broken wife in the lonely house on the bluff to the farthest-off convert on the Ki-lai plain, every Christian on the island, even those in the south Formosa mission, prayed that the useful life might be spared.
But God had other and greater plans for Kai Bok-su. He came back from Hongkong, and the first look at his pale face told the dreaded truth. The shadow of death lay on it.
Those were heart-breaking days in north Formosa. From all sides came such messages of devotion that it seemed as if the passionate love of his followers must hold him back. But a stronger love was calling him on. And one bright June day, in 1901, when the green mountainsides, the blue rivers, and the waving rice-fields of Formosa lay smiling in the sun, Kai Bok-su heard once more that call that had brought him so far from home. Once more he obeyed, and he opened his eyes on a new glory greater than any of which he had ever dreamed. The task had been a hard one. The "big stone" had been stubborn, but it had been broken, and not long after the noontide of his life the tired worker was called home.
They laid his poor, worn body up on the hill above the river, beside the bodies of the Christians he had loved so well. And the soft Formosan grass grew over his grave, the winds roared about it, and the river and the sea sang his requiem.
Gallant Kai Bok-su! As he rests up there on his wind-swept height, there are hearts in the valleys and on the plains of his beloved Formosa and in his far-off native land that are aching for him. And sometimes to these last comes the question "Was it well?" Was it well that he should wear out that splendid life in such desperate toil among heathen that hated and reviled him? And from every part of north Formosa, sounding on the wind, comes many an answer.
Up from the damp rice-fields, where the farmer goes to and fro in the gray dawn, arises a song:
I'm not ashamed to own my Lord, Or to defend his cause.
Far away on the mountainside, the once savage mother draws her little one to her and teaches him, not the old lesson of bloodshed, but the older one of love and kindness, and together they croon:
Jesus loves me, this I know, For the Bible tells me so.
And up from scores of chapels dotting the land, comes the sound of the old, old story of Jesus and his love, preached by native Formosans, and from the thousand tongues of their congregations soars upward the Psalm:
All people that on earth do dwell, Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice!
These all unite in one great harmony, replying, "It is well!"
But is it well with the work? What of his Beautiful Island, now that Kai Bok-su has left for a greater work in a more beautiful land? Yes, it is well also with Formosa. The work goes on.
There are two thousand, one hundred members now in the four organized congregations, and over fifty mission stations and outstations. But better still there are in addition twenty-two hundred who have forsaken their idols and are being trained to become church-members. The Formosa Church out of its poverty gives liberally too. In 1911 they contributed more than thirty-five hundred dollars to Christian work. "Every year," writes Mr. Jack, "a special collection is taken by the Church for the work among the Ami—the aborigines of the Ki-lai plain." This is the foreign mission of the north Formosa Church.
A Hoa lately followed his pastor to the home above, but many others remain. Mr. Gauld and his family are still there, in the front of the battle, and with him is a fine corps of soldiers, comprising fifty-nine native and several Canadian missionaries, including the Rev. Dr. J. Y. Ferguson and his wife, the Rev. Milton Jack and Mrs. Jack, the Rev. and Mrs. Duncan MacLeod, Miss J. M. Kinney, Miss Hannah Connell, Miss Mabel G. Clazie, and Miss Lily Adair. Miss Isabelle J. Elliott, a graduate nurse, and deaconess, will join the staff shortly, and a few others will be sent when secured, in order that the force may be sufficient to evangelize the million people in north Formosa.
Mrs. Mackay and her two daughters, Helen and Mary, the latter having married native preachers, Koa Kau and Tan He, are keeping up the work that husband and father left. A new hospital is being built under Dr. Ferguson, and plans are on foot for new school and college buildings.
And the latest arrived missionary? What of him? Why his name is George Mackay, and he has just sailed from Canada as the first Mackay sailed forty-one years earlier. He has been nine years in Canada and the United States, at school and college, and now with his Canadian wife, has gone back to his native land. Yes, Kai Bok-su's son has gone out to carry on his father's work, and Formosa has welcomed him as no other missionary has been welcomed since Kai Bok-su's day.
But these are not all. From far across the sea, in the land where Kai Bok-su lived his boyhood days, comes a voice. It is the echo from the hearts of other boys, who have read his noble life. And their answer is, "We too will go out, as he went, and fight and win!"