Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Union Missionary Meeting (March 1860) and Japanese Missionary Samuel Sentharo

Union Missionary Meeting: The Friend: March 1860, Page 21

A peculiar combination of circumstances brought together a highly respectable audience, Monday evening, Feb. 27th, at Fort Street Church, to hear addresses from missionaries of three different missionary societies, and three different denominations of Christians. The meeting was opened by singing. Then followed the reading of the closing versus of the gospel of Matthew, including our Savior’s last command, “Go ye therefore and teach all nations.” Prayer was offered by the Rev. L. Smith. The presiding officer then introduced the Rev. J. Goble, Baptist missionary, on his way to Japan.

Mr. G. briefly referred to his visit to Japan while connected with Perry’s exploring, and to his interest in that people. He then spoke of the civilization, refinement, superstitions and government of the Japanese, -touching upon these points briefly, and yet in a most instructive style. Having told the audience of his willingness to go and labor for the spiritual welfare of that people, he introduced Samuel Sentharo, a native of Japan.

“This man,” said Mr. Goble, “went with me to the United States, has lived in my family while I was pursuing my studies at Hamilton, and I hope has also become a true follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is, so far as I know, the only Japanese who has ever truly embraced the religion of the Bible.”

The Japanese, when requested by the presiding officer, sung a song in his own native language, and then addressed a few broken sentences to the audience, and although most that he uttered was difficult to be understood, still such words as these fell upon the ear: “I hope in Jesus. He save my soul. The Holy Spirit make my heart new. I go back to Japan to tell my people about Jesus.”

The following stanzas of a hymn were then sung:

There is a voice upon the wind,

A voice that comes from far,

A voice from where the ancient groves

And perfumed breezes are!

‘Tis not the song of triumph –no,

Nor scream of heathen rage;

But ‘tis the cry for Gospel light,

The echo of the age.

The Karen, from his rocky hills,

And natives of Japan,

Unite their voices with the sound

That comes from Hindostan.

Round the whole earth the echo flies;

The Isles wait for His law.

Obey, ye saints, your Lord’s command;

Go preach my gospel –go.

The Rev. R.L. Lowe, minister of the Church of England, and missionary under the patronage of the Columbia Mission, of England, was then introduced. The reverend speaker adverted to the manifest neglect of British Columbia on the part of both the British government and British Christians, until about two years since, when the discovery of the gold mines attracted public attention. The spiritual welfare of the colony was then distinctly brought before the consideration of the British public, by the munificent donation of Miss Burdett Coutts, who gave L25,000 for the establishment of the Bishopric. He furthermore stated that the most excellent Divine, the Rt. Rev. G. Hills, D.D., had been appointed bishop. As he had not been upon the ground, Mr. Lowe very appropriately and modestly dwelt upon the importance of giving to the rising community the means of religious instruction.

This speaker was followed by his associate missionary, the Rev. A.C. Garrett, who boasted that he came from the Emerald Isle, the best country in the world! The brief space which our small sheet affords renders it quite impossible to furnish even a meager sketch of his eloquent remarks, sometimes humorous and at other times serious. He dwelt upon the rising importance of the colony, its vast internal resources, the motley elements of society there gathering, and the importance of moulding and cementing those elements by the subduing, transforming, purifying and ennobling influences of the Gospel.

The Rev. Mr. Pierson, returning from his missionary labors in Micronesia to the United States, followed with a few highly appropriate remarks, expressing sorrow that sickness should have compelled him to return, with generous sympathy with the ardent, hopeful and enthusiastic speakers who had just pictured in glowing language what they had hoped to see accomplished in Japan and British Columbia. He expressed his heart-felt thankfulness to the people of Honolulu for their great kindness to himself and family, and earnestly commended to the audience the cause of missions as represented by the Rev. Mr. Goble, saying that the very fact that he was of another denomination was a strong argument for rendering pecuniary aid, for the missionary cause knew nothing of sect or denomination.

A collection of one hundred and six dollars ($106) was then taken up, and presented to the Missionary bound to Japan.

The interesting exercises of the evening were continued until half-past 9 o’clock, with no indication of weariness on the part of the audience. The addresses were uncommonly good, and appropriate. All present felt deeply interested in hearing speakers of so many different persuasions, and all giving utterance to the same elevated and Christian sentiments. Our limits absolutely prevent us from indulging in those reflections which crowd upon the soul. The exercises were appropriately closed by singing Heber’s missionary hymn: “From Greenland’s icy mountains,” &c.

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