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Port Said that he might particularly acquaint himself with
the methods employed in reaching the ships that pass
through the Suez canal.

An arrangement was entered into by which the American
Bible Society transferred to the British and Foreign Bible
Society all of its work and good will in Persia and in
return the British and Foreign Bible Society turned over
to the American Bible Society the work which it had had
in Central America, recognising that it was peculiarly the
province of the American Society to minister to the oppor-
tunities opened by the construction of this new great high-
way between the oceans. In the celebrations connected with
the opening of the Canal, Mr. James Wood, the President of
the Society, visited Panama and arrangements were at once
entered into for the erection of a Bible House at Cristobal
which it is hoped will prove a beacon light to many and
many a traveller for generations to come.

The requests of many missionaries for a new revision of
the Spanish Scriptures were echoed by certain religious
bodies in Argentina, in particular the Conference of the
Methodist Episcopal Church. It having proved impracti-
cable to arrange at this time a joint committee with the
British and Foreign Bible Society, in 1909 a special com-
mittee consisting of the Rev. Henry C. Thomson, of Mexico ;
the Rev. Charles W. Drees, of Argentina; the Rev. John
Howland, of Mexico; the Rev. Francisco Diez, of Chile,
and the Rev. Victoriano D. Baez, of Mexico, was organised
in the Bible House in New York City. For seven months
this committee met daily having before them not only the
original Greek but all of the existing Spanish versions to
prepare a new revised Spanish version. With the comple-
tion of the Four Gospels in 1910 the committee was dis-
continued in order that their work might be tested on the
field. On his way to the World's Missionary Conference in
Edinburgh, in 1901, Secretary Haven, taking with him the
new version of the Four Gospels, visited the Spanish pen-
insula and conferred with the committee in Madrid at
work upon a revision of the Valera, and later with the Com-
mittee of the British and Foreign Bible Society in London.


The project of a joint translation was taken up, and in 191 2
three representatives of the American Bible Society, the
Rev. H. C. Thomson, Rev. Dr. Charles W. Drees, and the
Rev. Victoriano D. Baez, were sent to Spain to meet with
three representatives of the British Society. Faithfully
this joint committee has been at work, and the approaching
Centennial will be celebrated by the completion of theit
version of the New Testament for the ninety millions of
Spanish speaking people in the world. As the Centennial
approaches the Latin-American Congress is meeting at
Panama, which may prove a significant turning point in the
development of Christian work in all these countries where
the Society has been a pioneer, and there could be no more
fitting moment for the publication of a revised version of
the Spanish Scriptures, and the recounting of these years
of missionary labour, sowing the good seed over these vast



This waterfall's melodius voice —
Was famed both far and near;
Although it long has ceased to flow,
Yet still with memory's ear,
Its genial splash I hear.

In this Japanese poem of the tenth century is stated the
deathlessness of influences that have been set in motion
even when conditions have changed. The days of the be-
ginning of the introduction of the Scriptures into Japan
have passed but the impression made by the early translators
and the effect of the early translation continues. Korea, at
the beginning of this period a separate nation, is inextricably
entwined with the affairs of the Japanese Empire. In the
mind of the Society, the two fields are one and Mr. Loomis
administered the work in the peninsula of Korea from Yoko-
hama, as he did the work in all the islands of Japan. There
is this difference, however, that translation work in the early
nineties was just beginning in Korea. In 1894 a transla-
tion committee was finally chosen by the missionaries and
the Society agreed to participate in the expense of the work.
Five thousand copies of Rijutei's St. Mark, printed for the
Society, with certain changes in orthography, were sent to
Korea and a new supply of Korean Gospels written with
Chinese characters.

In 1895 the Japanese Government undertook the recon-
struction of the Korean administration. The Japanese Min-
ister of Home Affairs, sent to supervise the work, took with
him as associates two Christian Japanese. The result was
that on January i, 1895, ^^^ religious restrictions were re-
moved in Korea and Sunday was proclaimed a day of rest
by an Imperial edict. The excitement of the war between
Japan and China disturbed evangelistic work, but it left free


1891-1916] THE JOINT COMMITTEE 483

those engaged in the work of translation. The following
year Mr. Loomis visited Korea and made arrangements for
the publishing of the new version and for Bible distribution,
but it was not until 1899 that the translation committee
decided to print the whole New Testament without waiting
for a full revision of it.

The great success following the use of the Scriptures by
the missionaries in Korea led them to this step. One of the
Methodist missionaries at this time said: '' Nine-tenths of
our successes are the result of Bible work." A Presbyterian
missionary said : " Nearly every encouraging case brought
to our notice shows some influence of the Bible colporteur."
The first Sunday in May was set apart as Bible Sunday. It
was not, however, until September, 1900, that the comple-
tion of the translation in Korean was celebrated, and two
years later the Society was informed that the native Chris-
tians were eager for the translation of the whole Bible.

In japan Bible distribution through this period was en-
trusted to a committee. Three of the committee were the
agents of the American Bible Society, the British and For-
eign Bible Society, and the National Bible Society of Scot-
land. Six missionaries were appointed by the American
Bible Society and four by the British and Foreign Bible
Society. This arrangement was entered into at the request
of the misssionaries of Japan in order to bring about har-
mony between the Societies operating in the Empire. All
possibility of rivalry or competition was by this means re-
moved, but the circulation was less than was expected. In
1894 the committee gave up the premises in Yokohama
that had been occupied by the American Bible Society for
fifteen years and transferred the headquarters to a place
more convenient to the foreign residents, although more
distant from the Japanese quarters. The following year
the Bible House in Yokohama burned and floods and
drought brought difficulties. The great war with China
absorbed attention and there was a shortage of books. On
the other hand the Commander-in-Chief of the Japanese
army gave his hearty approval for the distribution of the
Scriptures among the soldiers and expressed his thanks for
the same. The circulation for this year was less than

484 OPENING DOORS [1891-

100,000 volumes. In 1895, however, 257,578 volumes were
put into circulation, but the following year again the circu-
lation dropped to just a little over 100,000 and three-fourths
of these were free grants. The changes produced by the
war and various disasters in different parts of Japan ac-
counted for the demand for gratuitous distribution. Two
hundred and fifty thousand people were estimated as receiv-
ing government relief at this time.

An interesting attempt to minister to the ancient people
of the northern islands was the publication, in 1896, of an
Ainu version of the Psalms prepared by Rev. John Bach-
ellor, of the Church Missionary Society. Two years later
the complete New Testament in this language was published
by the committee. The same year, 1898, the Roman
Catholic Mission brought out an edition of the Four Gospels
with notes, in two volumes, at a price a good deal higher
than the books of the Bible Societies.

For a number of years the circulation averaged about
100,000 copies. This did not seem satisfactory, and in 1904
by a mutual agreement between the agents of the Societies
and the missionaries, the Bible committee was dissolved and
the Japanese field was divided, the American Bible Society
taking the Northern portion of the Empire, with its head-
quarters in Yokohama, and the British Societies operating
together, taking the Southern portion of the Empire, with
their headquarters at Kobe. It was agreed that the same
editions should be used by both agencies, and at the same

Interestingly enough, at the very time when the com-
mittee was given up in Japan, arrangements were made at
the suggestion of the British and Foreign Bible Society for
a joint agency in Korea. Translation work has proceeded
slowly in Korea and the American Bible Society had deemed
it wise to wait until that work had approached completion
before developing a separate agency in that country. The
British and Foreign Bible Society had entered the country
from its North China and Manchurian Agency, with a sub-
agent in Korea. The American Bible Society had continued
care for that part of its field through its agent in Yokohama.

During the year 1901 the Rev. D. A. Bunker acted as


Superintendent of the Society's work in Korea. Hitherto
it had been difficult to get colporteurs. This year certain
native Christians were selected who seemed to learn the
work quite easily.

The joint Agency did not go into effect until the first of
January, 1904. The Rev. Alexander Kenmure, who had
been the agent of the British and Foreign Bible Society and
the National Bible Society of Scotland, was chosen as the
joint agent of the three Societies. In his report he says,
*' The joint Agency is a striking fact, and yet, why should
it be in any way remarkable ? There is one Lord, one faith,
one baptism, why not one Bible Society circulating the

This year the Korean version of the New Testament was
at last finished and ready to go to press. The extension of
the influence of this version is seen in the fact that Korean
labourers began to emigrate to Hawaii, Western Mexico,
California, and even Yucatan.

The following year Mr. Kenmure returned to England
in ill health and Mr. Hugh Miller, who had been assistant
agent, was appointed to the care of the joint Agency. Fifty-
three colporteurs and fifteen Bible women were employed,
and the agent reports '* The Korean is awakening out of the
sleep of ages with a hungering for better things and a will-
ingness to buy Christian books and investigate the truths
which they set forth." Four sentences seem to cover the
facts of the year — "Work going on. Blessings coming
down. Converts coming in. Praise going up."

At the request of the British and Foreign Bible Society,
the joint Agency was given up at the close of the year 1907.
This year the Emperor of Korea abdicated in favour of his
son, and the Japanese officials sent the son to Japan to be
educated, in the meantime taking over the whole administra-
tion of the Korean government. At the request of the
American Bible Society, the Rev. D. A. Bunker, of the
Methodist Episcopal Mission, agreed to take charge of the
Society's interests on the first of January, 1908. He en-
gaged twenty or more colporteurs and sent them forth into
districts where foreign missionaries had never been seen.
That year 24,206 volumes were circulated, and the following

486 OPENING DOORS [1891-

year 70,187 volumes, an increase of more than 100% ; over
1,000 villages had been visited and thirteen new churches
sprung from this work.

Interesting work was carried on among the Japanese
in Korea, a Japanese colporteur being employed.

In 191 1 the Rev. S. A. Beck, of University City, Nebraska,
who had been for a number of years a missionary of the
Methodist Episcopal Church in Korea, and who was ac-
quainted with the language, was chosen as the agent for the
Society to succeed the Rev. Mr. Bunker, who had returned
home on furlough. In 1910 the Korean Old Testament, long
in making, was at last finished. The type favoured by the
people was so large that this Bible was brought out in two
volumes. The translation of the Scriptures into Korean
was accomplished by a faithful band of missionaries so
burdened with other tasks in the development of that won-
derful field that it had been impossible to give themselves
wholly to translation. Two of this group had entered
Korea in 1885 together, one the Rev. H. G. Underwood,
now a veteran missionary of the Presbyterian Church in
Seoul, the other the Rev. H. G. Appenzeller, of the Meth-
odist Episcopal Mission. On the nth of June, 1902, Mr.
Appenzeller took passage on a steamer to attend a meeting
of the Bible Committee. The same night, in collision with
another steamer, Mr. Appenzeller's ship sank with all on
board. The influence of his life remains not only in many
Korean converts who revere his memory, but in the New
Testament, in the translation of which he bore a most impor-
tant part.^

In 191 2, the Board of Translators changed their name to
the Board of Revisers. It was not sufficient to have the
Scriptures in Korean. It was necessary for them to be
brought out in what is called the Mixed Script, in which
Chinese characters are used. This work is still going for-
ward and with it the revision and the perfecting also of
reference versions. The circulation has advanced remark-
ably. In 1913 it totalled 176,880 volumes. In 1914 it
reached a total of 458,694 volumes. Nowhere in the world

1 Missionaries who have had a part in this Korean Version are
named in the Appendix.


is there a more intense Bible loving Christian church than in
this country known only a few years ago as " the Hermit

There perhaps was never a more startHng event outside
of the present almost unimaginable conflict in Europe, than
the war between Japan and Russia. No one dreamed that
the little island empire would dare to attack the Colossus of
the Snows. The provocation was of ten years' standing.
When at the conclusion of its war with China, Japan found
its fruits of victory taken from it and Russia occupying Port
Arthur, the iron entered into its soul. In one of the hidden
villages of the empire years after, a traveller was told by the
simple villagers that they had heard the voices of the spirits
of the soldiers who had died in the Chinese war calling them
to be ready for the war with Russia. It broke in all its fury
in 1904 and in the swift months that followed Japan emerged
onto the world stage as one of the mighty nations of the
earth. It is sad to reflect, as one of its own nobles said,
" that all it had wrought in painting, and sculpture, and deli-
cate artistry in precious metals, and all of its courtesies and
kindly manners had failed to give it the world recognition
that it received from its feats of arms." The Society rec-
ognised in this hour of the nation's intense patriotism an
opportunity that comes rarely. Mr. Loomis, in most inti-
mate relations with many of the leaders of the Japanese
Empire, secured at once a welcome for the Society's Scrip-
tures in the navy and received from one of the Japanese
Admirals a most cordial letter of thanks. Tens of thou-
sands of Japanese Gospels were placed in the comfort bags
which the Japanese women prepared for the out-going
troops; but perhaps the most blessed ministry of all was
the going from cot to cot in the military hospitals and placing
in the hands of the sufferers the Holy Scriptures. Numer-
ous instances are on record of the light from the face of
Jesus Christ breaking in upon the hearts of those who read
these Scriptures to the great joy of these young soldiers.
One wrote, " I was sent to Oiwake to recover from my sick-
ness, and while there I learned about the narrow way, and
by God's help I was able to enter into the gate of life."
Even Count Okuma is quoted as saying, " As you read the

488 OPENING DOORS [1891-

Bible, you may think it is antiquated. The words it con-
tains may so appear, but the noble Hfe which it holds up to
admiration is something that will never be out of date."

One of the immediate results of the war was the great in-
flux of students into Japan. In 1906 there were 800 Korean
students and about 17,000 Chinese students studying in
Japan. The Society at once attempted to reach these stu-
dents with the Scriptures. The following year 7,000 vol-
umes in European languages were purchased by the students
of Japan in the pursuit of their studies. The knowledge of
the Bible has so permeated the nation that the words of the
prophets, and apostles, and many of the sayings of Jesus are
quoted in the daily newspapers.

In the year 1910 Mr. Loomis retired. The circulation
had advanced to 201,190 volumes in the Northern part of
the Empire alone. The following year Mr. Loomis resigned
after thirty years in the service of the Society. He had
the respect and confidence of all the missionary body and
the esteem of the growing Japanese Church. Courteous in
his manners, acquainted with the best in the Empire, thor-
oughly believing in the purposes of the Japanese people, he
made friends innumerable for the Society.

In his illness Dr. Herbert W. Schwartz, of the Methodist
Episcopal Mission, attended him and also relieved him of
the burden of the cares of the agency ; so that it was a pleas-
ure to the Society to appoint Dr. Schwartz as Acting Agent
and later as its Agent for its work in Japan. Through his
skill, his knowledge of Japanese, his intimate acquaintance
with the Japan Church, the circulation has advanced year
by year until it reached the total in 1914 of 643,799 volumes
circulated during the year.

All the astonishing changes taking place in this country
were reflected in their language. The speech of man is a
fluid-flowing medium. It is only fixed when the language
is dead.

The very satisfactory work of the translators, recognised
by the Emperor of Japan in presenting to Dr. Hepburn on
his ninetieth birthday the '* Jewelled Order of the Rising
Sun," could not, however, be permanent. For a number
of years a desire for a revision was manifested here and


there, and in 1906 the Japan Evangelical Alliance proposed
to the agents of the Bible Societies that steps be taken for a
revision of the Japanese Bible, published in its completed
form twenty years before. Four years later a Committee
of Japanese scholars and missionaries, four of each, was
appointed to undertake this revision, the Bible Societies
agreeing to meet the expenses of the Committee.^ The
work has made commendable progress, and it is anticipated
that the revised New Testament will be published during the
year 1916.

In Yokohama, in the heart of the city, is one of the most
interesting industrial plants of the Far East. It is a purely
Japanese printing establishment. Its founder and present
manager, Mr. Muruoka, is a member of the Christian
Church and an honorary life-member of the American
Bible Society. From small beginnings this firm bearing the
name " Fukien or Gospel Printing Company " has developed
and enlarged until it serves not only the Christian communi-
ties of Japan and Korea, but the great churches in China,
and the PhiHppines and even Siam.

The American Bible Society has long made use of its
accurate and careful workmanship and has brought out edi-
tions from its presses in all the languages of the Far East.
The other Bible Societies operating in these lands have also
found it a most dependable establishment. It is a pharos
illuminating the coast and sending its rays of light far into
the adjacent lands of Asia.

How little could Gutenberg have dreamed when he printed
the Latin Bible on the first printing press on the Rhine,
that the day would come when a great plant for the print-
ing of the Scriptures would rival his own on the shores of
the Pacific!

An American orator has said that " the Far East is like a
great ship and Japan is its rudder." If this be even partially
true, what reasons for thanksgiving there are that the Bible
has so widely entered into the life of this dominant people.

iThe names of the Missionary members of this Committee will
be found in the Appendix. The Japanese members of the Com-
mittee are Prof. U. Bessho, Prof. T. Fujii, Rev. M. Kawazoe, and
Prof. T. Matsuyama.



Suddenly and swiftly events come to a climax, startling
the world, for which quiet and unseen forces have long been
working. Under the waters of Hellgate at the entrance of
New York Harbour, in the dangerous rocks that made the
channel narrow and perilous, engineers had been working
for years cutting corridors here and there and planting
mines. In a moment when all was ready, by simple electric
contact, in a vast upheaval, the whole barrier of centuries
was swept away and a new entrance to the great harbour
free for all the argosies of commerce and friendly inter-
course with the nations of the earth was opened.

For years upon years earnest Christians offered prayer
for the opening of the Far East to their spiritual messengers.
Now suddenly it is all open and there are no closed lands.

Two nations, one Siam, a liberal monarchy; the other
ancient China, in a convulsion changed from reactionary
Imperialism to the outward forms and much of the spirit
of a Democracy, are lands in which the circulation of the
Scriptures has played a large part in the influencing of pub-
lic opinion.

We have recounted the early labours of Mr. Carrington.
We have seen him busy in the translation of the Scriptures
into Siamese; seeing their publication through the press of
the Presbyterian Mission at Bangkok and in self-denying
journeying going about as a colporteur distributing these
Scriptures among the people. In 1896 he brings out an
experimental Version of the Gospel of St. Luke in Cam-
bodian in order that a region where no evangelistic work
has been attempted may be opened up. In 1899 he brings
out the Book of Genesis in the Laos language prepared by
the Reverend Jonathan Wilson. In 1905 approval is


1891-1916] DOORS WIDE OPEN 491

granted for the transliteration of the Siamese Scriptures
into the Laos dialect to temporarily supply the Laos people
until books are ready in their own tongue. Three years
before three books of the New Testament and Isaiah were
translated into this language. Later when Mr. Carrington
is on furlough, Mr. Cameron temporarily in care of the
Agency pressed out into the Northern mountain region of
Siam among tribesmen known as '' Yao men," whom he
found very eager to have the Bible. Just over the border
are Chinese who are called " Miao " for whom Scriptures
have been prepared which has led some vain reviewer to
intimate that the Bible Societies are not content to minister
to all the strange tongues of human speech, but are even
preparing the Scriptures for the cats.

Everywhere Mr. Carrington found doors wide open,
opportunities as he says, "limited only by the strength of
workers to go forward." One of his great difficulties is in
securing colporteurs. Government officers and foreigners
in business in Siam are so quick to offer high salaries to
any one who is competent, that when a faithful man is
trained to be a good colporteur, he finds himself in great
demand; so the Agent depends on the widely scattered
forces of missionaries of the American Presbyterian Board,
the American Baptist Missionary Union and the Plymouth
Brethren from England on the Western side of the Malay
Peninsula, together with five colporteurs and his own per-
sonal labours. In the year 1905 the Agent himself sold
16,249 books. The field is difficult because of lack of rapid
travelling. It takes as long to go from Bangkok to Cheng
Mai in Northwestern Siam as it does from Bangkok to San
Francisco. One of his journeys to the West Coast occu-
pied four months. Weary and lonely Mr. Carrington often
was, but he writes to the Bible House in New York, " We
are willing to be let down into the dark here because we
know that the rope is held by your hands with a loving,
firm, constant grip, and that you will not let go."

In 1903 Mr. Carrington asked for a boat, which was
granted to him, with which he was able to visit large areas

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Online LibraryHenry Otis DwightThe centennial history of the American Bible Society (Volume 2) → online text (page 17 of 28)