Adventures with the Bible in Brazil - colporteur work. What is a colporteur? It is a peddler, hawker, or traveling salesman of books, usually Bibles in rural places.

 

This is a full length book, in the public domain  172 pages on this document style online
Reading level: young teen/adult

 

Chapter 1.
Reminiscences

 

When in the year 1892 I sailed for Brazil with a contract on a large Brazilian railway company, I little dreamed what a varied and adventurous career lay before me.

 

On arriving in Brazil I made a bad start, being shut up for the night in a wretched hovel of a Brazilian prison in the interior of the country on a false charge of sedition. The hours that I spent in that cell, herded with criminals and men of a very repugnant type, were so miserable and full of fearful presentiment that I vowed, if I escaped, to leave Brazil by the next steamer. Happily the error was discovered.

 

I was unceremoniously released next morning, and deferred my original resolution. I have always felt a deep sympathy for prisoners since that occasion; and strange to say, many years after, I preached the Gospel to a company of convicts in that selfsame prison, though this time I was on the right side of the prison bars.

 

Several years later I found myself on a large British gold-mining establishment in the State of Minas Geraes, and there I held the position of Assay Officer, an exceedingly interesting occupation, with excellent prospects for the future; but I was not a Christian. I believed in God, read the Bible, prayed, was an abstainer, and neither smoked nor gambled, and that on a mining camp. I had been infant baptized and confirmed, but I knew absolutely nothing about conversion or the need of it. In my inner consciousness I knew something was lacking, and in my own blind way I groped yearningly for that something.

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One day I heard that a new man had joined the staff, in the humble capacity of typist. He was a Canadian named Reginald Young, and it was said that he was a missionary, which fact, from all I had seen of the missionaries who occasionally visited the mine camp, inclined me to despise him at once.

 

I was surprised to notice, however, that he did not smoke, that he was an abstainer, and, still more, that he looked happy about his religion, and was never so glad as when he talked about it. Then one day he told me the story of his life, how from being a besotted drunkard, a notorious fighter, and a gambler, he was suddenly and completely changed in one short hour; that the miraculous change lasted, and that eventually he became an evangelist in a New York Bowery Mission. He always talked about being saved and happy, and looked it every inch. He was a marvel to me. There was no denying his sincerity and the reality of his testimony; and my own experience became more threadbare and unsatisfactory in comparison.

 

I had just before induced the mine Superintendent to have the old abandoned mine chapel furnished up and re-whitewashed, with the idea of inaugurating Sunday night services. I persuaded the chief engineer to read the Prayer Book Service and the electrical engineer played the organ, while I rather plumed myself on my rendering of the First and Second Lessons. Of course there was no sermon. These meetings were voted a great social success, and were continued every Sunday for the benefit of the English community.

 

Soon after Mr. Young's arrival I was so impressed by his testimony that I obtained permission, though with great difficulty, for him to preach in the consecrated Chapel. There was a big turn out to hear him; but as the audience was a critically orthodox one, and the preacher was nervous, everybody voted it a complete fiasco. Much disappointed I felt bound to admit it was not what I had hoped; but somehow the text stuck in my mind, and would not be dislodged until it had set in motion a train of thoughts that eventually led to my conversion. The text was from John 16. 8: "And when He is come, He will convince the world of sin." I had never before realized that there was a Holy Ghost.

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I became very despondent and dissatisfied, and tried to find relief by indulging in long horseback rides among the hills and torrents of the surrounding country , styled by Burton the "Highlands of Brazil.''

 

One day as I raced along a narrow pathway that margined a mountain stream, riding carelessly with a loose rein, my pony drove his foot into a hole and came down with a crash. As I was flung through the air I realized to my horror that one foot was fast held in the stirrup iron. My pony was a notoriously wild and excitable one, and in view of the locality where the fall occurred it seemed as though a violent and terrible death faced me. By a divine intervention, however, the horse lay quietly, without a kick, and gave me the few vital seconds required to release my foot from that terrible grip. Then I pulled the animal up. There was not a scratch upon him, nor anything that could naturally explain his unwonted demeanor. I remounted and turned for home, very much subdued and considerably shaken up by the incident.

 

"That was a near thing," thought I. "Had I been dragged to death I wonder where my soul would be now?" "In Hell," my conscience replied, and I knew it was true, and that my morality, Bible, and Sunday services were empty, idle things. Then I feared that because I had been so good in my own and in other people's estimation I had rendered myself incapable of being a claimant on God's mercy, which, though open to the drunken, dissolute miners that I despised, was closed against the righteous Pharisee.

 

A great fear seized my mind, and all considerations of future prospects and reputation sank out of sight with the consuming desire that took hold of me to possess the truth that Reginald Young knew about. Life was so uncertain, and a hundred dangers and hazards seemed to threaten an untimely end and eternal fate. Accidents in a big mine such as ours were terribly common, both in the workings far beneath, nearly a mile underground, and in the vast surface works and mills, and I might be the next victim, and then -” ? I shuddered to think of the risk I ran, and I spurred on my horse, in eager sympathy with a hot desire that possessed me, cost what it might, even to life itself, to find peace with God.

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When these are a man's thoughts he never has to wait long. If the pride and wrath of man can sometimes provoke a great manifestation of divine disapproval, then ten-thousand times more will the cry of a repentant sinner draw forth the Father's immediate response, even though it were necessary to perform some mighty miracle -” some unheard-of providence, such as the world had never heard of nor could science decipher.

 

Just before I reached the private road that led to my home, a -Philip- stood in the way. It was the typist, Young. I dismounted and entered into conversation with him, soon betraying my concern for my soul. He drew out a New Testament from his pocket, and said, "Do you believe this is God's Word?" "Yes, I never for one moment have doubted it," I replied sincerely. "Thank God for that! Do you believe that God is faithful and just?"

 

I stared at him a moment, and said, with emphasis, "Of course I do!"

 

Looking me full in the face: "Then, if you have no knowledge of the forgiveness of sins, there is only one person in the world to blame, and that is Frederick Charles Glass; for here it affirms, If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

 

I felt astounded; how simple it suddenly appeared! To think that, as a good churchman, I knew that verse so well, and yet had never applied it to my own personal need!

 

I bade him a hasty good-night, and in a few moments reached my home. The servant took the horse, while I hurriedly shut myself in my room, and from among a big array of books drew out my Bible. Yes, there it was, as clear and simple as could be; and so I knelt, and as clearly and simply received it for myself. I "believed on the Lord Jesus Christ" as my own Savior, and arose a pardoned sinner --” a new creature in Jesus Christ --” on the 20th of June, 1897.

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Soon after this I began to feel that I had been saved for a purpose higher and greater than gold testing and refining, also that God had a special purpose in bringing me to Brazil. But the thought chilled me that no Missionary Society would accept me. I had had no training for Gospel work; I was no Portuguese scholar; I was too timid; and finally, I was quite unable to face the privations and hardships which I knew belonged to the life of a real missionary. But I could not escape the conviction as to my duty, until one day Satan reminded me that I had a four years' contract with the Mining Company, with two and a half years of it yet to be completed. As a Christian I must, of course, keep my contract. It seemed such a very righteous and satisfactory solution of an awkward situation. But it was a cowardly and faithless one, for the Lord can remove such little difficulties when we are ready to obey Him.

 

So I hid away behind the contract, and thought it would be two and a half years before I needed to concern myself about the question, and then --” perhaps the Lord would not want me. It was a true supposition, --if the Lord calls us today, and we harden our hearts, He may not call us to-morrow, to our eternal loss.--

 

This was an attitude that God could not honor. So it happened that, shortly afterwards, while making some experiments with an arsenical ore, I was violently poisoned with arsenurated hydrogen. I tried to disguise the fact, and hoped the Lord would heal me; but I grew rapidly worse, and then my friends became alarmed and sent the mine doctor to see me. I was carried up to the hospital to die.


My relatives were cabled to, to prepare them for the news of my death, which seemed only the matter of a few days or hours. And then, when almost reduced to a skeleton, by the power of God I began to recover, and a few weeks later I left the hospital a mere shadow of my former self and an object of pity to all my old friends. Of those who get poisoned as I was scarcely one in a hundred recovers.

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Shortly after this, I had a long talk with the Superintendent. "You know, Glass," said he, "the doctor and I have talked things over, and he says you must go home as soon as you are a little stronger and be nursed up, though you will never be well and strong enough to return to Brazil. The directors at home will consider your case sympathetically, so far as your contract is concerned, and we will consider that as cancelled forthwith."

 

With all this I quite agreed. In my condition, as it was then, there seemed no other alternative; I felt very sorry for myself. But strange to say, immediately after that contract was cancelled I began to recover health and strength with marvelous rapidity. Everybody was amazed, and in a few weeks I was as healthy and well-colored as ever in my life.

 

Then I had to face the vital question of service once more; with no contract to hide behind; and after a considerable struggle I surrendered.

 

My first-class passage home had been booked, but I refused to sail. They tried to renew my contract terms. I declined to agree, and left the mine, not knowing what I could do or where I should go.

 

Immediately the way opened up before me. Mountainous difficulties vanished like thin air, and all my misgivings proved to be foolishness when the Lord undertook for me Himself. Right ready to hand, I found I had a God-given capacity to sell Bibles, a thing I had never dreamt of doing before. It proved the happiest time of my life. (Hesitant, slow to perceive, and of little faith, I fear, I have ever been since; but when it has come to the test I have been willing to let Him have His way in me, and to His longsuffering patience and goodness alone is due the extraordinary fact that He has been able to use my weakness and foolishness to His praise of His glory.

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Chapter 2.
My First Bible Expedition
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I had only that day descended from my bedroom for the first time after a very severe attack of rheumatism, which left me in an extremely weak condition, when a letter arrived from the far-away coast city of Victoria, where two friends and I had lately opened up a Gospel work.


The news conveyed was very discouraging. Our colleague there, in direct contradiction to our principles, had run into debt, just at a period when our general funds were low. There was nothing for it but to close down the work there, at least for a time, and recall him. There was a difficulty, however. We had at Victoria a troop of animals, in which we had invested a very large sum. They could be sold, but only at a sacrifice we would not contemplate; and it was quite clear that our fellow worker could not bring a troop of six animals a journey of over four hundred miles overland without some assistance.


Who could go to help him? In the city where I was staying, the then capital of Ouro Preto, resided the only other member of our little band. He was a married man, and circumstances made it almost impossible for him to leave. It was clear that my duty was to go; and though in my weak condition it seemed rash and presumptuous I could only leave the risk with my Heavenly Father.


That afternoon I packed my bag and managed, with some pain and difficulty, to reach the railway station, where I bought a ticket for Rio de Janeiro. I was too weak to sit upright, but as I traveled third-class I was able to stretch out on the long, bare side seat, and to endure in this way the sixteen-hour journey to the capital of Brazil.

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Arrived there, after a day or two I obtained a steerage passage on a coasting steamer which touched at Victoria, and there being no sleeping accommodation I passed the night on the top deck, very sick; so that the next day, on going ashore at my destination, I was in rather a limp condition.


I found things were in a bad shape, and after settling up all our accounts the balance we had in hand was only about ten dollars, with which to face the long journey across to Ouro Preto. But we had a good stock of Scriptures, to which we looked as a means of paying our expenses, and within a day or two we started.


My poor companion, Frank, if he erred in running into debt, certainly suffered for his sins on that journey; for at least the best part of the way he had to do all the heavy work as I had no strength for it. To raise the heavy boxes of books and hitch them to the pack-saddles is exhausting work; and all I could do after he had loaded one side was to lean against the box to preserve the balance until the other heavy box had been slung on the opposite side. For a considerable part of the journey he had almost to lift me into the saddle and off again whenever necessary, as I had not power to raise myself in the stirrup.


The first few days we had trouble with the mules, which were skittish and kicked off their loads, so that boxes and books were strewn by the wayside. At other times the whole troop would stampede into the forest, and it was a good thing that Frank was a soundly converted man, or they would have been lost --” mules, books, patience, and all.


After a few days, however, things settled down somewhat, and we also found that with the sales of our books we were able to meet all our expenses of lodging for ourselves and accommodation and food for our troop, even though the rates charged at some of these country hotels are very exorbitant. We had been travelling this way, due west, nearly a week, and were reaching a very thinly populated region when disaster overtook us. It was at the little town of St. Leopoldina, the last town we had to pass for a couple of hundred miles.

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I was still new to Bible work, and lacked the tact and prudence that only comes with experience; so it happened that I had the great misfortune to have a misunderstanding with the local tax collector, a strong Romanist; and, failing to explain matters to his satisfaction, I was unjustly fined twelve dollars for selling books without a license. After paying the fine and our hotel bill, I found that we only had half a dollar left and nearly 350 miles yet to be covered! That evening we bought a tin pot, two liters of beans, some rice, salt, and dried beef, which cost just the balance in hand.


Next morning we set out under the new arrangement, and when breakfast time came we halted and unloaded our animals; and while Frank found the firewood and kindled a flame, I cleaned the rice and chopped up some small pieces of dried beef to mix with it. We voted that breakfast a vast improvement on hotel menus, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Proceeding on our way, we sold a few Gospels to passing travelers, which gave us a balance in hand of ten cents. Then the shades of night drew on, and we felt less cheerful and wondered what would happen now.


Arriving at a wayside farm I was told that we could turn our animals into the enclosed pasture for the sum of ten cents, but nothing was said about our own accommodation, except that we could put our saddles and baggage in the loft of a dirty neighboring hen roost. Our dinner of beans was far from being satisfactory, as they had not been soaked overnight, and then arose the question of our sleeping quarters. We felt too proud to ask for what we were not prepared to pay for, even though it was almost certain nothing would have been expected, for the Brazilians generally are a hospitable people, so finishing our repast we pushed our saddles and boxes up into the rickety chicken loft, and, climbing up ourselves afterwards, passed the night in these unsavory quarters. We had not a blanket between us, so, removing our spurs for mutual protection, we lay down as we were on a raw ox hide, not a bad experience for a man just off a bed of sickness! We passed an uneasy night, as the poles of which the loft was constructed were so loose that we were in constant fear of slipping through on the top of the chickens!

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The whole of that distance we traveled without once enjoying the luxury of a bed, or even removing our clothes, except for a daily bath in some convenient river; and the chicken loft was by no means the worst accommodation of the journey.


Finally, when some weeks later we rode into Ouro Preto, we found we had sold nearly all our books by the way, or, what was more general, had exchanged them for food. I was also in perfect health, and as sunburnt and strong as a brigand, and we had actually more money in hand than when we started out from Victoria a month before. There was a sequel to this experience, as follows: About two years later I again found myself in the city of Victoria, and resolved to take advantage of the opportunity to revisit the scene of my encounter with the tax collector and "get my own back" in a truly evangelical manner.


By this time I was an experienced and fairly successful colporteur, and thoroughly enjoyed the work. At times the thought crossed my mind that I ought to start preaching the Gospel, but I shrank back with a nervous dislike of the idea, as I had never spoken in public, even in my mother tongue. "It will be time enough when I can speak good Portuguese," thought I, "and that will not be yet awhile."


After canvassing Victoria I canoed on to Leopoldina. Quickly taking in the lie of the streets, I systematically started work at once. God's good hand rested upon me, and, visiting house after house, I sold a copy of the Scriptures in nearly every one. By the end of two days I had all but sold my huge stock of books, and very few homes were without some portion of the Word of God. Emboldened by my success, I went to the authorities and claimed a refund of the unjust fine, with such effect that they agreed to return the money.


That evening I was visited by one of my customers, a farmer, living about twenty miles away. He urged me to visit his district as, he affirmed, many of the people there could read and would gladly purchase my books. I hesitated, as the next day was Sunday; but the man grew insistent, offering to return that night and send back an animal next morning, so finally I agreed.
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Early next day the man himself was there with a spare animal, so loading up my remaining Scriptures away we went. After riding several hours my companion exclaimed, "Do you see that house up there? That is my place; that is where we are going," pointing to a distant hillside where a little house with red tiles was visible on the fringe of a virgin forest, and for another hour I had that house in view. As we drew near I noticed that there was a large crowd of people round the place, and after a while I remarked on it to my guide. "What are all those people there for?" I asked.


"Why," said he in rather a surprised tone, "don't you know? They have come to hear you preach." I almost fell off the horse with the shock, and I had a serious thought of turning round and riding back again, but did not do so. I felt it was of God, and so made no reply until we reached the house. I then begged for the use of a quiet room for a few minutes. My mind was all in a whirl, and I felt horribly nervous. At last I got down before God and told Him that if He really wanted me to make a fool of myself I was quite willing, and I cast myself on Him. Then, instead of leaving it there, I nervously tried to find an easy passage of the Bible to read, though I had never read publicly before, and I could not sing or pray in Portuguese.


Finally I selected a passage, and entered the big room now crowded with men and women who had come to hear me preach. I arose to read, hesitated, fumbled, and then ventured to make a few introductory remarks. My introductory remarks were extensive, and I was surprised to see that the folks looked interested. I continued to speak until, to my surprise, I found I had been talking for a whole hour. I would give a great deal for some idea of what that first address was about, but all I can remember was the feeling of mingled astonishment, relief, and self-satisfaction which pervaded me when I had concluded.

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But my elation was soon dispelled when the farmer came up. He shook me by the hand heartily, and expressed his thanks. "But," added he, "you cannot leave to-morrow, for they want you to preach again in the evening." This dashed my joy at once, but tomorrow came and went and the Lord did not fail me, nor has since; and besides, I sold all my books and received prepayment for many more to be mailed to them from Rio.


Sometime later a missionary visited this spot and found a community ripe for the harvest, some being already converted, and now there is a prosperous Gospel work established there, which might not have been had I not ventured to trust God where duty indicated a difficult course to follow.


Chapter 3.
On the Upper Amazon.


Two thousand miles and more up the Amazon River, travelling north-west on the Japura tributary, we had crossed the Brazilian frontier into Colombia. There were three of us --” Glenny, Walkey, and myself --” with four natives from British Guiana to do the rough river work to which they are accustomed.


We had been commissioned by the Evangelical Union of South America to ascertain the feasibility of starting some kind of Gospel work among the Indians, thousands of whom had been ruthlessly murdered by a certain band of unscrupulous Peruvian rubber merchants, whose trade centre was in Iquitos. Our ascent of the Putumayo River itself having been banned by the enemies of the poor Redskin, we endeavored to reach the region by means of another river flowing parallel with, and at no great distance from, the Putumayo --” the Japura.

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From information received from several sources we had expected to encounter numbers of Indians of the Miranha, Bora, Witoto, and Andoque tribes, who originally inhabited that section of the Putumayo district.


After many weeks of exhausting travel and investigation, of plans and counter-plans, including weeks of heavy axe work, clearing sections of the dense Amazon forest for future residence and cultivation, we abandoned all hope of a successful issue to our mission.


With the exception of a few score of Indians, who worked as slaves for a humane Columbian rubber merchant, the only traces we actually found of their original existence were abandoned tribal huts, some sunken dug-outs, broken pottery, and an occasional thin wreath of smoke far away over the treetops.


We had drawn a blank. The Indians had been wiped out of existence, save the few small hordes of homeless, desperate survivors who wandered here and there through the forest, mad with hatred and revenge, and in whose sight every white man was a merciless enemy of whom all they wanted to see was his blood. The region, too, was pestilential, and mosquito infested to an intolerable degree. The few white men were thin and anemic, being utterly dependent on the outside world for food and supplies of every kind, and as these were most uncertain and irregular, hunger was the most common state of all.


Our retreat from this unhappy river and the devising of some new plan of action became imperative and urgent. Nevertheless a new kind of expedition, though a forlorn hope, was decided upon, the upshot of which was already a foregone conclusion.


Abandoning our fine but unwieldy canvas Berthon boat as totally unfitted for upstream travel, we set to work, and in a few weeks' time had built ourselves a big dug-out --” axe-carved, scorched, and stretched --” out of a solid tree trunk found in the heart of the forest. This we launched with considerable effort, and set out, after hiding away all superfluous stores and equipment.

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In this very unstable and primitive canoe we succeeded in stemming the swift current of the Columbian river Caqueta. About two weeks' travel from the frontier we turned up a small tributary, the dark and sinuous Cauhanary. At the mouth of this river we expected to find the last white man's outpost habitation, though we had heard that the unfortunate inmates had been massacred by the Indians a few weeks earlier. After climbing the steep bank, and penetrating about fifty yards of jungle, we suddenly came upon the black ruins of a large house which had evidently been burnt down a few hours before. It was rather a startling sight, for every sound in the surrounding forest might well have been caused by the wild Redskins themselves, whom, it must be confessed, we were by no means anxious to meet under the circumstances.


As we turned up the River Cauhanary we had an uncomfortable feeling of being watched, if not shadowed. We paddled all that afternoon upstream, till the fading light warned us of the need of seeking night quarters ere the sudden equatorial darkness closed in on us. As usual, this proved no easy task. The river was high, the banks low and swampy, and the fringing forest of considerable density.


Darkness had nearly set in before we discerned what seemed to promise a few square yards of semi-dry camping ground, to which with cutlasses and axes we cut our way, making as it were a narrow lane through the trees and brushwood. Another half hour and we had cleared enough space to rig up our crude tent and sling our hammocks by the light of a camp fire.


We all felt rather subdued, and each man instinctively spoke in lower tones as we gathered round the fire for our evening meal. Then we drew lots for the night watch. Mine fell from twelve to two. By eight o'clock we were all asleep in our hammocks, save the man who kept vigil by the camp fire.

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I suffered with malarial toothache, and slept feverishly. One felt so completely at the mercy of the surrounding forest and its dreaded inhabitants --” wild beasts and revengeful men. I awoke with a tremendous start and almost cried out, for somebody grasped me firmly by the arm. "It's your watch," came in a subdued growl, and I tumbled out of my hammock for the two hours' ordeal. The fire burned brightly, lighting up the circular space we had cleared with our axes, gleaming fitfully along the narrow strip of waterway we had cut back from the river through the forest. At the end of the cutting, about twenty yards beyond, the River Cauhanary gleamed silvery white in the bright moonlight, which failed, however, to illuminate our camp.


I leant against a tree and listened. At first the only sound I heard was the heavy breathing of my weary companions. A weird and ghostly feeling pervaded the atmosphere. Then a twig snapped in the forest close by --” and another! It may only have been one of the numerous harmless nocturnal animals; but it might have been a jaguar, or a Redskin, it seemed to me, and I grasped my gun a little more tightly. Presently my accustomed ear could detect the faint sounds --” strange and uncanny some of them --” inseparable from the equatorial forests of the Amazon.


Little by little, however, I grew indifferent to these circumstances and sounds, and began to feel drowsy, having difficulty in keeping awake. Suddenly I was wide awake indeed, and I felt my heart beat more quickly. Away in the distance, far down the river we had ascended that previous afternoon, I could hear the clear rhythmic oar-beat of what seemed to be a big Indian canoe.


Could I believe my ears? Who were they? What could be their object at that hour of night? Instinctively I damped down the fire somewhat, and listened for all I was worth. They were a long way off yet, and perhaps the danger was not very great after all. Nearer and nearer drew the ominous sound, and I stamped out the remaining embers, and stood staring through the gloom of that narrow alley at the bright shining water flowing beyond. Would they detect that entrance of ours? I felt it was nearly time to arouse my slumbering companions, for the canoe seemed to be less than a quarter of a mile away, and the noise of their paddles grew louder and louder. I felt intensely excited; but before I could decide just what to do the sound of the paddles suddenly ceased. What was happening?

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Straining my eyes and ears as never before, I stood like a statue --” five, ten, fifteen minutes perhaps; and then again I heard those paddles, but to my immense relief the sound came from far away down the stream. After reaching a point so near our hiding-place they had evidently stopped and drifted down with the current.


Early next morning, over our cup of coffee, I told of my night's experience in as casual a manner as possible. At once the leader of the Guiana men declared that he had heard of such ghostly sounds on the waters of the Essequibo, and to my surprise this became the accepted explanation of the incident, and for certain reasons I did not insist. It is my belief, however, that only a merciful intervention of God spared our little party from being massacred that night.


Continuing our weary journey up stream, it was only ten days later that we turned our canoe in the homeward direction completely disillusioned. After shooting the rapids of the Japura, five of the party continued their journey down stream to Manaos in the Berthon boat, while Mr. O. Walkey and I drew up our canoe at Jatuarana, a little frontier fiscal station of Brazil, perched high up on the river banks. It commanded a splendid view of the river, here about a mile in width, in one of the most lovely, yet most desolate, regions of the world.


The settlement consisted of some six or eight rough dwellings of mud with a dash of whitewash, and were hardly worthy of the designation of houses, except perhaps that of the administrator, which was floored. They were occupied by a few Government officials and a dozen or two crude, rough sailors.


From this point we expected to continue our long journey down the Japura River to the Amazon by means of a small steam launch which makes a monthly trip between this very remote point and Manaos, but we found we should have to wait a week or more for its arrival. Hospitality was at once freely extended to my companion and myself, and we speedily won the confidence and goodwill of these people.

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I felt it was an opportunity not to be missed, especially as I providentially found awaiting me at this point the long delayed box of Scriptures, in Spanish and Portuguese, which I had ordered from Para four months previously. But it often needs much wisdom and tact to break the ice and induce people to give one a hearing. How could I do it here? I soon remembered that we had in our outfit a small box-gramophone, which had helped considerably to relieve the terrible silence and the awful monotony of existence on the Upper Amazon. I used to feel very much prejudiced against these instruments, but now I incorporate them in the armory of useful and lawful means to attract the people, and so it certainly proved on this occasion.


On the evening of our arrival, after dinner, before the crowd had dispersed, I produced the gramophone, which was to them a great novelty, and before the week was up it had drawn all the neighbors from both sides of the river within several miles. On this first occasion I wound up the instrument and we had a few selections, finishing up with Handel's "Largo" and the "Hallelujah Chorus." I then, in a casual tone, remarked that I had a most interesting book in my pocket, and that I would, with their permission, read them an extract.


"Pois nao" (why not?!), they exclaimed; and I read them the story of the Prodigal Son, accompanied by a short explanation, which was followed with very quiet attention.


The next night I repeated the same maneuver. We had one or two gramophone hymns, and I sang to them in Portuguese; then once more I produced my book, and opened up the Scriptures.


By the third night they were accustomed to my voice, and seemed to forget my presence in their interest in what they heard.

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One young sailor lad, who showed particular interest, was intent with wide-open eyes on what I said, and when I ceased he broke the momentary silence which fell on us, exclaiming, "Well, my father and mother were devotos (religious people), but they never told me this! I never heard it before, and now that I have listened to your words, and understand what it means, I can say, 'I am for it! I am for it!" Ten thousand Brazilian hearts would re-echo these words if they had but the chance to hear what these sailors heard. "How can they hear without a preacher?"


Another man named Antao was perhaps still more deeply convinced, and when I presented each one with a copy of the Scriptures he started reading his Bible by the hour at a stretch in a loud voice, so that he could be heard by all the village. Lying in my hammock in a neighboring house I could follow his reading distinctly. This same man after we left started a school there for the benefit of his companions who wanted to learn to read for the Gospel's sake, and some time later I had the good news of several professed conversions in that far-away part. One of these is a fine young Miranha Indian lad named Claudino. By his aid I was able to compile a fairly large and useful vocabulary of that dialect.


The little informal meetings were continued nightly until one evening the small steam launch arrived, when this ministry terminated abruptly. In a few hours we found ourselves whirling downstream on the homeward journey after bidding and affectionate and long farewell. The precious Word left behind is a sure and lasting witness that will some day yield a certain harvest.


All down the river we distributed these Scriptures, and sent large numbers into the Spanish Caqueta region, bordering the infamous Putumayo district, so that there are very few families in this remote part of the world who do not possess one portion of the Word of Life.

18
Several years later Antao joined me in Maceio, and is now one of the most successful and most beloved of our colporteurs, as he has also been the faithful companion in many of my travels. Such a result seemed an ample compensation for all the previous trials and disappointments of this expedition on the Upper Amazon.


CHAPTER 4
Lost!


Halting my horse at a bend of the road, I called back to my faithful trooper, hopefully trudging along on foot behind our two pack-animals: "Antao! I'm sure we are off the track!-- "Not at all," he replied, "this is the road all right."


"But," said I, "it is now well over two hours since they said at that house away back that it was but two miles to the village of Jurupensem, and we have traveled five at least."


"We are all right," repeated my companion confidently; "look at the horse tracks!"


"But," I objected, glancing anxiously at my wrist compass, "our direction is quite wrong. We have been travelling north-west for the last fourteen days, and now, for an hour and more, I have noticed our path points due north . We are riding into some unknown wilderness. However, perhaps the direction will improve when we reach the top of the hill."


It did not improve, and no village or habitation seemed even probable from the aspect of things, but Antao was obdurate. "Supposing we are on the right road, where is Jurupensem?" I insisted. This argument finally carried the day, and after Antao had given several long, loud blasts with his horn, which echoed without response away over the hills and forests around us, we turned our jaded animals and rode back the six miles to the last decrepit farm-house we had passed.

19
On arrival the place was empty and very desolate looking, but we unharnessed our animals and waited for the occupants, who soon after emerged from the dense forest across the road. One was a middle-aged, coffee -colored woman of amiable aspect; the other a tall, aged, white-bearded negro. They had been fishing, but only a single ferocious piranha had rewarded their efforts. They stared at us in surprise, naturally, for we had passed their house nearly four hours before.


"We are off the track," I explained, asking, "Where is Jurupensem?"


"This is Jurupensem," replied the woman.


"This!" I exclaimed, glaring at the hovel of a house. "But where is the old village?"


"You will find it a little way in there," pointing to the dark forest from which they had just emerged. Following the thin track, we penetrated the jungle, and about a hundred yards from the road, buried in semi-darkness and solitude, we made out all that was left of the once flourishing military post and penal convict station of Jurupensem. There, roofless and rent, stood what was left of the Catholic Church. To its right stood the wooden framework of the house of the commanding officer, a two-story building, once the pride of the place, but whose skeleton can now scarcely be distinguished from the tall thick trees which fold it in a close embrace --” all that is left of the scene of active life, romance, and tragedy of but thirty years ago! Alas, too typical of the ruin and decay fast overtaking the remoter regions of Brazil to pay the price of the somewhat superficial glory of the magnificent capital on the coast! Vast, fertile, and beautiful regions reclaimed from the wildernesses of Brazil by the hardy pioneers of former days and fostered by the Government of those times, who sought to spend their resources for the general good of the whole country, and especially in opening up the interior, they are rapidly returning to their primitive condition, unknown and unlamented. I have encountered many such places in my travels.

20
Already it was getting dark, so there was nothing for it but to water and feed our animals and turn them loose for the night. The woman agreed to cook us a pot of rice while we prepared our night quarters. It was decidedly trying to have lost twelve miles, and to have to continue the next day over the same road; such a waste of energy and time, just when we required to make good progress in order to spend Sunday on the banks of the Araguaya! "It is evident the Lord means us to spend the night here,-- said Antao; and we left it at that.


We shared the old negro's side of the shanty --” Antao in his hammock, and I on the ground, with the edge of the ground sheet turned up as a protection against the venomous ground carrapatos. We were extremely tired, and, not seeing any more of the woman, were soon wrapped in fitful slumber. The poor old negro evidently had not enough clothing to keep himself warm, for several times during the night I woke to find his great, gaunt figure silently bending over a flickering fire of corn-cobs, a few feet from my head, trying to keep himself warm. He must have passed the best part of the night in this position, and every night will be the same. In this place, Jurupensem, he has passed the greater part of his miserable existence, from youth to old age, and although now a free man he cannot break away from this abandoned spot.


By daybreak we used his fire to make ourselves some tea, which the old fellow shared, with our biscuits; and then he told us his story using the quaint vernacular of the old slave days. Whilst a slave he had been unjustly accused of murder. The real criminal escaped, and he had to suffer the penalty --” to be a galley-slave for life. In this place he had to spend his martyrdom of brutal treatment and privation for --” he does not know how many years --” except that, when he was finally released by the Republican Government, he was already an old man without friends or means. He must have been over a hundred years old; and he wanted "to die and end it all," he said.

21
Here was an opportunity. I replied that God had preserved him for a purpose, and for that same purpose we had lost our way yesterday. Then I told him of One who had been also unjustly and cruelly tried and done to death by wicked hands, thereby satisfying the sentence of the law, even as the old negro had done, and that thereby both he and I would be set free, pardoned, and assured of eternal life. His sad case proved a great help in explaining the Gospel, and I used it to the full. What a delight it was to preach under such circumstances, and to be able to assure this lost, desolate, poverty-stricken old negro of God's love and salvation, and of the mansion prepared for even him, and the joy and glory awaiting him, as he trusted himself to the Lord Jesus and allowed Him to take him as he was! The old negro said that he would.


Then a neighbor dropped in and the woman appeared, and we had an impressive little meeting, which I cannot but believe will prove of eternal worth.


Soon after we rode on our way, nor have we since regretted the variations of the compass nor those lost twelve miles.


Chapter 5.
The Little Doctor.


Leaving Goyaz city early one Monday morning in July I covered some thirty miles on mule-back, the first day in a northerly direction through a region never before touched by the Gospel. The first night was spent at a large and well- established farm, hidden away some three miles from the main track. I was received with the usual kindheartedness of the country people of Brazil, and that same evening I had a very attentive audience of about six persons, who listened with evident appreciation to the hymns and Gospel message. I spent the night in relative comfort, stretched out on an ox hide, and very early next morning, having succeeded in catching my mule, I continued my journey after making careful inquiries about the road. Alas! I followed the instructions far too literally, and many by-paths had not been accounted for.

22

The path through the forest dwindled and dwindled, until at last I found myself lying along the mule's neck to escape some overhanging branches, or literally forcing my animal through thick and thorny undergrowth, which sometimes entangled us completely in its rope-like coils. At last I emerged at an old, long-abandoned farm, and there the path ended, so we had to double on our tracks until another path was found, leading in the required direction, for fortunately I had a compass with me. The second path proved no improvement, and vanished completely in the forest, giving me some trouble in retracing my steps. Finally, after several failures of this kind, to my relief I emerged into the open campo, and leaving the troublesome track I struck across country, trusting to my compass to bring us through. But meanwhile I and all my belongings had become smothered with myriads of spiky seeds, which soon made themselves felt, and, worse still, I began to feel all over my body the unmistakable bite of the carapato, the worst plague of inland Brazil at this time of the year. I was clearly in for it. To stop and rid myself would be a long job and a pretty useless one, as my clothes and blankets, too, were fairly full of them, so I pushed on and delayed the operation until more sure of my whereabouts.


At last, to my huge satisfaction, I struck a well-beaten path, and soon after a little cluster of houses came in sight. There I rested for two hours, visiting these cottages and distributing tracts and Gospels to the people, who had evidently heard of the Protestant as a specially Satanic and monstrous kind of being. They eyed me with suspicion and fear, which, I trust, I succeeded in somewhat dispelling ere I pushed on my way. Certainly they gave me a good dinner, and would not hear of my paying for it either.


As soon as I was well out of the way, and the first stream gladdened my eyes, I pulled up to balance accounts with the fiery little carapatos. With the aid of a small pair of tweezers I pulled off from my suffering carcass no less than 150 of them, taking a real satisfaction in the enumeration and death of my enemies, though the venom of their poisonous bites lasted for long after.

23
I spent the night in a little wayside hut, restless and tossing with inflammation, and consumed by the hungry carapatos in my blanket. I longed for day, and ere the sun reappeared I was well on my way again, reaching the little decadent town of Santa Rita before midday.


Some miles before entering this place, the objective point of my journey, I stopped at one of the numerous and delightful little streams which every few miles delight the traveler's eye. There I carefully removed as many of my enemies as I could reach, had a cooling bathe, donned a clean shirt, collar, etc., and then rode into Santa Rita as if I had just stepped out of Goyaz.


I drew up at the first house, which proved to be that of the chief man of the place, so chief that he seemed an embodiment of all the local institutions, being the local magistrate, notary, protector of orphans, political director, and village school-master. I found him busy teaching some eight boys and girls of a more or less mahogany color, for the rudimentary teaching of whom our friend received the sum of $20 a month, and of course considers himself very badly treated.


By his opening remarks I saw he had sized me up as something in the gold mining way, and as that had been originally my profession, I did not at once undeceive him, but waited until I had created a fairly favorable impression and we were a little more at home. He was a small-sized, pale-faced man, well on in years; intelligent looking, but with a very grave and sad demeanor. He lives quite alone, and finds his only excitement in Goyaz politics, about which the less said the better.

24
When finally I mentioned the object of my visit he looked graver and paler still, nor did my feeler concerning a room for my meeting that night procure any reply more encouraging than, "0 Senhor e quern sabe" ("You know best, sir"); so I at once relieved him of further anxiety on that score by declaring that the gathering had best be held in the open air, as the weather was hot, and there was a beautiful full moon that night.


I had no sooner announced my intention than the second celebrity of the place suddenly appeared, and a most interesting and useful person he proved to be. He introduced himself as Senhor Antonio Santos, otherwise known as "Doutorsinho," or little doctor. He was a native of the Southern State of Rio Grande, and had been very much involved in the various revolutions there and in the south of Matto Grosso.


These revolutions were the outstanding feature of Brazilian history in the early nineties. As one of the defeated commanders he had never reconciled himself to the surrender of his convictions and ideals, and, disgusted with the course of events, he had sought voluntary exile in this remote region, where he supported himself by attempting to heal the local ailments, though not a qualified practitioner. His appearance, however, was not nearly so romantic as his history. He was the nearest approach in life to Sancho Panza in "Don Quixote" I have ever seen, in the most friendly and sympathetic sense of the word. The short and stout but active figure, rubicund round face and merry eye, the little fringing beard, and negligee dress made the picture complete. He was, however, clean and neat in person, and when he opened his mouth the aforesaid comparison ended. On entering he made me a formal bow, and in the very finest Portuguese expressed both satisfaction and surprise at my visit to so remote a region. He spoke as if under a deep sense of responsibility, with well-balanced and nicely turned phrases, in rather a grandiloquent manner, which was quite natural to him, but which contrasted very oddly with his personal appearance. He was a man of good birth and education, and in his presence the schoolmaster seemed to shrink into himself, never venturing to mingle a word with our long conversation.

25
After discussing various topics, the war being the principle item, on which subject he expressed himself with a calm and reserve worthy of Sir Edward Grey, he stopped abruptly, and, addressing me directly, said, "And may I ask your Excellency a question? What is the need and object of your --” er --” Protestant sects carrying on their propaganda in such regions as these?"


"Senhor," I replied, "we do so because we are convinced that it is time that these people reverted to the Apostolic religion of their fathers, and gave up the foolish and idolatrous innovations so much in vogue in the Roman Church."


On his bowing his head in sympathetic approval, I went on to give him a more general view of the Evangelical faith and the urgent need of its propagation, and finished by telling him of my proposed meeting. At once he showed the greatest interest and offered to take me on a personally conducted tour, so to speak, round the town.


All that remains of a once flourishing centre, when the gold was forthcoming, are some thirty houses, about half of which are in a state of ruin, and being rapidly swallowed up by the encircling forest.


True to his word, the Doutorsinho took me from house to house, and he himself gave the invitation to the meeting to be held.
"Ah, Senhor M, and how is the little boy?


Has he taken those pills I sent? Good, I am glad to hear it. And how we are honored by having this Cavalheiro with us, who, without payment, has come a long way to teach us things we ought to know, and we must not fail to give him a hearing."


Then followed an almost imperative invitation to the whole household, to be present at sundown on the big rocks in the center of the village. At first he was hesitant in describing me and explaining what I was to talk about, and spoke of "ideas" and "doctrines," but as we progressed he warmed up and by the time we visited the last house I was quite an Apostolic messenger. In view of such forceful invitations I had nothing to do but bow my head and hand out my Gospels and tracts at each house.

26
That night about thirty odd people turned up on the rocks in the bright moonlight and seated themselves round me, with Doutorsinho on my right and the schoolmaster on my left.


The meeting was wonderfully inspiring, and the Spirit of God was manifestly at work in many hearts during that solemn hour. Oh! what a grand, glorious, irresistible Gospel we have to proclaim, and what a joy and pride it is to do so, especially under such circumstances! At the close the little doctor permitted me to announce a meeting in his house next morning, which was duly held, the pale-faced schoolmaster again being present.


The meeting ended, up jumped my good friend and, embracing me before all those present, declared that he fully believed all he had heard, and desired to identify himself with the same, and in the name of all the rest he thanked me for my visit. Such words cannot always be taken at their face value; nevertheless, there can be no doubt that God's Word had found some place in his as in other hearts in that poverty-stricken little town.


And so the seed was sown and the way prepared for some future harvest; and that same day I set out on my homeward journey, leaving the schoolmaster immersed in a copy of the new Portuguese version of "The Traveler's Guide;" while the Doutorsinho accompanied me about five miles on the way ere we finally parted. A few days later he rode into Goyaz to obtain a Bible.


The rest of the journey was not marked by any special incident, except a quite unexpected and, at first, undesired meeting in a hut by the way, the hour being advanced and the road uncertain; but as my story is already drawn out, I will only say that I felt the same power present as on the occasion of the open-air meeting referred to. As I concluded one man said to another, "We never expected to hear this."

27
After five sleepless nights and several dinnerless and pest -tormented days, yet full of holy joy for the privileges I had been granted, I rode into Goyaz safe and well, and --” how I did sleep that night!


Chapter 6
Through the Land of the Jesuit Fathers.


About the year 1600 it became clear to the Jesuit Fathers that the newly-discovered regions of Paraguay and South Brazil were an ideal country for a great new empire in the new world, which would compensate them for their losses in the old. Their subjects would be the scattered but numerous Indian tribe of the Guaranis, and they --” the priests and lay brothers of the Order of S. Loyola --” should be the exclusive owners, governors, and lawgivers of the land.


So plans were laid with all the political acumen and foresight, and with all the cunning and secrecy for which this Order has been famous.


The rivalry of the Crowns of Spain and Portugal, the very nebulous condition of international boundaries, and the cruelty and injustice of the policy of the discoverers towards the Indian owners of the soil furnished the desired opportunity, and in 1610 the Jesuit Fathers initiated their vast ambitious scheme with the building of a Mission City in the interior of Paraguay. Others followed rapidly, so that in 1627 the region included a large area in Brazil, and S. Nicolau was built. By 1631 there were twenty of these mission cities with over a hundred thousand inhabitants, all speaking the Guarani tongue, and by the end of the same century there were seven Jesuit cities in South Brazil. The new empire was called Missoes, the capital being the town of S. Borgia, on the banks of the mighty Uruguay. There were no civil laws, nor rights of property or person. Body and soul, the Indians were considered as belonging to the Jesuits, a more or less benign form of slavery, but which eventually became nearly as cruel and heartless as that of the Portuguese. The Indians were compelled to work for their lordly rulers, and in turn they were well fed, protected from the Paleface, and saturated with Romish doctrine. They were mainly employed in the cultivation of sugar, maize, beans, etc., which were sold in the ports of Assumpcao and Buenos Aires, the large profits being divided between the Spanish Crown and the treasury of the Jesuits, the latter always having the lion's share.

28
The Indians were well armed and exercised in military tactics. No foreigners or white men, other than members of the Order, were allowed to penetrate the region, and by 1750 the wealth and power of this ecclesiastical empire was so great, and was extending so rapidly, that the fear and jealousy of their neighbors were aroused; but the priests defied the Crowns of both Spain and Portugal. It took about three years of effort on the part of the united armies of these two powers before the Jesuits were overthrown. The Indians fought fiercely for their masters' territory, and its fall involved the slaughter of thousands of these simple-minded people. The cities went up in clouds of flame and smoke, and the Jesuits were driven out of the land. The remnant of the Indians were enslaved or scattered, to revert to their old savage lives, but now embittered with intense hatred of the white man, civil or ecclesiastical, as many of them remain to this day.


It was to this region that the Secretary of the British and Foreign Bible Society for Brazil turned his special attention, and at the end of September, I reached the old Jesuit capital, S. Borgia, after a month's journey from Rio, visiting en route most of the large cities on the frontiers of Uruguay and the Argentine, and selling many copies of the Scriptures.


In all my experiences of Bible work in Brazil I never met with so warm and sympathetic a welcome as I had in this region. The spirit of Jesuitism is dead, and liberty of conscience is a reality; and throughout I scarcely heard one cross or contrary voice. As a rule, we had not books enough for the demands, while in more than one place we sold more Scriptures than there were houses.


The only traces of the old Jesuit Empire of Missoes are the vast ruins here and there, that of S. Miguel being the largest. Most of them must now be excavated with difficulty from the depths of the densest forest jungles, where the wild cat and the panther find a home, and the rattlesnake a hiding place. Had the Word of God been given to the people in place of the lifeless fables and superstitions of Rome something more noble and more enduring would now mark the immense efforts of those ancient monks.

29

So ended a great conspiracy to bolt and bar out the pure Gospel from a great and beautiful country. In the shadow of its ruins the Bible colporteur now carries the living, quickening Word. The Romish priests are powerless to hinder their flocks from buying and reading the Bible, which is today easily the best known Book in the very region where once the Jesuit ruled with iron hand.


In S. Borgia a curious incident had taken place a few weeks before our arrival. It seems that many dwellers in these parts have a craze for searching for the traditional treasures which lie buried in these old-world ruins, and very occasionally some hidden hoard of Jesuit wealth or equally valuable documents have been brought to light.


Among the ecclesiastical treasures of S. Borgia were three huge wooden saints, much venerated by the people mainly on account of their great antiquity. Touched with the craze referred to, the priest of this ancient capital of the Jesuits conceived the idea that these images were a likely hiding-place for the gold or parchments of his predecessors, and in an evil hour for him he chopped them up. His researches were so complete that there could be no putting the saints together again, so he set the cap on his vandalism by sending the remains out to the kitchen to cook his dinner.


The inhabitants of S. Borgia were furious, and no wonder! One night, a little after this event, a motor car drew up at the house of the priest, just at an hour when he had expected one to take him to a marriage ceremony. On emerging, attired for the occasion, he was seized and bundled into the car, which drove off at top speed in the direction of the river. On the way his captors demanded satisfaction for their outraged saints, and the reply not being satisfactory the car was stopped at a muddy creek, into which his reverence was rolled. Hurrying on with him, the River Uruguay was soon reached, and there the luckless priest was put in a small canoe, minus all his clothes, and made to paddle himself across to Argentine territory, where his persecutors left him in a state of nature. S. Borgia is now without a priest.

30
It may be added that this man had been a great persecutor of the believers in this city. From the last-mentioned town we traveled across country on a rather rickety old American "Spider" and three mules, covering in this way some four hundred miles of the former Missoes territory, and selling books all the way. It was a rare thing to offer a book without selling it.


The weather was wet and cold, the roads muddy, and the going often heavy, and as the population between towns is rather thin our night accommodations were not seductive --” sometimes under an old ox cart, and another time with the pigs. On one occasion, after passing twenty-six hours since our last meal, we pulled up and unharnessed, while a pot of porridge could be prepared. In these immense open campos of the far south firewood is strictly limited, and a minute search only produced a mere handful of little damp sticks and dried grass. With considerable patience we succeeded in getting a small fire under the Spider from which we hung our pot, and watched it with affectionate eyes. Would the bits of firewood last out till the pot boiled? A violent storm of wind and rain answered the question, and suddenly harness, bags, and books, etc., had to be crowded into the small available space under the Spider, ourselves included. It was a drencher, and the fire flickered and ended in a blinding, suffocating smoke. The storm showed no signs of abating, and our shelter was --” well, incomplete; so, swallowing our ill-cooked porridge, we hastily loaded up in the rain and floundered on another ten miles in the storm and mud This is merely to indicate that such a ministry is not without its penalties, although there are always God's compensations at hand if we only trouble to look round for them. Indeed, at the end of the ten miles referred to we struck a good Samaritan. Mud, too, is not always an undesirable element, for more than once when passing through waterless regions we were only too glad to be able to filter the same through our handkerchiefs to cook our food with or to quench our thirst, though the resultant liquid would strongly resemble Epps' cocoa.

31
In well under two months' work my young colporteur, Eurico, and I disposed of 156 Bibles, 417 Testaments, and 978 Gospels.


In one town visited I met an old man of seventy or more who first heard of the Bible as a very little boy when read aloud by his sister. A poor, neglected orphan, he was specially attracted by the story of our Lord receiving and blessing little children, "He must be very fond of children," he thought. "Nobody seems very fond of me." When the priest discovered and burnt the Bible the lad felt it acutely, and resolved that when he grew up he would get that Book for himself. A few years later, while living a wild, wicked existence, on meeting a colporteur he stole a Bible from him, and to his satisfaction found the well-remembered passage again. The theft discovered, he was compelled to return the Book (that was a poor specimen of colporteur, one thinks); and it was many years before another chance came his way.


Seeking an appointment where it was necessary to be able to read well, he resolved to improve himself; so it chanced that, meeting a man selling books, he hastily bought the biggest one of his stock without inquiring much as to its composition. On reaching home and examining his purchase he found to his astonishment and delight that it was the same Book which, as a lad, his sister used to read to him.


He now began to study in earnest, and soon gathered round him a group of interested neighbors. Hearing of a Gospel preacher located in a town 150 miles away, he sent for him, at his own expense, and opened his house for the meetings and his heart to the Gospel. In a very short time an important evangelical congregation was established in that city, possessing its own fine church building and schools, and of this the old man is still an honored elder.


Without doubt the vast majority of the evangelical churches in Brazil owe their existence to the Bible Society; and with equal certainty it may be said that the person most feared by the lineal successors of the Jesuit Fathers is the Bible colporteur.

32
How fast the pendulum of time swings on,
And each day passes with more rapid flight!
As fast we grasp the present, it is gone --”
For weal or woe --” into the infinite!


Our heaped -up plans and well-considered schemes,
The high-born hopes and deepest felt desires,
Have come and gone for aye, like idle dreams.
Nor e'en their memory now our soul inspires!


With Time so fleeting and Eternity so long.
Oh, fools and dull and slow of heart are we
Not to have done with earth's vain siren song,
Setting our sails towards Eternity


Chapter 7.
A Great Deliverance.


The average priest of South America has very few scruples as to the methods he may adopt to keep the Bible from the people. It is a life or death matter with him, especially as he dare not read it himself.


His influence and power and the lucrative capacity of his ecclesiastical wares depend on his keeping the people in absolute ignorance of apostolic teaching, therefore the Bible must be exterminated at all costs, so he tells them it is the fount of all heresy. There are few things at which the priests are so skilful as they are at ferreting out Bibles, and that by subtle methods in which the confessional and the children are favorite tools. By fair or foul means the books are filched from the people, and ever and again an auto-da-fe is held, in which many copies of God's Word are publicly burnt with execrations and cursings. If they do not burn believers, too, it is only because the laws of the land do not permit it, even in South America.

33
The hired assassin is still at their command, and occasionally these "ministers of Satan" use such means to silence the mouth of the colporteur or evangelist. In Brazil nearly all the murderous attacks made on Gospel preachers and believers alike are directly traceable to the priests. This is a well-known fact, and I can give innumerable instances of it occurring in different parts of Brazil.


With few exceptions they shun open discussion or controversy of any kind, especially if they know the people have any Bibles. In one place where I stayed several months, and where many conversions were taking place, the visiting priest used to storm at me from his pulpit and make sensational charges against me and the books I circulated. This went on for some time. At last I wrote him a letter saying that I had heard of his attacks against me from the place of privilege, where I was unable to answer him, and asking him to dare to repeat the same in any place where I could be present to refute his accusations, as I was fully prepared to do. I also challenged him to a public discussion in the open village square, leaving it to him to choose the subject or doctrine to be debated, provided that the "approved" Bible of the Roman Church be used as a basis for the same. To emphasize the matter I wrote out a copy of the challenge in bold writing and nailed it to a door in the centre of the village for all to see, and this naturally aroused considerable interest among the inhabitants.


At daybreak next morning I saw the priest stealthily riding out of the village, after having threatened all kinds of future terrors, including a visit from his bishop. I never saw him again, but soon after I heard that while celebrating mass in a neighboring town he was stricken with smallpox, being the first case ever known in the State of Goyaz, and he disappeared from that part of Brazil.


On another occasion when, together with two companions, I rode into the little town of San Francisco, in the State of Minas, we found the people very hostile towards us --” rather an unusual experience.

34
The local priest had evidently been notified of our Bible work in other towns on our cross-country route, and he had so poisoned the minds of the people against us with lying words that doors were slammed in our faces without our being allowed a hearing. Some ran away as we approached, while others openly threatened us with sticks and stones.


We visited this priest, who received us smoothly, and, avoiding any discussion, said nothing against our books. In the whole afternoon's work we only succeeded in selling two or three Testaments and half a dozen Gospels.


Tired out and somewhat disheartened, we retired for the night to a rough mud hut, about a mile from the town, this being the best accommodation we could obtain.


It was nearly eleven o'clock, and we had just finished packing our books and trappings, ready for an early start next morning for the next town, when we were startled by a sharp knock at the door. On opening it a young man stepped into our midst, pale and agitated and very much out of breath, as though he had been running.


"Have you any guns? " he exclaimed.


"Guns!" we replied with astonishment. "No, we do not carry such things. Why do you ask?"


"Because," said he, "the priest has collected a mob of the worst characters of the town and has filled them with rum, and they are now on their way here to murder you. As this place you are in belongs to my father I felt I ought to try to protect you, but if you have no guns it's hopeless," and with these words he disappeared into the night.


We looked at each other significantly and listened. All was quiet, not a sound could be heard, and it was beautiful, clear moonlight. There was no mistaking the look on that young man's face, however, so we went in and, kneeling down, commended ourselves to Him who is able to deliver.

35

Ere we rose to our feet we heard the horrible sound of the approaching mob, who seemed more like demons than human beings. We closed the door and shutters, and lay back in our hammocks. The country was still open to us on one side; we could have escaped, but there were all those books --” God's books, and there were all our saddlery and other things. Should we run away and leave these things to be destroyed? No, we never seriously entertained the idea; it would have sounded too much like defeat.


The noise increased, and we could distinguish what our assailants said. Murder was in their hearts, and this with ecclesiastical approval. Our retreat was now cut off, for the place was surrounded. While the first blows were falling on our frail door and shutters we closed our eyes and quietly waited what now seemed inevitable. A few moments, I thought, and all will be over. Yet I felt no great perturbation or fear; God met my need of courage with His grace.


Just when we seemed as dead men we noticed some kind of counter-commotion going on outside, a hotly contested discussion was proceeding. It appears that at the last moment our friend had returned with a revolver, and after vainly expostulating with these would-be assassins he exclaimed, "You shall only get in over my dead body! " and leveled his firearm at the head of the ringleader, who bolted at once. Then another young man jumped to his side and drew his knife, and before the courage of these two the mob wavered, hesitated, and broke up in disorder, returning to the town --” and we were saved.


Then we heard knocks at the door and voices exclaiming, "Open the door! Open the door! It's all right now! You are quite safe.-- On opening the door, by the bright moonlight we saw a group of young men looking very excited and strange.


"What does all this mean?" one exclaimed. "Why is the priest so furious? What's in these books you are selling that has so stirred him up against you?"

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Then, lighting the candle, one of us picked up a New Testament and simply read off passage after passage of its precious message into their astonished ears. --œI don't see anything wrong with that," said one "I should like one of those books myself," said another. So we disposed of half a dozen New Testaments among them, and then turned in to rest, weary, but very grateful to God.


Within half an hour my companions were sound asleep, but I felt restless and uneasy; and just about midnight I heard that horrible sound again. The exasperated priest had plied the people with more liquor and had sent them back. But again the Lord preserved us. They made such a noise that by the time they had reached our hut quite a band of men had been drawn to the spot, ready to oppose them on our behalf; and after a wordy war the ruffians gave way, returning a second time the way they had come.


By three o'clock in the morning we had rounded up all our animals, and were loaded, saddled, and away within an hour --” just in time, as we heard afterwards, to escape a third attack. So that, without raising a finger in our own defense, the Lord saved us three times in that one eventful night.


Chapter 8
The Converted Priest.


Some years ago there lived in the important interior city of Juiz de Fora a priest, Father Hyppolyto Campos. He was the vicar of the city and enjoyed a wide reputation for eloquence and learning --” qualifications not very often met with among his class.
 

A zealous and convinced believer in the infallibility of his Church, he knew by heart all the Jesuitical arguments against Protestantism --” and very clever and subtle they are. Woe betide the Gospel controversialist who meets with a man like Father Hyppolyto, unless he is absolutely sound and secure on the whole Word of God!

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With such a reputation this priest was in great demand in every district of the diocese in which Gospel messengers had appeared, and too often his astute eloquence succeeded in stifling the first germ of life sown by the wayside. But it was not universally so, for he occasionally met a man or woman who had read the Bible , which he had not , and who could easily confuse him with the simplest questions, such as, "Where is the Apostolic teaching on Purgatory, the Intercession of Saints, the Confessional?" and so forth.


Noting that most of these dissenters were illiterate, humble folk, he felt the more perplexed and annoyed with the situation, and he at last resolved to silence such impertinent heretics by studying the Catholic Bible in order to refute them out of the same.


This was more easily said than done. By the wisdom of the sixteenth-century Council of Trent it was laid down that no priest should read the Scriptures without the written consent of his bishop under penalty of excommunication. Such is Roman fear of the Bible in the hands of her own priests!


Needless to say the priest who dares to ask for this liberty becomes an object of suspicion and is a marked man thereafter --” with very good reason, as we shall see.


Father Hyppolyto wrote to his bishop, exposing the difficulty of his situation and asking ecclesiastical permission to read the Bible approved by the "Holy Church" in order to confound these heretics.


Receiving no reply he repeated his request, and met with a curt refusal. He expostulated and urged the advantages to be gained, without, however, inducing his bishop to relax the general rule. At last, thoroughly aroused and somewhat indignant, he wrote in such downright terms that he received an "approved" Bible by the next mail.

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One of the unscrupulous methods of Rome to keep the Bible from the people is to declare that the Protestant version is an entirely corrupt and mutilated one --” Bihlias falsas, they call them; but they are careful that the "true Bible" is out of the people's reach, the cheapest version costing ten dollars, and even that is now out of print!


Father Hyppolyto was soon immersed in his Church's Bible, which, as is known, closely resembles our own, with the exception of the few Apocryphal books of the Old Testament.


First of all he searched for apostolic approval of purgatory, that corner-stone of Romish superstition; and was not a little disturbed to find no mention of it whatever from cover to cover. Somewhat disconcerted, he next sought confirmation of the other doctrines of his Church which had been questioned; and one by one they were met by either absolute silence or a direct negative from the Bible of his own Church. It began to dawn on his mind that something was wrong and that he had been deceived, and in turn had become a deceiver, and this troubled his conscience; but not being yet fully enlightened as to the truth of the Gospel he resolved to remain a priest.


Shortly after this Father Hyppolyto, calling one evening at the house of a friend, heard the sound of singing. "What's that?" he inquired.


"Why, don't you know?" rejoined his friend; "it's the Protestantes. They have rented the place next door and have regular meetings, and many Catholics are attending. Come this way, and from a side window you can see right into their hall."


From the shadow of the dark room the priest gazed into that little assembly.


The hymn had ceased, and the missionary led in a prayer which strangely affected the father, so that when the Gospel discourse commenced there was no more earnest listener than that hidden priest. At the close of the service he bade farewell to his friend, but not without first casually inquiring how often these meetings were held.

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As if by chance, when the evening of the next meeting arrived Father Hyppolyto again visited his friend, and once more he listened to the Gospel message from that dark side window.


This continued for some time, until at last conviction laid hold of the priest so strongly that he sought an interview with the missionary; and it ended in his definite acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. He immediately doffed his ecclesiastical robes and sent in his resignation to the bishop, explaining the reason for his step. The result was a terrible uproar among the Roman Catholic hierarchy, and every agency was put into movement to turn him from his resolution. Celebrated priests, like Julio Maria, and well known Catholic statesmen and Jesuits pressed him on every hand with alternating threats and promises, and his life was in peril. But in spite of all that Rome could do he stood steadfast in the storm and never looked back.


Withdrawing from the public gaze, he applied himself to the Scriptures. Three years later he was received as a local preacher in the American Methodist Mission, and he is now pastor of their largest congregation in Brazil, by his eloquent appeals powerfully convincing all who listen of the pure truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as contrasted with the deceptions and falsehoods of Rome.


Translation of an Article by the ex-priest Hyppolyto, showing his present estimate of the Church of Rome.


"The Church of Rome in Brazil, as elsewhere, is the Pope: uhi Petnis ihi Ecclesia. If of the inhabitants of the globe only one united himself with the Pope, obeying him in matters of faith and custom, he only would be saved, and all remaining who should refuse that obedience would perish.


'The worship of Saints, the Index, the Bull, in Coena Domini, the Syllabus, are part of the Christian doctrine of the Roman Church, and all their details constitute dogmas of faith for faithful Romanists.

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"Salvation is obtained by Baptism, by auricular Confession, by devotion to the Saints, and to the Guardian Angels, but principally by devotion to Our Lady.


"If the faithful Romanist cannot put into practice the other means of salvation --” the Sacrament, and the devotion to other Saints, with good works --” but retains a sincere devotion to Mary, even though he were the greatest sinner, or the most perverse assassin, he will be saved, it sufficing to guarantee his salvation that he wear round his neck a scapula of Nossa Senhora da Boa-Morte --” (Our Lady of a Good Death).


"Servus Mariae nonperabit declare all the popish theologians and preachers, with the approval of 'His Infallible Holiness.'


"Says the Bishop Feliz Donpanloup: "The most depraved and lost young man, who recites every day, Memorare o pussima Virgo Maria will not go to Hell. Ad Jesum per Mariam, etc.'


"The deplorable results of this monstrous doctrine are manifested in the lives of the majority of Rome's adepts. Their two principal means of salvation --” devotion to Mary as the infallible means, and attrition (imperfect repentance) with the absolution of the priest, in place of perfect repentance --” these two diabolical heresies, besides the thousands of superstitious practices as secondary means of salvation among Roman Catholics in Brazil, demonstrate in an unequivocal manner the great need of the preaching of the Gospel in this country. To say that Brazil does not need missions is equivalent to saying you do not know what Romanism is among us.


"The witch doctor of Africa is not more involved in darkness than the Romanist in Brazil, with his innumerable and almost incredible superstitions, and his adoration of a god of flour made by the priest.

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"We will not make mention of the expiatory Mass nor Purgatory, nor yet of Indulgences or Papal Blessings until the third or fourth generation, nor of their other absurd and heretical teaching, for all Christians know these things.


''What many educated and religious men ignore is that the Brazilian Roman Catholic with his superstitions is far below the most unhappy people in the world, and his conversion is much more difficult than that of any pagan.''


Chapter 9
A Catholic Schoolmaster.


Two of our colporteurs, having finished their canvass of the small fishing town of Caraguatatuba, not very far from the seaport of Santos, resolved to hold a public meeting.


They had sold very few books, and owing to the influence of the local schoolmaster had at first suffered much rough treatment from the inhabitants, even being refused food and hospitality. Yet they had persevered, and so succeeded in overcoming the ill will and suspicion of the people as to obtain the use of a large room for a Gospel meeting. Setting out to make a house-to-house invitation to the gathering, they finally reached the dwelling of the schoolmaster, and found him hanging out of his front window, in the true Brazilian style.


With a respectful bow Benedicto handed him a Gospel tract, saying, "Your Excellency would do us a great honor in attending our meeting to-night;'' but he received the ill-mannered response, "I'll do myself the honor to keep away, senhor."


A little beyond this man's house another inhabitant informed our brother that the said teacher was a very fanatical Roman Catholic, a declared enemy of Protestaniismo, and that it was he who was engaged in preparing an elaborate reception for the long-expected Romish Bishop of Taubate. He had collected quite a large sum of money from the poor inhabitants in order to furnish that magnificent prelate with the best wine and sumptuous living generally, as he could not be expected to exist on the apostolic fare of fish, which, with dry farinha, forms the almost exclusive diet of these people.


In spite of this and several other rebuffs, our brethren persevered, and were rewarded with a splendid meeting, at which several publicly expressed a desire to follow the Lord Jesus, and at the close quite a number of Scriptures were disposed of.
 

A day or two passed, and when at last reliable news came that the Bishop was to arrive next day, great excitement prevailed, not a few dreading the lash of excommunication for attending the Protestant meeting.

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The schoolmaster began to feel his importance, and taking the collected money, he hastily set out in his canoe, with one or two fishing hands, to visit a neighboring coast town, where he could make all the necessary purchases --” fine linen and table cutlery, fancy gilt candlesticks and china ware, several dozen of the finest port wine, European tinned delicacies of every description procurable, a special basin to wash in, and a cake of scented soap --” all these things had been carefully debated and resolved on beforehand. At last the purchases were ended, and with his canoe laden down with good cheer for the Bishop he started out on his return journey.


Whether the canoe was overlade, or whether the wind was to blame, is still unknown; but the canoe with its crew and contents were never seen again, nor has any trace of them ever been discovered to this day.


The Bishop duly arrived next day, but where was the schoolmaster, and where were his Reverence's food and fare? Nobody could say.


True, the bells clanged out some kind of welcome, and "Holy Mass" was duly thronged with spectators, while the ecclesiastical merchandise of Rome did not fail to replenish the episcopal coffers; but the fact remains that during the whole of his pastoral visit the Bishop had to exist on fish and farinha like any mere mortal; and the fact remained also that his unhappy supporter was gone beyond recall.


We have good reason to believe that the above incident made a profound impression on many of the inhabitants of the place, and that it was the first means by which God aroused this remote little fishing village. Some months passed, and we were led to send the same faithful colporteur, Benedicto, accompanied by others, to go on an evangelistic trip to this district; and the result was much fruit for the Kingdom of God in souls won to Christ from their idolatry and sin.

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Chapter 10
The Happy Convict.


Arriving at Goyaz, the most distant point from the coast to which the Gospel had been then carried in South America, my companion, a Brazilian colporteur, and I set to work to establish a centre of permanent evangelical effort among Roman Catholics, which would also constitute a base from which further advance might be made into the Indian territory beyond. We rented a small hall in the centre of the town, had some seats and a platform made, and started without any formalities.


We held nightly meetings, which were crowded in spite of the organized opposition of the Dominican priests --” those loyal sons of the great Inquisitor.


It was very uphill work, as the wealthy and official classes soon drew off when we settled down to serious business and preached repentance. Our attendance fell off to twenty or thirty, but then we began to see results. The first-fruits were all soldiers, six of them.


Some of these young men at once commenced work, scattering tracts among their comrades and helping forward the cause in other ways. They were scoffed at, ill-treated, and stoned in the public streets; but all proved faithful. One day two of them brought me a remarkable piece of news.


While on sentry duty at the prison they were giving away tracts to the convicts, and found one man amongst them who had in his possession a Bible, which he received several years before, and to their surprise he appeared to be converted. I then recollected how, on a previous visit to Goyaz, I had distributed tracts in the prison, a custom with me at every town I enter. One of the prisoners there bought a Bible, and no doubt this was the same man; but I hardly credited their report of his conversion.

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Next morning I walked over to the prison to investigate. Obtaining permission from the jailer, I ascended the steps and passed along one or two dirty, dark corridors until I faced a heavily-barred window let into the wall. Peering through I found there was a second barred window about two feet beyond for additional security. There was no door, the only access to the cells being by means of trap doors in the floors of the rooms above.


For some time I could perceive nothing in the gloom beyond that second window, though acutely conscious of a very evil stench, and the rustle of a rat darting across the intervening space. After a few minutes I could discern a large cell, filthy and foul to a degree, probably never washed out since the ramshackle old prison was built in the old colonial days, over a century back.


I could make out a dozen men or more lying about on the floor, there being no benches, seats, or beds; while the sanitary arrangements were practically nil. Some of these poor creatures had been incarcerated in this hole from ten to twenty years, and some had been there for years without a trial --” a common event, it is to be feared.


The Brazilian prisons of the interior are a disgrace to humanity; and I speak feelingly, for I tested the rigors of their accommodation myself thirty years ago on the occasion of a revolution.


At the far end of the cell several convicts were striding up and down, like wild beasts; and some of the prisoners were gibbering lunatics --” a not uncommon sight. I called out the name of the man I wanted, and had to call several times ere I attracted any attention; and then I saw one of the dark figures advancing towards me, stepping over the recumbent bodies of his fellow-prisoners.


As he drew near the inner barred window, the dim light that shone behind me lit up his face --” the beautiful, bright, smiling face of Pedro Feliz; and, as he stretched his hand across the intervening space, it was for a grip of real fellowship and union in Christ. How wonderful was that first interview! How marvelously God had taught him! How much he knew of God's Word, for he had read the Bible through many times!

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Then he told me his history. While yet a youth he had been terrorized by a local ruffian into assisting him one night to commit a robbery. This was carried through; but he was horrified to have to witness the murder of a poor old woman in the accomplishment of the crime. Both were arrested and sent to prison to await their trial. Then the murderer himself died; and when some years later the trial came on Pedro, as an accomplice, received the full sentence of thirty years' imprisonment After fifteen long years (and oh, the unspeakable agony of them!) into the wretchedness of that awful life came a Bible. He taught himself to read it; and then God's Holy Spirit unfolded to his mind and heart the wonderful truth as it is in Jesus, with its healing and transforming power. What he had to endure on account of his faith can only be faintly imagined under such circumstances. Nearly all his companions were callous, cruel murderers --” criminals of the lowest type; but there he stood, the greatest miracle of God's grace I had ever seen.


That was the first of many visits, with little Bible talks and prayer through those iron bars. This went on for another month or so, when I received unexpected news from the coast that my only remaining companion was giving up the work, which necessitated my leaving Goyaz and returning to our headquarters in Sao Paulo. We had just held our first baptismal service, five of the soldiers mentioned thus obeying the Lord's command. When I visited the prison to bid farewell to Pedro I found him sad and troubled, though he still made an effort to smile. But his regret was not on account of my leaving, for he exclaimed in a sorrowful voice, "So you are going away, Senhor Frederico, and I have never been baptized, and who knows if I shall ever see you again. I have observed that in the old days the believers were always baptized, and I did so want to be baptized."

 

I found the soldiers had told him of our little ceremony, when they had been greatly blessed. "Well, Pedro," I replied, "it is not baptism that saves, but repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus."

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Pedro rejoined that he knew that, but he wanted to be baptized. I said that it was quite right for him to desire it, but under the circumstances within those prison bars it was impossible. Nevertheless, seeing that he was sincerely desirous of obeying this command, I was sure that the Lord would accept the will for the deed, so that he could consider the question as though he really was baptized and be perfectly at ease about the matter


No! Pedro was not at ease, and could not see matters in this light, so our good-bye was rather a sad one.


A few hours later, while making my last preparations for the long journey back to the coast, a soldier looked in at the window and handed me a note. It was from Pedro, explaining that very shortly after I had left the head jailer had visited his cell and selected two of the inmates to carry the prison sweepings down to the river next morning, and that one of the two chosen was himself.


Occasionally the prison is swept, or at least part of it, and the resultant filth has to be carried by convicts to a point on the Rio Vermelho (Red River), a mile away, to be tipped into the waters.


"Meet me to-morrow morning on the river bank by six o'clock," wrote Pedro, indicating the spot. There was no need to explain the purpose of the appointment. God had wonderfully opened up a wav for him to fulfill his heart's desire.


Early next morning, before the hour fixed, I had found a suitable place for the baptism, and punctually at six I saw a little company marching over the fields in the direction of the Red River. There were two prisoners, with five soldiers, four of whom were converted and baptized men, who to my surprise had been chosen for that duty. They formed up in line, and a little service was held. I baptized Pedro, and with a radiant face he bade me farewell; returning with joy unspeakable in his heart to the prospect of incarceration for fifteen years more in that vile prison!

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It is no easy matter to live as a Christian in the midst of the terrible sin and blasphemy of a Brazilian prison, but from the moment he came out boldly on the Lord's side Pedro strove by lip and life to attract his fellow-prisoners to the Lord Jesus Christ. Some received his words with appreciation, others mocked and reviled, and made his life still harder for him; but he kept on, and soon had the supreme satisfaction of seeing two other prisoners pass into the light through his testimony.


These were the firstfruits of an abundant harvest. Then a new and wonderful idea came to Pedro: could he not touch the lives of his fellow-countrymen outside the prison walls? He was a shoemaker, and was allowed by the authorities to work at his trade, the money thus earned being used to buy little luxuries of food and clothing otherwise denied him. Could he not do without these things, and, living on the bare prison fare, be able to use the money saved that way in sending the Gospel to those outside? They were in the spiritual darkness of Romish night, while through his prison bars shone such abundant light.
Deep joy filled Pedro's heart as he saw the money accumulating. Then one day, getting leave from the prison authorities, he sent a sum of money, equivalent to about seven shillings, to the far-away headquarters of the mission to which I belonged; and repeatedly he sent his savings to hasten the coming of the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ in his own land.


Several years elapsed before I saw Pedro again, and then I found his circumstances had improved. Like Joseph of old, he had found favor with his jailer, and had been released from his cell and vile surroundings.


His new quarters were in the old disused Roman Catholic chapel, which still retained its images and other superstitious paraphernalia. Here he had his own bed, and he cobbled away at his shoes in peace and relative comfort.

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But his spirit was grieved by the aforesaid idols, etc., so I managed to obtain some large Scripture wall-texts, which Pedro nailed up all round the chapel. Some of the converted prisoners in the cells beneath did the same with their walls.


Soon after this one of the Dominican monks who ruled the people of that region heard of my frequent visits, and entered the prison, haranguing some of the convicts and bidding them beware of the English heretic. When he visited the chapel he was horrified at the transformation. He rebuked Pedro severely, and tried to confound him in argument, but as the poor convict would quote the Bible the priest could do nothing with him, and after several subsequent attempts to bring him back to the fold of the Church he abandoned the effort in despair. On the following Sunday Pedro was turned out of his quarters, and a Mass was held in the Chapel, which all the convicts were compelled to attend as true sons of the Church.


Taking advantage of this action, I applied to the authorities for permission to preach. I claimed that as the Brazilian Constitution did not officially recognize one religion more than another, and seeing that the priest had held a Mass, I too should have the liberty to hold a Gospel meeting in the prison, it being a Government establishment.


This application made quite a stir in ecclesiastical quarters, and for some time the claim was resisted; but finally I appealed to the President, and my application was granted. Next Sunday morning at eight o'clock the jailer went round the prison cells, clanking his keys at the barred windows, and called out, "Anybody wanting to attend a Protestant Mass?" For all who desired to be present a ladder was lowered through the trap-door overhead, some twenty or thirty convicts gathering in the chapel for the first Gospel service, and Pedro's bright face beamed brighter than ever.


That weekly meeting on Sunday has been continued to this day. Within a short period eight other convicts had been converted, while many hundreds of others had been favorably influenced by the testimony of their fellow-prisoners, especially that of Pedro.

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His bright, happy smile attracted many of his sad, comfortless companions. During all the years I knew him in that prison, with all his privations and sufferings, I never heard Pedro complain. He always made the best of everything and praised the Lord.


When a few years later I began to prepare for my first important expedition of investigation among the wild Caraja Indians of the Araguaya River, the only special monetary help I received was the sum of twelve dollars from my convict brother. When we presented our first little child to the Lord, Pedro was present with prison guards, and he took her in his arms, offering the dedicatory prayer.


Two years later, in answer to much prayer in many lands, the President of the State, by an unusual act of clemency, forgave Pedro the remainder of his sentence. He had in the meantime been used in the prison to the conversion of many, besides exercising immense influence for good over all with whom he came in contact. He is still an honored member of the Church in Goyaz.


We speak of our limitations --” that we have no call to the Foreign Mission Field, no special capacity, and that there is so little we can do; but surely it is beyond question that, compared with those of the Brazilian prisoner confined within four walls and under such conditions, our opportunities, with all the privileges we enjoy of liberty and Christian fellowship, are boundless.


Chapter 11
Escaped !


Several years after the release of Pedro Feliz I found myself one Sunday locked up, as usual, in the largest common ward of the prison for a service among the convicts.


These meetings varied with the mood and circumstances of the inmates. Sometimes there would be as many as twelve to eighteen men sitting round me on every conceivable kind of seat, extemporized out of old boards and boxes, my own being perhaps a rickety kerosene case. At other times the convicts held aloof --” often from fear of the priest or dread of the authorities; and only some half dozen faithful men would be left.

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This was just such an occasion. Old Miguel awaiting his trial was there --” he never missed a meeting --” and several other hopeful cases; but my attention was especially attracted to a new face, a young man just sentenced to twenty years for murder. An attractive, resourceful-looking fellow, Jose became deeply interested in the Gospel from that first meeting, and after a week or two he joined the band of the "hopefuls." But, alas!


Clang, clang! clang, clang! rang out the prison bell one day at a very unusual hour.


Everybody in the neighborhood made for the street, and gazed up in the direction of the State prison. A convict had escaped!
Comments came thick and fast: "How?" "Where?'' "Who was the lucky rascal?"


It was Jose! He had gone to the big, deep Carioca pool that morning with the usual armed guard, to carry back drinking water for the prisoners. The guard granted his request to be allowed to take a bath, and in he dived. He seemed a vastly long time coming to the surface; but the soldiers had scarcely time to get alarmed when he reappeared on the far side of the pool, clambered up the bank, and vanished into the forest. There were a few wild, random shots from the guards, but never again will Jose be seen in that part of Brazil!


I shortly afterwards received the following news of his final disappearance: Escaping naked through the forest, he managed eventually to obtain some clothing, and two weeks later he suddenly appeared at the door of the wealthy and unscrupulous farmer who had hired or snared him into committing the murder for which he had been sentenced. His sudden reappearance was most alarming --” and compromising too; especially when he demanded the wherewithal to escape into a neighboring State.

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The farmer finally agreed to help him, provided he committed another crime on his behalf before fleeing into the State of Bahia. The man demurred strongly; but when the farmer increased his bribe to a good, well-saddled mule and a hundred pounds, Jose appeared to agree. "Bring me his ear," said the farmer, "and here is my best mule and your money to get clear away today."


The scene of the proposed crime was almost within sight, and, armed with the farmer's pistols, Jose horrified the proposed victim by his unexpected appearance and by saying, "Farmer B --” sent me here to murder you for a hundred pounds!"


"Mercy! For love of God and the Virgin!" screamed the frightened man, who thought his last hour had come. "Don't be afraid of me," said Jose, reassuringly. I have done with that kind of business now, and only want to get m}^ own back from old B --” . Just kill a hen or two and smear me with blood. After that, fire a couple of shots, and yell for all you are worth."


Very soon afterwards Farmer B --” heard the distant gunshots and screams, and a little later in rushed Jose with clothes torn and covered with blood.


"Give me the horse and money quick! I've done the business!"


"But where is the ear?" asked the trembling villain.


"Oh! there was no time for that," cried Jose. "The relatives were all on top of me at once, and are now close on my track! Give me the horse and money I say, and let me go before it is too late."


The next minute Jose was galloping off west, riding the farmer's best mule, and with a hundred pounds in his pocket; and I had one less "hopeful" case on my list.

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Yet there was something to be thankful for; --” and I still had Miguel. There seemed no fear of his escaping.


Already an old man, tall, and with a big grey, almost white beard, and of a rather venerable aspect, Miguel enjoyed the ill-fame of being considered a celebrated criminal, even in this region of Brazil, where crime abounds, where assassinations are common occurrences --” often under the cloak of official protection --” and where at any time murderers may be hired for the foulest of deeds for the smallest sum of money.


Miguel had been in the Goyaz prison for eighteen months awaiting his trial for his latest crime --” an attempted murder under aggravated circumstances; and there I first came into contact with him. He became a regular and most attentive listener at the Sunday morning Gospel meetings in the prison. He began to read the New Testament, and declared himself convinced of the truth; but I never could induce him to take any definite step.


As the day of his final trial drew on I redoubled my efforts to bring him to Christ, but to no purpose; and I often told him I would far sooner he never left the prison than leave it without salvation. I began to lose hope for him, though the local friars and priests had already written him down as a Protestant.


One Sunday I said to him, "Miguel, if I were empowered to offer you freedom from this prison, or freedom from sin and condemnation, which would you choose?"


"Ah!" the poor fellow replied, "freedom from prison certainly."


When one considers what prison life is here, with its unspeakable wretchedness, filth, and torments, the reply is not surprising. But meanwhile much prayer went up for him from our Brazilian brethren here.

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The day of the great trial came; and though ordinary trials for murder attract little attention, on this occasion the court was crowded --” if only to get a glimpse of the terrible man .


I followed the proceedings with great interest. The evidence in itself was damning, apart from the long list of past unpunished crimes which would influence the jury's decision; and when they returned his fate seemed sealed --” I must admit quite deservedly so. In England he would have been hanged for a twentieth part of the accusations against him.


Judge of my astonishment then when the jury, by a large majority, absolved him; and he left the court a free man. I am afraid I did not feel much satisfaction, for now I could no longer reach him with the Gospel, his home being many miles away; nor probably would he have any more use for it now --” such is human nature!


A few hours later, happening to glance out of one of the front windows, I saw, to my surprise, the tall, gaunt figure of Miguel crossing the Square in the direction of the Mission House. Was he coming here and, if so, with what motive? I lifted up my heart to God in prayer for guidance and wisdom. Giving him a hearty welcome, I took him to the back premises, to avoid the many curious eyes questioning what the dreaded Miguel could be doing in the house of the Protestant. He had come, he said, with the definite desire to get right with God, and to receive the justification and peace of Heaven.


I took him along the old, well-beaten road of God's Word, and told him of God's love for lost sinners, even though his sins were --red like crimson" and of one sure means of escape He has provided through faith in Jesus Christ and His blood, all "without money and without price;" and then kneeling together, he passed from death to life, and arose a saved man in Christ Jesus.


The reality of his conversion was soon evident in the happy face and changed demeanor. It seemed impossible to believe I was in the presence of the celebrated Miguel, the author of a score of murders.

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"Thank God!" he exclaimed, "When I get back to my home I shall tell all my neighbors the old Miguel is dead. I have been born again." He blessed the day and hour of his double salvation, and pressed me to visit him in his far-away home for the sake of his wife and children.


It was a case of killing the fatted calf; and at once I had a good dinner prepared for the poor half starved man --” the first decent food he had had for eighteen months. I rigged up a comfortable bed for him on some of the hall benches, and next day the horses arrived to take him home.


When the prison bell rang out that night at nine o'clock, as it does night after night and year after year, its hard tones brought no fear to Miguel's heart, for he was on the right side of the iron bars; and oh, so much better still, on the right side with God! And to Him be all the glory!


"Is anything too hard for the Lord?"


Some may well ask. How could such a man escape the divine penalty for such transgressions? Or, How could a Christian carry such a load of remorse and unatoned crime?


"He that sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed." Less than six months later old Miguel was murdered by a near relative. "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?"


Chapter 12
"Was Lost and is Found."


"Hello! soldier! Have a tract?" It was not a happy face that looked up at my call. Joaquim Portilho was sitting on the doorstep of the guardroom at the prison in an inland village called Catalao. Like most Brazilian soldiers I have had to do with he respectfully accepted the Gospel leaflet I proffered; and this proved to be his first step towards salvation.

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The seed took root at once, and Joaquim appeared a most promising inquirer. He could read, and he soon became deeply convinced of the truth. He gave up his drink and tobacco, and testified publicly at the Gospel meetings which were being held nightly, hard by the prison itself. His wife became converted soon after, but she never gave up her tobacco. Not very long after, Joaquim's vocation as a soldier took him far away with a detachment of troops to a place in the interior, still more remote.


Apart from Gospel teaching and fellowship, and surrounded by godless influences, his faith began to weaken; and soon some of his old habits reasserted themselves, so that he became again bound in the subtle toils of Satan. Smoking was the first downward step, then in rapid succession one thing after another dragged him lower until he was in a more degraded condition than he had ever been. Yet he quite realized what was transpiring, and he made occasional efforts to break away. Then striving to stifle all the grave warnings and teachings he had received, he filled up the measure of his iniquities by joining the Spiritists when invited by a friend.


At the first seance he sat with others, pencil in hand. Suddenly, to his fright, his hand became violently agitated, and he began to write under some unseen influence. So great was the power over him that the others at once declared him to be a medium of remarkable promise.


Although exalted by this discovery, Joaquim had a hidden feeling of fear, particularly when strange, uncanny manifestations took place in his own house; and he prayed to God that if this thing were not from Him He would deliver him.


At the next stance a few nights later a medium under spirit influence quoted a warning from Scripture, and abruptly closed the session, which had only lasted five minutes. This extraordinary turn of affairs only increased Joaquim's fears; but what impressed him was that from that hour the spirits had no more power over him. When inquiry was made of them the reply was that as the man still retained some vestige of a past belief he could not be a medium.

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I may say that I have evidence which convinces me that even in the midst of the Satanic delusions of a Spiritualistic seance God's true messengers at times intervene; and mediums are occasionally compelled to give expression to Divine warnings, and to speak on the part of God.


To resume my story. One reason why Joaquim had still some flickering faith left was to be found in the fact that he never parted with his Bible, and that he occasionally referred to its inspired pages. Meanwhile he had ceased to be a soldier, and had hard work to support his wife and family. He grew despairing over his squalid home, which was daily the scene of acute quarrels.


He opened a drink saloon, and Satan prospered him; but his wife became a drunkard. Family discord increased, and blows were common. Yet withal he never could forget the past. In his heart he sided with the Gospel against himself, and sometimes prayed to God for help.


Two verses often recurred to Joaquim. One was, "He that is not against us is on our side," and his idea was that he could not yet be utterly rejected, seeing that in his better moments he still believed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The other passage was, ''Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out;" and to these, in his sin and misery, he yet desperately clung.


Things went from bad to worse. Joaquim kept a gambling and dancing house, and made plenty of money; but worst of all, perhaps, he was instrumental in leading others to Spiritism, even when he himself most distrusted it.


Suddenly, without any apparent reason, he yielded to a strong impulse to move away, that he might seek in some other place to lead a better life. He purchased two mules and a small ox-car; and, packing his belongings and taking his family with him, he trudged his way on foot a distance of two hundred miles to Goyaz, arriving but a few weeks before I entered it myself after a 'long absence.

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It was now nearly six years since I had last seen Joaquim. I had at first occasionally received fragmentary news of him --” it was generally bad news; but for several years he had completely dropped out of my sight, and I had almost forgotten him, except, perhaps, as merely one of the great army of hardened backsliders.


I was again riding into the capital of Goyaz, after an absence of nearly four years, which I had spent in Sao Paulo, in England, and on the Putumayo expedition.


As I rode down the central street, scanning with pleasure the old familiar scenes of past endeavor, and noting here and there a well-remembered face, my eyes lighted upon a wretched, scarecrow of a man selling water in the street for a living; and in that haggard, unkempt, unhappy-looking individual I recognized Joaquim Portilho, making the first step towards an honorable existence. Our eyes met, and he looked ashamed. Though I only saluted him by name as I rode by, my heart went out to him at once; and a day or two later I found him, very broken in spirit and very eager for reconciliation.


God began to work at once for his restoration. Soon after, in one of our Gospel meetings, he made public confession of his sin, when godly sorrow and penitence were seen mingled with the joy of his renewed life. Joaquim was then a changed man; and with his whole heart and soul he craved some opportunity to prove his love and gratitude to so great a Savior.


He desired to return to those places where he so fully served the Devil, in order to demonstrate by his life and testimony what God had done for him; and God has given him some remarkable opportunities in this respect, particularly so during one long pioneer journey, when he accompanied me as my trooper. This will form the subject of the next article.

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Chapter 13
Off the Beaten Track.


On the 22nd February, 1915, I set out from the remote interior city of Goyaz on a 250 mile journey of evangelization in a still more remote district of inland Brazil. I took with me a lately restored backslider, who was anxious to prove the reality of his change of heart; and certainly Joaquim Portilho proved an admirable traveler and fellow-worker --” humble, willing and courageous.


During the first few days our route lay along the main road to Rio, a thousand miles away. Every night we held a meeting in one farm house or another, with an average congregation of eight or ten persons; and in every case we were very well received and hospitably treated. Besides the night meetings, we were able to hold little informal gatherings at different houses on or near the track on our journey.


Arriving at the small town of Anicuns, where the Gospel had already been preached many times, I resolved to hold our meeting in the open air, as so far we had no converts in the place. It was already dark when Joaquim and I, each with a bundle of tracts, set out to make a house-to-house visitation, in the course of which I chanced to meet the newly-appointed Spanish priest, a young man of the average type of his class in intelligence and tolerance. Not caring to ignore him, I courteously asked him to be present, and he thanked me kindly. Ere we finished our canvass it was quite dark, but there was a fine moonlight; and making my way to the spot selected, in the very centre of the town, where a few logs scattered round provided convenient seats, I found Joaquim awaiting me, and with him a crowd of about twenty boys.


Evidently the priest had prepared trouble for us. Nothing daunted, we started in with a hymn, which at once provoked a tremendous uproar from the boys; and before we had finished singing the local band started playing about twenty yards away! I continued as though nothing unusual were happening, though very few could hear my voice. Then the band stopped for a blow, and the boys instinctively ceased their noise.

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Raising my voice so that it could be heard by everybody, I exclaimed, "Of old your priests burnt those who declared the Gospel truth, but now they only dare to smother it with music." Then the band struck up a lively air, and I tried to continue my address. Several men came and sat at my side, and a few women squatted on the ground within earshot, as I proceeded for a while under these harassing conditions; and then the band stopped for another blow.


Jumping on the top of a pile of logs behind me I exclaimed, "Please don't stop; yours is the best sermon ever preached in this town, for it shows how much reason, truth, and courage your priest possesses. Please continue!" --” and they did.


This occurred several times more, and on each occasion I was able to make some pertinent remarks, heard by the whole of the inhabitants, who, drawn by the unexpected sound of the band, now gathered round in silent groups; then with a hymn, only the first verse of which was audible, and a prayer, I concluded the meeting. The band made a triumphant march through the place, and a rocket was sent up; and having thus vented their feelings, the folk disbanded; and very soon the whole town was quiet.


Within a stone's throw of the site of our meeting there was a nice big stone facing a long row of houses; and within twenty minutes of the wind-up of the musical protest I took my seat there and started singing a hymn; then a second, and a third, at the conclusion of which a little group of some thirty adults were gathered round; and amid absolute silence I was able to hold an impressive meeting for the best part of an hour, concluding without a single interruption.


For the next three days we traveled through a fever-scourged district, and in every one of the many farm-houses we visited there were sick and dying folk --” sometimes as many as six or seven in one house. As mosquitoes abounded, we ran a great risk of infection; but definitely committing ourselves to the Lord we were blessedly preserved; and further, we had the privilege of preaching Christ in seven of the infected houses, with the hopeful conversion of two persons.

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Then we rode into the city of Allemao, which we found suffering from the threefold evil of famine, drought, and disease. In this place there were some eight converts, and we had a hearty welcome. On the night of our arrival we held a good meeting in the house of one of the chief men of the town, a great friend of the Gospel, whose wife and son had been recently converted.


The next day I decided on an open-air meeting at the top of the big square facing the Church. Again we visited the whole town, as at Anicuns; but when Joaquim and I started our service it was with a congregation of two It was too dark to read properly, but happily I knew the passage by heart; and all the while the congregation grew; so that when I concluded my address it was to some thirty people all seated round on the convenient logs which had determined the site of the meeting.


I had not spoken for more than five minutes when the priest suddenly appeared from behind me, where he had been listening, and advancing in front between me and the people he began to speak in a loud voice. "Senor Vigario," I exclaimed, "this is my meeting, and I cannot permit you to interrupt me now, but at the close I will grant you a word," and I continued my address. A little later, and again I heard the querulous voice of the priest, and breaking my discourse I sternly rebuked him and claimed my right of free speech according to the Brazilian Constitution.


After that I continued in peace, though the dark-cassocked form of the Spanish priest standing by loomed out between me and my congregation and compelled me to refer at times to this person. In my exposition of the Prodigal Son I had to speak of the Confessional, and also to point out the difference between the cassocked ecclesiastic who usurped the name of father and Him who alone does rightly claim that name, contrasting His intimate compassion and grace with the mercenary methods of Rome. However, on these and similar points I only touched lightly, and based my appeal on the love of God.

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The priest listened for quite half an hour. Concluding with prayer, I stepped down from the high log on which I was perched and invited the priest to speak. He was evidently ill at ease, and commenced in a declamatory style, saying that he had heard many beautiful and good things, and that he only desired to take objection to my remarks on the word padre (an ecclesiastic of Rome), and the word padre as falsely applied by them to the Eternal Father, as though they were one and the same thing.

 

His logic was very mediaeval, and seeing that it was only a question of words and terms I left it at that in order not to prejudice the effect of the meeting by a useless discussion. Unhappily one of my supporters --” my host himself, whose zeal was not according to knowledge --” entered into a wordy debate with the priest on doctrinal matters, in which the latter got so badly mixed up and excited that roars of laughter went up at his expense; and I had to intervene on his behalf to end what was fast becoming a dangerous and unseemly brawl. It was like separating two game cocks, and I had to threaten to leave the house of my good friend and host if he did not desist, ere peace could be restored. Then thanking the perspiring and trembling priest for his kind words of commendation, I induced him to withdraw.


Half an hour later I led a young man to Christ. At a quiet spot in the scrub fringing the city he knelt down and joyfully received Christ as his Savior. I have rarely seen such strong desire as that young man manifested. He is intelligent and active, and is connected with one of the best families of the district.


The next day, Sunday, I held three more meetings, one being in the open air in another part of the city; and ere the day closed three other souls were won for Christ, and many others influenced in a way that promised more fruit in the near future; indeed, I have heard of two others who were converted the day after our departure.

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By five o'clock on Monday morning Joaquim and I were well on our way to the big village of Fumasa, fifty miles distant in the little known country east of Allemao. Six miles out we pulled up for about half an hour at the large farm-house of Senhor Cherubino, one of the staunchest Catholics in the district, and an educated man.


We were received coldly and with distrust. I sat wondering how I was to get an entry, and ten minutes passed in vain; but noticing on the wall opposite a blasphemous figure of an old decrepit man, supposed to represent the Eternal Father, my indignation was aroused, and the Spirit of God gave me such strong utterance for about fifteen minutes that conviction went home, and they were dumbfounded. Then, leaving a Gospel of John behind us, we arose and departed.


Another three miles and we came to a crossroad and to a standstill. Which was the right road? My compass pointed the direction exactly between the two diverging paths. A mistake here might cost us many hours to rectify later on, and so we hesitated in a very uncomfortable way. Suddenly Joaquim espied a man on foot about a quarter of a mile away coming in our direction, so we resolved to wait for him. On his reaching us Joaquim, who was the nearest, began to question him about the road; while I noted that he was a fine tall man, with good features, a short black beard, and an attractive manner, dressed in the simple style of the primitive farmers of the interior, and carrying a gun on his shoulder.


In spite of the judgment of superficial travelers who have crossed this way, I maintain that in these remote and neglected regions may be found as fine and as attractive specimens of humanity as anywhere in the wide world. Some people only have eyes for the ugly and abnormal.


Now well informed about the road, we were about to proceed when Joaquim remembered to pull out a tract from his pocket and offer it to our kind informer.

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The man could not read, but was visibly startled; and said afterwards that at the moment he felt his flesh creep. Some time ago, casually, through an open window, he had heard the Gospel preached at Allemao, and had been somewhat impressed; and now, after a few words from Joaquim, he knew what the tract was and what our occupation.


"You must excuse me," he said with some emotion, "but I cannot allow you to pass this way without visiting my house, which is less than a mile out of your course. I must insist on your doing me this favor, for God Himself must have sent you this way." Very much attracted by the man's words and manner, we at once agreed, provided he invited some of his immediate neighbors to the meeting in his house.


Setting off in this fresh direction Joaquim called my attention to our new friend, who was running off like a hare through the thin jungle, with his gun swinging at the trail, and was soon lost to sight. He had gone to invite a distant neighbor.


We proceeded slowly for some time; but before we reached his little house, hidden away among the buriti palms, chancing to look behind, I found the man at a run not a hundred yards away, and his neighbor with him.


There were five or six other men at his house and four women; and within five minutes of our arrival a Gospel service was under way --” and what a service it was! What close attention, what earnest, solemn appreciation, and what ready acceptance of the Word of Life! All but one man were deeply concerned, and most of all our new friend Antonio, whose full name is Antonio Domingos de Cabral.


With a last endeavor to make the way of salvation as clear as possible, and after Joaquim had given a few words of testimony, I concluded the meeting in the usual manner, and we prepared to leave. As I shook hands with Senhor Antonio he quietly drew me aside, and, with some embarrassment of manner, he said, "I want you to tell me more clearly what I ought to do."

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"Thank God," I replied; "come along with me to a quiet place and I'll show you." And there, in an old empty barn close by, we knelt together in prayer, while quietly and sincerely this man, away in the far byways of inland Brazil, trusted and received Christ as his Savior. When he rejoined the others, it was with a glad smile on his face.


Several others were almost persuaded, but I did not feel led to press them to an immediate and probably premature decision, beyond what had been said already; so with an affectionate farewell we departed.


We spent the night at a farm-house just off the track; but though the occupants seemed to receive God's message, I did not feel much confidence in the result. The house being very dirty and overcrowded, Joaquim and I slept in an empty ox-car outside. Our rest was considerably disturbed by the rasping sound of the young calves licking the sides of the car, which had evidently been used for the transport of salt. By three o'clock next morning we were preparing to resume our journey to Fumaga.


About four miles short of Fumaga we pulled up at a large farm-house to make sure of the way. It was yet early. We were not tired, and expected to reach the village that night, but something about this place seemed to hold us. I had no idea at first of spending the night there; and yet half an hour later we were still sitting in the same place. The farmer gave us no encouragement to stop, but rather supplied us with the best of information about Fumaga to induce us to proceed. He informed us that his own pasture was insecure, but that there were fine pastures in Fumaga. It was early, said he, and we should easily reach the village before dusk; and yet we hesitated. "My accommodation is poor," he added, "and I have no corn." In the face of all this it seemed as if we must proceed, though now strongly against our inclination. But before bidding the man farewell, I sang a hymn and gave a short Gospel message.

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This at once altered things. Mysterious voices were heard in the kitchen, and the man was called out. What was said I do not know, but he returned at once to tell us that his pasture was not so bad after all; that perhaps he could arrange some corn, adding that there was a big storm brewing in the direction of the village. Then the cloth was laid for dinner, and we stopped.


An inspiring meeting was held that night. Our host's family and all his laborers made a good congregation of some fifteen to twenty people; and ere nightfall we were all as friendly as though we had known each other for years. When we bade farewell next morning our host would not hear of our paying a cent for all we had received.


We only had six miles to ride that day, the last mile or two being through some of the most beautiful and romantic country I have ever seen. Huge irregular rocks, a hundred feet high or more, peeping from the surrounding forests, appeared full of suggestions of robber's caves, hidden treasures, and thrilling explorations; and had I been thirty years younger --” ! In the midst of these reflections I pulled up my mule with a jerk, for not six yards beyond me, right across the path, was a monstrous snake, his head and tail hidden on either side of the track.


It was the work of a moment for Joaquim to tear off a stout branch, and ere the snake disappeared to give it a death blow. It is a blessing that snakes are so easily killed. We found it to be one of the python class, just over seven feet long and over a foot in circumference. In less than five minutes Joaquim had skinned it; and, carrying with us this symbolic trophy, we soon afterwards rode into Fumaga.


This place was visited by Mr. Macintyre in 1913, and when Joaquim and I arrived there we made our way to the scene of the meeting held on that occasion.


Senhor Vincente placed his house and all its contents at our disposal, which is the orthodox Brazilian form of greeting; but a certain gloom was over the household, as only forty eight hours before a young man residing with him had been brutally murdered.

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In the cool of the afternoon we canvassed the forty-eight houses of the village with tracts, and announced an open-air meeting near the bridge. At one extremity of the place I found a young negro dying from a gunshot wound, received in an attempt to murder another man for the sum of twenty milreis. He seemed to receive gratefully the message of God's love, and begged for another visit before we left.


At exactly the opposite end of the village Joaquim was busy visiting. Calling at a small palm-thatched hut he was invited by a thin, weak voice to step inside. On entering he found a young woman alone in bed suffering from a terrible and incurable disease. Not being able to read, Joaquim told her the Gospel news, and of God's willingness to forgive through the precious blood; adding that though she could not attend the meeting she could seek and find salvation just where she lay. She listened attentively but without remark, and Joaquim left the house. He had not proceeded half a dozen paces, however, before he heard the woman's voice behind him; and thinking she was calling him he returned a few steps, but almost immediately stopped short, for he knew it to be the voice of prayer.


"O God! O God!" he heard her exclaim, "thanks I give Thee for this news. I am a sinner. Forgive me now all my sins, for love of Jesus Christ. Amen." And then the voice ceased, and quietly and solemnly Joaquim slipped away.


In point of numbers the open-air meeting was a great success, some eighty to a hundred adults being present, seated all around me. But the spot was not well chosen acoustically, many hardly hearing my voice, while the sound of the rushing waters of a neighboring rivulet did not help matters.


Nor was the spirit of the place as open to the Gospel as one could desire. It is strange how differently the same message is received in different localities! It is the old, true story of the sower and the varied ground.

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Thirty-two miles through a lovely and well-watered country abounding with the attractive buriti palms, and we reached the little town of Cachoeira. It was already very late, but we managed to awaken the occupants of one of the houses, where we spent the night.


I found we could not stay there over next day without materially altering the plan of the journey, or being compelled to spend Sunday in the middle of a tiger -haunted forest; so I resolved on an early morning meeting. By six o'clock next morning we had visited every house of the place, taking its inhabitants by surprise with an invitation to a service to take place an hour later at the foot of the cross facing the Catholic Church.


Punctually at seven o'clock, Joaquim having constructed a rude kind of pulpit with some timbers which were being used in the rebuilding of the church, we opened our meeting.


A large number of logs and other pieces of wood made ample and excellent seating accommodation; and ere I had finished the first hymn practically the whole adult population gathered round, most of them seated, and all bare-headed. The women had changed their clothes in the short interval, and were in their best; and a more attractive, well-behaved and serious audience one could never wish for. The church building formed a fine background for my voice, so that most of the few who were unable to leave their houses heard the message also. Just before the concluding prayer Joaquim gave a very practical and effective testimony.


It was a blessed and inspiring meeting beyond any I have ever addressed; and the behavior of the people as they crowded round us at its close, just an hour later, showed that an impression had been made that can never be entirely eliminated by monk or friar.


The meeting closed at the stroke of eight o'clock; and by nine that same morning we were riding out of the town and were soon immersed in the very dense forest of St. Domingos, through which we traveled an unbroken stretch of over thirty miles.
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Finding we could not get through that day with daylight, and learning that the tigers had been particularly aggressive of late after dark, we put up for the night at a very unwholesome hut on the banks of the St. Domingos River.


Hot and tired, I resolved to have a plunge, and, sounding a deep pool near the bridge, I took a header. Joaquim sat on the bridge watching the performance, and saw after my long dive streaks of blood-stained water flowing from the pool. The devoted fellow had some moments of anguish, thinking that some alligator had me in its jaws; and he sent up a prayer at once on my behalf. I had struck my head on a sharp-pointed pole embedded in the sand, and was momentarily stunned, but on rising to the surface I found that the wound, if extensive, was not dangerous, though had it been a few inches lower it would probably have cost me my life.


On emerging from the forest next day I resolved, for good reasons, to spend the night and the next day, Sunday, at the hut of a swineherd, Helidoro by name. Some years ago he had heard the Gospel while an inmate of Goyaz prison, and he was really glad to see us.


The quarters were rough and filthy, with pigs everywhere, but we had a good time spiritually with the man and his family of four, all able to understand the Gospel. He frankly owned that he wanted to get right with God, but as he lived with another man's wife he could not rightly take the step until they had separated, as they intended to do, for the Gospel's sake. In spite of the pigs, we parted with these people with real regret.


We held two more farm-house meetings, the largest being in the big open ranch of a negro who earns his living rounding up wild cattle, which here abound. It was a good meeting, though I shall never forget the interruptions. I think the devil was in the pigs, horses and fowls --” such a racket they kept up! Then four women arrived on horseback in the middle of the sermon, having heard somehow of the meeting to be held. They had to shake hands all round ere I could continue.

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A little later two men rode up out of the dense darkness. They had completely lost their way, and had been wandering about for hours, suddenly to light upon the strange bewildering scene that our Gospel service must have presented to their blinking eyes. They remained to the close ere riding on their way.

 

The next two days were a time of trial, for my much vaunted rainproof proved an utter delusion, and I journeyed two days in wet clothing. We crossed the Dourada Mountains in a terrific storm that blanked out all the marvelous surrounding landscape; but I was glad to know it was there all the same. And so, too, though we were not granted to see much fruit from the seed sown by the way, and though it is improbable that I shall ever pass that way again, I know the seed is there, and that it will not all prove fruitless; and that some day, when the mists of time have rolled away, Joaquim and I shall find some precious slicaves of corn, the fruits of our sowing off the beaten track in Brazil


Chapter 14
A Bible Village.


One evening I was holding a kind of song service in a rough cabin in a village in the interior of Brazil. Brown, uneven, earthen floor, mud walls of the same hue, smoke-stained tiles overhead but dimly visible by the light of a flickering, smoky castor-oil lamp, which needed pricking up every few minutes to keep us from being suddenly left in darkness, and a smell --” this was the setting of the scene; to which may be added three or four roughly made forms, two stools, and a small bare table, which served as a seat, or a bed at night, as the occasion demanded. There were about twenty-five people present, the men being shock -headed, with black beards and sallow complexions. They were all barefooted, their attire rarely exceeding the orthodox striped shirt and trousers, made probably of cloth spun and woven in the village, with the old-fashioned spinning wheels and looms of a hundred years ago or more.

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There were as many women as men present, and their dress was as simple and primitive as the men's, albeit somewhat cleaner. Their only head-dress was an occasional shawl or scarf, and that was rare. The country women are about as handsome as the men, which, frankly speaking, is not saying very much.


But how they sing! They never get tired of singing the songs of Zion, and everybody has the right to choose a hymn. When I thought they had had about enough for that evening, I drew out my New Testament; and a hush fell over the strange little gathering as I pulled the oil lamp a little closer, pricked up the wick, and prepared to read.


Just before reading I had perceived a stranger in the room. He sat on the seat nearest the door, and had been silently listening to the hymns with evident appreciation.


I was sure he did not belong to the village, as I had come to know the inhabitants fairly well in my few months' sojourn amongst them. He must be spending the night here on his way through to Goyaz, I thought. I shall probably never see him again. God give me a message for that man!


I then read the passage and gave a brief talk for some ten minutes or less, as was my custom, before closing the meeting with prayer. As the people rose to leave the stranger kept his seat. I found that he was deeply impressed. He seemed thoroughly to understand the message and the additional explanation I gave him. Willingly he knelt with me, very I simply received the gift of God, and rose a new man in Christ Jesus. Then he told me that years before he had purchased a Bible from somebody --” probably myself --” and had studied it considerably, his only regret being that it was a "Protestant" Bible, and therefore, according to the priests, "mutilated and false." He had to confess, however, that though he feared these heretics, he loved their Book. One day he heard that a relative of his in a neighboring town, a local magistrate, possessed a true Catholic Bible.' and so on the first opportunity he rode over with his own Bible under his arm to make a comparison, for he had some misgivings about the matter. He was astonished to find that the two books closely resembled each other, only varying slightly, one being a translation from the Vulgate, while the other was from the original languages.

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This gave him a new interest in the Book, and a more lenient spirit towards the Protestants. At last he resolved to ride over to the village where I resided, and to hear for himself what they believed and taught; and he arrived on the occasion of this informal cottage meeting.


He was full of satisfaction at his new discovery, and made me promise to visit his district within a fortnight. He felt confident that there were many there who on his testimony would also accept the Gospel, as he was the only one in his village who could read.


When the time came round for the promised visit, I was unable to go; but I sent two young native converts in my place. They were absent longer than had been arranged, and returned full of a wonderful story. They told how all the district was inclined towards the Gospel; and that many of the people seemed really converted, and were wishing to be baptized forthwith.


It appears that when our friend reached home he called an assembly of all the neighboring farmers and told them of what he had seen and heard, and what had happened to him; and he urged them to follow his example. Night after night he read the Scriptures aloud to these people; and they received the Word as good news from a far country.


When my young men arrived, the people welcomed them as apostles; and they talked and debated together until twelve or one o'clock, night after night. Then the people gave up their idols, relics, rosaries, and crucifixes, and made a bonfire of them; and when finally I was able to visit them I had no hesitation whatever in baptizing eleven of their number.


Soon after this the persecution of the believers in the village grew so acute that many went in fear of their lives, and we passed sleepless nights. Just then one of these lately converted farmers offered us a large tract of forest land on which to build a Gospel village. The offer was accepted, and the deeds of the territory were made over to us with all the legal formalities.
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Within a year or two the land has been cleared and the village laid out in streets, squares, etc., and many persecuted families moved into the city of refuge, the first houses being constructed by them. The place is called Gamelleira.


In the course of another year or two a roomy church was built, and a residence for the native pastor, Senhor Ricardo. The cemetery was made, a common pasturage fenced in, and an excellent water supply brought in from the neighboring forest. Gamelleira grew, only believers being allowed to live there; and the streets were named Faith Street, Joy Lane, Concord Square --” where the Church was built --” and so one a day school was established, and a tiny co-operative flour mill started. By mutual agreement no drink, snuff, tobacco, gambling, or dancing were permitted in this Gospel village, and the people increased in health, prosperity, and happiness.


Of course there have been trials and difficulties, as when occasionally some member of the community broke its rules and remained obstinate; then, after much patient exhortation, he had to leave, and an empty house awaited the next applicant.


Here is now a little Gospel community of about three hundred persons in and around the village. It stands a shining example away in the centre of the dark continent, a thousand miles from the ocean; and a great future awaits it


A few years ago the Church at Gamelleira inaugurated their first annual Conference, a miniature Keswick, two missionaries and three native pastors being the speakers. It proved a great spiritual uplift to the villagers and to the many visitors from the surrounding country; and there were also several conversions.


This eight days' Convention has been continued year by year, with an average attendance of about five hundred people, many of whom travel by ox-car or on foot from as far away as 250 miles in order to be present. And so that one volume, sown by the wayside after many vicissitudes, sprang up and bore fruit, a hundredfold.

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Very great is the debt of gratitude that the Gospel heralds in the distant foreign fields owe to the work of the Bible Societies. When the heavenly balance is finally struck it will assuredly be found that they have been prime agents in God's hands in the conversions out of all tribes, peoples, and tongues to the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Without the co-operation of these Societies the work of the missionaries in South America and elsewhere would be hopelessly sterile.


Personally, with very many years of active experience in Brazil as a colporteur, evangelist, and pastor, and with an intimate knowledge of that country and its people, I am more than convinced that the colporteur is a sine qua non in every effort to evangelize South America --” and indeed all Roman Catholic lands; and that he should be placed in the forefront of all Gospel enterprise, especially in pioneer work.


Chapter 15
Triumphs and Trials.


One day, leaving my wife with the hospitable, kindhearted believers of the Gospel village of Gamelleira, Ricardo and I mounted our horses, and, driving a pack mule between us, set out for the city of Bom Fim, about forty-eight miles away. The weather was wet and stormy, and we traveled with much difficulty and discomfort --” for the so called rainproof coats and cloaks prove very fallible when subjected to a real tropical storm. Before dark that day we reached the farm of Antonio Leao, an elderly, patriarchal-looking man, who received us very kindly, and liberally provided for our immediate needs and those of our animals.


That night I slept in state on the dinner table, which, in my waking moments --” though happily these were few --” I found to be remarkably hard; while poor Senhor Ricardo professed to pass a good night in the rough Buriti hammock, rolled up in our damp ponchos and saddle-cloths. The farmer lent us an additional blanket apiece, one being considered sufficient to pass the night with. We were up with the break of day, and, finding our animals without difficulty, we saddled up and were off before six o'clock. Our host bade us a kindly farewell, and charged nothing for our entertainment or for the corn for our animals.

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It was a lovely day, and thin, gauzy clouds tempered the heat of the sun, making our travel delightfully cool and agreeable; while the pleasure of our ride was greatly increased by the exceptionally beautiful character of the country we traversed.


The wet season certainly has its perils and discomforts for the horseback traveler; but without doubt there are great compensations in the facts that carrapatos are very few, the pastures are in good condition, and the beauty of forest and landscape is immensely enhanced. Just at that time of the year God's world is seen at its best, and everything is looking fresh and green, like some beautiful, well-kept garden at home, with no sign of decay.


The heavy rains of the preceding day rendered the path susceptible to the slightest impression of beast or bird, and this fact became a source of great interest to us. The marks left in the sandy path were clear and sharp, having been made only a few hours, or perhaps minutes, before we passed. Tracks of the emu (Brazilian ostrich) are very frequent and striking, and now and again the pretty impression of deers' feet, the curious mark of the tatu-canastra (giant armadillo), and the huge impress left by a Brazilian tapir were seen. Once we noticed the paw marks of a wild cat, and several times the unmistakable footprints of the Brazilian wolf. One of these was particularly large and must have belonged to a huge animal. I have seen wolves in Brazil nearly as large as a Shetland pony, and Ricardo told me that he had shot such a one in Gamelleira.


At last, after covering about thirty miles that day, Bom Fim was seen in the distance, and soon we were riding through its streets by the light of the setting sun. On reaching the house of Senhor Nestor we were received by him and his wife with great gladness. He is the local chemist and physician. Years ago I had sold him a Bible, to which he largely owed his conversion; and the visit of another worker to his city a little later completed the work God had begun in his heart. He came out wholeheartedly for the Lord Jesus Christ, and since that moment has never looked back. His life is one constant witness for Jesus, and he is ever ready to speak to one and all about this glorious Gospel. As he is the only doctor in the country round, every one sick and suffering has to seek his help, and also invariably obtains Gospel advice and exhortation. The walls of his house are covered with Bible texts, and in his shop and dispensary I counted no less than thirty-two large Gospel texts, hymn sheets, sermons, etc., which impress themselves on the attention of everybody who enters.

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The day after our arrival we visited many houses in the town, inviting the people to our first nights meeting in Nestor's house. We were well received by the people, and before seven o'clock the place was packed, with a crowd in the passage, and outside a still larger crowd who listened through the open windows. The silence of the audience, both outside and in, was unbroken by a single word, and there was hardly any movement during the hour and a half that the meeting lasted. I have never seen such attention at home at a Gospel meeting. After the address, which appeared to make a deep impression on the people, Senhor Nestor rose and gave a good public testimony of faith in Jesus.


We held meetings every night during the week, and there was evidence of God's presence throughout; and though the priest tried to do us all the harm he could, begging the people from his pulpit "for the love of God not to attend the meetings," the interest continued; and there was not one instance of unfriendly behavior.


The concluding meeting was on Sunday night, when the large room and another side-room and passage were packed, besides the usual crowd outside. Many returned home disappointed, unable to obtain admission. At the conclusion of this meeting a young man told me he was convinced and had decided for Christ. Many others appeared to be fully persuaded, and we trust God will bring them through in time.


On our return journey, Ricardo having a special capacity for losing his way, we strayed about ten miles out of the path, and after riding thirty miles, while yet twelve miles from our destination for the night, one of our animals was taken ill, and further travel became impossible. We had neither tent nor camp beds with us, and had only just time to rig up a rough hut with poles and buriti palm leaves before the night set in. We tucked our saddles, etc., in one end of the improvised shelter, and, weary and dinnerless, crawled under it ourselves, just in time to escape a heavy downpour of rain, which soon found the weak spots in our flimsy roof. We passed a reasonably good night, however, in spite of these drawbacks and the insects; and by five o'clock next morning we had set out again, hoping to reach Gamelleira before dark. Vain hope! Ricardo soon lost the road, found it again after twelve miles, and then, when within four miles of home, darkness overtaking us, he lost it again! He then got so inextricably mixed up that I resolved to stop at the first habitation.

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The first house we reached was an abandoned hut, and we rode on another mile in the darkness before we made out another place, evidently inhabited. But the only response to our calls was the grunting of a pig inside. By this time it was quite dark, and we were feeling desperate, for we had ridden about forty miles that day, when, to our joy, Ricardo sighted another house a little beyond on the other side of a small river. With much difficulty we crossed the stream and rode up to the house, only to be again disappointed; it was unoccupied. Finding the big barn attached all open at one side, and empty, we resolved to pass the night there.


While Ricardo was loosening the pack-mule's girth, I peered into the barn, which had only a few corn leaves on the floor, and became aware of a curious, rustling sound, somewhat resembling dripping water. I called Ricardo's attention to it. "You are mistaken," he cried; "it's something else you heard," and went on unloading. But before we carried our things in I listened again, and again I heard that curious sound among the dry corn leaves. This time Ricardo heard it and said he thought it was an army of ants, and slashed before him into the darkness with his long whip. "A cobra!" he cried, as a loud hiss greeted our ears. Striking a light we saw a large snake, curled up and almost within striking distance of us --” just where we should have placed our things!


We left the rattlesnake and his friends in undisturbed possession and continued our weary way, now completely lost, pulling our exhausted animals along after us, in the hope of finding some place of refuge for the thunder and lightning promised a wet night. Finally I resolved to sleep out in the open again. With some difficulty we made a tent out of our two ponchos and managed to light a good fire. Tired and hungry, we passed a poor night on the ground, doubled up in a very cramped position, with only one blanket between us; but in answer to prayer the Lord saved us from another impending thunderstorm. In the morning our animals were soon found, as they were haltered over night; and, locating our position correctly, within two hours we were again among the Gamelleira friends.

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Chapter 16
The Supreme Test.


There can be no greater test of the reality of the work of grace that God has wrought in the hearts of so many Brazilians than the final supreme test of the hour of death. The following case is a remarkable example.


No more devout and fervent Roman Catholic than Dona Bernardinha lived in Entre Rios, and as she could both read and sing she was sought after for many miles round the city to lead at any special religious function, which often partook somewhat of the character of an Irish wake. Above the ordinary intelligence, in her way she feared God, though a firm believer in the miraculous and saving virtues of the numerous images that decorated her house; and she was generally esteemed and looked up to as a model Catholic.


Yet in spite of all this, like so very many in this land, she lived with a man who was not her husband. In the early part of 1902 the writer and some companions passed through her village, and two open-air meetings were held, one being close to Dona Bernardinha's house.


She felt compelled by a strong impulse to listen to what these men had to say about the God she believed in, though they were reported to be Protestants, and therefore very dangerous and detestable people; and as she listened the first ray of truth went home to her heart. She did not break away at once from her sins and idols, but the words she had heard were never forgotten, but often thought over; and when two years later we re-visited the city and held public meetings in the Town Hall, this woman was among the first and most eager attendees.

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Obtaining a Bible, she was confirmed in her opinion that we preached the truth. These meetings continued some weeks; but before the first ten days had passed Dona Bernardinha surrendered to the claims of the Lord, and, standing up in the midst of a crowded meeting, gave public testimony to the knowledge of the forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus Christ.


From that time she became a changed woman, and her life began to react on all around her. The man she had lived with was converted also, and they agreed to separate, he already having a legal wife who had abandoned him.


Within a few days of her conversion she brought round to the house where we lodged a sack full of wooden saints, crucifixes, rosaries, and other superstitious relics, of which, with her entire approval, we promptly made short work, calling her to note that if they were so holy and miraculous as reported they ought to have enough power to save themselves from the axe and flame to which we subjected them.


This new convert now became as zealous in the cause of Christ as she had been in that of Rome. The people were astonished; and though she was shunned by some as a heretic, she was covertly visited by many who desired to look into these things. In spite of persecution and much bodily weakness she witnessed a bold confession before all, and daily grew in grace and in the knowledge of her Lord. She had been, however, for many years afflicted with a terrible organic disease, which little by little began to undermine her life. Though many a time the Lord met her in quickening power, yet some two years after her conversion her illness suddenly took a serious turn. She felt fully persuaded in her mind that her departure was at hand, and gladly waited for the end.

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With such terrible rapidity the disease developed that soon it was known all round that Dona Bernardinha was dying, and visitors became frequent. With all the intense suffering, with her body all disfigured, she never complained or fretted; and when some of her visitors expostulated with her to try some new drug or other, or call to her God to take away her suffering, she would raise her poor dying body in bed, with great effort assume an attitude of prayer, and cry, "O, loving Father, if it be Thy desire to teach me ought thereby and mould me to Thy will, or if these here, through the example of my patient endurance and faith, may be drawn to Jesus, O Father, increase my sufferings, spare me not, withhold not Thy hand; only that Thy grace uphold me, that I may have strength and patience to endure, that Thy Name may be glorified, and that these may know Thee as I know Thee!" --” and then, exhausted by the strain, she would sink back on her bed again, and a strange awe and hush would pass over those assembled in her little hut. Sometimes she would turn to those about her and say, "Don't be sorry for me, for to die is gain; I go to a place whose glory and joy far exceed the imagination of man;" and she begged the few believers not to weep for her when she died. Sometimes when the little room was crowded with visitors and the conversation took a turn she did not like, she would rise and kneel in her bed and pray for them all with such earnest fervor that many hearts were melted as in God's presence. To all she spoke of her Lord, exhorting seriously several backsliders to look upon her condition and poor half-dead body, and to ask themselves who was the better off, and if they were as ready to meet God as she was.


Several weeks passed by, and as the time grew shorter she seemed all the more eager to make use of it for winning souls to Christ. Her joy and peace of heart were unabated to the last, and often when she was too weak for anything else she would lie quietly, softly crooning over her favorite hymn, "0 doce e men descango" ("Safe in the arms of Jesus ").

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The last days of this dying saint spoke more eloquently and effectively to the people of Entre Rios as to the power and reality of the Gospel than all our previous efforts; and only the last day will show the far-reaching and eternal effects of such a death in Christ.


The little town was deeply moved, and her funeral was attended by some fifty villagers. Among the little group of converts not one tear was shed; but when her favorite hymns were sung, and the native pastor's earnest words and closing prayer ended the ceremony, many an unbelieving heart was touched, many a new desire and ambition created, and many a seed sown which in God's own time will spring up into everlasting life.


Chapter 17
Light and Shade.


One day I set out alone to visit the once prosperous Indian city of Mossamedes. About ten miles from the city of Goyaz, most of the way through the sheltering shades of the forest, I began to climb the steep ascent of the celebrated Dourada Mountain range, at a little known but most interesting section of its great length of several hundred miles.


Emerging from the forest, after another mile or two the path became so steep, impeded with rocks and loose stones, that I dismounted and made the rest of the climb on foot, pulling the horse up after me. The sun was baking hot, so that by the time I reached the summit I experienced a most delightful thirst --” that is to say, in view of the pleasure I experienced in finding a little streamlet of cool, crystalline water, one of the small beginnings of the mighty Araguaya, born amongst the topmost crags of the mountain.


In the fourteen countries I have visited I have never seen such a marvelous view as spread out on every hand. Below me, to the north, east, and west, as far as the eye could reach, for about one hundred miles in each direction, stretched out an amazing panorama of forests, hills, and mountain ranges. To the right, sixteen miles away, could be seen the small city of Goyaz, the capital of a State four times the size of Great Britain; otherwise, with the exception of one or two little farm-houses visible here and there, there seemed no signs of human habitation whatever. Yet I knew that hidden away, scattered among those forest-clad hills and dales, could be found hundreds of humble little homesteads, and among them a few of the Lord's own people, not lost to sight with Him.

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Continuing my journey to the top of the range I found a plateau nearly a mile wide. About halfway across, rather in the form of an amphitheatre, one suddenly comes upon what at first glance appears like the prehistoric remains of some huge city of the Giant Age. Tier above tier on every hand rise rocks resembling the massive ruins of mighty fortresses, cathedrals, and castles, some perfectly geometrical in structure and alignment, others of a most grotesque shape; whilst here and there it seems as though the head of some antediluvian monster peers down at you from the top of stratified rock or column, piled up, stone upon stone, forty feet above you. In another place, amongst remains that look like part of some vast cathedral, one can easily imagine one sees the uncanny gargoyles so appreciated in a certain style of ecclesiastical architecture.


It was an amazing sight; and though I could not delay, as a thunderstorm was gathering, and only glanced at a tithe of these wonderful works of God, yet it filled me with awe and gave me an odd, other-world feeling. Were this remarkable geological formation nearer the coast it would doubtless soon become a kind of national wonderland of Brazil.


The descent on the southern side was easier, and within two hours I, for the first time, rode into the little mountain and forest-girt village of Mossamedes. It was originally, and up to about a hundred years ago, a large settlement of Indians of the Caiapo tribe, there being as many as seven thousand of them at one period. Very little of the original Indian village remains, however, beyond the large massive church building, which was so well constructed by the Redskins that it has far outlived many a comparatively modern and more pretentious structure of the white man; while the Indians themselves have vanished back into their old haunts, nobody knows where. At present there are only about forty or fifty houses in the place, which, in point of progress and activity, may well be compared with the antediluvian rocks just described.

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And yet Mossamedes is a very religious place. Ignorance is a handmaid of the Pope, and that fanatical and evil Romish order, "The Sacred Heart," has here a great hold on the inhabitants, especially upon the women, as is usually the case. I soon found this out when I began to look for a place in which to preach that night. One room was granted for the purpose by some young men, but when I began to invite the people to the meeting the consent was withdrawn, at the instigation of a woman whom I vainly tried to mollify. A word with one and another of the villagers soon convinced me that I need expect no help or cooperation on their part; so as evening was drawing on I resolved upon another plan, and filling my pockets with tracts set out to visit every house in the place.


Very few accepted the tracts, only about six people being able to read, but I managed to preach a little sermon in nearly every house, concluding with a cordial and pressing invitation to attend a service which would be held after sunset on the front steps of the old Church.


This idea seemed to impress the people favorably, and one old lady who happened to be quite blind, when I had concluded my little homily and invitation, very respectfully asked me if I were the bishop! At seven o'clock punctually I took my seat on the top of the steps referred to and waited for my congregation, but nobody appeared.


I had miscalculated the moonrise, and twilight deepened into dusk, yet no one ventured near. A few lights appeared at the open windows of the houses which surrounded the Church square; a rather sardonic laugh would occasionally ring out from certain unfriendly quarters, while from another house close by broke forth the unwelcome sound of a melodeon playing a lively dance tune. Meanwhile there sat the dreadful Protestante all alone on the Church steps.

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I had no doubt whatever that God was going to arrange a good meeting, in spite of these seeming discouragements, and was not surprised when about fifteen minutes after time a young man emerged from the darkness and sat at my side.


It was now almost dark, and I could not see to read, so I asked my congregation if he would mind trying to buy me a candle; and for another ten minutes I was again left in solitary darkness.


Finally the young man returned with a tallow dip and lighting up, I began to sing, "In the Cross I glory," while my congregation held the candle with one hand and with the other shielded it from the gusty wind.


My voice seemed especially clear that night, and the big Church front served as a fine sounding board, so that the hymn could be heard all through the village; and ere I had concluded there were about twenty men standing round --” and the melodeon, too, had stopped its unmelodious air.


Then I sang a second hymn, and the congregation increased to about forty, including a few women whom I dimly perceived on the outskirts of the group. Nearly the whole male population of the village was present. Some of them seated themselves on the steps all around, while others stood about or squatted on the grass.


After prayer I sang, "Come, Holy Ghost," explaining Who was meant, and that it was not the gaudy banner that bears His Name, and which when blessed by the priest is worshipped by these poor deluded souls, but rather the mighty Searcher of hearts and Transformer of lives.

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Then I began to preach, and what a strange and inspiring scene it was --” the dim, flickering light of that candle faintly reflected on the serious, upturned faces around me. Only these faces --” pale and dusky --” were visible, the rest was lost in the surrounding darkness. It was a far more wonderful and beautiful scene than those glorious rocks and entrancing views already spoken of.


I spoke for over half an hour on the latter part of Luke 7: The lost soul; rejected by the Church, despised by the seeming friends of Jesus, yet loved by God. The Master knew all about her, as He knows each one of us, too; there is nothing hid from Him. She did not go to Peter, but to Jesus Himself, and He did not cast her out. The simplicity of salvation demonstrated; without money, without penance, without Mass, without priest; yea, without one audible prayer even. Who could fathom her shame and anguish as she entered that room? Who could measure her joy as she went away with His peace in her heart?


Not a face moved, not a sound broke the stillness, and I knew there were listeners at the windows around. When I concluded there was no nervous haste to get away from such heretical proceedings.


Then it began to brighten and the candle went out, out ere the bright full moon rose over the scene a new light had assuredly arisen in some of those dark hearts around me that neither priest nor "Holy Mass" will ever put out.


Chapter 18.
The Rainstorm.


It was very unpleasant indeed! Riding on horseback over the rough highways of Central Brazil is not an easy or comfortable method of travel, and with a little child to carry in your arms it becomes an unpleasantly trying and even hazardous experience, especially in the rainy season.

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On this occasion I had with me my wife and two little ones. We had nearly finished our long ride of a month, being now within a few days of the railway.

 

We had wonderfully experienced the protection of our Father, in spite of the season, though there had been several disagreeable incidents on the way. Once a rickety trestle bridge had given way beneath my horse and I had to pitch my little girl quickly, as far away as possible, to escape the horse's hoofs and rolling logs. Another time I had under-estimated the depth of a river we had to ford, and while crossing the water came up over the saddle and we drifted down stream. I managed to get near to one of the high banks, and with an effort pushed the little one up its steep sides, where she clung until I could get out and rescue her.


These and many similarly uncomfortable experiences proved very tiring to mind and body, and we were thankful when Saturdays arrived and we could look forward to a day's rest and refreshment after the hard travel of the past week.


On reaching our camp for that night and the next day, it proved to be a dreary, uninteresting spot, with very poor pasturage for our animals and no accommodation for ourselves except a big open rancho consisting of four posts let into the ground supporting a red-tiled roof. This was so much the home of the pigs and cattle that they rather resented our intrusion.


There was a farmhouse close by, but for evident reasons we were not offered the usual hospitality we had hoped for; and to add to our discomfort it was pouring with rain. To push on for another hour or two to the next farm was out of the question --” we were far too tired; so we rigged up our small tent under the rancho, and tried to make the best of things.

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After I had succeeded in igniting a reluctant fire with the few damp sticks collected, I walked over to the farm-house, which was literally packed with people --” mostly men --” who were drinking, smoking, and behaving generally in the boisterous manner usual at harvest time.


Labor is very scarce in Central Brazil, so all the farmers are accustomed to take it in turns to help the others for many miles round at certain periods of the year, and so accomplish in a few days what one unaided would take months to perform. The farmer who receives the benefit has to accommodate and feed his friends, and keep them freely supplied with rum and tobacco during their stay; and as they often bring their wives and families too it will be easily understood that there was no spare room for any chance wayfarers like ourselves --” not even in the corn bin!


As I entered the medley crowd stared at me, and for a moment the hubbub ceased. "I perceive you are fond of music here," said I; "shall I sing you something?" "Sim, Senhor, pois nao" (Yes, sir, why not)! several voices replied; so that I sat on a corner of the bare, rough table and sang a few hymns in Portuguese to a very quiet and appreciative audience. There is nothing that attracts Brazilians so much as music and singing.


Before the impression produced by the hymns had died away I drew forth my pocket Testament and read them a short chapter. I then asked the host if I could have a meeting there next day; and he giving a willing consent I bade them all good-night and left them.


Oh, what an awful night that was! The strong wind and the rain soon penetrated our cramped and flimsy shelter; and about midnight our little girl had a bad attack of croup from the cold and exposure. We seriously wished we had pushed on a little farther.

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Next morning, on looking up my friends of the previous night, I found that most of them had been expecting to return to their own homes early that morning, but such was the interest and curiosity excited by the proposed meeting that nearly all of them had delayed their departure till the evening in order to be able to attend.


I held the service earlier than at first announced, as some had to travel great distances that day --” several of them having come twenty to thirty miles. The service was deeply impressive. We had a kind of after-meeting, and it seemed that the hearts of several of these rough men were touched. I went back to our poor quarters with a much more contented mind.


How it did pour again that night! When at last the day broke it seemed as if we should be unable to proceed, and we rose an hour later than usual. It was then broad daylight, and the rain was diminishing. To my surprise I found outside a young man who had been sitting in the rain for about an hour, waiting for me to appear. He was drenched to the skin, bespattered with mud, and shivering with cold. I recognized him at once as one of the congregation of the previous afternoon.


He told me that in consequence of what he had heard he had spent a bad and restless night; and that though he lived many miles away he had risen before daybreak and walked in through that storm to catch me before I left, in order to speak about his condition of mind.


We walked away together out of sight of the house and rancho, and with the open Bible I endeavored to make clear to him the way of salvation, he accepting it all like a little child. Then together we knelt on a log, beneath a spreading tree, and he in simple faith received Salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.

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With a quiet, satisfied look on his face he bade us good-bye. We packed our belongings, loaded up and saddled, and continued our journey, now more than grateful that our Father had marked out this spot for our camp. We understood better the bad quarters, the rainstorm, and the croup, when the outcome proved to be one soul at least snatched from the hand of the Enemy. We have never passed that way since; but God's Word remains behind us as a safe Guide and a sure Witness.


Beauty for Ashes.


Look up into the glory of the western sky. As slow declines the sun, and wraps in shade Earth's fleeting day! Her beauty and her boast. In ashes lie, in weeds of woe arrayed.
Look up!


Look up, my soul! and, oh, find sure relief! The petty trials that beset the mind, The sense of outraged faith, the bitter loss. Leave all their worry, pain, and tears behind.
Look up!


Look up ! the silent stars sweet solace bring; Earth's little hour forgotten, sinks from sight. Oft in such ision, bright, celestial. Darkness of mind and soul take sudden flight.
Look up!


Look up! for in those far ethereal isles Of beauty unexcelled, radiant and blest, Is seen a type of glories yet withheld, Foretaste of glories yet untold, of peace and rest.
Look up!


Look up! and, lo, the adoring soul takes wings! And seems to gaze upon her matchless King. So long desired. O blest imagination this, from glory unto glory life transfiguring!
Look up!


Look up! for your redemption draweth near; His glorious coming tints the eastern sky. Soon every weary, aching heart He'll bless. And every tear He'll dry.
Look up!

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Chapter 19
In the Most Central City of South America.


Towards the end of March, 1902, I left Rio de Janeiro for a cross-country journey with the Bible to Cuyaba, the most central city of South America. I had for my companion my own brother George and a native worker called Diniz. After over four months' travel, including a thousand miles on horseback, selling large numbers of Scriptures en route, and meeting with many incidents and adventures by the way, we reached the aforesaid city. After a short delay we started the work as related in the following extracts from my diary:


August 29th. --” At last! We commenced our canvass about nine o'clock and worked till dusk, each taking an allotted district or street. We found the people remarkably well disposed; and though our first day's work was in a poor part of the town, near the river front, our sales were unusually good, viz., twenty-two Bibles and thirty-nine Testaments. Met with no opposition at all, though a few were suspicious and frightened, so we were encouraged and gladdened.


August 30th. --” Continued our work in another extremity of the city, in a poor district. The weather was very hot and trying with such heavy bags of books, yet without any real difficulty we disposed of no less than four Bibles and forty-three Testaments, besides scattering tracts and Gospels freely and preaching the Gospel in many houses.


August 31st. --” Passed a quiet Sunday in our new quarters, but the priests are stirred up like a hornet's nest, and are, very busy trying to undo our work. The bishop has published a special pastoral against us and our books, but nobody seems the worse, though it is bound to raise some little opposition for the next few days. George and I visited a Swedish Professor of Botany, sent here upon some work of exploration. He seemed a clever fellow, showed us the drawings of several new plants he had discovered, and talked heaps of botany; but when we ventured to speak of salvation immediately his whole demeanor changed, and though our remark was a very quiet and reasonable one he instantly bundled us out of his house without ceremony, slamming the door behind us. Much botany had made him mad, poor man! He thinks more of his little dead microscopic specimens than of the great, living and all-wise Creator Himself.

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September 1st. --” Today we tackled the centre of the city, where the merchants and richer classes live, among whom I found much unbelief, indifference, and Spiritism. But in spite of this and some uncivil treatment on the part of one or two, the book sales were excellent, amounting to eight Bibles and forty-three Testaments. During the day George and Diniz visited the large military hospital and made a free distribution of Gospels among the sick soldiers and sentries.


September 2nd. --” Had a very good day's work in the centre of the city, with plenty of opportunities to testify and speak of the Word of God, notwithstanding the efforts of the priests to hinder us. Our sales today were eleven Bibles and forty-five Testaments. That evening we held our first open-air meeting in the city. It was in a little narrow street near the river port, and we had quite a large and attentive meeting, in spite of the heat. No interruption whatever, although there was very plain speaking on our part.


September 3rd. --” Good work continues, and street by street, house by house, the city is gradually being canvassed and evangelized at the same time. Some receive us gladly, but generally some tact and persuasion are necessary to gain one's end.


September 4th. --” The sales continue to be up to the average, thank God! We are wonderfully blessed, and are amazed at the remarkable results. Our open-air meeting today was held near the Bishop's palace. There were very few people present, but deep interest was betrayed by several. At all the meetings we make free distribution of Gospels and Gospel tracts.


September 5th. --” Sales today were twelve Bibles and thirty-two Testaments. In the evening we held a meeting in the Largo da Matriz, an important open square opposite the Cathedral, and some fifty or sixty people gathered around, evidently astonished at so unprecedented a method. Many scoffed, while others were attracted. We were told that after this meeting the priests came out of the Cathedral and sprinkled holy water about the spot, to drive away the "evil and contaminating influence" of our presence! Today I called on the President of the State and presented him with a Bible on behalf of the British and Foreign Bible Society. He received me very courteously and made some inquiries about our journey; indeed, everybody seems astonished at the undertaking.

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Afterwards I visited one of the leading representatives of the Catholic priesthood, an old, kindly-looking man of eighty-two. After a long talk on different topics, beating round the bush --” for he was evidently nervous and suspicious --” he showed me his library, which included a translation of Milton's "Paradise Lost." Then I offered him a New Testament, and on his hesitating to touch it I went to some trouble to prove that it was the same Testament that the Pope himself used (or should use!), being a translation of the Vulgate. He then said he could not read the Testament after officiating for so many years as a Catholic priest, and he was too old to change his religion. "What would people say," he asked pathetically, "if I were to do so?" I gave him my testimony, and he listened attentively. Finally he accepted a large-type Testament from me, and on our parting he wished me well and prayed that God would bless our work and prosper us. An extraordinary interview! Poor old man! He is a canon of the Church of Rome, but in a happier condition than the Protestant Swedish professor with his dried leaves, and equally dry heart. I also visited the barracks today and sold quite a number of books to the soldiers and to some prisoners there.


September 6th. --” We practically concluded our canvass today, finishing up a few remaining corners and suburbs; and of all those three great boxes of Scriptures we have only six Bibles, six Testaments and some Gospels left. Diniz visited the State Prison and distributed some Gospels among the convicts. We sold the remainder of our books in Cuxipo, where we found more purchasers than we had books to supply.


And thus in eight days we so aroused the apathetic people of Cuyaba that we sold ninety Bibles, three hundred and fifteen Testaments, and seventy Gospels, besides making a free distribution of a few Testaments and over six hundred Gospels, or about one thousand one hundred copies in all. Having disposed of my big troop of animals for more than their original cost, within a few days our little party was steaming down the Cuyaba river en route for Buenos Aires, about two thousand miles below us.

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Chapter 20
A Greasy but Glorious Transaction.


Arriving one Saturday night on horseback at the poverty-stricken little mediaeval town of Santa Cruz, once the capital of the far interior State of Goyaz, I found circumstances rather adverse. It was the eve of the great Romish Feast of the Holy Ghost, with its accompanying orgy of drunkenness and vice of every description, universal in South America on these occasions. The people had prepared for it with the usual period of "fasting," or abstinence from meat, which in those regions is little used or appreciated. They may drink rum, smoke, gamble, dance, etc.; but to eat meat is a mortal sin --” unless, of course, they can afford five shillings to purchase an indulgence, and then the "mortal sin" disappears!


Undeterred by this, and by the news that a priest was coming on the morrow to open the festivities with High Mass, I applied to the local authorities for permission to hold a meeting the following evening in an old ramshackle barn dignified by the name of Town Hall.


There was a little demurring at first on the part of the Intendente (Mayor), but a casual remark on my part that I was English at once removed all hesitation, and my request was gladly granted, with offers to have the place put in order for the occasion; for our countrymen have played a great and unforgettable part in the history of this land.


I fixed my meeting for six o'clock, and found that the priest had also chosen that hour for his spectacular performance. During the day the town was canvassed with tracts, and everybody was invited to the Gospel meeting.


The Town Hall is the only two-storied building in the place, and the inhabitants seem rather proud of it. It serves a double purpose. The ground-floor is the town prison, its entrance being through a trap door in the centre of the room above, in which our meeting was to be held {i.e., the Town Hall). Before six the place was literally packed with men --” no women or children. The attention was rapt and appreciative; and at the end of the meeting a second one was held to satisfy the crowd of men on the staircase and below who had been unable to gain admission. That night not a single man was present at the High Mass except the priest and the sacristan!

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I felt so encouraged by my reception that I resolved to remain at this place, at least for some time. The meetings were continued nightly, and within two months about forty men and women bore public testimony to their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as their only Savior for time and eternity.


Resolving to take full advantage of my opportunities, I frequently rode off to visit the surrounding farms in the district, dropping a few Scriptures in my saddle bags. One day I drew up at a farmhouse, where I had great difficulty in making my presence known. Eventually a woman appeared at a half opened door, and, peering at me in a suspicious way, inquired my business.


"Senhora," I began, 'T have here a very excellent book, the Life of our Lord Jesus Christ." "Don't want it," she interrupted, and would have closed the door if I had not casually interposed my foot. "But you don't know what it is," I rejoined, "It is worth more than all your farm."


"Don't want it," she repeated in a decided tone, for she evidently surmised me to be the terrible Protestante who had appeared at Santa Cruz, and she had accepted the priest's story as to my person and the books I circulated.


I endeavored to overcome her prejudice and to interest her in the book, but quite in vain; and finally she exclaimed: "You are losing your time, senhor. My husband is out, and so I have no money in the house to buy your book."


"Not at all, madam," I replied; "money is no object. Give me a few liters of corn for my horse and you may keep the book."

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"Haven't any corn," was the curt reply.


"Never mind that, madam; a couple of liters of fejiao (black beans) will do," I suggested, for I knew that beans to a Brazilian are what potatoes are to the Irishman --” always at hand.


"Haven't any beans," was the astonishing reply.


"Is that so? --” then perhaps a cheese? What? --” no cheese? Well, then, give me a sugar brick only and the book is yours."
"Haven't any," was the surly answer, and the case looked hopeless.


Why not give the book? some may say. We have found such to be a very bad policy. "Livro dado, e livro desprezado" (A book given is a book despised) is a trite saying among colporteurs; and so we never give, except in cases of real poverty.. If they only pay a few pence for the book it will ensure its not being readily delivered up to the priest for the next bonfire of Bibles. This, however, does not apply to Gospels, which are very largely given away and attract less enmity.


I was about to turn away in disappointment when, through the half -open door, I caught sight of a dark, unwholesome-looking mass hanging up near the rafters. It was the usual smoked pork fat for culinary purposes.


"Stay!" I exclaimed. "Give me half a kilo of that fat and I'll leave you this wonderful book."


With an ill-looking expression on her face the woman picked up a knife, cut off a piece of the greasy stuff, wrapped it up in a banana leaf, and in a very hesitating way received the book in exchange. I rode on quite content with the transaction, and not till some time after did I hear what followed.


In great disgust the woman flung the book in a corner. Shortly after her husband returned, and she at once related how that impertinent Protestante had compelled her to buy one of those accursed books, and had walked off with half a kilo of her pig's fat.

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"There's the book!" she exclaimed; "have a look at it, and then throw it in the fire --” the safest place;" and went out of the room.


Very gingerly the man picked up the book. When he ventured to open it, a verse in the Epistle to the Ephesians caught and held his attention. When his wife returned, nearly an hour later, she was surprised and alarmed to find her husband immersed in the book, and she endeavored to get it away from him.


"No, wife," he cried; "you don't burn this book. Why, it is just the kind of book I have long desired to possess. Just listen to this." And he read her a passage. There was something in what he read that appealed to her, too; so down she sat, and they turned to the first page and began to read through the book. In the course of a few weeks they had read that Testament through several times, and one day I received a note from the man, whose name was Bellarmino, asking me to pay them a visit.


As I rode out a few days later I reflected on some of the difficulties that awaited me. I remembered the saints and superstitious relics I had noticed on the walls, and I recalled the big rum still in the backyard. It will be difficult work, thought I, to make quite clear to them that these things must go --” especially the latter, an expensive article which he could not conscientiously sell or give away. On my arrival I was received with smiles by Farmer Bellarmino and his wife. The first thing I noted with surprise was that the objectionable saints had gone, and they told me that they had destroyed the lot --” images, crucifixes, and all. The rum still and the rolls of tobacco had gone too.


Most astonishing, thought I; where can they have learnt all this? Then we had a long talk together about the Gospel, and the most attentive and appreciative listener was the wife. How wonderfully they understood the Divine plan of Salvation! There seemed little I needed to explain which they had not already discovered from that New Testament.

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Then I suggested prayer, and the wife was the first to kneel and to pray (with a little assistance), the husband and one of the children following her example. Here was a transformed family, a transformed farm, and, by their example and effort since, a transformed district, through the power of the Word of God --” the Living Word which "endureth for ever."


Chapter 21
Among the Redskins.


There are in Northern Brazil vast regions populated by numerous tribes of Indians, ranging in number from a few hundred to several thousands in each tribe, into whose languages and dialects not one verse of the Bible has yet been translated, and among whom there is today not a solitary Gospel worker.


The initial difficulties and dangers of the still future missionary effort among these Redskins will be very great, owing to the remoteness of this great unknown territory, as well as to the character of the Indians and their numerous dialects --” which latter may be any number from two to four hundred. Some idea may perhaps be obtained of the characteristics of such pioneer work by the following incident, which occurred in 1909 during my first journey of investigation among the Caraja Indians of the Bananal Island, on the great Araguaya River, the main body of the Tocantins.


Three hundred miles from the nearest white man's dwelling the nose of my dug-out canoe grazed the edge of a clean, broad sandbank of the Araguaya. At about latitude 12 degrees S., facing the great fluvial Island of Bananal, the small Caraja Indian village of Capitao Joao pursues the even tenor of its way, far from the disturbing presence of the white man, and with very much the same conception of life and its duties and pleasures as that which was held by its predecessors of four centuries ago, ere the pale-face drove them from the now far-away shores of Brazil, where they had till then reigned supreme.

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The Redskins who then inhabited the coast were only driven back after many a bloody contest with their invaders. Time and again the battle turned in their favor, and the trained Portuguese soldiery gave way before them. But it was only to renew the struggle under more favorable circumstances; and it is certain that the Indians owe their final subjugation as much to the astute and subtle diplomacy of the Jesuit monks as to the arms of the invaders.


This Indian village, with its neat and regular row of ten huts or cabins made of green withes and palm leaves, seemed almost deserted, and only half a dozen stalwart, highly-colored warriors and a small group of women and children greeted our arrival.
 

At first my own presence seemed quite overlooked in their excitement and joy on recognizing in my pilot their long-lost relative, Odidi (pronounced 0-de-dee). More than a year had passed since he had left his native village on a journey to see the white man's world --” a journey which had finally landed him in our home in Goyaz city, on the headwaters of one of the Araguaya tributaries, where exists an outpost station of the Evangelical Union of South America. Here he was back again, with a great deal of superfluous clothing, including a straw hat, a very extraordinary collar and tie, and an old alpaca jacket, which he had specially brought with him from Goyaz as trophies of civilization, with which to dazzle the eyes of his numerous and worthy relations.


His completely unclad brethren gathered round in a very critical manner, and Odidi all at once seemed vastly ashamed of his shirt, and hung his head. His little cousins, however, thoroughly enjoyed themselves, literally dancing round him with glee, and frequently stopping to examine in a very embarrassing way every detail --” every button --” of his modest outfit. But when his hat was removed, and it was seen that his long black hair had been cropped, a kind of shudder went round the long-haired group, and shortly afterwards I saw them trying to trim up more to their liking the little that remained.

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I soon discovered that the majority of the inhabitants, including the chief, Capitao Joao, were away on one of their usual fishing and hunting expeditions. For this their sole and sufficient equipment is the bow and arrow, which is as convenient for shooting a fish as for spearing a chameleon or landing a wild duck. Their skill with this weapon is amazing.


After a while my presence was noticed, and for some time I was eyed in much the same way, as the small boy first gazes at a grizzly bear. The Caraja children, with queer little cries, ran for protection behind their mothers, who looked rather scared themselves; and yet I was not half so civilized-looking as Odidi, with my bare arms and legs and crumpled panama, in which the parrots had bitten two big holes. I was nearly as red as an Indian with sunburn, and looked as nearly like a savage as I knew how; but even the great scarlet macaws perched on the cabin tops detected an impostor, for they started screeching as only macaws can, drowning all other sounds in their scathing denunciations of the Redskins' hereditary foe.


As if this were insufficient, an elderly lady of the village, who evidently did not waste much time consulting fashion-plates, completed my discomfiture by raising a high-pitched howl over Odidi, which could be heard half a mile away.


All this was very embarrassing for me, especially as the old dame, in her lamentations, or whatever they were, cast in my direction many a glance and gesticulation, which were not very reassuring; so much so that I quietly walked off to some of the cabins referred to and endeavored to ingratiate myself with their occupants. I invoked the help of a few Caraja words I had acquired, and brought out some fish-hooks, colored handkerchiefs, beads, mirrors, and dolls. All of these were gravely received, not without some suspicion, with the exception of the white man's doll, which immediately provoked such hilarious excitement among the young and old alike that even my presence was forgotten.

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Before nightfall I had managed to overcome the reserve and timidity of the whole village, and succeeded in drawing their smiles, the children resuming their natural happy manner.


Soon after sunset I heard, far away over the dim expanse of water above the village, some faint but oft -repeated cries, which were answered by a loud chorus from the village. It was a fleet of canoes returning home after the day's catch, and everybody seemed to brighten up in the anticipation of a good meal. Their canoes, constructed of a single log of wood, hollowed out by fire, were laden almost to the water's edge with about a hundred big fish in each. In addition each canoe carried a few turtles, a few score eggs of the same, a couple of big chameleons, and a large bunch of short green sticks.


The newcomers gave another aspect of life to the village. The canoes were rapidly unloaded, and the fish and other edible contents, just as they were --” scales, intestines, sand, and all --” were soon piled up on the extemporized tables of green sticks erected between each cabin and its neighbor. A fire, produced by the friction of two sticks, was applied beneath these heaps, and soon the smoky, frizzling mass --” some half-cooked, the rest burnt, and all unsalted --” was ready for the Redskins' stomachs; and I, of course, had to take my share.


Three or four of these fires were now burning at once, intensified by the fat of the roasting fish. Lighting up the dense darkness that now covered the scene, the village had an intensely weird and unearthly appearance.


Meanwhile, the naked Redskins stretched themselves at full length round the fires, the soft, clean sand being still warm with the sun's heat; and in quiet, musical voices they recounted the little incidents and adventures of the day. These were punctuated by hearty bursts of laughter, or by short exclamations in a shrill falsetto, while every few words of each speaker drew a chorus of sympathetic "umm, umm's." I took my place in one of the largest of these circles, turning my bare feet to the fire in the orthodox fashion. I had on each side of me a big, highly-painted and strangely-smelling savage, whose only dress consisted of wristbands (to take the jar of the bow-string), and in the case of unmarried men a small tassel woven below each knee.

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One of these latter was a cousin of my pilot, Odidi. He had hugged me with great warmth and had shown other signs of so much goodwill when we first met that I might have been a twin brother. After a while the conversation evidently turned on the white man present, as a score of keen dark eyes were bent in my direction, and in that same quiet tone and manner they discussed my person and belongings, tried to make sure that my moustache was not stuck on, and said many things, complimentary or otherwise, which it was impossible to do more than guess at.


As I lay there looking into their strangely attractive faces, with their interesting figures lit up to fine effect against the dark background by the flickering light of the waning fires, and with the agreeable cadences of their strange language in my ears, I felt my heart go out to these long-forgotten people, and a sense of the utter loneliness, hopelessness, and animalism of their lives came over me. They could never even conceive of the realities of the love of God, of eternal life, and of the grace of the Lord Jesus. There they sat --” these beautiful, noble-looking sons of Adam --” gazing wonderingly at me, and I was utterly helpless and unable to say what I was yearning to say of the good news of Salvation, for as yet I had found no words in their dialect for grace, pardon, or Savior. I could only vaguely repeat, "Ahado-edanare, Ahado-edanare" (God is good, God is good) ! It is true I had not gone there to preach, but to explore and report, with the view of some future attempt to reach them for Christ; but it was none the less grievous to think that I possessed the secret of eternal life, and the remedy for all their sorrows and aspirations locked up in my own breast, yet was as incapable of expressing them as a Roman image could be.
I feel sure that when the light does shine into this darkness it will be found that God has much people among these Indian tribes --” much precious fruit for His praise and glory. How much longer must they wait? Where are the long-awaited volunteers?


The fish supper ended and the turtles disposed of, an Indian next to me began to address me in a very soft but impressive way, and not without some oratorical effect in voice and gesture. He spoke with a certain dignity and weight, and might have been expounding some profound philosophical view, or discussing the latest theory of the universe. I endeavored to appear interested, and was pretty free with my "umm's" at every pause.

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This went on for some time, and I began to feel uncomfortable; and when at last he made a long pause and looked at me fixedly in an inquiring way I felt things were critical. At that moment I caught a glimpse of Odidi, who had joined the company round the fire, and beckoning to him I made him understand that I wanted to know what his friend was saying. "Umm," said Odidi, after a few words with his cousin, "he wants to know if you will oblige him with a brick of raw sugar." This is about the highest conception of happiness that a Caraja possesses.


How many great events, pitiful scenes, and awful tragedies, continually being enacted among these far-away Redskin tribes of the unexplored regions of Central Brazil, that elsewhere would arouse world-wide interest and compassion, are here swallowed up in oblivion!


One day, while examining Odidi's war-club, he pointed out to me, with evident pride, the marks and indentations caused by conflict with some wild animal he had encountered and vanquished. Proceeding, he casually mentioned with perfect indifference that human lives, too, had left their mark on that club. This led to further inquiries, and then he told me the following story, relying more on his dramatic action and gesticulations than on his scanty knowledge of Portuguese, and the few words of his own language that I had acquired.


Until a few years ago, he said, there lived on the Tapirape River a tribe of wild Indians, from whom the river took its name. They very rarely left their haunts on the banks of this strange river (concerning which curious facts are related), and were hardly known except by rumor. For some unexplained reason four Carajas had been slain by the Tapirapes under provoking circumstances, and one of the murdered men was Odidi's brother. The Carajas, who are naturally a pacific tribe, were roused to fury, and determined on a dreadful revenge.

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Many hundreds of Indians joined in the raid, and crossing the Araguaya in their canoes --” for they only dwell on the eastern bank of that river --” they traveled for several days up the Tapirape. Reaching the neighborhood of the villages of their enemies by night, they silently made preparations to attack them, and soon had formed a complete and extended circle, hemming them in on all sides.


As the earliest morning rays shone out the Carajas stealthily advanced, almost at a crawl, each warrior holding in front of him a leaf of the buriti palm, or a tree branch, to hide his presence from the unsuspecting Tapirapes. Slowly that fatal circle closed in on the doomed villages, till at last, further disguise being impossible, they uttered a fearful yell, and throwing aside the palm leaves they rushed into the huts; and in probably less time than it takes me to write this had butchered the unprepared and miserable inhabitants to the last man, sparing only the women and children.


As Odidi continued to tell me all this he stiffened his powerful body, an awful smile crossed his face, and with a strange glint in his eyes he seized me by the wrist and, dragging me some yards over the grass on which I had been sitting, he raised his club with cruel glee and, swinging it above him, brought it down --” I am glad to be able to relate --” with only a soft tap on my head. I confess I had a fear that in his endeavors to explain, and with the excitement produced by his reenactment of a tragedy in which he took an active and terrible part, the story might become altogether too realistic for me, especially as we were away out in the open country in the direction of his native village.


He further told me that all the women and children were carried away captive to the Bananal Island, and they either became part of the Caraja tribe we had seen or else were sold to any bidder --” sometimes to white men in exchange for an ox or other thing, their equivalent for money.


A few years later Dr. Fritz, a German explorer, endeavored to obtain information about this rumored tribe. He told me that, though he had traveled along its course several hundreds of miles he was astonished not to find any trace of the Tapirape tribe, beyond a few ruined huts on the river banks. This mystery is partly explained by Odidi's story.

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Since that date (in 1913) the Government Inspector of the Indians of this region ascended the Tapirapd River and discovered about 1000 or 1500 of this tribe still existing, but living forty miles away from the river for fear of the Carajas. He estimates that the Carajas, Tapirapes, Javahes, Cherentes, Chavantes, and one or two other tribes around that district, number over 20,000 Indians.


And so, whilst the Church of Christ hesitates and delays, whole tribes are passing away with never a chance to hear the Good News --” without one ray of light or hope. In spite of the strong appeal made for the men and means to reach these Indians, few seem to have laid to heart the need of these "other sheep," and God's chosen man still holds back.


Patriotic Americans, when they hear of Canada's virgin soil and bountiful harvests, are willing to leave the Stars and Stripes and live under the Union Jack. How long shall we be content to work only upon our little over-cultivated patch at home, where the results are proportionately so poor, while such vast and fertile lands remain untilled? How much longer shall the virgin soil of South America await the Gospel sowers and reapers for the golden harvest now at hand?


While we lavish large sums on our magnificent churches, chapels, institutes, and cathedrals, and upon ourselves, our homes, and our pleasures, at the same time neglecting our plain --” our first and highest --” duty, surely the blood of these slaughtered Redskins must cry out against us up to the throne of God's justice! Again the solemn warning rings in our ears: 


"If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; if thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not He that pondereth the heart consider it? And He that keepeth thy soul, doth not He know it? And shall not He render to every man according to his works?" (Proverbs 24. 11-12).

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Chapter 22
Through the Land of the Carajas
,


The Caraja tribe of Indians lives in a little-explored region, about a thousand miles from the coast of Brazil. In order to reach it from Rio de Janeiro, until a better route is found, a journey is involved of four days' continuous railway travel, followed by about three weeks on horseback, and then several weeks down the Araguaya in a primitive canoe. This river traverses a part of Brazil where there are no white people, no guarantee whatever, nor the slightest traces of civilization. There the Redskins reign supreme. They acknowledge as yet no other law than their own crude traditions, and they live in just the same way as their forefathers lived five hundred years ago, when Brazil was undiscovered.


The customs and culture of the Carajas are about as rudimentary as those of any people on earth. Their only weapons are bows and arrows, clubs, and stone instruments, with which they are equally skilful in war, the chase, and in obtaining the fish which forms their chief diet. Almost their only utensils are calabashes and shells. They use no clothing whatever, but paint their bodies with bright colors, and are perfectly unashamed. A healthy, dignified, and most interesting people, in the lovely setting of the great Araguaya River they form a very picturesque and romantic panorama; on the other hand, they live like wild animals, and their only god seems to be their stomach. They are largely free from the immorality and from the gross and cruel ideas of the so-called savage races. They are without the ban of caste, the curse of idolatry, and the deadening influence of a counterfeit Christianity, and are not image-worshippers as are so many Brazilians; but they are naturally superstitious, and they possess vague ideas of evil spirits of the forests that shut them in. They appear to have no words in their dialect which convey any of the great master ideas of the Gospel.

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Leaving Maceio on the 27th of April, 1919, accompanied by my faithful ex-sailor colporteur, Antao Pessoa, and travelling via Rio, Sao Paulo, and Goyaz, I reached the banks of the Araguaya on the night of 7th June, nearly a month having been occupied by the overland journey on horseback. We now had before us the prospect of a long and venturous journey of some two thousand miles by canoe down to the ocean at Para. Our food supplies for the voyage were ample and ready, but ten days had to be spent ere I could obtain a canoe large enough and strong enough for such an undertaking. These days were not wasted, however, as every evening at sundown Antao and I took our stand on the steps of the little Catholic chapel of the village of S. Leopoldina and held well-attended Gospel services, distributing Testaments among the inhabitants. It is the only book many of them now possess.


Meanwhile I succeeded in engaging a young half-caste, named Tiago, to take an oar for half the distance down the river, with Antao as a good second, and decided to pilot the boat myself. On loading up we found the canoe leaked so badly that we had to lose another day while we plugged up the worst holes with resin, fat, and cotton wool. We finally launched out on the 17th June, and two days later we reached the first Caraja village, where we spent a happy night among my Redskin friends. I found them as admirable and lovable as ever, and just as primitive and rudimentarily picturesque in their manner of living and their general attitude to the little world they know, which does not extend far beyond the margins of the Araguaya. Of course, they knew nothing about the Great War, which was quite a relief to me; nor did I attempt to explain so complicated a matter to them. They scarcely know such a place as Brazil exists, or that there can be anything else in existence much greater or finer than their simple palm-leaf huts, feather plumes, and head-dresses, and their variegated clothes of red and black paint. My visit was honored by a special wild-beast dance. All seemed glad to see me again and to receive the little gifts of beads and mirrors I handed round.

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Descending the river with a swift current in our favor, we made good time; and on Sunday afternoon I preached under a spreading tamarind tree in S. Jose, the last little outpost of the Pale-faces in that region, which is visited by a Catholic friar every two or three years. It proved an impressive meeting; and again I was able to leave behind quite a number of Testaments, with their immense power for light and blessing, especially in the dark places of the earth. One man earnestly declared that he would teach himself to read in order to learn the contents. [Since this was written I have reliable news that the chief of the village has definitely accepted the Gospel.]


Continuing our journey we soon came across several other Indian villages, and three days later we reached the famous Bananal Island, the largest fluvial island in the world, 250 miles in length and only inhabited by Indians. We took the western channel, reaching the northern end of the island two weeks later. The Araguaya, as large as the Ganges, is the most lovely river in Brazil, and one of the least known. Its silvery shores, limpid waters, splendid forests, and unrivalled fauna once seen can never be forgotten; yet withal, in the course of the first thousand miles, I met only one white man's canoe.


We had not traveled many days before Tiago developed an extraordinary fear of the Indians, and feigned sickness as an excuse for deserting us, as he did two days later. This fear and distrust of the Indians is rather common with some Brazilians, and may be the outcome of an evil conscience, remembering the fate these Redskins have received at their hands in the past. We were thus very shorthanded; so I sought to improvise a mast and sail, to take advantage of the southerly breeze. Knowing nothing of the technique of the thing, it was a long time before our experiments began to succeed. At this point the river was a mile wide, and we were about mid-stream when, quite suddenly and without warning, a hurricane of wind and rain burst over us, just when we could not lower our crude sail without peril. Tiago was feigning sickness under my tolda, and Antao was holding up the extemporized mast, while I governed the sail with one hand and grasped the tiller with the other. We tore before the storm and current at an alarming speed, the water curling over the bows; and the situation became exciting. It was impossible to pull up at that place, with its high banks or fringing forests.

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Antao's strength was giving out under the strain, and the canoe was filling with water; so at last we had to compel the "sick" man to get up and bail the boat. Not long after I sighted a sheltered cove and beach, and to our inexpressible thankfulness I was able to make it just in time.


I visited many Indian villages, sleeping in several; and I encountered very little difficulty in my dealings with the inhabitants. Living in so very isolated a region, far from the white man's sphere, and far from his laws and ideas --” and vices, too --” they are the real owners and rulers of the shores of the Araguaya, and can do what they please with those who may venture through their country. Yet they do not abuse their power; and, with rare exceptions, I have ever found them to be a noble, honorable, and trustworthy race. They are a very dignified people, well built, and with little that is abnormal about them. I saw no sign of skin disease, even though their diet is almost exclusively of fish without salt. The young men keep strong and muscular by constant bouts of wrestling --” their favorite sport, in which they excel. Their women and children are quiet and modest, and the latter are especially attractive. There is no polygamy. The women have a voice and influence in most Caraja affairs. Though no clothing is used except the small fibre tanga of the women, they atone for this by painting their bodies a bright red, picked out with some elaborate designs in a black stain made from the genipapa fruit.


In dealing with these people one requires to exercise constant care and restraint --” and a world of patience too. No familiarity should be permitted, nor must fear ever be shown, however concerned one may feel.

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On one occasion while exploring the lower reaches of an Araguaya tributary in search of a reported tribe who are enemies of the Carajas, and with whom they are at constant warfare, I was alarmed to discover that we were being hotly pursued by four Indian dug-outs with fourteen huge naked savages on board, all in full war paint.


On overtaking us they at once boarded our leaky boat en masse, almost to the sinking point. Taking the helm from my hands and the oars from my two men, our boat was at their mercy.


I had to pretend, however, to be highly amused, and to enjoy the situation. Then I ordered Antao to cut up some raw sugar-bricks among them. I handed out some fish-hooks, too, and in a very short time we were the best of friends, though it was many hours before I was master of my own canoe again.


Two of these Indians I eventually took on with me for several hundred miles, and capital fellows they proved. Our larder improved, too, for these Indians are experts in fishing with the bow and arrow; and we also had a fair supply of turtle, wild fowl, and venison.


On the occasion just referred to, while we were being paddled back to the Araguaya at a tremendous speed, with but two inches of freeboard, I succeeded, not without difficulty, in persuading the accompanying Indians --” now swollen to about twelve canoes with some sixty occupants, besides the eight on board --” to show me one of their jealously-hidden cemeteries, whose proximity I suspected. After some debate the request of the friendly Tauri (Paleface) was conceded; and a little later, quite suddenly and unexpectedly, the Redskins swung my canoe through the overhanging brushwood and branches of the fringing forest in a way that nearly swept my sun-shelter overboard. Just where the boat touched land there appeared a faint path, absolutely hidden from the view of the casual traveler, and disappearing away into the forest. Accompanied by a big group of Redskins as guides, we wended a zigzag way through the thick forest, finally emerging at a small clearing covered with high earthen mounds. Here lay the remains of generations of bygone warriors, with here and there the usual open earthen pans containing their bleached bones and skulls --” where time had not already reduced them to powder, to be scattered far and near by the strong winds of the Araguaya.

109

The spot was impressively solemn to me as I thought of the unknown history of this race, who hunted and fished and died on the banks of this great river before South America was heard of, and whose descendants still live the same primitive, savage life their fathers led within sight of these ashes. Feeling deeply moved by these reflections, I remained rooted to the spot for some time, my companions gazing at me in surprise. Then, raising my hand and speaking in Portuguese, which a few of the Indians might understand a little, I addressed a prayer to Almighty God for these lost sheep without a Shepherd, and prayed for the day when the Gospel tidings would be made known to them also. The Indians seemed awestruck. It was their first conception of prayer; prayer addressed to an unseen God, and in which they heard their own tribal name and country mentioned. Then we made our way back to the canoe.


The Carajas are of a happy disposition, and having a keen sense of humor are easily provoked to mirth. Their wild, savage songs have a real charm and fascination about them. Stretched out over the soft, clean, sandy shore, round their camp fires, they sang to me by the hour; and when I essayed to return the compliment they would mimic my style in a childlike fashion, or ripple with laughter. About their greatest conception of happiness appears to be the chance of a share of the white man's pot, or to obtain a raw sugar -brick or a small mirror for their very own. But one scents dissatisfaction in all their joys.


As stated, they live entirely on fish, which is very plentiful and varied. Some of these are dangerous, like the dreaded carnivorous piranha, attacking you in the water, as happened to me once during the voyage; but I managed to get out before they got much out of me. Considering how many piranha I fried with farinha I think we can cry quits! I found that the best bait for these creatures was a bit of my red shirt, and we rarely had to wait more than four seconds for a bite. It was rather rough on my shirt-tail, but would have been rougher still if I had fallen in on such occasions! A less interesting fish is the sting-ray, which a few weeks later gave me, while swimming, a most painful and dangerous wound, taking two months to heal. We were often plagued by mosquitoes, and haunted by alligators at night. Truly, there is no earthly Paradise yet! Here one must ever take the bitter with the sweet.

110
I saw no evidence of idol worship among the Carajas, but they have a strong belief in the spirit world, and have a trace of fetishism about them. They make a great mourning for their dead, which may go on for many months, day and night, even though only for a baby. A long, drawn-out, sad and hopeless dirge it sounds, though limited to one or two members of the family --” generally the old women; but the rest of them may have their long black hair cropped and be painted all black for a season (Note the savage origin of crape) .


Firearms, if carried, should never be seen; it makes the Indians suspicious; and even a camera must be used with great care and some strategy. I used to set up my camera, and, looking at the screen under the hood, evince a great interest in what I saw. This would excite curiosity and they must have a peep, too. This was just what I wanted, and I humored them by posing in front of the camera. When they had finally caught on, and had had a good look, I would indicate that I wanted a turn at looking too, and that they must now pose for me. Then quickly slipping in a dark slide I sometimes managed to get a good picture.


The only occasion when I had any real difficulty was, strange to say, in the same village, in which I had trouble eight years before. The old chief of those days was dead --” they had pointed me out his grave in the cemetery I had just visited --” but this successor evidently had inherited his predecessor's failings. On approaching this village the chief ordered my heavy canoe to be pulled up high and dry --” rather a serious lookout it seemed.


Knowing I was quite at his mercy --” as we could not launch it alone --” the sly Indian began to make exorbitant demands for one thing or another for himself and his numerous relatives --” knives, axes, mirrors, beads, hooks, cloth --” a wholesale order.

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I bowed in a noncommittal way, for I was out of most of these things and wanted time to reflect. Then I suggested a visit to his palm-leaf residence, and squatting down on the reed mat I glanced round. On the floor lay a large Indian bow of a most uninteresting and commonplace type; but expressing a great interest in the same, I asked if he would dispose of it. His Indian's love of a bargain rose to the bait, and forgetting all his previous demands he eagerly inquired what I had to give him in exchange. After mentioning several things I knew would not attract him, I spoke of a coat. This touched a soft spot. "Barabe'' (Let us go and see), he said at once; and back we went to my stranded canoe, now swarming with Redskins. To my great relief I found nothing missing. On producing my brightest-colored pyjama jacket the eyes of the chief shone with satisfaction; and after laboriously helping him into the same, and buttoning him up, when he noticed the braid and buttons the victory was complete. Before he could well get over the effect of that garment I had quickly and quietly induced some of the Indians to push us off; and, bidding them a hasty farewell, away we went at full speed, leaving the chief in all his grotesque glory. We did not stop rowing until several turns of the river hid the village from our sight, as I feared lest the smoke of our breakfast preparations might bring the whole village upon us again.


In another village the chief got hold of my flask of camphorated spirits --” useful for mosquito bites --” and thinking it was some very special kind of white man's beverage he quite misinterpreted my shout of warning and swallowed a mouthful. There was a big gurgle, but I anxiously hastened our departure, so cannot say just what the after effects were.

112
From the day of our setting out we heard many rumors of the death of my dear young friend Odidi. Even among the Carajas reports were conflicting; but after many disappointments we actually found him alive and well. Our meeting made quite a sensation, which the Carajas of that particular village enjoyed as much as I; nor did they seem to envy him the many gifts I had brought him from so far. He was overjoyed, but reserved and modest, remembering perhaps the time when he wore clothes dined at our table, and attended our meetings in Goyaz. Among many other gifts I gave him a New Testament, which he may be able to decipher. I spent two days at this village, and became quite intimate with his people, who loaded us with gifts of bananas and yams. Some of these villages are full of wild birds --” hawks, eagles, owls, goshawks, wild duck, macaws, parrots of every hue, gulls, and other varieties --” walking about as tame as possible. Besides being their pets, they furnish the Indians with the necessary feathers for their arrows, and for their head-dresses and other ornaments, many of which are most elaborate and artistic.


On the lower Araguaya, near the last of the Indian villages, is the outpost town of Conceigao, quite cut off from the outside world, with no postal service. Here I spent a week while arranging a new canoe and crew to carry me down the cataracts to the ocean.


I paid an interesting visit to a convent of Dominican friars in this place, and left two Testaments in the hands of two friendly monks of that Order, who seemed pleased to get them. Quite casually I found a believer living in a village across the river, and I held a splendidly-attended men's meeting in his house. At his earnest request I baptized him on the eve of our departure.


My long journey was now nearly over, though the greatest dangers had still to be faced. Below Carajaland came the perilous descent of the cataracts of the Araguaya and Tocantins, occupying about two weeks of considerable strain and excitement, and more than once my stout-hearted crew of eight men trembled for our safety; but beyond staving in our canoe, and getting caught by several whirlpools, we escaped without loss, where so many lives have been cast away. Every morning away out in midstream, as the sun rose glorious over the tree-tops and across the river, we stayed our oars and lifted up our hearts and voices to God in prayer and praise, and then Antao and I sang a hymn or two ere proceeding. This makes a difference.
113

We eventually reached the big port of Para on the 11th August, being hospitably received by the agent of the British and Foreign Bible Society, the Rev. O. Walkey, and five days later boarded a British steamer bound for our home in Maceio, having occupied four months on the round trip of about six thousand miles.

 

The Call of the Carajas. (Prov. 24. 11).


From Araguaya's silver strand there comes a sigh --”
"Drawn unto death" and "ready to be slain" they lie,
Half gods, they live forlorn; half beasts, they die.
"We knew it not!--


The ever restless eye betrays the sense of loss --”
For uncreate and void are thoughts of Grace or Cross-
Perishing hopeless, helpless; becau

se, perforce,

"We knew it not!--


While love of country still such sacrifice can claim.
While thousands offer of their best to gilded fame,
Dare we, ignoring such a call, lightly exclaim,
"We knew it not?--


Chapter 23
Two Brave Colporteurs
.


About the end of 1919 two of our Brazilian colporteurs, an ex-soldier and an ex-sailor, set out from Maceio on a long and perilous trip through a region of Northern Brazil which has hitherto been as much a closed door to the Gospel as Tibet or Arabia, and quite as dangerous.

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They traveled on foot, driving two animals before them laden with Gospels and tracts. Their course lay due north-west from that city, and across the further ends of two States into a remote corner of the State of Ceara, the main objective of their journey.


The first two or three hundred miles were traversed without any very noteworthy happenings, apart from the many little incidents --” bitter and sweet --” inseparable from this mode of travel.


In every town and village a house-to-house canvass was made with Gospels, and fifty were sold here, a hundred there, a hundred and fifty in another place proving about high-water mark; after which a free distribution of good attractive Gospel tracts was made in the same thorough manner. On the whole the people proved well disposed, and there was very little opposition until the town of Triumpho was reached.


Dividing the town between them, Valentino and Antao began to work without delay. In the section allotted to the ex-soldier was a large open-air market; and in a very short time he had disposed of a large number of Gospels, mainly am.ong the good-natured country folk who came to the city to sell their farm produce. Suddenly the priest appeared on the scene; and, snatching a book out of Valentino--™s hand, with a very loud voice began to denounce him as an enemy of the Church and a hater of God and the Virgin --” a veritable anti-Christ!


"Here, take your book back and give me my money again! --œcried one man, as the crowd began to gather. "And mine!-- was angrily demanded by one after another as they flung the beautiful but now despised and hated books at his feet.

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Meanwhile the priest was working up his hearers into a state of fury. He refused to allow Valentino a hearing. "This man has come here to insult me, your priest, and our Holy Church and religion," he bellowed, "and to deceive you with his false books!--


The crowd increased every moment, and began to press in on our brave worker in a threatening manner. "Lynch him!-- cried one, with the evident approval of the priest; and then followed a storm of execration from the crowd, who surged towards him; and without doubt he would have been torn to pieces if he had not suddenly bent low, and, with his small bag under his arm, dived right through the legs of the people until, strong of arm and body, he emerged on the safe side of his enemies. Confusion followed. The man had disappeared; and some minutes passed ere the "heretic" was located again.


Continuing his work, the colporteur entered a big shop and offered his Gospels. The owner refused in a friendly way, saying that he had already purchased a copy from the other worker; but he kindly invited Valentino to take a cup of coffee with him behind the counter. This proved God's second means of saving his life that day, for just at that moment the priest appeared at the door at the head of a huge crowd bent on murder.


Death to the Protestant! Blind him! Burn him! --œthey screamed. "What does all this mean?-- exclaimed the owner of the shop, turning to Valentino.


"Oh," replied the colporteur, calmly sipping his coffee, "they want to kill me for selling these Gospels."


The priest demanded the victim to be handed over. The man refused; and then followed a stiff struggle, as the furious men tried to swarm over the counter, urged on by their priest. It was hot work, as the new friend and his shop assistants repelled the assailants, rolling them back over the counter, one over the other. Then, just in time, the chief of the police came running up with six armed soldiers; and in a few minutes our man was safe.

116
He was presently joined by his comrade; but as the crowd still wore a threatening aspect the six soldiers escorted them to their hired house, and mounted guard over them until they were safely out of the city early next morning.


In the meantime a number of people gathered round the house, as near as the soldiers would permit, just to gaze and gaze at this terrible man --” half devil, they thought he must be. They pointed him out to each newcomer, much in the same way as a small boy in the Zoo calls his chum's attention to some very dangerous reptile. Valentino smiled and stood up, that they might see him better and take stock that he did not possess a cloven foot, as many had been led to expect. Then, the soldiers between, he began to preach to his enemies, and proclaimed the truth of the Gospel to at Ieast a few not unwilling ears.


Later on a large group of better-class inhabitants visited the house, and strongly expressed their disgust with the priest's behavior, thus making way for an interesting and profitable conversation, which resulted in the sale of quite a few Gospels.


Since this occasion we have made a second attempt to sow the seed in this city, when many Bibles and Testaments were sold, and the inhabitants seemed well disposed to the truth.


Proceeding on their way through many towns and villages, our sowers found that as they approached the main objective of the journey things grew hotter. They were repeatedly warned by friend and foe not to proceed to Joazeiro, the headquarters of a very notorious priest who wields immense power over all the surrounding country; and, credited with miraculous and healing virtues, is practically worshipped by thousands as a saint of the first magnitude. Groups of pilgrims daily wend their way along all paths leading to this "Satan's Seat," and all classes seem under the spell.

117
It so happened that in one place they had met a Turk, a believer in the Gospel, who urged the colporteurs not to proceed; but Valentino had replied, as to all such advice, "He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap." He had then given them a letter of introduction to a countryman of his living in the terrible city.


On they traveled, footsore and weary, after five hundred miles over rough mountainous roads; but were neither discouraged nor fearful, in spite of all the warnings.


On entering the city of Joazeiro they found it to be a big collection of poverty-stricken houses and huts, with about twenty thousand inhabitants. An atmosphere of superstition, squalor, and crime seemed to permeate the place. Everybody was expecting them, and people turned out of their houses to stare at them and cross themselves as though a plague were passing their doors.


"There they are --” the devils we have heard about! They have dared to visit this holy city! --œand they were scowled upon by young and old.


They soon found the residence of the Turk; and judge of their astonishment when they discovered they were talking to no less a personage than the commander-in-chief of the priest's forces --” forces which had routed the trained Government troops more than once --” and the director of his master's band of hired assassins.


"That scoundrel," said the Turk, pointing out an evil-looking man, "is one of them, and has twenty murders to his credit."


Strange to say, this terrible Turk received our men kindly, and offered them not only hospitality, but, what was more to the point, protection; for, as he remarked, "You cannot trust any of these people --” they are a lot of dogs. --œHe even showed some sympathy towards the little books, listened well to all our men had to say, and at their request took them next day to see the priest himself.

118
This dangerous man, called Father Cicero, proved to be quite the fanatical tyrant they had expected. He foamed against the Gospels till nearly hoarse; and only the presence of the Turk, who is greatly feared, saved them from the hands of this priest and the big crowd of pilgrims and beggars who continually throng the place.


The interview ended with a very sinister warning not to attempt to sell or give their books to anybody. However, they managed to give away a few Gospels to people who begged for them; and just about as secretly early next morning they left this miserable place behind them and commenced the homeward march.


City by city, village by village, they continued their work and testimony; and on until the end, by God's overruling providences and by His angel guards, our valiant colporteurs were saved from the lions' mouths, not once nor twice; nor suffered a single physical injury during the three months of hard travel.


In the face of all the facts related, and others of lesser moment, Valentino and his companion, the ex-sailor lad Antao, succeeded in selling and distributing two thousand Gospels, besides thousands of tracts, in a region where the Good News had never entered before.


Chapter 24
--Out of the Fire."


While on a visit to Para, at the mouth of the Amazon, one dark, wet night in May, I was called from my room to see one of the saddest sights it has been my lot to witness. A young American had been brought to the house by his Consul to see if we could do anything for him. He appeared little over twenty, but had already squandered a fortune of fifty thousand dollars in dissolute living.

119
He had arrived in Brazil on his honeymoon but a few weeks before. His evil habits still clung to him, however. Though very devoted to his young wife, he had nearly dragged her down to his own level; and, terrible to relate, but two nights before, while both were intoxicated, she, in a moment of hallucination or remorse, had swallowed a strong dose of the arsenical solution he used for his natural history collection, and had died within twenty-four hours.


The man seemed half crazed with grief, fear, and desperation, and was in a very critical condition. A God-given instinct urged us at once to lay hold of the poor lad in the only possible way; so drawing him out into the garden I walked up and down in the darkness with him, and pled for his soul, without seeking to minimize his guilt.


Apparently it was a hopeless case, and the night itself seemed not as dark as that man's soul. The fumes of drink were still heavy upon him, and his despairing self-conviction seemed to make him deaf to the Gospel of hope; but I could not let him go. Up and down that path we walked in the misty rain, and there was an intense feeling of crisis; when suddenly, just as we turned on one of our tracks, he glanced up at me, with even something like a ray of hope on his haggard face, and exclaimed aloud:


"What's that you say? Really forgiveness for me! You said just now I was as good as a murderer! It sounds too good to be true! See here, do you mean it? I cant believe it; it-- too good to be true!"


Then we went indoors together, and I induced him to kneel with me and definitely to seek the Lord while He may be found, and as definitely to thank God for pardon received. The change was electrical; his face shone with joy, and he kissed me! A bleary kiss, rank with liquor it was, and yet then I called in a friend of mine, and we had a real time of rejoicing together. He remained in the house; and later on that night, just before I turned in, away across the building I heard a weak, tremulous voice singing: "Happy day! happy day! when Jesus washed my sins away."

120
Humbled but happy, he started reading the Bible with avidity; and the change in the lad was so noticeable that even the Consul was impressed. A week later he sailed away north to his own people in the State of K , and I saw him no more.


The memory of such a tragedy would be an almost unbearable burden. The Lord is tenderly pitiful. So it happened that not many months later I received a long and beautiful letter from a sister of the gentleman of this story. She related how, on his arrival home, their horror at his news had been greatly mitigated by the sight of the wonderful change in his life and by his evident conversion. She went on to say, however, that soon after his return he had entered into a strange decline from which he never recovered. To the very end he gave good evidence of a bright hope and trust, and begged his sister to write and tell me so, and to thank me for all my interest. Oh, the depth of the riches of the grace of our God!


Lord, tho the darkness shuts me in,
I needs must stand, I dare not fly.
Tho' yet high thron'd be self and sin,
For liberty and light I sigh.


As oft the tempter bids me fear
That hope deferred spells endless fate,
I will not doubt that Thou art near;
Thy touch can loose the bonds I hate.


I know not how, I cannot trace
The plan divine that sets me free;
But never can I doubt Thy grace.
Nor fail to wait expectantly.


Oh! not as men may demonstrate,
Nor as my weak desire may lead;
Lord, trembling, trusting, I await
Thine own blest way to meet my need!

121
Chapter 25
Sowing and Reaping.


From the Federal capital of Brazil to the State capital of S. Paulo there extends a high range of mountains --” the Sierra do Mar --” parallel to, and only some thirty or forty miles distant from, the sea coast.


So high is the Sierra, and so difficult are the engineering problems involved, that as yet no line of railway finds its way through this narrow strip of territory --” over 300 miles long. To a large extent it is cut off from the progress and prosperity that mark the towns and villages on the Highlands of the States of Rio, Minas, and S. Paulo, and an air of stagnation, both material and moral, hangs over everything, rendering it a happy retreat for those priests of Rome who hunger for that absolute rule which is now fast passing out of their hands with the advance of progress and education.


One of the chief places in this district is the mountain-girt town of Parahybuna. Eighteen years ago some American missionaries tried to preach the Gospel here, but were driven out without accomplishing their object. Fifteen or sixteen years later one of our native colporteurs, Benedicto Hirth (now an evangelist), penetrating this district, canvassed the same city, and achieved the triumph of selling eighteen Bibles and very many New Testaments, and that in the face of dangerous opposition. Most of these books, it transpires, were afterwards filched away from the people by their priest and thrown by his orders into the river; but being carried away by the current, many were recovered by fishermen living along the banks.


Great interest was created among these simple folk by the circulation of the Scriptures and Gospel tracts, and several meetings were held by the colporteur.

122
A year had passed. We felt that it was now about time that these places should be revisited and evangelized, and Benedictowas again chosen for that purpose. The plan of action was laid carefully and compassed with much prayer, and two good colporteurs prepared the way with a week's canvass of Parahybuna.


The book sales were not very great, some fifty copies in all, but faithful house-to-house work was done and many hundreds of tracts were circulated of a character designed to arouse discussion and dissipate indifference.


One day the colporteurs called at the house of the fanatical, Bible-hating priest, who deluged them with torrents of abuse, declared their books only fit for burning, and in reply to a reasonable protest offered our brothers personal violence, from which they with difficulty escaped.


"Help!" cried the priest; "this nigger is speaking against the saints in my house. "


He tried to have the colporteurs expelled from the city, and, failing that, sent people to buy up the stock of books in order to burn them. Even here he was frustrated; for hearing of the plot they refused to sell, declaring that the priest had not enough money, nor was there sufficient in the whole city to buy one copy of the New Testament for that purpose.


The news of all this soon spread through the place, and from that hour the genuine sales steadily improved. During those days, while canvassing with Scriptures, small meetings were held in the outskirts of the town, with attendance varying from twenty to thirty people. On the arrival of Benedicto, however, a large room in the centre of the city was hired for two nights, and meetings were announced.

123
A band of assassins was hired from a neighboring village to break up these gatherings by force, but the police got wind of the affair, and all their local extemporary force was put at our disposal. Over two hundred people were present at each of these meetings, and the roadway outside was choked with men, women, and children. The Gospel message, carried by the clear, ringing voice of the native evangelist, was heard by all with rapt attention; and many who came to persecute our brethren as devils found them to be the messengers of God.


Our colporteurs then attempted to rent the cinematograph hall, and the owner agreed at first, but afterwards refused, fearing it might injure his business Happily they were able to arrange for another, though smaller, hall close by. Such was the attraction of the Gospel message in the loud. Spirit-touched voice of Benedicto that as soon as our meetings commenced the audience abandoned the cinematograph in a body on the three successive nights of our mission. So great was the chagrin of the showman that, after vainly tempting our workers to change the hour to suit his purpose, he sold all his benches and requisites and shut up the show.


No sooner had Benedicto opened the first meeting than up jumped a certain Senhor A, exclaiming, "I want to confess my faith, and do it right now.-- Benedicto, not knowing him, and deeming him to be a little the worse for drink, persuaded him to be seated, saying he would speak with him afterwards.


"All right," was the response, "so long as I can only get converted to-night," and down he sat. This was indicative of the spirit pervading these gatherings.


The meetings were splendid, many countrymen coming in from the surrounding farms and from the river banks where the Bibles had fioa.ted down two years before, and deep attention was paid to the messages of our evangelists. At the closing meeting four persons publicly testified their acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ, and many gave evidence of a new and God-given interest in their soul's welfare; while Senhor A, being sincere and earnest, was genuinely converted to God.

124
Since that occasion there have been many conversions in that district. In one case a farmer owned a Roman Catholic chapel as part of his estate. On accepting the Gospel he cleared out all the idols and other things, and converted the place into a Gospel Mission Hall; so both man and chapel were converted.


It is difficult for those who live under the shelter of Protestant institutions, with their independence, freedom of conscience, and intelligent knowledge and worship of God, to realize what Rome really stands


for, where she has full power, where she sits "high throned and unashamed," the declared foe of God's Word and of the simple Gospel contained therein.


Chapter 26
The Converted Usurer.


Our meeting hall in Santos was anything but an attractive-looking place, being an old coffee warehouse with cement floor and bare red tiles --” that is to say, they were red once, but now, together with the rafters and cross-beams, of a very dingy color. It was the best we could afford, however; and it had a little dark room in the back which served as convenient living quarters for Jose and myself.


We had been holding meetings for about two months, and though some appeared to be greatly interested nobody had yet come to a definite decision. It was very unusual, and very perplexing, for in most cases there are a few ready to make open profession after attending the services regularly for two or three weeks.


One of these interested folk was a quiet-mannered young man who never missed a meeting, and who agreed with everything. We had great hopes of him, and devoted considerable attention and prayer on his behalf, yet without result. As time went on I grew uneasy, and told Jose, my companion, that it was time our friend made a decision. He had received much light, and it was dangerous to go on in his condition.

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After that we never failed gently but persistently to urge the man to a definite step of faith, but without success. He seemed to slip through our hands every time. One evening after a meeting, I was dealing with him very firmly, when I noted an unusual agitation with a strange flush on the face of our phlegmatic friend. He ended all my efforts by affirming that I need not doubt him, for he "believed in God," and so forth. A sense of indignation moved me, and I exclaimed, "But it is written that 'the devils also believe and tremble.'" At this the young man flushed still more, and in an unnatural voice cried out, "Yes, and the devils will be saved!"


This was quite a new experience to me, and though I made some protest or other, when the man left I was feeling very much wounded in spirit and troubled in mind. Consulting afterwards with Jose, we came to the conclusion that the man was a Spiritualist in disguise and was hindering our work, and we resolved that should he appear again we would test him with the Word of God, according to 1 John 4. 1-3.


At the next meeting there he was, as unctuous as ever; and when the gathering was over I concentrated my attention on this very significant case. Proceeding cautiously, I found that he did not believe in Hell--” always a serious indication. "That being so, if you deny what God's Word affirms on this point," I exclaimed, "tell me, do you believe that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh? "


"No!-- he --” or rather I should say the spirit in him --” replied, with the same unnatural vehemence I had previously observed; adding, "but in Spirit, yes!" "Then by God's Word you stand unmasked; look here!" and I read him the passage, and 2 John 10. 11 also.


After this rebuke he absented himself, and we had a glorious time, seven souls being converted within two weeks. One of these eventually became one of the finest native pastors and evangelists Brazil has ever seen --” Samuel Mello. He was a moneylender on a large scale --” a successful man, of very attractive personality; he was also a thirty-three degree Mason. He was first drawn to us through receiving some tracts and a Gospel, with which we were canvassing the town.

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A well-dressed man of some education, I felt little satisfaction when first he entered our coffee warehouse. I knew him to be of a class difficult to reach --” a successful business man of the world --” and wondered why he condescended to enter such a place as ours. Mere idle curiosity! I thought. The wonder increased when he reappeared at the next meeting, and continued to attend, rain or shine, though living two miles away. He always left as silently as he entered.


He began to read the Bible, and was soon under deep conviction, which was intensified by reading a copy of Pilgrim's Progress. He felt his own need to "flee from the wrath to come," but something kept him back --” "he had great possessions."


One night, at the close of the service, it was evident that Senhor Mello was going through a great struggle. Nothing that we could say seemed to help him; there was so much to give up, so much to face. He trembled and held back. At last his unwillingness to kneel was overcome. As we knelt in prayer the power of conviction overwhelmed him, and he wept bitterly, the stout bench shaking with his deep emotion. I needed to help him in prayer as a little child, for this clever, eloquent man, the orator of his Lodge, was helpless to say a word for himself in his supreme hour of need. Very definitely he sought forgiveness, and as definitely trusted and gave thanks. After a few words of encouragement he quietly left us --” a saved man, "a brand plucked from the burning" --” to become an instrument in God's hands for the salvation of many.


It soon became evident that God had done a real work in Samuel Mello's heart, for a day or two later at one of our meetings he stood up, and quoting the text, "Let the dead bury their dead," he gave a remarkable and stirring testimony.


He closed down his business at once, heedless of great financial losses. Passing by his place of business about that time I saw large bills posted across the premises, and this is what I read: "No more loans on securities. This business is in liquidation." He publicly renounced Freemasonry and other doubtful things, and trusted himself, his family, and his all to God. His old friends thought him demented, but in reality he had "come to himself."

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Within three months he was preaching the Gospel in the city of S. Paulo with great freedom and convincing power, and our hall was nightly thronged with eager listeners.


He became a great man of prayer, spending whole nights interceding with God for sinners. Beginning in low tones, his earnest voice would unconsciously rise with his fervor, and many a chance passer-by at some late hour of night would pause with awe at the sound of that loud, pleading voice. In the morning the floor around where he had knelt would be all wet with his tears.


Within six months he undertook his first missionary journey, and as a result many were converted and a Church established in the State of Minas.


A few months later he fitted out another expedition on horseback at great expense to evangelize the two southern States of Parana and S. Catharina. After a journey full of blessing, Senhor Mello and his companions reached Paranagua, a city of about 8000 inhabitants. A room was hired and the Gospel preached, with such result that in a day or two it was necessary to hire as large a room as could be found in the place; and one of his companions set to work and made seats for two hundred people. Night after night the hall was packed with eager and interested people of all classes. Every available corner was filled, the average nightly attendance reaching three hundred and fifty people.


The whole town was soon in an uproar, and the priests published against us a strong manifesto, which was circulated throughout the city. The following is a translation, minus a peculiarly scurrilous and immoral paragraph which shame forbids me to reproduce:

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"CATHOLICS!
"Indulgent as we may possibly be in our attitude
towards modern thought, still, when insulted in what
we consider most sacred by newly-arrived adventurers
who, under the pretext of preaching the Gospel, have
shown themselves to be iconoclasts and the personi-
fication of charlatan anti-Christianity, not having
even the simplest notions of the respect and con-
sideration due to the Catholic religion and the noble
Catholic population of Paranagua, deceiving the
simple hearted, and calling forth our just indignation,
it is not possible for us to remain silent and in-
different. "Bold and blind fanatics, irreconcilable and
incoherent, barbarous in their language and in their
deeds, they suppose that they are preaching to
barbarians. "After publicly insulting the Holy Virgin in their
meetings . . . "What fierce and mean hatred have these
iconoclasts shown, if we are to believe the reports that circulate
freely! Let our protest be pacific and energetic, keeping within
the limits of the law. Yesterday in their meeting hall they
tore up the printed images of our Lady of Rocio.
"It is necessary, therefore, that the Catholics of
this noble city make amends to the Holy Virgin for
the great insults and blasphemy which have been
heaped upon her, and let it be done publicly and
solemnly. For this object the faithful are invited
to be present this evening at six o'clock in the Church,
where a well-known priest will preach about this
question, and immediately afterwards the reparation
will be made by prayers. Let the tender virgins
carry flowers to crown the image of their and our Mother."

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This manifesto was scattered all over the city; but in the providence of God we received warning of it several hours before its circulation, and so were able to issue a counter-manifesto of exactly the same appearance as that of the priest, denying the charges, declaring our intention at all costs to preach the whole counsel of God in Paranagua, and inviting the people to come and hear for themselves the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ.. The effect was tremendous. The public demonstration incited by the priests ended in a fiasco; and when next day we circulated another and larger manifesto, dealing with the false charges made against us, and justifying our attitude against idolatry by publishing the Second Commandment (according to the Roman version of the Bible). The battle was ours, or rather God's; and the meetings were more thronged than ever. For over sixty nights running our hall was filled with appreciative crowds, giving a total attendance of over eleven thousand.


The opposition of the priests collapsed. The Freemasons, after trying to create a riot in several of our meetings, and shouting, "Death! death!" against Senhor Mello, also had to retire shamefaced from the field.


The Spiritualists, who have hundreds of adepts in this city, tried to creep into our meetings, and under the guise of sympathy did us great harm; but we devoted our attention to exposing and denouncing this arch-deceit of Satan, warning the people that the god of Spiritists is the Devil, and saying that we disliked their friendship and discountenanced their attending our meetings; after which we were all satisfied to know that they had thrown off the mask and declared war. Amen! May God ever deliver us from any compromise with men, or from any false charity or humility in treating with the Devil or his agents!


During all this time our brother Mello was preaching with that enduement of power which comes from on High. As the meetings continued his hands were strengthened for a short time by two other brethren from Sao Paulo; but their words seemed flat and uninteresting --” though they were experienced Christians of many years standing --” as compared with the power and freedom of Senhor Mello.

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The next step was to have a hall of our own; and a building was erected with accommodation for about three hundred people, having a pastoral residence adjoining. The whole cost was defrayed by Senhor Mello, and it just about exhausted his remaining resources. In about two months' work over a hundred persons made a profession of faith in Christ. The majority were young men who had given up drunken, vicious, and impure lives to follow the Lord; and seventy of them were baptized by me a few weeks later.


The opposition of the priests was now limited to inciting the "Faithful" to insult our people and to stone them as they proceeded to the meetings. One night I was rudely awakened by a huge stone crashing through a window of my room, breaking two panes of glass and part of the window casing. I gave thanks to God, for when the Devil is mad salvation is at the gates. The next day an old lady about seventy years of age destroyed all her idols, and turned to the Lord Jesus Christ as her only Hope.


Senhor Mello not only devoted all his wealth to the cause of Christ, but literally spent himself in His service to such an extent that his health was affected; and after a period of temptation and suffering it pleased God to call him Home. His deathbed scene was a glorious and never-to-be-forgotten spectacle. He sang himself into the Heavenly Kingdom, full of joy unspeakable, with glory lighting his face.


Oh! the power in that Gospel, which drew and won ' this fast bound worldling, adding another saint to the glorious history of the Church and another redeemed sinner to Paradise!

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Chapter 27
The Leper.


Camillo Roig was a prosperous rum seller in a seedy suburb of S. Paulo. His jovial and good-natured manner won him many customers, and, being a faithful son of the Church, his conscience did not worry him much. A little extra devotion to the Madonna, with a special Mass or two, covered a multitude of sins; and to kiss the cross and the few images in his possession meant many days of indulgences, so what was there to fear? Camillo had been a sacristan in his own country of Spain, and knew all the tricks of the trade; he hated the Protestants, too, and that must surely outweigh many of his sins; but he was a leper! For many years he had sought deliverance, had traveled far and wide, and had spent large sums of money, all to no effect; and his scarred and bloated face grew worse and worse.


In the till of his drawer he kept half a dozen little saints, on whom he lavished much affection; and very often when nobody was looking Camillo would pull out these saints and cover them with kisses. The spirit of idolatry, with its strange, fascinating power, had gripped the man's soul --” he was a leper indeed!


Yes, he hated the Protestants; and whenever any discussion took place over his counter Camillo soon damped the rising interest betrayed by any of his customers. He also had a very summary way of dealing with colporteurs or Gospel tract distributers, for whom he had a special contempt, at once consigning all their literature to the flames, as "Mother Church" advises.


"Will you accept one of these little book:?-- It was a very pleasant-faced, smiling young lady who addressed him, with a very nice voice, too --” at least, so Camillo thought; so he accepted the proffered Gospel with a good grace, and the lady passed on.

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It was a pretty little book, with a picture on the cover --” a Gospel prepared by the Scripture Gift Mission --” and it happened to bear the name of his favorite saint, though whether this was John the Baptist or John the Evangelist he was not sure. So on this account, and because of the lady's smile, he kept the book.


A few days later, out of curiosity, he started reading the first chapter. At once an inexplicable sensation thrilled his mind, and though he could barely understand what he read he felt a deep conviction that it was the Word of God.


Camillo read the Gospel through, and it haunted him day and night. Do what he would, he could not drown the impression made. There was the address of a Gospel Hall stamped on the back cover of the book, and several times he resisted an impulse to go there. At last his state of mind was such that he threw all pride to the winds, and crossed to the other side of the city where the hall was situated. He heard the Gospel preached for the first time, drank it in thirstily, and a few weeks after was truly converted.


Camillo at once made short work of his little saints, but he did not see how he could abandon his livelihood. Soon after, a baptismal service was announced, and he applied as a candidate, but found to his sorrow that he could not be accepted until he had abandoned his rum selling. This he endeavored to do, but could not find a purchaser.


On the eve of the baptism, however, Camillo suddenly resolved to forsake all for Christ's sake. He did so at a great sacrifice; and the following day he was baptized with some fifteen others in the Tiete River.


The day after his baptism Camillo stood at the mirror prepared for his morning shave. He almost dropped the razor in amazement, and called out excitedly to his wife: "Look at my face! I'm healed! glory to God!" The ugly sores on his face were gone, and the bloated appearance had vanished! He stripped and found the same thing had taken place all over his body. He was healed --” healed on the occasion of his baptism!

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I knew Camillo before the event, with the tell-tale sores on his hands and face, and since that eventful day I have known and traveled with him for years; and I can affirm from intimate knowledge of the man that, explain it as you may, he has not a trace of the foul disease upon him up to the present day, ten years later.


Camillo was severely tested after this, for everything to which he turned his hand failed, until his capital was exhausted; and then God led us to try him as a colporteur. His success was immediate and sustained, and he is now perhaps the best colporteur of the British and Foreign Bible Society in Brazil. He has also been signally used of God in the conversion of hundreds of Roman Catholics, especially through open-air preaching.


The following is a typical incident taken from a Bible Society's report:


In one town, where Senhor Camillo was offering the Scriptures, a man exclaimed, 'Were not you, along with an Englishman, in the public square at --“A- some years ago, when the people of the place wanted to kill you both for selling the Bible and preaching the Gospel? --˜Senhor Camillo replied that he was indeed the person referred to. Thereupon his questioner heartily embraced him, and recounted how the Englishman, being surrounded by the mob, had begged them to wait until he and his companion had prayed; and that while the two knelt to pray aloud for the conversion of the people who, through ignorance, were about to commit a great crime, the people round them took off their hats and knelt down also, and so desisted from their evil intent. The man who recounted this incident is now a Christian; his family is also converted, and quite a number of people in that town are on the side of the Gospel." The many remarkable experiences of this bright-faced, lion-hearted man would fill a volume; and yet it can all be traced back to a lady's smile and that little book --” "The Gospel according to John."

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Chapter 28
Three "Impossible" Cases
.


They all lived in the little out-of-the-world village of Santa Cruz. One was a very ignorant and fanatical Romanist, the second was a poor blind beggar steeped in superstition and sin, and the last was an old lady ninety years of age and nearly as deaf as a doorpost.


The first was one of the very few men in the village who utterly scorned our meetings? He muttered imprecations in a low voice when I passed him, and would not be spoken to; while as to the villagers, converted during the last month, he held them in supreme contempt, and railed and spat at them even whenever occasion offered. When about that time a plot was being hatched to tie me on a mare's back and drive me out of the village, Manoel Barra was in his element.


But it happened that just when Satan had stirred up this persecution to a point almost beyond endurance a strange sickness fell on the place and death followed death in rapid succession. Do what they could, the disease increased in its devastations, and nobody knew what it was or how to cope with it. Remarkable to say, however, not one of the forty converts to the Gospel was touched by the sickness. This soon began to attract attention. Some whispered that it was a judgment of God upon our enemies, and were convicted by it.


Had I occupied myself in trying to find remedies for their bodily sufferings, in accordance with natural instinct, their concern for the things eternal would at once have been absorbed in their desire to get well; for, as one of the keenest judges of human nature has observed, "Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life" --” but I used no medicine chest. And so it transpired that one after another of these poor stricken folk sent for me, and, confessing their sins, received Christ. Several of these died only a few hours later, but they were saved eternally. It was a time of harvest --” the only thing that really matters.

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One day I was called to the bedside of a dying woman, who listened wonderingly to the story of love, but seemed dazed and uncertain when I gently pressed her to accept salvation, and wished to defer decision till the next day; so I had to leave her. Manoel Barra heard of my visit with intense disgust, for the woman was his own poor abandoned wife.


I had hardly left her bedside when Manoel arrived, and so succeeded in poisoning the mind of the dying woman that when I visited her again next day she deliberately turned her face to the wall and refused to hear me; and soon after she passed away.


I felt hotly indignant. Surely this man must have filled up the measure of his enmity against the Gospel, and God's judgments would fall on him! So it happened that when a few days later I was told that this very man was stricken with the fatal sickness, I felt a momentary satisfaction. Then the Spirit of God asserted Himself: "That man has a soul to save; appearances count for nothing with God. You must be as faithful to him as to any of these others." So I went to call on him.
On entering his dirty, ramshackle house I found the wretched man stretched out on an almost bare raw hide bed. He was racked with fever, and nearly reduced to a skeleton. His face was set like bronze, however, when I spoke of the Gospel; and he betrayed his repugnance at my presence.


At the foot of the filthy bed sat the woman he was living with, her arms swollen, and with other indications that the disease was claiming her, too, as its prey; while behind the unhappy woman the little baby had been abandoned to breathe its last, alone and uncared for. I never saw such a picture of misery anywhere. The good news of the Gospel failed to arouse the slightest response, and I left the house in despair.

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Arriving home I called my companion, Ricardo, and told him of my visit to Manoel. "He is quite beyond me," said I, "and in an hour it will be too late for ever; but he is not yet beyond the power of God. Let us pray for him. --œAnd we knelt and earnestly pleaded for that man's soul. As we prayed a knock came at the door. It was the postmaster, Braga, one of our new converts.
"I have just come from Manoel's," exclaimed he, "and he wants to see you at once.--


Within two minutes I stood again by that bedside. I could see that a change had taken place --” the mark of death was on that ghastly face. And yet there was another change also, and that a far more important one; for he raised his poor head an inch or two, and, looking at me pitifully, feebly whispered, "0 Senhor Frederico, estou muito arrependido (Oh, Senhor Frederico, I am very repentant)." I sat down and read to him God's promises to penitent sinners, and then knelt, for time was short, and helped the dying man to pray and to receive. As he concluded, "for Jesus Christ's sake," he sank back. I caught a husky whisper, "Estou muito contente (I am very happy)"; and within twenty minutes his spirit passed away. The poor woman herself was also truly converted before she died, several months later.


Not one of his unbelieving friends would come near Manoel's body, for they declared that he died a heretic; but we know better. Wicked sinner though he had been during a lifetime he had become a son of God, redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb.


I helped another convert to dig his grave in the local cemetery. The funeral procession consisted of a little company of believers. A short, happy service was held; and we returned home musing on the truth, "With God nothing is impossible."

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The second case, that of Blind John, was a very different one. Whenever I visited him on my rounds he always welcomed me, but showed the greatest distrust if I touched on his peculiar superstitions --” for John was very idolatrous. He, too, had learned by heart --” and believed --” all the scandalous tales which the priests invent against us, and was very rude and sarcastic at times; but withal was always ready to hear the Bible read. His face was full of expression as point after point of truth went home; and his blind but perfect-looking eyes seemed to flash at times when something specially impressed him.


But, alas! poor John was unmarried, nor could he marry the woman he lived with, for she had a husband who had deserted her --” a condition of affairs terribly common in Brazil. This woman waited on Blind John hand and foot, and he depended upon her utterly. If he accepted the Gospel he would have to turn her out, and what then? It seemed another "impossible" case.


At last John came to accept the truth thoroughly, and he enjoyed attending the meetings. His house became a centre for religions discussion in the village. The blind man never failed to hold his own, and more, for many a doubter he convinced; but there was always that question, and poor John had not the courage or faith to face it.


Then the unexpected happened; and from being a scornful opponent who hated me for trying to induce John to obey God, the woman herself was converted, through the efforts of one of our women.


With mingled tears and smiles they parted. John gave up his own little home to his late partner, and went and lived in a little dark room by himself in another street; and two weeks later they were both baptized.

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John continued a beggar for some time. He used to travel long distances on horseback, begging alms from the remote farm-houses, where he sang Gospel hymns to a mandolin accompaniment, sold Gospels, and recited passages of Scripture --” for he knew whole chapters by heart.


Soon after his conversion he was visited by the priest; but all the latter--™s attempts to turn him aside met with such a straightforward and Scriptural defense that the priest was dumbfounded, "not knowing the Scriptures.'' After several such visits, the faithful disciple warned the priest about his evil life and vices, and concluded by saying: "Look here, if you are coming here to get converted, very well; but if not, I have no more time to waste on you."


An incident in the life of this humble, obscure man shows something of his childlike faith. While travelling away from home on horseback --” many blind people ride in Brazil- -as he neared a certain farm a woman came rushing out to him, saying her mother had just swallowed a bone, and it was sticking in her throat choking her; did he know of a "blessing" (a Romish charm or incantation) which would relieve her? The blind man thought for a moment, and then said, "Go to her; you will find her cured." The woman believed him and went. He thereupon knelt down and in simple faith prayed the Lord to relieve her that moment, and departed on his way. Sometime after, when in the same direction, a man asked him, "Are you the one that has a blessing that cured a woman with a bone in her throat? What is it? I should like to have it, too." John replied, "You can have it. Take this Gospel and read it."


The last "impossible" case was that of Maria, nicknamed the "Woodpecker." Her home was a veritable den of evil. The walls were covered with superstitious relics, crucifixes, charms, and rosaries, besides many other of the queer things in which the Romish religion is so very prolific. She used to smoke, chew, and take snuff, and was very much addicted to the use of white rum {cachassa), which is such a terrible curse in Brazil; and of course she was a good Catholic!

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Her house was so dirty, and had so many chickens running over everything, that I preferred to talk through the window. To add to her other difficulties, the old dame was very deaf indeed, and I used to doubt whether she understood a word I said, in spite of her signs of assent.


I used to pitch my voice very high for her to hear, "and," thought I, "if Dona Maria cannot hear anything, I'm sure all the neighbors around can, and they will get the benefit of my exhortations;" so I did not desist from attempting to bawl some little truth or other into the wizen-faced old lady's ear, thinking all the while of the neighbors.


However, none of these neighbors were converted in spite of it all; but, strange to say, the little old lady of ninety herself was. It came about slowly; and nobody was more surprised than myself when I saw her at a meeting one night --” and with a decent, clean dress on, too. She abandoned her rum and tobacco in a very short time, cleared all the idols from her walls, and relegated the chickens to the back yard. She would occasionally drop in quietly and sweep my house out for me, and the Mission Hall; or she would leave a little gift of eggs and vegetables or oranges. I knew that in her own quaint way she understood and trusted the Savior; and when the next baptismal service was held she walked out alone to the spot, four miles away, and was the first to be baptized. How much higher and more loving are God's thoughts than our thoughts, and His ways than ours!


Chapter 29
Stirring Times.


Rome is always the same, wherever she has power, wherever she finds dupes, wherever ignorance prevails. For over a year Dona Rosa had been a thorn in the side of the vigario of Limoeiro, a little city in the north of Brazil, about sixty miles from the railroad. Dona Rosa is a very quiet, humble-minded woman, is the local schoolmistress, and a sincere believer; and all the efforts of the priest to drive her out of the place, or to neutralize her testimony, have been unavailing. Nevertheless he had succeeded in taking away nearly all her pupils, by uttering his curses on all such families as dared to send their children to the school of this terrible heretic. He had also compelled the people to petition the Government against her with false accusations, to rob her of her honorable employment.

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This priest had successfully resisted every effort to preach the Gospel in his city; and when nearly a year ago a definite attempt to do so was made by Mr. John Mein, an English missionary, with a native helper, the effort had failed; and they were driven out of the town with sticks and stones, being at no small peril of their lives.


In December, 1921 , this same missionary and myself made a fresh attempt to open this fast-closed door. From all accounts we expected to have a rather warm reception, for the rumor was that we should be shot at sight by some of the unprincipled ruffians that the priest always has at his command. Twenty miles from the railway terminus we reached the fine town of Palmeira, where the principal streets were canvassed, and a few Bibles and Testaments sold, one being purchased by a prisoner in the town gaol, awaiting his trial for murder.


Pushing on next morning, we had forty miles to ride to reach the main objective of our journey; and we decided that under the circumstances it would be best to enter the town well after dark, without the knowledge of the priest or the local authorities. This precaution, however, proved but a worldly-wise idea, and not the Lord's plan for us; for though we succeeded in entering the city unperceived, yet on our knocking at the door of the house of the schoolmistress, the noise of our arrival at that late hour threw Dona Rosa and her daughters into a state of wild alarm, they deeming it but another of the many forms of persecution and provocation that they had continually suffered at the hands of the cruel and cowardly priest. It was only by raising our voices and shouting our names and occupation through the keyhole that eventually the door was timidly opened, only to be slammed again in our faces; for they had never seen me before, and did not discern my companion in the darkness. By the time we had succeeded in overcoming their fears, and were admitted by the pale and trembling women, all the town knew of our arrival, including the priest, whose house was just across the road; and a big stone hurled through a half-open back door was the first intimation of their goodwill.

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Early next morning we tried our best to rent a house or a room for Gospel meetings, but everybody looked askance at us, and the priest had evidently succeeded in checkmating all our efforts in that direction, Now it happened that we had noticed a big pile of logs of wood lying on an elevated point in the centre of the city; so without previous intimation of our intentions beyond telling the residents in the immediate neighborhood of the same, we mounted this improvised pulpit and began to sing. A small crowd soon gathered, and our addresses were listened to with every mark of respect. After this several visits were made, little informal meetings held in the houses of one or another. Gospels distributed, and every effort made to overcome the prejudice of the people, and to show that we were but men like themselves, and not the unnatural monsters that the priest had proclaimed us to be.


The following day at the same hour the second meeting was held, with a still larger attendance; and the priest, who could see the whole proceeding from his house, was so nonplussed and disgusted that he shut himself out of sight. Visits were again made as on the previous day, and a change in the attitude of the inhabitants in our favor was very evident, the priest having to content himself with persuading a few small boys to pelt us with gravel as we passed his house at dusk.


The next day was Sunday, and now the priest had his opportunity. The weekly fair was in full swing, and hundreds of ignorant countrymen with corn, farinha, yams, fowls and other produce for sale had set up their little stalls in the big square. Of course the church was open all day, and the priest was fully occupied with his ecclesiastical wares, at the same time warning one and all against the dangerous heretics now in the town. The crowds grew apace. Groups here and there discussed the situation, and looked loweringly at us whenever we appeared at a door or window of the teacher's house.

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One wild-looking old man somewhat alarmed me at first by frequently appearing at the door leading some rather scared-looking countryman by the arm, and pointing me out with the words, "That's him! That's him!" It was rather embarrassing, but my fears were allayed when a little later he slipped into the house, and in a nervous, low voice said, 'I have five sons here with me --” there's one of them. I sympathize with the senhores, and if you need our help we are all at your orders." Afterwards, when things were looking more serious, the same old man assured me that if we wanted a hundred men to defend us he could stand for that too! I smiled and told him that while we appreciated his goodwill there would be no need for such intervention.


News soon reached us that --” though an unusual date --” a procession was to be held, and a mast to be raised in honor of the local saint, whom we were supposed to have affronted. About midday a crude drum and fife band appeared parading up and down the town, while the priest handed out a number of grotesque masks to a noisy band of men and boys, a masked horseman directing the operations.


An open-air service seemed impossible, but after waiting upon the Lord we felt encouraged, and decided to hold a meeting at the same place, but at a much earlier hour, to upset the priest's programme, so far as we were concerned. Two hours earlier than previously, instead of making our way through the crowd, we quietly reached our log pulpit by a back street, and started the meeting at once, taking the whole town by surprise. Before the priest could organize some counter-blast or other, I had finished my address to a larger congregation than ever; and we were singing another hymn ere Mr. Mein should continue with what was to be the concluding sermon of the campaign.


"Stand firm! Here they come!" said he; and glancing down the square I saw a big rabble of men and boys with the band and maskers bearing in our direction. On they came, shouting and yelling, headed by the mounted masker, who tried to make a diversion with his horse, but it refused to answer to whip or spur. In a few moments all was over. It was as though God had covered us with His hand; for the mob swept by at arm 's length with scarcely a glance in our direction and not one word of insult.

144
Then we continued our meeting, which had grown to about eighty people. Mr. Mein had barely warmed to his subject when back returned the crowd, carrying the mast of the insulted saint --” a pandemonium of drums and fifes, and explosive rockets --” and the roaring rabble. This is just the type of folk over whom the priest has most influence.


Yet a second time, as we turned and faced them, they swept harmlessly by, though as the tail of the procession passed the man who fired the explosive rockets swung a very evil face towards us, and shot several of them point blank at us, just missing his aim.


Again we continued our meeting; and the Spirit of God came down upon my companion and his growing congregation. He spoke with power; and our pulpit proving too unstable for his energy he leaped into the middle of the road and spoke for quite another half an hour, with great effect.


We have reason to believe that a deep and lasting impression was made upon the whole city, and that some have already accepted the truth as a result of these meetings. To a very great extent the priest has lost his influence and power for evil, and Limoeiro is now an open door to the Gospel messenger.


Yes, semper eadem --” Rome is always the same! But, thank God! the Gospel of Jesus Christ is unchanging too; and wherever it is preached it proves the same power of God to draw sinners to their only Savior.


By the foregoing pages it will be noticed that open-air meetings furnish a great and effective means for reaching all sorts and conditions of men otherwise hard to touch. This applies especially to pioneer and to itinerating work in the interior. Something of the kind is also attempted in the big cities of Brazil. In the latter the forces in opposition are generally well organized for breaking up such meetings, and great patience and courage are required for this work.

145
While evangelizing the seaport of Santos about the year 1900, when there were no evangelical churches established there, a native worker and I started weekly open-air meetings in all parts of the city. Our reception was varied. Once we were pelted with rotten tomatoes, one extra good shot putting my companion out of the combat pro tern. Another time a hose was turned on us; but we held our own, assuring the crowds that a shower-bath was never known to kill anybody, but that sin certainly would do so.


In the big Maua Square we had a double congregation, the sympathizers --” and they were in the majority --” in our front, and the Bible critics behind. The latter pelted us with potatoes and other odds and ends, and once a dead fox brushed by my face. I terminated the meeting by telling our friends that we had done our best to show them something well-worth having, and to point out a sure way of salvation, which we had already proved for ourselves. All must see the need of some such way of escape --” its necessity was too evident; "but the folk behind," said I, "seem to know of some more excellent way to meet this need."


Then stepping down from the high curb-stone on which we stood, I turned round to our persecutors and said, "You do not agree with what we have preached, so must know something better. Kindly take this place and we will give you an attentive hearing." Ashamed and confused before the gaze of the big crowd now assembled, their silence and discomfiture gave point and emphasis to our meeting.


On another occasion we took our stand on a pile of stones on the dock front. The crowd was small and not unfriendly, until several dock officials in uniform joined the assembly. These men were evidently fanatical Romanists, and they did their best to harm us by ceaseless interruptions, mocking our words. At once the crowd increased in proportions. Every dock loafer was there, and was absolutely at the service of our tormentors, whom it was in his interest to please.

146
My companion was speaking, but the interruptions and noise became so great as to render him inaudible; so, having a stronger voice, I took up the word myself. The noise now became deafening, and it was soon evident that personal violence was intended. We were somewhat protected by our elevation on that stone pile, but a compact, howling crowd shut us in on all sides.


All at once I noticed that some of the wildest of the men were picking up stones. Instantly the Lord showed me a way of escape. Snatching a bundle of small tracts out of my pocket, I gave my companion half. Shouting a word of instruction in his ear, I dived down one side of the pile, and, waving my tracts in the air, began to circulate them as rapidly as I could.


The first of these were at once torn in pieces and tossed into the air. This only aroused the curiosity of the newcomers in the rear, and the noise ceased; while a hundred hands were stretched out to receive a tract. Our enemies were nonplussed; for, freely jostled and elbowed at first, my occupation gave me an excuse for pressing through the crowd; and in a few minutes I found myself minus all my tracts, and on the safe side of things. My companion had bored his way through the opposite side by the same means, and he joined me at once. Then bowing to the now silent crowd we invited them to our mission hall that night, where we told them they could get a quiet hearing of our message. Then we turned our backs on the crowd and walked away. Not a stone was thrown --” not a shout nor laugh followed us.


Chapter 30.
The Sexton Smiled.


"Will you accept one of these little books?" said I, offering a Scripture Gift Mission Gospel , as the front door of a house slowly opened in response to my knock. I was engaged in a house-to-house distribution of these attractive little Gospels.

147
"What's this?" replied a harsh and unfriendly voice; and I started somewhat when I saw before me the rather ungainly form and features of the Roman Catholic vicar of Jacarehy, an old-fashioned little city near the coast of Brazil, where we had just circulated 1000 portions of God's Word.


He was attired in his clerical cassock --” which did not show off his rather bulky proportions to advantage --” and his features had anything but a Christian look about them. I am sorry to draw attention to such personal details; but why is it that so many of these priests have such unlovely and unholy features? Is it the enforced celibacy, the lack of intellectual freedom, or the unwholesome atmosphere of many of their duties, especially those connected with the Confessional, that lies at the root of this phenomenon? I dare not say; but the fact is everywhere remarked on. However, I found this priest far above the average of his class in tolerance and intelligence.


He looked at the beautiful little Gospel in a sour and forbidding way; and then, directing an equally amiable glance at me, he awaited my reply. "It's a true copy of the Gospel of St. John," I said. "Ha! nothing of the kind!" he growled. "You had better not circulate any more of this stuff here, for I shall certainly tell my people to destroy them all. They are false and Protestant!"


"No, sir," I rejoined; "they are neither the one nor the other, but truly apostolic, and just as you may find them in your own Bible, if you have one."


"Come inside," said the priest, and in I went. His sitting-room was sparsely furnished with a few chairs, a desk with a silver crucifix just above it, and a few lithographed prints of "saints" on the walls. "Your books," he explained, in rather a lofty tone, "lack the official approval of the Holy Church, and are vitiated translations; besides which the Holy Councils have determined that it is not wise to put such matters into the hands of the common folk, who cannot understand these things except by the infallible interpretation of the Holy Church and its doctors, who gave us the Bible."

148
To this I objected that if the common folk of two thousand years ago heard gladly and understood the teachings of our Lord, why should not the more enlightened people of today be able to do so? The priest's sacristan (sexton), a pale youth, stood by, trembling at my audacity; but at this juncture I caught his eye, and he smiled. Then I asked the father to show me one of the falsifications. The priest shook his head, and mixed up something about the Council of Trent and the Church's authorized interpretation, though he could not explain just where that interpretation was to be found --” for it does not exist.


"Besides," he exclaimed, with rather a malicious look and a wicked roll of his eyes, "your Bible is false, for where is the Book of Maccabees?" And he glanced at the sexton as much as to say, "I've cornered the heretic this time!" "On this point," I replied, "I stand with the House of Judah, who reject that book as spurious, and with Saint Jerome and Saint Augustine, who agreed that the Apocryphal books were not canonical."


"Ah!" he said, evasively; "you Protestants each interpret the Bible as you please; and look at the result --” what confusion, what heresy, and how innumerable are the Protestant sects and divisions in consequence! Our Holy Church, governed by the most holy Father, the Pope, is undivided, and we never dispute nor quarrel."


"Nor do the dead in the cemetery," said I; "and as for the divisions you speak of, I am no apologist of such, nor do I think of myself as a Protestant, seeing that under that banner you also classify Spiritualists, Masons, Deists, and Anarchists alike I hold to the simple glorious name of Christian."


"We are all Catholics here at any rate," he said; "you waste your time. The people don't want your religion, and will do what I tell them as the minister of God --” of the Holy Catholic Apostolic and Roman Church."

149
"Pardon me," I interrupted, "you are very much mistaken. I have been in Brazil over twenty years and have not met six true Catholics;" and in answer to an inarticulate exclamation, I added, "for they are nearly all Protestants!"


The priest gasped and stared at me. Then he demanded what I meant; but the sacristan smiled. "Why," said I, "if a Roman Catholic is one who believes and obeys all that your Church teaches, then most Brazilians are Protestants, for they are always protesting against this doctrine and the other. They never agree among themselves, except when they speak ill of the priests."


The holy father affected a sigh, and said the end of the world was at hand; things were getting very bad, and apostasy was increasing --” to which I heartily agreed, but added that the main cause of so much unbelief and error was that the Bible had been kept from the people. "If you are not satisfied with our books, why do you not publish them yourselves? What has become of the Pope's approval of the Society of Jerome? If you will not circulate the Gospels, we will." And again the sacristan smiled.


Here the priest changed the subject, and wanted to involve me in arguments about Purgatory, Confession, and the Supremacy of Peter, parading all the stock arguments of the seminary with distorted and maimed Scripture texts, freely inlaid with doubtful Latin which made him at once feel more at ease, though he was not altogether comfortable about Peter's supremacy. "Ah!" he said, very self-complacently, "you need only study our theologians to see your error, and to do as so many illustrious countrymen of yours have done, in joining the Holy Catholic Church."


When I suggested that quite a few had taken the opposite course in leaving Rome, he agreed that that was so, but that it was because they found the Church's doctrine too rigid --” not enough scope being allowed for their vices. Then, in the case of priests who had done so, it was always because the poor creatures wanted to get married, as was the case with Luther, who, he informed me, was a very depraved and immoral young man; and that that was really why he became a Protestant. "Don't tell the Germans that," was my only comment.

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Then again he dived into doctrines and dogmas and rusty Latin, till I exclaimed, "What does all this matter? The people need a knowledge of the simple Gospel of Jesus Christ, which offers them eternal life, and why should you oppose it and permit its substitution by these worthless images and pictures of saints?"


"Not worthless," he replied vehemently. "They are holy helps to devotion, and may be loved and venerated, just as you would the portrait of your mother."


"But, senhor, they are not even portraits," I replied. "Convince me that they are and you have a strong point; but as it is, all the world knows that they are purely fictitious and imaginary. Here in this town alone there are over a hundred different conceptions of Christ, and all are utterly false, while many are actually debasing and blasphemous. All these things only make for materialism and sensuality; whereas the religion of Jesus Christ is a spiritual one."


I then told him something of the story of my own conversion from mere Protestantism to Christ, and spoke on the need of a knowledge of salvation. This, he said, was morally possible, but practically quite the reverse --” one of those subtle distinctions that only the Church of Rome itself understands. I expressed a hope of his conversion; and soon after this our interview, which had lasted about an hour, terminated. He kept the Gospel, and we parted on good terms.


As soon as I had left, to the sacristan's astonishment, the priest flung himself into a seat, exclaiming, "Oh, but I'm a miserable sinner!" Just what he meant, I cannot say. The next day the sacristan renounced his faith in the priest and the Church, and started to seek for some secular employment which would enable him to attend our meetings and to follow the Gospel call.

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The heathen rage against God's Holy Word;
The critics count it all but a vain dream;
The priests of Rome condemn its voice, unheard;
Yet --” fuller, deeper, wider flows its stream.


As streams which ope to life, embracing wide
The fruitless plains of southern Palestine;
So ever flows this healing, saving tide.
And millions bless the Source of joys divine.


Thus still, while critic, priest, and sceptic rave,
God's Word, unscathed, maintains its power to save.


Chapter 31
The Power of the Book.


Whatever men may say about God's Word in England or America, and however much the critics there appear to have undermined its authority and authenticity, out in the great semi-pagan land of Brazil, steeped as it is in the mists of superstition, prejudice, and iniquity --” the inevitable result of four centuries of Popish monopoly --” the Bible, and the whole Bible, is proving the power of God to unlock the door of hope and salvation to its thirty millions of people; and it is being eagerly welcomed by all classes of society.


To the quiet, persevering work during the past; half century of the two great Bible Societies --” the- British and Foreign and the American --” is mainly due under God the remarkable change of attitude towards the truth in the whole of South America, and markedly so in Brazil. Organizations --” and men, too --” often disappoint and fail us; doctrinal difficulties may occasionally cloud the issues; but the simple circulation of God's pure Word is a safe and assuredly profitable investment all the world over --” more especially so in Roman Catholic lands.

152

I firmly hold that every new missionary to a Roman Catholic field should spend as a colporteur the first two years of his life-work. It is a magnificent training for service from every point of view, and helps to rub off some of the veneer and air of superiority that sometimes results from the usual college course, as it makes the worker more natural and more sympathetic.


Nobody realizes the significance of Bible work more than the high ecclesiastics of Rome. From an article on the work of the Bible Society appearing in what is probably the most influential Roman Catholic newspaper in the world, The Kolnische Volkszeitung, the following extracts are noteworthy:


"It cannot be denied that in a certain sense the Bible Society is a danger to Catholicism.... I believe myself right in the conviction that every copy of the Holy Scriptures and every portion of them circulated by the British or any other Bible Society means a moral strengthening to Protestantism. Believing people in our Church listen willingly to anything from the Bible. When Catholics notice that it is the Protestants who present these cheap editions of the Bible to the people, and enable the very poorest to purchase them, it is only natural that they entertain the erroneous impression that the Catholic Church has some reason for keeping the Bible secret, or that the Bible is dangerous to the Church, or that the Church has hitherto not shown the necessary zeal in circulating it."


One may assure the worthy doctor who writes that the "impression" not merely of those who have passed from Rome to Christ, but of the vast majority of the so-called sons of the Roman Church, is exactly as he states; and that their Church's attitude towards the Scriptures, especially in South America --” 'Where the Bible is burnt in every Catholic city --” proves that it is very far from being an "erroneous" one.

153
The power of the Book is not limited to any class or station in life; but to old and young, rich and poor, wise and unlettered alike, it is fulfilling the affirmation, "The entrance of Thy words giveth light" (Psalm 119. 130).


We are on the eve of great events in Brazil, in which the Bible will play no minor part. There are evident signs of a great upheaval in the religious life of the country. What form the movement will eventually take it is difficult to foresee. It may be that out of the decay and ruin of the Church of Rome itself God will raise up reformers who shall lay, more truly and lastingly than the grand old Reformers of old could, the foundations of a great Gospel Church.


Ours is the duty and privilege to see that at this great crisis the people shall have in their hands the only reliable and infallible guide to true godliness, life, and immortality --” the Bible.


One of the many proofs of the power of the Book occurred on a certain occasion when I was asked to address a few meetings in a little country town in the remote end of the State of Alagoas.


During the second meeting I noticed a new face --” a good-looking, intelligent -featured farmer, who had arrived on horseback. I found that he had ridden through the rain and mud over ten miles, and that this was the first time he had attended a Gospel service.


It seems that some six months before he had purchased a Bible from one of our colporteurs canvassing that region. He was then a strong, bigoted Catholic, but was so overcome by what he read in God's Word that he anxiously sought his priest to try to square these questions with his conscience on the one hand, and with the doctrines of Rome on the other. They could not be reconciled, however; and the priest had perforce to denounce the Bible as "false" --” as they always do. He was careful not to produce his own "true" Bible --” perhaps he did not possess one, as very few priests do or dare possess a copy of their own Bible.

154
Our farmer friend was far from being satisfied, and began to open his eyes. Then the priest, now thoroughly aroused, and not a little chagrined, sought to bring persecution to bear upon his erstwhile lamb, and tried to evict him from his farm as a "dangerous heretic."


Meanwhile the farmer went on reading, reading, reading; and deeper and deeper grew his convictions. Finally he found he could not keep this new light to himself; so he invited his friends and neighbors to hear him read the Bible. He is a very good reader; and such was the attraction felt that within a short time seventy or eighty people met together --” and still meet --” to study the Scriptures. Without any pastor or any instruction in such things, they had learned to pray, and even to sing --” though I was informed their music was "strange and wonderful."


The stormy weather prevented me for some time from riding out; but when I did so I found a group of about thirty people who gave evidence of real conversion from superstition and sin unto the living and true God.


The Bible is the only thing that Rome is afraid of; and that is one reason why we advocate a great campaign to take the Bible to Ireland in a way it has never been taken yet, as well as to dark Brazil. Why not try the "approved" Douay Testament? If Catholic Ireland, deceived by her priests, will not tolerate the


Protestant scriptures, then give them their own book, and turn the tables on the tactics of Rome. Had this been done in the past, history would have repeated itself, and Ireland would have been saved from ruin and despair.


"Half a loaf is better than no bread," and the Douay is not such a terrible version after all. It is a better translation than our great Tyndale's, and we all know what Tyndale's Testament did for the Reformation in England.

155
On another occasion I was journeying down the big San Francisco River in connection with the work of a colporteur who was canvassing its banks. While travelling by steamer on the upper reaches of the river, I had noticed a young man who never left his cabin, and who was evidently very ill. The door of his cabin happened to be open when I passed one day, and a formal greeting and the offer of my deck chair soon led to an intimate conversation.


I found my new friend to be in the last stages of consumption, going home to die. I spoke carefully of the need of knowing God, and suggested that this might be His way of causing him to seek for higher things. How great was my surprise when that poor haggard face looked up at me with emotion, and the man said, "Yes, that is true. Before this came upon me I had no use for God, nor did I think of these things; but now I have begun to read the Bible."


My heart pulsed with joy to hear these words. The Bible had found its way not only into these remote regions, but into this man's heart; and evidently the very careful teaching of the priests that it is a Protestant and Satanic production does not prevent many from associating the Bible with righteousness and salvation.


We had many talks after that; and the man accepted the gift of God like a little child ere he left that steamer a few days later. All considered, one cannot wonder at the zealous opposition of the priests to the circulation of the Scriptures, although sometimes the extremity of their zeal leads to humorous results, as the following incident shows: On my way to a certain city on the coast I distributed Gospels among the passengers, and mentioned to one of them on his leaving the boat at an intermediate port that I expected to visit his city, called Propria, on my way back, and make a free distribution of Gospels there from house to house. This came to the ears of the local priest, a notorious enemy of the Gospel; and he at once prepared the ground and stirred up the people against me with the most incredible falsehoods, instigating them to violent methods.

156
Now it happened that, my stock of booklets exhausted, I did not go as I intended, but deferred my visit. Meanwhile, a little later, a representative of an American firm arrived at that city. He came to advertise the virtues of some special cod liver oil preparation, and brought with him a large number of little colored and illustrated booklets for house-to-house distribution.


Soon after he started work the news went round the town that the evil Protestant had arrived, and was already doing just as they had been warned. To the young man's intense surprise the people began to treat him rudely; and in a short time there was a terrible disturbance, the cod liver oil man being nearly stoned before the mistake was found out.


Within six months I visited this town of Propria, accompanied by a native colporteur. Disguising our plans as much as possible, we arrived in a canoe early one morning with a big box of Scriptures. We succeeded in renting a room for our centre of operations for the day without attracting any attention.


After carefully reconnoitering the lie of the land, and engaging in definite prayer, we launched out before midday, each taking one side of a street, and working rapidly and systematically. The town was quite taken off its guard --” or else they mistook me for the cod liver oil man! --” for in a few hours we had sold all our Bibles and Testaments.


Soon a jangle of bells warned us that the faithful were being summoned; but before the priest could organize his horde of ruffians we had also covered the city with a specially prepared bulletin entitled "The Great Conspiracy," exposing the attempt of Rome to keep the Bible from the people.


Having sped our bolt, we embarked in our canoe that night and paddled away in the bright moonlight, just in time to escape the malice of the "holy father," who has since been made a bishop --” no doubt for his zeal against the Protestants and their Book.

157
A few years ago I received a letter from a Catholic gentleman, named Luiz G, living in the interior of Pernambuco. He had seen our leaflet offering Bibles for sale and, enclosing about a dollar, asked to be supplied with a Catholic Bible having the Pope's approval. I replied that such a book would cost three pounds, but that I could furnish him with the same book, less the pictures, the Pope's approval, and the Apocrypha --” yet nevertheless quite authentic and complete, and in accordance with the index of St. Jerome and St. Augustine --” for the price of fifty cents post free. He replied that he only wanted a Catholic Bible; so I returned the money, plus a few tracts.


A little later came another letter with three pounds enclosed, and with some difficulty I obtained a copy of the Catholic Bible from Rio, it being the very last copy of the only edition available. Within three months Senhor Luiz wrote again: 'I beg to ask all the believers in Jesus Christ to pray for my conversion. I have many difficulties." Because of that "approved" Bible the local priest had sought to ruin his business and turn the town against him. Thereupon many hundreds of Prayer Circle members and others made this a matter of special prayer; while I continued the correspondence with ever increasing hopefulness. Only a few days before setting out on my last long journey to the Caraja Indians I received a beautiful letter from Senhor Luiz, telling me that the great decision was made, and signing himself "Your brother in Jesus Christ."


Since then I have made a journey to his town, and found that the Pope's Bible has done wonders indeed. The priests may well be afraid of their own Bible! Not only Senhor Luiz himself, but many neighbors and friends had also taken the same step. Persecution by the priest had only served to stiffen his conviction and to show him the true inwardness and spirit of his late religion. To my astonishment I found a fine Gospel Mission Hall, one of the best buildings in the town, entirely built at Senhor Luiz's own expense. Much of the decoration and all the beautiful texts which lavishly adorned its walls were his own handiwork. On the outside of the building, easily seen by all who enter the town, he had placed a huge carved Bible, inscribed with the words, "Search the Scriptures," and "Repent and believe the Gospel."

158
On the night of my arrival I had the intense satisfaction of preaching to an attentive congregation of several hundreds of people. This Church has now a membership of over a hundred, and a new building has become necessary. The following translation of a letter received by the author from a very distant part of Brazil is a concluding illustration of what this chapter seeks to emphasize:


"E. S. Paulo, IguApe,
16th December, 1921.


"Esteemed Sir, --” I am glad to tell you that, together with your esteemed letter of 16th November, I had the immense satisfaction of receiving the most precious treasure that could be given me by human hands --” the Holy Bible --” which you so generously sent me. . . . "Today, in spite of the little I have studied, I am assured of the truth of what is there found, and without seeking to allude to the beauties observable, and the wise sayings that there present themselves, it is enough to say that I have learnt to love and serve God. "I feel another man; quieter, more resigned, and much more happy; and for this offering a thousand thanks to God and our Lord Jesus Christ. "I sign myself with much esteem, your humble servant, J. de A."


Thus we find that the integral Bible, untampered with by those unspeakable Philistines --” the "Higher Critics" --” is a mighty, irresistible power in itself wherever humble, contrite hearts are found. It WORKS! It does just what the Almighty purposed it should do: "These things are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His Name" (1 John 5. 13); whereas, the abridged, revised, and patched-up Bible of the "reverend" but unregenerate critics won't work! Nay, it slays its tens of thousands in these days of "pure reason" and worldly-wise professors. Thank God this plague has not yet reached Brazil!

159
The Bible Critic.


A MODERN foe to truth --” pray mark him well --”
The "Reverend" Critic. How his phrases swell
With conscious pride and wisdom, while he sings
The faults of Genesis! for Abraham's kings


We should reject as idle, empty tales;
While zealously his glib theology impales
This verse and that as very well omitted;
And one by one are mercilessly spitted


These simple, fond impressions of our youth
The sacred page revealed, because, forsooth,
They lack research's fiat, or the kind consent
Of dusty German savants on disruption bent.


Surely a reverend Editor, so well informed,
A new edition, up-to-date, abridged, reformed
Could fitly undertake, as worthy substitute
For these old-fashioned tales of ill repute


Our fathers loved, and give us in their stead
A book to satisfy all tastes, that may be read
Even by him, whose fond approval it will find --”
The astute Deceiver, and Destroyer of mankind


Thus by his ancient innuendo foul, "Hath God thus said?"
The Serpent still doth seek to draw upon man's head
The dire and fearful consequence --” the awful due
Of those who doubt what Christ has sealed as true.

160
Chapter 32
"What Shall It Profit?"


One Saturday night, at the conclusion of a week's meetings in an inland town of Brazil, as I shook hands with the departing congregation a rather elderly man drew me aside. It was the owner of the house where I preached, commonly called by the name of his profession, and I knew him as Senhor Antonio Dentista. is great friend was Senhor Joaquim A, a wealthy rice miller.


Antonio had been interested in the Gospel from the day of our first meeting in the old Town Hall, but this was the first time he had betrayed emotion of any kind. In a rather shaky voice he said, "Senhor Frederico, I have listened carefully to all you have taught, and I believe it is true. Be quite frank with me, please. Say what there is wrong in my life. Tell me what I should do."


In the homelands one would say at once, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ," but in Central Brazil where nearly every other man may be a murderer, or be living a very tangled domestic life, to put it mildly --” and all this without any sense of sin --” a wise preacher goes warily. Real repentance must be held up as the test of sincerity and faith.


"You have heard what has been said about repentance and the forgiveness of sins, Antonio," I replied. "Yes, yes; and I want you to tell me as a friend just what you have seen to be wrong," said he.


"How can I tell you that, Antonio?" I rejoined. "I cannot see your heart. You know best what is wrong, and have heard what repentance involves "But tell me what you know --” what you have observed," he insisted. I thought a moment, and then replied. "I have indeed noticed one bad thing. You are a terrible smoker! I notice that before each meeting has quite concluded you have a cigarette alight, and you seem to be always smoking."

161
"That's the pure truth," he replied; "I have smoked since I was seven years old, and now I cannot get free from the habit. Very soon I shall be unfit to exercise my profession because of the tremor in my hands. It is impossible to give it up, for I have now reached the stage when I cannot even sleep without breaking the night with a cigarette or two. Why, only the other day I told my old friend Joaquim that I would gladly give fifty pounds to anybody who could deliver me from this vice, for it is ruining my health and future livelihood."


Now, quite unknown to me at that time, this man had in his life something far worse than tobacco. It was a terribly tragic situation, from which God alone could deliver him. For very shame he hid this from me. It might mean the breaking up of his outwardly respectable home life. I could only deal with what I knew, however, so I replied, "Not impossible with God, Antonio. It is a small matter with Him if you really desire to be free."


How very often we find that this question of tobacco becomes the touchstone by which alone one can gauge the sincerity of an outward profession of faith! In many parts of Brazil no man or woman who smokes is eligible for Church membership.


After some further talk with Antonio, showing him how clear God's Word was on the whole question, and not failing to make clear the far greater questions involved, we both knelt together and sought for definite forgiveness, and for salvation and deliverance from the power of Satan.


When we rose to our feet I advised Antonio to hand over to me all the tobacco, paper, and matches he might have in his pockets. This he did, and promised to go over his house at once, and make a clean sweep of everything of the kind into the fire.

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Several days later I met my friend the dentist while walking down the main street. His eyes sparkled with excitement when he saw me. "Oh, it's wonderful!" he exclaimed. "From that moment we had prayer together the other night all desire to smoke has left me. I felt a little giddy the first day, and my hands are always chasing round my pockets after cigarettes, but its mere mechanical habit, for the vice has left me."


This happened nearly eighteen years ago. Antonio is still alive, and has never smoked again. He quite enjoys telling of the day when God so miraculously answered prayer.


I would I could end the story here; but, alas! I must add that the old dentist is still an unsaved man. When I knew of the more serious hindrance referred to I earnestly appealed to him to do his duty, and trust in God to deliver him yet again. He would certainly provide a way of escape, and ever turn all his trouble into blessing. But no; Antonio carries with him the proof of the power of the Gospel, yet will not trust in Christ for all.


From a higher plane than the poor dentist ever knew, and for higher and more holy motives, how well worthwhile it is to give up such an unnatural, enslaving vice for Christ's sake!


How very much of spiritual power, development, and perception may be lost by the paralyzing effect of this narcotic! What countless ills and ailments it brings in its train! And how much it may discount our good influence upon our children, our congregations, and upon the helpless multitudes around us!


Antonio's friend, Joaquim, already referred to, was a young man greatly attracted by the Gospel at that time, and showed himself our friend too. Of a frank, honest disposition, he never disguised the fact that he lived to make money, and that to succeed he must be friendly with all.

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Often when spoken to about the need of safety in Christ his face would flush; but just so often would he laugh off that first impression and abruptly change the subject of conversation, after lightly promising to attend the next meeting --” a promise never kept. Yet we always thought him a hopeful case.


One day, soon after the foregoing incident of his friend the dentist, Joaquim set out on his fine, well- caparisoned horse to visit the nearest railway point, fifty miles off, expecting to be away a week. He carried a very large sum of money with him, tucked for security in the sides of his capacious riding boots. Late that night his riderless horse came galloping back to the town. His poor young wife and children were frantic with fear, and a large party set out to search for the missing man. Days afterwards, drawn by the sight of a band of vultures to a remote spot far back from the highroad, his horror-stricken friends found his body already half consumed by the scavengers. He had been murdered for his wealth; yet strange to say his carefully-hidden money was found intact in his boots. He had saved his money --” but what had he lost?


Chapter 33
The Selling of a Bible.


Thomas Prando was a good Catholic, as also were his three grown-up daughters; and with their assistance he earned a reasonably good living as a tailor. I met him first while out canvassing a suburb of the big city of S. Paulo, the great industrial centre of Brazil. I was invited to enter the house; and they, being Italians, were soon all interested in an Italian Bible I had with me. It was the first they had seen; and I started in my usual way to give a synopsis of its contents, without mentioning the title of the book --” for by experience I find that to do this only arouses at once such doubt and suspicion that anything else you may add would be heard with prejudiced ears, and at least half the effect of your efforts be lost on the hearers.

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This arises from the fact that most of the priests are extremely skilful and indefatigable in their efforts to poison the minds of the people against the Bible. Indeed, it can be taken for granted that, especially in the cities, a very large proportion of the time and energy of these "blind leaders of the blind" are devoted to efforts to counteract the circulation and influence of God's Word, and to destroy as many copies as they can lay hands on. Why? Ah! that is exactly what many of the nominal Roman Catholics of Brazil are just beginning to ask --” and to understand!


It is because the Bible is the one infallible proof that the theology of Rome is not that of Christ. Tradition says one thing, but God's Word declares the opposite, and you must choose between the two.


The worship of the Virgin and her almighty power, salvation by works and by merits of others than Christ, the amazing doctrine of Purgatory (that most profitable source of ecclesiastical revenue), the worship of images, and the great illusion of the Mass are among a few of the dogmas of Rome that get no help from the Bible. So the priests denounce it high and low, whether it be a Protestant version from the original, or an authorized translation from the Latin Vulgate. It is always a Book of heretics, a Masonic handbook, the work of an apostate monk, a corrupting Book, dangerous to handle, to possess which is to incur the penalty of excommunication, and so forth.


To meet these conditions I adopt something like the following method of approach, varied and adapted according to whom I may address, but taking care to disguise the name of the Book:


'I have here, sir, an excellent edition, well bound and complete in every respect, of the History of the World --” a remarkably interesting and instructive Book, a library in itself that everyone should possess. The Pope himself has a copy.

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"It opens, as you see, with this book called Genesis, written by Moses about four thousand years ago; indeed, nearly the whole of this book was written before there was any Roman Catholic Church (This is a thought that never fails to impress, for many think that Martin Luther was the author). Here is the only authentic history of the Creation of the World. Listen to this: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,' etc., etc. After this comes the story of the fall of our first father, and the deluge that followed. Let me read you a verse or two of that awful event, and tell you also what it typified.


"Fond of biography? Well, here are the lives of the great men of old --” Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob --” of whom you have heard without doubt; it is all here. "Then comes the beautiful and moving story of Joseph --” a history stranger than fiction, yet absolutely true.


"After this we have the origin and history of the children of Israel --” the Jews, you know, of which race our Lord and the Virgin were born. "There is the history of the wars of the Israelites and their kings; of Saul, who died because he dabbled in Spiritualism; and notably of that great hero, David, who killed Goliath --” see, here it is.


"Are you fond of poetry, sir? Because here is a collection of the most ancient and beautiful poetry in the world --” the one hundred and fifty Psalms of David, complete. This alone is worth far more than I shall ask for this whole volume.


"But then you have also the wonderful proverbs of Solomon, the wisest of kings; have you never read them? Surprising!


"These are the books of the great prophets of God, who, warning the world, foretold the birth of Christ hundreds of years before He came, and that He should be born of a virgin, and become the Savior of all who receive Him.

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"A deeply interesting and historical book is this of Daniel; have you ever heard of him? The Great Image of Gold, the Burning Fiery Furnace, the Den of Lions, and the Fatal Banquet are all stories found in this book.


"Now comes the second part of this volume, all that precedes it having been written before the birth of Christ. You will find here the most perfect account in existence of the life of our Lord; and it also contains all that is known of the Virgin Mary and of John the Baptist.


"Of course you sing the Magnificat of the Virgin in the Church; well, they took it out of this book. I'll read it to you.


"You will find all the teachings, parables, and miracles of our Lord related here, and the final sad story of His death to save us from our sins, with complete instructions what to do to inherit eternal life.


"This next book relates how the Roman Church and other Christian Churches originated. If you desire to know what they believed and practiced in the old days, read this.


"I presume you are a Catholic, sir. If so, here is a letter of the great Apostle, St. Paul, to the Church of Rome of those early days , teaching them pure and apostolic doctrine --” what to believe and to do, and what to avoid. Everybody who believes in the Catholic Apostolic Roman Church is simply bound to read this book; it was written for them especially.


"Here follow all the rest of the apostolic writings, absolutely complete, including two letters of Saint Peter himself.


"The last great book speaks mainly of things that are yet to come, and the end of the world; and it includes a blessing from God who inspired this book, for all who possess and read it.

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"The volume, as I said, is complete, well bound, approved of God, and only costs two shillings."


Then, and only then, you put the Book into their hands; but in the meantime they have had such an alluring vision of its contents that when they see the title of "Holy Bible" they realize that they must have been mistaken or deceived; and --” the rest is easier.


In this way I succeeded in selling a Bible to my Italian friends, and they began to read it for themselves.


This was the first of many visits, and numerous were the discussions on matters tenaciously held; but little by little the truth crept in --” as it always must where people are honest.


One thing there, however, was unpleasant; the room was stuffy and unwholesome. The windows were rarely open, because for fifteen or twenty years Senhor Prando had been a victim to chronic bronchitis, and could not stand the fresh air, he said. After a while the family began to attend our Mission Hall, though the old man could only be at the Sunday morning meeting, as he feared the night gatherings on account of his complaint. Within a month or two each member of the family was converted to Christ through the instrumentality of that Bible. A little later the question of baptism arose, and all the members were desirous to set this seal upon their faith; but the old man Prando was afraid.


The rest of the family received a great blessing on the occasion of their baptism, but Senhor Prando grew very uneasy and sad; so much so that after much fear and hesitation he resolved to obey God and to leave the consequences with Him. A few months later he was publicly baptized in the same river. On that same day and hour he was quite healed of his chronic disease.

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It is now twenty years since this happened. Senhor Prando is still living, and is one of the most revered elders of the S. Paulo congregation.


This is another evidence of the power and sufficiency of God's Word, and another witness to the fact that there is nothing to fear in fulfilling all righteousness; and we do not know what we may be missing if we neglect so to do.


The incidents related in this book will make it reasonably evident that a great Gospel revival is dawning on Catholic Brazil; and that the main factor to which we must look for its explanation is the Word of God.


About ten thousand copies of the Scriptures are passing into the hands of the people every month, and these are sold, not given away --” a significant consideration --” and sold at relatively high prices. There is also an equally large distribution of free Gospels besides many millions of good tracts.


Such a sowing must eventually shake to its very foundations that anti-Christian Church, which, built upon human frailty --” on the tradition of men, on the "infallibility" of a score of very fallible Popes, and not on Christ --” has, for four long centuries, kept the South American continent in the darkness of superstition and sin.


These nations, however, are awaking at last, and new hopes and aspirations are occupying the minds and imaginations of all classes of society. It is of the first importance, therefore, that every effort be put forth to turn the newly-aroused consciousness into a safe channel, and to place in the power of the community the key to a right judgment in all that is highest and best --” and that at once, ere the other more fatal snare of Spiritism shall reap a further harvest of death. This latter-day peril can only take root and flourish where the Bible is unknown.

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And here opens up an illimitable and most attractive field of service for the young men of the evangelical churches --” i.e., for those who may be looking round for some adequate sphere of activity in the Master's field. No very special preparation or college course is required or desirable --” nothing but a real love for souls, a willingness to endure hardship and persecution for Christ's sake, a healthy body and a sound mind. Within a few weeks after landing in Brazil this ministry could be initiated, the knowledge of but a very few words in Portuguese being sufficient to start work successfully, as I have several times demonstrated. Any reasonably intelligent and zealous y'oung man would soon find his feet, and in a short time be entirely self-supporting.
 

It is the most interesting and instructive ministry in the world, especially in Roman Catholic lands. A healthy, wholesome life, of course it has its peculiar temptations and trials, according to the character of the worker. The climate of Brazil, on the whole, is a good and healthy one, and yellow fever is now practically unknown.


The Constitution of the Republic, while acknowledging no State religion, is tolerant of all, and guarantees impartial protection to all alike. Certainly one has to count on the relentless and too often unscrupulous opposition of the priests. It must, however, be borne in mind that this antagonism is not altogether unnatural, seeing that very many of these priests are but the unconscious victims --” as was Father Campos --” of an extremely clever and subtle system. Such as these are worthy of our sympathy, and sometimes of our sincere respect.


There are not a few good men among this class, and many noble women, who would gladly welcome the truth, did it but shine on them. Our attitude should be one of real compassion towards such; for our warfare is not against monks and nuns, but against the Satanic delusion --” the awful system that uses them as mere pawns in the game of shutting out the Light of the Gospel from these nations fast bound in misery and iron.

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That the foregoing pages may arouse more practical recognition of the value of Bible work in Catholic lands, and may lead many carefully to consider the prospects which so splendid a ministry offers to all who may at this most opportune time turn their thoughts to the great field of Brazil --” the third largest country in the world --” is the prayer of the author and his object in sending forth this volume.


To God only wise, be glory, through Jesus Christ, forever. Amen

 

 

"What Wilt Thou Have Me To Do?"
Just a few days --” and our tears will have ended;
Just a few hours --” and our task will be done;
Yet still hear them calling,
From darkness appalling.


While we rest in the light of a setting sun.
Just a few days --” and the gifts we've withholden,
Just a few hours --” and the call we refuse
Will rust on forever.
Or return to us never.


And Eternity's crown we no longer may choose.
Just a few days --” and then naught will avail us
The thought of the crown that we might yet have won;
And ah! what the sorrow,
If we miss on the morrow


Our share in that joy, when He whispers, "Well done!

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--------------------------------
Below is the preface, moved to the end:


It is with a sense of privilege that I accede to the request of my friend, Mr. F. C. Glass, to write an introduction to his splendid volume. It tells the thrilling story of what God has wrought in one corner of the neglected Continent through a man wholly surrendered to His will and aflame with an unselfish passion for the souls of men. For the truth of the narrative I can unhesitantly vouch --” not that I have seen the field, but because I know the man. That he has suppressed his own part in this great enterprise, and speaks as little of himself as may be, is entirely characteristic of him. Few will read what he has written without realizing that another story lies unwritten between the lines --” the story of one who for the love of Christ has counted not his own life dear to himself, and has met the challenge of His uttermost salvation, to make its tidings known to the uttermost parts of the earth, with an uttermost consecration. May the story as he tells it bring home to every reader the double fact of the world's need and the unmeasured possibility of every redeemed life. The call of Christ rings out clear and insistent: "Follow Me;" and, covenanted in it to all obedient lives are simply undreamed-of resources of the Spirit for their competence. But how few really heed Him! This book, the modestly reported record of one life lived in obedient faith and faithful obedience, smites across the face of our dull self-complacency as it cries: "Is it nothing to you all ye that pass by?" It cannot be that any who hearkens to the thrilling call of the facts it sets forth will be content to answer, "Nothing." J. STUART HOLDEN. St. Paul's Church, Portman Square, W.

 

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