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despatched to him acquainting him with the fact of his immortality, certifying that he should never see death. But he who sent this messenger quickly changed his purpose, and presently another messenger was commissioned to carry to man the intelligence that he must die, and as the messenger that brings ill tidings is ever swift of foot, this latter “isitunywa” first arrived, and his message was accepted, so that when the first despatched messenger arrived his “intshumayelo,” or message, was discredited and rejected ; and so, says the Ixosa, man died, and never lives again.
Yet they fear death, carefully remove from the head and face every grey hair, and avoid all allusion to it in conversation. Most painful has been the shudder which has run through a heathen audience when I have insisted upon the fact that they must die ; indeed had one of their own race so placed before them this solemn truth, it is doubtful if he would have been allowed to proceed to tell of that judgment-seat before which we all must stand. But it must not be understood that they are a cowardly race. No South African nation is braver, more stoical in the endurance of pain, or more valiant in war; but it is with them the exact reverse of the holy Leighton, who feared not death but dying; these fear, not dying, but death.
But it is not of negatives only that a missionary writes when he returns from this people. They have a faith—that most ancient and widespreadin witchcraft. Although accepting as an article of belief that man must die, there would seem to exist a persuasion (which is positively stated to be a fact) that sickness and death are non-natural to man, and that these consequently are the result, if witchcraft.
Their “amagqira ” (
(witchdoctors), like to the Druids of old, profess the healing art (Ubunyanga), but their remedies are often worse than the disease they seek to remove. So when their efforts are baffled, and a fatal termination appears inevitable, means are employed by them to find out, first the bewitching medicine and then the bewitching matter. Having excited himself into a state of frenzied fanaticism, the “igqira” suddenly fixes upon some one individual in the assembled throng of men, generally one who has become obnoxious to the sick man; often one whose growing possessions have excited the cupidity of the paramount chief. The culprit is seized, and being, as is generally the case, unable to confess to the crime of wishing ill to the dying man, is tried with torture, only to be compared to that employed by the Inquisitors in the dark ages, until he confesses or dies,
One specimen of the torture employed may be given. The suspected man is buried in a hole as far as the shoulders, when water is poured over his head and face, after which the nest of the white ant is beaten over him. These fierce creatures, excited to bite by the moisture, inflict terrible suffering upon the victim of superstition or greed, entering nostrils, mouth, and eyes, till he is forced to confess to what he knows not, only, in all probability, to be released and put to death. Added to this, he is, in the legal Isixosa phrase, “eaten up," that is, the whole of his property is seized and confiscated, the major part (principally cattle) being appropriated by the chief.
Cruelty still has its dark places, and these are ever where Satan's seat is. Oh! when shall Ethiopia stretch out its hands unto God.
The Kafir is naturally neither blood-thirsty nor cruel, but war and presumed witchcraft rouse the worst passions of the race, which otherwise might ever lie dormant and be unsuspected.
The state and treatment of the women also evidence the degraded condition of the race. Women in Africa are slaves, purchased in the first case for wives by cattle (and as many purchased as the means of the man affords), then doomed to a life of sore hardship and toil, made more bitter by oft manifested tyranny, until the bloom of youth changes quickly into the furrows and, at times, the almost hideous appearance of premature age.
The whole of the work at home and in the field falls upon her, from the building of the hut, the hewing of wood, the drawing of water, and the bearing of every burden, to the cultivating of the field and the carrying home upon her head of the harvest which it yields. The only occupation denied her is milking. Only men are allowed to gather about the krall (cattle-fold), except when their heathenish dances, called " isidudo," take place. The inviolability of this rule often creates a serious difficulty, for the cattle-fold being the sole gathering place where the Missionary can collect the people of the heathen villages, he often experiences considerable difficulty in securing the attendance of the women. Frequently, and by what must be called a legal fiction on the part of the chief or head man, have I known the presence of women to be tolerated. Begging of the chief that the women might be allowed to assemble with the men, that they too might hear the glad tidings which make all free and blessed, the chief, from respect to me, would stand up, and calling at the top of his voice, would say,
6. Yizani nina bafazi, kuko isidudo namblanje,”—“Come here, ye women, there is a Kafir dance to-day;" when, with careful steps, and often taking a circuitous path, they come as near as they can.
Upon one occasion when itinerating, I arrived at one of the largest villages in the district, but there was not a man to be found upon
the location. The women of the place were there—left while their masters had gone to feast, to drink their native beer, or to hunt. These poor women, 80 utterly neglected and ignorant, came together at my call, and seating themselves at my feet, listened to the history and love of Him whom women loved, and ministered to Him of their substance.
There was nothing about that gathering to command the attention of those who make more of the accessories of worship than of God's presence, and the preaching of Christ crucified; yet I had an audience as attentive as preacher could desire. At the close of the service, I, according to my wont, asked if they had understood me. Kafir etiquette sternly forbids a junior answering in the presence of a senior, so for a few moments there was a pause. At last, an old woman, wrinkled and bowed by age and toil, replied :
“ Yes, teacher, your words are white,'we understand them, but to-day I hear for the first time the tidings that you bring."
Ere her sun set it met the beams of the Sun of Righteousness; would that they might guide her feet into the way of peace !
Often, when the short and simple service amongst the heathen has closed, being anxious to ascertain if I had been understood by my audience, a question similar to that just mentioned, has been asked. The answer has again and again been to this effect, "Ewe umfundisi,”—"Yes, teacher, your words are white (i.e., clear, easily understood), but we are stupid, these words are new to us; no one brings these indaba (news) to us but you, and when you go home, these words, by reason of our stupidity, depart with you; do not weary in coming, come often, you are welcome.” The truth is presented to them without fear or hindrance, and we find there types of all the classes of hearers found in Britain.
“ Your words,” said an “isibonda” (head man) to me, are as sweet as the spoil of cattle taken in war; but I cannot understand why you so urge me to repent so soon.
Then, again, we have those who seek to God in the time of calamity, who pour out a prayer, or are seen in the Christian gathering, when, in terrible drought, God's chastening hand is upon them ; but when the cry is heard and rain poured upon the earth, seek not unto God who smote them-yet God has given testimony to the word of His grace.
THERE is found the wood, hay, stubble, as here, which the fire consumes; but God, in Kafirland, has not left himself without witness: and that word has effectually worked in many, that have believed, of which many illustrations might be given did space permit.
MISSION STATIONS AND LABOURS.
Our Society has five stations specially among the Amoxosa and Amafengu tribes. All are of great importance, and need to be maintained in efficiency.
First.—King William's Town (Iqonce). This Mission was founded by our venerable brother, the Rev. J. Brownlee, upon the banks of the Iqonce river, when no European house was found there, and is of great value, as this frontier military town is resorted to by the natives from every location in Kafirland, far and near. It is the centre of a great native population, and religious services are conducted in the Mission chapels in both the Isixosa and Dutch languages, to meet the need of the Hottentot and the Kafir.
Second.—Peelton (Incemerha), where the writer for between nine and ten years has been privileged to labour with the senior Missionary, the Rev. R. Birt, than whom no man among the Missionaries is more loved and honoured. This station occupies a valuable position, as a large population is settled upon its lands, and many more can be reached from it as a centre. Great attention has been paid here to the education of the young, and with marked good results.
Third.—Knapp's Hope (Ixesi), on the Keiskama river, where a most
earnest man, known for miles around, the Rev. F. G. Keyser, laboured for many years, until recently God called him to his reward. A
from him to me, while his body was chilling in death, gave the assurance that the pearly gate was in view, and expressed the confidence of reunion.
Fourth.-Hackney (or Ox Krall), unfortunately now without a Missionary; but presenting a most interesting and important field of labour amongst a dense population of the Amafengu tribes, who were formerly slaves to the Kafirs, but were released by Sir B. D'Urban, and have shown their gratitude by most important services rendered to the British troops in the
Fifth.— Tidmanton, where a large and scattered native population is efficiently ministered to by a native ordained minister. One important outstation of this mission is in the military town of Fort Beaufort.
At these stations, and upon outstations connected with them, there are found 1,052 church members, 5,190 adherents influenced by Christian teaching, besides large numbers who give a willing hearing to the truth, and nine schools with 580 scholars. These several stations were founded as follows:-King William's town in 1826, by the Rev. J. Brownlee, who though now superannuated, does all that in him lies to advance the cause to promote which he has laboured upwards of fifty years; the Rev. J. Harper is now its missionary ; Knapp's Hope, founded in 1836, by the Rev. F. Keyser, and named after his tutor in Germany; Tidmanton, in 1838, named after our late beloved foreign secretary; and Peelton, established in 1848.
In addition to the natives found in their own land, Kafirs and Fingoes are now scattered over the whole of the old colony, where they are to some extent cared for by Missionaries whose attention has hitherto been wholly directed to the Hottentot Dutch-speaking population.
These are extremely pleased when a Missionary from their own land meets with them. To their great delight it has sometimes been my privilege to speak to them of the Gospel of Christ in their own tongue, in Graham's Town, Fort Beaufort, and Port Elizabeth. Their great Exodus out of their own land, and into the Colony, was in 1858, when, after their infatuated adherence to the commands of a lying prophetess, they found themselves deceived, and dying of starvation. But Kafirland is their home, the land to which they are constantly returning when they have secured a little property in cattle, goats, or sheep.
CHARACTER AND LABOURS OF CONVERTS.
In reference to our converts the question will be asked by the readers of this paper, as often proposed, 6. What is the status of these men and women ?”—“Do they seem to realise their responsibilities and obligations as Church members, their duty to their heathen fellow-countrymen, and the service they should render to their Lord ?” The answer may or may not be considered satisfactory, but as a whole our Church members realise their obligations, are conscious of their responsibility, and discharge their duty in reference to the heathen around them not less efficiently than professing Christians in our own favoured land. At Peelton, like other stations, some of the members had been accustomed for years to go out, Sabbath by Sabbath, to preach to their unconverted countrymen. A short time since an effort was made on our station to systematise this labour of love on their part, which was cordially responded to; thus rendering it more effective. Thirty-two of the members of the Church at Peelton were requested to be Evangelists, and these, as their names are read out, with the places they are wished to visit, on the one Lord's day, go out on the following by two and two, and sometimes three in a company, and thus seek to further the cause and kingdom of their Lord.
The Kafirs are generally very effective speakers. They are trained to this by their custom of hearing and adjudging all causes in the full assemblies of the male adults of the tribe; and they are equally such as religious teachers. Perhaps I may give one illustration of this. A short time before I left Peelton, being very unwell and feeling unable to get through the Sabbath's duty, I secured the aid of an elderly native, who had been a heathen until manhood, and had learned to read the Bible in mature life. With extreme pleasure and surprise, I listened to him, as he, bringing two passages of God's word together from different books on the subject of repentance, showed, step by step, their mutual connection, and then urged his own people to that repentance which needeth not to be repented of.
Their prayers are very full of devotional feeling, and earnest; and the respect very marked with which they listen to the word of God. With efficient training they can be well qualified for native teachers. Some years since, while still in England, I was asked if I would take a young African under my charge for a few evenings in the week, and aid him in the acquisition of the English tongue, by endeavouring to teach him to read fluently. He was a well-informed, amiable, and sensible young man, sharing his people's desire for acquiring information, and already possessed some knowledge of the English language. It afforded me much pleasure to render him all the aid in my power in this direction, as also to assist him to acquire some knowledge of the art of teaching; as it was hoped, by his friends, he might become a native teacher in his own land. I had then no thought of being a Missionary in Africa, for India was the land where I wished to labour for Christ, but God so ordered it, that this young man, “Yapi Ginza,” was among the first to welcome me to Kafirland in 1859, has been associated with me from the first day in my work, aided me in acquiring the extremely difficult language (his native tongue), proved ever a valuable assistant, is now a deacon of the Church, earning a good degree, and is efficiently carrying on the boys' school, at the same time studying for the Christian ministry.
A Kafir, “Tyo Soga,” was for some years at the head of the most important mission station of the United Presbyterian Church in South