Page:Distinguished Churchmen.djvu/337

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Twenty years ago there was not a native Christian in the district, and now there are about 5,000 who are ministered to by native catechists at more than ninety stations under the direction of the Rev. C. Johnson. The mission is dotted over with little chapels, but it was desired that a central church should be built at the historic spot where British valour had so distinguished itself in 1879. The Society (the S.P.G.) gave ^1,000, and every Christian in the mission contributed, and when the foundation stone was laid in 1898, twenty- two congregations came in with their banners from their outlying stations to join in the service. There were 358 communicants, and after the service 2 1 1 catechumens were baptized."

" What did you find were the faiths of these people, my lord ? "

" Practically, they had none. They were given to ancestor worship, or ancestor propitiation more than worship, I think. But they had not got what they called a religion only what you might call a superstition. Of course, polygamy is the greatest difficulty we have to contend against. The younger people certainly seem willing to accept Christianity and to give up the customs and superstitions common among the older people ; but their tendency to change meets with the resent ment of the latter. I don t think they quite realise what Christianity is. They believe there is some thing higher and better than they have been accus-

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