Up the river to Go-ko-khi!
That was always a joy, and whenever
Mackay could take a day from his many duties, with A Hoa and one
or more other students, he would go up and visit old Thah-so and
the kindly people of this little village.
One day, after they had
preached in the empty granary and the
rain had come in, Mr. Tan, the headman, walked up the village
street with them, and he made them an offer. They might have the
plot of ground opposite his house for a chapel-site. This was
grand news. A chapel in north Formosa! Mackay could hardly
believe it, but it seemed that there really was to be one. There
were many Christians in Go-ko-khi now, and each one was ready for
work. Some collected stones, others prepared sun-dried bricks,
others dug the foundation, and the first church in north Formosa
Now Go-ko-khi was,
unfortunately, near the great city of
Bang-kah. This was the most hostile and wicked place in all that
country, and A Hoa and Mackay had been stoned out of it on their
visit there. The people in Bang-kah learned of the new church
building, and one day, when the brick walls are about three feet
high, there arose a tramp of feet, beating of drums, and loud
shouts, and up marched a detachment of soldiers sent with orders
from the prefect of Bang-kah to stop the building of the chapel.
Their officers went straight to the house of the headman with his
commands. Mr. Tan was six feet two and he rose to his full height
and towered above his visitor majestically. The "mayor" of
Go-ko-khi was a Christian now, and on the wall of his house was
pasted a large sheet of paper with the ten commandments printed
on it. He pointed to this and said: "I am determined to abide by
these." The officer was taken aback. He was scarcely prepared to
defy the headman, and he went away to stir up the villagers. But
everywhere the soldiers met with opposition. There seemed no one
who would take their part. The officer knew he and his men were
scarcely within their rights in what they were doing; so, fearing
trouble, he marched back to the city, reporting there that the
black-bearded barbarian had bewitched the villagers with some
The prefect of Bang-kah
next sent a message to the British
consul. The missionary was building a fort at Go-ko-khi, he
declared in great alarm, and would probably bring guns up the
river at night. He was a very bad man indeed, and if the British
consul desired peace he should stop this wicked Kai Bok-su at
once. And the British consul down in his old Dutch fort at Tamsui
laughed heartily over the letter, knowing all about Kai Bok-su
and the sort of fort he was building.
So, in spite of all
opposition, the little church rose steadily
up and up until it was crowned with a tiled roof and was ready
for the worshipers.
That was a great day for
north Formosa and its young missionary,
the day the first church was opened. The place was packed to the
doors, and many stood outside listening at the windows. And of
that crowd one hundred and fifty arose and declared that from
henceforth they would cast away their idols and worship only the
one and true God. Standing up there in his first pulpit and
looking down upon the crowd of upturned faces, and seeing the new
light in them which the blessed good news of Jesus and his love
had brought, Kai Bok-su's heart swelled with joy.
He stayed with them some
time after this, for, though so many
people had become Christians, they were like little children and
needed much careful teaching. Especially they must learn how to
live as Jesus Christ would have his followers live. Many heathen
as well as the Christians came to his meetings and listened
eagerly. At first the people found it almost impossible to sit
quiet and still during a service. They had never been accustomed
to such a task, and some of the missionary's experiences were
very funny. When they had sung a hymn and had settled down to
listen to the address, the preacher would no sooner start than
out would come one long pipe after another, pieces of flint would
strike on steel, and in a few minutes the smoke would begin to
ascend. Mackay would pause and gently tell them that as this was
a Christian service they must not do anything that might disturb
it. They were anxious to do just as he bade, so the pipes would
disappear, and nodding their heads politely they would say, "Oh,
yes, we must be quiet; oh, yes, indeed."
One day when the
congregation was very still and their young
pastor was speaking earnest words to them, one man less attentive
than the others happened to glance out of the window. Instantly
he sprang to his feet shouting, "Buffaloes in the rice-fields!
Buffaloes in the rice-fields!" and away he went with a good
fraction of the congregation helter-skelter at his heels.
The missionary spoke
again upon the necessity of quiet, and his
hearers nodded agreeably and murmured, "Yes, yes, we must be
They were very good for
the next few minutes and the minister had
reached a very important point in his address, when there was a
great disturbance at the door. An old woman came hobbling up on
her small feet and poking her head in at the church door
screamed, "My pig has gone! Pig has gone!" and away went another
portion of the congregation to help find the truant porker.
But, in spite of many
interruptions, the congregation at
Go-ko-khi learned much of the beautiful truth of their new
religion. Their indulgent pastor never blamed his restless
hearers, but before the church was two months old he had trained
them so well that there was not a more orderly and attentive
congregation even in his own Christian Canada than that which
gathered in the first chapel in north Formosa.
But the day came at last
when he had to leave them, and the
question was who should be left over them. The answer seemed very
plain,--A Hoa. The first convert placed as pastor over the first
church! It was very fitting. Some months before, down in Tamsin,
when A Hoa had been baptized and had taken his first communion,
he had vowed to give his life more fully to his Master's service.
So here was his field of labor, and here he began his work. He
was so utterly sincere and lovable, so bright and jovial, so firm
of purpose and yet so kindly, that he was soon beloved by all the
Christians and respected by the heathen. And one of his greatest
helpers was widow Thah-so, who had been instrumental in bringing
the missionary with his glad tidings to her village.
Mackay missed A Hoa
sorely at first, but he had his other
students about him, and often when bent upon a long journey would
send for his first convert, and together they would travel here
and there over the island, making new recruits everywhere for the
army of their great Captain.
The little church at Go-ko-khi
was but the first of many. Like
the hepaticas that used to peep forth in the missionary's home
woods, telling that spring had arrived, here and there they came
up, showing that the long cruel winter of heathenism in north
Formosa was drawing to an end.
Away up the Tamsui river,
nestled at the foot of the mountains,
stood a busy town called Sin-tiam. A young man from this place
sailed down to Tamsui on business one day and there heard the
great Kai Bok-su preach of the new Jehovah-God, he went home full
of the wonderful news, and so much did he talk about it that a
large number of people in Sin-tiam were very anxious to hear the
barbarian themselves. So one day a delegation came down the river
to the house on the bluff above Tamsui. They made this request
known to the missionary as he sat teaching his students in the
study. Would he not come and tell the people of Sin-tiam the
story about this Jesus-God who loved all men? Would he go? Kai
Bok-su was on the road almost before the slow-going Orientals had
finished delivering the message.
It was the season of a
feast to their idols in Sin-tiam when the
missionary and his party arrived. Great crowds thronged the
streets, and the barbarian with his white face and his black
beard and his queer clothes attracted unusual attention. The
familiar cry, "Foreign devil," was mingled with "Kill the
barbarian," "Down with the foreigner." The crowd began to surge
closer around the missionary party, and affairs looked very
serious. Suddenly a little boy right in Mackay's path was struck
on the head by a brick intended for the missionary. He was picked
up, and Mackay, pressing through the crowd to where the little
fellow lay, took out his surgical instruments and dressed the
wound. All about him the cries of "Kill the foreign devil"
changed to cries of "Good heart! Good heart!" The crowd became
friendly at once, and Mackay passed on, having had once more a
narrow escape from death.
The work of preaching to
these people was carried on vigorously,
and before many months had passed the Christians met together and
declared they must build a chapel for the worship of the true
God. So, close by the riverside, in
a most picturesque
spot, the walls of the second chapel of north Formosa began to
rise. It was not without opposition of course. One rabid
idol-worshiper stopped before the half-finished building with its
busy workmen, and, picking up a large stone, declared that he
would smash the head of the black-bearded barbarian if the work
was not stopped that moment. Needless to say, the missionary,
standing within a good stone's throw of his enemy, ordered that works
should continue. George Mackay was not to be stopped by all
the stones in north Formosa.
This stone was never
thrown, however, and at last the chapel was
finished. Once more a preacher was ready to be its pastor. Tan
He, a young man who had been studying earnestly under his leader
for some time, was placed over this second congregation, and once
more there blossomed out a sure sign that the spring had indeed
come to north Formosa.
Tek-chham, a walled city
of over forty thousand inhabitants, was
the next place to be attacked by this little army of the King's
soldiers. The first visit of the missionary caused a riot, but
before long Tek-chham had a chapel with some of the rioters for
its best members, and a once proud graduate and worshiper of
Confucius installed in it as its pastor.
Ten miles from Tek-chham
stood a little village called Geh-bai.
The missionary-soldiers visited it, and to their delight found a
church building ready for them. It was quite a wonderful place,
capable of holding fully a thousand people without much crowding.
Its roof was the boughs of the great banyan tree; its one pillar
the trunk, and its walls the branches that bent down to enter the
ground and take root. It made a delightful shelter from the
broiling sun. And here Kai Bok-su preached. But a banyan does not
give perfect shelter in all kinds of weather, so when a number of
people had declared themselves followers of the Lord Jesus, a
large house was rented and fitted up as a chapel, with another
native pastor over it.
Away over at Kelung a
church was founded through a man who had
carried the gospel home from one of the missionary's sermons.
Here and there the hepaticas were springing up. From all sides
came invitations to preach the great news of the true God, and
the young missionary gave himself scarcely time to eat or sleep.
be worked like a giant himself, and he inspired the same spirit
in the students that accompanied him. be was like a Napoleon
among his soldiers. Wherever he went they would go, even though
it would surely mean abuse and might mean death. And, wherever
they went, they brought such a wonderful, glad change to people's
hearts that they were like slave-liberators setting captives
The most lawless and
dangerous region in all north Formosa was
that surrounding the small town of Sa-kak-eng. In the mountains
near by lived a band of robbers who kept the people in a constant
state of dread by their terrible deeds of plunder and murder.
Sometimes the frightened townspeople would help the highwaymen
just to gain their good-will, and such treatment only made them
bolder. Bands of them would even come down into the town and
march through the streets, frightening every one into flight.
They would shout and sing, and their favorite song was one that
showed how little they cared for the laws of the land.
You trust the mandarins,
We trust the mountains.
So the song went, and
when the missionary heard it first he could
not help confessing that after all it was a sorry job trusting
the mandarins for protection.
The first time he visited
the place with A Hoa they were stoned
and driven out. But the missionaries came back, and at last were
allowed to preach. And then converts came and a church was
established. The robber bands received no more assistance from
the people, and were soon scattered by the officers of the law.
And Sa-kak-eng was in peace because the missionary had come.
But there was one place
Mackay had so far scarcely dared to
enter. Even the robber-infested Sa-kak-eng would yield, but
Bang-kah defied all efforts. To the missionary it was the
Gibraltar of heathen Formosa, and he longed to storm it. North,
south, east, and west of this great wicked city churches had been
planted, some only within a few miles of its walls. But Bang-kah
still stood frowning and unyielding. It had always been very
bitter against outsiders of all kinds. No foreign merchant was
allowed to do business in Bang-kah, so no wonder the foreign
missionary was driven out.
Mackay had dared to enter
the place, being of the sort that would
dare anything. It was soon after he had settled in Formosa and A
Hoa had accompanied him. The result had been a riot. The streets
had immediately filled with a yelling, cursing mob that pelted
the two missionaries with stones and rotten eggs and filth, and
drove them from the city.
But "Mackay never knew
when he was beaten," as a fellow worker of
his once said, and though he was taking desperate chances, he
went once more inside the walls of Bangkah. This time he barely
escaped with his life, and the city authorities forbade every
one, on pain of death, to lease or sell property to him or in any
way accommodate the barbarian missionary.
But meanwhile Kai Bok-su
was keeping his eye on Bang-kah, and
when the territory around had been possessed, he went up to
Go-ko--khi and made the daring proposition to A Hoa. Should they
go up again and storm the citadel of heathenism? And A Hoa
answered promptly and bravely, "Let us go."
So one day early in
December, when the winter rains had commenced
to pour down, these two marched across the plain and into
Bang-kah. By keeping quiet and avoiding the main thoroughfare,
they managed to rent a house. It was a low, mean hovel in a
dirty, narrow street, but it was inside the forbidden city, and
that was something. The two daring young men then procured a
large sheet of paper, printed on it in Chinese characters "Jesus'
Temple," and pasted it on the door. This announced what they had
come for, and they awaited results.
Presently there came the
heavy tramp, tramp of feet on the stone
pavement. Mackay and A Hoa looked out. A party of soldiers, armed
with spears and swords, were returning from camp. They stopped
before the hut and read the inscription. They shouted loud
threats and tramped away to report the affair to headquarters.
In a short time, with a
great noise and tramping, once more
soldiers were at the door. Mackay waked out and faced them
quietly. The general had given orders that the barbarian must
leave this house immediately, the soldier declared in a loud
voice. "The place belonged to the military authorities".
"Show me your proof,"
said Mackay calmly. His bold behavior
demanded respectful treatment, so the soldier produced the deed
for the property.
"I respect your law,"
said Mackay after he examined it, "and my
companion and I will vacate. But I have paid rent for this place,
therefore I am entitled to remain for the night. I will not go
out until morning."
His firm words and
fearless manner had their effect both on the
soldiers and the noisy mob waiting for him outside, and the men,
muttering angrily, turned away. That night Mackay and A Hoa lay
on a dirty grass mat on the mud floor. The place was damp and
filthy, but even had it been comfortable they would have had
little sleep. For, far into the night, angry soldiers paraded the
street. Often their voices rose to a clamor and they would make a
rush for the frail door of the little hut. Many times the two
young fellows arose, believing their last hour had come. But the
long night passed and they found that they were still left
They rose early and
started out. Already a great mob filled the
space in front of the house. Even the low roofs of the
surrounding houses were covered with people all out early to see
the barbarian and his despised companion driven from Bang-kah,
and perhaps have the added pleasure of witnessing their death.
The two walked bravely
down the street. Curses were showered upon
them from all sides; broken tiles, stones, and filth were thrown
at them, but they moved on steadily. The mob hampered them so
that they were hours walking the short distance to the river.
Here they entered a boat and went down a few miles to a point
where a chapel stood, and where some of Mackay's students awaited
But the man who "did not
know when he was beaten" had not turned
his back on the enemy. He gathered the group of students around
him in the little room attached to the chapel. Here they all
knelt and the young missionary laid their trouble before the
great Captain who had said, "All power is given unto me." "Give
us an entrance to Bang-kah," was the burden of the missionary 's
prayer. They arose from their knees, and he turned to A Hoa with
that quick challenging movement his students had learned to know
"Come," he said, "we are
going back to Bang-kah."
And A Hoa, whose habit it
was to walk into all danger with a
smile, answered with all his heart:
"It is well, Kai Bok-su;
we go back to Bang-kah."
And straight back to this
Gibraltar the little army of two
marched. It was quite dark by the time they entered. A Formosan
city is not the blaze of electricity to which Westerners are
accustomed, and only here and there in the narrow streets shone a
dim light. The travelers stumbled along, scarcely knowing whither
they were going. As they turned a dark corner and plunged into
another black street they met an old man hobbling with the aid of
a staff over the uneven stones of the pavement. Mackay spoke to
him politely and asked if he could tell him of any one who would
rent a house. "We want to do mission work," he added, feeling
that he must not get anything under false pretenses.
The old man nodded. "Yes,
I can rent you my place," he answered
readily. "Come with me."
Full of amazement and
gratitude the two adventurers groped their
way after him, stumbling over stones and heaps of rubbish. They
could not help realizing, as they got farther into the city, that
should the old man prove false and give an alarm the whole
murderous populace of that district would be around them
instantly like a swarm of hornets. But whether he was leading
them into a trap or not their only course was to follow.
At last he paused at a
low door opening into the back part of a
house. The old man lighted a lamp, a pith wick in a saucer of
peanut oil, and the visitors looked around. The room was damp and
dirty and infested with the crawling creatures that fairly swarm
in the Chinese houses of the lower order. Rain dripped from the
low ceiling on the mud floor, and the meager furniture was dirty
But the two young men who
had found it were delighted. They felt
like the advance guard of an army that has taken the enemy's
first outpost. They were established in Bang-kah! They set to
work at once to draw out a rental paper. A Hoa sat at the table
and wrote it out so that they might be within the law which said
that no foreigner must hold property in Bang-kah. When the paper
was signed and the money paid, the old man crept stealthily away.
He had his money, but he was too wary to let his fellow citizens
find how he had earned it.
As soon as morning came
the little army in the midst of the
hostile camp hoisted its banner. When the citizens of Bang-kah
awoke, they found on the door of the hut the hated sign, in large
Chinese characters, "Jesus' Temple."
In less than an hour the
street in front of it was thronged with
a shouting crowd. Before the day was past the news spread, and
the whole city was in an uproar. By the next afternoon the
excitement had reached white heat, and a wild crowd of men came
roaring down the street. They hurled themselves at the little
house where the missionaries were waiting and literally tore it
to splinters. The screams of rage and triumph were so horrible
that they reminded Mackay of the savage yells of the
When the mob leaped upon
the roof and tore it off, the two hunted
men slipped out through a side door, and across the street into
an inn. The crowd instantly attacked it, smashing doors, ripping
the tiles off the roof, and uttering such bloodthirsty howls that
they resembled wild beasts far more than human beings. The
landlord ordered the missionaries out to where the mob was
waiting to tear them limb from limb.
It was an awful moment.
To go out was instant death, to remain
merely put off the end a few moments. Mackay, knowing his source
of help, sent up a desperate prayer to his Father in heaven.
Suddenly there was a
strange lull in the street outside. The
yells ceased, the crashing of tiles stopped. The door opened, and
there in his sedan-chair of state surrounded by his bodyguard,
appeared the Chinese mandarin. And just behind him--blessed sight
to the eyes of Kai Bok-su--Mr. Scott, the British consul of
Without a word the two
British-born clasped hands. It was not an
occasion for words. There was immediately a council of war. The
mandarin urged the British consul to send the missionary out of
"I have no authority to
give such an order," retorted Mr. Scott
quickly. "On the other hand you must protect him while he is
here. He is a British subject."
Mackay's heart swelled
with pride. And he thanked God that his
Empire had such a worthy representative.
Having again impressed
upon the mandarin that the missionary must
be protected or there would be trouble, Mr. Scott set off for his
home. Mackay accompanied him to the city gate. Then he turned and
walked back through the muttering crowds straight to the inn he
had left. He stopped occasionally to pull a tooth or give
medicine for malaria, for even in Bang-kah he had a few friends.
The mandarin was now as
much afraid of the missionary as if he
had been the plague. He knew he dared not allow him to be
touched, and he also knew he had very little power over a mob. He
was responsible, too, to men in higher office, for the control of
the people, and would be severely punished if there was a riot,
he was indeed in a very bad way when he heard that the
troublesome missionary had come back, and he followed him to the
inn to try to induce him to leave.
He found Mackay with A
Hoa, quietly seated in their room. First
he commanded, then he tried to bribe, and then he even descended
to beg the "foreign devil" to leave the city. But Mackay was
"I cannot leave," he
said, touched by the man's distress. "I
cannot quit this city until I have preached the gospel here." He
held up his forceps and his Bible. "See! I use these to relieve
pain of the body, and this gives relief from sin,--the disease of
the soul. I cannot go until I have given your people the benefit
The mandarin went away
enraged and baffled. He could not persuade
the man to go; he dared not drive him out. He left a squad of
soldiers to guard the place, however, remembering the British
In a few days the
excitement subsided. People became accustomed
to seeing the barbarian teacher and his companion go about the
streets. Many were relieved of much pain by him too, and a large
number listened with some interest to the new doctrine he taught
concerning one God.
He had been there a week
when some prominent citizens came to him
with a polite offer. They would give him free a piece of ground
outside the city on which to build a church. Kai Bok-su's
flashing black eyes at once saw the bribe. They wanted to coax
him out when they could not drive him. He refused politely but
"I own that property," he
declared, pointing to the heap of ruins
into which his house had been turned, "and there I will build a
They did everything in
their power to prevent him, but one day,
many months after, right on the site where they had literally
torn the roof from above him, arose a pretty little stone church,
and that was the beginning of great things in Bang-kah.
And so Gibraltar was
taken,--taken by an army of two,--a Canadian
missionary and a Chinese soldier of the King, for behind them
stood all the army of the Lord of hosts, and he led them to