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Laymen and Their Work
TH K LAWYKR-PKRACHBR. James J. Kingham. (From "India Beloved of Heaven," copyrighted 1918, by Brenton Tho burn Badley, published by the Abing don Press, New York. $1, postpaid.) (Continued from last week) Then one day a brother of V*6tlia Nayagam, a lawyer-preacher, came to see me and said, "Sir, I, too, desire to be a preacher." Knowing his knowledge of thy Scripture and his general ability, I said, "Do you know the salary I am paying your brother. Vetha Nay.i gam?" "Yes," he said, "I know." "Will you take the same pay?" 1 asked. "Yes, sir," was his glad response, and I appointed him as pastor of a hundred and sixty-flve probationers in Nagalapuram village on a salary of "nothing a month and board your self," and sell what you have to sup port yourself while you preach the gospel. He was delighted to get it. As soon as they had a pastor there I went to Nagalapuram. As I drew near I saw the people coming out to meet me, and who do you suppose was the very first In the procession? You remember old Kattayan, who was dying? Well, after he was bap tized and received into the church on probation he did not die. He got well, and it was he who came hobbling along on his old stafT and sot mv hand into that bony hand of his, and shook and shook and shook. "What's the matter?" I asked. "Matter?" said he. "Didn't you know we had a preacher?" "Is he any good?" I asked. "Sir," he answered, "we never did have such a preacher." This was quite true. They did not have a man, woman or child who could read a verse out of the Bible in their own Tamil tongue. They did not have a Sunday school teacher, nor an Ep* worth League officer, nor even a La dies' Aid Society, and yet for four years In the face of a hostile and per secuting heathenism, they had stood firm and had not back-slidden. "Well, I am glad you like your preacher," I ventured. "Yes, sir," was the answer, "he ha<i started a school, and our boys and girls are learning to read and write, and my boy can say a number of verses out of the Bible, and I, too. have learned some Bible verses and can recite them." and If I had not headed him ofT, Kattayan would have rattled off every verse he knew. "I am glad you like your preach er," I repeated. "Yes," he said; "now we want a church." "But, Kattayan, have you any money to build a church?" "No, we haven't any money, but that preacher you gave us told us If there was anything we wanted w-1 should JuBt ask God for It, and we thought we could get you to Just tell Him that we want a church." Kattayan took me by the hand and showed me the way up a bflck alley and around a corner to an old cow shed. What use any member of that congregation ever had for a cowshed I do not know, but I am sure that none of thom had ever owned a cow. Perhaps the grandfather of one of them had. At any rate, there was the cowshed. *' "What Is this?" I asked "Missionary , this is where we hold services." There was room for twenty-five in side and for a hundred and forty out 3 so the whole congregation was accommodated. Some of us got in side. and as they had asked me to Pray, I prayed as follows: ' o God these people have been starved all their lives, and are hungry even no*. They have no money to build a church but they want a church. O God, please give them some kind of a church, for Jesus sake. Amen." Kattayan then took me out on the main street of the town and showed me a little plot of ground. .' There " buiidaIth ! is, where we are soins to build that church." "But," I said, "hadn't you better *ait till you get some money boforo you talk of building?" "Money." said he. "money? Say. didn't you just ask God for that church?" "Kattayan," said I, "excuse me? I ha\e urgent business in Tuticorin. I must go. Salaam." And I left the village. I>o you know why I went away so hurriedly? I can tell you the reason. When your missionary finds that some of his new converts out of heathen ism have more faith in the living God than the missionary, that is a goc-u time for the missionary to move. So I moved. I went back to Tuticorin, and when got there found a letter waiting upon my table ? a letter from a little town In Kansas of which I had never heard and signed by a lady whose name I did not know. It read thus: Hear Brother Kingham. Dr. Sclier merhorn was preaching in our church last night, and said that you needed a lot of little churches in your vil lages in India, and that the natives could put up quite a church building if they had fifty dollars (now seventv nve dollars) help. My father was go ng to give me a diamond ring but I told him, 'Father, I don't want the r ng, just give me the monev and I will send it out to Brother Kingham to build a church.' So here it is. the best church can this fifty dollars, and when it Is finished send me a picture of it. This building is to be a memorial to my little sister, who died when she was five." How many of the folks who are lis tening to this letter believe that the Almighty God, Who swings the plan ets in their orbits and keeps the sev enty-year meteors on time to the sec ond, would listen to the prayer of a group of poor, half-starved, half naked, ignorant black people praying in an old cowshed under that blazing sun in South India, and do what they asked of Him? Do you suppose He would listen to their prayer' Whv of course He did. And He heard It' as He promised, even before it was uttered. That is what God promised in His Word to do. I gave the money to Samuel and old him to go ahead and build that church. And he did. Every member of that little congregation ? men women and children? helped. They managed to get a holiday from thelf taskmasters, and the walls went up rapidly One day Samuel, the pastor, was up on the walls supervising and help ng in the work when three men came that way and called him, "Hey you fellow, come here. We want no church in this village." "Well, men," he answered, "what are you going to do about it?" "If you go on building that church, you will die a sudden, horrible and violent death," they threatened, Iheir black faces still blacker with hatred. "Men." said he, "I am building that little church for Jesus Christ, and 1 am not afraid of anything you can do to me." And with a smile he si^id, "Salaam," and returned to his work. The church was completed in a few days. Then he sent me a note. "Please come over and help us celebrate. The church building is completed." It was one of the darkest nights l ever traveled, and I walked only five miles, but over the roughest, rockiest road imaginable, and when I got to the church the whole congregation was out in front; and as soon as I arrived they formed a procession, the men carrying torches and the women and children joining in the singing with the men leading and the band in front. Such a band! You never saw such a band. You never heard such a band. And you would not want to hear it again if you did hear it. And last of all, they brought me. seated ten feet above the heads of the admiring throng in a wedding car, the kind you ride around in the day you get married down there in South India. And we went around the town, up one street and down an other, the band ahead, the people marching and singing, and the wed ding car in the rear, pulled by two oxen: while the voices of our Chris tians rang out in their favorite song: "The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures." And while they sang there wero many who were hungry; many who had not had one good square meal for years, if ever! Up in my exalted seat I found mv heart overflowing with joy for tho light that was beginning to shine af ter all these centuries of idolatry. When the procession was over we re turned to the little church and knelt there to thank God for His love in giving us at last a preacher and a church. Then Samuel said, "It is very late. Let me show you where you are to spend the night," and took me to a little stone building in a corner of the town, gave me a cot, and left mo to go to the little Hindu restaurant where he always had his meals. It was very late, but- he had for gotten all about supper until then. When he was eating his food he col lapsed there on the floor of the little restaurant, for some one had given him with his food enough arsenic to kill five men. He did not die that nignt. It wad too big a dose, and he did not die till the third day, and then in excru ciating agony. Not dreaming of his danger, I called his brother, the lawyer-preaoher, Vetha Nayagam, to come with mo to Kottur, where we had people to bap tize. He did not return to the village till the third day, Just in time to see Samuel's horrible and violent death. The fifth day, returning from Tuti corin, I met him on the road and got out of my ox-cart to meet him, Hi.i great chest was heaving and his eyes wore full of tears. "What is the matter?" I asked. "Pastor, they have murdered my brother," and he told me of the threat and the whole story. As I remembered what he had un> dergone, my blood boiled. "What is the use of your preach lng?" I asked. "You gave up your law business at which you were mak ing money. You labored a long time without any pay, and even now aro receiving but a little help from the mission. On the day you started in to preach your house was burned down over the heads of your family, and now ? now they have murdered your brother. They would rather havo murdered you, because you have the larger congregation. You had better give up preaching. Give it up and go back to your law business. You have had to sell nearly everything you had in order to preach thus far. and you still have a wife and children to support." As I looked I saw that through his tears Vetha Nayagam was smiling at me, as he answered: "Pastor, my brother was a saint of the living God, and to-day he is a martyr to Jesus Christ: and if God should give mo the privilege of dying such a death as he died, I should praise His name forever." (The author writes us: "$100 will pay a part of a native preacher's sal ary, and help to build a church also. At the time the story was written $50 was a year's pay for an 'ordinary vil lage preacher. It is now $65 to $80. With $50 I could then build a small building for church purposes, with red tile roof and whitewashed mud walls, capable of seating 150, native fashion. The natives do the work and furnish much material. The same building now costs $75. Thereforo, $150 is needed for a church and one year's salary, and $100 will build church and pay part of pastor's salary." Members of Expositor staff have been responsible for two churches. Money can be sent to Board of Foreign Mis sions, 150 Fifth Avenue, New York, specifying that it is for "native church building and pastor work,*' under J. J. Kingham. Copies of this ifor envelope enclosure sent free. ? Editor, The Expositor, Cleveland, O. ? Liberty bonds accepted. THE NEGRO'S PROGRESS IN BUSINESS. The negro's commercial progress nas been remarkable. Increasing numbers of his race have shown un shakable evidence ot that soundest principle of American business suc cess ? thrift. In 1866 the negroes of the country, North and South, owned 12,000 houses, operated 20,000 farms, conducted 2,100 businesses and had $20,000,000 of accumulated wealth. Fifty years later the number of homes owned had increased to 600,000, one out of every four, the operated farms to 981,000, the num ber of businesses to 45,000, and the accumulated wealth to $1,110,000, 000.. In 1867 four hundred negroes were engaged in about forty lines of business; in 1917 they were engaged in two hundred lines and had $50, 000,000 Invested. To-day there are seventy or more safe and sound banks in the hands of capable negro finan ciers. Already members of the race have received grants for a thousand patents. In 1866 the valuation of property used for higher education was $60,000; in 1916 it was $21,500, 000. For the same dates the valua tion of church property increased from $1,500,000 to $76,000,000. Were the figures for increase along all lines for the last five years avail able, a much more marked contrast would appear. ? Rodney W. Roundy, Associate Secretary, Home Missions Council.