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Early Baptist Missions to China
The Baptist Encyclopedia, 1881

      Mission to China - In the report of the board of the Triennial Convention for the year ending April, 1834, we find the following:
"In regard to China, the board are deeply desirous to fix upon the best method of reaching and benefitting its vast population, and they have accordingly instructed Mr. Jones to make the requisite investigations and communicate his views without delay. It is confidently believed that the time is come when God will bless with success a judicious, persevering at. tempt to give to the crowded millions of that great empire the glorious gospel."
      Acting on these instructions, Mr. Jones on reaching Bangkok, in Siam, sought out such Chinese as he could find in that city, and preached to them the gospel. The next step in this movement to reach the Chinese was the appointment of Rev. W. Dean, who has now become a veteran in the service, as the first special missionary in Bangkok to do what he could for the evangelization of the multitudes of the Chinese who had taken up their abode in that city. Macao, which Rev. J. L. Shuck occupied in 1836, was the second point selected for the missionary purposes which were contemplated. Following the chronological order of the establishment of the missions among the Chinese we speak:

     1. Of the mission among the Chinese residing either temporarily or permanently in Siam, particularly in Bangkok. For eight years Messrs. Dean and Shuck remained at their respective stations. Mr. Dean labored in Bangkok, with special reference to the spiritual wants of the Chinese. He preached to them, and prepared religious reading for them, performing that sort of preparatory work which must be done at the commencement of a new mission. Mr. Goddard joined Mr. Dean at the close of 1840. In 1842, by the treaty between China and England, Hong-Kong was ceded to England, and Mr. Dean repaired to this island, and, in connection with Mr. Shuck, established a station in the principal city of Hong-Kong, Victoria by name. Up to this time, the whole number of Chinese baptized in Bangkok had been 18. The departure of Mr. Dean did not suspend all efforts for the spiritual good of those for whom he had labored for so many years. In 1846, more than 40,000 pages of religious reading were printed for their use. In 1850, Dr. Jones was chosen pastor of the Chinese church, which numbered 35. Not much visible progress was made for several years. In 1860, we find that 20 Chinese were baptized. In 1861, the Siamese and China departments, which for some time had been united, were separated, and in 1865 Dr. Dean returned to his former field of labor, and a new impulse was given to the work. During the year 1867, 40 persons were baptized in Bangkok and the outlying stations. Under the administration of Dr. Dean, the history of the Bangkok Chinese mission has been one of continued success. The last report gives us 6 churches with 425 members.

      2. The mission in Eastern China. Dr. D. J. Macgowan, in the autumn of 1843, went to Ningpo, one of the five ports opened to the English, and established a mission hospital, which was in operation for three months, and reopened the next spring. Rev. E. C. Lord arrived in Ningpo, June 20, 1847, to engage in special missionary work among the Chinese. Dr. Macgowan acted as his interpreter while preaching until he was able to use the language himself. Mr. Goddard joined Mr. Lord in 1848. For several years affairs at Ningpo went on with a good degree of prosperity. A convenient chapel was opened for religions we ship Sept. 26, 1852. The work of preaching, translation, printing, and teaching was carried on hopefully, and much good seed was sown. Rev. M. J. Knowlton reached Ningpo early in June, 1854. How well and how faithfully he did his work may be seen in the sketch of his life. The memory of Mr. Goddard in connection with this mission is most precious, His service of fifteen years is recorded on high. The mantle of the father fell on his son, Rev. Josiah R. Goddard, who joined the mission in June, 1868. The most recent intelligence we have from this station is that there are in Ningpo and its out-stations, 7 churches with 263 members, and that the work in every department has been pushed with vigor and success.

      3. The Southern Chinese Mission. The headquarters of this mission is Swatow, about 150 miles east of Hong-Kong. The mission was established in 1860, and was designed to reach in its operations the Chinese who spoke the Tie-Chin dialect. These people inhabit the most densely-populated region in China. It embraces nine walled cities, and towns and villages in such close contiguity that one or more is ever in sight. It is said that there are more people in this district than the entire pop, ulation of Burmah, including the Karens and other subjugated tribes. The field of labor in many respects was most discouraging, owing to the exceedingly debased character of the people, "but," says the report which speaks of the opening of the mission, "out of the materials here now so unpromising, to human view so hopeless, can grace raise up and fit polished stones for the spiritual temple." The mission at Hong-Kong was givenup and the missionaries transferred to Swatow. Rev. Mr. Sawtelle joined the mission in 1861. His health failing he was forced to retire from the field in a few months, and Mr. Johnson was left in charge of the station for some time, until Rev. W. Ashmore joined him in the autumn of 1863. During the year from Oct. 1, 1864, to Oct. 1, 1865, 24 were received into the church by baptism. Year after year new out-stations were established in the neighborhood of Swatow, which, from time to time, have been reinforced by the addition of workers, both male and female, to the laborers in a field from which so much good fruit has been gathered. In the last report from the Southern Chinese mission we find that with Swatow as the principal station there are 17 out-stations. 109 were baptized during the year, and the number of church members is 687.


[From The Baptist Encyclopedia, 1881; reprint, 1988, pp. 216-217. The original title is "Mission to China." - Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall]

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