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Specimens of Native Chinese Preaching
Letter from Rev. Mr. William Dean, Hongkong, 28th October 1844
      My dear Sir: - I am indebted to your kindness for the numbers of the “Memorial” from January to June, 1844. The perusal of such articles as time would allow me to read, has afforded me much interest. If I had any thing of interest for you in return, it would afford me pleasure to communicate it. I will begin with the first thing that comes to hand. Yesterday, being sabbath, one of my assistants opened the morning service by reading the account of the rich man and Lazarus, and then said, by way of explanation, “My brethren, as I have sound many persons, while distributing books, who say, this doctrine is very good, but I am too poor to be a Christian, I have thought it good to direct your minds to this man who was a beggar, yet he went to heaven. It does not require riches to be a Christian - it does not require riches to make one happy. Here was a man in poverty and covered with sores; still he was a Christian; he was happy, and went to heaven; while there was a rich man who failed of heaven and found himself in torment. You see that this man with his riches could not purchase his life, he could not purchase happiness, he could not even purchase a drop of water, with all his riches. What, then, were they good for 2 and why should you be always thinking about money, and laboring hard to obtain it, when by and by it will be of no use to you? You say you wish to lay up money for the future - but that is the time when it will be useless. Why not labor for something that will do you good? Why not strive for that with which you can purchase happiness? Here it is, you may have it to-day; the poorest may have it, and it is worth having; it is worth laboring for; it is current in the next world, where gold and silver are no better than counterfeit coin. Don't say again you are too poor to be a Christian; or that you have no time to be a Christian; Lazarus was poorer than any of you, but he was a Christian. He might say, I have no time, I have to think about getting something to eat, and I have to think about my sores; still he could think about his soul and about God; he had time enough to be a Christian, so have you, everyone of you; therefore, don't say again, I have no time to be a Christian, or that you are too poor to be a Christian.”

      In the afternoon another Chinese took part in the services, who quoted the expression of Peter when he went up to the temple with John; “Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have give I thee.” He said “there was a lame man at the gate of the temple who had never walked. He was healed. How ! By trusting in Christ. Peter and John trusted in Christ to perform the miracle, and the cripple trusted in Christ to be healed. Now you are all lame; you cannot walk in the road to heaven; no one can carry you in that road, it is so narrow and difficult that no one can carry another; then, if you get to heaven you must walk there, and how can you walk with crippled feet? But here is one who can heal your feet; he can heal all of you; he can do it now ; but you must trust in him. You may hear of him, you may see him, but if you do not trust in him, all is of no use ; none are healed who do not trust in him, and none can walk who are not healed, and none can be saved who do not walk in righteousness.”

      The above may give you some idea of Chinese preaching.

      With many thanks for your kindness, I am, my dear sir,
      Yours, affectionately,
      W. DEAN.


[From The Baptist Memorial and Monthly Record, 1845, Volume 4, pp. 119-120. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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