But Kai Bok-su had no sooner returned than he was off again. He was not one of that sort who could settle down after an achievement, content to rest for a little. He seemed to forget all about what had been done and was "up and at it again." If he "did not know when he was beaten," neither did he seem to know when he was successful; and like Alexander the Great he was always sighing for new worlds to conquer, yes, and marching off and conquering them too.
But every time he returned to his work at Tamsui from one of these tours, it was borne in upon him more forcibly every day that his faithful assistant who was left in charge, could not long shoulder his work. Mr. Jamieson was fighting a losing battle with ill health. The terrible experiences during the war year, the hard work, and the trying Formosan climate had all combined against him. His brave spirit could not always sustain the body that was growing gradually weaker, and one day, a dark, sad day, the devoted soul was set free from the poor pain-racked body. He had given eight years of hard, faithful work to the study of the language and to the service of the Master in the mission. Mrs. Jamieson returned to Canada, and once more Dr. Mackay faced the work, unaided except by native preachers. But he was not daunted even by this bereavement, for he always lived in the perfect faith that God was on his side.
And then, he had by this time three new assistants in the mission-house on the bluff. They did not even guess that they were any help to him, for they could never go with him on his mission tours. But by their sweet merry ways and their joyous welcome to father, when he returned, they did help him greatly, and made his home-comings a delight.
"How many did you baptize, father?" was baby George's inevitable question on his father's return. For already the wise toddler had learned something of the bitter enmity of the heathen world, and knew that converts meant friends. Then father's home-coming meant presents too, wonderful things, bows and arrows, rare curios for the museum in the college, and, once, a pair of the funniest monkeys in the world, which proved most entertaining playthings for the little boy and his two sisters. Another time the father brought home a young bear to keep the monkeys company, but they were not at all polite to their guest, for they made poor bruin's life miserable by teasing him. They would torment him until he would stamp with rage. But he was not always badly used, for when the three children would come out to feed him, he was very happy, and he would show his pleasure by putting his head between his paws and rolling over and over like a big ball of fur. And he always seemed quite proud of his performance when his three little keepers shrieked with laughter.
The next year after Mr. Jamieson's death the empty mission-house was once more filled. In September the Rev. Mr. William and Mrs. Gauld sailed from Canada, and with their arrival Dr. Mackay took new heart.
The new missionaries had learned the language and their work was well under way when the time came round once more for Dr. Mackay to go back to Canada for a year's rest. This time there was quite a little party went with him: his wife, their three children, and Koa Kau, one of his students.
Among those left to assist Mr. Gauld, there was none he relied upon more than A Hoa. Mr. Gauld, at the close of his second year's work, wrote of this fellow worker: "The longer and better I know him, the more I can love him, trust his honesty, and respect his judgment. He knows his own people, from the governor of the island to the ragged opium-smoking beggar, and has influence with them all."
There were many others besides A Hoa to render the missionary faithful help; among them Sun-a and Tan He, the latter pastor of the church of Sin-tiam; and just because Kai Bok-su was away they worked the harder, that he might receive a good report of them on his return.
The separation was longer this time, for Dr. Mackay wished to send his children to school, and he decided that they would remain in Canada two years. He was made Moderator of the General Assembly, too, and the Church at home needed him to stir them up to a greater desire to help those beyond the seas.
While he was working and preaching in Canada, his heart turned always to his beloved Formosa, and letters from the friends there were among his greatest pleasures. A Hoa's of course, were doubly welcome. Pastor Giam, the name by which he was now called, was Mr. Gauld's right-hand helper in those days, and once he went alone on a tour away to the eastern shore. While there he had an adventure of which he wrote to Kai Bok-su.
"The other morning while walking on the seashore I saw a sailing-vessel slowly drifting shoreward and in danger of being wrecked, for there was a fog and a heavy sea. I hastened back to the chapel and beat the drum to call the villagers to worship. As soon as it was over I asked converts and heathen to go in their fishing-boats as quickly as possible and let the sailors know they need not fear savages there, and if they wished to come ashore a chapel would be given them to stay in. The whole crew came ashore in the boats at once. I gave your old room to the captain, his wife and child, and other accommodation to the rest. I then hurried away to a mandarin and asked him to send men to protect the ship."
When Kai Bok-su read the story and remembered that, twenty-five years earlier, the crew of that vessel would have been murdered and their ship plundered, he exclaimed with joy, "Blessed Christianity! Surely,
Blessings abound where'er He reigns!"
A Hoa had another tale to tell. One afternoon he had a strange congregation in that little chapel. There were one hundred and forty-six native converts and twenty-one Europeans. These were made up of seven nationalities, British, American, French, Danish, Turkish, Swiss, and Norwegian. Their ship was from America and was bound for Hongkong with coal-oil.
They were amazed at seeing a pretty, neat chapel away in this wild, remote place, which they had always supposed was overrun by head-hunters, and indeed it was just that little chapel that had made the great change. These men now entered it and joined the natives in worshiping the true God, where, only a few years before, their blood would have stained the sands.
A Hoa told them something of the great Kai Bok-su and the struggles he had had with savages and other enemies, when he first came to this region. The visitors were very much interested and did not wonder that the name "Kai Bok-su" was held in such reverence. When they left, the captain presented the little chapel with a bell, a lamp, and a mirror which were on board his ship.
The long months of separation were rolling around, when something happened that brought Kai Bok-su back to his island in great haste. Once more war swept over Formosa. This time the trouble was between China and Japan. The big Empire proved no match for the clever Japanese, and everywhere China was forced to give in.
One of the places which Japan set her affections on was Formosa. She must have the Beautiful Isle and have it at once. China was in no position to say no, so the Chinese envoy went on board a Japanese vessel and sailed toward Formosa. When in sight of its lovely mountains, without any ceremony he pointed to the land and said, "There it is, take it." And that was how Formosa became a province of Japan. At noon on May 26, 1895, the dragon flag of China was hauled down from Formosan forts and the banner of Japan was hoisted.
Of course this was not done without a struggle. The Formosans themselves fought hard, and in the fight the Christians came in for times of trouble. So Kai Bok-su, hearing that his "valuables" were again in danger, set sail for Tamsui.
When he arrived the war was practically over, but everywhere were signs of strife. As soon as he was able, he took A Hoa and Koa Kau and visited the chapels all over the country. Everywhere were sights to make his heart very sad. The Japanese soldiers had used many of the chapels for military stables, and they were in a filthy state. At one place the native preacher was a prisoner, the Japanese believing him to be a spy. At another village the Christians sadly led their missionary out to a tea plantation and showed him the place where their beloved pastor had been shot by the Japanese soldiers. Mackay stood beside his grave, his heart heavy with sorrow.
But his courage never left him. The native Christians everywhere forgot their woes in the great joy of seeing him once more; and he joined them in a brave attempt to put things to rights once more. The Japanese paid for all damages done by their soldiers and in a short time the work was going on splendidly.
"We have no fear," wrote Dr. Mackay. "The King of kings is greater than Emperor or Mikado. He will rule and overrule all things."
His faith was rewarded, for when the troublous time was over, the government of Japan proved better than that of China, and on the whole the trial proved a blessing.
Oxford College had been closed while Dr. Mackay was away, and the girls' school had not been opened since the war commenced, for it was not safe for the girls and women to leave their homes during such disturbed times. But now both schools reopened, and again Kai Bok-su with his cane and his book and his crowd of students could be seen going up to the lecture halls, or away out on the Formosan roads.
He had conquered so often, overcome such tremendous obstacles, and faced unflinchingly so many awful dangers for the sake of his converts, that it was no wonder that they adored him, their feeling amounting almost to worship. "Kai Bok-su says it must be so" was sufficient to compel any one in the north Formosa Church to do what was required. Surely never before was a man so wonderfully rewarded in this life. He had given up all he possessed for the glory of his Master and he had his full compensation.
A few happy years sped round. The time for him to go back home again was drawing near when there came the first hint that he might soon be called on a longer furlough than he would have in Canada.
At first, when the dread suspicion began to be whispered in the halls of Oxford College and in the chapel gatherings throughout the country, people refused to believe it. Kai Bok-su ill? No, no, it was only the malaria, and he always arose from that and went about again. It could not be serious.
But in spite of the fact that loving hearts refused to accept it, there was no use denying the sad fact. There was something wrong with Kai Bok-su. For months his voice had been growing weaker, the doctors had examined his throat, and attended him, but it was all of no use. At last he could not speak at all, but wrote his words on a slate.
And everywhere in north Formosa, converts and students and preachers watched and waited and prayed most fervently that he might soon recover. Those who lived in Tamsui whispered to each other in tones of dread, as they watched him come and go with slower steps than they had been accustomed to see.
"He will be well next month," they would say hopefully, or, "He will look like himself when the rains dry." But little by little the conviction grew that the beloved missionary was seriously ill, and a great gloom settled all over north Formosa. There was a little gleam of joy when the doctor in Tamsui advised him finally to go to Hongkong and see a specialist. He went, leaving many loving hearts waiting anxiously between hope and fear to hear what the doctors would say. And prayers went up night and day from those who loved him. From the heart-broken wife in the lonely house on the bluff to the farthest-off convert on the Ki-lai plain, every Christian on the island, even those in the south Formosa mission, prayed that the useful life might be spared.
But God had other and greater plans for Kai Bok-su. He came back from Hongkong, and the first look at his pale face told the dreaded truth. The shadow of death lay on it.
Those were heart-breaking days in north Formosa. From all sides came such messages of devotion that it seemed as if the passionate love of his followers must hold him back. But a stronger love was calling him on. And one bright June day, in 1901, when the green mountainsides, the blue rivers, and the waving rice-fields of Formosa lay smiling in the sun, Kai Bok-su heard once more that call that had brought him so far from home. Once more he obeyed, and he opened his eyes on a new glory greater than any of which he had ever dreamed. The task had been a hard one. The "big stone" had been stubborn, but it had been broken, and not long after the noontide of his life the tired worker was called home.
They laid his poor, worn body up on the hill above the river, beside the bodies of the Christians he had loved so well. And the soft Formosan grass grew over his grave, the winds roared about it, and the river and the sea sang his requiem.
Gallant Kai Bok-su! As he rests up there on his wind-swept height, there are hearts in the valleys and on the plains of his beloved Formosa and in his far-off native land that are aching for him. And sometimes to these last comes the question "Was it well?" Was it well that he should wear out that splendid life in such desperate toil among heathen that hated and reviled him? And from every part of north Formosa, sounding on the wind, comes many an answer.
Up from the damp rice-fields, where the farmer goes to and fro in the gray dawn, arises a song:
I'm not ashamed to own my Lord,
Or to defend his cause.
Far away on the mountainside, the once savage mother draws her little one to her and teaches him, not the old lesson of bloodshed, but the older one of love and kindness, and together they croon:
Jesus loves me, this I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
And up from scores of chapels dotting the land, comes the sound of the old, old story of Jesus and his love, preached by native Formosans, and from the thousand tongues of their congregations soars upward the Psalm:
All people that on earth do dwell,
Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice!
These all unite in one great harmony, replying, "It is well!"
But is it well with the work? What of his Beautiful Island, now that Kai Bok-su has left for a greater work in a more beautiful land? Yes, it is well also with Formosa. The work goes on.
There are two thousand, one hundred members now in the four organized congregations, and over fifty mission stations and outstations. But better still there are in addition twenty-two hundred who have forsaken their idols and are being trained to become church-members. The Formosa Church out of its poverty gives liberally too. In 1911 they contributed more than thirty-five hundred dollars to Christian work. "Every year," writes Mr. Jack, "a special collection is taken by the Church for the work among the Ami -- the aborigines of the Ki-lai plain." This is the foreign mission of the north Formosa Church.
A Hoa lately followed his pastor to the home above, but many others remain. Mr. Gauld and his family are still there, in the front of the battle, and with him is a fine corps of soldiers, comprising fifty-nine native and several Canadian missionaries, including the Rev. Dr. J. Y. Ferguson and his wife, the Rev. Milton Jack and Mrs. Jack, the Rev. and Mrs. Duncan MacLeod, Miss J. M. Kinney, Miss Hannah Connell, Miss Mabel G. Clazie, and Miss Lily Adair. Miss Isabelle J. Elliott, a graduate nurse, and deaconess, will join the staff shortly, and a few others will be sent when secured, in order that the force may be sufficient to evangelize the million people in north Formosa.
Mrs. Mackay and her two daughters, Helen and Mary, the latter having married native preachers, Koa Kau and Tan He, are keeping up the work that husband and father left. A new hospital is being built under Dr. Ferguson, and plans are on foot for new school and college buildings.
And the latest arrived missionary? What of him? Why his name is George Mackay, and he has just sailed from Canada as the first Mackay sailed forty-one years earlier. He has been nine years in Canada and the United States, at school and college, and now with his Canadian wife, has gone back to his native land. Yes, Kai Bok-su's son has gone out to carry on his father's work, and Formosa has welcomed him as no other missionary has been welcomed since Kai Bok-su's day.
But these are not all. From far across the sea, in the land where Kai Bok-su lived his boyhood days, comes a voice. It is the echo from the hearts of other boys, who have read his noble life. And their answer is, "We too will go out, as he went, and fight and win!"