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- Brazilian Sketches - 1/18 -
By Rev. T. B. Ray, D.D.
Educational Secretary of the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. TO MY WIFE WHO SHARED THE JOURNEY WITH ME
I. THE COUNTRY II. THE CAPITAL, RIO DE JANEIRO III. A VISIT TO A COUNTRY CHURCH IV. TWO PRESIDENTS V. THE GOSPEL WITHHELD VI. SAINT WORSHIP VII. PENANCE AND PRIEST VIII. THE GOSPEL TRIUMPHANT IX. JOSE BARRETTO X. CAPTAIN EGYDIO XI. FELICIDADE (Felicity) XII. PERSECUTION XIII. THE BIBLE AS A MISSIONARY FACTOR XIV. THE METTLE OF THE NATIVE CHRISTIAN XV. THE TESTING OF THE MISSIONARY XVI. THE URGENT CALL XVII. THE LAST STAND OF THE LATIN RACE APPENDIX
I was dining one day with a very successful business man who, although his business had extensive relations in many lands, was meagerly informed about the work of missions. I thought I might interest him by telling him something of the effects of missions upon commerce. So I told him about how the civilizing presence of missionary effort creates new demands which in turn increases trade. He listened comprehendingly for a while and then remarked: "What you say is interesting, but what I wish to know is not whether missions increase business--we have business enough and have methods of increasing the volume--What I want to know is whether the missionary is making good and whether Christianity is making good in meeting the spiritual needs of the heathen. If ever I should become greatly interested in missions it would be because I should feel that Christianity could solve the spiritual problem for the heathen better than anything else. What are the facts about that phase of missions?"
These words made a profound impression on me, and since then I have spent little time in setting forth the by-products of missions, tremendously important and interesting though they are. I place the main emphasis on how gloriously Christianity, through the efforts of the missionary, meets the aching spiritual hunger of the heathen heart and transforms his life into spiritual efficiency.
Since this is my conception of what the burden of the message concerning missions should be, it should not surprise anyone to find the following pages filled with concrete statements of actual gospel triumphs. I have endeavored to draw a picture of the religious situation in Brazil by reciting facts. I have described some of the work of others done in former years and I have recorded some wonderful manifestations of the triumphant power of the gospel which I was privileged to see with my own eyes. These pages record testimony which thing, I take it, most people desire concerning the missionary enterprise. More arguments might have been stated and more conclusions might have been expressed, but I have left the reader to make his own deductions from the facts I have tried faithfully to record.
No attempt has been made to follow in detail the itinerary taken by my wife and myself which carried us into Brazil, Argentina and Chili in South America, and Portugal and Spain in Europe. It is sufficient to know that we reached the places mentioned and can vouch for the truth of the facts stated.
I have confined myself to sketches about Brazil because I did not desire to write a book of travel, but to show how the gospel succeeds in a Catholic field as being an example of the manner in which it is succeeding in other similar lands where it is being preached vigorously.
I wish to say also that I have drawn the materials from the experiences of my own denomination more largely because I know it better and therefore could bear more reliable testimony. It should be borne in mind that the successes of this one denomination are typical of the work of several other Protestant bodies now laboring in Brazil.
The missionaries and other friends made it possible wherever we went to observe conditions at close range and under favorable auspices. To these dear friends who received us so cordially and labored so untiringly for our comfort and to make our visit most helpful we would express here our heartfelt gratitude. We record their experiences and ours in the hope that the knowledge of them may bring to the reader a better appreciation of the missionary and the great cause for which the missionary labors so self- sacrificingly.
We had sailed in a southeasternly direction from New York twelve days when we rounded Cape St. Roque, the easternmost point of South America. A line drawn due north from this point would pass through the Atlantic midway between Europe and America. If we had sailed directly south we should have touched the western instead of the eastern coast, for the reason that practically the entire continent of South America lies east of the parallel of longitude which passes through New York.
After sighting land we sailed along the coast three days before we cast anchor at Bahia, our first landing place. Two days more were required to reach Rio de Janeiro. When we afterwards sailed from Rio to Buenos Aires, Argentina, we spent three and one-half days skirting along the shore of Brazil. For eight and one-half days we sailed in sight of Brazilian territory, and had we been close enough to shore north of Cape St. Roque, we should have added three days more to our survey of these far-stretching shores. Brazil lies broadside to the Atlantic Ocean with a coast line almost as long as the Pacific and Atlantic seaboards of the United States combined. Its ocean frontage is about 4,000 miles in length.
This coast line, however, is not all the water front of Brazil. She boasts of the Amazon, the mightiest river in the world. This stream is navigable by ships of large draught for 2,700 miles from its mouth. It has eight tributaries from 700 to 1,200 miles and four from 1,500 to 2,000 miles in length. One of these, the Madeira, empties as much water into the larger stream as does the Mississippi into the Gulf. No other river system drains vaster or richer territory. It drains one million square miles more than does the Mississippi, and in all it has 27,000 miles of navigable waters.
The land connections of Brazil are also extensive. All the other countries on the continent, save Chili and Ecuador, border on Brazil. The Guianas and Venezuela, on the north; Colombia and Peru on the west; Bolivia, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay on the south--eight countries in all.
It is indeed a vast territory. The United States could be placed within its borders and still there would be left enough Brazilian territory to make a State as large as Texas.
Almost from the time we sighted land until we rounded the cape near Montevideo, we could see the mountains along the shore. The mountains extend far interior and up and down the length of the country. The climate of the tropical Amazon Valley is, of course, very hot, but as soon as the mountains are reached on the way south the climate even in the tropical section is modified. The section south of Rio, on account of the mountains and other forces of nature, has a temperate climate, delightful for the habitation of man. Each of these great zones, the tropical, the subtropical and the temperate, is marked more by its distinctive leading products than by climate. Each of these sections yields a product in which Brazil leads the world. The largest and most inexhaustible rubber supply in the world is found in the Amazon Valley region. The central section raises so much cocoa that it gives Brazil first rank in the production of this commodity. The great temperate region produces three-fourths of all the coffee used in the world. Of course, there is much overlapping in the distribution of these products. Other products, such as cotton, farinha, beans, peas, tobacco, sugar, bananas, are raised in large quantities and could be far more extensively produced if the people would utilize the best methods and implements of modern agriculture. The mountains are full of ores and the forests of the finest timber, and the great interior has riches unknown to man. It has the most extensive unexplored region on earth. What the future holds for this marvelously endowed country, when her resources are revealed and brought to market, no one would dare predict. Few countries in the world would venture a claim to such immense riches.
THE CAPITAL, RIO DE JANEIRO.
The city of Rio is the center of life in Brazil. We entered the
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