“Two Methods of Civilizing the Heathen” American Sentinel 14, 46, pp. 725, 726.

IN the Philippine Islands, the military forces of the United States, are enforcing submission of the people to the authority of this Government, for the avowed purpose of uplifting the people from barbarism and conferring on them the blessings of civilization. In the process it has been found necessary to put down by force of arms a strong resistance by the natives to American domination, and the results up to date are that a large section of the principal island has been devastated by war, thousands of the natives have been killed or wounded, and the lives of hundreds of American soldiers have likewise been sacrificed. What the future may bring of further sacrifice of life in securing the enforcement of American authority there, no one can say; but it is certain that the bitter hatred of their conquerors engendered in the minds of the natives, is a result that will endure for years to come.

This is one method that is being employed to uplift and bless, in the name of Christian civilization, the heathen of the Pacific Isles. Happily, it is not the only one.

There is another and radically different method that is being employed in other islands of that region, and to call attention to this, in contrast with what is being done in the Philippines, is our purpose here. This other method and its results are described in the following by the Rev. Frances M. Price, on “Mission Work and Opportunities in the Pacific Islands,” contributed by him to The Independent:

“In 1852 the good ship ‘Caroline’ carried the first missionaries into the remote islands of Micronesia. Now, after 47 years, what do we find as a result of the missionary invasion of this island world?

“1. Sixty distinctively religious communities have been established. Each mission station was from the first, a center of evangelistic and educational work. The choicest young people were gathered into schools, and train for Christian service. They were also taught to cut and make clothes, to handle implements and tools and to build churches and dwelling houses. The spiritual life was made especially intense. Victory over ordinary temptations and besetting sins received merited approval. Young people, imbued with the spirit and purpose of the teachers, went forth to teach in other communities.

“Their success has been marvelous. Wars and fighting has ceased, the people now engaged in the quiet pursuits of peace and enact over again life and work of the Mission Station. They build churches, and make them the centers of their political, social and religious life; they flock to the schools and learn to read and write and other useful things; they settle disputes in council and unite in marriage according to law; they begin and close the day with public worship in the church, singing simple hymns and listening to the reading of the Word in prayer, and they maintain the family altar and make at the center of their home life.

“2. Christianity has wrought a striking change in the lives of the people. ‘Old things are passed away; all things are become new. They cast off the heathen dress and ornaments, cut their hair, wash themselves and put on the dress of civilization. The latter is the badge of Christianity.

“The face, too, is changed. The weak, coarse, listless, and, in repose, hopeless look disappears when once the Master begins to write his name in their foreheads.

“The arts of civilization are coming in apace. Schooners which once carried tobacco, beads and trinkets for barter now take cargoes of prints, denims, sewing machines, useful implements and tools and sandal-wood boxes. Hats are manufactured, wooden floors put in houses, and stone churches are erected.

“3. Christianity has created a new public sentiment and new ideals. The popular man from being the most cruel and heartless has come to be the one who can best answer questions in the church services and lives the most consistent life.

“The last case of polygamy disappeared from one island two years ago because the parties could not resist the tide of popular opinion. Public sentiment believes in the Christian home and seeks to protect it. The chief men of a large island recently discussed in a council how they might best restrain offenders against the marriage vow and the rights of private property.

“Parents now want their children to be in school and take a pardonable pride in their attainments; pupils vie with each other in generous rivalry for the first place in their classes; and the brightest and most diligent boy in school is the favorite. Moreover Christian character is now the ideal character, and Christian virtues receive the highest praise. A few months ago word reached our people in Ruk that William, a faithful Ponape teacher, had been arrested, and that Henry Nanepei, a Christian chief, had stood by him during his trial at the risk of life and property, and secured his release. This deed of heroism was greatly admired; young men spoke enthusiastically the noble conduct of this Christian chief.

“Never had a man a sweeter face—a more gentle and lovable character—than Moses, a Ponape Christian. In Ruk, where he has been a teacher on one of the largest islands for twemty years, he is the confidential advisor chiefs, both heathen and Christian, and exerts a wide influence over all classes. [726]

“No great intellectual achievements can yet be chronicled, and mental and moral weakness is the general characteristic. But the tide is rising—intellectually, morally and spiritually—and things once in the mire and slime are being lifted up and purified. With churches and schools, daily instruction in the Word of God and elementary branches of knowledge, the arts and customs of civilized life displacing the old heathenism, an increasingly wholesome public sentiment and Christian ideals of attainment and character, future progress is assured.

“They are a happy people now for their God is the Lord. The voice of singing is constantly heard in their dwellings, groups of young people are accustomed to sit on the beach during the long evenings and make music in hymns of praise to Jehovah, and the shout of battle and wailing of the slain are no longer heard. And more, the people are now ready to welcome good government. While the United States is calling for 100,000 men to subdue and garrison the Philippines, Germany is quietly taking possession of the Carolines without a soldier or the firing of a gun. Why? The latter people have been subdued under the blood-stained banner of the Son of God, and their islands garrisoned with Christian churches, schools and teachers….

“We plead for these lost islanders. They respond so quickly to Christian teaching, they are so dull and wretched and can be made so bright and happy by the Gospel that every dictate of reason and humanity urges obedience to our Lord’s last command….

“The time is opportune. Every island in this remote sea should have a Christian teacher, and have him now.”

And now, in the face of this, can anyone tell us why it is necessary to blast the Philippine Islands with war, to fill them with widows and orphans, to instil hatred and every evil passion in the hearts of the people—to say nothing of making widows and orphans in America—in order that those islands may receive the blessings of “Christian civilization?” Can anyone tell us why the facts set forth in this missionary report do not constitute a most fearful indictment against the method of civilizing that is being employed to produce civilization in the Philippines? And can anyone tell us why any Christian should for a moment give his sanction to the latter method?

The AMERICAN SENTINEL is always and unqualified plea in favor of that method of civilizing the island races, which brings with it no destruction of life and property, aims not at humiliating the people by the dominating arm of military power, stirs up no evil passions, but seeks only to develop what is good, to bless all in body and soul, to make all happy, prosperous, contented, and that has so wonderfully succeeded in all this in the darkest lands of heathendom. And who is not in favor of the same?

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