Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Charles Frederik Gutzlaff (The "Grandfather of China Inland Mission"

From: "The Cross and the Dragon": or, "The Fortunes of Christianity in China." J. Kesson, 1854.

(Taiwan) Chinese Christianity and Charles Gutzlaff's Contribution (Karl Friedrich August Gützlaff, 18031851)
A name cannot be passed over in con­nection with Protestant missions in China; that of Charles Gützlaff, who has been called by some “the apostle of China." No doubt he saw much of China, and preached more in that country than any of his contemporaries ; and it may readily be admitted that he was an apostle, as Morrison, Milne, and others were apostles: but, great as were his labours, the glories of the apostolate were not all his own.
Karl Gützlaff, a Prussian protestant missionary,arrived in China from Thailand on board a Chinese junk disguised as a Chinese seaman. His first port of call on 17th July 1831 was Nan’ao Island near the borders of Guangdong and Fujian Province where he immediately began his evangelistic mission. He was to make numerous journeys into China and to Korea during his short life, not only as a missionary on the junk Shunle, but also as a spy, surgeon and interpreter with Lindsay on the vessel Lord Amherst, as an interpreter on the opium vessel Sylph, as an interpreter during the Tianjin treaty negotiations, and as the Magistrate in Zhoushan. He wrote journals of the first three voyages and these were published in 1834 as “Journal of Three Voyages along the Coast of China in 1831, 1832, and 1833”

Charles Frederick Augustus Gützlaff was born on the 8th July, 1803, in Pyrits, a small town in Prussian Pomerania. He was the only son of John Jacob Gützlaff, a tailor; “a man," says the biographer of his son, “of brave morale and of a God-fearing walk." At the age of four years he was deprived of a mother's cares and a mother's instructions; and being shortly thereafter placed under the affectionate rule of a step-mother, who not only did much to afflict his body, but to destroy that joyousness of soul so natural to a child, he felt his orphan condition the more bitterly. When a boy he was a very diligent scholar, and found in the rector of his academy a most able teacher, under whom his progress was rapid. It was from receiving from a merchant some copies of the "Basle Magazine," containing accounts of missionary labours, and from hearing a discourse upon missionary enterprise, that he first resolved, in 1818, to dedicate himself to the work of an Evangelist among the heathen. Meanwhile the efforts of his father and his teachers were vainly applied to procure for him the office he so greatly coveted. An accidental circum­stance did that for him, two years afterwards, which the zeal of his friends had failed to achieve.
The King of Prussia visited Stettin, when Gützlaff and a companion addressed him in an ode of welcome, which so pleased the monarch that he cared for the subsequent education of both the youths. Gützlaff was sent to the Mis­sionary Institute of Berlin, at the head of which Jänicke then presided. A German missionary at Madras had written home for assistance, and it was this that determined the King to send Gützlaff out in that capacity. At the
age of eighteen the young scholar came to Berlin, where he pursued his studies with great diligence, and soon won the regard of his professors. After a, residence of eighteen months in the Institute, it was proposed to him that he should attend the University in order to qualify himself for a teacher in the academy where he had himself been taught.

At this time he was seized with a severe illness, just at the time when the Netherland's Missionary Society
made inquiry at Jänicke 's Institute for some youths to go forth as missionaries. The choice fell upon Gützlaff, among others, and the effect of the unexpected news upon his health was his rapid recovery, much to the astonishment of his physician, who ex­claimed, "God has done this!"

His first destination was Rotterdam, where he arrived, with two other young men destined also as missionaries, in June, 1823. The directors of the Netherlands Missionary Society soon found in him a youth of zeal and ability; and here he was further educated to acquit himself as a mis­sionary. His intention to proceed to Malacca or the islands of the Indian Archipelago was almost exchanged, at one time, for the desire to go as 'a preacher to Greece, which at that time attracted general attention. In the meanwhile he visited Paris and London. In the latter city he made the acquaintance of Dr. Morrison, and then on a visit to England, a circumstance which strongly tended to direct his views towards China. At this time he was in his twenty-first year only.

The time at length arrived when he should enter upon his labours. At a general meeting of the Netherlands Missionary Society held at Rot­terdam, in July, 1826, Gützlaff, with other mis­sionaries, was appointed to go forth to teach heathen people, and received from the president the ensign of his mission - a Bible. Shortly after, he embarked for Batavia, which he reached in January, 1827.
Here he became acquainted with Dr. Medhurst, and applied himself diligently to the study of the Malay and Chinese languages, which latter he acquired knowledge of in an incredibly short space of time. Indeed, his gift in acquiring Oriental languages was most wonderful. He acquired the tone and accent of a native, and his facility in the Chinese language was such that he was considered by some as a native. A mandarin asserted to M. Callery that Gützlaff was the son of a mandarin who had sailed to Europe, so perfect was his mastery of the Chinese tongue; but his singularly Oriental or Chinese features no doubt contributed to this illusion.
His destination as a missionary was Sumatra; but, war breaking out on that island, he resided, during 1827 and the early part of 1828, either at Singapore or on Riouw. Here his desire to enter China ripened more and more. With this view he had himself adopted into the Chinese family of Guo, adopted the Chinese costume, and, in the guise and with the tongue of a Chinaman, prepared to carry the gospel into the empire. But before he carried
out this project, he went to Siam, and settled at Bangkok, in order to learn more of the various dialects of China. Here he exercised, also, the profession of a physician, which brought him more in contact with the people. With advice and medicine, he dispensed religious tracts and ghostly [sic] counsel, and found the Siamese as anxious to read and learn as the Chinese.

Many junks from China arrived at Bangkok, and these gave him opportunities of conversing with the sailors and of sending books and tracts to China. By all these opportunities he im­proved his knowledge of the native languages; and, notwithstanding his other duties, found time to translate the New Testament and most of the historical books of the Old [testament] into the Siamese tongue. In order to found type for the printing of this translation he went to Singapore in 1829, and from thence to Malacca. Here he married Mary Newell, an Englishwoman as we should judge by the name, a woman of great worth, and by her advice he returned to Siam, with the steadfast intention of proceeding speedily to China, and of reaching Kiang-nam as steersman of a junk. But an opportunity occurring of trans­lating the Scriptures into the Cambodian and Laooish languages, he tarried in Siam for a time, alternating, with philological studies, the dis­tributing of tracts and the preaching in junks. Here he lost his partner; here he was overpowered with grief, and overcome with sickness, and almost wavered in his intention of entering China. The native captains, fearing the authorities, hesitated, moreover, to take him as a passenger.
Gützlaff succeeded at length in getting a passage to Tianjin, a large commercial place near Pekin. In June, 1831, he went on board a Chinese junk as second steersman. He had then been three years in Siam. He had encountered there difficulties of every description, and had repeatedly found himself opposed by hostile spirits; but nothing could turn him aside from his intentions. He had written in four different languages enough to form the labour of a life. He had approved himself, in short, a sturdy workman and an honest untiring labourer.
Clad in the dress of China, speaking its lan­guage fluently, taking the name of Guo Shila, and being well provided with books and medicine, the bold missionary entered his junk to act as a sailor. After touching at various
places where he had au opportunity of distributing books, and after ex­periencing many dangers, hardships, and ill-treat­ment, from the sailors especially, on account of his weak state of health, he reached at the end of sixty days the town of Tianjin, a place within two days' journey of Pekin. Here he was welcomed as the xiansheng (doctor, or teacher) by many who had formerly known him from having received his medicines or books, and who were rejoiced that he had escaped from the land of the barbarians to place himself under the shield of the Son of Heaven and to become a true subject of the Celestial kingdom. He had plenty of practice as a physician among both rich and poor, and it was not long before his medicine chest was emptied. His tracts went as rapidly as his physic had gone, and then he had nothing to give away but pious counsel. It has been stated by the Jesuits that he proselytised as a vendor of haberdashery, with the yard measure in one hand and the Bible in the other. If he had done so, he did no disgrace to his vocation. Paul did not preach the less efficaciously because he was a tentmaker.
To the Tianjin people, Gützlaff was a person of no small curiosity. One speculative individual made an offer to the captain of the junk to purchase him for a good round sum, in order to exhibit him. After a stay of some time here, he departed laden with proofs of the satisfaction of the inhabitants, and under a promise to visit them the following year. He did not venture to proceed to Pekin on this occasion, as he had yet to acquire the dialect of the province. The voyage was now continued to the boundaries of Manchu Tartary.

He touched among other places at Jiazhou, near the projecting angle of the wall that divides China from Tartary, and from thence made the homeward voyage, which was no less perilous than had been the outward. He left the junk at Shan-wei in the province of Canton, and from there took a boat which con­veyed him to Macao. He next embarked on an English vessel as interpreter, surgeon, and chaplain, and made a voyage, along the coasts of China, to the Island of Formosa, (19.April1831) the northern parts of the Korea, and the Loo-choo islands, joining the missionary to the physician, and dis­tributing Bibles and tracts. In a third voyage which he undertook in 1832 he was shipwrecked, and almost frozen to death. The vessel was subsequently rescued, and pro­ceeded on her voyage. He touched at Zhapu, a place where an extensive trade is carried on between Japan and China, and availed himself of the opportunity to send Bibles into the interior. On his return from this voyage he erected a press, and had a font of 60,000 types, at Canton; and commenced the publication of a Chinese periodical which had a great circulation.
In 1834, he sailed once more to Formosa. His journeys and voyages were indeed numerous. His constant saying was, “I must work while it is day."
In 1837 he attempted a long-conceived design of entering Japan. He thought he had now a favourable opportunity, in taking over seven stranded Japanese to the emperor of the island, in the hopes of thus finding an open road into the interior. He was disappointed. As the ship on which he was on board neared Jeddo, the capital, she was welcomed with bullets and obliged to proceed to Satsuma. The reception here was rather better; but in a few days a hostile spirit began to manifest itself, and six batteries opened fire upon the vessel, which was again obliged to leave the coast. He returned safely to Macao, and was again immersed in missionary labours.
In 1842 Gützlaff was employed by the English authorities as an interpreter, during the negotiation of the peace of Nanjin, and now he saw new opportunities opened up for him of preaching the gospel. His civil employments under the English government did not deprive him of the spirit of the missionary. No worldly temptation could have weaned his heart from China, which, after the death of a second wife, he called his “bride". “Had they made him viceroy of Canton, or even emperor of China," wrote one who knew him well, "he would still have been a missionary." As a civilian he was incorruptible. When, in 1849, he was about to make a voyage to England, the merchants of Hong Kong, where he had resided since the peace, presented him with an address, wherein, among other testimonies to his high character, they state: "His official character has been spotless as water; and not a cash has he received as a bribe," a compliment all the more valuable, seeing that the Chinese, in general, hold bribery as a very venial offence. After his return from England, Gützlaff continued to reside in the newly founded city of Victoria, where he closed a useful and honourable life, on the 9th of August, 1851, in his forty-eighth year. The greatest tribute to his memory is to know that his fame is in all the churches.

- These biographic particulars are taken from a small Dutch work, entitled, "Gutzlaff, de Apostel der Chinezen, door G.R. Erdbrink - Rotterdam, 1850." A biography of Gutzlaff will be found in the "Literary Gazette" for October, 1851.
- Journal of three voyages along the coast of China, in 1831, 1832 and 1833 : with notices of Siam, Corea, and the Loo-Choo Islands: to which is prefixed an Introductory essay on the policy, religion, etc., of China by the Rev. W. Ellis (1834)

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