BLTC Press Titles

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Tao Te Ching

Lao Tzu, James Legge (trans.)

The Souls of Black Folk

W. E. B. DuBois

Knowledge of Higher Worlds and its Attainment

Rudolf Steiner

The Story of Doctor Dolittle

Hugh Lofting


by Duff Macdonald


" Literature is likely to be an important means of elevating anil r urifj ing the native. All Africans, from the lad that writes his Grammar exercise to the postman that conveys a w ritten message in a split wand, have a liking for kalala (letters)."—Vol. II., p. 261.


Heathen Africa is a wide word, but not so wide as might at first sight appear. A large part of the continent has been reached by Mahommedanism, and Christian Missions are everywhere making bold inroads, so that the portion of Africa left entirely to the light of nature is less than is often supposed.

My main object is to contribute to a better understanding of the African heathen, and the reader acquainted with books on the " dark continent" will perceive that the greater part of the information given in these pages is entirely new. My knowledge was gained while I worked in the African Mission field. Unfortunately 1 arrived at the scene of my labours to find that the Directors of the Mission had set up a peculiar Civil Administration which, as might have been expected, soon gave rise to great difficulties. Hence, although I was labouring with increasing success, and daily gaining the confidence of the natives, I was suddenly recalled by the Directors.* Although no longer privileged to labour in Africa, I have still the deepest sympathy with its people, and am led to publish these volumes in the hope of stimulating Christians to more hearty endeavours in behalf of this lark land.

A knowledge of these Africans is interesting for its own sake. Besides, we cannot believe that God has maintained such multitudes of human beings for so many generations without our being able to learn lessons from them.

It is only when one has had an opportunity of understanding these races for himself, that he knows how much they require the help of Christendom. While from that dark land Christians hear the words, " Come over and help us," seldom do they realize how urgent is the call. That call is associated with the shrieks of the helpless slave who is sacrificed at the tomb of his oppressor, with the last cries of a fond mother poisoned by a superstitious son, and with the sighing of a wife torn from the home of her affection and compelled to drag out a miserable captivity among men whose hands are red with the blood of her kindred. When labouring in Africa, often have I been asked to explain why I

* Since then the Church altered their decision, and practically found that it was groundless.

Pre/ace. ix

was " so long in coming" when I knew that its people were living in darkness, and such a question every Pioneer Missionary may expect to face. I cannot express the feelings of many a heathen African more touchingly and at the same time more truly than by quoting the following which comes from Mr. Gill, a Missionary in the South Sea Islands :—

" At one of the fellowship meetings which the native Christians of the South Sea Islands had among themselves, an old man rose and said, ' I stand among you to-day a solitary and lonely man. Once I had a wife : dear she was to my heart; she is no more. Once I had five noble sons ; they are all gone. 0 that terrible night, when my wife went out to the brushwood, never to return, when my boys left my home to be slain by our deadly enemies!' He paused, and there was a deep silence ; the tears rolled down his cheeks. ' These things do not occur now,' he again said; ' Christianity has put an end to these bloody wars. But there is one thing I want to ask, Can it be that the Christian people in England have had this Gospel of peace for many long years, and neyer sent it to us until now ? 0 that they had sent it sooner! Had they sent it sooner, I should not be to-day solitary, sad-hearted, mourning my murdered wife and children. 0 that they had sent it sooner!'"

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