“We have no good lamps yet for the church, consequently cannot open it in the evening. But I have prepared some lamps for my chapel. I think you would laugh to see them. They are four in number. Two of them are merely small tumblers hung up by wires and cords. By means of another wire a wick is suspended in each tumbler and the tumbler filled with oil. The other two are on the same principle, but the tumblers are hung in a kind of glass globe which is suspended by brass chains. These look considerably more ornamental than the first two. Whether you laugh at them or not, they answer a very good purpose. They do not make the room as light as would be required in a church, in as large a city as Amoy is, in the United States, but by means of them my chapel is open on Sunday evenings and on every other evening in the week except one. The church and chapel are both open almost every afternoon in the week, and sometimes in the mornings. One, two, three, or more of the converts are always ready to hold forth almost every afternoon and evening. Besides this, they go to other thoroughfares frequently and preach the Gospel as well as they are able. For much of the work these converts are perhaps better adapted than ourselves. They understand the superstitions of the people in their practical working, better than we probably will ever be able to learn them.”
“April 14, 1851. There are now in connection with our church thirteen converts. In connection with the church of the London brethren there are eight. Two of our members, although compelled to labor with their hands for the sustenance of themselves and their families, yet devote the afternoons and evenings of almost every day in the week, in making known the way of salvation to their countrymen. They spend the Sabbath also, only omitting their labors long enough to listen to the preaching of the missionary and to partake of their noonday meal, from early in the morning until bedtime, in the same way, publishing the Gospel to their countrymen.”
It was at this time that the translation of the Bible into the Classic Chinese Version, or “Delegates’ Version” as it was afterwards called, was going on. A long and heated controversy had arisen as to the proper terms in the Chinese language to be used in translation of the words “God” and “Spirit.” Missionaries in different parts of the empire took most opposite views and held them with the greatest tenacity. The Missionary Boards and Bible Societies in Great Britain and America were deeply interested spectators. The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions and the American Bible Society became participators. On what they considered satisfactory evidence they declared in favor of certain Chinese words and characters to be used in preaching the Gospel and in translating the Scriptures. They advised their missionaries and Bible distributors of their decision.