THE REIGN OF TERROR IN PYENG-YANG
Pyeng-Yang, the famous missionary centre in Northern Korea, has been described in previous chapters. The people here, Christians and non-Christians alike, took a prominent part in the movement. It was announced that three memorial services would be held on March 1st, in memory of the late Emperor, one in the compound of the Christian Boys’ School, one in the compound of the Methodist church and the third at the headquarters of the Chun-do Kyo.
The meeting at the boys’ school was typical of all. Several of the native pastors and elders of the Presbyterian churches of the city, including the Moderator of the General Assembly, were present, and the compound was crowded with fully three thousand people. After the memorial service was finished, a prominent Korean minister asked the people to keep their seats, as there was more to follow.
Then, with an air of great solemnity, the Moderator of the General Assembly read two passages from the Bible, 1 Peter 3:13-17 and Romans 9:3.
“And who is he
that will harm you, if ye be followers of that
which is good.
“But, if ye suffer
for righteousness sake, happy are ye, and be
not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled.
“For I could wish
that I were accurst from Christ for my
brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.”
It was the great appeal to all that was most heroic in their souls. Some of them whispered the words after the Moderator.
“Sarami doorupkei hanangusul dooru wo malmyu sodong chi malgo.”
“Be not afraid of their terror.”
These white-robed men knew what was before them. Terror and torture and suffering were no new things to them. Within a quarter of a century conquering and defeated armies had passed through their city time after time. They knew war, and they knew worse than war. Japan had during the past few years planted her terror among them, persecuting the Church, arresting its most prominent members on false charges, breaking them in prison by scientific torture. Many of the men knew, in that assembly, of the meaning of police flogging, the feel of police burning, the unspeakable agony of being strung up by the thumbs under the police inquisition.
“Be not afraid of their terror!” Easy to say this to Western peoples, to whom terror is known only in the form of the high explosives and dropping bombs of honourable war. But for these men it had another meaning, an inquisition awaiting them compared with which the tortures of Torquemada paled.
“Be not afraid!”
There was no tremor of fear in the voice of the college graduate who rose to his feet and came to the front. “This is the proudest and happiest day of my life,” he said. “Though I die to-morrow, I cannot help but read.” He had a paper in his hand. As the vast audience saw it, they gave a great cheer. Then he read the Declaration of Independence of the Korean people.