CHAPTER IV. TWO PRESIDENTS.

It was our good fortune while in Rio to be received by the President of the Republic, Dr. Nilo Pecanha. Missionaries Shepard, Langston and Ginsburg and Dr. Nogueira Paranagua escorted me. When we started I suggested that we take a street car. Not so those Brazilians! We must go in an automobile. We were very careful to wear our Prince Albert coats, too; for, above all things, the Brazilian is a master in punctilious ceremonies. We were ushered into the waiting room by a doorkeeper, a finely-liveried mulatto with a large chain around his shoulders to indicate his authority. The waiting room was full of people, but we were not kept waiting long. We sent in our cards and soon we heard our names announced and we were led into the presence of the private secretary. After a few words of explanation by Dr. Paranagua, the secretary retired to ask the President if he would see us. He returned presently and showed us into the audience chamber, which was a large and tastefully decorated room. Around the walls were several groups of chairs, placed in true Brazilian style somewhat as follows: A cane-bottomed divan was set with its back to the wall, then several cane-bottomed chairs were placed at right angles to it in two rows facing each other, usually four in a row. The President guided me between these chairs and took a seat on the divan and motioned me to a seat by his side. He is a man of slight build, with a mild expression which wins confidence. He was most informal in his speech and spoke in a candid and unreserved manner which quickly put us at ease.

I told him, through an interpreter, that we had come from a visit to the Minister of the Interior, with whom we had been in conference about the status of Brazilian schools. The President expressed his great pleasure over our coming to see him and said that he had personal knowledge of what our denomination is doing and of some of the workers. He was satisfied that our object was altruistic and for the good of the country and people; that so far as depended upon him, he was ready to give us the full benefit of his official position. As proof of his wish to see absolute religious freedom, he cited an instance of how he had protected some monks in the Amazon Valley recently. These men were in straits and he had sent soldiers to liberate them, and then turning with a smile to Ginsburg, he said that he also never abandoned his friend Solomon when he was attacked. He refreshed our minds upon the fact that lately, when certain priests in the city of Rio had attempted to resist the government over a disputed piece of property which had been granted them under the old regime, he gave them to understand that if they did not behave themselves, the door was open and they could leave the country. They soon came to terms. As to his successor, the President said that the incoming President was of the same party and would carry out the same policies, ideas and ideals. These policies meant absolute liberty of thought, conscience and speech, which is guaranteed by the constitution. Before the interview closed, he again expressed his pleasure at receiving a representative of an American institution, convinced as he was that the propaganda of our schools, morals and ideals would draw the two nations closer together, and that he was ready to encourage us to that end. "We are following the ideals of the United States", he said, "which we recognize as our elder sister." He expressed peculiar pleasure over the prospect of our establishing a college and he assured us that the Brazilian government would put no obstacle in the way of our purpose, but that it would do all in its power, on the other hand, to encourage us.

While we are meeting Presidents, I would like to introduce you to another one upon whom the salvation of Brazil depends more largely than it does upon any occupant of the chair of chief magistrate. It is possible for the man who has been elevated by the ballots of his people to serve in a large way the moral good of his people and we thank God for all rulers who rule with justice and liberality in the interest of liberty and the common good. But far greater and far more serviceable than these are those choice spirits who, by embracing the gospel of Christ, give themselves devoutly to bringing in His reign in the hearts of men. Such spirits, by the sheer force of their characters, wield a far more abiding influence for the help of their fellows. The man I wish to introduce is Dr. Nogueira Paranagua, the President of the Brazilian Baptist Convention.

He belongs to one of the oldest and most aristocratic families of the State of Piauhy. He was Governor of his state at the time of the institution of the Republic. After the establishment of the Republic, he was elected to the National Congress for a term of four years. Then he was elected to the Senate and served nine years. He is a skilled physician and is married to a Swiss lady of fine family. His family connections occupy one quarter of the State of Piauhy. He is, at the present time, Treasurer of the National Printing Concern, which does not occupy all of his time. The remainder of his time he devotes to the practice of his profession and to the preaching of the gospel. He is a deacon in the First church in Rio. He is not an ordained minister - he is simply an humble man of God. He is an ardent patriot who believes that the salvation of Brazil can be realized only through the gospel of Christ, to which he gives his life and all.

Now I, for one, believe that the theory of Dr. Nogueira is the one that will finally lead Brazil into the fullness of life and power it is capable of attaining. It is well to have written in the constitution the guarantee of religious and political liberty. It is well to have Presidents who courageously carry into effect the provisions of this constitution, but the highest good is not attained until behind all documentary guarantees is a personal righteousness in the people. Dr. Nogueira's insistent advocacy of Christ for Brazil is the one thing that gives assurance of a genuine righteousness that will exalt the nation.

He is the President of a remarkable body. It was our privilege to attend the Brazilian Baptist Convention which met in Sao Paulo, June, 1910. It was composed of sixty delegates, about one third of whom were missionaries. The remainder were natives. They came from all parts of Brazil. One man from the Madeira Valley traveled three weeks on his journey to Sao Paulo. They represented 109 churches, which had a total membership of 7,000. These churches increased by baptism twenty-five per cent, last year. They maintain a boys' school and a theological school at Pernambuco, a school for boys and girls at Bahia, a boys' school at Nova Friburgo, a girls' school at Sao Paulo and the crown of the school system, the Rio Baptist College and Seminary in the capital. They have a Publication Board to produce Sunday School and other literature, a Home Mission Board to develop the missionary work in the bounds of Brazil, and a Foreign Mission Board, which conducts foreign mission operations in Chill and Portugal. While their country is so needy, they believe in the principle of foreign missions so thoroughly that they gave last year for foreign missions as much per capita as did the churches in the bounds of the Southern Baptist Convention. One night during the Convention, I addressed them upon the subject of foreign missions, and after I had finished speaking one of the missionaries came forward and said he had thought that in as much as he had given his life to foreign mission work, he was not under any special obligation to contribute money to this cause, but now he saw his error and proposed to give as a means of grace and in order to discharge his duty to the larger cause.

What a privilege it was to attend this Convention! All of us took our meals at the Girls' College and by this arrangement we had a most delightful time socially. It is a fine body full of good cheer, hope, faith, courage, consecration. To come to know them - missionaries and native Christians alike - is to enter into fellowship with some of the choicest and most indomitable spirits that have ever adorned the Kingdom of our Lord.