The Indians heard this unexpected address with great attention, but on the next day he was sorry to discover that his words excited derision among the greater number, who even openly laughed him to scorn. However, he was not discouraged by this conduct, but continued his daily visits to the Indians in their huts or wigwams, representing to them the total alienation of their hearts from God, and their blindness as it regarded spiritual things, extolling the grace of God revealed in Christ Jesus, and the full atonement made by Him, as the only way by which they might be saved from endless perdition. The missionary travelled from one Indian town to the other, enduring much fatigue, and great discomforts of various kinds on these journeys. But he soon forgot all these grievances, when he discovered that the word of the cross approved itself among his hearers as the power of God unto salvation.
Tschoop, the greatest drunkard among them, was the first whose heart was powerfully awakened through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. He asked the missionary what effects the blood of the Son of God, slain on the cross, could produce in the heart of man. Had the missionary received the most valuable present in the world, it would not have afforded him a pleasure equal to what he felt in hearing this question from a soul that sought salvation. His heart burned within him while he testified to this poor heathen of the power and the efficacy of the blood of Jesus.
Soon after this Shabasch was also awakened, and the work and the teachings of the Holy Spirit became remarkably evident in the hearts of these two savage chiefs. Their eyes overflowed with tears, whenever the missionary described to them the sufferings and death of our adorable Redeemer. They often lamented their former blindness in worshipping idols, and their ignorance of their God and Saviour, who had loved them so greatly that he died to save them.
But the white settlers in the neighborhood of Shekomeko, for sinister purposes, now sought to injure the Rev. Mr. Rauch, the missionary, by spreading false accusations against him, and persuaded the Indians to believe that he only intended to take away their young people beyond the seas, and sell them for slaves. Even Tschoop and Shabasch were filled with mistrust, and became disaffected towards him. The former, in a fit of passion, once sought opportunity to shoot him, but failed in the attempt. The latter did not seek the missionary’s life, but avoided him everywhere. Notwithstanding these untoward circumstances, he followed these two persons with patience and much love, praying for them, and sowing the word of God in tears. He was prudent and cautions in what he did and undertook, never suffering his confidence in an Almighty Protector to be shaken, but acting from a good conscience, with firmness and courage. And in the confident hope of seeing his Indian hearers brought to see the error of their ways, he was not disappointed.
The Indians began again to admire his perseverance and his courage, his meek and humble behavior, and changed their minds. He frequently spent a half-day in their cottages or wigwams, ate and drank with them, and even laid down to sleep among them with the greatest composure. This latter circumstance made a particular impression upon them, and more especially upon Tschoop. Once observing the missionary lying in his hut fast asleep, he confessed that he was struck with the following thought: “This man cannot be a bad man; he fears no evil, not even from us, who are so savage and cruel, but sleeps comfortably, and places his life in our hands.”
On further consideration, Tschoop was convinced that all the accounts spread by the white people to the missionary’s prejudice proceeded altogether from malice. He then endeavored to convince his countrymen of their error, and succeeded so well, that in a short time the former confidence and friendship between the Indians and the missionary were re-established. The heard the testimony of the love of Jesus to sinners with renewed eagerness, and began to relish the truths of the gospel. Thus the missionary had the joy to see that his labor was not in vain in the Lord; several Indians were powerfully moved by his preaching, and Tschoop was again the first who shed tears of sorrow for his sins, expressing his anxious concern, and great desire to experience the power of the blood of Jesus in his heart. It may be easily conceived how great the joy of the missionary was; and with what anxious solicitude, and fervent warmth he preached the doctrine of the atonement to the repentant Tschoop. And by this word the divine power was manifested in him in so effectual a manner, that he not only afterwards became a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, but also a blessed witness of the truth amongst his own nation.
Tschoop The Converted Indian Chief: Written for the American Sunday School Union, and Revised by the committee of publication. American Sunday-School Union. Philadelphia. 1842.